About Harlan

Digital nomad living on the road and working toward financial independence.

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The best card for beginners has a sign-up bonus worth $1,250 – and easily MUCH more

Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K

If you haven’t had the Chase Sapphire Preferred yet – or if you’re eligible to get it again – the new sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points is worth – at a minimum$1,250.

And how are we getting to that figure? Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem them toward travel through Chase, so 100,000 x 1.25 = $1,250. You can book flights, hotel stays, even cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site. Set your payment to points and 100,000 of them are worth $1,250. 💥

Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K

Who’s ready to travel again with 100,000 Chase points?

That’s an amazing sign-up bonus on its own. And can be worth soooo much more when you transfer your points to Chase’s travel partners, which include Southwest, United, and Air France/KLM.

But the best transfer partner? Wait, lemme start a new section for all that. 😛

Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K bonus

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Three months a nomad: Personal finances and points on the road

On March 21, 2021 (3/21 – like a countdown), I put all my stuff in storage and headed out on the road as a digital nomad. I spent the first month in Memphis to be near family and find my road legs.

Today, I’m in Asheville, North Carolina, after spending a couple of months in Tennessee, including Nashville (where I earned Hyatt Globalist status with my stay) and Knoxville (at an Airbnb).

digital nomad finances

I’ve been hiking so much and it’s been so so nice

I can already tell that where I’ll stay will be a combination of:

  • Award stays with points
  • Paid hotel stays
  • Alternative booking sites (Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc.)
  • Airbnb
  • Stays with friends
  • And maybe even some camping

There’s no set way I’m doing this other than I’m trying to stay around $1,500 per month for my accommodations.

And when I pay, I’m always trying to get something back: elite status, a booking rebate, more points, redeeming an Amex Offer, or meeting minimum spending on a new card (or ALL of these with a single stay like I’m doing right now in Asheville – y’all know I LOVE a good stack).

So I’m really using every trick in the ol’ trick sack to maximize this lifestyle – and help it perpetuate itself.

I have no idea how long I’ll do this. I guess for as long as it feels good. After all, I know I can always get my stuff out of storage and rent an apartment again. But now that I’ve pared down my possessions to a few bags, I don’t see myself doing that any time soon.

Digital nomad finances and how I’m managing them

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Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K offer: It doesn’t get better than this!

Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K

Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K? Holy wow am I kicking myself. Chase keeps upping the ante on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. First 60K, then 80K, and now – 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. WOW.

I don’t think it’s going to get better than this. 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth:

  • $1,000 in cash 
  • $1,250 toward travel booked through Chase (flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and excursions)
  • Potentially much much more when you transfer points to travel partners like Hyatt (my favorite), United, British Airways, Air Canada (coming later this year), and others
Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K

Get back to travel in a big way with the new Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K offer

If you’re eligible for this offer, this is your sign! There’s no end date yet – get it while it’s still around!

Chase Sapphire Preferred 100K offer – what to know

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Crypto, traveling, & getting through a volatile market month – June 2021 Freedom update

June 2021 Freedom update

Howdy from Knoxville! I’ve been in Tennessee for a couple of months, but later this week I’m heading to Asheville, North Carolina – and very much looking forward to it!

Tennessee’s been great. I reconnected with hiking and made an effort to get moving and active again. Now I’m unstoppable, especially after climbing mountains in the Smokies this weekend.

It’s been a fun month in Tennessee

On the money front, things held steady. I’m up ~$4,000 despite wild market gyrations. I was able to throw $1,000 into savings and pay off every cent I put on my credit cards. And I didn’t hold back this month with the eating (and drinking) out .

I had a friend in town and woof, Nashville is an expensive city. I’m caught somewhere between living in the now and saving for the future… but let’s say “the now” took over a little more this month.

Oh and I’m newly a Hyatt Globalist member! All it took was a 29-night stay, but it worked out almost exactly as planned. Actually, I came out ahead of my calculations by a bit.

It feels so good to be transient (and I don’t use italics a lot).

