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Archive for January, 2015

Freebie and almost free

January 30th, 2015 at 07:23 pm

I got a post card from our local bus company with an offer to receive a free round trip ticket to New York City ($22). I redeemed the offer and I have a year to use it. I will definitely use that when it's time to see a Broadway show.

I also ordered 2 pairs of Sketchers Go Walk sneakers and a pair of Bobs slippers for $20 out of pocket of the total cost ($105). I used my Amazon gift cards I earned through Swagbucks. The sneakers are the best for my foot tendonitis. I think I did well for $20.

It's official

January 30th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

For the month of January, we lived on my income and managed to save my hubby's net income plus a portion of mine. I am being very diligent to record all expenditures even though we were in the red on some categories. I'm working on February's budget and have allotted more money to those categories except for groceries. I hope we can keep this up!

Not a good day yesterday

January 29th, 2015 at 06:05 pm

I was in a auto accident yesterday and fortunately there were no serious injuries with any person involved. Long story short, my car has $6K worth of damage and the insurance wants to put aftermarket parts on a BMW. We are fighting the aftermarket parts and we are hoping with succeed. Bummer; I really worked hard to have that car and babied the heck out of it.

I checked our mortgage account and it now has a $0 principal balance and a $5K escrow surplus. Can't wait to get my money back for that. That will help us increase our Emergency Fund to over $10K. Tomorrow is pay day and I have set up a $600 transfer to the savings account to complete the budgeted savings for the month. I will also take the money out for the 52 Week Savings Challenge. I finished the month with a $252 checking account sweep. I will send my Mom a portion of it; she is so thankful for the money I've been sending her. I've been also buying some personal care products to take to her when I visit her in the Spring. I'm excited about seeing my Mommy.

Well, that's it for today. I hope you have a frugal and blessed weekend.

Inconvenience paid off

January 25th, 2015 at 03:57 pm

Last Spring, my husband and I were in the airport waiting to board a Florida bound plane. While we waited, they kept making offers of travel certificates for those willing to give up their seats along with a food voucher and a hotel room. To make a long story short about 20 minutes prior to departure the offer was a $1k per person travel certificate and an 8:30 a.m. flight out to Florida. Hubby and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, "Let's go for it." We got our certificates, hotel and food voucher and took the next plane out the next morning. Small inconvenience for such an offer and besides we were not in a hurry. Today, I booked a plane ticket to visit my Mom during Spring break. First class for $0; sweet deal. First class airfare was needless to say expensive ($900) but I will never get the chance to travel first class in my lifetime if I have to pay for it and hubby agreed with me. I still have $1,100 to spend, but tickets will have to be booked by April 12th of this year.

Overbudget ...

January 21st, 2015 at 06:27 pm

on three categories and there are still 10 days left in January. I am glad to be keeping track of every single penny we spent because it makes me realize that I need to allow a bigger budget on certain categories. We've managed to keep on budget on a few categories including savings, Roth IRA contribution which I neglected, and gas. In regards to the gas category I think it's mostly due to the low cost of gasoline these days ($1.81 a gallon!)I am also changing the due date of all our credit cards for the 30th of each month to make it easier for me to keep track. The grocery category was overbudget due to the massive amount of can goods (veggies, tomato sauce, tuna, coffee, etc)we purchased. I will keep that amount the same for next month because I think it won't be necessary to increase it. Let's see if I can minimize purchases for the remaining of the month.
I am making a cash donation to our school's third grade students who are collecting money to buy treats for dogs at a shelter. My fur baby has an abundance of treats and other dogs and cats deserve the same.

That's it for today. Have a great day.


January 19th, 2015 at 05:48 pm

I went over budget on the grocery category mostly due to the can-can sale at our local Shoprite. In all, I spent over $200.00 on one shopping trip but I got a lot of items we use and our stock pile is abundant. I also but some canned meats for the food pantry. I consider myself to be blessed and it is especially important for me to give back to people who are less fortunate.

We also bought a few items for the house; a stainless steel garbage can, a rug, counter canister and some groceries. On another note, my kitchen appliances look awesome and the kitchen looks totally different. We still have to install the microwave but we need a few people to help us hold the microwave while my husband screws it in place. We found some really nice glass tiles on sale that we can actually use for the kitchen back splash. We are pricing Formica counter top to replace the existing (hideous) green one. We are also changing the cabinet hardware. We are hoping to spruce up the kitchen for a fraction of the $52K we were quoted. I have to say that it's already looking much better and I'm so happy we made the decision to pay off the house instead.

Pay day

January 15th, 2015 at 10:11 am

Today is pay day. We paid ourselves first and fortunately since we pay all our debts, savings were pretty substantial. If you look at my sidebar, the Anniversary Party fund is now fully funded. I also transferred some money to the college tuition fund. We currently have a year's worth of savings for tuition but two years of tuition to pay. DS #2 is responsible for his textbooks, gas, his clothes, cell data plan and entertainment. He lives rent free as long as he is going to school. My boys are good savers and have managed to hoard a lot of money.

