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Archive for August, 2015

Differences of Opinion on Gift Giving?

September 1st, 2015 at 02:12 am

So ... NE and I were talking last night. Somehow we got onto the subject of gifts. It came out that he had been curbing his gift giving to my style. (small, always less than $50, usually more like around $10 ... but trying to be thoughtful.) He told me that he was used to previous girlfriends giving him $300+ gifts, and he reciprocated.

I just can't fathom giving those kind of gifts.

My parents (mom mostly) showered us with gifts as we (brother and I) were growing up. Although I always told her I appreciated her thinking of me, I also told her that she didn't need to do that much. To this day I still tell her that she doesn't need to get me anything, but will give her ideas since I know it's not a battle I'm going to win.

I guess in my mind/viewpoint that I have so many money related goals, and not that much money to stretch to reach them, that buying someone a $500 camera or $300 tv that they don't really need .... is just ludicrous. NE doesn't see it that way ... he sees that buying stuff like that is fun.

I think it is so much more fun to know that I'm getting closer to my goals of having a house, retiring, doing some travel ... and to come up with small, practical and thoughtful gifts.

Not to mention that I already feel like both he and I have WAY too much stuff as it is.

He told me that he doesn't think of himself as frugal, but as someone who makes better decisions with his money than most other people.

He also mentioned about me buying the iPhone and my planned (canceled) trip to Des Moines, etc. I asked him if he resented that I spent money on those kinds of things, but wouldn't spend that same kind of money on gifts. He said he didn't.

I guess the whole conversation made me start wondering if maybe I'm being selfish. Not just now, but throughout my life. I've never been one to spend a lot of money on gifts for other people, and I've never expected them to spend a lot on me. They just have! (like my Aunt offering to pay for my flight to CA for Thanksgiving ... I would NEVER expect nor ask for her to do that - was totally planning on paying for it myself - but she WANTS to do it for me. I definitely am not in a position where I could reciprocate, other than letting her know how much I appreciate it and maybe treating her and grandma to a mani/pedi while I'm out there.)

What do you all think? Is it fair for me to do homemade/inexpensive gifts for others when they give me things that are definitely not inexpensive? How can I figure out a way to help NE not feel like he's getting shortchanged, but also keep with my own values/goals?

NE just called - coming over unexpectedly. Gotta go. Smile

August Accounting ...

September 1st, 2015 at 01:47 am

So ... it was a spendy month. September and October probably will be too...

Between losing my phone, doing a staycation, celebrating NEs birthday, etc. ... the money flowed.

I did take some money from my slush fund in order to balance the budget (which is the slush funds job in my budget). Mostly it was the unexpected purchase of a new phone that threw things off. My vacation category was mostly wiped out to be put towards the phone, although I did let myself spend some of it on eating out a couple times and a movie.

I'm not really sure what happened with groceries ... I really need to reign that in.

So .. here it is in all it's glory.

Groceries - 177.65
Phone - 18.58
Natural Gas - 21.94
Electricity - 55.25
Fuel - 22.33
Medical - 25.20
Kari - 34.20
Car Care - 82.46
Electronics - 363.91
Household Goods - 15.66
Gifts - 31.38
Movies Out - 5
Treats - 24.20
Restaurants - 33.47
EF - +10% + $50
ROTH - +$200
Slush - -88.94

Extras -
Swagbucks - $50
Pinecone - $15
Receipt Hog - $10
PerkTV - $25 AGC
Bing - $5 AGC
Liberty - $50 Account bonus
Overtime - roughly $70

Hefty Trasbags Deal on SBs, updates

August 30th, 2015 at 04:47 pm

If you like free trashbags, and even making a little money on them ... then check this out. On Swagbucks right now there is a deal where you buy 1 (any) Hefty trashbags and get 400 SBs or buy two (any) and get 1000 Swagbucks. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt and a picture of the product(s) and email them to iredeemedhefty@swagbucks.com. 60 days later you will get your SBs.

Now here is how you can make money on this deal. Currently in the coupon section of SBs there is a $1.50 off ANY Hefty trashbags. Use two of them, and add in the $10 of Swagbucks, and you can purchase up to $13 worth of trashbags for free! Not too shabby if I might say so. Smile(The 1000 SBs could actually be worth more than $10 if you use them towards one of the discounted gift cards. I don't get them, so for me it's worth $10.)

