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Chase Freedom Rewards

March 15th, 2014 at 06:33 am

One of the things I'm actually doing right is not using credit cards. For a long time everything went on our debit (Visa check) cards, so the money was pulled right out of our account, and we were getting rewards for the spending. Then Chase discontinued the debit card rewards program. Boo.

After a few months of no rewards, though, on a whim I decided to apply for a Chase Freedom card, which gives 1% on everything, and 5% on quarterly categories. Since I'm in a hardship repayment plan on three Chase credit cards, I really didn't think I had a chance of getting the Freedom card, but I figured I might as well give it a shot. Lo and behold, they gave me a card!

This was also a test of our dedication to not incur more credit card debt. We made a deal that we would pay that card off as needed to ensure we never pay interest on it. (Since we use it constantly, it's never really 'paid off'. I keep the balance low and ensure I pay at least the last statement balance before the next due date.) I'm happy to say we've had it for over a year now and no interest paid yet!

At any rate, we're getting rewards again and have taken advantage of them from time to time (movie gift cards, restaurant gift cards, a TV and a new vacuum). I've gotten a little bit wiser now, though, and have decided it's in my better interest to take the cash as needed and purchase the item or gift cards with the Freedom card -- that way I get another 1% on the purchase that I'm paying for with the rewards. (I will check to be sure the price is comparable; it used to be that a $25 gift card cost the equivalent of $20 in points, but now it's been a dollar-to-dollar purchase.)

Somewhere I read that someone was using their rewards points to pay for Christmas, and I thought that was a great idea, so I'm setting that as my goal for the rewards money this year. (Christmas and birthdays.) We have a small family, so although I've never really added it all up, I'm guessing that $500 will more than cover our spending on these items for the year. So my first goal is $500 in the gift fund. Then I may set aside $100 for a movie gift card. (I honestly don't think I can actually pay for a movie again; I've been using rewards gift cards for close to a decade! I know it's the same thing in the long run, but psychologically it would just bug me.) We don't go to the movies very often, so $100 will last a while. (I just got a $100 gift card in November, and there's still $83 left on it.)

It looks like we average about 5,000 rewards a month, or $50, so that's $600 a year. However, I started out with $80 and apparently they give a 10% annual bonus, plus we had some large expenses in January/February, so I'm ahead of the game right now. I'll figure out what to do with the additional rewards once I get to that point!

Rewards Gift Fund
Goal - $500
Balance - $288.44
Remaining - $211.56

Movie Card Fund
Goal - $100
Balance - $0
Remaining - $100

3 Responses to “Chase Freedom Rewards”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I saved our rewards last year for Christmas. I didn't even use all that I saved. This year all our rewards and snowflakes go to pay down our mortgage. I am just saving $50 a month towards Christmas. Glad you know not to pay interest on credit cards!!

  2. snafu Says:

    Good on you for making a plan to pay Chase Freedom card balance in full each and every month by it's due date. Not paying interest and fees for late payment is critical to using a CC wisely.

    I suggest if you have decided in March to manage Christmas for $ 500., that you note it 11/27/14 [Thanksgiving] on your cell calendar to keep Christmas holiday season on budget. Does the amount merely reflect gifts or does it include special holiday foods and entertaining?

  3. doingitallwrong Says:

    Thanks! creditcardfree, that might be where I got the idea, if you mentioned it in your blog here. I've been reading through several past entries!

    The $500 is primarily gifts, we don't do a lot of entertaining (sis is allergic to the critters, so we never have family gatherings at our place) and with essentially only five in the family, even when we do provide the meal (served at someone else's house) it's not that expensive. Smile

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