The 11 Best Credit Cards for Shoppers in 2016

July 29, 2016 by Kyle
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By now savvy shoppers are already aware of the plethora of ways to save money. From coupons to shopping apps, there is no shortage of smart ways to save on your purchases. But what about the form of payment you use to complete your purchase? In particular, when it comes to the credit card you use, some are WAY better than others. Both in terms of rewards and cash-back. Here are the 11 best credit cards available to smart shoppers. Pick wisely depending on your specific needs and start saving more money immediately.

Credit Cards for Shoppers

1. Amazon Prime Store Card

If you shop a lot on, the Prime Store card is definitely worth considering. Here is how it works.

  • 5% back, in the form of a statement credit, on all purchases for Amazon Prime members.
  • 6-month special financing (typically 0%) on any purchase totaling $149 or more.
  • 12-month special financing on any purchase totaling $599 or more.
  • 12-month Equal Pay offer on select Amazon-sold item.
  • No annual fee. But remember you’ll need to pony up $99 annually to become a Prime member. If you’re already a Prime member the card makes much more sense than someone who is on the fence, or opposed, to becoming a Prime member.
  • Also, as a cool little bonus you’ll get a $20 credit added to your Amazon account once you’re approved.

If you do sign-up, be sure to pay off your balance every month or get hit by a 26% APR which all but neglects your 5% back.

2. Amazon Rewards Visa

If you apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa you’ll get some cool features if approved. Here’s what you need to know.

  • 3% back on Amazon purchase.
  • Update: Beginning September 1, 2016, the redemption value for $1 is changing from 100 points to 125 points. Because of this, you’d be better off getting cashback for $1 per 100 points, then simply spend the cash on Amazon purchases.
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores.
  • 1% back on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • $50 Amazon gift card will be loaded to your Amazon account upon arrival.

3. Discover it Cashback Match

A credit card that seems tailored made for savvy shoppers is the Discover it Card. Here’s the skinny…

  • Earn a slick 5% back on specific categories like gas, Amazon purchases, and restaurants. Categories change every quarter. Also, you’ll get 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Double cashback offer for the first year. So if you earn $250 cashback in the first 12 months Discover will double it to $500.
  • Currently, when you apply through Amazon, you’re eligible for $50 Amazon gift card. To get your gift card, you must make a purchase with your card and create a account and register your card.  Your gift card will be emailed to you in the form of a claim code, be sure your spam blocker doesn’t interfere.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months-then a variable purchase APR applies. APR is currently in the 11.24% – 23.24% range.
  • 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • No annual fee.

You can also use your rewards to pay at Amazon and your cash rewards will never expire.

4. Target REDcard

If your a loyal Target shopper, the Target REDcard will definitely save you money. Here’s what you need to know.

  • 5% off  ALL of your Target purchases moving forward. This is obviously the biggest benefit.
  • While you won’t get 5% back on drug prescriptions, you will get a 5% off coupon after you fill 5 prescriptions. You can then use the coupon in conjunction with the 5% off for 10% savings.
  • Free shipping on all purchases. Otherwise, the free shipping threshold is $25.
  • 30 extra days to return items.
  • High APR, upwards of 23%. Only get this card if you pay off your credit card bills each month.
  • No annual fee.

5. Lowe’s Credit Card

If you’re about to undertake a big DIY project, or considering a large purchase, the Lowe’s credit card is a great option. Here are the key benefits.

  • 5% off all your purchases at Lowe’s.
  • Instead of 5%, you can also opt for 0% financing for 6-months on purchases over $299.
  • No annual fee.
  • If you can’t pay off your bill, you’ll be hit with a 24.99% APR.

6. TJX Rewards Credit Card

The TJX Rewards credit card will earn you points and an initial discount at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post. If you shop often at these stores, this card is a solid option.

  • 10% off your first in-store purchase at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post.
  • 5 points per buck spent at these stores, and 1-point everywhere else.
  • You’ll then get a $10 rewards certificates for every 1,000 points earned.
  • MasterCard with no annual fee.

7. Chase Freedom Visa

The Chase Freedom Visa card has some excellent benefits to shoppers, particularly warehouse club shoppers. Here’s what you should know.

