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Archive for June, 2014

Capital One Independence Day Offers Are Here!!

June 30th, 2014 at 04:18 am

The Capital One 360 offers are now up on their website. My referral link is here. Remember to read the fine print for all offers so you know what is required of you. There is only one offer available per person. No double dipping!

Here is a screen print of the offers available. You can get $100 for opening a checking account. You must use the debit card at least 5 times for any amount within the first 45 days. The $100 is deposited to your account on Day 50 automatically. I opened mine with $50 so that I had money to spend once I received the debit card.

If you open a Savings account with Capital One 360 you must deposit $500. The cash will earn .75% interest beginning on day 1. You will earn $76 immediately upon opening, but you cannot take it out for 30 days.



Here is what you will see when you click on my link:



Are you planning to sign up for these offers? Have you participated in Capital One 360 offers in the past?

Capital One Sweepstakes

June 29th, 2014 at 02:57 pm

I just found out this morning that Capital One 360 is running a sweepstakes where you have the chance to win $1,776 each day through July 14th. It is a way to share what you are doing to declare your financial independence. I entered using Facebook, but you can enter through Twitter, Instagram and Email also.

I know we all have ways we save and improve our financial lives. We might as well share and have the chance to win some cash!

Check out the sweepstakes and enter if you chose here. I do not get anything for passing this information along. Just thought I'd share...since it would be fun if one of us here were to win!

Don't forget to come back to my blog on Monday for information about the Capital One 360 Independence Day Sale that begins on Monday through July 3.

Do you enter sweepstakes on a regular basis, just on occasion or never?

Come Back Monday For Capital One Deal

June 28th, 2014 at 06:52 pm

Remember to stop by my blog on Monday for the Capital One 360 Independence Day offers!! I will have more details then. Here's the post I wrote last week about it:

Just giving those of you who do not already have a Capital One 360 Checking or Savings account but are interested a heads up. You will likely want to wait until June 30 to take advantage of their sale they have each year.



As you can see from the ad, the sale runs from June 30 to July 3rd. In the past the bonuses for signing up have been up to $100 for a savings account which is double the normal bonus. They have even larger bonuses if you open a Sharebuilder account. My understanding is that you cannot double dip on these offers.

I would appreciate it if you would use my referral when these bonus are announced if you heard of this great deal from me. I will likely get a bonus for referring you. And you know I like snowflakes!

The nice thing about the Capital One accounts is there are no minimum balances or fees. There is usually no direct deposit requirement, although you may have to deposit some cash to qualify or make a few debit purchases on the checking account. The details will be announced soon so stay tuned?

Does this offer interest you? Did you take advantage of Capital One's sale in the past?

Click for Snowflakes

June 27th, 2014 at 01:54 pm

In keeping with my theme of introducing you or reminding you of different types of snowflake sources, I have another one for you. Clicking for snowflakes!

If you have a few extra minutes of time, you can earn gift cards and cash for free! I have used these small bits of cash and gift cards to help meet our financial goals. Right now, the goal is to pay down our mortgage. Our mortgage doesn't accept gift cards of course, but when I spend them on things I would be buying anyway, I send the cash I would have used for the purchase to our mortgage.

The main site I have used to accumulate the most money is Swagbucks. The site lets you earn Swagbucks points for watching videos, using their search engine, shopping, taking surveys and more. In 2013, I earned over $600 from Swagbucks. I have scaled back my time on the site so I can be more productive in other areas, but I still hop on nearly everyday to click some of the easier tasks. Once you sign up, feel free to read my post about How to Swag. It is a little outdated, but it should give you enough information to get started. Their Facebook page is also very helpful.

I'm currently active on Bing as well. This one is a straight forward search engine that provides you with results and points for a certain number of searches each day. It only takes a few minutes to complete each day. I'm able to accumulate my points(known as Swagbucks) to redeem a Swagbucks code that I use on their site to redeem for Amazon.com gift cards. If you are going Swag, you might as well Bing as well! Smile

Another legitimate site for earning gift cards is MyPoints, which also lets you do searches, participate in special offers, click on emails, take surveys and more. I have fallen off the wagon on this site, but I have earned gift cards with them and it is pretty easy to do.

There are probably plenty of other sites you can participate in to earn gift cards for doing free tasks. The key word there is FREE. Do not pay to join any site. EVER.

