Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Fri, 22 Jun 2018 19:56:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 Your Mechanic Promo Code and Review http://yourpfpro.com/your-mechanic-promo-code-and-review/ http://yourpfpro.com/your-mechanic-promo-code-and-review/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:48:15 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6194 Just want the code?  Use ‘RSG20‘ and you’ll save $20 off your first appointment, book here. This article originally appeared on TheRideshareGuy.com Even though I’m a man and I’m supposed to know a lot about cars, I’ll be honest, I don’t know that much. Every time I take my SUV in for an oil change […]

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Just want the code?  Use ‘RSG20‘ and you’ll save $20 off your first appointment, book here.

This article originally appeared on TheRideshareGuy.com

Even though I’m a man and I’m supposed to know a lot about cars, I’ll be honest, I don’t know that much. Every time I take my SUV in for an oil change I always leave with a list of 10 things that are wrong with my car and I have no idea if they’re real problems or if I’m just getting taken for a ride.

I know most shops don’t make much off oil changes so they have to try and sell you on a lot of ancillary services. Well, that model might work for the auto shops but it really sucks for consumers. Just look at the Yelp ratings of places like Firestone, Jiffy Lube and Valvoline. They’re usually sub 4.0 for a reason and if they were an Uber driver, they would have gotten deactivated a long time ago 🙂

Finding A Convenient Mechanic

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of honest hard working mechanics out there though. In my experience, there are a lot of great ones but they’re not always that easy to find. I have two big-chain shops right next to my house but they both try to sell me a ton of crap I don’t need whenever I go in for an oil change.

The guy that I like to use is about 25 minutes away from my house and while he does great work, it’s a huge hassle for me to go and see him. Luckily, I won’t have that problem anymore.

What is YourMechanic?

For those of you who haven’t heard of YourMechanic yet, they are a mobile mechanic service that sends a mechanic to your home or business. I used them for an oil change last weekend to try them out and I have to say I was very happy with the service I received.

I kind of think them as the ‘Uber’ of mechanic companies since they work in a very similar way. YourMechanic matches drivers in need of car maintenance with independent and expert mechanics in cities all across the US. The mechanics earn 2-3x as much as they would working in a shop, are free to set their own hours and all they have to worry about is showing up and doing a great job. Here’s a little more about what YourMechanic does:

  • YourMechanic ensures that you are getting a fair price for the services you require by itemizing parts and labor costs in your quote
  • Each mechanic is publicly rated by customers after each appointment similar to the way passengers rate drivers with rideshare apps
  • You can conveniently book everything online and pay with your credit card
  • Prices are almost always lower than they would be at a shop since there is much less overhead
  • The mechanic will come to wherever you are! (This is the best part for me)
  • There is a 12 month or 12,000 mile guarantee (whichever comes first)

The Perfect Partner

I’ve had a few companies approach me about partnering up with the site but none of them were a great fit. I’m glad I held out though because I really feel that YourMechanic is the perfect advertising partner for this site. They are a start-up based in Mountain View, California and since they’re built on a similar sharing economy model to TNC’s it really doesn’t get much better than that.

Their prices are very reasonable too.  A regular oil change comes in around $40, while a synthetic oil change is just about $60. And if that wasn’t good enough, I was also able to secure a $20 off coupon code for all of my readers.

Just use the code ‘RSG20‘ and you’ll get $20 off your first service, so that $40 oil change would only cost you $20. I receive a small commission for every person that books an appointment using my code so it really is a great way to support the site.

Want A Quote? Click here to get a free quote and enter ‘RSG20‘ at checkout for $20 off your first service.

The Booking Process

YourMechanic is offered in major cities all across the country and is growing by the day. The easiest way to get a quote and book an appointment is to head to their website and select ‘Get A Quote. You enter in the type of car you have, the service you need, your contact info and from there, you’ll get real time pricing, availability and booking options right there on the screen.

After you submit the quote, enter ‘RSG20‘ in order to make sure that you get the $20 off. This is also how YourMechanic will know that I referred you.

Here’s a little video I made to help with the booking process:

The Oil Change Experience

My mechanic called me the day before to confirm the time and let me know that he would be there at 8:45 am sharp on Sunday morning. On Sunday, he arrived right on time and I went outside to meet him. David was an experienced mechanic (15 years) and he told me that he works full time at a big shop but did this in his spare time to earn a few extra bucks. Sound familiar?

The mechanics can’t do any work on the street so you need to make sure your car is parked in your driveway or in a parking lot. In this case, I had our car parked in the back in the alley and the neighbor’s car was gone so David had easy access to jack up the car and take care of the oil change. Here’s a picture of David in action (nice uniforms too by the way!):

YourMechanic $20 Code Free Oil Change

My Mechanic David Hard At Work!

The oil change also came with a free 90 point inspection and the overall process took right around an hour. I chatted with David for a while but all you really need to be there for is the beginning to hand him the keys and the end to e-sign the paperwork. Everything is logged online and the mechanic will even leave you cool voice memos and recommendations for whatever services you need.

I really like the fact that at the end of the appointment, David wasn’t trying to sell me on any of the services he recommended like they often do at a big chain auto body shop. He was very forthcoming with me and told me my brakes were getting low and I’d probably need new ones but I could definitely hold out until the next oil change.

Overall my experience was great and of course super convenient. While David was working, I made breakfast, took a shower and watched a little football. The synthetic oil change I got would have been $60 but with the $20 discount code, the price was only $40. When I called in to a few local shops, they all quoted me higher than that, ranging from $50-$85. So not only was YourMechanic cheaper but they were also more convenient and provided an overall much better level of service.

RSG Approval

I talked to David for a bit while he was working on my car to get a sense of what it was like for mechanics who work for YourMechanic and he had nothing but good things to say about the company. Since there’s no overhead and customers get parts at cost, you’re really only paying for the mechanic’s labor and they make a pretty good rate depending on experience.

One of the reasons why I love the shared economy and the companies built around it is because it eliminates a lot of waste. Why pay a premium to a shop who has to cover advertising, rent, profit to shareholders and executives, etc when you can go right to the source: the mechanic. I am happy to pay $40 or even more for an oil change if I know that a majority of the money is going to the mechanic working on my car. You want to pay for their expertise, not all that other fluff.

Help Support The Site

I’ve mentioned a few products in the past but this is really the first one that I’ll be promoting heavily going forward since I think it’s such a great fit for drivers. It’s always tough for site owners like me to remain unbiased when reviewing companies that are going to be paying me but I know that all of my readers are pretty smart. You guys would figure it out pretty quick if companies that I was recommending weren’t up to par. So you can rest assured that I will only ever recommend companies that I use myself and ones that I feel will really provide a ton of value to my readers.

So if youre ready to give YourMechanic a shot and get your first oil change, you can go ahead and get a quote here. And don’t forget to use the code ‘RSG20’ in order to get $20 off your first service and help support the site. If you end up using YourMechanic, I’d love to hear your feedback and thank you for your support.

