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Maximizing Cashback

Before I recap my 2017 spending trends using Mint [1], like I do every year, I wanted to elaborate on my use of credit card cashback. I do not use actual dollar amounts on my spending trends post but I’ll make an exception for cashback trends. We made a total of $926.95 on cashback on our 3 credit cards – Bank of America CashRewards, Discover, and Citi Card DoubleCash[2]

The first reaction to mentioning this to anyone is – wow! you guys must’ve spent a lot. Although there’s a strong correlation but not always a linear one. Also, we earned nearly $200 more in cashback this year compared to last year and even if you assume a 1% cashback rate, we definitely didn’t spend $200,000 more. In fact, we DEFINITELY didn’t spend that much in total. Further, even if I tell you the exact cashback rate we get on our credit cards which I will shortly, it’s nearly impossible to extrapolate that to our total spending for the year. Finally, note that for big spending items for home repair and upkeep like changing your roof, we save up and use cash. You don’t get cashback on that spending although ironically you would make the most on that. I’ll explain why you shouldn’t even if the contractors accept credit cards.

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Footnotes:
  1. check back after Jan.1st []
  2. We’re not frequent travelers and have no interest, no pun intended, on airline miles []

Credit Scores and Email Addresses

Your email address or Internet service provider may tell us more about your credit score. Full disclosure – my credit score is an ‘outlier’ with respect to this graph although I won’t say which way :) Credit Karma gives you your credit score for free; no catch. I’ve been using it for months.

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