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Archive for February, 2014

Spent Some, Earned a Referral!

February 20th, 2014 at 06:31 pm

A few months ago I talked about how I really, really wanted to see Season two of Person of Interest, but I didn't want to spend the $40+ to buy it on DVD, and I was iffy about paying about the same for it on Amazon Instant. I thought maybe I'd use some fun money for it ... but I procrastinated and procrastinated.

So a few days ago I found out that another program I was really interested in was on AmInstant - Klondike (Discovery) -- All episode for $9! Sold! I looked up Person of Interest again just to see if it had gone down in price. It hadn't, but I got a big itch to get it. So, I checked Second Spin. They had it for $25 + $4 shipping + tax = ~$31. That was less than AmInstant, so I thought about it. Especially since I could sell it back for $7, so it would make the actual cost about $24.

Thankfully though before I hit the purchase button, I checked Ebay! I found it (a used copy) for $14 with free shipping! Score! So now after I watch it, I will first try selling it on eBay, and if that doesn't work, I'll sell it to Second Spin. The most the final cost will be is $7. Big Grin

I'm thinking I may put my Netflix account on hold for March, and then just watch the PoI discs and the Klondike episodes instead. So, if you subtract the $8.23 of Netflix, then my total cost will be around $8. (For both PoI and Klondike.) I'll also have new episodes of Once Upon a Time towards the middle of March on Hulu free (next episode airs March 9!!) So I can add that to my viewing pleasure for March. Smile

NE says I'm a tv addict... he should've seen me when I had cable AND Tivo!! Smile

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I spent some money today getting my nails done. I can do everything myself for a manicure except the cuticles - I seem to have this phobia of cutting my own cuticles... If I could get over that, I'd save some money. Smile

Why was I getting my nails done? Because tomorrow night I'll be heading to NE for the weekend. Big Grin

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Tonight as I was doing my Bing searches, I was checking to see how many more I needed and all of a sudden noticed my number was over 600. I was befuddled because I knew I needed about 40 more to get to my next redemption (500 Swagbucks for 475.) So I checked my dashboard and saw that I'd just gotten a referral!! Woo hoo! Thanks to whoever used my link. Big Grin I hope you got your 200 already as well.

I redeemed for my 5th (I think) Bing prize, and my 4th time getting the 500 Swagbucks award. That code sure came in handy when they were having a big code day not long ago - all I had to do was apply my 500 code, and didn't have to worry about it. Smile Tomorrow I'll be applying another 500 code to be sure I get my 21 day award (for making the daily goal.)

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When I got home tonight I did a load of laundry, and am now doing a load of dishes. Once they're done I'm going to pack - that should give enough time for more hot water - for my shower. Big Grin

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Wowsa! The stock I was talking about a few days ago? I thought 200 was sweet ... Smile Today it went as high as 214! but settled at 209. Still pretty sweet. Smile

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I got a pretty tempting email from GymPact today (cashed out for my third $10 payment so far in 2014 yesterday!) They'll give me $50 and some Pact swag (t-shirt? I think) if I upload my health info from my insurance site. They assure me that the info will be annonymously used once uploaded... And there's a Hippa document you have to sign electronically. I'm sorely tempted .. but not really sure I want to do it. They say it is for a study they're conducting with people who've used GymPact aka Pact for a year or more - to see if they can convince insurers that using a system like Pact will lower health care costs (thereby I guess giving Pact users insurance discounts??)

anyway - was curious what y'all would do?

Taxes - ugh!

February 17th, 2014 at 04:43 pm

I'd forgotten about my summer school money - got the form for that this last week. So I decided that today was the day I'd finish up my taxes. I started out in Turbo Tax, but when it got to where it said I'd need to upgrade to Premium to be able to get the form for capital gains (sold some stock) I was like forget it! So I went over to TaxAct - $17 for Federal and State. Somehow I assumed (erroneously of course)that this was the *total* cost to file.

I get through everything (end up owing NM $14, and getting a refund of $380 from Feds) and am on the next to last screen before filing. Then up comes the fees page. $17 for the state and federal, and then a $17.95 charge from Republic Bank!!! Say what? Where did that come from? The best I could tell is that the fee came from the fact that I was paying my NM fee electronically, or it could've been that I paid for the Taxact fees out of my refund. (Actually, now that I think about it, I think that is the case. Too late now to change that.)

At any rate, it still cost less than it would've with TurboTax. Ugh and double ugh!

