Up until a few years ago, I only had 2 credit cards to my name, not because my credit is crappy, but to just keep it simple. I really only ever used 1 of those cards though. It was my Discover Card, my oldest credit card. I liked the 1% cash back and I was just used to how the site worked.
Fast forward a few years later, I now have 5 cards, and closed out 1 of my old cards because it offered little in the way of benefits I could use. I realized that I was missing out on free money that I can get from my credit cards by not exploring new options. One day when logged into my bank account I checked the offers. It was to get a credit card with decent benefits, and I would get $200 cash back after charging $500 in 3 months. So here is how I now like to maximize my benefits from the use of my credit cards and what’s in my wallet.
Looking at my most common purchases, I see that I typically buy gas, groceries, and shop online. I have opened credit cards to maximize this type of spending.
The cards that I have in my wallet are Discover, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Amazon Visa, and TD Bank Visa.
Looking at the calendar for Discover, in 2020, I will get 5% cash back on grocery store purchases in Q1, Gas in Q2, Restaurants and PayPal in Q3, and Amazon, Walmart.com and Target.com in Q4. 1% for all other purchases.
For Chase Freedom, in Q1 2020 I will get 5% cash back on gas and phone bills. The rest of the year is unknown, but based on 2019, there should be a quarter of 5% for groceries, home improvement stores, paypal, and another for gas. All other purchases will be 1%. They also gave me $200 after spending $500 in 3 months.
Chase freedom unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on everything. They gave me $200 after spending $500 in 3 months.
TD Bank Visa offers 1.5% cash back and a 10% bonus if redeemed into my brokerage account, so effectively 1.65%. I also have no foreign transaction fees with this card.
For my Amazon Visa, I get 3% cash back on Amazon purchases, 2% on gas and restaurants, 1% on all other purchases. I received a $50 credit. (they actually offer 5% on amazon purchases for prime members).
Basically with my credit card set up, I can get 5% cash back throughout the year on gas for the car for 9 months. In the 1 quarter I won’t get 5%, I can get 2%.
For groceries, I can get 5% cash back for half the year. What I do for the other half of the year is load up on grocery store gift cards in the quarter I can get 5% and use those gift cards during the none 5% part of the year.
When shopping online, if the retailer accepts paypal, I can get 5% cashback for half the year. You just need to update your paypal account to show the primary card being the 5% card for the quarter.
When eating out, I can get 5% cash back for half the year, and 2% for the other half. Although, I am looking to spend less on eating out this year.
What about all of the gaps in the year where I can’t get 5% or even 2% cash back? That’s where the TD Bank Visa comes into play and I am able to get 1.65% cash back.
The fourth quarter is an interesting time of year. I don’t really feel the need to buy things, so I can for the most part delay purchases. It just so happens in Q4 I can get 5% with Amazon and Walmart.com purchases. This is the quarter that I mostly do my shopping. It also is the time of year for the best deals, so a double whammy of discounts.
This leaves out the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I hardly use it, except when I feel sorry for the card.
With the above cards, and a little timing, I feel I am able to maximize my cash back on a lot of regular purchases I need to do anyways.
What are your favorite cards and rewards?Follow me on the social medias:
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