They say that credit cards give us a penniless way to buy anything we want, literally. But little did we know that this plastic money, if incorrectly use will bring a lot of financial dilemmas to us. I was once a victim of my own misuse and negligence. And now I learned my lesson well.
It will be sad to know that you arrived here because you’re drowning to your credit card debts. However, Jeff and I are twice as happy that you found us because you’re seeking for some financial pieces of advice. I won’t go to the very details of the problems I encountered before about using my credit card the wrong way. I know that you knew those already.
To give you a background, I previously have 5 credit cards from different banks which are now down to two (Visa and Mastercard).
Citi Cash Back Card – Get up to 5% rebate at all supermarkets and other everyday purchases.
Citi Rewards Card – Earn Rewards Points from all your dining and shopping purchases worldwide.
Every bank has their own ways to attract customers to get a credit card from them. Prior to resorting of using only these two credit cards, I had several credit card products from Citibank and other banks (no personal promotion here, they didn’t pay or ask me to write this post). One day, I decided to sit down and check my options because I still want and need a credit card. Over other products, I believe that these two credit cards are what I need and will have a great good return to me.
I just switched to Citi Rewards so I still don’t have enough things to share about it . Let me share with you the benefits I got from my Citi Cash Back Card, instead. It’s been my card for a year already but only recently that I was able to maximize its power. I can now literally pay using the money rebates I get each time I use this card.
This statement is my September 2013 statement and as you see, I have accumulated Php 3, 3832.31 and was able to pay my dues using this money. An increment of 500 is needed to redeem the rebate, just a note.
The annual fee of the card is Php 2,800 and I saved it too because I reached the Php 180,000 required expenditures for one year.
You may be thinking how come a frugal like me would reach Php180,000 expenditures in one year just to be qualified on the waived annual fees and savings. I’m not an extravagant person and this is the result of proper management of credit cards.
Below are the proven techniques that worked for me.
1. As mentioned in my previous posts, I normally allot budget for a month which instead of paying cash, I use my credit card to pay for my buys. So I don’t go over budget, the money allotted will be clipped to the receipt. It’s like I already paid in cash.
2. I enrolled my utility bills. This card has a good rebate program for utility bills.
3. I allow my sisters to ride in my card. Same concept as #1, I would normally insist my sisters to give me their payment then I pay for their purchases using my card.
4. Joined spending forces with my Honey. I was able to enroll a supplementary card for my Honey with no annual fees for life (it’s the card’s program too). We used to pay Php 750 annually for his card’s annual fee which we categorize as extra expenses. He uses his card the same way I do in #1.
This maybe ridiculous for some but this strategy really works for me. It’s been three consecutive months that I was able to redeem Php1,000 from my dues, totaling of P3,000 rebates and counting. This spare money is saved or sometimes used to buy other things that awaits for the right budget. It took me a while to finally formulate ways to accomplish these things and I’m so happy to finally share it with you.
I personally know some people who completely gave up their credit cards due to debt. For me, despite of past mismanagement, I believe it’s still a necessary tool. I’m not just saving, I’m earning from it too. So let’s not blame credit cards for our endless debt, it’s definitely the way we use it. It may sound I’m taking advantage of this tool but it’s the way it should be used. I’m a good payer and knows my limitations and budget.
Do you have other tips to share to maximize credit cards? Your ways might work for us too. Please share it with us by leaving comments below.