Monthly Archives: April 2015

Seven Steps

Internet explorations can take a person to such strange lands. Finding a place to stay for a night in Cincinnati and then a second night in Washington took me over to Couchsurfing. After a quick search in the DC area it turns out that there are quite a few hosts. One in particular, Jordan K, really stood out with his 268 references. Reading through his profile it is apparent that Jordan isn’t a guy just offering up his couch. “There is a lot to see so be prepared to walk until your feet fall off!!!” is how he ends his couch description. By linking directly from his profile to “How to Be a Good Guest” on CouchWiki, it appears Jordan fully endorses the cultural sharing aspect of Couchsurfing.

What a cool guy!

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Debt Free!

Milestone attained. I’m debt free!

No longer have I the big scary education loan or distasteful car note. Nope. All paid off as of January 2015, and on schedule too!

Instead I’ve recently taken out a $2,500 ‘loan’ from Capital One. Not wanting to miss out on contributing to my Traditional IRA for tax year 2014, I took my VentureOne credit card over to Target and loaded funds onto a Target REDcard. Once loaded, the funds were withdrawn to supplement my linked bank account. From there it was simple to transfer the full $5,500 to my Vanguard retirement account. That account holds just 1 fund, VTSMX Investor Shares with a lowly 0.17% expense ratio.

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Manufactured Spending

It’s called “manufactured spending,” and I am not on the cutting edge of this hobby. Unlike with computer hardware, for me manufactured spending (MS) is a strange, new and exciting unexplored world, people have been pursuing this hobby for at least 2 decades. Consider the following scenario:  You apply for a credit card with a lucrative sign-up bonus. The bonus, however, is awarded only after spending a certain amount of money—usually a lot—within a given time frame. How to spend so much? Enter the hobby of creating the appearance that money is being spent, when actually it is not. Briefly, this is one out of many methods to do so:

  1. With a new credit card holding a lucrative bonus behind a big spending barrier, meet this threshold by buying Vanilla Reload gift cards (VGC) at a CVS, Duane Reade, or Walgreens pharmacy store
  2. Unload these gift cards into an American Express Bluebird account from a Wal-Mart Money Center kiosk
  3. Transfer the funds electronically from Bluebird to your bank account
  4. Pay off the credit card balance from your bank account as per usual

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