Reward Programs

How To Get Rewards Everyday

cash back rewards, rewards program, credit card rewards

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.

Rewards

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, it’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, here’s a breakdown of the rewards we’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 it’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, there’s NO WAY I’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 I’m barely awake at the time.

However, there are two very important things I’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 isn’t worth it.
  • We haven’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. It’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. I’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

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About the author

Brock Kernin

4 Comments

  • That’s the same thing I use credit cards for. Just a convenience to prevent the need of carrying cash and to earn free cash back. Yes, I know this causes prices to go up by the transaction fee, but if you can’t beat them then join them 🙂

  • @moneyahoy – exactly, retailers are going to raise the prices anyway to pay for the people that use credit cards, might as well be one of them, right?

  • Interesting — if you use credit cards properly a.k.a. not accumulate debt from it the rewards are indeed pretty sweet! Just wondering, do you have to pay for annual fee as well?

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