The Rideshare Guy

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How to Use Draft to Track Your Investments http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-use-draft-to-track-your-investments/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-use-draft-to-track-your-investments/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 04:02:47 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6134 With all of the wearable tracking devices out there, plus the multitude of apps on your phone, it’s easier than ever to get an overview of your health. With apps, you can get an overview of your financial health, especially your budget and savings goals. However, if you’ve been looking for a way to analyze your […]

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With all of the wearable tracking devices out there, plus the multitude of apps on your phone, it’s easier than ever to get an overview of your health. With apps, you can get an overview of your financial health, especially your budget and savings goals. However, if you’ve been looking for a way to analyze your investments with any sort of metrics, it’s been hard to rely on one application.  If you’ve ever wanted to analyze your investment portfolio, now DRAFT gives you that ability, all with only a few taps on your phone.

DRAFT is a relatively new app designed to give you a complete financial portrait of your investments. With DRAFT, you can see your entire investment strategy with one click, including moves you’ve made recently, investment fees, and more. If you want to learn more about yourself as an investor, and compare yourself to other investors, you should check out DRAFT.

How DRAFT Works

DRAFT is designed to give you greater insight into your investments, starting by identifying your Investment Type. Based on your investment portfolio, DRAFT categorizes you into one of three Investment Types: Conservative, Moderate, or Aggressive. This helps to give you a greater overall picture of the investor you are currently – and allows you to decide if that’s the type of investor you want to be.

Getting started with DRAFT is easy: simply set up an account with DRAFT and connect your investment accounts to the app. From there, you’ll see what type of investor you are based on your current investments, and how your assets are diversified (equity, fixed-income, cash, etc.).

DRAFT will also tell you how much you’re paying in fees, whether or not your account has grown or shrunk, how well diversified you are, and how you compare to your investing peers. With DRAFT, you don’t have to be a trained financial advisor – you just have to have an interest in your investment accounts and be motivated to continue investing (which, if you’re a Your PF Pro reader, you likely are!)

Why DRAFT Stands Out

In addition to being a great resource for the curious investor, DRAFT stands out in a few other ways.

  • Evaluates Investment Fees – Not everyone has time to evaluate how much investment fees cost them. DRAFT makes it easy for you by showing you how much you’ve spent on management fees over time.
  • Community Engagement – While there are a variety of investment apps out there, DRAFT compares your investment strategy to other actual portfolios to give you a better benchmark. With DRAFT, you can compare yourself to the top performing 10% of investors on the platform. Plus, you can compare your investments to the S&P 500, Dow Jones, and more for additional insight. This helps you see alternate strategies and pick up tips for improving your own investments!
  • Time-Saving – Instead of hunting through your old investment statements to determine all your assets, fees, and more, DRAFT compiles all this information for you – and compares it to other investors. If you only have one or two investments, this may not be important to you right now, but for anyone who has a 401(k), Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, or more, DRAFT provides an informative service for you – and feeds your competitive spirit, if you want.

Drawbacks

While there aren’t many drawbacks to DRAFT, there are a few things that you may want to be aware of.

  • Waitlist – You currently have to sign up for their waitlist to get an invitation to download the app. However, if you sign up using this link you can skip to the front of the line and get immediate access.
  • Read-only – If you want to move your investments around, you’ll still have to go through your investment account – not DRAFT. DRAFT is a read-only tool, best used by those who want all of their investment information in one place to review and compare.

If you’re concerned about privacy or your information in an app, know that DRAFT takes security seriously. When comparing your portfolio to others, you’ll only be shown percentages, not actual dollar amounts. In addition, DRAFT only uses bank level security and encryption standards, which means your personal information and credentials are always protected.

With all of the tools we have to evaluate our health and savings goals, it makes sense to have an app to track all of our investments. DRAFT provides you an opportunity to see an overall dashboard of your investment strategy, allocations, and comparisons to others. With DRAFT, you can challenge yourself to become a moderate investor from a conservative, or see how your investment returns compare to the S&P 500. If you’ve ever wanted to become a more informed investor, DRAFT is an excellent app to help you do that.

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Motif: An Engaging Way to Diversify http://yourpfpro.com/motif-an-engaging-way-to-diversify/ http://yourpfpro.com/motif-an-engaging-way-to-diversify/#respond Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:30:03 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6078 If you’ve ever wanted to invest in a variety of stocks but couldn’t afford to own that many individually, now you can. Motif is an online brokerage that allows investors to build stock and bond portfolios based on “motifs”, like home improvement or travel. The great thing about Motif is that you can invest in […]

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If you’ve ever wanted to invest in a variety of stocks but couldn’t afford to own that many individually, now you can. Motif is an online brokerage that allows investors to build stock and bond portfolios based on “motifs”, like home improvement or travel. A Motif investing review that highlights how to invest in motifs, the advantages and disadvantages of Motif, and why I like it as a secondary account.

The great thing about Motif is that you can invest in a variety of themed stocks, which will add to the diversity of your portfolio while also making you a more active participant in your investment portfolio. Motif is an excellent way to diversify your portfolio at a low cost. It offers an engaging platform designed to get you more involved with the investing process, but in a way that’s appealing to active and passive investors alike.

How Motif Works

Motif is an online brokerage where you can purchase stocks in related groups, called motifs. To open an account, you’ll sign up online and view the available motifs, their performance, price to earnings ratio, and more. Once you’ve chosen a motif, the minimum you can invest is $250. With that investment, you’ll own all the individuals stocks within the motif you choose.

There is an extensive list of motifs to choose from, which you can see here . One motif I’m excited about in particular is the On the Road Motif, which invests in hotel REITs like Hospitality Properties Trust, airlines like Southwest, hotels, online travel portals, vacation rental services and car rentals. I’m familiar with this industry and, according to users, it’s a popular motif to follow and invest in. Its one-year return rate of 45.6% isn’t bad, either.

Once you choose your motif, you can buy it, customize it, or add it to your watchlist to continue to see how it performs. If you want more variety, or other stocks not offered in that motif, go ahead and customize it to suit your investment strategy. Motif does charge a commission fee to own and trade motifs. You’ll pay a total commission of $9.95 to buy a motif, which contains as many as 30 stocks, with no additional fees. Also, with every tweak you make to your motif to customize it, you’ll pay a $4.95 trading fee.

It may seem impossible to own 20-30 stocks for only $250, but that’s because some individual stocks within your motif are purchased in fractional shares. Fractional shares are a portion of the full share, and can be bought and sold just like full share of stocks. In addition, fractional shares are eligible for dividends, just like full shares, but they may not be eligible for voting rights in corporate actions like full shares.

When you decide to sell your investment in a motif, you can sell the entire motif by placing a “Sell All” order and choose to sell all or partial shares in the motif you own. Once the transaction is processed, the net cash will be deposited into your account.

