Nobody likes the word budget; however, sometimes there are ways to “expand” your budget. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner we thought we would share one of our favorite budget expansion tricks.
Credit card points and rewards!
Use your credit card responsibly all year long. Responsibly means at the end of each month your credit card should have a $0.00 balance. Only put on what you can pay off. Another good idea is to put any recurring automated payments (utilities/bills/gym) on your credit card; you’re going to have to pay them no matter what. So why not get some points and rewards from those pesky bills.
- Get a card that matches your interests
- Do you want a free flight or money for your Amazon addiction? Make sure you are picking a card that will give you rewards that you can and want to use.
- Gift timing
- If you are going to use your credit card rewards to order gifts or gift cards for your friends and family, do it sooner than later. These usually take a few weeks for arrival which means no last minute shopping!
- Cash back!
- This is a favorite of many but missed by many as well. Go holiday shopping for your family and friends, and then use your cash back to pay for the bill that month. For example, spend $700 on gifts and then use $450 of your cash back rewards to pay it down. New balance is $250, beautiful!
- Credit cards are getting better with this today; however, some cards still have points that expire. Keep an eye on your point expiration, especially if you haven’t used them ever or for a few years. If you can make this an annual tradition, you shouldn’t have to worry about any expiration problems.
- Credit Cards work better in smaller numbers
- Get one or two credit cards and use them only. You don’t need ten credit cards and if you’re not using them actively, you’re hurting your credit score anyway. The best way to take advantage of credit card points and rewards is to only use one or two cards throughout the year. This will allow you to build up more points for better rewards.
- On a side note: With cybercrime and identify theft, it is much easier to track two credit cards rather than ten cards. Make sure you are checking your transactions, especially at this time of year.
Hopefully many of you will be able to take advantage of your credit card points and rewards this holiday season. Or begin the journey for next year’s shopping extravaganza. Please remember to use your card responsibly! There is a reason why it’s very easy (too easy) to get a credit card in today’s world; they know they can take advantage of consumers by charging insanely high interest rates!
Have a wonderful and safe turkey holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!