Maximizing What’s in Your Wallet Q1 2013

 

Welcome to the Q1 2013 edition of Maximizing What’s in Your Wallet!

As a reminder, this post is for all the credit card deadbeats out there looking to maximize cash back rewards. So, if you never carry a balance on your credit cards, have them set to auto-pay in full every month, and want to make the most of Q1 2013, then read on.

It looks like it’s going to be another great year of big cash back savings for all my fellow deadbeats!  Here’s how you should allocate your spending this quarter:

Gas – This is a no-brainer. It’s the same card year round. It is the PenFed VISA Platinum Gas / Cash Rewards Card. You’ll get 5% back all the time on gas purchases, and the rewards are automatically deducted from your current bill statement.  Chase Freedom is offering 5% back as well.

Groceries and Gift Cards – I have been very pleased with my Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express which pays me 6% back on all grocery purchases.  It also pays 3% on gas and 1% on everything else, but I only use it at the grocery store.  The downside to the card is the card carries a $75 annual fee and the grocery spending is capped at $6k per year, but it’s still a great card.  Upromise by barclaycard appears to be offering some of their members 5% cash back this quarter as well (capped at $25 in savings/$500 in spending).  I don’t think it’s universal.

Restaurants – For me I’m using my US Bank Cash+ for 5% back in regular and fast food restaurants.  Discover it Card is also offering 5%.  Chase Freedom is offering 5% back at Starbucks, but unless you’re a Chase loyalist, I would just use one of the other cards.

Department Stores – Your best bet is to buy gift cards for your favorite department store using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express  or use your 2% card.

Home Improvement  – Your best bet is to buy gift cards for your favorite home improvement store using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express  or use your 2% card.

Hotels and Airlines – Use your favorite hotel card.  Mine are the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Movies –  Upromise by barclaycard is offering some of their members 5% cash back this quarter as well (capped at $25 in savings/$500 in spending).  Best to call customer service on your card if you’re unsure.

Utilities –  Upromise by barclaycard is offering some of their members 5% cash back this quarter as well (capped at $25 in savings/$500 in spending).  Best to call customer service on your card if you’re unsure.

Drugstores – Chase Freedom is offering 5% this quarter.

Amazon – I  use my Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express  to buy Amazon gift cards at a grocery store for the 6% cash back.  I also have the Amazon VISA for when I’m too lazy for that extra layer of work. When you buy through Amazon with the Amazon VISA you get 3% back and the first time you sign up, they give you $30-40 off your purchase depending on the offer at that time.

Everything Else – I use the  Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX.  It offers 2% cash back across the board.

Two final thoughts: Sponsors are noted in red, and remember this advice is ONLY for people who don’t carry a balance…EVER.

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