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          Optimizing your credit cards

          Bill Boyer

          Issue date: 8/27/10 Section: News
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          Using credit cards responsibly can help build up your credit score and keep track of your spending. You can look for and compare cards at bankrate.com.
          Media Credit: Ian Britton (Fortunewatch.com)
          Using credit cards responsibly can help build up your credit score and keep track of your spending. You can look for and compare cards at bankrate.com.
          [Click to enlarge]
          Few people wake up in the morning, yawns, stretches, and says, "Today I want to become financially literate!" However, many do want to become financially independent and no longer stress over their finances.

          Unfortunately, most of the financial advice avaliable is rife with misconceptions. It seems everyone has an opinion on the best way to handle money. People debate which hot, new stock they are going to buy, or which investments will provide the greatest return. This information overload tends to make people do the worst thing possible with their finances: nothing. But fortunately, most finances can be handled smartly with an understanding a few simple concepts.

          The first of these concerns optimizing your credit cards so that you can take advantage of credit card companies as opposed to them taking advantage of you. Some people avoid credit cards because they think it will cost them money. However, not only can they cost you not a dollar, but they can actually save you money while boosting your credit score.

          Here are the top three reasons you should use a credit card:

          1. You can build up your credit score. Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that represents how risky you are to lenders (higher score = less risky). By using a credit card responsibly, you demonstrate to lenders that you are a low-risk customer, and you will get more favorable rates when taking out a car loan or mortgage (this could save you tens of thousands of dollars in your lifetime).

          2. You are able to track your spending. Using a credit card will help you to be more conscious of your spending habits, which is a great first step to saving money.

          3. Credit card companies offer rewards, lots including cash back, discounted travel, and concierge services (explained below).
          Continued...
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          In This Issue

          News

          • Major work on LGBT Center completed
          • Meet your USG Executive Board
          • More to coffee than its morning punch
          • New international student orientation session debuts
          • Optimizing your credit cards
          • University names new controller
          • USG Briefs: Filer to be taken offline

          Sports

          • A conversation with Otto Penicka, voice of Spartan athletics
          • Another year, another slap in the face
          • Conference Previews
          • Men's XC team to avenge snub
          • Spartan Spotlight: Cindy Spahn
          • Spartan women have their eye on return trip to Nationals
          • Women's Soccer looks to build on surprising season

          Opinion

          • Flouting the system, 101
          • Letter to the Editor: Commutes Students Association offers home to all CWRU students
          • Sex and Dating
          • Spreading the wealth
          • Student body, SEC ready to move on

          Focus

          • Going back to Those Gold Soundz: I was a six-year-old Phish phan
          • Kate Voegele, Meagan McCormick charm crowd at Welcome Back Concert
          • One student's story: wielding Magic in foreign countries.
          • Scott Pilgrim epitomizes style over substance in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
          • SEC positively affecting campus
          • The Buzz
          • Welcome Back Comedy Night a real laugh
          • Welcome Days
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