Whether its due to my finance experience, or fear of quickly accruing debt from law school, I have been trying my best to be financially savvy with my non-income. One of the things I'll do (which is actually not the best idea for your credit), is to take advantage of 0% A.P.R. credit cards. I charge all my purchases (or most) on the card for the year, put my cash into my savings accounts at Emigrant, accumulate the interest, and at the end of year when the 0% promotion is over, I pay it all off at once. I end up accumulating about $500 a year through savings interest, and collect rewards on my credit card! (note: please only do this once a year MAX if you absolutely HAVE to. Don't make this a habit!)
Obviously, look for the card out there with the best returns; 1% cash return on every $1, may not be as good as accumulating points, etc. You can go onto general credit card sites that compare different cards according to your needs!
BUT, if you are NOT strapped for cash, and you're looking for great returns, this is by far the best card on the market. It has an annual fee of $75, but if you fly more than once a year, this works out for you! You get a companion plane ticket for EVERY round trip ticket you buy. PLUS you start off with a free ticket, and 2 points for every mile you fly.
This is the non-fee version of the card, but after much review, I think the $75 fee one is much better.
oh and also, some credit improving tips:
1) Call your credit card company and ask to increase your credit line. Even if you don't need it, it makes your credit look better b/c you are using less of your credit line. (e.g. you spend $500 but your limit is $8000, versus $500 with a limit of $2000; proportionally it's better)
2) Just b/c you have zero balance on your card and you haven't used it for years, doesn't mean your credit card is closed. And the more you have open, the worse it looks. So call all the cards you don't use, and make sure you cancel your cards. This includes Banana Republic and J. Crew cards!
3) Cancel your shopping cards; like the Banana Republic and J. Crew cards. The rewards from your new credit card with rewards is greater than having a lot of shopping cards and never using them.