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Taxes Filed & More

January 22nd, 2017 at 07:25 pm

I went ahead and filed our taxes. All of our tax forms arrived. We take the standard deduction, since we no longer own a home. This was probably one of the easiest tax filing years ever, honestly. We are getting a $1497 refund. All of which will go towards the tuition bill due February 12. And as I said in my last post, I did adjust withholding to avoid the big refund next year.

We went grocery shopping today. I honestly didn't use any coupons at the commissary, however I spent $102, which did include several wants. Overall, this is a very decent grocery bill for us. I did inquire about the items that we paid for last week, but were left behind. I had my receipt and they had recorded the items I left. I was simply told to go get the items and they would sack them up. It was almost too simple! At least $10+ worth of stuff was not lost.

The week after next my husband will be gone for about four or five days. I'm going to consider skipping my regular grocery shop and see if I can't get my daughter and I through that week without buying much at all. If I can do that I just might be able to save the $83 left in the grocery budget.

My husband was going to get a haircut today as he primarily needed his neck trimmed. He did mention that we should buy a new trimmer as we have been without one for awhile. He even pointed out the trimmer might cost the same amount as one haircut! Well, the one we bought was $24, and his haircut is usually $13. So one more trim and we will have made the purchase worthwhile. We also talked about cutting his hair at home. We did try that at one time, and I now can't remember why we didn't keep it up!

We have $323 left in our Everyday Expenses category for the rest of the month, just nine days. I feel pretty good that we can keep more than half, maybe even $200 of this money to send in towards tuition.

We were notified by my daughter's flute teacher that she needs to take the next four weeks off from teaching as she has a gig at the community playhouse. We do have the option of another teacher, but my daughter who has been packing in two AP courses in one semester (finals are this week, exam in May) just would like a break. This is going to save me $100! More money I can apply to tuition!!


Decision on Retirement

January 22nd, 2017 at 06:58 am

I was considering changing our retirement vehicle from the Roth IRAs to Traditional to save on taxes. I was definitely procrastinating this decision and the calculations. My husband was agreeable either way. I finally realized it was a bit silly to invest in the Traditional considering we are in the 15% tax bracket. If we were to switch to Traditional we would save that money now, but it isn't that we would invest that savings, we would likely put it towards tuition or other college costs. I finally decided that the growth that would occur on the money invested in Traditional accounts would mean more taxes later. The Roth IRA is actually a really good deal!

I also decided to increase my husbands TSP to 11% of his basic pay. It had been 10% prior. This means an additional $992 saved for retirement. His raise was 2.1% so we put almost half away for later. Smile

I mentioned in my last post that we are expecting nearly a $1500 refund. This means we effectively had too much withheld from my husbands paycheck. That is money we could have had in our hands all year long. I am pretty sure I planned it this way so that money could be put towards tuition this February. I'm not going to need to do that for 2017. I have changed our withholding from 8 to 9. Increasing the withholding number lowers the amount withheld from each paycheck. For us the change amounts to $90.99.

With these changes, my husbands paycheck will actually increase by about $50 a pay period or $100 a month. I think I need to put this extra in a specific budget category. Tuition seems like a good place! Or vacation. Smile

Alternative Landline Ooma & More

January 18th, 2017 at 11:42 am

We love our Ooma and still like have the convenience of a landline at our house. Our cell service here has a lot to be desired. I get one or two bars and get more dropped calls then I would prefer! If you are interested the Ooma telo unit is on sale until the end of January and ships free. Our monthly fee of required Federal taxes is $4.83 a month. It does vary by location. I do get a referral credit if you sign up! So thank you in advance.

In other news, I started the transfer of $15K from one bank to the other. The money is going into that 2% CD that I opened yesterday with NFCU. It takes awhile to move...right now the estimated arrival is Monday!

I am in the process of switching some of our regular bills, such as the Ooma taxes, Netflix, cable, and our electric fee to the Southwest credit card. I want to consolidate as much of our spending as possible to one card to rack up the points. I need to try to remember tonight to tell the flute studio that I want to change my automatic payment with them, too.

I spent a little time this morning, get the the exact number than I can claim for tuitions, fees and related course materials. I thought I came up with a little over $4K earlier this month, but my numbers didn't make any sense to me! I redid them and came up with $3,813. I may have counted something twice.

I'm procrastinating working on the withholding and what I want to do about IRA vs Roth investing. Maybe tomorrow.

