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NoPresetSnarkLimit

R$...for those afraid of the M

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First to be very clear M$ is not illegal, it is frowned upon by the credit card companies because they prefer to take your money rather than give you money.

So let's be conservative and play it safe, many M$ers will tell you that they don't even consider what we will discuss here as M$ in the first place. But we can certainly learn from their efforts. You can pick up a lot of info on M$ here https://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=541763

R$ = Regular Spending

Credit card companies love R$, they encourage you to R$ by offering you extra points or cashback in certain categories. They encourage you to R$ by offering you sign up bonuses if you R$ a certain amount of money in a certain period of time.

*Here's the catch: They would also love for you to carry a balance due at all times, they make money in a couple of ways; swipe fees paid by merchants and passed on to you via the price of items, annual fees which are sometimes worth it depending on the card, and the big money maker...interest charges on your balance that allow them to make real good money.

So we need to start any discussion with this: If you are carrying balances, you've lost the R$ game already, walk away, you're wasting your time here. Rewards earned mean nothing, Miles earned mean nothing, Cashback earned means nothing compared to what you pay in interest.

For best results start paying down those balances while you try to maximize returns using R$

So STEP ONE is PIF, pay no interest, see the concept of PIF here https://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=544242

STEP TWO is choose the best cards, just because an issuer approved you or gave you a great credit limit does not mean it's a useful card for R$. As a very simplistic notion let's decide that 1.5% cash back return is the very least you should consider. There are tons of better options and we'll discuss them but don't sell yourself short for less.

STEP THREE is throw away your debit card, stop using it except for withdrawing cash (at $0 fee ATM's only) Not for gas, not for groceries, not for lunch, not for anything EVER. If you'd like to argue that point please go here https://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=544936&page=1 instead of mucking up this thread, (yes I know it's closed) :rofl:

STEP FOUR List every single thing you pay for, cup of coffee, cable bill, auto loan, groceries, car insurance, daycare, lunch, alcohol, water bill, electricity, mortgage, rent, vet clinic, prescriptions, directv, cell phone, home phone, lawn care service, a plumber to come and unclog a drain, newspaper subscription....ok you get the point, everything! Write them all down on a piece of paper.

*Here are some base assumptions and cash back for each (not the 'best card' just some numbers for illustrative purposes)

Coffee once a week - $4.00x4 BOA routinely offers 10% cash back = $1.60

Cable Bill - $85.00 Quicksilver = $1.27

Car Insurance - $150.00 Citi Double Cash = $3.00

Directv - $175 - Venture = $3.50

Daycare -$600 - Penfed Cash = $9.00

etc

etc

etc

You get the point, even using a less than optimal card choice there is still real money that could be in your pocket daily/monthly.

STEP FIVE Stop paying all of those bills/expenses with any other method than credit cards, no cash, no debit, no checks. Pay everything with credit cards than pay the credit cards from your bank. It can be done, it's the purpose of this thread, it's why we're here reading this post.

STEP SIX Use the best credit card you have for each item, for instance, maybe you have a Sallie Mae card that gives you 5% cashback for gas, an Amex that gives you 6% for groceries, a Chase Sapphire Preferred for travel, a Huntington Voice at 3x for utility bills, etc etc etc. just choose the best card you have and use it for the most appropriate thing.

*This is not an excuse to app for everything under the sun today, just let it influence future app decisions on how a card you are considering might fit your needs.

**There is a valid point to be made about using one card for everything and keeping all your points or cash back on one rewards system rather than spreading it around, it's certainly easier but this is about maximizing your spend.

STEP SEVEN Max out your quarterly categories. If Chase Freedom is offering you 5% at department stores for the first $1500.00 for a 3 month period but you only need to spend $900.00 in that 3 month period, purchase your favorite department store gift cards and use them later. You are basically just extending your redemption period. Discover is offering 5% for Amazon right now? Do your Christmas shopping early or just do the same as you've done with Chase, buy Amazon gift cards now and use them later.

*Yes, you still need to pay the Chase and Discover bills in full right now, don't do it if you can't afford it.

**You could look at it like a savings account, get your gift cards now at 5% off and use them later like on Black Friday to save even more.

STEP EIGHT Figure out the tough ones, the bills that make it difficult to pay directly with a credit card like mortgages and car payments and rent. If you are a renter, ask! I absolutely take credit cards from my tenants, pay me that rent on time by any means necessary, lol.

*There are services/companies that will pay your mortgage, rent, car payments on your behalf and you pay the service/companies with a credit card. The drawback is they charge fees to do so that will negate any cash back/rewards you are trying to earn on the credit card, usually 2.5 to 3.0%. While these may be useful if you just need to meet minimum spend for a credit card before time runs out, they will not serve you well going forward.

And you can do it better on your own anyway.

*Its all about the categories! Where do you get the best cash back or rewards on which card.

