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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!



Still Chugging Along

March 9th, 2018 at 07:33 pm

I've been doing the Drop It challenge for a bit over a week now. So far, so good. I've actually been eating a salad everyday for lunch! (Unheard of! Esp with grape tomatoes ...)

I haven't found it too difficult yet. And it appears to be working - have lost about two lbs. 5lbs to go to get back to my Jan 1 weight. Sigh.

Today was day 5 of my Stepbet. I just need one more active day for this week.

I have decided to do barre videos at home instead of messing with going to a class. At least for now.

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AMEX sent me an upgrade offer to the card that pays 6% back on groceries. Annual fee waived the first year and $150 bonus when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

Sweet. My property taxes will take care of $1400 of it, then there's a chewy.com (cat food) offer spend $75 get $25 back, plus use it for groceries ... no problem.

I'll just have to set a reminder to downgrade in eleven months.

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I opened two more accounts.

One with the MoneyBank - make 3 $200+ ACH deposits and get a $100 bonus.

The second with another Christian based credit union (which does include Catholics unlike the other one) for a 12 month 4% CD for $4000.

I haven't closed Northpointe yet because I'm waiting for my dd to get switched.

I was talking to DH about it and he of course was like, "Why don't you give me the money - I'll make a lot more than 4 %." Oh yeah ... like the 2.6% you barely eked out after 6 weeks (stock he bought and sold) Rolling my eyes.

So back when we figured out how to squeeze $1k/month for our ROTH's from our budget. one of the things we did was to say that we were not going to budget any spending money. Spending money would come from non-main job hours/activities. (Swagbucks, etc for me)

After a few months I saw that DH wasn't getting any spending money and was worried that he'd get frustrated and want to stop the ROTH funding. So ... I said -why don't you keep anything you make over $120 on Friday and Saturdays? (cash) He'd been fairly consistently bringing $10 - 20 over that on those nights.

Then ... he had nights where he was bringing in $50 - 80 above that! There were also a few Fridays where he came in significantly under $120. Or weeknights where he was bringing in less than usual.

It was making our budget very squeaky.

I kept waiting for him to say something like - I shouldn't be taking all of this extra on weeks my other nights are low. Let me even it out.

Didn't happen.

So at our last budget meeting I brought it up. He wasn't too happy, but wasn't surprised either. Mostly he was annoyed because I was tinkering with our budget plan again. (Which I think is funny because there's been at least two times where the major changes came as a result of something he wanted ...)

So we agreed to a base amount he would contribute to the family budget. Over that, he gets to keep it. This will help keep the budget more even.

But ... the other night he tells me that he's now more motivated to work harder at work because he knows it means more money for him. I asked him why didn't it motivate you to contribute to the family budget? He said ... The family budget has plenty of money. This is MY money.

Anyone see something off here? Or is it just me?
I really wish I'd never brought the idea up in the first place.

*Note - I'm not posting this to be negative towards DH. I honestly just am wondering if my thoughts on this are off base or not. Maybe it's a case of where we both are still struggling with the his/hers/ours thing. We both were so old getting married .. both pretty set in our $ ways ...

Today's Mail!

March 3rd, 2018 at 01:44 pm

So remember how I was perplexed on how I got rejections from both Chase AND US Bank for new cards?

Well, I guess I assumed wrong when I got the message "you'll hear about our decision in 7 - 10 days via mail"

Because guess what I got in the mail today? My new US Bank card! With a ridiculous (good) credit limit.

I've got my rewards categories all set up. Now I just have to get my electric, gas, trash and cell bills all transferred over. Smile5% here we come! (Not to mention the sign on bonus Smile ) I wonder if the one I signed my DH up for went through too (with his go ahead). That'd be sweet.

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I got my first interest from my new 4% CD (at the Christian Community CU). That'll be nice having $2500 earning 4% for the next 18 months. I need to get direct deposit set up soon though for the checking bonus.

