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Fear Not for I am With You

March 16th, 2020 at 02:31 am

Fear saddens me.

Fear and panic create bad decisions.

Yes, as with everyone, this has impacted us and our girls.

I will not let fear weaken my resolve or my immune system.

I will walk outside. I will talk to my neighbors.

I believe in a higher source that knows all and can create peace out of chaos.

We will all have a story to tell when this ends. I will tell my story then.

(Please take care of your health. That may mean you need to step away from the news and focus on self care and stress relief. Eat real food, take supplements that support your immune system if appropriate, get plenty of rest, get outside for fresh air and exercise, and stay hydrated)

Airline Tickets for Graduation!

March 4th, 2020 at 06:58 pm

Graduation for our oldest daughter is coming up soon in early May! I just happened to think to look for flights the other day and there were some decent prices for the dates we needed, so I booked them. We also have a one way flight for our youngest daughter to return home for the summer. Our oldest daughter can move here with us if she wants, but none of us think that is the best idea because she ultimately does not want to live here knowing we will eventually move again.

Back to the tickets. We paid $670 for these flights. I did charge these to our Southwest credit card, as I always do. I have $500 from this pay period that I can apply to pay off. The bill won't be due for about three weeks, thus I can find the rest from the next paycheck.

I'm looking forward to the day when hopefully we live much closer to our girls and we don't need to fly. But I am also grateful that we have this mode of transportation so we can get to them fast!😀

Paying Ourselves Back: February 2020

March 2nd, 2020 at 03:33 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May 2019. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in February:

US Bank $12.33
Chase Rewards $7.10
Amex Rewards $46.06
Swagbucks (Paypal) $25
Ebay Sales $30.81
Army Travel Excess $122.15

Total $243.45

Prior Payback Balance: $498.14
New Payback Balance: $254.69

So tempting to just throw some extra funds we had at the end of the month on it, but I also know that we have another round of airline tickets needing to be purchased, possibly this week, so I'm just going to do the same as February and know that our rewards, sales and military travel payments will likely have this paid back this month!!

Looking forward to the debt payoff happy dance! Yes, I considered this a debt, even if it was to ourselves. 😀

February 2020 Big Goal Progress

March 2nd, 2020 at 03:19 pm

We make automatic deposits to our money savings account each pay period! So easy. Highly recommend!

February Big Goal Additions
Paycheck 2/1 $260
Paycheck 2/15 $260
Total Interest $172.34
Total Contribution $692.34

YTD Total $1,376.33
New Big Goal Total $73,460.26

Goal is $200,000. We are at 36.7% of goal. I celebrate every deposit and every milestone on the way there!

February 2020 Interest Income

March 2nd, 2020 at 03:14 pm

Here's the interest we earned on our cash savings last month:

FNBO $54.55
NFCU $117.62
USAA $0.17
Total $172.34

All interest was saved towards our Big Goal.

Tax Return Filed

February 18th, 2020 at 02:38 pm

I filed our tax return for 2019 on Sunday. The IRS and our home state where we file have both accepted the returns. My husband's income is exempt in our home state, so we owe nothing and since we didn't have any state withholding taken, there is also no refund.

We are getting a $1,308 refund from Federal. I had several years in the past where we tried to get closer to zero refund or owed, but I have skipped that the last two years because of tax changes and different credits applying for college expenses.

We have decided this refund will be set aside to assist with our youngest daughter's tuition bill. Her junior and senior years are higher tuition because she is an engineering major, so starting in the fall we will have an additional $1000 per semester on top of what we already pay. It is possible that she will get a scholarship that will reduce the costs.

I did run my oldest daughter's taxes through a program and she is getting a $94 refund from Federal and $34 from the state. We have not filed it yet, as I do want to run through it with her so she understands it.

In other money news, we had to buy a Blu Ray player. It sort of sounds archaic to buy one, because we do stream a lot of content, but we do also own DVDs and Blu Ray discs. We have also started renting newer releases for $0.60 from Redbox (after coupon code), which is less expensive than rentals through Amazon, ect. Our old player was cutting off the sound intermittently during playback. We paid $62.99 after a coupon and it's more than I really wanted to pay but we did shop around a bit and this was the one for the right price with the features we wanted.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card, and American Express rewards for $36.06. I also sold another item on eBay last night that needs to be mailed out.

