<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Snowflakes
 

Viewing the 'Snowflakes' Category

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

Refund of Annual Fees

April 13th, 2019 at 02:22 pm

We notified Chase that my husband is active duty military upon learning that some credit card companies will waive annual fees under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act. My understanding, which I likely learned before my husband went full time, was the the SCRA would provide relief on loans when deployed (which would at the time have been the only time my husband was considered active duty). We learned from another coworker of my husband that they will waive annual fees on credit cards.

We have thee Chase credit cards, two are in my name as the primary card holder and one is in my husband's name. We are both authorized users on the other's account. One card in my name does not have an annual fee, the other two do.

Chase responded promptly to my husband's request on his Marriott card and has waived the annual fee retroactively back to account opening in 2015. They did need a copy of his orders. We received a refund, plus interest it appears, of $349.18. Annual fees will be waived going forward, but we were told that request for current orders may need to be provided again in the future. Oh, and the interest rate is now at 4% (although we do not expect to be holding a balance to incur any interest rate charges).

I think I waited to see what the response would be with my husband's card before I inquired on the other two, so it seems to be a bit delayed. They have asked for orders and we have supplied those. We have also supplied orders to American Express in order to at least have annual fees waived going forward as well. I'm not sure that American Express will retroactively waive the fees.

If Chase or American Express do not apply the SCRA benefits to the accounts where I am the primary account holder, we will close those accounts and open the appropriate ones in my husband's name.

I am always thankful to organizations that provide benefits to service members. It is not something they have to do in most cases (although maybe yes with this one based on the law). And like all of you, I want to benefit our bottom line in anyway that I can.

I'd like to say I will apply this to the Big Savings Goal, but there are upcoming expenses that will require these funds. More on that at another time!

Frugal Friday

April 5th, 2019 at 06:14 pm

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 08:57 am

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 06:36 am

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.

February Interest Earned

March 2nd, 2019 at 05:56 am

February was the first full month that our 3.25% CD was in effect. The interest earned is reflected in the total.

FNBO $51.06
NFCU $113.87
Total $164.93

To compare, in January we earned $147.20. Higher interest rates do make a difference!

All interest earned is added to our Big Goal.

February Credit Card Rewards

February 28th, 2019 at 10:30 am

We primarily used our American Express and Discover credit cards in the month of February, and I think January as well. Just today I redeemed the most current rewards earned.

$66.71 American Express
$38.94 Discover
$105.65 Total Cash Back Rewards

The above cash back is being saved towards our Big Goal.

We use our Southwest Airlines Visa card to pay rent and a few other much smaller bills. We are earning a couple thousand points each month now. Specifically for February we earned 3,372 points. My account has over 35K points! We will definitely use most of those sometime this year.

We do not pay interest on our credit cards. We pay our balances in full each month. Credit card rewards do not pay off if you run a balance and are charged interest on your debt.

5% Cash Back TV, Internet & Streaming Services US Bank

February 23rd, 2019 at 05:12 am

We have the US Bank Cash + card and use it regularly for 5% cash back on our cell phone bill. We had been using it for 5% cash back on utilities prior to our move to base (no utility bill here).

The good news is they have a new category that we can benefit from! 5% cash back on TV, Internet, and Streaming services. We use AT&T for internet, Netflix and Hulu streaming services that should all qualify. I was just explaining to my husband how much we pay on these things. And honestly we should cut something, but yet four of us actually do use these. So 5% cash back will help cut the sting of the costs.

This new category is effective April 1. I'm making a note on my computer, specifically in YNAB, to switch the billing to the US Bank Card near the end of March.

As you might imagine, I will save the cash back received towards our Big Goal!

Anyone else us US Bank Cash + card?

Dreaming Big

February 14th, 2019 at 09:40 am

I've mentioned before that we are living on a military installation for the first time ever. One of the pros this time around was how much we would save on fuel for our vehicles with his commute being 4 minutes rather than 40 minutes. I'm trying to convince him to ride his bike to work, but so far a no go! He would rather buy a motorcycle if he was going to do that. Ha, ha,

We expect to save at least $200 a month. I'm still testing it. I'm purposely not budgeting $200 each pay period to see if that money is really extra due to the fuel savings. So far things seem promising, but this time of year tends to be low in all costs for us, so it's not entirely clear. And yes, $200 per pay period is $400 a month, which would be the higher end of fuel costs.

