Why I Switched Credit Cards When I Had a Kid

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A lifestyle change meant it was time to reassess which credit card I use.

Having a baby changes everything. That may be a cliche, but it's an absolute fact in my personal experience. And, in my case, "everything" included which credit card I used.

Within just a month of having my son two years ago, I realized that the credit card I had in my wallet just wasn't cutting it any more and would no longer make sense for me for a long time. So I made a decision to switch cards. Here's why I made the change.

My old credit card was no longer a good fit for my lifestyle

For me, one of the primary purposes of using credit cards is to earn rewards for my spending. In fact, I always aim to max out the points or cash back that I earn. I view these rewards as free money that reduces the cost of all my purchases by giving me a percentage of my spending back.

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In order to make sure I'm earning the most rewards possible, I've always carefully researched and compared credit cards to find ones that were a good fit for my lifestyle. I thought about what kinds of spending I did the most and looked for cards that gave extra rewards for my frequent purchases.

Prior to having a child, the biggest things I spent money on included travel and dining out. My husband and I budgeted a lot for restaurants because going out to dinner was important to us. And we traveled often, both because we had a vacation house and because we had family living in different areas.

Once our son was born, though, our lifestyle changed significantly, so that meant the card that I was using for my purchases had to shift as well. All of a sudden, going out to dinner became a big hassle because I had to lug a car seat along and plan around nap times and often spend half the meal holding a baby.

And since my son has gotten older and more mobile, it's become even less fun to go out to dinner because now he wants to be all over the restaurant -- which isn't exactly restful or conducive to an enjoyable dining experience.

When my son was six months old, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which significantly limited our travel options. But we'd already curtailed our traveling before that because lugging around baby gear wasn't a lot of fun. Neither was spending a long time on a plane or in a car with a baby that hates to be contained.

Making the change to a better fit

Instead of the bulk of my spending being on travel and restaurants, it was now at big box stores and grocery stores as we bought diapers and other baby gear. My old credit card no longer made good sense, and I decided to switch to using a different rewards credit card that provided extra cash back for the new spending that I did.

I imagine my lifestyle will most likely change many times in the coming years, and each time I see a major shift in my spending, I plan to do what I did in this scenario -- look around for a new card that better fits my current needs and switch to it ASAP. The generous credit card rewards that this strategy enables me to earn make this simple process well worth carrying out.

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