Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)

Mixed cash rewards are the category of cards that most cash reward cards fit into. Therefore, this blog post will offer much details about this category. Unlike Green Go cards that have excellent ratings, these mixed benefit cards can have many pros and cons. Because of this, I refer to them as yellow light cards. Their mix of offerings can make it very difficult to decide whether to go or to stop from securing one.


To make this easier to understand, the rating system for Cash Reward Credit Cards is similar to how traffic signals control vehicular movement. Image is from Pixabay.

In order to make the most of mixed cash reward credit cards, one should first compile a list of the pros and cons of the cards being considered. I recommend applying for only one card at a time. Let me explain how the mixed category works.


As described in previous posts in this series, Cash Reward credit cards can be divided into three types of benefit categories. This is similar to how a traffic signal directs vehicular activity. Both the GREENLIGHT and REDLIGHT signal are fairly straight forward in their comment. The former directs one to GO while the latter clear indicates STOP.

But the middle or mixed category does neither clearly. In fact, it leaves the decision up to the driver. That person must make a judgment call on their own. In spite of this, a judgment call does not have to be made blindly.

GREEN LIGHT credit card cash reward cards detailed in the blog post Excellent Cash Reward Credit Cards (June 2019)

YELLOW LIGHT cash reward cards and qualities are detailed in this blog post, Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (June 2019)

RED LIGHT means to seriously consider avoiding a particular cash reward card with overwhelming drawbacks.

The yellow ‘caution’ light traffic signal from Pixaday images.

So far, all the credit cards mentioned in this series have no annual fees. But cards that do have annual fees can pay substantially more rewards, like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express®. For the privilege of the much higher cash reward levels, there is an annual fee of $95. Coincidently, there is also a signup bonus of $250. Right there, the annual fee is offset. For the most part, I prefer not to get cards with annual fees. Somehow, money needs to be made available to pay the fee each year.


This works well for people with savings. But it may not be practical for Former Middle-Class people who barely make ends meet on a monthly basis to allow for this. Saving up $95 for the annual fee tends to be a luxury reserved for the Middle Class. But, in spite of my limited funds, I made a judgment call and went for a card with an annual fee. My thinking was as follows.

Normally, I get 3% cashback for groceries. Figuring charges of around $400/month for groceries at 3% gives me a return of $12/month. That becomes $24/month at 6%. Over a year, I make an additional expense reduction of $120. That pays for the annual fee of $95. In addition, the promotional signup bonus is $250. This is clearly a win-win situation. I just have to make sure I have the annual fee put aside each year. Another point in its favor is that the total of necessary charges. It is $1000 in 3 months. That is the same as many other cards with fewer benefits.

The Blue Cash Preferred Cash Rewards Credit Card can be an excellent choice for grocery shopping and gas. But you need to pay a $95 annual fee. Recommended by Best Cash Back Credit Cards (June 2019)



Also, check the fit as described in the third post poker analogy. Does it fit into the % flush or straight flush? Does it have the most benefits for type category you want a card in? Refer back to Blog Post 3as a helpful example. Also refer to the example below.


If you are looking to form an ongoing credit card charging relationship with a home improvement superstore, controversy reign on which store and credit card are best. Lowe’s seems to outrank The Home Depot. Also see the review of the Barclaycard in the Sources & Resources Section at the end of this post.


[caption id="attachment_19475" align="alignleft" width="703"]Mixed cahs reard cards At first glance, a great deal. But read the fine print.


Green Go cards are clearly transparent in what makes them excellent considerations for cash reward cards. Yellow mixed consideration cards are not as straight forward. Then, the pros and cons need to be weighed more carefully to decide if one in this category is a good choice. Consider the amount of a promotional bonus they pay. Know the % of return and any limitations regarding that. See which side of the scale they tip to, more pros or more cons.

Check the fine print. That means the not obvious, hidden qualities of the card. As a matter of fact, these can result in more negative than positive qualities. For example, the Barclaycard account sounds good at first glance. But it does have one major drawback. I know of no other card with this drawback. Surprisingly it does not pay cash rewards until $50 worth has been accumulated. So beware of such fine print. In addition, Some other cards charge no annual fee for the first year but do charge one after that.



The final post in this series will focus on the qualities and kinds of cards that are in the RED signal area. They should be avoided or pursued with the utmost caution. Because they are risky, sometimes that makes them plain unsuitable in my opinion. In addition, the risk is like making a right turn on red when you’re not sure there was a sign indicating that it is okay to do so. Or you make the turn without looking so see if a card is coming from your left. Beware Risky Cash Reward Cards

Here are the links to this five-part series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.



Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

How Cash Back Credit Cards Work

Credit Cards for Home Improvement

Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard

Best Credit Cards For Gas

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The Former Middle Class Trilogy

mastering green
The Former Middle Class eBook Series Available at Amazon.com

There are three ebooks in The Former Middle Class Trilogy.The first ebook is called, The Poor Middle Class Crisis and the second ebook is, Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit. The ebooks are available on Amazon.com. Mastering the Art of Green is my third ebook in the Former Middle Class trilogy.

