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My Cash Back Strategy – 3rd Quarter 2016

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I guess I should give a disclaimer before starting this post: This is not a strategy if you can’t control your spending. If your mindset is “credit cards” is like free money, skip this post. Come back to it when you feel you’re more responsible.

I’ll make no secret of it. I love credit card products. I have quite a few of them, totaling over $68,000 of credit. My favorite type of reward is cash back. Some cards of a rotational feature in which each quarter gives you different categories of products to buy.

In order for me to remember which credit card is offering what and when, I keep a note and carry only those cards on me to make my purchases. I do this because of the cash back rewards, which I use to build up my savings.

Below is my credit card strategy for this quarter:

Credit Card Rewards July – September 2016

Card Cash Back Stores
Chase Freedom

5%

Restaurants, Costco
Discover iT

5%

Home Depot, Amazon
AMEX BCEP

6%

Grocery Stores
AMEX BCEP

3%

Gas Stations
AMEX BCEP

3%

Department Stores
AMEX Schwab

1.5%

Everything Else

I use my American Express Schwab card for pretty much every purchase unless there’s something else that will earn me higher cash back. The American Express Schwab card is linked to my Schwab brokerage account so any cash back earned during the month is automatically dumped into my account. I don’t have to worry about making a transfer to my bank. With my other cards, I wait until I have at least $25, then I redeem for the cash back rewards and dump it into my savings account.

Not only do I earn rewards that go towards my safety net fund, I get any other benefits that card provides. With American Express, that usually means extended manufacturer’s warranties and rental car insurance.

Yes, a few of my cards of annual fees, but the cash back I earn is more than enough to cover it. I know the credit card companies offer this hoping that it’s customer’s run a balance and pay them interest. That’s not the game I’m going to play however. I pay my bills in full when they are due because I live below my means and use credit responsibly.

As long as credit card companies continue to give away free money, I’ll take advantage of it. I’m able to stack more dollars with this strategy.

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