Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Home Improvement Gift Cards Now a Pin!

Update: Dead!  You can no longer add these to your bluebird.

The Home Improvement Gift Card is a gift card that is accepted at Lowe's, Home Depot and others as a Discover Credit Card.  It can be loaded up to $500 fee free.

Until now, it was a great way to maximize points when spending at Lowe's, but the fun ended there.

Points To Paradise reported yesterday that Home Improvement Gift Cards can now have a pin set to them and therefore can be loaded onto your Bluebird at Walmart!

This is now all over the blogosphere because of this Flyer Talk thread.

This is exciting for a number of reasons:

  1. There is no fee so it is even better than Vanilla Reloads.
  2. You can buy them at office supply stores like Office Depot for 5x points with your Chase Ink cards for a total of 2,500 Ultimate Rewards points without any fees!

I have not tried this myself so try it with a small amount first to make sure it works for yourself. 
There is no fee so it isn't a big deal to put on $20.  Otherwise you might get stuff with a lot of money that can only be used at Home Improvement stores.

As always, be careful.  Keep it small.  Don't buy $5,000 at a time.  Eventually Chase will catch on and might shut you down.  

I would 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Giftcard.com and Top CashBack - Free Money?

Update: This doesn't come as a surprise but giftcard.com cancelled all of these orders saying they are a mistake.  It was worth a shot!

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

It's hard to believe that this isn't a mistake but Top Cashback is currently offering 100% cashback for Visa Gift Card purchases through giftcard.com.  If this works you will get $256 back for a $250 gift card and $6 fee ($250 is the highest denomination they sell).

Most likely you won't get your money but if you do this is pretty amazing.

I have not been able to buy one.  Every time I try the transaction is cancelled, but give it a shot maybe you'll have better luck.  Whatever happens, leave a comment with your experience.

Thank you AS for the tip!

Friday, July 26, 2013

7-11 Vanilla Reload Success!

I went to a 7-11 yesterday hunting for Vanilla Reload cards (check out this post to find out why I care) and found a 7-11 that sells them.

I brought my Vanilla Reload card to the counter to pay with my Discover card and I had the following discussion with the clerk:

Clerk: "You want to pay with a credit card?"
Me: "Yeah, I'm pretty sure that works, I've done it before at 7-11"
Clerk: "My boss just told me that these are cash only.  Some guy has been coming in buying them with stolen credit cards.  You know what, you don't look like someone who would do that so I'll let you use a credit card"

At this point I took out my ID assuming that he would check it to make sure it matched my card.  The machine said "Please show CC and ID to clerk", at which point the clerk needs to enter the last four digits of your credit card.  He took my card, entered the last four digits, and didn't ask for my ID.

He shouldn't have let me buy it, but I can't say I'm too upset that I was able to buy my Reload card!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spend $250 at Best Buy on AMEX and get $25 Back

Until 09/08/2013, if you spend $250 or more at Best Buy on your American Express card, American Express will give you a $25 statement credit.

Here's how to do it:

  • Sync your Twitter Account with your American Express credit card
  • Tweet #AmexBestBuy
  • Click @connect to confirm you have been enrolled
  • Spend the money

You can have Twitter accounts under multiple names (pseudonames are allowed in Twitter) and you can connect a different card to each account.

You can keep records of which card is linked to which account to make it easier.  I send myself an email.

I have done this a few times and in my experience your purchase can be anything, including gift cards! Most Best Buys have variable load Visa Gift Cards of up to $200 that have a surcharge of $6.  You can also buy Amazon gift cards with no surcharge.

For every $250 you spend at Best Buy you will also get a $5 gift card if you are a Best Buy Reward Zone member, which is free to join.  The $5 gift certificates can be used to buy Amazon gift cards.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Citibank - 3x American Airlines Miles - Targeted?

I got an email with the following offer from Citibank:

Earn 3 miles for purchases until 9/30 up to 2,500 extra miles. Basically, this means that if you spend $1,250 before 9/30 you will get 3,750 American Airlines Miles.  Also, your first purchase of $20 or more will get you another 1,000 miles for a total of 4,750 miles for spending $1,250 or 3.8 miles per dollar spent, not too shabby.

