Would 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, now through December 31st you get 5% cash back at Amazon.com, Zappos and these Department stores. January 1- March 31st, it is grocery stores, Starbucks, and movie theatres.
To get the bonus, you need to meet the $500 spending requirement in the first three months your account is open. That might be pretty easy to do by just paying your phone, internet and cable bills. $500 in three months is an average of only $5.55 per day. Like I said, it’s pretty easy to achieve.
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.
Oh, it’s on. As of now, you can register your American Express credit cardsssssss (that’s the super-plural) for Small Business Saturday. Do it at ShopSmall.com. You can get $30 in statement credits per card. Read my post $240 for Hooters and Me for more info and how I do it – quickly.
This is a great win-win. Basically, Amex is buying you stuff at small businesses on November 29th. If you don’t have an Amex card but want in on some of this hot, free-money action, you still have time.
Which Cards Work?
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card
- Amex EveryDay Credit Card
- Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card
- Platinum Card® from American Express
- Premier Rewards Gold Card
- TrueEarnings® Card from Costco
UFB Direct has made a big leap in interest rates on your cash. To get the 1.25%, you have to have at least $25,000 in the account. If you don’t have $25K, you will only earn .2%. In that case, you’d be better off leaving it at Capital One 360 Savings where you get .75% on every penny.
If you have $25K, click here for more info on the UFB Direct Savings account.
Years ago, UFB Direct had some of the highest interest rates like they do now. But then other whipper-snappers beat them out and I moved my dough elsewhere. This is one reason I leave a buck in old bank accounts and sign in online now and then to keep my account from going dormant. Of course, my Quicken signs in for me every time I tell it to update all of my accounts.
American Express’ VERY GENEROUS Small Business Saturday promotion is back on November 29th. This year, they have juiced the prize! You can get up to three $10 statement credits per registered card.
I really like this promotion because it is a win-win for small businesses and consumers. Basically, Amex is buying you something at your local businesses.
Get all the nitty-gritty here. In a nutshell, you must register your Amex card(s) at ShopSmall.com as soon as November 16. Then spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location on Saturday, November 29, 2014. Do that three times per card for three $10 credits.
If you don’t have time to shop the Mom & Pops
Do what I do. Walk into your favorite participating restaurant that has gift cards. Have them charge each of your registered Amex cards three times for $10 per transaction. Total up the transactions and have them throw it on one gift card for future use.
You give business to the businesses – AND YOU GET FREE STUFF. It’s a win-win!
Double, Triple… Gazillionize the Promotion
Authorized users on your account can register for the promotion as well. Amex makes it easy to add a card member to your account. Sign in to your Amex account online, click
It’s Election Day, unless you are going to cancel out my vote in which case it is next Tuesday. Liberal, Conservative and an all shades in between – I don’t know anyone who willingly pays more taxes than they owe (although you can here). With the goal of paying lower taxes, many of my showbiz friends form S-corporations for themselves. But should you?
Last week, a couple Chip’s Money Tips subscribers asked me that very question. Unlike Harry Truman, I passed the buck to my accountant Ernest Hicks. He is an Enrolled Agent. If you have any questions about what he wrote, please click here to email Ernest. Take it away, Ernie!
We just had our first November rain in Los Angeles. That means it’s time for my annual post about turning off your sprinklers. Woo-Hoo!! That’s right. “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle” also applies to money tips.
The reason you should do that is really SEXY: Saving on your Sewer Service Charge (SSC). Hubba-hubba. My most recent bill’s SSC was only $15.46. It had been TEN TIMES as high – as much as $155.55 until I wised up.
I will tell you the answer first, because the explanation could put you in REM 3. If you have automatic sprinklers and you live in an area that charges you a sewer usage charge based upon water you use – you might wanna shut them off until spring time. I live in the warm and sunny, drought-riddled Los Angeles “Valley”. I turn off my lawn sprinklers between the first rain in November until March-April.
To be clear, the savings I just mentioned was not money I banked from bill to bill by cutting back on the water itself, that I used to soak my lawn. That was additional savings in the “Water” portion of the bill. I’m talking about a separate part of the bill under “Sanitation Charges” called the Sewer Service Charge. See below.
I started doing this a few years ago and my lawn, in full sun, has not suffered a bit. Individual results may vary. Void where prohibited without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball.
Serve your environmentalist side with your “green” stance on water conservation while currying favor with your inner capitalist by keeping “green” in your wallet.
American Airlines just announced that in the second quarter of 2015, US Airways Dividend Miles will become American Airlines AAdvantage Miles.
If you’d like to pick up 40,000 US Airways Dividend Miles that will magically become American AAdvantage miles in Q2 of 2015, click here to apply for the card.
All you have to do is make one purchase and 40,000 miles are yours! There is also an $89 annual fee. Heck, get yourself some Wacky Packages, a bunch of bananas, ANYTHING and you’ll meet the spending requirement. This is a cheap and easy way to get a slew of miles. You should apply before the offer goes away.
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Have you seen the Geico ad in which Kenny Rogers is playing poker while singing “You Gotta Know When To Hold ‘em”? Mi amigo Wayne is the guy who tells The Gambler “I get the gist, yeah.” See the funny ad below.
Wayne and I were talking the other day about whether or not it would be a smart idea to take early retirement from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) pension.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar conundrum at your place of employment. I will use the SAG pension as an example. Hopefully, some of the decisions we face will be similar to yours.
SAG would pay out 100% of what is waiting for us if we don’t take it until we’re 65. We could take it as early as 55, but we’d only get 70% of what we’d get at age 65. That is because for every month we take it early, the benefit is reduced .25%.
My initial reaction was that the bean counters who pore over the actuarial tables are not going to make it more attractive to pay out money early. But after running the numbers, and conferring with two accountants and three financial planners, it looks like early retirement might be a good move. There are some factors to consider.
In A Nutshell
I realize that lots of folks want a quick answer. Suffice it to say, if I were 55 and never
A couple friends of mine are very committed to conserving utilities. We joke that in the eyes of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, they live on a vacant lot with a leak.
I was truly shocked to see how low their bill is. In the dead of summer, they spent 82 cents/day on electricity and 17 cents/day on water. No solar panels, no windmills – just plain old conservation.
They averaged 5 kilowatts of electricity per day. The guys on Apollo 13 didn’t squeeze the electricity this hard. How do they achieve this? They run a power cord from the back of their neighbor’s garage to their house. Buuuuuut seriously…
They use so little water that they did not qualify for the LADWP residential grass removal rebate program – which pays you to get rid of your lawn!
I have seen them typing on their computers in winter with fingertips cut out of gloves like street urchins. Oh I chuckle, but these guttersnipes laugh all the way to the bank. No word if they have ever heated up a big rock and put it in their bed like Pa did for Laura Ingalls.
Check out their most recent bill from mid-July thru mid-September when it was really hot in LA. Over half of their bill is
My bromance with my Chase Ink Plus has never been stronger. For a limited time, they boosted their sign-up bonus… to 70,000 points!! That is worth $700 in TAX-FREE cash. You could also redeem the points for $875 in travel booked through their travel search engine. See why I am smitten?
Why should you get this one? It’s Rock-tober people. It’s only a handful of weeks until Christmas, Hannukah and Festivus. That means you could probably use some extra cash. And… here’s how you can actually get $700 tax free!