How to Get Some Cash Back for the Money You Have Spent?

There are several ways to earn credit card points. There are bonus points that you can earn for every dollar you spend, which is beneficial if you shop a lot on your card. You can also use credit card rewards to travel more. You can earn extra points by making certain purchases. If you spend a lot at a restaurant, you can earn an extra three points for every dollar you spend. This way, you can get some cashback for the money you’ve spent.

Convert Your Points to Merchandise:

Some credit cards allow you to convert your points to merchandise or other benefits. These items typically do not have a 1:1 value, though, so you may have to spend more than you would usually on other items. In addition to this, you may also be able to donate your points to a charity. You should be aware that the value of credit card points is low, so it is more efficient to get cashback instead. If you want to use your points for charitable purposes, make sure to check out the expiration date of your freedom flex credit card.

Some credit card issuers let you couple up to two cards with one another, which allows you to transfer your points to another card with the same issuer. By doing this, you’ll be able to earn more points per dollar. Additionally, some offer bonuses for adding an authorized user to your account. These users are responsible for making purchases and will count towards the rewards pool. Always make sure to include trusted people to your authorized users.

Different Reward Programs:

Most credit cards come with different reward programs. Some are more geared towards travel and groceries, while others are more focused on dining, entertainment, and car hire. Other cards offer cashback and bonus points. Be sure to research which ones you prefer before applying for a card. It’s worth it to look into how you can use your points. After all, you’ll be earning them in the first place. So now that you know how to earn credit card points, you’re ready to shop.

Check the Terms and Conditions:

While it’s possible to earn credit card points without using a credit card, you have to choose a card that allows you to earn points. Most rewards cards let you earn points on everyday spending, while others give you more if you make larger purchases. You should check the terms and conditions of each card to decide which one is best for you. If the card offers a higher amount, go for it. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to redeem them for a variety of rewards.

There are Many Ways to Earn Credit Card Points:

The easiest way to earn them is to sign up for a rewards program. It’s best to find a card that offers rewards that are valuable to you and will help you achieve your goals. This is also a great way to get free travel and gift cards. There are countless ways to earn credit card points. However, you can also earn points simply by using your credit card.

There are a number of ways to earn credit card points. The most common way to earn credit card points is to use a rewards credit card. Most rewards credit cards allow you to collect points by making purchases of various types. Some of these cards allow you to redeem these points at a fixed amount, while others limit you to a specific number of dollars. These programs are often free, so you’ll never have to pay for them.

How I Dropped my Credit Card Debt to ZERO

Recently, I shared how I dropped my credit card debt of Php 700,000 to Zero.

If you haven’t seen the video, here is the video and the transcript. Hope you get something from this and learn from my experience.

How I dropped my credit card debt to Zero

[GINGER]: Hey everyone! I’m Ginger and I’m EJ and we’re here to bring another finance video from Team Arbo (say together). Haha! I think we should always do this intro! Haha! Anyways, we’re content creators and startup business owners who love sharing our experiences on personal finance, investing, business and parenthood. If you like our videos, please subscribe, share this video, click on the notification bell and leave a comment so that we can get to know each one of our, our dear viewers.

[EJ]: Today, we’ll be talking about how Ginger’s credit card bill increased so much and how she dropped her Php 700,000 credit card debt to zero in one year.

[GINGER]: To tell you honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed to share this with you, because I know exactly what I did wrong. And let’s just say, they’re not very good reasons. But I’ll still share what happened so that you can learn from my mistakes. And after each mistake, we’ll also talk about what we did to avoid making those mistakes again.

The first mistake that I made was to mix business expenses with my personal expenses. I knew that these business expenses can be reimbursed by the company anyway, so I just used my card for a lot of them. But, it took me a while to find the time to ask for reimbursement (with the tons of things that I do every day), so instead of being paid right away, my credit card bill, with both personal expenses and business expenses, kept on incurring interest.

[EJ]: To fix that, we made sure that all expenses were charged to the company credit card. If you have a business, you can ask your bank for the requirements to open a company credit card. This will make it easier for everyone in the business since this will also lessen reimbursements, which is usually a manual process. So aside from being easy, your finance team will also be happy!

[GINGER]: The next mistake was ordering too much take out and delivery. Personally, I usually order food either because I feel lazy and I don’t want to prepare anything OR I feel that good food is a reward for a hard day’s work. Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying what you earn, and we believe that food is not the worst way to splurge, BUT, I think I overdid that — and soooo, I always went beyond budget. We would reach Php 30 to 40 thousand pesos for groceries and food delivery, and we just had 3 adults and 1 child that time in this house.

