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Still Waiting

July 2nd, 2015 at 12:51 pm

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!!

Vague Specifics

June 28th, 2015 at 02:28 pm

Yes, I do get the title is one of those oxymorons! I need to get some thoughts on paper about our savings and credit card debt. We are still waiting on reimbursement from the Army that will cover some of our credit card debt.

Currently, we have about $5500 on two credit cards. We just surpassed $3K on our newest card, Citi Prestige. We will get 50,000 Citi Thank You points that we can redeem for about $500 in gift cards. The rest of the debt is on our other Citi Thank You card.

We will need to pay the Citi Prestige in full when the statement closes. I think we have until very August to pay it, which I don't expect to be a problem. The Citi Thank You card is still on 0% interest through September. We will also pay it in full before any interest is charged. You won't see me paying ANY interest.

The cash we are expecting from the Army is about $5500. How good is that? There may be more if we can get our apartment complex to give us a daily itemized receipt for the first 10 days of our stay. I'm not sure it is going to happen, but we will keep trying.

I also went back to see how much money we took from savings during this process of selling and moving. Approximately $4800! Nearly $2900 was for a deposit on our rental home and rent for the first month. I have to keep reminding myself of that because it seems like so much money! I will be paying ourselves back for all this cash outflow as soon as possible. If I don't repay the actual deposit I'm not too upset on that since I expect we are good renters and able to get most of that back when we move on.

Oh and we are still expecting just over $2K from our escrow account. That should help get us back to where we were several months ago. Smile

I seem to just need to keep convincing myself it is all okay. It' a little nerve racking to know we have $5500 on credit cards and are down $4800 in our savings. I suppose technically our savings is up because of our house proceeds, but I kind of think of that as separate. I wasn't borrowing cash from our home equity when we owned the house, I don't want to be borrowing from it now either.

Specific enough, or still vague?

Waiting on Reimbursement

June 22nd, 2015 at 01:25 pm

My husband filed our travel voucher for our trip to our new town on Friday. We will get 23 cents per mile for our just over 1000 mile trip. This covers fuel.

We will get a per diem (a flat fee) for hotel and food expenses. My research says this will be about $875, but my husband things slightly more.

We should also get funds to cover moving about 1100 pounds of household goods in our van. My guess is that is around $1000 right there.

The military doesn't pay for selling a home like corporations sometimes do. Everyone always seems surprised by this. The military doesn't really support purchasing a home simply because moves are so frequent. The military does provide a Dislocation Allowance (DLA) and it is based on rank and if you have dependents. Our allowance will be $3,453.76. Crazy odd number huh? Not sure where they get these numbers!

There is a potential that we could get some funds to cover a portion of our rental apartment. This is called Temporary Lodging Expense and covers up to ten days. We aren't sure if it is only for hotels though. I'm also not sure if my husband has submitted this request for funds yet. And I don't know if the amount will just be ten days of our actual cost or more based on some predetermined amount. It could range from around $700 to $2900 if we are even eligible being in this apartment. Fingers crossed we could get a little bit as it would sure help!

Much of this money will pay off current credit card charges incurred during our move. This will leave us debt free. I'm also hoping there are enough extra funds to pay ourselves back for cash we used to make our rental home deposit, airline tickets and even that big repair bill on the house!

I'll report back once the funds are received and let you know the totals and how I used those funds. I'm hoping it's by the end of the week!

Delay of Pay

March 25th, 2015 at 03:36 pm

Hmmm...went to look at my husband's LES (Leave & Earnings Statement) for March with payment on April 1. And it's not there. I'm wondering if there is going to be a delay because of his change in location.

He will get paid...but now the question is when? I sent him an email to inquire. I guess I need to make a plan to use savings for the most important bills which for April 1 is just the mortgage.

Fun times...

eBay Sale and More

March 20th, 2015 at 02:41 pm

I made another eBay sale. Item was $32.95, so my proceeds will be less than that. We also found a toy in my daughter bedroom to list online. I hope to make at least $10 on it. I might also have two skirts I could sell as well. I haven't decided on those yet though.

I took advantage of a couple Target offers this week that provided $5 gift cards. There is an offer to spend $20 on various health care type items, such as hair care, razor blades, lotion, sun care, soap, deodorant and more. Over two days I bought $40 worth of items, using $13.50 in coupons and received $15 in gift cards. In the end all the items cost me $21.50, and actually probaly even less since I used my Target Red card for the 5% off. I love it when deals, sales and coupons align!

My husband has been fully reimbursed for his portion of the move. We received one payment for the actual travel entitlements which amounted to $628.29. I used about $128 to reimburse cash taken out of our savings account, the remaining $500 went to cover some of the clothing purchased for my husband, gas for travel, and the one night in a hotel.

We received a second travel payment which was for moving some of our household goods. It was primarily all of his clothes and army equipment. It is a taxable payment and was reduced by 25% for withholding. The net amount was $365.90. I will also use this money to pay off some more money we have recently put on credit cards in the last couple weeks.

I feel better when money is flowing in!

Money Trickling In

March 13th, 2015 at 08:10 pm

There is still money flowing out, but for this post, I'm going to mention some money flowing in, which I like better!

I redeemed Swagbucks for $25 PayPal deposit that I hope to have soon. I received a $25 Target gift card from my sister in law...kind of a going away gift as she indicated I should buy snacks with it for the road.

I finally did enough surveys to redeem 1500 points for $15 with Pinecone which will be deposited into my PayPal account. I sold another item on eBay last night and have two more with bids that will end on Sunday. There are also another four items listed that have people watching. This may be the last go around with listings for awhile. At this point it looks like I sold over $300 worth of items. (That's gross sales not net unfortunately).

I had lunch with a friend and she mentioned how her son love to look at my daughter's art page on Facebook, which led me to mention art work leftover from her booth last year at the art festival. She came over and bought a piece for $15...this can be considered inflow for my daughter, but good for me as I will likely send less money with her on band trip! Smile

And finally it's payday so that is a chunk of change to work with. We are clearly spending more than is flowing in. I couldn't pay the credit cards in full without dipping into some savings. Some of the charges are from my husbands trip to the east, which will get reimbursed by the end of the month. He also bought some new clothes before he moved too. And there was that speeding ticket! I am still grateful for payday it helps relieve some stress to see the balances go back down to zero on those cards.

Do you have some money flowing in?

Darn Error

March 12th, 2015 at 06:33 pm

Darn. I made an error last month inputting the paycheck into our excel sheet. I flipped two numbers around. I input $3759, instead of $3579. I thought I had an $180 more than I really had. I remember it seemed a little odd when I was paying bills and had more than expected, but I sure wasn't thinking it was not correct!

I found the error today when I was balancing the checkbook. It took me awhile to figure it out, since I could tell all the transactions were correct.

Do you balance your checkbook?

Paycheck Changes

February 19th, 2015 at 04:31 pm

I worked for an hour yesterday on how to adjust withholding and increase our retirement contributions. It took awhile because I didn't agree with the numbers the IRS Tax Withholding Calculator was giving me. The calculator said to withhold 5 to get a $300 refund next year, it's actually 6 I need to withhold for that type of refund. If I did six the refund would have been much larger and that is withholding far too much. They did have our expected tax correct though!

I was also using Paycheck City to calculate the various net pay scenarios with different amounts going to retirement. In the end we are going to increase retirement by 2% of my husband's basic pay, to a full 10% going to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). This will be an increase of about $150 a month. We are going to keep contributing to Roth IRAs since we are still in the 15% tax bracket for our taxable income.

We are now contributing 17.5% of gross wages. I think this is the highest percentage we have been at, up from about 16% at one time. I should consider increasing it again to start getting closer to 20%. Especially while we are in my husband's highest earning years. There are only about 8 years left before he retires from the military. We want to make it count, right?

I feel so much better having taken care of these changes now, early in the year. It would be so easy to just say I was busy and then find ourselves owing a lot to the government, or not taking advantage of investing more.

Did you have to change your withholding this year to avoid paying taxes next year, or even over withholding? Did you increase your retirement contributions?

