Any feedbacks and a few clicks on the voting poll will greatly be appreciated.
I’ll be flying out tonight to New York City (bleh to long flights) to attend a small blogging conference being held on Wednesday by the good folks at Consumer Reports, and one of the topics — is of course — on how new medias (social networking, blogs, videos etc.) are helping consumers in today’s busy marketplace.
So, on that note, here’s a quick poll for your clicking pleasure (comments are also greatly appreciated, click here if you don’t see the poll in your RSS reader):
For me, depending on the item… I will research extensively via search engine, head to one of the specialized niche message boards, read about user opinions… and hopefully by the time I’m done fiddling with all that, whatever it was that I wanted to buy would be out of my mind.
And then, if I really do in fact need it… I’ll use various price comparison engine; search for coupons and deals; read reviews on the web retailer I’m considering buy from; and finally make the purchase.
I guess I could make it easy on myself sometimes and just buy it all on Amazon.
P.S. Never been to New York City before, so one of the first place I’ll check out is the American Natural History Museum. Yeah, you bet your ass I’m a nerd.
Account free to open. Set beneficiary as yourself or your child.
Earn rebate/contribution from grocery, gasoline, and other purchases.
Higher percentage in contribution when you shop online through Upromise’s portal or toolbar.
Program works best for an online shopper. If you don’t shop online, you won’t accumulate much in contribution.
I opened my Upromise.com account almost eight years ago, and if it wasn’t for a recent email, I would have forgot that I had an account at the college rewards/savings site.
From their own words:
Upromise is a free service that helps families earn extra money for education. It’s that simple.
We do this by partnering with hundreds of like-minded companies who share our mission. Our partners agree to provide YOU, the Upromise member, with rewards for using their products and services… and these rewards go into your Upromise account, where they become actual savings for college, grad school or even paying down a loan.
In essence, you create a free account at Upromise, register your credit cards and grocery cards, and when you dine and shop for groceries, you receive a contribution to your Upromise account when you purchase products or services that partners with Upromise. You can then use the accumulated contribution on qualified college spending.
Free money for doing what you’re already doing? What’s the catch?
As long as you’re not swayed by the marketing, there really isn’t any real catch. Upromises’ aim for their partners is to create brand loyalty. For example, whenever you buy gasoline at an Exxon/Mobil gas station, you will get $0.01 credited to your Upromise account for each gallon of gas you buy. If all else is equal and you have a choice between a Mobil gas station or another branded gas station, you will have more incentive to pump gas at the Mobil station due to the Upromise program.
Upromise Main Portal Page
Credit Card and Grocery Card Link Page
From the screenshot on the top, you can see that I’ve accumulated $17.16 in my Upromise account (yeah, the $0.04 for orange juice is pretty sweet). Nothing exciting for an account I’ve had for over seven years — but then again, I’ve never consciously went and change my spending habit to buy specifically at any Upromise partnered companies.
Savings by Company Page
Account Transaction Page
It’s interesting to see that the majority of the contribution was from Exxon/Mobil purchased, amounting at $10.19. At $0.01 per gallon, that’s over 1,019 gallons of gasoline pumped in the past eight years at only one particular brand of gas station. A hefty amount of gasoline indeed!
You can easily earn significantly more contribution ($100+) if you shop online through the Upromise portal, download the Upromise toolbar, or use the Citi Upromise MasterCard — but if you don’t want to fuss with any of that, you can simply add your most frequently used credit cards (or just grocery cards if you’re not comfortable storing your CC info) and forget that you ever have an account and simply let the contributions accumulate through gas, grocery, and dining purchases.
$17.16 is not an insane amount, but that’s 1/8th of a college textbook! Woot?
Pre-ordering the latest iPhone; splurging on a Pleo; or painting my car in ‘race flame red’ would all be a more exciting headline. But alas, being the boring hermit that I am, I bought a $30 bookshelf at IKEA.
After all, I need a sensible place to put my adult material DVDs — I mean, reference books for personal development…
Right. That’s it. Reference books.
One gripe: the IKEA site listed the bookcase as $19.99, but the store in Costa Mesa, CA has it for $29.99. Oh well.
It’s not too bad really. A recent Gallup poll reveals that forty-three percent of American credit-card holders pay their balance in full each month, while another seventeen percent usually pay their balance in full.
The survey also shows that those who usually leaves a balance have declined in number, from 31% in 2004 to about 25% in 2008. Always a good sign to see that people are using credit more wisely.
In the credit card balance portion of the survey, 30% of Americans still holds a balance of more than $2,000, with 19% reporting a balance of more than $5,000 and 9% more than $10,000. You can see the full result and read the commentary at Gallup’s website.
Results from survey like these and comments left on CNN’s article seems to show that people are either: fully responsible when it comes to credit cards; woefully behind; had bad experiences and never went back; or learned from mistake and decided to use credit wisely.
For me, my credit card usage remains the same compare to years ago when I was in debt — 98% of the time I’ll pay with a credit card. Except these days, I’ll actually have money to pay for the crap I buy. It was surprisingly easy to do once I started spending within my means. *gasp!*
What’s your credit card usage history? Always pay in full? Cut it up and never use again? Freeze it up in fridge and melt for emergencies only?
Was out of town last week on a short notice and I completely forgot to call-in and reschedule my jury duty appointment.
Jury duty isn’t so bad really, but I may have a slight biased as I have a somewhat above average sense of civic duty from the horrid wonderful days of being an Eagle Scout.
Depending on your count or state, the penalty for consecutively missing jury duty can vary from a hefty fine to jail time, so you shouldn’t simply toss the jury summons in the trash.
Most court clerks are fairly reasonable and will try to reschedule your jury duty date to a reasonable time — and for my county, jury summons are always sent weeks in advance so it isn’t too difficult to plan for.
Strangely enough, I’ve had a summons almost every year while some people I know have never received a jury summon in their life time.
Most mid to large size courthouse are ramping and modernizing their jury duty process to make life easier for jurors. Some, like my courthouse, offers free Wi-Fi access — although I don’t have a laptop so I usually just bring a good book or a notepad.
If you have never served as a juror and you have some free time, it may be something you can consider volunteering for — the lack of a proper jury pool is a significant problem in many parts of the country. It can be an interesting learning experience to see how the judicial process work and see your tax dollar at its best (or worse).