Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recent shopping trips: CVS, Staples, Target

I use coupons to pay less for the things I need, so I have more money to spend on the things I want, like travel.


I spent $2.41 on these items and have $3 to use toward my next CVS purchase.

Why I shop there: CVS offers valuable ExtraCare Bucks (ECB) through its ExtraCare Rewards program. Basically, you get a coupon for X dollars off your next purchase when you buy certain advertised items. I roll the ECB from week to week to lower my out of pocket cost. I sometimes do multiple transactions in one shopping trip to roll rewards and minimize costs.

Transaction 1

Renu Sensitive--pay $7.99, get $4 ECB

Used $2 off manufacturer coupon--printed from coupons.com
Price: $5.99


Stayfree Ultra Thin--price $2.00

Used $2 off manufacturer coupon from newspaper
Price: Free!


(2) Milky Way bars--price $.50 each

Used $1 off 2 Milky Way manufacturer coupon--printed from coupons.com
Price: Free!


(2) Twix bars--price $.50 each

Used $1 off any 2 Mars candy bars from CVS Coupon Center (aka Magic Coupon Machine)
Price: Free!


Other coupons

Used $1 ECB from previous purchase
Used $3 ECB from email promo

Total (out of pocket): $2.15

Received $4 ECB


Transaction 2

Revlon Nail Polish--pay $4.99, get $3 ECB

Used $1 Revlon coupon from newspaper
Price: $3.99


(2) Milky Way bars--price $.50 each

Used $.75 off 2 Milky Way manufacturer coupon--printed from coupons.com
Price: $.13 each


Other coupons

Used $4 ECB from first transaction

Total (out of pocket): $.26

Received $3 EC

Total (out of pocket) for CVS: $2.41+ I have $3 in ECB for my next purchase.


I will make $4.02 after rebates on this transaction.
Why I shop there: This post explains why I like Staples. To sum up: free after rebate items can be a good way to meet a minimum spend for a credit card sign-up bonus, Easy Rebates that require no postage or cutting of UPCs and the potential to make money on a purchase when rebates are combined with coupons. Of course, they also have good deals on school and office supply products.

Week of 7/15

Titanium Antivirus Software $15.00
Bicmatic Grip Pencils $4.29
Staples Photo Paper $14.99

Used store coupon $5 off purchase of $30 or more
Used store coupon $15% off all software

Total: $29.26

Submitted the following Easy Rebates for $33.28
Titanium Antivirus Software $15.00
Bicmatic Grip Pencils $4.29
Staples Photo Paper $14.99 $13.99

Total after rebates: $4.02 moneymaker! 


Week of 7/22

Total after rebates: $.77
HP Photo Paper $9.99
Pentel RSVP Pens $4.00
Zebra #2 Pencils $4.00
(2) 8.5x11 Multipurpose Paper $6.99 each

Used store coupon $5 off purchase of $30 or more

Total: $29.20

Submitted the following Easy Rebates for $29.97
HP Photo Paper $9.99
Pentel RSVP Pens $4.00
Zebra #2 Pencils $4.00
(2) 8.5x11 Multipurpose Paper $5.99 each


Total after rebates: $.77


Total: $2.02

Why I shop there: You can “stack” their store coupons with manufacturer coupons. Many store coupons can be printed on Target's website. Target also gives you $.05 for each reusable bag you bring.

Comet Stainless Steel Cleanser—regular price $1.99

Used $1 off Target coupon—printed from coupons.com
Used $1 off manufacturer coupon— printed from coupons.com (doesn't have be to redeemed at Wal-mart)
Price: Free!

Up & Up (Target brand) Cotton Balls--regular price $.99

Used $.50 off Target coupon
Price: $.49

Up & Up Isopropyl Alcohol--regular price $1.24

Used $.75 off Target coupon
Price: $.49

(2) Up & Up Aluminum Foil 25 sq. ft.--regular price $.99 each

Used $1 off 2 Target coupon
Price: $.49 each

Total: $2.02

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Monday, July 30, 2012

More Priority Club points (and status!)

Back in June, I posted about my first mattress run at the Candlewood Suites (an IHG hotel). Shortly after the stay, I received 7,330 points, but I knew more were on the way. Well, all of the points I expected to receive finally posted and it looks like my one stay netted me a total of 17,330 points (the 3,000 other promotional points I received would have posted regardless of whether or not I had a "stay").

