WAYS TO MEET MINIMUM SPENDS ON CREDIT CARDS

Here is a list of ideas I have compiled over the years to make meeting the minimum spend on a credit card easy as pie!  I haven’t personally used every single option listed but I’ve used many of them.  I just recently applied and receive the Ink Bold Business card (50,000 Bonus Points offer).  Now that Chase has given me their card, I have to fulfill my end of the agreement which is to charge over $5,000 in 3 months to receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.  I had originally held off on applying for this offer because of the higher spend requirement and other min. spends I was working on.  I’ve finished those and I was waiting till next quarter for any new offers.  When they decided to pull the offer and double the minimum spend to $10,000 in 3 months, I decided to get off the fence and apply.  I did not want to loose out on this great offer. Today, as I was thinking of ways I would meet my min. spend requirement on this card, I thought I’d do a post on this subject to help you too.  Five thousand dollars is a large amount of money for our family, but not if I break it down into each month’s total expenses.  Basically, ever dollar that goes out if your pocket should be via your rewards card.  There are even some “creative” ways to do this when you think it’s not possible.  Take a look at this list and see what I mean.  I hope maybe you’ll have a few more ideas than you had before reading this post.  As always, if you have any questions or need any help, feel free to write me.

BUSINESS TRAVEL
If you travel on business, you may be able to charge expenses to your personal credit card and then claim reimbursement from your employer.  Even if your employer offers you a business card, see if you are allowed to use your own personal card and just submit for reimbursement.  If they won’t allow that, see if you company will at least get you a rewards earning credit card.  It wouldn’t help with your min. spends but it will give you some reward benefits.
CAR EXPENSES
Car Purchase
When you are purchasing a car, most dealers will let you charge a portion of the total cost on your credit card.  Recently, I was allowed to charge half of our total cost.  Always ask if you can charge the entire cost.  Most will not let you but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Car Registration
You can pay your registration online in most states.  Check the back of your DMV registration bill for their website.  This option is free in California.
Car Payments
Charge Smart lets you pay your car payments via a credit card (Visa, MasterCard & Discover, but currently NOT American Express) for a fee.
Car Maintenance
Most all service repair companies let you pay for all services repairs, etc. on your vehicle with a credit card.
CARETAKERS
Baby Sitter, Pet Sitter, Nannies, Gardeners, etc.
OPTION#1:
Pay these individuals (if agreeable) with gift cards.  Good option is to buy 
American Express Gift Cards from Big Crumbs (1.6% cash back) 
OPTION#2:
Pay these individuals via Amazon Payments or PayPal
CELL PHONE/HOME/INTERNET
Pay your cellphone, cable, an internet bill using a credit card.  You may also be able to pre-pay your cellphone, cable, or internet bill via a credit card by paying more than the monthly amount due.  Once again, don’t do this if you can’t pay off your credit card bill when it comes due!
CABLE TV/SATELITE/NETFLIX
Pay for these services with a credit card.  Most will allow services will allow you to set up automatic payment via credit card.
CHECKING ACCOUNTS
You could open a new checking account and fund it with your credit card.  Then pay your credit card back.  Check with your lender before funding to see if you will be charged a cash advance fee.  In the past, Citibank & Chase have allowed you to fund a checking account with their own credit card without charging you a cash advance fee.
Sign up for a cash back checking account bonus and make some extra cash will you’re at it!  Check out the “Banking” section for current offers.
DINING
Use your credit card for all dining expenses.  Never use cash unless you have too.
EDUCATIONS EXPENSES
 
Private School/Technical School
Most private & technical schools will always allow you to pay your tuition via a credit card.
College
Most colleges will let you pay for all or part of the tuition and housing costs with a credit card for a fee.  Check your college’s website or Official Payments for more information on paying with a credit card.
EVENTS
Wedding Expenses
Pay all vendors with a credit card.  If they don’t accept a credit card ask if you can send payment to them via Paypal or Amazon Payments.
Business Events
Pay for your companies business event expenses with your personal card and then submit for reimbursement.
GROCERIES
Use your credit card for all groceries.  You can also buy grocery store gift cards to use for the future.  If you shop at Costco, you could buy American Express gift cards to use there if you’re min. spend isn’t on an American Express card.
GAS
Always use your credit card. 
GYM MEMBERSHIPS
Pay for your gym membership with a credit card.
American Express Gift Cards
Buy American Express gift cards from Big Crumbs and get a 1.6% rebate.  American Express ships the gift card to you in 2 days ($8 fee), and you can usually avoid paying fees to buy the gift card by using a code.  Generally it takes 2 months to get the cash rebate from Big Crumbs.  This is a good way to meet min. spends quickly.  You can then use the American Express gift cards instead of your credit card to pay for expenses in the future months.
Caution: Citibank may charge a cash advance fee for purchase of American Express gift cards directly from American Express.  You can also buy them at the grocery store and they should be charged as a regular purchase.  Always call your lender and see what fees are involved (if any) when buying gift cards.  Here are some current codes to avoid online purchase fees.
CODES:
 
