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Archive for January, 2014

A New Savings Approach

January 31st, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I wanted to give you a heads up on a new savings approach I read about today on The Simple Dollar. It's called $4 Per Gallon Savings. The link is on Our Money Blog, or you can search for it on your favorite search engine. I haven't decided if this approach is something I will incorporate yet, but definitely an interesting way to establish an emergency fund.

I also wanted to mentioned that I changed our withholding from 9 to 8 this week. I did this because we owe $413 this year, and we expect my husband will be getting a raise in several months. As a result more income taxed with similar deductions, means more tax owed! We might as well be close to getting it right rather than owing a large amount. I don't mind owing, just not thousands of dollars! The IRS withholding calculator and the calculator I used on Paycheck City came up with the same result.

My previous post today is my final tally of snowflakes for the month of January and the amount of principal we paid on our mortgage last month.

January Snowflake Total

January 31st, 2014 at 06:11 pm

I was hoping I could write that this month was my largest snowflake total ever. But it isn't. It is the second largest total since I began recording in 2012. I accumulated $725.45 in cash from non-income sources. Credit card rewards definitely made a difference this month. This is 18% of my $4000 goal for the year. Here where that money all came from:



As promised, I put all this money towards paying down our mortgage. As a result we have less debt! Our mortgage balance is down $1,276.53 for the month. This represents 9% of our mortgage goal for the year, so we are ahead of schedule. Love it!!

I think quite a few of you were going to track your snowflake earnings this year. Do you have a total for January? It's not too late to start keeping track and looking for those snowflakes.

Mortgage Plans and Thoughts

January 31st, 2014 at 01:24 am

Our regular mortgage payment is $1,311.28. This includes property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Because our housing allowance increased by $102 per month this year, I am adding it to our regular monthly payment to be pulled automatically each month. That makes the payment $1,413.28. But wouldn't it be more fun to round that payment up to $1,415? Yes, it would!

I canceled our original payment on Wells Fargo today. I have to wait until tomorrow to set up a new automatic payment. Their rule. While I was on the site, I went ahead and made a one time payment for tomorrow. It was for $1,418, which is our regular payment for February, with the additional principal and a $3 Pinecone survey payment.

Tomorrow I will get the new payment set up to start on March 1. If I can I will make another automatic payment for mid month for an additional $275. Yep, we really are planning to send in more each month towards principal. I'm not very confident that I can do the second automatic payment. If I can't I will simply set the payment up manually each month. I have a plan to get that mortgage principal paid down!!

Are you paying extra principal on your mortgage this year? Do you have a plan to make it happen?

Snowflakes are Coming

January 29th, 2014 at 09:33 pm

I requested my $3 Pinecone survey money to be moved from Paypal to our checking account. It probably won't arrive in my bank account until Monday, but I'm going to count that one for January.

I did my sewing project and ended up not using one of the rolls of thread. I will return that soon, which will put just under $4 back in my pocket. My sewing project will net me about $35! (My client was my mom.)

I received the email from Ebates offering my earnings in the form of Amazon credit. This was tempting as I was about to make a purchase there, but I refrained. I decided that the purchase on my credit card would benefit me more since I'm working towards a bonus reward. The Ebates will be deposited in my Paypal account on Monday. I will be getting $29.35 back!

I'm getting close to earning another $25 in cash from Swagbucks. I made goal for the first 21 days of the month, but have decided to spend my time better this last week. I have been on everyday, but I have not always met the goal. Anything extra is great, but I do need to watch that it is not hogging my time from other important activities.

So it seems I have plenty of little snowflakes showing up soon, most of those will be counted in February. I will update my final January total on Friday. Do you have any snowflakes on the horizon?

P.S. I wrote about some frugal inactions over at Our Money Blog today, if you like that kind of thing!

