Money Masters: Kristin McGrath

This week’s personal finance expert in our Money Masters series is Kristin McGrath, a blogger at CreditCardForum.com. Kristin reached out to us a few months back to help her with a piece she was writing for Credit Card Forum about our money mistakes and how recent graduates can avoid them. We quickly fell in love with the site and Kristin’s blog.

There are those in the personal finance space who believe any and all use of credit cards must be avoided because debt is the ultimate money mistake. There are also those who choose to maximize credit card rewards to their advantage, while not acquiring credit card debt, to get the most from their money. Credit Card Forum helps the latter.

1. What’s your story?

Before I started working with CreditCardForum, my only money priorities were spending less than I earned and building credit by reluctantly using a single credit card. However, watching our forum members geek out about cards every day made me realize that I could still spend less than I earned, but also channel that spending into cash back and plane tickets. Nowadays, I’m the type of person who thinks credit cards make a good conversation topic at parties.

2. What’s your point of view, as a personal finance blogger?

While my credit strategies have evolved, I’m a fan of keeping it simple. What exactly “simple” means will vary person to person. But for me, it’s OK to not squeeze the absolute maximum rewards value possible out of my spending if it spares me time and stress. The same philosophy goes for credit building: While I’ve used what I’ve learned to substantially build up my credit over the past year, I don’t polish my score like a prize trophy and jump through hoops to raise it a few extra points.

So, when it comes to the CreditCardForum blog, I try to strike a balance between practical advice and higher-level tips for those with the endurance for something a bit more involved.

3. In one sentence, what’s one piece of sage advice from your personal finance background that you’d like to share with our readers?

Read all the money and credit advice you can, but ease in slowly when implementing it because, as our forum members are fond of saying, “YMMV” (your mileage may vary).

Visit Kristin’s blog at Credit Card Forum and check out Credit Card Forum’s website if you want to learn how to use credit cards without credit cards using you. This is why Kristin is this week’s Money Master.

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