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Archive for September, 2014

September Snowflakes

September 30th, 2014 at 10:30 am

I accumulated $182.20 in extra money(or snowflakes) for the month of September. All the cash went to pay down the mortgage!

Here's where the money came from:


Also, it could have been higher if I was able to redeem some of my Southwest Rapids Rewards points. That would have been $200+. (See other posts for why I can't redeem...yet.) I also could have redeemed $200+ from our newest credit card Citi Thank You Preferred, but I'm holding off to determine if we will use this money for a new fridge.

I do have a Pinecone survey reward being transferred to my bank account and an Ooma $20 referral reward that will be counted as the first snowflakes of October.

I did make some financial moves that will generate some extra money in future months. I opened a Discover CashBack Checking account for a $50 bonus. I opened a joint US Bank Checking account for a $200 reward, as well as set up a CD at Navy Federal Credit Union which will net us 5% interest on $5,000 over then next year.

I'm happy with the snowflake progress of the past month and looking forward to those future rewards? Did you track your extra money earned this month? How much did you accumulate? Did you save it or pay down debt?

Party Update & More

September 29th, 2014 at 02:23 pm

The party on Friday was a success! We had a really great time and I think the guests did too. We ended up with a lot of food leftover. The good thing is I was able to freeze the soup leftovers and have a plan for using them when a round of visitors comes to our home in less than two weeks. I was able to return a package of plates and some serving utensils to Target, so $8 less spent. We also have quite a bit of alcohol, which will last awhile and give us an excuse for another smaller gathering.

Since payday is around the corner, I decided to send off cash from our last paycheck to pay off some of the charges from the last two weeks. The big payment was $475 on our Target Red card. Ugh. I also finally transferred money from our savings account to pay our the gym membership we charged in May. Luckily no interest, but I was tired of seeing the balance on the Wells Fargo Amex.

Even when one doesn't pay interest it does feel so good not to owe anyone anything! Once pay day rolls around I have a couple more small charges I want to complete and I will feel even better.

I hope to make the next couple weeks as low spend as possible. I will need to mention this to DH and see what he can do to reign in some of his spending. He is starting back on a diet, so it might all work out anyway! I'm also going to get back on my exercise bandwagon and counting calories. I need to get the routine down before the dead of winter really hits hard.

How was your weekend? Are you more in the midst of spending or saving?

Two Soups

September 25th, 2014 at 08:24 am

I'm making two soups/stews for our party. I made traditional chili using the famous Better Homes & Garden cookbook. I'm also making a Moroccan Lentil Soup in case anyone doesn't want to do the chili. I love both personally.

I prechopped green pepper, onion and carrots yesterday, which made getting started on the soups today VERY easy. In fact, as of 10 am this morning they are done!

We purchased alcohol and beverages last night. I did find a rebate on the rum, but that was it. We very likely bought more than needed, but decided it would get used eventually, and it could make an excuse for another gathering!

I will buy salad ingredients today. I also think I will make the corn bread later today as well. I feel pretty good about getting ready for the party. I also think one of the wives wants to come over early in case I need help. I will let her. I can have her help me get food into containers and put plates and cups out. And it will be fun! If she doesn't end up coming, it will be no big deal. Smile

I will do my kitchen floor cleaning first thing in the morning. It will needed it after all my baking and food prep.

I did complete a Pinecone survey a day or two ago. The credit to my account has been redeemed for cash.

What is your favorite soup to eat or make?

Irritated with Army

September 24th, 2014 at 06:34 am

I can see my husband's pay stub for next week. He was promoted as of September 1, yet they have not yet changed his pay. I changed withholding for us online, that change was made. I requested online to send $500 to our new US Bank account. That change was handled, and just did that two days ago.

I realize I can't go in and change the pay for him like the other two things. Someone is NOT doing their job, and that irritates me!!

I gave a heads up to my husband, so hopefully he can get the situation moving along. I know he will get paid his new pay as of September 1, but WHEN is the question. If corrected for the next check, Oct 15, it will include all the back pay up to that point. I won't know the true check amount we can expect until Nov 1 at the earliest. I can estimate it of course, but I do like to know the specifics, like all number nerds do. Smile

How long have you had to wait for a promotion to be reflected on your paycheck?

