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Archive for June, 2014

52 WMSC - Finally Paid

June 28th, 2014 at 08:59 pm

I finally got paid by my one client -- $625 -- woot! I was also paid $25 for another book review and got a $10 gift card for the new monitor I had to purchase for work. I also finally went to see the movie I was supposed to see at the end of May, but at a different theater so my AMC gift card balance hasn't changed. We thought we had a coupon for free tickets, but it was actually for discounted ticket prices (well, I thought that's what it was to begin with, but everyone argued me into thinking it was for free tickets!). Luckily I remembered a gift card for that theater that I got about four years ago and never used, so it was still no money out of pocket. There was also a coupon for a free small popcorn, which we upgraded to a medium. Total for two of was $18 on the gift card (I got a drink, too).

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 26 [started late, now on my week 20]

Client payment: $625.17
Book Review: $25.00
Gift Card: $10.00
Movie Card: $18.00
Total Snowflakes: $678.17
Rounding (from reserve): $1.83

Beginning Balance: $1115
Deposit: $680
Ending Balance: $1795

Reserve: $3.88 - $1.83 = $2.05

This puts me at 100%+ of the regular challenge, over 65% of the double challenge, and over 25% of the mega challenge. Still need to get working harder on the mega challenge, but I'm excited about having finished the regular challenge!!

52 WMSC & Rewards Updates

June 21st, 2014 at 01:01 pm

I've been "down country" and had limited wifi access, so I'm behind on updating. Rather than do separate updates for each week I missed (I think I missed three), I'm just going to skip ahead and count them all together. There are probably some snowflakes I'm forgetting, too!

I had a $5.29 return at CVS and I used $5 in Extra Bucks. I'd forgotten an item on my expense report for my critter club, and since the money ($119.76) was long gone in my mind I figure I'll use the reimbursement as a snowflake. I also got $50 for my birthday a few weeks ago.

Still expecting some big snowflakes in the next few weeks, $625 from a side gig (I need to start getting tough on that one, it's been 3-4 months since I sent the first invoice) and $203 from an insurance reimbursement. I also just got a quick review that will bring in $25, probably next week. Those aren't counted here, of course, but it's nice to know there are some things to look forward to!

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 25 [started late, now on my week 16]

CVS Return: $5.29
CVS Extra Bucks: $5.00
Club Reimbursement: $119.76
Birthday: $50.00
Total Snowflakes: $180.05
Rounding (to reserve): $0.05

Beginning Balance: $935
Deposit: $180
Ending Balance: $1115

Reserve: $3.83 + $0.05 = $3.85

(Somehow my reserve amount was off; this amount coincides with what the bank has.)

That puts me at 80% of the regular challenge, 41% of the double challenge, and 16% of the mega challenge. I need to step things up if I want to hit the mega challenge -- even the $853 I have coming only puts me 1/4 toward that goal, and we're just about halfway through the year!

Chase Freedom Rewards
Still beating the estimate of $50 per month, again most likely due to the 5% restaurant category and eating out quite a lot, between our anniversary and our vacation. Some of the vacation awards will carry over to next month, as well. We ended at $76.35, which finishes up the gift fund. Woo hoo!

Gift Fund
Goal - $500
Balance - $500
Remaining - $0

Movie Card Fund
Goal - $100.00
Balance - $14.11
Remaining - $85.89

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

June 3rd, 2014 at 09:23 am

Fairly decent week for snowflakes, considering I haven't done much of anything to try to get them, although most of them did involve spending money. I used $7 in coupons at CVS (for drug store items that I actually needed Wink ) and then saved another $4.79 on things I picked up while I was there. I got $20 in Kohl's cash (which of course means I spent $100, but considering the full price total was $500, I think I came out ahead!). The 'save the change' rounding total for May was $14.78. I also had interest on the ING account, I'd forgotten about it in April so I've got April ($0.26) and May ($0.47) here.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 22 [started late, now on my week 16]

CVS Coupons: $7.00
CVS Savings: $4.79
Kohl's Cash: $20
Rounding: $14.78
Interest - April: $0.26
Interest - May: $0.47
Total Snowflakes: $47.30
Rounding (to reserve): $2.30

