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Archive for March, 2019

Eat it All in April

March 28th, 2019 at 01:43 pm

My husband will be traveling next week. So I have a plan, just as I did earlier this year to eat up what we have in the fridge, freezer and cupboard. I have yet to decide exactly what my meals will be as we have several days until he leaves.

To be honest we don't have a lot in fridge or pantry. We really don't stock up ever. But as you know, if you buy a bag of rice you often don't eat it in one meal. So then you have a partial bag of rice.

My first goal will be to focus on using any perishables from the refrigerator. My second goal will be to use some things from the freezer. I know there is a lentil soup in there. I also have the equivalent of a can of kidney beans and some peas. The final goal would be to incorporate any items from the pantry. I have two small boxes of raisins, so I'd really like to make broccoli salad, but that would definitely require buying broccoli.

I'll report in next week and let you know how it's going. I figure I'll save some money buy limiting my grocery purchases for a week. Do you have food you could use up and sustain you for a few days before you go to the store again?

Random Money Updates

March 27th, 2019 at 08:57 am

Spring break with the girls was wonderful! We had a good balance of relaxing, which they really needed and getting out to explore some things. We did several free things and had dinner out twice, so we easily spent under $150 for those kinds of things. Our grocery bill went up slightly, but that's to be expected.

I found a quarter out back in the alley when I was talking to a neighbor. I love finding cash on the ground!

I'm working on my next $25 Amazon or Paypal redemption with Swagbucks. I really just try to complete the To Do List on the left hand side of the home page. I try the surveys, but I'm not always successful, so as to not waste any more time, I do skip that one. I think Rose asked in another post about how to do it. I would suggest following Swagbucks Swaggernauts on FB for tips and pointers. There is definitely a learning curve. I have found a free malware extension on my computer helps with the junk that can come from using the site.

We received our $10 Visa rebate card in the mail from NAPA for the battery we purchased a couple months back. I plan to use it out shopping. I will then add $10 cash to the Big Goal.

I've redeemed some credit card cash back rewards and will update with a total for March when I report how much progress we made on our Big Goal this month.

We need to already be thinking about airline tickets for May! We will likely go back to the Midwest to help move our daughter's out and help our oldest daughter buy her first car. She is likely going to be staying back there this summer to take a class and get a job or internship. Lots of activity around here and spending.

I have three items I need to sell. Two should be able to go on eBay and the other should go up on a local sales page. I rarely do eBay any more since my main motivation was usually to sell outgrown clothes and toys. I saw a YouTube video the other day though that reminded me of how it is possible to buy items at garage sales and resell them for more. Something I might try and see if it keeps me interested. Clearly more work than finding items in my house!

Please excuse my random thoughts!

Home Inventory

March 25th, 2019 at 11:46 am

We have renter's insurance and have ever since we started renting. It is very expensive in our new location. I'm not sure now if we changed our coverages significantly. Our policy covers $50,000 replacement coverage. I think this is plenty as we are very pared down with our things compared to most people. I'm starting to question if it would be worth my time to actually inventory all of our belongings. The policy we have now also includes $100,000 personal liability coverage, with $5000 in medical payments. I'm wondering if our old policy even included this. I guess I need to go looking to see! Not sure if personal liability is worth having, as it appears to be nearly doubling our premium, which is $1,051 per year with a $1000 deductible. I did notice it includes flood insurance (which now that I have seen how easily that can happens is a very good thing).

Have you ever done a home inventory and included the replacement costs to figure your coverage needs? Any tips? If you didn't do an inventory, how did you decide on the amount to cover?

I know it seems like I should be savvy on this, but honestly, insurance has always been the last financial thing I tend to consider. We have always had auto and home/renter's. We have life and medical, but I'm no expert.

I'm currently reaching out to an agent to see if they can do better than our auto and renters policies with USAA. We have heard over the years that many insurance companies cannot compete with USAA. Although I do have one friend who did switch from USAA and found a much cheaper premium elsewhere on auto and home. So there is some hope.

