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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!

Repairs

September 4th, 2018 at 12:10 pm

We damaged the carpet at our rental home when we had a treadmill placed on it for over a year. We did buy a mat to place between the treadmill and carpet, but it must have been unbalanced as one foot made a whole about 2 inches by 2 inches across.

We have now been in communication with our landlord so that we can rectify the problem before moving out. He has agreed to let us proceed with stretching or patch repair based on the suggestions of the repair person when he arrives. It is estimated that either method will cost $175 to $200.

Obviously none of us are pleased about the damage. We are grateful a repair, rather than complete replacement of the carpet is possible.

We are also having our refrigerator repaired. It is one we brought with us from our last home. It is only four years old and only ran for two years before it stopped cooling in both the freezer and the fridge. We didn't need it really, so we just procrastinated getting it repaired. Our hope is to repair it and then sell it before we move as we won't need it at our next place either.

It does feel good to have these scheduled. Do you procrastinate getting repairs done sometimes?

Extra Month & Refund on Shipping

September 3rd, 2018 at 10:58 am

Amazon has been our friend with girls in college. We buy needed items to ship to their dorm and save them the time shopping.

I rented a book for my daughter on Thursday night and had it expedited to arrive by Saturday for $8.99 because of the holiday weekend and her need to read it! She opened it today to find the wrong book!!

I contacted Amazon who offered to waive the expedited shipping if I wanted to rent or buy another one. Unfortunately, no more rentals available, and the one I could buy wasn't available to be expedited. It would arrive by September 20 after paying $3.99!

In the end my daughter said the bookstore seems to finally have the book in stock and she hopes to pick it up tomorrow. Amazon already reimbursed me for the expedited shipping for the inconvenience. My daughter will drop the book at UPS and we will get a refund on the book once Amazon receives it. And finally Amazon extended my Prime membership for one month! I wasn't expecting that, but definitely a nice bonus after the increase in Prime pricing.

August Interest

September 3rd, 2018 at 05:23 am

Interest for August on our savings came to $105.78.

We are earning 1.85% on a majority of it.

The CD that expires in March is earning 2.23%. I think I could actually transfer money in our money market into the CD so it could earn more. When our last CD expired in June, I didn't know what we were doing for housing for our next move. There's always a chance we would buy a home. But since we are living on base, we will not need to put any more down on a home.

It's not a lot of passive income, but it is appreciated and it adds up.

Sold Some Furniture

September 2nd, 2018 at 08:39 am

We are downsizing our belongings in preparation for the move. We have sold two twin beds, the frames and headboards for $30 each and an entertainment center for $40. We have two desks and chairs listed, as well as a cedar chest and a metal storage cabinet.

It feels good to have let go some of it. We aren't super hung up on the money aspect, as much as getting rid of it. At some point we will see if we can get a donation truck to come by and pick up what doesn't sell.

Rewards & More

August 27th, 2018 at 06:08 pm

As you can imagine with our recent travel (away 13 days) and all the college dorm spending, we have spent quite a bit of money. I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty, but simply share that we used several of our credit cards and earned 5% cash back at restaurants (Discover) and gas stations (Chase Freedom). We used our American Express for everything else (6% on groceries, but 1% on the rest).

I redeemed our rewards tonight from those three cards in the following amounts:
$32.00 Chase Freedom
$35.50 Discover
$62.35 American Express

Earlier in the month I had redeemed US Bank rewards for $8.31.

Total credit card rewards earned $129.85! I think that is the most ever earned in one month just on spending. I'm excited for the money back in our pocket, but boy not a fan of all the spending. However, I am grateful we do have the cash to cover what we want and need to buy.

Other cash came in from Ebates, selling a textbook, a calculator and one other item on eBay for $74.81.

We banked that $200 payment from our landlord and I saved the entire travel per diem my husband received from a recent trip, which was $261.92. He only spent $80, which I just covered out of our regular budget. It rarely turns out to be a money maker, so that was a nice surprise.

We'll add interest on our bank accounts later this month, but we definitely made a big deposit into Big Goal with all the extra cash flowing in.

