Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bank Deal Monday

I just realized that yesterday was "Bank Deal Monday" and I didn't post a bank deal. Shame on me. So here's the weekly deal (albeit a day late)...

$125 cash bonus for opening a Chase checking account.

In order to qualify for the $125 you have to:

1) Open the account with a minimum $100 deposit.

2) Set the account up with direct deposit OR make 5 debit card transactions per month

3) Keep the account open for at least 6 months.
For $125, that's a pretty sweet deal. If 5 debit transactions with the debit card will drive you mad, direct deposit is probably the better option on requirement #2. Although you could have your paycheck be deposited into the account (or a portion of it) you could also use paypal for direct deposit. You simply have to move some money from your paypal account into the Chase account. This will count as direct deposit. I know, it's a cool tip.

I'm jealous of you guys because when I signed up for this deal a few months ago, the reward was $100. I signed both my wife and I up so we ended up with 200 benjamins. But still, $250 would have been very nice.

This promotion is only available to existing Chase customers OR individuals who have been referred by Chase customers. Lucky for you, I'm a Chase customer and can give you a referral.
If you're a Chase customer (credit card or banking), sign into your account online and then click here.

If you're not a Chase customer, shoot me an email at youngcashcow(at)gmail(dot)com or leave a comment with your email address and I will gladly send you a code. I only have 10 of these and they will go fast. So, if I give it to you, USE IT. I'm out - YCC

Monday, March 30, 2009

Airborne Settlement

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a check in the mail today for $28.

Why, you ask?

About a year ago I filed a claim in the lawsuit against Airborne and their false advertising about preventing the common cold. I admit, they had my wife and I fooled. We swore by the stuff.

When it came to light that the ingredients of Airborne weren't all that special, and that they had been vastly overpricing their products, it was a no-brainer for us to file a claim.

From time to time, lawsuits allow consumers to receive compensation after buying products that were either harmful, falsely advertised, or otherwise tainted.

Now, like I said, I filed the claim a year ago and had since forgotten about it. So, it was sweet to find the letter in the mail!

Apparently a year isn't a very long time to wait.

A recent lawsuit that my wife and I were also able to take advantage of was due to a lawsuit filed against cosmetic companies back in 2003. In January of 2009, department stores offered free products to anyone who had bought cosmetics at their stores between May 1994 and July 2003.

You can see details of the cosmetics settlement here.

Needless to say, these settlements aren't always heavily advertised. So, I will do my best to keep you apprised of any pending lawsuits so that you can take advantage if you've been financially wronged.

The sad thing is, there were a whole bunch of people who bought loads of expensive airborne products and cosmetics, but who received nothing from these settlements. So check out my "lawsuit settlements" tag from time to time to make sure you haven't missed out on any pending opportunities to be compensated.

Wow, this post makes me sound like a lawyer, doesn't it? I'm out - YCC

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Quote

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters.

~Jean-Paul Kauffmann

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Grocery Auctions

Saturday tends to be a big shopping day, so today might be a good day for the subject of grocery auctions.

That's right. Grocery auctions.

Although this phenomenon hasn't hit my home state yet, it's becoming popular in New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and a number of other states. With food prices on the rise, it's easy to see why this has become a viable alternative to wandering the supermarket aisles.

The auctions are just like regular auctions, complete with an auctioneer and numbers for every potential bidder. You can bid on everything from frozen chicken to potato chips.

Some of the items you can bid on at these auctions are past the sell-by date, which may or may not bother you. Surely, some of you are wary of this kind of thing. I mean, it always freaks me out to eat stuff after it expires and I'm sure it's the same for many of you (including Jerry Seinfeld). Yet the FDA insists it's safe to eat... which may or not mean anything to you. The FDA has a history of approving some very unhealthy and, in some cases, unsafe stuff.

Outside of expired goods, there are also damaged goods for sale. This ranges from minor to major, and I'd expect that the more damaged the product, the deeper the discount.

In any case, there is real potential for some giant savings on everyday products at these auctions. We're all sick of the rising cost of food, which was subject to its worst inflation in 17 years during 2008. So, whaddya think? If there have been grocery auctions in your neck of the woods, how were they? Would you like to see grocery auctions come to your home town? I'm out - YCC

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Coupon Code Strategy

Well, it's official.

YoungCashCow.com is the newest .com on the block. I have to admit... I feel good. I also feel great knowing that I got a deal on my domain name.

