About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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Adventures in concert ticket reselling for points (NOT for me, this is terrible!)

a screenshot of a music website

Ugh. I have a huge pit in my stomach. Inspired by hopes of quick points and miles, I went all-in on tickets for the upcoming Travis Scott tour. Like, alllll in.

I bought blocks of them, thinking I’d resell at face value right away. Well, they’re not moving and I can’t tell whether I’m in over my head, not the right type for this, or profoundly irresponsible (especially in light of my ongoing FIRE journey). Or just way too impatient.

a screenshot of a music website

Come on Travis, do your thing

I bought the tickets last week and the tour begins next month (October 11 in Charlotte). My first show tickets are for October 20 in Kansas City.

Since I bought them, all I’ve been doing in my spare time is refreshing the seat maps. I’m already thinking: Do I have to take a loss? Why did I do this? How else can I offload these things? 

There are all sorts of ways to earn extra miles and points. For this one, I jumped in feet first wayyy too soon.

Travis Scott ticket reselling

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Thinking out loud: Another move and new net worth $313K high – September 2023 Freedom update

September 2023 Freedom update

September is my personal new year. I had a birthday last week and turned 39. And next week, Beck will be 1. [times flies, etc.]

It’s also a countdown to my $500,000 goal – one year left.

It’s looking unlikely that I’ll hit it—unless something massively shifts (which is always a possibility) with an unprecedented bull run, influx of cash, huge real estate increase, or something of that caliber.

September 2023 Freedom update

Daddy mode

Not to say that won’t happen, just that it’s easier for me to grasp if I’m realistic. But there’s still that dreamer in me.

Right now, I’m at ~$313K. That’s $187K short. To hit $500,000, I’d need to collect $15,583 per month for the next 12 months.

I’ve had months like that before. And every time the stock market rises even 1%, that’s a huge gain for me. But it’s more than I can produce on my own.

So this month finds me, as always, pondering where I can place the best 20% of my efforts to get closer to 80% of the overall results I seek. 🌠

September 2023 Freedom update

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Yotta review: A savings account that lets you gamble in a daily lottery for free

Yotta review

Savings and gambling! What could go wrong? 😹

Yotta, an online-only savings account, lets you play the lottery in such a way that you always win. Or at least, never lose.

Instead of earning interest like other high-yield savings accounts (where interest rates are currently 4% or more), Yotta pays you in daily lottery tickets with drawings up to $1 million.

Fascinated? Horrified? Maybe a little curious? That was my initial reaction.

Yotta review

Also, why not?

When I saw their partner banks are FDIC-insured and then literally 1,000s of 5-star reviews on the App Store, I decided to throw in $100 bucks (which gets me 4 free daily tickets) just for fun.

I don’t have to pay for these tickets, and on average, Yotta claims to return 2.70% APY with winnings included.

But let’s be real. Yotta is about the thrill. The dream. The “what if?” The “somebody’s gonna win, and it could be me!”

Hey, in this world, we need to have fun whenever we can. And if Yotta gives you a daily boost of feel-good chemicals well… that’s worth it.

My Yotta review

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I bought land on the internet and earned credit card rewards

a field with trees and a house

Just what the headline says: buy land with credit card. I think it was purely luck. But now I’m wondering if I could do it again.

buy land with credit card

Plus the document fees, which were another ~$300

I paid with my Bank of America Customized Cash card, had my bonus category set to “online shopping,” paid through PayPal and earned full + bonus rewards for the purchase.

I’ve been trolling eBay looking for other parcels. So far, I haven’t found anything as sweet as the one I bought, but there have been a couple where I came close.

Questions I immediately had were:

  • Is this legit?
  • They’re selling the crappiest lots, right?
  • There could be soooo many issues with the land, the title, the neighbors, access, easements…….

Here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

Buy land with credit card? Apparently yes!

