Credit Card Andy

Teaching the Basics of Personal Finance

A Paradigm Shift - Plan and Schedule Automatic Transfers to Manage Your Money Efficiently

Money Robot

This is a necessary follow-up to Spend 1 Hour Budgeting Your Life and Never Think About Your Money the Same Way Again.

If you haven’t already, go back and read that post. It’ll get you started you on the path of automating your finances and a better life.

You’ve done the basic budgeting like I suggested? Great! You should have your monthly expenses, your long-term savings contributions, and your short-term savings.

Here’s what you do with those numbers.

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Spend 1 Hour Budgeting Your Life And Never Think About Your Money The Same Way Again

Excited Dog

Last week, I was really looking forward to my Saturday afternoon. Why? Because I was about to make my life 100x easier and less stressful by automating my finances.

I read about it in a book by one of my favorite personal finance bloggers, Ramit Sethi called I Will Teach You to be Rich.

He had a suggestion in there that you should automate your finances, and this got me super excited. It really changed the way I thought about my income and expenses. They goal is to get to an amount that you can spend GUILT-FREE. Money you can freely spend because you have taken care of all your monthly expenses as well as your long-term and short-term savings goals.

Here’s my promise. If you spend one hour making a budget, you will have a much more commanding grasp of your money. You will have a sense of what you are spending on monthly expenses, how much you’re saving, and what you’re left with to spend on fun things.

This isn’t some budget where you have to revisit it constantly and categorize your purchases. I hate those. This is pretty much a one-time deal. You might adjust it here and there if you come across new expenses or get a raise. Otherwise, you can do this pretty much just one time and got a ton out of it. Minimal effort, huge gains.

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Too Much Credit - Knowing When You've Bit Off More Than You Can Chew

Burning Money

I received an email from a friend the other day about his credit limit that made me very happy. Here’s what he wrote (typos and all):

So I have 3 credit cards (4 depending if my debit card counts because sometimes i get charged credit when the place doesn’t have debit option).

I’m don’t have the self-control I’d thought I’d have, at least when I’m drunk, and I want to finish off paying the balance off once of the cards and then cancel it.

How would this affect my score? To be frank, the limit on that thing is 6K, and the other two are 2K and 5200. I want to cancel the 6K one because it’s dangerous for me to be having that.

Separately, can you ask to have your credit limit reduced? Id like to knock down the 5200 to 3k.

Any insight would be appreciated.
Many of my posts promote credit card usage and credit line increases, BUT it only works if you use it responsibly. That means if you tend to overspend, you should take steps to fix these habits before playing with credit. As my friend mentioned above, it is dangerous to hold credit if it gives you a false sense of wealth. You are borrowing when you are using credit. Any potential rewards you may get from credit cards vanish immediately once you start getting into debt.

I’m happy that my friend can see past the credit card rewards and admit he has a hard time controlling his credit card usage. Frankly, this is a problem that plagues young people. It’s easy to go out and have fun, and then deal with the aftermath the next day.

Here are some of my thoughts.

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Gangnam Style Personal Finance (Guest Blog Post)

Hey everybody, check out a guest blog post I did for Budgets Are Sexy!

I thought I’d leverage my Korean heritage and put my own personal finance spin on the whole Gangnam Style craze.

I’m particularly proud of the intro. Here’s a teaser:

This dance is the hottest thing since Samsung smartphones. In the past month, it’s been on Facebook walls across the internet, all over the WSJ, and lauded by the auto-tuned voice of this generation – T-Pain. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s time you caught up with the rest of the world and take a peek.

Why am I talking about a Korean music video on a personal finance blog? What in the world does this have to do with money?

Ah-hah! I set you up there. It has have everything to do with money!

Anyway, go check it out at The author of the blog, J. Money, is a friend/mentor of mine who helped give me some guidance on the direction of this blog. His personality-filled posts definitely influenced this blog.

Let me know what you think of the post!

Gangnam Oh Yeah

The Easiest, Cheapest, & Most Efficient Way to Split Expenses Between Roommates

Sharing the RentIt’s time to get high tech with your bill sharing. If you’ve ever split the rent, utilities, or a meal with friends, you know what a pain it can be to pay/receive your fair share. The old systems of _“Do you have change for a 20?” and “I’ll pay you back later” _are flawed. People forget who owes what and feelings get hurt.

