Early tomorrow morning I fly off to Denver to celebrate the wedding of one of my best friends from college. It is going to be a straight-up partay.
I am spending 5 nights out in Denver, with the wedding on the second day. I wanted to extend the trip a little bit and enjoy myself. I’ve been out to Denver four times prior and I love it. This time, I’ll be taking a side trip to Utah. All of this, of course, is expensive. My costs, thus far:
- $212 plane ticket
- $215 suit + $65 alterations
- $120 in hotels for the first two nights (sharing)
- $150-200 for the second two nights (need to shop around a bit)
- $75 for a car rental for the final night (driving through the night to Utah to see the sunrise at Arches National Park in Moab!)
- $100 in gasoline for that drive
- $50 for wedding gift
- $50 in parking to get to and from airport
Those are costs I’ve already paid or am about to pay shortly. Ugh. That doesn’t even get into food and drinks. But that’s where CapitalOne and Chase come into play; as well as everyone’s old friend, the Piggy Bank.
1. The Piggy Bank
Today I took in about two years worth of coins to the bank. Since I try to pay everything with credit, this isn’t a ton of money, but it’s significant. Here’s the painful irony. When I went to turn in the coins, my bank didn’t have a machine. I decided to go across the street to the bank that does have a machine but charges 8.9%. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but I had a plan. I’d use the machine for the nickels, dimes, and pennies. That sum came to about $17.60ish, leaving me with $16.00 after the fee was applied. Next, I went bank to my bank, got some quarters rolls and filled up the rest. $34.25 in quarters, 50 cent pieces and dollars. What’s so ironic, you may ask? My meter expired when I was doing all this. I got a parking ticket. $10 ($20 if not paid by tomorrow).
My net-piggy bank income is $40.25
2. Chase Rewards
I’ve had my Chase card since about March. In that time, I’ve used it mostly for the big 5% categories (since my CapOne card gives me 1% cash back plus a 50% bonus, which Chase doesn’t). However, I did use it enough to get a $100 bonus in the first three months. Vacation time means rewards time. I cashed them in.$125.58 in the bank from Chase.
3. CapitalOne Rewards
I have to wait on my CapitalOne Rewards. On July 27, I get the 50% bonus. Therefore, this is a bit of an estimate. I am pretty sure by July 27 this will be up to $130.00.
It certainly isn’t financing my whole trip. However, that’s a total of about $360 in money that doesn’t come out of my budget. Probably at least a quarter of the total cost of my vacation. All this for nothing! This is why I always pay with credit. Free money. Not a ton, but there it is. This money is going to cover: wedding gift, food and booze, and maybe that extra side trip to Utah.
Free money is awesome. What have you done with your credit card rewards money???