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Great Day At The Mailbox

January 22nd, 2014 at 06:22 pm

What a happy event opening the mailbox was today. Included in my mail were:

1. $100 credit card rewards check

2. $160 part-time job check

3. $912 homeowner's insurance refund check

Whoo-hoo! Smile

Money In, Money Out

January 5th, 2014 at 03:34 pm

Yesterday I received a check for $160.00 from my part-time job and have sent it off to E Fund.

For my new homeowner's policy and new auto policy, I charged a total of $1,068.90. Yesterday, I received a credit to my CC in the amount of $184.82 from the old auto policy. I have transferred 1068.90 - 184.82 = 884.08 from CurveBall to pay the credit card. I am still waiting for the old homeowner's policy to refund $912 to my escrow account. When that happens, I will request a refund of the overage, and that money will go back to CurveBall. I expect it will be at least a month before all the dust settles.

So many hoops, but worth it for the $300+ savings.

This is the downside to having an escrow account. However, I do find it convenient for the most part. Also, I enjoy the 2% interest it earns.

Xmas Party

December 16th, 2013 at 12:53 pm

My company Xmas party was this past Saturday evening. Our little group was served dinner in the wine cellar of a local restaurant. It was very private, which made the atmosphere very comfortable. I think everyone present had a little too much to drink. We stayed late and laughed often. What a fun evening! Smile

My Xmas bonus this year was $2,100. I have already sent $600 off to my traditional IRA, and the remainder off to Visa. Kind of a bummer that I didn't get to keep some, but paying that Visa down to zero every month is a higher priority.

On payday, I did a wallet sweep and sent $2 off to the mortgage. Today I received $3 from PineCone, and have sent that off as well.

Cashed Out Inbox Dollars

October 10th, 2013 at 08:12 pm

It took about a year this time, I think. Smile

But I have $41.53 on the way, which will make a nice mortgage chip.

Final September Mortgage Chip

September 30th, 2013 at 03:59 pm

Today being payday, I did a wallet sweep when I went to do my banking, and deposited $4. It has already been transferred to the mortgage.

That makes 4 little chips for September, for a grand total of $15.12.

In the next week or two, I will have to wipe out CurveBall and dip into Vacation to pay for my security cameras.

My next check from my part-time job will be going to CurveBall, as I begin re-building it yet again. I have billed $200 for the work I did in September.

Beginning in October, my automatic transfer into CurveBall will be $400 (from $375). This was made possible by the cut to my cash allowance (also bumping up Simple IRA contributions a bit with the same cut).

I did much better this past pay period with my cash. I started with $20, paid $15 for a haircut including tip, and had $4 left for the mortgage.

NFL Rewards Card Alert

September 21st, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Tonight while I was clicking through my Inbox Dollars emails, I came across an offer for an NFL rewards Visa. The Visa card is offering a $100 bonus if you spend $500 in the first 3 months, plus 1% cash back on purchases (so $105). There is no annual fee. The card is issued by Barclays.

In addition, if you apply through the Inbox Dollars link, Inbox Dollars will pay you $15.

I plan to collect my $120, then cancel the card.

Surveillance Camera Estimates

August 23rd, 2013 at 08:38 am

So far, I have received 2 estimates for outdoor security camera systems and installation.

The first quote was completely over the phone. The quote is $1,418.00 not including a monitor (which I was told I could buy cheaper at Best Buy or Office Depot, about $89), sales tax, or shipping (they ship to the installer). That also includes the minimum installation charge, but since they haven't come to my house, cannot say for certain the installation won't be more.

The second quote was done at my house and is completely inclusive. The quote is $2,090.00.

I am still gathering quotes. Smile

I received a $320 check in the mail from my part-time job for both my July and August hours. Although I had planned to use this money for E Fund, I am sending it off to CurveBall instead. CurveBall has a big expense looming.

Hoorah For Raises

July 15th, 2013 at 06:18 pm

Well, I am the happy recipient of a raise. Smile Starting today, I am bringing home an additional $119 per month. What to do with it?

Well, my life insurance policy is increasing from $14 to $28 per month this month. I guess the insurance company knew about this raise before I did.

Last week, post-cruise, I stood on the scale. This made me very sad. So, I joined a gym. This particular gym is new to me. The monthly fee is $20. In addition, they have an annual fee each June which is $29. For this price, I can bring a guest with me each time I go at no additional charge. It can be the same guest each time or a wide array of different guests.