So, less fees and tax owed to NM (first time I think I've ever actually OWED in a long time) I have approximately $325 coming my way. Not a lot, but considering that I upped my deductions this year (thereby receiving more in each paycheck) and actually made a little bit more than last year (summer school) - it's not too bad.

The refund money will be going directly to my NE-MOVE/TRAVEL fund. Smile

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I own this one stock that I bought into at around $27-28, which this past week as at =/- $200. The majority of what I own in it was inherited - and I promised my brother that I wouldn't sell any of it for at least 5 years. I also have some of that stock that I purchased after rolling over a Roth 401k from my gas and oil company job into a Brokerage IRA. So, that also can't be touched. However, I have 27 shares that I purchased in a taxable account which is from my own personal money. (Actually, I sold enough shares in it earlier this year that recouped my initial investment, plus a bit more.) So anyway, I am looking at the future and worried/anxious about how long it'll take me to get a job when I get to NE. I see I have approximately $5500 that I could have access to right now, which would nearly double my reserves.

I'm tempted to sell it and have the assured amount in my pocket. I'd put it away in my no touch account (unless job isn't found by July.) So it wouldn't just be spent willy nilly. But my argument with myself on this is, what if I DO find a job and end up not needing this, and the stock continues to rise? Wouldn't I kick myself for selling it needlessly? Not to mention that if I get a teaching/librarian job that pays non mission school wages, then I'd be bumped into a category where I might have to pay cap gains taxes.

What would you do? Say you were moving to a new state without a job lined up. You have enough in reserves + June pay to last til maybe September or October without a job (if you're *very* careful.) You have approximately $5500 in stock which you could sell, which would give you another 3-4 months of leeway -- if you sell it now. Or, you could keep that stock and wait and see how the job situation works out - then if it's not good, you can sell some then. Of course you aren't assured of how much it might be worth at that point - more or less.

Craigslist Shenanigans

February 15th, 2014 at 07:22 pm

So in preparation for my move to NE, I have been searching all avenues for a possible job. One avenue I've been pursuing is creating some income from eBay. I have already started a little bit towards that end by purchasing some merchandise from a liquidator (need to get it listed still!) Another avenue that I was interested in was found in an ad in the local area's Craigslist.

A man claimed to be a crew leader for a moving company and that he was looking for someone with a 100% feedback rating of at least 29 or more to work with him. He would provide photos of items that people left behind and descriptions. You would then post them on your eBay account, pay the eBay and PayPal fees, take an 11% cut, and send the remainder to him.

In the ad he mentions that he nets 10k a month selling stuff on Amazon, and the reason he's looking for someone is that the woman he'd worked with previously got a new job and didn't have time.

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This interested me at first. I had NE look it over to see if he thought it was legit, and he thought maybe it was. So, I sent the guy an email today. I told him I was interested, and I told him my ebay username so he could verify that I fit his qualifications. But then I told him that I needed him to give me some information as well, so that I could feel comfortable dealing with him and putting my ebay account at risk. I asked him for his Amazon username/company name, the name of his moving company, and the ebay username of the woman he'd previously worked with.

I really didn't think I was asking for too much. He sure did! He basically responded with a reprimand telling me that he has dozens of people lined up willing to make the sacrifices for the income. And that he couldn't believe I'd ask these kinds of questions of a potential employer.

I responded and told him that maybe I hadn't phrased my questions in the best way, but that trust is an earned commodity. And that I don't care to risk my ebay rep carelessly.

Anyway, we went back and forth a couple times. He kept going back to all the people who had no choice but to trust him and who were willing to make the sacrifices necessary.

I told him good luck with that. Smile

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The more I thought about the whole thing, especially considering how defensive he got and how un forthcoming - I figured out what probably his game is.

He gets the person to list the item using their account. The item sells, the fees are charged to that persons account, the person takes their 11% cut, and sends the remainder off to the guy. Only there never was really any item. So the buyer files a complaint that they never received their item, and the person who listed the item is now responsible for refunding the purchase price. Out of their own pocket - because of course at this point MovingTruck guy is long gone.

I think I dodged a bullet here by asking questions. It would be nice to find a situation like this that was for real though. Smile

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Almost forgot! I was wondering if anyone has heard of the Klondike:Gold Rush mini-series running on Discovery channel. I saw it advertised on Swagbucks a couple days ago, and found a similar program on Hulu (free) but was wondering if anyone knows where I could see these episodes? (legally of course!)

