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I Got Some Free Items!

August 3rd, 2019 at 05:57 am

I'm on several Facebook pages where people list things for sale, and where I have also listed things for sale. Yesterday, I saw a post where someone was giving away four plastic adirondack chairs. They had posted just 8 minutes prior and I could get to their place in about 1 minute so I hopped in my van and drove over. I snatched them up!! They also were giving away six cans of peach flavored Bubly (a sparkling water), so I grabbed those too, since I had not tried that flavor yet. That flavor is pretty good, but I think I like cherry the best.

I did have to clean the chairs. One has a chipped section off the top of the chair and all of them have one or section of the back where the plastic has broken, so they aren't perfect, or as stable as I would prefer. I need chairs for my front porch and these will look very cute outside. I may not keep all of them, but for free I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try them.

I do know looking at the posts after I returned that I wasn't the only one interested. Some were asking if they were still there, or if they could hold. The post said no holds, which is why I knew I had to act fast!! My speed paid off.

In other good news I sold an item on eBay that had been listed since May. I gained about $6 and a little bit of space in my home with this sale!

Sell Three Things in August

July 31st, 2019 at 06:01 pm

I saw that The Budget Mom, on YouTube and Instagram has a challenge for August to sell three things. I thought that was a great idea, so I started today.

I put about seven items up on our local base FB page for sale this afternoon, and sold three items that I have set aside months ago!! A quick $15 in my pocket and more room in the closet.

Fingers crossed a few other items sell either from that same listing or that I have on eBay because I do like to get rid of things AND make money. I will have a bag of donations that I hope to take over to the drop off. If some of these things don't sell...they can go too.

Any chance you might like to challenge yourself to sell at least three things in August?

$128 Worth Of Free Amazon Products

July 19th, 2019 at 11:51 am

I was just thinking about how small amounts of money add up and how I have used Swagbucks, and other sources to earn gift cards that then really result in free products.

I have accumulated enough points in the last six months with Swagbucks to redeem them for $128 worth of Amazon gift cards. I also redeem some for $25 cash deposited into my Paypal account.

Some of the things we bought with those Amazon gift cards either in full or partially are:
Printer ink
Engine and air filters for two vehicles
Vitamins (at least three orders)
TV antenna
2 books

Yes [ulr=https://www.swagbucks.com/lp-savings-button?cmp=695&cxid=swagbuttonref&rb=346111&extRefCmp=1&extRb=346111]Swagbucks[/url] is a little work, but I don't spend much time on it each day, thus why it can take about a month to accumulate $25 worth of points. I used to be able to rack up a lot more points, but I decided it wasn't worth THAT MUCH effort, so I'm pleased that with the little effort I do put in, I get some things we need and want with no cash outlay on our part.

While looking at our Amazon account I did notice a few other gift cards redeemed for $10. Those cards came from Fetch Rewards and the other from

Text is MyPoints and Link is https://www.mypoints.com?rb=25836026
MyPoints. And I redeemed
Text is Ibotta rebates and Link is https://ibotta.com/r/xjyhxxw
Ibotta rebates for cash.

If you want to join Fetch Rewards, which is very easy to use compared to Ibotta, you can download the app and enter my referral code FQ8U1. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt. The app figures out what deals are available based on what you purchased. If you join and take a picture of one receipt before July 22, you will earn 3,000 points and I will as well. That 3,000 points can be redeemed for a $3 gift card to Amazon, Panera Bread, Target or Dunkin Donuts. Or you can accumulate more points and redeem for other things.

I used to track all these extras in more detail on my blog and shared them as little snowflakes. I still mention them, but not in quite as much detail.

What you like to get for free by capturing these easy ways to accumulate points and rewards? Right now I have just 240 Swagbucks, but I'm thinking I may use my next Amazon gift card to buy a new knife or two for my kitchen, or maybe a new product to try with this curly girl hair method.

Thank you in advance if you use any of my referral links. Share yours in the comments if you have a way you earn gift cards that I don't currently use.

Paying Ourselves Back: June

July 2nd, 2019 at 05:12 am

I'm going to start posting our progress in paying ourselves back for the $3,000 we took form our savings towards our daughter's car. I sold a speaker set for $100 in May, the same month that we bought the car, so when I moved the money, I actually only took out $2,900. That is our starting point for reporting purposes here.

