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Archive for September, 2012

Interest For September

September 30th, 2012 at 02:52 pm

Wow! I can't believe that September is behind us. This year is flying by. It was a good month for interest on our money market where we earned $34.88. This was the first full month our house proceeds were included in the earnings.

I'll take it, but I do wish interest rates for earning on our money were higher. Smile

More Sales

September 28th, 2012 at 08:02 am

I did drive back to my old neighborhood yesterday for the day to participate in the garage sale. I went primarily for the time with friends. And it was a great time, but the time went much too fast!! Turns out we didn't have as much traffic as usual. It could be because of road construction on the main road nearby, or that the signs weren't placed where I usually put them!?

I made a whopping $20! Only enough to really break even on the gas...if that. However, I have added this sale money to my Christmas Snowflake Fund.

I also made a Ebay sale with a Buy It Now option. My net profit is $12.54. This is snowflake money, too!!

I will wrap up my earnings for the month after my final ebay sales are in on Sunday night. It looks to have been a great month for accumulating snowflakes.

I did bring quite a few garage sale items home. Many would be good canidates for craigslist. Now to get motivated on those!! The rest will be donated to Goodwill before the end of the year.

More Snowflakes

September 26th, 2012 at 10:21 am

Over the course of the last week, I have added some more snowflakes to our ever growing Christmas Fund. I may seriously have to start moving some of the money to our truck loan, because I don't think I need this much money for Christmas!! And, of course, that is all a good thing.

I've added a $10 JC Penney gift card earned through Swagbucks, $4.73 from a Half.com sale, and my Sunday ebay sale netted $8.39. I expect to add some garage sale proceeds (big day is tomorrow) this month, but so far September has brought in $173.86. Smile

Total snowflakes for the Christmas fund are now at $1025.72. Isn't it amazing how small amounts of cash over a course of 9 months can add up?

Ebay Update

September 25th, 2012 at 06:56 am

I did sell two pairs of girls jeans on ebay this last week. My other 4 items did not sell. I relisted three. One now has a bid! I think after fees I will have just under $9 to add to the Christmas Fund. Or the truck loan (it may be time to switch gears!).

I will spend today pulling and pricing garage sale items. I am making a two hour trip back to my old neighborhood for the day to hang with good friends and maybe sell a few items. I'm really focusing on the friendship aspect of the whole thing. Financially it isn't the best way to profit from a garage sale considering the price of gas and the limited amount of things I have to sell!

Cancelled Our Slate Card

September 24th, 2012 at 01:29 pm

Yep. We activated and cancelled the credit card all in one day. When my husband activated the card today he asked for balance transfer checks. He was told they would not be available for the account for three months. Not sure why.

He explained we were transfering a balance from our auto loan to the card. The customer service agent said he could help us over the phone or we could transfer online. Since my husband was on his lunch break he picked online to keep the call shorter.

I took over after the activation and set up the online account. I looked for transferring the balance and could tell it seemed to only be for credit cards. We don't have credit card balances!!

I sent an email inquiry to customer service who have now responded to let us know that unsecured and secured loans (auto loans, student loans, and home equity lines) cannot be paid off with this card. Boo! Hiss!

I guess I'm not too savvy with this credit cards stuff as I'd like to think...or Chase just didn't make it very clear. I guess it is all good. I will just keep paying down the truck loan as originally planned.

We would have saved over $300 in interest by changing to zero percent and having it paid off in 15 months. I like to find a way to offset that money...maybe by applying for a card offer with a bonus would be the better way to go!

Are any of you surprised by this turn of events? I feel kind of silly.

Received Our Slate Card

September 23rd, 2012 at 05:22 pm

We received our Chase Slate card in the mail this weekend. My husband will be activating it shortly. We will be requesting balance transfer checks soon, too.

Chase gave us a $7,500 credit limit, so we will be able to transfer nearly all of the truck loan balance to this card. It has 0% for 15 months and it is free to transfer balances. Yes...free. Otherwise, I wouldn't be transfering this money at all!

This offer is available for anyone to apply on the Chase website. No guarantee of your acceptance of course. It's really only good if you are paying interest on a credit card or loan and you can pay the charges off in the 15 months. Of course, if you can get a reprieve from any interest for 15 months and move the money for free it may be worth...I'll let you do that math!

