I’m Gonna Be a Dad! My Journey Toward Becoming a (Gay) Known Donor

Here’s a post I never thought I’d write. It’s something I’ve been thinking about the past few months, and the time feels right to say: I’m gonna be a dad!

I still can’t believe it – it happened so fast. The little bean is currently ~13 weeks along, so we’ve made it to the second trimester. It’ll be born in late August/early September.

Our arrangement is unorthodox, as in – not the norm. I’ll be known as the father, and its moms (yes, plural) will be the primary caregivers.

I’m learning there isn’t a script for this. So we have to communicate, communicate, communicate.

I know in my heart the child will be surrounded by love in a supportive, capable household.

I really thought this would never happen for me. But now it is. I say that with much amazement.

gay known donor

The photo that stopped my heart and changed everything

Here’s how it came to be.

Becoming a known donor

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Investing Vs Pay Down Student Loans: Why I’m Gonna Aggressively Save for Retirement and Just Pay the Minimum

I’ve been taking stock of my complete financial life: mortgage, credit cards, savings, and other debt.

At one point, I became obsessed with getting rid of my student loans. They’re an ugly stain, a black cloud always marring my ideal financial vision. Last year, I made a $7,000 payment just to start chipping away at the principal. I see now it was an emotional, not logical, decision.

Since then, I don’t feel like made much progress. And deep down, I want to save more in my IRA account. I was paying so aggressively that I wasn’t saving as much.

After running the numbers, I’ve decided to say screw the student loans. I’m gonna pay the bare minimum and invest everything else.

Past Harlan went to school. Future Harlan is gonna save his pennies. (Third person tense activatedddd!)

invest student loans

I just wanna be carefree. For me, that means giving up the ghost of paying off my student loans – I’m gonna invest the rest

I’m tired of missing out on opportunities.

Why I’m forgetting about paying off my student loans

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Up to $30 Back for Uber & Lyft Rides + Earn Points Every Time With Freebird

I recently discovered Freebird – an app that aims to reduce drinking and driving, and partners with local bars, restaurants, and liquor companies to reward consumers for taking Uber or Lyft rides to their businesses (and back home). Rewards come in the form of points per ride, and cashback when you visit a participating business.

And right now, you can stack promotion codes to get up to $30 back when you connect your Uber and/or Lyft accounts and start riding.

Even better, it pulls prices directly from Uber and Lyft – but booking through Freebird gets you the benefit of earning rewards on every ride.

I’ve been using it for a week or so and I gotta say, it’s pretty cool.

freebird

Freebird is an app that connects to Uber and Lyft and rewards you for riding

Here’s how to get the cashback.

What’s Freebird?

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FoundersCard Review 2019: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

I’ve been a FoundersCard member for 5 years. 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 2020!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.

And there are new benefits for 2019!

founderscard review

Wow, has it really been 5 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again

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

FoundersCard Review 2019: Overview

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8,500 Miles for Spending $1,000 With a Quick Phone Call (Always Do This With Citi Cards!)

I love when an annual fee posts on a Citi card.  Because that means it’s time to pick up the phone and ask for Citi retention offers.  While Amex is sometimes generous, I’ve found Citi is the best at giving incentives to keep their cards – especially those with annual fees.

I currently have 6 Citi cards (3 AA cards, Prestige, AT&T Access More, and Rewards+). And called because the fee on my Citi Prestige just posted.

While I’m excited about keeping that card this year, I figured I’d ask if they could scoot bonus points my way, especially since I depleted them to go to Puerto Vallarta again.

There was nothing available for that card, but then I asked the helpful agent to check the others.

I call about once every 6 months – every single time, I’ve gotten at least 1, and usually more, worthwhile deals. This time was no exception.

citi retention offers

If you have Citi credit cards, it’s always worth calling for a retention offer

Here’s my latest!

Citi retention offers: Spend $1,000, get 8,500 AA miles – done!

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Awesome Targeted Deal: Up to 50% Off at Amazon With 1 Amex Membership Rewards Point

Talk about an amazing deal – you can get $30 off a $60+ Amazon purchase when you use 1 Amex Membership Rewards point and put the rest on a qualifying Amex card.

This deal is targeted. You can check your account at this link to see if you’re eligible.

It was in my account, so I immediately got a $60 Whole Foods gift card for only $29.99. That’s 50% off!

The deal works on items sold and shipped by Amazon, and excludes digital content. I love easy wins like this.

Amazon Amex 30 off

I can get everything I need for my heavy metal detox smoothie for 50% off with this latest Amazon Amex promotion

Here are more deets!

Amazon Amex $30 Off $60+

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The Easiest Path to the US Bank Altitude Reserve (The Best Card for Costco Shopping & Mobile Payments)

Since Costco rolled out Apple Pay to all their stores, I’ve used my US Bank Altitude Reserve card to earn 3X points every time I shop there. That’s because this card earns triple points on mobile payments and travel purchases.

Each point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel (which you can redeem in real-time after they post!), so that’s like getting a 4.5% return on every shopping trip (3 X 1.5). With prices already low, this is an easy way to save even more.

Plus, you can stack coupons through Ibotta for cashback when you buy certain items.