I bumped up my monthly Emergency Fund contribution from $60 to $118. I bumped up my monthly Vacation Fund contribution from $60 to $75. And finally, I bumped up "Everything Else" from $363 to $375. And just like that, my raise is spent.

I considered then rejected the idea of increasing my retirement account contributions. Between my regular monthly contributions, the additional contributions I make at bonus time, and my employer contributions, I am saving 15% of my gross. I feel that is adequate, so I should focus instead on my cash savings, which I feel are inadequate.

I also considered bumping up my mortgage payment, but rejected that idea also in favor of more cash.

As today was payday, I did a wallet sweep and sent $10 off to E fund.

Hausernet sent me a $.50 payment for February, so I sent that off to E fund as well.

J went to camp last week, I picked him up this past Saturday. The director made a point of telling me what a great kid he is, and that if cares to apply, he can have a spot as a counselor next year. That would mean he would go to camp for free. So, I am all done shelling out for summer camp. Yay!

I worked last Thursday and Friday at my part-time job, and collected my $200 check for June. That has already gone off to E fund. I am done with them for July and will bill another 7 hours. So far, this is working out just fine.

Fun Mini Vacation Weekend

June 11th, 2013 at 08:23 pm

J and I returned from another mini vacation weekend. This time the vacation site was a beautiful vacation home at Donner Lake. We were invited by BF's boss; the home belongs to some associate of hers. All told, there were 14 of us and we were not crowded at all. Activities included fishing, kayaking, bike riding, etc. The home is currently listed for sale, and the asking price is a seven digit number, so that gives you some indication of the conditions we were forced to tolerate. Smile

After work today, I put in 2 hours at my part-time job. I put in 2 hours last Friday afternoon as well, for a grand total of 4 so far in June. Since starting, I have been asked to take on one additional task. As a result, I expect to regularly work 6 - 8 hours per month rather than 4 -6. As it happens, this place is close to my regular work place. It seems it will work better for everyone if I put in several short "shifts" rather than one long one.

And hoorah, I have been paid for my May hours. The proceeds have already been sent off to E Fund.

It has been 8 days since my daughter and son-in-law moved in temporarily. Thus far, it has been nothing but a pleasure to have them here. I can really see that they are both quite a bit more considerate than the last time they were here.

I am planning to treat the four of us (daughter, son-in-law, son, and myself) to a fun outing in the next week or two. I suggested the water park, but said I would let the three of them decide. I will take a vacation day and we will go mid-week. When I return from the cruise I am taking with mom, J will already be off at summer camp; daughter (S) and son-in-law (A) will be heading back to Colorado Springs.

And that brings me to next summer's vacation plans. Mom, J and I have decided to do a road trip to Colorado Springs. Along the way, we will visit Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. Mom has never been to either place! My cousin L is also interested in going. It has been about a decade since I was on a long road trip; it should be lots of fun.

My move to Barclays online savings bank from TIAA-Cref is now complete; the process was completed smoothly, no glitches at all. I expect the bulk of E Fund will be "available" tomorrow.

Busy Family Weekend

May 28th, 2013 at 04:24 pm

As is the custom in my office, this past Friday was our first "Happy Friday"; we close at noon, but are paid for the full day. This continues all summer until Labor Day weekend. Smile

On Friday evening, my grandniece graduated from high school (my own alma mater). I attended the ceremony with Mom, my brother, and his fiancee (yes, this is a new development, we were filled in on Saturday). This grandniece is also brother's granddaughter. Brother lives about 4 hours away, so it was a treat to see him as well. As always happens at this sort of event, there were family members of former classmates graduating as well, so it was fun to run into those sort of people. Afterwards, J (J did not get a ticket for the ceremony) and I went by a grad party for a friend of J's who moved to Tulsa the next day. The friend's dad had taken a job in Tulsa last December, the mom and kiddos stayed put for the remainder of the school year. That was a bittersweet gathering, but I am glad we made the effort to stop by and wish them all well.

On Saturday, we had a BBQ at Mom's house, so that was a fun, all-day event.

On Sunday, after J's dad picked him up, I went back to Mom's to visit. Brother and fiancee left in the late afternoon.

Monday was a quiet day home alone.

In between, I hauled more rocks, successfully gave away some rocks to a co-worker and her husband (yay!), and did chores around the house.

I have my May spending tallied through 5/24, and except for "Everything Else", am doing fine. While tallying, I noticed that my first installment towards J's summer camp ($100) was not reimbursed from CurveBall. Instead, I managed to pay it from funds in checking. So, I was pleased to discover that.

