January 15, 2016


How To Use Credit Cards To Make Money

The idea that you can use credit cards to make money may seem a little odd. Aren't credit cards dangerous things? Aren't credit cards the reason why many people find themselves deep in debt.

Well, yes it's true. Credit cards can be very dangerous. If you fail to pay your credit card bills, there is always a very possible danger that you will find yourself seriously deep into debt. Lives can be ruined by crippling credit card excess.

However, if you are super careful and always pay off the full balance of your credit card each month, your little plastic friends can actually end up making you money.

Delay Spending and Earn Interest on Your Cash

When you use a credit card to buy something, you can borrow the money without having to pay any interest for a certain length of time. If you choose to use your credit card to buy things that you would have already bought anyway, you can put the money you would have spent in a high-interest savings account.

When you later, pay off the credit card bill, you will have earned some interest from your money. To make sure that you get the most interest, you should time any larger transactions so that they are at the start of your credit card statement and you won't have to pay for them for a while.

Get Cash back on Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer cash back as an incentive. How it works is simple: every time you buy something with your card, you get some money back from that purchase.

You can get about 0.5%-1% cash back, although sometimes you can find introductory deals at a higher rate. The cash that you get is usually paid annually.

You must pay off your credit card bill in full month to make the most of cash back. If you don't, any gains you make will be cancelled out by interest.

Apply for Credit Cards and get Free Things

Credit card companies want your business so badly, that they will often offer free things to new customers. Things they use to entice new customers include flights and gift vouchers.

Some of these offers require you to make a purchase. Some don't. If you do have to spend something to get the free gift, make you sure you buy something you were going to buy anyway and try to spend as little as possible.

You should also be carefully about how frequently you apply for credit cards:
  • Don't Apply for Too Many Cards at Once. Applying for lots of credit cards in a short space in a time an have a negative impact on your credit rating. If you are going to apply for multiple cards, space out your applications.
  • Cancel Old, Unused Cards. Make sure you contact the credit card company to cancel any credit cards that you are not going to use an more. Having too many credit card accounts open can be bad for your credit rating.

Tips on Using Credit Cards to Make Money

  • Make sure that prompt payment means no interest. Always make sure that you choose credit cards that you don't start charging interest from the moment of purchase. Be sure to pick cards which mean that, if you pay the full balance every month, you won't have to pay any interest.
  • Use a credit card with no annual fee. You are trying to make money here. You don't want to be paying out extra. Sometimes it is still possible to make money if you are paying an annual fee, but only if the money you can earn is more than the annual fee.
  • Budget carefully and stick to your budget. Remember you need to be able to pay back the full balance on your credit card every month, so you need to be sure that you have enough money to do that. Make a household budget. Work out how much money you have coming in each month and then make a list of all your outgoings. The things you use your credit card should be things you would have used anyway. Those expenses should be included in your budget and you should not make sure that you do not go over budget.
  • Keep a record of your expenses. To ensure that you keep to budget, note down every purchase you make with your credit card. Maybe keep a little notebook with you, which you can use to jot to the amount. There are also apps available for this. Although you haven't actually spent for these purchases in reality, you should still consider the money spent.

Be Careful With Your Credit Card Use

Remember, it is always important to be very careful when using credit cards. You can make money with credits, but only if you make sure that pay off your balance in full every month. This way, you can avoid debt and stand a chance of enjoying some financial benefits.
If you stay organized, budget carefully and always pay your credit card bills fully every time, it really is possible for you to use credit cards to make money.

Picture: Sean MacEntee via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0

January 08, 2016


How to Make Money Online

OK, so you’re not going to get rich using any of these sites, but the trickle of virtual pennies you can earn will eventually turn into pounds. So, if you're willing to put in a little bit of time on a regular basis, you can build up a nice little pot of cash.

Get Paid For Your Internet Searches

You can earn money from your internet searches with Qmee. All you have to do is download an add-on for your internet browser, then search as normal on sites like Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Bing and Tesco. You’ll see some ads alongside your search results. The advertisers pay Qmee and when you click on any of the ads, you get a cut of that money. Payment for clicking on an ad is usually between 6-10p. The great thing about Qmee is that, unlike other such schemes, you don’t have to build up to a certain amount before you can get your hands on the cash. You can withdraw your earnings at any time.

