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YNAB Update

September 15th, 2019 at 05:08 pm

It's official I will have to update from the free download of YNAB4 I've been using for several years. The new Apple Mac operating system upgrade is going to prevent YNAB from being able to even support the YNAB 4 version by the end of October 2019.

I'm going to spend the upcoming week setting up the free trial for the current web version of YNAB. I will spend the following 34 days (their free trial length) seeing how it works for us. If I feel okay about the changes, I will pay the cost to use the latest version of YNAB. I will get a 10% discount being a previous user.

I've always been hesitant to pay for an annual subscription for budgeting. Ironically, I pay for an annual Amazon subscription just to get the free two day shipping. Ultimately, we have made some great progress with our ability to make a detail budget on YNAB, so it is likely worth the annual cost.

Anyone else in this same situation? A holdout with YNAB 4, that will need to upgrade to the current version.

Quite the Deal

September 7th, 2019 at 05:51 am

Sometimes it is the small deals that you aren't expecting that are fun!

I went to Joann's Fabric to buy some fabric for my niece who has a birthday next week. They had six tables piled with clearance fabric that was an additional 25% off. I bought six or seven 1/4 yards for her. Many of those coming to less than a dollar each after the discounts. Not that it matters but I also bought a medium sprig of fall flowers for my guest bathroom and some candy for a stocking stuffer. I spent $11.59 after the discounts, including military, and tax.

They were also letting customers pick one item after purchase from some clearance bins. I picked an American Flag, full size to put outdoors, which was marked at $16.99 normal price. My husband mentioned wanting one, and we do have a place on our base house to display one. And if it doesn't fit, or work out at least we didn't spend any money on it. So fun and unexpected!

I also submitted my Joann's coupon to Ibotta and got 15% rebate which they calculated as $1.74. My balance with Ibotta is only $5.54, so I have a little while until I cash out.

Did you find any surprising or just good deals this week? I think it is a very common time for major clearances in all types of stores right now! Don't spend money you don't have or need, but go out and look.

Christmas Savings Flashback

September 5th, 2019 at 02:54 pm

I'm suddenly inspired to think about Christmas! Maybe that's because I just made our airline reservations to go see our girls for Thanksgiving!

I have been having ideas come to me for gifts to give various people. I have not been writing them down! I need to find my Christmas planner, so I can keep everything in one place.

I just sent both daughter's an email saying I will take Christmas ideas whenever they have them. My oldest responded with a pretty long list!! Some of which she had already mentioned, but I had forgotten. Good thing I asked again.

I'm not sure how quick my other daughter will respond. I think she was a bit disappointed in her gifts last year even though I bought what she asked for. I think she was expecting more. Not sure why that was, but it made me a little sad that she was sad. I'm not saying I will go overboard, but maybe I can find some clearance filler items that might help. I don't know! Parents do want to please their kids.

Remember years ago when I accumulated snowflakes (extra non income money) to specifically pay for Christmas? I saw one post in December 2012 where I accumulated $1,700!! I spent $900 on Christmas and sent the remainder to the truck loan we had at the time.

I'm close to another $25 redemption threshold on Swagbucks. I really only do a few things a day, so it's slow, which I'm fine with since I have other things to do! Usually, I send this money to our Big Goal now and simply save up for Christmas. I guess since I'm excited about it my goal should be to find great deals and simply come in under budget!

Anyone else thinking ahead for Christmas? Have you purchased any gifts? Did you know there are 110 days until Christmas? Do you have money saved up?

It's a Spendy Season

September 3rd, 2019 at 02:16 pm

Well those last weeks of August were spendy with getting our girls back to school and getting some new things. Our youngest is rooming in a single room, so things her roommate brought last year, we needed to buy this year. The wardrobe in her current dorm has no doors on it, but we found a curtain panel for just $5.99 and a inexpensive tension rod to hang it and it looks much better. Compared to some people we are pretty slim in what she has going on in her dorm room. I can't believe how many people thing you need to have room all bling'd out!

We are now planning our trip to visit the girls over Thanksgiving. I really wish we didn't have to fly during the holiday but it's when they are available and we will get to see our daughter march in her last college halftime show for senior day.

I hope to get some more items listed and relisted on eBay this week or next. Budget Girl on YouTube has a recent video about Sell Stuff September. Not a bad idea to get the clutter out and make some money before the holidays, right?

