I've been decluttering lately at our home. If you stopped by, you might think I barely have anything compared to the average American, but yet there is still stuff we don't use. I have been showing a bag of decluttering on my blog Your Organized Friend for the last week and there is more to come.
The decluttering has produced several items worth trying to sell. I'm not sure that they all will sell, but if I could get some money for most of them I would be happy. I have three items in the $40-30 range, and two items listed in the $8-10 range. I have one more item I'm washing first and hope to list it later tonight for at least $40.
I also came upon a few movies that might be worth listing, but I will need to find appropriate packaging for them first.
In other news, we had my van in for repair late last week. I had a situation where I went to pick up my daughter from school and went to start the van again and it wouldn't turn over at all. I was able to start it an hour later without a jump start. The repair shop eventually recreated the issue. It was the alternator that was bad, which then caused the battery to go out prematurely. We did get a free replacement battery as it was still under warranty. With military discounts an alternator with a three year warranty and labor cost us $530. We do have the cash to pay it for which I am thankful. I also feel much better knowing that I won't have a problem starting my van again in the future!
Viewing the 'Snowflakes' Category
I've been decluttering lately at our home. If you stopped by, you might think I barely have anything compared to the average American, but yet there is still stuff we don't use. I have been showing a bag of decluttering on my blog Your Organized Friend for the last week and there is more to come.
I finally redeemed our Chase Freedom rewards. I was waiting for the statement to close. The amount is $21.39. I will take it!
The other snowflake is from our US Bank Visa. We use this card for 5% back on our cell phone bill, which currently amounts to $6.67 back each month.
I do appreciate any extra inflows each month!
I love checks in the mail. They are rare as we do so much banking online. The check I received was from a class action settlement on a hair product I once used to use. The check was for $7.97!
My daughter's checks for her checking account arrived today. She is going to write me a check for $9. Long story on the amount, but she does owe me.
Guess what that all means? I found the final $10 to pay tuition in full sometime before Friday. Yippee!!
In other news, turns out our treadmill put a quarter size hole in the carpet of the room we have it in. Boo. We have since bought a treadmill mat that will arrive from Amazon tomorrow to prevent future damage. And at some point we will have to settle up regarding that damage with the owners of the property.
Anyone use Witch Hazel? My daughter uses it daily on her face and is a huge fan. She was recently out so I went to buy more at iHerb and found it is on clearance for $2. I bought ten bottles!
My husband submitted his travel voucher today. He is getting $270.50 for per diem. I totaled up the transactions he charged to our card and the cash he took out for the trip. The total was $232.22. That means a profit of $38.28!
Remember, in my last post that I was short $48 for tuition. The goal has been to cashflow and avoid savings, so I'm that much closer to making it happen. Tuition is due next Friday, and now I'm less than $10 away.
My neighbor found baby portobello mushrooms on sale at Fresh Market this week for $0.50 and offered me a package. I think these might be yummy stuffed on Sunday for the Super Bowl.
I've found several things in the last week or so for donation. Enough to fill two basic grocery bags. I think I may start counting how many bags I fill this year.
I redeemed $12 from our USAA Visa rewards. That money will be deposited in our checking account on Monday. I have designated those funds toward tuition, of course!
I plan to redeem rewards from our Chase Freedom account, but not until after the next statement closes which is on February 12. I will have already paid tuition at that point, but the rewards will help start building back up some of the savings accounts we have designated on YNAB. The thing I don't like about Chase Freedom rewards is that you can only redeem in full after you have earned $20. I currently have $21+ I can redeem. However, I expect with this next statement to have another $2. So I will wait and have that money added to the current balance and redeem in full, rather than have $2 I don't have access to if I redeemed now. We are going to stop using the Chase Freedom card for awhile, so there will not be any rewards accumulating in the near future.
We went to Panera for dinner last night. We spent $33.20. The movie tickets cost us $22.47. We enjoyed the movie, the meal and time spent with our daughter. After that spending our everyday funds account is down to $198. My husband needs to take $100 out for a work trip (reimbursed later) this week. So that leaves $98 for the next three days. I may need fuel, but I think we can get by with food on hand until payday on Wednesday.
