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52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

August 13th, 2014 at 10:20 am

I decided to start rounding the Chase Freedom card transactions, since we use that card for everyday purchases (yes, and pay it off monthly); I was rounding the checking account (and will continue to do so) but it gets far less traffic than the Freedom card. The Freedom card statement end date is the 14th, so I'll use that as the "monthly" amount, and do the checking account rounding for the calendar month. I just used June 14-July 14 here; I might go back and add up the previous months, since I do still need a boost to my snowflakes, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet.

S and I went to the movies this weekend, finally. I have a gift card from previous Freedom card rewards, so no cash out of pocket. (Total includes the movie tickets and concessions, plus the upgrade savings I got from the Stubs membership.) CVS savings includes some ExtraBucks and savings via the ExtraCare Card.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 33 (started late, now on my week 25)

Pact: $2.11
DietBet: $34.93
Freedom Rounding: $56.15
Movies: $26.75
CVS Savings: $4.68
Total Snowflakes: $124.62
Rounding (from reserve): $0.38

Beginning Balance: $2245
Deposit: $125
Ending Balance: $2370

Reserve: $1.61 - $0.38 = $1.23

This puts me within $350 of the "double challenge" and just over 1/3 of the Mega challenge. I'm still a little worried about making the full Mega challenge by the end of the year, but then I was looking over my goals and realized I only intended to get to $5,000 savings in 2014, since I started 10 weeks into the year, so that's a little more doable!

Catching Up

August 1st, 2014 at 03:53 pm

The month of July really got away from me. I spent the first half studying for my licensing exam, and the second half recovering from the studying! I'm feeling a little bit back on my feet, finally.

July Look Back / August Look Ahead

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.

July was a good month overall, our family garden is growing (slowly, but much better than last year), and I passed my exam (phew!) - on the first try.

I did end up having the faucet/knobs (controls? handles?) in my shower replaced, as well as many of the pipes, due to major leaking, to the tune of $850 (ouch!). There are some 'good' things about it, though; first, I found the access panel in the linen closet, which at first they didn't think was there, so it cost about $2,000 less than they originally anticipated. (They had quoted the job about a year ago, when we had them do a temporary fix to some minor leaking, knowing it would have to be replaced in the not-so-distant future.) Also, we've been setting aside money for general household updates (rental and personal), some of which are optional, so I was able to cash-flow the expense and will replace the funds over the next few months. Finally, without the leaking (it was leaking into the tub for a long time, until it finally started leaking out of the tub and into the basement) we'll be saving water -- how much remains to be seen, but I've definitely noticed a difference in both water pressure and how long the hot water lasts.

On the debt front, I paid off $2,548 in debt in July, paid out $760 in interest (nice to see that number drop below $800!), and put $160 extra to my current avalanche debt.

I have a second licensing exam at the end of this month, and if I pass that I'll be able to complete my license. It's not supposed to be as difficult as the exam I took in July (though still a challenge); the bonus there is that a few areas I studied for the July exam are topics that will be on the August exam.

It's S's birthday this month and while he claims he doesn't like birthdays, I was already instructed to get tickets to a play for that night. (His birthday is on a Saturday, conveniently.) There's a restaurant we've been wanting to try not too far from the theater, so we'll go there for dinner - expensive, but S got a good bonus this month so we'll use part of that.

Property taxes on our home are due at the end of the month -- that will be a big chunk out of the savings account balance, but of course the reason we have so much in the savings account is because we set it aside for the taxes. (Taxes on the rental are due at the end of September; another chunk out of savings, but half as much as the August bill. It's nice to actually have the money in the bank, though -- too many years we didn't plan ahead and had to borrow or use credit cards (or one year just not pay them for a few months until a big bonus came through).

