Gaurang's Blogs

Pursuit of Happiness and our eternal rat race

Are Credit Cards an Asset or a Liability?

Credit Cards are shamed by many, are pointed out as the trouble magnet. They surely have ability to destroy one's financial resources / wealth only if the possessor is not careful and thoughtful about one's expenses.

Credit cards are just like liquid cash waiting to be used whenever the possessor desires to be used "thoughtfully". For credit card companies there are two types of customers - 1) Someone who pays on time 2) Someone who doesn't pays on time ( delays the payment / pays only the minimum amount due ).

While the former class of customers are sort of liabilities for the lender as they aren't earning much from them ( except the annual fees and the commission on the sales which vendor pays to the lender ) but latter class of customers is their cash cow.

The more the customer delays / defaults on credit cards payments - the more the lender earns ( 30-50% per annum ) which is massive interest along with the late fine, destroyed credit history reports and the annual fees of the credit cards are just bonus for the lenders.

Indeed it can be a shocking situation for the customers who belongs to the class of "urban poor" - they are the not-so rich people trying to purchase luxurious services / latest gizmos and gadgets  the moment they are introduced to markets. But they don't pay from their pockets but gets them converted into EMIs which are billed at 13-19% interest annually and furthermore to keep up with other EMIs and other misc. expenses, they just pay the minimum amount due of the Credit Cards to pass the time and destroy the little wealth they may have.

So are Credit Cards really that bad or they can be turned into an asset as well?

Well, in my case - I have been using Credit Cards for over 4 years now and I have never defaulted on any Credit Card Payment ever ( surely Credit Card Companies treat me as a liability as they aren't earning much from me ).

It turns out that Credit Cards can be seen as the asset as well for following reasons:

  • Improved Credit Score ( CIBIL ) - If you have taken any loan / credit card in the past and you have been consistent in paying back the interest and principle amount then your credit score will keep on increasing and that basically shows that you are financially stable and you are less likely to default on future finances. Banks consider this as one of the major criterias while approving any sort of finance.
  • Extra Savings on the purchases - Credit Cards offer you Payback / loyalty / reward points which can be converted into gift items / cash for making the payment of credit cards. Usually credit cards gives you points equivalent to .5 - 3% of whatever amount you spent. Treat it like extra discount you are getting for the purchases which are not offered any sort of discount. Every penny saved is penny earned.
  • Leverage every single benefit Credit Card offers - Credit Card companies partner with restaurants, clubs, movie theatres and every segment of retail space so that consumers spends more ( no wonder we are in a consumers market and everyone is madly spending money these days in a hope to chase better lives ). Some of the common benefits include:
    • Free movie tickets / buy one get another one free - These kinds of offer saves you 50% money which is good.
    • Using their shopping portal earns you 10x reward points which means 2-3% additional savings.
    • Free Airport Lounge Access - Every good lounge charges you INR 700 - INR 1500 for taking their services ( which includes a beautiful place where you can rest and wait for your flight, get unlimited food and soft drinks there ). Good credit cards gives you 2-6 free lounge access annually.
    • Golf Club memberships - You can access some golf clubs for 1-4 times annually for free ( only available with good credit cards ).
    • Convert reward points into airmiles - Some credit cards lets you convert the points into airmiles which basically means that you can fly to your desired location by just redeeming the airmiles and pay the tax amount.
  • Use Credit Cards for medical emergency - while there are mediclaim insurances to take care of that, in any eventuality, the credit cards can serve as emergency cash when there is huge requirement of debt for some critical transactions. In many instances, you have to pay medical costs upfront and after approval only , mediclaim companies will reimburse the amount spent.
  • Special Offers on many e-commerce platforms like Amazon - different websites partner with different credit card companies and they offer you interest free EMIs and instant 10-20% discount which leads to amazing savings. Use them whenever you plan your shopping. Waiting for discount seasons like Amazon Prime Day / Autumn, Winter, Summer Sales is a good idea and saves you a lot of money.

