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Archive for the ‘Personal Finance’ Category

Bank of America is currently paying $100 for opening a business checking account.  This link has will take you to the offer.  It has an offer code of  C100BUS which only applies to California residents.  If you are live outside of California use this code, M100BUS.  This code will work in all other states.

You can take advantage of this offer even if you do not have your own business.  Just fill out sole proprietor for type of business, and use your own social security number instead of the company tax id number.  If you have ever sold anything on Ebay, you are a sole proprietor.

Tip:  Print out the offer page, and take it in to a local Bank of America branch, and have a customer service representative open the account for you.  I recently opened a new business account for a new business, and they were able to waive all the fees on the account.  Plus, the representative was also able to find another offer code that gave me another $50, so I got $150 instead of $100.  Ask about a referral bonus.  If you have an existing Bank of America personal account, you can earn a $50 referral for referring the new business account.  Its also a good idea to establish a personal relationship with someone at the bank.  It will make it easier in the future in obtaining lines of credit and other bank offers.

Note:  You can still get $100 for opening a personal banking account at Bank of America if you don’t already have one.  Check here for more details.

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This week marks the end of the school year for my kids.  Its only preschool and toddler classes, not even real school yet, but with the end of classes comes the start of the busy summer “activities” season.   My wife has had various community resources catalogs and the calender out for months planning the next 3 months, making sure that there is no “down” time unaccounted for.  I know the other Moms are doing the same thing.  Something about idle hands and minds or something like that.  Our summer is now packed and can be broken down into 3 parts, camps, lessons, and vacation.

Camps

These are daily or weekly camp acitivities such as nature camp, sports camp, and daily vacation bible school.  These activities will eat up a good chunk of the summer.  The plus of these camps is that it is every day and it lasts from half a day to a whole day, so plenty of time to get some rest or work done.  Of course camps are the most expensive summer activity.

Lessons

In addition to the camps, there will several weeks of lessons in such activities as swimming  golf, soccer, tennis, and art lessons.  These lessons generally last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.  A short break.  There goes most of the rest of the summer, but any free time left will be devoted to family vacations.

Vacations

We are scheduled for a family vacation to Arizona in July, and probably a few other shorter trips.  This is in addition to the vacations we have already taken to Hawaii, Disneyland, and San Diego this year.  When I was young, we had one summer vacation and that was it.  You all know that vacations are not cheap, but traveling with kids, its also a lot of work and not too restful.

So, that basically covers our whole summer.  And that’s not including the “normal” play dates, zoo outings, and birthday parties.  I’m not sure what to make of all this activity.  In my youth, I would look forward to summer days of sleeping in, watching tv, and spending the afternoons, and early evening playing in the neighberhood until it got dark.  Without all these activities, we had to find things to entertain us such as games of wiffle ball, or riding skateboards, or finding and building things in the backyard.  You had to be creative with your time, but these things kept us entertained for hours.  Now, kids have their activites all mapped out for them, and they expect to be entertained.

Of course, all these activities are not free like the lazy summer days of my youth.  Camps and lessons cost money, and it adds up with $75 dollars here,  $200 there, and so on.  Pretty soon, you are approaching a private school tuition not for academics, but for summer “activities”.  A recent Newsweek article estimates that it will cost $1,589,793 to raise the average middle-class child to age 18.  This includes college savings and lost income if one parent stays at home for that time.  I wonder if that figure includes all the “extracurricular” activities we have to pay for these days.  All the middle-class families I know are doing the same thing we are.  How much would this figure be if we cut out some of these “activities”?

I am glad that my kids are able to experience a lot of different thing that I never got to experience at an early age,  and we are fortuante that I am better able to afford these opportunities than my parents.  My kids have travled much more extensively at a young age than I ever did.  Much of the summer lessons are valuable life skills such as learning how to swim, and the sports activities help their physical development.  Vacations are an opportunity for family bonding, and to expose the kids to many new things and cultures.   I can’t argue that the money spent is worthwhile, but still I wonder if we are going overboard in that every day and week is accounted for.   Can we do it more cheaply?  My kids have not even started kindergarten yet.  Will it be like this for the next 15 years?

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Here is my son Marcus playing with a cardboard box, binoculars, and a few throw pillows.  He is playing in his boat, or plane, or rocket ship.  Its called  using your imagination, and you don’t have to pay $200 to go to a camp in order to exercise it.

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The Citibank savings account offer of $100 bonus I wrote of for opening a new account is over.  Hopefully you were able to take advantage of it, but if you did not, all is not lost.  The current offer is for a $50 bonus for opening an account.  Follow this link.

Its not as attractive as the $100 offer, but its still free money.  Also, you can still get $100 for opening  a new Bank of America account.  I am reviewing several other bank bonus offers and will be sharing those soon.

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Here is another “free money” deal  at Sharebuilder.   Here is how to play this one:

 Go to this sharebuilder link.

