Is it Better to Use Cash or Points for FinCon?

FinCon or Bust

It’s that time of year again, when the world’s financial bloggers converge to communicate, collaborate, and carouse, aka FinCon.

We will miss out since we are back in Asia, but hundreds of others will be converging in Dallas this week. As with any gathering that involves travel, there will be airplane tickets and hotel rooms, a bit of dining, maybe a car rental or Uber, and perhaps even an alcohol related expense or two.

Sounds like a great opportunity to use credit card reward points to get some free travel, right?! Several people on Twitter were considering last minute trips and trying to decide, cash or points.

imho, cash. Every time. Twice on Sunday.

(more…)

Completing the IHG Q2 2017 Accelerate Bonus

Philadelphia (photo from visitphilly.com)

Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, we will receive an affiliate commission.

Recently I mentioned that our upcoming visit to Philadelphia will earn us a few free hotel nights. Several people wrote to ask how that works. Sorry for being too vague.

Thanks to the quarterly IHG Accelerate promotion our 3 nights in Philly will earn over 62,000 IHG Rewards Club points.This is worth over $400 or somewhere between 2 and 3 free nights.

Here are the details:

(more…)

To Europe and Back Again

Paris (photo credit)

About a year ago we flew from Asia to Europe to begin a 4 month tour. We spent a month each in Spain, Italy, and UK/Ireland, and a handful of weeks in Portugal, Czech, Germany, Denmark, and Iceland. This was a big chunk of Jr’s 16 countries visited in his first 16 months.

Notably absent from this list of countries is France. And it has been an awfully long time since I’ve had a good croissant.

To rectify this terrible situation, in a few weeks we are flying to Paris. We’ll be there at least 2 weeks, after which we will eventually make it to the other slighted countries.

I was pretty excited about how we saved $10k+ on our previous trip. But this time… we did even better.

(more…)

Aloha Uncle Sam

Moana Surfrider Hotel, Oahu, Hawaii

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we will receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

It’s that time of year again, when households across the land are excited to fill out their tax forms. Yeah for Tax Day!

Goal #1 is of course to minimize tax burden using the numerous options available. Be sure to contribute to those deductible IRAs and 401ks!

Some households will have a zero or even negative tax burden, but most will have a tax obligation for the year. This is usually paid at least in part through paycheck withholding or estimated tax payments.

This is also the case for us since we pay Self-Employment tax on blog income. (But… plans are in motion to reduce/eliminate this.)

And I don’t know about you, but if I have to pay some taxes…. I at least better get a ridiculously cheap trip to Hawaii out of the deal.

(more…)

The Credit Card Annual Fee Debate

It All Becomes Clear

It All Becomes Clear

I’m a big fan of financial efficiency. If it is possible to get a discount on something I’m going to buy anyway, I’m all for it.

So it isn’t a big surprise when people inquire about call me out for paying annual fees in comments and email.

“Why would you pay a credit card company just for the privilege of making them money?”

“Isn’t it a waste to pay an annual fee when there are so many free credit cards out there?”

“Why would you pay a credit card annual fee? That is just dumb.”

I can certainly relate to the sentiment behind these questions. But if we strip away the emotion and just use the cold hard reason of accounting, it all becomes clear. We pay a fee now with the expectation that we will get something of equal or greater value.

(more…)

Travel Hacking: Grandma is Coming to Town

Let's Go Places! (photo from Wikimedia)

Destination, Taipei! (photo from Wikimedia)

My grandmother turns 80 years old this year, and still lives in the town where both she and I grew up, population 20,000.  She has never had a passport, and never been outside the United States.

Since my grandfather passed away about a year ago, she has been stretching her wings a bit.  She’s since been to California and Florida to visit a couple of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren

There are about 30 of us grandchildren in total, and another 30 or so great-grandchildren (I’ve lost count.)  That’s a lot of kids, but it seems she is still excited to add one more, probably because I am her favorite 😉  It would be a shame for her to be unable to see and hold GCCjr because of cost and distance, so I’m flying my Grandma and my Mother to Taipei to see GCCjr in May

With a total price tag of $457.40, why not?

(more…)

Retire Early.

Travel the World.

Let's do this.

Powered by ConvertKit

You have Successfully Subscribed!