William Wallace Braveheart Sm

A Pretty Quick $57


william_wallace_braveheart-smFreedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was my William Wallace impression.  Your thoughts?

The Freedom card from Chase can get you a pretty quick $57 in tax free cash.  As you may know from reading this post, this quarter’s 5% category for Chase Freedom includes grocery stores.  If that card is not your #1 go-to card, get the card out of your sock drawer and pop over to your grocery store’s gift card kiosk.  Grab three Visa or MasterCard gift cards and head to the check out.  Tell the cashier you want to put $500 on each gift card.  She may think she misheard you or that you are a crazy person.  Yeah, crazy like a fox who is about to have enough extra cash to graze on some organic, free-range chickens!  Pay for the gift cards with your Chase Freedom card.

Just like that, you have maxed out the 5% quarterly spending on your Freedom card.  The $1,500 grocery store purchase will result in 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points hitting your account when your statement drops.  Those points can be redeemed for $75 cash, a statement credit on your Chase Freedom bill,  or merged into another Ultimate Rewards card tally that you may have on another card (like Sapphire or Ink cards).

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Debit Card

The Debit Card I Use For 2 Things


debit_card(UPDATE: May 1, 2015 – UFB discontinued the Premiere CashBack Checking account for New Customers.  Those who have it already will be grandfathered in.  If you already have any UFBDirect account, contact them to see if you can get it.)

As a rule, I don’t use a debit card because it gives direct access to my bank account.  If someone stole my debit card info, they could access my cash.  A credit card puts a firewall between hoodlums and my money.

I make an exception with the UFB Direct debit card because it gives me 1% cash back on whatever I PAY my credit card company.  That means I will earn several hundred dollars a year paying off my credit card bill with this debit card instead of a check.  I only use this debit card to pay off my credit card bill and one other thing.

Here’s the scoop.  UFB Direct has a special VIP, double-secret, pinky-swear offer.  If

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Payusatax Logo

No Money To Pay Taxes? This May Help…


When I graduated from college, I got a job and spent every penny I had.  Hey, those skis weren’t going to take themselves down that hill.  Someone had to buy them, along with a plane ticket, lodging, and lift ticket to get them down the slopes.  That person was me.

When tax time came, I wished I had that thousand bucks to pay The Man, man.  Turns out the IRS doesn’t care about my Rossignol Make-A-Wish outreach program.  The Taxman wants to get paid – now.  Lemme tell ya.  Nothing makes you feel all grows’d up like explaining to your folks that their college graduate was actually stupid and then striking a deal with them to bail you out.

If you think you may be a little short, the IRS Approved website payUSAtax.com MAY be a good option for you. Maybe.

PayUSATax allows you to “Pay personal and business taxes by credit or debit card”. There is a convenience fee of 1.87% if you use a credit card and $2.79 if you use a debit card. Generally speaking, both of those options are a waste of money. For every $1,000 paid in taxes with a credit card, they take another $18.70 scoop in convenience fees.

But… here are 5 Ways using a card can be a GOOD idea:

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Teddy Roosevelt

Presidents’ Day & Turbo Tax


teddy-rooseveltHappy Presidents’ Day!  I’m dressing up as Teddy Roosevelt.  Who are you going to be?  Before I head out to all the parties, I’m gathering my tax info to shoot to my accountant.  That’s right.  I’m a chicken.  I’m yella.  I have a lot of plates spinning, so I have always used an accountant for my taxes.  Boy, do I know how to splurge.

Some of you have a much simpler situation and can do it all yourself.  Teddy Roosevelt would admire your rugged individualism.  He’s also an easy costume: mustache, round glasses and crazy teeth.

Here are links to download: Turbo Tax (USA) & Turbo Tax (Canada).

I Think I Love You Card2

Keith Partridge: “I Think I Owe You!”


