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YNAB Update

September 15th, 2019 at 05:08 pm

It's official I will have to update from the free download of YNAB4 I've been using for several years. The new Apple Mac operating system upgrade is going to prevent YNAB from being able to even support the YNAB 4 version by the end of October 2019.

I'm going to spend the upcoming week setting up the free trial for the current web version of YNAB. I will spend the following 34 days (their free trial length) seeing how it works for us. If I feel okay about the changes, I will pay the cost to use the latest version of YNAB. I will get a 10% discount being a previous user.

I've always been hesitant to pay for an annual subscription for budgeting. Ironically, I pay for an annual Amazon subscription just to get the free two day shipping. Ultimately, we have made some great progress with our ability to make a detail budget on YNAB, so it is likely worth the annual cost.

Anyone else in this same situation? A holdout with YNAB 4, that will need to upgrade to the current version.

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.

It's a Spendy Season

September 3rd, 2019 at 02:16 pm

Well those last weeks of August were spendy with getting our girls back to school and getting some new things. Our youngest is rooming in a single room, so things her roommate brought last year, we needed to buy this year. The wardrobe in her current dorm has no doors on it, but we found a curtain panel for just $5.99 and a inexpensive tension rod to hang it and it looks much better. Compared to some people we are pretty slim in what she has going on in her dorm room. I can't believe how many people thing you need to have room all bling'd out!

We are now planning our trip to visit the girls over Thanksgiving. I really wish we didn't have to fly during the holiday but it's when they are available and we will get to see our daughter march in her last college halftime show for senior day.

I hope to get some more items listed and relisted on eBay this week or next. Budget Girl on YouTube has a recent video about Sell Stuff September. Not a bad idea to get the clutter out and make some money before the holidays, right?

I paid off my cell phone two months early the other day. It had been $14 per month, so I made a $28 payment. Obviously, our total cell phone bill will go down by that amount next month. This means by cell phone is almost two years old. It's working okay, although I do seem to lose the ability to hear the person I'm talking to on the phone sometimes. I haven't figured out if that is our WiFi or the phone itself. Why can't these last just a little longer?!

Verizon says we have been with them for ten years! They gift us a $20 Amazon gift card. Not a big reward for ten years as a customer, but I guess it's better than nothing. I'm sure I can find something on Amazon to buy!

Are you in a spendy season or a saving season?

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.

Let's Talk Dollar Tree

July 24th, 2019 at 07:53 am

I don't shop at Dollar Tree often. However, I was there yesterday and made a note of a few things worth buying there. If you don't know, everything is $1.

Yesterday, I bought an 8 pack of Hallmark branded notecards for $1, that's a deal!! I have in the past purchased their single cards (also Hallmark). Some are $1, others are 2 for $1.

I also bought four new metal food dishes for our cat. She has two places we feed her (wet food in the kitchen and dry food upstairs). The food dishes we had for nearly 14 years had the rubber piece on the bottom falling off. They just dry rotted basically.. I was thrilled to find these for $1 each.

I would probably consider buying gift bags if I bought lots of gifts. They also seemed to have lots of variety. I think some of their party supplies are possibly cheaper than Walmart, but maybe not all. You can get a mylar balloon filled with air for $1.

I noticed they had lots of organizing bins, hooks and shelves. Some did look low quality, but some seemed really nice. So that might be hit or miss.

If you are ever in pinch for reading glasses, you can get them for $1. I did try a pair or two, but they didn't hold up long term. I eventually did make an investment in better ones, but if I were on vacation and lost mine, I might pop into a Dollar Tree store.

You can get foil baking pans, some in multiples for $1. I have bought these before and the quality was just fine.

What have your purchased at Dollar Tree that you think is good deal? What have you purchased there you were disappointed in?

$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.

Summer Rent & More

June 28th, 2019 at 02:03 pm

We have closed the book on the summer rent. I just sent my daughter the portion we agreed to pay for July, so she can pay that on Monday. It was $400.

The lease is up at the end of July...so she's going to stay either with my sister or my parents, or maybe a friend for about two weeks before she can get into the dorms. We would only need to pay the friends if that is the route she takes.

In order to come up with the $400 each month, I had stopped setting aside money for car repairs and maintenance which was $275. I also stopped my youngest daughter's allowance of $125 over the summer since she is staying with us. And she is doing a small part time job getting paid $11/hour.

In July and August, I'm going to add the $125 allowance money to her tuition category in our budget. She will get the allowance transferred to her starting again in September.

Because we are putting far less wear and tear on our vehicles here, barely driving many miles, and we are up to date on maintenance, I'm going to reroute the $275 to help us pay back the $3000 we put down on our daughter's car. It will end up in our emergency fund, so could still be used if we need vehicle maintenance. We currently have over $1000 in that sinking fund, so that money would be used first.

Considering a few months ago, this all seemed so overwhelming that I called it chaos in a blog post, I'm so thrilled that it worked out as well as it did. I also have clear plans on how the tuition and housing payments will be made for both girls in August and September. Our oldest daughter will take out her first college loan of $2750 this fall. Our youngest will have hers covered with cash on hand and her Educational Savings Account.

Somehow things often work out, especially when you make a plan and tweak a few things. So grateful we have that flexibility!

May Interest 2019 And Car Info

June 1st, 2019 at 04:42 pm

This is an update on our interest earnings for May. I expect the numbers to go down a bit in June, as our savings will be dropping by $3,000. We are earning close to 2.20% on that money currently, so this should amount to a loss of $5.50 each month until we pay ourselves back. But this is better than paying 4% interest on that same money!

NFCU $123. 08
FNBO $69.61
USAA $0.03
Total $192.72

Getting so close to $200 per month in interest. I guess I can hope interest rates will continue to rise to offset the small loss of interest on that $3,000.

The $3,000 was money we put towards our daughter's new to her car. She put $3000 towards it, and paid for the taxes and registration (nearly $1000) out of a UTMA account she had since she was little. The remainder of the car cost is a loan, we are paying the payment until she graduates. The payment is $133.50 per month.

Buying New Clothing

May 25th, 2019 at 06:34 am

My youngest daughter is home for the summer! She needed shorts, because it is very hot here. We stopped by JC Penney yesterday where she found two pairs marked on sale for $14.99. I had a $10 off coupon for spending over $25. The final total with tax was $21.82. Very pleased with this amount. She won't be wearing them daily, as she still prefers jeans even in the heat, but at least when we are out for longer periods of time she will be cooler.

I'm going to have to buy new clothes very soon, as I have lost 13 pounds recently, and I am down thirty pounds since a year ago April. My shorts I was wearing yesterday still stay up and feel fine around the waist, but my husband said they look really baggy! I rarely buy clothes, and am a near minimalist when it comes to what I wear, so I won't need to replace a large amount. I am tempted to thrift store shop only because I expect that the size I am now is not where I will stay. I think I will sell some of my old clothes, the jeans and a dress for sure. The rest is probably only worth donating.

Some people keep their large sizes when they lose weight, but I'm almost positive I have found the right thing for me this time where I will be able to maintain. I'm not going to comment on what is working for me until I have reached my goal and maintained for some time. And honestly, weight loss and health are personal, we all have to find what works for us.