It’s certainly more important to get the big things right in the wealth building process. We get rid of our high interest debt, we get our spending under control so that we can save and invest and we invest on a regular basis in a low-fee manner.
You might have a read of my personal finance book that is instead, an 1100 word post. Here’s Oh Look, I Just Found $888,000 in Your Coffee. In that post you’ll find a combination of bigger picture personal finance essentials and some more of the smaller bits and pieces such as controlling your spending on some discretionary items such as those $4 lattes at Starbucks.
But spend we will and spend we must so why not make some money off of your spending. As you may know I was an investment advisor and trainer at Tangerine on the index-based Tangerine Portfolios. For more on their simple and wonderful investment portfolios please have a read of The Canadian Robo Advisors – Tangerine Investments.
And for those who like those big dividends, The Tangerine Big Juicy Dividend Edition. With my group plan at Tangerine I had invested in the Balanced Portfolio and that Dividend Portfolio. The company matched 7% of of my contributions. What’s the Number 1 rule of investing?
- Take all free monies.
When I had suggested this to Preet Banerjee on Twitter he responded with “Choose the right parents”. Touche Preet.
My Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card
I also embraced the no fee Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card when it was introduced. At the time they smartly framed it as ‘Spaving’. You’re spending and saving at the same time. A certain level of spending is unavoidable. There are products and services that we simply need in our everyday lives. So why not earn a little cash back in the process?
With my Tangerine Credit Card I earn 2% cash back in 3 categories. Any spending outside of those 3 categories earns .5%. You can see that we are currently set up for Groceries, Restaurants and Gas.
And that Spaving can certainly add up. As a family we earn about $40-60 per month. That’s cash that I route directly to my Tangerine Savings Account. That money arrives on the 3rd of every month.
You can see that we’ve earned over $2,200 from the card to date. Last month was certainly a lighter month for us. We were in Cincinnati Ohio for almost a week for my son’s baseball tourney. As I have a US Dollar savings account that is funded by some US Dollar earnings, we used US cash for all discretionary spending for the week including gas, foods and restaurants. On that front I had suggested that for those who travel to the States with regularity they should hold US investments and a US dollar savings account.
Remember with Canadian credit cards you can get hit with some US currency conversion charges and surcharges that can really add up. You can find a few cards that are designed for US travel and that don’t hit you with currency conversion charges. On that front I’d suggest that you visit Barry Choi’s moneywehave blog and his credit card section.
That Money Adds Up
That $40-60 per month is not going to change our lives but it is also a sum that is nothing to sneeze at. We’re earning monies on our non discretionary spending such as groceries and gas. And certainly restaurants are in that discretionary area, and we try and keep a handle on that spending. We will also use the Air Miles card for gas and groceries at Metro (yes we’re doubling down on cash and points) and we’ll also use the PC Points Card at No Frills and at Shoppers Drug Mart. Mostly, I like to go Farm Boy for foods.
That is the extent of us ‘chasing’ cash and rewards, but it all certainly adds up. I often get $10 cash offered at the till for monies earned on Air Miles and for that PC Card. On that PC Optimum Points Card here’s a very nice review from GenYMoney with 6 Ways to Optimize Your Points.
Keeping Track of Spending Categories
What I really like about the credit card and the online reporting is the breakdown of spending by category. I receive an overview on the credit card page and I receive a monthly statement will all spending and that category breakdown. One might use the card for all of your spending. You’ll earn cash on every penny and you’ll get a statement that will show you where you’re spending your money. It becomes a wonderful budgeting tool. It can be an eye opener at times when you’ve gone a little wild in a certain category. Here are the categories available.
Earning Cash Is A Family Affair
While I am the primary holder of the card, my daughter (who is down east and going to University) and wife also use the card. They are supplementary holders. This keeps all family spending on one statement on my account. And again the Spaving can certainly add up, especially on the grocery front with two households to feed. Our daughter also owns her own car, so there are 3 vehicles in the family.
What was a nice surprise on the spending front is that when I had a month where I did not optimize my categories I was sent a notice by Tangerine asking if I wanted to make a category switch. In June I had organized and purchased Cincinnati Reds group seats for the team and parents on the credit card. In that month it would have been more advantageous to select the Entertainment category. You can adjust your categories for the following month(s).
Here’s a typical monthly statement overview.
Our son is off to University this September and we’ll also give him a cash back card. He has also accepted a TD cash back credit card (1% cash back) that he will use sparingly to begin to build his credit rating. While his spending needs will be modest, he’ll mostly use that Tangerine card to earn more cash back and allow us to keep track of family spending.
You’ll Earn 4% Cash Back As A Limited Time Offer
When I first signed up I also had that bonus offer of 4%, but keep in mind that it will revert back to that 2% for your 3 categories. If you sign up before October 31st 2019, you’ll earn 4% for the first 3 months. That’s a little cash sweetener.
While I do not ‘do’ paid posts you can read here on how I might get paid disclosures.
There are certainly a few very good choices in the cash back arena. You might also check out this page on ratehub.ca.
Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment, what’s in your wallet?