California Climate Credit- Savings on Your April 2022 Utility Bill!

It’s that time again! On your April California Utility Bill (Which includes PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, Bear Valley, Liberty, and Pacific Power), you will receive a California Climate Credit. For SDG&E customers, the amount is $43.06.

The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change. This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas providers, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits. The credit on your bill is your share of the payments from the State’s program.

Rather than receiving your electricity credits in April and October as in years past, the electricity credits have been moved to August and September for 2020 – 2022.

Please know you will still get your climate credits as they will be reflected in your utility bills this year. In fact, in April* your utility bill will include a gas credit identified as the “California Climate Credit.”

Changing the distribution months will not change the total value of the climate credits you receive in a year. The shift will provide bill relief for customers and reduce bill volatility.

 

And if you are looking for more ways to save energy and money, check out Ohm Connect! We’ve been using Ohm Connect for 5+ years and we’ve saved thousands of dollars on our power bill, and earned thousands of dollars in gift cards and cash via paypal!

California Climate Credit- It’s Back for August and September!

What is the California Climate Credit? This August* your utility bill will include an electric credit identified as the “California Climate Credit.” Your household and millions of others throughout the state will receive this credit on your utility bills.

In the past years, the electric credit was applied in April and October, and the gas credit was applied in April. For 2020 and 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission authorized SDG&E to temporarily shift the electric credit to be applied in August and September.

If you have any of the following utilities: PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power, and Liberty Utilities, your August and September bills will have a credit.

Changing the distribution months will not change the total value of the climate credits you receive in a year. The shift will provide bill relief for customers – during the typically hottest months of the year – and reduce bill volatility.

The gas credit will continue to be applied in April. In 2022, the climate credit will be distributed back to its original timing of April and October unless the Commission directs otherwise. The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change. This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas providers, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases, to buy carbon pollution permits.

The credit on your bill is your share of the payments from the State’s program. The Climate Credit is one of many programs resulting from landmark legislation called the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

The California Climate Credit is one way Californians are working towards a zero-carbon state. Find other ideas for energy and money-saving upgrades for your home while reducing your carbon footprint at energyupgradeca.org/the-movement.

And if you are looking for more ways to save energy and money, check out Ohm Connect! We’ve been using Ohm Connect for 5+ years and we’ve saved thousands of dollars on our power bill, and earned thousands of dollars in gift cards and cash via paypal!

I cashed out some of our points for a $25 Amazon Gift card last week, and we almost have enough for another $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Earn $100 in Gift Cards from Bitmo Perks!

Wow. this is a great deal, and pretty easy! I’ve written about Bitmo before, and while I don’t use it as much as other cashback/money-saving apps, I still feel like it’s a good app. One thing I love is that there isn’t much you need to do besides signing up, link your bank card/credit card and start shopping. You can use other cashback apps at the same time too. I frequently double dip with Dosh, Drop, and/or Ibotta with Bitmo.

I am all about double-dipping to save money and score deals!

Speaking of deals, Right now Bitmo is offering bonus points when you refer new friends. 20,000 bonus points (that’s a $20 gift card) for everyone that joins, connects a card, and does a transaction within 14 days of sign up.

You can repeat this offer 5 times. That’s $100 in gift cards in your pocket.

Oh, and your friends get a little something for signing up too!

April is Financial Literacy Month! Budgeting and Savings Tips

Today I learned that April is Financial Literacy Month. Which is just in time for tax day (which has been extended this year, but it traditionally April 15th).

One of my favorite topics for this blog is how to save money. So I thought I’d put together a post with links to some of my best ways to save money and throw out some tips and tricks that work for me.

Last year I wrote a three-part series about making a practical budget that a family can adhere to and how to get some extra help if you need it. This was written during the pandemic, so there is a lot of information and resources especially for those feeling the financial panic that many felt during the height of the pandemic last year.

If you already have a budget or feel that your spending is out of control and you aren’t to the point yet where you feel that you need a budget, I did a series of posts in late 2019 about how to reign in the out-of-control spending.

  • Part One- Start in the Kitchen
  • Part Two- Entertainment Some of these tips may not be applicable right now, as so many public places are still closed or have limited services (Like gyms and libraries).
  • Part Three- Shopping Around to Save. Internet, cell phones, health insurance (and that’s just three examples), a lot of times you can save money with a few clicks or a phone call.