Opened New CD

January 17th, 2017 at 06:41 am

I opened a new CD at Navy Federal Credit Union this morning. Its been on my list for a week. I only put $75 in it to begin with as that is what was already in my savings account there. We have over $20K at another institution that I would like to transfer and add to the certificate. The maximum amount for this CD (at 2% for 17 months is $50K), so I can add the full amount and it can be added at anytime. So I at least took the first step!

I have only one tax statement thus far. It the 1098-T that universities send out showing qualified expenses they billed and the scholarships and grants provided. My husband's W2 should be available on Saturday. I will need to check the banks to see if they have 1099 INT (interest statement) forms available yet. Our taxes are pretty straight forward most years. I do want to get our return done as soon as possible to get that refund money in our account.

Another reason I want to complete our tax return is to do more planning for 2017. I'm still undecided about changing our retirement from Roth IRAs to Traditional (or TSP). I even went so far as to skip our contributions in January and make them up during the rest of the year, so that I can have more time to figure out what I want to do. This might mean I can use that $916 that I set aside on payday and put that towards tuition. This will mean we each need to contribute $500 a month for 11 months to meet the maximum contribution for the year.

In credit card news, I'm considering cancelling our Chase Freedom account (although I think my longest open account) and Discover. We still just have too many. I rarely take advantage of the 5% categories (although did use Discover at Christmas for all Amazon purchases). I think because of all the airline travel we are planning to do in the next few years, we would be better off putting a majority of our purchases on our Southwest Card, rather than accumulating cash in little bits over several cards. Trust me I know they add up, but I think the airline miles would be more advantageous to us. I'll let you know when I actually make a decision.

We Ate Subway

January 14th, 2017 at 12:44 pm

We were out of town this morning. Our event ended around noon and we were hungry. The three of us stopped at Subway before we headed home. We spent $20.65. This is where our habits and lack of planning cost us money. I'm not really upset about it. If I were being truly frugal we would have prepared a lunch at home and brought it with us.

I have updated YNAB with payday funds. We had about $111 that we didn't spend during the first half of the month. I put that in the college tuition and housing bucket. After allocating for regular investments, bills and spending categories, I had almost another $1700 from our current paycheck to put towards tuition. I now have $2935 set aside. I need about $4K total, so I'm still short. I think I can get pretty close on my husband's next paycheck. And since we do have cash, I can actually pay it and then repay ourselves once we do have funds.

Tonight for dinner, we are having fried rice with some of that chicken I made earlier in the week. We have some salad to finish as well. I need to make my meal plan for next week so we can get our grocery shopping done tomorrow! I hope to incorporate some more rice and some soups into our plan.

Amex Offer & StepBet

January 9th, 2017 at 08:07 am

I paid our cable bill with my husbands American Express card last night. This charge still qualifies under the 10% back on satellite and cable bills that expires at the end of January. The maximum credit is $30 and our other bills have qualified us for $28.95 of that $30. So this bill will get $1.05 credit. I plan to use $25 in rewards towards the bill as well, so our final bill this month will be $55.03. If you remember we turned in a cable box and exchanged it for a digital adapter a couple weeks ago, that is saving us $10 a month now. We did get a $5-6 credit for turning it in mid billing cycle.

I'm debating about doing a StepBet. I know I could win. I have a treadmill, and I go on regular walks with my neighbor. The bet is $40. For those of you who have done these in the past, what have some of your payouts looked like? Is it a good return? I may do another 4 week DietBet, if I don't do the StepBet.

In pantry news, I've finished the english muffins, and the clementines. I plan to have a green smoothie for lunch to use up the romaine, frozen fruit and some of the chia seeds.

Snowflake Towards Tuition

January 7th, 2017 at 07:49 am

I redeemed $62 from our USAA Rewards card yesterday. That snowflake of cash is now sitting in our checking account and has been budgeted for the upcoming tuition expense. I was able to put away $740 in January for tuition. So far this month I have saved $532. I'm definitely behind where I would like to be considering I would like to have $4000 by the tuition due date of February 12.

I raided the birthday fund and came up with $150. I think this was actually birthday money my husband and I received for our birthday's from my parents. Yet, tuition is more important than buying ourselves more stuff!

I evaluated the escrow fund we have for auto insurance, renters insurance, and vehicle registration. I was hoping we had excess there, but that was not the case. I guess I'm pretty good at setting it up correctly!

I may be able to find some things to sell, but I'm not very optimistic they will be big money makers or sell fast. But the little amounts do add up, so I will try.

