Take Advantage of Credit Card Offers

Many financial gurus advise against using plastic, and insist that cash is king. I disagree.

Search the web for rewards cards that have introductory bonus offers. You'll have to spend a certain amount within a specific time period, but that's fairly easy since most utility bills can be paid with plastic.

In 2012, I scored $1,000 in gift cards, and we booked four (almost) free flights to Florida just for opening new card accounts. (Airtran has a current offer which pays off with a free flight, and Airtran flies from Flint!)

The trick is to not lose control when using credit, pay off the balance each month, and close the account once you've collected the benefits.