Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cheapest place to buy and sell stocks

Stock investing. Perhaps you've never invested in stocks, perhaps you've been doing it for years. In todays high-tech world it's never been easier and more accessible to invest in the stock market. I've been doing it for years and one of the things I've hated most about it are the fees just to buy a stock and then again when you sell a stock. It puts you in the negative right away and hits you over the head on the way out. Fees typically range in the $5-$10 range.
NO MORE!




Where is the cheapest place to buy and sell stocks?

Robinhood, Robinhood, Robinhood!!! I've been using Robinhood for over a year now and it's the new, best way to invest in stocks. Why? Cause it's super easy and IT'S FREE. That's right, no fees to buy OR sell your stocks. Plus right now, they are GIVING AWAY STOCKS when you sign up (read how below).
You can buy 1 stock or 10,000 stocks - no charge!
This is unheard of. No one else does this...so what's the catch? How does Robinhood exist and make money? 2 ways:
  1. They make money on un-invested cash that's sitting in your accounts (all banks do this)
  2. They offer Premium services that allow things like
    • Margin account (using their money to buy/sell stocks)
    • Instant access to deposited funds (usually it takes 2-3 days from deposit for your money to become available to trade)
    • No waiting for funds to settle before you can trade again (it takes a few days for traded stocks to become 'settled' or available again before you use that money to make another trade.
    • Access to after hour trading (pre and post market)
While their premium stocks do cost money, the benefits are actually pretty good and if you trade a lot could be worth the extra fees. But for most people, the basic free service is AWESOME.

How to get a Free Stock

Plus, right now when you sign up and fund your account you get ONE FREE STOCK.
The stock will be random and range in value from $3-$150. You do have to sign-up via a referred link. Here's mine below if you want to use it. Disclosure: I get one free stock as well when you use the link below. If you have a referral link, feel free to share it in the comments for others to use.

share.robinhood.com/chrisb294

Advantages of using Robinhood over traditional brokerage companies (i.e. Fidelity, Vandguard, E-trade, etc.):
  • It's free!!!
  • Super user friendly and easy to use
  • It's all done on your smartphone
  • You can buy a small amount of stocks - i.e. if you wanted to buy 1 stock XYX that cost $10 a typical brokerage would charge you about $7 just to make the trade, so obviously you wouldn't be purchasing smaller amounts of stock like that. With Robinhood, you don't have to worry about that.
  • Integrates/uploads very nicely with tax services such as turbotax for easy to fill out taxes.
Disadvantages to using Robinhood:
  • It's all on their App - no desktop. Some people aren't comfortable with that, but most of the younger generation prefers that.
  • You can't trade mutual funds, ETF's, options, etc.- just single stocks. However, you can still purchase small amounts of stocks so you can in effect create your own mutual funds.
  • Customer Service is a little difficult to work with. It's done online and not via a phone number. For me this is the biggest disadvantage, but really not ever having to contact customer service.
  • No access to advanced research, charts, etc. They do have information on stocks, but it's the basics so if you need more research you'll have to search it yourself.


If you've never invested in stocks, this is a terrific way to get started slowly. If you invest a lot, then this is a simple, free way to save money and continue investing.


Overall, Robinhood is a no-brainer for how you should be investing in SINGLE stocks. For mutual funds, indices, options, ETF's, then Vanguard or another brokerage is the way to go.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Can I get approved for a credit card if I don't have a job?

The Ultimate Guide to getting a credit card for spouses that have no income and no (or little) credit history


Problem: You want to get approved for a credit card, but you are a stay-at-home mom (or dad) and don't have an income and/or you don't have any credit history.

So really, I've presented 2 problems:

1. Not having a credit history...or maybe you don't even know if you have a credit history
2. Not having an income because your spouse is the wage earner

These 2 things are very important because this is basically all the banks will look at when deciding to approve your credit card application or not.

How to look up your credit score 

My favorite resource for looking up my credit score is Creditkarma.com.

  • It's completely free, does not ask for payment information
  • You can get an updated credit score every week. 
  • It will also give you a credit report (a credit report is different than a credit score).


Even if you've never had a credit card before, that does not mean you don't have a credit score. You can get credit history in many different ways....renting, paying utilities, car loans, student loans, and other ways. Yes, credit cards and making installment payments on loans and mortgages are the most common ways to build credit.

Other resources that will give you a free credit score (please don't pay money for your credit score!):


  • Creditsesame.com - I look at this one every once in a while
  • DiscoverCard - No, you do NOT have to be a discover card member. I've never used this before, but it looks easy to use.

