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Archive for August, 2018

Rewards & More

August 27th, 2018 at 06:08 pm

As you can imagine with our recent travel (away 13 days) and all the college dorm spending, we have spent quite a bit of money. I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty, but simply share that we used several of our credit cards and earned 5% cash back at restaurants (Discover) and gas stations (Chase Freedom). We used our American Express for everything else (6% on groceries, but 1% on the rest).

I redeemed our rewards tonight from those three cards in the following amounts:
$32.00 Chase Freedom
$35.50 Discover
$62.35 American Express

Earlier in the month I had redeemed US Bank rewards for $8.31.

Total credit card rewards earned $129.85! I think that is the most ever earned in one month just on spending. I'm excited for the money back in our pocket, but boy not a fan of all the spending. However, I am grateful we do have the cash to cover what we want and need to buy.

Other cash came in from Ebates, selling a textbook, a calculator and one other item on eBay for $74.81.

We banked that $200 payment from our landlord and I saved the entire travel per diem my husband received from a recent trip, which was $261.92. He only spent $80, which I just covered out of our regular budget. It rarely turns out to be a money maker, so that was a nice surprise.

We'll add interest on our bank accounts later this month, but we definitely made a big deposit into Big Goal with all the extra cash flowing in.

The Move

August 25th, 2018 at 05:05 pm

We are moving again with the military. This fall, can't be more specific on when until after we move. I also cannot indicate the specific location, but it will still be in the southern US.

We are going to live on the military installation. We have never done that before, primarily because we have always wanted control over the school our girls would attend. We don't have that parameter this time!

We will be in a three bedroom townhome, approximately 1700 sq ft. This is an 1100 sq ft reduction from our current rental. As a result we are significantly downsizing our furniture! That part is a bit overwhelming, but hopefully we can off load it rather quickly, preferable for cash!

We do have to pay the equivalent of our housing allowance (which will be just over $2000) to live in this townhouse. We pay $1800, plus utilities currently. Electricity, water and trash is included at the new place. My husband's commute will be about 5 minutes. We will end up saving quite a bit by living on post and not having utility expenses or as much fuel for commuting. I'm going to estimate a savings of at least $500 a month.

My husband currently works out at the gym on post and he will continue this at our new location. But now that it is basically blocks away, I will also use the facilities...at no additional cost!

It was a bit overwhelming earlier this summer as we prepared to take both girls to college, but now that portion is over, it is feeling kind of exciting to make the next transition.

Hopefully, that answered some of your questions that have popped up since I mentioned the move. Smile I'll answer other questions if you have them.

$200 For Two Showings

August 24th, 2018 at 05:26 am

Last night our landlord paid us $200 (by Zelle, direct into our bank account) to show our rental home on Sunday to two potential and vetted renters on Sunday. One will arrive at 1pm and one at 2pm.

I was so conflicted about this additional duty, but once I texted the landlord my concerns, he completely understood and was quick to clear up what he expects and offer $200 to have these two showings in a limited time frame. If one of these two do not sign, there is the potential for additional showings, but he would pay us again for those showings.

The fee was in line with what I was wanting to ask for, but I did not want to offend him. The truth is the fee is worth it to them being unable to get here to show the house. And obviously, the less time the home is vacant the better for them.

I'd love to make a few more hundred dollars, but at the same time, I hope one of these two potential renters signs a lease, so that we can enjoy the home in the remaining weeks we have left here. Smile

Later today, I have to have the windshield on our van replaced. We hit a rock on the first day of our road trip earlier this month and boy did it crack! Two cracks, one around 15 inches, and another probably 24 inches. Using Safelite through our insurance would have cost us between $300-$360. I found a local glass place that will charge us $196 out the door with a warranty. We used them before so feel confident in the quality and service despite the lower cost. They get the glass from the same place! I guess our showing fee covers that cost. Smile

More on moving details soon, although I do have to be vague on where we are going and exactly when for security purposes.

How Much Do We Ask For?

August 22nd, 2018 at 06:03 am

So our landlord who lives out of state and does not have a property manager locally. Because we are leaving this fall, they are looking to rent the property again. They are asking if we would be willing to show the property to potential and interested renters for payment in return for giving our impressions on their level of interest. And they are asking what our asking price would be.

