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Um... Wow! (Post 2)

January 1st, 2019 at 02:20 pm

So I've been doing some banking today.

First, I decided to transfer the funds from my Brink Mastercard account back to my credit union. My CU is paying 4% now, so the hassle of the Brinks card for 5% isn't really worth it anymore. Done.

Then I paid my gas bill. (I have to do this manually each month to pay via my US Bank Cash+ card for the 5% back.) It's on budget billing. I decided to look at our energy usage - it was pretty obvious that we've been using a lot less energy the last 6 months or so. (I would have to check to be sure, but I think it might correlate with the installation of our new water heater.)

So … I looked at our most recent bill. Yep, we have a $120 credit. That means that whenever they readjust our budget billing amount, our monthly amount will go down. Sweet. (I much prefer the budget billing method, even if it does mean there's sometimes a credit or a debit. Makes the budget much smoother in my opinion.)

THEN … I created an account to pay the bill for DH's first part of his hospital stay. The one where I had called to ask about any adjustments for paying in full.

The paper bill said $1289. The online bill said we only owed $59!! Say what???

I did some more sleuthing, and it appears that they adjusted the balance to where we only owe $59!!

This is going to make getting the spending bonus on the new credit card a little more difficult .. but I'm okay with that!

Now if the ambulance balance will do the same thing … wouldn't that be marvelous? Smile (We owe $1001 - the city sent me a remimbursement for $982 to pay towards it. Not sure why, but I'll take it.)

Oh, I also opened a new checking account due to doctor of Credit - Elements Financial CU. It should be a $200 bonus after a couple direct deposits.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

January 1st, 2019 at 10:54 am

Looking back at 2018 financially …

We increased our EF by $1200.

I had a goal to increase by $3000, but we had several weeks where DH was off work due to his heart attack, plus lots more medical costs. So I'm ok with it only increasing that much.


We fully funded both of our IRA's to the tune of $12k. ($1k of that funding did come from selling non-IRA stock the month after DHs hospital stay.)


We sold all of the electric car stock at $350/share. It went up to $369 a few weeks later, but is now at around $300 … so I'm glad to be off that roller coaster ride. All the funds were put into an index fund - either in the taxable account or our IRA's.


DH successfully raised and sold his first batch of angel fish. Fish are his main hobby right now (he owned two pet stores when he was younger.) This hobby comes from his fun money so it doesn't really affect our finances.


I paid for my cruise vacation with my mom fully out of my fun money - earned via Swagbucks, Earnably, Earnhoney, YouGov, credit card rewards, etc. etc.


Our medical fund was pretty much wiped out this year … but we had the money set aside for it. I'm putting it all on a credit card which will give me $500 cash back. So … a small win there.


DH has lost 45 lbs+ since Oct. I have gained 30lbs since January ….


At work my employer added 9% of my salary to my retirement, took 6% of my salary, and then I added another 11% or so. I increased the amount in February when I got a step raise, but since the new contract hasn't been signed yet, I haven't gotten my cost of living raise yet (usually in August) so that's all I increased it.


We paid $2k cash for some yardwork / improvements. This hopefully will reap dividends in ease of maintenance going forward.

I completed one course towards my AA degree - advanced typing, with a 97%. As soon as I get the official grade report, I'll be putting in for reimbursement.
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Looking forward:

I will be taking 2 -3 more courses towards my AA degree in 2019. (Microsoft Applications 1 and 2, and possibly Intro to Accounting)


My supervisor will be retiring in November … so I'm not sure how that is going to affect things at work. She's working on our main boss to reclassify me to a higher level of pay.

I would like to add $2k to our EF.


I want to save $2k towards our medical deductible again.


We will fully fund our IRA's at $13k this year.


We need to focus on putting money towards our car repair fund. 3 of our 4 vehicles are really old and eating up money.


We will either be purchasing a treadmill or DH will be signing up for a gym membership. Purchasing a treadmill may involve getting an electrician to ground some of our electrical outlets - this is something we are still researching.


Hopefully a fence will happen this year. We have the money set aside for it - its just getting someone to actually do it!


DH wants to continue to grow his fish business.


I'm continuing to save towards a possible France trip - once my SIL is able to leave the US again. I have $600 of my $2000 goal.


Some of my usual earnings sites are getting more difficult to earn from. I have signed up with Shipt and Doordash to hopefully make up for lost fun money from those sites. My goal is to bring in $200/month besides what I can manage on the various sites.


I must stop the weight gain. The big culprit is my not avoiding the junkfood - i.e. sugar and chocolate. I have managed to avoid soda for over 2 years now - mainly by not allowing myself even a "sip" of DHs when eating out. I think that may be the only way for me to overcome the sugar/junkfood thing too - just say 100% NO.


This will also help the grocery spending …


I'm doing well overall with a whole foods plant based diet - except when I make exceptions for the junk I crave. No more exceptions! Lets see the power of this way of eating.


I bought a pedal exerciser thing from Aldi, and am looking at one of those bike stands if we don't get a treadmill.


Side Gigs, Med Bills

December 19th, 2018 at 06:25 pm

Tonight I participated in an online discussion focus group. It took a little over an hour, and I'll get $50 in a few weeks.

I applied to be a Shipt shopper several months ago. As of today, I am officially one! I should be getting my package soon with my materials. Hopefully this will be a decent source of side money.


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I paid several bills today, and called the place with the largest bill. I asked what kind of a discount they could offer for paying in full. None. When I asked why, I was told we'd already been given a discount. Um … that was what you gave the insurance company, not us!


So … now deciding how I want to pay it. Just min payments for a few months, then pay the remainder at the last possible minute (to take advantage of CC spend bonus) or just bite the bullet.

Fell On Ice, New CC, Insurance

December 9th, 2018 at 12:02 pm

So Friday morning the garage door remote wasn't working. I had to get out of my car to close the door. I wasn't thinking about where I was stepping, or how.

Both feet slipped right out from under me and I landed flat on my back. I don't think I hit my head. (I was wearing a banana clip, so unless I hit the side of my head …)

I was able to get right up with no issues and continued to work. A few hours later I started really feeling it.

My supervisor let me leave 30 minutes early so I could go to my chiropractor. So frustrating because I'd just gotten my back to feeling good.

DH got a strongly worded email suggesting that something needed to be done about the driveway. He did put some salt down when he got home from work.

I bought a couple gel packs from Walgreens that can be frozen or heated, and a thing of Tiger balm. DH says I smell like I'm in a horse barn. Oh well, it's helping.

I've spent most of the weekend icing/resting my back.
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I applied for the Citi Savor card. A $500 bonus after a $3k spend. That will be easy - just pay all the medical bills on it, and will be mostly there.

Lemonade out of lemons and all that.

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Speaking of insurance. I think I mentioned the check we received for $932 from the insurance company. I had no idea what it was for.

We also had received a bill from the ambulance company for $1004.

Come to find out that since the ambulance wasn't under contract with our insurance, they couldn't pay them directly. So .. they sent us the money to pay them.

Works for me - that's nearly 1/3 of the CC spend needed. It just seems really bizarre.

Insurance/Medical, Lawyer, Rewards Checking, Jury Duty

December 4th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

We are still waiting to find out what the insurance is going to do about the $42k bill. I sent an email tonight asking about the status.

I received a check from the insurance company for $936. I have NO CLUE what it is for. I emailed them to see if they can tell me before I cash it.


DH is now down 45 lbs! since October.


My back has been giving me fits the last month or so. Last week it started to seize … So, I went to a chiropractor for the first time in my life. 2 x last week, and 1x so far this week. My back is feeling SO much better!


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DH met with a lawyer last week - to the tune of $300. OUCH!


Once he heard the backstory, he was flabbergasted because it seemed DH's insurance dropped the ball. He knew the lady's attorney (bicyclist DH hit) and contacted him. Sounds like other attorney was pretty ticked at the ball that was dropped.


So... hoping this is the end of it for us.


