Five Best Personal Credit Cards

The personal credit cards of today are not your father’s credit cards. By far, 21st-century personal credit cards tend to offer a variety of benefits to consumers that provide convenience and discounts not offered by paying cash or even with the use of a debit card. And while personal credit card offers abound – online and in your mailbox – five of the best personal credit cards are outlined for you here.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

While this credit card’s TV commercials and marketing tagline are popular, some features that make it popular among consumers include unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase made, no annual fee, and a one-time $150 cash bonus when you accrue $500 in purchases during your first three months as a cardholder. Additionally, the 0 percent introductory APR for 15 months applies to both your account balance and balance transfers.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

If you’re a person about town, you can rack up triple points (to earn discounts or “miles”) when you eat out, use rideshares and transit, buy gas and use eligible streaming services. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. Additional advantages include 30,000 bonus points upon making $3,000 in purchases within three months, 0 percent introductory APR for 12 months, cell phone protection and no annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

To satisfy the traveler in you, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card gives you double points/miles on travel purchases such as airfare, hotels, dining and transportation; all other purchases earn one point per dollar. When you make $4,000 in purchases within the first three months, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus points. No fees on foreign transactions. The annual membership fee is $95.

Discover it Cash Back

For those who prefer getting cash back on their purchases, the Discover it Cash Back credit card offers up to 5 percent cash back on purchases made at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and You’ll also tally 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. As an added bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year as a cardholder – with no limit. That’s free money! You can also transfer balances at the introductory APR of 0 percent for 14 months. This card has no annual fee.

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card offers a unique way of rewarding you not only for using the card for purchases but also for making your monthly payments. You can earn 2 percent cash back on all purchases: that’s 1 percent when you buy and another 1 percent when you pay. There are no expense categories to track, no caps on cash back and no annual fee. The introductory balance transfer APR of 0 percent is good for 18 months.

For more than 20 years, Cincinnati’s most trusted accountants, Donohoo Accounting Services, has helped individuals like you wisely manage their personal finances. Contact us by calling 513-528-3982 or email us today. And don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for our latest updates!

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5 Tips to Managing Credit Card Debt

Using credit cards can be a good thing when they’re not over-used, and if they’re managed wisely. However, relying on credit to maintain a beyond-your-means lifestyle or even as a way of making ends meet can be a slippery slope. Why? Because if you lose sight of how much credit you’re carrying, rack up large credit balances or pay lots in finance charges each month, you’re actually doing your finances more harm than good. Let’s take a look at five things you can do to be sure you’re managing your credit card debt wisely.

Track Your Debt

Especially if you have more than two credit cards, make sure you know how many accounts you have open that you’re paying on each month, the total balance of each credit card account and the due dates and payment due each month. Simply seeing these totals may not only make you aware of how much credit card debt you’re carrying but also provide you with an incentive to pay it off.

Pay off Small Balances First

Some experts say that the smartest way to manage your monthly credit card payments is by targeting the smallest balances first. The reasoning is that by eliminating the smallest balances first, you will quickly free up more cash monthly to pay on the larger balances, which are probably costing you more in finance charges.

Lower Your Finance Charges

Monthly finance charges on credit card debt usually consist of an interest rate which is multiplied against your balance. These charges may start out low but usually increase over time or when your balance reaches a certain level. Knowing which of your credit cards costs you the most in finance charges will tell you two things: 1) Which card to use least, and 2) Which card company you should negotiate with for a lower rate. Some credit card companies will lower their interest rate if you simply call and ask for – or negotiate – a lower rate.

Use Credit Cards Sparingly

The best way to eliminate monthly finance charges is to pay cash and don’t use your credit cards. When you do use credit, however, keep the amount you spend small (less than $500 per month) and pay off the balance immediately when it comes due. Following this tip will not only stop you from drowning in credit card debt but also help to build your credit score.

Raise Your Credit Score

Your level of credit card debt and your on-time payments have a significant impact on your credit score. Your credit score is the main factor used by banks and other lending institutions to make decisions about lending for home and auto purchases. By keeping your level of credit card debt low – or even at zero – your credit score will show banks and mortgage companies that you are responsibly using your credit cards and wisely managing your debt.

