As people pursuing Financial Independence, it becomes more and more important to cut expenses. However, when you do spend money, you can ease the hurt on your wallet by making sure you are earning back points and rewards as well. In this post, we’ll list a few ways to get more from your spending and doing right now.
Grocery Discount Programs
Start simple and sign up at your grocery store’s rewards program. Do continue to shop around for groceries, but be sure to pick up the discounts on those purchases you need them.
Use Rewards Credit Cards
When you are not trying to earn a travel reward, it is still a good idea to put your spending on a credit card for both tracking and the rewards. You should be aiming to get at least 2% back on each purchase, so use at least a Citi Double Cash card or a Paypal Mastercard. If your credit score isn’t good enough for those, try going for cards with 1.5% back like the Capital One Quicksliver card or a standard 1% cash back if you have to. Remember, you need to also pay your credit cards in full each month and not get into credit card debt.
Cell Phone Discounts Just for Working
While you are still working, check and see if your company has a cell phone discount. All you have to do is put your work email address into the discount site (search online for the one for your carrier) and see if you can get one. If not, talk to your HR or IT departments and see if they can get you a discount (generally these cost the company nothing to sign up for). Here are a link to a few of the US carriers and their discount programs:
Get More Cashback/Points When You Shop Online
If you need to shop anywhere online (when you aren’t buying used items) or even book a hotel, don’t just head straight to the site. A lot of shopping web sites have partnerships with airlines and other cashback sites, so you could be earning a few extra points with your purchase. To see which ones, checkout Cashback Monitor, which aggregates all of the cash back portals and shows you which site will get you the best points/cash back. You then can visit the highest cashback shopping portal they link to and collect some cashback/points on what you are buying.
Use a search engine with Rewards
I shock most of my friends when I tell people I use Bing rather than Google. Why do I do that? Simply for Microsoft Rewards, which give you points for searches on your desktop and mobile devices. These points generally add up and can be used to get gift cards at Amazon and other retail outfits. If you are feeling a bit more altruistic, you can also use Goodsearch or Ecosia, they will pay money to charity when you use them to search.
In case you are going out to eat, you can also earn cash back and points in a couple of different ways, mainly by adding your credit card to a rewards program. Ask Sebby did a great job breaking down the variety of apps that can be stacked to gain cash back at restaurants including Yelp Cash Back and restaurants on the Rewards Network, which powers most airline dining programs. Keep in mind, though, you can only tie one credit card with one Rewards Network program, so you can’t for example get American Airlines miles and Southwest miles on the same card. However, you can get Yelp Cash Back and the miles on the same card though.
Something slightly more altruistic is going through smile.amazon.com rather than regular Amazon.com. By going there, Amazon will pay a charity at no cost to you for every dollar you send on Amazon.com. This is also available in the UK as well.
More Travel Points
Here’s a couple of extra rewards you can get for travel:
- Using Lyft for Delta and Jetblue miles: Lyft has partnerships with both Delta and Jetblue where you will gain points for rides you take on Lyft, though Jetblue only gives you points on airport rides to and from.
- Earn points with Airbnb: Airbnb doesn’t offer their own rewards points, but as Head for Points mentions, they do partner with airlines like Delta and Qantas.
- Mileage Plus X: For in store shopping, check out using Mileage Plus X for extra United Airlines points at select stores.
Any other tips I may have missed out on? Please let me know in the comments below.