Sean Chuplis

Sean is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, investor, entrepreneur, and an instructor pilot. He's served over 6 years in the USAF and writes about budgeting, debt, investing, and saving for military retirement.


bank of america accelerated cash rewards american express card Best Cash Rewards Card: Bank of America Accelerated Cash Rewards ReviewDo you need cash back on every day purchases not fitting into a special category? Bank of America gives you 1.25% cash back on all purchases, a rate 25% higher than all other cards I’ve seen. It’s the catch all rewards card in my military credit cards lineup. You can earn higher rates on specialized categories but you might as well get cash back for every day spending.

A penny saved is a penny earned

penny saved penny earned Best Cash Rewards Card: Bank of America Accelerated Cash Rewards ReviewAccording to the Department of Labor, the average American spends $50,486 a year. If you use your credit card responsibly and get 1.25% back in the form of rewards you’d earn$631 a year. Most credit cards only offer you 1% cash back on all purchases, a difference of $126 a year in savings.

Disadvantages

Credit card rewards only work if you’re using them as a part of your budget and paying them off in full every month. Credit card companies are hoping you’ll only pay the minimums and carry a balance. Pay them off in full and you’ll capture hundreds of dollars in savings every year.

Final verdict

If you know of a better cash back credit card with no limits please share. This is a great catch all rewards card for spending that doesn’t fit in a specialized category like gas or restaurants. To find a profile and application for Bank of America Accelerated Cash Rewards type it into the search box on CreditCards.com. There’s no annual fee. If you have any experiences with this cash rewards card please share them in the comments below.



citi forward restaurant rewards Best Restaurant Card: Citi Forward ReviewFind yourself eating into your per diem at restaurants on your TDYs? You can earn 5% restaurant and entertainment rewards using the Citi Forward credit card. It’s the only card in my best military credit cards lineup that earns points instead of cash but I’ll explain how you can earn five times the rewards using your points for restaurants.

Earn cheap eats

I hope you’re following a budget to measure your common expenses. You might find restaurant expenses taking a large chunk of your budget. It helps to cut back on your dining out, how about only on weekends? You can save up for your next night out by using this restaurant card to earn points for a dining certificate. This method earns your five times the rewards.

$25 dining certificate for $3 in points

restaurant dining certificate 300x291 Best Restaurant Card: Citi Forward Review You can use Citi Forward points to buy a Restaurant.com gift certificate. The way it works is you find restaurants in your area, print out a certificate then present it at the restaurant after spending a minimum amount (usually $35) then they deduct the certificate amount from your bill. You can find coupon codes on the internet to get these certificates for up to 80% off, giving you five times the restaurant rewards.

Earn points at Amazon

It seems you can find anything on Amazon.com these days. You can use this card to earn 5% in points when making online purchases for books, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Disadvantages

You may be reluctant using a restaurant rewards card with points. Cash back is easiest but even if you don’t plan on using points for a dining certificate you can redeem them for gift certificates from all major merchants.

Final verdict

Points limit rewards choices but this restaurant card puts up to 25% of your restaurant purchases towards a dining certificate and even gives you points at book stores. It allows you to eat out every month and still cut down on your budget. To find a profile and application for Citi Forward type it into the search box on CreditCards.com. There’s no annual fee. If you have any experiences with this restaurant card please share them in the comments below.



The hardest part about budgeting is getting started. Do you know where you spent your money this month? If not, you aren’t following a budget plan and will keep asking yourself the same question every month: “where did my money go?” I’ll show you an easy answer to this question and start your budget plan.

Start a money log

You can’t change your spending habits if you don’t know how you’re spending your money. The first step of a successful budget plan is a money log. It’s easy to find out where your money goes every month. Follow these steps for a month and I guarantee you’ll be amazed at the results.money log 300x199 Where Did My Money Go? Budget Plans Start With a Money Log

  1. Buy a small notebook
  2. Carry it with you every day
  3. Write down everything you buy, how much it costs, and why you bought it

Stop impulse buying

This may seem silly at first but think about the advantages. You can spend money so easily these days on products you see on advertising, TV, billboards, and the internet. Are you stopping to think why you’re buying things? Do you really need them or is it an impulse buy? If you’re having a rough morning are you more likely to buy extra sweets on your way out of the store? Using a money log will force you to pause and think about why you’re making a purchase. It might not be worth your effort to buy it and have to write it down in the money log.