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I found out that my credit union has raised its checking to 4% and up to $40k! Sweet! Pretty soon, I'll have to pull the money back in from the 4% CD's if rates keep going up.


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I'm being called for jury duty the first two weeks of January. I talked to my supervisor today, and she told me that I'd just have to keep track of any hours spent on jury duty. But I would be paid my normal salary, plus keep any jury duty pay.


Sweet!

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I decided to NOT bite the bullet on an Instacart subscription. But … if there's any money left in the grocery category, I'll put it towards it.


I'm determined this month to not overspend the grocery category!

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A fascinating article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_godfather_of_fake_news

Not Much New

November 12th, 2018 at 09:23 am

I have today off, so thought I'd check in with my SA family.

We are still waiting on the hospital to send DH's records to the insurance company. I'll be bugging them about it again tomorrow.

We turned our heat on a few days ago when the temp went down to 8 degrees outside. Figured it was time. Smile

Last Sunday DH and I had raked and bagged 9 bags of leaves in our front yard. I put them out for Thursday trash day - thinking we were in the free pickup zone. Found out that's not til December. But our awesome garbage company picked them up this morning free of charge.

Our front yard is covered again in at least as many leaves … Hopefully we don't get a big snow before December so we can bag those too.

I cashed out for a $100 cash from YouGov a few days ago. (surveys) I also cashed out for a $25 Walmart card from ReceiptPal this last week. I'm getting close to the $40 mark in ReceiptHog. I should be able to cash out for $20 from iBotta soon too. In Swagbucks, I've cashed out for over $125 this past month. If my cruise credit ever credits, that will be another $100 or so.

I bought an OXO salad chopper so I can do my own chopped salads. I have been buying the 24oz pkg which includes salad dressing and toppings. I toss the dressing, and the salad barely makes 5 decent servings. So … am hoping to if not save money by going DIY, at least have less waste and bigger salads!

I'm progressing on my piano practice - most days at least 40 - 60 minutes of practice. I want to get a pedal for my keyboard so some of the songs in the easy hymn book sound right. I also need to get a midi connector so the piano app recognizes my notes. Just haven't pushed buy on any of this yet - comes out of my spending money. How badly do I want it, right? Smile

I am not progressing on my French. Somehow I lost my practice mojo. Hopefully it will come back …

DH continues to go to Cardiac Rehab and is losing weight and gaining in how much cardio he can do. We're looking into buying a treadmill for home. (used of course)

I have a couple credit card offers I'm looking at - though I'm hoping to wait to trigger them until more of DH's hospital bills come in. Only a few hundred dollars worth have been billed to us so far. With lots more to come...

Still nothing on the car accident. We're starting to wonder if no news is good news … that would be a major blessing in all of this.

What a Month!

October 29th, 2018 at 04:59 pm

The latest stressors …

On Friday I got home to find a letter from our insurance company stating that they were "pre denying" our claim for Cardiac Rehab due to DH not having a condition that warranted it.

Needless to say, panic ensued. He'd been to six sessions already at $250 a pop. They're getting him to actually EXERCISE. The education part of it is pretty worthless, but the GETTING HIM TO EXERCISE is priceless.

I posted on a FB group with people who've gone through heart attacks (or their SO has.) And they talked me down. I got a plan of action put together - call the hospital on Monday and figure out what the heck is going on.

Then I checked the insurance website. The first hospital's charges of around $16k was mostly covered, except for our out of pocket and deductible.

The second hospital, where he had the stent put in, had $42k+ in charges. And in big red letters - NEED MORE INFORMATION. If we do not receive more information within 45 days, we will base our decision off of what we do have.

My panic level greatly reduced at this point. This explained why they were pre-denying Cardiac Care. If they didn't have the proof to go with the charges from the stent hospital, then they'd have no reason to believe Cardiac Care was needed.

So … it at least was enough to get me through the weekend.

I called today and left a message with someone. I hate voicemail.

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DH's good vehicle (not great on gas mileage, but the best for his shoulders) may have an engine in the last stages of life. He has less than $1k in his car replacement fund due to having cleaned it out to buy this particular vehicle.

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Haven't heard anything new about the car accident / insurance. I hate to push DH to check into it.

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DH's stepdad with whom he was estranged … (he actually wrote him a long letter a few months ago trying to mend fences - no response) … died a couple weeks ago. DH found out because of an email from the guy who wrote a book about a local cave here DH and his stepdad's family were a big part of.

So yeah .. DH is getting a nice stress free time of it while recovering.

And yes, if you were wondering, my stress levels are quite low as well. If you consider Saturn pretty low.

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DH is doing so well changing his eating patterns. Not perfectly, but so much better than I would have believed to be possible.

Getting him to eat vegetables without me sitting beside him having a big bowl of them, is still a work in progress … but he's reduced his level of SAD diet by at least 95%.

I spent a lot of money on groceries this month trying to figure out dishes that would at least somewhat tempt him, as well as things he can take with him to work easily.

I'm hoping this next month will be more reasonable.

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We are not contributing to our ROTH's this month from new income. He was off work for almost two weeks. We agreed that this was the simplest way to do it.


I'm selling $1k of stock (electric car) and then moving that to our ROTH's. So they'll still get their contributions, it just won't be new money. (And that stock seems to be going up again after having fallen hugely thanks to its erratic man at the helm.)


We also had to lower what we normally put in various categories. He even willingly acknowledged that putting money in the date night fund when we weren't putting money in (new) into the ROTH's wasn't a good idea.


So anyway … that was our budget meeting on Sunday.


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I'm about halfway through my keyboarding class. The first week of it unfortunately fell the week DH was in the hospital. Trying to figure out an online keyboarding class while also spending the vast majority of my waking hours at a hospital … yeah, that wasn't good.


I've got it figured out now though, and am pretty sure I'll be making an A. Smile


I registered for my next class today - Microsoft Applications 1.


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We haven't turned our heat on yet. There haven't really been very many cold nights yet, so it isn't THAT much of a major thing. Smile Although, we did have our first snow a couple weeks ago.


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My newish supervisor let me know she's going to be retiring a year from this Thanksgiving. So, I guess a year from now I'll see what happens.


I've taken over managing our FB page, as well as the info email. We're debuting a couple new technologies that I'll be doing a lot with - keeping alerts up to date and answering texts, etc.


So, even if I don't stay here, I'm growing my resume.


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I made a couple eBay sales this past week. A set of Dr Suess books and a pair of Keds. Now I need to get some more stuff up …

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OK this was long. I'll try not to be such a stranger!


One more thing - Have you seen Bodyguard on Netflix yet? The one from BBC not Whitney's. Smile I binge watched it this weekend …


I almost forgot! Someone used my Ting referral!! I have a $25 credit from that. (Will have to tell about my phone trials in another post.)

Updates

July 4th, 2018 at 10:58 am

It's been awhile...


Passport update - It turned out that the birth certificate I had worked just fine. I had found a bunch of other paperwork to supplement just in case, but it wasn't needed. I should be getting my passport by the end of July.


Brother - Brother is NOT going on cruise. Sigh. He is getting married to French girl tomorrow (July 5) at the courthouse. French Girl cannot go on the cruise due to her applying for green card (or something like that.) Brother doesn't want to leave his newly wedded wife to go on a cruise …


Mom and I are still going.


I have no idea what I should be doing for French Girl who in 24 hours will be my SIL. I feel like I should send them some kind of a congratulations card or something …


I have started a budget line for a trip to France -- a year from now they plan to have a big party/quasi wedding ceremony there. Not even sure how much to save - it would just be me going - DH has no interest, plus I'm not sure we could save enough for both of us to go.


DH sold the Honda without a working transmission! He listed it on Craigslist, and 36 hours later it was sold for $500. So we are now down to 4 vehicles.


*I don't remember if I mentioned this or not, but DH found a new home for the chickens.