I received a check from American Express in settlement of a class action lawsuit in the amount of $8.23. I have already sent it off to E fund.

My WF Home Rewards Visa closed yesterday, and as expected I have earned a $50 mortgage chip. That should post in about a month. This is the first time I have ever redeemed $50 in a single month. It is thanks to the Alaskan cruise Mom and I are taking, so I don't expect a repeat.

My home value seems to be continuing to tick up. Zillow is up to 130k, Trulia is up to 152k. Just for giggles, I used realtor.com to view houses in my city for sale at both of those prices. My conclusion is I think my home's true current value is someplace in between. Being upside down feels like a huge weight on my back; it is a great relief to feel that weight decrease a bit.

In the forums last week, NetSkyBlue was asking about prepaid cell phone plans. She saw one of my posts in praise of Ting, she decided she wanted to sign up, and she graciously offered to use my referral link to do so. Since it is my first referral, I will score a sweet $50. I'm not certain if they credit that all at once or over time, but I intend to add that money to my E Fund as it is received. Yay! Thanks again, NetSkyBlue. Smile

Part-Time Job Off To A Fine Start

May 19th, 2013 at 06:06 pm

I worked a total of 7 hours at my new part-time job. I expect future months will require less time, as I am now familiar with their system and should be able to find the information I need more quickly. I will send them a bill for $140 tomorrow, and will look forward to adding it to E Fund.

Someone at my son's school has learned his lunch account number and password, and so has been eating their meals at my expense. The school will not allow him to change either his account number or his password, so he will no longer be using the account at all. This means no more checks; I must make certain he has sufficient cash.

So, there goes the last regular bill/expense I have been paying with paper checks. I have 100 or so unused checks, which it seems will last me the rest of my life. However, I will need to order checks from time to time just to get a new register! I do get my checks free of charge, so that is good. With the way banking has changed, you'd think they would be making thicker registers, or putting more than one in an order of checks. Perhaps I will switch to keeping my checkbook register on an Excel spreadsheet.

In front planter news, today I uprooted all of my lamb's ear. I think it is possible I will have the remainder of the rocks removed this week! Then next weekend, I will work on mixing in good soil. My soil is so sandy.

The fabric cover for my pergola shipped via UPS Friday and is supposed to arrive Wednesday. BF plans to come down next weekend, so I will ask him to put it up for me.

I have been listening to some very good audiobooks lately. I love it when one unexpectedly touches on topics which interest me.

One such audiobook was "The Lake of Dreams" by Kim Edwards. The main character is a young adult woman who begins looking into her family history and tracing the story of her great-grandfather's sister. It veers into women's suffrage and the plight of the working poor in times past.

Right now I am listening to "Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier. It is set in the 1800s and is about two women of different social classes who become friends and have an interest in fossil hunting and collection. It also touches on the plight of the working poor in times past and gender inequality.

I don't know that I have ever seen goodreads.com mentioned here at SA. If you don't know, goodreads is a free site which allows you to keep track of books you have read, want to read, and/or are currently reading; and to rate them. You can then get recommendations on other books you might like. You can make "bookshelves" and title them anything you like, then place your books on those shelves. So, you can have your "mystery" books together, your "classics" together, etc. There is an area called "listopia" which is comprised of member submitted lists. For example, one list is "Books everyone should read at least once". Each member may submit a limited number of books to each list and also cast a limited number of votes. Books with the most votes are at the top of the list. This is another great way to find books you might like to read.

Starting Part-Time Job

May 13th, 2013 at 09:15 pm

Our family BBQ on Saturday was a great success. It has been a lot of years since so many in my original family came together on a holiday. Smile

I am starting my part-time job tomorrow evening. So, we will see how this goes.

My rock removal project is coming along nicely. I estimate I have my front planter about 75% de-rocked. It has inspired me to get cracking on my yards. I have been doing some weeding in the back, and today I ordered a mesh fabric cover for my pergola. It is made of 80% fabric (meaning 20% of the surface is holes), is hemmed, and has metal grommets every 24". So it will cover my pergola, which is attached to my house. It should make it a lot nicer to be out on the patio, and hopefully will help my kitchen stay cooler in the summer. It set me back $331.06.

I have received $1.75 via PayPal from HauserNet for January 2013. Currently, they owe me for May 2012 - December 2012. They said they are going to pay their agents for 2013 before they "catch up" on 2012. Frankly, I would rather be paid for May 2012.

My New Part-Time Job?

