About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Right Now Is a Good Time to Use Yearly Credits (Or Get Them 2X!) on Amex Platinum and Gold Cards

October – chilly autumn air, pumpkins, scary movies, the inevitable return of the holidays, then a new year. And for many cards, mainly the Amex Platinum and Gold cards, the last opportunity to use your statement credits. Such is Q4.

And if there’s a card you want, you still have enough time to apply, use the credits for 2018 – then get a fresh batch of credits to use in 2019. You effectively get double the credits for 1 annual fee, which is awesome.

amex statement credit

Treat yo self to an upgrade, checked bag, or something extra this year AND next for 1 annual fee!

Here are cards for an end of the year double-dip.

Get an Amex statement credit 2X in 2018 and 2019

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10 Easiest Signup Bonuses to Earn (7 Under $500, 3 With a Single Purchase!)

This one’s for peeps who think they can’t earn signup bonuses because the minimum spending requirements are too dang high.

When you think about, spending $3,000 (the usual spending requirement) is, of course, $1,000 per month for 3 months – or $250 per week. These cards tend to have the highest bonuses.

The problem with bank marketing is they throw out huge numbers and scare people off. But when you break it down, it appears way more manageable.

In any regard, there are plenty of cards with much lower minimum spending requirements. And some of them are genuine keepers!

cards with low spending requirements

Or rather, they look high – but most of them aren’t that bad once you break it down

Let’s look at 10 of the easiest signup bonuses you can earn.

10 cards with low spending requirements

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10 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards – All With a 2% or Better Return

Everyone should have at least 1 credit card without an annual fee. When a card is free to keep forever, you never have to second-guess it. And the card works its powers on your credit report to increase available limits, decrease utilization, and help boost the average age of all your accounts.

My oldest credit card is from 2002 and has no annual fee. No matter how many new cards I open, I’ll always have a 16-year-old card to raise the average age of my accounts higher and therefore, my credit score.

When a card has a fee, it’s harder to justify keeping it – unless you get outsized value.

But having a card without an annual fee doesn’t mean you have to give up solid returns. All of the cards on this list can get you 2% back or better.

best no annual fee credit cards

Discover It is one of the best no annual fee cards – up to 10% cashback the first year. I’ll share my top 10 faves!

Here’s my list.

10 best no annual fee credit cards

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10 Tricks to Save EVERY Time You Shop at Sam’s Club

If you like big box stores, I completely understand the sentiment. Buying in bulk and getting a month of grocery shopping knocked out in one go saves time and money – both of which are always worth saving.

I ignore the naysayers who over exaggerate what it means to buy in bulk. I have memberships at both Costco and Sam’s Club and use them both equally – especially now that both are around the corner from me at my pied-a-terre in Austin.

Sam’s Club is, in some ways, better than Costco. Both memberships add value to my life

What I like about Sam’s Club:

  • They have self-checkout
  • You can scan your items as you go (with the, what else, Scan & Go app) and check out instantly
  • Receipts are stored digitally online
  • Club pickup – Costco does NOT offer this
  • Digital membership card on your phone and in Apple Wallet
  • Cheaper prices on tires
  • They accept every payment method, not just Visa
  • You can easily reorder your most common items
  • Their app is way better

But they don’t offer free shipping on most items online like Costco does. And their food court offerings tend to be greasy, calorie-laden fiascos whereas Costco seems a *little* healthier. And in general, I find Costco stores to be cleaner and better laid-out. Sam’s Club locations can be hit-or-miss, whereas I feel like Costco has more consistency between the stores.

Also, there are more ways to save at Sam’s Club. A lot more ways. And that might seal the deal for some peeps, especially if both are nearby.

Let’s look at how to save money EVERY time you set foot (or web browser) in Sam’s Club.

10 ways to build your own discounts at Sam’s Club

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Yes! Just Picked up a New Alaska Visa for 40K Miles – How to Get the Offer

The typical signup offer on the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa is 30,000 Alaska miles after meeting the minimum spending requirements (usually $1,000 in the first 90 days).

We’ve seen offers for $0 companion fares, a $100 statement credit (tantamount to a 10% discount on the minimum spending), and a few highly targeted offers.

This latest deal is for 40,000 Alaska miles and a $0 companion fare after spending $2,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. There are a few steps to get the offer to show – but it’s worth it for 10,000 extra Alaska miles.

alaska visa 40000

Best public deal there’s been for the Alaska Visa – 40K miles and a $0 companion ticket

I was just instantly approved with a $17,000 credit line and I’m LOL/24. It’s clear by now I’ll never open another Chase card – so I went for it. Alaska miles are among the most valuable out there – and you can use the $0 companion ticket to anywhere Alaska flies, including Hawaii!

Here’s how to get the offer.

Alaska Visa 40K offer with a little massaging

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Only Days Left for Citi ThankYou Premier’s Incredible 60,000 Point Bonus (Easy $800 for Travel)

If you haven’t jumped on this offer yet, time’s almost up. Citi will pull the chance to earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points with the Citi ThankYou Premier card on October 11th, 2018. Each point is worth 1.25 cents toward travel (including airfare, hotel stays, cruises, and excursions), which makes this offer easily worth $800 after meeting the minimum spending requirement.

Even better, the annual fee is waived the first year. So you can see if you like the card for 12 full months before paying. Even then, Citi is excellent about retention offers for bonus points upon card renewal. I get them regularly.

This is also one of the few cards to earn 3X points on gas (and travel).

citi thankyou premier

Citi ThankYou points helped me get to Prague. 60K is the best offer there’s been for the ThankYou Premier

I wish I could get this offer. You’re not eligible if you’ve opened or closed another ThankYou card in the last 24 months. Otherwise, there would be zero hesitation. This is the highest offer ever for this card.

