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A Christmas Miracle!

December 20th, 2015 at 03:28 pm

Okay, that is a very strong statement. But I had to share that I was finally successful at cooking dried black beans! It feels like a Christmas miracle. I've tried a couple times before with no success. The beans were still unedible after hours of soaking and cooking.

I know someone here mentioned that using old beans could be part of the issue. And knowing that I have neglected bags of beans before cooking, I decided I needed to try again.

And yes, fresh beans worked out just like the direction stated! So tonight we had brown rice, black beans (which were seasoned with cumin, onions and garlic), salsa and sour cream. Yummy!! And pretty cheap.

I have at least 5 cups of beans left. I have put 2 containers of 2 cups of beans in the freezer. The rest were mixed in with the leftover rice, so someone will have some lunch this week. Probably me!

Dinner Planning

October 26th, 2015 at 09:50 am

Last November, as a way to reduce holiday stress, I made a dinner meal plan for two weeks, and even went so far in December to meal plan for the entire month! It has made a big difference for our family. Primarily we have more variety in meals. If I plan moments before leaving for the grocery store, I simply think of the basic meals we like. And this is fine, except it gets boring and probably isn't as healthy as it could be.

Today I'm working on a November meal plan. I generally know what activities we have going on, so I can plan ahead for those nights where there is little time to cook. I will also skip planning for days I know we will be out of town. I've also found in the winter months, I can double up a soup at the beginning of the month, freeze the extra and have it again in the second half. Of course, there are many other dishes that can be doubled and frozen besides soups. Those are just the ones I tend to do.

Here is our plan for this week:
Baked chicken, stuffed mushrooms, side salad
Greek Quinoa Salad
Spaghetti, asparagus
Mushroom Risotto, side salad
Chicken Tortilla soup (from the freezer)
Chili (making a double batch and will freeze)

My husband has been dieting the last three weeks. He is eating less food, so I actually expect we will have leftovers of a few of those dishes. It may mean putting off the chili making a day or two until we eat all the leftovers.

I generally still grocery shop every 7-10 days. I've like having the meal plan ready to go when I make my grocery list. I can then consult the list to make my list of needed ingredients. Of course, I make sure to check the pantry, fridge and freezer for things we might have on hand or are about to run out of.

How far ahead do you do your meal planning?

Paid More Debt

August 18th, 2015 at 07:41 pm

We use our credit cards all the time and then pay balances off in full if on a interest bearing card. We have been rolling some over lately on a 0% card. I made some more payments and feeling much more current than I did last week.

Last week our balance was over $4K. Tonight after more payments were made we are down to $2,942.25. So progress! Found $14.11 in snowflakes to apply to debt in the process.

I have cash set aside to pay another $1,383 on the credit cards, but I'm waiting for a couple statements to close. There may be rewards I can apply, so I'm waiting for now. It does seem the revolving balance I don't seem to get paid off is about $1600! Ugh. Of course, I won't let them charge me a penny of interest. I will have to pay it in full by the end of October. Or the statement due date right after. I need to look back at my notes on that one.

In other news, I've lost about 6 pounds in the last two weeks. I'm watching my calories as best I can, cut back on diet soda (only one or none). I did a ton of campus walking this weekend in addition to all that walking while we were in Orlando earlier in the month. I still need to get into some sort of fitness routine. We are actually considering a treadmill...but I need this debt paid off first.

Do you own an exercise machine? Do you use it?


November 9th, 2014 at 04:36 pm

I feel a bit better today than yesterday energy wise. I still have a lot of sinus pressure, but warm drinks do help!

I had enough energy to get to the grocery store. I spent $130 for the week. I do have to make a small run to another store tomorrow for a few things on sale.

I helped my daughter box up some of her artwork that she is donating to an organization that will use the art as a perk for donating. In the process, I came across a piece of art that I know one of our nephews was very interested in back in June. He's now getting that for Christmas! It's perfect. My daughter is happy about it too.

I also decided we would give two of our snow toys (block form and snowball thrower) to our nieces and nephew who are getting the state park permit. The gift will cost me nothing, but they would probably get use out of them. I will check with their mom first. If she doesn't think they want them, I have another person I think would.

I listed two items on eBay. Hope for quick sales!!

I hope you are all healthy! Wash your hands and cover your mouth when you sneeze. Smile

I Have a Cold

November 8th, 2014 at 08:25 am

My girls had colds earlier this week. I did my best to keep hands washed and avoided picking up any used tissues. Unfortunately, I got the cold. I did sleep in the morning, and have had two cups of warm tea. I don't feel to run down, but just annoyed with the symptoms.