No more I say! We have the technology. Let’s use it to improve our living situations.

Here’s what I looked for:

  1. A free and fast way to track shared expenses
  2. A free and fast way to move money between accounts at different banks
    If you are living in a shared apartment or just go out with the same group of friends all the time, take a read. The following solution will save you the awkwardness and hassle of keeping things fair financially.

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How Does Your Credit Score Stack Up Against Mine?

I pulled my official FICO credit score the other day while I was apartment hunting. Here it is:

FICO Score

Not Bad Meme

751 out of a maximum of 850. Obama agrees, not bad. This is after a solid 2 years of serious and responsible credit card usage.

Let’s put this into perspective. I’m beating the national average of 690 and the NY state average of 702. I’m also in the _upper 40% _of the nation in creditworthiness. I’ve only been at this for a couple years! But I started relatively early and I did it right.

Distribution of Credit Scores Source

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What I Wish I Could Have Told Myself Before Looking For My First Apartment

Last week, I went to NYC to find my first apartment. Boy was it draining. The all-day excursions had me on every type of public transportation to get to apartment showings and to cafes for in-between Craigslist searches. On top of that, there were the miles and miles of walking with iPhone in hand.

The mission: to find a NYC 2BR apartment for under $3,000 rent to share between 3 people in 5 days. It’s one of those classic recent graduate stories of trying to cram one too many people in a tiny, cheap room.

I know apartment hunting doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with personal finance. File this under the “How come no one taught me about any of this” category. Much like how no one teaches you how to manage money, no one ever educates you about looking for an apartment. Plus, your rent makes up a large chunk of your monthly expenses so it has everything to do with personal finance.

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The 3 Best Credit Cards in the World

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, I thought it’d be cool to show you guys what the _3 most prestigious credit cards in the world _look like. If Usain Bolt inspires you to go on a run, then maybe these cards will inspire you to build strong credit. Well technically you also need a ton of money, but one can dream.

Anyway, on to the medal ceremony

Bronze - American Express Centurion

The infamous “Black Card” is probably the most well-known high-end card. It actually started as a rumor in the ‘80s, but AMEX capitalized on the buzz and made it a reality in 1999.

It’s black and made of titanium. To get invited, you have to spend at least $250,000 annually on one of American Express’s cards. There’s an initiation fee of $5,000 and an annual fee of $2,500. I guess if you’re spending over $250K a year a few thousand dollars don’t really matter. Estimates show that there may be over 100,000 Centurion card holders.

Features are pretty similar to that of the American Express Platinum. You get all of the Platinum features (think personal concierge service, upgrades on travel, airport lounges) but much better upgrades on the car rentals, flights, and hotels. You get a little more insurance on coverage and the occasional gift (like concert tickets or gift card). Is it worth the $5K initiation fee and $2.5K annual fee? Probably not, considering the AMEX Platinum’s annual fee is only $450 in comparison.

Consensus among longtime Centurion card holders is that AMEX has slowly been downgrading and eliminating the perks. You’re paying for the “ooh”s and “ahh”s you get when you flash the recognizable Black.

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Use Your Credit Card Like a Boss


Here are five ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your credit card.

1. Always pay your bill in full

I can’t stress this enough. Do not fall into the death trap of just paying the minimum balance. If you find yourself not being able to pay the entire bill in full, STOP using your credit card. Don’t think about using it until you’ve paid the entire bill. If this happens more than once, a rewards credit card is not for you. You will pay more in interest than you make from the rewards.

2. Request a credit line increase every 6 months

This is something new credit card users are often unaware of. You know that limit the credit card company put on your card? You can (and should) ask them to increase it about every 6 months.

Back in the day, banks used to give out credit line increases left and right. These days, with all the hoopla about credit cards they no longer preemptively offer them to you. That’s no excuse for you, the informed credit card user, to miss out. Most credit card companies let you do this online, or you can just give them a quick call. If you’ve been using your card regularly and responsibly, they are likely to automatically increase your limit. If you’re a nerd like me, you can mark the 6 months on your calendar every time you request an increase so you know when to request again.

Why? Two reasons. Ironically, it’s hard to get a credit line increase when you actually need it. The credit card company won’t all of a sudden triple your limit when you need it. What you can do is regularly request increases over a few years while building up your track record of making payments on time. The second reason actually ties into my next point…

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