You need to enroll through your email so you can only get the extra miles if you got an email from Citibank

I missed the first email they sent me and only noticed the second email so search your inbox if you have a citibank card that earns AA miles.

I happen to get 2 miles on up to $750 a month as a retention bonus and I am eager to see if these offers will stack, but I'm not greedy, I'll take 3.8 miles per dollar instead of 4.8.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

30% off Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s): Top Cashback, Banana Republic and Old Navy

Until 7/23, take 30% off anything from Banana Republic, Gap or  Old Navy.

Use coupon code EVERYONE

Free shipping on $50+ orders

Start your purchase from Top Cashback and get up to 6% back from Banana, 5% from Gap and 4% from Old Navy!  You will still get cashback from whatever credit card you use.

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.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mr. Coffee 4 Cup Coffee Maker $12

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

Mr. Coffee 4 Cup Coffee Maker $12 from Best Buy

  • Start your purchase from Top Cashback and get up to 6% 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.

  • Sign up for Best Buy Rewards Zone and you will get a $5 Best Buy Gift Card for every $250 you spend at Best Buy (2%) in addition to all your other savings.  Reward zone gift cards can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, which I consider the same as cash.

JetBlue Badges - Earn 850+ TrueBlue Points

Join JetBlue Badges and they will give you some free TrueBlue points for some easy tasks.

Join True Blue Frequent flyer program here if you aren't already a member.

  • 100 Points for joining and taking the tutorial (takes about 30 seconds)
  • 500 Points for connecting your Facebook Account
  • 250 Points for connecting your Twitter Account

  • 500 Points for flying JetBlue during your Birthday Month
  • 50 Points for sharing on Facebook 5 times
  • 50 points for sharing on Twitter 5 times
  • 50 Points for inviting 5 people from Facebook

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

7-11 is a Gas Station!

Update 1 7/17 - Discover also considers 7-11 a gas station so enjoy your 5% (i.e. - free easy money).  This picture is from my online activity from Discover.

I've rumors online that 7-11 was considered a gas station, but I had never checked it out myself until now.

I bought a couple dollars worth of items to see how the purchase was categorized.

You need to go to Chase Blueprint in order to see how purchases are categorized.  Use your regular Chase login.

This is a shot from my account when I tracked my spending at gas stations.

Who Cares?

Right now, you can get 5% cashback at gas stations on your Chase Freedom and Discover it cards.

Some 7-11 stores carry Vanilla Reload cards and $500 Visa Prepaid cards.  This will allow you to easily maximize your 5% categories.

Be aware that even if you see VR cards, every store is different in their policy.  The register will allow you to pay with a credit card, but some stores will tell you it is cash only and some stores will allow credit cards.  Usually Visa Prepaid cards can be bought with credit cards, but not always.

I have also made a purchase with my Discover card but it hasn't posted yet so I can't see the category yet.  I will update when it posts.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nikon D3100 $300

Disclaimer: I receive a referral fee for the following links: Camera bag and SD Card

I don't know much about cameras and I'm not going to get into a Nikon/Cannon debate, but I bought this camera a couple months back and I notice a huge difference between this camera's pictures and my previous regular point and shoot.

$305 is a great price for this camera.  It is refurbished.

This price shows up every once in a while, but it doesn't usually last for than a day or two.

As you can see here, the camera costs $350 from the same seller at its own website instead of their ebay store.

Here is a nice review

Don't forget to pick up a camera bag and SD Memory Card to go along with it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Finding and Using Discounted Gift Cards Online

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Discover it®

I think that buying discounted merchant gift cards online is one of the easiest and best ways to save money online.

Here is my preferred method for finding the most appropriate gift cards for your purchase and how to maximize your savings.  If anyone has any other method that is easier or saves more money please leave a comment.

The most important website to go to is giftcardgranny.com.  Gift Card Granny aggregates available gift cards from many different sites so that you don't have to check every site every time.  Here are my tips:

Let's taken an example, let's say you are planning on buying this chair at Staples which costs $99.

