Thrifty Thursday: Use Your Credit Card, Part 2

So I promised that I would explain how we make hundreds of dollars a year using our credit card. We have a ridiculous amount of credit cards, so it does take some amount of organization to be sure they are all paid on time. First of all, we have 4 major credit cards:

1. Discover – You automatically get 1% back on everything you use the card for. Also, quarterly, they have special cashback opportunities that allow you to get 5% back on whatever the deal is that quarter. For example, they may offer 5% cashback if you use your card to buy gas, at the grocery store, at a drug store, at a home improvement store, etc. for a few months. A couple ways you can redeem your cashback are by applying it to your bill or requesting gift cards to partner companies. One month, we had over $100 in cashback and we used $90 to get 2 $50 gift cards. One was to Kohl’s and one was to Buffalo Wild Wings. Some of the companies offer gift card amounts for less cash than the cards are worth. For example, you can get a $50 gift card for only $45 in cashback.

2. Citicard – This is similar to Discover in that you always get 1% back on everything you use the card for, and quarterly, you can get 5% back on certain things. Like Discover, it changes every few months. I usually redeem my cash for its full value and get an actual check in the mail, though you have to have $50 to redeem it and request the check.

3. Sandals Bank of America – This card accrues points every time you use it. If we use the card at a Sandals resort, we receive double the points. We typically put the bulk of our expenses on this card and it accrues points fairly quickly. We usually cash this out when we have an extra expense that we weren’t expecting. It often helps to soften the blow a little when those things come up. You can have the money applied to your account or even directly deposited into your bank account.

4. Capitol One – We only use this card when we go out of the country, because it is one of the few cards we have found that doesn’t charge a fee for currency conversions when we are travelling somewhere that does not use US dollars.

In addition to the major credit cards, we have store credit cards. If you shop at a particular store often, it might be worth looking into. For example, Target offers 5% off everything if you use their credit card when you shop there. You also get free shipping when you shop online. Kohl’s sends out numerous coupons and Kohl’s Cash opportunities to people who use their credit card while shopping there.

Again, I do have to stress that you do have to pay off each credit card bill in full each month for this to be worth your while. As you can see, each card that you have comes with a new deadline and one more thing to keep track of, so just be aware of how much you can really handle and how much you can spend each month on each card and still be able to pay them off.

There are tons of other cards out there. The ones listed above just happen to be the ones I am most familiar with. What others have you used that have offered rewards?

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