Credit cards that have 5% cash back quarterly categories are great for my budget. I love my Chase Freedom card. For the first quarter this year Chase offered a 5% cash back at grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks (including gift cards). Besides my fixed bills(mortgage and utilities), the food category, on average, is one of my highest spending categories every month. So as you can imagine how excited I was at the beginning of the year when I see I can get 5% back on groceries and Starbucks. It was a ‘Hallelujah!’ kind of moment for me.
After Thanksgiving of every year, I try to clean out my pantry and my fridge for the New Year. A clean kitchen to symbolize a clean slate or a new beginning for a new year. You guessed it, I am a bit superstitious (Don’t even get me started on the numbers 4 and 8). I usually try to cook what I have in the fridge, freeze and pantry, and do as little grocery shopping as possible in December. I would also donate canned/boxed food to food banks during that Thanksgiving weekend. But around the holiday season it’s hard not to eat out with family and catch up with friends so I am usually left with a semi clean fridge/pantry when the New Year roll around. January is usually a slow social month and we all have just about partied out during the holiday season. Winter time is also a great time to cook up a storm and stay warm in the house.
February and March is my time to refill the fridge, freezer, and pantry. With everything emptied out, I have plenty of room to restock all the frozen food, canned food and boxed food. I tend not to buy too much perishable items until the very end of March. I don’t like waste and one of my biggest pet peeves is when people waste food at restaurants or at home. With my annual routine, this 5% cash back is awesome. I am not just saving 5% on my groceries for the first quarter but for all my non perishable groceries throughout the year. I also buy in bulk and pay attention to grocery store circular ads for sale items before I buy.
I drink a lot of Starbucks coffee and tea. Since the 5% cash back includes Starbucks cards, I usually load up tons of cards good for the rest of the year. Not only for me but I would get enough cards to give as gifts to friends on special occasions. I buy movie tickets at Costco for the discount and I rarely get any food or drinks at the concession stand, so no 5% cash back there. If you plan it strategically, waiting and shopping for the right categories in the right quarter can save lots of money.