Donating To Those Affected By Major Flooding

March 22nd, 2019 at 03:34 pm

It's so sad. The flooding happening in the Midwest. I have friends and family there. One friend did have water in their unfinished basement, but she says it is no big issue. They did have to evacuate for one night. However, a niece has two coworkers who lost their home. They are completely displaced and lost everything. My niece is fundraising for them, so we decided to donate to her friends and will also send in a donation to the Red Cross, which is our charity of choice usually since they are a neutral, independent and impartial organization that can help respond quickly in crisis situations.

It was quite disappointing to the people of those states that news coverage started so late on this. People think that these flyover states don't matter, but these are the people that supply the beef and corn (among many, many other products) that go into other products in our food supply and the grain used to put ethanol in our fuel. This will affect you financially is some way.

Please pray for those affected by the flooding.

Cash In, Cash Out

March 17th, 2019 at 06:36 am

The tax refund did arrive as expected. It is currently in our savings account marked as Big Goal money!! I decided to act like it didn't exist in some ways. We were never expecting a refund, so spending it didn't exactly seem right. If we need an additional $1900 we can take it from our other savings or cash flow it.

I earned enough Swagbucks to redeem for a $25 Amazon gift card. I used it to buy cabin and engine filters for our two vehicles. Those arrived yesterday.

We learned this past week that the University our older daughter goes to overestimated her VA benefits for the semester. Once they received actual payment, they notified us we owe $595 by April 12. Our plan is to use her ESA to pay this. Her benefits were lower this semester, so this was the plan all along, we just know the amount we need to take out now.

Our girls arrive here today to spend their spring break with us. My husband took the week off, so we can do some more exploring of our new town with them. This likely means some meals out and money spent on entertainment.

I learned recently that American Express waives their annual fees for active duty military. I haven't taken action on that as I think we only have one card of theirs with an annual fee. This may give us an opportunity to use some of their other cards with higher annual fees and better benefits. I have more looking to do on this. Anyone have experience with this? If so which card do you use? Yes, we use credit cards, but do not carry a balance, nor pay any interest. Credit cards a financial tool that can be beneficial if used wisely.

Tax Refund Arrives Tomorrow

March 5th, 2019 at 07:58 am

Tax refund is pending in our second checking account right now. Somewhere I saw that it would arrive March 12. It's arrival is about a week sooner than I expected.

I really, really want to add this to the Big Goal. And I probably can, but then just back it out later if needed.

Another part of me thinks I should put it towards college tuition expenses since the refund can be directly attributed to taking the American Opportunity Tax credit.

I also know that I could send it various places too.

I think I'm conflicted about where to allocate it because of some bigger outflows happening right now. Spent over $800 on plane tickets for our daughters to come home for spring break. We need to pay the VA for the overpayment they sent the University (and University sent to us). I think there is something else too.

Once I work through my emotions and review our budget in YNAB a bit more, I think I can eventually make a decision. It's been several years since we had a refund and I wasn't expecting one...so I wasn't making plans on what to do with it!

I'll be back to let you know once I decide for sure!

February Big Goal Progress

March 2nd, 2019 at 06:23 am

In January, I wrote that I would try to update our Big Goal progress each month. I nearly forgot until I went looking for our interest earned in January because I needed it for my previous post. We'll see if I can remember all year long!

$350.00 ($175 from each paycheck, two per month)
_$66.71 American Express CC Rewards
_$48.94 Discover Cash Back
_$51.06 FNBO Interest Earned
$113.87 NFCU Interest Earned
__$0.01 USAA Interest
__$5.00 Class Action Rebate
_$25.00 Swagbucks
__$6.00 Pinecone Surveys
$200.00 Fuel Savings*

_$866.59 February Big Goal Total
$1,576.04 2019 YTD

$62,311.59 Previous Big Goal Balance
$63,178.18 New Big Goal Balance

31.59% of $200,000 Goal

*I'm calling this fuel savings as we are not using nearly as much fuel in our vehicles while living on base. In our last place we could easily have spent $200 more per month.

February Interest Earned

March 2nd, 2019 at 05:56 am

February was the first full month that our 3.25% CD was in effect. The interest earned is reflected in the total.

FNBO $51.06
NFCU $113.87
Total $164.93

To compare, in January we earned $147.20. Higher interest rates do make a difference!

All interest earned is added to our Big Goal.