As some of you know, I am pretty anti-debt… so it may surprise you that I am an avid credit card user. The catch is that I ALWAYS pay off my credit card each month IN FULL. I never, ever carry a balance. A few years ago, I saw an opportunity to use this to my advantage. I have a Citibank rewards credit card that I use for my monthly bills (phone, satellite, internet) and to make all major purchases. We also put all of our gas fill-ups on the card. Because of the rewards program, we have gotten several $50 Target gift cards (which are a big help with diaper purchases!), and several $25 Amazon and restaurant gift certificates.
It takes tremendous discipline to use your credit card like this. It is very easy to rack up a $1,000 bill if you’re not careful. But if you budget properly, you can make a little bit of money or some great gift cards just by using your card for your regular expenses.
I’ve also started using two other programs to earn free stuff and cash back. The first one is MyPoints. MyPoints basically grants you points for reading e-mails, signing up for offers, etc., and making purchases via their website. I haven’t made any purchases yet in the two months I’ve been a member, but I already have enough points to get a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. And that was just for reading my e-mail. (I would recommend creating a separate e-mail account for this, because it is a LOT of mail).
A friend of mine just turned me on to Ebates. Ebates is a website that gives you a percentage of your purchase in cash back just by shopping through their website. I used their website to purchase some things for about $5 (I also used a gift card). Because of their sign-up deal, my friend will get $5 for referring me, and I will get $5.57 and a $10 Target gift card just for signing up and making a purchase. My friend said she’s made well over $150 using Ebates. What’s cool is that if you have a rewards credit card, you’ll earn points there, PLUS you’ll earn the cash back. Pretty neat.
If any of you are interested in either MyPoints or Ebates, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will refer you. (That way, I get some referral points/bucks.