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Gift Cards Part Deux: We’re going with Giftcardbuyback.com

All right, so after being stood up by giftcardswap, I’ve done a bit of research and going to give Gift Card Buyback a try.  The percentage is not nearly as good, but again this is a sale not an auction that I have to wait around for a buyer.  My test case: I had have a merchandise credit for a book on tape i recieved (I’m an avid library user so this book was bound to go unused).  The merchandise credit is for $37.92 from Borders, and Gift Card Buyback is currently offering to pay 70% for this card which is $26.54.  At first blush this seems like some steep interest I am giving up, when I can possibly get 80-85% for the card value at auction or swap somewhere else or 100% if I just waited and bought another replacement book with it. 

However, two things.  First, the book that I returned to get the credit was worth $0 to me – I was not going to read it and it in all liklihood would have sat on my shelf for several years before I ultimately donated it to charity.  Secondly,  I consider the certainty & ease of use of just selling the card to be worth $5.00 (the difference between a guaranteed 70%  & a possible maximum return of 85% of 37.92), it is worth 5.00 not to set up an auction or wait for a matching trade and possibly have to relist the card multiple times before an actual sale.

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Update: Second Sale to cashforlaptops.com

So far, the response from cashforlaptops has been quick and pleasant – they have UPS’d me laptop bags and say they’ll guarantee my laptop sale prices even without an OS or restore disc, we’ll see what they do with the laptops once they receive them.  I went ahead and sold them my second laptop after wiping both hard drives.  I sincerely recommend that anyone selling they electronics over the interent do a full wipe of the hard drive, not just a system restore.  I used Darik’s Boot and Nuke – which is used by the canadian government.  It is free – you can see why I’d like it.  Why buy the paid programs when the the open-source community who invented these products is giving it away for free?

Dividend Investing: Resources to follow

In terms of investing, I’ve been researching dividend investing for some time – although I am not actively investing right now aside from my deferred compensation through work (which is taking a beating).  The appeal of divident/income investing to a cheap skate like myself and all the Penny pinchers of the world should be obvious.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and getting paid now in the form of dividends allows you to make the choice to either reinvest in the same stock, to make new purchases, or to pay for your bills.  I’ll be including some resources on the long decried now Dogs of the DOW theory, along with the income stocks I’m looking at. 

I personally am looking at investing now, because with companies or mutual funds prices pushed so low due to the current economic crisis, the yields are extremely high – far above either treasury notes or certificates of deposts.  Further, closed-end-mutual funds are trading at all time high discounts to NAV, so if I can lock in income streams now, I can obtain income streams of 7-10%, which is what I would expect from a growth stock in good times.

I am not a professional investor, just an interested personal investor – with just pennies to invest, so I’ll also be posting about different investment sites.  I am in the process of opening a zecco account and will be trying out sharebuilder, as penny pinching ways of investing.

Update: Stood Up By GiftCardSwap.com

On monday I attempted to get an estimate from www.giftcardswap.com, but as of today, I’ve been stood up – no response.  I suppose this was too good to be true in this day and age with lending problems to small business combined with lessening consumer spending – the model upon which this website is flawed and would probably go under.

Savings: Maxtor One Touch for $89.99

So with all this recyclind selling of my laptops I needed to store my data, so went out and started looking for an external hard drive.  Not looking for anything fantastic, just a USB 2.0 compliant hard drive with decent ratings.  Came up with two: the Western Digital Mybook and the Mator Onetouch.  Both universally had 4 out of 5 stars, with various levels of fail rate (my experience is that hard drives do this – and I have had equally good experiences with Seagate (who owns maxtor) and Western Digital.  However, the Maxtor has a 5 year warranty and the Western Digital has a 1 year – so for comparable price – had to go with the maxtor on touch 500 gig. 

Headed down to Bestbuy.com & found it for $129.99,  however on the Internet Staples had it for $89.99.  Bestbuy price-matched & I walked out with the drive for $89.99 (and I used a gift card, see previous post).  Gotta love the price match & certainly love not driving around looking for a staples with gas prices what they are now.

Total Penny Pinching Savings: $40 dollars

Savings: Nikon D60 for $529.99

After several years, i went ahead and replaced the two digital cameras that I own and hate.  I wanted to get a digital SLR.  I was between the Nikon D40x and the Canon Digital rebel XS.  I ended up waiting so long that new models came forward – the Nikon d60 and Canon Digital Rebel XSI.  I headed on down to Ritz Camera, and tried them out – like the feel of the Nikon Better.  the MSRP on this camera is 700 dollars.  Ritz wanted 599 + tax for it at Ritz, so headed on home, fired up the old xpbargains & found it for 539 – $10 coupon code LOYALTY10 for a total of 529, no shipping, no tax, free memory card from abes of maine.  Sure they tried to upsell me a warranty + lens over the phone afterward, but a simple no is worth the change to me.

Total Penny Pincher Savings: $170

More Penny Pinching: Gift Cards around the house

We all have them, gift cards around the house that you just haven’t had the chance to use or make it by the store to buy something with.  Inevitably, if you are reading this blog, you treat these cards like gold when in reality they are more like coal.  That and if you are penny pincher you inevitably will lose one of them in the pursuit of the “best deal” to use the cards on.  I am going to make a concerted effort to get rid of my left over gift cards and store credits. 

I’m currently looking into quotes to get rid of some gift cards I have laying around, looking into http://www.thegiftcardswap.com .  The deal is that they will pay you cash for your gift cards.  If you can get 80% cash quickly, IMO that is a good payout for very little effort.  There are other sites but they are auction based and it seems like a lot of effort for small amounts.