January is a popular time to make New Year’s resolutions, and nearly half of Americans (44%) have financial goals for 2020, according to a new CreditWise from Capital One Financial Milestones survey. Of those surveyed who have a financial resolution, 71% are planning to save more money and 34% are planning to pay off debt.
To save more money, half (51%) of respondents are planning to eat out less, cancel unnecessary subscriptions (47%) and  cable (40%) and pack their lunch (21%).
However, there’s a way to save money on these expenses without skipping takeout from your favorite restaurant or denying yourself the pleasure of watching the latest Netflix series: pay with a credit card. The best credit cards can save you hundreds on dining out and restaurants, streaming subscriptions, groceries and other common spending categories.
Below, CNBC Select explains how a credit card can help you save money, so you don’t have to cut back on the things you enjoy.
A credit card is a great asset that lets you earn rewards on all your spending. The average American can earn over $2,000 in rewards by using a credit card for everyday purchases such as food, gas, groceries and entertainment.
CNBC Select used a sample annual budget of approximately $21,852, provided by location intelligence firm Esri. This budget breaks down common spending categories, including groceries ($5,019), gas ($2,394), dining out ($3,365), travel ($2,154), utilities ($4,959) and general purchases ($3,961), which we used to calculate roughly how much money you can save over the course of a year and five years by using a credit card.
We looked at the categories Americans said they plan on cutting back on during 2020 (restaurants and subscriptions/entertainment) and chose the best credit cards that can earn you substantial cash back or rewards. The best part is that you don’t have to limit when you dine out, how many subscriptions you have or cancel cable to earn these rewards simply put those charges on a credit card and see the rewards add up.
Of course, in order to reap the most rewards, always pay your bill on time and in full. Plus avoid overspending just to earn rewards since any cash back, points or miles you earn will be negated by the amount you owe in interest and fees.
Here are some of the best credit cards for dining out, subscriptions and entertainment.
To determine which credit cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.
CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company’s data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.
Esri’s data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $21,852 in retail spending. This budget is comprised of the most common spending categories, including groceries ($5,019), gas ($2,394), dining out ($3,365), travel ($2,154), utilities ($4,959) and general purchases ($3,961). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.
CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.
While the five-year estimates we’ve included are derived from a budget similar to the average American’s spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.