<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: November, 2014
 

Archive for November, 2014

Shopping & Bills

November 30th, 2014 at 05:12 pm

My shopping this weekend was primarily online. I got up early on Friday to order $300 worth of Target gift cards at 10% off, using my Discover card for hopefully 5% cash back. Just now I ordered some items for my daughter's online, for around $60. I'm actually getting close to being done with them!

We went to a botanical garden out of state on Saturday and used our American Express cards since they were considered a small business. Our other Small Business Saturday purchases were at a local liquor store to stock up on a couple of bottles of liquor we usually buy. We didn't end up doing a third transaction. We ran out of time and ideas before stores were closing. We did all of this after returning from a 4+ hour road trip. All a good deal though.

I paid bills this morning and seem to have quite a bit extra that I likely can apply to paying ourselves back for those tires and flute purchase. I will start figuring that out soon! Smile

Did you do any holiday shopping or visit a small business on Saturday? Are you current on your bills?

I have a link in the previous post about the Capital One 360 offers if you are interested.

Capital One 360 Bonus Offers: Black Friday Sale

November 30th, 2014 at 01:06 am

I've been out of town, but returned home to remember the Capital One 360 Black Friday sale. The particulars are on their website, but if you open your first checking or savings with them you can earn a $100 bonus for EACH account.

Find out more here, which is my referral link. I do get $40 if you use it, which I appreciate if I tipped you off to the offer.

Let me know if you use the offer, so I can thank you.

Changes

November 25th, 2014 at 09:30 pm

I had to go back to the grocery store because when we purchased wine on Sunday, they only rang up 11 of the bottles. I needed that 12 one to show on a receipt so I could redeem a rebate worth $18. Luckily they were cool about it, and rang up another bottle, and gave me the additional discount for another 6 bottles. I paid another $1.93 after that so that I can get the $18 back! Well worth it.

We have been notified by Wells Fargo that we are short in our escrow account. This is because our property taxes increased by $306. The shortage is just $244.67. We have the option to pay in full before Jan 1, or have the amount spread across the next year. Normally, I would be inclined to pay the shortage up front. However, I really expect we will be moving, thus sending in more money a larger refund check later just doesn't appeal to me. I will have the amount spread across the next 12 months this time. Because of increased taxes and the shortage, our new payment will increase by $43.78. I think we can handle that change.

We may be changing our upcoming travel plans do to weather. I'm not a fan of anyone driving when roads are snow and ice packed. It is just not safe and not worth the risk of an accident.

It looks like we will make a little money from my husband's last travel trip. A whopping $25.81. Seems like a snowflake to me! I will add that amount with the $6 I have from a refund and a Pinecone survey and send to the mortgage to meet that goal by year end.

Have a super Thanksgiving! Stay safe and enjoy those you love and care about.

Paychecks Stabilized

November 23rd, 2014 at 03:50 pm

Finally. My husband's promotion was in September. The pay took a few weeks to catch up and thus had back pay. I finally know what each paycheck will look like. I can start making some plans on how to allocate the money. That makes this math geek happy!

We have $500 deposited to US Bank once a month. It was a requirement of their checking account bonus offer. We should meet the requirement soon and get $200. Once that money is firm, I will cancel the $500 deposit. I don't need money going into all sorts of accounts for no reason! (Although, I'm remembering that it might be nice to have a bank branch when we go to sell the house...I'll ponder that before I make changes.)

I've done some more Christmas tasks and decluttering this weekend. I've written about it over on Your Organized Friend. Remember to scroll down and read any posts you may have missed.

Another Mortgage Payment to Principal

November 21st, 2014 at 12:18 am

I sent $27.32 to the mortgage today to pay down some more principal. I do all my extra mortgage payments online by the way. So easy!The money was profit from that latest eBay sale and a Pinecone survey check. I love extra funds!!

I also sent $40 to savings that would normally be spent on flute lessons, since they are not having a lesson next week. I'm paying us back for the new purchases of tires and a flute.

