Pay should be pending in our bank account this morning, but the entire banking portion of our bank is down! It's really not fun to see no money when you log into your bank. Thank goodness there was notification at the top of the page or I would be in a panic!
I'm about to send off our $638 we owe to the IRS. I saved up each week since the beginning of January to accumulate the cash. I'm glad I did because it makes it so much easier to write that check. The will clear up $105 each paycheck going forward.
I ordered another part for our dishwasher since over time it doesn't seem the first part worked. It is a motor assembly this time, so more expensive, but less than having a repair man out to do it, plus the part would be inflated. I'll be doing this one all by myself, but I've already taken it apart once and put back together. I was checking to see if something was stuck in there causing the noise. If this part doesn't work, I can return it at my expense. If doesn't work, I honestly don't know what else it could be...there really isn't much to a dishwasher and I've taken the whole thing apart! I ordered the part yesterday and it should be here today...and that was with their basic shipping charge of $6.95.
I also have a handyman coming over to look at my roof. I found to shingles on the driveway yesterday and can see one still on the roof that isn't attached. It had been pretty windy the day prior. He expects it to cost right at $100. Money well spent likely. Super glad he can come today as we are expecting a lot of rain tomorrow night!
Pictures for our listing will be taken tomorrow afternoon. I really have put nearly everything away. A few landscape pictures remain, but I have take down decor to make it just seem as neutral as possible. I think it will help it show well in the pictures. I did tell the girls they could get somethings back out after pictures if needed or wanted. And after we have an offer they can get more out to keep it like our home until we move.
Archive for March, 2015
Pay should be pending in our bank account this morning, but the entire banking portion of our bank is down! It's really not fun to see no money when you log into your bank. Thank goodness there was notification at the top of the page or I would be in a panic!
I was reading an article today where there was mention of the age of the person's vehicle. A 2004. The article was trying to indicate how old that was. I thought well our are only a bit newer. We have two 2007s, which were both bought used. While my van is getting really close to 100,000 it still drives like new (at least I think so).
Our hope is to hold on to our vehicles at least until our girls get through college...which is another 7 years. So that may be pushing it, but it's a good goal I think.
How old is/are your vehicle(s)? How long do you hope to keep yours?
I started the year with a balance of $686.27 on the Citi card and managed to get it down to $636.27 making minimum $25 payments in January and February. Then in March we started using the card as our primary and have added quite a bit of big expenses.
Two airline tickets $638.40
Eye glasses DD1 $354.00
Eye glasses DD2 $214.95
And lots of miscellaneous to the tune of at least $800. The current balance is $2,789.75. That is after making several payments totaling $905! I have plans on payday to pay DD2 glasses in full, $145 in snowflake money towards the original balance, plus another $785+ towards the miscellaneous. I may also pay the airline tickets out of savings...and eventually pay that back when we get our Dislocation allowance money from the government, which won't likely be until after the girls and I move.
So that card is a mess! It is a bit stressful too. It is the only card we are using, except for Discover until the end of March for 5% cash back on gas. The Citi card has 0%, but I think just until the end of June. I need to check on that!
I will get a handle on it, likely using some savings if needed. I won't let it accrue interest...because I hate that. I'll update more once I actually get those payments made on Wednesday (payday).
I have paid off Wells Fargo Amex in full! The remaining balance was $44.58. All but $15 of that was from the beginning of the year. I used eBay and Raise gift card sales proceeds to pay off that portion. The other $15 just came from our regular income.
I do have 2488 reward points and expect 15 points to be added mid April for that $15 charge that posted after the last statement closed. Once I have a full 2500 points I will redeem for cash and then close the card. The closing is the most important part because if I don't, we will be charged $175 in an annual fee. I don't want that!
I also paid off the contacts I purchased a couple weeks ago. I did use money my daughter came back from her trip with and some 52 Week Savings money I had accumulated.
We have added quite a bit on our Citi Thank You card recently. All needs. I will update about that card, as well as payments I plan to make on payday.