Is it really making you happier to not have money at the end of the month? The things you’re buying on impulse may make you feel better in the moment but they’re not adding to your long term happiness. Think about what you could get with the money instead. Little savings you make every day can transform into bigger goals you have,  like a vacation you’ve always wanted to take.

Commit to change

Make the commitment! Write down all of your purchases this month in a money log. You can also accomplish it with a notepad app on your phone or automatically with Mint.com. Either way, commit to tracking your spending this month so you can answer the essential question of “where did my money go?” at the end of the month.



penfed visa gas cash back Best Gas Card: PenFed Visa Gas Rewards ReviewPenFed Visa Gas Rewards is the best rewards credit card I’ve found for gas and groceries. It’s earned a spot on my best military credit cards lineup. You get an unheard of 5% cash back at the pump. Other cards like Discover claim similar rewards but they only give you cash back during certain months of the year or have limits on their rewards.

Cash back for gas

According to a recent government energy study the average American family spends $3,200 a year on gas. Using PenFed Visa Gas Rewards you’d save $160 every year! It may seem like a small amount but when you add up rewards in multiple categories you’ll start to see substantial savings.

Cash back for groceries

You also get 2% cash back on groceries at the commissary or wherever you choose to buy food. Groceries and gas are a big chunk of every family’s budget. Why not get some money back on things you have to buy?

Automatic cash rewards

automatic monthly cash rewards 300x103 Best Gas Card: PenFed Visa Gas Rewards ReviewMy favorite feature of this card is the automatic cash back every month. Most rewards credit cards require you to earn a certain level of points or money (typically $50) before claiming your reward. PenFed Visa Gas Rewards credits this money to your bill every month even if you’ve only earned a small amount. It’s simple and doesn’t require you to click through a reward website or cash a check.

Disadvantages

You need to open a PenFed checking account and make a $5 deposit to get a credit card account. It only took me an extra few minutes but it was still a bit of a hassle. Even with the extra step the application process was rather painless.

Final verdict

Even with the extra step of opening a checking account this credit card is well worth it. You’ll save hundreds of dollars every year on essential spending. To find a profile and application for PenFed Visa Gas Rewards type it into the search box on CreditCards.com. There’s no annual fee and you don’t have to be military to enroll. If you have any experiences with this gas card please share them in the comments below.



military credit card rewards 300x199 4 Best Military Credit Cards – Are Your Rewards Cards Paying You Enough?After reviewing dozens of reward credit cards over the past ten years I’ve picked the four best military credit cards with rewards programs tailored to how you spend your money. Get cash back on gas, groceries, restaurants, Amazon.com, and avoid paying extra fees when overseas. All with no annual fees.

Use credit cards responsibly

Remember credit card reward programs only benefit you when you use them responsibly. You should pay your balance off in full every month and incorporate them as a part of your budget. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year by using these reward credit cards properly. See my articles on budgeting and debt for help. You should also use approved credit counseling agencies if you’re in debt trouble.

Military credit cards

You can find profiles and apply for these rewards credit cards by typing the name into the search box on CreditCards.com.

penfed visa gas cash back 4 Best Military Credit Cards – Are Your Rewards Cards Paying You Enough?5% cash back on gas and 2% on groceries using PenFed Visa Gas Rewards. The best thing about this card is it automatically pays you the rewards in your account monthly without the usual $50 minimum like most credit cards.

citi forward restaurant rewards 4 Best Military Credit Cards – Are Your Rewards Cards Paying You Enough?5% back on restaurants and book stores using Citi Forward. You can actually triple the bonus by using your points to purchase restaurant gift certificates from Restaurant.com. They offer $25 gift certificates for $10.

bank of america accelerated cash rewards american express card 4 Best Military Credit Cards – Are Your Rewards Cards Paying You Enough?1.25% cash back on everything else using Bank of America Accelerated Cash Rewards. You’ll only get 1% cash back on other rewards cards, it may seem like a small difference but it adds up with a year of spending.

capital one no hassle cash rewards 4 Best Military Credit Cards – Are Your Rewards Cards Paying You Enough?When traveling overseas avoid foreign transaction fees using Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards. Credit cards charge you an extra 3% of the purchase price when you use your credit card overseas. No such fees with Capitol One and they even apply your cash back rewards right to your account!

Use the specialized categories to maximize your cash back on everyday spending. Make the switch today and start making credit cards pay you for a change!


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