What will you do with any tax refund you get this year? Save? Pay off debt? Or make an purchase?

Getting Out of Debt Inspiration

February 16th, 2020 at 03:35 pm

I've been watching a couple that's on YouTube work on getting out of a lot of debt. They were behind on their mortgage and didn't know until people started commenting that they needed to get current first!! When you are behind on payments that IS a debt and one that can get bad very fast, potentially losing a home or a car.

They have been gazelle intense on selling lots of things and their house is on the market to sell. They are finding cash in their home, including redeeming Ibotta rewards and credit card rewards for cash and gift cards, things that just weren't on their radar.

They are creating budgets, using cash envelopes, stopping monthly subscriptions and eating out. They shopped at Aldi for the first time. The skipped buying each other Valentine's gifts this year. They are rocking it!! And it's very inspiring. If you are in major debt, or looking to figure out what to do, find those that are making it work and follow their example for inspiration. There are lots of people who live debt free, and are climbing out of debt.

Yes, it's overwhelming to be in debt, but it's freedom to make the changes and strive to live a debt free life! Now go find yourself someone to inspire you if you have lost your way.

Listings on Ebay and More Snowflakes

February 5th, 2020 at 09:49 pm

I've listed quite a few things on eBay. I've already sold a pair of brand new jeans I never wore when I was that size! The other items may or may not be in demand. I have noticed that it is easy to keep listings up long term, through the Buy It Now option. Eventually someone seems buy many of them. I just have to manage how long I want the items that I no longer want sitting in my closet!

My husband traveled for work in January. His travel payment came through this week. He kept his expenses under the allowed per diem, which made us $122.15. That money will be allocated towards the Big Goal.

By the way our Big Goal is to save $200K towards our next home, possibly four years from now. It's BIG. It may not be realistic, or attainable, but we are moving in that direction. It may be some of the funds will get used for something other than a house. But I didn't want to spend years renting and not making some headway towards a home if that make sense. The effort and the progress is where I am currently focused. It's not necessarily what we do with the money when the time comes. As a saver it may be really hard to part with a large pile of cash, but I also want to keep debt, if any, realistic, too!

Are you decluttering? Are you selling anything to bring in extra funds?

Started Tax Return

February 4th, 2020 at 10:39 pm

I started working on our tax return today. I've been dreading it.

Figuring the American Opportunity Tax credit correctly is always a chore for some reason. I only felt it was a chore last year when I realized both schools report differently on the 1098T. You would think there would be clear requirements. One includes books bought at the school book store and the other doesn't is one example.

Only the youngest qualifies for the AOTC this year, and I'm still waiting on her to get the 1098T from the community college she took summer classes with.

The oldest daughter will need to actually file her own tax return this year due to having a job, and selling her mutual fund this year. I'm going to work on it for her initially, but will try to walk her through it at some point so she knows a little about what to do going forward.

My husband said to me the other day, how did you learn how to do taxes? I learned from my dad! And then, of course, learned how to read up on the regulations as they change for our situation as we went along. His dad was a tax accountant and always did my husband's taxes for him. And for a couple years, he did our taxes as well. But he died in 2002, so I was back to doing our own taxes. My husband said he would have no idea what to do if he had to file his own taxes.

I recently remembered having an argument with his dad on the phone when he exchanged our oldest daughter's mutual fund to a new investment. I was only made aware when the statement came in the mail. I did not like him making decisions for me! He explained why and then I did my research after to confirm he made a good choice. And that is the fund I stayed with up until our daughter sold it this summer.

So far we are expecting a refund, and it will probably be a little less than last year since we have to use the less valuable Lifetime Learning Credit for our oldest daughter's tuition.

Have you started your taxes? Do you do your own or do you pay someone else to complete them for you?

Paying Ourselves Back: January 2020

February 2nd, 2020 at 10:28 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May 2019. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in January:

US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $3.82
Amex Rewards $67.30
Utility Rebates (2) $59.91
USAA Rewards $3.12
Pinecone Surveys $3
Ibotta Rewards $22.09
Swagbucks (Paypal) $25
Ebay Sale $5.37
Extra Funds $175

Total $377.61

Prior Payback Balance: $875.75
New Payback Balance: $498.14

I have extra funds that I could just call this done, so it's likely I will just call it done pretty soon. The extra funds listed seem to be an extra payment I added in YNAB to no detriment to the I'm leaving it. We did a very good job of keeping to a pretty frugal budget this month!

