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!!
The reason you do that is really SEXY: Saving on your Sewer Service Charge (SSC). Hubba-hubba. My most recent bill’s SSC was $24.99. I had paid 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. I live in the warm and sunny Los Angeles “Valley”. I shut off my lawn sprinklers between the first rain in November until March-April.
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!
Here’s an opportunity for some free money. You’ll get $200 tax free if you get the new Chase Freedom card, and spend $500 on it in the first 3 months that you have it. If you aren’t an ultra-maroon or filthy rich, you might wanna check it out.
$500 is only $167/month x 3. Use the card to pay for your phone bill, internet, TV, gasoline, groceries, banjo lessons – whatever! Checkout my post on Amazon Payments to see how you can use the card to pay someone (maybe your landlord) money you owe. Then pay off the card with the cash that you were going to use to pay for your stuff in the first place.
No catch. The Chase Freedom card is the Visa that I carry in my wallet. I got this card years ago when they last had the $200 offer. Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on this card and more. Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.
It never has an annual fee. It pays 1% cash back on all purchases. It pays 5% cash back on various categories that change every quarter. For example, from October 1st – December 31st, it pays 5% cash back on purchases at Amazon.com and these select department stores.
Again, this $200 is tax free, so it’s more like what you have left after paying taxes on $300 – $400 earned at your job – depending upon which tax bracket you are in.
If you and your significant other get the card, well, you’ll be able to afford roast beast and taters this Christmas!
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I’ve been using Quicken for years. If you wanna dip your Fred Flintstone sized big toe in the Quicken pool, I think the Quicken Starter Edition will do just fine. Right now it is only $29.99 ($10 off). That link has a better price than what I found at Amazon. It comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. You might give it a whirl for a couple months. They even have a Quicken Essentials for Mac.
One of the greatest things about Quicken is that with one click, it will go out to all of your financial accounts and bring in all of your new transactions. It goes to your checking, savings, CDs, credit cards, stock, retirement and brokerage accounts – and scrapes in the new info. You can see your empire in one place!
It makes tax time quick and painless – especially if you itemize deductions.
Another great feature is that Quicken 2014 comes with a free Quicken App that syncs your desktop and your iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. Now you will know exactly where your finances stand, even if you are out of town. No need to check into several bank websites. It’s all in the free Quicken app. I whipped up a li’l Chip’s Money Tips example of a Quicken account for you screenshot lovers:
Are you a coffee-achiever like Mrs. Olsen? If those nouns sound like gibberish to you, congratulations on being under 40. I’m talking about the bean, man!
This week only – CardCash is offering Starbucks gift cards at over 17% off. Click here. Then click the BUY button at top left and search “Starbucks”. It’s already 14% off, but click “Edit My Cart” to type in coupon code 4MOREOFF to fill the discount to the rim for an additional 4% off the discounted price. That comes to roughly 17.44% off. Remember: Stay away from that last drop!
”Crash & Bernstein” is a TV show on Disney XD, in which I play Hank Urkhart: Coach – Science teacher. How’s that for a hyphenate? My purview is jock straps and Bunsen burners. Never the twain shall meet.
Between scenes, I was talking to the writing team who wrote the episode in which my character first appeared. Then another hyphenate, the head writer – executive producer, ambled over. He told the writing team, “You guys get another $500 this week, because Chip’s here.” It turns out there is something in the Writers’ Guild called a “character payment”. If you wrote the episode in which a character debuts, you get extra cash every episode in which that character reappears. This was my 5th time on the show. The guys get paid that extra bump even when they don’t write the episodes I’m in. Pretty sweet!
This conversation was a perfect storm for me: Comedy, Performing and Money. More specifically, Passive Income, which is income received on a regular basis with little or no effort required to maintain it. These guys worked hard coming up with Coach Urkhart, but they didn’t have to do anything else to keep getting paid for it. Even if they never worked another minute on the show, they’d still get a check in the mail every time my character came back. Nice!
Passive income was in the air that day. When I got home from the set, I was greeted with some mailbox money, a residual check from 3rd Rock From The Sun (the very first sitcom I ever did). That’s also where I had my first on-screen kiss. Unfortunately, that was with John Lithgow.
I worked two days on that episode over 16 years ago! The check was only $55, but still… it was $55! And all I had to do was reach into my mailbox.
When it comes to money, little amounts can become big amounts. Over the years, the total passive income I have received from that episode of 3rd Rock is six times what I was paid for those two days of work in 1997.
I hear ya. “Well that’s nice, ChipsMoneyTips, but I’m not a TV writer or actor. How can I get passive income?”
