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Archive for December, 2010

Adding to the Year End List

December 31st, 2010 at 07:30 pm

I accomplished everything on the list yesterday. Well one could always clean more. And I might.

In additon to yesterday's list, I took down the outside holiday lights and all decorations except tree and lights. Right. No ornaments are left on. Tomorrow it will be down until next year.

Today, since my guests have postponed their trip here because of ice, I will list a few more year end tasks to accomplish.

1)Clean out baskets of paper near my desk.

2)Write thank you notes.

3)Bake chocolate chip bars(because the diet starts in three days).

4)Write and send card to my husband.

5)Mend two items.

6)Okay...more cleaning. Vacuum lower level.

7)After the market closes today...record investment balances! Smile At least they will be up from last year.

Enjoy the day and the beginnings of a new year!

My Year End List

December 30th, 2010 at 07:14 pm

My year end list of things to do today and tomorrow.

1) Pack up a few more items to take to Goodwill. The girls found about 6 CD's and 2 DVD's they are done with. I checked online and they are only worth about a dime a piece...so off they go to charity. We also found four pairs of mittens, some new but too small. Smile

2) Make a final donation towards our charity.

3) Rabies shots for the cats.

4) Basic cleaning. It's just nice to start the year fresh.

Last Van Payment of 2010

December 29th, 2010 at 04:24 pm

Payday came early because of the end of the year holidays. I couldn't help but make another principal payment on our van loan in the amount of $1356.

New Van Balance: $1,643

As you might imagine, we should have this paid off in about 2 weeks! I'm really looking forward to that. Smile

Very Ready for A New Year

December 27th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

We have completed our Christmas celebrations and travels. It was a fabulous time, but it feels good to get home. Luckily, no weather worries on my travel days.

I have put away a majority of the gifts. The girls have to put their own away. Right now it is all sitting on the stairs to clue them in that the items need to go to their rooms. I have broken down packaging for recycling and trash. I will put away the gift bags, boxes and bows before bed tonight.

The tree and decorations will come down on New Years Day. I will have guests (my dad) that can actually lift the tree back down to the basement. That will be a big help.

I'm also ready for a new year financially. I'm want to calculate our financial results for 2010. Then I will start tracking the new goals for 2011. Yipee!!

2011 Financial Goals

December 23rd, 2010 at 03:34 am

I think I mentioned some of our goals in November, but here they are again in a little more detail.

1) Save maximum in Roth IRA's = $10,000
2) Save 9% of basic pay in TSP
3) Save for college = $4,000
4) Pay off van loan, beginning balance = $1,643
5) Save truck downpayment = $12,000
6) Save cash for two vacations
7) Evaluate possible Roth conversion

The contribution to the TSP is up 2% from 2010 because of the reduction in payroll taxes. The college contribution is increased because we expect to save the full year. However, I will need to open 529 accounts for the girls. We are currently in Coverdale Educational Savings accounts and the maximum has been reduced to $500 per year beginning in 2011. That is not enough for us.

The payoff on the van will be easy considering how well we have done so far. I hope to pay it off by mid January!! Then we'll save for about 4 months towards a new to us truck. Then we'll save for vacations to take place in the middle of the year.

It should be fun to see what 2011 brings! Tell me what goals you have for next year.

2010 Taxes: Donations Entered

December 22nd, 2010 at 02:06 am

I made our last non cash donation to Goodwill today. I have already entered all the items donated in the last year to my tax program. The total value, based on thrift shop values, is $1098!!

Wow! It sure didn't seem like that much stuff, but it will offset the amount of taxes we pay by a little bit.

I'm going to add in each tax form as I receive it this year, with hopes that many of them will be available online by the middle of January. My husband's W2 will not be available until January 24th, but it would be nice if that is the last form I need. I would then be able to file by early February!

Another $10

December 21st, 2010 at 06:56 pm

I filled a prescription yesterday at Target and redeemed a coupon for a $10 gift card. I'm not sure when I expect to use it. I might just see how long I can hold on to it!

I'm spending the day baking breads to give as gifts. It smells yummy in here!

I'm also going to make a run to goodwill with some final donations. Turns out the items I listed last week on craigslist did not sell. Again. So it is time to just let go.

2010 Ebay Challenge - Final

December 20th, 2010 at 03:25 am

Here are the final numbers for my ebay challenge. The goal was to earn an average of $100 per month selling items our household no longer used on ebay, garage sales, craiglists and online sites that pay cash.

