Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

Join Me at FinCon 2017 in Dallas with Limited-Time $249 Passes

Get your finance fix, Texas-style

I read a lot of personal finance blogs. Increasingly, they mention “travel hacking” AKA what we do on the daily as a way to travel cheap.

And it’s true – I see the parallels between the 2 niches. Especially if you’re using the money you save on traveling and put it in a retirement account. WHICH YOU ALREADY DO, RIGHT? 😉

So when I learned FinCon will be in Dallas this year, I couldn’t think of a single reason not to attend – expect for maybe the cost of the pass.

When I looked, I saw the basic passes were only $249 until February 14th, 2017. Then they’d go up to $469.

Be a Super Early Bird and Come to FinCon for $249

Be a Super Early Bird and Come to FinCon for $249

I whipped out my card faster than you can say “points and miles” and bought a pass without a second thought. And you should come, too!

Why attend FinCon?

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How a $6 Charge Made My Credit Score Drop 100 Points

So, so ugly

Considering all the things I’m juggling all the time, my accuracy rate is pretty high. But more to keep track of means more things fall through the cracks.

Before I moved to Dallas ~7 months ago, I changed all my addresses to my new address. During this, I paused the shipping on my Dollar Shave Club account.

And somewhere along the line, I canceled my Amex EveryDay Preferred card because I wasn’t making 30 transactions on it per month. To help with the transactions, and because it was so low, I made it my primary card for Dollar Shave Club’s recurring $6 monthly charge.

You can guess what happened. Somewhere in the middle of everything, the shipping resumed.

my credit score dropped

$6 messed up my credit score

And somehow, the charge cleared. Usually, when a card is closed, you’ll get an email from the merchant saying the payment failed. Not so with this one.

Amex cleared the charge. And I never got an email from or letter from them. Until one day, I saw my credit score dropped from 803 to 702 – because of non-payment of the $6 charge.

Amex has no idea what’s going on

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Kohl’s Deal Results: What I Learned & How It Turned Out

"What have I gotten myself into now?"

Also see: 

A few times per year, Kohl’s sells small kitchen appliances at a steep discount. With card category bonuses, shopping portals, promo codes, and rebates, it works out to better than free – especially if you can resell them. It’s the ultimate in deal stacking.

I ordered 40 appliances. (Do I sound crazy yet?)

kohl's deal results

“What have I gotten myself into now?”

While I’d love to say the whole thing went off without a hitch, that’s not exactly true. Here’s what I learned about stacking. And how it all turned out.

Stacking is like jenga

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Are Checking Account Bonuses the New Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?

sdf

I opened 3 new checking accounts last week. And will earn a total bonus of $900 after making the required number of transactions and/or direct deposits.

That’s a super easy way to make $900. And I didn’t even have a credit pull.

checking account bonuses

Boom

I have around 30 credit cards. And currently can’t get most Chase, Citi, or Amex cards because:

  • Chase has 5/24
  • Citi limits to “family of brands” every 24 months when you open OR close an account
  • Amex has the once per lifetime (AKA every ~7 years) rule

I’m not interested in any Barclaycards. Or US Bank cards. And I can’t get more Discover cards (limit 2).

I’m really only dealing with Bank of America these days for Alaska miles from credit card sign-up bonuses. Except for when there’s an odd offer here or there.

So, scraping the bottom of the barrel. But it’s not so bad down here! I’ve been following more checking account bonuses recently – a new world indeed.

How I got $900 in a week from checking account bonuses

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Pick Up 30,000 Alaska Miles Every 45 Days

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I recently picked up an personal Alaska Visa card, then tried to get another one soon after. It was automatically denied. Like, straight up the answer is no.

That’s unusual, so I thought it may have been because I didn’t lower the limits on my existing Alaska cards before applying. Not wanting to waste the hard pull on my credit (because multiple inquires on the same day are combined), I applied for the business version of the card and was instantly approved.

alaska miles every 45 days

Deeee-nied!

