While we’ve talked (and debated) about using debit or credit for your purchases, many credit cards offer reward points — a nice side bonus.
Our household earns monthly reward points in three different ways.
Automated Monthly Expenses
We set up as many of our recurring monthly expenses as we can to be automatically charged to a credit card that earns reward points for every dollar spent.
Not all of our utilities and service providers accept credit card payments, but for the ones that do, we utilize them.
Gas Bonus Program
We gas up our vehicles with Speedpass keys from the Esso Extra program that does three things:
- charges the fuel to our credit card, ringing up rewards
- earns reward points from Esso
- receives 2.5-cents off the price at the pump for having the Esso Extra membership
Flex Spending Goes On One Card
All of our monthly flex purchases, whether it’s groceries or dinner out, are purchased with the same credit card, earning rewards.
Whenever possible, we also buy all our groceries from a single supermarket — Save On Foods — earning their Save-On-More reward program points.
If We Pay It, We Earn Rewards For It
The common denominator is that we use a rewards point card to earn rewards for all the monthly expenses we have to pay. We also take advantage of loyalty rewards programs from retailers who offer the necessities, like fuel and groceries.
Here’s the kicker: we don’t pay our credit card bill every month — we pay it every day.
When we get home from shopping, the receipts are put right next to my laptop. When I sit down at the computer, I add up the receipts, sign in to online banking, and transfer the money from the account we use for our monthly budget to our credit card. Paid receipts are then filed.
It’s simple: the bill is paid every day, and watching the money leave our account every day is a reminder to keep our finances on track.
You Need to Make it a Habit
Obviously, the number one requirement for following this plan is the discipline to stick to it. This’ll prevent you from getting hit with extra costs, like late fees or monthly interest charges.
I won’t lie — there have been times that we’ve forgotten and let ourselves go. When that happens, much like a dog whose leash is tied to a stake in the yard, we’ve been pulled up short the following month.
And like that dog on a leash, we haven’t had to run up against the limits of our leash too many times before we stopped doing it. That’s one of life’s rules: if it hurts, don’t do it!
Like any endeavor, discipline and self-control will help you achieve your goals. The reward points we earn for simply following our monthly budget are a nice bonus for doing what we would have done anyway.
Lee Distad consults with CE integration firms on design, installation and project management processes and Best Practices, and offers provides professional copy writing services for websites, brochures, and marketing initiatives. His freelance work covers topics from CE to global business to finance in both print and online.