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When applying for a new card, the first aspect most consumers search for are the benefits. After exploring the benefits, the next question is “what is the annual fee?” or “are the benefits worth the annual fee?”
For those of you that have small businesses (or are simply ballers), meeting a $25,000 minimum spend in 3 months may be easy, so there is no hesitation in applying for a premium card.
For those of you that ONLY apply for no annual fee cards because you are not interested in paying an annual fee, you may be missing out on some great opportunities as there are many extremely rewarding cards found between no annual fee cards and ultra-premium cards.
I am frequently asked about “secrets” or techniques for meeting minimum spend. Often, people don’t realize how much they spend in a month (let alone 3 months) so spending $2000 over 90 days for a minimum spend can appear overwhelming.
Today, I wanted to propose some creative ideas for meeting minimum spend if you’re considering applying for a new card or just received your new card.
5 WAYS TO MEET MINIMUM SPEND
After receiving your new credit card, I recommend putting all of your purchases on it, regardless to if the purchase fits in “bonus category” on the new card. The points should not be the hurdle, meeting minimum spend is the hurdle. If the merchant accepts credit card, use your new card.
This, by no means, is an exhaustive list for meeting minimum spend but should be more of a starting point. So let’s take a look…
1. PAY FOR DINNER
This may not be ideal at moment (given the pandemic) but if you go out to dinner regularly with friends, ask to pay for the entire bill on your credit card and have them Venmo their portion of the bill.
Note: If you have a bunch of friends that are about the “points life” and are trying to meet minimum spend, this could prove a bit more challenging. 😉
2A. PAY YOUR BILLS
This by far is the easiest way to minimum spend. Everyone has a monthly mobile phone bill…pay it with a credit card. Groceries, gas for your car, water bill, electricity, dentist/physician bill, Hulu/netflix subscription, car insurance, Starbucks addiction… pay all of it with your new card. It’s only $10 here and $10 there but that adds up quickly over 90 days.
2B. PREPAY YOUR BILLS
Additionally, if paying your regular bills is NOT enough, prepay some bills in advance. For example, if your mobile phone bill is $50/month, pay $300 (only if it doesn’t create additional stress for you). Often, the carrier will just apply the credit to a future bill.
3. USE ONLINE PAYMENT SERVICES
You may have noticed that rent/mortgage was not included in #2A or #2B. Often, the largest bill we have is found in our housing arrangement. Well, you can use a service like Plastiq to pay rent or mortgage. The service charges you a 2.5% fee (sometimes less) to pay your bills (e.g. mortgage, rent, student loans, etc.), where you are normally unable to use a credit card.
For simplicity, you pay Plastiq with a credit card, and they will send a check on your behalf to the company you owe. If your rent is $1,000, you may find that paying $75 ($25 per month) is well worth the expense to easily meet minimum spend.
4. PAY YOUR TAXES
Most of us dread filing taxes but the IRS has approved various ways to pay your taxes with credit or debit cards for a small fee. Pay1040.com is a very popular (and the cheapest) way to pay your taxes as they only charge 1.87% for their service. Don’t worry, you’ll receive a refund if you overpay.
I trust we could make a long list of organizations where we could make charitable donations that serve others but at the expense of keeping this blog short, I’ll let you determine what missions are important to you. Regardless, most charity organizations accept donations using credit cards.
Here are two additional ‘honorable mentions’ but personally, I don’t rely on these options too often because they have the potential to cause more stress than they are worth.
ADD AN AUTHORIZED USER
Clearly, two individuals spending on a credit card is better than one. For example, you can add a significant other, mom, dad, sibling, your “situationship,” or friend as an authorized user on your new credit card and all purchases count towards minimum spend. However, this can spiral out of control faster than you think. Think
twice three times about who you trust enough to add to your credit card profile.
PURCHASE GIFT CARDS
Recently, I was purchasing some items at my local drug store and noticed a local restaurant had gift cards on the rack with a 20% discount. I frequent this restaurant at least weekly and knew that I would deplete this gift card in two visits. I saw the transaction as prepaying for meals that I was already going to purchase BUT WITH A 20% DISCOUNT. It doesn’t get much better than that!
If you frequent a restaurant, or shop at a particular retailer, this may be an avenue to meet minimum spend but be careful. There is A LOT of gift card fraud out there and it may be more hassle than it’s worth.
Credit cards can be very rewarding, but they can also be dangerous if you’re not living below your means. Do not take on more than you can handle!
If you’re worried about your credit card bill and how much money you have in your bank account, then you’re taking on too much. Credit card rewards are not worth a lifetime of debt so when applying for a new credit card, write out a plan on how you’re going to meet the minimum spend.
I hope this list gives you some additional ideas if you’re looking to apply for another card or are in the middle of meeting a minimum spend?
Do minimum spends stress you out? What card is worth the minimum spend?