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Archive for the ‘Savings’ Category

How to keep new year resolutions?

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Most of us write new year resolutions on this day. However, only some of us are able to feel sense of achievement at the end of the year. Here are some tips to make sure you keep and succeed in your resolutions.

1. Make sure your resolutions follow SMART principle. Each resolution should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound. Believe me, if you can’t make your resolution adhering to SMART, you better remove it from your list to save you some frustration down the road.

2. Write positive resolutions. Meaning that, do not write “I will never ever eat that big fat pizza again”. That won’t work! Instead, write “I will eat more vegetables every day”.

3. Be realistic. You know your strengths and weaknesses more than anyone else in the world. Make your resolutions believable… to you!

4. Do some reverse engineering. Set a specific deadline for a goal and work backwards. Plan everything from now to that target date. Weekly plan works better.

These are simple, but proven tips. Try it out. Everyone in MoolaMania wish you and your family wonderful new year and prosperous days ahead! 2015 will be a pretty decent year for U.S. stock market. Plan well and profit well!

Making money with credit cards

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Credit card is not only part of our wallet, but also part of our life. Credit cards are double edged swords. If you use it right, it helps you. If you use it wrong, it buries you in pile of debt. I use credit card for all my purchases. I do this not only for convenience but also to easily track my expenses in Quicken. I always pay the credit card balance in full when it is due. Never ever carry credit card debt, that is just very bad for your financial health and credit score.

If you have a habit of using credit card for most of your purchases and paying credit card balance in full when it is due — here is a way to make some money. Apply for credit cards like Fidelity Investment Rewards credit card. These cards pay you 2% cash back for most of your purchases. There is no annual fee for fidelity investment reward card. If you have an account with Fidelity, the reward cash goes directly into your account. If you have rollover IRA with Fidelity, it gets even better! Your cash back will go into your retirement account and grow nicely over the years. If you typically spend $1,000 per month on credit card purchases, you will accumulate $10,729 over 20 years! (Assuming that you earn 7% per year in your retirement account investments)

If you are going to use your credit card anyway, why not make use of your habit to make additional $10,729 into your retirement account?! If you know of any other cash back credit cards, please share with us. If you like this blog post, you will also find our posts about ISIS wallet useful.

Word of caution: Never sign up for reward credit card that charge annual fee.

Good habits to learn from rich people

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Wall street journal published a useful video about what we can learn from rich people. Check it out at here.

Takeaway is “live like poor” even if you are rich!

More savings from ISIS wallet and Amex Serve

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

I wrote about ISIS few weeks ago when I reviewed Samsung Galaxy S5. If you have NFC enabled smart phone, you can continue to accumulate free money! ISIS wallet offers $1 per transaction which goes up to $50 per month. This offer is valid until end of June 2014. Remember the reward is $1 per transaction, it’s not $1 for every $1 you spent. If you use ISIS wallet for 3 times per week, you will get $3 cash back. I read about some folks keep going back to vending machines to buy candies in small installments just to grab $1 per transaction! That kind of abuse will make ISIS to rethink its rewards program.

If you refer ISIS wallet to friends and family, you will get up to $150 ($10 per referral). See the details here. I had some difficulty in understanding how to use ISIS. I found this link which is useful. Limited number of shops are offering ISIS payment facility. I use ISIS in Whole Foods, CVS, Office Depot and Walgreens. You can also checkout https://www.paywithisis.com/where.html and enter your zip code to find the merchants who have a terminal to use your smart phone (with ISIS) to pay. There is something called NFC. Your phone should have NFC to use ISIS. Latest Android and Apple phones have NFC.

Local AT&T guy told me that ISIS offers $25 if you link your bank account to American Express Serve card. I just linked my bank account to ISIS. I have not seen $25 credit so far. It could kick in once the verification process is done. I will wait and see.

 

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Review

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

I want to start out saying… “This is an AWESOME phone!”. I had multiple phones before: LG, HTC, etc., Never had Samsung though. I was shopping for bigger phones to use it like both phone as well as mini-tablet. I was waiting for S5 to come out after witnessing all the hype surrounding it. Samsung did not disappoint me!

If you read reviews about this phone, you will see the reviews across the spectrum. Some people say it’s not a big deal, some complain about camera quality is not too high (it’s 16MP folks, isn’t it enough?!). I am not going to repeat what you can already find in the internet. See CNET review, Techradar.

