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Old 01-22-2019, 07:38 PM   #161
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
In general perhaps yes... but not with this group here.... most are LBYM and only spend when they need to and pay their CC bills in full every month... commonly on autopay. So for us the cash back card is just in lieu of carrying cash... its not like some people who might buy because they carry a balance. Other bennies are extended warranty coverage (2 years extension of the mfg warranty)... plus 2%. Life is good.
100% agree. Have never paid an interest charge in my life and logically by default am not spending more than I would by using cash.
Once you do the upfront work to maximize your cards and are not in a constant churning mode, there is minimum further actions one needs to take for freebie monies.
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:36 PM   #162
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We use American Express Blue for almost everything, mainly because we get 6% cash back on groceries and 3% back on gas and 1% on everything else. There is an annual fee but the cash back is so good on the groceries and gas- of which we spend a lot- that it is still worth it. We also use Discover More and Capital One World Mastercard for their revolving cash back offers every quarter

I looked at that card but for my situation it did not work out that well. First, I get 4% back on the Costco Visa card for gasoline. The 6% cash back on groceries is nice, but is partly neutralized by the 5% cash back I get on groceries using my Discover card for three months out of the year. (Note: I spend far less than $6000 on groceries per year at supermarkets.) Add in the yearly fee and most of the benefit is neutralized. However, those are my spending patterns. For some crazy reason, not everybody seeks to duplicate my patterns.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:21 AM   #163
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I've also been using the Citi Double Cash Back (on everything!) card for a few years. It's awesome for all the reasons others have said: I pay balance in full every month so get paid to buy things I would have bought anyway; alerts on the account are really good; I don't have to pay attention to what "category" is paying each month, as it pays on everything I spend; etc.

I even find myself charging things I normally wouldn't like groceries and gas just to get that 2% "discount" as long as I'm spending the money and paying it off every month.

Well worth it and no tricks that I can discern!
I was so happy when Aldi finally took credit cards, as no longer did I have to make a trip to the bank to get cash, make sure I had $150 on me when I shopped there as it's embarrassing to say "I don't have enough cash" when it's all rung up.

I always buy gas with a credit card, at some places you cannot buy it with cash anymore, too dangerous for the attendant.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:59 AM   #164
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I did an experiment a couple of years ago with spending cash vs cards. I spent about 20% more on the cards. I then started using the EveryDollar app to track what I spent and with this I have been able to hold the 20% or so savings even though I am
Back to using cards most of the time.

As for credit card rewards by strategically using certain cards in certain situations I get 10-12kyear in benefit primarily through travel benefit with maximizing the Southwest companion pass for up to 21 months eligibility rental car savings and hotel savings. I calculate my benefit off the lowest rate I can get somewhere else so the savings is real. I also get another $1400 on gas.

I enjoy playing the game and trying to be as efficient as possible. If I wasnít playing the game
I would still do
90percent of the things I do now as increased spending.

Chase has been my go to card vendor of
Choice however I am bumping up against a limit of what I can earn with them. My eye now is on a capital one option that will net me $3k over the next 6 months. I will use the value in areas where itís better than the chase.
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My credit card and miles plan
Old 01-23-2019, 06:02 AM   #165
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My credit card and miles plan

I saw this and just had to chime in. I have a pretty extensive "miles and points" plan that I'd like to share:

first, my wife has a BOA 3-2-1 card for personal groceries, etc. that gives us this cash back scenario: (We get a check for about $300-$400 each year)

1% = everywhere, every time
2% = grocery
3% = gasoline

Now the "big guns".
Chase Sapphire Preferred: costs $450 per year. We get a $300 travel credit which brings the net to $150 per year but we get the following:
100,000 point signup. This has given us about $2,000 in free plane tickets so far: We get 1 point for purchases but 3 points for any meal, entert, travel related purchases. THEN...we use the Chase Travel portal to buy plane tickets. We get a 50% bonus for doing so. So right out of the gate, our 500,000 accumulated points will buy us $7,500 worth of tickets. It doesn't end there. We use Southwest Airlines, which is the ONLY airline that has an out of whack point system. Usually 1 point = 1 penny. With them it's 1.6 cents per point so we get another 60%. We use less than 200 points to get a $300 ticket. We do own a business that puts about $10,000 per month in charges so that does help. We have not paid for plane tickets (1-2 trips family of 3 per year) for about 7 years.

