I’m a big fan of the Chase Freedom card, with its simple 1% cash back on everything and 5% on rotating categories. The sign up bonus is also excellent: $200 cash back with only $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
In 2014, 6 months of the year will be 5% back on gas purchases, which is my primary credit card purchase. This is the same as last year. The other categories are not quite so exciting for me, but I’ll certainly use the card for my restaurant purchases in the 2nd quarter of the year. Also, 5% back on Amazon.com purchases in December will be nice for Christmas shopping, as it was this year.
Amazon Prime is also eligible for that 5% cash back, so I renew my Amazon Prime membership in the last quarter of every year.
2013 Chase Freedom 5% Cash Back Categories
Here are the 2013 Chase Freedom 5% Cash Back Categories in text format:
January – March (1st Quarter): Gas Stations, Movie Theaters, Starbucks stores
April – June (2nd Quarter): Restaurants, Lowe’s home improvement stores
July – September (3rd Quarter): Gas Stations, Kohl’s
October – December (4th Quarter): Zappos.com, Amazon.com, Select department stores
And here’s a handy graphic from Chase.com:
Note that in order to receive the 5% cash back bonus, you must activate your card. This is an incredibly simple, 1-click process. Chase reminds you to activate via email, text message, in your statement, and if you call their customer service department, they will ask if you want to activate as well. You can even retroactively activate for a quarter and still receive the extra points. Very easy, although one hoop to jump through, unlike the BarclayCard Arrival World Mastercard, which has no hoops to jump through and gets you 2.2% cash back everytime you use it.
My Top Three Recommendations for Achieving Financial Independence While You Serve
1. Bank with a military friendly bank, like USAA. I've been a proud member of USAA for 6 years now and have never had a better customer experience with any other bank. They charge no BS fees, refund ATM fees, and have the best auto insurance prices for military servicemembers.
2. Use a cashback credit card, like the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard. How does a $440 sign up bonus, NO foreign transaction fees, and 2.2% cashback on every purchase sound? Read my review to see why I love this new card.
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