4 Simple Ways to Save Money with Credit Cards
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This post was sponsored, and paid for, by USAA. All opinions are my own.
It’s no secret that I struggled with credit card debt in my past. During college, credit cards were an easy way to quickly get what I wanted. That’s why I built up about $25,000 of credit card debt by the time I graduated.
Considering the dangers of credit card debt, you may wonder how you can actually use credit cards to benefit you. Believe it or not, there are some really great ways to save money with credit cards.
Here are a few to get you started.
1. Savings on Gas
Do you cringe when you go to the pump to fill your car with gas? I know I do! With the price of gas right now it can get expensive if your car is close to empty. And if you have to fill up often, it can really cut into your monthly budget quickly.
But, some credit cards can help you save money on gas. One example is the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express credit card. With this card, you can earn 5% cash back for gas. Plus, there’s no annual fee.
What’s more, USAA doesn’t place limits on the overall cash back you can receive. After the annual limit of $3,000 on gas, you can still earn an unlimited 1% cash back. That means no matter how much gas you get, or how often you fill up, you’ll earn rewards, which translates into savings every time.
2. Grocery Store Savings
Groceries are something every household uses no matter their size, because everybody’s got to eat. So, if you’re buying groceries anyway, why not put some of that money back into your wallet?
You can save money with credit cards by charging your groceries and then paying for them right away. If you pay your card in full each month, you won’t accrue any interest.
With the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express credit card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on your first $3,000 of grocery purchases every year. After that, you’ll still earn 1% cash back on grocery purchases.
3. Cash Back on All Other Purchases
Besides gas and groceries, you can use your rewards credit card for lots of other types of purchases to earn cash back.
Everything you buy with your USAA rewards credit card will help you earn 1% cash back. This is another way credit cards can help you save money every single month. Again, just make sure you always pay your bill in full to avoid paying interest.
4. Military Base Purchases
Military members can enjoy some extra cash back on their on-base purchases. Purchases made on military bases will earn you 5% cash back with your USAA card for the first $3,000. But, make sure you do your math because this limit is combined with the limit for gas.
For example, you could spend $1,500 on gas and $1,500 on military base purchases to hit that $3,000 limit. Even still, this is a generous amount of cash back. The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express offers more cash back than any other card for purchases on military bases.
Reminder: Pay it Off Monthly
Keep in mind that you aren’t really saving money if you are racking up debt. Unpaid credit card balances and interest can add up quickly and negate the benefits of any cash back or other rewards. While credit cards are easy to use, you must pay them off monthly to avoid creating debt.
With careful use, you can save money with credit cards. Keep your balances low and stay within your budget. Make payments more than once a month if it helps.
Another idea is to make a payment immediately after using your credit card. USAA has a mobile app that can make it easy to make payments more frequently on your account to avoid overspending.
The most important thing to remember when using credit cards is to use caution and treat them like a financial tool. Then you can help your budget and save money with credit cards.
Do you use credit cards to your advantage? If so, how do you save money using credit cards?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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