Might Be Time To Check Your Raise Account Status

One of my current side gigs is buying and selling discount retail gift cards and reselling them to gift card exchanges through a process I call Gift Card Arbitrage.  I’ve written about it numerous times and while I don’t move as much volume as I used to, ebay is still great source for easy flips that I do for the extra miles and points.  The two primary gift card exchanges that I sell to are SaveYa and Raise as they gave me bulk seller status once upon a time, but I will also sell to ABC/CardCash if they have the best rate.

Unfortunately, I recently sold a few gift cards to Raise.com expecting the bulk seller commission rates I was promised and only found out after the fact that I was no longer considered a bulk seller!  Luckily, this particular transaction only cost me ~$5, but the situation could have been much worse if I was selling a different brand with a larger commission discrepancy or larger volumes.  Apparently Raise now enforces a minimum sale threshold to maintain bulk seller status, but the worst part is they can change your account status without even informing you.  I’ll break down what I know below.

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How We Booked a $14,000 Honeymoon for Under $400

Becky and I have officially tied the knot and are now married!  The wedding took place in Seattle where we live and despite the chaos of planning and executing a crazy event like this, it ended up being an amazing experience where we were able to celebrate with family and friends, many of whom we hadn’t seen since moving across the country a few years ago.  Now that the wedding has taken place, the next big thing on our minds is the honeymoon!

I’ve previously posted more specifically about finding the various flights and hotels we booked along with different options we were considering, but this post will summarize what we ended up going with.  Primarily thanks to various credit card signup bonuses that we’ve taken advantage of over the past couple years, we were able to book flights in business class to New Zealand and Fiji and cover all 16 hotel nights for less than $400 out of pocket!  Becky and I have never flown anything above economy outside of the country and this we be the furthest that we’ve ever traveled together.  Needless to say, we’re extremely excited to head to the airport in a few days and I’m excited to break down exactly how we did it below.

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How We Manage Over 50 Financial Accounts Amidst A Busy Life

If you’ve followed this website for very long, you’ll know it’s not a secret that my fiance and I frequently sign up for new accounts in the pursuit of extra cash, free travel, and numerous other perks that come along.  The benefits of doing so have been substantial as we brought in thousands of dollars in cash and enough points to travel the world in style, but one side effect of doing so is a plethora of accounts that need to be managed.

Between credit cards, bank accounts, and our various investment accounts, we currently sit at 54 unique financial accounts, but that number is constantly in flux.  It’s often not too difficult to open the latest account and reap the rewards up front when you have some free time, but it’s not always convenient to do it on the back end when a delay in closing it out could cost you an annual fee or more.  This is why it’s important to have an organizational system you can stick to regardless of what’s going on in life around you.  My goal is to share with you the organized chaos that is the system I use to stay on top of it all.

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The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins, A Review

Ever since I discovered financial independence and started reading everything I could about the subject, there was one person who kept coming up over and over again, a Mr. JL Collins.  The stock series found on his own personal blog might be the best resource I’ve ever found on the proper mentality to have when investing in the stock market to grow and preserve wealth over time.  He not only lays out an extremely simple method that anyone can follow, but also explains why the method is proven over time and not simply the latest “trick” to make money in the market.

JL recently complied all of the knowledge spread across his blog and his stock series, cleaned it up a bit, added some new insights, and released it all in book form.  This new book is The Simple Path to Wealth and he was kind enough to send me a copy in exchange for my honest opinion on the book which you can find below.  If you’ve ever been hesitant to invest money in the stock market, this is definitely a book you don’t want to miss.

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Hiking and The Journey To Financial Independence

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, Becky and I found ourselves climbing Mount Si with a few dozen others who shared our goal of financial independence.  The hike itself is a fairly steep ~4,000 ft elevation gain over 4 miles each way and the rain certainly didn’t make it easier, but what made this particular hike amazing were the people who joined us.  The third annual Camp Mustache brought together over 50 individuals that share a common interest in financial independence, early retirement, and more generally just stepping outside the norm of what society might expect in all aspects of life.  The group included people like ourselves that were relatively early on the journey, many that have considered themselves retired for years, everything in between, and of course a few big bloggers that have carved out their space in the financial independence world.

Below I plan to share my experience at the event and the many parallels I discovered between hiking and financial independence on that long hike up the mountain.

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