Sunday 27 August 2006

Trivial pursuits

I must confess, aside from spending time on "big ticket" items (like continual self-education to boost my salary income, reading about investing and trying to inch towards the efficient frontier by tweaking my asset mix and minimising fees) I also like to waste my time dabbling in getting "freebies".

For anyone else who likes getting something for nothing (of course this assumes that your down time would otherwise earn $0 per hour - say watching TV) I list a few of my favourites.

1. Email cash - You can earn a regular 5c per day doing a couple of clicks on their website, occasionally get advertising emails which also pay 5c when you open them and click the link. Most fun is the daily number guessing game which you get to pick 5-7 numbers between 1-1000. If your number comes up you get 200 pts ($2 worth). You can invest up to 10000 pts ($100 worth) in their "eBank" which pays around 15% interest. When you have some pts to cash in you just exchange them for e$ which can be used to buy a real money cheque. Cheques are only available for $30, and there is a 1e$ admin fee. So far I have got about $90 of real cash from this. Makes a good diversion during a tea break or when you're on hold. If anyone wants to join up, go to email cash. Using this link will get me a few pts for a referral ;)

2. FlyBuys - Joining this program is free, and just flashing the card when buying your normal shopping at Coles, Myer, Shell petrol, Target etc. will get you 1 pt per $5. You can earn pts much faster however if you have a NAB credit card. You'll then get a 2nd pt per dollar on such purchases if you pay by CC. You will also get 1 pt per dollar for all purchases using your NAB CC. Obviously this is NOT good if it means you run up CC debt. I always pay off the balance in full during the interest free period (up to 55 days) so my only cost is the annual card fee (about $28 pa). I use my CC for all my regular payments - shopping, doctor, dentist, water, phone, electricity, car rego etc, etc, so I put through about $2000 per month on CC and earn around 6,000 pts per month. You can redeem 13,500 pts for $100 paid off your NAB CC - so I'm getting about $45 value per month for free.

3. Mypoints - a US based email "clicking" program. You can redeem pts for Barnes & Noble gift cards or webcertificates. If you have a US address available to get the gift cards sent to, then you can use the gift card number and PIN number to order B&N books online and get shipped as gifts to the US. Not really worth getting books sent to Australia as the P&H is exhorbitant. If you redeem for a webcertificate, you basically get a VISA debit card number with an available balance. Theoretically you could use this to pay yourself if you have a merchant website - eg. CC payment processing via Paypal. I'll let you know if this actually works out in practice. I tried it once years ago and had trouble "activating" the Webcertificate so couldn't use it, so I've since just redeemed MyPoints for B&N giftcards to send friends and relatives in the US.

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