Simply saying: The best advice about credit cards you've ever heard

Forget everything you might have read about using your credit card, and listen to the best advice ever:

Credit cards are "FREE MONEY." Not in the sense that you can just use it for buying as much as you want, but because if you use it as a tool in your financial arsenal, you can reap the spoils of doing battle with daily attacks on your hard-earned income. I shutter when I hear people say, "stop using your card, and pay for everything with cash." This advice comes from people who don't understand the meaning of "opportunity." I make about $649 every year for just using my credit card. "FREE MONEY!" How do you do it? Simple, follow these guidelines:

1) Find a card that doesn't charge a yearly fee. The interest rate doesn't matter because you will never have to pay that amount.

2) Find a card that has benefits you can use. If you don't fly much, frequent-flier miles aren't going to do you any good. I also don't like cards where you have to buy something out of their catalog. I don't need that stuff.

3) Have that credit card company send your bill out so you receive it the day after you get paid. Most companies will do this, if not, find another company. This will help you to remember to pay off this bill first.

4) Place every expense you can on your card. By doing this, you will accumulate the most points, and benefits.

5) ***MOST IMPORTANT*** Pay off your account completely every month. Never carry a balance. Of course this is a tough one, and the reason we have almost $900 billion of credit card debt in this country. It takes planning. List all the expenses you can't pay with your card, and make sure you have enough to cover those costs. Then budget all the rest of your expenses so that you can pay off your total balance each month.

Here is how mine works:

I have a credit card from the grocery store where I shop. Following the above rules, I receive a check from them quarterly for about $100 to buy more groceries. I have to buy food anyway, so "FREE MONEY." Cha-ching, $400 a year. I also accumulate gas points that add up to about .30 per gallon. Figuring my truck has a 16 gallon tank, that's a saving of $4.80 per fill-up (now gas points are determined on a number of different factors such as items bought, and the timing of the purchases, but this company also offers a lower per-gallon price than most other stations, so the savings vary a bit). I have to buy gas, so "FREE MONEY." Cha-ching, $249 per year. I paid off my total balance with a cost to me for the year of $0. The total for just using my card… cha-ching, $649 of "FREE MONEY."

So I say to one and all, take up your cards, and go forth, collecting your due treasures. Leave not the opportunity to greater wealth and riches, for you hold the power within the palm of your hand. Release its potential for financial independence. "FREE MONEY" is yours for the taking.

Gary Greenwood has been successful in the business world and is now an educator on the fields of economics and personal finance. Having navigated through a number of investing challenges, Gary believes that investing is about not just making money, but also knowing enough to keep it.

This article was originally published on

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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