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One of the Reasons

April 22nd, 2019 at 05:43 pm

Let me preface this by saying that I am not looking for atta girl or other accolades. I simply want to share something that made me happy today.

It had been kind of a rough day. My sinus headache/nausea had reared itself in the afternoon. I got called a liar when I made a mistake based on what I thought I had heard. Someone else got all persnickety when I told them that no, we did not have the thing they had left on the bus.

I hadn't gone grocery shopping due to not feeling well this past weekend. So that's how I ended up in the line at Aldi this afternoon.

There was a lady two customers ahead of me who was having issues with getting her card to work. They had her go off to the side finally while she tried calling her husband. Her little girl was standing beside her, clearly tired.


My DH called me about then, and I told him I'd call him back in a few minutes. (I don't talk in line - especially when it's nearly my turn. So rude!)


So it's finally my turn. This whole time I've been watching this woman and her daughter. I come to a decision (after a quick look at YNAB) and as quietly as possible tell the cashier that I want to pay for the woman's groceries without her knowing I did it.


The cashier looked surprised at first but then took it in stride. I explained to her that I have funds set aside just for things like this. She asked me if it was a kind of "pay it forward" thing.


Yep. Definitely. So many times in my life I've had people reach out and help me when I needed it. Now, even though I don't have lots of extra dollars, I have more than enough to meet my needs. So setting aside a few dollars every month is pretty painless.


But the rewards are priceless. Even if I don't see the reaction.


Doing this pretty much wiped out my giving category, but it will rebuild. And I'll find another such opportunity.


This is one of the reasons I manage my money.

Another One?? Sigh

April 13th, 2019 at 02:14 pm

So ... we aren't even done dealing with the aftermath of DH's accident in August? and he's done it again.

Our insurance rates already nearly doubled and he had to find a new insurer.

He got impatient waiting to turn left out of a parking lot, so backed up to turn around and go a different way. Unfortunately, he backed into a light pole and broke it in half. Fortunately, no people were injured this time.


Just in this most recent budget meeting, I showed him how we needed to increase the inflow to meet all our goals. Electricity had gone up, water and car gas had gone up, along with other bills increasing. More than one month we've had to put way less than the ideal in our rainy day funds - i.e. pet fund, medical fund, etc.


So we both agreed to find a way to add $200 extra each. He can do this simply by working 4 extra hours each week (which will also increase his spending money potentially.) I plan on trying to do some door dash each week, plus my normal methods of earning spending money.


Of course now with yet another accident on our records, I'm a little leery of doing extra driving ... And who knows how much more the insurance is going to go up.


Sigh.


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I'm two weeks into my Business Communications class. It definitely is more work/effort than the last two classes.


I got an email from my advisor with the suggestion I register for two classes in the fall semester. I LOL at that ... I can barely manage the $200 for a textbook for ONE class at a time. Books aren't covered by my employer.


It's so ludicrous how the textbook companies have ensured their longevity - make students buy textbooks with a one time use online code. Make buying the code by itself more expensive than buying the book used plus a new code. So students can't recoup their textbook money by selling them AND they can't save money by buying used.


When I did my graduate degree, my total outlay for textbooks by the end was less than $50! So far for 3 classes, I've spent over $500. None of which I can recoup.


I really hope that doing this degree is going to pay off in the end...


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In more positive news ... Our net-worth (minus house value, or car values) hit $325k+ DH has about 8 months income in his ROTH now. (Started from zero a bit less than 2 years ago.) The rest of it is cash savings or my IRAs, etc.


I really hope we can continue to fully fund the IRA's. With DHs late start on it, there's not going to be much by the time he's 62. I don' see him lasting at his job past then. (He's 52 now - 53 in August.)


---
OK, I'm going to go catch up with ya'll!

Been Awhile

March 23rd, 2019 at 05:40 pm

Just checking in. Not really too much to report. The most interesting? thing going on recently is all the flooding in my state (NE) and Iowa.

The immediate impact has only been felt as water restrictions - which were mandatory for two days, and then voluntary for 3 days. Seeing all the pictures of the animals who were stuck in the water or snow for days - their flesh eaten away at … Frown Frown Frown All those homes and people's livelihoods GONE. So sad.


The longer term impact I think will be felt much further away than just the Midwest. I expect meat prices to go up, and probably wheat/corn too.


Being so close to so much devastation, and yet not really being affected by it, makes you wonder how that happens. How do people move forward after losing everything but their lives?


