By: Revanche

How much time is worth how much money?

August 5, 2006

I have been pondering this the last couple of days because I usually figure, well, any free money is good and what else would I be doing with my time? I could say that because I’m young and single (ie: not married, I don’t mean unattached), rarely go out, BoyDucky is hundreds of miles away on a normal basis, and if I’m not working at work, then I’m working at home or just working with finances to keep from spending bored money.

That means I took advantage of everything Citi had to offer in the way of Credit Protector sign up and retention money, and BT offers and would do the occasional App-O-Rama. However, after spending two full weekends away from home, I realize that the deals and rebates all take time that I will eventually NOT have at my disposal. Again, things like Deal Barbie are great supplements but those sources of cash will definitely dry out without time and attention.

Obviously a wise decision would be to make informed and well-researched investment decisions but you can only do so much with a limited income in that arena. I’m talking about the in-between things that you do for random cash.

So starting with my theme of the day, I’m reevaluating what Citi’s offers are worth to me:
$15 or $20 sign up rebates. (Unfortunately they haven’t sent a check, which is much easier, in a long time. Or is that Chase?) Either way, the sign up rebates mean that I have to make sure I get the money before I cancel the service. The easiest way to do this and make sure I don’t get dinged while waiting is to only apply for my zero balance, decommissioned cards. As previously posted, I’ve learned my lesson in trying to be sneaky and get away with doing that for my BT cards without paying a fee. I got greedy. *Bad Mini, bad!*

$50 over 5 months retention coupons: These are low-key, make a copy of your receipt and coupon, mail it in, wait for a check. Except if you’ve already done a set this year, or if you have two sets for two different cards. I found out the hard way that even though THEY offer you the second set of retention coupons, the processing company will say only ONE per household per month allowed. So I no longer bother trying to run two sets of retention coupons at a time because it’s a waste of time to call and dispute each $10 check.

Chase Credit Protector: Sometimes they’ll send me a check to deposit as your enrollment bonus. I’ll take it and call to cancel later. They’re not as easy to shake on the cancellation call as Citi reps are, I’ve noticed. Although with Citi reps I just usually say that it’s been causing me more inconvenience than it’s worth, and it’s usually true so they’ll just cancel it.

The deal that wasn’t: My employer’s credit union sent out a slick marketing campaign. It’s called “Get your kicks on Route $66! Cruise to a carefree payday and a $66 bonus.”

Sign up for direct deposit at your credit union checking account and we’ll put $11 in your savings account each month from September 2006 through February 2007 to a maximum of $66.

Don’t delay – you must sign up for direct deposit by August 31 to start receiving your $11 monthly bonuses.

But, of course there’s fine print. Magnified about 15 times, it reads:
Bonus will be deposited into your savings account in $11 increments beg Sept 06 and Feb 07 to a max of $66. Bonuses must remain on deposit for six months before they can be withdrawn. Minimum monthly deposit of $250 is required to qualify. If direct deposit is terminated before six months, the total amount of the bonuses paid will be deducted from your share savings account.

And then they REALLY lost me when I looked at the application: Enclose your opening deposit $10 ($9 one time membership fee + $1 savings minimum deposit)

Yeah this officially counts as a stinker of a deal. I have to pay $9 to open an account with a pittance of interest for essentially 12 months at fairly great inconvenience just to get a net gain of $56? This was definitely not worth the time or effort.

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