Here's How a New Credit Card Could Help You Fight Inflation

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 6, 2021

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An older man in a suit fills up his car with gas.

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Consumer goods are costing more these days. The right credit card could really help.

Talk to your friends, neighbors, colleagues, or just about anyone, and they'll probably agree -- it's getting increasingly expensive just to function. Prices at the grocery store have risen. Gas prices have soared. And if you want to buy a new car, well, prepare for some sticker shock.

In June, the Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in the cost of common goods and services, reached a 13-year high. And we may be in for many months of higher-living costs as supply chains struggle to keep up with consumer demand. That puts a lot of consumers at a key disadvantage.

Of course, there are steps you can take to avoid having your personal finances take a hit in the face of inflation. Cutting back on non-essential spending is one, as is getting yourself a side job to boost your income. But here's another tactic worth trying -- applying for the right credit card.

Higher rewards can offset higher expenses

The great thing about credit cards is that they reward you for the purchases you were already planning to make. And if you're spending more in certain expense categories than ever before due to inflation, you can combat that by getting yourself a new card that rewards you more generously.

Say you're spending a lot more money on gas these days, both because fuel costs have gone up and also because you've stopped working remotely and now have to report to an office. If you apply for a credit card that offers cash back on gas, you'll help offset those higher bills.

Similarly, it could pay to look into getting a grocery credit card that offers generous rewards for grocery store purchases. The more you spend, the more cash back you'll get, which will help make rising food costs easier to deal with.

To find the right credit card for you, take a look at your credit card statements from the past six months. That will help you identify the categories you spend the most in. That way, you can focus your search on the right rewards program.

A lot of credit cards these days offer generous sign-up bonuses, where you'll get a certain amount of cash back or rewards for hitting a specific spending threshold shortly after opening your account. Finding an attainable sign-up bonus is a good way to boost your personal cash reserves at a time when everything seems to be costing more.

Once supply chains are able to catch up to consumer demand, we should see prices start to come down. But until that happens, you'll need a solid strategy for fighting inflation. A new credit card could help you better manage those rising costs, so it pays to explore your options and see what offers you qualify for. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score, the more likely you'll be to snag the best card offers out there. So if your score needs work, make an effort to boost it as quickly as possible.

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