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Archive for May, 2013

May Snowflakes

May 31st, 2013 at 11:51 pm

May was a productive month for snowflakes once again. I accumulated $170.02 without much effort. I like that!

Here's the breakdown:

This money has been added to the Snowflakes for Christmas fund. The goal is to accumulate $750, and with this month's additions, my total in the fund is now at $688!! I only need another $62 to meet my goal. That should be no problem to meet in June.

After I meet the Christmas Fund goal, all snowflakes will then go towards the mortgage. I know that small amounts make a difference over time so I know these will make a difference in the amount of interest we pay.

Check out

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my last two posts to see my new plan for accumulating more income while spending. If I can't get the interest rates, might as well play the credit card game!

How did your snowflake accumulations work for May? Do you have a goal for June?

New Earnings Update

May 31st, 2013 at 09:04 pm

As I mentioned in my

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previous post, I am applying for credit cards to take advantage of the bonus offers available. This will help earn some income, since these crazy low interest rates don't offer much.

I was approved for Citi Thank You Preferred where I will spend $1000 in 3 months and earn $250 in gift cards. This offer arrived in the mail.

American Express approved me for the Blue Cash Everyday card. I will need to spend $500 in three months and will receive $150 in statement credits.

And finally, I was approved for the Capital One Cash Rewards card. I also need to spend $500 in three months to earn $100 cash.

I attempted to apply for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select card right after I was approved for the City Thank You card, but was denied. I'm sure it is because it is the same company and they just extended me credit. That is fine.

I went looking for another card, and was thinking about applying for the NFL card that offers $200 in statement credits after one purchase...but unfortunately it is not available in my state. Darn. There are other offers out there that I may consider at another time, but for now, this is enough.

If you totaled up the rewards that brings me to $500 in cash rewards for these three credit cards and only need to spend $2000 in the next three months. Once I see we will achieve these, I will have my husband apply for the same cards and start the cycle over again.

Originally, I thought I could get $700 in rewards, instead of the $500. I lost out on $100 because I was denied for the one Citi Card. I also 'lost' another $100 because I opted to apply for the Blue Cash Everyday card, instead of the Blue Cash Preferred card which had a $75 annual fee.

Anyone else applying for credit to obtain rewards? What do you do with the cash rewards you earn?

Since We Can't Get Good Interest Rates....

May 31st, 2013 at 01:46 am

Since we can't get good interest rates on our savings, I'm going to be taking advantage of the cash bonuses that credit cards offer. It is tax free money. We do have expenses we purchase anyway. Why not? We do not have plans to take on any big loans for cars, student loans or a who cares about the credit score, which will be just fine since we pay off our cards on time and before accruing any interest.

What prompted this? Rates are terrible on savings!
And....I received an offer from Citi Thank You Preferred to spend $1000 and earn $250 in gift cards. I'd rather have cash, but if I redeem for a gift card we will use in regular spending I can just take that money I would have spent and save it.

My goal is to have all rewards go into savings to earn some piddly 0.85% interest. Yeah!! This money will be saved toward that future down payment.

I know that $1000 in 3 months will be no problem. But now, I am debating whether to apply for a couple more at the same time, to avoid that credit ding that does take place initially. Then I can earn several rewards over the next three months. We have both had the Chase Sapphire Preferred which we spent our $3000 and earned the $400 rewards...really $800 in total. I don't think it has been quite a year since I originally applied, but maybe.

I think I can get $700 by opening FOUR cards:
_Capital One Cash Rewards $100 after $500 in 3 months.
_Blue Cash Preferred $250 after $1000 in 3 months.
_Citi Thank You Preferred $250 gift cards after $1000 in 3 months.
_Citi Dividend Platinum Select $100 after $500 in 3 months.

Now that I write that I realize that is two Citi cards. This would still be $3000 in spending in three months, which is no issue around here. But $700 in rewards, rather than going with the one Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Of course, after these three months, I could have my husband apply for the same three cards...and likely get another $700 before the end of the year. That is good money, that I wish we were earning on our money market account.

So do you think it is okay to apply for four cards at once and two from the same company all on the same day? Think this is a good plan considering I'm a good credit risk and will not incur debt in the process?

I do already have a Chase Freedom card that is active, but DH does not.

DC Trip: Travel Insurance?

May 30th, 2013 at 05:33 pm

I'm getting ready to complete the registration for the Washington DC trip. I think I'll be making a one time payment, but still not sure. What is tripping me up is the Full Refund Program Fee.

The FRP fee is $139 for this trip which will cost us $1299 for the four day three night experience. Thus the fee would increase our total outlay to $1438, or an increase of nearly 11%.

The FRP fee 'protects your payments and provides a full refund minus the FRP fee, if you, the Program Leader, school, or school administration need to cancel at any time prior to departure for any reason.' The fee does not cover an Act of God, war, terrorism, civil unrest, or bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business by the travel company.

According to my daughter who heard the presentation from the group leader, most parents do not choose this option of insurance. I probably will not pay the fee, since we can withstand the risk that we could lose our money, if something were to prevent her from going. It won't break us financially in other words. My husband's first instinct was to sign up.

