Friday, May 31, 2013

Free Koren Talpiot Siddur

Update: Promotion has ended!

I'm not really sure why they are giving this away, but here is an offer for a free Koren Talpoit siddur which will arrive in 2-4 weeks.  You need to sign up for free Koren emails. 1 per custo.mer

You can always unsubscribe when your siddur comes.

Available while supplies last

Vanilla Reloads - Buy less than $500 - Be safe

Cashing out Vanilla Reload cards via a Bluebird prepaid card is the new cool kid in town.  You can effectively spend over $500 on a credit card while really only spending $4.  There is just about only one way to buy them and that is from CVS.  Also, most CVS's allow you to buy only 2 at a time.

What do you think it looks like to a credit card company when the following on a statement?

Vanilla reloads are so well known that I am sure Chase, Citibank, American Express etc. all know that $1007.90 is two $503.95 vanilla reloads.

Take a look at this Flyer Talk thread where Citibank has been closing people's accounts for "perk abuse."

At some point credit card companies are going to do something about this situation, sign up bonuses are too easy to hit with this tool.  They will likely look for CVS purchases of $1007.90 or above or near $503.95.

Do yourself a favor, don't put $500 on your vanilla reload.  You will still pay the $3.95 fee even if you only add $495 which makes it not as good of a deal, but it will be just as good for hitting spending thresholds and you probably won't get the scrutiny of credit card companies.  There are going to be many people who still put the full $500 on that you will probably go under the radar.  There will be enough people who will get their accounts closed that if you put $495, you might go right through the filter.  Nothing is fool proof so be vigilant and protect yourself when necessary.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Discover Card - 2% Cashback for June 2013 - Targeted?

Disclaimer - The Discover offers are no longer valid.

Discover it is offering 2% back on up to $500 of purchases in the month of June.  Not everyone is eligible so you will have to check your account and I will show you how.  If you don't specifically sign up, you won't get it.

If you don't automatically see it when you log in here is what to do:

  • Click on "Account Profile", which I've circled

  •  From there, go to "cashback options" and sign up

This is stackable with the 5% categories so you will get 7% cashback at home improvement stores instead of the regular 6%.

I consider Discover rewards to be worth 1.25x there stated value so 7% is worth 8.75% to me.

Start shopping at Home Depot from Shop Discover and you will get an additional 10% back for a total of 17% back! (10% for Shop Discover + 5% for home improvement store + 2% promotion)

According to the Frequent Miler laboratory, you won't get extra cashback for buying gift cards from Shop Discover, even though this will work through Lowe's.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ShopRunner - Free 1 Year Membership with American Express

Get your 1st year of ShopRunner membership free when you enroll with an American Express card.

Benefits of ShopRunner:

Even if you have an existing ShopRunner membership, you can enroll and 1 year will be added to your existing membership

Membership is $79/year after promotional period.

Expires May 14, 2014

Thank you MK - that's HT #3 for those keeping score at home.  Thanks as always for the tips

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

20% off - New Members Only

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s):  Top Cashback

Use coupon code GOSHOP and get 20% off diapers for new customers.  Maximum discount of $20

Use coupon code GONUTS and get 20% off almost anything else.  Maximum discount of $20

Use coupon code GOCrazy and get Free Shipping for 3 months with no minimum purchase.  Normally you need to spend $35 for free shipping

If you already have an account, you can always sign up your spouse for a new account and take advantage of these promos!

Please use referral code ORENSMS when you sign up to support the site!

Start your purchase from Top Cashback and get 5.5% back as well!

Don't have Top Cashback?  Sign up here for free.   They usually have the best cashback percentages although it take a little longer to get your money.

My family uses Target brand diapers which are just as effective and cheaper, but for anyone who doesn't want to do that, this is a pretty good deal.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lowe's Triple Dip - 15% Cashback

Disclaimer - The Discover offers are no longer valid.

About 10 days ago, I posted about saving 10% off Lowe's Purchases.  I want to confirm that it is possible to get 15% off every Lowe's purchase until the end of June using the Chase Freedom or Discover it cards!

I'm not going to repeat everything here, but here is the basic idea:

  • Buy physical gift cards at after starting your shopping at either the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal or the Shop Discover shopping portal.  Buy in increments that are less than you expect to spend.  For example, I am probably going to spend $400 at Lowe's when I move.  I will buy a $300 gift card and 4 $25 gift cards so that it isn't all on one card. 
    • Both cards have Lowe's among their 5% quarterly categories and both give another 5% for starting at their shopping portal for a total of 10%
      • It takes about a week for the gift cards to come for free or you could get them rushed for $4.95
      • Do not buy eGift cards as though are processed by a different company and won't come back as a Lowe's purchase
  • Once you have your gift card, go back to the shopping portal and pay with your gift card.  As long as what you are buying is slightly more than the balance of your gift cards, use the appropriate credit card to pay the rest of the balance, you will get the extra 5% on the entire balance, not just the portion you paid for with the credit card!

I bought something for $10, put $2 on gift cards, the rest on my Chase Freedom and I got 50 points, not 40 points!

If you are moving, like me, make sure to sign up for a 10% moving coupon on up to $5,000 in purchases.

If you want to see similar experiments, check out the Frequent Miler Labs where he tests many theories to see what does and what doesn't work.  The one I posted about today, I have tried and confirmed myself.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Random Free Stuff

Free Gevalia Coffee - You need to make a eCard and share it with someone.

Free 12 issues of Bloomberg Business Magazine 


$10 Playskool Busy Basics Walk N' Ride

Join Upromise! 

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s):  Upromise, Top Cashback and Ebates

The Walk N' Ride is normally $20 so it is half price now.  Free site to store shipping.

Start your shopping at Upromise and get an additional 5% cashback

I don't normally promote Upromise for a couple of reasons:

  • They usually don't have very good rates
  • You are saving for college for someone else so you probably won't see that money for a long time.
I've been on Upromise since 2008 and I've earned less than $16 with them.  All of that was probably in the first year when I didn't know any better.  Compare that to Top Cashback where I've earned over $100 since January. That being said, Upromise does have value for some purchases, like this one.

In our case, however, the next best shopping portal is at 1.5% and I've never even used that one (Savings Watch - 1 star rating at Cashbackholic).  If fact, my K9 internet filter (free internet filter) doesn't let me even get to their site because of spyware/malware suspicions so go there at your own risk.

If you really don't want to use Upromose, you can use Ebates, but you will only get 1% instead of 5%.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Discover'n All Its Beauty

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s): Top Cashback, Ebates, Discover it®

Sorry, I just couldn't help the bad pun.

I don't use my Discover it® card a lot, but it is one of my favorite secondary cards and I think it is one of the more underrated credit cards out there.  When I do use it, I get fantastic cashback percentages in small spurts and I'll show you how to do the same thing and you may find yourself using it even more frequently than I do.

Since the start of 2013, I have put only $148.66 on my Discover it®, but I have managed to get back $12.50, which is 8.4%!  Not too shabby!

Shop Discover

Shop Discover is one of the better shopping portals.  Whenever a merchant works with them, it is usually one of the highest cashback percentages.  Despite this, lately, I have found myself using Shop Discover less and using Top Cashback more.  Most of the time they will give the same percentage back and I would rather use my Fidelity American Express to pay and get 2% cashback in addition to whatever Top Cashback gives me instead of the 1% cashback from Discover.

There are times, however, where Shop Discover has the absolute best rates and this past month had two examples for me:

  • My wife has wanted me to get a new pair of sneakers for about 3 years now so I bought some New Balance sneakers from Sears that I had noticed on slickdeals for $40.  Top Cashback was offering 5% back from Sears, while Shop Discover was offering 10% back (It has since gone back to 5%)!

    • Parenthetically, this was a great deal.  They started at $40.  I was able to get $5 off by using any amount of Shop Your Way Rewards, which normally gives you the equivalent of 1% back.  After using my existing rewards the final price came down to $32.13 and I got 10% back from the original price before any rewards ($4 instead of $3.2).  I got my regular 1% back for using the Discover it and my final price became $27.80 after taxes, instead of $40 before taxes.  This is exactly 33% off.

Change from Discover More to Discover it®

Discover more is the old version of this card and it collected dust in my drawer until they changed to Discover it®.  The cashback went from 0.25% up to 1%, in line with other cards so even if you use it for non 5% categories or internet purchases, you still get your regular 1%.

I still basically only use Discover it® for 5% categories (Home Improvement until the end of June) or when Shop Discover gives the best cashback option.

Using Discover Rewards

Discover rewards are actually quite valuable when you use them for partner gift cards.  For many merchants, you can buy a $25 gift card for $20.  Personally, I almost exclusively use them for Bed Bath and Beyond Gift Certificates.  You can buy them for the price I already mentioned.  I have a Soda Stream seltzer machine and I refill the canisters at BB&B for $10 after a $5 off coupon.  It costs me just $8 of rewards to pay that $10 ($8 * 1.25 = $10)

When you redeem via this route you are getting an extra 25% more for your money.  Instead of 1% cashback, you get 1.25%.  Instead of 5%, you are getting 6.25%!  In my scenario, instead of 8.4%, I got 10.5%

Even though I spent $150, I was able to redeem $100 for cash and still get the same amount of rewards.  My cashback % moves to 12.5% and with the 25% bonus, that's actually 15.62% - Not too shabby at all!