Housing Allowance Increasing

December 23rd, 2014 at 04:01 am

The military pays us an allowance (tax free money) that we can use towards housing. The news is that the military is getting an average of 0.5% increase. Clearly we are above average with an increase in our allowance of 11.3%! That is $183 increase. We don't have to use our full allowance for housing if we don't choose to. Currently, we have a mortgage on the home we live in. Our current payment is $1,311, increasing to $1355 because of increased taxes. With our new housing allowance at $1800 per month, we are well under the allowance.

It is very tempting to put that extra money towards the mortgage, but more than likely I will just save it for the move coming up in 2015. Yes, we have already started down that road...ranking our preferences based on the jobs available. I really want to stay in our current state, but the odds are against that I think.

Once the holiday and celebrations have past I will be working hard on figuring out our new paycheck amount and goals. One thing I need to figure out is how much as a percentage to send to retirement. It is probably time to increase it again with the raise in salary and housing allowance.

Anyone else out there in the military? Did you get a bigger than average increase in your BAH for 2015?

Waiting for $200

December 14th, 2014 at 04:21 pm

I opened a joint checking account with US Bank back in September to earn a $200 bonus. We easily met the requirements over a month ago, which was a direct deposit of $500 each month. I emailed once and didn't get a response...at all.

I decided to try once more before I went to the branch. What can I say, I'd rather deal with things online! Luckily this time someone responded. They confirmed I was offered the bonus promotion, based on the number I had given them and signed up with. The email indicated they could confirm I met the requirement. The next step was for them to forward it to their Customer Care Unit, which will further review the account. I should expect a credit or at least email response in 2-3 business days.

I hope the wait is nearly over. I haven't been impressed with the ability to connect with the bank online that is for sure. Otherwise, we have had no issues with our transactions and so forth. I expect to keep this bank account at least through the move next year, since it can be helpful to have a local bank branch during a home sale transaction.

Did anyone else get a US Bank Checking account offer? Was your promotion applied timely?

DONE: Mortgage Goal Met!!

December 10th, 2014 at 11:13 pm

I was just notified by USAA that we should expect our annual subscriber distribution tomorrow. It will be $69.19. I don't know why I look forward to this expected, but not always promised source of funds.

USAA also reimbursed us for ATM fees last month in the amount of $6.45. There was also a whopping $0.03 of interest.

When I add those snowflakes/extra funds to a recent rebate received ($8), Pinecone survey payments ($9), and a used up $5 Target gift card, I have more than enough cash to make the final extra payment on the mortgage for the year.

This means we have met the goal!! Our mortgage balance will be just under $X15,000 after I make a payment of $97.67 tomorrow.

I'm so excited to have met the goal I set out to reach at the beginning of the year. It always seemed possible, but there was definitely work involved. It paid off!

All snowflakes we accumulate through the end of the year will be applied to our savings account. We spent nearly $3K recently on tires, brakes, new timing belt and a flute. That money came from savings. It is time to pay ourselves back. I will still track the snowflakes until year end for a grand total number.

Later this month, I will flush out new goals for 2015. I'm sure some goal will include the need to track snowflakes! Smile

Did you think we would do it? Are you surprised or not?

Paychecks Stabilized

November 23rd, 2014 at 03:50 pm

Finally. My husband's promotion was in September. The pay took a few weeks to catch up and thus had back pay. I finally know what each paycheck will look like. I can start making some plans on how to allocate the money. That makes this math geek happy!

We have $500 deposited to US Bank once a month. It was a requirement of their checking account bonus offer. We should meet the requirement soon and get $200. Once that money is firm, I will cancel the $500 deposit. I don't need money going into all sorts of accounts for no reason! (Although, I'm remembering that it might be nice to have a bank branch when we go to sell the house...I'll ponder that before I make changes.)

I've done some more Christmas tasks and decluttering this weekend. I've written about it over on Your Organized Friend. Remember to scroll down and read any posts you may have missed.

Reimbursed!

October 29th, 2014 at 02:37 pm

Wow! I wasn't expecting it to actually happen, but one of the commanders actually reimbursed my husband for refreshments purchased on his behalf nearly two months ago. The outgoing commander still owes us $75 and that was mentioned to him yesterday.