*We have fleas... Sigh. DH took in one of his "friends" cats which needed medical attention while said "friend" was away on vacation for 3 weeks. Cat had fleas, but couldn't be treated due to several open wounds (both of which healed while staying with us.) Cat was kept isolated in the workshop (where the chickens were previously) but .. DH found out that Cat definitely had had fleas yesterday after walking around in the workshop. Ugh.


*New job possibility - I think it'd be a super stretch, but there is a possibility of a telecommute federal job which a church friend thinks I'd qualify for. There's supposed to be 26 positions opening up soon. IF I got it … salary STARTS at more than what DH and I currently make together.


That would put us in an entirely new tax bracket.


I told DH that if I got it, I'd want us to continue living with our current budget, but put the extra away in tax advantaged accounts and taxable investments. It would put a big boon to our retirement goals, and give me peace of mind for when/if DH can no longer work.


Plus .. telecommuting! No more traffic or having to deal with office politics. Maybe get a dog … Maybe sell this place and move to the country in a few years ...


This could come at a really good time because I found out recently that my supervisor is going to be leaving for a different position at the end of August. That leaves only one person at work I'd feel semi bad about leaving.


I'd honestly be SHOCKED if I got this job … if was a veteran and/or disabled I'd have a much better chance ….But I'm going to try.


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My weight has been holding somewhat steady … I'm up 20lbs from January, but it's been there for over a month now, so am really trying to NOT let it go up further. Sigh.


I'm up over $23 from my Stepbets - just started a new one this week. I decided to not do another Runbet though while the weather is so hot. Maybe in September after the cruise I could do one before it gets too cold.


I found two more bank bonuses that I'm working on. One is an in branch one for Union Bank - $200. The other one is a $100 bonus for another bank (can't remember right now.)


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I'm enjoying having today off. I'm also taking tomorrow morning off - personal choice holiday time.


Can't think of anything else terribly interesting … will try to come by more often.

Holy Cannoli! Gas $$

May 27th, 2018 at 11:31 am

I just finished updating YNAB (oops .. hadn't done it since the 13th ...)

We are at $380 for gas - and DH has 3 more work nights - so at least one more tank.

I'd upped the budget to $350 …

But the two trips to the low cost vet - 45 minute trip one way - probably didn't help …

We also have already overspent on groceries by $30. Ugh. I really need to keep up with this more often. It won't help with gas, but at least with groceries, I can make more informed choices and limit the overspending.

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We have to wait til sometime next week for the results of the new test for Baby. Plus take him up back to the vet at the end of the month to see if the new food is helping any. (another blood test + gas$$)

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I finally got credited with the cashback on my US Bank card. It was $177.83 statement credit. But because I cashed out for over $100, I'm getting a $25 gift card in addition (in 6 weeks or so?)

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I mowed the yard again this morning (hadn't set the setting very low last time) and of course didn't wear my gloves … Guess who has popped blisters on her hands? Ouch.

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Tomorrow I plan on cleaning the carpets. Fun fun, but needs to be done.

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I started watching Madam Secretary on Netflix yesterday. I like it so far.

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I bought a soda stream from someone on FB market for $30. I haven't tried it yet, but it was too good of a deal to pass up. (not using to make soda - just carb water)

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DH found a new home for the chickens!!!! Hopefully that is going to help the smell in the house (once he cleans the workshop thoroughly …)



Now off to enter receipts ...

Updates

April 29th, 2018 at 10:27 am

*We haven't been reimbursed for the water heater yet ... I'm going to wait til Tuesday, then contact them if it still hasn't come. Grrr...

*Tuesday was our two year anniversary. We did a mini-road trip on Wednesday.

While on our mini-trip we stopped at two fish stores. DH saw some corals he was very interested in, and I saw a Clown Trigger fish which I think I might like to get after the cruise (when I have spending money again ...)

We ate at a Mexican restaurant in Glenwood, Iowa which we'd been to before and really liked. The food was very good again, but our server left a lot to be desired.

Still, it was a nice way to mark 2 years.

*I got my $200 checking bonus from one of the Christian credit unions.

*I also got my $100 bonus from My Money Bank

*I see my $150 bonus pending on my US Bank card, but it's been pending for several weeks ...

*I cashed out for $25 Paypal from Earnhoney and Swagbucks, as well as $25 AGC from Perk

*We way overspent on groceries this month .. mostly due to my reverting back to some bad eating habits. I'm really trying to reign those in again. Both for $$ reasons and for health.

*I'm halfway through a Runbet and a Stepbet. I also am participating in a Spryfit bet that will end at the same time. About $120 tied up between the three.

* I need to get my passport sorted soon. Only 4 months to go!

*I have been tracking flight prices with Google Flights, so far the cheapest flight has been $216. But that doesn't include baggage. I'll probably pull the trigger in the next week or two.

*I have completed 3 weeks of physical therapy for my shoulder now. I don't think there's been much improvement yet. They tell me it can take 4 - 6 weeks ... then if still not good, do an MRI. Ugh.

*I slogged through Lost in Space and also Let it Go on Netflix. LiS has little bad language and no sexy scenes. LiG is the complete opposite ... is about the realities of motherhood.



Waffle Iron Help?, etc

April 13th, 2018 at 07:55 pm

I was so excited last week when I was able to order the Dash mini waffle iron (with my Perk Amazon card.) Then I got it and put a sweet potato puree mixture in it - trying something I'd seen somewhere.

Royal mess.

I have managed to get most of it off, but there still is a decent amount left.

I can't remove the plates or run them under water. I used a damp paper towel, a damp dish towel, a pair of silicone mini-tongs .... all helped, but not enough.

Any ideas? I really want to use this thing!

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I had my 3rd PT appointment on Thursday. The PT assistant told me she thinks it is my upper trap, not my rotator cuff, due to the pain radiating throughout my arm AND the huge knot in my trap area.

So she's concentrating on working out the knot ... as am I.

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My arm was really throbbing Wed pm, and I REALLY did not feel like going out for a run. Did it anyway, and my arm actually felt better? PT said I probably relaxed the right muscles while running.

I did my 3rd run today. Good thing since winter seems to be coming back for a visit the next two days. Yuck.

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DH and I had a good discussion last night, although it was almost totally derailed before even getting started with me getting ticked at him when he snapped at me. Schwan's guy came at just the right time to give me a few minutes to cool down (got him to take me off his route list)

DH will be going to see his stepdad on Sunday evening(something he is NOT looking forward to) so I pretty much have the weekend to myself.

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I am hoping I met the final requirement for a $200 checking bonus in time. Yesterday I was double checking what was needed for each bonus, and realized I hadn't set up estatements. Oops. Have them set up now.

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I finished a Jan Karon book (Father Tim) "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good" and started another one "Come Rain or Come Shine." It had been awhile since I'd read the series, so I'm not totally sure where I'd left off at.

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My eating isn't going well to put it mildly. Sugar sugar sugar ...junk. At least breakfast and lunch are still healthy ....

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On Monday I'm going to a customer service training thing. I'm just happy for a day out of the office - paid. Smile

Hopefully all the SBs coupon prints will credit on Monday so I won't have to fiddle too much to reach the daily goal. Smile

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Still loving my standing desk. Smile Getting lots of questions about it too.

Free $60 in 6 months, etc

April 10th, 2018 at 04:33 pm

I know just a post ago I was bemoaning having too many accounts. But ... this is a really easy $60. Just put $20/month in an account (probably simplest to be a savings account without a lot of activity) and get paid $10/month for up to 6 months!

Here's the Money Blog post that explains more about it - http://www.mymoneyblog.com/saverlife-review.html

Pretty cool if I do say so. Smile

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I won $7.49 in my recently finished Stepbet. That's a 18.7% increase. Just for walking.

I did my first run for my Runbet today - actually managed a 14:37 mile (for one mile ...) Big Grin Next two runs have to be 20 minutes long.

I also joined another Stepbet today.

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I cashed out for a $25 Paypal from Earnably today.

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Am loving today's weather! Will enjoy while it lasts!

