In my younger days, I had all the time and all the energy to play the credit card game. Whether the deal was a $50 signup bonus or a free toaster, I was all in on figuring out a way to game the system. Without destroying my credit, I had five cards in my wallet in order to maximize my cash back over the year. Some were used all year, some just in specific months, and when you put them all together it was a thing of beauty.
Then the next stage of life happened and my household of one turned into a household of two. Forget the free toaster, now I found myself holding a seminar in my family room trying to explain to my wife why it was not efficient to use the Discover card at Walmart during the first three months of the year. Let’s skip the next part, the vulgarity, and let’s just say my system was down to three credit cards.
Enter children…sleepless nights, exhaustion and that three card system very quickly got whittled down to a two card approach and brings us to today.
Card Number 1 – American Express Blue Cash Preferred
We get 6% on the first $6,000 spent on groceries, 6% back on streaming services, 3% on gas and 1% on everything else. I just ran the cost/benefit and after the $95 annual fee, we earn an average of 3% cash back on our total expenses for the year.
Card Number 2 – Citi Double Cash Card
This is the ultimate “keep it simple” card in that it pays 2% cash back on everything you purchase. You get 1% when you buy it and another 1% when you pay the bill. Doesn’t matter whether it’s gas, groceries, or plane tickets, it is 2% back and no annual fee.
With these two cards, I would say we get about 80% of the cash back/rewards we could and at this stage of our life, that is pretty good. If the day comes when we have way more time, I have saved the “my seminar presentation” in the basement, and I’ll gladly break it back out and let the Mrs. know to keep her Friday night clear cause school will be back in session!