June 2021 Freedom update

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40% of my goal reached, nomad life, & crypto – May 2021 Freedom update

May 2021 Freedom update

Y’all – I am so close to $200,000 that all I need is one good day in the market and I’m there. I’m officially at $198,676, which is 39.7% of my $500,000 goal. So close to 40% that I’m gonna go ahead and call it.

Hi from Nashville! I’m at a Hyatt Place about 25 minutes northeast of downtown. I’ve been here for nearly two weeks, and it’s been great so far! I’m eagerly awaiting my Hyatt Globalist status to kick in and in the meantime, I’ve been living and working.

There’s free breakfast with coffee and snacks to last most of the morning, and a fitness room where I can work out in the evenings. The local places have great lunch deals and happy hours, and I’ve been able to see a couple of things in Nashville and walk some quiet nature trails with my dog.

May 2021 Freedom update

I look like a happy demon with black eyes

I’m beginning to find my rhythm with this digital nomad stuff, though sometimes it’s weird to realize I don’t have a permanent address any more. But like, good weird. I also have to always be planning ahead, which energizes and simultaneously stresses me. But like, a good stressor. Can you tell this is new for me?

May 2021 Freedom update

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Stacking Hyatt offers: A month stay for $1,100 & net zero points + Globalist status

Chase World of Hyatt card

Hi from Memphis! I have about a week left here. The last few weeks have been filled with family visits and wayyy too much home cooking (if that’s even possible?).

Next Sunday, I’m heading to Nashville for a month to stay at the Hyatt Place Nashville/Hendersonville – a Category 1 Hyatt hotel, meaning award stays are 5,000 Hyatt points per night.

stacking hyatt offers

A month of free Hyatt breakfast and unlimited coffeeeeee

I’ll be there for 29 glorious nights, visiting local breweries, walking nearby trails with my dog, and seeing what Nashville is all about.

For the 29-night stay, I paid $1,158 and 70,000 Hyatt points. But thanks to multiple deals going on right now, I’ll get all 70,000 points back – and come out on the other side as a Globalist (Hyatt’s top elite status tier) and with an extra free award night. Which means my “rent” next month is $1,158, plus I get free breakfast and coffee every day, access to a fitness room and pool, free toiletries, and room service.

Here’s how I did it.

Stacking Hyatt offers for a one month stay

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Incentives for remote workers: Get paid to move to a new place

incentives for remote workers

The other day my mom sent a text about how West Virginia is paying remote workers $12,000 cash to move to the state. I must admit – it got me thinking. About a few things.

Right now, I’m a digital nomad, so I can theoretically live anywhere. But getting paid to move would surely sweeten the deal.

Could I really live in West Virginia?

I pondered it for a couple of days and even looked at houses online. Then I saw there are no Costco or Whole Foods stores in the entire state. But then I was like – so what? 

The biggest drawback would be living in a snowy place again. I’m not ready for heavy coats, frigid mornings, and driving on ice just yet, especially after my Texas experience.

Then I discovered there are many other places offering incentives for remote workers. It could lead to all new ways of living and traveling.

Incentives for remote workers

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Up $8K, becoming a digital nomad, & still saving – April 2021 Freedom update

April 2021 Freedom update

Hi from Memphis! The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. I intended to do an update in late March, as usual, but then decided it would be better to do these updates near the beginning of the month instead.

The start of this month was Easter – and I was in Oklahoma meeting my bio-son for the first time, which was incredible. When I got back, I was exhausted – still am. But wanted to get this posted.

April 2021 Freedom update

And just like that… I’m gone

Also at the end of March, I rented a truck and put all my stuff in storage. I’m now living on the road for an indefinite amount of time. I’ll be in Memphis for a few more weeks. Then Nashville for a month, Knoxville for two weeks, and Asheville, NC, for two weeks. And northeast for the summer.

And I dare say I’m saving more money than before? I’m getting close to a $200,000 net worth.

Living debt-free on the road: so far, so good.

April 2021 Freedom update

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My plan to be a digital nomad and slow travel for the rest of 2021

As I sat in the freezing dark for hours earlier this month, lit only by candlelight, a crisp and salient thought began to form: fuck this.

