If you are able to budget appropriately and live within your means, a credit card is a powerful tool that can help you track your spending, build credit, protect your purchases, get you discounts, and provide you with awesome rewards.
We all need to spend money to live, might as well do it the most efficient and profitable way!
Simplify your life (and your budget!)
You guys know I love to take the easy way when it comes to my finances, and one of my favorite shortcuts is charging all monthly bills to a single credit card. That way, I only have one bill to pay each month (the credit card bill) rather than a dozen small ones. I always set up automatic payments from my chequing account to my credit card to ensure I’m never late on my bill. Never missing a payment helps keep my credit score high.
I charge virtually everything to my credit card and rarely carry cash. This makes it easy to track my expenses. With cash, it’s very easy to spend $20 here and $40 there, and then by the end of the week, have no idea where it all went. With a card statement, there’s a paper trail of exactly where my money has gone.
Protect your money
Additionally, credit cards are safer than cash. If someone steals your wallet, they can spend your cash with no questions asked, but they’ll have a harder time using your credit card. If they do find a way to do so, you are not liable for anything they buy. Usually all it takes is a simple phone call to the credit card company to have items you did not purchase removed from your account.
This has happened to me with bank cards and credit cards, and I’ve always been relieved by how quickly the situation was handled and my money was returned to me!
Use your cash back rewards to bolster your savings
The SimplyCash Card from American Express gives you a market leading no annual fee flat cash back rate on everything you buy with the card. You can earn a great 1.25% cash back rate on all your purchases – and the best part is, there’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn!
By receiving cash back rewards credited directly to your credit card statement, your budget gets a welcome boost. If all your regular bills are charged to your credit card, getting a cash back statement credit is like receiving a discount on regular expenses!
Supersize your cash back by combining offers
When shopping online, you can really rack up the points and cash back.
Before I buy anything online, I search for a coupon from RetailMeNot. They typically have coupon codes for 10-15% off. I then go to eBates, which is an online site that provides 1% to 10% cash back on your purchases, which you can claim as real cash or gift cards. I search for the online store I’m looking to buy from, and then click through. It’s that easy.
To further maximize my rewards, when checking out from the stores website I enter my discount code at checkout and use my cash back credit card – so I separately earn 1.25% on SimplyCash, that’s even more cash back coming my way! Remember to never pay more than you have to, kids! And grab a discount whenever you can.
Personal finance is personal, and your credit card should be too
When it comes to your money, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck! By using a no-fee cash back credit card, you can not only manage your spending, but make your spending work for you!
This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.
I found CashBackMonitor.com recently and it shows you which eBates-type site is the best for the site you’re searching for. Sometimes it turns out that, for example, one of my credit card rewards malls is better than eBates.
Never heard of this site! Going to check it out now!
Credit cards are useful and I always use them to pay my bills, but I still stick with cash for daily expenses. I find that I spend less when I see the money leave my wallet, and the extra amount I would spend on credit outweighs the rewards I get. Additionally, lots of the places I shop don’t take credit, and some even ask that customers use cash so they don’t pay ridiculously high credit card processing fees. Since I like shopping at small, local stores, I think cash is a better option.
That’s a good point, Giovina! I think actually is evidence that you tend to spend more with plastic than with cash. But for recurring bills, credit cards are awesome like you said =)
I use the same methodology and it’s awesome! Totally worth it to receive a discount on regular expenses, like you said. I use the Citi Double cash rewards card – 1% earned on purchases, 1% earned on payments. Add Ebates to that, and you can get up to a 12% discount with very little effort involved. Magical! Just have to be careful about using the discounts as an incentive to buy things you wouldn’t normally 🙂
I think if you earn enough rewards throughout the year, it’s worth getting a credit card with an annual fee, due to the higher cash back feature. Also, the ones with annual fees typically have better perks i.e. travel insurance.
But regardless, I’m with you on using a credit card for as many of your daily purchases and expenses as possible!
Yes, I love this! I use my Freedom credit card for purchases during the holiday season because they provide 5% cash back for Amazon. I also use RetailMeNot – but found something via ProductHunt called “Coupons at Checkout.” It’s a plugin that you can download, and at every check out online there is a drop down bar that will search for all coupon codes for you – that way you do not have to go to sites like RetailMeNot etc. to search for coupon codes yourself. I just recently added this & so far it’s been incredible! It takes the search work out of everything.
I’m just discovering cash back cards! Right now Costco has a promotion on their mastercard that gives 6% cash back on all restaurant spending for the first 3 months. My fiance and I just activated our cards–our wedding is at a restaurant in February. If you can time promotions around big spends, well, it’s pretty awesome!
Couldn’t agree more. For me, using a credit card is the best way to go. I find when I have cash, it seems to disappear and I never know where exactly it’s gone (my guess is starbucks, magazines, etc)! You’re the second person I have heard recommend the SimplyCash card. This is on my list to research!
ATB Gold Cash Rewards MasterCard is another good cash-back card! Not quite as high a rate as the one you mentioned, but it’s 1% and no annual fee!
Good points in this article and in the comments for sure. However, I did notice this article is sponsored by Amex and appreciate the disclosure!
1.25% is competitive for a no-annual fee cash-back card, but I find that “Rewards” cards that provide travel points provide greater value, often in the area of 2% (or more) on purchases. Most of these cards have an annual fee, however these fees can be waived and/or negotiated depending upon your banking plan etc. They also have useful travel insurances and other benefits that help justify that fee, if you pay one.
The Reward Points aren’t cold-hard cash to be sure, and usually have to be used exclusively on travel items, but most of us will have travel related expenses of some kind (eg any airfare).
Rewards Canada is a great website which reviews most major credit cards in Canada and provides a data-driven analysis of their comparative values, in addition to some special offers which are not insignificant – http://www.rewardscanada.ca
I agree! I like using different cards for different things. I love the cash-back card, but for places that don’t take Amex, I’ll use my travel Mastercard.
Thanks for the link — I haven’t checked out rewards Canada, I always use RateHub to compare credit cards!