Payday Loans

November 2005 Monthly Archive

Everyone and their mom is giving away an iPod shuffle as a promotion. I guess it’s not such a bad thing though.

NetBank is doing a limited time offer (till 12/31), in which you get an iPod Shuffle if you open a 1 year CD or a money market account – with a $1,000 deposit.

The Certificate of Deposit’s current 1 year yield is at 4.65%, and the money market is at a not-so-hot 3.36%

There is an early account closing fee of (must be open for 6 months) $25, and a closing fee of $7.50. So the money market is definitely not that great of a choice.

These fees don’t apply to the CD, it just ends at a 1 year term and you’ll have 10 days to request them not to renew it. So for some people the CD isn’t such a bad deal. According to Fatwallet’s forum, a few people have received it already, so this might be a pretty hot deal for some people. You should refer to the Fatwallet discussion for more information.

Oh yeah, NetBank doesn’t exactly have the greatest reputation, so your results may vary. I’ll definitely suggest against the money market though.

seems to be a frequent promotion from American Express, although I’m surprise I’ve never heard about it till recently (saw the notice in my statement).

The concept is fairly simple. Basically at certain time frame within the promotional period, American Express will offer products for sale on that site, at below retail bargain price. The products are of course at a limited quantity.

If you’re lucky, when you click on the “I want it” button, you’ll be allow to purchase the product at bargain price – if it is still in stock. You will need to pay for the purchase with your American Express card, so this is a card member only offer.

Example on the front page include XBOX 360 for $150 (Retail $200-$300), or a Range Rover Sport for $5,000 (Retail $56,000+). The quantity on the Range Rover will most likely be only one. heh.

They will also be giving away free gift certificates to, etc. So those are always cool to try to get. But remember that everything is at a limited quantity, so you’ll be competing with millions of people refreshing their web browser every second.

You can read more about this at the My Wishlist FAQ page, or an FAQ from‘s forum

Here’s a list of some possible products and prizes for this promotion period.

Be warn though, it can get pretty easy to spend money on something you never need – don’t grab it just because its some great deal!

Stop Buying Crap #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12

Once again it’s been awhile, but its time to live up to the blog’s name.

Computer Games

There. I admit it. I play computer games. Although not at any addicting level, it has certainly cost me some grade point average, social life points, and financial resources. All of the sake of “entertainment.” Sigh.

Computer games run for $50-$60 brand new. Let’s not forget those games that have a monthly subscription fee ($10-15) after you paid the initial $50. Yikes!

Why computer games specifically and not ALL video games? Well one of the main reason is because if you’re a computer gamer, you generally will have to have a computer. (Dur?) But, not just any computers! Depending on what you play, you will either need the latest hardware, or at least something more than what the average computer contains. So this means more $$$. Although I don’t go crazy and upgrade my computer all the time, I have certainly bought parts for the sole purpose of running computer games faster. (e.g. graphics card). Anyhow, I’ll save the computer ranting for another edition.

Money down the drain.

These are some of the boxes I found around my room. I have bought plenty more games than this. (Although not an insane amount). Most of these I bought used for at a cheaper price, but still could have just not spend the money at all.

The super stupid part here is the Half Life 2 game I bought for $40 (I waited a bit for the price to drop from $50-60). It’s quite possibly one of the best modern computer game today, but the problem is I’ve only played it for a few hours. I bought it because I thought I’ll spend lots of time on it. But for whatever reason, I never got around to really play it.

So now it sits there and collects dust. I leave it around as a reminder. Hey, haven’t bought a game since!

Wasted Money? Maybe a few hundreds.

Target.  Popcorn Cravings.  $0.88 for pack of 4.

Okay the picture doesn’t show it, but they’re really burnt!

Double Damn.

Update: It’s too bad Scottrade also going the way of dinosaurs too (that have been bought out by bigger dinosaurs). But I’ve been scouring through brokers lately and there are still some codes floating online for free trades. Anyway, I think everybody must be trading ETFs like Vanguard.

TradeKing was pretty good, but unfortunately it got bought out by another dinosaur too (Ally). Yikes! I find other promotional codes for the old dinosaurs sometimes, but I love ‘em and hate ‘em. Soon cheap commission rates will be hard to come by.

Finding the “random” promo code got me thinking. Do I need to open a bunch of accounts just to earn a silly new account bonus? I was never once the type to churn a bunch of accounts. These days, my brokerage accounts are all on auto pilots.

