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Bad Service By USAA

April 27th, 2015 at 11:58 am

Wow. USAA has not done a good job this time. I've never once had an issue with their service, until now.

We inquired by email how to get our daughter set up with her own checking account since she is now 18 and will need one for college. The instruction was to send a money order for at least $25, along with a letter instructing to open a checking account and reference her USAA number (which is already established). They provided the address.

We mailed this in early April. While I was on my trip east she received a couple phone calls regarding the money. She didn't return the calls, but upon my return, we figured out they were trying to open a mutual fund, which she doesn't even have, nor do the instructions indicate this. An inquiry again, indicated they made an error and they would get the account established in 7 days. Turns out within 7 days they will mail everything back!

So frustrating! It's like they can't even read the letter. We will be inquiring why the original letter wasn't clear and trying one more time. Otherwise we'll just get a local account for her when she gets to college.

Have you had bad service such as this at any bank?

Waiting for the Radon Professional

April 21st, 2015 at 07:25 am

Our buyers are paying to have the house professional tested for radon. The entire state is considered high for it. I'm waiting for that professional to drop off the necessary equipment.

We did our own quick test with a kit we purchased from Amazon for $10 back in February. It came back at 3.1 pCi/L. The level for corrective measures is another 4.0 pCi/L or above. Our test was below that but could be considered a health risk.

Our agreement with the buyers is if the test comes back at 4.0 pCi/L or higher we will pay to have the house mitigated. We already have a the basic passive plumbing in place that the builder added at the time the house was built. That alone keeps the levels down. A fan will simply be added if needed for $500, plus another $100 to have the radon levels tested again after installation.

Part of me is planning to have to pay the cost to mitigate since it is in our agreement, but I will be very happy if levels are low enough to avoid that cost. The test ends in 48 hours, I'm not sure when we will have the results.

Fingers crossed for low levels! Do you have high radon levels in your state? Does anyone have a mitigation system in their home?

Already Time To Counter

April 13th, 2015 at 08:42 pm

Our home went live on the MLS today. We had one showing Sunday after the sign was seen in our yard on Saturday. Today we had two showings, with one resulting in an offer!

We are in the middle of a counter offer primarily to move the closing date, since most of the financials are really good. I will share those later when it is all hashed out.

I have lucked out not to have to deal with the showings while I'm out of town. I will owe my mother a big hug for all her help while I was away!!

We think we have found a rental home being offered by a coworker of my husband who is moving out of town later this summer. Right now they think they can be out by July 1.

I will let you know more later! Thanks for all the good vibes and prayers...must have helped.Smile

Snowflakes in March

April 1st, 2015 at 07:00 am

I guess March was a good month for snowflakes! My big fat total is $422.32. The eBay sales made a big impact as did the Ooma referral money. I make more money with Ooma than I spend. Smile

The point of all this snowflake tracking is to show that all money small and large do add up. I also make a point to use the money to pay down debt currently. This month the money helped pay off our Wells Fargo Amex and pay down a balance on our Citi card (both which have 0% interest).

The beginning balance on Citi at the beginning of the year was $686.27. Along with a couple of minimum payments and a snowflake payment today of $145.23 the balance is now $491.04. The entire balance of the card is much larger because of airline tickets, glasses and regular spending. I did make another payment of $860 towards all of those expenses today too. And I'm considering paying another $1000 from savings to get it in a more manageable place. Eventually (after our move) I can pay that money back.

Did you get debt paid off this month? Did you use snowflake/extra money aquired to help? What was your snowflake total?

How Old Is Your Car?

March 29th, 2015 at 05:56 am

I was reading an article today where there was mention of the age of the person's vehicle. A 2004. The article was trying to indicate how old that was. I thought well our are only a bit newer. We have two 2007s, which were both bought used. While my van is getting really close to 100,000 it still drives like new (at least I think so).

Our hope is to hold on to our vehicles at least until our girls get through college...which is another 7 years. So that may be pushing it, but it's a good goal I think.

How old is/are your vehicle(s)? How long do you hope to keep yours?

Need to Pay Bills

February 13th, 2015 at 08:28 pm

Today was payday. I thought all day that I would get them done! There were several other things that just took priority. I hope I get a chance to get it in tomorrow. I will also need to update some recent snowflakes!

