Don't see it listed in my sidebar? I don't either! What a great way to begin the new year.
I am waiting for the last of the money I am owed to transfer in. When it does, it will go into savings.
I redeemed my first bit of credit card rewards in 2016, a whole $169.51. I have already applied it to my car loan. I ended up redeeming $611.84 in 2015, and I didn't even try very hard. I am sure I can beat that this year.
Today I filled out a new W-4 and increased my Simple IRA per paycheck contribution. I cancelled my monthly automatic Roth contribution. Everything on track with those plans.
I will be having my surgical procedure next Wednesday the 13th, saying good-bye to the lump under my arm at last.
Viewing the 'Credit Cards' Category
Don't see it listed in my sidebar? I don't either! What a great way to begin the new year.
My budget is getting leaner. Child support has ended (good-bye $433 per month). My PITI payment has jumped to $1194.16, an increase of $113.52.
I am still paying J's car expenses for now. He had a job interview last week but did not get the job. He is still looking.
BF is accruing rent, but not actually paying it yet. No offers on the house yet either. BF did decide that we need lawn service as he doesn't have time to fiddle with it, and he is paying for that.
So, I have no choice but to re-jigger (is that a word?) my numbers.
I've gotten a bit lax about tracking my spending. I know it's been over, (waaaay over) and I just don't want to look! But as of June 1, I am back to tracking each dollar.
I'm not going to be able to pay my credit card bill in full this month. There have just been too many big expenses in the past few months. Big dental bills for both J and I (I have no dental insurance, J's new dental insurance is not accepted at our dentist), prom, senior trip, big car repair, and ouch-y high car insurance, all on top of everything else. They have ganged up and made a formidable enemy! I will be able to get away with paying no interest, which is a small comfort.
So, how am I adjusting my budget? Much as I hate to do it, I have eliminated the $50 extra car loan principal payment. I have trimmed CurveBall to $300, which is not enough. Further, I'm going to have to use it for credit card debt repayment for a bit.
I have trimmed my grocery budget from $550 to $500, which I'm not entirely certain I can do. That's groceries for me, J, two dogs, and general household supplies. MrsM180 and hubby buy their own groceries, and BF picks up some groceries. However, we really don't have a hands-off policy on general items. We tend to make enough dinner for everyone, regardless of who bought the groceries. And when it comes to milk, salad dressing, bread, we just share. When it comes to specialty items, we tend to ask the purchaser if it is OK to have some, but people mostly say "yes". I'm not going to tell someone who is hungry that they can't have my granola bar, or whatever.
So in short, I'm not real tickled, but it is what it is. For now, this is what it is.
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.
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.
I get new posts from My Money Blog e-mailed to me. This morning, there is a post about a new rewards card. It is from Capital One, and it pays 1.5% on everything. You can cash out as often as you wish, there are no minimums. There is no annual fee. There is a $100 bonus if you spend $500 during the first 3 months.
I have already applied and been approved. I am thinking this is going to be my new main credit card.
You can read it for yourself here:
I worked on updating my budget spreadsheet this morning, tallying all transactions and entering them into their respective categories. Spending is OK, I am over on "Groceries" and "Everything Else" because of holiday gifts and edible treats, but of course my bonus was extra income and paid for the lion's share of the extra spending. I will wait for the month to be over to post my budget report.
My checking account balance is ending the month lower than usual, and I realize why that is. I have started using my WF Visa for most things, and transferring money to pay in full within a day or two. So, instead of paying November's charges in December, I have paid the bulk of December's charges in December. I like it! My Chase Freedom bill next month will be $47.30. My AmEx bill next month will be $152.39. There won't be a WF Visa bill, the balance is $0.
The AmEx bill represents 2 tanks of gas and groceries at my "on occasion" grocery store (not my regular grocery store). So, it is looking as though I will not be applying for the Preferred Card ($75 annual fee, 6% cash back on groceries, 3% cash back on gas). Not being able to use it at my regular grocery store is a deal killer.
From Jan 1 - Mar 31, gasoline is one of the bonus categories for Chase Freedom. So, I won't be using AmEx much at all for 3 months.
It looks as though I will have enough reward points on WF Visa by mid January (when the statement closes) to redeem for a $25 credit to my mortgage. I know from past experience they will hold it until Feb 1 then apply it. So, it looks like my first mortgage chip on my new mortgage is about 6 weeks away.
We had our company Christmas dinner last night. Along with a nice meal and a fun time, I received a check for 2k.
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.
BF has been working with a realtor towards getting his mom's house sold. They plan to list in the spring.
...and I am doing OK with the old budget.
