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Archive for September, 2013

The Good and The Bad

September 30th, 2013 at 11:23 am

This government shut down is looming and it is affecting us. First affect, my husband's battle assembly scheduled for this coming weekend has been postponed to the end of October. This is good since my daughter has a band performance that he would have missed. Now he can see it. Smile

He is also scheduled to travel this week. He will find out tomorrow whether they are to continue or postpone that one as well. I'd prefer it be cancelled. We are already waiting on two travel reimbursements from earlier in September that have still not been paid. The amount owed to us is $236.31, which we sure would like to have as soon as possible.

My husband was paid for all work done in September. I can see the paycheck pending in our checking account for tomorrow. However, all pay will stop, while work continues until the new budget is signed. He will get an IOU from the government. The next expected check is October 15, which will be on time if the budget is signed in the next week or so.

The good thing is we have cash to cover a paycheck or two. My plan is to postpone our investments in October if the pay is delayed. We might as well hang on to that money while we are waiting on a paycheck. Some of the bills later in the month are put on credit cards anyway, so those can be delayed slightly as well. It's the food and gas we will need to fork over out of savings until we are paid back.

We are some of the lucky ones. Civilians that work for the government will not go into work, and will not be paid for any days they are off work. I hope they have a plan!

Do you know anyone that is affected by the government shutdown that likely to happen? Any other good ideas for planning for a delayed paycheck?

Renting for the Lawn

September 27th, 2013 at 09:31 am

I'm amused at my husband. He has mowed the lawn three times this year, been in charge of watering about the same amount. He has also sprayed for weeds and fertilized. Today he is aerating our lawn in preparation for putting down grass seed (Aerating is important in places where there is clay soil generally). He knows what a lawn needs, but actually doesn't have much time to spend on it. I'm just happy if it stays green during the spring and summer and it gets mowed. I don't even mind doing the mowing. He seems to be the one to be all the expense in to the yard, but not as much of the effort. Not sure if that makes sense, but it does amuse me! We actually let our back lawn go dormant this summer because of the lack of rain and my desire to NOT to spend money on water. He didn't seem to mind.

The aerator is $55 to rent for four hours. It should just take him an hour or so to do. After he's done with that we will run out to get grass seed and fertilizer. Another $40-$60, I'm guessing. I do like a nice looking lawn. I just don't always like the expense that goes with it. If there were some more neighbors home on a Friday morning, we might see if any of them want their lawn aerated and help cover/split the cost of the rental. No one else is home to ask, but at least we got the task of my husband's to do list! We also agree this is likely the only time we will aerate while we live at this home. It isn't something we do with much frequency.

Let's just say this is one of those tasks I just have to go with to keep the peace. Now if we were going into debt for the lawn that would be another story.

What kinds of equipment have you rented? Would you rather buy than rent, or hire out than rent? Do you aerate your lawn?

Ten Dollars

September 26th, 2013 at 01:29 pm

Again, in the mail today, I received a $10 off a $10 purchase at Kohl's. This is the second one this month. I used the last one last week when we shopped there. Clearly, they want me to come back!

I am DONE cleaning our windows. I even cleaned the outsides of some of them. The others I couldn't reach without a ladder and they actually aren't too bad. The windows seems to get dirtier here in this more rural town. And the spider webs are really bad!! Ick.

I'm craving a soda, which is really odd, since I have pretty much stopped drinking pop almost two years ago. I must need more water! If I can avoid the temptation to pick up a soda on my next outing, I will declare today a no spend day. Again!

There isn't much financial going on. I'm looking forward to payday just so I can do something financial! My husband is taking a couple days off work, so we might use one of those restaurant gift cards. That means I can send the same amount of money to the mortgage. That would be good. Smile

Did you get a Kohl's $10 coupon this month? Did you use it? What did you get?

Eating At Home

September 25th, 2013 at 02:59 pm

We almost always eat at home with food we have purchased from the grocery store. That will be the case tonight. And it will require preparation to cut up and season vegetable that will be roasted in our oven. Yummy!

We only have a couple night a week where dinner needs to be quick. I try my best to plan for those with something very easily prepared. It might be pre-cooked in the Crockpot, something needing to be thawed, or a simple sandwich. These are so much healthier than the majority of take out food, and far less expensive. I know I could be a better cook and meal planner, but I try not to sweat my imperfection knowing I'm doing pretty good spending less and eating healthier than many.

Since the groceries were purchased Monday, and all I did was clean more windows today, I can officially declare it a no spend day! That is good news. The bad news, or frustrating news is we are still waiting on my husband's travel payment. I noticed on the website that end of fiscal year travel payments are usually delayed. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

How often do you eat out? Would you say you eat at home more than eating out? Do you plan ahead for those crazy busy nights with simple meals? What is your go to simple meal?

Swagbucks Deposit & Surprise Snowflake

September 24th, 2013 at 08:53 am

I woke up to an email from Swagbucks and PayPal notifying me of my $25 deposit into my account. I quickly requested a withdrawal to our checking account. It should arrive by Friday. I should be able to get it sent to the mortgage by the end of the month!

We also received a nice surprise from the realtor that helped us find our home. She sent a thank you card for referring my husband's co-worker to her when they went to sell their house. In the thank you card was a $25 gift card to Olive Garden! We definitely did not expect that and was not necessary at all. We'll take it though and use it or give as a gift should the opportunity arise.

I expect today to be a no spend day. Oh, except for paying for a flute lesson. Yesterday was grocery shopping. Today, I'm clearing my desk of paperwork and starting to clean a few windows and blinds. No shopping for me!

Have you received ANY good surprises lately? Monetarily related or otherwise?

Mortgage Principal Down Again!

September 23rd, 2013 at 11:28 am

I decided I should track the spending with those rewards gift cards as it happens. No need to delay paying the mortgage down, right? I set up a spreadsheet with each card and it's original amount, the amount used/remaining and the amount sent in. Or something like that!! This way I can keep track of what I need to send in.

I already sent $50 in last week when I spent a $50 gift card at Walmart. Today I'm sending in $123.15 for gift cards spent on Amazon and at Kohl's this weekend. At this point we have spent $173.15 of the gift cards from the Southwest Airlines Rapids Rewards card. And it has all been matched with our own cash that we have sent in to the mortgage.

In other news, I'm still waiting for my husband's travel payments to shake out, so I can pay off his expenses on our Chase Freedom card. It should be done this week. It was nice of him to charge gas while their 5% back promotion is running. That will just mean more rewards from that card, or a forecast of future snowflakes as I see it.

This snowflaking debt is fun and so satisfying. Did you make a snowflake this week? Did you save it, spend it or pay down debt?

Spent More Rewards Gift Cards

September 22nd, 2013 at 07:41 am

The girls and I went shopping yesterday at Kohl's, where we picked up a couple pairs of jeans, a shirt and a pair of shoes. The total before discounts was $104.97, but I had a $10 off coupon and a 20% off which saved $29. Of course, tax was added back in, and the total became $81.29. I used the gift cards we earned from the Southwest Airlines credit card bonuses. Each card from Kohl's is $50, so I still have $18.71 left on one of them.

We also rented Star Trek Into Darkness from Amazon last night to watch as a family. We used the Amazon.com gift card to pay for the $3.99 rental. The Amazon gift cards we received are $25 each. I only loaded one on to the account, so we now have a $21.01 credit there.

The plan all along has been to match the spending on these gift cards with cash applied to the principal balance of our mortgage. I'm having a mini debate with myself about how to handle this specifically. Should I send in the actual amount we spent yesterday, or would it be easier to track if I only sent in the money when I use the full gift card? If I do the later, I really only need to send in $50, as I have only used up that one Kohl's gift card. It really all works out the same in the end. I will mull it over today. Either way I will make a payment to the mortgage tomorrow!

I might have a little more Amazon.com spending to do. I noticed that my hair dryer is getting too hot and actually melting on the side. That can't be good! It still works, but I sure don't want my hair to catch on fire. I think I'll get that order placed today!