I did spend money today, but only on groceries. About $48 at Super Target. I made sure to buy $50 worth so I could use the coupon to receive a $10 gift card. My total was less because I used their Cartwheel app, and my Red Card. I bought items for dinners through next week and a few things I need to take for Thanksgiving. I still have a few more things to purchase, so I will go back again tomorrow and see if I can reach $50 again and use coupon I had sent to my phone. That will mean another $10 gift card! I will likely use the gift cards for other holiday expenses, either a gift or food.

I also sent a $300 check with my daughter to make a payment towards her spring band trip. I took the money from the 52 Week Savings Challenge funds I have accumulated. It seems I will have an extra $300 saved. I expect to use that to pay ourselves back for those tires and flute as well. I will get that squared up before the end of the year.

I can't say much about it since it isn't a done deal, but a job possibility for my husband is in the works. It does require a move and he would likely move ahead of us relatively soon if he is chosen. As always is the case with these military moves, I have mixed feelings.

That's the news from here. Getting so close to meeting that mortgage goal for the year!! Did you spend money today, or pay off debt?


Went Out for a Deal, Came Home With This...

November 20th, 2014 at 02:41 am

I'm a sucker. I was reading Hip2Save this morning and saw a possible clearance deal on Carter's clothes at Babies R US. Items were ringing up for $0.03. Yes 3 cents. It was 20 minutes before the store opened here which is just 5 minutes up the road. I quickly showered and went looking. And found...nothing at Babies R US that was marked anywhere near 3 cents. Probably good. I only personally know one baby right now.

Babies R US was next to Staples. I went in to see if they had a certain candy (chocolate covered sunflower seeds) for my daughter's stocking. No they did not, but I continued to wander around looking at clearance deals. Things were not marked, thus I was not interested. I ended up in the folder aisle and purchased a set of five poly folders for $4.99 plus tax. I will use and have wanted some, but was it a need? No.

My next stop was just up the parking lot to drop off movies rented from the library. Free!

I then proceeded to Walgreen's because I remembered they had this popcorn snack my daughter liked. A bit pricey at 2 bags for $5, I thought. Instead it was 2 bags for $6. I think that other price was the week before. I also picked up two packs of gum (buy 1 at $0.99, get one free, and five paper gift bags for $0.29 each.

I spent over $13 while I was out all because I thought I'd hit a MEGA deal at Babies R US for clothing I don't need! What is wrong with me?!! I'm actually laughing at myself, but really...?!

The only thing maybe worth returning is the poly folders, but I have one and use it and really think I will use the others. I will chew the gum, give one bag of popcorn to my daughter in her stocking, and I'm sure get use out of the paper gift bags. The other bag of popcorn has been consumed by the family already.

Does this stuff happen to you, too? Please tell me yes. Please!

$200 Chase Freedom Bonus Offer for YOU

November 18th, 2014 at 05:55 pm

If you don't already have the Chase Freedom card, this offer is the best you will find for this spending limit. You apply for the card, spend $500 and get $200 cash back. No annual fee. Interest rate is 0% for the first 15 months. And the card has rotating cash back categories.

It's all listed here, if you want to apply.

Please don't apply for credit if you are unable to meet your payment obligations or would need to accrue interest. It's just not worth it! Be smart with credit.

Apply by December 18, 2014. I will receive $50, if you use my link, but will not get any details of your financial or even if you were approved or not. Chase keeps your information confidential.

Sold An Item

November 17th, 2014 at 09:29 pm

I sold an item on eBay and made a profit of $24.32! Once I have the money in hand I will send it in (to the mortgage of course) with the recent Pinecone Survey payment I received.

I ordered Senior Pictures today for my daughter. I was happy I didn't need to put down another deposit. I simply need to pay when they are ready for pick up, which is in about eight weeks. That will give me a little time to stash some cash away!

I bought another gift for Christmas. A pair of socks! It is a bit of a tradition among some of us to give socks to one another. And we really look forward to it. These were $7.99 at Kohl's. I used my $5 coupon and 30% off coupon. I only spent $2.24!

Did you score a deal recently, or find any snowflake money for your goal?