Keeping an eye on your Credit Score is another great way to be financially literate. I wrote this morning about Credit Sesame, which I personally have used for at least 9 years.

And finally, if you feel like you need a little more help than the posts above to get a handle on your finances, check out Simplifi by Quicken. To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, Simplifi is offering a 30-day FREE Trial of Simplifi by Quicken.

  • Simplifi by Quicken was named the Best Budgeting App & Tool by the New York Times’ Wirecutter!
  • The app helps you stay on top of your money in less than 5 minutes per week.
  • After your free 30-day trial save 38% off the regular price. That’s $29.99 billed annually for the first year. For the cost of one lunch date, you can have a year of budgeting at your fingertips.

Talkback: What are your tips and tricks to saving money and staying on budget?

Q-Insights Market Research Company-Referrals Needed

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I wrote about Q-insights a few weeks ago. They contacted me the other day and they are looking for new respondents to join their database to share their opinion for paid market research studies!

Q-Insights recruits for nationwide studies taking place in person, online or over the phone so there are many opportunities to earn extra cash. To sign up for the Q-insights Database, click HERE. 

Market Research Studies are a great way to make extra money.  Here is more information about some other local (San Diego, CA) Market Research firms that I have worked with in the past.

California Residents: Unclaimed Property and Money!

dollabillz

This is the postcard we received over the weekend. On the back is information about the State Controller’s Office, and how they are holding over NINE BILLION DOLLARS in unclaimed property (that includes money).

I checked the website and found about $27 in my name! I filled out the forms, printed them, signed them,  made copies of my ID, and mailed it all off this morning.  In 120 short days (or so, per the website), I should get my money.

It’s free to search, free to claim your property, so it is 100% worth 5-10 minutes to see if you’ve got anything waiting for you!

Click here to get started!

 

California Climate Credit- Savings on Your October Utility Bill!

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 10.10.07 PM.pngWOO HOO!! It’s back! The second California Climate Credit  is back for it’s second installment of the year!

And if you have any of the following utilities: PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities, your October bill will have a credit.

The California Climate Credit. From the CPUC website:

“Twice a year, millions of California residents receive a credit on their utility bill identified as the “California Climate Credit.”  The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change.  This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas distributors and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits.  The credit represents residential utility ratepayers’ share of the payments from the State’s program.  The credit program was created by the CPUC, which also oversees the program’s implementation.

Currently, all residential and eligible small business electricity customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities receive the credit, as do all Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) customers.  In addition, natural gas residential customers of PG&E, SoCalGas, Southwest Gas, and SDG&E also receive the credit.  Customers don’t need to do anything to receive the credit – it is automatically applied to their bills.  The credit amounts vary among utilities, CCAs and from year to year.

If you’re not sure whether you’re receiving the Climate Credit, the first thing to do is contact your utility or CCA, the same as you would do with any billing questions.  That’s because although the CPUC oversees the credit and can help with any remaining questions you have, your utility or CCA is best positioned to access your individual records and answer questions about individual accounts.”

In addition to this credit, we also use the TIME OF USE billing to our advantage. Here is an article I wrote about last summer with some tips about how to save on your utility bill. Time of Use billing isn’t for everyone, but we use it as I am able to do the bulk of our energy using chores during off-peak hours, such as dishes and laundry.

And one thing that I find super helpful- We signed up for Ohm Connect a few years ago and it texts and/or emails you when you should conserve more power due to the demand on the power grid. It’s a win-win situation: You save money on your power bill, and you earn points from Ohm Connect that you can cash out for Paypal, Amazon or Target Gift Cards, OhmConnect store credit (to buy energy-efficient thermostats, smart plugs, etc.) You can learn more about OhmConnect here. When you sign up here and link your utility account, you’ll earn $10 in rewards! We’ve earned over $50 in 2019 so far!

 

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.

The Fake Check Scam & What To Do If It Happens To You!

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Hi- I’m here to scam you!

Wednesday I opened our mailbox to discover a flat rate envelope addressed to me. Now, as a blogger, it isn’t uncommon to receive stuff in the mail. Tickets/comps to shows and events, samples, products to review, and even checks when I get paid for writing. Most of the time, these days, PR firms pay via Venmo, Paypal or EFT/Wire Transfer. I wasn’t expecting anything.

