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Freebies/rewards/gifts/snowflakes

May 19th, 2017 at 08:37 am

Freebies/rewards/gifts/snowflakes for this month

Five books (through a book exchange)

A gallon size bag full of homemade Mexican chicken flautitas from my Sister.

$25 Amazon credit card rewards

A pink toothbrush courtesy of our dental health provider at work.

Dinner at Chili's for Mother's Day

$125 cash gift

$180 for six extra easy hours at work

DS#1 paying for the liquor for his brother's graduation party (Yay me!)

Feeling grateful!

Any for you this month?




Pay day and "fun summer fund"

May 15th, 2017 at 05:53 pm

It was pay day today and I'm excited to tell you that we've reached the 65% mark of our "lofty savings" goal. I hope to be at 75% by the end of August. I'm a 10 month employee so every September I reset goals for our "fiscal year". I am thinking of not participating in summer savings at work for the next school year. They take 10% of my income every pay period and I receive the money back in two installments in the summer (July 15th and August 15th). It is nice to get paid in the summer but I can do so much more with our money. I still have a little time to think about it.

I am also putting some money aside to have a little fun this summer. I started a "fun summer fund" with the $100 I got from DS#2 for Mother's day. I hope to have at least $500 saved by June 30th.


Weekly Update

May 13th, 2017 at 07:10 am

I am starting to be able to talk about my Sister without crying. Some nights, I found myself looking at pictures I have of her and listening to messages she left me. One morning as I was getting ready for work, a thought entered my mind. I said, "Let her rest in peace, she is no longer on dialysis three times a week, no longer in the hospital every other month, etc." Ever since then, I think of her often but I am a lot less weepy.

On a financial note, we closed on our refinance loan Monday and just yesterday all funds were disbursed. I am happy about the HELOC is paid for now. The ARM on this loan was going up every other month and it was making me pretty uncomfortable. We do, however, have a mortgage now. I'm not worry about it as we don't have any consumer debt and we are done paying for college. we don't think we'll be paying off this loan quickly as I have in the past because I really want to have substantial cash in the bank to offset any life events.

We are also celebrating my son's college graduation with friends and family next week. We are catering most of the food for the event as I would really like to enjoy our guests and not worry about food preparation.

Well, this is it for today. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and for all of the mother's here, Happy Mother's Day!

Update

April 22nd, 2017 at 06:16 am

Not much going on here; we are in the process of refinancing to pay off the HELOC which is on an adjustable rate and that scares me. We are using Quicken Loans and so far so good. The house appraised to more than what Zillow estimated.

Savings continue to increase but at slower pace this month. We are 62% of our 100% on the "lofty savings goal". I am hoping to be at 75% at the end of the summer. My mom is still with us but I see that she is itching to go home already. I wish she'd decide to stay here with us since I worry about her health and well-being. At 75 years old she is lucid but a bit frail.

I created a menu plan for this week because I've become very lax and lazy about cooking. A meal plan always seems to help me get out of the cooking rut.

This is it for today. Have a great weekend and a good work week.

Update

April 6th, 2017 at 05:54 pm

Thank you all for your condolences on my sister's passing. It's been so surreal to think that she is gone. For now, I have to focus all my attention to my mother who is now living with me, hopefully permanently. I lost my sister but she lost a daughter and I can't imagine the pain she must feel. If you feel it in your heart to continue praying for us, I'd be so grateful.

I'm now back to work after 5 days of bereavement. We are getting paid tomorrow as spring break will be next week. I will make a savings deposit which will take us to 61% of our lofty savings goal. I will try to keep plugging along but May will be a rough month because quarterly property taxes will be due.

We hope to clean up our property next week which will keep our minds off of things. Meanwhile, hold each other tight, say more I love you's and don't take anything for granted.

Thank you and update

April 1st, 2017 at 02:17 pm

Thank you all for your sympathy messages. It's hard to believe that my sister is gone. For me the hardest thing is not talking to her on the phone every day. We saw each other maybe once or twice a year as I usually vacationed in her state. She was not able to travel due to her dialysis treatments. My Sis was a caring, compassionate and kind person and she was loved. She passed away due complications of her kidney disease. I am trying to get on with my life because I know the world does not stop for those of us who are grieving for love ones. I will return to work next week and fortunately will have a week off soon after.