Possible Goals for Next Year

November 17th, 2014 at 12:47 am

I've got to jot down a few ideas for financial goals next year. Sorry if it is not clear. I'll expand later when I'm clear myself!

Pay ourselves back for tires, and flute.
Pay down another $5K on mortgage by June.
Increase TSP %.
Moving fund/emergency fund. $2K?

Christmas Purchase

November 16th, 2014 at 12:22 am

We have stayed home today, since snow is falling and causing accidents on roads. I made sure to purchase groceries for the week yesterday with the intention of staying home this weekend.

Of course, just because I'm home doesn't mean no spending. Thanks to the internet I was able to purchase one of the bigger gifts for my daughter on eBay. It currently sells new for about $177 on Amazon. I was able to get one in nearly new for $130, which included shipping. I'm definitely pleased about that.

I put the charge on my new Southwest Rapids Rewards Plus card that arrived in the mail yesterday. All new purchases will be applied to this card to meet the $2K spending requirement. I have already put gas ($40) and one of my grocery runs ($25) on the card, too.

I'm discussing my Christmas planning and tasks completed on Your Organized Friend. I think I have about seven posts you can check out (make sure to scroll down to see them all). The goal is to get some things complete early so that I'm less stressed in December. I think it is going to work!

Are you done shopping for Christmas? Have you started at all?

Amex Small Business Saturday

November 14th, 2014 at 02:57 pm

I just wrote last night about the possibility of closing our American Express cards soon. But not quite yet, since I'm going to want to take advantage of their Small Business Saturday promotion.

I read all the details on My Money Blog. You can read about it here.

It's even better than last year, offering up to 3 separate $10 credits for spending at least that amount in three separate transactions. I noticed a few local liquor stores are included. How often can you get free or discounted alcohol for the holidays?

Will you participate in Small Business Saturday?

Lots of Bills Paid

November 14th, 2014 at 03:10 am

We have been using a lot of different credit cards lately. I'm going to be cutting this back soon!!

No interest, but different ones for different reasons, and not all of them logical. Tomorrow is payday, so I made sure to pay off the Target Red card, two different cards for gas purchases, Kohl's for recent clothing purchase, the Chase Freedom card that the utilities were automatically paid on, and the most recent card for nearly all other charges the Citi Thank You card. Oh, and the Discover card for recent online Christmas purchases.

Seriously, we have too many open cards. We are not having any problem paying them, but it gets really hard to remember them all! I almost forgot about the Chase Freedom card today, until I was trying to figure out where the utilities were charged. All the cards do send me emails, so I likely would never really forget.

We have open Amex cards that haven't been used in over six months. Maybe more. I keep them open for those offers they put out from time to time to get cash credit for certain purchases at certain stores. I just looked back at my savings with them and I saved $70 in the last five weeks of 2013, and just $5 in 2014. So unless, they offer up some really great deals this year, I may let go of the Amex cards.

In other news, I've already used some of the Christmas funds saved this year to pay off purchases I have already made. That feels good.

I have set aside the $275 that I normally send to the mortgage pay down this time of the month. I'm going to hold it and try to get the remaining $256 needed outside of December's planned principal payments from snowflakes/extra money. I guess that means I really only need to hold on to $256 of that money to ensure meeting my goal. I'll put the $19 towards paying ourselves back for some recent large purchases.

Are you getting paid this week? Do you pay your bills just at the time of pay day or multiply times during the course of a pay period?

Received $50

November 13th, 2014 at 01:47 am

I received the $50 cash bonus for opening the Discover Checking account. I wrote one check for $25 (to a non profit) that hasn't cleared yet, otherwise I would be closing the account.

I will end up sending that $50 to the mortgage, since it is officially extra money/snowflake!

Did anyone else do the Discover Checking offer? I received our offer in the mail. I think you have to have the Discover card to be eligible.