Other than that, I don't see much going on in August. My niece starts kindergarten at the end of the month (or maybe the beginning of September, they recently changed the laws about the first day of school and I don't remember on which side of Labor Day it landed.) I picked up a cute little "Frozen" nail polish set with a tin to keep them in (she's all about both "Frozen" and nail polish these days) at the Five Below (it was $5). I'll probably tell my sister to give it to her if she's a good girl on the first day of school. (Or, on whatever day she gets a good report if the first day is a bust! She's usually pretty good, honestly, but it's a new school so who knows how that will affect her.)

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 30 [started late, now on my week 24]

Obviously these cover several weeks, but I'm just lumping them all together rather than doing multiple updates. The refund was for some concert tickets S bought, he ended up getting a different package so they refunded the original. The gift card was for Barnes & Noble -- I got two books, "S" by J.J. Abrams, and then I spent $3.99 on a biography of Warren Buffett to get free shipping (which would otherwise have been $3.99). The refund for my physical therapy co-pay, that I paid and then the insurance ended up paying the whole thing, finally came through. I had $10.29 in "keep the change" rounding on the checking account. (Next month I might try it on the Freedom card activity -- we use that a heck of a lot more!) The dinner refund is money my mom gave me for her birthday dinner (I cooked for her); I had intended to pay the whole thing but my sister and I took her out for lunch twice during her birthday week, so she insisted on paying for the dinner. Interest is in the ING/Capital One account, which is where the 52-Week Challenge money goes.

Pact: $2.18
Pact: $1.95
Refund: $52.00
Book Review: $15.01
Book Review: $25.00
Gift Card: $25.00
Rounding: $10.29
Pact: $1.40
Pact: $1.88
Insurance Refund: $203.00
Dinner Refund: $50.00
Interest: $1.06
Total Snowflakes: $388.76
Rounding (from reserve): $1.24

Beginning Balance: $1855
Deposit: $390
Ending Balance: $2245

Reserve: $2.85 - $1.24 = $1.61

This puts me within $500 of the "double challenge" (I finished the single challenge a while ago), and almost at 1/3 of the Mega challenge.

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

July 8th, 2014 at 08:33 pm

It was a slow week for snowflakes last week, and will probably be even slower this week! I did join Pact so made $2.12 for the various pacts last week, and I won $39.98 in my DietBet. I got a $5 account credit at my bank for enrolling in paperless statements, $0.60 interest in my ING account, and "keep the change" rounding in the checking account for the month of June totalled $13.10.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 27 [started late, now on my week 22]

ING Interest: $0.60
Pact: $2.12
Paperless: $5.00
Rounding: $13.10
DietBet: $39.98
Total Snowflakes: $60.80
Rounding (to reserve): $0.80

Beginning Balance: $1795
Deposit: $60
Ending Balance: $1855

Reserve: $2.05 + $0.80 = $2.85

I sometimes feel a little bad that these weekly amounts are so small -- I see the Mega challenge weekly goals in the $150-250 range and get a bit discouraged -- but then I realize that I've made it to $1800 savings almost entirely from passive snowflakes, and that's no small accomplishment! Of course something always comes up to keep me busier than I expect to be, but I should get at least a little bit of relatively quiet time soon, and I'm hoping to find some more active means of snowflaking when I do, to hit those 'big ticket' weekly goals and get closer to the challenge goals.

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

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

May 24th, 2014 at 08:50 am

Slow week (as usual, it seems!). I need to get moving on some side projects; this weeks I should get a couple done, though they won't pay out until next month. Anyway, I remembered at the last minute to turn in some medical bills for last year's flexible spending plan, so that reimbursement came through for $59.68. I also returned a bag of pop bottles that came to $5.20. (I wasn't even paying attention when I left for the store -- there was a whole other bag waiting to go!)

