I entered the world of credit card rewards a few months ago while my wife and I were renewing our Costco membership. I have to admit, I had been a little jealous of people I knew that were earning cash back rewards just by using a specific credit card for their day to day purchase. So, my wife and I applied for and received a Costco Anywhere Visa bthrough by Citibank.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Even as I dialed the number to activate the card when it came in the mail, I was skeptical about whether it would really work for me.
- Would it cause me to spend more than I had before just to get more cash back?
- Would I be tempted to not pay the balance in full each month?
- Would I not only overspend, but start racking up credit card debt again?
After two billing cycles, itâ€™s time to check in and see how the rewards program is working for us. Courtesy of the handy tools available through the Citibank website, hereâ€™s a breakdown of the rewards weâ€™ve earned:
- Gasoline Purchases (4%): $4.72
- Restaurants (3%): $2.98
- Other Eligible Purchases (1%): $20.33
Total cash back rewards earned: $28.03
It may not be a huge amount of money, but itâ€™s FREE money that I get back just for using our Costco Anywhere Visa by Citibank instead of our debit card. If someone walked up to me on the street and offered me $28, thereâ€™s NO WAY Iâ€™d turn them down.
One thing that we do have to get better at is using the card for gasoline purchases. For some reason, I kept whipping out my debit card when I filled our cars up with gas. I blame it on the fact that I usually do it at 5am on my way to work, and Iâ€™m barely awake at the time.
However, there are two very important things Iâ€™d like to emphasize:
- We have not blown our budget: if using the card would cause us to spend more than we normally would, the rewards program isnâ€™t worth it.
- We havenâ€™t paid a single penny in interest: Again, if we paid interest on our purchases it would outweigh the cash back we were earning. After making a purchase with our card, we transfer funds from our checking account to an unused bank account we had setup as an escrow account years ago. Itâ€™s now our Citibank payment account. When the bill comes, we have enough in the fund to pay the balance.
So far so good with the rewards program. The $28.03 is for two billing periods, which puts us on track to earn about $170 for a full year. Iâ€™ll take it!
Do you have a credit card that gives you cash back rewards? How much do you earn in a year?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock