New to BFS? Please click here to get started.
You can also sign up for my FREE Weekly Newsletter to get access to EXCLUSIVE monthly giveaways!!!
See you in the comments soon!

Why I Use a Credit Card (And How To Leverage Yours)

The following is a guest post from Mike, the author behind Personal Finance Beat, a blog that covers and links to a host of personal finance and money management topics. You can follow him on Twitter at @PFBeat. I Use a Credit Card I use a credit card to pay for almost everything I buy. If my landlord would allow it, I would even pay my rent with a credit card. I take out $200 a month in cash just in case I need it, but everything else goes on my American Express Blue Cash card.  Using a credit card helps to keep me organized, it’s safer than using cash or a debit card, and it offers cash back rewards that is essentially free money in your pocket. These benefits, of course, are contingent upon one crucial thing: you must pay off your balance — in full — every month. If you can’t be disciplined enough to pay off your balance in full every month, then you probably shouldn’t have a credit card. But this is a system that works for me. Obviously, not everyone agrees with this approach. Dave Ramsey’s View Take Dave Ramsey, for example. Dave offers a … Read more…

How to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt in 10 Simple Steps

The following is a guest post from My Honest Answer, an advice site solving your dilemmas daily. Less of an agony aunt, and more of an agony sister, my honest answer gives good honest advice: minus the sugar-coating, plus a bit of sass. Step One: Get Real When you owe money on credit cards it’s easy to bury your head in the sand, and ignore those mounting bills. With various debts spread across providers, it’s hard to stay on top of how much you actually owe in total. I’m going to show you how to pay off those debts, starting today. But, none of these steps will work unless you realize that enough is enough, and it’s time to stop accumulating debt, and start paying it back. You need to be committed. Step Two: Get Organized Sit down, and list every single debt: amounts owed to friends or family, credit cards, car loans and store cards. Pull out all the paperwork, and create a ring binder with all your statement and bills. Use dividers to keep each creditor’s information separate. If you do everything online, consider printing your current balances. Make this binder your Debt Control centre, where all the information … Read more…

5 Tips on How to Improve Your Credit Score

The following is a guest post from YFS, the owner and author of Your Finances Simplified. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia and is now a financial adviser, IT contractor, landlord, and treasurer of a non-profit. He created his blog partly due to his desire to help people with their finances. Join YFS’s mailing list for straight forward easy to understand financial advice by clicking here. Improving your credit score seems like it should be a fairly easy thing. Pay your bills on time, and you should have a good credit score, right? Well, that is not always the case. While it is always a good idea to pay your bills and to pay them on time, simply paying on time will not always guarantee a great credit score because other factors are involved. Credit Scoring Credit scoring is somewhat of a mysterious realm, and the people who score your credit are not letting the mere mortals in on their secrets. These people put your information into their system, and then they give you a number. The FICO score is the most common, and it ranges from 300 (bad credit) to 850 (excellent credit). Banks and other lenders … Read more…

How Balance Transfer Roulette Almost Landed Me in the Crazy House

A re-habbed spendaholic, The Happy Homeowner began blogging as a way to stay accountable and to chronicle her quest for financial freedom. From paying off over $14,000 in credit card debt in one year to purchasing her own condo in the expensive Boston real estate market (on her own!), she shares her financial ramblings, musings, and fabulously frugal ideas here. I have a confession to make: I used to be a complete financial disaster. Not only did I carry mountains of credit card debt (over $14K at one point), but I had no semblance of a budget, I had no idea where my money was going or how I was spending it, and I developed habits of sticking my head in the sand and shredding statements before even opening the envelopes. Ignorance is Bliss, Right? For years I ignored the signs of my impending financial doom. On the outside, I was a cheerful, well put-together, intelligent young woman. Inside, I was one nervous breakdown away from being carted off to the nearest psychiatric hospital. The source of my inner conflict? My financial—or lack thereof—habits were keeping me from living the life I desperately wanted and I had no idea how to change my … Read more…

How to Get the Most Frequent Traveler Points out of a Credit Card

One of my readers, Aimy, asked me to “find the best credit card that racks up the most points for travel” for her daughter. Well, I passed along that question to Dave who runs Free Travel Genius, a website dedicated to teaching readers how to travel for free by leveraging credit card points. Here is his response: That is a very open ended question, so I will do my best. First, let me caveat that one should only be focused on getting reward points when they have good credit and are able to pay off their credit cards each month. If you are having difficulties, please read advice such as this post by guest blogger Ross. Otherwise, read on. “Best” Travel Reward Credit Cards There are three types of “best” cards. First are the ones with the best signup bonus. Next are the ones with the best long-term return on your spending. Finally, there are the cards that give you direct benefits (such as lounge access or free bag check). I am going to focus on the “Mega Bonuses” today since, for most people, this is how to amass a lot of free travel quickly. If you want to learn more … Read more…

My Confession – Splurging and Scrambling

The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics. Martin has just released a super-helpful guide that shows you how to completely conquer credit before you hit 30.  “You can’t leave your mark on the world if you spend your 20s paying off credit card debt. I did all of the boring research for you so that you can see how easy it is to figure out credit.” I’ve learned from Crystal and many other internet entrepreneurs that transparency is the way to go. Today I’m going to be more transparent than I’ve ever been before. I’m going to make a confession about being in credit card debt. I often mention (perhaps brag?) that I’ve been able to avoid credit card debt and student loans. Well today I need to confess to something. I recently spent just under a month being stuck in credit card debt. For the first time in my life I found myself in credit card debt and scrambling to get out so that I didn’t start getting hit with interest payments. I finally knew how it felt to be on the other side of the war against debt. This is my story… How did this happen? … Read more…

Check Your Credit Card Statements

My husband and I use two main credit cards to pay for everything that we can, and then we pay off the balances every month.  The Discover More card gives us 5% cash back on rotating categories and the PenFed Visa gives us 5% cash back on gasoline.  I check the monthly statements between the 14th and 17th of every month when I type every expense into our budget spreadsheet, and then I pay off the balances even if they aren’t due for another 3 weeks.  I was recently reminded of what a good idea it is to check your credit card statement before paying the bill. Our Info was Stolen Two months ago, someone stole our credit card information somehow and bought something that cost $499.  They used our Discover Card info through Paypal, so it took 2 calls for me to figure out what happened.  The first was to my husband to find out what he bought that was $500.  He verified that he didn’t buy anything that expensive.  I then called Paypal and found out that someone ordered a $499 fishing pole from Trinidad through my husband’s Paypal account.  Handling the Charge I then asked them to freeze our account and look into the issue, but when they … Read more…