Friday, June 13, 2008

Credit Card Crusader

What's this? Talking about using credit cards as a frugal tip?

Yes, I say, yes! I have been on a crusade lately to use the banks the way they have used me for the majority of my life. For almost 6 months now, I have used my credit card for just about every purchase made. When I return home from that purchase, I take the first available minute to pay off the balance that was just created. This means there is always a zero balance on my card and I have racked up the 'bonus' points that the credit company promises for using their card - in my case it is points towards free groceries.

Now the point system is a bonus, but a very slow one. It takes alot of purchases to collect enough points to get even $20 of free groceries. True, any amount of free is good for me - but there is a more recent cheapskate habit I wanted to share today. It is another way I have trained myself to get "free money".

When I sit down at the computer to pay off my credit card purchases, I round up the amounts from each receipt. So, if there are 3 purchases at $5.25, $9.87 and $11.05, I pay a total of $6, $10 and $12 respectively on the credit card account. This habit has generally meant I have the credit card company owing me anywhere from $10 - $20 each month when I receive my statement.

Now, I know it isn't really "free money" - it's my money. But, with the nickel and dime savings I am forcing myself to make, it is always a nice surprise when the statement does arrive. Really...I don't miss that little bit of change each time I make a payment anyway.

The only warning tag to add is that it takes alot of self control and solid conviction to follow through with payments when using a credit card this way - even one missed payment can really throw off the budget! However, now that I have been doing it successfully for this long, I feel like a real grown up with my finances.

If I could just convince the credit card company that they should pay me interest on my overpayment...that would something to post about!

(You can find more tips on frugality by following the Biblical Womanhood link on side bar.)


The Happy Housewife said...

I am not sure I agree with this, but I am glad it works for you. I think many people would over spend this way. Thank you so much for your gardening tip on my blog. I plan on using it next year!

Kim from Canada said...

We are in agreement that this technique isn't for everyone. Even my own husband won't do it for fear of overspending. That is the reason for the warning about needing alot of self control/discipline and the conviction to stay on track! Anyone can do it, IF they have the conviction - I am proof positive.
Good luck with the garden!