We work so hard to be financially smart. To work towards financial goals like retirement or being debt free or paying off a house … Yet all that work and effort could be gone in an instant through no fault of your own.


I was talking to my insurance person (the company that has our home insurance and auto is pulling out of NE) and she was telling me that the majority of the people don't have flood insurance. So FEMA is their only hope.

Then you see what is happening in Africa, and our flooding issues become insignificant.

Sigh.

---
In other news … I finished my second class - an A+ of course. Smile I start my 3rd one in a few weeks - Business English. Not particularly looking forward to that - but a refresh of grammar probably won't hurt.


DH and I took a road trip to Des Moines plus 2 hours last Sunday. He wanted to attend a fish swap and buy a huge tub thing from some guy out in the country. We stopped at Bennigan's for dinner - so DH got his corned beef meal. That was a LONG ten hours of driving.


DH is really getting going on the fish thing - has been breeding like crazy. He has a contact at a local fish store that is buying some off of him. There's fish tanks all over the basement …


He's lost 70lbs since his heart attack (Oct) and just got his most recent bloodwork - cholesterol under 100!! Blood sugar was back in normal range. He's done it completely by just losing weight - not by eating healthier … just less.


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A CD that paid 5% for 12 months came due this month. I had them put the money back into cash. I'll be moving it into our checking which pays 4%. (The renewal rate was something ridiculous - around 2%)


I haven't filed our taxes yet. In no hurry since we owe.


I got back to my highest weight … sigh.


Am trying a method espoused by a book titled Mini-habits for weight loss. I picked four super small habits which I religiously try to accomplish - 1. Do one (wall) pushup. 2. Walk/run/dance for one minute. 3. Eat one salad. 4. Fill water bottle and drink it all.


I also added two more mini-habits - 1. Clean something for one minute. 2. Open a French app.


About 9 days into it, and I only missed 100% on last Sunday with the marathon drive. Most days I'm doing way more than the minimum. It seems to be working - I'm back down 3 lbs and I'm getting things done at home.

Anyway, this is pretty long now. I will try to check in more often. I do read everyone's blogs, even if I'm not leaving many comments anymore.

Refund?!

January 29th, 2019 at 05:59 pm

I got my W2 today, as well as the last two tax forms from banks. I had entered in my stock sale info based off what I could find on Vanguard's site.

I had fully expected to not only not get the tax saver's credit this year, but to have to pay 3 or 4 thousand in taxes.

I guess this tax bill worked in our favor this year....

Not only do we not have to pay anything in, but it looks like a $554 Federal refund! I am flabbergasted.

The money I left sitting in the account to cover the taxes can now actually be put to use!

I'm going to test this on a couple other tax prep sites just to be sure …

--
One thing I'm not sure about. I paid for one class in 2018. I'm being reimbursed for it in 2019. Do I claim it on my 2018 taxes - because the reimbursement will be on my 2019 taxes?

Small World, etc.

January 21st, 2019 at 05:41 pm

I was playing SwagIQ tonight and not really listening to the guy rambling about the winners, when all of the sudden I heard "creditcardfree!"

Was that you CCF?!

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I stayed home and vegged all weekend. Finished Season 2 of Handmaid's Tale. Got myself a week and a half ahead in my online class. (You're allowed to work ahead.) Not much else really.

DH and I went out to eat Sunday night at Hacienda Rael. I got the veggie fajitas. I ate 1/3 Sunday night, and then had some for breakfast and dinner today. Yummy!

I'm 8 days out with no added sugar! (Partly why I holed myself up this weekend - my sweet tooth was saying go out and get something …)

Tonight I made something that might be very dangerous. I soaked 8 mejoodl dates, and then pitted them. Put them in my small food processor, added a Tbsp of cacoa powder (the non-sugar kind), about 1/4 cup of almond milk, and 2 Tbsp of natural pb. OH MY YUM!!! I could have eaten the whole thing right then and there.

But I put it in the freezer to set (after scoring it into 6 pieces.) I'm going to try to restrain myself to one a day.

---
I cashed out for another $50 SBs PayPal. It was a payout from a focus group I did a bit over a month ago. I'm glad I was patient - was getting ready to email to find out what the delay was about.

I made over $500 in spending money this month! $200 from signing up for Doordash via Swagbucks, and then a couple other offers credited, plus CC cash rewards, etc. If only I could do that every month!

My plane ticket for France is fully funded, and now I'm working on funding lodging/travel expenses.

