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The Government Billed Us

February 22nd, 2019 at 12:21 pm

We finally received a bill from the government. Not many people say that! We were aware of and notified of VA overpayment of tuition benefits in early December because our daughter added then dropped a one hour class last semester. The school was overpaid, and they refunded us some money in October or November. So now the government is asking us for the cash to the tune of $487.

We are going to pay it at the beginning of March. I do have a little problem with the amount. My guess is it is right, but I am just not clear on how they figured the amount of the overpayment. It is not equal to what the school refunded us, which was around $400. I'll probably send an email to the school to see if they can explain. I think getting an answer from them would be faster!

I earned $3 for doing a Pinecone Survey. I found a penny on the ground when I went to the store. I've actually found quite a few coins on my walks here!

I've arranged for our cat to be boarded while we are on a three night trip in March. She will spend five nights at the kennel for a total of $75. They provide food and litter. I wish I didn't have to do board here, but our housing won't let us leave a pet overnight even if someone is watching her. She sleeps a lot anyway, so she will be fine!

It's about time to make flight reservations for our daughter's to come here for their spring breaks. More money out, but we will look forward to seeing them and doing some more exploring of our new town.

I've been watching Living on A Dime on YouTube. I've watched some of their videos before, but it had been awhile. Jill, the mother, has a series on the channel called Penny Pinching Mama, that explains her life when she was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how she lived on $500 a month with two kids in late 1980s. She still only lives on $750 for social security. They are fantastic example of how people really can make it on low income. They don't deny that it's hard, but that it can be done! The are very conservative with what they use. Anyone else seen these ladies on YouTube?

Undebt It

December 10th, 2018 at 03:03 pm

As you all know we do not have any debt. No mortgage debt either as we move frequently with the military and have found it make sense to rent for the time being.

I came across a site that is free and allows you to track your way out of debt. I'd try it myself and review it for you, but again zero debt to track. I do see it links to YNAB! And it has a 52 Week Savings Option.

If you have goals to pay off debt in 2019, you might want to check out this free tracking option. I'm sure many of us here would love to watch your journey and hear how you like Undebt It.

You can find the online tracking tool [url=https://undebt.it/how-undebt.it-works.php]here.[/url]

Life with zero debt is worth the effort!

$3,500 In Debt

October 30th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Moving is expensive!

We didn't have to put a deposit down on this townhome on base and rent is paid in arrears, but despite those positives, we have $3,498.26 in expenses charged on our credit cards! Hotels, fuel, restaurants, and extra needs to purchase after move (such as toilet brushes, cleaners, ect) add up fast!

Some of those charges are for our regular bills, such as Verizon, Hulu, Netflix and things we just needed because you know life has expenses, too.

I'm looking forward to payday on Thursday and eventually receiving our deposit from the rental home, and all of our moving entitlements. I'm not sure exactly when we will receive the latter payments, but likely in the next three weeks.

Technically, I do have the funds in our accounts that I could pay those credit cards in full and likely will pay many of them on pay day. I will float some of the money until we receive our reimbursements.

Cancelled Another Credit Card

November 28th, 2016 at 05:48 am

I cancelled another credit card last night. It was my Citi Thank You Preferred card. I've had it for awhile, and noticed we had added new cards and were using those more. Why keep extra cards if they are never used, right?

I simply sent a message through our account requesting the cancellation. I had a super quick response and when I logged back on the account had been closed. Easy!

The next step is to record in my notes that I cancelled the card and cut the cards up. I kind of like the finality of cutting up a card. I also moved the card account on YNAB to the closed account list. Smile

We still have TEN credit cards open. Want to know what they are? Sure you do!

Target Red Card (5% off Target purchases)
US Bank Visa (5% off cell phone bill)
Chase Freedom (rotating 5% cash back categories)
Kohl's (various discounts)
Discover (rotating 5% cash back categories)
Southwest Visa (miles to fly on Southwest)
USAA (1% cash back)
American Express Blue Cash Everyday (various cash back, plus 3% grocery stores, 2% gas stations) (we have two of these)
Marriott Rewards Visa (hotel rewards)

I'm considering getting rid of Chase Freedom, although I've had it for a long time. I also probably don't need the USAA either, but currently we are using it for most of our expenses. I'm liking how quickly USAA is adding the cash back to our rewards account. And there is no minimum!

The cards that I'm finding most difficult to actually use are the Southwest and Marriott cards as their rewards are miles and hotel points. We pay annual fees for these cards! I'm NOT getting rid of Southwest though, because I do charge airline tickets at least four times a year. I am getting benefit from it. I haven't decided on the Marriott card yet. I think I need more time to decide and figure out how fast I could accumulate points if I used it more regularly.

How many cards do you have?

We have credit cards, but never pay any interest on our charges. All balances are paid in full by the due date, or before!

Cancelled A Credit Card

November 18th, 2016 at 07:22 am

I think the last credit card we opened was the American Express Gold Rewards card. It was less than a year ago. We met the spending requirement and received our bonus reward in gift cards earlier this year.

Yesterday, I had my husband call to cancel. It was in his name, and sending an email wasn't an option. He told me the woman did try to keep him as a customer by offering a $75 credit on travel expenses. We are traveling soon, but tickets and hotel are already covered. I'm glad to have it cancelled. It would have had a big annual fee had we kept it.