Target Gift Cards 10% Off

November 12th, 2014 at 03:27 pm

Target and Target.com will be offering Target gift cards at 10% off on Black Friday. Just in the morning from 6AM to NOON. This will probably be the only offer I take advantage of. I plan to buy the maximum of $300 worth, since we easily spend that much there on groceries each month. We usually use our Red Card, so this will simply save us an extra 5%. Definitely read the fine print on this offer, since you cannot use the gift cards purchased that morning until Saturday (although I don't know how they can track that). I'm going to buy mine online.

It will be a little tempting to go shop on Friday morning. We will be visiting my parents apartment and they live right next door to an outdoor mall. They can see the back side of JC Penney from their apartment! Right now, I don't even know what I would need to buy, which is a good thing. I'd rather just stay in bed anyway!

Will you buy Target cards at at discount on Black Friday? Will you do any shopping that day? If so, what are you looking to buy?

A Free Meal

November 12th, 2014 at 02:04 am

We did end up eating at Chili's for lunch today. The burger we ordered was free since my husband is a veteran. It was nice to have a meal out together since that is rare.

My husband also got his haircut free at Great Clips. We skipped the yogurt and coffee that was also free, as we didn't need the caffeine nor the calories of yogurt.

We stopped in at Joann's Fabric where I spent $2.56 on a gift after an additional 20% off our purchase with the military discount offered.

It was tempting to do some more shopping, but in the end we both really were not up for it. I guess that saved us some money.

There was snow blowing around this morning, but it really didn't amount to much here. With the windchill it was only 8 degrees this morning. Quite an abrupt change after nearly 60 degrees yesterday. This means the furnace is running longer.

Our neighbors across the street have put their house up for sale. I haven't been in their home, but found out from the listing they only have a finished bathroom in their basement. We have nearly 800 more square feet of finished space, including an extra bedroom. I think the house is priced competitively. I will be interested to see how fast it sells, as there are several homes in the area for sale right now. Winter tends to be slow, but not completely stagnant.

I ordered my husband's Christmas gift today. I bid on an eBay item and was outbid already. I found another one to bid on. I may not end up with the item, but figure I have a few weeks to bid before I have to purchase at full price.

Did your temperatures drop today?

Hanging in There

November 11th, 2014 at 03:29 am

I'm hanging in there with this cold. It sure feels like a virus. I was cold earlier today. I feel run down when I do too much. I've been sleeping pretty well and drinking lots of fluids. I expect tomorrow I will feel quite a bit better. I hope at least!

I did my extra store run today. I spent $21 for flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, 3 lbs of ground chuck, 1/2 gallon of milk, two small jars of peanut butter, and 3 lbs of clementine oranges. Pretty good in my opinion.

That right there took a lot out of me. I get to spend the day with my husband tomorrow for Veteran's Day. We are going to lunch with another one of his coworkers to take advantage of some free meals. We have yet to decide which restaurant. We also hope to get some free coffee at Starbucks and a free yogurt at Orange Leaf. Yummy!

I used the self serve postal kiosk at the post office today. I ended up getting 10 Spiderman stamps that I didn't pay for. I just grabbed the items I thought were receipts...one of them wasn't! Luckily me I guess. Sorry for someone who left their postage behind.

Have you ended up with a freebie that you didn't expect? Anyone else taking advantage of veteran deals tomorrow?

Sunday

November 10th, 2014 at 12:36 am

I feel a bit better today than yesterday energy wise. I still have a lot of sinus pressure, but warm drinks do help!

I had enough energy to get to the grocery store. I spent $130 for the week. I do have to make a small run to another store tomorrow for a few things on sale.

I helped my daughter box up some of her artwork that she is donating to an organization that will use the art as a perk for donating. In the process, I came across a piece of art that I know one of our nephews was very interested in back in June. He's now getting that for Christmas! It's perfect. My daughter is happy about it too.

I also decided we would give two of our snow toys (block form and snowball thrower) to our nieces and nephew who are getting the state park permit. The gift will cost me nothing, but they would probably get use out of them. I will check with their mom first. If she doesn't think they want them, I have another person I think would.

I listed two items on eBay. Hope for quick sales!!