I'd like to say it will be a low spend weekend, but we have plans to see a movie ($32!), visit the art museum ($10) and buy girl scout cookies ($24). I would also like to update our bath towels. Most of them are easily 10 years old. Several have bleach marks of some kind and at least one is beginning to fray on the sides. It's time for towels. Hope to keep to just four bath towels, 2-3 hand towels. The girls also need a new bath mat (again fraying!). Our future home sell has me motivated to get this task taken care of.

My husband bought me flowers ($15), we bought candy for the girls and will use two cards from a package we purchased to write some nice words to our girls. We will eat dinner at home and avoid any chaos happening at the restaurants this weekend.

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope your weekend will be more frugal than mine.

And the Winner Is...

February 12th, 2015 at 05:36 am

CB in the City

There were a whopping five comments on the contest blog. The random number generator picked number 3, which was CB's comment. I'm sure some of us numbers people are thinking it is also an average of the five!

Thanks for your comment CB about your thrifty ways. I throw out quite a bit of coffee here unfortunately, so I will have to try your method soon!

If the rest of you didn't see the other contestants comments I would encourage you to take a look. They are all really good!

Happy Thriftiness!

CB, I sent you an email. Please send me your address when you have time!

Tightwad Gazette Giveaway: Enter Now

February 11th, 2015 at 05:45 am

Today, is the day! I'm giving away the book titled, The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (a.k.a The Frugal Zealot). If you aren't familiar with the book, check out the description at Amazon.

To enter please leave a comment telling me something frugal you do in your home on this post before midnight Central time. One entry per person. US addresses only.

Please make sure when you comment that your email address is included in the field requesting it. This way I will receive your email when you comment. If it doesn't show up and you are the winner, I may need to ask you to private message me on the forum site portion of Saving Advice.

I will announce the winner tomorrow and get the book sent by media mail within one day of getting your address.

Good luck!

Possible Give Away...

February 8th, 2015 at 01:23 pm

I own a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. I read it and referenced it for years. Now not so much. I've noticed in my home it has become clutter. However, I do think it has value to those looking gleam some more frugal tips and ways of thinking. Specifically, the cover states it is for 'Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle'.

I'm thinking of offering this book up free to one random contest entrant. I could sell it, but I would only make a couple dollars after shipping. If I mail it to one of you, it will only cost me a few dollars, which I'm fine with.

I've seen contests done on sites where they simply ask for comments as the eligibility to win, which is likely what I would do. I would set a deadline, likely only 24 hours or so. After the end of the contest, I would count the number of comments and use a random number generator to determine the winner.

The winner would be required to email me their address in order receive the prize. Specifically, I would post my email address temporarily for the winner to respond to. Eventually, I would take that information down. The contest would only be available to US residents, since shipping would be so much more overseas.

So should I offer a contest here? Any questions or concerns about how I would go about the contest? Any reason anyone can think of to not do this?

Refrigerator Adjustment

January 31st, 2015 at 02:23 pm

We bought our most recent refrigerator from Lowe's. It was $808, and we got a 10% military discount. I was in there today and went by the fridge to see if there was a price change. Yep, today it was selling for $719 (less than two weeks later)!

I had my receipt and simply asked at customer service. Sure enough the price adjustment was honored. I got an $85.70 merchandise credit since I originally paid with discount gift cards purchased from Raise. In fact I used the gift cards I had left from the original purchase to buy a new humidifier filter pad and some spray stain remover. I expect there will be more items needed from the home improvement store as we get ready to sell the house!

I also noticed that our credit card was not charged the full amount on the last invoice for our furnace repair. I did question the service person about not being told the price on one part. The other one I was aware of. The charge is still more than I was told but by $20. It is still pending on my credit card, so it could be a different amount when it actually posts.

All of that was still money out of pocket but it's nice to have it all be less. I'm also glad I have just over $120 to cover upcoming expenses. I know I will need mulch for the flower beds, flowers for pots, a shower curtain, caulk, and maybe a new entry rug or two.

Ooma: A Way to Save On Telephone Costs

January 25th, 2015 at 05:55 pm

I know I've mentioned that we have our landline with Ooma. It is a phone line that operates through our internet connection. We purchased ours over a year ago for about $100. We continue each month to pay only for the required taxes, which for us is currently $3.81. Our landline doesn't get used to often, but it is nice to have considering we pay so little for it.