But I didn’t want to let it go. I called the next day to speak to a credit analyst (they are open 8am to 7pm and I usually apply for new cards late at night while tipsy) for reconsideration.

I offered to lower my limits on one of the other cards, as they are pretty high (like $20,000 each), but she said the denial had nothing to do with my credit score or account history. And moving credit lines wouldn’t help me, either.

I was denied because I already opened a personal Alaska card within the last 90 days – which was the first time I’d heard that. But apparently it’s been enforced sporadically for a while.

So I figured how to play by the “new” rules and still get my doses of Alaska miles: rotate between the personal and business versions of the card every 90 days.

Get 30,000 Alaska miles every 45 days

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I Saved $3,000 With Citi Prestige Last Year (and Got a Retention Offer)

I still luh ya, but not *as* much

Also see: 

My Citi Prestige card’s $450 annual fee recently posted. I will happily keep it for another year (if only to have Admirals Club access through the end of July 2017).

I’ve dutifully tracked the value I’ve gotten on the Citi Prestige by the Numbers page. But I want to dig into the numbers a little more.

citi prestige worth keeping

Sorry for the selfie, but I needed a pic for this post

I also got an retention offer to earn 7X Citi ThankYou points on $8,750 in spending on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies – which is fine because I book ALL my airfare on this card to take advantage of its industry-leading trip delay and cancelation insurance that kicks in after only THREE hours (better than Chase Sapphire Reserve and any personal Amex card).

Year One by the numbers

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Did You Do the Kohl’s Appliance Deal? Get Back $2 per Item!

Throw them all in the same pot

Out and Out reader Claudia let me know all the of the items included in last week’s awesome Kohl’s appliance deal are now on sale for $14.99 (at the time, they were all $16.99).

So if you’re crazy like I was/am, and bought 40 items in total, making a quick 15-minute call to Kohl’s can get you $80 back!

That obviously sweetens the previous deal – and saves you more.

Here are a couple of things to note.

Some tips for Kohl’s, and shopping in general

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[EXPIRED] Hurry! ~$500 Moneymaker on Kitchen Appliances at Kohl’s With Discover It or Freedom

Lots of appliances for $17

Update 10/4/16: It looks like Kohl’s gift card purchases from the MPX app are NOT coding as department store as expected. Peeps in the comments say it didn’t work with their Chase Freedom cards.

No dice here, either

No dice here, either 🙁

It looks to also be true with Discover It. My purchase coded as “Misc. General Merchandise.” So I lost the 10% cashback and will get 2% cashback instead.

I haven’t heard of this happening before now, so I will gather new data points before I recommend this moving forward. Thanks to all who let me know!

I’m bummed about this, but at least we got the 1,500 United miles (worth ~$30) as consolation. Though I would’ve preferred the cashback.

Update 10/3/16: This deal has expired. I plan on writing about my experience with it – here’s how to keep up with the blog so you’ll get the updates!

Need a little rush this weekend? How about buying $600+ worth of appliances at Kohl’s? 

Last year they had a similar appliance deal I didn’t take part in. But this year I did.

Now before you think I’m crazy (although it may be waaay too late for that), let me explain.

This is a moneymaker if you do it right!

Hat tip to Jill Cataldo for blogging about this and my friend Jas for turning me on to this deal!

Build the deal

I feel like I say this every time I write about Kohl’s, but… it’s no secret I freaking love Kohl’s.

Right now, they have a lot of appliances on sale for $17, including:

Lots of appliances for $17

Lots of appliances for $17

In total, there are 8 kitchen appliances at the $17 price. 

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All of the items have a $12 Visa gift card rebate

And, all of the items linked above are eligible for a $12 mail-in rebate. You get a Visa gift card with a limit of 5 per product.

That means if you buy 5 of all 8 items, you can get 40 X $12 back, or $480.

Right now, there’s also a 15% promo code: SMS1871. And it does work for these items.

