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Archive for April, 2008

Another one!

April 30th, 2008 at 07:55 pm

This has been a fabulous month for me with Pinecone surveys. I have completed 5 surveys for them. I received a check yesterday for $5.00 that I will add to the challenge.

New Balance = $168.42

Our regular home equity payment of $118 was posted yesterday. Only $23.22 went to principal. Frown There will definitely be more money hitting that account in May. We are just waiting to pay for a few large dollar items before we start kicking in down.

I just realized that I did not add in the April ebay funds to the challenge. So that creates a new total of....

$520.86

The cost of allergies

April 29th, 2008 at 04:15 pm

My youngest daughter has allergies. She was diagnosed at about 9 months...her first spring! Looking back, she had allergies immediately. We have a picture where she is two weeks old and my husband has put a warm washcloth over her eyes and top of her nose to help her stuffy nose.

She was given a prescription and eventually switched to Zyrtec several years ago. We've paid various copays over the years. The highest I remember was $18/mo. The lowest on our current plan was $9. Actually, the lowest has been $0, when Pfizer used to give rebates up to $10 back! Boy, I miss those days.

Now, Zyrtec is over the counter and not available for prescription. My DD was taking the chewable version. Do you know how much it costs to buy chewable Zyrtec for a child who takes one pill everyday 10 months out of the year? You do the math...$12.99 for a package of 12 tablets.

Because of the cost, I made her switch to pills she will swallow. Target sells 30 of these tablets for $19.99. My price just more than doubled...much better than the chewables. DD has done great in getting them down. They are small, but she bites it in half and swallows each half. Seems to work!

Now, here's the exciting part! Walgreen's sells a generic version of Zyrtec. A couple of weeks ago, I was able to get 30 tablets for $7.99 with their in store coupon!! Yeah, now the price is lower than what I used to pay.

I may just grab some more to stock up. This week they have 90 tablets for $22.99!

Bad news, turned into good news! Funny thing is my daughter is brand loyal. She gets mad at the Claritin commercials that put down the drug she takes. I did tell her about the generic, but she's still a fan of the Zyrtec.

Final numbers are in...

April 28th, 2008 at 04:33 pm

Remember my ebay goal of netting $100 in the month of April. Well, I far exceeded it!! With four more sales last week, we netted out for the month at $352.44 after all the shipping, ebay and paypal fees.

I have never done so well on ebay. I think I only had one thing that didn't sell. I have to give credit to the type of items. Surplus army gear from my husband's stash of stuff. Do you have any idea how much gear we store at home? He has been in the Army for almost 17 years...so it adds up over time, especially when the Army changes uniforms!

For now, I'm taking an ebay break. It's time to gear up for the garage sale. My pile has been building. I'm so good at getting rid of things that I don't usually net much more than $100 at a garage sale, but I'm hoping to get close to double this year.

Oh, I finally branched out and sold internationally this time, too! I sent items to Argentina and France. Now I'm an international seller!! I think it helped sales, too.

ChaChing

April 27th, 2008 at 01:42 pm

I cashed in my points for surveys a few weeks back. The check arrived yesterday for $30! Mysurveys are a little slow getting their checks out, but they always arrive.

This will count towards the $20 Challenge.

New Balance = $163.42

Change of Plans

April 26th, 2008 at 03:29 pm

Our focus has been to save money for a down payment on a new to us Toyota or Honda van. Now, we are changing plans.

The new plan is to pay off our home equity loan as soon as possible. I estimate it will take us at least the rest of the year to do this.

We really need to hold on to some equity as we move around the country with the Army. It looks like we will have at least two more years here. When the time comes, I would like to have that loan paid off so the money can be used as a down payment on the next home.

After the loan is paid off, we'll save some more for the van down payment and then finance the rest. The van we are replacing is a 1997 Dodge Caravan with over 120k miles. Right now it needs new tires and power steering pump replaced. We will take care of those things in the next two months with cash.

We were really looking forward to getting a newer van. In some ways, we are disappointed, but we know it is the right thing to do. Finally, we have our heads on straight!!

If anyone, has any thoughts or inputs I'd be happy to hear them.

Stimulus Payment will be Early!!!!!

April 25th, 2008 at 07:06 pm

Wow, I don't know if I'm the first to have caught on to this! Hereis the article.

