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Archive for September, 2015

6% interest?

September 30th, 2015 at 06:38 pm

So I was reading an article today in our local online paper about ten ways to make more interest than a savings account.

When I first opened it up, I expected to find nothing new, but decided to look anyway.

Well ... there WAS something new (to me at least!)

One of the ideas they talked about was the Mango Money Pre-Paid card. (https://www.mangomoney.com/)

It is a pre-paid spending card with a savings account attached to it!

If you have at least $500/month direct deposited to it, they pay 6% interest on up to $5,000. Over $5,000 is .10% and there is a limit of $10,000 total.

Once the money is in the savings account, it can only be transferred to the money card/pre-paid card.

This won't work for me because I only can have one bank for direct deposit - but if your work allows you to split your deposits (like the place did when I was teaching in TX) then this might be a great way to put a little bit away for various goals.

Anyway, I though ya'll might find this interesting. Smile

Qualifying for a Mortgage?

September 28th, 2015 at 08:24 pm

So this past weekend I didn't do all that much, trying to muster up all the energy I could to go back to work this week. Ugh. (Today was a clustermess of buses running majorly late and very shorthanded all around.)

But one thing I did do was to check into the downpayment assistance program here in NE.

One of the requirements is that anyone who would reside in the house (over 18) has to take 4 two-hour classes. Another requirement is that the borrower (potential borrower) has a continuous work history of two+years.

I corresponded back and forth with the main person at the local office. The basic gist I got was that NE and I probably wouldn't qualify once our incomes were put together, and that there was no way NE could NOT come to the classes. (They are in the evenings on nights he works.)

So ... that avenue seems to be off the table.

I'm wondering though - is a two-year continuous work history that big of a deal?? I have worked/been employed (W-2 employment) for 4 years minus about 5 weeks. Would the minus 5 weeks be a huge stumbling block??

If so, then we might have to go with NEs finances, or wait til August when I'm at the two-year mark.

If we go with NEs finances, then we've got some major repair work to do. I offered to take over paying his bills so we could make sure they were paid on time each month - not sure if he thought I was serious or not.

I also was thinking about maybe a secured credit card, or some kind of small installment loan.

I also briefly considered selling my non-retirement funds stock to just forego completely messing with a mortgage. .... I sold about $4k worth of stock in 2013? and didn't have to pay any capital gains on it - I think because of my income bracket? (it had a cost basis of about $300 or so) So, if I were to sell $55k worth of stock with a cash basis of around $2k .... would that be counted as income and therefore majorly raise my tax bracket, or would I be in the same situation of not paying capital gains?

Really not planning on doing that (selling stock) but am kind of curious about what would happen if I did.

I've looked for info on what the mortgage people look for when deciding on loans / interest rate, but haven't found much beyond advertising. I'd really like to take that class, but it doesn't seem like they'll let me do it by myself. Sigh. Although I still think I'm going to apply - just in case.

One thing we talked about doing is sitting down with a mortgage person at my local credit union and seeing what they think our options are. I'm not sure what all information we should bring with us to something like that? Most recent tax returns? # of check stubs? documentation on any debts?

---
I did my last spend of the month today. (the first one since my mom left!) Bought some olive oil and bananas - both items with rebates, and both needed. (Used up my olive oil frying the eggplant when my mom was here.)

So now I'll get the 2.5 % interest. Smile Can hardly wait til Wednesday to see it. Big Grin

Free *Or Nearly Free* Clothes! Free Shipping!

September 25th, 2015 at 01:19 pm

Okay, so I was reading on the MMM boards and came across a post explaining how to get $50 worth of clothes for free. It was from August, so the coupon code had expired when I tried it today. HOWEVER you still can get $25 worth of free clothes AND free shipping!

Do the following:
Go to this link:
https://www.schoola.com/stitch?ref=cp-3X5whmZPF

*Note - this is a referral link. I get $15, you get $15.

Near the top of the page click on the word COLLECTIONS

Click on NEW Collection

Name your collection, select what type of clothes, size, color, etc.

Start adding clothes to your cart.

When you've $25 worth of clothes (or near as possible) go to your cart.

Enter your email address and the code #schoolasummer

The code is expired, but it will then show you your final cost.

Delete the code and enter your payment info.

I was able to get within $.25 of the $25 - I bought 3 nice used tops (Lane Bryant, Faded Glory, and another one can't recall right now.) All for $.25 shipped.

If you do use my referral code, it might be nice to put your referral code in the comments. Then the next person to use it can use it. Then we can all get another $15 worth of free clothes! Big Grin

ETA - These clothes are USED clothes being resold. Make sure to look them over closely. Some of the money is also being donated to help out some schools in various areas.

