Saturday, January 25, 2014

Checking Account Bonus Rewards

Recently I received two similar offers in the mail to receive a cash bonus for opening a new checking account with that company.  I've seen these before, and generally I don't partake because it requires too much money or many requirements like direct deposit that take a lot of hassle, but these were different.  They had a small minimum opening deposit required and nothing else.  Naturally, this caught my attention.

The first:

Discover Banking
All that was needed was a minimum deposit of $25.  On 3/14/2014 a bonus of $50 will be deposited.  There are no monthly fees.  Easy.  I wait 3 months to triple my money.

This offer has already expired but check their website frequently for similar offers.

The second:

Chase Checking 
With a minimum deposit of $100 they will give you $125.  Now this one's not quite as simple as the Discover one.  They deposit the $125 as soon as you put $100 in but the fine print states that if you close the account within 6 months of opening it, you forfeit the bonus.  So this means I have to leave the account open for 6 months to really secure the bonus.  The also have a monthly fee of $10, so after the six months, my profit will only be $65 but it's still free money!

You can take advantage of this offer still until March 31.  Go here:

So if you get offers like these, don't just toss them.  You may be able to easily qualify and get some free money!  I'm not going to keep these accounts.  Once I have fulfilled all the requirements to get the money and retain it, I will close them.  This is especially important for the Chase account since there is a monthly fee involved.

Important things to look at (this means reading that tiny print):
  • How much money is required as a deposit to get the bonus?
  • How long do I have to keep the account open to keep the bonus?
  • Are there other requirements to maintain an open account and/or get the bonus?
  • Is there a monthly fee?  And if so, is it still worth opening the account with the bonus?

Then set a reminder on your phone for whenever you need to close the account and enjoy your free money!

I probably received these because I have credit cards with these companies so I'm already a trusted customer (see Make Money With Credit Cards).  If you have seen other companies with similar offers, feel free to mention them!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Disney Movie Rewards

My fiance and I went a couple weeks ago to the drive-in to see Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks.  What wonderful movies!  Anyway, I was also excited because it would be the first time I would get points for seeing a Disney movie through the Disney Movie Rewards program!  If you are a Disney lover, this is definitely a program you need to sign up for!

Disney Movie Rewards is a program through Disney that rewards you for all things Disney.  You earn points with purchases of eligible Disney products.  There are three categories where you can earn points: Bluray and DVD, CDs, and movie tickets.  And then these points can be redeemed for prizes.  They also have special offers and sweepstakes drawings.

As with any rewards program, do not be tricked by redeeming your points too early for a small prize.  Be patient and build up the points to get something really awesome.  The Disney Movie Rewards program has some great top prizes like airline gift cards and Disney experiences.

So if you're interested, sign up for free here:  Have a magical day!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Story of the Unobtainable TARDIS Dress

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a huge fan of the show Doctor Who.  My family has learned of this and I receive many Doctor Who gifts (I'm not complaining, keep them coming).  One such gift this year was a fabulous TARDIS dress from Hot Topic, pictured below.  (For non-Whovians, the TARDIS is the Doctor's time-traveling machine which stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space).

I loved the dress but I noticed they got me a size Medium which I would normally get a size Small.  "No big deal," I thought.  Usually a Medium is okay, otherwise I'll just exchange it for a Small, we have a Hot Topic in our mall.

It was a while until my fiance and I got around to going to the various stores where we had returns or exchanges to make and where we had gift cards to because of all the different events going on around the holidays.  But Jan 2 was finally a calm enough day.  I almost had forgotten to try the dress on to see if I needed to exchange it, but before we went out I tried it on and it was a tad baggy in the chest.

I get to Hot Topic to return my items (there were other things that I already had or didn't fit as well).  I wanted to check to see if they had a Small before I returned it because I thought if not, I could make it work because I really liked the dress.  But, of course, I forgot to do that and headed straight to the counter to begin my returns.

I told the checkout person that with that dress I wanted a Small and if he knew if they had any more.  He said he believed they didn't but he will check in the back for me.  (Keep in mind this was after it had already been returned.)

He checked in the back . . . . none left.

Okay.  "Can you check to see if another store in the area has one?"

He checked on the computer at the checkout . . . .

"It's not coming up with anything.  Let me check this other computer.  It works better."

He checks the other computer . . . .

"There's only one in Shasta and one in Chico."

"Great.  Can you have that sent to this store?"

"Ooooooo I hate to tell you this . . .  But they just stopped letting us do that . . .  yesterday."

