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Time to Declutter the Excess!

September 29th, 2015 at 09:02 am

I'm getting ready to write quite a few blog posts for [url=http://yourorganizedfriend.blogspot.com/]Organized Friends[/url], my other blog. I'm using it as a lesson to keep writing more and to inspire others to declutter their excess stuff. It doesn't seem related to finances, but it is. Going through the process of decluttering really helps one realize how much excess we as Americans have. If you are the one tossing all the excess you generally find that next time you are in the store looking for that next 'thing' to purchase, you might actually stop and think will this become clutter or something I won't use in 6 months or a year?

Clutter and excess cost us time in acquiring the item, cleaning and maintaining the item, moving the item out of our way to find other things. The excess purchases cost us money too. We buy the item on credit and pay interest (maybe not all of us here, but it is common for many Americans). We later can't find the item lost in our other clutter so we buy another one. Some of us forget that we even bought an item. We fail to use the item that we found valuable enough to spend our hard earned money on. If we find it again in our closets, we learn that it has been damaged because we stuffed it with other things to put it out of the way for now.

I have plans to post inspiration for decluttering primarily for all 31 days of October. I may have a few organizing ideas tossed as well. I don't really expect that anyone will follow all the suggestions everyday, but I hope that by the end of the month those reading find they were inspired to declutter the excess in their homes. Those of us here might even find we spend a little less this month as a result.

We are about 85 days away from Christmas, a holiday that can be quite draining on the pocket book and full of excess. You might find the exercise in decluttering has some side benefits to your holiday as well. I will start posting on October 1! Please join me and pardon my plug if I link to the posts on my blog here.

Closed A Checking Account

August 7th, 2015 at 06:08 am

I closed the US Bank Checking account and associated debit this week. I hadn't been using it for quite a few months. I also only opened it to earn a cash reward. I think it was $150, maybe $200. I was able to easily cancel it using their online messaging system. Now I just have their Cash+ Visa which I use every month to charge our Verizon cellular bill on to get 5% cash back.

It feels good to get rid of one more account. I need to do some more pairing down on other accounts again soon.

I have company through Monday, so I'm not posting much this week.

Quick Update

July 15th, 2015 at 12:27 pm

All of our items arrived at our rental home on Monday. I've nearly unpacked all boxes inside the home. I will need to find a cool morning for the few in the garage. We were even able to unpack quite a few boxes while the movers were on a break waiting for a second truck to arrive. That means they already hauled away all the boxes and papers we unpacked then. Actually kind of nice! Smile

Unfortunately, not all of our items made it halfway across the country in good condition. Frown I've seen a broken plate, broken (in half) candle holder, grease and debris on several of the mattresses, a hole chewed in the corner of our big wood desk (a mouse while in storage?), a broken bike reflector, damage to the bottom of our entertainment center that seems to have been already repaired using two stains and wax (and not in a good way)...and some other minor dings that I will live with and avoid mentioning.

It's payday! We also received a payment for the items we moved in our van. That payment is taxable, so the net amount was $734.51. I haven't logged on to see the rest of the details for how much the total was and how much was withheld for taxes. I think they withhold 25%! We'll get that back early 2016 when we file our taxes. Now we are just waiting for one more payment...the one that is for the temporary lodging. Maybe two more weeks at least on that one.

That's it for now. More details later when I have more time. I want to get back to the unpacking. Although I did appreciate the few minutes it took to write this post to get off my feet. Moving is tiring!

Another Plane Ticket & Financial Clean Up

April 22nd, 2015 at 06:51 am

My husband purchased a one way plane ticket home, the day before graduation for $320. He also bought travel insurance for $21. Not really happy about that. He also put it on our Discover card, but our I think our Citi card would have offered better rewards for an airline ticket. He gets so confused by all the rewards, so I just have to let it go. I'm looking forward to seeing him so that's the best part. He will be off work until our household goods are packed on the moving truck. We will all drive east together mid June!

I've requested that our Wells Fargo Propel Amex card be cancelled. I sent a secure email message. I need it cancelled before mid May to avoid being charged their hefty $175 annual fee. I did get that final reward of $25 and it just credited yesterday making the balance on the card $0! It was zero, but I accidentally make a charge to that card. All good now.

We have been having $500 deposited to a US Bank checking account each month from my husband's pay. I originally set this up to earn a $200 reward for opening the account. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cancel the account, but the first step was to get the deposit from happening. I made that request on the military pay site. It should be effectively stopped on May 1. So a cancel request will happen after that. The only other thought is to keep the account until after closing. Since there is a local branch our proceeds could just be deposited there, rather than a wire to our online bank (which often can cost $50!). A detail to look into and decide about.