I'll let you know how this transfer all works out and how the loan balance reduces to zero...super fast!!

A Slush Fund

September 20th, 2012 at 08:57 am

We have a slush fund. Not sure where I got that term. Maybe Dave Ramsey.

For us a slush fund is stash of cash in our second account that is a bit seperate from our emergency fund. We don't touch the emergency fund, unless it is an emergency (or we can pay ourselves back in like 12 seconds)!

My husband is paid twice per month. Each paycheck is allocated to bills, investments, $900 cash for groceries, gas and miscellaneous. Left over cash gets put towards our goal...which is the truck now! It basically comes down to a zero based budget...every dollar goes somewhere.

However, I don't track every budget category known to man. It's too much work! So sometimes we do spend more than our paycheck, or more than that $900 that I allocate to variable expenses for the pay period.

Where does that extra money come from? The slush fund. I just transfer what money I need from there from time to time. Sometimes it's less than $20, sometimes it is more. The slush fund only have a few hundred dollars in it. If it gets down to zero or close to it, then I add some funds from a paycheck. Right now that would mean a little less to send into the truck loan.

We do pretty well keeping our spending within the limit we have given ourselves, but is nice to have a slush fund to dip into for those expenses that one doesn't always forsee.

Do you have a slush fund? Do you keep it in cash, another account, or right with your other funds?

Introducing Our Money Blog

September 18th, 2012 at 01:16 pm

I'm starting another blog, over at Blogger. I'm primarily doing this so that Google will be more likely to approve this blog here on SavingAdvice for Google Adsense! They denied me the first round. Frown

The new blog has four posts at the moment. I copied, pasted, edited and published posts I have on my sidebar here. The content seemed like a good place to start that blog with.

Please come visit me over at Our Money Blog. I hope that this might be a great way to start telling our financial story from the beginning. A place that I might be more likely to share with people I actually know in real life.

Thanks for visiting me there! But don't worry, I'll be here too. You can't get rid of me too fast. Smile

Less Debt!!

September 18th, 2012 at 07:21 am

I can officially report we have less debt. The truck loan balance is now $7,897.12! We made our 2012 goal to get under $8K. Smile

We were able to get the balance down with a lump sum principal payment of $1,840 and our regular payment, of which $300.18 was principal reduction.

We have applied and were approved for the Chase Slate credit card that currently has 0% interest for 15 months and free (yes free) balance transfers. Once the card comes in the mail we will request a balance transfer check to pay off this loan. We will have no problem paying the additional balance off in 15 months since we plan to make minimum payments of $559 each month. I would guess we will find additional money to throw at the loan as well to be done much sooner. And no additional interest!!!

Anyone else apply for the Chase Slate card to lower your interest? You can find the offer on the Chase website if want to reduce your interest rate on your own debt.

Getting Ebay Listings Ready

September 16th, 2012 at 03:24 pm

I'm getting several more items ready to list on ebay this evening. I have found the boxes, envelopes and packing materials. I have taken pictures. I have weighed the items. I'm even charging a battery on one of them!

I never did get any items up on craigslist this weekend. Darn...the next three weekends are going to be busy too! Band competitions are about to become our world. Smile I may still get the items up tonight.

Just checked on the listing that has yet to sell tonight and see someone is now watching it. Only three hours left. If it doesn't sell I'm going to relist and lower the price.

While I was researching ebay sales, I saw that there is a seller called jenniferscollegefund. Clever. And a nice way to focus where that money goes, too. Want to share your ebay name, or tell a clever one you have seen?

Ebay Proceeds to Christmas Fund

September 15th, 2012 at 08:24 am

I made $96.63 this week with Ebay sales. That is profit after the fees! I will also be putting a few more things up this Sunday, as well as, likely relisting an item from this week that seems to be overpriced.

I received a $3 payment from Pinecone Surveys this week, too!

All those funds have been transferred to my bank account and added to the Christmas Fund...which is now over $1000. Based on last years spending, this is way more than I need to fund Christmas. I hope that means I can set the extra aside for Vacation...or maybe that truck loan will need another payment.

Little amounts add up over time! What ways are you making small amounts of cash to meet your goals?

Big Principal Payment to Truck Loan!!!