Do you Swag, Bing or use MyPoints? Do you have another free site you use to earn gift cards and cash? What do you use your earnings for?

The links for Swagbucks and Bing above are my affiliate links. If you are interested in being referred to MyPoints, you are welcome to leave your name and email address in the comments. I will enter your information on their site and they will send you a referral email. I will delete your personal information from my site for your protection. You can also send me a private message on the forum section of Saving Advice.

Sell For Snowflakes

June 26th, 2014 at 02:38 pm

If you are looking for extra cash to apply towards your debt or savings, I have found that selling things you no longer need can provide that extra cash.

Since the beginning of 2014, I have sold books, cds, a couch and loveseat, kitchen table, side tables and a tv cart. I also had a garage sale in May, and sold all sorts of various items, including clothing and tools. In all, I've sold over $500 worth of our used items!

I would much rather get rid of something I own than be in debt, especially credit card debt. The interest these cards charge when you don't pay your balance in full is your hard earned money! I personally like to keep as much of the money we earn as possible.

Everybody has something they can sell. I have a friend, that last I knew had six shelves full of DVD movies. My guess is these were bought soon after a movie came out, so likely nearly full price. I know they watch them and have been generous with loaning them to people, too. I look at those shelves and think CASH! Sure some of them are dated and not likely to fetch much money, but at $1 each they easily have $180 worth of movies they could sell. My thinking is that one can still find plenty of free options for entertainment. The library for one has just as many movies that one can borrow for free.

A few years ago, I had a challenge on this blog to make $100 a month selling on Ebay. I think my average was less than that in the end, maybe $80, but it challenged and encouraged me to find things in our home we didn't need. At the time, I think the proceeds were applied to a car loan pay down or a home equity loan. I didn't sell anything unique. My kids had outgrown jeans, shoes, toys and books. I sold (and still do) Box Tops for Education, and old army paraphernalia. Anything I found that I was done with I checked Ebay to see if there was a demand for the item. If there was I sold it. If it didn't sell on Ebay I would save it for a garage sale, which back then my neighbors and I would have two times a year. If items didn't sell at the garage sale I would donate them.

As consumers, we are bringing in new things to our home on a regular basis. I think of selling the old kind of like getting a rebate on the original cost of the item, or a discount on the new item I purchased. If we never get rid of anything when we bring in new, we get overrun with our own stuff! I challenge you to look at your stuff in a new way. It can be turned into cash to help you with your financial goal of paying down debt or saving. You will feel less stress with less debt and less stuff. I guarantee it!!

Do you have a habit of selling your old things? Do you sell on Ebay, craigslist or at garage sales? What do you do with your proceeds? Anyone interested in an Ebay challenge for the remainder of the year?

Ebates for Snowflakes

June 25th, 2014 at 03:29 pm

I use Ebates, when I remember, when I'm doing any online shopping. A little rebate for going through their site as you shop on another site is EASY!

This week I purchased two t-shirts for my youngest daughter for her birthday next week. I purchased from RedBubble, but not before I went through Ebates to get 2.5% back, which amounted to $1.15. I also used a coupon code that gave me 10% off my order so that helped defray the cost of shipping. I still spent $50, but she will be VERY happy with these as they were specifically requested and on the top of her list. Smile

I also purchased a family photo we took last year on my parents land. We used it on our Christmas card. As I was taking it off my fridge, um this week, I decided it was a really good picture and we should have it enlarged to put on our wall. I logged on to Ebates and found that Snapfish offers 10% rebates on their orders. I ordered an 11x14 print that I will pick up at Walmart today for $6.86 plus tax. Ebates is giving me $0.69 back.

Right now I only have $3.04 in rebates, but over the last couple years I have been using them I have earned over $65 in rebates. Those small little rebates add up!

There are other shopping sites that offer cash back, but Ebates seems to be the one that works for me. I think I have used Shop At Home in the past. It is a good idea to check another site to see if the rebate is larger or if they have a store that one site doesn't have. And if you use a rewards credit card for making these online purchases you are getting even more benefit for your purchases online!

Do you use a online shopping rewards site? Do you use more than one? Which one is your favorite?

$3 Pinecone Survey Payment

June 24th, 2014 at 02:42 pm

I received $3 in my PayPal account for completing a survey from Pinecone Research earlier this week. That's another snowflake for June!