$12.84 US Bank Rewards
$57.76 Amex Rewards
$38.51 Utility Rebate
$26.43 Ibotta Rebate
$3.00 Pinecone Survey
$58.57 Ebay Sales
$197.11 June Total

$2,900.00 Beginning (Debt) Balance
$2,702.89 Current Balance Owed

eBay Sales

June 14th, 2019 at 09:39 am

Some of you may have seen my other eBay post. I'm think I may have accidentally deleted while trying to clean up my blog from the site issues.

Basically, the report is that I transferred $100 from my PayPal account from the recent eBay sales I had. I applied the money to our cell phone category in YNAB. We will have a large bill at the end of June due to two new cell phones. My goal was to cover the sales tax and activation fees, which came to $129.50. I have successfully covered this with eBay sales.

All future sales and credit card rewards are going to be applied to paying ourselves back for the downpayment we made on our daughter's car. Already applied $100, so $2,900 to go!

I do have about seven items up for sale and a couple more items I could list. Just need to make the time and effort to do it.

Another Couple Sales

June 4th, 2019 at 05:11 am

I sold one of the old cell phones and a pair of shorts on eBay yesterday. Netting a little over $40 I think.

Although I said ALL sale money would go to pay ourselves back for the car down payment, the money from the phones is going towards paying the sales tax and activation fees on the two new phones which is going to be on our bill at the end of the month. That charge is $120 or so. I have one more phone to sell, but it will go for less as it's more beat up and we aren't selling it with the charger.

I have already applied some funds from other prior sales to the phone charge as well in the amount of $27.50. We are also expecting a rebate check from our utility service in the amount of $33, which I also plan to apply to the charge. It seems late, but I think it will be here before that bill is due. We do have the money to cover the charge, this is just the way my brain works when I have extra expenses. So I'm close to have the full $120 for the phones!!

I have other items listed on eBay and I have other potential items to sell as well. Summer feels like a slow time of year to make sales, but it's worth the try. If our housing has another garage sale, I might see if I have enough to put some things out.

Paying Ourselves Back

June 3rd, 2019 at 05:31 am

I mentioned in a previous post that we paid $3,000 towards a downpayment on our daughter's new to her car. I initially put this on a credit card, which has 4% interest rate. This was my way of avoiding taking on a lot of debt at nearly 9% interest rate they were offering us on the loan initially. In the end the loan is at 5.74% and is likely a little high because my daughter did not have credit. My husband is the cosigner. We will make the payment on the loan while she is in school, the rest will be up to her.

Back to the $3,000 on the credit card. It is due June 15, where no interest will have been accrued. I plan to take money from what is probably considered our emergency fund money to pay it in full on that date. My next concern is making a plan to pay that money back in the midst of new expenses (a car payment of $133.50 and increased insurance of $75 a month).

I'm going to continue adding to our Big Savings Goal, but not as aggressively, basically, we will throw the interest earned on our savings and the $175 twice per month towards that goal moving forward as our bare minimum. This puts us near $550 per month.

To pay ourselves back for the $3,000 down payment, I'm going to put all eBay sale money and credit card rewards towards this. I'm also going to be actively looking for other additional funds that can make this payback go as fast as possible. I'd like to say this is my primary goal. And it basically is, but I also know we are managing travel expense again coming in the fall. (Sometimes it's not fun having your kids attend schools so far away!) If we didn't have these expenses, it would be no issue to pay ourselves back this $3K in a very short period of time.

I can already report that the $100 we received for the speakers I sold last week have already been applied towards this goal.

$3,000.00 Beginning Balance
__$100.00 Speaker Sale
$2,900.00 New Balance

I am curious how quickly I can make this happen!

May Big Savings Goal Progress

June 2nd, 2019 at 07:18 am

I made a mistake in May. I didn't actually add $175 at the beginning of May to our Big Goal. I have an automatic withdrawal from our checking to savings for this each period. And that part did happen, but I didn't officially fund that transaction from my husband's paycheck on May 1. So effectively, in YNAB the Big Goal category balance in our checking account was reduced by $175. That was simply money saved from other deposits I made into that category.

Here's what new money was applied to our Big Savings goal in May:

$100.23 Anniversary gift
$39.82 Paypal (eBay, Pinecone, olive oil settlement)
$175 Paycheck 5/15
$48.88 American Express Rewards
$1.87 Discover Rewards
$0.40 Chase Rewards
$12.84 US Bank Rewards

$379.04 May Big Goal Total
$5147.94 2019 YTD

$67,947.08 Previous big goal Balance
$68,326.12 New big goal Balance

34.16% of $200,000 goal

It's going up! I'm thankful despite all the moving financial parts this month that we could still find money to add to our Big Goal.

