Clock 20mins

20 Minutes=$592.23 Cash Rewards


clock-20minsHere’s a quick follow up to How I Made $490 (in 10 Minutes) Paying My Property Taxes.

Last week, I got the card by clicking on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” (top right side of website).  A few days later, the card showed up.  I hopped on the online and paid my property taxes.

Today, the charge and my $592.23 cash back hit my card.  That’s the $500 bonus + $92.23 (2% cash back on purchases).

I decided to dump my entire $592.23 “rewards” to pay down my balance.  Then I paid off the remaining $4,019.32 electronically from my bank.  Done and done.

CapOneSparkBiz2016 - profileProperty Taxes paid with a hundreds of free, tax-free money from Capital One. Total time invested from applying for the card through paying it off was about 15-20 minutes.

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Highest Starwood Bonus Ever – 35,000!


StarwoodPurpleCard250This offer is good for only a few more days – through March 30th.  American Express increased the bonus offers on their Starwood personal and business cards to 35,000 points.  This is the highest bonus these cards have ever had.

To get the 35,000 bonus points, you need to spend $3,000 on the personal card in the first 3 months.  To get the 35K bonus on the business card, you need to spend $5,000.

Both cards wave the annual fee the first year, have no foreign transaction fees, and give you free give you free in-room internet and Boingo wi-fi.

The personal and business cards are viewed as two different products.  This is important because you can get these bonus points only once in your lifetime on each card.  Therefore, if you have/had the personal card, you can only get the bonus on the business card – and vice versa.  If you’ve already had both, move along.  Nothing to see here.

These points are extremely versatile.  They can be used for hotel stays, or turned into frequent flyer miles or both!  Click here for my post on all the ways you can use Starpoints!

Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn…” for these cards.  Email me if you have any questions.


How I Made $490 (in 10 Minutes) Paying My Property Taxes


PropertyTaxScrabble+490smIf you are a homeowner, here’s a way to make tax-free dough paying your property taxes.  With just a few clicks and about 10 minutes of my time, I cleared $490 tax-free.

In Los Angeles, my property taxes are due April 10th.  Instead of writing a check, I paid my bill with a credit card that gave me a BIG BONUS for meeting the BONUS’ spending requirement. It’s all about the BONUS, my friend.

CapOneSpark$500BonusThe “Capital One Spark Cash for Business” card pays a bonus of $500 in tax-free cash if one spends $4,500 on it in the first 3 months the card is open.  It also pays 2% cash back on purchases.  So, meeting the $4,500 spending requirement will get me another $90.  That’s $590.  FYI: The cashback is tax-free because it is technically a rebate.

Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website. Then click “Business Cards” for this card.  Email me if you have any questions.

$4,500 is a lot of cheddar.  So is my property tax bill.  I paid it with the card at the City’s Website.  Normally, I would NOT suggest using a credit card to pay these taxes

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Get Paid $13,400 For A Baby


Like Kramer & Jerry, a lot of folks don’t really know what a write-off is.  It’s a tax deduction, but a lot of folks think it is a tax credit.  The difference is HUGE.  A tax credit lowers the amount you owe in taxes, dollar for dollar.  That’s pretty sweet.  A tax deduction is basically a discount equal to your tax bracket.

If you are in the 25% tax bracket, and you spend $1,000 on something that you can write-off your income taxes as a tax deduction, you will save $250 in taxes.  But a $1,000 tax credit chops $1,000 off what you owe in taxes, no matter which bracket.

So where do I gets me some of them tax credits?

–   Adopt at $13,400 a pop!
–   Buy a Chevy Volt and get $7,500.
–   If you’ve been fixin’ to get a propeller on a stick, go solar or geothermal, get 30% of the cost.

