Joni and I have decided to move into a bigger house. With moving there is always expenses surrounding moving and home improvements that are sure to follow. While Joni is worried if we have enough boxes, I am the one on the computer looking at the best way to get stuff at a discount or the most miles out of every purchase.
Home Improvements = Free Points
We did have one missed opportunity that I did not realize till after. Some airlines such as United, through their shopping portal give 25,000 miles through Quicken Loans if you are looking at them as a mortgage company. Chase at times offers a large amount of points if you get the mortgage through them. Keep in mind, this would not be the best reason to choose a mortgage company, as interest rates will vary. A 1/4 of a point in interest makes up for any miles you would pass up.
Our biggest point savings has been through Lowes, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. All of these are great home improvements stores. We loved having the home automation set up in our old house. The home automation items were left behind so we needed replace that for the new house. Like with most new homes we wanted to make some minor home improvements so we have typical costs for paint, dog gates, vacuum and carpet cleaners.
Travel Points at Home Improvement Stores
Lowes has been one of my favorite home improvement stores. When we did the “change of address” form through the post office, they sent a verification to the new house. Inside of that mailing was a bunch of coupons. The one that caught my eye was 10% of any single purchase at Lowes which we used in conjunction with their “11% back in rebate” sale. After making a list for the biggest purchases, we went to Staples with our Chase Ink (Chase Ink Cash would work also) and bought several hundred dollars in Lowes gift cards. With Staples being a ‘supply store’ that got us 5 points per dollar. We then walked next door and purchased most of our remodeling supplies. Here is the math on our purchases.
$1000 Purchase (hypothetical)
- $100 in USPS 10% off
- $99 back in rebate after 11% off
- $80 value in Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on purchase
This leaves a $1000 purchase that we actually will end up paying $721.00 for. This gave us almost 28% off of purchases we were going to have to make anyway. Keep in mind this is assuming we will use the Lowes (which we will) rebate check and we will redeem our points. A redemption worth about two cents a point through Chase Ultimate Rewards by transferring to Hyatt or 1.7 cents per point through Southwest Airlines.
Other Shopping we did for Home Improvements
Home Depot we used the same Staples run to get gift cards. We then used one of the shopping portals to make the purchases through which gave us the 5 points per dollar through Staples. In addition we got an extra 2 points per dollar through that portal. That gave us about 10-14% off our purchases back in points.
Shopping portals can be your best friend. I highly recommend using a site like www.cashbackmonitor.com to allow you to see all the different portals you can use for a specific store. Portals are usually very easy to use as you just type in the store name. Once that is done it will list the stores and the point totals you can get. Most portals update their lists daily or weekly depending on any ‘deals’ or ‘specials’ that portal may have for bonus points.
Our Wal-Mart in town codes as a grocery store on credit card purchases which made it great for purchasing items for home improvements. We decided at this time to utilize one of my MGM Cards. This card gives 2% back towards some Vegas hotels along with status points on groceries and gas. This will help us reach one of the higher status levels that allow us for upgrades. There are other cards that give bonus points or cash back for grocery stores. Keep this in mind when you hit a larger Wal-Mart or Target and you may receive these bonus points.
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