On the financial front, we are about a little less than $600 away from hitting the 60% mark of our lofty savings goal. I'm putting some money aside each month to send my nephew (my sister's youngest son) who is in college. My sister took care of me while I was in college with spending money and I will do the same for her son.

Heartbroken

March 28th, 2017 at 04:33 am

My sister passed away yesterday from complications of kidney disease. Please keep my family in your prayers. This hurts to the core.

Update

March 20th, 2017 at 05:37 pm

Finances are on auto pilot and we are $80 away from reaching 56% of our lofty savings goal. The goal is to reach 72% by June 30th. This percentage represents what we had in savings last June prior to paying off the HELOC. Once we reach 100%, we will start paying down the HELOC again. I mentioned that we used the HELOC to put a nice down payment on our investment property. The HELOC is our only debt. We have no car payments or credit card bills.

This weekend I went to see our high school's play; Hairspray. No fancy props but outstanding performances. What a group of talented kids, I loved it. It was only $5!

No word yet on our tax refund Frown. Hopefully we will have it soon.

Pay Day and Tax returns

February 27th, 2017 at 04:22 pm

It's pay day tomorrow and I'll be making a deposit to our savings account. This deposit will help us meet a savings goal four months ahead of schedule. Feeling excited and grateful. I've already worked on what the next goal should be in order to keep on track.

Today was also a good "mail" day. We received the yearly Costco Cash reward in the amount of $86 and a $25 Chili's gift card and a $10 Dunkin' Donuts from our Chase Freedom credit card rewards.

It looks like we will owe the State of New Jersey close to $350 but our Feds refund will be $3700. The plan is to put the money in our savings.

Please keep a family we know in your prayers as they lost their 21 year old son in a car accident.

:)

February 20th, 2017 at 06:18 pm

I am excited to tell you that we are $500 away from meeting a lofty savings goal. I was hoping to achieve this goal by June 30th so that's four months ahead of schedule. I just kept pushing to save every chance I got and push limits every pay period.

It's been unseasonably warm in my neck of the woods and we hope to have to fill our heating oil tank only once more until next winter. I will try to use the wood burning stove in late March or early April. Some big bills coming up; a credit card bill and auto insurance. March will be a tough month for savings but I am okay with that.

I really want Spring to come already. I just feel so much more alive in the warmer weather.

Trip and quick update

February 12th, 2017 at 06:12 am

Last Tuesday, hubby and I decided to book a trip to Florida for this coming week. We both have a five day weekend. It was definitely not planned but I'm trying to be more spontaneous and live it up a little. SmileBesides, lots of sunshine for me!

Our tax returns should be filed soon. Our accountant is working on them. I'm hoping for a good outcome; I don't care if we nothing back, I just don't want to pay the IRS any more money. On the financial front, things continue to be on autopilot.

I am babysitting my great nephew this weekend. He is only 3 years old, super smart and a very loving child. His parents have had a rocky relationship and are trying to put their relationship back together and I hope they do. Anyway, this little boy went down to the basement with me and when we came up the stairs I mentioned to him that I'd forgotten to turn off the light. He said,"I did, we need to save electricity." I was so shocked and excited that the parents are teaching him to turn off the lights when not being used!

I hope you have a good Sunday.


Weekly update

February 3rd, 2017 at 03:32 pm

I' continuing UFM this month. I had 17 absolutely No Spending days in January and hope to do the same in February. We are filing our income taxes some time next week. Hoping for a good outcome!

We have decided to tell the tenant of the cottage that she has to move. I hate to have to do this but they are always late with the rent and still owe us the rent from the month of September. We have been very patient with them because she fell on hard times and we know how hard is to get back on your feet. We realized that we should treat the house as a business. If she fails to pay the rent, we have to take $600 from our household budget to make the mortgage payment. I know this is a chance we took but we just have to try to get someone in there that can make the rent. Let's see what happens. Frown

Not much going on here; just watching the Superbowl on Sunday.