We have to make a run to the music store today to return the flute we borrowed. There is an issue they may need to fix or see if there is another one before we go ahead on the purchase.

I may make one stop at Target for some sale items. I can't remember what they are, so maybe it doesn't even matter!

The rest of they day will consist of fluids and rest, which sounds much better than going on into the cold, windy weather we are having!

Do you have a go to treatment for colds? I tend to go for a decongestant, but this cold isn't like that, more of the scratchy throat variety.

Purchased Used Flute Plus More

October 9th, 2014 at 06:34 am

We purchased a used flute on eBay yesterday. It wasn't really that used though, might have been a demonstration model. It actually looks pretty new. We figured we saved over $400 by buying this one rather than new from our local music store.

This flute will be for our youngest daughter and it is the same model as her sister's, which we did buy new. It has been a great flute for her, thus why we wanted the same one and as close to new as we could get.

Our daughter will pay 10% of the cost. We don't really NEED the money from her, but we did make her sister pay the same amount when we upgraded the flute. I think it is gives them a little ownership and knowledge about the cost of things. And sure, I don't mind paying a little less on my end! Smile

I completed two Pinecone surveys in the last 24 hours. I have two items with bids on eBay. I claimed some Bing rewards for Swagbucks, which will help me redeem for two Amazon gift cards on Swagbucks when the code arrives. Little snowflakes on their way!

I'm getting ready for guests AGAIN. More food will need to be purchased. My parents will take me for lunch tomorrow, so that is one less meal I need to purchase. Smile I also have all that soup, chili and bread from our party a couple weeks ago that I will be using up.

I've been trying to do better with workouts and food. I skipped two days of working out, but I'm determined to go today (right after I post this). Did really great tracking food up until last Saturday when we were watching football and my husband kept getting out more snacks! At the days following have been better, but not under my goal. Keep trying, right?

Groceries, Gas, Apps and Herbs...Oh my!!

August 24th, 2014 at 04:40 pm

The only money spent today at our house was for groceries and gas. Husband just went to fill up his truck, so I'll say around $60 to fill it up. The groceries were from Target. I had three physical coupons, used Target's cartwheel app for other discounts, and redeemed two $5 gift cards I obtained a few days ago. The charge to my Target Red card was $113.05.

I started using the Ibotta app for additional rebates on things I buy. I earned a little cash for buying ground beef and bread today. The other day I earned a rebate for buying Kleenex tissues. I'm up to a whole $2! It will add up over time though.

I also started using Two Grand app for tracking food. It is all based on pictures, rather than counting calories. I need something new to keep my interest so I'm going to give it a try. Eating too much food is my problem right now. If I eat I'm getting some exercise, although I need more. I've had more water today because of the app, so that is a plus.

I also harvested some herbs today. Specifically, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary. My mom purchased and planted them, but then sent them with me when they were out of town for nearly two weeks. I tried to send them back last time I visited, but she said they weren't doing as well as they were here. So I was to keep them. I used them fresh only once or twice. Today, I set most of them up to dry in bags and the basil to freeze. I will find out if she wants them now. If not, I got free herbs!

How was your spending this weekend? Have you started any new apps that you like? Do you use herbs in your cooking or baking? Do you have a favorite?

Darn Auto Correct

June 11th, 2014 at 10:20 am

I am under the weather. It started Monday night with a scratchy throat, and now lots of congestion and just plain out of energy. Even after sleeping 12 hours. I think my daughter had the same thing last week. She is still coughing.

Last night I texted my husband (on my new smart phone) to get 'pkts of vitamin c' at the store after he worked out. Darn auto correct changed 'pkts' to 'lots'. Instead of one box he came home with two. The two boxes both had smaller boxes of 10 pkts attached. The smart phone that is suppose to save me money just cost me money! We will use them all at some point, but I didn't need that many right now!

I sold a book on Ebay last night. I officially have zero items listed right now. If I get my energy back by Sunday I hope to get some more things listed!

That is all for now...I will check back in when I'm completely recovered. Right now it is time for an afternoon nap.

Wells Fargo Amex Arrived

May 13th, 2014 at 07:10 am

Our new Wells Fargo American Express card arrived in the mail yesterday. It was shipped from the next state over thus the prompt receipt. We have already used it!

