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My Money Blog

Personal Finance and Investing Blog

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:57:30 +0000


Marriott / Starwood Hotels Merger: Status Match, New Points Transfer Options

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 22:08:08 +0000

Marriott completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels last week, and has already started the merging process for their loyalty rewards programs. Both programs will essentially be run separately for a while, but you can now match status and exchange points. The new name is Marriott International, although a full merger will not be completed until […]

Vanguard Advice on Dynamic Retirement Spending Rules

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 06:00:17 +0000

There is a lot of focus on how to accumulate a big nest egg, but possibly even more complicated is how to spend it down. Vanguard Research has released a new whitepaper called From assets to income: A goals-based approach to retirement spending [pdf] (companion article). The three major topics covered are (1) spending rules, […]

Amazon Prints Promotional Codes: 50 Free 4×6 Photo Prints

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:52:39 +0000

Amazon now does photo printing with Amazon Prints, starting at 9 cents each for 4×6 prints. Bound photobooks start at $19.99 for 8×11 with 20 pages included, then $1 for every 2 additional pages. Free standard shipping on all orders currently, with free expedited shipping on $15+ orders. Amazon’s list prices are cheaper than Shutterfly, […]

Access from AT&T Review: Affordable Home Internet For Low-Income Households

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:46:19 +0000

Access from AT&T is an affordable internet access plan for low-income households offered in certain areas with AT&T service. The cost is either $5 a month at 3 Mbps or $10 a month for 5-10 Mbps, depending on your area. According to their FAQ and press release, other features include: No deposit required No activation […]

Ooma Hub Upgrade Offer: Discounted Telo + No Monthly Taxes and Fees

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 22:33:37 +0000

I replaced my landline with Ooma VoIP home phone service over 6 years ago and and haven’t had a monthly bill since. This ended up being one of those deals where early adoption was rewarded. First there was no monthly fees, then it was about $1 a month, then about $3 a month. Today, buyers […]

Join Fairmont Hotels President’s Club, Get 1,000 Free Aeroplan Miles

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 22:31:47 +0000

Here’s an offer for 1,000 free Air Canada Aeroplan miles if you sign up for the Fairmont Hotels President’s Club loyalty program and use the enrollment code FED16 (embedded in link). Be sure to enter your Aeroplan number (join free here) under the expandable section labeled “FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS (OPTIONAL)” and select that plan as […]

Secret Eaters: Fighting Your Unconscious and Semi-Consicous Choices

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 06:00:47 +0000

In my last Buffett post, I talked about the importance of tracking performance carefully when trading your own portfolios. Most casual traders “think” they are doing fine, but if you ask them their rate of return for the last year compared to a benchmark, they won’t be able to tell you. They may have a […]

Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules: Do-It-Yourself Investing Guidelines

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 06:00:28 +0000

Okay, so you probably aren’t reading a book titled Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World’s Greatest Investor if you are perfectly happy owning solely index funds forever. While the shared concepts with low-cost, passive investing still apply, here are things to consider if you want to do […]

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Review: 50,000 Points = $500 Limited-Time Bonus

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 02:49:38 +0000

Limited-time bonus bump, updated review. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus(TM) World Elite MasterCard® is a travel rewards card that has opened up to new applications again, now with a limited-time sign-up bonus worth at least $500 and the annual fee is waived the first year. Here are the card highlights: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you […]

Free 1,000 Virgin America Points for Newsletter Sign-Up

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 02:48:04 +0000

Updated. Now twice the points for twice the newsletters… Get 500 free Elevate points when you sign up for the new Virgin America Hotels e-mail newsletter. * Offer valid until September 30th, 2016. Only one email address is allowed and only one set of 500 points will be awarded per Elevate account number. Bonus reward […]

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2016

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:05:01 +0000

Activation for 4rd quarter is now open! Do it now before you forget. The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on certain categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without changing my spending habits. […]

Museum Day: Free Tickets Nationwide On Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:03:21 +0000

Update: Available again. Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket for free. This is in following the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day. Registration is now open for Saturday, September […]

Uber and Android Pay: 50% Off 10 Rides (Up to $5 Each Ride)

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:24:03 +0000

Uber and Android Pay are running a promotion offering 50% off 10 rides (up to $5 per ride) now through 10/15. No promo code required. The instructions they provide are pretty straightforward: Download and set up Android Pay on the Play store Open your Uber app Add Android Pay as a payment option in the […]

