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Archive for August, 2009

Made it to Payday!

August 31st, 2009 at 03:08 pm

We've made it to payday! We spent pretty much every last dollar we had allocated towards spending this month. In fact, I had to dip into some of our extra cash for kleenex, since our youngest daughter caught a cold! Poor baby.

We did a really good job of holding out and waiting to spend only when necessary. I had a list of things that we could wait to buy. They included paper towels, trash bags, my haircut, razor blades, and bar soap.

Today, I'm writing a check for the first round of school pictures. I picked a package that is $17. The cheapest was $12. I decided to spend an extra $5 to be able to give another 5 people pictures. I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

The good news: after paying bills we should have $915 to allocate towards braces! I'll update the ticker when I actually get that money into the emergency fund.

It feels good to be flush with cash...even if it is only for a few days!!

No Spending For A Year. Could You?

August 30th, 2009 at 09:02 am

Did you know people do this? They make a plan, a pact, a commitment for a year to not spend anything. For some of them it's for environmental reasons, for others it's for monetary ones.

Okay, they do spend money on food and health/safety items. For some of them it is okay to buy something as long as it is not 'new'. I suppose that has to do with turning against our consuming nature.

On some level, I like the idea. However, I have kids and I just don't think it is practical. I suppose I could do it just for myself. As I think about this a little more, I realize that I'm pretty close to no spending for myself. I rarely buy myself anything new. So maybe it wouldn't be so hard.

Who am I kidding? It WOULD be hard to not spend anything!! Congratulations to those who take this path or even attempt it. Do you think you could do it?

Refund?

August 28th, 2009 at 05:17 pm

As I mentioned in a previous post, we changed our homeowner's insurance deductible. Specifically, we increased it to $1000. It seems we will most likely get a refund. If I'm reading our online statement correctly, the refund will be equal to $68.53!!

That is money I can use towards those braces!! Things did go well today. She's in minimal pain with Advil every four hours. Our orthodontist even called to see how she is doing!! I wasn't expecting that. He even offered his home phone number which I took down. I love this guy!! He's one of those people that you can tell really loves his work. We should all be so lucky.

I completed a Pinecone survey today, so I expect so see an additional $3 in our bank account soon. Our checking account has about $35 left until Monday. So, we hope to have a very limited spending weekend. I think we can do it!!

Once payday arrives, I have to buy new jazz shoes for one daughter and a leotard for the other. Turns out they both grew over the summer!!

The Emergency Fund is Taking a Hit

August 27th, 2009 at 04:02 pm

Tomorrow's the big day: braces for my oldest daughter. Most of the money is coming from our emergency fund. We hope to have the money paid back by the end of October or sooner.

And we get to hit the emergency fund for more than planned because we have to pay my husbands government credit card for an airline ticket he didn't use! It is going to get credited back, according to the travel agency...but not for another two months! Ugh. The government is slow!! So, we have to pay the card by the due date of September 5th. I am going to wait until the last day to pay it in case the credit comes in sooner!! Please. I hope it does. Eventually, we will get the money back, but I really have no idea when or how long that process will take.

Points = Cash

August 26th, 2009 at 06:46 am

Our checking acount is down to $73.33. My husband needed cash and fuel for the car. He's working weekends...so a few extra trips into work increases the amount of gas he needs. The cash is probably for Monster drinks, so he can stay awake at work!! He's exhausted.

I received an rebate in the mail a few days ago for $15. Yesterday, I qualified for to cash out some MySurvey points. I will get a $10 check in a couple of weeks. All the money is going towards those braces right now!

I really want some more Global Test Marketing surveys. I'm less than 200 points from being able to claim a check for $50!!

Our debit card points are adding up too. We have enough to cash out $50. I will actually cash out when we get to $75.

Yesterday, was a no spend day, for me. I hope to make today another one!

Changes

August 25th, 2009 at 10:25 am

We are making changes to our homeowner's insurance policy. We have decided to increase our deductible to $1000, up from $500.

When I first inquired it appreared this change would save us $59.70. In the meantime, we received our renewal notice effective in October. The notice stated the renewal premium would be $717.99!! Whoa, that is an increase of $143.60 from the previous year.

