So recently, I got a few balance transfer checks from the crazy-high interest rate card I stopped using back when I transferred its balance to a low-interest personal loan (more on that here). I thought about transferring part of the balance from the loan back to the credit card, because the checks came with a 14-month 0% interest rate. So I thought hey, I could pay no interest on part of this debt as I pay it off instead of 4%. It seemed like such a great idea!
But then I calculated the balance transfer fee. There is ALWAYS a transfer fee. In my case, it was $5 or a certain percentage (3%, I think?), whichever was greater. I did the math, and the transfer fee was actually GREATER than the amount of interest I'll be paying on this loan before I get it paid off. So no transfer for me.
I did make a different smart credit move this week, though. See, my Kindle died unexpectedly and I was toying with the idea of buying a replacement. And I saw this add on Amazon, touting the Amazon rewards credit card. Signing up got you a $50 gift card, and the card has reward points for purchases too. Signing up for the card meant I'd only pay $20 for a new Kindle! So I did it. And I got approved for a few thousand dollars, which really just blew my freaking mind. But as it turns out, that's actually pretty good for my credit in the long run.
See, my credit card utilization rate automatically went down, because I now have a higher amount of credit to potentially use. But I'm using so little of that credit, and I pay off my cards each month anyway, so that gives my credit score a boost. And the points are a great thing too; I get 3 points for every dollar I spend on Amazon, 2 points for every dollar at gas stations/restaurants/drug stores, and 1 point for every other dollar. Every 100 points = 1 dollar to be spent on Amazon. I've been looking for a points reward card for a while, so the timing on this couldn't have been better.
My plan is to transfer all or most of our utilities bills to the credit card, and to probably make other regular purchases, like groceries and gas, on the card as well. Then, at the end of the month, just pay off the entire card (because I'll have all that money sitting around anyway, because those are all regularly budgeted items). So I'd be making my credit card work for me, and getting Amazon dollars back for just paying my regular bills! Now, to figure out which utilities don't charge an extra fee for paying with a credit card...