Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

Is the Citi AT&T Access More Card + RadPad a Viable MS Option?

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I wrote earlier about my wishes for the Citi ThankYou program and increasing fascination with Citi.

Today, I had some sort of psychic break and picked up the Citi AT&T Access More card.

Oops, I did it again

Oops, I did it again

I applied for it instead of the Citi ThankYou Premier card. Based on my current spending habits, and the fact that I already have Citi Prestige, the Citi ThankYou Premier seemed redundant.

Except for its broad 3X category for all travel including gas. But then I thought, you know, no.

Before I go all-in with Citi ThankYou, I wanna see what’s next. I can pick up that card up any time. And use my Chase Sapphire Preferred (or some other card) for gas/other travel.

And then, thinking more on the Citi AT&T Access More card, I thought about why it could be better. Including for paying rent at RadPad, a topic I’ve mined frequently.

About the Citi AT&T Access More card

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How I Made an Extra $60K from Airbnb in 2015

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Side hustle of the millennium

Side hustle extraordinaire

I’ve written a lot about my side hustle with Airbnb a lot in the past. So I thought I’d follow up, because side hustles are a big part of my FIRE, and a great way to dig yourself out of debt – or earn more income.

In my Q2 update, I estimated I’d make an extra ~$31K off the endeavor in 2015.

I took some knocks here and there, but doubled my original projection. All told, I earned an extra ~$60K from Airbnb in 2015. And most of it went toward debts. In 2016, I’ll earn less but hopefully knock out my student loans once and for all.

asd

Good vibes

Here’s how I did it.

The numbers

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16 Points & Miles Predictions for 2016

Happy New Year! I thought I’d hop on the bandwagon with the predictions. So here’s my effort.

"Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we?"

“Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?”

2015 was a crazy year

A portrait of the Fidelity AMEX card

A portrait of the Fidelity AMEX card

Out and Out’s Points and Miles Predictions for 2016

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Out and Out’s Best Posts of 2015

Wow. Out and Out made huge strides in 2015. A lot happened – and even more will happen in 2016.

Blog traffic tripled this year. In fact December 2015 is the biggest month ever for the blog (and it’s not over yet!). I’m thinking of how to improve things around here even more, and celebrating every step of the way because I couldn’t grow without your support.

Celebrate!

Celebrating!

You guys are awesome. I love my readers!

I’ve ironed out many ideas on here and found solid resolutions thanks to tons of community-focused comments. And meeting new peeps at the regular Reach for the Miles meetup has been fantastic.

I hope to continue the momentum and keep improving.

But first, I want to take a moment to pause and look back at where we’ve been this year.

Best of 2015

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PayPal My Cash Cards With Credit Cards at CVS Still Working, but YMMV

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Out and Out reader Jack commented:

Had trouble today for the first time loading my PayPal my cash card with a credit card at CVS.

Once the lady scanned the PayPal My Cash card the computer prompted her as CASH ONLY. She refused my credit card.

Did they finally hardcode?

I wanted to follow up because I had a similar experience here in New York City.

I went to a CVS on Houston Street, handed over 2 PayPal My Cash cards, and requested $500 on each, for a total of $1,007.90 after activation fees.

The cards scanned without a problem, and the total popped up.

I swiped my new Citi Prestige card, hoping to help meet the $3,000 minimum spending requirement this way, and then pay with rent with RadPad and the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard.

Like Jack, I got a similar prompt on the register. I asked if she wouldn’t mind just trying to swipe the card. It wasn’t declined. It simply didn’t process.

She said it looked like cash only – no credit cards allowed.

So I set out to try a store in southern Illinois over the Thanksgiving break.

Success! But it’s very YMMV

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Get an Easy 1% Cash Back on Your Rent and Other Debit Card Purchases

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I have to thank Out and Out reader Greg for pointing this out.  He says:

I have a Paypal Business Debit MasterCard that earns me 1% cash back on “credit” purchases. I don’t fund it, I just use it to pay almost all of my bills and have it linked to my bank account.

I get my 1% cash back on everything, don’t have to worry about my Paypal balance (as long as my bank balance is good), it makes me feel like I’ve added a layer of protection to my bank account, and it buys me some float time from when I make a purchase until it clears my bank account.

I don’t do “debit” transactions with it BC I don’t get 1% cash back and and money is immediately withdrawn from my bank account… Unless of course my Paypal account still has a balance left from my monthly cash back reward, then that is deducted before anything hits my bank account.

After doing a little digging, Greg is absolutely right!

I wrote about how to pay rent with RadPad and the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard.

You can add in PayPal My Cash cards purchased from CVS to earn points and miles, too. As long as you load up your account and ONLY take the money out through a purchase made from the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard.

asd

RadPad and PayPal play well together

And yes, RadPad specifically codes as a purchase and earns 1% cash back.

In application

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Get Instant Access to Aspiration Summit, the Best Checking Account in America

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Time Magazine just named Aspiration Summit the best bank account in America for 2015.

