Having a strategy for your cash back credit cards and looking for additional ways to earn cash back can boost your savings – here’s how.
Yet, if you manage your cards right, they can be quite the opposite – and your plastic can actually help you save.
Cash back credit cards offer an excellent opportunity to get a percentage of your money back on almost any purchase. But if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can put even more cash back in your pocket, maximizing your savings.
There are a few ways you can make your cash back earnings grow, starting with how you’re using your cards and ending with what you do with the cash back you earn. Read on to learn how you can improve your cash back strategy to maximize your savings.
Optimize your credit card strategy
Your credit card strategy might be simple if you, for example, only have one flat-rate cash back credit card. All you have to do is make sure you put as many of your expenses on the card as you can and pay it off every month to avoid interest.
However, if you’re juggling a few cash back credit cards, you might need a more thorough plan on how to use them.
For instance, say you have the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and Discover it® Cash Back. You’ll want to use your Amex for groceries at U.S. supermarkets, select U.S. streaming subscriptions and gas at U.S. gas stations and your Discover in rotating bonus categories that change each quarter. Then, you can charge everything else on your Quicksilver to ensure you’re getting more than 1% back on all of your spending.
The more cards you have, the more thought you might need to put into your credit card strategy, especially if quarterly bonus categories are involved. Yet, this is the best way to make sure you’re getting as much cash back as you can.
Use your credit card issuer’s shopping portal
Clicking through a credit card issuer’s online shopping portal is the easiest (but often most overlooked) way to earn extra cash back.
All you have to do is visit these pages for Barclays, Chase, Citi and Discover, then be redirected to the retailers’ websites. From there, the shopping experience will be exactly the same as if you typed in the retailer’s website address. But by clicking through the credit card issuer’s portal and making a purchase with your credit card, you’ll earn bonus cash back.
It’s really that simple. Cash back credit cards are all about maximizing spending you would have done anyway, and it doesn’t get any easier than this.
Plenty of airlines and hotels also offer online shopping portals if you’d rather bank the bonus points from their loyalty programs. Other cash back portals not affiliated with credit cards include Swagbucks and Rakuten. And there’s Upromise if you want to put your savings toward college.
Stack store discounts with card promotions
Even better, extra cash back promotions can work on top of any discounts offered by the retailers. So, you can stack discounts like a store’s 30% off promotion with extra cash back from the card issuer’s portal.
Some card issuers offer percentage discounts of their own, and there are fixed cash back rewards, too. American Express no longer has a shopping portal, but it offers fixed discounts through the Amex Offers program.
See related: How to stack rewards to save big on purchases
Put the cash back you earn into your savings
A good way to ensure you’re maximizing the value of your cash back is to put it to work by placing it in your savings account.
Get a high-yield savings account if you don’t have one yet and make a habit of sending your cash back earnings there. This way, you’re getting a regular influx of cash that will grow even further to finance your goals, be it an emergency fund or your dream vacation.
Cash back credit cards offer an amazing opportunity to get some of your money back every time you make a purchase, making them a great saving tool. While it’s enough to use your card as much as you can to make sure you’re not missing out on cash back, there are steps you can take to earn even more and make cash back a part of your bigger savings plan. Just make a habit of paying off your cards in full every month to prevent interest from eating into your earnings.