Quick Money Thoughts

January 29th, 2014 at 12:35 am

My husband received some travel money today. I sent $135 to our credit card to cover some of the charges he made there while traveling. The card does have a balance of nearly $815, but I think rewards will post on February 10 for over $500. I will pay a little more, maybe $265 on payday this Friday. All the spending there is in control.

I'm going to be purchasing some items on Amazon tonight. Vitamins for the girls, and Lysine for the cats. I regularly buy these online and with Amazon Prime they will be here in about two days! I am also going to purchase a light box to help with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I think several of us in our household could benefit from more sun type light. Worse case, I sell it used on Ebay.

Only spending today was $20 flute lesson, and mailing a package to my sister for $2.50. I almost ran to the store for more taco seasoning and sewing machine needles. I ended up just using LESS seasoning and finding another needle to try that seems to be working so far. I'm happy that I didn't need to spend on those things.

I'm in the middle of sewing some napkins for a client. Once I'm done, I might have more time to blog. I'm hoping that is tomorrow.

Another Post for Today

January 27th, 2014 at 08:14 pm

I mentioned that I activated my US Bank credit card today and already charged our wireless phone bill. When I wrote that post it reminded me of another post I had seen somewhere about how stay at home parents/partners can get credit cards. I suppose someone out there has been wondering about this....am I right?

I wrote a little bit about that on Our Money Blog today, but the original post I was remember is at Million Mile Secrets.

The more you know.... Smile

Estimated to Owe

January 27th, 2014 at 03:45 pm

I worked on our taxes this weekend using FreeTaxUSA. Right now it looks that we will owe $413 to the Federal government. We are exempt from state taxes in our state for military pay, so we don't owe or receive anything back.

This is the first year in a very long time where we are unable to itemize our deductions. We were about $1000 short. I guess it is good news...we get a higher deduction than we 'earned' so to speak.

I'm still waiting on 1099Rs from Fidelity for the rollovers we did earlier this year. These will not change our taxes owed since the rollovers are in tax deferred accounts. I just need the numbers to report correctly.

I won't be in to big of a hurry to pay the government, but knowing me I won't want that 'debt' hanging around until April 15th either! Smile I might consider paying the fee imposed to pay the amount owed with our credit card since I know we will get that money back in bonuses. Depends on if I need the payment to meet a goal. I estimate the fee would be between $7 and $10, depending on the service we use.

Speaking of credit card bonuses. I need to double check, but I'm pretty sure we have met our $3000 in spending on our Chase Sapphire card just this weekend. I activated a US Bank card today and paid our Verizon wireless bill with it. That payment already meets 34% of the spending we need to get $125 bonus.

I'm hoping we can stay frugal through the week and keep our spending low. I don't think we will need much of anything, but with three other people in this household I just never know!

Do you know where you stand with your tax return yet? Owe or refund? Any frugal plans for the week?

Spending Yesterday

January 26th, 2014 at 03:16 pm

We went out yesterday to run some errands. We bought groceries for the week. Picked up a gift. Bought those books of stamps I mentioned yesterday.

My last purchase for the day was buying season five of a television series we are trying to catch up on. We stopped at Walmart and saw it was available for $29.96. I just couldn't spend that much! I ended up bidding on a brand new copy on Ebay. I won. And paid $9.50 which includes free shipping. That is a huge savings for waiting for something we want.

I thought we did some frugal things yesterday, too. I wrote about those on Our Money Blog last night. I'm always interested in frugal habits of others, so share what you did yesterday that was frugal.

Postage Increasing Tomorrow

January 25th, 2014 at 03:00 pm

One of the things on my list today is to buy postage stamps. We don't really mail that many things, but I would guess we still go through about three books of stamps a year. I don't mail any bills, so most of those stamps are used to send cards.

The price of postage increases tomorrow from $0.46 to $0.49 for a First Class letter. This is just over a 6% increase. I like the idea of saving 6% on something I will use anyway this year.

I'm going to stop by the customer service counter at our local grocery store and pick up three books and charge it to our credit card...since any spending gets us those bonuses!