Last night I did a September shopping trip. Yes, I know it's fudging things a bit, but 1. I won't have the time or energy to do this kind of shopping trip on Tuesday, and 2. Some of the rebates/offers I wanted were expiring on the 29th.

So I went to Walmart, Target and Walgreens. I used the shopping apps: iBotta, Shrink, SavingStar, Checkout51, Snap, Walgreens Balance Rewards, and the Target one. I also used ReceiptPal and ReceiptHog.

I spent $88 at Walmart after coupons, $16.10 at Target after coupons and discounts, and $43.31 at Walgreen's after coupons and discounts.

I earned $9 in rebates from iBotta. I will be getting $10 back from Swagbucks (Hefty deal). I also earned about 1.60 in cashback from the other shopping apps.

I am now set for toilet paper, peanut butter, jelly, trash bags, flaxseed, dry cat food, frozen veggies, etc. for a good long time. At Walgreen's I got Claratin D and Flonase - am going to try Claratin to see if it works any better than Allegra ...

I do plan on going back to Target (the SuperTarget this time)to get another bag of cat food with a coupon they gave me, and canned cat food. (Purina One Beyond)

I was supposed to earn a 6k point bonus from Walgreen's for a $30 purchase - it printed on my receipt, but the points aren't there. I'm going to give it a couple days and then contact customer service.

Yesterday afternoon I was FINALLY able to get into my hotmail account. So I was able to get my $5 AGC from Bing, and do all but one Mypoints emails (it expired.) I also was able to resign into Bing (and changed my main email address.)

Today I ordered from Amazon my pea protein powder, two wall plate hangers, and a pair of haircutting scissors. After the $30 in AGC credits, plus $2.68 in Discover cashback, it cost $12.98.

The plate hangers are to hang two decorative plates I have. The scissors are ones I saw recommended for DIY ponytail haircuts ... which with a bit of trepidation I am going to try.

I'm trying to decide whether to take the $12.98 from the Household category or the Beauty category, or maybe split the amount between the two.

If you're interested in any of the shopping apps and would like to try them out (and help me out Big Grin ) just let me know and I'll send you my referral link(s). Ibotta has a team thing where you can earn extra bonuses depending on how much rebates/earnings your team does. All of them do have fresh fruits/veggies, and non-branded items options (not a lot ... but some.)

This morning I am finally back to the weight I was at before my little staycation. Amazing how quickly the pounds go back on, and how much more time it takes for them to come off again.

Something pretty cool on Thursday -- a delivery person from Jimmy John's came by the office to give us free sandwiches. She asked something I never thought I'd hear ... any vegetarians? Sweet! The sandwich was pretty good too. Smile


August 27th, 2015 at 01:16 am

Some things that have amused me recently:

1. Got a call from the call center/medical survey place I worked at for about six weeks when I first moved here. They were wondering if I'd be interested in working for them again ... LOL! Only if I was uber desperate.

2. I was able to log in to my new credit union account tonight - and found out that my $50 bonus has already posted! (I'd been told it would be 45 days after opening.)

I made it to the gym again today. Did 30 minutes of stronglifts, and 25 minutes of walk/jogging. I was trying to get to 7k steps.

I can't remember the name of it, but I heard about a website/app based in the UK that pays for steps activity in the US (gift cards - Walmart is one of them.) You have to get over 7k steps to earn 5 points. A $5 gift card is 700 points. So ... it'll be awhile. LOL But, every little bit counts, right? Smile

I haven't heard back anything from Microsoft regarding my hotmail troubles yet. I really hope they can figure it out so I can get into my account!! I want my $5 AGC from Bing! (Plus I can't Bing anymore ... Frown Frown Frown - every day I can't Bing, I lose 25+ points.) Pooh!

I decided to go ahead and book the hotel rooms for my mom's stay. I'm counting it as a spend for September though. I was just worried that if I waited much longer, we might not be able to get what we wanted.

Gulp. 4 nights at the hotel we compromised on .... $420.xx (3 nights x $86, 1 night at $103 + taxes and fees - last night we are staying in O city.)

But .... I booked it through Expedia via the Swagbucks site. That means I'll get about 3200 Swagbucks back as a shop and earn, plus around 650 more for using my Swagbucks credit card. So, nearly $40 back.

