Why I Bought a New Car (With a Car Note!) Despite FIRE

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I wrote how I bought a car with credit cards in early 2016. It was a used 2004 Subaru Forester. And it fit my needs at the time.

I swore I’d never buy a new car. It’s a badge of honor within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community to have an old car with tons of miles on it. It means you’re frugal. And saving. And “doing it right.” A quick search on Reddit returns more opinions than you can ever filter through.

There’s even a rap song called “No Car Note.” (“I love my ’98 Honda!”)

But after running the numbers, I broke my own rule. And bought a 2017 Nissan Versa Note. With a car note.

New or used car? Why I went new

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Points Are a Currency – And YOU Get to Set the Value

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Peeps conceptualize their points & miles in various ways. I’ve heard the argument they’re worth as much as you’re willing to pay in cash – logic that has always failed me. I use points because I won’t pay cash… right?

If I get a $10,000 Business Class flight for say, 50,000 miles – but I’m only willing to pay $1,000 in cash for the flight, does that mean the miles were worth the retail value of $10,000… or my “willing to pay” price of $1,000?

points worth

I used points to fly Lufthansa First Class… a product I’d NEVER pay cash for!

To me, they’re worth up to the cash cost because I typically travel for pleasure. Even though I value most points & miles at 2 cents each (at least!). Which in this case, 50,000 miles would be worth at least $1,000 but actually much more because of the retail price.

Knowing the selling price is the thrill of the deal. That’s the point of points in the first place (or First Class). And often, I use points & because only because of the retail value, despite what I’m “willing” to pay.

So I set my minimum value at 2 cents each because under that, you might as well use a 2% cashback card for the same (or better) result. I collect points for those times when I get outsized value – that’s what makes it worth it. And why I set the points value at – benchmark low – 2 cents each. But it all depends.

What’s your points value?

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Capital One Venture: A Solid 2X Card for Simple Rewards With No BS

I get it. Not everyone spends their Friday nights taking epsom salt baths and pondering the workings of various points programs.

Lots of peeps directly asked about the Capital One Venture Rewards card: is it worth getting?

My answer’s always been: yeah, if you don’t want to deal with points programs.

capital one venture review

The $500 sign-up bonus covers 5 years of the annual fee and is worth ~302,000 Chilean pesos (I drew that bull)

It has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived the first year. But the ease of redemption and earning might be worth it if you like the Capital One ecosystem.

Capital One Venture Review

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PV PLZ: Couples Massage at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Spa

(This is the last post about Puerto Vallarta, by the dubs.)

Y’all. I did something I’ve never done at a hotel before: paid out-of-pocket for a fancy spa day. I got a body scrub, body wrap, facial, and full-body massage. It was opulent, decadent, and completely amazing.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta spa

Getting ready for my spa day at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

During our stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, my friend and I took a stretching class one morning. On the way, we passed by the spa, mostly out of curiosity.

After touring the facility and taking a look at the spa menu, we decided the couples massage was actually a great value. So we set up the appointment to spend 4 hours in heavenly bliss.

PV PLZ trip report index

Breaking down the spa deal

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Everyone Should Dump Stupid Bank Fees (5 Options to Consider)

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If you’re paying fees to access your own money, it’s time to dump your stupid bank.

Do it now do it now DO IT NOW. If you pay $10 a month for not carrying a minimum balance, $2 to request a balance, or ATM fees when you need to withdraw money, vote with your feet. Get. Out. NOW.

dump your bank

Nope nope nope

I’ll share bank accounts that are completely FREE to have and use with NO minimum. Oh, and you don’t need a physical branch.

Get a FREE bank account (don’t pay to access your own money!)

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What It’s REALLY Like to Travel While Gay

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WARNING: This post contains graphic language that some may find offensive or triggering. If that’s you, please do NOT continue. 

There are places in this world I’ll never visit. Not because I don’t want to see them. But because they don’t want to see me.

