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Quite the Deal

September 7th, 2019 at 05:51 am

Sometimes it is the small deals that you aren't expecting that are fun!

I went to Joann's Fabric to buy some fabric for my niece who has a birthday next week. They had six tables piled with clearance fabric that was an additional 25% off. I bought six or seven 1/4 yards for her. Many of those coming to less than a dollar each after the discounts. Not that it matters but I also bought a medium sprig of fall flowers for my guest bathroom and some candy for a stocking stuffer. I spent $11.59 after the discounts, including military, and tax.

They were also letting customers pick one item after purchase from some clearance bins. I picked an American Flag, full size to put outdoors, which was marked at $16.99 normal price. My husband mentioned wanting one, and we do have a place on our base house to display one. And if it doesn't fit, or work out at least we didn't spend any money on it. So fun and unexpected!

I also submitted my Joann's coupon to Ibotta and got 15% rebate which they calculated as $1.74. My balance with Ibotta is only $5.54, so I have a little while until I cash out.

Did you find any surprising or just good deals this week? I think it is a very common time for major clearances in all types of stores right now! Don't spend money you don't have or need, but go out and look.

Christmas Savings Flashback

September 5th, 2019 at 02:54 pm

I'm suddenly inspired to think about Christmas! Maybe that's because I just made our airline reservations to go see our girls for Thanksgiving!

I have been having ideas come to me for gifts to give various people. I have not been writing them down! I need to find my Christmas planner, so I can keep everything in one place.

I just sent both daughter's an email saying I will take Christmas ideas whenever they have them. My oldest responded with a pretty long list!! Some of which she had already mentioned, but I had forgotten. Good thing I asked again.

I'm not sure how quick my other daughter will respond. I think she was a bit disappointed in her gifts last year even though I bought what she asked for. I think she was expecting more. Not sure why that was, but it made me a little sad that she was sad. I'm not saying I will go overboard, but maybe I can find some clearance filler items that might help. I don't know! Parents do want to please their kids.

Remember years ago when I accumulated snowflakes (extra non income money) to specifically pay for Christmas? I saw one post in December 2012 where I accumulated $1,700!! I spent $900 on Christmas and sent the remainder to the truck loan we had at the time.

I'm close to another $25 redemption threshold on Swagbucks. I really only do a few things a day, so it's slow, which I'm fine with since I have other things to do! Usually, I send this money to our Big Goal now and simply save up for Christmas. I guess since I'm excited about it my goal should be to find great deals and simply come in under budget!

Anyone else thinking ahead for Christmas? Have you purchased any gifts? Did you know there are 110 days until Christmas? Do you have money saved up?

Travel Perks

August 17th, 2019 at 07:07 am

My husband uses those off site parking lots and shuttles to the airport when he flies for work. We do the same when we fly, at least at this airport, since it is far cheaper. My husband earned enough rewards with this particular lot to get parking for our next trip free! Our cost would have been $54.

I'm thankful I found a cat sitter. She is charging me $30 for this next trip. If I had to put our cat in a kennel, she would be there six nights (we are only gone four, but the hours would require her to be there ahead of us a day and stay an extra day) which would have cost us $90.

We were able to get a discount on our hotel by using military family pricing. Sometimes we use the military rate, but this hotel chain is a bit more strict with requiring that it be official duty. I completely understand that, which I guess is why they have this specific rate. I saved $25 that way, and compared to some other hotels I looked at I could have spent another $50 more. Of course, we could have gone to even lower end chains, but my husband is never pleased with those. So we did get a rate we are happy with.

We will be borrowing either my mother's car or our daughter's car to take our youngest daughter to her school. So this time we have saved the cost of a rental car. That doesn't always work, but it will this time.

Oh, I guess the last thing I will mention is that my husband's latest trip will net us about $100 in excess per diem. He just didn't spend as much on food as they allow and pay for. That's definitely a perk, and I should toss that onto our Big Goal.

Some Cash Updates & More

August 12th, 2019 at 02:53 pm

I sold two more small items on eBay recently. I've lowered the price on one, but soon I need to end them all while we go out of town. I will likely restart them and add a few more things when we return.

I earned $3 from Pinecone Research for a survey.

We were refunded $6 in ATM fees by USAA.

I paid back the housing allowance my daughter received last semester in the amount of $758.10. It's been a chore to get the VA to correct our withdrawal of benefits and then bill us for the correct amount. I believe my plan has been to use part of our tax refund to pay this back. That money did go towards the Big Goal, so I may have to backtrack my totals at the end of the month. However, because I really, really don't like doing that, I may see if I can find another way.

We expect another bill to return the book stipend for $208.33. But unfortunately, they still are trying to bill our daughter $69.03 for tuition. All tution money was sent to the university and they should be billing them. We paid all tution in full out of pocket instead of accepting VA education benefits last semester. At least this new amount they are trying to bill for tuition is down from over $700. Can you believe we have zero access to any sort of online account for beneficiaries? We can only deal in phone calls, letters, and faxes! The government is definitely not up with the times on this kind of thing.

I did a withdrawal of cash from our younger daughter's educational savings account today. The money will cover the cost of one semester's worth of room and board. I have the remaining amount due (tuition) set aside in cash. Her tuition is due August 20, six days BEFORE school starts.

