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Archive for October, 2014

Reimbursed!

October 29th, 2014 at 02:37 pm

Wow! I wasn't expecting it to actually happen, but one of the commanders actually reimbursed my husband for refreshments purchased on his behalf nearly two months ago. The outgoing commander still owes us $75 and that was mentioned to him yesterday.

I have deposited the check, and will make a payment in the same amount to the Wells Fargo Amex card where we just put the tire and brake purchase. It's true I could call it a snowflake, but I think we are good on that goal and this is money we wouldn't have spent if given the choice. Fingers crossed we get the $75.

I did discuss with my husband that these commanders should pay up front for costs of their own refreshments. It isn't right for lower ranking officers or soldiers to pay and wait to be reimbursed. He agreed and may do a better job handling it in the future!

I was able to eliminate quite a few things in my To File pile yesterday. Some recycled, most shredded. The rest needs to be put away in our main filing cabinet. That should take less than 10 minutes to complete later today.

One blog I'm following indicated today was the day to purge nail polish. I only wear it on my toes in the summer, so I have two bottles I trade between. Both were good last I used them. So that task can be considered complete!

Are you purging anything this fall? Are you donating or selling? Do you often have to wait for reimbursements? Do you have a way of keeping your paper files in check?

Insurance Update

October 29th, 2014 at 12:44 am

I called both providers of services today. Target Optical simply had an error on their end. They did get paid. Why it showed up this late, I have no idea! But at least there is no bill to pay there.

The dentist was aware the claim was denied. They have been paid in the past from our insurance company, so we expect they will pay. They are in the process of calling and getting more information. I simply let them know if they needed anything from me to let me know. I expect to owe nothing or very little.

It was an interesting day of phone calls, which I rarely have to do. We ordered a service cap for my husband but apparently they don't have his size. The offered a size up, but I wasn't sure. Turns out he borrowed the larger size today and it was too loose, so that will be a no go. The company indicated it could be two to three months before one is available! I guess we will wait, as we can't seem to find another reliable option online. We also are not near any clothing sales store.

Overall good news, just some waiting on the dental insurance to pay and to get the item we ordered!

Less Mortgage Debt

October 28th, 2014 at 01:10 pm

The $250 Citi Thank You reward check was applied to our mortgage late last week! Today, I also sent in another $18 in extra funds (snowflakes) to reduce the balance even further. That money was from one Pinecone Survey check and three $5 Target gift cards.

The mortgage balance is now $X16,512.76. This means just $1,512.76 left to pay down before the end of the year to meet our goal. We are right on track or even ahead of schedule.

Once we meet the actual goal amount, I will stop sending snowflakes to the mortgage. I will need to use these to offset some big purchases of late, primarily car maintenance. And there's that flute we still need to purchase. We have also been buying some new uniform items for my husband due to his promotion. Just last night I ordered a new service cap to go with his ASU (dress uniform) to the tune of $105! This stuff adds up, so I need to get some of this cash back into the bank.

I have a bid on one item on eBay, so another small snowflake will arrive before the end of the month, although I may count it towards November. I also redeemed MyPoints for a Panera Bread gift card. If I use that for an outing with friends, I will match it with mortgage funds.

If you have the Discover card, remember that online purchases for the quarter earn 5% cash back. I luckily remembered this when I ordered the service cap and some vitamins online yesterday?

What is your most recent snowflake? Are you using a cash back card for your online purchases? Are you nearing a goal you made at the beginning of the year

I've got a new post at Your Organized Friend, with a little more decluttering I got done yesterday.

Insurance Didn't Pay

October 27th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I received some mail today, one was a bill for an eye exam my daughter received last November! It shows the claim being denied with an invoice of $79 due upon receipt. It also states it is over 60 days due which implies we should have received an invoice prior. I will be calling and getting this straightened out before next months appointment.

The other piece of mail was from our dental provider indicating they are denying our claim of services in August because the dentist is not a network provider. This I did know. However, the dentist office said our insurance company is still paying claims at the old negotiated rate. I know the insurance will still cover at a certain rate, and at a minimum I will owe the difference. I need to call the dentist office to see what they know. I may need to file our own claim, which I do not look forward to.

I don't like getting bills for services I expected to be covered!

Good News

October 24th, 2014 at 02:53 pm

The flute refund now shows on our Amex credit card, so that is a relief that it all worked out. I didn't get a refund of shipping of course, but that I do understand.

I can finally see my husband's pay stub for the month of October. It all looks correct for the pay adjustment for the Sept 1 promotion. I look forward to seeing the one in November, as that will be even more clear!