Aside from political or economic strife, the entire globe is available to you if you’re a straight, white, cis man. But being a gay traveler, it isn’t possible.

travel while gay

I know I’m not wanted everywhere in this world. And I won’t go to those places. There’s a reason why

In fact, I’m used to watching my back when I visit different neighborhoods in my own town. I know that stopping at the wrong gas station can get me killed. Or that holding a partner’s hand in some countries can get me thrown in jail for obscenity, or executed.

There are a few things I always think about before I decide to take a trip. As a gay traveler, my biggest goal is to make it back home.

Why is it like this?

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The Best 2X Card for Non-Bonus Spending Now Has a 10,000 Point Welcome Offer

To start, the Blue Business Plus Amex is a small business card. But Amex is known to be generous with small business card approvals, so long as you have a for-profit venture, or are aiming to make a profit.

This card got instant “workhorse” classification. And it’s been a stalwart companion in my wallet since the day I got it.

amex blue business plus 10,000

MVP status, this one

When it launched in Summer 2017, there was a brief welcome offer for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. But when that faded, it went to nothing.

Now a welcome offer of 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points is available. But I think this card is good enough to get even without a bonus!

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Plastiq for Mortgage Payments Is Dead, Mostly 😿

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Thanks to readers Frank, Amar, and Ken for sharing experiences with their Citi AT&T Access More cards only earning 1X points for mortgage payments via Plastiq this month.

My statement just closed, too. And I can confirm: I only got 1X for last month’s mortgage payment. 😿

plastiq mortgage payments

Boo hiss! What’ll we do about you, Citi?

As of now, you can only use MasterCard and Discover cards to make mortgage payments through Plastiq. But you can still use any credit card to make rent or HOA payments.

So are there any good options left for paying mortgages through Plastiq? Or is it just… dead? 

What could be worth it for Plastiq mortgage payments?

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This Thursday 3/15: Join Us at the Frequent Flyer Meetup in Dallas!

It’s almost here!

In 3 days, this Thursday, 3/15 @ 6pm, please join 14 of us at the Out for Miles – Dallas points & miles/frequent flyer meetup!

So far, there are 54 peeps in the Meetup group. And 14 RSVP’d to the event this week! So it should be a nice crowd.

Grab a beer at this big yet cozy brewery in the Dallas Design District

I went to the venue last week to try a craft brew. And it was delish! The folks there are so welcoming. It should be a fun time to connect and mingle.

Here are the details.

Feel free to add your attendance via the links above. Or simply show up!

This place doesn’t serve food, but they don’t mind if you bring your own or have something delivered. I’ll try to have snacks brought in. There are also plenty of restaurants within a 5-minute drive.

See you in a few days!

What’s the Break Even Point for Chase Sapphire Cards?

How much do you have to spend each year for a Chase Sapphire annual fee to be worth it? The answer depends on:

  • Whether you spend in the bonus categories often
  • How much you value Chase Ultimate Rewards points
chase sapphire annual fee

It depends on your spending habits, but let’s take a looky-loo

I’ll break down spending in 3 scenarios:

  • Half bonus/half non-bonus spending with points worth their base rate for each card
  • Half bonus/half non-bonus spending with points worth 2 cents each
  • All bonus spending with points worth 2 cents each


1. Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Targeted: Get a $50 Gift Card for Letting Someone Walk Your Dog

Saw this offer pop up today on my Drop app. You can get 50,000 Drop points for signing up for Wag and scheduling a free dog walk (20 or 30 minutes).

drop wag promotion

$50 for treating your dog to a free walk

You have to activate the offer. Then sign up for Wag through the Drop app. Once the walk is done, you’ll get 50,000 Drop points in your account, which is enough for $50 in gift cards to popular stores like Amazon, Starbucks, and Whole Foods. My dog’s walk is tomorrow!

Drop Wag promotion: 50,000 Drop points for a dog walk

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