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Archive for April, 2017

April Savings

April 29th, 2017 at 02:30 pm

Received $35 bank interest for the month of April.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $50 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card.

Redeemed $65 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $4 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$20 Savings from Target Red Card (made a big purchase)
--$40 Insurance refund

Snowball to investments (MH Paycheck):

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

+$3,000 OT to savings (will fund my mortgage goal)

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
-$1,000 airfare London
-$ 500 life insurance
-$ 400 Drama Camp


I had a CD mature this month, so a little less interest income. Since we do want to replace our vehicle, I think I will keep this CD money in our savings account. There is that, and I am also just completely exhausted with work. Maybe in a month or two it will sound appealing at all to jump through hoops to earn more interest. For now, I am over it. (Now that I think about it, I haven't done one of those since MH was unemployed. We've had this "nice and simple" CD for 22 months. Though my exhaustion speaks more to my work situation than his. So we will see in another few months).

I had a complete DOH moment today. American Express is really finicky with their gas rewards. They often don't give rewards for gas stations they clearly label as "fuel" on their statements. ??? I has a DOH moment today as I recalled we might have gas rewards on other cards. We do! In the end, we can get 3% back on our CU Visa. It will take me a while to remember, but MH is really good at keeping track of all this madness. I'd rather use our credit union than the big banks, any day. So this is good.

My last entry I mentioned OT status, so nothing new there. I don't know when I will literally transfer the $3k to our mortgage. Maybe soon, since I also have all this cash that had been tied up in a CD. I just need some time before I tie up money indefinitely. I will put it to the mortgage sometime between now and January 1.

From short-term savings, I paid off the London airfare. I did also fund drama camp, apparently a full month earlier than last year. Drama Llama LOVES his drama camp.

Neither kid was interested at all in other summer classes. We didn't push it. I think us parents just need a break. We will have a very lazy low-spend summer. It sounds absolutely divine!

OT Update

April 24th, 2017 at 01:09 pm

**Work has been totally crazy and will be for a while. On the plus side, I did get my annual OT payout.

I do have $3,000 to throw at the mortgage, which is my minimum annual OT goal.

**I did also pay off the TV with my OT check.

My husband was so aggravated with the store he bought the TV from. He had negotiated at several stores, trying to see how much wiggle room he could get on price. & settled on one store that we buy most our electronics from. Since he was haggling, they told him to just buy it on an installment plan. Not the right thing to say to my husband. He was PISSED. He told me about that later. He said, "Who on earth buys a TV on credit?!" Um, just about everyone?? He just has no clue. He's a "debt = hair on fire emergency" type, so he was just completely dumbfounded by the suggestion, and aggravated that they were trying to sell him a payment plan to "save money." Rolleyes

{In case I wasn't clear, their whole sales pitch was, "Who cares how much it cost? Just throw it on credit!" We chose to *care* and to negotiate the price down.}

Even though I am well aware that most people put this kind of stuff on credit, I suppose it often doesn't register. I wondered aloud in a recent blog post why people would pay full retail price for these type things. When wondering that, I Was presuming everyone pays cash. It's not always front of mind how "weird" we are. I guess it makes a little more sense if I step back and realize that most these sales are made on credit.

Whittling Down Expenses

April 16th, 2017 at 02:13 pm

**I've already got the new TV set up with Citi price rewind. They check prices for 60 days and will refund for any price changes that are found online.

Not holding my breath, but might be able to whittle down the price a bit.

**MH insists he will sell our old TV, but I am skeptical. If he does, we will have a few hundred dollars to apply towards the TV purchase. Will see...

**I am also working on whittling down travel expenses. I finished spending $3,000 on the new card. I have $460 (reward) to apply to travel expenses, as a result. The rewards posted as soon as the last charge hit. I don't want to apply that to our hotel because the hotel is refundable. I don't know if the bus tours will count as "Travel expenses" for this reward. But they look to be non-refundable, so I like the idea of getting those expenses paid for by the credit card. (Then, if for any reason we cancel our trip or plans change, we aren't out any cash). We plan to start booking our tours next month and will apply the reward however we can. If nothing else, we can apply to our hotel, if we do it within so many days.

{We didn't put the TV on the new card. We booked our hotel, since the card had no foreign fees. I paid a month of health insurance, and I had a $400 professional dues payment that I will get reimbursed from my employer. That got us right to about $3,000}.

**Managing Big Purchases:

Overall, our regular (small) vacation budget will cover the hotel and airfare, so will just pull from short-term savings. Then as we book tours, we will just pay with rewards. I don't otherwise need to come up with the money for the rest, until after we get back. Mostly expecting to pay for food and transportation while we are there. No other "big" expenses planned.

As to the TV purchase, MH also picked up a compatible video player. It was $250. I should receive a check from his Grandma today (she INSISTS, for doing her taxes). That will mostly be a wash. I should also get my annual "OT" check tomorrow, and I will just pay off the TV at that time. Is where the money will come from. (If for whatever reason I don't receive an OT Payout this year, we have the cash. Just to be clear that we aren't relying on money not received yet. I would have preferred the sale extended to tomorrow and we could pick up after I know how much money I will receive. But that would be too nice and easy!).

