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Out and Out’s Best Posts of 2015

Celebrate!

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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Also see: 

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

asd

Also see: 

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.

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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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Using credit cards + REDbird to pay off large debts – and earn major points

This topic came up a lot last night at the NYC Miles and Points Meetup, so I thought I’d do a post about it.

Lots of people were planning to use REDbird + points/miles credit cards to pay off large sums of debt, meet minimum spend requirements, and reach threshold bonuses offered by certain credit cards.

It’s an incredibly easy but effective idea.

Run all your bill payments through REDbird

REDbird

REDbird

REDbird lets you load up $5,000 per month – for free – using a points or miles credit card.

If you max that out for a year, that’s $60,000 run through a credit card.

My own personal example is my student loan. I’m so tired of it hanging over my head and I’m about ready to turn around and kick that sucker in the face – but I’m gonna get a free vacation out of it!

For roundness or whatever, let’s say you owe $50,000 to:

  • Student loans
  • Your car payment
  • A mortgage
  • Medical bills
  • Credit cards
  • Or any or company or even person

You can add any company as a payee on the REDbird website.

At the top of the site, hover over “Pay & Transfer” and a dropdown menu will appear.

Where to add payees

Where to add payees

From there, click “Add Payee” and get rockin’ and rollin’.

What you get out of it

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Confirmed: CVS accepts credit cards for PayPal My Cash reloads in NYC

I couldn’t wait until February to kick off Manufactured Spend Month: I just got back from CVS, where I successfully purchased two $500 PayPal My Cash reloads with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

New York can be kind of a barren wasteland for manufactured spending, but today it was a gold mine. It was like the Vanilla Reload days all over again.

I walked into a CVS in East Midtown in Manhattan. The gift cards were on an endcap, prominently displayed, near the registers. I immediately saw the bounty.

cvs paypal my cash credit cards

PayPal My Cash cards at CVS

I grabbed two of them and walked to the register – there was no line (the joy of shopping mid-day on a week day). I pulled out my license and credit card. The cashier looked at them and asked to see both. She didn’t say anything like, “Cash only,” or “We don’t accept credit cards,” which I was kinda bracing for. Whew.

She scanned the reload cards, then my license (because with activation fees, the transaction was over $1,000). I was a little worried that Barclays would flag the transaction like they did when I got my temporary REDbird card last month, but the little signature screen popped up, I signed, and all was good to go.

It was SO EASY and took all of a minute. I walked in, checked out, and was done. It was JUST LIKE Vanilla Reloads in every regard, including the loading up (which I will get to in a sec).

Then, in Brooklyn…

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How to pay bills with PayPal My Cash + Business Debit Card + RadPad + Evolve Money

UPDATE 1/26/15: A few readers have reported that their PayPal Business Debit Cards no longer work with Evolve Money. Indeed, when I deleted the card and went to re-add it, I got this error message:

Evolve Money error message

Evolve Money error message

Apparently other users that added the card previous have been grandfathered in, but new users are not able to add the PayPal card as a new payment method. Major bummer. I have updated posted to reflect this. RadPad is still working great though!

UPDATE 2: Just got this email from Evolve Money:

Screenshot 2015-01-26 10.30.17

#deadinthewater

I’m going to dub February “Manufactured Spend Month” for Out and Out.

I still have the intention to make that data point about the REDbird (see link above), and I’ve been eyeballs deep in FT/Milepoint convos about it the past few days. All signs point to: it should work. I’ve been nervous about killing my Serve card only to find that it can’t be loaded in NYC – which is already kind of a barren wasteland for MS to begin with. If the Target in Brooklyn doesn’t let me load REDbird, the next closest Target is in Harlem, which is a bit far for me. But, positive vibes.

With the Serve card, I can reload $1,000 per month from my computer or phone without leaving home. With REDbird, I’d have to make at least two in-store visits per month. But I can reload 5 times more per month. And I won’t have to worry about cash advance fees, which means I am free to use any card I want (although I’ve heard US Bank is beasting about the reloads and flagging them all as fraud.)

With all of this in mind, and with all the other work I have going on, I have decided to make my data point in February and get one more round of loading out of the Serve card before I kill it. Hence February being declared MS Month.

Anyway, aside from REDbird, I started adding up the ingredients for an addendum to the madness. It could be another way to run an additional $4,000 of MS through credit cards and a great way to pay rent, student loans, and everyday bills, or to load Serve or REDbird.

Stop! HT time.

Before I get any further, I have to stop and do some HTs:

Finally, I thought I had coined the term “Perpetual Points Machine” (PPM). No. That would be Frequent Miler, who began using the term as early as 2011. It’s one of those terms that you read once or twice and it just gets stuck in your head. FM has lots and lot of great stuff about manufacturing spend, and I’m not surprised he is original user of this phrase.

PayPal My Cash Cards

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