UFM and updates

January 29th, 2017 at 01:28 pm

I am closing the books on January today. I expect not to have any expenses for the next two days. I went over on the budget on groceries (-$58.38), gasoline ($7.08), and heating oil ($22.37). I'm not mad about it because there is a surplus on several of the other categories to offset the negative amounts. On the savings category, we also had a great month and I will continue the Uber Frugal Challenge next month. It is our 27th wedding anniversary next month but I have that covered with a movie and dinner using gift cards from credit card rewards.

My Seasonal Affective Disorder has been much under control. I've been using light therapy and a low dose of the medication. I also try to take advantage of the sunshine by seating outside whenever I can. I'm still counting the day 'till Spring.

I hope you had a good month.

CC rewards and other stuff

January 19th, 2017 at 05:24 pm

Inevitably and as expected, home heating oil was ordered at $2.019 a gallon. The tank tapped at 209 gallons but it's been 40 days since we last ordered oil. I'm thanking Mother Nature for temperatures in the 40s this week and apparently into the next.

(Warning: Not money related)
Even with unseasonable weather, my Seasonal Affective Disorder has affected my mood tremendously. I thought I could survive this without medication, but I'm afraid I cannot. I am headed to the doctor's office for help tomorrow. I can honestly say that I don't recall being happy during the months of January and February since early adolescent. I feel that it's getting worst as I age, which is the reason we will not be able to stay in New Jersey much longer. I am just so very sad in the winter months and tired of it.

On another note, I've managed to earn $165 in gift cards this month without costing us a penny. We just charge our monthly bills (the ones we can charge) and pay them off at the end of the month. I used the gift cards to go on monthly dates with my hubby.

UFM Challenge Update: 12 days of no spending so far

UFM and date night

January 14th, 2017 at 03:29 pm

We've had 10 No spend days (whatsoever)but yesterday I had a weak moment and ate out ($8). The food was mediocre and I was regretting my decision almost immediately Frown. Oh well..done and over with.

Hubby and I went out today to see the movie Hidden Figures. What a powerful movie! We went to Applebees after the movie (date night). No money spent. I used 2 AMC Theaters gift cards and 2 Applebees gift cards for dinner. I still have a balance on both cards for our next date night. It was a very nice change of pace and we enjoyed immensely. We are going to try to do the same once a month.

Watching the Seahawks vs. Falcons game.

Payday and UFM

January 12th, 2017 at 09:22 am

Somehow, someone at the board office made a mistake and we were paid two days early. I'm glad we did because the last time I received a paycheck was December 23rd.

We were able to put 55% of our net income this pay period in the bank for savings. I am really pushing to save as much as we can hoping to be able to pay cash for a house where ever we decide to move to in a few years.

The UFM challenge is going super! I believe we've had 9 days of no spending whatsoever and yesterday was the first day I spent money on groceries and gas for my SUV. I hope not to have to shop for groceries until February 1st.

Did I mention that I was gifted a treadmill for Christmas? We got on Monday and hubby put it together for me yesterday. I'm going to make a habit of using it on a regular basis. I really want to lose some weight for our Spring break vacation.
Wish me luck!

P.S. I also contributed $350 to the Roth IRA. I'm slowly getting close to funding it in full.

First week of UFM

January 8th, 2017 at 11:03 am

We ended the first week of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge with expenses of outside of our normal bills totaling $11.35 and 5 days of no spend days whatsoever. I will have to make a run to the supermarket this week to buy a few essential items we've run out of but nothing big.

It is super cold in my neck of the woods and the furnace has been going non stop so I predict a home heating oil order soon. Frown

I spend a lot time in the kitchen today and end it up making a big pot of potato soup, banana nut bread and Italian gravy (sauce) and meatballs.

On another financial news, I think we will be able to meet one of our financial goals before the anticipated set date and I'm super excited about that.

We are watching the NY Giants vs. GB Packers today. Go Giants!

