3 Things I Plan to Do With My Credit Card Rewards This Year

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Here's how I intend to put my rewards to good use.

Like many people, I make a lot of purchases using credit cards. And I'm usually pretty good about using the right cards for the right purchases to maximize rewards. In fact, I've already racked up about $400 in cash back on the credit card I use the most, and by the end of the year, there's a good chance that total will be more like $500. Here's what I plan to do with that bonus cash.

1. Order takeout when needed

Though my family enjoys takeout, I try to order it sparingly. Not only can it open the door to less-healthy eating, it can be very expensive, especially compared to home-cooked meals.

That said, once the school year kicks into gear and my schedule gets busier with afternoon activities, homework, and other obligations, I know I'm apt to have weeks when I'm swamped and pressed for time. So I'll probably take some of my cash back and use it to call in dinner orders on nights when there just isn't time to cook.

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2. Treat my kids to fun pick-me-ups

Sometimes, on the way home from school, an activity, or a doctor's appointment, my kids ask to stop in at the local ice cream shop and enjoy a sundae. Or they ask if we can hit the local hobby shop to pick out a comic book or toy. These aren't things my kids ask for every day, and sometimes, I say no because I know how these random purchases can add up. This year, I plan to use my credit card cash to say yes more often.

3. Cover the increasing cost of extracurricular activities

I used to think the infant years were the most expensive when it came to raising kids. Boy, was I wrong. Nowadays, between summer camp, sports equipment, and other expenses, I find that I'm spending more than I used to (and that's after spending years buying diapers for twins).

As my kids get older, there are more activities they want to try. Some of those extracurriculars can be very expensive, so I intend to use the cash I get from my credit cards to help cover the costs.

What can your credit card rewards do for you?

One of my favorite things about credit card rewards is that I can treat the cash back I get as free money. And it means I don't feel guilty about spending it to make my life easier or indulge my kids a little.

If you're getting cash back or other rewards from your credit cards, put them to good use. That could mean using that money to pad your savings or pay off debt. Or, if you're in a good place financially, it could mean earmarking your rewards for an upcoming vacation.

For me, having more flexibility in my day-to-day life is important, especially as a full-time working mom. So I'm glad I've chosen credit cards that reward me generously for the purchases I'm already making.

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