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Archive for January, 2012

A Rebate Received and More Found $

January 6th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I received a rebate check in the mail for the Armor All products I bought my brother in law for Christmas in the amount of $8.99. It will deposit to our online bank today with our scanner. I really love that feature. I will add this money to my Christmas 2012 fund. I will need to make a page or spreadsheet to start tracking those funds.

I found $0.26 on the floor in front of the ticket counter where we purchased movie tickets to see War Horse this morning. It was a pretty good movie considering it did contain war scenes.

We are still waiting for a call about our flooring estimate. I need to see that one before I can make decisions on the other repair estimates we received.

I Never Say This: Busy!

January 5th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Whoa! This morning was hopping busy here at our house. I had my medical exam for the life insurance application. Amazingly, I weighed about two pounds less than I do on my own scale. I gave over a couple vivals of bodily fluids. It all went fine.

Soon after, we get a call from a man to measure our floors for new vinyl. He arrived between the two companies that came over to measure a window pane we need replaced because it is beginning to accumulate condensation between the panes. The price for the new window pane is $232 or $272. Yep, we'll pick the company with the lower price. They had much better service anyway.

We hope to hear back on the vinyl estimate today or tomorrow. The price will be much more than we thought originally, for two reasons. We thought the price per square foot was $0.99 but it is actually $1.79. Also, we have three rooms with toilets that need to be removed during the process at $150 a piece!! Yikes, that is $450 alone. We could do it ourselves, but I would prefer DH be home if we choose that route. Which mean installing in the next week....not sure if that is an option or not. More clear decisions once we see the actual estimate.

Did I mention we got an estimate to have some concrete raised in our driveway yesterday? Yep, it's estimate city here. There is one piece of concrete that is a big trip hazard. It will need to be leveled. There are a few other pieces that should be done, but aren't as big of an issue. Estimate for the required piece is $195. Too add in the other pieces just another $205 more if done at the same time. This seems very reasonable, but we need to think through about whether to spend the minimum or go for the full amount.

We also went furniture shopping/looking today. This is really not something we should be doing, but we are looking into getting a new chair to coordinate with our living room couch or even a dining table for our kitchen. Just looking for now...I think!!

Oh, and I found $0.12 on the ground while we were out! Have you been this busy, too?

Prepaid Debit Card for Our Daughter

January 4th, 2012 at 06:16 am

We decided to get our oldest daughter a prepaid Debit card. It arrived in the mail yesterday preloaded with her first deposit of $14. The $14 is her monthly allowance based on her age.

After school today, we are going to set up and log into her online account. She will have her own log in for this account, and DH and I will also be able to see it from our own bank account log in.

She can use the card for purchases and ATM withdrawals. We can transfer money to and from it at anytime. We will definitely pay her allowance in this form now.

We are using USAA bank and the card was free. There are no monthly or annual fees or charges to use the card. We are excited to give her this option for handling her money. She has done a great job saving for things she wants and handling and even tracking her cash balance in the last year or so. We expect thing will go well with the prepaid card as well. She's most excited not to be fumbling with her wallet and cash when she makes a purchase!! Cute.

Anyone else give their child(ren) a prepaid card? How did it work out?

Rebate Received & Payment Made

January 3rd, 2012 at 05:52 pm

Back in November we bought new Goodyear tires for the van. We opened a credit card with them in order to qualify for a few rebates. The first one, for military personnel, arrived today in the amount of $40. We are still waiting for $160 check to arrive. I think I submitted it a week later, so maybe it will be here shortly.

The Goodyear credit card is interest free for 6 months. I have made one $100 payment. Today I made another. I sent the $40 rebate, plus $10 and change that we didn't have to spend on our water bill this month. A fifty dollar and some change payment in total.

Our balance is now an even $600. I could pay it now, but since it is zero interest, I'm just taking my time. I might pay it all off once we get the final rebate check. And then, of course, cancel the card. Smile

Flooring & Life Insurance

January 3rd, 2012 at 09:54 am

I'm still in the processing portion of changing my life insurance. Thursday morning they come to my home for a simple medical exam. I fainted the last time I did one of these. I will definitely lay down this time!! I have to fast for 4-6 hours prior to the 9:30 am appointment. I think I can do that, especially since they want me to drink plenty of water.

We went looking for vinyl flooring yesterday. Our kitchen, two upstairs bathrooms, two entry ways and a laundry bathroom combination all have vinyl floors. They are three different patterns/colors of vinyl on the main level alone. The bathroom floors have stains and the laundry room has some major chips/dings in the vinyl (which I believe the previous owners caused when they moved their washer upon moving out).

We are interested in replacing all of it to match and create a bit of an upgrade and selling point for the house. Right now, using our basic measuring and math skills we are looking at $785. We expect the estimate to go up especially since three toilets will need to come out and then be replaced. We are willing to do a little work to prep ahead of time to save costs if needed.

We did get quotes on carpet, but feel that is more than we want to spend right out of the gate. Our carpet is light in color, but with carpet cleaning it seems to come back to life pretty nice. We will clean and put down plastic in high traffic areas at the time of listing.

Right now we are definitely leaning towards selling rather than renting, thus the new get ready to sell expenses. We can't be landlords from miles away and paying someone to do it isn't appealing either.

Working On Goals

January 2nd, 2012 at 10:23 am

I'm still thinking through 2012 goals and will post once I'm done. Part of me wants to skip them for the time being, but it is a fact that a goal gets results.

I'm sure the goals will include college, retirement, savings, and debt. I think I might include a goal for a free 2012 Christmas as well as a side income goal.

I might even go as far as to say one of our goals will be to be mortgage free. I'm sure that got your attention!

I know some of you have posted your goals. Are some of you struggling to come up with goals? What problems are you running into?

2011: Year In Numbers Review

January 1st, 2012 at 08:05 am

Here's a snapshot of our financial year:

We earned more interest than ever because we invested in the Savings Deposit Program (SDP) available to deployed military members. We earned 10%!!

Here's the interest breakdown: SDP $583.33, Money Market $106.48, USAA $1.97. Total interest was $691.78.

Our emergency fund took a small hit, and is down $737 from last year at this time. I feel okay about that considering we have had additional expenses running two households and buying new siding and a sliding glass door for our home, all of which were much more than $737!

We were debt free except for our mortgage in mid January 2011 until May when we purchased a new to us truck. We paid part of the purchase ($12,000) in cash which was a first for us. The remainder was taken out in a loan in the amount of $14,776.68. Our remaining debt on this loan stands at $12,412.06. We are simply making regular payments until we are back to one household. That loan will become priority number one once we do.

We did contribute some to our girls college educations this year, but not the full $4,000 we planned. We stopped contributions when we split to two households. Their accounts are each up about $1100 each for the year.

We also stopped making Roth IRA contributions in August. We are currently short of our 2011 goal to max out our Roth IRA's by $4,166.67. We expect to make this up with our tax refund. Thus meeting our goal, but later than normal. We did contribute $5072.76 to the TSP and $5,833.34 to our Roth's in 2011, which is $10,906.10.

I compared this years retirement totals to last year and we are only up $11,028.72. At one point we were up over $18K. But you know how the market is!

Since our goal was to primarily keep the status quo, I think we did pretty good. Yes, we took on more debt, but this vehicle will be one we keep for the long term. We feel good about the purchase.

It has been disappointing to cut back on investments, but it needed to be done temporarily to keep from getting into more debt while running two households. We really are cash flowing this adventure and all that comes with it and it feels good.

How was your financial year? Negative, neutral or positive?

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