I was proud of myself yesterday for waiting to go to the grocery store. I was able to find lunch and dinner for my family with things we already had on hand. I wasn't sure I could as the cupboard and fridge are getting bare! My daughters had pancakes for dinner. My husband and I had eggs, turkey bacon and toast. I may have that same thing for lunch today.

I will need to get for the store today as I keep finding things I need to get...coffee, toilet paper and more! I hope to get everything I need to make it through the weekend. We are having guests one night so I need to plan for that as well.

$5 Gift Card

June 23rd, 2014 at 04:37 pm

I had to go to the store to buy a specific item this morning. I ended up buying three because I could get a $5 Target gift card if I did. This is something we will definitely use, so not a big deal to stock up.

I will count that $5 gift card as a snowflake and send that $5 to the mortgage since Target will give me $5 off my next purchase!

Snowflakes are all around us if we take time to notice! I hope to get a post up this week about my sources of snowflakes and other ideas for you to look into. Did you find any money recently that you can put towards your snowflake goal?

I put a new post on Your Organized Friend about my new cleaning task today.

$20 Snowflake

June 22nd, 2014 at 04:33 pm

I sold some pretty inexpensive furniture on Craigslist this morning. An end table, a coffee table and tv stand that we originally purchased for $70 at Walmart. I had them listed for $35, but lowered the price to $30. The man asked if I would take $20. I said yes, since I was ready to have them moved on. Now I have $20 cash and less clutter!

We did some decluttering in my daughter's room yesterday. There is more to do as she is a little slow in going through things. We found a few picture books and trinkets my sister can use with her kindergarten students. I have a new post up on Your Organized Friend about a quick clean up I did with pictures.

I'd really like to get some items posted to Ebay tonight. I let you know if that actually happens! Are you selling or decluttering right now? Where did you get your last snowflake of money?

Ooma Credit Used Up

June 22nd, 2014 at 03:26 am

I used up the $60 in referral credits that were applied to our USAA credit card this weekend. We originally had $7.70 charged before the credits were applied. That left $52.30 that I was able to spend!

I spent $39.58 at PetSmart for cat food. I was very tempted to adopt a 10 week old kitten for $25, but decided now isn't time for a kitten!

We also stopped at Subway for lunch today. I spent $18.46 for that splurge. We also like our trips to Subway. Smile

($52.30)
($39.58)
($18.46)
__$5.74

It looks like I will still owe the credit card company a little cash. The money that I spent and I would have owed except for the credit will be sent to our mortgage as part of our pay down goal.

We used $6.98 in Amazon credits (earned from Swagbucks and Bing) for some movie rentals this week. I'm matching those purchases with cash towards the mortgage as well.

That makes for a whopping mortgage snowflake payment of $66.98. Can't complain about less debt! I'm mean who would!!

Capital One Independence Day Sale Is Coming!!

June 20th, 2014 at 04:23 pm

Just giving those of you who do not already have a Capital One 360 Checking or Savings account but are interested. You will likely want to wait until June 30 to take advantage of their sale they have each year.



As you can see from the ad, the sale runs from June 30 to July 3rd. In the past the bonuses for signing up have been up to $100 for a savings account which is double the normal bonus. They have even larger bonuses if you open a Sharebuilder account. My understanding is that you cannot double dip on these offers.

I would appreciate it if you would use my referral when these bonus are announced if you heard of this great deal from me. I will likely get a bonus for referring you. And you know I like snowflakes!

The nice thing about the Capital One accounts is there are no minimum balances or fees. There is usually no direct deposit requirement, although you may have to deposit some cash to qualify or make a few debit purchases on the checking account. The details will be announced soon so stay tuned?

Does this offer interest you? Did you take advantage of Capital One's sale in the past?

Done! And a New Goal

June 20th, 2014 at 02:23 pm

Well, all in one day we are done spending on both credit cards we have been working on. A little crazy, but I did know we had some big purchases and expenses coming up.

The transactions are still pending, so I don't know how quickly the rewards will post, but likely by the time the statements close. For the Southwest card that should be in the next week or so, but the Wells Fargo Amex just closed two days ago! We will have to wait another month to get that reward, which is $400. The Southwest Rapids Rewards card will be worth $500 in gift cards.

