How to Get Started Travel Hacking

GET STARTED TRAVEL HACKING Interested in learning how to maximize your good credit score for free and discounted travel? In this video, I walk you through the art of travel hacking step-by-step. This travel hacking method leverages the lucrative sign-up bonuses from credit cards, earning you points and miles to be redeemed for free travel.

  1. Check, and know, your credit score You can check sites like to get your free three-digit score. The best offers are for those with great credit of 700+

  2. Know your monthly spending on things you’d already be spending your money on such as gas, groceries, and monthly bills.

  3. Find the right card that has a welcome bonus that is awarded once you can meet the minimum spend. Several options are listed below to help get you started

  4. Stay organized and make sure that you are meeting the minimum spend requirements within the timeframe required to earn bonus points

  5. Pay it off by paying the entire balance at the end of each billing cycle.

  6. Redeem! Use your points to offset the cost of travel.

If you are interested in getting started, here are some cards with low-to-no annual fees that you can check out. These may be affiliate links, meaning I may be paid or earn points at no additional cost to you if you click through and are approved.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Earn $150 bonus with Chase Freedom Unlimited if approved.

Chase World of Hyatt Earn up to 50,000 bonus points with the World of Hyatt Credit Card if approved.

American Express Preferred Everyday Earn 20,000 Membership Rewards Points if approved and you meet the minimum spend requirement!

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Earn a $200 statement credit if approved and you meet minimum spend requirement!

American Express Platinum Delta Skymiles Earn 75,000 Delta Skymiles if you are approved with this link and you meet minimum spend requirements!

American Express Simply Cash Business Apply for an American Express Card with this link. Earn a $250 statement credit if approved and you meet minimum spend requirements!

Money in your 30s, Asking for a Raise, and Trip Planning

Did you miss any of April’s videos? No worries, I’ve got you covered below!

I say this all the time, and it bears repeating: you can only save so much money; to truly become financially stable, you have to earn more money.

  1. How long have you been with the company? Loyalty is important to companies. It’s more expensive to hire and train someone new than to offer a raise to a consistent employee. Review your length of time with the company in addition to responsibilities you’ve taken on over the years as additional factors in your ask.

  2. What raises have you received in the past? If you’ve been getting the standard 2.5-3% raise to account for inflation for several years, it’s high time to get in and ask for a more substantial increase. What the employer is doing is essentially paying you the same amount year after year! Consider whether or not you would have stayed at your current job if you had your starting salary. If the answer is no, get yourself a raise.

  3. Do your homework. Ask colleagues about their pay (seriously, I’m pro-pay transparency) and look at sites like or for average salaries for people in your field to help you gauge an appropriate pay raise for your job. The often-touted 76 cents-on-the-dollar statistic often comes from women leaving the workforce for a period of time and re-entering at their former salary.

  4. Demonstrate a willingness to learn. Certificates, training, make sure you tell the employer you are willing to do the work to get the money don't get discouraged.

  5. If you are told no, don’t get discouraged. See if there is a possibility for a raise over the course of several years; e.g., 5% a year for three years instead of a 15% raise outright. Ask for other fringe benefits the company may be more willing to give you, such as additional vacation days or the ability to work remotely. If neither is possible, start shopping for a new job. You are worth it.

If you are in your 30s there are six things you must know about money. By the time you’re in your 30s, you can no longer claim that you don’t care about it, that you’ll think about it later on or think that you think you have plenty of time. It’s time to wise up. I’ll walk you through.

  1. Smash those limiting beliefs. So much of the things that we do are tied to our negative beliefs or negative thoughts. So if you are thinking things like “I’ll never be able to get out of my student loan debt,” or “I’ll never be able to save money for a vacation.” Those types of things are harming your ability toward taking steps to achieve those goals. Good news, I have a freebie in the description box below on how to untangle your cognitive distortions, so be sure to click on that.

