Archive for November, 2013
Yesterday I received $160 from my part-time job, which has gone off to E Fund. Inching ever closer to 2 months of take home pay.
My NFL rewards Visa statement closed yesterday. I had 10,550 rewards points available which I redeemed for a statement credit.
So, I had $1,408.15 sitting in checking with nothing due for the rest of the month. But, I have things going on. Namely, my new 6 month auto insurance premium (will be cancelling the old one with 3 months left, but still, that is 3 months out of pocket now), my new homeowner's insurance premium (will have to wait for refund from current company), the new vacuum cleaner I charged, the $75 gas cards charged at Staples (it will take up to 8 weeks to receive my $25 credit), and I am getting a 100k tune-up on the car today, which will be about $500. I don't have to cough up any of this money now, but it is only a matter of time.
Here is what I did:
$445.54 to NFL rewards Visa (balance less $105.50)
_280.44 to WF rewards Visa
__75.00 to American Express
___7.17 to CurveBall Fund
This left $600.00 in checking, so I am done.
Neither the WF nor AmEx statements have even closed yet, so the payments were VERY early.
Notice, I have ended up using my NFL rewards Visa sign-up bonus towards expenses instead of as a mortgage chip. I'm not thrilled about this, but keeping credit card debt out of my life is a higher priority.
Also, I have not sent much extra to CurveBall. But hopefully, I am making it possible to avoid dipping in next month.
I felt a bit of panic when CurveBall dipped down to $54 two months ago; it's offering more cushion now.
Yesterday I received $3 from PineCone and $3.50 from Hausernet, and have already applied those odd bits to my mortgage.
In recent expenditure news, I shelled out $165 plus tax for a new vacuum. It has 12 amps and seems to be doing a fine job. Also, I spent $50ish dollars to buy a mattress cover which protects the mattress from dust mites. My allergy doctor recommended it. After much mattress flipping and cover wriggling, MrsM180 and I successfully got the cover on my mattress.
Last week, I started allergy shots. I will be getting two a week for 10 weeks. After that, I will be getting one a week for some unspecified period of time, before I taper off further. I can't really tell a difference yet, but they said it would take awhile.
Tonight I made a trip to Staples to take advantage of that AmEx offer. I chose three $25 Shell gift cards, and expect a nice $25 statement credit. I was very tempted to get only two, and get a $25 Starbucks card as well. But, I didn't. I was strong.
An old, dear friend of mine from childhood e-mailed me yesterday. He attached some pics of the kids and I, taken 13 years ago when we were visiting him in Seattle. Oh, those sweet little faces, and arms still pudgy with baby fat. *sigh* Where did they go?
In Swagbucks news, I am really liking the new "first goals". It is much more achievable than the total goal. For me, anyway. I have hit it each day for the past 4 days. I'm going to try hard to hit it every day, for the winning streak bonus.
I thought I would start a running tab of my mortgage chips since my last refi in June 2012.
Chips to date: $331.82
Interest savings this month: $1.11
Interest savings to date: $4.54
Eventually, the interest savings on the chips I have already made will compound to $762.24. Assuming I own this house until the mortgage is paid in full, which I probably won't.
Not much progress yet, but increasing steadily.
Chip history details:
Feb 2013 - Wells Fargo Home Visa rewards, $25.00
March 2013 - WF Visa $25.00, budgeted extra $3.37
April 2013 - WF Visa $25.00, budgeted extra $3.37
May 2013 - budgeted extra $3.37
June 2013 - WF Visa $50.00, budgeted extra $3.37
July 2013 - WF Visa $50.00, ? $5.00, budgeted extra $3.37
Aug 2013 - WF Visa $25.00, budgeted extra $3.62
Sept 2013 - budgeted extra $13.62, Pine Cone $6.00, wallet sweep $4.00, HauserNet $1.50
Oct 2013 - InBox Dollars $41.53, budgeted extra $13.62, wallet sweep $8.00, wallet sweep $7.00, Dwolla $5.08, Pine Cone $3.00, HauserNet $3.00
Since my last post, I have received the written policy quote for my new homeowner's policy via e-mail. The company is Mercury Casualty Company. The quote is for $579, slightly higher than the $575 I reported earlier.
While she was at it, she went ahead ahead and quoted me auto from Mercury as well. The quote was for the same exact coverage I have now, and is $483.90 for 6 months. In August, I paid $532 to Allstate for 6 months. So I believe I will switch that to Mercury as well. Although, I do need to check if my Allstate policy uses straight-line or sum of the years digits when calculating refunds. If it uses SOTYD, it will cost more to cancel and start a new policy than it will to just let the current one run out, and switch at renewal.
