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Your Credit Card Calls: When To Buy Now And Pay Later

Finance

When making a purchase, the ultimate decision when you open your wallet is to decide whether to use cash or pay by credit card. While credit cards can provide benefits through rewards programs and building up credit, credit cards can be the gateway to heavy debt if improperly used. Cash may be king, but if you stick to a cash-only rule, you could be doing your credit score a disservice.


The Convenience Factor

If you are looking for the convenience factor, using your credit card may come in handy. If you are consistent in paying your credit card balances in full each month, and you are properly budgeting to ensure that you are on track with timely payments, then putting some purchases on your card is an easy and convenient way to make transactions. For example, making purchases online using a credit card that may be saved on file could give you a quick check-out process. However, if you tend to run high balances or can't pay your credit card balances in full, you should probably use your debit card instead; which is also convenient but functions as cash. If the purchase you want to make is on sale, and you use a credit card that carries a balance, this may negate any savings you might get with the interest that will be incurred.

Using Cash May Be Cheaper

In some cases using cash may get you a better price. For example, when you are ready to fill up your gas tank, you may notice that if you pay by cash, you will get a cheaper price per gallon.

Some restaurants may also give discounts for cash paying customers, so if you are dining out, it won't hurt to ask! Paying for purchases using cash instead of a credit card will also save you from accruing interest on your next credit cards bill if you are unable to pay your entire monthly balance in full.

Cash And Carry

If you like to have cash on hand at all times, consider making your ATM withdrawals at the beginning of each week. Decide on an amount to withdraw that fits within your budget. You don't want the temptation to overspend because having cash in your wallet is so easily accessible. You can also try leaving your debit card at home if you would prefer to make purchases during the week with the allotted cash amount. The cap you give yourself will not only keep you in line with your budget, but it will also put you at less of a risk of overspending. Using cash tends to force us to be a little more frugal about parting with our money because it's so tangible.

Your Credit History And Reporting

While carrying cash is a great option to avoid credit card interest, it won't help improve your credit score or build credit if you stick to an “all cash, all the time" rule. If you use your credit card responsibly and pay your credit card balance in full each month and on time, you will size up a healthy credit score.

A good credit score is an important tool in creating a positive financial future. Utilizing cash as your only payment option and not having any activity on your credit cards, could keep you from obtaining a car loan, mortgage or an apartment rental. Also keep in mind, that if you are traveling and want to rent a car, it can be very inconvenient to do so without a credit card as most car rental establishments won't accept cash deposits upon rental.

The Safety Component

Keeping a combination of both cash and credit cards is an important element to your personal safety or even the safety of your loved ones. You may be put into a situation in which cash is your only option to get you out of a predicament. Should you be put into an emergency situation, having both cash and credit cards on hand could keep you from making your situation more difficult. Keep cash as a back-up even if you don't intend to use it. Your credit card company can also offer you protection against identity theft and fraudulent transactions. Again, when renting a car when traveling, your credit card company may have benefits that would cover you in case you get into an accident. Before embarking on your travels, find out what travel benefits your provider offers.

So what's better to use: cash or credit? There is no definitive answer as it actually depends on where you are and what type of purchase you are going to be making. With proper budgeting and using cash and credit in combination responsibly, you'll stay in good financial shape now and into the future.

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Lifestyle

Going Makeupless To The Office May Be Costing You More Than Just Money

Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.


Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.

Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.

As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.

Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.

So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.

Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.

For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."