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)
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$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.

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.

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.

Winnings!

December 15th, 2019 at 03:00 pm

Over a week ago, my husband's unit has a family Christmas party. I won a small cast iron pan with a cookie mix in it. It makes probably a four or five inch cookie. Not something I would ever buy, but I decided to give it to our youngest daughter with her Christmas check ($40). She does like to bake and I thought it would disguise and help me wrap the check! Worse case scenario I donate it.

My husband also won a $25 Target gift card from filling out a survey for our property management. A nice surprise! Wish I had known earlier, as I already bought my other daughter a $25 Target gift card! It's all good though, they will all get used.

Very small winnings, but winnings nonetheless!

In other small money news, I did redeem rewards on our Chase Freedom card for $13.77. I also sold a book on eBay that I need to mail out tomorrow. Probably made $5 on that. Less stuff more money!

Our girls arrive home on Saturday for their holiday break! We are looking forward to it.

Paying Ourselves Back: November

December 7th, 2019 at 03:01 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 November:

US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $1.80
Amex Rewards $55.26
Electric Rebates $82.99
Extra travel funds $105.34
USAA Reward $1.62
Total $260.01

Prior Payback Balance: $1,559.76
New Payback Balance: $1,299.75

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 I feel confident we can get this paid back by the end of next year...hopefully much sooner!

Same. A Few Snowflakes and A Large Bill.

October 17th, 2019 at 02:31 pm

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?!

Welcome Back!

October 1st, 2019 at 05:56 pm

Well, it seems the site may be up, but posts only updated through mid April 2019. I haven't looked around much to see what is missing.

I had about given up! Some of us have been connecting by email and Facebook to figure out a new plan. More work to do to figure out where our rendezvous point is if the site goes down permanently.

I had made a financial blog on Blogger quite a while back, called Our Money Blog. I put some posts up that may have even been duplicates from here. But over time I stopped. Today, I posted a revival post.

I'm just going to send you

Text is there and Link is https://ourmoneyblog.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-end-of-saving-advice-starting-over.html
there for an update on our interest, big goal and down payment repayment goals...check out how I was able to recreate the starting points without this blog available to help!

Last of the 2018 Snowflakes

January 1st, 2019 at 02:42 am

I have few final snowflakes to report for 2018. A full tally coming soon!

$100 Christmas gift from my parents
$24.81 Ibotta proceeds
$1.89 Starbucks (Amex reward offer)
$5.00 Hulu (Amex reward offer)
$2.91 Verizon (Amex reward offer)

It's been a good year for snowflakes (extra money)...all have been added to our Big Goal. More about that on the sidebar and an update soon.

Happy New Year, Saving Advice bloggers and readers!

Incoming Funds

December 14th, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Today was payday!

I paid off all the credit card balances, which is my usual routine twice per month. I also balanced categories in YNAB back to zero and then added in money to flush those categories out for the rest of the month spending. I'm guessing with our girls home visiting for the next three weeks to a month we will be spending more on groceries, dinner and likely some paid activities, although I'm hoping for free!

I finally received my $3 Pinecone Research payment. I had to send an email and the next day I had my payment. Apparently they were having some issues with their normal process.

I redeemed $7.44 in Chase Freedom rewards. These went into our Big Goal Fund! I will do a wrap up of our progress at year end.

We also received an extra payment for housing for our oldest daughter's Post 911/GI Bill benefits this semester. Apparently, they have been underpaying us all semester. I'm actually glad I didn't know until it was corrected. That amount to cover underpayment since August was $286.17.

I received an email from FNBO Direct where we have one of our money market accounts. That account will now be paying 2.15%. I'll take it but I probably need to move some money in there into a CD with a higher rate. I think Beawealthywarrior posted on one of my blogs that PenFed has some good rates. I will look there soon!

I'm always grateful for the money that flows into our lives, as well as the ability to let money flow out for our needs and wants. All of life is a balance that way.





Credit Card Rewards October 2018

November 6th, 2018 at 12:20 am

We pay off our credit cards in full every month and never pay interest on a revolving balance. We use them for as many transactions as we can. In fact, we are now able to pay our rent with a credit card, most likely will use our Southwest Airlines credit card to accumulate points for flights.

We redeemed rewards from the following cards this past month.

US Bank $8.31
Chase Freedom $14.70
American Express $50.61
Discover $8.37
Total $81.99

Our credit card rewards are almost as good as the amount of interest we earn on our savings.

Sell Your Stuff September

September 19th, 2018 at 12:57 am

I guess some people on YouTube are doing a Sell Your Stuff Stuff September. I didn't know about it until today, but we sure have been selling things. Only two small things since my last report. I sold a computer box and some Box Tops for Education on eBay. Those net proceeds came to $24.92.

I also redeemed some American Express rewards in the amount of $59.85. I'm sure a result of all that summer spending. Wow!

I'm hoping to sell some more furniture items this week and weekend. I know people in our state are still suffering from the effects of the storm, so it's hard to know if there will be people buying.