I'm getting close to wanting to cancel a Citi Thank You Rewards card I have. I did have some points, that I just redeemed on Amazon towards a Christmas gift. Those points amounted to $6.18. Happy to use, but we aren't using the card as we have other rewards cards we are using more regularly. I hope to get this one cancelled once I see the payment was recorded. I think I can probably sent a online message to get that done.

Have you opened or cancelled a credit card recently?

Europe Trip Charge Paid In Full

November 16th, 2016 at 04:17 am

I had charged my daughter's summer trip to Europe on our Southwest Visa early in October. I needed to pay it off by November 23 to avoid interest charges. And I did just that yesterday. The balance is now zero.

We were able to cash flow all but $1400. That amount I took from savings. I expect I will be able to cover most of that next month, and have paid ourselves back.

I feel really good about how it turned out. I could have been making monthly payments of nearly $600 for eight months, but I feel much better having it just done and paid for. My focus now is to accumulate another $4000 for February tuition.

We also need to set aside money for passports in December. We decided my husband and I should have them also, especially if something were to happen and we would need to fly overseas.

Random Money Thoughts

October 23rd, 2016 at 08:04 am

First, I don't shop much at all any more. I don't want to acquire more stuff! However, we were out of town yesterday. And I wanted to stop into World Market. I haven't lived in a town with that store for 4 years! Boy, I was amazed at how different it seemed. The styles of the merchandise, while similar, was different. I think we spent at least 45 minutes in there. Luckily, I only left spending $16. Half the cost was for Christmas ornaments for my daughter's (a traditions) and the other half a fun gift for my youngest daughter (she had a stressful week at school). I think it may be a good thing I don't live by that store any more though. I was very tempted to buy other things!

I just made the $1800 payment on the credit card for the Europe trip. I mentioned this plan in my last post. Not sure why the ticker isn't updating...maybe a delay. New balance is $2895. Goal is to have it paid off the card one month from today, November 23. I'd love it to be from current cash, but I'm pretty sure some will come from savings and we will pay it back.

My husband received his birthday check from my parents for $100. I've added it to the birthday fund. This year we are skipping giving gifts for our birthday's, but hope to buy some bigger needs (and sort of wants) for Christmas. My birthday is next month, and I expect I will get a check from my parents also.

Our water bill arrived in my inbox. Next month the bill is $57. Last month it was $71, and the month before that $110. Definitely using less water now that the lawn growing season has slowed down. Electric bill was also down by $55!

I'm grocery shopping later today. I think the bill will be a little larger as my parents are going to be in town, so a little different style of food and more of it. But they are easy to please, so it shouldn't be too much extra. Smile

And finally, we are about to book our flights home for Thanksgiving. Three of us flying on Southwest round trip is going to be between $1200 and $1300. We are flying on some less busy days so that helps the cost. I had this money in the vacation fund. I expect we will easily have enough points to cover my oldest daughter's flight home for Christmas. If not Christmas, definitely for Spring Break.

$1800 Saved & Spent

October 19th, 2016 at 05:48 pm

Even after our recent van air conditioning repair (just under $200), we put away $1800 in our emergency fund this month. That is assuming we can stay within the budget we planned in YNAB, of course.

And realistically, that money is spent. I need to put it towards the Europe trip. I expect to do just that very soon. That will put the balance of that payoff at $2895. And that is a number so much easier on the eyes!

There are two more paydays before the full payment is due on the credit card I charged it on. It would be great if I could come up with another $1800 by then. Fingers crossed!!

Snowflakes

October 14th, 2016 at 05:38 am

I have some snowflakes to report. And they all go to pay down the Europe trip.

$17, USAA Visa Rewards
$3, Pinecone survey
$2.32, Ebay sale
$1.08, Discover Rewards
$0.07, Checking account interest
$23.47, TOTAL

Now under $4,700, with a payoff total of $4,695.53.

Today is payday, but we won't do our budget until Sunday most likely. I expect we will have some funds to throw at this.

Paying off Europe

October 11th, 2016 at 09:35 am

I want to make a conscious effort to pay ourselves back for this trip to Europe we have purchased for our daughter. The total cost upfront is $4719. We put it on a credit card. We will pay off in full by the due date, November 23.

The plan is to keep track of paying ourselves back, since most of the cost is coming from savings. If I set up a tracker here we can all follow my progress in making this happen. It would be great if we could make it happen by the time of the trip in late June. However, I have another tuition payment in February, that I need to pay out of pocket as well.

So the ticker is set up on the side bar and I will update it as we go along! I expect to cash Pinecone survey points and some other rewards soon. I also need to add some things to eBay for sale soon also!

CD Maturing

July 25th, 2016 at 07:23 am

We have a $7,500 CD maturing next month. It's been earning 3.5% for the last 14 months. I'm thinking of rolling it into a 1.05% 12 month CD, but if I could find something better I would jump on it.

I noticed I have an offer on my American Express account to open a Gold card. Spend $2000, get 50K reward points. We did this for my husband earlier this year. We haven't even redeemed the points yet! I will probably open it, but I've been wanting to reduce cards, so this flies in the face of that idea!