Home > Archive: December, 2022

Archive for December, 2022

Parade Float

January 1st, 2023 at 12:17 am

I asked MM to get me an accounting of what I owe him for groceries.  & for Christmas, we wanted to pay for his round trip train ticket for New Year's.  He sent it to me late last night.  $42 for 30 days of groceries.  🙄  This is my kid who is $350/month to feed at home.  ??? (If anything, he's living in a more expensive region now.) Roundtrip train ticket was $88.  Was about what he paid one-way last time.  Different prices on different days, but he also found the student discount (15% off).  

To be fair, I think he charged $20 to the Target card (grocery run), he was home for Thanksgiving week, and he has spent most weekends in So Cal.

I also offered to send him ~$100 for food from mid-December through mid-January.  I didn't realize they would have so many meals covered in So Cal.  He told me he ended up only eating out 4 times?  But I just sent him the $100 anyway.  I had budgeted substantially more for his groceries.  (I had thought $100 would just be a small dent in 2 weeks of eating out.)

While I do like the idea of just sending him a flat monthly grocery dollar amount (for him to figure out and budget), I was concerned that he would spend as little as possible so that he could hoard money.  He seems to be doing this regardless, even with the flat reimbursements.  

I am looking at MM(19)'s financial records.  He made $1,100 with his campus job and saved $1,200.  This school year, to-date.  How is that possible?  He made $73 interest (includes 1 month of mega I Bond interest) and earned a $200 credit card reward.  His spending was less than the credit card reward.  While there is no lack of free things to do at his college campus, I believe his lack of spending was mostly driven by being busy and having no time.  I am just surprised that he didn't spend more.  His expenses should include a lot of meals in LA, and a lot of gas for the weekly trips.  Don't ask me.  As he gets more independent, I see less of the details.  

I did not end up getting any of MM's behind-the-scene photos, but this was the night the parade float was transported to Pasadena.  In Pasadena they spent 2 days mostly painting, I believe.  The 20th and 21st. The kids all go home for Christmas but then there's a deco week (26th - 31st) where anyone can volunteer.  This is when they add all the plants and flowers.  This is for the New Year's rose parade.   

M(19) told us that they have to be able to lower the back mushroom/snail in 60 seconds, without power.  This is for the bridges (one or two) along the parade route.  But that when the mushroom is raised up the float is 25 feet tall.  

He skipped deco week but we both want to go next year.  I thought I heard that the kids were couch surfing (last year) but that probably was for the deco week in Pasadena.  For design 'week' (the 2 weeks before Christmas) they were fed and stayed at a (free) hotel on a college campus.  Free because the hotel is owned by the So Cal college.  In Pasadena, he may need to couch surf for the deco week next year.  I'd just go for the weekend.

This year, he's going back for the parade.  I dropped him off at the train station early this a.m.  He's taking the red eye train home on Monday night.  The parade is not done on Sundays, so it will be Monday.  But he's meeting up with the girfriend (who is working on campus) and then they have a 3-hour drive from there to Pasadena.  I expect he will have some interesting photos to share.   MM thought that today was when they started adding all the flowers.  They try to do all the more dry material (e.g. seeds) first.  But they have 2-3 dumpsters full of tiny vials that they fill with water and fresh flowers.  It's hard to imagine the scale of it all. 

Edited to add:  Some pictures ended up popping up online today. 


Cash Surprise

December 30th, 2022 at 03:01 pm

2022 should be well sorted.  I have updated my sidebar.

Who knows...  We had the double whammy of a sudden car repair *and* they could only take cash.  Ugh!  That is really throwing off my accounting! 

I have mixed feelings about it.  MM(19) told us the 'check engine' light was on in the kids' car.  His cheapie attitude was to ignore it.  Maybe we are lucky he said anything.  I said, "MM, do you know why we have a car with 200K miles on it?  & why we've had others that have lasted that long?  Because we always take our cars to the mechanic the second something is wrong with the car."  I hope I got the point across.  Everyone else is home for the week.  MH called around 9am, took in the car, and it was done around noon.  I suppose it was very slow this holiday week.  So I am very irritated with how much this messed up our system.  (Their credit card machine was broken.)  But also, holy cow, that was fast and easy.  Hard to imagine a better week to have a broken car.  It was the oxygen sensor.

I am just going to account for the repair in January.   I got paid early (12/30, instead of early January) and so have some float to cover it.  & I mean, MH also got paid.  There are many streams of float.  It's just messing up my system.

Edit:  If DL(17) was age 18+ and/or he had a job, we'd probably just have him pay for it.  It's the first big car expense that has come up on this car.  There was the brakes and work we done just before he had his driving test, but he wasn't licensed yet and MM didn't use the car for 9 months, and so we just covered that.  This is the first 'big' repair expense (more than an oil change) while anyone is licensed *and* using the car.  I expect that next time the kids will pay for any repairs.