ETA 2 - I just got an email with an updated code! For 25% off! This means you can get $50 worth of clothes for free!!

Try this code: WS66W007-QD (Good til Oct 5)

Spending Fast, House, etc.

September 25th, 2015 at 08:14 am

So far the spending fast is going well. I haven't spent a penny Tuesday - today.

There's been a number of times driving home, etc. where I get the thought in my head "let me just stop and get a drink (soda)" and then I'll remind myself that #1 I can drink water when I get home, and #2 I am NOT spending any money unless I absolutely NEED to. So far, so good with that. (It kind of helps that thanks to my major overspending, I have a stash of not so healthy food in my place ... so when I'm overly stressed the food is already there ... no need to buy it ... good for the pocketbook, not so much for the waistline)

---
NE and I did some more talking last night. He wants me to go ahead and do the research/get started on figuring out how to get pre-approved for a home loan. From the various calculators, based just on my income debt/income ratio, we should be able to get something around $75k - or about $600/month total cost (mortgage, insurance, taxes, PMI) That'd be nearly $400/month less than what we're paying in rent currently.

By combining expenses we'll eliminate one Internet bill ($80/month Gulp) and probably cut utilities by 1/3 or so (depending on how big the house is of course.)

He's on board with the idea of a 15 year and paying extra to it so as to get it paid off as quickly as possible. I've also stressed to him that we need to have money set aside for repairs/maintenance/improvements.

I asked a lady at church (at women's ministry meeting) what Realtor she'd used when buying her recent rental property - she gave me the info for her and said she'd highly recommend. Before going with a Realtor though, I want to get the pre-approval thing done. Not sure if I should try through an online place like Cap One or through a local credit union. I'd really like to try to see if I can get the 2.75% rate ....

I read somewhere that some of the first time buyer programs that offer downpayment assistance have clauses such as they get your profit when / if you sell your home later?? I'd kind of get that if they asked you to pay back the money they assisted you with, plus maybe a little extra ... but all the profit? (Not that I think I'd really need to worry too much about that, because whatever house we buy, we will be staying put in - not planning on doing the whole "starter" house thing.)

Like I said though, still need to do some research on this whole thing.

---
So ... possibly a little prematurely and presumptively .... based on some conversations NE and I have had recently plus the house talk getting more serious (and him knowing my viewpoint for MYSELF about living with someone I'm not married to) ... my mom and I went to a dress shop while she was here. Yes, that kind of a dress shop.

I found *the* dress. $847. GULP. THE dress. It fit nearly perfectly. (I could possibly get the price reduced, as it is a stock dress. Alterations would be less than $50 ... Sigh.)

I can't do it. I won't do it. But me oh my ... if I had the budget for it ... and a venue/large enough prospective guest list for it ... and didn't want a house more than THE dress ... It would be mine.

Even though I'll more than likely end up getting something off the rack at Macy's or JC Penney's etc., it sure was fun to have the experience and to know that there really IS that experience of finding something that really IS THE Dress. Even if you don't actually get it.

(When/if it happens, it'll be just family and a few local friends. NE only has a sister and a close friend here, possibly a nephew that might come. We have a mutual friend here. I have a slew of family that'd come. Still, the total guest list would probably be under 20, maybe 15. So something *really* simple. Maybe even a courthouse one. My recent experience has made me rethink whether that is totally out of the question or not.)

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I am at home today. Woke up feeling pretty miserable. Yesterday at work was pretty miserable (plus stressful .... Why oh why would someone ask you to do something for them, and then while you are doing what they asked, they go ahead and make their own version? Which of course is *exactly* what they wanted/pictured. And this is the person who's always talking about how she is SO behind and SO overwhelmed. Of course you are - even as you supposedly delegate tasks to me, you are either doing them yourself, or spending 20 minutes plus explaining it ...(whereas a note telling me what labels she wanted created would've been more than sufficient ... I don't have ANY interest in her job, so the explanations have ZERO interest to me ...)

--
So anyway ... since I am at home today during regular business hours, I plan on calling the horrible company that holds me hostage to their prices for Internet. My "promo" expired and went from $67/month to $82/month. Cannot comprehend spending that much money on Internet. (A phone line is included in the cost - it is required for whatever reason. Believe me, I have tried to tell them I refuse to have the stupid phone line. Didn't work.)

First though I'm going to call the *other* company here and see if they have a better offer. Last time they didn't.

It just galls me to pay this much for it, when in NM and TX I paid less than $40/month, and even less than $30/month (in TX.)

