Chip Christmas Tree Hat

Year-End To-Do List


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Chip - Christmas tree hatIt’s crunch time.  We’ve got about 36 hours to take care of a few things before 2015 turns into a pumpkin.

Refill Prescriptions & Exhaust Health Savings Accounts

If you have already met your deductible for prescriptions, you might wanna reload your meds.  If you have a Health Savings Account that needs to be used or losed by tomorrow night – use it or lose it!  Remember, rhyming is more important than proper grammar.

Donations

If you want to write off your donation in 2015, get on it!  For a refresher on different ideas, check out my posts Sweet Charity (Giving Tuesday)Ol’ Tax Dodge Donation Double-Dip and Tax CREDIT: 55% of Your Donation.

10% Bonus on Freedom… And Maybe $5 More via Amazon

If you have a Chase Freedom card and have already activated your card for the bonus categories this quarter, remember that they doubled the cash back to 10% for purchases at Amazon, Zappos, Audible.com and Diapers.com.

A few weeks ago, used my Freedom card to reload my Amazon Gift Card Balance with $1,000.  The 10% cash back bonus from Freedom was $100 in my pocket.  To see how to reload an Amazon balance, click here and scroll to #7.

I get cash back on the Freedom card in the quarterly bonus categories (Amazon, etc.) on purchases up to $1,500.  Today, I decided to reload another $500 in Amazon gift cards.  That will be an extra $50 cash back to me.  When I signed in to Amazon, I saw a targeted offer of an extra $5 per $100 or more Reload.  I clicked where I was supposed to, reloaded $500 more, and got a bonus $5 on top.

Not everyone will get Amazon’s “Reload $100, Get $5 for Free!” offer.  It has nothing to do with the Chase Freedom cash back offer.  I got both, so at the end of the day, my $500 reload got me $30 cash back.

Uber – Free Ride

UberGlassThere’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is a such a thing as a free ride – via Uber.  With all the Christmas and New Year’s parties, there may be times when you should leave your car and grab a cab.

Grabacab is also the name of my favorite Genesis song.

If you sign up for Uber by clicking on my link which contains the promo code “uberChipCheese”, you’ll get $15 off your first Uber ride, and I’ll get $15 off my next ride too.

Happy New Year!
amazon reload

Uber Review (and Free Ride Link)

UberGlassWith all the Christmas and New Year’s parties, there may be times when you should leave your car and grab a cab.

Grabacab is also the name of my favorite Genesis song.

You might wanna give Uber a whirl.  If you haven’t heard of Uber, it is an easy to use car service that is comparably priced to a cab.  Heck, that’s what it is even if you have heard of Uber.  It’s pretty simple.  Request a car from the app on your phone.  The closest one will pick you up in minutes.  You can even track them on the app.

(Updated 12/30/15)  If you sign up for Uber by clicking on my link which contains the promo code “uberChipCheese”, you’ll get $15 off your first Uber ride, and I’ll get $15 off my next ride too.

Once you are ready to try Uber, open the app, and choose which type of ride you want: UberX, Black Car or SUV.  You can also get a Fare Quote right there to help you make a decision.

Here are some actual Uber estimates that I got versus a taxi cab.

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Naughty List: Sprint & Verizon


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Lily-Tomlin-Ernestine2The FCC fined Sprint & Verizon millions for “cramming” unauthorized charges to your bill.  These charges appeared as something as vague as “monthly fee” to specific text charges for flirting tips, horoscopes or sports scores.

You have until the end of the year to file for your refund from Sprint (here) and/or Verizon (here).

Restaurant Dinner Movie Smaller

2 Movie Tickets + $100 eGift cards for $30


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restaurant_dinner_movie-smallerThere’s a pretty sweet deal happening through Sunday at Restaurant.com. Click here to get two movie tickets (worth up to $12 each) + $100 worth of Restaurant.com eGift cards for only $30.

The gift cards come in denominations of $5 to $50 to any Restaurant.com participating joint. See your choices online. You can split up this offer’s $100 into many restaurants. Usually, you have to spend twice as much at the restaurant as your eGift card denomination. So if you use a $10 eGift card and expect a minimum purchase of $20. You can see each restaurant’s requirement at Restaurant.com.

If you are new to Restaurant.com, you can read about my past experiences here.

See participating movie theatres here.

I just did this deal.  Since the movie tickets are worth a total of $24, I am paying $6 to get $100 in gift cards. Enjoy my screenshots:

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Play AutoSlash’s Reindeer Games


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Why walk from the airport, over the river and through the woods for MeeMaw’s roast beast? If you need some wheels, check out the free AutoSlash rental car search engine.  What makes them different from a site like Expedia, is that AutoSlash tracks your rental rate and rebooks you if the price drops – then sends you an email with the details.

FYI: Some of the big rental cars companies got their seat belts all in a bunch when AutoSlash rolled into town. They pulled AutoSlash’s access. So if there are no available cars for your needs at AutoSlash, book one elsewhere like at Expedia. Then go back to AutoSlash and plugged in your new reservation under “Track a rental you’ve booked elsewhere”.

I’ve done this and even been put in a car at from one of the places that didn’t like AutoSlash’s reindeer games. A few days later, I got an email from AutoSlash that my four day Christmas week rental was slashed $42.21 – from $138.61 to $96.40.