I paid off my cell phone two months early the other day. It had been $14 per month, so I made a $28 payment. Obviously, our total cell phone bill will go down by that amount next month. This means by cell phone is almost two years old. It's working okay, although I do seem to lose the ability to hear the person I'm talking to on the phone sometimes. I haven't figured out if that is our WiFi or the phone itself. Why can't these last just a little longer?!

Verizon says we have been with them for ten years! They gift us a $20 Amazon gift card. Not a big reward for ten years as a customer, but I guess it's better than nothing. I'm sure I can find something on Amazon to buy!

Are you in a spendy season or a saving season?

Paying Ourselves Back: August

September 1st, 2019 at 01:34 pm

We are paying ourselves back for the $3,000 down payment we made on our daughter's car in May. Here's the money we applied this month:

Chase Freedom Rewards $3.37
US Bank Rewards $13.08
American Express Rewards $63.32
Pinecone Survey $3.00
eBay Sales $8.53
FB Sales $20
Fetch Reward $10
Rum Rebate $3
USAA ATM Rebate $6
Amazon Visa Promo $70
Excess Travel Payment $103.47
Storage Deposit Refund $55

$358.77 Total

$2,239.32 Previous Balance Owed
$1,880.55 New Balance Owed

All the little amounts add up, we are making progress! Goal is to pay back by the end of the year.

Big Savings Goal: August

September 1st, 2019 at 01:18 pm

Here are the August additions to our Big Savings Goal:

NFCU $124.07
FNBO $67.20
USAA $0.09
8/1 Paycheck $175
8/15 Paycheck $175

$541.36 August Big Goal Total
$6,959.89 2019 YTD Total

$69,403.99 Previous Big Goal Total
$69,945.35 New Big Goal Balance

34.97% of $200,000 Goal

We are so close to $70K! We are still working on our Paying Ourselves Back goal. We made great progress on that this month!

August 2019 Interest Earned

September 1st, 2019 at 01:12 pm

It's my monthly report of interest earned. All amounts are added to our Big Goal.

NFCU $124.07
FNBO $67.20
USAA $0.09
Total Interest $191.36

Authorized Users

August 28th, 2019 at 04:38 pm

Just added our daughters to one of our credit cards. I should have done this a couple years ago primarily to get their credit started. We just weren't thinking ahead honestly. It only came to light when we got our daughter a car that she was a ghost as far as credit. No score at all.

And then recently my husband had a situation with his government credit card where he had to enter PIN (at a rental car agency in Florida, who wouldn't or couldn't run it as credit) and he tried but didn't know it. Card locked up and was denied. He used one of our cards. All fine. But our girls ONLY have a debit card. One card each. Yes, they know their PIN, but what if it stops working, gets lost or numerous other scenarios?

So we have ordered them each a card on our Chase Freedom account, to only be used as a back up or if we specifically tell them to use it for a large purchase that we likely would be covering anyway. They are trustworthy, so I have no major concerns.

And all the while, they will get to benefit from our credit scores. I always knew this was an option, just never took to time to do it, nor thought it was entirely necessary.

I told my oldest daughter today I was doing this and she was shocked. Then said, well how does a credit card work? Do you just pay it later? Lol. I definitely need to have a deeper conversation on this with her and her sister.

Travel Perks

August 17th, 2019 at 07:07 am

My husband uses those off site parking lots and shuttles to the airport when he flies for work. We do the same when we fly, at least at this airport, since it is far cheaper. My husband earned enough rewards with this particular lot to get parking for our next trip free! Our cost would have been $54.

I'm thankful I found a cat sitter. She is charging me $30 for this next trip. If I had to put our cat in a kennel, she would be there six nights (we are only gone four, but the hours would require her to be there ahead of us a day and stay an extra day) which would have cost us $90.

We were able to get a discount on our hotel by using military family pricing. Sometimes we use the military rate, but this hotel chain is a bit more strict with requiring that it be official duty. I completely understand that, which I guess is why they have this specific rate. I saved $25 that way, and compared to some other hotels I looked at I could have spent another $50 more. Of course, we could have gone to even lower end chains, but my husband is never pleased with those. So we did get a rate we are happy with.

