Big lifestyle changes should also mean changing your rewards card strategy.
- If you’ve ditched the commute, it might be time to ditch your gas cards, too.
- Grocery, utility, and cable purchases can earn big rewards with the right credit cards.
It’s been a little over two years since most office workers went home and stayed home. And while some people have returned to the office (whether they like it or not), many others have turned a short-term change into a long-term way of life.
If you’re one of the people who are now work-from-home converts, you’ve probably adapted your habits and habitat long ago to match your new lifestyle. But there’s one thing you may have missed: your credit cards.
Some of us are points and miles enthusiasts and always looking to maximize our rewards. Others are single card wallets with that perfect cash back card. Either way, it’s a good idea to regularly audit your credit cards to make sure they meet your current spending needs. But with the chaos of the last few years, you may still have cards that just don’t work for working from home.
Eliminating the gas card…
One big area any traveler tends to focus on is gas rewards. But now that you’ve ditched the commute, it may also be time to ditch the gas card, especially if you’re paying an annual fee for the privilege.
When you drive a half hour (or more) each way, you can use gas like a Macy’s parade float. In that case, it may be worth finding the best gas rewards card you can, no matter the cost.
Without that trip, though, most people probably won’t spend enough on gas to offset an annual fee, even with gas prices hitting all-time highs they’ve been recently. Unless you’re still running a lot, it may be time to cancel.
Of course, if your gas card doesn’t have an annual fee, you don’t need to bother closing the account. Maybe you have other useful bonus categories, like a decent return on food purchases. In that case, keep it in your wallet.
But if your gas rewards card has little else to offer, it may be time to put it in your sock drawer and look for something else that better suits your new lifestyle.
Groceries and streaming and internet, oh my
In addition to saving on gas, working from home has other money-saving benefits. For example, comfortable lounge pants are usually less expensive than those fancy pants you used to suffer through every day.
However, not everything about working from home is cheaper than office life. Take your internet bill. Zoom meetings and Slack chats don’t feed on boredom (although they do sometimes). In fact, he probably had to upgrade his data speeds to keep up the teamwork.
And now that you’re not going to the local sandwich shop for lunch, chances are your grocery bill has increased. Cooking at home may be cheaper than dining out, but it’s still not free. Then there’s all the streaming you’re doing in the time you’ve saved by cutting your commute from an hour a day to two minutes each way.
Whatever your new spending looks like, it’s time to make sure your credit cards are rewarding you. There are plenty of great grocery rewards cards out there. And you can find some great cards that offer rewards on cable and internet bills, or even earn rewards on your energy bill. And there are even some really worthwhile streaming rewards cards on the market these days.
5% saved is 5% earned
While much of life is slowly returning to earlier times, it’s a whole new world of working from home for many people. Any time you have a big lifestyle change, it’s important to make sure your finances follow suit.
Holding on to the wrong credit cards can mean missing out on tons of rewards. The twenty minutes you spend optimizing your rewards cards can save you 5% (or more) on some of your biggest expenses. With the prices of, well, everything going up, that 5% could make a big difference to your bottom line.
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