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Archive for January, 2012

Finally a Roth Contribution

January 31st, 2012 at 05:10 am

We haven't contributed to our Roth IRA's since August. We have to catch up by April 17th! We each need to contribute another $2,083.31 to meet the maximum amount for 2011.

Last night, I made a contribution for each of us in the amount of $83.31. So now, we each need to contribute an even $2000. Once the federal refund arrives, it will all be a done deal.

I heard on the news this morning that early filers may have their tax refunds delayed by about a week. We are one of those. We filed on January 23rd. I originally expected the refund by February 1. I checked the IRS website this morning, which stated we should have the refund by February 7. Either way it will work out, but my fingers are crossed that it arrives tomorrow.

Anyone else an early tax filer? What does the IRS website indicate for your refund?

$50 Amazon Gift Cards

January 30th, 2012 at 02:49 pm

I have accumulated $50 worth of Amazon gift card this month through Swagbucks. Yipee!! That brings my snowflake money up to $205.23.

I have spent $318.84 on my CitiDividend card. I need another $181.16 to meet the $500 minimum to obtain a $200 cash reward. Getting close. I expect gas, groceries or a trip to the eye doctor will help in meeting the goal. If I get the charges built up before February 17, I should be able to redeem soon after the statement closes for the month. I hope anyway!!

State Tax Refund Arrived

January 30th, 2012 at 06:03 am

Imagine my surprise when I checked our online account today and realized that our state tax refund arrived in our account on Friday!

We are saving most of the $2,309 refund in our emergency fund until after our move this summer. It makes me feel better to have that money in case something big comes up along the way.

I believe the federal refund will arrive on Wednesday this week. That money is for our 2011 Roth contributions.

Other Snowflakes to Fall

January 27th, 2012 at 05:54 pm

By snowflakes, I'm referring to small amounts of money that will make up our 2012 Christmas fund. I have enough points at MyPoints for at least a $10 gift card to about any department store on the site. I have enough rewards at MySurveys to cash out for $10, but I'm waiting until I have enough for $20. I think I'm halfway there.

I had to report the 'buyer' of my ebay item that sold as unpaid. I will wait until that is final to relist. I hope to sell for at least $10.

And at Swagbucks, I have over 2400 points. I redeemed my limit of 5 $5 Amazon.com gift cards this month already. If I can get enough for $25 card to Amazon or Paypal, I will redeem by the end of the month. If not, I'll start over with my five $5 cards in February. Those are cheaper anyway! I have done quite a few surveys in the last few days and the points have really added up.

It will be interesting to see what other snowflakes fall my way in the next month to come!

Snowflake Christmas Earnings

January 26th, 2012 at 01:03 pm

I've been saving snowflakes for Christmas! That is what I'm calling the small amounts of money that I'm adding to the Christmas Challenge.

Here's what I have so far:


Wow! That's a lot of snowflakes and it's only January. If you are collecting and saving for Christmas, how are you doing?

Almost $400 Per Month More

January 25th, 2012 at 09:39 am

My ebay buyer still has not paid. Newbie or in the area of recent tornados. Not sure. I'll wait a bit longer to relist.

I was able to see my husband's January paystub (LES) today. Our exempt status for our state was processed correctly which means no withholding for state!! With the slight increase in pay and the state tax exempt status we have a net increase of $393.74 per month.

I want to set up our Roth IRA's to draft for $150 each per month. That will give us a head start on maximizing our Roth's this year. However, part of me remembers talking to the DH about holding on to as much cash as possible until the move is complete. I might have to just stick with that.

Either way it's all good and we are pleased with the positive financial events.

$300 Rewards = Tire Payment

January 23rd, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I received my rewards check in the mail from my Chase card. I only had to make one purchase to receive $300. I made a couple more, so the actual rewards check was for $305.02.

It's been deposited, and I have made a $300 online payment on our Goodyear Tire account. The new balance is now $300!!