I have a bid on an item that I listed yesterday on eBay. I actually hope it sells for a little more than the starting bid. The last one like it I sold did, but you never know with this item.

I received a $3 Pinecone payment.

See? All good news! What is your good news for today?

The Refund

October 24th, 2014 at 12:03 am

The flute we bought on eBay has been returned, received and payment refunded. However, it doesn't yet show on my credit card. On PayPal, it says it could take up to 30 day! Wow, that is a really long time. Luckily, there is no interest accruing on the card I used. It may show up in another day or two, at least that is what I hope!

I claimed my third $5 gift card at Target this week for purchasing $15 worth of personal care products. In all I bought six packages of feminine products (two types), two tubes of toothpaste, two deodorant sticks, and two cans of shaving cream. I think we are stocked up through the end of the year! Two gift cards have been used, the third will be used tomorrow when I get a few more items for our guests. All gift cards will be matched with a principal payment to the mortgage. Smile

I've been doing some fall tasks and purging a few areas of the house. I wrote all about it over at Your Organized Friend, my other blog.

Smiley360 and ePantry

October 23rd, 2014 at 12:07 am

I just signed up and learned of a new community where you can get free samples to try and then review them. It's called Smiley360. I don't know a lot about it yet. Anyone heard of it? Once I get a mission and know more I will be sure to check back in and let you all know about it.

I also discovered ePantry. I'm not yet sure this is the direction I want to go with my purchases, but it seems interesting if you are really into purchasing sustainable products. And shipping is just $2.99!

It's interesting to see and hear about new companies and ways of doing business! Have you heard of any new business or website lately that you want to share?

Gift Cards

October 21st, 2014 at 07:00 pm

I 'earned' a $5 gift card at Target Sunday for purchasing $15 worth of personal care items. I really should go back and get more, as it is a good price once the gift card is figured in.

Today I bought more groceries at Target, which should get us through the rest of the week. I made sure to use the $5 gift card. I will count this as a snowflake and send that amount in to the mortgage!

I have enough points with MyPoints to redeem for a $10 gift card, but I can't decide which one to get! It's free money! I just need to pick something. I will let you know what I decide!

I bought two cards at the store today. I made sure to find the $0.99 ones. One is for my friend grieving her mom. I already sent the sympathy card, but wanted to reach out again. We have been talking a lot, so I think that helps, but good mail is welcome, too. The other card is for Halloween for my foster niece. I will put a $5 bill in it, since we don't live close enough for her to come trick or treating.

Have you 'earned' or received any gift cards? Have you spent any? Do you give them as gifts?

$250 From Citi Arrived

October 20th, 2014 at 07:26 pm

The Thank You points check from my Citi card arrived today. The check is made out to our mortgage company for $250. I have put it in an envelope to be mailed in tomorrow! Soon to have less debt.

We are in the process of getting new tires for our truck. We were told they would need to be replaced a week ago when we where in. And now one of them is not holding air too well. They need to be ordered and hopefully we will have them this week. Not excited about paying for them, but we want to be safe and have working tires! We are also getting rear brakes replaced at the same time.

In the not too distant future, I expect I will also be getting new tires for our van and maybe brakes (can't remember if those were a need yet). So once I meet the mortgage goal, all extra money through the end of the year is going to help pay for these expenses. Specifically, replenishing the funds we will use to pay for them.

Once the Citi check arrives at our mortgage company I will let you know! I expect it to go off without a hitch.

I have a new post up at Your Organized Friend about some decluttering I did.

Mortgage Pay Down Update

October 17th, 2014 at 10:50 pm

I usually save these updates for the end or beginning of the month, but I'm excited about about where we are! The goal since January has been to pay down our mortgage by $13,993 to bring the balance to $X15,000. An even amount. We numbers geeks like even numbers, right?

Since January, we have paid off $12,212.23!! We have just $1,780.76 left to pay off. And because I know where most of that money is coming from I'm even more excited. Here's where I expect the money to come from:

$250 Citi Thank You Reward
$476 Approx November Regular Principal
$379 Planned Extra Principal November
$478 Approx December Regular Principal
$104 Planned Extra Principal December

All of those expected planned payments equal $1,687. That is $93.76 short of the goal. I also expect there will be other snowflakes to easily meet the extra $93+ needed. If there are more snowflakes I will reduce the extra principal I send in at least until January comes around again.

I feel strongly that if I didn't make this goal in January, we wouldn't be were we are now. Always make a goal! It's worth it.

