Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

Turn Your Credit Card Into a Debit Card (And Earn Rewards!) With This Website and App

Debitize has been on my radar for a long time. It’s a website (and iOS app) where you plug in your credit card and bank account information. As you make purchases on your credit card, money is moved automatically every time you swipe – as if you were using your debit card.

For peeps who have trouble with the idea of managing credit, or afraid to overspend, you can still see money leaving your account every time you use your card. And Debitize will pay your card off in full each month.

debitize review

Debitize lets you earn credit card rewards with a debit card mentality

In essence, you can treat your credit card like a debit card. But the big plus is, you can still rack up valuable credit card rewards!

Here’s more about the service.

What’s Debitize?

Read More

Bottom of the Barrel: Have I Gotten All the Points & Miles Cards I Possibly Can?

I wanna type out loud for a sec to assess which card offers I can still earn. Before I begin, I know there aren’t many.

After all, I currently have about 30 cards and have rotated through many others since I started the points & miles game in 2012 (and heavily in 2013).

which cards are left

My first award trip was to Hawaii in 2013, with Delta miles and Hilton points

So what’s left for me? I know it’s not much.

Let’s take a deep dive.

Which cards are left that I can even get?

Read More

Why I Bought a New Car (With a Car Note!) Despite FIRE

Also see: 

I wrote how I bought a car with credit cards in early 2016. It was a used 2004 Subaru Forester. And it fit my needs at the time.

I swore I’d never buy a new car. It’s a badge of honor within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community to have an old car with tons of miles on it. It means you’re frugal. And saving. And “doing it right.” A quick search on Reddit returns more opinions than you can ever filter through.

There’s even a rap song called “No Car Note.” (“I love my ’98 Honda!”)

But after running the numbers, I broke my own rule. And bought a 2017 Nissan Versa Note. With a car note.

New or used car? Why I went new

Read More

Everyone Should Dump Stupid Bank Fees (5 Options to Consider)

Also see: 

If you’re paying fees to access your own money, it’s time to dump your stupid bank.

Do it now do it now DO IT NOW. If you pay $10 a month for not carrying a minimum balance, $2 to request a balance, or ATM fees when you need to withdraw money, vote with your feet. Get. Out. NOW.

dump your bank

Nope nope nope

I’ll share bank accounts that are completely FREE to have and use with NO minimum. Oh, and you don’t need a physical branch.

Get a FREE bank account (don’t pay to access your own money!)

Read More

Monaco: A Currency Exchange & Cryptocurrency Rewards Prepaid Card

Recently, a friend recommended now is a good time to buy a little of 4 big cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, the new Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. So I bought $100 of each, mostly for the sake of curiosity. I do NOT recommend cryptocurrency as an investment (try these platforms instead!).

monaco review crypto

Monaco will exchange currency and earn crypto rewards with a prepaid debit card

And today, I heard about Monaco, which aims to exchange currency at perfect interchange rates (including crypto). And if you pledge to invest in the card, you can earn “crypto back” rewards – which you can redeem for real crypto.

There are NO fees because your money is always treated as local currency no matter if you’re spending US dollars, a foreign currency, or crypto.

Monaco isn’t available yet in the US. But they expect to launch globally any time now. If you use my link to sign up, you’ll get $10 added to your account for free. Ten US dollars. 😉

Exchange currency and oh god, do I have to think about crypto now?

Read More

Best IRA Accounts: 8 Companies Compared (Self-Directed, Apps, & Roboadvisors)

Also see: 

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Acorns, an app I think is a great place to get started with investing (especially for millennials). Talking about investing is dicey. For one, because it’s personal (duh). For that reason, everyone has an opinion on it. And that’s where the confusion starts.

My view is: it doesn’t matter where you begin, so long as you do. You can always switch things around later. To that end, I feel Acorns has the most approachable interface for a beginner “despite” costing $1 a month. And there’s no minimum to start investing.

best ira accounts

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is RIGHT THIS SECOND. Start NOW!

That said, it’s an app and doesn’t let you choose your own funds (you pick from their portfolios). Same with StashWealthsimple, and Betterment. Of course, you’ll get the best deal with a self-directed account – but the minimums are dauntingly high for a beginner, with the exception of TD Ameritrade.

I’ll compare these companies for expenses, account and fund minimums, and quirky extras:

I am focusing on IRAs here – although they all have the option to simply be an investment account (which is why I excluded Robinhood – they do NOT have IRAs).

8 Best IRA Accounts Compared

Read More

Trim + Paribus: 2 MUSTS for Online Holiday Shopping (Save Money & Time)

If you plan on purchasing gifts online this holiday season, there are two major things to watch for: price drops and missed delivery dates.

Price drops are extremely common with the onslaught of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals – and often there are even more as “the big day” draws near.

Trim is useful to:

  • Track price changes on Amazon
  • Set spending alerts
  • Monitor your monthly subscriptions
  • Get the best price on your cable/internet bill
track price changes

Trim lets you know when a price on Amazon decreases

And I wrote about Paribus waaaay back in May 2015. Not only has their service improved – it’s now completely free.

It’s helpful for tracking price drops at tons of merchants. And helps you get a little something if there’s a late delivery.

Both of these tools can save you money in the background while you go about your shopping. They’re even better when their powers combine.

Trim aims to help your overall financial life

Read More

Acorns: A Simple Way for Beginners to Invest (And You Should!)

Lately, I’m concerned with helping my 24-year-old brother develop healthy financial habits. I didn’t take control of my financial life until I was nearly 30. And god I wish I could get back those early years. Why?

Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.

The earlier you start, the longer your money grows. It’s a simple concept. But so many peeps put off investing.

It’s perceived as complicated, overwhelming, and something to fear. The financial industry made sure you feel that way so you’ll overpay some bozo to manage your finances. Don’t get tricked. Get smart – and fast. Your financial future is an out-of-control emergency you can’t afford to sleep on.

It doesn’t matter where you start. Just as long as you do start.

acorns app review

Am I crazy about Acorns? No. But it’s a great place to begin

Acorns is a micro-investing app that will fit the bill nicely. Here’s my review.

Why Acorns?

Read More

Need a Checking Account With NO Fees, Minimums, or ATM Charges EVER? Try These.

Also see: 

It’s been over 2 years since I first professed my love for the Fidelity Cash Management account. And about the same amount of time since I wrote about the Aspiration Summit account.

best no fee checking accounts

My love ❤

Both are fantastic checking account options because there are no fees, no minimum balances, and no direct deposit requirements. Essentially they’re free to open and keep forever, even if you never use them. Even better, both accounts reimburse ATM fees from ANY ATM in the world. And neither account incurs a hard credit pull to open.

There are a couple of key differences to them, though. I’ll highlight what they are. But, bottom line, you should have at least one of these accounts – if not both!

1. Fidelity Cash Management Account

Read More

House Hacking Through… Airbnb? My 1st Month Numbers!

Also see:

I’ve written extensively about my adventures hosting on Airbnb. I’ve always leased apartments, then listed them on Airbnb. That formula worked in New York and continues to work in Dallas.

The Airbnb service is intended to rent space in your primary residence. I’d never done that because I didn’t want strangers in my actual home. But last month, I took a weekend and converted my spare bedroom and bathroom into a private guest room and listed it on Airbnb.

airbnb house hacking

My guest bedroom

And so far… wow! The response is incredible. Guests are loving it. And something that surprised me… so am I!

A nice benefit is I’m earning more than if I had a roommate. And I’m even thinking it could get to the point where it could cover my entire mortgage payment – I could live in my own place for basically nothing!

Airbnb house hacking… for real?

Read More

Should You Dump Your Car If You Have Premium Card Travel Credits?

It occurred to me I only drive for a handful of reasons:

  • To go to the gym
  • To drop the dog off before I travel
  • Costco runs every ~6 weeks
  • To visit nearby places, like Fort Worth

Most of the time I walk or use Uber/Lyft. Because if I intend to drink, I don’t want to deal with parking (and possibly having to pay for it) or of course driving back unsafely. And I live so close to many of the places I frequent that I can walk.

I realized, surprisingly, there are lots of peeps in Dallas who don’t have cars. And I I was shocked by how extremely walkable certain parts of the city really are.

dump car uber lyft

Lookit all my Lyft credits

I’ve also been using the $325 travel credit from my US Bank Altitude Reserve card for Lyft rides lately (I prefer Lyft for many reasons). Then it hit me that I could subsidize $825 in Uber and Lyft rides thanks to travel credits of 3 of my premium cards. It got me thinking – are those credits enough to consider getting rid of my car?

$825 in Uber and Lyft rides from 3 cards

Read More