amazon prime – Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:48:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 Comparison Shopping Online Before You Buy In-Store http://yourpfpro.com/comparison-shopping-online-before-you-buy-in-store/ http://yourpfpro.com/comparison-shopping-online-before-you-buy-in-store/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 01:20:23 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2160 If you do most of your shopping online like me, you’ll know that certain items were not made to be sold on the internet.  I rarely buy things like dress shirts and pants online since it’s so tough to tell what type of cut a shirt is or how well a pair of pants will […]

The post Comparison Shopping Online Before You Buy In-Store appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
comparison_shopping_online_before_you_buy_in_storeIf you do most of your shopping online like me, you’ll know that certain items were not made to be sold on the internet.  I rarely buy things like dress shirts and pants online since it’s so tough to tell what type of cut a shirt is or how well a pair of pants will fit.  Even though Amazon now charges tax in CA, I still buy a lot of items there because of their low prices, free 2 day shipping and awesome customer service/return policy.

When I do have to go in store to shop though, I always make sure to compare prices online since once I’ve found what I want there’s no need to pay the higher price.  Let’s say I walk into a Banana Republic on a Saturday and pick out a pair of pants that I want.  The first thing I’ll do is go online on my phone and see if the price is the same on the website.  Often times, companies may have different pricing in-store compared to their website for the exact same product.

Mobile Comparison Shopping

One great use of my smartphone is for comparing prices when I’m out shopping.  I use the ebay and Amazon mobile apps to scan barcodes of products that I’m looking at in-store and then compare them to the prices online.  That way, I know that I’m comparing apples to apples since you can easily make a mistake otherwise.  Alternatively, you can also use the unique item code and search for that if the barcode method doesn’t yield the results you’re looking for.

Online Coupons are Easy to Find

If I decide that I want to buy the item online, I always end up searching for online vouchers.  The last item I bought online was a digital camera, so in this case, I did a quick google search for ‘Canon Rebel Online Coupon’ to see if anything came up.  I ended up using a coupon code that let me save over 40% on digital cameras.  A lot of times you should be able to find a coupon code and although it might not always save you 40%, you could easily get a 10-20% in savings for one google search’s worth of work.

Always Free Shipping

The great thing about shopping online is that all these companies are competing for your business.  Most of them will either offer free shipping straight up or with a minimum purchase.  Most companies set the free shipping threshold at $50 or $100 but return shipping is usually free so there’s no risk.  You can probably even return the item in-store too if that’s more convenient for you.  So even if I only want one shirt, I might buy it in another color just to see if I like that one better and so that I’ll reach the minimum threshold for free shipping.

Coming home from work to a box of new clothes or new shoes is a great feeling.  Online shopping can get addicting since it’s so easy and hassle-free so make sure you don’t get too carried away.  Even if it is online, it’s still real money.

Readers, do you ever get carried away online shopping?  What type of items do you buy in store and what do you buy online?

-Harry @ PF Pro

The post Comparison Shopping Online Before You Buy In-Store appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/comparison-shopping-online-before-you-buy-in-store/feed/ 11 2160
Breathe New Life Into Your PC or Mac Computer http://yourpfpro.com/breathe-new-life-into-your-pc-or-mac-computer/ http://yourpfpro.com/breathe-new-life-into-your-pc-or-mac-computer/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 02:24:58 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1606 For the past 5 years, all of my personal computer use has been on a 2009 Macbook Pro that I got as a graduation gift.  I didn’t have to worry too much about the cost at the time since it was a gift and I got a small student discount.  But recently, I started to […]

The post Breathe New Life Into Your PC or Mac Computer appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Breathe_new_life_into_computer_RAM_macbook_pro_appleFor the past 5 years, all of my personal computer use has been on a 2009 Macbook Pro that I got as a graduation gift.  I didn’t have to worry too much about the cost at the time since it was a gift and I got a small student discount.  But recently, I started to notice a huge performance decline, it was running slower and I couldn’t run multiple programs at once.  This slowdown was bound to happen eventually but I knew I wasn’t ready to spend another $1,500 for a new laptop.

I’ve compared the costs of Apple vs PC before and even though Apple computers are more expensive, I still prefer their laptops.  I’ve gotten a ton of use out of my MacBook Pro and I’ve never had a major problem with it(It seems like it’s much harder to get a virus or infected with spyware too).  On my old PC laptop, it felt like I was getting infected with malware/spyware once every few months and no I wasn’t clicking on any “You’ve won a free iPad” links.