PT, Cleaner Progress, etc

April 2nd, 2018 at 07:09 pm

I called my doctor's office today to find out if I'd have to come in again to get a PT referral. I don't, since in her notes she said to do PT if not better.

A lady in my Sabbath School group suggested someone she used - so I just have to call my doctor's office with that info tomorrow.

Hopefully it won't require taking too much time off work.

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I posted in Nextdoor tonight for the housecleaning. I asked for two recent references and for them to describe their experience with a multi-pet household. Now I just have to wait and wade through. Hopefully a gem will shine through (that fits my budget!)

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I am on week six of my Stepbet. 5 days to go. Most days I'm meeting the steps just at work - thanks to my standing desk. Smile

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Tomorrow I'm starting a Drop It challenge again. I did well for 3 weeks and then ... ugh.

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My brother finally sent me his part of the cruise money, so I have enough to pay the balance (not due til June.)

Am working on covering airfare now.

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I got an offer from Capital One for $100 bonus if I spend $3k in 3 months. If I put my car insurance and home insurance on there, I'll be halfway. Paying the remainder of the cruise would almost finish it off. I need them to send a replacement card though because I think I shredded the other card. Oops.

I'll easily meet the $500 spend on the Union Bank card, and the $2k spend on the AmEx. So .. that's $350 in credit card bonuses for normal spending. Not bad. Smile

This and That

March 18th, 2018 at 11:18 am

3 weeks of six complete on my Stepbet. It definitely is getting me moving more ... like yesterdat afte church I only had 1400 steps but needed 9400 (for a stretch day.) If it weren't for the stepbet, I *might* have gotten in a 30 minute walk and called it a day. But instead I did a 90 minute walk, plus some shopping. So ended the day with over 12k steps.

I looked into the Runbet (new app) but the current game expects a min pace of 15 min/mile 5x in a week. Yeah ... I do good to do a 17 min/mile if I'm trying to do a walk/jog ...

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On 3rd week of Drop it challenge. That's going pretty well. The scale is continuing to move in the proper direction. Smile

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It looks like we are going to have to up our gas budget. Currently it's at $300/month. The last two months I had to WAM from groceries because we were over budget. As of last night there is $90 left with at least 5 more fill ups for DH and possibly one for me.

I think it is a combination of DH driving the CRV almost exclusively (much easier on his knees/shoulders) and the higher gas prices.

One of the fill ups will be fairly cheap though - I transferred a prescription to HyVee and got a coupon for $2.05/gallon. I just have to make sure DH uses my Perks card to get the discount.

The next refill (prescription) I'll get a $25 gift card, and the 3rd one I get a $50 meat pkg (for DH).

A bit of a hassle, but worth it for the freebies.

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I ordered 3 pairs of shoes from JC Penny's via SBs. A total of $106. I may have to send one pair back though - I had triple checked that all were wide width, but the order email I got shows the sneakers as a medium!

I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll try them on just in case.

(I ordered dress shoes for work, sneakers and sandals.)

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I got my extra paycheck on Thursday. My tax changes and 457 contribution changes both were in effect already. So it made the check a bit over $100 more than normal! Of course health/dental and vision weren't deducted - so that won't be normal.

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I cashed out $30 from my Citi card. There's nearly $40 on my Chase card I can cash out, but I'm going to wait til the next statement ends so I can cash out the max. (April only pays 5% on categories I don't use, or get higher payout elsewhere.)

I got a new Discover card (they changed my previous one to the It) - for April they only have groceries at 5% - so my AmEx card at 6% is better. So that card will continue to not be used at least for the next quarter.

I'm about 1/2 way to the $500 spend on the US Bank card. It's taking a bit of time to get my utilities all switched over to it.

I cashed out $25 from Earnhoney, and am close to another $25 SB cash out too.

---
I signed up for CBS All Access 7 day trial. 150 SBs deal. I wanted to like it, I really did. But for $5.99/mo it has extremely limited selection and a horrible navigation/UI. I did find the show Limitless with all episodes - so binged on those this past week.

I canceled it last night after watching the last episode. If they'd had full episodes of Person of Interest, or the last two seasons of CSI then I might have kept it for another month or two. But seriously limited selection of full episodes.

---
Update on my standing desk - still loving it! I use it in the standing position about 60% of the day most days. I have an anti-fatigue mat and monitor risers.

---
I have a doctor's apt this Tuesday for my shoulder. The past two weeks or so I have been having some strange pains from my left shoulder/bicep. I'm not really sure what caused it. I've been putting off going to the doctor because I kept hoping it'd go away. But it hasn't.

I'm guessing I'm going to have to do physical therapy for it.

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I had a dentist checkup this last week. Previously I'd been told that I needed to up my dental hygiene routine. So I picked up a water pik and an electric toothbrush. Apparently what I've been doing worked! I was told I had good improvements and to keep it up.

My visit didn't cost me anything because I had a credit from a previous visit where I was overcharged.

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At church this quarter the Sabbath School lessons are on stewardship. This week focused on debt. The person leading our class seemed to kind of assume we all were in debt ... He said something about - think about how good it will feel when you're not in debt - how much good you can do ...

Well ... I didn't feel comfortable piping up that other than the mortgage and less than $3k is student loans, I already know what that feels like!

Yes, it IS a good feeling ... but just because you don't have debt hanging over your head, that doesn't mean that you then have tons of money to do whatever you want to. No ... you then have all the things you know are coming up that you need to set money aside for - short term, mid-term and long term. It never feels as though it's enough ..

Then DH and I got into a discussion again about why it's necessary to have money sitting in our account for things like our medical deductible. I told him it's so if something happens where we need to use our whole deductible, then we can pay the bill in one lump sum and save 10% or more. It gives us options. He was like - why can't we just make payments and use that money elsewhere?

I'm not sure if he was pulling my chain or not (he likes to do that) but UGH!



Tempting ...

February 28th, 2018 at 05:07 pm

So today I went to the health fair put on by a combo of the city/county people. There were a few new booths that weren't there last year.

One was a booth where you could get your blood typed. I did that because I had no idea what mine was.

I'm O+! That means not many could donate their blood to me, but mine could go to anyone! This makes me feel almost obligated to donate.

Another table was a fitness center in downtown. They offer barre classes.

I've been wanting to try barre for a long time. The only place I knew of that offered it was in the far South of town.

It's $15 for one class, but you can get class passes to reduce the cost - i.e. $425 for 50 classes.

They offer them at 5:15. So I'd have plenty of time to make it there from work.

I so want to do this.

But I'm spending so much on the cruise ... I have enough for the cruise, but need to save for the flight and tips. And general spending money.

Even if I sold everything salable (i.e. fluff worth something) I might get $100 at most.

I really want to do this class. Maybe I could just do the one ... I may not even like it (doubt it)

I need to set aside money for replacing my phone and my computer too ... even though neither will be for a number of years.

I need to replace my shoes - both work dress shoes, sandals and sneakers.

Too many places for money to go and not enough coming in!

I really need to figure some way of bringing in more spending money other than Swagbucks/koinme/perk/earnhoney/inbox dollars/bank interest/cc rewards.

Maybe I could try selling my plasma ... the last time I tried, I chickened out. I don't like needles much.

Refunds Are Here! Fender Bender :(

February 23rd, 2018 at 05:06 pm

Both our federal and state refunds have been deposited. That'll make budgeting March a little more fun. Smile

---
I found out today that my friend will Not be coming on Monday. She apparently got hired in a town in Western Nebraska. Frown Yay for the job, but boo for not coming.

At least I got some needed stuff done around here.

---
This morning on my way to work I rear ended someone in a brand new SUV. Frown

Neither of us was hurt - really mostly a slight bump. Her bumper has a few scratches, my bumper has a hole in it ...

We exchanged insurance info and took pictures.

My insurance person told me the worst that'll happen is I'll lose my accident free discount - ~$34/year.

They're going to send an appraiser next week to look at my car, but I doubt it'll be more than our $1k deductible.

