Friday, February 27, 2009

New Layout To Blog. Comments? Suggestions?

People have been complaining about having to scroll through long posts they are not interested in, just to see what else is on the site. So, I changed the layout, where now there will only be a small part of each post on the main page, and if someone wants to continue reading they click on [Read More...] to read the rest of the post.

The downside of this new layout is that people will have to click to finish reading a post instead of just seeing it on the main page. I have heard comments so far in favor of both ways. I will leave it like this for a short while, and see how it goes.

The way it is set up now, the [Read More...] link will appear on every post when reading it on the main page, regardless if the whole post appears on the main page or just the beginning.

Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Net10 Prepaid Cellphone plus 600 minutes for $22

Update 03/07: They now have a LG 300 for $30.00, which also comes with the 300 minute card!
Update 03/04:
They seem be out of the Nokia 1600's. They may come back in stock at any time. Other phones are also decent, but don't come with the additional 300 minute card.

Net10 has a refurbished Nokia 1600 prepaid cell phone for $22, after tax should come out to under $24, and free shipping.
Add promotion codes: 34567 and 44477
The original price on the phone before discount is $29.99
Make sure to choose the cheapest shipping method, and the shipping charge should drop to zero at checkout.
Update 02/27: I just got my phone. Shipping was real fast.

The phone comes preloaded with 300 minutes which lasts for 60 days. The phone also comes with an additional 300 minutes card. Totaling 600 minutes which last up to four months. It comes out to under four cents a minute, which is an amazing price for prepaid cellphones. Each international minute is one and a half airtime minutes.

If someone needs a cellphone for short amount of time, or if someone is coming to the US to visit, this is perfect. I personally never used their service, but it looks great. So I bought myself one.

For a long term prepaid phone, I still recommend T-mobile. Unless you want to call international, in which case Tracfone would be best, as long as you get a good promotion.

Free Cell Phone Plan For Low Income Households

Lifeline is a program that subsidizes phone service for low income households.

Update: AssuranceWireless is another option to check out. They offer 200 minutes a month.

Tracfone, a prepaid phone service, is now offering Safelink Wireless, a free cell phone for those who qualify. This is done through Lifeline, so it has the same requirements as Verizon landline service, which I previously wrote about. You are only meant to have one Lifeline plan per household. So, if you already have a Lifeline landline, you should decide which is more important to you.

You get a free phone and 68 free minutes a month. The amount of minutes per month can vary from state to state. It's currently available in Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. If you need more minutes, you can always buy Tracfone airtime minutes.

A really nice thing about this cellphone, as with all Tracfone cell phones, is that there is no extra charge to call many international countries! So, in theory, you can use all 68 minutes a month to call international. As a side note, if you ever use your prepaid cellphone to call international, then Tracfone beats T-mobile by far, which charges $1.60 a minute to most countries!

Related articles:
Review: Lifeline: A $1-Month Phone Line For Low Income Households!
Review: T-Mobile Prepaid Cell Phone

1,000 NorthWest Miles, Or 1,000 Delta Miles

Register and buy something through NorthWest's Worldperks Mall before March 31st and earn 1,000 bonus miles. NorthWest's Worldperks Mall is like a cashback site. You go to their site and then choose the online retailer you want to buy something from. You also get miles for every purchase.

Once you get the miles, you can always transfer it over to Delta.
Related articles:
Link NWA and Delta Mileage Accounts And Get 500 Miles, Plus Another Delta Promotion
How to get cash back when you shop online: Cashback sites

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Review - Random Links

Here are some interesting links I've seen around the web.
First off, for those who got in on the United deal, check out SeatGuru.com for the best seats.

American Express $300 Sign Out Bonus

American Express is paying some customers to close their accounts. Wow!
It's a targeted offer. Probably people with lots of debt on their Amex cards are getting this. You only get the $300 if you pay off your debt by April 30th.
Here is an article about it.
Just by the way, I wouldn't close my Amex cards for $300 if I were given the choice.

A Taste Of Palm Pre On The Centro
They have a free 30 day trial, which I am trying out. Looks very interesting, though I'm not sure I would pay $15 for it. Read more at Palminfocenter.