What Causes The Slowdown

Computers won’t go through many physical changes as they get older like with a car or a refrigerator.  There just aren’t a ton of moving parts that can break, so what causes your computer to slow down?  Generally, as you acquire more and more programs and files, your computer needs to store all that information.  Sometimes it can’t store it all in one place, so it ‘fragments’ it across multiple places.  Every time you need to access this data, your computer will have to search through more and more stuff until it finds it.  Makes sense right?

There’s also the fact that software updates will require more and more of your computing power so a newer version of Microsoft Word might use more RAM than an older version.  This is a simplified explanation and there’s a lot more that goes into it, but know that eventually your computer will slow down and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

You should be more concerned with how to speed things up!  The most effective way would be to completely reformat your hard drive, essentially restoring it to factory settings.  This can be a real PITA though, and it requires technical knowledge and the know how to make a full back up of your hard drive.  Fortunately, there’s an option that requires no technical knowledge of computers at all and is very simple 🙂

The $40 Fix – Upgrade the RAM

This fix isn’t really a secret but most people don’t know just how easy it is to replace the RAM on your computer.  It literally took me less than 5 minutes to install new RAM on my MacBook Pro and my computer is lightning fast again.  It’s also a good idea to buy the lowest RAM option available on a new computer and upgrade yourself(you’ll save a couple hundred bucks doing it this way with a Mac).

My computer came with 4GB of RAM but it can handle up to 8GB.  RAM is essentially the memory that allows you to access your data quickly.  If you run out of RAM, your computer will use a portion of the hard drive which will severely slow down your computer.  Below, I highlight in 3 simple steps how to upgrade the RAM for my late 2009 MacBook Pro.  If you have a PC, you’ll have to google how to replace the RAM but it’s the same basic process.

  • First Step:  Check the amount of RAM currently in your computer by going to: Apple logo -> About This Mac -> Memory
    • My computer had 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
  • Second Step:  Find out how much RAM your computer can handle.  For some reason, Apple lists the maximum memory as only 4GB for my laptop but I went on a couple forums and found out that this is false.  I used the scanner here to figure out how much RAM my laptop could really handle.
    • I upgraded to 8 GB of Crucial DDR3 1066 RAM(aff link).  Double check the Amazon reviews to make sure the RAM will be compatible with your computer.
  • Third Step:  Installing the RAM was probably the easiest part since all I had to do was remove the screws, pop out the old RAM and install the new RAM.  A quick tip that is good for any project is to make sure you know which screw came from where even if they all appear identical.

That’s it!  Once you’ve installed your new memory, use the first step from above to make sure that your computer is recognizing the memory and you should see immediate improvements.  I like buying the memory from Amazon since if there are any problems or you buy the wrong RAM, returns are easy and hassle free.  But there are tons of sites you can buy from.

Readers, have you ever thought about installing RAM or does the task seem too daunting?  What do you do when your computer starts to slow down?

-Harry @ PF Pro

 

The post Breathe New Life Into Your PC or Mac Computer appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/breathe-new-life-into-your-pc-or-mac-computer/feed/ 18 1606
Amazon is Now Collecting Sales Tax in California http://yourpfpro.com/amazon-is-now-collecting-sales-tax-in-california/ http://yourpfpro.com/amazon-is-now-collecting-sales-tax-in-california/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 05:48:11 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1247 If you’ve been following this blog, you know how much I love a good deal.  So when I finally decided to upgrade my iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S3, I remembered a tip that Amazon wireless has no sales tax on smart phones.  If you’ve ever bought one of these suckers, you know how […]

The post Amazon is Now Collecting Sales Tax in California appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Amazon_Prime_Free_3_MonthsIf you’ve been following this blog, you know how much I love a good deal.  So when I finally decided to upgrade my iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S3, I remembered a tip that Amazon wireless has no sales tax on smart phones.  If you’ve ever bought one of these suckers, you know how outrageous the taxes can be.  When you buy the phone in store, the phone only costs $200(since the price is subsidized by the carrier), but you have to pay tax on the full price of the phone(over $500).  That’s over $50 in taxes, yikes!

So when I logged on to Amazon wireless to upgrade my phone, I was shocked to see $50+ in taxes when I tried to checkout.  Unfortunately, the free ride at Amazon is now over for me and many other California residents.  I’ve been saving over 8% on all my Amazon purchases for years but it looks like that’s finally coming to an end.  

On September 14th, Amazon started charging sales tax on all purchases in California.  If you live in a state with no sales tax, you’re still ok, but it’s only a matter of time before residents of all tax paying states will have to pay tax on Amazon purchases.  It’s expected that Amazon will generate over $100 million in tax revenue for local and state governments in California.  I’m not sure what California with do all that money, but I’m sure it will go to a good cause(not!).