Do you dry your hair with a hair dryer or air dry? I'm pretty sure air drying would be the most frugal. Smile

Retirement & Southwest Offer

September 20th, 2013 at 08:27 am

The Chase Southwest Airline credit card offer is back. You can earn 50,000 points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. This is equal to $800 in airline tickets or $500 in gift cards. My husband did this offer and we are working on spending the gift cards. It's tempting to apply in my name, but I'm going to personally hold off for right now. See the details on the link, and remember there is an annual fee of $99. You might be able to get it back if you cancel early.

The market was at an all time high on Wednesday. I made sure to record our retirement balances. It nice to see we are nearing a milestone....$250K. We are still about $8K off as of that day. And unfortunately the market is going back down. It really is interesting to see that just over 10 years ago we only had $25,000 invested for retirement. And even four years ago the market was so low we only had $69K...it had been much higher prior to that drop. I'm glad we just keep investing regardless of the markets ups and downs. It does pay off!!

Do you know of any new credit card reward offers? Did you also check your investment accounts when the market was at it's peak the other day?

Snowflake Sent to Mortgage

September 19th, 2013 at 09:54 am

I have accumulated $86.42 in snowflakes since the beginning of September. I sent those off yesterday to pay down the principal balance on the mortgage. Smile

I earned enough Swagbucks to redeem $25 for a PayPal deposit. It would be nice to receive that before the end of the month, so I can send it in as another snowflakes!

My husband had a couple recent trips for work. One of them he drove our personal vehicle which means we will be paid mileage. The government avoids this usually. They now prefer a vehicle to be rented because it is less expensive. And that's the right thing to do from a government standpoint. The good thing is we might make a little cash on the deal this time. I'm still waiting for the deposits and to know that he paid off his government travel card in full.

I wanted to get a little shopping in at Kohl's today, since I have a $10 off coupon and gift cards. However, my volunteering at school went long and I need to get a final coat of paint down on our garage steps while the weather is nice. In the end it is fine to hold off on the spending!!

Do you receive mileage payments for travel you do? Does the payment cover your cost in full or partially?

Return of Fee: Southwest Card

September 18th, 2013 at 05:17 am

I sent an email to Chase requesting the cancellation of the Southwest Card as well as the return of the annual fee. The card was cancelled. And I was told the annual fee of $99 in full will be returned. It will take one to two billing cycles to appear as a credit. We can then request a check for the credit amount, which will take about two weeks to arrive.

We went into the Southwest deal knowing the card had an annual fee. I knew there was a chance the fee would be returned, but I was okay with it if it didn't since I would still be ahead by $401. Once we get the fee back we will be ahead by the full $500.

I don't know whether I will count the $99 as a snowflake or not. Right now it seems better to send it off to the Red Cross to help with disaster relief. I'll decide when it actually arrives.

Have you paid an annual credit card fee before? What benefits do you get from it? Have you had a fee returned? Do you think I should snowflake our fee or give to charity?

Gift Card Spent On Toiletries

September 17th, 2013 at 10:42 am

Last night, I came home to a note from my daughter, that said, "We are out of conditioner. We have two shampoos in the closet but no conditioner. What is with this madness?" Made me laugh.

Then this morning I found we only had two partial rolls of toilet paper in the house! Yikes. Time to go to the store again. When my husband heard I was going he said he needed deodorant. Now it seems I had a list of things to get.

I stopped by Walmart to purchase the above items in addition to counter cleaner and toothpaste. I did buy more than one of several of the items. I had two coupons which reduced my expense by $3. I spent $53.13. I used one of the $50 gift cards we earned with our Southwest Rewards card. So just a little out of pocket. I will get that $50 sent off to the mortgage this week.

The toilet paper I wanted to buy at Walmart had three different sized packages, 12 rolls, 20 rolls and 27 rolls. I noticed the signage on two of them had a graphic stating "Low Price". I did the math on my phone calculator, the lowest price per roll was on the 20 roll package. This was the one with out the "Low Price" sign. I just thought that was interesting. Apparently, Walmart knows they can sway purchases to higher priced items by putting these signs up. I will say the package I bought was probably $2 cheaper than I pay at Target. That part is a little annoying.

It was nice to stock up on a few things knowing that once I spent that money on the gift card it was heading to the mortgage. What kinds of things do you keep heavily stocked in your home?