The first step is to squirrel away a little somethin’ somethin’ in
Do you have a rubber band around a stack of gift cards that you’d like to turn into cash? As I wrote about in In “Mr. Bojangles & The Plastic Jungle”, there are sites like CardCash and Raise that will buy your gift cards. You won’t get face value, but you’ll get back most of what’s on the card. CardCash says they pay up to 92%. Not too shabby.
These sites also sell gift cards at a discount. For example, Baja Fresh is 15% off at CardCash. Christmas is only six weeks away. Hello stocking stuffers.
Do you have any Visa or Amex gift cards? Maybe you’d rather pay your rent or mortgage with that money instead of blowing it on something you don’t need. You can load Visa, MasterCard or American Express gift cards at AmazonPayments.com. Then send the money on that card to a friend’s AmazonPayments account and have them give that cash to you. You can read more in my “Amazon Payments’ WebPay” post.
UPDATE 10/24: They sent an email this morning, slashing another $16.69, making my 3-day rate $40.68. The 90 seconds it took me to enter my info at AutoSlash has saved me $52.93 total so far!
Some of the big rental cars companies got their seat belts all in a bunch when AutoSlash rolled into town. The AutoSlash rental car search engine is one of my first loves. It’s different from Expedia or Orbitz, in that AutoSlash tracks your rental rate and rebooks you if they can find you a lower price. When that happens, they send you an email with the details. Pretty sweet.
Despite some of the big rental car companies not playing ball, I have had success booking a rental with those big companies using AutoSlash. I simply make a reservation elsewhere, then plug my rental info into AutoSlash where it says “Track a rental you’ve booked elsewhere”.
For an upcoming three-day rental, my buddy let me use his corporate code (‘cuz we are gonna conduct some high-level bidness). I didn’t think AutoSlash could find me a better deal than a corporate rate. So far, my rental has been slashed $36.24- from $93.61 to $57.37. And… they booked me into one of the forbidden rental car companies. Here’s my 2010 AutoSlash video:
A lot of my readers are comedians who sell merch on their websites – be it T-shirts, CDs, or downloads of their podcasts.
In my May post “This is for Podcasters, Comedians, Actors and… Everyone!!” I detailed how ANYONE could “make a lot of money selling something that won’t cost your customers anything” on Small Business Saturday. The only change is that the 2013 promotion gives a $10 statement credit when you spend $10 or more in a transaction, not the previous years’ $25 and $25.
In a nutshell, get yourself approved as an American Express merchant (see below). Tell your fan base to register their American Express cards for Small Business Saturday here, when enrollment begins on November 24th. Once registered, they will be able to receive ONE statement credit per registered card.
Let your fan base know that you will be selling Product X for $10 on November 30th. If they call or email you their American Express card info, and you process it on November 30th, they will get a $10 statement credit per registered card for patronizing your small business on that day. So, they got something for nothing.
To get the $10 statement credit on their registered Amex card, they must spend at least $10 in one transaction. Two $5 transactions will not work, but one of at least $10 will trigger the $10 statement credit. Authorized user cards can also register for the promotion. See more about that in “Make $100s Shopping Small”.
Small Business Saturday is meant for stand-alone brick and mortar businesses. But as Kay Clay at American Express Product Solutions Group has advised me, there are a couple ways that you can participate as an online small business.
Ms. Clay is happy to help you with this. USA & Canada can reach her at 800.528.0682, option 7, ext.55205 or via email. Kay wrote:
“You can feel safe advising your audience to first establish an American Express merchant account by calling 800-445-2639. It is free to set it up. We will need
Last year I picked up $300 worth of gift cards at my favorite restaurants at no cost to me.
It’s only five weeks until the 4th annual Small Business Saturday on November 30th. That is American Express’ SWEET promotion for consumers and small businesses where you get $10 statement credits when you spend $10 or more at a small business. Here are details.
This post is giving you the heads-up that you should call the number on the back of your American Express cards to get Authorized User cards for the adults in your home. Why? Authorized Users cards can also register for the $10 statement credits. As you can imagine, that could add up! More details in last year’s posts here and here. Keep in mind that last year it was a $25 credit when you spent $25, but it’s now $10 for $10.
If you don’t have an American Express card, here are my referral links to cards that
Scribbling an I.O.U. on a napkin may soon be a thing of the past. Options are running out for chronic cheapskates, welchers, and those who left their money in their other wallet.
Square Cash allows people to send and receive money just by sending an email. It is remarkably simple and free. Unlike PayPal, there is no logging in to websites to send or withdraw money. Just open up whatever thing you use to send an email. In the “To” space, put the email of the person to whom you wish to send money. Also “Cc” the email to email@example.com. In the “Subject”, type the amount you wish to send. See screen capture below.