If you make a purchase of stamps today, make sure to get those Forever stamps, so they will be useful for you tomorrow and beyond.

How many stamps do you think you use each year?

Tax Forms Rolling In

January 24th, 2014 at 05:59 pm

The military pay site is having some issues with all the traffic in the last two days. W2's were released for three branches of full time employees. Everyone wants their information at the same time. I finally got in and was able to download my husband's W2 and his January earnings statement. I wasn't quick enough to get his TSP rate changed to 8%, so that isn't effective until next month.

I expect to start working on taxes this weekend. I'm pretty sure we will owe taxes this year. Not more than $500. It might be time to actually change our withholding. Since our daughter turns 17 in 2014, I don't think we will get the tax credit for her next year at this when we file. I need to that into account now so we don't owe more next year.

If you are wondering about how to handle your refund or how to calculate your withholding for your situation, you might want to read my post on Our Money Blog today. Sorry if my post is a little harsh at times. I just really want everyone to succeed financially! Really. Smile

Do you have your W2 yet from your employer? When will you start working on your tax return?

My Ooma: Free!!!

January 23rd, 2014 at 02:43 pm

We paid $99.99 for our Ooma Voip Telo system in October. It is normally $149.99 on their site, but we took advantage of a referral sale for $50 off. Ooma has this offer again, which I wrote about several posts back.

I posted my referral code here, on Ebay and on a few coupon sites. Five people have purchased an Ooma using my referral code. I will receive $20 for each of those referrals...which if you did the math that is $100. That makes our Ooma unit FREE. I like free.

Thanks for all of those that used my referral code. It may still be good for you to use, but I don't expect I will be getting any more cash for referring you. Ooma indicated there was a five referral maximum.

I like that I can get cash for referring people for things I use and would refer people to anyway. I have referred people to Capital One 360, iHerb, Ooma, Ebates and Swagbucks. I'm not sure how much I have made this way...probably less than $300.

Have you made money referring friends, family, blog readers or strangers to a company? Who do you refer people to? How much do you think you have made this way?

Paid In Full

January 22nd, 2014 at 10:21 pm

The exciting news here today is my husband is home from annual training! He was gone nearly three weeks. It was nice to just hang out at home together. Smile

The second most exciting news is that the payment I made to the American Express card posted. That account is now paid in full and shows a zero balance. While we didn't need to pay this debt in installments, and luckily didn't pay any interest, it is nice to know that $150 of our monthly cash is available for other things!



As I often say, I like less debt! Smile

$125 Capital One Bonus Arrived

January 21st, 2014 at 01:45 pm

Right on schedule, my husband's $125 bonus from Capital One was deposited into his checking account today. I decided to leave it in the account since it earns a little interest.

I did however send that money (took it from our checking account) and the $25 American Express reward to our mortgage this morning to pay down principal. That means the balance is lower by $125!

I generally update at the end of the month, but I thought you might like to see all the snowflakes that I have accumulated this month. A whopping $722.45!



Including our regular principal payment this month, we have paid $1,273.53 in principal. Again, I'm always happy about less debt! Smile

Anyone else have a total of your snowflakes so far this month? Any amount is great in my book!!

I posted a tip about free tax filing on Our Money Blog today. If you like free, take a look!

Rewarding!

January 20th, 2014 at 03:03 pm

Our American Express billing statement closed on Friday. We earned more rewards, I believe from our kitchen table purchase. We had enough to redeem for a $25 statement credit. I have already requested it, but don't expect I will see it post for a couple more days.

Our balance before the credit was $150, so I just need to send in $125 to have it paid in full. The remaining balance is the last of the Washington DC trip costs. Once I have paid this off, it will free up $150 in our budget since that is what I have been paying every month. Of course, there has been no interest on this card. I wouldn't pay interest...you know that!

I will send the $25 reward money in to the mortgage since I didn't have to pay that portion on the card. I love less debt! Smile

P.S. I'm over at Our Money Blog today discussing my tax preparation plans.

