Home > Archive: November, 2019

Archive for November, 2019

Credit Card Rewards Tally 2019

November 30th, 2019 at 04:05 pm

2019 TALLY:

$550 Gift Cards (Citi, Moi)
$150 Bank Bonus

Other Rewards:
$ 29 Citi Price rewinds (RIP)

Ongoing rewards (through 11/30):

+$320 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/streaming services)

+$70 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$144 Visa Rewards (3% cash back fuel/restaurants)

+$804 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere - health insurance/medical is the big expenses that we charge, is more than our mortgage payments)

Grand Total = $2,067

I usually do a tally in November because I have my Target card year-to-date and it might disappear before I look at it again. Since it's a discount, it's harder to track than the cash back rewards.

It looks like 2019 rewards will be about the same as 2018.

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending. We treat our credit cards like debit cards; only charging if we have the cash on hand already. We've never paid a cent of late fees or interest.***

This & That

November 4th, 2019 at 01:56 pm

Trying this again. Hoping for a slightly calmer month? Absolutely not holding my breath.

I spent most of September trying to make headway on the household/chore front, digging out of a very big hole. October I got caught up on my professional education. Phew! I was more motivated on the work/professional front, so am circling back to household chores. Plus, I suppose this one reason I despise housework. You just get to do it all over again.

My initial plan was to have a very light load in November/December, and is why I hit things so hard the last 2 months. Will see... "Very light" was clearly way too optimistic, but relatively it will be nice not to have 1,000 things To-Do + 1,000 things I am behind on. I am getting more caught up on the "life" front, in general.

The last big nasty chore on my list is to go to the DMV this week. Ugh! Maybe I will feel much better after that.

Yesterday we made butternut squash soup. Yum!

MH and MM(16) went to the movies to see JoJo Rabbit. They said it was great. It's $7 per ticket for first showings at the arthouse cinema. So they spent $14 there.

I mostly alternated between napping, major house chores, and crossing seemingly infinite little things off my list.

In other news, I asked for a 16% raise and got an okay, *shrugs*. 😁 I am so relieved that we are on the same page. It's not official/final or anything like that so I will hold off on a bigger post about it when I have more details. But I have never in my life (before) gone 13 months without a raise. Though my employer clearly compensates very generously... They skipped mid-year-bonuses, never gave me the mid-year raise we discussed last year, etc. I was starting to get really frustrated wondering if I was crazy or what. But I had my performance review and it was stellar. I had absolutely never discussed my prior salary before, so it was clearly now or never. I expected far more negotiation and just led with my prior salary. (Certainly not expecting that, as this is a much easier position, and I also have some other new compensation besides salary). My "head honcho" boss didn't skip a beat and said, "We will take care of you." & I know he takes care of his employees, so that was all I needed to hear. I feel like I am mostly out of limbo and relieved that we are all on the same page.

I am sure I could have pushed farther for a more immediate raise, but I am clearly much more concerned about the long-term than the short-term. They are also very generous with bonuses (something I have never even had before) so I get the sense that I probably created some first world problems for myself. If I potentially just turned 2019 from a "lower income year" into the "highest income year" (with all the side work I did this year to make up lost income). Will have some financial/tax planning to do when this sorts out. It will sort out this month.

October Savings

November 3rd, 2019 at 03:15 pm

Received $70 bank interest for the month of October.

--Redeemed $39 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.
--Redeemed $133 cash back on Citi card.
--Redeemed $18 cash back on dining/gas/grocery card.

Other snowflakes:
$ 5 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)

{Note: Did not put snowflakes to investments this month,applied to large expenditure}

401k Contributions/Match:

Snowball to Savings:
+$ 900 MH Paychecks
+$ 100 MH Focus Group
+$ 265 Self-employment income

TOTAL: $1,265 snowballs to savings

Savings (From my paycheck):
+$ 550 to cash (mid-term savings)

Mid-Term Savings (cash saved for non-annual expenses/emergency):
-$ 3,700 Orthodontist**

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):
+$1,400 to cash
-$ 460 Car Insurance
-$ 260 Electricity^ (for prior year, electric car)
-$ 190 Misc.
-$ 120 Prepay school lunch

TOTAL: -$695 Net
(Invested +$750, -$1,445 from cash)


^Electricity expenditure ~ we have balanced billing and so though we added an electric car to our household we haven't really been paying for it. Had a $260 accumulation I could have spread over next 12 months, but I just wanted to pay it off and be done. I didn't want to spend the next 12 months paying for the last 12 months of car charging.

Prediction from last month:
October should be a good money month.

Things went as predicted. We would have had +$3,000 to savings/investments if it wasn't for another orthodontist surprise. (More Below). & to be clear, I am in "significantly reduced salary" mode.

Unfortunately, November will not be any prettier. I just pulled $5,500-ish out of savings so that I can get property taxes covered for the next year. I am paying a little early and pre-paying. This goes in the "simplicity" category. Don't want to think about it for another 12 months.

**Most of the Citi card reward was due to charging some orthodontist expenses to a credit card. It was very out of nowhere, so I immediately pulled from savings and just paid it off. (This is what we had decided to do for LM, but MH just presumed we'd come to the same conclusion with kid #2. He didn't even talk to me about it! Just came home to, "I spent $4,000 today.") MM went in for a consult and he was recommended a similar treatment plan to his brother. I think it's probably where we would have ended up but I was just dumbfounded that MH didn't discuss with me. (I think this is just a side effect of us both being so run down by life at the moment). On the flip side, he was in such a hurry to pay, he whipped out the credit card. That's good because I got about $75 cash back to offset the cost. Wish I had known for DL's braces. All their fine print was that there was a fee for credit card. Just another reminder that it never hurts to ask! I swear, fine print is usually optional, from my experience. When it comes to bigger purchases.

I had been planning to spend around $12,000 on braces this year (expected scenario) and we are up to about $8,000 so far. So, it was kind of *shrugs* in the end. It probably helped that I was being very cognizant this was precisely why we had so much extra cash and everything has been pretty zen lately. We over-prepared, as we tend to do.

I just threw all the credit card rewards (this month) to offset the ortho costs.

October was some crazy month from hell, as they all are any more. So honestly, this was probably the most boring thing that happened. In fact, that was a "calm" week. I remember thinking it was sad that waiting for MH's MRI results and getting a surprise $4,000 bill is what I consider calm.

& there is more. Now, MM(16) is being referred to jaw surgery. The saving grace is I have two boys. The surgery I had at 16, they don't do until 20s for boys. Because they are still growing. DL(14) has my same jaw and was referred to surgery at age 23? That is very grey area with "cosmetic surgery for medical reasons" and not sure how that will shake out. I don't know what the heck MM(16)'s deal is but it's not the same. I believe they said age 26 for MM. But, the Ortho did happen to mention that our insurance had never turned down covering this particular surgery (if he referred). So that was a nice heads up. Regardless, both cans are getting kicked *way* down the road. It really really sucks that they both have to deal with this, but I don't have any room whatsoever in my brain (right now) for "things that may or may not happen in another 10 years."