Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Samsung Bluetooth Headset - $0.99 after Mail in Rebate (Good through Dec 31st)

The headset is $20.99 and it becomes $0.99 after the $20 mail in rebate.

Update - Price has now been changed to $29.99 so it will now cost $9.99 after the rebate.

You can buy 3 per household but each rebate must be mailed in separately.  Rebate must be postmarked within 30 days of purchase

Here is the link for the Headset

Here is the link for the rebate

Free Hershey's Chocolate Bar at Thorton's

All you have to do is like them on Facebook and then you can print out a coupon for a free Hershey's chocolate bar.

Free Malax Laxative Sample from Target

Kind of random but it's free.  Here is the link

Friday, November 25, 2011

Missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday Electronics? No Problem According to decide.com

Decide.com uses computer algorithms to decide whether the price on electronics will continue to go down or if it is a good time now to buy.

According to the NY Timesdecide.com predicts that the best time to get good quality electronics is the beginning of December, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

So, if you still want electronics, put your wish in their website and see whether it is the right time to buy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Free $2 in MP3 Credit from Amazon

Here is the link.

Use coupon code studybrk

It expires November 28th so you need to use it soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Perk Street Financial Review- 2% Debit Card but Only for 3 Months

Updated 11/24/2011:

PerkStreet Financial 2% cash back debit card

If you read a lot of finance articles online, you are bound to see an ad from PerkStreet Financial.  They have appeared on this blog many times.  This is what it looks like:

Here is a Review of the Perkstreet Financial 2% cash back debit card:


1) 2% back on everything -
         - Beware, 2% only lasts for 3 months.  Then you go down to 1%
         - Update - You can still get 2% back if you keep a balance of $5,000Thank you for the comment, this makes the deal far more attractive.

2) 5% on rotating categories
         - The categories for November are movie theaters, local bakeries, netflix, hulu and Blockbuster


1)  There is a $4.50 monthly inactivity fee If you don't use your account that month, you will be charged.  If you use the card or cash a check, etc. you won't be charged.

2) 1% is a standard rate you can get with almost any card, but if you keep a $5,000 balance, it will stay at 2%.
     - It is a debit card so you need to pay from this account.  So you will need to keep significantly more than $5,000 in that account.
     - You aren't getting interest on any money in there.  You could be getting as much as 1.30% interest on that money so you have to deduct the 1.30% from any money saved.

3) The 5% rotating categories aren't as cyclicly relevant as Discover's and Chase 

4) Debit cards do not help build your credit history, only credit cards do that.

5) This only works when you hit the "credit" button as you swipe.  If you have to put in a pin, you aren't getting your 2%.  

The bottom line, should I get this card?

Get it, if you will use it every month and you can maintain a $5,000 balance (you probably will need a lot more than that in the account) and you aren't doing anything with that money anyway.  If you don't want to have to think about it, I understand. 

I don't personally think it is worth it.  You could be doing a lot of good with the money that needs to sit in that account.  Go for the 2% Fidelity American Express Credit Card instead

I would also check out these cards for times when you can get more than 2%.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dove - Free Sample

I am a sucker for free stuff, even when I don't need it.

Click Here for a Free Sample:


Trading Stocks

Lowest Fees

Just 2 Trade - $2.50 a trade.  I've never used it so I can't tell you anything about it.

Optionshouse.com - $3.95 a trade.  Probably as good as you will find.  Difficult to use and navigate but if all you want to do is trade, they can save you a lot of money.  Plus you get a bonus for signing up!  Also, if you move your brokerage account to them from someone else they will cover up to $100 of the transfer fee your old brokerage house will charge.  Most other brokerage houses will give you some sort of bonus as well.

Zecco - $4.95 a trade.  A little less difficult to use than optionshouse but still not great.

Scottrade - $7 a trade.  Never used it.

Charles Schwab - $8.95 a trade.  Very simple navigation.  In addition, you can get their ATM card and never pay an ATM fee again.  They will reimburse you no matter how high the fee is and no matter how many times you use it.

If you have a whole bunch of money that you don't mind sitting around in a low interest savings account ($25,000 or more), you should use Merrill Lynch.  They will give you 30 free trades a month if you have $25,000 in a Bank of America non-investment account or a $25,000 cash balance in your investment account.

