What Can Happen When You Ask For A ‘Facebook Page LIKE’

Introduction

Have you ever gotten one of these ‘Facebook Page LIKE’ requests that goes something like, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page”? I find these requests very frustrating and a waste of time. Worst of all, the request is an illustration of a total lack of understanding of how social media works and what a great marketing tools it offers.

facebook-page-like
The Facebook “LIKE US” icon from gomdl.com. Is It A Welcome Or a Warning To Potential Customers?
Social Media Skills

Unskilled social media users think that the rules of salesmanship and engagement do not apply with social media. Because the medium of contact has changed and seems to have a veil of anonymity, they think they can be impertinent and request something that they have not earned. What they have not earned is the privilege of being ‘LIKED’ by a prospective customer or potential colleague. In addition, they do not know what to do with a Facebook Page LIKE, how to use social media to get business from it and get it in droves.

Would a salesperson walk into a store and demand that a business owner carry his product? Would a business owner demand the same from a potential customer? Of course not. In a face to face situation, a smart salesperson would never do that. But that is what it is like to say to someone on their Facebook page, “I LIKED your page. So now LIKE mine”. At the very least the protocol of salesmanship needs to apply. This includes an introduction such as, “How do you do, my name is so and so. I am interested in knowing more about your business or I’m just looking, thank you.” At this point, the real drive of what social media can accomplish have not even been put into gear.

 

facebook page LIKE
Corporate Guy With Thumbs Up and Down from Shutterstock
Salesmanship

Depending on the response of the business owner, a salesperson would take his next step. He would figure out how to warm up a potential connection. He would work on engaging the other person. Where is there any attempt to nurture a connection or to engage with the demand, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page.” There is none. In fact, this approach may have the opposite effect and put off the person or business asked to reciprocate.

There is another very important reason. In fact, it may be the most important one. Asking for and getting LIKES do not make a lasting impression with a prospect. It will unlikely improve or increase one’s business. In fact, getting a like is only the key to unlock the door of social media’s magic.
 

It’s Not Just About LIKES

In social media’s earlier days (and apparently still today), there was a limited understanding about the role of getting ‘LIKES’. Social media is about making connections, engaging and building relationships not just exchanging ‘LIKES’. It takes much more than just gathering LIKES on the road to increasing business. I would rather build ten meaningful relationships online with other business owners or potential customers than have 100 perfunctory ‘LIKES’. But you don’t have to choose between the two options if you know how to use social media.

facebook page like
Two People Shaking Hands from 123RF
Conclusion

In the long run, business will grow from growing relationships. It has always been this way. Today, savvy social media users know how to reach so many people and they don’t use the come-on line, ‘I LIKED you. Now LIKE me’. If one handles oneself social media professionally, one will never say, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page.” A LIKE will be a natural part of the relationships one works to establish with the bells and whistles that social media offers and requires to do its job.

There are programs and apps specifically designed to use the LIKES and ‘click throughs’ one does get to take a prospect to the next step of engagement and sales. What does that require? Collecting the email addresses and other pertinent information about prospects. Offer something for free on you facebook page or a special promotion that requires a name and email address. That is where you really need to start to use the social media technology.

Take a look at Shortstack and Sumo.com These companies has comprehensive tools for turning LIKES into relationships and relationships into sales. You can also contact me in the comments section below to learn more about the right way and the wrong way to get Facebook Page LIKES and what to do with them when you get them. Future blog posts will elaborate on this topic and other facets of social media marketing.

Facebook page LIKES
The ShortStack icon
Sources and Resources

How To Invite People To LIKE Your Facebook Business Page

How Important Social Media Is For Small Business

Strong Customer Relationships Lead to Healthier Businesses

Getting Started with ShortStack

ShortStack Blog Posts

We Analyzed 6,868 eCommerce Content Marketing Articles: Here’s What We Learned from Sumo.com

 

 

 

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Are We Traditional Millionaires?

