Gilbert Ott is a self proclaimed travel enthusiast and frequent traveler — which really shows on his blog "God Save the Points." In his posts, Ott gives readers advice on how to earn more miles and use them efficiently, how to find cheap flights and when to buy tickets — basically anything that makes traveling better on you and your wallet.
"Want to trade seats on the plane? Whatever ticket you've got for my comfortable flat bed up front?" asked Ott. He then proceeded to explain himself in a cocky and humorous manner while bringing up his admiration for Richard Branson's odd and whimsical promotions.
Basically, if you find Ott at an airport — wherever he may be — just go up, call him out by his name and blog and tell him you want his seat. If you two are on the same flight, Ott will gladly give you his business or first class seat — which he'll ALWAYS have.
As to not make this too difficult, Ott has agreed to post and update maps of his travels on Twitter and Instagram along with clues regarding plans and airlines. He's also posted a bunch of selfies on his blog so readers will recognize him but I think he just likes showing off his good looks.
Although Ott keeps saying this will probably go poorly — considering he has many 10+ hour flights — it will also bring in a lot of new readers and engage old ones.
"I want to deliver the best travel deals and information to as many people as possible. I'm really proud of our new site and if the chance to make me sit in coach while simultaneously making someone's day brings me a single new reader, I'm psyched about that," said Ott.
Along with the promotion, Ott is also giving away two business class tickets to anywhere in the US or Europe that Alaska Airlines or British Airways flies. All you have to do is leave a comment with a link to your favorite blog post and a blurb on why it was helpful or interesting. Winners will be chosen at random.
Even if for promotion, Ott's giveaways are a fun and interesting "Catch Me If You Can" game that'll either make someone's day or expose new readers to money and time-saving tips. That being said, are you ready to find Gilbert Ott?
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.