===
I got credited for my hotel stays on SBs - 2888SBs. Of course I'd seen they had a credit pending for just the first hotel stay, and I wrote CS an email asking what was going on ... CS credited me with 2888SBs. Only in my ledger it shows as for Groupon. Not Expedia. I wrote them back to let them know they made a mistake, but so far I still have the SBs. So I have enough to redeem for a $50 PayPal with plenty left over ...

Will give it a few weeks though to see if they take the SBs back or not.

Not a Spending Reduction, but a Spending FAST!

September 22nd, 2015 at 06:16 pm

It was way worse than I thought. Even after entering the $450 extra($200 bank bonus, $200 from mom, $50 from Swagbucks) I STILL had to take money from my slush fund to get rid of the red in multiple categories.

So for the remainder of September, unless it is an *absolute* necessity, I will not be spending one more penny. (Okay, I still have to do one more transaction for my checking account to get 2.5% - but that will be a less than $5 transaction.)

In October I can't make it a fast because I've already agreed to going away overnight with NE. Hopefully we can keep the expense to a bare minimum though.

I think I will bow out from the children's conference though - that's $40 I can't afford right now - not with the MAJOR overspending I did this month. I also am going to skip the mani-pedi - that money that was budgeted is going to pay for overspending in other categories.

I really let the stress of the property manager get to me overly much ...

October will be a 3 paycheck month so I can replenish the slush fund, and almost finish the EF. It makes me sick to know that had I not done this, I would be able to finish the EF and get a good start on the car fund in October.

--
I tried to cash out my iBotta tonight but it just kept spinning and spinning after I clicked the link to confirm my paypal account. I have $27.25.

I did cash out Pact for $10.

I also cashed out another $25 in PayPal from Swagbucks tonight.

PerkTv is driving me nuts with this ad that keeps freezing - if it wasn't for that, I'd be really close to my next $25 AGC!

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I'm trying to figure out if I'm correct ... If I have $10k in an account which earns 2.5% interest, that would be $250??? Or would it be $25? If the first number is correct ... then that just boggles my mind. It really seems to me like that first number should be correct ... If it is ... then my EF will be finished much quicker than I imagined, and my car fund will be getting started really soon!

(I also think I could persuade my bf to do the debit card thing for me if I gave him $50/month off of whatever he used it for to do it. That way I wouldn't have to dream up 12 reasons to use it in my own transactions, while at the same time making sure to get my $500 spend for Discover.)

Mom's Visit, Walk Through, Restaraunt, Spending Reduction

September 21st, 2015 at 07:09 pm

I'm back home now from taking my mom to the airport today.

We had a good visit together. We did some shopping, we rode the bus and took a tour of the bus station where I work, made eggplant parmesean at my house, ate out twice with NE, etc.

One of the places we ate at is the vegan restaurant which Ceejay recommended a long time ago. Overall I'd say it was a good place, and that some of the food was pretty good. The atmosphere was WAY noisy though (especially this one lady who did not understand how to keep her noise level to inside levels ...)

Friday afternoon my mom and I had a really interesting experience. She and I were sitting in a booth at a downtown Casey's store (gas station.) An older lady came in and was trying to get someone to come be a witness to her wedding - she was willing to pay $10.

I was kind of wondering if she was trying some sort of scam, but when she got to us I decided to go with it and see what happened. My mom agreed.

So we followed the lady outside to where her fiancee' and another person who'd agreed to be a witness were standing. Apparently both of their witnesses had flaked out (decided to go get drunk instead of coming to their wedding ... a daughter and son.)

We headed over to city hall where we stood waiting for about ten minutes while the lady chain smoked and gabbed about many way too personal details to tell strangers.

Finally we headed inside where we had to go through a metal detector and went into a courtroom. The judge met us there and explained what was going to happen. He seemed like a really nice guy, very easy going with a good sense of humor.

After putting on his robe, he conducted the ceremony. It really was quite beautiful for a courtroom ceremony.

At the end I had to sign my name and write my address on two documents (as a witness.) Both I and the other lady refused the $10 when offered. Then before leaving gave the bride a hug and good wishes.

(She and the new husband had been together for 19 years - had been homeless, drug addicts, etc., but now she is on disability and he is a truck driver. She recently bought a house on her credit, and insisted on "making it official.")

All in all ... an interesting experience.

---
The Walk Through ... got a voice mail Thursday night from property manager. Said "Your place looks like a million bucks. I am so impressed. Thank you."

Ugh. At least it's over now.
----
Now that my mom is gone I am going to be putting myself on a Spending Reduction.

