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Archive for May, 2019

Snowflakes and More About Things that Save Money

May 31st, 2019 at 06:11 am

First, I sold a soundbar and subwoofer yesterday for $100. And I received $3 from Pinecone for a recent survey. I need to get it redeemed to my Paypal account. I have other items on eBay that I hope will sell soon.

I purchase the How to Save on Groceries e-course from Living on A Dime this morning with the last money in our budget. (We have money, but all that's left is allocated to future expenses or savings). It's on sale for $12.50 through today. I think they are eventually raising the prices much higher than the regular $25 later this summer. I probably know quite a bit of what they talk about, but I may have forgotten and let my habits change over the years. I'm hoping I can share some of it with my oldest daughter who is starting to watch her own grocery costs!

I watched another YouTuber this morning that talked about items that you purchased or invested in that save you money. This is somewhat related to not using disposables, but yet includes so much more. The programmable thermostat is an excellent example of controlling energy usage and usually saves people money. We do not have one in our rental, but I wish we did.

The one item that came to mind while watching the video is that I'm sure I have 'made' money with my sewing machine. I know I have made things that would have cost more at the store, as well as gifts for others. Now sewing something isn't always frugal depending on your time and the cost of the fabric. It's officially a hobby. Over a year ago I made probably 16 fabric key fobs for a neighbor to give as gifts. I charged her $7 or $8 each! I definitely made money on these as they are quick to put together and the fabric needs of a small item are minimal.

What items have you invested in that save you money in the long term?

Snowflakes

May 29th, 2019 at 06:12 am

I just transferred $92.50 from my Paypal account to our checking account. The money comes from various sources. I sold three of my daughter's art and music history books for $63.09 with Blue Rocket Books. I have a $7 payment from Rev and the rest is a few small eBay sales. The small amounts add up.

I'd love to save this money towards the big goal, but alas with a lot of money going out this summer, I will be putting the money towards those expenses.

Rev is a transcription company. I did the training and received the $7 mentioned above, but I think it's not going to be a good gig for me. So many of those audio files are super hard for me to hear. I'm sure I could do it, but the time it would take me is just about as bad as Swagbucks. But if you are good at that kind of thing, it might be worth looking into for a little snowflake money!

Reusable Vs Disposable

May 26th, 2019 at 06:06 am

My daughter has been using those disposable cotton round pads on her face for a couple years now. I saw she was going to need more soon, and wondered if there was a reusable option. Yes, yes there is! They are bamboo cotton rounds that come in a set of 16 along with a mesh laundry bag so they can be thrown in the wash.

They arrive in a couple days, so will be testing them out. My daughter likes the idea of not creating waste. I like the idea of saving money! These cost us $8.98 shipped from Amazon. A single pack of rounds is about $2.25-$2.50. We can sometimes find an off brand of three package for less than $6. And I would guess we are buying six single packs per year. So these will pay for themselves in the first year!

We use reusable water bottles, insulated coffee mugs, feminine products, sandwich bags, cleaning rags, and more.

I could buy less paper towels, although I probably buy two six packs per year. I would use rags instead if I did stop buying them. I would just need to create a system for having them in our kitchen and a place to put them before washing.

I could also find reusable swiffer pads. I know people make these and I think in the past I had just used a piece of flannel. It maybe didn't work quite as well as Swiffer brand though.

I should also buy a reusable coffee filter for our drip coffee pot. It looks like I could get one under $7. I think we buy filters three or four times a year for about a dollar, so it would take almost two years to pay for itself.

I do buy foil, saran wrap and gallon ziplock bags, but these are things that I avoid using if I have a container or other item that can work as an alternative. I also reuse our ziplock bags if they have had anything in them. The exception would be raw meat. I probably buy those items once a year, and some of those even less often.

