Weird Trick Got Me 3% Cashback Paying My Taxes


topcashbackI hear putting “Weird Trick” in the subject of a post is a great way to get someone to read.  I can only imagine how “Barely Legal Weird Trick” would perform.  That said, this is legit and worth a gander.

Through this Sunday, March 16th, you can use your credit card to buy American Express gift cards when you do so by clicking through TopCashback.  Why the heck would you wanna do that?  Because TopCashback will give you 3% cashback on the Amex gift cards you buy through Sunday.

The cards arrive in a couple days and you can use them anywhere Amex is accepted.  Doing this is a great way to meet a spending requirement on credit card.  As I wrote about in “Is This a Smart Way To Pay Uncle Sam?“, you can use those gift cards to pay your taxes.

It’s a bit late to get a new credit card to take advantage of this offer, but you can chalk up some rewards on your existing card(s) doing this.

Here’s what happened when I clicked through TopCashback to buy an American Express gift card worth $3,000.

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“Phone Flipping” for $200, Alex


Alex TrebekSome people get a new smartphone more frequently than they change their smoke detector batteries. Sprint customers can upgrade their phone every 12 – 22 months at a discounted price.  Being eligible for a Sprint upgrade, I could buy a brand new iPhone 5s for $199.99.  I don’t need a new phone, but I bought it anyway – to sell it.  Yes, I’m dabbling in a little mo’ arbitrage.  The iPhone 5s goes for about $500 on Craigslist and eBay.

Pulling the trigger, I jumped on and used my upgrade offer to buy it.  Although I could have picked it up at a Sprint store, I had them ship it to me for free.  When it arrived, I snapped a few pix and posted it on eBay for a “Buy It Now” price of $497.  5 hours and 22 minutes later, it was sold!  I slapped an eBay mailing label on the box it came in and sent it on to its new owner in Missouri.

Besides my affinity for a deal, there was a bigger reason that I did this. I have an

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Payusatax Logo

Is This a Smart Way To Pay Uncle Sam?


Tax Day is less than six weeks away.  Some will get refunded a portion of the free loan that they gave the government.  Others will be scrambling at the 11th hour to come up with cash to pay The Man, man.  In both cases, the IRS Approved website 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 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:

  1. It is not a cash advance.  So if you are tapped out, but know you are going to have money to cover it later, you could slap it on a card that has a 0% introductory interest rate for 12-18 months.  Then pay the card off when you have the cash. 
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Carbonite Backup Plan Sm

What’s Your BackUp Plan?


carbonite_backup_plan_smMy agent instructed me to bring a passport to my audition for a spot that would shoot in Brazil.  At the casting office, I realized that my borderline OCD organization skills failed me.

I forgot it.  Then I realized I had scanned a copy of my passport into my computer at home.  Well played, borderline OCD!  So I whipped out my phone, clicked on my Carbonite app, and selected a file I cleverly called “Passport”.  Calamity avoided.

You can access any files you back up on Carbonite from any computer with internet access or smartphone.  That’s pretty handy.

Carbonite has a 15-Day Free Trial.  If you use this referral link to sign up, and decide to buy the service, you will get a $20 gift card.  You get unlimited backup to The Carbonite Cloud for only $5/month.  I just signed up for another 3 years.  I have over 500GB of photos, videos, music, spreadsheets and documents on Carbonite.

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CarMax Pie Eating Contest After Smaller

$1,800 Pit Stop


CarMax pie eating contest - after - smallerThe girlfriend got a new car last week.  The dealership offered her $2,200 for her 11 year old chariot.  Kelley Blue Book said it was worth $4,832 if sold to a private party.  She considered donating it for the tax write-off.

No doubt inspired by my tour-de-force performance as Pie Eating Contestant #4 in the CarMax “Slow Clap” spot from The Big Game, she pulled in to CarMax.

They gave her a firm offer of $4,000, in writing.  Their offer was good for a week.  That trip to CarMax was worth an extra $1,800 in her pocket!  Nice work.  See screenshots below.

By the way, when did saying “Super Bowl” turn into something verboten like uttering “MacBeth” in a theatre?

I don’t get anything for this, but you might actually want to check out CarMax if you are unloading your old car.  Tell them Blueberry Bart sent you.

