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  • Writer's pictureRyan Jones

I’m broke, but I’m really racking up the points.

I like to follow and read lots of different perspectives on life. For example, politics, religion, business and leadership strategies, lifestyle choices, and, of course, finances.

Recently, I’ve been following some very smart and talented people regarding maximizing reward points. If you recall, I mentioned using reward points in one of my saving money posts in the past. As I read one Instagram influencer write about credit card rewards, I was reminded by the spirit that everything comes with discipline.

Many people get caught in the deception of "free" things under the umbrella of rewards. I really want people to be successful and disciplined in their lives so that free things don’t cost you. Let me try to explain what I see in my own life and with clients.

When we weren’t living with a budget, it was often easy to overspend or spend everything from one pay period to the next. Often, I see people wanting rewards on their credit cards and justifying that they pay it off every month because they get cash back or rewards. Without a budget, most people are likely spending more than they should. I believe that if people were to manage their money better, they would have the money to buy 2, or even 3, times more of what they are getting for free.

Spending with credit cards without a budget is just ripe for overspending. If people were on a budget, they would most likely go out to eat one or two fewer times a month. They would buy fewer things that they really don’t need. They would curb impulse shopping. They would not be spending every single dollar of their paycheck.

Are you one of the people saying, "I’m broke, but I’m really racking up the points."? Choose not to be.

I’m very frugal-minded and will look for sales and ways to save a dollar. I also like rewards as much as the next person, but I’ve seen too many people lack good money management skills and the credit card companies win the war of the dollar. Until you have full budget discipline and can live within your means, don’t risk trying to beat the credit card companies at their own game.

My best advice is to stay debt-free and become so wealthy that you are the one giving away free things to help others.

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