Obihai FREE Monthly Home Phone Service; Get Started For $29.99

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Updated: $29.99 with free shipping (40% off) for a limited-time. If you still have landline phone service and are looking for a cheaper alternative, Obihai is officially supported by Google:

Obihai is excited to announce official support for Google Voice. With a Google Voice account and a companion OBi device you can make and receive VoIP calls on a regular telephone. To get started, just login to the OBiTALK website, add your OBi device and select Google Voice as your service. You’ll then confirm your account with Google, and within minutes, you will be making and receiving calls from the comfort and convenience of your home phone.

An Obihai VoIP phone adapter is a little box that will allow you to plug in any standard landline telephone and use Google Voice to make free phone calls within the US and Canada. You can also make cheap international calls starting at 1 cent a minute.

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It’s tough to beat under 50 bucks upfront and no ongoing monthly fees for unlimited home phone service. I bought one earlier this year – check out my OBi200 Adapter + Google Voice Installation Review.

Obihai is running a holiday promotion where you can get a Obihai OBi200 VoIP Telephone Adapter from NewEgg for only $29.99 with free shipping from December 18th to December 21st, or until supplies last. Retail price is $49.99.

You must use promo code EMCWHWB45.

20% off Gift Cards to Various Retailers & Restaurants

chilicardAmazon runs various temporary “Lightning Deals”, but if you filter to only show the Gift Card deals you’ll see a running list of gift cards to various retailers at 20% off for a limited time. Amazon Prime members get early access, but many of them don’t sell out and there is also a waitlist option.

For Thursday, December 18th, the line-up includes Chilis/Maggianos/Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Dave & Busters, and AMC Theatres. Seems like an easy way to knock out some last-minute gifts at 20% off face value (i.e. , $20 for $25 gift card, or $40 for $50 gift card). Physical cards get free shipping.

Stack this discount with the 5% cash back at Amazon from Chase Freedom and Discover It cards this quarter.

Similar deals!

  • Get a $20 eGift card if you buy $100 in eGift cards for Panera Bread.
  • Get a free slice of cheesecake with a $25 gift card purchase (electronic or physical) at Cheesecake Factory.
  • Free large pizza if you buy a $25 gift card at Papa Johns.
  • Get $5 eGift card if you buy $25 eGift card at Petco.

Find more special offers by going through the list here at Cashstar and looking for the red “Special Offer” banner.

Chase Freedom $100 Bonus + 5% Categories for 2015

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Future 5% categories for all 2015 announced. The Chase Freedom® – $100 Bonus is a solid all-around rewards card with 5% cash back in rotating categories, all with no annual fee. Here are the highlights:

  • For a limited time, earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn an additional $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%

5% cash back rewards program details. As a rewards credit card it is better than plain vanilla 1% cashback cards with its 5% cashback on rotating categories, good for up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter. Here are the categories through the end of 2015.

From October to December 2014:

  • Amazon.com
  • Zappos.com
  • Select Department Stores

From January to March 2015 (activate 12/15):

  • Grocery Stores
  • Starbucks
  • Movie Theaters

Here is the preview for the rest of 2015. Q2 is Restaurants, Q3 is Gas Stations, and Q4 is Amazon.com. That’s pretty solid, and they usually will add few additional retailers or minor categories.

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Activate quarterly at ChaseBonus.com or call the number on the back of the card. All other purchases earn 1% back, with no tiers or expiration of rewards.  Keep in mind that you actually earn Ultimate Rewards points. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold/Plus small business cards which also earn those, your Ultimate Rewards points can be combined and converted to miles like United Airlines, British Airways, and Hyatt hotel points. Depending on what you redeem for (i.e. plane ticket, hotel stay), Ultimate Rewards can be worth well more than 1 cent per point this way, which means you can actually get more than 5% value back.

I call this a “keeper” card as there is no annual fee, the rewards never expire, and the 5% rewards have been pretty solid historically. So there is reason to cancel, you can just use it when the rewards work for you.

