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Archive for August, 2014

Over $300K

August 29th, 2014 at 08:25 pm

Our combined retirement accounts have now exceeded $300K!! Specifically, the total is $300,180.92. Nice to meet a milestone. Smile

We sure can't complain considering just over 11 years ago, in May 2003, our retirement accounts only totaled $25,742. Yep, just 11 years ago look where we were. Money really does compound and grow when invested. We have another 20+ years until we retire, so there is a lot of time to accumulate more.

Check your balances this weekend if you can, and enjoy how far YOU have come, too!

Estimating Taxes Before Promotion

August 28th, 2014 at 03:16 pm

With the new promotion and increased income, I figured I should check out where that puts us with taxes. We are still in the same tax bracket of 15%. But 15% of more is still more taxes!

I also realized and kind of knew that we would no longer be eligible to claim child tax credit on our daughter that turned 17. That right there is $1000 more in taxes than we have had in the past.

I have estimated that taxes(after the credit for one child) on our taxable income will equal $4,891. So far in eight months we have only had $2,308 withheld and withholding another $450 for four months will still put us short. I went ahead and changed withholding from 8 to 7. This will have us withholding $488 each month for the next four months. I could have made it more, but decided it was okay to keep it where it should be for next year and we will just owe the government again this spring. I expect in the end we will owe $630.

I plan to set aside $105 for the next six months for this particular debt. This way it won't be a big surprise or burden at tax time.

Each pay period we will have $440 more income after all the changes. DH and I did discuss this last night and he is all for just sweeping the money into savings knowing a move, and college are in our future. Seems like the best plan for now. We may evaluate retirement at the first of the year.

Do you evaluate your taxes anytime during the year? Or only at tax time?

New Cash Back Site...$10 For Signing Up

August 28th, 2014 at 05:44 am

I was made aware of another cash back site when shopping online. It's called TopCashBack. Free to sign up, and can cash out anytime and for any amount (which is far different from Ebates).

I figured it was worth my time to sign up and get the $10 which is still showing as pending in my account. If you want the $10, feel free to sign up using my referral link. You can then advertise your referral link to your friends and family and receive $10 when they sign up.

As you probably know I will consider the $10 a little snowflake to put towards paying down our mortgage! I love these little unexpected ways to get cash. Smile

Feel free to leave your referral code in the comments after you sign up! And, if you knew about this site, how long have you been a member?

ETA: It looks like the initial $10 may stay in pending status, until you have earned $10 in cash back status from the site. But at that point, you will have $20 to redeem. If anyone else reads it different, let me know.

The Promotion Has Been Ordered

August 27th, 2014 at 05:58 am

My husband received his promotion order yesterday. His promotion from Captain to Major is effective September 1. This means a pay increase which we will see on his pay mid September.

I feel like I have been waiting all year for this! I'm sure he feels the same but for different reasons. Smile

This pay increase feels like a lot of responsibility for some reason. It is a gross increase of $1,150.20 per month. I need to figure how much more taxes we will owe, adjust withholding if necessary, decide if we should increase retirement contributions and really decide overall what to do with the increase. I sure don't want to just spend it away!

As far as retirement contributions go, we currently save 17.8% of my husband's gross pay towards retirement. Do I try to maintain the percentage, or increase the amount but not worry about the percentage of gross?

In the end, I think I will play with the numbers over the next week and try to see what feels the most comfortable. I also should talk with DH to see if he has any preferences on what to do with his hard earned money! I think he will opt to save it in some way and we have discussed that previously.

As I finish writing this, I had the idea that maybe the entire increase (minus taxes) will get saved, but just among various places. Retirement, regular savings, and maybe a taxable investment. A little to each of those may feel good.

I'll let you know what we decide and how it will look. If you had a large increase in income what would you do with it?





SA Selling Challenge August Update

August 26th, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I know I'm the one that suggested this selling challenge on Saving Advice, but I'm sure getting off to a slow start! Can I blame it on school starting last week? I have had items listed and I have sold a few. These items just aren't big profit makers for me.

In the entire month of August I put $44.83 back into our pockets. I mean I'm not making a true profit on items I purchased and am selling used for less. I put this money to the mortgage of course. So the selling does pay off in less debt and over time, a little less interest paid!

