Changing Your Financial Habits Reels in Big Rewards


Saving big and living large doesn’t always mean sacrificing your lifestyle. Check out these small financial changes that can help you put more money in your pocket.

Paying Bills on Time

Reward: Saving $30+ in Late Fees, Better Credit

Paying your bills a little late may not seem like a huge deal, but not only can it hurt your credit, it can cost you. Late fees can run you up to $30 each late payment, which can add up to hundreds of dollars over time. Plus, while the occasional 30- or 60-day late payment may not completely hurt your credit, just one 90-day late payment can damage your credit for up to seven years.

The key is to pay bills on time by putting your bills on auto-pay or using an account management or bill reminder service that sends bill pay reminders via text or email.

Enrolling in Travel Programs

Reward: Free Hotel Stays, Lower Airfare, Free Upgrades and More

Taking five minutes to set up an account with your favorite travel companies can save you a ton of money, especially if you’re an avid traveler. For example, 7,500 Starwood Preferred Guest points can be used for anything from a $15 drink to a $250 free night reward stay at a Starwood hotel. And that doesn’t include the perks of simply being a member. When I traveled to New Orleans not long ago with a giant group of friends, I made sure to sign up for the hotel’s rewards program right before the trip. I had never stayed with them before, but on arrival, I received a complimentary drink ticket and a larger suite than any of my fellow travelers. The point? It’s worth it!

Putting More Money Toward Debt

Reward: Saving Money in Interest

It can be tempting to only pay the minimum amount due on your credit card bill or student loan payment. However, this can actually cost you a lot more money over time because you’ll be forced to pay more interest on the loan.

For example, paying $350 a month on a $10,000 credit card balance with a 15 percent interest will cost you almost $2,500 in interest over time. Paying $500 per month, on the other hand, lowers your interest to $1,580, shaving off about $1,000 of your overall payment.

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