The rewards are going to the mortgage as part my snowflake goal this year, which is $4000. These new credit card bonus snowflakes will put us to goal and we are really only half way through the year. As a result, I'm revising the goal to $8,000. This does seem like a stretch, but I'm willing to reach for it. There is no downside to not reaching it, so I might as well go for it, right?

The new goal will likely make me look for other offers I can take advantage of, participate in Swagbucks more, try a few bank checking offers, sell more things, and I'm sure another credit card or two. (I have decided that DH will not apply for any more cards until after our next move). Here's to a new goal!!

Big Purchase

June 19th, 2014 at 02:39 pm

Our oldest daughter is an artist. She has taken classes at school to learn Photoshop, Illustrator and other programs for which she has earned college credit. She was given the opportunity to borrow a drawing tablet from school this summer, so this moved up our time line for getting her a computer. The original plan was to get one before she left for college NEXT year.

We purchased a Mac Book at the local community college, which has discounted new Apple's computers. They were having a sale and took another $50 off, and the store doesn't have to charge sales tax. Our outlay for the computer was $1239. On Apple's website this would have cost us $1499 plus tax.

This is the most we have ever spent on a computer, but we feel this is a great investment for our daughter, it should allow her to use her graphics programs (which she is purchasing) with plenty power and amazing picture quality. We are excited that she has this tool that may be a key to her future career.

I put the purchase on my new Southwest Rapids Rewards card for which I need to spend $2K to get the 50,000 rewards points worth $500 in gift cards. I also charged the Adobe Creative Suite that my daughter is purchasing for $240, so clearly we are getting REALLY close to meeting that spending goal. In fact, by this weekend we should have that complete since my husband is charging some travel expenses. Easy!

This is our first Apple computer. My daughters use them at school. Are you a die hard Apple computer owner, or do you own a PC?

Shameless Plugs...But Great Offers!

June 18th, 2014 at 04:54 pm

Today I logged on to my Capital One 360 Savings account to check my balance. I currently have $772.18. This account is where I'm saving my 52 Week Saving Challenge money. I'm saving $57 every pay period, which for us is twice per month. I believe I started at the beginning of last December with the goal of saving $1378, which is the amount that these 52 Week Savings Challenges total at the end of one year. At this point I have saved up Weeks 1-17 and 4-52.

Originally I didn't have any plan for the money other than to save it. That has changed! I am saving the money for my oldest daughter's band trip to Disney World in the spring. We have been told the estimated cost is $1599. We have already made our first $200 deposit out of our regular cash, so that leaves $1399 to save. It seems I'm more than halfway there!

I just love that the saving challenge turned out to be a blessing to get the trip funded without too much hassle. Kind of a 'it pays to save for a rainy day' type of thing. Kind of.

Any chance you have something you need to be saving for over the next 6 months or more? You can sign up for a Capital One 360 Savings account and earn a $50 bonus. Or if a checking account is better, you can earn $25. Or both! Don't forget the fine print, and know that I do receive $20 for each referral, but I don't get any personal information about you. You will be anonymous to me. I plan to save the referral money towards my daughter's trip, too! I'm sure she will need some spending money.

I also became aware that I can refer people to the Chase Freedom card and receive a bonus. This is the credit card that is currently offering a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on the card. I wish I could refer you with a link, but Chase requires I send an email. If you leave your first and last name and email I will input it into the form. You will then receive an email from Chase asking you to apply for the offer. I will delete emails from the blog and will not spam you! I also will not know you applied and whether or not you were approved or denied. I get no personal information. I do need to submit your email by June 20th, so act fast if you are interested!



I think the Chase Freedom card is one of the best cards for the average consumer since it has no annual fee. Of course, please do not apply for credit if you are working on paying off debt or cannot pay off your balance in full each month!

How are you doing on your 52 Week Savings Challenge? Where do you save your money? Do you receive referral money from any products you endorse? What products are they and how much have you earned?

He's On the List!

June 17th, 2014 at 03:51 pm

My husband is on the list for promotion to Major! The list was released today. There will still need to be an order cut to make it official. That order directs pay changes and the ability to pin on his new rank. Those are all just secondary to being on the list.

