Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Free Oil Change . . . And Then Some

So it was about time to get my oil changed in my car.  As with most people, I hate shelling out money towards my car because cars are expensive and a necessary evil where I live.  BUT I told myself I would keep better care of my new car which helps save money in the long run.  Anyway, I searched the internet for deals to find the cheapest oil change around because you can't really screw that up.

I decided upon Meineke which had a great deal for an oil change and tire rotation for $29.99.  I was going to go on Friday, which is my day off, and since it was Valentine's day, I figured it wasn't very busy so I put it off until later on in the day to do wedding stuff on the internet.  Time flew away and it was getting close to 5:00, oh no!  But I checked and they closed at 6:00.  Good, that should be fine, an oil change doesn't take long.

I get there and it's packed.  The manager behind the desk asked if he could help me.  I said I wanted an oil change but it looked like they were a little busy.  He said, "Yes we're busy and we're about to close."  I asked about the other location and he called and said the same for them.

"Okay," I said as I was about to leave.  Oh well I'll try and go somewhere else or do it another day, my fault for waiting until the end of the day.  But before I could leave he said, "I'll tell you what I'll do."  He took out his card, flipped it over and started writing something.  "Give me a call tomorrow and we'll fit you in."

I figured he just wrote his name and number on it but when I checked as I was leaving, it said Free Basic Oil Change.  Wow.  He gave me a free oil change just because they were busy?  All right, I'll take it.

So a couple days later, I go in to redeem the coupon.  I said I also wanted my tires rotated and the clerk said that would be complementary too.  Okay fine, don't take my business.  I don't care.  I also asked if they could replace my right headlight bulb, I had tried myself but it was too difficult.  He said it was no problem.

A minute or two later he came back and said, "The technician says that Beetles' headlights are complicated in it will take a half hour of labor.  That's $70."  Yikes!  (At least I no longer felt like an idiot for not being able to replace it myself when the instructions seemed very simple)  Ugh I need it though.  "Alright."

"So that will be two hours then."  What?!  How would an extra half hour make the whole thing two hours?  Mind you I had an appointment but they were already behind.

"I can't do that," I said.  "I have to leave for work in an hour.  Just do the oil change."

As they were changing the oil, I called my normal mechanics.  I asked about the headlight and they said to drop by anytime.  "Does it take a while?" I asked.  "Nah just 10 to 15 minutes."  (They specialize in German cars.)

So the next day I dropped in to my mechanics to get the headlight replaced.  They did it quickly and I asked if they wanted anything for it and they said no.

HAH!  Oil change, tire rotation, and headlight bulb replacement (that was going to be $70) all for free!  And why?  No reason except I am a procrastinator.  Boom.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Make Money With Credit Cards, Part 2: My Favorite Cards

Because so many people are interested in my post, Make Money With Credit Cards, I decided to make a second part about my top 3 favorite credit cards.

#3: Discover

credit card
Signup Bonus: When I signed up for Discover, I had a special offer for a signup bonus which I can't really seem to find anywhere online.  This is part of why I ranked it at number three.  You may get a special offer in the mail if you've already signed up for a lot of cards, otherwise you won't get a signup bonus but it's still a good card.

Why I like it: It has a normal 1% cash back on most purchases but the thing I really like is each quarter there is a 5% cash back bonus on select categories.  I don't use this card for normal purchases, but I only use it in areas where I will get the 5% bonus.  Make sure you sign up each quarter for the new bonus!

Negatives: It's not as widely accepted as Visa.  It's gotten better over the years but there are still some places that don't accept it.

Sign up here:

#2: Chase Freedom

Signup Bonus: Right now if you sign up for a Chase Freedom card you can earn a $100 Bonus after you make just $500 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Why I Like It: This card is the same as Discover, 1% cash back on most purchases, and a special 5% cash back on special categories each quarter.

Sign up here:

**Update 12/2/14: Sign up with this link to get a $200 Bonus!  Signup before 12/18/14! 

$1: BankAmericard Cash Rewards

Signup Bonus: Online-exclusive $100 cash rewards bonus after making at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.

Why I Like It: This is the card I use for most of my purchases because it gives you more cash back in the areas where you do the most spending.  You earn 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas and 1% on everything else.  And, if you don't mind waiting, you get an extra $75 if you let your cash back accumulate to $300 before redeeming them.

Sing up here: 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Inexpensive Valentine's Day Ideas

So Valentine's is coming up, which means a lot of anxiety in the gift-giving and planning departments.  There can be a lot of pressure to make this day special which most people think takes a lot of money.  I am here to tell you that is not true at all!  Here are a few ideas:


This is something my fiance and I like to do a lot at the beach but it can also be done in a nice park.  They key to making it special is having a fun meal all ready to go.  My fiance says things like this are lame as a gift or date, but I say it's nice not to have to plan or prepare anything.  Fun food ideas are: cheese, salami, and crackers or bread; veggies; fruit; dip; and a fun drink like pink lemonade or sparkling juice.  And go to a nicer store like World Market or Whole Foods that has more unique flavors of things instead of name brands.

Unique Movie

This is something I talked about in my article, Cheap Ways to See Movies.  The drive-in, old movie house, or there might be special screenings on Valentine's in a square or other public area.  Do a search in your area, there are generally going to be romantic classics playing that night.

Make a Nice Meal at Home

One of the things that I loved about my fiance when we first started dating is that on Valentine's day, he cooked for me.  At 21 (and myself 19), it was very nice to see that the guy already knew his way around the kitchen.  But no matter what age, or what gender, cooking a nice meal that's different from your normal food habits makes the evening special.  Find a fun wine to go along with it that holds some significance.  My fiance and I found a wine called Sweet Pea which is his nickname for me.



What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Redeeming Rewards

I apologize for not posting last week, it was quite a busy weekend for me.  So to make up for it, I'm going to post two this weekend.

This week I redeemed two awesome things from two of the rewards programs I already talked about in this blog.  I was so happy to finally redeem something from them that I wanted to share it with everyone!

Bing Rewards

I finally reached my goal for a $5 Amazon Gift Card!  I signed up in the middle of December, so it took about a month and a half to earn $5.  Not too shabby.  And it will only get easier once I reach Gold status which I have a little way to go still.  But it's still exciting nonetheless!

For those of you who want to read more about the Bing Rewards program, check out my article: Bing Rewards.
 For those of you who still need to sign up, here's the link to sign up: Sign Up for Bing Rewards.

Disney Movie Rewards

I only just talked about this program a couple weeks ago and I have some very exciting news about my reward for this one . . . I got a $250 Delta Gift Card!  The rewards program was having a sale for the month of February that this reward was half the points (4175 instead of 8350)!  I was only a few hundred points shy of that so I finally went through my fiance's family's massive movie collection and was able to redeem enough points in a matter of moments! 

For those of you who want to read more about the Disney Movie Rewards program, check out my article: Disney Movie Rewards.

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.