How to make your travel dreams come true with money you already spend – the globetrotting teacher gas explosion in texas

##

Are you an average American with average monthly bills and expenses who wants to travel more? Do you feel like you just don’t know how to make your travel dreams come true and pay your bills at the same time? Are you dreaming of a beach getaway?

There’s no denying credit card sign-up bonuses are like sprinters, boosting loyalty program accounts quickly. But, it’s more than possible to effectively earn and redeem miles and points for travel with almost no credit cards. Or are you dying to sightsee in London?

Everyday spending is the marathon runner that’ll continually grow your miles and points balances steadily over time with the money you already spend. What’s better, you can do it with what an average American regularly spends each year on their bills and expenses.

In this post, you’ll find out what everyday spending is, look at average American household spending data, and how to make your travel dreams come true with money you already spend. Discover ways to use the miles and points you’ve earned and begin crossing destinations off your travel bucket list. How to Make your Travel Dreams Come True

By making every possible dollar spent work harder and bring some value back in return. For me, the value comes in the form of credit card, airline, and hotel miles and points. Others focus on cash back rewards or saving for college tuition. Either way, the principle is the same. Spend smarter, not more. And, certainly, don’t send your hard earned money out into the world without getting something back! So, what exactly does this look like in everyday life?

Of course, you must be a financially responsible person who doesn’t overspend and who pays their bills on time. This includes paying off whatever amount you put on your credit card(s) in full each month. Otherwise, the interest you spend on credit card debt will take value away from any miles or points you’re earning.

You can earn miles and points for travel without flying and even without a credit card by using dining programs and shopping portals. But, to maximize your everyday spending, you’ll need to get started with at least 1 travel rewards credit card. You can have travel hacking success with as few or as many credit cards as makes you comfortable. Photo by frankieleon

Based on bank rules, there are important strategies to know about the first cards to get. My perennial recommendation is, begin with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. After approval and meeting the minimum spend requirement, you’d have no less than 54k Ultimate Rewards points which could eventually be transferred to any of Chase’s 11 airline or hotel partners.

The sign-up bonus is great, but using the card for your everyday spending is how to make your travel dreams come true again and again in the long run. Perhaps, you’d like to visit an elephant sanctuary in Thailand… Part 2: Average American Monthly Bills and Expenses

For the sake of using real numbers, I’ve used the Consumer Expenditures report for 2015 (latest available) put together by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data shows everything from average American expenses to income to population demographics. Luckily, I don’t teach statistics so I promise I’m not going to bore you with all the details. 😉 The grocery store is one of the easiest places to earn miles and points for travel!

This adds up to just under $40k! But, obviously, these numbers are a nationwide average and your own everyday bills and expenses are unique to you. What do you notice from the list that looks high or low for your monthly bills and expenses? If you commute long distances to work, are you maximizing every dollar you spend on gas? Photo by JeepersMedia

Now, if you’re thinking of everyday bills and expenses as miles and points, that’s nearly 40k you can earn each year just for paying the bills and buying the food, clothes, haircuts, etc, you were already planning to buy anyways. Your miles and points could land you a seat on an award flight.

More importantly, if these expenses and bills would normally be paid for with a debit card or directly debited from your bank account, there’s no reason you wouldn’t be able to pay off the same amount on a credit card in full at the end of each month.

The BIG difference is with a travel rewards credit card you’re earning a return on your money, but with a debit card, your money leaves forever without so much as a wave goodbye. What about expenses that are missing? Mortgages can’t be directly paid with a credit card.

Your biggest monthly expenses, mortgage or rent and car payments, are not included on the list. These bills typically can only be paid with a credit card via a third-party bill pay service like Plastiq or RadPad. These services charge fees which are better to avoid unless you’re trying to meet a credit card minimum spend. How can I get even more from my everyday spending?

The above calculations assume you’ll only earn 1x point per $1 spent. However, credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred earn 2x the points on travel and dining. Travel even includes things like public transportation, highway tolls, and parking fees.

In fact, most travel rewards credit cards offer permanent or promotional bonus categories on everything from groceries to drug store purchases and gas. Bonus earn rates can go as high as 6x the points regularly and 10x the points during promotions. Dining programs can supercharge dining bonus categories.

Dining rewards can also earn an additional 3x-5x the points for every $1 spent at participating restaurants. So, let’s look at the $3,008 the average American spends on eating out each year. If that person paid with the Sapphire Preferred, she’d earn 6,016 Ultimate Rewards points. If even half of that spending was at dining program restaurants, that could earn an additional 4,500-7,500 miles or points.

Similarly, the $1,846 on apparel and services could earn well more than the typical 1x the points per $1 if you use shopping portals. A $100 pair of Nike sneakers bought in the store would earn just 100 points or within a shopping portal at an earn rate of 8x the points for 800 points! Which sounds better to you? Part 3: What do all these miles and points get you? You could absolutely take a trip out to the American west for a National Parks road trip.

At the end of a year, you’d have earned the 54k Ultimate Rewards points from the sign-up bonus and meeting the minimum spending requirement. Using these average American expense numbers, you’d have earned at least 40k points, give or take for your personal adjustments.