On this blog we have talked about the dangers and pitfalls of credit cards, however not all credit card usage is bad.  If you are the type of person that can use self-discipline with credit cards, then it might be beneficial for your finances to consider cards that give rewards back just for using them.  Not all rewards credit cards are the same, so if you are interested in making credit card rewards work for your budget, there are a few things to consider.

Find What Works

When you start to look at all the rewards cards that are available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  These days you can probably find any kind of rewards you want. There’s cards that offer cash back, air miles, gift cards, free cruises and more!  Doing research and figuring out what kind of rewards you are interested in before applying for the card is best. Don’t apply for a card with air mile rewards if you never travel.  If cruises are your choice of vacation, then apply for a card that lets you build points towards free trips. The point is, find a card that fits your lifestyle.

Cash Will Always Work

For most people, the rewards card that works the best is always one that offers cash back.  This type of card is especially good for those who are on budgets and need a little wiggle room.  You can find cards with up to 5% cash back on certain purchases. Little by little all those purchases will add up to a nice little bonus check when you cash them in.  Again, do your research and find a card that fits your needs and will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of cash back points.

Just Use One

To get the most out of your rewards card, you will need to run all your spending through that one card.  This is where the self-discipline part comes in–you will have to pay off the balance every month in full.  This way you will avoid interest charges, and you will rack up points fast to get the most rewards. Use the card for every purchase you make, just like you were using your checking account.  Just make sure you keep immaculate records so that you won’t overspend and not be able to pay if off the next month. This is the fastest way to get the most rewards.

Keep Track of Everything

When you use a rewards credit card as your main tool of purchasing, you will need to make sure that you keep track of absolutely everything.  Not only do you have to keep track of your spending, but it is important to keep track of any changes to your credit cards terms and conditions or how long you have until your rewards points expire.  The rules are different for different cards, so you need to read the fine print and know exactly what you are getting into and keep track of any changes you see.

Using credit cards to gain rewards can be a very nice addition to your income if you play the game properly.  Following these tips should get you started off on the right foot.

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