I inquired again about the premium at the time of renewal for a $1000 deductible policy. It would be $658.47. So, even though our insurance premium is going up, it is now going up less since we have switch to a higher deductible policy.

Final increase per year: $84.08. That's about $7 per month. I think we can handle that!!

End of the Month

August 24th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Just a week to go until payday.

I think we are doing pretty well with a little over $115 left in the checking account. I've been to the grocery store. I stocked up on meat. I'm sure there may be a run or two needed for a couple items, as usual. I have enough gas to get around, but my husband may need to fill up once.

It would be nice to end the week with a little extra...to help pay for those braces!! My daughter will have them put on Friday. The day I will pay for them in full. Scary.

My fingers are crossed for some excess cash!!

You Never Know Who You Impact

August 22nd, 2009 at 06:50 pm

My family and I just finished watching a movie: Mr. Holland's Opus. It's an older movie, but it is really good. In the end,the main character, Mr. Holland realizes the impact he has had on the students he has taught over a 30 year career.

After watching the movie, I log on and see that Cptacek has made use of information from this

Text is website and Link is http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/
website for crockpot recipes. I mentioned this site on my blog earlier this week. I've impacted someone's life, just by mentioning this. I can only guess that others have been impacted by my blog postings and yours, too!!

As a family, we talked a little about the point of the movie. My husband was reminded of a friend that we both worked with. That friend invited my husband to participate in his wedding only because he had an impact in his life. It was such a surprise to my husband. He only thought of the man as a coworker. To this day, it still moves my husband to tears to have been told that he made a difference in someone's life.

My point is that none of us will truly know the full impact that we have on the lives of others, postive or negative. But know this: You do have an impact. You do matter. You are important.

And hey, if you have something to say...join us here. Start a blog on savingadvice.com or participate in the forums. You DO have something to say that will impact someone you don't even know!!

Shopping Avoidance

August 21st, 2009 at 01:37 pm

There's something about the kids going back to school on Monday that makes me want to go shopping! I know. Crazy.

So, instead of thinking of the things I want to shop for I need to refocus. I'm going to focus on free tasks that I can do around the house.

Honestly, I have a fair amount of cleaning and tidying up around the house I could do. Here's a few things that come to mind:

clean kitchen cupboards (inside & out)
clean refrigerator
dust all blinds in house
pull out bush on side of house
make tote bags out of fabric remnants
clean bathroom drawers
put pool away for winter
sweep out garage & organize
scrounge for items to sell or donate
weed out file cabinent
wash windows (inside & out)
clean clothes washer
good cleaning of dryer vent
caulk windows, if I have extra caulk

Okay, that's enough...I'm tired just thinking about it. I really plan to get myself back to the gym and work on free projects around the house. They need to be done at some point, might as well do them while it's nice. Since, I won't be in the stores, I should save some money!!

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I did get that rodent bedding returned today. Only spent $11 to get my youngest daughter's hair cut...she needed it!

Here's a cute one! My husband called this afternoon, but hung up before I could get to the phone. I waited for him to call back. So, I called him. He was calling to see if he could spend money on a snack! He knows I'm trying to save as many pennies as possible with the braces looming up ahead. He hung up because he decided he wasn't really hungry. Of course, if he is really hungry he should get some food, right? I don't want my man starving!!

Nickels and Dimes

August 20th, 2009 at 07:05 pm

I just feel like writing a bit about a few recent financial happenings.

Turns out that the auto maintenence bill from yesterday was $220.17. The battery replacement was $24 plus $15 in labor. The oil change was $19.49. Those are the only things we NEEDED. The tranmission fluid flush at $150 was not a necessity. But what's done is done, right?

Yesterday was a zero spend day. I always like those! Today, I spent about $18 on pop, ice cream, jello and pudding. Can you tell someone in the house has tender teeth this evening?

