smart spending

5 ways to save money on summer vacation

Understand your cards' rewards
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Close up of a reward credit card

With the right rewards program, your current spending can help you save money this summer.

If you're starting from scratch and looking to pile up enough rewards points to pay for an entire vacation this summer, you have a lot of spending ahead of you, warns Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst at

Even so, he suggests that smaller rewards such as cash back or points for free gasoline are attainable, depending on your level of spending.

As consumers consider how to add on more points toward summer vacation expenses, those with multiple credit and debit cards should understand the terms of each card's rewards points, McBride says.

"It can make sense to consolidate usage on one card, particularly if it has a tiered rewards structure with a higher level of payouts for a higher level of spending," McBride says.

Regardless of a rewards program's tempting offers, McBride offers one golden rule. "If you have even a tiny amount of credit card debt, ignore the rewards programs," he says.




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