I got paid yesterday, did my banking, did a wallet sweep and sent $4 off to my mortgage.
MrsM180 paid me $300 yesterday for November. I used the money to make an extra payment to my electric company. Because my electric usage has increased with 2 additional people in the house, I am expecting a large jump when my balanced-bill-pay plan is recalculated. Paying an extra $300 now means it will jump less. I plan to do this next month, too.
I used my Barclay's NFL rewards Visa to pay the additional $300, and that put my activity over $500. When I receive my first statement, I will have earned my $100 bonus. Now I just need to wait to be able to redeem my rewards, then I will close the account. Well, that and the small matter of paying them.
Yesterday I applied for a Citi Dividends Visa which offered me the same deal, spend $500 in the first 3 months, receive a $100 bonus. This card features rotating 5% bonus categories each quarter, just like Chase Freedom. If I am approved, I just may keep that card permanently, to take advantage of the 5%.
Why would I not be approved? Well, I was recently declined by the SwagBucks Visa. I could not believe it! It seems I have opened too many new accounts of late, and may need to wait for some of my hard pulls to drop off. I can't recall the last time I was declined for credit! I am certain it has been more than 20 years.
I still have a few November bills to pay, but it is looking as though my checking account sweep this month will be fat. I will leave $600 instead of my usual $500, since my 11/29 paycheck will be for 10 days instead of 11. Even so, I expect to have about $300 to sweep. It is nice to see my penny-pinching rewarded this way.
J is asking some girl to the winter formal today. He was so nervous this morning. He made a sign on poster board which reads "K, will you go to winter formal?", and he brought a rose and some chocolates. How sweet is that? How will the girl resist? I told MrsM180, I hope she says yes or he will be crushed. MrsM180 confided that the girl has hinted heavily she wants him to ask her, but he is nervous just the same. I've been working at my second job this week, so have been getting home late each night. I have missed the unfolding drama. Thank goodness MrsM180 keeps me in the loop.
Who was it who posted about the American Express offer to spend $75 at Staples and get a $25 account credit? I owe you a big "thank you"! I did not know about that link, and it certainly is helpful.
Today, I noticed I have an offer to spend $25 at Exxon and receive a $5 credit. There is a separate offer to spend $25 at BP and receive a $5 credit. I activated both offers. I know where my next two tanks of gas are coming from.
If you have an American Express card, check out that "my offers" link, pronto. Just log in to your account and look in the bottom right corner. Click on it, and view your offers. Activate any you would use and enjoy your savings.
Well, I am still waiting for a State Farm agent to contact me "shortly". So this morning, I called my current homeowner's insurance agent. She is an Allstate agent, but my policy is with another company which they also write. I told the office I had a better quote but wanted to give them a chance to keep me. They quoted me $575 for the same coverage I have now ($912), just with yet another company. This is $120 lower than the State Farm quote! I said yes, the price works for me.
Meanwhile, my mortgage servicer disbursed $912 on 11/6 to pay the premium on my current policy. I am proceeding anyway. It just means more hoops. I will have to pay the new policy, then wait for my current policy to refund $912 to my impound account, then ask to be personally refunded the $575 . For $337, I feel it is worth the hassle.
I will instruct them to keep the $337 in my impound account as I know my property taxes are about to take a big jump. In addition to the infamous Prop 13 here in California, we also have Prop 8. Prop 8 says when property values fall, property tax assessments must fall too. But when values rise, they can jump up fast to where they would have been had values not fallen.
In the last few days, I have seen some listings and sales in my subdivision which make me feel very confident my property value has risen sharply in the last 6 months. While this is good news, it means my property tax bill is also going up.
Yesterday was J's birthday, he turned 18!
On Saturday, he had 3 friends over to spend the night. All four boys seemed to have a good time. On Sunday, his dad picked them all up and they went paint-balling. I had told ex-h I would pay for it, but he reported back that all 3 guests had brought their own money, and that he would pay for J. So, that was a pleasant surprise.
For his birthday, I bought him a smartphone from Republic Wireless, and will be paying the monthly bill. The phone cost $116.55 with tax. My first bill (paid upfront) was $20.34. This is for unlimited talk, text, and data. I will be dropping him from Ting, so there is a savings there to help offset the cost.
I feel so fortunate that both of my children have enjoyed good health and reached adulthood. I know there are many parents who sadly cannot say the same. My life has not gone quite as I had planned, but this is one thing that makes me feel the universe has smiled with favor upon me.
I am home from my week long trek. We had a very nice time, seeing the sights and visiting family. I think my favorite part was the elephant seals lying on the beach near San Simeon. I have wanted to see them for a very long time, and finally had the chance.
I managed to scrape together an additional $81.23 for mortgage principal last month. Not bad.