Going on an international trip is very exciting but it can also be very expensive. Using a credit card to pay for purchases when traveling internationally is often the best way to get a good exchange rate and the rate your bank gets will be better than the one you’ll get on your own if you exchange cash. Using a card also means that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash with you. However, many cards will add on a “foreign transaction fee” to any transactions made with anything except your home currency. Here’s an easy way to keep from paying that extra 2-3 percent on all of your purchases while away.
One of the only reasons I put any spending on my Discover card is the rotating 5% cashback categories. Every three months they have a category, or categories, where you can earn 5% back on the first $1,500 spent. That’s a max of $75 back and that’s not bad for a card with no annual fee. You can net $300 per year if you max out each category.
I’ve been a bit underwhelmed with the offerings so far this year, mainly because I can earn about the same amount or more with other cards.
- Jan – March – Grocery Stores
- April – June – Gas Stations, Uber & Lyft
- July – September – Restaurants and PayPal
However, I am excited about the category for October-December. No question that it’s designed to arrive just in time for holiday shopping.
Every once in a while, I like to go over which cards Sharon and I are carrying in our wallets. Doing so gives you a look behind the scenes of how to put a plan of earning points and miles in practice. We each have a different approach to earning miles and points. I try to earn the maximum points for each transaction without too much effort, and her desire to exert the least amount of thought into the process (Note from Sharon: Hell yeah! LOLOL!), the cards we carry are different.
There’s a method to my madness, as I manage to balance the two approaches and come to a plan where we maximize earning while minimizing effort (and still keep our marriage together). (Note from Sharon: Again. Hell yeah!)
Writing this post also forces me to evaluate if I’m actually doing what I say I’m going to do or seeing that I’ve gotten a little lazy (which I had). After some shuffling, here are the cards that now reside in our wallets.
I know watching the news stories about the devastation in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian can make you feel helpless. After a while, you just feel numb and you want to do something, do anything, but don’t know how you can help.
Luckily, most of the airline and hotel programs are making it easy to contribute in any way you can. Even if you don’t have the cash to spare, you can donate those random points you have here and there to the recovery effort. Even better, you can donate points if you have more of them than you know what to do with. Face it, it’s better to donate them than redeem them for some magazines that you’ll never read, overpriced luggage or an Amazon InstaPot. Continue reading “How to Donate Your Miles and Points to Support Hurricane Dorian Victims”
According to USA Today, the average American family spends 10% of their income to pay for food, with that spending split almost evenly between eating out and eating at home. Plenty of credit cards provide bonuses for spending on restaurants, fast food and coffee shops but far fewer provide a bonus when buying groceries.
For a spending category that, on average, is 5% of your income, it makes sense to have a card that maximizes the points earned on those purchases. If you don’t want to have a card just for grocery spending, you should at least know which one of your cards will earn you the most amount of points possible.
These bonuses do not include grocery purchases made at Walmart, Target or any discount club like Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s.