Home > Archive: December, 2014

Archive for December, 2014

Ending the Year

December 31st, 2014 at 08:00 pm

2014 has been a great year. We were and are all well. We got to visit with family and friends numerous times. Financially, we continued to invest and pay down debt. Again, a very good year!

Today, the last day of the year, I managed to close my Discover Checking account. I got the bonus, I don't need it any more. I also emailed Chase to close my husband's Chase Freedom account. We haven't used that in months and don't expect to. Most importantly, I paid the bills!

I packed away some of the Christmas decorations. Before I put the items that were out back in the bins, I made sure to pull out the few things that did not get put out this year so that could be donated. I even went as far as pulling some glitter star ornaments that I was given several years back OFF the tree so I could donate them. Every year when they come out, I hesitate about putting them on, but then we do anyway. This time they are going BEFORE the next Christmas.

I made sure to get to Goodwill today to drop off my final bag of donations for the year. I got my receipt, although I likely won't qualify to take the deduction. That is okay. I'm more excited about less stuff!!

I also made the final grocery shopping trip for the year. I was able to go about three days longer than planned because of all the leftovers from Christmas. We had half a pumpkin pie that I finally had to toss today. It has been a week in the fridge, and I decided it was too late to freeze. And since we weren't interested in eating it it was time to go.

We will stay in to celebrate New Year's Eve and Day as a family. We will play board and card games tonight. Maybe a movie. We will eat lots of snack type foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits! Tomorrow I hope we can all do a little work to put away our Christmas trees. I also secretly hope to get my husband to go through some papers that I think can be recycled or shredded. He does know about them, so it won't be a big surprise.

After the New Year, I hope to write more about our finances in 2014 and our goals going forward. I just haven't had time to think about all of those yet!

Are there certain tasks that you do at the end or beginning of each year? How will you celebrate New Years?

Happy New Year Saving Advice!

2014 Snowflake Totals

December 30th, 2014 at 09:50 pm

December was a pretty lucrative month for snowflakes/found money, since I finally was able to get US Bank to credit my account for the $200 bonus they offered us to open a checking account. Rebates were helpful too! The one from USSA was nearly $70. Snowflakes for December accumulated to $441.43, so it was a great month for snowflakes.

Here's where December's snowflakes hailed from:

*****Designates where the snowflakes stopped going to mortgage payoff.

Really it was a super, super year for snowflakes. The best one yet! And we made them all count, by sending all but the last several to our mortgage to help pay down our balance. Less debt by snowflakes!!

Are you ready for the final tally? For 2014, our accumulated snowflakes (found money) came to $5,218.60!! The goal was $4,000, so we far exceeded the goal. So very thankful and happy to have made it this far. I didn't have much doubt, but it is nice to know we made it!

To see my Google spreadsheet of all snowflakes for 2014, you can click

Text is here. and Link is
here. It's just way to big to post here.

I plan to track snowflakes again in 2015! I have yet to make a goal, but I will. Do you want to join in and track your found money next year? I'm definitely up for some competition!

Southwest Companion Pass Earned

December 29th, 2014 at 03:39 pm

Wow! I guess signing up and earning over 100,000 Southwest Rapids Rewards points gets you a free Companion Pass. I actually earned mine this year only by signing up for two different Southwest Cards this year for their 50K bonus offers. I didn't fly once!

I plan to keep this Southwest card (Plus version) open at least for 2015. I paid for the annual fee, and expect with a move somewhere we might actually need to fly to see our college bound daughter. The Companion Pass will help quite a bit!

I'm not year clear on when I need to designate my Companion. I hope I can wait until the first trip. It will likely be my husband, but could also be my youngest daughter.

Do you have a Companion Pass with Southwest or another airline?

Nearly An Even Gift Swap

December 29th, 2014 at 04:03 am

Remember that group gift I wrote about for my mother in law? In the end we were to all give her $70. We mailed a check. As far as I know, it all went fine.

Because we didn't attend my husband's family's Christmas gathering, my mother in law sent us a check...for $80! She bought a small gift for my husband which I know cost $11 and was in with the check. Her check indicated the $80 was for me and my two daughters. Huh? Okay, she is nearly 80 years old so maybe what she wrote wasn't what she meant. In the end we deposited the check and split the money between our two daughters. I did make the suggestion to my husband that the four of us split it with $20 each or just use it for something fun together. He liked the idea of the girls getting the money, so that is what we did.

