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An Amateur Travel Hacker’s First Experience With Travel Hacking

I’ve always been wary when it comes to credit cards. Even though I’ve never been shy about trying out new fintech apps or opening up new bank accounts, for some reason, credit cards have always scared me. Maybe it’s the fact that a credit card goes on your credit report. Signing up for a new card just seems so … permanent.

My fear of opening up new credit cards probably comes from the fact that my history with credit cards isn’t very robust. I got my first card back in 2006 during my sophomore year of college – a Citi mtvU Visa Card which gave me extra points when I used it at bars and restaurants. The card seemed pretty good and it served as my daily use card throughout my 20s. In 2012, Citi changed the card over to a Citi Forward Card, which was the card that I was using all the way through the beginning of this year. The only other card I’ve gotten during that time is a Target Red Card that I accidentally got when I was actually trying to get the Target Debit Card.

Because of this fear of credit cards, I’ve pretty much missed out on the whole travel hacking craze…

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9 Best New Personal Finance Podcasts

I listen to podcasts pretty much anytime I’m walking around or doing anything that doesn’t involve a ton of mental energy. With the way technology works today, pretty much anybody can become an expert on any topic. All you have to do is spend a bit of time each day soaking up a bunch of information from smarter people. Just think about all of the time you spend each day commuting, walking your dog, or doing chores around the house. That’s all time that can be spent learning.

I’ve written in the past about some of my favorite personal finance podcasts. Today, I thought I’d share 9 of the best personal finance podcasts that I’ve discovered over the past few months. These podcasts aren’t all “new” per se, but they are new to me. I like to think that they’re also lesser known podcasts that you won’t find on every single “best of” list.

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We All Have To Start Somewhere

I recently picked up a new book from my local library called The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World. As you can probably guess, the book is about the growth of Airbnb and Uber, and it starts at the very beginning of these companies, before they even existed. I’m still working my way through the book, but what I’ve read so far really hit home for me and reminded me of an important lesson that I thought was worth reminding ourselves of again – we all have to start somewhere.

It’s an important thing to remember that I too often forget. One of the frustrating things about getting into the personal finance space is feeling like you’re so far behind all the time. I’m pretty much at the beginning of my financial journey and it’s sometimes disheartening to see people the same age as me who are already nearing or at financial independence.

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Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life: Why Not Retire Early?

One of my more financially interesting friends is my friend Jay (not his real name). While the rest of us are beginning or in the middle of our “real” careers, Jay still works as a bartender at the same restaurant he worked at while we were in college. He recently turned 30 years old, and if my calculations are correct, that means he’s been working as a bartender at the same place now for 8 years (longer if you count the summers that he worked there while in college).

Bartending always seemed like it was supposed to be a temporary stop. My friends and I all graduated college in 2009 – right in the midst of the financial crisis – and found ourselves unable to get any “real” jobs. I worked two minimum wage jobs and lived at home with my parents. My other friends did similar things. One friend worked at a sporting goods store. Another worked at a golf course. Some people worked at restaurants – typical post-college jobs that you’d expect a 22-year old to have to take after the worst financial meltdown in a generation.

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Do You Use Work As An Excuse Not To Reach Financial Independence?

I sometimes get into conversations with friends of mine who wonder why I’m trying to save so much money. When I tell them that I’m doing it because I’d love to be able to retire early, I’m often met with the same response: “I couldn’t imagine myself not working. I’d get too bored.”

I’m sure those of you on the path to financial independence have heard that same remark as well. It’s all well and good, mind you. There’s nothing wrong with working. If you like your job, by all means, you should keep doing it. Honestly, if I ever do reach financial independence, I’ll probably keep working too. Perhaps not in a traditional 9-5 job, but I’d probably do something that I find fun.

My problem isn’t with people who say they enjoy working. That’s totally fine. It’s that I find that people who tell me they like working often use that, not as a plan, but rather, as an excuse for why they’re not saving very much. Or they use it as a reason to criticize my own drive to save money.

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