I'd say that's a pretty decent haul of points for just over $50 (room cost $131.06-$75 mail-in rebate), considering if you use the "cash and points" option to reserve a room, 10,000 points cost $70.

I've already got a booking in mind for these points, but I'm anxiously awaiting the next Point Breaks list to see if my hotel is on it. (Update 7/31: The new list was posted! Unfortunately, nothing I can use this time, but maybe next time.)

Since these new points bumped up to more than 20,000, I now have status! Not that it really means anything to me at this point.

It takes 15 nights OR 20,000 points to move up to the Gold Elite, which comes with additional benefits such as Priority Check-In and 10% bonus earning on top of base points. Of course, Platinum is where I'd really like to be (because it comes with complimentary upgrades), but I doubt I'll get there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Freebie Roundup: Relaxation Music, Raising Canes

Lots of freebies this week!

Free 60 minutes of Relaxation and Meditation music

Relaxation & Meditation (Exclusive Amazon Sampler Featuring 60 Minutes of Music for Relaxation, Meditation, Massage, Spa & Yoga)

Free $2 Amazon MP3 credit with Tweet

Expires at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on July 27, 2012.

Free $2 MP3 credit
1. Connect your Amazon.com and Twitter accounts. (If you are not already signed in, you will be prompted to do so). A window will pop up when you connect your Amazon.com and Twitter accounts for the first time. The window will provide some information about the permissions you're giving Amazon.com. Although these permissions allow us to post tweets for you, we will only post the following message once automatically after you click the button below: "I just got a $2 credit for music from @amazonmp3 and @imdb.
2. Automatically follow @amazonmp3 and @imdb.
3. A $2 credit towards purchases at Amazon MP3 will be automatically added to your Amazon account.
4. After completing these steps successfully, browse for music at Amazon MP3, and click the "Buy MP3 album" or "Buy MP3" button.
5. If at any time you would like to disconnect your Amazon.com and Twitter accounts, you can do so from the Applications tab of your settings page on Twitter.

Amazon has many 25-cent songs available, including this catchy hit We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe).

Free shredding at Staples

Up to 5 lbs.
July 29-August 4
No coupon required

Free Chicken Finger

Raising Cane’s is giving its customers one free chicken finger on Friday, July 27 (tomorrow!). Go to their Facebook page to print the coupon. I know where I’m going for lunch tomorrow!

Free Tea at McAlister’s Deli-Today, Thursday July 26

Finish Quantum dishwasher detergent

You can skip the invite three friends part and just click submit after typing your info.

Eucerin Daily Replenishing Lotion


Dark And Lovely Anti Reversion Cream Serum

Answer YES to the first question.

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

100 AAdvantage miles--expires tomorrow!

Just saw on Facebook that this offer ends tomorrow, July 20--so sign up now if you haven't already.
Visit and “Like” AAdvantage’s Facebook page for 100 free American Airlines miles. No it’s not much, but it will reset your miles expiration date, which is 18 months from most recent activity. Perfect if you’re in danger of some miles expiring.
And check out my newly updated page of free and easy frequent flyer miles for miles opportunities from numerous airlines.

Freebie Roundup: Greeting cards, Woolite, Fandango

Free Cardstore Card

Free card and free shipping at cardstore.com. Good for any card, valid from July 19 to July 22. Use code: CAJ2719, Valid 7/19 thru 7/22. Shipping only valid in the U.S.

Free Treat.com Birthday Card

Create a birthday card at treat.com and enter promo code: TREATBDAY to get it free. Have it sent to yourself to get free shipping or pay $.44 to send to someone else. Valid today, July 19 only, ends at 11:59 pacific time. If you don’t want a birthday card, use code FREETREAT. Only valid for first time customers.


Get another free sample of Woolite Extra Dark Care on Facebook
The previous sample is still available on Target's website

Free Beer Glass or $2 Check

Newcastle Brown Ale is offering a free glass or $2 check on its Facebook page. Limited quantities are available so you may want to hurry.

