The Budget Couple

We are the Budget Couple. We make a bi-weekly podcast that talks about life, family, and how to afford it. Join us on our budgeting journey as we explore the keys to budgeting, personal finance, and more.

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Episode 29: Credit Cards

Nate and Danielle discuss what they are doing with their credit cards in order to help their cards better work for them. Credit cards are treated like cash and as such, should only be used if you have money in the bank to pay for a purchase that you are making in full.

Show Notes

Disclaimer: Qualify that we use our credit cards like debit cards and would never advocate anyone carrying a balance because credit card interest rates are astronomical and you can get yourself into a lot of trouble with credit card debt. So, if you struggle with spending self-control or don’t have an established budget just use cash or debit. NEVER SPEND MONEY ON YOUR CREDIT CARD UNLESS IT’S ALREADY ACCOUNTED FOR IN YOUR BUDGET!

We’ve talked a lot about credit cards and if you’ve listened to us for any amount of time you know we use them for just about everything (within the bounds of our earlier disclaimer). We realized recently that we hadn’t bothered to shop around or change our cards for a long time. We weren’t getting a maximum amount of reward points in our current setup. So we started to explore…

What to look for in a credit card:

  • Annual fee
  • APR – interest rate (some come with tempting 0% for first-year) – range from 13 – 27%
  • Sign-up bonus – usually ~200 if you spend a certain amt in the first few months
  • Rewards or cashback – travel miles, travel perks, credit on your statement, points for actual items
  • Fees – transfer, foreign transaction, late payment, cash advance
  • Credit building cards


  • Capital One – Annual fees from 0 – 95, 1.5% cashback on all purchases, up to 2 miles per dollar (1000 miles = $10), up to 3% cashback for dining, no foreign transaction fees on any cards, $150 sign up bonus
  • Discover – No annual fees, 2% gas/restaurants, 1.5 miles per dollar, 5% quarterly bonuses, match your miles/cash back at end of the first year, not as widely used
  • Citi – Annual fees from 0 – 450, 2% cashback on all purchases, paired with AA
  • American Express – Lots of options, Annual fees from 0 – 550, travel perks, 3% groceries 2% gas 1% all else, paired with Delta

Figure out what would work best for you – travel rewards card with perks like status, cashback card with auto statement credits, travel miles card to use on travel

What we ended up with:

  • Citi Double Cash – for everything else (2%)
  • Capital One Savor – for dining (3%)
  • Amazon – for strictly Amazon purchases (5%)

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