Figuring Out The Best Shopping Portal

It is nearly impossible to always remember which shopping portal pays the best for each store and when to use Shop Discover, when to use Top Cashback and when to use Ebates.  Even if you could remember, they are constantly changing.  I use Cashbackholic (no a after cashback).  You can search for the store you want and compare the different payouts of various shopping portals.  They are constantly updating as well and I have found their numbers to be quite accurate.  

For example, this is what you would see under Staples:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Designs by Kassie


For everyone who has come to the site before yesterday, you will notice that there is a new design for the site!

The new site was designed by Designs by Kassie and I couldn't be happier with the results.  She is very talented, she is responsive through email and keeps working until the site looks exactly the way you want it.  Also, she has very reasonable prices, which is perfect for this blog's crowd ;)

I didn't have a great vision of how I wanted everything to look but she was able to come up with suggestions that worked for me and I think it came out looking very professionally.

If you are thinking about redesigning your own website, please think about using Kassie!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

$10 Itunes Gift Card When you Purchase $50 Itunes from Office Max

If you buy a $50 iTunes gift card at Office Max, you will get a $10 iTunes gift card free.  Valid through May 25th.

In store only

You can find this on page 1 of their circular

Use a Chase Ink Bold, Ink Cash or Ink Plus to get 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at office supply stores.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Google Wallet - Free Credit Card Spending

Update 6/8/13:  Google has introduced a 2.9% fee for anything $250 or above.  Less than $250 is still free one time with a credit card

Google Wallet has been rolling out a new feature that allows you to pay anyone with a gmail address for free.  For the time being, even paying with a credit card is free.

I don't know when the promotion will end, but until it does it is possible to "spend" money by giving it to friends and have them give it back to you.

As with anything else, common sense is very important.  They don't want abuse of the system so if you keep sending money from one person back to the same person they will catch one and, potentially, shut you down.  I don't know the repercussions and I don't know how much you would have to spend in order to be flagged.  Bottom line, don't be an idiot and you should be okay.

You need to be "invited."  One way to automatically be invited is if someone sends you a payment for any amount you will then be able to send payments to others.

If you would like to be invited, send me an email, and I will try to accomodate you with a payment of a couple cents. 

Shoprite - Buy $50 Gift Card $10 Gift Card Free

Buy $50 of Gift Cards at Shoprite between now and 5/25, you will get a $10 off your next order.

Promotion works for the following gift cards:

  • Best Buy
  • AMC
  • Aeropostale
  • Gap
  • Forever 21
  • Express
  • Spa Finder
  • Shell
  • Itunes
  • JC Penny

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Manufacturing Spending - Bluebird and Vanilla Reloads Made Simple

Buying Vanilla Reload prepaid cards and liquidating them with Bluebird is one of the best ways to manufacture spending.  The objective is to put a lot of spending on your credit card without having to pay for it and thereby pocketing the points.

The process takes time, but it can be a very good way of meeting spending thresholds for sign up bonuses on new credit cards.

I've gotten a lot of questions over the last few months from readers and friends related to how Bluebird works so I thought I would dedicate a post trying to simply the process.

This a diagram that shows how it works.  I will explain in detail but it all comes back to this picture:

Step 1 - Buying Vanilla Reload Cards at CVS

I've starting with a picture of the Fidelity American Express credit card because that is my card of choice for most transactions (2% back everywhere), but you can substitute with the card of your choice.

You can buy Vanilla Reload cards at CVS with a credit card.  Most other places will not allow you to use a credit card.  In Buffalo, where I currently live, Vanilla Reload cards are abundant.  My understanding is that in New York City they are much more difficult to find.

Vanilla Reload cards come in denominations of $20-$500 with a flat fee of $3.95 per transaction so the best deal is to buy $500 cards for a total cost of $503.95 per card.  You now have a $500 Vanilla Reload card.  Most CVS stores cap you at $1,000 a day.

Step 2 - Sign up for a Bluebird Account

Sign up for a Bluebird prepaid account.  It takes a week or so for the card to come so do this right away.  If you have a Serve account you will need to close the account as both accounts cannot be open at the same time.

Step 3 - Load $500 Into Your Bluebird Account

This is often where I lose people.  You have to use the Vanilla Reload system to add money to your Bluebird account and this is how.