Click on the "Get Rewarded" box. Enter your info and take a short survey, then choose your reward of either a Newcastle glass or a $2 check. It will ask you to upload a photo of a Newcastle at the end. Don’t have a pic? Search Google Images for Newcastle, choose an appropriate pic and upload it to your one of your photo albums on Facebook.

Fandango/Amazon MP3 Deals

After ticket purchase, you’ll receive an email from Fandango within 48 hours with your Amazon MP3 promotional code. Offer valid through July 31. Credit expires 11:59 PT August 31.

You may want to pair this with Fandango’s Visa Signature 2-for-1 Movie Tickets on Fridays. Visa Signature cardholders can buy one movie ticket and get one free. Tickets must be purchased and used on a Friday. Limit one free ticket per card every 30 days. Offer valid through August 17. To determine if you have a Visa Signature card (can be from any bank) look for the word “Signature” underneath the Visa logo on the bottom right corner of your card.

And the $2 Amazon MP3 credit I posted previously is still available if you haven't redeemed it yet. Go here and enter HEARTMP3. Credit must be redeemed by 11:59 p.m. PST on July 23, 2012.

Some good options for these Amazon credits are the 25-cent Customer Picks songs or the $2.99 Soul and R&B albums.

Blockbuster/Hulu Plus

And be sure to check out my post from last week on how to get a free 6-months of Blockbuster by mail and/or two months Hulu Plus. I got my first Blockbuster movie on Tuesday, watched it yesterday and mailed it back in today. Good stuff!

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Get 50,000 Rapid Rewards points with Chase Southwest Visa Offer

The 50,000-point Southwest offer is available again. Previously, this offer awarded the bonus points after the first purchase, but now you have to spend $1,000 in first three months—not too difficult as long as you can charge and pay off your regular expenses on it.

Card links

Southwest advertises the 50,000 points as being good for two free round trip flights, but since points are based on the ticket cost, it is actually worth $833. So if you book an award flight while Southwest is having a sale or are traveling short distances (i.e. cheap flights), you could potentially get about four free round trips with these points. Keep in mind, Southwest currently only provides domestic service, so there are no free trips to Europe or Asia with these points.

Card perks

You get double points (2 per $1) on Southwest and Southwest partner purchases (such as hotels and car rentals)
1 point per $1 on all other purchases
Bonus points on your card anniversary date—3,000 for Plus/6,000 for Premier
You can get a companion pass by flying 100 qualifying flights OR by accumulating 110k points. This pass, valid for a calendar year, will let your companion fly free with you. If you can sign up and get approved for both a personal and business card, you’ll only be 10,000 points away from the companion pass.


The $69 Plus/$99 Premier annual fee is not waived—still a good deal considering how many flights you can potentially get out of the bonus points.

If you don’t currently have a Rapid Rewards account, sign up for 750 bonus points here before applying for the credit card(s).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taking AAdvantage of American’s free stopover policy

Did you know that when booking an international award flight on American you can get up to two free additional (one-way) flights? That’s right, it’s called a stopover.

The requirements

Your international trip must originate from a North American gateway city (Milevalue has compiled a good list of all of the eligible cities), therefore it’s best for those who live close enough to use the airport in one of those cities. If not, you can still have a free stopover on your way to or back home from another continent. It’s also important to keep in mind that all travel must be completed within one year of booking.

Here's a sample booking 

I’ll take you through a sample award reservation (assuming you're flying in coach). Let's say you live in Dallas and are taking a vacation to Miami in December 2012. Then, in April 2013 you are going to Madrid, Spain. If booked separately, these trips would "cost" 65,000 miles. But if you book using a stopover, it will only take 52,500 miles.

Flight one

DFW to MIA in December—12,500 miles
On the aa.com home page page select "Redeem AAdvantage Miles" and "One-Way," then input the date and location. Then confirm on the screen below.
Confirm date and mileage, then book it

Flights two, three and four

MIA to DFW in December
DFW to MAD in April
MAD to DFW in April--40,000 miles
Select "multi-city" link
Enter dates and cities

Confirm dates and miles, then book it

Key wording to look for

For a second free one-way, you can tack on an extra leg after the MAD to DFW award using the "multi-city" page, still for a total of 40,000 miles. Let’s say you decide to go to Chicago for a weekend getaway in May 2013. Then you would need to book a one-way return flight from ORD to DFW for 12,500.

