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Sneaky ways to save big on almost everything

When it comes to savings, there are literally hundreds of ways to save on everything you buy, from everyday items to once-in-a-while splurges. Long gone are the days of clipping coupons and signing up for credit cards just to get a one-time discount.

These days, almost every credit card company offers perks and rewards on purchases everywhere, from gas stations to online retailers. Many provide significant discounts on random items such as mattresses or electronics at specific times throughout the year. With all of the possibilities of points and rewards, there is no reason to spend cash or use a debit card. Making purchases on credit cards with cash-back rewards and other perks can help you save big on almost everything you buy.

Cash rewards

Who doesn’t like cash?  Credit cards that offer cash-back rewards are among the best ways to save big on everything you buy. Many cash reward cards offer a percentage of cash back on all of your purchases and an additional percentage of cash back on specific items, items from specific retailers, or items from a particular type of retailer (like grocery stores or gas stations). These types of cards are great for an everyday use card since everything you buy earns you credit card cash back. Once you accumulate cash rewards, you can apply the cash toward your bill’s payment or transfer it to a bank account. 

Sometimes cards give reward points that are the same thing as cash rewards. For example, a Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature credit card gives 3% in points back on every purchase made through Amazon. The points then turn into dollars in your Amazon account, so it is essentially a cash reward. 

If you’re lucky, you can get a cash rewards card that is also offering bonus cash if you spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time. This Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card provides a one-time $200 cash bonus after you make at least $500 in purchases within three months of opening the account. The cash bonus is in addition to an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. 

Travel rewards

When you think of airline miles as a credit card reward perk, you may think about a parent or uncle decades ago who was always trying to get more points by using their rewards card. True, airline miles as a reward for using a credit card has been a thing for many, many years. But today’s credit cards with airline miles as a perk are far from the cards of yesteryear that were filled with blackout dates and restrictions. Almost all airline miles credit cards come with a bonus bunch of points just for signing up or once you spend a certain amount in the first three to six months. Most of them also come with at least one and a half points per dollar spent on all of your purchases. Some companies offer additional perks like the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, which allows you to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights on any airline. This is an excellent option if you need more options when it comes time to book a trip.

Other rewards

If you want more specific rewards, there is probably a card out there to suit your needs. Families that do tons of grocery shopping will love the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, which gives you 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases. If you go over the $6,000 in a year, you get 1% on all supermarket purchases until the end of the year. If you just want more cash back, the Discover it Cash Back card gives you a dollar-for-dollar match of all cash back earned the first year you have the card. That’s double the cash back for a full 12 months!

There are also cards with special perks for students and business owners. Student cards often offer very low or 0% APR for at least the first six months, and many of them offer cash back rewards at gas stations and restaurants. Business cards usually have low APRs and typically have no annual fee, especially if you spend a certain amount of money.

Other than the regular rewards and perks you get from your credit card, be sure to read the emails you get from them and open your statements (if you still get paper ones). At least once per quarter, credit card companies will offer special deals like discounts on car maintenance or hotel stays. The types of deals vary, and they are limited-time offers, but if you keep an eye on them, you can get lucky and get an extraordinary deal on something you’ve had your eye on.

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