I hope you are all healthy! Wash your hands and cover your mouth when you sneeze. Smile

I Have a Cold

November 8th, 2014 at 04:25 pm

My girls had colds earlier this week. I did my best to keep hands washed and avoided picking up any used tissues. Unfortunately, I got the cold. I did sleep in the morning, and have had two cups of warm tea. I don't feel to run down, but just annoyed with the symptoms.

We have to make a run to the music store today to return the flute we borrowed. There is an issue they may need to fix or see if there is another one before we go ahead on the purchase.

I may make one stop at Target for some sale items. I can't remember what they are, so maybe it doesn't even matter!

The rest of they day will consist of fluids and rest, which sounds much better than going on into the cold, windy weather we are having!

Do you have a go to treatment for colds? I tend to go for a decongestant, but this cold isn't like that, more of the scratchy throat variety.

Southwest Offers Are Back

November 7th, 2014 at 05:19 pm

Southwest Airlines has brought back their credit card bonus offers of 50,000 miles for making $2000 worth of purchases in 3 months. The cards have annual fees. Here is the link I found, so you can read the fine print and get all the details.

I'm going to apply for the Plus card, as I have already had the Premier card. I made the mistake of cancelling the card before I redeemed all my points for gift cards, so I will have those in my pocket soon. We will have no issue putting $2K of spending on the card, especially with the holidays! And we can easily pay it off, too. Smile

Do you fly Southwest? Have you taken advantage of these offers before? Will you again?

More Shopping for Christmas

November 7th, 2014 at 03:53 am

I did a little more online shopping for Christmas. Both daughter's want some specialty t shirts. Not sure that is exactly the right description. But let's say if your are a fan of Spiderman, you might want a Spiderman t shirt. Basically, they are fan girls of certain books and so forth.

I bought two t shirts tonight. I also found a couple more I'm considering. I also bought a pair of Smartwool socks from L.L. Bean. I had a $10 coupon in the catalog that arrived yesterday. Free shipping. The socks ended up being $9.95 after the coupon. Very good deal on Smartwool socks. I will give these to my mom in her Christmas stocking!

I'm progressing on other Christmas planning tasks this week, too. I wrote about them on Your Organized Friend. I may actually address Christmas cards tomorrow. Maybe...

Do you still send Christmas cards by mail? How many do you send?

Experience Gifts

November 6th, 2014 at 05:01 pm

I just discussed gifts for my youngest nieces and nephews with my sister in law. She said they just aren't that into stuff! Not a bad thing, huh? The plan is to buy their family a state park permit for the 2015 year. That will cost me $26. That is inexpensive for four young kids and their parents! I can order online or pick up when I back for Thanksgiving.

I'm a fan of experience gifts. I don't get to give them very often, but have received them and they are always appreciated!

What experience gifts have you given or received? Or do you have one you would like to receive?

Whirlwind

November 6th, 2014 at 12:40 am

I've posted everyday this week, but I have kept myself pretty busy so I'm surprised that I even did. I've accomplished quite a few tasks, and none of them too spendy.

Monday was full of cleaning and various tasks around the house. I did go to the store for some cleaning supplies and bought my foster niece a birthday gift. The gift is now wrapped even, and I won't be seeing her until Thanksgiving!

Tuesday was a quick errand to Kohl's to spend $20 worth of Kohl's cash/Yes Rewards. I purchased a new fleece jacket and a needed pair of black tights for my daughter. I spent less than $5 out of pocket. I also began doing some Christmas planning. I know it's early but the intention is to get a few things out of the way in November to make the season relaxing and enjoyable.

Today, I went to meet a friend and her daughter for a little shopping and lunch before they had an appointment. They live out of town so it was a treat to visit. I paid $8.50 for my lunch, and paid $10 for another fleece (which my husband will add to my birthday gift). I turned in our bottles and had $2.50 back, so I used the money towards 10 stamps and only paid another $2.40 out of pocket. I had figured out how many stamps I needed yesterday, so buying those takes another item off my list.