This means that I can only spend $20 per week on anything outside of gas for my car, regular bills/contributions, October trip with NE, October restaurant w/NE, and the mani/pedi which I still haven't done! I also may add in there the registration fee(s) for a Sabbath School workshop and a fundraiser 5k I might participate in during October.

Yikes .. lots of exceptions. But even with them, I think it will help me get my spending muscles back into check after the spendalooza that has been August and September so far.

This spending reduction is in effect until November 19 (before I go out to CA for Thanksgiving.)

I'm going to be entering all my receipts, etc. into YNAB tomorrow night and see how much damage has been done ...

----
Extras:
$200 account bonus from Nationwide
$200 from mom for her part of the hotel, other stuff we did together
Have enough SBs to cash out for a $25 PayPal, but am waiting for the next Swagup to come available.

Ready for Tomorrow! Thinking ..

September 16th, 2015 at 06:51 pm

So my place is as ready as it can be for ... the walk through ...

I went to Target tonight and bought new cat litter and a new high sided litter pan (both on the cartwheel) along with some other stuff. Sigh ... I will be doing some kind of a spending moratorium after my mom is gone. Sorely needed. Earned $6.50 in ibotta rebates/bonuses ... (up to $26.70 now)

I've been looking on Craigslist at apartments in case I decide to say enough is enough with this deal. There really isn't much available in my price range right now. (At least not in areas I'm willing to live.)

So ... I also have been looking at houses.

I've been seeing some that are very interesting, and under the $75k price mark. One I'm quite interested in is about $69k. 3 br/2b/full basement/large yard/large front porch

If NE and I end up getting married .... our credit scores are worlds apart. He spaces on paying bills a lot ... (which is why I would be taking over that aspect presto pronto - which he agrees with totally)

So ... I'm guessing it would be better to work on getting a mortgage/approval prior to saying I Do and having our credit scores merge (as far as getting a mortgage goes) It would then just be my name on the deed (if just my finances are used to get it.) Later on though, when we've gotten his score back up, we could refinance or something and add him to the deed??

(And yes, I do plan on making sure that I could handle the house payments/bills on my own if necessary. He'd really be taking most of the risk here by contributing monetarily to a house that doesn't have his name on it.) How would that affect taxes though? If we file jointly, could we still claim the mortgage interest thing if it's in just one of our names?

I'm thinking that the time of the low interest rates for mortgages may be coming to an end soon ... and so that is also kind of making me thing it may be time to act sooner than later. (Not *just* because of stupid property manager's wife Big Grin )

I should start looking into those links you guys gave me last time for first time home buyers and such not. Though that'll have to wait til next week after my mom is gone and hopefully my stress level will have gone down 50 notches.

Picking her up at the airport tomorrow and then eating at the vegan restaurant Ceejay recc'd so long ago! Good thing I get to sleep in on Friday! Smile

What a Fiasco!

September 14th, 2015 at 05:15 pm

So as I mentioned, I hired someone to do a deep clean of my apartment for two reasons - 1. my mom coming on Thursday, and 2. the PM's wife/PM's walk-through on Thursday.

I got about 40 texts from this lady in total. 25 of them were her checking to make sure I'd gotten the things she'd "suggested." Already I was getting to where this was a definite two-time deal. First and last.

Then last night just before NE and I were about to head out for dinner, I get a text from her telling me to empty my vacuum bag and make sure I had her money in cash.

Ummmm.... okay.

So on our way back we stopped by an ATM.

Then just before NE left, we opened up my vacuum cleaner to change the bag. Slight problem. None of the bags I had been hauling around for the last oh 5 years fit the vacuum!! (Can you tell how often I vacuum?)

So I was faced with having to go out looking for a bag to fit it at 11:00 p.m. An 18+yo vacuum.

Thankfully NE was willing to go to his place and bring me his vacuum.

One of his cats has a bit of a ... urination problem. (Yes, she has been checked out medically.) The vacuum had been on its side. The cord had been peed on.

So NE spent about 35 minutes cleaning the cord so the lady cleaner wouldn't smell the cat pee.

Finally I got to bed about 12:30a.m.

Before leaving for work I made sure to put my extra key under the mat by my door.

About 10:30 I get two phone calls in a row and a voicemail. I couldn't do anything about the phone calls, but I could read the text.

She couldn't find the key.

I asked her if the door was locked. (Panicking thinking someone saw me put the key under the mat and took it, and went inside my place. Not that I have much worth stealing.)

Nope, it was locked.

So I get some coworkers to cover the desk and rush home. Only to find that she isn't there!! Guess what WAS there? Right where I had left it this morning?

