Cashback vs. Miles and Points: Which is Better?

How to Get the Most out of Credit Card Spend

A reader named Blake wrote in to ask me the following question about credit card rewards: If your intent is to travel, would you rather have travel points rewarded you or straight cash? My thought is that with cash I have more freedom to search the cheapest flight, at the right time, going to the right place. Do you think this is a true assumption?

Man pondering whether cashback is the way to go

It’s a great question—one that probably a lot of folks have. Years ago, I agreed with Blake’s assumption. “Cash is king,” I thought. Often, it is. But sometimes, you can do better—even much better—with miles and points. Let me explain. (more…)

Multitasking Works in 2 Ways that Experts Fail to See

How to Know When to Multitask and When Not To

Multitasking used to be cool. People thought it possible and aspired to it. Now, however, so-called productivity experts condemn multitasking. But the picture of multitasking they paint is woefully incomplete. The experts fail to acknowledge two ways in which multitasking is not only possible but very efficient.

Mother multitasking: talking on phone while cooking and holding a baby


4 Benefits to Bank Account Bonuses and How to Get Them

It is Possible to Earn $2,000+ Each Year from Bank Account Bonuses

Did you know that you can often earn $50-400 by opening a bank account? Such amounts, especially when earned repeatedly, can meaningfully boost a lot of folks’ finances. Also, for those who shouldn’t sign up for credit cards because they carry debt, signing up for bank accounts with big bonuses is a viable alternative.

Man receiving money from the bank

In this post I’ll explain what bank account bonuses are. I’ll cover their advantages and disadvantages. I’ll show you how to find the best bonuses. And I’ll assess whether bank account bonuses are a good deal. (more…)

How to Live the 80/20 Rule for What Matters Most

Why the 80/20 Rule is a Key Principle for Having More Time and Money

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of effects are determined by 20% of their causes. The rule is also known as the Pareto Principle, after the 19th Century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the peapods. (Weird thing to notice.) He also showed that about 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

Man contemplating how he can use the 80/20 rule to achieve 80% of the result with 20% of the input

The Pareto Principle is not a law, like gravity. It’s a rule of thumb. It fits a wide array of phenomena. Consider, for instance, these applications of the rule across a variety of fields: (more…)

How My Family Just Took a $5,218 Vacation to Cabo San Lucas for $42

My family of five and my folks returned last week from a great vacation to Cabo San Lucas. I’ll tell you a bit about the trip via the pictures and captions in this post. But mostly I want to share how the seven of us paid a total of $42 for roundtrip flights and 5 nights at a 4-star resort. I want to give you ideas for how you can do the same. Because you can.

McAdam Family at Sunset in Cabo

My family attempting to pose for a picture on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas

We had expenses on the ground such as transportation and food that went beyond the $42. But that’s how much we spent on hotel and flights. Here’s how: (more…)

Last Chance for the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100,000 Point Bonus

Saturday, March 11 is the Last Day to Get the 100k Signup Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve ranks #1 on my list of Best Credit Card Signup Offers. Indeed, with its lucrative 100,000 point signup bonus, it is arguably the best credit card ever offered.

Megaphone Displaying "Last Chance," as this is the Last Chance to get the 100k Signup Bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve

As I detailed in this post, the card will net most folks at least $1,650 of value toward travel.

To get the 100k points, you need to spend $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months of card membership. Getting $1,650 of value by spending $4,000 is like getting 41% back on that $4,000 of spend. (more…)

Life’s too Short to Ignore a Dream

Why to Pay Attention to Your Deepest Desires

What do you dream about when it’s quiet? On a hike, on vacation, on retreat, or when lying awake in bed–what desires emerge? Is there something you want to do that the noise of life drowns out but that resurfaces whenever the noise subsides?

Looking out over the Ocean in Mexico

If so, life is too short to ignore such dreams. I know, because I’ve ignored them and wished I hadn’t. (more…)

How to Build a New Habit this Lent

3 Steps to Harness the Power of Habit to Live for What Matters Most this Lent and Beyond

Forming good habits is one of the most powerful means of pursuing what matters most. That’s because habits make up more than 40% of the actions people perform each day, as noted in Charles Duhigg’s 2012 bestseller The Power of Habit.

A Resolution this Lent: Leave my iPhone and Keys on Desk

Today is an especially great day to begin a new habit. That’s because today is the first day of Lent, a period of 40 days of preparation leading up to Easter Sunday. Although the primary focus of Lent is not habit formation, many Catholics and other Christians seek to adopt better habits during this time. As this article in the Los Angeles Times recently pointed out, non-Christians also use Lent as a chance for a resolution reboot.

So, how can you create a habit that sticks? (more…)