That's my clever title to tell you about the check I received from Raise in the mail today for the Build a Bear gift card I sold last week. My net proceeds for a gift card that was worth $2.74, was $2.08. I requested the check since their PayPal option had a $5 minimum.
Our Discover Card statement closed recently. We earned $36.10, primarily as a result of the 5% cash back on gas! All that gas my husband used to travel east and was reimbursed for ended up getting us a little extra cash. A snowflake that will be applied to some of our Citi credit card debt.
I expect to be able to make another large snowflake payment early next week! I can't wait.
We are getting closer to selling our home. We had a talk with a realtor nearly a month ago. We decided to wait to commit to her, but as of this week we felt confident she was the right gal for us.
The plan is that we will have pictures taken right after Easter with the hope that the grass is greener. We will sign the listing agreement later that week and by early the following week (mid April) the home will be on the market! We would list right now, but we don't want to close until mid June at the earliest, and with our neighborhood being hot we don't want to put it out there too soon and then have it look stale just because of our closing date being farther out.
The realtor is going to start talking about our home and asked if we were willing to show it before we list. Ummm...yes! I'm ready to show it and happy we have a clear plan on where we are going from here.
Is anyone else, besides LAL, selling a home this year? Anyone buying?
Hmmm...went to look at my husband's LES (Leave & Earnings Statement) for March with payment on April 1. And it's not there. I'm wondering if there is going to be a delay because of his change in location.
He will get paid...but now the question is when? I sent him an email to inquire. I guess I need to make a plan to use savings for the most important bills which for April 1 is just the mortgage.
My daughter's band trip to Orlando Florida is over. She returned with a smile on her face. It seems it was a really good time and I think she learned some things musically and socially.
I'm secretly thrilled that she returned with some of the cash I sent her with. She took $200 and came home with $121.84! She spent her $78+ on three souvenir pins (one given to her sister) plus water, snacks and a couple meals (most were included in the trip cost).
I can't really call the return of my money in this case a snowflake, but I will be putting it towards some recent costs, such as two new pairs of glasses (one for each of my daughter's) that were charged on a credit card.
In other news...we contacted the realtor we spoke to nearly a month ago to let her know we are ready to start moving forward. She and I are going to talk more tomorrow.
I forgot about this one! I referred four people to Ooma the last time there was a promotion and I earned $20 for each of them. The credits were applied to one of my lesser used credit cards. In fact there was a zero balance on the card.
The plan to use up the credit is to apply our Internet, Ooma and Netflix bills to the card. The cash I would have used to pay it will used to pay off some of the Citibank balance I need to pay off. The balance on that is about $636.
I like it when I'm excited about something I knew about but forgot!
My last post was about the generous scholarships my daughter is getting for attending the university she has chosen. I thought I'd detail the costs a bit more.
Tuition for 15 credit hours, two semesters (this is a public institution)
In state $6,480
Out of state $20,400
Fees (same for both)
Housing (required the first year)
Total $32,051 (for out of state)
At this point she has $20,000 in scholarships for the first year! So we are paying fees and housing/food and of course books. Her current investments for education equal $24,606. So we have the money to cover those costs. She will eventually use some of my husband's Post 911 GI Bill benefits, which will cover two years in state tuition and housing. We will give the other two years of benefits to her sister.
We are definitely feeling very blessed knowing that our daughter has earned such great scholarships based on her hard work and talent, that our investments have helped take some of the financial burdens off the costs, and humbled by the offer of financial benefits for our children by the American people for the sacrifices we have made to protect this country. It's not a small thing and we appreciate it all.
My daughter is raking in the scholarships for her first year at the university. The best one she received is for four years totalling $56,000! This helps reduce the cost of the out of state tuition to just under in state tuition. Her 4.0 GPA and and high ACT score of 31 help qualify her for that one.
She is getting $500 from the Honors Program, and $1000 from an alumni assocation as a Leadership scholarship. Just today she received a letter in the mail from the art department offering $4500! The art department noted that her 'digital drawing skills show a sophistication that is unot usually evident so early on. The work shows a strength in print and graphic design.' How cool is that?!
