About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

More articles by Harlan »

New Credit Card Checklist: What to Do When You Receive Your New Card

Getting a new credit card is a big step for lots of peeps. It’s a new account, new financial history, and something else to track.

New Credit Card Checklist

Did you know your new credit card came with a checklist? It does. Sorry 

Some of you might be like “Ugh,” but I’m like “Yay!” Even though I have 33 credit cards right now (yep!).

Here are the steps I take with each new card. And you should, too. It’ll help maximize your benefits, earn more rewards, and keep track of what’s what!

So ya got a new card, eh?

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Acorns: A Simple Way for Beginners to Invest (And You Should!)

Lately, I’m concerned with helping my 24-year-old brother develop healthy financial habits. I didn’t take control of my financial life until I was nearly 30. And god I wish I could get back those early years. Why?

Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.

The earlier you start, the longer your money grows. It’s a simple concept. But so many peeps put off investing.

It’s perceived as complicated, overwhelming, and something to fear. The financial industry made sure you feel that way so you’ll overpay some bozo to manage your finances. Don’t get tricked. Get smart – and fast. Your financial future is an out-of-control emergency you can’t afford to sleep on.

It doesn’t matter where you start. Just as long as you do start.

acorns app review

Am I crazy about Acorns? No. But it’s a great place to begin

Acorns is a micro-investing app that will fit the bill nicely. Here’s my review.

Why Acorns?

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My Free Anniversary Night in Downtown Austin – Thanks to the Chase Hyatt Card!

Say what you will about Chase, but their hotel cards that come with a free anniversary night are worth every penny.

And fortunately, some of them are still accessible even if you’re over 5/24, including:

I wrote how I got $500 in value from the Chase IHG card earlier this year. And I’ve used my Chase Hyatt free night certificate at the Hyatt Centric in New Orleans and the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. I also wrote about 5 worthwhile Category 4 hotels where you can get lot of bang for your Hyatt free night cert.

hyatt anniversary night

A view of Texas hill country – paid for with my Hyatt free night certificate

And this past weekend, I got a stay worth ~$284 at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown (full review soon!) in exchange for my $75 annual fee.

With values like this, a card with a valuable free night each cardmember year is a no-brainer to keep year after year. Especially when you can get outsized value in popular areas like downtown Austin.

A cute lil weekend trip

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Hacking Uber: Earn Points, Cashback, and Credits Every Time You Ride 🚙

To disclaim up front, I have a difficult relationship with Uber. I don’t like how they treat their drivers, women in particular, and their company culture seems… toxic. For the longest time, you couldn’t even tip your driver, which is why I preferred Lyft.

However, I’ve been riding Uber more lately because they make it so easy to stack multiple offers when you ride.

earn points with uber

Oh, Uber. I am “getting there”

And, I’m hopeful they’re slowly but surely turning things around.

With Lyft, you can only earn 3X Delta miles – and 30 JetBlue points on airport trips. Which, meh.

I’d rather earn cashback and Drop points, use travel credits, and get Uber credits for shopping around town. And many times you can stack these deals. You know I love a good stack!

1. Easy win: $1 from Ibotta every time you ride

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How (and Why!) to Use Mint.com to Track Your Credit Card Spending

With over 30 credit cards in my sock drawer wallet now, I have a lot to keep track of. Especially minimum spending requirements and limited-time promotions. I’ve long advocated everyone use Mint.com to track transactions on all their accounts.

Especially because you can see your transactions at a glance – that’s helpful to monitor any unwanted activity if you have several accounts.

mint card spending

Mint.com is the (free!) ace in your hole

But there’s another extremely helpful use: you can track your spending on a particular account based on date or timeframe. Which helps you know how close you are to meeting a spending threshold. Here’s how.

Mint.com – an easy way to track your spending

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The Dublin 2017: $2,000+ Cashback This Year From a No Annual Fee Card 💸

Oh my word, I am in love with the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card. I just got my third one and am already busy earning that sweet cashback.

After the first year with my first card, I earned ~$1,184 in matched cashback (~$2,368 in cashback for the year). And after the first year with the second card – this year – I earned ~$1,113 in matched cashback. Or ~$2,226 for the year. All this from a card with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

discover it cashback match

Incredible – look at that sweet cashback

It’s easy to get $600 in cashback if you make the most of the bonus categories. And you can get a sometimes staggering 30% cashback by stacking the Discover Deals shopping portal with the rotating quarterly bonus categories. When I say “it adds up” I mean it REALLY adds up!

I wasn’t sure if I could get the same card 3 years in a row. But I’m living proof that you can. And even at the low end, $600 back from a no annual fee card is still worth it. I think everyone (especially those over 5/24) should get this card!

