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

Archive for July, 2015

More Spending...

July 27th, 2015 at 06:22 pm

We are still spending. This time we went to Kohl's and bought some clothes. I needed another pair of shorts for our trip, I bought three because I couldn't decide. However, I will return two after the trip. My husband needed two pairs as did one of my daughter's. My husband also needed a couple shirts. And then since we had a 25% off coupon and a $10 off coupon it seemed the right time to buy a new kitchen pan. My husband has been complaining about ours sticking. He's already used it and very happy!

That trip was not frugal, but we all found things there in one trip so that was really good. But spending $178 is tough! Again, I do plan to return two of the shorts I bought, which we probably be about a $32 credit, bring the bill to under $150. A bit better, but boy things are expensive and thus why we usually get by with less clothing. On vacation we don't want to spend our time washing and drying to get things clean. And we will be in Florida, thus the clothes are going to be filthy after sweating in them all day. No wearing again. Although I actually might try that with one pair of shorts. Wash in the sink and hang to dry. Then I could return all three pairs of shorts!!

Our first water bill arrived today. It was for just 7 days. It included a $20 turn on charge. The actual water with taxes was 7.60. I set the bill to pay next Monday from our checking account and requested future bills to be sent by email.

I'm going to enjoy the trip and plan to pay all the bills when we return this weekend.

A Rug Purchase

July 26th, 2015 at 06:35 am

We have hardwood floors on the main level of our rental home. Of course, part of the agreement when renting a home is to leave the home in the same condition as you found it (or better). With that in mind, we are beginning to purchase some rugs for under our furniture.

Yesterday we purchased an 8x10 rug for our fourth bedroom, a guest room. I wouldn't be in such a hurry for that room, except in a week my parents are visiting! A bed on a wood floor seems like it could roll (at least our frame has rollers) or definitely make deep marks over time.

The rug was $167 at Home Depot. We purchased a $48 rug pad and a package of 4 light bulbs at the same time. The total after our military discount and tax was $212. I wished I put it on our Discover card as they have 5% cash back at home improvement stores. I didn't have mine with me. Found out later my husband had his (and he was with me), but I didn't ask him! That would have been another $10 in savings.

We have a rug under our kitchen table that I bought for $20 probably six years ago. It has always been in our basement and was purchased for that purpose. I had tried selling it before we moved. It is working for now, but I don't like it.

We also need a rug for our living area. We did see a few yesterday that would probably work, ranging from $328 to $398. They were at Lowe's. They are having 10% off their area rugs in stock until Aug 2. We would also get a 10% military discount after that. And if we actually use our Discover card this time, we could save even more. Smile

When we first saw this rental home I liked the floors, but I didn't think about the cost I would incur to protect them. We did put little felt pads on the bottom of several pieces of furniture that will be directly on the floor, so not a requirement to have rugs everywhere!

Do you have large area rugs in your home to protect floors? Where have your purchased yours? Any rug tips?

Tuition With A Credit Card

July 25th, 2015 at 08:06 am

I found out that we can pay tuition with a credit card, BUT there is a 2.75% convenience fee charged to the payment. I think I'll avoid this and just use our checking account when it comes time to make payments.

I need my daughter to grant me access to pay her tuition as a first step, otherwise it will all be on her. I'm guessing she will have no problem with granting the access. Smile

I'm not sure exactly what the amounts billed will be yet or when the are due. I should have enough cash on hand at any time to make payments. I will likely reimburse us from her college savings after I know the amounts and they have been paid.

Temporary Lodging Paid

July 24th, 2015 at 06:18 am

We received a payment for our temporary lodging expenses yesterday. The amount was $1550.50. This is less than the rent we actually paid for 30 days. But the Army made this payment based on their calculation for 10 days worth of lodging and meals. Works for me!

I can now make the final payment on our Citi Premiere card, which is under $800. That will make the balance zero. It should remain that way and we will get it closed in the near future.

I still have a running balance on our Citi Preferred card, maybe about $3K. This card has 0% interest, so I have been just paying what I can from paychecks. I will need to dip into savings soon to get it all paid off, which is fine. I haven't even used all the money the Army has sent yet. Smile

I expect I can put at least $1500 on it today, and have another $500 available on pay day. Of course, we have our trip expenses, but some of that Army money is covering the trip. I'm finally feeling a little more in control of the cash inflows and outflows again.

It will be interesting to see how college and making payments feels in the next couple months! It's coming up fast. Smile

More Airline Tickets for Just $44.80!

July 21st, 2015 at 07:31 pm

We booked airline tickets for our entire family to go to Florida next week for three nights. The tickets were just $44.80 after using Southwest Rapids Rewards points and the companion pass I earned from last year. We also used points to get a rental car, which was free compared to taking a taxi or a shuttle service from the airport.