The Former Middle Class Trilogy
The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook © 2017 Alison D. Gilbert

The Former Middle Class.The Poor Middle Class Crisis chronicles our history as people who were devastated by the 2008 stock market crash. My husband lost his job the same week as the crash. He was 62 at the time. I became very ill from all the stress.

We had become part of The Former Middle Class and did not know how we were going to survive. Our low point was when we faced the possibility of having no place to live and were, One Day From Homeless.

Our journey became one of survival. That became our priority. We had to learn to live all over again under very different financial circumstances. We explored many different avenues and began to build our financial survival tool kit.

The Former Middle Class
The Financial Survival Toolkit for Living a Consciously Frugal Life from the Viper Tool Storage Company
Building our kit involved many lifestyle changes. We went from a two bedroom apartment to subsidized senior housing. Access to food was a big challenge. Instead of the opportunity to purchase expensive, organic foods and eat out on occasion, we had to depend on the generosity of others and the government. Food pantries and food stamps are crucial financial survival tools. But they may be hard to swallow.

We went from middle class comfort to former middle class frugal living. It was a huge adjustment. We explored many tools that didn’t work for us. Things like couponing and taking surveys. Many more thrifty tools are mentioned in the first ebook. Eventually we found one tool that not only helped us survive but also became profitable. That tool is credit cards.

former middle class trilogy
Using Credit Cards for Survival & Profit eBook © 2017 Alison D. Gilbert
Let me make very clear right from the start that our use of credit cards has involved a very responsible set of guidelines. We pay all our bills on time and in full. Our credit rating fluctuates between 775 and 800 depending upon which credit reporting agency you ask.

Credit cards have given us a financial cushion between sign up promotional bonuses and monthly cash rewards. My refinement of credit cards as a financial survival tool lasted about eight months. What I have learned, and continue to learn about credit cards is fascinating and extremely informative. I have my accounts charted with spreadsheets for each month. Read My Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System for the details of my system.

Former Middle Class Trilogy
Part of My Credit Cards Accounts Maintenance System

In less than a year, I had become sophisticated in the financially lucrative use of the credit card benefits tools. All of a sudden, the additional hefty promotional signup bonus credit card memberships applications began receiving denial letters. My stellar tool of acquiring credit cards with promotional sign up bonuses of $100-$200 had lost its winning streak. Clearly, it was time to rest that tool, re-examine some of the other financial survival tools that I had discarded in the past and to research additional new tools. I was at a loss and needed new financial fertilizer.

Former Middle Class Trilogy
Mastering the Art of Green, The Third ebook in the Former Middle Class Trilogy @2018 Alison D. Gilbert
Mastering the art of green is a process. For me, it has involved taking stepping backwards to get a different, larger view on what ‘green’ means. It can refer to money. It can refer to food, lush grassy fields, innocence and inexperience.

Sure enough, once I stepped back and started to look at green in a new way, as fertility and productivity, new tools started to sprout. I started growing food indoors calling it, Table Top Farming. I am growing microgreen in soil and hydroponics in water.

This project is of major importance to us since healthy, live food sources can be scarce for seniors on fixed incomes. Food pantries tend to offer the lowest quality packaged/processed food. The SNAP (food stamp) program provides a miniscule amount of money to supplement nutritious food. So growing one’s own live, local greens can be better than money in one’s pocket.

Coupons and other money saving programs do have their value. They are not as lucrative as credit card sign up promotional bonuses. But what is? There again, when I took a step back to get a better perspective on what made sense for me to pursue, I found many options.

Former Middle Class Trilogy
A great savings of 50% at Michael’s Art & Craft Supplies in store and online

Some coupons like the specials CVS Pharmacy and Michaels Stores-Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing offer can be as high as 40-70%. A Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% coupon get help a lot on a $100 plus purchase. Target, Walmart and Amazon vie for top savings. In addition, there are programs that will automatically check to see if there is a savings special when an online purchase is made. These include Ebates, honey, and cently and piggy. Other apps exist that I have not yet had a chance to explore. Two of the most popular are ibotta and Groupon.

Decluttering, Sarah Mueller style can provide lots of potential items you no longer need and want to sell. The above video is from a workshop she did with an expert at selling stuff. Two of the most popular selling sites are Ebay and Etsy. I have not sold on Ebay. I do have an Etsy store, Tin Can Ali. It displays some of my painted items for fun. I have not really tried to sell anything. But Ebay can be a great place to sell things especially if you watch the Kathy Terrill videos from I Love To Be Selling.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Prioritize your options. Find what is most beneficial and takes the least time to execute it. New savings hacks are invented all the time. Be resourceful. Do the research. Continue to read my and other blog posts for the latest information.

