Fighting inflation often comes with recommendations to cut back on your spending. But what if there isn’t room to cut back? The military lifestyle can present financial challenges that don’t leave room for cutting back, and at the same time, costs for basic items keep increasing. The answer may already be in your wallet: your credit cards.
There are many credit cards to choose from -- be sure to check and compare interest rates as well to ensure you are maximizing your savings.
Take Advantage of Sign-up Bonuses
Introductory offers are a great way to get a windfall of points you can use for retail, travel or even cash back. Look for a card that fits your spending habits, but then carefully read the fine print and make sure you understand the terms of the card.
Use Different Cards for Different Things
If you have more than one credit card, be sure they aren’t all earning the same type of rewards. You can choose a card that offers the maximum benefits for food and entertainment and use it for groceries and dining out and have another card that has a better rewards system for travel or a cash-back plan.
For example, if groceries and gas are your biggest expense, use a card that has rewards specific to those purchases.If traveling is important to you, many cards offer points for flights, car rentals, hotels and upgrades that can reduce the cost of your vacation. Some credit cards also offer statement credits for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or travel insurance.
Find the Hidden Benefits of the Cards You Already Have
Reviewing the benefits of the cards you already have could reveal cost savings you didn’t know you were able to use. Programs like purchase protection, free price-matching services, extended warranties and free subscriptions can save you money every month.
Transfer Balances to a New Card
The best balance transfer cards have no balance transfer fees. You also want to check to see whether the card has a low intro APR and a low APR after the intro period expires.
Once a balance transfer is complete, always make your payments on time or you could be hit with a penalty APR and miss your goal of becoming debt-free. If possible, set up automatic payments along with text alerts on your mobile device to guarantee on-time payments.
Making the most of your credit cards and their rewards, alongside other strong financial habits like keeping emergency savings, can help you stay on track even if inflation throws you a curveball.
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