Get: The Best Credit Cards Ever

It's overwhelming to choose a credit card. There are so many incentives and rewards to be had; you don't want the complication and clutter of having too many cards, but using just one isn't great for your credit score. As always, I evaluate this decision through the lens of SIMPLE and THRIFTY: what's going to simplify my life, and give me the most perks?

For a long time, my favorite credit card has been the American Express Blue Cash Card. It has no annual fee (it's free!) and it gives me straight up cash back for my purchases. No web of "figure out how to use my points to buy flights, but better plan far in advance or else you're screwed." I apply the cash credit to my bill every few months, and we're done. It's that easy, and the rewards add up surprisingly fast.

Costco is a store I frequent and spend lots of money at, but they no longer accept American Express; no cash back for me. I'm happy to announce that has now been changed. Last week, I took a big step and welcomed another credit card into my wallet: the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi. This free credit card gives me 2% cash back on Costco purchases, plus lots of other cash back opportunities.

Before diving in, I had one question you might have as well: I have the Costco Executive membership, which gives me a 2% annual reward on my Costco purchases. (This 2% always comes close to covering my annual membership fee.) The Costco Citi Card gives 2% cash back on Costco purchases. Is this the same 2% from my Executive membership? Yesterday I inquired and was ecstatic to learn the answer is NO, this is not the same 2%; this is another 2%. Badda bing badda boom. See explanatory image below.

Between these two cards, I'm happily raking in as much cash back as possible.

QUICK SUMMARY OF EACH CARD

American Express Blue Cash:

  • 3% cash back at supermarkets
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores
  • 1% cash back on everything else

Costco Citi:

  • 4% cash back on gas (including Costco gas, always the lowest gas price in town)
  • 3% cash back on travel and restaurants
  • 2% cash back on Costco purchases
  • 1% cash back on everything else

Let the Cash Back Maximization Game begin! I might need to create a cheat sheet for my husband and me: Costco Citi for gas, restaurants, travel; AmEx for groceries, department stores. Better yet, a song might aid memorization. Rake, rake, rake in cash back, all throughout the town.

***We pay our credit card bills in full every month. Nothing is so necessary that I would pay interest to have it before I can afford it (nothing except a house). 

CashBack.jpg
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Get: Gobble

We all must eat, it's a human necessity. But the quality of what we eat varies greatly. Gobble's founder and CEO, Ooshma Garg, places a high value on home-cooked food, as it was an integral part of her upbringing: her father would regularly put two hours into preparing Northern Indian cuisine. Fact is, home-cooked meals tend to disappear from one's life as careers launch, life speeds up, and daily pressures mount. Garg set out to solve this problem. The mission of her company is to help busy people eat home-cooked food.

Gobble was birthed right here in Silicon Valley. Their tagline: Dinner kits designed for 15 minutes with 1 pan. Their hashtag: #DinnerSolved. (I love that haghtag, it resonates with me—dinner is certainly a daily problem to be solved in my life.) And, Gobble is taking off! This month, they launched nationwide.

    I was first introduced to this company by my friend Briana. Her husband has a busy career in home construction and she works part-time as a dental hygienist. They have 4 children, ages 7 and under. We spent a night with them over Labor Day weekend, and upon our arrival Briana served us the most delicious Gobble meal. I began asking questions. Being a thrifty woman (my Great Depression-era Grandma Millie passed away over a decade ago, but she lives on in my head), I was skeptical. Then I learned they have a 50% off introductory offer, so I decided to give it a go and pray I wouldn't get hooked.

    The cost is $11.95 per serving. Yikes. I did some research to understand who would ever pay $11.95 per serving for dinner at home, and quickly came to understand the target customer is someone who usually gets takeout. This is a home-cooked alternative to takeout, and there are plenty of people in this overworked, fast-paced Valley who are prime customers for this service. Families with both parents in demanding careers especially appreciate Gobble: they can quickly and easily enjoy a homemade dinner together. I had fun trying out the service, but wouldn't be a regular customer unless I could always get 50% off.  :)

    I've now prepared 6 Gobble recipes, and here is the brief run-down of my experience:

    PROS

    • Delicious food with the ability to pick and choose your menu with lots of variety. The website is very easy to use with beautiful pictures.
    • On-time delivery with great packaging.
    • The food is all prepped for you! Just put on your chef's hat and follow the directions. This is an ideal way to learn to cook or teach your children to cook.
    • The recipe cards are pretty easy to follow.
    • Excellent customer service.
    • 3 dinners in a weekly box turned out to be the perfect amount for my family's lifestyle.

    CONS

    • The meat portions are too small for my strong, active CrossFit husband.
    • The meals aren't actually 15 minutes, 1 pan. More like usually 25 minutes, sometimes 2 pans.
    • The wording on the website is unclear and can lead to confusion. "One meal" means one serving, not two servings. One dinner also means one serving.
    • Some of the produce wilted or was less than perky when it came time for me to cook.

     

    I  recommend availing yourself of their 50% off promotion and giving them a try. Last night I was researching for this article and found myself completely captivated by Ooshma Garg's lecture at the Female Founder's Conference in 2016. I couldn't stop watching until it was done, what a remarkable woman pursuing her dream of helping people eat home-cooked food. And not only that—she's helping families gather together around the dinner table, and we all know the priceless impact of this habit.

    For 50% OFF YOUR FIRST DINNER BOX (3 dinner recipes with either 2 or 4 servings), go to their website and sign up. If it isn't clear how to get 50% off, their customer service agent T'Andra said to contact them and simply mention this article. Bon Appétit!

    Gobble