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Planning your financial future

Let credit cards work for your budget

Research the perks offered by your credit card carrier and take advantage of free money. If you are going to use the credit card anyway, it might put some cash back in your pocket.

You might frequently receive offers about your credit card points, perks, and benefits via mail, email, or app alerts. But are you really paying attention to them? And are you actually taking advantage of your credit card benefits?

If you're under-utilizing the free perks you receive for simply using your credit card, you could literally be throwing money away. If used wisely, these three types of credit card rewards might help your household budget.

Cash back

Many credit cards offer cash back rewards for some or all of your purchases. The standard cash back rate is one percent for most major card carriers. Now, that may not sound like a lot, but it can really add up over time. And your cash back can usually be applied to your balance, and some cards will allow you to use your cash rewards towards select purchases. Just be sure to redeem your cash back rewards before they expire.

Gift cards or in-store rewards

Some credit cards allow you to earn points that you can redeem towards gift cards for your favorite stores. If you have a store card at one of your favorite retailers, you might receive special store gift cards, coupons, or incentives when you hit certain spending goals. These card bonuses are frequently mailed along with your monthly snail-mail bill, so don't miss them!

Travel rewards

Airline perks can be the most elite credit card perks that you can receive, and they are usually reserved for individuals who maintain good to excellent credit. Even if you only fly once or twice a year, using your perks to pay for airfare can save you hundreds of dollars. (That's hundreds of dollars you can put towards other items on your household budget...such as credit card bills.) If travel rewards are your preferred rewards, be sure to compare travel-oriented card offers for various major carriers, as well as card offers from major airlines.

Do you need help building good credit or finding a few free online household budget tools? The Protective Learning Center has more information that may be helpful.



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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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