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March Savings

April 2nd, 2017 at 08:09 am

Received $40 bank interest for the month of March.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $25 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $53 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $0 cash back on Visa/dining card.
(Didn't eat out)

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$4 Savings from Target Red Card

Snowball to investments (MH Paycheck):
$1,000

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
- 280 Auto Insurance
- 140 cell phone for MM
- 100 car maintenance

----------------------------------------------------

Other Snowflakes:
--$25 Focus Group

I didn't invest this snowflake; I donated it to DL's school.

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MH's work has been slow, which is nice because my work has been *completely insane*.

I still needed to get $1,400 "tax savings" over to our investments. For now, I am just hoarding MH's paycheck to that end. I have $1,000 to throw at that today and will probably have $400 in another couple of weeks.

It probably works out that I will get that funded by April 15th. Around then I should get my OT for the year and we will have to look at our tax situation and figure out the rest of the year.

Travel Credit Card Decision

March 26th, 2017 at 08:04 am

I ended up applying for the Capital One Venture card that Buendia recommended. I didn't get much input here, and didn't have a lot of time to look into it, but it seemed probably the best card for our purposes.

When the credit card arrives, we will book our hotel. We haven't decided anything but seem to have infinite options. I think it is most likely that we will rent an apartment with a kitchen. It's just so cheap right now with the favorable exchange rates.

This credit card has no fee for the first year. We will close the card before the year is over. If we like the card and it is useful, it is something to keep in mind for the future, especially for a less impromptu trip.

I just want a card without foreign transaction fees. It looks like we may also be able to get a $400 travel credit, which I am not sure is going to be very useful in our situation. But, if it works, we will save $400.

For now, I just want to get the credit card so that we can finalize a hotel.

Travel Abroad Credit Cards?

March 21st, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Does anyone have any credit cards they recommend for using in the UK? Hear of any sign up bonuses lately?

We have a credit union credit card that has no foreign fees. In addition, we get 3% back on dining out, which would probably be our primary expenses while we are out of the country. So we are good to go already. But, I wouldn't mind having a backup credit card while we travel.

Chase Sapphire: We both opened and closed this one several times for the cash bonus, so I doubt we could get this card. I was denied the last time I tried. But if we are charging up hotels and excursions, I wouldn't mind paying -0- foreign fees and working towards a bonus. It's been long enough it would be worth a try.

Barclay Arrival Plus: The rewards don't seem useful on this card, but it might be nice to have a chip+pin card in a pinch. I also saw feedback though that their fraud department was over-zealous and this card was denied too often. So I guess I am curious about any feedback. If we only use it in a pinch, I'd want it to work in a pinch. (This one has an annual fee after the first year, but we wouldn't keep the card for more than a year).

Any other cards to consider?

2016 Final Rewards Tally

January 2nd, 2017 at 06:34 am

2016 TALLY:

$208 Cash (Barclay Card, Moi)
$250 Gift Cards (AmEx Green, Moi)
-----------
$458 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

$25 credit AmEx (For Hulu)

$41 Citi Price Rewinds

Ongoing rewards (through 12/31):

+$50 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance charged to this card)
**PHASED OUT AND REPLACED WITH CITI 2% CARD**

+$355 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$97 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$92 Visa Rewards (3% back at restaurants, inflated by large vacation spending this year)

+$788 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere - health insurance/medical is the big expenses that we charge, is more than our mortgage payments. Also, inflated by large vacation spending this year)

Grand Total = $1,906

I just want to add that historical figures below do also include bank bonuses. They just don't generally work very well for us since we don't use debit cards and don't have direct deposits (the usual hoops that you have to jump through). & the hassle factor is significantly more than it is with the credit card bonuses. Thus, we did not do a single bank bonus this year. I think this might just be where we land with MH working and not needing the extra boost so much.

