Sunday, March 19, 2006

$100 bonus for Schwab Credit Card

Charles Schwab is offering a $100 bonus for signing up for their credit card and making a purchase. The card is through MBNA, and is essentially a 1% back card (1 pt / $1 spent.) Nothing special in that regard, but $100 is $100!

The bonus comes in the form of 10,000 bonus points, which can be redeemed for $100. Note that even though the points are called WorldPoints, they are different from other MBNA WorldPoints, in that they can be redeemed for cash at a straight 1% value with just 5,000 points (details here.)

I won't use this card much, but the card seems to have no foreign transaction fees. I'm not sure if this means no additional fees on top of Visa's standard 1%, or no fees at all. The T&C say no fees on foreign transactions. 1% or 0%, I'll still use the card abroad.

I just got my card a few days ago and made a $3 purchase, so let's see if that qualifies as a purchase for the $100 bonus. :)

Almost forgot, here is the link for the 10,000 point signup bonus.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Citi 5 ThankYou points for Home Improvement purchases

For anyone with a Citi account, be sure to regularly check the "Special Offers" tab on your online account for promotional deals.

Currently, Citi is offering a promotion for 5 ThankYou points on Home Improvement purchases (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.) until 5/31/06. One of my cards was eligible for this, so be sure to check it out.

I don't ever shop at these stores, but I know a lot of people do (especially homeowners,) so it's worth a shot.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Today I helped my mom fund the Fidelity IRA account she began opening almost a month ago. We maxed out her 2005 contribution, but since the funds aren't there yet we haven't picked a place to put it. My mom's not so much a hands-on person when it comes to these kind of things, so I think she'll probably go with one of the target retirement date funds.

I've made plans for the money sitting in a Savings & Loan CD. It should be around $4800, so when it matures (February 2007) I think I'll open a Roth IRA at Fidelity and max out my 2006 contribution. Of course, I'll have to first make at least $4500 in 2006 (only earned income can be used to fund a Roth, and last year I only made $4000 (!!)) And I'll try to throw whatever spare cash I can afford into the account for the next few years.

Assuming I retire at age 65, I'll have 44 years of tax-free growth in the Roth. Start early!

In other news, about a month ago I got a killer deal on an iPod. Amazon had white 30 GB iPod videos on sale for $264 (they go for $299 at most places.) Take off ~$36 I had leftover from an Amazon gift certificate I got from Citi and the $30 I got for applying for the Amazon.com Visa, and my total came to about $200 shipped. Not bad.

The iPod is definitely a "leisure item," and something that I normally wouldn't buy, but my current MP3 player was on the way out and I more or less live for portable music players. Makes walking to class much more fun. I planned to buy an iPod, just not for a few more weeks. But who can pass up such a deal? ;)

Again, sorry for the lack of an update. I know I've been slacking on this whole thing. I'm home for Spring Break now so I'll take some time to give an update.

I'm slowly recovering from a rash of unexpected expenses from earlier this year. Not quite there yet, but working on it. I did get my tuition reimbursement check from my employer for my book expenses back in January. Books cost about $400 this semester, so now that I finally have that money back it's going straight into my HSBC account at 4.80%. Also got a small tax refund from my state and am awaiting a slightly larger refund from the IRS.

In other news, I'm currently looking for a new job. Hopefully I'll find something soon that pays more than what I've been making. It's hard to find a decent part time job that will fit around my school schedule.

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