I will save the other $5.02 towards the Christmas fund. I hope to have an update on my total later this week. What is your current Christmas Fund total?

Sold An Item On Ebay

January 23rd, 2012 at 07:39 am

I sold the item I listed on ebay. I'm now waiting for payment. The buyer is new to ebay, so fingers crossed they can figure out how to pay me. The item sold for about $10, so I'll net a little under that with fees.

I also received my deposit from Paypal today, in the amount of $32.78, for surveys and other ebay proceeds. I'm waiting for nearly $19 from Half.com, too.

The profits will go to the Christmas Fund!

In other news, it snowed overnight. I have to go out and shovel. It will count as my exercise today, since I have the girls home and don't want to venture out on the roads just yet.

It might be a good day to look for more things to sell or earn points on Swagbucks. Smile

Over $6K

January 22nd, 2012 at 09:30 am

Our tax refunds from federal and state will amount to over $6,000! We have never had such a large refund. I really try to keep things as close to zero as possible. Last year I even had to pay our state $124 and I was fine with that!

Specifically, we will receive $4,063 from federal and $2,309 from our state. This equals $6,372 back into our pockets. That would have amounted to $531 per month if we had been receiving that money all year long.

We had several factors that caused our refunds to be so large. The first was that my husband was in a combat zone for the first four months of the year. This money is considered non-taxable by the federal government and the state. While in the combat zone he also earned 27.5 days of vacation that are also considered non-taxable. He used all of those days in 2011, thus nearly another month of tax free income.

With only 7 months of basic pay taxable we qualified for the earned income tax credit in the amount of $920. We also earned a $400 saver's credit for contributing to our Roth IRA's (lower incomes can qualify for this credit). And we have two kids which qualifies us for $2000 in credits as well. We ended up paying zero dollars in Federal taxes and will get a return of our withholding, the EITC and the additional child tax credit.

Under normal circumstances, we would not qualify for the EITC or the retirement savings credit. But we tax advantage of them when we can.

I posted a few days ago that our state signed a new law this past year that renders federal military pay of any kind tax free in our state. Thus we will be getting all of our withholding returned to us and a small refundable earned income tax credit. I was not aware of this law until the day I made my post. We could have filed exempt back in May and had nearly $300 put into our pocket for the last 7 months. I just didn't know. Now that I do, we have adjusted my husband's withholding to be exempt for our state. Thus about $300 more in our pockets each month going forward. Very excited!!

The plan is to use $4,166.62 to finish funding our Roth IRA's for 2011. The remainder will be saved until after our move. We are trying to beef up our cash as much as possible, once we are moved we will attack our 2012 goals!

I filed the returns last night. It appears we should have this money returned to us by February 1. Have you completed your taxes? Are you still waiting for forms?

Money Money Money!

January 21st, 2012 at 04:40 pm

The money is flowing in!!

I received a check in the mail for $4 today. It was a refund of cash that has been sitting in my daughter's school lunch account for over two years. She doesn't eat at school...ever. Nice to have the money back!

I also gave a winning scratch lottery ticket that we received in another state over Christmas to my parents today. They paid me the winning amount and will redeem the ticket back at home. It was a $3 winner.

All money is going to The Christmas Fund. The four dollars isn't exactly free money, but that lottery ticket sure is.

We received my husband's W-2 and the W-2c (which showed a lower wage!) and can finally file our taxes. We are likely getting a huge amount back because of many factors. It will be nice. I'll detail that information in another post once I have everything complete.

Life Insurance Update and More

January 20th, 2012 at 11:41 am

Darn. My original quote for insurance isn't going to stand. The montly amount was to be $23.30. They have increased it to $32.90, because of a health issue I have. I'm not entirely surprised really. And it could still change because they are waiting on records from my doctor.

This is still better than the policy that I have now that will be $720 per year if I renew it. This new rate is $394.80. I was told I will hear the firm rate in two weeks or less.

