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Safeway Monopoly

Every year I get sucked into the Monopoly game at Safeway, and most times I finish thinking, “Well that wasn’t at all worth my time.” This year was probably the worst though. Last year was pretty good with the easy ability to collect lots of free movie rentals on Fandango and some gift cards. This year the only thing I got was one gas discount ($0.10/gallon for one fillup), one free Fandango rental and three free donut coupons. They made the free Fandango rentals extremely difficult to acquire and threw in a bunch of ridiculous coupons and discounts that hold no interest for me.

One big positive for this year was that the phone app not only lets you scan in the second chance pieces, but it also keeps track of your Monopoly properties for you. The skeptic would say that I never won anything because their app was “keeping track of my pieces”. Possible but not plausible.

I got a few free item coupons too but those items are always out of stock and is it really worth it to spend time trying to hunt down free packets of gravy?

So this year was a bust, but I’ll probably get suckered in again next year.

Happy Easter!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.  Now I have told you.”  Matthew 28:5-7

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Credit Freeze

Tyla and I have been part of numerous security breaches over the past couple years. I’m confident that all of our private data is floating around out on websites to be easily purchased for a surprisingly small amount of money. (Seriously, you can buy tens of thousands of credit card numbers for less than the cost of going out to dinner.) A couple months ago, I put a fraud alert on our credit reports. It’s free and it basically adds a note that says that you have to be called before any new credit is opened. That’s a good step, but it only lasts for 90 days and it’s not bulletproof.

I recently took it a step further and put a full credit freeze on our account. Nobody can see our credit report while it is frozen which is an even bigger red flag for creditors to see before they extend a new line of credit. There are plenty of downsides to it though. If we ever need have our credit reports checked (buying a car, signing up for a new cell phone, etc), we have to go through some extra steps to unfreeze the report. And oh yeah there are three credit agencies and oh yeah, two of them charge $10 to toggle the freeze flag.

Before you do anything like this, you should understand all the ramifications by reading the FTC page. Herb Weisbaum, the Consumer Man, has a good article that also talks about some of the other services that the credit agencies are offering that are more convenient (and cheaper) than the full freeze. But read the fine print and understand that you’re probably saving money because they are selling a bunch of your data. That was a deal breaker for me.

If you decide to go through with the full freeze, grab your credit card (remember it will cost you about $21 to do this) and head to these three sites:

Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
TransUnion: https://freeze.transunion.com/
Equifax: https://www.freeze.equifax.com

Each one will give you a pin which you need to keep in a safe place so you can unlock your credit report at some point down the road.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s nice to know that I’m much less likely to have surprise credit cards opened up in my name.

Indiana Jones

Tyla and I recently finished watching the Indiana Jones trilogy. It was her first time seeing any of them and she at least enjoyed them enough to watch all three. Honestly I’m not sure that I ever saw the entire second movie. I remember watching it on TV as a kid and always shutting it off at the eyeball soup part. The third one is my favorite by far. Sean Connery is an excellent addition to the cast and there are so many memorable scenes.

Logan asked me how well the movies held up. There are definitely some cheesy special effects and some laughable plot moments, but overall, they still seemed good. I’m no movie critic, but there wasn’t much of the incredibly slow pacing that you sometimes find with movies that are a couple decades old.

A fifth Indiana Jones is slated for the summer of 2019. The bar is set very low after the train wreck of a fourth movie. Disney wasn’t in charge for that movie, but they are for this new one so hopefully they do a better job.

Safeway Monopoly

Monopoly is back at Safeway (and related grocery stores.) I know it’s a ridiculous game and the odds of winning anything are astronomically low, but for some reason I still find it fun. And last year I did win a reasonable amount of small stuff so why not go for it again.

During the “off season”, I had spent a little time futzing around with a phone application that would read playing pieces and keep track of how you were doing along your futile journey to win prizes. I even thought you could get into a group with friends and digitally pool your playing pieces for a little better chance at winning something. I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time on that because they have improved the app that comes with the game. Not only can you scan the bar codes for the second chance prizes like last year, but now you can also scan a 2D barcode on the back of the playing pieces. It figures out what all four pieces are and keeps track of your progress in the app. You still need to keep the physical playing pieces to redeem your prize, but this automates away a lot of the time consuming part.

I’ll do another post in a couple months and let you know how it turned out this year. If you aren’t playing and want to fuel this silliness, feel free to pass your tokens along to me.