Thrifty Thursday: Use Your Credit Card, Part 1

That’s right. The title of this post says to “use your credit card.” I must say that with a word of caution, though. If you are one of those people who cannot control yourself and have an unhealthy obsession with the way your credit card sounds as you swipe it in the machine at the store, then this tip might not be for you.

However, if you are one of those perfectionist, Type A personalities who can’t stand for her bills not to be paid in full each month, then you could really make some money by using your credit card.

First, make sure your credit card has some kind of rewards program. Sometimes these programs are in the form of airline miles, points, or actual cash, among other things. If your card does not have a program like this, I would strongly consider getting rid of it and finding one that does. There are tons of cards out there that offer incentives for you to use them. One thing to be sure of, though, is that they do not have an annual fee. Some credit cards do still have these, so be sure to clarify that a card does not have one before signing up for one.

After you have applied and been accepted for your new card, then you can start accumulating rewards. We charge almost everything and get quite a bit of money back through these rewards program. Then, once you have accumulated a certain number of points, cash, or whatever, you can often redeem them for money or gift cards (or whatever the company’s incentive happens to be).

The key to this is that you DO have to pay the credit card bill in full each month. If you don’t, then the credit card companies win, folks. If you cannot (or know you will not) pay off your bill in full each month, then I would not recommend doing this. This only works if you pay it off each month, and that means you have to keep track of how much you have charged. No, you can’t just go out on a shopping spree with your brand new shiny card and swipe it anywhere you please. Check out your purchases online and make sure you know how much you have on the card and how much you can reasonably pay off each month.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out how we make hundreds of dollars each year doing this!

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