<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: December, 2016
 

Archive for December, 2016

December 2016 Interest

December 31st, 2016 at 06:49 pm

Every month, I always want more interest on our money. This month is no exception. However, I feel blessed that our money is earning us money without ANY effort on our part. Passive income, love it!!

Our December total interest is $78.12.

My wish for 2017 is more interest than 2016!

Riley

December 27th, 2016 at 04:47 pm

We euthanized Riley today. And that's all I got to say about that.

She was a very good cat. As a stay at home mom, she was a big part of my everyday life. I'm sure I will feel the void. We were all bonded over her cuteness. Luckily because of that we have a ton of pictures and videos to enjoy. I sure wish she could have lived longer than her 9 short years, but I know that she was given lots of love while she was here.


Rest in peace sweetie!

Riley Update & More

December 26th, 2016 at 11:37 am

Our cat Riley has cancer. I was actually told this on Saturday, but because of the veterinarian's thick accent, I didn't hear that part. We spoke to him again today in person to get it all cleared up. She is drinking and using the litter box. Her desire to eat is very low. And unfortunately she is vomiting some of it up once a day. I think I mentioned before that she weighs less than she did three months ago.

Our vet costs this month have amounted to $829. We aren't going to do much more for her. She is 9. We will keep her comfortable, until it's time. She still has some energy to play a bit, and gets up to change where she sleeps and use the litter box.

We are traveling for a few days coming up. I'm attempting to find boarding, but expect my neighbor may end up helping instead. She is actually willing to deal with an ill cat! I feel blessed.

In other news...we finally exchanged our more expensive cable box for a digital adapter. This saves us $10 a month, and provided a $6 credit on our next bill. I think the smaller adapters use less energy too, so we might see a little savings.

And finally, today we went shopping. So unlike me the day after Christmas! My younger daughter needed jeans, a pair of khaki pants and pajama pants. It had been two years since she had purchased some of these things so it was time. We were able to get everything in two stops. I spent $79 at Kohl's and $20 at Target for 7 items.

I may not check in here until around the new year. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of 2016.

Riley Not Eating Again

December 23rd, 2016 at 02:01 pm

Our cat Riley that we took to Urgent care last week is not improving. She ate for several days, but as of today she isn't eating again. We were at our vet today. They took an xray. There is something they can see (a mass) that they can't define, so that is going to radiology to read. It is unknown when that will get read, maybe by Monday. Riley did not like the vet palpitating her abdomen at all.

In the meantime, more fluids were given. And we were given high protein/high energy prescription food to try. And some oral vitamin gel.

Another $400+ spent and I'm not so sure what to think. If I can't get her to eat there is going to be a problem and we may end back up at Urgent care. And then how much care do we continue?

It's pretty stressful to say the least!

2016 Snowflakes Final

December 22nd, 2016 at 02:09 pm

In my previous post, I tallied up our credit card earnings. I came up with a whopping $2,595. I was actually quite surprised at what we accumulated. A couple new cards did help!

I had been putting nearly all snowflakes in our second checking account this whole year, with the plan that I could set those aside for college expenses. I'm going to keep doing this into 2017.

My final tally for snowflakes from non credit card sources is $701.25. I've put my excel sheet down below.Snowflakes do add up! I have interest to add up for 2016 soon, too. That adds up also. Smile


Credit Card Rewards 2016

December 22nd, 2016 at 01:31 pm

I'm calling it a year with the credit card rewards. I didn't track well at all this year. My snowflake spreadsheet ended in March, so I had to go looking through all of our credit card accounts.

The final (slightly estimated tally) is $2,595!

The best new reward was from Marriott (we earned $87K points by opening their Rewards card and spending $3K). Those are worth about $612. We have not redeemed all of them yet. In fact, we may have only redeemed one or two nights so far for 25K points. I noticed we also earned another 10K points, so a total of 97K points for the year. This card does have an annual fee. That fee covers one free night the following year.

Southwest Rewards. We earned just over 19K miles. With miles from the previous year, we were able to redeem miles for my daughter's flight home this month. That ticket would have cost me $600 out of pocket. I also upgraded from the Plus card to the Premier card and received a $25 statement credit. Total $625.

The next best reward was for another card we opened. The American Express Premier Gold card. We earned 50K points after spending just $1000. Those 50K+ points earned us over $500 in gift cards. We have already cancelled this card as it had a large annual fee.