Why now is an amazing time to get a Discover it® Cashback Match™ card

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5 Ways to Earn Points for Airbnb Stays (10% Back at Least!)

My friend Meghan asked if I knew of any ways to save on an Airbnb booking. I gave the obvious one – get $40 off a $75+ stay with a new account.

save on airbnb

New to Airbnb? Save $40 off your first $75+ stay

Most everyone already has an Airbnb account by now. But if you don’t, here’s my link if you’d like to sign up (and I’ll get a $20 travel credit as well).

That’s honestly the biggest savings. Still, there are other ways to get a return on your Airbnb stay: earn points or miles for it. Depending how you like to redeem them, you can get big value by stacking a few of the methods I’ll tell you about.

Lezz begin, shall ve?

5 ways to earn points and miles for Airbnb stays

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Costco Members: 2 Dozen Kirkland Golf Balls for ~$35! (Limit 2)

Quick!

If you’ve been on the hunt for the Kirkland Signature 4-piece Urethane Cover Golf Ball, here’s your chance because they’re back in stock!

Kirkland Signature Golf Balls

Kirkland Signature Golf Balls are a hot item in the resell community

They’re ~$30 for 2 dozen, shipping is ~$5, some states have taxesand the limit is 2 per membership. If you’ve been looking for these either to resell or just have as gifts or to use, go go go!

The elusive Kirkland Signature Golf Balls are back

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I Had to Use (My Chase Visa’s) Primary Rental Car Insurance – and Saved $692!

It finally happened – I had to file a claim to use my card’s collision damage waiver benefit. I knew the day would arrive sooner or later.

After I hiked down from Granite Park Chalet, I found my rental car had a little *DING* on the front passenger side door. The parking lot was packed, and it was obvious someone parked too close and opened their door too hard into my rental car. It was nearly imperceptible to the point where I thought about not saying anything about it.

Primary Rental Car Insurance

See that little dent? Yeah, I nearly didn’t either… *grumble*

But, I was responsible and filed a proper report when I returned the car. I wasn’t expecting to ever hear anything about it again. Until one day, I got a random call saying they filed a claim against me. In a near-panic, I filed my own claim online through Chase in just a few minutes.

THANK GODS I waived the CDW and put the charge on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Taking those small steps saved me nearly $700 – for a little ding on a car door.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Primary Rental Car Insurance

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Yasss: Just Got My 3rd Discover it® Cashback Match™ Card (And New Application Rules!)

Also see:

When last we spoke of my beloved Discover it® Cashback Match™ card, I’d been rejected from getting my 3rd card for a 3rd year in a row. And encouraged to apply again “at a later time.” 🙄

On a hot October morning, and on a lark, I rang Discover to reconsider me one more time. The phone agent explained the application had expired even though it had been under a month. Then repeated that ingratiating little line: “You are welcome to apply again any time.”

I noticed Discover did NOT pull my credit last time I applied. So reasoned even if they did, it was hit I was planning to take anyway. I asked if I could apply with her on the phone, just in case.

I selected the rainbow design again. Entered all in my info. Pressed “Submit Application,” and got my little high. And then…

third discover it

Squeeee

I was approved for my 3rd Discover it® Cashback Match™ card! Visions of The Dublin danced in my head. And I learned why my previous application was auto-denied…

Discover’s new application rules

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Last Day: Get 5,000 Drop Points ($5) for Out and Out Readers!

Special Drop Offer for Out and Out Readers: 5,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus!

Just a quick reminder. Spencer from Straight to the Points set up a special promotion code for Out and Out readers for downloading the Drop app.

Get 5,000 Drop Points

Get early access to Drop!

You get:

  • Early access to the app
  • Higher earning rates if you sign-up today
  • 5,000 Drop points with promotion code “outandout” – worth a $5 gift certificate at tons of merchants

There’s also an ongoing offer to earn extra points with Plastiq. If you haven’t already, take a minute this Saturday and get $5 free for downloading!

After you link your banks, the points add up automatically. The only reason you’d want to interact with the app is to activate special offers and redeem your points.

There’s currently a waitlist for the public – but the promotion code above also gets you early access. It’s a pretty cool deal, so definitely take advantage if you haven’t already!

Boom

You can also search “earn with Drop” or “Drop loyalty” in your device’s app store to find the app. Follow the prompts and under the “Account” section under Settings, there’s a box that says, “Have a code?” Click it and enter “outandout” to activate your bonus. 👍🏻

Oh and if you can’t find the Plastiq offer listed under “Ongoing Offers” shoot Drop a quick email (inside the app) and ask them to add it for you. Other readers have had success that way.

Thank you for reading – hope you all have a good weekend! 😺