I also can float whatever I owe MM for groceries (more 'cash' expenses driving me crazy)...  But he has yet to give me figures.  I need to nag him about that today.  He is going on his LA trip tomorrow.  I would prefer to get that done in 2022.  We are way under our grocery budget, and so would rather make that a 2022 expense.

I am very much looking forward to a quiet 3 day weekend.  Work is crazed this time of year.  So I am ready for a break.  

I completely give up on any catch up whatsoever, and so am just posting something current and quick.

Edited:  I tried to comment on other blogs (earlier) but it's not working.  I think I was just saying Merry Christmas to a few.  I could comment on one blog but none of the others.  Belated Merry Christmas! 

Bunching Tax Deductions

December 30th, 2022 at 02:57 pm

For the first time ever, looks like we will just be taking the standard deduction for our taxes.  It's about $26,000.

Last year we itemized $34,000.  The obvious difference is that we had $9K in medical bills last year and has ~$0 this year (miracle of miracles.)  $9K was extreme, but $0 is a miracle.  Both were very extreme years compared to our average.   Usually we hit our $3K deductible. 

{Knock on wood.  The year isn't over so won't celebrate coming in under medical deductible until January 1.  But any medical bills that pop up this week will be 2023 expenses to figure out.}

In the future, will have less than $4K mortgage interest (woohoo!).  That's an itemized deduction that is dropping rapidly.  Property taxes and charity.  That's about it.

State/local taxes are the opposite of what most presume.  Our State income tax system is progressive, we've paid ~$0 during the years we have had kids under 18.  (Lord knows I've done tax returns for regressively taxed states, where every dollar earned is taxed, in contrast.)  Property taxes can not rise more than 2% every year (Prop 13).  

Medical is most of what we deduct.  Health insurance premiums ($$$$$$) + medical/dental/ortho expenses.  We had the usual expenses, but just no deductible and nothing extra this year.  No orthodontist, no wisdom teeth, no other medical procedures.

I was making a note to get charity/donations in before 12/31.  Particularly re: the $1,000 in law gift.  They gift us $1,000 every year to forward on to charities.  I decided that it's probably better to push that off to 2023 and to bunch deductions. 

The bigger thing I will have to consider bunching is property taxes.  I have just been paying once a year for simplicity.  Which I really really like.  Less to keep track and use brain power for.  But, interest rates were also nothing the years I have done this.  With interest rates bumping up and being able to financially benefit from bunching deductions, I will have to ponder.  Taxes aren't due again until December, and so I can make a well informed decision at that time.  If I want to delay the second installment until 2024.

The whole point of bunching deduction is that if you would consistently come in under the standard deduction, you could at least bunch some deductions every other year and itemize (more than the standard deduction).  Being so on the cusp, we might just be more likely to itemize in 2023.  If we have an average medical year.  So it's beneficial to push off deductions to next year.

I expect I will have a few years where I ponder the hassle of bunching tax deductions and give some extra brain power to that.  But I expect inflation to outpace our deductions.  I think that will happen quickly, in the next few years.

Edited to add:  Will still itemize for California, but that doesn't really mean anything. 

Quick Check In

December 23rd, 2022 at 02:41 pm

I am absolutely exhausted.  This week was a work hell week.  I was too nice and I agreed to do the in-law Christmas thing tonight (2 hours away) though I have to work today.  I regret this now.  We usually do the prior weekend.  Now that I type this out, I don't know if they were trying to plan around MM(19)'s schedule.  At the time, sounded like SIL needed to reschedule.  MM(19) got home late last night.  MH was supposed to work today too (I was feeling less alone) but he got a text last night that he gets the day off.    

It was shaping up that we were going to do in-law Christmas today, MM's girlfriend's family Christmas Eve, and then Christmas with my family on Sunday.  But I guess the girlfriend's family has COVID and so that has been canceled.  I am so relieved.  I need a very long nap.  I do feel bad though because their Thanksgiving was impacted by health problems.  They aren't having much luck this holiday season.

I also appreciate not going to two big parties right before I visit my parents.  We will bring less germs with us.


MH keeps getting raises.  He just got a third raise for the year.  He usually just gets one raise every fall (for the season).  I think they've bumped up his pay about 30% since the pandemic.

I am feeling less stressed about the new IRA max, accordingly.  Wasn't sure if we would bother with that.  But MH has enough raise to cover it.  His net pay will be roughly $13K for the year (IRA max x2).  With the latest raise, it might be more than that.  So I have already added that to my goal list.