Poverty Thoughts

January 19th, 2014 at 04:43 pm

I ran across this Yahoo article about poverty today. It makes me sad.

The article didn't really go so far as to suggest any way to improve the situation. Any ideas or thoughts?

Save On Ooma (Home Phone)

January 18th, 2014 at 09:08 pm

I think I talked about our switch to Ooma awhile ago. I wanted to give you an update on how it is going.

We have had our Ooma VoiP phone service for over two months. We bought the Ooma Telo box when it was on sale for $99.99 with free shipping. We now pay only $3.74 for our home phone service per month. That fee covers the federal taxes for our area. It may differ for you. The quality of the calls is awesome! You can't tell any difference from a traditional land line. I haven't had the connections fail at all. We don't get any telemarketing calls because we chose a new number, rather than porting our current number over. It was also a snap to set up. I don't think it took us more than 15 minutes. Most of the set up time was online, picking a number and setting up our account. I definitely don't have any regrets. Obviously, if you have already dumped your land line and have gone to cell only service, than this probably doesn't interest you, but it is a great deal for those of you who may still want a home phone.

The regular price of the Ooma Telo box is $149.99 plus shipping. As I mentioned above, we bought ours when there was a sale. That sale is back! If you have been on the fence about purchasing an Ooma now is the time. The deal is again for $99.99 with free shipping. It is good through at least January 30. I'd be honored if you use my referral code of FUD3038 when you make your purchase. I do receive a $20 credit for up to five referrals. And as I write this, I realize that once I receive those, I will have ended up with my purchase price back! Nifty. I guess the option to refer new users will be available in the future to give you the chance to get your Ooma purchase money back as well. Nifty for all of us!

I'd be happy to answer questions as best I can, if you want to ask in the comments. Otherwise, the Ooma.com website is full of great information and reviews by other users.

P.S. I wrote a final update about my low spend week on Our Money Blog, if you are curious how I did.

Mailbox Money

January 17th, 2014 at 09:33 pm

I received the $50 rebate check for my Kitchen Aid mixer in the mail today. (By the way, I love my mixer!) I also received my most recent Swagbucks redemption of $25 in my PayPal account.

I added these to some other recent snowflakes, added my planned extra principal payment that reflects the increase in our housing allowance and rounded up $0.20 for an even $200 principal payment on our mortgage. We have now paid over $1000 in principal since January 1!!

$102.20 planned extra principal
_$50.00 Kitchen Aid rebate
_$25.00
_$18.00 Wine rebate
__$2.54 Capital One CC Rewards
__$2.26 Menard's Return

Oh, it feels good to have less debt! Did you end the week with less debt? Any checks in your mail today?

Yes! No Spend Day Again Today

January 17th, 2014 at 02:07 am

Another no spend day! Yippee.

We actually had an inflow of cash today! There were two checks in the mail. One was $18 for a wine rebate. The other was my Capital One rewards check I requested last week for $2.54. Super fast. I will get these deposited tomorrow and sent to pay down some more mortgage principal.

I wrote yet another post on Our Money Blog about some of my thoughts during my low spend week. I'd love to hear your comments about the post.

I'm getting ready for preparing taxes soon. I have a couple things I need. My husband's W2 will not be available until next Friday. Today, I totaled up the thrift shop value of our Goodwill donations. I'm not sure that they will help us get beyond the standard deduction, but they are ready to go if needed.

Did you get any checks in the mail today? Where are you in regards to preparing your tax return?

Paying off A Debt

January 15th, 2014 at 08:22 pm

The low spending is going very well this week. I had two no spend day, Monday and Tuesday. Today I sent a package in the mail for $2.24 and purchased some grocery items at Target for $13.11. I needed more greens for my smoothies! Smile

The fuel gauges on the vehicles are going down, but I will keep using the gas that is there and hope I can make it very close to Sunday before I need to fill up again.

