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Ibotta Cash Out

February 5th, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Ibotta, a rebate app, requires a $10 minimum in order to cash out. I reached $10.75 today after getting a $1 rebate for something my husband bought. I debated about just cashing out for the even $10, but decided I didn't want to leave any money on the table, so I cashed out for my entire balance.

It does seem to take awhile to accumulate likely because I'm not always buying what they have rebates for. I do find Ibotta better than Checkout 51. With Checkout 51, the minimum to cash out is $20! I only have a balance of $11.25. I have a ways to go. This week the only thing I likely could get a rebate for is $0.25 for carrots or salad mix. If I decide to buy a cereal they have offered I could add another $1. Again...slow earnings.

The money for my Ibotta cash out was instant to my PayPal account. No waiting at all! I'm leaving it there to see if my Swagbucks money is deposited today or tomorrow. If so, I can make just one transfer instead of two.

We got our dishwasher part today! I just ordered it yesterday (paying only for standard shipping). It clearly was breaking apart and we do think it is quieter, just not quite as quiet as I was remembering or expecting. No regrets on the part change out which took about 25 minutes at the most from start to finish. I'm just hoping there isn't another issue. Smile

We spent just over $20 for some home maintenance items at Menard's today. Stain and poly spray for a door we are cleaning up, iron out for a stain around our water heater. grout for a small area that needs to be filled in our master bathroom, and some magic erasers (trying to clean up my laundry tub).

I'm thankful that we don't have big repairs to take care of. We will need caulk for some areas around the house. We will wait on that until it gets warmer. We will also be doing some painting (just touch ups), but we have all the paint we need for those!

Do you use a rebate shopping app? Which one do you like? Anyone else doing any home maintenance?

Cashed Out

February 4th, 2015 at 07:29 pm

I cashed out for $25 from Swagbucks into my PayPal account. It has arrived pretty quickly in the past, so I hope this time will be the same! Since that is a snowflake I will apply it to the credit card balance we are working on.

I could apply the money to the dishwasher part we ordered today. We are now pretty sure that the drain pump is causing all of our noise issues. We ordered one online for $52 (shipping included) that will arrive on Thursday. It seems we live fairly close to the company shipping it!

If it doesn't solve the problem, we will be able to return it and pay to ship it back for a refund. I'm pretty sure that is the correct fix. I suppose if it isn't than it may be time to call someone in. It runs and cleans fine. It is just loud! And it hasn't always been loud, so something isn't right. I want if functioning correctly before we list our home, so it is a non issue for the buyers.

My husband was home yesterday and we tackled quite a few maintenance and repair items. I have a blog post on Your Organized Friend that will be up at 6 AM Central Time on Thursday that tells more about what we have been working on. Including some that I thought would take much longer than I expected!

Have you ever repaired your own dishwasher? Are you a Swagbucks member? If not, here's my referral link. Be sure to read an older post that will give you a few tips on how to earn Swagbucks!

Saving Water and More

February 2nd, 2015 at 02:04 pm

As we get our house ready to sell, we are doing a few repairs around the house. One item we need to take care of is a loud noise our dishwasher makes several times during its cycle. The dishwasher still works and gets the dishes clean.

Since, I like to save money, my first instinct is to try to troubleshoot the problem myself. I found the manual today which didn't exactly point me to the fix, but provided me with some very enlightening information! The 'light wash' setting that I always use to save water actually uses MORE water than the 'normal wash' my husband tends to choose. I even get irritated with him when I notice he has chosen that setting. Now I will not because it will be saving us 4.3 gallons of water per cycle. If you like specifics, our dishwasher uses 7.6 gallons of water on the 'light wash' setting and 3.3 gallons on the 'normal wash' setting. I am shocked at the difference!

