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Archive for September, 2014

September Snowflakes

September 30th, 2014 at 10:30 am

I accumulated $182.20 in extra money(or snowflakes) for the month of September. All the cash went to pay down the mortgage!

Here's where the money came from:


Also, it could have been higher if I was able to redeem some of my Southwest Rapids Rewards points. That would have been $200+. (See other posts for why I can't redeem...yet.) I also could have redeemed $200+ from our newest credit card Citi Thank You Preferred, but I'm holding off to determine if we will use this money for a new fridge.

I do have a Pinecone survey reward being transferred to my bank account and an Ooma $20 referral reward that will be counted as the first snowflakes of October.

I did make some financial moves that will generate some extra money in future months. I opened a Discover CashBack Checking account for a $50 bonus. I opened a joint US Bank Checking account for a $200 reward, as well as set up a CD at Navy Federal Credit Union which will net us 5% interest on $5,000 over then next year.

I'm happy with the snowflake progress of the past month and looking forward to those future rewards? Did you track your extra money earned this month? How much did you accumulate? Did you save it or pay down debt?

Party Update & More

September 29th, 2014 at 02:23 pm

The party on Friday was a success! We had a really great time and I think the guests did too. We ended up with a lot of food leftover. The good thing is I was able to freeze the soup leftovers and have a plan for using them when a round of visitors comes to our home in less than two weeks. I was able to return a package of plates and some serving utensils to Target, so $8 less spent. We also have quite a bit of alcohol, which will last awhile and give us an excuse for another smaller gathering.

Since payday is around the corner, I decided to send off cash from our last paycheck to pay off some of the charges from the last two weeks. The big payment was $475 on our Target Red card. Ugh. I also finally transferred money from our savings account to pay our the gym membership we charged in May. Luckily no interest, but I was tired of seeing the balance on the Wells Fargo Amex.

Even when one doesn't pay interest it does feel so good not to owe anyone anything! Once pay day rolls around I have a couple more small charges I want to complete and I will feel even better.

I hope to make the next couple weeks as low spend as possible. I will need to mention this to DH and see what he can do to reign in some of his spending. He is starting back on a diet, so it might all work out anyway! I'm also going to get back on my exercise bandwagon and counting calories. I need to get the routine down before the dead of winter really hits hard.

How was your weekend? Are you more in the midst of spending or saving?

Two Soups

September 25th, 2014 at 08:24 am

I'm making two soups/stews for our party. I made traditional chili using the famous Better Homes & Garden cookbook. I'm also making a Moroccan Lentil Soup in case anyone doesn't want to do the chili. I love both personally.

I prechopped green pepper, onion and carrots yesterday, which made getting started on the soups today VERY easy. In fact, as of 10 am this morning they are done!

We purchased alcohol and beverages last night. I did find a rebate on the rum, but that was it. We very likely bought more than needed, but decided it would get used eventually, and it could make an excuse for another gathering!

I will buy salad ingredients today. I also think I will make the corn bread later today as well. I feel pretty good about getting ready for the party. I also think one of the wives wants to come over early in case I need help. I will let her. I can have her help me get food into containers and put plates and cups out. And it will be fun! If she doesn't end up coming, it will be no big deal. Smile

I will do my kitchen floor cleaning first thing in the morning. It will needed it after all my baking and food prep.

I did complete a Pinecone survey a day or two ago. The credit to my account has been redeemed for cash.

What is your favorite soup to eat or make?

Irritated with Army

September 24th, 2014 at 06:34 am

I can see my husband's pay stub for next week. He was promoted as of September 1, yet they have not yet changed his pay. I changed withholding for us online, that change was made. I requested online to send $500 to our new US Bank account. That change was handled, and just did that two days ago.

I realize I can't go in and change the pay for him like the other two things. Someone is NOT doing their job, and that irritates me!!

I gave a heads up to my husband, so hopefully he can get the situation moving along. I know he will get paid his new pay as of September 1, but WHEN is the question. If corrected for the next check, Oct 15, it will include all the back pay up to that point. I won't know the true check amount we can expect until Nov 1 at the earliest. I can estimate it of course, but I do like to know the specifics, like all number nerds do. Smile

How long have you had to wait for a promotion to be reflected on your paycheck?

Discover Checking and Credit Card Offer

September 23rd, 2014 at 05:10 pm

I opened a Discover Cashback Checking account today. I thought I may have missed the cutoff for the $50 offer, as the mailer stated the deadline was September 15. When I logged on to the offer, it was available!

I did need to make a minimum opening deposit of $25. That is the only requirement other than being a Discover credit card holder. The $50 bonus will be credited by December 12, but possibly sooner.

I was thinking it was too bad my husband doesn't have his Discover card, as I could have had him open the account too. Oh, well.

I do have the ability to refer people to the Discover credit card, not the checking account. You would earn $50 for opening the account and making your first purchase, and I would also earn $50. I do need your email address to send you the personalized invite. If you leave it in the comments, I will delete it as soon as I send the invite. I will not keep your email address or use it for any other purpose. Only open credit cards if you can pay for all purchases in full before you are charged interest. It's the only way to use them!

Do you have a Discover credit card or checking account? Have you been using the card for 5% cash back this past quarter?

Entertaining

September 22nd, 2014 at 05:08 pm

We are entertaining my husband's coworkers and family members this weekend to celebrate his promotion. We don't entertain much, although I'd really like to do it more often.

We are keeping it casual by making a lentil soup, and chili with toppings. I will make corn and beer bread, in addition to a lettuce salad. I probably make some chocolate chip bars, too.

