The Bank That Gives Us 5.36% APY Right Now

Do you have money that is sitting there doing nothing, losing value while inflation marches along at 2% or higher every year?

If you do, you need to check out the high-yield savings account from Western Alliance Bank.

Lots of CashWe have a fair amount of money that we don’t invest because it is in our emergency fund, but it loses value as it sits there. Recently, several banks in our area have advertised some CDs (certificates of deposit) with no penalty for early withdrawals, and the interest rates of 4+% on those have been quite appealing.

But I have done a CD before, and I wanted to avoid the work involved in setting one up.

This month I was introduced to Western Alliance Bank, and I couldn’t believe the current interest rate on their high-yield savings account. 5.36% APY!

Not only that, but the amount of money to get started with them is only $500, and after that there are no account minimums and no monthly fees.

So, in my opinion, it was a no-brainer, and within 15 minutes I had created an account and funded it, and I am in the process of transferring our emergency fund over to this account.

Western Alliance Bank AccountWestern Alliance’s High-Yield Savings Account

Here are the reasons that I’m really happy with our new bank account:

  1. Competitive Interest Rates: The interest rate on its high-yield savings account is one of the highest in the US, allowing us to earn more on our savings compared to traditional savings accounts. I also have a high-yield savings account with American Express, but that one is only 4.35% APY, so I will be parking my money at Western Alliance for now.
  2. No Monthly Fees: Many high-yield savings accounts (and several traditional savings/checking accounts) charge monthly maintenance fees or require customers to maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees. Western Alliance Bank’s high-yield savings account has no monthly fees. Amazing.
  3. Low Minimum Balance Requirement: Some high-yield savings accounts require a substantial minimum balance to open or maintain the account. Western Alliance Bank’s account right now only requires an opening deposit of $500, and the lowest amount you can keep in the account and still earn interest is $0.01 (not sure how you earn interested on a penny, but that’s what they say).
  4. FDIC Insurance: Like all bank deposit accounts, Western Alliance Bank’s high-yield savings account is FDIC-insured up to the maximum allowable limit, currently $250,000. This insurance provides peace of mind to savers, knowing that deposits are protected against bank failure up to the specified limit. Our emergency fund will never have more than $250,000 in it, haha!
  5. Quick Transfers: One of the main concerns when accessing cash (especially for emergencies) is the amount of time that it takes to withdraw your money. In my experience so far, it only takes about 1-2 business days for the money to get from the account and into your hand. If you decide to couple it with another savings account and a debit card with Western Alliance, I’m guessing you could get it even sooner.

There are a couple more features that I have read about but have not actually used:

  1. Mobile Banking Features: Western Alliance Bank’s high-yield savings account comes with robust mobile banking features, allowing customers to manage their accounts conveniently from anywhere.
  2. Customer Service and Support: Western Alliance Bank is known for providing excellent customer service and support to its customers. Whether you have questions about your account, need assistance with online banking features, or require help with a transaction, knowledgeable and friendly representatives are available to assist you.


Overall, Western Alliance Bank’s high-yield savings account is a great option for savers looking to earn a competitive interest rate on their savings while enjoying the convenience and security of a traditional bank. Furthermore, you can do this without opening a CD!

As a side note, I also earned $60 for signing up for this account through a shopping portal, so that made it even better.

I’m not sure how long the APY will stay this high, but for right now, it was an offer that I could not ignore.

Do you currently have a plan for getting a decent return on your savings? If not, do you plan on taking advantage of this high-yield savings account?

Western Alliance Bank

The 3 Things We Use to Help Our Toddler Sleep Almost Anywhere

There are three things that we never leave home without when we are traveling because they help our little guy sleep almost anywhere we go.

These items have saved us more stress than we know because we all know that kids need their sleep (just like us adults).

But what do you do when you are in a place that doesn’t have a bed for your kid?

What do you do when you can’t find a quiet spot or a dark spot for them to sleep?

How do you create ideal sleeping conditions without hauling along a collapsible playpen everywhere you go?

Thanks to Alyssa’s keen research and savvy money habits, we found our solution, and we love it.

These are the 3 items that we have used to help Baby Jadon sleep at home, at the homes of other people, in our church building, in hotel rooms, in airport lounges, and in airport hallways.