Chase Ultimate Rewards
This is our "go to" card. Very simple. EVERY non travel related expense in our house and 2 businesses goes on here. We THEN transfer the points to the Sapphire because we get the 50% bonus when we use sapphire points to travel. This card also has quarterly bonuses. usually things like gas, groceries, etc. and the bonuses will be 5 points vs. 1 point.

I used to also use Chase Ink Bold, and I still get one every other year when signup bonuses come on. They give 5 points for cell, cable, etc. anything tech related (even netflix). I sign up, get the 50K signup bonues (worth $750 or more to me via Sapphire transfer), then put all my tech stuff on it, then kill the card a few months later.

To supplement, I get Capital One cards every so often. My wife and I each got a Cap 1 card, just this past Christmas, each having a 50,000 signup bonuses. One for cash, one for gift cards. Plus I signed up for Amazon's Amex which gave us $100 credit. So just for signing up for 3 cards, I netted a little over $1,100 just in time for Christmas. I did have to put 3K in 3 months on each of the Cap One cards. (These minimums for the signup bonus are about all the evidence I need that every human being that's interested in getting an edge should own SOME TYPE of business)

That's my story! It's nice and simple.

One thing Id' say, is PLEASE don't give even one second's thought to "where" the credit card is vs. your bank account. It's just as easy to use a Key Bank checking account to pay a Chase visa or vice versa. You just login, put in your routing and account number and you're done. Location is completely irrelevant how. I say this because it's so easy to give up free money because of an imagined limitation.

Cheers!
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:14 AM   #166
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I'm sure I'd spend less if I didn't use credit cards, mostly because it'd be a pain to write checks to Amazon and other online places all the time. Not sure a lot of places have an option to transfer from my bank account for payment. Or maybe I'd use paypal and it wouldn't make a difference at all. In B&M stores, I'd just have to lug around my checkbook or keep a few more checks in my wallet, but I don't think that would change anything.

I think my quality of life would be worse too if I bought fewer things because of this.

I'll keep the cards, and blow that dough. I'm doing just fine, financially.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:35 AM   #167
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I was with US Bank for 22 years, had USB credit cards and they had cash back - but had to choose categories every three months. It was a hassle. ................................
USB sends an e-mail every quarter .......click,click,click......pick the 2 5% categories and done in 30 secs. The nice thing is that the categories can be the same if you choose and I don't even have to carry it around. Cellphone and utility bills go to it automatically.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:52 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by hotwired View Post
I saw this and just had to chime in. I have a pretty extensive "miles and points" plan that I'd like to share:

first, my wife has a BOA 3-2-1 card for personal groceries, etc. that gives us this cash back scenario: (We get a check for about $300-$400 each year)

1% = everywhere, every time
2% = grocery
3% = gasoline

Now the "big guns".
Chase Sapphire Preferred: costs $450 per year. We get a $300 travel credit which brings the net to $150 per year but we get the following:
100,000 point signup. This has given us about $2,000 in free plane tickets so far: We get 1 point for purchases but 3 points for any meal, entert, travel related purchases. THEN...we use the Chase Travel portal to buy plane tickets. We get a 50% bonus for doing so. So right out of the gate, our 500,000 accumulated points will buy us $7,500 worth of tickets. It doesn't end there. We use Southwest Airlines, which is the ONLY airline that has an out of whack point system. Usually 1 point = 1 penny. With them it's 1.6 cents per point so we get another 60%. We use less than 200 points to get a $300 ticket. We do own a business that puts about $10,000 per month in charges so that does help. We have not paid for plane tickets (1-2 trips family of 3 per year) for about 7 years.

Chase Ultimate Rewards
This is our "go to" card. Very simple. EVERY non travel related expense in our house and 2 businesses goes on here. We THEN transfer the points to the Sapphire because we get the 50% bonus when we use sapphire points to travel. This card also has quarterly bonuses. usually things like gas, groceries, etc. and the bonuses will be 5 points vs. 1 point.