Feeling Miserable .. But a +

February 14th, 2014 at 06:43 pm

This past week I've been feeling pretty miserable. Sore throat, body aches, and the past two days or so, nausea. I actually took Wednesday off from work, but this afternoon I felt worse than I did on Wednesday. Ugh. At least I have a three-day weekend to sleep and hopefully get over this bug.

About a month ago or so, our IT person found an awesome deal on 30 computers/monitors/headphones for less than 10k! The school mission approved it, and they were ordered. They arrived today!! I was so excited to see the boxes and boxes come in. 21 of them will stay in the computer lab, and the other 9 will be given out to the classrooms. The computers from the computer lab (the ones that work decently - maybe 65% of them on good days ...) will also be put in the classrooms. (Some of the classrooms have WAY worse computers than the lab.)

The only downer though is that my principal vetoed us getting the computers put together right away. I understood her reasons (she wants to be there to keep track of packing slips, serial numbers, etc.) I still was bummed. Who knows when she, our IT person and I will have time to do that. She mentioned Spring Break. (If that is when it happens, I won't be there.)
I am SO tired of the computers we have. I SO look forward to the day I can assign computers to students - I haven't been able to do that, because all too often a student will sit down at a computer, and then have to move 3 or 4 times before finding one that is working right that day.

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I was talking with one of the teacher assistants today, and somehow the subject got brought up about my wanting to get rid of my computer desk and elliptical before I move. The TA jumped on wanting my computer desk, asking me how much I wanted for it. I told her that she could have it - all she needed to provide was people to haul it out of my place, and a truck to transport it! Not long after, I was walking to the cafeteria for lunch when the 7th grade teacher stopped me and asked if I really had an elliptical I was wanting to let go of. Smile I told her that I'd planned on donating it to the school until I was told that the one we have never is used, so yes, I had one I wanted to let go of - all she needed was the muscle power to get it out of my place and to hers!

THEN after school, the 4th grade teacher came up to me and asked me about the desk/elliptical. I told him they were already spoken for. Smile He asked me if there was anything else I was thinking about letting go of. I told him that I was thinking of letting go of my stereo system, but wasn't sure anyone would really want it. I bought it in 97 - it has a CD rack and a tape deck. Kari has done major cosmetic damage to the speakers. -- He said that he still might want it!

Wow! I'd been wondering how I'd get rid of these things before moving - how I'd even get them to the thrift store. Now it's all taken care of, and I won't even have to figure out manpower for the moving of them! (Maybe I can ask them to help me get my stuff loaded ... Smile )

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About the Cloud 9 from the other day.... I'm still not sure if it is true yet or not. I promise to let y'all know if it is or not. Smile

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I cashed in for another 500 swagbucks from Bing about a week ago. I used the one from the end of January today so I didn't have to mess with the big daily goal. I'm saving the other one for the 21st - which is when I'll be flying to NE for a short long weekend. (That way I'll at least get the 21 day bonus.)

High and low

February 5th, 2014 at 03:55 pm

This morning started with a possibility that put me on Cloud 9. A possibility of something having happened that I want *very* much to happen.

Then I went to work ... I'd called the maintenance guy yesterday because my hot water was out. He said he'd send someone over ... still hadn't sent anyone by the morning. So I told my principal, and she got on him. Someone came by and got my keys while I was in the middle of class. (Why they don't have their own set of keys for my place is beyond me - I even made an extra set for them when I first moved here. Ugh.)

So lunch time comes and I sign out to go home ... then realize that I don't have my keys. They'd never come back with them. So I call again, and he says he'll call the person who worked on my heater. 25 minutes later a guy walks in with my keys and says "I've been looking all over for you." Umm.... I was sitting in the front office the whole time. That's generally the first place to go when looking for a teacher.

So I run home and get something to eat and get my iPad which I needed for an afternoon lesson.

My afternoon class was absolutely miserable. All classes know that the rule is when you come into the library you stop at the end of the bookcase for instructions. This particular group (mostly boys) totally disregarded that rule today - even when I reminded the first one through the door.

When I called him back, he came back for a second - until he saw the iPad on the table. Then he made a beeline to it. I had to call him back again.

Finally the books were all taken care of, and the kids were seated at the table to start the digital photography lesson. This is the same unit I did with last year's 5th graders, which they all seemed to really enjoy. Not so much this particular section. The majority of them just were not listening, and when I asked them questions about what we had discussed last week, they just looked at me like I was from outerspace. It was just about unendurable. I felt bad for the three girls in the group because they were actually trying and listening.