KidCo Peapod Travel Tent

The KidCo Peapod is a popular travel bed and play tent designed specifically for children, offering a safe and comfortable sleeping environment while on the go. Here’s why we consider the Peapod a must-have for parents traveling with kids:

  1. Baby Jadon Sleeping in KidCo PeapodCompact and Lightweight Design: The KidCo Peapod features a compact and lightweight design, making it easy to transport and set up wherever your travels take you. It folds down into a small, portable carrying case, making it convenient to pack in a suitcase, car trunk, or carry-on bag. When we fly, one of us packs this in our carry-on roller bag so that we can use it in the airport. It’s SO small when it’s folded and stowed!
  2. Versatile Use: The Peapod serves multiple purposes, functioning as both a travel bed and a play tent. Whether your child needs a cozy spot to sleep or a safe place to play, the Peapod has you covered. It’s perfect for hotel stays, camping trips, beach outings, picnics, and visits to friends and family. When Baby Jadon was smaller, he would play in it, but now that he’s older and more active, we only use it for sleeping.
  3. Built-in Mattress and Sleeping Pad: Unlike traditional travel cribs or playpens that require separate bedding, the KidCo Peapod comes with a built-in, removable sleeping pad. This provides a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface for your child, ensuring a restful sleep wherever you are. As you can see in the picture above, we don’t need to add any additional padding even when using the Peapod on a hard surface.
  4. Mesh Panels for Ventilation: The Peapod features mesh panels on all sides, allowing for optimal airflow and ventilation. This helps regulate temperature and prevents your child from feeling hot or stuffy while inside the tent.
  5. UV Protection and Bug Shield: Some models of the KidCo Peapod come with UV protection and a bug shield, making it suitable for outdoor use. The UV protection helps shield your child from the sun’s harmful rays, while the bug shield keeps insects and bugs at bay, providing added peace of mind during outdoor adventures. We keep our Peapod for indoor use, so these specific features are not as important for us, but they might be for you!
  6. Easy Setup and Takedown: Setting up the KidCo Peapod is quick and straightforward, requiring no assembly or tools. Simply unzip the carrying case and allow the pop-up tent to unfold itself. Takedown can be tricky at first, but once you know how to do it, it collapses just as easily. Put it back into the carrying case, and you’re ready to go to the next place!
  7. Safety Features: KidCo prioritizes safety in their products, and the Peapod is no exception. It is designed with sturdy construction, reinforced seams, and flame-retardant fabric to ensure durability and compliance with safety standards.

The price for the KidCo Peapod Travel Tent is somewhat steep at around $80, but Alyssa was able to buy it used from someone on Facebook Marketplace at a discounted price. Having now used it all over the world and in so many different environments, I can say that it’s definitely worth its full retail price. If you like the concept and want to go with a similar product, Amazon also sells some options for about a third of the price like this one and this one.

Crib Blackout Cover

Crib blackout covers for playpens are specialized accessories designed to create a dark and cozy sleeping environment for infants and toddlers, similar to blackout curtains used in bedrooms. We use one in conjunction with our KidCo Peapod Travel Tent, and we also use it at home on our playpen.

  1. Material and Design: Our crib blackout cover is made from a lightweight and breathable fabric that attaches securely to a playpen or can be draped over our Peapod. The cover has ties to ensure a snug and secure fit, effectively covering the entire playpen to block out light from all sides. When we use it with our Peapod, we just tuck the excess underneath the tent.
  2. Benefits: Using a blackout cover can offer several benefits for our little guy. It creates a dark sleeping environment that helps him fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. The cover is lightweight and easy to transport; in fact, we stuff it into the Peapod carrying bag when traveling! When used at home, it can be quickly installed and removed as needed on our playpen.

This is a much better option than just a regular blanket because it is breathable and lightweight. It also insulates the bed moderately well, holding in the body heat that is emitted by our child. So he often sleeps just fine without a blanket when we use this!

You can get a crib blackout cover for about $20 or less on Amazon. Once again, Alyssa got it at a discounted price from someone else on Facebook Marketplace, but, once again, we have found it to be worth the full retail price if that’s what you have to pay to get it.

Amazon Alexa Sleep Sounds

The third thing that we use to help our little guy sleep almost anywhere is Sleep Sounds on Amazon’s Alexa. If you have an Amazon Echo device or the Alexa app on your phone, you probably already have a general idea of what this is and how to use it.

If that last sentence was a foreign language to you, let me summarize.

Alexa is Amazon’s personal voice assistant, and you can enable her to perform various functions and skills. We have her do half of the work at our house, but you can have her do something as simple as play ambient noise for you when you are sleeping.

But Alexa is better than the noise machines that you might buy online or at the store because she’s free and can reside on your personal digital device that you already bring with you when you travel.