Today was payday, which means the automatic deposit for the 52 Week Savings challenge was sent to my Capital One 360 account. My total is now $181, which covers weeks 1-7, and 50-52. I'm still not really sure what I'm saving this money for! At minimum, more emergency funds.

All bills are up to date, and I expect to pay off the American Express balance in a couple days. This is the card I charged my daughter's Washington DC trip to. She leaves in April and will have a paid for trip! The balance is at $265. I expect $25 in rewards to be available in a couple days, so once I claim that I will pay the remaining $240. I was already planning to pay $115, and since I have the remainder, I'm ready to be done with paying Amex. One less item to think about. And the even better thing...we paid no interest!

I applied for the US Bank offer on Monday. I found out today that I was approved. I like instant decisions better! I was also approved for the Discover It card. I still need to talk to my husband before I have him apply for the Discover, too. All of those cards will probably go pretty fast, since the spending requirements are only $500 and $750.

How many no spend days have you had in a row recently? Have you paid off a debt recently that you have been holding for awhile? Did you apply for credit recently? Was the decision instant or did you have to wait?

Trash Can Tossed to the Wind

January 14th, 2014 at 07:08 pm

It is windy here today. So windy that as soon as the garbage man put my empty can back on the curb it flew down the street. He didn't bother to run after it. How can he, when every trash can he picks up today will do the same thing?! Since I saw it happen, I quickly bundled up and walked three houses down to pick it up out of the street.

I sure don't want to be buying a new trash can every time it is windy! That is like throwing money to the wind. I wrote a post about throwing away money on Our Money Blog today, if you want to have a look.

I expect my only outflow of cash today will be for a flute lesson. That is definitely worth paying for!!

Money Gigs

January 14th, 2014 at 03:18 am

I have an opportunity to earn cash for a couple of sewing projects. Those are going to keep me busy in the next week or so. I will have to purchase fabric for one, but I consider it a business expense! And that purchase may not come up until next week. Side gigs such as this will likely to to the snowflakes for equity. Smile

I did send in another snowflake payment to the mortgage today. It was $90.39, consisting primarily of Chase rewards, but including ATM rebates, interest and other miscellaneous reward dollars.

Today was a no spend day. There were opportunities to spend however. One daughter was home sick, but we had supplies on hand to accommodate her needs. She is fine now. The other daughter didn't like the yogurt I bought, but she has not asked me to buy something else. They didn't have her regular preferred flavor, and I suggested something else and she approved. It just didn't work. I'll eat it, so it will not go to waste.

I'm also tempted to buy two DVDs on Ebay of two seasons of a sitcom we like and own four season of already. I will try the library first. So really it has been just fine on the first day of the low spend week.

Did you have a no spend day? If not, what did you buy? Was it a want or a need?

More Rewards = Cash

January 13th, 2014 at 03:49 am

My Chase Sapphire card statement closed earlier this week and more reward points were awarded. Specifically, the 5000 points for having an authorized user use the card were applied. Plus the basic points normally earned with purchases. The rewards were equal to $71.13!

I have redeemed the rewards for a statement credit and will send the funds I would have sent to the credit card to our mortgage principal.

I figured out we need to spend just under $350 on the Chase Sapphire card to earn the 50,000 points. We should easily meet this requirement before the next statement closes at the beginning of next month.

It is now time to decide which cards to open next. Obviously, I'm aware of the Southwest card offer for $500 in gift cards for spending $2000. There is an annual fee that probably could be refunded IF I meet the spending requirements in a timely fashion. This time of year is our lowest spending, so I don't know that I could spend $2000 that fast.

I'm leaning towards opening a US Bank Visa to get $125 after spending $500, and two Discover cards (one for me and one for DH) in order to get $150 each for spending $750. Same amount of spending but spread over different cards. About the same reward if the annual is not refunded on the Southwest card.