Slow Month

September 16th, 2013 at 01:02 pm

The month and time are actually going fast, but it seems my snowflakes are slow to accumulate. I did get my Pinecone payment today, so that and my last cash from Swagbucks are being transferred to our bank account. I will get to make an extra mortgage payment soon.

It doesn't seem there is much activity financially. I paid all the bills and sent in the catch up payment on our mortgage escrow account. I attempted to enroll my daughter in Driver's Education, but the class was full. She is number four on the waiting list, so for now I have saved $375.

We still have not spent even $1 using those gift cards we received with our Southwest Rewards. I do like looking at that stack though! So shiny. Smile I could use a new hair dryer from Amazon, as I see mine has melted in some place from the heat. That can't be good!

Markets were up today, so I hope to record our retirement totals. When the market is down I tend to ignore the recording. I just like to see a consistent move up I guess!

So nothing too exciting financially here. Today seems to be a no spend day!! Who doesn't like those, right?

A little sparse

September 14th, 2013 at 11:51 am

Food pickings are getting a little sparse here at our house. We've all managed to find something for lunch. We will have pasta with sauce for dinner, with a side salad. I think we may make biscuits too. I think we have enough for breakfast as well. So my goal is to get to the grocery store before lunch tomorrow morning. I hope to make the list this evening. And browse for coupons in the morning.

It will be a no spend day here. I'm watching football and getting some cleaning done between commercials. I also had a painting project to work on earlier. No cost for that as all the supplies had been purchased prior to today.

We will head out later today for a photography field trip. My daughter is taking photography this year, so we'll have lots of trips out to get some required shots. Might need to see if we can find some sculptures around town. A good way to learn some more about our new city. At least it is free!!

I earned a $5 gift card at Target the other day and I was going to use it and save the cash as a snowflake towards towards the mortgage. Yesterday, I went back and bought Kleenex on clearance for my sister's classroom. I had the gift card for $5, three coupons totaling $2.10, my cartwheel coupon for 5% off and 5% with my Red card. I probably paid less than $2 out of pocket for 8 boxes of Kleenex! I love it when I can get deals like this. And of course, this helps out my sister. I told her about the deal so she might be able to find the same deal and stock up even more.

Any good deals this weekend for you? Or were you able to have a no spend day?

$500 Gift Cards Arrived!!!

September 13th, 2013 at 11:05 am

A large white envelope was dropped in our door by UPS this morning. I wasn't sure what it was and it was address to my husband. I texted to see if he knew what it was. He didn't but said I could open it.

Gift cards!!



These are the gift cards we redeemed from our Southwest Rapids Rewards credit card bonus. We received the following:

$25 Panera
$100 Walmart
$200 Kohl's
$200 Amazon.com

Why do I now feel like shopping?! Anything thing I use these for will need to be backed up by cash I send in to the mortgage to pay down the principal.

When I drove by Walmart earlier today, I realized I may be able to use the gift cards there for gas. Maybe. Haven't done this before, so it may or not work. Anyone used a gift card at Walmart to purchase fuel?

I'll keep you updated on the progress of using these rewards. It could take months, or not. We'll see.

Pay Day and Pay Off

September 13th, 2013 at 05:28 am

My husband's check was pending yesterday so I started recording and paying bills. So many of them are automatic: life insurance, phone and electric, water softener rental, Roth investments and college savings. Makes paying bills easy.

The good news is I paid the remainder of the Southwest Rapids Rewards card. A nice $572 no longer owed. The balance is zero. The card will be cancelled once I get those gift card rewards in the mail. Hoping that is soon!!

I made a $115 payment to the American Express card that I charged my daughter's Washington DC trip on. It is zero interest, so I'm paying it back at a rate of $150 per month. The balance is now at $750. We also have started fundraising for this trip. Might work out to get some money back or at least enough for spending money.

We also made some tax deductible contributions. One to the music program at school. I'd rather do this than participate in their fundraisers. The second contribution is to a Walk N Roll fundraiser that our former neighbor's daughter and their family will benefit from. Wish we could participate this year, but we have other obligations.

