Apr 17 2014

Earning the last little bit of cash back on one credit card to hit the payout

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This will be so obvious to many of you. But it wasn’t immediately apparent to me, so I thought I’d write about it.

I am using two cash-back credit cards at the moment:

  • Citi – which gives 1% cash back on all purchases. A few months ago, it had around $43 in the “cash back” earned total, and it requires redemption in increments of $50.
  • PNC – earns 1.75% cash back on all purchases. Must hit $50 earned to redeem, but can be in any amount. So, you could redeem $60, for instance. Love that.

Since PNC gives the most cash back, I had been using that one as my primary card. I had one bill automatically paid by the Citi card, just to keep it active. I figured if I stick with my PNC card, I would get the most cash back because it has the greater percentage.


I was looking at it all wrong.

I had $43 in the Citi redemption pot, and I would never get that money unless I spent $700 more on that card (1% of $700 = $7, which is how much more I needed to reach the $50 payout).

So rather than looking at the Citi card as a 1% cash back, I could look at it as “Spend $700 on the card, and get $50 back.” That bumps the effective percentage rate much higher — around 7%, if you were thinking of it that way.

I put more regular bills on the Citi card: electric, phone, internet. It took a few months, but I have hit the $50 minimum (there’s now $51 and change).

I redeemed the $50 and will lose the $1. Whatever.

Next, I switched those bills back to my 1.75% cash back card.

It took a little bit of effort, but getting that $50 was worth my time.

I may put a small reoccurring bill on the Citi. Perhaps Netflix.

You may recall that I worked an introductory offer with Barclaycard to get more than $900 in rewards. That was awesome! Right now, I’m not working any more deals. I’m just doing using the cash back card(s). I plan to save the money to use for Christmas gifts.

How about you?


New site alert:

I have launched a new site. I realize the target audience isn’t likely most of you here, but I thought I’d share it here anyway in case a few of you are Indiana homeschoolers. The site is for field trip opportunities in Indiana. If that topic interests you, I would love to have you follow Indy Field Trips via feed reader and/or Facebook!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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