 

micromillionaire
‘7 streams of income of millionaires’ from Jim Wang’s ‘Wallet Hacks’
The 7 streams of income of millionaires

According to Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks, millionaires tend to have 7 streams of income. To quote him, “Have you ever heard the statistic that millionaires have an average of seven streams of income? I tried to find the survey, report, or some official repeating that statistic but was unsuccessful. That said, seven sounds good to me.” His list consists of the following sources of passive income:
• “Interest – from a variety of loans, either to individuals (peer to peer lending or private notes) or companies (bonds, notes)
• Dividends – from investments, partnerships
• Capital gains – from the sale of investments
• Royalties – from products you sell or license
• Rental income – from real estate
• Business income – which may or may not be passive but the idea is you build something that generates income without active work,
like a website or the sale of information products”

 

Our 7 Streams of Passive Income

Even though we are part of The Former Middle Class and were One Day From Homeless, we have 7 streams of passive income. Does this mean we are traditional millionaires? Let’s look at our sources of passive income:
• Social security retirement benefits
• credit card sign up promotional rewards
• credit card cash rewards
• Assistance with housing and medical expenses
• Medicare and Medicaid
• Food stamps
• OTC card for over-the-counter medically related expenses up to $100

 

Are We Traditional Millionaires?

We actually have 7 streams of passive income. By definition then, we could be millionaires. But in the real monetary world, we are far from traditional millionaires. In spite of that, let’s say there is another world and another currency. It is a frugal world where large amounts of money do not define us. Our frugal living world involves:
• living on a very tight budget
• buying what we must
• acquiring what we can without having to purchase it
• being creative in making or scavenging for what we need
• limiting frivolous purchases as much as possible
• experiencing joy and meaning in life through activities other than consumerism and spending money as an addiction

 

Another Kind of Millionaire
micro millionaires
The No Spend Chart from The No Spenders! Facebook Group

You could say that we live in a world that is a microcosm of the mainstream financial world. Our world offers much more but in comparison to the mainstream, we do qualify to be micro millionaires. The reason we do is because we have succeeded in surviving in the miniature financial version of the middle class world we used to inhabit.

Survival comes first and we have not only managed to survive. We have become members of the group, Savvy Saving Survivalism.
It allows for most of the things that our middle class necessities allowed for but in much simpler terms and smaller quantities. In order to fit in to this new life while being comfortable in this smaller financial box, we have had to downsize our world to a minimum of material wants. We focus realistically on our material needs and away from consumerism as a lifestyle.

 

Nourishing Minimalism

Nourishing Minimalism has helped a great deal. Because of these internal and external space shifts, we are finding that we now have room for many new interests and goals. Because we are not consumed by wanting lots of dollars to spend, the currency of our current lives is focusing on our dreams. We dream about the avenues we want to explore, the subjects we want to study and where serendipity might lead us going forward in our lives.

micro millionaire
Nourishing Minimalism Yearly Decluttering Challenge-Closed Facebook Group
What Will the Future Bring?

I don’t know how or where we will go. But one thing I know for sure is this. We have managed to have fruitful and peaceful lives in our frugal world as micro millionaires. We have challenges even fears, at times. But they are less than when we had lots more money. We have learned that it does not take lots of money to make dreams come true. So I am sure we will accomplish what we am meant to do. It does take some money. But more importantly, it takes faith, hope and being tenacious about our dreams.

Conclusion: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

Nowhere in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs does it indicate that one must be a traditional millionaire. It seems to me that being a micro millionaire fits very well with his philosophy. Maybe that is why we feel fulfilled without having lots of money but lots of what money can’t buy.

micro millionaire
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, Illustration by TimVandevall.com ©2013 Dutch Renaissance Press LLC
Afterword

For anyone who can’t resist having an encyclopedic amount of information about passive income ideas, either in number or details, there is a voluminous blog post from Bengu. The name is 45+ Proven Wealth-Building Passive Income Ideas. Be prepared for a very long read. It is also suggested to take on one idea at a time. Become proficient in it and then move on to another passive income stream suggestion. Otherwise, you may become totally overwhelmed. But you will never run out of options.

Sources and Resources

7 streams of income of millionaires, by Jim Wang
The Former Middle Class
One Day From Homeless, Our Story
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survivalism
Nourishing Minimalism
The No Spenders! Facebook Group
Healthy Frugal Food Resources and Recipes
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs vs. The Max Neef Model of Human Scale development Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
45+ Proven Wealth-Building Passive Income Ideas
 

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The Principles of Good Credit Card Hygiene

 

Introduction

Good Credit Card Hygiene is based upon several principles. They are the focus of and shall be reviewed in this blog post. Before any discussion can be held about extreme credit card benefits, one must have a firm grasp of the basic principles especially the components of your credit score.

Good credit card hygiene
Credit Score Chart Showing the Components of your Credit Score from TFD
The Components of Your Credit Score

To start with, it is very important to gain and maintain between a very good to excellent credit rating. Even if your credit is poor to start with, there are many resources, both nonprofit and professional that can help you to raise your credit or FICO® score. See the pie chart below for the breakdown of components.

