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Christmas Gifts, Dungeons and Dragons, Insurance and More

November 7th, 2019 at 01:00 pm

I've purchased several Christmas gifts this week. I have bought two items each for our daughter's. I also made a photo book for my husband through SnapFish. It is full of pictures of him and our daughter's. I originally planned to do the photo book for Father's Day but I didn't stay motivated and focused. I finally made the effort and got it done. It will be delivered by next Saturday and I paid $27 with shipping.

Our youngest daughter is starting to play Dungeons and Dragons with some new university friends. Does anyone have experience and point me to a book or something that might be helpful as she learns the game? I thought it would make a great Christmas gift.

Our renters and auto insurance payment made it on to our credit card yesterday. I do have the full amount saved, $2,616. I recalculated how much I need to save monthly in order to have enough to pay future bills and the registrations on all three cars and came up with $366. I had increased our savings after we got our daughter's car in May, but didn't quite start it soon enough, so I had to play catch up this last month. I'm primarily posting this for my own record.

With Veteran's Day coming up, the stores are offering all sorts of discounts. Amazon is offering their Prime Membership to military affiliated individuals for $79, which is $40 off the regular price. We actually just renewed in September, but I went ahead and took advantage of the offer. This extends our membership until September 2021.

I think we will do some clothes shopping this weekend for a few needed items we need and want before the holidays. We will attempt to take advantage of some discounts, but at the same time not spend too much money!

Same. A Few Snowflakes and A Large Bill.

October 17th, 2019 at 07:31 am

I also haven't felt as compelled to write here, although I don't think it is directly related to the recent hack. I'm starting to focus on other areas rather than financial as the year comes to a close.

I have had a couple small eBay sales, with the one yesterday resulting in me under charging for shipping. I must not have weighed correctly or at all. I still made a couple dollars, but it was a bit disappointing as I had accepted a lower offer. All is good though, less things in my home!

There was a capital credit for $8.99 that we received from an electric company from two homes ago. Glad I updated our address so we could receive it.

Our electric bill has been under the average so sometime in the next month we will get a refund of $60+. It's been a few months since we received on, and I can't remember how long it takes the money to arrive.

Our insurance for all of the three cars we own plus the outrageous renter's insurance for this location is going to be charged to our card at the beginning of November. The charge is over $2,600. Luckily I had $1900 already saved, but I think I had not adjusted quick enough when we added our daughter's car in May. I add more, but I'm still a bit short, but will get it all adjusted and paid by the credit card due date. It just feels like so much money it makes me sick and is probably one of the top two reasons, I'm ready to move as soon as possible. And yes, I have done some checking on lower rates to no avail. There are a few other places to check, but I don't feel hopeful so I keep putting it off.

So that is what is going on from a financial sense. Keep moving forward right?!

Stocking Up At Boxed

October 3rd, 2019 at 03:58 pm

I really don't stock up on things when I shop. Occasionally, if I see a really good deal, I will pick up extras. I guess I just like to know that I am only spending what I need, and not any more, and not any less.

This time of year I often stock up on personal care items and household goods to cut down on the need to keep up on having these things on hand during the busyness of the holidays.

I already bought the Halloween candy that we will hand out when Target had a 40% off Cartwheel offer last week. It's in the freezer and I haven't been tempted once!

Today, I bought quite a few things at the commissary. Toilet paper, tissues, Vitamin C, bar soap, dishwasher detergent, trash bags, dish soap, Bar Keepers Friend, toothpaste, laundry detergent, hair mousse, shaving cream and toilet bowl cleaner. The commissary has pretty good deals on these things, as general prices are 30% less than retail. I was able to use coupons which took $10.75 off the total! I spent $74.32.

