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Credit Card Rewards Update

December 8th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Honestly, the credit card rewards were way higher than I realized this year. I haven't been keeping as close track. I actually mentioned earlier in the year I shredded absolutely *everything* one-time credit card reward - the paperwork was getting to be too much! But I very quickly pieced all this together between my blog (for gift cards) and Quicken (cash deposits). In addition, I know I received a few $10 or $20 gift cards here and there, but I did not track those carefully and so did not add these to the total.

FINAL TOTAL:

2012 TALLY:

$532 cash Chase Sapphire
$420 cash Chase (Chase Sapphire double dip*)
$150 cash Flagstar
$500 Amazon gift cards (Citi double dip*)
$250 Amazon gift cards
-$125 annual fee (Citi)
+$115 annual fee refunded when closed card
-----------
$1842 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$ 600 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back)
+$ 25 cash back Fidelity Am Ex (bonus for some alternating category?)

+$ 95 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$ 68 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)

+$ 80 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel - new card for 2 months only)
+$ 150 New AmEx (new card bonus)
-$75 annual fee on new AmEx
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=$2785 Total CC REWARDS 2012
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*double dips = rewards redeemed twice. We redeemed both these rewards in 2011 initially, and waited 12 months to redeem a second time, in 2012.

Year 2011 = $4164
Year 2012 = $2782

Total 2 Years = $6946
**Tax-Free Income!!**


Three more things:

1 - I have always always always utilized credit cards for rewards. No year in the past 20 years has come anywhere close to the years 2011 and 2012. I was maybe averaging $1000 cash back per year the few years prior.

2 - CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless your credit is excellent, and you are in full control of your credit card spending. I can 100% honestly say I did not charge anything that I wouldn't have just paid for in cash otherwise. I am wired to treat my credit card as if it were a debit card, basically.

3 - The one-time rewards cards have all been cancelled and cut up. I generally close the cards right after I receive the reward.

Also, I suppose I should clarify that both my spouse and I have been utilizing these rewards, so have been able to double up significantly (versus if I were just single - we have both applied for several of the same offers. I also no doubt have many more expenses, supporting a household of 4 people versus just myself).

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What have we been doing with all this money? We advanced several months of ROTH contributions so that we are maxing out by 12/31 this year (versus taking out time until next April). We have paid down an extra $6,000 to our mortgage, as well. We have certainly splurged some of the rewards too, but I have no doubt our financial goals have gone very well in otherwise financially trying times, due to these significant windfalls.

In fact, at the end of 2010, I was thinking about getting some part-time or temp work. The bottom line has really been, "Why bother?" when I can make all this money with barely lifting a finger!?! It's been totally great timing for my family. My motivation to find a second job was to start paying down the mortgage more rapidly.

3 Responses to “Credit Card Rewards Update”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    That's a good deal of free money!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Great job!! It definitely is equal to many part time jobs.

  3. patientsaver Says:

    Amazing. You are the Queen of Credit Cards.

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