Big Savings Goal: January 2020

February 2nd, 2020 at 10:10 pm

As mentioned earlier this month I have increased the amount we save automatically each pay period going forward to create at least an additional $2,020 in 2020! In the future this will be $260 per pay period.

January Big Goal Additions
Paycheck 1/1 $175
Paycheck 1/15 $200
Extra contribution $125
Total Interest $183.99
Total Contribution $683.99

YTD Total $683.99
New Big Goal Total $72,767.92

Oh, how I would love to to get to $100k! We will just keep plugging along.

January 2020 Interest Earned

February 2nd, 2020 at 10:01 pm

Here's the interest we earned on our cash savings last month:

FNBO $58.54
NFCU $125.42
USAA $0.03
Total $183.99

All interest was saved towards our Big Goal.

Interest adds up. I was a bit shocked at the total on one of the 1099 INT statements that came in the mail. Over $1400 on one account alone. Best year yet for interest!

I'm a Spammer on Lucky Robin's Blog

January 24th, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Apparently, you can't type the word congratulations in the comments on someone's blog any more?!?

Anyway, Lucky Robin, Congratulations!! You did great paying off debt this month.

$2,020 In 2020

January 23rd, 2020 at 06:23 pm

I plan to save an additional $2,020 for the year. I've decided to simply automate this, and add it to the Big Goal total. Prior to making this decision I had already increased our automated savings of $175 each pay period to $200. This works out to an additional $50 per month saved.

In order to make the $2,020 increase for the year, I will change the automatic savings amount to $260. This increases each savings deposit by $85, compared to last year.

$85 x 24 pay periods is $2,040, which meets the goal exceeds it just a little.

I realized I didn't actually change the amount from $175 to the new $200 until the 15th of January. So I am short on both January deposits by $145 total.

I am moving that shortage today to make that the full $520 saved for the month. I will also adjust our automatic transfers as of February 1 to be $260 per pay period.

I have some apprehension in making this increase despite knowing my husbands annual raise was only enough to cover the added insurance premium for our daughter. This means we are forcing ourselves to have less to spend each month by $170 per month.

I think if it gets pulled out each pay period we just won't see it and will not have it to spend. At least that is the hope. Worse case scenario, I have over saved and can use the money if needed. I'm just going on some faith that the money will be there.

I'm not kidding, but seconds after I typed that I was going on faith, I received a notification on my phone that I sold a book on eBay. I'm taking that as a sign that we definitely should do this extra savings. The money we need will be there when we need it.

Are you saving more in 2020? How are you making it happen? Or if you have debt, are you paying more towards your debt?

Note to self, added $125 for January shortage, since additional $20 would actually put over goal. Transfers set up as $260 twice per month beginning February 1.

Equifax Data Breach Last Day to File Claim

January 22nd, 2020 at 11:20 pm

Today is the last day to file a claim as part of the class action against Equifax for the data breach.

"In September of 2017, Equifax announced it experienced a data breach, which impacted the personal information of approximately 147 million people. A federal court is considering a proposed class action settlement submitted on July 22, 2019, that, if approved by the Court, would resolve lawsuits brought by consumers after the data breach. Equifax denies any wrongdoing, and no judgment or finding of wrongdoing has been made."


Text is here and Link is
here to file a claim or get more information about options available to you.

I just filed today! I remember hearing about it months ago, I just didn't act until today.

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.

Looking Back Ten Years: Financial Point Of View

January 15th, 2020 at 08:15 pm

I'll attempt to include a screenshot of my

Text is December 2009 post and Link is
December 2009 post, but the run down I posted then was that we contributed $14,147 to retirement, our retirement accounts had increased by $33,219, and the value had exceed $100K for the first time.

We had paid over $10K on a home equity loan, with total debt decreasing by $17K. Not sure our total debt amount, but we may have had a loan on my van and home debt. If I had to guess $160K to $175K in debt.

I also reported paying our daughter's braces in cash along with a trip to Disney World. We were also getting ready for my husband to deploy to the Middle East for the second time.

Ten years later:

Husband is cosigner on a car loan for our daughter which had a balance of $4,959 at the end of December 2019. Otherwise we have zero debt.

