I love credit card rewards.

Getting paid to buy something I was already going to buy. Are you serious!? Holy macaroni I love me some credit card rewards!!!

Here’s the problem: I can’t stop earning rewards, and it’s starting to cost me money.

I recently received $100 and $50 Visa gift cards after signing up for AT&T U-Verse (why they couldn’t send me one card worth $150 is completely beyond my comprehension). The cards expire in less than three months, so I have to use them fairly quickly before they are worth nothing. The only problem is I don’t know what to buy!

Tag told me to just use them when I buy regular everyday stuff, which sounds like a great idea. The only problem is I get 2-5% cash back when I use my credit cards, and I would get 0% back when using these gift cards. I literally don’t want to use free money because I want to spend real money and get a few pennies back in rewards.

credit card rewards addiction

Here’s my current rewards CC lineup:

Citi Forward: 5% back on restaurants and entertainment
PenFed Gas Card: 5% back on gas
Citi Thank You Premier: 2% back on everything thanks to built up rewards on plane tickets

I feel like I can’t use these gift cards on restaurants, entertainment or gas because I’d be missing out on 5% back. Even when it comes to groceries (pretty much the only other thing I buy), I would still missing out on the 2% cash back and feel like I’m cheating myself out of rewards.

The other thing I hate about these gift cards is that I don’t want to keep track of how much is left on each one. Forget spending $4.87 on lunch and then trying to remember I have $95.13 left. I would much rather spend all $100 or all $50 at one time so I can just throw the card away after a single purchase.

I know it’s stupid. I feel like I have a disease. Is there such thing as Personal Finance Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

What Should I Do With These Cards?

As a self proclaimed technology junkie, I really want an android tablet. For some reason, I’ve justified a tablet as a good way to spend the cards because a) I can use the entire card in one purchase, and b) electronics do not earn 5% on any of my credit cards (although I would still be missing out on the 2%).

In fact, I was about to buy the Acer Iconia A500 today because they have a sale where you get a $100 gift card rebate at Best Buy. The problem is, I went to Best Buy to test it and I liked the Asus Transformer much better, and it wasn’t on sale. Stupid Acer. Why isn’t your tablet better?

Luckily after window shopping, I actually came to my senses and realized that prices for Android Tablets will most likely continue to come down (because sales aren’t particularly strong) and I can get a nice one for even cheaper than $300 in a few months (especially if I wait for Black Friday). Plus, Amazon is supposed to come out with an Android Tablet, and I love Amazon, so I feel like I have to wait for that one.

Restraint, Kevin. You don’t need a new toy. At least not today.

Actually, I’m glad I didn’t use the gift cards there because tonight I actually realized what I need to do with the cards: buy groceries with them.

If I’m willing to fore-go the 2% benefit on an electronics purchase, then why wouldn’t I be willing to do the same for a groceries purchase? Because I was being an idiot, that’s why. As long as I’m not missing out on a 5% category, then it makes sense to use the cards enjoy some free groceries. Plus it will make my “Food” budget look really nice next month!

I’m curious if I’m the only one with this horrible disease where I don’t want to spend free money. Let me know in the comments if you have the same problem.