The Move

August 25th, 2018 at 05:05 pm

We are moving again with the military. This fall, can't be more specific on when until after we move. I also cannot indicate the specific location, but it will still be in the southern US.

We are going to live on the military installation. We have never done that before, primarily because we have always wanted control over the school our girls would attend. We don't have that parameter this time!

We will be in a three bedroom townhome, approximately 1700 sq ft. This is an 1100 sq ft reduction from our current rental. As a result we are significantly downsizing our furniture! That part is a bit overwhelming, but hopefully we can off load it rather quickly, preferable for cash!

We do have to pay the equivalent of our housing allowance (which will be just over $2000) to live in this townhouse. We pay $1800, plus utilities currently. Electricity, water and trash is included at the new place. My husband's commute will be about 5 minutes. We will end up saving quite a bit by living on post and not having utility expenses or as much fuel for commuting. I'm going to estimate a savings of at least $500 a month.

My husband currently works out at the gym on post and he will continue this at our new location. But now that it is basically blocks away, I will also use the facilities...at no additional cost!

It was a bit overwhelming earlier this summer as we prepared to take both girls to college, but now that portion is over, it is feeling kind of exciting to make the next transition.

Hopefully, that answered some of your questions that have popped up since I mentioned the move. Smile I'll answer other questions if you have them.

$200 For Two Showings

August 24th, 2018 at 05:26 am

Last night our landlord paid us $200 (by Zelle, direct into our bank account) to show our rental home on Sunday to two potential and vetted renters on Sunday. One will arrive at 1pm and one at 2pm.

I was so conflicted about this additional duty, but once I texted the landlord my concerns, he completely understood and was quick to clear up what he expects and offer $200 to have these two showings in a limited time frame. If one of these two do not sign, there is the potential for additional showings, but he would pay us again for those showings.

The fee was in line with what I was wanting to ask for, but I did not want to offend him. The truth is the fee is worth it to them being unable to get here to show the house. And obviously, the less time the home is vacant the better for them.

I'd love to make a few more hundred dollars, but at the same time, I hope one of these two potential renters signs a lease, so that we can enjoy the home in the remaining weeks we have left here. Smile

Later today, I have to have the windshield on our van replaced. We hit a rock on the first day of our road trip earlier this month and boy did it crack! Two cracks, one around 15 inches, and another probably 24 inches. Using Safelite through our insurance would have cost us between $300-$360. I found a local glass place that will charge us $196 out the door with a warranty. We used them before so feel confident in the quality and service despite the lower cost. They get the glass from the same place! I guess our showing fee covers that cost. Smile

More on moving details soon, although I do have to be vague on where we are going and exactly when for security purposes.

How Much Do We Ask For?

August 22nd, 2018 at 06:03 am

So our landlord who lives out of state and does not have a property manager locally. Because we are leaving this fall, they are looking to rent the property again. They are asking if we would be willing to show the property to potential and interested renters for payment in return for giving our impressions on their level of interest. And they are asking what our asking price would be.

I'm fully aware that legally (and according to our lease) the owner has the right to show the property to a potential renter. I'm perfectly fine with that, but I never expected that I would be asked to do an additional duty of being available to show the property and report back our impressions.

I would need to clean, make time in my day, spend however long talking to the renters (we were here nearly an hour when we visited the first time), and then analyze in my mind what my impression was and report back. That is definitely worth something!

I feel like the number needs to be significant enough that the landlord doesn't send everyone over. That the money they would outlay would make them vet the renter to some degree.

The landlord is currently taking classes in one state and his wife works and lives about four hours away in another state. It would cost them at a minimum gas, food on the road and time off work (and maybe a hotel) if they were to drive here to show the house to a potential renter.

How much should I ask for? I have a number in mind, but wonder what others think.

Can I put stipulations on this? Such as only during X hours, when my husband would also be home?

Usually I'm all over making some extra cash, but this one is throwing me for a loop!

