I'm all about keeping it relatively simple when it comes to spending. For the most part, I use two cards for purchases, a debit card that draws out of our bank checking account, and a credit card that I use for various spending categories, which pays 1% cash back.
It works well. It is simple. It allows me to keep on top of things on a daily basis if I so choose (I do!).
So, why on earth would I willingly add two more credit cards to the fray? Why complicate my life? Have I lost my personal finance mind?
Fear not, my sanity is still in check.
The reason is simple:
Yep, that's right. Five percent. Both of the cards we just added give us 5% off our shopping trips at their respective stores.
That's five percent right at the register. No having to wait for a check to come in the mail with the 5% back. No silly rewards program that makes you redeem it for something you may or may not use. Nothing like that. Just 5% off the second I swipe the card.
A lot of stores seem to be doing this, and truth be told, if I did it at every store I shopped at, I'd be adding a lot more than two cards.
But, we added the two cards for stores that we shop at regularly.
The two stores: Target and Lowe's.
Target's card rocks. We don't even have to pay a separate bill as theirs works as a debit card to our checking account. The same checking account we use for just about everything else. So, all we do is just pick a different card other than our bank's debit card, the money still comes out the same way, it still shows up right on our bank ledger, with the only difference being that we save 5%. We've settled on Target as the source of our baby formula, and we buy enough household items, that this will save us quite a bit.
We don't shop at Lowe's all the time, but there are enough trips throughout the year for little things (plus inevitably there's at least one or two purchases over a couple hundred bucks over the course of the year) that this makes sense. We have a Lowe's very close to us. I like the store. They have good prices. I know where things are. If they can get a competitive advantage by offering 5% off, I'll take it. Theirs does work as a credit card, so I do have to keep an eye on it and remember to make a payment, but a repeating Google Calendar entry, and I'm reminded of that without fail!
As a side benefit, the application process for my Lowe's card ensured me that my credit score is still top notch, as they approved me for a $12,000 credit limit! I actually plan on calling them and asking that to be lowered as adding that much available credit could lower my score, but it's nice to know that the credit agencies are still smiling down on me.
The way I look at it is that either store could cancel the 5% at any time, or change the terms. If they do, fine. It'll be just as easy to stop using the cards as it was to apply for them. But, we pay everything off every month so why not end up with a little extra in our pocket for buying things that we would be buying regardless?
Have you added any cards to your wallet lately where the offers are too good to pass up?