The only spending that could come up is any school supplies my daughter might need to start the new semester. One teacher has already requested students bring ruler, calculator, spiral notebook and colored pencils. And I'm 99% sure we have all of those.
I think I'm going to keep myself busy the next couple days doing some cleaning around our house. That shouldn't cost me anything!
Our tax refund is scheduled to arrive in our bank account on Wednesday, February 1. I submitted them on Sunday, January 22. That is a pretty fast turn around! That $1497 refund is going straight to pay the tuition bill, which has been my plan all along.
I forgot to mention that I redeemed our Discover Rewards and had them deposited in our bank account this week. A whopping $3.37. I seem to earn the least amount of rewards from this card. We don't use it much, so I think I'm going to close it in my desire to keep things a bit simpler.
We are going to a matinee movie today. We are going to see Moana, which our daughter is interested in. We will pay $6 per person for admission. Afterwards we may stop for a quick dinner as our celebration of the first semester ending. It may just be Subway. I do have coupons there that expire tomorrow.
Tomorrow we will probably have fried rice for dinner. With tofu, which I have not made in years. Any advice for using it with fried rice? Do I just drain, cube it and add in?
I was surprised today to see a $20 credit on our credit card from Ooma. I thought I was going to get that last month, but when I didn't see it I figured the referral didn't pan out. But it did! That snowflake is going towards tuition.
I spent $6 on a soda, two avocados and chicken broth. I was going to make a mushroom risotto tonight, until I realized I didn't buy the parmesan cheese for it! To avoid another trip to the store today, I decided to just make fish and stuffed portobello mushrooms for dinner. And of course, we still have a lot of salad to eat as well.
I did some more sewing today, just because it made me happy. I'm focusing on feeling good rather than feeling bad. Part of that means doing things I like and avoiding the news and Facebook that make me feel bad. I've seen far too many people thinking their point of view is the only way to think, which leads me to see them as uncaring and unkind. That isn't how I want to think!! So avoidance is best at this point. I think all people have the ability to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, accepting and patient. And I'm going to focus on that as much as I can in the coming weeks and months.
I ate soup two times today. That one is now gone. I have two other kinds in the freezer, which we will likely eat later this week. It feels like we are doing pretty good with the food overall.
I did my sewing today. I made two keychains and four little tissue covers. I put links to the instructions I used, if you are interested. I've made the key chains before. The tissue covers were new for me to sew, but they are super easy!
I heard from Southwest Airlines that they will refund the Early Bird fee I paid. This was for a flight that they cancelled when my daughter was trying to get back to school. That is $15 back in my pocket. I also read that Southwest Rapids Rewards program is changing a policy about transferring hotel loyalty rewards to their program AND allowing it to count for the Companion Pass. They have extended the grace period so they can count until March 31, 2017. We have started using our Southwest card again and are hoping to rack up enough qualifying points to make this possible. We have Marriott Rewards that could make this happen much easier. Now that I know the deadline, I may consider moving some of the rewards to help make this happen. Here is the post on Southwest's website.
I was tempted to run out for a couple things today, but decided they could wait. I will need to go to the post office tomorrow or Thursday to mail the gifts. I will pick up those few items at that time, thus saving some gas and time!
Although, I'm remembering I did spend some money today. I ordered an item for my daughter for her birthday in March. She gave the hint last week, and the item could run out...maybe. I decided since I had money in the birthday account to just get it done!
I also opened up a Youth Checking account for our youngest daughter today. I had to put in a $25 minimum deposit. I figure my daughter can write me a check to pay me back as a good way to start understanding check writing. I think she probably already knows, just hasn't actually done it herself.
I thawed soup from the freezer for dinner tonight. I may have thawed a bit too much, but I will eat it for lunch the next few days. Tomorrow night we will have pasta with salad. Actually, I might have soup with salad, and just make the pasta for DH and my daughter.
My sister and mother's birthday's are fast approaching. My sister and I have an agreement not to exchange these last couple years. However, I'm thinking I may sew them each something. I noticed one of the lanyards I made for my sister was looking quite worn last time I saw her. I feel pretty confident I have fabric on hand that will work. Cost will simply be mailing the package, less than $3 each is my guess.