The card has a $400 annual fee, which easily pays for itself. The bigger issue is getting it in the first place – you need to have a “relationship” to even apply.

But there’s an easy and free workaround if you want to open this card.

us bank altitude reserve approval

Getting a 4.5% return on every shopping trip and mobile payment is awesome!

Here’s how to do it!

The easy way to get US Bank Altitude Reserve card approval

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How Many $400+ Annual Fee Cards Is Too Much (or Just Enough)?

Right now, I have 3 ultra premium credit cards with annual fees of $400 and up:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – $450
  • Citi Prestige – $495 (though mine renewed at $450 for one more year)
  • US Bank Altitude Reserve – $400

That’s $1,345 in annual fees! 😵

Still, I find myself wanting the Amex Platinum biz card ($595, but $450 through January 2019) and Amex Hilton Aspire ($450), both for vastly different reasons.

But I can’t justify getting another ultra premium card with a big annual fee. Am I capping out at 3?

I’m really considering downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Getting a 4th – or 5th – would be overkill, wouldn’t it?

ultra premium credit cards

No way I’m dumping the best card for Costco shopping! All my high AF cards have a special utility

Here’s a rundown of the major cards with annual fees – and how I get value from them.

Ultra Premium Credit Cards – How Many Does One Need?

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The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners Are…

Citi ThankYou points are easier than ever to earn.

I plan to put airfare and dining on my Citi Prestige to earn 5X points per $1 spent, and use my Citi AT&T Access More card (not open to new applicants) to get 3X points for online shopping. Between these 2 cards, I’ll be flush with Citi ThankYou points this year.

And peeps with the Citi Premier can earn 3X points on all travel, including gas, and 2X points on dining.

In that light, I’m giving thought to Citi’s 15 airline transfer partners. But in my eyes, a solid 2/3 of them are total caca.

That means only 5 are worthwhile.

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

Man, I gotta get back to Hawaii this year. You can use Flying Blue or Singapore miles to get there cheap!

Let’s take a looky loo, shall we?

The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

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Booking Puerto Vallarta 2.0: $3,000+ Vacation for 131,000 Citi ThankYou Points, Prestige 4th Night Free, & AA Business Extra

Last February, I spent 3 glorious nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. And next month, I’ll spend another 4 nights there! For $0 out of pocket, I used:

  • 131,088 Citi ThankYou points + 4th night free to save $1,721 on the hotel stay
  • 4,000 American Airlines Business Extra points for $1,423 flights
  • Citi Prestige annual travel credits to cover ~$187 in taxes and fees

The total cost would’ve been $3,331. And I used ALL my Citi ThankYou points.

But after slipping the Citi Prestige card back into my wallet this week, I can build up my balance with new 5X earning on airfare and dining. Plus, they’d been hanging around for a while.

Learn more about the best travel rewards cards here.

puerto vallarta points 2019

This time, I saved over $3,000 to go back to Puerto Vallarta for 4 nights 🍹

Here’s how I put it together!

A $3,000+ vacation to Puerto Vallarta for $0

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‘Tis the Season to Use 0% APR Cards to Avoid Interest for up to 21 Months (If You HAVE to Carry a Balance)

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2019! I’m working on travel plans and my credit card strategy – and soon I’ll have gigantic news to share.

If you spent too much over the holiday season, and carrying a balance is inevitable, consider transferring your balance to a new card with a 0% APR period.  They vary from 12 months to a staggering 21 months! This will hugely minimize the interest you’ll pay.

Depending which card you get, you won’t have to pay it off until January 2020 at the shorter end – or October 2020 at the longer end. That’s awesome!

Or if you have a big purchase coming up, opening a card with a 0% APR period gives you time to pay it back.

I’ve used both strategies successfully. But beware – pay close attention to the dates (which are listed on every statement you’ll get), or you’ll be right back where you started.

Still, it’s a LOT better than carrying a balance and paying huge interest rates. NEVER carry a balance if you can help it!

balance transfer cards

Paying interest negates any rewards you earn. Your balance will grow and you’ll get stuck on a debt treadmill – don’t do it!

Here are card options for balance transfers and big-ticket purchases. Because yes, life happens. Just try to control the damage as best you can.

Get unstuck with balance transfer cards

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Acorns Found Money: Automatic Cashback With 8 Merchants (BarkBox, Gas, Sam’s Club) & $60+ Free for Completing Offers

File this under semi-interesting. It’s niche, but worthwhile if you spend with any of the participating stores.

Acorns is offering free cashback (Found Money) for spending with a linked card at 8 merchants. Some are set amounts, others are a percentage back in your account.

And, you can earn $60+ for completing offers with their partners – things like free trials and insurance quotes.

I’ve earned $50+ for riding with Uber, filing taxes, and booking a pet sitter. So if these current offers don’t interest you, know they’re always rotating – and something’s bound to catch your interest sooner or later.

Acorns is an investment account that costs $1 per month. But considering how much free cash I’ve earned, it’s already paid for itself for several years.

You get a free $5 bonus when you signup using this link.

acorns found money

Don’t turn down free money! Just link your cards and spend like normal

Here’s how to get free cash coming your way.

Free Found Money with Acorns at 8 merchants (and it’s always changing)

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