Monday, March 27, 2017

Latest Buy

I have been pretty dormant in terms of my purchases in my taxable account. My opinion is that the market is really hot, and it makes sense to wait for it to cool down before making purchases. That said - there are always companies with some transient issues and they present buying opportunities, so i am still very open to those.

This is part of my automatic 401k (my contribution + employer 3% match) buys. On March 22, i purchased -

VFIAX - $112.50
JMYAX - $309.38
Stable Value Fund - $515.62 (this is more like a money market+bond blend fund)

Total - $937.50

Approximate dividend yield on the index funds is about 2%, so this adds about $8.50 to the annual dividends received in my tax deferred account.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Credit card rewards are for real

I have been through different phases as a online blog consumer. Personal finance to credit card hacking to investing to dividend related investing. I can say that now i am in a place where i have a good balance of all of these.

In my credit card hack phase (i still do a fair amount, though not as active as before) i used to hit up over 10 credit card blogs regularly, including The Points Guy, Mommy Points among others and ended up selectively applying for credit cards and getting valuable points.

People who are into this full time earn and redeem a serious amount of points/miles/hotel points, even though i am no where close to that level, i can say that i have saved a few thousand dollars just doing this selectively part time for a short amount of time. Keep in mind, applying for and cancelling credit cards regularly can adversely affect your credit score, so this is not for everyone.

Here is a quick snapshot of points/miles i have redeemed so far –

Add another $1,050 redeemed as Home Depot gift cards for a washer/dryer redeemed by converting American Express membership rewards points, the total comes to about $9,330

Now i have paid some fees, specially a $95 annual fee for the chase sapphire card that i use as my primary card to get chase ultimate rewards (which is what i have used for most of my redemption). These rewards can be transferred to airlines like united, southwest among others. Total fees paid so far – $720

I have netted about $8,600 so far by not really doing much more than putting our regular spending on credit cards. Not shabby at all.

I guess you will sense a theme here, like my interests – my blog is a mix of all of these things too. I don’t think or concentrate on one aspect and go all in. I like and pursue a little bit of all things in moderation.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Best CD interest rate

Today is the 8 year anniversary of the stock market recovery since the infamous 2008-2009 crash. It has been an amazing and unpredictable recovery to say the least. Where the market goes from here is anybody’s guess, but i think it is prudent to either not invest aggressively at this stage or pull a little bit of money out of the market and lock in some gains.

Like most financial gurus will tell you, I too believe that time in the market is better than timing the market – but taking a pause and re evaluating every now and then is not a bad strategy either.

With that said – what do you do with whatever money you have on the sidelines, waiting for a 5%, 10% or even 20% correction from this point ?

On a work visa, contributed to a retirement plan, going back now - options ?

I discussed the idea of participating in a retirement plan at work even though on a work visa in this previous post - here

You did that, and ended up with a small chunk of money over a period of 3-6 years and are planning to go back to your home country, now what? Here are a few options.

On a work visa,should i participate in retirement plans at work? - Part 1

With the increasing global nature of work and jobs, a lot of us find ourselves in the situation where we end up with a work visa (H1b,L1) etc after graduation from grad school or being sent over by a company to work as a consultant for a few months or years.

For those that graduate and join the workforce on a H-1b visa,a lot of questions pop up. Will i be here for a while, long enough for the company's 401-k vesting period?, will i eventually want to become a permanent resident or citizen or will i go back home for good? All these questions and uncertainties mean that most people procrastinate and do not participate in employer sponsored 401k plans. BIG financial mistake !

Friday, February 3, 2012

Moved to Wordpress. Or Not.

Update - I wasn't very active for a while, now when i am planning to write regularly ( i think), i would like to test it out here before i go out and get my own domain etc. So yeah, back to blogger it is.

I have been using blogger for the last couple of years, but decided to make the move to wordpress. There is no single good reason why I chose WordPress over blogger, maybe the whole more cleaner look appeals more to me.

Please visit my new blogging home at
I hope to post more regularly and build a bigger reader base. See you there ...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paying less than $6 for movie tickets.

Me and desi girl love to watch movies, it is one of our favorite weekend activities. With the huge movie line up from last summer (Thor,Captain America, Green Lantern, Transformers etc) it can get very expensive for a couple trying to see a movie every other weekend. One movie would normally cost us $23 ($11.5 * 2). I hate to spend that kind of money for tickets (not to mention the $5.5 for a small popcorn and $4 for a small bottle of water).

I started buying ticket packs at the local costco, they sell 2 tickets for $16.5 which takes a few dollars of the original cost of the tickets which is sweet. Buying just a few tickets in a year would be more than enough to take care of our yearly costco membership fees ($50). In august i came across a deal on, where they were selling a pack of 10 AMC tickets for $62.99 ($82.99 - $20 instant member discount), i literally pounced on that deal :). An AMC ticket for $6.3 meant we would save $5.2 on EVERY ticket or $10.4 every time we went out to watch a movie, sign me up.

Last week ran the same deal for a couple of days, here is a snapshot -

Needless to say, i purchased another 10 pack set which sets us up for the most part of this year watching movies at $6.3 a pop. What's more i am a member of AMC Stubs, i am not a big fan of this program since they charge you $12 a year just for membership which includes non essential stuff like online stub collection, free upgrades on concessions etc. I was given a one year free trial since i was a previous AMC rewards member, plus early this year they had a promotion where i was able to extend my membership for a year for only $6.

I normally would have opted out, but you earn 1 point for every dollar spend at AMC and get $10 credit for every 100 points earned, which makes this an effective 10% cashback. This is useful to me since i buy a ticket for $6.3 but earn points for the original $11.5 value. So the $63 movie pack gets me another $11.5 in AMC credits after i use them for future use which can be used to buy one ticket at the normal price. Effectively getting me 11 tickets for $62.99 ( $5.73 per ticket). Original cost - $126.5, saving over $60 on something we would do anyway.Not bad at all.