  • First, find out exactly how much it will cost including tax.  Add it to your shopping card to find the final price.  As you see, with tax it costs $108.74

  • One of the main sellers of gift cards will be from Ebay.  They will usually also have the highest discount.  Go to the filters on the side and uncheck them.  This is from an auction so you have no idea what they will end up selling for.   The discount isn't real yet and will just confuse you.

  • I usually will uncheck the filter for "physical gift cards".  I usually want to buy it as soon as possible so I don't want to wait for the gift card to come in the mail.  eGift cards usually arrive in your inbox the same day.  You can do whatever you want.

  • Look for a gift card that is as close to, but slightly less than, the final price of your item.  Do this by clicking on "Card Value" to filter based on card value.

  • In our case, the best deal is for a gift card for $106.22 that costs $100.59 for a discount of 5.3% from Gift Card Zen

  • You have now saved 5.3% but you aren't done yet.  Go to cashbackholic.com and type in "staples" to find the best online shopping portal.  In this case, it is Shop Discover if you pay with a Discover it® card will get you another 5% cashback.  
    • Since you bought a card that is slightly less than the item you will have to put a smal sum on your credit card.  You will still get the 5% cashback on your entire purchase for a total of 10.3%.  In addition, you will get your regular cashback for buying the gift card so add another 1-2% for that.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chase Checking $200 Coupon

Chase Checking $200 Coupon for new checking accounts

You need direct deposit $100 within 10 days to get the bonus

Ends August 15th

There is a monthly service fee of $12 unless you do one of the following

  • Monthly direct deposit of $500
  • Monthly average balance of $1,500 in checking account
  • Monthly average balance of checking or investments of $5,000 with chase

Credit Card Application Status - Part 3

Related Posts

Part 5 - Affect on your credit score

I finally applied this past week for my App-O-Rama and here are my results so far.

Chase United - 35,000 mile sign up bonus with authorized user.  I will try to get matched to 55,000 and $50 statement credit.
  • Approved instantly!

Chase Ink Bold - Currently 50,000 points, but I hope to be matched to the 60,000 bonus offer.  
  • Pending.  I called the Business reconsideration number (800-453-9719to get a decision expedited and increase my chances for approval.  The agent told me I have to wait until I get a decision in the mail.  I will call again on Monday to see if I get a different answer.
  • This is the only one I am concerned about at this point.

Citibank AA Mastercard -  40,000 miles.  
  • Pending.  I moved recently.  Citibank wanted me to mail them proof of my address for security reasons.  Still waiting to hear from them.  I will probably call on Tuesday to make sure they got it if they don't call me on Monday. 
  • I assume I will be approved once address verification is done.

Barclays US Airways - 40,000 miles.  I chose this over the NFL card because the NFL card bonus was expired.
  • Approved after quick conversation.

PenFed American Express Travel Rewards  -  $200 sign up bonus towards my next round trip flight and 5% back on Airline purchases.

  • Approved instantly.
  • Another great feature:  This is an American Express card with no annual fee that is not through americanexpress.com  This means that I can get $25 free on Small Business Saturday.  American Express limits the number of credit cards you can have at one time to 4 (no limit on charge cards).  If the cards isn't issued by American Express, even though it is processed as an American Express card it doesn't count towards the limit.  Another examples is the Fidelity American Express.

Once these cards come, the spending can begin!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

$500 Visa Gift Cards at Parthmark in Teaneck - Free Money

Free Money - Teaneck Style

Update 7/4 - Reader SW astutely pointed out that Pathmark is part of the company known as A&P.  They sell under the following labels:

Food Basics USA
Food Emporium
Super Fresh

Look out for the $500 visa gift cards in all of their stores.  Hey, you never know.

In addition, $500 visa gift cards have been found at Stop & Shop stores.

As part of my continual research for free money in Teaneck, NJ I have been looking for $500 gift cards at grocery stores.  Even before I moved I asked a couple people to look out for them.  Thanks IB for checking it out for me.

I went to Pathmark on 80 New Bridge Road in Bergenfield and found the Holy Grail.  Pathmark stocks  $500 Visa gift cards that can be bought with a credit card.  The most amazing part for me was that I saw veyr intelligent people walking right past them and not buying them.  There were a couple racks of them.  How could this be?

This is what you should look for.

As you can see from my online account, the purchase has been categorized as a grocery purchase

Who Cares?