[EJ]: The way we fixed this was to set a groceries & takeout budget for the family. We set our food and grocery budget to Php 20,000 and we consistently monitor our spending every week. The good thing about this is that this is a pretty easy to control expense. If I feel like ordering something, just look at our budget and if we have some left, we order, otherwise, no choice, we cook. 🙂

[GINGER]: The next mistake was not knowing where I stood in terms of my debt right away. I just kept on delaying checking my bills. Honestly, there’s a lot of anxiety involved in doing this especially if you suspect that you spent a bit too much. In the long run though, by avoiding that quick pain I was setting myself up for a bigger shock later. 

[EJ]: In this case, we really just had to bite the bullet. First, we did an audit of Ginger’s credit card bills. We listed down all her credit cards and the interest rate for each – not all credit cards are the same, they had different interest rates. We also looked for loans and searched for ones that offered lower rates than what Ginger had with her credit card. We worked on transferring the balance of Ginger’s high interest credit cards to the lowest interest loan that we found. So instead of paying 24% per year on the credit card debt, we were paying around 18% per year on the loan. Granted, the personal loan wasn’t able to cover all of the debt, so some of it remained on the credit card. For that remaining amount, we looked at her other credit cards – we transferred the remaining amount to the lowest interest credit card.

[GINGER]: By the way, remember to double check if the rate being offered is per annum (that means per year) or per month. 2% per month might sound lower than 13% per year, but if you convert them both to per year – 2% per month is 24% per year!

[EJ]: So with that in place, our next step was to keep up with the payments. There are two ways to pay off debt: the Debt Snowball Method and the Debt Avalanche Method. In both methods, the basic rule is that you must pay the minimum amount due of all your loans & cards – this will make sure you don’t incur any additional penalties and expense. Where they differ is where you put any extra money you have.

With the Debt Snowball Method, you use your extra money to pay the card with the lowest outstanding balance. The idea here is that you set mini-wins for yourself along the way and you get a psychological boost when you see your cards start getting to zero.

With the Debt Avalanche Method, you use your extra money to pay the card with the highest interest rate. This makes sure that you’re cutting the total interest payments you’re paying because you’re getting rid of the high interest rate cards first.

Ginger used the Debt Avalanche Method. 

[GINGER]: Speaking of extra money, the last thing that I did was that I looked for extra income to pay off my debt. Now THAT was really hard. I already had a busy day with my startup and a lot of work in my events management company BUT aside from that, I would still create content for brands and advertisers. We also got into KonMari and discovered that we had so much stuff in brand new condition but were not being used – I sold those on Carousell. Between my influencing gigs and my occasional selling, I had extra money that I used to pay off my debt using the Debt Avalanche Method.

[EJ]: And that’s basically everything we did to pay off Ginger’s credit card debt. Now, It doesn’t mean that we hate credit cards. In fact, you can still use credit cards to your advantage when you know how to use them correctly. We’ll talk about how to use credit cards properly in one of our future videos.

[GINGER]: We hope that you learned a lot today, and we hope that you can finally pay off that credit card debt! If you like this video, please hit that like button, share this video, comment below and hit that notification bell.

[EJ]: This is Team Arbo, hope you have a nice day. See you in our next video!

Investing in Cryptocurrencies

We just released a video about investing in a volatile crypto market. We shared our experiences and how we personally started and how are we investing in cryptocurrencies.

Here is the transcript:

[GINGER] Hey everyone! We have another interesting episode here at GTV for you. I’m Ginger Arboleda and I’m EJ and we’re content creators and startup business owners who love sharing our experiences on personal finance, investing, business and parenthood.

[EJ] Investing in Cryptocurrencies has become more popular, but before getting into it, financial vloggers often warn you that the crypto market is very volatile and only invest what you can afford to lose. So, let us warn you, if you plan on investing in Crypto, especially if you’re new to the game, only invest what you can afford to lose.

[GINGER] Right now, our crypto and NFT portfolio comprise 6.30% of our total portfolio and, for us, that’s relatively fast considering we just got into it early 2021. We’re pretty new investors in this space, so at first we were really shocked at how high and then low the market could get. It was really stressful for us, seeing the number spike and dip the next day. But a year investing in crypto has taught us a lot, and we’d like to share what we have realized.