Here is the breakdown of other cards we have and the rewards we have earned on them. I do a lot of switching around thus, the small amounts on some of them.

American Express Blue Everyday (CCF) $235
American Express Blue Everyday (DH) $199
USAA $117
US Bank $140 (a 5% saving off our cell phone bills)
Citi ThankYou Preferred $58 (cancelled this card)
Chase Freedom $40.60
Target $40 (from 5% savings)
Discover $28.49

I can't complain. That is decent savings! And we paid zero interest on our cards by paying balances in full each month!

Snowflakes

December 20th, 2016 at 04:35 am

I'm trying to focus on snowflakes to keep me positive rather than focus on all the money going out. Of course, I'm not ignoring it.

Money going out includes the unexpected expense of the vet visit on Saturday which was $385. And today we have our truck in for 90K mile maintenance. I guess for everything they are doing it will be $750! I only have $100 set aside specifically for car maintenance as I thought we only needed an oil change and tire rotations. Bad planning on my part. We do have the cash, just need to move money around on YNAB.
Tomorrow we have appointments for passport application, including photos. That will be $450. I did set that money aside.

The snowflakes are minor in comparison.

I did get a $15 credit from Southwest for the Early Bird that my daughter didn't get the advantage of on her recent flight because of cancellation and rebooking. I was thinking $30, which is what I paid, but half of that is for the return flight in January.

I earned $3 from Pinecone. I'm currently having it transferred to my PayPal account.

My husband is home today. I'm hoping to have him call (his name is the only one on the account) the cable company and change out our set top box for a digital adapter. We don't have the channels anymore that required us to have it. And that has been a year, and we can save about $10 a month by making that change.

I had ordered my daughter three pairs of jeans from Kohl's and had them mail to her dorm. She only liked one. We are returning those today. We may order another one of what she liked. If we return both I will have nearly $80 back in our account, or $40 if we order another pair. We will try to find a pair in the store, but I'm not confident that will happen.

I have close to 1000 Swagbucks in my account. I earned $20 in Amazon gift cards this month, and will probably accumulate more before I cash out again. I'm not spending a lot of time on it, but it does add up!

I'm making myself a note that I want to try to figure out how much I accumulated in snowflakes this year. It won't be exact, but more like a ballpark figure.

Do you have any recent snowflakes?

Daughter Arrived Safely

December 19th, 2016 at 04:41 am

Our daughter finally made it home last night after having her Saturday evening flight cancelled entirely due to weather. Freezing rain in St Louis was the problem. She was rebooked on an early fight that landed her on a layover at Chicago Midway. The layover was originally suppose to be 4 hours, but turned into six! Shoutout to Laura (the deacon's wife), who messaged me and offered her phone numbers and pictures of her family, in case my daughter would need assistance if her flight was cancelled. SA really is becoming family for some of us!

Our daughter flew Southwest. I originally paid for her to have Early Bird Checkin, so she wouldn't need to worry about doing that and would have a good boarding position (Southwest doesn't assign seats). I have sent an email request a refund of my $30, as this did not benefit her after her flights were cancelled. I have not heard and may end up needing to call.

Our cat, Riley, is definitely doing better. She continues to eat, take her antibiotic, and rest. She still seems a bit low energy, but she is moving around more and played a little this morning when I dangled a toy near her this morning. Our older cat, named Liberty (age 12), is a huge fan of eating the wet food. This morning I gave her nearly half a little can and she gobbled it right up. I have left one bowl of dry food out for now as we transition to wet, so they don't go hungry, while I figure out how much to feed them. I do see the Fancy Feast website indicates 3 cans per day for a cat weighing 10-13 pounds. This is a little more than I was expecting. Liberty (age 12) weighs about 13 pounds. Both cats are obese unfortunately. Probably all the carbs in the dry food!

Riley Is Eating

December 18th, 2016 at 05:17 am

Riley is eating! (That is her in the picture on my sidebar) We were able to get her to eat more last evening and I even woke twice during the night to feed her. She was eating food off my finger. She doesn't have much energy, but she is still getting up and using the litter box. I also saw her grooming herself. This morning she did eat off a plate so that is also progress.

She has had two doses of her oral antibiotic. I'm such a pro at pills with this cat unfortunately. Both cats are loving the wet food too, which I knew since that was their evening snack. I just need to stock up on it at the commissary today. I think we will leave some dry food out during the transition, but I have a feeling they will both give it up.