September 14th, 2012 at 10:26 am

I mentioned yesterday that the escrow refund check arrived in the mail and that I was pondering applying it to our truck loan. Well, I ponder no more. I just made an online payment towards the loan in the amount of $1840!

It will arrive and be applied Monday along with our regular payment, thus I will estimate our principal balance to be approximately $8,197.30. That's before the regular payment, which will put us under $8K!

I will post again once the payment is applied and I update the sidebar. Wow. No regrets on that. I'm ready to be done with this loan!!

We will begin adding at least $230 extra per month to this loan, which is how much our mortgage payment was reduced because the escrow account was not correct. With our regular payment, that makes a total payment of $559 every month. I'm pretty sure we can find more money each month, too. We just have to keep our "new house" spending low!

Money in the Mail

September 13th, 2012 at 03:20 pm

The escrow check from Wells Fargo arrived today! Over $1800 that I'm pretty sure just needs to go to pay down that truck loan. I'm going to mull it over a bit more this evening.

The $25 Red Robin gift card I redeemed from MyPoints arrived today too. The other gift card, $10 BP, arrived on Monday. I have already counted this money in the Christmas money.

I did make another ebay sale!! The item I added Tuesday night sold last night and I mailed it today. It looks like I have netted over $97 on five items. One is still listed...and while it has been viewed, no one is watching it. I would guess I have it priced to high.

It is fun to see money coming in the mail, even if it is expected. Did you get any money in the mail or your bank account today?

Vet Expenses

September 12th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I went to our new vet. Office visit was $37.50. The vet diagnosed our kitty with a UTI and prescribed two weeks worth of antibiotic. One week of the antibiotic is $25. Today, I paid $64.25 total since there is tax on the prescription.

He wants me to come by next week for the other strip of antibiotics, since he was hesitant in prescribing it in the first place...couldn't feel her bladder (she is overweight) and could not extract anything. "If she's worse...then we'll need to do something else anyway." said the vet.

I sure hope he doesn't charge me such a hefty fee for another office visit if I only need the rest of the antibiotic.

Pet care adds up fast. Glad I have cash to pay for it!

Going to the Vet

September 12th, 2012 at 09:06 am

My youngest (age 5) kitty is going to the vet this afternoon. That is her in the sidebar picture. She's not using the litter box, but my dirty laundry to pee in! Ugh. I cleaned out the litter box, and removed the top, she's now going in there every few minutes, but I'm not seeing much of anything there.

I'm guessing a UTI. She has a 2pm appointment with her new vet...who works just three doors down from our house. I'm thinking of walking her there on the leash, but probably won't since she isn't used to long leash walks...just a lap or two around in the yard really. Instead she will need to get in her kennel. Not that she will like that.

Fingers crossed she heals well and that the fee is inexpensive. Smile

Minus One Plus One

September 11th, 2012 at 06:55 pm

Sold another item!! I love these Buy It Now Ebay buyers. Smile I will drop it in the mail tomorrow. After that sale, I'm netting $67.16 on four items!!!!!

So with one item left, I decided to add another listing tonight. It is also a Buy It Now listing. I expect it should sell pretty quickly, too.

I have a few other, possibly less profitable items, to list on Sunday ready to go also.

A very good round of Ebay this week makes me happy. What makes you happy?

Gee....Sold Two More Items

September 10th, 2012 at 05:49 pm

I sold two more items today on ebay. Obviously, they were sold with a Buy It Now option, which was the more expensive option for the buyer. And a little more profit for me!!

I only have two items left. I'm sure one will sell. The other is a little iffy. However, I might relist with a lower price if it doesn't sell this week.

I will attempt to pull some more items out this week that can be sold and have them ready to list on Sunday. I'll try to make a several week cycle of ebay sales.

I will also be putting a few things on craigslist this weekend. A tube tv, a coffee maker, and a stereo receiver.

My old neighbors (and really good friends) are having a garage sale in my old town at the end of the month. We did garage sale together for the last five years I think. I'm interested in going mostly for the social aspect. Any profits I make would hopefully help cover the cost of gas. I will be traveling close to two hours each direction. Luckily, one of them would put me up for the night if I decide to stay over. Decisions, decisions.

That the selling status update from here!

