Monday, April 28, 2014

Norwegian Epic cruise review

Debuted in June of 2010, the Norwegian Epic is one of the largest cruise ships on the sea today.  It has a passenger capacity of 4,100 (double occupancy) and weighs in at 155,873 tons.  The ship is 1,081 feet long, has 19 decks and a crew of 1,753. 

It has been said that the Norwegian Epic offers the best entertainment at sea; I have to agree.  There was never a dull moment on our 7 day cruise on board the Epic. 

Entertainment on board
We saw several shows in the Epic theatre’s 681 seat auditorium including the Blue Man Show, Legends In Concert, and Nadeen Queen of Hypnosis show.  Having seen the Blue Man Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, I will say that the show on board the Epic is very similar, although on a smaller scale.  We found the Legends In Concert show to be very entertaining, and a little cheesy, but in a good way.  We saw Elvis, Katy Perry, and Steven Tyler perform their hits. We had a great time watching ship guests (including my wife!) get hypnotized by a Nadeen: Queen of Hypnosis, a professional Hypnotist live and on stage.
My wife was hypnotized to randomly stand up and bow every time the audience clapped

Friday, April 11, 2014

Free cruise challenge: completed!

Another $574 statement credit towards our cruise!

I’m happy to report that our upcoming 7-day Caribbean cruise will be mostly paid for by redeeming our Barclaycard Arrival miles!  The total cost of each of our cruise tickets was $573.51 per person, which included a balcony suite and $100 onboard ship credit.

I have previously redeemed 55,000 of my Arrival miles for a $550 statement credit for my cruise ticket. The 40,000 mile sign up bonus on my Barlaycard Arrival Plus MasterCard gave me a big jump start to earning enough miles through regular and manufactured spending.  It also helps that the Arrival+ earns 2 miles on every purchase.

Since my wife has previously used 45,600 of her Arrival miles to book us two round trip flights to Portland, Oregon, her account was seriously low on miles.  By putting all of our regular credit card spending on her Barclaycard Arrival card, and by making a few extra trips to CVS to pick up Vanilla Reload cards (now dead) and PayPal My Cash cards, we quickly earned enough points to cover the cost of my wife’s cruise ticket.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Evolve Money promo code

I have previously written about Evolve Money and my excitement with being able to pay my bills with a debit card.

If you have not tried using Evolve Money to pay a bill yet, now is a good time to give it a try.  I just received an email from Evolve Money with a promo code to save $5 off any bill.  Who can say no to a free $5?  Not me!

I copied and pasted the following from my email box:

After you’ve banked five bucks, reward your friends and loved ones by sharing the Promo Code. Tweet it. Post it. Pin it. Be old-school and forward this e-mail.
Redeeming the code is a snap. Log in to your account at www.evolvemoney.comfrom your computer or mobile device. If you don’t have an account, just choose “Sign Up” from the main page and create a User Profile.
›     Choose as many bills as you would like to pay and select “Submit Payments”
›     On the checkout screen, select your payment method (card or cash) and in 
      the Promo Code box enter the code below and choose “Apply”.  
›     Submit your payments and automatically receive $5 off your bill.
›     This Promo Code is valid for one-time use and expires on Apr. 21, 2014 
      at 11:59 pm PDT. Evolve Money reserves the right to alter or cancel this
      promotion at any time.
There will be many more promo codes throughout the year. 
Be sure to Like, Follow and Circle us for details. 

You can sign up for your own Evolve Money account here. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 15, 2014 is the last day to invest in your IRA for 2013

Are you saving up for retirement?
The S&P index over the last 10 years, have you been participating?
“I’ll worry about retirement when I… get older, pay off my student loans, make more money, get married, have kids, etc etc etc.”

It drives me nuts hearing how so many people are not planning for their future.  Recent surveys find that one third of all Americans have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.  All around me, people are just living for today, and not thinking about tomorrow.  Let’s face it: life is long, and you need to plan for it.  

When do you want to retire?  Do you want to work until the day you die?  If not, it’s time to think about your own retirement.  

My advice: just get started Go to and open a Roth IRA.  Start investing with a simple Target Date fund Then contribute to your Roth IRA on a regular basis.  You can read more about my investment philosophy in my series of posts starting here.  

When I first opened my Roth IRA account on December 1st, 2011, I funded it with $5,000 and put it all into a Target Date fund.  My wife opened her first Roth IRA at Vanguard shortly after I did.  Since we started to take retirement more seriously, we’ve consistently invested in our Roth IRAs, 401Ks, and taxable account.  In our short investing career, the stock market has been consistently doing well.  In fact, today, the stock market hit another all time high.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March side hustles 2014

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose to spend it with purpose, or without.

Welcome to April, it’s another brand new month.  I always feel inspired at the beginning of each month to succeed in every aspect of my life: health, wealth, and personal well being.  Each new month gives me renewed energy, motivation, and determination.  It’s time for another summary of our side hustles from the previous month!
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