  • 5% cash back at wholesale clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s. ($1,500 maximum)
  • 5% cash back at all restaurants.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 0% intro APR for first 15 months.
  • No annual fee.

8. GAP Visa Credit Card

The GAP Visa card has some pretty cool features and can be used at any place Visa is accepted. Here are the details.

  • 15% off your first purchase after approval.
  • 5 reward points earned for every $1 spent at GAP, Old Navy, Athleta, and Banana Republic. 1 point earned everywhere else for each dollar spent.
  • Each point is worth 1 penny and can be redeemed at the 4 stores listed above.
  • $5 reward for every 500 points earned.
  • On the 1st Tuesday of each month you’ll get 10% off at GAP or
  • Free returns available without your receipt.
  • No annual fee.

9. American Express Starwood

The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card offers some great perks for shoppers that other cards don’t.

  • Extended warranty program that gives you up to 1 extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Purchase protection that protects you from accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from purchase.
  • 90-day return protection that protects you if the merchant won’t take it back for whatever reason.
  • 25,000 bonus Starpoints when you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Redeem points for free hotel nights or entertainment options.
  • No annual fee.

10. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

The BankAmericard Visa has some killer rewards for shoppers. Here is the skinny.

  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and at wholesale clubs like Costco, Sam’s, and BJ’s.
  • 3% back at gas stations and 1% back on everything else.
  • Online $100 cash rewards bonus after making at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months.
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire.

11. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

If you’re a loyal Costco shopper, the new Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is worth a look.

  • No annual fee with your Costco membership.
  • 2% cash back on and Costco in-store purchases.
  • 4% cash back on gas, including Costco gas.
  • 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel. 1% back everywhere else.
  • 0% APR for first 7 months, then a variable 15.49% APR.
  • TIP: Don’t use your cash rewards check on your Costco purchase as you’ll lose the 2%. Instead, cash it in on a small Costco purchase then use your Visa so you get your 2% cash back.

Ask the Reader: How do you use your credit card to help you save money, or earn points, when shopping online or in-store?

By Kyle James


The Chick-Fil-A Secret Menu: Fun Ways to Spice Up Your Next Meal

July 27, 2016 by Kyle
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If you live near a Chick-Fil-A location, you’re probably already aware of the deliciousness within. From their tasty chicken sandwiches to their thick milkshakes, you’re bound to leave a happy eater. Plus, their prices aren’t ridiculous either. But today I want to share the Chick-Fil-A secret menu to make your dining experience even tastier. I plan on adding new items to this secret menu as I discover them…so please pass along any secret menu items you might be aware of.

Chick-Fil-A Secret Menu

Here is the Chick-Fil-A Secret Menu:

  1. Blueberry Cheesecake Milkshake: Simply a slice of blueberry cheesecake blended into a vanilla milkshake. Yes, please.
  2. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich: This one sounds delicious. Just ask for a spicy chicken sandwich topped off with the Chick-Fil-A buffalo sauce. Be warned, this sucker is hot and will make you tear up.
  3. Chicken Quesadilla: Order it by name and get a delicious queso with chopped chicken breast, cheese, and tasty peppers.
  4. Cookie Milkshake: Nicely ask the employee behind the counter to blend a cookie into your milkshake. Trust me, the result is pure heaven.
  5. Dog Biscuits: Yes, you read that correctly. Did you know that most Chick-Fil-A locations have dog biscuits behind the counter to hand out for free the next time you bring your 4-legged friend with you? True enough, ask for one if you don’t believe me.
  6. Free Ice Dream: When you order a kids meal, ask for a free soft-serve ice cream instead of the cheap toy. Top it with strawberry or chocolate toppings for a little more tastiness.
  7. Fried Chicken Club: Simply substitute a fried patty for the grilled chicken breast. You’ll probably add 300 calories, but whose counting…
  8. Grilled Cheese: Similar to the folks at In-N-Out Burger, they also have a tasty grilled cheese sandwich on their secret menu. They’ll even let you add whatever vegetables or condiments you want too.
  9. Root Beer Float: They’ll happily add a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream to your frosty root beer.
  10. Spicy Char: If you like a little kick in your chicken sandwich, ask for a spicy patty in lieu of the traditional grilled chicken breast.

