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Building a Credit Card Portfolio (around $500 spending per month)

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This is going to be the first part of a three part series on building a credit card portfolio. I will also write a post on an ideal portfolio for approximately $2,000 in spending per month and $5,000 or more in spending per month.

For this first part of the series, I will focus on people who only spend about $500 a month on all their credit card bills put together. This is generally for people who most likely still live at home with their parents.

If you spend $500 a month, let’s say you have the following breakdown:

  • $70 on cellphone bill
  • $100 on groceries and department stores
  • $100 on clothing
  • $230 on restaurants and other entertainment

I would recommend a portfolio as follows:

RBC Cash Back MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back for every $1 spent at grocery stores
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on your first $6,000 (annually) worth of purchases that are not groceries
  • Earn 1% cash back on any purchases in excess of $6,000

Scotiabank Scene Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 4,000 sign up bonus Scene points (if you apply before October 31, 2014, normally 2,000 points)
  • Earn 5 Scene points for every $1 spent at participating Cineplex Entertainment theatre or online
  • Earn 1 Scene point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn $20 Amazon.ca bonus sign up gift certificate
  • Earn 2% cash back on Amazon.ca purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

RBC Target MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases made at the Target store with certain restrictions
  • Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • The cash back only goes to Target Gift Card rewards

First of all, I would not recommend that you get any annual fee credit cards.

I would for sure have the RBC Cash Back MasterCard to earn 2% on the $100 grocery spending, which comes out to $2. If you live on your own and well below the $2,000 a month, then this credit card definitely makes sense to earn the 2% on groceries.

If you are a fan of going to the movies, even once in a while, the majority of your expenses should go on the Scotiabank Scene Visa. That means the remaining $400 will earn you 400 Scene points, which brings you almost halfway to a free movie. You will earn 5x Scene points if you go to the movies once in a while. Once you spend $1,000 (over the span of 2-3 months) you will have enough for any free movie (including 3-D), which will give you more than a 1% return, depending on how you leverage your points.

If you do not like going to the movies, I would recommend having the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa for 1% cash back on all purchases, so $400 gives you $4 cash back instead. Once you reach $20 of cash back, Chase automatically credits your account, so there is no hassle. I recommend the Chase Amazon because it is very useful for when you travel because of the foreign transaction fees waived. The Chase Amazon is also great for making purchases online, especially when you make purchases on foreign websites, because your foreign transaction fee is waived.

I would only suggest that you get the RBC Target MasterCard if you shop at Target and I would only use this credit card at Target to get the 5% cash back.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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