So happy and proud for him! Of course, I'm looking forward to saving that extra money that comes with promotion, too. Smile

$60 Snowflake and More

June 16th, 2014 at 01:17 pm

It seems I have received the cash for the last Ooma referrals. I had three at $20 each, so I have a credit on our USAA card in the amount of $60. They don't ever really tell you when they are going to pay out, so it is a little bit of a surprise. Money in our pocket is always a nice surprise! I will likely use the credit for basic expenses, probably one tank of gas! Since the $60 is a snowflake I will then get that money sent to the mortgage.



My husband had some Army travel a little while back and has been reimbursed. Some of his expenses went on our Wells Fargo American Express card, so I need to get those paid off with the cash received from the Army. There is more travel coming up soon for him and I'm going to make sure he uses the current cards we are working on for bonuses. We might as well get benefit from spending that is going to get reimbursed!

I received our first Verizon bill. I have only seen the balance, which seems a little high, but I think it is likely a prorated thing. I will double check before I pay it. I think making this payment on the WF Amex card will put us VERY close to meeting our $3K spending requirement. It will then be time to switch to the Southwest Rapids Rewards card.

I'm trying to sell some furniture on Craigslist, but so far no interest. The spammers aren't even interested. I think someone will want them, but it may be not the right time or the price is a bit too high. Worse case they items will be donated. I will not be keeping these items around indefinitely.

I have another post up on Your Organized Friend. I'd love you to stop by over there. Share the site with friends, too!


Spending = Less Debt

June 15th, 2014 at 03:49 pm

We did some spending at Lowe's yesterday. Well first I returned a $25 item I didn't need. Then we went looking for curtain rods for our master bedroom. We found what we were looking for and used up the rest of our Lowe's gift cards we received from our spending a few months ago on one of the Southwest Rapids Rewards Visas.

This whole year I have been matching money we spend on 'free' gift cards with a payment to our mortgage. The thought is that we would have spent this money anyway on the items. I can't send a gift card we earned toward the mortgage but I can send cash. This latest Lowe's gift card we used in full was $50.

I'm counting this $50 as a snowflake too. This puts our total snowflake earnings for the year at over $3K, specifically $3,033.82!! The goal is $4K for the year so I'm clearly WAY ahead of schedule. I'm not sure if I will revise the goal, or just see how far I shoot past it! Smile

How far do you think I will get on my snowflake goal considering I'm already 75% to the goal 6 months in?

Ability to Say No...Rational or Emotional

June 14th, 2014 at 02:39 pm

I woke up thinking about this, so my thoughts may be a bit random. I was thinking how some people make do well financially and others do not. Now, I realize there are more factors involved, but knowing how to say no is actually important. I think Dave Ramsey has mentioned this a few times, too.

So many people say, yes, I want that and then buy the item they want. It seems in no regard to whether it fits into their financial plan. My husbands coworker rode on a motorcycle for the first time on Wednesday, spent Thursday looking online at bikes and purchased one that same night. Really? She didn't even know she wanted a bike until the day before? She doesn't have a license to drive it yet, but of course, she did. I don't know if she bought it with cash or credit. If she did buy it with cash, great. However, was that the best use for the cash?

We don't buy everything we want because we have other goals, such as keeping our emergency fund funded, saving for college and of course retirement!

I think back to when we were first married and given $1000 from my parents as a gift. It was very generous. Did we go out and buy something with it? No. We honestly didn't need anything after all the other things we received. We saved it. And having that money there was the very beginning of our savings. Over time it just felt good to have the money set aside just in case, so we kept it there.

My husband just interrupted my writing to talk to me about a video he was watching on rational thought and emotional thought. Yes!! This is exactly it. Some people, like the woman mentioned above, make decisions based on emotions. They don't ever look at if those emotional choices are rational. Does the emotional choice make sense towards your financial goals?

I realize making rational decisions is likely somewhat built in for some of us, but I think it is everyone's capacity to learn that skill. All it takes is a few extra moments of thought. The woman above could have done all the looking and riding she wanted, and then taken some time to think about the numbers and how spending that money could impact her other goals. Would she rather spend it on a vacation, has she put enough away for retirement, if she financed it will the payment cause a problem paying other bills.

The truth is the purchase may have been on a whim for her, but it might actually be a wise and rational choice. It likely will save her gas money to drive the motorcycle rather than her SUV.

The ability to use our rational thought and say no at times helps keep us focused on our financial goals. I'm thankful that my husband and I have practiced using our rational thought in making financial decisions.