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 21 [started late, now on my week 14]

FSA Reimbursement: $59.68
Bottle Return: $5.20
Total Snowflakes: $64.88
Rounding (from reserve): $0.12

Beginning Balance: $825
Deposit: $65
Ending Balance: $890

Reserve: $0.92 - $0.12 = $0.80

Busy Weekend & 52WMSC Update

May 19th, 2014 at 08:32 am

I actually got some stuff done this weekend -- between tax season and then planning for (and being on) my vacation, it's been a long time since that's happened! I had to renew my notary commission, which means driving out to the county clerk's office which is also the courthouse, so I figured a 1-2 hour wait. I got there at the right time, apparently, because it was only about 10 minutes, so I had time to get my nails done for our anniversary celebration (it's today, actually, but we celebrated on Saturday night).

They finally put the free compost out for city residents -- it's supposed to be available in April, but I'd imagine the weather delayed things. Which works out fine, since the community garden just opened anyway. So I filled several lawn bags to use when we start planting, probably this coming weekend. (Well, I say "filled". Really they're only about 1/3 of the way full, because compost is heavy! So I'm driving around with bags of compost in the back of my car all week, because I don't want to take them out and have to load them back in again.) I have several seeds started, which we got for the cost of postage, and then we went on Mother's day to buy some other veggies for the garden. We had a rather dismal year last year (our first), but everyone said it was a bad year, so we're hoping for more success this time around.

I also filled up my car's gas tank. That probably doesn't seem like an accomplishment, but I'm notorious for just putting in $25 at a time.

[LOL - just re-reading and it doesn't really sound like a busy weekend at all. Smile That was all just on Friday, actually. Saturday was 'anniversary day' so we had lunch, went to an exhibit at the museum, then dinner and a play at the community theater. Yesterday I got caught up on all the laundry from my trip, made a couple of quick small gifts, and then we went to dinner again because the place we were going to go on Saturday had a too-long wait time.]

In the Savings Challenge, I'd forgotten a few things in previous weeks so I'm throwing them in here. I took some of my CVS savings from Lent (the half I hadn't used here previously) and bought some lottery tickets -- well, I think they called it a "raffle", really. It was special thing the state did, they called it a $40K tax-free raffle but really the prize was about $59K and you net $40K after taxes. For every x amount of tickets sold they added another jackpot, plus lots of smaller prizes. At any rate, the big push was "one in six wins", so I figured I'd test the theory. Tickets were $10 and we bought six, all from different places. (Not sure if that increased or decreased the odds of winning.) We did win, twice in fact, but only $15 each time. I was hoping to at least break even. So technically I'm out $30, but since the CVS money was an 'uncounted' snowflake itself I'm counting the raffle winnings as a snowflake here.

As I mentioned, I have my notary commission because at work sometimes a client needs something notarized, and the woman who was the notary retired. So my boss pays for my notary commission and once or twice a year I notarize something for a client. My sister's boss, however, has had a slew of documents she needed notarized, so I did those for her and as a thank you she got a me a $25 Visa gift card.

Finally, my "keep the change" total for the month of April (rounding my checking account transactions) was $12.82.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 20 [started late, now on my week 12]

Lottery/Raffle: $30
Gift Card: $25
Rounding: $12.82
Total Snowflakes: $67.82
Rounding (from reserve): $2.18

Beginning Balance: $755
Deposit: $70
Ending Balance: $825

Reserve: $3.10 - $2.18 = $0.92

That brings me through week 13, or 25% of the year. My progress so far (since I started late, I'm aiming to complete the mega challenge but tracking the regular and double, too):

52-Week Challenge: 60% complete
52-Week Double Challenge: 30% complete
52-Week Mega Challenge: 12% complete

I still have $625 coming from a side gig, someday, and more work to do for that client once they get me the information I need. The $625 by itself will complete the regular challenge, get me past the half-way mark on the double challenge, and to just over 20% of the mega challenge. Slowly but surely I'm getting there!

Catching Up - April/May and 52WMC Updates

May 12th, 2014 at 09:06 am

I was on vacation last week (my annual pilgrimage to the Critter National Smile ) and even though I bring my laptop, there's so much going on I rarely get a chance to to use it!

