i’m kinda nerdy, but i know my limits

the nerd wallet site is an invaluable tool, i’m realizing…

…first time i used it was when i was comparing different credit card consolidation loans, before i realized i wasn’t in a place to use one of those just yet. and more recently, with good ol’ american express. i’ve had a fun history with those guys.

i got a card as one of my first college student cards back in 1992. i kept it until about 1999, when i had basically insurmountable debt with dwindling income (dropping from two jobs two one towards the end of the year) when i took the “can’t get blood from a turnip!” stance and just abandoned all my balances. i can’t remember what that one was, but it was in the four figures.

once i got my credit to a reputable level (that didn’t last as long as it shoulda, but i’ll get it back there in 2023!) i got an offer from amex, but i was suspicious. i figured it would be like when you get those “secured” cards where they SAY you get a $500 visa, but when you get it $300 has already been spent on fees you have to pay ($100 annual fee, $100 account start up fee, $100 account registration fee, etc) so you have access to $200 of your $500 limit until you pay down those fees. but to my surprise they gave me a decent limit, didn’t even mention my past, and the card even showed up looking like we’d been BFF’s all along with my “member since…” date…

but there’s another version that looks almost JUST like this, but has a $95 annual fee (better than the up to $800 for a platinum or $500 for a gold which they’ve tried to get me to hop on multiple times) and i was tempted because it talked about how much better the rewards are, but nerd wallet actually broke down the two cards based on what points you get where, and it turns out for how i use my card i am exactly where i need to be. there was even a simulation calculator at the end of the article where you could put in average monthly expendtitures and my rewards were basically identical, but once you backed out the fact i had to pay for the other one it was eight bucks in annual rewards (after fee) versus one hundred and fourteen bucks in rewards (with no fee) so i knew to just sit tight where i was at.

thanks, nerds!

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