Snowflakes and More

August 21st, 2018 at 05:52 pm

Through Facebook I helped my daughter sell her graphing calculator to another student via his mother. She was asking on a parent's page, so I offered my daughter's up for $40. She jumped at the chance! I have the money in my PayPal account and the calculator has been delivered to the student.

When I confirmed the payment I noticed I had a payment from Ebates for $7.63. Nice surprise!

I have a few items on eBay for sale, one has a bid and will sell for several dollars.

The spending for our trip put us over budget by $750! Luckily we did get paid since then and have covered those expenses. It will be a bit tight through the end of the month however.

So now the real fun begins...time to start prepping for the move that will occur late fall. We are downsizing our space so will need to sell some major furniture in the process!

The Transition

August 13th, 2018 at 07:50 am

We've traveled across the US this past week and have managed to drop off our oldest daughter at college. She is beginning band camp this week. And tomorrow we drop off our youngest daughter at her University. The emotions of all this are everywhere, excited yes, but I'm a mess...I'm just going to miss them both so much. It seems sending the last one off is almost harder than the first.

So much spending buying supplies and dorm needs. I have yet total it all up. We probably have more than some, but definitely less than others who move into a dorm. We bring enough to create a comfortable environment, but not enough to fill it up.

We did find a great long, yet lightweight coat, at the local Columbia outlet mall here. We had our youngest try on her sister's LL Bean boots and she liked them, so will buy those in one size smaller in a few weeks and have them mailed to her dorm room.

We had two hotel nights on our way here. We have been staying at my parents place now for almost a week. We expect three more nights of hotel expenses on our way back. Another $350 at least. I've noticed that when you book a hotel in advance that you can no longer cancel up until check in on the night of the stay. You must cancel 48 to 24 hours in advance or be charged! We have one booked that we know we will use, but I think on our return trip we will book around noon on the day of our stay, this is helpful in case we think we can drive further or need to stop sooner.

Oh and we have had a lot of fuel and restaurant expenses. Since we have been using credit cards, and payday is in two days, I expect that little float will help. And when we return only need to buy groceries for two people rather than four as we have been doing all summer.

My neighbor has been checking on our 14 year old cat, usually twice per day. When we return, we are going to get her a restaurant gift card. We are so grateful for the help and her extra care and attention to detail.

More later, but prayers and good vibes for our peaceful transition and travel are appreciated. Smile

Withdrawal from ESA

August 2nd, 2018 at 05:37 am

I know it may seem odd, after just finishing our ESA contributions, but we are now making a withdrawal for our youngest daughter's tuition and housing bill.

I completed the buy order on Tuesday when the market was up and the money, $5,375, was in our account today. This money will cover the room and board portion of her bill (yes, for just one semester!)

Her bill is due on the first day of classes, August 20. The total due is $6,859.20. I did find out that books will not hit the account until next month, so I have time until I need to make that payment, which if I remember from orientation was $475!

Once all is said and done, I'll need to update you on the cost of things we bought for her dorm and just life as a college student. Hope to find her a warmer coat once we get back to the midwest, possibly at a Columbia outlet mall, they are very hard to find in the summer in the southeast! Lol.

The First College Bill

July 30th, 2018 at 05:48 am

...for our youngest daughter has hit her account.

There were a few extras that I didn't expect. A one time records charge of $130. And some small dues for the residence hall, broken down into two charges of $15 and $22 respectively. There is also a charge of $25 for her German class. This is not really a surprise, but also didn't know ahead of time.

Other fees that I did know about.

$60 Honors Program (they actually go on a field trip this fall).

$350 for a Chemistry class (long story, but basically she NEEDED Chemistry in high school as a prerequisite for the first Chemistry in college. University only required two sciences for admission and only two for high school graduation...so thought we were okay) that is a high school equivalent and not included in tuition. Found out about this at Orientation this summer.

Also fees for Engineering Technology, Activity Fee, Health Fee, adding up to $724.20. These I did know about.

The full bill is $10,459.20. This does include room and board. Actual tuition portion is $3,870. Scholarships for the semester equal $3,600. So after those, the amount I need to send in is $6859.20. I'm going to use $5,375 from her Educational Savings account, and the remaining $1,484.20 will come from our checking account. Books will also come from our current cash.