So nearly even gifts! Checks crossing in the mail. Thoughtful huh? It's all good really. Just weird!

Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2014 at 03:01 pm

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to my SA friends and readers! I hope you all take some time off from thinking about money and enjoy time with family or friends. The time spent enjoying others company can't be bought and it one of life's true gifts.

I also encourage you to consider attempting a no spend week or low spend week as we wrap up the year. This means avoiding those clearance sales after Christmas. Unless you need the item, it probably isn't worth it. The only thing I would actually buy after the holiday is the sturdy kind of wrapping paper since I ran out this year.

I'm making a grocery trip today for the last items we need for our holiday meal and hosting of family. I will guess I will go one more time before the year ends, too. Otherwise, I'm staying out of the stores for the rest of the year!

Next week, after our guests have left, I plan to write some posts about the success of our financial year and the goals for 2015. I always like reading those from others, so join in, yes even those of you who are lurking out there. Blogging about your finances can be very motivating!

Again, Merry Christmas!

Housing Allowance Increasing

December 23rd, 2014 at 04:01 am

The military pays us an allowance (tax free money) that we can use towards housing. The news is that the military is getting an average of 0.5% increase. Clearly we are above average with an increase in our allowance of 11.3%! That is $183 increase. We don't have to use our full allowance for housing if we don't choose to. Currently, we have a mortgage on the home we live in. Our current payment is $1,311, increasing to $1355 because of increased taxes. With our new housing allowance at $1800 per month, we are well under the allowance.

It is very tempting to put that extra money towards the mortgage, but more than likely I will just save it for the move coming up in 2015. Yes, we have already started down that road...ranking our preferences based on the jobs available. I really want to stay in our current state, but the odds are against that I think.

Once the holiday and celebrations have past I will be working hard on figuring out our new paycheck amount and goals. One thing I need to figure out is how much as a percentage to send to retirement. It is probably time to increase it again with the raise in salary and housing allowance.

Anyone else out there in the military? Did you get a bigger than average increase in your BAH for 2015?

Completely Random

December 21st, 2014 at 04:28 am

I just saw a television ad for a credit union in our city offering a mortgage loan for 10 years. They call it a Ten and Done loan. It seems there are likely plenty of credit unions offering something similar.

When I saw it I about $20K per year if we were to stay in this house and need to pay off our loan in that same period of time. Considering we just paid off nearly $14K without too much effort, it isn't out of the realm to pay off nearly $20K each year for the next 10.

The only hiccup is we are moving this summer. The best option would be to live on an Army post, if that is where assigned, and not have any housing debt. Or pick a home with a smaller mortgage. It will be interesting to see what happens!

If you have a mortgage, could you pay it off in 10 years? Do you want to?

Oops! Low On Gifts

December 19th, 2014 at 01:34 pm

My youngest daughter asked me a couple days ago if it was too late to ask for a Wii game for Christmas. I said it might be. I was pretty sure I was done with all my shopping.

Quite a few of her gifts, primarily T shirts, were still to arrive in the mail. Yesterday, the last package arrived. And then I began wondering if I had semi equivalent gifts for my girls. I made a list of what I had and what I spent. I even had to open some gifts I had already wrapped! It turns out I had spent $175 on my oldest and $110 on my youngest. I budget for about $150 each. I was within budget, but a little off on the equality.

In the end I found two Wii games for about $15 each. One at Target. And the other on eBay that should arrive on Wednesday.

I think she will be pleased with a couple of new games. And I'm glad it came up so I could reevaluate what she was getting.

Today I will wrap and rewrap the gifts I opened! I did end up needing to buy a roll of wrapping paper. I used up all the leftover wrapping we had left.

Other money tidbits: I did get the $200 bonus from US Bank, my PayPal money from Swagbucks arrived quickly, I tried my Bing reward code again and it worked!

Have you realized at the last minute you were low on gifts for a child?