All of the big bonuses we had been doing with the credit cards (doing the same $500 over and over, between 3 credit cards) have completely dried up. We did okay because our expenses were very high in 2016. But is not generally *how* I Want to earn my credit card rewards. Wink

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,128
Year 2015 = $2,585
Year 2016 = $1,906

Total 5 Years = $17,188
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

2016 Rewards Tally

October 30th, 2016 at 08:11 am

2016 TALLY:

$208 Cash (Barclay Card, Moi)
$250 Gift Cards (AmEx Green, Moi)
-----------
$458 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

$25 credit AmEx (For Hulu)

$40 Citi Price Rewind

Ongoing rewards (through 10/31):

+$50 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance charged to this card)
**PHASED OUT AND REPLACED WITH CITI 2% CARD**

+$375 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$65 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$74 Visa Rewards (3% back at restaurants, inflated by large vacation spending this year)

+$628 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere - health insurance/medical is the big expenses that we charge, is more than our mortgage payments)

Grand Total = $1,715

----------------------------------------------------

Probably one of our worst years in a long while. I expect there is some element of MH working and not needing to seek out the extra snowflakes as much. BUT... I think more to the point is our lack of eligibility for the usual cash back cards that we use. Chase won't give us any rewards.

I suppose the timing is okay since we are less reliant on rewards for extra breathing room.

One of us is eligible for a Citi Thank You reward but I even read somewhere that those are drying up. But, with the recent $500 splurge on VR, I'd really like to cover that purchase with a credit card reward. So I will continue to keep my eye out. The year is not over yet!

Credit Card Rewards Update

October 2nd, 2016 at 05:33 pm

2016 TALLY:

$208 Cash (Barclay Card, Moi)
$250 Gift Cards (AmEx Green, Moi)
-----------
$458 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

$25 credit AmEx (For Hulu)

**Various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.

-----------------------------------------------------

I signed up for an AmEx offer where if we charged $25 Hulu expenses we would get a $25 credit. After I "redeemed" the offer and had MH switch Hulu to that credit card, I saw that the fine print was that it was only for new Hulu users. Since the bill had charged like the day MH switched it over, I figured it wouldn't hurt to just let it run through to $25 and see what happens.

So... imagine my surprise when I saw the $25 credit today.

I could technically do the same on my AmEx card but I will just let it go since it was a fluke..

----------------------------------------------------

I finally received my $250 gift cards.

We ended up choosing 3 x $50 gift cards for restaurant chains. (I feel like it will take forever to get through these, but was the only thing we would ever even use).

We did also choose one $50 gift card as a gift for Christmas.

& we choose one $50 gift card for a fancy restaurant. We were thinking to use for our anniversary but we didn't get the card until Friday (a week too late) and we were too sick of eating out when we drove home today, or else we might have stopped for lunch at this restaurant. We will probably just do lunch there some day when MH has a weekday off. (Wouldn't be until December? Or Thanksgiving week?) Will have to remember to use it...

Credit Card Rewards Update

September 11th, 2016 at 09:57 am

2016 TALLY:

$208 Cash (Barclay Card, Moi)
$250 Gift Cards (AmEx Green, Moi)
-----------
$458 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*


Other Rewards:

**Various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.

-----------------------------------------------------

I have not gotten the $250 rewards yet, but the pickings were pretty slim on that reward card and not much I really want. Which is why we decided to pass up the $500 reward offer that we recently got from AmEx.

I had done my due diligence and checked that there were useful gift cards, but I guess the info I checked was old and they changed their offerings. This seems to be in conjunction with AmEx offering a batch of larger rewards. So they made the rewards crappier but have been offering a lot more of them.

Plus, they are being really slow to let me redeem the rewards. So I haven't even been able to order my gift cards yet. I will probably just pick up some big chain restaurant gift cards. We can get use out of those, but it will probably take us a long time to get through them.

I think I am eligible again for a Citi $500 cash bonus, so I will keep an eye out for that.

More Credit Card Rewards

July 22nd, 2016 at 06:46 am

It might be another $2,500 year after all.

I got an AmEx offer for a $250 reward and then the next day dh got an offer for a $500 reward. His offer was an American Express Gold, which is generally a business card offer or has a very high fee. Is the first time I've seen it with the annual fee waived.

$250 credit card reward

July 20th, 2016 at 06:51 am

I got an offer (targeted offer) for an American Express card with a $250 reward.

Woohoo!

I should also be eligible for a $500 Citi reward in a couple of more months.

---------------------------------------------------

I saw today that the wildlife encounter that we did is completely booked through 2017. I am surprised it took that long to get that booked up, but it was just a matter of time. I am so glad we squeezed it in last year.

2016 Rewards Update

April 28th, 2016 at 09:58 am

2016 TALLY:

$208 Cash (Barclay Card, Moi)
-----------
$208 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*


Other Rewards:

**Various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.


I expect this to be a slow year.

