Saving & Spending
Are you spending smart with your credit card?
How to find the best credit card to save on what you love.
This story is brought to you by Freedom Unlimited. Earning on the things you need. Earning on the things you want. Always Earning 1.5% cash back with Chase Freedom Unlimited on everything you buy. Learn more.
From skipping your local coffee shop for homemade brew to autopaying your monthly bills, a day in the life of a smart shopper is comprised of mindful transactions. And while it's important to find easy ways to save on your purchases, the key to being a savvy shopper is knowing how to cash in on your spending, too.
"It's a different way of thinking," explains BJ Mahoney, general manager of Chase Freedom. "Though it can be overwhelming to spend more, it also means you can be rewarded more based on things you love doing and experiencing."
Fortunately, by joining your favorite store's loyalty program or racking up credit card points, you can cash in on your regular spending habits without changing your budget. Here are four smart ways to earn on your everyday spending:
1. Identify your spending habits
Looking to get the best bang out of your buying habits? Well, it can be critical to figure out what you spend your money on first. For most shoppers, no two days worth of purchases are the same, but you may be able to spot some patterns when you review your bank account.
"Once you identify the categories where you're spending the most money, you can pick out a card with rewards to match," Mahoney says. "That way, you'll be able to earn more rewards because you're spending more."
2. Earn on your errands
It's a good idea to pick up a credit card with rewards that are aligned with your hobbies and interests, but you should also have some plastic for your everyday purchases. After all, everyone has to buy the bare necessities like gas and groceries.
The good news is there are plenty of services that let you earn on your errands.
"Having two cards for primary areas you spend is key to saving," Mahoney explains. "For example, pair your Chase Freedom Unlimited card with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card to be able to earn double the points on dining and travel and then 1.5% cash back on all necessity items you need for your household."
Depending on your program, you can put the cash back you receive for your weekly trip to the grocery store to a cool experience such as a relaxing spa day.
3. Unlock rewards
Many credit cards have an offers program that gives cash back on some of your favorite vendors. In other words, you can score a great deal—and some extra change—just by pressing a button.
"By keeping track of news and deals, cardmembers can earn extra points, cash back or rewards by simply activating offers," Mahoney says.
While offers will vary by time of year and credit card program, you can expect to see deals on everything from clothing stores, to fast-casual restaurants, to your go-to coffee shop.
4. Get digital deals
Today, when your smartphones are a virtual extension of yourself, it pays to keep our finger on the pulse of your banking and payment apps. Literally.
"Rewards don't just end at your credit card," Mahoney shares. "Mobile wallets are growing in popularity, plus they let you take advantage of even more promotions and deals."
Not only can you get up-to-the-minute updates on your card's latest offers, but you can also activate these deals almost instantaneously. Boosting up your savings is only a few taps and swipes away.
5. Stay loyal
When it comes to shopping, we all play favorites. And that can help you earn more on your spending in the long run. Maybe you prefer one gas station over another because they have better prices. Perhaps you always go to a certain grocery store for its delicious organic produce. Whatever your preference, your favorite stores, restaurants and brands will likely have a loyalty program and exclusive access to frequent shopper perks. Deals may vary, from a free flight to a free smoothie. But, hey, it sure beats paying full price.
Kelsey Mulvey is a Chase News senior editor. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and other media outlets.