It’s too bad went the way of dinosaurs (that have been bought out by bigger dinosaurs). It’s replacement, iZone from Ameritrade, looks okay but isn’t as good as Freetrade.

I’ve been scourging through the numerous online brokers lately, and it seems none are really solid. I guess you can’t expect great service for cheap commission rates. It seems the customer satisfaction rate for brokers are similar to the customer satisfaction rate from car dealership. Yikes!

Brownco seemed pretty good, but unfortunately it got bought out by another dinosaur too (E*Trade).

Interactive Broker looks to be okay, but I don’t think I’ll trade enough to make it worth while.

The ones I’m actually considering are Firsttrade and Scottrade. Low commission rate, no account maintenance fees, no inactivity fees, and other related fees are fairly low too. It’s a tough call still because I can’t find that many user opinions on Firsttrade, and the ones I do find for Scottrade are love ’em or hate ’em types.

Anyway, I think I should take some more time to establish what my needs actually are before I start throwing money away to wacky fees.

According to the Friday, Nov 4 Wall Street Journal I was reading, they will be offering a week of free access to the entire contents of for free, on the upcoming Monday.

I can’t find any notice of it on, or anywhere else.. but it was a big splash ad in the paper, so I figure it’s for real. We’ll find out Monday I guess. Anyway, don’t hate me if I’m wrong :P

Sometimes those 0% balance transfer offers from a new credit card (or existing ones) can be quite a tempting offer, but before you go off transferring your high interest rate balance to a lower one, there are a couple of things you should watch for.

Transferring from a low fixed rate to a 0% introductory rate.

You should consider carefully if you can pay off the debt in time before the 0% offer runs out. Generally, the introductory rate leads to a much higher rate. If you already have a low fixed rate, even though you’re being charged financing fees every month, it may be better to stick with the low fixed rate – especially if you have unstable income.

Here’s an example: A relative of mine, transferred her 2.9% APR $18,000 auto loan (with 3 remaining years) to a 0% credit card balance transfer offer that last for 1 year. She figured with her income, she will be able to pay off the debt within a year, so this will save her about $1,500+ in interest.

Unfortunately things didn’t go that well. Unexpected expenses came up, and the monthly payment she was able to apply toward the loan was limited. Although 1 year is quite a long time, the 0% introductory rate expired before she was able to pay off the loan. Suddenly the low 0% rate changed to a much much higher 11.95%. Needless to say, she had to scramble to transfer the balance yet again.

Balance Transfer Fees

Here’s another balance transfer snafu to watch for. Although there are many offers out there without any balance transfer fees, there are plenty more with high fees. Generally most balance transfer fees are 3% with a minimum and a maximum fee. The minimum could be say, $50 and the maximum being $75.

So let’s say under those terms you make a $1,500 balance transfer. Although 3% of $1,500 is only $45 – because of the minimum transfer fee of $50, you will be charged for $50.

The same apply for the maximum. Let’s say you make a balance transfer of $3,000, which 3% of it being $90. Thankfully the maximum balance transfer fee is “only” $75, so that’s all you’ll be charged with. Imagine if there’s no maximum fee and you’re transferring $20,000! A whopping $600 fee!

Making purchases on a credit card with introductory rate.

This is one of the major things to watch for! If you’re not careful, you may accidentally (or unknowingly) make a charge on a card carrying an low introductory rate. Remember that when you make a payment towards a balance on a credit card, the payment will always go towards the balance with the lowest rate first!

Here’s an example: Let’s say you have $1,000 in 0% on your credit card (which has a standard rate of 8.0%). You make a $100 charge on your credit card and now you have $1,100 on your balance. You make a payment of $100 thinking you won’t be charge interest, but guess what? The payment applies towards the lower 0% rate first. So now you owe $900 in 0%, and $100 in 8.0%! Until you pay off the lower rate balance first, none of your payment will apply towards the 8.0% rate, and interest will start occurring on the $100 debt!

A way to avoid this is to watch for 0% introductory rate for balance transfers and purchases. This way, you can transfer some balance over and still continue to make purchases on that credit card!

Well, that’s all for now!

There’s actually a few more things to watch for, but none of them is coming to my mind right now… when I do remember, I’ll add ’em in!

I’m watching a stupid loan infomerical right now, and I just realized that I’ve been pronucing FICO as “Fee-Co” instead of the correct way. No wonder people always looked at me a bit funny when i say “fee-co.”

Why oh why didn’t you correct me, Bob?

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