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How I earn credit card rewards responsibly

The topic of maximizing credit-card rewards seems to be a popular one lately, especially in the world of personal finance blogging.

Many of us use our credit cards to pay our bills and monthly expenses. We earn cash back and rake in the rewards. Some of us have even mastered the envious ability to churn credit-card rewards to pay for awesome vacations.

Because personal finance readers are so financially savvy, we usually take for granted that, for many people, this is a dangerous habit. After all, the average US household credit card debt is upwards of $15,000.

If you do it right, earning credit card rewards is a great money hack. Last year, for example, I earned $450 in cash-back. But you should have control of your finances before trying any kind of hack like this.

Let’s say you have control of your financial situation and you’re ready to play this credit-card-rewards game. How do you play properly? And what precautions should you take?

Here’s what’s worked for me.
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5 Credit Cards to Avoid at All Costs

Free Soda for Credit CardIt’s true: There are some ways that credit cards can help you. With proper planning, you can get a credit card that provides you with free merchandise, travel discounts and cash back. The right rewards card, when used responsibly and paid down, can be a boon to your finances. Additionally, the responsible use of credit can help you build a financial reputation that can save you money when you get home loans and auto loans.

But, not all credit cards are created equal. Here are 5 credit cards to avoid at all costs:

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