Yep, my key.

So I text her back and forth a bit again. She's insisting the key hadn't been there. My last text to her was: The key was there. The key is there.

I hear nothing else from her. So I have no idea whether or not she came back and actually cleaned my place!

When I got home I found out that she had cleaned it. Whew.

She definitely better think twice before asking me to recommend her to anyone!

CA wildfires

September 13th, 2015 at 04:33 pm

Hey all,

My brother lives in Napa and I have an uncle in Angwin. If I'm reading the maps, etc., right it sounds like my brother is in the mandatory evacuation area. I have had contact with him today, but not much.

The town of Middleton is pretty much completely destroyed - one of our churches and our local church school is reportedly amoungst the burned down structures in that area.

So scary how fast a majorly destructive fire can start. (This fire is only about 24 hours old.)

Decluttering and hanging shelves and shopping

September 13th, 2015 at 01:09 pm

So far today I:

*cleaned out litter boxes and refilled

*took out trash

*decluttered my kitchen drawers

*put together a box of books and other things that I had been planning on selling on eBay, but have just been sitting there for a year on a shelf ... and took that box plus stuff from the kitchen drawers to Goodwill

*cleaned out my car - found $1

*figured out how to hang the shelves I got a few weeks ago without buying a drill bit (like NE said I'd have to do) Hmph! Girl power!

*moved boxes from beside the back door to behind my bed

*moved suitcases from beside back door and put into my closet (this only made possible because of KonMari'ing my clothes a few weeks or so ago - otherwise would not have had the space in the closet!)

*attempted to put plate hangers on my two deco plates, but found out the hangers were TOO big! (plates I think are 8" and the hangers are for 10-14")

*Went to Walmart and spent way, way too much ...

but ... got two bathroom rugs to go under litter boxes
.... got a new shower curtain w/hooks that *I* like (not the drab brown the guy who lived here before had left)
... got a new hand towel and washcloth to spiffy the bathroom up
... a lot of other stuff (mostly groceries)

*got home and got everything scanned to my various apps ($3.70 Ibotta, $2.75 SavingStar, $.25 Shrink, $.25 Snap)

*got everything put away, and just finished a late lunch. Now am going to relax a bit until it's time for NE to come over (we're going out to a place called Pizza Ranch tonight - his treat!)

Smile

---
Yesterday I went for a 4.5 mile walk with some people from church. Overall, I got in over 14k steps!

I used the Charity Miles apps and earned $1.06 for a charity, and I also earned 40 bounts points - 20 for fitbit (14k steps) 10 for RunKeeper, and 10 for a weekend activity. I'm up to 590 bounts already. Sweet!



Now I just need to get my extra key to the cleaning lady so she can clean my place tomorrow.

Met with a Cleaner

September 11th, 2015 at 06:18 pm

This afternoon I met with a lady who is going to do the cleaning I need done. She suggested I get something called Draincare to help get rid of the future possible clogs.

She's probably going to come on Monday. I agreed to pay her $100 (the bathroom with the litter mess was a bit worse than I'd realized.)

I need to figure out a better solution for keeping the litter off the floor. I have tried the hooded boxes before, but really didn't like them (neither did my cat(s).) I've also tried a variety of litter mats ...

This is something I'll deal with once my mom is gone though.

I bought the draincare stuff, some lightbulbs, replacement liner things for the stove burners, and ... some chocolate.

This weekend I'm going to focus on doing more decluttering and getting my car cleaned out.

I made it 3 days with no spending so far this month ...

This month's totals are going to be so disastrous. At least I have a good slush fund to handle it without missing a beat. I just don't like actually *using* the slush fund.

Royally ticked

September 10th, 2015 at 04:07 pm

I won't go into all the details ...

Last week after having tried multiple solutions to fix the tub drainage issues (including using a Zipit) and finding that it was getting worse and not better, I finally called my property manager.

Today I got an email from PMs wife. In it she told me that my pipe had been completely clogged with hair and that if happened again that I'd be charged the service fee ($89.) Fine. Never had issues like this before, but whatever.

She then went on to say that her husband is going to come back on the 17th to do a walk through. It is expected that my place will be clean and clutter free.

Say what? I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great housekeeper, but I'm not a horrible one. The cleaning aspect though, I'm really like again, whatever.

The clutter though has me furious. I don't see how it is ANY business of a landlord/property manager to tell someone they have "too much clutter."

I emailed her back to ask specifically what were the issues. She said one of the things was the boxes (broken down ones) stashed in front of the back door in my bedroom - that it was a safety issue (can't exit during a fire.) You're kidding, right?? If I was on the second floor there wouldn't even BE a back door exit.

