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Save Some Extra Money
There are a multitude of ways to get cash back on every purchase that you make. The most popular method is by using cash back credit cards, which can usually give you 1% – 5% of your money back depending on your purchase.
Credit card companies are willing to give you cash back depending on the category of the product that you purchase. With my Discover It Card for example, I’m able to save 5% at restaurants. Unfortunately, for most other purchases using the same, this cash back only amounts to 1%.
Fortunately, there is a way to raise the minimum from 1% to 3.7% by combining a cash back credit card with the purchase of an American Express gift card.
Get the 2% Cash Back Credit Card From Fidelity
To maximize our cash back, the first thing we need to do is get the Fidelity Rewards American Express Credit Card. This card has one of the highest cash back rates around. All purchases give you 2% cash back. Currently, no other card on the market can beat this.
With no annual fee, there’s nothing you can lose by signing-up. The only barrier you might face is that you need a very good credit score in order to be approved.
Let’s take a quick look at the card:
- Earn 2% cash back on every purchase when you direct your deposit into your Fidelity account
- No limits on rewards
- No annual fee
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Zero liability fraud protection and identity theft recovery service
- 24-hour customer service
You can sign-up for an account and activate your card by clicking here. You must create an online brokerage account in order to receive your cash back, but you don’t have to invest. The card can be applied for while signing up for the account at the same time.
After you get your card, you may see that there will be multiple accounts when logging-in online.
When activating the card, Fidelity will confirm with you which account you want your cash back deposited into. From there, you can transfer your money directly to your bank account, giving you the 2% back on your purchase,
Sign-Up For An Account With TopCashBack
TopCashBack is an online cash back service. Each time you make a purchase through one of their retailers, you get a discount on that product. For example, if you first go to TopCashBack and then make a purchase at the WalMart online shopping center, you get an additional 2% cash back on your purchase.
There are two simple steps that need to be taken in order to get an account.
1. Go to TopCashback and sign-up for an account. All you need is a name and email address to get started.
Now you have an account up and running with TopCashBack. Once you earn a total of $20 in cash back, you can request a check be mailed to your door or a direct deposit into your PayPal account.
Getting the 3.7% Cash Back
Now we have the 2% cash back Fidelity Rewards American Express Card along with a TopCashBack account. Now we can get started on purchasing our American Express Gift Card.
From the TopCashBack website, log-in and search for American Express. You will be confronted with a list of search results. The first one should be for an American Express Gift Card.
Go ahead and click on the “3% Cashback” button and you will be automatically redirected to the American Express page. Make sure to click the consumer gift card option.
On the homepage you’ll be asked to select how many cards you want to purchase. For security reasons, only select 1 at $1,000.
The reason why the amount that we select is so high for one card is because there’s a $3.95 processing fee for each card. We want to reduce this by as much as possible. If we go any lower, it won’t be worth much of our time to make this purchase.
When you go to check out your card, you’ll notice that the minimum shipping charge is $8.95 for all of the cards that you order. If you’re willing to purchase more than one card at a time, it would be wise to do so in order to mitigate as many fees as possible.
When filling out your credit card to purchase the card you mustuse your 2% cash back Fidelity Rewards American Express Card in order to get the best cash back possible.
Let’s look at our total purchase.
Let’s Add It Up
We purchased 1 card at $1,000 with a processing fee of $3.95 and a shipping fee of $8.95.
$1000 + $3.95 + $8.95 = $1012.90
We receive 2% cash back from our credit card and an additional 3% into our TopCashBack account for a total of 5% cash back.
5% of $1012.90 = $50.65 discount off of our purchase.
After taking our discount away, we’re left with $1012.90 – $50.65 = $962.25
We calculate how much $962.25 is a percentage of $1,000.00 (the amount on our card) and we figure out that this price is roughly a 3.7% discount off of our gift card.
Now you have the ability to treat your gift card like a normal credit card. When you go to make a purchase, use the American Express gift card and it will be equivalent to getting an additional 3.7% off of your purchase price.
Of course, these figures can change depending on the card you purchase and the amount you purchase. If you were to purchase three $3,000 gift cards at once, you’d be looking at a total cash back amount of nearly 5%. This is because we would only calculate the shipping one time.
Often times there are also promotions. Last Father’s Day, there was a promotional code available that would automatically omit the processing fee of $3.95 for each card. Usually these special offers can be found on the TopCashBack website when you search for the American Express gift card.
The reason I mentioned 3.7% is because I figured it was a reasonable number. I didn’t want to purchase too many cards in case I lose one. Furthermore, a lot of people don’t have that kind of money lying around.
To get even more cash back when shopping online, go back to the TopCashBack website a second time. When you make the final purchase, use your new gift card for that extra savings. You can click here for a cash back guide for online shopping.
For those really bent on using this method, you can get free, next-day shipping on all American Express gift cards for $99/year. Click here for more information.
Note: Before buying the gift card, clear all cookies to ensure that TopCashBack will recognize that you used their service to make the purchase. If TopCashBack believes that it was someone else who referred you to the card, you won’t get cash back.
The Safety of the American Express Gift Card
American Express is the absolute best company that you can go with when purchasing a gift card. The reasons for this are due to its safety and reliability. Here’s what it clearly states on their website regarding fit card purchases.
- No inactivity fees or other fees after purchase.
- Refundable if the Card is lost or stolen
- Funds do not expire.
Since the funds never expire, you don’t have to be in a rush about using the card immediately.
Is It Worth It?
After reading the steps involved in this process, it probably seems troublesome to get setup. That’s because it is!
However, once you get in the swing of things and get used to purchasing the gift card, it usually doesn’t take a large amount of your time.
The total amount that you’re getting compared to using a regular cash back credit card may only differ by a few dollars, but it really depends on how much you want to increase your total savings for you to decide whether it’s worth it or not.
Before making a purchase with your American Express Gift Card, make sure to calculate the total amount of cash back you could receive otherwise.
By using the Discover It Card mentioned earlier, I can get 5% off discounts at all restaurants. In this case, I’ll most likely put my American Express Card away for another day. After all, the funds on the card never expire.
This is also a great method for giving gift cards to friends or family members during the holidays. This way you can give a loved one a nice gift without paying the full price.
The only disadvantage that you might come across when using the card is its acceptability. There are some stores that refuse to accept American Express due to their high processing fee with their retailers. Usually these include smaller, less popular shops.
Always keep checking the cash back amount on the TopCashBack website, as it changes from time to time. There was a point where it was listed at 5%. This means that with the 2% cash back from your credit card, you’re looking at a total of roughly 7% cash back on all purchases! This is definitely worth it in any case.
Deciding on whether you use the methods labeled in this guide or not really depends on how far you want to go on your path to frugaling. This is a great and surefire way to have a little bit more pocket money at the end of the month.
For everything frugal, there’s Frugal For Less. Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, make sure to leave them in the comments below.