Liz Weston: I'm Liz Weston. I live in Studio City, Calif. And I'm at the American Public Media studios in Los Angeles. Let me describe my wallet to you. It's a kind of battered, red Coach wallet and it's very thick 'cause I carry a lot.
Personal credit cards and debit cards, and the section that keeps the money also has a bunch of coupons, 'cause I'm a huge coupon lover. I think because I'm a mom as well as a personal finance columnist I know that it's great to save money. And it's not that hard -- if you have the coupons and the loyalty cards on you. But trying to keep track of them all can be kind of a challenge.
Another thing that I have in this wallet -- I just noticed -- is a room key for a recent trip to Hawaii. And the reason this is significant is not just because I'm a thief and forgot to check out, but it's because we paid for this trip entirely with rewards points. We did have to pay the resort fee and of course, food and other things. But the actual hotel was free. I'm a big fan of rewards credit cards. I don't think anyone should carry a credit card balance; I am absolutely against credit card debt. But if you use them correctly, they really can pan out. You know, we put most of our spending through this card and then we hoard up the points and we use them for vacations. And we already racked up, again, enough points probably to do it again next year.