April 10th, 2013 at 08:21 pm

Apparently, I now have a part-time job. However, I am still not entirely certain. On Monday, the woman who called to ask me if I was interested called again to ask when I am meeting with "M" (person who has been issuing their financial statements) to discuss where he is leaving off. Mind you, I have never heard from M. I told her I have no meeting arranged with M. She replied in a confused tone "But, he hired you." I laughed and said "Oh, I did not know that." She laughed too. This sort of thing is very typical for this particular unorganized organization.

I am expecting to clear 4k on Monday from my bonus and over-time. I have it earmarked like this:

$1200 Roth
1700 CurveBall
400 E Fund
400 Vacation Fund
300 J's Annual Allowance

Now, if you take a peek to the left at my sidebar, you will notice CurveBall is sitting at just over $1200. However, I still need to pull out $600 for the vet bill charged to Visa, and $370 for the IRS. So while CurveBall is not anemic, it is also not so very flush. When the dust settles, it won't be a great deal larger than it is right now.

J's summer camp is coming up. The cost is $500. Last year, ex-h agreed to split it with me. However, I have not seen one red cent of his half. So, there is no point in pretending he will split it with me this year. He won't. If J goes, I will have to pay.

I think going away to summer camp is an important developmental experience for a teen or tween. But J has already been 3 times. So, he has had that experience.

He loves the camp. At his age, he is in a junior leadership role.

I have told J frankly that while I do have the money, I feel I may need the money for other things. I do discuss money and budgeting with J, and we talk about how you must cover your needs first, then you can think about things you just want with what is left over. We also talk about how some needs aren't a regular bill like the electric bill, but are things which come up from time to time, and so you need to plan ahead to cover them.

J was disappointed, but said "I understand, Mom". Then he mentioned his money (he has about $1400 in a mutual fund, about $300 in his savings account, plus his allowance is coming up). I said no, I didn't want him using his money for camp. Then he asked if he got a part-time job when school is over, did I think he would be able to earn enough in time to go to camp. I said maybe you could, see if you can find a job. So he plans to try.

Now, I think it would be great for him to have a part-time job. And I really am proud of his attitude. He is disappointed, but not sulky. He rarely asks for anything and he rarely complains. He really is a great kid.

I want to send him, but I am not sure I should part with the money. I could skip the Vacation Fund infusion. It takes me so long to save for a vacation that I am loathe to pass up this annual opportunity to give it a nice little boost.

He doesn't know I am still considering, as far as he knows, the matter is closed.

In other news, my trad IRA broke 130k today for the very first time.

Possible Part-Time Job

March 7th, 2013 at 07:30 pm

I got a call this afternoon from a woman I used to work with. Her employer has been experiencing financial challenges. As a result, they have cut way back on their staff. A few years ago, they made the decision to cut their full-charge bookkeeper and have a member of their board of directors issue their financial statements. That board member has recently decided he isn't going to do it any longer. This prompted her call to me.

She called and asked if I would be interested, and if so what I would charge. I considered and said I would be willing to do it for $20 an hour and that they would have to pay me promptly (they are behind on a lot of their payables). I believe once I get my system situated, I could issue their statements with 4 to 6 hours of work, once per month. She will inform the board member and he will call me back, or he won't.

This is something I would have to juggle at night or on weekends, which is some trick this time of year. However, most of the year it would be very easy to fit in.

If I said I would do it for $12 or $14, I'm sure they would kiss me on both cheeks and ask when I can start. However, $20 is on the low end of fair, and I'm not giving my time away.

I don't NEED the money, but I don't feel I'm in a position to pass it up, either. I'm certainly a long way from where I would like to be financially.

Generous Xmas Bonus

December 9th, 2012 at 04:02 pm

We had our company Christmas dinner last night. Along with a nice meal and a fun time, I received a check for 2k. Smile

What will I do with these riches? The first 1.3k is going to Citi MC. Along with my budgeted $100 December payment, that is the end of my credit card debt! Yay!! I will give $150 to each of my kiddos, and the final $400 will go to savings.

Tomorrow is my mom's 80th birthday. One of my nieces came to visit for a few days, along with her husband and 2 small children. I went to my mom's Friday night to visit. My brother showed up yesterday morning, so back I went to mom's. We had a cake and sang happy bday. Tomorrow night on her actual birthday, I will pick mom up and take her to her favorite restaurant, The Elephant Bar.