"Oh."  WHAT?!!!!  Not only is it crazy that a lot of stores don't do that anymore, but my fiance and I were going to do this a couple days ago.  Grrrrrrrr.  Very frustrating.

"Do you want me to put one of them on hold and you can pick it up?"

"Haha.  I'm not that desperate for it."  They are roughly 2 to 3 hours away.  It's okay, I'm sure I can find it online.  "Can you see if it's online?"

"Sure."  He tries to check.  "Sorry the internet's not working."

I'm still hopeful.  Even if I can't get it on their website, I should be able to find it somewhere else online.  When we get home, I immediately look.  I can't find it on their website.  I'm getting pretty nervous now that I returned this dress I love and may not be able to get it again.  So I check my go to site, Amazon, they have everything.  Not there.  Starting to panic a little.

Well obviously this dress is only made by Hot Topic and therefor is hard to find other than through them directly.  Except one place, ebay.  I check out ebay.  I think I see it!  Yay!  Cool how much is it?  $60?!  WHAT?!

The original price for this dress was around $32.  If you could find one at Hot Topic right now, they are on sale for $13.  This is ridiculous.

I search the whole internet, nobody else has it for sale.

Well I reluctantly order the dress on ebay for $64.  That night, trying to go to sleep, I stay up pondering what I can do to offset the insane cost of a dress that was supposed to be a gift.  After a while, it finally came to me.  I will go back to the Hot Topic where I returned the original dress, and get that with the gift card I had and then resell that one on ebay for the high price.  Let's hope they still have it because this must be a really popular dress.

The next day I went back and luckily they still had it.  So now here's my ebay listing for the original dress.  I started it a little high, but it is a dress that there are very few left of, especially in a popular size like Medium, so why not?  Let's see if I can sell it that high.  After a week if it hasn't sold yet, I will probably lower it.  I'll update this post when it has sold. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

SodaStream: A Healthier (And Cheaper!) Way to Drink Soda

Happy New Year!  This week I'm going to talk about a product that I received for Christmas that I absolutely love!  It's the SodaStream.  My fiance and I were going to have this on our registry but my mom ended up getting it for us for Christmas instead.  If you're like us and drink a lot of soda, then this is definitely for you!

What SodaStream Is
SodaStream is a home soda maker machine.  SodaStream soda makers are fashionable, fun, sleek and easy to use!  Turn tap water into sparkling water in under 30 seconds, with no clean-up.  Fizz to your taste and add the flavor of your choice to make your favorite drink.  Simple to clean and reuse. 


Why I Like This Product:

 It's healthier!  My fiance and I were limiting our soda consumption because of health reasons.  We didn't like how much sugar we were consuming and how much unnatural sugar.  SodaStream lets you enjoy the great taste of soda while having less Calories, Carbs, Sugar, Sodium, and Caffeine with all their flavors!  They also have totally natural selections as well!

It's convenient!  I was getting tired of constantly going out to get drinks at 7eleven.  We like to vary our drink and hate that 2 liter sodas flatten out so quickly.  With SodaStream, you can have a variety of flavors to make whenever you need it.  And trust me, it's quick and easy to make.  You can even choose how much carbonation you want in it!

Calories Carbs Sugar Sodium Caffeine

Pepsi® 100 27g 27g 25mg 25mg
Coca-Cola® 100 27g 27g 35mg 23mg
Pepsi® Edge™ 50 13g 13g 25mg 25mg
Coca-Cola C2™ 45 12g 12g 30mg 23mg
Sodastream Cola 34 9g 9g 2mg 15mg
7-UP® 100 26g 26g 50mg 0mg
Sprite® 100 26g 26g 45mg 0mg
Sodastream Lemon Lime 36 9g 9g 25mg 0mg
All Sodastream sodamix uses a mixture of Splenda® and sugar, with the exception of diet flavors. Diet flavors are sugar-free. Most of our diet flavors are sweetened with Splenda® brand sweetener. Comparison is based on 8 fl. oz. serving size (0.34 fl. oz. of Sodastream Sodamix per 8 fl. oz. of water).

And . . . It's cheaper!  Since this blog is about saving money, the whole reason I made this post was because it can save you money.  Most SodaStream flavors are $4.99 that makes 12 liters worth of soda.  That's $0.42 a liter!  Yes there's a large initial investment to buy the machine, but it will definitely make up for it in the long run.