When you add all of them to your cart and add the promotion code, the total is ~$625. You also get $110 in Kohl’s cash to spend next week.

sa

I paid ~$625 for all 40 appliances

Note that taxes in your state might be different than mine! In Texas, the taxes came to ~$48.

And, you must purchase the items by tomorrow, October 2nd, 2016, to qualify for the rebate (here’s the rebate form). Cheers to the weekend!

Stack stack stack

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Promos Gone Wild: Earning Miles & Points For Rent (Guest Post)

Womp womp

Hey all! Meet Spencer!

He loves the Plastiq and Citi AT&T Access More combo as much as I do. I thought it would be fun to add his ideas about the recent RadPad promotion debacle that lead to the new Plastiq offer – to shake it up a little here at ol’ Out and Out. 🙂

A big thanks to Spencer for lending his thoughts!


Anyone who’s read Out and Out knows Harlan LOVES earning miles and points when he pays rent. When there’s a fun promo, you better believe he’s ready for it.

The Rent Promo Of The Year (Or Not)

Two weeks ago, RadPad rocked the points world with a promo that allowed fee-free credit card rent payments via Android Pay.

plastiq 1.75%

Gone too soon

This earth-shattering offer was set to run through the end of 2016. That’s four months of fee-free, points-earning rent fun!

Fast forward to last night.

RadPad posts an update on their blog. They have pulled the promo.

RadPad’s crushing announcement

RadPad’s crushing announcement

Only people who registered prior to August 24th, 2016, would be eligible and they will only be eligible for one rent payment that has to be paid by August 31st, 2016.

According to RadPad, Android Pay use increased from less than 5% of rent payments to 70% in the span of two weeks. That’s insane!

Well, so much for that points windfall.

If you were set on fee-free RadPad, where does that leave you?

The Consolation Prize (It’s A Good One)

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Get an Extra 3X on Gift Cards at Staples (So 8X If You Have a 5X Office Supply Card)

Update: Wow, instant response! Chuck from Doctor of Credit let me know this may or may not work. So for now, I think the best thing to do is start slow at your local Staples (like try $5 and see if it works) and go from there, should you decide to try this. Thanks all for any info you want to add!

I was poking around as I am wont to do and assembled an 8X combination that I think will work.

Now, I haven’t done this myself, but it seems totally do-able.

What you’ll need to get started is:

  • The MileagePlus X app (which I’ve written about) AND
  • If you want 8X points, a Visa or MasterCard that earns 5X at office supply stores

Such as:

You can also get 5X on top of what you’ll earn from any other card with the exception of a couple of Amex cards.

Or, if you’re trying to meet a minimum spending requirement and want to get an extra 3X at office supply stores, this should work nicely.

Stack 3X through MileagePlus X with 5X on another card

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Airbnb by the Numbers: An Update for 2016

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

Also see: 

Back in 2014, when I rented my first Airbnb apartment, I felt like I was doing something crazy. Then, in 2015, I made an extra $60,000 from Airbnb rentalsafter taxes and expenses.

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

Mike from Upgrd playfully calls me a slumlord. My Airbnb posts tend to get a LOT of polarity in the comments; I’ve addressed my moral and ethical position in this post.

I get a lot of questions about why I do it and how it’s going. So here goes.

Why I still love Airbnb

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Earn Points for Rent and Mortgage Payments With Plastiq (2% Fee With MasterCards)

asd

Also see: 

I’ve long enjoyed using RadPad despite its 2% fee because I’ve been earning 3X Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on rent with my Citi AT&T Access More card, which far outweighs it, especially when paired with Citi Prestige.

But on June 1st, 2016, RadPad is increasing its rent bill payment fee to 3.49%, which makes the service much less appealing.

Byeee

Byeee

But, Plastiq easily takes its place – and charges a 2% fee on MasterCard payments. Even better, you can earn 3X Citi ThankYou points with the Citi AT&T Access More card. And, it works on mortgage payments, too.

Plastiq is the new sheriff in town

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* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 per day!) or in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!