Double Points On Club.Live.Com
On Wednesday 02/25 you will get double tickets. See original post here.

FreeCreditReport.com
A while back I wrote an article about not checking your credit reports at freecreditreport.com.
Well, here's a youtube video bashing them. It's a spoof on the original videos.

Otter Taking Video Of Humans
I couldn't resist posting this one. Check it out!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Flights From New York to Europe Under $300! (Including London)

Following these steps will get you flights to Europe for as low as $212!
Hurry! You never know how long this will last! The fare itself will last till 02/26, but the glitch may not...
1) Go to United.com. Some routes might be available only through Orbitz, but then there are booking fees.
2) Choose 'Multicity'
3) Enter your details for flights 1 and 2, then add flight 3.
Flight #1: NYC to your destination in Europe
Flight #2: Europe back to NYC
Flight #3: NYC to YYZ (Toronto)
4) Place a check by 'Search by price' and by 'Include Star Alliance flights'
Adding flight #3 from New York to Toronto takes away the fuel surcharges, which makes the total so low! Remember, you don't actually need to fly from NYC to Toronto...

Sample itineraries:
EWR-FCO (Rome) 03/04 - 03/11-12 $212
EWR-LHR (London) 04/06 - 04/21 $278.80
All flights seem to include a stopover. If you need direct, or you can't find a cheap fare, then check out Continental, they have decent prices to Europe.

As with all such deals, do not call United while the fare is still available! Let's try and keep this under the radar...

Some notes:
- Check mid-week flights for best prices.
- Must be booked seven days in advance.
- Flights to England are more expensive because of British taxes.
- Flight #3 does not need to be on the same day as flight #2.
- Works for flights till mid May.
- There is always that slight chance that United will try to charge you the fuel surcharge in the airport. From what I've read on Flyertalk it shouldn't happen. Even if it does, you shouldn't have a problem disputing the charges on your credit card.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

40% Off Ink at Newegg!

Adding code EMCLNMX22 seems to be taking 40% off most ink and toner at Newegg.com.
Probably some sort of glitch.

CreditKarma.com - Free Transunion Credit Score, Plus Fico Score Estimator

Yesterday I wrote about getting your Experian report and score. Here's a free Transunion score from Credit Karma.

You can get a free Transunion score from CreditKarma.com. You can check back as often as you like to get an updated score, for free. They give you just a score, without a credit report.

This isn't your Fico score, but being that you can recheck it whenever you want, you can get an ideas if your score is going up or down.

Fico Score Estimator
Fico has a free Score Estimator, where you answer a few questions and it gives you an estimate of what your Fico score should be. They give you your score within a 50 point range, say, from 735-785. It's not as accurate as getting you real Fico score, but its free. It's neat because the questions they ask you can help you understand how they formulate a score. Then, if you change some of your answers, you can see how that will affect your score.

Related articles:
How many credit scores does each person have?
Quizzle.com - Free Experian Credit Report and Score
Free Experian and Transunion Credit Reports
Where To Check Your Credit Reports And Scores

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quizzle.com - Free Experian Credit Report and Score

You can get your free Experian credit report and score every six months from Quizzle.com.

The score they offer is not the Fico score, but it's good if you want to get a general picture of where you stand. My Quizzle score wasn't too far off though. Quizzle showed 787 while my Fico was 780.
I really like their layout of the credit report. It's very easy to read and understand. The site seems to have lots of other neat features too, like evaluating the price of your home. I was only interested in my report and score though, so I didn't spend much time on the rest of their site.

Related Articles:
Free Experian and Transunion Credit Reports
How many credit scores does each person have?

25% Off Virgin America Flights

Update: I gave mine away already. If anyone has a code they are not using, please share it!

If you are a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club member, then you should have received a email with a one-time use code for 25% off Virgin America flights.
I have one code, if someone needs it, send me an email, dealreviews@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Review. Canceling Citi AA Cards and New Sprint Phone.

10,000 AA miles For Trying To Cancel
I called Citi to cancel one of my AAdvantage Business cards, as the first year is over in a few months. I was transferred over to someone who offered me 5,000 miles not to cancel, which I gladly accepted. I will call back next month to cancel again... Once I saw how easy that was, my wife called to cancel one of her cards, and the same thing happened. I used to call and consolidate cards. Not anymore.
The only thing is, the rep told me that the 5000 miles count towards the maximum miles per card, which is 100,000 a year for platinum, and 60,000 for gold and Amex. So, if you spent that already, ask for $50 instead.