There will be alcohol, which is likely the biggest expense. I also need to have a few snack items if the party goes late. And since there may be children as young as two, I will whip up a cheese pizza or macaroni. I have apples and carrots that can be cut up to add to those options as well.

I purchased the paper goods last week. I think I will get most of the alcohol and ingredients tomorrow for the food. I will hold off on the lettuce and some of the vegetables until Thursday. Ice will need to be purchased just before the party. I think I will put my husband on that duty!

I'm looking forward to the socializing! I'm not as excited about spending the money. Smile

Snowflake Updates

September 22nd, 2014 at 07:14 am

I sent in some snowflakes to the mortgage this morning. I used $18.24 in Amazon gift cards obtained from Southwest rewards and Bing/Swagbucks. I also had a $3 payment from Pinecone and earned $5 using the Ibotta coupon app. This means we now have $26.24 less mortgage debt!! I like less debt.

So far for the month of September, we have accumulated $182.20 worth of snowflakes which all have been sent in to the mortgage.

I did skip an extra mortgage principal payment this month equal to $275. I used it to pay off some charges on credit cards. Charges that are not costing us interest, but would if I didn't use that money. I'm still ahead of schedule on my mortgage goal, so that is what helped sway my decision to use the money on the purchases versus the mortgage. And I didn't really want to pull from savings! I like my savings intact.

Where are you getting your extra funds (snowflakes) this month? How much have you accumulated.

Spending Again...

September 21st, 2014 at 09:04 am

It feels like we are in that spending mode again. We had two marching band activities this weekend to attend. One was out of town, so their was fuel involved. We spent $12 for admission to one, and $15 to the other. Five dollars was spent on concessions.
My parents met us at one and then took us to lunch afterwards.

Last night my husband and I attended a party at a coworkers home. We bought Subway sandwiches for our girls since there is nearly nothing in the house! We also picked up our own beer to bring. We did have a really good time so it was worth it.

Prior to the weekend, I picked up paper goods at Target for a party we are having at our home for my husband's promotion. I will buy food and drinks later in the week. That part will add up, but I'm excited to have a social event at our home.

I also did some clearance sale shopping at Kohl's and Target last week. I got a very large bag of organic potting soil for $2 at Target, which I used some of to plant 2 $2 pots of mums. I bought some lanterns for decoration that were all marked down, two may go back if we don't use them next week. I'm also returning a hair product. However, I'm keeping the $3 shirt from Kohl's, the slippers for a Christmas gift ($5), an Eddie Bauer wallet ($6) for a birthday gift, and a lotion set as a Christmas gift($4). There were a few other things bought at really low prices, that will definitely get used. I'm not always the best clearance shopper, but I seemed to find just the right items at the right prices. I did use my 20% coupon to get the items reduced even more than they were marked. And now they have sent me another $10 coupon...so I may sneak up there and see if there is anything else worth putting a couple dollars into.

I'm looking at two flutes online for my youngest daughter. One is used and around $800 and another is $1200. The more expensive one is barely used and would save us over $300 from buying brand new. One ends today, so we should decide if we are really want that one or not.

Have you bought anything on clearance recently? What was the best deal you got?

NOT Considering a Puppy

September 19th, 2014 at 05:20 am

Updated: We are not getting the puppy referenced in my post. I did more research and agree with those of you posting that a Jack Russell is not the dog for us with cats. Thanks for responding!

Our family is considering getting a puppy. A female Jack Russell. We are visiting it on Saturday! It is a little daunting since as a family we have not owned a dog, only two cats. My husband and I each had a dog growing up.

I now need to read up on how to introduce a puppy to cats and have them get along. I read about them needing to be crated or on leash in the house until we(the pack leader) can control the dog and teach it to not chase the cats.

What else should we know? Share anything or point me to a book that would be helpful.

(In other news, I got another $20 reward from Ooma for referring someone to their services. At this point, I'm making money on my home phone!)

Certificate Is Established

September 18th, 2014 at 05:54 am

We finally got our CD with Navy Federal CU established. It seemed like it took forever to get the account established, and the money transferred. It was very quick to fill out the request yesterday and it was established within a very short time after that.

The certificate is for 1 year at 5% interest. The maximum amount was $5000. I'd have put more in if I could. This is savings that has been in our money market account. I noticed when I moved the money that we had not had any withdrawals from the account since December 2011. So tying the money into a CD for a year will not be an issue.

What is the highest interest rate you are currently earning on your cash?

Example of How Credit Cards Get Complicated

September 17th, 2014 at 10:25 am

I know there are many, many examples of credit card problems. This one is minor really. I'm just annoyed with myself for forgetting the rules!

I had a Southwest Rapids Rewards credit card that I opened for 55,000 bonus points. I did receive them after spending $2000. I redeemed the first $350 worth of gift cards right away. I was undecided about the rest, so I left the points. However, I proceeded to cancel the card to get the annual fee of $99 refunded. That did happened with no issues.

The problem is I can't get to my rewards, although I can log on, and redeem them without being a card member! Ack. Why did I forget that piece of information?

I have plans to apply for their lower grade card which has a $69 fee when the next promotion comes out, so this is not a total loss. I will make sure to redeem in full before I cancel again.

I was going to redeem 20,000 points for $200 worth of Lowe's gift cards...so we can start looking a refrigerators. This may just be the sign that we need to wait on that purchase.

Don't play with credit cards if you want simple and easy. They aren't simple and easy! It does take tracking and understanding of the rules!

Anyone know when the next Southwest Rapids Rewards offer might come out? I do have quite a few things I could charge. Smile