Our gym membership was expiring. We paid $750 a year and half ago and our last day for the membership was yesterday. We finally got a sales person to assist us last night. I say finally because it seemed every time we inquired in the last month, no one was there to help. We had been mailed a renewal offer of $750 for 12 months, rather than 18 months like our original deal. The sales guy tried to offer us two years for $998. Sure that sounds like a better deal, but it is MORE money and the odds are very slim we will still be in this town for another 2 years let alone 15 months. After much discussion and indicating we would go work out and talk about it, the tune suddenly changed to adding 6 months to our current offer. So same deal we had the first time we signed up. Honestly, I was hoping for LESS than $750. I really tried with the guy and I think I did get us what is right for us. I won't need to pay any more money before we move...unless we don't move (but I think the odds of that are slim). At any rate, we charged our gym membership to the new Wells Fargo card. Well on our way to $3000 in spending, with something we needed to purchase anyway.

I do have an email in to Wells Fargo to confirm that previous Amex reward offers won't exclude us from this one. The card is in my husband's name, thus the email rather than a call. I could have him call, but he would just be confused about the whole reason I'm having him call! We decided to use the card even if we are exempt from the rewards. My gut says we will get the rewards since this is technically a Wells Fargo program, rather than an Amex program.

Do you prepay your gym membership? Or do you pay monthly?

Cash Flowing In!!

April 18th, 2014 at 06:24 am

Cash is flowing in!

I did sell that couch and love seat mentioned yesterday for a nice $150. The man was excited and said it was for his wife. Now I have more room in my garage. If you want a peek at my garage and how cluttered it is, minus the couches, head over to Your Organized Friend and see some of my before pictures. I will be getting the garage in shape before our garage sale next month.

I sold a CD on Ebay that I need to get in the mail. I probably only made about $2. But less clutter and more cash makes me happy!

I also referred someone to Ooma, so I have a $20 referral credit. That effectively will cover 5 months of service, which is really just the Federal taxes of about $3.75 a month. I won't get the cash for six weeks or more, but it will be mine then!

We are prepped for painting and will be getting started shortly. I'm thrilled my husband took some time off so we can work together on this beautiful spring day.

In other good news, I lost 1.8 pounds! I'm very happy about this since last week I didn't show any weight loss on the scale. I watched the food intake even closer this week and it made a difference. Gee, kind of like watching the spending. Who would have thought?! Smile

Are you sprucing up your living space (indoors or outdoors) this weekend? Do you have any extra cash or snowflakes flowing in this weekend?

Closed Chase Southwest

April 14th, 2014 at 08:08 am

I closed my husband's Chase Southwest Rapids Rewards Plus card. I just received confirmation by secure email. We received all the gift cards on Friday. We did have a balance of around $150 that I paid late last week. This was after the statement closed and included the annual fee of $69. After receiving the confirmation of closure, I realized I will not get points for $80 worth of purchases. Oh, well I don't think those points could be redeemed for anything anyway! Just something to be aware of. I'm also glad to have that account closed as we had a credit line of $27,900. That is not a typo!

Here's part of the response we received when closing the account.

Please be assured that we have closed the account as
requested. Since the annual fee of $69.00 was billed to
your account within 60 days of the date the account was
closed, a refund of the fee will automatically post to
your account.

The refund happens automatically! I let you know when I see it on the account. I think it could happen this week. When it does I will request a check. Smile

I'm going to tidy up my house, measure for paint and hand wash some clothes. Once I have all that done I might get some decluttering done. If I do, I will have the results over at Your Organized Friend.

I'm still on a roll with getting my workouts in at least five days a week. I just need to really watch my calories this week so I can see results on the scale!

Have you closed a credit card account recently? What is the largest line of credit you have ever had? Is your house tidy right now? Anyone else keeping up with working out?

A Funny Thing Happened

April 4th, 2014 at 09:00 am

The Southwest card statement closed earlier this week. I could see the bonus miles were rewarded. So, I went looking at my husband's Rapids Reward account. No deposit. Yet. I looked again today. No deposit. What? How long does it take? It seemed fast last time!

On a whim, I checked my Rapid Rewards account. The deposit was made there! I haven't even had a Southwest Visa yet, but I did open the rewards account awhile back when there was an offer for 2,000 miles for opening the account. I must have put the wrong rewards number on the application. Or maybe I did it on purpose and didn't remember. This will allow to actually redeem those 2000 miles along with the 53,000+ miles my husband earned on this latest Southwest Visa offer.

We will getting $550 worth of gift cards in all. I will be ordering those later today, likely a combination of Kohl's, Lowe's, Walmart and Amazon. If I remember right the Walmart cards were the easiest to spend since I could buy groceries and household items we buy everyday.

Not sure what I will get done on the organizing front today. I have a volunteer obligation later, but I still might have a few minutes to dive into a pile of things somewhere. Smile

In fitness news, I lost 1 pound this week. I did five days of cardio and four days of lifting weights. I've been getting a few squats in here at home too. I feel so much better and I'm noticing clothes fitting much looser. This morning my husband said my face looks a little thinner. A wife does like to hear that!