I've been writing over at

Text is Your Organized Friend and Link is
Your Organized Friend this past month about holiday preparations and making lists. Please come check it out, and don't forget you can sign up for updates by email. I don't get or see that information, so you are anonymous!

Nearly A Wash

December 18th, 2014 at 02:56 am

We had new brakes installed on my van today. I thought we were getting new pads on the rear, and then thought my husband said both front and back. In the end we just got front end brakes! Cost about $197.

I did get a call from US Bank's Customer Care today confirming I was eligible for the $200 reward. It was not credited automatically from their end because my account did not have the promotion code on it. They do know I was offered the promotion and I had offered the code in my original email. In the end I will be credited the reward by the end of business tomorrow!

The brake cost is offset by the reward! Basically a wash. I like it when that happens. Smile

Our youngest cat seems to have a UTI. It's not confirmed, but you can all guess the problems with that. The vet was not in his office, and our cat was in for a similar issue soon after we moved. They prescribed an antibiotic for the next 7 days. If not better by then she will go in for a recheck, otherwise at least another seven days of antibiotics after that. Cash out the door today was just over $20.

I took a Pinecone survey today. Another $3 coming my way soon. I also redeemed Bing Rewards for a Swag code this morning. It was sent pretty quickly but when I went to enter it in on the Swagbucks site it shows as invalid!! I did sent a help request to Bing about it. Hopefully it is fixed fast!

Money Snipets

December 16th, 2014 at 02:10 pm

I redeemed Swagbucks yesterday for $25 in Paypal cash. I guess that could be considered a help to cash I'm sending my mother in law for Christmas.

We are giving the flute teacher a gift of a $10 Panera gift card (earned through MyPoints), a lotion bought on clearance last year, and a few candies. Last lessons of the year today!

I found a penny on my basement floor and a nickel in a parking lot yesterday. It does help to look down to find such things!

I was notified by Citi about their Price Rewind program that pays you back if they find a lower price. This got me to think about our flute purchase we made last month. I haven't found a lower price, but I came across a rebate! It is $50, so I filled it out and put in the mail this morning. I remember seeing it at the store, but the employees made no mention that the one we bought qualified. I also didn't think to ask, just glad I came upon it now!

The tires and flute purchased in the last couple months are being carried on two different zero interest credit cards right now. We do have the cash to pay, but I've been waiting for the cash flow from the raise to catch up and help. With payday yesterday the tires are paid off after a $708 payment! I paid $307 towards the flute.

I completed our 52 Week Savings Challenge at the beginning of December. I had been stashing that money in our Capital One 360 Savings account. Most that money has been used to pay for my daughter's band trip this spring. I ended up with an extra $423 in the account, which I'm going to use to pay towards the flute. After I apply that payment later this week, we will owe just $806.

I have made sure to set aside some cash in our checking account to pay for the $250 admission fee to the University my is choosing to attend. I also set aside the balance we will owe for senior pictures, $210. Both of these will be charged on a credit card for points, but it is nice to have the money set aside to pay for them when due.

I did end up return a few items bought for potential gifts. I returned a pair of slippers, a spa kit, a makeup kit and two pairs of men's socks (one had hot dogs on them!). I did keep the four rugs after realizing I paid less than $1.25 each. I'll probably use one myself! Or two!! The returns netted me just under $20, but I consider it less clutter and offset for three pairs of slippers (of a different kind) that I bought for friends that will need to be mailed.

Lots of money activity here! Have you found any money? Have you returned anything you purchased recently? Have you redeemed any Swagbucks or MyPoints?

The Group Gift Revisited

December 15th, 2014 at 02:53 pm

I mentioned the group gift my husband's siblings are getting my mother in law in another post. Things have changed. The item was to be a media console that looks like a fireplace and is a heater. The picture I was shown and price given initially was $250. Although there are seven siblings total, only five are participating. So that would be around $50 each.

The youngest sibling showed the picture to my mother in law who said it wasn't big enough. There were not enough spaces for her dvd player and cable boxes. Another sibling went looking for other options and found a $400 one. It was decided to ask my husband's mom again if this one would work. It turns out she wants the money so she can shop for one herself.

The question then was how much money the group should give her. In the end it was decided we would give $350 as a group. We had all been willing to put in nearly $90 a piece. This new amount would be $70 each. Of course, this is still above the original $50 we thought we were going in on!