Is Amazon Still Worth It?

So now I have to decide if it’s still worth it to do the majority of my shopping on Amazon.  With no sales tax and a recent slew of Amex promotions, I was getting close to 20% off all my purchases plus free 2 day shipping to my house.  There’s nothing like coming home to a giant box of paper towels.  But in all seriousness, I buy almost all of my non-perishable household items on Amazon.  I may be able to get comparable deals through extreme couponing or deal hunting but I like doing other things with my free time.

I know Costco offers a lot of the same items I used to buy on Amazon but I think my local Costco might be the busiest one in SoCal.  I can’t go during the week days because of work, and when I go in on weekends or after work it’s a freaking mad house.  I love those free samples but I think I’ve been spoiled for so long by Amazon, it’s going to be hard to go back and wait in those long lines.  Even though Amazon wasn’t always the cheapest, the convenience factor of ordering on Amazon was what I loved most.  Now that there is sales tax on Amazon I’ll have to pay even more and I’m not sure the convenience factor outweighs the cost.

There’s Still Amazon Prime

Now that the sales tax loop hole has been exposed, Amazon’s best feature has got to be their Prime Membership.  It offers free two day shipping on all Amazon items and unlimited streaming of thousands of tv shows and videos among other benefits.  If you are a student, you can actually get a free 6 month membership.  For everyone else, I’d recommend signing up for Amazon Mom, it gives you a free 3 month membership to Amazon Prime.

I’ll most likely use a combination of shopping on Amazon, Costco and at my local grocery stores for whatever I need.  You can still buy 3rd party items and not have to pay sales tax but not all of these items offer prime and some are used/like new condition.

Amazon still has some of the best customer service and return policies around though.  You can usually get a hold of a representative by phone or e-mail very quickly and they are very knowledgeable.  I’ve had some great experiences with their customer service staff and I really like their business model and how they treat their customers.

I think it will be a while before I discover what the price difference is that will make me get off my lazy butt and go out to the store to get whatever I need.  But until then, I still have my free 2 day shipping and a few Amazon gift cards left to spend 🙂

Readers, do you plan on spending more, less, or the same amount at Amazon now that there is sales tax?  Are there any other good options other than Costco?

-Harry @ PF Pro

The post Amazon is Now Collecting Sales Tax in California appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/amazon-is-now-collecting-sales-tax-in-california/feed/ 10 1247
AMEX Twitter Sync Promotion: How I Turned $180 at Best Buy Into $200 in Amazon Gift Certificates http://yourpfpro.com/amex-twitter-sync-promotion-how-i-turned-180-at-best-buy-into-200-in-amazon-gift-certificates/ http://yourpfpro.com/amex-twitter-sync-promotion-how-i-turned-180-at-best-buy-into-200-in-amazon-gift-certificates/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2012 06:27:49 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=1097 After two years of churning credit cards for sign-up bonuses, I’ve amassed quite a collection of cards.  I’m almost embarrassed by how many I now have, but one great benefit of having so many cards is the ongoing promotions.  With some companies you might save a couple dollars here, or get a discount there, but […]

The post AMEX Twitter Sync Promotion: How I Turned $180 at Best Buy Into $200 in Amazon Gift Certificates appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
amex-sync-with-twitter

After two years of churning credit cards for sign-up bonuses, I’ve amassed quite a collection of cards.  I’m almost embarrassed by how many I now have, but one great benefit of having so many cards is the ongoing promotions.  With some companies you might save a couple dollars here, or get a discount there, but one company stands above the rest when it comes down to promotions for current card members: American Express.

I have four different Amex cards and two of them will carry an annual fee starting next year.  Normally, I would just cancel any card that carries an annual fee but Amex’s latest slew of promotions has really got me thinking.  Most people know about small business saturday, but this summer Amex launched a huge promotion with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.  Basically, the promotion requires you to sync each one of your cards to a separate social media account and either like, tweet or check-in to participating businesses.

Through these promotions I’ve been able to take advantage of some awesome free money deals.  All you need to participate is an Amex card, co-sponsored cards like the Citi Aadvantage AMEX and Costco AMEX will work, but prepaid cards won’t.  One of the more recent deals Amex offered(goes until 9/16/12) was a $20 statement credit on a $200 purchase at Best Buy.  Now at first I wasn’t too impressed with this offer because Best Buy tends to have some pretty jacked up prices already and the 10% savings would likely be negated by their inflated prices.  But I learned about a simple trick that allowed me to purchase Amazon gift cards at a 10% discount.  So here’s how it works.