Furthermore, if you enable the free Sleep Sounds skill by Voice Apps, LLC, in your Alexa account, you can access over 125 different sounds like Heartbeat, Fireplace, Airplane, Frogs, Wind Chimes, Washing Machine, Box Fan, and our personal favourite, Thunderstorm.

You can download the Alexa app on your phone and have it play the sounds without having to bring along an additional device. Of course, if you prefer to have your phone accessible, you could always just purchase an Amazon Fire Tablet that already has Alexa built-in and bring it along with you. It would even fit in the Peapod carrying bag along with the blackout cover!

KidCo Peapod at the AirportSummary

When we combine these three things together, we can assemble an unstoppable sleeping environment in less than 2 minutes.

That’s not an exaggeration either since the Peapod opens itself as soon as we remove it from its bag.

The first picture in this post is from one of the concourses at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, and the second picture here is from one of the concourses at Nashville International Airport. The KidCo Peapod Travel Tent takes up so little space, the crib blackout cover blocks out the light, and the Sleep Sounds by Alexa drown out the extraneous noise.

We have found that the closets in many hotels are even large enough to fit the Peapod, giving Baby Jadon his own little room.

(Of course, as much as possible, we stay inexpensively in nicer hotels and then get free upgrades to suites with an extra bedroom for our kids.)

I owe many hours of sleep and relaxation and happiness to Alyssa for finding these items and insisting that we needed to buy them.

Have you ever heard of these things or used any of them?


How We Save a Lot of Money on Parking with SpotHero

The #1 way to save money on parking when traveling is to park where it’s free.

Now that we have established the obvious, I want to tell you about the primary way that we save money on parking when it’s not free.

Parked CarWe can usually park for free on the side of a street when we’re in a small town, but that’s not always the case in the big cities, especially around the big tourist sites. Sometimes special events also cause nearby parking facilities to raise their rates (or transform from free lots into paid lots).

Whenever we have to pay for parking while traveling, the first place we go to look for discounted parking is SpotHero.

SpotHero is a leading parking reservation app that has gained popularity for its convenience, reliability, and cost-saving features. Here’s why we consider it one of the best parking apps:

1. Extensive Coverage:
SpotHero operates in numerous cities across the United States, providing users with access to a vast network of parking facilities. Whether you’re in a bustling metropolis or a smaller urban area, chances are SpotHero has parking options available nearby.

2. Easy-to-Use Interface:
The SpotHero app features a user-friendly interface that makes finding and booking parking a breeze. Users can search for parking by entering their destination address or exploring a map view to see nearby parking options. The app provides detailed information about each parking facility, including pricing, availability, and amenities, allowing users to make informed decisions.

SpotHero Parking3. Advanced Booking Options:
One of SpotHero’s standout features is its ability to allow users to reserve parking in advance. This is particularly useful for busy city areas or events where parking may be in high demand. By booking ahead of time, users can secure their parking spot and avoid the stress of searching for parking upon arrival.

4. Cost Savings:
SpotHero often offers discounted parking rates compared to on-site or street parking prices. Users can take advantage of special deals, promotions, and exclusive offers to save money on parking fees. Additionally, the app allows users to compare prices and choose the most affordable parking option for their needs.

5. Variety of Parking Options:
SpotHero offers a wide range of parking options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for valet parking, covered parking, or long-term parking, SpotHero has you covered. Users can filter their search results based on criteria such as price, location, and amenities to find the perfect parking spot for their needs.

6. Secure and Reliable:
With SpotHero, users can rest assured that their parking reservations are secure and reliable. The app partners with reputable parking facilities and employs strict security measures to safeguard users’ personal and payment information. Additionally, SpotHero provides customer support to assist users with any issues or concerns they may encounter during the parking process.

7. App-less Availability
You don’t need a smartphone to use SpotHero! You can book your parking online, print your parking pass, and scan the QR code on your paper to park. This is useful if you don’t have a smartphone, can’t install the app on your phone, or tend to run out of battery life on your device and want a hard copy backup.

SpotHero App

How We Use SpotHero

We have used SpotHero for several years, and we usually use it on trips when we are in big cities like Chicago, Seattle, Washington D.C., Boston, etc. Most of the time we are booking a spot for a few hours, but we have also used it for overnight parking. We often know how much money we are saving because the parking garages will have their prices posted at the entrance, but we booked our spot for less than those prices. Parking meters on the street also tend to cost much more and have time limits of 2-4 hours.

Back home here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, we have used SpotHero to find discounted parking for baseball games, other sporting events, and concerts. When we fly during the warmer months, we discovered that we can find nice outdoor parking at hotels near the airport.

