<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: January, 2015
 

Archive for January, 2015

Refrigerator Adjustment

January 31st, 2015 at 10:23 pm

We bought our most recent refrigerator from Lowe's. It was $808, and we got a 10% military discount. I was in there today and went by the fridge to see if there was a price change. Yep, today it was selling for $719 (less than two weeks later)!

I had my receipt and simply asked at customer service. Sure enough the price adjustment was honored. I got an $85.70 merchandise credit since I originally paid with discount gift cards purchased from Raise. In fact I used the gift cards I had left from the original purchase to buy a new humidifier filter pad and some spray stain remover. I expect there will be more items needed from the home improvement store as we get ready to sell the house!

I also noticed that our credit card was not charged the full amount on the last invoice for our furnace repair. I did question the service person about not being told the price on one part. The other one I was aware of. The charge is still more than I was told but by $20. It is still pending on my credit card, so it could be a different amount when it actually posts.

All of that was still money out of pocket but it's nice to have it all be less. I'm also glad I have just over $120 to cover upcoming expenses. I know I will need mulch for the flower beds, flowers for pots, a shower curtain, caulk, and maybe a new entry rug or two.

Furnace Repaired...Finally

January 30th, 2015 at 04:11 am

Our furnace has been acting up since Saturday. We have had three different service people here in the last four days (same company). In the end we were charged for a service call and the labor for two parts, the parts themselves were under warranty. In all we spent $250 to get our furnace running properly.

Now for us, we have the money and I'm glad it is running. But it is three years old!! That is a lot of money for some people. Some people spend that much on groceries in a month. It just makes me sad that things need to be so expensive.

Now maybe we have some fancy model of furnace. Not sure that we do but it is newer with 'codes' to tell you what the problems are and so forth. So there may be additional expense there.

How much have you spent on furnace repairs in recent years?

Skipping the Fundraiser and A Repair

January 28th, 2015 at 06:05 pm

We got another band fundraiser! Twenty five percent of the profits go to the child's band or choir trip fund. In the three years we have been in this district and participated in the fundraisers we have earned $80 for my daughter's trip. Glad to have it, but it doesn't add up fast at all.

It seems most of the sales have been to my parents or my husband's coworkers. Since my husband's last week of work here is THIS week (and we only found out today), there is no point in selling to them. My parents don't need more stuff and would probably rather give straight to my daughter for souvenirs (not that they even need to do that). So we are skipping it completely. So much simpler really!

I'm waiting for the furnace repair people to call sometime today. Our furnace has decided to shut down once or twice a day since Saturday. We can always get it back on by turning the thermostat off and then back on. A service person was here Monday afternoon but since it was working they were not 100% sure of the fix. We decided to wait and look for some codes that appear on the unit when it fails to help diagnose the issue. Well we have those codes, so hopefully once someone comes the issue can be fixed.

Has your furnace been working this season? Are you a believer in fundraisers or not?

I issued a challenge on Your Organized Friend to declutter 15 items today. Join in!

$140 in Snowflakes

January 27th, 2015 at 08:11 pm

We sold our old refrigerator last night. I posted it on Craigslist at 3pm and by 6:30pm it had been picked up. They paid $100 for a very nice 10 year old fridge. They even commented how nice it was. And it was...it just didn't match the house that we will be selling soon. It does look much better. I really glad we didn't have them haul it away for recycling. It will still get some use and we have $100!

I see that two people have already used my referral code to Ooma. This means I have $40 coming my way in about six weeks. The deadline for the current $89.99 offer is on Friday, January 30, if you are thinking of switching from a traditional land line.

I'm working with the Pinecone Rewards program to figure out the problem with cashing out my 300 points for $3. I sent them a screen shot of what options I'm seeing after then had me try clearing my browser history. I even changed browsers as another option. We will see what happens!

In moving news, we are still waiting on orders. We really can't move forward on anything until that part is finalized. Smile

Have you sold an appliance before? Did it sell fast like mine?