April Look Back / May Look Ahead


The adjustments we made at the family financial summit to the March payments ended up being adjusted back, because the renters' catch-up payment arrived on March 31. It's minimal so I'm not bothering to go back and revise the March info; I've accrued a little less interest than I expected, so that's a good thing!

Overall in April I paid off $2,421 in non-real estate loans, and paid $777 in interest. I also paid $141 extra to my 'avalanche' credit card. (I think I said $141 extra in March -- that was actually $146 extra.)

I'm back to my normal hours this month, and of course it works out that the paydays are exactly two weeks each (I get paid twice a month), so the two May paychecks will be the lowest amount I get paid if I work every day. (I do have vacation pay, fortunately.) S got a small raise effective the last April check, and we're getting into his busy season so his monthly bonuses should be increasing. It tends to balance out, but I so look forward to the day when I don't have to worry about whether it will or it won't, because we have money in the bank and no huge debts hanging over our heads!

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge

Two weeks to update here. The first week I had a quickie side job that brought in $22, and returned bottles for $72. (Normally the bottle money is used as spending money on my trip, but between a "happy trip" gift from my mom and friends buying me dinner and drinks a few times, I actually didn't spend any of my own spending money!)

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 18 [started late, now on my week 10]

Side Job: $22
Bottle Returns: $72
Total Snowflakes: $94
Rounding (from reserve): $1

Beginning Balance: $630
Deposit: $95
Ending Balance: $725

Reserve: $3.79 - $1 = $2.79

The following week was my actual vacation, so not much opportunity for snowflakes there (other than the above). I did meet another monthly goal for my Diet Bet, so that was $30.31 in winnings. I'm not counting the money I didn't spend on cool stuff I wanted to buy! Smile

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 19 [started late, now on my week 11]

Diet Bet: $30.31
Total Snowflakes: $30.31
Rounding (to reserve): $0.31

Beginning Balance: $725
Deposit: $30
Ending Balance: $755

Reserve: $2.79 + $.31 = $3.10

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

April 28th, 2014 at 12:36 pm

It seems like this Challenge is the only update I'm doing! There's not been much going on for me finance-wise, I'm waiting for a few things to shake out and my side gigs really won't pick up until after my annual vacation the first week in May. So not much to talk about! Last week was the last week of Lent, so my $25 CVS savings are gone. (I have been to CVS after Easter, but only because I actually needed drugstore things, and then I got $8 in Extra Bucks that I'll count here if I end up using them.)

I did find $10 in my 'critter bag', and 'sold' an item (actually used the price to knock $ off a bill) for $66. So not a horrible week, all things considered. Still waiting on the $625 invoice to come in, he told me last week he was doing it that day, which means I might see it next month. *sigh*

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 17 [started late, now on my week 8]

Found Money: $10
Sale/Bill Offset: $66
Total Snowflakes: $76
Rounding (to reserve): $1

Beginning Balance: $555
Deposit: $75
Ending Balance: $630

Reserve: $2.79 + $1 = $3.79

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

April 21st, 2014 at 09:18 am

I cleaned out my car this weekend (finally!) and found $75 in the process. $20 went to my "emergency $20" car stash that I'd spent the other day when I left my purse at work; the rest I'm calling a snowflake. I also went to a movie and saved $1.25 at the concession stand with my Stubs card, so I'll count that, too. Plus I totally miscalculated last week so my total was $5 short, so I'll add that in here.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 16 [started late, now on week 7]

CVS Savings: $25
Found Money: $55
Correction: $5
Movie Savings: $1.25
Total Snowflakes: $86.25
Rounding (to reserve): $1.25

Beginning Balance: $470
Deposit: $85
Ending Balance: $555

Reserve: $1.54 + $1.25 = $2.79

Various Updates (Rewards, 52 Week Challenge, General)

April 15th, 2014 at 07:40 am

Its Tax Day, which means the end of my 60-hour work weeks (yay!) but also the end of my overtime (boo!). Still, I'm pushing my mental and physical limits, so I welcome getting back to my 4-day work weeks, and my annual vacation in a couple of weeks.

