Today marks the beginning of my 28th year on this planet (PSYCH: I’m only turning 27, which means it’s the beginning of my 28th year on earth).
To be honest, 27 is a pretty strange birthday to have. Here’s why:
- 27 doesn’t grant you any special privileges (driving, R-Rated Movies, buying alcohol, etc.)
- 27 still counts as “mid-twenties” (At least that’s what I tell myself…..)
- 30 is still a ways away
- I’m still young enough to spend most of my weekends in a different time zone, yet old enough to appreciate getting socks for my birthday
Anyway, I want to flip the script this year. This year I want to give YOU a gift on my birthday. And I promise it’s not socks.
FACT #1: Money is the leading cause of stress for Americans today (source).
64% of adults report that they feel stressed about money, which ranks higher than stress associated with work, family responsibilities, or health concerns.
FACT #2: Most personal finance advice that you’ll find on the internet is terrible.
And “terrible” is putting it nicely. Most of it flat out sucks.
In fact, I can summarize 95% of the personal finance “advice” found on the internet in one sentence.
Work like a dog, cut back on everything (read: have zero fun), save every penny you can find, and maybe you can start to “live” at age 60+.
FACT #3: I am passionate about helping YOU create a lifestyle of freedom. And it is impossible to feel free when you are constantly weighed down by the stress of managing your money.
Which is why I invited my friend Dillon Carter to put together a post about how you can start to get a hold of your financial life.
Take it away Dillon.
Hello from Spain!
Well, almost. I am currently 35,000 feet above the Atlantic on a flight bound for Barcelona (technology is a wonderful thing).
Anyway, before I indulge in a week filled with tapas and Spanish wine I wanted to give you the rundown of how I pulled this off so that you can get started on planning your own European getaway.
Many of you have asked that I share these types of overviews so I will make a point of doing so for all of my upcoming trips.
So, without further ado, here’s how I booked a week in Spain and Portugal for next to nothing.
Columbus to Barcelona – 20,000 American Airlines Miles and $14.50
Anyone who has been reading 10xT for more than a couple weeks knows that I am a HUGE fan of American Airlines off-peak award rates to Europe. At just 20,000 miles each way on saver award level tickets (30,000 each way standard award) these are one of the best uses of points/miles in the game.
(Note: American has made a few changes to their off-peak awards starting on March 16, 2016. Check out their new award chart for more details)
I originally booked flights for my wife and me to head to Spain on Wednesday due to some other scheduling conflicts. They were just 20,000 American Airlines miles and $14.50 each. (The $58 below is for two round-trip flights)
But after our schedules cleared up a bit we decided to add a few days to our trip and leave on Sunday instead. Thankfully I was able to change our flights without paying any additional miles or fees.
We each earned the required AA miles thanks to the sign up bonus from the American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum MasterCard, which was offering 50,000 AA miles at the time. More than enough to cover round-trip flights to Europe during the off-peak season.
Another day, another incredible success story by 10xT readers Mat and Lacey.
Mat and Lacey just booked an incredible trip to Europe for next to nothing thanks to their incredible success with points and miles.
Today’s story is particularly interesting for two reasons.
- Mat and Lacey share specific points/miles they used for their trip (making it easier for you to duplicate their amazing trip)
- Mat and Lacey are the creators of Ditching Normal, a fantastic blog that teaches people how to start enjoying the more important things in life.
Take it away Mat and Lacey!
My wife Lacey and I booked our first “big” trip on points recently!
This spring we’ll be traveling to 5 different locations over a 15 day period…all on credit card points. From our hometown of Boise, ID we’re heading to the island of Malta and back with stops along the way in New York City, Florence, Rome, and Chicago.
As exciting and as relatively easy as it was perform the actual booking of this trip, accumulating enough points for free flights and hotels took us about 8 months of strategizing.
Before getting into the details of how we booked this trip on points, I need to point out that we never would have had the confidence to even start up with the credit card points game had it not been for the knowledge we gained from 10xtravel.com.
While the numerous tips on stacking points and detailed credit card recommendations continue to be helpful, what we found to be invaluable (especially in the beginning) was the knowledge we gained about how credit scores work. My wife Lacey NEVER would have let me involved with multiple credit cards at once if it weren’t for 10xTravel. I owe ya one Bryce!
Hi Travel Junkies,
Today we are going to talk about credit, and more specifically about one of the most misunderstood aspects of your credit score.
To do that let’s take a look at a recent question I received from one of my readers.