Have you noticed if your finances are guided by your emotional or rational thoughts? Do you use both?

Don't miss my lastest post on Your Organized Friend, about the three in, three out rule. You know that one don't you?

New Furniture, Less Debt & More

June 13th, 2014 at 04:47 pm

I made a large principal payment on our mortgage debt yesterday. My plan this entire year is to send $275 each time we are paid on the 15th of the month. So far I have been able to do this every month this year. I added $18.86 to that payment, which is money I have accumulated in snowflakes this month. Not much, but it adds up!

We made a purchase on Craigslist last night. I have wanted an entertainment center for our basement television since we moved in almost two years ago. We have tried many different pieces of furniture we own and currently have the tv on a too small cart. It works, it is free, but it isn't quite right.

We purchased this upgraded entertainment center for $125. It is only six months old according to the previous owners. It is not solid wood, but for our needs it is perfect. I'm not even bothered by the little water damage on the top. All other entertainment centers I've been interested in were over $300 so this is a significant savings. Once we are feeling better we will make the switch. Smile

Despite being sick, earlier this week, and still recovering today, I have been able to stay a little organized. I wrote about this on Your Organized Friend yesterday.

Did you make an extra payment to your mortgage this month? Do you sell on more on craigslist or buy?

Pending Pay Deposit

June 12th, 2014 at 03:30 pm

My husband's paycheck is pending in our account this morning. Tomorrow is payday since the 15th falls on the weekend. I like earlier paydays, but this just means the money for the next pay period has to stretch a little farther.

I will likely start making payments on the credit cards for bills later today, if I still have the energy. I'm feeling better today, but I can tell I'm not back to 100%.

We know we will find out on June 17th about my husband's promotion. Last year it would have been a bonus to get promoted early. This year he is on track to be promoted and it won't be a good thing if he doesn't. I'd like to think the new pay will show up as of July 1, but I think July 15 is more likely. It should be back dated all the way to June 17.

Does your direct deposit show pending in your account before payday? Do you still get a paper check for pay? Are you depositing at the bank or online?

Darn Auto Correct

June 11th, 2014 at 05:20 pm

I am under the weather. It started Monday night with a scratchy throat, and now lots of congestion and just plain out of energy. Even after sleeping 12 hours. I think my daughter had the same thing last week. She is still coughing.

Last night I texted my husband (on my new smart phone) to get 'pkts of vitamin c' at the store after he worked out. Darn auto correct changed 'pkts' to 'lots'. Instead of one box he came home with two. The two boxes both had smaller boxes of 10 pkts attached. The smart phone that is suppose to save me money just cost me money! We will use them all at some point, but I didn't need that many right now!

I sold a book on Ebay last night. I officially have zero items listed right now. If I get my energy back by Sunday I hope to get some more things listed!

That is all for now...I will check back in when I'm completely recovered. Right now it is time for an afternoon nap.

Dry Cleaning Is Expensive

June 10th, 2014 at 12:56 am

We rarely dry clean anything. Nearly everything we own is washable, with some exceptions. My husband's dress uniform is the most common to go in for cleaning, but that is less than once a year.

A few months ago, I realized my daughter's have wool coats. And they have never been cleaned. One is only a year old. The other might be three or more years old. Oops!

I made a reminder on my calendar for the beginning of June to get them dry cleaned in preparation for winter. The reminder worked like a charm. I remembered to take them in and pick them up. Oh, I also took in my husband's dress overcoat, too.

Eek! The bill for dry cleaning three coats with tax was over $48! I could have bought a coat for that. I did look for coupons in advance and could even see that this particular store hasn't offered coupons for coats in the past. I am glad I had it done, but in hindsight, I might have waited on the newer coat.

I tried to charge it on my new Wells Fargo Amex card, but the card reader the associate used, had a handwritten sign that read, Do Not Take American Express. I had to point it out to her when it beeped and she went to swipe it again. I ended up using the Southwest Rapids Rewards card instead.

Do you get anything dry cleaned? Where do you find the best prices or coupons? Do you avoid dry clean only clothing? Have you been unable to use your American Express card recently?

Spent: Looking For Change Video

June 9th, 2014 at 03:22 pm

I spent 35 minutes of my morning watching the video I linked below about the four individuals in middle class incomes struggling within the current banking system.

Spent: Looking for Change

What did you think?