If this is something you might be interested in you might like to know that the Ooma Telo is currently on sale for $89.99 and is shipped for free. The offer expires on January 30. So you will need to act fast.

The link above is my referral link. I do receive a $20 credit if you use my link. The referral program is offered to all members, and would also be available to you several times a year. This makes the cost even less!

My Citi FICO Score

January 21st, 2015 at 12:00 pm

I guess Citi now gives out FICO credit scores for free with many of their cards. I have the Citi Thank You Preferred card, so I looked mine up.

I always like to see anything above 800! The report does indicated I have recent inquiries. Yep, that's true I'm racking in the rewards from credit card companies!

Do you have a Citi card that will provide you your FICO score? Another card perhaps? If you don't have a card there are sites such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame that will give you a similar score for free.

Capital One 360 Bonus Offers: Black Friday Sale

November 29th, 2014 at 05:06 pm

I've been out of town, but returned home to remember the Capital One 360 Black Friday sale. The particulars are on their website, but if you open your first checking or savings with them you can earn a $100 bonus for EACH account.

Find out more here, which is my referral link. I do get $40 if you use it, which I appreciate if I tipped you off to the offer.

Let me know if you use the offer, so I can thank you.

$200 Chase Freedom Bonus Offer for YOU

November 18th, 2014 at 09:55 am

If you don't already have the Chase Freedom card, this offer is the best you will find for this spending limit. You apply for the card, spend $500 and get $200 cash back. No annual fee. Interest rate is 0% for the first 15 months. And the card has rotating cash back categories.

It's all listed here, if you want to apply.

Please don't apply for credit if you are unable to meet your payment obligations or would need to accrue interest. It's just not worth it! Be smart with credit.

Apply by December 18, 2014. I will receive $50, if you use my link, but will not get any details of your financial or even if you were approved or not. Chase keeps your information confidential.

Lots of Bills Paid

November 13th, 2014 at 07:10 pm

We have been using a lot of different credit cards lately. I'm going to be cutting this back soon!!

No interest, but different ones for different reasons, and not all of them logical. Tomorrow is payday, so I made sure to pay off the Target Red card, two different cards for gas purchases, Kohl's for recent clothing purchase, the Chase Freedom card that the utilities were automatically paid on, and the most recent card for nearly all other charges the Citi Thank You card. Oh, and the Discover card for recent online Christmas purchases.

Seriously, we have too many open cards. We are not having any problem paying them, but it gets really hard to remember them all! I almost forgot about the Chase Freedom card today, until I was trying to figure out where the utilities were charged. All the cards do send me emails, so I likely would never really forget.

We have open Amex cards that haven't been used in over six months. Maybe more. I keep them open for those offers they put out from time to time to get cash credit for certain purchases at certain stores. I just looked back at my savings with them and I saved $70 in the last five weeks of 2013, and just $5 in 2014. So unless, they offer up some really great deals this year, I may let go of the Amex cards.

In other news, I've already used some of the Christmas funds saved this year to pay off purchases I have already made. That feels good.

I have set aside the $275 that I normally send to the mortgage pay down this time of the month. I'm going to hold it and try to get the remaining $256 needed outside of December's planned principal payments from snowflakes/extra money. I guess that means I really only need to hold on to $256 of that money to ensure meeting my goal. I'll put the $19 towards paying ourselves back for some recent large purchases.

Are you getting paid this week? Do you pay your bills just at the time of pay day or multiply times during the course of a pay period?

Credit Sesame Free Score

November 4th, 2014 at 11:33 am

You can see your credit score for free with Credit Sesame. It's always free. No credit card or billing required, ever. I have used the site myself to track our scores. Very easy.

It is always good to know where you stand, right? I do get a bonus if six or more people sign up for the free service. Please use my link if you are at all interested. I will not receive any of your personal information. Thanks!

Example of How Credit Cards Get Complicated

September 17th, 2014 at 10:25 am

I know there are many, many examples of credit card problems. This one is minor really. I'm just annoyed with myself for forgetting the rules!