Sometimes the parking locations can be difficult to find after you book them, but SpotHero does a decent job of helping you navigate to the right places. They provide not only the street address but also a picture of the entrance to the lot and some good old-fashioned directions on how to find the entrance.

We have also been able to cancel our bookings for a refund and extend our current reservations when needed.


Overall, SpotHero stands out as one of the best parking apps due to its extensive coverage, easy-to-use interface, advanced booking options, cost-saving features, variety of parking options, commitment to security and reliability, and ability to use it without a phone.

Whether you are commuting to work, running errands, or attending an event, SpotHero makes parking hassle-free and affordable. If you travel a lot or spend a lot of time in big cities, we highly recommend this service!

Have you used SpotHero? Do you have another parking service that you like?

The Pastor Who Invested Most in Me

Huang Wedding Handoff

I couldn’t stop crying.

Absolutely nothing I tried would stop the tears from flowing.

It wasn’t even a sad moment; it was one of the happiest moments of my life! But even though I usually can do a fairly decent job of hiding my emotions, I have always been a crier. Especially during extremely happy times.

But then I heard something that I had never heard before: “Who giveth this man…”

The pastor quickly fixed his mistake and asked the bride’s father the traditional question with the right terminology, but it was too late. A huge smile spread across his face as the room erupted in laughter, and I finally was able to stop crying.

In that brief moment, my future father-in-law gave me my partner for life, but not before my grandfather gave me a memory for life.

My grandpa gave me so many reasons to smile for over three decades, but that one on June 1, 2019, is definitely one of my favourites.

As I look back on life though, Grandpa did more than just provide smiles. He had a profound impact on who I am today as a person.

PastorsGod has blessed me with many amazing pastors- over a dozen of them. I will not list them here, but the people close to me have a good idea of who most of these men are.

What I love about my pastors is that they did more than just give me content. Yes, I have heard many sermons, devotionals, and Sunday School lessons from them. But it is not the preaching that I remember.

What I remember most is how they loved me and invested in me.

They invited me to their homes to eat and to sleep. Some of them even let me live in their homes for extended periods of time!

They taught me how to raise a family, how to work, and how to invest my money.

They taught me how to memorize Scripture, how to prepare Bible studies, and how to lead music in church services.

They taught me how to get out of my comfort zone and invest in other people.

But no pastor invested in me as much as Grandpa.

He started by investing first in his family and my parents before I was even born. After I entered the world, he continued to invest in me.

Joshua with GrandpaWhen I was a child, he spent so much time with me when we visited. He took me on his paper route, he brought me into the ditches to pick up pop cans, he taught me how to catch night crawlers, he took me fishing, he showed me his trapping route, and he took me up north to sell the skins from his trapping.

He always talked about God’s goodness and his desire for me to follow God too and experience that goodness. He always had a joke to tell based on whatever was happening that day.

He taught me the importance of faithfully following God and trusting his provision no matter what happened in life.

For many years he was just family, but for a year in college, he also became a colleague when he invited me to join him at his church as the Sunday song leader. Such a responsibility required a 6-hour roundtrip every weekend for several months, but it was a wonderful privilege. Each week he would tell me his sermon so that I could plan the order of service, and then we would spend Sunday serving together and spending time together at his house.

It’s one thing to watch someone do ministry for years, but it’s a greater joy to do it together with them!

The one thing that kept Grandpa going in life was the next opportunity to minister to someone. Whether that was teaching on Sunday or visiting someone during the week, he wanted nothing more than to keep investing in people and telling them about God.

I am extremely blessed to have a family in which all of my grandparents were amazing, godly people that invested so much in me. I wouldn’t be the same person without any of them.

Joshua and Grandpa at Wedding

But my Grandpa Gonnerman was unique in that he was a pastor, not just to others, but also to me.

Because of that, he could participate in some of the most significant events in my life. He baptized me as a child, he personally helped me prepare to be a pastor, and he was the one in my wedding who helped me stop crying (albeit only for a moment).

In my opinion, his many investments paid off; not just in my life, of course, but also in countless other lives.

My favourite pastor has finally retired, and today he enjoys the fruits of his labour. By God’s grace, the compound interest from his investments will continue to pay dividends in his absence.

Once more I can’t help but cry.

But Grandpa has given me a reason to smile.

“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.'” – 1 Corithinthians 15:54

The One Travel Deal That Has Saved Us Thousands of Dollars

Disclosures: This article includes links to credit cards. If you choose to apply for a credit card through our links, we may or may not receive a referral bonus. Credit cards are not suitable for everyone, however. If you have credit card debt of any kind, are irresponsible with your past or current use of credit cards, are unaware of the risks of using credit cards, or are conscientiously opposed to the use of credit cards, please do not apply for the credit cards mentioned in this article. You are 100% responsible for your own choices regarding the use of any credit cards mentioned here.

