Baseball Bat Glove 150

A Baseball Card


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Baseball fans, gather ‘round!  I wanna tell ya about a nice cash back credit card that can be customized with any of the 30 Major League Baseball Team colors and logo.

Besides all the visual swankiness, here are some perks:

  • Never an annual fee
  • $100 cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.  Here’s how you can do that easily: 11 Ways To Meet A Spending Requirement
  • Get 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
  • Receive a 10% bonus when you redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.

If you’d like to get a card, look under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offer$” at the top right side of this website. Then click “Cash Back Credit Cards”.  That link will take you to another site where the 5th card down is the MLB™ BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Mastercard®.

Email me if you have any questions. Full disclosure: I may get a commission if you apply using my link, so… Thanks!  Go Reds!!

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Nest Feathered

Even If You Have Filed Your 2016 Tax Return – It’s Not Too Late To Fund Your 2016 IRA


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Well, that was a mighty long headline.

Wanna start an IRA or put money in an existing one?  The IRS says you have until tomorrow at midnight (the tax filing due date).  There’s an easy way to do this even if you have already filed your taxes, got your refund, and blew it on something frivolous.

Open a Roth IRA and thrown some cash in it. The most you can plunk down is $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re age 50 or older).  See details here on IRS.gov.

A Traditional IRA gives you a tax deduction when it goes in, but makes you pay taxes when it comes out.

A Roth IRA doesn’t give you a tax deduction when it goes in.  The beauty is that you don’t have to pay taxes on it when you take it out.  It (hopefully) grows tax free!

That’s why you can still do it now even if you have filed your tax returns.

Interest piqued?  Talk to your broker about it.  Don’t have one?  Call or walk into a big brokerage house (not your Bernie Madoffs).  For example:  Charles Schwab, E-Trade, Fidelity, OptionsHouse, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade or TradeKing, Vanguard.  Plunk down some cash.  You don’t have to decide then and there what to invest in.  I can just stay as cash until you get more info.  But you do need to get the money in there by tomorrow night to count for 2016.

Be the ball, Danny.  Feather your own nest (in a good way)!

Fistful Of Dollars

Best Place To Shove Your Tax Refund


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fistful_of_dollarsMany of us are getting back the “no-interest loan” we gave Uncle Sam.  Generally speaking, that’s what a tax “refund” is.  If you don’t have debt to pay down, you might wanna put a fistful of those dollars in your savings account – and fuhgeddaboudit.

For example,  Discover Bank’s Savings account will give you .95% APY (no minimum to open and no monthly fees).  That rate is a heckuvalot more than what you are getting in your checking account.

When I want to know the best rates on all kinds of accounts of varying lengths of time, I go to Deposit Accounts.com.  I’m not affiliated with them in any way.  It’s an excellent resource.

Make the best of your tax refund.  Start building that Emergency Fund!!

Up To $300 Off A WiFi Sprinkler Timer


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Do you have sprinklers that run on a timer?  You can get back up to $300 if replace your existing irrigation controller (aka “sprinkler timer”) with one you control from your smartphone, tablet or computer from anywhere in the world.

The rebate caps at $200 here in Los Angeles.  No worries – the timer costs less.  So… at the end of the day it is free!  I got the Rachio Generation 2 (8 zone).  They also have a Rachio Generation 2 (16 zone) for sprawling estates.

These new-fangled Wi-Fi irrigation controllers tap into local weather stations to automatically adjust your watering schedule.  It won’t water before, during or after it rains – unless you override that feature.

I’m not one to dabble in “lawn-srachio-logohaming”.  Many of my neighbors waste a lot of money leaving their sprinklers on all winter.  I used to be one of those folks.  Now I leave mine off from November – March. Read my post It’s Not Water, It’s H20 for the why.

Installation is simple.  Take old timer off the wall and put the new one in its place.

I went with the Rachio Generation 2 because it had all the bells and whistles and was EPA Water Sense Certified – a requirement for the rebate.  It requires a smart phone to set it up.  It’s also made in USA.

Find your Rachio rebate nationwide.

