Using credit cards for additional savings can be a smart way to manage your money. But, it is not something that works for everyone. If you are disciplined, you can play the credit card game wisely to rack up some significant savings on the things you need.
These days, it seems that every credit card company is offering a reward when you sign up. It can be tempting to take advantage of all of them, but if you don’t use your cards carefully, you can quickly find yourself in debt.
Before you consider using any card to save money, you need to understand the terms. Read about repayments as if you are one day late, you may not only incur late fees but also end up paying 20% or more in interest fees.
Many stores have their card, but some have a branded Visa or Mastercard under their logo. There are often additional savings discounts that apply beyond the store, making it pay you to use your card elsewhere too!
Remember, only apply for these cards if you are disciplined enough to pay them in full every single month before they are late!!
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Amazon has a Rewards Visa Card and a Prime Store card. Both cards save you 5% on every Amazon purchase every day. And, you will earn 2% cash back on purchases you make at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores. You will receive 1% cash back everywhere else.
Not only do you earn cash back, but you can also get an instant savings of up to $70 when you sign up*. That is $70 FREE to spend instantly!!!
When you use your Target REDCard, you instantly save 5% off of your purchases both in the store and online. You will also get free shipping on all online purchases – no matter how little you spend! Also, you get an extended return time for purchases – -up to another 30 days!
What I love about this is you can get either a credit card OR a debit card. Both have the same perks, so you can decide which works better for you. We opted for the debit card, only because we didn’t want to have a credit card bill each month.
You can earn up to 6% back in rewards when you use your Best Buy card. Also, you earn a $5 reward certificate for every 250 points. You will also get advanced notice of exclusive offers and promotions.
When you use your JCPenney card, you earn points on each purchase. Every month you rack up 100 points or more, you can make $10 in JCP Rewards* (free money). You can earn up to 10 rewards every month! You will have the chance to earn bonus points and even get in on exclusive savings events limited just to cardholders.
When you sign up and receive the Gap Visa card, you will get a coupon to save 20% off of your purchase*. Also, you will earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at their stores (in-store or online). Once you reach 500 points, you will receive a $5 savings reward. In addition to the points in the stores, you earn 1 point for every dollar you spend anywhere other than their store.
The Gap Silver card also extends additional rewards such as free shipping every day, 20% quarterly bonus rewards and a pick your own sale day!
There are great perks for Old Navy cardholders as well. One of the big (and fun) ones is early access to sales – such as the annual flip flop sale each June.
When you are approved, you will get an offer to save 25% off of your very next purchase*. Just like with the Gap card, you earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at Old Navy (online or in the store) and 1% at other retailers. Once you reach 500 points, you will ear a $5 savings certificate.
They also have a higher level card, called the Navyist. This card earns you a 20% quarterly savings certificate, free online shipping and day when you can create your own sale.
When you have a Kohl’s card, you get to use the incredible 30% offer they have every single month! There are also exclusive codes for cardholders for free shipping.
Sign up and receive a coupon for 25% off your very first purchase*. When your card arrives in the mail, there will be another coupon to save 15%. If you spend at least $600 annually, you are bumped up to MVC status, which provides additional discounts all year long.
Tip: Use your card for your in-store purchase. Then, tell the cashier you want to pay it off right then. No balance. Ever!
If you need large appliances, you must get a Lowe’s Advantage card. With this card, you will save 5% on every purchase, every day. That can make for significant savings on a refrigerator or washing machine!
There is even a Walmart credit card that saves you even more on everyday purchases. You will earn 3% back on any Walmart.com purchases, 2% at Murphy gas and 1% on any purchases at Walmart and anywhere credit cards are accepted.
They offer various sign-up bonuses, such as $25 credit back on your account after you charge $75! That is money right in your pocket!
Important Credit Card Tips
Credit cards can be a great way to save a bit more. But, you can quickly get into to trouble with them too. Here are things to keep in mind when using credit:
- Watch your spending. It is very easy to overspend when using plastic to shop. Make sure you keep a total in mind and stick to it. Just “pretend” you are shopping with cash to help keep yourself on track. You can use pretend money in an envelope if you have a tough time with this, so you can see what you are spending before you get to the register.
- Pay it off immediately. Many of these store cards allow you to turn around and pay off any amount charged right away. You can do this at Guest Services at Target and even at the register at Kohl’s. Just check with the other stores to see if they offer this same service. Doing so ensures you get the benefits and never incur a balance.If you this is not an option, make sure you are disciplined enough to pay your entire balance in full each month. If you are not, then the rewards are not worth the increase in debt.
- Never charge more than you have in the bank. Payday is never a guarantee. Make sure you never spend more than the cash you have on hand so you can pay it in full every month.
- Watch hidden fees. Some cards offer benefits, but also require annual fees. Make sure you read the fine print, so you don’t get slapped with costs you did not foresee.
- Stay safe. With Identity Theft on the rise, using cards can make you a target for thieves. I recently shared some great tips to help you ensure you are safe when doing your shopping with plastic.
Getting rewards are great, and I know many people who use cards precisely for this reason. If that works for you, that is great. If not, then sticking with cash will also work. It is crucial to make sure you use those cards correctly so that you get the benefit without additional cost.
*All 0ffers subject to change. Read the fine print before applying for credit. Each company has its requirements for approval.