#1... I'd agree!

#1… I’d agree!

I’m glad I got in on the ground floor of this account. You can sign up too if you’d like!

About Aspiration Summit

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ABC + FIRE! (In which life is all acronyms.)

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I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a few months by now. Now here it is!

Yesterday, I made the final payment on my credit cards. Now, I don’t owe a cent of credit card debt!

As you guys know, I charged those puppies up to:

There was a point, a real and scary one, where I felt I’d certainly overleveraged myself.

I wrote about the feeling in Smart Debt: Is carrying a balance ever a good idea?

Side hustle of the millennium

Side hustle of the millennium

And I definitely felt I’d nearly crossed the line into plain ol’ dumb debt.

Digging out of credit card debt is by far one of the most psychologically strenuous exercises I’ve faced. And that moment where I saw the interest get charged felt so wrong, my stomach turned. But I knew I could shoulder a couple of months of interest to make it all back, plus more.

Still, it sucked.

And today is the official turning point where I go full-force into FIRE.

What is FIRE?

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New Aspiration Checking Account Has 1% APY and Free Global ATM Use

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Update 10/1/15: I just got my own invitation link.  Yay! You can sign up for an Aspiration Summit account here.

Update 8/26/15: I have the account set up now as well as email invites. If you’re interested, leave a comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll hook you up – it’s supposed to let you “skip the line!”

I’m always on the hunt for a great new banking product, so when I saw Aspiration’s new Summit checking account with a 1% APY (NOT APR!), I had to check it out.

Aspiration Summit checking account will earn you 1% APY when you have a $2,500 daily balance

Aspiration Summit checking account will earn you 1% APY when you have a $2,500 daily balance

I’ll show you the benefits and highlight one big caveat.

What’s Aspiration?

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There’s a New AMEX Serve Prepaid Debit Card

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It looks like Serve has a new prepaid debit card – and it’s already on the front page of their website.

Old blue Serve, meet new green Serve

OBS and NGS (Old Blue Serve and New Green Serve)

AMEX is apparently splitting the “Old Blue Serve” into 2 separate products.

And you can reload the “New Green Serve” at CVS, Family Dollar, Walmart, and 7-Eleven.

asdas

$0 “cash reloads” at CVS, Family Dollar, and 7-Eleven… I wonder if you can pay with a credit card?

And New Green Serve has a $4.95 monthly fee – but not if you’re in Texas, New York, or Vermont.

I’m not sure if you can have both products at the same time – or what the split means for Old Blue Serve, if anything.

Aside from the new monthly fee, and the free cash reloads, it looks like the 2 products are exactly the same.

It would be really awesome if CVS took credit cards for the “cash reloads.”

I’d take my new Hilton credit card for a joyride (as it’s one of the only credit cards left that still earns points at drugstores – 3X Hilton points @ $1,000 a month reload limit would equal 36,000 points annually.  That’s good for a few Hilton Category 2 hotel stays!).

All of the other terms and conditions – reload limits, ATM fees, etc. are identical.

After switching from Bluebird to Serve then to REDbird, then back to Serve again, I’ll keep my eye on this as it seems like AMEX is still rolling this out. This would be a great way (and convenient) way to manufacture some spend and pay bills you can’t ordinarily pay with a credit card.  Especially in the barren wasteland of New York City.

Although if you can’t, I’m perfectly fine collecting my free $240 a year with the Fidelity AMEX.

Mark this one as developing…

Kohl’s B’day Gift, Free Admirals Club Membership In, Instant FIA Credit Line Increase + Inquiry

Just a few bits and baubles to follow up on recent posts.

1. Kohl’s $10 Birthday Gift

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August is my birthday month, and Kohl’s got their timing perfect.

Because today, in the mail, was a card/gift from Kohl’s. Right after I mentioned how much I love them this morning.

$10 birthday present from Kohl's

$10 birthday present from Kohl’s

I also just received my Yes2Rewards this morning as an email, too.

Kohl’s has a great thing going. Their rewards program is more straightforward than Sears Shop Your Way Rewards and their website is way better, they have frequent discounts (usually 30% off) and promotion codes, often free shipping, and now I get a $10 bonus.

I wish their portal payout on the Discover Deals shopping portal was 10% cashback like Macy’s, Sears, and Kmart (it’s 5%).

But free money is great. I can always buy some new sheets and towels for my Airbnbs.

2. Admirals Club Membership Materials Are In

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No Annual Fee Cards + Personal Finance: Why You Need (At Least) One

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Like it or not, in this country you need good credit. It’s as avoidable as death or taxes. As in, not at all.

Starting out with credit cards, you’ll encounter a catch-22: you need good credit to get a credit card, but you need a credit card to build good credit.

No annual fee cards are NOT boring. In fact, they have some innovative rewards!

No annual fee cards are NOT boring. In fact, they have some innovative rewards!

A good place to start is no annual fee cards.

For beginners

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