We usually spend $35-40 on my mother in law, so we are spending nearly double our budgeted amount. This comes down to a reason I don't like group gifts. They don't turn out like you expect them to.

Now, I'm not mad at how it turned out. But it does confirm my desire not to participate in the future. I'm not really thrilled that my mother in law requested a large gift and then changed it to cash. I do think she will buy the item and I would guess she will like it. It is so different from my parents who could care less if they get a gift and often tell us we don't need to get them anything. My mother in law is on a fixed income, and usually we get her a bottle of wine, nice soaps or lotions and some quarters for her condo washing machine. Quite a difference, huh?

The other unfortunate outcome of the gift discussion was one sister getting mad at a brother when he was upset about all the group texting. The brother's wife even indicated they had limited texting. The sister was trying to get everyone's advice and do us all a favor in doing the shopping. She felt shut down by their responses. We were later asked to contact the brother to tell them our decision on the gift. This was fine with us and easy in the end because he didn't answer his phone and so we left a message. Just yucky communication between some family members for something that should be enjoyable.

We won't be visiting this side of the family this year, so in the end we are just going to write a check and send a card to my mother in law. It feels a little odd, but if she is happy that will be the most important thing.

Do you think we should have handled the group gift differently? What do you think of someone asking for a gift than changing it to cash?

Waiting for $200

December 14th, 2014 at 04:21 pm

I opened a joint checking account with US Bank back in September to earn a $200 bonus. We easily met the requirements over a month ago, which was a direct deposit of $500 each month. I emailed once and didn't get a all.

I decided to try once more before I went to the branch. What can I say, I'd rather deal with things online! Luckily this time someone responded. They confirmed I was offered the bonus promotion, based on the number I had given them and signed up with. The email indicated they could confirm I met the requirement. The next step was for them to forward it to their Customer Care Unit, which will further review the account. I should expect a credit or at least email response in 2-3 business days.

I hope the wait is nearly over. I haven't been impressed with the ability to connect with the bank online that is for sure. Otherwise, we have had no issues with our transactions and so forth. I expect to keep this bank account at least through the move next year, since it can be helpful to have a local bank branch during a home sale transaction.

Did anyone else get a US Bank Checking account offer? Was your promotion applied timely?

Huge Shopping Trip Today

December 13th, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I made my husband go with me to Target today. I had a 20% off our entire shopping trip coupon that I earned last week. I needed him to help me because I knew I would be buying more than one cart worth of stuff. And that is really hard to handle with the crowds less than two weeks before Christmas.

I made a list of items I knew we needed, which included toilet paper, trash bags, toothpaste and other household items. I then added current groceries from my meal plan through Friday. I also added food items I knew we would eat before the end of the year. A turkey, bread, cheeses, crackers, candies, marshmallows, ect. I also added a few items such as batteries, a pizza pan, a placemat to match the ones we already have, and several stocking stuffers.

I even bought a second Christmas tree! I didn't really think we would get one, but after a coupon and 20% off it was under $40 for a seven foot tree. It will likely be our first themed tree and will help make our basement more festive. The theme is still yet to be determined. I think I will make it a surprise for my girls. Maybe...not sure yet.

The bill before our discounts and coupons was $473! It is rare that I spend more than $150 at the store in one given trip. We did buy some alcohol which was not discounted, but in the end after the coupons, 20% off and our 5% red card discount we paid $351.58! My receipt says we saved $157.64, which I assume figures in the savings from items already on reduce or on sale before the discounts at the register.

Am I thrilled about spending $350 in one trip? Not really, but we got so much stuff for that money. I'm also thinking this will save me quite a few trips in the coming days before the holiday. I know I will need to go back for a few perishables and more dinners at some point, but we are stocked up well now! I am happy that I may not need to go out to the store for awhile!

Did anyone get the 20% off coupon at Target last week? Did you also use it to stock up and buy gifts? Does anyone have a themed Christmas tree? What is the theme you have or would have if you did?

Returning Gifts Before Gifted

December 13th, 2014 at 06:14 pm

I found some great items on clearance earlier this fall that I thought I could give as gifts. Most of these were from Kohl's. I have one makeup kit, a spa gift set, a pair of slippers, a wallet, four small rugs, and two bottles of nail polish. I think I probably got all of that for around $30. I may actually return most of it!