After some looking online for a remedy to our dishwasher noise problem, we have decided to try the cheapest route first. We will install a 5/8" O ring to the water inlet valve that attaches to the spray arm on the top basket. There currently isn't one there and seems to have been the fix for several people online. I'm not sure if we ever had one, but it there is a groove in the plastic indicated one should be there. If this ends up being the fix it will cost us a mere $2.

In addition to figuring out the dishwasher problem, we installed four puck lights under our kitchen cabinets. We have a pretty dark kitchen with dark wood and counter tops positioned in the northeast part of our home. While the overhead lighting is sufficient most of the time, we felt a little extra lighting would be helpful and a small selling point in some cases. The light set (for six lights) was about $35. We made quite a mess this morning to complete it, but it was well worth it! At least I will get to enjoy the lights for a short while before we move.

Do you know how many gallons each of your dishwasher settings use? Are you using the setting that uses the least amount of water? Do you have an under cabinet lighting in your kitchen?

Skipping the Fundraiser and A Repair

January 28th, 2015 at 10:05 am

We got another band fundraiser! Twenty five percent of the profits go to the child's band or choir trip fund. In the three years we have been in this district and participated in the fundraisers we have earned $80 for my daughter's trip. Glad to have it, but it doesn't add up fast at all.

It seems most of the sales have been to my parents or my husband's coworkers. Since my husband's last week of work here is THIS week (and we only found out today), there is no point in selling to them. My parents don't need more stuff and would probably rather give straight to my daughter for souvenirs (not that they even need to do that). So we are skipping it completely. So much simpler really!

I'm waiting for the furnace repair people to call sometime today. Our furnace has decided to shut down once or twice a day since Saturday. We can always get it back on by turning the thermostat off and then back on. A service person was here Monday afternoon but since it was working they were not 100% sure of the fix. We decided to wait and look for some codes that appear on the unit when it fails to help diagnose the issue. Well we have those codes, so hopefully once someone comes the issue can be fixed.

Has your furnace been working this season? Are you a believer in fundraisers or not?

I issued a challenge on Your Organized Friend to declutter 15 items today. Join in!

Random Thoughts on our Money

January 2nd, 2015 at 07:16 am

First, I'm a little slow on my 2015 goals, just like The Deacon's Wife. I will get there. Officially the first paycheck for 2015 isn't until mid month for us, so we have time.

Yesterday our only spending was $5 at the gas station, but we used a gift card to pay for that little soda splurge. We needed a pick me up during our filing cabinet purging. I have a post on that at Your Organized Friend.

Today we expect to get haircuts and shop for a calendar for my youngest daughter. I want a calendar too, but not sure if it is a need. I do use it to notice when dates are but tend to record most things on my online calendar.

We also plan to go to the music store today or this weekend. We have a credit with them after purchasing the most recent flute. It is $157. Equal to 10% of our purchase price. It must be used in January. It going to be a shopping spree at the music store! Some of it will go to purchasing music we know we need, but the rest is up for grabs. I'll let you know what we end up with. Smile

I'm close to getting enough Swagbucks to redeem for $25 in PayPal cash. I decided to go for the cash for awhile, so I can put that money directly toward two credit cards we are paying off. The each have about an $800 balance (no worries, no interest accruing). I should have them paid off in a few short months, or tomorrow if I decide to just use cash on hand!

The CD we have with NFCU is 5% interest on our $5000 balance. We earned almost as much interest on that money last month, as we did on nearly $35K in our money market. I do regret I didn't get some of that money invested into a CD two years ago. With an upcoming move, and the intention of using some of it towards the next down payment I will wait to do anything.

Do you use a wall or other paper calendar? Or just digital? Do you have paper to purge? What is the highest interest rate you are earning on your savings?

Ending the Year

December 31st, 2014 at 12:00 pm

2014 has been a great year. We were and are all well. We got to visit with family and friends numerous times. Financially, we continued to invest and pay down debt. Again, a very good year!

Today, the last day of the year, I managed to close my Discover Checking account. I got the bonus, I don't need it any more. I also emailed Chase to close my husband's Chase Freedom account. We haven't used that in months and don't expect to. Most importantly, I paid the bills!