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New Balance Shoes Blue 200

A Money Saving Quickie… For The Online


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I needed some new kicks – blue suede shoes to be precise.  So I jumped on the online and found the best deal at New Balance.

Here’s the Money Tip:  Before I pulled the trigger, I do what I always do.  I Googled for a coupon.  Of course that was the FIRST thing I did.  Because (wait for it) it’s one for the money…

“New Balance promo code” took me to RetailMeNot.com.  The first code was for “12% off + Free Shipping”.  I copied the code and pasted it into my checkout at New Balance.  Voila!  10 seconds of effort saved me $17.74.  Screenshots below.

I gave you this great tip that you can use anytime you shop on the online.  If you see me around, I want to be perfectly clear.  You can burn my house.  Steal my car. Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar.  Do anything that you want to do, but stay off of my blue suede shoes.

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Hotel Building Cartoon

Two New 100,000 Point Hotel Bonus Offers (Limited Time)


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Hilton Hotels rolled out a 100,000 point bonus offer which prompted Marriott Hotels to do the same (and then some).

If you like your plumbing and sleeping quarters inside, these great opportunities are for a limited time.

Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website – click “Hotel Rewards Credit Cards” for more info.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

The Highlights:

  • The American Express Hilton Surpass card has increase its bonus offer to 100,000 Hilton Honors points if you spend $3,000 on it in the first 3 months the account is open. There is a $75 annual fee that is not waived.  Earn a free weekend night on your anniversary date of card approval.
  • This is not to be confused with the American Express Hilton Honors card that has an offer of 80,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $2,000 on it in the first 3 months it’s open.  It has no annual fee, but also no free stay after keeping the card for another year.

If you are looking to build up points, you could get both (I’m guilty of that).  Keep in mind that you can only get an American Express sign up bonus once in a lifetime for each different card.

Starting in April, a total of 11 people can pool Hilton Honors points together for redemption.  That’s huge!  If you can meet the spending requirements, this is an excellent for friends and families to get these cards and travel in style!

Use Hilton’s calculator to figure out how far you can stretch your points.

  • Marriott Rewards card increased their offer to their highest ever:  100,000 Marriott Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in first 3 months the card is open.  Add an authorized user and get another 7,500 points.  Get a card for anyone (you don’t have to actually give it to them).  $85 annual fee is not waived.  Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary date.

Hotel aficionados know Marriott Rewards points can be transferred to Starwood Points at a 3-to-1 ratio.  This option gives you a way to build up Starwood points by getting a Marriott card.  More on Starwood here.

Keep in mind that you must put 24 months between receiving sign up bonuses on the same Chase card.  This Marriott card is a Chase card.  If you have had this Marriott card previously and cancelled it, make sure it has been 2 years since you got the bonus.

Looking for a quick way to meet spending requirements?

Taxes are due April 18thPay1040.com charges a fee of 1.87% of the payment amount to pay your income tax with a credit card.

Click here to read my post about paying your State and Federal Income Taxes with a card online.

I don’t normally suggest paying a fee to use a card.  I just make that suggestion as an easy way to meet the spending requirement.

Case in point: I owe the Feds $3,105 by April 18th for my 2017 taxes.  I’m going to use my new American Express Hilton Surpass card to pay it.  The spending requirement on that card is $3,000 to get 100,000 bonus points.  The 1.87% fee for paying $3,105 with a credit card will come to $58.06.  In one fell swoop, I will meet the spending requirement and get 100,000 Hilton points.

Of course, check out 11 Ways To Meet A Spending Requirement for more ideas.

Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website – click “Hotel Rewards Credit Cards” for more info.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

Usps

See What Mail Is Coming Before It Arrives


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The Post Office is rolling out a cool new FREE service called ”Informed Delivery”.  Sign up and you’ll get an email every morning containing images of the front each letter-sized piece of that day’s mail.  You can also login online to see the mail.

We live in a time when young toughs steal mail.  This way you’ll know if something important is coming that didn’t reach you.

