Mr. R and I are all about saving money, and making money, wherever we can. One major way we make “extra “money is by using our credit cards for everything. Seriously, we ALMOST NEVER use our debit card or cash to pay for anything.
Now, the title may seem a little misleading, but it’s really not. We use our credit cards, and we make money! How? By making sure we are using them wisely and only using cards with rewards and cash back programs.
We made a monthly budget and know what our monthly costs are from household utilities to date night expenses. Having the budget down ensures we won’t over spend and get hit with interest charges for not paying the entire monthly statement down to zero- and this is a big key here, because we only spend on credit cards what we can pay off at the end of the month. We never have to pay interest if we never carry a balance.
So, once our budget is in place, we pay absolutely everything we can with our credit cards! Some bills we are forced to use or checking out to pay, but EVERYTHING else goes on our cards. And I mean everything, including gas, groceries, water bill, cell phone, internet, movie night, etc.
Below, I’ve broken down the cards WE personally use, and about how much money we make each year. Now, I know there are TONS of other options for cards out there, but I’m only including the ones I can personally vouch for below. And the screenshots you see and amounts in rewards you see are ACTUAL screenshots taken this week from our accounts.
- Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: $171.42 for 2016, $50.54 currently for 2017. This card is great because you can earn up to 4% cash back gas (which is a pretty big deal), 3% at restaurants, THIS IS A BIG ONE FOR US 2% on any purchase at Costco, and 1% on everything else. We just received our voucher from Costco and it was for $171.42 for last year! This year, in February, we are already sitting at $50.54!
- American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card: $142 in 2016, $42 currently for 2017. This card has no annual fee and it is FANTASTIC FOR BIG PURCHASES because if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months you will get $100 credit. Another reason this card stands out is promotion offers that include 15 months of absolutely NO INTEREST on any purchases, so we jumped on this promotion and purchased last years Disney trip. Lastly, 3% back at supermarkets! Every family can appreciate that! You can also cash out (in cash) or get a credit towards your statement.
- Chase Freedom: Average $500/year (2 Cards, Cele’s points average $350/year and mine $150/year) This card GIVES $150 for spending only $500 within the first 3 months! Anyone with a family can reach that $500 within 3 months mark just on grocery store visits. BUT THE MAIN REASON we have this card is for the promotional 5% cash back offers that roll out every quarter. The offers change every quarter but I guarantee they are always on useful things, like gas, groceries, and around Christmas time Amazon and department stores! You have to enroll every quarter to get the 5% cash back, but you better believe it is worth it every time!
- Chase Slate: This card does not give cash back but it does give 0% INTEREST FOR 15 MONTHS AND $0 BALANCE TRANSFER FEE on any transfer from another account (can’t be a Chase account). Mr. R loves this card because every month they give a FREE credit score and report. The report shows why your credit score is what it is and gives advice on who to improve your score! It has been extremely helpful allowing us to better understand how credit is evaluated and how to get your score to go up fast!
So, in 2016, our GRAND TOTAL for how much money we made in rewards JUST from using credit cards was $813.42!! That’s literally free money, just for using credit cards!
Other tips and tricks for using your credit cards to the fullest:
- 0% interest + balance transfers: This comes in handy when we have a large purchase we need to make (take our Disney World trip, for example). We will put it on any of our credit cards that are offering a 0% APR for 12 or 18 months. Each month, we pay just a small amount (but always more than the minimum balance). Now, when it comes time for that 12 or 18 months to be up, you should have made a dent in that balance. You’ll have to decide if you want to pay it off (you should have been preparing to pay it off by that date anyway) or if you happen to get another 0% APR offer, see if they will offer a free balance transfer, as well. This will help get you more months to gather the money to pay it off and help you breathe a little easier.
- I will say, you need some personal willpower to be able to do this!! Having credit cards puts a lot of spending power in your hands, so before trying this, make sure you are ready to resist the urge to overspend and ready to only use these cards according to your budget!
So tell me: Do you use credit cards? If so, are they points cards?