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Archive for March, 2015

Zero Bank Balances!

March 31st, 2015 at 07:30 am

Pay should be pending in our bank account this morning, but the entire banking portion of our bank is down! It's really not fun to see no money when you log into your bank. Thank goodness there was notification at the top of the page or I would be in a panic!

I'm about to send off our $638 we owe to the IRS. I saved up each week since the beginning of January to accumulate the cash. I'm glad I did because it makes it so much easier to write that check. The will clear up $105 each paycheck going forward.

I ordered another part for our dishwasher since over time it doesn't seem the first part worked. It is a motor assembly this time, so more expensive, but less than having a repair man out to do it, plus the part would be inflated. I'll be doing this one all by myself, but I've already taken it apart once and put back together. I was checking to see if something was stuck in there causing the noise. If this part doesn't work, I can return it at my expense. If doesn't work, I honestly don't know what else it could be...there really isn't much to a dishwasher and I've taken the whole thing apart! I ordered the part yesterday and it should be here today...and that was with their basic shipping charge of $6.95.

I also have a handyman coming over to look at my roof. I found to shingles on the driveway yesterday and can see one still on the roof that isn't attached. It had been pretty windy the day prior. He expects it to cost right at $100. Money well spent likely. Super glad he can come today as we are expecting a lot of rain tomorrow night!

Pictures for our listing will be taken tomorrow afternoon. I really have put nearly everything away. A few landscape pictures remain, but I have take down decor to make it just seem as neutral as possible. I think it will help it show well in the pictures. I did tell the girls they could get somethings back out after pictures if needed or wanted. And after we have an offer they can get more out to keep it like our home until we move.

How Old Is Your Car?

March 29th, 2015 at 05:56 am

I was reading an article today where there was mention of the age of the person's vehicle. A 2004. The article was trying to indicate how old that was. I thought well our are only a bit newer. We have two 2007s, which were both bought used. While my van is getting really close to 100,000 it still drives like new (at least I think so).

Our hope is to hold on to our vehicles at least until our girls get through college...which is another 7 years. So that may be pushing it, but it's a good goal I think.

How old is/are your vehicle(s)? How long do you hope to keep yours?

Our Recent Citi Charges

March 28th, 2015 at 09:05 am

I started the year with a balance of $686.27 on the Citi card and managed to get it down to $636.27 making minimum $25 payments in January and February. Then in March we started using the card as our primary and have added quite a bit of big expenses.

Two airline tickets $638.40
Eye glasses DD1 $354.00
Eye glasses DD2 $214.95

And lots of miscellaneous to the tune of at least $800. The current balance is $2,789.75. That is after making several payments totaling $905! I have plans on payday to pay DD2 glasses in full, $145 in snowflake money towards the original balance, plus another $785+ towards the miscellaneous. I may also pay the airline tickets out of savings...and eventually pay that back when we get our Dislocation allowance money from the government, which won't likely be until after the girls and I move.

So that card is a mess! It is a bit stressful too. It is the only card we are using, except for Discover until the end of March for 5% cash back on gas. The Citi card has 0%, but I think just until the end of June. I need to check on that!

I will get a handle on it, likely using some savings if needed. I won't let it accrue interest...because I hate that. Smile I'll update more once I actually get those payments made on Wednesday (payday).

Paid Off Wells Fargo Amex

March 27th, 2015 at 06:14 pm

I have paid off Wells Fargo Amex in full! The remaining balance was $44.58. All but $15 of that was from the beginning of the year. I used eBay and Raise gift card sales proceeds to pay off that portion. The other $15 just came from our regular income.

I do have 2488 reward points and expect 15 points to be added mid April for that $15 charge that posted after the last statement closed. Once I have a full 2500 points I will redeem for cash and then close the card. The closing is the most important part because if I don't, we will be charged $175 in an annual fee. I don't want that!

I also paid off the contacts I purchased a couple weeks ago. I did use money my daughter came back from her trip with and some 52 Week Savings money I had accumulated.

We have added quite a bit on our Citi Thank You card recently. All needs. I will update about that card, as well as payments I plan to make on payday. Smile

I Got a Raise

March 26th, 2015 at 07:06 pm

That's my clever title to tell you about the check I received from [url=https://www.raise.com/raise-rewards/MzoyNCAtMMjgxNDg4]Raise[/url] in the mail today for the Build a Bear gift card I sold last week. My net proceeds for a gift card that was worth $2.74, was $2.08. I requested the check since their PayPal option had a $5 minimum.

