As much as I hate spending, it’s a necessary evil. Before I moved further away from the city and before I was married, I had fewer expenses and less variables that were determining factors in my spending habits. While my husband and I are on the same page about the basics of money (spending less than you make, saving for retirement, use credit responsibly), it’s harder to convince him to participate in something as restrictive as a “no spend week“. To a personal finance nerd like me, it’s a fun and exciting challenge. To almost anyone else including him, it’s a annoyance and an impractical habit. So how do I try and bridge the gap? Cash back of course! If I have to spend, I might as well do whatever I can to minimize my net expenses. Here is how I do it.
Ebates – I’ve seen the commercials on TV for years and I never bothered. I always thought it was one of those gimmicky things that you have to pay and sign up for and you may not see much if anything at all. I also assumed that there’d be a lot of obscure stores on the website that I’d never use. I was leaving a friend’s home and she was walking me out when she said “Oh! My ebates check is here!” She’s not the type to sign up for things that will waste her time so that made me curious. I asked her what the largest check she received amounted to and she told me $70. There was nothing to do but sign up and shop. I looked into it as soon as I got home and when I realized that Amazon was on that list, I was sold! I signed up in late May and I’ve already earned $30 in cash back from it, $5 of which was from Marriott. Yes, you read that correctly. You can book hotels and even trips through Travelocity. Sign up today and start collecting cash back on the things you buy anyway.
Bank Credit Card – In addition to the 1.5% cash back my primary bank’s major credit card offers me, I occasionally get bonus cash back for particular retailers. While it cycles between different retailers every few months, there are some mainstays. I can always find some of my favorites in there: Starbucks, Papa Gino’s, FiveGuys, Sunglass Hut, Autozone, Nordstrom Rack, etc.
AmEx – Just like my bank’s card, my American Express also has bonus categories. For example, we just got a notification that we would soon see a $30 statement credit for on my husband’s replacement sunglasses because they had a deal for Oakleys this month. The best part of having those 2 completely different cards is that rarely if ever do the bonus rewards overlap, therefore, there’s always something for us to take advantage on.
Cash back is a great way for our household to try and keep as much of our money as possible. We not only wait for things to go on sale and use coupons, but between ebates and our credit card rewards, we do our best to spend as little as possible.