Get Paid for Getting Emails

You probably don't like getting unwanted emails from people trying to sell you stuff. But maybe you wouldn't mind so much if you got paid for those emails. If you sign up at InboxPounds, that's exactly what you're letting yourself in for. As well as getting paid for receiving emails in your inbox, you can earn cash by taking surveys, doing searches and even playing games online. You can request a payment when you've earned £20. You can receive your payment as a cheque, Amazon gift card or pre-paid MasterCard.

Get Paid for Watching Videos

Swagbucks is a popular site with people who are serious about making money online. By signing up for the site you can earn points for watching videos, playing games, completing surveys and searching the web. Once you've built up enough points, you can exchange them for gift cards for Amazon, PayPal, John Lewis or Marks and Spencer.

Get CashBack Without Buying Anything

You probably already use Top CashBack to save money on pretty much everything that you buy online. Did you know that you can also use the site to get cash back without actually spending any money? No? Well, you might like to know that you can sometimes earn money just by getting quotes for insurance. Sometimes companies are interested in you as a future potential customer so they'll willingly pay for your interest in whatever they have to offer. It's obviously not a large amount, but it can add up to your cash back earnings from all your other online shopping.

Picture: SEOPlanter via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0

May 01, 2015


Why Choose a Junior ISA?

Saving Money with a Junior ISA
Put cash into an ISA for your child and keep it away from the tax man.
Image Source:  TaxRebate.org.uk via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0
Back in 2009, when my little boy was born, we applied for a Child Trust Fund (a long term tax-free savings accounts for children). At the time, the government were giving out £250 to little lads and lasses for their parents to invest in CTFs. Never one to turn my nose up at the offer of free money, we took the cash and stuffed it into a CTF with a low-cost UK Index Tracker. You can't apply for Child Trust Funds now because the scheme has closed. Junior ISAs are the new place to stash cash on behalf of little investors. I opened a Junior ISA for my little girl when she was born in 2013.

What the heck is a Junior ISA anyway?

An ISA is an Individual Savings Account. It is a scheme allowing people to hold cash, shares or unit trusts without having to pay any tax on dividends, interest and capital gains. ISAs were introduced in 1999, when they replaced personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs). Crikey, that's a lot of letters!

Child Trust Fund v Junior ISA

At the beginning of this tax year, it became possible to transfer a CTF into a Junior ISA. I've just done that very thing for my wee lad. I've shifted his investments from a CTF to a Junior ISA. The main reason why is that there is a great choice of funds available in a Junior ISA than a CTF. I used Hargreaves Lansdown as a platform for the Junior ISA because that's where I opened a Junior ISA for my daughter. I also have a SIPP there.

What is the Junior ISA allowance?

You can put up to £4,080 into a Junior ISA. This can be used in a Cash ISA or a Stocks & Shares ISA. The rates for Cash ISAs can be pretty so low, so investing in stocks and shares is probably a better bet for getting a return on your cash in the longterm. Putting your lolly in the stock market provides the greater opportunity for gains, but also carries more risks. However, drip feeding cash into a fund regularly over a long period of time (the length of time it takes your nipper to grow up into an 18-year-old) makes it a less risky proposition.

Who can pay into a Junior ISA?

Only a person with parental responsibility can open a Junior ISA on behalf of a child, but once an account has been set up, anyone can pay into it. Grandparents, friends and family members are able to pay money into a Junior ISA. That means they can gifts to their little relations which will help them in the long-term as well as all the toys and trinkets they'll be giving as the kids grow up.

What happens when the child turns 18?

When your child reaches the age of 18, they gain control of the Junior ISA. Do you think they'll be able to handle all that cash? While you had university fees or a deposit on a flat in mind when you began investing for your child's future, maybe they might decide to blow the lot on parties.

Is it worth getting a Junior ISA?

You might think that children don't pay tax anyway, so what's the point of a an ISA for junior? Children do pay tax though. They have the same personal allowance as grown ups, but most of them don't have jobs paying more than that personal allowance. When money given to a child by a parent brings in income of  £100 (gross), the parent has to pay tax on that income. So, having a shelter does make some kind of sense.