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The Square

There is a new credit card device for Iphone, Ipads, and Androids that will allow you to take credit cards anywhere without a merchant or Paypal account. It's called the Square and it is being marketed by the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. It is currently being offered for free.

Basically, this device is the size of a postage stamp and it connects right to your Iphone, Ipad, Ipod Touch, or Droid and allows you to accept credit or debit card payments for anything you want. It works with an App that will generate a confirmation email when a transaction is done. The Square has been featured in articles on CNN, and the New York Times.

Basically, you download the app from the site at https://squareup.com, create an account, and then they send you information on how to sign up for the free hardware. Takes about 5 minutes. You can link this to either your business or personal bank account. (I just created an account for my small business, as 90% of my clients prefer to pay with a cc).

Square immediately settles up to $1,001.00 per week to your bank account. Any balance over your immediate settlement amount remains in your Square account for 30 days and will then be automatically deposited into your bank account. Square card payment rates:

Card-present (swiped): 2.75% + 15¢
Card-not-present (keyed-in): 3.5% + 15¢

These fees are more or less comparable to Paypal.

Paypal fees per transaction:

$0.00 USD - $3,000.00 2.9% + $0.30 USD
$3,000.01 USD - $10,000.00 2.5% + $0.30 USD
$10,000.01 USD - $100,000.00 2.2% + $0.30 USD
> $100,000.00 1.9% + $0.30 USD

I still recommend Paypal as one of the best, most secure solutions for taking online payments. Square is a new way to take payments in person or over the phone, without the hassle or costs of setting up a merchant account.

I would get this now, as no telling when this will no longer be a free offer.


Free Haas avocado


Free (legal) Maroon 5 mp3

Download Maroon Five's new song, Misery, here.

5% off at Target all the time

Target has a somewhat new discount program.  If you apply for a Redcard Debit card and use it at Target, they will deduct 5% from every purchase.  I think this is probably a better deal than any other rewards card out there.  Most rewards cards give 1%-3% back on purchases, with the occasional limited time deal at 5%.  You need to wait to cash in on the rewards, and usually have to take them in the form of a giftcard instead of cash.  Here, you receive the 5% rewards immediately.  There is no catch, no charge for the Redcard, and because it is linked directly to your checking account, you can get it even if your credit is less than ideal.

Combine this 5% discount with Target coupons, manufacturer coupons, and sales, and you can save quite a lot.  A Target RedCard also gets you free shipping online at Target.com.

Parenthetically, you can also link your card up to a school you'd like to support and Target will donate 1% of your purchase to them.  Nice perk.


Calphalon small stainless pot for $14

Amazon has an excellent deal on a small Calphalon pot.  I bought a set of Calphalon tri-ply stainless steel pots on a special deal at Bed Bath & Beyond about five years ago, and I love them.  You can use them in the oven or on the stove, and they still look great, for the most part. I've been adding to the set as I see deals.

This is a 1 quart (very small) Calphanlon tri-ply stainless steel pot for $14.52.  Unfortunately it doesn't qualify for Amazon Prime, and the shipping is around $6, so it actually pays to buy two, because it's only a dollar more for shipping the second pot, for a grand total of $36.63.  Eighteen bucks for a Calphalon pot, even a small one, is a steal.  I use these for melting margarine or chocolate, boiling eggs, and other small jobs, and it always pays to have an extra pot around, in case the dishwasher is full and you are lazy (like me).

Here it is on the Calphalon site at full price (also at Dillards, Macy's, and Cooking.com).  Didn't see the individual pot on sale at BB&B.  It's on the Firefly site for $20 + shipping).

Free Jergens lotion sample

Click here for a free sample of Jergen's lotion.



Ok, I'll admit, I'm a jewelry freak.  I love jewelry.  All kinds of jewelry. Here's a site that I've come to use quite a bit:  Ice.com.  They've got everything from ten-dollar sterling silver earring to $20,000 gold and diamond necklaces. The nice thing about this site is the value.  You will always get a 20% discount.  Most of the time, you can score free shipping (just Google "ice.com, free shipping, promo code" and sort through until you find an unexpired code). The site is a vendor on both Shop at Home (currently offering a whopping 8% cash back) and Ebates (currently offering 4% cash back).  Most of the jewelry on the site is already pretty well priced.In this economy, when most people I know have cut their luxuries down to the bone, it's nice to give yourself a little treat every now and then, right ladies? And guys, finding a nice bargain on this site will buy you some definite goodwill from your wife or girlfriend.

