Ok, this has nothing to do with intelligence level! I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do any manufactured spending. A lot of people engage in this type of activity in order to be able to collect several sign-up bonuses at once. Personally, I don’t recommend it for a regular family where both spouses have full-time jobs and other obligations.
Contrary to the expression from Gordon Gekko of movie “Wall Street,” greed is not good. So, my advice is to only sign up for cards where you can meet minimum spending requirements through your regular expenses.
But there are times when I would consider taking on minimum spending which exceeds our regular expenses; that is, if I saw an offer of 65,000 miles or more (with modest spending requirements) or flexible points, such as Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards.
First, it goes without saying, that you should charge anything and everything on your card whenever you can as long as there is no fee, of course. That includes phone, utility bills and insurance. If you don’t, you are leaving miles and points on the table.
But let me list some things I would do if my everyday expenses were not sufficient to get the bonus. We are very much an average, middle-class family, so I’m guessing it would apply to most of you as well. This list does assume that you have some money in the savings that you can use for this purpose.
1) Consider paying your property taxes with a credit card. Usually, there is a fee of 3 percent, at least in our county. But I would do it in a heartbeat in order to get a huge bonus. Also, it applies to any other taxes, such as federal and state kind. You could consider using website PAY USA TAX for federal payments.
2) Buy Amazon gift cards online. A nice thing about it is, the balance never expires and every time you make a purchase, a deduction is made from the gift card automatically.
3) Buy Walmart or other grocery store gift cards. We all need to eat, right? You can do that online or in-store. For savings on the gift card purchases, go to Topcashback, get an account. From there, link to Cardpool, while getting a 2 percent cash back in the process on the first 1,000 dollars in gift card purchases. Usually they have plenty of Walmart gift cards at 2.5 percent off. So you would get those at 4.5 percent off and get closer to your big bonus.
4) Buying any other gift cards I know we will use in a near future. We take kids to McDonald’s often, so I would not hesitate to buy a few discounted cards through a site like Giftcardgranny.
5) Pay mortgage, car payment (and more) with a credit card. A good option is Plastiq The fee is 2.5%, which is lower than other service providers.
6) Buy a few prepaid Visa or MasterCard gift cards at a store like CVS for future use. Then just spend them as you go. Warning! American Express specifically excludes those from qualifying as part of your minimum spending. You may lose your bonus, so proceed with caution.
7) Ask our relatives if we can pay for some of their large expenses with a credit card. Then they would reimburse us with cash or Paypal me the money. It’s not for everyone, so YMMV (your money may vary, because they may not pay you back.)
So, with this post, I wanted to narrow it down to a few of the ways a normal family can take advantage of a huge unexpected sign-up bonus opportunity. Of course, as always, you have to be careful. And whatever you do, don’t buy extra stuff just to get the bonus. It’s better to pay a small fee on your mortgage than buy junk you don’t need. But if you can manage to use some of your savings, it could really pay off in the long run. Think of it as a CD that offers 20 percent interest. You would be willing to lock your money in for a few months for that type of return, right?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.