I did send a bit extra off to Citi MC, an extra $30.20 to be exact. This whittled the balance down to $1,400.00.
I estimated my 2012 income tax returns, and it looks as though I will net about $500. So, I did OK with my tax planning too.
I stopped at the grocery store tonight and whipped out my AmEx card for the very first time. I learned that they don't take AmEx! This particular grocery store is conveniently located, just a few subdivision blocks away. It has low prices. I do most of my grocery shopping there. So, I don't know if I will apply for that Preferred Blue AmEx card or not, the one Monkey Mama mentioned (and I think I read that CeeJay has that one, too) which gives 6% back on groceries but charges a $75 annual fee. I am going to try using the one I have (Blue) for a few months and see how much I can use an AmEx without changing my shopping habits.
I have been working on switching automatic payments to my WF Home Rebate Visa. If something falls into the "and 1% on everything else" category, I prefer to earn a principal reduction to my mortgage.
I have also been working on getting payees set up on bill pay, for those vendors who will not accept a credit card as payment, or who do but charge a fee.
I'm looking forward to whittling down the number of open credit cards I have. I want to get down to just AmEx, Chase Freedom, and WF Home Rebate Visa. I will keep my Kohl's store card open too, but that is the only store card for which I have any use. I think I am only one month away from being able to make that happen.
I did not make my budgeted savings contribution, using the money to cover October's Visa bill.
I'm quite pleased with how my spending went. In November, my Visa bill is going to be less than $300. I will have no trouble whatsoever with paying it in full and making my budgeted savings deposit.
My utilites were under $500! I now have credit balances on both my PG & E (gas) and MID (electric) accounts. PG & E just adjusted my balanced bill pay amount from $62 to $43. November will be the first month I pay $43. I have received my MID bill for November too, and my balanced bill pay has not adjusted yet. I currently have a credit balance of $100 odd dollars and I must pay another $238. Since we are going into winter when the bill is much lower I've been expecting it to adjust down. My Ting bill was $35.27 in October. I am loving Ting.
I ended the pay period with $16 plus coins in my wallet. I withdrew my cash allowance of $60 for the next pay period, then sent $20 off to E Fund.
I received $44.91 today in my Paypal account, for secret shops I did 2 months ago. I have already transferred it to Mini E-Fund. I have not received any repayment from daughter this month, nor any reimbursement from ex-h for J's summer camp last July.
I decided not to completely drain CurveBall in order to pay Chase Freedom in full. Instead, I drew it down to 1k, then did a balance transfer from Citi MC for the rest. The terms of this most recent transfer are 0% with a 3% balance transfer fee. This will increase my Citi MC balance up to approximately 1.7k, 1.6k after I send them their $100 payment.
In each of the past 2 years, I have received a Christmas bonus of $1,750. If that happens again this year, I will pay Citi MC in full and end the year with my savings too low, but no credit card debt. I will have an additional $100 per month to use towards re-building my cash accounts. It also means I will not hit my 3k Roth goal for 2012. I will have contributed 2.1k to Roth and nothing to traditional. But, I am ready to be D-O-N-E with credit card debt.
Fastforwarding to next April 15th, between overtime and my tax season bonus, I should net 4k and change. I guesstimate my income tax returns to total a 1k refund. The first $3,200 will go to my traditional and Roth IRAs. Along with my $150 per month automatic transfer to Roth, that will max them for 2013. The rest of the tax season money will go to savings.
Right now, when I buy groceries, I swipe my debit card. I also have in my wallet a Wells Fargo credit card which earns a 1% rebate towards my mortgage. I think I am going to switch to swiping the credit card instead, then transfer funds when I get home. By adding the extra step of transferring funds, I can accumulate points towards a $25 mortgage chip. I should average two such chips a year. I am online checking my balance all the time anyway, so it is not much effort to transfer funds from checking to my linked credit card. And mortgage chips do not hurt my feelings.
It is just me again at work today. The senior partner does not work on Fridays. Our receptionist is still out, and the temporary one we had over the summer went back to school a month ago. The other staff accountant is part-time. She was been coming in every day to help (she and I have to absorb the receptionist's duties) but had no work at all today to do. Fridays are slow, so it seemed silly for her to come in just to answer a phone call every hour or two. Plus, while I do have work to do, I am pretty current on everything, so nothing is pressing. I told her I could manage fine, there was no need for her to come in too. Well, the junior partner cracked his tooth last night. He came in at 8, called his dentist, and the dentist said come on down. So, he left and doesn't think he will be back today. He told me to close at noon if I wanted. That sounds like a plan to me.