Closing in on $100K

June 6th, 2014 at 02:13 pm

My personal retirement account is closing in on $100K!! I'm at over $96K. For a little perspective, I had just $6,034 in my Roth IRA in May 2003. Compounding interest along with contributions make a difference!!

The markets are finally moving up a little faster the last few weeks. Of course we are still contributing, too. I will contribute $5,500 to my Roth this year, which is the maximum allowed.

My husband has the same amount go into his Roth and also contributes to the TSP with 8% of his base pay. His balances total over $190K.

This also means that at some point, and I'm hoping this year, we will top $300K in retirement funds. Sometimes that seems like a lot of money and other times not nearly enough.

We still expect my husband to put in 20 full time years with the Army. That earned paycheck he will receive from that point forward will definitely supplement our retirement income. There is always the possibility he will not complete the 20 years, which is the whole reason we are saving for retirement outside the retirement pension. The resulting paycheck would be lower and not available until after he turns 65.

Anyway...I look forward to dancing around about my $100K milestone and our combined $300K milestone in the near future. What retirement milestone are you looking forward to meeting next?

Spending Progress on Amex

June 6th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I checked the spending progress on our Wells Fargo American Express card, we have spent over $2200 of the $3000 requirement. I like that this card actually tracks the progress for you on the promotion. Smile I was not able to use the card for a couple of our regular bills. They process Visa, Mastercard and Discover, but not American Express. Boo. However, I'm not too worried about meeting the requirement. My husband has travel this month and we expect to buy a new or used Apple Mac for my artist daughter. She will also be getting Photoshop.

Once we get to $3K on the American Express, we will start using the Southwest Rapids Rewards Visa. That should be arriving very soon. I'm glad I decided to apply when I did, as the timing will be perfect. Smile

How are those of you doing with your new Wells Fargo spending requirements? Has anyone received their reward yet?

Frustrated

June 5th, 2014 at 03:09 pm

I'm going to talk about my friend. I know some of us write these type of posts from time to time. I do feel a little guilty writing about this. I also don't want it to come across that I'm all high and mighty and know everything. I don't. I do know a lot and I have different habits than my friend.

My friend is moving from one state to another. Texas specifically. This move is happening pretty fast for them. It is with the friend's husband's same company. It is a pretty big promotion for him. They listed their home and sold it in 7 days. They are still going through the process of inspections and so forth.

I think they are happy with the sale, and the price but I don't think they will get much proceeds from the sale. They bought it over 12 years ago for $109K with zero down. It was a VA loan. The sold it for $127K. You would think there were be lots of equity there, but she has told me they refinanced at least two times to refinance debt. And I know the first time she told me about refinancing I was vocal about being against that. She had many justifications.

They have been to their new city recently looking at houses. The market there is hopping and homes don't stay listed for long and sell for at or slightly above list price. Their realtor says sellers are not accepting contingent offers (offers based on complete sale of their own home), this upsets my friend. But she is really upset that she has to put 1% down in earnest money when making an offer. For the homes they are looking at this may amount to $1700. I don't know for sure if she has it or not, but she seems to be acting like she doesn't.

Ugh. I feel bad, but I'm more frustrated at her behavior over the years and how it has lead only to buying more stuff and she never seems to get ahead. One time she said if she saved money, she would just be tempted spend it all. Umm...so you don't save, but then you still spend it all.

She told me that her brother was a little concerned about this move, telling her that more money isn't everything. He even said, 'You know, the more you make the more you spend." I'm sure he meant that in the literal sense. She really does that. However she has the illusion they will be able to pay off lots of bills and get ahead. That is the main reason they are moving it is a promotion and a significant increase in salary. It is enough that she may not work. Although I think she will find a way to get a job somewhere, since she has never not worked. The truth is more money doesn't solve excess spending behaviors.

I'm starting to relate to her brother's opinion, that this may not be a great move financially. She doesn't have $1700 or any down payment, how can you expect to get a home in that case. They are still eligible for another VA loan so that helps with the down payment part. I did hear her mention apartment, so we will see if that ends up being the better choice.

Alright it is the end of my rant. I'm just frustrated after years of talking with her that she isn't in a better place.

School Almost Over

June 5th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Today is my last day at home by myself. My oldest doesn't need to go tomorrow unless she has to make up a final. She does not. The youngest will go but gets out four hours early.