I also went online and stocked up on even more toilet paper with

Text is Boxed.com and Link is https://www.boxed.com/invite/QV6LX
Boxed.com. I was motivated by a $15 off $75 purchase if I used my American Express card. In addition to toilet paper (64 rolls), I picked up 5 sticks of deodorant for my husband, and liquid hand soap refill. I added on a six count package of those small tissue packs (stocking stuffer) to get my total with tax just over the $75 mark at $75.97. The
Text is Boxed link and Link is https://www.boxed.com/invite/QV6LX
Boxed link above will give you $15 off your first $60 order, if interested. Or check your American Express card for their current offers.

It's a big outlay of cash, but it feels good to stock up and know that I don't have to add in these extras to the grocery list to an otherwise spendy and busy season!

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!

Dreaming Big

February 14th, 2019 at 09:40 am

I've mentioned before that we are living on a military installation for the first time ever. One of the pros this time around was how much we would save on fuel for our vehicles with his commute being 4 minutes rather than 40 minutes. I'm trying to convince him to ride his bike to work, but so far a no go! He would rather buy a motorcycle if he was going to do that. Ha, ha,

We expect to save at least $200 a month. I'm still testing it. I'm purposely not budgeting $200 each pay period to see if that money is really extra due to the fuel savings. So far things seem promising, but this time of year tends to be low in all costs for us, so it's not entirely clear. And yes, $200 per pay period is $400 a month, which would be the higher end of fuel costs.

I guess I find it a bit of a game by holding that money out of the budget, not categorizing it in YNAB. Not sure it make sense to anyone but me.

I received a $5 settlement from some class action lawsuit, Olive oil I think. I like getting those in the mail. Always a surprise when they come to fruition! I've funneled that to our Big Goal, since small amounts add up.

"Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Clause. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will?" - Jon Bon Jovi

Yes, I'm a big fan of Bon Jovi...probably tells you when I grew up. Fault me, I'm living on a prayer!

January Big Goal Additions

February 2nd, 2019 at 07:15 am

I'm going to try to post about the amount we added to our Big Goal each month, with a year to date total as well. This will help me a year end know the final tally. I do a pretty good job in YNAB marking what we add, but this will help reinforce and be a backup to that information.

$108.00 1/1 paycheck
$175.00 1/15 paycheck
_$10.00 2 Hulu $5 credit offers Amex
__$1.89 Starbucks Amex offer
__$2.91 Cell phone bill Amex offer
_$50.90 Amex Rewards
_$81.13 NFCU Interest
_$66.07 FNBO Direct Interest
__$0.06 USAA Interest
$213.50 Extra contribution

$709.45 January Total Big Goal
$709.45 2019 YTD

$61,602.14 Previous Big Goal Balance
$62,311.59 New Big Goal Balance

31.15% of $200,000 Goal

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

January Interest Earned and Savings

February 1st, 2019 at 07:33 am

In January we earned a nice amount of interest on our savings. We always save all interest, even when we were paying on debt. Although back then our interest earned was piddly!

$66.07 FNBO Direct
$81.13 Navy Federal CU
$147.20 Total interest earned

In December our total was $118.73. We have increased our monthly interest by $28.47 because we moved a large amount of cash from one bank earning 2.15% to a CD at the other bank earning 3.2%. At about $150/month, we are on schedule to save $1,800 in interest this year.

We did a great job with extra savings this month. We only spent $31 on fuel for our vehicles. I think we both need to fill up soon! We saved toward the Big Goal as planned, but also since we were under budget we have added $545.05 to our emergency fund.

I've decided for 2019, continue the Big Goal saving with $350 a month ($175 each paycheck), add in credit card rewards and other snowflake money and interest earned. Any extra we save is going to our emergency fund. I think there are some expense we will incur in 2019 that are hard to anticipate the amount, so any extra cash saved will be helpful. I'd rather money from those come from what we have stashed and marked as EF money, than from our BIg Goal money.

Here's to a great year of saving!

Throwing Some Food Out

January 20th, 2019 at 10:41 am

The challenge this past week was to eat as much from the pantry, fridge and freezer as possible. In other words, not to buy more food before I ate what we had. I did really well. There wasn't physically anyway to actually eat it all, so as a result I have had to toss some food.

