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
Another investing/saving app I use is Acorn. I’ve been using this app since November 2016, and haven’t used it nearly as much as Robinhood or Stash. Acorn is an app that uses your rounded up spare change from purchases on credit/debit cards to fund the investment portfolio ($5.63 is rounded up to $6 and $0.37 is deposited into the account). Due to my very different stretch investing method I’ve been using recently, I stopped using acorn in July 2017. In that short duration of time I was able to make a 4.3% return in about 7 months using the aggressive portfolio shown below. Extrapolating that return into a APY yields approximately 7.4% return. The conservative portfolio is shown below for comparison.
Between my age, tolerance of risk, and a reliable fall back plan allows me to invest in the aggressive portfolio worry free. The app has you put in your financial information and goals and recommends the proper portfolio you should invest in. Based on the app I was actually supposed to invest in the moderately aggressive portfolio, but changed to the aggressive portfolio.
Below are my returns and the “Found Money” page.
The “Found Money” page is essentially the rewards portion. When you make purchases on your linked cards they will redeem the rewards which are paid out in flat rates ($5, $3 etc.) or in a percentage of your total purchase. I currently have a pending “Found Money” reward from the Wall Street Journal for a 2-month trial to their subscription for a $5 amount and the subscription fee cost me $2 for a net $3 gain. Along the lines of free money, when you use the invite code below you will receive $5 in your acorn portfolio.
Overall, I would say this is a great app to start saving more money daily. The platform of the app is simple and easy to use providing graphs and detailed information where you want it and an overview where you don’t. There is also a “grow” section which is their article and information area. They post monthly articles from Warren Buffet advice, to basic investment information. I would highly recommend this app to beginning investors and savers as well as anyone that could use a little kickstart on saving more money.
Well I unfortunately didn’t get the co-op (extended internship) that I was hoping for. Considering that was a missed opportunity for lots of experience for my career and good chunk of change for investment opportunities (approximately $25,000 before tax). I am looking into other alternatives for income and investments this spring and summer. I was originally looking at purchasing a house this summer in my college town to rent to my fraternity brothers. Unfortunately that will most likely not be possible without that initial capital I was planning on getting from the co-op. I will keep updating this situation as it progresses, but looks like I’ll be busy on getting this blog up to full capacity this winter break along with some side hustle and establishing passive income streams.
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.
If you read my “about me” post then you know that I’m interested in real estate investing. I have spent many hours watching Grant Cardone on YouTube and am a big fan of what he does. I’ve been thinking over this whole scenario for quite some time now and the opportunity doesn’t get much better than this, but if you think otherwise I would love to hear about it.
The situation is I will graduate from college in May of 2019 approximately. That gives me another full summer to work (hopefully the co-op I’ve been looking into) and 2 semesters after that. I am in a medium sized fraternity (50 members) and our fraternity house only holds 26 members. I have held 2 executive positions and numerous other committees and would say I am well respected within the chapter. I believe that if I were to buy a house or other rental property in my college town, and use my chapter as a feeder system into my house to keep it filled, and fraternity brothers to manage and upkeep the property after I graduate, I could pay them less than I would for a professional property manager and would have closer contact with them I am sure. Pair that with a visit back to the alma mater every now and then and I think I would have a sustainable rental income system with little work to put in besides the initial bit. The situation to me seems optimal, I’ve found a property with optimal location and good cash flow. The move would have to be made prior to the Fall 2018 semester and be able to fill the house for the year. The problem lies in the down payment aspect. I simply do not have the $35,000 necessary to put the down payment up and to cover closing costs/tax etc. The hope is between my co-op, a little luck from my current investments, and maybe an outsider taking a stake in the investment that I would be able to secure the property in May/June ish, put a little bit of work and money into the property and be able to have it rented out for August 2018.
That’s the anticipated game plan as of right now. So let me know, tell me what you think. Have I lost my mind or could this investment move set up my future success down the road.
Hi my name is Brandon and this is my financial and investing blog!
A little bit about myself, I am a 22 year old college student, studying in the engineering field. I currently invest in ETF’s, stocks, 401k, and peer-to-peer lending. I am looking into real estate investing, options trading, and drop shipping in the future.