Wednesday, July 22, 2015

where to go this time?

I am starting to plan a trip for spring break 2016.  I have it narrowed down to two choices. Mexico or Ireland?

For Mexico we would fly into Cancun and stay at an all-inclusive resort. This is an extremely relaxing trip and the girls love being able to go to the bar at the resorts and order drinks. We were also planning on doing a swim with the dolphin’s excursion on this trip as the girls are finally old enough. We have been on a few AI trips including a short one in December of this year
For Ireland I don’t have an itinerary worked out yet but I know it would include a few days in Dublin and one or two other cities. This trip includes interesting things to see, do and eat.  This would be my girl’s first trip to Europe but we are also going to Europe in June of 2016.

My struggle is pure enjoyment (Mexico) versus the unique and interesting aspect of traveling to a new place.

How do you make this decision when it concerns where to travel on your vacations? and what would your vote be for us and why?

The Ultimate USA Wonders List - How many have you seen?

The Ultimate USA Wonders List - How many have you seen?

I got 47, post your results

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

my Simon mall gift certificate buying experiment

A challenge in my new endeavor is to acquire enough gift cards. I shop at all the local drugstore chains but I am always looking for other options.  One I had not explored yet is Simon malls. Reading online I see that in general the policy at the malls is to allow 10K a day in purchases of gift cards and the fees are slightly lower than the drug stores. These are both good things. All malls seem to be a bit different in what they follow so I knew a visit was the only way to know for sure.

I went to and discovered that there were two Simon malls in my area (both about 30 minutes away. To try and figure out if they sold gift cards I looked at the map of the mall. I checked out the first one but it does not appear that they sell gift cards, luckily the second one had the icon. So, off I went.

I arrived at the mall and found the information kiosk at 11:15, only to find a sign that says closed until 12 noon. I guess the only person working the booth had gone to lunch. I left to go run a few other errands and came back. This time a lady was there. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her I wanted 3K in Visa gift cards. She asked me if I had bought there before. I told her I had not, she then grabbed a form that needed to be filled out to purchase the cards. After mentioning I would be back to buy more in the future, she told me that they would make copies of my form so I did not have to fill it out again next time.

All in all this was a very painless experience. I will definitely go back to get more cards. This will not replace any of my current sources as they either accept AmEx gift cards or gets a bonus category on credit card, both of which increase my profit. 

slow start but picked up this week

I know I have been quiet lately but it’s been pretty busy. Last week was my first week on my new path. I had a ton of family commitments and kept plugging away at manufactured spending. I made it through about 15K last week. Not horrible but not great.

Yesterday I was able to pick up my game a bit as I had no other commitments and I made it through $9400. On top of that I also was happy to sell 3 things out of my amazon inventory. This made for a rather successful day. This included stops at various drug stores for acquiring gift cards, then target, Meijer and Walmart for getting rid of them.

Today I have ventured into Ann Arbor for a doctors apt. I am using this as an opportunity to eat lunch with a good friend and hit a few different locations of stores down here.  I am also looking into another option of buying gift cards at the mall. I will post more about how that goes in another post.

From a travel planning perspective I am currently working on two trips. I am doing the final planning for our trip to Iceland next month. Another trip I will probably be talking a lot about is I am planning a large family trip to Europe for next June. There are eight of us going and this will pose great challenges with booking award travel for such a large group. I am assuming we will not all be able to travel together but still coordinating this will be a challenge. Our plan is to visit London, Amsterdam, berlin and Prague. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

major life changes

this week my life changed a lot as i chose to embark on a new journey in life and leave my job of 17 years. I will get to spend a lot more time with the girls, and devote more to travel hacking. I will be bringing in some income in the following ways:

1) credit card sign ups
2) manufactured spend
3) buying and selling items

I have a few more options i want to look into such as buying discounted gift cards and resell those. I will see how these options all pan out.

with my new found free time, i  embarked on an adventure to help out family. The girls and i flew out to Missouri to spend time there with relatives. It was great to be able to spend some time with our family, and the girls loved all the pets(1 dog, 2 cats, 4 kittens and 1 bird) that live there. Today I flew home and brought grandma home. Grandma is a wonderful 93 year old woman and it was such a pleasure to spend this week with her.