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Reviewed Our Tax Situation

December 13th, 2018 at 05:30 am

It's been a whirlwind of a year! In the last couple weeks, I've been starting to panic, wondering if I actually figured our tax situation out for 2018 in light of the new tax laws. I vaguely remembering need to wait to figure things out. But did I ever go back and review?

Yesterday, I hopped on the IRS Withholding Calculator to see where things stood. Luckily, at least in my mind, we are good. We will owe money but it should not be more than $540. I had increased our withholding which meant $90 more in our pocket each month, or by the time it took effect in February, $990 more for the year.

The calculations only took into account the American Opportunity Tax Credit I plan to take for our oldest daughter (for the final time, as it can only be used for four years). I did not take into account any credits for our youngest daughter. Because she only attended one semester in 2018, I plan to take the Lifetime Earning Credits on her qualified tuition, which should give us at least a credit of $300+ for the semester. That brings the tax owed around $240.

It is possible we will have a little more income added and more tax, but that's not looking too promising at the moment. I expect that anything that occurs is something we can handle. I have always preferred owing a few hundred dollars rather than have the IRS hold our money for many months before getting a refund. I've managed to make this work several years in a row now!

Have you reviewed your tax withholding and how that may affect if you owe the IRS or will get a refund? April 15th is just four months away. It's good to be prepared. The IRS Withholding Calculator is here.

Save Time Mailing Packages

December 12th, 2018 at 12:05 pm

I just told this to a friend today, who was complaining about the long wait at the post office.

Did you know that the US Postal Service offers pickup of packages*** you are mailing during your regular mail delivery? You do not need to be home and it's free!

The first step is to pack your items and weigh it. As you know I've done eBay selling for over 10 years, so I have a food scale I use to get the weight of my packages up to five pounds. The US Postal Service charges you by the pound, so as long as you know it's weight is between 1-2 pounds, the cost will be the same. Another alternative where you do not need to know the weight is to use the free Flat Rate Priority mail boxes provided by the post office. The cost is the same regardless of the weight.

Log on and make a free account at USPS and follow the directions for Click n Ship. At the end of this process you will have a prepaid mailing label to affix to your package with packing tape. The address you are mailing to and your return address will be printed on the label. You will pay for the cost of postage with a credit (or debit card).

At this point you can simply drop off at the post office. This time of year, you are likely to see an area at the counter filled with packages. You can leave it there, or wait in line to get a receipt and hand it to the postal worker.

The other option is to Schedule a Pickup from your USPS account. You must do this the day or night before pickup. It doesn't work same day. This service is free. It may not be available for all address, but you will be told that when you go to schedule. Once scheduled, set your package out in the morning in the spot you indicated on your delivery instructions. You will get an email once your package has been picked up. I have used this service before and had no issues.

I hope this helpful information may save you time this season. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I will try to answer as best I can!

***Only for Priority and Express Mail packages.

Christmas Budgets

December 11th, 2018 at 07:42 am

I was at an event this weekend where a lesson on Christmas budgeting was presented. It was short, but excellent. That is what has inspired this post.

Our Christmas budget the last several years has been $600. These are the funds to cover gifts and shipping costs for nine people. I save $50 each month from our paychecks so the money is available when it's time to shop.

The lesson presented asked people to think of ALL the costs they may incur during the holiday season. Not just the gifts, but the wrapping, baking and food, travel, postage, clothing, electricity and fuel for our cars. I know that my budget does not reflect all of these costs. I seem to be able to absorb them into our regular spending, but they are important to pay attention to when planning.

Depending on where you are in your shopping, it isn't too late to step back and make a Christmas budget. Figure what you have already spent, and how much you have available to spend. Try to finish within those parameters, even if it means returning someone's gift and getting something else so you will spend less. There are so many great deals this time of year, that gift can cost less than you think. Of course, the deals can pull you in and convince you to spend more, so be strong and stick to your plan.

Dollar Tree isn't my favorite store, but I find myself there every holiday season to get a good deal and help me stay within budget. It can be great for paper products, and stocking stuffers. Of course, not everything is a good deal there, so it is still important to pay attention to prices!