Money Flowing In

May 12th, 2019 at 08:05 am

There's money flowing out fast, but I'm going to focus on and share what is coming in.

$100 Anniversary gift
$25 Amazon gift card (earned from MyPoints)
$22.78 Olive oil class action
$336 Chase annual fee refund
$3 Pinecone survey
$14.04 Ebay Sales

$500.82 Total

The Amazon gift card went towards the purchase of an over the air antenna, since we are cancelling Hulu for the summer.

I am setting aside the $336 Chase refund towards our daughter's car registration. I have the tax amount set aside already, but I don't know the property tax/registration amount yet. If this is more than needed I may throw it back into the Big Savings Goal.

Everything else currently is going to go to the Big Savings Goal.

I did send off three textbooks for cash. I expect to receive $63 for those in the next week or so. I will probably put these funds into the College Expense category. I also put one book on eBay and I have other things I need to list soon, too.

Do you have non wage cash flowing in?

April Big Savings Goal Progress

May 12th, 2019 at 07:26 am

Here's last months contribution towards our Big Savings Goal. I think the next few months will be slower as we have other expenses we are managing that are taking away from the progress. If we can maintain this amount or similar I will be pleased.

We had a refund of Chase credit card annual fees ($349.15) due to SCRA being applied to some of our accounts. I would have liked to have saved this for our Big Savings Goal, but with upcoming summer college costs and assisting our daughter with a car we have backed off putting ALL the extras towards this goal. This is a big frustrating for me as I have really enjoyed the progress and focus, but I realize this is just temporary.

$350.00 ($175 from each paycheck, two per month)
___$7.64 Discover Cashback
_$10.00 NAPA rebate
___$9.41 US Bank Cashback
_$66.66 FNBO Interest Earned
$118.78 NFCU Interest Earned
___$5.46 USAA Interest and ATM rebates
___$3.00 Amazon Gift card (Swagbucks)
___$6.73 Ebay Sale

$577.68 April Big Goal Total
$4,768.90 2019 YTD

$67,369.40 Previous big goal Balance
$67,947.08 New big goal Balance

33.97% of $200,000 goal

A New High And Budget Adjustments

April 28th, 2019 at 09:05 am

Yay! Our retirement accounts have reached a new high as of the closing on Friday afternoon. So grateful we have money increasing in value for retirement! We just keep plugging away adding funds to our account monthly. All of these contributions are set up automatically, so other than recorded them in our check register (which is auto on YNAB), we don't think too much about it. Auto investing is the way to go!

Yesterday's mail was fruitful financially. We received a refund check from our utility service here on base. We have stay at or under the average compared to similar sized homes on base for electrical and water usage. The result is a refund of $55.

The other check in the mail was the proceeds from our oldest daughter's UTMA. I'd have to go back and look at our total investment in that account, but I'm going to guess under $1,000 since the late 90s and early 2000s. The final redemption amount was $3,973.62. This is money going towards her first car. Her car will likely be more than this, but hopefully not by much.

I have two items ending on eBay that are being watched, so two sales possible. They won't make more than a few dollars, but it all adds up, as I have shown over and over again on this blog.

I cut our Hulu Live subscription effective today. It's saving us $45 a month. This is planned for the summer months to offset the need to pay $55 a month for our youngest daughter to store her dorm items this summer. Our older daughter has always stored her items at my parents since she is pretty close. Our youngest is much farther away, so this just made sense logistically. Not exactly how I want to spend money, but we are going to try it this first summer and see how it goes. I think my husband is going to miss Hulu, so this is temporary because we did like it for accessing college football in the fall.

I stopped our youngest daughter's allowance for the summer. She was receiving $125 a month from us. Honestly it far exceeded her needs and expenses. I noticed she seems to buy music and make Go Fund Me donations with it. I love that she is generous. The primary reason to end it for the summer and reevaluate is to help cover rent for our older daughter. Our younger daughter will be home and we can cover anything that comes up with our own budget. We will likely reinstate some form of spending money, but we also know she is starting a part time research job, so she will start accumulating her own spending money, thus less needed from us.

I've also decided to stop funding our car maintenance and repair sinking fund for a few months. We currently have $1000 set aside plus an emergency fund. We have been funding it with $275 a month because we have older cars. We are very current on major repairs and maintenance we we think this will not be an issue short term. We expect to start it back up in August or September. This change is also due to upcoming expenses with our daughter staying in her college town this summer.

I'm doing my best to maintain our current Big Savings Goal progress and monthly contributions, thus the reason for making other adjustments to the budget temporarily. I'm grateful that we have flexibility to make changes to how we spend our money.