How-to: Own The Latest MacBook Without Breaking Your Budget
If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past few years or so, it is that people sure do love their Apple products.
There was a Chinese couple who allegedly sold their daughter to buy an iPhone, a 17-year-old who sold a kidney for an iPad, and folks who have taken to selling sperm, plasma, their pets, their siblings and er… an assortment of highly inappropriate services in exchange for these devices.
Earlier this week, the world watched Tim Cook reveal the new MacBook and the Apple Watch. The Macbook starts at US$1,299 (RM4,785.52), while the watches range from US$350 (RM1,291.39) to US17,000 (RM62,602.50)!
The hefty price tags will no doubt have many Apple fans dreaming up drastic measures to get their hands on the gadgets again. Instead of parting with a kidney, why not try these cool credit card hacks:
1) Take up an easy payment plan
Malaysians have the happy option of Easy Payment Plans (EPP) when it comes to credit cards. These cool repayment schemes allow you to repay the purchases you made with a credit card in instalments at little or no interest at all.
The trick is to be disciplined. If you pay the instalments promptly and make sure you adhere to all the terms and conditions, you will not be charged a single cent in interest throughout the entire repayment period.
EPPs offer plenty of benefits, including the ability to pay for (mostly) vital big-ticket items spread out over a few months without incurring hefty interest charges over a period of time.
With an EPP, you also have the option of using the lump sum you would otherwise use to fund a purchase for savings or investing purposes instead. For instance, putting your cash in fixed deposit will help you earn some extra pocket money.
However, make sure you read the fine print. Some credit cards charge an upfront amount and administrative charges, while others require you to make a minimum purchase of a certain amount to benefit from the EPP.
2) Look into balance transfer
A balance transfer is another option you can consider if you plan to make a hefty purchase, but do not intend to shell out more on interest. What a balance transfer card does is, it lets you shift any balance you have accumulated from one card or cards, into a credit card that offers a very low or 0% interest rate for a specified period, and sometimes there may be an upfront fee.
In this scenario, let us assume that you’ve bought a brand new Macbook for RM5,000 with a credit card at a typical rate of interest of 15%. From there, you can opt to sign up for a balance transfer credit card that offers a lower interest rate, and lets you work off your repayment plan at 0% interest.
Find out how much you can save with balance transfer using this simple calculator.
The best 0% balance transfer cards usually offer 0% on new purchases for at least six months. If you’re not in debt, you can take advantage of this and take on some life-improving purchases or projects. You can pay the balance off over time and not incur any additional financial charges.
The trick is to make sure that you pay the required payment punctually each month. Otherwise, the standard interest rate will be applied on your balances.
3) Make full use of your credit card privileges
You can make the most of the discounts and privileges your credit card offers just by getting one that best complements your lifestyle and spending habits.
For example, CIMB Bank cardholders get to enjoy 10% discount on weekends when they make a purchase on Lazada (on certain products). If you make a RM5,000 purchase, you will be entitled to a RM500 discount.
With the right credit card, you will be able to leverage on discounts and promotions with selected merchants all year round, and boost your finances when used responsibly.
Whether you intend to raid the Apple store or save on your daily expenditures, in order to maximise the rewards, you want to get a credit card that offers the highest rewards for the categories of things you spend the most money on.
However, that is not the only deciding factor. Also keep a lookout for cards that give you consistent rewards. If you use your credit cards the right way, you will get rewarded on your spending.