2010 Ebay Challenge Totals
January: $201.89
February: $46.40
March: $55.50
April: $4.74
May: $265.99
June: $0
July: $0
August: $3.04
September: $23.95
October: $217.00
November: $71.90
December: $28.20

Total sales: $918.61
Monthly average: $76.55

I did not meet my goal for 2010. I had the same goal in 2009 and did not meet it then either. My average in 2009 was $56.48. Sooo....I beat my average from last year by $20 per month!!! Yipee. I'll take improvement.

I think I'll keep the same goal for 2011 and see what happens. The garage sales seemed to be my biggest money makers and I expect to have only one, instead of two.

Income Tax Estimates

December 19th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Let me just say it: Oops!

Earlier in the year I estimated our federal refund as well as our state return. Um. I did it wrong. And not in our favor.

I thought we would get a refund of $2870 and owe our state about $50. Turns out I forgot to include some of the money I rolled over to a Roth IRA, almost $6,000!

So...we'll still likely get a refund of about $1872, but owe the state about $500. Instead of net $2820, we'll net, $1372. That's a difference of $1448. Darn.

I suppose there is a possiblity that I did this last calculation wrong. It is an estimate and likely to change slightly.

Is anyone else already estimating their tax return? Or is it just me?

Social Secuity Payroll Tax Reduced

December 18th, 2010 at 03:21 pm

It's official. The amount deducted from your paycheck for social security will be reduced from 6.2% to 4.2%. Obviously, this is a good thing for your paycheck. I'm not so sure how it is good for the social security program.

For us, that is about $115 more per month. My husband's basic military pay will also increase by 1.4% in the new year. It's a lower raise than in the past, however, we are grateful for any raise at all. Not everyone is so lucky.

I will be working on figuring out how our pay will change in the new year. Once I know the dollar change, I need to figure out how to allocate it to meet our goals in the next year. I like that!

What plans do you have for your social security tax savings?

$25 Target Gift Card

December 17th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

I redeemed points from MyPoints for a $25 Target gift card. I shop at Target often, since it is so close to my house. It's actually a SuperTarget and I buy my groceries there. The gift card will be used for normal purchases, or maybe a gift for a January birthday (if it arrives in time).

Or I could really try hard not to spend it until next Christmas. Wow. That would be impressive! At any rate, I like free money. Smile

Needed New Modem

December 17th, 2010 at 04:35 pm

My modem died yesterday. I had to buy a new one since I'm addicted to the internet. I mean I had to buy it because it is my primary means of communication with my husband.

I think I might have been a bit mislead by my internet provider. I bought a $90 modem/router combination. I still hooked it up to my current router so I didn't have to connect directly to my laptop. It was very easy to set up and I'm back online, so I'm not going to complain too much. I just think I might have been able to use something less expensive.

Another Van Loan Update!!

December 16th, 2010 at 07:31 pm

Our regular van payment posted today bringing our loan balance below $3K. It seems like a great place to end the year. My original plan was to pay it off by the end of the year, but I'd say we got pretty close.

New Balance: $2,999

I'm having computer issues, so may not be connected for awhile. Just thought some of you would want to know. Of course, I'll be working like crazy to get working right very soon. It is my primary connection to DH!!

We did it, We did it!!

December 15th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

One of our goals for 2010 was to increase our emergency fund by $7,000. And we did it!!

I just transferred the last $61.68 to finish it up. It's the first thing I did this morning after pouring my cup of coffee. It feels so good to set a goal and reach it. Yipee!!

New Goal Balance = $7,000

And that's all I have to say about that. Done!

I Couldn't Wait

December 14th, 2010 at 06:33 pm

Payday is tomorrow. The paycheck is pending in our bank account. I went online today and authorized an extra principal payment to the van loan for $952!!

This brings our balance to: $3,478!!

I believe once our regular payment hits we will be below $3K. Wow! If you really want to see how much extra we've put towards this loan since July of this year, click on my sidebar.

Just Waiting for Payday

December 14th, 2010 at 01:13 am

I'm looking forward to DH's payday. And it is not because there is no money. I actually have $45 that could be spent, but I don't think I need anything!

Payday means we finish up that emergency fund. It also means we make our regular van payment and an additional van loan payment. I love to see those balances change.

Payday is just two days away! Do you have big plans for your next payday?

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On a side note: I posted three items on craigslist tonight. I'm keeping them up for one week. If they don't sell, we are donating them. They have all been up on craigslist before with no luck. Fingers crossed this time!

Ebay Sales!!

December 13th, 2010 at 02:31 am

I sold two items on ebay this evening. I relisted the item that did not sell. It had five watchers...maybe someone will buy it later.

