Do You Choose Your Credit Card As Carefully As Your Shotgun?
When you buy a shotgun, you probably consider carefully what gauge, action, length, type, and fit are best for you. Have you taken the same care in how to choose a credit card? If not, you’re probably missing out on benefits or paying too much in fees and interest. We want you to get the best deal, and manage your money well. Here’s how how to choose the right credit card.
Before you even think about what brand, you’ll want to focus in on the features that are important and useful to you.
Step 1 – Choose The Best Gauge
When you choose a shotgun, the starting point is what you’ll use the gun for. This in turn determines the best gauge. The larger the gauge, the larger the diameter of the barrel, and size of the shell. In addition of course, the more powerful and longer distance you’ll be able to shoot. The most common gauges and their uses are:
410 bore – used for small game, small birds, and defensive purposes. This gauge is so thin that there are even 410 revolvers.
28 gauge – a lightweight shell used for upland birds such as pheasant, quail and doves. Very lightweight guns that are easy to get off quick shots.
20 gauge – second most common gauge (after 12 gauge). Used for all around use, upland and smaller waterfowl hunting, small game hunting. Also great for target shooting and skeet. Popular in part due to more lightweight and less recoil than 12-gauge guns.
16 gauge – a hybrid between 20 and 12 gauge, good all around gun but not very common anymore.
12 gauge – most common due to it’s firepower. The 12 gauge works great for waterfowl, turkey, deer (with slugs and a rifled barrel), skeet shooting, and home defense. Newer designs and materials have made these lighter in weight, if not light-weight.
10-gauge – larger shells used primarily for longer-distance waterfowl shooting such as goose hunting with longer shots. Still around, but decreasing in popularity due to advancements in 12-gauge technology.
Just like a shotgun, how to pick a credit card entails first considering what your primary use is going to be. These days there’s so many credit cards on the market, they tend to have different applications just like shotguns. What to look for when getting a credit card:
Rewards cards – good all around rewards, usually from general spending rather than on specific categories. The best card can depend on your spending patterns and habits
Cash back cards – get cash back as a sign-up bonus, plus cash back as a % of spending or in cash back points.
Travel cards – optimized to provide travel benefits based on general spending, or better rewards based specifically on travel spending.
Sign-up bonus – best cards specifically for a large up front bonus just for joining.
Fair- or Challenged-Credit Cards – if your credit rating has taken a hit recently, these cards may be best for you.
Secured cards – can get you into a card if your credit rating is heavily impaired. This is done by securing the line of credit against collateral. For example, a refundable security deposit or something of substantial value.
Prepaid cards – Useful to build a track record if you can’t get other credit, or don’t want to run the risk of running up interest bearing debt. A great way to curb spending, spend wisely, or make purchasing more convenient.
Or, just like shotguns you can opt for an all-around card that may not be as good at any one specific application but is OK for general use.
Step 2 – Choose The Action
Choose an action that suits you the best, and be aware that what action you choose can largely by itself determine a good amount of the price:
Pump action – reliable and easy to use, for lower cost, pump is the most popular action and work well for any use.
Semi-automatic – faster shooting, but substantially more expensive and not always as reliable as a pump action. They can jam periodically, or after a moderate to high level of use depending on the brand and model. They work using gas blow-back to cycle the cartridges rather than your own manual effort like the pump action.
Double-barreled – very reliable, popular for skeet shooting, limited to only 2 shots. Also popular for upland game hunting, if you are confident in your shot. Configured as either side-by-side or over / under, and more expensive due to the machining and components required.
As for what to look for in a credit card, be certain to check the interest rate and fees. Think of it as determining how much the convenience of using the card will cost you. You want to be sure to get the best deal, so your “action” using your card results in the lowest costs to you:
Interest rate – of course the rate depends on your credit rate. Nevertheless, compare your options and offers carefully, side by side in order to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Fees – don’t settle for less when you can usually negotiate a better deal. Challenge your current card company to lower your fees along with the interest rate.
