By Pamela Maragliano-Muniz / DMD

Ever wished for more vacations? Editorial Director Pamela Maragliano-Muniz, DMD, did. Then she discovered RewardSmith, a rewards concierge, which, in dental terms, is like having a comprehensive treatment planning specialist for your wallet.

One thing I learned very quickly after becoming a practice owner is that it is really expensive to run a dental practice. When I first bought my practice, I walked around with a credit card in my pocket so I could quickly break it out to pay for anything and everything. Every month, every quarter, every year, I can’t help but be blown away by how many expenses we have.

What if I told you that the average practice owner throws 2% to 10% of his or her expenditures out the window? We all work so hard to make a living and enjoy a reasonable quality of life; why do we waste money by writing checks or using the wrong credit cards? I had no idea how many benefits I was passing up by writing check after check and using a single card for my office expenses. There are online resources to help us learn and make better decisions, but there is so much information out there that it is tough to know what the right decision is for each particular situation. I own a practice, teach, travel for lectures, and write. Like many of you, I also live for vacations . . . so why do we make it so hard for ourselves to take them?

I have considered hiring someone to help me manage my travel, but I like to be in control of my own schedule. Recently, however, I was introduced to Howie Rappaport of RewardSmith, a rewards concierge, and decided to give his services a try. At first, relinquishing control of making my own travel arrangements felt like the equivalent of closing my eyes and having a stranger tell me when to jump with both feet. But so far, I couldn’t be happier. He offers personalized attention and customizes his recommendations for my personal and office spending, based on my individual needs. I am minimizing the amount of “rewardless” money that I am spending, and I expect to increase my current airline status by two levels this summer—platinum status, here I come! I never even considered that my office spending could facilitate better travel and life benefits with rewards that can be used for personal or professional purposes.

On a personal note, this year is filled with milestones: I get to embark on a new decade upon my birthday, and I will celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary. I am planning a short, celebratory getaway later this year, and I know that I will have the best travel benefits and minimal out-of-pocket personal expenditures. I am finally letting my office work for me. In dental terms, I have a comprehensive treatment planning specialist for my wallet!

I will keep you posted on my rewards as this year progresses. If you want to benefit from money you are already spending, RewardSmith may be the help that you need. Howie is also an editor at large for Frugal Travel Guy, a travel blog that focuses on using points and miles for free travel. Why would I plan a trip without his help ever again?