Any odd things happen to you that surprised you a bit? Will you be organizing anything today? What is the one place that you find the hardest to organize or keep clutter free? Did you lose any weight this week on your fitness plan?

All Good News!

April 1st, 2014 at 10:55 am

I just sent off two snowflakes to the mortgage in the amount of $201.20! That money combined with our regular mortgage payment and the extra $103+ I tack on each month, will bring our mortgage down below the $X25,000 threshold! Yippee!! That means less than $9K to go to meet our mortgage goal for the year.

That $200+ is my $150 Discover bonus that I had deposited into our checking account and a check for $51.20 which was our Washington DC fundraising proceeds. I prepaid the trip in full, so the fundraising dollars came back once I had a credit balance. That is about the amount my daughter will take for spending money, but she is to take that from her own savings, since we paid for the trip.

I made another BIG payment to our Chase Southwest card today. It was just over $809. That covered a work trip my husband was reimbursed for and some other miscellaneous spending. The first statement has not closed yet, but when it does I will make our final payment. That payment will include the $69 annual fee, which I will pay. I will then close the account and ask for a refund of the fee. Smile

I'm going to participate, as best I can, in the declutter/organizing challenge for the month of April. I did complete my goal of 20 workouts last month. I also lifted weights 10 times. I started counting calories in mid to late February. I have lost 11 pounds since then. I feel great!!

I will detail March snowflakes and mortgage principal paid in tomorrow's post. It will not include the two items mentioned above since those were not allocated until April.

Did your April begin with a snowflake? Are you joining in on the declutter and organizing challenge? How did you do with your exercise goals in March?

Little Snowflakes & More

March 25th, 2014 at 11:53 am

I received a $3 Pinecone survey payment last week. Just today I requested that money be moved from my Paypal account to our checking account.

I also ordered two $5 Amazon.com gift cards from Swagbucks last week. I got them the next day! I have never received any redemption from them so fast. For now, those are loaded on our Amazon account, until our next purchase. I will officially account for them as snowflakes when used. I also plan to use the $9+ in Discover rewards when I make that next Amazon.com purchase. It is the only way I can get those last rewards off that card! Smile

Not sure if I wrote about this yet. We HAVE met the $2000 spending requirement on DHs Southwest Visa and then some. I noticed my husband put some more work trip transactions on there today. I don't see another worthwhile Southwest offer for me to apply for. I think we are at a little standstill for now with credit card offers. There are not any compelling offers that we haven't already done in the last year. But the cash and gift cards have not yet arrived for the recent cards, so there will be some big snowflakes soon.

I still need to finish our taxes. I'm pretty sure I've entered everything in. We owe $413. I was going to put this on that Southwest card, but we spent up to the minimum before I could get the taxes filed. I expect I will just pay by check and avoid the fee. Is it right that I can file and wait to mail the check by April 15? I think it is and I'm sure I can look that up to be sure.

I did write a post on my other blog today about a discussion we had with our girls the other day. Oh, and in fitness news, I have done 30 minutes of cardio the last two mornings and lifted weights. I feel so much better! I'm on track to meet my fitness goals this month. Yippee!!

Quick Fitness Note

March 20th, 2014 at 04:04 pm

I didn't get to the gym until late today because I didn't have a car! After we picked it up, I stopped by the gym and did 30 minutes on the elliptical. I burned 335 calories in 33 minutes. Now I can eat dinner! Smile

I checked my stats for the month. I have exercised 14 times this month...the goal is 20. I have also lifted weights 5 times, with a goal of 10. I really should have lifted weights today, but I can say that I did 20 squats and 20 push ups with my daughter earlier and that is definitely a little strength training!!

The maintenance on the truck for 60,000 miles came to $483+, which we did put on the Southwest card. We have now met that spending requirement. I think I will be applying for my own Southwest card next, if the 50,000 rewards points is still around. If not, I will be looking for something better.

How are you exercise goals coming along this month? It isn't too late to make a goal for the next 11 days. You can do something for your health right? Let's do it!!

Maintenance Spending & More

March 20th, 2014 at 07:30 am

We have the truck at the Honda Dealer today. It was due for an oil change, tire rotation and one of the fluids replaced. As it turns out the mileage is nearly 60,000 which means it is time for some other fluid maintenance as well. We do follow the recommendations of the manufacturer and have found that it really pays off. It's another reason Honda vehicles last so long. Of course it does cost some cash! The estimate is about $400 for all the things that we are having done today.