The US Bank Visa is a mailed offer that I don't see online. Not sure if I would get that again. The Discover offer is unusual as well from what I have read. Generally, their bonus is $20-50. I feel the Southwest card offer is likely to occur with more frequency and I can try that one again later in the year. With the Southwest card only gift cards are an option if not redeemed for airline miles. I much prefer cash...or statement credits work for me too!

I wrote another post on Our Money Blog about a goal I have for the next week. Fingers crossed I can make it work!

I'm 11 for 12 with my green smoothies this month. I actually forgot to make one on Saturday. I remember at 9pm in the evening, but felt too full to partake. I did have one today, so I didn't fail at the goal too long.

Any thoughts on my next credit card rewards plan? Does it makes sense to skip the Southwest offer for now?

FYI: Southwest Bonus Is Back

January 10th, 2014 at 05:59 pm

Southwest Airlines is offering 50,000 bonus points for opening any one of their Rapids Rewards credit cards and spending $2,000 in 3 months. I believe all the cards have annual fees, that are not waived the first year. I was able to get free refunded in full last time. Not sure if I'm jumping on this one. If I don't redeem for airline miles, the only other option is gift cards. Those are a pain to track!

Frugal Happenings

January 10th, 2014 at 03:52 am

I did return that item I mentioned in my last post to the store today. I now have a tidy sum of $1.90 in my pocket. Once I spend that I will send the same amount to pay down mortgage principal.

I ran errands today, making four stops in one trip. One stop was the return, one was the library, one was for my daughter's hair product, and the final one was for a few extra groceries. I needed more greens for my smoothies!

After several no spend days, I did spend today. About $50. I don't feel bad about it or anything, but I happened to remind myself of some frugal things I did do that probably save us money over time. I wrote about that at Our Money Blog, if you want to take a look.

Did you do something frugal today? What was it?

A Snowball

January 9th, 2014 at 01:39 pm

The statement on my husband's Chase Freedom account closed two days ago. Yesterday, the bonus rewards equal to $200 posted. I quickly transferred the rewards over to the Chase Sapphire card and redeemed them, along with some miscellaneous rewards sitting the accounts for a statement credit. The amount was $225.03. Smile

As of this morning the credit has been applied. I made a payment yesterday to the mortgage principal for the same amount. Now we have $225.03 less debt!

I also found a snowflake! It seems I had rewards on my Capital One card in the amount of $2.54. I haven't been using the card, and don't plan to right now, so I requested a check rather than a statement credit. I will have to wait awhile to get that, but it's on its way!

I plan to use a Visa rewards card for $10 while I'm out running an errand today. I also think I have an item to return. So a few more snowflakes are in the works as well. Smile

And if you are curious, my total snowflakes for the month is $384.26! Can't complain about that. Have you paid off any debt this year yet? Did you make a payment larger than normal?

Revising Homeowner's Insurance

January 8th, 2014 at 03:21 am

I need to talk with my husband first, so this idea isn't yet a done deal. I'm considering increasing the deductible on our homeowner's insurance from $1000 to $2000 or more. The savings could be over $150 per year. It's not a lot of savings, but it is money we could keep in our pocket. We do have nearly $20K in our emergency fund so I don't have any concern in meeting the deductible. Why pay more than we need to, right? Any thoughts on whether this is a good idea?

I just wrote a new post on Our Money Blog about reviewing expenses. It's likely something you all know and do anyway, but I think it is a good reminder to really look at where our money goes.

Today was a no spend day. No purchases were made online. School is on again for tomorrow. I have now completed seven days of green smoothies. Yippee!!

Mortgage Chip & Waiting

January 7th, 2014 at 04:45 pm

I purchased some ear buds for my daughter on Amazon.com the other day. I still have credit from Swagbucks earnings, so no money out of pocket. But since I put Swagbucks earnings to the mortgage I had to match that purchase with a mortgage chip. It was $7.80. Little amounts add up!

I'm anxiously waiting for our Chase Freedom account to close. When it does I expect to see rewards equal to the bonus offered for opening this card. I believe it was $200...for spending $500 on the card. That's a very nice return.

