Sun, fun and rum; A review of our family Puerto Rico trip

What do you get when you combine a tropical breeze, lazy days at the beach, a water park, along with a National Rain Forest and a really cool 400 year old City?  The answer, Amigos, is our family trip to Puerto Rico. Where did we go? As previously noted in this article, we planned a trip to El Conquistador resort, which is about 45 minutes from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Our Southwest flight took about 6 hours, including a layover in Tampa Bay, FL, to fly into San Juan.  Upon arriving in San Juan, we picked up the car we

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How to earn more than 2% cash back with Citi price rewind

If you’re like most people striving for financial independence, you probably want to take advantage of every offer and angle you can in order to speed up the time to your financial independence date.  If you are responsible with your credit cards and pay your balance in full each month, a nice and simple cash back credit card is probably an attractive way to get some of your purchase prices back. For those of you interested in just having one simple cash back credit card with a high cash return and no annual fee, I recommend the Citi Double Cash

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Finding your frugal compromise without destroying your relationship

“You spent how much?”  Does this sound familiar?  So often I have read about how we über frugal early retirement weirdos are supposed to somehow magically, perhaps via telepathy, in-grain in our spouse our love for frugality that comes naturally to us. Question, how many of you out there have grown up, with identical values, parents, lifestyles, hobbies, as your spouse or partner?  I’m waiting… Can I be painfully honest here, just for a moment?  Most of us do not have spouses that share the same love/passion/desire for FIRE as we do.  Usually, from what I have read, one person

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Livin’ life on the frugal edge- My work lunch strategy

At times I feel like a bit of a soldier in my office, complete with frugal armor, and surrounded by sword wielding spenders intent on destroying their hard-earned income as fast as they can.  How can one simply see $10-$12 per day, OR MORE, exit their wealth empire without even flinching?  The sad truth is, they purchase a hot lunch each day from a local establishment at a hefty price.  Even worse, some will drive their automobiles to do this. How I stock my work lunch There is no one right or wrong way to pack a work lunch.  Some

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Planning our Puerto Rico dream vacation; 7 nights, 4 guests, Kayaking, El Conquistador resort, points and miles, $2000

The Finance Patriot’s family is happy to announce our plans for a dream vacation, to Puerto Rico, in May.  This will take place just prior to our kids’ elementary school lets out. The four of us will spend a week relaxing, sunning, swimming, eating, celebrating my wonderful wife’s 19th anniversary of her 21st birthday, and Kayaking to see the world’s most stunning Bio-luminescence display.  After our week in paradise, it’s going to be hard to go back to the day job. We chose Puerto Rico, in part, because of the ease of travel with children.  As a US territory, Puerto Rico

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So you wanna be a baller? Frugality vs. Side Hustle- only one clear winner

“You can’t be a baller on a budget.”  These were the words a friend of mine, who sells Audis,  uses to sell luxury cars to people who want to haggle the price of a car down and, consequently, cut into his commissions.  I can assure you that, in order to achieve financial independence at a reasonable or early age, you absolutely can not spend like a baller. Financial Independence requires building up your net worth quickly, but how? If you are like I was, you have a vague idea that you should be saving as much as you can, pre-tax, and

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Creating our early retirement checklist

So you’ve done all your saving and investing, took care of your Roth IRA problem, and now you’re ready to pull the trigger and tell your employer bye-bye.  However, as an early retiree, you are a forward thinking individual and wish to tie up any loose ends before your early workplace exit.  I happen to be in this situation as I write this post.  I am going to share with you what’s in our early retirement checklist. Before we dive into this checklist, I must share the lyrics that come to my mind when I think of lists; From Santa Claus

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A Beginner’s Guide to Brokerage Hacking

A Beginner’s Guide To Brokerage Hacking : Earning Substantial Side Income In a Few Hours What is Brokerage Hacking? Brokerage hacking involves taking advantage of promotional rules set up by online brokerages in order to earn substantial bonuses for opening up new accounts or adding to existing accounts. A history of my brokerage hacking First, let’s review, in sequential order, all of the various brokerage accounts I have had over the years, and why; Putnam Investments (my first foray into investing, suggested by a financial adviser) Janus Funds (I had funds rolled over from an IRA into Janus because they offered no load

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Determining an appropriate emergency fund

What is the size of an emergency fund a future retiree should have?  Why set one up at all?  How should an emergency fund be compiled?  Before we answer these important questions, I think we should define what an emergency fund is. According to Investopedia, An emergency fund is an account used to set aside funds needed in the event of a personal financial dilemma, such as the loss of a job, a debilitating illness or a major expense. Why have an emergency fund? Many financial planners advise a 3-6 month emergency fund.  Let’s explore some reasons why you might want

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Our 2016 tax return exposed; The good, the bad, and the awesome

Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.  The Finance Patriot is working hard to avoid both. Before diving into the details of our 2016 return, which I know you are all dying to know, let’s start with our 2016 tax summary (from taxact.com).  After reviewing the summary, please scroll down for a detailed discussion of each line item. Federal Tax Summary, 2016 W-2 Income $105,626 Adjusted gross income $105,626 Deductions $14,133 Exemptions $16,200 Taxable income $75,293 Tax computed using Form 1040 Line 44 – Qualified Dividends Capital Gain Tax WS $9,779  Credits $(2,000)

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