I had a Southwest Rapids Rewards credit card that I opened for 55,000 bonus points. I did receive them after spending $2000. I redeemed the first $350 worth of gift cards right away. I was undecided about the rest, so I left the points. However, I proceeded to cancel the card to get the annual fee of $99 refunded. That did happened with no issues.

The problem is I can't get to my rewards, although I can log on, and redeem them without being a card member! Ack. Why did I forget that piece of information?

I have plans to apply for their lower grade card which has a $69 fee when the next promotion comes out, so this is not a total loss. I will make sure to redeem in full before I cancel again.

I was going to redeem 20,000 points for $200 worth of Lowe's gift cards...so we can start looking a refrigerators. This may just be the sign that we need to wait on that purchase.

Don't play with credit cards if you want simple and easy. They aren't simple and easy! It does take tracking and understanding of the rules!

Anyone know when the next Southwest Rapids Rewards offer might come out? I do have quite a few things I could charge. Smile

Found a Kitten

August 7th, 2014 at 08:08 pm

We took in a stray kitten tonight. I don't think we plan to make it permanent, so for now it is staying in the basement separate from our cats.

It was running behind three kids on bikes. The kids were sailing by and the cat spotted me, came over and started purring right away. The kids came back. I asked if it was their cat or if it started running with them from the farm across which is very close (nearly across the street). The said it started following them from the bank which is about 5 or 6 blocks away. The bank is by a highway. I just wonder if someone dropped off a cat they didn't want.

The cat seems well groomed except for an area on its ear that seems to have been bitten or caught on something and has dried blood. It has all it's claws, no collar. I think it is domestic, rather than farm cat based on how it is interacting with us.

It is very cute and it is tempting to take it in, but I think we should find a home for it. The shelters around here are kill shelters, so I'm thinking I should post it on craigslist, but wonder if I should post a found listing before I go off offering it to someone else. How would I know it was the owner? I didn't see any lost kitten posts that describe this kitten.

Any ideas would be helpful...as I just want to do the right thing!

Posting Photos

July 24th, 2014 at 10:21 am

I think there are a couple people who are having trouble posting photos. I tested it and was able to post photos, as you should be able to see in this post.

The basic idea is to write your post and select Save and Add Images. I do suggest copying the text your wrote before hitting publish in case you have timed out first.

After you select Save and Add Images, you will see a Choose File button appear. Once you select this button, you will be taken to the files on your computer to select the image you have already saved there to be opened into the entry.

After you select Open for the file you chose, you will see the name of the file you chose, next to the Choose File button. At this point you can Save and Publish or Save Draft. If usually hit draft if I'm going to have more than one image to insert. Either one works.

With either one you choose you will now see a preview of the image you want to select. Next to the image is a box with a number in it surrounded by

Once you have added all the images within your text, you can publish the entry.

You are actually publishing each time you add an image. I think this is a change from the past. I did notice today when adding all these images, that I needed to delete the preview after I had two images listed, otherwise it wouldn't let me add another image. NOT user friendly. When you look at the entry from the reader's point of view you will now see the images appear.

I hope this is helpful to some of you out there. If you are seeing different things than I'm showing you will want to contact Jeffrey or Nate for assistance!

Photos: Test

July 24th, 2014 at 09:50 am

This is a test post for photos.

Frustrating Friend

July 16th, 2014 at 07:14 am

Ugh. My friend again. I'm not really frustrated. I have learned that this friend just doesn't get it. So I listen and try to offer some advice. Which she never takes!

Since I have a blog, I like to pass on the line of thinking others have. Maybe someone will learn something.

Friend and her husband own a Honda Accord (car) and a Honda Ridgeline truck. The latter purchased in the last year or year and a half. Just yesterday they traveled 14 hours to their new home in the Ridgeline. She texted me how uncomfortable it was.

She wants to get rid of the Ridgeline because it cost gas more gas to drive than her Accord, her husband will be commuting 40 minutes to and from work, it is going to need new timing belt, serpentine belt, and brakes. She thinks it makes better sense to get a lease with an option to buy, so they don't need to worry about mileage.

I mentioned the Honda van, Odyssey, might be more comfortable for long trips and get a little better gas mileage. Since that would be the car her husband would drive, she said no because 'he needs something more manly'!