I sold some Box Tops on eBay! My net profit is $11.37. Actually a bit less, since I did put a stamp on the envelope. I'm also redeeming 300 points with Pinecone. That $3 should arrive in my PayPal account tomorrow. And finally, I have enough SB to redeem for a $5 Amazon gift card. I may just keep accumulating and go for a $25 Paypal cash, it depends if I find something on Amazon I need.
Our tax returns were accepted. I'm going to log in tomorrow to see if the IRS indicates a date to except our refund. I know the site currently indicates 21 days or less.
I made tuna casserole tonight. We haven't had that in years! It came up recently when we had a friend over and my husband seemed very interested in having it after it was mentioned. I did have those two cans of tuna to use up so I bought the other ingredients to make it. Of course, now I have extra noodles and peas!
My husband made a lot of salad this week, and I haven't been eating as much of it as I should as I've been eating other leftovers. I'm starting to realize we buy more food than we can eat. I think he is starting to notice it too. I'm going to try to have a leftover night once or twice a week. And we do freeze extras with some frequency so that does help avoid food waste.
My daughter and I got our hairs cut today. Cost was $30 with tip at Great Clips. I think I got mine last cut in November, but I sometimes go much longer. My daughter has a very short cut, so I'm taking her once a month now! A big change compared to getting her long hair cut two or three times a year.
A check for $26.40 arrived at our home today. It was from the overage charged by the oral surgeon when my daughter had her wisdom teeth removed. The check is payable to her! I paid, but I suppose since she is 19 they figured it was hers? I decided I would just send it to her though and she can keep it. She's a college student...probably can use the cash!
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.
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.
Heatwave! It's over 70 degrees here this afternoon. My husband is off work today for the holiday weekend. He decided it was time to wash the van (he did the truck two days ago). On his outing to do this (and spend $20!!!) he realized the air conditioning was not cooling. We now have an appointment on Monday. It has been in sometime in the last few months for this problem and one of the things they did was add a dye so that if it did stop working again it would help them find the leak. So fingers crossed this isn't too big of an expense!
We did talk about going to a movie today, but in the end we skipped it. I'm kind of glad since he wanted to spend the money washing the van. We don't wash our cars that often now that we are not in an area putting salt down on roadways too often. My husband does want to protect them so they last us a long time. A small investment, although he really could do this in the driveway! I pick my battles.
Despite the long weekend, so far my husband has avoided picking up alcohol. I mentioned I didn't want to drink much, if any this weekend, so that may be a factor. We do have my daughter's friend over this evening, and I need to be the driver to get her home. We might save a little money if we can avoid drinking most of the nights this weekend.
I pulled some more food out of our storm supplies. Non perishables that I will want replenished this summer anyway. I wanted a couple snacks for the girls if needed. I think this friend may be in one of those homes that is considered food insecure. I want her to fill up while she is here if she wants to. It is a long weekend away from school.
And I made a mistake with some of my daughter's books. I sent them to ME, rather than her!! They arrived this afternoon. Luckily she is not in need of them right away. I probably could have reordered and then returned the ones that arrived here, but instead I ran to the post office and got them sent off Priority Mail. That cost me $13.45. An oops expenditure!
I'm just 70 Swagbucks away from getting a $15 Amazon gift card. Once it arrives I'm going to order my daughter's allergy medicine. She takes Zyrtec nearly daily, so we stock up once a year. The cost is just $15.99.
I finished the chicken salad I made yesterday. I had it as a sandwich. We are definitely going to need to get to the store soon. Our stash of food is dwindling. There are still things that need to be used up, but we need other things to go with them. I will be sure to incorporate many of them into my meal planning for next week!
My daughter emailed that she needed me to order more books from Amazon. I know I thought of doing this while she was home, but she has had good luck with the book store and their rental prices. That has not been the case this semester. I rented one and two others had to be bought new. She will have those on Friday. Those three books cost us $71.86. Hopefully she may want to resell the ones that were not rented so we can get some of those funds back.
I went to Home Depot this evening thinking I had a gift card with a balance on it. I figured I would buy a couple cleaning products with the funds. Turns out it had nothing on it! I'm a bit perplexed that I would keep it if it had no funds left on it. In the end about $8 for the cleaning supplies. I'm kind of in a spring cleaning mode this week here at home!