My brother has a timeshare, and plans to go to Mexico next summer. My mother wants to go. This means she wants me to go. I don't know that I can swing it. But I want to go, I don't want to be her excuse for not going. My brother says we can rent a 2 bedroom condo for 2 weeks for $773. That is inexpensive, but of course there is still airfare, meals, and a rental car. I told mom I will see what I can do, but that I don't know. I have always wanted to see some Mayan or Aztec ruins in Mexico. I also have nothing against the beach. Smile

BF has been working with a realtor towards getting his mom's house sold. They plan to list in the spring.

Allstate Class Action Lawsuit

November 7th, 2012 at 09:48 am

I received a check in the mail yesterday for the Allstate Class Action lawsuit in the amount of $10.26. This amount is going straight to E Fund.

The house next door to me recently sold (unfortunately, not the dog poisoner) to an investor who intends to use the house as a rental. He has been doing work at the house, and yesterday came over and spoke to BF about replacing our shared fence. BF took his name and number and I called him back this morning. He wants to replace the fence while he has hired help on site. I said yes, I am all for it. He says he has most of the lumber we would need, can provide the labor, and has a concrete guy coming out today anyway who could also do the fence holes. He said he will call me back later today with an estimate, but he thinks we could do it for $400 - $500. So, I'm excited at the prospect of that. I share my back yard fence with 4 different neighbors, and this section is now the oldest.

My decoy mail volume is steadily increasing. I receive mail more days than not, usually 2 - 3 pieces at a time. Yesterday, I had 6 pieces.

Last night I bought J a video game he has been wanting. It is his birthday present, he turns 17 on Saturday. My baby. Where has the time gone? Hug your little ones while you can.

When I went to see the lung doctor, he did a throat swab and prescribed a cough suppressant (Benzonatate). He stated he suspects I have pertussis (whooping cough). Later I thought, but that is contagious. I have been coughing for months and I have not infected anyone. I go back in December for a breathing test, then a second time for the results. Meanwhile, the Rx is greatly reducing the coughing so that is great. The co-pay for a specialist is $40 per office visit.

I did some poking around on MID's website and I learned that Balanced Bill Pay amounts are adjusted every February. So, I will be paying $238 per month until then. I expect to have quite a large credit by then, so it should adjust down substantially at that time.

Would You Retire Out of The USA?

August 7th, 2012 at 04:33 pm

Would you consider it? If so, what countries would you consider, and why?

According to International Living, there are places where an income of $800 per month will provide a comfortable lifestyle. If the area is scenic and local infrastructure is in place, yes, I would consider it. Especially if my income is such that I could afford to travel back home to visit every few years.

So this is something to keep in mind as I plan future vacation travels. Two countries which I think I might want to investigate are Uruguay and Ecuador. A conversational Spanish class might be a good idea. Smile

Last week, I did 3 more secret shops. These required an initial cash outlay, but I will be reimbursed plus paid $5 each. All 3 were for the same fast food chain. There are more of these shops available, but I am done eating their food for now. The free (after reimbursement) meal is part of what makes the shops worthwhile.

My daughter has repaid $260 of the $500 I lent her. As you can see on my sidebar, Mini E Fund is looking a little more healthy these days.

Beezag is in some sort of transition. There are no new videos available. I received an e-mail about this and was asked to cash in my points. I had 7,226 pts, and was able to redeem 7,000 of them for $7.00. I hope that the other 226 follow me to their new site, but who knows what will happen? The e-mail was rather vague.

My son J started his Sophomore year today. Last Thursday at orientation, I shelled out $110 for his student ID card, his yearbook, and a new set of gym clothes. Today I sent him off with a $40 check for his lunch account, and $5 in case he needed to ride the city bus home, or buy a cold drink if he decided to walk to a friend's house. (Neither of these things would cost $5, but J will only spend what he needs to spend.) His best friend from last year is going to a different high school this year. Last year they would walk to the friend's house and I would pick J up after work. In return, I would pick up the friend in the mornings and drive him to school.


First Raise in 3 Years!! :)

July 31st, 2012 at 05:38 pm

And it was a welcome surprise, too. It is not a large raise, it equates to an additional $60 per month in take home pay. It is going into savings.

In other good news, I was able to buy my replacement car remote battery for $1.38. Thanks, Lucky Robin! That was a great tip. Smile

I have been thinking about my circumstances, and I have decided to make no mortgage chips whatsoever at this time. Instead, I will focus on increasing my cash accounts and my Roth. Now, paying my mortgage online makes it difficult to resist rounding up a bit. To avoid this temptation, I set up an automatic transfer for my mortgage payments. They will be paid on the 5th of each month, without a single extra cent.

