It’s been a little over two years since most office workers went home — and stayed there. And while some folks have headed back to the office (whether they like it or not), many others have turned a short-term change into a long-term way of life.
If you’re one of the people who are now work-from-home converts, you’ve probably long since adapted your habits — and your habitat — to match your new lifestyle. But there’s one thing you may have overlooked: your credit cards.
Some of us are points and miles enthusiasts always looking to maximize our rewards. Others are one-card walleters with that perfect cash back card. Either way, it’s a good idea to regularly audit your credit cards to make sure they fit your current spending needs. But with the chaos of the last few years, you may still be carrying cards that simply don’t work for work-from-home.
Eliminating the gas…card
One big area where any commuter tends to focus is on gas rewards. But now that you’ve ditched the commute, it may be time to ditch the gas card, too — especially if you’re paying an annual fee for the privilege.
When you’re driving a half hour (or longer) each way, you can go through gas like a Macy’s parade float. In that case, it can be well worth it to find the very best gas rewards card you can, no matter the cost.
Without that commute, however, most folks probably don’t spend enough on gas to make up for an annual fee, even with gas prices hitting the record highs they’ve been at recently. Unless you’re still doing a significant amount of running around, it may be time to cancel.
Of course, if your go-to gas card has no annual fee, you don’t need to go through the bother of closing the account. Maybe it has other useful bonus categories, like a decent return on dining purchases. In that case, keep it in your wallet.
But if your gas rewards card has little else to offer, it may be time to stick it in your sock drawer and look for something else that better fits your new lifestyle.
Groceries and streaming and internet, oh my
In addition to saving on gas, working from home has a few other money-saving perks. For example, comfy lounge pants are often less expensive than those fancy slacks you used to suffer through each day.
However, not everything about working from home is cheaper than the office life. Take your internet bill. Zoom meetings and Slack chats aren’t powered by boredom (even if they sometimes cause it). In fact, you’ve probably had to upgrade your data speeds to keep up the teamwork.
And now that you’re not hitting the local sandwich shop for lunch, your grocery bill has probably gone up. Cooking at home may be cheaper than dining out, but it still isn’t free. Then there’s all the streaming you’re doing in the time you’ve saved cutting your commute from an hour a day to two minutes each way
Whatever your new expenses look like, it’s time to make sure your credit cards are rewarding you for them. There are plenty of great grocery rewards cards. And you can find a few good cards that offer rewards on cable and internet bills, or even get rewarded for your power bill. And there are even some really valuable streaming rewards cards on the market these days.
5% saved is 5% earned
While much of life is inching its way back to the Before Times, it’s a whole new work-from-home world for many folks. Any time you have a big lifestyle change, it’s important to make sure your finances follow suit.
Holding on to the wrong credit cards can mean missing out on tons of rewards. The twenty minutes you spend optimizing your rewards cards could save you 5% (or more) on some of your largest expenses. With the prices of, well, everything going up, that 5% could make a big difference to your bottom line.
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