Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Make your credit card work for you; not the other way around
If you've read Dave Ramsey, you must know that he preaches cutting up every credit card you have and putting them in the trash. While I like a lot of his ideas - I could never part with my credit card. Besides the normal things, like ease of use, and a feeling of safety (sure, steal the card, I'll call and turn it off) my credit card is one of my biggest tricks to save money when I shop.
Bear in mind that I am an online shopper. I believe that because of that, I've saved money. Shipping is usually free, and in some cases, so is the return shipping. (Take advantage of that when you are on the fence about something. You can always send it back!) Often, we find it easier to take advantage of coupon savings and offers. (Check out retailmenot.com for codes!)
However, my Discover Card is what has really given me discounts that I don't think people utilize enough. (For the record, Discover is NOT paying me to say any of this, nor did they ask me to.) However, I think it is super importan to have the right credit card if you are a shopoholic like me. If someone refers you, you can get a 50 dollar cash back bonus! (Let me know if you need an invitaiton email! ;)
This cashback is what sets Discover apart for me. Sure, it gives a lousy percentage back on regular purchases (I usually prefer my Chase Visa for regular spending) but on online shopping you can rake in the discounts.
Take Sephora for instance, who never seems to offer discounts on their products. They have sales about twice a year. However, I have gotten 10 percent off my order EVERY time I have ever purchased something. (Plus, you get to pick out all these samples, and read all the reviews. Online rocks!) Once, I bought a 60 dollar product, used a 50 dollar giftcard and used Discover for the last 10 dollars, and Discover awarded me 6 dollars in cashback (The full amount) even though I only "paid" for 10!
So basically, this discount is because if you go through the Discover site, you can use their Discover Deals to get cashback. This cashback is added to your account every month, and you can decide how to spend it, whether that is by putting it in the bank, putting it towards your balance, or even cashing some of it in for an ever larger value gift card - therefore getting EVEN MORE for your money. In the past, I have spend 80 of my cashback to recieve a 100 dollar gift card. Now that is smart shopping.
Here is a list of stores that you may be interested in and their cashback percentages
10% cashback at Nordstroms
10% cashback at Macys
10% cashback at Old Navy
15% cashback at Saks Fifth Ave
5% cashback at Victoria's Secret
5% cashback at Express
5% cashback at J. Crew and J. Crew outlet
5% cashback at Anthropology
10% cashback on Orbitz hotels
10% casback on a Norwegian cruise (love them!!)
The list goes on, but you get the idea!!!
It doesn't stop there. If you sign up for the quarterly 5% cashback rewards program, every 3 months Discover will give you 5% back on different categories like movies, restaurants, gasoline, home improvement, online shopping etc. In the winter, my online shopping 5% has compounded onto my other cashback bonuses as well.
Discover also offers random bonus programs if they don't feel like you are using the card enough. I once got a large 500 dollar cashback for spending 1,500 a month for 6 months. Easiest thing in the world for someone like me!
Overall, the idea here is simple. Make the credit card work for you. Don't let it control you. A good rule of thumb (that really, you HAVE to follow) is to pay your credit card off in full each month. Don't spend to the point that you can't pay it off... that isn't responsible, and your credit will suffer. After having my card for over 5 years, and always paying the balance, my husband and I were able to use my great credit to get a mortgage to buy a home. Be smart with your money.
You can do it.
Let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to help.