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Sheckels In The Citi


ShekelBills2Yesterday’s post $252 Tax Free in Two Hours told you how you can get up to $300 tax free via drugstore purchases through March 31. 2014.  You can get that $300 by spending a grand total of $47.40.  That is exactly what I did last month.  It’s all legal and above board.  Here’s how it is done:

First you will need a Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card.  Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on this card and more.  If you don’t already have that card, right now, you will be able to pick up another $100 when you spend $500 on it in the first 90 days you have it.

Secondly, you will need a free Bluebird account which you can get by clicking here.

Once you have the Citi Dividend card, you must register for the 5% cash back categories.  Log in to your online account to do so.  Drugstores (including CVS) are in

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$252 Tax Free in Two Hours


252WyoHowdy Numbnuts! This is for folks who are watching their nickels, as well as deal-seekers. We have a pretty cool 7-week window of opportunity here for you to clear $252-$300 tax free. Plus $100 if this is new to you.

The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card (boy that’s a lot of ®s for a name) is a card that pays 5% cash back in categories that change quarterly. What separates this card from other 5% cash back cards, is that you are only limited to $300 cash back in the 5% categories per calendar year. The others are $75 per quarter.

I love to use my Citi Dividend card for opportunities like this. It has “Drugstores” as one of its 5% cash back categories through March 31, 2014. CVS is a drugstore. Heck, I could earn $300 cash back at CVS in one stop!

Of course, I don’t need $6,000 in bunion pads, wart remover and unmentionables – which I won’t mention. Alas, CVS is more than opiates and Whitman Samplers. Here’s how you can easily get $300 without actually buying $6K in stuff.

Before I forget, you can 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.

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Old Friends Simon And Garfunkel2

Things I Did To Make Easy Money in 2013


old-friends-Simon-and-Garfunkel2My old friend and CMT reader Lee suggested I do a post detailing all the booty I hauled in last year.  Here you go!

There are plenty of things that have nothing to do with credit cards.  I’ll get to those momentarily.  But… I got 14 new credit cards that gave me $2,273 cash back and 425,000 airline miles and hotel bonus points – all tax free!  I didn’t pay for a plane ticket all year.  I earmarked that cash back dough as “mad money” to make playing in the World Series of Poker not seem like frivolous idiocy.

My Strategy
I use cards because cash is handled by hobos, hookers and booger-eating morons.  Not only do I like the firewall that a credit card puts between merchants, thieves and my money – but I also like the perks.  I use a credit card to pay for everything possible, and then pay the card off in full with money I would have otherwise used to buy the stuff in the first place.

I usually only carry an American Express and a Visa in my wallet.  But sometimes, I use

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Cyber Panty Raid on Target


TargetBullseyeAs you probably have heard, a few weeks ago hoodlums pulled a cyber panty raid on Target’s database of customer information.  They gathered semi-public information (names, addresses, phone numbers and emails) on 70 million people.

In an effort to calm the hysteria, Target is offering a year of free credit monitoring at  I found out about this from an email sent to me from

Whoa!  Rule #1 of e-crimestoppers is to be suspicious of any weird looking URL in an email.  When I got the email, I figured it was some young-toughs out on a little cyber phishing expedition.  Maybe even the folks who stole the data from Target.  I deleted it.

Turns out the email was legit.  It was from Target’s email marketing company Big Foot Interactive.  You may have received previous Target emails from them if you are a regular shopper.

Still suspicious?  Go to and click on the “important notice: data incident involving certain guest information” near the top of the page to see for yourself.  It only takes a minute to sign up.  If someone tries to open a credit card or get a loan in your

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Amazon Prime Free 30 Day Trial



Amazon Prime is more than just free two-day shipping.  It’s also a desert topping.  Wait, that’s Shimmer.

Amazon Prime is kinda like NetFlix.  It streams 41,000 movies and TV shows to over 650 compatible devices and TVs.  As I wrote in 257 Channels and Nothing On, it may not be worth $1,000 a year to watch Honey Boo Boo and your Duck Dynasty via cable or satellite when these handy-dandy inexpensive program options are out there.

Only the primary Amazon Prime member can get the instant video streaming.  So if you piggy-backed onto someone else’s Amazon Prime account for free shipping (they allow up to four people to do that), you may have to give this free 30 day trial a whirl to see if you want your own account.  Amazon Prime also gives you access to 350,000 Kindle titles to borrow for free for you fancy pants, high fallutin’ intellectual types.

The free shipping is pretty handy at Christmas.  Instead of flying across the country with Legos and skillets, I buy stuff for my kin on Amazon and have them ship it free to my family back east.

Amazon Prime costs $79/year.  Click here for the free 30 day trial to help you decide if it’s for you.

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