Advantages of Motif

There are several advantages Motif has over other online brokerages, including:

  • Low fees – you’re subject to a one-time $9.95 commission when you purchase a motif, but there are no additional management or hidden fees associated with Motif.
  • Automatic rebalancing – Motif also offers automatic rebalancing for their premade motifs. This will cost $9.95 for the trading involved, but you can choose to decline this feature.
  • Social networking – one of the best features of Motif I’ve found is their extensive and active social network. Motif’s in-house social media network encourages you to read and share your investing ideas with others. If you create your own custom Motif, Motif will pay you royalty payments for everyone who invests with your motif!

One newer feature Motif now offers is Horizon Models. Horizon Models are similar to target-date retirement funds offered by many other brokerages. However, Horizon Models are commission-free, and Motif chooses an asset allocation tailored to a consumer’s time frame and risk tolerance. There are several Horizon Model motifs you can choose from by searching the catalog here.

Disadvantages of Motif

One disadvantage to Motif, common to other brokerages, is that investing in stocks is a risk. If you’re investing your money in stocks, know that you will have to do some due diligence and keep an eye on your stocks. Also, plan for the long term and be prepared to encounter occasional turbulent market years.

Another big disadvantage to me is that dividends gained from your stocks or ETFs are not reinvested. Motif says they are working on getting to reinvesting dividends, but right now this is not an option. For now, if you want to reinvest your dividend gains, you are subject to another $9.95 transaction fee. Depending on how much you invest in a motif that generates dividends, your gains may be sitting in your account for a while before you decide to reinvest and pay another $9.95.

Between the $9.95 transaction fee plus $4.95 trading fee when customizing motifs, fees can add up quickly. Make sure you follow a clear investing strategy to minimize additional fees.

Not Sure if Motif is for You?

One of the best parts of Motif is that it allows you to view and customize any motif in the catalog to see its performance. After signing up with your name and email address, you can create a watchlist of motifs, participate in discussions, and more. If you decide you want to invest in a motif, that’s when you’ll open a trading account.

Personally, I find Motif to be best as a secondary investment account. I already have a primary retirement account, but this gives me another way to diversify my investments and have some fun reviewing different motifs. I only invest in motifs that I know and show strong potential, but it’s also worthwhile to view the motifs out there to see what other people are creating too.

Motif is also great for an investor with less money to invest, as you can have a diversified portfolio for only $250. Most people wouldn’t be able to own that much stock for only $250 and, even if they could, trading fees from other brokerages would be prohibitively expensive. With Motif, you invest $250 for 20-30 stocks, all for the flat fee of $9.95. Not a bad way to diversify!

If you’re interested in checking out Motif, I’d appreciate if you used my affiliate link to sign up. There’s no cost to sign up, and you only invest once you’ve chosen a motif.

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Your New DIGIT-al Piggybank http://yourpfpro.com/new-digit-al-piggybank/ http://yourpfpro.com/new-digit-al-piggybank/#respond Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:30:52 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5846 If you’ve ever had trouble paying yourself first and establishing a reliable personal savings account, you may want to check out a new service called Digit. Digit is the modern day equivalent of emptying out your pockets and wallet of loose change into a piggy bank. Personally, I really like Digit as a separate savings […]

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If you’ve ever had trouble paying yourself first and establishing a reliable personal savings account, you may want to check out a new service called Digit. Digit is the modern day equivalent of emptying out your pockets and wallet of loose change into a piggy bank.

Personally, I really like Digit as a separate savings account for travel. While I redeem my credit card rewards for flights and hotel stays, there are more expenses than just flying in and sleeping. With Digit, I have an automated, dedicated savings account for those travel “extras”, like going out sightseeing or spending money on delicious food tours. Curious about Digit?

Digit seeks to automate your savings by studying your purchasing and withdrawal habits. Every few days, Digit transfers a small amount of money (between $5 and $50) and stores it for you in its own FDIC insured Digit savings account. When you want, text “Withdraw” to Digit to transfer that saved money back into your checking account. Sounds simple, right? What’s the catch?

The Deal with Digit

The only “catch” with Digit is you won’t make any money on interest from your Digit savings account. However, given the sorry state of interest for savings accounts right now, that’s not a very big trade off.

This is how Digit provides the service for free: whatever interest on your Digit savings account, Digit keeps. Bank of America’s savings account interest rate, for example, is currently 0.01%, so Digit is betting on you preferring automatic savings to a paltry interest rate.

Who It’s For

If you have trouble making automatic withdrawals into your savings, or need an extra push to save more, Digit could be good for you. Once you’ve signed up with Digit, the service reviews at least three months of your purchase and withdrawal history and determines where it can save you money.

That’s one of the best parts about Digit: it doesn’t save random amounts of money, but instead makes predictive determinations on how much you can save every few days. Digit is so confident they are making the right withdrawals for you that they have a no-overdraft guarantee, meaning you will be reimbursed if it does withdraw too much money.

Like I mentioned, I’m a fan of using this as a way to save up more money for travel. Without it, I would never know that I could save an extra $100 over a few months. If your time frame is longer than a few months, you may be able to save a couple hundred dollars with Digit to put toward your next vacation!

Why Use Digit?

Beyond having an extra to way to save small amounts of cash every few days, Digit can be used to save for a trip, holiday gifts, or at the end of the month to pay off debt. Just imagine signing up with the service now, in January, and cashing out in December for holiday gifts. You would probably have a lot saved, as $5 a week adds up!

When you want to take money from your Digit savings, simply text the word “Withdraw” to Digit, and your money will appear in your checking account within the next business day. Digit allows for unlimited transfers with no charges, which means you can transfer money back as often (or infrequently) as you like.

Drawbacks

Digit is only available in the US currently, although the company has plans to expand internationally. While Digit serves 2,500 different banks and credit unions, yours may not be on the list.

In terms of security, Digit is FDIC insured, so your money is guaranteed up to $250,000. All of your transactions are anonymized, encrypted and securely stored although, of course, no company is “unhackable.” The same precautions you would take logging in to Personal Capital or your bank account, you should take with Digit (i.e. no signing into accounts over open, free Wifi).

Other than that, Digit is a modern day piggy bank… except one that does all the work of finding your loose change for you. If you’re interested in checking out this service, I’d appreciate if you used this affiliate link to sign up here.

What would you use Digit for? Is having an extra, dedicated savings account appealing to you, or do you use other methods to save?

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LoopPay Charge Case & FOB Unboxing Video and Review http://yourpfpro.com/looppay-charge-case-fob-unboxing-video-review/ http://yourpfpro.com/looppay-charge-case-fob-unboxing-video-review/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:30:43 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5572 (If you’re an e-mail subscriber, please click here to view the video) In case you haven’t realized it by now, we are living in the golden era of technology and efficiency.  You can do more, stay more organized and have access to more information and data than ever before all with the touch of a […]

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(If you’re an e-mail subscriber, please click here to view the video)

In case you haven’t realized it by now, we are living in the golden era of technology and efficiency.  You can do more, stay more organized and have access to more information and data than ever before all with the touch of a button on your smart phone.  I’ve talked a lot about how I’m using Personal Capital to streamline the budgeting and investment side of my finances but today I’m going to talk about a product that will help me with my every day transactions: LoopPay.

What Is LoopPay?