My mom and I decided that we'd split the hotel cost, and then after all is said and done, add up all the other expenses and divide it.

Otherwise though, no spending has been done by me!

I did confirm that my salary should be getting a 2.25% bump this coming paycheck. It's the annual cost of living bump via the union contract. I sure won't refuse it! Smile

I'm going to let myself play with the bump for a few months, but in January, I'll probably have to lower my deductions, and so the bump will go away. (I'll decide for sure after I do my taxes.)

September is going to be expensive ...

Is it Really Only Tuesday?

August 26th, 2015 at 12:11 am

The last two days have been so busy and frustrating.

Yesterday at work was the saga of the lost wallet. Today was the saga of the Uni bus drivers not knowing all the places they're supposed to stop ... (new rules for the Uni buses - only stopping at designated stops. Other buses stop at pretty much any safe corner.)

Then of course the hotmail troubles continued today. I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep ... then preceded to spend 45 minutes in chat with a hotmail CSR - with no resolution. This afternoon I spent another 60 minutes or so in chat with another one. This time managed to create a temporary account so that I could send an email to customer service.

Also this afternoon finally figured out what was going on with the new credit union's website. Now I have to wait til tomorrow night to be able to finish the registration process.

THEN today I got a package from my former employer's 403(b) holding company -- the one I was trying to rollover to Vanguard. They said they couldn't complete the rollover because in their records I was still employed!! It's been ten years folks!

So ... made a few phone calls to deal with that. Got voicemail from former employer of course, so will have to wait and see.

I am just SO tired right now. I think the cream cheese I bought this past Sunday is bad or something - because I ate some on Sunday with a bagel, and ended up with a sour stomach that night. Then I had it again Monday night, and had major nausea/yuckiness this morning.

No spending so far - only 6 days to go for August.

Hotmail Troubles

August 25th, 2015 at 12:38 am

So I tried logging into my hotmail account today to get my reward from Bing, but it wouldn't let me log in! I tried resetting my password - two times! It still wouldn't let me log in, even with the new password.

Next I tried creating a new account so I could email customer service. No good! I got to the part where they test you to see if you're a zombie or not, and I couldn't get the captcha to work - I even tried the audio option, and it wouldn't play.


I accidentally left my phone at home today ... playing SB Mobile TV. I had forgotten to turn it off (which is also partly how I forgot to bring it with me ...) When I got home I had 240 points - mostly from bonus rounds. Oops. (not complaining!) This weekend I got tons of bonus rounds too. I have the feeling this is some kind of glitch.

I went to the gym today for the first time in a month! After I got there I realized I hadn't downloaded my Stronglifts app. So I did my workout from memory (reducing the weight though since it had been awhile.)

Kind of like how when I was at church this weekend and realized that I didn't have my Bible app or my hymnal app ...

I wonder how most apps got redownloaded, but a few didn't (and how did I not notice this?)

Oh well, being fixed now. Smile

I tried setting up my online access to Liberty First CU yesterday, but kept getting an error message. I'd planned on calling them today during my break, but of course, I didn't have my phone with me. Smile

I'll have to do that tomorrow.

I have a seed stuck in one of my teeth from my smoothie this morning. It's been bugging me all day!

You could definitely tell it was the first day of classes for the major university here. We had at least three wallets and two sets of keys left on buses today. One of the wallets created a good bit of drama - I called dispatch about it and was told that the driver HAD the wallet. I checked that the name matched.

The kid stood out there (missing his first class) waiting for the bus. He checked with all 4 of the buses on that route. None of them had it. His mom calls me - I find out the name of the driver who has it - and again, double check the name.

Still no wallet for the kid.

Turns out the wallet the driver had was for another person who'd lost their wallet. The kid's wallet had been taken by another student and turned in to campus police.

It ended well, but was the source of multiple and more frantic phone calls ...

Word of advice. Whenever you ride a bus, make sure you #1 know the intersection you got on the bus, #2 know the route #, #3 know the TIME you got on it, #4 know some kind of description of the driver, #5 a bus number would also be a really good thing to know.

Then if it so happens that you leave something on the bus, you can give someone really good detailed info - making it much more likely we'll be able to locate your item!

You would be shocked at how many people who call in know NONE of that info.


August 23rd, 2015 at 08:23 pm

I got my new to me phone on Tuesday (managed to have them hold it at the main Fed Ex place and miraculously managed to find the place without GPS without getting lost.)

