Sunday, January 20, 2019

5 Ways to Get Money for Travel

A lot of people ask how to get money for travel, and I thought I would talk a little bit about it. Now your earnings may vary a lot, and all these techniques may not be for everyone, but I think most people could take at least a few tips from this post. None of these companies are sponsors although there are referral links present in this article which anyone can do.

1. Credit Card Rewards

The number one way to earn a lot of money for travel is to get a travel credit card. A couple of great lower cost options are the Capital One Venture Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both of these currently give a good sign bonus for spending $3,000 or $4,000 respectively. The bonus for the Venture card is worth about $500, and the bonus for the Sapphire Preferred is worth about $650. Both cards include TSA Precheck or Global Entry reimbursement. These cards have a $95 annual fee that's waved for the first year. The Points Guy has a good comparison of these cards.

Check out this post if you would like to learn how to make your spending requirement.

2. Earn Shopping Rebates

Many websites and apps these days offer rebates for shopping. An easy option would be to get either the Ebates browser add on or the Swagbucks add on. This would allow you to easily receive cash back everywhere you shop online and this is on top of your credit card cash back. You can also earn rebates on groceries and other shopping using Ibotta.

3. Complete Surveys and Tasks Online

There are many online survey and offer sites out there these days. A longtime favorite of mine is Swagbucks. They have a ton of options to earn money and give lots of bonuses and have plenty of extra earning opportunities through games and promotions. Other good options here are InstaGC and Inbox Dollars.

4. Get Paid to Search the Web

You can also get paid to search the web. One of the best options is not only do they pay you to search the web, something you probably do anyway, you can also make a little extra money from looking through their news pages.

5. Earn Money Working Out

This section is one of my favorites. You can earn money through apps like Achievement which rewards you for a variety of healthy actions including taking steps and logging your weight and food. You simply link up your other health apps and its pretty automatic from there. Another great option is StepBet. Here you wager your own money and if you make the step goals you get to split the pot minus what StepBet takes with the other winners at the end of the competition. I just started with StepBet and will write a review after I finish the first competition.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Attaining Credit Card Reward Bonuses

I see a lot of people wondering how they can achieve the spend requirements on credit cards to receive the sign-up bonuses. Many cards these days offer bonuses of 50,000 points or more. In my example, I am going to use the Venture card by Capital One. This card gives 50,000 points worth $500 as a statement credit toward travel when you spend $3000. If you would like to see a good review of the card check out this full review by The Points Guy 

Let's get down to how we are going to spend the $3000. In order to makes this work for most people, you will have to have some extra money to pay some bills ahead of time. It's time to get out your budget. If you don't already have a budget its a good time to make one. What I like to do is check off whether an item can be paid with a credit card or not. Currently, I can pay my Car Insurance, EZ Pass, Electricity, Phone, Groceries and Entertainment Costs by credit card. For me, this amounts to about $600 a month. I can also pay my Auto Registration by credit card, but this requires careful timing. As you will see $600 a month over 3 months is only $1800 so we will need to be a little clever. How are we going to get the remaining $1200?

First I can pay car insurance in blocks of 6 months for about $645 if I time opening the card correctly. This brings us up to $2122.5 since the $1800 included 3 months of auto insurance.

The second thing I can do is time my payments so that I have 4 electric bills during this period. My bills are due on the 4th of the months and I receive them on the 10th. This adds about $200 dollars. We are now up to $2322.5.

Now its time to get a bit creative. If you are already planning a trip you may be able to spend the remaining $678 on that. If not let's start by talking about things you can prepay. First I can prepay for tolls on EZ Pass lets say $100. Next, you can prepay for anything that offers gift cards. This means gas and groceries, but also even things like Netflix and Apple Music. I prefer to buy my gift cards at a discount on Raise. In the following example, you could spend $300 on grocery cards, $200 on gas and $80 on normal entertainment expenses. You can get very creative here and often save a lot of money on discount cards. Plus you can even get an addition 1% cash back through Swagbucks.

So here is how it all adds up.
$1800 in normal monthly expenses.
$322.5 in prepaid car insurance
$200 by timing your electric bills
$100 in prepaid EZ Pass
$300 in Grocery Gift Cars
$200 in Gas Gift Cards
$80 in entertainment cards
Total $3002.50

The great thing about this plan is that it is all things I would buy anyway and the fees for this are very low. The only charges for using credit are from the electric company which charges $1.5 a transaction for a total of $6. See how you can get creative with this. Make sure you only spend money you have and you pay the credit in full each month. Otherwise, the interest will quickly eat up your savings.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Has Technology Gotten Boring

Every year I am excited to read the news article coming from the Consumer Electronics Show. I always love to see what products may come out over the next few years if ever, but lately, it seems like its getting boring. While they keep coming out with interesting products nothing seems that new. 5G has been talked about for years now. TVs get better every year and while they are cool it's not like its anything worth upgrading too yet. Even computers have progressed so slowly that the flagship models don't seem different from what was offered a few years ago outside of a few gimmicky features.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Why I Love to Fly

I have always loved flying. There is nothing quite like sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane. The excitement of knowing you will step off into a new place. The enjoyment of being able to take your mind away from the world for a while. When you are flying it's like you are in a bubble away from everything. Even with the cramped seats and little leg room, it's all worth it.

The technology on planes improved greatly over the years, but I also appreciate the freedom from the usual technology. Poor WiFi is a blessing because it encourages me to disconnect and either watch a movie or read a book. Something that's difficult to do these days without distraction.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Finding Cheap Airfare

A lot of people these days don't realize how easy it is to find the cheapest airfare. The biggest advantage when searching for cheap flights is to have flexible vacation dates and planning somewhat early.

In searching for airfare the first place I like to visit is Google Flights. Here you can select the airports you want to fly between and see all the possible prices. This is incredibly useful if your trip isn't set yet because you can select how long your trip will be and see what is the cheapest duration. There are also a ton of customizable options such as whether you're flying with checked bags and if you're willing to take layovers. You can even select to monitor specific flights if you aren't sure you want to book yet.

Another feature I like is that you can select airlines if you are loyal to a specific airline or want to earn another premier level you can see the cheapest flights just from them. This is great for people trying to earn miles and looking for the best rates or who might get an upgrade from a certain airline.

One thing that I haven't observed personally, but have heard is that it is best to search in incognito mode because if they see you repeatedly search for flights they will raise the price.

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