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Getting Rid Of Those Pesky Credit Cards Is Harder Than You Think

  

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These days just about everyone has some kind of credit card debt. Whether we’ve hit some bad luck and needed the help or we’re just plain lazy and bad with money, we all know what debt looks like. In fact, a recent report estimated that the average American family has around $8,000 in credit card debt alone. That’s well over a trillion total!

Kind of makes you want to throw your credit card in the ocean, doesn’t it? Well, as much as we’d all like to get rid of our credit cards, it’s not as easy as you think. I know this because I actually tried it! And while I’m happy to be rid of my debt and won’t likely build anymore, it was still a lot harder than you’d think. Here’s everything I learned from the experience.

The Hassle

First and foremost, the most important thing I learned is that getting rid of your credit card (or credit cards) is very, very hard. Mostly because so many things these days require that you have one! Booking hotels and flights, setting up accounts online, putting down a deposit or a “soft hold,” etc, etc. Sure, debit cards work sometimes, but not all the time. So, if you’re thinking about pulling this off yourself, just be prepared to put in the work.

The next major lesson I learned that should be blatantly obvious to all of us, is that if you can’t pay for something with cash, you can’t afford it! Now, I’m not saying you should only keep your money in cash form and just constantly walk around with thousands of dollars in your pockets. That, of course, would be very stupid.

Basically, it means, if you can’t pay for something using the real money you have in your bank account (check, debit card, cash), then you really shouldn’t be buying it all. So many of us convince ourselves that we can put a charge on our card and we’ll definitely pay off the card at the end of the month. No problem. But then, come the end of the month, all of a sudden we don’t have the money to pay off the credit card and now we’ve got a bunch of fun, new debt! So if you’re really looking to get rid of some debt, stick to your checking account.

At this point, many you reading this might be thinking, “Yeah, I hear ya. Debt is scary and easy to rack up. But I just love my rewards!” And, trust me, I hear you. The benefits that come from credit card purchases can be great! Emphasis on can. More often than not, our credit cards are already so full that we’re facing pretty steep interest charges. So if you’re getting a sweet $35 reward on a given purchase, but you’re paying $85 a month in interest charges, you’re not exactly saving yourself any money, are you?! (Hint: No. You’re not.)

Then there are the ever-dangerous store cards. You know, those credit cards you can start that are specifically for H&M or Victoria’s Secret or Old Navy? I’m not going to beat around the bush here, folks: if you open one of these cards you are terrible with money. The interest rates on these cards are typically higher than any other credit card and the rewards are rarely worth it. So if you’re still struggling with the idea of ditching your proper credit cards, at least do me the favor of getting rid of these foolish cards.

And now it’s time for one of the greatest benefits I found when I got rid of my credit cards: I actually started being as frugal as I always wanted to be! When you can put something on your credit card that you promise yourself you’ll pay off later, what’s another couple hundred bucks?! Just go for it – buy both of those sweaters you love!

And therein lies the basic problems with credit cards. It so rarely even feels like real money. So when you get rid of them and start actually using real money, it turns out you’re much smarter about how you spend it and only spend exactly what you need! And when it’s all said and done, I promise you, the things you wanted to buy, and would have bought if you had a credit card, will not be missed whatsoever. In fact, you’ll probably be happy you didn’t bother.


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Featured

Mexico Travel Deals: Win 20 Years’ Worth of Free Caribbean Luxury Vacations

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One of the most affected industries due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is tourism. To offset the heavy financial loss, a few places like Mexico and those in the Caribbean recently reopened their borders to tourists.

Mexico, along with other places in the Caribbean, is a favorite pre-COVID-19 vacation destination for a number of tourists all around the world. So, to enliven the tourism industry once again, they created the trending hashtag, #Come2MexicanCaribbean (and its Spanish equivalent, #VenAlCaribeMexicanoX2) to promote post-COVID-19 tourism in these areas.

To further strengthen this campaign, would-be tourists are encouraged to remember their memorable visits of the Mexican Caribbean region and the different things they might like to do there in the future.

The said contest awards a lucky tourist with a 20 years’ worth of yearly vacation to the Mexican Caribbean area combined with a 5-night, all-inclusive stay in any of the 4- or 5-star coastal resorts there.

Contest Sponsors

The competition is sponsored by several tourist hotspots including those of Cancun, Isla Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum. It is also backed by top hospitality developer Atelier Group and the Quintana Roo Tourism Board.

How to Join the Competition

If you are interested in the said contest, here are several guidelines for you to follow:

  •  Contestants must be 18 years old;
  • You should be a resident of any of the following countries:
  1. US,
  2. Canada,
  3. Mexico,
  4. Guatemala,
  5. Colombia,
  6. Peru,
  7. Chile,
  8. Brazil, and
  9. Argentina;
  • You must have either a TikTok or Instagram account (or both);
  • Post a video or a photo that features your favorite Mexican Caribbean beach vacation/s;
  •  Include the specific tags, #Come2MexicanCaribbean and @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Follow the said initiative’s TikTok or Instagram profiles, @Come2MexicanCaribbean;
  • Tag their accounts on either of the platforms mentioned; and
  • The post that garners the most likes, plays, comments, and shares gets to be the winner of the competition.

The contest begins on 9 November and ends on 27 November 2020. Entrants should be able to post their entries within the given period.

You can also read the full terms and conditions of the said competition here. You may also visit en.come2mexicancaribbean.com for more information regarding the contest.