This wasn't planned exactly, but we set cash aside knowing these things come up, so no worries. We will put it on the Southwest card and likely meet the $2000 minimum spending after that charge. I actually still have items I planned to charge on the card to meet the minimum...so it seems it could be time for a new card already!

In other financial news, I was able to cash out Bing Rewards for a 500 Swagbucks code. I have not redeemed it yet. I should just do it whenever, as I'm not keeping up with Swagbucks this month. I needed a break. I also claimed a $15 Amazon gift card from Lean Cuisine Delicious Rewards. It already arrived by email and I applied it to our Amazon account. That's another snowflake!

I'm still on track with my workouts, although a little behind on my weight lifting goal. I think I may see a change on the scale this week! Smile

I think today will consist of some spring cleaning. We need to get that cat hair out from under the beds. And while we have the beds moved, we might as well strip off the quilts and wash those as well.

Happy Spring SA friends!

Southwest Credit Card Update

March 14th, 2014 at 09:18 am

We activated our Southwest credit card just last week before my husband had a trip to Chicago. We need to spend $2000 to get our 50,000 Reward points that we can claim for $500 in gift cards. We already half way there!

_$361.87 Trip expenses
_$433.10 Auto insurance 6 month premium
_$172.23 Electric Bill (cold winter)
__$63.66 Truck Fuel
___$7.70 Subway (DH)
__$55.96 Van Fuel
__$15.91 Haircut (ME)
$1110.43 Total Spent on Card

I plan to put our tax payment of about $415, donations of $150, our wireless bill of about $150, a few birthday gifts. This puts us VERY close to meeting the minimum with our regular spending. I also know we have a mini trip that will have a few expenses and that with spring break next week for my girls we will start looking at clothes. My youngest is going to need a couple things for her DC trip early next month. In other words the spending on this card is really just about a done deal!

In health news, I skipped my workout this morning to get my haircut. I'm going to do a few more things at home this morning, but I still plan to get there around noon to get a treadmill walk in and lift some weights. Tomorrow and Monday will be days off.

Wishing you ALL the best for a super frugal weekend. And Banker Gurl, I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you peace.

Progress: Rewards & Fitness

March 13th, 2014 at 10:52 am

I can finally report another credit card bonus! I feel like these are taking forever to get my hands one, even though I know they are in the works. I had to wait for the statement to cycle closed again before the bonus was available. I could see it there since last month, but it wasn't available to redeem. I was able to redeem $115.76 from US Bank Cash+ Visa card. I had this one applied as a credit. I then owed $33+ which I have already paid. Smile This card offered a $25 bonus if you redeem more than $100. I do get the bonus, but it is a Visa Check card which has to be mailed and takes about 6 weeks to receive. Ugh! Really I am happy about the cash, just frustrated with the delays.

That reward is another snowflake, of course! I sent it in to the mortgage yesterday with $25 from Swagbucks, a Pinecone survey and ATM rebate money recently received. We have $147.27 less debt on our mortgage to pay. Yippee!!

Payday is officially tomorrow, but I have already started paying bills, including credit card balances. Yesterday, I made payments on the US Bank card, my husband's Discover, and our Target Red Card. The paycheck is pending, but will be a hard deposit tomorrow. I think I will spend a few minutes and make a payment on my Discover to get that nearly paid off. I have just another $5 to spend to meet the goal...which I think will happen when I get a car wash later today. I'm also waiting on a refund (I ended up sending that clothes washer part back, since the problem seemed to resolve itself. No more leaking. Anyway, I hoping the refund arrives before the statement closes in less than two weeks. At this rate with Discover we should both get our $150 bonuses in April. I guess I can wait until then. Smile

My snowflake accumulations for March just may not be as high as January and February. My best chance for another big influx for this month is to sell some old furniture (sofa, loveseat, kitchen table and chairs). I let you know when I get those listed and then sold.

The gym workouts continue! I am definitely committed now. I have 10 cardio workouts done and 4 weight lifting sessions complete. I'm already planning ahead to how to fit my workouts around a mini trip we are taking early next week. My husband is on board with the counting of calories, so that is a big help. He is pretty good getting his workouts in when he can as the Army does need fit soldiers. In fact, some of them are working out three days a week at their workplace gym. It just feels good to be making progress towards a fitter me!

Are you inpatient with getting your credit card rewards? Which card do you think rewards the fastest? If you are in on the March Fitness challenge, how are you coming along?

Found Two Pennies

March 11th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I found two pennies in the parking lot in front of the post office today. It made me wonder how much money has been sitting on the ground this winter, or even pushed into snowbanks along the road. I bet there is some money to be found looking in those melting snow piles. Of course, I only found my two cents out in the open. I wasn't digging through dirty snow!

