I like to consider my battle with debt as a little war. I waged on for four years fighting back the enemy of credit card debt and learning so much along the way. I know I gave so much to the credit card companies in the form of interest payments. They laughed all the way to the
bank uh…front door? Luckily for me, I lost a few battles, but ended up winning the war. I have been credit card debt free since 2012. I have enjoyed not having to make monthly payments to the credit card company, which mostly consisted of interest. Though my battle put a sour taste in my mouth, it didn’t throw me off from using credit cards again. In fact, I picked up a new credit card a few months later to start using the methods I learned during battle.
To the victor go the spoils!
How many of you have heard that line before? Do you know what it means? It basically means whomever wins a conflict wins extra benefits beyond the conflict. This is a perfect quote for me based on the way I use credit cards now. I won the battle with credit card debt and now I enjoy the benefits of credit card rewards. Yes, that is right my friends. I use credit cards to get sweet, sweet rewards. I don’t stop at cash back. Oh no! I love me some travel rewards as well. There is nothing better than racking up points and then getting to use those points to pay for a nice little getaway. Oh yes, the spoils!
Credit Card Rewards Are Rewarding!
I would never tell someone in debt to start trying to earn credit card rewards. I learned a valuable lesson during my four year debt repayment journey. The most valuable lesson of all was the real reason behind my uncontrollable spending. Once I got that under control and behind me, I was able to use credit cards wisely. There are some who read here and other blogs that say credit cards are evil! Those little devilish b**tards! How dare they force you into uncontrollable spending with no regard to your feelings. If you couldn’t tell from that line, I was lining it with heavy sarcasm. Credit cards are not evil. They can be a very useful tool in your financial toolbox. When used appropriately, you can realize some great benefits.
I got my first taste of credit card rewards when I got my first American Express card. I used the card for gas and groceries and earned money back. I got to put that money toward the balance and it felt good. Now, I haven’t spent more than I would on my debit card and that is a secret to using credit cards wisely. If you spend like you normally would, why not earn some benefits? I don’t see a problem with it. I am not being hypocritical because I never blamed credit cards for my problem. I was the problem, not the piece(s) of plastic.
An Almost Free Trip to New Orleans
My latest taste of credit card rewards came in the form of a trip to New Orleans. There is a sweet blogging conference down there and I have been wanting to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers. Well, my wife heard it was in New Orleans and wanted to come as well. She has no interest in the conference, but really wants to go to New Orleans. Luckily for us, we have some credit card rewards ready to go. I signed up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite card and earned enough miles to cover the entire trip, less $50. So for a trip for two down to New Orleans, including flight and hotel, we only had to let go of $50!
As I look at it, I realized I can get that $50 covered with the dividend Barclaycard gave me. You get 10% back in miles when you redeem. Sweet candy pie ladies and gentlemen! Just so you know, they still offer a 40,000 mile sign up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. That is equal to $400!
This will be the first trip my wife and I take alone since we had our son almost two years ago. We are really looking forward to enjoying New Orleans and meeting new people. All of this was funded by credit card rewards. I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t even manufacture my spending (OK, I did a little..). I just spent like I normally would and just put it all on my credit card. The key to earning rewards is to never let your balance go unpaid each month. You have to pay your balance every month. I have not paid a cent in interest to any credit card company since I paid off my outstanding debt. It feels good. I just can’t wait until I can earn enough rewards to recoup all of the money I willingly gave the credit card companies. That will feel really good!
Image via Tax Credits