HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Americans have stacked up lots of credit card debt, but many have figured out how to make those cards work for them. It's an approach called "extreme credit carding."
Admittedly, this isn't for everyone, because you could make things worse if you're not diligent, alert and aware of pitfalls.
The idea is to take advantage of the slew of credit card offers that may come to you in the mail.
Some people call that junk mail, but extreme credit-carders see them as a source of free money.
Some of them write about earning thousands of dollars in credit card bonuses each year... and juggling dozens of cards at a time.
While you can save money at it, there are pitfalls.
"Our experience has been that your credit score is going to decline if you have too many accounts on there," said Michele Mason of the North Alabama Better Business Bureau.
She expects to see future regulation of this approach.
It starts out with what the experts call an 'application spree'.
That's when one enrolls in rewards programs, scores sign-up bonuses, and then keeps track of each card on a spreadsheet so as to pay them off and cancel them before any fees kick in.
Mydollarplan.com experts recommend coordinating rewards and bonuses to double dip.
For example, on a card that sets a spending level to get the sign up bonus, if you spend enough you'll get the sign-up bonus plus a percentage of cash back. One expert saved $125 on a $500 purchase.
Also, to meet a spending requirement, purchase gift cards for your favorite grocery store.
Take advantage of the balance transfer offers and set those cards aside so you don't use them for purchases. You might label them in permanent ink so you won't forget.
Keep in mind that some of the best deals the experts found came from companies offering hundreds of dollars in sign up bonuses which come in the form of points to be cashed in after spending a certain amount of money.
"We encourage people to really do their homework and understand what they're undertaking here," said Mason.
If you are very organized and disciplined, you can use credit cards to save a bundle of money.
Click here for some credit card deals worth checking out.