I know there are a lot of hyper organized people who play this game. I happen to not be one of them, much to my wife’s chagrin. I am organized enough to have avoided major mistakes (that I know of lol) but I am not hyper vigilant.
What that means is every couple month I do a bit of housekeeping, which can take an hour or more but puts me at peace of mind that I haven’t made mistakes. I just recently did this, so I thought I’d share some of the housekeeping items I tend towards.
I’d also love to hear what kind of housekeeping you all engage in: always be improving! So hit me up in the comments. Also, if your response is “you should have done all this stuff in the first place”, take a place in line behind my wife.
Confirm all new credit cards are on autopay
I usually engage in housekeeping activities around a month after applying for a bunch of new credit cards. That’s because the very first thing I do when housekeeping is make sure all my new credit cards are on autopay. Since some banks make it easier than others to enroll in autopay (ahem, Bank of America link I can never find), I like to double check all my new accounts are on autopay.
After I’ve confirmed my accounts are on autopay, I update my credit card spreadsheet accordingly. I also make sure my spreadsheet is updated with accurate sign up dates, credit lines, and potential annual fees. While my spreadsheet is open…
Look for any upcoming annual fees
I’ve gotten better about setting calendar reminders for myself to cancel cards/call for retention bonuses. But some of my older cards or cards that I have received retention bonuses on still don’t have the calendar reminders so I like to double check my spreadsheet. If I have any calls I need to make coming up I’ll either set a calendar reminder for myself or highlight the line item in the spreadsheet.
This gets me mentally started on the process of prepping for my next retention calls. That also gets me thinking about my overall plan for my miles and points.
Update demand table
I started using Milenomics demand table last year and it’s really helped me plan out my travel. If you’re unfamiliar definitely read his posts on the topic. To summarize, it’s just a spreadsheet of potential trips and potential costs in miles and points.
I’m not good about updating my demand table in real time so I try to do it when I’m housekeeping. This gives me a good overview of where I’m going for the year and helps me think about the miles and points I need to earn to get there. This bit of housekeeping goes hand in hand with the next.
Take stock of current miles and points balances
People hate to admit it, but it’s really easy to lose track of what miles you are earning at any given time. So every few months I like to see where my balances are at to make sure that my mental picture of my balances matches up with the actual picture.
This helps me set my agenda for the next few months. What credit cards will I be considering? Where am I going to be focusing my bonus spend? What balances are too large and putting me at risk?
Personally, I find if I’m not doing this work I’m being very efficient, which is why I force myself to do so.
Get amped about upcoming trips
The last thing I tend to do while housekeeping? Get myself amped up for future trips! Oh, and double check those reservations to make sure they’re intact. I’ll also look at options to save money. For example, Jetblue extended my Mosaic status for a month so I can still change some flights/redeposit miles for free if I need to.
Hotels are another place to save money since the prices are always changing and dropping. So I like to garden my reservations and make sure everything is all set. This has the doubly beneficial effect of getting me excited for what’s coming.
Without housekeeping, I’d probably get myself into a lot of headaches while playing this game. Being mindful and logical about my decisions and taking stock of my situation really helps me to stay grounded and focused. It also helps me avoid huge mistakes.
What kind of housekeeping tasks do you like to do?