So here is my budget for August and going forward:




Escrow Refund On Its Way

July 17th, 2012 at 06:23 pm

I emailed Wells Fargo's customer service yesterday about my escrow account, asking for an analysis. I received a reply today that there is $854.09 too much in there and I will be receiving a check in a week or two. When that comes, I will go ahead and send it on to my Chase Freedom Visa. So it looks like no further balance transfer checks nor dips into CurveBall will be necessary. Yay! Now I have to tackle that Citi MC.

I did my secret shop this morning, and have another one scheduled tonight. The one tonight pays $10 plus reimburses me if I have to buy the product. (I may not need to, that is the point of this particular shop. They want to know if the store is selling popular items before the actual release date.)

My garage door has decided to stop opening. I suspect it needs a new spring. I have scheduled a repair person for Friday afternoon.

I have a situation in my hall bathroom. Someone installed the tub/shower combo incorrectly, and water was leaking into the wall. The gap has now been sealed, but I am suspicious about what may be lurking in the wall. I am going to have someone who knows what they are doing come and take a look. I hope there is no expensive repair required, but if there is, then there is. I don't think it is wise to put off a repair of that sort if it is warranted. I'm not sure how I will fund it, but first I need to find out if there is damage or not.

The battery in my car key remote has died. I have had my car 7 years now, so that is reasonable I suppose. I can lock the car just fine by, gasp, inserting the key and turning my wrist. However, I can't set the alarm. I'm not certain how much that will set me back.

So now you know everything. Stick Out Tongue

No Admiral Shares in Simples

May 18th, 2012 at 01:59 pm

This morning, I discovered that Admiral shares are not available in Simple IRAs! Hmmmmph. So I am just sticking with the Target Retirement fund. Oh well, it isn't as if the TR fund is expensive. At .21, it is one-fifth the cost of the American Funds TR I had at Edward Jones. And of course, I have escaped that nasty front-end load. All in all, still very pleased to have moved my Simple to my beloved Vanguard. Now to get my contributions (via payroll deduction) flowing into my new Simple regularly. My boss still has not cut a check to Vanguard. I didn't want to have to ask, but here we are. I know he does payables on or near the 15th. I am all set up, so I want my contributions deposited promptly.

Remember when I cancelled my land line a few months back? Remember my saying I must have overpaid my last bill because AT& T sent me a check for $.05? Well, I have receieved another check marked "overpayment refund", this time for $3.99. I'm not complaining, but I really don't know how that is possible. I have added it to CurveBall.

End of Tax Season

April 18th, 2012 at 06:44 pm

What a relief that another tax season has ended. This year was especially exhausting. Our receptionist/secretary needed time off which meant the other staff accountant and I had to take on her duties as well. We hired a temp, she was trained for 5 days, then worked solo for 7 days. She was doing a great job, but stopped showing up. She didn't resign, just stopped showing up. Her agency e-mailed us to say she had a family emergency and had to go out of town. However, we discovered that she left her key in her desk at the end of her last day, even though it would be hours before she would even learn of her family emergency. Hmmmm.

I racked up less overtime this year than last, due to my Bodega Bay overnight trip fiasco, and being sick for 3 weeks. My bonus was $100 larger than last year. Together, I cleared just a few dollars under 4k. I deposited them, then transferred $1400 to vacation fund, $1000 to CurveBall, and $600 to my Roth. I plan to send $400 extra to Citi MC and $170 to my son's mutual fund. (I promised him $300, but he asked for 2 video games. I told him they would come out of his $300.) That's $3570, the rest is sitting in checking.

My Simple IRA transfer is still in transit. I am expecting my matching plus my contributions from Jan - March to be deposited. The transfer is holding up my deposits. Together, that amounts to $1920 which needs to be added to my account. It will be so nice to not lose 5.75% right off the top anymore!

Yesterday in the mail I received a refund from my impound account in the amount of $119.05. I have already turned it into a mortgage chip. Beginning in June, my PITI payment will drop a few dollars. I do not plan to change my budgeted PITI.

Still waiting for my Card Pool check. The website says it takes 3 - 7 business days, and today was only the 3rd business day.