We do not own a home and live on a military installation. We pay rent equal to our housing allowance. At this point we have rented since June of 2015.

We have $95,327 in cash (most of it invested in high interest rate CDs.) Part of that, $72,083.93, is cash towards our Big Savings Goal of $200,000.

We saved $21,627.56 in 2019 towards retirement. Our retirement accounts increased $172,287.30 in one year, with an ending balance of $660,822.27.

In 2019 both of our daughters were in college full time for the first time. Tuition bills were paid in full, with our oldest daughter taking out her first loan in the fall for $2,750. No parent loans thus far!

Our 2007 Honda vehicles are still paid off. While they have lots of miles they still run and look fantastic.

In ten years there has been significant progress in retirement and we have mostly stayed out of debt (just a little help for our daughter).

It's fun to look back and I look forward to another ten years of financial progress. It should make for an interesting story!

One Way To Use Up and Declutter

January 11th, 2020 at 09:14 pm

Since the girls left my plan is to start making meals around food we have on hand. It's not a ton, but one does buy extra during the holidays and when trying to please different palates. But the extra is definitely not as extensive as someone with a deep freeze might have. In a future post I may list what I have to use up.

This morning I decided to prep our

Text is dinner. and Link is
dinner. I had everything on hand except the cauliflower which I had purchased for $1.99 a day earlier. I made just half a batch. It smelled so good. I almost suggested to my husband that we have it for lunch, only to realize he had already made his salad for lunch. So as I put it into the fridge...I dropped the entire thing. It was in a oval pyrex dish with a glass lid. Glass shattered everywhere! Luckily, no injuries, but it was a big clean up.

I guess I can say I used up some stuff and decluttered a frequently used dish. I have a round one that I will probably try to use as a replacement (I never use it and thought of letting it go just the day before), but it may be too small and have to be replaced.

It was tempting to go back to the store to buy the ingredients needed, but we usually shop on Sunday, so I will wait and make something else. We have leftover shrimp and cocktail sauce, and I could make a small batch of taco dip with items on hand. It will be an appetizer type meal of a night.

Budget is in check so far. There has not been a lot of extra spending since the new year started. I have put money towards our oldest daughter's conference she needs to attend in February, and also paid for youngest daughter's books out of current cash flow. I have redeemed shares of her ESA to cover housing portion of the semester bill due on January 20. I did sell most of it sometime back and had it in a money market, but did need to sell a little more to cover everything. Happy that both transactions were at high share prices!

Did you, or do you, have food to use up from the holidays? Are you shopping your pantry this month to make meals?

Back To Empty Nesting

January 10th, 2020 at 03:41 pm

Both of our daughters have taken off for their respective schools. We are empty nesters once again. Amazing to think our oldest will graduate in May. Time to make plans for that and spring break!

I still need to do my ten year look back financially. I didn't forget!

I've thought about some goals, but not ready to write them, nor are they that much different than past years. Just plan to save MORE!

I'm not specifically doing Uber Frugal Month, but trying to be conscious of spending going forward. I did buy some groceries at Target in the last week using the gift cards I bought at 10% discount in December. So there will end up being less spent in the grocery budget.

I did spend some money recently to get items to start growing my own broccoli sprouts. I do like sprouts, but can't find them very often. They are really good for you, so I'm going to grow my own inside in jars. Do you grow anything inside your home that is edible?

The Year of Big Expansion

January 3rd, 2020 at 10:51 pm

That is not my word of the year, but the description that popped into my mind when thinking about our retirement growth this year.

We ended 2018 with a balance of $488,534.97. Those funds along with contributions grew to a final total of $660,822.27!!

That is $172,287.30 change in ONE year!! Yes, expansion!

We contributed $13,000 to Roth IRAs in 2019 and $10,657.56 to my husband's TSP (Thrift Savings Plan). Or in total $23,657.56.

Not too shabby! Wouldn't we all love if every year could be like this? Let's see what 2020 brings!

Paying Ourselves Back: December

January 1st, 2020 at 03:12 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in December:

US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $13.77
Amex Rewards $57.06
Extra travel funds $58.40
USAA Rewards $9.14
USAA Subscriber Disbursement $193.20
Under Christmas Budget $17.75
Pinecone Surveys $6
Swagbucks (Paypal) $25
Ebay Sale $5.34
Discover reward $0.34
FB Sale $25

Total $424.00

Prior Payback Balance: $$1,299.75
New Payback Balance: $875.75

At one time I thought we could get this paid back by the end of the year, but it seems we had expenses I hadn't accounted for. But it feels great to get this under $1000! I feel really motivated to get this paid back as soon as possible.