In case you didn’t watch the video, LoopPay is a company that is aiming to revolutionize mobile payments.  Unlike Google Wallet or ApplePay which uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and is only accepted at around 3% of stores, LoopPay is accepted at over 90% of merchants.

LoopPay relies on Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) which is just a fancy way of saying you hold your LoopPay device right next to a regular credit card swiper and it transmits your card information.  The merchant doesn’t need to have any special device or touch pad or anything like that.  LoopPay works with existing technology, so you can think of it as a virtual swipe of your credit card.  Pretty cool huh?

Who Can This Help?

If you only have a couple credit cards in your wallet you might not think you need a LoopPay.  But one of the neat features is that you can also can store gift cards, loyalty cards and pretty much anything with a magnetic strip.

A few weeks ago I talked about my new wallet and how I only hold one credit card because I’m going for a more minimalistic approach.  Ideally, I would like to hold a couple more to take advantage of double and triple point categories but I prefer simplicity over a couple extra bucks.

The LoopPay is going to change all that though because I’ll now be able to carry all my cards at once.  Here are a few of the new additions:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is one of my favorite cards because it gets me 2x back on travel and dining and the points are extremely flexible and easy to use.  Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points can be transferred to Hyatt, Southwest and United, just to name a few.  (If you’re interested in signing up for this card, let me know and I can send you a referral link for the 40,000 point offer!)
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold: I like holding this card because it gets me 3x back on travel and 2x back on gas and groceries.  The points aren’t quite as valuable as Chase UR but there are still some decent transfer options.
  • Barcaly Arrival Card:  If I can’t get 2x or 3x back on my purchase, I usually default to this card since it gets 2% back on every purchase.
  • Airline & Hotel Cards: I’ve got quite a few different airline and hotel cards that really only come in handy when I’m staying at that particular hotel or flying on that airline.  Now I don’t have to worry about bringing those cards, since I can just bring my FOB reader and it will have all the cards pre-loaded.
  • HSA Purchases: I’m starting to use Wave to keep track of all my HSA purchases so I dedicate one credit card to those types of purchases and then they auto-import into my account.  These purchases are somewhat rare though so it doesn’t make sense to always carry that card around.
  • Business Credit Cards: I’ve got three businesses now and similarly to my HSA purchases, I use Wave to manage all three of them.  Each business has a dedicated credit card but again, the purchases are few and far between so it’s nice to be able to store them all on my LoopPay.

How Can I Get One?

I first read about LoopPay on my friend’s blog (Bald Thoughts) and it seemed like exactly what I needed to help me manage my finances more efficiently.  If you’re interested in ordering a LoopPay, you can do so on their website.  I receive a small commission for every customer that I refer so if you end up buying one please let me know so that I can thank you personally!

Order Your LoopPay today and start streamlining your wallet!

Readers, what do you guys think about my quest for efficiency and minimizing the cards that I carry in my wallet?  Does LoopPay seem like a good solution?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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A Review Of My New LG G3 http://yourpfpro.com/review-new-lg-g3/ http://yourpfpro.com/review-new-lg-g3/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:45:47 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5517 A couple of years ago I made the switch from iPhone to Android and haven’t looked back since.  Well, that is until my Galaxy S3 was damaged in a flash thunderstorm in Rome over the summer and I had to use my iPhone for a month until I was eligible for an upgrade.  But outside […]

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LG G3 Camera Mission Bay San Diego

Testing Out The Camera On My New LG G3: Mission Bay in San Diego

A couple of years ago I made the switch from iPhone to Android and haven’t looked back since.  Well, that is until my Galaxy S3 was damaged in a flash thunderstorm in Rome over the summer and I had to use my iPhone for a month until I was eligible for an upgrade.  But outside of that, my experience has been awesome with Android and when it came time for an upgrade there was no way I was going back to an iPhone, I was hooked on Android.

This isn’t so much an Apple vs Android debate though, I think the winner is pretty clear.  Although iPhones do have some very nice features for those who favor simplicity, I like being able to customize and have control over my phone.  With my Android phone, I’m not tied into anything or anyone and I can freely swap out SIM cards, add memory, sync data and more.  There’s a reason why so many people stick with their iPhones, Apple makes it hard to switch!

My Only Complaint About My GS3

One of the things I loved most about my GS3 was the large screen size.  I’m a big person so the screen fit perfectly in my hand and it was perfect for reading, watching videos and just scrolling around the phone.  Whenever I use my wife’s iPhone I honestly feel like I’m holding an iPod Shuffle 🙂

The only problem with this larger screen size though is that it puts a huge drain on the battery.  I couldn’t even make it 2/3 of a day without having to charge my phone.  That was really my only complaint about the GS3 in two years of ownership but it was a hassle to always have to worry about keeping it charged.  I ended up carrying around a portable battery charger at all times.  But that was one of the things I wanted to make sure that I addressed with the purchase of my next phone.

Galaxy S5 vs LG G3

After a couple weeks of research, I narrowed it down to two phones: The Galaxy S5 and The LG G3.  The GS5 is the GS3’s older older brother and it is a pretty amazing machine.  It has insane computing power, a top of the line camera and it’s even water resistant (that would have come in handy in Rome!).  The LG G3 has very similar specs but not quite as good of a camera or processor and it definitely isn’t waterproof.

Overall though, the difference in specs is pretty minimal and the average user won’t be able to notice anything.  The only real difference I saw physically was that the LG G3 is a much sleeker and sexier looking phone than the GS5.  I’ve never really cared about the look of my phones but Samsung phones are known for having cheap-looking plastic covers that just don’t belong wrapped around the outside of a $700 phone.

LG G3

The GS5 looks a lot better than the GS3 but I don’t think there’s any comparison when it comes to aesthetics.  The LG G3 is a much prettier phone and it doesn’t look quite so boxy as the GS5.  In the end, the main reason why I chose the LG G3 over the GS5 was because of the look of the phone.

Initial Thoughts On My LG G3

I’ve now had the LG G3 for a few weeks and I absolutely love it.  A lot of iPhone users have commented to me that it looks and feels like a tablet but I think it’s the perfect size.  It fits comfortably in my pocket and rests nicely in my palm.  Side note: I do find it odd that companies don’t make different sized phones for different sized people.  There’s no reason why a 6′ 4″ male should have the same size phone as a 5′ 1″ female – the logistics just don’t work the same for two people like that.

Anyways, here are a few observations from three weeks of ownership:

  • The battery on this phone is nearly double the size of my GS3 so it lasts at least a full day if not more, even with heavy use (to be fair though, the GS5 has the same size battery).
  • The phone is lightning fast and I can run multiple apps, download music and scroll through the pages all at the same time without so much as a hitch.
  • The camera takes great photos, just look at the featured image above #nofilter
  • The screen is not as bright as the GS5.  I used to leave my GS3 on 40-70% brightness (also partly to save battery) but with my LG G3 I have to leave it on 100% brightness all the time.  The colors definitely aren’t as vivid as the GS5 but they are good enough.

