** Huzzah! I’m in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance. Thanks to Well Heeled for hosting. **
Spending $25,000 on a credit card over two years is unlikely to earn you even $180 on reward schemes, a survey has revealed.
I consider myself a savvy credit card user, and stories like these annoy the hell out of me.
Unless you spend heaps on your card…and fully pay off your card at the end of each month, most of these schemes won’t be worth it.
Well, no shit, Sherlock. That’s the credit card game, isn’t it? Don’t spend more than you can repay, and you win. Plus you get points or cashback. There’s nothing good about the alternative.
Sadly, unless you manage to be completely self sufficient – work for yourself, grow your own food, generate your own power and so forth – you need to spend money.
I will admit, I’m not making oodles of money from CC rewards. In fact, I would need to spend $27k to earn $180 in rewards. But I certainly am making something for nothing. If I must be ripped off by supermarkets, petrol stations and the like on a regular basis, I’m going to claw back every cent I can.
Let’s say $150 a week goes on the Visa (a ridiculously low number. That’s full groceries plus bus topup, or perhaps petrol plus a supermarket shop minus meat and veggies.) That earns $1. That’s $52 in rewards for $7800 spent in a year for doing nothing but LIVE LIFE. Or perhaps a more realistic $200 a week, earns $67.60 a year. That does not include the countless other expenses which crop up over those 12 months. Insurance. Clothing. Mystery shops. Concerts. Other dining out. Presents. Travel. Car registration and repairs. Purchases made for people we know who don’t have their own credit cards. Oh, and I can now pay Sky TV by Visa for no extra charge.
In fact, I put everything I possibly can on my credit card, and only regret I can’t do the same for rent. At a guess that might double or triple what we put on the card, and thus earn rewards for. One has to feed, dress and transport oneself, and this one would rather get something out of it. In the meantime, my money earns a little bit more interest in my account, which is calculated on a daily basis.
Quite frankly, I would find it near impossible to live without a credit card. I buy stuff online semi-regularly, from contact lenses to guitar strings to daily deal coupons to event tickets to hotel bookings. (Well, some of those are more regular than others.) My other options would be to, uh, ASK someone with a credit card to do it for me, or get one of those Visa Debitplus cards. In which case, I may as well get a real Visa, with a rewards programme. I don’t doubt Visa Debitplus is a fabulous option for many people, but it offers me absolutely nothing. The idea is you use your own money, but you do get charged a fee for it. I’d rather use the bank’s money for a month and earn wayyyy more than enough rewards dollars to cover the higher fee. And I won’t even get into the other benefits that some credit cards also offer.
I get it. It sounds like too much trouble for some people, especially given our relatively crappy rate of return. Especially for those who have fallen into the debt trap using credit cards. But others, like me and my mother and many more, can handle ourselves. And who else would book tickets online for our friends and family with shot credit and who don’t have a Debitplus for whatever reason? If you can handle money responsibly, there’s a bit of free money in there for you.
Please. Trust us. We’re grownups and we know how to play the game. Maybe the majority of Kiwis don’t, but there’s no need to treat us all like imbeciles. Or is there?