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Kaiku Visa – A Prepaid Debit Card that Doesn’t Suck

No, I haven’t lost my mind.  I’m still a big fan of rewards credit cards for my normal use.  But I was asked if I’d like to review the Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card, and I have been pleasantly surprised. Why a Prepaid Debt Card? I was thinking that for people who have a hard time managing credit cards, but cash also flows out of their wallet like water, a prepaid debit card may be a solid idea.  You can’t spend what isn’t there. Or if a person has poor credit and can’t get a credit card or even bank account, but they do want a place to have their paychecks directly deposited, a solid prepaid debit card could solve that issue.  This is also good for people who can’t get credit cards but do want to save money by shopping online (within their budget, of course). Why Kaiku? Here are the reasons I will suggest Kaiku specifically to anyone in the future who is looking for a prepaid debit card: 1.  One monthly fee of $3.  No other fees for loading or using your card as usual. 2.  If you don’t have a remaining balance of $3 when that monthly fee is … Read more…

We Still Use Credit Cards for Everything

I’ll start off by saying that credit cards aren’t for everyone.  If swiping a card doesn’t feel like spending “real” money to you, stick with a cash system.  But I feel the hurt no matter how our money is spent, so rewards credit cards are just a way to get back 1% to 5% of what we were spending anyway.  Heck, if they’d let me pay my mortgage with my credit cards, I would. Cash Back, Baby There are a billion different rewards credit cards, but I prefer to stick with ones that give solid cash back options.  I avoid travel rewards for now, but may be looking into them if I start taking more flights again.  For right now, we use three main cards: CapitalOne Visa – 1.5% cash back on everything Discover It Card – 1% cash back on everything and 5% cash back on rotating categories Chase Freedom Visa – 1% cash back on everything and 5% cash back on rotating categories We end up using the Discover and Chase cards on the 5% cash back things that are in the rotating categories (like using Discover for gasoline right now or the Chase one for groceries right this second) … Read more…

The Convenience of Credit Card Debt

The following is another post from Lyle, a self-employed guitar instructor, performer, web-designer and blogger. For the past twenty years, he has adopted the tenets of voluntary simplicity to live a thrift shop life and has recently began blogging with these concepts in mind at The Joy of Simple. If you read my previous guest post, How Being A Credit Card Delinquent Saved Me Thousands of Dollars, you might recall that for more than twenty years I had been happily credit card free…well…at least that’s the way it was until about six months ago when I received a MasterCard in the mail. How They Got Me Normally I don’t fill out credit card applications, but I felt sorry for the woman who was being constantly passed by and ignored by this particular stores’ customers. So when she sheepishly asked if I wouldn’t mind filling out the application for some free doo-hicky, I nodded and signed on the dotted line! To be honest, I never thought I would even receive the card because while I didn’t have bad credit, I actually have no credit. I found out that little fun fact as I was searching for an apartment to rent four … Read more…

How Being A Credit Card Delinquent Saved Me Thousands of Dollars!

The following is a guest post from Lyle, a self-employed guitar instructor, performer, web-designer and blogger. For the past twenty years, he has adopted the tenets of voluntary simplicity to live a thrift shop life and has recently began blogging with these concepts in mind at The Joy of Simple. My First Credit Card I received my first credit card back in the summer of 1979 at the ripe young age of 18. I had just started working at a new job and figured it was time to start building up a solid credit history. At least that was the plan. Secretly though, I think I just wanted to be able to buy stuff regardless if I had the money for it or not. You see, prior to that fateful day, I was only able to make purchases if I had enough cash on me or was willing to save my money to buy those big ticket items I seemed to crave back then. With a credit card however, I no longer had to worry about such mundane measures as saving money for an item or two, or three. I could simply hand over my precious piece of plastic and … Read more…

Had to Switch to a New Credit Card

My husband and I use credit cards.  Sorry if that offends your sensibilities, but we use them like cash and pay them off every month.  We are not the norm and we know, but cash just falls out of our wallets like water.  We can’t even tell you exactly where it all went.  We have credit card charges staring us in the face all month so we know exactly how “bad” we’ve been.  We’ve never missed a payment or paid a cent of interest (*knock on wood*).  Okay, so now that all of the justifying is taken care of, lol, here is the actual post. Our Main Cards We try to stick to just two credit cards at a time – a Discover and a Visa of some sort.  Those cards have been the Discover It (we just recently switched from a basic Discover account and love it), and we have been using a Pentagon Federal Credit Union Visa. But PenFed sent me a letter saying that they were going to start charging us a $25 annual fee.  Crystal doesn’t do credit card fees.  A credit card company gets 3-6% anytime it is swiped – there is no dang reason to charge you to … Read more…

My Dad Died Happy

This is a guest post by Kevin McKee, co-founder of Reward Boost and founder of personal finance blog Thousandaire.  I’ve been reading Thousandaire forever and highly recommend it and checking out Reward Boost today! — This is a happy story, I promise. Yes it does end with my father dying from cancer, liver failure, and a variety of other ailments. However, the days before his death were incredible. Background My father was a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war. On one of his missions he was captured and held by villagers hoping to get a ransom from the Vietcong. After 63 days of being tied to a tree, he heard a helicopter. The US military found him and the rest of his crew and rescued them. That’s all my dad told me about his time in the service. I may have the story wrong, and heck it may not have even been true, but one thing is certain: my father was very troubled based on his experiences in the military. When he made it back to the states, he did some work as a military policeman, met and married my … Read more…

Need to Change from Discover More to Discover It…

Okay, so I have written about using credit cards for everything we’d normally buy anyway and getting cash back for it.  My favorite credit card company, Discover, has apparently created a new card – Discover It. Looking Into a New Card Here was a comment that my blogging buddy, Andy from Tight Fisted Miser, left on one of the guest posts here on February 5: Crystal, you should upgrade your Discover More card to the Discover IT card. The new card has all the same features as the More card but it starts at 1% cash back while the More card starts at just 0.25% cash back. I was able to upgrade mine in about 5 minutes with online chat. I can’t argue with making more cash back, so I checked this new card out.  It really does look identical to Discover More except it does simply start at 1% cash back each year without having to hit a certain spending mark.  It even has the 5% cash back rotating categories that my card has now.  So I logged in to use the online chat yesterday, but all of the chat agents were busy and I was too lazy to call.  I’ll get … Read more…