Meet Credit Card Spend without Wasting Money

Meet Credit Card Spend without Wasting Money

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On with my roll on gushing about the perks credit cards offer if you’ll just take it off them(!!), I want to do a post that goes a step further in the direction of conscious spending. That’s right, conscious spending is a thing. Actually am not sure and am not going to Google it right now as it makes perfect sense in my mind 🙂

We have gained close to $5,000 just from credit card perks simply from timing our spending along with credit card sign up perks, not by spending more than we would have. Mostly in the way of air miles, but that’s what we want anyway. We did at one point have a whole load of luggage bags at home which could have fooled anyone into thinking we changed our day job and became luggage salesman however we promptly packed it off into 1 of 3 value generating options – parents who need it, self utilisation and lastly, which is my favourite, selling it off and adding it to our savings!

We do have 2 golden rules, which I see fit to repeat over here as it is almost like a disclaimer that we promote responsible spending!

  1. We always pay our credit cards in full every month.
  2. We only spend on spend that we would have anyway. We do not spend to save.  

We do have some tricks to rake up the spending when we want to meet a minimum spend. Plenty of websites online to talk you through this as well. We try to keep it mostly simple so here’s our few tips that have since worked:

Focus our spending on 1 person’s card at a time.

Almost like being a team player! If Mr.C has a $4,000 spend he needs to make then let’s put all our spend on that card as every little bit adds up. It’s funny how relatable the below 2 scenarios are:

  • Scenario A: Credit card bill comes in at the end of the month and you fall off your chair seeing it hit $4,000 (or any number that typically makes you fall off your chair!). The voice in your head is shouting ‘how, how did this happen? I hardly went out, I hardly spent!” as you are quickly scrutinizing the bill whilst blindly reaching out for your phone to open the Calculator app. Adding up the bits and pieces, you go “Damn, they really do add up”. You spend 3 more minutes looking at it to see if you can put them into some sensible big bucket, one-off spends. Nope. It’s just all of the usual spend, added up.
  • Scenario B: “What, a $4,000 minimum spend. I’ll never make it to that amount, I hardly spend all that much”. You go around spending per usual, using your preferred card for the type of transaction. You do reach $4,000, just not on the card you were meant to apply and spend on and score that sign up bonus.

Time major expenses with new credit cards

This seems painfully obvious however often overlooked. Our major fixed (for now) expenses are our personal insurance. Between 2 adults and 1 child (+ another on the way), we do spend a fair bit on insurance for health and personal accident mostly. The payment for this is spread out over the year and some of the premiums can only be paid by GIRO/Cash/Cheque whereas some take credit cards.

We’ve been in the situation where we didn’t plan ahead and had the premiums charge to a credit card that was offering a sub-optimum perk (alright, it was crap) and we totally could have directed that kinda spending to a flashy new card with a sign-up bonus. Makes for paying the insurance premium just a little less painful.

Consider prepaying major expenses with new credit cards – consider the opportunity cost here

If you need to make a spend within 60 days for example and well, you are running out of time and timely purchases, you can consider prepaying a major expense in advance. For example, flights for an upcoming trip or the accommodation for an upcoming trip. It could even be your insurance premium 2 months in advance. I only recommend this if the money can’t be better used generating returns elsewhere.

There was this once I had my eye on a credit card that required a minimum spend of $10,000 in a ridiculously short amount of time, say 2 months. Mr.C and I contemplated. We wanted the sign up miles but even combining both our spend on one card for 2 months and bringing some payments ahead of time, we were simply not going to make $10,000. If we made prepayments on our rent, we could. Mr.C did some quick math and said he could make more money investing without having $5,000 prepaid and tied up. So that was it, use the cash better elsewhere unless you truly do have it lying around.

