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2015 Rewards Final Tally

January 3rd, 2016 at 12:37 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)

+$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 01:44 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)

+$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 05:10 pm

**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 03:20 pm

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 2nd, 2015 at 03:10 am

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 06:38 pm

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 07:57 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 03:23 pm

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 01:53 pm

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)

-----------
$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 04:29 pm

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 12:56 pm

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 04:35 pm

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 01:40 pm

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 02:15 pm

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 08:05 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 01:29 pm

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 01:54 pm

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 01:50 pm

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 02:27 pm

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.

Some Snowballs

May 29th, 2014 at 01:48 pm

**I received $200 from opening a Chase checking account. I already transferred that into my savings account.

**While checking dh's Southwest Chase card I saw that he was getting an online offer (to apply online) for a Chase checking account for $200 bonus. (I had scoured his spam when I got my offer; he didn't get the same offer I did).

The catch? This one is a direct deposit offer. I am printing it out and setting it aside. I saw enough stories of success with bank account transfers (in lieu of paycheck direct deposits, which is what the fine print says it should be), that we may give this one a whirl. Worst case, he doesn't get the bonus and we just close the account after a few days. Not a lot of effort to try.

Will probably just save or invest this $200.

**We need to spend $2,000 on the Southwest Chase, with hopes of being able to double dip for a $500 reward.

I already charged $950 for health insurance and yearbooks. (I try to avoid small charges on these things - less to keep track of. But, the yearbook was an unexpected expense and so I figured, "what the heck". Since I know we will get to $2k quickly).

I have a $800 charge to bill for work that will be reimbursed. So, that just leaves about $250 to come up with. I will probably just prepay some health insurance and be done with it.

**I got my 6% CD set up finally at HFCU. Like I can actually access my acounts and transfer money. It was really a PITA. I think they got overwhelmed by the number of new customers they attracted.

All of the above makes me really appreciate our local credit union. It is the best of all worlds. Way ahead of its time (have always had online bill pay and online deposits and yadda yadda, long before the big banks were able to implement for their bigger customer base). My CU's website is so intuitive and easy to use. Customer service is A+. HFCU was just kind of a mess and I was starting to regret opening the account. Maybe more of the credit union stereotype? But, now it's squared away. & as to Chase? I could only internally roll my eyes as they went over all their fees when I had to sign up in person.

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

Ting Update:

With my new phone I accidentally used a big pile of data (due to some settings on the new phone). This added $7 to our bill and $3.50 to our half. I guess we will survive. Wink

Of course, the family was filled with crazy medical drama this month and I have been using minutes more than usual with my car upgraded with bluetooth. I saw my parents last weekend and told them no big deal, but if they didn't need to make calls to just cool it for the next few days. (Mostly didn't want to pay $9 for the entire tier for going over just a few minutes). But if not, whatever. But we are all four savers by nature and so we made it through. (I think this would be hard to do with different personality types, but we all cared enough to remember and to not make unnecessary calls).

In the end, we didn't go over our usual minute usage. Total bill will be around $60. $30 for our half. Not bad for a high volume minutes and data month. Ironically, this is like the first bill that we actually have to pay. By far the biggest one we have had. (We only paid $10 for the entire first 6 months). I do have a couple of referrals in the works, so will see. Maybe next month will be free.

6% Interest Deal

May 8th, 2014 at 01:30 pm

Well, I am well on my way to tripling our bank interest this year. Without any credit card rewards. Literally, just talking bank interest.

**Chase

I got a direct mail offer form Chase, that I have yet to redeem. I will probably do it this weekend. (The offer expires in July. All I have to do is open an account and I will get $200 in 10 days. The kind of offers they sell on Ebay. Fine print is I have to keep $1500 in the account for 6 months to avoid any fees and to keep the bonus. That works out to a 26% interest rate on my $1500 for 6 months. I will take it!)

So, that *doubles* the bank interest income I expect to receive this year.