I guess I find it a bit of a game by holding that money out of the budget, not categorizing it in YNAB. Not sure it make sense to anyone but me.

I received a $5 settlement from some class action lawsuit, Olive oil I think. I like getting those in the mail. Always a surprise when they come to fruition! I've funneled that to our Big Goal, since small amounts add up.

"Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Clause. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don't, who will?" - Jon Bon Jovi

Yes, I'm a big fan of Bon Jovi...probably tells you when I grew up. Fault me, I'm living on a prayer!

Some Money Stuff...

February 5th, 2019 at 04:15 pm

Here's some random money related tidbits:

I redeemed 2500 Swagbucks for $25, which has been deposited in my PayPal account. I also did a Pinecone survey, so I expect $3 will be added to PayPal tomorrow. All money will go to the Big Goal.

We have confirmed that an access code my daughter purchased and realized she didn't need will be credited to her bill by February 15. This is after the bill to the University is due, but we were told to just pay the balance minus the expected credit. The cost of that code was $174.21, so not a credit I wanted missed.

I contacted the VA representative at the University to find out why the final 15 days of Post 911 GI Bill benefits had not yet posted to our oldest daughter's account. The response was apparently some missed paperwork. They did a credit to the account with the expected amount, and will adjust when actual payments are received. For now, since the numbers are not firm, I am going to float the payment with funds in our checking account before I take money out of her Educational Savings Account. It seems we may not need to withdraw as much as expected!

I've been working on taxes. My biggest issue is the figuring the actual costs we have had out of pocket for each of our daughter's and which tax credit to take. The software (HR Block) wants me to use the American Opportunity Tax Credit for our oldest daughter, which I was hoping to skip and use next year, yet I'm not sure we'll have much out of pocket costs, so it's probably right to take it now. The software gives me an option on which tax credit to use for our youngest daughter and I was leaning toward the Lifetime Learning credit. You can only claim four years of AOTC, which has to be used before they graduate with their degree. Our oldest daughter is on the five year plan because of her double major. I'll get it all cleared up...I still have more than three months until taxes are due.

Oh, another thing with taxes. The 1098T which colleges use to report qualified expenses and scholarships and grants, is not consistent between the colleges. One daughter's college counts activity fees and the other does not. One includes books, the other does not. Just when I think I have things figured out they change!

We had a part replaced on our truck today. $174.45 after a military discount. I do have money in our car maintenance fund.

We are getting ready to travel to visit the girls in the future, so now I'm researching airline tickets, car rental, and boarding costs.

Lots of money going out, but we have the cash. I am grateful we always seem to make it all work, even when it seems overwhelming.

January Interest Earned and Savings

February 1st, 2019 at 07:33 am

In January we earned a nice amount of interest on our savings. We always save all interest, even when we were paying on debt. Although back then our interest earned was piddly!

$66.07 FNBO Direct
$81.13 Navy Federal CU
$147.20 Total interest earned

In December our total was $118.73. We have increased our monthly interest by $28.47 because we moved a large amount of cash from one bank earning 2.15% to a CD at the other bank earning 3.2%. At about $150/month, we are on schedule to save $1,800 in interest this year.

We did a great job with extra savings this month. We only spent $31 on fuel for our vehicles. I think we both need to fill up soon! We saved toward the Big Goal as planned, but also since we were under budget we have added $545.05 to our emergency fund.

I've decided for 2019, continue the Big Goal saving with $350 a month ($175 each paycheck), add in credit card rewards and other snowflake money and interest earned. Any extra we save is going to our emergency fund. I think there are some expense we will incur in 2019 that are hard to anticipate the amount, so any extra cash saved will be helpful. I'd rather money from those come from what we have stashed and marked as EF money, than from our BIg Goal money.

Here's to a great year of saving!