In other news, our daughter's flight was cancelled last night. She was on the first plane and ready to go. They were waiting for some deicing of the runway in St Louis...which didn't happen so they cancelled it. She is now rebooked for this morning going through Chicago Midway. Her Chicago flight home is already delayed an hour. She is not happy about this. I would appreciate prayers that she arrives home tonight without any issues. I'm actually really proud of her! I never flew by myself at 19. Two years ago she was refusing to fly anywhere, so she is growing and maturing. And while upsetting to have flights cancelled and delayed it is a learning experience.

Ill Cat

December 17th, 2016 at 09:58 am

My youngest cat (9), her name is Riley, is ill again. She was sleepy, and vomiting yesterday. She definitely had not eaten since the day prior. And the final straw was when I checked on her this morning she hopped off the bed to use the litter box and there was a tinge of blood in her urine. We went to the urgent care vet this morning to make sure to be seen right away.

They did blood work which I'm very happy about. Overall it looks like an infection, probably urinary (bladder wasn't full enough to do a sample). There were some low numbers, but nothing that would be unusual or worrisome at this point. Although her weight is down about two pounds since September, so that isn't so great!

They gave an antibiotic injection, sub fluids, and an anti vomiting med in the office. We were sent home with instructions to get her to eat and give an oral antibiotic starting this evening. If she doesn't eat by morning she needs to go back in the morning.

Just now, about 2 hours after the return from the vet I was able to get her to eat 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of wet food. I find that very promising and will keep attempting to get her to eat more. I'm sure she will likely continue to feel better as the day goes on.

Riley is a cat that is gets very stressed. I think our last trip over Thanksgiving was probably not helpful to her health. Now I wish we didn't have another one coming up!

The cost was around $385. I told my husband that if it cost less than $500 I would be happy. I just want my cat to feel better! Our oldest daughter who is most bonded with this cat arrives home tonight from college. My worst fear this morning was that she wouldn't get to see the cat if it was something really bad. I haven't told her yet, as I don't want her to worry about it while she is flying.

Unfortunately someone brought a very lethargic cat that hadn't eaten for two days in while we were there. I believe that cat was euthanized before we even left ourselves. So sad!

Our plan going forward is to start feeding all wet food for our cats. My only issue is figuring out how much I should be feeding them. I asked the vet and she brought me a website to look at. This is my biggest frustrations with vets...they NEVER tell me now much to feed them. I've read instructions on bags of food that have helped some in recent years. So I have some research to do.

I know many of you have cats. If you feed wet food, please tell me what you do for your cat and how much your cat weighs. And if you have two cats do you feed separately?

Oh, and I was able to put the charge on my American Express card which I have 0% interest for the next 6 months. I'm going to pay that later from income rather than pulling from savings. At least that is the plan now. I may want to just get it paid. This looming tuition expense is messing with my planning!

Bills Paid, A Little Spending

December 15th, 2016 at 06:13 pm

I paid our credit card bills off in full and allocated funds to our budget categories for the rest of the month. I feel like I didn't save much as I was putting extra aside to cover hotel, eating out and fuel on our little trip to Nashville later this month. I hope we spend less than I budgeted!

I spent $18.75 for shipping a Large Flat Rate USPS box. I printed the label online and will drop the package off tomorrow morning. So much easier than standing in line this time of year!

I also bought a new filter for our refrigerator and a 2017 wall calendar off Amazon today. I had $20 in Amazon gift cards that I earned from Swagbucks this month. My final cost was less than $3 and I paid it with my Discover card to get 5% cash back (which will be sooo much in this case).

I did a lot of desk work today. I cleaned up my email inbox. I keep emails as reminders, so later I need to go back and delete them when they are no longer relevant. I consolidated some lists, and then started new ones! As the year winds down, I'm starting to make appointments for the new year, as well as saving documents for taxes.

I think tomorrow's spending will be limited to my husband picking up the weekend alcohol. We were already gifted a bottle of German wine to add mulling spices to, however, I think we will save that for Christmas.

The first of the month has been limited spending and it did help to use up some of the food we hadn't been getting used up. So in addition to meeting a financial goal, it has helped our kitchen food clutter.

$32

December 14th, 2016 at 06:28 am

I spent $3 at Dollar Tree yesterday on two stocking stuffers and some tea light candles. I am done gift shopping!

Two of us went to a high school basketball game last night. Admission was actually $7 each, rather than the $6 I had been told.