If you are churning Citi cards, here's how to try and squeeze a few extra miles out of your cards:
Business Cards: After six month's just call to cancel. Being that you don't really need the credit anyway, if they offer you miles to stay, good. If not, not.
Personal Cards: After six months, first call citi and ask them to move all but $2,000 to a different citi card ($2,000 is the lowest amount you can leave in an open account). Then call to cancel the card. Even if Citi cancels the card before you have a chance to back out or to ask to first move the credit over, you didn't really lose out. In any event, Citi AA cards don't report the credit line to the reporting agencies.

If you're not interested in dealing with Citi trying to convince you to keep the card, then just call Citi and tell them you want to consolidate cards. Like that Citi won't try to convince you to leave the card open, as they don't see it as canceling a card. (Although that's exactly what you're doing.) When you do consolidate, make sure you are consolidating the one you want to cancel into the one you are leaving open, not the other way around.

New Free Sprint Phone
I called Sprint technical support about my phone which was having issues.
I was expecting a long and tiring conversation. I was in for a surprise. After two minutes, telling the Sprint rep that I tried all their 'solutions', he sent me out a free new phone. I have Total Equipment Protection, which includes warranty coverage.
Actually, they wanted to send out a refurbished model, so it took some convincing to get a new model instead. In any event, I was very pleased with their service this time around.
Last time I needed to replace my phone, I went through the insurance program which cost me $50, so this was really nice. Now with the 25% off my bill and my new phone, I'm happy.

2500 Miles From Fiji Finally Posted
I now can feel good drinking their water...

Calling Collect
My wife called Citi the other day, and was placed on hold for a while. She hung up and called the collect number, and was immediately helped!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guide To Ship Things Easily

A while back, I had to ship a big, heavy box. I carried it to the post office and waited in line for an hour to ship it. Since then, I've been looking around for ways to make shipping a better experience. I've learned many things that help me ship things easily - Thanks to all those who helped out.

Whether you need to ship something once in six months or every other day,these tips should make it easy. You might need to return a purchased item, use a warranty service, sell on eBay, or just send someone a package.
This article does not cover businesses with heavy volume of shipping. That's a totally different story.

What You Need To Get Started
:
- Internet. I guess you have that...
- Printer
. To print out shipping labels.
- Boxes and packing supplies, like tape. Get them free. See below.
- Another thing that will make things easier, but not a must, is a scale. With a scale you will know exactly how much you need to pay for the shipment. If you don't have a scale, you can check the shipping weight on websites such as Amazon. If that doesn't work, you can always just estimate the weight yourself. UPS and USPS don't seem to mind guessing, even if you err on the lower side, as long as its within reason.

Choosing a Shipping Method
:
Update: For items over 3 pounds, often Fedex is cheapest.
I use UPS and USPS. In general, I would say that UPS is better, but USPS is often cheaper, especially when shipping a light package. So, if you're looking for the cheapest price, check both.

When I ship using UPS, I almost always use UPS Ground.

Within USPS, I use these levels of service:
Parcel Post - Cheap. Can take a long time to arrive.
Priority Mail - More expensive. 2-5 day shipping. It's great for small, heavy items.
Media Mail - For books, CD's etc. Very cheap. Can take a real long time.
First Class Mail - Up to 13 oz. Very cheap. Pretty quick.

I usually ship Priority Mail, unless Parcel Post is much cheaper. Sometimes, Priority Mail can be even cheaper than Parcel Post, because they have Flat Rate boxes for Priority Mail but not for Parcel Post. When its an option, I definitely look into shipping First Class or Media Mail.

If you need the package to arrive by a certain date, then UPS is often better, as when you check the price of a shipment, they tell you when the item will arrive as well. Although their ground service doesn't guarantee the time, it's usually accurate.

If you are shipping something local (within a few hundred miles), it will probably arrive the following day even when using UPS Ground. That's usually quicker than USPS Priority Mail. So check when UPS says it will get there.

