Just the Tip(s)

Category Archives for Just the Tip(s).

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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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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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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PV PLZ: Eating at All the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

The best part about staying at an all-inclusive is eating your face off. And I didn’t hold back during my 3-night free stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta last week. (I am currently doing a detox and running 4+ miles a day as penance.)

There are 5 restaurants here – and I ate at most of them twice!

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

The stunning view from Blaze (this is the only non-food pic in the post btw)

Here’s what you can expect from the food at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.

PV PLZ trip report index

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta restaurants

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PV PLZ: How I Booked a $2,000+ Mexican Vacation for $90 With Points

A couple of days ago, I returned from a MUCH needed break slash reset in sunny Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. A friend and I stayed 3 nights Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. She flew down from Chicago. And I flew from Dallas.

I only paid $90 to watch the sunset in Puerto Vallarta for 3 nights

Out-of-pocket, I paid $90 in addition to 60,000 Hyatt points for the room and 15,000 British Airways Avios points for award flights on American. Here’s how I did it!

PV PLZ trip report index

Get me to Mexico!

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Confirmed: FoundersCard Members Can STILL Get 4 Nights in the Bahamas (I Just Booked It!)

Oof. It’s been a rough ride for Caesar’s Total Rewards fans this year. In particular, they slaughtered their Diamond elite tierno more lounge access for starters, unless you have a certain number of tier credits.

total rewards atlantis

I’m coming back for more, Atlantis

One of the best perks about Total Rewards Diamond elite status has been 4 free nights in the Bahamas each year (I took them up on it in December 2016). And that’s changed, too.

I’m Diamond with Total Rewards because of FoundersCard. That perk was renewed through the end of January 2019.

I’m NOT a high roller but still got 4 free nights in the Bahamas

And great news: you can still get 4 nights at the Atlantis Paradise Island (a Marriott Autograph property). I had no trouble booking it over the phone with next to 0 tier credits today.

But now, you have to pay resort fees for the stay, and they’re ~$54 per night. Which is still a great deal. Just not as good a deal as before.

Looks like I’ll be going back to Nassau in May! I’m thinking of staying only 3 nights and spending the last one at the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar that isn’t even 1 year old yet!

Total Rewards Atlantis Information

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My $100 Haul of Free Mercedes-Benz Gear (The Card With This Perk Is Going Away!)

I’ve been meaning to write about this year’s edition of $100 in free Mercedes-Benz stuff (last year’s haul is here). I still have my glasses and water bottle, but lost the coffee cup to the TSA gods at LaGuardia. :/ (I now use a HydroFlask to transport coffee to the airport.)

I dusted off my certificate and headed to my local Mercedes-Benz dealership.

amex mercedes benz certificate

Thanks for the free jacket, water bottle, and keychain, Amex!

I ended up getting a nice fleece-lined windbreaker worth $89, a water bottle, and a keychain. Total cost: $0!

You get one of these $100 certificates every year with the Amex Platinum Mercedes-Benz card. But, as I just found out from Nick at Frequent Miler, it’s going away in January 2019. If you’ve never had it, get it while you can!

This year’s $100 Amex Mercedes Benz Certificate

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AncestryDNA Vs 23andMe – Which Ancestry Test Is Best?

Over the holidays, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: starting tracing my ancestry. Because both AncestryDNA and 23andMe had DNA tests on sale for Cyber Monday, I decided to get both – and compare.

AncestryDNA Vs 23andMe

Which DNA test reigns supreme?

For the basics, they’re pretty much the same – with an edge to AncestryDNA because of its bigger database.

But the health reports addition to 23andMe blew me away. And it’s worth spending the extra money to unlock a huge amount of personal information you might not even be aware of yet. That’s scary and exhilarating – and makes you consider how much you really want to know.

Dang it, I already let it slip which one I like more. #fairandbalanced 🤷🏻‍♂️

AncestryDNA Vs 23andMe Review

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Use Earny for Automated Visa and MasterCard Price Protection

I wrote about Trim and Paribus to track price changes and get a refund from merchants. Now there’s Earny, which tracks price changes and uses price protection from many bank Visa and MasterCard credit cards – and files the claims for you automatically. In return, they take 25% of the bounty.

earny app

Earny automates price protection with several bank Visas and MasterCards

I shop online a lot with my Citi AT&T Access More card (no longer available although you can still product change to it). All Citi personal cards come with Citi Price Rewind, which puts the onus on you to file a claim if you find a lower price. But now Earny automates the work. After you link your cards, nothing else is required to file a claim when Earny finds a lower price.

If you shop online a lot, this could save you big bucks!

What’s Earny?

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7 Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers (Many With Discounts)

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Merry merry! What a year it’s been. Some amazing products and services crossed my path this year. And I want to share them in case you need some gift ideas for the travelers in your life.

I have personally used them all. And can attest to their quality. It can be a challenge to shop when you don’t know exactly what to get someone. Consider these!

(And for good measure, here are some stocking stuffer ideas.)

Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers

1. A new blazer and/or chinos

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Trim + Paribus: 2 MUSTS for Online Holiday Shopping (Save Money & Time)

If you plan on purchasing gifts online this holiday season, there are two major things to watch for: price drops and missed delivery dates.

Price drops are extremely common with the onslaught of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals – and often there are even more as “the big day” draws near.

Trim is useful to:

  • Track price changes on Amazon
  • Set spending alerts
  • Monitor your monthly subscriptions
  • Get the best price on your cable/internet bill
track price changes

Trim lets you know when a price on Amazon decreases

And I wrote about Paribus waaaay back in May 2015. Not only has their service improved – it’s now completely free.

It’s helpful for tracking price drops at tons of merchants. And helps you get a little something (refund on shipping, store credit, Amazon Prime extension) if there’s a late delivery.

Both of these tools can save you money automatically in the background while you go about your shopping. They’re even better when their powers combine.

Trim aims to help your overall financial life

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