Pinecone Cash Out Change

January 26th, 2015 at 08:15 pm

I did a Pinecone survey over the weekend and they credited my account with 300 points today. I always redeem right away for $3 to my PayPal account. But today that is not an option. My only options are $5, $10 or $15!

I'm disappointed that they keep making things harder and harder. Didn't we get a $5 check in the mail for each survey in the past? Then it changed to $3 for awhile. There was also a time when the Paypal option came right to us, rather than going to the third party to pick our reward and wait another day for the Paypal deposit.

For now, I will continue to participate. The best thing about Pinecone is the ability to get cash for the time spent. I don't like that I know have to wait to meet a threshold for payment. It's not a nice way to treat their participants in my opinion.

So no cashing out for me today. I'll have to wait at least for one more survey to get $5. I may be easier to just wait for four more surveys and then cash out that way.

Had anyone seen this change prior to my mentioning it?

Ooma: A Way to Save On Telephone Costs

January 26th, 2015 at 01:55 am

I know I've mentioned that we have our landline with Ooma. It is a phone line that operates through our internet connection. We purchased ours over a year ago for about $100. We continue each month to pay only for the required taxes, which for us is currently $3.81. Our landline doesn't get used to often, but it is nice to have considering we pay so little for it.

If this is something you might be interested in you might like to know that the Ooma Telo is currently on sale for $89.99 and is shipped for free. The offer expires on January 30. So you will need to act fast.

The link above is my referral link. I do receive a $20 credit if you use my link. The referral program is offered to all members, and would also be available to you several times a year. This makes the cost even less!

We Owe

January 22nd, 2015 at 03:44 am

I knew this was coming ever since my husband's promotion and raise. We owe the federal government income tax. At this point it looks like $630. I did change the withholding so it could have been far worse. I'm going to change the withholding again for 2015, so we may not owe quite as much.

No complaints here. I don't mind paying in. It means I had access to that money nearly all year. No free loan to the government.

At this point, I will wait to pay the money owed. It isn't due until April 15th, so I'm not sending it in much sooner than that! There are six pay periods before and including the tax deadline for us. I will save $105 each month toward the amount we owe and have just the right amount at just the right time!

There is a small chance I may have missed some interest owed, so if that information arrives I will make the adjustment. I did several bank offers this year, I'm not sure if I missed one!

Do you know if you will get a refund or owe for your taxes?

My Citi FICO Score

January 21st, 2015 at 08:00 pm

I guess Citi now gives out FICO credit scores for free with many of their cards. I have the Citi Thank You Preferred card, so I looked mine up.



I always like to see anything above 800! The report does indicated I have recent inquiries. Yep, that's true I'm racking in the rewards from credit card companies!

Do you have a Citi card that will provide you your FICO score? Another card perhaps? If you don't have a card there are sites such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame that will give you a similar score for free.

Snowflake in Today's Mail

January 21st, 2015 at 02:33 am

I must have signed up as part of a class action suit in regards to EmergenC, which I have purchased. Today in the mail I had a settlement check from EmergenC for $17.98! That makes for a super snowflake for our credit card we are paying off.

I am also sending the $25 PayPal deposit I received from Swagbucks to the other credit card. This helps meet the minimum payment that is due for the month.

In the end the snowflakes mean less debt. I like that!!

An Upgrade

January 20th, 2015 at 03:11 am

We finally took the plunge and bought a new fridge today. I think I mentioned the possibility of purchasing a stainless steel one in the past to match our current appliances, and possibly include it in our home sale.

We bought one that nearly matches our current one in size, just 20.5 cubic feet of volume. It is still a top freezer model too. Odd considering how so many of them are the french door style, right?

The sale price was $808 at Lowe's. We got 10% off with our military discount and then added another 7% back on for sales tax. Final price was $778.10.

We actually bought Lowe's gift cards for about 8.5% off the face value. We purchased them at Raise and the printable vouchers were instantly emailed to me! In the end we bought too much because the ice maker that we were told was $50 was discounted to $25.72, but then rung up free since we bought it with a qualifying refrigerator! We still have $50.43 on gift cards.