As the price of airfare continues to rise because of increased travel demand, I have more and more people asking me how to book inexpensive flights.

Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer or one perfect solution for everyone. But for people flying in the US, there is one specific deal that has transformed our travel experience and saved us thousands of dollars.

Ever heard of the Southwest Companion Pass? This game-changing perk has revolutionized the way we travel, and right now, there’s an incredible offer available that makes earning the Companion Pass easier than ever before.

Southwest AirplaneBrief Overview of the Southwest Companion Pass

With the Southwest Companion Pass, you essentially get to bring a designated companion with you on all your Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes and fees (normally only $5.60 per one-way trip). It’s like getting a 2-for-1 deal every time you fly, which can lead to significant savings, especially for those who travel often or with a partner.

Here are some of the top reasons why we love the Southwest Companion Pass:

1. Double the Value: With the Companion Pass, you’re essentially doubling the value of your money. When you buy a ticket for yourself, you can add your designated companion for almost free, thus getting two tickets for the price of one. But it also applies to award flights booked with Southwest Rapid Rewards points! Instead of just redeeming points for yourself, you can use them to book flights for both you and your companion, effectively getting twice as much out of your rewards.

2. Flexible Travel: Unlike other airline perks that restrict you to certain flights or blackout dates, the Southwest Companion Pass is incredibly flexible. As long as there’s a seat available on a flight, you can book it for your companion, even if you’ve booked your own ticket using points or a promotional fare.

3. Maximize Savings: For couples or families like us who frequently travel together, the savings can add up quickly. Whether you’re jetting off on a weekend getaway or taking a longer vacation, having a companion fly with you for almost nothing can make travel much more affordable.

Overall, the Southwest Companion Pass is a game-changer for anyone who typically travels with someone else. It’s a valuable perk that can help you stretch your travel budget further and make exploring the world even more enjoyable. If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer, or even if you just fly once or twice a year and live near an airport serviced by Southwest, earning the Companion Pass should definitely be on your radar as a goal worth pursuing.

Limited-Time Offer: Earn Companion Pass through 2/28/25 + 30,000 Points

Southwest Airlines is currently offering an unbeatable promotion across all three of their personal credit cards – the Rapid Rewards Plus, Rapid Rewards Premier, and Rapid Rewards Priority cards.

With this offer, new cardholders can earn the Companion Pass and 30,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Under the terms of this promotion, the Companion Pass would be valid through February 28, 2025.

Understanding the Southwest Credit Cards

Typically, the personal Southwest credit cards offer a signup bonus of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points, but they do not include the Companion Pass as part of the offer. In fact, you normally have to earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards Points within the same calendar year in order to qualify for the Companion Pass, making it a little more difficult to earn.

With the current promotion, however, new cardholders can enjoy the best of both worlds – almost a full year of Companion Pass privileges plus a nice points bonus. Now, you obviously have to complete the minimum spend requirement before you receive those perks, but if you’re looking to travel anytime this summer and into next winter, the timing could be perfect for you.

Here’s a brief overview of the three Southwest personal credit cards:

1. Rapid Rewards Plus: Ideal for occasional Southwest flyers with basic perks ($69 annual fee).
2. Rapid Rewards Premier: Perfect for moderate Southwest travelers seeking additional benefits and rewards ($99 annual fee).
3. Rapid Rewards Priority: Tailored for frequent Southwest flyers who want premium benefits and perks ($149 annual fee).

Our personal favourite is the third option, the Rapid Rewards Priority card, but that’s because we travel frequently enough to justify the annual fee. But each of these options has the same offer right now.

Our Companion Pass Experience

For the past seven years, we have been fortunate enough to enjoy the countless benefits of the Southwest Companion Pass. From weekend getaways to cross-country adventures, the Companion Pass has been our ticket to unlimited travel experiences at a fraction of the cost

Whether booking flights with cash or redeeming Rapid Rewards points, the Companion Pass has consistently provided us with unparalleled savings and flexibility. Because we have also earned so many Southwest points and booked award flights with them, about half of our flights have only cost us $22.40 total for the family ($11.20 in taxes and fees per adult on award tickets), making travel more accessible and affordable than ever before.

With the current offer available across Southwest’s personal credit cards, there has never been a better time to earn the Companion Pass and unlock unlimited adventures.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to save some money on your upcoming flights!

Does this offer appeal to you or someone you know?