So let's say you're having a pretty crummy Monday and you'd like to treat yourself to this mucho-cute cocktail ring.   The price is listed at $50.  You get shipping for a buck and 20% off with code S1SHP. So your total is $41 with shipping.  You will also get back another 8% or $3.28 from Shop at Home.  Net cost to you:  $37.72 on a $50 cocktail ring, or 75%.  And it's so cute.

Good things to belong to

Full disclosure:   the links I'm publishing here are referral links, and I will make a buck or two for referring you.  Thanks for helping me out.

But I will not recommend any program that I don't already use myself and really like.  My goal here is to get you signed up to programs that will save you some extra cash; the referrals are just gravy.  Here we go:

Shop at Home:  by far the best clickthrough shopping service I've seen.  Costs nothing to join. Are you buying something at Walmart.com?  Well, if you join SAH and click through their Walmart link first, you will get 3% back on your purchase.  "3%!" you say.  That's nuthin.  That's like $0.28!  I'm not going to bother.  Well, then you are stupid.  If you spend money online, these 3-4-5-6% cashback amounts start to add up.  And on large purchases, it's a major no-brainer.  Maybe you are searching for a new fridge and are about to spend $900 at HomeDepot.com.  SAH periodically runs "sales" where they double the cashback percentages.  We bought an appliance  at Sears.com on a SAH "sale" day and got 9% back on around $600.   They send out checks quarterly, and mine is never less than $40.  Oh, and they send out checks. For money.  Not points, money.  Kapeesh?   Join

Ebates:  another clickthrough service, basically the same idea as SAH.  The Ebates vendor list is not nearly as extensive as SAH, but occasionally, they will have someone listed that SAH does not. I used to use them all the time before I discovered SAH.   Couldn't hurt to have another clickthrough service in your pocket. And once again, they will send you money.  Not points.  The green stuff.

By the way, if you want to compare clickthrough services on specific rates at specific stores, Cashbackwatch a good site. 

Swagbucks:  this site is a little kitchy, but so far, simply from doing Google-based searches that I would have done anyway, I've amassed about $200 in Amazon gift cards.  The $5 Amazon gift card that they offer for 450 points is the only prize on the Swagbucks Redemption list that is worth squat, IMHO.  But that's just me.  Basically, you sign up, you put their little search box in the northeast corner of your browser, and instead of going to Google when you want to do a search, you type in your keyword(s) there.  The Swagbucks search engine is Google based.  About one in every five searches seems to score you points.  It's a passive thing...when you realize that you've hit 450 points, grab a $5 Amazon gift card.  There are other ways to more actively earn points, but honestly, I can't be bothered.  If you can, go for it.  It's also worthwhile to refer your friends, spouses, etc.

MyPoints:  I have some mixed feelings about this site, because their customer service is horrendous, but it's still easy to get points, and they are honest about redemptions.  Basically it works like this:  you get about 4-5 emails a day from them (which you can turn off any time), click on the email links, get points, redeem points for gift cards.  I've probably redeemed about a thousand dollars in gift cards from them since I joined twelve years ago.  There are more active ways to get points (surveys, buying stuff, etc.) but, once again, I'm busy. I'm guessing you are too.

Redeem your Chase Freedom credit card points before 2011 to save on gift cards

Here's more bang for your buck:  Chase Freedom credit card is offering 10% off points needed to redeem gift cards at certain stores. So it's 2,250 points to redeem a $25 gift card (usually 2,500), 4,500 points to redeem a $50 gift card (usually 5,000), and 9,000 points to redeem a $100 gift card (usually 10,000).  Offer until 12/31/10, for gift cards at Home Depot, Macy's, Old Navy, AMC Theaters, Barnes & Noble, Lands End, Kohl's, Itunes, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, and Gap.



What's it all about, Cheapskate?

I started this blog for one reason and one reason only:  times are lean, and I want to save some money.   I'm good at saving money and I wanted to share some of that with you.  If you know of a post-worthy money-saving idea, please write to me at frugalskate@gmail.com, and if it's a good one, I'll be happy to post it, either anonymously  or with a credit (whichever you prefer).