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Archive for November, 2012

Payday...So Less Debt on Truck!

November 30th, 2012 at 07:53 pm

Today I made another principal payment towards our truck loan! I sent in a total of $291.40, with $61.35 being the amount I would expect our payroll tax to increase in January. Might as well not throw it away this last month. January 1 it is going back to the government. In our case this will first show on our January 15 paycheck.

Our new truck loan balance is $6,227.64. Hooray!!

We are waiting for $539 rewards check from Chase which as I've mentioned will go straight to truck principal. We will have one more regular payment this year of which about $310 will go to principal. And after I'm done Christmas shopping the excess snowflakes are getting sent in too! I'm hoping for several hundred from that. Smile

The Gift I Made & Another $25 Snowflake

November 30th, 2012 at 02:17 pm

I made my 3 year old niece an apron for Christmas. It was easy and will look so cute on. She is also getting a cake mix and frosting. She loves to help her mommy bake. I spent $3.97 for one yard of fabric at Walmart. I only used about half, maybe less. I had the elastic used in the neck strap, as well as, the thread and Velcro.



I quickly accumulated 595 Swagbucks this morning doing a Credit Sesame offer and finishing a big survey from yesterday. This brought my total to 2500, which I promptly redeemed for $25 in PayPal cash. I'm counting this as my last snowflake for the season even though I won't receive the cash for two weeks.

I'll be back soon with my final snowflake total! Anyone else want to guess the total? Frugal Texan made a guess in my previous post.

Another Snowflake for November

November 30th, 2012 at 12:34 am

I participated in a Pinecone Survey yesterday. Today I received my $3 payment in my PayPal account. Yes! Another snowflake to wrap up nearly a year of savings.

The end of the month came fast. I checked out bank account today and was surprised that DH paycheck was pending in the account. Since the first is on Saturday, he gets paid the day before...and that is tomorrow already. That will mean I need to pay some bills soon...and some more principal on that truck loan, too!

I've been busy sewing this week. A long overdue project that I promised my girls is finally complete, in addition to a small repair and a hem on a dress. I'm also making an apron for my 3 year old niece. I will finish it tonight. These projects have kept me busy and out of the stores. No extra spending is always good!

As I said in my previous post, I will do a final tally of my snowflakes very soon! Anyone want to guess my final total for the year? Just for fun.

Losing Track...Must Be A Blizzard!

November 28th, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I'm losing track of which snowflakes I've written about on the blog this month. I guess it's like a blizzard when you can see two inches in front of you. I did get a $5 gift card at Target for buying lotion last week.

Swagbucks posted a $10 Gap gift card that I redeemed earlier this month. I have 1700 Swagbucks that I should redeem toward something. I think I will see what I can accumulate in the next two days, then after my November bonus bucks post on December 5th, I will redeem for more PayPal cash that I can put towards the truck loan!

I will be taking a Swagbucks break for the month of December, except for the redemption mentioned above. It has been consuming too much time. It's been worth it to get the cash and gift cards for Christmas gifts, but I do want to spend time with my family and not online! I will get back on in January to begin my 2013 Free Christmas challenge.

I hope to have a final snowflake challenge update soon. I also hope I can backtrack and see what I actually spent of the snowflakes. I'm starting to shop and it's getting complicated since I have several buckets of money! I'll do my best.

Anyone have their final tally for Christmas snowflakes yet? Are you still accumulating? Do you want to join the challenge in the new year?

$50 Arrived & Another Gift Bought

November 25th, 2012 at 09:40 pm

The $50 I redeemed from Swagbucks arrived right before the holiday in my PayPal account. I used $16 of it to buy my daughter a college football shirt since she grew out of the one she had. The rest? I'm still deciding. I don't think I need it for Christmas shopping, so it really should go to the truck loan.

I did shop on Black Friday. We went to Scheel's. We no longer live in a town with this store and I had a $12+ store credit to use. I bought my dad a pair of Smart Wool socks, since he mentioned the evening before that he could use a pair and they were on sale for $12.99! That deal worked out well.

We spent some money this weekend, but it mainly fuel and food for our out of town trip to visit family. It was well worth it, since we had a great time.

Did you shop on Black Friday? Or did you do a no spend day that day?

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22nd, 2012 at 01:56 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Saving Advice friends! I'm thankful for you and all that you bring to this site. Enjoy your day of gratitude.

New Truck Loan Balance

November 20th, 2012 at 02:40 pm

Our regular payment on the truck was processed yesterday. We paid $20.57 in interest. The remaining payment of $308.56 was applied to the principal balance.

Our new truck loan balance is $6,519.04!!

Later this month, I expect to receive our rewards check from Chase in the amount of $539. It will, of course, be applied to the principal balance. That means by the end of the month we will be below $6K. A milestone I wasn't expecting when the year started.

It's amazing where you can find money for debt when you think outside the box and explore options. Will your debt balances be up or down by the end of the year?

Chase Rewards=Less Debt Soon & Oops!

November 19th, 2012 at 05:38 pm

We met our $3000 threshold for spending on the Chase Sapphire card in my name about two weeks ago. The statement finally closed and credited us 40,000 bonus points this morning.

I quickly paid the card off. And then went to redeem the points for cash. Actually outstanding points was 53,900. Part of the points came from saving up points from earlier in the year on a Chase Freedom card and of course actually points earned from spending. The check will arrive in about 10 days in the amount of $539.00!

That $539 will go towards the truck loan, which allows me to confidently say we will be under $6K by the end of the year on that loan!

The Oops? Since the credit card balance was over $900, I should have redeemed the points first as a statement credit, paid the remaining balance and then used the cash I was expecting to use on the credit card to pay down the truck loan, which I could have done today. Instead I need to wait for the check. Lesson learned there. I will definitely use that method on the next rewards bonus!

I suppose I could still make a big payment knowing the check is coming, but I think I'll wait just to be sure. Expect a truck loan update tomorrow, as I expect our regular truck payment to post tonight.

Any other reward redemption tips?

My Frugal Birthday

November 17th, 2012 at 03:57 pm

I'm 40 today. My husband has to work for the army. My girls are home. We will make a lemon cake with lemon frosting to mark the day.

I find as I get older, I'm simply grateful for life and the prospect of many more days ahead to spend with those I love. I don't need fancy gifts or meals to know that I am loved.

How do you prefer to mark the day of your birth? Is it frugal?

Payroll Tax to the Truck Loan

November 16th, 2012 at 02:25 pm

I sent $61.35 to our truck loan yesterday. This brings our principal balance to $6,827.60. Yippee!

Since the payroll tax is likely to increase 2%, back to 6.2%, I figured this money is extra for now. That extra should do something productive while it can. For us that is just another three pay periods.

Our regular payment will likely process on Monday, bringing that balance down even more! Can't wait!!

$50 CASH from Swagbucks

November 14th, 2012 at 06:54 pm

I redeemed enough Swagbucks for $50 cash to be sent to my Paypal account. I should receive it in another week or so.

This is the first time I have redeemed for cash over gift cards. I almost have too many Amazon.com gift cards for my Christmas spending. And not everything will be purchased on Amazon. A little cash will be very helpful.

I am adding this to the Christmas Fund balance, which as a reminder, I will use extra at the end of the year to put on the truck loan.

Tomorrow is payday and I will be sending in a principal payment in the amount of $62. The amount is equal to 2% of DH basic pay. The amount the payroll tax will increase on January 1. I figured if we are going to lose it then, we can afford to not have it in our spending now. It will help us get used to the new amount.

Has anyone else considered how the payroll tax increase will affect you on January 1? Are you prepared? Currently, you should see 4.2% of your gross pay taxed for social security/payroll tax (FICA). That rate will increase back to 6.2%. Do the math and you will see the change. This rate of 6.2% is the rate we paid prior to 2011 and it is likely expiring at the end of this year!

An Investment In Our Daughter

November 13th, 2012 at 01:28 am

Our oldest daughter started private flute lessons tonight. She has been playing in school since fifth grade and is now a sophomore. She recently was placed into the school's advanced level concert band as third chair flute. The band director was very impressed with her skills having not had private lessons.

We want her to advance and enjoy playing her flute even more, so we are paying $20 per half hour lesson. I think we are all excited about her potential to improve and progress further in the next few years.

We are also going to be looking into getting a new flute that is better set up for her advanced skills. The flute should have a silver head joint. Yes, that precious metal that is increasing in value. We will be shopping a few music stores in the area to see what our options are.

We will hold on to her current flute, since it is better for marching band, when one is out in the rain and putting the instrument on the field during practices.

For now the outflow of money just increased by $80 a month. I think we will see quite a bit of progress for that money!

Do you pay for music lessons for a child or grandchild? Did you play an instrument as a child?

We Joined A Gym

November 12th, 2012 at 05:18 pm

It's been five months since I worked out in a gym and it shows on my hips and thighs! I did some walking this summer, and last week I did some mini workouts with the Wii, a YouTube video, and the one workout DVD I own.

Today, we joined a gym. We paid for a year in full and received 6 months free. For 18 months, for two people, including a processing fee and tax, we paid $745. That works out to $41.39 per month.

It was the best deal we could find for our area. We checked out three different gyms. We also waited a bit to join and it seemed the offers got better the longer we waited!