I'm making bone broth for the first time with that chicken I roasted yesterday. It's going to simmer a full 24 hours or maybe a little more. I look forward to tasting it tomorrow. I used up some carrots, celery and onion to get that started.
I ate the last of the barley for breakfast. Forgot that I was going to add the strawberries though. For lunch I ate the Boca burger with a salad. I used a little feta cheese on the salad, and used more of that in a black bean salad for dinner tonight, which also used up the can of black beans and part of the red onion.
Tomorrow, I will probably eat the black beans for breakfast. They are even better the second day! Then for lunch I will have tuna salad (with red onion) sandwich with the tomato soup from the freezer. In the evening we will have chicken, couscous and possibly more salad! I'm going to cube or shred the remaining chicken for soup or tacos and freeze it. (Did I say that in my last post? If so, I guess I went for simpler tonight since my daughter had a flute lesson!)
I received an email from NFCU that there is a 17 month certificate paying 2%, up to $50K. I'm tempted to put some more in, but I'm starting to have a lot of our cash in CDs and I don't really want to tie it up, although I don't know when we would need it during that time period. We have a least 17 months before another move.
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.
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.
In my previous post, I tallied up our credit card earnings. I came up with a whopping $2,595. I was actually quite surprised at what we accumulated. A couple new cards did help!
I had been putting nearly all snowflakes in our second checking account this whole year, with the plan that I could set those aside for college expenses. I'm going to keep doing this into 2017.
My final tally for snowflakes from non credit card sources is $701.25. I've put my excel sheet down below.Snowflakes do add up! I have interest to add up for 2016 soon, too. That adds up also.
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
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)
I can't complain. That is decent savings! And we paid zero interest on our cards by paying balances in full each month!
I'm trying to focus on snowflakes to keep me positive rather than focus on all the money going out. Of course, I'm not ignoring it.
Money going out includes the unexpected expense of the vet visit on Saturday which was $385. And today we have our truck in for 90K mile maintenance. I guess for everything they are doing it will be $750! I only have $100 set aside specifically for car maintenance as I thought we only needed an oil change and tire rotations. Bad planning on my part. We do have the cash, just need to move money around on YNAB.
Tomorrow we have appointments for passport application, including photos. That will be $450. I did set that money aside.
The snowflakes are minor in comparison.
I did get a $15 credit from Southwest for the Early Bird that my daughter didn't get the advantage of on her recent flight because of cancellation and rebooking. I was thinking $30, which is what I paid, but half of that is for the return flight in January.
I earned $3 from Pinecone. I'm currently having it transferred to my PayPal account.
My husband is home today. I'm hoping to have him call (his name is the only one on the account) the cable company and change out our set top box for a digital adapter. We don't have the channels anymore that required us to have it. And that has been a year, and we can save about $10 a month by making that change.
I had ordered my daughter three pairs of jeans from Kohl's and had them mail to her dorm. She only liked one. We are returning those today. We may order another one of what she liked. If we return both I will have nearly $80 back in our account, or $40 if we order another pair. We will try to find a pair in the store, but I'm not confident that will happen.
I have close to 1000 Swagbucks in my account. I earned $20 in Amazon gift cards this month, and will probably accumulate more before I cash out again. I'm not spending a lot of time on it, but it does add up!
I'm making myself a note that I want to try to figure out how much I accumulated in snowflakes this year. It won't be exact, but more like a ballpark figure.
Do you have any recent snowflakes?
I paid our credit card bills off in full and allocated funds to our budget categories for the rest of the month. I feel like I didn't save much as I was putting extra aside to cover hotel, eating out and fuel on our little trip to Nashville later this month. I hope we spend less than I budgeted!
I spent $18.75 for shipping a Large Flat Rate USPS box. I printed the label online and will drop the package off tomorrow morning. So much easier than standing in line this time of year!
I also bought a new filter for our refrigerator and a 2017 wall calendar off Amazon today. I had $20 in Amazon gift cards that I earned from Swagbucks this month. My final cost was less than $3 and I paid it with my Discover card to get 5% cash back (which will be sooo much in this case).