We may or may not fix it - DH says its just cosmetic.

So annoying on many levels - one being that it had been 7 years since my last fender bender, 5+ years of nothing more than door dings on this car (so it looked pretty darn nice when washed), and just the hassle of dealing with whatever aftermath. Plus its going to make me even more cautious on icy days than I already am - which may really annoy some people. Oh well.

--
I found Victoria on Amazon Prime - watched the first episode with painful buffering and freezing ...

Stopped at the library to see if they could locate it better than me - or do an ILL. They found both seasons! Yay!

Visited R Cave!

February 12th, 2018 at 06:53 pm

Last night DH and I went on a private tour of the cave his family used to own. There is a brewing company on top of it now.

J, who has written a book about the cave was our tour guide. A few weeks ago DH had spent a few hours with J in the cave. J told me he'd added a section in the book about the visit. Smile The book should be out in March or early April.

I was really impressed by the cave. It was more than I thought it would be. A couple places J took us into areas that are off limits to the general public. Generally, where the bats are.

In one place if I had stood up, my head would have bumped into a hibernating bat! It was so tiny that I could have easily cupped it in my hand.

I would have taken a picture, but DH had my purse (he'd stayed on the flat surface) plus I don't know if it would have bothered the bat.

DH's stepdad had given J a sand art bottle filled with sand from the cave. J offered it to DH - and he happily took it.

*Please ignore the mess in the background

I can hardly wait for the book to come out!

---
I got the last tax form I needed today. Will be getting $833 Federal, and $135 State.

We'll do our usual 1/3'rds - 1/3 - Future (EF); 1/3 - Present - (budget items - probably car repair and pet fund), and 1/3 Past (DH's student loans)

--
Tomorrow my new paystub should post so I can see if my raise has gone through yet and if the tax cut has gone into effect on it yet.

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I cashed out Inbox Dollars for $27 last night, and tonight I cashed out Koinme for a $50 Walmart card

New tax documents, spending, etc

January 19th, 2018 at 07:23 pm

Today I got the tax form in the mail for SIL's money. The weird thing is that it shows part of it for 2017 and part of it for 2016 on the same document.

Does this mean I'm going to have to amend my 2016 taxes?! I sure hope not - never have done that before. Ugh.

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DH and I ate at Ihop Thursday night. I bought a gift card via swagbucks and got 125 SBs for the purchase.

I ordered off menu Smile my DH didn't think they'd do it, but they did. We used the whole $25 card.

My car was getting pretty dirty and I was worried about the salt/brine - so today was a 50 degree day here and I decided to get my car washed. Along with half of the city ...

I paid $20 for the entire works ... I know, not the most frugal thing, but my car hadn't been washed since August... and I usually do the DIY wash and go places. So .. a splurge. Smile

I have spent more on groceries than I was hoping for, but it still is under what I had been doing. Work in progress.

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I have a 32 oz wide mouth jar of blackstrap molasses - I'd really like to find a pump lid for it. Any ideas?

I cashed out $75 in PayPal so far this month from Swagbucks.

I also cashed out for a $25 Amazon gc from Perk.

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DH is making use of our tv setup. We watched the Viking's game on Sunday (Yay!) and he was watching the news when I came home tonight. So, it seems as though it was a well spent $40. Smile I still need to figure out if we're getting channels from just the converter box or from the antennae and box.

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I'd been noticing that we hadn't been receiving the weekly sales papers in our mailbox - since at least December. I mentioned it to DH and he suggested I call the local paper.

Instead I posted on Nextdoor asking if anyone else was having this issue. Most responses were no, but there was one other yes. I had someone from the local paper pm me and tell me we should have been having a newspaper delivered on Wed and Sun since Thanksgiving!

We'd somehow been selected for a complimentary subscription through February.

Huh?

I wrote back and told him we had not gotten any papers - at least not that we'd noticed - we don't use our front door hardly ever!

He told me he'd talk to the courier and have a supervisor check on it (this was Tuesday.)

Wednesday morning I walked out our back door to find a newspaper there!

I'm anxiously waiting for Sunday's paper full of coupons!

Who knows how long this will last, but I'm all for it. Smile As long as they start delivering our sales papers again once the complimentary subscription is over.

Anyone ever hear of something like this?

Good, Busy Day Off, $ Ruminations

December 16th, 2017 at 11:30 am

So I got to sleep in a little on my birthday. At least a bit of a lazy and easy wake up. I was greeted by the Alexa Dot playing a Happy Birthday song to me as my alarm - which was funny weird. Smile

I had a doctor's appt for bloodwork at 9, but had gotten a call around 4 on Thursday which I was only able to catch part of (voicemail) and of course when I tried to call back the office was closed.

I tried calling before going, but got their answering service. So I decided to just go and see what was up.

Apparently since the city switched insurances (from BCBS to AETNA) the lab my doctor uses is no longer in network. Great - already had labwork done in November (start of new ins plan year) wonder how much that's going to bite.

They'd canceled my appt due to this ... I told them to please see if I could get into Quest (now in network) that day since I had the time.

So while they were getting this all figured out, I headed to Aldi's - they have mejodl dates 1 lb for $2.49!! I spent a total of $33 there.

Then I headed to Kohl's to see if I could find anything that grabbed me. There was one sweater I really liked - but not $26 liked. So left with nothing.

Next I headed to Lane Bryant. I got fitted for a new bra (down 2 cup sizes! Like I'd mentioned, desperately needed a new bra!) I bought two - used a $25 coupon - spent $76. I told my husband - glad these things last a long time!

While I was at LB I got a call telling me to go to a local hospital to get my labs done - walk in anytime.

I needed to put my groceries away, so I went home first, then headed to the hospital. That was at least 40 minutes later. They didn't have any idea I was coming. It was nearly noon.

30 minutes later I had my labs done - after the tech joked that she thought the birthdate was written wrong. Smile

Now on to HyVee (grocery) to see if I could find the things Aldi didn't. Spent $16, but still was missing a few items (ordered on Amazon)

On my way to Bed Bath Beyond, I stopped at the Oriental Market and stocked up on tofu and a new bottle of stir fry sauce (vegetarian) - $13

At BBB I walked around for awhile and ended up getting a hanger for tank tops/cami's, a set of sillicone hot pads and some special glasses for night time driving (for DH.) I used two 20% coupons and a gift card. So no out of pocket cost. Smile

Next I headed to Dollar Tree and stocked up on Frozen fruit and diced tomatoes ($.50 a can!!) ~$16

Finally I stopped at the Credit Union to make our weekly deposit, and then home.

I had planned on a mani/pedi but by the time I got home it was 3 pm and I was tired. Plus my mom was going to be calling me ... so I decided to just stay home and chill the rest of the day. Smile

I did have some chocolate - the Harry & David's popcorn my brother sent, and chocolate covered potato chips from Aldi's ... Mmm yum!

Today I'll be taking it easy for the most part - although I do plan on getting some housework done. Dishes/sweeping/mopping/laundry..

Tomorrow I'll do something foodwise for my lunches, fill up a few more leaf bags, and .... Nutcracker!! Woo hoo!

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I saw an idea somewhere about making shorter tops more professional looking by simply adding a layer of a long tank top. I'm going to be checking Goodwill for some. I have a few, but I think black would be best since my dress pants are all black.

I really need to replace my work flats. I'm hoping I can find Mary Janes that will work.

Is there something you can attach to the bottom of your shoes to make them more slip resistant?

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I cashed out rewards points for our Credit Union account - $15 (This is the account that pays 3% interest!

Also Citi DC - $26

--
DH's ROTH is fully funded for 2017 - and has earned $500 since inception!! (started it in June or July I think.)

My ROTH is short $1045 from being fully funded.

I get a 3rd paycheck in March ... but there's so many places that could use padding .. pet fund especially, I don't know that putting it towards the 2017 ROTH is the best use of it.

