One of the warnings that personal finance gurus often give is “be very careful with your use of credit cards”! I’ve said it myself and the reason why is that so many of us are just so damned cavalier when it comes to credit card spending. We lack self control, overuse our credit cards, fail to track our spending, buy impulsively, and either can’t or won’t be able to pay for that overspending. When all of that occurs, it causes a spiral into high interest payments, growing debt, damaged credit ratings, and eventually a possible financial disaster! Danger, Will Robinson, danger!
But, hold on a second, please. To be fair (and smart), credit cards are not evil in concept. In fact, credit cards can really rock and let me tell you exactly why!
Credit Cards can be a Hot Source of Income! Really?
Believe it or not, I have been making money on my credit cards for years now. It is especially cool since my retirement when my income has become (yes, here it comes again) fixed. I no longer get a weekly paycheck and now depend mostly on my Social Security as the big part of my annual income these days. Of course I have followed my own advice and found alternate streams of income through investments, my IRAs, and my side hustles that definitely help make ends meet. In fact, it does more than that. It lets me sleep at night just a little more soundly, but that is a topic and those streams are subjects for other posts, that’s for sure.
Because my credit rating has been so good for so long, these days I have been able to use that as a weapon in the war on poverty, my potential poverty that is. I have been opening up many new cards for the sole purpose of using credit card bonus offers and rewards!
Frankly, I am a little bit bummed these days because I have opened so many cards that I fear that I will be soon rejected because I have so much credit available. That may be a concern to the credit card companies. Oh well, their problem more than mine it seems. I can open as many as they will allow, it’s perfectly legit and it has been a super way to add some extra cash to my pocket! Right now I am anticipating another $300 to arrive before the end of 2018!
The Score: Gary $5,750…You?
Over the past 36 months, I have opened about two dozen new credit accounts with some of the biggest banks in the world and through some cunning and responsible spending habits have turned them into cash money to the tune of over $5 grand in that time span!
To be perfectly fair and honest, some of those accounts have been opened by my wife as well as me because we both have great credit and have had it “forever”. That good habit has really paid off in this unexpected way!
Early in the game, I realized that two accounts opened individually rather than one joint account meant two bonus/reward deals so if the banks want to give away their money, I have my hand outstretched and just smile and say thank you! In this case, two are better than one and as Three Dog Night once sang, “One” is the loneliest number you can ever do!
Banks are at War and are Killing Themselves to get You Right Now!
All you have to do is check on the web and google credit card bonus offers and you will see a laundry list of banks all over the U.S. that want to give you free money. It doesn’t matter where you live, they are out there in droves from Alaska to Florida! Here’s a sample of just five national bank cards out there assuming you have the credit rating you need to get one, two, or 24+ like we did! You can get $900+ back when you spend just $2,900 with these 5 cards, which have no annual fees ever! That’s less spending then a typical family makes in a 60 to 90 day period!
No annual fee and a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening plus earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.
No annual fee and earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay or Google Pay, during the first 12 months from account opening.
No annual fee and a new higher offer: $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter with no expiration on rewards.
No annual fee and earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum. Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. And use my referral link to open any new Chase checking and/or savings accounts with bonuses.
No annual fee and a perfect card for even a very small business (like a blog!). You will earn a $200 cash reward bonus after you make purchases totaling at least $500 within the first 60 days from account opening. Plus there are bonus dollars of up to 3% cash back on purchases i.e., 2% on purchases at restaurants, 3% on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 in gas station and office supply store purchases annually, 1% after that). Earn even more cash back when you enroll in the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, you can get an additional 25% – 75% rewards bonus on every purchase you make. That means you can earn up to 3.75% at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 each calendar year), 2.75% at restaurants and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
Just opening these four personal accounts above (with your spouse or significant other individually) and the small business account too in a year can add $1,600+ into your pocket!
And…there are dozens more opportunities out there and that also includes business credit cards that you can use.
* By the way, it is perfectly legal to use your business credit card for your personal needs as long as you do not use those purchases as business deductions! So even your business credit card can buy you your groceries or pay your electric bill and you can get rewarded. It makes the accounting process a little more complicated, but in a small business like my blog, it’s rather easy to separate and totally worth it.
There are Many More Reasons that Credit Cards Rock
Besides getting cash back, you can actually save cash with your responsible use of credit cards. Here are just a few ways I always save with my cards:
- Free credit score and monitoring services
- Cell phone repair and replacement coverage when you use your card to pay your bill
- Price adjustments on retail purchases you make
- Guaranteed return protection for up to 90 days for both in-store and online purchases
- Free extended warranties on purchases you make
- Customized bonus on categories you pick to increase your cash rewards
- Free trip delay and cancellation insurances
- Free rental car insurance coverages
- Free concierge services when you dine out or buy event tickets
- Free airport lounge access and free refreshments when traveling
- Free admissions to museums and science centers and botanical gardens
- Reductions and discounts on travel fares with your rewards
- Free accident and life insurance when traveling
Look, the key thing for me is that I opened these accounts just to earn the perks, rewards, and cash. I never buy anything just to use my card and only use it to pay my routine monthly or quarterly expenses which I’d be spending anyway. Once I have met the threshold for the bonuses, like making the minimum $500 in purchases in 3 months requirement to earn $200 cash reward I stop using the card…forever. I have used cards to pay my electric bill (which here in NJ runs me a monthly budget of about $135!) as one example and have moved it around each time to a new card to pay towards that minimum requirement. It has come in handy to say the least! I have even paid my car insurance and my real estate taxes with my credit card on occasion.
When I use the card for such necessary planned purchases, I always try to time the payments with the bills. By opening the account at the right time and using it for those bills, I am able to get an enormous discount on the expense. Getting a $200 statement credit on my car insurance every 6 months for the past 3 years is like getting a 40% discount on the bills!
I didn’t even mention that similar opportunities also can be applied to both new checking and new saving account openings. Many of these are free and avoid fees and service charges with something as uncomplicated as a direct deposit into the account or a relationship that you already might have with the bank like a mortgage or an IRA account.
If you have the self control, credit card bonus offers can work quite nicely for you and right now is the best time ever to take advantage of them. Ask yourself this question honestly: Can you deal with credit responsibly? Have you the credit rating that can reward you this way and most importantly, why not get some free cash and the perks that are perfectly legit? The banks are begging you to do it!