I think the key to staying within a reasonable budget for Christmas is having the fewest number of people to buy for. At least it helped us. We stopped giving to most of our nieces and nephews and exchanging adult gifts. We still give to our parents, our children, two nieces (recently adopted) and buy a gift for ourselves.

We do not buy new holiday decorations each year. The exception is one ornament for each of the girls, but those are usually less than $10 for both. We give cookies to friends, neighbors and coworkers. I send a limited number (less than five some years) of Christmas cards, that I usually buy on clearance after Christmas. I reuse Christmas gift bags and tissue, and usually only buy a roll or two of Christmas gift wrap every two or three years (again, on clearance). I chose gifts that are somewhat lightweight to save on shipping, although Flat Rate boxes from the post office do help (the items just have to fit). We also do not entertain at our place, not because we are grinches, but because family is not nearby.

At a minimum, we can all start a new plan to budget for the next year. As soon as the spending is over this year, review what was purchased and how much it cost. That total divided by 12 will be a great guideline for how much to save each month in order to be prepared for next year. Save it in an envelope or a seperate checking or savings account, so you will not spend it until it is time. After the holiday is also a good time to discuss with family members about how you might want to change the gift giving parameters for the future.

Tell me about your Christmas Budget. Do you have one? What is included. If you don't have one, tell me about that too.

Undebt It

December 10th, 2018 at 03:03 pm

As you all know we do not have any debt. No mortgage debt either as we move frequently with the military and have found it make sense to rent for the time being.

I came across a site that is free and allows you to track your way out of debt. I'd try it myself and review it for you, but again zero debt to track. I do see it links to YNAB! And it has a 52 Week Savings Option.

If you have goals to pay off debt in 2019, you might want to check out this free tracking option. I'm sure many of us here would love to watch your journey and hear how you like Undebt It.

You can find the online tracking tool here.

Life with zero debt is worth the effort!

Interest and Extra Money

December 8th, 2018 at 07:02 am

I like to report the amount of interest we earn each month. This is the quick breakdown for November.
Navy Federal CU $20.97
FNBO Direct $89.18
Total $110.15

I redeemed my 300 points with Pinecone Surveys over a week ago for cash and have yet to receive my Paypal deposit. Usually it is the next business day. Maybe the move and change of address are factors?

We usually get some cash back back from USAA for our insurance. They call it a distribution from our Subscriber's Savings Account. This year the amount we received was $82.83. We will take whatever they want to give back, and yes, it has been added to the Big Goal.

I did get my $10 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. I expect I have a little more online shopping to do for Christmas, so that will reduce the final amount I spend.

I hit the $20 threshold with Ibotta. I hadn't been using it much this year, but with a little effort was able to apply some rebates for things I had already purchased and meet the minimum. I'm debating redeeming now, or waiting until the end of the year. Anything over $20 can be redeemed, but once you redeem back to zero, it takes awhile to get to redeem the next $20. I guess in the end it's all the same!

Airline Tickets

December 5th, 2018 at 06:42 pm

It's that time of year where I buy airline tickets for my kids to come home for Christmas break! This is the first year I have to accommodate BOTH girls. I actually purchased one way tickets. They are in different cities, but flying home together from one city. On the return to school they will fly separately, primarily because one has three weeks off, and the other has a full month! One daughter will have to take a shuttle from the airport to her campus, cost with a tip one way is $42. I think if it was a roundtrip shuttle it would be about $60. I'm always praying that the weather cooperates so they don't get delayed! Oh, in total I spent about $800 for the girls to come home!

My husband was home today for the National Day of Mourning. We did watch the funeral and were touched by the eulogies given. I think we all wish that in death we are remembered fondly by those we loved and who loved us.

Redeemed MyPoints

December 4th, 2018 at 08:56 am

I redeemed 3950 MyPoints for a $25 Google Play gift card. I was originally going to buy it but happened to notice the balance in my MyPoints account. I had plenty to scoop up the gift my daughter wanted without an additional cash outlay.

I'm close to having 1000 SB that I can redeem for $10 Amazon gift card. I'm not in a big hurry and have not been doing Swagbucks for months. I think I was reminded of it when i received an email from Swagbucks with my Birthday bonus.