It will feel good to lessen the number of credit cards and accounts we have open. Have you done a financial clean up lately?

Zero Bank Balances!

March 31st, 2015 at 07:30 am

Pay should be pending in our bank account this morning, but the entire banking portion of our bank is down! It's really not fun to see no money when you log into your bank. Thank goodness there was notification at the top of the page or I would be in a panic!

I'm about to send off our $638 we owe to the IRS. I saved up each week since the beginning of January to accumulate the cash. I'm glad I did because it makes it so much easier to write that check. The will clear up $105 each paycheck going forward.

I ordered another part for our dishwasher since over time it doesn't seem the first part worked. It is a motor assembly this time, so more expensive, but less than having a repair man out to do it, plus the part would be inflated. I'll be doing this one all by myself, but I've already taken it apart once and put back together. I was checking to see if something was stuck in there causing the noise. If this part doesn't work, I can return it at my expense. If doesn't work, I honestly don't know what else it could be...there really isn't much to a dishwasher and I've taken the whole thing apart! I ordered the part yesterday and it should be here today...and that was with their basic shipping charge of $6.95.

I also have a handyman coming over to look at my roof. I found to shingles on the driveway yesterday and can see one still on the roof that isn't attached. It had been pretty windy the day prior. He expects it to cost right at $100. Money well spent likely. Super glad he can come today as we are expecting a lot of rain tomorrow night!

Pictures for our listing will be taken tomorrow afternoon. I really have put nearly everything away. A few landscape pictures remain, but I have take down decor to make it just seem as neutral as possible. I think it will help it show well in the pictures. I did tell the girls they could get somethings back out after pictures if needed or wanted. And after we have an offer they can get more out to keep it like our home until we move.

The Plan to Sell

March 25th, 2015 at 04:19 pm

We are getting closer to selling our home. We had a talk with a realtor nearly a month ago. We decided to wait to commit to her, but as of this week we felt confident she was the right gal for us.

The plan is that we will have pictures taken right after Easter with the hope that the grass is greener. We will sign the listing agreement later that week and by early the following week (mid April) the home will be on the market! We would list right now, but we don't want to close until mid June at the earliest, and with our neighborhood being hot we don't want to put it out there too soon and then have it look stale just because of our closing date being farther out.

The realtor is going to start talking about our home and asked if we were willing to show it before we list. Ummm...yes! I'm ready to show it and happy we have a clear plan on where we are going from here.

Is anyone else, besides LAL, selling a home this year? Anyone buying?

Decluttering Pays

March 19th, 2015 at 07:35 am

We have spent a couple days of spring break decluttering my youngest daughter's room in preparation for our home sale and move. We moved here when she turned 12...literally moved in on her birthday. Unpacking boxes far enough to find items to bake cake! Smile She is now 14 going on 15. The things she uses has changed dramatically. She wasn't readay to part with some sentimental stuffed animals, but a few did leave. We found outgrown clothes, old dance costumes that wouldn't fit, lots of junk and trinkets that have no meaning to her any longer.

In the pile of stuff was a Build A Bear gift card with a balance of $2.74. She didn't even care about the money, but I thought snowflake! I listed it yesterday for sale on [url=https://www.raise.com/raise-rewards/MzoyNCAtMMjgxNDg4]Raise.com[/url] for $2.45. It already sold! I'm eligible for $2.08, which I request as a check since it was under the $5 minimum for PayPal and I didn't really want to add my checking account information. It was a great experience. I highly recommend!

In decluttering our basement earlier this year my husband let go of lot of old Army uniforms, boots and so forth. I sold a good majority of it on eBay probably netting about $270! See? Decluttering pays!!

If you want to see what I've been up to as far as decluttering and organizing don't forget to stop by my other blog [url=http://yourorganizedfriend.blogspot.com/]Your Organized Friend[/url].

Have you ever found anything while decluttering that 'paid' you money? Have you sold gift cards online?

Ibotta Cash Out

February 5th, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Ibotta, a rebate app, requires a $10 minimum in order to cash out. I reached $10.75 today after getting a $1 rebate for something my husband bought. I debated about just cashing out for the even $10, but decided I didn't want to leave any money on the table, so I cashed out for my entire balance.