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My American Airlines account was hacked—and it’s still not fixed two months later

On July 13, someone hacked into my American Airlines account. I got this email as I was wandering through Target:

American Airlines account hacked

None of these details are known to me

My AAdvantage award? I knew right away that my AA account had been hacked. I had about 87,000 miles in there and 85,000 of them were redeemed for a business-class flight from Houston (IAH) to Toronto (YYZ), under the name Deborah Niang.

At first, I was mostly annoyed. I figured I’d call AA when I got home, have them cancel the flight and redeposit the miles, and move on.

Nearly two months later, I have the miles back… but my AA account is completely messed up. Unsurprisingly, after many phone calls and looong wait times, nothing’s been done.

I’m in this liminal space between two AA accounts: my old, hacked one and a new one with nothing in it but the redeposited stolen miles.

Reaching out to American Airlines

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New this month: Money trends, 401k, and over $300K! – August 2023 Freedom update

Whew! This weekend (and past month) was a doozy. Warren had his 4th birthday party (I can’t believe I have a four-year-old!) and my mom was in town visiting. Lots of setup and hosting and having fam around.

I also hit the $300K mark officially! 🤑

I noticed the stock market dropped in the last week or so, but not enough to drop me below $300K again. Now that I’m over 60% of the way to my $500K goal, I’m feeling extra motivated.

August 2023 Freedom update

This is a real place

And yet, life keeps delivering. We finally got Warren’s updated birth certificate and passport – and Beck’s stuff is on the way. I have a mountain of crap to pay off and the expenses are always rolling in.

But also – later this month I become eligible for the company 401k. Between that and the HSA, I will be consistently investing again. So despite feeling financially held back in so many ways, I’ll still be making (automated) progress. And that’s something I’m really excited about.

August 2023 Freedom update

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New net worth high, at 60% of goal, and the march to $300K invested – July 2023 Freedom update

July 2023 Freedom update

Because the stock market has been thriving and the economy is beginning to even out, my net worth saw a new high this month – just shy of $300,000 and nearly 60% of my ultimate $500,000 goal.

Yay! I’m thrilled/relieved for this update. On one hand, I cognitively know that investing during a downturn means huge gains down the road. On the other, that road felt (feels?) really long.

In fact, I hit $200K invested in November 2021 – the same month I moved to Oklahoma. Right now, I’m sitting at $241,320 invested despite maxing out my 401k and Roth IRA in 2022, and opening an UTMA for Warren, my three year old. I’d been flat and hovering around the same level for over a year and tbh these updates were starting to get same old.

July 2023 Freedom update

Friend to all trees

But I know that powering through that slog will benefit me well in the future. It’s to the point where if the stock market has a good month, I can see gains of $20K+. This is the momentum I’ve been looking forward to. My hope is always cautious, especially these days, but I’m having a milestone month and I’m gonna celebrate those accomplishments.

As I work my way back toward financial stability and pay off lingering debt, I’m seeing the light again and am beyond ready to plow forward.

Let’s review.

July 2023 Freedom update

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New minivan, new job, feeling bright – June 2023 Freedom update

a man and baby lying on a bed

This past month has been nonstop in the best way possible! It’s been one good thing after another. I’m so grateful – I really needed some things to work out.

We went to my partner’s brother’s graduation, spent a week exploring Dallas (so different with kids), and had a weekend visit with family.

This weekend, I lost my mind and bought a minivan (used, of course). We got a great deal on an 8-passenger minivan and the finance terms and monthly payment were agreeable. So we drove it home. And so far, we love it. We quickly outgrew my little Nissan Versa Note, lol.

June 2023 Freedom update

Dad reporting for dad duty

I start a new job on Monday and am very much looking forward to it! This infusion of new energy is seriously good.

I also found a new barber and have been doing yoga when I can (because self-care is so important, especially when you’re parenting). It’s been pretty nonstop, but all in the service of moving forward and making progress.

With all of that, let’s see how it impacted me financially.

June 2023 Freedom update

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A flat month for stocks and pondering the future – May 2023 Freedom update

a child sitting on a statue

It’s been a good month. The weather is warmer and we’re all starting to feel the shift that’s coming.