I packed away some of the Christmas decorations. Before I put the items that were out back in the bins, I made sure to pull out the few things that did not get put out this year so that could be donated. I even went as far as pulling some glitter star ornaments that I was given several years back OFF the tree so I could donate them. Every year when they come out, I hesitate about putting them on, but then we do anyway. This time they are going BEFORE the next Christmas.

I made sure to get to Goodwill today to drop off my final bag of donations for the year. I got my receipt, although I likely won't qualify to take the deduction. That is okay. I'm more excited about less stuff!!

I also made the final grocery shopping trip for the year. I was able to go about three days longer than planned because of all the leftovers from Christmas. We had half a pumpkin pie that I finally had to toss today. It has been a week in the fridge, and I decided it was too late to freeze. And since we weren't interested in eating it it was time to go.

We will stay in to celebrate New Year's Eve and Day as a family. We will play board and card games tonight. Maybe a movie. We will eat lots of snack type foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits! Tomorrow I hope we can all do a little work to put away our Christmas trees. I also secretly hope to get my husband to go through some papers that I think can be recycled or shredded. He does know about them, so it won't be a big surprise.

After the New Year, I hope to write more about our finances in 2014 and our goals going forward. I just haven't had time to think about all of those yet!

Are there certain tasks that you do at the end or beginning of each year? How will you celebrate New Years?

Happy New Year Saving Advice!

Oops! Low On Gifts

December 19th, 2014 at 05:34 am

My youngest daughter asked me a couple days ago if it was too late to ask for a Wii game for Christmas. I said it might be. I was pretty sure I was done with all my shopping.

Quite a few of her gifts, primarily T shirts, were still to arrive in the mail. Yesterday, the last package arrived. And then I began wondering if I had semi equivalent gifts for my girls. I made a list of what I had and what I spent. I even had to open some gifts I had already wrapped! It turns out I had spent $175 on my oldest and $110 on my youngest. I budget for about $150 each. I was within budget, but a little off on the equality.

In the end I found two Wii games for about $15 each. One at Target. And the other on eBay that should arrive on Wednesday.

I think she will be pleased with a couple of new games. And I'm glad it came up so I could reevaluate what she was getting.

Today I will wrap and rewrap the gifts I opened! I did end up needing to buy a roll of wrapping paper. I used up all the leftover wrapping we had left.

Other money tidbits: I did get the $200 bonus from US Bank, my PayPal money from Swagbucks arrived quickly, I tried my Bing reward code again and it worked!

Have you realized at the last minute you were low on gifts for a child?

I've been writing over at Your Organized Friend this past month about holiday preparations and making lists. Please come check it out, and don't forget you can sign up for updates by email. I don't get or see that information, so you are anonymous!

Paychecks Stabilized

November 23rd, 2014 at 07:50 am

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.

Christmas Purchase

November 15th, 2014 at 04:22 pm

We have stayed home today, since snow is falling and causing accidents on roads. I made sure to purchase groceries for the week yesterday with the intention of staying home this weekend.

Of course, just because I'm home doesn't mean no spending. Thanks to the internet I was able to purchase one of the bigger gifts for my daughter on eBay. It currently sells new for about $177 on Amazon. I was able to get one in nearly new for $130, which included shipping. I'm definitely pleased about that.

I put the charge on my new Southwest Rapids Rewards Plus card that arrived in the mail yesterday. All new purchases will be applied to this card to meet the $2K spending requirement. I have already put gas ($40) and one of my grocery runs ($25) on the card, too.

I'm discussing my Christmas planning and tasks completed on Your Organized Friend. I think I have about seven posts you can check out (make sure to scroll down to see them all). The goal is to get some things complete early so that I'm less stressed in December. I think it is going to work!

Are you done shopping for Christmas? Have you started at all?

Reimbursed!

October 29th, 2014 at 07:37 am

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?