We have discovered that a cheaper pine bedding works pretty well for our mice and hamster. The pine stuff is $6.50 compared to $26 for the same amount of premium paper fiber stuff! Guess what? I have a brand new bag of that premium stuff to return!! Tomorrow, I will have $27.55(tax included) more in our checking account. I sure wish I had tried the stuff a year ago. Oh, well what's done is done.

I inquired with our homeowner's insurance about increasing our deductible to $1000. For some reason, it's been at $500 since we moved. We would save $59.60. Per year. That is less than $5/month. Of course, I don't want to over pay when I do have the cash on hand, but I'm torn about what to do. Thoughts, anyone?

I received our tax bill two days ago and taxes are going up $86 per year. I think this is what prompted me to inquire about the insurance deductible. Maybe I should increase it. My net increase to the house payment would only be $26.40/year!!

Hmmm...decisions, decisions. Thanks for tuning in to my brain again!

Asked Important Questions

August 20th, 2009 at 01:07 pm

My daughter had an appointment at the orthodontist today. (Braces are a week from Friday.) Since, I plan to pay in full, I wanted to know what the procedure is if we move. Moving is always a possibility as a military family!

They will figure where she is at in treatment and refund accordingly. Of course, most of the cost is upfront! This makes sense. The woman stated it is usually not very much that is returned...whatever that means. I'm just glad to know there is a possibility of a refund if we move. I'm sure we would need some of those funds at any new orthodontist, right?

The other question I'm asking today concerns my husbands government credit card. The statement arrived today for $644, for an airline ticket for a trip he did not take in July. The money is due September 5th. So, the important question is "Honey, what are you going to do about this?".

A Great Deal & Expected Money Sources

August 19th, 2009 at 04:01 pm

My girls and I found a great deal on some toys at Kohl's yesterday. Each item was $8, with one being half off, for a total of $12. Lucky for me, I had a coupon for $10! My total with tax was $2.10. These toys need to be mailed to a good friend for her birthday on Monday. Priority mail will cost me $4.95. Pretty good deal don't ya think?

I'm looking for all the extra money I can find in anticipation of the braces. Here's what I am expecting in the next two months:

My Survey Rewards = $20
Global Test Market = $50
Debit Card Rewards = $75
Oral B Rebate = $15
Interest = $25

I'm going to pull the interest we've earned from our money market account this year towards the cause, too. I'm not worried about paying that part back, since it is only $144. If I do find a way to pay it back...that's a bonus. All of those items together bring us $329!!

The girls recently decided to get rid of my little ponies, barbies, bratz and polly pocket dolls. We worked on sorting them today. That means brushing their hair and dressing them. Smile I hope to find a way to sell these for a few dollars at a garage sale, consignment sale or ebay.

The New Plan

August 19th, 2009 at 07:00 am

Yep, life keeps getting in the way. My husband called from work at 8:45pm last night, with a dead car battery. He works 30 minutes away, but we bailed him out anyway! Wink

The battery was only 1.5 years old, so we get a credit on that. While he's getting the new battery, he decides the car does need an oil change and the transmission fluid flushed (this alone is $150!). I haven't heard the total yet.

As Boo commented on my last post, sometimes it is best just to focus on getting rid of the debt rather than within a set period of time. So, here is the new plan.

I will pay for my daughter's braces on August 28th in full. This saves us $189.05. The total is $3,591.95! I currently have $953. Of course, this is going to be less after the above mentioned car maintenence. Ugh!! The remaining money will come from our emergency fund. I know...it's not a true emergency, but I don't want to add more debt. Luckily the US Army provides my husband a stable job, so no worries there.

Since, the money is coming from the emergency fund, our first priority is paying this money back to ourselves. I hope to have this completed by the end of October. But if it happens later...so be it, right Boo?

Once we have paid ourselves back, we will turn our focus back to the home equity loan. I can't wait! Even though I've estimated when I think we can pay it off, I'm going to let the chips fall where they may.

While on this journey, I'm going to increase my focus on things I can sell on ebay or consignment stores. I'm going to do as many surveys as possible. I'm going to reign the spending in as well. We do pretty good with the spending...but I'm going to make an extra effort!!

That's the plan. I guess it's time for another ticker!