I didn't grocery shop until Friday night in order to buy more eggs and sausage for the rice mix. Because I buy organic eggs, I spent about $9.

I tossed out about a cup of cooked rice just now. It didn't go bad, but going forward I'm reducing most processed carbs. I'm also going to toss out the last bit of spaghetti sauce. Oh, and I had to toss the lunch meat as it was turning bad several days after the expiration.

I did eat up the following:
rice dinner mix
micro popcorn
pistachios
provolone cheese
salsa
eggs (husband helped)
apples
cucumbers
turkey crumbles (husband ate)
canned navy beans

I still have several slices of bread in the freezer, the sweet potato fries, dried cranberries, sour cream, 3 veggie burgers, 1/4c tomato sauce, dry kidney beans, and some corn chips.

I'm very happy with the progress, but honestly some of those items are not doing my body any favors and I may have to throw those out as well. Going forward we are going to focus on eating low carb vegetables and avoid all the processed carbs that our daughter's still can eat!

How is your low spend month or frugal month going? Have you been able to rein in your spending?

More Food Used Up

January 17th, 2019 at 07:20 am

I'm making great progress using up the food, or just using what I have on hand. I ate the rest of my Barley Potato soup yesterday. I had it with a salad at lunch and with a sandwich at dinner.

I have used up these items:
Spinach
Red onion
Tomato
Cucumber
2 slices of cheese
Grape juice
2 slices of bread
2 tangerines
Cheerios
Chocolate chips
Pistachios

Today, I will likely eat a sandwich for lunch with an apple and cucumber slices. I think I will make rice and eat that with the navy beans and salsa for dinner and probably lunch tomorrow.

My husband returns home tomorrow. We will have the rice mix for dinner, but we already talked about wanting to add a protein to it, so I will go to the commissary to buy that. We can eat eggs with cheese and turkey crumbles for breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning. I will propose sandwiches for lunch, with carrots and dressing. Although there could be leftovers from Friday night, too. And finally, I think I can make Pepperoni pizza for dinner on Saturday night, which should provide leftovers for Sunday lunch. At that point we will need to go to the store!!

I guess it's time to make a meal plan, so I can make a grocery list for Sunday's shopping. I will still have a couple things in the pantry and freezer that I can incorporate into the meal plan, so I will have fewer things to buy.

In addition to Uber Frugal Month, I've been inspired to eat from what we have on hand and be mindful of using things up because of the government shutdown. We have families living right by us that are not getting a paycheck. The community has rallied around them to provide food, formula, baby food, diapers, wipes and gas gift cards. I am a big believer in an emergency fund of course, but it's not wrong to help out our fellow humans in their time of need.

Using Up the Food Progress

January 15th, 2019 at 09:33 am

Here's what I ate yesterday. I think I was a little snacky, so no judgements, please. Smile

1 cup of cereal with milk
2 Cinnamon muffins (this used up the milk and 1 egg)
2 tangerines
Leftover taco meat
2 tomato slices
(ate the two above with cheddar cheese and tostitos)
2 servings of Barley potato soup
The soup used up the potatoes, garlic, celery, chicken broth, the yellow onion, and two carrots)
1 slice of provolone cheese
1 serving of grape juice (I use in my water for flavor)
1 lemon (use in my water)

Today, I ate:
1 cup of cereal with almond milk
Spinach salad (used up red onion, half a cucumber and 1/3 of a tomato)
1 veggie burger
1 slice provolone cheese

I expect to eat more of the Barley Potato soup for dinner, likely with another salad like I ate for lunch today. I'm sure another snack will be eaten as well.

It has only been over 24 hours since I have embarked on my use it all up quest, but I feel good about my plan and progress so far.

Text is Here's the Barley & Potato Soup Receipe and Link is https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/barley-potato-soup-48475
Here's the Barley & Potato Soup Receipe that I modified slightly, mostly the seasonings.