My windows were covered in condensation that made puddles on the window sill. I put towels down and tried to wipe it up as best I could. My power came back in flashes and I ran around charging everything and trying to heat the place. Over the course of a week, I paid $700 for what little electricity I got. In the middle of the week, my lease expired.

I didn’t want to renew it, nor did I want to move elsewhere in Dallas. So, I called to give what I thought was my 30-day notice. But noooo, it’s a 60-day notice. They’ll “try” to get it rented sooner. Oh and keep the power on until the last day, they reminded me.

digital nomad

Lovely

So this is how it ends – talk about a whimper.

I picked the date, called my brother, and reserved a U-Haul. I’m gonna throw my stuff in a storage shed and live on the road for a while.

First stop next month: Memphis.

Digital nomad life

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The level set and a miserable month, but still up $10K – February 2021 Freedom update

February 2021 Freedom update

Well, this month just about broke me. There was a historic, once-in-a-generation cold snap in Texas accompanied by power outages and wind chills of -15 or more. I found myself without heat, power, water, and internet for the better part of a week.

And there was nowhere to go because the roads were a slick, icy mess. Fort Worth had a 133-car pileup. I considered going to a hotel, but didn’t want to risk it. For the power I had, I paid $9/kWh and over $700 in electricity for February alone. My lease expired and I’m now paying a $400 per month upcharge.

Things are better now, but overall February was a cold, miserable month where I did work by candlelight and got price gouged out the eyeballs.

February 2021 Freedom update

And I got new glasses for those eyeballs before the power outages

But, the positives: I had never ran out of food, work was amazingly sympathetic, and my net worth rose nearly $10,000 despite everything. I now have all the creature comforts again, but it’s too little, too late. Next month, I have some personal news to share but the gist of it is: I’m finally leaving Dallas!

More on that soon!

February 2021 Freedom update

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Up $8K, starting a new 401k, and possibly switching brokerages? – January 2021 Freedom update

Since last month, I went from 33% of the way toward my $500,000 net worth goal to 35% of the way there. Once I reach $200,000, I’ll be 40% of the way. I find that breaking it up into little steps is a lot more manageable than thinking about the entire goal all at once.

This month finds me sitting at ~$173K, so I’m focused on ways to reach that next milestone. The stock market has been kind, and I’m back to rebuilding my savings after paying off all my credit cards and car note last month. All told, I’m up ~$8,000 this month. And in a few days, I should be getting the first deposit into my new 401k from the job I started a few weeks ago.

january 2021 freedom update

Cute dog alert! He was napping right before I took this pic of us

Now that I have no liabilities and only assets to think about, my finances have gotten a bit… routine? So of course I have to rock the boat.

I’m seriously thinking of moving some assets to Bank of America – enough to qualify for the Platinum Honors tier in the Preferred Rewards program – and opening a couple of new cards and a checking account with them. But the thought of switching from Fidelity to Bank of America and from earning points to cashback is giving me heartburn.

Thus are the thoughts that find me on this cool, rainy evening in north Texas.

January 2021 Freedom update

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FoundersCard Review 2021: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

FoundersCard Review 2021

Time to update my FoundersCard review for 2021! I’ve been a member for 7 years by now. Each year, they add more (and more useful) benefits, keep the best ones, and refine their partnerships based on member demand and use.

The upshot is making the most of even ONE perk can outweigh the $395 membership – and the rest is gravy. And when you sign up with my link, your rate will never go up.

I’ve used the 15% AT&T discount, Hilton Gold elite status, and Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status (which is back this year through January 2022!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.

And there are new benefits for 2021, mostly focused on business and lifestyle. A couple of the travel benefits have gone away, but I believe that’s reflective of where we currently are with Covid-19 and that they’ll return. Until then, what’s left is still a long list of benefits.

FoundersCard Review 2021

Has it really been 7 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again as a Charter Member

Here’s everything to know before you apply for membership.

FoundersCard Review 2021

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