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What Really Matters In Your Personal Finances

The best sentence about personal finance that I’ve read this week is from Beware of Financial Alchemy by Adam Collins of Movement Capital.

There are only a few things you can control that have a big impact on your finances:

If you’re young, how much you save
If you’re retired, how much you spend
How you behave when markets panic
Your allocation between stocks and bonds
How much you pay in fees

Everything else is a rounding error. The issue is we tend to focus on the rounding errors.

That’s exactly right. I write a lot about rounding errors because otherwise I’d just be saying the above sentence over and over again. Writing about personal finance often boils down to a game where you have to talk about the same 5-10 topics but manage to put a different spin on them so it feels fresh.

However, I try to focus on rounding errors that have a very high probability of helping you out without harming you. A little higher yield on an FDIC-insured bank account. A little more cash back on your existing credit card purchases. A little higher net return through lower cost index funds and no-commission-fee brokerage firms (or those that pay you to move over some assets). Piling on a few more data points on market drops to keep you in the long-term mindset. But don’t get scammed by someone promising what is simply too good to be true:

The truth about investing in 2020 is there isn’t an easy fix for high stock valuations and low bond yields. No strategy can magically transform today’s low return opportunity set into a high return future. So what can you do? Focus on what you can control and don’t get tempted by someone promising they can turn lead into gold.

Sam’s Club New Membership Deal for $25/$35 With Freebies

sams200bGroupon has two new Sam’s Club membership deals, which usually come around only once or twice a year. There are two options. The $25 option (up to $53.99 value) includes:

  • One-year Sam’s Club membership ($45 value)
  • Complimentary membership card for a spouse or other household member
  • Access to Sam’s Club mobile app, Scan & Go, and curbside pickup
  • Member’s Mark™ Take-n-Bake 16″ pizza ($7.99 to $9.99 value). Choose from items: 980064642, 980064637, 980064638, 980175943, 980064660, 980064644, or 980064640.

The $35 option includes all of the above plus:

  • Member’s Mark™ Cheesecake (up to $15.98 value). Choose from items: 980088353 or 980088158
  • Member’s Mark™ 36ct. Dinner Rolls

This deal is for new memberships only, as defined as follows:

Offer valid for new Sam’s Club Members only. Not valid for membership renewals, for those with a current membership, or those who were Sam’s Club members less than 6 months prior to October 15, 2020.

Some folks like to rotate a year with Sam’s Club and a year with Costco, as both usually offer new member deals regularly.

Save even more on your Groupon with a cashback shopping portal. Many offer new customers bonuses if you make a qualifying purchase, including MyPoints ($10 bonus), Rakuten (formerly eBates) ($30 bonus with $30 purchase), TopCashBack (varies), and BeFrugal ($10 bonus). So you could sign-up and stack this Groupon to pickup the bonus. I have cashed out of all of these in the last 12 months.

Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve: New Benefits November 2020

Newly added and extended benefits as of November 2020. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card have been very popular for their generous travel and dining perks, but right now travel and dining aren't really happening. … [Read the rest]

Starbucks Mastercard Promo: Buy $15 Gift Card, Get $5 Free

Here's an easy Starbucks promo: Buy a $15+ Starbucks eGift using a Mastercard, Get a free $5 Starbucks eGift Card. You should be able to see a banner on the front page of your Starbucks app, but the terms say you can order via Starbucks.com too. … [Read the rest]

$45 of Free Grubhub Food: Rakuten $30 + Grubhub 11% Cash Back / $10 Off

There are three separate deals going on right now that are stackable. Altogether, if you sign up for new accounts for Grubhub and Rakuten, you can effectively get about $45 of food for free! $30 Rakuten bonus. Rakuten (formerly eBates) is a … [Read the rest]

Amazon: Pay with American Express Points, Get 10% to 40% Off (Targeted)

Updated offer links. If you have an American Express card with Membership Rewards (MR) points, you can redeem them to buy eligible items at Amazon.com. The redemption rate is 1 MR points = 0.7 cents to spend at Amazon, which unfortunately is less … [Read the rest]

Born to Run: Is Running Outdoors Another Deeply-Embedded Human Desire?

Recently, I've been attracted to books that talk about common qualities of all humans (as opposed to their differences) - like how humans became the dominant species because of their ability to cooperate (Sapiens) and our shared need for autonomy, … [Read the rest]

American Express Gold Card: 60,000 Bonus Point Limited-Time Offer

New limited-time offer. The refreshed American Express Gold Card is trying to get back to its former glory as a status card with some new perks. Right, there is a limited-time offer boost. Here are the highlights: 60,000 Membership Rewards … [Read the rest]

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review – 100,000 Bonus Miles + Platinum Elite Status Perk

New limited-time offer. The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card is the re-branded business credit card of the Marriott Bonvoy program (formed after the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest). This card offers unique … [Read the rest]

Consumer Reports: Electric Vehicle Total Cost of Ownership Savings Breakdown

Consumer Reports is well-known for their annual survey of customers about their cars' reliability and ownership costs. While electrical vehicles usually cost more upfront, they also cost less to fuel, maintain, and repair than traditional … [Read the rest]

Amazon Prime Day 2020: Big List of Deals and Discounts (Updated)

Amazon Prime Day is over, don't forget to spend your free credits. Here are their current Holiday Dash Deals of the Day. Amazon Prime Day 2020 is October 13th and 14th. I’ll try to keep this post updated with the most recent offers. There are … [Read the rest]

Savings I Bonds November 2020 Interest Rate: 1.68% Inflation Rate

Savings I Bonds are a unique, low-risk investment backed by the US Treasury that pay out a variable interest rate linked to inflation. With a holding period from 12 months to 30 years, you could own them as an alternative to bank certificates of … [Read the rest]