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The start of summer is always an exciting time: travel, weddings, family celebrations and plain ol' relaxation are likely in store for the next few months.
With all of the fun going on, however, it can be easy to overspend and neglect your finances. Here are NerdWallet’s best tips for credit card spending and upkeep for June 2018.
Save on Father’s Day dining and gifts
It’s time to celebrate Dad on June 17, and your credit cards are here to help. If your credit card issuer has an online bonus mall, browse for retailers that will earn you extra cash back on gifts. Card issuers sometimes even create an in-portal Father’s Day deal spotlight for electronics, home and garden supplies, sporting goods, outdoor products, food and drink.
If you have the Chase Freedom® or an eligible Discover card such as the Discover it® Cash Back, remember that grocery stores are a bonus category for this quarter. So you could also buy a restaurant or store gift card from the supermarket and earn extra cash back on your purchase for Dad. More on this tip later.
Optimize your wedding-season spending
June is a popular month for weddings, and even if you aren’t walking down the aisle yourself, being a wedding guest can come with a big price tag. In terms of travel, you can save on hotels and flights by using any credit card reward points you've accumulated, and/or by checking your card’s travel-booking portal to see whether you can get discounted rates.
And when it comes to buying gifts for the happy couple, check to see whether they’re registered somewhere that offers bonus points through your credit card's online shopping portal.
If you have the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you can earn 5% cash back by buying your wedding gifts through Amazon.com.
Keep an eye on your bonus category calendar
As the end of the second quarter draws near, here are some important dates and reminders:
Second-quarter bonus categories for both the Chase Freedom® and certain Discover cards began April 1 and will wrap up on June 30. Until then, eligible cardholders can earn 5% back per dollar spent at grocery stores, up to a $1,500 quarterly cap. (PayPal and Chase Pay are also bonus categories for the Chase Freedom®, so the $1,500 cap for that card is on all those purchases combined.) All other purchases earn 1% back.
To earn the 5% bonus cash back, both the Chase Freedom® and your eligible Discover card require you to "activate" or opt in to your bonus categories every quarter. Chase Freedom® cardholders can earn the bonus retroactively, as long as they activate by June 14.
If you haven't yet met your $1,500 cap, keep in mind that the grocery store category doesn’t just include the food you purchase there; it can also include home goods, toiletries, gift cards, flowers and more, as long as it's purchased in a qualifying supermarket.
Of course, don't spend beyond your budget just to meet a quarterly cap — simply spend as you normally would, and make sure you pay off your purchases before you're hit with interest charges that can eat away at the rewards you've earned.
Fact-check your credit report
You can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year, via www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also create a free account with NerdWallet so that you can monitor your credit score on a regular basis.
Once you have access to your credit report, look for any unfamiliar new accounts or inaccurate payment reporting, and dispute the errors as soon as possible. Generally, the bureaus must respond to dispute claims within 30 days.
Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.