What would you do? Can you think of any good reasons to pay the extra fee?

Mish Mash

May 29th, 2013 at 05:23 pm

I earned $3 from a Pinecone survey and received the samples in the mail to try. I expect that money to arrive in my Paypal account tomorrow. I will do a May Snowflake update on Friday.

I've been earning my Swagbucks, reading my library book, taking walks, cleaning, sewing and planning our vacation, thus not much spending other than gas and groceries. And those alone add up fast!

We will be going to a graduation out of town this weekend. Thus more spending on gas and eating. We will write my niece a $50 check. We already wrote in a simple note card, rather than buying a 'special' graduation card. Again, don't most people just toss or recycle cards anyway?!

We know we can use some hotel points for one night in a hotel. We expect to be away three or four nights, so that helps a little. I hope to take a cooler along since it is a road trip. At a minimum, snacks(fresh fruit) and drinks (water) can be bought ahead of time to save us from making convenience purchases! I'm willing to eat lunch and breakfast out of the cooler. We have already found several free things to do so I think we will have a fun time traveling the scenic byway of the Mississippi. I expect we will use a credit card for the vacation expenses to earn some cash back. We will pay for it in full upon our return, of course!

Thinking ahead to big expenses coming up in the next few months: prescription sunglasses for oldest daughter, new sneakers for both girls, school tuition, flute maintenance repairs, band camp fees, few more summer clothes for each of us, mulch for a garden bed we are carving out, two trees for our back yard, gifts for the daughter turning 13, and the deposit on the Washington DC trip.

That's the money mish mash for today!

Update: How To Swag

May 28th, 2013 at 02:23 am

I thought I'd add on to my

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blog post from this morning and let you know that I did accumulate more than 89 SBs. I ended the day with 220 SB, with 9 of those from a referral which do not get added to the daily goal. Thanks, phantorn, for the referral bucks!

I did another survey on Peanut Labs for 48 SB. I had three search wins today for a total of 23 SBs. There were a few more offers in my Inbox. I did several rounds of SBTV and Games this evening while my family was watching Spiderman 3. Todays Swag Code was 'BraveSoldiers' which earned me 8 SBs.

This is a typical Swagbucks day for me. The movie was 2 hours and 20 minutes, and the additional Swagbuck's were earned during this time. Of course, I wasn't completely Swagbucks focused, but it is one way to get Swagbucks during 'down' time.

Here are the screen shots of my actual earnings today:

I hope this helps understand a little bit more what Swagbucks is about and how you can earn actual cash and gift cards with this site for free. Again, if you want to get started, click
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here to use my referral link.

Now, what I really want to know is: What are you going to do with your Swagbucks?

Swagbucks Earnings

May 27th, 2013 at 04:27 pm

Several people have been asking about how to accumulate as many

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Swagbucks as I do. I will admit, I'm a bit addicted, but I also know that it is possible to make goal everyday without much effort.

As determined by the Swagbucks site, today's goal was 60 Swagbucks. This is an average goal. Most days are higher, but occasionally the goal is even lower.

I start first with completing the daily tasks, which are listed under the goal. This includes the daily poll and 'skipping' through the NOSO offers. The toolbar task is automatic, since, I have the Swagbucks toolbar downloaded on my browser. That is 4 Swagbucks right away.

I then jump over to watch SBTV. You receive 3 SB's for every 10 videos you watch, you don't have to watch the entire thing. Once the meter on the page moves up, you can switch to another video. I try to leave the meter at 90% the evening before, so that I can watch one video and earn 3 SB's very quickly in the morning to meet goal. Now I'm at 7 SB's.

While the SBTV videos start running, I attempt to search for things. Today, I probably search five or six things before I got a 9 SB search win. Now I'm at 16 SBs for the day.

I checked my Inbox, where I had two offers for 3 SBs each. These offers involved clicking on 6 different videos. This brings my total SBs for the day to 22.

While some of those Inbox videos were running, I went to check out the surveys. I try the ones with the most SBs for the least amount of time first. I was disqualified for the first one. I did receive 1 SB for trying. They give you up to five of these per day. Now I'm at 23SBs.

I do skip around on the site, so now I'm over at the Special Offers page where I right away go to the Radium One page, where I seem to have good luck. Peanut Labs is good too. I find the coupons offer where I click the link, pick a coupon, and print it. I technically don't print it out unless I really want it. My computer loads it into the que, but I go in and delete it. This earns me 9SB, which is not instant, but usually credits within 5 to 10 minutes. I do this offer EVERYDAY. While I'm on Radium One, I click on the 1 point offers, which link to Health Guru videos. Usually, you can just let them load and run and receive the point. Sometimes you need to click through the slides. The offer states what is needed. I earned 7SBs from those small offers. My total is now at 39SBs.

I end up back over at the surveys. I complete a survey worth 50SBs. The offer stated it would take 20 minutes, but it had to be less than 10 minutes total. It was about healthy cereals. At this point, I am way over the goal of 60 SBs, with 89 SBs.