Also, if you need to insure the package, UPS might be better, as they include some insurance automatically.

Free Shipping Supplies:
Both USPS and UPS will ship out free boxes and shipping supplies. The free supplies are meant for their more expensive shipping methods, USPS Priority mail and UPS Express.

UPS also has free self-adhesive labels (two on a page) which you can use with a regular printer. I started using it lately and love it. You can always print the shipping label on regular paper and tape it to the box, its just easier with a self sticking label. If you do use regular paper, try not to cover the barcode with tape.

Another way to get free supplies is to save boxes and packaging material, like bubble wrap, when you receive deliveries for items bought online.

Printing Your Shipping Label:
Once you've checked prices and decided on which service to use, simply create a shipment on either UPS.com or USPS.com, print out the label, attach it to your box, and give it to your UPS or USPS driver!

USPS.com doesn't let you print out anything cheaper than Priority Mail on their website. If you want to ship Parcel Post, First Class Mail etc, then you can print out the shipping label through Paypal. It's officially meant for when you sell things on eBay, but here is a direct link to print out any type of USPS label, even if you haven't sold anything on eBay!

How To Get The package to UPS or USPS:

USPS:

They have free Package Pickup, where they will pick up your packages from your house.
Two issues with Package Pickup:
1) You are 'supposed' to have at least one of the items being shipped Priority Mail with every package pickup. The mailman shouldn't mind too much though, if you don't have a priority mail box there for him to pick up.
2) In my experience, the post office is not consistent as to when they come pick up (or deliver) packages. So if someone is not at home/office all the time, that can be a problem. It might be consistent where you live, though.

Ordering supplies from USPS is another way to get a USPS driver to your house.

Alternatively, find out if there are any places around where you live, where you can drop off ready-to-ship packages.

UPS
:
1. Next time you get a package from UPS, just give the driver your package to ship.
How to get a UPS driver to come to your house if you are not expecting a delivery:
- If you have Amazon Prime, just buy something on Amazon for $0.36 or less. Amazon will usually ship it with UPS 2nd Day Air... It can also be an original way to get a shipping box...
- Order some free supplies from the UPS store.
2. Drop off your package at a UPS Drop Off Location.
3. If none of these work for you, then you can request a pickup for $4.

Two additional things to consider getting:

1) Digital scale.
2) Thermal printer. Things will be more efficient that way. Only important for someone who does lots of shipping.

Another tip:
If you get a note saying that USPS tried to deliver a package to your house but nobody was home, and that the package can be picked up at the Post Office, click here to request a redelivery.

Philips Earbud Headset - $5.99

Buy.com has the Philips Earbud Multimedia Headset w/ Noise canceling microphone for $5.99 with free shipping. Looks decent, I bought myself a set.
Seems to be a set of two. Make sure to switch to budget shipping for free shipping.
List price is $49.99, but I wouldn't pay more than $10 for it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Diapers Sale at Diapers.com

Sorry to all non-parents out there... Here is a sale on diapers.

This only works with new accounts.
Add items from Diapers.com to your shopping cart totaling at least $49.
Use code: spendless for $10 off your order.
Click here for a $14.97 mail in rebate.
So, if you spend exactly $49, it will be $24.03 after the rebate with free shipping.

They also have a nice Refer-a-Friend program, which can earn you credit at diapers.com.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Free Experian and Transunion Credit Reports

Update: Here's the link for Equifax.

For those trying to stay on top of their credit, and are looking for ways to check their reports, here is a way to check your Transunion and Experian credit reports for free, even after you used up your once a year reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Note: This is officially meant to be used if you are thinking of disputing something on your report, although you don't actually have to dispute anything. If you don't dispute anything the first time you check your report (or even if you do), you can always check back again...

Experian:

Click here, enter your information, and get your free report.
If you have a Experian report number from a previous time you checked you Experian report, you can click here instead for a shorter form.

Transunion:
Click here. If you have an account with Transunion, log in. If not, click 'First Time'.
If you check your Transunion report, you have to wait a month till you can get a new one. You can check back less than a month later, but you will see the same report like you saw the first time.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Review. Free Tax Filing, Hotel Promotion, Expired Food and Cheaper Pampers.

