Money

4 Easy Ways to Save Money by Switching Your Credit Card

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We all want to save money, but not many are willing to make the big — and often unwanted — changes to our lifestyles that are sometimes necessary in order to do so. Luckily, there is a way to get the job done without turning your world upside down. Did you know that shopping with the right credit card can help you save big on the things you’re already buying? Between cash back rewards, balance transfer offers, and sign-up bonuses for your regular purchases (think groceries, department store purchases and travel), you can easily increase your earnings without changing your spending habits. Keep reading to find out how to save money with your credit card now. 

Credit Card Money-Saving Strategies 

As is true of many things in life (i.e. shopping on Black Friday, convincing your kids it’s bedtime, and Pokemon GO), strategy is important when it comes to saving money with your credit card. We’ve narrowed it down to four easy ways to get the most of your plastic when you swipe. 

1. Earn Cash Back As You Spend

Many credit cards will pay you a percentage back of the money you spend each year on certain categories, such as groceries, gas, travel, and more. 

Take groceries, for instance. A  2017 Consumer Expenditure study found that the average American household spent $4,363 on food alone in 2017. If any one of those households used a credit card that earned just 3 percent cash back to pay for their groceries, they would have earned roughly $130! 

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR CASH BACK AS YOU SPEND

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase

Why we like it:

  • Get 3% cash back on drugstore and restaurant purchases
  •  Earn 5% cash back on travel purchases
  • Receive 1.5% on all other purchases

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll be earning 3 percent cash back for drugstore purchases on top of 5 percent cash back on travel purchased through Chase. Plus, this little beauty offers 1.5 percent back on all other purchases — that’s some crazy savings.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

best credit card for cash back on groceries
Blue Cash Preferred Card American Express
American Express

Sign up on American Express

Why we like it:

  • Earn 6% back on US supermarket purchases
  • Get a free $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 (in first 3 months)

If you’re an AmEx person, the Blue Cash Preferred card by American Express can earn you back plenty of money each quarter without much effort. Customers will get 6 percent back on US supermarket purchases up to $6,000 and 3 percent on US transit (think rideshares, train fares, parking and tolls), and US gas, plus 1 percent on everything else.

Better still, you’ll get a free $250 in statement credit after spending $1,000 on the card in the first three months. Keep in mind that this card does have a $95 annual fee, but it’s a small price to pay for so much in savings! There’s also a 0 percent introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. 

2. Transfer Your Credit Card Balance to a Card With a Lower Annual Percentage Rate

Let’s take another look at that average US household. According to NerdWallet’s annual analysis of US household debt, most American consumers can claim $6,741 in credit card debt, while the average credit card annual percentage rate (APR) is a whopping 17.71 percent, as reported by CreditCards.com’s weekly credit card rate report for the week of Sept. 18, 2019. 

“Balance transfers can be a savvy debt management strategy if used wisely,” explains Kristen Euretig, CFP, Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Plans.

Simply taking advantage of a 0 percent balance transfer offer for 12 months could save these same credit card owners more than $1,100. 

US Bank Visa Platinum Card

best credit card for balance transfers
US Bank switching credit cards
US Bank

Sign up on Visa

Why we like it:

  • 0%  intro APR on purchases/balance transfers for 20 billing cycles
  • Up to $600 protection on your cell phone
  • No annual fee

When it comes to good cards for balance transfers, there are a couple we like, including the US Bank Visa Platinum Card. Signing up can earn you 0 percent APR on purchases and transfers for up to 20 billing cycles. There’s also no added fee and as an added bonus you can earn up to $600 towards cell phone protection if you pay your cell phone bill with the card— with a $25 deductible. You’ll be covered if any theft or damage happens to your phone (a nice safety net)!

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best credit card with low APR
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards
Capital One

Sign up on Capital One

Why we like it:

  • 0% APR on purchases
  • Welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 within the first 3 months

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, meanwhile, has a 0 percent APR on purchases you make for the first 15 months. As a welcome bonus you’ll also receive a $200 after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months from your account opening — a nice little cushion. 

3. Take Advantage of Sign-Up Bonuses

Signup bonuses are one of the easiest ways you can save — or rather, earn! — money using your credit card. Many cards offer hundreds of dollars in cash back as sign-up bonuses or tens of thousands of points that can be used for future travel.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR SIGN-UP BONUSES

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase

Why we like it:

  • Earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Receive double the points at restaurants

Every card we’ve mentioned so far offers a nice sign-up bonus. If you’re typically a frequent traveler or are simply thinking of planning a big trip in the next year or so, however, we like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, because it offers 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. It’s a hefty spend requirement, but if it makes sense for you, the sign-up bonus will definitely pay off — it equates to roughly $750 in free travel! Free honeymoon, anyone? 

The rewards don’t stop there, either: Each and every time you travel or dine out with your card, you’ll get double the points, making it easy to reap the benefits of your hard-spent cash. 

4. Get Travel Perks Galore

Speaking of traveling, sign-up bonuses aren’t the only benefit you’ll get from a good credit card. The right plastic just may upgrade you to celebrity, or, at the least, VIP status at the airport, with primo perks such as priority boarding (when it’s safe to travel do it in luxury) and a free checked bag (usually $30 each way) for you and up to nine travelers on your reservation. 

American Express Gold Card

best credit card for earning points
American Express switching credit cards
American Express

Sign up on American Express

Why we like it:

  • Receive a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000
  • Earn 4X the points at restaurants worldwide
  • Get 4X points on up to $25,00 per year at US Supermarkets

If you’re dreaming of a beach getaway or hope to plan a family vacation next year, consider a plastic friend that can help you save money on future travels. The Amex Gold Card has grown in popularity for the fabulous savings and points it offers. Just by signing up you’ll get 60,000 points as a welcome bonus after an annual spending of $4,000. For the nights when you want to skip the dishes, you can receive four times the points at restaurants worldwide, but the points do not stop there! This card will even offer you four times the points on up to $25,000 per year at US Supermarkets. Your trip could practically be paid for by the time you’re ready to travel again!

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR SIGN-UP BONUS POINTS

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Chase Southwest Priority Credit Card
Chase

Why we like it:

  • Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Receive an additional 30,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first 9 months
  • Get 7,500 annually after your card member anniversary

Chase’s Southwest cards offer major travel perks, which makes now a perfect time to start saving for future trips. Customers who choose the Southwest Rapid Rewards priority credit card can earn points galore just by signing up and spending. There is an annual fee of $149, but, within the first year, you can earn 80,000 points. In the first three months, 50,000 points are given once you spend $2,000, then you can earn an additional 30,000 points when you spend $10,000 on purchases within the first nine months. The points don’t stop there either! Until March 31., you’ll earn five points for every $1 spent on Southwest purchases and another 7,500 points are given annually after your card member anniversary. Think of all the points you can rack up in time for a vacation next year!

If the annual fee is too pricey for you Southwest also offers two additional cards with similar rewards. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card. Annual fees range from $69 to $99 for these cards, and each one comes with 50,000 Southwest points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months. What’s more, you’ll earn 30,000 additional points when you spend $10,000 in your first nine months, and 7,500 points upon your membership anniversary. 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start saving! 

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Woman’s World has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Woman’s World and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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