At this point I think that leaves only $2100 for tuition plus room and board (which is just under $10K). I'm amazed and thrilled to say the least. I'm not sure how the veterans benefits would work if she has all these scholarships...would we get a refund and just stock pile the money for another year. If not, I guess it would be better to just wait to claim those at another time. I will be checking on this.
She will be double majoring in Art and Music. Freshman can only receive one scholarship from one department. This means no music scholarship, but there could still be a department scholarship, which both art and music are a part of. If we switch her major to Music as primary then the art scholarship would not be possible. My daughter did feel that her art is probably more scholarship worthy than her music audition...although I know the professor seemed impressed and happy with how she did.
I'm kind of on cloud nine with all this money flowing in!! It helps some of the outflows happening lately not seem like a big deal.
I made another eBay sale. Item was $32.95, so my proceeds will be less than that. We also found a toy in my daughter bedroom to list online. I hope to make at least $10 on it. I might also have two skirts I could sell as well. I haven't decided on those yet though.
I took advantage of a couple Target offers this week that provided $5 gift cards. There is an offer to spend $20 on various health care type items, such as hair care, razor blades, lotion, sun care, soap, deodorant and more. Over two days I bought $40 worth of items, using $13.50 in coupons and received $15 in gift cards. In the end all the items cost me $21.50, and actually probaly even less since I used my Target Red card for the 5% off. I love it when deals, sales and coupons align!
My husband has been fully reimbursed for his portion of the move. We received one payment for the actual travel entitlements which amounted to $628.29. I used about $128 to reimburse cash taken out of our savings account, the remaining $500 went to cover some of the clothing purchased for my husband, gas for travel, and the one night in a hotel.
We received a second travel payment which was for moving some of our household goods. It was primarily all of his clothes and army equipment. It is a taxable payment and was reduced by 25% for withholding. The net amount was $365.90. I will also use this money to pay off some more money we have recently put on credit cards in the last couple weeks.
I feel better when money is flowing in!
We have spent a couple days of spring break decluttering my youngest daughter's room in preparation for our home sale and move. We moved here when she turned 12...literally moved in on her birthday. Unpacking boxes far enough to find items to bake cake! She is now 14 going on 15. The things she uses has changed dramatically. She wasn't readay to part with some sentimental stuffed animals, but a few did leave. We found outgrown clothes, old dance costumes that wouldn't fit, lots of junk and trinkets that have no meaning to her any longer.
In the pile of stuff was a Build A Bear gift card with a balance of $2.74. She didn't even care about the money, but I thought snowflake! I listed it yesterday for sale on Raise.com for $2.45. It already sold! I'm eligible for $2.08, which I request as a check since it was under the $5 minimum for PayPal and I didn't really want to add my checking account information. It was a great experience. I highly recommend!
In decluttering our basement earlier this year my husband let go of lot of old Army uniforms, boots and so forth. I sold a good majority of it on eBay probably netting about $270! See? Decluttering pays!!
If you want to see what I've been up to as far as decluttering and organizing don't forget to stop by my other blog Your Organized Friend.
Have you ever found anything while decluttering that 'paid' you money? Have you sold gift cards online?
I'm currently working on paying off our Wells Fargo American Express card using snowflake money. The balance at the beginning of the year was $700 which I have been able to pay down to $185.29 using only extra funds.
Today I made a payment of $155.71 towards that original balance to bring the new balance to $29.58! All the money was accumulated from eBay sales, a $15 Pinecone reward, $25 from Swagbucks and a $25 gift card to Target that I used for some groceries (and applied what I would have spent to debt).
Now I have added some new charges to the card in the last couple of weeks in order to get enough reward points to cash out before we close the card. We had 2334 as of the last statement. I charged another $154, which I have paid in full today as well.
But then I realized I was $12/12 points short! I went online and bought $15 in Amazon gift cards. Clearly it is enough purchases to get the points, but I think the statement will close today. I wonder if the charge will process in time. If not, another entire month will go by before I can redeem those points and close the card. I will likely use the $25 worth of points to pay the last $25 on the account.