That brings the “cost” for three round trip flights to 65,000 miles. Those three round trips booked separately would be 90,000 miles, so a savings of 25,000 miles.

Tip: you will need to make sure your trip falls within the "off-peak" Europe dates in order to book for 20,000 miles, otherwise it will take 30,000. American's award chart can be found here.

It took me a bit to truly understand how the free stopover works, but I got it after fiddling around on aa.com. I'll certainly be taking advantage of the free stopover for my European vacation this fall. With this policy, you can even tack on trips to Hawaii or the Caribbean to get the maximum benefit out of your AAdvantage miles.

Friday, July 13, 2012

FREE 6 Months of Blockbuster by mail & 2 months of Hulu Plus

Get 6 months of FREE rentals from Blockbuster

Wow! I just got a FREE 6-month trial of the Blockbuster Total Access 1-disc at a time plan. The plan includes many new releases available up to 28 days before Netflix and Redbox; in-store exchanges; plus Blu-ray and game rentals!

Here's "official" way to this promotion

  • Sign up for Dell Advantage 
  • Verify your account (check your email and click the link).
  • Once you're registered, go to the partner offerings and click to sign up at Blockbuster (should be first offer)

Of course you could skip the Dell Advantage stuff and go straight to the Blockbuster link, but I personally signed up through Dell in case they decided to invalidate the subscriptions from people who didn't sign up properly.

This is for new accounts only, you must link a form of payment (credit card or paypal) and you must cancel prior to end of 6 months or your method of payment will be billed $9.99 plus taxes. I personally will set up a reminder in my phone to cancel.
I will set a reminder to cancel before Jan. 14.

It's anyone's guess how long this promo will last so I would sign up today if interested!

Get 2 months of Hulu Plus for free

This is for new accounts only, you must link a form of payment and you must cancel prior to end of 2 months or your method of payment will be billed. While the free trial seems geared towards Xbox 360 owners, it doesn't seem to matter if you have one or not. Again, if interested I'd sign up quickly because you never know when the offer will disappear.

Thanks Slickdeals and FatWallet!

Semi-extreme couponing

Couponing is my hobby!

I’m a big believer in paying less for the things you need, you so have more money to spend on the things you want, like travel.

So last year, I ramped up my couponing with the goal of getting groceries at the lowest possible prices. Through couponing, I was able to stock-up on toiletries (toothpaste, razors, shaving gel, floss, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, etc.) so I probably don’t need to buy any more for a couple years. Now, I’m basically to the point where I will only “buy” it for free after coupon. I’ve slowed down some this year, but still find there are many deals to be had.

Here’s a recent shopping excursion

I paid less than $2 total for these products.


Target is awesome because you can “stack” their store coupons with manufacturer coupons. Target also gives you $.05 for each reusable bag you bring.

Comet Stainless Steel Cleanser—regular price $1.99

Used $1 off Target coupon—printed from coupons.com
Used $1 off manufacturer coupon— printed from coupons.com
Price: Free!

Revlon Nail Polish—on clearance for $3.48

Used $3 off Target Revlon cosmetic coupon from Target Beauty Bag
Used $1 off manufacturer coupon from newspaper
Price: Free/$.52 overage! 
Target’s official policy is to reduce coupons and not provide overage, but apparently I got a cashier who either didn’t know this or didn’t care.

Morton Seasoned Salt—on clearance for $1.16

Used $.55 off manufacturer coupon from newspaper
Price: $.61

Market Pantry Orange Juice—on sale for $1.99

Used $1 off Target Mobile coupon (you can sign up to receive weekly mobile coupons on your cell phone)
Price: $.99

Total price: $1.02


24-pack of bottled water—on sale for $2.44

Price $.44

That’s less than two cents per bottle!
The coupon did beep and said already been redeemed, which I read online had happened to a lot of people. My cashier was nice enough to put it through anyway. Don’t know if maybe he had that happen before with other customer or if I just looked trustworthy enough when I told him I had never used that coupon before :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2,250 free United Airlines miles

1,000 Airline Miles from Thanks Again Visa Offers

Get bonus miles when you sign up to receive advertisements and special offers on your mobile phone, redeemable when you use your enrolled Visa card. This offer is apparently available for Delta and US Airways as well as United, though you can only receive the 1,000-mile bonus on one airline.