I also stopped at Hobby Lobby and spent $5.60 for some artificial berries for the tomato cage tree I made last year. I believe this will be my only decor purchase this year. I don't need more. While I was there I noticed that all Christmas items were 50% off. This included stockings. I was going to make one for my foster niece but realized at those prices one could be bought! Since it was for my Mom's house I called her with my change of plan, she bought one for $5 that sounds really nice compared to what I would have spent time making, and I would have likely spent far more out of pocket. I guess it's good to know when to fold an idea! I also saved myself some money. Smile

How has your week been? Are you doing any Christmas planning? Did you get any deals or find a way not to spend money?

Credit Sesame Free Score

November 4th, 2014 at 07:33 pm

You can see your credit score for free with Credit Sesame. It's always free. No credit card or billing required, ever. I have used the site myself to track our scores. Very easy.

It is always good to know where you stand, right? I do get a bonus if six or more people sign up for the free service. Please use my link if you are at all interested. I will not receive any of your personal information. Thanks!

Less than $1000 Left to Pay in 2014

November 4th, 2014 at 01:28 am

The goal for the entire year is to pay down $13,993 in principal on our mortgage. Novembers payment, and a scheduled extra payment have been applied. We are less than $1000 away from our goal. Specifically, we have $915.16 left to meet the goal.

I actually thought there was an error because I was seeing that $x15XXX! But alas, it was as right as right can be. Yippee.

I did just make a little payment of $16.40 with some snowflake money that has trickled in since the end of October. That amount is included in the numbers above.

I feel really good about meeting the goal!

A few of you have asked if I will continue this goal in 2015. The answer is a little mixed, but yes I will make a goal to pay off a certain dollar amount for the first six months of the year. It will be more conservative. The odds are really pretty high that we will move. I hope we can sell FSBO, but part of paying the mortgage down was to help cover realtor costs. When you have plenty of equity in the home, it helps it not seem like a big deal. If we can sell FSBO, we will have more cash out than if we had not paid down on the mortgage.

Snowflakes and extra funds will be used to pay ourselves back for tires, vehicle maintenance, daughter's flute, senior pictures, college expenses, eye glasses and other expenses that are eating into some of our savings. It shouldn't take too long to recover, but it is important to take that step as we prepare for another move.

So again, I'm super excited about the goal and getting so close to the finish line! How are your goals for 2014 coming along? Have you thought about your 2015 goals yet?

October Mortgage Pay Down

November 1st, 2014 at 09:45 pm

In the month of October we paid off $1,239.30 in principal on our mortgage. All snowflakes earned this month are included in the above figure. The remainder was from our regular income.

The goal since January has been to pay off $13,993 in principal in 2014. We have now paid off $12,480.23 and have just $1,512.77 left to pay.

I know we will meet the goal. I know this because I expect this money are to be applied before the end of the year:

Nov Regular Principal $476
Nov Extra Principal $103 (11/1)
Nov Extra Principal $275 (11/15)
Dec Regular Principal $478
Dec Extra Principal $103 (12/1)

This leaves just $78 needed to make it to goal. I know of two checking rewards that will equal $250 that I should earn by the end of December...so that is more than enough. That doesn't include my normal ways of accumulating some extra funds! I would prefer not to make that $275 principal payment in November at all. I may not if it looks like I can make the goal without it.

It's fun to see a goal come to fruition. I will be very happy when is actually here!! How are your goals coming along for 2014?

October Snowflakes

November 1st, 2014 at 09:22 pm

I didn't do too bad accumulating snowflakes (extra money) for the month of October. It helps that I redeemed the bonus rewards for opening the Citi Thank You credit card. The total for October was $385.94

Here's the breakdown:



I was able to make some sales on Ebay this month. They weren't big sales, but they did add up to nearly $50. It does help to have multiple ways to accumulate cash! And if you have a goal, boy, it does make you motivated to work them.

I exceeded the $4,000 snowflake goal last month, and with October snowflakes the new balance accumulated this year is $4,620.35. It would be nice to end the year with more over $5K in extra funds earned. Just two months to make that happen with about $380. I think it's possible!!

How did you do earning extra funds for your goal?