AutoSlash is one of my first videos.  Check it out:

Rotary Dial Tone Phone Circle 200

Up to $130 Refund of Phone Tax


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Rotary-Dial-Tone-Phone-circle-200Here’s another great reason to live in Los Angeles.  Sometimes the city keeps collecting a tax when they shouldn’t have.  Sometimes a citizen notices and gets a Class Action lawsuit settlement.

You are eligible to submit a claim if you paid the Los Angeles Telephone Utility Users Tax at any time from October 19, 2005 to March 15, 2008.

You may claim the following standard refund amounts by completing the claim form (here) by February 20, 2016.  No additional documentation is required to claim these amounts:

  • $50 – Mobile Telephone Service (not including prepaid mobile service)
  • $30 – Residential Landline Service
  • $50 – Business Landline Service

You can read more about it here and here.  You must submit a claim (here) by February 20, 2016 in order to be eligible to receive a payment.

Kudos to Clark for the heads-up on this!

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Giving Tuesday Logo

Sweet Charity (Giving Tuesday)


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We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Lazy Sunday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.

Being charitable is a good thing – especially if it will get the guy next to the red kettle to stop testing your eardrums with his bell.

Some people “tithe” – which is giving 10% of one’s income. It’s like God is their agent and that is his commission. I can hear Him now, “I put you in America, how about a little something for the effort? Thank you. Me Bless.”

We hit the lottery just by being born in the good ole US of A.  Everything else is gravy.  Still, some folks here have legitimate needs.

It’s great to do things for charities. If you were looking for ways to be able to give more to charities, I have a few suggestions that have worked for me.

  1. I have a savings account at my bank that I call my “Donation Fund”. Every month I have an automatic transfer from my checking to that fund. If your bank won’t give you a free interest bearing account, set one up at Capital One 360 Savings (.75%).  That pays interest, has no minimums and no monthly fees. It’s amazing how fast those funds will grow!
  2. Now that I have my Donation Fund, when I get a request to Save The Tatas, Bike
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$3 for $25 Restaurant Certificates


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restaurantsdotcomREDEveryone eats, right?  Here is a perfect stocking stuffer / Hanukah gift idea.  Today (Cyber Monday) and tomorrow (Regular Ole Tuesday), you can buy a $25 restaurant gift certificate for $3.  Code “CYBER”.

I’m a late-adopter of Restaurant.com because it sounded too good to be true. Then I received gift certificates as a “Thank you” from a friend. Even though the gift certificate said that alcohol was not included, when I called to make a reservation, the restaurant said alcohol could be included.  Make sure you inquire, boozy.

Several months ago, I picked up three certificates. I decided not to use two of them. Both were credited back to my Restaurant.com account as two $25 credits. I can use those credits to buy a combination of $10, $15, or $25 gift certificates to ANY Restaurants.com restaurant.

So, buy certificates now at the $3 special offer.  Enjoy the restaurants you chose, or use that work-around to go to different places that they offer.

You can search by zip code or city. Certificates do not expire, but this $3 deal does tomorrow night.  Click to get some now!

FYI: The $3 price will show up at checkout after you apply the code “CYBER”.  Here is a screenshot of my purchase a few months back when the deal was $4 each:

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Gift Card Granny

Before Festivus Shopping…


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gift-card-grannyBefore you buy hundreds of dollars of stuff for Christmas / Hanukhah / Festivus, consider this.  Buy gift cards to those stores at a significant discount (10-20% less is common).  Use the gift card(s) to make your purchase.  Doing this has saved me $793.58 so far in 2015.

Here’s the deal. Sites sell discounted gift cards that are:
Physical (card mailed to you)
Electronic or eGift (online use only)
Mobile (show on your phone in store)
Voucher or Printable Electronic (Emailed. Print out to use in store or online)

Choose which you want when making your purchase.  I prefer Voucher or Printable Electronic whenever available because I can use them in store or online.

Do This Now

Get registered with these sites now.  This will get your discounted gift cards delivered in minutes, sometimes instantly.  Not being registered can delay delivery.

Use these links to register and you will get $5 off your first purchase at Raise, Cardpool, and Gyft.

Otherwise, sign up by clicking these links: Cardpool, GiftCardRescue, Gyft, MonsterGiftCard, Raise, and SaveYa.  I have used them all.  No problems.

Gift Card Granny

Once you are registered with various sites, go here: GiftCardGranny.com.  This is an

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ChaseFeeedom10Per 250

Extra 10% Cash Back with Freedom


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ChaseFeeedom10Per-250Last week I told you about Chase Freedom’s increased sign up bonus. You’ll get $150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months the card is open. Plus $25 if you add an authorized user. That’s a grand total of $175! Never annual fee. 1% cash back on every purchase. 5% cashback on purchases in categories that change every quarter.  No brainer!

Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website.  Once on that page, click Cash Back.  It’s the 5th card down.  Email me if you have any questions.

Hot New Offer!

You know those 5% cash back categories I mentioned?  Chase has decided to double it to 10% starting today through December 31st.  This is for combined purchases up to $1,500 at Amazon, Zappos, Audible.com and Diapers.com.

If you have already been using your Freedom card at those stores and getting 5% cash back since October 1st, Chase is resetting your quarterly bonus maximum amount starting today.  Their fine print FAQs say:

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