Ask the Reader: Am I missing any items from the Chick-Fil-A secret menu? Let me know in the comments section below.

By Kyle James

Photo by Mike Mozart.


The Items You Should Never Buy On Amazon

July 26, 2016 by Kyle
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Amazon bad buys

The folks over at MarketWatch recently broke down all the worst items to buy on which I thought was really interesting. (See also: The Best Deals and Worst Buys on

Here are a few bad buys at Amazon that caught my eye that I thought were worth mentioning.

  1. Cleaning Products: Walmart wins practically every price comparison versus Amazon when it comes to products like Windex, Pledge, Lysol Wipes, and the like. The only exception that I found was on organic cleaning products as Amazon has some pretty good deals on those.
  2. Clothes and Shoes: The discounts on apparel and shoes on Amazon fails miserably when compared to department stores. I agree on this one, especially when you start factoring in coupon codes that many online clothing retailers offer that can often get you 40-50% off the original price.
  3. Home Goods: Home goods are often tricky to buy online because you can’t feel the quality, plus the prices on Amazon aren’t all the competitive. MarketWatch recommends shopping at stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls for the best deals.
  4. Beauty Products: The bottom line here is to shop at your local drugstore or Walmart for the best deals on items like lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, and all makeup products for that matter. Amazon pricing tends to run 20-30% higher in most cases.

Have you also noticed bad pricing on these items at Amazon? If so, where do you typically find the best deals? Perhaps at Walmart or maybe at your local grocery store with coupons? Check out all of the tips by clicking on the Market Watch article below.

What NOT to buy on Amazon  |  Market Watch

By Kyle James


Starbucks Secret Menu to Help You Save Money (Well, Not Really, It’s Just Fun)

July 8, 2016 by Kyle
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So, no, the picture below is not of the secret Air Frappuccino beverage from the Starbucks secret menu. It’s the only picture of a Starbucks cup that I could take as I’m guilty of downing an icy treat earlier today and this is all I was left with. Hey, it’s suppose to be 105 degrees in my neck of the woods today, what’s a guy to do?

Anyways, in the wake of my popular article on the In-N-Out Burger Secret Menu, I thought it would be fun to keep it going and do the painstakingly delicious research to come up with the Starbucks secret menu. Items that you won’t find on the regular menu but have become popular enough that most baristas know how to make them anyways. I have included the ingredients (to the best of my knowledge) in case you have to tell them how to make it. (See also: Starbucks Menu Hacks Guaranteed To Save You Money)

Have fun with it and I hope you find your new favorite drink from my secret menu. Below is the secret menu at Starbucks, use it wisely young Padawan (in alphabetical order):

Starbucks Secret Menu

Here is the Secret Starbucks Menu:

  1. Apple Pie Frappuccino: If you like caramel apples you’ll love this one. Must barista’s know how to make it. But if not, it’s cream to the first fill line, appe juice to the 2nd, 2 pumps caramel syrup, 2 pumps cinamon dolce syrup. Then just add ice and blend that bad boy.
  2. Cotton Candy Frappuccino: This is simply a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with a pump of raspberry syrup blended into it. 1.5 pumps for a grande and 2 pumps for a venti.
  3. Green Drink: While this thing looks like a kale smoothie, it’s actually made with black iced tea, then you add coconut milk and matcha powder.
  4. Nutter Butter Frappuccino: I have a major weakness for Nutter Butters, as in I could eat an entire package in about 10 minutes.
  5. Oreo Frappuccino: If they don’t know it by name, just ask for a Double Chocolate Chip Frap with white chocolate mocha (instead of the regular mocha syrup).
  6. Orange Drink: This thing looks pretty tasty. Apparently you order it by asking for orange/mango juice, add vanilla powder, and coconut milk. Kinda sounds like an Orange Julius if you ask me.
  7. Pink Drink: This one is quite popular on Instagram right now. It’s simply a Strawberry Acai Refresher with coconut milk.
  8. Purple Drink: Not a very original name for the quite mysterious drink. When you order the “Purple Drink”, you’ll get passion iced tea (with coconut or soy milk), vanilla syrup, topped with fresh blackberries.
  9. S’Mores Frappuccino: Order this sucker and you’ll get a Java Chip Frappuccino along with toffee nut syrup, cinnamon dolce syrup, and whipped cream with cinnamon dolce sprinkles. Um…yes please.
  10. Snickers Frappuccino: This is a Java Chip Frap with toffee nut syrup, whip cream on top drizzled with mocha drizzle. The syrup is typically 3 pumps for venti, 2 for grande, and 1 for a tall.
  11. Spiced Apple Chai: Ordered hot or cold, it’s basically a chai infused in apple juice. I’ve never ordered it but apparently it tastes like spiced apple cider. Don’t they already have a caramel apple spice drink though?
  12. Thin Mint Frappuccino: If you dig the famous Girl Scout cookie, you’ll love this one too. It’s basically a Tazo Green Tea Frap with 2 pumps of chocolate syrup, 1 pump of peppermint syrup, then throw in some java chips and honey.
  13. Undertow: Need a quick caffeine fix? Order a Caffe Misto, add a pump of chocolate and hazelnut syrup, then add milk and 2 shots of espresso. Boom.

