Monday, October 20, 2008

Use credit cards to save money

What did that say? That can't be right! No way to use a credit card to save money. Is there? That's what I used to think. Then, I discovered Chase credit cards. I currently have 2 cards, one BP and one Toys R Us.

First, the BP Visa card. I use this card frequently. But, I think of it more as a debit card than a credit card. The interest rate is high, so you never want to pay interest on any Chase card. They offer cash back awards based on your purchases. The first 60 days of the card are double points. You get 10% back on all BP purchases, 5% back on travel & entertainment (including meals at restaurants) & 2% back on everything else. After the first 60 days are over you go to the normal cash back amounts: 5% on BP purchases, 2% on travel & 1% on everything else. The best part of this cash back is it's really cash back. Once you get to $25 in rewards, you can cash in for an actual check to be mailed to you. After using this card I immediately write the purchase amount out of my checkbook. Then, about every 2 weeks, I log onto to check to see what's posted, and pay it off. This way, there's no interest, but I'm accruing cash back rewards. We've had this card for less than a year, probably about 6-8 months. We've cashed in $200 in cash back. When I say we use it frequently, I really mean it! But, it's never used for anything other than what I can pay immediatly out of my checking account.

Next is the Toys R Us (TRU) card. It's also from Chase. Again, a high interest rate that you never want to pay. This one was opened about a month ago & will be closed soon. I only opened this card for the discount. When you apply & use your TRU that same day, you get 10% off everything you purchase. I went about a month ago and did all of Paige's Christmas shopping. (Yep, only stocking stuffers are left.) I applied for the TRU card & got my 10% off my total purchase. Then, because I spent just over $200 ($201.65) I got 90 days interest free. I had enough money in checking to cover my purchases that day. But, why use my money when I can use someone elses? The card will be payed off in another month and closed after that. All interest free, and with 10% off on top of that.

Finally, JC Penney. They offer special discounts to cardmembers during the year, plus coupons based on your purchases. Like a lot of retailers, Penney's is hurting lately, and they've been having some amazing sales. Like most cards these days, the interest rate is high. When I use this one, it's used like a debit card. I write the purchase out of the checking account, and pay the card online as soon as the charge hits.

I know that there are other cards out there that offer cash back & discounts for using them. Most people don't pay them off at the end of the month, and are paying high interest. If you can control that, you can get some great deals out there. The BP card has been continually rated very high for it's reward program. We all have to buy gas, we may as well get something back for it.


C. Beth said...

We don't have BP here--the card is for specifically BP stations, right? That is a really good reward percentage.

Since we travel a lot to visit family, we put everything on our Chase Southwest Airlines card. We get lots of free tickets! We pay it off every month, too. They may lose money on us, but I don't feel too terrible about it. ;)

Angie said...

It's designed for use at BP stations, but it's a Visa. We use it everywhere, then just pay it off twice a month. We used it yesterday at Target for our grocery shopping, then wrote it out of the checkbook as if we wrote a check.