I'm waiting for my husband to be reimbursed from his last trip with the Army. He has some issues with his government card during the last trip, and he ended up putting charges on our regular card. I'm happy for the rewards, but annoyed to have that extra balance there unpaid. It will come any day though.

We were within range this month of our electricity usage. So no credit or refund, but of course, we don't owe any extra either.

Oh, and I also recently applied for the Amazon Prime Visa and earned $70 in Amazon gift cards. I already used it, since I was making a larger purchase of an air purifier. It helped cut the cost significantly. I guess I should set aside $70 towards goals since I was willing to spend the original amount.

I only threw out two frozen hamburger buns. I'm not eating processed carbs, and my daughter said she will not eat that brand, too soft and soggy. Not a bad week in terms of food waste. We keep eating what we purchase.

Spending Has Been Low

July 26th, 2019 at 07:47 am

Our spending has been fairly low again this month. Right now I still have $500 I have not yet allocated to any category in YNAB. We may do some clothes shopping this weekend. I need a few things. And our youngest daughter who will go back to school in late August needs a few things. For all I know we will spend most of it this weekend, or sometime in the process of getting the girls settled into a new year. I would love to save it, of course! Hopefully it will be a balance between buying needs and saving.

I did cash out my PayPal account for $27.61. This is from eBay sales and I think one $3 Pinecone survey.

I need a few more points with Fetch to cash out for $15. I will likely claim a $15 Amazon gift card, as there are bound to be some things shipped from there in coming months. My referral code for that super easy earnings app is FQ8U1 you enter during sign up. You get some extra points, as do I if you use my referral code.

I will make a note here that the Army travel payment we received earlier this month actually needed to cover another charge on my husband's government travel card in the amount of $81.80. So instead of having $292.05 go to us the amount is actually $210.25. Still pleased to have received these funds that we can put towards our goals.

Has your spending been low or high for the month of July?

$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.

Travel Reimbursement In Our Favor

July 14th, 2019 at 07:14 am

My husband had what was supposed to be a one night trip for work last week, unfortunately due to flight cancellations it turned into two nights and he flew into a different airport, specifically on July 4. It was not the holiday we had planned.

I had to drive our vehicle to pick him up about 90 miles away. As a result he received additional per diem and mileage for the use of our personal vehicle. He also did a really good job of keeping his dining expenses low, taking advantage of the USO in the airport primarily and having one dinner with friends who ended up paying, while he was in town.

We made $292.05 on the trip. That will be used to repay ourselves for the car down payment. At the rate we are finding money it seem this payback is going to happen much faster than I expected!

I recently redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card. I stocked up on Vitamin D with the gift card and set aside the $25 I would have spent out of pocket towards our current goal.

And finally, I redeemed $20.95 in rewards from US Bank and expect that we will have American Express Rewards to redeem in the next week as well.

Electricity Refund

July 11th, 2019 at 04:53 am

Our housing payment on this military installation covers utilities, unless we go above the normal range compared to other units our size by 10%, then we would pay the difference. The opposite is true, if we go below the normal range we get a refund.

We received our refund for service from mid April to mid May this week. It was the highest we have had yet at $53.18. This is going towards paying ourselves back for the car down payment. I have seen our fellow neighbors posting how low they keep their air conditioning and while we drop it at night for sleeping, we do adjust up during the day because otherwise I would need to wear a sweater to keep warm!

Just this morning I received notification of the mid May to mid June period. Our credit will only be $11.85. That is not enough to receive a payout next month, but it will be added to any future credits, or money owed.

I'm thankful for all money, snowflakes, that fall in our favor!

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

Frugal Report Card

June 24th, 2019 at 08:02 am

Here's a few frugal things that happened in the past week or so at our home:

I made black beans from scratch. In other words I took a pound of dried beans and cooked them, which resulted in over three cans worth of black beans. This is like getting at least one can free.

I shopped from our pantry yesterday before going to the grocery store and came up with nearly three meals we could make with what we had on hand. I only spent $75 at the grocery store as a result. I think this is good practice weekly, or monthly at a minimum.

We did much less driving last week and this week, partly due to my husband's work schedule and we simply didn't need to go anywhere. The amount we save on fuel living on the military installation is amazing.

My oldest daughter was ready to purchase new music for next year, something we do every summer. One piece of music she sent me a link to was nearly $25. I did a little searching and found it for $12.95. Searching for a better price pays off!

I choose a double package of ground beef, as the price per pound was lower. I used half and froze half, since I know I will use next week. I also chose chicken thighs this week instead of boneless skinless breasts because the price per pound was less and I knew we wouldn't notice much of a difference in the recipe I was making.

I ate the leftovers. No waste this week. We did not throw any food out!

What frugal things do you have to report?

Fetch App

June 23rd, 2019 at 08:09 am

I signed up for the Fetch app this week. It's similar to Ibotta, maybe a little more lucrative? Not quite sure yet. The advantage is you don't have to find the offers. You just scan the receipt and it rewards you based on what you bought and what offers are available. I think at a minimum you get 25 points for each receipt. I already have almost 6K points. Payout is 11,500 points for an online Visa or Mastercard worth $10. There are other options for less points.

It's free in the app store if you want to try it and see if it works for you. My referral code is FQ8U1. Simply add it during signup and you will get 2,000 Fetch Points for getting started.

What savings apps have you tried recently that you like? I'm always looking for quick and fast ways to save a little money!