I have deposited the check, and will make a payment in the same amount to the Wells Fargo Amex card where we just put the tire and brake purchase. It's true I could call it a snowflake, but I think we are good on that goal and this is money we wouldn't have spent if given the choice. Fingers crossed we get the $75.

I did discuss with my husband that these commanders should pay up front for costs of their own refreshments. It isn't right for lower ranking officers or soldiers to pay and wait to be reimbursed. He agreed and may do a better job handling it in the future!

I was able to eliminate quite a few things in my To File pile yesterday. Some recycled, most shredded. The rest needs to be put away in our main filing cabinet. That should take less than 10 minutes to complete later today.

One blog I'm following indicated today was the day to purge nail polish. I only wear it on my toes in the summer, so I have two bottles I trade between. Both were good last I used them. So that task can be considered complete!

Are you purging anything this fall? Are you donating or selling? Do you often have to wait for reimbursements? Do you have a way of keeping your paper files in check?

Good News

October 24th, 2014 at 02:53 pm

The flute refund now shows on our Amex credit card, so that is a relief that it all worked out. I didn't get a refund of shipping of course, but that I do understand.

I can finally see my husband's pay stub for the month of October. It all looks correct for the pay adjustment for the Sept 1 promotion. I look forward to seeing the one in November, as that will be even more clear!

I have a bid on an item that I listed yesterday on eBay. I actually hope it sells for a little more than the starting bid. The last one like it I sold did, but you never know with this item.

I received a $3 Pinecone payment.

See? All good news! What is your good news for today?

Another Snowflake

October 16th, 2014 at 09:36 pm

I had $12.66 in rewards on the US Bank Cash+ Visa that I redeemed the other day. These are primarily the result of getting 5% cash back on our cell phone bill. I didn't remember to match those, so now will need to make another mortgage payment to pay down some more principal!

The bills are paid. I have paid all but one credit card in full. No interest is being charged, and now that we finally got the back pay for promotion we can starting doing good things with the extra funds. I won't have all that figured out likely until the next paycheck at the beginning of November. Something to look forward to.

I made a donation to a charity last night for a walk we are participating in. We will need gas to travel and some cash for lunch while we are there. I feel good about that cause.

I also need to pick up the senior pictures! I have $50 deposit down right now, but need to pay another $100 to pick up the proofs and take them home. I could just look in the studio, but that seems like too much pressure.

Any snowflakes (extra money) come your way recently?

Sad and Good News

October 8th, 2014 at 12:49 pm

My very good friend from high school learned yesterday that her mother died suddenly. It was likely a heart attack. She was 63. My heart just breaks for my friend and her whole family. I know they will miss her so much.

The good news is financial. My husband's pay increase and back pay since September 1 for his promotion seem to have been processed. The check next week is much much bigger than usual. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see the specifics on the pay stub for two weeks, since their is only one pay stub per month.

I also have one bid on an item I relisted. And someone is watching another item. Would love them both to sell!

I did get magazines decluttered yesterday, but no new posts have been written on Your Organized Friend. I pull three recipes from the magazines and recycled them. I still have three I'm holding on to, since they have a lot of recipes I'm interested in. The blogs I'm following for the challenge indicate the the junk drawer and car should be decluttered for today. I might just be able to get those done. Smile

Any tips on how to support a very good friend while she processes the death of her mother? I'm hours away. I expect likely lots of talking over the next days, weeks and months to come.

September Snowflakes

September 30th, 2014 at 05:30 pm

I accumulated $182.20 in extra money(or snowflakes) for the month of September. All the cash went to pay down the mortgage!

Here's where the money came from:


Also, it could have been higher if I was able to redeem some of my Southwest Rapids Rewards points. That would have been $200+. (See other posts for why I can't redeem...yet.) I also could have redeemed $200+ from our newest credit card Citi Thank You Preferred, but I'm holding off to determine if we will use this money for a new fridge.

I do have a Pinecone survey reward being transferred to my bank account and an Ooma $20 referral reward that will be counted as the first snowflakes of October.

I did make some financial moves that will generate some extra money in future months. I opened a Discover CashBack Checking account for a $50 bonus. I opened a joint US Bank Checking account for a $200 reward, as well as set up a CD at Navy Federal Credit Union which will net us 5% interest on $5,000 over then next year.

