Personal Finance

Beginner's Guide To Points and Miles Part 4: Earning Rewards From Travel

In the first part of this beginner's guide, I introduced the concept of points and miles, and where they come from. In part 2, I showed you how important credit cards can be to earning points and miles. In part 3, we learned you how you can use promotions and other special offers to boost your your balances of points and miles. Today, I want to show you ways to earn more points and miles from the travel you purchase.

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Want To Save On School Supplies? Skip The Bundles

Like the holiday shopping season, back-to-school shopping seems to start a little earlier with each coming school year.

A recent poll of Brad's Deals shoppers found that 52% of consumer start their back-to-school shopping by Mid-July, and the National Retail Federation projects back-to-school shopping will hit $74.9 billion this year, a slight increase from 2013.
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Beginner's Guide To Points And Miles Part 3: Promotions And Special Offers

In the first part of this beginner's guide, I introduced the concept of points and miles, and where they come from. In part two, I showed you how important credit cards can be to earning points and miles. Today, I want to show you how you can use promotions and other special offers to boost your your balances of points and miles.

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Beginner's Guide To Miles And Points Part 2: Using Credit Cards

Last week, in Part 1 of this beginner's guide, I laid out exactly where points and miles come from, and what they are. Furthermore, I implored you to organize your accounts and set a modest goal for earning and spending miles on nice trip.

Today, I want to show you how credit cards have become one of the most popular way to earn miles and points, and how you can safely use them to reach your award travel goals. Read more

Beginner's Guide To Miles And Points, Part 1: Where Do Miles And Points Come From?

Every year, my family and I travel across the country and around the world, flying in business class and staying luxury hotels. It's not that we're rich, we just know how to earn and redeem points and miles offered by airlines, hotels, and credit card issuers.

The truth is that collecting and spending these points and miles is not that hard, anyone can do it. Read more

Show Me the Money: How to Find, Apply, and Write Your Way to a Winning College Scholarship

STOP. I know what you're thinking. Why waste time writing and applying for a college scholarship when you know you won't win?

I've heard this response from students countless times, year after year. It's almost as though everyone has been brainwashed to think they can't be a winner. And who can blame them?

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Which Type Of Travel Rewards Credit Card Should You Use?

The credit card industry is nothing if not fiercely competitive. Card issuers are continuously creating new products to appeal to customers, and trying to convince everyone that its cards are the best.

When it comes to travel reward credit cards, there has been a sharp divide in recent years between two types of products.

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When Should You Cancel a Credit Card? Almost Never!

When searching for good deals, the credit card companies are my allies. They offer me tons of free points and miles, and allow me to travel the world for nearly nothing! Yet one of the questions I hear most often is, how long I keep these cards? Others ask me what they should do when their card comes up for renewal and the annual fee is due.

Here's the way I handle it

When to Cancel a Credit CardI know that having several credit cards open in good standing improves my credit history, so I have no problem hanging on to cards that I have applied for, even if I rarely use them.

One of the biggest myths about credit cards is that you can have too many. That is not even close to being true! First, the length of your credit history has a big influence on your credit score, so dropping a card is a bad move since it kills the length and breadth of that history. Another big factor is your credit utilization ratio. When you cancel a credit card, your available credit shrinks, making your existing credit card debt a bigger percentage of the whole. So if you carry any credit card debt at all, between losing that card's history and increasing your credit utilization ratio, closing a card will hurt your overall credit score!

The only downside to keeping open most credit card accounts is that they require an annual fee.

Here are some other reasons why I keep them open:

First, I have the signup bonus, so there is no reason to cancel the card for a year, at least until the annual fee is due. Besides, I might find that this card has some value and continue using it. In other cases, I have received some great bonus offers in the mail where I get double or triple miles for certain purchases during a limited time.

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5 Money Saving Strategies You Should Avoid

Today's post comes from Dan Burke. The opinions contained in this post are the author’s own and are not necessarily those of Brad's Deals.

Saving money is always a wise financial move - well, almost always. There are plenty of strategies for keeping more money in your wallet, but a few of them actually may not be worth your time. If your instinct is to conserve cash wherever and whenever you can, take a look at the following money-saving strategies you'd be better off avoiding.

Does Shopping at Costco Save Money?

1. Buying a Deal Without Researching It

If you see a great offer on a deal of the day website like Groupon or LivingSocial, don't automatically assume it's going to save you money. Sometimes you can actually get the product through other outlets at the same price - or possibly a lower one.

For service-based deals like spa treatments, always read the fine print. If you're required to purchase the "gold package" just to get the discount, you might be spending a lot more than what you would pay for a basic visit. Don't necessarily take the word of big box retailers either. Just because Best Buy or Staples says you're saving $100 by purchasing a certain tablet doesn't make it true. Do your homework.

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25 Ways to Spend Less on Utilities and Stay Cool This Summer

Paying utilities including gas, electric, and water are unavoidable. And with the warm summer months rapidly approaching, these costs have the ability to skyrocket. Instead of breaking out that paper fan and sweating throw your summer clothes, here are some ways to save on your utility bills.

Free Things You Can Do

These simple tips are things you can start doing today to lower your utility bills and won’t cost you a penny.

Pay your utility bills with a credit card. Instead of paying cash, pay your utility bills with a credit card that earns cash back points. For example, Chase Freedom is currently offering $200 back when you spend $500, which is money you spent on utilities going back into your pocket. Use the card to pay your various utility bills and other expenses you’d usually pay cash for, pay off your balance in full to avoid any interest or debt, and get paid to pay your bills.

Grilling Saves Electricity

Seha bs / Wikimedia Commons

Skip the stove. A stove not only uses more electricity, but it’s going to heat your home making it more difficult to keep cool. Instead try grilling outside or use a toaster oven, microwave or a crock pot, which require less energy and give off less heat. This Kenmore 4-burner grill is currently available for just $185.

Use your dishwasher more efficiently. If possible, set the water temperature lower on your dishwasher and change to a lighter wash cycle. Only use the washer on a full load to prevent wasting water. Clean your dishwasher regularly to keep it working properly. Also, opt to air dry your dishes instead of a heated dry, which not only uses electricity but will also add heat to your home.

Air Drying on a Clothes Line

alessandra elle / Flickr

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