Practical Approach to In-Store Credit Card Offers

How to Take a Practical Approach to In-Store Credit Card Offers During the Holidays

We hear it almost anytime we purchase an item at a store that offers an in-store credit card, “Would you like to apply for our store credit card?” Most major retailers such as Home Depot, Target, and Kohl’s offer a credit card that can only be used in that particular store. During the holidays, it might seem like a good idea to get that additional 20% off for opening up a store credit card. Experts say that consumers should definitely be cautious during the holiday season, as the idea of getting a store credit card might be enticing. You can buy all your gifts at one location, and not have to spend any money up front. Here are some tips to stay practical with credit cards during the holiday season.

Create a holiday budget

Not only do we have to spend money on gifts throughout the holiday season, but consumers must purchase food and decorations as well. All of this adds up, and a budget can be really helpful in spending conservatively during the holiday months. Create a budget for how much you would like to spend in total, for all gifts you must purchase. It might be easier to first create a list of who you need to purchase presents for, and determine how much can be spent on each person. Also be sure to budget for holiday food supplies. Are you hosting a holiday and need to supply food for a large number of people? Or are you attending another location where you only have to bring one or two food items? The earlier you know your holiday plans, the better you can prepare a budget for the cost of food. Every year stores come out with new decorations, which you might be tempted to buy. If you know that you spend money every year on a couple of new items, go ahead and budget for how much you can allow yourself to spend this year. Always remember that after holiday decoration sales provide consumers with the best savings!

Now is a store credit card worth it?

After creating a holiday budget, you can better determine if an in-store credit card is right for you. If you slacked in the holiday savings department, and need extra money for the holiday season, an in-store credit card might be a great option. You can also explore layaway options, which allow you to pay for items throughout an extended period of time. Financial experts warn consumers of high interest rates, especially for in-store credit cards – just like taking on title loans or personal loans. If you must apply for an in-store credit card during the holiday season, make sure it is for a store that has a variety of items. Target is a great place for an in-store credit card because they have items you might need for gifts, decorations, and food. Try not to max out an in-store credit card, and look for holiday savings deals for that particular store.

It can definitely be hard to stay practical when it comes to money during the holiday season. Sometimes we rush and wait until the last minute, and by that time it might be too late. Always make sure you are using your best personal finance judgement when it comes to applying for a credit card, even during the holiday season!

Is the Uber Economy the Solution for Job and Financial Security?

A recent article in the New York Times points to the growth of businesses like Uber that act as the intermediary of services between the provider and the customer. The “New Gig Economy” as the New York Times call it, is nothing more than the independent contractor or freelancer of decades past—with a tech twist.


One in three workers, or 53 million Americans, are now freelancing according to the comprehensive survey “Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce.” This number is expected to increase to half of the workforce by the year 2020.


Technology today makes it possible for workers to shift from the traditional office workplace to remote locations, offering a flexibility unheard of 20 years ago.


Freelancing is a great solution for workers in search of control over their schedules or how much income they want to earn, but will this “New Gig Economy” offer Americans the job and financial security they search for?


As with all questions addressing the entire population, the answer is, it depends. Freelancers are a special breed requiring strong skills to compete in a virtual world, discipline to get the work done without any supervision and the marketing and networking skills necessary to promote and market themselves to make freelancing successful.


Historically, industries like the hospitality industry that have shifted from traditional employer-employee relationships to franchise-based business with outsourced staffing have not fared well. According to the Times “Gig Economy” article, the hospitality industry has suffered an increase in labor law violations with a decrease in wages in the last 15 years.


If there is a lesson from the hospitality industry, it’s that freelancing is not the ideal solution for all but is perfect for talent willing to sell themselves as a valuable commodity.


As the freelancing economy grows, businesses will adapt. For companies, workers will move from one of the company’s largest fixed costs to a variable cost that companies can adjust up and down as needed.


This may provide job growth but comes with many pitfalls. Once talent shifts from a fixed cost that must be planned for, to a variable cost, talent will have trouble finding job security as employers adjust their employee levels.


And while freelancers may find a per-project payment deal better compensation than a negotiated, hourly wage, there are several costs a freelancer has to absorb, which were once the expense of the company.


One of the biggest costs for a freelancer is the self-employment tax rate of 15 percent that covers unemployment and Medicare. Other expenses include income taxes, health insurance, retirement, home office expenses, business taxes, insurances and more. Freelancers used to earning $20 per hour in a traditional workplace as an employee would have to earn double that to cover their increased expenses, since the liability has passed from the employer to the independent contractor.


The most successful freelancers will work for several employers and diversify to absorb any changes in income. Maintaining and building multiple work relationships is almost a full-time job in itself.


But for those interested in working in the new gig economy, the rewards are great. Freelancers build their own niche based on their interests and talents, set their own hours and location, decide on how much they want to work and with proper planning, take control of their finances and future.