Interested in getting one?  Click here: SodaStream Fountain Jet Home Soda Maker Starter Kit, Black and Silver

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Returning and Regifting: A Guide to Making the Most Out of Your Gifts

It's a few days after Christmas and you've opened up all your gifts.  Most likely there are quite a few that you really like, but there are going to be a couple that you don't really care for, you already have, or they just aren't for you.  Now I'm going to approach a subject that gets much controversy . . . returning and regifting.  There are some people, like my fiance, who believe that no gift should be done away with, no matter how awful.  He feels it's rude because they put time and effort into choosing that gift and he also worries that they will ask about it in the future.  My thoughts are, that everybody wants their giftees to enjoy their gifts to the fullest, sometimes that means getting something else in its place.  What good is a gift if it just sits in the closet collecting dust?  I'd much rather do SOMETHING with it.  So here are some ideas:

This is simple.  If you know where the gift is from, simply return it.  You won't be able to get cash back for it because you don't have the original receipt but you can get store credit and just get something else for the same value.  If the gift doesn't expressly say on it what store it is from, you have to play the guessing game.  Look up the bar-code number online and see what stores sell it and if there aren't too many, give them a try.  You might get lucky.

If you can't figure out where the item came from or it doesn't have a very high value, consider giving it as a gift to somebody else.  For some reason, this area has even more of a negative view on it but I see it as the same.  Why not give it to somebody who will actually get use out of it?  (And it's a bonus that you don't have to spend money on that person.  Is that terribly rude?  idk)  Or, if the gift is particularly hideous, it could make a good gag or white elephant gift.  The perfect regifting item to me are those scented sets of lotions, gels, etc.  I'm not into those things that much but they do make great gifts for people you don't know all that well.

If you can't do either of those and you are determined to get rid of the gift, you can consider selling it.  Check out my post on selling your items here.

Selling Gift Cards
Now this is an unusual section.  Gift cards are great and they're usually something for people that don't know what to get you to be able for you to get something you really want.  But sometimes the gift cards you get are for stores you don't frequent or can't really get something you really need or want.  There are sites that buy gift cards from you for cash.  You can't get full face value, but if you really can't get anything at that store, that may still be worth more to you.  You don't want to buy something you don't want just to use up a gift card.  You can usually get 90% more of the value on the card.  Check out cardpool.

I hope this list helps and I also hope it didn't offend anybody.  The way I see it, for the gifts I give people, I don't mind them returning it because I want them to be able to enjoy something.  You wouldn't want to give somebody money and then have them just keep that money in the closet would you?  What are your thoughts on returning gifts?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wrapping Gifts and Throwing Money Away

As Christmas in in a couple days, most of us will be wrapping gifts.  Unfortunately, gift wrap can add on quite a few dollars to the cost of a gift.  So here's a couple suggestions to save money to be able to spend it on what's more important . . .  the gift!

The Dollar Store
I've said it before and I'll say it again.  The dollar store is a great place to buy all your present wrapping needs!  It's ridiculous the cost of wrapping paper at regular stores . . . it's paper for goodness sake, how much can it cost to make?!  And don't even get me started on the Hallmark store.  That place is like walking into an overpriced nightmare.  Why spend a lot of money on something that will just be ripped up and thrown away?  What else do I need to say?

Now I'm not going to tell you to reuse wrapping paper.  Nobody likes the person that carefully opens their gift and folds the paper neatly -- tear it up!  (It should be dollar paper so it doesn't matter!)

Gift bags on the other hand, now those can definitely be reused!  They're a double-edged sword because they're the easy way out and I don't think they look as cool, but sometimes it's necessary and I also love the fact that they can be reused for many years.

Tissue paper is something that most people don't think about reusing.  But in gift bags, there are often many pieces of tissue paper that go unharmed.  I just make sure there are no tears in them and then fold them up nicely.  You can even keep them with the bag they came in since they probably are a nice color match and then you already have it all ready to go!

You can usually get a clothing box with your purchase from the store for free, just add some ribbons to it.  These can also be reused if you receive some with your gifts!

Bows and ribbons can also be reused.  Fabric ribbons are great because they can be reused for many years.  But even the paper stick on bows can be used more than once.  If it isn't sticky anymore, just roll up a piece of scotch tape to stick it on!

Other Materials
Now I don't normally do this because I do like wrapping paper and gift bags, but especially if you have some eco-friendly people that you need to wrap gifts for, think about using other materials that you would normally be throwing out like newspaper and magazines.  I've also seen paper and plastic bags cleverly used.  If you quilt or do other sewing projects and have leftover pieces of fabric, this can be used to wrap gifts in.  Also, instead of using a gift bag, think about using something that can be used for other purposes afterwards like a jar or basket.  Get creative!  Let me know of any other neat ideas!