One thing to keep in mind with the smaller brokerage companies:  Many do not participate in DRIPs (Dividend ReInvestment Program) the way the larger brokerage companies.  For instance, let's say you have 5 shares of a company that is $200 a share ($1,000) and it is paying a 2% quarterly dividend and you have signed up for the DRIP program.  If this is invested with Charles Schwab, you will get $20 reinvested back into the stock for free and you will end up with 5.1 shares after one quarter.  If it is invested with optionshouse, however, they will not reinvest the money unless it is equal to a full share.  In our example you would end up with 5 shares and $20 dollars after one quarter.

Best Checking Accounts

Charles Schwab Checking Account


1)  No ATM fees - You never have to think about planning your ATM runs.  Schwab has almost no ATMs so they refund any ATM fees you may incur at other ATMs.  It doesn't matter how close you are to a Schwab branch or how many ATM withdrawals you have a month.

2) You can get some interest on the money in the checking account, albeit a very small percentage (0.2%).

3) Unlimited Checks for free.

4)  If you have a smart phone, you can take a picture of your checks and deposit them electronically.

5) No fees, no minimums for the checking account (there is a minimum for Schwab Brokerage account - keep reading).


1)  You have no physical bank to go to.  If you have a problem you have to go online or call them up.  I personally think this is an advantage.  You can just mail all your deposits (or email them with a smartphone).  I have never had a problem that I couldn't solve quickly over the phone.

2)  Their savings account is not as competitive as Discover bank (1.1%).

3) You need a Schwab Brokerage Account which has a $1,000 minimum.  If you are someone who ends up paying ATM fees, this is a no brainer. I read online that they wave the $1,000 minimum if you have the checking account.  I don't know if this is true but it is worth a try.

My Recommendation:

Open both a Schwab Checking account and a Discover savings account.  Keep enough money in the checking account for any emergencies and any left over money keep in the Discover account so that you can take advantage of the higher rate.  You can transfer the money electronically between the two of them but it may take a few business days so you have to make sure there is enough in your Schwab for any possible expenses.

Consumers Credit Union

Update: rewards checking seems to be a thing of the past :(

Consumers Credit Union is offering one of the best rates available on their Rewards Checking.  They are currently offering 4.09% on their rewards checking on up to balancing of up to $10,000.  Also, if you qualify for the great rate they will also refund any ATM fees

There are some drawbacks:  Read all the rules on this page before you apply for it.

1)  You need to use your debit card 12 times a month (works like a credit card - you don't need to use a pin).  If you pay for most of your bills with a credit card this is usually very possible to do.  The problem is that you can't use your regular credit card for those purchases so won't get your regular rewards but even if you are normally getting 2% back, this is still a better deal unless you are spending $20,000 a year or more on your credit card.

2) You need to have direct deposit into that account.  If you can't have direct deposit, you can still have automatic bill pay from the account every month or make an online transfer once a month and that will qualify.

3) You need to log on to their online banking once a month.

4) You need to enroll in e-statements.

5) It costs $5 to join (comes with a savings Account)- not a big deal if you are getting a good rate.

6) Not FDIC Insured because it is a credit union.  Instead they are insured by National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund which is also backed up by the US government so it is the same thing as FDIC insurance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Savings Account with 1.3% Interest Rate!

UFB direct is offering a savings account for 1.3% on up to $25,000 that is available for anyone to open.


1) 1.3% interest - hard to beat.


1) More difficult to get to your money without ATM fees -
Here is a way around it but it is annoying.  Don't put in any money you need for the next 2 months.  You can transfer money back and forth electronically between your regular bank and this one.  Before you need money, transfer it back to your regular bank and withdraw your money for free the way you do now.

Thank you http://www.bankaholic.com/massachusetts-savings-deal-earn-1-77/ for the tip

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Best Credit Cards for the Holidays Shopping

Disclaimer - The Discover offers are no longer valid.