Maybe that’s why Brangelina adopted so many babies.  It was a profit deal!  The tax credit for adoption starts to phase out when your modified adjusted gross income is $201,010, and it is completely gone at

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Glacier Girl2sm



glacier-girl2smOur taxes pay for cool things like roads, schools, and research papers like “Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research”

Nope, that was not in The Onion, it’s right here in the January 10, 2016 journal Progress in Human Geography.

This is the fruit of a $412,930 grant to researchers at The University of Oregon.  To be fair, GAWKER points out that this money, granted in 2013, covered the author Mark Carey’s other work on glaciers as well. Money well spent.

Spoiler Alert:  Here are some tidbits from “Section VII Conclusions”:

Ice is not just ice. The dominant way Western societies understand it through the science of glaciology is not a neutral representation of nature. The feminist glaciology framework draws attention to those who dominate and frame the production of glaciological knowledge, the gendered discourses of science and knowledge, and the ways in which colonial, military, and geopolitical domination co-constitute glaciological knowledge. Even in a globalized age where the place of women and indigenous people has improved markedly in some parts of the world, masculinist discourses continue to dominate, in subtle and determinative ways. Feminist glaciology advocates for a shift of preoccupations in research, policy, and public perceptions from the physical and seemingly natural, to a broader consideration of ‘cryoscapes’, the human, and the insights and potentials of alternative ice narratives and folk glaciologies.

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Here’s Where You Can Shove Your Tax Refund


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.

Right now,  EverBank’s Yield Pledge Money Market Account pays 1.60% guaranteed for six months on balances up to $150,000 for first time account holders. I’ve taken advantage of this.  It’s FDIC & legit.  That’s the best rate out there by far!

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


Stupid Tax Tip #1


CletusAccording to my mailbox, it’s tax time.  “The Running of the 1099s”, if you will.  I got a note from Discover Bank Savings saying that I was not going to get a 1099.  That’s right.  They sent me something saying they weren’t going to send me something.  I betcha if they do something that isn’t on their “To Do” list, they go back, write it on the list, then cross it off.

Why no 1099?  Although Discover Bank’s Savings pays a pretty nice rate of .95%, I had my dough elsewhere in 2015.

I didn’t earn $10 in interest at Discover.  That is the cut-off point.  Banks don’t have to send you a 1099 if you made less than a sawbuck.

Stupid Tax Tip #1: Open 1,000 accounts. Put $100 in each. Don’t report interest (…but you should report it).

Artwork: LeeRobert (I added the “$” icing – pretty sweet, huh?)


Is This A Smart Way To Pay Uncle Sam & The Governor?


TaxPayment3LogosBetterTax Day is less than six weeks away.  Some will get refunded a portion of the free loan that they gave the government.  Others will be scrambling at the 11th hour to come up with cash to pay The Man, man.

Whatever your situation, making your payment(s) via three IRS Approved websites can be very profitable! Yes, make money paying your taxes.

Pay1040, OfficialPayments and PayUSATax allow you to pay personal and business taxes by credit or debit card.  All three accept Federal tax payments. OfficialPayments accepts State as well as Fed. You might think paying the fee to do this is a waste of money vs. writing a check. Pay1040 charges the least to use a credit card (1.87%). For every $1,000 paid in taxes, they take another $18.70 scoop in convenience fees.

But… here are 5 Ways using a credit card can be a GOOD (and profitable) idea:

  1. Paying taxes this way is not a cash advance.  So if you are tapped out, but know you are going to have money to cover it later, you could slap it on a card that has a 0% introductory interest rate up to 23 months.  Then pay the card off when you have the cash. Consider Capital One VentureOne Rewards (23 months – until 2/2017), Citi Simplicity (21 months), Chase Slate (15 months), Chase Freedom (15 months), American Express Blue Cash Everyday (15 months), Citi Thank You (12 months), Discover it (12 months), and Chase Ink Cash Business (12 months).
    >>> Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date info on these cards.  Email me any questions. <<<
  2. If you have a credit card that pays you 2% cash back (Citi DoubleCash & Capital One Spark Business), you’d actually profit $1.30 per $1,000 paid.
  3. Using a card might be worth it for the convenience and knowing the payment got there.  The IRS considers it paid when you charge the payment.
  4. You can make partial payments on more than one card.  This is handy in case you have different airline, hotel and rewards cards.  This way you could top off those accounts to get to the next level for a free flights, hotel stays, and what-have-you. Delta, American and United will give new cardmembers 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on their respective card in the first 3 months. You could get rack up some nice bonus mileage for an $18.70 fee!
  5. You can pay someone else’s taxes with your card.  Maybe you need to meet a big spending requirement to get a sweet, tax-free credit card bonus.  Some of my personal favorites: Chase Sapphire, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus come to mind.  With those cards, it would be worth paying someone’s taxes + the convenience fee.  They write you a check for what they owed the IRS.  You eat the $18.70 convenience fee per $1,000 in tax.

Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on these cards and more.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

If your brain is firing with possibilities, here’s a nice scenario.  Right now (3/7/16) with

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New Year’s To Do List #6 – Update Your Snatch File


SnatchLiftingSMThe final thing on my annual To Do list is to make sure my “Snatch File” is up to date.  There may be a time when you need to snatch your important papers and make a quick getaway.  Maybe your home is on fire.  Maybe your spouse surprised you with a restraining order.  Or maybe The Man has finally tracked you down, you one-armed bastage!  Whatever the case – Are you ready to snatch & skedaddle ASAP?

Ever think about what you’d grab in a fire?  In my case, I’d grab my photo albums, my computer, and my cats Mr. Tibbers and Mimi Fah-Foo of Charmaine.  Okay, I don’t have cats.  But if I did, that’s what they’d be called.  Oh, and I’d grab my snatch file.

A snatch file serves another purpose as well.  It can inform your loved ones where all your stuff is in case you can’t.  This is very handy especially if you are a geezer who is circling the drain.  Let’s not forget that people of all ages get into accidents and never come home.  If you die tomorrow, what chance does your family have to figure out your stuff?

I hear some of you out there, “What do I care about all that stuff?  I’ll be dead!”  Well, maybe you prepaid for your funeral arrangements.  Who is going to know that?  Maybe you have union, pension or other benefits that you want to pass along to your family.  Maybe you had an account no one knew about.  Why send them on a scavenger hunt when they may not know exactly what it is they are looking for or when to stop looking?

You can have a physical file with all your stuff in it, but this is 2016.  I suggest having a digital snatch file.  Gather all your important info, scan and/or snap photos of documents

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Marriott80KOffer Cropped

Marriott’s 80,000 Point Offer!!



For a limited time, you’ll get 80,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months your credit card is open.  That’s enough points for two nights in Marriott’s swankiest – or two weeks in their skankiest!  The points are worth roughly $700!  My real-life experience is below, but first…

You get an extra 7,500 points if you add an authorized user while applying for the card.  That alone will get you enough points for a free night in a Category 1 hotel.  So add a family member when applying.

Redeem your Marriott Rewards points for 4 nights – Get the 5th night free.  See their Redemption Grid below.

Don’t need a hotel?  Marriott Rewards points can also be turned into frequent flyer miles on these 40+ airlines.

If you’d like to grab this offer while it’s still around, click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then “Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn…”.  You will be taken to a site where it will be the 3rd card down.  If you apply and get approved by using my links, you get the same deal but I get a taste from the bank for referring you.  Email me if you have any questions.

If wisely spending $3,000 sounds like a daunting task, check out my post: 11 Ways To Meet A Spending Requirement

Rewards Points Avoid Paying Hotel Tax

If you redeem points for hotel stays, you do not pay tax.  That saved me $50/night in San Francisco over Thanksgiving!  If you pay for a hotel with cash/credit/pelts, you must pay tax on top of the hotel rate.  Here are screenshots showing the same 40,000 point hotel room would have run me $347.78.

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