Our Discover Card statement closed recently. We earned $36.10, primarily as a result of the 5% cash back on gas! All that gas my husband used to travel east and was reimbursed for ended up getting us a little extra cash. A snowflake that will be applied to some of our Citi credit card debt. Smile

I expect to be able to make another large snowflake payment early next week! I can't wait.

The Plan to Sell

March 25th, 2015 at 04:19 pm

We are getting closer to selling our home. We had a talk with a realtor nearly a month ago. We decided to wait to commit to her, but as of this week we felt confident she was the right gal for us.

The plan is that we will have pictures taken right after Easter with the hope that the grass is greener. We will sign the listing agreement later that week and by early the following week (mid April) the home will be on the market! We would list right now, but we don't want to close until mid June at the earliest, and with our neighborhood being hot we don't want to put it out there too soon and then have it look stale just because of our closing date being farther out.

The realtor is going to start talking about our home and asked if we were willing to show it before we list. Ummm...yes! I'm ready to show it and happy we have a clear plan on where we are going from here.

Is anyone else, besides LAL, selling a home this year? Anyone buying?

Delay of Pay

March 25th, 2015 at 08:36 am

Hmmm...went to look at my husband's LES (Leave & Earnings Statement) for March with payment on April 1. And it's not there. I'm wondering if there is going to be a delay because of his change in location.

He will get paid...but now the question is when? I sent him an email to inquire. I guess I need to make a plan to use savings for the most important bills which for April 1 is just the mortgage.

Fun times...

Band Trip to Disney

March 24th, 2015 at 09:11 pm

My daughter's band trip to Orlando Florida is over. She returned with a smile on her face. It seems it was a really good time and I think she learned some things musically and socially.

I'm secretly thrilled that she returned with some of the cash I sent her with. She took $200 and came home with $121.84! She spent her $78+ on three souvenir pins (one given to her sister) plus water, snacks and a couple meals (most were included in the trip cost).

I can't really call the return of my money in this case a snowflake, but I will be putting it towards some recent costs, such as two new pairs of glasses (one for each of my daughter's) that were charged on a credit card.

In other news...we contacted the realtor we spoke to nearly a month ago to let her know we are ready to start moving forward. She and I are going to talk more tomorrow.

$80 Snowflake

March 23rd, 2015 at 07:41 am

I forgot about this one! I referred four people to Ooma the last time there was a promotion and I earned $20 for each of them. The credits were applied to one of my lesser used credit cards. In fact there was a zero balance on the card.

The plan to use up the credit is to apply our Internet, Ooma and Netflix bills to the card. The cash I would have used to pay it will used to pay off some of the Citibank balance I need to pay off. The balance on that is about $636.

I like it when I'm excited about something I knew about but forgot! Smile

Tuition and Housing Details

March 22nd, 2015 at 07:50 am

My last post was about the generous scholarships my daughter is getting for attending the university she has chosen. I thought I'd detail the costs a bit more.

Tuition for 15 credit hours, two semesters (this is a public institution)
In state $6,480
Out of state $20,400

Fees (same for both)
$1,690

Housing (required the first year)
$9,961

Total $32,051 (for out of state)

At this point she has $20,000 in scholarships for the first year! So we are paying fees and housing/food and of course books. Her current investments for education equal $24,606. So we have the money to cover those costs. She will eventually use some of my husband's Post 911 GI Bill benefits, which will cover two years in state tuition and housing. We will give the other two years of benefits to her sister.

We are definitely feeling very blessed knowing that our daughter has earned such great scholarships based on her hard work and talent, that our investments have helped take some of the financial burdens off the costs, and humbled by the offer of financial benefits for our children by the American people for the sacrifices we have made to protect this country. It's not a small thing and we appreciate it all.

My Daughter's Scholarships

March 21st, 2015 at 01:12 pm

My daughter is raking in the scholarships for her first year at the university. The best one she received is for four years totalling $56,000! This helps reduce the cost of the out of state tuition to just under in state tuition. Her 4.0 GPA and and high ACT score of 31 help qualify her for that one.

She is getting $500 from the Honors Program, and $1000 from an alumni assocation as a Leadership scholarship. Just today she received a letter in the mail from the art department offering $4500! The art department noted that her 'digital drawing skills show a sophistication that is unot usually evident so early on. The work shows a strength in print and graphic design.' How cool is that?!

At this point I think that leaves only $2100 for tuition plus room and board (which is just under $10K). I'm amazed and thrilled to say the least. Smile I'm not sure how the veterans benefits would work if she has all these scholarships...would we get a refund and just stock pile the money for another year. If not, I guess it would be better to just wait to claim those at another time. I will be checking on this.