An excellent resource to help you manage your credit card debt is an experienced accountant like those at Donohoo Accounting Service. Schedule your credit card debt consultation with Donohoo by calling 513-528-3982 or email us today.

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4 Common Money Concerns And How To Fix Them

The people who worry the most about money are … most people. Whether you have a lot, a little or you’re somewhere in between, concerns often linger about such money issues as having enough income for retirement, being able to cover emergency expenses, staying afloat following a job loss and making wise decisions about using the income and savings you have. To help ease your mind about your money concerns, the following tips will help you address some of your top financial stressors.

Make Wise Financial Decisions

If you’re lacking skills and experience in making good financial decisions, there is a fix for that. Online you will find a number of money management courses that can train you in how to budget, manage your money, control spending, invest and make wise financial decisions. As well, many local investment firms offer free courses in money management and investing, as do some banks and community organizations that are devoted to financial literacy.

Prepare for Loss of Employment

Fluctuations in business markets and in the economy overall can turn what once seemed like permanent employment into sudden job loss. When this happens, what can you do to stay afloat and sustain your lifestyle until you find a new job? Start by paying yourself first by saving 10 percent of your income – until you have six months’ worth of income saved. This is a standard rule for having money to live on in case of sudden job loss.

Set Aside Emergency Funds

The next important thing to plan for financially is the next emergency. An emergency expense may be suddenly needing a new car or replacing a major appliance that breaks down. Because these concerns make such a big impact on your budget, it’s important to have at least $2,000 saved at any given time to accommodate an emergency. Pay yourself first out of your current income or trim your spending as you would to save for any other important goal.

Save Enough for Retirement

Because some of your living expenses actually go down during retirement, you should plan on needing about 80 percent of your current income level to maintain your lifestyle. After considering all of your various retirement income sources such as Social Security, 401K, investments and pension, meet with a retirement planner or use an online tool to determine how much more income you’ll need. Then, make sure you’re taking advantage of retirement benefits offered by your employer (such as matching contributions), and save and invest small amounts on your own over time to meet your goal.

Additionally, if credit card debt is a major concern for you in managing your money, be sure to read our blog about the Top Five Things to Know about Credit Card Debt. As well, the professionals at Donohoo Accounting Service are here to help you manage your finances. We have been helping people like you to wisely manage their finances for more than 20 years. For a free consultation, call us today at 513-528-3982.

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Four Tips To Save For College

Depending on grades a great score on the ACT or SAT, your future college student could have a big scholarship in his or her future. If you – and your student – haven’t been saving for college, how can you save as much as possible before the first tuition bill arrives? Whether you have a short amount of time or a decade, these four tips will give you a start on how to save for college.

Start with a goal

A college savings goal consists not only of a dollar amount but also includes a date or deadline. The most common way to compute a college savings goal is to divide the total dollar amount needed by the number of years you have to save. Another popular goal-setting method is to multiply the student’s age by $2,000. This will give you roughly the amount you should have in savings to cover 50 percent of the student’s college expenses.

Use the 10 percent rule

Could you live on 90 percent of your household income for a period of time? Probably so. Most people could, simply by looking for ways to reduce their spending. While you budget to live on 90 percent of your take-home pay, the other 10 percent goes into an educational savings account (ESA), 529 college savings account or even an interest-bearing savings account (or some combination of these). Depending on your total household income, 10 percent a year could add up to quite a bit between now and the start of college.

Save income from part-time or summer jobs

Even better than the 10 percent rule is the 100 percent rule – but only make it apply to income earned from part-time or summer jobs that your student works. A student earning $8 an hour working year-round in a part-time job can earn up to $8,000 during a single year. That’s a sizeable contribution toward college expenses! Parents can double that amount by offering to match dollar-for-dollar the amount their student saves each year.

Sell unused and unwanted items

Collectibles, antiques and even used appliances have the potential to bring in a handsome sum when sold online or in yard sales. Put your family and relatives to work scouring their attics, basements, and garages for anything of value that can be sold to add to your college savings account. The more unused or unwanted items you can sell – even for small dollar amounts – will eventually add up to help meet college expenses.

Need help developing your college savings plan? Donohoo Accounting can get you started. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation or call 513-528-3982.

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