I shopped around, and because of a mixture of positive feedback and a great coupon code, I bought my domain through GoDaddy. No, it wasn't because of those racy Super Bowl commercials...

So far, the service at GoDaddy has been great and I'll let you know if I ever start to think otherwise. As for the coupon code, it saved me about $20!

I love coupon codes. For virtually any product you can imagine, there is a coupon code floating on the web somewhere ... waiting ... hoping to be Ctrl C'd and Ctrl V'd in order to provide a few dollars relief to the average consumer. That's why I always google "coupon code [product I'm considering buying online]" before I checkout. It's a great strategy. In this case I googled "coupon code domain name" and encountered a number of offers, eventually choosing the best one I could find.

For your convenience (and my own selfish, monetizing motives) I've provided a mini google search engine right here on my web page! I conveniently posted it there today so that you could all test out "the coupon code strategy."

Oh, and for all of you who have strong allegiances to either Microsoft or Apple, check this out. I know, it's random. But as I was sitting here in the computer lab of my elementary school writing this post, I noticed a kindergartener on that site and couldn't help but laugh.
I'm out - YCC

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Longer Fidèle to Chase

So, today’s post is about a new credit card offer that came for me in the mail today. I almost always throw these offers away, but this one caught my eye since I saw a post by Financial Nut about it.

It’s called the Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express card, and it offers some promising returns. It’s fairly straightforward – you get 2% back on everything you spend.

And I mean everything.

Many credit card companies determine which things are worthy of 2, 3, 4, and even 5%, and then give you 1% on the rest of your purchases. So I really like this about the Fidelity card.

The only catch is that you have to have a Fidelity brokerage account, which my wife and I both do. So it’s a great way to contribute to our Roth IRA accounts. We have a goal to max out our Roth IRA contributions every year anyway, so it’s perfect for us.

Another thing about the card is that they only put the money in once you’ve earned $50 in rewards (or spent $2,500). The only other potential drawback is that it is an American Express card, which isn't accepted everywhere.

Now, up to this point I have been exclusively using my Chase Freedom Visa card. Although they recently changed the rewards program on this card (Thanks FreeMoneyFinance for the update), I bought it back when they were offering 3% cash back in the 3 categories where you spend the most, and 1% on everything else.

The catch with that card is that you only earn 3% on up to $600 of purchases per month. But, they also offer an incentive for letting your rewards build since they’ll award you a $50 bonus once you accumulate $200 in rewards. Naturally, I want to continue using my Chase freedom card.

I wanted to know if it would be worth it to begin using the Fidelity Freedom card alongside my Chase Freedom card. Check this out:

My average monthly expenditures:
Gas $100
Groceries $250
Department stores $150
Entertainment/Dining $100
Other $900 (rent, insurance, etc.)
TOTAL $1,500

Now, I am going to do a little math here. For the purpose of this scenario, I’m going to examine my earnings over a period of 8 months, which puts me right around $200 on the Chase card, earning me the $50 bonus.

Earnings if I use the Chase Freedom Card exclusively:
$600 x 8 months x 3% = $144 rewards
$900 x 8 months x 1% = $72 rewards
$50 bonus for reaching $200 = $50 rewards

Earnings if I use my Chase Freedom card for gas, groceries, department stores, entertainment, and dining, and the Fidelity Card for everything else:
$600 x 8 months x 3% = $144 rewards
$900 x 8 months x 2% = $144 rewards (deposited to IRA)

The Fidelity/Chase combo strategy wins by $22.

Hey, $22 is $22 and every little bit helps, so this looks like a go for me. Depending on your spending habits, and whether or not you have a Fidelity account, this could be a great option for you – especially if you use it in conjunction with the Chase Freedom card.

Even if you don’t have the Chase card, you'll be hard pressed to find any cards that offer 2% flat on everything. When offers like that do roll around, it probably won't last long. So, overall, I think this sounds like a great find and I'll let you guys know how I like it.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this, so let yourself be heard by posting a comment! Oh, and in case you're wondering about the title, fidèle means "loyal" in French. I thought it was witty. I’m out – YCC

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do What You Love?

I've had people tell me both ways: "do what you love" and "do what allows you to do what you love."

Both, I think, are valid.
However, I've now come up with my own hybrid motto:

"Do what you love, and spend and save in a way that allows you to do what you love."

A little bit longer, and less catchy - but good nonetheless. I tried out the business world for awhile and despite its potential for riches, I love being a teacher so much more. And, despite people's perceptions about teacher salaries, I make out just fine.