Next, What is a good enough credit score to apply for a credit card?


The are hundreds of different credit cards and they are not all equal. Some require top notch credit scores.

  • I would say a credit score of 750+ will be good enough for basically any credit card
  • Then there are medium range credit cards that might require a score in the range of 670-750
  • Then there are the easiest to qualify for credit cards in the range of 620-670


These numbers are NOT official numbers. I'm just giving you an example. The banks won't tell you, "you need a credit score or 720+" to get approved. Generally speaking, the credit cards with NO annual fees are the easiest cards to get, the ones with highest annual fees are the most difficult, and somewhere in between are the medium ones.

How to build your credit history fast

  • If your credit score is in the low 600's or lower then you'll probably need to do some things to improve your score. For those that simply have never had credit card before and don't have any credit history, the best way to improve your score fast is to have your spouse or family member (or friend if they trust you) add you as an authorized user. This will basically make their credit history part of yours! 
  • Apply for a store credit card (Gap, Kolh's, Old Navy, gas stations, etc.). These credit cards are generally very easy to get.
  • Secure credit cards via your local credit union/bank. If you don't have a local bank then you'll need to apply for a checking/savings account with them first. 

Finally, how to apply for a credit card while not having an income because your spouse is the wage earner


If you put on the credit card application that you have $0 in income then you will more than likely not be approved. The good news is that if your spouse has an income you can include that on your application! Here is what Chase and American Express say about income on their application:


From American Express's credit card application


From Chase's credit card application
There you go! All you need to be able to include your spouses income is to be over 21 and you use some of the money he/she makes!

So when it asks what your occupation is you can put your spouses occupation and employer or you can put that you are a stay-at-home mom or "other" and list your spouse as the income source. When my wife applies for a credit card, I just put in my employer on the application.

Recommended credit cards if you have never had a credit card:

Chase Freedom Unlimited - $150 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months. 1.5% cash back rewards. Rotating 5% cash back categories. No annual fee.

DiscoverIt - $50 bonus after first purchase. 1% cash back rewards. Rotating 5% cash back categories. No annual fee. If you shop at Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's a lot, this can be a good one to have because the 5% cash back category is often wholesale clubs.

BarclayCard CashForward - $200 bonus after $1,000 spending in 3 months. 1.5% cash back rewards. No annual fee.

I recommend these for if you have never had a credit card because they all have 1. No annual fee, 2. Cash back rewards is pretty good, 3. Come with some kind of new account bonus.

Basically, you can get one of these cards (or all 3) and keep the card for the rest of your life cause they are all around solid cards.


Disclaimer: As always, be very careful when getting a credit card because the risks can far out weigh the benefits. Check out some past articles about credit cards to learn more. 





Monday, October 17, 2016

Cheapest Place to get Contact Lenses?

Contact Lenses
Where to get the cheapest contacts?

About 15% of American's wear contact lenses. That's a fair amount of people and I'm one of them. Contacts can be expensive so of course I want to find the cheapest way to get them. Contacts are NOT covered by most insurance plans (glasses usually are). So where do I get my contacts?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Walmart Groceries - Pick-Up




So much of our time is devoted to food - we work so we can buy food, we spend hours making food, we go to the grocery store 1-3 times a week, and then we spend time eating 3+ times per day (most of us anyways). For the most part, that's fine, cause food is awesome.

BUT, wouldn't it be nice if we could devote more time to eating the food then the other stuff?

I'm talking especially about grocery shopping. 

I have 3 kids and between my wife and I, we spend about 2-3 hours per week at the grocery store. What can you do in 2-3 hours? Watch a movie? Clean the house? Exercise? Get some extra work done? More sleep?...Now you can eliminate that wasted 2-3 hours per week walking around the grocery store trying to find where-the-heck the water chestnuts are located.

The New Way I'll be doing my shopping 90% of the time: Walmart Pick-Up

Yeah, I wouldn't say Walmart is my favorite store, but it has all the basics and it's usually priced okay. However, Walmart's new service, "Pick-Up" is a game changer.

1. Order Online
2. Call 10 minutes before getting to Walmart
3. Pick up your groceries at their "Pick-Up" location.



You don't even have to get out of the car! Wow, how do you bet that? Yes, some grocery stores have home delivery and that's pretty cool, but you'll pay for that home delivery.