We are still within the budget I planned through today. Tomorrow is payday, so I can reallocate funds. I don't anticipate any spending today. I'm staying in and getting the presents that arrived in the mail wrapped, along with some cleaning. Dinner is already planned and bought.

I will put the extra $32 towards our upcoming trip to Nashville.

$74

December 13th, 2016 at 04:30 am

The only spending yesterday was my husband's haircut and tip. He spent $13.70. As a soldier he gets his hair cut every two weeks and he tips generously. I think $4 of that is a tip! He's always been a generous tipper, and it used to bug me, but I've come to terms with it. Why should I be the one to squash his generous spirit?!

We are getting passports next week. I discovered last night that we don't have a certified copy of my husband's birth certificate. I'm shocked! I looked through a lot of paper (and I became aware of how much we have that we could still get rid of) We do have two copies of it, but not the ones with the raised seal. So I'm going to send a request for one to the county of his birth. That is $17 to the county. I'm going to send it Priority mail, which will be $6.45. I'm also hoping I can purchase a prepaid Priority envelope so the birth certificate can be sent back the same way. That will add another $6.45 to the cost, for a total $29.90. This definitely was not an expense I was expecting this week.

We have $74 before the birth certificate and postal costs. I think we are going to see a high school basketball game tonight. Depending how many of us go, it will be $12 to $18 for admission.

Only two more days to go on our limited budget!

Snowflakes Are Coming

December 12th, 2016 at 11:29 am

We aren't getting snow here. In fact in our area it was just rain this morning. I'm referring to the money snowflakes. Or found money.

We were charged a $15 fee from Verizon for going over on our data this last month. The main problem was my husband early in our billing cycle updated all his apps while using data rather than wifi. That made traveling over Thanksgiving a bit harder. We had a few times we used my phones GPS while out driving which takes a lot of data. You have no idea how hard all four of us tried to stay under the amount once we were getting notifications. In the end we used 0.040GB more than our allotted amount.

I went online through Verizon's chat feature and asked for the fee to be waived, explained we didn't want to change plans since that would more money out of pocket over time than the fee, and explained we never go over. They did point out the new plans do have rollover data. But the immediately granted me a waiver of the $15 fee! I was very pleased.

I did some spontaneous paper decluttering this weekend. I came across billing from my daughter's oral surgery. I had made a note that we overpaid by $26.20, however I never called to get the funds back. I did make that call today and I should have a check in 4-6 weeks (I hope it comes faster)!

I thought I was getting $20 from an Ooma referral, but that must not have panned out. Maybe the person returned it. And I thought our USAA Subscriber's payment would go up like it has every year, instead it was far less! Last years amount was about $85. This year we received $45. I'll take it, but I was disappointed.

I'm keeping my eye out for other snowflakes coming our way! How are you doing with snowflakes this month?

$88

December 11th, 2016 at 06:09 pm

Friday's spending was on a few grocery items and alcohol. I'm not a fan of how much we spend on alcohol. I'm sure it could be far worse. Total between those two runs was $55.

The only spending on Saturday was for a soda. We stopped into a gas station to use the restrooms. We also make a point to buy something in exchange for the convenience. Total spent $1.59.

Today our spending was on laundry detergent and groceries for the week. Grand total was $95. I did make a point to plan simple and frugal meals, so that did help keep the spending low.

So now we are left with $88 budgeted until payday on Thursday. My husband will probably need fuel and a haircut this week. There is plenty to cover both.

$239

December 9th, 2016 at 05:45 am

As of today we have $239 left to spend before payday on the 15th of this month. Personally, I'm staying out of the stores, and limiting my driving. I'm also eating things from our fridge and pantry that wouldn't be my first choices, but that will help the grocery bill. I may revise our meal plan for next week to make sure we stay within budget as well.

Right now I feel pretty confident we can make it within our spending limits, but sometimes things come up that can't wait. So my fingers are crossed we can do it.

Since I'm doing Christmas shopping, I have been spending my time at home decluttering a bit. I always feel we are pretty pared down, and that is true compared to many, but I can always find something we no longer need and use. I have an update of my progress in this area on Your Organized Friend. Is anyone else decluttering this month?

Used Airline Points

December 7th, 2016 at 10:23 am

I just purchased a roundtrip ticket for my daughter to come home for Christmas. And I used Southwest Airline tickets to cover the whole thing! I did have to pay that small Federal fee, but that amounted to $11.20. It is kind of nice to get that benefit once in awhile. I may need to start using our airline rewards card a little more often to rack up the points faster.