The nice thing is I can be done for the day if I don't have any more time. Meeting goal nets me an extra 6 SBs. These are accumulated during the month and paid out by the fifth of the following month is a lump sum.

If I have time, I can still search the internet for more wins, play 10 rounds of games to earn another 10 SBs. I can also look for free offers to sign up for. I can run SBTV while I'm doing other things online. I also check the Swagbucks Facebook page for updates on offers and surveys that credit as well as any Swag Codes that may be released (usually one per day). I can also go back and look for surveys that I might qualify for. At a minimum, I should get another 4 SBs for getting disqualified.

I hope this run through of my morning Swagbucks routine helps. The survey I did today did help it go fast, which I always appreciate. Again, I am a little addicted and likely spend too much time on Swagbucks. I would encourage you to start slow, do only what you can and feel comfortable doing, and make your own goal. If you would like an extra $5 to spend at you only need to earn 15 SBs per day to accumulate the 450 Swagbucks needed to pick one up. I think I've shown you that it is pretty easy to get to 15 SBs per day. Once you get the hang of it you might even earn more than that.

Got it now? More questions? Post them in the comments. Ready to sign up?
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Here is my referral link.

Vacation Thoughts

May 25th, 2013 at 03:11 pm

Thanks for the kind wishes of good health yesterday. I do feel better today. I had a huge urge to sleep several times, so that is just what I did. I think I slept 11 hours last night, and I feel pretty good this morning.

It is raining pretty good here today, which lends itself to a lazy day. We might be able to get a few honey do list items done, which will require no outlay of money. Smile

We need to do some vacation planning as well. We are thinking of a road trip along the Mississippi River byways here in Iowa. If anyone has any must see destinations in that area, let me know. We also want to have a stop for a day or two that is just relaxing in some way. Enjoy the scenery and each other. It seems it could be a semi frugal vacation as it will be meals, hotels, and fuel and activity admissions. I'm hoping for a budget of $1000 or less.

Will you be taking a vacation this year? Do you have a budget? Will you fly, drive or stay in town?

Under the Weather

May 24th, 2013 at 07:41 pm

Something came on fast for me overnight. I won't go into personal details, but I'm glad my husband was home to drive my oldest to school. He bought me soup and gatorade. He even heated the soup up, brought me another blanket. Sometimes it is nice to be taken care of, not that I want to be sick too often!!

While I have been sleeping, my husband has mowed the lawn and sprayed for weeds. Now he's cleaning out my van. Nice that he can keep himself busy!

I've showered and feeling better, but just a little low on energy. I'm going to rally so I can take my oldest daughter to an appointment she has after school. I'm sure I'll be wanting to nap by the time I return, so I guess DH will be on kitchen duty this evening.

When was the last time you were sick? Do you have someone that takes care of you when you are sick? Stay healthy this weekend!

Money Movements

May 23rd, 2013 at 09:07 pm

I just redeemed more Swagbucks for a $25 PayPal deposit. I don't think this will arrive before the end of the month, but if it does it gets counted towards this month's snowflakes!

I did spend some money today because I met up with an old neighbor and good friend. Lunch at Subway was $7. Spent $10 on a 'string bag/backpack' for my daughter. And splurged on a wonderful smelling perfume at Banana Republic for $5. There were many other things I could have bought, but I'm a good frugal girl and refrained.

My friend brought me a nice bar of soap and an angel friendship ornament. A late mother's day gift. So sweet of her to think of me.

I opened a Rollover IRA at Vanguard for my husband. He signed the paperwork to transfer the last of his money at Fidelity. I dropped it in the mail this morning. Things feel simpler already.

My husband will be home for four days for the Memorial holiday weekend. I hope we can keep spending a little low, but he mentioned landscaping last night. I'm just not ready for big, BIG expenses right now.

Will you have different expenses for the holiday weekend? Will you spend more or less than usual?

Moolah Update

May 22nd, 2013 at 08:23 pm

On Monday, I spent $78 at the vet's office. Our oldest cat had something going on with her lip and chin. Could have been a wasp sting. Not sure. Injections of antihistamine and antibiotic have seemed to put her eating well again.

Received $5 Target gift card, after purchase of some feminine products. I will add this to the snowflakes along with the $25 that just arrived in my PayPal account. Funny thing is I'm getting close to redeeming Swagbucks for another one!

The transfer of my husband's Roth IRA from Fidelity to Vanguard is complete as of Monday. I will now have him fill out the paper work to move a Traditional IRA to Vanguard and hope the final transfer goes just as fast.

I did a little shopping yesterday and picked up 6 pairs of socks and three greeting cards at Kohl's using one of their $10 coupons. I spent just over $2 out of pocket. I picked up a frame needed for a gift, for $5 plus tax, after using their 40% off coupon. And at Ulta, I wanted to purchase three of one product that was Buy 2, Get 1 Free. They only had one in stock. I was able to use a 20% off coupon and was give an rain check for Buy 1, Get 1 free, so that I effectively could still get the deal. Nice service there!

Have you received any good deals lately?