How Much of an Incentive Do You Need to Take Action?

I constantly see advertisements encouraging me to switch banks or get a new credit card. Get $300 in cash back, get a free round-trip flight, and even Lending Club tells me that friends will get $200 just for signing up and funding their accounts.

That’s great if you were already planning on switching banks or if you’re already in the market for a new credit card, but what if you’re not. At what point are you willing to take action? $100 probably isn’t enough as I see these types of deals all over the place. For credit cards it makes even less sense. The temporary hit to your credit probably isn’t worth $100, but what about for a round-trip flight? Would saving $300 on flights be worth getting a credit card even if you don’t need it?

Most of the time I pass on these types of deals. Actually, I always pass on them. But lately I’ve tried to convince myself that it would be worth it. I only have one credit card, another one definitely wouldn’t hurt me, and with up to 3% cash-back rewards out there, there aren’t many downsides.

It’s much harder to judge when what you give up is not time or money. If it means a little more hassle (remembering to cancel a credit card before the yearly fee kicks in, having to use a debit card 10 times a month, having to change your direct deposit options at work), where do you draw the line?

Some people will do crazy things just to save money. The most recent example is the woman who pepper sprayed other shoppers just to get a better price on an Xbox 360. Maybe she would save $50, but now she has a legal battle and a ton of embarrassment on her hands. Probably not worth it in retrospect.

For me, I keep great records, but I still like to simplify everything. I don’t want to have to worry any more than I already do, so changing bank accounts, even for $100, isn’t something I’m interested in. And I don’t want to open multiple credit cards because I don’t need them, so there’s no hurry as these offers are constantly available. So for now I’ll stand pat and give up that flight, but maybe in 6 months when I want to take a trip I’ll feel differently?

Readers, what are your limits? At what point do you start to take action instead of sitting back and letting opportunities pass you by?

6 Responses to How Much of an Incentive Do You Need to Take Action?

  1. I quit chasing credit card rewards long ago. I know that there are probably cards out there that could get me more cash or points or whatever, but to me, it’s not worth the trouble of switching everything over time and again. So, the 1% card we have (with 5% categories that rotate around quarterly) is just fine with me.

  2. Hunter - Financially Consumed says:

    I have to agree with Money Beagle. I don’t respond to reward program offers either. I just try and keep spending under control and focus on making more money.

  3. I ignore almost 99% of everything under $100. If it’s over $200, I would take a very good look at it. Usually, it involves too much work like using the card 12 times a month or a certain amount in 3 months so I would turn it down.

  4. I agree with retireby40 – it’s the deals that say something about using your card 10x per month that I wouldn’t consider for anything under 1k. That’s just too much hassle and adds more stress.

  5. Emily says:

    We like life to be simple. We stick with what we’re doing, unless we have a major reason to change.

  6. Dr Dean says:

    It takes a lot to get me to make a change. I do have a “free flight per year” card, and it has been well worth it. Only if you take advantage of it of course.

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