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Snagged Three More Secret Shops

November 19th, 2019 at 03:47 am

I applied for, and was assigned, 3 more secret shops this evening. One for next Tuesday (Jack in the Box), one the Tuesday after that (same JitB location), and one the Tuesday after that (a phone shop for tire stores). Still looking forward to being paid for the first one, at the credit union.

I did not calculate the interest exactly right, so did make an adjustment to my 5th wheel loan balance, in my favor. I was using a banker year (360 days) to calculate the interest, but Bank of the West uses a calendar year (365 days), which is A-OK with me.

It is looking likely we have another power outage coming up. Received word today that if it happens, our power will be going out at 2pm this Wednesday, will stay off Thursday, and turning it back on to commence Friday. This is subject to change.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, this Thursday is a payroll processing day. That means I will be working in the afternoon, in a different county building, for time and a half.

Did a Secret Shop Today; November 2019 Budget

November 2nd, 2019 at 03:39 am

Last night I thought, hey, why not check the shopper job boards and see if there are any secret shops around here I can do? (At one time, I did a fair amount of secret shopping, but it had been years since I had last done a shop). So I looked, and I found one for a bank just a few blocks from my workplace. I did the shop right after work tonight, submitted my report when I got home, and voila, I am expecting $20.

Here is my budget for November, a 3 paycheck month. Looking forward to a productive month:

Net Paycheck; Future Plans

February 23rd, 2019 at 06:34 pm

Now that the cruise is paid for and my house is sold, I needed to change my paycheck withholdings. I filled out a new W-4, choosing Single-0. I upped my 457 plan contribution from 3% to 10%. At the beginning of the year, I upped my HCRA deposit to $900 per year, which is $37.50 per paycheck (no withholding from the two "extra" paychecks per year).

Yesterday was the first payday with my new lower take home pay. Here is how my bi-weekly paycheck currently breaks down:

Gross: $2,063.28
Fed w/h: $160.78
CA w/h: $43.20
Fica-Med: $27.53
CA SDI: $18.99
Pension: $144.43
Hlth Ins: $121.07
Dent/Vis: $5.80
HCRA: $37.50
Life Ins: $0.93
Union Dues: $32.98
457 Plan: $206.33

Net Pay: $1,263.74

That's what I have to work with. Going forward, I want to save enough cash to cover items I will need/want. On that list are a full sized truck and 5th wheel for moseying around North America, as well as replacing my current vehicle when the time comes. I want to remain debt-free for the rest of my life, with the possible exception of a mortgage.

When I last mentioned it, I was leaning towards a Class C motorhome. Since then, SB and I have decided to go in half-sies on a full sized truck and later a 5th wheel. The mid sized truck SB has now pulls our small travel trailer, but it is towards the upper end of what is safe. For this reason, we don't often move it. (Mostly just up the road a mile to a campground for black water dumps). However, a full sized truck has a much higher weight limit, opening up some fun possibilities.

I have a nice cash cushion at the moment, but it is ear-marked for various things. Some will definitely be spent soon-ish (car insurance), some will be spent eventually, though when is uncertain (travel). I still have significant saving to do to have my vehicle goals funded.

Great Day At The Mailbox

January 23rd, 2014 at 02:22 am

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 11:34 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 08:53 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 11th, 2013 at 03:12 am

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 10:59 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 22nd, 2013 at 06:24 am

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 03:38 pm

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 16th, 2013 at 01:18 am

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 12th, 2013 at 03:23 am

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.