I’ve been working diligently behind the scenes to arrange trips, find new opportunities, and move the family forward. I’ve been embroiled in court drama since December 2021, and there are just a couple more obstacles to knock out of the way. Once it’s done, we’re seriously contemplating moving to a new place. And a remote working visa in Europe is looking really appealing right about now. #expatlife

a garden with flowers and a bee

Cute spring scene

But we’ll see what happens.

Financially, I’m flat month-over-month, but that’s to be expected. The U.S. stock market is reeling in the wake of bank foreclosures, ongoing interest rate hikes, and the fight against inflation.

I personally managed to get everything paid for the month, plus laid out cash to get some documentation for the boys, and didn’t get to invest much. Oh, and our fridge decided to give up, so we had to order an emergency replacement – which was a whole saga unto itself.

Anyhoozers, the first half of the year was a great push forward. I’m hoping the second half will be full of progress, travel, and fresh ideas.

May 2023 Freedom update

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Up $11K, end of Q1, and finally looking to the future – April 2023 Freedom update

April 2023 Freedom update

The stock market had its best quarter since 2020, and I’m now back to where I was two months ago. If that ain’t a metaphor.

These gyrations (plus life) have kept me hovering around the halfway mark of my $500,000 goal (that’s a long way of saying $250K) since I first hit it… exactly a year ago. #GroundhogYear

a man smiling at camera

Inching ever closer

I’ve had my sights set on $300K for a long time. As life continues to come together, saving money should get easier. I’ve been saving what I can while fighting down 0% APR credit card debt and lingering legal bills.

All said, I’m doing good – and hoping that compound interest will do some of the heavy lifting for the remainder of the year.

April 2023 Freedom update

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Freelance and $262K, progress after layoff and ruling – March 2023 Freedom update

March 2023 Freedom update

Life is completely different than it was even a few weeks ago. We got our ruling, finally, in our favor. We’ve been in and our of court for the last year, and now we can take some action and move on with our lives.

There will inevitably be appeals, but we’ve been assured they’ll either be thrown out or the higher court will uphold our ruling. It’ll be some more paperwork, but it’s a non-issue so I’m going to put it out of my mind and not even think about it. For the first time in a while, I’m dreaming about the future and what that could look like. Definitely a lot more travel once I get all the documents switched over. ✈️ Ya know, travel blog and all. 💁🏻‍♂️

march 2023 freedom update

How we feel about our court ruling

Money stuff has shifted, too. It’s been a lousy patch for the stock market, my home lost some of its appraisal value, and I’ve had to charge up my cards to get stuff paid.

That said, I’m thrilled because I’ve been picking up a few freelance projects that pay more than my previous income. I think I’ll come out ahead – it’ll just take a little bit for things to settle.

So let’s get into that.

March 2023 Freedom update

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Close to $300K, laid off, and this year’s goals – February 2023 Freedom update

a child sitting on the ground

I feel like my life is on hold. Like I’m on hold, but life just keeps on life-ing.

We’re days away from getting the judge’s ruling for a set of cases that have been going on for the past year, hopefully early next week. We think it’ll be in our favor, but until we get that document, we’re kind of just… on hold. Stuck. Like we can’t move forward.

February 2023 Freedom update


Oh, and I was laid off from my job this week, so go ahead and add that to the mix. I’m taking some time to regroup. I’m not worried about the future so much as I can’t even imagine the future right now.

With that, I’m making February 2023 the month of self-care and taking my insurance for all it’s worth before it expires in a few weeks. I’m:

  • Getting new glasses and contacts and a fresh eye exam
  • Having a tiny cavity filled next week
  • Seeing a doctor for an all-around checkup and allll the preventative care my insurance will allow
  • Getting a couple more chiropractic adjustments (Baby Beck is now over 15 pounds!)
  • Going to therapy every week this month

I also snagged an appointment for an in-demand dermatologist. Plus, I already have new insurance so I’m taking advantage of being double insured and criss-crossing town to keep myself healthy and active. I’m feeling good about everything.

With all that in mind, let’s talk about money.

February 2023 Freedom update

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