Archives for February 7, 2018

Affirm: Immediate Gratification + Hiding The Pain of Paying Upfront


Here is an interesting longform Racked article about Affirm micro-loans. Now, instead of (gasp!) saving up for a few months before paying cash for those $200 jeans, you could have them today for $235. It’s basically credit card debt for people who previously couldn’t get approved for a credit card. Hurray for innovation.

Sure, it may be more transparent and convenient, but here’s the real reason why you’ll soon see it everywhere:

Affirm is not just meeting a demand, but creating one, encouraging shoppers to buy and spend more. Affirm claims an average 75 percent boost in order values across all its merchant partners. Affirm is clearly not just facilitating purchases that would have otherwise happened through other means of credit. Four retailers I spoke with reported significantly higher sales, and more frequent purchases, with Affirm customers.

Saving for retirement is a form of delayed gratification. You could buy buy $235 jeans today, $200 jeans after saving up a few month, or you could invest it and wait 20, 30, 40 years down the road and be able to afford housing, food, and medical care when you’re old. Even if you’re a crazed fanatic like me with a 50% savings rate, you might wait 10 to 15 years before actually being able to “spend” the money you put away.

How can we avoid debt when it means immediate gratification? No easy answers here, but looking back, I used to check my net worth all the time. It’s hard to call that a healthy habit, but then again it did provide a form of immediate pleasure from saving $200 instead of spending it. I liked seeing the number go up. Mentally, I also knew I could use that money as a cushion if I wanted to try a new career path. In that way, having more money in the bank meant more freedom now, not just later.

Added: Dave Ramsey is famous for helping people out of debt, and one of his main tips is to pay cash for everything. At a minimum, use a debit card. (You could even “Debitize” your credit card.) That way, you feel the appropriate pain of each purchase. When you put things on a credit card with the idea of paying “later”, you are hiding that pain. $20 a month feels a lot easier than $200 upfront. This is why Affirm customers end up buying more stuff than cash buyers (on top of paying interest).

Wyndham Hotels Promotion: Stay Twice, Get One Free Night at Any Wyndham

wyndham_rewardsWyndham Hotels has a new Stay Twice, Get a Free Night promotion. Wyndham Hotels is an interesting chain of hotels that includes Days Inn, Travelodge, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Dolce, Wingate, and Wyndham Grand hotels. If you register here first as a Wyndham Rewards member, book by 6/30/18, and make two stays by 7/1/18, they will give you an additional bonus of 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points (on top of the points you’d otherwise earn).

15,000 Wyndham Rewards points are good for one standard bedroom night at any hotel under the Wyndham umbrella. So you could pay for two nights (make sure it’s two separate stays) at a Days Inn, and then redeem for a free night at a Wyndham Grand hotel. Don’t forget to join Wyndham Rewards for free and register first. If you got in on the (now expired) Wyndham credit card / 3 free night promo, you could make an extended vacation out of it.

This was timely for me because I was researching some family vacation possibilities and the Howard Johnson Anaheim (Disneyland) is also a Wyndham property. This is an often-recommended “Good Neighbor” Disneyland hotel with a huge water park that is also right across the street from Disneyland. The standard rooms often go for $200+ per night with taxes. If you live more on the luxurious side, there is the Wyndham Grand Chicago Waterfront.

Grubhub: $20 off $20+ For New Customers (Now $7 off $15)

(Update: At least for some folks, the promotion has been reduced to $7 off $15.)

grubhubHere’s a Grubhub promotion that will get you $20 off your first $20+ food delivery order. You must agree to accept promotional e-mails.

*Valid for first time Grubhub users only (per person and per email address). For one-time use only. Cannot be combined with other discounts. To redeem, enter code at checkout on Grubhub’s website and app (cannot be combined with cash), and $20 will be taken off of minimum orders of $20, before tax, tip and delivery fee. Only valid on personal (non-corporate) accounts. Offer expires at 3:00am ET on March 1, 2019.

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