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Mortgages – Re-finance And Make Them Work For You
Using Credit-Cards to Advantage

With the credit cards paid out, it might have seemed advisable to keep them that way or, at least, use them sparingly in favour of the cash alternative. What we actually did was the reverse. Wherever possible, we carded as much as we could, paying cash only for those items we had to. Everything went onto the card accounts that, not so long ago, had been wiped clean.

It was a nervous time because there was the danger of blowing the cards back up to a level beyond our capability to repay them before any interest was incurred. We did have the surplus for working capital sitting in the bank, but it was still unknown whether it would be a big enough safety-net. Success hinged on achieving one central target - the clearing of any and all accounts when they became due and before interest was added on. If we could pull this off, it would mean no more reminders of overdue accounts, no more robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Determined to make it work, we became misers, watching every cent, trying wherever possible to buy cheap, or not at all unless we could justify the purchase as necessary and not mere extravagance. To avoid phoning up for a balance on the cards every five minutes, we kept a tally on what we bought to ensure the total didn’t exceed the monthly income. Just as the end of the month neared and it seemed we could pop the celebratory bottle of champagne, the council rates arrived! If we paid them in full it would tip us over budget and, what was worse, eat into our safety-net. But there was an incentive for the skin-flints we had become – a saving for paying in full rather than instalments.

Taking a deep breath, we stuck to our guns and paid the rates - on the credit card, of course. In a few days time, we paid that off as well. A week or so later, we cleared the other one. By then, however, another pay cheque had gone in, so the mortgage account wasn’t as diminished as we had feared it might be. In another fortnight the next salary cheque almost replenished the safety-net. Although some purchases had already gone onto the credit cards, we knew we would have more money to deposit before payment on them would be due. Needless to say, we were very relieved. The plan, it seemed, was working.

Other hefty bills continued to force a backward step every so often, but they were paid by card before the due date. Some even earned a bonus discount for early settlement. Following a few months of watching the pennies and never deviating from the plan, the surplus in the account had grown to the point where we were confident of covering all of our expenses immediately and with ease. On top of this, the frequent-flyer points were really starting to mount up thanks to the heavier credit-card purchases.

Around this time, we had an interesting visit from an investment consultant claiming he could save us money. After going through our accounts, he was forced to admit he was unable to help – it seemed we were already doing it right, and doing it on our own!

Next issue:   The Perfect Investment – making your money work while avoiding scams

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