The mid May statement will likely have a charge for the $175 annual fee which I do not want to pay. The card will be closed before that date regardless of the rewards outcome.
So now that I have nearly all the balance paid with rewards I will start working on the Citi card balance that is at 0%. That balance is at $636.27. It would be nice to have this paid off before we move in June. I may need to look for some more things to sell, since we are not opening any new credit cards until after the move.
I charged our Verizon Wireless bill in three separate transactions on three separate days to my husband's American Express card. I can see two of the three credits on the account. I would guess the other one will show up tomorrow. Pretty sweet rewards and better than the 5% cash back on our US Bank Visa we usually get.
Next month I will charge my American Express card the same way to get another $30.
Did anyone else get their rewards yet?
I had five auctions end on eBay last night. Three sold, two did not. The gross sales were $67.50. I plan to donate one of the items and hold the other for a better time of year. I still have one item listed which I will maintain as a Buy It Now sale for another three weeks. If it doesn't sell in that time I will take it down for awhile.
My PayPal account is getting fat with these recent sales, a Swagbucks deposit as well as a pending Pinecone deposit. I hope to get all the money transfered and sent to the Wells Fargo Amex card by the end of the week. I'll let you know what my final snowflake total is then!
I'm on a pretty active sales page on Facebook for my area. I can see that if I listed some items there I might get some takers. I'm not ready to do that yet, but I'm thinking about it.
My daughters and I all need glasses. I actually wear contacts. I went to the eye doctor on Friday while they were still in school. They each have appointments on different days this week during spring break.
The basic exam is covered by our insurance but there is no other vision insurance to cover contact lens exams, contacts or glasses. In other words we pay for these out of pocket. I paid $60 for my contact exam. My contacts are on order for about $180. I think one time I was able to order online for about $90 for the pair, unless I was only buying one...which is a possibility. The doctor won't write me a prescription until he sees how these lenes work, which means I will have already purchased them. I do get a refund if they don't. The thing is I've been wearing these contacts since I was in high school. I'm pretty sure they will work!
The girls will not have contacts to purchase just glasses. We did get glasses online one time and that worked really well. We will likely look around for the right frame and price before we commit. I generally like to spread these costs out, but decided that since all of us were overdue for an exam, I wanted to get them done now before the move.
So the point of my post is we will be able to see clearly, but it is going to cost us...which means more money flowing out. I think my 52 Week Challenge money is going to cover these costs. I have $285 right now, which covers the cost I just incurred. I will use savings to pay for the girls glasses, but pay myself back using the 52 Week Challenge money which is $57 twice per month. It may take me four months to pay myself back, but at least the money is figured out.
I remember at one time thinking I should save about $800 to $1000 year to cover vision costs. I haven't set it up. Part of the 52 Week Challenge money could be our vision fund. Maybe the remainder should be our vet fund, or oil changes in our vehicles. Something I will be considering. Really I can usually cash flow this stuff, but the spending lately is sky high!
Do you have vision insurance? What is covered? Do you save for your vision expenses?
There is still money flowing out, but for this post, I'm going to mention some money flowing in, which I like better!
I redeemed Swagbucks for $25 PayPal deposit that I hope to have soon. I received a $25 Target gift card from my sister in law...kind of a going away gift as she indicated I should buy snacks with it for the road.
I finally did enough surveys to redeem 1500 points for $15 with Pinecone which will be deposited into my PayPal account. I sold another item on eBay last night and have two more with bids that will end on Sunday. There are also another four items listed that have people watching. This may be the last go around with listings for awhile. At this point it looks like I sold over $300 worth of items. (That's gross sales not net unfortunately).
I had lunch with a friend and she mentioned how her son love to look at my daughter's art page on Facebook, which led me to mention art work leftover from her booth last year at the art festival. She came over and bought a piece for $15...this can be considered inflow for my daughter, but good for me as I will likely send less money with her on band trip!
And finally it's payday so that is a chunk of change to work with. We are clearly spending more than is flowing in. I couldn't pay the credit cards in full without dipping into some savings. Some of the charges are from my husbands trip to the east, which will get reimbursed by the end of the month. He also bought some new clothes before he moved too. And there was that speeding ticket! I am still grateful for payday it helps relieve some stress to see the balances go back down to zero on those cards.