The gift cards we purchased were valued at $828.53, but cost us $757.64 out of pocket. Definitely worth it! I really need to buy discounted gift cards for things more often.

The new refrigerator will be here Sunday. Our current one still works great, but the plastic handles smell awful in warm weather or if you get too close. I think the time the fridge spent on the moving truck for three weeks in July baked all of our hand oils and other grime right in. And we have tried numerous things to clean them. (Sorry kind of gross I know). We also realized it is probably more than 10 years old!! It could be sold for cash. However, the plan right now is to keep things simple and let Lowe's haul our old one away. As I write this though it is tempting to post it on Craigslist to pick up on Saturday. If not picked up that day then it could still be hauled away on Sunday.

How old are your appliances? Have you sold your old appliances for cash or let them get hauled away?

Saving $40

January 19th, 2015 at 04:21 am

We got notice from the flute teacher that she will not be teaching the last week of January. That means we save $40! I think that is going to be considered a snowflake that I can apply to some of that credit card debt (that we are not paying any interest on).

Is it odd to be just a bit excited that the lack of lessons is a good thing?

Free Rent

January 17th, 2015 at 02:31 pm

My husband will move out to the east coast in early March. (Officially still waiting on orders) He knows a husband and wife living out there that have a two bedroom apartment and offered him the second room. No charge for rent!

They do pay for electricity. Other utilities are included in their rent. If the electricity jumps with my husbands phone charging and computer use he will pay the difference. He will buy his own foods and hopefully some snacks to share! Maybe he can carpool and drive with one or both them. That would help them save on fuel.

I'm relieved. It makes the process of moving much easier. I'm a little hesitant though. I don't know that letting another person stay in your apartment is really allowed without authorization by the complex. I also wonder how long the couple will really want my husband there. I think the wife travels quite a bit, so maybe that will help.

Depending on how it all shakes out, I think we owe them something. A nice gift card or gift to show our appreciation for their hospitality. I'm open to ideas!

In other news, I redeemed more Swagbucks for a $25 PayPal deposit. That will go to those two credit cards I'm working on!

So tell me, how would you show your appreciation to someone who lets your stay with them rent free for several months?



Big Savings Sweep

January 16th, 2015 at 12:16 am

Wow! I guess we may have been overspending. Today I was able to sweep $1125 to savings. It feels like forever since I did that. I think the spending has slowed down in the last month and that allowed us to catch up on some other bills. Not that we were behind or owed anyone any interest or late fees.

We did have some bigger expenses we cash flowed: tires, brakes, senior pictures, college admission fee. That makes a difference in what we can set aside to save.

It just feels good to put a huge stash of money aside. Even if I might need it soon for new tires or federal taxes.

Do you think your spending is down in the new year? Have you save more than you usually do this month?

Less Debt Because of Snowflakes

January 13th, 2015 at 02:51 am

I have accumulated another $64.73 in snowflakes (extra money). And I made sure to get them sent off to a credit (0% interest) card so our debt will go down.

We have two credit cards that we are running balances on. I'm stubborn about not wanting to use our savings I guess. I have the money to pay them in full. It is just nice to have 0% interest and not have to dip in to other cash.

I sent the above snowflakes to our Wells Fargo Amex. It had a $700 balance. With the payment deducted, we owe $635.27. Less debt! And paid with snowflakes!!

The other credit card we have a balance on is our Citi Thank You Preferred. It has a balance of $661.27.

I plan to pay off the Wells Fargo Amex first so that we can close it. It also has a hefty annual fee after the first year, so we don't want to be hit with that!

While I was checking balances I decide to redeem 2,500 Citi Thank You points for a $25 Panera gift card. I figure it is good for a family lunch or night out. I will match debt reduction or savings when we use it.

Have you redeemed any credit card rewards this month? Did you pay off some debt, or accumulated any snowflakes?

Saturday Entertainment

January 11th, 2015 at 03:50 am

We hosted former neighbors at our home this weekend. They wanted to see the show choir events happening at my girls high school. Admission is pricey for show choir compared to marching band!! We paid $32 for three of us to get in today.

