Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Took Car for It's Oil Change

greasy guy filling oil into a car filter
A Minor Update

I would like to include a minor update to this original blog post that I made a couple years ago. After continuing to use Grismer for my vehicle needs I have since applied for a Grismer Tire credit card after they improved their rewards, and I noticed that the interest rate is actually quit a few points lower than other auto repair cards offered.

The Original Post 

It was time to get my 2008 Nissan Versa's oil changed again. I'm told I should take it every three months, but that is not normally the case. This time I waited a little bit longer than I should have. I was due for an oil change back in December 2012, but I didn't go till this week.

I like to schedule my appointment a day or two ahead of time that way I have things planned out. I called my local Grismer Tire shop and made an appointment for the following day in the afternoon.

I was very pleased with the service I've received at the East Dayton Yellow Springs Rd. Grismer Tire location. I have used them for all my car repair and needs, and they have done a great job every time! I was especially happy this time, because I used a $25 coupon I received in the mail and one of my four free oil changes for purchasing new tires through them. I was able to get the premium oil change for only $12.98. The normal price runs $55 and you get all your liquids drained and refilled, tires rotated, car checked for problems, and a new filter.

I only had to wait 40 minutes this time, which is great. Normally it can take up to an hour to get my oil changed, but this time there wasn't any surprises that my car needed fixed so I was in and out pretty quickly.

I think it's kind of funny that a small local auto repair shop like Grismer that only has 22 locations offers a credit card. I know both Goodyear and Firestone offer credit cards, but those are both national brands. I surmise that Grismer must do enough business to constitute their own card. Credit First National Association (CFNA) issues both the Firestone and the Grismer cards.

smiley face with hands and fingers crossedNext time I will probably go with the regular oil change, and I will make sure I don't wait too long in-between services, which is why I went with the premium to make sure my car is in good shape I want it to last a long time. It hasn't had any major problems yet! (keeps fingers crossed)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Best Shopping Reward Sites

Listed below are the best shopping reward sites that I have found and participate in over the years. Each one has it's own way of rewarding it's members for shopping through their portals some offer points for each dollar you spend while others give you a percent back of the total purchase price excluding shipping costs.

Cashcrate -is my favorite site to use. It began as a paid for offers website, but has expanded to include shopping rewards. They have a limited number of places you can receive a percent back from, but they payout the most of any site I have found. Using Cashcrate will give you 3% cashback on purchases made at Wal-mart, 0.5-5% at Office Depot, 3-4% at Apple iTunes, and 2-3% at Microsoft Store.

MyPoints - is more of a coupon site, but they also have a section that lets you earn points for shopping. You receive a set amount of points for each dollar spent. They have all the major brands including; Kohl's, Best Buy, Disney, and many more. Most of the time you will only get 2 points per dollar spent, but sometimes they run specials that gives you a boost in points earned.

Swagbucks - started out as a way to win points for Internet searches. It has slowly grown over the years and now incorporates points for shopping as well. You can shop at all the name brand stores including; Wal-mart, Old Navy, Lowes, Macy's, and many more. Swagbucks gives you 2 to 6 points per dollar spent. You can redeem your points for gift cards or receive money through PayPal. It takes 2,500 points for $25 deposited into your PayPal account.

Those are my three favorite sites to use, but there are others with similar features. Look around and find one that fits your shopping habits.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Earning Rewards for Online Shopping

monopoly looking guy holding a sack of money
Although I have previously stated I am not a huge fan of online shopping; I am a big fan of making extra money or getting rewards in my spare time. This is especially true if there is little to no work involved or the rewards are a passive venture.

This is probably why I like making websites so much. Most of the work is done over a short period of time, and I gradually earn money or other types of compensation from them.

But making enough money to live off the Internet and getting a percent back for shopping at your favorite retailers are two completely different topics. Sorry, I like to ramble sometimes...

Back On-Topic

Not surprisingly being an Internet entrepreneur I know of several websites that offer members the option to receive a percent back or points for shopping through their website. You don't need to worry about shady sites stealing your credit card information. You will still do all of your shopping through the same retailer there is just a couple of extra steps you need to take to earn rewards.

How It Works

  1. The first step is registering for a rewards site. In my next post I will give a list of my favorite ones. Some may require you to confirm your email address.
  2. Next you will need to login the site you joined and head over to their shopping section. Here they will list the places you can get points or a percent back off the purchase price. The percent back ranges from 0.05 to 5.0.
  3. Click on the site you want to shop with.
  4. Pick out the items you wish to purchase and checkout normally.
  5. After you have completed your purchase you should see how much you got within a few minutes, but sometimes it will take longer especially during the holidays there might be a delay.
If you don't receive credit for your purchase after a couple of days I would contact support of the rewards website.

Hopefully you have found this post helpful, and if you choose not to join in you at least know more about how it works. I feel like every little bit counts and using some of these sites helps me squeeze everything I can out of my shopping budget.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Shopping at Barnes and Noble

a stack of three booksMy mom's birthday is coming up so I text her and asked what kind of gift she wanted this year. She promptly responded with a book that I haven't heard of before but apparently it is written by a local author that goes by the name of Sharon Short not to be confused with Sharon Stone who I thought it was at first when I read the name, but I took a double take and realized it was Short and not Stone.

Unfortunately I procrastinated and waited until the day before her birthday party to go shopping. My daughter and I drove to our nearest Barnes and Noble. At the store I realized I knew nothing about the book so before I walked over to customer service desk I whipped out my smart phone and visited their website. I learned that I could save 30% if I had ordered the book online! Even with the addition of standard shipping at $3.99 I would be ahead a couple dollars. You can receive free shipping if you spend over $25 on your order to, which I ended up spending a total of $36 with batteries and a birthday card.

a window with the word procrastination underneath it

It seems like every store nowadays has a little area for gift bags and cards. I am happy to say that Barnes and Noble has one as well. It makes it easier since I like to give people a card with their gift, and I never really go shopping for just a card.

After I find the book in the fiction section and pick out a birthday card I head over to the check out section. We walk past a battery display and I pick up a pack of AAA and C that are needed to power a couple of toys the kids own. When I arrive at the checkout counter I asked the cashier if they matched the online price. She gave me a flat no, I then asked her if I selected the pickup option if they would then match the online price, again she answered with a no. She told me the only way to get the online discounted price is to order it online. A little disappointed I surrendered my items and paid the price.

Hopefully I have learned my lesson for waiting to the last minute to buy someone a gift. If I had looked earlier I could have saved a couple of dollars off the book not to mention the gas I spent driving to the store and with these insane gas prices every little bit counts!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Insane Gas Prices

My wife and I take turns driving our five year-old daughter to school every week. This week it was my turn, and the route we take to get to her school passes several local gas stations one being a Speedway, another a Shell, and the last one a BP.

I am shocked to see how the price of gas has been continuously rising the last few weeks and is now hovering around $3.75 per gallon mark! This is the time of year the cost gasoline is supposed to be lower. If the price is going to continue to climb it could be well over $4 by the time it hits the usual summer bump.

Luckily for us the drive to school is very brief and is less than 10 miles both ways. I really feel for the people that have a much long commute and have to deal with these insane gas prices by filling up their tank every week.

We usually only have to fill up our tank only twice a month sometimes only once every three weeks. Our car gets great highway mileage and above-average city mileage.

a clear road with maple trees on the left side
Even with our gas discount that we get from using our reward credit cards it is still too expensive to take a long trip. My poor wife really wants to visit her parents, but they live 300 miles away and at these gas prices I don't see us being able to make the trip until after they go down a bit. I don't want to spend $100 on gas alone!