Do you see all the problems with her reasoning? She is getting rid of a vehicle because it is uncomfortable for long road trips, but yet owns a car that is likely more comfortable. The truck is due for routine maintenance based on mileage. ALL cars need maintenance. She suddenly needs a better gas mileage car because of the commute. The gas mileage was known when they purchased the vehicle. And they have a car, they could use for the commute instead.

Oh, and they are currently upside down on the truck loan. Once she told me that, I said if it were me I would keep the truck and drive the car for a trip back to their home state or rent a vehicle.

This is a trend of theirs...buying cars that don't have good track records, getting slammed by maintenance, deciding leases are better, getting Honda lease and then decided to buy the Ridgeline. Now basic maintenance and gas costs are moving them to buy another vehicle even though they are upside down.

Ack. Frustrated again, writing it out! I wish she would learn to set some money aside for maintenance and repairs at least.

Spent: Looking For Change Video

June 9th, 2014 at 08:22 am

I spent 35 minutes of my morning watching the video I linked below about the four individuals in middle class incomes struggling within the current banking system.

Spent: Looking for Change

What did you think?


June 5th, 2014 at 08:09 am

I'm going to talk about my friend. I know some of us write these type of posts from time to time. I do feel a little guilty writing about this. I also don't want it to come across that I'm all high and mighty and know everything. I don't. I do know a lot and I have different habits than my friend.

My friend is moving from one state to another. Texas specifically. This move is happening pretty fast for them. It is with the friend's husband's same company. It is a pretty big promotion for him. They listed their home and sold it in 7 days. They are still going through the process of inspections and so forth.

I think they are happy with the sale, and the price but I don't think they will get much proceeds from the sale. They bought it over 12 years ago for $109K with zero down. It was a VA loan. The sold it for $127K. You would think there were be lots of equity there, but she has told me they refinanced at least two times to refinance debt. And I know the first time she told me about refinancing I was vocal about being against that. She had many justifications.

They have been to their new city recently looking at houses. The market there is hopping and homes don't stay listed for long and sell for at or slightly above list price. Their realtor says sellers are not accepting contingent offers (offers based on complete sale of their own home), this upsets my friend. But she is really upset that she has to put 1% down in earnest money when making an offer. For the homes they are looking at this may amount to $1700. I don't know for sure if she has it or not, but she seems to be acting like she doesn't.

Ugh. I feel bad, but I'm more frustrated at her behavior over the years and how it has lead only to buying more stuff and she never seems to get ahead. One time she said if she saved money, she would just be tempted spend it all. Umm...so you don't save, but then you still spend it all.

She told me that her brother was a little concerned about this move, telling her that more money isn't everything. He even said, 'You know, the more you make the more you spend." I'm sure he meant that in the literal sense. She really does that. However she has the illusion they will be able to pay off lots of bills and get ahead. That is the main reason they are moving it is a promotion and a significant increase in salary. It is enough that she may not work. Although I think she will find a way to get a job somewhere, since she has never not worked. The truth is more money doesn't solve excess spending behaviors.

I'm starting to relate to her brother's opinion, that this may not be a great move financially. She doesn't have $1700 or any down payment, how can you expect to get a home in that case. They are still eligible for another VA loan so that helps with the down payment part. I did hear her mention apartment, so we will see if that ends up being the better choice.

Alright it is the end of my rant. I'm just frustrated after years of talking with her that she isn't in a better place.

School Almost Over

June 5th, 2014 at 05:24 am

Today is my last day at home by myself. My oldest doesn't need to go tomorrow unless she has to make up a final. She does not. The youngest will go but gets out four hours early.

Our summers are pretty casual overall. We might get out to visit a museum, travel back to see family, and swim once or twice. I know there will be visits to the library. We also like to get some hikes in local parks in as well. The girls will have flute lessons and a informal recital. The oldest has several marching band events that we will need to work around.

We also need to visit two colleges in our state. I realize summer isn't the best time to visit, but we figure we can go back in the fall if the school seems more of a possibility.

Summer is also the time we get some annual appointments in. One daughter needs an eye appointment. One needs to have an initial visit with a oral surgeon, and they both need to see the orthodontist.