UFM and Epiphany

January 5th, 2017 at 02:57 pm

Five days of No Wants, four of them with no spending whatsoever. Yesterday my hubby had a doctor's appointment with a $10 copay required and I spent $1.15 on an international stamp for a sympathy card. Yay me!

On another note, we are having a little bit of trouble with the tenants occupying the cottage on the investment property. They pay the rent but it's late all the time. I find myself shifting money to pay the mortgage on the 10th. I don't mind if they are late one or two days but we are already five days late. The tenant told my husband that she'll have it by tomorrow but I've heard that before. We've been very patient but I'm starting to get a sour taste in my mouth and very uneasy about it. Hopefully she'll have it tomorrow, if not we will be force to ask to leave.

Tomorrow is a special day because we will be celebrating the Epiphany. It is a beautiful tradition and refuse to let go of it although I've spend the majority of my life in the mainland. I bought a gift for my nephew's son since he is the only little one around us.

Besides, all of that, I'm angry about the new government ending funding to Planned Parenthood. A major setback in women's health care.

First Day

January 1st, 2017 at 05:42 pm

Happy New Year to all of you!

We took advantage of the milder weather and removed all of the Christmas outdoor decorations and stacked tons of wood on the front porch. I feel relieved that the house is free of clutter before going back to work.

Right before the Christmas break, I went to the doctor because of an achy ear. As it turns out I had an ear infection. I felt some relief but I am still having trouble with the ear. It's very itchy, it hurts and it's definitely throwing my equilibrium out of whack. If my doctor is not working tomorrow, I'll have to Urgent Care and try to take care of it. I hate feeling light headed.

I did well today on the first day of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge. No spending whatsoever today.

Well that's it for today. May you have a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2017.

A question

December 29th, 2016 at 08:00 pm

A question to ponder:

Financially, are you in a better place than you were 365 days ago?

My answer is NO!

365 days ago, we were completely debt free including the house. Now we have a $100K HELOC debt that we used to purchase the investment property.

I don't regret the decision to buy the house(s) next to our house. This house generates about $500 worth of income and will eventually generate double that amount.

So for 2017, our goal is to continue saving like crazy and pay down the HELOC as much as we can. Aiming for $15K-$20K.

Update

December 27th, 2016 at 05:49 am

We had an awesome time on Christmas day with my hubby's family. We laughed a lot; we played the candy cane game, ate lots of food and the drinkers had lots of Coronas and Coquito (a Caribbean coconut drink made with Bacardi rum). My husband made a great effort this year and got me 2 sets of pajamas that were badly needed and gave me money. It's indeed a great effort for him; he usually sends one of the kids to get me something. He actually bought the pajamas himself. Smile The money will be going back to the savings account for our Spring break annual vacation.

I have this whole week off. I am making inventory of what we have on stock to make a meal plan for January. I am taking the Uber Frugal Month Challenge next month at frugalwoods.com. I also have to send a sympathy card to a friend who lost her father in early December and shred lots of paper junk this week.

Well, that's it for today. Enjoy the last week of 2016!

I made these bottles of Coquito to gift this year:





Christmas and pay day

December 17th, 2016 at 06:36 am

So far I've managed to decorate our home for the holidays with things I have; no extra purchases for home decor. So far, I estimate that Christmas will cost less than $400. I sent my Mom $50, hubby and I decided not to exchange and save our money for our annual Spring break vacation. My son's will each get a $100 gift cards, pajamas, underwear (this is an area they always seem to neglect)and a few candy bars and gum for the stocking. I spent about $75 on other gift for my niece and nephews.

We've made nice progress with our savings as we have been very careful about spending these days. I'm taking another "NO SPEND" Challenge in January from another blogger I follow (frugalwoods.com). I hope to be at a certain amount of savings by July, 2017.

Five more days and I'm off until the new year. /

Updates

December 13th, 2016 at 05:42 pm

Starting this post with really good news; my DS#2 has officially completed the course load and today is his last day of college. Graduation is in May; not so shabby for a kid that had no intentions of going to college after high school graduation. There are no student loans to pay as we have cash flowed our sons' college education. We have much to be grateful for.

