Free money, what?!?! Yes, you heard right. There are lots of credit cards out there offering reward systems of some kind. With a little bit of research, and a little bit of planning, you could be earning free money on all of your everyday purchases.
Which credit card do I need?
- First, you will want to determine what kind of reward you would like to receive.
- Cash reward
- Airline reward
- Points/ cash that you can redeem at your favorite website
- Fuel reward
- Second, you will want to make sure that the card you choose will actually have the Visa/Mastercard/Discover logo so that you can use it anywhere that you go. You do not want a “store” card because that will limit where you can use the card.
- Next, you will want to read all of the fine print on the credit card offer. You do NOT want a card that has an annual fee, a monthly usage fee, or any membership fees. Fees = less free money!
- You can dig even deeper and compare what % back you get at certain locations. One card may pay you 3% back on purchases made at pharmacies, and only 1% at gas stations. Well, if you never go to the pharmacy, but you are always filling your car up with gas, this card might not be a good fit for you. Optimize the reward you will be getting based on your current spending habits.
How do I use my credit card?
Spend away!!! No not really…. Please do not go out and get yourself in a bunch of credit card debt! Now that we have established you AREN’T going to go crazy with your spending, what are you going to do?
- Use your credit card as if it was your debit card. TRACK YOUR SPENDING!
- Do you currently use a check registry? Keep using it.
- Do you check your account balance regularly online? Your new credit card company has a website where you can set up an account and view your account transactions and balance regularly.
- Know your credit card’s billing cycle. Ex: Purchases made Nov. 15th through December 14th will be due on January 10th.
- Start small. Decide that for your first month you are only going to use your card for gasoline purchases.
- Ex: You are currently spending $200 a month in gas. Do not put more than $200 on that credit card during your card’s billing cycle.
- Use your normal tracking method.
- Leave the money that you would normally spend in your bank account.
- When your statement comes, write a check for $200 to the credit card company.
- See your reward be posted to your account! FREE MONEY, YAY!
How do I earn more of a reward faster?
So you’ve gotten the hang of using your credit card and not your debit card on gasoline purchases, but your reward isn’t racking up very fast. What can you do?
- It’s time to step it up and use your credit card for all the purchases that you can within your monthly budget.
- Will companies that you previously paid with a check take a credit card payment without any penalties?
- Have you optimized the categories/ locations that your card is offering the most reward for?
I personally earn between $10 and $20 dollars a month that I can redeem on Amazon’s website. I let it build up, and by the next time someone’s birthday or anniversary rolls around, I have enough reward dollars to get that person a great gift with no money out of pocket.
So go out there and grab that free money! Happy responsible spending!