**Hanscom Federal Credit Union

This one is a little more complicated, but the timing is kind of perfect for me.

The details are at My Money Blog:

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/hansom-federal-cu-thrive-review.h...

Check out the referral link and read his blog post. He did a fine job summing it up.

The short explanation is that this CU is offering 6% interest for 12 months. It's called a Thrive account. It is kind of like a C.D. The max you can put into this account is $500 per month.

You need to open a savings account and keep $25 in the account to be a CU member. You need to open a checking account and keep $1 in that account, because you have to fund the Thrive account with the checking account. You can then transfer up to $500/month into the Thrive account. No minimums in the Thrive account, but there is a penalty for withdrawals. These are basically no-fee accounts.

There is a $30 sign up bonus if you use a referral. On the flip side, if you don't qualify otherwise, you have to pay $35 to join some organization, to qualify as a CU member. But these two pretty much offset. & you can potentially earn additional $30 referrals.

The interest earned on the Thrive account will be in the realm of $3,000 x 6%. Around $180 total interest. Since you have to fund it slowly throughout the year. This in effect *triples* my total bank interest for the next 12 months.

At the end of 12 months, the Thrive account is swept into your savings account, I believe, and you will get a renewal notice about interest rate. Which is otherwise about 3% right now. You then start over at $0.

If I had any doubts about the PITA factor of this account, there was an extra bonus for me. My kids have a 7% interest account that cap out at a $500 balance. My elder child is well on the way to $500. SO... I figure in one year if the interest rate on this account reverts to 3% or so, it would be an excellent place to save up kids' money. & heck, 3% isn't a bad deal for myself either. But yeah, I expect it to be a long while before the kids have $6,000 ($500 x 12). So, it might be a good place just to pool some of their savings and track it in excel or something like that.

{My kids have been REALLY motivated by the higher interest rate, but are well aware they won't earn much, anywhere, after they hit the $500 cap. So, I think this will help motivate them to keep saving}.

Minors (over age 8) can also open these Thrive accounts. I didn't look into those details.

I wish I had my referral code to share, but I don't think I will receive it before this promo ends. 6% Promo ends Saturday.

March Snowflakes + Ting + Carpool

April 7th, 2014 at 07:55 pm

**Earned $25 credit card reward (will add to next mortgage payment).

**Earned $50 credit card reward - deposited directly into ROTH.

**American Express did mess up my rewards *AGAIN*. As they do each and every month.

BUT, I also had a mystery $25 show up in my account. ??? Never got around to complaining. So it was really and truly a mysterious $25. I just noticed my rewards balance was higher and I could redeem another $25. I even checked my spam folder to make sure I didn't miss any e-mails about a bonus reward.

So, how is that for random?

**Mortgage snowflakes totaled $85 for March:

--$25 credit card reward
--$25 mystery credit card reward
--$20 carpool savings
--$15 Internet savings
--Total $85

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

I will share my Ting referral code again because I am desperate for one more month free. Big Grin

https://z181d126bt4.ting.com

We did get our March bill. My dad was traveling a lot (lots of minutes and data) and has nothing but travel plans the rest of the year. But we stayed at $53 for our combined bill. $26.50 for our half. I think that is mostly what it is going to be for the rest of the year.

We will probably owe $25-ish cash for April usage (for entire family). As our credits will be all used up with the next bill. So, if I can get one more referral, it will officially make our service *free* for the first 5 whole months.

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

Our carpool is defunct because our carpool buddies divorced and returned to work full-time.

I've been eking out the $20 carpool savings anyway, for the mortgage, but I think I will stop adding that $20 this month. I think I just had the wiggle room since we have been paying nothing for cell service. Though of course I will just switch to throwing cell phone savings at the mortgage. As a placeholder for that bill. (The first few months were breaking even with contract termination fees and new phone purchase, but we are past that now).