Seems like lots of money flowing out, but we did contribute to our Roth IRAs and college savings accounts this period like always, so that is good.

I also received notification that my Swagbucks money was deposited in my PayPal account. I also did a Pinecone survey yesterday. Once that money is in the PayPal account I will withdraw it and send the money in to the mortgage!

It's all going as planned. Any new snow developments? Any debt paid off this week? Any charity donations?

iTunes On Sale

September 12th, 2013 at 09:00 am

I should have mentioned this yesterday in my post about the Target deal, but iTunes gift cards are 10% off again this week. I bought a $15 one last time for my oldest daughter. I paid $13.50 for it with Target gift cards I had. She buys stuff on there quite often. And since then, my youngest daughter actually made an iTunes purchase, so I'm thinking she needs one in her stocking too. I can use my newly acquired Target gift cards to make the purchase!

Also prepaid phone cards at Target are 10% off as well. We don't have one of these, but if you do, that is a savings to take advantage of.

Snowflakes are slow to come by so far this month. I earned $0.37 last month on my CapitalOne 360 Savings account. Our bank refunded our ATM fees of $8, and gave us $0.05 of interest. Thus my snowflakes amount to $8.42. A little paltry.

I know that I have Swagbucks money coming as well as $525 in gift cards from Southwest. So I will just patiently wait and know it will come together. I could also make something happen with some Ebay or Craigslist sales, but the truth is I'm not motivated.

I'm going to try to make it a no spend day. I received yet another $10 coupon to Kohl's, so that is tempting, but probably should wait until I can take one of the girls along for some of their needs.

Know of any other good savings deals out there this week that might be on someone's NEED list?

Spending Today

September 11th, 2013 at 08:47 am

Thanks for the nice get well wishes. I did have a smoothie this morning. And I have been taking Vitamin C, among others, since day one of the cold. It is more of an energy issue than congestion, which is actually very minimal. I have done cardio at the gym each morning this week ranging from 20-25 minutes. Each day is a little better.

I filled up the tank with gas on the way to the gym and spent $51.04. After the gym, I stopped by Target for a few items, spending $45.42. I bought two items that were not on my list. One was a snack, which was probably not needed. The other item was buy 3, get a $5 gift card. Since we ALWAYS need these, I like to stock up during this promotion. The $5 gift card will get used and then added to the snowflake pile! My only regret is I didn't have the coupon that I usually use on that promotion.

Now time for chores! My motivation is that I will reward myself with a movie I borrowed from the library. Free rewards are good don't you think? Do you reward yourself for tasks that you dread?

Crawling Back

September 10th, 2013 at 10:49 am

I've had a cold for over a week now. The lack of energy has been awful. I made it to the gym yesterday and today, but only did cardio exercise for about 20 minutes. After that I was wiped out!

After a little rest today, I did some clean up in our garage. I seemed to handle that just fine. Clearly, it wasn't as strenuous. The lack of energy is leaving many things undone around here. I'm feel this week will be the crawl back to getting those things done. Next up is a load of laundry. And then if I still am up for it, homemade biscuits.

I expect today's spending only to be for the flute lesson, a $20 bill in my wallet will take care of it. Tomorrow, I will stock up on needs that have come up since my last shopping trip: hair mousse, a cat collar, a loaf of bread, fuel for the van and it seems one other thing.

I hope all of you are well and stay well. It's no fun to be sick.

Just noticed my Snowflakes for Christmas ticker has disappeared. I still have the coding in my blog settings and it looks correct when I compare it to the other one. I tried to copy and paste to get to the TickerFactory site, but I'm just taken to the main set up page. Does anyone know if these tickers expire if not used for awhile?

No Return

September 9th, 2013 at 08:29 am

I'm not actually surprised by this, but I was unable to return the allergy decongestant product my husband bought. It is a controlled substance, thus no returns. He paid $15.50 for 10 pills. It is possible we will use them at some point. It just isn't the brand and combination we prefer. Oh well, I tried!

While I was there, I picked up four photo prints for my daughter that were taken when she was visiting a friend. I figured $0.86 to capture some memories was worth it. If I didn't make that purchase it would have been a no spend day. At least it is low spend. Smile

Can you think of other things that cannot be returned?