Less Mortgage Debt

October 28th, 2014 at 06:10 am

The $250 Citi Thank You reward check was applied to our mortgage late last week! Today, I also sent in another $18 in extra funds (snowflakes) to reduce the balance even further. That money was from one Pinecone Survey check and three $5 Target gift cards.

The mortgage balance is now $X16,512.76. This means just $1,512.76 left to pay down before the end of the year to meet our goal. We are right on track or even ahead of schedule.

Once we meet the actual goal amount, I will stop sending snowflakes to the mortgage. I will need to use these to offset some big purchases of late, primarily car maintenance. And there's that flute we still need to purchase. We have also been buying some new uniform items for my husband due to his promotion. Just last night I ordered a new service cap to go with his ASU (dress uniform) to the tune of $105! This stuff adds up, so I need to get some of this cash back into the bank.

I have a bid on one item on eBay, so another small snowflake will arrive before the end of the month, although I may count it towards November. I also redeemed MyPoints for a Panera Bread gift card. If I use that for an outing with friends, I will match it with mortgage funds.

If you have the Discover card, remember that online purchases for the quarter earn 5% cash back. I luckily remembered this when I ordered the service cap and some vitamins online yesterday?

What is your most recent snowflake? Are you using a cash back card for your online purchases? Are you nearing a goal you made at the beginning of the year

I've got a new post at Your Organized Friend, with a little more decluttering I got done yesterday.

The Refund

October 23rd, 2014 at 05:03 pm

The flute we bought on eBay has been returned, received and payment refunded. However, it doesn't yet show on my credit card. On PayPal, it says it could take up to 30 day! Wow, that is a really long time. Luckily, there is no interest accruing on the card I used. It may show up in another day or two, at least that is what I hope!

I claimed my third $5 gift card at Target this week for purchasing $15 worth of personal care products. In all I bought six packages of feminine products (two types), two tubes of toothpaste, two deodorant sticks, and two cans of shaving cream. I think we are stocked up through the end of the year! Two gift cards have been used, the third will be used tomorrow when I get a few more items for our guests. All gift cards will be matched with a principal payment to the mortgage. Smile

I've been doing some fall tasks and purging a few areas of the house. I wrote all about it over at Your Organized Friend, my other blog.

Sad and Good News

October 8th, 2014 at 05:49 am

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.

eBay Sale & Decluttering

October 6th, 2014 at 06:45 am

I sold an item on eBay over the weekend. The net profit was $23.79. Two of the items listed didn't sell, so they have been relisted and I added another one.

I really want to be decluttering this month, but I did only get to the entry way last week. I wrote a little more about the topic and some areas I may consider on Your Organized Friend.

We are busy this month with band events and guests. It is quite enough to keep up with that, but I will do my best to dig in and find some things we no longer need. Maybe there will be more items to list on eBay!

The biggest thing I need to remind myself is that looking for things to purge only takes a few minutes each day. I'm sure I can find 10 minutes even if I have all these guests and things to get done.

In other financial news, our mortgage payment for October had $474.64 in principal reduction. Plus, we automatically send in $103.72 towards principal each month as well.

Have you sold anything recently? Do you consider October a good month to purge and declutter? I'd love to hear about any decluttering or purging you do, and even how long it took you!

Band Day

October 4th, 2014 at 08:26 am

We have another band competition to attend today. It is so cold and windy here, I'm not really looking forward to it. My phone's weather app thinks it is snowing, but it is dry and sunny. Strange.

We will spend $19 to get in. The admission is a fundraiser for our band program so taht makes me feel better about it. I have the cash already to go and accounted for.

I did hit Target yesterday for groceries and a few needed items like coffee, toilet paper and dishwasher detergent. My bill was around $60, which seemed like way to much, but I really didn't buy anything more than needs. I might have spent a little less if our guests in town for tonight weren't coming, but I did refrain from lots of extras.