We had a fairly major health issue with one of the critters last weekend, requiring unplanned surgery and overnight vet stays. The high end of the estimate was just about our entire emergency fund, but better that than not having the EF! She ended up staying at the vet an additional day, so I was expecting to hit the high end and perhaps go a bit over. Fortunately, I have a CareCredit card, which you can generally get at least six months at 0%; I figured I'd do that and set aside the money to pay it off, rather than depleting the EF and then building it back up. When I picked her up, though, the total cost was less than the low-end of the estimate! So I was able to just cash-flow it, since I have a little bit of overtime coming still. I won't be able to put as much in savings as I'd planned, but I still have the EF and no new balance on the CareCredit card.

The Chase Freedom Rewards points came through today, so I can update that amount. I'm estimating we'll get about $50 per month in rewards; this month was a little higher, $59.26.

Gift Fund
Goal - $500
Balance - $347.70
Remaining - $152.30

Movie Card Fund
Goal - $100
Balance - $0
Remaining - $100

We were planning on going to a movie Sunday, but the scheduling didn't work out, so I've still got $83 left on my current AMC gift card. I am going by myself to a movie on Friday -- one of my post-tax-season treats -- so that will knock it down a bit. I have $10 rewards on my AMC Stub Card, but my membership is due for renewal, so I'll use that plus $2 from the gift card. (I don't usually pay for rewards memberships, but this one truly does pay for itself and then some. My first year of membership was free, so in three years I've paid $24 in membership fees, and between rewards and savings on concessions I've made $127. It helps that my mom goes to the movies with a group of her friends once a month or so, and uses my Stubs card. And of course I haven't really 'paid' the $24, between the rewards and gift cards.)

Finally, it was a pretty poor week for the Savings Challenge. Things were so busy at work I really didn't have time for any side jobs, and no snowflakes spontaneously appeared. I did have a couple of returns and while they're not technically snowflakes, I had already counted that money as spent, so I'll include it here just so I have something!

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 15 [started late, my week 5]

CVS Savings: $25
Returns: $41.19
Total Snowflakes: $61.19
Rounding (to reserve): $1.19

Beginning Balance: $410
Deposit: $60
Ending Balance: $470

Reserve: $0.35 + $1.19 = $1.54

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

April 7th, 2014 at 07:55 am

I got one side gig done last week for $25, found $3 when I (sort of) cleaned my desk at work, and won Round 1 of my DietBet for $16.31 (my initial bet was $12.50, so net profit of $3.81, but I'm counting the entire amount as a snowflake). I also decided to do a "keep the change" thing in my checking account -- rounding each debit up and each credit down to the nearest whole dollar amount. I just whipped up an Excel spreadsheet and at the end of the month will copy all my transactions over. (There aren't that many, since we use the Freedom card for whatever we can. I generally pay that in whole dollars but maybe I'll change that. I might look at doing the rounding on the Freedom card transactions, too...) Anyway, for the first three months of this year that totalled $30.46. And then I have my No-CVS-For-Lent savings -- so overall not a bad week!

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 14 [started late, my week 5]

CVS Savings: $25.00
Side Gig: $25.00
DietBet: $16.31
Bank Account Rounding: $30.46
Found Dollars: $3.00
Total Snowflakes: $99.77
Rounding (from reserve): $0.23

Beginning Balance: $310
Deposit: $100
Ending Balance: $410

Reserve: $0.58 - $0.23 = $0.35

52 Week Mega Savings Challenge Update

April 1st, 2014 at 12:32 am

Things are still pretty crazy so not a lot of time for side gigs, though I do have one that should pay out this week. I rolled up some coins, though, found six cents, and have my CVS savings, so not a total loss.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 13 [started late, my week 4]

CVS Savings: $25
Rolled Coins: $19
Found Coins: $0.06
Total Snowflakes: $44.06
Rounding (from reserve): $0.94

Beginning Balance: $265
Deposit: $45
Ending Balance: $310

Reserve: $1.52 - $0.94 = $0.58

52 Week Saving Challenge Update

March 23rd, 2014 at 12:08 pm

My big client payment still hasn't come in, I sent a reminder about that on Thursday so hopefully I'll see it soon. That will catch me up a few weeks!