I've done this a few times and I have to say, this is how I'll be doing my grocery shopping 90% of the time from now on. No more searching the isles for those water chestnuts.

Draw Backs

So I say 90% of the time and not 100% of the time for a couple of reasons. Here are the draw backs that I can see:


  • You have to place your order in advance, some times the day before. 
  • Sometimes it's nice to be able to pick out your own produce (although, they do a pretty good job selecting produce)
  • I don't think you can price match
So there you have it. Going to give it a try? Don't find this a game changer?

Here is a link if you want to give it a try. You'll get $10 off your first order. If you have referral code, feel free to share it in the comments for others. 






Saturday, January 2, 2016

How to Sync Multiple AMEX Offers




How to Sync Multiple AMEX Offers


American Express Offers are basically offers you can add to your card to get a statement credit when you make a purchase at participating locations. Offers can be for online use, in-store, or both.

Here are some examples of some past offers that I have used:
  • Walmart - Spend $75 get $15 credit
  • BP Gas - Spend $25 get $5 credit
  • ExxonMobile Gas - Spend $25 get $5 credit
  • Amazon - Spend $75 get $25 credit
  • Amazon - Spend $60 get $15 credit
  • Gap - Spend $75 get $25 credit
  • Samsclub - Spend $20 get $20 credit
  • Costco - Spend $50 get $20 credit
  • T-mobile - Spend $75 get $15 credit
  • Dollar General - Spend $25 get $5 credit

This is just a small list of the offers that have been available in the past, but it represents most of the offers I have used. I try to only use offers to places that I use anyway. This way I'm saving money and not spending more money.

The really good offers aren't available all the time, but when they do become available I like to get those offers on ALL of my AMEX cards that way I can get the deal multiple times.

For example, recently I added the Amazon offer of buy $60 get a $15 credit to ALL of my AMEX cards (20 including my wife's account) and I purchased amazon e-gift cards in amounts of $60. So basically I got a lot of Amazon gift cards at 25% off.

You can't always get an offer on ALL your cards, but sometimes you can. Normally, if you add an offer one one of your AMEX cards, you will NOT see that offer on any of your other AMEX cards.

How to Sync Multiple AMEX Offers

One of the tricks to get around this problem is the Multiple Tab Technique. Here is a video of an explanation of how to do this:



Monday, December 7, 2015

Automated Price Matching - Paribus.com

Automated Price Matching - Paribus.com 



With all the online Christmas shopping going on, the information on this post could save you a good amount of money and it's SUPER easy to do.


Paribus.com is a website that has software that will automatically review the last 30 days of your online shopping (at a bunch of the major online retailers including amazon, walmart, macy's, etc.). Then if they find a price drop, they will submit a claim for you to get reimbursed. They automatically do all the work.

You do have to give them access to your email and amazon account (just like facebook does with all their apps, etc.), so if you are uncomfortable with that, Paribus may not be for you.

I'll have to admit, I was skeptical of Paribus when I first found out about it and I'm still learning about how it works. I actually saw it as an ad on facebook, so of course I was thinking it was spammy.

But I check it out (good ol' google search to see reviews of the company) and decided to give it a try. The very same day I signed up for it, I got paid for 2 claims for a price drop on a couple purchases I made on Amazon.com. The payment showed up as a credit to my amazon account like this:



So far, I've only received reimbursements of just over $7, but that's $7 I wouldn't have received otherwise and there is no work involved. 

From their website, this is how it works:


How does Paribus get paid?


They take 25% of the amount that you get reimbursed. They are paid by charging your credit card that they have on file. So you will in effect get paid 75% of all the reimbursements that they make for you. Heck, that's definitely better then getting 0%. 

Is there a way to get paid 100% of the reimbursements?


Yes, for every person that you refer, you will be given 5% more of your reimbursements. So if 5 people sign up from your referral, you would then be getting 100% of the reimbursements (5 x 5% = 25%). Your friends will also get 5% off when they sign up with your referral link. 

If you sign up with my referral link you Paribus will only be taking 20% of your reimbursements. Trust me, I don't really care if you sign up via my link. If you want, I will post YOUR link on this post to help you get referrals. Just make a comment on this post with your referral link and I'll put up the links in order of when you made the comment....Please just let me know when you have reached the max referrals so that I can put up a new link. 

So here is a commenters link:


As soon as someone posts a their link in the comments, I'll put up their link. 