Checking account sweep

January 14th, 2015 at 04:00 pm

Tomorrow is pay day and it looks like I will be able to sweep $436 from the checking account. I'm sending $200 to my Mom, $30 for the Biggest Loser contest at work and the rest will go towards the 52 Weeks Savings challenge (backwards). I'm sending my Mom $200 because I want to make her life as easy as possible and supplement her fixed income.

It pays to insist

January 14th, 2015 at 05:19 am

Our new appliances were delivered on Sunday even though we purchased all four on Black Friday. One of the appliances was not on stock so we decided to have all appliances delivered at the same time. Well, the fridge we bought happened to fit our kitchen but not the doorway to the kitchen. The delivery company took the fridge back and a credit was issued. My husband called Lowe's to inquire about another fridge (slightly smaller one) but we would have to pay more for less of a refrigerator. He asked to speak to the store manager since he was getting no where with the appliance manager. The general store agreed to sell us the new fridge for the Black Friday price. We saved over $500 by asking Lowe's to honor the Black Friday prices. We did loose a cool feature on the new fridge but it would have cost us an additional $1K to get the same exact replacement of the original purchased fridge. The feature to us was not worth paying $1K.

Moral of the story: Measure your doorways before buying an appliance and it pays to ask!

Completely debt free

January 7th, 2015 at 04:41 pm

We are now debt free; paid the house off, the kitchen appliances and other consumer debts. As of the January 15th, we will work on building a substantial emergency fund and savings. Doing the happy dance! /

Today was not a no spend day because I bought a box of Girl Scout cookies from a really nice student. I just could not say no. On another note, it is frigid cold here in New Jersey. Our furnace has been working non stop. Hopefully we will have a break on this horrible, terrible atrocious weather. Did I mention that I really, really dislike winter?

"No spend days"

January 6th, 2015 at 03:49 pm

I'm proud to say that we've had 5 "no spend" days so far this month. Today I was so close to blowing the "no spend day" when I was tempted to buy junk food, but I decided that what I had planned to make for dinner was far yummier (is that a word or incorrect use of a superlative?). I'm glad I did because my shrimp pasta was very delicious!

I also salvaged a nice big bowl from the trash can at work today. Nothing wrong with it; just needed a nice wash. I intend to use it to serve chips when we have company. One last thing, I am sending the check to pay-off the house. I will let you when the check clears so that we can do the happy dance together. Smile

Walmart and house damage

January 5th, 2015 at 07:43 am

I made a partial return to Walmart which they refunded me $103. A week later while reviewing my account history, I noticed that Walmart had taken back the refund and charged my debit card the $103. I promptly called the bank and filed a claim to dispute the charges. About 10 days later the bank sent me a r dispute response that just did not make sense to me at all. I filed another dispute and sent an email to the bank expressing my disappointment about the vague answer given to me by the customer rep. Today, there was a credit back in my account for the $103. I'm glad, I did not give up on money that was rightfully mine. I will use the money to fund the 52 Week Savings Challenge (backwards) which coincidentally amounts to $103. Moral of the story: be vigilant about your money and take time to review your bank account.

On another note, last night the strong winds caused a tree branch to fall in my neighbor's yard causing damage to the side of our house. It tore the power line attached to the house ripping part of the vinyl siding, gutters and other stuff. My husband is calling the insurance company to file a claim, but I'm not sure how it will be handle since it was not our tree that caused the damage. Frown

Off to a good start!

January 2nd, 2015 at 06:56 pm

I just paid off all of the credit card balances from December. One of my resolutions is to track daily expenses so I wanted to start fresh with no credit card outstanding balances. I found a free daily expenses/budget tracker excel spreadsheet through christianpf.com.

Long-term goal

January 2nd, 2015 at 07:03 am

Today will be a "spend day". We have to gas up my car in anticipation to the work week and buy some needed grocery items. I will try the 10 items strategy that a fellow blogger uses. I have allotted $400 in the budget a month for food and household items but I am actually trying to do it for less. If we have a surplus in this category or any other category in the budget, the surplus will go into a "retirement home" fund. This is a long-term goal (5-7 years)and our goal is to pay for the purchase using cash only. No financing at all! We are planning on being snow birds; winters and early spring in the Caribbean and the rest in NJ.

Hope you have a great frugal weekend!

Frugal first day of the year

January 1st, 2015 at 11:02 am

Happy 2015, Fellow bloggers! May you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

I started the new year scoring two free items at Amazon using rewards from Swagbucks. I bought a nice pair of Eastland suede boots at 50% for my hubby and a pair of Sketchers sneakers for me. The sneakers are a must since I have a bad case of tendinitis on my foot. I buy from their Go Walk collection.

I was tempted to go to our favorite pizzeria but I decided against it. Instead, I am making a nice dinner for my family and start the year frugally. Smile