All major Credit Card companies ties up with e-commerce platforms which gives Credit Card Companies exclusive rights during the offer period to give cashbacks. This is indeed a great opportunity to leverage your credit cards and get upfront discounts which really leads to additional savings and pays for your credit card's annual fees.

Precautions one must take while using Credit Cards -

  • As a rule of thumb, whenever you receive your salary, payback the entire amount due on your Credit Card(s).
  • Never spend more than the amount you receive as your salary / total savings ( which you really want to exhaust ).
  • Use Credit Cards as a tool to create a trail of expenses you do so that you can segment the categories where your money is actually going.
  • Ask your banker to give you less Credit Limit. The more you get, the more you would be tempted to spend.
  • Never be dependant on your credit card for fueling your lifestyle.
  • Carry Cash when going out for parties as when you are drunk, you are more likely to spend money irrationally than when you are sane ( even then people commit financial blunder ).
  • While opting for Bundled / Co-branded Credit Cards - always see if you have actual usage of the offers they are giving out to you. For example - only if you are a frequent flier then go for a Jetmiles credit card or about the BookMyShow cards - Opt them only if you are a movie buff and you buy a lot of movie tickets. ( Credit goes to Meruna for this )

When you are getting rid of your credit card because of any reasons - get a No Objection Certication / Closure letter so that there won't be any disputes in future due to CIBIL or any unforeseen circumstances.

PS:

  • You are not saving much by spending more in order to avail discounts as you are actually spending more than you wanted to.
  • You can negotiate with your credit card provider to forgo the annual fees. They can do that if you will negotiate or opt for the ones who are giving it to you for free.

Credit of this blog post goes to my NMIMS batchmates who discussed with me about pros and cons of having credit card. They are just brilliant.

Quotes by Gaurang: To be the best, read more than the rest! - Gaurang

To be the best, read more than the rest! - Gaurang


How to lead a paper less life?

So if you are like me, you must be having 100 to 1000 of pages full of notes - which can be your poems, your secret plans and what not. So if maintaining several copies of diaries are becoming pain for you ( which shouldn’t as there is a charm in having diaries and journals ), if you still want to reduce the number of loose sheets then here is what you can do:

1. Click photographs of all the loose papers and pages you want to have in the digital format.
    1. Click in such a way that orientation and sequence remains the same of all the images or else it would be frustrating for you to keep on getting the right orientation of your images.
2. Transfer it to your computer.
3. Install jpegoptim on your system - it basically reduces the sizes of the images ( just in case you are not very particular about the quality  of the pages - this is a brilliant approach ).
    1. Ideally you should reduce the size to 80% of the original size.
4. Now install pdftk - which converts and merges all your images to pdf file with just a single command : pdftk ./*.jpg newfile.pdf and you will have a pdf file with all images converted into a pdf.

If you have more than 50 images - it will take a lot of RAM ( 4-10 GB ) to complete the operation so you won’t be able to do other tasks simultaneously for 5-15 minutes.

Try this and if you like the process, do leave a comment or a suggestion.

 

Feature request for YouTube Audio Library ( inside YouTube Studio )

YouTubers like me use Auto Library (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music) inside the YouTube Studio frequently. Since there are hundreds of amazing audio files to explore, it is really hard to keep a track on which ones we have played already or we haven't.

For now, I play some of them and then Star them so that I know which of them are played.

The ones I like, I download right away ( specially the ones which doesn't require any attribution ) - makes things easier for me.

So besides having single star for tagging, having one more star to let us keep track of our choices.
 

What if tomorrow I have to check out more audios, how am I going to know which ones I have played so far.

Then perhaps, instead of having 2 stars, just mark the already played ones with “PLAYED” or something that helps us distinguish between the Played and Unplayed in the Auto Library.

Above are the pending audio files which are yet to be played. There is no way to know which ones I have played so it wastes a lot of time.

Having this feature will definitely help a lot of users.
 

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