BF brought me a nice big garbage can to keep in the garage for my recyclables. I think that will be nicer than storing them in used grocery store plastic bags. I don't buy a lot of canned sodas, or bottled water, but I do buy some. (I don't like my son to drink a lot of soda, and I rarely drink soda. We have a Brita pitcher for home drinking water.) When my nephew lived here, he would always throw the empty containers away. I got tired of asking him not to, so I started taking them to work with me. I work downtown and park in an alley behind our office. We have a large homeless population downtown. I would simply set my empty containers next to a dumpster, and they wouldn't last 30 minutes. So it worked out both for me and for the person who found them first. However, I think now that I have a nice big plastic can to store them in, I will sell them every so often and use the money for....you guessed it, mortgage chips.

Plastic Jungle Frustration

April 12th, 2012 at 05:20 pm

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I intended to sell a gift card on Plastic Jungle. I have been trying to do just that, but it hasn't been working out too well.

I have sold gift cards on Plastic Jungle in the past with no trouble whatsoever, but this time it is another story.

First, I put in a sell order. I received my e-mail confirmation, which stated I would receive my shipping label e-mail within 24 hours. I never received it. After 2 days, I e-mailed customer service. Eventually, I was told that my order had been cancelled because it had orginated too far from my home zip code. I submitted the order from my work computer. I live and work in the same town. Glitches happen sometimes, so I take this with good humor.

I submit a second sell order. This time, I do receive my shipping label e-mail and promptly mail my gift card to Plastic Jungle. A week passes, I go on-line to see if my check has been mailed. I discover that the status of my order is "cancelled"! I e-mail customer service, they eventually reply that Plastic Jungle was not able to verify the balance of my gift card. I am supplied with the gift card and PIN number.

I call the merchant's gift card information line, and I learn that the balance on my card is $25.00, exactly what I had claimed it was. I e-mail customer service. I receive a reply that my e-mail is being forwarded to another department.

A few days go by, and I receive another e-mail. They are sorry for the inconvenience and they ask me to submit a new sell order. I think to myself, I will do that, then reply to the e-mail with my new order confirmation number. Well, I attempt to submit a new sell order but I receive an error message that the gift card already exists in their system. I e-mail customer service again.

This is the reply I received this afternoon:

Thank you for contacting Plastic Jungle.

We would like to inform you that your card for the order # PJ200210142 has been freed from the system. However we found that the card balance is less than $25.00.

We request you to check the balance again because if the balance is less than $25.00 we will not be able to accept it.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.


I called the merchant's gift card information number again, and again verified that my gift card balance is $25.00. Right at that moment, I became very disgruntled. They obviously still have not bothered to verify my gift card balance!

I sent them an e-mail summarizing my experience and my frustration. If they don't just send me my check, I am going to contact the merchant, have the gift card replaced, and sell it to another gift card broker.



Today Is The Day

February 13th, 2012 at 08:10 pm

Its my birthday, but more importantly, it is the day I can officially begin my refinance. All last week, the rate for a 30 year fixed was 3.875. This morning, 4.0. Isnt't that always the way? :P I did not ask for a lock today.

I have not heard from my mortgage consultant further. So I haven't actually signed anything at all yet. I am sure I am not the only person around here salivating to refinance.

Today in the mail I received my first check from Hauser! It is for $10.00. It is for the period Jan to Oct 2011. I was expecting $21.00 for Jan to Nov 2011. If you exclude November (which was a high volume month), then $10.00 is correct. I really want to chip it, even though my refi makes it seem pointless.

Friday morning J decided he wants to be on the school swim team. The deadline to turn in the paperwork and get a physical is tomorrow. Don't you just love when your kids pull that sort of thing? When I filled out the paperwork, I ran across one sheet which needed to be signed by me in the presence of a school official, who also needed to sign. Well, great. So today I took a long lunch and drove over to the high school to take care of that. It was pouring down rain and I got soaked. Tomorrow immediately after school, J's dad will take him to the dr. for his physical. And tomorrow night J will attend practice and turn everything in. As it happens, practice is 4 nights a week and is held not at the high school J attends, but at the one a few blocks away. Yay! That means J can get himself back and forth from practice with no trouble at all.

On Saturday, I spent the day with my mom, my cousin, and J. My cousin bought some nice travel books for each of us; one on Oahu and one on Hawaii (Big Island). We pored over them, discussing what we would like to see. Wasn't that thoughtful and organized of her? She is sooo like that. (I have LOTS of cousins, but this is the one with whom I have a close relationship.) Her name begins with an L. From now on, I will refer to her as cousin L.

Work is crazy. I don't know what else to say about that.