Do you have some money flowing in?
Darn. I made an error last month inputting the paycheck into our excel sheet. I flipped two numbers around. I input $3759, instead of $3579. I thought I had an $180 more than I really had. I remember it seemed a little odd when I was paying bills and had more than expected, but I sure wasn't thinking it was not correct!
I found the error today when I was balancing the checkbook. It took me awhile to figure it out, since I could tell all the transactions were correct.
Do you balance your checkbook?
If memory and my notes serve me correctly, we started 2015 with $700 in debt on our Wells Fargo American Express card. It is at 0% interest, but we need to pay it off soon so we can cancel the card and not be charged a hefty annual fee.
I have been making payments all year on the card. With a payment of $109.52 which is all snowflakes/found money(primarily from eBay sales), we know owe just $185.29.
I'll be honest this is getting a bit tedious for me. I may just pay it off next week. I do have some more auctions that could net some more cash, so I will likely wait until after that.
Is it bad to say I'd like to find another $150 to charge to the card before we cancel? I think that amount would get me to the threshold with points to redeem $25. I guess I should start using it for purchases in the next two or three weeks. I'm sure I will have expenses that will add up to that. I already tried looking at our utilities but none of them accept American Express for payment.
That's the status! At least the amount owed is going down. I am looking forward to one less card soon.
Did those of you with a cell phone bill and an American Express card see the latest offer? Charge your cell phone bill of $75 or more and get a $10 credit. Up to three times!! That's $30.
I currently charge our large cell phone bill for four people with Verizon to my US Bank card for 5% cash back. I'm currently hoarding my rewards with them to get a $25 bonus for redeeming $100 or more. This will be the last time I can do that as they are ending that bonus offer at the end of the year.
However, this Amex offer is better than 5% cash back. I have read that others have been able to make multiple charges for the same bill when their bill is over the $75 and get the $30 credit in one month. However, it could be spread out over three months if one had a bill closer to the $75 range.
My plan is to make three separate charges for our upcoming Verizon bill (it is generally $246!) and get all $30 in one month. I did just make a change to our data plan, so I already have some credits coming our way and a lower bill in the future by $7. If this months bill is under $225, I will need to break up the payments. Likely two $75 charges this month, the remainder to the US Bank card, and then next month, one $75 payment to American Express, and the remainder to US Bank for the 5% reward.
I need to check and see if my husband has this offer on his American Express. Just checked, he does have this offer and it was already added...I just forgot. If so I can do this offer on his card after doing it on mine, since it is available until July. Some people on that forum link above paid cell phone bills of other people to get the offer!
I'm excited because this lower bill on our cell phone bill will help offset that really high electric bill we have this month!
Do you have this American Express offer? Will you use it or did you already use it?
I have more eBay sales in the works. One item sold this afternoon and two that currently have bids will end on Sunday. There could be more. I have my fingers crossed that is the case.
I will likely relist any that didn't sell this go around. At a lower price of course! I'm also going to look in my stash of items to see if there are another couple that I could get listed on Sunday. If memory serves me correct, I may have two.
All sales money is going to pay off the Wells Fargo credit card. I was able to make a payment from one of my accounts to the card for about $78. I want to make another payment, but found out I can only make 5 payments in one calendar month, so I'm waiting a bit longer (after the eBay sales end) to make another payment. My current balance on the card is $294.81. I'm getting there!
My husband made it to our new hometown late yesterday. He is on the east coast and made it ahead of all the storm stuff brewing out there! I feel less stressed now that he is there safely. He is now MORE stressed that he is there because of needing to acclimate to new surroundings and people. We will survive.
I haven't checked on his expenses yet. It was one night in a hotel, gas and food. I know he took cash out in case of tolls also. The good news on those expenses they will get reimbursed. Hopefully quickly!!
I had lunch with another soldiers wife yesterday. Spent nearly $20 on lunch and tip, but we hung out at the restaurant for nearly 3 hours! I always love a nice social lunch.