I'm happy with the snowflake progress of the past month and looking forward to those future rewards? Did you track your extra money earned this month? How much did you accumulate? Did you save it or pay down debt?

Irritated with Army

September 24th, 2014 at 01:34 pm

I can see my husband's pay stub for next week. He was promoted as of September 1, yet they have not yet changed his pay. I changed withholding for us online, that change was made. I requested online to send $500 to our new US Bank account. That change was handled, and just did that two days ago.

I realize I can't go in and change the pay for him like the other two things. Someone is NOT doing their job, and that irritates me!!

I gave a heads up to my husband, so hopefully he can get the situation moving along. I know he will get paid his new pay as of September 1, but WHEN is the question. If corrected for the next check, Oct 15, it will include all the back pay up to that point. I won't know the true check amount we can expect until Nov 1 at the earliest. I can estimate it of course, but I do like to know the specifics, like all number nerds do. Smile

How long have you had to wait for a promotion to be reflected on your paycheck?

Did You See That?

September 10th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Did you see that ad for Net Neutrality? I put it up there to give awareness to the issue today. Please contact your state representatives!

In other news, I went shopping yesterday but didn't buy anything. I do expect to buy a couple new items, but I just didn't find the right items at the right prices. I did notice a lot of items 90% off a Kohl's. So tempting to buy some things for Christmas! So far I refrained.

I think our two new checking accounts are now open and the $5000 transferred from our money market. I hope to get the CD opened by the end of the week. Smile

Pay Will Be Lower!

September 5th, 2014 at 04:02 pm

So with the promotion effective September 1, my husband should now be getting paid at a higher wage. Well apparently, there hasn't been enough time to make it effective for the paycheck he will get next week.

The check is actually going to be lower. But that is our doing. We decreased our withholding allowances to compensate for the higher income and tax owed this year. The paycheck will be less by $24. Not really a big deal, but definitely disappointing when you are expecting to see a bigger number.

My hope is that the pay will be processed in time for the October 1 pay period. This will mean the full months increase in one check. If it is any longer than that...well, I'm not going to be happy.

No Procrastinating Today!

September 4th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Today I am going to get those new accounts open and funded. I procrastinated yesterday and hoped to talk a little more about it with DH. In the end, he really doesn't care what I do. Smile

Once I get the accounts up and running, they have a combined potential to earn us $500! Can't complain about that kind of money.

I was procrastinating on filling my laundry cabinets yesterday too. However, I finally got myself moving and did make some progress. I have a post on Your Organized Friend. Again, progress. Not completion yet.

Have you been procrastinating anything lately?

Estimating Taxes Before Promotion

August 28th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

With the new promotion and increased income, I figured I should check out where that puts us with taxes. We are still in the same tax bracket of 15%. But 15% of more is still more taxes!

I also realized and kind of knew that we would no longer be eligible to claim child tax credit on our daughter that turned 17. That right there is $1000 more in taxes than we have had in the past.

I have estimated that taxes(after the credit for one child) on our taxable income will equal $4,891. So far in eight months we have only had $2,308 withheld and withholding another $450 for four months will still put us short. I went ahead and changed withholding from 8 to 7. This will have us withholding $488 each month for the next four months. I could have made it more, but decided it was okay to keep it where it should be for next year and we will just owe the government again this spring. I expect in the end we will owe $630.

I plan to set aside $105 for the next six months for this particular debt. This way it won't be a big surprise or burden at tax time.

Each pay period we will have $440 more income after all the changes. DH and I did discuss this last night and he is all for just sweeping the money into savings knowing a move, and college are in our future. Seems like the best plan for now. We may evaluate retirement at the first of the year.

Do you evaluate your taxes anytime during the year? Or only at tax time?

The Promotion Has Been Ordered

August 27th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

My husband received his promotion order yesterday. His promotion from Captain to Major is effective September 1. This means a pay increase which we will see on his pay mid September.