-----------------------------------------------------

I am not sure what I will do with the $208. I charged up $500 insurance and already received a $208 statement credit (before a statement was even issued). The thing is I usually charge this bill around now (on May billing cycle) and would pay off June 1. So in the end, I don't get the benefit until June when my bill will be $208 less than usual. (In the meantime, I will probably be pre-paying this bill in May).

I'd like to just throw the $208 into our investments. But I expect I will be paying airfare in June (around $2,000). So I wouldn't be surprised if I'd rather have the $208 for that expense.

Will see...

I know I am long overdue for a blog update. Where I am at with things is work finally slowed down. Today I can breathe! I am just slowing my pace and letting it all sink in. Tomorrow I will just work a half day. The following weekend I will be able to take a 3-day weekend.

Oh, and I will have a huge savings update this weekend. Which is the flip side of being so busy. Lots of money being saved...

We are already thinking of many ways to spend down our money. Blog posts for another day. But we are moving forward with a planned home improvement. Work we did plan to do this spring or summer. It feels pressing though because it's long overdue and we are so flush with cash. The thing about home improvements is I really have no idea how much they cost. But if it's not too terrible, we are thinking of moving an unpractical wish list home improvement item up to our current to-do list. I guess the stars just seem to be aligning with that. But again, it depends how much it cost. If it's more than I expect, then it can go on the impractical wish list for another decade. Will see. I guess we may be moving it up the list significantly just long enough to get some quotes. Will see how we feel about it from there.

I am sure I will shortly have time to bore you with all of the details of all of the above. That is the short version, for now.

Credit Card Bonus

April 10th, 2016 at 08:59 am

I just signed up for the first credit card bonus (one-time) for the year. I expect it to be a slow year, but last year surprised me at the end. So... Who knows!

I got an offer to spend $500 and get $200 cash back. It's an offer that dh did late last year.

While at it, I closed his credit card for that deal.

I actually spent some time this morning evaluating if we were eligible for any bigger offers or direct deposit offers. Since dh has direct deposit for his paychecks, it opens up more rewards for us. But I didn't see anything worthwhile.

Completely striking out, I did remember that I had a direct mail offer.

Though I am kind of feeling "meh" on current offers, I don't think my work/benefit analysis has changed at all with dh working. We usually only do $200 minimum bonuses and try to maximize with the $500 bonuses. Those are all still VERY worth it. I just don't foresee getting a lot of those type offers this year.

Edited to add: Waiting to be eligible for Citi Thank You bonus again in late September 2016. Might be a $500 bonus that we can do this year.

2015 Rewards Final Tally

January 2nd, 2016 at 04:37 pm

2015 TALLY:

$525 Gift Cards (Citi, dh)
$300 Cash (Chase checking reward, dh)
$200 Cash (AmEx Card Everyday, Moi)
$200 Cash (Barclay card, dh)
-----------
$1,225 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

**Free Prime For One Year

**$40 cash back (Amex Reward for spending $40 at Amazon)

**$85 Citi Price Rewind

Ongoing rewards (projected through 12/31):

+$200 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance charged to this card)

+$340 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$100 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$40 Visa Rewards (3% back at restaurants)

+$555 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere)

Grand Total = $2,585

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,128
Year 2015 = $2,585

Total 5 Years = $15,282
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

2015 Rewards Update (Ummm... Bought a CAR with Rewards!)

November 7th, 2015 at 05:44 am

2015 TALLY:

$525 Gift Cards (Citi, dh)
$300 Cash (Chase checking reward, dh)
$200 Cash (AmEx Card Everyday, Moi)
$200 Cash (Barclay card, dh)
-----------
$1,225 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

**Free Prime For One Year

**$40 cash back (Amex Reward for spending $40 at Amazon)

**$85 Citi Price Rewind

Ongoing rewards (projected through 12/31):

+$200 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance charged to this card)

+$300 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$100 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$40 Visa Rewards (3% back at restaurants)

+$525 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere)

Grand Total = $2,515

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,128
Year 2015 = $2,515

Total 5 Years = $15,212
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

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We have utilized credit card rewards for decades. It's only in the past 5 years I have been tracking them so closely in my blog because they started to get so substantial.

This year started out kind of slow and I Wasn't expecting much for this year. But as the rewards started to pile in for the last quarter of the year, I decided to do a tally.

& I realized, WE BOUGHT A CAR WITH CREDIT CARD REWARDS. Seriously! The $15,197 we amassed the passed 5 years was more than enough to pay for our most recent car purchase.

