Archive for May, 2006

Cingular Contract and New Phones

Thanks everyone for all the great inputs. Your feedbacks helped me made better decision and totally encouraged me to write more.

I wanted to get the cell phone issue out of the way before vacation, so I signed a 2 years contract with Cingular on May 24, 2006 and am extremely happy with the deal that I got.

I found out that the corporate discount can be apply even after the contract was signed. Since internet usually provided the best deal, I searched all over the net last Tuesday night (23rd) for the best deals. The best deal I found was on EasyCellPhones. I wanted Sony Ericsson w600i because in addition to being a cell phone, it’s also a radio and mp3 player. Plus I love its bright orange body. The deal consists of 2 years contract, 2 w600i and 2 crappy phones, and no corporate discount. I never ordered cell phone plan over the net (plus I wanted a phone NOW), so I decided to call more Chinese wireless dealers on Wednesday to see if anyone can match that deal. Unfortunately, all the local wireless dealers that I called had stop working with Cingular. The only Chinese dealer that still work with Cingular is in the 99 Ranch plaza but I hate going there because it always take hours to find parking (PS. The Chinese Cingular store mailed me a $20 coupon that’d expire June 15 after I signed the contract. Email me if you want it). Afterall those fruitless calls, I went to the official Cingular store just because it’s really close to my house. I went there the week before to get an idea of the plans that Cingular offered. The sales guy was really nice but their advertise offers sucks (i.e. Razor for $50 instead of free like elsewhere).  I was plan to order the phone that night on easycellphones, but figured it couldn't hurt to ask. I told the guy I wanted 4 lines (family plan) + 4 Sony Ericsson w600i; but totally expected him to laugh at my face. Imagine my surprise when he said “ok.” After rebate, I only paid tax. Furthermore, I also got corporate discount right away. *YAY*

I been playing with the w600i today, it’s awesome! I can transfer my favorite songs and videos to the phone, it can also capture pictures and videos, and the radio reception is excellent; I love it!!!

Next entry: Buying car insurance.

May 31, 2006 at 9:24 pm 3 comments

Buying a New Cell Phone Plan

My cell phone contract with T-mobile ended earlier this month and I wanted to switch  before the next billing cycle. I am considering Cingular because I had them for 6-7 years (before I switched to T-mobile to keep the same phone #) and was happy with them. But Cingular's current family plan is not that great and it's a TWO years contract.

The asian cell phone dealers are known for providing great deal by giving really good phone for free and/or cash rebates. In the past years, whenever I switched plan, I always able to get a few hundreds back in cash rebate plus brand new phones. I called a few places in the past week but all the deals are not that great. The phones are better than what I can get online and there are also cash back incentive, but the overall saving for two years is less than what I can get if I sign up through work. 

Through work, I get 15% off the monthly fee (but the free phones are the crappiest ever and no cash rebate). I notice the expiration date on all the rebate form are at the end of this month. Does that mean Cingular will have new promotional deal in June? If so, what's the chance that the deals in June will be better than now?

I researched for trends on cell phone plans but couldn't find anything. Do you have any insider information?

May 23, 2006 at 11:15 am 8 comments

Finance in Your 20s

MSN put together a very good page (with many links) on how to manage finance in your 20s.

Key take aways:

1) Put as much aside (aim for 10-15%) for retirement as you can because later on, you will have less money to set aside because of family, kids, medical bill, etc.

2) Get health insurance even though you probably won't use it (since you're young and not likely to get sick)

3) Take more risks.

May 22, 2006 at 10:43 am 3 comments

Get An Amazon Prime 3 Month Trial Free

 "Amazon Prime is a program where you can get free shipping regardless of your purchase amount (if the products are eligible, most are) and discounted expedited shipping." Instruction for this great deal is listed in this site.

May 22, 2006 at 12:13 am 4 comments

401K – How Much Should You Contribute?

After one service year with my current employer, the matching kicks in. The company matches 50% of employee contribution, up to 8% of base pay. Company contribution is not vested until after 4th service year with the company (with the exception of if the employment is terminates due to reduction in force or layoff.)

The pre-tax contribution limit is 30% or $15,000. I definitely cannot afford to put so much aside for 401k, but I would like to increase the current 2% contribution. Before I bought the house, I believe in “paying yourself first” so I max out my 401k contribution. However, with current salary and expense, I cannot even afford the 2% :”(

What % of your salary do (would) you contribute to your retirement?

May 21, 2006 at 7:36 pm 11 comments

Reason Why Annual Credit Check is Necessary

Thanks to the entry by The Budgeting Babe, I ordered a copy of my credit report from Experian. Last time I checked my credit report was 2004. There were many mistakes then but I called each of the agencies and corrected all the errors. Thus, I was surprised to see 3 errors on this new credit report. One is a credit card account that I have no recollection of. The other two are for credit cards I already closed but for some reason, it still being shown as open. I disputed these 3 errors, hopefully the agency will correct these mistakes soon.

Note to self: get credit report from the other 2 companies (do one  in Aug and another in Nov).

May 18, 2006 at 11:17 pm 5 comments

ING to GMAC

Today, I transfered most of the emergency fund from ING Direct to GMAC since the interest rate at GMAC is higher (4.75% APY at GMAC vs 4.15% APY at ING Direct). However, I still leave a small portion of the fund in ING Direct, just to keep the account open. Should I keep the ING Direct account open or should I close it completely?

Pro for closing it:

  • Have all money at one place to earn more interest
  • Less accounts to manage

Con for closing it:

  • $25 referral bonus
  • I don't have to go through the signing process again if I want to transfer fund back when ING Direct raise its interest rate higher than other bank

hm…what others benefits/drawbacks are there for leaving ING Direct account open?

May 14, 2006 at 1:38 pm 2 comments

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To Do List


* Retirement: 401K, IRA, Roth IRA
* Investment
* Research life and disability insurance
* Buy a car
* Credit Check

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