Smart Ways for Penn Staters to Maximize (and Spend) Cash Rewards for Financial Success

Smart Ways for Penn Staters to Maximize (and Spend) Cash Rewards for Financial Success

Using a credit card for purchases can come with many advantages, like the convenience of not having to carry cash or being able to pay quickly using a card linked to your phone or smart watch.

One major perk of many credit cards is the rewards they offer, such as those you can receive using our Alumni Rewards Card. With this card, you can earn 2%* or 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase, every time, without your cash rewards ever expiring.

While we make earning rewards simple, you can benefit even more if you put a plan in place to maximize how much you earn and how you spend it.

Maximize Your Earnings

The more you use our Alumni Rewards Card for purchases, the more you’ll earn in cash rewards and be able to put the money to work for you. Unlike many other cards, we don’t cap your earnings or limit what purchases you can earn rewards on when you pay with your Alumni Rewards Card – you have access to unlimited cash rewards potential. That means you can earn rewards for all of your everyday expenses, like takeout and groceries, and for bigger purchases, too, like a new piece of furniture or daycare tuition.

To truly maximize your earnings, make sure you’re practicing responsible credit card usage. In addition to making the Alumni Rewards Card your primary credit card for purchases, you’ll also need to make sure you can pay off your card each month. If you carry a balance, your earnings could be canceled out by the interest you accrue.

Smart Ways to Spend Your Cash Rewards

Making a plan for how to use your cash rewards is important, too. If you simply transfer the funds to your checking account, you may find yourself spending them mindlessly and wondering where they went.

Once you sign up for a cash rewards credit card like our Alumni Rewards Card, set aside some time to review your finances and determine what needs or wants you can put your earnings toward. Some popular options are below:

  • Pad your emergency fund – It’s recommended that you have enough in your emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses. If your savings falls short of that goal, funnel your cash rewards into an account that earns higher dividends (commonly known as interest) than other savings options on balances greater than $500, like a Money Market.
  • Jumpstart your child’s savings – Have a little one at home? It’s important to teach them money management skills from a young age. To help do so, set up their own savings account so you can teach them how to monitor their money, understand interest, and make spending decisions.
  • Make a dent in your debt – If you have debt, you can use your cash rewards to help you pay it down quicker. Choose a debt repayment method that works for you, such as the snowball (paying off the smallest debts first to reduce the number of bills and achieve quick wins) or avalanche (paying off high-interest debt first to save money on interest) methods, and apply your cash rewards as extra payments each month.
  • Lend a helping hand – A great way to use your cash rewards is to give the money to a charitable cause you care about. Many organizations can stretch cash contributions further than in-kind donations. For instance, a food bank may be able to purchase canned goods in bulk for lower prices than you’d pay in the supermarket, so they can stretch every dollar further.
  • Set a new savings goal – If you’ve had your eye on something new, like an upgraded cell phone, or are anticipating a big expense down the road, like new tires, research how much it’ll cost and document it as a savings goal. Put your cash rewards into a designated savings share for this each month and get closer to making your goal a reality.
  • Treat yourself – It’s okay to let yourself have a little fun! Set your cash rewards aside for splurges, like a pampering day with friends or Friday night dinner from your favorite takeout spot. Knowing that you have money set aside for this purpose can help you enjoy your gift to yourself guilt-free. Just make sure you’re realistic in your expectations about how much you’ll earn in rewards so you don’t go overboard and spend more than you have.

Put Your Rewards to Work for You

Ready to get rewarded every time you swipe? Apply for our Alumni Rewards Card today. For more information on managing credit cards and maximizing savings, visit our WalletWorks page.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.