Payment History

Payment history has top billing in the equation. It is crucial to always pay your monthly bills in full and on time. This is the first of the five components of your credit score and counts for 35% of the credit score algorhythm. You could say that it is the key player in good credit card hygiene.

Level of Debt

The next component that counts for 30% of your credit score is your level of debt. What this means is that the amount you owe or your monthly debt should not comprise more than 30% of the entire amount of credit that has been made available to you. If your total credit allocation is $100,000 then you should charge less than $30,000 each month. Actually, the most recent numbers I have heard, are that the credit reporting agencies are looking for a percentage of between 6-9%. This means that one’s monthly debt (credit card charges, loans, mortgage payments, etc.) should not exceed between $6,000 to $9,000.

Age of Credit

The first two factors make up 65% of your score so clearly they are the most important ones in obtaining and maintaining good credit card hygiene. Next is the age of your credit which makes up 15% of your score. Start applying for a credit card as early on as you can so that you will have a long credit history. In order to increase your chances of getting one, apply for a card for which you have been pre-approved. That way your credit score will not go down because of your application. Picking out a card that has not be pre approved will result in the reduction of your credit score whether you get the card or not. But it may not be a serious problem. You can still have good credit card hygiene and a decent FICO score.

Types of Debt and Credit Inquiries

Now you have 80% of your credit score accounted for. These are the three most important factors. But don’t ignore the others. It is good credit card hygiene and good for your score to have a mix of types of debt, credit card, loans, and/or mortgage. Here again, since this makes up only 10% of your score, it is not crucial. Likewise, credit inquiries also make up 10% of your score. So they are not crucial either.

good credit card hygiene
What Is A Good Credit Score? From Experian.com
More About Good Credit Card Hygiene

There are numerous types of credit score systems, each with its own algorhythm. Two of the most popular systems are shown above FICO and Vantage. FICO® was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. VantageScore is comprised of the input from these three reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. They do not have the same exact rating scales but the difference is not far off. So let’s continue with the characteristics of good credit card hygiene.

Good Credit Card Hygiene Do’s and Do Not’s

Do not apply for too many cards in a short period of time. You will know that you are applying for too many in too short a time if you start getting rejections and that is the reason the credit card company gives for it.

Be mindful to not do anything that will result in negative comments on your credit report. If you do, these will reflect poorly on your credit score. This is not considered good credit card hygiene.

Check your credit card activity often and your credit scores regularly. Now that most, if not all credit card companies have this as a free feature, it is very easy to do. If you find any errors on your credit card, contact the company immediately. If you suspect fraud, contact the police as well as the credit reporting agencies. This can be very serious. Do this in a timely matter.

It is recommended not to close credit card accounts especially old ones. But if you must, wait until you have zero debt to do so. You don’t want to negatively affect you debt to available credit ratio.

good credit card hygiene
15 Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts from Time.com
Conclusion

That’s about it for a review of what good credit card hygiene is. Once you have established a level of comfort and confidence with it, you can move on to the exciting part, Extreme Credit Card Benefits. That is the topic of the next blog post. I promise you will be WOWed by it.

Sources and Resources

What Is A Good Credit Score?

Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit

15 Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts

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101 Ways to Prepare Canned Chicken

 

Introduction to Canned Chicken

Canned Chicken is among the staples given out at food pantries. I never heard of it before we needed help having enough food to eat. In my opinion, there was only one thing that sounded less appetizing. That was canned tuna in water. In fact, that smelled like cat food and was nauseating. But given the options of the few available sources of protein we could eat, I had to chose one of them. So I chose canned chicken.

canned chicken
Canned chicken from Kirkland foods and RecipesDaily.net
How The Former Middle Class Eats

The decision to incorporate this newly discovered canned food into our meal planning did not come quickly or easily. In fact, it was a humbling even painful experience. The only thing I ate out of a can before now was by choice. I could always afford fresh, whole food. Chicken never came in a can. But something had changed. We had become part of The Former Middle Class.

canned chicken
Two published eBooks and a third on the way in the 3 eBook series about ‘The Former Middle Class’
Being A National Nutritional Statistic

Not only had we become part of The Former Middle Class, but we also had become part of the Poor Middle Class Nutrition Crisis. Feeding the poor and making sure that people who need assistance can get it is a national crisis. As rich as our country is, we have a serious problem with enough food for some while there is food waste by many. Good supermarket food is dumped because of imperfections in appearance or expiration dates. According to Sustainable Table | Food Waste, “In the US, we throw away 40 percent of our food supply every year.”

canned chicken
Food Waste According to “Sustainable Table | Food Waste” SustainableTable.org
How Did This Happen to Us?