I did get one post up on Your Organized Friend about decluttering the Entry Way. The blog I'm following indicates Mail and the Living Room are the next two areas to cover. With our plans today, I will not get to those until at least tomorrow.

What is the weather in your area of the country? Are you running your heat like I am?

Tracking Spending

October 3rd, 2014 at 07:59 am

I'm attempting to track our spending for this pay period. I try to keep our basic spending to $1000 for groceries, gas, entertainment, flute lessons, and miscellaneous for each half of the month. I'm trying to determine if this is realistic. It seems it should be, but I'm using October to see how we do.

If I include two flute lessons that haven't yet happened and admission to quite a few band events for the next 10 days, we have spent $445 out of the $1000. This doesn't make me feel too great to already be at that point, but I will do the best we can to stay around that mark.

I will do the same thing again later in October as well. There are at least two birthdays I need to buy for late in the month, two road trips, two oil changes, and who knows what else!

I will be going to the store to get food for the weekend. We're having guests, but I think I have a good simple food plan for the two meals they will eat with us. I need to get toilet paper, dish detergent, and coffee also.

We were given two family movies on DVDs that we can watch for entertainment this weekend, so hopefully no Amazon rentals needed. I think we can avoid food at the band event based on the time of day. If my youngest thinks she will want something, I will have her bring her own money or at least a snack from the cupboard. I think we will stay in on Saturday night and watch our home football team play. We still have beer left from last weekend.

I think I'm going to start blogging over at Your Organized Friend this month, as there is a series called 31 Days to a Clutter Free home on the LivingWellSpendingLess website. I will just follow along with it. I'm two days behind, but I think I can commit to checking most days off the list. It seems like a good time of year to declutter BEFORE the holidays. It still often needs to be done after too, but if I do some before it will help lesson the need in January.

Do you check in on your true spending habits occasionally? Are you keeping your spending down right now for a particular goal? Are you interested in decluttering this month, before the holidays?

Two Soups

September 25th, 2014 at 08:24 am

I'm making two soups/stews for our party. I made traditional chili using the famous Better Homes & Garden cookbook. I'm also making a Moroccan Lentil Soup in case anyone doesn't want to do the chili. I love both personally.

I prechopped green pepper, onion and carrots yesterday, which made getting started on the soups today VERY easy. In fact, as of 10 am this morning they are done!

We purchased alcohol and beverages last night. I did find a rebate on the rum, but that was it. We very likely bought more than needed, but decided it would get used eventually, and it could make an excuse for another gathering!

I will buy salad ingredients today. I also think I will make the corn bread later today as well. I feel pretty good about getting ready for the party. I also think one of the wives wants to come over early in case I need help. I will let her. I can have her help me get food into containers and put plates and cups out. And it will be fun! If she doesn't end up coming, it will be no big deal. Smile

I will do my kitchen floor cleaning first thing in the morning. It will needed it after all my baking and food prep.

I did complete a Pinecone survey a day or two ago. The credit to my account has been redeemed for cash.

What is your favorite soup to eat or make?

The Tissue Tracking Begins

September 10th, 2014 at 02:50 pm

Since I recently made a large purchase of tissues, I thought I'd at least make a note of the purchase and the total number of tissue boxes in our home as of this date.

On September 5, 2014 I purchased 24 boxes of Puffs Ultra Soft tissues for $21.68. This was purchased with an Amazon gift card obtain from Southwest Rapids Rewards Visa. Shipping was included or free with our Amazon Prime membership.

Prior to this purchase I already had 7 unopened boxes of tissues being stored in our home, along with several opened boxes of tissues. One of those recently was used up and discarded.

The current tissue status is as follows:
5 opened boxes of tissues
30 boxes of unopened tissues



I have stored 6 boxes in my new laundry cabinets, 10 boxes in the linen closet near my daughter's bathroom, 6 boxes in the garage entry closet, 7 boxes in my bathroom under the counter, and one box in the basement bathroom.