Go to  The site should look like this:

There are two boxes, in the one called "card number" enter account number on the front of your Bluebird card like so.  I chose the number from the fake bluebird card in the first picture at the beginning of the post.

On the back of your vanilla reload card is a place to scratch off a 10 digit pin.  

Scratch that off to reveal the pin and add that to the second box at

Double check everything so you don't give $500 to someone else and click submit.  There is now $500 in your bluebird account.

Step 4 - Pay Your Credit Card Bill from Bluebird

Log in to your Bluebird account and click on "Pay Bills" in the top left corner.  You account should have a balance of $500 instead of $0.

The next window will ask you "Who do you need to pay?"  

For the Fidelity American Express you would type "FIA Card Services".  If you want to pay a regular Chase, American Express or Citibank card you would type "Chase", "American Express" or "Citibank", respectively.  When the correct company comes up click on them.

It will then ask for a nickname and account number.  I would put in Fidelity American Express for the nickname, but you can put in whatever you want.  For account number you should put in the account number on the front of your credit card.  In our example for the Fidelity American Express card, it woud look like the following:

Click on "save and pay now".  You will only need to enter this information once as it will be saved in your account.

From there you should be able to pay your credit card bill.  This will complete the circle.  It takes a few days for the payment to post to your original credit card and it will say something like "electronic payment - $500."

Bottom Line

In our scenario, with the Fidelity American Express, you get $10.08 of rewards and pay $3.95 for a net of $6.12 for each $500 you buy.  In my opinion, it isn't worth the effort just for the points, but everyone has their calculations.

On the other hand, this can be a great method of creating spending for sign up bonuses.  If you need to spend $5,000 in 3 months for a sign up bonus to get 50,000 miles, you can get your 50,000 miles for just $39.50 in fees and minimal effort.  You will still get your regular rewards so if you get one mile or cent per dollar, you will also get 5,039 miles or $50.39 to offset the $39.50 in fees.  Otherwise, sign up bonuses can be much harder to qualify for.  


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sports Team Shot Glasses $1.40 - Lids

Disclaimer: I do receive a referral commission for the following link(s):  Top Cashback

Shot glasses from various teams are now $1.40 for each one with free site to store shipping or $5 flat rate shipping.

Start your purchase from Top Cashback and get 15% back as well!

Don't have Top Cashback?  Sign up here for free.   They usually have the best cashback percentages (even better than Ebates) although it take a little longer to get your money.

In addition, here is a picture of available coupons from Top Cashback once you are at their site:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Free Sample Nescafe Taster's Choice Coffee

Free sample of Nescafe Taster's Choice instant Coffee

Includes 6 packs.  I am pretty sure that not every flavor is kosher.  The ones that are kosher will have kashrus symbols on them.

You can get one per person and two per household.

HT: Hey It's Free

10%+ Cashback at Lowe's with Discover it and Chase Freedom

Disclaimer - The Discover offers are no longer valid.

Update: 5/13/2013 - Here is my email confirmation from Chase stating I will get an additional 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points for buying a $200 Lowe's physical gift card online.  In addition, I will still get 1,000 points for spending $200 in Lowe's during Quarter 2

I am selling my home this spring so there have been a lot of trips to Lowe's this year and this info has come in quite handy.  Even when we paid someone to redo our kitchen floor, I made sure to buy the materials myself for the extra cashback, which was not insignificant.

Discover it and Chase Freedom credit cards have rotating 5% cashback categories that include something with Home Improvement from now until the end of June.

Leveraging the Deal

If you are paying full price at Lowe's you are either too lazy, which I respect, or you don't know how to leverage it properly.  It's the same for both the Freedom and Discover it.  I can't promise I know all the tricks, but here is what I've got:

This is helpful even if you want to shop in the store and not online!

  • 5% - DISCOVER IT™ is offering 5% cashback at all home improvement stores.  
    • 10%- Start shopping at Shop Discover where you will get an additional 5% cashback on top of the 5% for a total of 10%.  You can stop here or:
    • Buy a physical gift card and have it shipped to you for free.
      • Don't buy an eGift card from Lowe's or because they use another company to process it and you won't get as much cashback as you should.
      • Give yourself at least a week for delivery.  You can get next day shipping for $5
    • 15%? - Once you have your gift card, go back to the Discover it shopping portal and buy what you want online.  Pay for it with your gift card and you may get another 5% back.
      • It is far more likely to work if you are paying for some of the transaction with your Discover it card.  Buy many gift cards in small denominations to leverage as much as possible.  I do not guarantee this part.
    • The stores needs to be coded as either a home supply retail store, lumber/building materia store, paint/wallpaper store, hardware sore or lawn and garden to qualify for the original 5%.  Lowe's, Home Depot, Shermin Williams Paints etc

Chase Freedom - The same steps as Discover it except start your shopping from Chase's shopping portal.  Freedom is only 5% back at Lowe's, not at any other home improvement store.