It's just a couple of more months, and then next year will be a new year to figure out. I am overall pleased with the wear and tear and gas we saved this year already. For the most part we rarely picked up the kids by car the first 75% of the school year. So having to pick them up all the time the last part of the school year, is okay. Not very many weeks left.

Nice Weekend & Snowflakes

February 2nd, 2014 at 04:30 pm



Another gorgeous weekend in San Francisco. WOW!

I met up with my bff since we couldn't mesh our schedules last weekend. We had lunch and drinks with a beach view. The time went too fast.

We actually had some rain last week and might get more this week. Phew! (Not enough, but it is something).

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

**I redeemed $25 credit card reward and added to mortgage payment. Also added $20 for carpool savings and $15 for internet savings. Total $60 snowflake for 2/28 mortgage payment. I will pay it at the end of the month.

I also expect a $200-ish insurance rebate (we get every February) so will add that to the mortgage payment as well.

**I updated side bar for total January interest received. No other savings this month since it was only a one-paycheck month.

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

I think we pulled off a no-spend weekend. We went down to Bay Area for FIL's birthday. The car already had a pretty full tank (filled up when we got home last weekend). I spent money on lunch, but MIL slipped us a $50 gas card when we left. She often gave us cash when gas prices were very high and we were dealing with dh's medical problems and so on. BUT, it has been a long time. Not expected in the slightest.

So, if I spent about $20 on lunch, and I got $50, then it nets out to a profit. FIL took dh and the kids to the movies while I had my girl time.

I wasn't expecting to make out so well this weekend. Was just expecting to spend.

It's carpet cleaning weekend at work. I should probably work from home. I should probably do some errands. But, I think I will torture myself by doing nothing. Will mean a crazier schedule next week, but am looking forward to a breather before things get REALLY crazy. Maybe if I relax all day I can work up to a little shopping tonight. I have $90 in Kohls gift cards, and only need some nice pants (my work pants are getting pretty worn from so much wear). So, not expecting to spend any actual cash or to use up all my gift cards.

Credit Card Rewards Update

December 29th, 2013 at 04:28 pm

I updated the numbers below. I will still have to tweak a few numbers as statements come in.

I did also add the $75 we earned from the AmEx Amazon deal.

If I add the Cap One ($152 savings bonus) I added this year, the grand total is $2,775 for the year. VERY close to last year's number. The Cap One wasn't a credit card, but it was really the same difference (but easier, since I only had to open the account and do nothing else). I won't officially include it in my totals because it was not tax-free. But for all intents and purposes I think it belongs in the same category.

{I don't have direct deposit and don't like/trust debit cards so have never been able to do any other checking account or savings account type bonus. I know there are ways around direct deposit rules, but then it is often "at your own risk" and seems like way more work than it is worth. May be re-evaluated in the future, if credit cards dry up. Since Cap One had no direct deposit or debit hoops to jump through, it was *super easy*}.



2013 TALLY:

$580 cash (Chase Sapphire triple dip moi)*
$430 cash (Chase Sapphire triple dip dh)*
$250 cash Citi (dh double dip? Triple dip?)
-----------
$1260 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$ 525 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back)
+$ 25 cash back Fidelity Am Ex (bonus for some alternating category?)

+$475 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$ 75 American Express Rewards ($25 x 3 cards)

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

+$ 178 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities; had 2% reward for a couple of months this year - woohoo!)
----------------------------
=$2623 Total CC REWARDS 2013
----------------------------

*triple dips = rewards redeemed for the third time. We redeemed once every 12 months or so.

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

Total 3 Years = $9,569
**Tax-Free Income!!**

Caveat: I don't recommend using credit cards at all unless you have the discipline to pay them off 100% within grace period. I have never in my life paid a fee or any interest to a credit card company. I don't think it's a big deal if you don't spend money that you don't have and therefore pay off the balance each and every month. This strategy has worked fine for me for full two decades.