Had some trouble getting it set up and almost thought I was going to have to send it back and get a different phone (my computer wasn't wanting to recognize it - several hours later it suddenly decided to recognize it ...)

Talked to my mom today about hotels for when she's here (in 3 weeks!) She's going to check if she can find a better deal than the one I found (she has a special number or something for the particular hotel.) If not, I'll book it with Orbitz which will give me a $10 rebate through iBotta.

3 nights will be about $300 with taxes and fees ... gulp. Plus one more night in O town (going to stay there Sunday night and then spend the day in O town before taking her to the airport there.)

Did some grocery shopping today. They had bananas for $.33/lb - I bought a little over a pounds worth. Kept 6 out for this week, then broke up the rest and put into baggies in the freezer - enough for two weeks of smoothies.

I cashed out on the following this week:
$10 - Receipt Hog
$25 - Swagbucks PayPal (makes $75 this month!)
$5 - Bing AGC
$25 AGC - PerkTV
$100 - AGC from YouGov (survey site)

The $100 one I won't get for a few weeks (in the mail??) If you're interested, I have a referral link in my sidebar. Smile It did take me about a year to get to the $100 cashout, but the surveys are all pretty easy.

I have about $1.55 til the 1st. (in my August budget) So that means 8 days of NO SPEND DAYS! must happen.
I think the only thing I'll need next week will be apples, and maybe I can figure out something else for my lunch fruit - or just buy $1.55 worth of apples. Smile

I'll be leaving in about 90 minutes to go to the big University welcome thing. I'm going to get around 4 hours of overtime for it. Smile I might see CreditCardFree's daughter while I'm there. Smile

That overtime money is going to come in handy for paying for my mom's visit here in September! (I unfortunately have had to use the OT money from the school events and most of my vacation fund to pay for the new phone.)

I will most likely be going into my slush fund for the hotel/whatever else we do while she's here. That can be refunded in October when I've got a 3 paycheck month.

End of Vacay :( Some KonMari pics

August 18th, 2015 at 02:41 am

4 days went by way way way too fast. I could use another 4 ... Smile

My phone is in a city an hour away as of the last update from Fed Ex at 8 p.m. Sunday. I really hoped it would be here today. Sigh.

This probably means that it'll be Wednesday at least before I can get it (they'll try to deliver it tomorrow while I'm at work of course ...)

I ended up only watching one movie this weekend - Inside Out. Enjoyed it. Smile

I was going to watch Mission Impossible today, but I didn't want to be out of the apartment more than absolutely necessary.

I did go to Dollar Tree and did open up the checking account for the $50 bonus - plus got the info I needed to change over to it for the 2.5% interest rate!

While watching one of my library DVDs I put all my frozen fruit into one cup portion baggies. There's enough for about 9 weeks of smoothies. Smile

The KonMari bug kind of faded out by Sunday. I did take all the stuff I wanted to donate to the Goodwill today.

I also took some pictures of my drawers and my closet (although I took more hangers out after the picture) and figured out how to do a shared icloud album so you can actually see the pictures Big Grin


My folding is quite as neat as some other peoples I've seen, but it's a good shot neater than what my drawers used to look like! Big Grin

I watched a really powerful movie tonight on Netflix (NE is signed into it on my computer because we watch movies on it sometimes here ....) Ragamuffin: The Rich Mullins story. Full disclosure - he was a Christian artist - Amy Grant used many of his songs, but he also produced his own albums later.

What I love so much about his story is how REAL he is about God, about life, about Christianity, about how none of us are what we *should* be - but God loves us just as we are.

Anyway, the first time I heard of him was in connection to his work with the Navajo kids in Window Rock, AZ. Powerful story.

So ... here's hoping for a good attitude from myself by 8 a.m. tomorrow ...

Anyone live in or NEAR Nebraska? Anywhere in Nebraska!

August 16th, 2015 at 12:31 am

If you do, AND you have an Android phone with NFC capability, there is a really easy secret shop for payment of $65!

If you're interested, comment here (make sure you use an email address you actually check) and I'll forward you the email with the form/info you'll need.

Day Two of Vacation :)

August 15th, 2015 at 07:49 pm

Ahhhh.... Can you hear the sweet sound of relaxation and stress relief? Nearly two days away from the phone calls, the endless, relentless phone calls (especially this past week ....)Two more full days away to come - all to fill with what I want to do.

