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02/16/18 Debt , Personal Finance # ,

Starbucks Credit Card Isn’t Worth 20 Free Drinks

Starbucks Credit Card Isn’t Worth 20 Free Drinks

I enjoy Starbucks as much as anyone else. While I don’t post photos of my drinks or visit it daily for my caffeine fix, I’m OK with paying $3 to $5 for a chocolate mocha or some other treat from time to time. The Starbucks credit card, however, isn’t something I’m going to buy.

And “buying” is what you’re doing when you sign up for a new credit card that charges for the privilege of using it and collecting its rewards. The $49 annual fee for the new Starbucks credit card is real money that will come out of your pocket — all so you can get 20 free drinks as a reward.

I only have a few credit cards in my wallet. Adding another one that offers minimal rewards for something I don’t use too often seems like a way to spend more money at Starbucks, along with increasing my caloric intake and possibly hurting my credit score.

For someone who visits Starbucks often and buys big-ticket items, the Starbucks credit card may be worthwhile. But that’s a big “may be” because they’re still getting only $100 worth of free drinks, though possibly more if they use it in every way possible to earn the most points. Continue reading

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03/22/17 Debt #

Top 5 Reasons to Own a Credit Card Terminal for Your Business

As a small business owner, you are always on the lookout for new ways to increase your bottom line and reduce your overall expenses. Unfortunately, for many new companies, that means that they forgo systems like credit card readers due to the added costs per transaction.

However, this is a mistake, and you should instead be looking at the best credit card machines for businesses. Here are five reasons why:

#1 Improve Customer Experience

Because your clientele is the lifeblood of your company, it’s imperative that you treat everyone that buys from your store with respect and convenience. Since most people don’t carry cash or checks anymore, having a portable credit card reader means that you can cater to your customers and meet their needs.

#2 Increase Your Sales

As you make it more convenient to buy things from your store, you will invariably make more money in the long run as customers do not have to make sure that they have enough cash. This is most common with impulse purchases.

#3 Expand Your Market

Being able to take credit cards means that now you can take orders over the phone or sell online, thus expanding your reach and enabling customers to buy your goods in more ways. If you want to build your company and make it thrive, credit cards are the way to go.

#4 Adapt to New Trends

As physical currency is becoming less common, people are starting to use all kinds of payment methods, from enhanced credit cards to phone apps that store financial information. If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to add credit payments to your business.

#5 Better Security

One of the problems with being a cash only business is that you can become a target for thieves or criminals. If you process credit cards through a secure terminal, then you aren’t holding as much money on hand that can be stolen. This also helps prevent stealing from employees, too.

Many merchants or account providers offer free credit card machines to new customers, meaning that your investment probably won’t be as involved as you think. Overall, the benefits greatly outweigh the expense.

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10/22/15 Debt , Insurance , Personal Finance # , , , , , ,

25 Worst Financial Mistakes Anyone Can Make

25 Worst Financial Mistakes Anyone Can Make

Anyone can make a mistake. They’re part of everyday life. Financial mistakes, however, can lead to problems for years to come if not corrected soon.

After talking to financial experts and others who have either experienced or seen other people make the worst financial mistakes of their lives, we compiled the following list of 25 of them. Many are common after graduating from college and starting a financial life on your own, but they can still happen to anyone at any age.

We should also note that these worst financial mistakes aren’t listed in any order. We’ll leave measuring their importance to you:

25 Worst Financial Mistakes


1. Not going to college

The average starting salary for a high school graduate is about $28,000. That figure almost doubles to $48,127 for college graduates in the class of 2014 with bachelor’s degrees, according to a salary survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting your working life by being that far behind in pay is one of the worst financial mistakes you can make.

2. Not paying off student loans fast

The average student loan debt for a college graduate is $28,400, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

For a college grad who is earning some real money after four or more years of living like a student, it can be tempting to spend much of their new income before paying off debt. That’s one of the worst financial mistakes a graduate can make, says Alfred Poor, a college speaker and author of books about problems young people are having in the workplace.

“If college graduates tighten their belts and lower their expectations, and live like they only have the high school diploma, they will rapidly pay off their average $27,000 in student loans,” Poor says. “If they spend their whole salary on a more comfortable lifestyle, they could be struggling to pay off that debt for decades, and end up paying much more in interest.”

3. Paying off student loans too quickly

Paying off student loans quickly can also have a downside, says Steven Fox, a financial planner in San Diego with If they use all of their extra income paying off student loans, they could be in financial trouble if they don’t put some in an emergency fund and lose their job or get in a car accident and have unexpected medical expenses, Fox says.

“They should really think about whether they should pay off their student loans as fast as they possibly can once they get their first job if it means that they’re doing so at the expense of not saving or investing anything,” he says. “Ending up with zero debt is good, but ending up with zero savings is very bad.”

An emergency could lead to borrowing money at a higher rate than what they were paying on student loans, says Fox, who reminds graduates that student loan interest is tax deductible for up to $2,500 for individuals making $80,000 or less without having to itemize. Continue reading

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09/22/15 Debt , Saving # , , , , , ,

3 Financial Habits to Start Before Fed Raises Interest Rates

3 Financial Habits to Start Before Fed Raises Interest Rates

Predicting if and when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates is a fool’s game, though plenty of people try doing it.

Last week’s inaction by the Fed to hold interest rates where they are may prolong global uncertainty, though it’s a global uncertainty that has been around since the last time the Fed raised interest rates in 2006. Its main interest rate has remained practically zero since then.

The Washington Post reported that some Fed officials expect interest rates to be raised sometime this year — which leaves only four months. Its top officials are scheduled to meet twice more in 2015: October and December.

3 ways to beat the Fed

If interest rates do rise this year, there are some financial habits worth starting now in preparation for the rise. Here are three: Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.