Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

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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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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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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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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GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a Basic Pass to FinCon 2018 Next Month (Worth $600+)! 🎁

Join me at FinCon 2018 next month!

For my birthday weekend next week, I’m giving away a Basic Pass to the event which is September 26th through 29th, 2018, in Orlando!

The entries begin today at 5pm Central Time and end on August 22nd, 2018, at midnight Central Time! 🎉

FinCon 2018 giveaway

Wanna go to FinCon 2018? I’m giving away a Basic Pass!

Right now, this pass is selling for $599 + fees. So if you win, you’ll save $600+, plus you’ll have a ticket to the BEST personal finance event around. I went last year in Dallas – and will attend this year, too. So if you win, you’ll see me there! 👋🏻

This pass gives you full access to all the standard events.

See how to enter below!

FinCon 2018 giveaway

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Did Fidelity Just Become the Best Investment Bank? 4 New FREE Funds!

Very cool news from Fidelity.  There are 4 new total market funds with ZERO management expenses and NO minimums to start investing.

Plus, they’ve slashed fees and minimums on several other funds.

I wrote about the best IRA accounts and which banks let you start investing right away with a single $1. What’s cool with Fidelity is you can pair your IRA with the Fidelity Visa, which earns 2% cashback on every purchase. Then sweep the cashback rewards into one of these free index funds. The card is free to have – so it’s literally free money to invest into free funds.

fidelity zero index funds

Fidelity just made a bold move with 2 FREE funds

Everyone should have an IRA account. Here’s more info on Fidelity’s new mutual funds.

Fidelity Zero index funds

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LAST DAY: $499 FinCon Passes – This September in Orlando!

Update 7/31/18: It looks like the $499 price is going strong because of a “Summer Sale”! I’d still say to act ASAP if you’re interested!

Looking for inspiration, truly great networking opportunities, and a ton of personal finance information in one jam-packed 4-day event?

I attended FinCon 2017 in Dallas. As soon as it was done, I immediately registered to attend Orlando 2018, though I didn’t know how I’d fit it in at the time.

Flash forward to now. In 2 short months, I’ll be in Orlando for a week of CardCon, FinCon, and maybe even Disney World (when in Rome, right?). 🏝

Last year’s FinCon was a turning point in my own financial development. Plus, I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers in person (Paula from Afford Anything, Chonce from My Debt Epiphany, and Summer from Mommy Points) – and so many other knowledgable, inspirational peeps.

This year’s conference will be in Orlando at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel from September 26th through 29th, 2018. Today is the last day to lock in a basic pass for $499. As of tomorrow, the price jumps to $599. So if you’ve been on the fence, now’s the time to get the best deal! 

fincon 2018 orlando

Spend a few days delving deep into finance at FinCon this September

Plus, I’ll be there! 🤑

FinCon 2018 Orlando event information

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6 Ways to Save Big on Dining: Find Faves, Get Points + Cashback With Every Visit

Eating out is probably my biggest weakness. I give myself a couple of things to spend relentlessly on. And beyond that, I save like a madman.

My 2 things are: eating out and travel. I do well stocking up at Costco and cooking at home most nights. But my god if a good happy hour deal doesn’t get me.

I pay pennies on the dollar when I travel. Dining is easy, too. By enrolling my cards once and having a few go-to places, I get discounts close to 20% off in the form of points, miles, and cashback – and the savings add up!

save on dining

I love happy hours at this cantina. Plus, I get points, miles, and cashback every time I visit

It’s not hard. Here’s how to do it.

Dining programs + cashback app + points card = big dining discounts

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This Month: Save 10+% on Shell & Exxon Gas With These Cards

There are a couple of good offers to save at the pump these next few weeks. I’ve been using them to fill up – and found it’s cheaper than buying gas at Costco, where I usually get gas in conjunction with a shopping trip.

You can get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points with Chase Pay with the Chase Freedom card (compare it here) on up to $1,500 in spending through June 30th, 2018 – and Shell is a Chase Pay merchant. Chase Freedom cardholders also get free Gold Status with Shell Fuel Rewards, which saves 6 cents per gallon through the end of 2018.

And Amex has an offer to get 10% cashback at Exxon through the end of November. Plus, when you pay through their Speedpass app, you can save 10 cents a gallon. And when you add your Amex card in the Dosh app, you’ll get another 2% cashback through July 10th, 2018.

save on gas

Combine apps and offers to save on Shell and Exxon gas

Either offer also gets you savings for most of 2018. And for the next few weeks, you can combine offers to save over 10% at Shell or Exxon.

Here’s how they work!

Stack credit card offers to save on gas

1. Chase Freedom + Chase Pay at Shell

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How I Got Started With Points & Miles 6 Years Ago

TL;DR: Had crappy credit. Used points cards as motivation to improve my credit score. Hooked ever since.

I’ve taken a server job a few nights a week to get out of the house, stay active, and be social. I see people using credit cards more than ever. I’m shocked by how many people still throw down debit cards. Most of them are millennials.

getting started with points

Google has the tea on millennials and CCs

My generation is a complicated story of student loan debt, job-hopping, delaying children, unable to afford or save to buy homes, living longer than ever – and definitely NOT wanting to get sucked into credit cards.

I see cool metal cards here and there – but most millennials are using well-worn debit cards from local banks.

If you can use credit responsibly and pay the balance in full every month, then you’re leaving money on the table by using debit cards. Even a 2% cashback card with no annual fee is free to use and earns literally free money.

I started college in rural Vermont – and promptly got into credit card debt

I remember the sting of credit cards: opened a student credit card when I was 18, charged textbooks I couldn’t afford, and fell into the soul-crushing cycle of debt. Such a slippery slope.

Then I did the unthinkable: defaulted on a student loan. I was so poor, making $120 a week working overtime at retail jobs. And they wanted $500 a month? I ripped up the bills and threw them in the trash. I didn’t have extra money. How was I going to come up with $500 more every month? And that was the “financially burdened” plan. 😑

Getting into rewards credit cards

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15 Cashback Shopping Portals Compared: Payments, Bonuses, & How They Work

Cashback Monitor is far and away the best site to check the highest payouts (be it points, miles, or cashback) for online shopping. And there are a lot of shopping portals out there.

Each has its “quirks” – from slow payouts to minimum thresholds and different ways of paying. And most of them even give you a little reward just for signing up and shopping – some as much as $10 on top of your cashback bonus.

Cash Back Shopping Portals Comparison

Always click through a shopping portal when you shop online – but which one should you use?

There are many to choose from – and of course you can earn points or miles from airline or bank portals. Here’s an overview of the 15 most popular cashback portals. And how to pick which one to click through!

15 Cash Back Shopping Portals Comparison

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