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Archive for October, 2016

Random Money Thoughts

October 23rd, 2016 at 03:04 pm

First, I don't shop much at all any more. I don't want to acquire more stuff! However, we were out of town yesterday. And I wanted to stop into World Market. I haven't lived in a town with that store for 4 years! Boy, I was amazed at how different it seemed. The styles of the merchandise, while similar, was different. I think we spent at least 45 minutes in there. Luckily, I only left spending $16. Half the cost was for Christmas ornaments for my daughter's (a traditions) and the other half a fun gift for my youngest daughter (she had a stressful week at school). I think it may be a good thing I don't live by that store any more though. I was very tempted to buy other things!

I just made the $1800 payment on the credit card for the Europe trip. I mentioned this plan in my last post. Not sure why the ticker isn't updating...maybe a delay. New balance is $2895. Goal is to have it paid off the card one month from today, November 23. I'd love it to be from current cash, but I'm pretty sure some will come from savings and we will pay it back.

My husband received his birthday check from my parents for $100. I've added it to the birthday fund. This year we are skipping giving gifts for our birthday's, but hope to buy some bigger needs (and sort of wants) for Christmas. My birthday is next month, and I expect I will get a check from my parents also.

Our water bill arrived in my inbox. Next month the bill is $57. Last month it was $71, and the month before that $110. Definitely using less water now that the lawn growing season has slowed down. Electric bill was also down by $55!

I'm grocery shopping later today. I think the bill will be a little larger as my parents are going to be in town, so a little different style of food and more of it. But they are easy to please, so it shouldn't be too much extra. Smile

And finally, we are about to book our flights home for Thanksgiving. Three of us flying on Southwest round trip is going to be between $1200 and $1300. We are flying on some less busy days so that helps the cost. I had this money in the vacation fund. I expect we will easily have enough points to cover my oldest daughter's flight home for Christmas. If not Christmas, definitely for Spring Break.

$1800 Saved & Spent

October 20th, 2016 at 12:48 am

Even after our recent van air conditioning repair (just under $200), we put away $1800 in our emergency fund this month. That is assuming we can stay within the budget we planned in YNAB, of course.

And realistically, that money is spent. I need to put it towards the Europe trip. I expect to do just that very soon. That will put the balance of that payoff at $2895. And that is a number so much easier on the eyes!

There are two more paydays before the full payment is due on the credit card I charged it on. It would be great if I could come up with another $1800 by then. Fingers crossed!!

Van Air Conditioning

October 16th, 2016 at 08:58 pm

Today when we left the grocery store our air conditioning was only blowing hot air. It did briefly come on and was cooling great, but then it went off again. We checked the relays as we read that could be an inexpensive fix, but they seem okay. I expect we will have our van in to get this repaired this week. We drive it everywhere and it actually still warm enough to need and want air conditioning. Although, I'm sure glad it is not July or August.

I'm hoping this is not a major repair to the tune of $500 or more. We just committed to the Europe trip, and my daughter told me she is going to do 17 credits next semester (compared to the 13 she is taking this semester), so that is going to cost more in February when it is time to pay for them.

Snowflakes

October 14th, 2016 at 12:38 pm

I have some snowflakes to report. And they all go to pay down the Europe trip.

$17, USAA Visa Rewards
$3, Pinecone survey
$2.32, Ebay sale
$1.08, Discover Rewards
$0.07, Checking account interest
$23.47, TOTAL

Now under $4,700, with a payoff total of $4,695.53.

Today is payday, but we won't do our budget until Sunday most likely. I expect we will have some funds to throw at this.

Paying off Europe

October 11th, 2016 at 04:35 pm

I want to make a conscious effort to pay ourselves back for this trip to Europe we have purchased for our daughter. The total cost upfront is $4719. We put it on a credit card. We will pay off in full by the due date, November 23.

The plan is to keep track of paying ourselves back, since most of the cost is coming from savings. If I set up a tracker here we can all follow my progress in making this happen. It would be great if we could make it happen by the time of the trip in late June. However, I have another tuition payment in February, that I need to pay out of pocket as well.