The tracking begins! What I really want to know is when we finish the last box of tissues, or at least no longer have 30 boxes stored. This will give me an idea of the average amount of tissues we use in a given period of time. Smile

Amazon Spending

September 8th, 2014 at 01:29 pm

I bought 24 boxes of Puffs tissues last week on Amazon. I believe they arrive tomorrow. I'm interested to see how big of a box that is!!

Last night, I finally remembered to reorder my daughter's allergy medicine. Generic Zyrtec, 365 pills for $17.25 shipped in two days with our Prime Membership. I hate to admit but her bottle we bought quite awhile back expired in May! It seemed to still be working, but I'd like her to get the full effect of unexpired medicine.

Those purchases were made with Amazon gift cards that were redeemed with points on our Southwest Rapids Rewards Visa. So since it was free to us on purchases anyway, I made an equal payment to our mortgage. The amount was $38.93. Less debt!!

Have you ever purchased 24 boxes of tissues at one time?!

Check out the junk I got rid of at Your Organized Friend.

No Procrastinating Today!

September 4th, 2014 at 05:38 am

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?

The Other Blog and Weekend Spending

September 2nd, 2014 at 07:23 am

I'm back blogging over at Your Organized Friend again. I basically took the summer off. It is a bit difficult to be engaged with your kids, diving in to big projects and photographing and writing about them when they are at home a majority of the time.

Today's post is about our new laundry cabinets. We installed them on Friday and it really went well getting them mounted up on the wall.

The cabinets cost us just under $400. I think the knobs were another $16. We ended up renting a compound miter saw for $17 (for four hours...only needed it for one) to cut the crown moulding. We did attempt to use our plastic miter box, but it was too flexible to make the cuts precise. We also attempted to tack the moulding with nails and hammer, but the wood is so hard that it took a lot of pounding and too many bent nails. We bought a brad nailer and nails for $32, after our military discount at Lowe's.

Considering that the only storage in this laundry room was a cabinet under the sink, we think the expense of less than $500 makes a big difference in the functionality of the laundry room. It is true we could have put up shelving for far less, but for this type of home, the cabinets made the most sense. They match the kitchen cabinets that are in the next room. I may even use a little bit of the space to store some kitchen items that currently don't have a place in my kitchen.

Our weekend was a little spendy even in addition to the tools we purchased/rented. My husband and I rewarded ourselves with lunch out on Friday when we successfully hung the cabinets. We traveled 5+ hours back to our home state to meet our foster niece. We went our for ice cream during our visit, and purchased pizza and bread sticks for nine people. Obviously, we needed fuel for the van, which did result in a couple snack purchases. There was also one lunch on the road, too.

We proceeded to buy more pizza on our return home, since we didn't have much food in the house or the energy to grocery shop until yesterday. The groceries, including toilet paper, contact solution, batteries, and deodorant, were $155. I also made a shopping trip to get workout capri's since I was done to one pair. I spent $32 on those.

So...not our best weekend from a money standpoint, but it was good to visit family, meet the cutest 8 year old girl, and get some projects and tasks completed.

Did you save or spend this holiday weekend? What was the best part of your weekend?

Balanced

August 13th, 2014 at 01:24 pm

I balanced our checkbook today after our statement closed for the month. I did actually miss recording a small payment (less than $10) this past month. At least the bill was still paid! My check book is an online Excel register program that I found free online. I don't have the link for it, but I did a quick search and see there are still options out there. Be careful to pick one that has good ratings and reviews, so you don't download a virus.

For the past two months, I have charged our Verizon bill to my US Bank Cash+ card. One of the categories I chose for this quarter was 5% back for cell phone providers. Considering our bill is fairly high, this is a nice little discount off the bill. This month the rewards were $12.31. I redeem the rewards in full for a credit and paid the remaining amount. I consider the rewards a snowflake and will match the amount with a payment to the mortgage.