I guess for those first on the list by ss number will get their payments 4 days earlier. So instead of Friday, May 2, you will receive your rebate direct deposited this Monday, April 28th. The schedule is bumped up for everyone including those set to receive checks!

Here's to a happy robust economy to come! Cheers!!

No Ethanol

April 25th, 2008 at 05:18 pm

I'm beginning to question whether I should continue to buy fuel for my vehicle that contains ethanol. In the past, I have always purchased the cheapest fuel. And it has been for a long time, made with ethanol.

From my understanding, farmers receive cash or subsidies to encourage and help support them in growing corn. These subsidies are our tax dollars. Without these subsidies we the cost to produce the corn that is turned into fuel would be higher...those costs would be passed on to the consumer at the gas pump. More than likely, this would make the ethanol fuel more expensive than regular unleaded fuel.

So, I just wonder if it would be worth my money to demand a different, more expensive grade of fuel at the pump. And if everyone did this, would the decrease in demand, cause the government to stop spending money to subsidize corn production for fuel? How else would it effect the economy...for better or worse?

Hmmm...I wonder.

You might find this interesting...

April 24th, 2008 at 07:13 pm

My oldest daughter just turned 11 a month ago. When she was born in 1997, my grandfather, her great grandfather was still living. As a gift he purchased her a $50 Series EE Savings Bond.

For those of you who don't know. These bonds are purchased at half the face value. In this case he paid $25.00. The bond accumulates interest every 6 months for 30 years, when it will mature to a total value of $50.00.

The bond is payable to her in her correct name. It was intended to list me as the recipient in case of my daughters death. It has the correct last name, but the nickname of my sister when she was growing up!

I tried once soon after the gift was received to cash it in for the current face value...which would have been $25.00. I was going to then put the cash in her UTMA account. The person who handled these was out to lunch...and I never made it back.

So, today I find the bond when looking for other papers. I decide to check out the treasury departments website to determine how much it is worth. Can anyone guess? It's not $50, but $38.08.

Seems pretty good for only accumulating interest for 11 years! I know, I know, it would have earned so much more in that mutual fund.

So, do I help my daughter get it cashed? She has no id. My name technically isn't on the bond. I also don't have a local bank. All our banking is done online, so I don't have a bank that "knows" me.

It's probably worth emailing my bank. Any banking people that might have some insight?

Timber!

April 23rd, 2008 at 06:57 pm

In our town this week, it is spring clean up time. This is when people can put out trash that isn't picked up normally. Ususally, this means larger items you can't fit in your trash.

The fun part about this is that people also come looking for things they can take from your pile. I saw two different neighbors put out old lawn furniture. Someone with a van, came and hauled them way for their own use.I like it that some of the items are saved from the landfill and that someone gets something for free.

I actually found something to take from a neighbor's pile two doors down. They were getting rid of 8 foot landscape timbers. I took 3 from the pile. I'm going to use them with 3 that I already have to box in my new garden.

Happy spring cleaning!

Guess What?

April 23rd, 2008 at 01:00 am

I broke a spring on my Ford Taurus today! It tore a giant ring/hole in my tire. Completely blown out. Yikes!! You know what that means...a car repair bill.

Before I tell you how much, I want to say that it happened in my neighborhood only three houses from mine. Luckily, my husband was still home from work to help me figure out what happened. I also have the cash to pay the bill in full. For these, I am so very grateul.

Including a regular oil change and air filter, my total bill for struts, tire, and springs with labor and taxes is....

$1,404.93!!

Auto Investment Day

April 22nd, 2008 at 01:20 pm

Every month at this time, we have our Roth IRA investment money deducted automatically from our checking account. Right now we are each investing $432 per month.

Yes, I'm aware that that would put us over the $5,000 minimum investment for the year. For three months we were investing the amount to get us to $4K. We added a little extra to get us to $5K by the end of the year.

It feels good to have it happen automatically. It's just done and I don't have to think about it other than to record it in the checkbook. And because it is on auto, I don't think to spend that money elsewhere.

Another Check

April 21st, 2008 at 11:32 pm

I received a $5.00 check from Pinecone today. They really make for the best kind of mail!!

I will add it to my challenge money. If anyone is wondering, I will be adding my ebay money to the challenge at the end of the month.

New Balance = $133.42

Hot! Hot! Hot!

