How to Track Your Category Spending on the Freedom Card

Jun 5, 2012

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Last week I posted about my new favorite way to rack up 5x Ultimate Reward points including getting discounts on gas by using the Chase Freedom® to buy gift cards at Kroger grocery stores where they were giving away 4x fuel points on gift card purchases.  In that post, a comment was made about how to easily track how much you have spent this quarter in the grocery and movie bonus categories.  I had just been doing it by looking at the statements since I wanted to see the exact dates of the purchases, but one of the comments reminded me that there is an alternative way to track this that would be easier for some folks. In case you aren’t familiar with the Freedom card and its bonuses, you can earn 5x points, up to $1,500 each quarter, for the rotating bonus categories.  Of course, many of us want to make sure we aren’t accidentally going over that $1,500 and putting spending on a card that will then just be giving us 1x for the additional grocery and movie theater purchases.

The website doesn’t have a tracker for you that will easily tell you how much of the bonus category you have spent – though that would be super handy.  One solution is to manually go back to your transactions starting on April 1st and add up all the grocery store purchases.  That is how I historically did the math.  However, if you want to do it without quite as much manual tracking, you can utilize the BluePrint feature that Chase offers.  BluePrint allows you to track types of purchases, and even decide how you want to pay a specific purchase over time.  I can’t really speak to that feature since I have never used it, but it is a handy way to look at category spending.

  • To utilize BluePrint, first log into your Chase account.
  • Then select “BluePrint”.  You will see all the different BluePrint features, but for our purposes select the feature that allows you to track your expenses.
  • You will see how much you spent in various categories on this statement, the previous statement, etc.  This is where the BluePrint isn’t perfect for our purposes – it lines up with statement dates, not the calendar months.  Unless of course your statement starts on the first, which isn’t a bad plan for the purposes of this ongoing promo.  Regardless, it was actually pretty simple for me to track, as the only grocery expenses I put on this card were during the promotion period, so all of the April statement grocery transactions were after the April 1st start date for this quarter.

If you had other grocery transactions on your April statement before the April 1st start date then you could just do that month manually by looking at your statement.  The same will hold true for the last month.  To see how many dollars you ended up spending in the bonus categories, just manually do the last month if you continued to put grocery purchases on the card after the June 30th end of the quarter.

I am personally finding $1,500 every quarter to be the perfect amount for the bonus categories for my family.  It is a nice amount that adds up to 7,500 Ultimate Reward points per quarter – or 30,000 points per year.  However, it is low enough to keep me from going overboard doing anything too crazy in the bonus categories.  Just so you can start planning, the bonus categories for the third quarter that starts on July 1st will be gas stations and restaurants.  That will be super simple for my family to maximize since we do have a tendency to drive and eat out.  ;)  As Deals We Like reminded us, you do need to activate the bonus category for this quarter by June 14th.  Presumably you will be able to activate the 3rd quarter bonus starting on June 15th.

The Chase Freedom is great as it has these 5x categories and has no annual fee, but it is only truly awesome when you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Bold.  When you also have those cards, you can transfer your Ultimate Reward points to hotel and airline partners and really maximize their value!  From doing my math today, I have about $300 dollars more to spend at grocery stores this month, which is about what I would naturally spend anyway.  How are the bonus categories working out for you?


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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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