2013 Credit Card Reward Estimate + Other Income

December 5th, 2013 at 02:05 pm

2013 TALLY:

$580 cash (Chase Sapphire triple dip moi)*
$430 cash (Chase Sapphire triple dip dh)*
$250 cash Citi (dh double dip? Triple dip?)
-----------
$1260 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

+$ 525 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back)
+$ 25 cash back Fidelity Am Ex (bonus for some alternating category?)

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

+$ 75 American Express Rewards ($25 x 3 cards)

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

+$ 178 Visa Rewards (1% cash back - for places that don't take AmEx - primarily dentist/insurance/utilities; had 2% reward for a couple of months this year - woohoo!)
----------------------------
=$2598 Total CC REWARDS 2013
----------------------------

*triple dips = rewards redeemed for the third time. We redeemed once every 12 months or so.

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,598

Total 3 Years = $9,544
**Tax-Free Income!!**

Caveat: I don't recommend using credit cards at all unless you have the discipline to pay them off 100% within grace period. I have never in my life paid a fee or any interest to a credit card company. I don't think it's a big deal if you don't spend money that you don't have and therefore pay off the balance each and every month. This strategy has worked fine for me for full two decades.

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

Other income this year:

$152 Capital One Savings Bonus
$500 Focus Groups (all dh - just a lucky year!!)
$300 Grandma paid me to do her taxes (kind of a gift really)
$220 Amazon sales/Craigslist Sales/Rebates
------
$1,172
------

In addition, I earned $7,000 overtime.

Grand total of side income = $10,692

Chase $550 Bonus

November 21st, 2013 at 04:56 am

Yes, of course Chase upped their bonus considerably right after dh applied!

But, I kind of figured that would happen and I am up for a double dip or a triple dip myself (I don't remember off the top of my head). & we can also always ask them to match the offer on the card we just applied for.

Anyway, here is the 55,000 bonus I just stumbled across today:

http://www.creditcardwatcher.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-ca...

I already applied.

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

Dh's total bonus will be $430, and mine should be $580, for a total of $1,010. The reward is CASH.

I am going the "super lazy" route:

For one, I don't think I will bother to ask them to match on dh's card.

Secondarily, I have to come up with $6,000 to spend in the next 3 months for both of these cards. It's not really a big deal because gas + groceries + health insurance is about $2k per month for us. So, we could charge anything and everything and make it work. BUT, that is a lot of accounting on my part.

I've already got dh's $3,000 spent, so the easiest way to do mine is to charge our property taxes. We will pay a $50-ish fee to do so, but this will be infinitely easier in the grand scheme of things. That is one charge versus an entire month of charges to track on some random card we will only keep for a few months. Anything more than that is too complicated for my sensibilities.

So, this is what we did:

--Charged $140-ish to AAA this month.

--Dh's card closes next week (billing cycle closes) so after that I will charge November health insurance, December health insurance & home insurance and flood insurance.

This brings us about exactly to $3,000 (with the bulk of it due January 31). I already have every single one of those bills set to pay after next week.

My new Chase Sapphire Card:

--Charge Property taxes $2,000
--I will probably pre-pay January's health insurance. Or just charge it in January since it is well within 3 months.

--Dh will have to do one small charge for the extra 5,000 points. Hopefully something really small.

& that is how we will spend $6,000 in like one month, so we can get these rewards in hand ASAP.

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

Rewards Spending:

--$400-ish is going to dh's new phone (why I applied for the other Chase card in the first place).

--I still owe $350 for BM's field trip for this year so will just knock that out.

--Leaves about $200-ish after the property tax fee. Might just use that to shore up our beach weekend. I didn't pay the entire hotel yet, and will have the kitty hotel. & eating out always adds up so quickly (since we are so used to such cheap home cooking).

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

While I am doing a credit card reward post...