  1. Choose the basic plan.
  2. Fund your account with at least $5.
  3. Buy 1 share of a low priced stock $1-2 to qualify for the bonus.  If you buy 1 share of a $1 stock, it will cost you $5.($1 for the price of the stock and $4 for the commission).  I bought CMGI which was trading for a little over $2.  I picked CMGI because I know of it.  It is a an internet stock.  At the height of the dot com boom, it traded for over $100 a share.  Now it is languishing at around $2.  Maybe it will recover, or maybe it will go to 0.  Who cares?  I only own 1 share, and I received $50 for buying it, netting around $44.
  4. Wait 4-6 weeks to get your bonus.
  5. Withdraw all your money, and leave the stock in the account, or sell it.  There is no minimum balance to maintain.

$44 or $45 is not that much, but the beauty of this offer is that you can open multiple accounts for everyone in your household including children.  In my case that’s $44 x 4 or $176.  Also, I’ve been told that you can repeat this offer every 4-6 months with a different promo code. I have not confirmed this yet, but I will pass on the information when I find out.  Free money.

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We Have Moved.  For more money making ideas, visit us at WWW.MrAlYoung.COM

Here is another article there, you might be interested in:  Free Money Update 

Today is the last day to take advantage of the $100 bank bonus by opening a Citibank Ultimate Savings account.  After today, there is another Citibank promotion, but it only pays $50, so take advantage of the current Citibank offer while you still can.

Here is another $100 bank bonus offer from Bank of America.  It is similar to the Citibank offer in that you have to be a new customer of Bank of America.  One person I knew closed his existing Bank of America accounts and opened a new one to get the $100.  I am an existing Bank of America customer, and it seems a bit too much trouble to get the $100, but you can if you think its worth it.  For a new Bank of American customer, it is definitely worth it.  Make sure the offer code: CH100CSP  is filled out in the online application.

If you find this information useful, please subscribe by RSS Reader or email subscription to be informed of more money making/saving  tips.

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I recently pointed out that you can get $100 for just opening a Citibank Ultimate Savings account.  The only catch is that you have to be a new customer of Citibank. Hopefully, you were able to take advantage of that offer.  Here is another offer from Net Bank.  You can get up to $250 for opening the following accounts.

  • $75 for Checking of 2% APY
  • $75 for Savings of 4.5% APY
  • $100 for CD of 5.25% APY

Unlike the Citibank offer, there is a minimum deposit, and balance you must maintain.  For the checking account the minimum balance of $500 must be maintained for 1 month.  For the money market savings account, the minimum balance of $1,000 must be maintained for 1 month.  With the CD, the minimum deposit is $5,000 for 6 months.  Here is how to play this:

  1. Open checking account with $500 deposit, and open MMA with $1000 (wait for one month).
  2. After one month, draw checking account down to $10 and MMA to $500.01 (this is the minimum balances to avoid fees). You should get the $150 bonus after about one month after account opening. Call them if it doesn’t show up.
  3. Wait till 6 months from opening, withdraw all your money, then close all your accounts so you won’t get charged with any closing or low balance fees.
  4. After the CD matures in 6 months, withdraw the balance.

Similar to the Citibank offer, you have to be a new customer of Net Bank.  Combined with the Citibank offer, that’s $350 in free money.  Its more work than the Citibank offer, but $350 in a month is worth it.  Its not like you have to dig ditches in 100 degree heat to get the money.  “Work” involves filling out an online application, and moving your money temporarily online.  I have rental property that don’t cashflow $350 a month, and that’s a lot more work and risk.  This is free money for 15 minutes online.

Another tip:  Download this program-Roboform.  Roboform is a program that keeps track of all your online passwords and persoanl information so it fills it out for you every time you enter a website requiring that information.  It will save you a tremendous amount of time when you order anything online such as airline tickets, or any product online.  When you fill out new account applications online, it fills out the form for you automatically.  So, it only takes you only a few minutes to fill out several account applications, so there is no excuse not to get free money if it is offered.

If you find such information useful, and profitable, please subscribe by RSS Reader or email subscription.

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Following up on my article on the superior savings rate you can get at online banks versus your traditional local bank, I have found a great banking deal.  Citibank has a promotion to lure new customers by offering a $100 if you open a Citibank Direct Ultimate Savings Account.  That’s $100 cash.  Here are the details.

$100 offer is only available for first-time Citibank deposit account customers, and will be paid only once to any individual. Persons who currently have or at any time have had a deposit account at Citibank (or any of its predecessor banks) are not eligible. To receive this offer you must apply for and open a new Ultimate Savings Account by 5/31/2007. $100 will be credited to your Ultimate Savings Account within 90 days from the end of the statement period in which your account was opened. Accounts must be in good standing at the time of the $100 credit.

The rate on this account is currently 4.65%.  Not quite as high as other online banks such as Emigrant Direct or HSBC Direct, but still very competitive.  If you were to walk into a Citibank branch and opened the same account, you would get only a .7% interest rate. Citibank is one of the largest banks in the world, and your deposit is FDIC insured.  Also, there is no minimum deposit required.  You can open this account with $1.  Truly a win win situation.  Obviously, Citibank has a lot of money to spend to acquire new customers.  However, the fine print reads “Offer may be modified or withdrawn at any time without notice and is not transferable”, so sign up soon to get your $100 before they pull the plug on this promotion.

By reading this blog, you could have just made $100 with this information.  If you find such information useful, please subscribe by RSS Reader or email subscription.

UPDATE:  This offer has expired.  Please see info on current offer here.

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