She will be double majoring in Art and Music. Freshman can only receive one scholarship from one department. This means no music scholarship, but there could still be a department scholarship, which both art and music are a part of. If we switch her major to Music as primary then the art scholarship would not be possible. My daughter did feel that her art is probably more scholarship worthy than her music audition...although I know the professor seemed impressed and happy with how she did.

I'm kind of on cloud nine with all this money flowing in!! It helps some of the outflows happening lately not seem like a big deal.

eBay Sale and More

March 20th, 2015 at 07:41 am

I made another eBay sale. Item was $32.95, so my proceeds will be less than that. We also found a toy in my daughter bedroom to list online. I hope to make at least $10 on it. I might also have two skirts I could sell as well. I haven't decided on those yet though.

I took advantage of a couple Target offers this week that provided $5 gift cards. There is an offer to spend $20 on various health care type items, such as hair care, razor blades, lotion, sun care, soap, deodorant and more. Over two days I bought $40 worth of items, using $13.50 in coupons and received $15 in gift cards. In the end all the items cost me $21.50, and actually probaly even less since I used my Target Red card for the 5% off. I love it when deals, sales and coupons align!

My husband has been fully reimbursed for his portion of the move. We received one payment for the actual travel entitlements which amounted to $628.29. I used about $128 to reimburse cash taken out of our savings account, the remaining $500 went to cover some of the clothing purchased for my husband, gas for travel, and the one night in a hotel.

We received a second travel payment which was for moving some of our household goods. It was primarily all of his clothes and army equipment. It is a taxable payment and was reduced by 25% for withholding. The net amount was $365.90. I will also use this money to pay off some more money we have recently put on credit cards in the last couple weeks.

I feel better when money is flowing in!

Decluttering Pays

March 19th, 2015 at 07:35 am

We have spent a couple days of spring break decluttering my youngest daughter's room in preparation for our home sale and move. We moved here when she turned 12...literally moved in on her birthday. Unpacking boxes far enough to find items to bake cake! Smile She is now 14 going on 15. The things she uses has changed dramatically. She wasn't readay to part with some sentimental stuffed animals, but a few did leave. We found outgrown clothes, old dance costumes that wouldn't fit, lots of junk and trinkets that have no meaning to her any longer.

In the pile of stuff was a Build A Bear gift card with a balance of $2.74. She didn't even care about the money, but I thought snowflake! I listed it yesterday for sale on [url=https://www.raise.com/raise-rewards/MzoyNCAtMMjgxNDg4]Raise.com[/url] for $2.45. It already sold! I'm eligible for $2.08, which I request as a check since it was under the $5 minimum for PayPal and I didn't really want to add my checking account information. It was a great experience. I highly recommend!

In decluttering our basement earlier this year my husband let go of lot of old Army uniforms, boots and so forth. I sold a good majority of it on eBay probably netting about $270! See? Decluttering pays!!

If you want to see what I've been up to as far as decluttering and organizing don't forget to stop by my other blog [url=http://yourorganizedfriend.blogspot.com/]Your Organized Friend[/url].

Have you ever found anything while decluttering that 'paid' you money? Have you sold gift cards online?

Snowflakes Applied to Debt

March 18th, 2015 at 08:41 am

I'm currently working on paying off our Wells Fargo American Express card using snowflake money. The balance at the beginning of the year was $700 which I have been able to pay down to $185.29 using only extra funds.

Today I made a payment of $155.71 towards that original balance to bring the new balance to $29.58! All the money was accumulated from eBay sales, a $15 Pinecone reward, $25 from Swagbucks and a $25 gift card to Target that I used for some groceries (and applied what I would have spent to debt).

Now I have added some new charges to the card in the last couple of weeks in order to get enough reward points to cash out before we close the card. We had 2334 as of the last statement. I charged another $154, which I have paid in full today as well.

But then I realized I was $12/12 points short! I went online and bought $15 in Amazon gift cards. Clearly it is enough purchases to get the points, but I think the statement will close today. I wonder if the charge will process in time. If not, another entire month will go by before I can redeem those points and close the card. I will likely use the $25 worth of points to pay the last $25 on the account.

The mid May statement will likely have a charge for the $175 annual fee which I do not want to pay. The card will be closed before that date regardless of the rewards outcome. Smile

So now that I have nearly all the balance paid with rewards I will start working on the Citi card balance that is at 0%. That balance is at $636.27. It would be nice to have this paid off before we move in June. I may need to look for some more things to sell, since we are not opening any new credit cards until after the move.