I could become historical, philosophical and even sociological about why there is a National Nutritional Food Crisis and how we went from being middle class to part of this crisis. But that is besides the point of this post. Our story is available on another post. This is not a theoretical treatise. This is our lives. So here I am with a substantial collection of canned chicken in my cupboard. I say it is there for emergencies. But the truth of the matter is, it is there because I need to learn 101 recipes for canned chicken if I want to eat every day, stay healthy, not go hungry and survive.

canned chicken
Canned Chicken Recipe from LiveLikeYouAreRich.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources and Resources

289 Recipes for Canned Chicken from RecipesDaily.net
Kirkland Foods Canned Chicken Facts
Swanson Canned Chicken Recipes
The Poor Middle Class Crisis: Introduction
The Former Middle Class
One Day from Homeless
The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survival
A Savvy Saving Survivalist
Frugal Meal Planning
Meal Planning with Friends!
Sustainable Table | Food Waste
Canned Chicken Dishes on Pinterest

9 Delicious and Quick Canned Chicken Recipes
21 Delicious and Quick Canned Chicken Recipes
Canned Chicken Recipes from AllRecipes.com
32 Canned Chicken Recipes for Delicious Meals You’ll Use Time and Again from MorningChores.com
Start With Canned Chicken 10 Quick and Satisfying Meals from the spruce.com
Canned Chicken Recipes from Pinterest.com
Hormel Chunk Chicken
Canned Chicken Recipes from SparkPeople.com

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Mastering The System of Extreme Credit Card Benefits

 
Credit cards took on a whole new purpose after our finances took a nose dive in the not-so-great depression of 2008. Using credit cards became a necessity. Over the years, mastering the system has allowed us to develop extreme credit card benefits.

By 2009, we went from being Middle Class to becoming part of The Former Middle Class as well as One Day From Homeless. The Introduction to my first eBook, The Poor Middle Class Crisis, details what happened to us. As a result we had to find new ways to survive, new ways to make ends meet. We created a financial survival toolkit. One of our most essential money making tools became credit cards,the cash rewards and travel points cards we already had in addition to the numerous new ones we have gotten since then.

extreme credit card benefits
Two published Amazon eBooks and a third on the way in the 3 eBook series about ‘The Former Middle Class’
Our Financial History Over The Last Decade

Mastering the system of extreme credit card benefits can go beyond achieving necessary income for survival. Mastery can provide extreme credit card benefits. Over almost the last decade, we have worked on fine tuning our use of credit cards to achieve mastery of this invaluable financial survival tool. It has allowed us to rise from survival to live a frugal way of life. It even includes what might be viewed as a bit of frivolity.

Mastery starts out as a science. It develops into an art. This became the situation when the need to visit family in Colorado arose. The art of creating extreme travel rewards credit cards benefits came into play. Before that, our focus had been primarily on cash rewards credit card. Needing to find a way to afford our trip, we had to learn to master travel rewards cards.

Earning Credit Card Benefits

The first step in mastering credit cards is learning about them. So that is exactly what I did. I did research locating the best sites and blogs about mastering credit cards. Then I practiced and learned how to do it myself. As part of the process, I created a ‘cheat sheet’ that I could easily refer to. It is called, ‘Tips for Mastering Credit Cards’.

Tips for Mastering Credit Cards

Even though I continue to gather more helpful tips, I think that the ones on this list give me and anyone who reads them a pretty good start. What I would like to do for the rest of this post is go over them and explain any that are not completely transparent already. The details will cover several blog posts because there is so much information to share.

credit cards mastery tips
The List of Tips for Mastering Credit Cards

1. Pay credit card bills in full by the due date and preferably before the report date

The companies that you have credit card and other ‘debt’ with report the amount of that debt to the credit report agencies on a monthly basis. To have them report a $0 debt, pay your balance in full before the reporting date. Your credit card companies are supposed to provide you with that date if you request it. Find out what that date is and keep track of that date as well as the due date and the closing date.

2. Learn to build and maintain excellent credit

There are many resources for learning to build your credit. They are listed at the end of this post. Notice the colored sections in the image below. They indicated credit levels. Excellent credit is the bright green bar.

mastering credit cards
A visual of credit card history as reported monthly by my credit card company.
3. Get credit cards that offer promotional sign up bonuses

Many credit card offers include a promotion of either cash or travel points in addition to the regular cash back % and points that they acru. Be sure to get one with both. In addition, compare offers for the best deal. There are several variables. This includes the promotion, the amount that must be spent to get it, and the regular benefits. The best ‘investment’ I have ever made was a $200 bonus on a $500 required expense. That’s a 40% return. Where else can one get that kind of a deal? This is where mastering skills come into play and why you want to learn mastery.