I had one boy actually tell me that he didn't want to take pictures. So I told him that was fine, he could just sit down at the table and do nothing while the others took pictures (and he would get a 0 for the day.)!!
(**I only have 5 digital cameras. This means with a group of ten or eleven, they have to pair up and take turns using the cameras. This worked with no problems with last years group, and no problems with the Friday section -- Wed. section DOES NOT work well.)

There was more, but I was just so completely and utterly frustrated. I had to go do car line duty, so the teacher assistant (who did NOTHING to help me) took the bus kids out. I didn't even say goodbye to them - which is my normal operandi.

I had *serious* doubts about starting the photography unit with this particular section. The other section of 5th graders is seeming to enjoy and participate in it. I'm at the point where I'm going to have the two sections do completely different things. I need to figure out what that something different will be - I don't want it to be boring, but I also don't want it to be more interesting than the photography unit.

Maybe I'll have the boys who are being numbskulls work on writing reports on the history of photography, while the girls are able to take pictures and do the different activities I had planned. I came the closest I think I have ever come to yelling today. And I hate it, absolutely hate it, when I hear teachers yell at kids.

My patience with this group is just about not there anymore. I am really wondering if I should pursue another teaching job, or just find something where I don't have to deal with managing others.

Ting, Internet Service and a Scare

February 3rd, 2014 at 04:50 pm

I received an email from Ting today saying that they have lowered their prices on data! How often do you hear of a company that lowers their prices?? When I move to NE, I totally plan on switching to Ting. (I'm just not too sure of Sprint's network here. NE has Sprint, and when he calls me within NM I can always hear static.)

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I called my Internet service provider this afternoon. I had to agree to a 12 month contract to get the deal (but if where I move to doesn't have this provider, then I'm good to go.) The cost without the promotional deal would be nearly $60 - with the promotion it'll be approximately $30. I can deal with that. Smile

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I had totally forgotten that I'd opened up a dream account with Barclay's and set up automatic transfers. So last night I received two emails telling me that my transfer was successful. Huh?! I was completely paniccing and it didn't help that their customer service isn't open on the weekend. After about ten minutes though of thinking it through, I recalled the dream account and calmed down. I did call them today though to be 100% sure.

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I got my resume/cover letter faxed off today. Now the wait begins. Smile

Pickle Update and etc.

February 1st, 2014 at 02:07 pm

Well I finally called the company that is not named today Smile and ... was told that I need to keep looking for the box with the scanner for the next two weeks, and if I don't find it, call back on the 17th and they'll mark it as a "lost asset." I will not be held liable for it!Here I've been stressing about it for *months* and it was as simple as this. Ugh!

Thanks everyone for your advice/suggestions/commiseration. Smile

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I got my January Internet bill on Thursday. It was almost double the normal bill - so that means that whatever promotion I was under is over again. I was going to call them today, but they're only open M-F, so will have to call them on Monday. Hopefully I can get it lowered by quite a bit. (Especially considering how slow/spotty the service can be sometimes!!)

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NE was here visiting this past week. I used the third of my four personal days to be able to spend a whole day with him. I'll be using the last personal day near the end of this month to go out there to NE. Smile Feb 10 will make 9 months! We went out to eat Thursday night, and I managed to forget to bring my purse! Luckily he had his wallet, so he paid (and luckily I didn't get pulled over - no driver's license!) We have the agreement that whoever is "hosting" the other generally drives and pays for meals/entertainment. (I paid him back when we got back home.) He drove home through the Denver area so he could purchase some stereo equipment (he resells on Ebay) - as he was walking out the guys door, he missed a step and fell. Frown Luckily, his pride was the most damaged in the fall.

I can hardly wait til the end of May when we will no longer have to make a huge trip to see each other!!

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Speaking of the move .. NE accessed the stuff that I plan on moving with me (I'm planning on donating my elliptical and probably my computer desk/hutch .. and debating about my stereo system.) He thinks that I should be able to fit everything in to one of the larger rental trailers along with our two vehicles. I *think* that even with adding in gas costs for two vehicles, this would work out somewhat cheaper than renting the small truck and car dolly.

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I was going to fax my cover letter and resume on Friday for that tech job in NE - but got way busy during the day, and then after school I helped the 3rd grade teacher select photos for the Americ@orps conference she and the first grade teacher are going to in a few weeks (the same one I went to last year.) By the time we were finished, the office was locked up (where the fax machine is.) So .. will do it on Monday - have everything printed out and ready to go (including a cover sheet.)

