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Archive for June, 2015

About the bathroom Reno

June 28th, 2015 at 12:59 pm

As it turns out, we decided to go ahead and gut the upstairs bathroom and start from new from the floor up. The bathroom as it is now needs a new toilet and more outlets. We have enough money in savings and feel comfortable spending the money. My brother-in-law will be working on this project. We have allotted $7K to do the renovation, including labor. The budget includes a wiggle room for unexpected things. Mind you, this is a super small bathroom. Just the tub,sink and toilet. We are eliminating the tub and putting a nice space saver shower in order to make room for a bigger sink cabinet and a little bit of storage (towels, personal hygiene, etc.)This will be our second home project this year. We have officially stuck an additional $20K into this "new" house. On the bright side, we've only used cash to the renovations. We were not blindsided; we knew going into it that it required at least $40K in renovations to bring it up to our standards. No regrets, we are very happy with the location of our home and it's a little private oasis in a town with usually 50 by 100 lot homes. We lucked out with a little over an acre of property.

We are hoping to do the second bathroom next spring or summer. This autumn we will replace the wood burning stove with a more efficient one, replace the back door and storm door and install a storm door in the the front and winterize the house. This year was pretty much a learning experience for us, getting to know where all of the drafts are in this very old house. All of these things will be done using cash. No more debt for us!

Saving Swagbucks and updates

June 24th, 2015 at 03:42 pm

Every month I tend to rack up a lot of Swagbucks by using their credit card. I decided that I will not redeem the Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards until I am ready to shop for Christmas. I already have 1800 Swagbucks accumulated.

I am also going to apply for a TD Bank credit card offer I received the other day. Spend $500 in the next 3 months and receive a $200 cash back and 5% on all of purchases for next 6 billing statements. This is a good deal. Just in case, I found a link to this offer:
http://www.creditcards.com/credit-cards/td-easy-rewards-credit-card-238910425.php

We have a high school graduation party to go to and my great nephew's 2nd birthday party. I will be spending a little money this weekend.

I hope you are all having a great summer!

Yay me!!!!

June 18th, 2015 at 09:50 pm

Done with work today! I'm doing a two week jumpstart program but it doesn't required as much planning, lesson plans and all the dreaded paperwork. It's $30 an hour and I will make $900 and it will not be included in the household money pool. I can do whatever I want with it!!!

There has been some expensive things bought like a new queen size mattress for the bed frame I bought at a FB Online Garage Sale. Man, those things are so expensive. The fame cost me $200 and the mattress $600 at Costco. I love the bed and I wish I could put in the master bedroom but it won't fit because of the odd walls/ceiling. Oh well. We are having my brother and family this coming week visiting from Florida.

As expected, we received a whole month's paychecks in one week (closing of the fiscal year). It feels like a windfall but it's not. We won't get paid again until July 15th. However, we did get a nice chunk of money for my hubby's health benefit opt out. The money will be used for the upstairs bathroom renovation. More details on that coming soon. We were also in need of a new comforter set for our bed. I could've gotten away with a cheap comforter set but experience has taught me otherwise. About six months ago, I bought a comforter set for my son's bed at Macy's and I've been disappointed ever since I got it. I really should have returned it.

Here is a picture of the actual second hand bed frame.

Summer and Retirement

June 11th, 2015 at 12:15 am

The last week of school is always stressful, but yet exciting. Next Thursday is our last day of work until September. Next week is also a two paycheck week. Monday is a regular payday and Thursday we will receive our last paycheck of the school year. Our contract is from September 1st through June 30th. I actually scored 40 hours of work during the summer working with ELL (English Language Learner)students helping them with basic skills and/or skill retention. I choose the hours and the days I want to work and it pays $30 an hour. I told my hubby that the money I earn in the summer will not be co-mingle with our household finances because it is unexpected income and we don't needed to keep us afloat. He was fine with it! As I mentioned before, this school year I opted to do automatic summer savings and I'll receive a paycheck for both July and August.

