What’s in the Money Mechanic’s Wallet?

The Economist recently wrote a post about what’s in his wallet. Although it was informative, I saw through the guise. He really was just compelling me to actually sit down and write something!! To be fair, I have not been feeling the inspiration recently. Am I experiencing writer’s block already??

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Anyway, I am really averse to the ‘Costanza’ wallet, so I keep very little in there. Drivers license, my punch card for a free haircut, bank card, and 1 credit card.

Before we get into the card I am currently using, let’s take a moment and have a look at the one I just got rid of at the beginning of the year.

For the last 8 years, we’ve been using the TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card*, which in its own right is a great card. You can read about all the fine print for this card here.

I originally chose this card because at the time I traveled a lot for work. While the cost of the trips was reimbursed, I accumulated significant points, paying upfront. This made utilizing the points easy, as they had to be used for ‘travel’ expenses. We used to harvest around $1,200/year from this card.

TD has since devalued (I won’t even get into that rant here) those points and made it available for you to use them as credits within their online market place. But we don’t collect credit card points to buy crap, do we?!?!

WE WANT CASH BACK!

In addition to the devaluation of the travel points, the fact that I wasn’t traveling for work as often made switching to the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card* a smart decision.

Quote, “Welcome Bonus: Earn 6% on gas purchases, grocery purchases and regularly recurring bill payments set up on your Account for the first 3 months up to a total spend of $3,500. Conditions apply. “


In case you’re wondering, that’s $210. Not a bad welcome bonus.

Now, I’m not a credit card ‘churner’. It’s just too much hassle for me. Mostly because my wife and I use the same card and have a bunch of automatic payments set up monthly. These payments reward us with 3% cashback, not too shabby. (Here’s some info on Churning CC’s in Canada)

The TD Cash Back Infinite Visa also offers 3% cashback on Gas and Groceries. Those are right up there at the top of most peoples monthly spending. However, this doesn’t mean you can buy Lindt Chocolate when it’s not on sale just for the reward!! But I’ll have to factor that 3% discount into the deal I talked about in this blog post.

There’s also 1% cashback on all other purchases. Now, I’m not sure this totally ties into the 1% power of incremental change, but I think the important thing to understand is that 1% over time can really add up.

Wait, there’s a downside to all this glorified cash back

We spend just about every dollar on our credit cards. However, we also pay the bill WEEKLY. Like so many things in life and personal finance, it’s about self-discipline. 

Now, we’ll go under the assumption that you’re on the path to Financial Independence / Retire Early, and that you have conquered the urges to spend wildly and spontaneously. Also, that you track your spending and live below your means.

If you didn’t answer, “OF COURSE” to both of those things. Be very careful getting caught up in credit card rewards. It’s not worth getting $100 back if you’re spending $10,000 on a bicycle.

You bet your ass that’s an affiliate link!!

Mr. Money Mustache would be on his way to your house to face punch you if you bought that bike! Wow, I’ve really gotten off track!

A Few Parting Words

I like the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite. It has the account bonuses I deem worthwhile like Travel insurance, Rental car insurance, and Emergency roadside assistance. It also allows you to redeem your cash at anytime online. But, it does have a steep annual fee of $120 (waived the first year) and a high annual wage requirement for approval.

Another reason I chose this card is that we maintain a balance in our TD chequing account that waives all our banking fees, including the annual cost of this card and a complimentary spouse card. Not to mention the ease of online banking within one institution. Are there better offers out there? Sure. Are they right for you? Maybe. This one fits our needs for now.

What’s in your wallet?

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About the Author: Money Mechanic

The Money Mechanic is a 40 something 50% of his way to FI. Active in the FI/RE community. He is passionate about personal finance and educating others and sharing the tools you need on the path to Financial Independence in Canada.

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