So I’m trying to spend $5,000 in 3 months and now I know how it feels to be an American consumer! It’s liberating to spend more than usual, but at the same time I feel pretty guilty about it. Here is the deal. I signed up with Chase Ink Plus and if I charge $5,000 in the first 3 months, then I’ll receive 70,0000 bonus reward points. This will help fund our international trip next year.
I’m doing this because I’ve been thinking about travel hacking for quite a while now. We put off traveling for a few years because RB40 junior was a bit young. Next year he’ll be 4 and I think he will ready for some international adventures. It’s time to take advantage of travel hacking.
Anyway, I’m thinking about Costa Rica or perhaps Belize. With 70,000 points, We’d be able to get 2 super saver round trip tickets* to San Jose with US Airways. Then we’d have to just buy one more ticket for the little guy. Actually, the US Airways credit card has a 50,000 point sign up bonus right now so maybe we’ll be able to get that last ticket with points after all.
*It seems the super saver tickets are pretty tough to book. We might have to go with regular discount tickets which will cost around 70,000 points for the round trip. I guess we’ll see when we book.
Okay, let’s get back to the main point of this story. Usually we put less than $1,000 on our personal credit card each month, so it’s a stretch to spend $5,000 in 3 months. That’s another reason why I’ve been putting off this whole travel hacking thing. However, I think we have a good chance with Christmas, Black Friday, business spending, and rental repairs all happening now.
It’s been about 60 days so now is a good time to check in and see if we’re going to reach $5,000. Let’s see what we’ve spent so far. Actually, Personal Capital is really good for this.
$581 Business Miscellaneous – LLC renewal fee, domain renewal, VA, internet, phone, and CDN service. I also got a photo tent, lights, mice, phone battery, and headphone.
$451 Preschool – Oh, I almost forgot about preschool. We’re going back to our old preschool and they accept credit cards. This will make it much easier to reach the $5,000 mark. This is the January tuition and a few extra classes.
$422 Restaurants – This is about 50% business and 50% personal. We splurged on a nice restaurant at the end of October when we got that Hi-Tech worker settlement.
$357 Utilities – Water and trash for the rental.
$322 Groceries – Mostly food.
$311 Electronics – I got a new Chromebook + SD card for work. I probably could have stuck with my old laptop for another year, but I’m tired of lugging it around. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is so much lighter and the screen is really nice.
$286 General Merchandise – Black Friday and Christmas. More on this later.
$281 Healthcare – I had a small biopsy (negative.) My mom had a few tests and routine care.
$178 Home Improvement – New shades, paving stones, straight saw, and rake for the rental maintenance.
$164 Personal Care – We went to a spa with the same Hi-Tech worker settlement.
$95 Service Charges – Annual fee! Ugh, I hate annual fees.
$30 Gas and parking
$10 Long distance phone card
Most of these are the usual expenses, but there are some discretionary spending in here too. We spent a bit more than usual on eating out. The spa date is also a rare treat for us. The one I’m a bit guilty about is the General Merchandise. I got a new set of nice cookware, an immersion blender, a basketball hoop, an electronic shaver, some kid clothes, and a wooden train. These are Christmas and Birthday gifts for us. I’d probably be a bit cheaper if I wasn’t trying to reach the spending threshold the credit card.
Will We Hit $5,000?
Okay, we are at $3,509 after 2 months. I’m sure we will hit the $5,000 threshold very soon. Actually, I just put $900 on the card today for the electrical work at the rental. I can also put another $400 on the card with the February preschool tuition. The business and preschool expenses made this much easier than I thought. I guess putting everything on a credit card is a valid strategy to get some travel points.
The only bad thing is that our accounting is a mess now. All the personal and business expenses are mixed together. I’ll have to sit down and parse them out very carefully. I guess this is not a good business practice.
One great thing I found out a bit too late is that our county assessor accepts credit cards. They will charge 2. 4%, but they will make it much easier to meet the credit card spending requirement. The extra charge will be $120 for a $5,000 payment. That’s probably worth the convenience of not having to stress out about hitting the spending threshold. There are other ways to put points on your cards, but they seem to involve getting Visa gift cards. I don’t like holding a bunch of gift cards, so that’s out. Anyway, if I find some nice cards next year, then I’ll put my property taxes on them to make it easy.
Have you tried travel hacking? Is there a good way to run up the points without spending unnecessarily?
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