April 21st, 2008 at 01:23 am

Army items are hot on ebay!!

As you know I've been selling items on ebay this month with the goal to net over $100. My husband has old uniforms and other miscellaneous items that are outdated now that they changed the uniform. So, this week 5 items went up for sale. They just end a little while ago.

I netted $127.60 on those five items!!

Check out my page to the left to see where I am in my goal...obviously I exceeded it! But by how much?

Can you tell I'm just a bit excited. It is so nice to clear things out. I'm always doing it but never profited so nicely!

I have put 5 more items this week to round out the month of April. Then it is on to the garage sale.

Gripe...Visa Gift Cards

April 20th, 2008 at 01:27 pm

My daughter received a $25 Visa Gift card in the mail from her aunt as a birthday gift. My daughter would rather have cash, so I'm giving her $25 and will use the gift card when I buy groceries.

While we appreciate the gift, I can't believe anyone would pay the $3.95 activation fee...especially for only $25.00. The fee is over 15% of the value of the card. That's quite a bit. In other words, her aunt could have saved 15%!!! This is one aunt who should be watching every penny she has...but, of course, doesn't.

I'm sure most of us, that are a bit frugal, would realize it would be better to write a check, send cash, get a gift card to a store without a fee. I might even just make a homemade card to send with the cash, especially for a child, to save myself a few extra dollars.

Thanks for reading my gripe!!

Score!!

April 19th, 2008 at 01:57 pm

I've met my April ebay goal of netting $100 from my sales. The official total is:

$169.00!!

I'm still working on my sales. I have 5 army related items up for sale this week that all are scheduled to sell on Sunday. The question now is for how much?

Do you think I can break $200?

I'm gearing up for a garage sale in early May, so I think for now this will be my final sales week.

I'd love to hear how everyone else is doing on ebay these days. Did anyone make themselves a goal? It has really helped me to get things moving.

Flooding...

April 18th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Yesterday, was a flood of sorts in two ways.

We've received over an inch of rain and expected to get more. As we put our children to bed last night we realized that we were getting water inside...somewhere near the windows. We tried a temporary fix, but it looks that the carpet is pretty wet in one area...about 2 square feet. So I get to move furniture today and pull the carpet back. Yuck!!

We had a good flood yesterday, too. A flood of money!! I received a $58 check for reimbursement on an eye exam I had in January. I paid at the time of visit, but they also sent in insurance. When I got the insurance statement it said I wasn't responsible for the $58. I wrote a letter to the eye doctor at the end of January and forgot about it!! Now a check.

I also had a hit on a craigslist listing. A hamster cage was sold for $15. They came and picked it up right away!

I love floods of money, but could really do without the water floods.

Old Balance: $55.42
Add: $73.00
New Balance: $128.42

Want to do a survey for cash?

April 17th, 2008 at 06:46 pm

I'm signed up with three survey companies that pay cash for completed surveys. I'm with Pinecone Research, Mysurvey, and American Consumer Opinion Poll. The first two pay the best. I think I've only ever received two checks from ACOP.

So if you are interested in paid surveys, click here.
There are 6 pages of companies that pay you to take surveys. Many of them pay in points first and then you can redeem them for cash. This is how Mysurvey works. I have a $30 check on its way right now!!

Pinecone Research is on the list, too. I think for a long time people on the forums were always asking about getting hooked up with them. I haven't been over there quite as often, so I'm not sure what the current trend is. Here's your chance to get in on the action.

P.S. I don't get anything for referring you either. I figured if you need a little extra money, it just might come in handy.

I spend less money when...

April 17th, 2008 at 01:48 am

my husband is out of town. All his costs are covered by the government on his federally issued charge card. Well, there are limits to what he can spend!!

While he's away, I cook simpler meals. I drive fewer places. He's not here to stop at the store and pick up things he wants to add to dinner. We don't use any gasoline to get him to and from work. He drives 60 minutes round trip each day, so that adds up. The TV is on less in the evening. I wash fewer clothes. All less electricity and water. His diet coke habit is included in his travel money...more savings there. The list goes on, but I won't bore you.

I'm just now beginning to notice these things as his job has quite a bit of travel. You'd think I would have noticed when he was deployed! We did save a lot cash that year...mostly because he was making so much more at the time then we were used to...so we just saved it!

Anyone else notice that they spend less when a spouse or significant other is away?