I have an eBay buyer wanting to return an items. They weren't the size she thought they were. It's not clothing and I don't think I had measurements on the listing, but she didn't ask before buying either. I have offered to take them back, she pays shipping and I refund purchase price only. Personally, she would be ahead to try to list them herself for sale. If she returns them to me at her expense, she is out nearly $20 in shipping! And she only paid $11 for the item. We will see what she does!
How is the weather on the east coast for those of you that way? Are you expecting any reimbursements? Have you returned a purchase to an eBay seller before?
Seriously! Our electric bill is nearly double from last month, which was $132. This month it is $255!! Last month's bill was for 37 days, but was only an estimate based on the usage of the month before. This was for 27 days.
I thought last month seemed low considering the temperatures. I don't remember it being an estimate, but apparently it was.
This just adds to my stress of money flowing out. We can pay the bill, but the outflows just feel out of control!
Were any of your utilities estimated this winter? Have your bills increased with the lower temperatures?
My husband's new job might put him in situations where he needs to dress business casual at times, rather than in uniform. Since he rarely dresses that way I wanted to make sure he had something current to wear when the need arises.
My plan was a pair of dress slacks, two shirts and a pair of shoes. I was hoping to spend $100 or less.
It didn't happen. What happened was, he saw my desire to take him shopping as a shopping spree. I did try to explain to him what I thought he needed. In the end I just went with it because honestly it has been years since he had new clothes. I just hope he actually wears this stuff!
He got a sport coat, two shirts, a tie, a pair of shoes, one pair of dress slacks, and a belt from Kohl's for $265! I started joking with him at one point if he needed a tie clip, a new wallet and handkerchiefs too. At least those items were not needed. We did get 15% off and I used my rewards card which netted me a $15 reward.
Guess what? Once he heard I had that reward and $10 off a $25 men's apparel purchase he suddenly needed new jeans. Well he did NEED new jeans...there was a hole in the crotch. I was expecting to buy one pair, but his mind says if one pair is good, I might as well stock up and get two! He and I really do think differently at times. Another $50 spent at Kohl's the next day after the big splurge.
It sounds like I'm complaining, I'm sure. Logically, I know we can afford these purchases and they are needed and should all get used. Emotionally, it was overkill in the amount of things he needed to buy and the outflow of cash right now is just stressing me out! I want it to stop. I think he isn't tuned into the cash flow, so that is something to work on and figure out how to communicate better about.
Have you spent over $300 on clothes recently? What did you get?
We met with a realtor on Friday about selling our home. The good news is that our home has appreciated since we bought it, by enough to cover the commission. And it should sell FAST. Two homes on our street have had offers in the last two months in 10 days or less!
This realtor will definitely do her work likely earn her commission. But when I see that huge number, I feel a bit sick to my stomach. That money could cover a year of college!
We have not yet agreed to have this realtor be our agent, so we could still officially do our own marketing and sell on our own. We have never done that before and likely won't. We did know how much a realtor cost when we bought, so this isn't new information. We even figured this cost in when we bought. It's just seeing that big number on a piece of paper that bothers me.
The agent wants to have it listed by the beginning of April, just after Easter. My biggest concern is listing too soon and having people see it but not want to wait to close until mid June. Although I would think families would be good with this if they have school age children. My preference is the last week of April. We are still discussing and really just need to firm up a trip to our new state first.
The other good news is we should easily walk away with $12-13K. The paying down of the mortgage has made a big difference in that regard.
I hauled in $183.20 in snowflakes/found money in the month of February. Not as good as January where I cam up with $290. I'm not going to complain. It's all good!!
The money came from eBay sales, Swagbucks earnings, credit card rewards, and being under budget on our water bill. It all adds up...and that is the main reason I track this stuff, to show you that it DOES add up.
Found money can make a difference, if you make sure to apply it to your goals. Don't let the money melt in your wallet or checking account. My snowflake money is usually in our checking account, but I have an excel sheet that shows which portion of the balance is snowflakes. I keep adding it up and generally get the money to my goal once a week.
How much money did you find this month?