Monday, April 7, 2014

Mommy's Money Trick (Not Dave Ramsey Approved)

A few years ago, fresh out of grad school with some scary student loans under our belts, N and I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class through our church. We got a lot out of it and have utilized a lot of the principles, such as the debt snowball and giving principles. We really feel like we have been blessed as a result, and have been debt-free except for our mortgage for a couple of years now -- and that feels so great, we will never go back to living the "normal" way of carrying debt around.

But we have adapted the ideas from the class in ways that make sense for us, and one of the things Dave Ramsey recommends that we did not do is cut up our credit cards -- we just make sure to use them wisely to get discounts and rewards without EVER paying interest or fees. For instance, we have a Target Red Card to get 5% discounts at Target, and we pay the balance off every month so there is no interest.

The main one I use, though, is my Chase Amazon Rewards card. (Yeah, this sounds like an advertisement, I guess, but it isn't. Just want to share a tip that works well for me!) Like every other mom out there, I use Amazon a lot. It's just so convenient! And the prices on diapers and wipes are the very best, when you use Subscribe and Save. Anyway, I get 3 points for every dollar spent on Amazon purchases, 2 points per dollar on things like restaurants and gas stations, and 1 point per dollar spent anywhere else. I use the card for everything. Groceries, doctor visits, Amazon purchases (of course), and even our tithe at church! Then I am VERY scrupulous about paying it off completely, and on time, every month. The result is that each year I rack up lots of points that can be redeemed on Amazon for purchases. Free money! I usually use them as a nice little Christmas account. This year, I didn't use many at Christmas (I just sort of forgot about it, and then when I remembered, I didn't have much left that I wanted to get from Amazon for Christmas) so I saved them up for baby and kid purchases in the runup to Baby C's arrival.

Here's what I have used them for so far. Keep in mind that all of this cost me NOTHING. You can even pay for the tax with your points.

Crane Adorable 1 Gallon Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, Elephant


Crane 1 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier, $39.99

Skip Hop Diaper Satchel, Chelsea Downtown Chic

What Baby Needs (Sears Children Library)
Skip Hop Diaper Satchel in Chelsea Downtown Chic, $79.98 at that time -- the price has jumped to $119.99 since then! 

What Baby Needs book (used), $4



Hello Baby!
Hello Baby! book (We already had one copy of this. This one is a gift for my OBGyn's office that is going in the thank-you basket we're taking to the birth. This is an AWESOME book that has been tremendously helpful in teaching H to understand what's going on in our family.) $6.29


Baby K'tan Breeze Baby Carrier, White, Medium
 Baby K'tan Breeze Baby Carrier, $42




Britax Kick Mats (2-Pack, Black)
Britax Kick Mats, 2-pack, $16







Not a bad haul, considering it was all free. And I still have points left in my balance.  The funny thing is, Chase sent me a letter last month offering to raise my limit and thanking me for being such a great customer, and I thought, I'm actually a pretty lousy customer, in that I cost you money, but whatever, Chase! So that's my little trick. It only works if you NEVER fail to pay off the balance and you never pay late. But it has worked really well for us, and there is something very satisfying about opening that smiley box full of stuff you actually need and want and knowing you haven't spent a dime on it.

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Be nice.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mommy's Money Trick (Not Dave Ramsey Approved)

A few years ago, fresh out of grad school with some scary student loans under our belts, N and I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class through our church. We got a lot out of it and have utilized a lot of the principles, such as the debt snowball and giving principles. We really feel like we have been blessed as a result, and have been debt-free except for our mortgage for a couple of years now -- and that feels so great, we will never go back to living the "normal" way of carrying debt around.

But we have adapted the ideas from the class in ways that make sense for us, and one of the things Dave Ramsey recommends that we did not do is cut up our credit cards -- we just make sure to use them wisely to get discounts and rewards without EVER paying interest or fees. For instance, we have a Target Red Card to get 5% discounts at Target, and we pay the balance off every month so there is no interest.

The main one I use, though, is my Chase Amazon Rewards card. (Yeah, this sounds like an advertisement, I guess, but it isn't. Just want to share a tip that works well for me!) Like every other mom out there, I use Amazon a lot. It's just so convenient! And the prices on diapers and wipes are the very best, when you use Subscribe and Save. Anyway, I get 3 points for every dollar spent on Amazon purchases, 2 points per dollar on things like restaurants and gas stations, and 1 point per dollar spent anywhere else. I use the card for everything. Groceries, doctor visits, Amazon purchases (of course), and even our tithe at church! Then I am VERY scrupulous about paying it off completely, and on time, every month. The result is that each year I rack up lots of points that can be redeemed on Amazon for purchases. Free money! I usually use them as a nice little Christmas account. This year, I didn't use many at Christmas (I just sort of forgot about it, and then when I remembered, I didn't have much left that I wanted to get from Amazon for Christmas) so I saved them up for baby and kid purchases in the runup to Baby C's arrival.

Here's what I have used them for so far. Keep in mind that all of this cost me NOTHING. You can even pay for the tax with your points.

Crane Adorable 1 Gallon Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, Elephant


Crane 1 Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier, $39.99

Skip Hop Diaper Satchel, Chelsea Downtown Chic

What Baby Needs (Sears Children Library)
Skip Hop Diaper Satchel in Chelsea Downtown Chic, $79.98 at that time -- the price has jumped to $119.99 since then! 

What Baby Needs book (used), $4



Hello Baby!
Hello Baby! book (We already had one copy of this. This one is a gift for my OBGyn's office that is going in the thank-you basket we're taking to the birth. This is an AWESOME book that has been tremendously helpful in teaching H to understand what's going on in our family.) $6.29


Baby K'tan Breeze Baby Carrier, White, Medium
 Baby K'tan Breeze Baby Carrier, $42




Britax Kick Mats (2-Pack, Black)
Britax Kick Mats, 2-pack, $16







Not a bad haul, considering it was all free. And I still have points left in my balance.  The funny thing is, Chase sent me a letter last month offering to raise my limit and thanking me for being such a great customer, and I thought, I'm actually a pretty lousy customer, in that I cost you money, but whatever, Chase! So that's my little trick. It only works if you NEVER fail to pay off the balance and you never pay late. But it has worked really well for us, and there is something very satisfying about opening that smiley box full of stuff you actually need and want and knowing you haven't spent a dime on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice.