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Archive for July, 2013

Accumulation of July Snowflakes

July 31st, 2013 at 09:31 am

I wrote this post last night and saved as a draft, but I see that now that I posted it it shows as though I posted it last night...so this is just little bump!

July was a spectacular month for accumulated snowflakes. And really there were some snowballs in there to help! Those credit card rewards were key to making this month so great. I was proud to actually get a few things on Ebay and earn a little more cash towards this new goal. Total snowflake earnings for July.....$748.39!!!!

All snowflakes are going directly to pay down principal on our mortgage. I sent in just an extra $56 last month. This month I have already sent in the $250 check from Citi Thank You Rewards. And today, I'm sending in the remaining snowflakes $498.39. I think I should actually just round it up to an even $500. I think I can swing the extra $1.61 from my own pocket. Don't you?

My Snowflakes for Equity ticker shows a goal of $1000. I think I might need to revise the goal, since I'm almost there! I didn't quite expect all the credit card rewards when I made the goal. I'll have to really think through what I think we can accomplish before the end of the year.

It was asked in my last post about our mortgage pay down progress. Before today's extra principal payment I think we have paid a total of $5000 from the principal balance. That is a bit of a guess. I will work on getting more details for my next post. This is something I've been needing to do so that I'm tracking our progress a little better.

So, how do you think we did for July? Did I accumulate enough snowflakes?

July Snowflakes....Quite the Accumulation

July 30th, 2013 at 08:21 pm

July was a spectacular month for accumulated snowflakes. And really there were some snowballs in there to help! Those credit card rewards were key to making this month so great. I was proud to actually get a few things on Ebay and earn a little more cash towards this new goal. Total snowflake earnings for July.....$748.39!!!!

All snowflakes are going directly to pay down principal on our mortgage. I sent in just an extra $56 last month. This month I have already sent in the $250 check from Citi Thank You Rewards. And today, I'm sending in the remaining snowflakes $498.39. I think I should actually just round it up to an even $500. I think I can swing the extra $1.61 from my own pocket. Don't you?

My Snowflakes for Equity ticker shows a goal of $1000. I think I might need to revise the goal, since I'm almost there! I didn't quite expect all the credit card rewards when I made the goal. I'll have to really think through what I think we can accomplish before the end of the year.

It was asked in my last post about our mortgage pay down progress. Before today's extra principal payment I think we have paid a total of $5000 from the principal balance. That is a bit of a guess. I will work on getting more details for my next post. This is something I've been needing to do so that I'm tracking our progress a little better.

So, how do you think we did for July? Did I accumulate enough snowflakes?

Ebay Snowflakes

July 30th, 2013 at 08:11 am

I decided to pay my Ebay fees and withdraw the proceeds from the sales that have been paid. I want to send them in with my BIG principal mortgage payment. The proceeds thus far were $37.31. I'm still waiting for payment on one item. I have one item that will sell today. I will add those proceeds to my August snowflakes.

I will update my Snowflakes for Equity tomorrow. It has definitely been my best month EVER for snowflakes thanks to the credit card rewards.

Here are some future expected snowflakes that I'm waiting on that have been earned but not received:
$25 Paypal cash from Swagbucks
$3 Pinecone survey payment
$5+ Ebay proceeds
$150 American Express reward
$76 Capital One 360 Savings reward
$100 Capital One 360 checking reward
and we are working on earning that Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card reward of $500. I think we have only spent $500 of the $2000 minimum at this point.

Stay tuned for the July Snowflakes for Equity update...schedule to appear tomorrow!

Free Concert In the Park

July 29th, 2013 at 07:58 am

I mentioned in my last post that my husband will be traveling for work. I guess one of the trips is cancelled...due to funding. So likely less savings if he is only gone one week.

I sold two items on Ebay last night. One person has paid. Waiting on the other. I also have one item with a bid that should end tomorrow. It's all moving along.

Today I need to get bills paid. I keep putting it off! Surprising, since I usually like to do it. I think it is just that I have other projects that are getting my attention. That bathroom painting has put my interest back on some improvements around the house and I would like to get a few things sewn and mailed to my sister. But I will pay the bills so I get work on the fun stuff!

We attended a free concert in a local park last night. Our daughter played with a flute choir ensemble prior to the city's municipal band concert. It was very good music and a cool beautiful evening free of bugs. Now I want to go to another one!!

Does your city have free music you can attend either indoor or outdoors?

More Travel

July 27th, 2013 at 07:03 am

My husband will be doing more travel in the coming month. I always miss him when he is away, but financially I'm looking forward to it. His expenses usually are covered by the Army...unless he splurges at a steak place. And that does happen. Sometimes we make a little money on the deal. Just a little.

What I really like is that the grocery and gas spending drop here at home. He has more 'needs' (read as wants) than I do, or allow the girls to have. Thus we eat simply and stay home a little more. I hope to set aside about $400 while he is away. It really will just go to savings, so not too exciting, but I like the idea of really working towards it to make it happen. Once he leaves I will start tracking our expenses.

I have one item with a bid on Ebay. Six of the auctions end tomorrow. I hope to see a little more activity before they end and sell another one or two. Once the other items end on Tuesday, I will pay my fees and withdraw the proceeds so I can send those in with my BIG August mortgage principal payment.

I'm also looking forward to payday so I can replenish the saving account. Remember I had to pull some money out to cover that accidental EXTRA mortgage payment I made? It has all worked out just fine, but I'd like that money back in my savings account. I did remember to cancel my automatic payments so we don't end up making an August payment when one isn't due.

I think I'll head outside to get some exercise in. It is so much cooler here today. It feels like fall. What kind of weather are you having where you live?

Extra Thank You Points

July 26th, 2013 at 03:14 pm

I was checking on some of the credit cards we have been using. Double checking that they are at zero balance. I requested the first one I opened to be canceled. I then looked at the Citi card and realized there were 2110 points. I looked around on the site, but wasn't interested in any CDs that could be redeemed for 600 points. I did notice that I can link my card to my Amazon.com account and use my points for Amazon purchases. My 2110 Thank You points are equal to $16.88. My only other problem is that I don't have anything I need to buy! I will wait to close this card until I have used the final points and then get it closed. I'm sure something will come up that we can purchase on Amazon. They have EVERYTHING!

Today I returned a rug I bought earlier in the week. Another $16 back in our pocket. I also found out that DH was paid from the Army for a trip he made last week. He drove his own car and thus was paid mileage. We made money (about $160)since his out of pocket expenses were less. Of course this is to cover the cost of operating the vehicle and depreciation. I think I will save it towards some upcoming vehicle maintenance. Oil changes are about due, and I know they will be checking the brakes, since we might be due for new pads. Of course, we'll charge them on the Southwest card to help get us to our $2000 spending minimum.

It looks to be more gorgeous weather this weekend. I hope we can get out and be active. We are keeping the windows closed and the air on because allergies. We all seem to get congestion when we have the windows open. Hopefully not too much spending!

Will your weekend be a spendy one or frugal?

After Pictures

July 25th, 2013 at 07:55 am

The painting did get done yesterday and it looks so much better. The girls wanted the same color that their bathroom was painted in our last house. A light blue, specifically Pale Flowers by Valspar available at Lowe's. I did not buy their primer based paint becdause it so expensive and not necessary for this paint job. Saved myself $10-$15 by making this choice.

The towels and shower curtain are the same too. The decorative mirror in the picture was purchased at an art fair for $25. I thought the message was worth the price for two teen girls. I hope to find a few cube shelves for above the toilet. I see they are available on Amazon for about $15, but I'll look for locally first and even consider a used set.

Sorry I don't have any before pictures. Although I probably do somewhere; from last year when we moved in. Just imagine builder white. Although most of our walls and ceiling are a buff cream color.

I sold another item on Ebay, likely netting about $8. I will put that in the mail today. I also was able to redeem Swagbucks for another $25 deposit in my PayPal account. I will add that to the Snowflakes for Equity once I have it in my account.

Do you know how to paint? Do you paint often or infrequently? Any one not know how to paint a room?

Sold Two!

July 24th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I sold two of the CDs I listed on Ebay yeterday afternoon. They are already at the post office. Not sure the net, the gross sales of the two together was $13.62. This money goes to the Snowflakes for Equity, of course!

I got some motivation with this cooler weather to paint my daughter's bathroom. They have been asking and mentioning it for months! With paint and cool weather means open windows and no air conditioning. Might see how long we can keep them open, but allergies could become an issue.

A little spending because of the paint and trip an hour away, but it is all good! Trying to keep up with the Swagbucks codes today, but so far have two...oh well, I'll get goal done after the painting is done!

Pinecone Survey Sign Up Link

July 23rd, 2013 at 05:00 pm

Pinecone Research is looking for new members to take surveys. I've been a member for several years and they have some of the most interesting and easy surveys to take. You even get to try samples sometimes!

Sign up here. And thank you LuckyRobin for finding a link that will work! Smile In the past they paid $5 per survey, now they give you 300 points, which you can redeem for $3. I have my $3 sent to my PayPal account, when I redeem my points. I probably make less than $100 per year, but those three dollars add up when you are snowflaking towards a goal. I do NOT getting anything for referring you, but I hope you sign up anyway...for your own benefit!

I redeemed 3700 points at MyPoints today for a $25 Applebee's gift card. This will be part of my mother in law's Christmas gift. Another snowflake!!

Do you participate in a program to earn gift cards or cash? Do you have a referral link you would like to share with me? I'm always interested in new opportunities that others have found success with.

Principal Applied

July 23rd, 2013 at 06:50 am

The Citi Thank You award of $250 was received by our mortgage company, Wells Fargo, and applied correctly as a principal payment. Worked perfect!

I look forward to sending in another nice big principal payment later this month. All the July snowflakes, minus the reward above, total over $450. And I still have some Ebay proceeds to include, too!

I did put more items up on Ebay Sunday and will put some CDs up today. There are several CDs that are just not worth anything...either rejected by secondspin or only offered $0.05. Those will go to Goodwill.

Did anyone make an extra payment on debt this month? Tell me about it!

Marshmellow Test

July 21st, 2013 at 09:15 am

I was earning my Swagbucks this morning and got the joy of watching this commercial for 2 Swagbucks (in my Inbox). I don't generally watch everything put in front of me, but this got my attention. It is appropriate for everyone, but those of us here at Saving Advice might appreciate it even more!

Would you eat the marshmallow, or wait? Are you patiently saving? Or skipping it all together (not that you'll tell me)?

The Southwest Rapid Rewards card arrived in the mail yesterday...time to starting tracking our spending towards $2000 in purchases. I still can't decide about redeeming for airline tickets or gift cards. I guess there is time!

$250 Citi Thank You Mortgage Reward Arrived!!

July 20th, 2013 at 06:22 am

Yesterday seemed like an 'in' money day. The mail brought the much awaited check from Citi Thank You rewards. A check for $250 made out to our mortgage company. It's in the mail this morning with the slip indicating our loan number and that it is to be applied to principal.

I actually took a picture of the check so you can see it is really true. Rewards for spending on things you purchase anyway!

I sold an item on Ebay yesterday, too! I will net nearly $19. I already put it in the mail as well. I don't like to keep the customers waiting. Smile I will apply the funds to the Snowflakes for Equity once I redeem all proceeds from PayPal, which will likely be at the end of the month.

I still have four items on Ebay. The auctions end on Sunday. I have more things to list though. In the decluttering process I have found a few movies and cds that we are no longer interested in keeping. My husband saw the pile last night and promptly whet to his truck and brought in 8 cds that have been in his truck for a year without use. There are a few I can definitely get some cash for!!

Of course, there was still some outflow of cash yesterday. It is so hot here, ice cream sounded really, really good. We purchased from the store, so we should have several treats over the next few days. The nice thing is it actually feels a little cooler this morning.

If you didn't see my post yesterday, check it out. You could make $50 in a few simple steps!

Free $50 Bonus for Capital One 360

July 19th, 2013 at 07:04 am

Earlier this month, I opened a Capital One 360 checking and savings account for some bonus money. $176 to be exact. They are still offering a bonus for opening accounts. Right now the 360 Checking is $50 cash (taxable) for making 3 debit transactions within 45 days. No minimum deposit and no fees.

If you want to sign up for some free cash to pay down debt or save for a goal, I'd be honored if you use my referral link. I do get $20 if you open the account. And if you read my blog often enough you know that I will put that money to good use!!

The link will take you to a page like this, which shows they are offering various bonuses for different accounts.

I think a separate bank account is key if you are looking to save money and not dip into it. I recently mentioned this to a friend and she seemed intrigued at the idea that this would be helpful.

Do you have savings or checking accounts at more than one bank? Why or why not? What do you do with your second (and third) accounts?

Swagbucks for Equity and More

July 18th, 2013 at 07:52 am

The Swagbucks reward of $25 in my PayPal account was awarded yesterday. I already had $3 from Pinecone in the account, so I transferred $28 to our bank account to be added to the Snowflakes for Equity! I'm getting closer to $500 for the month. Smile

I'm hoping to see the reward check from Citi soon, as they notified me earlier in the week it had been mailed. It would also be nice to see the Southwest card arrive. We are nearly done with the Amex card my husband has. I only request one card on the cards that only require $500 in spending since we can meet that so quick with a few online bills and gas purchases. The Southwest card will have a spending requirement of $2000 and it is better if we each have a card. I know all the back to school spending will definitely go on that card!

I'm waiting on MyPoints to release some of my pending points. I want to redeem 3700 points for an Applebee's gift card. This is a favorite of my mother in law and we often give her this gift card for Christmas. Once I actually have the gift card, I think I will pull $25 from the Christmas budget and move to the Equity savings.

My decluttering yesterday involved going through about three dozen magazines. I don't pay to subscribe, but did redeem some expiring airlines for about 5 different magazines. Some I didn't feel the need to go through, but a few I did. I pulled out a few recipes and ideas for the house. I think I'll just recycle them or put them out for free this weekend when I list on Craigslist.

I think today I will go through my bathroom drawers and cupboard to see if anything needs to be tossed, recycled or given away. A drawer or two here and there doesn't take much time.

We are mostly hanging out at home in this heat. No real expense to do that. The girls seem to have plenty of reading to keep them entertained and we have watched some instant videos from Amazon Prime.


July 17th, 2013 at 10:10 am

A little oops. I forgot to add more items to sell on Ebay last night. Still no bidders on the items I have listed, but it is still early in the week. It may be the items are not in great demand. A couple might sell better closer to Christmas for gifts.

Since I think we'll be around home this weekend, I hope to put some items on Craigslist. We have several items that would be great for a college student or someone moving into a first apartment. These items were purchased for my husband when he was living in Virginia for 9 months.

My husband and I both received credit card offers in the mail today. Mine for US Bank...offering $100 to open the card and spend $500 in 3 months. I'm sure I will pounce on this once we get closer to completing our Southwest card purchases. We are still waiting for that card. My husband's offer was from Citi, no bonus just 18 months 0% interest. Pass. We need cash if you want us to open a card with you!!

I did receive a $5 Target gift card this week for a Planter's nut purchase. I tossed it with the Christmas gift cards for now. Although, I should probably use it when I'm there today and just add $5 to the Equity Snowflakes. Yep, I'll do that, since it is the goal right now.

I'm also on a very minor decluttering kick! I went through our cup of pencils and pens that sit on the kitchen counter. I also thinned out the junk basket that sits nearby as well. It looks so much better. Now to find another drawer that I can purge from!!

What kinds of things are you doing of late that save you money, make you money or improve your life in some way?

Another BIG Snowflake

July 16th, 2013 at 06:43 am

We met the minimum spending of $500 on my husband's Capital One Quicksilver card and earned $107.53 in rewards. The first statement has not even closed yet! I already redeemed an account statement credit and moved the money we would have sent in as a payment to the Snowflakes for Equity! Which now has a balance of $423.08 for July. Not bad. Not bad at all!

I do foresee quite a few expenses in the coming months: athletic shoes for the girls, school supplies, school fees, an oil change, and rental of a sod cutter for landscaping.

We also are considering a new bike for our daughter, an entertainment center for one of our tv's that is on a cheap $20 cart and looks plain goofy, and maybe a power washer. We live in more of a rural area, near a medium sized city, and boy do our vehicles get dirty. My husband is really into keeping cars clean, but at $6 to $10 a wash, I think we could actually save money if he washed our cars at home. The only way I could get him to do that is with a power washer, about $300. Men...and their toys. It would be more efficient. Definitely not a need. I'll grant you that one. But it just might be more economical considering the nearest car wash he'll consider using is more than ten minutes away.

My ebay items are out there, but not any bids or many watchers. I didn't do the best job of researching prices, so I may need to adjust next week if nothing sells. I do have a couple things I hope to get listed this evening, maybe I'll do better with my research tonight!

Anyone else have a power washer for their cars? Is this overkill, or does it seems like a good idea in our situation?

Minor Money Updates

July 15th, 2013 at 06:53 am

I cancelled our Netflix membership this weekend. We can still watch it through the 21st, but we did all agree recently that we can't find much to watch on the site as we once could. Saves us $7.99 a month! We will use Amazon Prime for most streaming and of course our local library!

We purchased a pizza over the weekend from Pizza Hut, after I placed my order online, I realized there was a coupon I could use. I inquired when I picked the pizza up and saved $5.99. I love when that happens.

I made a donation today to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation in the amount of $100. My sister is running a half marathon this fall and is raising money for the charity. I picked up the fees too for another $7.69, so all the money will go to the charity. I charged this to my husband's American Express Blue Cash Everyday card. With this donation and two future charges, we only need to spend another $165 on the card to be eligible for the bonus of $150. I know I will need fuel for the van this week, I have lots of chauffeuring to do!

I did list five things on Ebay last night. Not much action yet. I have at least another five to seven more items I hope to list on Tuesday night, so they all will end on Sunday. I also listed two books on Half.com.

My daughter received a $100 bill from her grandparents for her birthday. While I'm not shocked about the amount, I was surprised when she brought the bill to me last night and asked if she could have $20 bills instead! Ah...so much easier to spend that way, right? I actually think it is just a bit intimidating for her.

Do you feel uncomfortable will large bills? Do you like to have large bills in your pocket? I've thought I might just hold this $100 bill as emergency cash, since we aren't exactly prepared in that way. Although smaller bills probably would be better in an emergency situation. What say you?

July Snowflakes To Date

July 14th, 2013 at 01:01 pm

Here is the chart showing the snowflakes I have accumulated since the beginning of the month. The credit card rewards make a big difference!

I do expect additional rewards before the end of the month, thus I will wait to send this big fat snowball of money to the mortgage as a principal payment. I expect a Pinecone survey or two, a Swagbucks reward, a MyPoints reward, another credit card reward or two, AND profits from Ebay sales!

Just to be clear. We only have a balance on one of the credit cards. That is the most recent one we completed, Capital One Quicksilver. Today, I made a payment of nearly $268 to cover the utilities we charged, thus we owe about $232. I expect to redeem the bonus when it hits the account as a statement credit, thus putting what we owe to about $125. I will get this paid off right after the credit posts to the account.

And in other good news, we saved $265 in our emergency fund this pay period. Pretty good considering some recent travels and a birthday!

Do you have a mid month snowflake tally? How do you keep track of your snowflakes? What are you doing with your snowflakes?

Nice Market & More

July 13th, 2013 at 02:50 pm

I checked our retirement accounts...up over $42K since the beginning of the year. Very happy to see this improvement. Have you checked on your retirement lately?

My husband applied for the Southwest Airlines Rapids Rewards Premier Card today. He was approved! We are very close to the spending minimum on the Capital One Quicksilver card, maybe another $40 left to spend to meet the $500 in spending.

We received my husband's American Express Blue Cash Everyday card yesterday. We have not used it yet, but will put our regular Verizon cell phone bill and our Amazon Prime membership on the card. I have already set those charges up to be applied when due. We will use that card for another $270 to meet the $500 in spending before we move on the the Southwest card.

I just did a quick tally of credit card rewards we have received and expect to receive on cards we have applied for: $1476. Nice sum of change! I expect the total will exceed that before the end of the year. And this doesn't include the 5% savings on the Target Red Card.

Do you have a tally of your savings so far this year, with or without credit card rewards?

High Yield Checking

July 12th, 2013 at 08:20 am

First, a couple of updates. I have received another Pinecone Survey payment, and I made another transaction on my Capital One 360 Checking account. Just two more to go. My husband just needs to spend another $28 on the Capital One Quicksilver card. I'm waiting for the American Express card he applied for to arrive in the mail. Once it does, one of us will apply for the Southwest card.

I keep seeing a bank sign that flashes 3.00%APR. I stopped to watch it the other day. It's called Green Checking, so I'm assuming this is technically a high yield savings account. This might be our next best bet for some savings on our excess cash. I will get in soon to inquire further, as I can't find anything on the bank's website.

I have looked at other area banks for their high yield rates. Most don't give the rate for over $25K. There are always stipulations such as direct deposit, or 3-5 automatic bill payments, or 10 debit transactions.

Does anyone have a high yield checking account? How does yours work? Which rate are you getting? Is it worth it to you?

More Reward Updates

July 11th, 2013 at 07:01 am

I guess all my posts are going to be about rewards for awhile. All these rewards are snowflakes towards mortgage debt. Less debt is good!

Yesterday, I received my CaptialOne 360 checking debit card. I activated it right away and used it to pay for my daughter's haircuts and vitamins. The two purchases go towards the five debit card purchases I need to make to get the $100 reward. Only three purchases left to go.

I have received my bonus ThankYou points on my Citi Thank You Preferred card in the amount of 25,000. I was hoping I could redeem for a statement credit rather than gift cards. Unfortunately, those credits are not nearly as valuable as the gift cards. I would only get $100 in statement credits for those points. I did find out that I can redeem those 25,000 points for a $250 check made out to our mortgage company though. That is exactly the reward I want. I will have to call to get that ordered, but I will do that today!

We are only $40 away from making the minimum purchase requirement on my husband's Capital One Quicksilver card. We have purchased two tanks of gas and my husband charged his lunch yesterday while he was out of town on business. Again all charges made on this card are regular expenses for our household.

I'm pretty sure we will take the plunge and open the Southwest Rapids Rewards Premiere credit card soon. We will only open one in my husband's name to begin with. It does have a $2000 spending requirement. I don't want to jump on two cards too quickly. It makes it harder to track and I don't want to not make the spending requirement. I'll let you know when we are approved for that one.

I hope to have some Ebay updates later this month. I have been coming across quite a few things lately that need to be sold. I'll start with five to six items this Sunday.

Here's to more snowflakes!!

Snowflakes and Referral

July 10th, 2013 at 07:28 am

I finally have my CapitalOne 360 referral link. I don't know that any of you want to use it, since the incentive for you is not as great as it was at the beginning of July during their Independence Day Sale. I receive $20 deposited in my account if you use my link for the 360 Checking account. If you open the savings account, I only get the $20, if your initial deposit is $250 or more. The interest rate is 0.75% APR. Thanks in advance if you use the link.

My total snowflakes for July so far total $133.47. I expect this to be much, much higher by the end of the month, since I should easily have another $400 in credit rewards redeemed by then. Thus my principal payment to the mortgage will be a nice big one compared to the $56 I sent in last month.

We started using the Capital One Quicksilver card two days ago. I used it to pay the electric, phone and internet bills, as well as that $75 speeding fine my husband incurred in May. We only need to spend $157.09 to meet the $500 spending requirement. We will then net $100 in Rewards. I expect we will use the card to buy fuel for our vehicles over the next two weeks and meet the requirement with no problem.

I'm only 70 Swagbucks away from redeeming another $25 PayPal cash deposit. I expect I can accumulate those by the end of the day.

How are you snowflakes coming along? Are you still looking for ways to accumulate snowflakes? Anyone selling on Ebay?

More Southwest Thoughts

July 9th, 2013 at 05:09 pm

I went to the frequent flyer rewards site to see what the gift card options are. While they have over 50 stores, only a couple of them are ones we shop at frequently. Kohl's would be the best, but I don't spend $500 there...even in a year! I am not a fan of Walmart, but would shop there if I had a gift card.

There are several others gift cards that would be appealing for gifts. Specifically, Applebee's, Eddie Bauer and Bath & Body works. I'm sure I could make it work, but I really want the full value of the reward and not have to work so hard to get that value. Cash really appeals, not so sure about all these gift cards and airline miles.

I did see that this Southwest Rapids Rewards Visa offer is good through August 6, per a discussion on FlyerTalk. Of course, it could change at any time. I'm going to mull it over another day or two. I still need to discuss with my husband as well.

In other financial news today, I did receive my $25 PayPal deposit from Swagbucks. I directed PayPal to deposit it, along with $3 from Pinecone, to my bank account. More snowflakes for July!!