To fully fund DH's for 2018 it's $500/mo.
To fully fund mine, it's ~$458/mo.

So, $958/mo. We're setting aside $1k/mo.

So .. $42x12 = 504
$1045 - $504 = 877
504/4 = 126

So, we'd need to set aside an extra $126/mo for 4 months to have 2017 and 18 fully funded. Ugh. Probably isn't going to happen. Just taking out the $1k/month is making our budget thin enough.

Or ... if I put the January contribution fully into my 2017 ROTH, then ...
13k / 12 = $1,083/month

So, $83 extra all year long. I wonder if that'd be doable ...

*FYI - DH never had any kind of retirement savings til we opened this ROTH. I had been setting aside funds for it til he finally agreed for me to get the ball rolling. I have retirement funds/accounts galore, although I've never fully funded a ROTH. Smile

We are using the funds put in my ROTH as a very last resort EF since it's been open more than 5 years and they have more time to grow.

ETA - I just realized my calculations were based on $6k for DH instead of $6500. Ooops. But the $1083/mo still would do what I'm thinking.

Property Taxes!

December 5th, 2017 at 05:30 pm

So I checked the website today to see if our taxes were posted yet. They were! We paid ~$2300 last year - but they upped our taxed value from $113 to $142 so I knew they'd be up a good bit.

I guestimated $3k and have been saving $250/mo towards that.

The new tax amount? $2760! That means we have a choice - move $240 to the CRV tax/registration category or something else; recalculate what we need to save monthly and absorb remainder into budget, or keep the extra as a buffer. I'd be fine with any option.

I was told today that we should have protested our assessment since it went up so much. I didn't even think about it due to thinking there was no point - it was the accessed value at the time of sale. If so, too late now.

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I got another leaf bag done tonight. Tomorrow afternoon I have my dentist appt in the pm and probably will get home a little early. Hopefully I can get 2 or 3 bags done before I have to go help out with the costumes for our living nativity. (Sat night program.)

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I am debating on the wisdom of getting a $25 AGC card. It's a free $3 (only 2200 SBs for first one) vs the $25 Paypal for 2500 SBs. I sometimes wonder if I spend the AGC $ more freely because I don't have to account for it in my budget. Whereas if it is cash, then I have to account for it.

Is it worth it to lose the "free" $3 to get only PayPal from SBs? In a year's time that's equal to 1 1/2 $25 giftcards ... But do I piddle away $36/yr of the "free" money?

Sunny is Still Sick :(

November 6th, 2017 at 05:59 pm

Lots of money spent at the vet the past few weeks on our little Sunny girl (cat.) Vet thinks she may have a c something virus.

We may have two teeth pulled and possibly have some mouth sores biopsied on her. Hoping we can figure out how to make her comfortable, if not better.

--
I decided to cancel the clean food dirty girl food plans - just too much for just me. Most things DH tried he didn't like. I'm going to go back to simple and boring.

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I got my oil changed at Sear's today - used a Groupon I thought had expired, but it took it at full value! So I paid $4!

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My brother's band had their album debut on the 22nd. My brother wrote five of the six songs!

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I'm going to be opening an Infiniti account and parking $5k there at 5% interest. Then I'll have $16k in all at 5%, and the rest of cash at 3%.

I'm also considering this account where if you deposit $50/mo for two years, they'll give you $150 bonus. It works out to 10%.

*Both of these are on Doctor of Credit

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Check your AmEx deals - Petco has a spend $25 get $5 off deal (online) plus lots of other deals.

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Talking to my brother a few days ago, and I realized that he is 37, mom is 67 and grandma is 97! Smile

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We may be getting a little money from DH's sisters railroad benefits. Her son may be getting $12k and has said that he'll give us 10% since DH has done a lot of the work. We'll see what really happens though.

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I redeemed $40 from ReceiptHog a few days ago.

RetroPay, Grocery budget, Napa fires, etc

October 14th, 2017 at 01:06 pm

Hi all.

So on Thursday I got my Retropay - minus the OT hours (next check) and it was $768.xx. After taxes and retirement, it was about $576 extra. Not too shabby.

1/2 of it will go to our general budget and 1/2 will go to my fun money.

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I bought two clothing items from Grayson for $27. I'm disappointed in them, but it'd cost nearly $10 just to ship them back. So ... I'm thinking of just keeping them and making them work. One reason I don't like buying clothes online!

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I hadn't updated our budget for awhile, but finally got around to it yesterday. I was surprised to see we'd only gone through 1/3rd of our budget.

Of course I need to go grocery shopping tonight .. so we'll see what happens.

I decided to sign up for the clean food dirty girl meal plans - $20/month. I've kind of been backsliding on my eating and think part of it is due to boredom. So I'm hoping that having meal plans set out for me will alleviate some of that. We'll see.

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As some of you may remember, my brother lives in Napa. So far he has luckily not had to evacuate, but he's assured me he has his car packed and ready.

So sad about all those places destroyed and lives lost. Redwood Adventist Academy (one of my church's highschools) was completely destroyed.

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I'm planning on going to see The Princess Bride on Sunday at our downtown theater. 30 year anniversary showing. It's also showing on Wednesday at certain theaters across the USA.

After that we'll probably be going out to eat at Golden Corral again - Groupon deal 2 meals for $19. (all you can eat Prime Rib ... yuck.) I'll be loading up on fruit and veggies. Smile

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We're making slow progress removing the brush pile that our errant fence guy created. Probably two more truck loads to go.

I have the feeling the fence will not be put up til next spring ... Hopefully all the wood we have will make it through the winter (for the fence.)

What a fiasco.

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DH fixed the warm air blower machine. I thought it was dead and we'd have to get another one. But Thursday night he took off the shield and futzed with it for 5 or 6 minutes, and Voila! it was working again. Smile $30 not spent!

I've put on the electric blankets and our wedding quilt. It was very welcome Thursday night, but last night it was too much.

Haven't turned the heat on yet though. Smile

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I'm going to Aldi tonight to see if they have the $50 HP wireless printer. Our printer stopped printing 6 or 7 months ago, and there have been multiple times we wished it was working.

Rescued Baby Squirell! etc

September 3rd, 2017 at 02:54 pm

This morning while out on my walk, I came across a baby squirrel sitting by the curb on the street. It was trembling from fear I think. I wasn't sure what to do, but I couldn't just leave it. So for about 20 minutes I stood there and made sure cars knew where it was. (It went out in the middle of the street at some point.)

Finally I thought of the Wildlife rescue place my DH has taken animals to in the past. I called and was advised to find an empty box to put it in, and leave it under the tree where I suspected it came from - then leave the area for an hour.

A man was washing his car across the street, so I asked him for a box. Then I picked up the baby and put it in the box. I stayed at a distance for about ten minutes to make sure the baby didn't escape, then reluctantly did another 30 minutes of walking.

The baby was still in the box.

I called Wildlife Rescue again and was told they'd get in touch with the volunteer and call me back. 20 minutes later with no call, I picked up the box and went home.

The cats were curious, but I kept the box in my sight.

2 hours later and still no call. I called again and was told the wrong volunteer had been alerted. Um .. ok. Ten minutes later I got a call with an address where to take it.

It was right around the corner from my late SIL's house! So after dropping off the baby squirrel in a kennel, I stopped by and picked up more of SIL's mail.

We are still waiting on the Railroad to see if she has any money coming. Then we'll know if we have to contact her creditors with a SOL letter, or decide who gets paid until the money's gone.

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We're going to Golden Corral tonight - DH wants the prime rib. I bought a groupon - $17 for two people. I can find lots of fruit and veggies ...

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I signed up for MoviePass - $10/month and see one movie per day at the theater. There's times I want to see a movie, but unless I want to pay $10, I'm limited to Tuesdays. So once my card actually gets here, I'll see how much I use it. I figure 2 movies a month would pay for it.

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August Snowflakes

$100 - Swagbucks
$50 - Koinme
$25 Perk

I didn't cash out on anything else because I'm trying to wait til it gets cheaper.

