discover it

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I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

I like you now and I'll be sad when you leave

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There, I said it.

In 2013, I famously said (typed), “I don’t care about Starpoints.” At the time, my grievances were:

  • 1 point per $1 spent was too low of an earn rate
  • You have to spend so much to earn a meaningful reward
  • The earn rate with other hotel programs is better, so why bother with Starwood?
Starwood Points vs cashback

I like you now and I’ll be sad when you leave

But a lot has changed since then. The merger with Marriott opened a few cool new opportunities, like:

Nothing's fine I'm torn

Nothing’s fine I’m torn

And, I’ve been putting a non-bonused spend on my Amex Starwood card, to the chagrin of my previously beloved Fidelity Visa. (Although I still use the mess out of my Discover it card cuz I want that sweet Dublin!)

In fact, I think I’m…. over cashback cards. For now, at least.

Drinking the Starpoints Kool-Aid

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

"What have I gotten myself into now?"

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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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6 Last-Minute Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for the Frequent Traveler

An incredibly affordable and thoughful gift

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Yeahhhh buddy, ’tis the season (for putting things off to the last minute)!

If you have an Amazon Prime membership, there’s still time to order gifts before Christmas with free 1-day or 2-day shipping.

Here are some cute stocking stuffers for anyone who travels often. And hey, if you get an Amazon gift card, maybe you’ll treat yourself to a couple of these. (Or if you buy one, use your Discover It card for 5% cashback through December 31, 2016. Just remember to activate your bonus before you shop).

6 Gift Ideas for Travelers

1. Noise-canceling earbuds

For the love of gods, yes yes yes. These little guys are worth their weight in gold if you want to work or read during your flight. And if you get the seat next to a screaming child (we’ve all been there), they can go a long way toward preventing that third Aleve (or is that just me?).

gift ideas for travelers

The prices run the gamut

Earbuds are like cars: there are cheap ones, and there are really not cheap ones. What’s funny is how, at all price ranges, you can find a solid pair with nearly all 5-star reviews.

I’d personally go middle-of-the-road, but whatever you decide on will surely be welcomed with open arms. I mean… ears. 🙂

2. Travel tubes

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The 4 Best Credit Cards for Holiday Season 2016

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It’s nearly mid-November, how’d that happen?

I’m gearing up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, as I’m sure many of you are, too.

holiday 2016 best credit cards

Dear everyone I know, you might get a kitchen appliance. Love, H.

Here are my top picks for cards to use for gift shopping and travel this holiday season.

Holiday 2016 best credit cards

1. Chase Freedom

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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.

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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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Yes! Just Got My $1,100+ Discover It Cashback Match (The Dublin)!

Gee thanks, Discover!

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Well, I woke up this morning to find a smooth $1,100+ in raw cash in my Discover It account. Talk about something nice to wake up to!

And just last week, I got a second Discover It card – so I can have another Dublin around this time next year!

Um, what’s The Dublin?

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Coming Soon: The Doubling (of Discover Cash Rewards Earned This Year)

Not this Dublin - but close!

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Or, “The Month Discover Pays My Mortgage

Or, “The Dublin

  • Link: Discover It (with $50 bonus after 1st purchase)

An event so anticipated. It only happens once per year. The month Discover is nice enough to pay my mortgage – THE DUBLIN.

Not this Dublin - but close!

Not this Dublin – but close!

If you don’t have a no annual fee card, or if you staunchly refuse to pay an annual fee on a card for whatever reason, you definitely have a lot of options.

Without making an exhaustive list, I can think of the Citi Hilton Visa, Chase Freedom, Citi Costco, Amex EveryDay, and the Chase Ink Cash and Amex SimplyCash Plus for small businesses.

And, if you want a cashback card with no annual fee, the best ones are:

  • Discover It (5% bonus categories and 1% cash back on other purchases, doubled after the 12th billing cycle for new cardmembers)
  • Discover It Miles (1.5% cashback on all purchases, ditto for the double cash back)
  • Fidelity Visa (straight 2% cashback, but you have to have a Fidelity account – all free to have and open)
  • Citi Double Cash (2% cashback, but you earn 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off)

I tend to like bonus categories because I make the most of ’em, but you might prefer straight cashback with no categories to think about.

You can find all the cards that aren’t linked above by clicking through here.

History of The Dublin

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Should You Use a 0% APR Card to Pay Off Debt?

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NOTE: The card APRs in this post are current at the time of writing (July 28th, 2016). Be sure to check the offers for more details.

So here’s an idea I’ve been tossing around.

It absolutely burns me up that I’m still dealing with student loan debt. And it should. Mr. Money Mustache said it best:

YOUR DEBT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU “WORK ON”. IT IS A HUGE, FLAMING EMERGENCY!!!

I’ve put off paying down this debt because there have been other opportunities to earn more: I bought a house, maxed out my IRA, started Airbnbs, and now I’m looking at buying a duplex in the DFW area.

All of these things either appreciate or earn more than the interest I pay on my student loans.

But I’ll be damned if carrying that balance doesn’t give me a red rump.

The idea

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The 2 Best No Annual Fee Cashback Cards: Fidelity AMEX and Discover It

Pick a card, any card...

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Or, you’re crazy not to get these 2 cards. They’re free money!

I’m reviewing my cards because it’s getting to the end of the year and doing a little maintenance on what needs to get dumped or renewed.

On the dump list is:

I need to clear out some clutter because I recently added:

Out with the old, in with the new as they say.

But, there are 2 cashback cards definitely worth keeping and/or getting. And yes, there’s a distinction.

Keep the Fidelity AMEX forever

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Giving Assistant Dropped 5% Cash Back at Amazon… But You Should Still Use It When You Shop There

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RIP 5% cashback on Amazon purchases via Giving Assistant.

really enjoyed getting that cashback on products sold and shipped by Amazon.

But, if you’re shopping at Amazon anyway, you should still click via Giving Assistant.

Why?

Donate 2% to charity

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Easily Save Money at Amazon.com With Paribus and Giving Assistant

Another $6 back in the ol' pocket

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I’ve been shopping at Amazon.com a lot recently (for things like rose petal water), and have gotten a few bucks back here and there.

I liken it to seeing a buck on the ground. It’s not a lot, but you’re definitely gonna pick it up, right?

It’s kinda like that.

Were going into Q4 on Thursday, October 1st, which is a big day for Amazon shoppers and means:

  • 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase Freedom + 5% cash back 
  • 15% cash back possible with Discover It

There are 2 services that’ll boost your Amazon shopping experience and maybe give you a few bucks back.

Paribus

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Activate Cash Back for Discover It Q4 Bonus Categories (Amazon.com, Clothing & Department Stores)

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I’ve loved having the Discover It card so far. It offers an unparalleled 10% cashback in rotating quarterly bonus categoriesthe 1st year at least.  In fact, if you max out the categories each quarter, the card is good for an easy (and completely free!) $600 cashback.

The card has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee. I’ve written about the importance of having at least 1 no annual fee credit card. And this one is a very worthy candidate for that slot.

Discover It’s Q4 bonus categories

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