Filing Taxes? Check out TaxFreedom.com
Last week I wrote how people could file taxes on their own, and recommended using TaxAct.com. A reader suggested checking out TaxFreedom from TurboTax.
I checked it out and it looks good, and the price is right. Free! The layout of TaxFreedom is different than TaxAct, not sure which one is better.
Not all states are included, and your income can't be too high in order to qualify. But if it works for you, then you basically get the same thing as TaxAct, for free. I'm not sure though if there is free support from Turbo Tax.
In any event, make sure to file taxes!

Another HotelClub Promotion: Update: Doesn't seem to work anymore
Unfortunately, Lastminutetravel's $1 sale turned out to be a waste of time. But here's another hotel promotion from HotelClub.com: Get $40 off a one-night stay. First register with this promotion for $20 (unless you already have money in your account from a previous promotion), then click here for another $20. Their prices are often more expensive than other sites, so make sure you're really saving. The $40 can only go towards prepaid hotels. The money might expire on 02/15, so if you're going to use it, do it quick.

Want cheap food? Buy it Expired!
I can't stand when grocery stores sell food that either expired already or are close to it. When a store has a big sale, I especially look at the best by date to check when it's going to expire. Well, what do you know; here is an English site that officially sells expired food! Approvedfood.co.uk. Wow.

Cheaper Pampers at BabiesRus.com
I just checked out Pamper prices on BabiesRus, and the prices are cheaper than Amazon.

And here's a GPS on sale
Amazon's deal of the day is the Garmin 760 for $199.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Manufacturer's Warranty – Is It Worth The Hassle?

You buy something, and it breaks a few months later. What do you do?
It depends on why it stopped working:

1) There is physical damage. For instance if your camera fell into a pool, or got ran over by a truck etc. In such a case there is usually no warranty coverage, although sometimes the company will replace the item anyway (See Corelle below). If something breaks during the first 90 days after purchase, and you bought the item on your Amex card, you're in luck! You can easily get the money back from American Express.

2) The item just stops working on its own. When this happens, the manufacturer's warranty should kick in.
When this happens, some people like to wait till the year is over and deal with Amex (which is usually a breeze). You generally should try to deal direct with the manufacturer, unless you know that it will be really difficult. In any event, if the item broke a few months after purchase, why should you wait till the year is over to get your item fixed/replaced?

Warranty Coverage:
Is it worth all the hassle and time, to try to get your item replaced, or should you just buy a new one yourself? Well, the answer is, it depends. It depends on the company you would have to deal with. I have had experiences from extreme to extreme. From a company sending me out a brand new item after one quick phone call, to the suitcase that supposedly came with a 15 year warranty, but when the suitcase broke and I tried claiming the warranty, I was told that I need to ship them the suitcase at my expense in order to get a replacement! Shipping the suitcase would cost the same as buying a new one! Needless to say, I just threw it out.

These are the different ways companies handled my warranties:
1) Sent out a replacement after one quick phone call. No need to ship anything back.
2) Wanted proof of purchase first. Like a fax of the receipt (kind of makes sense).
3) Made me send in the product once I received the replacement.
4) Made me first send in the item, but they paid for shipping.
5) Made me ship the item at my own expense before getting a replacement.

Some companies are so bad, it's almost as if they are telling you that its not worth it to claim a warranty again. Which in my mind translates to: Next time think again before purchasing their product. I usually don't mind shipping the item, and even paying for the shipment if its not too expensive, but sometimes they just draw it out so long and just make it one big headache. After the first phone call to a company, you can usually get an idea how much of a headache it will be.

Here are some of my experiences with different companies that come to mind. When I remember more, I will post them. I rated each experience from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, and 1 being the worst. I tried keeping the article semi short, so if you want more details on a specific company, send me an email.

Canon - Camera: Had to first ship them the broken camera, and pay for shipping. Canon then fixed/replaced the camera. All in all it was pretty simple and straightforward. Rated 4.

Commercial Electric - Lightbulbs: I called, and was immediately sent out new bulbs. Rated 5!

Correl - Cups: Some of our cups fell and broke. They shipped out new cups after one quick phone call. Amazing customer service - they did not need to replace the cups, as I doubt their lifetime guarantee is meant to cover cups falling on the floor... Rated 5!

