A credit card can be a great tool for managing your monthly living expenses. Using your credit card to charge all of your bills and purchases can make life easier. When used wisely, this approach can save time and help you maximize your credit card’s rewards program.
Establish a budget
The first step to successfully implementing this strategy is to set up a monthly budget. When you set limits for yourself, you can be sure not to charge more on your card than you can pay off at the end of each month. Start with your monthly bills (utilities, mortgage, car payments, etc), add your variable monthly costs (food, gas, entertainment, etc), and compare it to your total monthly income to establish your limit in each area. Most credit cards have online access that will allow you to keep an eye on your purchases.
If possible, set up your bills to automatically charge your credit card each month. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to charge every monthly expense to your card, but you can still take advantage of this approach with the remaining expenses. When choosing a credit card, make sure to factor in whether it is accepted by the stores in which you usually shop.
Ease the burden of record keeping
Making all your purchases on your credit card can make record keeping easier. Instead of having many transactions to record in your checkbook register throughout the month, you have only one: the check you write to pay off your credit card balance. This makes it much simpler to balance your checkbook.
Your bank statement is a record of all the transactions that have occurred in your account during a month. By paying for most expenses with your credit card, you are reducing the number of transactions that appear on this statement. The reduced number of transactions makes it easy to compare with your checkbook register. Not only can this save a lot of time, but it significantly reduces the margin of error in your records by making it easier to spot mistakes.
Maximize credit card rewards programs
Putting all your expenses on a credit card that offers rewards allows you to get the maximum benefits from these programs. The more you charge to the card, the more rewards you earn. For example, let’s say you use a card featuring a “cash back” reward that pays 1% for each qualified purchase. If your budget for monthly expenditures is $2,000.00 and you use your rewards card to pay for all of them, you can earn $20 per month. That totals an extra $240 each year, just for smart use of your credit card. Don’t forget the other rewards programs, like travel rewards or store credit. When choosing a card with which to try this approach, factor in which rewards program will be most advantageous to you and your family.
Some things to keep in mind
Pay attention to fees, grace periods and interest rates when choosing a card. Make sure that the benefits of putting everything on your card outweigh these costs or other inconveniences. In addition, staying within your budgetary limitations is key to the success of this approach. You must pay off your credit card each month in order for any of the above advantages to be worthwhile.
Paying your monthly expenditures with your credit card can make things more simple and can help you leverage your credit card rewards program. Choose your card wisely by comparing interest rates, fees, and rewards programs. Establish a budget, set up your payments, stay within your limits, and start seeing the benefits.