Here are some examples:

Let's talk groceries:

Capital One Quicksilver 1.5% vs Blue Cash Preferred 6%

A $506 dollar purchase using the Quicksilver gets you $7.59 cash back.

A $506 dollar purchase using the Blue Cash P gets you $30.36 cash back.

Let's talk gas:

BOA Cash Rewards vs Citi Double Cash

A $506 gas purchase using Citi Double Cash gets you $10.12 cash back.

A $506 gas purchase using BOA 1-2-3 Cash gets you $15.18 cash back.

A $506 gas purchase using Penfed CashRewards gets you $25.30 cash back.

NOTE TO YOU: There is a reason I've chosen $506 for gas and groceries, I know you may not purchase that much, keep reading

Etc etc etc.

**Now we make some assumptions, let's say you have a $1000 mortgage and a $500 car payment.

We'll go back to the Blue Cash Preferred at the grocery store, remember a $506 purchase earned you $30.36 cash back, let's triple that and buy groceries for $1518.00 (lot of groceries eh?) You would earn $91.00 cash back every month.

Now take the "groceries" you have purchased and give them to your mortgage company and car loan company and keep the $91.00 for your self.

But wait, your lender doesn't take groceries as payment do they, hmmmm what to do with all these groceries? Turn them into a service that accepts groceries, like these (you can only have one per SSN)

39d3790dda577359682ca7084fab7677_zpswiom

or

f7e21eeabb6c769dc3536c013e81050e_zpsmrck

or

811c13d5694be47afe08c48f89b7dd91_zpsxxz6

Then use their convenient bill pay feature to pay your mortgage, car loan, and anybody else who doesn't accept credit cards.

The redemptions I've discussed herein are really basic, some points programs can be even more lucrative such as MR and UR, Miles, etc and you can learn more here https://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=538146&hl=

And don't forget to combine your credit card cash back with your favorite store rewards perks, a great example I can give you is grocery stores, a lot of them offer fuel rewards on each purchase, the discount is then taken at the pump, here is my most recent fill up, Gas was $2.89 that day, you can see I didn't pay that :grin:

a55987effd0572c847a29cc6a3e98077_zpsasoa

This particular fill up worked out to $0.83 a gallon but my grocery/gas rewards will let you get it down as low as $0.01 per gallon, depends on the pump and grocery program but I needed a fill up asap.

It bears repeating, don't rush out and apply for new cards, make a plan, evaluate extensively each card you might like, ask questions here, research Credit Pulls Database.

The key to success is planning, research, organization and please set every credit card you use to automatically pay the minimum due so nothing slips through the cracks.

STEP NINE: Before you just dive in randomly...Discuss

*Pros, keep it simple in this thread please. These folks are just trying to R$



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Mine is Hy-Vee

Pretty much the same thing, though, I guess. I love getting gas for under a dollar a gallon. Now that I have a 321 from BofA, I can double-dip that, too.

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*Pros, keep it simple in this thread please. These folks are just trying to R$

Buy everything in a 5x category, If your CC does not have a 5x category find one that does for G/G/D and buy VS/MC GC's with that card. Then use those GC's for R$.

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*Pros, keep it simple in this thread please. These folks are just trying to R$

 

Buy everything in a 5x category, If your CC does not have a 5x category find one that does for G/G/D and buy VS/MC GC's with that card. Then use those GC's for R$.

What is CC?

What is G/G/D?

What is VS/MC?

What is GC's?

Slow and simple to start please. FYI to all Rorer is one of the Pros

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Great post.

I've been meaning to get in the game but haven't researched it enough to start, admittedly.

I get stuck at the $3.95 or $4.95 fee to buy gift cards.

Wouldn't those fees add up to negate the MR's or miles gained?

I guess (and maybe I'm off base here) that if you're getting 5x then the profit>fees? Is this the case?

I don't have any 5x cards.

What would you recommend?

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Great post.

I've been meaning to get in the game but haven't researched it enough to start, admittedly.

I get stuck at the $3.95 or $4.95 fee to buy gift cards.

Wouldn't those fees add up to negate the MR's or miles gained?

I guess (and maybe I'm off base here) that if you're getting 5x then the profit>fees? Is this the case?

I don't have any 5x cards.

What would you recommend?

Just using a 1.5% cashback card gets you $7.59 cashback on a $506 (505.95) purchase so you still come out ahead.

The better the card for that category, the better the profit. As Rorer mentioned, in a perfect world use a 5x or 5% card for every purchase but that will not be possible as everyone does not hold every card and there are limits for each of those categories To start, use the best card YOU have already, don't rush to app.

Edited by NoPresetSnarkLimit

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You will notice that several people on CB aren't incredibly congratulatory when people post approval threads for cards that don't offer much in return, hopefully this thread will help illuminate why, they are not elitists or snobs, they just know you can do better.