Today, I finished sewing the pajama pants for my two nieces. I had them all done except for the elastic. I also made doll sized pajama pants and a plaid poncho for their American Girl dolls (I think they have the knock off versions). I spent nearly $30 at Joann's for fabric and elastic. I did buy nicer quality flannel and probably didn't hit the best sale, although it was 40% off. I did find an Ibotta coupon that will give me $4.50 back on the purchase, so now closer to $25, which is really good for two gifts.

At this point, I just need more stocking stuffers for the girls, buy a gift for my husband and decide what to get my parents. I already sent my mother in law a check to get whatever she wants. She's 82 and seems to like to get a pedicure from us. So it's just easier to mail a check, since I'm nowhere near there to buy a gift certificate.

Today, I'm baking some Mint Chocolate cookies for the holidays. I will eat one or two and freeze the rest until needed. I have a couple other recipes to make, but have plans to do them over the next two weeks.

10% Off Target Gift Cards

December 2nd, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Today only. Sunday, December 3, you can buy Target gift cards for 10% off. You can purchase up to $300 worth for $270.

I bought a $40 one for my daughter who requested Target gift card for Christmas. I also went ahead and picked up another one for $100 for our regular shopping. We don't shop there as much as we once did, so I didn't want to tie up too many funds not knowing if we would use them.

I purchased several other gifts online. My shopping is wrapping up pretty fast! Still thinking about an extra item to include with my nieces pajama pants I'm sewing. I probably don't need anything since I am also sewing matching doll pajama pants. I will need more stocking stuffers for our girls. I also want to figure out what to get my parents. I don't have time or energy for a calendar or other photo gift. I'm tempted to just send a check, since their anniversary is just two days after Christmas. What do you get your older parents, or what would you like if you already had everything? Last year I bought them socks and some edible items.

Army Travel Reimbursement Plus

November 28th, 2018 at 01:23 pm

I was pleasantly surprised to find our travel money from the move deposited into our account on Monday! And it appears to be covered in full! It's seems during many moves each different entitlement comes in as different deposits.

The grand total is pretty grand and exceeds the costs we actually incurred, which I honestly never totaled up. Our second checking account is now $6,915.77 richer!

Our primary costs for moving were carpet repair and cleaning at our rental home. Nearly a week in hotel costs, as well as food on the go, and fuel for the our two vehicles. We did fly one way as part of getting one vehicle here (I'm not an interstate driver), so that little trip was an additional cost and not specifically reimbursable by the government.

Nearly half that total is something called a Dislocation Allowance, which for my husband's rank is $3,753. This simply covers all the extras that are variable because everyone has different costs incurred during a move. It is tax free.

It's a relief to have it. I think I'm saving most of it as I was able to cover nearly all the costs incurred out of our current pay. I do know I dipped into the vacation category and that has not been reimbursed. So at a minimum, I will add to that category and save the remainder in the Big Goal.

I completed my first Pinecone survey in a really long time two days ago and was credited for it this morning. I have no idea why I wasn't getting surveys for over a year or more.

Oh, and we had a really nice trip back to see our girls. Our cat did very well, stressful for her, but she survived and is happy to be back in a familiar place. I still miss the girls so much. I'm trying to figure out how we can establish a home base closer to them to see them more often. I'm sure that is at least a year in the works. But living such a long distance away from both of them is hard on all of us. My husband still has at least five years in the military before retirement. My parents are close to the girls, but I'm starting to see how much older they seem as well. My dad is 70 and mother 68. They are very healthy and active, so no major concern, just awareness of the passage of time. It would be nice to be closer to them as well.

Driving to See Our Girls

November 20th, 2018 at 05:27 am

We are heading out today (after work unfortunately) to drive over 1000 miles to see our girls. I cannot wait to see them. It has been a rough few months being empty nesters and moving. I definitely need hugs!

I would rather fly, but the decision to go was very short notice, thus plane tickets were expensive. But the main reason, was our cat. We do not know anyone here yet to watch her, nor do we yet know who to trust to kennel her. She is 14 and has never been boarded. I also do not feel right leaving her for multiple days without being checked on because of her age and health. So while I realize it will be stressful for her (although she did great on our move in the car), it seems to be the best of all the scenarios.

We will get nearly three full days with our girls and they are actually excited we are bringing our cat for the visit. They miss her, too.

