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Archive for October, 2014

New Citi Double Cash Back Card

October 31st, 2014 at 06:55 am

I saw a commercial last night for Citi's newest rewards card, called "Double Cash Back". You get 1% cash back with every purchase, unlimited. You also get 1% cash back for every payment you make to the card, again unlimited. (So essentially an unlimited 2% cash back card, if you pay it off every month.)

I'm not in a position to open another credit card at the moment, but thought some of you might be interested. Smile


Medical Billing Tomfoolery

October 22nd, 2014 at 12:57 pm

S had some medical issues earlier in the year, and the bills from one place are still coming through. Frustratingly, they age the bills by the service date rather than the date they sent us the bill, which means that even though it takes them three months to submit to our insurance and get paid and then figure out what we owe, the first time they send us the bill it shows as 90 days past due. Then they weren't crediting some of our payments, or some of the insurance company's payments, and so of course soon we got the "we're going to send you to collections if you don't pay right away" bill.

I really didn't want to stretch to pay the full bill at once, so I called and worked out a payment plan of $255 per month. The first payment came due, I (and I know this was my big mistake) filled out the billing slip with my credit card info (it's the Freedom card we pay off every month), wrote $255.00 in the "Amount Paid" box (and even wrote "as agreed" next to the box), signed and mailed it in.

They charged my card $586.16.

I sent an online communication to them noting the discrepancy and requesting a refund of $331.16 within 10 days. It has now been 15 days and no refund.

I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to dispute the charge with Chase, or if I should just let it go. I can afford the payment (the total bill was higher, the $586 must have been one of their weird aging things), really. It's a legitimate medical bill so I'll have to pay it at some point regardless. I'm just irked because I only authorized $255 -- it's the principle of the thing. I don't know if charging more is illegal, but it does appear to be a violation of their agreement with Visa.

What do you think? Let it go as a lesson learned never to give credit card info to a medical biller, or dispute it and make them abide by the terms of their agreements, with me and the Visa people?

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

October 15th, 2014 at 06:55 pm

The writing gig paid fairly well this week, but I'm not sure that will carry on. It was good while it lasted! The Freedom card statement period closed, so I rounded those amounts. I also bought my next $100 movie gift card -- I've got $30-something left on the current one, but I always go to a movie on Halloween which will use up a good portion of that (and I might treat my mom this year, since S will be out of town). S has been wanting to go see something, so we might do that one of the next few weekends. I've had the card since at least November last year, if not earlier. Anyway, thanks to the suggestions here I went to giftcardgranny.com and got the $100 card for $80.50. Since I'd earmarked $100 from the Chase Freedom rewards for the gift card, I'm taking the whole amount and allocating the savings to the Challenge. I also used $5.50 in CVS Extra Bucks and had $5.04 in savings there.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 41 (started late, now on my week 36)

Pact - $4.48
Writing Side Gig - $82.50
Freedom Card Rounding - $46.37
Gift Card Savings - $19.50
CVS Savings - $10.54

Total Snowflakes: $162.39
Rounding (to reserve): $2.39

Beginning Balance: $4120
Deposit: $160
Ending Balance: $4280

Reserve: $1.22 + $1.39 = $3.61

This puts me at 62% of the Mega challenge, and over 85% of my 2014 goal of $5,000.

Chase Freedom Rewards

October 14th, 2014 at 07:50 pm

Chase Freedom Rewards points came in today. I've estimated about $50 per month in rewards, and this month was a little over at $63.98. The 5% category through September was gas, and I had another 450-miles-in-three-days weekend at the end of the month, which boosted up gas spending.

Starting Balance: $692.78
Ending Balance: $756.76

Gift Fund
Goal - $500
Balance - $500.00
Remaining - $0.00

Movie Card Fund
Goal - $100
Balance - $100.00
Remaining - $0.00

Beginning Balance: $92.78
Current Rewards: $63.98
Ending Balance: $156.76

At this point I'm just going to let the excess build up, and then see where/if I need it at the end of the year (gifts, 52 Week Challenge, etc.)

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

October 6th, 2014 at 11:17 am

One of my writing gigs has picked up on assignments again, so I'm getting some good snowflakes there. I also had an order for some items I make, and I did the monthly rounding on the checking account.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 40 (started late, now on my week 35)

Pact - $1.38
Work Reimbursement - $22.48
Writing Side Gig - $84.50
Other Side Gig - $154.70
Review Side Gig - $26.62
Checking Account Rounding - $10.89
ING Interest - $1.89

Total Snowflakes: $302.46
Rounding (from reserve): $2.54

Beginning Balance: $3815
Deposit: $305
Ending Balance: $4120

Reserve: $3.76 - $2.54 = $1.22

This puts me at 60% of the Mega challenge, and over 80% of my 2014 goal of $5,000.

September Look Back / October Look Ahead

October 1st, 2014 at 01:02 pm

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 can't believe it's October already! Where has the time gone?

Pretty quiet month, financially. The rental taxes were paid, and the normal bills, etc. I procrastinated calling about the landscaping; I may see about it this month but at this point it might be easier to just wait until spring.

We cleaned out the garden last weekend, so now I've got to figure out how to store or freeze what we harvested. (It's mostly onions and potatoes, which are fairly easy, a few carrots, and one big stalk of Brussels sprouts.)

Debt-wise, I paid off $2,456 in debt in August, paid out $853 in interest, and put $282 extra to my current avalanche debt.

I don't have much planned for October, either. S and I usually go to dinner and a movie on Halloween (we're not into kids), but he's going to be out of town this year. I may still go to the movies myself if there's something decent to see (beats sitting at home in the dark hiding from the trick-or-treaters Wink ), and since I have a gift card for the movies and I'll have popcorn for dinner, it won't cost anything and we'll save the $50 or so we would have spent at a restaurant.

S will also get a decent-sized commission payment at the end of October. He's been wanting some new gear for his hobby, so some of it may go toward that (or he might use some of his end-of-year bonus instead, depending on the timing; six of one, half-dozen of the other, really). I'll set aside our winter taxes, they're not due until February 2015 and it's the 'small' tax, which actually I can often cash flow, but I might as well just set it aside if I have it. The rest will probably go into a 'slush fund' for various things that no doubt will crop up around the house, the landscaping if I decide to do it now, etc.