Despite the large bill which by itself is very overwhelming, it is very gratifying to make it happen without loans. So thankful we saved as much as we did along the way.

Retirement: 5.5 years ago

July 26th, 2018 at 06:31 pm

Yesterday we met another milestone in our retirement. We exceeded $550K! At the beginning of the year we were at $500,483. With contributions, and market appreciation, we have increased our totals by over 10%.

I decided to look back and see where we were nearly six years ago, or specifically the end of 2012. Our total retirement balances were $188,290.

In five and a half years...okay 5 years, 7 months, we have another $368K

I post this for my information but also for you! It's not to brag at the amount. I'm sure many have less, and many have more. The real point is that making a regular contribution to your retirement adds up. If you make the commitment to spend less than you earn and invest the rest, you absolutely can save for retirement.

We have always saved at least 10% of our income. We are now close to 18%. We save automatically through my husband's paycheck AND automatic deduction towards our Roth IRAs from our checking account EVERY single month. No exceptions.

Saving for retirement is your key to freedom in your later years. Freedom to chose where you live and the type of care you may be able to receive.

Pay off your debt and save for retirement. It works!! You will not regret it!

Big Goal Update

July 25th, 2018 at 07:49 am

Jenn asked how the Big Goal was going after I made a reference to adding more money to our Big Goal fund. So here's a quick update. I'm doing it fast, so I think it's accurate, but possibly missing something.

I found in our second checking account we have stashed away $1057 since the beginning of the year. There was big $515 travel reimbursement that helped make a difference in that account.

In our main checking account I show that our current Big Goal funds equal $2927.32. Now this amount would be larger if I hadn't moved $877 in June out of there to cover some medical expenses. I should make a point by the end of the year to add this back in.

I'm not sure if I've been consistent at adding interest we have earned on our CDs and money market accounts to the Big Goal, but I will report the amount of interest earned through June.

First National Bank of Omaha $125.33
Navy Federal Credit Union $454.83

And because I just looked at Navy Federal, I remembered that we have $131 from my husband's paycheck deposit there each month towards the goal. $131 x 6= $786

Total year to date towards the Big Goal is $5,350.48!

I'm actually surprised! I really only notice the total in the YNAB account and forget about the rest most of the time. Last year I reported our full contributions to this goal to be $6,836.39. So if we can keep up the good work we are already accomplishing, we should exceed last years savings.

The ultimate goal is $200,000. We started with $40K at the end of 2016. $46,836.39 end of 2017. And now mid year 2018 we are at $52,186.87. So I guess we are are at 26% of goal.

I'd love to add a ticker for this goal. But this site no longer supports them well. Eventually I can look into another way to graphically represent the progress.

We've been super busy this summer, so other than paying bills and credit card charges (before interest accrues), I haven't had much time to tweak the goals. Something to look forward to when things calm down.

Edited to add: The monthly average we are saving is $891.66. That just floors me!

Found Money

July 22nd, 2018 at 05:25 pm

I'm not sure what compelled me to check my PayPal account, but I'm glad I did. I found $100.27!

My sister sent me $98 to cover groceries during our trip last month. That money has been there since June 20th! The remaining $2.27 was from a very small eBay sale on the first day of June.

For now, I will put this towards the Big Goal. It may need to cover some travel expenses next month, but for now, I'll stash it aside and try to make those things work with money we will get next month.

I have claimed some credit card rewards in the last few days, which I put towards our Big Goal fund also.
US Bank $25.80
American Express $26.69
Chase Freedom $9.76

If we had debt, you know I would be tossing these funds right there. Now for the most part we save our found money and credit card rewards. They do add up!

Still Spending

July 21st, 2018 at 02:10 pm

We returned from our mountain trip a day early, so saved $118, plus tax by checking out of the hotel early. We overestimated the time we needed to do what we went there to do. And we all just felt ready to be home.

But we are still spending! College expenses. Today we bought some plates, cups, bowls and a paring knife at Target and spent about $15. At Kohl's with our Kohl's cash we bought bath and hand towels, a backpack, a laundry bag, silverware, chip clips and a cutting board. I paid $4.75 out of pocket after the Kohl's cash.