Prayers for good weather and safe drivers around us is much appreciated. May you all have a great holiday weekend!

Still Waiting On Reimbursement

November 16th, 2018 at 06:55 am

The process of getting reimbursed for all costs and entitlements after a move seems to always be a chore. My husband has been working for three weeks now, and only today did we get confirmation that the travel claim has been received. Most of delay was here locally. Always confusion and disagreement amongst different parties on how to process! At this point I'm praying it has been done correctly and will not be kicked back to only have to submit again.

Amazingly, I have been able to float all the costs that we are waiting for reimbursement. If we are never reimbursed (won't happen), we will be just fine. Keep moving forward is all we can do.

When the money does come it will be thousands of dollars that I will likely add to our vacation fund for flights for us and the girls to visit each other, as well as some to the Big Goal fund.

Money In, Money Out

November 10th, 2018 at 07:26 am

We received basically our entire rent deposit on our last place back. The deposit was $1,800. On move out we needed to top off the propane tank which was for the fireplace only. We used it some in cool fall days, but otherwise it was just the pilot light on all the time. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite empty enough for the propane company to fill without a hefty charge ($45). The propane company was able to tell me based on the amount used the cost to fill up. The landlord agreed we could pay them that amount (around $137) and not fill up. So in the end they deducted the propane costs from our final deposit, and our check was for approximately $1,663.

My plan was to save this money in our Big Goal fund. In fact it is sitting there right now...except, we have a need for it now.

We took my van in for oil change, transmission fluid flush and rotate tires. Turns out I needed new front brakes and brake fluid flush. AND...the one that hurts, new shocks and struts. Now we actually weren't super surprised about the shocks and struts because we had been hearing noises that made us question their condition (my van has 140K miles), but our last mechanic looked and couldn't find the source of the noise and didn't see a problem with their condition. So...on Monday the van will have all those things complete and we will owe them $2000! Now I have to remind myself that this is maintenance and is cheaper than a car payment. Our goal is to keep both of our 2007 Honda's running until both girls graduate in about 4 years.

So money comes in, but money goes out. Thankful we have cash on hand (and did before the return of our deposit) for making these repairs. It's not what I would prefer to spend the money on...I'd rather save it!

Credit Card Rewards October 2018

November 5th, 2018 at 04:20 pm

We pay off our credit cards in full every month and never pay interest on a revolving balance. We use them for as many transactions as we can. In fact, we are now able to pay our rent with a credit card, most likely will use our Southwest Airlines credit card to accumulate points for flights.

We redeemed rewards from the following cards this past month.

US Bank $8.31
Chase Freedom $14.70
American Express $50.61
Discover $8.37
Total $81.99

Our credit card rewards are almost as good as the amount of interest we earn on our savings.

Interest Earned in October

November 5th, 2018 at 04:12 pm

I like to track the interest we earn on our cash savings. This October our two major accounts earned a total of $109.77. I sure wish it was 10x that amount of passive income, but we will take it and be very grateful. I remember thinking it would never be possible to have even that much interest earned in a month. So again, very grateful for what we have been provided.

Small Savings

November 1st, 2018 at 02:47 pm

I was on our American Express account today making a payment. I check the offers and found $5 off Hulu and 10% off our cellular bill (up to $20). I also added 10% off insurance payments, but not sure ours is due before the offer expires.

It pays to check and see if there are offers for things you spend and use your credit card for anyway!

We also submitted a form to get a discount on our auto insurance. Not sure how much that will save, but anything will help. Insurance is expensive here!

$3,500 In Debt

October 30th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Moving is expensive!

We didn't have to put a deposit down on this townhome on base and rent is paid in arrears, but despite those positives, we have $3,498.26 in expenses charged on our credit cards! Hotels, fuel, restaurants, and extra needs to purchase after move (such as toilet brushes, cleaners, ect) add up fast!

Some of those charges are for our regular bills, such as Verizon, Hulu, Netflix and things we just needed because you know life has expenses, too.

I'm looking forward to payday on Thursday and eventually receiving our deposit from the rental home, and all of our moving entitlements. I'm not sure exactly when we will receive the latter payments, but likely in the next three weeks.

Technically, I do have the funds in our accounts that I could pay those credit cards in full and likely will pay many of them on pay day. I will float some of the money until we receive our reimbursements.

