New Year’s To Do List #5 – $300K Tax Exemption Deadline


HollywoodSignIs there something that you have to do every year?  Mine involves making sure I take advantage of this $300K tax loophole.

Hundreds of the “early adopters” of Chip’s Money Tips are show-folk.  You know the triple-threats and hyphenates of which I speak.  This is my annual shout-out to the buskers, minstrels and long-hairs; the thespians, scribes and head-honchos who live and/or work in Los Angeles.

This is a reminder that if you received money via 1099 (not W2 income), the City of Los Angeles wants a taste. You can have up to $300K in 1099 earnings and have all of that money avoid the tax via the Creative Artist Exemption. Here’s the catch: You have to sign up for it every year to get it every year. Otherwise, you owe this tax!! Some people choose to fly under the radar and hope not to get caught.  You have through February 29, 2016 to register.

Click here to read more about the $300K Creative Artist Exemption. Talk to your accountant and watch my video about it from a few years ago (below).  You actor types should also check out my posts on How I Found $3,200 MIA (Missing in Acting) and How to Move Money to Qualify for SAG Health Insurance.

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New Year’s To-Do #4 – YOLO


yolo_sparklers_sm“Yolo” is your credo.  Over the past two months, you shopped, merried and rang your credit card to its limit.  The card’s been swiped so much the stripe on the back is hot to the touch.

You’d like to pay off the card to avoid paying interest, but you’re out of cash.  YOLO!!!  Yes, I remember.  Please don’t shout.  You only live once – so why cramp your style digging yourself a hole paying 10, 15, 25% interest on your purchases?

If you are a YOLO dude or dudette, don’t start the New Year paying interest on a credit card.  That is soooo 2015.  You need a new card that allows you to transfer your current balance onto it.  You can save yourself hundreds to thousands, depending upon what kind of hot mess you Yolo’d yourself into.

Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then “0% Balance Transfer”.  Email me if you have any questions!  I greatly appreciate it if you apply by clicking on my links.

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New Year’s To Do List #3 – Don’t Go Dormant


inactive_account_smDo you have a bank account or credit card that you don’t use much, or at all anymore?  The banks may come to the conclusion that you have abandoned your accounts and will close them on you if you don’t play with them once in a while.

If you let your bank account go dormant, then you’ll have to chase down your money in banking’s Lost and Found Department aka the Unclaimed Funds I wrote about here.  If you let a credit card go dormant, you will hurt your credit score.

To avoid this, every January I do two things:

  1. I sign in to all my bank accounts online. I have found this keeps my visitation privileges. Why don’t I just close an account if I don’t use it much? Banks have promotions all the time offering a higher interest rate on new deposits. Since I already have the account open, it is just a matter of a couple clicks to start collecting a higher rate. A few months ago, UFB Direct did that exact thing.  I wrote about it here.  I moved my money and increased my interest 56%.
  2. I take my credit cards on a field trip to the gas station. I charge $2 on each card. A couple days later, I sign into each card’s account online and pay it off from my linked bank account. Why TWO BUCKS? Some of my cards are free versions of airline frequent flyer mile cards. They give me one mile for every two dollars I spend. Not only does this put activity on my cards, but it also refreshes my frequent flyer mile expiration dates. Pretty handy!

Instead of the gas station, you could go to the self-checkout at a grocery store and load up on Dinty Moore Mystery Meat Pot Pies.  Another option: stay in your PJs and

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New Year’s To Do List: #2 – Putting “FUN” in Unclaimed Funds


Back by popular demand is my New Years To-Do List. I’ll republish this six-part series on Throw Back Thursday. Here goes!   Please share this wherever you share things.

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

This year I found over $300 waiting for my sisters and brother-in-law.  But will they get it?  Well, they didn’t get it LAST YEAR WHEN I TOLD THEM ABOUT IT!!!  But when you think about it, who has time to fill out a form to get $300 when Game Of Thrones is on?

Because I track like a Navajo bloodhound, in previous years I came across something for my dad, a couple pension payments for my mom, and some dividend from some railroad thingy that was my grandfather’s. Give these free sites a whirl:

  • Unclaimed.org – State-by-state unclaimed property listings
  • MissingMoney.com – state and provincial
  • PBGC.gov – Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (U.S. Government Agency)
  • TreasuryDirect.gov – Treasury Hunt
  • USA.gov – A slew of various categories of unclaimed government money, from bank failures, unclaimed property, credit unions, benefits, pensions, HUD/FHA mortgage refunds and more.