I personally like summer because it is a time to get a little creative with projects. My daughter has a latch hook rug she completed in the fall that she wants turned into a pillow. She also has a two latch hook rugs she is working on. My older daughter spends even more time drawing during the summer. It is always fun to see what they create.

I wrote an post on Your Organized Friend about managing the end of school chaos that comes home. It can be pretty stressful when all their school supplies come home if you don't have a plan.

Are your kids out of school? Do you have a busy summer planned or is it more relaxed?

Free Decor Update

May 14th, 2014 at 08:04 pm

I have a new post on Your Organized Friend about making lists. And remember, you can get updates from my blog by email. I can't see your email address, so it is secure.

I have a picture that I love, but I have come to dislike, strongly, the original frame. The mat around the picture has also become discolored over time as well.

I inherited a frame last fall when my parent were downsizing their belongings that is just the right size. It even came with a mat that I was sure would work. But as it turns out it didn't.

When I took the original picture and frame apart it turned out the picture was mounted to a board. With the mat removed it was clear there had been some discoloration around the picture where the mat was. It seemed like any basic size mat would do, but that was not the case. It was a custom cut. If I used a basic cut, then part of the picture or specifically the artist name at the bottom would only partially show.

On Monday, I went to Michael's craft store to see about having a mat board cut down to the correct size. I wanted to use one I already owned. The woman stated they don't cut them unless purchased by the store, so they can't be responsible if something happens to an usual mat. The mat I wanted to use was free to me, so I was willing to take the risk. Still no go. So we talked about order a mat and having it cut to size. Cost just about knocked me to the ground. TWENTY FOUR dollars. But get this...if I purchased the mat and had them mount my picture and frame with it I would get a discount and it would be $21.

I only paid $30 for the picture about 8 years ago. So I left without buying the mat. I came home and eventually decided to try something daring figuring I had nothing to lose. I decided to paint the original mat that was discolored!

And as it turns out, it cost me nothing and is much improved. Sorry I don't have an original picture of the photo and frame. The frame was like a metallic gold color and sort of ornate looking. I think the original mat was off white or cream, but had come to have a pink tinge to it. Definitely not looking to good!

I will still need to find a piece of foam board to put behind this picture and frame to keep it in place, but that cost is minimal. Actually, as I write this I'm realizing I might have some large thin piece of styrofoam that could be put behind it. Even better, since that would be free, too!

Have you upcycled anything recently? Have you ever painted a picture mat to update it?

A Little Forgetful

April 27th, 2014 at 07:22 pm

Earlier in the week, I realized we hadn't received the refund from the Southwest credit card. I logged on to the account and quickly realized I had not even requested the check! There was still a credit balance of $69. I immediately wrote to customer service via secure message and a few hours later they confirmed that the process of cutting a check has begun. I'm sure we will have that money this week.

I haven't had as much time to keep track of some of these things as I normally do. However, I'm getting things back on track. I just paid the Verizon bill, made a donation, checked all credit cards for current balances and the due dates. I was able to delete quite a few emails from my account that were notifying me of bills and available statements. Feel a little more on top of the finances again. Smile

Do you find you get behind in keeping track of your finances? What helps you get back on track?

Discounts, Less Debt & More

April 16th, 2014 at 06:54 am

Feeling just slightly stressed as I write this. We have a lot going on here at our house. All good, just busy. I barely had time yesterday to pay bills and you might have noticed no blog post here or on Your Organized Friend.

First, Ooma has their $99 promotion going again. This gives you the opportunity to buy an Ooma Telo system for $50 off their retail price. It includes free shipping. We still love our Ooma! I wrote a little more about it on Our Money Blog. If you know you want the discount, click here.

I paid bills yesterday. I had six credit cards with balances! Two were less than $10, but still. Crazy. Part of the problem right now is my husband and I are using our Capital One cards, but we each have separate accounts and no extra card for the other one. I think This is the case with a few of our cards. I will need to look into which account to cancel, so we have similar amounts of open credit. After that request an authorized user card so we can use one account at a time. Oh, and if I wasn't clear I paid ALL the balances off. Smile

We purchased 9 gallons of Sherwin Williams paint during their 40% off sale last weekend. Saved over $200!! I purchased paint based on two coats, but the sales person said it is likely one coat will cover our light walls since it is thick paint. The reviews say the same thing. They do recommend two coats, and I have always had to paint that way, but I haven't painted with this paint before. Part of me hopes we can get away with one coat so we can use the extra gallons in other parts of the house and to save time! I used my Discover card to get 5% cash back since home improvement stores (and paint stores) are on the list this quarter.

