So you applied for that new credit card with the huge upfront spending bonus.
Now you’re left wondering “how the heck am I going to spend $xxxx.xx in x months.”
You might not have even made it that far.
You may look at those upfront spending requirements (e.g. spend $5,000 in 3 months and receive 50,000 bonus points) and never apply, thinking you’d never spend that amount of money.
That very well may be the case, but before you completely write off the idea take a look at these not-so-obvious ways you can fulfill the minimum spending requirements for your next credit card bonus.
As with any credit card post, I like to make sure I’m speaking to the right people. Don’t try this if you have existing credit card debt or have a problem paying off your entire balance in full each month.
Also, if you are hawking your credit score because you are applying for a mortgage soon, don’t attempt this. Finally, make sure you do three things:
- Read the user agreements with your credit cards to make sure these payments will be accepted as regular transactions and not “cash advances”.
- Don’t overdo it. For instance, don’t spend the entire requirement on one gift card purchase. Spread out your spending and take your time.
- Make sure you understand the user agreements and associated fees with each of these payment methods. Fees can negate points earned.
Alright, enough delay, here are 10 ways to meet minimum spending requirements for those credit card bonuses.
1. Wait Until You Have Major Purchases
I recently had to replace our ten year old kitchen appliances. This was a costly endeavor. It also coincided perfectly with a credit card app party that I had recently completed and I was able to meet several thousand dollars of the spending requirements using this home improvement project.
If you know of a major expense you have coming up, use that opportunity to complete a credit card bonus offer. Major expense ideas include: weddings, vacations, home improvement projects, and Christmas.
Make sure you don’t let the tail wag the dog here. Only spend what you intended on spending. Don’t let the fact that you are meeting a spending requirement influence how much you spend.
2. Purchase Gift Cards
Visit your local grocery store or pharmacy and shop the racks of gift cards. If you spot retailers where you regularly make purchases, consider bulking up on gift cards. Most people make a consistent amount of grocery purchases each month, so grocery store gift cards are a safe bet here.
3. Annual Insurance Premiums
You don’t have to pay your auto, home, life insurance monthly. You can make an annual payment instead, and odds are your insurer will allow you to make the payment using a credit card.
4. Mortgage and Rent
Your lender and landlord likely won’t take payment using a credit card. However, you’ve got a couple of options to still use a credit card here. You can check out the third party providers like WilliamPaid.com and RentShare.com to make rent payments online.
For paying your mortgage with a credit card a new method has emerged. You can purchase Vanilla Reload cards at CVS pharmacy with your credit card. Then use the money on the Vanilla Reload card to fund an American Express BlueBird Account. Then you can simply write a check from your BlueBird bank account to pay your mortgage. The same could be done with any expenses.
5. Exchange Money Using Amazon Payments
Amazon has an online payment service called Amazon Payments. You may have used it already if you’ve funded something on Kickstarter.com, for instance. You can use this service to pay someone with a credit card. That person (e.g. your spouse) just needs to also have an Amazon Payments account. Apparently no fees are incurred if you select the “goods/services” method.
6. Fund a Peer to Peer Loan
A peer-to-peer lending service like Lending Club allows you to fund your investment using a credit card. Apparently if you keep your investment for long enough and connect a bank account, you can extract the money at a later time to the bank account.
7. Local, State, and Federal Taxes
If you’re like me an pay your property taxes annually, you likely have a pretty hefty payment to make at the end of the year. Use a service like OfficialPayments.com to pay with a credit card.
If you want to pay your State and Federal income taxes using a credit card, check the IRS website or your State’s website for more information.
8. Charitable Donations
Charities, even churches, don’t mind taking payment by credit card. If you do a lot of charitable giving, consider using your credit card to make the contribution.
9. All Retail Expenses
Bring your credit card with you everywhere. Get a second for your spouse. Make sure you use it everywhere and every chance you get. Use it at all restaurants, shopping outlets, convenience stores, your dry cleaners, the car wash, grocery stores, salons, and every other place you spend money while out and about.
10. All Other Bills
Finally, use your credit card to make all of your bill payments. Things like cable TV, internet service, cell phone service, and many utilities can be easily paid with a credit card. Consider making advanced payments (they’ll just apply a credit to your account). If bills can’t be paid with a credit card, consider the BlueBird method above.
Hopefully I’ve provided a few new ways to meet minimum spending requirements for the cards you have or want to apply for. I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface though. If you have some other ways to meet the minimum spending requirements I’d love to read them. Leave them in the comments below.