Not all credit cards are created equal. Various types of awards are offered by credit companies, such as travel rewards, merchant gift cards and actual merchandise that you can receive by cashing in your points.

I am always amazed how many people do not have cash-back or cash-rebate credit cards. I'm sure most financial advisors are one step ahead of the average Joe Sixpack, but just in case a few of you haven't realized the benefits of these cards, read on.

Nothing is better than cash. Some credit cards will send you an actual check once a year. Others will let you cash your "chips" in each month and apply it to your current monthly bill. If your wife and kids spend the way mine do, at least you'll get some satisfaction when the statements come in.

So here's my recommendation. If you don't already have one of these cards, apply for an American Express Blue Cash Rebate card. There is no annual fee, which is always nice benefit. You will get a cash rebate of .5% on every purchase you make and 1% on every purchase you make at a gas station, drugstore or supermarket up to the first $6,500 you charge. Once you spend over the $6,500, the rebate increases to 1.5% and 5% respectively. Your rebate is unlimited and it's applied annually to your bill. You can apply online or via phone at (800) 964-8542.

Next, you might want to get a ChaseFreedom MasterCard card as an alternative to the AMEX card, since AMEX isn't accepted in as many places as Visa or MasterCard. The Chase card pays you 1% on every purchase and 2% for gas station, drugstore and supermarket purchases. Your rebate can be applied to your monthly bill when it goes over $50. This card doesn't have an annual fee either, and if you apply now you get a $50 gift card after you make your first purchase with the card. You can apply online at or call (800) 524-3880

You'll find once you start seeing your monthly rewards, you will charge everything and really have no reason to spend cash.

As a financial advisor, I would make my clients aware of this. Every month when they get their credit card statement and they see their cash rewards piling up, they will think of you thinking of them.

Charlie Stroller, president, CEO and CFO of Financial Advisor magazine's parent company CFPN, has 25 years' experience running companies and has specialized in expense reduction and cost containment. Those who know him can attest that he is an expert on finding the best deals when it comes to both business and personal expenditures.