WOW!!

That said, I can not stress the CAVEAT part of this post enough. We personally have extreme fear of debt and have never paid a cent to a credit card company (no interest or late payments or carrying balances or whatever). I know not one penny of that $15,197 went back to the credit card companies in the form of any kind of interest or fees. The bulk of what I charge up for rewards is our health insurance (a bill we obviously are going to be paying regardless). Also, groceries and utilities. We charge up the fun stuff too, because we charge up everything, but I've never justified a splurge for a credit card reward. That would defeat the whole purpose.

If you are going to end up paying one single cent to the credit card companies, or can't treat your credit card like simply like it's an ATM card, then I would never recommend going for these kinds of rewards.

On the flip side, if you avoid debt like the plague and you have the personality for it, it's really not that big of a deal. You know, in response the DR mentality that it's impossible to win with credit cards. To that, I say: I got a FREE CAR! Big Grin

P.S. On average I'd say the earning power on these rewards is about $1,000 per hour of time and energy. This is the most efficient income stream that we have, by a mile. Least effort/most reward.

Doings

November 1st, 2015 at 09:10 am

**Dh got a small video gig. He seems to be a money magnet lately. (Just more stuff falling out of the sky).

**Of course dh's phone shipped the day before the credit card cycle closed. Just because it's the most annoying timing. (It was not supposed to ship for another week).

I ended up diverting his first full paycheck (received this week) to cover that.

**My kids have been wishy washy about Halloween. They were initially "too old." But with the Saturday Halloween I guess they got more invites to Trick or Treat. Since we had some Amazon gift cards (+ a free Prime year) we appeased them with some last minute costumes. In the end they had a blast with their friends and so I am glad it worked out.

**Reminds me, dh told me that we now get 2 hour prime shipping in our city (on some items). I never foresee using that. !! Like seriously, it can wait. I still haven't gotten used to 2-day shipping. We ordered a couple of non-prime items that showed up yesterday. !! One of them was a monkey dress costume I saw (a more feminine compliment to our monkey costumes we bought last year). I couldn't wear it because it was a heavy fleece and it was so HOT yesterday. We ended up turning on our AC for a bit. This weather is insane. Thankfully we are due for some much needed rain today.

**We did also redeem the last of our gift cards for our last credit card reward. I redeemed $50 for a school fundraiser and we got some movie theater gift cards, Best Buy (since they price match Amazon) and a Panera gift card. I think we got $50 for the movies, so that should last us a while. Dh seems to be in a bit of a movie lull.

**I am phasing out my American Express 2% cash back card (since so many places don't take American Express). Will replace this with my 2% Citi card. I haven't done this sooner because the limit was so low on the new card. (Initially was like a $3k limit?? Most our limits are $15k-ish?) But I had asked them to up the limit at some point and they did. I apparently should have asked them for a bigger limit. Anyway, I took the time this week to move any lingering bills over to the new credit card. The only thing I have on the AmEx is our health insurance (which is more than out mortgage - it's a big bill). I am going to ask for another limit increase before I move that last bill over. I hear they are phasing out this AmEx reward card anyway. It always eventually happens, so I am glad I have found an even better replacement card in this case.

I've not been a fan of managing 5 credit cards, so I look very much forward to simplifying. That said, it hasn't been a big deal with using Quicken. I've taken to paying all the credit cards off the first of the month because it's just simpler. (Then definitely nothing is ever forgotten. I've moved very far away from "waiting for bills".) I might stick with that habit even when I consolidate a bit. I had wanted to add an extra $3k or so to our emergency fund to cover "last month's credit card charges", but I think paying off the end of every month is a simpler solution to that.

I will still have 4 credit cards. It is the way with rewards these days. Each card has a great reward for just one or two categories that we utilize. Then the 4th card will be for 2% back on everything else.

Lots of Snowflakes/Snowballs

October 25th, 2015 at 08:20 am

I am piling up some nice bank & credit card rewards to finish out the year:

**No sooner than I mentioned that I need to pay more attention to checking rewards (now that we have direct deposit), we got a $300 cash bonus offer. Woohoo! We will set that up next weekend.

**Dh is getting a $200 bonus for spending $500. It was a direct mail offer for a brand new credit card offering.

**We bought an appliance from Best Buy a couple of months ago and Citi sent me an e-mail about Price Rewind. I guess they monitor the sales prices of the same item online for 60 days and refund you the difference if they find a cheaper price. For most of the 60 days there was a $5 refund showing, but I just checked on Friday and now it's $85. !!