Progress on our ongoing credit card rewards:

--Will earn about $600 this year from Fidelity AmEx (Deposited to ROTHs)

--Will earn about $500 with our gas/groceries reward card (has all gone to mortgage)

--Earned $160 on our CU visa (we racked up a lot of charges last month because they had a 2% cash back promotion - I don't get this reward until January - it accumulates all year and we usually don't use this card much - will probably throw the $160-ish at the mortgage when I receive it).

--I looked and we saved $80 at Target this year. Once I get the year-end total I will throw this sum at the mortgage. At 5% back this works out to about $1600 purchases. The bulk of that is groceries.

The credit card reward grand total is going to be close to $2600 this year.

Nexus 5, Ting, Updates

November 10th, 2013 at 11:16 pm

**Dh and I had a nice lunch date last week. It had been a while, for whatever reason. Maybe just busy busy busy dealing with life.

We had a coupon so spent a whopping $11. I had leftovers for dinner the same night.

We had gotten the coupon at the last school fundraiser. We also scored an hour of free bowling and $20 in arcade credits (at bowling alley). That will be something we should go do Thanksgiving week.

**That reminds me, I did get our post Thanksgiving vacation booked.



After one heck of a year and more than one ruined vacation, I am a little wary. BUT, since my birthday fell on that weekend it sealed the deal for just going. We went last year and had the entire hotel mostly to ourselves. IT was DIVINE. I figure this year we will get rained out or a flat tire or something. But, will try!! Trying to be positive.

**So, how about that Nexus 5?

It's a $400-ish non-contract phone that works with most cell carriers.

I don't know if dh would care so much, but his phone broke and he really HATES the one that he is making do with.

So yeah, he is all over it!! Which is making me think this broken phone thing was a blessing in disguise.

Because... He is ready to switch to Ting!

Last we ran the numbers it just wasn't working, but I think it was mostly because he didn't want to. We were probably assuming all new phones, and higher prices of phones. So, this Nexus 5 changes things dramatically. In addition, if we switch now, the rest of us can just keep our current phones (barely 18 months old, so no need or wish to upgrade).

One final point - we weren't quite sure on data usage before we tried out our latest cell phone plan. BUT, since the sprint network sucks so much our data usage has been pretty small. Our current actual usage puts us around $30/month for two phones. (Before taxes and fees). I would expect we will use more data with time, and so did not factor this low usage in our past calculations. (Which is fine - even if we quadruple our data we will still be saving a ton on the monthly bill).

We are on a family plan with my folks and are all on the same page. If we stick with Sprint at all, might as well just go to Ting and pay half as much for the same crappy coverage. Either that, or let's just splurge on Verizon and actually get decent cell service.

But the Nexus 5 does not carry to Verizon. So, that seals the deal. Dh's love for the phone and kicking the big guys (and contract BS) to the curb is trumping all else. Plus, maybe he is a sucker. We are supposed to get 4G any day now. (So they have said for the entire past 18 months). I am just relieved he is willing to wait it out.

I would not be surprised if we eventually end up with Verizon, but am happy to save money in the interim. Environmentally, we are really opposed to upgrading all our phones just to switch carriers again.

Anyway THANK YOU to the SA Ting guniea pigs. I really appreciate it. It's an easier choice having heard so much good things about it.

I will have to do a numbers post later. We are terminating our contract 5 months early, so somewhere around December 1, or maybe a little later - depends when we get dh's new phone. Though since there are no activation fees, I am pushing to just switch December 1. He can sort out the new phone later. Anyway, Ting will pay 25% of our termination fees, so that is cool. We will still come out ahead regardless, terminating early and cutting our monthly bill for those 5 months.

**One final thing. That new phone is not going to cost me a penny. I was waiting for the Chase Sapphire card to bump back up to a $500 reward again (I think it was $500 earlier this year??). But, I give up. The $400 reward came to mind as a great way to pay for this phone. So I already applied, and I have enough insurance bills due to hit the $3,000 spending requirement by 12/31. I hope to get that $430-ish reward check by the end of the year.