So the ticker is set up on the side bar and I will update it as we go along! I expect to cash Pinecone survey points and some other rewards soon. I also need to add some things to eBay for sale soon also!

Survived Matthew

October 9th, 2016 at 07:10 pm

Matthew came by where we live. We are fine and still have power and water, although some in our city do not. There have been a LOT of road closures due to water exceeding banks of rivers and streams. Those storms bring a lot of rain!!

School is cancelled tomorrow and my husband would have been off anyway due to Columbus Day holiday. We are keeping ourselves busy at home and off the roads.

Just before the storm arrived we did stock up on water, non perishable food, batteries and a new lantern. I was able to use gift cards at Target and Home Depot for the purchases. We earned them from one of our credit cards. We have not used any of the items. I plan to keep them all packed away until we do need them. A survival kit of sorts. I'm sure next year we may need to pull things out and evaluate if we want to replace them.

I've heard from news reports of many people looking for ice, and fuel now that the storm has past. We honestly don't have that much food in our home that would even need to be iced if we lost power. We would just eat it before it could go bad.

Our cars have full tanks of gas in them and we have extra fuel from our lawn mower we could use. We also don't own a generator, so we wouldn't be trying to run something like that!

Are you prepared for a natural weather disaster?

Amex Offer and Europe Trip

October 7th, 2016 at 08:42 pm

I was looking at our American Express account today and noticed that there was a new offer providing 10% off a cable or satellite bill. The offer is good through 1/31/2017. Limit on credits is $30. So I think the offer can be redeemed for more than one bill. I plan to use the American Express card for three months and will be able to redeem close to the $30 limit.

We just enrolled our daughter in her WWII Europe trip for this summer. I paid in full. I did charge it to our Southwest card, but we have the cash on hand. I will get some miles and a little extra purchase protections. The trip is 14 days and includes a lot for $4719. We did add on a side trip to Versailles for $100.

My daughter is going to pay for some of the additional spending money she will need to cover at least one meal a day, souvenirs and a few other extra side trips that may come up. She will also need to pay for her passport.

I now need to come up with a plan to make sure we pay ourselves back for the purchase. If I had signed up for the payment plan I would have been paying about $569 a month, which is probably doable.

I had to laugh last night when we left the meeting about the trip because I was talking about the cost. He said, isn't there some card you can apply for and get $500 in rewards?! I guess he has come to see that is a way to bring in some cash. Smile And it probably wouldn't hurt to look around and see if any offers come up.

Boxed

October 3rd, 2016 at 04:35 pm

I mentioned a few months ago using an Amex offer for Boxed.com to buy a lot of toilet paper. Specifically, 114 double rolls!!

My husband and I each have a different Amex card account, so I decided to dip in again with his card. The offer is to spend $50 and receive a $20 credit. Shipping is free with the Amex card (or at least some promo code I found last time that is related). I bought to 36 count double rolls of toilet paper and added in two large bottles of sriracha sauce as I'm having trouble finding it at the commissary and my husband uses it on everything!

My total after a $2 rewards credit was $50.76. I will owe $30.76 after the Amex offer. This purchase will also get us closer to redeeming $25 in rewards on the Amex card as well.

Now I'm stocked up even more on toilet paper. And for what it's worth we haven't even used half of the 114 rolls I purchased last time.

If you want to try Boxed.com my referral offer is here. This gives you $15 off a $60 order. You may be able to combine this with your Amex offer for an even better deal.

September Interest

October 2nd, 2016 at 02:14 pm

I totaled the interest on our cash investment for the month of September and came up with $80.18. I think this may be the highest monthly total in awhile. Not positive on that, as I don't track it anywhere but in my blog posts. It would be higher as I have more money at invested at higher rates (2% plus) than ever.

I sure wish it was more, but $80 month does equal $960 a year that we don't even have to work for. Smile