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Archive for August, 2012

How Much Water Can I Use Today?

August 30th, 2012 at 03:39 pm

I'm not going to be frugal with water today. I know a complete opposite post for a savings blog!!

I have to wash sheets for guests this weekend. I bought new towels that need to be washed. Also, a few of the guests are allergic to cats, so I'm washing all the bedding in that room to get it extra cat hair free! I will also do a deep vacuum cleaning in there too. And then close the door until their arrival. It's the least I can do, right?

I should also water the plants so they survive this mini heat wave we are having again. And while I'm at it, I might reach for about 8 glasses of water to drink.

Not exactly frugal, but sometimes it is just what you have to do!

Redeemed Swagbucks for Gift Cards

August 29th, 2012 at 03:45 pm

Today and yesterday I redeemed Swagbucks points for gift cards. I snagged two $5 Amazon gift cards and two $10 Gap gift cards. The Gap gift cards were on sale at Swagbucks for fewer points than usual. They call this a Braggable Bargain. I guess it is since I'm talking about it!

I have quite a few teen neices that these gift cards will be perfect for. Not sure yet, if that is the entire gift, or if I will add more. The last few years I've only given them $15 in cash, which isn't a lot, but they get plenty of gifts, so I think they are fine with it.

I have more Swagbucks I plan to redeem tomorrow. They sure help make Christmas shopping easy and free-er! I will update my Christmas Fund account status in a few days. It's been a good month! You just might be shocked at how much I've earned. Any guesses?

Redeemed MyPoints for Gift Cards

August 28th, 2012 at 04:21 pm

I'm thinking about Christmas already. I decided to pull the trigger and order two different gift cards using the points I've accumulated thus far with MyPoints.

I redeemed 3700 points for a $25 Red Robin gift card and another 1700 points for a $10 BP gift card. Both should arrive in the mail in 4-6 weeks. If I remember correctly, they usually arrive much sooner.

I will add these to my Christmas Fund. I already know who the lucky recipients are. Nice planning if I do say so myself!

I still have another 200 some points and if i accumulate enough for another gift card then good for me. Anyone else a MyPoints member? Have you redeemed anything recently or racked up a huge amount of points?

Collecting Too Much For Escrow

August 27th, 2012 at 07:17 pm

Our first new mortgage payment is coming up in a few days. I was reviewing our mortgage documents and checked our taxes due with the county that are also due on the same day. The amount due is $371. Wells Fargo is estimating taxes to be $1,751. They have collected enough funds to make that payment, too!

I think the escrow account needs to be adjusted. I want our money back!! I sent an email to our mortgage consultant. She may refer me to customer service, but I thought I'd start with her.

Our house is new construction, so I know that our taxes will eventually be a similar amount to what they estimated. But they don't need to hold that much money for over a year!

I would much rather be handling my own escrow account, but it didn't work out that way with this house and lender. I'll let you know when I have that money back in our bank account.

I Hadn't Been Watching

August 26th, 2012 at 04:23 pm

It seems the market is doing okay these days. I just checked out balances and it looks like things are back up. The last time I looked was in June. The S&P 500 year to date return is over 12% since the beginning of the year. Very nice!!

Have you checked your retirement balances recently. Are you happy with where things are headed? You are investing for your retirement right?

Snowflake Jobs

August 24th, 2012 at 06:26 pm

I think I have been doing so well saving up for 2012 Free Christmas because my snowflakes have a job. I read an article by The Family Ceo where she does something similar in several categories. It is kind of a way to budget, too. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Giving Income Streams New Jobs

Another $200

August 22nd, 2012 at 03:29 pm

My husband did some traveling for the Army last month. He was finally paid from the trip. Some went towards the his government card and another $200 came to us. I'm not sure at this point what his actually expenses were that may have come from our accounts originally. Not much, so I guess this is profit!

It has been over two years since he has done much traveling for the military. I don't remember how we handled it before. I'd like to save the profits towards something. I think he'd like it if I suggested another flat screen tv. We can get a deal through his brother who will sell it to us at cost. That goal will help with the motivation and help us put a system in place to track the money.

We are going to lunch today (a date), so I hope to discuss then. Perfect timing, as he is traveling back to our last town, for four days of work! More travel money might be in our future. Smile

Do you ever profit from work traveling? Does the business offer per diem or simple reimbursement of expenses? If you profit, what do you do with the money?

I Forgot About That...

August 21st, 2012 at 02:52 pm

I am not on a good schedule following our finances lately. I sure hope I haven't forgotten to pay a bill. What I did forget was that the automatic loan payment on our truck occurred on Friday.

We paid $29.82 in interest and $299.31 towards the principal. The new loan balance is $10,037.30.

When I saw the balance, I remembered that last month I pondered sending in additional principal to bring the balance under $10K. Obviously, I forgot that too! I'm thankful that we owe less than we did last month.

Now I'm going to cull my email to make sure I haven't missed a notice about a bill that I haven't paid. Smile

Finally!!

August 20th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

The army has finally paid the last of our moving entitlements. This one was for 10 days of hotel expenses, just over $1200. Yippee!!

