Thursday, October 22, 2009
My husband and I are firm believers in not living outside of our means. We take great pride in cutting corners, pinching pennies, and finding resources in places that other people would overlook. Still there's one area that outsiders may look at us and frown upon. We do hold several pieces of active credit. Yes, that's right... credit cards. We do keep tabs on them and have even found frugal advantages to holding them.
Because we're both authorized to make purchases for our church, we find that credit cards are sometimes the only way to make some of those purchases. For instance, when our church took a church wide camping trip this summer, we reserved the campsites on our credit card. We did get paid back, but holding a credit card was the only way we were able to reserve the group site. Scary yes, but like I said, there are advantages.
We basically keep two credit cards that we use regularly. One accrues airline miles, while the other accrues Amazon points. Often, I use the Amazon card; however, if I know we have something coming up, I'll switch to the airline card. Around about August, I realized Christmas was coming up. Although we make more of our Christmas gifts, I usually try to pick up something extra for the kids at least. So starting in August, we put several things on the Amazon card. I'm working toward getting some fun stuff for my son and daughter. And maybe a book for myself depending on how it goes.
Even if you're not making huge purchases, points can still add up quickly. Recently I realized that I had another tool at my disposal: our monthly bills. There are somethings that we pay every month that usually just consistently get paid off: the electric bill, our food budget, gas, and a couple of insurances. I began to wonder why I wasn't taking advantage of that. We're still careful to keep a tight budget and not exceed just because we have a credit card. But putting it on the card first and paying the card off at the end of the month, allows us to accrue those points even faster.
This is an area that we venture into with a lot of caution, but having lived on a tight budget for over eight years has taught us valuable lessons in making our credit cards work for us.
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