Thursday is payday and I've already set up a Roth IRA contribution. This electronic contribution will officially bring me down to under $2K to fully fund it. If I am able to fully fund it, this will be the first time ever since I opened the Roth.

We also had to fill the heating oil tank a few days ago. That was a $360 fill but I'm not complaining since the last time we filled the tank was late March. Hoping and praying for a milder winter this year but predictions state otherwise. We will also have a little break from paying car insurance. I'm making the last policy payment December 21st. The policy renews again in March. Auto insurance is our highest bill at almost $800 a month for 8 months of the year. We still have a risky driver but he is now contributing the whole amount to ensure his car.

I have to buy a few things for Christmas as we are hosting my hubby's family on Christmas Day. Another 7 workdays and off until January 2nd! (much needed break)

Well, that's it, I hope you have a great work week.

End of November Challenge

November 30th, 2016 at 03:43 pm

I wrote a lengthy post and lost it all! I should've copy the content before I tried to post it. I can't stand when that happens.

Long story short, we had a $1,076 budget surplus which I swept to the savings account as well as a $350 still remaining in the checking account. I will not attempt to do another challenge in December but I will try again in January. Overall, a great month for savings. I had 7 no wants spending. I really wanted to have just 5 days but I guess that's not too shabby.

Help us make a decision

November 28th, 2016 at 05:21 pm

My husband's truck, a 2008 GMC Canyon, it's worth about $10K. It has very low mileage (about 35,000 miles). We are paying full coverage insurance for this vehicle. Do you think it's worth keeping full coverage on an almost 10 years old truck? When is it appropriate to just pay liability insurance? The truck has been paid off for quite some time and it's in excellent condition.

Any advice?

Update on November No Wants spending

November 21st, 2016 at 06:26 pm

No spending Sunday nor today. It looks like Tuesday will be another no spend day. Wednesday, however, I will be spending money on some "wants" about $35. I got off easy this year in terms of Thanksgiving. I'm in charge of bringing the sodas as well as cups and dessert. Everybody likes my cupcakes, not sure why, I make them from a box. I do use eggs at room temperature and I do not over bake (over brown them).

I already set up an electronic contribution to my Roth IRA to meet my monthly goal of $650. Feeling really excited about reaching the full contribution this year.

That's all for today. For those of you in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I'm definitely thankful for all of you!

Days #16,17 No Spend November

November 17th, 2016 at 05:15 pm

No spending whatsoever yesterday but today I bought breakfast. I was so lazy and tired! Frown I also bought a book of stamps but I consider this a need; bills need to get paid and Christmas cards need to sent. I still pay some bills with a check.

Total savings between Roth IRA and savings account: $850, I could've done a little better but we changed the back door and the screen door last month and yesterday my brother-in-law came to pick up the check for his labor, $575. He also did some plumbing repairs in the kitchen.

Looking forward to a 2 1/2 work week next week.

Day #13/14/15 November No Spend

November 15th, 2016 at 10:28 am

Days 13 and 14 were "needs" days (gas and groceries). Today, I'll have to go to Aldi but hubby and I also went out to eat breakfast together. I'm down two days of the five days allotted for "wants" spend days. Overall, I feel it has been a successful firs two weeks of this challenge.

It was also pay day for our family. I contributed $300 to my Roth IRA and allocated a nice amount to savings. I also paid a credit card in full.

How's your week going?

Day #11/12 November No Spend

November 12th, 2016 at 09:52 am

As mentioned before, I knew that day 11th of November No Spend Day was actually a spend day, but I'm happy to report that I only spent $16.45 after using the credit card credit.

Day 12th today will be a no spend day. So 10 No Spend days this month so far.


Day #10, No Spend November

November 10th, 2016 at 06:11 pm

No spend day at all.

I have a plan for tomorrow which will definitely will be a spend day. I have a $125 credit in my Chase Slate credit card and I will be using it to buy some groceries, beer and parking at the airport. I think the $125 should cover all of it.

I am recording the $125 as added income this month since the credit card was paid in full last month.

One last thing, I am worried that we've not heard from ImaSaver and Laura (Nebraska).


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