Mastering credit cards
The Best Offer I Have Ever Gotten on a New Credit Card
4. Get credit cards with exceptional cash or travel points rewards

This card also is one of the best cash back credit card. Note the cashback percentages on this card: 3% restaurants, 3% gas, 1% on the rest. (You can see it on the image about the AARP card info above). Other cards with similar cash back bonuses may offer 3% on some items, 2% on some items and 1% on the rest. I suggest using such a card for the items that only get 1%. What is an alternative? This brings up the tool of credit card pairing.

5. What Is Credit Card Pairing?

There are two formulas offered on cash rewards cards. There are 3%/2%/1% cards. There are straight 1.5% cards. Both have their place. The 3/2/1 cards give 3% cash back for either gas, groceries or restaurants. Then they give 2% for the alternative of restaurants, groceries or food. For example, if gas is the priority, you can use a card that offers 3% for gas and 2% for groceries, like the BankAmericard and the Amex Everyday Blue Cash Rewards cards. If you like to eat out, you can use the AARP card that offers 3% for restaurants as shown in the image below.

AARP credit card percentages

Therefore, if you pair cards, you can get 3% or at least 2% for groceries, restaurants and gas. You can avoids using the 1% feature altogether. That is because cards like the Capital One Quicksilver Card pays 1.5% across the board for other expenses. Since pairing requires carrying more than one card at a time, you will needs a tool to remember which card pays what percent of cash back.

6. Remembering What Cards to Pair

I had thought of this tool but did not start using it until I read about it in a blog post by Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks. He actually mentioned writing the cash reward percentages directly on the credit cards in something like waterproof magic markers. It works great.

As I think of them, I will write about more extreme cash rewards benefits. Be on the lookout for future posts on this topic. There is also an (upcoming) Amazon eBook entitled, Mastering the System of Extreme Credit card benefits. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, two other Amazon eBooks on this topic are currently available. They are:

The Poor Middle Class Crisis and Using Credit Cards for Survival & Profit.

The third will be available on Amazon shortly:
Mastering the System of Extreme Credit Card Benefits

Extreme Credit Card Benefits
Mastering the System of Extreme Credit Card Benefits eBook Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

The responsible and potentially profitable use of credit cards requires one fundamental rule. All credit card statements must be paid in full and on time. There are no shortcuts, no magic tricks or hidden agendas. All of the suggestions, tips and tools mentioned in these posts are totally above board and follow standard credit card use guidelines even when creative techniques or combinations are applied. Study these tools, practice these tips, learn these applications so that you can have the opportunity to experience extreme credit card benefits, too.
 

Sources and Resources

Wallet Hacks
NerdWallet
CreditCards.com
Next Advisor
Wise Bread
The Frugal CrediTnista
The Penny Hoarder
Credit Karma
Credit Sesame
 

Helpful Facebook Pages and Groups

Survival Comes First
A Savvy Saving Survivalist
Savvy Saving Survivalism
Credit Card Swag
The Credit Card Maven
The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook
Using Credit Cards for Survival & Profit
Mastering The System of Extreme Credit Card Benefits

 
Please note that I have not received any compensation for mentioning or promoting specific credit cards.

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Fast Forward to 11.14.17: Today’s Hottest News

 
Dear Scott,

Thought you’d get a kick out of this photo from 1954 taken in front of the fireplace in Boston at Grandma and Grandpa Gilbert’s house. I think you were about a year old.

I always have loved this photo of us. I thought you would enjoy seeing it again for your birthday. I think the girls would love seeing it too.

I still think you get the prize for the curliest hair. I seem to remember mom saving a few cuttings from your first haircut. I think she even sent a lock or two to Boston. It was a momentous occasion.