No Spend Day!!

September 8th, 2013 at 03:25 pm

I ended up buying groceries yesterday after I realized we needed something for dinner. I made a quick list for the week and got all the grocery shopping done a day early. It was a little smaller grocery bill as I will use some things on hand to make a few of the meals. I like when that happens.

As a result of that trip, today has been a no spend day. I'll take it. Those seem a bit rare around here lately.

I paid off our Target credit card charges and some gas charges on the Chase Freedom card. We are back to zero on those. The Southwest Card has about $572 due before the end of September. I will pay that off in full on Friday (payday). No interest! I like that too.

I expect to purchase gas this week, a hair product and write a check to the flute teacher. Not too bad. I also still need to return some meds we bought that we won't use. That will be $15 back in our pocket. I'm also avoiding school fundraiser number one. Magazines. I don't need to spend the money and I don't need any magazines. We actually plan to send some money in directly to the band program this year, so I can skip those fundraisers too!

Did you have a spending day or a no spend day? What did you buy? Or avoid buying?

Vehicle Registration

September 6th, 2013 at 08:12 am

The vehicle registration 'bill' came in the mail yesterday. For my van and DHs truck the yearly tags total $480. Next year will be lower, as my van will be old enough for the lower rate. The savings will be $78. This means I could save a little less each month to compensate for that, but I have a feeling a teen car will be in our future, so I should just keep setting the same money aside.

I know I paid the registration last year with a credit card, and paid an additional fee to do so. I justified it since the charge helped to earn a credit card bonus reward. May do that this year, if I see a card we should get for the rewards. I have until mid October to decide on that one.

I save monthly for the car registration money, so I'm all set to pay it. Do you save monthly for your vehicle registration? Or just come up with the money when it is time?

Snowflakes Year To Date

September 5th, 2013 at 07:53 am

Swagbucks graciously credited my account, and other users, with my monthly bonus Swagbucks yesterday. A day early. As a result, I was able to redeem 2500 Swagbucks for another $25 PayPal cash deposit. I will count this as a September snowflake once I have it in my account.

Not sure if you noticed my side bars with my snowflake earnings for the year, but combined I have saved $2,113.13 since January 1. Average monthly earnings/savings of $264.14. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I really wish everyone understood and used this concept to either save for a goal, or to make a small dent (which leads to a big dent) in paying off debt. It doesn't take much effort at all and really pays off. And I don't mean just Swagbucks, any little bit of cash that comes your way is a snowflake. There's that birthday money, the refund for something you returned, a rebate, a coupon used, or the interest you earned. These, and many more, can accumulate to big chucks of money toward your goal.

At the rate I have been going, I should be able to come up with another $1000+ before the end of the year. I like that idea! Anyone have a snowflake goal for the remainder of the year? Anyone one to start today accumulating snowflakes? I'll cheer you on!

Wants and Needs

September 4th, 2013 at 07:37 pm

I always find it interesting to hear about the things people buy. I try not to make judgements. But I find it interesting to hear of people buying wants, and then complain they didn't save enough, or don't have enough for some need.

Sometimes I just want to shake them and say, "Do you hear what you are saying?" What you are doing isn't matching up with your goals. You aren't going to get where you are going by doing that same thing over and over.

Of course, I don't usually say anything. I do at least take a moment to look at our own spending. Have I bought something lately that is taking away from my goals? Could I do better with my spending? What am I doing right?

I do know I sent DH to the store this evening for more tissues, ibuprofen, tea, and 12 hour decongestants. Apparently there has been a run on the decongestants this weekend. So instead of the generic I was expecting, he bought an allergy/decongestant combination. It was the only thing available at the store and it probably cost twice as much as I expected him to spend. In reality, it wasn't a need. We have the four hour decongestants that would work. The problem here is that my own husband doesn't think the same way about wants and needs. He assumes that since I asked for it, it must be a need. I probably would have made the trip normally, but I'm really run down with my cold.

Do you find yourself taking a step back once in awhile to see how you are spending? Is it really needs? Are you justifying your wants as needs?