I have an item to relist tonight or tomorrow, since I had a non paying bidder. There are still four items listed, that I may switch to auctions. Undecided. I know there are a couple books on Half.com, but those will just sit there until they sell. Although by December they will go to Goodwill if no one shows interest by the end of the year. Can't have excess clutter for too long!

Are you selling anything? Do you think sales are slow or brisk for you right now?

Lower Bills

August 25th, 2014 at 06:09 am

We received notification that the budget billing amount for our gas utility is being lowered from $60 to $42 a month. Our amount had increased this spring to adjust for high gas bills this winter. It's nice to go back to the regular amount.

I also noticed that I can pick 5% back on cell phone bills again next quarter on our US Bank Cash + credit card. I plan to do this again, as that is a significant savings on our large bill. If it becomes a regular options, I plan to stick with it!!

Really hoping to keep spending at a minimum this week. I don't expect much, unless school needs more money. I already have $20 in my wallet for the football game admission on Friday night. I might be able to save that if it ends up raining. I probably wouldn't go if that is the case. Is it bad to wish for rain to save money?!

I'll wrap up my eBay sale results tomorrow. Nothing too spectacular unfortunately. I think there is a lull in sales with school starting and Labor Day coming up this weekend. But I'm grateful for small amounts.

I will also admit I want to go shopping! There is a new Home Goods store in our town. I want to go. I probably can be strong and visit without spending. I also NEED workout pants...which I will buy if I actually find some that work. Today, I will stay in as it is raining and I have a headache.

Do you use budget billing for any of your utilities? Do you use a credit card to get cash back on a specific category?

Groceries, Gas, Apps and Herbs...Oh my!!

August 24th, 2014 at 04:40 pm

The only money spent today at our house was for groceries and gas. Husband just went to fill up his truck, so I'll say around $60 to fill it up. The groceries were from Target. I had three physical coupons, used Target's cartwheel app for other discounts, and redeemed two $5 gift cards I obtained a few days ago. The charge to my Target Red card was $113.05.

I started using the Ibotta app for additional rebates on things I buy. I earned a little cash for buying ground beef and bread today. The other day I earned a rebate for buying Kleenex tissues. I'm up to a whole $2! It will add up over time though.

I also started using Two Grand app for tracking food. It is all based on pictures, rather than counting calories. I need something new to keep my interest so I'm going to give it a try. Eating too much food is my problem right now. If I eat I'm getting some exercise, although I need more. I've had more water today because of the app, so that is a plus.

I also harvested some herbs today. Specifically, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary. My mom purchased and planted them, but then sent them with me when they were out of town for nearly two weeks. I tried to send them back last time I visited, but she said they weren't doing as well as they were here. So I was to keep them. I used them fresh only once or twice. Today, I set most of them up to dry in bags and the basil to freeze. I will find out if she wants them now. If not, I got free herbs!

How was your spending this weekend? Have you started any new apps that you like? Do you use herbs in your cooking or baking? Do you have a favorite?

SMA is Like ALS

August 23rd, 2014 at 08:44 am

So tired this morning. I had to pick my husband up from another airport that is nearly 2 hours away. He plan landed just before 11pm last night. So glad he was awake enough to drive back. I told him to ask for mileage reimbursement from the Army because that just isn't right that I needed to drive to get him. If it had been a school night or winter driving, I would have insisted on him getting a rental car.

I completed a Pinecone survey last week, so I expect another $3 next week in my PayPal account.

I sold three items on eBay this past week. One was an auction and the buyer has not paid. Boo. The other two were small sales, but I will have that money to throw at the mortgage.

I made another Target run yesterday, as another couple school supply requests were needed by my daughters. While I was there I stocked up on Kleenex, and vitamins which earned me two $5 Target gift cards. I used the one I earned from the previous day towards the purchase. My out of pocket expense was $53. So easy to drop big money sometimes. I used a $0.75 coupon on each of the three Kleenex bundled packages and was able to earn one of those $5 gift cards. I figured out that each box came to $0.77!

I did return two clothing items to Target that I purchased last weekend. That put $30 back in my pocket before that purchase above, so it does offset some of my new spending.

My youngest daughter and I got a free hotdog and soda from our school's booster club when we went to view the end of marching band showcase. I think they should have given them to the marching band kids after. It was so hot for them.

And it seems I have now been tagged in the Ice Bucket Challenge as well by my sister. My daughter still has not done hers, so now our whole family needs to get it done. My sister did point out that SMA is similar to ALS only in babies. Her friend's daughter died as a result and she was less than 2 years old. She's donating to both causes. I may do that as well. Smile

Hoping the weekend can be a little less spendy! But groceries will need to be bought.

Gave Some Advice

August 22nd, 2014 at 09:14 am

I had a little Facebook conversation with my niece yesterday. She is 20 and been out of high school for over a year. She did go to college in her hometown for the past two semesters. She had a plan to move to California, where her Dad lives. Oh, and she just met him right after graduation last May.

Her Facebook post was about how she was to have left to go out there yesterday, but she had now delayed the move until mid March. She mentioned she needed to save more money in order to make the move.

I'm pretty sure her parents are not helping in any way, other than one of them will drive with her when it is time to go out there. She may still be living at home, but I know I heard some talk of living in an apartment.

I responded to her Facebook post advising her to make her savings goal specific and to break it down to figure out how much she should be saving each week or month to meet her goal. I also advised to do some research about the costs involved in moving, school tuition and fees, cost of gas, utilities and deposits. In other words, I advised making an educated guess as to how much to save.

Her response was, "You're 100% right, I've just been saving as I go, but I definitely need goals."

After that little response, I wrote again to say, "Hoping to get there, just doesn't always do it." She responded that she does need to actually start planning.

I don't have a lot of contact with my niece, since she is in another state. I don't know where her parents stand financially, but I would guess it is like the average american family, with credit card debt, car debt, mortgage and a little investing. And probably a tiny emergency fund. As a result, I couldn't help myself to give a little advice.

I hope it helps her. She is very motivated to get her college degree, so I think she has the potential to make the financial goals to get where she wants to go.

Have you found yourself giving financial advice to someone you don't normally discuss such things with?

Milestone Achieved!!

August 21st, 2014 at 06:04 pm

My personal Roth IRA account has passed the $100,000 mark today! Specifically, my account balance ended up at $100,033.02. It feels good to reach that milestone and with my automatic investment tomorrow it may go even higher.

I added up the remainder of the retirement accounts and we are less than $3,000 away from meeting a combined retirement balance of $300,000. I'm really thinking we can meet this by year end unless the market drops significantly. I do know we plan to invest nearly four times the shortage amount, so you can see why I expect to meet the goal. Smile

Have you checked your retirement balances? Are you pleased with your progress for the year? What is the next milestone you are looking to reach?

Stocked Up

August 21st, 2014 at 12:32 pm

We had run out of a few items recently, so I started a list. Today, I went to our Super Target to purchase items on the list. I wandered nearly the entire store, just for fun and to see if any bargains caught my eye. I'm happy to say I arrived home with only the items on my list...well except I bought another soda! I'm being honest in hopes that I will stop my soda habit again and can be accountable here.

I purchased two conditioners, and one shampoo. Pantene brand, used $5.50 in coupons, and received a $5 gift cards. Effectively it ended up being nearly buy one, get two free. Good deal in the end.

I picked up cooking spray, yeast, a feminine product for which I had a coupon, and four packages of Clif bars, which I received 10% off when I used my Target cartwheel.

I also bought the 10 packages of Kraft macaroni, that after the promotion and discount cost me $0.43 a box. I plan to donate to school later this fall when they do a food drive.

With all those items I still spent $50! I was tempted to stock up on Kleenex, too. I may go back, since the effective cost after coupons and gift cards would make each box of tissues just $0.77. That is a pretty good deal. Smile

I think I need to buy one daughter a new mouse to use with her computer, too. She's missing some part that makes it work. I think I will use an Amazon gift card to get this item! Otherwise, I really hope that is all I need to purchase today.

Did you make any purchases this week that earned you a Target gift card? Do you stock up on toiletries, or buy them one at a time when you need them?

Wednesday Spending

August 20th, 2014 at 05:18 pm

School started today and with that plenty of forms came home. There are also things we need to buy, although a few are wants. Smile

First was another pad lock needed for my daughter to lock up her ceramics projects in a locker each day. The lock was $3.41 at Target. And I bought another soda while I was there!! Ack. Same daughter needs to pay the art supply fee of $10.50. I took out cash to pay for that. At least, I lucked out and don't have to pay the fee for the younger daughter's art class. Apparently that school has done away with the fee.

I also wrote a check for pictures for the younger daughter. I bought the same package I always do that gives me an 8x10, two 5x7 for the grandparents, four 3x5 that we give to the aunts, and the rest are those little exchange style size that we give to anyone else that might want one or to give to friends. This was $23.50. I paid with the credit card. This is technically a want, but a little bit of a need since we do traditionally buy the school photos. Ours actually turn out really good and it makes the grandparents happy.

The next check I wrote was for $36. I bought three short sleeve band t shirts with this years theme on them. We will wear these to the football games, marching band competitions, and pep band performances. Of course, later we use them to work out in or just wear around. Again, this is a want. We did skip them the first year, but enjoyed having them last year, so we are in again this year.

My youngest daughter was challenged by a friend to do the #icebucketchallenge for ALS. She will do the challenge, but I also plan to make a small donation since that is the point of the challenge in the end. More money out!

I'm sure there will be some other unsuspecting expenses popping up. It just makes me glad I didn't fall for a home decor item at Target that was 50% off for $17.48. That was enough for to cover one t shirt and then some!

Tomorrow, I need to run to Target to get some things we have run out of. I would have picked up today, but I didn't have some of the coupons with me. I need yeast, butter spray (want?), and shampoo for the girls. I noticed Kraft macaroni is on sale this week, so I may pick up some boxes to donate to school later this fall when they do their food drive. I'm trying to think ahead when I can.

Any big school expenses for you? How was your spending today? Did you not spend, when you wanted to? Have you heard of or taken the Ice Bucket Challenge?


Spending...

August 19th, 2014 at 08:06 pm

I'd like to say I've been super good at not spending money since my last post, but soon after on that very day I wrote the post I stopped for gas to put in my van. What I didn't need to do for the budget or the waistline was stop for a soda and three candy bars. Oh, two of those candy bars went to the kids! I only ate one. That was $5 spent that was so not worth it.

The gas was needed as we drove 200 miles round trip today to visit another college. Great visit, but because students are moving in, we didn't get the housing tour or the free lunch in the dining hall. We were on our own for lunch and spent nearly $20 at Subway. I also bought a water for $1 later in the day. I did plan ahead and made three PB&J sandwiches because we weren't going to have time to stop for dinner. We rushed to the school open house straight from our out of town trip. We did all later eat a little more at home. It could have been worse on the spending so I'm not too upset with how it turned out.

After the school open house, we realized the need to purchase a couple more 3 ring binders and a graph paper style composition notebook. Another $9 spent at Target which included soda my daughter asked for...which I now regret getting. At least I'm aware and will work to do better. My kids rarely have pop, so when she asked I felt like treating her.

I'm trying to remember if I purchased some clothing items at Target before or after my last post. I think it was before. I had purchased three of Target's $5 t-shirts and a pair of workout capri's. This was about $40 worth of clothes. The capri's don't fit (yet), but I'm tempted to keep for when they do. One t-shirt doesn't fit right so it's going back. I expect to keep two of them. If I return one and the carpri's, I will have about $30 to put back in our budget.

Looking back, I wished I had skipped buying all the soda and candy bars, and planned a lunch from our food stores at home rather than buying Subway. Savings would have been about $27. I don't really regret the clothes, as I rarely buy any for myself and sometimes you just need a few things!!

I'm going to keep trying to keep the extraneous spending to a minimum. Luckily the art supply of $10 no longer applies, but we are required to buy a $36 music software subscription. Smile

Need to Slim Down

August 18th, 2014 at 08:40 am

Ha. I just typed that title in reference to money, but unfortunately it also applies to my figure! I did just get back from a walk, I guess that is where my brain still is.

While Laura, writer of Wife of the Deacon, and Klarose are watching their pennies, I am beginning to feel the need to do this as well.

My parents want us to take a vacation together before my daughter goes to college next year. Because of school schedules and the potential move in the summer after high school graduation, we have determined that Christmas break would be the best for all involved. Now we are trying to determine where. I prefer to drive, but not more than 8 hours away. I was asked about flying, but only if there is a great deal on tickets. Unfortunately, this trip was mentioned until about three weeks ago. I do not trips that are planned at the last minute (well, what feels like the last minute), since it is hard to save for.

The other factor that is coming in to play is needing to buy new tires for both vehicles this fall, including new timing belt for the van, easily $1500+ for all of those. I've known about these, but figured those could just be cash flowed. And that is still true, but that takes away the cash from upcoming checks and doesn't leave a lot for a trip. Of course, it also doesn't help that my husband's promotion order has not been cut, and therefore no pay increase yet.

I also want to get my youngest daughter a new flute this year. I was hoping sooner than later, too. That alone is about $1500.

It feels even more important to tighten any extraneous spending if we can. And I'm hoping we can. I will definitely be looking in the pantry to try to stretch a few meals. And if I keep the slim down mantra in mind, maybe I can lose a few pounds at the same time!

Are you cutting back on anything to reach a goal? If you had to slim down your spending, what would you start with?

Another $50 Snowflake to the Mortgage

August 17th, 2014 at 07:15 am

We used a $50 Kohl's gift card yesterday. The gift card was earned from Southwest Rapids Rewards card. Since the items we bought with the gift card would have been purchased with cash anyway, that money goes to pay down our mortgage.

I'm less than $1 away from meeting the $4,000 snowflake goal for the year. At this point, I knew I would make it, since there are several pending snowflakes in the works.

Less debt, is always good!

52 Week Savings Challenge Progress

August 16th, 2014 at 06:45 am

Our automatic deposit of $57 was transferred to my Capital One 360 savings account yesterday. I have now made deposits to cover weeks 1-21 and 36-52. The balance in the account is $1,041.20. This includes a little interest and a few customer referral bonuses received from Capital One.

I really like having the challenge money set up automatically. It makes it so easy. I just need to record it each payday and that is it.

If you haven't read before, the money that I'm saving with the 52 Week Savings Challenge is going towards my daughter's band trip this spring. I actually plan to continue the challenge into next year and apply any extra towards a new flute for my younger daughter. It seems to have become a fund for those bigger expenses teens have! Smile

Are you saving automatically for anything? Are you in on the 52 Week Savings Challenge (you can start at any time)?

Paid More Debt Down!

August 15th, 2014 at 05:20 pm

Today is payday. I paid off charges made to various credit cards, so we are back to zero on all except one. No interest has accrued on any of course!

I made a big payment towards the principal balance of our mortgage in the amount of $349.41. This includes the planned $275 we make on the loan at mid month. We accumulated $48.08 in rewards on the Chase Freedom card over the last two months. That snowflake money was included in the payment in addition to some Pinecone survey and eBay proceeds. It all adds up to reduce debt! We only have a little over $3,600 to meet our the goal of paying off nearly $14K on the mortgage this year.

I have a bid on one item on eBay. There are several items listed and most at Buy It Now prices, so one has to wait until someone pulls the buy trigger. I may change these on Sunday to get some movement on them. I want the cash for them now. Smile

I still haven't hit $100K in my Roth IRA account yet. The market has been down recently, but it could still happen this year. And I don't mind buying some more shares at lower prices!

I hope everyone has a thrify weekend!

Balanced

August 13th, 2014 at 01:24 pm

I balanced our checkbook today after our statement closed for the month. I did actually miss recording a small payment (less than $10) this past month. At least the bill was still paid! My check book is an online Excel register program that I found free online. I don't have the link for it, but I did a quick search and see there are still options out there. Be careful to pick one that has good ratings and reviews, so you don't download a virus.

For the past two months, I have charged our Verizon bill to my US Bank Cash+ card. One of the categories I chose for this quarter was 5% back for cell phone providers. Considering our bill is fairly high, this is a nice little discount off the bill. This month the rewards were $12.31. I redeem the rewards in full for a credit and paid the remaining amount. I consider the rewards a snowflake and will match the amount with a payment to the mortgage.

My Citi Thank You rewards card has already closed on the first statement. I have not had the card long at all. Although long enough to rack up $260 in charges, the bulk of that was for electricity and a flute maintenence repair bill.

I helped at school yesterday afternoon and this morning. Band camp has begun and uniforms are being fitted. I'm helping to hem pants. It feels like a quilting bee type of event with several ladies hand sewing in one place! I did mention my wedding gown donation to a few women. One told me today she keeps thinking about it and will likely donate her dress as well. So cool!

Do you balance your checkbook anymore? Anyone still using pen and paper? Anyone else getting rewards on cell phone charges? Do you know how to sew?

Made Extra Mortgage Payment

August 12th, 2014 at 07:48 am

I used up the remaining $50 Walmart gift cards obtained from Southwest credit card rewards. The money was spent on mundane household goods, including treats for band camp. Smile

I also made a purchase of $4.95 using Amazon gift cards obtained in this case from Bing and Swagbucks rewards.

As I like to do, I matched my spending on gift cards with a payment to our mortgage in the amount of $54.95. This will all go to reduce principal. Less debt. I like that!

We still have $50 in Amazon gift cards, around $32 on a Kohl's card and another $50 to Lowe's that we have not spent yet. I'm in no rush. If we don't need anything, we don't need to go buying it!

I'm waiting for a Pinecone payment to be deposited into my PayPal account. Once that happens I will transfer the cash in there (around $14) to our checking account so I can add that money to the mortgage as well.

Everything is moving right along! Did you make any extra mortgage payments this month? Was it a planned amount, or some extra money you found?

Sale, Kitty Update and More

August 11th, 2014 at 07:47 am

I made another sale on eBay last night. It looks like a net of $7.99...another snowflake! I added a few more items for sale on Half.com and eBay. Many of my items are listed as Buy It Now and are 30 day listings. They could really sell at anytime.

I will get that item mailed and also take my wedding dress to the post office. I was able to get the dress into a fairly small box (8x7x6). It weighs just under 2 pounds and will only cost about $7 to mail. I have requested confirmation that my dress is received and a tax donation acknowlegement. I also did take some lace, pearls, and silk material from the dress, for my own keepsake uses. It has really been a joy to have taken the dress out of the box that it has been preserved in for 18 years. It really was a great dress! I'm glad I'm moving it on, since my daughter's aren't interested and it can go to a good cause.

DH and I have still not sat down to talk about the spending. I think it might be best to try to show him on Friday (payday) when I'm paying bills. He can just observe and ask questions as I go along. If he gets really intersted, I might want to start YNAB (You Need A Budget). I think with us both having smart phones we could track spending into categories to see where we really are.

In other news, I did take the kitten to the humane society for our county. I decided that it was the best plan, since we weren't ready for another cat, I didn't want it in the hands of someone who would torture it, it's cute personality will win someone over and the humane society will do a great job at vetting a new owner. I did find that this shelter is committed to finding a home for each animal they serve no matter how long it takes. So I think it's a win for the kitty and us, too! I do plan to make a donation to the organization, since they didn't charge me anything for bringing in the found kitty. I think it would be good to help them out. Smile

Any more sales out there this week? Do you support your humane society? Do you use YNAB, or another budgeting system? Do you share that system with your spouse or partner?

My Husband Wants to See the Checkbook

August 10th, 2014 at 01:35 pm

And I'm not worried that he does. He just usually never cares! He said he was thinking about his promotion salary increase (that we are still waiting on orders for) and then thinking he doesn't know where our money goes except for what he personally spends. Generally he just buys pop, water and gas for his own needs. He will go to the store to get things if I ask. Other than that he really only knows little pieces of financial information based on what comes up in conversation.

I also told him the checkbook won't tell him a lot since, most of the transactions are on credit cards and only large payments show up in the checking account.

We didn't make a plan to discuss, yet. But I'm sure we will. I'm also not worried. I'm actually hopeful that this will simply make him more aware of our overall spending. Maybe he will have some great insight or idea that I hadn't thought of. And he really should know what is going on with his paycheck. I ended up handling things because he trusted me. I was the one that got him out from under that failed business debt less than a year after we were married.

Is your spouse a little out of touch with your finances? If not, how to you handle your finances together?

Citi Thank You Card Arrived

August 9th, 2014 at 11:21 am

The Citi Thank You Preferred credit card arrived in the mail yesterday. I activated them today. We need to spend $1500 in 3 months to receive 20,000 points which is equal to $200 in gift cards and cash equivalents.

Each time we get a new card, I have to swap out the one we have been using. This time we pulled our Wells Fargo American Express cards out. I instructed my husband to use it for everything except gas since we are using the Chase Freedom card for 5% back on gas stations through the end of September. He will also use the Target Red Card if he buys anything at Target. He is such a good sport to play along with the credit card game. He does sometimes forget which card to use and ends up using the wrong one, but overall it isn't a big deal. As long as I keep the debt we carry to zero from month to month, he's happy!

In other news, I washed my silk wedding dress in cold water and woolite this morning. I cleaned out our basement bathtub first and did three rinses with cold water. Now the dress is drying over the tub. I don't expect it to shrink since it won't be in the dryer. As I wrote earlier in the week, it will get mailed to Helping Hands to be made into angel gowns.

The Southwest Fee

August 8th, 2014 at 08:59 am

The annual fee of $99 has been refunded to my Southwest Rapids Reward card that I closed last week. Or was it the week before? I think a check will get cut automatically, but I sent a secure message to them today anyway requesting it.

I've used a little more of my last $50 Walmart gift card. Once I use it all, I will send $50 to the mortgage as a snowflake.



Found a Kitten

August 7th, 2014 at 08:08 pm

We took in a stray kitten tonight. I don't think we plan to make it permanent, so for now it is staying in the basement separate from our cats.



It was running behind three kids on bikes. The kids were sailing by and the cat spotted me, came over and started purring right away. The kids came back. I asked if it was their cat or if it started running with them from the farm across which is very close (nearly across the street). The said it started following them from the bank which is about 5 or 6 blocks away. The bank is by a highway. I just wonder if someone dropped off a cat they didn't want.

The cat seems well groomed except for an area on its ear that seems to have been bitten or caught on something and has dried blood. It has all it's claws, no collar. I think it is domestic, rather than farm cat based on how it is interacting with us.

It is very cute and it is tempting to take it in, but I think we should find a home for it. The shelters around here are kill shelters, so I'm thinking I should post it on craigslist, but wonder if I should post a found listing before I go off offering it to someone else. How would I know it was the owner? I didn't see any lost kitten posts that describe this kitten.

Any ideas would be helpful...as I just want to do the right thing!

Tidbits: Includes State Fair and Wedding Dress

August 7th, 2014 at 09:44 am

I have some money tidbits today. I earned another $3 from Pinecone.

On eBay, I have a bid one one item and now someone watching another item.

I sent my $5 Starbucks egift card from Discover to my sister who is prepping her classroom for school. My mom is there helping. I thought they could use a coffee break sometime today. I've had the egift card in my email inbox since May! I think it's time someone used it. Smile

Nothing is decided about college. We really enjoyed our visit to the college north of us. I personally would go there in an instant!

I purchased some items from iHerb today. I had over $9 in rewards, met the minimum spending for free shipping and paid less than $13 out of pocket for about $25 worth of items.

Citi Thank You card was not in the mail again today.

We decided not to go to our state fair, as it is now a two hour drive. We are coming up on the busy marching band season and need some time at home. I expect not going will save us nearly $150! That is a plus.

I'm going to open the box my wedding gown from 18 years ago is preserved in today. I will be trying it on and hoping I still fit in it(just kidding...that will never happen!!). Actually, I will be washing it and preparing to send it to an organization that turns gowns in to Angel Gowns for babies who have died in the hospital. I have decided this is a better use for it than sitting in my closet. My daughters are not attached to it and don't have any interest in wearing it.

Those are my tidbits. Do you still have your wedding dress? Save any money this week? Will you visit your state fair?

Paid Some Credit Card Charges

August 5th, 2014 at 08:36 am

My husband has been using our credit cards for when he travels...that means we can accumulate more rewards! He had a trip last week and was already reimbursed for expenses. Unfortunately, he spent more than what he is reimbursed for. Only by $30. Probably, a few too many beers at the sports bar. Frown

I paid $832.43 to the Wells Fargo American Express and $78.59 to the Chase Freedom card. It feels good to make payments and see the balances go back down. We do have balances on the cards, but no interest is accruing because I'm paying the balance in full before the due date. We also have 0% on the Amex, so a few of our bigger expenses are still there because honestly I like having my cash in my account, too. It will all get paid and I have no worries that we are spending more than we can handle.

I'm waiting for the Citi Thank You card to arrive. All new charges will go on that card to get the award of $200 in gift cards (or a check to our mortgage) after spending $1,500.

Tomorrow we are traveling to look at a college for our oldest daughter. She's not keen on this college, but I think it is good to look at several before completely deciding! I think I only looked at one. And then I transferred after two years.

Are you waiting for a credit card to arrive, or maybe a check payable to you? Do you charge work expenses and then get reimbursed? How many colleges did you visit when you were looking?

Selling & Spending Results in Snowflakes

August 4th, 2014 at 01:04 pm

I have sold three items recently on eBay and have net $27.18 after fees and shipping. Snowflake! I still have six items listed and I'm moving two to Half.com since there wasn't much interest on eBay this week. Those items may get donated at some point. I should note that I actually listed five new items yesterday. There are still more to list, but a little at a time works best for me!

We rented two instant watch movies on Amazon last week and used our Amazon.com credits I received from Bing Rewards and Swagbucks. That spending was $5.98. Snowflake!

I really don't like shopping at Walmart, but they have the kinds of things we normally buy (just usually at Target). Today, in the parking, lot there were police and sheriff vehicles and someone standing in handcuffs. This store backs up to Target and their parking lots are like night and day of each other! I didn't feel unsafe, although depending on what it was all about I probably would have left if it had started while I was there.

I bought 6 boxes of tissues and very large bottle of hand sanitizer for my sister who teaches kindergarten. I will give those to her later this fall. I also stocked my husband up on soap, deodorant, and shaving cream. And finally, I bought two bags of mulch since I realized quite a bit washed away last month in the rain. This shopping trip was about $35, but with other spending over the last week, we have used up two $50 gift cards at Walmart. Snowflake!

Right after I submit this post, I will make a $133.16 payment to our mortgage with this snowflake money. Less debt!

Can you say you have less debt today then you did yesterday? Do you give the teachers in your life extra supplies?

Made a Sale

August 3rd, 2014 at 07:09 am

One of my listed items sold yesterday and I expect one will be bid on and sell later today. I made just over $10 on the first item. A few of the items are listed longer and may actually take longer to sell. I'm okay with that.

I hope to get more items listed later today. If there are a couple that don't sell I will likely relist. Eventually, I give up on items, but sometimes it just takes more time to find the buyer.

Do you have items you are selling right now?

52 Week Savings Challenge Status

August 2nd, 2014 at 07:27 am

The automatic investment to my Capital One 360 Savings account has taken place again. I added $57 to the 52 Week Savings Challenge. This means I have invested weeks 1-20 and 37-52. Only 18 more weeks to go! In our case that should be just 9 more deposits of $57.

The actual balance of my Capital One 360 account is $984.20, which includes a little interest and $60 in referral bonuses received.

This money is earmarked for my daughter's band camp trip in the spring of 2015. I'm not sure when all the money will be due, but we should have no trouble meeting the schedule!

Are you still participating in the 52 Week Savings Challenge? How are you doing?

Need to Change Banks

August 2nd, 2014 at 07:15 am

I noticed that FNBO Direct where we have most of our emergency fund cash has reduced their interest rate from the measly 0.85% to 0.75%. I think it's time to move banks for a little better interest rate.

I probably could do a short term CD, but since I have a feeling we could be moving, I need some of that cash for the next house and I don't want it tied up. Or the potential to lose any extra interest, which would reduce the effective rate in the end.

I'm considering going to EverBank for their 6 month interest rate of 1.4%. I would then move the money after that to another bank that is paying closer to 1%. Anyone have a better idea? I have nearly $40K that I would put in the account.


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