We’ve moved to CHEAPENCOUNTERS.COM!!!

What you’ve missed if you haven’t been to our new site

A couple of weeks ago, this blog officially moved from the free WordPress servers to its own domain at CheapEncounters.com. Since then all new postings have been posted at the new site only. However, the traffic to this site still far surpasses the new site, so I thought I would give everyone a glimpse of what you’ve been missing if you haven’t been over to our new site.

Since the move 11 new postings have been made as of December 3. Here are the new posts you’ve missed:

Be sure to stop by our new site at CheapEncounters.com and update your bookmarks!

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December 3, 2007 Posted by | About | Leave a comment

We’ve moved to CheapEncounters.com!

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com! After careful consideration, I have decided we have outgrown our humble WordPress.com beginnings and it is time to move on to dedicated webspace and our own domain name.

Besides an easier to remember URL, you’ll see that the new site is much more customized with a much cooler look. I am just beginning to play around with the blogging software, so don’t be surprised to see changes pretty often as I decide what I like the best. Despite the changes, you will find all of the posts from this site have been migrated over to the new site, so don’t worry about not being able to find your favorite posts.

If you’d like to subscribe to the new RSS feed, the new feed can be found at http://www.cheapencounters.com/?feed=rss.

See everyone at the new site!

November 17, 2007 Posted by | About | Leave a comment

Thinking about leaving WordPress.com

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

When I started this blog earlier this year, I wasn’t sure how big this would get. It started as primarily a way to release my creative energies and a place to rant when something annoys me. Back in the good old days of the web, I had a website over on Geocities that took about 5 years to get up to 12,000 hits. This was back in the primitive days when Notepad was the HTML editor of choice, but it set my expectations for traffic at this site.

Well, in less than a year we are closing in on 17,000 hits for Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind. This is much more than I ever expected, and thank you to all the readers for stopping by my little pit stop on the information superhighway. However, it makes me think that we might be outgrowing WordPress.com, our blog hosting provider.

The obvious advantage to WordPress.com is cost – it’s free! But with the lack of cost, there are some disadvantages, including:

1. Lack of customization. WP has a handful of templates that you can use, and a limited number of “widgets” that can be used to add features to the site. As such, most sites on WP look pretty similar.

2. No affiliate links or AdSense allowed. Claiming that they are trying to stay true to their free roots, WP doesn’t allow bloggers to post affiliate links or Google AdSense text ads to their site. While I didn’t start the blog to make money, I don’t appreciate being told I can’t at least try to make some cash from my efforts. I don’t want to make this an ad farm, but I see nothing wrong with having a relevant affiliate link as part of the site or a particular article.

3. Limited traffic reporting. From the admin page, I can see the number of hits per day for the site as a whole and individual pages. I can also see some search terms used to find the blog. I can’t see detail of where a visitor has clicked within the site, time spent, etc. With better traffic reporting I could gear my blog better to reader interests.

If there are any other bloggers out there, do you care to offer some advice?

November 8, 2007 Posted by | About | , , , , , | 3 Comments

New arrivals to the family

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Apologies to my loyal readers for the lack of updates over the last week. However, I have a good excuse. My wife gave birth to twins (a boy and a girl) Thursday morning. Our little girl was 5lbs. 15oz., and our little boy was 5lbs. 2oz. Mom and both babies are doing great and all three were discharged from the hospital on Sunday and are resting comfortably at home.

To make this personal finance related, I am jokingly referring to the kids as “Daddy’s Little Tax Deductions” and I collected quite a few Coke reward points from my days up at the hospital.

I had a post I had drafted about the Colts/Pats game last week (not that I would have got to see it, but it was not aired here in Houston), and although it is a bit after the fact I’ll go ahead and post it later on today.

November 6, 2007 Posted by | About | 1 Comment

Welcome PFBlogs.org Readers!

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

My blog is now officially listed on PFBlogs.org! PFBlogs.org readers will now see all of my money musings listed shortly after they are posted here. For those of you new to this blog, here is a sampling of my postings here:

Citi AMEX Platinum Deal: 3% min back on all purchases for 24 months + 15K bonus

Neat tip on tipping – Easily detect unauthorized tip adjustments

$200 bonus for opening a Chase Business Checking account

Buy.com and Connect3D not honoring valid rebates!

