For January and February, I've earned $63 in credit card cashback. The $63 came from getting 5% on groceries, 5% on gas, 5% on restaurants and 1.5% on motels and sundries. Using a different card for each spending category allowed me to max out my earned cashback. If I keep this up the rest of the year, I'll receive almost $400 in 2014 cashback just on ordinary expenses. Here's how I'll do it.
The standard credit card cashback is 1%. But most cards do promotions each quarter that yield 5% cashback on specific spending categories. I take advantage of those promotions and carry those cards. So, for the first 3 months of 2014, I'm carrying a Citicard for 5% on groceries, a Chasecard for 5% on gasoline, a DiscoverCard for 5% on restaurants, and a Bankamericard for 3% at Walmart and 1% on everything else. Come April, the promotions will change and so will the credit cards in my wallet.
Knowing what each card's promotions are is not hard. Most card companies send me emails telling me. In March, I'll do a sweep of all my credit card websites to enroll in the promotions. Then I'll put the corresponding cards in my wallet, along with a note to remind me of which card offers what. And I'll be set to go on raking big cashback on everything I buy.
And I do mean everything. Last year, I put a $9000 roofing job on my DiscoverCard and got $112 in cashback for it. If it's chargeable, I keep my cash in my pocket and make sure I charge it.* Taking all my spending into account, this should earn me well over $500 in cashback this year. And there's a lot I can do with an extra $500!
* (When the credit card statements come I make sure I pay them off. No interest charges for me!)