[EJ] First, you should look at that instrument over the long term and see if it increased in value over the years. If it does, then that’s a good sign that you’ll probably earn LONG TERM on the investment. Let’s take Bitcoin. Bitcoin was at around 1 dollar in 2011, now in 2022 it’s at 41 thousand dollars. Obviously it rose over that long term so, for us, that’s a sign that over the long term, we MAY earn on bitcoin. Now, Bitcoin is THE cryptocurrency, everything else is called an altcoin or alternative coin and people invest in those in the hopes that they find one that’s worth a dollar now but will be worth 41 thousand later – those are much riskier investments and the method we’re talking about may not work the best for those. Of course, it’s up to you and your risk appetite if you still wanna invest in that.

[GINGER] Now how do you invest? We advise that you use dollar cost averaging when investing in cryptocurrencies. Dollar-cost averaging (DCA) or Peso Cost Averaging, in our case, is an investment strategy where you invest a specific amount into that investment vehicle in regular intervals. By doing this, you reduce the impact of the volatility on the overall purchase. You won’t get the highest return BUT you also won’t be a victim of the lowest loss. That’s because during the bear or down seasons, you’re able to buy more with the money you invest. During the bull or up seasons, you’re able to buy less BUT the value of your overall portfolio is higher.

[EJ] As an example, let’s use a shorter time frame. Let’s say on January 1, you bought 100 dollars worth of token X at 10 dollars per token – that means you bought 10 tokens. Then on February 1, the prices dropped to just $5 per token – you still buy 100 dollars so you buy 20 tokens. Then on March 3, the prices increased to 20 dollars per share – you still buy 100 dollars so now you have 5 tokens. Over that period, you have 35 tokens for 300 dollars.

In Investing in Cryptocurrencies, we use Binance.
[GINGER] Now imagine if you spent all that 300 dollars in only one buy and not in regular intervals. If you spent 300 dollars on January, when tokens were at 10 dollars per token, you would have had 30 tokens for 300 dollars. With Dollar Cost Averaging you have 35 tokens so dollar cost averaging wins. If you spent 300 dollars on February, when tokens were at 5 dollars per token, you would have had 60 tokens. In this case, investing all 300 dollars would’ve been better. Now, let’s say you spent 300 dollars on March, you would’ve had 15 tokens only. So in that case, dollar cost averaging wins because you have 35 tokens. So yes, you don’t get the highest return BUT you are also not a victim of the lowest loss as well. If you are a person who’s really good at technical analysis and really knows the instrument, you can probably find a time like that February. But if you’re like us and this is not your full time job, you remove a lot of the risk by doing Dollar Cost Averaging.

[EJ] Next, do your own research and read about the token that you’re investing in. Invest in tokens whose intent and purpose resonates with you. The cryptocurrencies will often have a website where they post their whitepaper. Read this and see if you believe in what they stand for and what their plans are. An example of this is we invested heavily on an NFT game called Axie Infinity. We did this, because (one) as gamers, we enjoy playing games, (two) we’ve seen that their team has so far consistently delivered on their promises and (three) regardless if their tokens, SLPs or AXS’ or RON’s prices go up or down, we’d probably still play the game. This tells us that they’re plan is not to turn a quick buck but they’re also looking at it long term, like we do.

[GINGER] Next, DIVERSIFY. Diversification is basically spreading or splitting your investments across different vehicles so that your exposure to any one type of asset is limited. This will help reduce the volatility of your portfolio over time. If most of your money is in crypto, consider also investing in non-Crypto assets. If you’re 100% Crypto, then at least invest in different coins and tokens. Personally, we have different investments spread across VULs, mutual funds, index funds, stocks, and crypto.

[EJ] One important thing to always remember is to have a plan and stick to it regardless of whether the market goes up or down. FOMO is real and when you watch all the crypto bloggers saying buy this coin and that token and that NFT, it’s easy to get swept by the hype and put in 100% of your budget on what they say. This is all speculation though and no amount of well done editing can make up for a loss that you’ll just have to bite.  For crypto, our plan is to invest 90% of our crypto investment budget on the coins and tokens that we believe in, and 10% on new projects that we want to speculate in. So far it has worked for us, there have been some bad calls but since we just invested 10%, they haven’t been that painful.

[GINGER] In a nutshell, how to survive a volatile crypto market is to have a plan, stick to the plan and don’t get too emotional, continue to research and study, diversify and, if you’re like us and this is not a full time thing for you, think more long term.

If you like this video, please hit that like button, share, subscribe and click on that notification bell for more videos like these. 

P.S. The main platform that we use for investing in cryptocurrencies is Binance. If you want to try out Binance, sign up here. To read more about Binance, check out this post.