Yes, we do participate in credit card rewards. We are responsible to pay them off on time without interest. We only charge what we would normally purchase and have the cash to pay off. Currently, all credit card rewards are helping to build equity in our home.

Southwest Offer Is Back!

July 9th, 2013 at 06:12 am

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards card is now offering 50,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases in 3 months. This is equal to two round trip airline tickets on Southwest or $500 in gift cards. There is a $99 annual fee for the Premier card, and $69 if you apply for the Plus version.

I was tipped off about this card offer from MyMoneyBlog. I haven't decided weather to apply or not. I really don't like having to pay an annual fee...even once! I realize I would have a net gain.

I like that we could redeem the points for gift cards, so if I look at it as though I was putting my $99 on a gift card and gaining $401...then it does seem more appealing. I also think there is a possibility of flying for a vacation in the next 12 months, so that is actually appealing as well.

Will you jump on this card offer? Do you think it is worth the annual fee? Where do you fly on Southwest Airlines?

Credit Card Update

July 8th, 2013 at 02:40 pm

The American Express Blue Cash Everyday card shows the $150 in statement credits have been applied to the account. The new balance is now $1051. I will save this months payment I planned to make towards the Snowflakes for Equity. I will pay $150 per month on this card, until it is paid. It is 0% interest thus I'm not in a hurry to pay it off. The charge is for the trip my daughter will take to Washington DC in the spring.

My husband received a Capital One card in the mail today. It is Capital One Quicksilver. It will earn 1.5% cash rewards. I had not heard of this card, until I went looking for one for him to apply for. There are no rotating categories and rewards can be redeemed for cash or statement credits. He will earn $100 for making $500 in purchases. We will actually use it very soon to pay the electric bill. The rest will be our regular expenses and maybe a bike for one of our daughter's who is now ready to start riding again.

If anyone sees an offer for a Citi card for more than $150 in gift cards, I'd like the link. I was able to get $250 with the Citi Thank You Preferred card because I was mailed the offer. Right now I can't find anything online with an offer that good for him!

Am I making you dizzy with all this credit card offer reward stuff? It is really, really for those of us organized to keep track of it all. Please don't use credit cards if you can't avoid interest or late fees, or might not be organized enough to keep it all in check.


July 5th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

It's my youngest daughter's birthday. She 13...so now I have two teenagers. Today is not really frugal. We have treated her to gifts, lunch out, and soon a movie at the theater. The most frugal part was homemade cupcakes and with frosting.

Last year on her birthday we were actually accepting delivery of our household goods, thus moving day put a crimp in the birthday celebration. We were able to unpack quite a bit of kitchen items and did get a cake baked. It definitely wasn't the same.

We will also be traveling back to our old town to meet up with her old school buddies for a party. We did call it a birthday party, but did ask only for 'presence not presents.' Her idea and a good one considering some of them she hasn't seen for many months. Email and texts do seem to keep the connections going.

In other updates, I still can't refer a friend to Capital One 360 as my checking account I opened is still in verification mode. I am waiting on deposit of some Swagbucks money...seems to be taking longer than usual. I also decided to leave that extra mortgage payment as is. I didn't even call. They money is there and isn't causing any harm to pay it early. I will just replace the money in our checking account when August payday arrives.

Do you sometimes splurge on birthdays? Or always? Or do you keep them simple?

Made A Mistake

July 4th, 2013 at 09:08 am

I logged on to our bank account today to find those pesky Capital One 360 test deposits. They were there. A whopping $0.27. I will add to my snowflakes for this month. (And, no, I still can't refer a friend. Ugh.)Something wasn't right however...the balance was...well significantly lower.

We have only had about six transactions since payday. They were all there. It took me awhile to figure out that I made an extra mortgage payment! The August payment to be exact. Apparently, I did this when I made that extra $56 principal payment on Monday. I thought this was just the regularly schedule payment I was seeing, but no that definitely not what I was seeing.

Our regular P&I payment is $973.66. The second payment this month had $437.99 go to principal and $535.67 to interest. I'm guessing interest will accrue until September though, thus making our payment in September have more interest taken out right? That isn't good. Or I guess we prepaid that interest now, so the next payment due in September would just be divided normally? I'm confusing myself!!

