Cash Back Reward To My Credit Cards in 2010

I’ve always chosen cashback instead of air mileages for my credit card reward. The reason is cashback goes into your pocket directly, and unlike air mileages or point systems, it is not subject to the conversion factor change in the future.

I have arranged my spending on credit cards as follows:
1. Grocery, drugstore, and any gasoline purchases not at Costco for a flat 5% cashback on HSBC Platinum Cashback Card.
2. Restaurants for 3% cashback and travel related stuffs for 2% cashback on True Earnings American Express card.
3. Essentially 2% cashback on Citi’s Driver’s Edge Option credit card for everything else. It’s 1% + 1% via submitting mileage record. I just submit it for every oil change that I need to do for my car. On this card, it’s actually by point system. I only buy $100 Macy’s gift card using 10000 Thank You points so that I can get a conversion factor of 1 point for 1 cent. Unfortunately, this program is going away now.

I have searched on the internet for a better deal to replace the Citi’s Driver’s Edge card, but I can’t find anything. EmigrantDirect had a 1.4% cashback on everything but it’s gone too. The best thing that I could find is the 2% cashback on Fidelity Rewards American Express card, but the credits go into your Fidelity brokerage account.

I will need to think about this deal, since I’m a little wary of opening another brokerage account just for that. I have consolidated most of my accounts at WellsFargo (where I trade free through PMA account) and InteractiveBroker (for cheap options). I definitely don’t want to have my cash simply sitting in the Fidelity brokerage account doing nothing. Based on my past spending pattern, I can get about $275 just from 2% Citi Driver’s edge card. If I move that spending to any of my existing 1% cashback card, I would throw away $125 per year. Hmm. Something to think about.

In any case, if you don’t use any of the cashback credit card, you are definitely missing out BIG time. I got $362 back on my HSBC, $276 on my Citi Driver’s Edge, $250 on my True Earning AMEX for a total spending of about $34700 on these three cards. That’s $888 that you may be missing.

At the minimum, you should get yourself the True Earning AMEX (assuming you buy stuffs at Costco) and Chase Freedom card for basic 1% cashback & 5% cashback on rotating categories. That’s just a little effort to “earn” while you spend. It really adds up!

Frugal at 1stMillionAt33.com

An Outlook For Precious Metals

My best guess is that precious metals have made a short term bottom. But I can be wrong. Intermediate term however I am still wary of a mid-year dip. A bull market often tries to shake off as many people before embarking a big advance.

Both gold & silver have made the MACD bullish crossover on the daily chart. GDX & GDXJ have both made the crossover by just about a couple of days earlier. The upturn has been quite sharp, and is subjected to sharp pullback. It’s going to take a lot more work to get this market back to bullish stand.

Based on my reading of the Elliot Wave Theory applying to gold & mining stocks, I believe that we should definitely be in major wave 3. Initially, I thought the 5 of 1 of 3rd major wave would be here. After the recent correction, I’m not sure if 2 of the 3rd major wave has begun. The second wave down is usually the most painful. GDX correct some 70% in its 2nd major wave in 2008/2009. Therefore, I would be cautious about the 2nd wave of the 3rd major Elliot wave too. The other disturbing trend for mining stocks is that oil prices are going up fast if not faster than gold. The gold to oil ratio must be carefully watched to decide on whether to over-weigh precious metal mining or oil drilling stocks.

I have been extremely busy with my day job & investment for the last month. Inevitably my blog suffers. After all, I’ve got only 24 hours a day. I’m going to make an effort to blog more regularly. Hope that my work schedule won’t get overwhelmingly busy again.