Sunday, January 16, 2011


Small stuff to report:

1. My monthly housing payments are going down by $79 a month beginning February. Yay! I'm making immediate arrangements to apply that money automatically to my debt snowball. (The reason is a reduction in my homeowner's insurance, which has been skyhigh since my garage fire 2.5 years ago--this should keep going down annually for the next couple of years.)

2. Is there something wrong with my math? I am a member of My Points and periodically redeem the points for gift cards. Usually I get a $10 Starbucks card in trade for 1550 points. But when, as I did over Christmas, I accumulate a lot of points, I spring for a $25 Starbucks giftcard for 3600 points on the assumption I'm getting a better deal.

But guess what? The math doesn't work!

It turns out that, by a minute fraction, it is actually cheaper to keep getting $10 cards. (.00645 cents per point for the $10 card, and .00694 cents per point for the $25 card.)

Who'd've thunk?

3. There's a good article on how to prepare for retirement as a single woman. Thanks to Rhea at Boomer Chronicles for calling it to my attention.


The Borrower said...

In an effort to get the most for MyPoints, I copied and pasted all the rewards by points into an Excel spreadsheet. Then divided the points by the cash amount (like you did) and the best deal I found - then - was Omaha Steaks.

I think they change the value though. So, I guess we need to be vigilant to get the most from our points.
Congrats on the decreased house payment!

Sharon said...

I really need to do that point thing...FREE starbucks could save me a lot of money! :)!

Well Heeled Blog said...

Congrats on the extra $75. Just curious, how did you decide to apply it to your debt instead of paying down the mortgage more quickly? Is it because of a higher interest rate?

Maureen said...

I,m just about to cash in some points for a $30 cheque. Love the freebies.

Anonymous said...

Yay on the drop in insurance!

I can't handle points cards... they're too confusing. So I'm ok getting a potentially lower rate of return sticking with a straight 1% cash back card.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong also.

I think your math is right on point two, I would interpret the results differently.

When you buy the $10 card each point is worth only .00645 cents. When you buy the $25 card each point is worth .00694 cents.

Say you want $50 in cards, that means you would buy either

5 - $10 cards = 7750 points used
2 - $25 cards = 7200 points used

Fewer points used for the $25 cards because each point is worth more? Like I said, I could be totally wrong.

Grace. said...

Well Heeled--I only have 3.5 years left on my mortgage, and I can use the mortgage interest deduction, especially now that my five prior dependents are all adults and, theoretically, no longer dependent upon me. So debt reduction is a higher priority.

OK--the math stuff is leaving me confused. Where are the accountants or academics who can set me straight?

Grace. said...

Hmm--Anon, when you put it that way, it does make sense that the $25 is the better deal.

Maybe my 8th grade teacher was right--I REALLY WAS going to need that math someday!

Anonymous said...

I love mypoints to but sometimes I swear they try and confuse you. But my daughter did leave for college with some starbucks cards from there


Ann Harrison said...

Hi Grace

Just thought I'd stop by to see who's been sending me so much traffic over the last week! Congratulations on having such a popular blog! You're obviously doing a great job!



Lisa @Cents To Save said...

After reading this post, it occurred to me that I have some "Mypoints" to use. I still get the emails from them, but have not clicked through them in a very long time. Guess I got too busy and just forgot.

Am clicking now :)