Archive for April 2008


Get A Free Extended Warranty By Purchasing With A Credit Card

Published 4/29/08  (Modified 9/17/13)

By MoneyBlueBook

I'm not a big believer in buying extended warranties or purchasing extra service contracts, so I usually pass whenever I'm asked. This happens more often at big electronic retailer stores like Best Buy and the now defunct Circuit City, where they put in a concerted effort to convince unwitting customers to buy extra protection - that frequently is unnecessary. These stores stand to make a lot of money from selling unnecessary extended service plans that customers oftentimes end up never using. It doesn't really matter how big or small the item you're purchasing, the sales clerks alway seem to inquire if you'd like to purchase additional warranty.

One time I was at Best Buy to pick up something. The young sales lady rung up my purchase and asked if I would like to buy additional warranty protection for my item - a dinky little $15 Sony handheld FM radio - just in case it ever broke down or ever malfunctioned as she explained. I just stared back with a slightly sarcastic but incredulous look. Special warranty protection upgrade - for a simple $15 radio? Who in their right mind would pay $3 extra to insure a flimsy $15 piece of electronic? If it ever broke down I'd rather go and buy a newer model than get it repaired.

With Some Exceptions, Since Most Products Come With Their Own Warranties, It Usually Doesn't Make Sense To Purchase More Protection

The vast majority of the time you are better off not wasting your money on extended warranty protections. Most

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Credit card debt pay off made easy with right use of your balance transfer credit cards

Published 4/27/08  (Modified 12/19/13)

By MoneyBlueBook

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available.

People utilize balance transfer credit cards for a myriad of reasons such as making money from balance transfer and credit card arbitrage, to paying down and reducing high interest debt by applying for zero percent to low interest credit card offers. While those trying to make money from multiple balance transfers are usually more focused on finding no fee 0% offers that last up to a year long, those trying to pay down credit card debt generally have a much longer time horizon span in mind. My focus here is to provide some practical help to those struggling with high interest credit card debt, and help them find more manageable ways of relieving and resolving this financial burden.

Compared to other forms of loans, credit card debt is particularly hard to handle because it is usually associated with high interest rates in excess of 15-20% or more depending on your credit score and credit report history. The longer the credit card debt remains unpaid, the more interest continues to accrue, and the quicker the balance can balloon out of control. That's why it is important to make a concerted effort towards paying off the debt through regular payment increments. The key to making higher sums of unpaid credit card debt more palatable while you chip away at it is to shift those high interest debts over to accounts that provide lower rates. This can be accomplished either by shifting the card

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How To Beat High Gas Prices and Save Money At The Gas Pump

Published 4/24/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Because I rely on public transportation for the vast majority of my work related commute, I don't track gas and oil price fluctuations as closely as someone who drives regularly. While I do notice the indirect correlative effects of pricier gas in the way of higher food prices (and wow are food prices getting more expensive these days), I don't usually realize how high gas prices have spiked until I find myself pumping my own gas. While returning home from a cross country drive to visit a friend in another state this weekend, I noticed I was running low on gas. I scanned the interstate highway horizon for the cheapest regular gas price I could find, and was stunned at how far up gas prices had risen. Only a few weeks and months ago, gas prices were still holding steady at $3.00 a gallon. Now they've climbed to within the $4.00 striking range. I filled up my Honda Accord and looked at the final tally - $44.50. Nearby I could hear the profanity-laden mutterings of other disgruntled drivers as they filled up their vehicles with pricey gasoline. Next to me a big pick-up truck pulled up - definitely a $125.00 filler-upper.

Until the fuel scientists and federal government decide to seriously combat the problem of high gas prices and fuel shortages with subsidies and research grants for the development of alternative energy, all we can do as consumers is to try to find common-sensical ways to reduce our fuel consumption and minimize what we pay at

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One Great Potential Benefit Of Higher Gas Prices - Less Traffic

Published 4/23/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

As gas and oil prices continue to push vigorously into higher unprecedented levels, my wallet lets out a single quivering tear drop. But when I find myself mired in the unmoving water boarding torture that is rush hour traffic - I end up rooting for higher gas prices so that financial natural selection can put a slowdown to the serious problem of traffic jams gone wild.

I hate living, visiting, or even driving near cities with bad traffic. Unfortunately I happen to live near a major metropolitan hub that Forbes Magazine views as the city with the worst overall traffic in the United States - Washington D.C. I was rather taken back when I read that since I had always assumed the smoggy Southern California city of Los Angeles claimed that title, but then the dubious distinction doesn't exactly surprise me. The D.C. Beltway certainly deserves that title as the highway is always filled to the brim with honking drivers.

Why does the local suburban crawl population in our area keep expanding every year? It only adds to the ever growing traffic congestion problem in the region where I live and grew up. Just because the public schools in suburban Maryland and Virginia are some of the best in the nation and the federal government places the vast majority of its jobs in the city doesn't mean everyone have to move here. Why not move to say - neighboring West Virginia or the Appalachian area of Southern Virginia? I hear they have plenty of

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Blogging And Working As A Temporary Contract Employee Go Well Together

Published 4/21/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

These days I've been working from home and enjoying time off from my full time contract legal gig. On some level I miss the daily human interactions and the regular social associations offered by traditional lines of work, but I don't miss the early morning mandatory work schedules or the need to kiss a supervisor's butt cheeks for the sake of getting on his or her good graces for promotion purposes or to ensure a steady stream of future work opportunities. The inevitable downside of working as someone else's employee has always been that you are funneling your own efforts and personal abilities to help someone else grow their business and make them wealthier. In exchange for your services, you are usually offered a set salary or in my case, an unpredictable but very decent wage rate, as well as the occasional health benefit package and transportation related fringe benefits. However, the fact remains that as long as you continue to work for someone else, you never truly own the fruits of your own labor - and I think it's important to own your own fruits.

Over the last few years, I've learned to incorporate blogging and online websites such as my personal finance and frugality blog and a few other attorney based blogs (I prefer not to reveal them here) into my tentative business goal of one day truly working for myself and ending the cycle of exchanging hours for money. While my online sites are certainly growing rapidly and exceeding my

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Arguments For And Against Carrying Multiple Reward Credit Cards

Published 4/20/08  (Modified 12/19/13)

By MoneyBlueBook

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available.

I had lunch with my brother at an Asian noodle place a few days ago and the subject of money came up. Somehow our conversation turned to credit cards, which prompted me to pull out my wallet and enthusiastically display my collection of multiple reward credit cards that I use to make virtually all of my day-to-day purchases. I carry multiple cards for different purchase functions such as having a dedicated gas credit card, grocery credit card, dining out credit card, and an all purpose credit card not covered by other reward programs. My card strategy has always been to maximize my use of credit cards to get the most out of reward points and cash back offers. Not including the ones I regularly carry around, I also have a few other balance transfer cards sitting at home, having already tapped out their 0% APR offers with no other remaining reward deals to offer me as a card consumer.

I See Reward Credit Cards As The Way To Earn Lots Of Arbitrage Cash Back and Free Gift Rewards From Everyday Purchases

What can I say - I'm a big proponent of using credit cards and rarely resort to using cash, which I see as an old school payment system that will someday be phased out in favor of more efficient and sanitary card payment methods. Since I started maximizing my use of credit by carrying around multiple reward cards, I've been consistently earning more than $1,000 in purchase rewards and cash rebates every

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