We've Moved

October 29th, 2018 at 07:28 am

We have arrived at our new duty station. My husband is reporting for the first time this morning. He is thankful that this move the job is something he knows how to do, as it is the same as what he has been doing. So we are finding our new normal. Moving to a new town is very stressful because EVERYTHING is new. It's very disorientating. And I'm honestly struggling a bit with it this time more than ever. Some of that may be because I don't have the distraction of my kids, who this time are away at college.

I am determined to keep moving forward and finding my new normal in this place. I already got out to do a walk after my husband left for work, which is what I usually do. The difference is it is a new route, new people and sounds around. But soon, it will feel normal. Smile

My big goal for today is to get all our finances in order. So many receipts from the trip to record. We had quite a few days of living in a hotel and eating out. We will get travel reimbursement at some point to cover all the costs, but I need to make sure credit cards are paid on time. I also need to update our address in many places.

I hope to be back regularly soon!

FAFSA Time

October 21st, 2018 at 01:34 pm

It's that time again if you have a college student or even a high school senior...to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The official website is here. I'm not sure exactly why I fill this out each year because we are not likely to qualify for grants, nor are we planning to take out student loans. However, one never knows what will happen in between the time of the application and the time to make a payment. We and our daughter's have always been offered loans.

I also think we did get a small grant ($1,200) from my youngest daughter's college this year. I think it is possible that the FAFSA was helpful for obtaining those funds. Makes it worth submitting again.

It seems to take awhile to complete...an hour or more, and that's with using the IRS data retriever tool. I'm now waiting on both my daughter's to get back to me with some of their personal financial data. I hope I can wrap it up today and have it as one less thing on my mind.

Have you filled out the FAFSA before? Do you take out student loans for your college student?

Spendy Weekend

October 8th, 2018 at 04:15 pm

We drove one of our cars to our new location this weekend. I'm a good driver, but get massive anxiety driving on the interstate. I can do it, but it's mentally exhausting. So for a two day trip, I just can't do it!

Costs for gas were nearly $200 (according to my husband), which seems high, so will need to double check. Two hotel nights were nearly $230, food spent was easily $200 and we flew one way back to our current home for $660. Yep, nearly $1300!

We made the decision last minute, thus the reason the airline tickets were high. We weren't tracking that this weekend was a four day weekend for my husband with Columbus Day, so when we realized that we decided it was best to get the truck to our new place first rather than after the actual move.

We will get mileage for both of our vehicles, which my husband says is likely $400 each. We don't get specifically reimbursed for food, hotel or airlines for this trip. However, the military provides a dislocation allowance to cover general moving expenses that are not covered. No receipts needed. We expect to get just under $3,700. So our expenses incurred this weekend will not come out of our own pocket. We will get compensated.

I noticed our auto insurance is going down effective in December by nearly $400. Our oldest daughter is on our policy, so it has been high for this first year. I suppose this could change once I change our insurance to our new location.

Positive Money Flow

September 25th, 2018 at 03:35 pm

Our vehicle registrations came in the mail this week. Last year we paid $276 to register both vehicles. This year just $102. This is the advantage in some states as your vehicle gets older the less you pay! Nice surprise to have our van drop to just $50 a year, just like the truck has been for a few years. I'm going to move that extra $174 to our Big Goal savings fund.

I sold an Oak Lane Cedar chest that my parents gave me in the early 1990s to a woman today for $50. She has two for her daughter's and needed one for her son. I'm not sure if were him, I'd want it, but it's what she has in mind. Smile

I cancelled our Ooma phone that's been our landline for about six years. It was the kind that works over the internet. It was nice having a house phone for just a few dollars a month, but we rarely give out the number and only my mother in law calls us on it. She will be notified to call us on our cell phones. We did give her a heads up a few weeks ago. So now we save $60 a year going forward. I may be able to sell the actual Ooma on eBay as the company gave me a reactivation code to use if I gave it away.

There was a little outflow of cash yesterday, when my husband found my van tire completely flat when he pulled in the garage. He had it fixed for about $12 at Pep Boys within about an hour. A little disappointing to have a relatively new tire need a patch already, but it happens. Very thankful it could be repaired.

