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Archive for May, 2013

May Snowflakes

May 31st, 2013 at 03:51 pm

May was a productive month for snowflakes once again. I accumulated $170.02 without much effort. I like that!

Here's the breakdown:



This money has been added to the Snowflakes for Christmas fund. The goal is to accumulate $750, and with this month's additions, my total in the fund is now at $688!! I only need another $62 to meet my goal. That should be no problem to meet in June.

After I meet the Christmas Fund goal, all snowflakes will then go towards the mortgage. I know that small amounts make a difference over time so I know these will make a difference in the amount of interest we pay.

Check out my last two posts to see my new plan for accumulating more income while spending. If I can't get the interest rates, might as well play the credit card game!

How did your snowflake accumulations work for May? Do you have a goal for June?

New Earnings Update

May 31st, 2013 at 01:04 pm

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am applying for credit cards to take advantage of the bonus offers available. This will help earn some income, since these crazy low interest rates don't offer much.

I was approved for Citi Thank You Preferred where I will spend $1000 in 3 months and earn $250 in gift cards. This offer arrived in the mail.

American Express approved me for the Blue Cash Everyday card. I will need to spend $500 in three months and will receive $150 in statement credits.

And finally, I was approved for the Capital One Cash Rewards card. I also need to spend $500 in three months to earn $100 cash.

I attempted to apply for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select card right after I was approved for the City Thank You card, but was denied. I'm sure it is because it is the same company and they just extended me credit. That is fine.

I went looking for another card, and was thinking about applying for the NFL card that offers $200 in statement credits after one purchase...but unfortunately it is not available in my state. Darn. There are other offers out there that I may consider at another time, but for now, this is enough.

If you totaled up the rewards that brings me to $500 in cash rewards for these three credit cards and only need to spend $2000 in the next three months. Once I see we will achieve these, I will have my husband apply for the same cards and start the cycle over again.

Originally, I thought I could get $700 in rewards, instead of the $500. I lost out on $100 because I was denied for the one Citi Card. I also 'lost' another $100 because I opted to apply for the Blue Cash Everyday card, instead of the Blue Cash Preferred card which had a $75 annual fee.

Anyone else applying for credit to obtain rewards? What do you do with the cash rewards you earn?

Since We Can't Get Good Interest Rates....

May 30th, 2013 at 05:46 pm

Since we can't get good interest rates on our savings, I'm going to be taking advantage of the cash bonuses that credit cards offer. It is tax free money. We do have expenses we purchase anyway. Why not? We do not have plans to take on any big loans for cars, student loans or a house....so who cares about the credit score, which will be just fine since we pay off our cards on time and before accruing any interest.

What prompted this? Rates are terrible on savings!
And....I received an offer from Citi Thank You Preferred to spend $1000 and earn $250 in gift cards. I'd rather have cash, but if I redeem for a gift card we will use in regular spending I can just take that money I would have spent and save it.

My goal is to have all rewards go into savings to earn some piddly 0.85% interest. Yeah!! This money will be saved toward that future down payment.

I know that $1000 in 3 months will be no problem. But now, I am debating whether to apply for a couple more at the same time, to avoid that credit ding that does take place initially. Then I can earn several rewards over the next three months. We have both had the Chase Sapphire Preferred which we spent our $3000 and earned the $400 rewards...really $800 in total. I don't think it has been quite a year since I originally applied, but maybe.

I think I can get $700 by opening FOUR cards:
_Capital One Cash Rewards $100 after $500 in 3 months.
_Blue Cash Preferred $250 after $1000 in 3 months.
_Citi Thank You Preferred $250 gift cards after $1000 in 3 months.
_Citi Dividend Platinum Select $100 after $500 in 3 months.

Now that I write that I realize that is two Citi cards. This would still be $3000 in spending in three months, which is no issue around here. But $700 in rewards, rather than going with the one Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Of course, after these three months, I could have my husband apply for the same three cards...and likely get another $700 before the end of the year. That is good money, that I wish we were earning on our money market account.

So do you think it is okay to apply for four cards at once and two from the same company all on the same day? Think this is a good plan considering I'm a good credit risk and will not incur debt in the process?

I do already have a Chase Freedom card that is active, but DH does not.

DC Trip: Travel Insurance?

May 30th, 2013 at 09:33 am

I'm getting ready to complete the registration for the Washington DC trip. I think I'll be making a one time payment, but still not sure. What is tripping me up is the Full Refund Program Fee.

The FRP fee is $139 for this trip which will cost us $1299 for the four day three night experience. Thus the fee would increase our total outlay to $1438, or an increase of nearly 11%.

The FRP fee 'protects your payments and provides a full refund minus the FRP fee, if you, the Program Leader, school, or school administration need to cancel at any time prior to departure for any reason.' The fee does not cover an Act of God, war, terrorism, civil unrest, or bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business by the travel company.

According to my daughter who heard the presentation from the group leader, most parents do not choose this option of insurance. I probably will not pay the fee, since we can withstand the risk that we could lose our money, if something were to prevent her from going. It won't break us financially in other words. My husband's first instinct was to sign up.

What would you do? Can you think of any good reasons to pay the extra fee?

Mish Mash

May 29th, 2013 at 09:23 am

I earned $3 from a Pinecone survey and received the samples in the mail to try. I expect that money to arrive in my Paypal account tomorrow. I will do a May Snowflake update on Friday.

I've been earning my Swagbucks, reading my library book, taking walks, cleaning, sewing and planning our vacation, thus not much spending other than gas and groceries. And those alone add up fast!

We will be going to a graduation out of town this weekend. Thus more spending on gas and eating. We will write my niece a $50 check. We already wrote in a simple note card, rather than buying a 'special' graduation card. Again, don't most people just toss or recycle cards anyway?!

We know we can use some hotel points for one night in a hotel. We expect to be away three or four nights, so that helps a little. I hope to take a cooler along since it is a road trip. At a minimum, snacks(fresh fruit) and drinks (water) can be bought ahead of time to save us from making convenience purchases! I'm willing to eat lunch and breakfast out of the cooler. We have already found several free things to do so I think we will have a fun time traveling the scenic byway of the Mississippi. I expect we will use a credit card for the vacation expenses to earn some cash back. We will pay for it in full upon our return, of course!

Thinking ahead to big expenses coming up in the next few months: prescription sunglasses for oldest daughter, new sneakers for both girls, school tuition, flute maintenance repairs, band camp fees, few more summer clothes for each of us, mulch for a garden bed we are carving out, two trees for our back yard, gifts for the daughter turning 13, and the deposit on the Washington DC trip.

That's the money mish mash for today!

Update: How To Swag

May 27th, 2013 at 06:23 pm

I thought I'd add on to my blog post from this morning and let you know that I did accumulate more than 89 SBs. I ended the day with 220 SB, with 9 of those from a referral which do not get added to the daily goal. Thanks, phantorn, for the referral bucks!



I did another survey on Peanut Labs for 48 SB. I had three search wins today for a total of 23 SBs. There were a few more offers in my Inbox. I did several rounds of SBTV and Games this evening while my family was watching Spiderman 3. Todays Swag Code was 'BraveSoldiers' which earned me 8 SBs.

This is a typical Swagbucks day for me. The movie was 2 hours and 20 minutes, and the additional Swagbuck's were earned during this time. Of course, I wasn't completely Swagbucks focused, but it is one way to get Swagbucks during 'down' time.

Here are the screen shots of my actual earnings today:




I hope this helps understand a little bit more what Swagbucks is about and how you can earn actual cash and gift cards with this site for free. Again, if you want to get started, click here to use my referral link.

Now, what I really want to know is: What are you going to do with your Swagbucks?

Swagbucks Earnings

May 27th, 2013 at 08:27 am

Several people have been asking about how to accumulate as many Swagbucks as I do. I will admit, I'm a bit addicted, but I also know that it is possible to make goal everyday without much effort.

As determined by the Swagbucks site, today's goal was 60 Swagbucks. This is an average goal. Most days are higher, but occasionally the goal is even lower.



I start first with completing the daily tasks, which are listed under the goal. This includes the daily poll and 'skipping' through the NOSO offers. The toolbar task is automatic, since, I have the Swagbucks toolbar downloaded on my browser. That is 4 Swagbucks right away.

I then jump over to watch SBTV. You receive 3 SB's for every 10 videos you watch, you don't have to watch the entire thing. Once the meter on the page moves up, you can switch to another video. I try to leave the meter at 90% the evening before, so that I can watch one video and earn 3 SB's very quickly in the morning to meet goal. Now I'm at 7 SB's.

While the SBTV videos start running, I attempt to search for things. Today, I probably search five or six things before I got a 9 SB search win. Now I'm at 16 SBs for the day.

I checked my Inbox, where I had two offers for 3 SBs each. These offers involved clicking on 6 different videos. This brings my total SBs for the day to 22.

While some of those Inbox videos were running, I went to check out the surveys. I try the ones with the most SBs for the least amount of time first. I was disqualified for the first one. I did receive 1 SB for trying. They give you up to five of these per day. Now I'm at 23SBs.


I do skip around on the site, so now I'm over at the Special Offers page where I right away go to the Radium One page, where I seem to have good luck. Peanut Labs is good too. I find the coupons offer where I click the link, pick a coupon, and print it. I technically don't print it out unless I really want it. My computer loads it into the que, but I go in and delete it. This earns me 9SB, which is not instant, but usually credits within 5 to 10 minutes. I do this offer EVERYDAY. While I'm on Radium One, I click on the 1 point offers, which link to Health Guru videos. Usually, you can just let them load and run and receive the point. Sometimes you need to click through the slides. The offer states what is needed. I earned 7SBs from those small offers. My total is now at 39SBs.



I end up back over at the surveys. I complete a survey worth 50SBs. The offer stated it would take 20 minutes, but it had to be less than 10 minutes total. It was about healthy cereals. At this point, I am way over the goal of 60 SBs, with 89 SBs.



The nice thing is I can be done for the day if I don't have any more time. Meeting goal nets me an extra 6 SBs. These are accumulated during the month and paid out by the fifth of the following month is a lump sum.

If I have time, I can still search the internet for more wins, play 10 rounds of games to earn another 10 SBs. I can also look for free offers to sign up for. I can run SBTV while I'm doing other things online. I also check the Swagbucks Facebook page for updates on offers and surveys that credit as well as any Swag Codes that may be released (usually one per day). I can also go back and look for surveys that I might qualify for. At a minimum, I should get another 4 SBs for getting disqualified.




I hope this run through of my morning Swagbucks routine helps. The survey I did today did help it go fast, which I always appreciate. Again, I am a little addicted and likely spend too much time on Swagbucks. I would encourage you to start slow, do only what you can and feel comfortable doing, and make your own goal. If you would like an extra $5 to spend at Amazon.com you only need to earn 15 SBs per day to accumulate the 450 Swagbucks needed to pick one up. I think I've shown you that it is pretty easy to get to 15 SBs per day. Once you get the hang of it you might even earn more than that.

Got it now? More questions? Post them in the comments. Ready to sign up? Here is my referral link.

Vacation Thoughts

May 25th, 2013 at 07:11 am

Thanks for the kind wishes of good health yesterday. I do feel better today. I had a huge urge to sleep several times, so that is just what I did. I think I slept 11 hours last night, and I feel pretty good this morning.

It is raining pretty good here today, which lends itself to a lazy day. We might be able to get a few honey do list items done, which will require no outlay of money. Smile

We need to do some vacation planning as well. We are thinking of a road trip along the Mississippi River byways here in Iowa. If anyone has any must see destinations in that area, let me know. We also want to have a stop for a day or two that is just relaxing in some way. Enjoy the scenery and each other. It seems it could be a semi frugal vacation as it will be meals, hotels, and fuel and activity admissions. I'm hoping for a budget of $1000 or less.

Will you be taking a vacation this year? Do you have a budget? Will you fly, drive or stay in town?

Under the Weather

May 24th, 2013 at 11:41 am

Something came on fast for me overnight. I won't go into personal details, but I'm glad my husband was home to drive my oldest to school. He bought me soup and gatorade. He even heated the soup up, brought me another blanket. Sometimes it is nice to be taken care of, not that I want to be sick too often!!

While I have been sleeping, my husband has mowed the lawn and sprayed for weeds. Now he's cleaning out my van. Nice that he can keep himself busy!

I've showered and feeling better, but just a little low on energy. I'm going to rally so I can take my oldest daughter to an appointment she has after school. I'm sure I'll be wanting to nap by the time I return, so I guess DH will be on kitchen duty this evening.

When was the last time you were sick? Do you have someone that takes care of you when you are sick? Stay healthy this weekend!

Money Movements

May 23rd, 2013 at 01:07 pm

I just redeemed more Swagbucks for a $25 PayPal deposit. I don't think this will arrive before the end of the month, but if it does it gets counted towards this month's snowflakes!

I did spend some money today because I met up with an old neighbor and good friend. Lunch at Subway was $7. Spent $10 on a 'string bag/backpack' for my daughter. And splurged on a wonderful smelling perfume at Banana Republic for $5. There were many other things I could have bought, but I'm a good frugal girl and refrained.

My friend brought me a nice bar of soap and an angel friendship ornament. A late mother's day gift. So sweet of her to think of me.

I opened a Rollover IRA at Vanguard for my husband. He signed the paperwork to transfer the last of his money at Fidelity. I dropped it in the mail this morning. Things feel simpler already.

My husband will be home for four days for the Memorial holiday weekend. I hope we can keep spending a little low, but he mentioned landscaping last night. I'm just not ready for big, BIG expenses right now.

Will you have different expenses for the holiday weekend? Will you spend more or less than usual?

Moolah Update

May 22nd, 2013 at 12:23 pm

On Monday, I spent $78 at the vet's office. Our oldest cat had something going on with her lip and chin. Could have been a wasp sting. Not sure. Injections of antihistamine and antibiotic have seemed to put her eating well again.

Received $5 Target gift card, after purchase of some feminine products. I will add this to the snowflakes along with the $25 that just arrived in my PayPal account. Funny thing is I'm getting close to redeeming Swagbucks for another one!

The transfer of my husband's Roth IRA from Fidelity to Vanguard is complete as of Monday. I will now have him fill out the paper work to move a Traditional IRA to Vanguard and hope the final transfer goes just as fast.

I did a little shopping yesterday and picked up 6 pairs of socks and three greeting cards at Kohl's using one of their $10 coupons. I spent just over $2 out of pocket. I picked up a frame needed for a gift, for $5 plus tax, after using their 40% off coupon. And at Ulta, I wanted to purchase three of one product that was Buy 2, Get 1 Free. They only had one in stock. I was able to use a 20% off coupon and was give an rain check for Buy 1, Get 1 free, so that I effectively could still get the deal. Nice service there!

Have you received any good deals lately?

Helping

May 21st, 2013 at 08:31 am

My husband and I discussed a donation to the Red Cross this morning for disaster relief in Oklahoma. We tend to agree on amount pretty easily. We go with our gut and don't second guess it. Helping others in any way you can is ALWAYS the right thing to do.

Any small amount helps in these situation because as we all know small amounts together equal larger amounts. I have suggested ways to save on my blog many times, but even if you are struggling financially there is always a few dollars you can give.

If you going to go to lunch today, skip it, and donate that money. Check your pockets, purse, couch cushions, car ashtray, and drawers for loose change. Turn in some aluminum cans. Sell a couple CDs, books, or an old cell phone for cash. Return that shirt or pair of shoes you just bought. Sell a gift card online for cash. Donate points you earn from an earning site like Swagbucks or MyPoints. Donate airline miles. Babysit or mow someone's lawn this week and donate your earnings. Sell something on eBay or craigslist.

Please find a way to give something to help those that are in need right now! Do you have another creative idea to find money to give? Please share it in the comments.

Weekend Spending

May 20th, 2013 at 05:32 am

Compared to last weekend when I didn't leave the house and only spent $8 online, this weekend was full of spending. We didn't really get crazy, but we did enjoy takeout pizza, and the matinee showing of Iron Man 3.

Gas for two vehicles on empty was just under $130. Clearly we were on low AND gas prices have jumped dramatically.

Pizza was $24. Movie for the four of us was $22. The largest soda and a small regular popcorn set us back $13.75. I honestly can go to a movie without buying the snacks, but my husband doesn't seem to think he can. Luckily the movie theater experience for us is only a couple times of year!

We picked up salt for our water softener. Four bags at about $16. I had some credits with the store, so paid $8 out of pocket. There was also $5 spent on cat treats.

The main grocery run yesterday was just under $110, but there was a small run by me on Friday, and then my husband needed something on Saturday. Each trip about $25. Ugh...don't like it when we do this, but it is what it is. I will work with my husband to get this under control. My guess is the stress at work is getting to him and he wants what he wants when he wants it. Not a great excuse and I would say that some planning and better communication would help very much.

So that seems to add up to about $357.75! Wow!! That is more than my experiment spending earlier in the month. We'll see how we can do for the remainder of the month. My dad has a birthday, but I have his gift already purchased!! Smile

How was your spending this weekend? Crazy. Normal. Or did you end up with a no spend weekend?

Community Garage Sale

May 18th, 2013 at 07:17 am

Our community is having a garage sale day today. It looks like two neighbors are participating. I wish I was. But many factors were against me.

I don't have much stuff. We don't buy much. We use what we have. There is always something to get rid of, but not always the stuff you sell at a garage sale. My girls aren't giving up there stuff as easily as when the were younger.

I missed the deadline to submit my address before I even remembered to consider it. Oops! I'm sure I could still put things out and it wouldn't be a big deal. So this was a minor factor.

My DH returned home last night from his annual training. It just didn't seem right to hold a sale the day after he returned home. We would much rather spend time together than sit in our garage.

There will be other times to have a sale. In the meantime, I'm going to walk down and check the two on our block out and possibly meet some of our new neighbors.

Will you hold a garage sale this year?

School Washington DC Trip

May 17th, 2013 at 07:18 am

My daughter desperately wants to go on the school Washington DC trip next April. The school just yesterday sent home registration information. Total cost of the trip is about $1300 + refund insurance of $139 for three nights and four jam packed days of touring.

This price seemed less expensive than our other school district, but they may have been gone longer. And I don't specifically remember the price.

I'm leaning towards letting her go, as long as she puts some skin in the game. I think she could save her own money for souvenirs, and help with school fundraising efforts. It sounds like the fundraiser is an easy sell of a coupon book to one of the big grocery stores here in town. It cost's $10, and the buyer gets plenty of coupons that guarantees their $10 back and more. Not sure what the return is to the fundraiser.

First hesitation is that we have to register with a $49 down payment by June 6. Talk about fast decision making! Can make payments but there are additional charges and the price can go up if you don't pay in full. Not sure how likely that is to happen or how much that would be.

Second hesitation is that this is one trip my husband and I really want to take our whole family on in the next two years. So it seems slightly redundant.

We'll be discussing that here at home this weekend! Would you send your child on this type of trip? Have you already? Was it worth it?

Snowflake Update

May 16th, 2013 at 08:34 am

Yes, I'm still snowflaking for Christmas, but the additions seem a little slow right now, thus lack of updates. I have accumulated $134.02 so far this month, which is pretty good. It's nice to think I could reach our goal by the end of June at this rate. Which means I could actually shop at those Christmas in July sales! Eh...probably not though.

_$50.00 Swagbucks
_$70.25 Chase Rewards
__$4.78 ATM rebates/interest
__$8.99 Ebay sale
$134.02 May Total To Date

I did redeem another $25 PayPal deposit from Swagbucks that should arrive before the month ends. I also redeemed my points with Pinecone yesterday, so I should have $3 arriving sometime today. With those additions. I will need just under $75 to meet my goal of $750. It does seem I'm on track like I was last year because I accumulated over $1400 in snowflakes. In fact, I might be ahead of the game. Smile

This year snowflakes beyond the $750 are getting put towards are mortgage. I need to be adding money in there when I can and this seems like the first place to start.

I found out my daughter has just one flute lesson left before the school year ends. The teacher is offering six lessons during the summer, with a mini recital. We can probably make five lessons. I like know we will save a little bit because we don't have those fees those weeks.

I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to snowflake debt. Have you found new sources or interesting ways to accumulate them? Do you have a year to date snowflake total?

Food Waste

May 15th, 2013 at 06:48 pm

My low spend experiment did have me looking at all the food we had just to come up with something to eat. There is still plenty of oatmeal, cream of wheat and quinoa in the pantry, but I'm the only one that eats it. It will take me some time to make it through that stash, but I will work on it, so that I don't waste it.

I received a magazine in the mail today with an article about food waste. American's through away 12% of all food purchased, and 25% of vegetables purchased. Yikes that is a lot of money down the drain.

Even if you aren't looking to keep your expenses low like I did the last two weeks, at least consider what you are buying and throwing away!

Any ideas on how much food, if any, you are throwing away each week? Do you throw away a bruised apple, or just cut that part off? I cut it off and eat the rest.

The Experiment: Results

May 15th, 2013 at 08:02 am

First let me show you what my kitchen cupboard and refrigerator look like at the end of this experiment.





All my family members would say there is nothing left to eat. But I see pizza, carrots and apples for dinner, just as planned. The snacks? Yes, getting slim. Bananas on the counter (not shown), slices of cheese, cashews, and maybe some peanut butter toast. These just are not there usual snacks. I plan to open the black beans for lunch. To make them tasty I wil add red onion, feta cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yummy!

The experiment to spend next to nothing still resulted in spending under $300, specifically $293.95. This includes only money spent by me for me and my girls since May 1. My husband did take out $100 cash, which I understand is mostly spent. He also spent around $42 in snacks before he left to help compensate for not eating the ill tasting MRE's I mentioned yesterday.

We set aside $900 twice per month to cover gas and groceries and the few school things that come up. Last month we exceed the $1800 by $477. Thus the need to spend less to compensate for our overspending. It was much easier without my husband here, but I might have been able to get his on board.

$900.00 Available Funds
(293.95)Our Spending
(142.00)DHs Spending
$464.05 Amount Saved

What a relief to nearly make up the amount we overspent in just a couple weeks. It was worth it. I will keep spending low for the next couple days, but I really will need to get to the store. Smile I did pay our bills today and was able to save $670 from DH's paycheck. It may get spent down the road, as we plan a vacation or put some landscaping in our yard, but for now it is saved money.

Do you have more in your fridge than I do? Less? Anyone else want to post their bare or stocked full fridge?!

Money Spent In the Woods

May 14th, 2013 at 05:27 am

I mentioned yesterday that my husband took $100 with him for his camp training in the woods. I suppose it isn't really the woods, because the army knows how to supports its troops anywhere with heat, air conditioning, food, running water and a store (AAFES).

I inquired by text about the cash. He said it is almost all gone. He has been buying his lunch at the store instead of eating the MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat)offer by the unit at lunch. He despises these. He said the food all tastes exactly the same because of the preservatives put in them to extend the shelf life to 10 years!!!! Ick. I really don't blame him.

The unit also took up a donation to reimburse a soldier for gas. The soldier transported two other soldiers back home, an eight hour round trip, with his own car and gas. The two soldiers had Red Cross messages, which means some type of emergency at home. My husband did put some cash in, which is the right thing to do.

I'm hoping for a no spend day today here. It is going to be gorgeous and as much as I want to get out and shop for flowers or summer clothes, I have plenty to do around the house.

How much do you spend when you go camping in the woods? Have you ever eaten an MRE? What did you think of the taste?

Experiment and Snowflakes

May 13th, 2013 at 01:29 pm

I have a few snowflakes to report. Our ATM rebates and interest on our checking account amounted to $4.78 last month. I redeemed $25 PayPal deposit from Swagbucks today. I'm still waiting for one I ordered earlier in the month to post to my account. I see that our Chase Rewards are worth $70.25. I will likely redeem these as a statement credit, but then add the money to my Christmas Funds.

Today's spending is the $20 for my daughter's flute lesson. I will pay her in cash since I have that money in my wallet.

$273.95 Previous Balance
+$20.00 Flute lesson fee
$293.95 Total Spent

I mentioned yesterday that I thought I would need gas before Wednesday, but at this point, I don't think that will be the case. I only expect basic driving, and with just over half a tank, I think I'll be just fine. So far, I'm very pleased with this experiment. I will pay bills on Friday, and should have some money to save to compensate for our overspending in the weeks prior to the experiment.

I also think I will continue the experiment for as long as I can...since I don't expect my husband to be home from his training for several more days. I'm hoping he also hasn't been spending too much. He took $100 cash with him...to camp in the woods!! Whatever.

Anyone thinking of doing a no spend, low spend experiment soon? Those of you participating now, how are you doing? Are you meeting your goal?

Pet Purchase

May 12th, 2013 at 07:40 pm

I was going to log on tonight and report that we did not spend anything Saturday and Sunday. We didn't leave the house actually. We had food, entertainment and things that needed to be done here. And it was so windy and cold it wasn't appealing to go out!

However, I did make an Amazon.com purchase. My youngest cat has that herpes virus that can't be cured once they have it. She was under some stress last weekend when my sister's dog visited our house. As a result, her eye is watering constantly and she has been having sneezing fits. It generally calms down on its own, but the sneezing she's doing seems worse than in the past. I ordered L-Lysine chews for $7.26.

$266.69 Previous Balance
__$7.26 Purchase
$273.95 Total Spent

It was nice that I didn't need to buy anything to get my youngest daughter ready for camp. I do think she would like shorts, but she said no, so I need to respect that. She is the child that needs to try and learn rather than be told.

Right now, I only expect to spend $20 tomorrow for my oldest daughter's flute lesson. I have that money in my wallet ready to go. It is possible I will need a little fuel to get through Wednesday, just not sure yet when I will make that fuel stop.

Did you spend any money this weekend? I actually expect you all to say yes, because I think weekends are prime spending time for most of us!

Pending Transfer

May 12th, 2013 at 08:07 am

We were notified by email that Fidelity has received my husband's transfer request. The money that was in one of the mutual funds has been sold. Next step is to cut the check and get it sent to Vanguard. It's nice to see that it is moving quickly. I kind of want the market to be down next week so we can get a few extra shares during the process. But I can't control that. It is a long term investment so it doesn't really matter.

The transfer is the money he has in a Roth IRA. There is still $5K+ in a traditional IRA. I need to finalize the options for DH on that investment. Once he returns home, I can get him to sign the paperwork. It is a small sum, but at least large enough to open an account. I expect in the future, we will start adding more to our traditional IRA's as our income increases. It likely will be more advantageous tax wise. My gut says to just open the Total Stock Market Index with this money.

After we are done at Fidelity, I will look into moving money we have at American Funds, which is a Roth IRA and two UTMA accounts. It feels good to get this money combined. I like simplicity!!

No spending yesterday!! The low spend experiment is going well. Only four more days. I really hope not to spend money today, but my daughter is going to a camp for two nights, so something may come up. I'll be sure to let you know.

No Fee Balance Transfer

May 11th, 2013 at 06:28 pm

I think I've mentioned this offer before, but I thought I would bring it up again in case it may benefit anyone in their debt pay down journey.

Chase has a credit card called Slate that is currently offering 0% interest for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. The really nice thing is that you can transfer your balance from another card(s) for no fee in the first 60 days. This is only worth it, if you can pay off the balance you transfer in full within the 15 month time frame.

If you already have a Chase card, it is unlikely you could transfer that balance to this card, but you could call and ask!

And just so you know, I don't get any compensation for this referral. Just trying to help my fellow savers!

Low Spend Experiment: 5 Days To Go

May 11th, 2013 at 08:15 am

Friday was a spending day. Groceries, haircut and mother's day. Total Spent: $88.34.

My sister picked up potted flowers for my mom and was delivering them last night. My share was $18. This works well for my mom because they are getting ready to put the house on the market, and some nice flowers near the front door or back porch will be welcome. My budget was $20, so I came in under that. Yippee!!

I spent $60.93 at Target for groceries to last through Friday. I did have a small list and admit that I did add things to it, but I thought through all the purchases and have no regrets. I did buy toilet paper, so we are good there. Smile

Great Clips was on their final sale day of $5.99 haircuts. It was busy, busy, busy! I only waited 15 minutes since there were 8 stylists working. The woman who cut my hair said they normally work 30 hours a week, but as of Thursday night she was at 60 hours!! The gals were kind and friendly, but you could tell they were tired. I tipped $3 and still saved money. I will never go to one of those sales again, as I know that I can afford to go other times and I don't need to add to the madness. I did receive a great haircut though!! Total spent $9.41.

The total for my low spend experiment is now at $266.69. My goal is to be under $450. So far so good! Smile

_178.35 Old Balance
_$88.34 New Purchases
$266.69 Total Spent

Happy Mother's Day to all women who care for children in any way...especially you teachers and day care providers!

No Spending Today

May 9th, 2013 at 02:33 pm

No spending today!

The food is definitely dwindling and my kids are searching high and low for snacks. They did dip into that bag of chips I bought at Menard's yesterday.

Today, I cooked up chicken and rice and will stir fry it with the seasoning packet later for dinner. This dish will help use up some green onions. I will steam the final bits of broccoli and carrots in the fridge too. I just realized I should try to regrow the onion roots in water and see how well and fast that works. More experimenting!!

I don't think this is related to the experiment, but my daughter asked for yellow and white tissue paper for to take to school for a project. Fine, except we don't have yellow. She said she would just color on the white to make it yellow and it would be no problem. I did offer to buy some before she said that. I don't want the experiment to impact their needs for school. I guess it was more of a want anyway. Smile

I think the lack of snacks has helped me stay on track with my diet this week, too. I don't want to overeat and use up what could be eaten the next day. Clever diet trick if you want to try it.

Tomorrow I expect to go to the store. I will try to make this the final run before May 15th when the experiment ends. I also will get my haircut because I'm way overdue, and Great Clips is having a $5.99 sale right now. I think I can swing that this week. We are running low on toilet paper, but I don't think I'll experiment with stretching that out!!

Did you have a no spend day today? What about in the last week? If not, do you think you could try it for one day?

Spending and Making Do

May 8th, 2013 at 06:30 pm

I'm really trying with this low spend experiment, and part of that means I have to do things a little differently. I went to make pancakes last night and realized I didn't have enough baking powder. Thanks to the internet, I found out that I could replace 1 tsp of baking powder with 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp of cream of tarter. The pancakes turned out great!

I'm also running low on fabric softener sheets for the dryer. For now, I'm just tearing them in half, or even thirds if I have a small load. This will stretch my stash. I may even run out of laundry detergent before this experiment ends next week. I may make my own, which I have done in the past. I'll decide when I get to that point.

Today I bought gas for my van ($56.94), postage for my mother in law's package ($3.26), and ($0.69) for a seasoning packet that I needed for dinner this week. I forgot to pick it up when I was at the store earlier this week. I also used a credit at Menard's to purchase paint for my front door, loose leaf paper, and a bag of chips! I am not including the Menard's spending, since it is not out of current cash. Luckily, all of these errands were one trip.

I also wrote a check for my youngest daughter's yearbook, which was $20. It is due Friday, otherwise, I would delay that payment.

_$97.46 Old Balance
_$80.89 New Purchases
$178.35 Total Spent

Considering my spending limit until May 15th is $450, I feel we are doing pretty well. Not even half way through the half the cash, but there will be more spending. I'm guessing we will spend at least $400 by the end of next week.

A Little More Spending

May 7th, 2013 at 01:04 pm

I had to make another trip to the grocery store to pick up a few fill in items. A few things the girls needed for lunch primarily. I hope to make it a few more days before I need to go back. I plan to make that the final trip before this little spending experiment is over.

I spent another $21.74. Not bad for what I bought. Things add up fast though. Oh, and I did spend $20 for my daughter's flute lesson yesterday

$55.72 Previous Balance
$41.74 Grocery Store
$97.46 New Balance

My sister and I are getting my mom flowers for mother's day. I decided to put in up to $20. My sister will buy and deliver the flowers herself since she lives much, much closer than I do.

I bought some note cards and a small bar of soap to send to my mother in law. I used a gift card to buy these, at a cost of $12.73. I am not counting this cost towards my spending. I will count the cost to mail the package though.

I expect that tomorrow I will need to spend money on fuel for the van. I'm guessing this will be around $50.

