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Make Money Using Credit Cards

I never pay with cash unless I have to.  My wife and I use credit cards for practically everything we purchase.  Many of our monthly bills are paid by credit card.  The reason we do this?  To make money!  We don’t pay credit card companies (late fees / finance fees); credit card companies pay us […]

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Save Money Watching Movies via the Web with the Roku Box

August 8, 2010 | My Ramblings | Save Money | No Comments

I recently read an article about saving money by watching movies/TV via the Internet.  I decided to look further into this.  

After a little research I decided to purchase the Roku HD-XR box.  This small simple device allows you to connect your TV and high-speed Internet to access video content via the Internet.  You control the unit via a remote control.

Roku offers 3 different models (Roku SD ($70), Roku HD ($90), and Roku HD-SR ($120).  I decide to purchase the Roku HD-SR because I have a HD TV and I wanted to connect to my router wirelessly.  The other 2 models do not include wireless connection to your router.  Connecting the device is extremely easy.  I just plugged the power in and plugged the HDMI cord into the Roku box and TV.

Roku claims you can setup the unit in 5 minutes.  This took me longer because I couldn’t get the unit to connect to my router.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I got it working, I was very impressed.  For one I was surprised that the videos streamed with no hesitation (or buffering).  When starting a video it does take several seconds to load, but once the video starts to run, there is absolutely no hesitation.

I currently have AT&T FastAccess DSL Xtreme service which claims download speeds up to 3 Mbps.  However, download speed in reality averages about low 2+ Mbps. This seems to be fast enough to watch HD videos with no hesitations.  When I watch HD videos on my laptop, sometimes there is hesitation (buffering) but with the Roku box, there is none which was surprising.

When initially viewing a video on the Roku it will state video quality from 1 to 4.  Most of the time my video quality is 4, sometimes 3 but rarely 2.  A video quality of 2 or 1 isn’t good.  One occasion when video quality was 2 I unplugged the router and modem to reset the connection and video quality jumped to a 4.

As far as HD is concerned, HD is only for 720p.  There are no 1080p HD videos available it seems.  So if you have a 1080p HD TV, watching 720p HD videos will not be as sharp.

I also decided to try Netflix free 2 week offer which includes watching videos via the Roku box. For $9 per month, I think this is a great deal.  You have access to many movies online and DVDs by mail.  The newer movies are still by mail, but there are quit a few movies/TV shows available online.  Again I was impressed with the video quality and streaming with Netflix.

Purchasing the Roku Box included a $10 credit from Amazon Video on Demand (AVOD).  However, when I tried watching HD movies on AVOD it kept telling me I wasn’t setup to watch HD movies because my speeds was too slow.  However, the movies streamed well and the video quality was acceptable.  I’m not certain if HD videos from AVOD come in 1080p but if you don’t have fast enough speed it drops to 720p.

The Roku box also allows you to access numerous channels if you don’t sign up for Netflix or AVOD.  

So in conclusion, I highly recommend the Roku boxes and Netflix service to watch videos and movies via the Internet.  This can save you tons of money my reducing or eliminating your cable/satellite service.

Roku is currently offering 10% off their players

Save Money with Groupon Daily Deals

July 29, 2010 | Save Money | Videos | No Comments

Groupon is a service that provides daily deals that save customers money. Every day they feature a new deal at deeply discounted prices.  However, you will only get the deal if enough people take the offer.  See the video below for a detailed description of how the service works.

Citibank Offering $50 with Back-to-School Promotion

July 19, 2010 | Credit Cards | No Comments

Citibank is currently offering a $50 credit with their “back-to-school” promotion (ends 9/30/10) for College Students.  Customers receive the $50 credit in addition to standard card features for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card, the Citi Forward Card, and the Citi mtvU Platinum Select Card.

The Citi mtvU and Citi Forward cards offers 5x rewards on bookstores (includes Amazon.com), movies, music, and restaurants, which amounts to 3.45% cash back or 5% gift card credit from certain retailers.

The mtvU appears better if you get good grades and are willing to send/fax in a transcript every semester, while the Forward card has a better sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards for simply paying your balances on time.

Card features include:

  • $50 statement credit when you make $50 in purchases within 90 days.
  • No annual fee.
  • No cosigner required.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 7 months.
  • $0 liability on fraudulent charges (as with other credit cards).

