How to Spend Money Wisely » Credit Cards

Get Rewarded for Smart Spending

Sometimes, it seems as though those who use their money responsibly and intelligently get the short end of the stick. There are no bailouts for those who have made smart decisions. However, there can be rewards for smart spending if you plan your purchases.

One of the things I’ve discovered as I’ve used The Capital One Mastercard, Exclusively for Costco is that it’s possible to be rewarded for smart spending decisions. As you decide what purchases you make — and how you will pay for them — consider how using your rewards credit card can help you get the most bang for your buck.

Plan Your Purchases

Smart spending requires that you plan your purchases ahead of time. Consider what you actually need (or even what you want). Make sure that you already have the money to pay for it. If you want to spend smart, you need to have the resources to cover the cost of your purchases right now. Create a budget or spending plan that reflects your financial priorities, and then only buy what fits. This will prevent you from getting into debt over items that you don’t truly need.

The next part of smart spending is deciding how to pay for what you purchase. To maximize your money, you can use a cash-back credit card, like the TrueEarnings card, which allows you to earn a percentage of spend on all of your purchases. You can actually be paid for buying things you had planned to buy anyway.

Use your cash-back credit card to make as many of your planned purchases as possible. Then, when your statement comes in, pay off the balance in full. That way, you earn extra cash back for your purchases without incurring interest. Bonus points if your money has been sitting in an interest-bearing account, working on your behalf, all month.

Look for Accelerated Earn Opportunities

As you plan your spending for the month, consider the places your credit card earns you a higher percentage of cash-back. When I agreed to test drive the TrueEarnings card, I took a look at the everyday spending categories it offers a higher earn rate in – and they are consistent items on my monthly budget.

Every time I fill up at the gas station, I earn 2% cash back (up to spending of $3,000 a year). And for all of the times I visit restaurants, I earn 3% cash back. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I fill up or eat out more often than I need to, putting stress on my budget. It’s just great to know that I’m being rewarded for some of the purchases I make on a daily basis.

Buy in Bulk

Another great way to improve the value of your dollar is to buy in bulk, which often means lower per-unit prices. Consider what you use a lot of and what you are most likely to need to have on hand. Paper products can become more cost-effective when you buy in bulk, and you don’t have to worry about them spoiling.

You can also buy non-perishable food items, such as canned and frozen goods, in bulk. Your total cost is reduced, and you have food storage that can help you in a financial emergency or natural disaster.

Purchases made at a warehouse store like Costco can save you hundreds of dollars in the long-term. Use your TrueEarnings card to get cash back, and the per-unit cost is effectively lowered even further. You can receive up to 1% cash back when you use your TrueEarnings card for purchases made at Costco (as well everywhere else you use it).

Credit cards can be a smart part of your spending plan. As long as you are smart about your purchases, and pay off your credit card balance each month, it is possible for you to benefit from cash back and save money on the items you do buy.


  1. Paul N

    Nothing beats the MBNA Platinum plus Mastercard in Canada. If you are a lucky person that can buy and expense work related purchases every month then prepare to receive a lot of $100.00 cheques in the mail….

    • Joe

      If you get the MBNA SmartCash, you’ll get the 1% cash back, plus 3% on gas/groceries (5% during the promo period). I’ve gotten so many $50 cheques that it’s made my head spin.

  2. SavingfromScratch

    People keep raving about these cash-back cards! I have a fairly inexpensive,points-based RBC card that earns me travel miles, but perhaps I should listen to the masses.

    Also, I completelyagree about using credit whenever you can (and letting your money earn interest all month). I purchase everythingwith my VISA, pay it off at the end of the month, and reap the rewards.

    Great post, Tom!

  3. Stacy Coldman

    I have never used AMEX, always using VISA or MASTERCARD.
    Thanks for reading once again , Tom

  4. mycanuckbuck

    I have a Visa travel card, and basically got a free flight to Chicago out of the sign up bonus. It’s ok, but I think once I have to pay a fee again (I only pay half the normal fee) I’ll just get a cash back one with no fee..

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