Consider prepaying minor expenses with new credit cards

Sometimes you may find you are a few hundred or a thousand dollars short of making the minimum spend but like us, you have strongly sworn into the golden rules and will not spend unnecessarily just to make the minimum spend. What are you to do? There are avenues for minor prepayments that you can spread out and utilise over time:

  • NTUC FairPrice vouchers. These essentially are grocery vouchers that have a 2 year validity the last I purchased. If you focus your grocery spend mostly at NTUC, you’ll certainly have no issues finishing up the vouchers in no time. It turned out to be quite a good idea as well since when our parents came over, they were purchasing groceries at NTUC with cash. Oh how did we not think of this earlier! If we bought vouchers and put it on our credit card, we get the points and that is money still spent anyway! Painfully obvious when we realized it just this year!
  • Gifts. Look at your calendar  and mark down the birthdays for which you would definitely get gifts for and start shopping in advance. This way, when birthday time comes you don’t even need to scramble. If you are the type to get gifts for occasions such as anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and the holidays then go crazy.
  • Gift Cards. Buy gift cards at a place you shop a lot. Quite like the NTUC concept actually, just a wider scope that merely groceries. I happen to do a fair bit on Amazon and what do you know, they have gift cards!
  • If you go to the gym regularly, prepay that 1-2 months in advance!
  • Our newfound friend at Early Retirement SG (ERSG) has chimed in on yet another brilliant prepayment avenue, your mobile phone expenses! It can be done via the M1/Starhub app with no extra cost, just a simple prepayment for an expense that you know will be coming in! Thanks ERSG!

Get all your spend on the credit card, all of it!

Even that $4 latte. It all adds up, trust me. One of the spends that people forget to put on – their utilities! I immediately change my credit card details on my mobile expenses and my home broadband as soon as I have a new credit card to meet the spend on. I enlist Mr.C to put the utilities he takes care of (PUB – gas, electricity and water) on my card as well when I am in need of dire help. If you have payments going through GIRO for the convenience of it, stop it and switch to credit card. It will all add up!

Ask around!

I doubt I’ll reach the point of asking my friends just yet if I can put their major expenses on my card though if we are out I’d offer to foot the bill in lieu of cash payments. That’s where we draw the line but it’s not above me to ask my folks and my siblings if they have something substantial they can put on my card for now to reach the end of the race. Often these are flight tickets as my folks travel between Malaysia and Singapore a fair bit. This year I paid for both my parent’s insurance premiums on their behalf as well which got me a nice sum on my card, after currency exchange too. There’s no harm asking!

CardUp

In Singapore, some substantial fees can’t be paid by card such as school fees, insurance etc. Let’s take rent as an example – if you are renting an entire unit, it can be anything upwards of $2,200 a month. Most of my mates would pay on average about $4,000 a month. Imagine if you can put that on a card. Turns out, you can. I feel like that was a textbook outcome to a sales pitch! This is relatively new to us and we quite liked it for the months we needed it or when CardUp is running a promotion, as there is a fee to this (2.6%). We just do some math, if the fee we are going to pay > the benefits we get then NO DEAL. Fees < Benefits = DEAL. Use our referral for $20 off your first payment – KAP24 (I’ll get a $20 credit as well, thank you!). 

Hope that helped with your spend planning and credit card optimization strategy! Do you have other tricks up your sleeve? Do share, let’s all benefit!

Author: Ms.K

Ms.K is everything that Mr.C is, without the natural interest in investing and company financials! The activity planner for the family, the driver of random ideas and soon to be ‘retiring’ in to full time motherhood – Ms.K has no idea what she’s in for but remains super excited!

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2 Replies to “Meet Credit Card Spend without Wasting Money”

  1. Hey Ms K,
    Got to this site via Mr15HWW referral.
    I’ve been prepaying my telco bills using my credit cards. I download the M1 and Starhub app and I can just use any credit card to prepay my telco bills to meet any minimum spending. It helps to adjust the cashflow a bit.

    1. Hi ERSG,

      Thanks for coming by, we’ve been enjoying your blog as well since the introduction from MR15HWW!That is a brilliant idea, prepaying the mobile expenses! I’ll certainly be doing that as I’m currently trying to meet my UOB PRVI minimum spend by mid November! I’ll add it on to the list as well and give you a little shout-out! 😀

      Hope to keep seeing you around ERSG!

      Ms.K!

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