Citi ThankYou Premier Bonus = $800

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3 Chase Ink Small Business Cards: Which Is Right for You? (One Bonus Is Worth $1,000)

Chase has 3 Ink cards targeted at small business owners:

  • Preferred
  • Cash
  • Unlimited

Each accomplishes a different business goals by way of awarding bonus points in certain categories. And they all earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points – one of, if not the, most valuable rewards currency.

But only 1 of them gives you direct access to Chase’s travel transfer partners (it’s also the only one with an annual fee – the Ink Preferred).

chase ink business cards

The Chase Ink Preferred (formerly called the Plus) is the only Ink card with transfer partners

Let’s look at what makes these cards compelling.

Chase Ink Business Cards – What’s Alike and Different

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Free Money: Why Even Frugal Folks Should Have a Credit Card

Just got back from FinCon. Of course I told everyone how I like to travel using credit card points & miles. Within the personal finance/FI/RE community, I was shocked how many people still don’t have credit cards.

And these are people who delight in number-crunching!

I understand the concerns about mismanagement, overspending, or accidentally missing a payment. But fact is, credit cards are part of adulting because your credit score is part of adulting.

Responsibly using credit is a sign to lenders that you qualify for lower rates and higher lines of credit. You can’t even rent an apartment without a credit check these days.

no annual fee credit cards

I’ve literally earned $1000s for free with no annual fee credit cards – everyone should!

And if you’re counting every penny, you definitely want a credit card. Because you can get back 2% of everything you spend. For completely free. Why wouldn’t anyone want that?

No annual fee credit cards are a no-brainer

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Allbirds Alternative for Guys: Try These Stylish Travel Shoes for Only $40

Last year, I championed Allbirds shoes because they look great, last a long time, and feel like walking on a cloud. I wore them every time I traveled – and walked 100s of miles in them.

For $95 a pair, that’s a great price for shoes you’ll have for up to a year. I wore them until the grip on the soles wore off and little holes appeared in the bottom. I’m rough on my shoes, and get a certain amount of pride from putting them through the wringer. I need my shoes to carry me from place to place – and I am not kind to them when I’m on the go.

So when I found a similar shoe for $40, I decided to give it a go. Urban Fox shoes are just as comfy, stylish, and simple as Allbirds. And I dare say – even more comfortable.

Allbirds Alternative

These are NOT Allbirds. They’re $40 and even more comfy. Why pay $95 for the same look?

After walking around FinCon for a solid week in these bad boys, I can confidently say they’re the real deal. And while I like the sustainability/green choice factor with Allbirds, I also like paying $40 instead of $95 for a similar product.

Are Urban Fox shoes the best Allbirds alternative?

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Sinemia Review: How It Works & How to Get the Most From It ($10 for 3 Movies a Month!)

So we all know MoviePass is dead as a doornail by now. Other programs have (or will) pop up, like AMC’s A-List and Alamo’s upcoming season pass (get on the waitlist now if you’re interested).

I used the ever-loving crap out of MoviePass, so losing it stung hard. But I’ve had Sinemia for a couple of weeks now and I gotta say – I like it even better than MoviePass.

Right now, they have a fall promotion to see a movie:

  • Every day for $30 a month
  • 3 times a month for $10 a month
  • 1 time a month for $5 a month

Considering the average movie ticket is $10+, that’s a great deal. But with MoviePass in the can, it begs the question: how long will this one last?

sinemia review

I opted for the $10 plan to see 3 movies a month

So far, so good, though. I like that you can buy tickets in advance. And there are a couple more ways to get an even better deal out of the membership.

My Sinemia Review

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USAA Cards Not Earning Reward Points (Cashback) for Plastiq Payments

I opened a new USAA card to take advantage of a 0% APR rate until February 2020 (but gosh how I wish the Limitless card with 2.5% cashback everywhere would come back). I previously got a new card to make a student loan payment.

So the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards card earns 1.5% cashback on purchases. I was hoping Plastiq payments would code as “miscellaneous services” (or similar), but nope, they post as a “quasi-cash merchant” and do not earn any reward points.

So don’t use your USAA card with Plastiq!

More importantly, I hope this doesn’t signal a trend of Plastiq coding as cash-like purchases.

usaa plastiq payments

Don’t mix USAA cards with Plastiq payments, cuz you won’t earn rewards

Even still, I was not charged a cash advance fee per Plastiq’s advising.

Tread carefully with USAA Plastiq payments

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7 Tricks to Save EVERY Time You Shop at Costco

Dear light of heaven, I love Costco. Whereas to some it can seem like a gigantic warehouse with narrow aisles stacked to the ceiling with pallets, to me it’s a veritable wonderland.

love a good deal, and the best deals are often buying in bulk. When I mention I’m a Costco member, I’ve gotten scoffs and “Yeah but I don’t need 25 rolls of paper towels and 8 dozen eggs [or some other exaggeration]. Plus, where would I put it all?”

Ummmm… Costco was the cheapest place to shop in New York City, honey. If I can find space in a tiny Brooklyn apartment to store extra items and save some cash, you can too. And that’s what it’s all about: saving cash.

save at costco

In my element

Admittedly, Costco isn’t always the best deal. Sometimes they try to pull one over on ya and slip in some regular-priced stuff. But I don’t blame ’em for trying to make profit. Because when the deals are good, hoooo boy are they stellar (find me a cheaper avocado and I’ll eat my hat, and bananas cheaper than Trader Joe’s). That’s what keeps me shopping at Costco year after year: THE DEALS.

On top of already great prices, I’ve found ways to push them even further by making sure I always get a discount. 2% off, 5% back, even 10% rebates in some cases when I’m in the mood to plan a big shopping trip.

Here’s how I save every time I shop at Costco.

Stack these offers to build your own discounts at Costco

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