The second half of the month is usually the most fruitful time for saving. We have fewer bills and expenses. In fact, I may delay our retirement investments one month just to make this all work without dipping into savings. I'm also considering using just a little more of her Educational Savings Account. But that has yet to be determined.

Food in My Pantry

January 6th, 2017 at 10:37 am

I'm not officially doing the Uber Frugal Challenge for the month of January, but I am following along with the Frugalwoods blog posts about it, as well as all of you here participating.

My daughter is still home from college. (Hopefully, we can get her on her plane Sunday morning. Praying the winter storm coming through the southeast doesn't mess with the roads or the airport runway.) We are enjoying a few lunches out and buying some things she needs while she is home, thus not a particularly frugal time.

I decided to look in our cupboards, freezer and refrigerator today and see what we have that I need to make a point to use. It's more than I expected and will help make some meals for next week.


Freezer Finds
1 frozen banana
3 2/3 cup frozen strawberry servings
2 1 cup frozen blueberries
frozen tomato soup
1 boca burger
1 microwavable meal
1.5 pounds chicken breast
1 whole chicken

Refrigerator Finds
2 opened jars of salsa
8oz sour cream
1/2 balsamic dressing
celery
romaine
kale
1 c. refried beans
feta cheese (whole package)
3 clementines
1.25 packages turkey bacon

Pantry Finds
3 English muffins
chia seeds
barley (2 servings)
2 c brown rice
2 c white rice
1 c. lentils
1 can black beans
1 can white kidney beans
1 can chunky soup
1 can tomato soup
1 pkg couscous
taco seasoning
1 c arborio rice
12 Wasa crackers
2 cans tuna
spaghetti 1 serving
fettuccini 2 servings

I have more in our cupboards, fridge and freezer than I listed, but these are things that are most perishable or that we haven't been making a point to use.

I'm going to start thawing the chicken this weekend and cook that next week, so I hope to use it with some of the ingredients above. I'm also going to make bone broth from the bones which will give me a chance to use up the celery!

I still expect to shop after the storm on Sunday or Monday, but I'm sure we will be well fed without running out to stock up for the storm! I even have snacks in our hurricane preparation kit I can pull out if needed.

Have you reviewed your food stores recently? Did you find much?

Helpful Links

January 5th, 2017 at 07:40 pm

I've been crunching numbers to prepare for 2017 taxes. Yes, now at the beginning of the year. Part of the reason is to not have a big refund if possible. I want the money in my pocket now!

One site I use to calculate how different withholding amounts affect net pay is PayCheckCity.Pick salary or hourly as appropriate.

And the IRS calculator may be helpful also to figure how much you should be claiming for withholding in the first place. It can be found here.

Just sharing in hopes that it helps someone. I've always done our taxes (well a couple years early in our marriage my father in law did them, but he passed away in 2002). I found it helpful to understand how they work. The more you know, the less scary it is. Smile

Retirement Milestone Today

January 4th, 2017 at 05:19 pm

We reached a retirement milestone today. The total of all of our retirement accounts combined equal $400,134.76. I was hoping for this by the end of 2016, but four days after works just fine for me!

I can't wait to see $450,000 next which I expect could easily be this year. Getting closer to half a million. It does add up fast after that first $100K. I checked and we reached that milestone back in November 2009.

Undecided

January 4th, 2017 at 04:34 am

I'm a bit undecided on our financial goals this year. I know we will continue to invest for retirement. I'm looking into how and if I want to adjust anything. Part of this includes running through our taxes. The free online tax software I used last year for the military won't be available until Monday, January 16th.

I will also continue our youngest daughter's college savings. We started investing earlier for her, so she has a bit more accumulated. She turns 17 in 2017 so I will no longer get the child tax credit for her. Another part of my planning.

I want to continue to avoid student loans for my daughter in college. The bill in February will be the biggest outlay this year. I'm using some of her Educational Savings Account. The remainder, over $5K, will come from our bank account. We have savings, so will use that, but I'm trying to get most of it from current income before it is due. Right now I only have a little over $1K accumulated. I think I can get close to another $2K by the end of January. I also will put any tax refund towards the bill. I just may not have that in time to make the payment on February 12.

I was thinking this would be the year we would get a family vacation in, but it is starting to look like my husband will be at some out of town classes this summer. I do think we plan to visit colleges in the spring, and that will involve airfare and a hotel night or two. As soon as I save for tuition, I will save and pay for airfare. Honestly, I expect airfare for daughter's spring break in March and then again to come home in May. That will add up!