In other news we are traveling to Nashville to see my daughter's band march during the half time show for their bowl game. She needs to get there anyway, so thought we would drive and enjoy the game and city ourselves. We have paid $200 for tickets and parking, and the hotel for 3 nights is just under $500. I have Marriott points, but because it's a busy time for hotels, the points needed are outrageous! So we'll just earn more points.

So...my husband and I are going to make the trip our Christmas gift. We were looking at buying new speakers at the cost of $400, but we decided that can wait. Likely we can buy those in the spring, after we have paid tuition.

I'm looking to accumulate some Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards to buy some needed items, such as razor blades. I figure every little bit helps the bottom line.

And I'm grateful once again to be a renter. The disposal is leaking and likely needs to be replaced. So the plumber is coming to take care of it and it won't cost me anything! I am annoyed that the landlord asked us to call instead of doing it himself!

Staying Out of Stores

December 6th, 2016 at 02:15 pm

In the last few years, I have done less and less shopping in stores. And this counts for Christmas, too! It is amazing how much less I spend when I avoid the stores. The displays are so tempting and inviting and there is ALWAYS a deal. The less I am in the store, the less I spend. It is directly correlated based on my own experience.

I think not having the newspaper coming to our door, reducing our mail and catalog delivery, and unsubscribing myself from store email lists have also made a difference.

Target is one of my favorite stores. I honestly love nearly everything about it! Before we moved it was my primary grocery store. I scanned the ads almost religiously and inevitably found something in the ad that was a good deal so I'd add it to the list. And honestly, it was usually something we would use. However, we didn't always need it right then. I could have probably waited for the next sale. And during this time of year it was easy to add some of the deals to my gift list just because why not it is so cheap!

Now that I shop online, I feel I'm a little more aware of what I'm buying. I'm not entirely sure why that is. It may be simple because I have a list, I find the item, add to cart and checkout. It's easy to do that on specialty sites and Amazon. If you are trying to meet a threshold for free shipping, then you are likely ending up with more than you need.

I did have to shop for a couple items in the stores, primarily for stocking stuffers and my nieces gifts. The nieces gifts were themed and had a lot of different things to them, so that meant going to different places. I'm hoping to avoid that next year!

So far our out of pocket cost for Christmas gifts is just over $500. I budgeted $600, so we are right on target!

Do you shop more online or in stores? Do you spend less if you stay out of the retail stores?

$500 For 12 Days

December 3rd, 2016 at 12:24 pm

We had a lot more spending in late November than I budgeted for. I just didn't think through our trip expenses and things we would end up buying our daughter while visiting very well. So to compensate we have about $500 for spending over the next 12 days.

We go grocery shopping tomorrow. I have a meal plan in place. I'm going to do my best to keep to the list. We need to be eating less anyway, so the lack of cash should help!

In other really good news, my sister and her husband adopted their second daughter (their older daughter's sister) today! A happy family of four. My gift to them is to make a photo book of her first year with them. That first year won't be complete until May, so I have some time to accumulate pictures and set some cash aside to get it made.

Boxed Savings

December 2nd, 2016 at 04:15 pm

I think I've mentioned the two other times that I made purchases at Boxed.com, so I might as well mention my third order. I snagged our favorite Dunkin Donuts coffee, 96 count Always, 67 oz Prego pasta sauce AND as set of 6 Cuisinart knives. I wasn't looking specifically for knives, but I had seen a similar set at some store and I really do need them!

My order total before rewards of $17 was $68.92. I charged the $51.92 to my husbands American Express card. He had an offer for Boxed.com. Spend $50, get $15 cash back. The final cost out of pocket will be $36.92. I basically feel like I got the knives free and similar prices for the other items that I would buy at the Commissary anyway.

If you are interested in $15 off a $60 order, use my link here. I think that allows you to get free shipping. I do like to buy in bulk when I know that the price is just as good or better than what I would pay in the store. It's also nice to stock up and know we won't need to run out to the store for the things we are stocked up on. Smile

November Interest

December 1st, 2016 at 12:18 pm

The cash we have in our bank accounts has earned us $75.40 in the month of November. I'll take it, even though I'd like more! Don't I say that every time I report on interest earned?

I believe I'm nearly done Christmas shopping. I still need some stocking stuffers. My husband and I will buy a joint gift this year once we have some additional funds in our account.

Are you finished Christmas shopping or just getting started?