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)
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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.

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?

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.

USAA Subscriber Account

December 11th, 2019 at 02:38 pm

USAA returns portions of our insurance premium every year, as member owners. Last year was around $80 if memory serves me correct. This year, and likely be how much more insurance we pay them our return is $193.20.

I just went to the email from USAA, and it says "this year the amount includes a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our Asset Management Company to Victory Capital". So not just because our premiums are higher due to our riskier location.

We will take it and save it towards the Big Goal, of course!

I also redeemed $13 in rewards from US Bank this morning, too.

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!

Two Things

November 20th, 2019 at 02:45 pm

Does my blog look blown up to the rest of you? It starts to load correctly, but then just looks huge (or maybe wide) on the screen. Thanks for the feedback!

The second thing is that we received another utility rebate check in the mail for $27.73. This one was also to be direct deposited. I received an email back from the utility servicing company that they are looking into why it was not direct deposited as directed by us.

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?!

Stocking Up At Boxed

October 3rd, 2019 at 10:58 pm

I really don't stock up on things when I shop. Occasionally, if I see a really good deal, I will pick up extras. I guess I just like to know that I am only spending what I need, and not any more, and not any less.

This time of year I often stock up on personal care items and household goods to cut down on the need to keep up on having these things on hand during the busyness of the holidays.

I already bought the Halloween candy that we will hand out when Target had a 40% off Cartwheel offer last week. It's in the freezer and I haven't been tempted once!

Today, I bought quite a few things at the commissary. Toilet paper, tissues, Vitamin C, bar soap, dishwasher detergent, trash bags, dish soap, Bar Keepers Friend, toothpaste, laundry detergent, hair mousse, shaving cream and toilet bowl cleaner. The commissary has pretty good deals on these things, as general prices are 30% less than retail. I was able to use coupons which took $10.75 off the total! I spent $74.32.

I also went online and stocked up on even more toilet paper with

Text is Boxed.com and Link is https://www.boxed.com/invite/QV6LX
Boxed.com. I was motivated by a $15 off $75 purchase if I used my American Express card. In addition to toilet paper (64 rolls), I picked up 5 sticks of deodorant for my husband, and liquid hand soap refill. I added on a six count package of those small tissue packs (stocking stuffer) to get my total with tax just over the $75 mark at $75.97. The
Text is Boxed link and Link is https://www.boxed.com/invite/QV6LX
Boxed link above will give you $15 off your first $60 order, if interested. Or check your American Express card for their current offers.

It's a big outlay of cash, but it feels good to stock up and know that I don't have to add in these extras to the grocery list to an otherwise spendy and busy season!

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!

Frugal Friday

April 6th, 2019 at 01:14 am

It's been a very frugal week!

I ate out of the fridge, freezer and pantry through lunch today and could have eaten another meal without buying more food, but my husband is on his way home and will want dinner. There was nothing left he would eat...not a fan of veggie burgers! So I went to the store and picked up groceries for the weekend primarily. Some items will carry over into next week.

I spent $40.65 out of pocket for some of our staples, including organic eggs, meat and almond butter. Cost was actually $50.65. I used a $10 NAPA Visa rebate from when we bought the battery for my husband's truck. I pulled that $10 from our grocery budget and put it in our Big Savings Goal.

I sold an item on eBay for a net profit of $3.73 and did a Pinecone survey and now have another $3 in my Paypal account. I also added these to the Big Goal Savings!

Other than the spending today, I did not purchase anything this week. Was your week frugal?

Random Money Updates

March 27th, 2019 at 03:57 pm

Spring break with the girls was wonderful! We had a good balance of relaxing, which they really needed and getting out to explore some things. We did several free things and had dinner out twice, so we easily spent under $150 for those kinds of things. Our grocery bill went up slightly, but that's to be expected.

I found a quarter out back in the alley when I was talking to a neighbor. I love finding cash on the ground!

I'm working on my next $25 Amazon or Paypal redemption with Swagbucks. I really just try to complete the To Do List on the left hand side of the home page. I try the surveys, but I'm not always successful, so as to not waste any more time, I do skip that one. I think Rose asked in another post about how to do it. I would suggest following Swagbucks Swaggernauts on FB for tips and pointers. There is definitely a learning curve. I have found a free malware extension on my computer helps with the junk that can come from using the site.

We received our $10 Visa rebate card in the mail from NAPA for the battery we purchased a couple months back. I plan to use it out shopping. I will then add $10 cash to the Big Goal.

I've redeemed some credit card cash back rewards and will update with a total for March when I report how much progress we made on our Big Goal this month.

We need to already be thinking about airline tickets for May! We will likely go back to the Midwest to help move our daughter's out and help our oldest daughter buy her first car. She is likely going to be staying back there this summer to take a class and get a job or internship. Lots of activity around here and spending.

I have three items I need to sell. Two should be able to go on eBay and the other should go up on a local sales page. I rarely do eBay any more since my main motivation was usually to sell outgrown clothes and toys. I saw a YouTube video the other day though that reminded me of how it is possible to buy items at garage sales and resell them for more. Something I might try and see if it keeps me interested. Clearly more work than finding items in my house!

Please excuse my random thoughts!

Cash In, Cash Out

March 17th, 2019 at 01:36 pm

The tax refund did arrive as expected. It is currently in our savings account marked as Big Goal money!! I decided to act like it didn't exist in some ways. We were never expecting a refund, so spending it didn't exactly seem right. If we need an additional $1900 we can take it from our other savings or cash flow it.

I earned enough Swagbucks to redeem for a $25 Amazon gift card. I used it to buy cabin and engine filters for our two vehicles. Those arrived yesterday.

We learned this past week that the University our older daughter goes to overestimated her VA benefits for the semester. Once they received actual payment, they notified us we owe $595 by April 12. Our plan is to use her ESA to pay this. Her benefits were lower this semester, so this was the plan all along, we just know the amount we need to take out now.

Our girls arrive here today to spend their spring break with us. My husband took the week off, so we can do some more exploring of our new town with them. This likely means some meals out and money spent on entertainment.

I learned recently that American Express waives their annual fees for active duty military. I haven't taken action on that as I think we only have one card of theirs with an annual fee. This may give us an opportunity to use some of their other cards with higher annual fees and better benefits. I have more looking to do on this. Anyone have experience with this? If so which card do you use? Yes, we use credit cards, but do not carry a balance, nor pay any interest. Credit cards a financial tool that can be beneficial if used wisely.