We are going to the Universal theme parks for three days. My youngest daughter is a BIG Harry Potter fan, thus she has been wanting to go for awhile. I did tell her it was possible this summer. I suddenly realized summer was winding down and her sister would be off to college. It was time to squeeze this trip in!

Our three day tickets for four people to park hop at Universal will be $604 with our military discount. We are saving $216 off gate admission with this benefit.

We are staying one night at a Fairfield Inn using Marriott points. The other two nights are going to be VERY pricey, but the benefits will be well worth the cost to our family. We are staying on site at one of the Deluxe resorts which will provide us early admission to the parks as well as an unlimited Express Pass for each of us for all three days. This will save us from waiting in some very long lines. So two nights for four people will cost us $695!! Yes. It is crazy. But since we are saving in so many other areas with reward points this money out of pocket will be in line with what we are willing to pay for this quick trip. A trip I know our girls will remember for a long time. Smile

We will have some parking fees at the airport and on site at Universal. But the other big expense is going to be food. I'm going to look at some menu prices to see if I can get idea on that cost. It will be in the hundreds of dollars since it is theme park food!!

I made all these crazy plans before I told my girls. But at dinner I said I was working on a surprise and told them the trip plan! They were both excited and did remember I said we would probably go this summer. I'm glad I remembered to make it happen. Smile

Anyone been to the Universal theme parks? Tips for us?

Airline Tickets for $36

July 20th, 2015 at 07:10 pm

I'm taking my daughter to college in less than a month. We are flying! We just booked our tickets with Citi Thank You Rewards for a total out of pocket cost to us of $36.

These Citi Thank You Rewards were earned with our Citi Thank You Premiere card that we applied and received in May. We spent the required amount (I believe $3K) and earned 50,000 bonus points on our last statement. With points earned for the purchases as well, we had over 55K points which was just short by $36 for covering our tickets. One is a one way ticket and the other is a round trip ticket. It's going to be sad to leave her, but I know she will end up doing just fine.

We charged all of our travel to our new home, the first half of our temporary housing rent and just regular everyday spending to meet the $3K. It's nice to know we did get a benefit from it. This is the first time we have used credit card rewards for flights. We usually use them for cash or gift cards. These airline tickets were definitely the better deal! These tickets would have cost us nearly $700.

We still have over 78K of Southwest Rapids Rewards points to use...maybe for flights. Just haven't decided on the best use for those yet.

If you have credit card rewards, do you use them for airline tickets?

Escrow Check Arrived

July 17th, 2015 at 12:57 pm

The escrow check from our mortgage company arrived today. A nice fat check in the amount of $2,033.05. We are still owed $21.98 for cancelling our homeowners insurance. The insurance company sent that money to our mortgage company, but apparently it did not arrive in time to be included with this check. I'll be depositing it using my mobile phone!

We are still waiting on one more Army reimbursement. It should cover some of our time in our temporary apartment. I'm guessing that could take a couple more weeks.

One day soon all the money flowing out and in will settle down a bit. It has been a crazy year so far!

Quick Update

July 15th, 2015 at 12:27 pm

All of our items arrived at our rental home on Monday. I've nearly unpacked all boxes inside the home. I will need to find a cool morning for the few in the garage. We were even able to unpack quite a few boxes while the movers were on a break waiting for a second truck to arrive. That means they already hauled away all the boxes and papers we unpacked then. Actually kind of nice! Smile

Unfortunately, not all of our items made it halfway across the country in good condition. Frown I've seen a broken plate, broken (in half) candle holder, grease and debris on several of the mattresses, a hole chewed in the corner of our big wood desk (a mouse while in storage?), a broken bike reflector, damage to the bottom of our entertainment center that seems to have been already repaired using two stains and wax (and not in a good way)...and some other minor dings that I will live with and avoid mentioning.

It's payday! We also received a payment for the items we moved in our van. That payment is taxable, so the net amount was $734.51. I haven't logged on to see the rest of the details for how much the total was and how much was withheld for taxes. I think they withhold 25%! We'll get that back early 2016 when we file our taxes. Now we are just waiting for one more payment...the one that is for the temporary lodging. Maybe two more weeks at least on that one.

That's it for now. More details later when I have more time. I want to get back to the unpacking. Although I did appreciate the few minutes it took to write this post to get off my feet. Moving is tiring!

Yep, Today Was Spendy

July 12th, 2015 at 06:43 pm

Today was spendy. Not unexpected as I alluded in my last post. We spent $55 at the PostExchange on needs for the house. Then at the Commissary we stocked up on groceries and other needs spending $225. It seemed we got a lot for that money, too!