You can use more than one coupon at

April 16th, 2008 at 08:10 pm

...Bed Bath and Beyond. I get mailers all the time from that store for 20% off one item. Sometimes there is the occasional $5 off a purchase of $15 or more. The secret is that you can use one coupon per item. They don't care that you are buying 10 items at once and have 10 coupons. They will accept all 10 during one transaction. They can even be expired!!

Effectively, everything in their store is 20% off...you just need to bring a coupon. Save them and carry them with you. I think I have 6 or 7 in my purse right now!

There will be wedding and graduation gifts, and dorm room supplies to buy...so stock up on the coupons now! If you don't get them in the mail, ask a friend or buy them on ebay.

Have fun saving while you spend!

More Money For...

April 16th, 2008 at 03:16 am

me! I received a Pinecone survey check for $5.00. The deposit from Revolution Money Exchange was deposited into my checking account today, as well. It was for $25.00. In order to verify my account they also deposited two small amounts totalling $0.22!! All for the challenge.

Previous Total $25.20
Add $30.22
New Total $55.42

It sure adds up fast!

We Are On Step Six...I Think

April 15th, 2008 at 03:08 pm

Yes, I'm a little partial to Dave Ramsey. I don't listen to him on the radio as often as I once did. I think he has some valid points as far as getting out of debt and having an emergency fund.

We would be on Baby Step 6, which means we should be paying our house off early. We have our 3-6 months EF, we contribute 15% to retirement and are funding our kids college. So we should be using all our extra dollars to pay off our house. But we are not.

Right now our extra dollars are going to save for a down payment on a van that we will finance. Dave Ramsey wouldn't like that would he? Technically, we don't need a new van, but we will soon. I guess we are tired of driving older vehicles. DR would say I'm being a baby, right?

As far as paying off the house...since we are now full time Army we have the potential of moving every three to five years. How do you pay off a house that way? My goal is just to always have enough cash to put down 20% and pay the realtor if necessary. Even then...maybe we shouldn't be buying a house. Maybe we should rent. I don't like that idea either, but it may be worth a shot next time.

So, I'm on step 5.75!! Not quite to Baby Step 6 on the Dave Ramsey Makeover.

P.S. The van would be used...but new to us. Maybe a Honda or Toyota...2005 or later.

Updates

April 14th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

We had a fabulous time on our anniversary trip. We did some furniture browsing. We ate Cajun style food in a festive restaurant. We were entertained by a comic. Lots of free time to be by ourselves...away from the kids!

Ebay sales this week were awesome. I sold all items I put up for sale!! I don't think that has ever happened to me. Gross sales for the week were $93.35. I will update my April goal amount later when I have the net amounts. I have two people sending money orders. Although that will save me some paypal fees, I have to wait longer to ship the items out. I should learn to be more patient about that.

I found $.10 on the ground while on my mini vacation. I also have redeemed my $25 for opening a Revolution Money Exchange account. It should hit my checking account in a couple of days. I will add it to my challenge money when it gets here.

I have a new page

April 12th, 2008 at 01:01 pm

On the left side bar, I've added a new page for my April Ebay goal. Again, the goal is to net at least $100 with sales on ebay. So far so good. I'm almost to $75.

Overnight, I sold some t shirts. This was a Buy It Now sale. The person pays immediately and then I ship it out. There is no need for the buyer to wait for the auction to end. So, I'm popping it in the mail today before I head out on my anniversary overnight date.

We spend too much money on...

April 12th, 2008 at 02:41 am

wine!

Now we are not alcoholics. But we do like drinking wine on the weekend. I don't even buy the expensive brands. But $10 a week adds up.

Online Garage Sale...

April 11th, 2008 at 04:12 pm

I think of my ebay sales as a online garage sale. I'm not trying to get much more than I would at a garage sale...okay maybe I am!!

Turns out from last weeks sales of 12 items I netted $74.16! That's an average of $6.18 per listing. Definitely nothing to sneeze at.

The nice thing about a online garage sale is that you can have them any time of year. Right now it is cold and rainy here. I'd much rather be inside by my fireplace making sales than in my cold garage.

Now I will be having a garage sale in a couple of weeks and I will enjoy that too. For now, I'm just pleased to be getting rid of some of our stuff. It's all apart of our spring cleaning.

