People basically throwing money away is something that is tough for me to handle. I try to educate as many people as possible about how to make money while spending money but some people just do not get it. I am not going to say I have things completely figured out but I do get hundreds and hundreds of dollars back each year from rewards on credit cards. Use credit cards INSTEAD of cash! One of my favorite credit cards paid me 500 dollars for spending 3,000 dollars in the first three months. I also pay NOTHING to pull money out of any ATM ANYWHERE in the world. Picking the right credit/ debit card is an important money saving decision and can result in a pretty good payday for using it to get things your are going to buy anyways.
As far as rewards go there are many different rewards companies offer including cash back, gift cards, airline miles or cash back on merchandise in a specific store. I have friends that are hung up on racking airline miles for one or two points a mile (essentially 1-2% cash back) when they could easily get themselves a card that pays one to five points per dollar depending on rewards for that quarter (1-5% back). Typically, the things you buy that pay 5% back are things you buy a lot of like gas, groceries, drugstores, restaurants, etc. Here are the cards I recommend.
Chase Freedom Credit Card – This is by far the best card out there and the only one I would use if I didn’t travel so much. The card pays you 10 cents for every transaction and one to five cents per dollar you spend there after. This means if you go buy a bolt for 16 cents and you use your card your are only paying 6 cents! Or if you go to McDonalds and order one thing off the dollar menu it is turns into the 90 cent menu! Thats a 10% savings! Also for this quarter the chase freedom card pays 5 cents additional for every dollar spend at gas stations, drugstores, and Starbucks! So instead of paying $3 per gallon on gas I only pay $2.85 per gallon! And I get 10 cents just for deciding to use it!
Chase Safire Preferred – This is my go to card while out of the country and even while in it. It is a phenomenal traveling card because you do not get charged foreign traction fees. Foreign transaction fees really add up while traveling especially at 4%. Also if I need to cancel a trip that I booked with the card I get reimbursed. If I rent a car they cover the collision insurance. Rewards are not the best but not bad. 1% one everything except 2% back on restaurants, airfare, hotels, rental cars, taxis, and cruises. One of my favorite things is when I call them for any reason I do not get a recording! It’s a real person! Unfortunately this card costs me $95 a year but since I spent $3,000 on it in the first three months on rent and other living expenses I got $500 back! That should cover me for a few years.
Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking – This is a good card for every day life and traveling alike. It is a card that will reimburse you for taking money out of any ATM anywhere in the world. This means if the ATM company charges you $2 or $3 dollars to take out cash, Charles Schwab Bank reimburses your at the end of the month. You also do not get charged a currency conversion fee or foreign transaction fee like most other cards. This is really a great thing because I know a lot of people who travel a lot and get charged $15 dollars to take money out so they take out their maximum allowed each time. Walking around with that much cash in some of the places I travel is a poor decision but luckily I can just take out enough for a day or two and not have as much of a risk.
I have a few other cards but they are nothing special and I travel with them just as backups in case I get robbed. Now using credit cards can get people intro trouble. If you are going to use a credit card for everything you have to see the credit card as a debit card. This means only buy things that you have the money to pay for. It cannot be seen as a way of accessing money you do not have. That is a dangerous and irresponsible way of using the card. Use it responsibly and you will get thousands and thousands of dollars back over the upcoming years just as I have.
Of the three cards listed here I highly recommend getting the Chase Freedom and the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking. One last example on the Chase Freedom Credit Card. If I bought 50 dollars of regular priced gas and used my Chase Freedom card I would only pay $47.40 where if I were to use an airline card at 1 mile per dollar I would essentially be paying $49.50 or at 2 miles per dollar I would pay $49. You gotta ask yourself: Do you want a 5% discount on gas or do you want to use cash and pay full price? Happy buying!