Wallet Hack’s article Target’s Store Shopping Hacks
Wallet Hack’s Article 10 Sites That Pay You Money for Things You’re Already Doing For Free
Ann Gibson The Micro Gardener
Sarah Mueller Decluttering Club
Kathy Terrill I Love To Be Selling – Kathy Terrill
Alison Gilbert’s Facebook pages and groups:
Table Top Farming
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survivalism

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Money, A Government Commodity


The Poor Middle Class Crisis, Financial Survival Resources Guide by Alison D. Gilbert © 2017
Money, as a government produced commodity is more friendly to the wealthy and decreasing so as one approaches poverty. As a Senior Suburban Survivalist, or a member of The Former Middle Class, The Poor and even the dwindling Middle Class, we need to find more impartial, equitable survival resources. They need to be less dependent on government produced and controlled money.

In addition to the inequity of money is the fact that many of us no longer have enough income or savings to live the traditional life we grew up with or used to have. In other words, we are no longer Middle Class Americans. We are part of the Poor Middle Class Crisis. Many of us are in debt. Many of us baby boomers are now seniors and beyond significant employability.

The most devastating causes of the loss of one’s money can be a serious illness, a death, the termination of a good job, as well as storms and earthquakes. A significant economic downturn can scoop up more of the Middle Class and deposit us, like yesterday’s trash, into the heap of The Poor Middle Class. Some people ended up in the depths of poverty and homelessness from the horrific hurricanes of 2005 and 2012 and the stock market crash of 2008.

Learn more about The Poor Middle Class Crisis and our story in the Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook available on Amazon.com, the introductory facebook page of the same name and the companion facebook resource, support group, Financial Survival Resources for The Poor Middle Class.

Time For A Change
Here is an introductory video to the homesteading life, Off Grid with Doug and Stacy.

It is time for a change, a paradigm shift to a new kind of economy. We need an economy that offers alternatives to money as its foundation. We no longer have a large Middle Class or the ease to be part of it. Our government’s focus has shifted. We have a growing Poor Middle Class and increasingly fewer people in possession of the government produced money.

If the economic paradigm does not shift, this is the direction we are headed in. Many people will have to live like slaves. They will continue to have to work two and even three minimum wage jobs. Even then, they may barely make enough money to survive. Also, they may still need government assistance, like food stamps to make ends meet and health insurance to survive.

This is the new suburbs, camps of homeless people who find refuge in suburban wooded areas. Although not legal, this is a place to gather as a community for safety and survival. From NJ.com.
Disastrous Results From Uneven Distribution of Government Money

If people are not fortunate enough to find work, are not able to work, can’t support themselves or their families and cannot get enough government assistance, they may also become homeless. The number of homeless people in this country is also increasing. One of the changes that needs to take place does not involve going backwards.

The problem will not be solved by increasing jobs in outmoded technologies that will be short lived and not provide health insurance. It will also not be solved by the government’s shifting money around where even less goes to the needy and more goes to national defense. As we know, the haves will rarely give enough to help the have-nots unless they are forced to. It does not look like the current administration is of the mind to force the very wealth to do so. This would require a substantial tax restructuring. This is not going to happen, either. Therefore, what is required is a completely new kind of economy.

Depression Era from Freshman English on Wikispace.com
Exempt From Disaster

The ultra-wealthy 1% and other very wealthy people might be exempt from needing to be part of this paradigm shift. They could keep their money. In fact, they would continue to monopolize this government commodity. But for those of us who suffer from the lack of money and the results of the unwillingness of the wealthy to share theirs with us, we need a system for The Middle Class, The Poor Middle Class and The Poor to rely as little as possible on government controlled money. As the saying goes, ‘the solution is not in the problem’.

Alternatives To A National Government Money Based Economy

I believe that we are in the beginning of this paradigm shift. Money is becoming harder to come by for too many of us. Therefore, we need to be less dependent on it. As a matter of fact, cash produced by our government is much less involved in our daily goods and services transactions. Here are some of the ways this has already changed:

Local Currency as shown on Wikipedia
• Paying with credit cards and being rewarded for it with cash or travel points. See posts about Cash Rewards Credit Cards and Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

• Community currency or local currency is defined by Wikipedia as “In economics, a local currency is a currency that can be spent in a particular geographical locality at participating organisations”.

• Bartering all kinds of food and products (on an individual or community cooperative basis) The Barter Network

The Barter Network

• Acquisition without money such as foraging for food, using natural sources of energy, street find, reuse of existing found materials, scavenging for food and other usable items

• Homesteading and off grid living as close to what nature can provide with a bare minimum of cash to live such as Off Grid with Doug and Stacy


Bitcoin is a digital, international coin system not produced by the US government


This is just the beginning of opening the doors and windows of the proverbial ‘thinking outside the box’. Paradigm shifts do not take place overnight. They only appear to in an historical perspective. We do not have that perspective, yet. This movement is much too new. But the good news for many of us is that is it a is happening and it is in its beginning.

Senior suburban Survivalism




Sources & Resources

The Viper Tool Storage Company

The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook

The Former Middle Class

Financial Survival Resources for The Poor Middle Class

Senior Suburban Survivalism,


Off Grid with Doug and Stacy

How Bartering Works

Local currency

The Barter Network

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