Hope everyone had a good holiday season as we are wrapping up December now and 2018 is right around the corner. Today I want to look at the Discover It card. Now I’ve had this card since September of 2017 and I am absolutely in love with it. To start it has 5% cashback in certain categories every quarter for up to $1500 spent. So, this quarter October to December 2017, Target and Amazon were the 5% cashback categories which went well with Christmas shopping and what not.
January- March 2018, gas stations and wholesale clubs
April – June, Grocery stores
July- September, Restaurants
October – December, Amazon and wholesale clubs
That is on top of the 1% all purchase unlimited cashback. Now I use a Visa Signature card in addition to this credit card and between the two I can cover most of my purchases in either a 5% or 2% cashback category. While you’re racking up all that cashback you may be wondering what you could use it all on. Well there’s statement credit which is typical of most credit cards, there is also discounted gift cards (You pay $20 and get a $25 gift card from their selection), and you can use your cashback as Amazon credit. Oh, and while you are making it rain on all the cashback Discover will match your first year’s cashback. So, over the course of a year if you receive $250 in cashback, a year from your account opening you will get $250 cashback from discover. Another huge perk of this card is you can check your FICO credit score at any time. As a 21-year-old a FICO score may not be on the forefront of my concerns, however upon graduation and a career, house, car etc. that FICO score becomes relevant very quickly. Also, every year as a student you are eligible to receive $20 cashback for maintaining a GPA over a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, for up to 5 years, through their good grade reward program. Unfortunately, I didn’t get this card sooner and I only have about a year left of college. Below is a pie chart spending analysis from the last 3 months which is common among various credit card providers.
That’s the brief overview of this amazing credit card, in addition the app is easy to use and informative as well as their online website. Like I said I use this card in combination with another credit card to cover as much cashback opportunity as possible. This card also features no annual fees and competitive interest rates.
Lastly Discover is offering a $50 statement credit for opening this card after the first of the year. Refer to the pictures below for details and follow this link https://refer.discover.com/s/44b6u
I just recently opened another savings/checking account through Aspiration. Aspiration has been in the news lately with its Glassdoor reviews and recent awards. I am using this new savings/checking account as my emergency fund. Aspiration is known for its high interest rates specifically, 0.25% APY for accounts below $2500, and 1.00% APY for accounts above $2500. My short-term goal is to reach the $2500 amount by the end of 2018. In the future I would like to use their IRA, and investment account options. Another perk of Aspiration is that they will allow you to use any ATM and they will pay the transaction fees. This proves extremely useful in the context of an emergency account. That along with the high interest rate gives Aspiration the dynamic duo I was searching for.
I will provide further review as I become more familiar with the platform and explore some of its other features and investment potential.
I encourage you to take a look at this great banking option.
Aspiration Referral Program
Every time a friend or loved one opens an account using your invitation link (linked below), you both will receive $25 Do Good dollars to donate to the charitable cause of your choice. So lets start the new year off right!
I am currently using a method that I have called stretch investing in my current life and we will see how it turns out as I make it through this school year. In case you didn’t know. I am a student and I have little to no income coming in from August to May every year. Fortunately I work as an intern/co-op in the engineering industry in the summer which is a very lucrative and rewarding experience. This past summer I was working at a large manufacturing company as an intern and decided I was going to try to maximize my returns and to stretch the money I made as much as I can. So here is what I did. I invested everything I made and I mean EVERYTHING. I use excel spreadsheets to track my income and expenses down to the dollar every summer when I work and as you can see I spared no expense to invest everything I made.
.75 of paycheck
IN tax refund
alternate income sources
% invested of net
% invested of tot
invested per month
How and why did I do it?
How: I use my credit card for all purchases, between the ease of keeping track of what I was spending and where I also received cash back rewards. On pay day (every 2 weeks on Friday) when the direct deposit hit my bank account I would pay off my credit card routinely. This kept my credit utilization low and prevented me from digging myself in a hole. The rest was invested as you can see nearly 98% of what I didn’t spend to live (food, gas, rent, etc). I didn’t really have any savings that summer, I didn’t intentionally stash away money in a savings account or anything, it all went to investment accounts (Robinhood for stock investing, Lending club for peer to peer lending, and Stash to invest in ETF’s)
Why: I believed that the returns of over investing and the hassle it created would outweigh the risks. I should also mention that a job as an intern is relatively secure, it would cost more to hire and fire me than it would to let me work the 12 weeks I was designated to. The pay was consistent, if anything big happened I had my parents I could rely on and a joint debit card between my dad and I. With all of that in mind that is why I assumed this risk.
What happened afterwards:
The plan was to use Lending Club payments to cover my weekly expenses and use returns in stash to cover larger expenses that came up. Again my parent’s cover my living costs at school and what not so I have relatively little financial obligations during the school year besides what I do myself (going out to eat, bar, etc). Unfortunately I do the latter quite often and the $100 a month I was receiving a month from Lending Club just couldn’t keep up. That and added costs of things like winter break trips etc required me to pull money from stash more often than I liked to. Overall I think it worked out alright, if you can stick to a stricter budget and can forecast your expenses well then the returns you receive from your investments will benefit you. An example is while I was pulling money out of Lending Club from September to November 15th, my immediate average return increased 2.8% in 2.5 months. Which is clearly better than sitting in a savings account earning a measly .1% interest annually.
I plan to keep updating this method that I have created and give my results and feedback from it. I would also like to point out that this is not for everyone by any means. I took a calculated risk with a safety net of my parents should anything go seriously wrong with my investments.