Maximizing What’s in Your Wallet Q3 2013

 

Welcome to the Q3 2013 edition of Maximizing What’s in Your Wallet!  Apologies for the tardiness.

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 Q3 2013, then read on.

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.  Discover it® and Chase Freedom are offering 5% back as well though.

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.  Sallie Mae’s Mastercard is offering 5% back.

Restaurants – For me I’m using my US Bank Cash+ for 5% back in regular and fast food restaurants.  Sallie Mae’s Mastercard is offering 5% back as well. 

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.  Chase Freedom is offering 5% back at Kohl’s.

Home Improvement  –  N/A

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.

Theme Parks –  Chase Freedom is offering 5% back.

Cell Phone –  I’m using my US Bank Cash+ for 5% back.  It works out to like $7/mth that I get back.

Drugstores – N/A

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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  • Mike

    That Penfed card just keeps getting worse. Got a letter in the mail saying they’re going to start charging a $25 annual fee in October.