3 Credit Cards For Big Savings on Common Monthly Expenses

Groceries: Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

amex_blue_cash_preferredFor the households that don’t eat out or order takeout on a nightly basis, buying groceries are a significant portion of the monthly expenses. Whether you take weekly or bi-weekly trips to the supermarket, it’s a good idea to carry the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express.

For an annual fee of $75, you get 6% cash back at standalone supermarkets, up to $6,000 spent per year. There is also a no-annual-fee version of the card, called Blue Cash Everyday, which only pays 3% cash back at supermarkets.

To recoup the annual fee and exceed the missed cash back by going with the Blue Cash Everyday card, you have to spend about $48 a week or $2,500 a year at supermarkets with the Blue Cash Preferred card.

Gas: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 6.43.50 PMGas prices have dropped slightly, but it is never enough.

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card offers 5 points per dollar spent on gas when paid at the pump and it comes with no annual fee.

However, cardmembers cannot redeem the points as cash. You can get Visa prepaid cards, ranging from $50 to $500, at a ratio of 100 points per $1.

Additionally, PenFed is a credit union and requires membership to apply for the card. Unless you are affiliated with a member in the military or select organizations, you’ll have to pony up a small, one-time fee ($15 to $20) to gain membership in a participating association.

Wireless Phone Bill: US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature

US Bank Cash Visa Signature Card regularThe U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card is a relative newcomer in the field of cash back credit cards, but it definitely stands out. It has no annual fee and offers up to 5% cash back on categories that you’re allowed to select. (The categories may change every quarter. Currently, there are 15 categories.)

Every three months, cardmembers can choose two categories in which they’ll earn 5% cash back. One of those categories is wireless phone services. You earn 5% cash back when you use the card to pay for purchases and bills through your wireless phone service provider.

With the hefty prices of smartphone plans, the cash back can make a difference. On a $100 monthly bill, you’ll get back $60 a year with the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card. On a $200 monthly bill, it’s $120 cash back in a year.

Just set up automatic payments and collect the cash back.

(The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature is currently available for sign-up at a U.S. Bank branch only.)