I'm about to send in $121.24 in snowflake money to the mortgage as an extra principal payment. Most of that is the last round of Ooma referral money. We also had a regularly scheduled extra principal payment of $275 post to our mortgage yesterday. Less debt!! I like that.

Did you see there is a $10 off $50 worth of food coupon at Target this week? Great deal if you need to get your regular groceries or extras for the holiday. I found mine in the regular printed ad, but I'd look at their site to see if you can find it there. And then there's always your basic Google search.

Calorie watching is going well this week. I think the scale may actual show a change on Friday when I weigh in. I just have to make myself get to the gym. I'm already behind schedule today!

Decluttering has been slow. I'm mostly keeping up with my goal to keep things tidy each day. I've noticed that I'm moving things to different areas, but not completely dealing with things. For example, I had some papers on the kitchen counter. I did recycle some, but then I moved the pile to our desk in the basement. Same pile basically, but now in a different spot, which is closer to the file cabinet they need to be in. I will have to make a point to get to my desk area soon. It shouldn't take too long.

I have items on Ebay that we decided to part with last week. Most are Buy It Now options. One has a bid and a couple are being watched. With Easter, I think sales are likely to be slow this week. I have the listings set to renew if they don't sell this week. Any funds received I will be grateful for.

Now I feel less stressed since I was able to get this entire post written. Can you see I was a little more wordy today, with quite a few topics to write about? Will you use that Target coupon? Are you keeping your recently decluttered areas tidy? Anyone else have spring painting plans?

Six Years!!

March 12th, 2014 at 10:58 am

It's my blogoversary! I started blogging six years ago today. Now it is nearly a daily habit to chime in about my(our) financial goals. I can't say I really remember where we were financially six years ago (I'm sure I could go read my old posts), but I know we are better off now then we were then. Blogging really helps make you accountable, when you have realistic attainable goals and great people to cheer you on!

Thanks for reading my nitty gritty financial details and thank you even more for all the positive words and insights. It is most appreciated!

What Would You Say?

March 5th, 2014 at 08:55 am

What would you say to the following question? Should I rollover my old 401K, worth about $15,000, or should I pay off a current 401K loan with it? The interest rate is 2.25%.

Let's assume there are no other details provided, or feel free to make your own assumptions when you answer.
I will chime in later today with my answer. Oh, and this isn't about me or my family.

I wrote a post about our dental insurance on Our Money Blog yesterday. I have completed 4/20 workouts as of today!

Shall We Use It Up This Week?

February 16th, 2014 at 05:29 pm

Rob62521's post about not liking to waste reminded me of how I used things up this week. I try to do this often, but I'm more conscious of it at some times more than others.

This week I made an effort to use up two kinds of yogurt my daughter didn't like. I ate it with the rest of the granola she often eats with it. I ate it for lunch one day and a snack the other. I ate leftover soup one day with a sandwich. Tonight we used up bacon we had purchased for BLT's the week before. We had eggs for dinner and the bacon was just the right amount to have on the side.

Earlier today, I used the last of the romaine lettuce, a ripe banana, the last of the frozen raspberries and the last of the chia seeds for a smoothie. This was my lunch. Yummy!!

I don't apply the use it up goal to just food. This week I used up some sample shampoo I received for a survey. I think that was the only non food item I used up this week.

Next week, I want to eat the last salmon filet in the freezer, the mushroom barley soup from last night, the milk before it expires in two days, a couple more extra ripe bananas, last of the applesauce, some margarine, and maybe some apples. If I can use up those items I will really be cleaning up my fridge.

Our dinner plans this week will use up some frozen chicken, some of the $1 cheese I bought on sale over a week ago, leftover pasta sauce, the ends of bread and some of that milk mentioned above and a container of sour cream!

Use it up! Maybe that is this week's theme here on SA. Do you have plans to use some of your food up this week? Do you have any non food items to work on using up?

I wrote a little more about frugal eating at Our Money Blog, if you want to check it out.

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