:::: MENU ::::

Credit Card Points for the Win

by

Our travel season has begun…and doubled up this year due to the addition of travel volleyball along with gymnastics. There are several weekends over the next three months that require us to be in two places at once. It’s going to get tricky.

Gymnast this past weekend after his competition in Knoxville.

And we all know, travel is expensive. But I am excited to say, I have covered ALL required hotels for this travel season using hotel points and credit card rebates. Woot, woot! (I’ve also reached out to family in some locations for occasional overnights.)

Princess is ready for her first volleyball tournament this weekend in Knoxville.

Using Credit Cards

There are two schools of thought when it comes to credit cards when you are trying to get out of debt. I have chosen it keep one credit card active BECAUSE of the security is provides. My checking account/debit card have been cleared out on multiple occasions, and I am not willing to go through that again. I use my credit card for everything and then make regular payments throughout the month.

In addition, a credit card saves a lot of head ache when you have to rent a car. And as mentioned above, the points I earn from my credit card have covered a great deal of the expenses for our travel this spring for the kids’ sports.

If you are on a “get out of debt” journey, what is your opinion on credit card usage?

 


8 Comments

  • Reply SMS |

    I think credit cards are incredibly useful IF you can control spending. As are balance transfers. Good for you, Hope, for covering hotel cost without incurring extra charges!

  • Reply cwaltz |

    My opinion on credit card usage is that it can be really dangerous to use them when you are living on the margins. It’s easy to tell yourself it is okay to go over budget amounts and put things on cards, blowing your future earnings before they even manage to make it into the bank. Credit cards require a great deal of discipline or a healthy budget amount in my experience.

  • Reply Jan |

    When we were paying off our debts I used balance transfers to keep getting low or no interest which really helped us make progress. The last few years I have paid all our expenses on to the credit card so that more money stayed in our offset account and we also got points used for groceries. It worked well and helped us reduce our mortgage interest. But I found I was starting to spend more than I planned using the credit card. So, this year I’ve gone back to paying bill weekly and will only be using the credit card for our holidays and some larger, annual bills – we’ve never paid any interest on the card though. I think its different for everyone and different strategies work depending on where people are on their financial journey and their personality with spending.

  • Reply Drmaddog2020 |

    Credit cards are a tool. I don’t want to use a chainsaw because I am not confidenr I couldn’t control it or use it properly. So cards aren’t for everyone. I use them for the protection. I never use a debit card because I have known multiple people, like you, who had their accounts emptied, and there’s goes the rent money. Yes, banks are supposed to return it while they investigate, but one of the those I know who was a victim of this – her bank decided that since she knew the person who the determined stole her card, that she must have been involved. So they took the ‘returned’ funds back again. That was a lean month for her.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Since your job situation is slightly more secure than it was a few weeks ago, is it possible for you to pay your credit card balance down to zero to cut off the interest charges from accruing? It’s tough to basically pay two months of living expenses in a single month, but it is the only way that using the credit card isn’t actually costing you in the long run. You could parlay this into living on last month’s expenses if you wanted to get into that habit.

  • Reply margann34 |

    I agree that credit cards should only be used if you are extremely disciplined. You should only charge as much as you can afford to pay off at a moment’s notice. Cash balance should be greater that credit card balance.
    Also, don’t fall into the trap of spending extra money just to score more points. That being said, life is sometimes more convenient with a credit card. It can be a useful tool.

  • Reply Joe |

    Credit cards are great if you avoid paying interest. Most folks in debt are not in a strong position to do this. Credit card points are a nice little perk but ultimately not a huge amount of money (a very good card will give you 2%). In a previous post you just described the $180 in interest you paid last year in credit card interest, probably wiping out a huge chunk of the “savings”. So I would advise you to be much more careful than you have been if you really want to take maximal advantage!

  • Reply Patti from CA |

    We have paid off all debt except our home mortgage. We have used credit cards to help accomplish this goal. However, you have to start with a realistic budget and really stick to it. I was so sick of debt, that part was easy for me. We didn’t eat out for almost 18 months. We also built a food storage so there were no “food emergencies”. We buy everything we need at the lowest possible price or we do without it.

    We used balance transfers to keep interest low while paying off the credit cards. You have to carefully examine transfer fees, the dates your low interest rates expire, etc.

    We used a separate card for all expenses, and updated the budget 6-8 times a month to be sure we were not overspending and we paid it off every single month.

    All expenses are planned and budgeted for, but if we miss something, we use points for any truly unexpected needs and rarely touch our savings.

    I am so thankful, because my husband has been out of work (due to an injury) for 54 weeks, and we are okay, because we didn’t not have debt. We are able to live on my salary and I am still able to contribute to my retirement savings as well. It is tight with two college students and an elderly mom at home, but they have part time jobs and we have everything we need.

    My husband’s injury happened many years ago at work, he received surgery and a judgement for lifetime medical treatment in lieu of a cash payment. We thought we did the right thing, but when his injury flared up and he was no longer “allowed” to work, they refused to authorize treatment. We can’t use our health insurance because it’s a workers comp injury.

    Until it’s sorted and he is back to work, we have all our needs met and a healthy savings of cash and points.

    Good luck on your debt free journey.

    But we are okay, because we dont have debt. I have a 18 year old car, but no debt. It’s the best ever.

    We still use our credit card and pay it off monthly, keeping a careful eye on the budget. The credits card points are like free money.

So, what do you think ?