The thing that is extra sweet on this is that we went with Best Buy because it came with free installation. In the end, I don't know that we paid more than $5 than anywhere else (as evidenced by the first month or so of the Price Rewind - we bought on a sale weekend). But in the future, we could make the decision to pay more for free installation and still get a Price Rewind if the product is sold cheaper elsewhere without installation. A strategy to keep in mind...

This $85 is not in the bag. I have to upload my receipt and they have to check that the $85 refund they found is legit/comparable. But I am excited about the potential snowflake.

**Yesterday I received $70 auto insurance refund, for dropping the full coverage on our older vehicle.

**Oh, and the biggest snowball of all...

Dh was hired for 7 months out of the year, per his offer letter. He had to ask a few times to get a Holiday schedule. Once he got that he started asking more questions about the seasonal schedule. I was guessing he probably would not work Thanksgiving week. He had been told there would be no work in December or January. But this was apparently not true. !! So I am glad he asked. It's a bit of a bummer since we thought he would really ease into things more slowly. But since he asked far enough ahead of time I think he is mostly okay with it. It's the summers off that are important to us, and for now they won't give him any specifics but said that they do get the summer off. Oh, and as to winter they are VERY family friendly and flexible. So he gets the holidays off with the kids regardless, and it shouldn't be any problem to get their other winter break off. They were just kind of like they work those months, but he can take whatever time off he needs.

It would be nice if they had been more clear. Dh already moved his dentist appointment and jury duty to December, thinking he'd be free, so he will ask for time off for those things as needed.

It seems he will probably be working 9-10 months out of the year, which is more money than expected. For now it's actually complicating our taxes quite dramatically and is giving me a headache. I will figure it out in January. Will see where dh's head is at and what our incomes will be at that point. & I will have to run the numbers. The reality is far more complex than any cookie cutter advice on the internet. I don't think it would be so complicated if I had a crystal ball. But we have to balance what we want/need now and what we guess the future will look like. I can't even muster up the mental energy to figure it out until I know for sure dh is working next year. & so we figure it all out in January.

-----------------------------------------------------

Spending:

**Dh ordered a new cell phone. Is kind of his working splurge I guess, though honestly he'd buy it anyway. I had just told him earlier in the year that it would be easier to wait until December. (Basically, let his parents pay for it, with the Christmas cash they will give us).

Of course he couldn't wait, but since it wasn't to ship until next month I was fine with it. Won't have to pay for it until December.

Anyway, people are saying online that they shipped early. Dh doesn't think it will ship until after Tuesday when our credit card cycle closes, but I am betting money it will ship Tuesday. It's not that it really matters - we have the money - it just messes up my flow!

If he likes the phone then he may give his old phone to my dad. Thank Goodness! He keeps hoarding phones and driving me crazy. I think this is the only way I can get an old phone out of the house. (He's otherwise hoarding them "for the kids some day").

**Speaking of hoarding electronics...

I got a new kindle yesterday. I guess Kindle is one of those things you already have or you don't want. So this is an easy raffle or auction item to win.

We put a $150 bid on a whim, for an ads-free paper white Kindle + $75 Amazon gift cards. The total value of which was basically $200.

We didn't really expect to win, but figured what the heck.

{Dh already won a FREE Kindle Fire this year in a raffle. We noticed no one was putting their tickets to that so we just went "all in" for the Fire, and won. We have never paid any cash for any of our Kindles before; one raffle and credit card rewards otherwise}.

In the end, we did win.

I suppose the plan is to phase out my Nook. My Nook does not have the backlight so this is an upgrade I did want eventually. Dh has been wanting me to switch to Kindle forever. The new Kindle has fixed everything I didn't like about the original, BUT it's still less compatible with our library system. So I like the idea of having the Nook around to easily borrow library books (without dh having to do all this stuff to get it to work) and we will probably keep it a while in case BM ever wants an e-reader. (BM isn't interested so far, and dh already gave LM his old Kindle).

I also have to check the balance on my B&N gift card and should probably use that up. It was a credit card reward I just had on hand for e-books that I couldn't find at the library. I don't remember the last time I used it or what the balance is, so should probably just use it up and be done with it. When I initially got my Nook the library selection wasn't even a small fraction of what it is today; I haven't been buying any e-books in recent years.

