Organization is Key

In this game and hobby, keeping records and track of everything is important. You need to know when your credit card payments are due or the date you need to meet your minimum spending requirement. Failure to keep track of these things can end up costing you in the long run. For instance, if you don’t keep track of your credit card due dates (or setup auto pay) you may miss a payment, which can damage your credit score.

Here are some tools that I find useful:

Google Sheets: I have two separate Google Sheets, which are basically online excel documents.

One of these Google Sheets is dedicated to credit card information. I obviously don’t place my full credit card number on these online documents, but I do record information like: Application Date, Bank, Due Dates, Statement Close Date, Minimum Spending Needed for Sign Up Bonus, Date Need to Meet Minimum Spending, etc. The second tab has a rough plan of attack for how I’m going to meet minimum spending on my current cards. The third tab has all of my Frequent Flyer/Hotel Loyalty account numbers. The third tab is just a list of credit cards I want to apply for in the near future.

My other Google Sheet is reserved for tracking manufactured spending, gift card churning/reselling, and inventory/sales for some of the reselling that I do on the side.

1Password: I use this application to keep track of all my different login information. I love being able to pull this up on my phone. It is encrypted and takes my touch ID to unlock it.

YNAB: I use this for my personal budgeting, but it helps me manage my finances and ensure I don’t overspend.

Feedly: I just started using Feedly to aggregate all my favorite travel hacking blogs. I can’t believe I used to open up every single blog each morning.

Outlook Rules: For my outlook email account, I have several different folders as well as rules that automatically sort emails to the correct folders (i.e. Southwest Emails –> Loyalty Programs and Nationwide Buxx Emails –> Manufactured Spending)

Screenshots: Whenever I am taking advantage of a deal, I take screenshots of the specific terms/conditions. If a credit card company refuses to honor the credit card sign up bonus, I can show them the screenshot that I took of my application with the specific sign up bonus. I haven’t had to deal with this yet, but it is an extra safety precaution.

Paper Receipts: I keep receipts for all of my manufactured spending transactions as well as my reselling transactions. I want to start converting these paper receipts to digital copies, but I haven’t found a good application to do this yet except to manually scan each one.

Calendar Reminders: For important dates or notifications that I’m likely to forget, I’ll often set Outlook calendar reminders. For instance, there was a SPG promotion that involved playing a puzzle game everyday. I set a reminder every morning to play the game for my wife and I.

Binder w/ Business Card Holder Sleeves: As you get further into this hobby, you’ll start to accumulate cards. Credit cards, store gift cards, visa gift cards, membership cards, etc. I have a white binder with business card holder sleeves that I found on Amazon. This helps me keep all of these cards organized and in a place that I can find them.