Author Cynthia Drake

Cynthia Drake

Cynthia Drake is a freelance writer who grew up hearing lots of savings mantras, such as, "Watch the pennies, and the dollars take care of themselves," from her dad. She loves uncovering quirky, offbeat financial stories, whether it's credit card designs that never made it to market or the latest tips for wrapping a gift card.

Cynthia Drake's stories for

Travel hacks guide: How to become a points hacker using credit cards -- Enticed by the prospect of earning and redeeming rewards but intimidated by the rules? Fret not. Travel experts shared their tips for becoming a 'points hacker.' Here's how to do it. ... (See Rewards guide: From clueless cardholder to points hacker)

Lost your credit card overseas?: Here are your next steps -- Do you know what to do if your credit card is stolen or lost while traveling abroad? Fret not. These tips will help you reduce the impact of losing your card overseas and obtain a card replacement. ... (See Lost, stolen credit card while traveling abroad)

How to spend your next long airport layover -- Who said getting stuck at an airport for a few hours in between flights has to be a drag? These travel-expert tips, and your card perks, have you covered. ... (See Tips for a long layover)

How to accept credit cards at your next garage sale -- Mobile payments have made cash-only garage sales a thing of the past. ... (See Credit cards at garage sales)

Hard inquiries: How they work when you apply for credit -- Our experts explain how much they hurt your credit score and how long they linger on your report ... (See Hard inquiry)

Charity gift cards let recipient donate to favorite cause -- They make philanthropy easy, but our survey finds many have large fees ... (See Charity gift cards)

Secure, or not? Assess the risk before sending credit card info -- We asked Internet security experts to rate the common methods of sending credit card information to see which pose the greatest risks ... (See Data risk)

Moving out? Don't forget about the credit cards -- Relocation is stressful enough without having it damage your credit. With a bit of planning, you can maintain your sanity -- and your credit score ... (See Moving and credit)

The hidden costs of 'cashless' cruising -- Many cruise ships have gone to a cashless system onboard, but travelers should be wary: With cash out of sight, you can quickly go overboard on charges ... (See Cashless cruises)

Credit cards and high art: Artists draw inspiration from plastic -- Five innovative artists reveal the motivations and messages behind their work -- and how to properly mangle a card for artistic effect ... (See Credit cards and high art)

8 creative credit card designs that flopped -- In this slideshow, we look at eight creative credit card designs that failed to find their place in wallets across America -- and some that never even made it out of the lab ... (See Failed card designs)

No more 'no receipt, no return'? -- In an era of paperless billing and smartphone payments, a paper receipt seems passe. While some companies embrace no-receipt returns, others staunchly hold to their ?no receipt; no return? policies ... (See No-receipt return policies)

What if Americans paid the national debt with plastic? -- If every American pitched in and helped pay the national debt with his or her own credit card, just how much would it cost each of us? This calculator will tell you ... (See National debt calculator)

Study: For some, prepaid card is better deal than a checking account -- With costs on the rise in the banking industry, a recent study found that prepaid cards might be a sound financial decision for people - even outpacing checking accounts in some cases. ... (See Prepaid card vs. checking)

You are not your credit score: Credit and self-esteem -- A low credit score can be a devastating blow to a person's self-esteem, but by changing your focus and taking small steps to distance yourself from your score, you can minimize the impact of those three digits on your psyche ... (See Credit and self-esteem)

Video: No more naked gift cards -- Amp up the wow factor when you give gift cards this Christmas.'s Cynthia Drake -- on a mission to rid the world of naked gift cards -- presents three fun, simple ideas for jazzing up those gift cards this year. ... (See Video)

15 fun, easy ways to wrap gift cards -- Amp up the 'wow' factor when giving gift cards this holiday season. All it takes it a little creativity -- and a personal touch ... (See Fun, easy ways to wrap gift cards)

5 scary credit card situations -- and how to deal with them -- Even if you're too old for the usual Halloween thrills and chills this year, there's still potential for plenty of spookiness ... lurking right inside your wallet ... (See Credit scares)

10 things NOT to do when you apply for a credit card -- When applying for a credit card, doing any of these 10 things could hurt your chances of getting approved ... (See Credit don'ts)

3 credit score success stories, and what they can teach you -- More people are finding that, with patience and discipline, you can move that score from the depths to the stratosphere. Here are tips from three people who've seen big jumps in their credit scores. ... (See Credit score)

Video: How to accept credit cards at your next garage sale -- Garage sales are usually old fashioned and low-tech, but if you're selling a high-priced item such as a flat screen TV or an elliptical machine, that might not be good enough. Here are some tips that can help you accept credit cards at your garage sale. ... (See Garage sale)

Magnetic mysteries: 6 answers about magnets' impact on credit cards -- Can cell phones erase the data on a credit card's magnetic stripe? How about MRI machines or those magnets that keep your purse closed? We took these questions and others to a physics professor in search of the truth. ... (See Magnet)

Can a magnet really make your credit card not work? -- Will your card become unreadable if it's exposed to magnets? In a previous story, we said yes, but many of you begged to differ. Seeing that, we took the challenge of clearing things up once and for all. The results surprised us. ... (See Magnet)

A consumer's guide to reading junk mail -- You may think you're already a pro at sorting out junk mail, but today, with the stakes higher, the rules changing and some bills arriving in disguise, you may need a refresher on recycling, a crash course on trash. ... (See Junk mail)

How to safely, securely destroy a credit card: 6 tips -- With credit card fraud and identity theft on the rise, a single scissor snip won't cut it anymore. ... (See Destroy)

Top 10 creative ways to wrap gift cards -- The solution for gift-card lovers or skeptics comes in the form of thinking outside the box -- the ubiquitous, gift card-sized gift card box, that is -- and in getting creative ... (See Gift card wrapping ideas)

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Updated: 06-27-2019