I SO badly wanted to respond with a few choice words.

Am I totally off base in thinking that how much clutter/little clutter is none of their business? (I'd love to say - if you think it's bad now, you should have seen it six months ago before I let go of a whole bunch more stuff!)

I've decided to look into hiring someone to come in and do a deep cleaning. Kari's litter in the bathroom + the shower curtain not doing it's job totally, did a number on some areas of the floor which I'm not sure how to get off. Plus I just don't have the energy to do a "deep" cleaning like what it sounds like she's expecting. Not by the 16th for sure.

PMs wife said "it should look like the day you moved in" HAH so unrealistic. Somebody and a cat actually LIVE here (someone's who's first priority isn't keeping a pristine house .. sorry!)

I am just SO ticked right now! (Ate half a bag of chocolate after taking the trash out and generally stomping around and scaring poor Kari ...)

This makes me want to cash out 1/2 my stock and go buy a house. Just get out of having to deal with carp like this. (Yes, I know I'd then have to deal with the plumbing issues, etc. myself - but at least I'd have no one being judgmental about it)

The Mud Bath .... and the Pantry

September 8th, 2015 at 04:33 pm

We had a good bit of rain this past weekend which helped to cool things down (Saturday during the university game it was in the high 90s ..)

So .. this morning I decided to walk to work. A nice cool mid-60s, with an afternoon temp in the low 80s. Perfect.

The one thing I didn't think about was the mud on the sidewalks.

Can you guess where I'm going with this?

Yes, in my work clothing walking along trudging through sections of sidewalk covered in mud. (Wearing tennies, not heels.)

Almost slipped two different times, but managed to catch myself. Until the third time I slipped.

Ouch! Now I have a load of laundry going that definitely WAS NOT planned for tonight.

---
Once I got home I took everything out of my pantry and my closet (where I'd been stashing some of my recent purchases) and reorganized it. 6 bags of cat food, 30 cans of canned cat food, 4 rolls of paper towels, 6 boxes of snack type bars, 6 boxes of cereal, etc., etc.

When the laundry is done I AM going to put it away right away.

Then the rest of the evening is mine. Smile

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If you're a praying sort, my brother did something this past weekend which could have pretty negative consequences. He'll be finding out for sure October 9 what the consequences will be. My hope is that he will learn what he needs to from this so that it doesn't repeat and he can make some tough decisions.

Spending, spending, too much spending

September 7th, 2015 at 04:53 pm

I have pretty much spent all of my grocery budget for September at this point. And will have to do some major whack a moling for other categories (household, Kari, etc)

I don't know what set me off on this, but part of it I guess was getting sucked into the apps ... Did I get some things I really DO like and really WILL use? Yes, yes I did. Did I get things that I haven't bought in a good long while mainly for being expensive for what they're worth? Yes, yes I did.

Are the rebates and cash back going to make up for that? Not much ... maybe $33 in rebates/cash back, and some of it who knows when I'll actually see it because of cash out limits.

It's months like this one where before I just threw up my hands and said, what's the point of recording it all? But I'm determined I'm not going to do that. This month is going to be ugly. Very ugly. There's still 3 weeks to get through, plus a 4 day visit from my mom. It's going to be an ugly end of the month report.

I didn't get anything done pretty much for a 3 day weekend. Other than getting two workouts in and making a tater tot casserole - I did nothing.

Considering that I'd wanted to - clean out car, clean kitchen, clean bathroom, organize pantry and get my papers sorted/shredded ... yeah, this was not a productive weekend at all.

---
In good news ... my brother and I had a chance to talk today. We are back on good terms.

In other news ... SO has been asking me some questions recently which are making me think that I may be getting a visit here from a lot of family members all at once in the somewhat near future. Only time will tell. Smile

In the Mail Saturday

September 6th, 2015 at 03:43 pm

I forgot to mention this in my last post.

Saturday was a bonanza for things in the mail.

I received my $100 AGC from YouGov (a survey site - link in the sidebar.)

I also received my order from Amazon - my pea protein powder, two plate hooks and .... my hair cutting scissors!

The scissors arrived in a plush little zip up bag. I'm kind of looking forward to trying to cut my own hair. Kind of. I will try to take before and after pictures to let you all know how it goes.

Hopefully I won't botch it too badly and still have to go pay for a haircut. Big Grin

If this works, then I may never need to pay for a haircut again. Then I'd just need to figure out how to do my own highlights at home ...

