Showing posts with label credit card. Show all posts
Showing posts with label credit card. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quick Tip Thursday: Your Next Reward Card...Citi Double Cash

One of our blog's original posts was entitled: "The Plastic Debate". This article is a little controversial because I advocate for the use of a reward credit card. We historically have used, and have been happy with the Chase Freedom Card. This card is great because it offers 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% cash back (on up to $1,500) on purchases in promotional categories quarterly such as gas, groceries, Amazon, etc. It's pretty good! (A trend you may see in the financial posts is that I am big on playing the "Percentage Game". That is also why we decided to ditch our savings account for high interest checking accounts.)

However, it is just that...pretty good. You are potentially limited by the rewards you can incur with the $1,500 limit and the 1% is pretty standard. We still have the card and use it for the quarterly promotions but have stopped using it to pay our bills and everyday purchases that we usually use a credit card for, and here's why.

The Citi Double Cash is our new GO TO credit card. This card gives 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay your bill, resulting in 2% cash back. In effect, doubling your cash back that you would get for non-promotional purchases with Chase. DOUBLE! (I guess that is why it is called Double Cash

The application process was easy to do online and the card came quickly. (Disclaimer: please be advised that canceling and opening credit cards does affect your credit score.We have great credit scores and don't plan on buying anything that needs a credit score in the near future so we were fine with potentially lower our scores)

It took some time but we changed all of our automatic online bills to pay with the Citi Double Cash card. Although it initially takes some time and energy it pays off because we effortlessly make double the money by paying the same bills we would have paid with the Chase card, aka FREE MONEY!

So now we use the Citi Double Cash credit card for everyday purchases and for paying bills and only use our Chase card when the promotional quarter works for us. For example, last quarter it was groceries so we still used our Chase card for all of our grocery shopping. 

Of course, all of this goes with your ability to spend with a credit card as if it is cash. A lot of  time research shows that a lot of people over spend when using credit cards, which would defeat the whole purpose of getting cash back.

On an slightly different note, I encourage you not to use credit cards when supporting small local businesses because they get charged service fees, thus reducing their profit.

HUGE SIDE NOTE: I finally found an alternative to my bulky wallet for carrying my money and credit  cards. It is the EZGO wallet. It floats, holds up to 15 bills, 8 cards, 2 micro sd cards, and an sd card. It is light, thin and durable. My Chiropractor also approves!

My final recommendation for those who use credit cards appropriately would be to ONLY use Chase Freedom for promotional category purchases and use your Citi Double Cash for everything else.

Feel free to comment with what reward cards you are using and what you like/dislike. 

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Plastic Debate...

So as a money saver I do enjoy catching Dave Ramsey on the radio from time to time to hear what he has to say. Obviously, this guy has some aspects of his program that really work for people. If you do not know who he is you can check him out here: He's all about becoming debt free, and in general, I agree with his message!

One aspect I have heard of his program on the radio is to have people stay away from plastic, i.e. credit cards and debit cards. There is a ton of research that states that people do tend to spend more compulsively when using plastic and I believe it in terms of the general public. However, there are some great advantages to using plastic as well.


1) Instead of cayring a bunch of cash around it is much safer to carry around a card or two. If stolen or lost you can deactivate them and they are widely accepted.

2) Many credit cards and debit cards offer reward programs. For me, I make around $50/month in credit card rewards depending on what type of promotion is offered for the particular month. Right now the 5% cash back with my Chase card is for groceries and I am going to buy those regardless. The Chase Freedom card has worked very well for us

3) If you have a disputed charge with a credit card you can simply call the company and they are likely to work with you. For example, friends of ours bought furniture from Ashley furniture that arrived damaged. They returned the furniture Ashley wouldn't work for them on a full refund After calling Chase our friend's payment was stopped and they were not charged.

4) It is really the only safe way to make purchases online and there are vast savings to be had on the world wide web.

5) With some rewards programs you can get gift certificates worth more than the cash back would be worth which are great for when you need to eat out when traveling or giving as gifts.

6) It builds credit if you use them responsibly.

7) It is easy to save purchase information by just checking your account on-line or on an app on your phone. For me this organizational ability great.

Some tips for not overspending using credit cards.

1) NEVER CARRY A BALANCE!!! I went all caps there on purpose. It defeats the whole purpose if you are using it as a payday loan.

2) Move cash from one account to another as you make purchases. Have the second account set up as the automatic payment account for your credit card and then you are only spending cash that you do have.

3) Pay monthly bills that have to be paid anyway automatically with credit cards. Heat and electricity are prime examples. You might as well take the kick back that you would not get if paying out of your checking account.

4)Do not keep it in your wallet if you are a super compulsive shopper. Bring it with you for outings to the grocery store and only buy items that are on your list.

5) Have only a couple of credit cards that are different. Do not get two different Visa cards as they may not both be accepted everywhere. I personally break this rule a little as I have two credit cards that are Visas and two debit cards that are Master Card (more to come on the debit cards later).

All in all, for the right user credit cards are great secure ways to make purchases. Like anything, they do take some will power. For me personally, I feel it just as much if I swipe the card as if I pay cash because I know and understand that they are all coming from the same pot of money. If your self control is in place credit cards can actually be a way to save money and work on becoming more frugal!

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