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Excited about that shiny new credit card you just got in the mail? Even more excited about the bonus points or airline miles that come along with it but don’t know how to hit the minimum spending requirements? Well, I got you. Here are my top four favorite tips to kick minimum spending’s butt!
Pay Regular Bills
When I was approved for my first credit card that would give me a travel related bonus I was ecstatic. I was already making plans for where I would go and what I would do once I got there. What I didn’t really know was how on earth I was going to spend $4,000 in 3 months seeing as how I don’t have many bills, and the ones I did have could only be paid in cash.
What I did with this first card, I now have had 4 travel bonus cards, was end up paying off huge bills such as my car insurance in advance and even going so far as to pay the higher bills of my mom and sister. I would ask to pay their cell phone and cable bills for that 3 months and they’d just venmo me the money right back since they paid with their debit cards anyway.
Even that wasn’t enough. I remember having to explain to people who would try to give me advice that I purposely keep my expenses at a minimum and don’t spend much on a monthly basis. I’m serious when I say that my money goes to travel (and that’s just a little bit of it). I was able to spend that $4,000 in 3 months thanks in large part to my mom and sister and their bills, but by the next credit card which came months later, I would need to spend $5,000 in three months and I needed to figure out quickly how the hell I’d make that happen.
Plastiq is the only “tool” I’ll recommend because it’s the only one I use. When I got my first credit card I was able to pay my rent for a month or two to help meet my minimum spending. It was something I was trying to avoid as there was a 3% fee, but it was inevitable because as I mentioned, I didn’t have many expenses. Lo and behold, Plastiq was a service that I could’ve been using to pay my rent and their fee is slightly less. You simply make the payment with your credit card and they cut a check to send to whomever you need to pay, i.e. my landlord. Luckily for me, I was also able to pay my car note (Honda) AND my student loans (Navient) through Plastiq as well! Those were two of my highest monthly expenses but ones that could only be paid in cash. Now, every payment does have a small fee, but it was worth it when it came to me simply hitting my minimum spend. If you want to avoid the payment fees with Plastiq, simply us my link to get 200 FEE free dollars. Fee free dollars mean that this small percentage fee I keep mentioning won’t be added on to your payment. Want to pay your $1200 rent with your credit card without being charged 2.9%? Well use my link and that 2.9% fee will be covered by the 200 fee free dollars. It’s really that simple and saved me from spending unnecessary money just to hit my minimum spend.
Shhh! Gift Cards
If you google “hit credit card minimum spend” then you may come across hundreds of posts on using gift cards to hit your minimum spend. You simply go into a store to buy DEBIT gift cards with your credit card, take that gift card to buy a money order (using the pin number), THEN cash the money order at your bank and deposit it into your account. This is a very popular technique that has been around for years. It’s so popular that I remember working at a well known retail store and exactly when they specifically put a ban on purchasing gift cards with credit cards. As far as I know, this ban is still in effect at places that I shop, but people all over the country are still finding stores that allow them to purchase these debit gift cards with credit cards. Another thing that you don’t want to get caught doing is purchasing money orders with debit gift cards, especially at the post office. I’ve heard of instances where the employee will notice it’s a gift card and tell you you can’t proceed with your transaction. It’s up to you to try another post office or another cashier, but this is all assuming that you were able to purchase the gift cards in the first place. People in lesser populated towns and cities tend to purchase the money orders at local grocery chains and other smaller stores. May the odds be ever in their favor for eternity as I have had no luck.
Keep in mind that I have never tried this technique because I can never find stores allowing me to purchase debit gift cards in large enough amounts (preferably $500 increments) as the fees on smaller amounts make this entire technique not even worth it.
Don’t Rush if You Don’t Have To
I was so friggin eager to meet my minimum spending requirement that I wanted to spend that $4000 in the first month. As I mentioned, I don’t have $4000 worth of expenses in a month so I had to learn quite quickly to slow my roll and be patient. I had 3 months to spend that amount which meant I needed to spend $1,333.33 per month. Totally doable when you look at it that way. Because a large chunk of points are still sitting in my account and collecting dust, it shows that I didn’t have to have them right away. I just wanted them. The excitement got the best of me. Moral of the story: Be patient unless you’re determined to have those points by the end of your first statement, for some odd reason.
I can’t put into words how confusing and frustrating this whole process was before I started using these ever so simple techniques. I wanted to rip my hair out at times. However, I used the resources available to me such as people who were pros at this in addition to my good friend, Google. Google WHATEVER questions you have and I assure you someone out there has an answer for you.
If you were wondering, I actually went to Lisbon/Madrid in one trip as my first trip using my bonus points and my recent trip to Mexico was funded by points as well. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to drop a comment below or email me directly for a little privacy. I’ll try to help as best as I can.