**MH did also pick up some used HD movies, with store credit. This is motivating him to clear out old video games and movies. (Which he generally does anyway; sells old ones to pay for newer ones. But I appreciate the extra motivation since he is selling more than usual). He was pleased because he found Planet Earth II on sale, and was able to pay with store credit. (Planet Earth II is absolutely amazing!)

Spring Break & A Splurge

April 14th, 2017 at 05:21 am

No spring break for me. I am looking forward to April 15th, as to lessening my work load a wee bit. But it's going to be pretty busy for another 2 months or so. *sigh* It's probably optimistic to think that I will get a breather at all.

But, the kids have spring break. MM(13) is on the east coast right now. He will be back today and has two full weeks off of school. Other than this super big trip, he's just going to have to chill out at home.

DL(11) is spending the week with grandparents. With him, it just depends on the day. I wouldn't have been surprised if he refused to go or if he came home early. But he was super excited about being gone all week and spending time with extended family. Is nothing I would have ever guessed in a million years. But, I guess he really enjoyed his last couple of spring breaks (alone with grandparents). & he was in a super good mood the day he left. So, phew!

MH also has a couple of days off of work. I am sure he has been sulking at home a bit because I am so busy.

In the end we did go to a free advanced movie screening. MH goes on average about once a week, but I've never gone without the kids. I have just gone to a couple of animated/family movies on the weekends. You have to get there so early that it's not really ideal on a weeknight, and means leaving the kids several hours. In addition, they don't want you using your phones at all (though I'd want to be reachable if the kids needed anything). So it's just complicated.

Anyway, when I went to the other two screenings it was a very cool experience. Just a really cool crowd. I thought maybe it was the kind of adults who wanted to see kids movies so didn't think too much about it. Just that it was a really fun crowd. But Tuesday night we saw Gifted (which is way better than I expected it would be - I had low expectations). & it was the same kind of crowd. I don't know what it is, but they attract a happy crowd. So it was a really fun night.

Last night, MH made a nice dinner for just the two of us.


MH did also buy a new TV while the kids were gone. I'd say the stars aligned, with a sale. Actually, we were talking about it and then it went on sale even further after we decided mostly against it. So I changed my mind. I am hopeful that this ends the revolving door of TVs. It's frustrating because my hubby has exhaustively researched every HDTV we have owned, but they have all been pieces of crap. This one is a high-end TV at the same price point (prices are endlessly dropping) and is a different kind of display, so we are hopeful about it. I suppose I was pushing for it because of the price. I don't want to spend more on something we aren't happy with. I can live with this one if it ends up in the "another piece of crap" pile.

They were clearing out last year's models. It amazes me that people would pay 2-3 times as much for something because they couldn't wait 12 months for the price to drop. ??? & I mean, paying full price would have been absurd. There's a couple of electronics purchases I recall my husband doing in the past where he was sure the sales price was a typo. The prices were so unbelievably low. I share because this is how you have your cake and eat it too.

2017 is shaping up to be a year of "taking advantage of opportunities," on the spending front.

This & That

April 2nd, 2017 at 06:47 pm

**I am expecting to fund our Europe trip with the extra OT I earned this year. I will see how that shakes out later this month. (Our regular vacation budget will cover the airfare + hotel, so I am just thinking to the rest, which should not be as much).

**That reminds me, MH is going to Florida this fall for his grandfather's 90th birthday. I really thought we'd cover the flight but he'd probably have a free room and not have to rent a car. In the end, his parents have some miles and just want to buy him his flight. So that's turning out to be even cheaper than I expected.

**Today I was recalling that MH had broached the subject of replacing DL(11)'s computer. Whenever he told me that (months ago?) I said, "Let's talk about this in April." It had just popped into my head, but MH seemed very "meh" about it when I brought it up today. So don't know what is up with that. Will talk about it more later. Might be another expense on the horizon.

**MM(13) leaves on his class DC/NYC trip next week. It was crazy expensive, but the plus side is everything should be covered. His grandparents gave him probably $100 already for souvenirs he won't be buying. (He is not a shopper, at all). So it doesn't sounds like we need to provide him with any cash.

{We paid for this trip about 9 months ago}.

**MM(13) is very hard on his e-reader. He has my old Nook, but after putting a zillion hours into that thing, it's starting to have issues. MH just told me he saw that Kindles were on sale (25% off) and he picked one up for MM. He had some Amazon credits, so was only $30 out of pocket. I thought he was thinking to the trip, which didn't sound so smart. The old Nook is use-able, and might as well take something we don't care if gets lost or damaged. But he told me he was thinking of holding onto the Kindle for MM's birthday. If he needs it sooner, then we can surprise him.

March Savings

April 2nd, 2017 at 03:09 pm

Received $40 bank interest for the month of March.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $25 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $53 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $0 cash back on Visa/dining card.
(Didn't eat out)

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$4 Savings from Target Red Card

Snowball to investments (MH Paycheck):

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
- 280 Auto Insurance
- 140 cell phone for MM
- 100 car maintenance


Other Snowflakes:
--$25 Focus Group

I didn't invest this snowflake; I donated it to DL's school.


MH's work has been slow, which is nice because my work has been *completely insane*.

I still needed to get $1,400 "tax savings" over to our investments. For now, I am just hoarding MH's paycheck to that end. I have $1,000 to throw at that today and will probably have $400 in another couple of weeks.

It probably works out that I will get that funded by April 15th. Around then I should get my OT for the year and we will have to look at our tax situation and figure out the rest of the year.