Here are my favorite credit cards, in order, for the specific type of shopping people usuallydo during the holidays:

1) Citi Dividend - 5% on every major category of spending for the holidays.  Department Stores (like Macy's), clothing stores, toy stores and electronics.
            - Keep in mind that you can only get $300 of rewards a year
            - You also get $200 back after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

2)  Discover it™- 5% back on restaurants, department stores and clothing stores for this quarter.
            - You only get 5% on $300 of spending in these categories
            - Turn your 5% into 6.25% back with gift cards

3) Chase Freedom - 5% at restaurants, department stores, movie theaters and charities (not clothing stores) for this quarter.
            - You can get 5% on up to $1,500 of purchases
            - $100 sign up offer when you spend $500 in the first 3 months.

4) Target Red Card - 5% off target all year round, not just the holidays, and free shipping.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

American Express Small Business Saturday - $25 Off Any Small Business American Express Purchase on 11/26

American Express is offering a $25 credit when you spend $25 or more at anmy small business on November 26th.

All you need to do is register you Amex card with them.  When you like them on facebook you can put in your zip code and they will give you a list of small businesses in your area by category.  Usually, any store that isn't a chain store will qualify but you want to check with their list to make sure you will get your $25 credit.  Restaurants that aren't chains are an easy way to not spend too much over $25 but still get your credit.

You can also donate that money to certain charities.  My niece and nephew's school in Washington Heights (Breurer's) is accepting donations

Keep in mind that this worked last year with every amex card you own.  Even if they are the same card in your spouse's name with the same number, you should register both.

Thank you AH for the tip.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Miles/Points vs. Cash back - Which one is better?

Cash back - For the majority of people and the majority of situations, I personally believe that you are better off with cash back than with miles or points.

Here is why:

1) With Miles, you get less money back -

If you have the right credit cards, you will almost always get a higher percentage back with a cash back credit card for standard purchases.  With cash back credit cards, you are able to get at least 2% back on every purchase and sometimes up to 6.25% back in certain categories (look for the Discover card).

When it comes to miles cards, if you do the math you usually will get 1% back or maybe 1.25% back.  You will be very hard pressed to find anything close to 2% without an annual fee.  Here is an example from one random website.  They have one card (Capital One) that gives 2 miles per dollar but it has an $59 annual fee, the rest pretty much give you one mile per dollar spent.

2) With Miles, you have to spend your money on specific items (for most cards)

When you get miles or points, you are usually required to buy plane tickets, book hotels or buy ipods with the rewards you have built up.  Why box yourself in for a lower percentage?  You could take the 2% back you get from your 2% Fidelity card and use that money for the same flight but it will end up costing you less!  If you get cash back, you can spend your money on what you really want/need to and you are not forced to do anything.

How many times have you heard stories of people who built up thousands of miles with no real way to use them for years!

Two good reasons to like miles cards

1) I like the feeling of free stuff

I can't argue with emotions.  Some people really like the feeling that they aren't paying for their flights or anything else they get from their rewards.

Here is my suggestion for you.  Take the money you get from your rewards credit card and put it in a separate account.  Let it build up until you have enough to buy the airplane ticket.  You will get the same ticket, but you will get there faster.

Some will say, "but then I won't spend the money on it."  My response: If you aren't spending the money on the items because you can't afford to or you don't think the item is really worth the money, so then why would you box yourself in with your credit card. Get a rewards card and use your money for groceries instead of vacations.  If you can afford the vacations but you just want to have the feeling of it being free, please continue using your rewards card in good health and enjoy your vacations.

2) If you are a very frequent traveler, there are a few great miles cards

I hope to be able to highlight some of these cards in the near future.  Some cards will give you free nights, others will give you free upgrades and others will allow extra luggage for you. which can save a lot of money.  Stay tuned!

As always, if anyone has any credit card that they like, please leave a comment with the card and I will try to look into it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Redbox Coupon Codes That Always Work

I don't rent movies that frequently, but I can't remember the last time I paid for a movie rental from Redbox.  They are lots of promo codes online and each code works once for every credit card you own, even when you connect the cards to the same email address.  This is one of the advantages of having too many credit cards ;)

The following codes were at every location:
REDBOX - This one is for new costumers only.  I checked a few sites and it seems that this code might not be working anymore.

Like them on Facebook and get a free rental.

Redbox Machines at Specific Locations only:
DVDATWAG - Walgreens

If any of these codes don't work for you, please let me know in the comments.

You can also google "redbox promo codes" to get updated codes as they come out.  Often, they will have codes that will only work one day or will give you discount.