Like America's cheapest family, known for living debt-free with a home and 2 cars despite having 5 kids and a 35k yearly income, my wife and I have learned to only spend what we have and never go into debt (with the exception of a home).

A great book on this subject is "The Wealthy Barber." It chronicles the fictional story of a barber and his saving, spending, earning, and investing strategies that yield riches far beyond what you would expect of a barber. It's on my book list on the left, and I would highly recommend it.

So, what do you love? Take my poll below and let me know which job philosophy is best. And feel free to leave a comment. I'm out - YCC

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's in a Name Brand?

Whenever we go shopping, we are bombarded with options of things to buy.

It's not as simple as it was back in the day of the General Store when there was only one kind of everything to choose from. If you needed black beans, you would grab a sack labeled "black beans" and be done with it.

No longer... Now we've got to choose between Bush's, Campbell's, Hormel, Van Camp's, Amy's Organic, B&M, Rosarita, Ortega, Old El Paso, S&W, and even Taco Bell brand beans. But when it all comes down to it, they're all beans... right? Yet, the prices are all so different.

So how are we supposed to choose? Well, one way to do it is to skip all of those name brands and go straight for the "Great Value," "Member's Mark," "Kirkland," or whatever the local generic store brand is. If you were to switch out all of your name brand purchases and switch them to generic brand purchases, I guarantee you would save a bundle. But is it worth it?

It depends.

And it's also a matter of preference. For me, I'm ok buying generic tooth brushes, cottage cheese, saltine crackers, milk, and a host of other items. But when it comes down to soda and treats - Dr. K just isn't the same as Dr. Pepper and Kroger Kid's O's just don't do it for me like Oreos do.

Until recently, I was scared of generic brands. I bought almost all name brands. I really don't know why, other than the comfort of a name brand. I guess seeing a smiling little boy down a warm bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup gave me the idea that I should buy Campbell's even if it was $1 more than the generic brand.

Additionally, the store brands aren't typically in plain view. You have to "stoop down" to the store brand levels which are typically found on the lowest shelves. But I decided I would give it a whirl on items I regularly bought, and I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on this. Have you ever had any bad experiences with store brands? Which products shouldn't we scrimp on? I'll be anxious to hear what you have to say... I'm out - YCC

Monday, March 23, 2009

A New Monday Tradish

If you haven't seen School of Rock with Jack Black, you might not understand why I wrote "tradish" instead of "tradition."


I'm going to be doing something new every Monday. I hate Mondays. Don't you? That's why I'm going to be posting a killer bank deal every Monday.

By bank deal, I mean some type of deal that you get when you sign up with a bank (not the latest "deals" that AIG execs are getting).

Today, I have chosen Bank of America and their $50 MyAccess Checking bonus.


That's some serious green. All you have to do is go to this site, fill out the application, and boom - you just made $50. I've done this myself and I have been able to deftly put to use my extra Ulysses S. Grant.

There are no strings attached with this offer, although you will need $25 to fund the account.

However, I'm going to give you a big, BIG, hint on how to really laugh all the way to the bank on this one. If you have a rewards credit card, use it to fund the account. If you fund it with $3,000 and you earn 1% cash back on purchases... you just earned yourself another $30. So that means you are going to be walking away with $80 free and clear! Depending on your credit limit, you may even go higher.

Now that's a way to brighten up your Monday. I'm out - YCC

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

I just found out about the latest and greatest from Google. It's called Tip Jar.

According to the site, "Tip Jar is a collection of money saving tips submitted and ranked by the web community." It came out during a time when we need it most.

There are great tips on the site and you can vote on whether or not you like them. The tips are then ranked by popularity. You can choose from a number of categories including finance, shopping, food, travel, and others. For example, I gave this finance tip by plaxdan a thumbs up:

"Do not carry cash. Why? You will spend it."

Great tip. I try to take any cash I have straight to the bank since it's too much of a temptation to grab a soda in the teacher's lounge with a stray dollar in my wallet.

Not only can you read tips, but you can also share tips. I noticed that many top financial bloggers are at the top of the ranks in the Tip Jar. Contributors from doughroller.net, thesimpledollar.com, iwillteachyoutoberich.com, and americasaves.org headed up the list in finance.

I decided I would take a stab at it (39 stabs to be exact) in order to both share some good financial advice that has helped me AND get my name out there! I figure at least one of those 39 tips will climb pretty high on the list and get me some exposure.