I used to also use Chase Ink Bold, and I still get one every other year when signup bonuses come on. They give 5 points for cell, cable, etc. anything tech related (even netflix). I sign up, get the 50K signup bonues (worth $750 or more to me via Sapphire transfer), then put all my tech stuff on it, then kill the card a few months later.

To supplement, I get Capital One cards every so often. My wife and I each got a Cap 1 card, just this past Christmas, each having a 50,000 signup bonuses. One for cash, one for gift cards. Plus I signed up for Amazon's Amex which gave us $100 credit. So just for signing up for 3 cards, I netted a little over $1,100 just in time for Christmas. I did have to put 3K in 3 months on each of the Cap One cards. (These minimums for the signup bonus are about all the evidence I need that every human being that's interested in getting an edge should own SOME TYPE of business)

That's my story! It's nice and simple.

One thing Id' say, is PLEASE don't give even one second's thought to "where" the credit card is vs. your bank account. It's just as easy to use a Key Bank checking account to pay a Chase visa or vice versa. You just login, put in your routing and account number and you're done. Location is completely irrelevant how. I say this because it's so easy to give up free money because of an imagined limitation.

Cheers!
Nice set up.
I assume you know that you now can pick out a different 3% category on your BOA cash rewards card besides gas.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:24 AM   #169
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You make some good points.

However, what you forget is the interest the CC companies collect when people can't pay the full balance. They collect double digits from these folks and pay low single digits to others. So the folks paying interest charges are the ones funding my 'cash back'.

One has to have self-control, otherwise it is a trap.
Here is the key! There are certain people who treat cards like cash, and feel the pain of spending on a card as if they were taking cash out of their pocket. They are few and far between. By far, a majority of people will buy a little bit more when its on credit, than when it is with cash or debit out of your account. Its human nature.

There are much better ways to gain a little money than chasing points and credit card rewards.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:27 AM   #170
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The idea that people spend more if they put it on a credit card has to die.


I'm about 99.9% indifferent to whether it's paid the moment of the transaction or within 30 days (balance paid off in full).
I think most studies prove the opposite, that when spending on credit, people will order a drink or dessert than they would not have if spending cash. They buy the next higher optioned TV, get snacks at the movies etc that they would not buy if paying with cash. There is a level of pain that comes from spending your hard earned money. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but on the norm, it is my understanding that studies are fairly conclusive. I have walked out on a limb here because this is information I have heard on pod casts and personal finance books.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:42 AM   #171
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I think most studies prove the opposite, that when spending on credit, people will order a drink or dessert than they would not have if spending cash. They buy the next higher optioned TV, get snacks at the movies etc that they would not buy if paying with cash. There is a level of pain that comes from spending your hard earned money. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but on the norm, it is my understanding that studies are fairly conclusive. I have walked out on a limb here because this is information I have heard on pod casts and personal finance books.
Again, you need to appreciate that the folks here (especially those already early retired) are not a slice of the general population that these studies studied.

The vast majority of folks do not retire early. The majority of folks don’t have substantial savings for retirement. So we have quite an exceptional group on this forum. Applying general population financial studies to this group doesn’t really work.

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There are much better ways to gain a little money than chasing points and credit card rewards.
I don’t understand your logic here. Abandon cash rewards and do something else instead? Like what? And instead of rather than in addition to?

Or just spend less? What if you are already retired and don’t have to spend less?

I admit I’m not in the spend as little as possible club. I’m definitely into getting good value for my spending and taking advantage of deals.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:44 AM   #172
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Here is the key! There are certain people who treat cards like cash, and feel the pain of spending on a card as if they were taking cash out of their pocket. They are few and far between. By far, a majority of people will buy a little bit more when its on credit, than when it is with cash or debit out of your account. Its human nature.