Yes, your insurance company IS trying to screw you!

Take some time to look around and enjoy the tales of my Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind.

October 28, 2007 Posted by | About | Leave a comment

Milestone – 10,000 hits! A look back

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

Well, as of the end of the day on September 20, this blog should be up to 10,000 hits! It is quite a momentous occasion, and I appreciate all of you that have spent some time at my little rest stop on the information superhighway.

Since I started this blog, I have made over 100 posts, some more popular than others. Here’s a quick look back at some of my favorite posts, some which you may have missed.

Scams

I’ve posted about three big scams on this blog, and two have solicited comments from the scammers themselves.

The first scam posting was about Reservation Rewards. Reservation Rewards is a supposed subscription service that thousands of consumers are unknowingly enrolled in by making purchases at sites such as Chadwicks.com. The victims don’t figure out they have been enrolled until they take a closer look at their credit card statement and see the monthly recurring charges. I posted about this scam here and here, and then posted a response received from them and my rebuttal here.

The second scam I have posted about was the FreeNEzy.com scam. This is a GPT site that the owner promoted on Slickdeals.net forums under false pretenses, and then failed to deliver awards that were earned to several users. One of the users was a good friend of mine, which is why I am so interested in this particular scam. I initially posted about the scam in April on this post, and then just recently received a response from the scammer, which I posted and rebutted here.

I have also posted about the Buy.com and Connect3D rebate fiasco. Buy.com earlier this year heavily advertised several computer memory products marketed under the brand name Connect3D, all with inflated prices but large rebates which in many cases made the items free after rebate. Buy.com also promoted the items in question as being “free” after rebate. However, the rebates were to be fulfilled by the manufacturer, which has since fallen off the face of the earth. Buy.com, who apparently thinks paying for cheesy ads on cable TV is a better use of funds than taking care of existing customers by honoring the rebates IT advertised, has completely stonewalled customers seeking payment from them. This leaves thousands of consumers, including myself, out for the amount of these rebates as no one will “put their balls on the table” (sorry, inside family joke) to make the customers whole. I posted about this initially here and posted the follow-up received after complaining to the California AG’s office here.

Other favorite posts

Managing Stacks of Gift Cards – In this post I tackle the problem of managing the huge stack of gift cards that I have accumulated from gifts, work functions, and various promotional offers. Also making a cameo appearance is Hammy the Squirrel from “Over the Hedge”, which still remains one of this blogs most used search terms.

Tips to Make Sure You Get Your Rebates – I share my system for keeping up with all the mail in rebates I take advantage of. With these things, organization is key to success.

Economic Refugees from the State of Louisiana – Although probably one of the least read posts on my blog, it is still one of my favorites. I talk about how most of us originally from Louisiana living elsewhere are not refugees from Katrina but are economic refugees who fled Louisiana years ago in search of real opportunity and a decent standard of living. I also discuss how because of corrupt politics and ineffective state and local governments business is avoiding Louisiana like the plague.

Thanks again to everyone how reads this blog!

September 20, 2007 Posted by | About, Scams, Tips | Leave a comment

Support This Blog For Free! Open an ING account or send your My Coke Rewards Codes!

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who read this blog. Yesterday we set a new record for daily hits with 111 hits. We passed 5000 hits a couple of weeks ago, and passed 6000 last week. Thanks to all of you who stop by this, my little pothole on the information superhighway.

I started this blog to share the knowledge and experiences I have had, and in many ways for my own amusement. I never planned to make any type of profit out of this blog, however if you would like to support this blog and show your appreciation, I will offer two ways to do so that won’t cost you anything!

1. ING Direct Referrals – I posted about this about a week ago, but you can get a $25 bonus for depositing $250 with ING Direct and using a referral code I can provide. In addition to the instant 10% return on your money, I receive $10 for each valid referral. It is your classic win-win. Click here to request a referral code.
2. My Coke Rewards – Drink Coke (or any other Coca-Cola product? On most packages of Coke products, there is a 12 or 15 digit code for the My Coke Rewards program. The points can be accumulated and redeemed for various prizes. If you don’t participate in the program, I would love to have your codes! Codes can be found on the flap of 12, 24, and 32 pack boxes, as well as under the cap of 20 oz., 1L, and 2L bottles. Click here to send me your My Coke Rewards codes.