We will be borrowing either my mother's car or our daughter's car to take our youngest daughter to her school. So this time we have saved the cost of a rental car. That doesn't always work, but it will this time.

Oh, I guess the last thing I will mention is that my husband's latest trip will net us about $100 in excess per diem. He just didn't spend as much on food as they allow and pay for. That's definitely a perk, and I should toss that onto our Big Goal.

Some Cash Updates & More

August 12th, 2019 at 02:53 pm

I sold two more small items on eBay recently. I've lowered the price on one, but soon I need to end them all while we go out of town. I will likely restart them and add a few more things when we return.

I earned $3 from Pinecone Research for a survey.

We were refunded $6 in ATM fees by USAA.

I paid back the housing allowance my daughter received last semester in the amount of $758.10. It's been a chore to get the VA to correct our withdrawal of benefits and then bill us for the correct amount. I believe my plan has been to use part of our tax refund to pay this back. That money did go towards the Big Goal, so I may have to backtrack my totals at the end of the month. However, because I really, really don't like doing that, I may see if I can find another way.

We expect another bill to return the book stipend for $208.33. But unfortunately, they still are trying to bill our daughter $69.03 for tuition. All tution money was sent to the university and they should be billing them. We paid all tution in full out of pocket instead of accepting VA education benefits last semester. At least this new amount they are trying to bill for tuition is down from over $700. Can you believe we have zero access to any sort of online account for beneficiaries? We can only deal in phone calls, letters, and faxes! The government is definitely not up with the times on this kind of thing.

I did a withdrawal of cash from our younger daughter's educational savings account today. The money will cover the cost of one semester's worth of room and board. I have the remaining amount due (tuition) set aside in cash. Her tuition is due August 20, six days BEFORE school starts.

I'm waiting for my husband to be reimbursed from his last trip with the Army. He has some issues with his government card during the last trip, and he ended up putting charges on our regular card. I'm happy for the rewards, but annoyed to have that extra balance there unpaid. It will come any day though.

We were within range this month of our electricity usage. So no credit or refund, but of course, we don't owe any extra either.

Oh, and I also recently applied for the Amazon Prime Visa and earned $70 in Amazon gift cards. I already used it, since I was making a larger purchase of an air purifier. It helped cut the cost significantly. I guess I should set aside $70 towards goals since I was willing to spend the original amount.

I only threw out two frozen hamburger buns. I'm not eating processed carbs, and my daughter said she will not eat that brand, too soft and soggy. Not a bad week in terms of food waste. We keep eating what we purchase.

I Got Some Free Items!

August 3rd, 2019 at 05:57 am

I'm on several Facebook pages where people list things for sale, and where I have also listed things for sale. Yesterday, I saw a post where someone was giving away four plastic adirondack chairs. They had posted just 8 minutes prior and I could get to their place in about 1 minute so I hopped in my van and drove over. I snatched them up!! They also were giving away six cans of peach flavored Bubly (a sparkling water), so I grabbed those too, since I had not tried that flavor yet. That flavor is pretty good, but I think I like cherry the best.

I did have to clean the chairs. One has a chipped section off the top of the chair and all of them have one or section of the back where the plastic has broken, so they aren't perfect, or as stable as I would prefer. I need chairs for my front porch and these will look very cute outside. I may not keep all of them, but for free I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try them.

I do know looking at the posts after I returned that I wasn't the only one interested. Some were asking if they were still there, or if they could hold. The post said no holds, which is why I knew I had to act fast!! My speed paid off.

In other good news I sold an item on eBay that had been listed since May. I gained about $6 and a little bit of space in my home with this sale!

Paying Ourselves Back: July

August 1st, 2019 at 01:26 pm

We are paying ourselves back for the $3,000 down payment we made on our daughter's car in May. Here's the money we applied this month:

$53.18 Utility Rebate
$3.09 USAA ATM rebate/interest
$20.95 US Bank Rewards
$210.25 Military per diem excess
$25 Amazon gc (Swagbucks)
$27.61 Paypal (ebay, pinecone)
$48.49 Amex Rewards
$75.00 Extra from paycheck

$463.57 Total

$2,702.89 Previous Balance Owed
$2,239.32 Current Balance Owed

We made great progress this month! If we can keep up this rate of payback we will be finished in December!! Worth striving for.