Earlier today I ordered 2 two packs of surge protectors with eight foot cords for our daughter's dorm room. Those were a decent deal, considering I could not find long cords in any of the stores! We also bought a USB C connector for our daughter's tablet/laptop, it will have additional USB, HDMI and an ethernet port. That along was $54, but it sounds like she will definitely use the USB ports and possible the ethernet connection if the wireless is bad in the dorm room.

We told our daughter's roommate we would bring the television, primarily because we already owned a tv (32") that we were not using. We have the HDMI cable, coaxial cable and an ethernet cord on hand too. At least there are some things I don't have to buy!!

We leave in about two weeks to drive back to the midwest. It is a 20 hour drive that we will likely do in three days (maybe two, but that is a long time in the car!) And yes, pay for hotels. We will be back in time to help our oldest daughter move back into the dorm, but we will have five days to hang out and see family before we travel east a bit to drop our youngest at college. This is where I will get very teary...leaving my baby!! And the next day my husband and I will drive back east to home, where I'm sure our cat will be super mad at us for leaving her! She will be visited by two of my friends while we are gone, but it will be the longest we have ever left her. And she didn't really like that we left to the mountains which was a short trip. Poor baby.

So that's a brief update...definitely been busy this summer!

Too Much Spending at Kohl's

July 13th, 2018 at 01:11 pm

We just returned from Kohl's where we ended up spending over $375! Yes, this was a shopping trip primarily for our youngest daughter to get dorm room supplies. I'm not going to go into a full breakdown, but we primarily bought bedding, shoes, socks and underwear, a wallet and a several new shirts. My husband decided he needed jeans and my older daughter picked up a shirt and a body pillow and cover for it. I bought nothing for myself (can you tell who is the most frugal?)

We 'earned' $105 in Kohl's cash that we can spend next week. I think we will go back for towels and a couple other clothing items. I had purchased towels earlier this week at Target, but she has changed her mind on the colors, so those will end up being returned.

And in good news her future roommate texted that she has a microwave, fridge, Keurig (my daughter could care less) and a rug she can bring. She also has some organizers she can bring later (just not on move in day). We offered to bring a television and a couple more rugs, and likely something to put the television on. Oh yes, and a toaster! More than likely we will buy those items once we arrive as the back of our van is going to be packed as it is!

The spending is overwhelming, but I do know we have the cash and in the end it will even out. I expect our grocery, water and probably electricity bills to be lower once both girls are out of the house.

Spending, College & Vacation

July 7th, 2018 at 09:29 am

These next six weeks are bound to be expensive!

We just book three nights at a hotel in the mountains. We are getting the government rate. No points to use because I used them all up on the last trip! Cost is $400.02. We will have gas and food expenses, and possibly a museum entrance or two...but would like to stick to exploring and hiking in the mountains.

I just ordered vitamins, water filter replacement cartridges, and hair products for my oldest daughter. She had this on her list of things she needs to stock up on before school starts. It's still about a month before she leaves, but I went ahead and ordered them and had them mailed to my parents house! They will be there when she arrives and can take to school. I don't want to load up her suitcases too much for the return trip!

We are going out today to find some of the 'lighter items' on her list (clothes primarily). I'm hoping we can get my older daughter's needs taken care of in the next week and then focus on our younger daughter AFTER the trip. It's really overwhelming the things you need to buy to send your child to college. I know the first time I definitely didn't think of everything, and there were extra trips made on the day of move in, and lots of packages sent those first few months. This time, I know even more what is needed, so will do our best to get it all ahead of time!

And I need to make a flight reservation for oldest daughter. I book this one way in the fall and one way in the spring. The rest of us are driving back to the midwest since we expect to have a lot of stuff for our newest college student! Although I think it could be possible to fly, and simply buy everything there on arrival...but it sounds more stressful.

I did use Ebates to get 2.5% cash back on my Ulta order. Here's to at least finding some deals along the way! Smile


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