The Price

I almost forgot to mention the best part about this phone: the price!  The GS5 and LG G3 were both $200 at the store, but since the price for the LG G3 was only $100 on Amazon, I had Best Buy match that price.  I did have to pay tax on the full price of the phone though which came out to an additional $60.

I also signed up for a promotion almost a year ago that would net me a $50 Best Buy gift card if I upgraded my phone with them.  So I ended up saving an additional $50.  The final cost for the phone was only $110 since they let me apply the gift card right then and there.  Obviously I had to sign up for a 2 year contract but I’m still on my mom’s family plan so it’s only $20/month for the phone and $30/month for unlimited data (I’m grandfathered in).

I was pretty torn between the LG G3 and the GS5 but the $100 discount on the former is what pushed me over the top.  I think if the pricing would have been reversed I would have gone with the GS5 and if the pricing would have been the same I might have leaned towards the GS5 because of the brighter screen and water resistant casing.

Final Accessories

Any time you buy a $700 phone it’s a good idea to protect it.  I think insurance is kind of pointless since I can afford a new phone if mine breaks, I just don’t want to pay that much again.  So I ended up buying a really nice case for this phone that has a silicon interior and hard body outside.  What I like most about the case is that it doesn’t add much bulk to the phone but it does a great job of protecting it.  I actually already dropped my phone once and the case performed beautifully.

My Case: The Spigen LG G3 Slim Armor Case

My Case: The Spigen LG G3 Slim Armor Case

The other item that I always buy with a new phone is a pack of screen protectors.  You can buy these protectors at Best Buy for $30 or you can go on Amazon and get them for $5!  I bought a random pack of three protectors and it took me two tries, but I got it on there perfectly, no bubbles!

And the last item that I didn’t need to buy but I still think is essential for any smart phone is a portable battery charger.  My phone can now make it all the way until the end of the day with plenty of charge to spare but having one of these when you’re traveling can be a lifesaver.  Most airports and airplanes still don’t have chargers at every seat, so this battery should give you 1-2 charges depending on the size of your phone.

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So readers what do you guys think of my new LG G3?  What aspects do you usually consider when you’re in the market for a new smart phone?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Getting Your Account Setup With Personal Capital http://yourpfpro.com/getting-account-setup-personal-capital/ http://yourpfpro.com/getting-account-setup-personal-capital/#respond Fri, 10 Oct 2014 14:55:21 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5484 One of my married life resolutions is to do a better job of organizing and automating our finances.  I’ve been using Mint for the past few years along with my net worth spreadsheet but now that I’ve got two people to worry about I wanted to develop a more efficient way to keep track of […]

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One of my married life resolutions is to do a better job of organizing and automating our finances.  I’ve been using Mint for the past few years along with my net worth spreadsheet but now that I’ve got two people to worry about I wanted to develop a more efficient way to keep track of everything.

In steps Personal Capital.  I’ve posted a couple reader testimonials about PC but it wasn’t until I met a couple of the guys who worked at the company during FinCon that it really peaked my interest.  They also hosted a good happy hour during the conference so that helped 🙂

But where Mint fails and PC shines is the wide array of fringe benefits.  The two services essentially do the same thing but PC has got a much sleeker interface, offers a ton of helpful features and I find it way easier to navigate than Mint.  There are definitely a few quirks and areas for improvement which I’ll highlight below, but overall it is a MUCH superior product.  I’ve pretty much stopped using Mint at this point and now exclusively use Personal Capital.

That Start-Up Feel

One of the coolest parts about PC is that it’s a successful and growing start-up (you don’t see too many of those in the finance niche).  What that means for consumers is that they are less concerned with making money (for now) and more focused on offering an awesome product by catering it exactly towards your needs.  I was pretty surprised when I got a phone call from Jacob at Personal Capital and he asked me how I was liking the service and if I had any feedback for them a couple weeks after signing up.

From a blogger point of view, it’s very easy for me to promote a product that will be of huge value to my readers though.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I do receive a generous referral bonus for every user that I sign up who has over $100,000 in aggregate account balances.  But remember, Personal Capital is 100% free so if you haven’t signed up yet and would like to support the site, please do so today.  They do offer advisory services for a cost but there are a wide array of tools that are completely free!

Setting Up Your Accounts

Importing all of your data is pretty straightforward and I was able to take care of everything in less than an hour.  So unless you have 35 credit cards, multiple checking/savings accounts and various retirement accounts like I do, it should take a lot less time!  The only account I had trouble inputting was my Treasury Direct account (which holds my I bonds) but that’s more a function of TD’s weird verification process than anything.  I don’t even check this account anymore because it’s such a hassle to log on.

Combining Finances

If you remember, one of the motivating factors for me signing up with Personal Capital was to streamline our finances: so I added all of my wife’s and my accounts under the same logon.  I am really big on efficiency and reducing the time I spend on tasks like this so I thought it made sense to combine our accounts into one (although, I’m not gonna lie, it was painful to add her (growing) student loans).

This is one area where PC has a lot of room for improvement though.

You can manually change the title of certain accounts to reflect a different account holder but that’s a huge PITA.  I did it, but I’m hoping that PC will add a function in the future that allows you to associate each new account with a user like AwardWallet (a great service for managing all of your loyalty programs) does.

Managing 30 Credit Cards

The other thing that I didn’t like that probably only applies to me is that it’s very difficult to edit multiple accounts.  As you guys know, I have a lot of credit cards so it’s a pain if I have to do anything individually.  For whatever reason, my Chase personal accounts are under one logon but my Chase business accounts are under a separate logon (but they also include personal).  Not knowing this, I added my Chase personal account and then my Chase business account and it created duplicate personal accounts.  There was no way to edit all of the accounts for that second logon or even multiples so I had to individually remove the second set of personal accounts.

Overall Impressions

I’m still getting used to PC and playing around with all of the features but so far I really like what I see.  I am hoping that they add some more customization options but I’m also a lot pickier than most people since I have some weird financial shenanigans going on.

Completely unrelated to their actual product, I’ve also found everyone that I’ve interacted with at the company to be very pleasant.  They seem to have the right attitude and they’re easily a business that I can support and promote.  They haven’t quite made it to Amazon and Amex customer support levels yet, but they are definitely up there.  One of the cool things about working with a start-up is that they don’t run like more traditional companies.  I’m not sure how to describe it other than they have that “start-up feel”.  You’ll have to try out their service and maybe you can explain it better than I can.

In my next article, I’ll detail how the personal complimentary financial consultation works.  If you haven’t realized it by now, Personal Capital offers a ton of services beyond just traditional budgeting and tracking your credit card purchases.  If you’d like to sign up, please use my referral link and I’ll receive a small commission if you have over $100,000 in aggregate accounts.