Update: I have $25 to spend at B&N. I will try to find something useful to spend it on.

2015 Rewards Update

October 1st, 2015 at 08:10 pm

2015 TALLY:

$525 Gift Cards (Citi, dh)
$200 Cash (AmEx Card Everyday, Moi)
-----------
$725 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

**Free Prime For One Year

**$40 cash back (Amex Reward for spending $40 at Amazon)

**Various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.

2015 Rewards

June 20th, 2015 at 11:38 am

Not much to see here. I'm phased out of some of the $500 rewards until next year and I haven't seen the Sapphire card for a full $500 bonus this year. In addition to that, we don't need the extra boost so much this year and I don't think it's the worst thing to rest the credit a bit.

That said, I could see us each doing a $500 reward per year. Why not??

I took some time today to do some fiscal chores. Closed two credit cards (was able to close them simultaneously online with live chat). I called to get my ATM card renewed (it seemed to have not been renewed) and that phone call took less than a minute. I guess I had been putting off five minutes or so of chores. I like it when things are quick and easy!

I still need dh to close a CU account we opened last year for bonus. At that point I can start my list anew.

As I shred credit card bonus stuff for closed cards I don't care about any more, I figured I'd update and was surprised I've not even started a 2015 tally yet. & so here it begins...

2015 TALLY:

$200 Cash (AmEx Card Everyday, Moi)
-----------
$200 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:

**Free Prime For One Year

**$40 cash back (Amex Reward for spending $40 at Amazon)

**Various monthly rewards that I will tally at years-end.

Credit Card Reward Deal

April 15th, 2015 at 12:57 pm

See link for $20 Amazon offer, if you have an American Express card:

http://www.creditcardwatcher.com/amex-offers-get-20-off-20-a...

We were able to redeem $40 because we have two logins for the same American Express card. Woohoo!

$50

January 6th, 2015 at 07:23 am

I redeemed $50 (credit card reward) to my ROTH today and added that deposit to my sidebar.

Nothing much else going on.

Credit Card and Bank Rewards 2014 - Final Tally!

December 18th, 2014 at 05:53 am

Rewards Update...

Revised for actual numbers, year-to-date. I think I have everything tallied for 2014.

All the one-time accounts have been redeemed and closed. I got my real FICO score from Bank of America - is still 800+ though I opened a LOT of accounts this year. I think next year we can't do much - need to reset a year before we can quadruple dip some of these. Though I did time the Chase checking accounts so that we can do those again in 2015. Other than that, I think the plan is to focus more on travel credit card rewards in 2015. We are trying to plan a very low cost Hawaii trip in the fall. (Aside from food, I think most the expenses will be paid with rewards).

2014 TALLY:

$180 Cash (AICPA card, Moi)
$200 Cash (Citi card, Moi)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Moi)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)

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$2030 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$150 Extra bank interest from a CD promotion (6%!)

+$400 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance & misc. spending)

+$375 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$60 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$48 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities. New bonus December 2014 - 3% back at restaurants)

+$65 Citi 2% card (new card, to replace Fidelity AmEx and/or Visa rewards)

Grand Total = $3,128

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,128

Total 4 Years = $12,697
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


NOTE: ABOUT $550 FROM BANK CHECKING AND CD PROMOTIONS THIS YEAR. UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE ARE TAXBALE.

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

Rewards Update

November 11th, 2014 at 08:29 am

Rewards Update...

I revised my numbers to include extra interest I am getting from a promotional CD (6% interest). I highlighted the bank interest (taxable) rewards to differentiate them from the tax-free credit card rewards.

I also revised my Target and 1% Visa rewards for actual rewards numbers. I think those numbers are pretty good. We are probably done with the Visa for a while and I just estimated $200 more Target purchases this year (2 months x $100 grocery purchases).

I did not add the Citi rewards (double cash back) to my tally. I basically have no idea what I will get with that and it will take away from my 2% AmEx. So basically a wash. I will add it in when I have more firm numbers in early December. (This Citi double dash card is replacing the Visa; used for vendors that don't take AmEx).

2014 TALLY:

$175 Cash (AICPA card, Moi)
$200 Cash (Citi card, Moi)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Moi)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)
-----------
$2025 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$150 Extra bank interest from a CD promotion

+$500 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance & misc. spending)**

+$375 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)**

+$ 60 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)**

+$ 45 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)**

**Estimates for the whole year

Grand Total = $3,155

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,155

Total 4 Years = $12,724
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


NOTE: ABOUT $550 FROM BANK CHECKING AND CD PROMOTIONS THIS YEAR. UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE ARE TAXBALE.