Another Snowflake

October 16th, 2014 at 09:36 pm

I had $12.66 in rewards on the US Bank Cash+ Visa that I redeemed the other day. These are primarily the result of getting 5% cash back on our cell phone bill. I didn't remember to match those, so now will need to make another mortgage payment to pay down some more principal!

The bills are paid. I have paid all but one credit card in full. No interest is being charged, and now that we finally got the back pay for promotion we can starting doing good things with the extra funds. I won't have all that figured out likely until the next paycheck at the beginning of November. Something to look forward to.

I made a donation to a charity last night for a walk we are participating in. We will need gas to travel and some cash for lunch while we are there. I feel good about that cause.

I also need to pick up the senior pictures! I have $50 deposit down right now, but need to pay another $100 to pick up the proofs and take them home. I could just look in the studio, but that seems like too much pressure.

Any snowflakes (extra money) come your way recently?

Flute Returned

October 16th, 2014 at 02:20 am

The flute I mentioned in yesterday's post has been mailed back. I don't expect to have a problem with a refund at this point, since I have been in communication with the seller. Worse case scenario, I file a complaint with the credit card company. I don't expect it will come to that.

I met a friend halfway between where we both live. We started with latte's and muffins, browsed lots of stores and stocked up on cards through the end of the year (3 for me) and then had lunch together at a place that service local foods (yummy!!). In the end we didn't get separate checks for lunch, so she paid. I will pay her back at some point and in some way.

It's payday, but I haven't had time yet to get everything current. I expect I will do that tomorrow. So more from me then possibly.

$250 On It's Way

October 14th, 2014 at 11:59 pm

I finally decided to redeem the $200 bonus from the Citi Thank You card. For awhile, I was thinking of redeeming the reward for a Lowe's gift card so we could put it towards the purchase of a fridge. That is on hold for now.

I ended up redeeming the bonus plus other points for a $250 check made out to our mortgage company. I would guess I will have it in a week. It came really fast last time. Once I have it, I will send it to Wells Fargo to reduce the principal on our mortgage balance! That was the whole point of getting the bonus anyway, so I'm pleased with making that happen.

I made an extra payment full of various snowflakes (extra money) today in the amount of $82.28. Less debt, we know I like that! It really is amazing how small amounts of money here and there add up.

In other news, the flute we purchased is being returned. It is actually in really great shape and easily worth the money we paid. Except, the embouchure isn't the right size for my daughter. She has a hard time blowing air through it. I thought since it was the same model my oldest daughter has it would work...but my younger daughter has different lips and it doesn't work for her! Our lesson teacher advised it be returned, so I'm in the works with that since I bought it on eBay. We will now buy local and give her lots of options to test out for the right fit. Luckily, she wasn't too disappointed by it all.

I am waiting for the seller to respond, and I'm slightly concerned they will deny a refund. The seller has a 100% feedback score, but seems to have something about 72 hours to request refund...and today is 72 hours. Of course, then there is another place on their site that say 14 days. My plan is to return it, insurance priority, maybe with signature and hope a refund would still be provided. At that point, I think I could contact the credit card company for a refund, showing I returned the item to them. Any thoughts? I know I could also get eBay involved if needed. I probably shouldn't jump to send back to quickly. Worse case, I could actually resell it.

Have you had to return anything you purchased lately? Do you have less debt than you had yesterday?

Not Going to Look

October 14th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

The stock market has been going down this month. I'm not going to look. It makes me feel nervous emotionally. Logically, I know that it will go back up and that we don't need the money for another 25+ years. I also know that the shares we purchase can be considered 'on sale'. We will get more shares for the same investment dollars. And I do like a sale!

We will keep our investments the same as always. We invest automatically the same amount at the same time of the month.

Will you look? Will you keep your investment purchases the same or invest even more with prices low?

Busy Weekend...Plus Sales

October 13th, 2014 at 02:41 am

It has been a busy weekend, primarily with band and family visiting. I don't think we really overspent. I did buy about $100 in food on Thursday, which did cover all we need. There is still food to eat. No gas was purchased. Tickets were accounted for. We took out an extra $20 cash. I think we only bought three sodas, a hot dog, and one caramel corn popcorn at the two band events. I find that pretty reasonable.

I made two eBay sales. Sales total $30.98. I'm still waiting for payment, but no rush for tonight since tomorrow is Columbus Day and there will be no mail service. I relisted one item that had ended on Friday. I dropped the price, since the item seems to get a lot of people looking but no buyers.

I will spend tomorrow working out, talking with my friend who's mom died last week, hanging with my husband on his day off. I'd like to get more done, but taking care of myself and supporting others is nothing to be taken for granted.