Ask the Reader: More drinks to come as I discover them. Any items of the Starbucks Secret Menu that I might be missing? Let me know in the comments section.

By Kyle James


Costco Members Can Shop at Sam’s Club for FREE Through July 4th

June 27, 2016 by Kyle
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“Your Costco Membership Card is now your free Sam’s Club Card at all locations through July 4th.”

Hats off to the marketing team at Sam’s Club for this brilliant move. In the wake of Costco switching over to Visa from American Express, it has many Costco members very unhappy for a variety of reasons and many are actually threatening to cancel their memberships.

Because of this negative backlash, Sam’s is trying to grab some new members away […] Continue Reading…


Frugal Hack #35: Amazon Rewards Visa Trick to Get More Points

June 24, 2016 by Kyle

If you have the Amazon Rewards Visa Card from Chase you’re already aware that you get 3% back on Amazon purchases, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. But when it comes time to redeem your Amazon reward points, did you know that there’s a REALLY clever way to get even more points added to your account? A way that Amazon is hoping you never consider.

If you have […] Continue Reading…


Wallets Now Optional at Many Walmart Locations

June 20, 2016 by Kyle
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In seven states, you no longer need to bring along your wallet to shop at the local Walmart.

No, I’m not talking about becoming a shop-lift artist, I’m talking about using the Walmart Pay option. Walmart Pay allows you to upload your payment information directly into the Walmart app and simply use your smartphone to pay at checkout.

The seven southern states where this has become a reality include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. […] Continue Reading…


The Legitimate Reasons Why Some Shoppers Hate Costco

June 15, 2016 by Kyle
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Most folks love to shop at Costco as it offers some great ways to save money if you know what you’re doing. (See: Costco Shopping Tips That’ll Save You Time and Money) But as with any store, some shoppers don’t like certain aspects of shopping in the warehouse. So when I stumbled upon a MarketWatch article talking about the reasons some folks hate shopping at Costco, it piqued my curiosity. Here are a few […] Continue Reading…


11 Freaking Awesome Ways to Save Money at Walmart

June 13, 2016 by Kyle
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Walmart is the 2nd biggest retailer in the known world. With that said, it constantly surprises me how many shoppers assume the Walmart price is the lowest thus there is no need to try and find clever hacks to save even more money. Well, I’m here to tell you that the low everyday price at Walmart is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to saving a buck or two. Here are […] Continue Reading…


Amazon No Longer Offers 7-Day Price Protection (But Not All Hope Is Lost)

May 25, 2016 by Kyle

I come today bearing bad news for loyal Amazon shoppers. As of early May 2016, Amazon is no longer offering 7-day price protection on your purchases. Apparently this was never an “official” policy, and was offered as a one-time exception at the discretion of chat operators and customer service reps. But the fact of the matter is, they almost always gave you a price adjustment if an item you just purchased went down in price.

But […] Continue Reading…