How I’m using my Discover it Cash Back this holiday season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. I’m one of those people who like to go all-in on my favorite holidays, and with Christmas being one of them, I’m anticipating the tears my budget will shed.

As a moderately frugal person, I always look for simple ways to save money on holiday shopping, such as deals, sales and price comparison tools.

My favorite method, however, is simply shopping with the right rewards credit card. During the holiday season, that card for me is the Discover it® Cash Back.

Here’s how I’m planning to use my Discover it Cash Back for Christmas shopping and how much I’m anticipating saving.

Why I love the Discover it Cash Back

A little bit about the card first: Discover it Cash Back is a cash back credit card that earns 5 percent cash back in bonus categories that you need to activate every quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1 percent). All other purchases will get you 1 percent back. At the end of your first year with the card, Discover also matches all the cash back you’ve earned as an intro offer, sweetening the deal.

The bonus categories rotate quarterly. Similar Chase, Discover now releases it cash back categories one quarter at a time.

This is what the Discover cash back calendar is looking like so far for 2023, with the 2022 categories listed for comparison purposes:

Quarter 2022 categories 2023 categories
Winter (January – March)
  • Grocery stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Gym memberships
  • Grocery stores
  • Drug stores
  • Select streaming services
Spring (April – June)
  • Gas stations
  • Target
TBA
Summer (July – September)
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
TBA
Holiday (October – December)
  • Amazon.com
  • Digital wallets
TBA

As you can see, for the 2022 holiday season, the Discover it Cash Back rewards you generously for shopping on Amazon.com and by making purchases with digital wallets.

Amazon.com is one of my favorite places for uncontrollable shopping, so this is a major plus. (I’m only joking — always exercise self-control when shopping so you don’t incur credit card debt.)

How I’m saving with the Discover it Cash Back this holiday season

Last November, I saved $325 shopping with my Discover it Cash Back. I maxed out the 5 percent categories and scored a few deals, including Cashback Match and some deals exclusive to Discover cardholders.

My goal back then was to furnish my apartment. The Discover it Cash Back was a huge help, especially considering its 15-month 0 percent intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers (15.74 percent to 26.74 percent variable APR after that).

Now, however, I can fully focus on holiday spending.

I’m a devoted online shopper. The fact that the Discover it Cash Back allows me to earn such a high cash back rate from some of the largest retailers this quarter makes my Amazon-addicted heart swell with pre-holiday cheer.

The largest chunk of my holiday budget will go toward gifts, and I’ll be purchasing most of them on Amazon. It’s especially convenient because so many of my friends live in a different state, and Amazon makes it incredibly easy to shop someone’s wish list and send the gift directly to them without hitting the post office.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m getting 5 percent back on all of this spending with my Discover it Cash Back.

That said, I’m not planning to max out the bonus categories’ $1,500 cap just with holiday spending; I hope to keep my total budget under $1,000. I’ll spend the remaining $500 on daily basics, including essentials like toiletries and household supplies bought on Amazon and groceries from Amazon Fresh.

Why you should look into Discover it Cash Back too

‘Tis the season of giving — and the season of spending. But even if it wasn’t, I’d still say the Discover it Cash Back is worth it.

Amazon is a major retailer, and it’s hard to imagine what you can’t buy from it. Plus, as long as you have your Discover it Cash Back stored in your digital wallet of choice, you can earn rewards by making purchases this way.

Another important thing is, I only had fair credit when I applied for the card. Supposedly, you need good credit to get a decent rewards card like this, but my Experian FICO credit score was at 660 when I got approved for the Discover it Cash Back. I can only assume my previous relationship with the issuer might have played a role since I also have a savings account with Discover, but that’s pure speculation and might have made no difference at all.

For that reason, I think you might want to take a chance too — even if your credit isn’t good yet. If you don’t see Discover it Cash Back in CardMatch, you can try to get preapproved before you apply. Preapproval doesn’t affect your credit score and can show you which Discover cards you’re likely to qualify for.

Good luck! Meanwhile, I’m going to start a list of all the gift cards I’m going to buy at grocery stores in the first quarter of 2023 to get another $75 in cash back.

Artur Starke
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