Saturday, January 24, 2015

Credit Card + Self Control = Gift Cards

  When we decided to go this "move home, build a house" gig, we began brainstorming the best ways to save money-- a little hobby of mine at the time since we only had one income for our family. Every single financial advisor/guru says not to use credit cards; only use cash, do the envelope system, whatever you need to do except use a credit card. Maybe this is wise advice for those with little self-control when it comes to money or those who indulge a little too heavily in retail therapy. I beg to differ with these "experts", though. We use our credit card more than anything else. Note: I said card; not cards.
  Our credit card company offers cash back each month for purchases you make using your credit card. Since my family has a pretty strict budget, here's what we do and it's simple:
  Use our credit card to make purchases we already have the money for. 
  Gas and groceries are items that have to be purchased each month. These are items we budget for so the money is there. When we purchase these items, we put it on our credit card because I know it will get paid off. In exchange for using their card, our company pays us back. Each quarter it's something different for the 5% cash back. For instance, this quarter it's groceries! All other purchases receive 1% cash back always.
  Our company allows us to exchange our points earned for either gift cards or actual money. The husb and I have two cards with two different accounts so each month we get two gift cards. Since we are building a house we have been requesting Lowe's gift cards. 
  This week we had to start selecting our lighting fixtures. Sure, we have an allowance with our contractor for him to pay us back but the less money we spend on fixtures, the more we'll get back from our payout. 
  Another money-saving tip: don't EVER shop online without Googling a coupon code. EVER! 

  Here's one example that I got pretty excited about last night:
  - We need 12 LED recessed lighting kits. Each kit costs $24.98 normally. I found them on sale online for $17.88 each. BUT if I bought them in packs of two, it made them $17.49 each. I'll take a $0.39 x 12 kits savings. Then I Googled a Lowe's coupon code. There was a 10% off your order or $20 off $100. I saved more with the latter coupon. But then I got even smarter, I split the order to make two. I was still able to get free shipping with both order since they were over $49. Plus, I got to use TWO $20 off $100 coupons. That knocked each order down to $90 and some change. After using $75 worth of my credit card's Lowe's gift cards, I paid $16 per order!! $32 for what should have cost me $300 in kits. 

  Saving money like a boss. 

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