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Awesome thread, OP! :good:

 

Haven't seen such a useful thread like this is in a long time

 

Thanks

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And a big thanks to another of the Pros Mendellson who helped ease me into the best ways to maximize my spend.

Both of you are awesome :lol:

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What is CC?

What is G/G/D?

What is VS/MC?

What is GC's?

Slow and simple to start please.

 

CC = Credit Card

G/G/D = Gas Grocery Drugs

VS/MC = Visa/MaterCard

GC = Gift Card

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Only currently available cards with >1.5% cash back are included

**=New Info

 

PERSONAL

 

AMEX Blue Cash (BC)

- GAS: 1% first $6500 (total spend) annually, 5% after $6500 (total spend) up to $50,000

- GROCERIES: 1% first $6500 (total spend) annually, 5% after $6500 (total spend) up to $50,000

- SELECT DRUGSTORES: 1% first $6500 (total spend) annually, 5% after $6500 (total spend) up to $50,000

- EVERYTHING: 0.5% first $6500 (total spend) annually, 1% after $6500 (total spend)

- $0 AF

 

AMEX Blue Cash Everyday (BCE)

- GAS: 2%

- GROCERIES: 3% first $6000 annually

- SELECT DEPARTMENT STORES: 2%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred (BCP)

- GAS: 3%

- GROCERIES: 6% first $6000 annually

- SELECT DEPARTMENT STORES: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $75 AF

 

AMEX TrueEarnings Costco

- GAS: 3% first $4000 annually

- RESTAURANTS: 2%

- ELIGIBLE TRAVEL: 2%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF (w/ Paid Costco Membership)

 

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

- GAS: 3% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- GROCERIES: 2% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- BofA Customers receive 10% cash back bonus

- $0 AF

 

BofA Susan G. Komen

- GAS: 3% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- GROCERIES: 2% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- BofA Customers receive 10% cash back bonus

- $0 AF

 

BofA World Wildlife Fund

- GAS: 3% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- GROCERIES: 2% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- BofA Customers receive 10% cash back bonus

- $0 AF

 

BofA MLB

- GAS: 3% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- GROCERIES: 2% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- BofA Customers receive 10% cash back bonus

- $0 AF

 

BofA U.S. Pride

- GAS: 3% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- GROCERIES: 2% first $1500 (gas & groceries) quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- BofA Customers receive 10% cash back bonus

- $0 AF

 

Barclay's Upromise

- GAS: 3% at Exxon or Mobil

- MOVIE THEATERS: 2%

- SELECT RESTAURANTS: 4%

- SHOPPING THROUGH Upromise.com: 5%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Barlcay's Sallie Mae (SM)

- AMAZON.COM/BOOKSTORES: 5% first $750 monthly

- GAS: 5% first $250 monthly

- GROCERIES: 5% first $250 monthly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Barclaycard Rewards Platinum

- GAS: 2%

- GROCERIES: 2%

- UTILITIES: 2%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

CCU Visa Signature Cash Rebate

- GAS: 2%

- GROCERIES: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- Maximum annual cash rebate: $6000

- $0 AF

 

Chase AARP

- FAST FOOD: 3%

- GAS: 3%

- RESTAURANTS: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF (for AARP members)

 

Chase AARP Travel Rewards

- TRAVEL: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF (for AARP members)

 

Chase Freedom

- ROTATING: 5% first $1500 quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Citi Double Cash

- EVERYTHING: 1.99% statement credit on everything

- EVERYTHING: 2% if taken as Check or Direct Deposit

- $0 AF

 

Coastal FCU Cash Back Visa

- GAS: 3%

- GROCERIES: 2%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Discover IT

- ROTATING: 5% first $1500 quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Discover IT Chrome

- GAS: 2% first $1000 (gas & restaurants) quarterly

- RESTUARANTS: 2% first $1000 (gas & restaurants) quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Elan Cash Rewards American Express Card

- GAS: 3% first $6000 annually

- GROCERIES: 2%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

- Available from numerous small banks: http://goo.gl/mkTFzZ

 

Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX (FIA)

- EVERYTHING: 2%

- Cash back must be deposited into an eligible Fidelity account

 

Golden 1 Platinum Rewards Visa

- GAS: 3%

- GROCERIES: 3%

- RESTAURANTS: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Marukai Premium JCB

- EVERYTHING: 1% first $1000 annually

- EVERYTHING: 2% $1001 - $3000 annually

- EVERYTHING: 3% over $3000 annually

- $25 AF

 

**NASA FCU Platinum Cash Rewards

- EVERYTHING: 1% first $1000 annually

- EVERYTHING: 1.2% $1001 - $2000 annually

- EVERYTHING: 2% over $2000 annually

- $0 AF

 

