Ok, I felt bad leaving you high and dry while we’re off running around Costa Rica playing with spider monkeys and hiking active volcanoes, so here’s a little surprise for your Thursday morning. Don’t tell me I never did anything for ya.
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I don’t do “informative” posts – probably because I do everything I can to do things the opposite way recommended. Y’all don’t come here for training plans, recipes, or home security advice – you come for the travesties that come with me attempting them.
Also with the consistency that I sit down with a beer or glass of wine while I write – well that kind of diminishes any hopes of credibility.
(… quickly hides Corona under the desk)
Anyways, I’m going to share something with you. I may be playing devil’s advocate here, and advanced apologies to any recovering plastic-holics out there, but I’ve got to get this out in the open.
CREDIT CARDS CAN BE YOUR FRIEND.
Don’t freak out. Put your purse down. Close all the JCrew & Amazon browsers you just opened. Let’s be reasonable here for a second.
I got my first credit card sophomore year in college. I knew the importance of building credit, learning to pay bills, and generally becoming a responsible adult.
(WHEN IS THE REST OF THE WORLD GOING TO JUMP ON THIS TRAIN???)
It was a Victoria’s Secret card, and about 92% of every TGI Friday’s paycheck went towards that monthly bill. I paid it as soon as I got it, because I was petrified of what would happen if I was late. I overdrew my bank account once by 13 CENTS and got hit with a $28 fine – Figured the VS Angels’ pimps would come punish me if I didn’t pay off my unmentionables on time.
When I realized there was more to life than lacy underwear and push up bras, I applied for an American Express Blue card. It took me like three weeks of comparing, but eventually I settled on that one because it was clear and awesome looking.
That card was good to me. I used it (and paid it off) religiously for YEARS. On top of building my credit, I took full advantage of their Rewards Points program – Christmas gifts, hundreds of dollars in iTunes gift cards, a North face jacket – all for using their card for things I would have bought anyways.
At the beginning of this year, when the realization of how much damn money we’d be spending on the wedding, we decided to re-analyze our credit options. Afterall, a billion dollars in iTunes credits isn’t really practical.
Living so far from home, we wanted to fully commit our rewards-earning to travel. I looked into American Express’s other options, a few airline cards, and did some review reading before settling on The-World’s-Most-Annoying-Commercials card.
To my credit, they hadn’t hired the Baldwin when we signed up. What a creep.
(If you’re next to a viking that looks like the robber from Home Alone and YOU’RE being called the creep, you’re a creep.)
As with the Amex, we use our Venture card for EVERYTHING. Groceries, gas, $.75 ice cream cones at McDonalds. Utilities, phone bill, rent. Many thousands of dollars in one transaction to the Hyatt in Cleveland. Anywhere we can, we use it. Swipey swipe swipe.
Why am I blathering on about our financial policies?
Capital One’s Travel Rewards Program paid for round trip airfare for two to Ohio, checked bag fees, and three airport shuttles.
FREE. As in, zero dollars. No dinero. Freezy.
JUST FOR USING THEIR CARD. For putting that god-almighty-expensive “party” on one little piece of plastic. For not having change jangling around in the bottom of my purse or the floors of my car.
The best part of all, is that you can request credits for previously booked travel – ANY travel, not just flights or hotels, through any merchant – rather than booking through them. No blackout dates, limited availability, or restrictions.
EASY. LOVE IT.
Ok but this isn’t a pitch for Capital One – it’s a pitch for responsible credit card usage. ESPECIALLY if you’re about to drop a shit-ton of money on something you can’t really get out of. If you’re going to spend it anyways, might as well get something in return, right?
* * * What’s your take on credit cards? Do you use them? Any success/horror stories? Are you into identity theft and somehow de-crypted my really fancy pixelating of my account number on the card above and are currently buying antique Tiffany china on eBay while I’m helplessly phone & internetless?
But really, don’t be a dingbat. I don’t want to be held responsible for anyone’s newly acquired credit card debt or you hiding shopping bags from your husband in the trunk of your car. The world only needs one Becky Bloomwood.