----

On another note, my DH and I will be celebrating our 12th anniversary tomorrow on April 12th. We have never had a honeymoon, so we feel lucky to get to go out of town for one night and spend some time alone together. My sister is coming to stay with the girls.

Yes, it won't be our most frugal anniversary. We have had plenty of those. I'm sure this won't even happen every year. So, I'm really going to enjoy this one!!

Food Scale

April 9th, 2008 at 02:02 pm

My food scale saves me time and money. Want to know why? I use it to weigh my packages I sell on ebay! This scale is a cheap one I bought at Walmart for $9.99 a couple of years ago.

I use it to weigh the package prior to listing. Once I know the weight of the package I visit the US Postal Service website and view their rate chart. This helps me decide what to charge for shipping. I do add a little extra to the shipping to cover my costs for packing tape and envelopes. Knowing the weight of the package ahead of listing the items, saves me the mistake of underestimating shipping an item. That would then cut into my profits on the item itself!

I save so much time by being able to weigh my packages at home. After an item sells, I reweigh the item and pay for shipping through Paypal and print out a paid shipping label from my computer. I could arrange for the post office to pick up the packages, but I drive by the post office everyday on my way to the gym, so I simply drop them off. I do not have to wait in line...AT ALL! I'm the post office for about 20 seconds!

All this because of my food scale!!

A New Earth

April 8th, 2008 at 02:42 am

Has anyone else read the book by Eckhart Tolle called A New Earth? Oprah is doing weekly webcasts with the author. We just finished week six, a discussion of Chapter 6.

I've been enjoying it. Not everyone is ready for the info...so I won't get into it here. Feel free to check it out for yourself. It sure has put me in a place of acceptance for everything...financial, too!

Here's wishing everyone peace and acceptance of where you are now.

$82.01

April 7th, 2008 at 06:10 pm

That's the total of my gross ebay sales for the week! I am shocked. I was amazed at how much people bid for some of my things. People love children's books and brand name clothes. The brand name clothes I sold were only Old Navy and one outfit from Children's Place.

I sold 12 out of my 16 items. One of those has been relisted on behalf of my sister. I also added another 9 items, mostly army gear, for this week. My goal was to profit at least $100 on ebay this month. I think I just might make it!!

----
Update on my cat Liberty: She is doing much better. The vet doesn't know with certainty what she had, but probably got it from our new cat, Riley. Just a couple more days of antibiotic. She eating and drinking like a good kitty, now! Thanks again for your good wishes.

Cleaned Out

April 6th, 2008 at 04:29 pm

Oh, I'm so excited! My daughter's cleaned out their rooms yesterday. They found so much stuff to get rid of.

I did bribe them, though. Money from the sales of these items will go to give them a new bathroom makeover. They are thrilled. Their bathroom is about the only room in the house we haven't done anything with since we moved in 1 1/2 years ago. It needs new paint, a rug, and a shower curtain.

I will sell some things on ebay this month. Everything else and unsold ebay items will go on the garage sale at the beginning of May. We'll have more than enough to makeover the bathroom and then some!!

Here are some of the things they are getting rid of: large ride on pony, throw pillows, doctor kit, stuffed animal, junk toys, leotards, socks, clothes, books, books and books!!

I'll let you know how we make out when it's all sold off.
----
I received a Pinecone survey check yesterday for $5.00

Old Balance $20.20
Add Check $5.00
New Balance 25.20

Honda or Toyota?

April 5th, 2008 at 02:04 pm

Last Saturday, my family went out van shopping with no intention of making a purchase just yet. We test drove two late model vans, the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. Now we drove the higher end of the Honda and the lower end of the Toyota...big price differences. Hard to compare. Both drove great. The Honda seems to have more room. They have similar features.

We have spent the last year looking at Honda Odyssey prices online and in the newspaper. It finally dawned on me that we weren't looking at anything else. It seemed kind of silly not to consider other vans. We have a 1997 Dodge Caravan with over 120K miles on it. It is going to have transmission problems soon. We aren't interested in getting a new Caravan, because of long term quality issues and resale values.

I haven't had a car payment for several years now and we are looking to finance a portion of our purchase. So, I'm taking my sweet time (procrastinating) picking our next van. We looking for at least a 2005 in the $20,000 range. It seems I might get more options with a Toyota for a similar price. Any opinions...Honda or Toyota?

Thanks!!


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