  2. You must know about credit. Not just your credit report, but also your credit score. It doesn't matter if you want to pay cash for everything and credit doesn't matter. The real reality is credit score is that you're going to be more desirable when it comes to things like getting a new apartment, purchasing a new car, or purchasing a house. If you have good credit, that is telling lenders you are worthy of getting a loan and getting it at a decent rate. The worse your credit it, the more likely it is that you’ll get denied for loan or credit cards, or get bad terms if you are approved. You can check it out at a bunch of different sites, credit karma, credit sesame, and Yes. Know your credit score, know your report.

  3. Life insurance. This is one of those things that people get freaked out about it think it's a scam they don't want to think about it because it means you have to think about death or dying but the reality is that having life insurance helps to protect you and your loved one is especially important if you have children or if you have a partner that you want to make sure that you're insured for enough so that if something were to happen to you your family your partner would be able to continue life as they already are able to live it now.

  4. Make sure you are investing in retirement. Erin Lowry has a new book out called Broke Millennial Takes on Investing where she talks about the importance of changing our language from saving to retirement to investing in retirement. The general rule of thumb is to have two times your annual salary invested in retirement by the time you are in your 30s. so make sure to look up things like your 401k 403b. If you are self-employed look into a SEP or a Solo 401k. Anyone can look up whether or not they meet criteria for a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, so make sure that you are investing in your retirement.

  5. Pay off all debt aside from your mortgage. I know this one is controversial and I know some people say that it's fine to keep your debt especially if you have a low interest rate you can probably earn more in the stock market so it's fine to keep your debt but I argue the opposite. For many of us, debt acts as a barrier and it pulls us down even if it's just emotionally or mentally so the more we can throw money at your debt the better off you're going to be.

  6. Have fun with your money! This should be intentional and feel really good for you to carve out a savings account that is just for things like travel or clothes or beauty or cars or whatever your hobby is. Make sure that you're still treating yourself and spending money on things that matter to you.

In your thirties, you want to make sure that you are spending money that is fun money on things that you want to spend it on. I want you to put some money towards your debt, I want you to be investing in your retirement accounts, AND to be enjoying your money. So those are the six things you need to know about money when you are in your 30s don't forget I have that freebie down below about untangling cognitive distortions especially when it comes to your money.

Untwisting Negative Thoughts--FREE Cognitive Distortions Worksheet


5 Steps to Spend in Line with Your Values: Using ACT for your money

Check out my latest financial therapy video on how to apply acceptance and commitment therapy to your money. Transcript below:

Are you feeling like you are spending money on shit you don’t care about? Watch the video above, or check out the steps below, and I’ll give you the exact exercise you can do to spend in a way that feels right for you.

If you look at your spending at the end of the month and feel like you are flushing money on stuff you don’t need, I’m here to tell you how you can shift that so you can spend on the things that matter. I guarantee that practicing this will help you feel good about your spending habits. 

First, let me break down what ACT it. ACT stands for acceptance and commitment therapy. The idea is that when we live our lives aligned with our values, we feel better about ourselves.

5 Easy Steps to Spend Money in line with your Values

  1. Write down the five most important values in your life (example: empathy, freedom, love, health, and sustainability).

  2. Look at last month’s spending.

  3.  Highlight or write down the 2-3 areas where you spent in a way you aren’t proud of (fast food, parking, clothes).

  4. Reference your values and see if they match up. If they don’t, there is a good chance you feel conflicted or guilty when you spend For example, if you value health and love, your money would probably be better spent taking your partner rock climbing instead of buying another drive-through meal. Or if you value sustainability, maybe you could shift your spending from a parking pass to a bus pass.

  5. Shift your spending toward the things you value. The goal isn’t to spend less, though you might, but to spend in a way that feels more like YOU.

What areas are you going to shift your spending towards to align with your values? Or are you going to shift some spending away from a certain category that doesn’t match up with your values? Let me know in the comments!

If you are getting stumped on values, I have a free download full of values you can reference to practice the exercise I reviewed in the video. Here’s a free worksheet to help you find ways to line up your spending with your values.

Money Lessons My Mom Taught Me

For most of us, our first money memories come from our families. Perhaps it was being told you couldn’t add the box of cookies to the shopping cart, for others it was learning how to add with coins. In this video, I share the financial lessons I learned from my mom. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who acted as a teacher throughout my life, and I gained a lot of valuable lessons from her.