ARS-1954-Boston

And then, so is today! HAVE A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
With love from Phil and Ali

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Using Cash Reward Credit Cards for Survival & Profit

 

Introduction

I’ve talked a lot about using cash reward credit cards, lately. It actually feels like I am living in a credit card world. In fact, this for two reasons. One is because I have wanted to learn everything I could about cash reward credit cards, credit scores and credit reports, too. The other reason, probably the most important one, is that cash reward credit cards have become one of my most essential survival tools.

cash reward credit cards
Alison D. Gilbert, The Credit Card Maven
The Credit Card Maven

As a result of my intense interest and need to know everything I can about credit cards, I’ve even created a Facebook page called The Credit Card Maven. This is where I post information as I have researched and sourced it. I have found a number of websites, blog posts, Facebook pages (listed here) and groups that are extremely helpful resources in my quest for knowledge as The Credit Card Maven in my credit card world. Included are:
Credit Card Mastery
Credit Karma
CreditCards.com
NerdWallet
Wallet Hacks
Wise Bread
 

cash reward credit cards
Viper Tool Storage Box Survival Toolkit as part of My Credit Card World
Credit Cards as a Survival Tool

As I mentioned at the start of this post, credit cards have become a survival tool in my credit cards world. It was not by design that this came to be.

It was more a matter of circumstances. Once I got a feel for how useful and profitable using credit cards could be, my desire to use them and master it increased. Let me give you an example.

I have had cash reward credit cards for a number of years. I can accumulate up to about $40. in a two month period from one of them. That was a good beginning. Then I decided to get a travel rewards card in anticipation of someday going to visit my family in Colorado. I used it and kept on accumulating points.

Credit Card Currency

When I went to check on the conversion to paying for an airplane ticket, the results were not impressive. I had to find something better. This time by design, I set out to find the best deal I could for air travel benefits using a credit card. I found one that I ultimately used for my flight. It rewarded me with 30,000 points and a $100. discount on my airplane ticket. This was such a great deal that I have enough points to return to Colorado for free, right now.

cash reward credit cards
Credit cards currency from 123RF.com
Now that’s what I call using credit cards as currency. If I could do that with a travel rewards credit card, I wondered what other benefits and rewards I could manifest in my credit cards world. I familiarized myself with a few other travel rewards cards as part of getting a second ticket for my husband and having funds for other things related to our vacation. All in all, my activities resulted in a savings of between $400 and $500 for our trip.

 

 

Credit Card Investing

Let me present one more situation where the skilled use of a credit card became very profitable. I found an offer for a cash rewards credit card that would refund $100 on spending $500 within 90 days of acquiring the card. That would be a 20% profit. I had never accomplished that in the stock market. It seemed like a very good investment to me. I wasn’t sure if I would be granted another card as I had accumulated quite a few by this point. But it came through. I fulfilled the requirements. Now I am just waiting for my investment to pay off.

cash reward credit cards
Credit Card Monthly Rotation represented by a photo from blog.taxact.com
Credit Card Monthly Rotation

I made another discovery. It may seem a bit confusing. In fact, I am kind of surprised that I am even able to do this. I am calling it credit card monthly rotation. It is based upon a combination of the nature of credit cards themselves and good credit card hygiene.

Each credit card has a closing date and a payment due date. Since I have several cash reward credit cards and they have different closing and payment dates, I can stagger them and not have to pay them at the same time. If I make my purchases and schedule my payments using my monthly rotation system, I have a revolving credit situation. In other words, if my budget in a particular month needs to be exceeded, I can use a card that has a closing date that will allow payment the following month. I just have to make sure the funds will be available then. I also have to have a very good bookkeeping system to keep track of every detail of every card.
 

cash reward credit cards
Brian Cain’s Credit Card Mastery Course
Credit Card Mastery

What is credit card mastery? Have I achieved it? It turns out that this term exists. I did not invent it as I thought I had. There is actually a course called Credit Card Mastery that costs $97. Much of it seems similar to my own system. Although I have not taken that course, it looks very comprehensive. This is an introduction to the course and an explanation of it by founder, Brian Cain.

Based upon my understanding and goals to achieve Credit Card Mastery, I believe that I am on my way but I have not achieved mastery yet. When will I achieve it? There are several requirements that I have established for myself:
• My credit scores average will be over 800 again. It is only about 10-20 points from that now.
• My monthly rotation system will have proven itself to work and I will have a sense of mastery in my credit card world
• My Credit Card Management Chart will be complete and committed to memory. As a result, I will have a firm grasp on all my cards and a natural flow for their use in rotation as needed.