If only I could stop buying plastic garbage bags! I could try to just use the plastic ones the grocery store gives out, but it feels like they would fill up very quickly and they don't really fit the garbage can well. Maybe an excuse, but if I was really wanting to avoid buying them, this would be my alternative. We probably use fewer garbage bags than many people simply because we recycle, use less processed/packaged food and less disposable items. I used to use reusable grocery bags all the time. I got out of the habit at some point. I think I would need to buy some. I do take the bags back to the store for recycling and use some of them to dispose of kitty litter.

So tell me about your reusables? Do you have some disposable items you could replace with reusable to save money long term? Maybe you thought of one that I don't yet have in place!

Buying New Clothing

May 25th, 2019 at 06:34 am

My youngest daughter is home for the summer! She needed shorts, because it is very hot here. We stopped by JC Penney yesterday where she found two pairs marked on sale for $14.99. I had a $10 off coupon for spending over $25. The final total with tax was $21.82. Very pleased with this amount. She won't be wearing them daily, as she still prefers jeans even in the heat, but at least when we are out for longer periods of time she will be cooler.

I'm going to have to buy new clothes very soon, as I have lost 13 pounds recently, and I am down thirty pounds since a year ago April. My shorts I was wearing yesterday still stay up and feel fine around the waist, but my husband said they look really baggy! I rarely buy clothes, and am a near minimalist when it comes to what I wear, so I won't need to replace a large amount. I am tempted to thrift store shop only because I expect that the size I am now is not where I will stay. I think I will sell some of my old clothes, the jeans and a dress for sure. The rest is probably only worth donating.

Some people keep their large sizes when they lose weight, but I'm almost positive I have found the right thing for me this time where I will be able to maintain. I'm not going to comment on what is working for me until I have reached my goal and maintained for some time. And honestly, weight loss and health are personal, we all have to find what works for us.

Phones, Soda and Gum

May 22nd, 2019 at 12:06 pm

We just purchased new cell phones for my husband and youngest daughter. They have both had major issues with their phones recently, which forced this purchase sooner than expected, but over two years since they were last purchased. They are getting Moto Z3 phones which are $10/month each for 24 months, 0% interest. I do plan to sell their old phones on eBay as is for parts. I should be able to get $40-60 for both of them combined.

My husband has been on a kick recently of buying two sodas and a pack of gum, three to four times a week. This is after he has been home for lunch. The cost each time is just over $4, or $12-16/week. I mentioned buying a six pack or more to keep at work, or even store at home to take with him after lunch. I also mentioned the lower cost of his gum to buy in bulk on Amazon. Today he reported that he bought a six pack of soda and 3 pack of gum and spent just $4. He was very proud of himself for making this change. Of course, I wish he didn't buy soda at all! I will celebrate the win.

How Much Do You Spend On Beverages?

May 17th, 2019 at 07:33 am

I was watching an older episode of Living On Dime on YouTube and they mentioned that most people spend at least a quarter, if not more, of their grocery bill on beverages at the grocery store. For example, people buy coffee, juices, milk, soda, tea, gatorade, bottled water and alcohol.

We currently only buy ground coffee, and unfortunately alcohol. I guess we did buy milk this last week since our youngest daughter is home and eating cereal for breakfast.

We have in the past bought all of the beverages I listed above, not necessarily all in one shopping trip, but some of them were on a more regular basis. The truth is we only need water to live on!

I personally have reduced, although not eliminated, my alcohol consumption. I only wish I could get my husband on board. We would save a nice amount if we both stopped drinking.

Have you thought of reducing your beverage purchases in order to save money on your grocery bill?

P.S. Remember when I said I was going to stop buying taco seasoning packets? I failed the last time I went to the store and picked one up...whoops! Old habits can be hard to break. I do have the recipe on my fridge so hopefully this go around I will remember NOT to buy.

Scholarships!

May 12th, 2019 at 08:12 am

Our oldest daughter was awarded some more scholarship money. Two scholarships, one worth $550 and another worth $950, for a total of $1500. The school will divide the money equally between the two semesters, so $750 off the total bill each semester.