Why might I return? Does anyone really want a rug for Christmas? Just an odd gift that doesn't make sense now. The make up kit was going to be for a niece, but now I need to mail something, so want something lighter and less bulky. the slippers were going to be for my mom (sister mentioned she already bought some), the spa kit was going to be for one of the adult females on my husband's side (now no longer exchanging). I may give the wallet to my husband. The nail polish will still get included in the original planned gift. I may have $20-$25 worth of items to return!

Today, I went to use a $10 JC Penney Reward and one of their $10 off $25 coupons. Unfortunately my purchases didn't come up high enough to allow me to use both. I spent $20 with tax for four items, but three of them were kind of last minute gifts that would need to be mailed. So thinking I could buy all of these items and spend $15, really will mean spending nearly $30 once I factor in shipping. Now I need to decide whether to keep the gifts and be okay with the money spent, or return the last minute gifts and only spend about $5.50 for the one item I really wanted to get.

Do you ever find yourself returning gifts before you give them? What prompts you to return before giving?

DONE: Mortgage Goal Met!!

December 10th, 2014 at 11:13 pm

I was just notified by USAA that we should expect our annual subscriber distribution tomorrow. It will be $69.19. I don't know why I look forward to this expected, but not always promised source of funds.

USAA also reimbursed us for ATM fees last month in the amount of $6.45. There was also a whopping $0.03 of interest.

When I add those snowflakes/extra funds to a recent rebate received ($8), Pinecone survey payments ($9), and a used up $5 Target gift card, I have more than enough cash to make the final extra payment on the mortgage for the year.

This means we have met the goal!! Our mortgage balance will be just under $X15,000 after I make a payment of $97.67 tomorrow.

I'm so excited to have met the goal I set out to reach at the beginning of the year. It always seemed possible, but there was definitely work involved. It paid off!

All snowflakes we accumulate through the end of the year will be applied to our savings account. We spent nearly $3K recently on tires, brakes, new timing belt and a flute. That money came from savings. It is time to pay ourselves back. I will still track the snowflakes until year end for a grand total number.

Later this month, I will flush out new goals for 2015. I'm sure some goal will include the need to track snowflakes! Smile

Did you think we would do it? Are you surprised or not?

Rebate Check

December 10th, 2014 at 01:27 am

I received one of the two outstanding rebate checks in the mail today. It was for $8. I deposited it on my mobile phone while I was waiting for my daughter. I also ripped up more than half the mail and piled it into one envelope for recycling. Easier to have the mail head straight there than make a pile!

There is another $18 rebate I sent in, but I would guess I won't see that one until January. It would be nice to see it before year end, so I could apply it to the mortgage.

I had to make a mini store run this evening because I was out of yeast to make pizza dough. I had enough for one crust, or two thin crusts which the girls don't really like because they are to crunchy. While I was getting the yeast, I picked up three microwave meals for my husbands lunch this week. I figured this would keep him from eating out or driving 30 minutes round trip to come home for lunch (although I do like to see him).

I thought about wandering around the store to find stocking stuffers, but decided that would take too long and likely end up in more spending. I need to have a plan for what to buy for stocking stuffers first!

Have you received any rebates this year? Does anyone know of a source for yeast in larger quantities than the basic little jar? Do you plan stocking stuffers or just wing those?

Just $97.36 to Go

December 7th, 2014 at 03:29 pm

We are getting so close to meeting the goal of getting our mortgage paid down to $X15,000. I just made a principal payment of $53.88, which was from one eBay sale and $25 worth of Target gift earned and used for groceries.

We now only have $97.36 to go meet the goal. I know it will happen. There are lots of sources that will come to fruition before the end of the year that will be applied to the goal.

As you go to make your goals for next year, think big! Stretch your goals and then make a plan to make them happen. The journey this year to accumulate found money/snowflakes is just proof you can find money in all sorts of places to help you meet your goals.