Conclusion

To many people, understanding credit scores and reading credit reports are overwhelming and confusing. There is no need to not have transparency and clarity about your credit cards world. Credit cards are an important tool and can even be crucial for personal survival and business development. Study the resources provided. Take the Credit Card Mastery Course if you can. Having one’s finances in order and being able to live solvently in a credit card world are not luxuries. They are necessities and everyone deserves to have them.

cash reward credit cards
The Cool Piggy Bank property of The WalletHacks.com and the cover image of their facebook page
Sources & Resources

CreditCardMastery.com, a course developed by Brian Cain
CreditCards.com, find a credit card that’s right for you
CreditKarma.com, free credit scores and more
NerdWallet.com, Best Credit Cards of 2017
NextAdvisor.com, all about finances
WalletHacks.com, founded by Jim Wang
WiseBread.com, great blog post advice about credit cards and everyday frugal living

FICO SCORE AND CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES
Equifax
Experian
Transunion
Identity Guard

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Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit

 

financial survival tools
My two published eBook on Amazon.com

My second eBook, USING CREDIT CARDS for Survival & Profit is now available on Amazon along with my first, The Poor Middle Class Crisis. The second eBook temporarily is available in the older version entitled, Mastering Credit Cards for Survival & Profit.

Introduction

I am The Credit Card Maven. I have learned ways to use credit cards for survival and profit. This post is designed to share these techniques with my friends and followers.

I started using charge cards many years ago. I never abused them. The bills were always paid on time. But they were not credit cards. They were charge cards for department stores. At one point, I decided to eliminate most of them.
 

credit card maven

The Credit Score Scale from Shutter Stock®
Credit Cards Replace Charge Cards

My FICO score has always been in the excellent range. In spite of that, I had no idea how FICO scores worked. It was just one of those mysteries of life. I continued to carry a limited number of cards as well as having a credit score of over 800. When our financial situation changed in 2008, credit cards took on a totally new meaning for us.

Credit Cards Become Currency

Due to circumstances which I detail in my first eBook, The Poor Middle Class Crisis Introduction, our financial profile changed drastically. Our equity was gone as well as our income. We no longer had savings. Suddenly credit cards became a way to earn money and derive other benefits from them, as well.

The biggest incentive to use credit cards as currency was our need to take a trip to Colorado to visit our families. Because of that, I signed up for a total of four travel rewards cards. One of them was the airline travel rewards card. I signed up during a promotion. If I spent $1,000 in three months using this card, I would get 30,000 bonus points and $100. off the airfare. I have earned enough points for a free trip to Colorado and back, again. Hopefully it won’t take six years to see our families again.

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The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card Offer from Creditcards.offers.com
Mastering Credit Card Use

As you can imagine, using so many cards can become very confusing. I am still perfecting my system. But I can tell you what I have learned so far. We are fortunate enough to have excellent credit. So we were easily able to secure all the cards we wanted. If you don’t have great credit, do everything you can to improve it. There is a link to an article from NextAdvisor.com in the Sources and Resources section about paying down if not getting out of debt. Do read it.

Treasure An Excellent FICO Score

For the person with excellent credit, you want to keep it. Great credit is precious. Here are some golden rules on how to train yourself to use your credit cards wisely.
• Sign up for cards that best meet you needs and spending habits. There are websites that show you which to use.
• Always pay bills in full and on time.
• Make a chart of closing and payment due dates for all your cards.
• Keep an accounting of how much you spend each month so that you do not exceed your budget.
• Use no more than 30% of the credit limit you have on each card.
• It is better to charge larger amounts on a few cards than to charge small amounts on many cards.
• For cash rewards cards, write on the card itself the cash back % you get on each category of purchases.
• Do not close old credit card accounts. It is best to have as long a credit history as possible.
• Avoid fee based cards unless the benefits greatly outweigh the out-of-pocket expense.

Credit Card Myths and Tips
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‘Treat Your Cards Like Your Best Friends’. Man Holding A Credit Card from 123RF.com

Myths about credit cards abound. So here are some tips to dispel them.
• A credit score will not necessarily be lowered by having numerous cards. But don’t sign up for too many too close together. That can appear to the credit card score companies like you are in crisis.
• Almost every credit card company has a ‘Check Your FICO score’ feature. You can use it without negatively impacting your score. This is a ‘soft’ check.
• A ‘hard’ check can negatively impact your score. That could be checking by a loan company, a future employer,etc.

 

Conclusion

There is so much more that can and will be said about credit cards, their use and mastery in future posts. Credit cards can be like a loaded gun. They can be dangerous, even deadly if you do not know how to use it. On the other hand, they can be a lifesaver when properly trained.

