The Average Millennial Could Save $527 a Year — by Using a Credit Card

pay with credit card

“Can you pay my bills/ Can you pay my telephone bills/ Can you pay my automo-bills?”

Oh, Destiny’s Child. Your song rings ever true — because we millennials are still spending most of our money on bills: groceries, gas, and the like, according to a recent Bankrate survey.

And although even Beyoncé herself can’t change that, one strategy that could help is also one many millennials overlook: paying with a credit card.

Revealing millennials’ spending habits

According to Bankrate’s survey of 1,002 adults, millennials’ spending habits show they spend more than other generations on groceries, gas, restaurants, and cell phones.

The only categories in which they spend less? Television and travel.

millennials spending habits

Image Credit: Bankrate

Not only that, but the amount they spend in certain categories is nutty. Take groceries, for example: $9,568 per year, or nearly $800 per month!

That might sound surprising, but don’t forget many millennials are now parents — which means more mouths to feed.

“Because I have three kids I always surprise myself every week at how much I spend on groceries,” 35-year-old Joanna Horowitz told Bankrate. “It just never seems like we have enough food. I have to go to the store at least two or three times a week.”

If you’re spending crazy amounts on your bills, then the obvious solution is to cut back where you can. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much fat you can trim. So if you’re going to spend that money, you might want to consider paying with a credit card.

I know, I know. You’ve heard credit cards are evil — which might be why, according to wildly different survey results, only 33 percent59 percent, or 83 percent of millennials have one.

Should you pay with a credit card?

Writer Dana Sitar is one of the many millennials who’s chosen not to have a credit card.

“I’m not sure I trust myself to use it responsibly,” she explained. “I’d guess other millennials feel the same, because we’ve seen people go so deep into debt from spending beyond their means.”

Those are legitimate concerns, and if you won’t be able to use a credit card responsibly, then it’s probably best not to get one.

But if you’ve only avoided credit cards because you don’t want to pay interest, it’s important to realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of keeping a tab and racking up interest charges, use your credit card like a debit card, and pay your bill in full each month. When used like that, credit cards can be a powerful tool in your financial arsenal.

Want proof? Let’s say you’re like the average millennial surveyed, who spends $9,568 on groceries and $3,048 on gas each year.

If you signed up for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred, you’d get 3 percent cash back on gas and 6 percent on up to $6,000 of groceries.

Combine that with the 1 percent cash back you’d get on all other purchases, and at the end of the year, you’d have an extra $527.

How nice would that be? Even better, if you invested that money annually, it could grow into big bucks by the time you retire.

Or, you could put your purchases on a travel rewards card. If you have good credit, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the cream of the crop; you’ll get three points for every dollar you spend on travel or dining. Points that could be used to finally take that dream vacation to the likes of Italy or Bali.

You see? If you pay with a credit card and then pay it in full each month, you’ll benefit from the money you’re already spending.

Just spend responsibly, and your finances might eventually shine so much that even Queen Bey would be proud.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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