How to Spend Money Wisely » Credit Cards

Get rewarded for money you are spending already

We all have to spend money on groceries, though we try to reduce our grocery budget where we can. Most of us drive a car, and there are only a few ways to save money on gas. While I try not to go very often, we’ll also all end up in a restaurant occasionally. But by using a cash-back rewards card, you can get some of that money back. That’s extra savings on top of all the other steps you have taken to cut your bill on these day-to-day expenses.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I agreed to test drive The Capital One Mastercard, exclusively for Costco and let MapleMoney readers know what I think of it. This time I want to look deeper into the cash-back rewards and how you can benefit by earning money on some regular purchases you’re already making every week.

2% cash back on gas

While most purchases with the card will give up to 1% cashback at the end of the year, gas purchases at eligible stores will have you earning up to 2%. I normally get gas at the Costco gas station since the prices are a little lower, but this 2% reward isn’t limited to just Costco. If you have a gas station you prefer, you’ll also earn up to 2% on your gas purchases there and collect their points at the same time!

3% cash back on restaurants

The upsized cash-back rewards are not only for gas either. You can get 3% cashback at restaurants. So you could use a coupon like many of the Buy One Get One offer in the Entertainment Book or SPC card and then pay with this card to get an additional 3% cash-back coming to you in January when rebates are issued.

How to double-dip on grocery savings

You can save a lot by shopping in bulk at Costco, but that’s just the start. Not only are there very good regular prices, but I try to take advantage of their weekly coupons to get an even better deal. If you shop there regularly, get the Costco Executive Membership, which gives you 2% back once a year.

While the Executive Membership does cost more upfront, I use my annual cashback cheque to pay for the membership in full and still have some remaining to put towards that week’s purchase. Linking an Executive Membership to your TrueEarnings American Express can mean a 3% combined reward on your Costco purchases.

We also shop at other grocery stores too. Whether it’s Club Sobeys points, Air Miles, or whichever loyalty program your favorite grocery store offers, I can use the TrueEarnings Card and the points card to get the best of both at the till.

You should make the most of your money when you can. By combining some money-saving tips with a cash-back rewards card, you’ll spend as little overall as possible on everyday purchases!


  1. SavingMentor

    It’s a decent card, especially with the 3% on restaurant spending – I believe that is the highest offered in Canada.

    Only being paid once a year is a drawback for me though and I think that you can get more value out of other cards on the market. It’s definitely worth considering though and not far out of the running!

  2. Paul N

    The best card hands down in Canada for cash rewards is the MBNA Platinum plus mastercard. 5% on gas and grocery (anywhere) for the first 6 months dropping to 2% thereafter which you get on almost everything you purchase. Points are accumulated and you are paid out several times a year as you hit payout levels.

    I pretty well put every purchase i can on it that i can, and just pay off my balance automatically every month.

    I bought a big ticket item on it just after i got it and i have received $200.00 back in only a few months.

  3. Rick

    I am with Paul N with this one. I too have the MBNA cash reward mastercard.

    However, TD has bought MBNA Canada. They are going to advertise it heavily and then, when everyone is on board, slap on an annual fee or other charges or reduce the rewards.

    So, enjoy the card while it lasts!

  4. Paul N

    I heard that too. I had a cashback citi M/C. They decided to leave Canada, giving their business to CIBC. The overall features of the card dropped with the transfer so I went over to the MBNA card just after learning that.

    It will be unfortunate if they dilute the rewards of this card too. I’ll have to move on again.

  5. serpico

    Hi , I am just wondering how are you able to determine if the correct award amount is given back to you ? It is easier if you get 2 % back on everything , but when you get 3% cashback for all your everyday purchases made at supermarkets, drug stores, gas stations, and home improvement stores and 1 % on anything else it starts to be trickier to determine the correct reward .

    Regards .

  6. Ben

    I see AMEX good for their points program and then converting those points into miles. Delta and AMEX have a partnership and they always have a bonus for transferring points to Delta. They give you between 25%-50% more miles. So I charge everything to my cards, transfer the points and get 40% more miles on every transfer I do. If you work it right, you can get a lot of air miles. I haven’t paid for a plane ticket since 2008 and go First Class most of the time, but thats because I push everything I buy through my cards plus I run a business through it.

    You can find better cards to give you more for gas, up to 5% back.

  7. Doable Finance

    Both our credit cards pay us back when we shop.

  8. The Wealthy Canadian

    Because my wife and I tend to gravitate more towards using points for flights, we don’t use the cash back cards.

    I recently signed up for a new BMO Gold Air Miles card, and so far so good!

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe that having a Costco membership also allows for up to a $500 when consumers purchase a new vehicle.

    When it comes to buying groceries, I tend to check out flyers from local stores to seek out good deals. We do buy some things in bulk, such as Gillette razors, but I try to strike a balance between preserving cash flow and buying things in bulk.

    Nice post.

  9. Marius Banuta

    I have an ATB Platinum Mastercard and sometimes it is hard for me as a customer to check if the cash reward amount has been correct calculated by ATB .

    What I suggested to ATB it was to have a Legend on the bottom of their statement with ( for example ) an 1 beside the transactions for which I got 1 % back and a 3 beside the transactions for which I got 3 % back . NO SUCCESS , it seems to be to expensive for ATB to implement such a tool .

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