The Gift Cards

September 4th, 2013 at 06:36 am

I redeemed all the points I could from the Southwest Rapids Reward card. A total of 53,000 points. Or $525 in gift cards. Here's how it breaks down:

$200 Amazon.com
$200 Kohl's
$100 Walmart
$25 Panera Bread

My husband felt the most confident we would spend money at Amazon and Kohl's. I think he wasn't too keen on Walmart. I redeemed the last $25 to Panera because while we don't go there regularly we do like it when we do.

I looked back at past Amazon purchases and we easily spent $200 there since April. I also saw that we have spent over $300 at Kohl's since last September. We may not get those spent fast, but they will get used.

I was just at Walmart yesterday to pick up some Emergen C. My oldest daughter and I have caught a cold from the youngest daughter. I went there because they were the closest store open at that time that would have what I wanted. I paid $3.96 for 10 packets. I don't usually see that small box, usually I see the 30 packet box and pay $8.99. Clearly, I usually get the better deal somewhere other than Walmart. It does pay to know your prices. I still made the purchase, but won't be stocking up on that item at Walmart.

Now to wait and see how long the gift cards take to arrive in the mail. Do you think I made good choices on my redemptions?

Time to Redeem Southwest Rewards!

September 3rd, 2013 at 10:39 am

As I expected, our Chase Southwest Airlines Rewards card statement closed over the weekend and the bonus miles were awarded. We now have 53,128 miles available to redeem. This translates to $525 in gift cards.

I will be discussing which cards to order with my husband, but the possibilities I'm interested include Walmart, Lowes, Sears, Amazon, Kohls, JC Penney, Barnes and Noble, Eddie Bauer, Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, Panera, Bed Bath & Beyond and Pier One. Of course, I won't be getting one of each, but those are what I have narrowed the choices down to.

I really try to avoid Walmart, but I could easily get groceries and toiletries there to use the gift cards. We always end up buying some clothes at Kohl's over the course of the year. I expect with fall weather arriving we will be there soon! And Amazon would definitely get used, since we have their Prime membership, I do buy things there when they are less expensive and they arrive just two days later! Smile

Home improvements are always on the list, thus Lowe's is an obvious place to spend some of the reward miles, too. Many of the other cards I listed above aren't very common places we spend money, but they are often given as gifts. Turns out I think we are giving fewer gifts this year...so that means I probably don't need those. I could always buy the gift cards I need at Walmart, too!

I noticed a $10 credit on our USAA card, which we haven't been using. It was a reward I earned in April. I believe our auto insurance will be charged to that card any day, so just a little less money to send in. Of course, I will count that $10 as a snowflake for September!

What gift card would you choose to redeem?

Random Money Thoughts

September 2nd, 2013 at 07:41 pm

I just have some random money thoughts to share.

The water bill arrived. It was $40 more than last month and our lawn looks worse! We made an effort to water new sod in a small section of our yard as well as a new tree, but it wasn't worth spending a lot more on water to keep the lawn green in this past heat wave. So right now our yard is more yellow than green.

We turned our cable boxes in on Friday. The bill for September service was already printed and mailed. I was told to pay it in full. I will then get a credit on next months bill for the television portion. At that time we will also be billed for the final months of our contract which came to $99.80. That is all going as planned.

We earned $28.44 in interest in August on our cash. Sure wish it was more!

Our girls have Nook Color Tablets. Barnes and Noble no longer makes these. Recently, we have had trouble with one of the power cords. Then the other one got stepped on and the connection was bent. We made a trip to Barnes and Noble to look for a new cord. Unfortunately, they don't have any left in stock and don't know that they will get any more in. We checked Office Max and Best Buy. Also not available. I have looked online, but original Nook Color power adapters are not available! This will make the Nooks we own completely obsolete. Luckily, the one that has been trouble does work and on the way home from our outing I bent the connection on the other back and it does seem to work...for now. We need to find at least one cord as a back up, since both are a bit iffy at this point. It is disappointing to think these tablets might not be able to hold up long term because they no longer make the appropriate power cord. Ugh!!

Random enough for you?!