The interesting thing is that she is getting these scholarships through a foundation that she now has an internship with. She needs to send her thank you notes to the same place she now works. I'm positive that her internship and the scholarships are not related, but just kind of neat to know she is benefitting two ways from this organization.

Always grateful for assistance with college expenses!

Money Flowing In

May 12th, 2019 at 08:05 am

There's money flowing out fast, but I'm going to focus on and share what is coming in.

$100 Anniversary gift
$25 Amazon gift card (earned from MyPoints)
$22.78 Olive oil class action
$336 Chase annual fee refund
$3 Pinecone survey
$14.04 Ebay Sales

$500.82 Total

The Amazon gift card went towards the purchase of an over the air antenna, since we are cancelling Hulu for the summer.

I am setting aside the $336 Chase refund towards our daughter's car registration. I have the tax amount set aside already, but I don't know the property tax/registration amount yet. If this is more than needed I may throw it back into the Big Savings Goal.

Everything else currently is going to go to the Big Savings Goal.

I did send off three textbooks for cash. I expect to receive $63 for those in the next week or so. I will probably put these funds into the College Expense category. I also put one book on eBay and I have other things I need to list soon, too.

Do you have non wage cash flowing in?

The Car Purchase

May 12th, 2019 at 07:44 am

Our trip back to the midwest was to help our oldest daughter move and purchase a used car. We ended up with a 2011 Subaru Forester with just over 100K miles.

We did put $6,000 down on the $11,400 purchase. The rest was financed over three years. The original interest rate at the dealership was 8.49%, which I balked at. They said it was because our daughter had no credit score (which is true). On Tuesday they called and said they found a lower rate of 5.74%! Wow, what a difference. We may still refinance this if we can. It's been years since we financed or bought a car, and honestly, we were a bit rusty with the process. There are probably things we could have done differently, such as check with USAA for a loan, but I remember I looked and dismissed it, but now I don't know why. It is what it is at this point.

We really like the car. Drove fantastic! Super clean engine. Nearly new tires. All wheel drive for winter driving should be helpful too. If it can last as long as the loan that will be a good thing!

The payment will be $133/mo, which once our daughter starts getting paid from her internship, she should be able to pay. She is a bit overwhelmed with the expenses of living on her own and mad that she can't save!! But that is yet to be seen. Hopefully, she will adjust well once she sees the paychecks. I think it's all a bit abstract right now to her. Of course, I will help her through the process.

Her insurance policy is about $450 every six months. We will cover that while she is still in school, which is now another expense we have added to our budget.

April Big Savings Goal Progress

May 12th, 2019 at 07:26 am

Here's last months contribution towards our Big Savings Goal. I think the next few months will be slower as we have other expenses we are managing that are taking away from the progress. If we can maintain this amount or similar I will be pleased.

We had a refund of Chase credit card annual fees ($349.15) due to SCRA being applied to some of our accounts. I would have liked to have saved this for our Big Savings Goal, but with upcoming summer college costs and assisting our daughter with a car we have backed off putting ALL the extras towards this goal. This is a big frustrating for me as I have really enjoyed the progress and focus, but I realize this is just temporary.

$350.00 ($175 from each paycheck, two per month)
___$7.64 Discover Cashback
_$10.00 NAPA rebate
___$9.41 US Bank Cashback
_$66.66 FNBO Interest Earned
$118.78 NFCU Interest Earned
___$5.46 USAA Interest and ATM rebates
___$3.00 Amazon Gift card (Swagbucks)
___$6.73 Ebay Sale

$577.68 April Big Goal Total
$4,768.90 2019 YTD

$67,369.40 Previous big goal Balance
$67,947.08 New big goal Balance

33.97% of $200,000 goal

April Interest

May 1st, 2019 at 01:45 pm

More interest earned in the month of April. This money is added to our Big Savings Goal which I hope to report on tomorrow.

FNBO $66.66
NFCU $118.78
Total $185.44

Thankful for compound interest!! If you don't know what that is, look it up, it's fascinating!