Also got my cost of living raise and 5 hours of overtime.
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Sunny is still sick. I took her to the vet yesterday - antibiotic shot and steroid shot ... $96.

I also took Kari to the vet last week - she hurt her leg somehow. Another $90 for the visit plus pain meds.

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My brother's band is recording an album right now! I need to set aside some money to buy it. Smile

Walgreen's Balance Rewards

August 13th, 2017 at 02:37 pm

I found out last week that Walgreen's will be starting to expire any points over a year old as of August 25. I'd been saving for the $50 level, but that wasn't going to happen before the 25th.

So, I went and spent $20 of my points - and got a Bluetooth iHome wireless headset. I used it for the first time Saturday, and I really enjoyed not having to deal with the headphone wires! I also took a call, and my grandma was able to hear me fine.

--
I got a lot of admin work done today, but not much housework. Ugh. So far behind on that ...

We have 3 more eggplants ... I might make a lasagna with the eggplant sliced thinly for noodle layers (experiment ...) Whatever I can do to get them used up. Smile

I hate to say it .. I'm still slowly losing weight, but my energy level isn't any better. I'd really hoped that cutting out the animal products / sugar and upping nutritional foods would change that. No dice so far.

--
I still have been unsuccessful in getting the meds in Sunny. Hopefully DH will manage it.

Fence update, Math ?, etc

July 29th, 2017 at 12:50 pm

So without a word to us, the person started working on the landscaping part of the fence project on Monday. We think he's dragging it out as long as possible before needing fence supplies ... for whatever reason. At least its started!

---
I'm trying to figure out what to save for property taxes. This year we paid $2212 for an evaluation of $114k. Next year our evaluation will be $140k (what we paid for the house.)

I'm guessing that'll be about $3k. The first half will be due May 1, and the second half due August 1.

I at first just made the goal to have $3k by July, but I've been thinking that that might be more than I need to save each month or perhaps less.

I need $1500 by April, and then another $1500 by July. What is the best way to do this? For whatever reason, I just can't get my brain to figure this out.

----
I paid the cremation costs on the new AARP Chase card - so should get $200 cash back on the next statement.

Snowflakes for July:
Bing - $5
Dietbet - $288
Earnably - $15
Earnhoney - $10
PACT - $11.29
Perk - $25
Pinecone - $12
Swagbucks - $125
Youlotto - 5.07

1/2 of these will go towards our spending money and 1/2 will go into the general budget.

I overspent on groceries this month ... a lot. I had tried to keep it to $200, but right now we are at $314. Most of the spending was in an effort to have lots of choices stocked for DH to help him on the eating healthy challenge. Which he didn't even make past day 1 .. Sigh.

I'm budgeting $300 for this month to be more realistic, but am hoping to keep it lower.

Our August budget is going to be tight. DH missed 4 days of work - unpaid. But September should be pretty flush - I have 6 - 8 hours of overtime in August, plus a 3 paycheck month.

However, it's looking like DH will be having shoulder surgery - with a possible 2 - 6 weeks off work. Gulp. Unpaid. So I'll be squirrelling the extras from August into an off work category. Hopefully DH can do some eBay sales during that time so it won't be totally without income. I'll also hold off on sending money to our ROTH's in September in case we need it.

---
DH is turning 51 on Thursday! We may be going to eat at a place about an hour from here to celebrate.

---
We'll be able to file the small estate affidavit on Friday for SIL. So we can pay ourselves back for the cremation and DH can contact the railroad. If there is money coming from there, then we'll deal with the medical bills. If not, then the medical places just will have to eat the costs.

--
I'm still going strong on my new way of eating. I haven't had chocolate or processed foods or other junk foods in over 5 weeks!

The weight loss is going slowly, but it is progressing downward. The last time I weighed this much was around 2005! Another 20lbs and I'll be where I was in 2004 when I first met DH.

--
We had some torrential rain here this last week. I saw someone get stuck in the water driving home from work. When I got home I asked DH if he'd checked the basement for water. A few minutes later he calls me and tells me that not only is there water - but standing water!!

He goes outside to check the gutter pipes while I start vacuuming the water. He found out that the end of one of the pipes was clogged with mud and acorns. He tried to clear it and then realized the clog was near the roof ...

So ... I got up on the roof ... DH handed me a branch from our yard that was curved (after I'd tried with another stick) and I got it unclogged! Then came the petrifying part - getting off the roof!

We're going to have someone replace that pipe with something bigger so it doesn't clog so easily.

---
I bought a Shark vacuum a few weeks ago - the kind you can take part of it off and use as a dustbuster. I absolutely LOVE it! It's easy to clean and it does the job! I paid $79 for it after using a $50 Walmart card - it was a refurbished deal.

---
I stayed home two days this week to try to catch up on housework and projects. Sunday I did a lot of cooking and some cleaning. Monday I did a lot of phone calls and computer work. Tuesday
I went through my closet and found a large bags worth of giveaways and reorganized everything else. I also got most of my artwork hung.

I wanted to hang my mirrors but I was too afraid to use the stickies - though they're made to hang 16lbs. The mirrors are at least 30lbs each.

We have plaster walls so I'm just not sure how to hang something so heavy.

Dietbet, Memorial, the Fence!

July 21st, 2017 at 08:24 pm

So, starting off with the best ...

I lost a total of 32 lbs since January 17 and won
$288! A profit of $173 ($115 starting bet.)

Better yet though, I feel as though I have made real changes to my eating habits.

One prime example - every other time I had finished a weigh in (and won) I had given myself permission to go "off Plan" for a day ... or two or three... This time though, I have just kept on trucking. Eating the same way I have since I made the decision to go fully Whole Foods Plant Based no refined sugars, limited salt/oil.

Yesterday at work someone had brought in several boxes of doughnuts. Some of which used to be favorites of mine. Thursday I was able to look at them, remember how good they tasted, but realize I didn't really want them.

Today there still were some left, and I had to go by them a zillion times ... it got harder, but I told myself I could have a "milkshake" when I got home. Smile (dates, almond milk, a handful of walnuts, peanut butter, cocoa powder) Yum!

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In the so so category ...

The memorial for SIl was on Saturday afternoon. There wasn't a huge turnout. Most people seemed to be either neighbors or friends of her son. It was kind of sad really. DH was both relieved and disappointed at the turnout (he wasn't looking forward to being focused on by a bunch of people.)

We took care of SIL's ashes last night, and then stopped by DH's stepdad's house. Oooh boy. When he goes, we're going to have a lot of fun with his place. Not. He has barely a walkway through his house. It's not filled with trash, but with STUFF. Loads and loads of framed pictures lining the walls (not hung, but leaning against the wall.) 50++ dressed mannequins, a room full of Barbie dolls in boxes and other dolls. And so much more. He's 86 and definitely not in good health.

DH's sister had gone over to his place every Sunday and "shared a beer" with him, up til a month or so before she got really sick. DH won't "share a beer" with him, and if he goes over there once a month that would be amazing. (No love lost for stepdad - Hitler is one of his heroes. As is Sarah Palin and Trump. Ugh. He was a real turd to DH growing up.)

DH would really rather have nothing to do with him, but I think his good side will win out over his enmity towards the guy. He's all alone now ( a bed he made for himself, as DH says)

It's just really sad.

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Now for the stuff that makes my blood boil.

DH knows this guy through work who has done projects for the pizza restaurant owner many times over the years. He also does fences.

So .. DH talked to him about doing our fence.

After many delays, he finally comes over and gives us an estimate.

A few weeks later (after DH texted him several times) he called DH to say - I was waiting to hear if you wanted to go ahead or not.

So, DH writes out a check to him for the cost of the materials = $2254 and I tape it to the back door. The check is cashed by the end of the day.

I call the utility line to have them come out and mark the property. The materials were supposed to be delivered by the end of the week.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him to find out what's going on.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him again. "Oh! I texted you a week and a half ago blah blah blah. My guys will be there on Thursday."

