Are Cash Back Credit Cards Worth It?


It may seem strange that I bring this subject up on a cooking blog. But those of you who have been visiting for months know that I write and talk about just about anything and everything.

And this is a cooking blog dedicated to helping people to save money during the recession. So I think this is a timely subject. If you can save money on your credit cards, that is more money left to pay bills and put food on the table.

I get as many as three credit cardoffers in my mailbox three or four days a week. That’s a lot of credit being pushed my way. Some weeks I get ten or more. Most of them are cash back savings cards. REBATE screams the envelopes.

I have never wanted one of those type cards. I have always believed you don’t get anything for nothing. That and I just don’t want a lot of credit cards, credit, or debt.

So a recent piece at John Tesh’s website caught my eye.

In Here’s the Real Deal Tesh writes:  “It may sound good – but guess who really benefits? Not you – the credit card companies do.”

The article goes on to say:

In a study of 6,000 customers with cash-back cards, they each got an average monthly reward of $25, but they spent an additional $68 a month to get it. The balance on everyone’s card went up over $100 a month! Also, researchers found that cash-back cardholders tend to spend more money because they want the cash-back rewards, but that only increases their debt. Bottom line: Simply taking advantage of a small cash incentive can run your budget into the ground if you’re not careful.

This is what the article recommends to protect yourself:

First, read the fine print. There are a lot of loopholes with cash-back credit cards. For example, on one card, you can only get a maximum of $75 back every three months – no matter howmuch you use the card.

Another tip: Beware of categories. On some cards you only get cash back for what you spend on food or gas.

One final tip about cash-back credit cards: Often the interest rates are a lot higher than the average credit card. So, unless you can pay off the balance every month, that higher interest will wipe out any cash-back reward you may have earned.

Consumer’s Reports has a new article out about these cash back cards and lists some of the best and worst. You may want to check it out to see if your card is on the good or the bad list. Just click the link at the beginning of the paragraph.

Be careful. It’s a jungle out there.

Featured Recipe        Sticky Thighs  (Honeyed Teriyaki Chicken)

Today’s recipe is simply teriyaki chicken made sticky sweet with the addition of some honey. As I said yesterday, Sweet and Sour Green Beans go well with this entrée. The sweet in the beans mirrors the sweet in the chicken, and the sour is a nice counter-balance to the sweet.

This recipe is also a quick and easy one for week night meals.

I think chicken thighs are underrated because they happen to be a very tasty part of the chicken, but not many people know it.

Add to that the fact chicken thighs are very inexpensive and this meal becomes a budget friendly meal as well.

This recipe is a win-win no matter how you look at it. The fact that it is also delicious is just an extra added bonus!!!!

This is what you need for 4 people:

4 skin on bone in chicken thighs

¼ cup honey

1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon dry sherry*

1-2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 large clove garlic pressed

¼ teaspoon powdered ginger**

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

*Can substitute cider vinegar

**Or fresh grated if you want a stronger taste

Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mince the garlic or put through a garlic press. A garlic press minces garlic very finely; much more finely than I could ever do with a knife alone.

This is what a garlic press will do. It is one of the few kitchen gadgets that really works.

Place all ingredients except the chicken and the sesame seeds in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken thighs.

Mix well.

NOTE: I start off with 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. If the mixture does not mix well or is not smooth, I add a bit more until it all mixes together well.

Add the thighs one at a time and turn to coat well.

Place on the foil lined pan. Top each thigh with a tablespoon more of the sauce.

Then place in the oven.

Check every 10 minutes or so and adding a bit more sauce to the thighs when you do. Below is a picture of my 2nd check, after 20 minutes in the oven.  

The color is starting to look good. I want it to darken up and get really sticky though. The black you see near the edges of the pan is the syrup getting sticky and dark. Nothing to worry about.

After 30 minutes in the oven.  Look at the nice color on those thighs. Remove from the oven and let sit a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

Remove the chicken from the pan and pour the the sticky syrup into a cup. Even though it looked like just a lot of burned black stuff, there was still quite a bit of juice in the pan.

Now place a sticky thigh on a plate and drizzle with some of the syrup. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the chicken.

Serve up with a side dish and a salad of your choice. I, of course, am serving this with Sweet and Sour Green Beans from yesterday’s post.

Bon Appetit!!!!!


4 skin on bone in chicken thighs                 $3.40

¼ cup honey                                            $0.67                                                 

1-2 teaspoons sesame oil                          $0.34

1 tablespoon dry sherry                             $0.15

1-2 tablespoon soy sauce                          $0.34

1 large clove garlic pressed                        $0.06

¼ teaspoon powdered ginger                     $0.03

2 tablespoons sesame seeds                      $0.04

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $5.03
Cost per person = $1.26
Combined Cost Sticky Thighs and Sweet and Sour Green Beans = $7.78
Combined Cost Sticky Thighs and Sweet and Sour Green Beans per person = $1.95

Quote of the Day

You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people.

Will Rogers 

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