Beginning Balance: $890
Deposit: $45
Ending Balance: $935

Reserve: $0.80 + $2.30 = $3.10

May Look Back / June Look Ahead

June 2nd, 2014 at 08:29 am

The look back/look head is just my way to try to keep myself on track with my saving and spending. I have an Excel spreadsheet I love for tracking my debt paydown but it doesn't translate well to saving and spending; I find I'm more about words than numbers for those areas. I was going to combine this with my 52-Week Mega Challenge update, since I figured they'd both be short, but apparently I had more to say in this one than I expected! Wink

Not a whole lot going on in May; it's a high-spend month for several reasons (my annual 'pilgrimage', our anniversary, and my birthday, plus getting ready for the family garden) but we plan for it and set aside money from my overtime (Feb - April).

Overall in May I paid off $2,292 in non-real estate loans, paid $770 in interest, and paid $158 extra to my 'avalanche' credit card. I wrote yet another letter to Social Security informing them of my mother-in-law's death (in August of 2012) and requesting that they stop depositing her monthly benefits into her checking account. (There's almost $30,000 in there now -- no wonder the system is going bankrupt!) I also informed them that this was our last attempt at remedying the situation -- they've been informed at least three times by three different people (including the funeral home), the bank was instructed to return the first two deposits and close the account back in October 2012, we've tried calling multiple times but can never get through (when we do get through, it's hold-hold-hold-hold and then they disconnect us). So, it's on them, and I'm not even going to worry about it any more. (We don't have any access to the bank account, it's in her name only, so there's not much else I can do regardless.)

We have another vacation planned this month, for S's family reunion (among other things). It's unusual for us both to go anywhere together that's not a day trip, because of the critters. We're dividing them up among friends so that no one has more than they can handle. (Once we get this debt paid off and a good EF built up, I'm going to start saving up to buy a big cargo van so we can just bring them all with us. Since we don't go too often it's not that big of a hardship to ask friends to babysit, but it's six trips getting them there and back and about 20 hours of driving total! It does save tremendously on boarding fees, though; we'd be looking at four figures, easily.)

We're staying with family for the duration of our trip and S has a company car so doesn't pay for gas (they take a set amount out of each check to cover personal use of the vehicle), so our actual vacation expenses should be minimal.

I am expecting some big snowflakes this month. Of course, one I've been expecting for a few months now (payment for a side gig), but I'm moving up the ladder now and should have a resolution soon. The other is $200 from a round of physical therapy I had last year; I paid a $20 per session co-pay, but then the insurance company ended up paying the entire bill. I heard back from them last week that they'll be processing the refund and I should see it in a few weeks.

On the down side, the tenants at the rental let me know about several areas that need repair at the house. (Honestly most of them are items that needed repair when we moved out 12 years ago.) They do most of the work on the house themselves -- they plan to buy it at some point (and I'm not pushing them, honestly, because a) they're like family and b) the longer they wait the better for me, because the mortgage will go down and the home's value will go up) -- but they're in a tight situation financially right now and can't afford to pay for the repairs and pay the rent. So they'll likely only pay a portion of the rent for the next several months, while they tackle these repairs, and I'll need to make up the difference since the rent is used to repay family loans. (It should only be a few hundred dollars each month, which I may be able to cash flow from S's bonuses, side gigs, etc., but if not I've asked them to find out about recharging the a/c one more year instead of replacing it, and then I can use some of the money I had set aside for the new a/c now, and start saving again to replace the a/c next June.)

We started on the family garden yesterday (late, we were waiting on the rototilling to get done) and hope to get the bulk of it finished up tonight, if the rain holds off. This is our second year at the community garden, and I'm really hoping it's better than last year was. We have a new plot, that's on a little bit higher ground (apparently our plot last year was in what used to be a riverbed), and the soil seems much better. To be fair, everyone at the garden said they had a bad year last year, we got quite a lot of rain and not many really sunny, hot days. This year they're predicting extreme heat, which I'm hoping also means lots of sun. I'm not sure what the rainfall prediction is, but water is free so it's just a matter of getting there as needed. (My sister lives a mile away and I drive by every day on my way home from work, so that's not a problem.)

I think that's (finally) it! More than I expected to write, but I guess I needed to get all of this out of my head. Smile