I feel like I have been waiting all year for this! I'm sure he feels the same but for different reasons. Smile

This pay increase feels like a lot of responsibility for some reason. It is a gross increase of $1,150.20 per month. I need to figure how much more taxes we will owe, adjust withholding if necessary, decide if we should increase retirement contributions and really decide overall what to do with the increase. I sure don't want to just spend it away!

As far as retirement contributions go, we currently save 17.8% of my husband's gross pay towards retirement. Do I try to maintain the percentage, or increase the amount but not worry about the percentage of gross?

In the end, I think I will play with the numbers over the next week and try to see what feels the most comfortable. I also should talk with DH to see if he has any preferences on what to do with his hard earned money! I think he will opt to save it in some way and we have discussed that previously.

As I finish writing this, I had the idea that maybe the entire increase (minus taxes) will get saved, but just among various places. Retirement, regular savings, and maybe a taxable investment. A little to each of those may feel good.

I'll let you know what we decide and how it will look. If you had a large increase in income what would you do with it?





Random Thoughts

July 10th, 2014 at 01:08 pm

I have a Pinecone survey waiting to be completed. That means I will have $3 to apply to my snowflake goal.

I redeemed Bing and Swagbucks points for Amazon gift cards awhile back. They have posted to my Swagbucks account and I have added them to Amazon. Ten dollars waiting to be spent!

I got my bathroom painting done yesterday. I do have some touch ups to do. The next project I will be working on is to make decorator pillow covers for my sister. Smile

The girls and I need to do some shopping. They have a couple of semi dressy events coming up. I think we will look for dresses and hope for some clearance!! I'm also planning to treat them to lunch out since our errand will correspond with lunch time and it will be out of the way to drive all the way home after our first appointment today. The frugal me should just pack a lunch, but we rarely eat out, so I'm going for it.

As mentioned before, my husband is on the promotion list for Major. We are still waiting for orders that make it official. They are often issued at the first of the month. It didn't happen this month, so hoping for August! The plan is to save the money, but I need to figure out if some of that pay increase should be put towards retirement.

My only sale this week was the Box Tops. I didn't get items listed on Ebay on Tuesday night like I planned. There is a box of things ready to sell. I will try again soon to get more listed.

See? Random thoughts! Have you found a good clearance deal lately? Have you sold anything or found a little money (snowflake) recently?


Click for Snowflakes

June 27th, 2014 at 01:54 pm

In keeping with my theme of introducing you or reminding you of different types of snowflake sources, I have another one for you. Clicking for snowflakes!

If you have a few extra minutes of time, you can earn gift cards and cash for free! I have used these small bits of cash and gift cards to help meet our financial goals. Right now, the goal is to pay down our mortgage. Our mortgage doesn't accept gift cards of course, but when I spend them on things I would be buying anyway, I send the cash I would have used for the purchase to our mortgage.

The main site I have used to accumulate the most money is Swagbucks. The site lets you earn Swagbucks points for watching videos, using their search engine, shopping, taking surveys and more. In 2013, I earned over $600 from Swagbucks. I have scaled back my time on the site so I can be more productive in other areas, but I still hop on nearly everyday to click some of the easier tasks. Once you sign up, feel free to read my post about How to Swag. It is a little outdated, but it should give you enough information to get started. Their Facebook page is also very helpful.

I'm currently active on Bing as well. This one is a straight forward search engine that provides you with results and points for a certain number of searches each day. It only takes a few minutes to complete each day. I'm able to accumulate my points(known as Swagbucks) to redeem a Swagbucks code that I use on their site to redeem for Amazon.com gift cards. If you are going Swag, you might as well Bing as well! Smile

Another legitimate site for earning gift cards is MyPoints, which also lets you do searches, participate in special offers, click on emails, take surveys and more. I have fallen off the wagon on this site, but I have earned gift cards with them and it is pretty easy to do.

There are probably plenty of other sites you can participate in to earn gift cards for doing free tasks. The key word there is FREE. Do not pay to join any site. EVER.

Do you Swag, Bing or use MyPoints? Do you have another free site you use to earn gift cards and cash? What do you use your earnings for?

The links for Swagbucks and Bing above are my affiliate links. If you are interested in being referred to MyPoints, you are welcome to leave your name and email address in the comments. I will enter your information on their site and they will send you a referral email. I will delete your personal information from my site for your protection. You can also send me a private message on the forum section of Saving Advice.