Total sales: $18.75

Ebay is a pretty good deal right now since there are no fees to list. You only pay fees if the item sells. I like that!

Redemption

December 11th, 2010 at 07:18 pm

I redeemed enough points from MySurveys today for $15 to be deposited into my Paypal account in the next 10 days. It seems the number of surveys are increasing from what they have been in the last couple years. I noticed this with Pincone, too.

I have three items on ebay that end tomorrow. One will sell and likely the other two, but I have to wait to see. A little extra cash is always a good thing!

Surprise Deposit

December 9th, 2010 at 01:31 pm

We bank with USAA and they provide their members a refund of premiums each year in December. It always surprises me! This year the deposit was $38.64, which is up from last year.

I'm adding this money to our escrow account for routine expenses. We were running a little low...now we are not!

I've noticed that several retailers are sending coupons in emails. I just received $5 from Hallmark towards any purchase. And I think I have one from another retailer, too. I tend to find an item worth the amount on the coupon and nothing else, so the item is essentially free.

Made a Goodwill Run

December 8th, 2010 at 08:19 pm

I made a stop at Goodwill today with one very large box and a smaller box of clothing, shoes, books and household items. Much of it came straight from our closets. I also went through the garage sale pile. Nearly all that went to Goodwill, too.

I'm positive I will make at least one more trip there by the end of the year. We itemize our taxes and make sure to include our non cash donations. If you do also, don't forget to get a receipt!

I noticed the drop off line is much shorter at this time of year. Just wait a few weeks and it will be crazy!!

More Interest to EF

December 7th, 2010 at 01:13 pm

I just happened to check the Savings Deposit Statement for our interest earnings. I was expecting the interest to show once every three months. Turns out I missed two months of accruing interest!

SDP interest earned: $166.67

Guess where I'm adding this? The emergency fund goal!!

New EF Goal Balance: $6938.32

So very very close!!

Jingle Cash

December 6th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I ended up at Walgreen's today for Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chips for holiday baking. They were on sale with a coupon for $1.79. I also had a coupon for $1.25 off three. And I bought three. While there I picked up two rolls of wrapping paper for $1.99.

I spent a little over $7, with one other item added in, and ended up with $10 in Jingle Cash to use next week!! Per their ad, I didn't qualify for Jingle Cash, so I'll just call it my lucky day. Maybe the person prior spent over $50 and just didn't get their coupon.

I hope I can use it wisely on something I might need anyway. One daughter is doing a gift exchange at school and will need a small gift. There are always a few needed items that come up this time of year.

Anyone else end up with free money?

Ebay Listings

December 6th, 2010 at 02:24 am

I just put three items up on ebay. I didn't think I'd actually get around to it, but I did!!

I think getting out the Christmas decorations, got me into an organizing and cleaning mode. I have two large boxes of things for Goodwill and will go through my garage sale boxes to see if there is any more to donate.

I'm positive that I won't spend my free time putting a garage sale together this spring when I will have my DH to spend time with! As a result, I might as well donate now and be done with the stuff.

Is anyone else decluttering?

No Snow Here

December 4th, 2010 at 09:37 pm

All the snow everyone else is getting missed me. And I'm thankful. Everyday of winter that goes by where I don't have to shovel snow is good for me since I'd have to do the scooping myself. I do have a snowblower, but I'm not a big fan of it. It would be really nice if it could at least until after Christmas traveling. Wishful thinking. One can wish right?

We have put up our holiday decorations. We actually had my husband direct where he wanted a couple of ornaments to be hung on the tree when we talked on Skype today. It was nice to have him participate even in a small way.

I'm very close to having Christmas shopping done. Maybe another $20 worth of gifts to buy. I had to buy Christmas lights today. The ones that worked last year would only light up 2/3 of the bulbs. I tried changing fuses with no luck. The cost $7. We are about to make another run to Target...fingers crossed I can keep the spending low there. Smile

Under $4500!!

December 2nd, 2010 at 02:09 pm

I made a principal payment on our van loan today. Just a little payment of $1100. I know! Not so little really.

New Balance: $4,430

Oh, this is starting to feel really good!! More updates to come on this later in December. Smile

EF Goal Progress

December 1st, 2010 at 12:45 pm

It's payday...so I'm adding $215 to our emergency fund goal. The money market account earned a mere $5.36, which is actually up from last month!

New Balance: $6771.65

The goal is to save $7,000 by year end. We should make it, since we only need $228.35. Yipee!!