Summary

Mexico’s tourism industry comprises 8.5% of the nation’s overall GDP. Last year, an approximate of 24 million tourists visited the North American nation. Despite reopening its borders to visitors in July, the country’s roster of resorts and hotels still find it difficult to alleviate the effects of the lengthy lockdown imposed by the government earlier this year. The rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission is yet to slow down and the government aims to find more effective ways to flatten the curve.

The #Come2MexicanCaribbean aims to remind travellers of the country’s long-held tourist industry and the enticing spots that used to be go-to vacation areas in the region. It is their hope that by doing this initiative, the height of tourism will come alive again once everything goes back to normal.

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Destinations

Where Can Americans Vacation Internationally Right Now?

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Following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., one of the top trending questions among Americans today is, “Where can Americans internationally travel to now?” At the moment, only a few countries and territories are open to travelers originating from the United States.

Fortunately, several places in Mexico and the Caribbean are opening their borders to U.S. tourists. As a result, new reports mention a surge in flight bookings to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Mexico

The border between Mexico and the United States remains closed to non-essential travel until at least the end of August. Nonetheless, U.S. tourists are allowed to fly to some of the country’s reopened locations including:

  • Cancun
  • Cozumel
  • Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos)
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Riviera Maya (includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum)
  • Riviera Nayarit (includes Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta)

For these places, masks and temperature checks are mandatory upon arrival at the airport. Tourists are also required to fill out a risk factor questionnaire both during arrival and departure. A COVID-19 test is not needed, however.

Caribbean and its Nearby Islands

Aruba

U.S. tourists entering Aruba are required to take a PCR test. Those coming from certain states with COVID-19 cases on the rise, a PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded together with the filled out embarkation/disembarkation forms. A PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded with the same embarkation/disembarkation forms for tourists originating from all other states. However, for this second group, an option to be tested at the airport is a given option, which requires a separate payment of $75.

Also, tourists must pay for the compulsory Aruba Visitors Insurance with premiums varying depending on age. Visitors between the ages of 15 to 75 must pay $15, allowing them to remain in Aruba for seven days. The said insurance policy can solely be purchased online and must be accomplished 72 hours before a flight.

Barbados

Besides mandatory face masks, health checks, and border interviews, visitors must take a PCR test 72 hours before a flight. The said test results must be submitted electronically, and a copy of the same test must be brought during embarkation.

Bermuda

COVID-19 testing is required. Travelers must have a negative testing result that should be taken no longer than seven days before the flight. Second testing is done upon arrival, and a quarantine period of typically 24 hours follows while waiting for the results. Besides that, tourists must accomplish a Bermuda Travel Authorization plus the payment of $75, covering COVID-19 tests done while staying in Bermuda. Testing is done after 4, 8, and 14 days. Masks are mandatory in public places as well.

Other Places

Aside from the areas mentioned earlier, Americans are also allowed to travel to several other locations. Note that specific requirements must be accomplished, as well, prior to ticket reservation.

  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)
  • Croatia
  • Malta
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)

Summary

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases must be noted when planning a trip abroad. American need to check developing updates regularly to know the current regulations set in place by the different areas they plan to visit before buying a ticket and embarking on a trip abroad.

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Destinations

Which Countries Suffered the Biggest Losses in Tourism Revenue Due to COVID-19?

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The Official Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Official ESTA), the Visa Waiver processing agency, releases a report enumerating the countries that suffered the most massive losses due to the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Forrester, the Official ESTA Director of International Development, asserts, “As travel came to a standstill for many months, countries around the world that rely on tourism for their economy and jobs are now seeing significant drops in revenue and GDP.” She adds that when we take “…into account how travel and tourism contribute $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP alone, it is devastating to see a total loss of $195 billion worldwide in the first four months of 2020 alone.”

Below are the top nations that took the most massive tourism revenue blows due to the said crisis.

United States

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, amounting to 6,135,598 as of writing. The country tops the list with $30,709 million losses for tourism revenue alone during the first four months of the year. On March, 31 US states were placed on lockdown with the State Department issuing a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ restriction that prohibits international travel while urging residents traveling abroad to return immediately.

Spain

It reported a massive tourism revenue loss of $9,741 million in June due to the said pandemic. Almost as soon as COVID-19 transmission slowed down and foreign travelers were allowed to re-enter the country, the United Kingdom placed a quarantine restriction on British residents originating from Spain. This further deterred British citizens from traveling to Spain in the hopes of enjoying the summer.

France

Another country that suffered significant tourism losses is France. The country reported an $8,767 million tourism loss, making it the second European nation to suffer such great damage.

Thailand

The country was able to halt COVID-19 transmission, reporting no new cases during the last 87 days. Nonetheless, the government announced its intention to perpetuate its closed borders until 2021. During the first four months of 2020, the nation lost $7,822 million tourism earnings due to the crisis.

Germany

Germany closed its borders in March, resulting in a tourism revenue loss of $7,225 million. The country recently reopened its doors to tourists originating from the European Union, Iceland, Britain, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Norway.

Italy

The country became the center of the pandemic back in March. Because of this, fluid movement across the nation was halted during this year’s first four months, which resulted in a tourism income loss of $6,187 million.

United Kingdom

One of the few nations that did not immediately impose a travel ban against travelers coming from abroad, the country’s COVID-19 cases quickly escalated. Thus, numerous countries placed restrictions on people originating from the country and on those planning there. As a result, the UK reported a $5,816 million loss in tourism revenue.

Australia

Due to the massive wildfire that occurred during the start of 2020 and the rise of the on-going pandemic, the country’s tourism industry was heavily affected as well. The Land Down Under reported a loss of $5,674 million.

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