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

Rewards Update

November 1st, 2014 at 05:56 am

Rewards Update...

I received a direct offer for a $175 cash bonus that I have decided to redeem. (Spend $500, get $175 cash).

I went through all of my ongoing rewards and revised my 2014 projections. Most of them were lower than expected because have been diverting so many charges to the one-time rewards cards. (Target's website was not showing my YTD rewards so I will have to double check on that later).

{I also kindly let go of $60 in rewards this year, letting my in-laws charge up $3k in our medical bills for rewards. So I will be pleased if we hit the $3k reward mark even with letting go of that $60}.

2014 TALLY:

$175 Cash (AICPA card, Moi)
$200 Cash (Citi card, Moi)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Moi)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)
-----------
$2025 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$150 Extra bank interest from a CD promotion

+$500 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance & misc. spending)**

+$350 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)**

+$ 60 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)**

+$ 45 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)**

**Estimates for the whole year

Grand Total = $3,130

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,130

Total 4 Years = $12,699
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


NOTE: ABOUT $550 FROM BANK CHECKING AND CD PROMOTIONS THIS YEAR. UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE ARE TAXBALE.

Yeah, our next car is going to be paid for with credit card rewards. Heck, if this keeps up, both of our next cars will be paid for with credit card rewards. (As of this moment, we only plan to spend $20,000 to replace our two vehicles).

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

Southwest Chase $500 Bonus

October 12th, 2014 at 09:35 am

I've been keeping an eye out for the SW Chase $500 bonus, with the plan to buy a PS4 with the bonus. (The $500 bonus is paid out with gift cards).

I haven't seen anything, but today on a whim I googled a bit to see when they offered this bonus last year and to try to take a guess when they will offer them again this year. It seems like maybe they have just been offering it all along. ?? I found a working link on a July 2014 post! I was a little wary of that one but found another one posted in the last week (linked to the same offer). So, woohoo!

Here is the link:

http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2014/10/09/50000-poi...

What is great about this offer is that it stated in the fine print that you CAN double dip this bonus if you have not redeemed for 24 months. Woohoo! (When dh double dipped this card earlier in the year I heard it was a 50/50 chance that he would actually be eligible for the bonus. I was never entirely sure he would actually get the bonus).

I was hoping to get the PS4 last time, but dh got all weird about it. But right now he seems to be in a PS4 mood. Will see when it arrives. I just want to get the PS4 paid for with free money. It will be a good purchase to go with our planned projector upgrade (any month now).

My plan is to just charge up $2,000 health insurance like the day I get the card. So I can cancel it ASAP to get the $99 annual fee refunded.

--------------------------------------------------

Rewards Update! Surpassing $3,000!

2014 TALLY:

$200 Cash (Citi card, Moi)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Moi)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)
-----------
$1850 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$550 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance & misc. spending)**

+$450 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)**

+$ 75 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)**

+$ 75 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)**

**Estimates for the whole year

Grand Total = $3,000

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***

Citi Rewards

September 23rd, 2014 at 06:40 am

I redeemed my $200 Citi cash late last week and it already arrived in the mail! Woohoo!

It's already been deposited to my bank account. I will throw it at the mortgage with the monthly mortgage payment (next payday).

I had just enough points leftover to redeem a USB flash drive, 16GB. I am fine and happy with the 8GB (another free drive?) that I put in my car, but for the long run it will be nice to have more space. Plus, BM needed a flash drive for school. I will give him the smaller one. (Doesn't that sound kind of archaic? My dh was not encouraging that route due to viruses and such. Surprised they can't just do it all online. I am sure dh will get it figured out, but we have the drive if it is a true need).

This puts us on track to earn $2,500+ of cash rewards this calendar year. Several of those rewards were "iffy," but they all came to fruition. Phew!

$2500

August 17th, 2014 at 07:15 am

Rewards Update! Surpassing $2500. What a year!

2014 TALLY:

$200 Cash (Citi card, Moi)
$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)
-----------
$1350 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$550 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back)**

+$450 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)**

+$ 85 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)**

+$ 75 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)**

**Estimates for the whole year

Grand Total = $2,510

**CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending. I can 100% honestly say I did not charge anything that I wouldn't have just paid for in cash otherwise.**

Woohoo!