Unfortunately this requires spamming your phone, but if you have unlimited texting, it’s just a minor annoyance. You can always opt out of the texts once your miles post by replying “STOP.”

Also, this program tracks your shopping habits on your enrolled Visa card. Thanks Again is a Visa partner. Visa already has your personal information; they just want your permission to track your spending for marketing and sales purposes, so they can send targeted deals to your phone. I’m still trying to decide if I’m okay with that, but the offer doesn’t expire until September 30. I may just enroll a card that I rarely use.
Points will post in 4-6 weeks.

Airline-specific pages (you can only receive the bonus for one program)

MileagePlus Mobile Offers 500 miles—offer expires tomorrow (July 13)

Enroll here
Once again requires spamming your cell phone and enrolling a Visa card.
Important terms:
  • Offer valid only for MileagePlus members currently residing in the 50 United States (including Alaska and Hawaii).
  • To receive the 500 bonus award miles, members must successfully register by entering their MileagePlus member number, eligible Visa card number and mobile number and have registered by July 13, 2012.
  • This offer is combinable only with other combinable MileagePlus offers.
  • A member can register up to three eligible Visa cards per MileagePlus member number but can only earn the 500 bonus award miles one time.
  • Please allow 6-8 weeks after registration for posting of the 500 bonus award miles. The 500 bonus award miles will be posted to the MileagePlus account entered at time of registration.

750 United miles from MyPoints

Join MyPoints and get 750 United MileagePlus miles for free after 30 days of membership.
What is MyPoints? Click for info

Check out my ongoing list of free and easy frequent flier mile offers from all airlines.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Freebie Roundup: Amazon MP3, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A

My recent freebies--scroll down to bottom of this post for complete list

Who likes freebies? I do (raises hand)! Checking the mailbox is more fun when you’re always anticipating what freebie will show up this week. Here are some new ones:

Free Bausch + Lomb Biotrue Multi-Purpose Contact Lens Solution sample

Select no to get the sample form. If it comes up with a coupon instead of sample, try again later (took me two tries).

Woolite Extra Dark Care Detergent - Target

Two Eucerin moisturizer samples

Request two free samples of Eucerin moisturizers with sunscreen, one for body and one for the face. Go to their Facebook page, watch a short video and fill out a form. Your samples will be mailed to you. It doesn’t appear you have to “like” the page to sign up for the samples.
https://www.facebook.com/EucerinUS/app_150701131641056 or there is also a sample form for the non-Facebookers here: http://m.eucerinus.com/pledge/index

More free music from Amazon

$2 Amazon MP3 Credit

Go here and enter HEARTMP3. Credit must be redeemed by 11:59 p.m. PST on July 23, 2012.
Hopefully, you got the free $3 credit from Amazon Local that I previously posted, which expires on Thursday, July 12. The HEARTMP3 claim code cannot be combined with any MP3 credit promotions offered by Amazon Local, so you'll have to use them separately.

Free Starbucks

Starbucks is giving away free Tall (12 fl. oz.) handcrafted Starbucks Refreshers beverages (Cool Lime or Very Berry Hibiscus) at participating stores from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 13. No purchase necessary. Limit 1 per person.

Previously posted, but happening this week

Free Slurpee

7-Eleven is celebrating its birthday on 7-Eleven Day, tomorrow, July 11, participating stores in the U.S. and Canada will give away free 7.11-oz. Slurpee drinks between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., local time.

Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation Day

On Friday, July 13, Chick-fil-A will award a free meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) to any customer who comes to one of their 1,600+ restaurants fully dressed as a cow. Those in partial costumes will receive a free entrée.
*I did this last year (printed off the cow starter kit from the website and paper clipped the pieces to my clothes on my lunch hour) and the cashier gave me a free meal!

My recent freebies

  • $5 in Jolly Time Popcorn coupons--from mailer on back of box
  • Stayfree Ultra Thin sample
  • Ruffies Scented Trash Bags sample
  • Target Beauty Bag filled with travel size goodies--Watch Target Style's Facebook page for quarterly giveaways 
  • Invisible Glass Wipes (75 samples per day limit)
  • Lysol Dual Action Wipes (not a free sample, but free after rebate, must have purchased by 7/8)
What freebies have you received lately?