There are some rebates I'm waiting on as well, one for $50, one for $18, and nearly $30 from Ebates. I know the Ebates one won't arrive until February. I do hope those others arrive this month. I want to make a big dent in our $4,000 snowflake goal early in the year.

We aren't quite to our spending minimum for the current credit card bonus, but I came across a mailing for a US Bank Visa. The offer is $100 for spending $500. There is a bonus of $25 once per year, so really $125. It expires January 13. I will likely jump on this one, since I have never done a US Bank offer. I'm also aware of the $150 offer by Discover for spending $750. My husband and I could both do this one. That would be another $425 for spending $2000. Again...a pretty good return.

I think today will be another no spend day, since I'm home with the girls. How about you? A no spend day?

We don't pay interest on any credit cards, we pay our balances in full. We are charging only purchases we would normally make to get the bonus offers credit cards offer. The bonuses are being applied to our mortgage to pay down the balance. Please do not attempt this type of plan if you are paying interest on your credit card debt.

Thoughts from the Arctic

January 7th, 2014 at 12:30 am

Now I know what is like in the Arctic! I did go out mid afternoon to put the trash and recycling out for tomorrow morning. I also ventured to get the mail one house down and across the street. Luckily it was a quick trip!

I received money in the mail. A $10 Visa gift card as a rebate for something I purchased at Kohl's in November. I wish it was a check, so I could just deposit it. I have to buy something to make it count now. I will match my savings on a purchase with a principal payment on the mortgage.

You would think not leaving the house would make a no spend day, but no. My daughter's are finally reaching the end of the usable life on their Nook Color chargers. One doesn't work at all, and the other is hit and miss, on whether it will charge or not. I found one on Ebay for about $18. The seller has already notified me that it has been mailed at the post office! This purchase will give some more life to their Nooks.

My frugal happening today was eating leftover turkey soup that I made yesterday. The soup was made from Thanksgiving turkey I had put in the freezer. Tasty and toasty warm! I found two dimes in my husband's work pants, as well as a receipt for a $2 item that we need to return. Smile

Since our windchill temperatures are going to drop near 40 below zero, the schools have cancelled school again tomorrow. This is the longest winter break we have ever had. It has been very relaxing to just hang at home, get organized, and get things cleaned, but I'm not looking forward to that electric bill next month. The only plus is that a bigger bill will help meet our spending goal for the credit card bonus.

Did you stay inside today? Did you do anything frugal? Was there any money in your mailbox? Did you buy something online?

Increased the TSP (Retirement)

January 5th, 2014 at 06:25 pm

I increased my husband's TSP contribution from 7% of basic pay to 8%. It is the first time I have increased this in awhile. Last year was a big bump in our Roth IRAs to meet the new maximum contribution of $5,500 each.

This year, I wanted to make sure that 1% raise was saved. It means another $800 saved for the year. Might as well save it for retirement and make it count for more later. Smile

Are you increasing your retirement savings? Did you pick a dollar amount, or a percentage? Are you saving in a work retirement plan, an IRA or both?

52 Week Savings Update

January 4th, 2014 at 11:48 pm

I set up my challenge money to automatically transfer to my Capital One 360 account. And right on schedule, a couple days ago, $57 was deposited. This can be considered deposits for week 6 and 51.

The balance in my Challenge account is now $124. I did start in early December and have larger amounts going into the account than those starting from week one or two. So far this goal is on track. Yea!!

I'm having my green smoothie for dinner while the girls have pancakes. That will make four down, 27 to go!

Today's frugal happening was unplugging the last of the holiday lights that were on a timer outside. The only outing was a trip for our weekly groceries. I expect we will not be going anywhere for a couple of days with the really crazy cold temperatures heading this way. That will say on fuel for the vehicles, but I'm sure we will be using plenty to keep the house warm. Ack!

What is the balance of your 52 Week Savings Challenge account? Is your money in an account, or in cash? Did you do something frugal today?


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