My Citi Thank You rewards card has already closed on the first statement. I have not had the card long at all. Although long enough to rack up $260 in charges, the bulk of that was for electricity and a flute maintenence repair bill.

I helped at school yesterday afternoon and this morning. Band camp has begun and uniforms are being fitted. I'm helping to hem pants. It feels like a quilting bee type of event with several ladies hand sewing in one place! I did mention my wedding gown donation to a few women. One told me today she keeps thinking about it and will likely donate her dress as well. So cool!

Do you balance your checkbook anymore? Anyone still using pen and paper? Anyone else getting rewards on cell phone charges? Do you know how to sew?

Citi Thank You Card Arrived

August 9th, 2014 at 11:21 am

The Citi Thank You Preferred credit card arrived in the mail yesterday. I activated them today. We need to spend $1500 in 3 months to receive 20,000 points which is equal to $200 in gift cards and cash equivalents.

Each time we get a new card, I have to swap out the one we have been using. This time we pulled our Wells Fargo American Express cards out. I instructed my husband to use it for everything except gas since we are using the Chase Freedom card for 5% back on gas stations through the end of September. He will also use the Target Red Card if he buys anything at Target. He is such a good sport to play along with the credit card game. He does sometimes forget which card to use and ends up using the wrong one, but overall it isn't a big deal. As long as I keep the debt we carry to zero from month to month, he's happy!

In other news, I washed my silk wedding dress in cold water and woolite this morning. I cleaned out our basement bathtub first and did three rinses with cold water. Now the dress is drying over the tub. I don't expect it to shrink since it won't be in the dryer. As I wrote earlier in the week, it will get mailed to Helping Hands to be made into angel gowns.

Tidbits: Includes State Fair and Wedding Dress

August 7th, 2014 at 09:44 am

I have some money tidbits today. I earned another $3 from Pinecone.

On eBay, I have a bid one one item and now someone watching another item.

I sent my $5 Starbucks egift card from Discover to my sister who is prepping her classroom for school. My mom is there helping. I thought they could use a coffee break sometime today. I've had the egift card in my email inbox since May! I think it's time someone used it. Smile

Nothing is decided about college. We really enjoyed our visit to the college north of us. I personally would go there in an instant!

I purchased some items from iHerb today. I had over $9 in rewards, met the minimum spending for free shipping and paid less than $13 out of pocket for about $25 worth of items.

Citi Thank You card was not in the mail again today.

We decided not to go to our state fair, as it is now a two hour drive. We are coming up on the busy marching band season and need some time at home. I expect not going will save us nearly $150! That is a plus.

I'm going to open the box my wedding gown from 18 years ago is preserved in today. I will be trying it on and hoping I still fit in it(just kidding...that will never happen!!). Actually, I will be washing it and preparing to send it to an organization that turns gowns in to Angel Gowns for babies who have died in the hospital. I have decided this is a better use for it than sitting in my closet. My daughters are not attached to it and don't have any interest in wearing it.

Those are my tidbits. Do you still have your wedding dress? Save any money this week? Will you visit your state fair?

Home Improvement Spending

July 21st, 2014 at 05:42 am

We completed our landscaping project this weekend. We felt like it was a pretty fast improvement. It involved removing grass (primarily dead) from four areas around the sides of our home, adding landscaping edging, landscape fabric and then rock. This cost us about $250, but it is a good improvement for the home.

We expect to add some shrubs and other shade plants, but will look for them on clearance closer to fall. I will be moving some coral bells that are in the sun to the backyard shade. I have a couple other items from the front bed that may get moved to the back as well. We are having very warm humid weather now and transplanting plants this time of year isn't the best. So that part of the project will wait.

The other home improvement spending was to special order two 33 inch wall cabinets for our laundry room. The cabinets will match our kitchen cabinets that are in the room right next to the laundry. The stain will match, too! These will be installed by us when they arrive above the washer and dryer. Our laundry room only has one base cabinet under the sink for storage. We decided cabinets were better than a basic wire shelf for this price point of home. They will provide nearby storage for kitchen items, too. We spent $392 with tax for these. We paid half now and the rest will be charged before they are delivered. I have about three weeks to get my laundry room painted!