Sold

September 22nd, 2018 at 06:19 pm

I sold the box to my Apple Computer on eBay today. All my listings have sold or I have ended them. No more active listings at this time, and probably not until after the move. Although as I write this I can think of two things I should try to sell before we move. Hmm...

The exciting news is I sold two outdoor table sets today. One was a three piece set...super faded and in need of a makeover which I sold for $30. I would have given it away!! The other was a seven piece set, six chairs and a glass table. I sold it for $100 after originally asking $150. Considering I listed the latter last night, I'm definitely satisfied!

We still need to sell a plasma television, a dollhouse (and accessories), a three year old stainless steel fridge, a cedar chest, an armless chair and a couch (which I love, but have no room for on the other end). I have some decor items for sale but those can be donated if they don't sell.

I gave away five terra cotta pots and two hanging plant holders to a neighbor today. I can tell there will be at least two more Goodwill runs, and a drop off electronic items to Best Buy before the move. I might find out that there is even more, but I'm doing my best to declutter and sell on this end rather than the other end.

Oh, I have found THE BEST way to sell items is on Nextdoor.com. I choose to sell to neighbors near me, not all over town. Amazingly, they all show up on time when they say they will, which I love!!

Did you sell anything this week? If not, do you have things you could sell for cash? It is Sell Your Stuff September! Get in the game and sell. Send that money to pay off debt, start your emergency fund, or put toward that savings goal you are working on.

No Power

September 20th, 2018 at 04:17 pm

We just finished up 32 hours without power in our home. The Hurricane left days ago so it was quite a surprise to have it turn off yesterday morning. Not sure what the cause was. Possibly a tree that final fell and tore down the electric line. The estimated time was 54 hours, so it is a blessing it was corrected as quickly as it was considering many have been without power longer.

I guess we can say that we saved some money on electricity, except that we did go out to eat last night for dinner and spent $24. I'm sure we didn't save that much in electricity!

I have a potential buyer for a small patio set we are getting rid of. It's super faded, but metal so could be repainted. If the buyer comes through, we will have another $30 in our pocket. I'd repaint it but I'm ready for something different. Tomorrow night we will list some more items for sale. Downsizing really takes a lot of effort, even if you just donate it.

Sell Your Stuff September

September 18th, 2018 at 05:57 pm

I guess some people on YouTube are doing a Sell Your Stuff Stuff September. I didn't know about it until today, but we sure have been selling things. Only two small things since my last report. I sold a computer box and some Box Tops for Education on eBay. Those net proceeds came to $24.92.

I also redeemed some American Express rewards in the amount of $59.85. I'm sure a result of all that summer spending. Wow!

I'm hoping to sell some more furniture items this week and weekend. I know people in our state are still suffering from the effects of the storm, so it's hard to know if there will be people buying.

Went Out Today

September 16th, 2018 at 07:11 pm

After four days of staying inside, we ventured out to the nearest open grocery store. Technically, we didn't need anything. But we spent $51 on pepperoni, lunch meat, mixed greens, tortilla chips, large bottle of wine, 12 pk of soda, cookies, cheese slices, tomato sauce, dressing and prunes. An odd assortment for sure! I feel robbed by the prices at this store compared to the commissary! We don't have their savings card, so we didn't get the discounts. Easily spent 20% more than we normally would.

The drive over was mostly non eventful. We drove through standing water. I told my husband not to. Two people in front of us turned around, while at least three cars coming the other direction plowed through. We avoided that area on our return to trip by going through the high school parking lot.

Honestly, the rain keeps falling and the flooding threat just keeps getting worse. My husband is working from home tomorrow and schools are closed through Wednesday. Our very local lake is releasing water downstream to avoid damage to the dam and overflow above the dam. We expect things to get a bit worse before they get better.

I sold an item on eBay tonight, but had to tell the buyer that I can't mail immediately. Our post offices are closed and not delivering mail until further notice because of road conditions. I'm hoping by Wednesday they will be open again.

I managed to dust all the blinds here in our rental home in preparation for the move. Tomorrow I will probably touch up paint the nail holes on the upper level of the home. I could have probably done it sooner, but I didn't want to deal with paint cleanup if the power went out in the middle of the project.

