Bad blogging and better than 5X loan payments

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UPDATE 11:30 am EST: ShopAtHome dropped their cash back rate for Staples from 7% to only 3%.  Ugh.

Bad blogging

In general, the mechanics of blogging are quite easy.  I use a blog editor called Windows Live Writer.  I write a post.  I add a category and some tags and then set the scheduled post date and time.  Then I press “Publish”.  Done.  Usually.  Somehow I messed up twice in two days.

On Sunday, I was working on my improved “Best credit card offers” page and tried to make a backup of the old page.  So, I opened a new Live Writer window, pasted in the contents of the old Best Offers page, titled it “Best offers old style” and pressed publish.  Here’s the thing: that would have been fine if I had opened a new “Page” window, but I had instead opened a new “Post” window.  They look almost identical, but when I publish a Post it gets broadcast to the world through Tweets, Facebook posts, Google+, etc.  Oops.  I meant to publish a Page (which doesn’t broadcast anywhere) rather than a Post.  I edited the post with an apology and that resulted in my shortest blog post ever: “Best offers old style”.

LiveWriter

On Monday, I screwed up again.  I started writing a post to introduce my new Best Offers page.  While the blog editor is roughly WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get), it’s far from perfect.  So, as I worked on my post, I occasionally clicked “Post draft to blog.” That way I could see how it looked for real in my browser.  Then, when I was nearly done, I accidentally pressed “Publish” instead.  Boom.  My post was broadcast everywhere before it was done.  I quickly made my final edits, so no harm was done.  However, I had intended for that post (Better Best Offers) to go out today (Tuesday), not on Monday morning.  The problem with posting it on Monday morning was that it may have hidden my originally scheduled post from many readers.  If you missed it, you can find it here: #milemadness week 3: the pace slows, and we set our sights on Charlotte

Better than 5X mortgage or loan payments

Lately I’ve been using ShopDiscover and/or uPromise for 5% cash back when shopping at Staples.com.  On Friday, readers let me know that ShopAtHome has been offering 7%.  That sounds good to me!  One downside of ShopAtHome is that you have to accrue $20 or more to get a check.  One alternative is to submit a Highest Cashback Guarantee Claim with TopCashBack.  Anyway, a reader named Wes sent me a picture where he was credited with $14.96 cash back from ShopAtHome from the purchase of two $100 Visa gift cards at Staples.com (purchase total was $213.90 due to card fees).  I’m thinking that this will be an awesome way to pay my mortgage.  I’ll buy Visa gift cards with my wife’s new Ink Plus card which is registered with Visa Savings Edge, and then I’ll use Evolve Money to pay my mortgage.  Here’s how the math works out for every $200 of payments:

  • Charged to Ink Plus: $213.90
  • Points earned: 214 x 5 = 1070
  • Visa Savings Edge 1% rebate: ($2.14)
  • Portal 7% rebate: ($14.96)
  • Total cost: $196.80

If I scale up the above to $2000, then:

  • Charged to Ink Plus: $2139
  • Points earned: 2140 x 5 = 10,700
  • Visa Savings Edge 1% rebate: ($21.40)
  • Portal 7% rebate: ($149.60)
  • Total cost: $1968

To make a $2000 mortgage payment (this is just an example, not my real payment amount), I would save $32 and earn almost 11,000 Ultimate Rewards points.  Plus, it will make a huge dent in the $5K minimum spend required for the Ink Plus 50K signup bonus.  Sweet!

UPDATE: ShopAtHome has now dropped their cash back rate for Staples to 3%.  So, let’s look at the math based on 5% cash back (from uPromise or ShopDiscover):

  • Charged to Ink Plus: $2139
  • Points earned: 2140 x 5 = 10,700
  • Visa Savings Edge 1% rebate: ($21.40)
  • Portal 7% 5% rebate: ($149.60) ($106.95)
  • Total cost: $2010.65 for $2K worth of loan payments
  • Cost per point: $10.65 / 10,700 = about 1/10th of a cent per point

Still a good deal, but not a money maker as before.

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