I find this phone very useful. It’s pretty easy to operate. Only drawback I saw so far was S-health app is total waste, it’s not working at all. That stupid thing keeps starting by itself. Other than that, not much to complain.

One good thing with this phone is that it’s loaded NFC (near field communication) which helps you to pay in CVS or Walgreens just by using your phone.

It’s not magical though! You need to add app called isis and add your bank card to it. If you play it right, you will save about $70 just by using this app!!

Let me explain. ISIS app has promotion running on now. If you add Wells Fargo credit card to this app before 4/30/14, you will get $20 statement credit. If you sign up for American Express Serve card you will get $50. That’s a total of $70, just like that. It’s free money baby! Once you install isis app in your Samsung S5, the app walks you thru these steps. The above links will also help you to understand.

When I bought the phone in AT&T store, the sales guy tried to sell me the accessories like screen protector for $30 and phone case for $35. What a rip off! I find these items in Amazon for $7 and $15 respectively. Now, there is an idea to save another $43.

If you are shopping for Galaxy S5, this blog post already saved you $113! Please share the post in facebook if this is useful to you.

Cheap Mobile Phone Plans – Part 2

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

After we wrote about cheap mobile phone plans, wall street journal posted relevant article on cheaper cell phone plans. (BTW, Wall Street Journal is running a promotion for $1 for 12 weeks of subscription. You may want to sign up if you are not able to read the content of the link)

Following companies lease the mobile network from big carriers and offer cheaper rates. All companies have “bring your phone” plans, but they may not accept your phones. Check out each site and decide which one is better for you.

 

Apart from the above list, Net10Wireless also offers better plans.

Cheap Mobile Phone Plans

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

If you use Quicken like programs to track your spending, you will find that you spend ridiculous amount for Mobile phone plans and for cable TV services. We will discuss saving money on cable TV in the upcoming posts. For now, let us focus on mobile phone plans.

Companies like AT&T and Verizon are minting money because of consumer’s ignorance. Check out MyRatePlan to see if you can save money on your existing plans. There is a very good chance that you are paying too much to your current mobile provider.

If you are paying around $90 per month for single mobile line AND if your phone is unlocked/no-contract, you may want to check out Straight Talk. These guys give you unlimited calls, data and text for $45 per month!

Related Link: Cyber Monday Cell Phone Deals

How to Find Best Black Friday Deals

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Thanksgiving deals started early this year. Dell ran program for business members last Wednesday (11/20). It sold out 11″ laptop for $270 in few hours. There will be better deals in Amazon, Frys and Tigerdirect on CyberMonday.

Here is the game plan for this thanksgiving.

1. Prepare a wish-list of products you want to buy. This is important. This will prevent you from buying something just because it is cheap. If you buy 16GB SD Card just because it’s selling for $7, you still lose $7 if that SD card sits in your desk for years.

2. Use smartphone apps to find deals.

3. Check out black friday deals in your favorite websites. Most of these websites have already disclosed the deals. My favorites are Officedepot.com, Amazon, Frys.

4. Compare the prices and decide the best store to buy.

5. When Black Friday/Cyber Monday comes, go and grab the deal!

6. If you are going to visit the stores in-person at 6am on Thursday, here is a complete list of various store hours.

Low cost internet access

Friday, March 8th, 2013

If you want cheaper or free internet access, check out FreedomPop. It is offering 1 GB/month free of charge to any user who signs up for service. There is a catch though… you need to buy FreedomPop’s $89 home WiMAX router. Not too bad, because it’s a one-time charge. If you want higher data plan like 10GB per month, it would cost $10 per month. “Freemium” is the new marketing mantra. Companies give you something for free and try to influence you to buy more stuff from them. FreedomPop hopes that free users would eventually convert to paid users.

If you watch Netflix at home, you will be better off sticking with your local provider. FreedomPop is only for the users who use Internet only for casual browsing and emails. For heavy users, 1GB data plan won’t last even a day.

How to get perfect credit score?

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Median FICO credit score is 723 and the possible high score is 850. If your credit score is better than 723, pat yourself on the back.  If not, check out this article from Wall Street Journal. Basically, it boils down to the following:

  1. Pay your bills on time.
  2. Have low credit-utilization. For example, if you have $10,000 credit available to you, use only $3,000 max from that credit line. Wall Street Journal article claims that “you cant have too much credit”. I doubt it. Keep the limit on total credit available to you. Do not respond to all credit card offers that are coming your way. Also, keep the limit on your spending. That should take care of it.
  3. Don’t get into collection mess.
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