Chase Freedom® – $100 Bonus application

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.  “The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

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Amazon.com Coupon: 25% Off Any Book

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Updated, good until 12/14. Similar to their Black Friday promo, take an extra 25% off any book at Amazon.com with promo code BOOKDEAL25. Print books only, max $10 off, must by sold and shipped by Amazon.com. Valid until December 14, 2014 at 11:59pm PST.

Here are some recommendations for those looking to give or receive some financial inspiration:

Here are all my book reviews in reverse-chronological order.

I would have to say my favorite book of the year was Dinner A Love Story. It has some inspirational material to help you cook for yourself and your family, along with the best compilation of weeknight dinner recipes I’ve read in a cookbook. They taste special enough (not bland or boring), but they also take 30 minutes. I just used it again last night.

I bought the new Tony Robbins book MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. I’m skeptical, but I think I have to read it. What other informercial guru could get book blurbs from Jack Bogle, Bill Clinton, Ray Dalio, and T. Boone Pickens?

Send a Starbucks $20 Gift Card for $10 with Visa (Expired)

Expired as of midnight Eastern. I thought 100k would last longer than a day. Starbucks has a new $10 holiday bonus promotion:

Be one of the first 100,000 to buy a Starbucks Card eGift (min $10) with your Visa® card and we will add an additional $10, courtesy of Visa. Send $10—they get $20, send $25—they get $35, send $50—they get $60, just for using your Visa card. Offer valid from 12/8–12/12/14. One per person. Cannot send to yourself.

Starbucks is verifying people follow the terms. Your eGift card must be sent to a different e-mail address than your own and purchased with a Visa credit card that hasn’t been used with the promo. How do you know if you’re still in the first 100,000? Look for the sentence “This offer is still available” after the quoted text above.

I wish this was physical cards, those are better for gifts to friends. Alternatively, a couple could gift each other $20 gift cards for $10 each. The recipient only sees the $20 gift card, no mention the sender got a discount. Here’s one of our receipts:

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US Airways Premier World MasterCard Review: 50,000 Mile Bonus (Updated)

Bonus improved from 40k to 50k miles for limited time. American Airlines and US Airways have announced new details about their upcoming merger. As expected, the two frequent flier programs will merge and all the miles will become American AAdvantage miles in 2015. (US Airways Dividend miles will convert at a 1:1 ratio.) Along with that, they have updated both the Citi American Airlines card and Barclaycard US Airways card slightly.

Here are the updated features of the US Airways Premier World MasterCard®. I got the bonus myself (unfortunately at only 40k miles) and have posted details on that below as well.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights only.
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees.
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights only.
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • New! Receive a 25% savings on eligible US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

Again, the unique thing about this card is that American Airlines and US Airways are merging and these bonus miles will become American miles. You can already book reward flights on American with US Airways miles. That also means this Barclaycard-issued card will no longer be accepting applications and you won’t be able to get its sign-up bonus or other unique perks ever again. It is reported that this card will eventually convert essentially into a Barclaycard American Airlines card. So these are miles I didn’t want to leave on the table.

Note that 50,000 mile bonus does not require any minimum purchase amount and that there is an $89 annual fee that is not waived for the first year. 50,000 miles for example is more than enough for a roundtrip from the US to Hawaii or even two roundtrips within the continental US, so that is worth it for me. The US Airways companion certificate is also a unique feature which would be awesome if it eventually applied to American flights (though it probably won’t).

My bonus experience. Applied on 7/14. Approved on 7/21. First statement closed on 8/12, in which I charged $10 and also paid the $89 annual fee. I read some stories about other people making only a single purchase (the minimum technically required) but having to call in about the bonus. Thus, I put on another 4 small charges during the second statement period which ended 9/12 totaling about $49. My 40,000 bonus miles posted 9/13, one day after the closing of my second statement period. Here is a screenshot:

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The card is issued by Barclaycard, which means you also get a free FICO score every couple months.

