With the pandemic far from being over, the need to evaluate our finances has become all the more important now. The widespread unemployment that the pandemic has brought in its wake has many of us struggling to transition from a double-income household to a single-income one.
If you’re tired of that sinking feeling every time you hold a Credit Card bill or get annoyed by those reminders to pay your annual fee even when you haven’t spent a dime on your Credit Card, it’s time to take a hard look at your finances. Or to be precise, your Credit Cards.
Over the years, as your expenses and needs have grown, you may have accumulated cards that, on second thought, you may never need. Credit Cards may make your wallets lighter but not if you’ve hoarded a whole stack you probably won’t ever use.
Step 1: Discard Cards That You Will Never Need
As Marie Kondo advises, start your tidying up exercise by placing all your things in a heap so that you can take a good look at all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. Emptying your wallet by laying its contents on your table may reveal a ton of junk like old receipts, business cards, multiple Credit Cards etc.
Now may be a good time to ask yourself this question -“Do I need so many Credit Cards?” When you were just starting your career and saving was a top-priority, you may have opted for Credit Cards that offered generous cashback on dining, shopping or freebies like free movie tickets or shopping vouchers from Amazon etc.
However, over the years, your needs and lifestyle have changed. Cards offering perks on grocery shopping, free lounge access, savings on dining bills etc. may hold more appeal and rationale for you now. Take a hard look at your pile of Credit Cards and identify cards that don’t match your needs and priorities.
Step 2: Pause And Reflect
You may find this step a little challenging given that you’ll need to do some soul searching with what you really need vis-à-vis what you want in life. Take a careful look at your pile of Credit Cards and ask yourself how many of them you use regularly? There may be some Credit Cards that you rarely use but pay annual fees for every year.
If you really plan to hold on to them, check with the Credit Card issuers if they can waive the annual fee for you. Banks generally don’t but they might consider your proposal if you have a good payment record and have been a long-standing customer. While there’s no downside to having multiple Credit Cards, if you’re in the habit of paying just the minimum due amount, you are overlooking the fact that the outstanding balance on each of those cards will snowball into a hefty amount and add a high interest to that, which will leave you cursing yourself for biting off more than you can chew.
Step 3: Prioritise Your Credit Card Needs
Take the following steps towards prioritising your Credit Card needs:
If you’ve recently purchased a big-ticket item using your Credit Card and paying instalments towards it at 0% interest, then check the number of instalments left on this repayment plan and consider closing this Credit Card once you’ve completed the repayment.
Take note of your Credit Card networks. Ola, every now and then, offers good discounts on ride payments made through Visa. MasterCard offers great lounge privileges across both domestic and international airports. It may be a good idea to carry a card of each.
How much do you spend on groceries in a month? Some cards like the YES Premia and IndianOil Citi Platinum Card offer great rewards on grocery shopping. Crunch some numbers to see which card gives you the most cashback or rewards on your everyday expenses.
Do you drive to work? In this case, it may be worthwhile to get a fuel Credit Card like the IndianOil Citi Platinum Card that gives you generous reward points on fuel spends.
De-cluttering your Credit Card portfolio will help you gain a clearer picture of the Credit Cards that you will need and can afford to discard in 2020. This will not only help you save on annual fees for cards that you never use but will also orient your expense pattern to make best use of your Credit Cards.
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