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Budget Do’s

Budget Do's, Finance

Top Travel Reward Credit Cards

August 14, 2012

Get to the Kona International Airport more often with these travel reward programs.Looking to earn travel points? Of course, we advocate paying off your credit card every month – our economy isn’t on life support because credit card companies are giving away money -but if you have a purchase to make – why not earn some travel points. does an excellent job in rating all of the different types of reward programs tied to credit cards – but these were our favorite

Chase Sapphire Preferred℠ Card –Because of the high points per dollar, flexibility of carriers and hotels you can use your points on– this card tops most of the travel blog/websites.  Other features include 24-hour (real person) customer service and a seven percent bonus on your reward points. The annual fee is pretty steep ($95) but it’s free for the first year. To justify the cost, you can take advantage of the initial bonus of 40,000 points (worth $400 or a flight valued at $500) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Like we said – if you have a big purchase to make – you might as well get a little back for your travel budget.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card also tops many “best” lists as well. Not only do you get hotel points (Sheraton, St. Regis, Westin) but  points can transfer to the airline miles programs as well. They also offer the usual promtions – 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and another 15,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months. While the first year is free, the annual fee is $65 a year.

A personal favorite -and not really on any best of lists  is the Hawaiian Air Visa Card. It’s not on a best list because you would make more reward points with a card like the Chase Sapphire or even the Starwood card, which you could then use toward Hawaiian Air. However, considering the huge smile factor involved in putting down your Hawaiian Air Credit Card, we wanted to include it. For mainlanders the card is issued through Bank of America and has a $75 annual fee for the platinum, and $50 for the standard. If you’re interested check for sign on promotions and start dreaming of your next trip to paradise.

Budget Do's, Finance

New Favorite Money Site: LearnVest

August 2, 2012

Alexa von Tobel is one of those girls you wish was in your inner circle. The type of gal you could have cocktails with and discuss the benefits of your company 401k matching plan.

We fell for Alexa in a recent Marie Claire interview, in which she made a bold statement about women and money: “The fact is, women don’t like to talk about money, let alone deal with it. Though we’re killing it at work, earning more than ever, running our households, and making big-ticket decisions, too many women still worry they’ll be judged by what they earn and how they spend it. So instead of asking for help, they try not to think about it, treating their finances the same way they did back in college — spending it when it’s there, freaking out when it’s not.” Eek…but probably true for some of us.

That notion is one of the reasons Alexa founded LearnVest. The site is dedicated to helping women take control of their finances and offers free and easy tools for how to save and spend your money.

The site helps you create a budget (that’s actually livable!), shows you how to get out from under your student loans and how to create a financial plan (thank you!) — and it’s free! Plus, it’s got a pretty cool user interface that makes budgeting, actually fun…




Budget Do's, Finance

What’s the Difference Between a Roth IRA and an IRA?

July 19, 2012

You know you should be saving for retirement but we get it, sometimes the savings-options just get a bit overwhelming, which is why we’ve created an easy cheat sheet on the differences between two retirement options: Roth IRA and IRA.

The main difference between the two is just when you pay income taxes on the money you put in each.

Traditional IRA: You pay when you take the money out in retirement.

Roth IRA: You pay taxes on the front end, so when you take it out you won’t be taxed.

In both options your money will grow tax free while in the account.

Other differences:

There are income limits for a Roth IRA.

Roth IRA’s can be a bit more flexible if you need to take out money early.

With a traditional IRA, you have to start taking out money by the time you are 70 1/2 (with a Roth you can leave it in to grow).

Still not sure which to choose? Our favorite finance guru Suze Orman has advice here.
Photo courtesy of Bokeh Burger.