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is credit card churning going mainstream?

At first I thought, oh no, my new "hobby" is going mainstream since MSN is reporting on it. Luckily, most of the comments (aside from the spam) are from Negative Nancys who are either anti-credit card or doubt that you can redeem miles for free flights. Hopefully, the banks will keep the deals coming, knowing that only a small percentage of people maximize the benefits.

I'll be posting more about soon about how I am redeeming the miles and points I have accumulated. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The check is in the mail

I love checking my email and seeing a “the check is in the mail” message from Staples.
If you’re looking for a way to meet your minimum spend for a lucrative credit card sign-on bonus, then take a good look at Staples.
In thisblog post, I discussed how I used free after rebate items to help me spend $3,000 in three months. Well, Staples just happens to be my favorite store for this task. Why? Because of their Easy Rebates that require no postage or cutting of UPCs.
You simply go to their website, type in the information from your receipt and Staples does the rest. All of my easy rebates have arrived quickly with no hassle. The tiny drawback is the postcard-style check that can easily be overlooked and accidentally thrown out with junk mail. Still, Staples has always sent me a “the check is in the mail” email, so I know it’s on the way.
And if you pair the free after rebate items with a coupon (sign up for Staples emails), you can actually make money! Way cool, right?!
Staples also has a Rewards program. From the website: Staples Rewards are issued monthly when the value of the Reward is at least $10. Monthly balances of less than $10 will roll over each month until the minimum is met for that calendar quarter. If the $10 minimum for the quarter has not been met, the balance will expire at the end of the quarter.
The Rewards program seems pretty good if you buy a lot of paper or ink or recycle ink cartridges. Also, they frequently offer items that are free after rewards, which is different from a rebate. I haven’t been maximizing the Rewards program, but I signed up for it, just in case a good opportunity arises.
Check out thisweek’s ad for lots of free and sub-$1 office and school supply deals (some are after rebate, some are not). Happy shopping!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Free Money Friday

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to pass up offers for free money! As long it doesn’t require too much effort, I’m on it.

Here are some deals I plan to sign up for:

American Express prepaid card, load at least $50, get $10 bonus gift card
Fine print: (1) Offer expires on July 31, 2012. To receive a $10 American Express® Gift Card (“Gift Card”), you must load $50 or more at the time you order an American Express Prepaid Card (“Card”). Card orders must be received by 11:59 PM ET July 31, 2012. Limit of one $10 Gift Card per new Card User named on a Card. Offer valid for all new Card orders with a single $50 load, including additional/supplemental accounts associated with an existing Card purchaser’s account. Card must be active when offer is fulfilled. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Limit one (1) offer per Card. After qualifying for this offer, please allow 6 weeks for the $10 Gift Card to be mailed to the Card purchaser. American Express reserves the right to refuse or to delay the delivery of Gift Card if it has determined or suspects that fraud has been committed in connection with the Card or this offer. American Express reserves the right to terminate the offer at any time if it determines, in its sole discretion, that causes beyond its control have destroyed or severely undermined the integrity, administration, security, and/or feasibility of the offer. Gift Card terms and conditions apply.

Amex Serve digital prepaid account, load and spend $25, get $25 bonus. Fine print: Valid for new Serve account holders only through 8/31/12. Receive $25 back as a statement credit when you use your Serve card for a single purchase of $25 or more.  Neither load nor person-to-person send/receive money transactions qualify as spend transactions to receive a credit.  Statement credits may take up to seven days after the qualifying transaction to post to your account. Limit one statement credit per account. Please allow 7-10 business days after completion of account registration for your Serve card to arrive in the mail. Subaccount holders are not eligible to earn a credit and a subaccount transaction does not qualify towards earning a credit.  Offer subject to change or cancellation at any time. 