There was a stop at Lowe's for a plunger, felt furniture pads and a trash can. Not sure the price, maybe $40 or less.

We also bought our modem for our cable internet at Best Buy. We decided to purchase rather than pay $8 a month. We picked a modem which was priced at $71.99 on the shelf, but after a 10% discount and taxes came to $125! We questioned it, and then showed the cashier where we found it. Apparently stocked on the shelf wrong, but we got the price that was listed! That was a savings of nearly $55. Worked well for us. If they had not offered the same price we would have picked a less expensive modem. Smile

Tomorrow might involve a meal out depending on if our kitchen items are unpacked! We have food, but might be hard to make it! Otherwise, I do hope it is a no spend day.

Oh, noticed one of my fairly new tires was low on air tonight. We refilled for now. Hoping if there is a leak it could be fixed. We don't need car issues at the same time we are moving!

Did you have a frugal weekend or were things a bit spendy for you as well?

Weekend Before Moving In

July 10th, 2015 at 02:22 pm

It's our last weekend in our rental apartment. We received confirmation that our movers are expect to arrive and unload our items on Monday morning. The earlier the better...it is going to be hot!

I'm hoping we can try to relax a bit, but we do need to go shopping before move in day to get some things. Many of these are items we tossed before the move or left at our house for the buyers.

Here's my list so far:
toilet bowl brush
shower curtain rings(two sets)
paper towels
outdoor trash can
plunger
broom (maybe 2)
felt floor pads (for furniture)
scrub brush for kitchen
kitchen sponge
dish soap
outdoor rugs (could wait)
a weeks worth of groceries
internet modem

Our relaxing weekend includes visiting a museum here. I'd also love to swim in the pool one more time! And if the weather would cool off a little more I'd like to walk a trail that I found out about (not near our home unfortunately).

Cable and Internet

July 9th, 2015 at 07:26 am

I mentioned before we were probably going to sign up for cable at our new rental home. We have been able to get good over the air reception for the last 9 years. However, taking a look at the digital tv reception map for our area shows we MIGHT be able to get PBS and ION television with an antenna. That's just not enough for us.

We are getting the basic local channels (20+) and 15Mbp internet, including the rental of two digital adapters for our televisions at a cost of $63.19 a month. We are going to buy our own internet modem to save the $8 rental cost. We might increase our internet speed if we find that we are having issues, but it seems better to start with less and work our way up if needed.

Our internet bill with taxes and fees at our last home was $71 a month. So we are actually saving a little money. Smile We were offered a plan for double the internet speed, 200 channels, and home phone for $50 more a month. Tempting, but overkill, since we don't need a home phone (we have Ooma), and we definitely don't need 200 channels!

We are using Time Warner. Our costs are locked in for 12 months, but we were happy to hear we are not under any contract and can cancel at any time for no fee. I'm sure after 12 months we will need to get another 'deal' on pricing, but we will deal with that when the time comes.

Swagbucks Referral

July 8th, 2015 at 12:40 pm

There's a promotion to refer friends to Swagbucks right now. If you sign up by July 31st and earn 300 Swagbucks by the end of August you will receive a 300 Swagbucks bonus and so will I.

A $3 Amazon gift card is worth 300 SB. So a little help with your next Amazon purchase. Or save your Swagbucks for other gift card redemptions.

I'm going to attempt to save my Amazon gift cards earned on Swagbucks and Bing for needs my daughter might need in college. A simple and affordable way to help her out from time to time.

Here's my Swagbucks referral code. Thanks for helping me out!

Making a Donation

July 8th, 2015 at 07:28 am

I'm making a $50 donation today to an organization that has been helping my niece. It's a group home for women that have aged out of the foster system. It seems to have been a great thing for her. She's had some mental health issues along with parents who didn't know how to handle it well at all (dealing with their own issues). She is doing great now from what I can tell.

The organization had a fireworks stand to raise money, but I don't buy fireworks! And I wasn't in town to do so if I even wanted to. I promised a donation when she posted the fundraiser online. I forgot about it until this morning! They accept PayPal donations, so that makes it easy and skips the need to mail anything.

She recently said the organization needs more pots and pans and a vacuum. I don't know if that is where my money will go, but it gives me an idea what they are using some of the money for.

What organizations do you like to donate to?

First Fees

July 7th, 2015 at 02:29 pm

I've set up electricity and water utility accounts today. The electricity charges a $10 membership fee since it is a co-op. They also charge a transfer fee which is $23.54. So we owe $33.54 before the electricity charges start. The water utility charges a $20 set up fee, which is also added to our first bill. Both will allow payments online (including credit cards) for free. The electric company was kind of to tell me our bill will always be due on the 10th of the month.