There are much better ways to gain a little money than chasing points and credit card rewards.
It also depends on what you are spending that "little extra" on. For me, using my CC when I buy groceries enables me to save money in two ways. One is being able to buy more on-sale items I wouldn't have been able to buy otherwise had I brought a fixed amount of cash with me. Like when boneless chicken is deeply discounted and I load up on it and freeze it for later use. I'm going to eat it eventually, I'm just bunching together multiple purchases of the item while it is cheaper than it would usually be. I can often save $10 or $20 in a single trip by buying these on-sale items in bulk.

The second is somewhat related to the first. My local supermarket often has coupons in the circulars it sends out (not the in-store circulars) which give $5 off if you buy $50 worth of (most) items. One more than one occasion over the years, I have bought just over $50 of stuff (for me, a one-person household, that is a lot) so that last item actually had a negative marginal cost. That is, the total tab was $49 so when I added a $2 item, the coupon kicked in and took $5 off. Then when I use a CC, the 2% cash back takes another dollar off later.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:34 AM   #173
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It also depends on what you are spending that "little extra" on. For me, using my CC when I buy groceries enables me to save money in two ways. One is being able to buy more on-sale items I wouldn't have been able to buy otherwise had I brought a fixed amount of cash with me. Like when boneless chicken is deeply discounted and I load up on it and freeze it for later use. I'm going to eat it eventually, I'm just bunching together multiple purchases of the item while it is cheaper than it would usually be. I can often save $10 or $20 in a single trip by buying these on-sale items in bulk.

The second is somewhat related to the first. My local supermarket often has coupons in the circulars it sends out (not the in-store circulars) which give $5 off if you buy $50 worth of (most) items. One more than one occasion over the years, I have bought just over $50 of stuff (for me, a one-person household, that is a lot) so that last item actually had a negative marginal cost. That is, the total tab was $49 so when I added a $2 item, the coupon kicked in and took $5 off. Then when I use a CC, the 2% cash back takes another dollar off later.
Agree. As well as the simple fact that, in the end, someone buying $100 in groceries and paying with cash spends $100. Someone putting $100 in groceries on a 2% credit card is really only paying $98 after cash back. This can add up to substantial savings over the course of a year.

When I pay my utilities with a credit card, it doesn't lead me to use more electricity/water/sewer, etc. vs. paying via a checking account.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:31 AM   #174
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Not many posters mention the minimum spending requirements to get the huge signup bonuses, nor their total yearly spending. Some of the multiple card strategies must require a huge amount of spending to work.

Having things like utilities set up to automatically charge your credit card seems like a good trick to boost credit card spending. Then just pay the card electronically from your bank account.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:00 PM   #175
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Here is the key! There are certain people who treat cards like cash, and feel the pain of spending on a card as if they were taking cash out of their pocket. They are few and far between. By far, a majority of people will buy a little bit more when its on credit, than when it is with cash or debit out of your account. Its human nature.

There are much better ways to gain a little money than chasing points and credit card rewards.
For many you are right. But, I think you missed my point that for many people on this site, they can and do exert control over what they spend whether it is cash or on the CC.

By the way what is your definition of 'a little money'? Just curious.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:08 PM   #176
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Not many posters mention the minimum spending requirements to get the huge signup bonuses, nor their total yearly spending. Some of the multiple card strategies must require a huge amount of spending to work.

Having things like utilities set up to automatically charge your credit card seems like a good trick to boost credit card spending. Then just pay the card electronically from your bank account.
Agree with your second paragraph. My gas company and property taxes are the only bills I can't pay via a credit card. All credit card balances are paid in full.

Define a huge amount of spending.

Multiple card strategies, for me, only require me to know which card to use, depending on quarterly 5% categories, or another factor.

For example, I do most of my grocery shopping at a Super Walmart one mile from my house. Walmart (along with other stores/categories) is specifically excluded from this quarter's Discover 5% grocery category. However, I have a Huntington Voice MC that pays 3% on groceries and it does include Super Walmarts (even if you're not buying a grocery item). That is usually my go-to credit card for Super Walmart.

When I'm shopping sales at regular grocery stores, I'll check first to see if I have an applicable 5% grocery category card. For this quarter, that's Discover. If not, my Fidelity VISA that pays 2% cash back is my go-to card.

