Monthly Archives: May 2014
If you’ve ever read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’ll remember that a good hitchhiker always carries a towel. There is some advanced (and comical) reasoning behind it, and in our own world, there are a few items that you can also carry with you to make your own life easier and reduce the footprint you create. I have recently become more vigilant about how much waste I create and knowing that in the end, this waste costs everyone more money. However, instead of focusing on recycling, which is the lowest part of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra, creating less waste means fewer costs in our business and personal lives.
1. Safe, reusable water bottle everywhere you spend time.
Did you know that the average office worker goes through about 500 disposable cups per year? It never seems like a lot of waste at the moment and since you’re not paying for it upfront, it’s often easy to get into the habit of using disposable cups wherever they’re available. But your company most definitely pays for those cups and they are not cheap. What if you had your own reusable cup? If you save 500 cups each year and influence others to do the same, then that can add up to real dollars in the bottom line. Even more importantly, it can reduce waste going to the landfill and the cost of hauling that waste, another cost that you as an employee may not think is yours but one that is certainly affecting the profits of your business. So if you really want to stop using plastic bottles and disposable cups every time you need a drink of water, check out some BPA-free reusable bottles and put one everywhere you spend time and don’t have access to regular glasses: at work, in your car and in your bag when you travel (notice how you always grab a cup of water at the hotel lobby where they have those cucumber-infused water stands? This time you can use your reusable cup). Now you can free yourself from ever buying a $3 water anywhere, even the airport. Just wait until you are past security and fill up your bottle for the flight.
2. Flip-flops or comfortable shoes
Hear me out. Have you ever noticed that when you’re tired you start spending more money? Ever gone to a restaurant after walking around all day and feel the urge to order three appetizers? Bought an extra snack or grabbed some clothes off the rack just to get out of the store faster, telling yourself you can return the item if it doesn’t fit? I bet at least half of those situations can be avoided if you had comfortable shoes to change into. Put a pair of flip-flops in your car and you’ll find that you can make smarter decisions on a long day instead of focusing on the immediate need to get off your feet.
3. Trail Mix
I think you see where I’m going here. Most of our bad spending decisions tend to happen when we’re tired, thirsty or hungry. Trail mix doesn’t expire quickly and if you throw a bag in your car or your desk, you can snack on something healthy and avoid the need to buy an overpriced or unhealthy snack. Get a bulk size and use your own reusable containers, and you are one eco-loving, cost-conscious citizen.
Starting your day prepared gets you off on the right foot. It’s easier to focus on your work when you have everything you need to sustain yourself. What must-have items have you started carrying with you?
My husband and I love living in Florida. It’s a great place to raise our children because of the warm climate and wealth of outdoor activities. However, it is difficult to live so far from our extended family.
We both grew up in New England, and our families still live there. We now have two children, and we did not want them to grow up without being close to their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
A few months ago, my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. A couple of years before this milestone, my siblings and I started planning a huge family reunion celebration for their big day. There is nothing more important to my parents than family, so we knew this was the perfect way to commemorate their anniversary.
However, throwing a big anniversary party is not cheap. My siblings chipped in, but we were still responsible for covering most of the costs. In addition, we needed to purchase four airline tickets during peak travel season.
While I was researching flight prices one day, I came across a Southwest credit card offer on milecards.com. I was not searching for a new credit card, but I was really impressed by what I read. Southwest is my family’s favorite airline because of its customer-friendly policies, so I loved the idea of earning free flights and other rewards on a high quality airline.
After I read the terms and conditions, I decided to apply for the Southwest Rapids Rewards Premier card. It only took a few minutes to complete the application process online, and I received my new card in the mail in less than a week.
Since I had a savings goal in mind, I was determined to use my card as much as possible. I did not make any additional purchases, but I used my Rapid Rewards Premier card instead of my other credit cards. I paid off my balance that the end of each month to avoid extra interest charges, and I enjoyed watching my points balance increase.
After three months, I was thrilled to see a huge 25,000-point bonus appear on my credit card statement. I earned this by spending at least $1,000 in my first three months as an account holder, and this amount was not difficult to accrue at all. This gave me enough for one round-trip ticket, so I knew I was well on my way to reaching my goal.
When I use my card, I receive two points for every purchase that I make through Southwest Airlines or AirTran Airways, and I also receive two points for purchases that I make at numerous travel partners, including many hotel chains and car rental agencies. Because of this, I used my Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card to book our rental car and hotel for our big vacation.
However, I was able to accrue points for many other non-travel expenses. I receive one point for every dollar that I spend on my card, so I use it to pay as many bills as possible. It also used for almost all of my family’s other purchases. Thanks to my Rapid Rewards credit card, I was able to book three of our airline tickets using rewards points. I was thrilled to only have to pay for one ticket out of pocket!
I received another great surprise about a month before our trip. I started getting worried that I would not have enough time to get everything ready for the party and reunion, so I wanted to fly up to New England a week before the rest of my family. However, our flights were already booked.
I contacted Southwest to see if I could change my ticket, and I expected to hear that I would be paying a costly change fee. However, the representative informed me that I wouldn’t have to pay a change fee at all! I only had to pay the difference between the prices of the two tickets.
We all had such a wonderful time at the anniversary party. Traveling with Southwest is always a pleasure. I love being able to bring everything that I want as there are no fees for checked baggage. My parents were thrilled with their celebration, and getting to have all of my extended family together was priceless.
Even though I’m not planning on any big trips this year, I am still using my Rapid Rewards credit card. The $99 annual fee is very reasonable for all of the points and benefits that are included. If I don’t need to purchase flights, I can also use my points for a long list of other rewards, including gift cards, hotel stays, vehicle rentals and even cruises! I’m so glad I came across the Southwest credit card offer because it has been a huge help to my family.