Should You Get a Credit Card that Earns 5x Rewards?

You’ve probably seen commercials advertising credit cards that earn 5% cash back or 5 points per dollar spent. Compared with standard cards that often earn just 1% cash back or 1 point per dollar spent, these 5x cards seem amazing. But are they? Should you get them?

A number 5 made out of coins, representing 5x

In this post I’ll cover the 4 main cards that earn 5x rewards. I’ll then provide my recommendation for whether to get them. (more…)

Increase Your Income with 5 Topgrading Competencies

These 5 Abilities are Important and Comparatively Easy to Develop

While there are many ways to earn extra money on the side, the primary way to earn more is to get paid more for your work. Improving your skills is a key ingredient to getting paid more. But there are many ways to improve. The question is: which improvements are both easiest to make and likely to have the greatest impact on your ability, value to your employer, and income?

Man watering a plant that he is standing on

In the book Topgrading, author Bradford Smart lays out no fewer than 50 job competencies. These are 50 areas in which every employee has more or less ability. Topgrading is a book about hiring. The competencies are discussed to help an employer make a top hire.

But in reading about the competencies, I realized it could be reverse-engineered to help someone become more valuable to a current or perspective employer.

Specifically, 5 of the 50 competencies are considered by experienced Topgraders to be both highly important and easy to change. Focusing on growing in those 5 competencies presents a leveraged opportunity. They offer 5 ways to make yourself more valuable to an employer with comparative ease.

In this post I will provide a snapshot of the 50 Topgrading competencies. Then I’ll discuss how to increase your ability—and hopefully your income—through improving in the key 5. (more…)

4 Ways to Save Money on Groceries Quickly

How to Save Money on Groceries, Part 2 of 2

In my last post I argued that you can save substantially on groceries—perhaps 19% or $760 per year—by having them delivered to you rather than going grocery shopping. Doing so saves a lot of time, too. But I also acknowledged that sometimes it makes more sense to shop for groceries in store. When shopping in store, there are still ways to quickly save money on groceries.

Woman in grocery store, contemplating which groceries to buy

Following are 4 efficient ways to save money when shopping for groceries in the store: (more…)

How to Save $760 on Groceries in No Time

How to Save Money on Groceries, Part 1 of 2

The average American household spends over $4,000 per year on groceries. As a result, saving even a small percent on groceries can add up. That said, many cost-savings tactics—like clipping coupons—often aren’t worth the time. The question is: how can one save the most money on groceries in the least amount of time?

Man delivering groceries to a woman at her home

In this two-part series of posts, I’ll share 5 ways to quickly save on groceries. Today I want to share my #1 recommendation: (more…)

SeatGuru: How to Get the Best Seat on the Plane

Plus a Special Bonus Trick that I Love

Whether flying in economy, business, or first class, you want the best seat for the money you spend. Some seats—such as those near the bathrooms—you know to avoid choosing. But how can you know in advance which seats don’t recline or which have misaligned windows? On the other hand, how can you know which have extra leg room or AC power so that you can charge your device in flight? The answer is SeatGuru.

Exit row seats

I’ve used SeatGuru for many years to help me get the best seat for the money. In this post I will explain how SeatGuru works and show you how to use it to get a great seat on the plane. (more…)

4 New Opportunities to Earn $500 on the Side

You Should be able to Earn $100/hour or More with These 4 Opportunities

Four good bank offers have come out over the past week or so, as reported by Doctor of Credit. Each offer allows you to earn $500 or more. They represent a fairly easy way to add to your financial bottom line.

Chase $300, $200, or $500 offer

Here’s an overview of each of the four offers, together with my recommendation for which one(s) to get, depending on your circumstances: (more…)

How to “Priceline Hack” a Luxury Hotel on the Cheap

I Saved $85/night—a 57% Discount—the Last Time I Used This Trick

If you’re like most people, you don’t want to overpay for a hotel. At the same time, you don’t want to spend forever squeezing out every last dollar of savings. You want to quickly find and book a great hotel at a great price. If you’re going to pay cash (rather than points) for a hotel, the absolute best way I know of to quickly get a great hotel at a great price is to use the Priceline hack I describe in this post.

Times Square with "Phantom of the Opera" sign -- used to illustrate the Priceline Hack

Times Square, New York — one of the many places the Priceline hack works

The last time I used this method I booked a $150 4-star hotel in Miami for $65—a savings of $85 or 57%. Saving $85 is great. But imagine saving $85/night on a 5-night stay. That’s a savings of $425. Now imagine doing that four times per year. That’s a savings of $1,700. The savings add up quickly when you make this method of booking hotels your default method.

In this post I will explain how Priceline works. Then I’ll share the key to the trick. Finally, I’ll include a video I recorded of me using the method. That way you can see, step-by-step, exactly how to do it. (more…)

How to Use Expected Value to Save Time and Money

Make Everyday Decisions with the Mind of a Poker Pro

Poker legend Doyle Brunson is rumored to have been asked whether he would take the following bet. A coin is flipped. If it comes up heads, Doyle loses his entire net worth. Tails, he wins 10 times his net worth. Doyle responded, “I’d have to take that bet.”

Man flipping coin, representing Doyle Brunson's expected value decision

He’d “have to” take that bet because of a concept called expected value. Even if some of us wouldn’t take that particular bet, the concept of expected value can help us make better decisions in many areas of life, especially those involving time and money.

In this post, I’ll define expected value and show how you can use it to save time and money. (more…)

How to Avoid Paying a Flight Cancellation Fee

4 Ways to Cancel Flights for Free

Cancelling a flight is often costly. Most of the U.S. carriers charge $100-200 to cancel or change a nonrefundable, domestic ticket. In some cases, however, you can cancel without paying a flight cancellation fee.

Woman watching a plane depart

Following are 4 ways to cancel your ticket without paying a fee. I’ve used three of these four ways a good number of times. (more…)

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…)