Gyft: $40 in Amazon Gift Cards for $30

Updated. This may be a limited-time offer, but here’s how a new Gyft.com customer can get $40 in Amazon Gift Cards for $30. Plus, you can even get a $5 gift card to Toys R Us. (There are other ways to spin this deal, but Amazon gift cards are the most flexible.)

  1. Go to Gyft.com and open a new account. Validate your e-mail address by checking your e-mail and clicking on the link inside.
  2. Check your Gyft Wallet and you should see a $5 Gytf promo code ($15 minimum purchase required). Copy the $5 Gyft code.
  3. (Optional) You can try to stack the 3% cash back from shopping portal TopCashBack, or if you don’t have an account you could try to earn the sign-up bonuses from eBates ($10 new customer bonus) or Mr. Rebates ($5 bonus).
  4. On Gyft, add a $15 Amazon gift card to your cart. When checking out, if possible pick Google Wallet as your payment method (for $5 Toys R Us promo card). Link whatever rewards credit card you like to Google Wallet, and make the $10 purchase.
  5. Now start a new purchase. Add another $25 Amazon gift card to your cart, and apply the promo code FDFAMILY (for $5 off $25 purchase). You must pay with a method other than Google Wallet, so just pick PayPal or credit card. Make the $20 purchase.
  6. Now you’ll have charged $30 on your credit card, and you’ll have $40 in Amazon gift cards that you can use immediately. Plus a $5 Toys R Us gift code. I did my purchases little differently back when you could stack the two promos, but the result was the same.

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    Only took about 5 minutes, and I have already applied the codes to my Amazon account. Credit to FW and SD.

    Perhaps someone else has a way, but I was only able to see my $5 Toys R Us gift card (also works at Babies R Us) via the Google Wallet mobile app on Android or iOS. The code works in-store as well as online.

Citi Prestige Card Review

citiprestigecardfrontCiti has revamped the Citi Prestige® Card, which is their high-end ThankYou point rewards card. (You can tell, because the fancy cards are too cool to have your name printed on the front!)

You may be scared away by the $450 annual fee, but the card does include an $250 air travel credit every year good towards any airfare, American Airlines airport lounge access, improved rewards value for ThankYou points, and more. Can it really be worth it?

Here is the current sign-up bonus as well as one-time perks:

  • Earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit. Citi will cover the $100 application fee on a one-time basis when you charge it to the card. Global Entry allows you to get through international customs faster when entering the US.

Here are the ongoing highlights of the card:

  • $250 Statement Credit for Air Travel each year. Unlike other cards, airfare counts as well as baggage fees, lounge access, and other incidental purchases. This renews every calendar year, so it can be used to help offset the annual fee every year.
  • Complimentary access to nearly 40 American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select. Valid for you and your entire immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) or up to two companions. Citi and American are tight these days; the competing American Express Platinum no longer offers American Airlines lounge access at all. Priority Pass lounges tend to be at international airports.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels.
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment.
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on Purchases.
  • Includes chip technology which increases acceptance overseas.
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay. This could be nice, but your stay must be booked through their designated travel agent, so I’m not sure if that means the rates will be the same as say Expedia or Travelocity.
  • Complimentary greens fees at more than 2,400 public and private golf courses around the globe. The terms specify that you get 3 complimentary rounds of golf through the Citi Prestige® Golf Portal (provided by GolfSwitch, Inc.) each calendar year.
  • $450 Annual Fee. Not waived for the first year.

The Citi Prestige is most attractive for people who fly on American Airlines. First of all, as long as you spend $250 a year on air travel, the $450 annual fee would be effectively reduced to $200. If you fly on American a lot, the airport lounge access alone might be worth $200 a year.