I-Robot - Roomba: Great experience. It did take some time on the phone though. Rated 4.

Jabra - Bluetooth Headset: I had to send in old unit, they then shipped me out a replacement. I wasn't too impressed with the time it took. Not sure if I would do it again. They made me fax things to them a few times. If I remember correctly, I also had to ship the headset on my expense. It was kind of long and drawn out. Rated 3.

Logitech - Headphones: They made me fax in the receipt, but I did not have to send in the old headset. All in all it was pretty simple, although I do remember spending quite a bit of time on the phone with them. Rated 4.

Motorola: From what I remember, it was great. They just sent out new parts after one quick phone call. Rated 5.

Rockport - Shoes: Their policy seems to be: Send in your old pair of shoes, and they will send you a new pair. I think I once sent them shoes without a receipt as well. You have to pay to ship the shoes to them. Rated 4.

Note: From my experience, don't bother with the store you bought the shoes from, unless they have amazing customer service. Better just go straight to Rockport. I've tried dealing with a online store, I think it was Shoebuy.com, and they didn't want to replace the shoes, so I just shipped it back to Rockport and got my replacement.

Sprint - Cell Phone: I called Sprint technical support, and after two minutes of telling the Sprint rep that I tried all their 'solutions' to try and fix my phone, he sent me out a free new phone.
Actually, they wanted to send out a refurbished model, so it took some convincing to get a new model instead. Rated 4.
I have Total Equipment Protection which includes warranty service.

Uniden - Cordless Phones: They have an interesting warranty program: They make you pay $10. They then send you a refurbished system, and you don't need to send back the broken one. They even let me choose any phone system they currently had in stock! (From the refurbished models). Although it cost $10, I was very happy with the service. Rated 4.

Waterpik - Showerhead: Great customer service! One quick call and they sent me a new showerhead! Rated 5.

These were my experiences, yours may differ. But it does gives somewhat of a picture as to the company’s customer service. You will have to decide how much your time is worth. When to go after the warranty, and when to just throw the item out.

Some people may consider shipping the item back to the manufacturer difficult. But it's really pretty easy. I will be soon writing up a article on how to ship things real easy. In the meantime, read this post on shipping with USPS.

Related article: Replacing My Lightbulbs

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Want to know your Experian Fico score? Check it quick!

As of February 14th, you will no longer be able to get your Experian Fico score! Experian will stop allowing Fico to use Experian's data to create a Fico score. So, if you want to know your Experian Fico score, check it before Feb 14th! Read the news at MyFico.

Everyone will continue to have an Experian Fico score (along with Transunion and Equifax Fico scores). The thing is, we won't know what the score is, as we will have nowhere to check that score. It will make it harder for those that are trying to stay on top of their credit. Lenders will still have access to the fico score, so it will still be used in deciding your credit worthiness.

Is it fair? No! Will it change? Probably at some point in time. But for now, this is the situation.

Related article:
How many credit scores does each person have?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Filing My Taxes - TaxAct.com. Now On Sale!

TaxAct.com is a great web-based tax return preparation software. I used Taxact to file my taxes the past few years. I've read that TurboTax is better for complicated returns, but for most people TaxAct is perfect, and the price is great.

Preparing your return
It's user friendly, and you don't need to understand how taxes work when using TaxAct. It asks you for all the information in step-by-step, easy to understand questions and answers, so you don't need to fill out any complicating forms. It automatically does all that for you! If you are tax savvy, you can also access the actual tax forms, and fill them out yourself.

Also, everything is done online, and here is nothing to install. If you are worried about filing your taxes online, they have a pricier downloadable version.

You don't need to complete your tax return in one shot. Whenever you log out, everything is automatically saved, and you can stop and continue whenever you want.
If you used TaxAct last year, all your information is automatically saved, so you don't need to type it in again.

Filing
TaxAct can e-file your tax returns. Alternatively, you can print out and mail the tax return. You can choose to get the refund automatically deposited right in to your bank account, which will get you the money quicker than a paper check (which you can request as well).