Enough of that boring stuff! I do have other good news. The window pane we had installed yesterday came to $168.44. It turned out to be $65 less than they quoted. And I'm not even sure why, but I'll take it. Of course, the Citi Dividend card I wanted to charge it to didn't arrive until two hours after the window was installed. I was hoping to charge it to the new card to count toward my $500 minimum. Oh well.

I tried to redeem Swagbuck points yesterday, but was reminded that I can only redeem 5 items per month, which I already did. It's all good. I'll just keep accumulating points and redeem something bigger next month!

There is a bid on my ebay item I have listed. That means I have a sale in the near future. That money goes to the Free Christmas Challenge!

If you didn't see my previous post, check it out. It is very exciting financial news. I emailed and texted my husband about it, but no response as of yet. I hope he is excited, too!

Just Found Out!!

January 19th, 2012 at 06:17 pm

OMG!!

I was working on our tax return. I input wage information even though I'm waiting on the W-2. It turns out all military income earned in our state is now exempt from state income tax, retroactive back to January 2011. This also means all income earned going forward is exempt from state taxes. This is huge!

Right now we are having $291.22 withheld each month for taxes. That is now money back in our pocket. Wow! I wasn't expecting that. I guess I'm not listening to the news close enough. This bill was signed into law on 5.11.11.

This also means our tax refund this year will be about $2300 or $1200 more than I expected. Nice!!

Oh, and you got to know I just online with DFAS to change our withholding to exempt. That will be effective February 1. Yipee!!

Now...I've really got to make sure this counts.

I Caved

January 19th, 2012 at 09:00 am

...to the desire for Girl Scout cookies.

My daughter's friend is a girl scout and she asked if we wanted cookies. Really, who doesn't love a GS cookie? Why do they hve to have so many flavors we like? I bought 5 boxes! At $3.50 each. The math on that is $17.50 for cookies. Eek.

They come around once a year. It's for a good cause. The cookies will taste fabulous. I'll likely eat less since I'm on diet. Oh my I'm on a diet with GS cookies in the house!!

In good financial news, I earned enough Swagbucks to redeem another $5 Amazon.com gift card. I'm up to $25 now! Did I mention how it is a bit addictive? Would you agree?

Some Great Deals Today!

January 18th, 2012 at 07:29 pm

Today is probably the nicest day we will have all week. So...I did a little shopping today in the stores and online.

I went to Target to get kitty litter. I planned to purchase two of the Arm and Hammer litter for $10.39 each to qualify for the $5 Target gift card. I ended up finding some on clearance for $7.62. I decided that this was the better deal, even if I didn't get the gift card. But, I did get the gift card!! I might go back for more, since it was such a good deal. I used my Mastercard gift card on this store purchase and will withdraw $20 in cash for the Christmas fund.

I bought two birthday gifts at Hobby Lobby. I used a 40% off coupon and left the store paying only $8.25 out of pocket. I like gifts that are inexpensive!

Since I shopped with Shutterfly this past holiday, I was sent a $20 credit to shop with them again. I bought 4 8x10's, 2 5x7's and 14 4x6 prints and paid $2.58 out of pocket to cover shipping and tax. I hope to use many of the prints around the house to slip into family photo frames when it comes time to list the house for sale. The prints are primarily shots of flowers and outdoor scenes.

I also shopped at iherb.com for lotions to give as gifts and stevia for my tea. I had to throw in a bar of soap for $0.68 to bring my total to $20 for free shipping. I had $14.06 in rewards credit, thus my out of pocket cost was only $6.23 for $20 worth of items. Have you checked out iherb.com? If not, you can use coupon code FIN012 for $5 off your first order. And remember, free shipping on a $20 order!!

It was great to get so many good deals today, especially on things I needed to get anyway. I'm guessing the next few days will be spend free, since we are getting more snow and I would just rather stay inside where it is warm and dry.