This Buffoon’s Family Vacation


1972FordLTD2smWhen I was a kid, we went on family vacations every summer.  We’d load up the Ford LTD Country Squire and hit the road!  This car was the inspiration for The Griswold’s Family Truckster station wagon in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

In that movie, they strapped Aunt Edna to the roof rack.  In real life, my mom put my infant sister at her feet in the front passenger seat.

My dad was able to trick the seal belt alert light, by pulling out the belt and then tucking it under some carpet to simulate it being used.  Why?  The prevailing response of the day was, “In case of an accident, I want to be thrown clear.”  What can I say?  It was a different time.

$3,500 Saved
This summer, my sister is flying her family out from Ohio to visit me in Los Angeles for their family vacation.  She and her husband are dropping the kids with me and shooting up to San Francisco for 5 days to celebrate their anniversary.  Then they will return to LA for a couple days before heading back to Ohio with my niece and nephew.

The really cool thing is that all their plane tickets and hotel stays are completely free

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Starwood Sign

Put a li’l Vasco in your da Gama



A trip across the country is now affordable – assuming free is in your price range. Here’s how to get flights and multiple nights in a swanky hotel for zip, zilch, nada.

You can pull this off with Starpoints.  To get a bunch of Starpoints, there are nice sign-up bonuses with Starwood Preferred Guest (personal and business) cards.

Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers 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.

This offer will give you 10,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and 15,000 bonus Starpoints for meeting the spending requirement within 6 months.  You get a point for every buck you spend.  Spending $5,000 within 6 months will give you 25,000 Starpoints. The fine print says “This offer is also not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.”


If you and your significant other, gal-pal or homeslice each get a card and meet the spending requirement – you’ll have enough Starpoints for two round trip flights and multiple hotel nights. I type from experience.  I’ve done it!  People living at the same address can combine their Starpoints. This is ideal if one is an organization freak and the other keeps misplacing his toothbrush. So, if a husband and wife got their own cards… do the math!

Starwood “Nights & Flights” is a fantastic use of your Starpoints for a

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Show Me The Money2

Is This Your Dough?


show-me-the-money2An old college buddy read my post “Putting FUN in Unclaimed Funds”.  He discovered $600 waiting for him in a small life insurance policy of his dad’s.  Each of his siblings also got $600, but his wealthy brother didn’t want to bother with his cut.  What the, what?!!  I suggested my pal offer to do all the paperwork and split it with his frère.  More on this story as it develops.

There are billions of dollars in unclaimed funds in the US.  Well, billions minus $59.  Last year, my annual perusal found $59 waiting for me from Home Depot.

As you may have gleaned from this site, I am an organization freak who occasionally dips his big toe in the pool of OCD.  This $59 was a surprise to me.  All I can figure is that I got a rebate from a rehab project of my rental properties and Home Depot didn’t know how to contact me.  To quote Lord Jerry Maguire Tennyson, “Ours is not to reason why. Show me the money!”

In previous years I came across something for my dad, a couple pension payments for my mom, and some dividend from some railroad thing that was my grandfather’s. Give these free sites a whirl:

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Uber GiveRidesGetRides+logo+30

Uber’s UBER $30 Deal


Uber - GiveRidesGetRides+logo+30+CMTUber has TRIPLED its sign up bonus.  If you click here to sign-up for Uber, you and I will each get 1 free ride worth up to $30.  This is for a limited time.  The usual sign-up bonus is a $10 credit.

As I said in my review of Uber, there may be times when you should leave your car and grab a cab.  Grabacab is also the name of my favorite Genesis song.  That’s GOLD!  C’mon, the Rolling Stones still roll out Satisfaction every show.

As I said, this offer will not last forever.  This is highest sign-up bonus for Uber that I have seen.  Sign up now and use the free ride later!

$25 Gift Certificates for $3 – TODAY ONLY


restaurantsdotcomREDEveryone eats, right?  TODAY ONLY – June 20th, you can buy a $25 restaurant gift certificate for ONLY $3.  Code “SUMMER”.

I was late to the party because it sounded too good to be true. Then I received $25 and $50 gift certificates from friends. The gift certificates said alcohol was not included.  When I called to make a reservation, the restaurant/bar said alcohol could be included – so ask.

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

So, buy any restaurant right now at the $3 special offer.  Enjoy the restaurants you chose, or use that work-around to go to a different place that they offer.

You can search by zip code or city.  Once you apply the code “SUMMER”, the gift certificate price will drop to only $3 each.  Certificates do not expire.  Click here to get one now!!  This deal ends Friday night when the coupon-hating Summer solstice gets all up in our business.


Paying A Guy To Fondle Your Bills


billsThere is a strange, yet popular phenomenon here in Hollywood.  People hire a business manager to pay their bills and handle other money matters.  The going rate is 5% of the person’s gross income.  Yes, gross income (before taxes), not net income (after taxes).  So, if you grossed $500,000, you’d pay $25,000 a year for this service.  Make $1 million, and you are paying $50,000 a year, and so on…

In return, you never deal with any of your bills.  I’ve had friends tell me that their business managers handled the purchases of their cars and homes.  They may even do your taxes and set up retirement accounts.  For that price, they should draw your nightly bath and tuck you in bed.