I have noticed that I do make different decisions when I'm trying not to spend. My daughter had some ear buds break this weekend. It was an accident involving the cat. Instead of running out to buy a pair for $10, I lent my ear buds to her. We don't generally listen to music at the same time, so it works out. I will buy her a new pair after the spending freeze.

Have you ever done a spending freeze? How did it work out for you? When do you think is the best time to do one?

Cash In and Out

May 6th, 2013 at 07:22 am

Our homeowner's insurance is increasing for the next year by $87.61. That works out to be $7.30 a month. Can't complain. It just seems these types of bills go up every year!

We have at least $85 in credit rewards that I may redeem soon to add to the snowflake fund. I likely will wait another 10 days for the current billing cycle to close, so that I can redeem any new rewards. I figure I might as well add this to my $750 sooner than later. Once I meet that goal all other snowflakes will be saved for the next mortgage down payment. Just ready to get to the next goal!!

I also redeemed more Swagbucks for $25 in PayPal cash. Meeting goal everyday helps build those Swagbucks up fast. I think I'm averaging about $50 per month.

It is beautiful weather here in the Midwest. I will be getting my exercise in the yard today mowing the grass. I also need to decide where to put some garden beds, too. I will take the girls with me to Menard's this weekend to pick out flowers to plant for Mother's Day. This is a bit of a tradition, as my husband is often away on that day. It just times out right that it is time to buy the annuals at the same time Mother's Day rolls around. I will use Menard's credit to pay for the flowers and potting soil.

I can't forget to make a grocery run. We may be able to wait until tomorrow. Right now I think we have enough food to sustain ourselves. In fact, we may be able to go farther than we think!

Oh, and I still have not decided on Mother's Day gifts for my mother or mother in law, but I'm leaning on sewing something for each of them. I think they will appreciate them. As long as I have everything I need on hand, my only cost will be postage which will be minimal for mailing something made of fabric.

Looks like I will be busy today. I better get moving!!

$1 Saturday

May 5th, 2013 at 11:42 am

My Saturday spending consisted of $1 spent on a rice krispie bar from a vending machine for my youngest daughter. I expected to pay $6 for admission to a band concert, but my dad picked up the tab. I offered to pay him back, and later I offered to pay admission for the a teacher we knew that didn't think she had money. She did refuse and then later did find some money.

I have not spent any money today, but did travel quite a bit to get to and around for my sisters half marathon. So the fuel tank is probably getting low! She ran her race in 2 hours 19 minutes. Not her fastest or her slowest, but the hilliest. She felt like only mile 1 and 13 were down hill.

It is inspiring to see those runners. Maybe I should make a goal to run a 5K. Maybe.

$54.72 Previous Balance
_$1.00 Spent
$55.72 Total Spent

Store Run: $54.72

May 3rd, 2013 at 03:20 pm

I did make my run to Super Target, my closest grocery store. I spent $54.72, which I am pleased with.

This is the meal plan for the guests:

Breakfast will be steel cut oats with apples and cinnamon made in the crock pot overnight. Bought two apples for $0.99.

Lunch, turkey sandwiches with carrots and apple slices. I purchased an oatmeal bread, turkey, mustard, cheese, and a tomato. I have mayo, onion, and lettuce. Leftovers can be used in the following days. My purchase here was $11.49.

Dinner, pasta and marinara sauce, roasted brussel sprouts and red potatoes. My mother is bringing pesto sauce, and I have one box and part of a used jar of sauce. I bought a box of pasta, ground beef, one jar of sauce, parmesan cheese, brussel sprouts and 3 lbs of red potatoes for this meal. These cost me $13.52. I expect there will be left over meat, pasta, cheese, and potatoes for future use.

Breakfast on Sunday, will be bagels purchased by my parents. I will donate peanut butter and butter as needed, as well as coffee. I have those on hand.

Lunch on Sunday I am making a Greek Quinoa salad. I have the quinoa, dressing items, and onions. My mom is bringing the olives. I picked up feta cheese, and grape tomatoes. These two items alone cost $6.98. This salad is very tasty and filling. I will put out leftover sandwich fixings as well.

I went to the store with a list. I purchased 4 things that were not on the list. One of them was a bag of almonds that will be a good snack to set out for our guests. I picked up our preferred spreadable butter on clearance. I know I will need this before the two weeks are up. I also picked up to large containers of yogurt. These are normally $3.29, marked down to $2.23 each and I had two $1 coupons, bringing them each to $1.23. The yogurt was reaching its expiration, but we will have it eaten in plenty of time.

I also picked up other things not listed here that will be part of our dinner tonight, and a meal or two through Monday or even Tuesday. I hope to only need to go to the store one more time before the two week low spend is over.

I almost always go with a list, it is sticking to it that I need to work on. Do you shop with a list? Do you shop your cupboards before you go shopping?


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