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.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TurboTax Deluxe Fed + EFile + State 2011 PLUS Quicken Starter Edition 2012 For under $20.

I have been using TurboTax for taxes for the last 2 years and both the times i have purchased the deluxe windows download version from amazon for around $45. This is how i ended up getting it for under $20 this year. (If you do not get a price match - your OOP will be around $25).

I found this deal thread on slickdeals and did the following-

1. Get a $25 off $75 Staples coupon at for $1.85
2. Go to and add the TurboTax Deluxe Fed + EFile + State 2011 edition to your cart for $49.99
3. Add the Quicken Starter Edition 2012 to cart for $29.99 (but free because they send a $30 prepaid visa card back via Staples Easy Rebates) Total is now 79.98
4. Add the $25 off $75 coupon .

So this made my total $54.98 after applying the coupon. Under the current promotion I will get a $30 Visa Pre-paid card + a $5 Staples GC in mail (It takes about a minute to enter the information in the Staples easy rebates site). I end up with both Turbo tax Deluxe and the Quicken starter edition + a $5 Staples GC for a total of $24.98. Which is a great deal according to me.

While i was checking out, i checked the price of TurboTax Deluxe on, and it was $39.79 so i did a quick web chat with a staples CS rep. She was ready to Price match and give me a $11 discount, but then i could not use the $25 off coupon since my total cart value was below $75, so i ended up adding a random item for $5.99 so that i could make use of the coupon.(This item had another $ 2 off which was added later on- it is the kleenex tissue box pack of 3 if someone is interested in doing the same)

So, there i ended up getting the TT Deluxe + Quicken + $5 Staples GC + Kleenex tissue boxes for $19.6.
($49.99 + $29.99 + $5.99 - $25.00 - $2.00 = $58.97 - $11.2 price adjustment = $47.77 - $30 + $1.85 = $19.62 )

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Credit Card Strategy for Utilities this quarter. ($50 Cash back)

In an effort to streamline my personal finances, i pay attention to the points/cash back that i can earn on every day spending on my credit card.
I put almost all every day spending on a credit card and make sure to pay it off every billing cycle, this helps in not only building a good credit history with the different credit card providing banks (like citi, chase, amex) but also in getting between 1% to 5% back in the form of either simple cash or points (which are sometimes valued even higher). The way i look at it, it is free money that i would leave on the table if i paid for my regular spending with a debit card/cash. Plus it also allows me to keep track of my spending using montly statements.

This quarter(Jan-March 2012), the citi dividend card is offering 5% cash back on utilities, health care and Fitness clubs.

You can go here and register your card for this quarter.

The great part about this is that the "utilities" category also includes cable/internet and cell phone bills. I always pay our cell phone and cable/internet bill with one of my credit cards, by simply switching to this card for the next 3 months, i will end up getting over $40 cash back for about a 5 minute effort (cancelling auto-pay and manually charging the bill on the citi card).
Also, we get a consolidated heat/electric/water bill, and they add a $3 surcharge if paid by a credit card instead of a check payment. Now the average winter time monthly bill is about $125-$140, so even after taking the $3 credit card payment charge i would end up getting another $10 cash back. So simply by moving around my payment credit cards i will end up getting over $50 in cash back this quarter.

This is in addition to the specific cards i use for gas, restaurants and groceries to average more than 1% cash back per dollar. I will write about that soon.