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USA Cash flow & Budget-management, Build up Credit, Credit Card intro

When I got the job offer, I was applying for the SSN( Social security number). And then I was applying for my credit card to build up my credit. And next I was managing my income and expenses, controlling my budget.

I have five credit cards and the credit score is increasing from 580 to 780 in 4 years. Nice credit will help me to apply car loan, house loan more easily. And here’s some suggestions that I’ll recommend.

1. Cash flow & Budget-management

It’s common that my American colleagues should afford the education loan after graduation. ( Most of American parents don’t support the education fees). So these team members will pay the credit card bill after getting the pay check. It is like ” advanced expenses” in US culture. How to process money saving and prevent cash shortage?

1-1 Mint

Basically I tried Mint and link to my bank and credit cards. I can check bill monthly and set up the budget categories. Example as below.Mint.JPG

1-2 Cash flow excel

In addition, there’s the excel file I maintain by my own. People usually use the credit card and can’t pay off. I apply the formula so that I can control my cash flow. It also link my credit card Auto pay date.

cauculation 11
cauculation 23

Once we get more cash and saving, the next will be investment. I learnt how to use money to make more money. 

Investment learning & US stock trading app – Robinhood 

2. The introduction of “Credit”

2-1 The importance of building the credit

It’s extremely important to have a nice credit. The finance department will check my  credit and decide the interest rate and down payment when I apply for the house loan, car loan, new credit cards, investment account, etc. Also, it’s also a plus if I work and get the pay check in the States. The pay check amount is also one of factors to give me the interest rate and down payment.

2-2 Credit score range

In my first credit card Wells Fargo , my credit was only 580 in 2014 and now is around 780.

experian-good-score-ranges.png

 

2-3 How to check Soft inquiry( Soft pull)

Each Credit card company offers free credit score checking, for example, Chase, Discover, Wells Fargo, American Express.

I’m using Credit Karma to check my credit. The soft inquiry wont’ influence my credit score.

ck-two-scores.png

2-4 Hard inquiry( Hard pull) will decrease my score.

House loan, car loan, apply the credit car, apply the investment account will all decrease my credit because of hard inquiry. I suggest to apply Hard inquiry( Hard pull) in the same day as possible, so these finance agents will pull out all the same score.

dreamstime_xxl_87636282.jpg

3. The suggestion of credit card application

3-1 Start from Secure Credit Card

It’s hard to apply my first credit card as these credit card company can’t find my credit. My first card Chase was denied. So I applied my first bank account – Well Fargo. My secured credit card got denied first time but then after waiting 3 months it got approved. Secured Credit Card is kind of Debit Card – $500 deposit.

After a year, my credit score is increasing slowly. And I got the Chase approval in 2nd time application. And also I got the Well Fargo $500 deposit back and officially get “Non” secure credit card.

3-2 Paid off all the monthly bill

Don’t be fool with “Minimum payment $15, $30、0% interest rate in the first year”. The credit card company wants me to own the money and can charge me high interest rate later. I set up “Auto payment” ” paid off monthly bill” after receiving my new credit card immediately.

Do I want to be shopaholic and get all fancy stuff? And it will not fun at all after receiving a lot of debt!

1680x1050_Wallpaper03-1024x640.jpg

3-3 DON’T apply too many credit cards in a year

I suggest to apply Hard inquiry( Hard pull) in the same day as possible, so these finance agents will pull out all the same score.

3-4 DON’T close the first credit card

Even if the first credit card is not good,( Cash back low, credit card limit is low, etc) I would recommend don’t close and just keep it. As the credit score is calculated by my credit card own history. I was worried I can’t control too many credit card, I tried to use “1-2 cash flow excel“to control.

3-5 DON’T apply credit card in shopping mall

Gap, Victoria Secret, Banana Republic … all have its own credit card. It’s a trick. The clerk will always ask me.

” Do you want to open the credit card? It will have XX% and you will save $XX”. And you will think,

” wow… that’s not bad… why not?”

And some people will forget to pay the bill later. Especially these credit card company don’t remind them to pay and they will start to owe interest fee.

I read many case the credit score will suddenly drop from 800 to 500 in 6 month ONLY! And they will need to work on 1 year can come back 600.