According to my Google Analytics tool which tracks my readers, they have come from one place so far: my home city. Which only means one thing... my wife and I are the only readers of this thing!

I know, I know, I've got to be patient. People will come Ray, people will come. I'm out - YCC.

Sunday Quote

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

~Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Got Milk?

The Young Cash Cow does.

Recently, I stumbled on a website called Remember the Milk. All I can say is that this site is pure genius.

For those of you that have blackberries or iphones with all of the bells and whistles, this site probably won't give you anything you don't already have. But my guess is that the vast majority of you would benefit greatly from this site.

The concept of Remember the Milk is really quite simple. It is a task and time management tool that allows you to manage all of your tasks in one place and have reminders sent to your email inbox or cell phone (via text messages) just before the task is due.

For example, just yesterday I checked out a movie at the library that is due in one week. When I got home I went to rememberthemilk.com and entered into my task list "Bourne Identity due back at library." Then I set the due date as Friday, March 27th, at 6pm.

The site recognizes all kinds of abbreviations, so I might just write "next fri" for the date and "6p" for the time. That makes it quick and painless. My settings are such that I receive a text message reminder one hour before the task is due. So, next Friday at 5pm I'll receive a text reminding me to get that dvd back and avoid a late fee! It's awesome! Especially for forgetful people like me.

For those of you that have internet on your phones, you can set up tasks right when you hear about them rather than waiting until you have access to a computer. You can also print off a weekly planner that outlines all of the tasks you have set up that week. Another cool feature is the ability to send reminders to more than one place (this works great if you have a spouse that needs to be reminded as well).

But the coolest feature for me is the ability to create revolving tasks. That is, you can set tasks to repeat on a schedule. For example, I always try to pay off my credit card around the 15th of every month. So when I first created the task, "Pay off credit card," I set it to repeat "every 15th" and now it reminds me on a monthly basis! This is also great for birthdays, anniversaries, staff meetings, etc.

If any of you used to use the iwantsandy website, this is a great substitute since iwantsandy.com is no longer available. And it's a great alternative to the expensive jott.com service.

As you can tell, I'm sold on this site. And it's FREE. I'm out - YCC

Friday, March 20, 2009

eHow Do You Do It?

So, I've been trying to figure out little ways I can supplement my teacher's salary.

Recently I came upon a site known as eHow. It's free to everyone and has the potential to be a real money maker if you are persistent, have a knack for writing, and know how to do a few things.

Basically you create an account and start writing step by step "How to" articles. Some people, like this guy, are earning over $1000/month! It's great because once you write a bunch of articles, you'll keep earning passive income as long as people are reading them.

Although I really love eHow so far, I do have a few reservations. For example, eHow has a "word quota" as I like to call it. You have to have at least 150 words in an article, which can be annoying if you are explaining something fairly simple. When needed, I just expound on my subjects, give examples, or use corny phrases like, "So what are you waiting for, let's get started!"

They also won't pay you until you reach $10 in earnings. But overall, I really like eHow. So far I've only written 15 articles. I've spent an average of 5 minutes on each article and I'm just a hair shy of $5 in earnings (and most of it comes from this one article).

So, I'm not to minimum wage yet... But, like I said before, it's passive income and I'll be happy when that $10 check rolls in. My goal is to reach $500/month by 2010. Do you think I can do it? Voice your opinion on my radical poll widget on the bottom of the page... I'm out - YCC

UPDATE: The final results of the poll revealed that most of you don't think I'll be making 5 benjamins per month on eHow. We shall see...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Looking Out For The Little Guy

Some people have the luxury of cell phone plans that include unlimited minutes and unlimited texting... I don't.

Those of you who are like me know that going over on your minutes or texts can cause your bill to add up quickly (for proof, check out this video).

I'm with T-Mobile because they have always given me terrific over-the-phone service, made changes to my bill when needed, given me great promotions, and offered plans that suit my wife and I perfectly. Although I have never had a bad conversation with a T-Mobile phone rep, yesterday took the cake.

I had only said a few words... something to the tune of "So, I'm getting close to using up all of my minutes this billing cycle".... and before I knew it, this gal said, "I can see that you are two minutes away from going over your monthly limit - how about 100 bonus minutes for both you and your wife?"