We did get our money's worth however. We saw eight different shows, which is nearly four hours worth of entertainment. We had a super time! One of the choirs was our varsity team. They were at the very end of the day (evening), my girl actually went back up to school to see them. They did fabulous!

I would have rather not spent the $32 plus the money we spent on food for lunch in the cafeteria, but we had a super time. I can say the money was well spent!

Thanks for all the support and good wishes regarding our move. My husband will be moving sooner than I would have liked and that makes me sad. I prefer to all go together. But I have time to work on all the logistics and feelings the move means. I was actually proud of myself for admitting how sad I am being so far from my college bound daughter. And also I'm sad for my youngest daughter basically needing to move so far with us and be an 'only child'. The truth is she would be home with us the next three years by herself regardless of where we are, but it just feels far! And that makes me sad. I'm pretty good at dismissing emotions...which is NOT healthy, so I'm proud of myself for recognizing it!!

One of you has lived in the state we are moving to. I'm sorry I need to be vague. I may consider disclosing briefly and then deleting, but the Army is big on our social media security and it is really for our safety that I don't. I want to, I really do!!

Did you pay for any entertainment this weekend? Was it a one time expense like mine? Did you do something for free?

We Are Moving

January 9th, 2015 at 02:21 pm

I'm going to be a little vague since this is Army related, but we are moving! It is nearly official. My husband was nominated back in November for a job. We were told we would hear something in December. It was apparently decided in December, but my husband only heard about it two days ago. He did get the job which is on the east coast. When he was nominated his initial reaction was no thanks, but he was pretty much told that it was an honor to be nominated and it isn't a job you pass up as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's also a job on a Army post. Which is so different from the units we have been connected with here.

He has to report pretty soon. The girls and I will be staying put to finish out the school year. Our oldest is graduating!

I was so close to coming up with my goals for 2015, but they didn't included running two households for four or five months! I'm kind of back to square one.

I think I'm in a state of shock honestly. We are Midwest people. We wouldn't pick this state in most cases, it will be fine and lovely I'm sure, but a huge change to move so far from family. Right now we can drive to see everybody. Now we can still drive, but it will take a couple days rather than several hours. I guess I need to have a airline ticket fund!

That's the news! I'm sure there will be plenty more to say about all of it as it happens. Have you moved more than 15 hours away from your home base before?

More Cash Snowflakes

January 7th, 2015 at 12:33 am

Our water bill was under our self imposed budget of $95 by $13.39. This does include trash service and $18 to the city for sewer debt. So it isn't all water! I do like it when it is under budget, since I count that money as a snowflake or found money.

Swagbucks came through today with my $25 redemption for PayPal cash. I have already requested transfer to our checking account.

I'm STILL working on getting my thoughts together about our 2015 goals. Several of them are really the same. Why change what works, right?

Stay warm out there!

2014 Goals Revisted

January 6th, 2015 at 01:29 am

Here are the goals I set for us in 2014, with the results in italics. I think we did fabulous!!

1) Accumulate $4,000 in snowflakes from any source other than my husband's income to help reach our mortgage principal reduction goal. Yes! Accumulated $5,218.60 in snowflakes for 2014.

2) Pay down $13,992.99 in mortgage principal. This will bring us to an even balance at the end of 2014 of $X15,000.Yes, met this goal exactly. Smile

3) Save $50 per month to be used for Christmas gifts. Yes, we did this, too! The money was used for Christmas, but we did exceed this budget amount for various reasons.

4) Save $57 twice per month towards the 52 Week Savings Challenge. The funds to be deposited in my Capital One 360 Savings account. Yes! This was all automated and helped us fund our daughter's band camp trip coming up this spring.

4) Save $167 per month for each daughter for college, which is $2,000 each or $4,000 for the year. Yes, since it was automatically withdrawn we didn't miss one contribution!