Holy Cow

July 12th, 2013 at 04:04 am

**Dh saved a phones message for me today. He said, "Tell me what you hear." Not very clear, but sounded like a focus group offering $700.

Holy Cow!?!

They ruled out dh immediately because he just did that big $400-ish study a couple of months back. (Which I thought was the Holy Grail of focus groups, at the time).

Dh asked if I should call back later, but they said it was for 3 whole week days. I should probably call back and find out more details. As is, it was probably the only 3 week days in the entire next 3 months or so that just don't work for me. FIGURES!!

I don't even know if dh or I would have qualified otherwise, either. IT's probably easy to assume not.

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

I saw an interesting point of view that I don't think I thought of before. I saw someone in another forum mention that they had made enough in credit card rewards (in one lifetime) to pay for their last car purchase.

!!!!

I suppose I have done the same...

It's a huge sum and I am aware, but I just never thought of it in exactly those terms. Next time someone bothers me about how we can afford having two cars, I should throw that out there. "Paid for by credit cards." Not quite in the way that sounds. Wink

My LIFETIME credit card rewards? Heck if I know. I've had a rewards credit card for almost 20 years?

Rough and dirty estimate:

$1,000 2013
$7,000 2011 & 2012
$5,000 2006-2010
$1,000 All years prior
-------
$14,000 LIFETIME TOTAL
-------

Yup, that more than paid for my current vehicle!!

I just recall credit card rewards ramping up and doing well in the years since I had this blog. Earning $1,000-ish per year. & I have hard figures in this blog for the past two years (which were totally insane). I really don't remember racking up a ton of rewards before that and don't have the records. I am sure I am probably under-estimating though as I remember having 1% cash back. Then again, we didn't charge anything and everything like we do now. Maybe $1,000 is about right, for all the years prior. If there were better rewards to be had, I didn't know and/or I wasn't spending enough to get them. As far as 2013, the year is young.

I have to go wrap my brain around this now. WOW!!

Disclaimer: I have never paid a penalty or a cent of interest to any credit card company. My reward calculations are net of any "annual fees" that I have paid to earn rewards. IF you can't easily beat the credit card companies at their own game, then I wouldn't bother trying. Something like 90% of the population fails. Unfortunately, I understand that sharing my successes might sound like a credit card commercial. If this sounds like a good idea, proceed with extreme caution.

More Snowflakes

May 3rd, 2013 at 05:13 pm

**Redeemed $25 credit card reward (cash) and so added $25 to next mortgage payment.

I changed the due date of groceries/gas card so that I Can charge/pay easier on a calendar month basis. I believe there was a $5 charge between closing date and the 30th, and I decided to just pay that next month. *shrugs* It doesn't really matter either way.

I should do the same with my other credit card. I kind of like the later due date. But it's not due late enough for me to consider paying with the next payday, so it probably makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. I have to pay it off well before payday, regardless. I think it would make life easier. I should just shoot them an e-mail while I am thinking about it.

I got this idea because my Visa just happens to close around the 25th of the month. I always pay off the charges from 1/1-1/30 or 1/1 - 1/31, on a monthly basis. So it was this aha moment that I could still pay off the monthly charges even if all the charges don't make the statement cutoff. This makes calendar month credit card managing infinitely easier.

The credit card companies tend to process this request by "due date." So I have to ask for an "earlier due date." I don't imagine they get that kind of request very often. Big Grin

**Tomorrow I should be able to redeem $50 credit card reward to my ROTH.

**Next week dh has a $120 focus group. In fact, today I think he was doing a follow up to last focus group (online?) for $50.

**Craigslist sales are not going well, but I am happy to donate that which we can not sell.

**I'd really like to take some time to declutter around the house. I don't expect there is much we can sell. We are way too efficient for that. Big Grin But I think there is probably some junk we can get rid of. {Who knows - will see what I find}. Dh has got a bit of the declutter bug, which is motivating me to do another run-through of my own crap. With the changing weather and nearing summer birthdays, is probably also about time for a clothing and toy purge for the kids.

