House Money

The Upside to “Upside-Down”


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When you owe more on something than it’s worth, you are “upside-down”.   If your home is worth less today than when you bought it – there is a silver lining to your upside-downitude.

Get the Tax Man to reassess your property’s value and thereby lower your tax bill.

My buddy JT had his home’s value reviewed.  The Assessor came back with an even lower value than what JT hoped.  He saved over $1,000 in property taxes.  That is after-tax money.  In his case, that was more like what is left after paying taxes on income of $1,500.

I dunno what goes on in your parts, but here is information about the appeal process in Los Angeles, where property owners are allowed to appeal their value between July 2 – Nov. 30.

Contact your local assessor and turn those lemons into a half full glass of lemonade!

AOL Canv Drips

3,360 Reasons To Check Statement


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g&c_AOL_psychI wrote about automatic recurring withdrawals from a bank account in “Are you a Miniature Donkey Talk subscriber?”.

The person who hired me to do a Debt Strategy Session got a one year magazine subscription as a joke for a friend.  But the joke kept on giving, and braying, because the giver had the subscription auto-renew from his bank account.  It was years before he checked his bank statement and found the auto-withdrawal.

Wasting hundreds of dollars is vexing. But I have a new entry atop the Leader Board. One of you guys sent me this email:

“My wife just realized she has been paying AOL for a dormant internet account she never cancelled at her place when we got married. $3,360 bucks over 7 years. Her mom warned me she doesn’t pay attention to her money. That’s a vacation in Spain.“

She paid her balance every month, but it took her 7 years to glance down the page to see the $39.99 charge from America Online. Uhhh… please check your statements.

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Maslow Needs + Wants

R U Like My Former Stupid Tenant?


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Maslow Needs + Wants Bubble2Here’s today’s pearl of wisdom for the mouth-breathers among us: If you can’t afford rent, you can’t afford a housekeeper.

If you struggle to make rent, why do you pay a maid $300 a month? You should get a butler, too. You can’t afford him either!

If Maslow were alive today, idiots would beseech him to amend his Hierarchy of Needs. “Abe, of course food, clothing and shelter are awesome – but what I REALLY NEED is an iPhone, Internet, Cable TV and a Maid!”

My former stupid tenant had all those – except the rent. So, he got to move back in with his mommy and daddy and mooch off them.

Are YOU doing something that is creating angst in your financial world? Do you have your own maid/butler money-suck? Do you shell out for things that you simply cannot afford? People often confuse needs with wants. Here are some of my posts that can

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Capital One 360’s “Sale” (= $ for U)


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YukonCorneliusRevYou guys always wanna know when someone is giving away free money. Well, here you go! Capital One 360 is giving away a lot of cash. Period. You must open your account(s) online by Thursday night, July 3rd at 11:59pm Eastern.

I think the 360 Checking is the easiest $100 you can make. The 360 Savings$76 ain’t too shabby either.

This is a no-brainer because the promotional bonuses are usually $50 and $25 respectively. I keep most of my liquid cash in my Capital One 360 Checking account because it is one of the best rates around. This is legit & FDIC insured.

Open these accounts and you will have $$$ to blow at a shmancy steak joint. Okay, sushi. I’m staying out of it. As Yukon Cornelius would say, “You eat what you like. I’ll eat what I like.”

You have only four days to open your accounts, so… open your account(s) now!  You can always blow it off and not get the free money later.

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This Buffoon’s Family Vacation


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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


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DisneyWorldDoplhin

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.”

starwood_sign

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?


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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


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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


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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 Restaurant.com 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 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 Restaurant.com 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.

Bills

Paying A Guy To Fondle Your Bills


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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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