It's been an interesting four days to say the least. Thanks for all the prayers, well wishes and support!

The Rain Just Keeps Falling

September 15th, 2018 at 09:20 am

We have made it through the high winds and still have power. The next worry is the amount of rain moving through our area. We expect to be fine in our home as we are not near a body of water that would flood to the point of affecting the house. The county is encouraging people to stay home since trees falling could be a bigger possibility with the amount of rain saturating the ground.

There are tree branches down in the yard, a small tree (12 feet) that is leaning in the backyard that will probably need to be staked at some point. A vent cover on the outside of the house is broken. Our neighbor next door has a pool with a white fence that lost a few panels that connect to our yard. The other neighbor lost part of their fence when a rather large tree fell down just outside of it. All minor really compared with what those on the coast are dealing with.

No spending here the last few days, since there is no where to go or reason to spend. I did sign up for free 7 day trial with Hulu so we can watch our football team play today.

Still Have Power

September 14th, 2018 at 11:35 am

An update, since I'm sure you are curious.

Our area still has yet to go through the brunt of the storm. We are getting a lot of rain and the wind gusts are getting stronger. The worst is expected over the next eight hours or so. We still have power, but we appreciate any prayers for us and all who are in the path of the storm.

Snowflakes

September 13th, 2018 at 10:32 am

Nearly all snowflakes (extra or found money) go towards our Big Goal.

I transferred $24.39 from PayPal earlier this week that accounted for a couple small eBay sales.

I redeemed $38.88 with Chase Freedom rewards, and $29.29 from US Bank rewards.

And our furniture sales add $355 to the total.

The money adds up!

P.S. Sunny here and a bit breezier than normal. We aren't expecting the worst until tomorrow morning, which for us may be 50mph winds and lots of rain. Our biggest concern is that the power stays on, but we are prepared if it doesn't.

Sold Two Couches

September 12th, 2018 at 10:16 am

It's the final day or two before the storm hits our area, and I just sold two couches! These were hand me downs from my parents, but I sold them as a set for $150. Two young ladies seemed quite happy to have picked them up. I'm super pleased too, since they were in our garage...and that meant my husband was parking in the driveway. We were about to bring them back inside in to avoid any water damage from the storm. Now we don't have to. Very happy about this unexpected sale in the midst of storm preparations. And this, of course, is very helpful with our downsizing.

Time to Prepare

September 9th, 2018 at 05:26 am

Florence is heading our way. Prayers appreciated for us and all in the final path.

We will spend the next couple days stocking up for the loss of power. More batteries, more water and non perishable foods. I think it was last year that I saw a young woman buying peanut butter, bread and apples that appeared to be for the hurricane. I actually thought that was pretty simple and inexpensive compared to canned foods that often are heated. Yes, apples can perish, but you likely would be able to eat them before they would go bad. My husband thought it was a decent idea. He wants almonds too. Smile

We have cash on hand (we have been accumulating additional cash with our recent sales as we downsize our belongings). We have tools, an emergency solar and hand cranked weather radio. I also have candles and a lighter.

We are not on the coast, it's a two hour drive to get there, so the odds of needing to evacuate are very slim. We are near a lake, some homes in our neighborhood do back up to it and a creek that feeds into it is almost in our backyard. The lake however was built by a dam and has been empty because the dam broke during hurricane Matthew and has yet to be repaired. That is a good thing in some ways because the water will just keep flowing downstream.

I'm praying something will change that will move it just enough off the coast to avoid landfall for anyone. Prepare for the worst hope for the best.

Repairs Update & More

September 6th, 2018 at 06:24 am

The carpet repair is happening right now at our home. The estimate was $200. Ironically, this is what we were paid by our landlord to show the house to two potential renters a couple weeks ago. So it is sort of like we were given the money for this repair. Easy come, easy go.

Update, the actual charge for carpet repair was $175. Smile

Our refrigerator was repaired yesterday for $125. It needed freon. There were two leaks. I asked why a four year old fridge would leak. Apparently the sealant they use on these new fridges isn't high quality...very annoying. A fridge should not leak that early on.

We sold a metal cabinet we had in our garage yesterday for $60.

Need to pay my oldest daughter's housing payment in the next six days. Grateful to have the money ready to go. Once again, no loans!


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