NMEFCU Cash Rewards Signature Visa

- ROTATING CATEGORIES: 5% first $1500 quarterly

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards

- GAS: 3%

- $25 AF

 

PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Plus

- GAS: 5%

- $0 AF

 

Sam's Club MasterCard

- DINING: 3%

- GAS: 5% first $6000 annually

- TRAVEL: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF (w/ Paid Sam's Club Membership)

- Maximum of $5000 cash back annually

 

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus AMEX

- GAS: 5% first $3000 annually

- GROCERIES: 2% first $3000 annually

- MILITARY BASES: 5% first $3000

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

US Bank Cash+

- 2 CHOSEN CATEGORIES: 5% first $2000 (combined) quarterly

- CHOSEN CATEGORY: 2%

- EVERYTHING 1%

- $0 AF

 

BUSINESS

 

AMEX SimplyCash

- OFFICE SUPPLY: 5% first $25,000 annually

- CELL PHONE: 5% first $25,000 annually

- CHOSEN CATEGORY: 3% first $25,000 annually

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

BofA Cash Rewards

- GAS: 3% first $250,000 (gas & office supply) annually

- OFFICE SUPPLIES: 3% first $250,000 (gas & office supply) annually

- RESTAURANTS: 2%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Capital One Spark Cash

- EVERYTHING: 2%

- $59 AF

 

Chase Ink Cash

- CABLE: 5% first $25,000 (5% categories combined) annually

- GAS: 2% first $25,000 (gas & restaurants) annually

- INTERNET: 5% first $25,000 (5% categories combined) annually

- OFFICE SUPPLIES: 5% first $25,000 (5% categories combined) annually

- RESTAURANTS: 2% first $25,000 (gas & restaurants) annually

- TELEPHONE: 5% first $25,000 (5% categories combined) annually

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

 

Sam's Club Business MasterCard

- DINING: 3%

- GAS: 5% first $6000 annually

- TRAVEL: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF (w/ Paid Sam's Club Membership)

- Maximum of $5000 cash back annually

 

US Bank Business Edge Cash Rewards

- CELLULAR: 3%

- GAS: 3%

- OFFICE SUPPLY: 3%

- EVERYTHING: 1%

- $0 AF

- 25% Annual Cash Rewards bonus, up to $250

 

 

Card types intentionally excluded from list:

- Points Cards: While many points cards allow redemption for cash back, redemption values may change even after points are earned.

- Store Cards: Cards that only award >1.5% cash back at a specific store or shopping portal.

- Bonus Cards: Cards that only exceed >1.5% during an introductory period.

 

Forget to link to this thread for cashback strategies https://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=539436

The info above is an excerpt from that thread (not verified up to date this very second but to give you an idea) but you really must read the whole thread to get the nuances of cash back vs miles / points. A lot of times miles/points can be a better way to go, just not as easily countable (depends on how you redeem them) for purposes of getting started with R$. You will note they all exceed our base minimum 1.5% in certain categories. Edited by NoPresetSnarkLimit

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Great thread, I'm all about using the best card for every purchase. I haven't used my debit card for anything other than a cash withdrawal in a few years. I should start using Serve to pay my car note. What is the most optimal way to get funds into a Serve account? Is it via PIN enabled GC from a G/G/D?

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Great thread NPSL!!!!! We were all busy kicking each other in the shins yesterday and you actually accomplished something productive! :rofl:

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What is the most optimal way to get funds into a Serve account? Is it via PIN enabled GC from a G/G/D?

Great question, the best answer I would give to start with is to evaluate the area where you live.

Are you rich in Target stores?

Lots of Walmarts?

Family Dollar Stores aplenty?

7-11 on every corner?

Do your Walmarts have Kates? (Money Center ATM) not all have them.

Can you buy gift cards at your grocery store using a credit card?

Can you buy money orders with a gift card?

Can you buy gift cards at your gas stations with credit card?

Do you know the hazards of Vanilla?

Can you verify that the places you buy gift cards will code properly as gas, grocery, drugstore, on your credit card?

Don't jump in to anything quick, make small test purchases, wait and see how they process, who will take credit cards, etc. Waste a little money now buying the small gift cards rather than tying up a big chunk of money until you know you can process it efficiently.

Be friendly, each store can have different policies, not the clerks fault.

In a perfect world, you can do this at places you shop anyway, in the long run your time is worth money too but getting the lay of the land and figuring out what will work in your area is worth the time invested.

 

The short answer is yes, VisaGiftCard with pin to Serve to bill payment is fairly optimal.

Edited by NoPresetSnarkLimit

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For Serve, the easiest way to load if you have access if VGC via MC ATM.

 

Also the $1K CC load with an Amex network card (not issued by Amex) such as the Fidelity Amex. You can do this online.

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I've been away for a few months, and this was a great way for me to get started back in business. Thanks for the refresher OP :clapping:

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