I made it to the gym today! I did my thirty minutes of cardio and got out of there, so I could accomplish more at home. I have now had 8 workouts this month, so getting closer to the goal of 20. I have completed 3 of 10 weight lifting workouts so far, too!

Part of my day did include running a few errands. I need contact solution, bar soap, and a 40 watt light bulb. I also bought a mesh strainer for about $4 on clearance. That was a last minute purchase, but I think I jumped on it because I never see one that low in price. It was the amount I was willing to spend and I know I will use it when rinsing lentils and quinoa.

I went to another grocery store to get my daughter the yogurt she likes. None of the big containers on the shelf. I bought three little ones and will have to go back next week to see if they have the larger containers in stock. I also bought butter, quart of milk, and a strip steak for fajitas later this week.

I didn't pay close attention but I think all of those items I purchased today were close to $50! It might have been a little less, but I sure didn't get much for that money it seemed. I guess some of those things were just pricey though, too.

I claimed the money from another Pinecone survey. I expect that money to be in my Paypal account tomorrow. Another little snowflake on the horizon.

Have you found any money on the ground recently? Do you think yours had been covered by snow for some time?

Exercise & Snowflake Update

March 10th, 2014 at 05:44 am

I did get six workouts in last week. I skipped Saturday and Sunday because of guests. Although my sister kept trying to get me to do some exercise cards...my back just can't do some of those moves! I did lift weights two days last week, so only 8 more of those days to go this month. And I still need 14 cardio workouts. I'm about to leave for the gym to get both cardio and weight lifting in.

The really good news is that by watching calories and exercising more I have lost 7.2 pounds in 21 days. I have much more to lose, but it nice to see the scale change! One day at a time, one meal at a time, it all comes together in meeting a goal. This is similar to saving money, too. Although for me, it takes a little more willpower to watch my food intake. I use myfitnesspal.com to track my calories and exercise. I have logged in for 21 days straight. That part gets a little addictive. I've also been reading blogs on the site to get inspiration. As we here at SA know, reading others successes and struggles is helpful in reaching our goals.

My snowflakes are coming in slow this month. I did use the $25 Target gift card yesterday when I bought groceries. I will send that and the savings from a lower water bill in to the mortgage today. That makes $29.33 for the month of March. There are snowflakes making there way here, but the arrival is unknown for now. Smile

Are you working on a health goal? Did you make a payment towards debt this week? Are you expecting some snowflakes soon?

Discover Rewards & Workout Update

March 7th, 2014 at 09:03 am

My husband's Discover card statement closed yesterday. We have already spent the $750 to meet the $150 bonus, but it was not applied to our rewards account. I inquired my email. The response was the $150 bonus will be applied within 8 weeks. Ugh. They sure like you to hang around waiting for your cash don't they? I was really hoping we could both redeem those rewards this month. Now it doesn't look like it.

I'm still waiting on our US Bank Reward to be applied as well,probably worth at least $140. I also have $100 in referral money coming from Ooma sometime. There are snowflakes out there, they just seem to be stuck in the sky!! Smile

I purchased a DVD for my daughter's birthday from Amazon. I used the Discover card to make the purchase and used $3.26 of my available rewards towards the purchase. So I have that little snowflake, as well as a Pinecone survey payment from earlier in the week.

I have worked out six days this week! I also did two of my weight lifting workouts as well. The eating and watching calories is going pretty well, too. The less I eat the less we spend on groceries which is a bonus.

Anyone know how long it took you to get your Discover bonus? This is DH second billing cycle that just ended. Did you get any snowflake money this week? How is your exercise goal coming along?

Less Mortgage Debt

March 4th, 2014 at 10:16 am

Our mortgage payment for March posted on Sunday. Seems odd, as I expected Monday. Our regular payment includes an extra $103.72 towards principal. The principal portion of our regular payment was $455.18. Yes! I like less debt.

Our goal this year is to pay off $13,992.99 in principal on this loan. I picked this amount since it stretches us a bit and makes the ending balance even at $X15,000. So far our total principal paid of $3,303.99 is 23.6% of that goal. We only need to pay off $195.25 to get to 25% by the end of the month. I already know we can make that as we have another principal payment set to hit March 15 for $275.

In other news, I made it to the gym today. 3 of 20 March workouts complete. I also lifted weights, which means I have completed one of my 10 for the month.

Did you pay down any debt in the last seven days? Do you have a specific goal for your debt pay down? Do you also have a plan to get there? Do you have a fitness goal for March?

Sidebar tickers are current as of February 28.