Sources and Resources

0% Interest Card Offerings Now, from NextAdvisor

Getting the Right Card for Your Balance Transfer
Credit Cards Dos and Don’ts

The Ten Best Cash Rewards Cards from CreditKarma.com

How To Pick The Best Credit Card for You from NerdWallet.com

Find The Best Credit Card Offers for You

5 Money Problems You Can Solve With A Good Attitude

There are so many invaluable posts on the WalletHacks.com site, I am linking to their archive

Using Credit Cards from The Alison D. Gilbert Blog

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Survivalism, Frugality and Frivolity

 

Introduction

What differentiates survivalism from frugality? What distinguishes frugality from frivolity? When is it appropriate or necessary to practice which? Is my lifestyle necessarily by choice, survivalism, frugality or frivolity? These questions stuck in my mind after reading a comment made by a member of one of my Facebook groups.

survivalism, frugality, frivolity
Senior Suburban Survivalism, a Facebook Group

She wrote, “This is a good idea for a group. But, to me, flying anywhere is not what a person on a budget will consider as being frugal.” This was her response to my mention, in a page post, that I had taken a trip to Colorado recently. The trip was to visit family we hadn’t seen in six years. This included three great nephews and a great niece we had never met. I did not consider this frivolous. We needed to visit our family. In fact, the way we managed our trip was by a savvy use of travel rewards credit cards.

survivalism, frugality, frivolity
The Best Travel Credit Card Suggestions from CreditCards.com

She continued, “To me, BEING FRUGAL means saving your money for unforeseen emergency circumstances. To me, it means getting the most from every dollar you spend and not wasting even one penny. To me, SURVIVALISM means not spending money needlessly for things you can live without so you will have money when you really need it.

She concluded, “So, for me, it would be good if you taught me how to SAVE MY MONEY and how to stop spending it on every little thing that catches my eye which ultimately becomes clutter which ultimately hampers my enjoyment of life. You know … kinda, sorta like … learning how to minimize my carbon footprint, as they say, so I can enjoy the pleasures of not being tied down to so much stuff. What do you think?”

Survivalism

A state of survivalism can result from a crisis, disaster or state of emergency. In other words, survivalism is a situation where one has to learn to make due in an unfriendly environment including minimized access to the modern conveniences.

survivalism, frugality, frivolity
Homelessness is a state of survivalism | TEDxSyracuseUniversity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps, in retrospect, the name I gave my group, Senior Suburban Survivalism, favored alliteration more than an accurate definition of survivalism. In any case, a senior who lives in suburbia faces a survivalism type challenge. It has been a continual test to live frugally. We do have an occasional slip into frivolity.

survival, frugality, frivolity
Your Playbook For Tough Times Vol. 2: Needs and Wants Edition by Donna Freedman © 2017
Frugality

Six Lessons on Surviving and Thriving in Rough Times is by author Donna Freedman. Lesson 2 is “Stop seeing frugality as a punishment”.

“Freedman emphasizes that frugality is not punishment, but rather, a power move. Controlling your spending urges, scaling back a bit on entertainment and dining out, and other frugal strategies will ultimately help you reach your financial goals. So while the road to reaching those goals may seem long, you shouldn’t view your careful money habits as restrictive and misery-inducing, especially if they lead you to paying off your mortgage and retiring early. Because isn’t that the whole point?”

Clearly, there is a substantial difference between survivalism and frugality. Survivalism is having to make due without, not by choice. Frugality is a choice to limit or postpone immediate gratification as well as self-indulgence towards a greater, usually longer term goal.

survival-frugality-frivolity
Your Playbook for Tough Times by Donna Freedman © 2016
Frivolity

In my view:
• the difference between frugality and frivolity is a choice. For example, I am wearing an old dress to the party rather than buying a new dress.
On the other hand:
• the difference between survivalism and frugality is not a choice. As an example, I am homeless with no roof over my head or I have a place to live with a roof over my head. To her next comment. “So, for me, it would be good if you taught me how to SAVE MY MONEY and how to stop spending it on every little thing that catches my eye which ultimately becomes clutter which ultimately hampers my enjoyment of life.”I answered, I would like to quote from Lesson 2 in Donna Freedman’s second book, “Frugality is not a punishment”. In terms of compulsive spending, it might be best to take a deep breathe then ask ourselves:
• ‘Do I need this or just want it’?
• Will this bring me immediate pleasure but then gather dust and become clutter later on?’
The answers will determine if this is frugality or frivolity.

 

Conclusion

I am not totally opposed to frivolity. in fact, I think part of the joy in life is a little treat once in awhile. But here are the parameters:
• A treat should not cause harm to the environment by increasing my carbon footprint
• Something special should not unbalance my budget
• I still need to pay my bills in full as well as on time
Therefore, I hope I have clarified my position and brought more transparency to these lifestyle differences.

Sources and Resources

Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul by Donna Freedman © 2016

Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2:: Needs And Wants Edition (Volume 2) by Donna Freedman © 2017

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