Luckily, there is plenty of cash in the checking account to cover it. I just need to keep track of that until August. And pay that money back with the August payday. I also need to go in and cancel our regular payment for August because right now Wells Fargo has it scheduled to withdraw.

I will definitely call tomorrow to see if they can back the payment out or change it to full principal payment. I'm open to thoughts and ideas on this. I have never make this mistake in all the years we have had mortgages. Apparently there is a first time for everything!

Happy Independence Day!

Earned A Reward

July 3rd, 2013 at 06:49 am

I officially have the first reward from the credit cards I opened to obtain bonus cash. And it is from Capital One in the amount of $105.07. The cash bonus was $100, plus the regular 1% cash back bonus. We spent just over $500 on the card to achieve the bonus.

Yesterday morning our balance on the card was $158.84, which was for our Verizon and Netflix bills. Since the cash rewards were available, I redeemed them as a credit to the balance. I paid the remainder of the balance ($53.77).

Since I used the credit rather than waiting for the check, I simply have set the $105.07 that would have been used to pay the bills mentioned above in our Snowflakes for Equity. So that is one of the first July snowflakes! Smile

I am waiting for the Citi Thank You card statement to close to earn $250 in rewards. I originally thought I would have to redeem these for gift cards, but it looks like a statement credit is an option. I do see that it does need to be redeemed in an even denomination, but as long as I get the $250 that works for me! We ended up charging over $1400 on the card. I have paid all but $244. I actually should charge another $6+ to get to an even $250 so I can actually redeem the full $250 as a credit. I will then simply move our cash that would have been paid towards the bill to the Snowflakes for Equity.

I still don't have my Capital One referral code. I sent an email message stating the issue again to see if I can get it resolved today. I did not have the two deposits to confirm our bank account, so that hold up is delayed. I know that I can get a referral code eventually and there are always $20 referrals. I just know that anyone signing up is more likely to do so when there is a great bonus in it for them as well. I am happy that it has worked for everyone else!

Happy Snowflaking!!

Going For Capital One 360 Bonuses

July 2nd, 2013 at 08:08 am

If you aren't aware, Capital One 360 is having a three day promotion that ends tomorrow. There are multiple ways to earn bonuses by opening different accounts. And you can even refer friends to earn additional bonuses.

I chose to open a checking and savings account. The checking account bonus is $100 and the savings bonus is $76. There are stipulations for both, of course. But they are easily obtained.

The checking account does not require a minimum balance but simply 5 debit card transaction or 5 mobile deposits or a combination of both. I deposited $100 and will make small purchases that would be part of our normal spending. I have 45 days to complete the transactions. The $100 bonus will be deposited on day 50. This will be taxable, but it's still extra money!!

The savings account requires a $500 deposit to earn the $76. That bonus is already pending in the account and will start earning interest today! The interest rate is 0.75%, which is competitive, but not the highest that I know of. The bonus will be available for redemption after 30 days. The $500 I transferred is some of the Christmas Snowflake money. I'm not shopping yet, so it might as well earn some interest.

There is a Refer a Friend promotion that could generate another $76. You refer two friend for $20. There is another $36 bonus given for the referral on July 31st. Unfortunately, I opened my savings account first and it put a hold on the accounts while the confirmation deposits are made. Thus I'm not eligible to refer at the moment. But once I am, I will post my referral link. If you sign up, try opening the checking account first!

I opened this as a single account and now I'm wondering if I can open another one for my husband. Anyone know the answer to this? Does this sound like an offer you might look into? Or have you done the offer already?

No Promotion

July 2nd, 2013 at 06:42 am

We found out that my husband did not get promoted to Major this year. He was being looked at Below the Zone, so it would have been an early promotion. Next year, he will be right on schedule to be promoted. It is disappointing because he works so hard.

A very tiny part of me is relieved only because I know the increase in pay was going to change things for us tax wise, definitely being pushed into a higher tax bracket. Specifically, $8790 would be subject to 25% tax. I was going to need to make decisions about whether to put more money into traditional IRA's rather than Roth IRA's. I will have more time to ponder that decision.

In the meantime, I feel very blessed with the financial situation we are in. My husband has a good job and provides for us well. We have no reason to complain.

Would you put more money into traditional IRA to avoid current tax on $8790? Or would you pay the tax now to keep the money in a Roth?

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