Phishing, More Credit & Working Out

March 2nd, 2014 at 06:34 pm

My husband got a text message indicating our Wells Fargo debit card has been blocked. Well this is clearly phishing as we don’t even have a Wells Fargo debit card! We do have a mortgage with them, but that is it. Luckily we know not to fall for those type of panic messages. If you ever get ANY sort of alert about an account you have it is best to contact the servicer at their published phone number, email or in person rather than any number or email provided in the message.

My husband applied for the Southwest Rapids Rewards Plus card and was approved. We need to spend $2000 in 3 months to get $500 worth of gift cards. My goal is to complete that spending within ONE credit card cycle so I can request the annual fee of $69 to be refunded. My husband applied for one of the other Southwest cards last fall. We were able to get the $99 fee refunded with a simple email request.

Now spending $2000 that fast seems a little daunting, but I know we have a $400+ auto insurance payment due, $400+ owed to the IRS (plus a fee for paying with a credit card), we have two donations we want to make for about $150+, we should have the card in time to charge our $150 Verizon wireless bill, as well as a $150+ electric bill. I’m open to charging our groceries that we usually put on our Target Red Card for the 5% discount. I know there will be gas for our vehicles and since spring is coming VERY soon some clothing purchases or at least gift cards for those. We also have that mini trip to visit a college.

I have not quite met the spending for my Discover card, but I will get that done in the next few weeks, too. It looks like I have $200 left to charge to meet the $750 spending requirement to get my $150. Right now, I'm waiting on billing cycles to close for my US Bank card and my husband's Discover. The spending requirement has been met on those and will bring us about $275 in rewards.

I did not work out yesterday, but I did today! 1/20 workouts for the month of March have been completed. I really NEED to workout everyday, to make my weight loss plan work. I also need to get in some weight lifting as well. I think I will make a goal of 12 days where I do weightlifting. And increase in activity is a good thing and I got to start somewhere.

It feels like this week is shaping up to be busy, maybe it is because I have to work out. Smile Do you know about phishing? Are you embarking on a new exercise routine? Is your week going to be extra busy or more relaxing?

Using and Losing

February 24th, 2014 at 07:57 am

I'm still trying to base my eating on using things up. I ate the third of four prepared steel cut oats this morning. I added cinnamon only and it tasted fine. I have sugar in my coffee, so I don't want to be adding any more to my meal. It looks like I will need to eat soup for lunch. I made some for dinner last night. I used up a partial container of vegetable broth while I was making that. My daughter took soup in her lunch, but there is still some left. I will have an appropriate portion for lunch. I'm trying to count calories and it is a little hard to estimate on something homemade, but it is healthier for me! I will make chicken today to use up that barbecue sauce. I will also make some couscous. I have a bag of plain bulk couscous that my mom received from a friend and then passed on to me. It is taking forever to use up. We like couscous, but we usually buy prepared packages with seasoning. I can't seem to get the full flavor we are used to with the spices I'm adding. It has been a savings though since each box is nearly $2.

I'm back going to the gym. I even went twice this weekend. I am done with the weight I gained since we moved. My mantra is Do The Work. So when I don't feel like going to the gym. I just say Do The Work and know that I need to do it to get to my goal. I'm tracking calories in MyFitnessPal. I need to weigh in this today to see if I have lost weight since last week. Probably a pound or two. Why is it we want to lose weight fast when it took us months, sometimes years to gain it? Probably that crazy Biggest Loser show!! I think the weight loss journey will be a money saver too. I can't eat that much, thus I won't need to buy as much. Now if I could get my DH on board we would definitely reduce the grocery bill.

Not much actually money news. We bought groceries. We bought gas. Just the usual. No big expenses. I know there will be a need to buy spring clothes in the coming months, but for now it is still too cold for those.

Did anyone get extra motivated to use up some of their food stores this last week? Is anyone on a weight loss journey? Do you have a mantra?

Revising Homeowner's Insurance

January 7th, 2014 at 07:21 pm

I need to talk with my husband first, so this idea isn't yet a done deal. I'm considering increasing the deductible on our homeowner's insurance from $1000 to $2000 or more. The savings could be over $150 per year. It's not a lot of savings, but it is money we could keep in our pocket. We do have nearly $20K in our emergency fund so I don't have any concern in meeting the deductible. Why pay more than we need to, right? Any thoughts on whether this is a good idea?

I just wrote a new post on Our Money Blog about reviewing expenses. It's likely something you all know and do anyway, but I think it is a good reminder to really look at where our money goes.

Today was a no spend day. No purchases were made online. School is on again for tomorrow. I have now completed seven days of green smoothies. Yippee!!