Forever grateful for this life. How about you?

Purchased Used Flute Plus More

October 9th, 2014 at 01:34 pm

We purchased a used flute on eBay yesterday. It wasn't really that used though, might have been a demonstration model. It actually looks pretty new. We figured we saved over $400 by buying this one rather than new from our local music store.

This flute will be for our youngest daughter and it is the same model as her sister's, which we did buy new. It has been a great flute for her, thus why we wanted the same one and as close to new as we could get.

Our daughter will pay 10% of the cost. We don't really NEED the money from her, but we did make her sister pay the same amount when we upgraded the flute. I think it is gives them a little ownership and knowledge about the cost of things. And sure, I don't mind paying a little less on my end! Smile

I completed two Pinecone surveys in the last 24 hours. I have two items with bids on eBay. I claimed some Bing rewards for Swagbucks, which will help me redeem for two Amazon gift cards on Swagbucks when the code arrives. Little snowflakes on their way!

I'm getting ready for guests AGAIN. More food will need to be purchased. My parents will take me for lunch tomorrow, so that is one less meal I need to purchase. Smile I also have all that soup, chili and bread from our party a couple weeks ago that I will be using up.

I've been trying to do better with workouts and food. I skipped two days of working out, but I'm determined to go today (right after I post this). Did really great tracking food up until last Saturday when we were watching football and my husband kept getting out more snacks! At the days following have been better, but not under my goal. Keep trying, right?

Sad and Good News

October 8th, 2014 at 12:49 pm

My very good friend from high school learned yesterday that her mother died suddenly. It was likely a heart attack. She was 63. My heart just breaks for my friend and her whole family. I know they will miss her so much.

The good news is financial. My husband's pay increase and back pay since September 1 for his promotion seem to have been processed. The check next week is much much bigger than usual. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see the specifics on the pay stub for two weeks, since their is only one pay stub per month.

I also have one bid on an item I relisted. And someone is watching another item. Would love them both to sell!

I did get magazines decluttered yesterday, but no new posts have been written on Your Organized Friend. I pull three recipes from the magazines and recycled them. I still have three I'm holding on to, since they have a lot of recipes I'm interested in. The blogs I'm following for the challenge indicate the the junk drawer and car should be decluttered for today. I might just be able to get those done. Smile

Any tips on how to support a very good friend while she processes the death of her mother? I'm hours away. I expect likely lots of talking over the next days, weeks and months to come.

Senior Pics

October 7th, 2014 at 07:55 pm

I took my daughter for senior pictures today. She is relieved to have them done and have that item off her senior list of things to complete. Senior year is stressful!!

I paid $50 to secure the spot when I called. They waived the sitting fee when we arrived and stated the fee I paid would go towards the picture balance and 16 free wallets are included if we buy a package.

I think we will have lots of nice photos to choose from. Of course, we will try our best not to overspend. Smile Anyone with recent graduates know how much you spent on senior photos?

eBay Sale & Decluttering

October 6th, 2014 at 01:45 pm

I sold an item on eBay over the weekend. The net profit was $23.79. Two of the items listed didn't sell, so they have been relisted and I added another one.

I really want to be decluttering this month, but I did only get to the entry way last week. I wrote a little more about the topic and some areas I may consider on Your Organized Friend.

We are busy this month with band events and guests. It is quite enough to keep up with that, but I will do my best to dig in and find some things we no longer need. Maybe there will be more items to list on eBay!

The biggest thing I need to remind myself is that looking for things to purge only takes a few minutes each day. I'm sure I can find 10 minutes even if I have all these guests and things to get done.

In other financial news, our mortgage payment for October had $474.64 in principal reduction. Plus, we automatically send in $103.72 towards principal each month as well.

Have you sold anything recently? Do you consider October a good month to purge and declutter? I'd love to hear about any decluttering or purging you do, and even how long it took you!

Band Day

October 4th, 2014 at 03:26 pm

We have another band competition to attend today. It is so cold and windy here, I'm not really looking forward to it. My phone's weather app thinks it is snowing, but it is dry and sunny. Strange.

We will spend $19 to get in. The admission is a fundraiser for our band program so taht makes me feel better about it. I have the cash already to go and accounted for.

I did hit Target yesterday for groceries and a few needed items like coffee, toilet paper and dishwasher detergent. My bill was around $60, which seemed like way to much, but I really didn't buy anything more than needs. I might have spent a little less if our guests in town for tonight weren't coming, but I did refrain from lots of extras.

I did get one post up on Your Organized Friend about decluttering the Entry Way. The blog I'm following indicates Mail and the Living Room are the next two areas to cover. With our plans today, I will not get to those until at least tomorrow.

What is the weather in your area of the country? Are you running your heat like I am?

Tracking Spending

October 3rd, 2014 at 02:59 pm

I'm attempting to track our spending for this pay period. I try to keep our basic spending to $1000 for groceries, gas, entertainment, flute lessons, and miscellaneous for each half of the month. I'm trying to determine if this is realistic. It seems it should be, but I'm using October to see how we do.

If I include two flute lessons that haven't yet happened and admission to quite a few band events for the next 10 days, we have spent $445 out of the $1000. This doesn't make me feel too great to already be at that point, but I will do the best we can to stay around that mark.

I will do the same thing again later in October as well. There are at least two birthdays I need to buy for late in the month, two road trips, two oil changes, and who knows what else!

I will be going to the store to get food for the weekend. We're having guests, but I think I have a good simple food plan for the two meals they will eat with us. I need to get toilet paper, dish detergent, and coffee also.

We were given two family movies on DVDs that we can watch for entertainment this weekend, so hopefully no Amazon rentals needed. I think we can avoid food at the band event based on the time of day. If my youngest thinks she will want something, I will have her bring her own money or at least a snack from the cupboard. I think we will stay in on Saturday night and watch our home football team play. We still have beer left from last weekend.

I think I'm going to start blogging over at Your Organized Friend this month, as there is a series called 31 Days to a Clutter Free home on the LivingWellSpendingLess website. I will just follow along with it. I'm two days behind, but I think I can commit to checking most days off the list. It seems like a good time of year to declutter BEFORE the holidays. It still often needs to be done after too, but if I do some before it will help lesson the need in January.

Do you check in on your true spending habits occasionally? Are you keeping your spending down right now for a particular goal? Are you interested in decluttering this month, before the holidays?

52 Week Savings Update

October 2nd, 2014 at 04:27 pm

I've been participating in the 52 Week Saving Challenge since December 2013, I think. I started with an initial sum, and then set up the contributions to be funded automatically each pay period. For us, that is twice per month.

With $57 added twice per month, and three referrals bonuses from Capital One, our 52 Week Savings balance is at $1,213.53. There's some interest in there, too. Last month the interest was $0.69.

When I originally started I didn't know what the money would fund. It just seemed like a good idea to set some money aside and see how the challenge would work for us. In the spring, I decided the money needed to go to my daughter's band trip for THIS spring. I plan to continue the automatic savings through Novemeber 15, so at least three more $57 contributions. This will be a full year of contributions with an approximate ending balance of $1385+.

Currently, I only need to pay another $1100 for the trip, as we have already paid $500. She will have some trip money in her school fundraiser account, that will pay for part of the remaining balance, or be spending money (although sending her with her own spending money is probably the best idea!).

I will end up with more money in our Capital One 360 Savings account then I need for the trip. Obviously a good thing. I think I will start saving for the flute we are going to buy my daughter. I may end up buying one off eBay pretty soon. I will need this type of savings set up to pay myself back!

If you are participating in the 52 Week Savings Challenge, how are you doing? Do you saving for anything automatically? Is it something other than retirement or college?

Mortgage Debt Paid in September

October 1st, 2014 at 03:00 pm

My oldest kitty is 10 today! We sang Happy Birthday to her. She is clueless, but it was fun for us. Smile

We paid $758.83 towards the principal balance on our mortgage in the month of September. This might be the least we have paid this year! I did skip a $275 payment that I have been making nearly all year. We just had a lot of expenses this month, and I need that cash. It may mean I have to make up the difference later in the year to get to my goal.

Most of the balance reduction was from our regular payment, but the snowflakes I accumulated did exceed the extra I send in to round up our payment. The break down is below:



For the year, we have paid $11,240.93 on the balance. The goal is just under $14K, specifically $13,993.00. That means we have just $2,752.07 to go to meet the goal by year end. This is an average of $917. Since the principal portion of our payment is generally $472+, the other portion has to come from extra payments and snowflakes. Prior to this month our extra payments were $378. That means I only really need $67 in snowflakes each month. I may not make as big of extra payments from income if I can get more snowflakes.

I did relist three items on Ebay yesterday. I did want to list a couple more things, but I wasn't motivated enough. It will be fun to see if I can come up with some new sources of snowflakes in the next few months.

How much debt did you pay off in September? Any amount is good in my book. Don't let my high debt pay off amounts scare you. Sending in just an extra $5 is sooo worth it, because over time it all adds up and makes a difference!