I Think I Love You card2David Cassidy filed for bankruptcy.  According to the LA Times article, he has about $10 million in assets and about the same in debt – including $39K in credit cards, $292K in mortgage and $131K in attorney, medical and other bills.

I feel for the guy.  When I’m 64, I Think I Owe You certainly ain’t the song I wanna be singing.  Too on the nose?  How ‘bout: I Woke Up In Debt This Morning, or one of the deeper cuts, Point Me In The Direction of a Bankruptcy.  Those are the titles, Weird Al.  Go nuts!

Let’s get past the fact that I know lyrics to Partridge Family songs and get to the important stuff.  Whatever your profession, the rule is very simple:  Spend less than you bring in.  Set some aside to splurge.  Save some for when you’re no longer in demand.

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Xoom Logo Cropped

Xoom – Not Just For Drug Mules


Are you a drug mule who needs to send money to the Kingpin, ASAP?  Do you owe your Coyote some scratch for hitching a ride in the glove box of his ‘72 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon?  Or are you going to visit a friend in a foreign land and simply want some cash to play with once you are there?  I say Xoom it, baby!!

You could wire funds to accounts in other countries, but as those who have done it know, that’s kinda pricey.  Wells Fargo said that an international wire is $45 plus an exchange rate.

Xoom works just like a wire transfer, but costs as little as $4.99 and has locked-in exchange rates.  Check out the sending limits.  You can send $2,999 – $9,999 per day, to 33 countries.  Click here to open a free account.


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50% Off Quicken (Thru Monday)


Now thru Monday, February 9th, Quicken is 50% off.  That’s on Quicken 2015 for Mac or any PC version starting with Deluxe.  There is a 60 day money back guarantee.  I’ve use it for years.

If you are serious about getting your finances in order, and want tax time to go smoothly, you should start here.  If you already use Quicken, upgrade at these lower prices.  It’s easy to use and simplifies your finances.  Use it for two months.  If you no likie, they’ll give you your money back.  Click THIS link to get 50% off through Monday.

See my review of Quicken 2014 here.  Quicken 2015 is pretty much the same except the PC versions give you a free FICO credit score from Equifax.  For convenience, here is that post “I Feel Like Quicken Tonight (2014)”:

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Fat Guy Airplane

It’s Southwest Companion Pass + 50,000 BONUS Time!


SouthwestTailIf you EVER fly Southwest, listen up. For you aficionados and muchachos, there’s something HUGE in the second half of this post that can save you thousands!

From time to time Southwest offers a sweet 50,000 Bonus if you get their credit card and spend $2,000 on it in the first 3 months you have the card. Now is one of those times. You’ll wanna move this up your To-Do list.

Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers for info on these cards. Email me if you have any questions.

Those of you who fly Southwest know that 50,000 points can go a heckuvalot further than couple free round trip tickets.  The deal gets sweeter when you throw in a free companion on every flight for almost two years.

To illustrate, I punched in a few trial runs on the most coveted days – on a Friday and

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The Handy-Dandy Target Prepaid REDcard


TargetBullseyeIt used to be only tax cheats, illegal aliens, and regular aliens didn’t have bank accounts. Now that banks are making it more difficult to have free accounts, people are looking for less expensive alternatives. Oh, you can fund it with a credit card.

Do you pay a monthly fee to have a bank account?  Even something as meager as $10 a month is $120 a year, $600 over 5 years, and so on, and so on.  That’s real money.  That’s money you had left after paying taxes.  It adds up!

Before you choose to pay for a bank account, consider Target’s Prepaid REDcard.  It’s not a credit card, but it is from American Express.  It’s not unlike Bluebird or Serve from American Express.  In fact, AmEx only allows you to have one of those three accounts.

You can load money onto your REDcard via cash or a credit card at a U.S. Target store, as well as by direct deposit or a linked bank account.  There is no minimum

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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 2015.  I suggest having a digital snatch file.  Gather all your important info, scan and/or snap photos of documents

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