How to Manage Finances As a Couple

We recently shared this video on how we, Team Arbo, manage our Finances as a couple.

Sharing the transcript of the video:

Hi everyone! I’m Ginger and I’m the vlogger behind this channel. Today, I pulled in my husband to help me answer a question that I’ve always been asked: how do we handle our finances as a couple? 

Just to put things into perspective, we have been married for 12 years, we both just turned 41, and we have two young daughters, both under 10 years old. One is actually still a baby. We also both founded a tech startup business with 2 other people. We were not born rich and what we have now all came from working in the corporate world, from running a business, and also from a LOT of side hustles. We’re a middle income family trying to make everything work so that we can enjoy retirement later on.

So let’s get to it: how DO we handle our finances as a couple?

QUESTION #1: So what’s our money system?

Ginger: We have 2 joint accounts: one passbook and another with an atm card. The passbook one we use for our savings and the inconvenience of moving money out of that account is a feature. The atm card is more for our “operating expenses.” I also have 1 checking account for my business. We also have 1 “in trust account” for our eldest daughter. I have 2 non-joint accounts in Unionbank (an EON Cyber account) and an ING account. EJ also has the same with ING and Unionbank.

So moving on to our system, I guess we should share our different sources of income.

So we both have our salary from our business which individually goes to our UnionBank accounts. Then I have my earnings from blogging and from her events business. EJ also has some speaking engagements and consulting gigs that he earns from, those go to his personal account as well. For everything that we earn or spend, we log everything into a shared google sheets that we turned into a Google Form. We used to have apps where we track income and expenses, but ended up using Google forms since the pandemic started because the flexibility of a spreadsheet is just unmatched.

EJ: So when it comes to expenses, Ginger and I have assigned expense items. This setup just works for us. As for savings and investment, we have what we call sinking funds for these. A sinking fund is basically a way of setting aside a little bit of money each month for bigger expenses or balloon payments later. In our case, we use it for big expenses like our daughter’s tuition fee – it’s due twice a year so we set aside a certain amount every month so when the due date comes, we have the cash. We also do it visually, with simple boxes which we color each month so it’s encouraging and empowering to see that we’re building up funds slowly for that.

QUESTION #2: Do we fight about finances? 

EJ: I don’t recall any time when we fought about money. Not to say that we don’t worry about it though – instead what happens is that, somehow, we’ve never worried about finances at the same time. Usually one of us gets stressed and the non-stressed person tries to pacify the worried person. And then other times, that role reverses.

Ginger: We are always transparent though and we always talk to each other about our finances. We share not only our concerns or worries but we also share new things that we have discovered like investment strategies, or new ways of handling money. We’re both open to learning new things when it comes to handling our finances.

EJ: I have to say that before getting married, we did talk about money and how we both view finances. Like if Ginger starts bringing in more money than me, how will that impact our relationship? (hint: it doesn’t) Big questions like that. We made sure to talk about these things as part of this pre-wedding Discovery Weekend that we attended. If you’re getting married – we highly recommend attending that.

QUESTION #3: What are your investments?

Ginger: As of December 2022: 70% of our investments are in mutual funds and VULs (Variable universal life insurance), 14.70% are in Stocks, and 6.30% are in Cryptocurrencies and NFTs. We set aside money for investment after we‘ve placed money into our sinking funds.

QUESTION #4: Advice that you can give other couples?

EJ: You should be aligned on how you both view money. What is money to you? How important is it to your relationship? When you’re all out, are you willing to get from family? How do you both think about that? Big questions like that. If there are any other couples out there what other big money question should you both answer? Share those questions in the comments!

On a more regular basis, Ginger and I also have family planning sessions every year to align what our financial priorities are for the year. That way, we’re on the same page on our goals and if there are any new realizations, we also share them with each other so we help each other get better as well when it comes to handling money.

Ginger: Know your partner intimately when it comes to handling money. As you’ve noticed, we are in sync when it comes to planning but we both maintain our own separate accounts. We found that this kind of system works for us since we both know that each one is responsible when it comes to handling our own money. You have to be open to talking to your partner about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to handling money.

That’s it for today. We hope that this has helped couples who are watching this in managing their own money. We actually enjoyed recording this episode, so we hope you enjoyed watching it! We’ll be doing some more of these kinds of topics that can help couples with their journey to financial freedom.

If you would like more videos like this one, please hit like, share and click on the notification bell to be notified when we release another video like this. Feel free to let us know in the comment section what other topics you’d want us to talk about!