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Random Money Thoughts

January 21st, 2020 at 03:25 pm

I have not been good at focusing on much of anything lately, including getting a blog post together. So this is all just random.

I paid our youngest daughter's tuition and housing bill. I had saved $500 a month for the last five months to pay the tuition out of pocket. I used her ESA to pay $5700 to pay for room and board. No loans for her yet!

Our oldest daughter's tuition and housing bill is at about $9,294. She is only taking six credits to finish up this May with her two degrees. I have $6,170 in our account towards that and I believe her loan and a couple small scholarships total $3471. So we will have nearly $300 left. I will likely give this to her at graduation to put towards the loans. No point in doing it earlier, as the loans are subsidized interest.

We got a utility refund for being under the average. That was $27.30. This program is likely going away at least in the short term while they do a military housing wide evaluation, due to complaints. I can see the next refund will be larger at $32.11 and appears to be pending now. I save this money towards our Big Goal.

I redeemed credit card rewards recently. Amex $67.30 and Chase Freedom $3.82, and US Bank $13.00. It all adds up!

I earned an Amazon gift card ($25) from Swagbucks since January 1. I earned $506 in gift cards in 2019. Many of which I think I failed to count towards our Big Goal.

I have kept my eye out of for some Christmas cards on clearance and finally found a box of 14 cards by Papyrus for 90% off. I paid just $1.89 at the local exchange store. This is the only Christmas item I was in need of.

This weekend I went to Dollar Tree and bought 9 cards for $6. 8 were 2 for $1. The valentine card my husband picked out for me was $1. This is a win, as he probably would have ended up elsewhere for a card and paid $7! I also bought some of those foil containers with a lid for food. I put a meal in the set of three for a neighbor who is recovering from surgery. Great deal so they won't have to worry about returning dishes.

I did decide to keep YNAB for now. It is a time saver as far as reconciling accounts, and helps me keep good records of our spending and savings. That will be charged to our account today for $75.59. I have looked at other options but will say they don't quite add up to what YNAB can do.

I think I mentioned this once but my husband raise for the year (not the likely upcoming promotion), is going to end up covering our oldest daughters insurance premium. It sort of doesn't feel like a raise when you don't feel like you get to decide what to do with it. But in reality I'm grateful the money came at the right time for the additional expense and didn't have reduce our savings.

It's going to be a busy year. Lots of travel for my husband. Our oldest daughter will graduate in May (with unknown plans after). Will she move elsewhere? What job will she get? She just seems very focused on finishing up. We will travel to her town for graduation. I just made a hotel reservation and probably am lucky I found something at a reasonable price at this late date!

Our youngest has talked about study abroad for this summer, but I'm insistent that any classes she does take must count for her major or minor. So far, we may be striking out. While the experience would be great, it doesn't make sense to pay for a class that doesn't count.

My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary just after Christmas this year. They have talked about wanting to take a trip with my family and my sisters family on a trip. We have said we will definitely go, but we have no idea where or what the trip may cost.

That potential trip has me wanting to sock away more money in 2020! I mentioned before the year end that some are looking to save $2,020 and I'm thinking of adding that to my savings plans to help with this trip. Hopefully in my next blog post I can try to have it flushed out where I will find this money! I think I just have to make it happen like a bill ($2,020/24 pay periods is $84.17 or $168.34 a month).

Thanks for listening to my brain dump! I didn't even mention taxes...I will save that for another time, too.

7 Responses to “Random Money Thoughts”

  1. LifeBalance Says:

    You're doing great at managing two sets of college expenses at once.

    My next blog entry will be on our HIGH utility bill. What sorts of things are you doing to keep yours low?

    The trip with your parents is worth whatever you need to do. Enjoy this time that they can still travel.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    LB, or should I call you Jenn? Thanks for the props. I'm amazed sometimes how it has worked out. What a blessing to have given them. My parents are super healthy and on a two week road trip right now in the SW. I do look forward to celebrating with them.

    I think our biggest way to save on electricity is simply not to over cool or overheat the house. We also turn the heat down at night because we like it cool, but during the summer we lower it at night since we sleep upstairs, but at that time of year it is warmer upstairs, so we set it too keep that area too cool. I tried not using the heat setting on the dishwasher or air drying clothes and it honestly didn't make much difference. I think the appliances are pretty efficient. It's worth trying though.

  3. LifeBalance Says:

    Either name is fine! I notice that it is defaulting one way or another depending upon the device I'm using to comment.

    February is historically our most expensive utilities month so I might try all the suggestions just to see if it makes a difference.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Great! Another thought is that film on windows. This base housing has huge windows though, so not easy to put up. The reason we get money back is we tend to use less energy than families in the same size unit. I think just because it's usually just the two of us we are likely using less energy that a family with kids home more often, less laundry, less heating of water.

  5. My English Castle Says:

    CCF: Your daughter might check for course equivalencies if she wanted to do study abroad. We usually require a short page that shows how the course abroad satisfies the same goals as a required class. Their Study Abroad office and instructors could likely help with that. And you know how I feel about study abroad!

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Just want to say that's a great price on Papyrus cards!

  7. rob62521 Says:

    That is terrific about your parents being married for 50 years. I'm sure the trip with them would be worth whatever it might cost.

    Good deal on Papyrus cards. I read they are closing stores in Chicago. Also great deal on the foil pans for the neighbor's food. you are very thoughtful!

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