Big Savings Goal: December

January 1st, 2020 at 02:53 pm

While we continue to pay ourselves back for the car down payment we continue to send money to our savings goal.

December Big Goal Additions
Paycheck 12/1 $175.00
Paycheck 12/15 $175.00
Total Interest $185.03
Total $535.03
New YTD Big Goal Total $9,098.48
New Big Goal Total $72,083.93

December's tally brings us 36.04% of goal.

Another $9K added to our goal this year. If we weren't paying ourselves back for the car down payment we would have exceeded $10K. I predict that next year we will exceed that mark! In fact, that is going to be the goal.

I am increasing our two paycheck contributions to $200 per pay period starting with the January 15 paycheck, as that is when my husband's annual raise begins. Later in the year when he is promoted I hope to increase this significantly more!

Interest Earned in December

January 1st, 2020 at 02:46 pm

Here's the interest we earned on our cash savings last month:

FNBO $59.60
NFCU $125.40
USAA $0.03
Total $185.03

All interest was saved towards our Big Goal. Progress on that for the year in a separate post.

Call For Blog Collaboration

December 31st, 2019 at 03:18 pm

I just had the idea to do a blog post in the next few days about our financial progress in the last ten years. So if you are interested in joining me and writing about your progress title your post something similar to A Decade of Progress or Ten Years of Finances. The titles don't have to be the same, but similar enough that we will notice them.

I look forward to reading your reflections!

Happy New Year!

End of Year Thoughts

December 31st, 2019 at 02:51 pm

On this last day of the year I thought I'd reflect on a few things, but expect more detailed financial posts in the coming days.

It was an unpredictable year.

I didn't plan for buying our daughter a car, yet the writing was on the wall. That lack of planning resulted in a loan in her name with my husband as cosigner. We are currently making the payment of $133.50 per month because our daughter has a very part time internship. She uses her earnings to cover groceries and gas on the vehicle. The balance is currently $4,949.50. We are not currently making extra payments. I'm mixed about this loan considering we have the cash on hand. But on some level this should be hers to complete once she has a full time job.

We did put $3000 cash down on the vehicle and are currently paying ourselves back for this. I will have an update in a couple days on our progress on this.

Our oldest daughter also has taken on two student loans, each $2750. One is just about to be disbursed for spring. This are the first and only loans she has had to take out. I'm also mixed on these because yes we have the cash, yet I think it is okay for her to have some skin in the game. On the other hand she double majored and we will have supported her for five years by the time!! It's still amazing to me that we were able to get her through school with this small amount of debt.

Our youngest daughter did not need to take out any loans. She still has ESA funds, a least a year of Post 911 GI bill eligibility. We currently save $500/mo (or $6000/yr) towards her tuition.

Our retirement balances have skyrocketed this year with returns exceeding 25%. It was a great year to be in the stock market. We increased my husband's Roth IRA contributions to account for his catch up eligibility since he turned 50 this year.

I'm still impressed with our ability to handle the travel costs associated with having our girls living over 1000 miles away. I think I'm making plane reservations every three months on average!

We did make progress on our Big Goal this year too, which I will report in detail in the next few days. It was an average year towards that goal. Sometimes the effort seems so slow, yet at the same time I'm grateful that we have this goal. I think this money would just slip away without it!

In non financial news, I lost about 15 pounds this year and have been able to keep most of it off all year. I did really well exercising at least 5 days week. I drink a good amount of water regularly. Healthy habits and progress towards a little more weight loss is the goal in the coming year too.

I'm going to count 2019 as a success! Happy New Year!!

Lowering An Expense

December 29th, 2019 at 06:04 pm

We have been using Hulu Live TV recently, primarily to get our college football team games. Those are over for the season and our daughter who was in their marching band is done forever. Sad! We did cancel it for four months this summer when our expenses were especially high, and used an antenna to get over the air channels.