In addition, the ThankYou point rewards are now more valuable than in past years. With this card, you can redeem 1 ThankYou point to get 1.6 cents worth of American Airlines and US Airways airfare. So if you redeem your points towards American Airlines or US Airways airfare, you’ll get 1.6% back standard while the 2X and 3X categories turn into 3.2% back at restaurants and 4.8% back on airfare and hotels. (If you have CitiGold checking account or Citi Private Banker, you’ll get an additional 15% or 25% bonus respectively on ThankYou points earned.) You can also get 1.3 cents per point value by redeeming towards airfare on all other airlines.

The sign-up bonus of 30,000 ThankYou points is thus worth $480 in American/US Airways airfare, $399 in other airfare, or $300 in gift cards to various retailers. Along with the $100 Global Entry statement credit, you could view the initial sign-up perks as a way to offset the annual fee during the first year (as the annual fee is not waived).

Citi ThankYou points are also now available to transfer to certain airline mileage programs on a 1:1 basis including Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Etihad, Flying Blue by Air France and KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

Citi Prestige® Card application

Personal Capital Black Friday Promo: Free $20 Amazon Gift Code

pc_logoPersonal Capital is a free tool that allows you to connect all your financial accounts to track your balances, asset allocation and performance. If you are familiar with Mint.com, it is somewhat similar but more focused your investment portfolio.

For Black Friday weekend, Personal Capital is offering the first 1,000 users to sign up for a free account and link at least one bank or investment account via personalcapital.com/holiday2014 will get a free $20 Amazon.com gift card. The next 3,000 users to sign up and link at least one account will get a $10 Amazon gift card. Easy money!

Valid from 12:00 am PT on Friday, November 28, 2014 and expires at 11:59 pm PT on Monday, December 1, 2014. But it really ends when the $50,000 of gift cards runs out, so probably a lot sooner.

Capital One 360 Black Friday $100 New Account Promo

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UPDATEThis promotion is now EXPIRED.

Capital One 360 has a few Black Friday weekend deals including …

This has to be your (or your joint account holder‘s) first 360 Checking Account (including Electric Orange Checking). Additionally, this has to be your (or your joint account holder‘s) first 360 Savings Account (including Orange Savings Accounts).  Good from Black Friday, November 28th at 12am ET to the end of Cyber Monday, December 1st 11:59pm ET.   This is usually the biggest bonus they’ll offer all year.

PNC Bank Card + Visa Checkout $10 Bonus

Get a $10 statement credit via this link when you enroll in Visa Checkout with a PNC Bank Visa debit or credit card by 12/31/2014. You don’t actually have to buy anything for this promotion.

Visa Checkout allows you to pay at participating online merchants without having to type in your card numbers every time, although you’ll need to remember your username and password (like Paypal).

Offer valid 10/20/14-12/31/14. Within 3 statement cycles after enrollment in Visa Checkout, customer will receive a $10 statement credit to either the enrolled PNC Visa credit card account or the primary checking account associated with the enrolled PNC Visa debit card, whichever card is listed as the preferred card in Visa Checkout. Business cards excluded. Limit of one $10 statement credit per customer.

Bank of America Card + Visa Checkout $10 Bonus

Get a $10 Prepaid Reward Visa® Card via this link when you enroll in Visa Checkout with a Bank of America Visa debit or credit card by 12/4/2014. You’ll need to be a new Visa Checkout account customer and add a BofA consumer card, but the promo doesn’t require you to actually buy anything.

Visa Checkout allows you to pay at participating online merchants without having to type in your card numbers every time, although you’ll need to remember your username and password (like Paypal).

To qualify for this offer, you must (1) create a new Visa Checkout account for the first time by [12/4/2014] via the “Enroll now” link above, via http://promo.bankofamerica.com/visa-checkout/ or the Visa Checkout link in Bank of America’s Online Banking, AND (2) add at least one consumer Bank of America issued Visa credit or debit card to the new Visa Checkout account during the initial account set-up (other cards do not qualify for this offer). Allow 60 days from Visa Checkout account opening for delivery of the Reward card to the billing address of the Bank of America issued Visa credit or debit card first added to the Visa Checkout account. Limit one (1) Reward card per customer.