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I'm starting my 4th book of 2019 - Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has to be back to the library by Thursday - it has holds on it. So, I'll have to read quickly. Smile My first non-fiction book of the year. (I'm going to try to do 1 non-fiction per month. Not counting cookbooks …)

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I won another Stepbet - it looks like a $10.50 payout ($50.50 altogether.) If we get a treadmill, then I'm going to do the Runbet again.

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Right now we have spent the least on groceries in nearly a year! There's still 9 days left of course … but I don't need anything for this week, and won't need much for next week.

$tretching, etc.

January 16th, 2019 at 06:27 pm

So DH found an insurance company that will cover him (did I mention he'd been given the pink slip by Farmer's??) His current liability only for 3 vehicles is $332 for 6 months. As of February, liability only (with slightly higher coverages) will be $882 for 6 months.


Ever since August I have been saving more than normal for his car insurance renewal - but nowhere near enough for this.


--

The vehicle which he has been dragging his feet on selling is $349 of that. I'm of half a mind to tell him he can pay that portion out of his spending money - then when he actually sells the darn thing, he can be reimbursed for whatever portion they reimburse.

But in reality, it probably is a good thing he hadn't sold it yet. Since his CRV developed bad suspension issues. We were quoted $1700+ by Brakes Plus. The husband of a lady who I go to church with, did the labor for $285 and DH ebayed the parts for another $230.

Of course, it now desperately needs new tires - to the tune of $500. We have $440 in our car repair fund.

A couple of times DH has mentioned that we really should have at least $1k in our car repair fund. Um … yeah, we would have that - if his cars weren't needing repairs all the time!
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The property appraisals came out last weekend. Our house had a $25k increase. Um …. There are also rumblings about increasing property taxes.

That's about a $55/mo increase - which isn't terrible … but when you couple it with the huge hike in insurance premiums, increased ROTH contributions to max out, and other piddly increases in various services … Ugh.

We're going to have to seriously reconsider how we do the budget. And I know he's going to hate my suggestion. Not that I'm going to like it much either. But the money has to come from somewhere, right?

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Oh, we still are deciding on if we are getting a treadmill or not. DH is worried we'd get shocked when using it since our plugs aren't grounded. So .. he's looking into joining a health club.

That's fine - it's just it only benefits him, and it'd make it easier to not do it.

So if he decides to go the gym route, that's another monthly expense to add.

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Some of this is mitigated by a 3rd paycheck this month. That will cover the increased insurance premium and the shortfall in the tires. I had other ideas for the money … but what can you do?

I also received a very generous check from my aunt for Christmas. When she told me about it, it almost sounded to me like she wanted it to all be for me only. I did not tell DH this, because I didn't want him to feel bad.

It's not his fault that he basically has no family left, nor that my family is pretty generous. I feel when I'm given money like that - that it belongs to us equally. My mom has sent me $100 for my birthday before - but none for him on his birthday. I split it with him (again, he doesn't know it was meant just for me.)


I have 3 family members who could quite possibly pass on in the next year to two years. Cancer, old age and Parkinson's/defeated attitude. I have travel money set aside for this. 2 of the 3 I'd probably be reimbursed at least plane fare.


----

I have not done any shops for Shipt. I have tried, but it really doesn't seem to be busy in my area.

I kind of have given up on it.


I signed up for Door Dash through SBs when it had the $200 bonus. I actually kind of like it! I have done 10 orders over 4 dashes and made about $72 + the $200 bonus came through early from SBs.


When it stays light out longer, I might do a few hours during the week, and a few on the weekend.


I was going to dash last weekend, but decided the weather wasn't something I wanted to deal with in my car. This weekend could be a repeat of that unfortunately.


I managed to finish reading/read 3 books in one day … Smile thanks to being snowed in. (2 by Tracie Peterson - Embers of Love/Hearts Aglow, 1 by Petersheim called The Divide) I started the 3rd book in the Peterson series - Hope Rendered.

I had read about half of Embers of Love while on … Jury Duty! Yes, last week (and this week) I was slated for jury duty. I actually got further than Ii ever have before - into the courtroom and sitting in the pews to listen to the voir dire (sp?) After 2 hours, all but 12 of us were dismissed.

I learned one thing though that made me glad I didn't get on the jury - if we were sequestered, not only no tv, no Internet, etc. But NO books!! Sorry, I'm not down with that.

I'm curious to find out how much I'll be paid for my time. For work, I just had to keep track of my time away, but got paid normally.

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.

Um

January 1st, 2019 at 02:07 pm