EMADMWL3
 will get you free second day shipping.  Expires 5/31/2012
EMMOTCM2 waives the purchase fee.  Expires June 30, 2012
 
Amazon Gift Cards
Buy Amazon.com gift cards to use later.  You can earn extra miles for shopping on amazon.com through the Hawaiian Airlines shopping portal.  These gift cards never expire.  Be sure again to check with your lender regarding the purchase of gift cards.  If you buy them at the grocery store or other locations it should not trigger a cash advance fee.
Stock up on your gift cards to your favorite stores.  Be sure you’ll use this in the near future.
GIFTS
Holiday Gifts
Buy your Christmas, Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc. gifts in advance.
Birthday Gifts
Buy birthday gifts for upcoming birthdays.  If you can’t decide what to get them a American Express Gift Cards or store gift cards always works.
Graduation Gifts
American Express Gift cards make good graduations gifts.
Donations to Charities
Make a donation to your favorite charity.  Consider making your donation now using your new credit card, instead of later in the year.
Church Tithing
Check with your church and see if they accept money via their website.  Many churches do now days.  You could make a large contribution for the next couple months  via credit card instead of writing a check or using cash.
HOME SERVICES
Remodel/Building Expenses
Ask your contractor if they will accept payment in the form of a Visa Gift card or American Express Gift card.  If  purchasing an American Express Gift card be sure to  use Big Crumbs to purchase American Express gift cards at 1.6% discount.  If they will not accept gift cards, ask if you can send them payments via Paypal or Amazon Payments.
Contractor Supplies
Ask your contractor if you can purchase the supplies needed for your project.  Ask them to supply you with a list or call and place the order and you will give the payment via credit card later
INSURANCE
Pay your homeowners, medical, car or renter’s insurance using a credit card.  If you have annual or quarterly payment options, think about paying in advance for your premiums.
LOANS
Student Loans
Charge Smart lets you pay your student loan payments via a credit card for a fee (Visa, MasterCard & Discover, but currently NOT American Express).  You may also be able to use a credit card, for a fee, directly through your loan provider.
MEDICAL EXPENSES
Flexible Spending Account
See if your account allows you to pay all your medical expense payments (co-pays, prescriptions etc.) and then submit for reimbursement.  Many accounts do allow this. 
Vision Insurance. 
Most vision insurance will reimburse you for expenses covered under your plan like contact lenses, glasses, exams.  Call and check on your policy.
Pet Insurance
Pay for your pet insurance premium with your credit card.  If your pet has a surgery or needs care covered by your pet insurance see if you can be reimbursed for the expense if you pay for it in full with your credit card.
MONEY TRANSFER – International
 
 
Xoom lets you send money internationally for a fee.
MORTGAGE/RENT PAYMENTS
 
Mortgage Payments
Charge Smart allows you to pay your mortgage via credit card (Visa, MasterCard & Discover, but currently NOT American Express) for a fee of ~2.4% or higher.
Rent
William Paid allows you to pay your rent online.
PAYMENT SERVICES
Amazon Payments
Amazon Payments currently lets you transfer $1,000 a month from person to person free of charge.  Be sure to select the “goods and services” option
Do not transfer money back and forth between accounts.  Just transfer from  person A to person B.  Person B returns the money to Person A by check or another separate transfer option.
Venmo
Venmo allows you to transfer small amounts of money from person to person using a mobile phone. The Venmo says, “it’s a way pay friend/family back for lunch, dinner, drinks, rent, groceries, tickets, and trips
Caution: Venmo has been closing accounts that frequently transfer money back and forth. Abusing the system basically. Transfers in a 1-way direction in frequently may not cause a red flag on your account.
Paypal
PayPal is a one of the most know payment processors.  They charge a fee for purchases or personal transfers.  Do not abuse this service transferring money back and forth to accounts.  There are lots of reports of PayPal closing accounts for frequently transferring money between accounts.
Pay Divvy
Pay Divvy lets you send money from person to person using a credit card for a 3.5% fee.
REIMBURSEMENTS
Friend/Family’s Expenses
Consider paying your close friend’s and family’s expenses using your credit card and getting them to write you a check for reimbursement.
Insurance Payments
Pay for an expense and then get reimbursed from your insurer.  You can do this for home insurance claims, dental claims, auto claims, etc.
Additional Cards – Family
Get additional add-on cards for your spouse and children. Have them use the card instead of cash. Keep a close eye on your teenager’s accounts though.
TAXES
 
Property taxes. You can pay your property taxes with a credit card for a fee either directly through your county or through a 3rd party service provider such as Official Payments.
US Taxes. You can also pay your Federal Income taxes with a credit card for a fee.  The IRS maintains a list of tax payment service providers on their website.
State & Local Taxes. You can pay your state and local taxes either directly through your county or through a 3rd party service provider such as Official Payments for a fee
TOLLS
If you regularly pay tolls or have an automated toll transponder in your car (I-Pass, K-Tag, FastTrak etc.) you may be able to use your credit card to load additional dollars to your toll account.
UTILITIES
Many utilities allow you to pay your bill via online with your credit card or by a pay-by-phone service.  You can also use Chargesmart to pay some utility companies with your American Express cards.

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