I got paid $50 for a side gig and they over-reimbursed me (for a product I had to buy for the gig) by a penny, but I'm counting it! Wink Plus the $25 CVS savings, so not a bad week even though I was so busy I didn't get a chance to do much of anything savings-wise.

Last week I didn't notice that ING had added a little bit of interest before they merged my accounts, so I started with a reserve of $1.51 instead of 41.37. And then I didn't use the $0.20 from last week, I deposited the full $70, so my reserve hasn't gone down at all.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 12 [started late, my week 3]

Side Gig: $50.01
CVS Savings: $25
Total Snowflakes: $75.01
Rounding (to reserve): -$0.01

Beginning Balance: $190
Deposit: $75
Ending Balance: $265

Reserve: $1.51 + $0.01 = $1.52

52 WSC Update

March 19th, 2014 at 07:23 am

When I went to transfer my Week 11(2) savings to my ING account, I found that my bank account wasn't linked anymore. (I'd had two ING accounts, each linked to a different bank account; I combined the two ING accounts, which apparently dropped one of the linked accounts (the 'right' one, of course!).)

Anyway, I had to re-add the account so they sent two small transfers - snowflakes!

I also remembered that I'm using 1/2 of what I save by not going to CVS as a snowflake, and I'd forgotten about that. So the new numbers are:

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 11 [started late, my week 2]

Subway GC: $3.53
Pinecone: $6.00
Free pizzas (3 @ $6.95 + tax): $22.10
Pizza sale (2 @ $3.81 + tax): $8.08
CVS Savings: $25
ING Deposit 1: $0.07
ING Deposit 2: $0.02
Total Snowflakes: $64.80
Rounding (from reserve): $0.20

Beginning Balance: $120
Deposit: $70
Ending Balance: $190

Reserve: $1.37 - $0.20 = $1.17

52 Week Saving Challenge

March 16th, 2014 at 07:47 pm

My client payment hasn't come in yet, so I'm not knocking off any of the big amounts this week. I did decide to use the pizza coupons as a snowflake, plus they had another deal going this week for "Pi day", $3.14 per pie instead of $6.95. Great for the budget, but I'm a little pizzaed out!

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Week 11 [started late, my week 2]

Subway GC: $3.53
Pinecone: $6.00
Free pizzas (3 @ $6.95 + tax): $22.10
Pizza sale (2 @ $3.81 + tax): $8.08
Total Snowflakes: $39.71
Rounding (from reserve): $0.29

Beginning Balance: $120
Deposit: $40
Ending Balance: $160

Reserve: $1.37 - $0.29 = $1.08

Snowflakes Cost Me $300

March 12th, 2014 at 04:30 pm

The real kind, that is. We got dumped on with snow overnight, which means I couldn't get out of the driveway, which means I couldn't go to work. Since this is overtime season, that means I missed 10 hours of time and a half. I was able to work a couple of hours from home, I had an extra hour yesterday, and I can probably add a couple of extra hours the rest of the week, so I'll probably only end up missing five hours of overtime, but still, it's a pretty significant hit.

I am so over this winter.

In the good snowflake category (which I'm using toward my 52 week mega challenge), I had $3.53 left on a Subway gift card that I used for lunch Monday, and $6 from Pinecone surveys that I'd forgotten about. (I haven't gotten a survey from them for almost a year, but they haven't kicked me out yet, either. I'm going to send an email to see what's going on with that.) So, $9.53 goes to the reserve, added to the $1.37 that's already in there, for $10.90 available to use at the end of the week.

