There are two reasons you might want to increase the spending on your credit card:
- To meet the minimum spend requirement for a new credit card
- To increase the number of miles/points/etc. you receive for you spending
It’s not difficult to increase your credit card spending without increasing your actual spending. Once upon a time you could actually buy money orders with a credit card, deposit them, pay your bill with the deposited money, rinse and repeat. This is now almost impossible, but there are other ways to increase credit card spending without buying stuff you don’t need. Here are some ideas:
Free after rebate items. Office supply chains are known for offering free-after-rebate software. Sometimes they’ll let you buy up to ten copies of said software. So if they’re offering ten copies of a $40 software package and you buy it with a business card paying 5 points per dollar, that’s an easy 2,000 points right there. Do this once per month and you’ve got yourself a free plane ticket from this one tip alone.
Move bill-paying from checking to credit cards: It’s easier than ever to pay bills with a credit card. Are you paying your phone, cable, electric, gas, or insurance bills with your checking account? See if there’s a way to pay with a credit card–these days there usually is. Note that some credit cards offer 5 points per dollar for utility payments.
Reselling: It’s not my cup of tea, but some people are into chasing deals and then selling their purchases using Fulfillment by Amazon. They get points on their purchases and even make a profit. Big Habitat is known for this, and Tagging Miles has a great primer on Fulfillment By Amazon.
Some billpay services let you use a credit card for a fee. Chargesmart and Plastiq, for example, let you pay your mortgage payment by credit card for around 2%. I do not recommend these unless the value you’re receiving from points exceeds the fee you’re paying, or unless you’re able to work a gift card deal (for example, sometimes you can get Amex gift cards discounted by a few percentage points) to offset the fees.
Don’t forget taxes. Try Officialpayments.com for state and local taxes, and payusatax.com for federal taxes.
If you’re the generous and patient type, some people have recommended Kiva loans. Kiva is a charity that works with microloans, and they accept credit cards. You’ll eventually get most or all of your money back while doing good.
If you must meet a minimum spend, you could also frontload expenses. For example, pay your utility bills ahead of time. Your electric company is not likely to mind you giving them a thousand-dollar interest-free loan, and in today’s low-rate environment, you probably won’t be missing out on too much.
There are more advanced ways of spending without spending, but I do not recommend them for a beginner since they are complicated, ever-changing, and can annoy your credit card issuer enough for them to cancel your accounts and even blacklist you. Check out the Level 2 forums here on Saverocity if you’re interested.