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Credit Cards Can Be Rewarding

Responsible credit card use can reap some big benefits.    They are a great way to earn rewards for purchases you are already making.  There are lots of different credit cards with rewards like cash back, gift cards, store rewards and coupons, and airline miles.

Credit cards have been very rewarding for us.  I have personally been using credit cards since I turned 18 and have never, ever charged anything to a card that I could not pay off immediately. 

The key to success and getting the benefits of credit cards is to outsmart them!  Credit card companies can give you cash back because statistics show the majority of card users are carrying a monthly balance, paying interest and late fees.  You can reap the rewards without ever paying your card company a dime!

A few years ago my husband and I searched for the credit card with the best rewards for us.  They are all vastly different and you really have to read the fine print.  Since we own a business, we selected the American Express Simply Cash Business Rewards Card, but there were others we liked including Discover.

The American Express Simply Cash Business card rewards us with cash back on our purchases.  We earn 5% on office supplies, 5% on wireless (cell phones), 3% on gas, and 1% everywhere else. The rewards we earn this month come off our bill next month.  The more you use it for regular everday purchases, the more you get back.

We use the card for almost everything to reap these benefits: 
  • We have redirected all of our bills to the card.  Electric, phone, internet, you name it.  We're earning 5-1% cash back in places we'd already shaved money off.
  • We're earning 3% cash back on gas.  Every bit counts!
  • Our reward is automatic cash that comes off our next bill.
  • We've consolidated bill paying and spend less time paying bills seperately.
  • We find it easier to balance our checking account with most of our transactions going onto the card.
  • We never miss a utility bill payment, therefore never paying late fees.
  • To keep our card secure, we write "See Photo I.D." on the signature line.  This way cashiers must ask for identification and if the card is stolen it is useless.
We are very careful about our credit card spending and don't put any charges on the card for which we don't currently have the money for.  We pay our bill off as soon as it comes, every single month.  The total bill is almost the same each month because our monthly expenses are similar.  If we add anything extra to the card, we keep track of it.

Since we got the card three years ago we have saved between $25 and $60 each month on our normal everyday expenses we redirected to the card.  Using the card for extra purchases and while on vacation has saved us more.  Over three years we have saved $1561.10, and paid nothing in interest or late fees.

There are lots of rewards cards out there.  If you are looking for one, make sure to get a card with no fees.  Pay your entire bill off each month and don't spend money you don't have.  Discover Card has some good options, allowing you to choose cash back or gift cards.  Be sure to research fully and read the fine print!

I am aware that credit card use is not popular in some circles, especially with those who follow Dave Ramsey.  I certainly would not promote or suggest credit card use to anyone who can't control their spending, buys impulsively or misuses credit cards.  If you are deeply in debt, credit cards are not the way to go.  Credit cards are not responsible for putting people in debt, PEOPLE are.  It works for us and it saves us money. 

Do you use credit cards for the benefit of rewards?  Go ahead and tell us!

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Nicole said...

We have a Mastercard through Sheetz and my husband charges all his purchases on it, but I keep track so the bill can be paid in full each month. We rack up points towards gift cards, DVD's etc. I have a JC Penney card to get coupons in the mail, too.

Lori said...

I have been using a rewards card for years. Everything, even a cup of coffee, goes on the card! I also have never paid a penny in interest or late fees. Right now I'm using the Bank Of America Cash Rewards Visa and if I let the rewards accumulate to $300 I get an extra 25% back, making it $375. Since my mortgage is also with BAC I have the rewards directly applied to my principal.


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