To sum up, customers want to save $30 and waste the credit while open the new credit card account. And it bring up the risk that they will forget to pay off the bill and make their credit score drop. Tell me is that worth it?

money-trap.jpg

4. The intro of free annual fee credit card

Student /New immigration credit card

4-1 Wells Fargo Platinum Card/ Secured Credit Card

secured_visa_card.png

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Case back: any category  1%
  • Case back redemption minimum: $25
  • Recommend rate: ★★ ☆☆☆
  • Apply link,No referral, WF link

This is my first credit card. ( from secured credit card to non secured credit card). Followed by “3-4 DON’T close the first credit card”, I just leave this card but don’t close.

Well Fargo welcomes student and new immigrant. So this card can be your first credit card and you can apply here. And I’m not patient to wait $25 case reward and can redeem to my bank account.

4-2 BOA Cash Reward

8ckk_8ckl_cshwldcm_mc_250x158.png

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Case back: Each category 1%/ 2% Supermarket/3%Gasoline
  • Case back redemption minimum: $25
  • Recommend rate: ★★ ☆☆☆
  • Apply link,No referral, BOA link

BOA also welcomes student and new immigrant. So this card can be your first credit card and you can apply here. And I’m not patient to wait $25 case reward and can redeem to my bank account.

Credit card after getting some credit

4-3 Discover Cash Back ( Amazon card) 

it_Blue_549_FrontFacing.png

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Case back:  Each category 1%/ And 5% in special category
    • 2018 Q4 Amazon & Wholesale store
    • 2019 Q1 supermarket
    • 2019 Q2 Gasoline,  Uber & Lyft
    • 2019 Q3 Restaurant
    • 2019 Q4 Amazon
  • Case back redemption minimum: unlimited
  • Recommend rate: ★★★★ ☆
  • Link – You can use my Referral link to reply. Spend after 3 months can get $50 Cash back.

It can apply different color. I’m happy to get this customize color.

discover 2.JPG

The Intro – Amazon Prime、Amazon Prime Now

Carpool in Bay Area 

4-4 American Express Blue Cash (Grocery card)

blue-cash-everyday

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Case back: Each category 1%/ 2% Gasoline/3%Supermarket
  • Case back redemption minimum: $25
  • Recommend rate:★★★ ☆ ☆
  • Link – You can use My link to apply. Spend $1000 after 3 months can get $200 reward.

I also use this card when I am doing grocery shopping. And I’m not patient to wait $25 case reward and can redeem to my bank account.

4-5 Chase Unlimited (Most usage card)

freedom_unlimited_card_alt.png

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Case back:Each Categories 1.5%
  • Case back redemption minimum: unlimited
  • Recommend rate:  ★★★ ★★
  • Link – You can use my referral link to apply. Spend $500 in 3 month can get $150 bonus.

Chase increased my credit limit every quarter. And the service is good is my card is get spammed.

Advanced credit card

There would be more annual fee credit card and it’s also nice. And I check my current expense and budget, I don’t need these. I can share with more credit cards if I get to know about them.

5. No annual fee credit card comparison

Basic Medium
Wells Fargo Platinum Card BOA Cash Reward  Discover Cash Back American Express Blue Cash  Chase Unlimited 
Annual fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Case back 1% Each category 1%/ 2% Supermarket/3%Gasoline Each category 1%/ And 5% in special category(Note 1) Each category 1%/ 2% Gasoline/3%Supermarket 1.5%
Case back redemption minimum $25 $25 $25 unlimited unlimited
Recommend rate ★★☆☆ ☆ ★★☆☆ ☆ ★★★ ★ ☆ ★★★ ☆ ☆ ★★★★★
People Student, new immigration  Student, new immigration Built Built at least one year credit
Link No referral, WF link No referral, BOA link You can use my Referral link to reply. Spend after 3 months can get $50 Cash back. You can use my Referral link to reply. Spend after 3 months can get $50 Cash back. You can use my referral link to apply. Spend $500 in 3 month can get $150 bonus.

◤ Note 1:

  • Case back:  Each category 1%/ And 5% in special category
    • 2018 Q4 Amazon & Wholesale store
    • 2019 Q1 supermarket
    • 2019 Q2 Gasoline,  Uber & Lyft
    • 2019 Q3 Restaurant
    • 2019 Q4 Amazon

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