You talk a lot about how you close old credit cards that you no longer use. Doesn’t that reduce your average age of accounts and therefore damage your credit score?
Credit Karma seems to indicate that average age of accounts is an important part of my credit score.
Great question. Let’s talk about that, starting with a quick overview of how your average age of accounts (AAoA) effects your credit score.
Average Age of Accounts is one of the factors that contributes to your Length of Credit History, which accounts for 15% of your FICO credit score.
This metric is calculated just as you would imagine. They add up the age of each of your credit accounts and divide by the total number of accounts. Simple.
However, Average Age of Accounts isn’t the only factor that goes in to the Length of Credit History metric.
The Length of Credit History metric factors, in order of importance:
- Age of Oldest Account
- Average Age of Accounts
- Age of your newest account
If you’re interested in learning more about those check out my Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Credit.
But for today, I’m going to focus solely on Average Age of Accounts.
Let’s start by introducing a little secret about the FICO credit scoring model.
Hi Travel Junkies,
Have you ever found yourself sprawled out on the couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, binge watching a show on Netflix for hours on end?
You tell yourself you’re only going to watch one more episode, then another, and before you know it you look up to see the dreaded “are you still watching?” message?
As if Netflix is asking you, “Haven’t you had enough for one day, Bryce?”
So you think about all the things you really should be doing instead of watching Netflix, feel guilty for about 2 minutes, then pick up the remote and continue watching.
Be honest, you know you’ve been there. I know I have (Damn you, House of Cards).
Luckily, one click of the button resets the clock and let’s slip back to your usual Sunday afternoon Netflix coma.
Ahh, laziness has never felt so good…..
Today, we are going to talk about a similar setup in the points/miles world.
You see, much like your Sunday afternoon Netflix marathons, your points/miles accounts will eventually ask you if you are still there.
And also like Netflix, if you fail to respond they will shut off (or in this case, close your account).
Hey 10xT team,
Here are this week’s Quick Wins:
- Get $20 Uber credit for New & Existing Users
- $20 Best Buy e-gift card after using Android Pay
- Receive $15 Statement Credit using your Chase Freedom card with Visa Checkout
1) Uber has partnered with Facebook messenger and they are giving away $20 in free credit for both new and existing customers. Here’s what to do:
People often ask me which credit card is my favorite, but there’s not a simple answer to that question. The truth is that my favorite credit card is the one that provides the greatest reward for the least amount of effort.
The best example of such a scenario is taking advantage of a credit card signup bonus. Many times these bonuses provide more than 5x the rewards of normal day-to-day spending and require very little time or effort.
Much like an employer offering you a job with a signing bonus of $50,000 and an annual salary of $10,000, credit card signup rewards are disproportionately front-loaded.
Most rational individuals would simply jump from one job to the next, collecting a new signup bonus each time.
But what if there was a way to continue receiving rewards from an older credit card, even after you had moved on to the next one?
What if, with little-to-no work required from you, they agreed to keep sending you a quarterly bonus? I’m probably safe to assume that almost no one would argue with that setup.
Well fellow travel junkies, let me introduce you to Better Balance Rewards.
What is the Better Balance Rewards Card?
Better Balance Rewards (“BBR”) is one of the many credit cards issued by Bank of America. The card is unique in that it offers a bonus every quarter for those who meet very basic minimum requirements.
Wait, no signup bonus?
That’s right, the Better Balance Rewards Card does not offer any sort of signup bonus. I wouldn’t usually vouch for such a card but hear me out.
The BBR is can be a great move for some people because they might be able to get it through something called a product change. Before we go any further let’s talk about what that means.
Hey 10xT team,
We got quite a bit of love from the last Quick Wins post so we’re going to continue with it.
- Get $300 bonus for opening a KeyBank Checking Account with $500 Direct Deposit
- Receive $20 statement credit from a $50+ Jet.com purchase
- Save $10 on an Amazon purchase with Chase Ultimate Rewards
1) Get $300 bonus for opening a KeyBank Checking Account with $500 Direct Deposit
Availability: AK, CO, ID, IN, ME, MI, NY, OH, OR, UT, VT, and WA
Curtis here. One thing we heard quite often in the survey was that you really enjoyed the “Quick Wins” posts – so here you go!
There are 3 current ones that I’d like to highlight for IHG, Starwood and Delta.
- Earn a minimum of 47,000+ IHG points for $50 and 2 hours of work
- Get an easy 1,000 Delta points
- (FREE) Daily contest to win 1,000 – 10,000 Starwood points + other prizes