I did a lot of desk work today. I cleaned up my email inbox. I keep emails as reminders, so later I need to go back and delete them when they are no longer relevant. I consolidated some lists, and then started new ones! As the year winds down, I'm starting to make appointments for the new year, as well as saving documents for taxes.
I think tomorrow's spending will be limited to my husband picking up the weekend alcohol. We were already gifted a bottle of German wine to add mulling spices to, however, I think we will save that for Christmas.
The first of the month has been limited spending and it did help to use up some of the food we hadn't been getting used up. So in addition to meeting a financial goal, it has helped our kitchen food clutter.
We aren't getting snow here. In fact in our area it was just rain this morning. I'm referring to the money snowflakes. Or found money.
We were charged a $15 fee from Verizon for going over on our data this last month. The main problem was my husband early in our billing cycle updated all his apps while using data rather than wifi. That made traveling over Thanksgiving a bit harder. We had a few times we used my phones GPS while out driving which takes a lot of data. You have no idea how hard all four of us tried to stay under the amount once we were getting notifications. In the end we used 0.040GB more than our allotted amount.
I went online through Verizon's chat feature and asked for the fee to be waived, explained we didn't want to change plans since that would more money out of pocket over time than the fee, and explained we never go over. They did point out the new plans do have rollover data. But the immediately granted me a waiver of the $15 fee! I was very pleased.
I did some spontaneous paper decluttering this weekend. I came across billing from my daughter's oral surgery. I had made a note that we overpaid by $26.20, however I never called to get the funds back. I did make that call today and I should have a check in 4-6 weeks (I hope it comes faster)!
I thought I was getting $20 from an Ooma referral, but that must not have panned out. Maybe the person returned it. And I thought our USAA Subscriber's payment would go up like it has every year, instead it was far less! Last years amount was about $85. This year we received $45. I'll take it, but I was disappointed.
I'm keeping my eye out for other snowflakes coming our way! How are you doing with snowflakes this month?
I think I've mentioned the two other times that I made purchases at Boxed.com, so I might as well mention my third order. I snagged our favorite Dunkin Donuts coffee, 96 count Always, 67 oz Prego pasta sauce AND as set of 6 Cuisinart knives. I wasn't looking specifically for knives, but I had seen a similar set at some store and I really do need them!
My order total before rewards of $17 was $68.92. I charged the $51.92 to my husbands American Express card. He had an offer for Boxed.com. Spend $50, get $15 cash back. The final cost out of pocket will be $36.92. I basically feel like I got the knives free and similar prices for the other items that I would buy at the Commissary anyway.
If you are interested in $15 off a $60 order, use my link here. I think that allows you to get free shipping. I do like to buy in bulk when I know that the price is just as good or better than what I would pay in the store. It's also nice to stock up and know we won't need to run out to the store for the things we are stocked up on.
I'm expecting some snowflakes (found money) in the next couple weeks.
My sister owes me $36. I forgot to ask her about it when I was visiting, but she will mail it to me.
I'm pretty sure Ooma will be crediting my credit card at least $20 for a referral here in a couple days.
USAA provides a subscriber discount every year. Last year it appears to have been over $80, so I expect it will be just a bit more.
I noticed I also have $42 in rewards with our USAA Visa.
And finally I also have $19.47 in my Paypal account that is from two small eBay sales. I'm withdrawing it to our savings account.
That is $155 worth snowflakes! I love snowflakes and found money. I haven't been tracking well at all this year. I hope to get a new start in 2017.
I made Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies for the first time a couple days ago. They are yummy and actually pretty easy. I have enough molasses to make a second batch. And I have already frozen them. They look just as good coming back out of the freezer too.
I cancelled another credit card last night. It was my Citi Thank You Preferred card. I've had it for awhile, and noticed we had added new cards and were using those more. Why keep extra cards if they are never used, right?
I simply sent a message through our account requesting the cancellation. I had a super quick response and when I logged back on the account had been closed. Easy!
The next step is to record in my notes that I cancelled the card and cut the cards up. I kind of like the finality of cutting up a card. I also moved the card account on YNAB to the closed account list.
We still have TEN credit cards open. Want to know what they are? Sure you do!