I call the utility number to have the lines refreshed.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him.

Crickets.

DH leaves him a voicemail.

Crickets.

DH calls again and leaves a voicemail.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. My grandfather died and I've been dealing with that the last month. I just got back into town, and should be able to start Friday morning."

This was Wednesday. He was seen at the pizza restaurant Saturday morning.

DH leaves him a voicemail telling him that if there is not some movement on this project by Monday, we are going to ask for our money back.

Crickets.

I'm not looking forward to going to small claims court.

DH's Sister Update; June Snowflakes, etc

July 1st, 2017 at 08:56 am

DH's sister is rapidly deteriorating. The nurse has said that the end may come by the end of this coming week, if not sooner.

We had a family meeting with the social worker on Friday afternoon, and were able to get her to sign the Power of Attorney form so DH can do stuff with her financials and health decisions. The hospital really dropped the ball on this big time. A week ago she was MUCH more lucid and would have had an easier time doing all the needed paperwork. At this point, we're glad just to get the POA.

Although she doesn't have a will, from what I have been able to find out, she qualifies as a "small estate." So, there probably won't be too much red tape as in probate stuff. Kind of like with my dad.

DH took a day off work last week and is planning on taking another one off this week to help with stress relief and get stuff done that he doesn't have the energy too with spending two afternoons over at his sister's...

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We had our July budget meeting Thursday night with the new budget setup. I think it will be much simpler to do.

We are having a ton of issues getting DHs Vanguard account setup. So very frustrating.

I got an offer from my Barclay's card - spend $750/month for 3 months and get $50. I thought about it, but then realized that it probably isn't worth the hassle. $100 might be, but not $50.

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June Snowflakes:

Swagbucks - $25 Walmart; $25 Paypal; $25 PP; $25 PP

Pact - $10

Earnhoney - $5; $5, $5

Earnably - $10; $5

Yoolotto - $6.75; $5.67

MyPoints - $25 PP

FetchRewards - $10 in Walmart gift cards

Inbox Dollars - $40.42

Bing - $5 AGC

Total: $232.84

CC Cash back:

Citi Double Cash - $162 (several months worth)
AE Blue - $25

*I found out some sad news. PACT is shutting down the second week of July. I've been using it for nearly 5 years. The silver lining I guess is that my phone won't be filled with food pictures anymore. Smile

Walmart Pay Frustrations and More Snowflakes

June 18th, 2017 at 11:08 am

So last night I set up Walmart Pay on my phone. I added a couple gift cards I'd earned from a defunct app which I'd never printed.

Then I carefully consulted the various rebate apps to see what I could use and headed to Walmart.

At Walmart I got some of the items on my list which were a good value.

Then AFTER checking out, I find out that there is NO PRINTED RECEIPT!

I should have gone over to customer service and returned the items/rebought them, but I my frustration level was high and I didn't think about it.

So I headed to Aldi just to find out they were closed. Frown

Then I went to Hyvee and got a rebate item plus almond milk.

Pretty much the only app the Walmart receipt will work for is ReceiptPal because they take ereceipts.

I would go there today and do a return/repurchase, but the rebate value isn't really worth the time or gas. Frown

Sigh. I'm guessing Apple Pay works the same way.

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I got the $5 bonus from iBotta and cashed out for $25 PayPal.

I also have hit the $40 mark with Inbox Dollars, and will cash out tomorrow when it credits.

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Tonight we are going out to eat at a pizza place called Romano's. DH has been wanting to go for several weeks, but I couldn't because weigh in day was too close. Smile Now that next weigh in isn't til July 17, I can go out to eat.

New Budget Plan, Snowflakes, Dietbet, Ibotta Rebate!! Meal train

June 17th, 2017 at 08:41 am

Ever since my DH injured his so-called "good" shoulder, I have been contemplating what would happen if he couldn't work anymore. I realized we would be in a *very* tight spot. Yes, we have reserves which we could repurpose for daily expenses, and could cut into the stocks ... But that just feels like a short term solution with long term consequences - since the reserves and the stocks are for long term needs.

So, after a lot of thought and juggling of numbers on my part, and then the ensuing discussion with DH, we have made a mutual goal of fully funding both of our ROTH's by the end of this year. $12,000.

We already had $3555 set aside for whenever we opened DH's Roth. Then I felt comfortable putting the $1900 we had set aside for the EF. I also decided that as much as I would love to do a cattery design in the cat room/family room, that by the time we had saved enough to do it, we'd probably be down two cats. So ... I'm putting the $455 set aside for that towards our goal.

That just leaves $6,090 to reach our goal. Or, an average of $1,000/month starting in July.

We are cutting our spending money from $400 to $0. We are cutting the Date Night category from $100 to $60. Groceries will go from $300 to $200. I am also stopping the $25/mo Extra Principal. Plus, I will be stopping my extra contributions to my 457 at work - this will add approximately $140 back into the budget. There also is the $185/mo we've already been setting aside for DH.

That puts us at $890.

Which just leaves $110 to fund each month.

Our plan is to take 1/2 of whatever we make (profit) in side jobs or overtime and put it towards the goal. The other 1/2 will go towards our own spending money.

If we reach the $12,000 goal early, then we will decide what we want to do.

DH has also agreed to sell the non-functioning Honda! Not paying the title/registration for that thing will add back at least $100 which we can also put towards the goal. The sale price of the Honda though I think we'll put all into DH's car replacement category.

The purpose of all this is to get as much money put away as possible in a place that will most likely outearn the 2.5% of our current checking, and even the 5% of the Northpointe checking, but still be assessable if circumstances warrant it. (Contributions only.)

Best case scenario we won't have to touch any of it for ten or eleven years.

I'm going to be doing a new budget in YNAB to reflect all this, plus to cleanup the current budget. Smile

*I just thought about something - we have probably $200 in cashback rewards on our cards - that could go towards our goal too. Smile

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June Snowflakes as of 6/17
June Snowflakes so far:

Swagbucks - $25 Walmart; $25 Paypal; $25 PP

Pact - $10

Earnhoney - $5; $5

Earnably - $10

Yoolotto - $6.75

MyPoints - $25 PP

FetchRewards - $10 in Walmart gift cards

**On Swagbucks there is a deal where you contribute $9/month for 4 months to WCF (World Wildlife Fund) and then 60 days after the 4th contribution you get 6500 SBs. So, a $29 moneymaker (plus you get a nice tote bag for grocery shopping.) Someone on the FB Swagbucks Swaggernauts group verified this offer with Swagbucks.

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Dietbet Round 5 weigh in was today - and I made it again! Now just one more month to go for the final big payout!

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On iBotta there is a current bonus called Dash for Dollars. You only have to complete ONE branded rebate by the 19th to get a $5 bonus!

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At work we are doing a meal train for the dispatcher who is going through chemo right now.

I was thinking of doing a meal of corn pudding, green beans, mashed potatoes and brownies. My DH thinks there isn't enough protein. There's cheese in the pudding, but I can't think of anything else that would go with it.

Dh suggested lasagna .. but to me that would be so much more work, and more expensive too since I already have most of what I need for the pudding meal.

Any ideas?

Maybe a Fence? June Snowflakes so far

June 12th, 2017 at 07:42 pm

DH called me this afternoon to tell me had the quote from the fence guy. At first he said it was $7k! I just about croaked. I told him we'd have to wait til next summer, unless he could make some quick sales of his audio stuff.

He called me again five minutes later and told me he had been looking at it wrong - the quote was $4895. That's more like it! I told him if he saw the fence guy, to schedule a start date!!

We'll be having two small gates and one large gate, plus some trees and bushes removed / trimmed. He also is going to bury one of our gutters.

It'll be so nice have a fenced in yard.

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June Snowflakes so far:

Swagbucks - $25 Walmart; $25 Paypal

Pact - $10

Earnhoney - $5

Earnably - $10

So $50 in cash so far. $25 to my ROTH.


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