I agree with many of the financial experts, most people do not use credit cards appropriately. But if you can monitor your spending the same with a credit card as you do with cash, using plastic can end up actually helping you in the long run.
Benefits of Credit Cards
For me, there are two main benefits of using credit cards instead of cash:
Cash Back Rewards
My Discover More card offers us 1% cash back on everything and 5% cash back on rotating categories of purchases. For example, right now we are receiving 5% cash back on restaurants. We end up using the cash back as either pure cash towards our monthly statements or we exchange them on Discover for gift cards to our favorite restaurants or home improvement stores for a little bit more than the cash we earned. For example, we use $20 cash back to purchase a $25 Bath and Body Works gift card.
With our Penfed Visa, we just earn a straight 5% cash back on gasoline, so that is just the card we use for gas or any store that doesn’t accept Discover.
Record of Expenses
My second main reason for using credit cards for every possible expense is that I like having a record of everything. Each time I use my cards, I now will see that charge on my statement. That is priceless to me since I would not be able to write down absolutely all of the times I buy something otherwise. Especially since my husband would need to keep up with all of his spending too.
The only downside I usually see to using a card for nearly every purchase is that sometimes my favorite places will end up paying large fees, but there are other credit card processing solutions that they could look into. Plus, if I really like a place, I do use cash to save them those fees.
Please remember that all of the benefits I mentioned above are ONLY benefits if you do not spend more using a credit card than you would using cash. For me, cash just seems to disappear but credit card charges stare at me in the face when I am plugging in all of our expenses into our budget. So please keep that caveat in mind.