I’ll give you some examples of how my friends got hurt by this arrangement.  I’ll tell you how to do exactly what a business manager does – at a fraction of the cost.

I Was Drafted Into Service
Recently, a friend told me his business manager was giving him the boot because he wasn’t making enough to afford them.  They wanted to bill at least $1,500 per month.  At 5% of his gross, that meant he’d have to earn at least $360,000 a year.

So my friend asked me to be his bookkeeper.  I have done it for myself and family but I have never hung out my shingle.  I agreed to give my weird interest a whirl at an hourly rate, to see how we both liked the new situation.

What I discovered got me angry.  I got more fired-up about this than my friend did!

The Cost – First of all, no one was analyzing my friend’s bills.  The biz manager got the

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Get $225 By Spending $500


225 dollarsWould you spend $500 to get $225 tax-free cash back?  For a limited time – you can!  Chase just increased the sign-up bonus on their Freedom card from $100 to $200 cash back.  They also sweetened the pot with an extra $25 if you add an authorized user.  The card has 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.  See details below.

This is the Visa that I carry in my wallet.  It never has an annual fee.  You always get 1% cash back on everything.  You get 5% cash back on various categories that change every three months.  For example, through June you get 5% cash back at restaurants and Lowe’s.  Starting in July it is gas stations and Kohl’s.

To get the bonus, you need to meet the $500 spending requirement in the first three months your account is open.  That is pretty easy to do by just paying your phone, internet and cable bills.  Or achieve that in one fell swoop by sending $500 to a friend using Amazon Payments.  See more about how to do that here.

Remember, you don’t have to give a card to an authorized user.  You just have to give a name that gets printed on a card for the authorized user to use.  Maybe you get one for the President or First Lady.  It’s your call.

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Vinnie Barbarino

Gimme Drugs… Gimme Drugs…


If you are like me and Vinnie Barbarino, you are on drugs.  That could explain the whole Adele Dazeem thing.

I have health insurance through my employer, but sometimes I get a better deal on prescriptions from the drug manufacturer.

Long time readers will recall that I enjoy my deep fried cheese sticks with a Lipitor chaser.  As I wrote in “Lipitor Gone Rogue”, I can get that drug for $4 per month.

I also have seasonal allergies.  Before I got my inhaler this spring, I googled the drug name and “coupon”.  That saved me $15 per month.

If you don’t wanna save yourself some money, then… Up your nose with a rubber hose!!


$450 & $600 in Tax-Free Bonuses


drone1Do you wish you had some extra money so you can take a few days off, throw a little dinner party, or splurge on a remote controlled video drone.  After all, it’s almost swimsuit season.

Howsabout $450 & $600 tax-free?  That’s the equivalent of $600-$1,200 earned in your regular job before paying taxes.

Chump Change
Generally speaking, a lot of credit cards offer you something if you try them out.  Long before I became a credit card expert, I signed up for cards that got me a free baseball, a beach towel, a discount off my purchase at The GAP.  That is chump change.  When I was checking out at yesterday, I was offered $80 off my order if I signed up for their Visa Rewards card.  $80???  No bueno.

Best Bonus Bang For Your Buck
Right now, there are two cards that I suggest for collecting hard cold cash.  Both give you bonus points that you can redeem for cash (among other things), if you meet the spending requirement in the first three months of opening the card.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred (personal card):  Earn 40,000 Bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  You get an additional 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user’s name.  You do not have to give the authorized user a card.  It is just a name on a card.   No other info.

catcreditcard2Maybe you get one for Barack Obama or Miggy Cabrera.  Some people get a card for their cat Mr. Tibbers, but I don’t go that far.

When you get the card, and meet the spending requirement, you get the bonus points dumped into your account.  You can redeem them for travel, hotels, statement credit, or even get a check sent to you.  45,000 points = $450 cash.  Tax-Free money!

2. Chase Ink Plus (business card):  Earn 60,000 Bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  No authorized user bonus on this one.  60,000 bonus points = $600 tax-free!  This is an increase of 10,000 bonus points over the usual offer – for a limited time.

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UberX Is Hiring – Get $250 Bonus


RainMan2Are you looking for some extra cash?  Wanna set your own hours?  Are you an excellent driver?  If so, this could be for you, Rain Man.

Uber is looking for uberX drivers.  Those are folks who drive their own car.  If you click on this link to sign up, you will get an extra $250 after 20 trips.

As an uberX driver, you don’t have to invest in a chauffeur cap, stand in baggage claim holding a sign with someone’s name on it, invest in incense and beaded seat cover, or put a giant pink mustache on your car’s grill.  You just get in your car and take people where they wanna go.

Unfamiliar with Uber?  Read my post about it.  If you click on this link to sign up, you will get an extra $250 cash after you have completed 20 trips.  I will also get $250 in Uber credit.

Maybe I’ll use that to pay you to drive me around while we reenact scenes from Arthur.

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