Sunday, May 15, 2016

Here's a Tip...

The email was certainly fortuitous.  It was from someone named Jess who said she loved my United Club blog post.  She asked if I would consider writing a post about optimizing your credit cards. 

I basically responded HELL YEAH!  I was actually considering blogging about that anyhow. Because my husband Drives. Me. Crazy.

With his optimization of credit card rewards.

At LEAST once every few months he’ll text me with instructions. 

He says he texts me so I have it “in writing”.  But it’s actually because he doesn’t want to be exposed to my eye rolls. 

Here is a typical text: “Use the Freedom card for groceries, the Red Bank of America card for Gas, the Discover card for restaurants unless you’re eating at Panera in which case you should use the Chase card.  Use the Blue Bank of America card for all online orders, unless it’s Amazon.  Use the Citi card for Amazon.” 

Then about two weeks later I’ll get another text, “We reached the maximum points for restaurants with the Discover card.  Use the Blue Bank of America card until July 1.”

I think Jessica’s on to something!  What Dave puts me through is ridiculously funny, in a sick kind of way.

Yeah.  That might make an okay blog.

Except it turns out Jessica was on an entirely different wavelength.  She thinks Dave’s a genius and wants me to include his “tips” in a blog.

HIS tips!  I spend most of my life trying to avoid his tips.

What about MY tips?   I mean, what am I, chopped liver? 

I use Ibotta.  Unless I’m with Dave because he points out that the Jiff Peanut Butter Bars with the 75 cent rebate actually cost $1.00 more than the generic brand.  

He’s just no fun.

And he absolutely NEVER appreciates what a good Belk shopper I am. I mean, I frequently save way more than I spend. 

“Guess how much I saved at Belk on this dress!”
I’ll say, wound up like an addict on crack.

He ignores me.

“Dave!”  I’ll say, twirling in my dress, in front of the TV he's trying to watch. “Guess how much I saved!”

“I don’t know.”


“I don’t want to.”

“Come on.  Guess!”


“That’s ridiculous," I say.  "The dress only cost $24.”

He’s focused on the baseball game again.  I dance again in front of the TV.

“Guess!” I say again as I twirl. “Guess how much money I saved us."

“20 bucks,” he says.

“Nope,” I say, smugly.  “$170!”

Dave raises his eyebrow.

“It was originally $194 and it was marked down to $47.98 but it was in the red dot section so I got another 50% off." 

"I got it for $23.99!”

Then he says the six words I’ve come to hate.

“What credit card did you use?”

Sorry, Jessica.  

Dave is not available to give tips to your readers.

He’s way too busy giving them to me.

That was the end of blog.  That is, prior to departing on my guilt trip.

Okay, okay.  Here are his tips.  I hope you appreciate that I not only had to listen to him tell me, I had to take notes.

You owe me.

The best card is the Bank of America Travel card.  They give you a  $1.50 rebate for every $100 spent.  The rebates go toward travel.  What makes it better than other cards, is if you have $25,000 at Bank of America you get a 25% bonus on the $1.50 rebate which gets you a $1.87 rebate for every $100 you spend.  If you have more than I think $50,000 at the bank you get 75% which is $2.63.  There’s no maximum on rebates.  The best part of this is that you are not required to use their travel agency.  (We got burned on this with a Citi Travel card a few years ago.)

The Bank of America cash rewards card has the same bonus features.  You get 2% rebates for groceries and 3% on gas.  If you have $25,000 at Bank of America you get a $3.50 for groceries and $5.25 rebate for gas. The bonus is limited to $1,500 for each per quarter, after which it goes back to 1%. 

Both Bank of America cards have a specials with discounts off at specific retailers (PetSmart, Auto Zone) throughout the year.

Discover has a card with rotating categories with 5% rebates.   For example, this quarter you get a 5% rebate on money charged at restaurants.   All others categories get 1%.  The Chase Freedom card works the same.  (Note, this is the one that gets under my skin.  Just sayin’)

None of these cards have fees but all have huge interest rates.  Always pay your balances off in full.   You shouldn’t use any of these cards if you carry a balance.

Don’t buy gas at gas stations that charge more for using credit cards.

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