Updates

September 6th, 2015 at 08:33 am

SBs awarded the monthly bonuses early and my SB cc points also came through - so I now have about 5500 SBs. There are two Swagups (rebates) going live on the 14th though, so I'll be waiting til then. I could easily redeem $75 - $100 from Swagbucks this month. Wow.

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I took a break from Pact for a few weeks in August, but started back with it this past week. Just on a smaller scale. The break was nice, but it will be good to have another avenue of earning money again.

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I have been using two new apps the last few weeks. Both connect to my Fitbit and to Runkeeper.

Bounts is a UK based company which rewards you for every day you go over 7000steps or do a 20 minute+ GPS tracked walk/run/etc - if you upgrade (pay pound 9.99/yr) you can also earn more points by checking in at approved gyms.

The rewards available for US residents are limited, but still worth going for. A $5 Walmart card is 700bounts/points. I have 260 bounts already.

It's a nice easy addition to all the other things which I earn money with just by using my Fitbit and connecting the various apps. (If you're interested in this - we both can get 100 bonus points if you use my referral code - I don't want to post it here because it uses part of my last name. I will email the link to you though if interested.)

The second new app I just used for the first time yesterday is called CharityMiles.

You connect your fitbit (or other tracker) and something similar to Runkeeper. Then whenever you are getting ready to do a fitness activity you open it up and choose a charity from their list. Then start your activity. When you are finished, go back to the app and stop it.

Yesterday by walking 2.2 miles I earned $.56 for a charity which helps kids get books.

I do wish it was a little bit less involved (you have to choose a charity from the list each time. There isn't a way to save favorites.) But still, it's nice to know that at the same time I'm doing something for myself, I'm also doing a little something for someone else. Smile

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I did another shopping run last night - Walgreen's, Family Dollar, SuperSaver and Target.

Walgreen's - toothpaste and deodorant

Family Dollar - cereal (3 for 6, $1 off SavingStar app, $.20 off iBotta), new $10 Android phone

SuperSaver - tatertots, cream of mushroom soup, canned cat food (20 cans - two coupons used), can of Vegeburger, Morningstar corndogs (on sale!), misc.

Target - soda, Quaker granola bars ($1.50 iBotta, 10% Target app), Kellogs Nutri grain bars ($1 Checkout 51), Quorn ($2 iBotta), Amy's, misc.

**I discovered a new Amy's meal. Noodles w/cashew sauce and veggies. It is SO good. Target has it for 3.99. I bought that rather than getting something from Taco Bell. So much better!

I stumbled across the canned cat food at SuperSaver by accident. I'd planned on getting it at Target for $1.07 a can - coupons - but SuperSaver had them for $.98/can! They also have much cheaper frozen veggies than Walmart.

I have a ton of food and household products now in my pantry/fridge/freezer. Other than fresh fruit and veggies, I hopefully will not be spending much more on groceries / household this month.

*NE and I are doing dinner again tonight - tater tot casserole - which is why bought some of what I bought. Smile

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NEs laptop died on him yesterday. So I erased my iPad and reset it up so that he can use it until he gets a new laptop. I'm thinking about just letting him have it. All I ever use it for is to run paid video apps. I can accomplish the same thing on a $10 smartphone (like the one I bought at Family Dollar.) I'll have to see how much he likes it first though.

If he ends up not liking it, then I may just go ahead and sell it. It may fetch $50 or so possibly.

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I plan on hitting the gym today. We'll see though ... didn't go to bed til after 2, and then Kari woke me up about 7 ... Thanks Kari. (Thankfully it is a 3 day weekend!)

Cost of Living Raise, etc

September 2nd, 2015 at 06:45 pm

Today I got to see what my new salary is with the recent cost of living raise (2.25%). With it, I now make about $.20/hour more than I did before I was downsized from my oil and gas job in 2009.

After work today I went to Target and to HyVee (a grocery store here.) When I submitted my Walmart receipt to the Savings Catcher, it gave me money back for the cat food - saying that they found it at HyVee for $2 cheaper.

Yeah ... it was a different kind. Smile Same brand (Purina) but not Purina One Beyond. I still did buy two bags of it from HyVee because it was $.50 cheaper than Walmart (plus my $2 coupons of course.)

At Target I found the canned food (after asking for help from a store person) which was $.08 cheaper than the local grocery store - had a coupon Buy 8 get 2 free. I only used one coupon. I might go back and use my other 3. (I give Kari one can a week - her Sabbath treat.) I also bought a 3rd bag of her food ($2 coupon only usable in Target.)