NationwideBank Visa Buxx prepaid card $25 load, get $50 bonus
Offer Code: 02010059
The $5 activation fee is waived, but there is a $2 fund load fee, so I will probably load $27 instead of $25. You load using a debit card or credit card. Select PARENT option, not a gift giver. Offer code comes up when you add a teen. Apparently, you can use the same profile info for both the parent and teen section (list yourself twice). Net bonus: $48

Total bonus potential: $83

These bonuses are perfect to put toward your vacation savings account or any other big ticket item you might be saving up for. I plan to put my bonuses toward my car replacement fund. I’ll give the prepaid cards a shot, if for some reason the bonuses are denied or don’t come through, it’s really no big deal. I’d be spending the money anyway, as I’ll use these cards for groceries or any purchases that I’d typically use a credit card on. Also, none of these cards require a credit check. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Before I go, I feel should mention that prepaid cards seem to be all the rage lately, with banks desperately trying to recoup the revenue lost when the government clamped down on processing fees last year. Banks tout the prepaid cards as good for the “unbanked” person who needs a Visa/MC/AMEX branded card but can’t or won’t get a checking account/debit card or credit card. Unfortunately, for consumers these cards often carry steep fees, so one should always read and understand the fine print. Here’s a recent news article on the subject: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/07/02/prepaid-cards/

 Since I really have no need for a prepaid card, I will not be reloading them once they are spent. I will simply drain the initial funds and bonus as quickly as possible and then shred the card.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Free music download from Amazon

If you need some tunes to upload to your iPod or MP3 player for your next trip, Amazon is offering a $3 MP3 credit.

This from the Amazon Local page for my area, but it can be used anywhere or just use the drop-down box to find the offer for your local area. I’ve gotten about 10 free songs from Amazon over the last few months from free credits like this. You can redeem the credit for individual songs for 99 cents each or, even better, use it on one of the $2.99 soundtrack albums or the 25-cent Summer Jams songs. You should “purchase” the free voucher today, but you have until July 12 to use it.

Fine print: Voucher will expire if not used toward a purchase at Amazon MP3 by July 12, 2012
• Voucher is valid for a $3 credit to spend on any album(s) or song(s) in the Amazon MP3 Store; customer will be responsible for payment to Amazon.com for any purchase beyond $3, plus applicable taxes
• Credit may be used toward the purchase of multiple songs or albums; after July 12, 2012, any remaining balance will be forfeited
• Available only to U.S. customers
• Limit 1 voucher per customer
• Voucher is not redeemable for any other types of merchandise sold at Amazon.com
• You may need to have, or download from Amazon, MP3 software in order to purchase certain Amazon MP3 products
• Offer is not transferable, not exchangeable and has no cash value
• Amazon.com account with valid credit card required to get this voucher
• Voucher is available for use immediately after purchase

*Some of the links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here

150,000 points in my Club Carlson account

My points from Club Carlson's Big Night Giveaway

The day after my stay at the Park Inn for Club Carlson’s Big Night Giveaway, I checked into the Country Inn and Suites near DFW airport.

Only this time, I didn’t stay the night. Still, the frugalista in me couldn’t stand to see the room go to complete waste, so I hung out for about an hour soaking up the A/C and watching the big flat screen TV. The mini-fridge and microwave are nice amenities.

Do you take "freebies" in the bathroom?

Extra pillow and blanket in the closet
My view of Airport Freeway from the window

  I had no issues with check-in or the room. I had a non-smoking room, but the hallway smelled of unpleasant cigarette smoke as I was leaving. Overall, this was a decent hotel that I’d probably consider staying at in the future should I need a room close to DFW airport. I would have liked to partake in the free breakfast, but was unable since I wasn’t staying the night.

Finally, I stayed at the Radisson. I expected this to be the nicest of the three, but I’d actually rate it the worst. The hotel looked dingy, but to its credit is undergoing renovations. The hallways were dark. The bathroom was quite small and the tub looked seriously worn. I could never connect to the free Wi-Fi. I’d definitely be hesitant to stay here again in the future, even after their renovations are complete.

Sleep Number bed was OK, but clearly old

Bathtub looked dingy

Small, awkward layout with toilet, tub (behind door)

Morning view of Central Expressway

 I spent a total of $228.51 or an average of $76.17 per night. Since I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x points on travel), I should received 457 Ultimate Rewards points. I plan to use the Club Carlson points for a room that goes for $200-$300 per night in Europe.

All of my points posted within a few days of checking out (and I never checked out at the front desk, just left my keys on the nightstand). It’s so nice seeing those 150,000 points in my Club Carlson account. I can’t wait to redeem them!