Discover Checking and Credit Card Offer

September 23rd, 2014 at 05:10 pm

I opened a Discover Cashback Checking account today. I thought I may have missed the cutoff for the $50 offer, as the mailer stated the deadline was September 15. When I logged on to the offer, it was available!

I did need to make a minimum opening deposit of $25. That is the only requirement other than being a Discover credit card holder. The $50 bonus will be credited by December 12, but possibly sooner.

I was thinking it was too bad my husband doesn't have his Discover card, as I could have had him open the account too. Oh, well.

I do have the ability to refer people to the Discover credit card, not the checking account. You would earn $50 for opening the account and making your first purchase, and I would also earn $50. I do need your email address to send you the personalized invite. If you leave it in the comments, I will delete it as soon as I send the invite. I will not keep your email address or use it for any other purpose. Only open credit cards if you can pay for all purchases in full before you are charged interest. It's the only way to use them!

Do you have a Discover credit card or checking account? Have you been using the card for 5% cash back this past quarter?

Entertaining

September 22nd, 2014 at 05:08 pm

We are entertaining my husband's coworkers and family members this weekend to celebrate his promotion. We don't entertain much, although I'd really like to do it more often.

We are keeping it casual by making a lentil soup, and chili with toppings. I will make corn and beer bread, in addition to a lettuce salad. I probably make some chocolate chip bars, too.

There will be alcohol, which is likely the biggest expense. I also need to have a few snack items if the party goes late. And since there may be children as young as two, I will whip up a cheese pizza or macaroni. I have apples and carrots that can be cut up to add to those options as well.

I purchased the paper goods last week. I think I will get most of the alcohol and ingredients tomorrow for the food. I will hold off on the lettuce and some of the vegetables until Thursday. Ice will need to be purchased just before the party. I think I will put my husband on that duty!

I'm looking forward to the socializing! I'm not as excited about spending the money. Smile

Snowflake Updates

September 22nd, 2014 at 07:14 am

I sent in some snowflakes to the mortgage this morning. I used $18.24 in Amazon gift cards obtained from Southwest rewards and Bing/Swagbucks. I also had a $3 payment from Pinecone and earned $5 using the Ibotta coupon app. This means we now have $26.24 less mortgage debt!! I like less debt.

So far for the month of September, we have accumulated $182.20 worth of snowflakes which all have been sent in to the mortgage.

I did skip an extra mortgage principal payment this month equal to $275. I used it to pay off some charges on credit cards. Charges that are not costing us interest, but would if I didn't use that money. I'm still ahead of schedule on my mortgage goal, so that is what helped sway my decision to use the money on the purchases versus the mortgage. And I didn't really want to pull from savings! I like my savings intact.

Where are you getting your extra funds (snowflakes) this month? How much have you accumulated.

Spending Again...

September 21st, 2014 at 09:04 am

It feels like we are in that spending mode again. We had two marching band activities this weekend to attend. One was out of town, so their was fuel involved. We spent $12 for admission to one, and $15 to the other. Five dollars was spent on concessions.
My parents met us at one and then took us to lunch afterwards.

Last night my husband and I attended a party at a coworkers home. We bought Subway sandwiches for our girls since there is nearly nothing in the house! We also picked up our own beer to bring. We did have a really good time so it was worth it.

Prior to the weekend, I picked up paper goods at Target for a party we are having at our home for my husband's promotion. I will buy food and drinks later in the week. That part will add up, but I'm excited to have a social event at our home.

I also did some clearance sale shopping at Kohl's and Target last week. I got a very large bag of organic potting soil for $2 at Target, which I used some of to plant 2 $2 pots of mums. I bought some lanterns for decoration that were all marked down, two may go back if we don't use them next week. I'm also returning a hair product. However, I'm keeping the $3 shirt from Kohl's, the slippers for a Christmas gift ($5), an Eddie Bauer wallet ($6) for a birthday gift, and a lotion set as a Christmas gift($4). There were a few other things bought at really low prices, that will definitely get used. I'm not always the best clearance shopper, but I seemed to find just the right items at the right prices. I did use my 20% coupon to get the items reduced even more than they were marked. And now they have sent me another $10 coupon...so I may sneak up there and see if there is anything else worth putting a couple dollars into.

I'm looking at two flutes online for my youngest daughter. One is used and around $800 and another is $1200. The more expensive one is barely used and would save us over $300 from buying brand new. One ends today, so we should decide if we are really want that one or not.

Have you bought anything on clearance recently? What was the best deal you got?

NOT Considering a Puppy

September 19th, 2014 at 05:20 am

Updated: We are not getting the puppy referenced in my post. I did more research and agree with those of you posting that a Jack Russell is not the dog for us with cats. Thanks for responding!

Our family is considering getting a puppy. A female Jack Russell. We are visiting it on Saturday! It is a little daunting since as a family we have not owned a dog, only two cats. My husband and I each had a dog growing up.

I now need to read up on how to introduce a puppy to cats and have them get along. I read about them needing to be crated or on leash in the house until we(the pack leader) can control the dog and teach it to not chase the cats.

What else should we know? Share anything or point me to a book that would be helpful.

(In other news, I got another $20 reward from Ooma for referring someone to their services. At this point, I'm making money on my home phone!)

Certificate Is Established

September 18th, 2014 at 05:54 am

We finally got our CD with Navy Federal CU established. It seemed like it took forever to get the account established, and the money transferred. It was very quick to fill out the request yesterday and it was established within a very short time after that.

The certificate is for 1 year at 5% interest. The maximum amount was $5000. I'd have put more in if I could. This is savings that has been in our money market account. I noticed when I moved the money that we had not had any withdrawals from the account since December 2011. So tying the money into a CD for a year will not be an issue.

What is the highest interest rate you are currently earning on your cash?

Example of How Credit Cards Get Complicated

September 17th, 2014 at 10:25 am

I know there are many, many examples of credit card problems. This one is minor really. I'm just annoyed with myself for forgetting the rules!

I had a Southwest Rapids Rewards credit card that I opened for 55,000 bonus points. I did receive them after spending $2000. I redeemed the first $350 worth of gift cards right away. I was undecided about the rest, so I left the points. However, I proceeded to cancel the card to get the annual fee of $99 refunded. That did happened with no issues.

The problem is I can't get to my rewards, although I can log on, and redeem them without being a card member! Ack. Why did I forget that piece of information?

I have plans to apply for their lower grade card which has a $69 fee when the next promotion comes out, so this is not a total loss. I will make sure to redeem in full before I cancel again.

I was going to redeem 20,000 points for $200 worth of Lowe's gift cards...so we can start looking a refrigerators. This may just be the sign that we need to wait on that purchase.

Don't play with credit cards if you want simple and easy. They aren't simple and easy! It does take tracking and understanding of the rules!

Anyone know when the next Southwest Rapids Rewards offer might come out? I do have quite a few things I could charge. Smile

Big Expenses...

September 16th, 2014 at 06:26 am

We have big expenses coming up. I've known they were coming for the most part. I haven't specifically put money aside for them, since I figured we could cash flow them. But I'm starting to doubt that reality. I will probably have to pull from savings. I hate doing that! I like my savings to just grow, ya know?!

Here's what we are looking at:
Tires for van $700
Timing belt and more for van $775
Tires for truck $750
Flute for youngest daughter $1530+
Refrigerator $750

My tires actually seem pretty good most of the time. It's when we are taking off on an incline and the surface is wet that we notice spinning. It seems to not be an issue if we take off a little slower though, so it might be user error! Smile They are 80,000 mile tires with 45K on them, so they really should still be good. We also never have an issue stopping with the tires.

The truck tires are visually look more worn and are the original tires. The truck is a 2007 with probably 65K miles (not sure on that). It seems they might need to be done before the van.

The timing belt on the van is routine maintenance for at 90K miles, we are at 85.5K miles. We really should do it on time. I would hate to have that lack of maintenance do in our vehicle.

The flute? She has one, but it is a beginner flute and according to older daughter it is much harder to blow air through and the sound isn't as good. We bought the older daughter one when she was a sophomore after the flute teacher recommended a change. It has been well worth it, with her improvements in playing. We want the same for younger daughter. This could probably be put off until the first of the year. Our daughter is not complaining in the slightest, but if you don't know what your missing why would you?! I did just see there is one like it on eBay for $1200, so I could save some money going slightly used. A tad risky, but the seller does have good feedback.

And finally the fridge. Completely a want that I have mentioned here before. I can make the case that it is a need to help with house resale. Our current one is almond, and the other appliances that came new with the house are the stainless steel variety, which is what is 'in' right now. If we buy the lower end of stainless steel, we would be willing to sell it with the house to make it even more appealing. I have points with Southwest Rapids Rewards and Citi Thank You that could be redeemed for $425 in gift cards to Lowe's, where we can also get a 10% military discount. In the end we could get a stainless steel side by side fridge for about $520 out of pocket. I looked at Gift Card Granny and can buy Lowe's gift cards at an 11% discount. I suppose it is possible to sell our old fridge to offset the cost too.

I'm most excited about the fridge and the flute. Vehicle repairs have to be done of course, and do seem like the priority. I'm just not looking forward to big expenses and especially pulling money out of savings...but that is what some of it is there for. I'm just needing to come to terms with that, instead of panicking. Smile

Do you have big expenses coming up? Do you panic about using your savings? Do you make the effort to buy discounted gift cards for purchases? How would you prioritize my list?

Catching Up After Weekend Away

September 15th, 2014 at 05:21 pm

We went to see Garth Brooks in concert on Saturday in Chicago. It was fabulous!!!!

Now I'm playing catch up on everything needing to be done here at home along with paying bills since today is payday. I'm also trying to estimate my husband's travel reimbursements for a couple of recent trips. He actually worked Saturday and Sunday morning in Chicago, so our transportation, hotel and some food were covered! This made the cost of the trip far less expensive. The work part wasn't even originally planned for the date we chose to go to the concert.

I just wrote a check for $55.11 for my daughter's high school graduation cap, gown and tassel (and maybe a stole?). They get to keep everything! When I graduated, we only kept the cap and tassel. The gowns were rented and turned back in right after graduation. We are skipping the fancy announcements since she doesn't care for them. We will likely make our own...although as I write that I'm really wondering if we should just get 25 of them. Those would cost $28.75. Although, then I'm realizing those wouldn't have her name on them, and to get the name cards adds even more ($18+). Now I'm back to making our own. Since ALL of our family is out of town, we really don't expect too many of them to make the trip for the ceremony. She also isn't into the open house party thing either. So...we'll keep it simple and frugal. Smile

I had over $31 from Chase Rewards that I redeemed and matched with an extra mortgage payment. Included in that payment was a recent purchase made with Amazon gift cards and our US Bank rewards. This all means $57.12 in snowflakes and less mortgage debt. I like that!!

I have earned more than $5 from Ibotta and should be able to cash out now. I just need to make that request. I completed a Pinecone survey last night and received credit this morning, so claimed my cash!

I went shopping for groceries today and spent under $90! It seems like forever since my bill was so low. I did try to make our meal plan using things we already had on hand. Tonight I made egg casserole because I had the milk, eggs and bread on hand. I did buy mushrooms, sausage and cheese for it. Would have been cheaper to just do eggs and toast, but I will use the extra cheddar cheese for tacos later in the week and extra sausage on our pizza. I made sure to use my Target Cartwheel app for savings, as well as a few printed coupons. I always love a successful trip at the grocery store!

Now I need a nap! It's been a tiring few days. How was your weekend? Did anyone else see Garth Brooks?

5% off Cell Phone Bill

September 11th, 2014 at 05:30 am

Our cell phone bill is $246. This is with Verizon. I'm sure those of you with Ting are sitting there with your mouth hanging open!!

We have been using our US Bank Cash+ card to charge our cell phone bill so that we can get 5% off each month. This month that was a discount/reward of $12.30.

Once the statement closes, I apply the reward to the statement balance and then pay the remainder. Today that meant $233.80 out of pocket.

It appears I can pick this same 5% discount on cell phone services for next quarter, too. So I'm signing up again.

Someday, I may get Ting or a similar service. But for now, I'm happy with the additional 5% discount offered by my US Bank credit card.

The Tissue Tracking Begins

September 10th, 2014 at 02:50 pm

Since I recently made a large purchase of tissues, I thought I'd at least make a note of the purchase and the total number of tissue boxes in our home as of this date.

On September 5, 2014 I purchased 24 boxes of Puffs Ultra Soft tissues for $21.68. This was purchased with an Amazon gift card obtain from Southwest Rapids Rewards Visa. Shipping was included or free with our Amazon Prime membership.

Prior to this purchase I already had 7 unopened boxes of tissues being stored in our home, along with several opened boxes of tissues. One of those recently was used up and discarded.

The current tissue status is as follows:
5 opened boxes of tissues
30 boxes of unopened tissues



I have stored 6 boxes in my new laundry cabinets, 10 boxes in the linen closet near my daughter's bathroom, 6 boxes in the garage entry closet, 7 boxes in my bathroom under the counter, and one box in the basement bathroom.

The tracking begins! What I really want to know is when we finish the last box of tissues, or at least no longer have 30 boxes stored. This will give me an idea of the average amount of tissues we use in a given period of time. Smile

Did You See That?

September 10th, 2014 at 05:35 am

Did you see that ad for Net Neutrality? I put it up there to give awareness to the issue today. Please contact your state representatives!

In other news, I went shopping yesterday but didn't buy anything. I do expect to buy a couple new items, but I just didn't find the right items at the right prices. I did notice a lot of items 90% off a Kohl's. So tempting to buy some things for Christmas! So far I refrained.

I think our two new checking accounts are now open and the $5000 transferred from our money market. I hope to get the CD opened by the end of the week. Smile

2015 College Savings...The New Plan

September 9th, 2014 at 07:08 am

I mentioned earlier this month that I realized with my daughter turning 18 in March, I might not be able to contribute to her Coverdell Savings Account next year. Vanguard did confirm that after her birthday, we can no longer contribute to her account.

The plan has been to contribute $2000 per year for each of our daughters. If I stay with our current plan of contributing by month she would only have $501 as of her birthday. This is short $1499 of the goal.

I have made a new plan to get the $2000 into her account by her birthday in March. We will contribute $667 for January and February and $666 for March. The additional $500 invested each month with come from our Roth contributions in those months. For the first three months of 2015, our Roth contributions will be $208.33 each, rather than the $458.33 we currently each contribute monthly.

Beginning in April, the contributions for our oldest daughter will end. Our new Roth contributions will increase to $541.67 each for the remaining 9 months of the year. In the end we will contribute to all accounts the same amount we usually do, but the timing and monthly amounts will be different.

I could just take from savings in March and make up the difference, but I guess I just don't want to do that. Maybe if the market is way down, I will consider it to make sure we are getting a few more shares purchased. But for now, I like the new plan!



Amazon Spending

September 8th, 2014 at 01:29 pm

I bought 24 boxes of Puffs tissues last week on Amazon. I believe they arrive tomorrow. I'm interested to see how big of a box that is!!

Last night, I finally remembered to reorder my daughter's allergy medicine. Generic Zyrtec, 365 pills for $17.25 shipped in two days with our Prime Membership. I hate to admit but her bottle we bought quite awhile back expired in May! It seemed to still be working, but I'd like her to get the full effect of unexpired medicine.

Those purchases were made with Amazon gift cards that were redeemed with points on our Southwest Rapids Rewards Visa. So since it was free to us on purchases anyway, I made an equal payment to our mortgage. The amount was $38.93. Less debt!!

Have you ever purchased 24 boxes of tissues at one time?!

Check out the junk I got rid of at Your Organized Friend.

Free $5 Coupon to Shop Through Paypal (Expired)

September 8th, 2014 at 06:22 am

Saw this offer on Hip2Save today and I was able to complete it. The $5 is a credit on your Paypal account that you can use when shopping. It does not appear to be $5 that you can withdraw for cash.

Just click through the slide show and expect the credit to arrive in a week. Happy shopping! Where do you think you might spend your $5?

The New Citi Double Cash Card

September 7th, 2014 at 08:02 am

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up on a new card that was introduced by Citi. It's called Citi Double Cash Card. It pay 1% cash back on purchases and then another 1% cash back when you pay for them. Effectively 2% on all transactions. No annual fee. Currently, 0% interest for the first 15 months.

This Citi card now trumps the 1.5% cash back that the Capital One Quicksilver provides. The one flat rate can be nice, so that you only need to handle one card and still get cash back.

We are currently using a few different cards to get a combination of cash back at higher percentages. It can get very difficult to keep track. So I highly advise against this if you would have any trouble keeping track of different cards and their balances. I also don't recommend getting new credit cards if you would not be able to pay the new balance in full.

I will also say I'm not against people who are paying off debt to move balances to 0% cards. If you do this you need to know that nearly all cards charge a balance transfer fee of at least 3% of the balance transferred. You need to have a plan to pay off the balance you will transfer within the time frame of the 0% promotion. Otherwise, your interest rate will rise and could be higher than your original card! I would determine the balance to be transferred, add in the fee, then divide by the number of promotional rate months to determine a monthly payment. If you can meet or exceed the monthly payment you set for yourself, then you are in great shape to reduce debt and pay no interest!!

Is anyone using a 0% card to pay down debt? Did you use one in the past to accelerate your payoff?

Making Today a Work Day

September 6th, 2014 at 07:39 am

I'm going to limit my time on the computer today. I get the pleasure of mowing our yard today. It seems to have grown a lot in one week, likely due to all the rain and fertilizer we put down last week. I'd like to get to it right away, but it is chilly out there!!

Is it also okay to call shopping work? The girls need new jackets. Both of them had the zipper break on their's in the last couple months. I hoping for decent prices, but if we end up at a sporting goods store, that may mean more cash out of pocket. However, those are likely higher quality than the last ones we bought.

Those are the working goals. There are other work tasks to complete too, but I won't bore you with all those details. Have a frugal weekend!!

Pay Will Be Lower!

September 5th, 2014 at 09:02 am

So with the promotion effective September 1, my husband should now be getting paid at a higher wage. Well apparently, there hasn't been enough time to make it effective for the paycheck he will get next week.

The check is actually going to be lower. But that is our doing. We decreased our withholding allowances to compensate for the higher income and tax owed this year. The paycheck will be less by $24. Not really a big deal, but definitely disappointing when you are expecting to see a bigger number.

My hope is that the pay will be processed in time for the October 1 pay period. This will mean the full months increase in one check. If it is any longer than that...well, I'm not going to be happy.

Pinecone Sign Up Link!!

September 5th, 2014 at 07:08 am

I found this link at Hip2Save today for new people to sign up to complete survey's with Pinecone Research. The $3 payouts add up!

If you don't meet the requirements, you may not be offered membership. But it doesn't hurt to try? All completely free.

What do you do with your Pinecone survey money?

I Made Progress

September 5th, 2014 at 06:40 am

I did make progress yesterday in establishing our new Navy Federal Credit Union accounts. I need to get the $5000 in there before I can open the CD. Or at least that seems the easiest way to do that. The transfer is in process and likely will not be completed until next week. This is the first time I have taken money from our money market account since 2011!!

I also opened a US Bank Checking account. I received a mailed offer to open one for $200. It does require a direct deposits of $500 in a month and I think for just one month, but since we now have extra money that we are just planning to save, I will direct deposit those funds long enough to get the bonus. US Bank indicated they will let me know when my account is ready to use. Once it is, I will log on to my husband's My Pay account and direct the deposit. Should be pretty easy!

I still want to open the Discover checking account for the $50, but I have some time (end of the month) and I want to get the other accounts going first.

Our vehicle registrations are due in October and both vehicles will cost us less than last year! This is simply because the vehicles are older. The van went from $329 per year to $251. Savings $78. The truck went from $150 to $120. I save for these all year, so this means I will have some extra funds and should adjust how much I save each month going forward.

Have you opened a new bank account lately? Did you get a bonus? Have you had any bills come due that were lower than expected?

A Deal on Filters

September 4th, 2014 at 10:39 am

Okay be prepared for lots of links...none that you are required to click on. I got wind of a deal on furnace filters today fro Hip2Save.

The deal is here at Home Depot to purchase a 12 pack of furnace filters for as low as $1.58 per filter shipped free. It turns out I'm in need of filters later this month.

I worked the deal a little harder to squeeze a little more savings off. I picked a 12 pack that would fit my furnace and was priced at $19.06 before taxes. With tax the total price was $20.20.

I went looking for discounted Home Depot electronic gifts cards (that I could use online) and came upon a gift card worth $16.17, but discounted more than 9% for the price of $14.63. I bought the card closest to the price without going a large amount over because I wanted to minimize my out of pocket cost.

Once I had made the gift card purchase on Raise, I went looking for a cash back site that I'm signed up with for the best discount. I must note here that it did take over an hour to receive the actual electronic gift card from Raise, but that it did work with no problems! I ended up using TopCashBack for as the rebate site because they were offering 3% back rather than 2% at Ebates. Only a $0.20 difference, but it all adds up!

So the final transaction went like this. Logged into TopCashBack, clicked on the Home Depot icon for 3% cash back, my total for the purchase at Home Depot was $20.20. I paid $4.03 on my credit card and used the gift card purchased for $14.63, but worth $16.17 to complete the transaction.

I paid $4.03 plus $14.63 and will get $0.57 back from TopCashBack. Effectively, I'm purchasing 12 furnace filters for $18.09 (with tax) and each filter is less than $1.51. A little extra work to save more than $2, but it was fun to get a deal on something I need anyway!! Now I'm set for a full year.

Do you follow Hip2Save deals? How much do you pay for a furnace filter?

Those are my affiliate links for Ebates, Raise and TopCashBack. No need to use them if you aren't interested.

No Procrastinating Today!

September 4th, 2014 at 05:38 am

Today I am going to get those new accounts open and funded. I procrastinated yesterday and hoped to talk a little more about it with DH. In the end, he really doesn't care what I do. Smile

Once I get the accounts up and running, they have a combined potential to earn us $500! Can't complain about that kind of money.

I was procrastinating on filling my laundry cabinets yesterday too. However, I finally got myself moving and did make some progress. I have a post on Your Organized Friend. Again, progress. Not completion yet.

Have you been procrastinating anything lately?

Many Updates of Various Sorts

September 3rd, 2014 at 05:51 am

This post will be all over the place...although I think financially centered!

Our electric bill is lower by $16.97 because it is a co-op and they have return some of our capital credits. Our auto insurance went down to under $400 for the next six months. That saves about $35 I think.

All my eBay listings have ended. The only other thing I sold was my daughter's Nook. She gets the profits of $34.12 since she originally paid for it herself. I have some chives plants I pulled from our landscape beds that I hope to sell if even for $1 each. I have five I need to list on Craigslist. I may also put the unsold items back on eBay on Sunday. My selling is SLOW!

I plan to open a bank account with Navy Federal Credit Union to take advantage of the 5% CD, which is only for $5,000 max, but that is an easy $250. I still need to open the account with US Bank for at least a bonus of $150. I also have an offer of $50 for opening a Discover bank account.

My daughter applied to three colleges over the weekend. As of this morning, she has been accepted to all three. Application fees came to $125 for all three. She paid with her debit card and we will reimburse her. I wanted her to have the experience of paying with her own card and handling it all on her own. The only thing she needed from me was to confirm her social security number. She does actually have it memorized at this point!

My husband's unit is getting a new commander this weekend. It's common for the commander to have a little reception after the ceremony. They are to pay for it out of their own pocket. He isn't responding to my husband's email, so my husband has taken it upon himself to order the cake, drinks, flowers and purchase napkins and plates. He took $160 out of our bank account. Praying we end up getting reimbursed!! It seems we never do for these things. Sometimes my husband is just too nice.

My husband was also asked by a coworker if we had any cell phones we weren't using. Yep. Four to be exact. We are selling for cheap, or even giving her one if she'll accept it. She is just downgrading from her smartphone, which is costing her too much time and money. We have kept our old phones simply as backup since they aren't worth anything to sell.

My girls started back with flute lessons last night. Twenty dollars per half hour for each of them once a week adds up to $160 to $200 a month. No small change really. They have both benefited greatly though, so it is worth it.

It just came to me yesterday that I should find out if there is an age limit for contributing to our Coverdell Educational Savings accounts. Yes there is. It is 18. Since my oldest daughter turns 18 in March, I need to try to get her full 2015 contribution into her account before that date. I will likely just change amounts for our Roth's and younger daughter to compensate for larger contributions during the first three months of 2015. I'm just glad I know ahead of time!

My youngest daughter is selling magazines for school. I'm pretty sure we are skipping the entire thing. I don't need any magazines and I'm really tired of asking others if they need any. They are way over priced because it is a fundraiser, too.

My 52 Week Savings Challenge account held at Capital One 360 now has a balance of $1,098. Those $57 deposits twice a month do add up!

Okay, I think you are caught up with the financial happenings here. Did you know there was an age limit on Coverdell Savings accounts? Are you taking advantage of any bonus offers from banks or credit cards right now?

The Other Blog and Weekend Spending

September 2nd, 2014 at 07:23 am

I'm back blogging over at Your Organized Friend again. I basically took the summer off. It is a bit difficult to be engaged with your kids, diving in to big projects and photographing and writing about them when they are at home a majority of the time.

Today's post is about our new laundry cabinets. We installed them on Friday and it really went well getting them mounted up on the wall.

The cabinets cost us just under $400. I think the knobs were another $16. We ended up renting a compound miter saw for $17 (for four hours...only needed it for one) to cut the crown moulding. We did attempt to use our plastic miter box, but it was too flexible to make the cuts precise. We also attempted to tack the moulding with nails and hammer, but the wood is so hard that it took a lot of pounding and too many bent nails. We bought a brad nailer and nails for $32, after our military discount at Lowe's.

Considering that the only storage in this laundry room was a cabinet under the sink, we think the expense of less than $500 makes a big difference in the functionality of the laundry room. It is true we could have put up shelving for far less, but for this type of home, the cabinets made the most sense. They match the kitchen cabinets that are in the next room. I may even use a little bit of the space to store some kitchen items that currently don't have a place in my kitchen.

Our weekend was a little spendy even in addition to the tools we purchased/rented. My husband and I rewarded ourselves with lunch out on Friday when we successfully hung the cabinets. We traveled 5+ hours back to our home state to meet our foster niece. We went our for ice cream during our visit, and purchased pizza and bread sticks for nine people. Obviously, we needed fuel for the van, which did result in a couple snack purchases. There was also one lunch on the road, too.

We proceeded to buy more pizza on our return home, since we didn't have much food in the house or the energy to grocery shop until yesterday. The groceries, including toilet paper, contact solution, batteries, and deodorant, were $155. I also made a shopping trip to get workout capri's since I was done to one pair. I spent $32 on those.

So...not our best weekend from a money standpoint, but it was good to visit family, meet the cutest 8 year old girl, and get some projects and tasks completed.

Did you save or spend this holiday weekend? What was the best part of your weekend?

Less Debt on the House

September 1st, 2014 at 06:29 pm

We have less mortgage debt because of extra payments and snowflakes sent in and applied to the principal balance.

We paid off $1,214.02, of which only $365.18 was from non income sources. About half of the remainder was from our regular payment. The rest was extra payments we committed to paying to meet our mortgage goal this year.

Again, that goal was to pay down $13,993, which brings us to an even $X15,000 balance. In the first eight months of the year we have paid $10,482.10. Only $3,510.90 left to pay towards our goal. That averages $877.73 per month. No problem considering most months have been far more!

Do you also have less debt than you did at the beginning of August?

August Snowflake Totals

September 1st, 2014 at 04:49 pm

I was able to save $365.18 in snowflakes for the month of August. For the newbies, that means I found money from sources other than income. I call them snowflakes, since they add up to snowballs over time. I send all snowflake money to our mortgage to pay down the balance.

The goal this year was to accumulate $4000 in snowflakes. I met that goal THIS month! The new total since the beginning of 2014 is $4,052.21. And if you didn't notice there are 4 more months of 2014. We are way ahead of schedule!! Smile

Here is where the August snowflakes came from:



Right now I think the plan is to still send the extra to the mortgage. It is tempting to divert the money elsewhere because it seems there are lots of expenses coming up. For now I will keep the status quo.

How many snowflakes did you accumulate in August?