I now have $12.50 in Ibotta rebates, $4.87 in Walmart Savings Catcher, and about $4 in other savings apps.
I can cash in the Ibotta anytime, but I think I'll wait til I get closer to the end of the month in case I decide to do any other rebates.

I am SO set on cat food right now it's ridiculous. I always buy the 3lb bags even though they probably aren't the best value money wise, but they also don't go stale before Kari gets through a bag. (I keep it in a plastic container .. but still, I think by the time we get to the bottom of it, it's starting to get stale.)

On my way home I almost stopped at Taco Bell. In fact, I did. But after waiting 6 minutes and still not being at the order board ... I decided to just go home. For the best.

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With SBs giving out the monthly bonuses early today, I have over 3200 SBs! I'm going to wait til the 14th to cash out so I can use my 50SB rebate.

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I'm not sure what is going to happen with my mom's planned trip out here. Brother told me yesterday he'd reimburse me for the hotel if I really can't get it refunded. (It can't be. It was prepaid.) So if mom ends up not coming out here, I'll still have a paid for hotel room here. Hmm ... maybe go and stay there anyway with NE for one night, and/or by myself for the other nights (at least Friday and Saturday.)

I hope we get this figured out soon because mom's supposed to be coming on the 17th!!

Brother says he doesn't want to nail down another date until "he doesn't feel like he's being manipulated." I'm tempted tell him that I already have plans for October and November, and so would rather not change the September plans. If he wants to come out and visit some other time, great, if not, that's up to him. But I can't keep my plans in limbo until he "feels not manipulated" :roll eyes:

Sorry for the venting. Just feeling so frustrated by this situation. I kind of wish he'd never suggested the idea in the first place .. back in February???

Sometimes I Want to Curl Up and Stay in My Coocoon

September 1st, 2015 at 07:58 pm

I was feeling pretty awful this morning at work. I made it through til after lunch hoping that eating something would help. It didn't. Finally I asked to go home around 1 p.m.

I'd been home only a few hours when I got a call from my brother. Shocked! I think he was surprised to actually get me.

He was pretty upset at my mom for having already purchased tickets to come out here (she'd texted both of us before she bought them, and got no response from him ... so just bought them.) His company apparently is launching a new version of their website that weekend, so that's why he can't come. He was feeling manipulated and guilt tripped.

(He also said that he's used up all his vacation time going to friend's weddings/events this summer. Things he was supposedly "locked" into. Yeah, so .. making plans to come visit here wasn't part of the "locked" in time plans I guess ...)

I told him I understood where he was coming from with not being able to get away that weekend, but at the same time I was feeling extremely frustrated at how we kept making plans but they never materialized. I also told him that I'd already paid for non-refundable hotel reservations for that weekend.

He was making noises about mom being able to reschedule her flights (Southwest) easily and that I should double check whether the hotel dates can be transferred (they can't.)

Then I mentioned about Thanksgiving and that I was really hoping he'd be there so we could go through the shed together to figure out what to do with the rest of dad's things. That Grandma, etc. needed the room for their full household.

That's when he told me what my two little cousins did to my Aunt/Grandma.

To understand this ... My uncle married a woman from the Philippines in 1995? They had B, a hugely over-intelligent genius type boy who was too small for his age up til maybe a year or two ago. Then a few years later they had J. An intelligent, vibrant, moody, girl. When J was about 2, Uncle's wife had an affair and they divorced.

Uncle was left with the kids while ex-wife went off to have her life. Uncle was NOT equipped to deal with two little kids. In steps my Grandma and other Aunt/Uncle. They became B and J's psuedo parents. Buying them clothes, books, etc. Disciplining them. Etc., etc.

B had great difficulty in school. Not academically, but socially. They tried many different solutions over the years, ending with the last two years him living with my Grandma and whoever was there taking care of her at the time. B did very well at the new place/situation. Last year, J joined him. She did very well. B adopted a kitten - which Aunt ended up spending over $1500 in vet bills for a needed surgery.

So ... it's the new school year. B would be starting his junior year, and J her freshman year. Everything was in place for it and them.

Their mom married new guy who lives in TX and is very well off. Mom promises B his own car. He defects. J doesn't want to go, but after two days staying there on a visit, also defects. Both basically writing off Grandma and Aunt/Uncle. Writing off their father I understand (long story) but the other? All I can say is that I don't envy them the regret they're going to have to live with when they are older and wiser.

..... Part of me feels like just saying forget it. I'll stay here in my little corner of the world with my cat and NE and let everyone else do whatever. No more concern of mine.

Of course, I can't really do that. It's not in me. I know it's not up to me to fix whatever is going on with my brother or with my brother and mother. But I'd like to fix it ...