How to Use a Credit Card Like Cash

There is a pretty big debate among personal finance junkies on whether using a rewards credit card (or any credit card for that matter) is a good idea. Some say play the credit card companies and take advantage of the cash back or rewards, while others think that it’s just one big overspending trap waiting to happen.

I used to feel that it wasn’t too smart to charge something just to earn a few silly points. But the truth is those points add up and if done right you can earn yourself a nice little bonus every year responsibly. If you spend your credit card just as you would a debit card or cash then spending won’t get out of control.

How to Use a Credit Card like Cash

Using a credit card like cash is actually pretty simple to do. Here’s my method:

  • When you make a purchase on your credit card write it down in your check register and deduct it from the money you have in the bank just as you would if you had wrote a check or used your debit card.
  • When your credit card bill comes in add up all of the charges you have already recorded and make sure they match your statement.
  • Write the credit card company a check! You have already accounted for all the money when you made your purchase on the card. No worries!
  • Let all of you points accrue and get a nice little bonus at the end of the year!

If you have the willpower and are just wanting that extra bonus at the end of the year then you should have no problem using a credit card responsibly. Just make sure that you account for each purchase when you make it, not when the credit card bill comes in.
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  1. says

    We use our credit cards like cash all the time. We use a budget so we already know what we can spend on them. We input all our expenses in our spreadsheet and when the bill comes in we pay it on-line. The rewards are a bonus and have always been a nice-to-have perk.

  2. says

    I’m a big fan of rewards credit cards! I pay off my balance every month and pay for as many things as I can with my credit cards to earn the points. I’ve also earned $500 worth of gift cards twice for opening a card and spending a certain amount in a certain time period to qualify. You just have to be responsible and track what you are spending!

  3. says

    We got in big trouble with credit cards years ago and just finished paying the last of the debt off in November. That being said, we have learned our lesson, will never carry a balance again, and love getting rewards. I’m hoping to fund our vacation this year with mostly reward points.

  4. says

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