I get frustrated at how slow and inefficient the system for these travel payments are. It doesn't help that my DH doesn't always fill the travel vouchers out correctly either. You would think he could get it right after 20+ years! I do give him a break on the moving ones, since we have only done that twice now.

We were busy here last week getting the girls ready for school. We only bought 'needs' for school clothes. Bought the supplies on the list. Now for school pictures! I always buy them, because the grandparents really seem to appreciate. I always think I will hang the pictures up, but I never do! I hope this year I will. Smile

Do you buy the school pictures? Do you give the pictures away or just buy for yourself? If you don't buy them, do you do something else?

Toys R Us Coupon

August 14th, 2012 at 09:11 pm

It's nice that I check the Money Saving Mom website today. First I found that deal on haircuts for kids (see previous post) and now $5 off a $5 purchase at Toys R Us. There are quite a few other deals that may interest you on the site as well.

I rarely shop at Toys R Us because it seems their prices are inflated and most of the things my girls want now don't come from toy stores. I did print the coupon off with my nephew in mind. His birthday is next month and he will be visiting me just before.

I did spent just over $4 out of pocket after the coupon was tallied. I purchased three things, primarily Hot Wheels! I hope the gift is a hit. If not, I included a gift receipt.

Nice to have one thing crossed off my list. I likely got him a little more than I would have without the coupon! That makes me happy.

Kids Need A Haircut? Free!!

August 14th, 2012 at 01:51 pm

I noticed in JC Penney's store a couple days ago that kids can get a free haircut in the month of August. You do need to call to schedule an appointment and it is for kids K-6. Here's a link to the Penney's website for more details.

Turns out I already paid to get my girls haircut and they are over the cutoff in age as well. It's all good though. I hope someone else gets a chance to get something for free!

Did you already take advantage of the offer? Tell us about it!

Snowflakes

August 12th, 2012 at 03:05 pm

I have received $6 in Pinecone survey money this month and accumulated over 1700 Swagbucks so far. So the snowflakes are coming along!

I haven't been blogging as much because school activities are ramping up as the school year is set to begin this week. School shopping, orientations, band camp and parent meetings definitely take some time!

The finances are a bit of a mess, but the cash is there and will be cleaned up soon. We are still waiting on a payment from the government for our hotel stay. Fingers crossed it is finally approved and paid this week!

The Utility Bills

August 6th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

We received all of our new utility bills. The phone, internet, basic tv is the worst. It is a combined bill and includes installation and activation fees. It is also prorated for the first month and then the full amount for August. It's nearly $300! It looks like monthly it is about $110, which still seems a bit crazy. We have never paid for 'cable' before. We are a much more rural this time and wanted to make sure we had at least basic reception...which is about $30 a month.

The water was better at about $80. It includes trash, water, sewer and sewer debt (of $18). I would rather pay $18 a month for sewer lines than to do without!!

And the electric bill was not for a full month and it was during the hottest month ever. Well it sure felt like it! It came in at $98.

Now it's time to pay them. And figure out which paycheck I should/can pay them from going forward. Time to budget!!

First Snowflake for August

August 3rd, 2012 at 02:21 pm

We sold all of our moving boxes to a craigslist buyer last night for $75 cash. The couple is moving into a house pretty close to us. It's a local move for them, but they need to store their things for about a month before their house will be ready to move into.

So I guess this qualifies as our first snowflake for August! And we have met our Christmas fund goal of $750. Our new total is $757.86. I expect to keep adding to the fund until shopping begins!

Ebates

August 2nd, 2012 at 03:12 pm

We purchased two ceiling fans online to match some that were installed in our house. The girls feel a little stuffy in their room without fans. It's pretty typical for us to have to add them in all the homes we have been in. I've even installed one all by myself before!

I attempted to use ShopatHome, but there was not rebate with them for the site I was using. I used Ebates for the first time. I used a coupon for 12% off, and then ebates offered $5 for a sign up bonus and a rebate of 5%. I also used our Chase card that will give another 1% back. On what have been a nearly $300 purchase, I saved $56.49!!

I will add the rebate money to our Christmas fund. I'm expecting $75 today when we sell our moving boxes to a craigslist buyer. I'll add that to the fund as well.

Do you use Ebates or ShopatHome for your online purchases? What is your best online saving tip for shopping?

No Mortgage Payment

August 2nd, 2012 at 12:16 am

Well, no mortgage payment is due this month since we closed at the beginning of last month. We already paid the interest that was due when we closed. Next month our mortgage payment will be about $1300.

If I was smart and thought it would work I'd make an extra principal payment, but it seems when you move there are so many things to buy! I'd rather hold on to that cash for now.

So far we have purchased blinds, paint, queen mattress and bedding (for guests), a drill, and a high speed router. Tomorrow we have a water softener being intalled. We will rent that, since don't know if we could recoup the upfront cost while we live here. I dislike the extra payment, but I'm sure I can set up on billpay and not think too much more about it!

For now I'll just enjoy the lack of paying a bank for another month! What would you do? Make a payment, partial payment or enjoy a mortgage free month?