I still need to figure out who to use for internet! I can't decide. I did find out that we can use our own modem with Time Warner for internet. I think we are actually using our modem from our old house here in the apartment. Seems to work fine! It isn't on the 'approved' list though. That may mean buying one, but I know that will be cheaper than renting one.

I figure we can actually wait on the tv service for a bit. We watch more online than anything else it seems. Cable is a time suck for us that we really don't need. I'm very leery of adding cable to our lives!

I wonder how things are going for LAL and her move to the West?

Time To Set Up Utilities

July 6th, 2015 at 07:07 pm

I'll be calling to set up our new utilities for our rental home this week. The water and electricity should be easy. But I'm getting hung up on picking internet providers. I can choose between CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable. The owners of the home have used Time Warner and did mention needing to call to get the lower rate occasionally. I dislike this tactic, but will do it if needed.

We had CenturyLink in the past and didn't ever really have an issue with service. Although my husband said it was slow...which it was but that was over three years ago and in a different location. It wouldn't work for how we use service now, but I think they have faster options available.

We might need cable too, for basic channels. I'm definitely leery of committing to a contract on tv. It is changing so fast. We had used an antenna in our last state to get over the air channels for free. I checked the ability to get over the air service at our new location and it is not good. We might be lucky to get PBS and ION stations. I'd really just like local stations, but I'd prefer all of them! So now we are looking at basic cable and possible packages that bundle them with internet.

Decisions. Decisions.

Anyone have either of the above companies for internet or cable? Thoughts. I know most cable companies can get crappy reviews and are always adding on more fees. I hate that!!

Lost $20

July 5th, 2015 at 07:41 am

We went to a celebration on post last night. My husband took out $80 in cash so we could buy food and drinks from the vendors. The event was free and we saw some well know entertainers, so paying high prices for the food didn't bother us too much this time.

My husband thinks he lost $20 or maybe just a $10 bill. He came home with $8 in his wallet. However we can only remember and account for about $50 in food. It's possible we aren't remembering what we purchased correctly and actually spent $70+ on food!

If we did drop some cash, I sure hope someone who needed it came across it and it made their night. We can afford to lose $20 luckily. Not trilled about it, but it isn't' the end of the world.

Yes! The Money Is Pending

July 3rd, 2015 at 03:33 pm

Most of our travel reimbursement from the Army is pending in our checking account today. This one is for our Dislocation Allowance, mileage and per diem for our actual driving trip to our new location. At least that what it looks like from the amount. Smile

The amount pending is $4,656.55. Definitely plenty to work with to get our credit card paid off. I'll give more updates when it is all complete.

Still Waiting

July 2nd, 2015 at 05:51 am

We are still waiting on the reimbursement from the Army. Maybe tomorrow? I know it will come eventually. It just takes patience on my part!

The good news is we finally got a daily itemized bill from the corporate housing company. My husband can turn this in to get some reimbursement from the military for our temporary quarters. They will only cover 10 days, but they include a per diem for food for those ten days with the assumption you are probably in a hotel and eating out for all meals. That extra food money will help defray some of the costs as well. I'm going to guess this would come to around $700 if we get it. It could be more, but I'm not going to pin my hopes on it.

Have a super Independence Day weekend!!

Free Notary

July 1st, 2015 at 10:08 am

Awesome! Our bank, USAA, has a free notary public service. This is the first time I have lived near one of their financial centers. I took advantage of the service today for a document the school needed to enroll my daughter in school. It took all of ten minutes to include the wait. Free and painless. Glad to have that marked off my list.

I also used the ATM to get allowance money for my daughters. The each get a little spending money each month. That's all we give. If they want something that cost more than they need to save for it. It's kind of a way for them to learn to manage their money and for us to stay in budget with any wants they want!

Our temporary apartment gave us the final rent due for our stay through the 14 of July. It was slightly less than I thought by $30.11. That means I can send that money to pay back the rent we already paid for the last half of July in our rental home.

My youngest daughter turns 15 this week. I bought $50 worth of gifts before we moved and they are already wrapped. She indicated she wanted a t shirt from an online store and a new sketchbook. She knows the t shirt will arrive late, so I will order that today. I was able to get the sketchbook she wanted for $4.55. I will have to figure out how to wrap that one creatively. I've actually got one idea to use some fabric. Smile

In other news, my oldest daughter received the list from her music professor of music she needs to buy. It came to $114 before shipping! I guess that would be similar to some text books. We'll get that ordered next week so it can arrive at our new house.

It is payday here, but still no reimbursement from the Army yet. I still think it could arrive by Friday. Fingers crossed anyway!