Transcript of Money Lessons from My Mom

Hey, this is Lindsay from Mind Money Balance, and today I'm going to talk about things I learned from my mom. I was very fortunate to get some pretty solid financial lessons. I talk a lot about how we usually first learn what we know from our family, so today I'm going to share with you some things that I learned from my mom as I grew up.

1. Don't buy stuff just for the sake of buying it.

One thing I heard all the time from my mom was not to buy stuff just for the sake of buying it. I can think back to road trips that I did with my family and my mom's best friend and her kids, and any time we would stop for gas it didn't ever cross our minds to run in and get snacks or drinks. I honestly didn't even know or consider it to be an option that when you stopped for a pit stop, you could pick things up.

I remember in high school being with some girlfriends and stopping somewhere. They all came back with snacks, and I was shocked. It had just been so ingrained in me that you have water at home, or you have snacks in the car, and you don't need to buy anything.

2. Understand what your bank can do for you.

Another thing I learned from my mom was to know what the bank or the credit union's job was. I remember being a kid in line with her as she was going to either deposit money or cash a check, and she would give me these little money lessons along the way. Back then the bank had a board where they posted information, and she would point out the board and say, "Oh look at those CD rates." I remember her explaining to me what a certificate of deposit was, in terms that would make sense to a kid. She would say, "You are giving the bank money and allowing them to use it, and in exchange for them using your money, they'll pay you a little bit more when they give you that money back."

I also remember her telling me the importance of putting money in a bank instead of up in your rafters. She told me that in the bank your money would be insured, meaning it would be safe, up to $250,000.

3. Live below your means.

When I was in middle school, my family moved from a middle-class neighborhood into one of those McMansion neighborhoods. It was the early 2000s and those kinds of neighborhoods were popping up all over the place. I remember doing some back-to-school shopping and complaining to my mom that she wasn't buying me enough. For example, "Oh my gosh, well, so-and-so down the street, they get all this stuff," and whining about how we didn't. I don't think we used the term "hauls," but let's just call it a "clothing haul."

I remember my mom saying to me, "Lindsay, they're not using real money. They are using credit cards. They're not using real money. They are spending more than they earn." On the drive home we had a discussion about credit cards and living below your means.

So again, I was super fortunate to have gotten that information, and even though I was probably still a little angsty about not getting all the clothes I wanted, I at least had learned a lesson about why it's important to only buy the things that you can afford and not the things that you want to afford. Lo and behold, a few years later the housing crash came, and we all as Americans learned what it was like to live above our means and below our means.

4. Make sure you can take care of yourself.

My mom was a young mother, and she made it very clear from as long as I can remember the importance of having your own skill set and earning your own money as a woman.

I can remember, from the time that I got my driver's license, my mom saying things to me like, "You have to be a productive member of society. If you're not physically or mentally disabled, you need to be working. You need to have your own money. You need to have your own income." I got my first job around that time: I was working at a little restaurant the next town over. Friday or Saturday nights in high school I was working until closing, which at that restaurant was 2:00 a.m. I remember that experience being very valuable, and mom saying again and again: make your own money, have your own skills, make sure you can take care of yourself.

I think that's such a valuable lesson for anyone, but especially for women, and especially for young women.

5. Use what you have before you buy more.

Finally, the last big money lesson I learned from my mom was to use up all that you've got before you buy something new. This is across the board. This is from scraps of food to vehicles.

For example, if we were baking and there was a little dusting of sugar at the bottom of a bag, we made sure to use that a little bit first before we opened the new bag. With big purchases like vehicles, my mom was a huge proponent of buying vehicles that were safe. So by default that tended to mean more expensive vehicles, but she would buy those vehicles and quite literally drive them into the ground. I'm talking 200 or 250,000 miles that she would put on a vehicle before even considering getting a new car. She drilled into my head that leasing a vehicle was wasting money. That depends on your situation, but the lesson that I got from my mom was if it ain't broke, if it's working, then use it, make it work for you.

Those are some of my money lessons that I remember from my mom and still tap into today.