It does seem to take awhile to accumulate likely because I'm not always buying what they have rebates for. I do find Ibotta better than Checkout 51. With Checkout 51, the minimum to cash out is $20! I only have a balance of $11.25. I have a ways to go. This week the only thing I likely could get a rebate for is $0.25 for carrots or salad mix. If I decide to buy a cereal they have offered I could add another $1. Again...slow earnings.

The money for my Ibotta cash out was instant to my PayPal account. No waiting at all! I'm leaving it there to see if my Swagbucks money is deposited today or tomorrow. If so, I can make just one transfer instead of two.

We got our dishwasher part today! I just ordered it yesterday (paying only for standard shipping). It clearly was breaking apart and we do think it is quieter, just not quite as quiet as I was remembering or expecting. No regrets on the part change out which took about 25 minutes at the most from start to finish. I'm just hoping there isn't another issue. Smile

We spent just over $20 for some home maintenance items at Menard's today. Stain and poly spray for a door we are cleaning up, iron out for a stain around our water heater. grout for a small area that needs to be filled in our master bathroom, and some magic erasers (trying to clean up my laundry tub).

I'm thankful that we don't have big repairs to take care of. We will need caulk for some areas around the house. We will wait on that until it gets warmer. We will also be doing some painting (just touch ups), but we have all the paint we need for those!

Do you use a rebate shopping app? Which one do you like? Anyone else doing any home maintenance?

Cashed Out

February 4th, 2015 at 07:29 pm

I cashed out for $25 from Swagbucks into my PayPal account. It has arrived pretty quickly in the past, so I hope this time will be the same! Since that is a snowflake I will apply it to the credit card balance we are working on.

I could apply the money to the dishwasher part we ordered today. We are now pretty sure that the drain pump is causing all of our noise issues. We ordered one online for $52 (shipping included) that will arrive on Thursday. It seems we live fairly close to the company shipping it!

If it doesn't solve the problem, we will be able to return it and pay to ship it back for a refund. I'm pretty sure that is the correct fix. I suppose if it isn't than it may be time to call someone in. It runs and cleans fine. It is just loud! And it hasn't always been loud, so something isn't right. I want if functioning correctly before we list our home, so it is a non issue for the buyers.

My husband was home yesterday and we tackled quite a few maintenance and repair items. I have a blog post on [url=http://yourorganizedfriend.blogspot.com/]Your Organized Friend[/url] that will be up at 6 AM Central Time on Thursday that tells more about what we have been working on. Including some that I thought would take much longer than I expected!

Have you ever repaired your own dishwasher? Are you a Swagbucks member? If not, [url=http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/creditcardfree]here's my referral link[/url]. Be sure to read an older post that will give you a few [url=http://creditcardfree.savingadvice.com/how-to-earn-on-swagbucks.html]tips on how to earn[/url] Swagbucks!

Saving Water and More

February 2nd, 2015 at 02:04 pm

As we get our house ready to sell, we are doing a few repairs around the house. One item we need to take care of is a loud noise our dishwasher makes several times during its cycle. The dishwasher still works and gets the dishes clean.

Since, I like to save money, my first instinct is to try to troubleshoot the problem myself. I found the manual today which didn't exactly point me to the fix, but provided me with some very enlightening information! The 'light wash' setting that I always use to save water actually uses MORE water than the 'normal wash' my husband tends to choose. I even get irritated with him when I notice he has chosen that setting. Now I will not because it will be saving us 4.3 gallons of water per cycle. If you like specifics, our dishwasher uses 7.6 gallons of water on the 'light wash' setting and 3.3 gallons on the 'normal wash' setting. I am shocked at the difference!

After some looking online for a remedy to our dishwasher noise problem, we have decided to try the cheapest route first. We will install a 5/8" O ring to the water inlet valve that attaches to the spray arm on the top basket. There currently isn't one there and seems to have been the fix for several people online. I'm not sure if we ever had one, but it there is a groove in the plastic indicated one should be there. If this ends up being the fix it will cost us a mere $2.

In addition to figuring out the dishwasher problem, we installed four puck lights under our kitchen cabinets. We have a pretty dark kitchen with dark wood and counter tops positioned in the northeast part of our home. While the overhead lighting is sufficient most of the time, we felt a little extra lighting would be helpful and a small selling point in some cases. The light set (for six lights) was about $35. We made quite a mess this morning to complete it, but it was well worth it! At least I will get to enjoy the lights for a short while before we move.

Do you know how many gallons each of your dishwasher settings use? Are you using the setting that uses the least amount of water? Do you have an under cabinet lighting in your kitchen?

Skipping the Fundraiser and A Repair

January 28th, 2015 at 10:05 am

We got an