Sell For Snowflakes

June 26th, 2014 at 02:38 pm

If you are looking for extra cash to apply towards your debt or savings, I have found that selling things you no longer need can provide that extra cash.

Since the beginning of 2014, I have sold books, cds, a couch and loveseat, kitchen table, side tables and a tv cart. I also had a garage sale in May, and sold all sorts of various items, including clothing and tools. In all, I've sold over $500 worth of our used items!

I would much rather get rid of something I own than be in debt, especially credit card debt. The interest these cards charge when you don't pay your balance in full is your hard earned money! I personally like to keep as much of the money we earn as possible.

Everybody has something they can sell. I have a friend, that last I knew had six shelves full of DVD movies. My guess is these were bought soon after a movie came out, so likely nearly full price. I know they watch them and have been generous with loaning them to people, too. I look at those shelves and think CASH! Sure some of them are dated and not likely to fetch much money, but at $1 each they easily have $180 worth of movies they could sell. My thinking is that one can still find plenty of free options for entertainment. The library for one has just as many movies that one can borrow for free.

A few years ago, I had a challenge on this blog to make $100 a month selling on Ebay. I think my average was less than that in the end, maybe $80, but it challenged and encouraged me to find things in our home we didn't need. At the time, I think the proceeds were applied to a car loan pay down or a home equity loan. I didn't sell anything unique. My kids had outgrown jeans, shoes, toys and books. I sold (and still do) Box Tops for Education, and old army paraphernalia. Anything I found that I was done with I checked Ebay to see if there was a demand for the item. If there was I sold it. If it didn't sell on Ebay I would save it for a garage sale, which back then my neighbors and I would have two times a year. If items didn't sell at the garage sale I would donate them.

As consumers, we are bringing in new things to our home on a regular basis. I think of selling the old kind of like getting a rebate on the original cost of the item, or a discount on the new item I purchased. If we never get rid of anything when we bring in new, we get overrun with our own stuff! I challenge you to look at your stuff in a new way. It can be turned into cash to help you with your financial goal of paying down debt or saving. You will feel less stress with less debt and less stuff. I guarantee it!!

Do you have a habit of selling your old things? Do you sell on Ebay, craigslist or at garage sales? What do you do with your proceeds? Anyone interested in an Ebay challenge for the remainder of the year?

Shameless Plugs...But Great Offers!

June 18th, 2014 at 04:54 pm

Today I logged on to my Capital One 360 Savings account to check my balance. I currently have $772.18. This account is where I'm saving my 52 Week Saving Challenge money. I'm saving $57 every pay period, which for us is twice per month. I believe I started at the beginning of last December with the goal of saving $1378, which is the amount that these 52 Week Savings Challenges total at the end of one year. At this point I have saved up Weeks 1-17 and 4-52.

Originally I didn't have any plan for the money other than to save it. That has changed! I am saving the money for my oldest daughter's band trip to Disney World in the spring. We have been told the estimated cost is $1599. We have already made our first $200 deposit out of our regular cash, so that leaves $1399 to save. It seems I'm more than halfway there!

I just love that the saving challenge turned out to be a blessing to get the trip funded without too much hassle. Kind of a 'it pays to save for a rainy day' type of thing. Kind of.

Any chance you have something you need to be saving for over the next 6 months or more? You can sign up for a Capital One 360 Savings account and earn a $50 bonus. Or if a checking account is better, you can earn $25. Or both! Don't forget the fine print, and know that I do receive $20 for each referral, but I don't get any personal information about you. You will be anonymous to me. I plan to save the referral money towards my daughter's trip, too! I'm sure she will need some spending money.

I also became aware that I can refer people to the Chase Freedom card and receive a bonus. This is the credit card that is currently offering a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on the card. I wish I could refer you with a link, but Chase requires I send an email. If you leave your first and last name and email I will input it into the form. You will then receive an email from Chase asking you to apply for the offer. I will delete emails from the blog and will not spam you! I also will not know you applied and whether or not you were approved or denied. I get no personal information. I do need to submit your email by June 20th, so act fast if you are interested!



