Easy Living

image from here via Photopin

Not quite a money Monday post (because Justin just received his paycheck on Saturday and not all of our first of the month transactions have gone through yet), I wanted to talk briefly about what Justin and I are doing "behind the scenes" to get our finances on track and mention a few products you may or may not be aware of that could help you do the same.

1. Chase Bank Account Coupon

Over the weekend Justin and I visited our local Chase bank and opened an account using a Chase coupon code for an additional $300 to be added to the account after an initial direct deposit goes through. The coupon we used will only be good through tomorrow (April 7th), but there are plenty of other coupons that can be found here if you are looking to get credit for opening a new bank account soon.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

As if opening a new bank account weren't enough, Justin decided to see what Chase could offer him in credit card form seeing as his Slate card seemed to be lacking anything useful for us in terms of rewards or credit growth. While the bank associate wasn't incredibly helpful with regards to Slate, she and her colleagues were fantastic at upselling a credit card Justin and I had already been considering: the Chase Sapphire Preferred. In fact, they were so good at upselling the product that they had our information filled out and the application processed before we even had the chance to consider any other options! (I say that like it's a positive thing, but I actually found it quite annoying.)

Luckily for Justin, he was approved for a double digit (in the thousands, of course) credit card surprising all of us including him, myself, and the bank tellers, who seemed to assume we wouldn't be worthy of much credit given our young-looking age.

So, with the coupon and the Chase Sapphire Preferred newly opened account, in the span of approximately an hour, Justin and I earned about $800, assuming we complete everything necessary to receive that money.

3. IHG Rewards Card

As if earning $800 from a bank account and new credit card wasn't enough, I took the chance and applied for the IHG Rewards card last week and was accepted for the largest amount of credit card spend I've ever been accepted for. YAY! (It's nowhere near Justin's total, but I'll take what I can get?) Along with the impressionable amount of credit card spend I received, I will also be getting 72,000 IHG points and platinum status with the hotel brand for however long I own the credit card! Double YAY!

As for the perks, I believe that the 72,000 points can be broken down into two free nights at an IHG brand hotel or, if there are any points break hotels available where I intend on traveling, I can get up to 14 free nights! I'm not sure the platinum status is good for a whole lot other than making me feel awesome, but I'll take it anyway. :)

With IHG hotels practically everywhere, I know I will find a use for this card and enjoy getting 5 points/dollar spend on it. Plus, the lack of foreign transaction fees will really benefit me when Justin and I return to Europe, assuming, of course, that we choose to stay in an IHG branded hotel at some point. (No puns intended!)

4. Discover It

Technically we applied for this card in January, but I feel, along with the Capital One Venture Card (or Barclays Arrival Card, if you have it), this is a fantastic money saving card perfect for Justin and I, allowing us to save on purchases we are already making and encouraging us to travel more. :)

With at least one card from each of the main credit card companies except for Discover, Justin and I decided to jump in when we received an offer that included free transferring of funds at a 0% interest rate for 12 months. To make the deal even sweeter, Discover also offered 5% cashback on all gas purchases for the first quarter of the year. Even though gas prices have significantly gone down in the past few months, our commute time gobbles up at least 3 tanks of gas a week (between 2 vehicles) and approximately 100 of our hard earned dollars. Getting back $5 per week is nice and adds up quickly!

As the year continues, we will have the chance to receive 5% back in other categories as well including shopping, restaurants and movies, and for summer spruce up (whatever that means). Overall, we are quite happy with this card and the offers it provides us.

5. Capital One Venture Card

Last but not least, Justin and I have had the Capital One Venture card for just over a year now and we love it! We earn 2 points on every purchase and can redeem it for absolutely any travel expenses we use the card for along with Amazon gift cards, which helped me pay for a $2000 lens last year! Woo! It's so easy to earn points that it has pretty much become our go-to card for the majority of our purchases. I've heard the Barclays card is even better earning 10% back on travel redemptions (or 2.1% back per purchase), but Justin and I have not yet applied for or tried that card out yet. Perhaps in the future…

Final Thoughts

With the combination of fantastic credit card rewards and cashback, Justin and I have been able to grow our credit scores, lower our interest rates, and take more control of our finances. We've jumped out on a limb to try new strategies we weren't completely comfortable with, and we've found ourselves in a better financial situation because of it. Now to keep improving…

What are your experiences with credit cards and cashback? Do you have a favorite? Will you be taking advantage of any of the fantastic offers currently available?

* I am not a financial advisor and do not recommend getting credit cards you cannot pay off monthly. 
** Participate in the A-Z blogging challenge with me! You know you want to! :)
*** If you use the Discover link above, you and I both will receive a $50 cashback bonus after your first purchase using your newly approved card!


  1. We son't do credit any more. Cash is king. Maybe we'll use those miles rewards credit cards sometime soon.

    1. Using credit cards can definitely put a strain on your finances if you don't use them correctly. I can completely understand not wanting to even touch them! I'm just grateful my husband and I have been able to work out finances so we can get the perks without the burden it can cause. Hopefully, if you want to, you'll be able to do that one day as well. :)

  2. Credit cards are a necessary evil for my husband and I. They've grown our credit scores, offered us some leeway in case of emergencies, and other little goodies, but I'd much rather not have them, in the end.

    2015 A to Z Blogger
    Visions of Other Worlds

    1. Really? May I ask why? Do you prefer cash, debit cards, or something else entirely?

  3. Great post and very informative. Thanks for posting.


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