With these promotions, once you sync your card and tweet the promotion code your card is enrolled.  You can buy anything you want at the participating business and as long as the final transaction amount is greater than the minimum requirement for the promotion.  I like using Twitter for these deals because the confirmation is usually instant and you’ll receive the statement credit within 2-3 days usually.  There’s no need to deal with explaining the promotion to the business(often times they’re unaware) or using any type of coupons.  It’s all done through Twitter and Amex.  In order to get your card enrolled, you need to:

  • Sign up for a Twitter account
  • Sync your American Express Card to your Twitter account(Click on the twitter icon in the upper right corner)
  • You should receive a confirmation e-mail that the card ending in XXXXX has been synced with your twitter account(If you have multiple Amex cards you’ll need multiple twitter accounts so be sure to write down which account is synced to which card)
  • Tweet using the designated hashtag for the deal(for this one it’s #AmexBestBuy20)
  • You should receive a sync notification in the mentions section of your Twitter account within a minute or two

Once you’ve added the deal to your card, head over to the e-book section of Best Buy, where they actually sell gift cards for the Kindle.  Kindle gift cards can be redeemed for any item on Amazon.com so by purchasing $200 in Kindle gift cards you can immediately add these to your amazon account and you’ll receive a $20 statement credit on your Amex credit card bill from this promotion.  The Kindle gift cards work just like a regular Amazon gift card, only they say Kindle on them 🙂

I love Amazon and there’s nothing like coming home to a giant box of paper towels with free 2 day shipping and no sales tax.  In fact, I buy most of my household products on Amazon and a ton of other things so this promotion was perfect for me.  Alternatively, you could just buy a $200 Visa gift card and pay the $5.95 activation fee for a total profit ($20 SC – $5.95 fee) of $14.05.  This is only one of the many deals Amex has offered this summer.  There are tons more out there for you to explore.  Some might require a little more work than this but I think it’s a lot of fun getting free money, so enjoy.

Top Deals of the Summer

AMEX – Get $20 back when you spend $200 at Best Buy by tweeting #AmexBestBuy20

AMEX – Get $10 back on $50+ in Mall Gift Cards by tweeting #AmexMacerichMalls, #AmexSimonMalls

AMEX – Get $50 back when you spend $250 on Travelocity(hotel purchases only) by tweeting #AmexTravelocity

AMEX – Get $25 back when you spend $75 at Ticketmaster.com by tweeting $AmexTM25(I used this one to buy some good football tickets and re-sell them)

AMEX/Foursquare – Get $5 statement credit at basically any small business when you spend $10 by checking in and loading the special.  In your foursquare app, hit the explore tab and look for American Express Specials.

There’s plenty more on Amex’s website so check them out.

Readers, have you used any of these promotions this summer or do they seem like too much work?

-Harry @ PF Pro

The post AMEX Twitter Sync Promotion: How I Turned $180 at Best Buy Into $200 in Amazon Gift Certificates appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/amex-twitter-sync-promotion-how-i-turned-180-at-best-buy-into-200-in-amazon-gift-certificates/feed/ 10 1097
$5 Free at Amazon.com and 3 Months of Free Amazon Prime http://yourpfpro.com/5-free-at-amazon-com-and-3-months-of-free-amazon-prime/ http://yourpfpro.com/5-free-at-amazon-com-and-3-months-of-free-amazon-prime/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 02:52:14 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=371 Update(12/5/12):  Get your 3 month free trial of Amazon Prime here by signing up for Amazon mom(aff link) This Tuesday, Amazon Local will be offering $10 Amazon.com gift cards for just $5.  They haven’t announced how many are available so make sure to buy one as soon as the deal goes live tuesday morning.  They had […]

The post $5 Free at Amazon.com and 3 Months of Free Amazon Prime appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Update(12/5/12):  Get your 3 month free trial of Amazon Prime here by signing up for Amazon mom(aff link)

This Tuesday, Amazon Local will be offering $10 Amazon.com gift cards for just $5.  They haven’t announced how many are available so make sure to buy one as soon as the deal goes live tuesday morning.  They had a similar special through Living Social about a year ago and sold nearly 1.4 million of the $10-for-$20 gift cards — the equivalent of 80 per second — in the U.S.

Once you have the gift card, sign up for a free 3 month trial of Amazon Prime .  Prime offers free 2 day shipping and $3.99 for overnight delivery.  It also gives you access to unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and tv shows and kindle books. You can sign up for the free trial here

The post $5 Free at Amazon.com and 3 Months of Free Amazon Prime appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/5-free-at-amazon-com-and-3-months-of-free-amazon-prime/feed/ 4 371