Don’t Leave Money on the Table


In February I got frustrated with Capital One and gave them the boot. I locked the credit card in our safe and forgot all about it. I didn’t want to close the account, (because we still have a relatively small business credit limit), but I had no plans to use it again for every day purchases.

A few days ago I was cashing out reward points on our new credit card and remembered that the Capital One card also provided rewards. I logged into my account and found a balance of 7,702 points. I could have cashed out the points for a $25 gift card, but noticed that we were 50 points shy of collecting a $50 gift card.  If I spent $50 I could cash out all but 2 points in our account.

I weighed the pros and cons of buying something and decided it was worth it to spend $50. In essence I spent $50 in order to get $25 back.

Since I didn’t really need anything I bought myself a $50 Amazon gift card. My husband and I are constantly ordering from there so I knew that I that this was one purchase that would not go to waste. After ordering I logged into bill pay and immediately paid the credit card balance. I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to pay the bill. I didn’t want to earn $50 and then get hit with $75 worth of interest and late payment fees.

I’m glad I logged back into this account and didn’t leave points sitting in an unused account. Even without the additional purchase I could have cashed in my points for a $25 gift card.

Over the years I’ve gotten better at keeping my financial records in order. Some things are easier to organize than others. It’s easy to set reminders to pay my credit card bills on time. In fact, my husband and I both receive these alerts so if one of us disregards the notice the other one is sure to review the bill pay schedule.

I also set alerts for Groupon and Living Social deals. I’ve been tortured on more than one occasion by expired deals and try my best to prevent this type of frustration from reoccurring.

These days I also keep a list of ‘things to look out for’, which includes things like ‘credit for an online return’ and ‘cash back for a given purchase.’ I set the date when I shipped things back or ordered a new product and reach out to companies if a specific amount of time passes without receiving credit. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, but I have recovered a lot of funds that otherwise would have been lost along the way.

Do you have any tips and tricks for making sure you don’t leave money on the table?

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