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Taking Personal Capital For a Spin: A 20-Something Budgeter’s Perspective http://yourpfpro.com/taking-personal-capital-spin-20-something-budgeters-perspective/ http://yourpfpro.com/taking-personal-capital-spin-20-something-budgeters-perspective/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:05:36 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5309 Editor’s Note: Today I’m featuring an article from one of our readers named Ashley!  A few months ago I wrote a review about Personal Capital and Ashley wrote in to me asking if she could tell her story of how she got started with PC and how it’s helped her.  Naturally, I obliged so today […]

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Editor’s Note: Today I’m featuring an article from one of our readers named Ashley!  A few months ago I wrote a review about Personal Capital and Ashley wrote in to me asking if she could tell her story of how she got started with PC and how it’s helped her.  Naturally, I obliged so today I’m bringing you her story.  I hope you guys enjoy it and please let us know what you think in the comments.

Over the years, I have tried several budgeting software and techniques. Like millions of others out there, I was determined to save more, spend less, and pay off debts. However, none of the budgeting methods I used would stick. I thought it was just because of my bad habits, but now I realize it is because none of the software or techniques have been fully suited to my unique budget.

The older I get, the more advanced and complicated my finances become. My financial worries use to consist of me worrying if I had enough money in my budget for a fast food run. Now, I have a 401K, a mortgage, multiple banking accounts, and unfortunately some credit card debt.

I started using Personal Capital a month ago, and I am loving how synchronized everything is. Even more importantly, it is so simple to use. Many of my other budgeting software came with tutorials, and I am just the type that wants to automatically know what to do. Once you open up Personal Capital, it is very straightforward. The best part is that it took less than ten minutes to hook up all of my accounts.

I’m Spending How Much?!

I have used many budgeting apps before, and none of them have stuck. Even though the free app, Mint, is comparable to Personal Capital, I still found it too messy and disorganized. When I had used the Mint app in the past, I felt like I had to do a lot of work to keep finances in the right category. When it was a hassle, I was much less likely to use it.

I love how Personal Capital organizes all of my spending in on place. It is a bit of an eye-opener to see that I have already spent $22 at Starbucks this month, and the month is only half way through. Let’s blame it on my morning sickness, shall we.

Personal Capital places all of my expenditures in categories, and I have only had to change a few (i.e. Sam’s Club went under utilities for some reason). This was definitely a lot less work than what I had to do with Mint.

I have used budgeting software that required you to input your purchases manually, as well. The problem with this was that I would not enter in credit card purchases. Therefore, I had a skewed perception on how much I was really spending. This is definitely not a fault with the budgeting system that I was using, but a fault with my own budgeting habits. With Personal Capital, I can’t get away with that. All my accounts are linked and show my true spending. So in comparison with other budgeting programs I have used, Personal Capital has kept me the most accountable.

How Many Years of Retirement Are You Losing?

Most mid-twenty-somethings don’t spend too much time thinking about their retirement. While I am in no rush to get one foot in the grave, I do think it is essential that my 401K is growing.

Personal Capital offers a free 401K analyzer that shows how much you are spending on fees. Truthfully, I had no idea how much we were spending on fees (and if I were to be even more truthful, I would tell you that I didn’t even know fees were being taken out. Talk about financially naïve!).

Many people will discover that they are spending an extravagant amount on 401K fees and basically throwing away many years of their retirement. I was happy to discover that we were still in the safe area when it came to 401K fees.

Net Worth Assessment

Another aspect of this software was that it combined all of your accounts and told you your net worth. The only problem I have with this is that it does not take into account how much your home is worth versus how much your mortgage is. For example, we bought our home for $172,000 two years ago, and it was just appraised for $280,000. Therefore, our net worth should be higher. Perhaps if Personal Capital synched with home estimation software, such as Zillow, it could incorporate this.

Overall, Personal Capital is the budgeting app that is working for me. It is perfect for those who want all of their finances organized without putting in a lot of time or effort into it.

When I initially started investigating the app, I was a little intimidated by who Personal Capital was targeting. Would the app work for me even though I don’t have a few million bucks lying around and a houseboat in Miami? That is the beauty of Personal Capital, it works well with both simple and complex finances, and it can grow with you. So even if you do not have an impressive portfolio, I highly recommend trying Personal Capital out for a few months. It is free and takes less than ten minutes to synch all of your accounts, therefore, you will not have wasted much time or money if it doesn’t work for you.

So readers, what kind of experiences have you had with Personal Capital?  Are there any other awesome digital tools you’ve used to help optimize your finances?

This is Harry again, I hope you guys enjoyed this article and if you’re interested in signing up with Personal Capital please use our referral link.  We get a small commission for every person that signs up so it’s a great way to support the site!

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Review: Is Personal Capital Better Than Mint? http://yourpfpro.com/review-personal-capital-better-mint/ http://yourpfpro.com/review-personal-capital-better-mint/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:54:15 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=5067 Editor’s Note: Ok not to make you guys jealous or anything but I’m now relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Naxos in the Greek Isles.  Stay tuned for my honeymoon trip report where I’ll detail how I paid for about 2/3 of our hotel stays and flights using all the miles and points I’ve racked […]

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Editor’s Note: Ok not to make you guys jealous or anything but I’m now relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Naxos in the Greek Isles.  Stay tuned for my honeymoon trip report where I’ll detail how I paid for about 2/3 of our hotel stays and flights using all the miles and points I’ve racked up over the years.  

Personally, I love Mint and I use it every day but the cool thing about PC is that it goes beyond your day to day transactions and budgets and it also delves into your investments too.  It’s free to sign up too so check it out and let us know what you think in the comments.
Personal Capital vs Mint

When it comes to excellent personal finance software that is free, there were not many options on the table for the past few years. In fact, Mint, was the most notable web-based financial management tool available in the past.

The problem with Mint though is that it has its limits. It is lacking in the investment side of financial planning and is not best suited for individuals with complex portfolios. This is where Personal Capital steps in and fills the gap.

What is Personal Capital?

Personal Capital was founded by Bill Harris, the former CEO of Intuit and Paypal. Harris has had his hand in several financial and security start-ups, but he considers Personal Capital as the culmination of his career. He developed Personal Capital as an answer to where financial services fall short. Through Personal Capital’s technology, individuals get a complete look of their finances. Even though Personal Capital targets clients with impressive investment portfolios, their free software can be used by anyone.

How Does It Work?

Personal Capital is quite simple to use. You just sign up though their website or app. Then you link all of your banking accounts, debt accounts, mortgage, and investment accounts to your profile. This is actually a lot simpler and quicker than it sounds. As long as you have an online login for your account, then Personal Capital can link up to it within a minute.

Sign up Now and Join Personal Capital

Of course, this leads to the big question. What about security? Personal Capital uses several layers of security to ensure your account safety. Any new device that you use to log into your account has to have an email or phone call confirmation. Signing into your account also requires a username, password, 6-digit pin, and photo recognition. Linking other accounts to your PC profile also requires username and passwords. They use military-grade encrypted algorithms to protect their site from fraud.

Once all of your accounts are linked to your profile, Personal Capital lays out all of your finances very nicely with the use of different graphs and charts. It adds every account and debt together to give you your net worth. It then lays out your cash flow and your spending for the last 30 days.

Personal Capital Vs Mint Net Worth

The transactions tab shows all of your recent transactions and automatically puts them in the correct category. Personal Capital then gives you a calculated total for each category.