Sold One Item

September 10th, 2012 at 05:59 am

I already sold an item on ebay. Remember how I mentioned Box Tops for Education several months back? That's what I sold. A simple buy it now transaction. I haven't added up my proceeds, but likely close to $10. Not bad for a little bit of paper and limited work.

My biggest advice for selling on ebay...consider everything as a possible ebay item. Take the time to look up the completed listings to see if anyone has sold the item recently and for how much. It only takes a moment to check!

What is the most unusal or profitable item you have sold on ebay in the past?

Selling On Ebay Again

September 8th, 2012 at 08:16 am

I pulled out about 5 items yesterday that I should be able to easily sell on ebay. I took pictures, found boxes and packaging, weighed the items, and did research for starting price.

I will upload my items this Sunday evening for 7 day auctions. Some will be fixed priced and may sell earlier. Smile

I did notice that Halloween costumes are starting to be bought and sold. I have one I bought new for $50 Crazy, I know. I bought it knowing I could recoup more than half the cost on ebay. I will start the bidding at $29 and hope for a bit more.

What else do you think sells well this time of year? Anyone else selling on ebay right now? If not, join me, and lets make some money on our clutter!!

Tax Return Preview

September 7th, 2012 at 08:26 am

I did a rough estimate of our taxes for 2012. We have more income, less real estate taxes, and less interest on our mortgage(s)....so it looks like we will owe under $300 to the IRS this spring.

Sure, I do kind of want a refund, but I can handle that! Do you estimate your taxes before the end of year so you aren't surprised come tax day? Do you know where you stand today? Should you have more or less withheld to help ease the burden? Go estimate today!

Already More Snowflakes on My Snowball

September 6th, 2012 at 10:26 am

As I've mentioned before, I'm collecting small bits of cash, primarily from non-income/free sources to pay for Christmas 2012. I call these snowflakes.

I received notification of a deposit from Ebates into my paypal account. The amount was $18.11!! The rebate is from a purchase of two ceiling fans.

I also received $3 from Pinecone from completing a survey for them yesterday.

I'm transferring that cash to my bank account where I'm keeping track of all the Christmas money I have thus far.

And if I haven't mentioned it, I already redeemed $20 worth of Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards this month!! I am only 15 away from redeeming one more.

I hope to get some things listed on ebay or craigslist this weekend. That cash will go to pay for Christmas as well!

It's practically a snowstorm around here! How is your Christmas Fund?

Fat Escrow Account Addressed

September 5th, 2012 at 05:44 am

I heard back from Wells Fargo today. I did have to email customer service as Petunia 100 suggested. Our lending consultant never returned my email, which is fine. It probably isn't her job to handle those adjustments.

I indicated to them that our escrow account and payment was much too high considering taxes for the next year are very low.

Our payment will change from $1313.61 to $1083.56. A savings of $230.05 per month. There is an excess of funds in our escrow account in the amount of $1,840.33. I have requested they mail this money back to us. I know that the taxes will increase next year. I will likely hold the escrow money for when the taxes are increased.

However, it's our money! We should earn the interest on it, even if it is a small amount.

I do like how prompt they were in reviewing the account. I'm glad I can make the request and adjustments when necessary! It's almost like handling own escrow. Almost.

Now what to do with the payment savings? I'm thinking the truck loan might just need to benefit! Smile

House Proceeds Update

September 4th, 2012 at 07:20 am

About two weeks ago, I finally moved the proceeds from our house sale to our money market account. Of course, it was a very simple transfer.

We are earning 1.35% on the money, as a special offer from FNBO Direct. Along with the other money in the account we earned a whopping $17.05 in August. It's something that is better than nothing.

Are you earning a good interest rate on your savings? How much? And where?

Snowflakes from August

September 2nd, 2012 at 02:45 pm

I've been adding small amounts of money since the beginning of the year, which I refer to as snowflakes, towards our Christmas Fund. As of August 31, the balance of our fund is $856.86!! My goal was $750 and we have surpassed that this month.

Here's where the money came from this month:


Can you believe it? $174 in one month!!

We also have accumulated reward points on a debit and credit card that so far could be redeemed for cash in the amount of $152.75. I have yet to redeem so that cash is not included in our snowflake total.

This snowball is rolling! And there will be no need to worry about money for Christmas gifts. Smile