Browse Category: Smart Financial Decisions

Smart Financial Decisions

Update: Chase Freedom Announces 5% Cash Back Categories for Q3 18

Financial IndependenceLast year, we wrote about our decision to begin using a Chase Freedom credit card with 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories every quarter.

Because Chase Freedom offers only 1% cash back on purchases that do not fall into the special categories, and the 5% cash back incentive applies only to the first $1,500 in qualifying purchases every quarter, we still do most of our spending on our Fidelity Rewards card that offers 2% cash back on all purchases.

That said, adding the Chase Freedom credit card into the mix has proven to be a Smart Financial Decision for the ROMT family.

Since we started using the Chase Freedom card last spring, our family has received about $375 in extra cash back and sign up incentives!

Not a bad payoff for a brief online application and spending a few seconds to make sure we are using the right credit card when making purchases!

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Smart Financial Decisions: Goodbye ESPN and Costco!

Early RetirementI’ve written in the past about the potential impact seemingly small financial decisions can have over time, as well as how much money can be saved by paying as little as possible for recurring subscriptions.

Today we’ll take a look at how we recently saved some money not by cutting the cost of subscriptions, but by eliminating them entirely.

Over the past month, the ROMT family has said goodbye to both ESPN and Costco as we travel down our path towards financial independence and early retirement.

And you might be surprised to learn that letting go of ESPN was probably harder for me to do than letting go of Costco!

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Update: Chase Freedom Announces 5% Cash Back Categories for Q2 18

Financial IndependenceLast year, I wrote about our decision to open up a Chase Freedom credit card account.

It remains a Smart Financial Decision for the ROMT family.

We haven’t changed our spending habits to take advantage of the 5% cash back rewards Chase Freedom offers on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories every quarter. But we have reaped the benefits of switching normal spending from our Fidelity Rewards card, which offers 2% cash back on everything, to our Chase Freedom card when we can earn 5% on purchases we would have made anyways.

Chase Freedom offers 1% cash back on purchases that aren’t in the specific spending categories eligible for 5% cash back, so we still use our Fidelity Rewards card for most of our spending.

Since we started using the Chase Freedom card last spring, our family has received over $350 in sign up bonuses and cash back!

Chase recently announced the 5% cash back categories for Q2 18, and they should once again work out well for the ROMT family.

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Smart Financial Decisions: Money Wins From Our Trip to Walt Disney World

Smart Financial DecisionsLast week, I outlined some of the questionable financial decisions the ROMT family made while on vacation at Walt Disney World.

After spending a week at Walt Disney World, it’s tough to for me to claim from a purely financial perspective that it was a wise decision to go there for vacation. Every piece of the vacation seemed to have a significant price tag associated with it, and when it all was added up, it was a material expense.

Not one that we couldn’t afford, thankfully, but certainly one that will delay our FIRE aspirations by a couple of weeks!

That said, we had a great time together as a family, and we also did our best to make some Smart Financial Decisions while on vacation.

In today’s post, I’ll focus on some of the choices we made that saved us money while vacationing in Orlando.

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Update: Chase Freedom Announces 5% Cash Back Categories for Q1 18

Financial IndependenceEarlier this year, I wrote about our decision to sign up for the Chase Freedom credit card.

So far it has been a Smart Financial Decision for our family.

We haven’t changed our spending habits to take advantage of the 5% cash back rewards Chase Freedom offers on rotating categories every quarter. But we have reaped the benefits of switching normal spending from our Fidelity Rewards card, which offers 2% cash back on everything, to our Chase Freedom card when we can earn 5% on purchases we would have made anyways. Chase Freedom offers 1% cash back on purchases that aren’t in the specific spending categories eligible for 5% cash back, so we still use our Fidelity Rewards card for most of our spending.

Since we started using the Chase Freedom card in the spring, our family has received almost $290 in sign up bonuses and cash back! Continue Reading

Smart Financial Decisions: Saving Hundreds of Dollars an Hour Making Phone Calls

Financial IndependenceIn today’s edition of Smart Financial Decisions, we’re writing about a simple, but incredibly effective, way to save significant amounts of money.

And almost all of us can find ways to use this skill.

It’s called picking up your phone and making a phone call.

As I’ve gotten more serious about pursuing financial independence and early retirement, I’ve used this skill more and more often.

This year alone I’ve made several phone calls that have saved the ROMT family well over $1,000.

Not a bad return for a couple of hours of “work”!

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Smart Financial Decisions: Paying Off Our Mortgage

Financial IndependenceA few months before starting Retiring On My Terms, Mrs. ROMT and I made one of the biggest decisions of our financial lives.

We decided to pay off our mortgage.

There appear to be at least two very vocal camps in the personal finance community when it comes to discussions about paying off one’s mortgage and other debt.

The first camp is passionate about eliminating all debt as soon as possible.

The second camp believes almost any debt is ok, as long as you expect to earn a higher rate of return on your investments than you are paying in interest.

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Update: Chase Freedom Announces 5% Cash Back Categories For Q4 17

Financial IndependenceEarlier this year, I wrote about our attempt to optimize our credit card usage to maximize potential rewards.

Since we aren’t frequent travelers, I focused on finding a card with attractive cash back features, rather than a card with great perks for world travelers. We signed up for a Chase Freedom Credit Card in the spring, which has been a smart financial decision thus far.

As a reminder, Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in specific spending categories each quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else. Our Fidelity Rewards card offers 2% cash back on all purchases.

To date, we’ve earned $260 in cash back since getting the Chase Freedom card, including sign up bonuses, but the pace at which we earned rewards from our new card slowed dramatically during the third quarter.

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Smart Financial Decisions: Thinking About Percentages

PercentagesThose who have read Retiring On My Terms before know I tend to focus on the numbers while charting our course towards financial independence.

I’ve posted in the past about the large impact small decisions can have over time, and we have made several changes to our daily habits since we actively started down our path to FIRE.

As I read posts from others who are more focused on frugality and minimalism, I always learn something new. I can’t honestly say I’ve implemented everything I’ve read, but even ideas that seem outlandish still encourage me to review my own decision-making, and force me to think about things differently.

As my thinking has changed, one thing I’ve started doing is evaluating my consumption in terms of percentages.

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Smart Financial Decisions: The Best Purchase Of Our Frugal Vacation

Retiring on my terms

Last week, I wrote about our decision to spend less than half of what we spent last year on our family vacation this year.

A year ago, we stayed at a luxury oceanfront resort.

This year, we stayed at a nice inn, which was about half an hour away from the public beaches.

There were many perks at the luxury resort last year, one of which was that a staff member would help bring your chairs and other belongings down to the beach, and set up a large beach umbrella or portable tent for you.

While this was nice, it also made me a bit uncomfortable. I’m a grown man, in reasonably good shape, with a wife and two children. I don’t need someone to carry chairs or set up a tent for us.

I know some people are all about the service, but I am all about self-sufficiency.

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