Target Red Card (5% off Target purchases)
US Bank Visa (5% off cell phone bill)
Chase Freedom (rotating 5% cash back categories)
Kohl's (various discounts)
Discover (rotating 5% cash back categories)
Southwest Visa (miles to fly on Southwest)
USAA (1% cash back)
American Express Blue Cash Everyday (various cash back, plus 3% grocery stores, 2% gas stations) (we have two of these)
Marriott Rewards Visa (hotel rewards)
I'm considering getting rid of Chase Freedom, although I've had it for a long time. I also probably don't need the USAA either, but currently we are using it for most of our expenses. I'm liking how quickly USAA is adding the cash back to our rewards account. And there is no minimum!
The cards that I'm finding most difficult to actually use are the Southwest and Marriott cards as their rewards are miles and hotel points. We pay annual fees for these cards! I'm NOT getting rid of Southwest though, because I do charge airline tickets at least four times a year. I am getting benefit from it. I haven't decided on the Marriott card yet. I think I need more time to decide and figure out how fast I could accumulate points if I used it more regularly.
How many cards do you have?
We have credit cards, but never pay any interest on our charges. All balances are paid in full by the due date, or before!
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?
I ended up with $11 in my wallet after the weekend. We usually have cash on hand for all our marching band adventures. The season ended Saturday night on a high note. Our daughter's band was named Grand Champions at their last competition!!
Today I gave my daughter the $11 to donate to school. They are collecting funds to purchase grocery store gift cards for those in need this Thanksgiving. She gets community service hours for her donation; one hour for every $1 donated. So our small donation saves her from actually volunteering 11 hours of time! I did tell her she could use some of her own money to add to it if she desired. Not sure she is as I think she is hoarding money for her Europe trip.
So other than that donation, it was a no spend day. I'm hoping to gain some bookstore credit tomorrow when I sell some books and CDs.
I have some snowflakes to report. And they all go to pay down the Europe trip.
$17, USAA Visa Rewards
$3, Pinecone survey
$2.32, Ebay sale
$1.08, Discover Rewards
$0.07, Checking account interest
Now under $4,700, with a payoff total of $4,695.53.
Today is payday, but we won't do our budget until Sunday most likely. I expect we will have some funds to throw at this.
I totaled the interest on our cash investment for the month of September and came up with $80.18. I think this may be the highest monthly total in awhile. Not positive on that, as I don't track it anywhere but in my blog posts. It would be higher as I have more money at invested at higher rates (2% plus) than ever.
I sure wish it was more, but $80 month does equal $960 a year that we don't even have to work for.
On Saturday, a check arrived in the mail from our old electric company. It was a co-op so it was a return of capital credits in the amount of $19.07. I added that snowflake to our savings account.
I went through all of our accounts on YNAB today to make sure I had all of them reconciled. It was pretty easy since I had recently paid all of them down to zero! We really need to close some of our credit card accounts....as I'm really liking the idea of simplifying those.
I sent a payment to my sister by Bill Pay last week for a fundraiser her daughter was doing. I honestly didn't want the stuff, so let her girls pick candy, figuring it was a consumable and wouldn't add to the clutter, but would still support the school. This made me realize, I should use Bill Pay for our rent! I've been writing out the check and envelope and slapping a stamp on it every month for over a year. I was always so used to a mortgage payment being automatically deducted. It was nice! So I'm giving the landlord a heads up that the check may look different. I don't think there will be any issue, and now I know I won't forget, which almost happened this last month.
I use Bill Pay for our trash service, but all other bills are automatically paid from a credit card or checking account. What do you use Bill Pay for?
One of our kitties isn't feeling so well. GI imbalance the vet says. I did get my first visit free, but a test and meds cost me $80.92 today. I don't like that she isn't doing well or that I had to spend money, but that is how it goes. Will try to have this expense come from this pay period and avoid pulling what I put aside for savings a few days ago.
Yesterday was spendy. I bought some goodies to send in a care package and then mailed two packages. I wasn't exactly looking to spend more than $15 on the gifts, but ended up finding a few more items for another $15. Not a big deal really, and I don't have any regrets. It just all added up fast!
I sold an item on eBay. Look like I will net about $6. I almost gave up on that item even selling, so that was a nice surprise!
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