July 29th, 2014 at 01:05 pm

Woohoo! I finally got the $200 bonus for dh's Chase checking. Phew! I set up another ach transfer from a less popular financial institution, but when I checked to see if the transfer had come through the $200 bonus was already pending. (I wasn't expecting that!) So, maybe it worked the first time. (Though that was well over 10 business days!). Or maybe they just deposited the $200 when they saw the transfer coming through. I don't know, but it did work without a real "direct deposit".


2014 TALLY:

$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)
-----------
$1150 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Notice that these are ALL Chase rewards? Yeesh!

---------------------------------------------------

So BM survived his backpacking trip. We ended up spending about $350 on backpacking gear. I am relieved to get the $200 bonus as I will throw that at the gear.

I would like to say that I was depositing all these rewards to our mortgage or investments, but I think it *all* got spent. Just one of those years. We happened to have a couple of things break just as we got the rewards. IF not for this bonus, I'd pay for the gear out of the vacation fund. But, if I can leave the vacation fund robust it gives us more options for the rest of the year. We leave for the beach next week and I will definitely relax more and not worry about how much we are spending.

It is what it is. Always easier for us to splurge extra money or "Free money". I am certainly glad to have it!

Rewards Update

July 8th, 2014 at 06:29 am

2014 TALLY:

$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$250 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh) - ?????
-----------
$1150 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$550 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back)**

+$450 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)**

+$ 85 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)**

+$ 75 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)**

**Estimates for the whole year

Grand Total = $2,310

BUT, I still don't know if dh will be able to get the Chase Checking reward. So I put "?????" next to that one.

Avalanche Month

June 10th, 2014 at 06:54 am

I am waiting on a $500 reward (Still crossing my fingers if this double dip will work).

I am waiting on a $200 reward.

Both of those are dh's and a little iffy. Technically we don't qualify but so many people online said this or that worked that we gave it a go.

I qualified for a focus group. It's been YEARS - I don't remember the last one I did. $85 for 2 hours. It's the day we get back from camp. We should get back pretty early and its a paid vacation day for me. So I figured I might as well get double paid. The focus group is in the late afternoon.

More Credit Card Reward Ideas

June 3rd, 2014 at 06:50 am

I saw this today which was interesting:

Open a Bank Account With a Credit Card

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/06/03/fund-a-bank-account...

I saw this trick mentioned in regards to the HFCU 6% CD deal, but was too chicken to try this. Did NOT want to get stuck with a cash advance fee. It was the first time I had ever heard of opening a bank account with a credit card charge.

This post gets further into which banks accept credit cards to open accounts, and how most do not classify these as cash advances. But, if you are still a little wary, you can ask your credit card holder to set your cash advance limit to $0. So basically the transaction won't go through if it is considered a cash advance.

We have enough medical bills that I doubt we will ever do this (not scrounging for ideas to charge up credit cards). BUT, if I saw this article first, I would have opened up my last bank account with a credit card. At the least, it would have been worth $40 cash back to do so.

More Snowballs

May 31st, 2014 at 07:27 am

I figured I better do a 2014 credit card reward tally because a lot of little things are starting to add up.

In the past I labeled this category "credit card rewards" because I had never done any "checking account rewards". But, I have been getting more "easy peasy" bank account rewards in the past couple of years. I suppose I could rename this category to "credit card and bank rewards".

I am going to do the Chase Freedom card offer. I have not done that one before.

2014 TALLY:

$500 Amazon gift cards (SW Chase double dip, Dh)
$225 Cash (Chase Freedom, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Moi)
$200 Cash (Chase Checking, Dh)
-----------
$1125 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$550 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back)**

+$450 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)**

+$ 85 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)**

+$ 75 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities)**

**Estimates for the whole year

Unfortunately, all of dh's rewards are kind of up in the air. The SW Chase double dip is not a guarantee and we don't have any direct deposits for his Chase checking offer, but I am trying to get around that. So fingers crossed on one or both of those.

---------------------------------------------------

For May, I had $50 rewards deposited directly into my ROTH and $25 rewards deposited into our investments (ongoing rewards).

American Express Blue card shorted our rewards as they ALWAYS do. I am keeping an eye out for another rewards card to replace this one. They make it a huge hassle to even complain about it, which just adds to my frustration about this card.


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