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I did a Pinecone survey, and nudged Karen about the shopping Amazon thing. Hey, it's an easy $3, and I need to find the $'s wherever I can. Smile

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I can't remember if I mentioned this here or not - but I signed up for a Stepbet starting tomorrow. My previous six week returns were all between $9 - $20. I should be able to complete two, or possibly three between now and the cruise.

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I bought some sticky socks to use in the barre class. I may try it on Monday or Wednesday. (They were $2 after my Amazon gift card from Bing.)

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I was supposed to go to a small group potluck this afternoon. I even made a big pot of veggie/bean soup to take. But then I realized that it was being held at an assisted living home, so was worried about how many people might be there ... and chickened out. Sigh.

Sometimes I can get myself out to events, but more often than not, I decide to stay home instead. I wish that wasn't so. Sigh.

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.

Paycheck Stub $ Changes

February 27th, 2018 at 04:57 pm

Today I was able to see my paycheck for Thursday - my raise is reflected on it! It looks like about $50/paycheck (*26) Not too shabby.

That plus the extra $10 from the tax cut thing ...

So first thing I did was change my withholding on my W-4 from 1 to 2. I figure it to be safe enough since we got back over $800 this year.

Then I changed my 457 contribution up $50.

The net result will still be a little extra in the paycheck, and an extra $1300 in my 457. Smile

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I'm about halfway finished with book 9! Back on track.

I'm mostly finished with setting up my bujo for March. I left out a few things which I ended up not using, and added a few things.

One thing I added is a 31 day drop it challenge. Basically going extra strict with my eating / exercise - hoping it will jumpstart the weight loss again. I'm up about 8 lbs from January ... Frown

Booked Cruise!!

February 26th, 2018 at 05:50 pm

Got the go ahead from my brother today - and booked our cruise! It works out to about $500 each for a 7 day Caribbean cruise!! All that's left is the flight there, and tips of course.

Mom's dh has offered to cover the hotel.

We'll be going Sept 9 - 16.

I did the first step to get a passport - stopped at Walgreen's for a photoshoot. Smile

I booked on Expedia via Swagbucks - 10SBs per dollar - sweet!

I'm going to wait til June or July to book my flight (is it 12 weeks out or 16 that's better?)

Just a wee bit excited!

I'll need to contact them to make sure I have lots of whole food options on board. Smile

Too Many CCs

February 25th, 2018 at 01:22 pm

Oy Vey. Apparently I have applied for too many credit cards the past two years. Not only did Chase deny me, but US Bank. Seriously. I'm not even a serious cc churner!

I have a score in the excellent range.

Ugh!

I really wanted to take advantage of the 5% utilities - esp since both our gas and electric budget billing have gone up, up, up!

I probably should close some of the cards and then just wait til January to try again. So annoying.

(dh's score won't qualify for either of the cards I want - though it's getting close.)

I'll just have to focus on bank bonuses for the next year or so.

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We're having our budget meeting tonight. One thing we'll need to discuss is whether or not we'll get a Costco or Sam's membership. Sam's is half of Costco's, and we have 4 Sam's vs 1 Costco. But I like Costco so much more.

In reality it may be better to do neither.

I see myself getting cat litter, oatmeal, bulk beans and spices ...at Costco. DH gas, meat products???

I pay $10/30lbs of cat litter at Petco and we go through around 60 - 70lbs/month

I get old fashioned oatmeal $2.29 for 32 oz at Aldi's or steal cut for $2.79 16oz. I go through a canister about every 6 - 8 weeks.

spices - I just paid $3.49 for 8 oz of turmeric at Walmart. That might last six weeks?

I'd only get there at most 1 x per month due to distance (20+ minute drive)

As for Sam's, there's one on my way home from work (sort of) so I could get gas there too more than 1 x a month.

You can get a refund on your membership if you find it's not working for you right? (Costco)

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

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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.

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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.

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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!