Once we are to summer, I may be looking at some tuition for my daughter to take a couple online courses. I can use her ESA funds for these or part of these. Once we get to Fall we are finally going to start using the Post 911 GI Bill benefits. The tuition and fees are covered in full. There is also payment for books, $500 a semester, and housing ($1062/mo, prorated). The housing payment doesn't cover our entire costs, we will likely need to pay about $1500 out of pocket. This is something I can easily pay from current cash flow at the time.

So I'm thinking about what we need to accomplish, I just don't have it nailed down specifically yet. I will get there though!

2016 Retirement Wrap Up

January 1st, 2017 at 07:27 am

Our retirement investing is on auto pilot. My husband saves 10% of his base pay (this is pay that does not include our housing allowance). We also each max out our Roth IRAs for a total of $11,000 a year. Our total retirement investment for 2016 was $20,032.04.

The total balance in our retirement accounts at the end of 2015 was $330,739.99. We ended 2016 with a total balance of $392,814.02. A difference of $62,074.03. More than two thirds of that increase was growth!

I wish the market had done well enough for us to see $400K. We were really close at one point, but the market fluctuates. We will get there!

Our retirement savings rate is 17.45% of our income. I often bump this up every year by 1%. I'm pretty sure I will do it again this year, too. I'm also contemplating changing from Roth IRAs to Traditional. We are in the 15% tax bracket so the savings would be $1650 in taxes. I guess I figure this is money we could put toward college expenses that are happening now. I have a little over two weeks to decide (the auto investment happens around the 18th of the month for our Roth IRAs).

Are you increasing your retirement savings in 2017?

December 2016 Interest

December 31st, 2016 at 06:49 pm

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

Our December total interest is $78.12.

My wish for 2017 is more interest than 2016!

Riley Update & More

December 26th, 2016 at 11:37 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit Card Rewards 2016

December 22nd, 2016 at 01:31 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retirement is Up

November 27th, 2016 at 07:15 am

The stock market has been up in the last couple weeks. I think it helps the election is over. The S&P is now up 8.63% for the year.

Our retirement accounts are up over $50K for the year. That does include the cash we invested. The actual amount is $386,448. I'd love to see $400K, but I think that may be pushing it considering we only have another $1600 to invest before year end. I will watch to see how it plays out.

I saw a billboard at the airport this weekend that said "No one ever wishes they waited to start investing for retirement." That may not be an exact quote, but you get the idea. It is NEVER to late to start saving for retirement. Something saved will be better than nothing saved. I think the same thing is true for college savings.

Christmas Savings

November 14th, 2016 at 04:21 am

We save $50 a month towards Christmas spending. Before November I had $500 already set aside. I'm about to add another $50 on payday tomorrow.

I've already started buying gifts! So far that spending is about $140. I expect I will be done buying gifts before I fund the Christmas account for December. I'm going to try to keep the spending to $550 just for this reason.

I think in years past I used found money, or snowflakes to help fund Christmas. I probably blogged about it here on the blog. I'm still getting some snowflakes but I just put them in our general savings account. They end up being applied to college expenses for the most part.

Some recent snowflakes:
$5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks
$5.72 from Ebates
$3 from Pinecone
$22 eBay sale
$25 flute lesson refund (hurricane related)

I think there may be some other snowflakes I could list, but they are not coming to mind right now. I haven't been as good at tracking them this year!

How do you save for Christmas?

No Spend November?

November 1st, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Today, I came across an article where someone is doing a No Spend Month in November! And I see that Mrs. Frugalista is doing one also. I never thought that it would be possible to do in November. I'm not sure I can convince my husband, but it may be worth the try.

I made a credit card payment for our airline tickets that I charged last week. I had all but $200 of the cost set aside in our vacation fund. Between that purchase and the cost of my daughter's Europe trip, we earned 7500 Southwest Airline miles. I wouldn't count this as spending though for November, primarily because I did do it in October and it is essential to get home for a holiday when the money is available!

I just did our budget and basically after paying required bills, I was able allocate $1000 for spending through Nov 15. We could likely spend far less than that if we are super careful, but that amount is average for us. I also put $500 aside that will go towards paying the Europe trip. I'm going to see what else I can come up with next pay period before I make another payment.

I went grocery shopping on Sunday as usual. My parents were here visiting, so I didn't make a great menu plan and just told myself I could go back to the store later. I'm going to do my best to make it through Sunday without going to the store. I know I have soups frozen that I can thaw, and items to make pizza. We have lots of eggs to make breakfast for dinner. I believe there is rice and beans (and salsa). I think I bought some frozen burritos too. I bet we can make it! And that will help the budget quite a bit.