I used our current Chase Sapphire card to pay for the membership. That will help us get to our $3000 spending goal we need to meet to get the next $400 bonus offer.

Are you a member of gym? How much do you pay? Or are you super motivated with free exercise options? If so, what kind of exercise do you do?

Thinking...

November 11th, 2012 at 02:26 pm

Just a quick thought...the payroll tax is likely to expire at the end of the year. Right now it is 4.2% down from 6.2% at the beginning of 2011. I was thinking as a way to prepare for the change, I should take that 2% and add the money to our truck loan. It's extra now....and in a few months it will be off to the government.

For us that looks like another $122 a month. Seems like a lot! Are you prepared for the possible and likely change?

We Can't Spend Any Money

November 9th, 2012 at 07:48 pm

My husband came home from his Army job last night, walked in the door, and said "I don't know if you had plans, but we can't spend any money."

What?

He was talking to others at work about the governments sequestration plans that take place at the end of the year. They are worried about their pay being affected since the Department of Defense has to make some serious cuts over the next several years. I don't know all the facts, but I did find online that military pay (basic, housing and subsistence)are exempt from cuts.

So since he suddenly wasn't worried about his pay, we went out to lunch today. We did use a coupon for one free meal. We spent about $11.

I thought his reaction was a bit funny coming from him, but even though he does have a pretty steady government job it is important to realize his pay and his job can be effected, just like any other.

Do you think your job would ever be downsized or effected by the economy? If not, why?

I Bought Christmas Cards

November 8th, 2012 at 04:41 pm

We don't always send out Christmas cards. It just depends on how I'm feeling about it, or if it gets done. This year seems important since we have a new address and some on our list may not know we moved.

I bought two boxes of 16 cards each, in the dollar section of Target last night. They are a bit generic, but will accomplish what my goal is...to make contact!

I originally thought about making postcards to save on postage. My grand plan was to buy several sheets of cards stock to cut down and print a design using the computer.

I realized standing in the dollar section of Target that it would take time to trim down card stock, that my printer probably would need more ink, and it would take more time and energy than I was interested in.

So except for purchasing the postage and $2 worth of cards...I think I'm set for doing a Christmas mailing this year. Do you send Christmas cards? Do you find a frugal way to do so? Or do you skip the card altogether? I'd love to hear!

Used A Reward On Truck Loan

November 6th, 2012 at 04:27 pm

Our debit card rewards have amounted to $100 this year. I redeemed them a couple days ago to be deposited in our checking account. Today, I sent that $100 to our truck loan!!

The new balance is $6,888.95. Our next regular payment is just 11 days away, so the balance will be going down again. It's nice to keep making progress.

What are you making progress on? Anything financial? You do have goals right? I'd love to hear!

Going for Another $400

November 4th, 2012 at 03:57 pm

We are nearing our $3000 spending on the Chase Sapphire card we opened in my name, thanks to putting several of our utility bills on the card this month. I think we have another $130 left.

Yesterday, we applied for another Chase Sapphire card in my husbands name. We will have 3 months to spend $3000 on this card and earn another $400.

The rewards we earn from opening and spending on these cards is going to pay down the truck loan. We are only spending on things we would normally be buying with cash we have on hand...nothing extravagant or out of the ordinary.

Don't forget to vote! It's your privilege and right as an American citizen.

Snowflakes

November 3rd, 2012 at 06:25 pm

I received a couple more snow flakes to start off the month of November. I was paid $3 yesterday for a Pinecone Survey I participated in on Thursday.

Today we sold an old, but working, television for $10. This sale was made through Craigslist. We are happy and the buyer is happy!

I have enough Swagbucks to redeem for $30 in gift cards. I will add them to my list once I actually redeem, but the snowflakes are adding up quickly this month!

Payday! Paydown! And More!

November 1st, 2012 at 03:22 pm

It's payday!! Who doesn't love payday? Smile As a result, I am able to make our new regular principal payment to the truck loan. That amount is $230.05. That brings our principal balance to $6,988.95!! We are under $7K for the first time. Smile

I checked our money market account today. We earned $36.09 in interest for the month of October. We save our interest each month, that way we can earn more interest on the account!

I redeemed some Lean Cuisine Delicious Reward points today towards one movie ticket (Fandango) and two microfiber dish clothes. I think they will all be given as gifts.

We are getting very close on our $3,000 spending on our Chase Sapphire card. We have another $300 to go. I expect gas in our two vehicles, a grocery run, and a Red Cross donation will get us there very soon. That will mean earning 40,000 points to be redeemed for $400 (which will go to the truck loan).

That's the news from here today. I really hope those of you on the East Coast know we are sending hugs and best wishes your way, while you deal with the changes Sandy has brought. Check in when you can!