Read the title of this post and you might think that Citi got generous and sent us a new TV.
Unfortunately, the generosity of Citi isn't quite to that level. However, it was the next best thing in my book.
Both my wife and I have been using our Citi Dividends cards for over three years now. Citi Dividends is a cashback rewards card that currently has no annual fee. Since we pay our credit cards off every month, I pay little attention to what the interest rate is.
The Citi Dividends card pays at least 1% cash back for all purchases. They pay an extra percent (total of 2%) for certain categories of purchases including those at grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, drugstores, and utilities. I believe that there are others as well. You accumulate reward cashback every month, and when your balance hits $50 you are eligible to request a check.
My wife and I have both been putting purchases for all of the 2% categories on our card, as well as most ‘bigger ticket' items, figuring that 1% is better than nothing. When we get a check, we have been banking it in our long term savings accounts (currently split between ING Direct and GMAC Demand Notes).
Last year, around the holidays, I found a Slickdeal on a TV for our kitchen. We previously had a small tube TV, but it was bulky and took up a lot of room on our countertop, which is often in high demand. The deal was a nice 19″ LCD HD TV for $129.99 including shipping, plus we received a couple bucks back through Bing's cashback program. When it came time to pay for it (and it went on our Citi card, of course), I simply removed the money from our earmark and paid it off.
My wife and I have decided that we want to use that money for more ‘luxury' purchases rather than to pay bills or pay down student loan debt. I think we have both agreed that we'd be using this for electronic type purchases, so additional TVs, computers, etc. would be funded completely or in part with this ‘free' money that we earn just by using our credit card.
We make sure that we don't buy things unnecessarily, so it's not like it's costing us money to use the card via unnecessary purchases. As I mentioned, we also pay it off every month, so there's no offseting interest charges for us to worry about.
I know that there are other cash back cards out there. In fact, I think that Citi no longer even offers this particular card for new customers, but I know that they have other cash back cards out there, so I'd recommend shopping around in the event that you don't have a cash back rewards card but are interested.
Citi has had the same level of rewards for a few years now, and I've never ‘chased' other rewards cards for fear that as soon as we got new cards paying a little more, they'd end up cutting the rewards anyways. So, until one comes out that has a deal too good to pass up or until Citi cuts their rewards or raises their rates, they have at least two loyal customers.
Customers that like ‘free' TVs, too!
Note: This is an unsolicited post; I was not paid or asked by Citi to write this post.