Bonus Delta SkyMiles for Washington State Residents

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 22:49:42 +0000

If you are a resident of the state of Washington state and age 18+ (as indicated by your Skymiles account info), you can visit and receive the following perks from Delta Airlines: 1,200 bonus miles for new Skymiles members that join via link. 500 bonus miles for every 12,000 sign-ups. 1 bonus mile for […]

Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules: Shared Concepts with Low-Cost Index Funds

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 06:00:16 +0000

If you get in a debate about owning index funds, Warren Buffett will likely be invoked as an example of successful stock-picking. A recent book called Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World’s Greatest Investor covers a period when Buffett was arguably at his peak of active stock […]

Open Enrollment Season: Maximizing Your Employee Benefits

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 05:12:54 +0000

As open enrollment season is around the corner, Morningstar offered up an 10-minute video interview with Christine Benz discussing tips on maximizing your employee benefits. (Is it just me, or does open enrollment too often seem to be a game of “Guess What Benefits We Trimmed This Year?”) Here are the five topics that were […]

Smarter Better Faster by Charles Duhigg: Book Review and Highlights

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 06:00:42 +0000

We’d all like to improve our productivity. Ideally, this would only involve downloading an app for 99 cents. Instead, Charles Duhigg did a lot of research in various areas and filtered out universal concepts that we can apply to our everyday lives. The books is called Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in […]

Citibank $400 Checking Account Bonus

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 08:19:33 +0000

Citibank has a $400 bonus offer for new checking account customers. Here are the highlights: To qualify for a $400 cash bonus, open a new consumer checking account in The Citibank Account Package by 10/31/16. Within 30 days from the date you opened your new checking account, deposit $15,000 or more in new-to-Citibank funds into […]

RingPlus: Basic, Free Cellular Phone Service Plans (Now With a Catch)

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:18:17 +0000

Updated September 2016. Ringplus has updated their Terms of Service, effective 9/6/2016, that greatly expands their ability to terminate your service at their discretion. In particular, please note the following new terms: 20. If your talk, text or data usage exceeds your total voice, text or data usage for any prior billing cycle in the […]

Vanguard Complacency Check

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 06:00:39 +0000

Vanguard recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, the first index fund available to individual investors. If you are like me and have a significant portion of your net worth in Vanguard products and services, you should read this Morningstar article No Signs of Complacency at Vanguard which includes excerpts from […]

Jack Bogle WSJ Interview Highlights (September 2016)

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 05:30:25 +0000

When Jack Bogle grants an interview, I sit down and take notes in case he drops something significant. Here is a link to his WSJ interview dated 9/2/2016 (paywall, use Google redirection if needed). Bogle estimates 2% annualized returns over the next decade (he does not forecast past that). Stay invested in a diversified portfolio […]

7 Essential Money Questions from The New York Times

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 06:00:25 +0000

The NY Times has a new essay called 7 Essential Money Questions Sure to Start a Conversation: What follows are the seven best queries that I could find that tend to stop people cold and get them to open up about whatever money they have and the emotions that wrap themselves around their personal finances. […]

Free BJ’s Club Membership for American Express Cardholders (New Customers)

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 18:44:42 +0000

If you are an American Express cardholder, they have a promotion with BJ’s Wholesale Clubs that will essentially net you a free 1-year membership if you are a new BJ’s customer. The membership is discounted 50% down to $25, and then you also get a $25 gift card. Here are details taken from this PDF […]

Starbucks App: Load $10 with Visa Checkout, Get $10 Bonus

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 22:38:41 +0000

A recent study found that free pizza was a better motivator than cash. What about free coffee? Starbucks is offering a free $10 bonus Starbucks eGift card if you use the Starbucks smartphone app to load a minimum $10 onto your Starbucks Card using Visa Checkout as your payment method. Details: First, visit Second, […]

Hanscom Federal CU Thrive Review: 3% APY High Interest Starter Account

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 21:53:47 +0000

Updated with additional $30 bonus. Hanscom Federal Credit Union (HFCU) has a CU Thrive account, which works like a certificate of deposit that rewards consistent saving. The rate is set for 12 months, and during those 12 months you can transfer up to $500 every month from a HFCU checking account. No monthly fees. However, […]