Long story short, I have way too many cards with way to different benefits from each card and using different cards for different purchases is driving me crazy. But, I can’t stop it. It’s a love hate situation.
So here it goes, before moving to the US I was a very simple guy when it came to financials.
I had 1 checking account and 1 savings account. When it came to paying for stuff, everything would go through my debit card. When I paid for something my balance would immediately be updated to show that charge from my latest purchase.
Now fast forward to after I moved to the US. I quickly found out that in the United States of America, a person with no credit is like a cellphone without a touch screen. Worthless.
I quickly came up to speed with the reality here and tried to create some sort of a credit history for myself. Firstly, I opened a secured card called Open Sky. A secured card is a very funny thing. You give them your money which they keep for security, and they give you a credit card on which the limit is as much as you gave them to begin with. So if you gave them $200, they give you a credit card with a $200 limit. This card offers nothing back in terms of benefits but it’s easier to get than other well known credit cards. Also, even though they offer nothing to you and they are not really taking a risk on you since the credit they extend to you is secured by your deposit, they still charge you $35 a year just for having the card – Crazy.
Immediately after opening that OpenSky card, I applied to Discover. I thought, I have no credit report so even if I get denied this won’t show anywhere. To my surprise Discover approved me immediately – these guys decided to give me a chance with a $1000 credit card. What’s more, this card has no annual fee and it would give me 1% cash back on all my purchases and 5% cash back on rotating categories that change every 3 months. These categories included Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Wholesale Warehouses etc. So I’m paying for things normally and making extra money on the side! Awesome! Sense of regret starts to settle in after I paid that $35 annual fee for that useless Open Sky card.
As my credit history improved, I found I was able to apply and get approved for any card I wanted. I have 2 American Express cards, 3 Chase cards, 1 Discover Card, 1 Bank of America Card, 2 Citi Cards and 3 other retail cards. They all serve a different purpose. For example my Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns me 6% cash back at Grocery Stores, my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card earns me 3% at restaurants and travel (including public transit, tolls, air tickets, rental cars, hotels etc), my Sam’s Club Credit Card gives me 5% cash back at Gas Stations and my Citi Double Cash Card gives me 2% cash back on everything!
Now here comes my big problem.. I can’t handle it all and it drives me crazy.
The fact is, I feel like I have a small amount of OCD and I keep checking my balances to make sure everything is paid and no bills are running late. The big problem here is, I do this every day 🙂 So even if I paid all my cards today, I will still log in tomorrow because by tomorrow I would have forgotten that I paid yesterday.
This gets really annoying when you have to check 10 different cards!
So I decided that I will only use my American Express card from now on. It comes with a ton of benefits such as price protection, return protection, purchase damage protection and a bunch of other benefits. On top of that they have 24 hour chat support which I love and this means that any time I have any questions I can simply chat with them instead of having to call. So all in all their cards are very convenient and this one particular card gives me 6% at grocery stores, 3% for gas, 3% at most department stores and 1% everywhere else. An all around great card.
But every time I use it for gas I feel terrible for losing that extra 2% I would have gotten have I used my Sam’s Club card instead! Or any time I use it at a location that earns 1% I feel bad because I could have earned 2% with my double cash.
What I have to understand though, is that my mental well being is more important that the mere cents that these cards offer. I feel like the fact that I only have to check 1 card at any given point will not only save me time but will also help me monitor my spending better (I won’t have to check so many cards anymore), and will eventually stop me from being stressed and overwhelmed!
So here’s to me using only this 1 card for the next month! Wish me luck cause I will need it !