5) Save 8% of my husband's basic pay in his TSP. This is a 1% increase from last year. This was automatic too. And we didn't really notice the change at all.

6) Save $458.33 each month for each of our Roth IRA's. This will meet the maximum limit allowed.Yes! This was also done by automatic investments from our checking account. I just record it each month.

7) End 2014 with $20,000 or more in our emergency fund. As of January 1, we are at $19,909.05. So close! We ended the year slightly lower at $19,854.81. If I had realized we were so close, I may have made an effort to fund it to $20K!

Make some goals! Make them realistic, but stretch a bit too. Break the big ones down into smaller goals, automatic your savings and investments, and maybe even minimum payments. Make it easy to reach the goal by getting out of your way!

Were you pleased with your 2014 financial results? Are your goals realistic for 2015? Do you or will you automate any of your investments or payments?

Two Degrees of Snowflakes

January 5th, 2015 at 08:49 pm

This post is about both kinds of snowflakes, the found money variety and the frozen variety. It just began snowing here this afternoon. We are expecting at least six inches and it will come down fast. School decided it was worth dismissing early on their first day back from break. With the amount of snow and expected drop in temperatures, I'm not sure they will have school tomorrow or even Wednesday. But right now I just need my husband to get home safe!

I sold an item on eBay last night. My proceeds were just a little over $20. I did get it into the mail earlier today. I relisted three others that didn't sell. I usually relist a few times, sometimes adjusting prices, and if they don't sell they get donated. I don't want to hold on to everything!

I redeemed Bing Rewards for 500 Swagbucks, which I received right away. I was also able to redeem Swagbucks for $25 PayPal cash this weekend. It arrived really fast last time, but it isn't here yet.

Are you getting any snowflakes, of either variety?

Adjusted Investment Amounts

January 5th, 2015 at 03:05 am

Our oldest daughter turns 18 in March of 2015. At that time we can no longer add investments to her Educational Savings Account. We usually invest $2,000 each year. In order to get the entire $2000 into her account before her birthday, we will need to increase her investment amount from $167 to $666.67.

We are lowering each of our Roth IRA investments from $458.33 to $208.33 to help make up for the increase. We will increase the amounts up to $541.67 after the final March contribution to our daughter's account.

Our investments are all set up automatically from our checking account with Vanguard, so I made the adjustments online. I also put a reminder to make the changes in late March on my online calendar.

Have you made your investment plans for 2015? Did you make any adjustments?

Random Thoughts on our Money

January 2nd, 2015 at 03:16 pm

First, I'm a little slow on my 2015 goals, just like The Deacon's Wife. I will get there. Officially the first paycheck for 2015 isn't until mid month for us, so we have time.

Yesterday our only spending was $5 at the gas station, but we used a gift card to pay for that little soda splurge. We needed a pick me up during our filing cabinet purging. I have a post on that at Your Organized Friend.

Today we expect to get haircuts and shop for a calendar for my youngest daughter. I want a calendar too, but not sure if it is a need. I do use it to notice when dates are but tend to record most things on my online calendar.

We also plan to go to the music store today or this weekend. We have a credit with them after purchasing the most recent flute. It is $157. Equal to 10% of our purchase price. It must be used in January. It going to be a shopping spree at the music store! Some of it will go to purchasing music we know we need, but the rest is up for grabs. I'll let you know what we end up with. Smile

I'm close to getting enough Swagbucks to redeem for $25 in PayPal cash. I decided to go for the cash for awhile, so I can put that money directly toward two credit cards we are paying off. The each have about an $800 balance (no worries, no interest accruing). I should have them paid off in a few short months, or tomorrow if I decide to just use cash on hand!

The CD we have with NFCU is 5% interest on our $5000 balance. We earned almost as much interest on that money last month, as we did on nearly $35K in our money market. I do regret I didn't get some of that money invested into a CD two years ago. With an upcoming move, and the intention of using some of it towards the next down payment I will wait to do anything.

Do you use a wall or other paper calendar? Or just digital? Do you have paper to purge? What is the highest interest rate you are earning on your savings?