Something about this was… weird. Different. I didn’t recognize the name on the return address. The Envelope was light. I opened it and found this letter and check:

 

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Oh, so many things went through my head as I read this letter.

  1. OMG- So many fonts! That by itself SCREAMS SCAM! Also- That’s not what the USPS Logo looks like. The one on the letter is all stretched out and pixelated.
  2. I never signed up to audit/secret shop the US Postal Service. That’s not even something that is done by an outside party/company (I called the local post office at talked to someone- They straight up told me it was a scam.).
  3. When a letter is not on company letterhead with an office address, phone number, email address, and website- It’s a scam.
  4. When you are given a task to do and you are told to DEPOSIT A CHECK INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT- It’s a scam. Real, honest, legit secret shopping companies do not tell you to do that. They don’t front you the money. They reimburse you. And also- $2000 in untraceable money orders? IT’S A SCAM.
  5. When I called the “text only numbers” there was no answer at either one.
  6. Speaking of the phone numbers… Area codes 646 and 914 are both in New York state, but the return address on the priority envelope I received was from Pahrump, NV.  SCAM.
  7. The RE: line on my “check” says Cherie Miller, but I have no idea who that is. She’s not the person who sent me the check, and that name doesn’t appear on any of the paperwork. SCAM

After I read the letter and looked over the check, I went into full investigation mode. Back when I worked in property management, one of my favorite parts of the job was to search for people who owed various clients (HOA’s) money. Finding people to get them to pay delinquent accounts involves a high degree of “google-Fu”, which I pride myself on.

VyStar Credit Union is a for really real Credit Union in Florida. I called their customer service number and talked to a cool rep. I explained what I had, gave her the routing number and account number. Now, the routing number on this check does not match the routing number on their website. Some banks and financial institutions list their routing numbers on their websites to assist customers.  The Customer Service confirmed: THE CHECK WAS NOT REA, NOR WAS IT DRAWN ONA REAL ACCOUNT. Meaning, if I had deposited it, the check would bounce like a rubber ball. I would be hit with fees, and be responsible for paying my bank back the amount the check was written for.

At this point, I wasn’t really sure what to do. Call the DA? Call the FBI (It is mail fraud and came from out of state)? Call the local Post office (which I later did and they didn’t care)? I asked my mom, and she suggested I call Consumer Bob (he’s a local media figure, I messaged him on Facebook but never heard back). I called the DA and spoke to a Legal Secretary. She said to mail it to them and they’d put it in their fraud file. She said not to bother the FBI.

So why am I writing about this today? Because if I get one of these letters, many other people will too. People who need money, people who want to do secret shops/audits to make a little extra money. Not everyone will think with a clear or level head. They’ll take the check to the bank and deposit it ASAP without doing any research.

So I’m going to repeat myself: Real, honest, legit secret shopping companies do not tell you to do that. They don’t front you the money. They reimburse you after you turn your report and receipts in.

If you want to learn a little more about other types of scams that I’ve come across, here is a good article.  And if you are looking for a way to make a little extra money doing secret shops or audits, check out my post here about Field Agent. Field Agent is legit. I earn money with them every week doing small audits and shops. We got free pizza last week at Little Caesar’s and earned a little extra money too!

What did I end up doing with the letter, check, and envelope? It’s going to the DA next week.

Please share this post with your friends and family, especially if you have older family members who may not have great internet searching skills, or may need to earn some money. This scam can devastate an individual or family’s financial situation.

 

 

Paypal: Invite Friends and earn up for $50!

unnamed-1.pngPaypal sent me an email last night and I had to share it! Paypal members-1 cent now to a friend who doesn’t have PayPal.

Pretty simple, really.

When your friend signs up to PayPal (and claims the $$ you sent them), links their bank account or credit or debit card, and sends or spends at least $5, you can both get ten bucks!

Plus you can do this with 5 friends so you could get up to $50. Ends October 10th. Terms apply.

 

Pretty sweet deal, right? If you don’t have a Paypal account and want in on this, let me know and I’ll send you $1.00 via Paypal to get started!