  • Ever not receive a check that someone sent?
  • Maybe you got one of those $500 red-light speeding tickets but never received the notice – now the fine has doubled.
  • Your order of new checks never arrived and now some punk is writing checks you can’t cash.
  • We are in tax-refund season. Bad guys like being able to grab those obvious envelopes and nefariously take your money.
  • Maybe you have a nut-job roommate who poaches your mail.

It’s handy if you go out of town for a day or two, but don’t want to stop the mail for the 3-day minimum.  This way you can alert someone to grab your mail if there is an important piece.  See if it has hit your area here.

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Babytooth Sm

They Call Me “Babytooth”


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Here’s a Dental Money Tip: If you get oral surgery, sell the pain pills to recoup your deductible.  This is a great way to pick up some extra cash.  If you get busted, it’s a felony that could cost you nine years in prison and a $20,000 fine – but think of all the money you will save on rent, food, and everything else in stir.  It’s totally worth it.

Okay…  That’s not the real Dental Money Tip.

I’ve been hauling around a babytooth since my babyhood.  There wasn’t an adult bicuspid underneath it, so I made do.

Fun Fact, the bicuspid babytooth is larger than the adult one.  It looked like a tooth and walked like a tooth.  See below.  Alas, it started to crumble.  I opted to yank it and get an implant.

Even though I have some dental insurance, I was going to have to reach into my coin purse for a couple grand.

Ask and you shall receive.  There was no elaborate negotiation.  I simply asked the office manager if there was any wiggle room on the price.  She got back to me saying, “We can take $400 off.”  Done!

The moral of the story is:  If you are a dental mutant like me, or about to plunk down a lot of cash for a big ticket item – it doesn’t hurt to ask if there is any wiggle room on the price.  Wiggling goes down.  Jacking goes up.  Don’t ask if they can jack the price. Stick with wiggling.

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Do You Like Dog Food?


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dogfoodlady2

Is Future-You sleeping on a cot eating kibble?

If you figure Social Security will tide you over in your Geezer-dom, see how much you have socked away at SSA.gov.

The 2016 EBRI survey revealed that 26% of Americans have virtually nothing saved for retirement (less than $1,000 in savings and investments).  Those 26 percent-ers probably assume Social Security will cover them.  Or maybe they figure they won’t live that long, like the folks on Sugar Mountain or in Logan’s Run.

When you check out your SSA stash, keep mind that your estimated benefit is a future-dollar that will not stretch as far as today’s dollar.

For example, let’s say that in 20 years, you were going to collect $2,000 a month as an old fogey.  Not too shabby.  You may have to forego your country club membership, but that’ll cover your apartment and some biscuits and gravy to chomp on, right?  Maybe.  First,  you gotta factor in inflation.  The average annual inflation rate since 1913 is about 3%.

$2,000 in 20 years at 3% inflation will buy what $1,107 does today.  How far does $1,107 go for you in 2017?  Will that keep you in the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed?

I say this not to bum you out, but to motivate you to squirrel away a few bucks into an individual retirement account (IRA).

April 18th is the last day to make a contribution to your IRA for 2016.  You can decide what you want to invest in at a later date.  The important thing is to open an account and put some money in your IRA.

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15 Dollar Bill 15 Only

When You Have Only $15 To Your Name


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Are you prepared to uproot your life so you can have a roof over your head and food on the table?

Is this Wall Street Journal article on Kathleen Wolf really about Future-you?

I give this lady credit.  At age 68, she realized she lived beyond her means.  She left her life and her friends in Northern California to start over in a small town in Iowa where she knew no one.

“I was just playing being a rich person, I wasn’t rich,” Ms. Wolf said. “What you’re supposed to do with your money is sock it away. I didn’t.”

This is obvious, but only 20 years ago, this 68 year old lady was 48.  I can tell you that when you are 48 you aren’t focused on the older, Future-you.  Her choices put her in a tough spot.

If you are lucky, Future-you is coming fast.  Get ready, that geez will be here in a blink.  Technically, “Future-you” will be here in one millisecond – but you catch my drift.  At 48, you are thinking more about whether you want a big shindig on your 50th birthday than when to start taking Social Security.

Her story does not have to be yours.  Spend much less than you make.  Start saving.  Future-you will be much happier with options.

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