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Getting gas on Friday evening in big G was a nightmare! My tank was on the last flashing button so I HAD to get some, otherwise I would've driven off and done it later. I pull up and there is a sign on all the pumps saying that they were out of regular fuel, but that the mid-level fuel was the same price. So just as I'm about to swipe my card, someone comes out and takes off the sign and says they have regular fuel again. Okay... I swipe my card and am about to remove the pump, when I get the message the transaction was cancelled. Huh? I hadn't even typed in my zipcode - and I knew the card was good - had just used it at Walmart. So, I tried it a second time. It was canceled again, and given the message to see cashier. I went inside, and there was a line of 20+ people! Finally I get up there and ask for $35 on my pump. Go pump, and it comes out to $32.01 - am told to go inside for refund. UGH! 20+ people again in line. Finally get my refund.

A transaction that should have taken maybe 5 minutes tops, ended up taking over 20 minutes -- all with frozen groceries in the car. At least I wont' have to fill up again for awhile.

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I recently downloaded a new app (new to me at least) called Receipt Hog. You take a picture of your receipt and earn coins which eventually you can redeem for gift cards or Paypal cash. So far it seems to work pretty well, and an added bonus is that you have a digital record of your receipts. You get bonuses for referrals, but I think the only way to get referrals is via FB/Twitter or email. Too bad they don't just have a link I could place on my sidebar. Smile

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Another new app I *just* downloaded last night is Achievemint! I've been using the website for the past year, but they just recently came out with an app. I've earned almost $40 from it just from connecting GymPact, Fitbit, Monitor Your Weight and My Fitness Pal. Now with the app, I am able to set up "habits" which correspond with the apps I already have connected and earn even more points! I'll be cashing out when I get to $50 (which shouldn't be too much longer at the rate I'm earning points now!)

About GymPact - I can't remember if I mentioned it or not - but they have expanded the ways you can earn money. It's made it so I've been able to cash out for $10 TWICE since December. They added connectivity to My Fitness Pal - you can bet how many days you'll log your calories and then get paid for it (if you make your bet.) You also can bet how many servings of fruit/veggies you'll eat in the week (up to 35) - take a picture of what you eat, and the community votes on whether it's acceptable or not. (They have renamed themselves just Pact, but I think you still can find it searching gympact.) New users might still be able to get a $5 starting code (was MFP, but I'm not sure when that one expires.)

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I have three months left to be able to do ten regular pushups -- or pay NE $100. Um .... I still can't do one regular pushup. Part of the problem is that I haven't been terribly consistent doing my pushup workout routine .. really need to get on that. Smile

As for diet@bet -- I have a *small* possibility that I may be able to win Round 3. I'm within 1 - 2 lbs of my round 3 goal weight - Feb 5 or 6 is weigh in day. I think I'll definitely make it for the Round 4 weigh in (March 5/6) and 100% sure I'll get the final weigh in (May 5/6.) I've had several people who did not know I was working on losing weight recently comment that I looked like I'd been losing weight. Big Grin (About 23 lbs lost since September.) My Lane Bryant corduroys that I got on clearance for $5 years ago are getting to the point where I need a belt to hold them up (well, they stay up fine, just kind of ride down to where if I don't have a long top on and raise my arms .... belly button assault.)

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I cashed out about a week ago for 500 SBs from Bing - I'm going to use the code probably on Monday so I don't have to worry about making the goals that day. Although it might be better to save it for the birthday bash day, since the goal that day will probably be pretty high and be time consuming to reach. Hmmm..

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I think I've got most of the tax documents I need now. I plan on finishing my taxes this weekend. I'd forgotten about the money from summer school - so I'm not sure how that will affect my refund - I *think* I'll still be under the tax saver's credit limit (so I'll still get a credit for putting money in my ROTH.) I'll also be able to do my state taxes, so I can find out what kind of refund I'll get from that. Smile Whatever refund I get will be going to the Moving/NE fund. If I get that tech job, it'll make the move SO much simpler - (i.e. renting an apartment with a contract in hand is much easier than trying to rent an apartment without a job already ... plus since it's a Catholic school, they hopefully would be on the same salary schedule - so I might only have to go for July without a paycheck. Oh, I also checked out the salary schedule in that town for Catholic school teachers ... Big Grin Big Grin the *starting* salary is a good $10k more than I make right now - assuming that's for people with only a degree and no experience.)