I hope you find some gold in them thar hills!

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New Year’s To Do List: #1- AnnualCreditReport.com


Back by popular demand is my New Years To-Do List. I’ll republish this six-part series on Throw Back Thursday. Here goes!   Please share this wherever you share things.

chili-can-chicken - Final-smI kick off every New Year by grabbing a free credit report.  That explains my joie de vivre.

AnnualCreditReport.com is actually free, unlike FreeCreditReport.com which costs almost $200/year.  As I say in my video below, what’s next?  A Free Lexus for $30,000?  An ALL cotton shirt made of 100% polyester?  Vegetarian chili…with Chicken!??? It don’t make no sense.

Anywho, AnnualCreditReport.com is the result of 2003 federal legislation.  It gives you one completely free credit report annually from each of The Big 3 credit bureaus:  TransUnion, Experian, and EquiFax.  You can pull all three reports at once, or space ‘em out.  I pull one every few months to make sure everything’s kosher.

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Getting Money For Your Gift Cards


DiscountGiftCard-Compliation-VerticalThat gift card from your aunt has been sitting on your dresser for a few weeks now.  It’s to that restaurant you loved when you visited her in South Carolina as a kid. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that:

a) There isn’t a Bojangles’ Fried Chicken & Biscuits within 500 miles, and… b) You’re a vegan.

Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Well, you’re not stuck. There are sites that will give you cash for your gift cards, even partially used cards. These sites also sell gift cards at a discount. It’s a profit deal! As you know, that takes off all the pressure.

You will get less than face value, but at least you will get somethin’ somethin’. Make sure you get the most bang for your gift card buck.

Check out these sites and go with the best deal: Cardpool, GiftCardGrannyGiftCardRescue, MonsterGiftCard, Raise, and SaveYa.

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Why It’s Time To CANCEL NFL Sunday Ticket


nfl-sundayticket-cancel2You need to cancel NFL Sunday Ticket.  The fact that I am a Bengal fan has nothing to do with this.

If you have NFL Sunday ticket, even if you got it free this season, DirecTV will automatically charge you full price for it for next season in August.  To avoid this, you need to pick up the phone (1-888-DirecTV) and cancel it.  The rest of this season’s games are going to be on free TV.

If you paid for it this year and want to try to get it free next season, you can’t have it set to auto-charge your account.  So… call and cancel it.

Check out my post Get NFL Sunday Ticket for FREE in which I tell how I have gotten it free four years running.

A great philosopher once said, “Ape not kill ape.”  Sadly, Bengal kill Bengal.  “Who Dey Think Gonna Beat Dem Bengals?”  Well, that would be the Bengals themselves. Relive the carnage here.

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How To Transfer Your Credit Card Balance To A 0% Card


balance-transfer2One of the easiest things you can do to save money is NOT pay interest on your credit card.

Maybe you spent too much over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  Maybe you always carry a balance on your credit card.  Whatever your situation, let’s fix that now.  Today!

Here’s the scoop:  Credit card companies, er uh, banks want your business.  As a come on, some banks offer you 0% interest on the balance you transfer from your credit card over to their card.  This offer is cleverly called a “0% Balance Transfer Credit Card” promotion.

If you’d like to get one of these cards, click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website and then “0% Balance Transfer”. 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 about which card(s) might be right for your situation.

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A Little Trick When Buying on The Online


FORGET SOMETHINGIt’s the New Year and my printer was thirsting for some ink.  So I took a trip to Carrot Ink to slake its desires. (My new thesaurus is paying off gargantuanly.)

Their prices are cheap and the ink is good.  I loaded up my cart and then abandoned it at checkout. That’s not cool to do in the real world but completely acceptable in cyberspace.

I did this intentionally because sometimes leaving a full cart at a retailer online triggers a company’s marketing department to go full Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross into “Always Be Closing” mode.  Sure ‘nuff.  In the early evening, I got an email offering me 5% off my order.

Like a young lady playing hard to get, I ignored their message.  25 hours later, I got another offer.  This time for 10% off.

Naturally, I will ignore that to see if they come with something better.  If need be, I will nonchalantly post a photo on social media of myself wearing some over-the-knee boots.  If that doesn’t woo them to pony up more, I’ll take the 10% and run!

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