Free Cash: Why We Use Cash Back Credit Cards

We use cash back credit cards for just about every purchase that we possibly can.  Why?  The answer is simple, because we earn free cash and it adds up to a good amount.  Below is how much cash we’ve earned in the last twelve months.

Costco Visa Card

This is our primary spending card.  It has the most rewards that we use.  We get 4% cash back on gas, 3% at restaurants, 2% at Costco, and 1% on everything else.

They issue a certificate once per year that you take into the store to cash.  This year we’ll be getting $281.88.

American Express Blue Everyday Card

When Costco switched from American Express to Visa, we took an offer to open one of these cards.  We primarily use this at grocery stores, as we get 3% cash back.  We do make other purchases on here as well.

Since we opened this last year, we’ve earned $159.32 in cash back.

In addition to this, American Express has the best ‘offers’ of any card I’ve seen.  In addition to the above, we’ve saved money on statement credits just for using American Express to pay our cell phone bill, visit a Mobil station, or even just to sign in to their online app.  Plus we got a big statement credit just for spending a certain amount on the card within 90 days.  Without looking, I’d say we got over $350 in statement credits on top of the cash back.

Citi Dividends Cards

These were the first cash back cards we ever opened, and I don’t think you can even get them as new members anymore.  But, for these (just like everything else) we get 1% cash back on everything, plus 5% on rotating categories that change every quarter.

We pretty much keep these because they’re our oldest cards, and having a card established for that long is good for our credit scores.  We’ll use this for camping reservations or other purchases that don’t give bonus money on any other card.

Between my card and my wife’s card, we have earned $125.41 over the past twelve months since we last cashed out.

Grand Total Earned From Cash Back Credit Cards

Adding all of that up, we have earned $566.81 in cash back just by using our cards.  We pay our cards off in full every month, so we aren’t paying a nickel in interest.  Nor do we pay an annual fee for any of these cards.  That’s basically us buying things or making purchases on things we’re going to anyways, and ending up with over $500.  That is a pretty good deal if you ask me.

In the past, we’ve used our cash back rewards cards to purchase electronics.  All of our flat screen TVs have been purchased with cash back rewards money.  We’ve also applied this toward a vacation in years we haven’t needed anything new.

Readers, do you use cash back reward cards?  Do you make sure to use them to your full advantage?  If so, what tricks or tips do you have?  Please let me know how things work for you in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Free Cash: Why We Use Cash Back Credit Cards

  1. Yes! We use a Discover cash back and make several hundred dollars a year. I should look at our total for 2016. It’s similar to your Citi card, 1% all the time and 5% revolving deals. We also use a Visa for all our gas purposes, as there is a cash back deal at Marathon’s, so we earn at least one $25 gas gift card a month – which we then save for vacation to cover our driving expenses. It’s a nice way to budget vacation expenses – with free money! Because I’m with you, if you pay off your credit cards each month, why not take advantage of the free money?
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  2. Ditto that!

    Costco’s cash-back AMEX card was my go-to card. Unfortunately, it’s a gone goose at my house: I’ve had a Citibank Visa before and wouldn’t do business with Citigroup again if they were the last bank on the planet.

    I use my credit union’s Visa card to shop at Costco and AMEX for everything else. Interestingly, American Express’s no annual fee card does give you a small kickback on certain purchases. And they have customer service…can you imagine? 😀
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    • Yeah, we have an AmEx card as well because they gave us a great signup bonus, and they actually have a higher payback on certain things (namely grocery stores) so it’s one of the cards in our rotation.

      I know Citi gets a lot of complaints but I’ve always had pretty good luck with their service. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way.

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