When I was making the goal for 2014, I knew some debt would be eliminated just by making our regular payment. I figured out where that would put us without any extra cash. I then subtracted my $4K snowflake goal. After that I looked at what extra income I could apply. I know some of it was from my husband's raise last year. Based on all of that information, I was able to come up with end goal of where I wanted our mortgage balance to be at year end.

Tracking and reporting where we were on the goal each month was helpful to know that we were on track or if we were behind. If we were behind, it often motivated me to look for more cash offers, list something on eBay, or work a little harder to earn some gift cards with Bing and Swagbucks. Everything little thing added up to get us to the goal.

So, again make your goal BIG. Stretch yourself to make it happen. I will say one goal is usually easier to work on than multiple goals. So if you don't have an emergency fund established that might be the perfect place to start. If there is that one credit card or loan hanging over your shoulder, then make a plan to pay it off or way way down. You won't regret it! And as always, I will cheer you on!

Do you have a big goal you accomplished this year? Do you have a big goal for next year?

More Snowflakes

December 6th, 2014 at 03:00 pm

It's nearly too warm here for real snowflakes. But I have done three Pinecone surveys in the last two days, so another $9 will be on its way to the mortgage shortly.

I'm planning to do my Super Target grocery run today. I will use up $25 worth of earned gift cards while I'm there and will consider these snowflakes/extra money as well to send to the mortgage.

We used our Amex cards last week on Small Business Saturday. Our credits have posted. It seemed to take longer than I remembered from last year. One of the places we went was a Botanical Garden. Admission was $10 each, we each purchased two admissions, expecting $10 back on each of our cards. Turns out I was only charged $10 rather than $20, a mistake at the museum that I didn't catch. So together they charged us $30, but with the two $10 Amex credits we only paid $10 to get in. Nice!

It does always amaze me the deals you can find this time of year. I have a $10 Reward from JC Penney. I need to just purchase over $10 worth of items, so I'm sure I could pick up something in the store for nearly free! Although, I do need to remember that I received the reward because we spent nearly $100 there recently on clothing. But even so, there seem to be coupons and offers all over the place that can really reduce the amount spent out of pocket.

Did you get your American Express Small Business credits? Do you have any extra money coming to you? Or a reward that could get you something for nearly zero out of pocket?

Group Gifts...What do you think?

December 5th, 2014 at 01:55 pm

I'm not really a fan of group gifts. My husband has six siblings and they have often gone in together for a large gift for their mom. It is nearly always something she wants, or someone says she wants. I've seen her reaction and she does always seem pleased.

Part of the problem is that some of the siblings can't afford to pay their share of the gift, or even participate. So the group gift becomes a smaller group and a larger burden financially. That has resulted in us opting out of this plan for many years, it seemed to put an end to it for awhile.

This year the group gift has come up again. I think we are actually going to participate. My mother in law wants, according to my husband, a glorified space heater. It's actually a media console for under her flat screen tv that looks like a fireplace mantel and will actually electrically heat up. It's about $250 at Walmart. Our share is likely to be at least $50, maybe more depending on how many people are going in on it.

I think I'm willing this year to participate since we do have the cash, she does want it, and we may not actually be at Christmas this year. (Does that make it a guilt gift?!) It's easier to mail a check then purchase gifts and mail them. So it will be more than the $30 I usually spend, it will be easier and make her happy.

Do you participate in group gifts? Do you avoid them?

Nearly A No Spend Day

December 4th, 2014 at 03:20 am

Today was a no spend day for me! No store shopping, no online shopping. It was nearly a no spend say for my husband, since he bought two sodas on his way home. I'm glad I can report that at least one day in the month of December I didn't spend any money.

My daughter reminded me of her Secret Santa party in about 10 days. The girls are exchanging gifts with each other. They each drew a name. When my daughter asked the dollar limit for gifts, she was told by one girl it was $25!!!! No, we will not be spending that much. We may get a gift worth that, but I sure hope not to spend more than $15.

I expect we will shop for the gift this weekend, while we are out grocery shopping. I just today made my list for groceries based on the meal plan I made last week for the first 15 days of December. I usually make a meal list one week at a time. I'm enjoying making meal plans for longer periods of time. Maybe eventually, I will just make a plan for the month rather than just week by week!

Do you participate in gift giving at work or with friends? Do you have a dollar limit? How often do plan your meals?