I am also very happy with the financial progress we have made since we sold our house and purchased the our current home. We were able to payoff our home but we were basically left with very little in the emergency fund. So far, we were able to do the kitchen upgrades, cash flow college tuition and live on one income for five consecutive months.

On the retirement front, we decided to buy back four years of service from a previous employer for my husband's pension. If he is fortunate to work four more years with the current employer, he will be able to retire at the age of 60 with a full pension. We decided to move forward with this even though, Gov. Christie has failed to make payment to the state pension fund. Hopefully, he can benefit from taking a lump sum one time payment worst case scenario. I, on the other hand, am not optimistic about ever collecting a state pension. I still have to work another 15 years before I can retire. Having said that, I decided to make full contributions to my Roth IRA from now on. Fortunately, I also have a 403B through AXA Equitable which I've been putting 15% of my pay.

EFP Challenge and more

June 8th, 2015 at 02:22 pm

As it turns out, I spent a little less than $10 on groceries this week. I think I have enough food for another week or two.

I visited my doctor for a follow-up on my burned hand. She said it is healing nicely, but I have to keep it covered for another week.

On the work front, I only have 8 works days left. Feeling pretty excited about it even more so now that I will be getting a paid during the summer months. I am also making a conscientious effort to fund my Roth IRA now that the state pension is up in the air. The 403B retirement is on automatic contributions. I'm beginning to worry about having enough money for retirement because I entered the work force later in life.

Well, that's it for today! Have a great week.

Any Genealogist in SA?

June 5th, 2015 at 05:46 pm

For quite sometime, I'd been wondering about my father's side of the family, especially his paternal side. All I know is that he married my grandmother in a US commonwealth, had two children (one being my Dad) and he passed away when my father was 8 years old. My grandma' remained in the commonwealth and after that she had some contact with his family but not enough for me to know or remember. This summer, I decided that I'd start researching my ancestry for both of my parents.

Any budding genealogists here who can provide some guidance on how to start my search? I've looked into hiring an expert but the fees, although may be worth it, are a little out of reach for my frugal self. I'm willing to allocate some money though.

Free coffee/tea from Panera Bread

June 4th, 2015 at 05:52 pm

I have a free coffee or tea redeemable by July 1 on my Panera Rewards Card but I do not drink coffee or tea. I can gift my reward to an existing Panera Reward Rewards Card holder. If you want it, all I need is your email address to share. First person to reply; I will delete your email address immediately after sharing the reward. I just hate for the reward to go to waste.

Progress Week#1 EFP Challenge

June 4th, 2015 at 01:21 am

Week #1 from Eat from the Pantry Challenge

Sunday- Hash Brown Casserole with boneless chicken breast and garlic bread (Thanks Miz Pat for the recipe)
Delicious!!!
No spend day also!

Monday- Ate out but we scored a few free food items: one loaf of Italian bread, 3 butter sticks, 2 plates of chocolate chip cookies. We were also gifted napkins, plates and plastic cutlery.

Tuesday-Shrimp pasta with steamed broccoli

No spend day!

Wednesday-Grilled boneless ribs with yellow rice and steamed broccoli (I was able to use two quart size fresh broccoli).

No spend day!
Thursday- Burgers and potato chips

Free items/ Retirement Home Fund

June 1st, 2015 at 08:55 pm

I just scored two needed household items by using Amazon gift cards acquired through SWAGBUCKS credit card.

Paper shredder (6 pages)

Microfiber cloth
(I will use the cloth to clean my stainless steel appliances)

Total: $39 for both
Cost to me: $0

On another note, we are getting closer to saving 10% for our retirement home. Plugging along a little bit at a time. Realistically, we have to save a little over 20% of the target goal to be able to do this in seven years. I am sure the home will not cost us what we have allocated but we can probably put a really healthy down payment and have an ultra small mortgage.