You know the rulz: no matter how amazing the sale price, it's not a bargain if you pay for it with a high interest credit card, especially if you then take forever to pay off the card.
Good thing it's so simple to get your interest rate lowered. Really!
(Bet you thought I was going to say don't use credit cards. Bah. It's a fact of life, Americans are credit hounds, so let's deal with that reality first and the aspirational stuff later.)
Okay, now let's get your interest rate lowered so you can afford more bargains for the holidays.
I learned this trick years ago when I was young, poor, and a little too eager (i.e. dumb enough) to use up every penny of available credit on my cards.
And to be candid, even now, when I pay off everything as fast as possible, these days it's not always possible to avoid carrying a balance. That's when it's most important to pay attention to your interest rate!
The first thing to remember is that credit card companies value the people who always pay
something, but carry over a balance, more than any other kind of customer, because they make the most money from these customers.
As long as you're a customer in good standing -- as in, you pay something, on time, every month -- your credit card company loves you more than your spouse, parents or children do. They will do anything to keep you, oh so desirable solvent customer. Use this unholy love to your advantage. You are in the position of power in this conversation!
Here's what you do:
Call the customer service number on your credit card statement. Make your way through the stupid "press 1 one for blah, press 2 for blah-blah" etc, until you get a live person on the phone. Then say, in your brightest, cheeriest voice:
"Hi! I'd like to talk to someone about lowering my interest rate!"
Now, I admit that every time I do this, I quiver in fear that they'll yell, "Just for calling, we're RAISING your rates! And LOWERING your credit limit!" But they never do! They're always really polite, and offer a lower rate immediately. Yes, immediately.
You will want to accept their first offer. Do not let the combined stew of embarrassment for asking, and relief that it worked, make you say yes at this point.
Thank the customer service rep, and then ask if there is someone more senior who can authorize an even lower rate.
Again, I always cringe when I do this, expecting the rep to say, "NO! And just for being an ingrate, I'm taking away the low rate I just offered you!"
That never happens. Instead, I always hear this:
"Sure! Let me transfer you. Just a moment!"
You get transferred, a different nice customer service rep gets on the phone, thanks you for your business, and again, super-duper fast, he or she offers you a lower rate. It may even be significantly lower than what you have now, especially if you haven't done this in a while, or like, never.
At this point, you may gratefully accept and say good bye. In fact, it's important to get off the phone quickly after this, because they start to offer you things like a higher credit limit, identity theft protection, and other stuff that sounds good because the script was written by marketing geniuses. Ignore, avoid, escape, you don't need any of it. Be gracious, say thank you, and hang up!
If you're good at math you can figure out how much you'll save a month even if you carry a balance. I'm willing to skip the math and make everyone who successfully completes this phone call (male or female) a Bargain Queen!