Of course there is no obligation to send me anything. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

August 20, 2007 Posted by | About | 2 Comments

The Web’s New Hot Search Term: Hammy the Squirrel?

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

The web is always a fascinating place, and what people are searching for is equally as fascinating. Apparently among the ranks of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears is a celebrity of equally great stature. Yes, I’m talking about our old friend Hammy the Squirrel from Over the Hedge. For whatever reason over the last week Hammy has become very popular, so popular in fact that this blog hit a new daily high of 90 hits based largely on searches for Hammy or Over the Hedge (26 total search hits), or some variation thereof. All of this from a simple mention of the character in my posting about gift cards.

July 17, 2007 Posted by | About, Off Topic | Leave a comment

New sponsor and some random thoughts on blogging

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Well, this blog has been around for about a month now, and I have decided to add an affiliate link to my blog. I have decided to sign this blog up as an affiliate of The Coupon Clippers, which I thought was very fitting with the theme of this site. I have referenced this site previously, but The Coupon Clippers is a coupon clipping and handling service through which you can order coupons for a few cents each and have them shipped directly to you by mail. As I see it, here are some of the advantages of using The Coupon Clippers:

  • Eliminate the hassle of going through inserts and cutting coupons yourself. You just go to their site and select the coupons you want and enter the quantity, and they are sent to you already clipped and ready to go.
  • Easily get multiples of good coupons without buying extra papers or hunting down inserts. Unless you have an inside source at your local paper or buy extra copies of the paper, it is very difficult to get multiples of a good coupon. Here you can get multiples of those one or two good coupons and pay just a fraction of what you would for extra papers.
  • Access to coupons from outside of your immediate area. Not all newspapers have the same coupon inserts. Many manufacturers will place their coupons in papers in select markets only based on their perceived marketing needs, while others will change values of coupons based on this same factor and whether stores in the area double or triple coupons. This way you have access to some coupons that weren’t available in your local paper.
  • Easily match coupons to your local sales. Their service is pretty quick, so you should be able to easily order coupons for monthly CVS and Walgreens deals, and depending on where you live you can likely order for your weekly grocery store specials as well.

I have used their service previously and have been greatly impressed by the speed or the service and the ease of use of their website. I would highly recommend it.

While I am talking about this blog, let me share some interesting observations from the past month. As of this writing, this blog has received 895 unique hits, and reached a new daily high for hits yesterday at 60. As for the most popular posts, here are the top 5 for the last 30 days:

  1. Avoid the Post Office When Sending Tax Returns (79)
  2. Deal Site Showdown: Fatwallet vs. SlickDeals (53)
  3. Free Stuff at CVS! (52)
  4. Finally earned my (kind of) free iPod on iPodSweepstakes.com (45)
  5. Life after HSBC 6.0% APY – Where to next (43)

Users have found us using an interesting variety of search terms. The bulk of our hits have come from variations on the search terms “CVS”, “Reservation Rewards”, “Chadwicks”, “Fatwallet”, and “Slick Deals”. We have had a few odd ones in the bunch, including “gpt sites true.com” (looking for love in all the wrong places), “mormon church, financial scams” (shhh, I heard Brother Jones tithes on net and not gross, don’t tell anyone), and my personal favorite “inlaws, brother in law problems” (“Next time – on a very special Cheap Encounters, a brother-in-law is confronted about his excessive packages from deals found on Fatwallet and Slickdeals”).

May 3, 2007 Posted by | About | 1 Comment

Welcome to my new blog, fellow cheap bastards!

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Welcome to my new blog! I have started this blog to chronicle my adventures as a cheap SOB. This can include anything from deals I have found to checking account and credit card bonuses to rebates, and pretty much anything else I can come up with that is related to my being cheap. Enjoy!

March 21, 2007 Posted by | About | 1 Comment