It would also be awesome if you could make a comment with your experience with Paribus and tell us how much you have saved by using it. Remember, it will work for the LAST 30 DAYS...so all that online shopping that you have done recently...there's a good chance there has been a price drop on a couple of those items. 

Questions/Comments?




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

IPO's will soon be Available through Motif.com


IPO's Will Soon Be Available via Motif



I've previously written about the great opportunity of IPO's and everything you need to know about IPO's.

There are now 2 online companies that make IPO allocations available to the general public:

  1. Loyal3 
  2. Motif

I think that it's awesome that the general public now has opportunities to get IPO allocations. Motif.com is now making IPO's available through their platform for FREE. It appears that it will be very similar to Loyal3's platform. Motif may even have more IPO opportunities then Loyal3 as they are partnering with JP Morgan, which is one of the largest banks that brokers IPO allocations.

Who Cares?

Well, getting in on IPO allocations can be a great way to get a big jump in your investment short term. Here is my past experience with IPO's:

  • LendingClub (LC) -  $3,750 investment increased by 70%+ on day 1
  • Store (STOR) - $2,666 investment increased by 8%+ on day 1
  • Blue Buffalo (BUFF) - $4,300+ investment increased by 30%+ on day 1
  • GoDaddy (GDDY) - $7,800 investment increased by 30% on day1
  • First Data (FDC) - $20,000 investment decreased by 0.12% on day 1

Note: The above are a combination of 2 Loyal3 accounts. Some of these stocks are now in the negative. There certainly is risk in any investment and you shouldn't invest any money that you would be willing to lose or that you need. 

If you want to learn more about IPO's and my strategy for buying IPO's, read the article listed above.

Possible upcoming IPOs:

Uber
Pinterest
PayPal
Square

So What Do You Do Now?

  1. Sign up to Loyal3's IPO notification newsletter. Once you get a notification, reserve the max amount you can. You willl then have about a week to look into the investment further and decide if you want go through with it or not. If you do, then make sure the funds are available. If you do not want to invest, then don't fund your account or cancel your reservation. But, if you want to have the opportunity, you need to make a reservation as soon as you get the notification because allocations usually go fast.
  2. Motif - Same thing. First open up an account. Next sign up for their IPO email notification. Jump on the chance to reserve an IPO as soon as you get a notification. Research and decide if you want to go through with the reservation in the next few days. Bonus: Motif is actually pretty cool and right now you can get a $100 bonus when you open an account, fund it with a $1,000 and make a trade ($9.99) = Free $90 bucks! You have to use this link to get that bonus though. You could even make a trade and sell it right away if you did not want to keep the money in stocks.

Comments/Questions?

Loyal3 First Data (FDC) IPO BUST


Loyal3 First Data (FDC) IP Bust

This past week I invested $20,000 in getting IPO share allocations of First Data (FDC) via Loyal3 trading platform. Up until this point, EVERY IPO that has been made available via Loyal3 has had a positive return on DAY 1....Until now.
It wasn't a huge loss, but it was a loss. It started up over 1%, but then quickly sank below the $16 IPO price. My strategy when purchasing IPO's is to sell the same day it goes, public unless I really, really like the stock. Whether it goes up or down, I am committed to sell on day one.
By the time the Loyal3 sell order went through the price was $15.92, so I lost just under $100 on this deal. It could have been worse, so I'm okay with the $100 loss. The risk/reward is usually worth it when purchasing IPO's.

Lesson's Learned when buying IPO's via Loyal3:

  • If the IPO is available on Loyal3 for a long time (a day or longer) then, that may mean there might NOT be strong interest in the stock. First Data (FDC) was available for a full day and the hotter IPO's usually will be unavailable within a couple hours.
  • If the price for the IPO is set lower then the price range initially given, this might also be another warning sign. You would think that it's a good thing if the price is set lower, but I think this is actually signaling lower interest in the stock, which will then NOT have as much hype and "pop" when it goes public. The price is set the day before the stock goes public. For First Data, the price range was listed on the prospectus as $18-$20. The final price set the day before going public was $16.
*These are just my personal observation


First Data (FDC), has been up and down $16 since it's IPO, but I'm still glad I sold on day one. I feel the risk of staying in with a company I don't have interest in is not worth the risk. This is just my strategy. Although, there is the school of thought that you should never invest in a stock, even for a minute, that you are not willing to keep for the long term (3+ years).


Even though First Data was a failure for me, I still think there is tremendous opportunity in acquiring IPO's.

What has been your IPO experience?

