Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

Time to pay up to Chase

Yesterday I got charged the annual fee for my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, a quite hefty sum of $450 dollars. My Asian mother would never approve of paying a yearly fee for a card, much less one in the hundreds. Indeed, on the surface I do not fit the salary profile of a person who carries credit cards with high annual fee, but the beauty of Chase Sapphire Reserve is that it literally (?) pays for itself.

It’s just one of those things that catches you off guard when it shows up on your bank statements, like the annual membership for Amazon Prime. Just yesterday I wrote about being austere through the rest of 2019, and this charge was certainly a sudden shock. Thankfully, unlike Amazon Prime which has hiked its rates many times (I can remember when Prime membership was only $70 dollars), at least the Sapphire Reserve card has stayed consistently at $450 per year since inception. I’m very glad Chase did not follow the footsteps of American Express, who raised the fee of their premium Platinum card to $550.

It’ll be my fourth year with the Sapphire Reserve card, and as long as I remain traveling on a consistent basis, I completely make the annual fee back through points accrued. The $300 travel credit is still there, and that not only can reimburse for obvious stuff like airfare and hotel, but Uber rides and public transportation also count. Via rudimentary math, that cuts the net annual fee down to a manageable $150, which will get canceled out once I spend a cumulative $4,000 on travel and restaurants next year (a very easy target for me to hit.)

I reckon there will come a time when I will divorce from the Sapphire Reserve card and switch over to a pure cash-back variety (hello, Capital One!) I don’t suppose I’ll keep on traveling as I have done for the past few years, and at that juncture there won’t be enough appropriate spending to offset the annual fee. In the meantime I think Chase would be smart to split up the annual charge into monthly payments, because us millennials love that sort of accounting: my phone only costs me $40 dollars a month!

The new Salesforce Tower appears quite literally everywhere you go in the city.

A year with Squarespace

Difficult to believe it’s already been a whole year since I’ve move to the Squarespace platform. It was also a surprise because when I went to check on my money accounts (I use Mint), a hefty charge of $215 showed up on one of the credit cards. That is indeed the yearly fee for the privilege of using this wonderful host sans any limitations.

Much like how the annual fee for Amazon Prime sneaks up on me every year, I can see why people of my generation much prefer these payments to be broken down monthly instead of annually. The emotional optics are simply easier to stomach than having to all of the sudden cough up a few hundred dollars. It’s especially jarring for people like myself who keep monthly budgets as tight as possible.

The new iPhone that costs over one thousand dollars? No it doesn’t! Split into 24 payments it’s only $56 dollars a month! An infinitely easier pill to swallow, isn’t it? That brand new BMW sedan isn’t really over $40,000 dollars; on a lease it’s only costs $300 a month!

For the less financially inclined it’s of course easy to fall into the “affordable” monthly payment trap and go way beyond proper spending limits. But for the financially savvy - which I think of myself as - sectioning a big monetary outlay into tiny bits can be an excellent strategy to maximize returns (however small they may be). I rather do a piecemeal plan and hoard as much cash as possible to at the very least earn interest in a savings account.

This is precisely why instead of the typical lump sum every 6 months, I pay my car insurance every month. I can do the bi-yearly plan no problem at all, but it’s more prudent to keep the leftover cash in an investment account to accrue some modicum of gain. Plus, it’s far easier for budgeting purposes.

Anyways, it’s been a good year, Squarespace. Please don’t raise your fees.

The charts match the chairs and floors.

The charts match the chairs and floors.