How to Stop Your Car During Sudden Accelaration

July 15, 2010 | My Ramblings | No Comments

With the recent reports of Toyota’s suddenly accelerating, Consumers Report released a video of how to stop your car if it suddenly accelerates.  Very good advice given in the video.

Lexington Law Offering Free Credit Repair eBook

July 7, 2010 | Credit Repair | No Comments

Lexington Law is offering a free eBook titled, “Credit Revolution- Path of the Smart Consumer“.  The eBook offers numerous tips for dealing with creditors with real life stories and free consultation.

The eBook is written by three heavy-hitters in the Credit Repair field with over 40 years of combined experience. The eBook pulls back the curtain on the inner workings of the credit reporting world and outlines what you can do to make it work for you.

This eBook is an exclusive offer and is available for a limited time only.

Some of what’s inside of the 151 page book includes:

  • Page 10 – The truth behind statements like “Only time can cure bad credit”
  • Page 41 – Six real-life stories prove credit reporting is not black-and-white
  • Page 73 – Four tips for dealing with creditors while you repair your credit
  • Page 94 – The real reason why bad credit can stay on your reports 7 years
  • Page 104 – Three things you think would raise your credit score but do not
  • Page 111 – Five life events that can unfairly destroy your credit rating

 

Download your free ebook.

Tips for Using Credit Cards to Protect Yourself

June 30, 2010 | Credit Cards | No Comments

Credit cards are easy to abuse, but if used correctly, you can use them to your advantage.  I try to use my credit card for everything possible for cashback and rewards.  Over the years I’ve received thousands of dollars in cashback and free airline tickets.  I never worry about the interest rate, because I always pay off the balance.  So far this year I’ve gotten back almost $1,600 in cashback from American Express thanks to personal and business spending.

However, credit cards are not only a convenient way of paying for things, they can also protect you.  Depending on your credit card, services may include fraud and identity theft protection, purchase protection, travel assistance, rental car insurance and credit protection.  Some of these services maybe free with your credit card or cost a small fee.  Check with your credit card company to determine what type of protection you can receive, especially the free ones.

Credit Card Security
U.S. law limits your liability for unauthorized purchases on your credit card to only $50; however, many credit card companies will waive this amount.

Purchase Protection

According to The federal Fair Credit Billing Act, you are allowed to withhold payment for damaged or low quality goods or services purchased with your credit card, as long as you first try to resolve the problem with the merchant. This is subject to certain limitations; however, many credit card issuers have gone far beyond the legal requirements.

Many credit cards offer extended protection against theft or damage, or may reimburse you the difference if you find the same item for a lower price.  Again, you will have to check with your credit card company to determine if this is offered.

Travel Assistance
Many credit cards also offer many different services for travelers that may include roadside assistance, flight insurance and baggage protection. The major credit card companies may also offer emergency assistance to travelers, via a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week hotline.

Rental Car Insurance
Most credit cards companies offer rental car loss and damage insurance if the rental car is paid for with their card. Even if you have car insurance, your credit card company may cover the deductible.

Credit Protection
If you are concerned about your ability to make card payments when times get hard, most credit card companies offer optional plans that will cancel or suspend your monthly minimum credit card payment during certain protected events. Credit Protection products come with a fee, but can be helpful in case of an emergency.

Get Some Pocket Money Completing Online Surveys

June 14, 2010 | Financial Tips | No Comments

Get paid completing online surveys.  One of the better online survey companies is Pinecone Research which pays $3 (by check or PayPal) for each 15 minutes survey.  Getting accepted into Pinecone maybe difficult because at times they stop taking new members.  However, you are in luck, Pinecone is currently taking new members.

Five other survey companies that are good are SurveySawy, MySurvey, Opinion Outpost, BzzAgent, and GlobalTestMarket.  These companies will consistently send you paid opportunities.

Remember to never pay to do online surveys.  There are many companies charging one time fees or membership fees to give access to online surveys.  They may also promise that you can make a lot of money completing online surveys.  This simply isn’t true.  These companies are scams.  

Completing online surveys can’t replace your income and you will never get rich doing them.  However, if you want an extra $30 to $50 per month, then you may want to complete online surveys.  Of course the more online survey companies you apply to, the more opportunities you will have.  So if you have time and don’t mind completing surveys apply to as many as possible.