The Travel Hacking Experiment: Part I

Mountain View

As I mentioned in this post, I have been thinking off and on for a while about trying travel hacking.  Now that Mrs. Dragon and I are officially done with the mortgage process, I feel like the time is finally right to try it out.

Actually, I made the decision to try this out before we closed on the house, so on our closing date I was ready to swoop in and attempt to scoop up some sign-up bonuses.

As I mentioned in the first travel hacking post, you generally want to apply for all the cards you’re going to get on the same day.  This is because each credit card application affects your credit score, but your score isn’t updated instantaneously.  So if you get all the applications submitted in a short time window, the credit card companies won’t know you’re applying for a lot of cards.

I figured the same rationale should hold for any new debt.  That is, I didn’t want my new mortgage to affect whether or not I got approved for the credit cards.  So the day we closed on our house, I also applied for 5 new credit cards.

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We Bought a House


Mrs. Dragon and I are officially home owners!  As I mentioned in previous posts, we were in the process of buying a house, and we closed earlier this month.   To be clear, I am not someone who thinks that everyone should own their own home.  In lots of cases, it may make more sense to rent.

However, we knew we were going to purchase a home in our new city (we moved here last summer for jobs).  It was only a matter of when.

Neither of us have ever owned a home before, so we’ve never taken out a mortgage before.  In case you haven’t heard, it’s a huge pain in the ass.  In theory it’s a relatively simple thing.  You want to buy a house, the bank gives you the money, and you use the property as collateral on the loan.

In practice, however, it is a well-oiled machine of cluster-fuckery.  There were all sorts of last minute snags that were totally avoidable.

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Lifestyle Inflation: A Two-Headed Monster

Two-headed monsterAh, lifestyle inflation.  This is a topic that’s been well-covered by financial bloggers everywhere, and for good reason.  Lifestyle inflation is probably the number one reason that people fail to save money.

People tell themselves, “I’ll earn more money later in my career, so I’ll just save then,” while simultaneously thinking “I make decent money now, so I can afford to upgrade my car/house/wardrobe/whatever-the-hell-kids-are-buying-these-days.”

In a nutshell, lifestyle inflation is what makes you stop eating ramen and start eating more steak.  It’s what makes you stop shopping at the thrift store, and start shopping at the mall, then your personal tailor.

There are all sorts of shitty excuses for this.  The most common is probably the fallacy of feeling like you “deserve” something.

I worked extra hard this week, so I deserve to eat out tonight.

I just got a lot of exercise, so I deserve to treat myself to this outfit.

I’ve been a good dragon all week, so I deserve to burninate those peasants.

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Expenses: February 2015

ExpensesHere’s the first post that lays our expenses bare!  Since I’m a total voyeur for finance, these types of details are exactly the kind that I love to read on other people’s blogs.

Don’t get me wrong though, these numbers are primarily written for me and Mrs. Dragon.  Every good FIRE breather knows that to be successful, you have to track your expenses.

You have to track them like a ranger tracks a hobbit.  How else will you know when your Hoard is big enough for you to retire?

We haven’t been great at keeping track of our exact expenses for the past year, but these posts will (hopefully) help keep us accountable.

Without further ado, here are the numbers for February (rounded to the nearest dollar):

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