Always negotiate – you can do this by getting an offer from another company. You can negotiate with both, don’t hesitate to compare them to each other till you get the best outcome.
Step 3 – Choose Barrel Length And Type
Barrel length and type are part preference, part application. Consider these points to help optimize your gun performance:
Barrel length – longer barrels are more accurate with a tighter pattern for longer distance. This helps with longer range hunting shots and skeet shooting. Shorter barrels make the gun easier to swing around, but spread the shot faster (for example in home defense).
Rifled barrel – used to spin a slug in the barrel, just like a rifle spins a bullet for accuracy. Used primarily for deer hunting, especially if you live where longer-range rifles are not allowed but shotguns are. Pretty much limits your shotgun to this one use.
How to choose the best credit card? Make sure all the features on your credit card are working in your favor. Just like we suggested challenging the interest rate and fees above, there are many other ways you can get a better deal. For example, ask them to increase the term for 0% offers (e.g. if they offer you 15 months, ask for 24 months), or change the percentage back on rewards.
They may say no, but then again always remember this: they want your business and know you have competing options. There’s always someone sitting in a back office “customer retention” department who wants to make sure you stay with them.
Step 4 – Make Sure It Fits Well, Before You Choose a Brand
This is a critical step that can’t be overlooked, and its importance can’t be understated. You want your gun to feel balanced and like it’s a good fit for you. Using a shotgun is an extension of your own arms and eyes, and for accuracy, success in shooting and safety you want to really be comfortable with it.
Here’s how to check: hold in your hands (always pointing up and away from people if in a store or range), and get a feel for the size, weight, and balance. Make sure the distance between the stock and trigger feel comfortable. It should be correctly sized to you, so you can quickly aim without adjusting position. Swing the gun and sweep the barrel to get a feeling for movement. Talk to others who use the same model to get a sense for how they feel about it, and better yet try one on the range to feel the recoil before your buy.
Likewise, to choose credit card, you want it to work really well for you. That means racking up points to pay for free stuff, or get credits or cash back. Check out the rewards and benefits in detail, and make sure you get good benefits for any spending level not just if you spend thousands. All credit cards offer a detailed booklet on what their cards can do for you. Be sure to get the more user friendly version, that summarizes benefits with keywords and illustrations or photos, in addition to the detailed text contract-like description.
Step 5 – Recommended Guns For Specific Applications
By now you may be overloaded by the number of options out there. If you know exactly what you’ll be using your gun for, it can make the selection process a little easier, here are some guidelines for:
Rodent control and small birds, use the 410 gauge.
Home defense, use a 12 gauge with a shorter barrel.
Waterfowl hunting, use a 12 gauge with a longer barrel, either pump action or semi-automatic based on your preference.
Upland bird and small game hunting, use a 20 or 28 gauge based on your preference in weight and distance, with any action you prefer.
Turkey hunting, use a 20 gauge or 12 gauge per your preference. If you call them in close enough, the bird can’t tell the difference!
Deer hunting, use a 12 gauge (or even 20 gauge) with a rifled barrel, and be sure to outfit your gun with a scope for accuracy.
Skeet and trap shooting, use a 12 gauge or 20 gauge with a longer barrel.
General all around and target shooting, use a pump action 20 gauge, which will be more enjoyable than a 12 gauge because it has lower recoil.
Likewise, credit cards can be very specific and some have specialized uses. If you know you’re primarily interested in the following, you can narrow down the options quickly. Pick a credit card that helps with managing your money for specific uses and situations:
Young adults – geared at kids who may be starting our or may even co-sign with a parent or adult.
College students – they are vying for your business, and know you want to build your credit so look at these offers.
Low and fair credit – even with impaired credit, there’s a card for you (which may be a secured card).
Specific benefits such as travel or cash back, as described earlier.
In conclusion, there are quite a few factors in play for both shotguns and choosing the right credit card. With our guide and 5 steps we know you’ll make a great choice, that helps with how to manage your money.
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