We are back to running our air conditioner after at least a week without. It was nice to have a week of cool weather in July. It will be interesting to see what our bill is next month!

What kind of storage do you have in your laundry room? Did you do any work in your yard this weekend? Were you able to have keep your air conditioner off at all this month?

Free Labor

July 15th, 2014 at 05:26 pm

We have some areas of our yard where the grass doesn't grow well, or is completely dead. This is mainly along the house and on the north sides. We have wanted to get this spruced up for ourselves as well as future buyers.

My husband wanted to hire it out. I was willing to hear the estimate. The one guy he called never called back. Haven't seen them in the neighborhood lately either.

I decided that since it was primarily dead, that the areas were soft because of so much rain, AND the weather was cooler that I would dig these areas up today. I got them all done in less than 4 hours! Maybe it was less. The old grass is in yard waste bags to be picked up next week.

We will get plastic edging to match what already exists, weed block, and rock for the areas I dug up. This equates to 80+ feet of edging and over 150 sq ft of rock. The rock will be the most expensive part. My labor is free compared to hiring someone.

We are going to look at rock prices tonight and hope get the project started or complete this weekend. It seems my husband is all up for it now that I did one of the hardest parts. Smile

Do you hire yard work out? Do you do your own? Do you even have a yard?

Summer Savings

July 9th, 2014 at 06:02 am

This summer is one for the books right now. Of course, it can change. It has been significantly cooler. No days above 90 degrees for us yet. And of course, lots of rain, which is good plants and bad when your neighbor's basements fill with water. I feel bad for those people. Sad to see so many belongings on the curb for pickup.

We have had many days, with the windows open! This means no air conditioning. And then of course that equates to lower electricity bills. I like that! I mentioned electricity savings in my last post if you missed it.

With all the rain, we have not needed to water our lawn even one time. I expect this could change as we get into fall though. Of course, we are mowing a bit more as the grass is growing at a nice clip with all the rain and cooler weather.

I'm taking advantage of the cooler weather today to get our bathroom painted. We still have plenty of paint from our big paint purchase in March or April. I posted a little paint tip on Your Organized Friend when I started on the project this weekend.

Have you been painting or doing any chores because the weather is cooler? Is YOUR weather cooler? Have you been getting more rain than in a usual summer?

Sell For Snowflakes

June 26th, 2014 at 07:38 am

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?

$5 Gift Card

June 23rd, 2014 at 09:37 am

I had to go to the store to buy a specific item this morning. I ended up buying three because I could get a $5 Target gift card if I did. This is something we will definitely use, so not a big deal to stock up.

I will count that $5 gift card as a snowflake and send that $5 to the mortgage since Target will give me $5 off my next purchase!

Snowflakes are all around us if we take time to notice! I hope to get a post up this week about my sources of snowflakes and other ideas for you to look into. Did you find any money recently that you can put towards your snowflake goal?

I put a new post on Your Organized Friend about my new cleaning task today.

$20 Snowflake

June 22nd, 2014 at 09:33 am

I sold some pretty inexpensive furniture on Craigslist this morning. An end table, a coffee table and tv stand that we originally purchased for $70 at Walmart. I had them listed for $35, but lowered the price to $30. The man asked if I would take $20. I said yes, since I was ready to have them moved on. Now I have $20 cash and less clutter!

We did some decluttering in my daughter's room yesterday. There is more to do as she is a little slow in going through things. We found a few picture books and trinkets my sister can use with her kindergarten students. I have a new post up on Your Organized Friend about a quick clean up I did with pictures.

I'd really like to get some items posted to Ebay tonight. I let you know if that actually happens! Are you selling or decluttering right now? Where did you get your last snowflake of money?


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