Questions/Comments?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A few good deals




There are a few good deals going on that might be worth your time. Check them out!

Visa Checkout free $10 credit. 1) Create a new visa checkout account, 2) add your Chase Slate credit card (if you have one) and in 1-2 billing cycles you will get your free $10 credit. This took me 3 minutes to do. No purchase required. Limited to first 90k people. Ends Oct 31st, 2015.


Sams Club - Free membership...if you are pregnant or have a child under 1 years old. Call this number 1-888-746-7726, choose option #2 and then tell the representative you are calling for the New Mom membership offer. Warning: you may have to be on the phone for a while:(

Discover 20%+ off all purchases (up to 10k) when you use Apple Pay - I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. You need 1) An apple device that can do Apple Pay, 2) A Discover credit card. This promotion goes until the end of the year, so there is still plenty of time to apply for a new discover card if you don't have one yet. Terms say that gift cards are excluded, but we'll see if that is actually the case. Still a good option for some extra savings during the holidays. Here's a list of stores that accept Apple Pay. You'll have to think about how you could use this offer...there are potentially very large savings here. However, DON"T get a credit card if it's going to make you spend more money:)

Coinbase - Free $10. 1) Sign-up for Coinbase using this link and then 2) fund the account with $100. Once the transaction goes through (about 1 week), you will be credited $10. Coinbase is a brokerage for bitcoin. Bitcoins are basically virtual currency that can be exchanged for most currencies in the world. There is a small fee when you buy/sell bitcoins, if the Bitcoin price stayed the same, you would make closer to $9. In the time it takes for your transaction to go through, the value of the bitcoin could go up or down just like the stock market. When I got mine, I sold the bitcoins the same day that the order went through. I wouldn't recommend holding onto your bitcoins once the transaction goes through. Just sell them.

https://www.coinbase.com/join/55f427bcb6b43437fb00003c

These few deals don't take that long to do and could save/make you a nice bit of change. It's the little things that add up!

Questions/Comments?


Monday, October 5, 2015

Cheapest Place to Buy Colored Contact Lenses for Halloween



Okay, so you want to have a sweet costume for Halloween...what better way to stand out with your constume then to have red, green, blue, yellow, pink black contact lenses. It's one of the easiest ways to make your constume look sweet. Heck, you could just wear the contacts alone and call yourself a vampire and it would be cool.

Alight, so this post is really about WHERE you can get these contacts for the CHEAPEST or best price. Because in reality, there are tons of companies that sell colored halloween contact lenses and they are all the same product. So I put in the time to research all all the companies to figure out where we can buy the best/cheapest contacts.

Here are the results:

Buy Halloween Costume Contact Lenses
ACLens.com $43.42

Halloweencolorcontacts-depot.com - $47

LensDirect.com - $47.90

Lens4vision.com - $49.99

America's Best Contacts - $69.98

So clearly ACLens.com is the winner. Enjoy your halloween!

Other notes:

  • You are supposed to have a prescription from an eye doctor even if you want "plano" or contacts without correction. Although some have reported getting an order filled without a prescription by simply filling in the prescription form.
  • Costume ideas: Vampire, zombie, walking dead, hulk, wolf,

Let me know in the comments if you know of other cheaper places to get Halloween colored contacts.

Questions/Comments?


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Get a $5 Walgreens gift card with purchase of 2 Vanilla Visa Gift Cards

With the possible 20%+ cash back promotion going on with Discover and Apple Pay, you might be trying to figure out how to maximize the promotion. The purchase of gift cards is excluded in the terms, but whether or not that is enforced is unsure.

One location that accepts Apple Pay is Walgreens. Right now they have a promotion until Oct. 24th 2015 where if you purchase 2 Vanilla Gift Cards you will get a free $5 Walgreens gift card. Here is the offer that should be available at most walgreens accross the country:






I've used this deal twice already at 2 different Walgreens. I purchased 2 $500 Vanilla Visa Gift Cards with my Discover card via Apple Pay. Both times the cashier didn't know how to get the offer to work on the register and ended up having the manager just give a $5 gift card seperate of the transactions.

One thing to keep in mind with these gift cards is that you CANNOT load them onto Bluebird/Serve accounts. You CAN load them onto a RedCard prepaid. So be aware when trying to liquidate these gift cards.


Questions/Comments?

Cheapest place to buy and sell stocks

Stock investing. Perhaps you've never invested in stocks, perhaps you've been doing it for years. In todays high-tech world it's...