Do you think you could keep your spending down to just the essentials in November? Again not sure if I can, but I just might try it. I'll let you know how it goes.

$1800 Saved & Spent

October 19th, 2016 at 05:48 pm

Even after our recent van air conditioning repair (just under $200), we put away $1800 in our emergency fund this month. That is assuming we can stay within the budget we planned in YNAB, of course.

And realistically, that money is spent. I need to put it towards the Europe trip. I expect to do just that very soon. That will put the balance of that payoff at $2895. And that is a number so much easier on the eyes!

There are two more paydays before the full payment is due on the credit card I charged it on. It would be great if I could come up with another $1800 by then. Fingers crossed!!

Now $166

September 29th, 2016 at 07:06 pm

A little more spending today, primarily snacks and alcohol. Neither were needs. But we are down to $166 left through payday on Saturday.

I've already worked on October's budget. I've allocated the money for rent, flute lessons, water and electricity. I've funded money for groceries, fuel, entertainment and spending money among others. The latter categories were funded to the tune of $1,125.And that is for about half the month.

The good news is I added $730 to savings.

Turns out we may end up letting our daughter go to Europe this summer for a World War II trip. We knew about the trip last year, but hesitated signing up and then had some concerns about the safety of international travel. So we thought the option to go was gone. Turns out it isn't. Still need to get more details, but she was told it is $4600 for a 14 day trip plus spending money and the cost of a passport.

Down to $193

September 28th, 2016 at 02:21 pm

I posted a few days ago that we had $300 left in our budget until payday on October 1. We do have other cash, but we are saving that money! This is the money we can spend if needed.

Today my husband filled his truck with fuel for $34.45. I made a $25 donation to a charity. I paid the university for a book my daughter charged to her account for $28.73. I also asked my husband to pick up coffee at the commissary on post. He spent $23.38, which must be for more than coffee, but he's not home yet so not sure on that charge.

We are down to $193 and change left our budget for the next two days. I expect a couple more small expenses, but nothing major.

My daughter's flute lesson was cancelled so that will mean a credit of $25 on my account for next month. As a result of not driving to the lesson, it means I didn't get a chance to go into Kohl's looking for anything to buy with my $10 rewards coupon. So for now I have saved some money!

How much cash do you have left until your next payday? And when is your next payday?

Five More Days

September 25th, 2016 at 04:20 pm

Just five more days left in the month of September. The year is going by really fast!

We have just over $300 that was originally budgeted for the month of September expenses. If we can spend half of that amount or less I will be very pleased. I expect gas and maybe a couple personal needs expenses.

I will send the extra funds to savings!


Payday!

September 15th, 2016 at 06:38 pm

For a brief moment in time, we have zero charges on any of our credit cards! I paid them all off yesterday. There were no pending charges and we haven't used them since. That feels pretty good. We rarely have more than $1000 in charges at any one time, and we always pay them off before any interest would accrue. Technically, we pay them off twice a month when we are paid. Easy!

We put $1100 into savings. I need to build that back up after paying tuition earlier in the month. I also funded car repairs, auto insurance/registration, birthday and Christmas gift categories. Oh and set aside another $200 for plane tickets. We tend to do most of our savings in the second half of the month.

I also paid our vehicle registrations. The cost has dropped about $100 since last year since our vehicles are getting older. I think we will be at the current rate one more year and then the fee to register is just $50 each per year. Some advantages to older vehicles! I should recalculate how much I set aside to pay this each month to account for the difference.

How to Pay For College

September 5th, 2016 at 01:28 pm

I put in a sell order today, which will happen tomorrow because of the holiday. I'm selling shares of my daughter's Educational Savings account. We have been using the money primarily for housing, because the tuition portion is easy for us to pay out of pocket.

The housing portion for the fall semester is $5,641. I sold enough shares to cover $4750 worth of housing. The remaining $891 will come from our pocket. I likely can save that much this month anyway, so might as well apply it to that bill.

The other portion of tuition and fees (after scholarships) is $3,288. We are paying this out of pocket too. Our savings account has built up over the last several months, so not a big drain at all.

I've come to realize that not having any debt of our own, and thus any payments we are obligated to, helps so much in being able to pay for college out of pocket. I know people with two car payments which are easily in the $450 range each. If one could avoid those payments that is $900 a month one could apply to paying tuition...that's 10,800 a year!