Personal Capital gives you a quick overlook of all your accounts at once, making it easy to spot ways to save money. Obviously, it is easy for individuals to identify ways to cut spending in their budget, since they can easily see where they are overspending.

However, Personal Capital’s main agenda is to show clients where they are overspending in investment fees. Many individuals have found that they were paying too much in fees with their current 401K advisors and saved money by switching to a different investment company. This switch might not have happened if the information was not laid out in front of them just as Personal Capital does.

How Much Does It Cost?

It is hard to believe that such an impressive financial tracker is free. While the financial overview and tracking are free, Personal Capital makes their income through personal investment management.

All of their services cost less than 1% of what individuals entrust to the advisors. For example, if one were to choose to have $1 million of their assets managed, they would be paying less than $10,000 a year. This rate is average among financial management services but you probably could get lower if you wanted to.

The fee includes investment advice, portfolio management, custody and trading.

Here is a better breakdown of their fee assessment:

First $250,000:…………0.95%

Next $250,000:…………0.90%

Next $500,000:…………0.85%

Next $4,000,000:……….0.80%

$5,000,000 and up:………0.75% 

Who Is Personal Capital Best For?

The financial software can seem a bit intimidating with its target audience being high-end investors. Don’t be intimidated by this software, it is not just for financial big wigs. Individuals starting out with their finances can also benefit greatly from this software. PC makes it easy to get real-time updates of your budget and debt management.

Overall Thoughts

Hopefully using Personal Capital would encourage individuals in the beginning of their financial career to invest. Still, if investment is not in the cards for you, Personal Capital will surely win you over with their organized layout of your current financial situation.

In the end, Personal Capital is an impressive financial and investment management software that tops similar software on the market. It is extremely user friendly and a wise tool for individuals with all types of financial profiles. Their paid services for investment management are on par with other financial management services, and if you take a look at their leadership team and board of directors, you know that they hire highly impressive people.

If you’d like to sign up for Personal Capital using our referral link you may do so here.  If you do end up signing up, please let us know so we can personally thank you and answer any questions you may have.

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Get the 2014 US Airways Mastercard Before It Goes Away http://yourpfpro.com/get-2014-us-airways-mastercard-goes-away/ http://yourpfpro.com/get-2014-us-airways-mastercard-goes-away/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:04:34 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=4943 Even though the merger between US Airways and American Airlines has been going pretty smoothly, I’ve actually been more concerned about how the merger between the two frequent flyer programs will work.  Working in the aerospace industry, I think less competition is a bad thing for consumers but at this point, there’s not a whole […]

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Get the 2014 US Airways Mastercard Before The Merger With American AirlinesEven though the merger between US Airways and American Airlines has been going pretty smoothly, I’ve actually been more concerned about how the merger between the two frequent flyer programs will work.  Working in the aerospace industry, I think less competition is a bad thing for consumers but at this point, there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.  Instead, I decided to take advantage of the merger by applying for the US Airways Mastercard one more time before it goes away.

The 40,000 points the US Airways Barclaycard offers isn’t spectacular but it is a good opportunity to take advantage of a card that will soon be extinct.  And since we know that the two programs will be merged sometime in 2015, these US Airways points will eventually become American Airlines points.  AA Advantage has been one of my favorite programs over the years since it’s paid for two trips to Hawaii and it will be paying for the outbound trip to Italy for our honeymoon.

US Airways or AA Points

The other cool thing about this card is that I can use the points now on US Airways or I can wait until next year and use them on AA.  Normally, I’m not a huge fan of airline specific cards unless I have a redemption in mind.  So even if I don’t find anything in the next year, I’ll be able to redeem the points with AA.

In my experience AA has had very good availability off peak and even during peak times.  Most awards cost double the price during peak times but at least they’re available.  I was able to book two off peak awards from LAX to Kauai last November for 30k points each roundtrip.  This summer, I was also able to book one way tickets from LAX to Rome for 60k points each in Economy Comfort (I need that 6 inches of extra leg room!).

The Benefits of This Card

These benefits are sure to change once the merger is complete but for now the card comes with some pretty good benefits provided that you fly with US Airways.  Here is a list of the top benefits:

  • 40,000 Point Sign Up Bonus – The bonus on this card isn’t as high as some other cards but it’s right around average.  I would conservatively value these points around 1.5-2 cents per point so depending on how you redeem the points, they could be worth up to $800.
  • Two Companion Fares Each Year – Another major benefit of the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is that you get up to two $99 companion fares every year.  Most airline cards don’t even offer companion fares and if they do they tend to be much more expensive.
  • Priority Boarding and Check-in & First Bag Free – This is a pretty standard benefit for most airline branded credit cards and while it isn’t a huge deal, it’s definitely nice to be able to check in a little faster, board a little earlier and save a couple bucks on baggage fees.
  • Free FICO Score – This is a new benefit of Barclay cards and unlike sites like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame you can get your actual FICO score for free.  I already have this benefit with my Barclay Arrival card but it’s definitely a nice little bonus.

What’s My Strategy?

I signed up for this card just over a year ago when there was no annual fee and they were also handing out a 10k point bonus after your one year anniversary.  Since my first year was free, once I hit my anniversary I decided to cancel the card.  The benefits didn’t really warrant paying an annual fee after the first year.  But I did make sure that the 10,000 bonus points posted first and then I cancelled the card.  You generally have 1-2 months after an annual fee hits to cancel and get the fee refunded (Barclay’s policy is 2 months).

The other cool thing about this card is that they sometimes offer a 15k point bonus for spending $750 for 3 consecutive months.  This is a targeted offer so there’s no guarantee you’ll get it but a majority of people do.  I had this card for a year and ended up with 65,000 points: 40k from the sign-up bonus, 15k from the targeted promotion and 10k for the anniversary bonus.  This card no longer has the anniversary bonus but there is still the chance of getting the targeted offer.

Instead of applying for another US Airways Card for myself, I decided to apply for one for my fiancee and she was instantly approved.  We don’t have any trips planned on US Airways but if we end up not using them, we’ll definitely be able to take advantage of them once they become American Airlines miles.

Readers, what do you think about the US Airways Mastercard?  If you’d like to sign up using my referral link you can do so here.  I will receive a small commision if you use my link so it’s a great way to support the site.

-Harry @ PF Pro

 

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The One Thing I Never Travel Without http://yourpfpro.com/one-thing-never-travel-without/ http://yourpfpro.com/one-thing-never-travel-without/#comments Sat, 17 May 2014 16:50:33 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=4743 This post isn’t so much a review as it is praise for the one thing I never travel without: my headphones.  These aren’t just any headphones though, these are the Bose QC-15’s.  Since I like to travel, whether it’s for work or pleasure (usually the latter), I find myself on an airplane at least every […]

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The One Thing I Never Travel Without

Credit

This post isn’t so much a review as it is praise for the one thing I never travel without: my headphones.  These aren’t just any headphones though, these are the Bose QC-15’s.  Since I like to travel, whether it’s for work or pleasure (usually the latter), I find myself on an airplane at least every month or two.  I never realized how noisy an airplane was until I started using these headphones though.  Now when I take them off while I’m flying it feels like I’m in the middle of a class 4 hurricane.