Nearly A No Spend Day

December 4th, 2014 at 03:12 am

I personally didn't spend a dime today. No online shopping either! However, my husband came home with two sodas after his workout. I just wanted to make note there was at least one day in December that I didn't spend money!

I completed a gift I needed to sew today. The project was a doll blanket and pillow for my foster niece. I did spend money on fabric, bias tape and matching thread. I had some of the fabric, so that helped a little.

I have my meal plan ready through December 15. Today I made a grocery list for the remaining items that I will purchase on Saturday. I will check for sales, and coupons before heading out.

My daughter reminded me of her Secret Santa party in about 10 days. She will need a gift. When she asked about a dollar limit, someone responded with $25!!!! Um, no we will not be spending that much. Maybe $15 or something worth that, but less out of pocket for sure. I hope we can gift the gift this weekend while we pick up other things. I sure don't want to be out shopping at the last minute.

Do you participate in a Secret Santa or work gifts? Is there a limit? What is it? Did you expect to have any no spend days this month?


December 2nd, 2014 at 02:32 pm

I made two sales yesterday! One was for a book I listed on back in August. I made $1.19. The other was an item I had listed on eBay. I think the profit on that is just under $30.

That money will go to the mortgage of course. I realized an extra payment I made to the mortgage didn't get applied correctly, well it didn't get applied at all! I must not have checked the principal box. I sent an email to have it corrected.

I hope to get at least two items listed on eBay today. I want more cash to put toward the final mortgage goal!

Have you sold anything recently? Do you have plans to sell anything before the end of the year?

November Mortgage Update

December 1st, 2014 at 06:11 pm

The goal for 2014 has been to pay down $13,993 in principal on our mortgage (our only debt). In November we were able to knock off $738.02 from that balance. The principal portion of our regular payment was $477.48, extra found money (snowflakes) totaled $156.82 and the remaining amount, $103.72 was extra we chose to add to our regular payment to help meet the goal.

We have now paid off $13,218.25 of our 2014 goal. We have just $774.75 left to pay to meet the goal. I expect the principal portion to be about $480. Our regular payment will also include an extra principal payment of $103.72 sent in at the same time. This leaves approximately $191.03 left to meet goal.

I already have a $40 payment to make towards that goal, so that means another $151.03 left to figure out. We have the cash to meet the goal if needed, but I'd like to find some snowflakes to round out the final amount. I expect this will not be too hard as I was able to accumulate that much in November!

Did you have a debt pay off goal this year? Are you close to meeting your goal? Will you make a goal for next year?

November Snowflakes (Extra Money)

December 1st, 2014 at 05:53 pm

The month of November was relatively slow for extra money at least in comparison of other months this year. And I'm not going to complain either. An extra $156.82 is definitely a good thing!

Here is where the money came from:

The two highest sources were from my Discover Checking account bonus and a few eBay sales. After that it was the travel money my husband received that was in excess of his expenses. It seems that never happens.

The goal this year was to earn $4000 in extra income from various sources. I did exceed that goal a little while ago. As of the end of November, I have accumulated $4,777.17. (I like all those 7's! Smile ) All of that money has been sent to our mortgage to pay down the principal. I had a goal for that this year, too. I will update that in my next post. We are getting extremely close!

Did you keep track of your snowflakes/extra money this year? How much did you accumulate? What did you do with your extra funds?

Lands' End Offer

December 1st, 2014 at 01:55 pm

I happen to be a fan of Lands' End T shirts, the ones that are a little fitted, but keep their shape because they have some stretch to them. I have a black one I've had for several years that has become VERY stretched out. I can't bring myself to pay full price at $25.50 a t shirt. But today they had 40% off and free shipping. I bought three and paid $15.30 each. I really do wear these for years on end, so a very good deal.

I remembered to use

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Ebates so I should get another 8% cash back and I used my Discover card for 5% back because it was an online purchase.

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Lands' End gave me a
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referral link that gives a deal if you make a purchase using my link. Details should be on the site after you click the link. Even if that deal doesn't work, they are having 40% off regular prices today with free shipping.

Happy Shopping! I hope you find the Cyber Monday deals you need and want. Do you like Lands' End products? Have you been using Ebates for your online shopping?