With the first month of the year passing by – I’m ready to ramp up my good guy army to pay off this trifling debt! We’re in for some tough battles this year!

Planned Army Statistics by Year (Unchanged from July 2017):

In July 2017, I posted to officially declare war on debt. Although the battles began discreetly in January, it was time to publically announce the commitment to destroy the greedy barbarians. Before getting into updates, let me share the three-year plan to rid ourselves of these bloody fools.

3 Year Loan Pool / Investment Plan

YearCumulative Student Loan PoolCumulative Student Loan PaymentsCar Loan PoolCumulative Car Loan PaymentsAnnual IRAAnnual 401(k)
2017$7,918$5,2190$1,920$5,500$18,000
2018$12,538$10,4380$3,840$5,500$18,000
2019$17,448$12,7213,800$5,760$5,500$18,000

I will be around 3K short at the end of 2019 for my student loan pool, meaning that in the next 3 years side hustles / arresting expenses will be required to hit the goal.

Have a suggestion? Would love to hear it in the comments!

Army Updates for March 2018

 

 

  • Bad Guys:

    Student Loans of the East
    • Army Size: 29.3K (was 29.6K)
    • Growth Rate: Avg of 5.5%
    • Weakness: Although large in numbers, the army lacks trained fighters. Each month they lose ~433 men
    Auto Loan of the West
    • Army Size: 8.1K (was 8.2K)
    • Growth Rate: 5.5%
    • Weakness: Sickness infects the army to reduce its size by ~160 each month

    Good Guys:

    Loan Pool Savings of the North
    • Army Size: 9.9K (was 8.8K)
    • Growth Rate: 1.0% (Capital One360 savings)
    • Weakness: Early career salary means an average of only 375 greenbacks soldiers graduate to fight each month

 

Lessons from March

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Ralph Waldo

March was one of those irregular months that gluttony comes knocking! For those are on bi-weekly pay schedules, we had an extra paycheck deposited into our checking accounts.

What did that mean for me?

DEBT SAVINGS! WOOT!

As you can see from the numbers above, I was able to increase my loan pool savings by 1.1K!! It would have been a bit more but an opportunity came up to take advantage of a trip to Europe; it is all good though because through travel hacking the savings will be realized at a later date.

How you ask? Thank you for asking, let me explain.

I Travel Hacked Spain!

This will be just a small snippet and introduction to travel hacking for the blog, with a full details and nice page to give you every resource you need coming in the future.

What is Travel Hacking?

Now that we have that out of the way, let me introduce travel hacking. Travel hacking is taking advantage of credit card sign up programs or using loyalty programs to reduce the amount you spend on trips, letting you increase the experiences you have!

Both Dukes take advantage of credit cards (which we’ve termed credit card hacking) throughout the construction of our kingdoms. We’ll give more on how to do this in the future.

Capital One Venture

I recently signed up for the Capital One Venture Card, which had a sign up bonus of 50K miles after spending 3K in the first 3 months. Not only do you get those points, you get points for the purchases you made to receive it.

With the current valuation of the card, this means that the 50K miles will help me redeem ~$500 in travel expenses. Further, you get 2 miles per every dollar you spend, in other words when you spend 3K for the bonus, add another 6K in miles for a total of 56K, or a total of $560 of travel for FREE!

The best way to spend 3K really depends on your situation – we will give our tricks and tips on the page mentioned above in the future! The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember with credit card hacking is this:

CC warning:

ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS pay off the full balance every month, and NEVER spend more money then you can afford. If you are unable to have this discipline or the income to do so, then PLEASE don’t open a credit card account. This is about taking advantage of, not getting into trouble with Credit Cards.

My Upcoming Trip

Through a Twitter Poll, readers informed us that they would be interested in learning about how I went about booking a trip to Europe, and also in the trip itself (aka pictures will be coming!).

Fortunately, through work, I will be heading to Europe and then utilizing a few vacation days to explore a new culture (meaning mostly food) afterwards. This means that the cost is much lower for the trip in totality, but I will share the personal travel details.

I’m stating this as we want to adhere to our manifesto – we’re keeping it 100!

Trip Expenses Without Redemption

I had three major trip expenses on my vacation:

ExpenseCost
Flight$254
Train$116
AirBnb$256
Total$626

My Travel Hacking Scheme

The Venture card gives you up to 90 days to make the redemption on your statement for travel purchases. I am taking full advantage!

I had already spent ~1,500 on the card with regular life purchases in the last 1.5 months or so like groceries, gas, etc. I decided that if I took the trip, with my debt war in full attack mode, then the cost needed to be reduced.

As the table shows, the total trip cost was ~$700, totaling my purchases to ~2K on the card. I have another 1.5 months to spend the requirement for the bonus, which will not be a problem. Budgeting really helps with plans like this as I know what my expenses are and where the card can be used.

Delayed gratification is important here because although the benefits of doing this for my loan pool doesn’t show yet, the reimbursements will later reduce my next statement and that money will flow right into the loan pool like rainwater in a bucket outside during the a storm.

How Much Will My Trip Really Cost?

ExpenseCost
Flight$-254
Train$-116
AirBnb$-256
Redemption510 = (254 + 256)
Total$116 = (626 - 510)

Concluding Thoughts

Overall March was a great month for the debt war, I was able to save through smart grocery shopping and food prep. Little things overtime truly add up and although my focus has been so hardcore, the progress is showing for it.

Have any travel hacking tips, debt pay off, or life tips for me? Tell me the comments! I’d love to hear of how you took advantage of miles to have a trip of your life!