I suppose I could just leave them on the whole flight since they changed the rules recently but that’s a little too anti-social for me.  I like talking to and meeting new people.  But once I get bored, it’s nice to have my headphones at the ready.  The only problem is that sometimes they work too well and you can’t hear the announcements over the speakers.

Where Do I Use Them?

I see people sporting them from time to time at the gym but they look pretty stupid to be honest.  The headphones are big and kind of bulky so they’re not great for working out and other active activities.  Obviously I use them a lot when I travel, but they probably get the most use when I’m at work.  My new job isn’t as bad, but at my old job it was so freaking loud.  Everyone was always talking loudly and having stand-up meetings right near my desk; I couldn’t get any work done.  

Now all I have to do is queue up a little Vivaldi and put my headphones on and I can’t hear a thing.  The thing I like most about these headphones is that you don’t have to listen at a very high volume to block out noise.  I set it low to medium and the noise-canceling does the rest.

PF Pro Approved

If you follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), you know that I love to use the hashtag #pfproapproves.  These headphones are definitely PF Pro approved.  Even though they are a ridiculous $300, they are so worth it.  I honestly debated over buying these headphones for a year before I finally pulled the trigger.  Just to put things in perspective, I bought a house in less time than it took me to buy a pair of headphones.

When I finally got the headphones, I told myself that I would try them out for a month and return them if I didn’t like them (I love Amazon’s Return Policy).  After a month, I was straight hooked.  I even started bringing them home so I could get work done at home.  Moral of the story is: I really like them even though they are expensive.

Are They Worth It?

Regular readers already know how cheap I am, I actually love to admit it.  When people see me wearing my nice Lacoste Polo Shirt I always make sure to tell them it’s a knock-off from the Philippines (although you would never know the difference).  I don’t want someone to think I’m stupid enough to pay $100 for a t-shirt.

There are probably some comparable headphones out there on the market that will save you a $100, but I don’t have the time or the patience to filter through each and every one of them.  I look at what the people are saying: the reviews on Amazon are amazing and everyone I know who owns a pair loves them.  The only people that say they’re too expensive are the ones who don’t own a pair.  Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little more.

So readers, do you think these headphones at $300 are worth it or are you content with your $5 earbuds?  If you’re low on $$, do not buy these because you will not be able to return them, I guarantee it!

-Harry @ PF Pro

Editor’s Note:  If you click on one of my Amazon links and make ANY purchase I will receive a small commission so it’s a great way to support the site!

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Tripit Pro Review and How to Get a Free Subscription http://yourpfpro.com/tripit-pro-review-get-free-subscription/ http://yourpfpro.com/tripit-pro-review-get-free-subscription/#comments Sat, 10 May 2014 14:20:07 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=4719 If you’ve already applied for the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard, then you’re entitled to a free Tripit Pro Subscription.  Here’s a quick review of Tripit Pro and how you can activate it for free. If you don’t have the Barclay Arrival Card yet, it’s a great travel rewards card and they’re currently offering a sign-up […]

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If you’ve already applied for the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard, then you’re entitled to a free Tripit Pro Subscription.  Here’s a quick review of Tripit Pro and how you can activate it for free.

If you don’t have the Barclay Arrival Card yet, it’s a great travel rewards card and they’re currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points (worth $400) and 2x miles back on all purchases.  You can read our review here or go ahead and apply for the card right now.

Tripit Pro Review

Since I travel frequently for work and pleasure, it can be daunting trying to keep track of all my travel arrangements.  Google Calendar can only go so far when you have flights, hotel reservations and more to deal with.  And generally whenever I fly domestically on Southwest (which is most of the time) I make multiple reservations so that I can flex my schedule accordingly.

For example, for an upcoming bachelor party in Denver, I booked one flight home at 10 am and another at 5 pm.  That way, if I just need to get the hell out of there on Monday morning I can do so at 10 am instead of waiting until 5 pm.  Booking with points on Southwest is one of my favorite benefits in the travel industry since there are no change/cancellation fees and the points go right back into your account.  I actually forgot to cancel one of my back-up flights a couple weeks ago and the points still went back into my account.

Testing it Out

Since I was recently approved for the Barclay Arrival card and I had about 9 different itineraries planned from spring to summer I figured it would be the perfect time to give Tripit Pro a try.  It didn’t hurt that it was free either.  I set up an account at Tripit.com and it automatically went in and scanned my e-mail for all my itineraries.  It found some but not all so I had to manually forward a lot of the itineraries to support@tripit.com.  Every itinerary that I booked after I was a member though automatically got updated into my Tripit Pro account.  Here’s what my current dashboard looks like.

Barclay Arrival Tripit Pro Free Subscription DashboardYou can see that it’s pretty cool how they lay out each trip you have and the dates for that trip.  Tripit Pro will automatically categorize hotel stays as part of the same trip as long as the dates fall within your outbound and inbound flight.  It will also let you know about any potential conflicts.  Obviously the system isn’t perfect since it’s all automatic but you can easily edit, adjust or update itineraries.

The Extra Features

I think the coolest part about Tripit Pro though is that they automatically send you check-in notifications, flight updates and seat tracking updates.  Since I fly Southwest a lot and I’m tall at 6′ 3″, I like getting an A boarding pass so I can sit in an exit row.  But I’m way too cheap to pay for the early boarding.  Now I get a notification 5 minutes before check-in time (24 hours before my flight) and all I have to do is hit one button and my name and confirmation number are pre-filled and I can check in with one more click.

I haven’t used the seat notification alerts yet but if you fly non Southwest Airlines then this feature could be pretty handy too.  If you’re stuck in a middle seat, you can set an alert for aisle or window seats and the second one becomes available, you’ll get a notification.  I usually sign up for flight status updates from the airlines but Tripit Pro also offers this service.  I did both on my last few Southwest flights and the delay notifications came within a few seconds of each other from Southwest’s service and Tripit Pro in case you were wondering how they compare.

A Traveler’s Best Friend

I think Tripit Pro can make life easier for even the casual traveler since it will help you keep organized and on top of everything.  Most people use their smart phones for playing games and checking Facebook but there are a ton of efficiency apps like this one that will help save you time and money.  If you have the Barclay Arrival Card you can activate your subscription from your card’s dashboard and you won’t have to pay the $49 annual subscription fee as long as you hold the card.

If you don’t have the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard, you can read our review here or apply now.  You can also get a free subscription to TripIt Pro with the No Annual Fee Version of the Barclay Arrival card.

Readers, have you ever tried out Tripit Pro or a similar service?  What do you use/do to stay on top of your travel plans?

-Harry @ PF Pro

(Editor’s Note: I have no relationship with Tripit Pro other than they provide an awesome service that’s free if you have a Barclay Arrival Card.  I do get a small commission if you sign up for that card using one of my links though so it’s a great way to support the site!)

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