What I really like:
Refund Meter:
On the top right side it shows the refund (or what you owe) in real time. As you are filling out your information, any changes you make to your income or expenses will immediately change the amount shown for your refund. You can change things around as often as you like before actually filing your return. This is one of the best features of TaxAct! So, think hard if you can remember any more income or expenses that can help you out...

Price
I use the Ultimate Version of TaxAct which warns you of any discrepancies, or things that might cause an audit. It includes Federal and State, and free support from tax specialists. It costs $16.95, and now its on sale for $11.90! This is far cheaper then any other tax filing software (or accountant) out there. Also, you don't have to pay until you are ready to file.

Save a copy of your returns!

After you pay, save/print a copy, so you can have access to it in the future. Taxact charges a fee if you need to access your tax return again in the future.

Try it out for free
Even if you pay an accountant to file your taxes, I recommend trying out TaxAct. Its totally free to play around with, they just won't actually let you file unless you pay. This way you can see if your accountant is getting the maximum refund for you, and you will get a better understanding of how taxes are filed, and maybe next year, you will do it yourself.
Note: If you are trying it out, click on the Ultimate Bundle, like that you will be seeing your State refunds as well, and not only federal. Also, when trying it out, you don't even need to enter your real information...

Now on sale!
The regular price for the Ultimate Bundle is $16.95. Right now its on sale for $11.90!

Monday, February 2, 2009

In Review : Tmobile Promotion, 25% off Sprint bill, more free money and save time by calling collect!

T-Mobile Promotion Active Again
The $25 free refill card is back on again, and the Nokia 1208 is back in stock. Link.

Sprint 25% off still seems to work
A few people have reported that they have gotten 25% off their Sprint bill in the past few days. Click here for original post. It seems to work by either clicking this link, or through Sprint e-chat and asking Sprint to add the 25% off for Cox Enterprises on your account.
If the Sprint rep doesn't want to help you, you can always try again.
Just in case this helps, here is the info that seems to come up by Sprint: Cox Enterprises Station (a non-standard affiliate of Cox Enterprises) Discount: 25% Information from AART Corp ID: NACOX_ZST

Chase Checking $150

My wife opened a Chase checking account with a $150 signup bonus. They also offer Continental miles, but since she doesn't collect Continental miles, we decided to get cash instead.
If you would rather the money, check your mailbox for offers from Chase. They seem to be sending them quite often. The $150 bonus doesn't seem to be available online.
Note: On the money you will need to pay taxes, but not on the miles.

Citi - Another 50,000
AA miles
My wife applied and was approved for the Personal MasterCard and Amex. That's in addition to her business card from last week. Now she will take a break for a while, as her Equifax Fico score dropped ten points because of the three inquiries.

$12 check from Amex claim

In 2005, there was a lawsuit against Amex for charging the foreign transaction fees. Back then, I filled out a paper to get some money. I just got a check in the mail for $12.66, so I'm rich :)
If you get mail from Lipuma Class Action Settlement Administrator, don't throw out the check, its not junk mail!

Save Time - Call Collect!
What do you do if you call your credit card company, and they place you on hold for too long?

Well, Chaim tells me that after waiting on hold for too long, he just hung up and called the collect number that is meant to be called from overseas. You don't actually have to call collect. Just call that number. As soon as he called the collect number, he was helped immediately! It seems like the company doesn't want a big phone bill... Cool idea!

Note: I don't remember ever being on hold for too long when calling Amex!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Link NWA and Delta Mileage Accounts And Get 500 Miles, Plus Another Delta Promotion

Link Delta and NWA Accounts
Delta and Northwest Airlines merged. You can now link your Northwest and Delta mileage accounts, and transfer miles back and forth between the two as often as you want. I had 2,200 miles just sitting in my Northwest account, so I transferred them over to Delta.

You also get a 500 miles bonus just for linking the accounts. So, even if you don't have one of the accounts, there's no reason why you can't create one, link the accounts, and still get the free 500 miles for linking the accounts...

1,000 Delta Miles
Register and buy something through Delta's Shopping Mall, and get 1,000 bonus miles. Delta's Shopping Mall is like a cashback site, where you go to their site and then choose the online retailer you want to buy something from. You also get miles for every purchase.
Even if you don't need anything, you can still just buy something for $1 and get the 1,000 miles.