It says that cashback is not eligible on gift card purchases.  This is correct for egift cards, but physical gift cards come up as a regular purchase so you will get the extra cashback.

Other Hints

If you are moving, like me, you are also eligible for a mover's 10% off coupon.  It takes 3-7 business days for the coupon to come, but it does eventually come.  Also, you can go to the post office to get a mail forwarding package.  Many times they come with a 10% Lowe's coupon, but not always.

Lowe's and Home Depot usually accept each other's coupons so keep that in mind.

Lowe's used to have a 20 minute guarantee   If you ordered online and they didn't have it ready or call you within 20 minutes to say it won't be ready, you were eligible for a $20 gift card.  I can't find anything about it online so it may have been stopped.  If they are 20 minutes late, ask them about it.  It can't hurt to try.

Barclays NFL Credit Card - $400 Sign up Bonus!

The NFL credit card from Barclays is back with a $400 sign up bonus when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days!

I have done this in the past and this is still a really great deal.

If you are thinking about getting a card, get this now!  In the past, this has not been around too long.

This post will tell you how to leverage the card as much as possible.

Haagen Dazs Free Cone Day - May 14th

Tomorrow from 4-8pm is Haagen Dazs free cone day.

Only at participating locations.

Find a location near you.

Friday, May 10, 2013

$20 Kindle Fire - 32GB $210

32GB Kindle Fire $210 after $20 off
16GB Kindle Fire $180 after $20 off

Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers

These are prices assuming you allow them to add "special offers" to your screens saver while it is idle, if you don't,  the price goes up by another $15 for each one.

Use promo code FIRE4MOM at Checkout

Expires on the 12th.

Buy $50 Amazon Gift Card get $10 Gift Card Free - Targeted?

I got an email this morning from Amazon this morning that says:

Dear Customer, 

Enjoy this exclusive e-mail offer: Surprise someone with an Gift Card and get a $10 promotional code to spend on yourself. Just purchase at least $50 in Gift Cards by May 31, 2013, and we'll email you a $10 promotional code to spend at this summer.* A perfect gift, Gift Cards can be sent via e-mail, posted on Facebook, printed at home, or sent through the mail. Gift Cards are redeemable storewide for millions of items and never expire.

You can buy Amazon Gift Cards here

This may be a targeted deal so check your emails and spam folders to see if you got it.  If you didn't get an email, you may not be eligible for the $10 gift card free.

The $10 gift card might not come until June 15th.

Terms and Conditions:

Receive $10 off a future retail order when you purchase at least $50 in Gift Cards ("GCs") before June 1, 2013. Offer valid on qualified purchases of GCs between May 1, 2013, and May 31, 2013, 11:59PM (PT). Purchases must be for at least $50 in combined GC value. Offer valid on GCs purchased on and, in the case of E-mail and Facebook GCs scheduled in advance, delivered before June 1, 2013. For qualifying purchases, a promotional code of $10 ("Promo Code") will be sent to the e-mail address associated with the account used to purchase the GCs by June 15, 2013, and the Promo Code is valid through July 31, 2013, 11:59PM (PT). Offer good for customers receiving this e-mail only. One Promo Code per customer/primary e-mail address. Promo Code may be applied only to products sold by Inc. and its affiliates and does not apply to products sold by third-party merchants through the site. Restrictions apply. See for complete details. May not be combined with other offers. Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel at any time. Void where prohibited. Except as required by law, GCs cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. ©,®,TM Inc. and/or its affiliates, 2013. No expiration date or service fees. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

WSJ: Best Airline Miles Availability

The WSJ published a survey of airlines and tried to figure out which airline had the most availability to book flights with their miles.

Not surprisingly, Southwest Airlines, Jetblue and United all came very close to the top and US Airways and Delta all the way at the bottom.  This should affect the way you try to accumulate miles.  What's the point of miles if you can't use them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cheerios 4 Pack $7.70 14 Ounces

Cheerios Cereal, 14 Ounce (Pack of 4) for $7.70 and free shipping.

Use subscribe and save for the 5% discount to go from $8.09 to $7.69.  You are under no obligation to continue your subscribe and save subscription.