I'm fully aware that legally (and according to our lease) the owner has the right to show the property to a potential renter. I'm perfectly fine with that, but I never expected that I would be asked to do an additional duty of being available to show the property and report back our impressions.

I would need to clean, make time in my day, spend however long talking to the renters (we were here nearly an hour when we visited the first time), and then analyze in my mind what my impression was and report back. That is definitely worth something!

I feel like the number needs to be significant enough that the landlord doesn't send everyone over. That the money they would outlay would make them vet the renter to some degree.

The landlord is currently taking classes in one state and his wife works and lives about four hours away in another state. It would cost them at a minimum gas, food on the road and time off work (and maybe a hotel) if they were to drive here to show the house to a potential renter.

How much should I ask for? I have a number in mind, but wonder what others think.

Can I put stipulations on this? Such as only during X hours, when my husband would also be home?

Usually I'm all over making some extra cash, but this one is throwing me for a loop!

Snowflakes and More

August 21st, 2018 at 05:52 pm

Through Facebook I helped my daughter sell her graphing calculator to another student via his mother. She was asking on a parent's page, so I offered my daughter's up for $40. She jumped at the chance! I have the money in my PayPal account and the calculator has been delivered to the student.

When I confirmed the payment I noticed I had a payment from Ebates for $7.63. Nice surprise!

I have a few items on eBay for sale, one has a bid and will sell for several dollars.

The spending for our trip put us over budget by $750! Luckily we did get paid since then and have covered those expenses. It will be a bit tight through the end of the month however.

So now the real fun begins...time to start prepping for the move that will occur late fall. We are downsizing our space so will need to sell some major furniture in the process!

The Transition

August 13th, 2018 at 07:50 am

We've traveled across the US this past week and have managed to drop off our oldest daughter at college. She is beginning band camp this week. And tomorrow we drop off our youngest daughter at her University. The emotions of all this are everywhere, excited yes, but I'm a mess...I'm just going to miss them both so much. It seems sending the last one off is almost harder than the first.

So much spending buying supplies and dorm needs. I have yet total it all up. We probably have more than some, but definitely less than others who move into a dorm. We bring enough to create a comfortable environment, but not enough to fill it up.

We did find a great long, yet lightweight coat, at the local Columbia outlet mall here. We had our youngest try on her sister's LL Bean boots and she liked them, so will buy those in one size smaller in a few weeks and have them mailed to her dorm room.

We had two hotel nights on our way here. We have been staying at my parents place now for almost a week. We expect three more nights of hotel expenses on our way back. Another $350 at least. I've noticed that when you book a hotel in advance that you can no longer cancel up until check in on the night of the stay. You must cancel 48 to 24 hours in advance or be charged! We have one booked that we know we will use, but I think on our return trip we will book around noon on the day of our stay, this is helpful in case we think we can drive further or need to stop sooner.

Oh and we have had a lot of fuel and restaurant expenses. Since we have been using credit cards, and payday is in two days, I expect that little float will help. And when we return only need to buy groceries for two people rather than four as we have been doing all summer.

My neighbor has been checking on our 14 year old cat, usually twice per day. When we return, we are going to get her a restaurant gift card. We are so grateful for the help and her extra care and attention to detail.

More later, but prayers and good vibes for our peaceful transition and travel are appreciated. Smile

Withdrawal from ESA

August 2nd, 2018 at 05:37 am

I know it may seem odd, after just finishing our ESA contributions, but we are now making a withdrawal for our youngest daughter's tuition and housing bill.

I completed the buy order on Tuesday when the market was up and the money, $5,375, was in our account today. This money will cover the room and board portion of her bill (yes, for just one semester!)

Her bill is due on the first day of classes, August 20. The total due is $6,859.20. I did find out that books will not hit the account until next month, so I have time until I need to make that payment, which if I remember from orientation was $475!

Once all is said and done, I'll need to update you on the cost of things we bought for her dorm and just life as a college student. Hope to find her a warmer coat once we get back to the midwest, possibly at a Columbia outlet mall, they are very hard to find in the summer in the southeast! Lol.