Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our 2014 AMEX Small Business Saturday shopping spree!

We don’t do very much shopping, but every year we go on a small shopping spree for AMEX Small Business Saturday! 

As you may know, this past Saturday was the annual Small Business Saturday promotion.  This year, AMEX offered a $10 statement credit per AMEX card for spending at least $10 at a participating business.  Each eligible AMEX card (including Bluebird) could get a $10 statement credit up to 3 times for a total of $30 free from AMEX.  We have 6 American Express credit cards between the both of us and 2 Bluebird prepaid cards for a total of 8 cards eligible for this promotion.

Just like last year, we started the day by going to Bruxie restaurant, home of the waffle sandwich. 

I ordered the crème brulee sandwich with fresh strawberries and a vanilla latte for a total of $10.21.

My wife ordered the country sausage and egg waffle with soy decaf latte for a total of $11.23.

We paid separately to maximize our AMEX credit.  After factoring in 2 $10 credits, breakfast cost us $1.44 ($10.21 + $11.23 - $10 - $10)!

Next we swung by Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza to pick up some gift cards.  We went at a time when the restaurant was not busy and picked up 5 $10 gift cards.  We originally wanted to get more gift cards but the register was having some problems.  Coincidentally, there was a store promotion where if you purchased $30 worth of gift cards, you would get a coupon for one free pizza.  Because the cash register was having problems processing our gift cards, the nice cashier hooked us up with 2 free pizza coupons!

We bumped into a customer who also came for gift cards since he also knew about the AMEX Small Business Saturday promotion.  We had a nice chat about using miles and points to travel the world for free.

Our next stop was Nature’s Pet Cuisine, a local boutique pet food shop specializing in holistic pet products.  

All the pet foods and treats sold here are all natural, grain free, and non GMO.  We picked up $90 worth of treats such as coconut treats, buffalo lungs, chicken bites, buffalo ears, dried sweet potato, buffalo jerky, buffalo trachea, and more.   After explaining the AMEX Small Business Saturday deal to the storeowner, we made 9 separate transactions of $10.80 (tax was 80 cents) each.  Our total came out to be $97.20 and we will have effectively paid $7.20 ($97.20 - $90 AMEX credit) for $90 worth of quality dog treats. 

Abby was very happy to gnaw on her first dried buffalo ear tonight.  

Our final stop of today was to visit a local Japanese BBQ restaurant called Gyu Kaku.  Here we picked up 8 $10 gift cards spending a total of $80.  After our AMEX credits, we will go back to the restaurant for a nice dinner with $80 worth of free gift cards.    

Thanks to American Express and their awesome Small Business Saturday promotion, we will have saved $240 and supported several local businesses at the same time.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Layover in Honolulu on our way to Tokyo

Our Asia vacation started with a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (HND) with a 6-hour layover in Honolulu (HNL).  We flew on the Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200 in economy class.  The rain cleared up prior to our departure, and a nice rainbow in the distance greeted us. 

Our flight departed at 8:37am, and it was a pleasant surprise to be served a light breakfast shortly after takeoff.  Breakfast consisted of an assortment of fresh fruits, cheese, crackers, and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. 

We were pretty annoyed that there was very limited in-flight entertainment.  The only thing we could watch for free was 2 complimentary documentaries about Hawaii.  If we wanted to watch a movie, we had to pay $7.99!  No thanks.

When we landed in Honolulu, we called Uber for a quick ride from the airport to the Rainbow Drive-In restaurant.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Cathay Pacific first class experience flying HKG to SFO

We just returned from an international trip to Tokyo, Taipei, and Okinawa.  Thanks to American Airlines AAdvantage miles, we were able to fly home on Cathay Pacific’s first class.  Here is our experience flying Cathay Pacific first class.

Even before boarding the plane, we got to check out The Wing First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International airport.  This was hands-down the best airport lounge that we have ever been to.  The furniture was extremely stylish and comfortable.  Servers are constantly walking around serving you free drinks like champagne, wine, hard alcohol, water, and various juices. 

We had dinner in the large dining area, which is serviced and catered by The Peninsula Hotel.

As usual with airport lounges, there was a buffet with various hot foods, salads, and desserts.  I was impressed to see a carving station with freshly sliced hot turkey.  This being said, we found the buffet food to be very lacking in taste. 

The dining area also offers an a la carte menu, which really is the way to go for freshly prepared food.

I ordered the sautéed king prawns with spinach cream, blackcurrant chutney and prawn butter.  Definitely high-end restaurant quality.  I enjoyed the prawns so much that I ordered it a second time.

My wife ordered the braised marinated beef cheek with red wine sauce and potato gratin.  Also high-end restaurant quality.  Her beef cheek was extremely tender and flavorful. 

After we ate we went to check out one of the Wing’s 5 cabana rooms.  The room was very spacious, and included everything a hotel room would have: showers, bathtub, sink, private bathroom, daybed, desk, toiletries, fresh towels, and robes. 

The cabana room was almost as big as our hotel room at the Sheraton Miyako hotel in Tokyo.  We took a nap on the bed and then freshened up afterwards.  Because there are only 5 cabana rooms, they kindly ask that you stay no longer than 1.5 hours, so that other guests can use the facilities.

After freshening up in the cabana room, we were ready for our flight!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October 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 how you want to spend it.

Welcome to November, the start of another brand new month!  It’s also time for another summary of our side hustles from the previous month!  Did you have a good Halloween?  Have you been meeting all of your financial goals?

November is going to be a very busy month for us.  We will be traveling to Tokyo, Taipei, and Okinawa over the next 2 weeks, with extended layovers in Honolulu, Hong Kong, and San Francisco.  We hope to have an eventful and safe trip!  All of our flights have been paid for with frequent flyer miles and credit card points!  Our Tokyo stay will be paid for with Starpoints.  We will be staying with family in Taipei.  And we have found a great airbnb home to stay at in Okinawa.  This still leaves a lot of food and entertainment expenses for us to cover.  Side hustles help to cover all of these costs.   

This past month I have done a lot more teaching and consulting work on the side.  It’s been the easiest way for me to bring in extra income.  I love to teach and find that it is a lot of fun and very fulfilling.  Do you have a particular set of skills?  Are you knowledgeable in something that others are willing to pay for?  You can turn your expertise into an extra source of income. 
I’ve also decided to give most online surveys a break, with the exception being PineCone Research surveys.  PineCone Research surveys are very short, take so little time, and pay out quickly.  Also, PineCone Research sends us great test products from time to time.  I won’t be doing any more e-Rewards, Opinion Outpost, iSay, Survey Savvy and other surveys for a while.  Sometimes the surveys just get too boring and time consuming. 

Not all of the following side hustles may be applicable to you.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.  Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we’ve generated in the month of October:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...