We had been saving $2000 a year for our daughter in this Educational Savings account. One cannot contribute to them after the beneficiary turns 18. After those contributions stopped, I still saved the money. I haven't actually made it a line item in the budget, but I'm starting to think that I will so I can see the money available and set aside specifically for college.

I also noticed that we spend less on groceries when our daughter doesn't live with us. It's hard to tell exactly how much, maybe $50 a week or $200 a month. We give her $100 each month for miscellaneous expenses right now, so we may have another $100 we can set aside each month. There may be other impacts of expenses without her living here, such as a few dollars saved when we go out to eat, or pay admission to the movies.

The act of saving something every month for college all these years did add up. But continuing to save has definitely helped limit the burden of needing to take out loans as we enter year two of college. And wow, not having any car payments or other loans sure helps too!

If you are in the thinking about how to pay for college. I would definitely consider that they money can come from savings, student's income, current cash flow (at the time of college), scholarships and then loans if needed. The money doesn't have to all come from the same source!

I think I mentioned in a past post recently, that we had likely accumulated $1500 in snowflakes this year so far. I haven't kept exact track so that is a rough estimate. I could have been making a point to set it all specifically aside for college. So think side gigs along with the other sources I mentioned above.

Ebay Sales, CDs and More

August 24th, 2016 at 05:41 am

I've sold a few more items on eBay. I netted less than $15, but that is money in and stuff out, so I'm happy. I have eight more items listed. I'm not sure they will all sell, but if they end without interest, then they will get donated.

I haven't had a Pinecone survey lately. Although, I know I've done some of the household questions. I decided to log on to their website. I found I had $3 that I could cash in. Nice surprise!

I'm transferring more money from our money market account to Navy Federal Credit Union. We had a certificate mature and they now have an offer of 2% for 20 months, up to $20,000. I decided that 2% is better than .95%, so I'm going to maximize the amount we can invest.

My daughter did get marching band changed to zero credit. The other one credit needs to stay as it is. She has 13 credits officially, we will pay about $3300 out of pocket, after scholarships for the tuition and fees. Total for books and supplies will be known shortly. She has to order a specific dress for choir, not sure yet on it's cost.

Zero Credit = Zero $

August 21st, 2016 at 07:31 am

My daughter is in marching band at her university. She has to enroll in this as a class. Last year she took it for credit. This year there is really no point in taking it for credit as only one time with marching band can count towards her degree. So we are saving over $700 since she is taking it for zero credit. Yes, it could count as an elective, if she did pay for it and take it for credit. And that $700 is for one credit hour at the non resident rate. She has a scholarship that covers about 10 hours at the non resident rate. We pay out of pocket for the amount over that currently.

My daughter is enrolled for 13 credits now that she changed marching band to zero credit. She thinks there is one other class that she may be able to switch to zero credit as well. She will get that all firmed up on Monday.

Another Sale

August 13th, 2016 at 06:42 am

I sold another item on eBay. Net profit $6.74. Less stuff, more money! I will put this in savings.

I've been motivated by my daughter going back to school to sell some things, just to help offset costs. In no way does it cover the cost, but every little bit helps!

I need to get on the ball and get more listed. Tuition and housing are due September 12. I have yet to calculate total bill, but I'm thinking at least $9K for the semester.

2% CD Navy Federal Credit Union

August 12th, 2016 at 09:33 am

Interesting, just as one of our CDs at NFCU is expiring there's another decent offer, although not as good rate wise. The current rate on the CD has been 3.5% for the last 15 months. We have $7,000 in the certificate.

This new offer is a 20 month CD, with a maximum investment of $20,000 at 2% APR. We have other cash that we would definitely move over to get the full benefit of the rate. Of course, I would really like more interest, but I feel glad we have the option to take advantage of higher than average rates.

What is the best interest rate you are earning on any certificates of deposits?

Potato Class Action

August 6th, 2016 at 01:29 pm

Last year around this time, I submitted a claim to be part of a antitrust settlement regarding our purchase of potatoes. As usual, I don't remember the requirements. But today we received a check in the mail for $30.49!! That's a big amount.

Just for kicks I went back in our records and found we have received $202.28 from class action settlements since the beginning of the year! Nice snowflakes hanging out in our savings account.

I believe I have become aware of all of these from this website. I don't fill out any that I don't legitimately have claim to.

$370K

August 5th, 2016 at 04:26 pm

We've met another milestone with our retirement accounts. We now have $370,000. If the market appreciates another 6% I might be able to meet the $400K milestone. That would require our additional contributions to be included as well. I would be shocked if the market earns another 6%, but one never knows for sure. We will just keep moving forward!


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