I think the Chase Freedom card is one of the best cards for the average consumer since it has no annual fee. Of course, please do not apply for credit if you are working on paying off debt or cannot pay off your balance in full each month!

How are you doing on your 52 Week Savings Challenge? Where do you save your money? Do you receive referral money from any products you endorse? What products are they and how much have you earned?

Pending Pay Deposit

June 12th, 2014 at 03:30 pm

My husband's paycheck is pending in our account this morning. Tomorrow is payday since the 15th falls on the weekend. I like earlier paydays, but this just means the money for the next pay period has to stretch a little farther.

I will likely start making payments on the credit cards for bills later today, if I still have the energy. I'm feeling better today, but I can tell I'm not back to 100%.

We know we will find out on June 17th about my husband's promotion. Last year it would have been a bonus to get promoted early. This year he is on track to be promoted and it won't be a good thing if he doesn't. I'd like to think the new pay will show up as of July 1, but I think July 15 is more likely. It should be back dated all the way to June 17.

Does your direct deposit show pending in your account before payday? Do you still get a paper check for pay? Are you depositing at the bank or online?

Another $200 Offer (Just for Me)

June 3rd, 2014 at 07:48 pm

I received an offer from US Bank to open a checking account with direct deposit of at least $500 and receive $200. There are a lot of details and deadlines. For example if I don't open the account by the end of this month the offer drops to $150.

I might actually do this offer because I think that increased income that will come with promotion could easily be the direct deposit! For now, I'm going to wait until promotion comes through and I hear when the new pay actually starts. This may mean I miss out on $50. I don't have to keep the account open very long either, so it would be in just long enough to get the bonus money.

Our mortgage payment for June posted. Our principal portion was $464.60. We also include $103.72 towards principal. The number is odd, but the whole payment is even! We have now surpassed paying down more than 50% of our $13,992 goal for 2014, with $7,425.45 paid towards principal. It is nice to see the plan working!

Have you dipped in for a checking or savings account offer recently? How much debt have you already paid in June? Are you exceeding a financial goal you have for the year?

I wrote about my plans for running errands on Your Organized Friend, but make sure you read the comments on that one, too! Tomorrow I will have a post about getting organized as school winds down for the year. Remember you can sign up to get email updates for my blog at anytime!

Thinking Ahead: Increase Salary

May 23rd, 2014 at 06:11 pm

We expect my husband will be promoted sometime in the next four weeks, likely three. Smile It had been awhile since I had figured our net paycheck for the new pay rate. As it turns out we will net an additional $1043 per month. And I don't really know what we are going to do with it. And I realize this is a good problem to have. Smile

I do know that we will have our oldest daughter in college in the fall 2015. We do have money saved, but it will not be enough for the entire degree program.

I feel like I want to just squirrel it away for some known goal, to avoid the money getting spent without any thought. I talked to my husband about it this morning and his first thought was just to save it,too. Nice to be on the same page!

Although a new fridge would be nice...not a need at all, but an upgrade to the stainless steel is appealing. I sure wouldn't mind some new family room furniture. See I can definitely find things to buy, but I don't want to just buy to buy. My husband said something about replacing our two vehicles, but since they are Honda's with 80k and 60k miles on them and run great, I'm pretty sure that is not a good use of our hard earned cash.

Just to recap, we have a $20K emergency fund, we save nearly 17%+ for retirement, save $4000 towards college per year (currently have $37K+ saved), we have a mortgage of over $200K which we are paying down by $14K this year. We also have my husband's Post 911 GI Bill that can be used to cover up to 36 months of college education. This can be split between all four of us in any way if we choose. We expect to be moving AGAIN next summer.

There are some things we will want to buy in the next year. An Apple Mac, with Photoshop, for our daughter to take to college. An intermediate flute for our youngest daughter. We are also going to be paying for lessons for our youngest daughter, which is a new $80 expense for us. Maybe a car IF our oldest daughter decides to start driving. There are a few other possible expense, but all of them would be within our current salary capabilities.

It seems strange to be at a place where we will have excess money that we have no particular plans or needs for. What would you do with an extra $1K per month? Any better ideas for us, on what we should do with the money?


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