I'm making quite a fuss about this, but why do I care and more importantly why should you care?  The answer is simple, this is an easy opportunity to have a free lunch.

There are credit cards that have special cashback rates for grocery stores.  The two big ones are American Express Blue Preferred and American Express Blue Everyday.

The Blue Everyday card gets you 3% cashback at grocery stores up to $6,000 a year.  If you buy one single $500 gift card there is a $6 fee.  You will get $15 in cashback so a net of $9 or 1.8% cashback.  A nice haul, but not incredible.

The Math for the year.  3% of $6,000 is $180.  $72 of fees brings it down to $108.  Probably not worth your time unless you go to Pathmark and Walmart anyways.

The Blue Preferred gets you 6% cashback on groceries up to $6,000 a year but with a $75 annual fee.  One $500 gift card gets you $30, a net of $24 or 4.8% cashback.  That is very exciting!

The math for the year.  6% of $6,000 is $360.  Annual brings it down to $285 (I got the sign up bonus so annual fee doesn't bother me).  $72 of fees for buying the gift cards and your total haul is $213 per card for not much work.  I have 2 cards so that will be $426 a year extra.  Not too shabby!

Using the Gift cards

What should you do with the gift cards once you buy them?

  • Use them like a credit card.  
    • You are now getting 4.8% cashback everywhere up to $6000 a year!
    • Gift cards can be annoying to keep track of as they start to get in the $20 or less range.  You also want to hold on to them in case you return anything because it usually will go right back on that card.

  • Cash them out with Bluebird at Walmart
    • These cards are issued by Metabank so you can add a pin to the gift card by calling up (the last 4 digits of the account number should also work but I haven't tried it yet).
    • Once you have a pin you can bring it to Walmart and add to your Bluebird account and pay your credit card bill with it. If you bring two cards at a time you have just made $48

Maximizing The Deal - Easy There Cowboy

There are natural limits to this.  You get 6% back on up to $6,000 at grocery stores, after that you only get 1%.  

I have two Blue Preferred cards, one for me and one for my wife.  I now buy one $500 gift card every month.  Once I max out the $6000, I will begin to use my Blue Everyday card for my grocery purchases and get 3% on groceries + over $400 a year!

If that gets maxed out too (life is expensive but unlikely) I will switch my grocery purchases to the Bank of America Cash Rewards, which I normally only use for gas, but gives you back 2.2% at groceries if you have a Bank of America Checking Account.

Don't be an idiot - don't buy $6,000 worth of gift cards in one month.  You have the same $6,000 max for the year whether you buy $500 at a time or $3,000.  If you don't live in Teaneck, I would feel comfortable buying $1,000-$1,500 at a time to avoid extra trips and to minimize the chances that I've already cleared their shelves, jk.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

50,000 Pageviews!

Thanks everyone for the continued success of this site!  

  • It took from September 1, 2011 until April 15, 2012 to get to my first 10,000 pageviews, seven and a half months.  

  • It took from April 10th until July 3rd to get the next 10,000 page views, a little less than 3 months.

Here is a graph of the trend in pageviews 

If you like what you see please subscribe below.  You can subscribe to a daily email if I post that day.  You can also subscribe on Twitter and Facebook.  Twitter and Facebook are updated within half an hour of a post.  Please keep telling your friends!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Office Depot - Free Book of Stamps with $75 Order

Office depot is offering a free booklet of forever stamps when you make a purchase online or in store.

This is a $9.20 value.

Frequent Miler reported that he was able to buy gift cards to qualify for the promotion.

You need to print a coupon here.

Thank you SW for pointing me to the FM post.

Expires July 6th.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Ideal Wallet - Quarter 3 2013

Related Links

Disclaimer - The Discover offers are no longer valid.

These are the Credit and Debit cards that will be in my wallet from July 2013 through the end of September.

  • Discover it™ - 5% cash-back on Gas.   $75 maximum cash back per quarter.

  • Chase Ink Classic (Business Card) - 5% cashback at Office Supply Stores, Cable, Phone (Landline or cell) and Internet bills.
    • 20,000 Ultimate Rewards for spending $3,000 in 3 months.