Hulu Live TV is increasing their price from $44.99 to $54.99. Really, really not worth it to me. My husband does like to have it so for now we are switching service providers. We will now stream with Sling TV for their Blue Plan for $30 per month. We will save $15 over our current price and avoid the $10 increase that Hulu Live was offering.

We may pause Sling here and there for additional savings. I personally could just be fine with an over the air programming, I only watch local news for severe weather information.

My daughter's phone was paid off this month too, so our bill will be lower by $13 a month. Not sure how long we will go until we purchase new ones, but for now I appreciate the savings.

Are you lowering any of your expenses in the coming year? I wish I could lower them all, but so many are rising. I guess I will put another post out on that at another time.

Still Debating YNAB

December 27th, 2019 at 03:29 am

I've spent several months using the online version of YNAB. It works fine. There are some things that are just different, such as not letting categories go negative into the next month. I get why they do this, but we have a lot fluff in our account, so I'm definitely not really going to have an issue. I can't make notes on each category without them rolling over into the next month. I'd like each month to have it's own notes. I do love being able to link the accounts. I only have our two most active linked, but so helpful!

Because we did get a few months free as military, our first annual payment of $75.59 is due January 20. That is the amount due after the 10% member discount from my previous purchase of YNAB4 several years ago.

So, while I think on this option for a couple more weeks, I'm curious how those of you who don't use apps budget. Do you just use Excel? Did you make your own or buy a template or program? Do you use pen and paper? I've done both, but I'm out of shape using all those. LOL!

Thanks for sharing any thoughts. Overall it's not a bad program at all, just wondering if I really want to commit to nearly $80 a year for something I might be able to recreate in some way for free or less money.

After nearly four years of YNAB I am still a fan of what it can do, I think I'm just thinking about the cost and how it does add up over time.

Peace and Joy!

December 25th, 2019 at 07:48 pm

Wishing each of you SA readers and bloggers peace and joy this season of holy days!

Our Christmas has been wonderful with our girls home! We received a gift of an Escape Room in Box. We are looking forward to the challenge later today!!

I hope to get some time to reflect on 2020 financial goals soon!

Good While It Lasted

December 21st, 2019 at 01:07 pm

For just over a year we have been able to pay our rent for our current military housing with a credit card, earning Southwest airline miles and not paying any additional fees.

Unfortunately, the private company that manages the military housing has ended this practice, I believe in part due to their own change in banks. Of course, this has likely been costing them fees on their side.

We can still pay with a credit card, they are now passing on the fees to us to use the card. It would cost us over $60 a month to pay with a credit card. We pay them quite a bit as it is to live here in this 1980s era home (including many of the fixtures), so of course, we don't want to pay more than necessary.

We will now pay our rent with a checking account. This will not cost us any fees.

As a side note, people are livid with this change. They basically gave ten days notice. I think it has to do primarily with the lack of clear communication, and advanced notice of the change. It's amazing to me sometimes, how some organizations operate without no real understanding of their customer or end user.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to use the card (fee free) and rack up airline miles over this last year. I just used some of the miles to cover two one way tickets for our daughter's return trips back to college after the Christmas break. We will not lose the miles we have accumulated and should have enough for one more round trip ticket.

Christmas Gifts, Budget, and More Snowflakes

December 19th, 2019 at 03:47 pm

All Christmas gifts are bought, wrapped and those that needed to be shipped have been mailed! Our Christmas budget is $600 and we came in under budget by $17.75. I probably would have been a little over budget, but I did get a credit for an item that came slightly damaged from Amazon (so it was free), and I earned some Swagbucks $25 that I used to purchase one gift on Amazon, in addition to using about $15 in Amazon credit card rewards.

I have some snowflakes fall around here!

I redeemed $47.06 in American Express Rewards this morning. Those are redeemed as a credit, but I record it as money sent to our Big Goal in YNAB.

My husband received a travel reimbursement from work and it was $58.40 more than his expenses. I saved it of course.

I also sold a salt lamp on Facebook that we had been given as a gift. I was paid in cash, but used the cash for groceries so I moved $25 out of the grocery budget to the Big Goal.

I received $3 from a Pinecone Survey in my PayPal account, too.

And the final snowflake (small amounts of found money) is a sale on eBay which netted us $5.34.

I'm a big believer that small amounts of money can add up, of course large amounts can too, but don't discount the small amounts to add up to something!

Did you come in over, under or on budget for your holiday spending this year?

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