I have a couple of store cards that give 5% off at the register. I don't shop at them that often, but when I do, it's nice to get that discount.

Our spending last year for a household of 4 was around $38,000. Some of that included a few thousand or so in medical expenses (not usual expenses for us), which went on the 2% cash back card. To simplify matters, pretend it all went on a 2% cash back card. That's $760 cash back over the year, just for using a credit card vs. a debit card/cash/checkbook.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:31 PM   #177
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Not many posters mention the minimum spending requirements to get the huge signup bonuses, nor their total yearly spending. Some of the multiple card strategies must require a huge amount of spending to work.

Having things like utilities set up to automatically charge your credit card seems like a good trick to boost credit card spending. Then just pay the card electronically from your bank account.
Yes, many times Iíve ignored a CC bonus because I wasnít willing to spend the amount required in the short time required as it didnít match my plans.

And Iím not interested in the whole manufactured spend business although I suppose I had opportunities to pay various taxes via credit cards which in spite of the hefty fees still would have come out ahead. A little. I tended to go for things that matched what was planning to spend anyway.

Iím not looking to add more credit cards anymore.
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Cash Back Credit Cards?
Old 01-23-2019, 01:35 PM   #178
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Cash Back Credit Cards?

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Originally Posted by hotwired View Post
I saw this and just had to chime in. I have a pretty extensive "miles and points" plan
...
Now the "big guns".
Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP)
Chase Ultimate Rewards (CUR)
Thanks for sharing your points plan. I keep seeing the CSP discussed on other forums but the math still isn't convincing. Would you mind running through an example?

Let's say I spend $30k/yr on cards, a third of which is dining/travel.

With a free Fido or Citi 2% card, I'd get $600 back.

With the Alliant 3% card, I'd get $900 the first year or net $691 in later years (when it reverts to 2.5% cash - $59 fee).

With CSP, I'd get 10k*3 + 20k = 50k points which could give $500 back or $750 towards travel. The $450 annual fee gives me another $300 in travel so I get $750+300-450 = $600 net benefit.

In either case, I could add a card which gives 5% in certain categories. With CUR, these points could be transferred to CSP for travel, so their value becomes 7.5%.

With $5k spending in bonus categories,
Alliant 2.5% + 5% bonus nets $816;
CUR/CSP nets $900.

Although I see you can earn an extra $84 (~10% cashback), it involves managing cards, transferring points and using a travel portal. Maybe the specifics of the example make a big difference, especially since you spend >4x this amount. Or maybe the one-time sign-up bonus is the real kicker, but for this example I'd be too lazy to manage points for a small potential ongoing benefit.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:44 PM   #179
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Get a new Chase Rapid Rewards Southwest Priority Credit Card, pay an upfront $69 annual fee, charge $4,000 to the card within the first three months and then get a Companion Pass for the rest of 2019.

...

A Companion Pass is worth a LOT more than $69. A single minimum fare one way trip for the cardholder and the Companion pays for that. We take three or four roundtrips a year on Southwest, so that Companion Pass makes this the best bonus deal around for us. Easily worth more than $1000. for us. And you also get 30,000 Rapid Reward points, which certainly helps with the first flights.
This does look like an excellent deal for anyone who lives near a Southwest hub and is likely to take a few SW flights with a companion later this year. The biggest downside I see is the $4,000 minimum spend over 3 months, followed by up to an 8 week wait for the companion pass to show up in your SW Rapid Rewards account. Worst case scenario is that you wouldn't be able to start using the companion pass until early June, leaving you with only about 7 months remaining in 2019. If you can easily meet the $4,000 spend very quickly, though--say, within the first month--without buying extra stuff you wouldn't have otherwise, then this wouldn't be as much of a drawback.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:44 PM   #180
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I only get a new credit card when I know I'm going to be spending a pile of cash in the future.

For example: Every year we use our timeshare and then hop on a cruise ship since we are already in the area, which saves a trip just to take a cruise later.
So with the new card I just got, I paid out around $2,500 for the timeshare fee, plus the cruise booking. That means I only need to spend another $500 to qualify for the $600 signup bonus.
Easy Peasy.
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