52 Week Savings Update

January 4th, 2014 at 03:48 pm

I set up my challenge money to automatically transfer to my Capital One 360 account. And right on schedule, a couple days ago, $57 was deposited. This can be considered deposits for week 6 and 51.

The balance in my Challenge account is now $124. I did start in early December and have larger amounts going into the account than those starting from week one or two. So far this goal is on track. Yea!!

I'm having my green smoothie for dinner while the girls have pancakes. That will make four down, 27 to go!

Today's frugal happening was unplugging the last of the holiday lights that were on a timer outside. The only outing was a trip for our weekly groceries. I expect we will not be going anywhere for a couple of days with the really crazy cold temperatures heading this way. That will say on fuel for the vehicles, but I'm sure we will be using plenty to keep the house warm. Ack!

What is the balance of your 52 Week Savings Challenge account? Is your money in an account, or in cash? Did you do something frugal today?

Mortgage Principal DOWN!

January 3rd, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Our regular mortgage payment posted yesterday. The principal portion was $448.88. Yes! Less debt.

I just sent off the snowflakes we have accumulated in the last few days. A big snowball of a payment in the amount of $151.43!

Here's where those snowflakes came from:

I update my tickers at the end of the month, so you won't see a change there for awhile. Smile

In other goal news, I have had three green smoothies. Just twenty eight days to go. The last two days I have had pineapple in my smoothies, which I found to be very refreshing!

How are your New Year's goals coming along? Progress yet? Are you still working on goals? At least one financial goal is a good start. If you work on one you can be very focused!

Eating At Home

September 25th, 2013 at 02:59 pm

We almost always eat at home with food we have purchased from the grocery store. That will be the case tonight. And it will require preparation to cut up and season vegetable that will be roasted in our oven. Yummy!

We only have a couple night a week where dinner needs to be quick. I try my best to plan for those with something very easily prepared. It might be pre-cooked in the Crockpot, something needing to be thawed, or a simple sandwich. These are so much healthier than the majority of take out food, and far less expensive. I know I could be a better cook and meal planner, but I try not to sweat my imperfection knowing I'm doing pretty good spending less and eating healthier than many.

Since the groceries were purchased Monday, and all I did was clean more windows today, I can officially declare it a no spend day! That is good news. The bad news, or frustrating news is we are still waiting on my husband's travel payment. I noticed on the website that end of fiscal year travel payments are usually delayed. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

How often do you eat out? Would you say you eat at home more than eating out? Do you plan ahead for those crazy busy nights with simple meals? What is your go to simple meal?

Crawling Back

September 10th, 2013 at 10:49 am

I've had a cold for over a week now. The lack of energy has been awful. I made it to the gym yesterday and today, but only did cardio exercise for about 20 minutes. After that I was wiped out!

After a little rest today, I did some clean up in our garage. I seemed to handle that just fine. Clearly, it wasn't as strenuous. The lack of energy is leaving many things undone around here. I'm feel this week will be the crawl back to getting those things done. Next up is a load of laundry. And then if I still am up for it, homemade biscuits.

I expect today's spending only to be for the flute lesson, a $20 bill in my wallet will take care of it. Tomorrow, I will stock up on needs that have come up since my last shopping trip: hair mousse, a cat collar, a loaf of bread, fuel for the van and it seems one other thing.

I hope all of you are well and stay well. It's no fun to be sick.

Just noticed my Snowflakes for Christmas ticker has disappeared. I still have the coding in my blog settings and it looks correct when I compare it to the other one. I tried to copy and paste to get to the TickerFactory site, but I'm just taken to the main set up page. Does anyone know if these tickers expire if not used for awhile?

OTA is Set Up!

August 27th, 2013 at 07:41 pm

Our over the air antenna is in the attic and working! We get all the stations we are suppose to. The picture is so much clearer. My husband thinks we might need an amplifier, but we are going to wait and see.

The cable boxes are boxed up and set aside to return to the service provider. The next step, is to set up our Google Voice phone number through the internet connection. That will be done tomorrow. If all goes as planned, I can cancel phone and tv service by the end of the week!

If you are interested in knowing which broadcast television stations you might be able to receive in your area, check out the FCC website. We are receiving all the 'green' stations and one 'yellow' station. Since several stations broadcast more than one channel we have 23 channels plus a radio station. The last thing I will add is that we are receiving several stations that are over 70 miles away. We purchased an antenna that would pick up this distance.

I'm happy to report I have been using my gym membership after a summer lull. The girls have been in school for 5 days and I made it there four of those days. I really hope I can stop and ultimately reverse my weight gain. I feel pretty positive I can.

Are you exercising? Is your goal maintaining or losing? Do you pay for a gym membership? Or workout for free in some other way?

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