Depending on who you talk to, the words, "credit card" mean one of two things: "danger zone" or "freedom, baby!" Having a credit card is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it can encourage you to spend a little more freely without having to feel the burn right away, but it can also give you a rude awakening when you receive your monthly bill.

Let's take it back to 1920s America. It was the era of flappers, great jazz, and modern-day conveniences, like movies and cars. More leisure time and new financing options like generous bank loans and buying on credit, made people spend well beyond their means. For nearly a decade, everyone was buying like crazy. But unfortunately, that came to a tragic halt in October of 1929. Bummer.

Since then, the United States has ebbed and flowed in moments of economic prosperity and recession. But one practice that all Americans can do is establish responsibility with their credit. And responsibility is not necessarily something that everyone has once they turn eighteen and can legally apply for a credit card.

To qualify for a credit card, you must have a steady source of income that will prove to your bank that you can pay your bills on time and not drown in credit card debt. If you're so inclined to start early, there are special student or retail credit cards that may have easier qualifications. (Yes, you can still apply for a credit card if you have no credit.)

The most important thing to understand when you apply for a credit card is that it gives you a high risk of debt. But, if you are able to pay your bills on time, you can build your credit and qualify for greater purchases down the line. You'll have to have a strong credit score to buy a house, apply for a mortgage, or even to seek employment in certain domains. You can achieve this by starting off strong. Know your limitations by crafting a thoughtful budget. Here's a great budgeting resource to get you started.

While debit cards take money out immediately from your account, they don't help you build credit. To see if you're ready to pay a monthly credit card bill, total up all of your expenses month to month, and find the average. Then, see if you can save that amount every month. But the best way to get started is to find out as much information as you can. If you think you're ready for a credit card, then you need to figure out which card will be best for you.

Are you ready? Put your credit card knowledge to the test with this quiz!

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Airbnb is a great option while traveling, but you should protect yourself from damage charges from unscrupulous hosts.

Airbnb offers an affordable option for people looking to be more comfortable as they travel.

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And while most reputable hotels will have regular room inspections from staff to check for any wear and tear, Airbnb damage disputes are oftentimes he said, she said situations. If you are in an Airbnb and something breaks, there are a few steps you should take in order to ensure that you are not on the hook for damages out of your control.

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Long gone are the days when the majority of Americans dreamed about owning a home with a white picket fence.

The traditional American Dream may be on its deathbed, but that doesn't mean a core component of the vision can't survive. It simply takes a diverse perspective. People can still believe they can attain their own vision of success in society with hard work, knowledge, and risk-taking. Investing in today's American Dream may literally mean investing money in our modern economy, starting with our infrastructure.

Real estate investing in particular is a lucrative method that can boost income and secure a better financial future for many. There's always risk involved, but the payoffs can far outweigh the uncertainty. Selecting solid financial investments is about confidence and competence. If you're looking for some advice on this kind of investment, here are a few savvy tips for new real estate investors.

Stick To a Specific Strategy or Niche

Real estate is a challenging sphere of the business world, one that requires several key skills: groundwork knowledge, networking, perseverance, and organization. True knowledge of the real estate market will come with time and experience, but it's a smart idea to select one area of the market and stick to it. This is the best way to attain in-depth familiarity with your specific niche.

First, choose a geographical area close by and then a niche strategy within it, such as house flips, rental rehabs, or residential or commercial properties. By doing so, you can become aware of current inner working conditions in the market and you'll have a better idea of how these trends may change in the future.

Be Vigilant About Viable Financing Options

While it takes money to make money, you don't have to use all your own money. A common misconception about real estate investing is that you must be wealthy to start off. This isn't straight fact, however. A majority of people can test the waters of real estate investing without a lot of initial cash in their pocket.

Aside from traditional financing options from banks and institutions, private lending options can be worthy solutions. Hard money lenders are popular, reasonable choices, and they tend to have fewer qualification requirements upfront. However, be sure to strategically choose a hard money lender to find the best possible fit.

Master the Art of Finding Good Deals

There may be hundreds of thousands of available properties for sale on the current market, but the bulk of them will never amount to the final money-making result you desire. Another great tip for new real estate investors is to use good math to estimate profit. Taking risks is part of the process, but you have the ability to analyze properties and use networking sources to find the greatest deal. You can't win every deal, but you can steadily work towards a thriving financial future.