Our summers are pretty casual overall. We might get out to visit a museum, travel back to see family, and swim once or twice. I know there will be visits to the library. We also like to get some hikes in local parks in as well. The girls will have flute lessons and a informal recital. The oldest has several marching band events that we will need to work around.

We also need to visit two colleges in our state. I realize summer isn't the best time to visit, but we figure we can go back in the fall if the school seems more of a possibility.

Summer is also the time we get some annual appointments in. One daughter needs an eye appointment. One needs to have an initial visit with a oral surgeon, and they both need to see the orthodontist.

I personally like summer because it is a time to get a little creative with projects. My daughter has a latch hook rug she completed in the fall that she wants turned into a pillow. She also has a two latch hook rugs she is working on. My older daughter spends even more time drawing during the summer. It is always fun to see what they create.

I wrote an post on Your Organized Friend about managing the end of school chaos that comes home. It can be pretty stressful when all their school supplies come home if you don't have a plan.

Are your kids out of school? Do you have a busy summer planned or is it more relaxed?

Snowing in June

June 4th, 2014 at 07:44 pm

I have accumulated a few snowflakes for June already!! Pinecone deposited $6 into my PayPal account. And I received two $5 Amazon.com gift cards from Swagbucks (one of those was accumulated with Bing rewards).

Today has been productive! I ran errands and worked out at the gym. I first went to the laundromat and put a comforter in one of the big washers and then left while it was still washing. I figured no one can get it out while it is running since it is locked. I knew what time to be back. I left to drop off three winter coats at the dry cleaner. I then went to Goodwill to drop off some more items left over from the garage sale. After that I stopped to put fuel in my van. At this point it was time to get back to the laundromat. I waited a few minutes while the cycle completed and then moved it to a dryer. I walked to a store to buy an item and return to wait for the dryer, which was just another 15 minutes.

After all those errands, it was time for the workout. But since I have been home, I have run two loads of laundry, cut up fruits and vegetables for dinner, and started cleaning my oven (I'm doing it in stages).

I sure enjoy productive days AND snowflakes! Has your day been productive? Have you accumulated any June snowflakes yet?

Another $200 Offer (Just for Me)

June 3rd, 2014 at 07:48 pm

I received an offer from US Bank to open a checking account with direct deposit of at least $500 and receive $200. There are a lot of details and deadlines. For example if I don't open the account by the end of this month the offer drops to $150.

I might actually do this offer because I think that increased income that will come with promotion could easily be the direct deposit! For now, I'm going to wait until promotion comes through and I hear when the new pay actually starts. This may mean I miss out on $50. I don't have to keep the account open very long either, so it would be in just long enough to get the bonus money.

Our mortgage payment for June posted. Our principal portion was $464.60. We also include $103.72 towards principal. The number is odd, but the whole payment is even! We have now surpassed paying down more than 50% of our $13,992 goal for 2014, with $7,425.45 paid towards principal. It is nice to see the plan working!

Have you dipped in for a checking or savings account offer recently? How much debt have you already paid in June? Are you exceeding a financial goal you have for the year?

I wrote about my plans for running errands on Your Organized Friend, but make sure you read the comments on that one, too! Tomorrow I will have a post about getting organized as school winds down for the year. Remember you can sign up to get email updates for my blog at anytime!

Closed Capital One

June 2nd, 2014 at 09:59 pm

I closed my Capital One credit card. This is the one which was upgraded to Quicksilver offering 1.5% rewards and no annual fee. In an effort to reduce our open lines of credit, we decided to close my account and leave my husband's open. I am an authorized user on it, so we each have a card. Right now we aren't using the card since we are working on obtaining the bonus reward with the Wells Fargo American Express Propel World card. But it is a good 'go to' card for earning rewards. I like that I don't always have to track the 5% categories like some cards.

I'm also going to look into closing my husband's Chase Freedom account. We only have one card for it and I don't think we have used it since he received his bonus reward months and months ago. It may have 0% interest, but I don't think we need to keep it open even with that offer! Hopefully you saw my previous post about a limited time offer to open a Chase Freedom account to get a $200 bonus for spending $500. Best return I think I've ever seen!

Have you reduce any of your credit cards lately? Did you open an account lately?

I have several new posts on Your Organized Friend if you are interested.