As a recent graduate from Messiah College, I am constantly looking for good deals and ways to cut costs to increase the amount of money I can save. I am a saver who is also very fiscally conservative (even though you may think the method that I will spell out in this blog is the opposite of fiscal conservatism). The easiest and most sure fire way to increase the amount of money you put back into your wallet is to apply and use credit cards that have great cash back rewards.
Before you dismiss this idea altogether as fiscally liberal or irresponsible, let me explain. One of the first rules in using this method to fatten your wallet is that you need to pay off the bill on time, so that you are charged zero interest. With the ever increasing use of mobile devices with increasingly easy to use apps, the ease of tracking your finances has become “idiot proof”. Personally, I use apps like Mint.com to track all of my accounts so I know at a glance where my account balances stand. I also have an app for each credit card that I can pay my balance through the app and see when my statement becomes available. If you continually pay off the balance on time, you will receive basically a short-term loan with zero interest, but the way it puts money back into your wallet is through great cash back programs.
The credit cards you want to apply for are ones that gives great cash back percentages, as well as having zero yearly fees so that you will always be in the black without having to use the cards for many large purchases. Additionally, look for credit cards that have bonus cash back for using the card for the first time. This is an easy $25 that you get for simply swiping your card once.
At this point, I know some may argue that the cash back programs entice you to spend more than you would otherwise, but I feel this is unfounded. It is unfounded because the cash back programs I enroll in are for things that I need on a continual basis like food and gas. I would still be buying these items, but receiving no cash back for them. I use a total of four credit cards that I use in different situations for different purchases. For gas, groceries, and restaurants I get 5% cash back while using different cards. For all other purchases, I use another card that gives me 1.5% cash.
While each purchase does not equate to a large number, over the span of a year, it can truly add up. For instance, the average family of four will spend $200 a week which is $10,400 a year in groceries (reference: USA Today). At 5% cash back, this gives you an extra $520 dollars in your wallet and that is not even considering cash back on gas and regular purchases. This easy to implement plan will increase the money in your wallet. At the end of the day, who doesn’t like that?
Author – Chris Wagoner