Federal Refund Received

February 8th, 2012 at 09:12 am

My federal income tax refund of $763 posted today. I sent $700 to vacation fund (to repay what I previously "borrowed") and $63 to CurveBall. I'm feeling much better about the balance in CurveBall!

Yesterday I charged a deposit for our Hawaii trip to my Visa. That charge won't show up until next month's bill. Until then, the money will sit in Vacation Fund accruing interest (teensy as it may be).

Mortgage rates for 30 year fixed continue to be 3.875%. (I check twice a day.) They haven't even fluctuated in more than a week. I can't lock yet, still waiting.

State Refund In My Hot Little Hand

January 31st, 2012 at 09:13 am

My state refund is in my checking account this morning. I sent $100 to Piddly (same bank as my checking account) and the rest to CurveBall.

Cashed out another $8 from Beezag, sent that to CurveBall too.

Tonight is my meeting with the mortgage consultant. I can hardly wait! I am an odd bird. Smile

Child Support Reduction

January 24th, 2012 at 06:31 pm

My ex-h and I agreed to $200 every two weeks. He also stated he has arranged to skip a car and credit card payment next month, so no longer wants me to hold onto tomorrow's check for two weeks.

So I have an income reduction of $26 this month and $52 for February and forward.

My ex-h loves debt. He had a huge amount when I married him, and nothing but a mortgage when I divorced him. Now the house is gone (short sale to avoid foreclosure), he has a huge vehicle payment, and 30k or so of credit card debt. He has no savings and no retirement savings (cashed it in last year, spent it). He has experienced income loss due to budget cuts, but still makes a nice salary. (I still do his taxes, and he tells me things from time to time.) Thankfully, his love of debt is no longer my problem.

What he does have going for him is a beautiful pension, so he will always have money coming in.

Income Tax Returns Efiled

January 24th, 2012 at 10:18 am

I submitted my income tax returns this morning. I will be receiving $1100 from the state and $763 federal. This was my last 1k child credit.

I replied to ex-h and suggested we split the insurance increase and change the cs to $200 every two weeks (from $226). I also asked if "defer" meant for two weeks or for some other time period. We will see what he says.

Isn't There Always Something?

January 22nd, 2012 at 08:54 pm

Just got an email from ex-h. He wants to know if I can "defer" his next child support payment as he is being "forced to move", had to come up with a deposit, and is "tight on cash". Also, he would like to reduce his child support payment as the cost for medical ins just went up.

Isn't there always something?

First Money In, 2012

January 8th, 2012 at 10:47 am

I was looking at my checking account balance, and looking forward to my first paycheck of the new year, when I realized it will be a 10 day paycheck. Bleah! January will be a little tighter than I had thought. Thankfully, the second paycheck of the new year will be a 12 day paycheck.

I received an email from Geico that my next car insurance policy is available for my viewing pleasure. I logged on and was very pleased to note that the price has dropped approximately $100! Yay. I can't complain much about that.

I am getting ready to get J off to his dad's, his first day back to school tomorrow, and myself off to work. Last year, I racked up 78.25 hours of OT. This year, I expect to rack up more as my responsibilities keep snowballing. (At times, I find this frustrating.) Last year, between OT pay and my bonus, I cleared 4k (just barely). I have my income tax refund on the horizon too. It is time to begin considering how best to use this extra 6k - 7k. I will give $300 to J (his annual "allowance"). But other than that, every cent of it will go to some savings account, retirement account, or debt. My task is to slice it up wisely. I must send a minimum of $1800 off to my Roth, as that is the shortfall between my budgeted monthly contribution and my planned minimum annual contribution.

So I suppose I am thinking:

$1900 CurveBall
1800 Roth
1000 Traditional
700 Vacation
300 Mortgage
300 J
-----
$6000 Total

I "borrowed" $700 from Vacation a few months back, and would like to repay it.

BTW, J tucks his allowance into his mutual fund account and his savings account. What a good kid. Wink


Approved for Chase Southwest

November 14th, 2011 at 06:53 pm

I got an email from Chase today, I have been approved for the Chase Southwest card! Whoo-hoo!! Now I hope that I can qualify for my gift cards in time to use them for J's iPad for Christmas. That probably won't work out, but I am hoping anyway.

Today I received 10 more decoy mail pieces! My biggest day yet (this time around). I have racked up $16.25 in earnings now.

I chipped my $8.00 from Dell today and updated my sidebar. Does my mortgage look exponentially smaller now? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Oh well, one chip after another and eventually I should get somewhere.

The best think I can say about my tax update class today is....my lunch was delicious! Smile


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