This weekend maybe I should just focus on the kitchen. We should get our tupperware delivered today and there are some cabinets in the kitchen we should probably go through.

It's only the past year or so we have talked very seriously about downsizing back to a condo once the kids are grown. So I think I am going to hit the de-cluttering with that mindset, this time. From here on out, I'd like to be ready pick up and move to a condo. Tomorrow. If that is what we so choose. It's a different decluttering mindset than I had before. More extreme, I guess. Before I felt a little bit of, "Meh, we have room for all this crap, so whatever." (Actually, I think my mindset before was, "We have way less crap than everyone else," but I don't think that is good enough).

Rewards Update

February 7th, 2013 at 02:14 am

**The upside to the spendy January is I was able to redeem another $50 credit card rewards to my ROTH. Don't expect to do that too often this year. This card mostly pays for Health Insurance, some utilities, and miscellaneous. (Might average $50 every other month, for most the year).

My parking ticket contributed $1.20 to this bounty. I can look on the bright side.

**Right after I last posted, I got an e-mail that my new AmEx bill was ready. I marveled how it was only $500 when I realized it closed on the 4th as I had originally asked. ??? I am not sure if this is the new closing date - my online login says it isn't. But it's a little too coincidental, so maybe it is. Will save me an e-mail. !!

Thank goodness, because I still squeaked by about how I thought we would. I don't think we bought anything this week, so not like it helped me much to close early. BUT very happy to have all the credit cards on a calendar month. The 4-card system is MUCH easier than it sounds. But it is a must that they all just be on a calendar month. Then I pay the little ones off the first of the month and the bigger ones the middle of the month. It just works; not much to think about. Easier than I Expected. This one card is new and they would only move up the date a few days at a time - I figured I'd get it straightened out eventually.

This month they are all BIG, except Target was only $100 for Groceries. The new AmEx actually was small enough at $500 - I may just pay it this week. Gas/Groceries for 3 weeks or so. The visa had all sorts of insurance, school lunch for 6 months, so was large. Usually it is only $200 for some utilities.

**Out of ALL The credit card rewards I have done, this AmEx Blue is the only one that makes you wait a full extra cycle to calculate and redeem rewards. So I need to go through and double check their calculations. Is not a big deal with Quicken - I just pull a report and check their gas and groceries category matches my records.

Since I had asked them to move up the cycle a few days, they gave me a two month cycle to do so. SO, I *finally* got about $75 rewards with this last statement. Rewards I earned in Nov. and Dec. I can not redeem quite yet, but hoping tomorrow.

I haven't given it *any* thought. The other AmEx rewards go to the ROTH because that is the only way I can redeem that reward. SO, I am thinking of just automatically putting all these rewards to my mortgage. In fact, I should also match the ROTH rewards into the mortgage. It's not like we need these to max out our ROTHs - will do it anyway. But this may be a solid $800 extra to our mortgage this year, if I match the other AmEx rewards into the mortgage.

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As for one-time rewards, haven't seen anything terribly enticing, and giving the credit a bit of a break.

Reminds me, I don't know what the heck list dh got on. We got some weird "Borrow $6,000" offer that looked payday loan-ish. Never got an offer like that before???

& I swear Citi has been sending him a 0% balance transfer offer every single freaking day. They still hate me. I could double dip on the Citi, but they so did not seem to want my business last time, and never send me any good offers. No idea how I got on their bad list, and how dh got on their good list. So, I have been kind of saving that double dip for WAY last. But anyway, I don't know what their angle is. If they send this balance offer 20 times in one month, we will cave and say yes? We have no balances to transfer, so besides looking closer the first one or two or three times to see if there was any other rewards offer, it just goes immediately to the shred pile.


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