Loved up for less

New research shows that Valentine’s Day is the Hallmark holiday that Australians spend the most on. But you can be romantic without breaking the bank. In fact you can woo your loved one for less than $100!

How to be romantic for under $100 – RateCity’s Ali Cassim helping loved-up Australians on The Today Show.

The flowers

RateCity’s Ali Cassim said that everybody loves flowers, but they can be really expensive.

“They can cost a fortune, but there are some great options if you shop online for fixed-price bouquets,” she said.

“Or suprise your loved one with a delivery on Friday – everyone loves getting flowers delivered to the office. I know I do!”

Save money on the biggest expense right away – the flowers! A personalised bouquet from a high end florist will cost you $70 minimum.  Do some research online and check out some of the flat price bouquets on the market – some online florists specialise in making one bouquet style per day which means you pay less for the personalizing!  Using these sites, you can pick up an impressive bunch for around $25 including same day delivery!

  • If you are having them delivered, check out companies like Little Flowers or The Little Market Bunch.
  • If you are picking them up, look up your local flower market and get up early to get a great bunch.  You can get a really beautiful big bunch of flowers at the markets for under $30.

Action or adventure?

Cassim said that gifting a voucher often has a stigma attached that the gift giver isn’t being thoughtful, but that’s not always true.

“If you give a voucher for an experience that you know they’ll love and if it’s quality time together, that’s always love,” she said.

Get creative with surprise activities – there is nothing more romantic than spontaneity! Sites like Red Balloon, GoDo and Adrenalin have great deals on experiential activities for around the $50 mark!  Choose something that involves food and you are ticking all of the boxes.

Dinner for two

Find a great dinner package.  Again searching online for a good package deal can save you a lot of money when it comes to dinner packages. Check out Groupon, Cudo and Deals.com.au for some great options:

For around the $60 mark you can get a three course dinner for two with drinks. There are several available at restaurants nationwide and most of these sites will let you search by city. Get in quick before Saturday books out! Combine this option with some pre-purchased flowers and you have ticked all of the boxes.

Pop up picnic

Cassim said a picnic can be a great way to enjoy a more relaxed and intimate dinner with your loved one.

“I think picnics are beautiful. You can get away from the fancy restaurants and the sometimes stiff conversation and spend time just the two of you and there are companies that will do all the work for you,” she said.

Invest in a pre-packaged picnic. There are a range of companies Australia wide that create easy picnics to go – perfect for busy people!  Be romantic and have the picnic sent to your loved one with a note telling them where to meet you! Online sites like Pop up Picnic will not only pack your picnic for you and deliver it, they also list the perfect picnic locations!

Out of the box

For a unique experience, romantics could look beyond the traditional Valentine’s Day activities, said Cassim.

“You might want to hire help to serenade your partner on Valentine’s Day and there are sites like AirTasker where you can pop up a job for someone to do for you. It might someone to chauffeur you for the day or whatever your imagine runs wild with,” she said.

“Someone to wash the dishes might be your idea of a real treat,” she added.

 

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Learn more about credit cards

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.

Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.

After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.

Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

Current Interest Rate

This is the current interest rate on your existing credit card.

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

What is CVV on a credit card?

CVV stands for ‘card verification value’, and is also sometimes referred to as a CVC or card verification code.

A CVV code is usually needed when the card is used online or over the phone as an anti-fraud measure. Without the cardholder being physically present to sign or verify the purchase, the CVV provides an extra layer of protection. 

If you’re using Mastercard or Visa, the CVV is the three digits located on the back of the card. If you’re using an American Express, the CVV is usually four digits and is on the front of the card.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

Monthly repayment

This is how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis off your credit card. You can enter any amount you wish; but to make the balance transfer worthwhile the default is $200.