I'm still debating with myself about what kind of "saving" I'm going to use as snowflakes. The Subway gift card I'm comfortable using, because I would have spent that money anyway. However, we had some coupons for free pizzas at a new place that just opened, and I'm reluctant to include the $6.95 (plus tax) as a snowflake, since if we hadn't had the coupon we wouldn't have gone there. On the other hand, we would have spent some money somewhere for the meal, either at a different restaurant or at the grocery store.

How do you decide between a snowflake and money you just didn't spend?

February Look Back / March Look Ahead

March 5th, 2014 at 11:15 am

I'm going to try to do monthly reviews/projections to see if it helps me stay on track (I'm good about the debt paydown, but tend to let the savings side of things slide.)

I though I'd end up having paid off about $2300 in debt principal, but I forgot about some Bill Me Later purchases I made. They're 0% interest for six months, at which time I'll pay them off, but they're still technically debt. So I only ended up paying off $1990 in debt principal. Then, based on comments on one of my other posts, I set up my Excel spreadsheet to calculate the interest I've paid each month. Not including mortgage interest, this month's total is about $871. Ouch!

That said, I did pay $74 extra on the highest-interest card (that was a little low, actually, but I had a 0% BML amount due so that payment was higher than usual).

I've decided to attempt the 52-Week Mega Savings Challenge. I'm quite a bit behind, though, and there are some big amounts to catch up! I'm going to give it my best shot, and if I miss I should still hit the "double" challenge (which is probably called something else). I'm only going to fund this with snowflakes, which does not include hubby's (we'll call him S, just to save typing!) commissions, or checking account sweeps. Those will go toward upcoming planned expenses like summer property taxes, new a/c at the rental, etc. It will include money I make from my side gigs.

I'm also debating joining the DietBet 6-month "Transformer" challenge. It's $125 (if I pay up front, $150 if I pay month-to-month -- hm, can I count that $25 as a snowflake?) and if you meet the goals (monthly and overall, which ends up at 10% weight lost) you are guaranteed to at least get your money back. (They of course take a fee from the winning, but have pledged that they will reduce or eliminate their cut to be sure everyone that meets the goals gets their money back, which I really liked.) This may be a 'doing it wrong' thing again, since there's no guaranteed return on the investment (they say on average people get 1.5-2x their money back), and I could theoretically invest the money somewhere and make a small return (around $3 at 5%?) -- but I would consider it an investment in my health, since I really do need to lose (far more than) 10% of my weight. If anyone has done a DietBet before, I'd love to know what you thought of it.

I finally finished up and set out an invoice that should have gone two months ago. That will really jump-start my 52-week challenge, since it's for $625.

I "found" money in a couple of savings accounts I'd set up at ING (now Capital One 360) -- I'd forgotten about them until I was working on our taxes, and they came up under the Interest schedule. So I logged in to see that there really wasn't that much interest to report Wink but the two accounts had $67.31 and $54.06 in them. Coincidentally, that same day we got letters from Capital One stating that the accounts were at risk of being transferred to the state as abandoned property. So that's the $120 square checked off. Smile I think I'll use one of those accounts as my 52-Week savings account, too -- that gets it out of my easy reach and will keep those accounts from going dormant again. (I should probably combine them, really; I have one in my name and one joint, but there's no real reason to have two.) (I'm going to call them ING accounts, because Capital One 360 is too much to type!)

I also need to track down the EOBs from some physical therapy I had last year. I paid the $20/visit co-pay, but if I'm reading things right it looks like my insurance company paid for the full cost of the visit (we have Health Reimbursement Account, and it looks like the co-pays were paid from that account). So I need to verify that, and then call the PT place and ask for my $200 back.

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
Starting late, on week 10!

Beginning Balance: $0
ING Joint Account: $67.31
ING Solo Account: $54.06
Ending Balance: $120
Reserve: $1.37 (In case I need it to round out a future week!)

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