Friday I got a late start on it, but I DID manage to KonMari ALL of my clothes - the only exceptions being what was in my laundry baskets.

I completely filled a medium sized box and a smaller box with clothes/other items to give away. This is after having let go of at least 3 large trashbags full of clothes before I moved here a year+ ago. I probably could still let go of more...

Funny thing is, I think it will stick.

Today after church I immediately hung up my dress (after passing the sniff test), folded and put away my slip, folded and put away my shrug, and replaced my shoes in their place. Granted, it wasn't anywhere near second nature, but that will come if I keep repeating the gestures.

I have taken some pictures of my drawers and my closet, and may post them later. I'm just too much into my vacation mode right now. Smile

The rest of today is for napping (check), reading, watching movies (later tonight), and anything else I feel like doing.

Sunday will probably start out with my earned movie (Inside Out I think.) Then brunch out at a new to me restaurant that serves crepes as one of its mains. Possibly a pedi/mani.

Then it will be time to earn my Monday fun. I plan to KonMari my kitchen and bathroom. Then probably also clean them too. The pedi/mani maybe should wait til Monday ... Smile

Oh yes, it will end with making dinner with the SO.
Monday will begin with Mission Impossible, eating at CiCi's, shopping at Dollar Tree and Walmart, figuring out the best way to organize/put together smoothie packets so I know how many days worth I have of various ingredients, perhaps cooking up some freezer batches of food for lunches/suppers. Then more rest and relaxation. Hopefully also setting up my new to me phone!

Either Sunday or Monday I want to go to the gym and use the pool - since thanks to KonMari'ing my clothing, I found my long lost swimsuit!

I may also add in there doing a major KonMari of my car too. NE is putting me to shame in the way he is keeping his new to him car free of clutter and trash. Mine used to be much cleaner, now it is definitely not.

Mom will be here in less than 5 weeks .... I wonder what she is going to think about my drawers of folded up clothing? Smile

PS - I know all of this doesn't sound like a very frugal way to do a vacation. But it is all being done with money I'd specifically set aside to do a vacation with. Circumstances made it so that it became a staycation ... so I decided to play and splurge much more than I normally would within a 4 day period.

I almost scrapped my play/splurge plans due to the unexpected phone costs, but I just couldn't do that. I REALLY need this break. Desperately. I can whack the phone cost from other categories, and if necessary the slush fund. That's what it is there for anyway.

An expensive start to a short vacation. Sigh.

August 14th, 2015 at 04:13 pm

So last night when NE usually leaves to go to the grocery store after being here, I asked him if I could come along since I didn't have to be up at a certain time. He was happy to oblige. Smile

While walking through the second store, he was like, we haven't made dinner together for awhile. So .. we then bought $17 worth of ingredients for his Tater Tot Casserole. (Tater Tots and veggie burger alone was nearly $9.) (We are splitting the cost.)

It was an enjoyable evening all together, even with deciding to make an expensive dish. (which I will probably save my leftover half and freeze for lunches.)

Phone ... Sigh.

I got my phone unlocked from ATT as of yesterday afternoon. I started the activation process last night - but before I could do that I had to update my operating system, back up my phone, switch out SIM cards, and then restore from my backup.

Long process.

All to find out that as a GSM device on Ting, I have to use T-Mobile's network here. Coverage in my apartment is practically non-existent.

So... another long story a bit shorter .. I ended up purchasing a refurbished 5S from Ting for a total of $323. It should be here by Monday or possibly Tuesday.

This SO is not in my budget, but I have to have a phone. I could have gone with a 4S for $100 less, but I decided it wasn't worth it since the 5S should be good / last longer (i.e. support iOS updates) than the 4S. (As long as I don't pay another stupid tax by losing my phone yet again.)

I SO need this 4 day break from work. So needed it.

I'm going to catch up on journals and then make myself get off my duff and start on my Kon Mari my closet and dresser project! If I get that done today, I'm rewarding myself with a matinee showing of Mission Impossible on Sunday. Smile

Oh, I do want to give props to Ting's customer service. I emailed them Wednesday night telling them that I thought it was pretty bad not responding to a help email for 4 days (sent the email on Saturday.)

I got a response Thursday morning apologizing and giving me a $25 credit for my trouble.