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Just a few short years ago rewards cards were a rare thing. Today rewards cards — and cash back cards in particular — are the most popular credit cards on the market. Now you can earn big cash back rewards even from your everyday spending habit.
Cash back cards are all different: some give huge rebates on all purchases up to a limit, some give goods rebates in certain categories, some have a tiered rewards system and some give a simple, flat rate rebate on all purchases. This article will go over the big rewards you can earn from everyday purchases, no matter what type of cash back card you use.
If you’re like most Americans you spend between $200 and $350 per month on groceries. With a simple flat rate 1% back card you can expect to earn between $2 and $3.50 per month just by purchasing food you’ll need anyway. Other cards let you earn up to 5% back on grocery store purchases: that’s between $10 and 17.50 per month in grocery purchases alone! Overall you can expect to earn at least $24 per year and up to $210 back per year just on your grocery spending alone.
Drug Store Items
Almost everyone needs a prescription or two filled each month, along with a few other necessities from the drug store like Tylenol, diapers and make up. With merely $50 per month in drug store spending you can earn $0.50 back with a 1% flat-rate card. Many cards, however, earn special, higher rebates for drug store purchases, as much as 5%. That means $2.50 back per month on drug store purchases with certain cash back cards and up to $30 per year.
Restaurant & Dining
This is another category that can earn big rebates with cash back credit cards. A typical rebate on restaurant purchases is between 3-5%. If you dine out twice a month and spend $50 at each meal you can earn between $3 and $5 per month– that’s $36 – $50 per year! Simply by using your rewards credit card to pay for dinner you’re earning an entire free meal each year. Just remember to pay your balance each month and avoid interest!
Books, Music & Movies
A number of credit cards on the market earn 5% back on all movies, music and book purchases. Assuming you spend about $35 per month in this category you can earn about $21 back per year — enough for a free movie with a friend.
Gasoline earns very high rebates with most cash back cards. Rebates on gas can be as high as 8%, although 5% is very common. With $75 in gasoline purchases each month the average consumer can earn between $45 and $72 cash back per year. That 5% rebate is also enough to turn $3 per gallon gas into $2.85 per gallon gas — a significant savings.
Tips to Choosing the Right Cash Back Card
This article is meant to show that, with responsible use and careful planning, it’s easy for the average person to use a cash back card on items they buy everyday to see a significant savings each month.
Obviously, choosing the right cash back card can mean the difference between hundreds of dollars in savings each month and earning very little. If you’re interested in earning rewards like you see above make sure you follow some simple rules when choosing a cash back card.
First, do not get a card with an annual fee. Exceptions apply but for most people it’s not worth it.
Second, compare! Comparing cash back cards is very important because there’s a lot of competition and it pays to search around. Get the best rewards card you can with your credit and make sure you understand the terms. If possible, get a cash back card in which your rewards never expire and have no limit. This will help you earn the most money and keep you from losing your savings.
And, above all, never carry a balance on any cash back card. Paying even 10% APR makes no sense when you’re only getting 1-5% cash back.