credit card rewardsSummer is still eight months away, but I'm already looking for ways to save money on next summer's vacation. One method is to chase credit card rewards and hoard them like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter.

Flying to Europe for the summer for free off credit card reward points sounds almost too good to be true.

Signing up for credit cards mainly for the bonus points that come with them is a money-saving method that has intrigued me for years. I haven't done it, however, because I don't want to spend the effort keeping track of six or so credit cards. My main concern is much more dire: Will it hurt my credit score?

I've written about credit cards and credit card rewards for a few websites, and this is a topic I've touched on for a few of them after talking to credit experts and people who make collecting credit card bonus points a hobby. The consensus was that it doesn't, with a few caveats.

Instead of relying on credit card points experts who keep a spreadsheet of their cards, I found Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, to talk to about chasing credit card rewards. ...continue reading

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Image: BedBathandBeyond.com

We are gathered here today to say farewell to the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% discount coupons, whose passing came on suddenly this week.

Oh, dear 20% off coupon, you touched so many lives in so many different ways. You’ve been the perfect companion through all of life’s biggest moments, including my own.

Your presence was always a welcome one — I’d see your blue and white amidst the bills and magazines, and it was like seeing an old friend. Your reliability provided a strong sense of comfort, whether you knew it or not.

I grew up with you and shared the big life-altering moments with you. I remember taking stacks of you to the store so I could load up on shower totes, laundry baskets and extra long sheets in the fall before starting college. ...continue reading


richer friendsI was at a conference for financial bloggers recently and one of the keynote speakers on the last day of the conference said something that caught the attention of a lot of people as good advice:

"Your income equals the average income of your five best friends."

I'm not buying it.

While those may not be his exact words, that's the gist of what he said. His point — and he made it often — was that being rich is great and if you want to be rich too, like he is, then go find some millionaires to spend more time with and surround yourself with richer friends.

I think some of his speech was tongue-in-cheek, but for the most part I think he was serious and was proud of his bank statements and income. I don't think being wealthy is anything to be ashamed of, and I applaud him for it.

Who doesn't want richer friends?

But what threw me, and what wasn't questioned at his talk to close the conference, was his advice to start finding and introducing yourself to richer people so that you can somehow glean the behaviors that help make them rich.

Really? Stop spending as much time with the top five people I know now and go look for five rich people to hang with? If dropping five friends for people with higher incomes is a path to financial success, count me out. And even if the speaker wasn't saying that those original five should be dropped, then spending a lot less time with them while pursuing richer friends sounds like a poor life choice. ...continue reading