I was planning on requesting some bonus minutes to keep us from having to pay extra, (T-mobile is great about giving bonus minutes...all you have to do is ask!) but she was able to ascertain my needs in seconds with only a speck of an explanation! Then, she noticed that we were getting close on our text messaging plan and offered me a texting plan that no longer exists which provides us with unlimited texts for the same price we were currently paying for 400 texts a month!

Are you kidding me? This girl was an angel!

Now, the reason for the title of this post... It's easy to just accept that kind of generosity and walk away, but I decided I would try to pay it forward. I asked if she had a manager to whom I could explain her exquisite service. It was easy to tell she was surprised, but pleased, by this gesture.

After sitting on hold for a couple of minutes (kindness isn't always convenient), I spoke with her manager and let her know she deserved a reward for how fantastic she had treated me. The manager let me know her service would not go unnoticed and that she would be duly rewarded. I accepted a sincere "Thank you SO much," from the rep who had gone the extra mile before returning to my job.

So just remember... there are cooks in the kitchen waiting to hear if their meals taste ok, baggers at the checkout line who could use a friendly smile, and customer service reps who would so appreciate being recognized for their efforts.

If you're out there Alicia, thanks again! I'm out - YCC

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yes, Za Really Is A Word

I don't know about all of you, but I love scrabble.

It's been one of my favorite games since I was around seven years old when my grandad taught me how to play. Naturally, when I found out there was an online version I jumped on it. You can download it here.

There is only one problem. It's a trial version so after an hour or so of continuous game play, it only allows you to play in increments of 5 minutes before kicking you out and making you re-open the program. BUT, it saves all of your information from the previous game.

So, rather than forking out the $19.99, I've decided to play it in 5 minute increments and just log in again when it boots me off. Hey, it's FREE!

Another great option is a game called Literati. It's a Yahoo game available here. You do have to have a yahoo account to use it, but if you are into Scrabble it has very similar gameplay and there is always someone online willing to challenge you. You can choose to play without a time limit, or you can set a custom time limit. It's always been a top 20 game on Yahoo and for good reason - it's very cool.
SO, that's all for today... although I'm still waiting for my first followers... Oh, and according to scrabble, za is a word. I'm out - YCC

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Love My Library Card

So, today's post is going to cover something extremely simple. Do you want an easy way to save money?

Stop Buying Movies, Books, Magazines and Music!

Instead, go to your local library and check out any one of those items for FREE. Books are dang expensive, especially if you go to high end places like Borders or Barnes & Noble. Even on eBay and amazon you won't be able to beat the free nature of your local library. Cds, even used, cost a pretty penny.

Most libraries let you check out books or CDs for 3-4 weeks, which is plenty of time to read the book or listen to the cd. I even know some people who rip the cds to their iPods (I'm not endorsing that... I'm just saying...).

We all know how expensive DVDs can be and magazine subscriptions can also take a hearty chunk out of your bottom line. So, if you haven't been to the library in awhile, dust off your library card and head over there. You'll be surprised how up-to-date they are with new material.

If you're feeling a bit sentimental, check it this old Sesame Street video which documents the Cookie Monster's trip to the Library.

Oh, and I'd really like to see who my first followers are. I just added the following widget today. So, if you like what you are seeing so far (and I can promise you it will get better), then start following my blog. I'm out - YCC

Monday, March 16, 2009


"Money, money, money, money.... money!" Those are, of course, the lyrics of the O'Jays classic hit, "For the Love of Money."

That is essentially what this blog is all about... money! For as long as I can remember I have been looking for ways to earn, save, and spend wisely.

As a 3rd grader, I sold erasers to my classmates for 10 cents each. At 15, I started my own eBay business. At 16, I set my high school's all-time fundraising record going door-to-door selling candles and hot chocolate.

So, today I am embarking on a new journey... blogging! I am always on the lookout for bargains, steals, money-making and money-saving tips and this will be my way to share them with the world. Enjoy! I'm out - YCC

About Me

My photo
I'm just a young guy, working hard (but not too hard) as a full-time teacher. I survived college without accumulating a penny of debt and have a decent nest egg saved up for retirement. Like my father and grandfather before me, I've been raised to earn, save, and spend wisely. I'm always on the look out for bargains, deals, promotions, financial tips and advice, economic news and anything else related to money. My goal is to let you in on everything that has served me well over the years financially, as well as all of my latest money discoveries. Enjoy!
Got a question for me? An idea for a blog entry? Shoot me an email at youngcashcow(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll be sure to respond asap!