Other than that, just waiting for my raise.  My boss was sick and is behind.  I saw preliminary numbers and he's pondering a big inflation bump.  I should have some clarity next week.  Unless something drastically changes from the preliminary numbers, I think I will be very happy with things.  

College Stuff

December 23rd, 2022 at 02:28 pm

I transferred over a whole whopping $136 to MM(19).  $78 for 30 days of groceries (???) and $58 for his one way train ticket home.  His girlfriend gave him a ride back to school after Thanksgiving break.

To be fair, he charged up ~$25 on my Target card that I just paid for.  (Might have included non-grocery expenses that I'd expect him to pay for.)  & he told me MIL bought him some groceries but he made it sound like it was only $10 or $20.  (That he didn't really need anything, the weekend she visited.)

The girlfriend is feeding him a lot.  I was planning to get her a grocery gift card for Christmas.  Because she never accepts money (for gas or anything.)  I asked MM if her parents were paying for her groceries, wondering if that wasn't very exciting gift for her.  (Though maybe I owe her parents, in that case.)  But MM(19) told me that she was getting financial aid for her groceries.  I share because I think MM(19) is greatly benefitting from her free food.

MM(19) is applying for a RA position.  Fingers crossed!  I never in a million years would have guessed one of my kids would want to be a RA.  & honestly, not even really sure what his motivation is.  He gets "free" room and board regardless (we are paying).  His ultra frugal genes are his motivation, I guess.   & I think he just wants to be more independent. Unfortunately, is going to make housing really difficult (scrambling last minute re: very impacted housing) if he doesn't get the position.  But I am feeling pretty zen about it.  I can be zen for the chance to save a bajillion dollars.  Will see...  

We did just get DL(17)'s State college application submitted.  We had the nice surprise that his high school will pay for one CSU application.  (They are trying to figure out what to do with extra pandemic funds.)  I put $70 on the credit card but should eventually get a reimbursement for that.  He is just applying to the local State college.  It would have just been a check box to apply to our alma mater too (another State college) but we missed the deadline and that ship had sailed.  I didn't realize that A - the local state college extended the deadline & B - few other CSUs seemed to do the same extension.  DL(17) has been resisting (even visiting the college), so it's not a big loss. 

Edited to add:  Already received $70 reimbursement.  That was fast.

Financial aid is sorted for MM(19).  Phew!  

I am ready to sit down and sort all things college finances for MM(19).  It's plausible he could get more scholarships this year, but if he does I'd probably just give the money back to him.  I am preceding with the info that I have to-date, which is probably accurate.

Net tuition for the year is $4,100.  I will pull that money out of MM's gifted college funds when I pay spring quarter fees.  That is about a wash with the rent that will be due.  

We hadn't touched MM's money yet.  But he had free tuition last year.  I just hadn't touched it this year yet because financial aid was so up in the air.  Now that it's sorted, I like how this year is pretty much done and paid for already.  But I expect in the future I will just reimburse ourselves as we go.

I started this post a bajillion years ago but just have been slammed with work.  I figured I'd circle back and at least get this posted.

MM(19) did make it home last night.  Phew!  He had a blast, working on the parade float.  I don't know when, but when we can all sit down and look at some of his pictures...  I will share a behind the scenes photo.  

Good News Week

December 18th, 2022 at 04:34 pm

Miracle of miracles, I got my car back!  The repairs only took 30 days.  I feel so blessed that they were able to get parts without delay.  Phew!

Work is crazy, but I took Thursday afternoon off to play musical cars. 

DL(17) ended up with a dead car battery and got a jump that fried his stereo.  *sigh*  I suppose the timing was good as can be.  The stereo had been a little finicky (we bought it for MM in 2018) and we do have a big check coming from the state any day.  We really don't mind buying something a little more reliable.  So that's his big Christmas present.  He doesn't seem to be particularly interested in the upgrades, but is happy to have his stereo back.  We got the android auto and installed a backup camera, etc.  We are just too spoiled by our newer cars at this point.  MM(19) I am sure will appreciate the upgrade, and MH and I will appreciate it when we have to drive the car.  I literally never pull into a spot I have to back out of.  I am trying to think why I would even drive the car, but I guess I was stuck with it a lot more when DL(17) was learning (when I'd drop him off at school).  On my work-from-home days I'd often take it on errands (made the most sense to run errands on the way back home).  Maybe it's moot at this point.    Overall, is probably more of a family holiday present.  

Reminds me, the odomoter rolled past 200K on the kids' car.  I personally feel pretty *shrugs* about it.  It's not the first car I've had with 200K+ miles.  Mechanically, the car should have many years of life left.   Fingers crossed.  We intended this to be more of an age 16-18yo car for both kids while they saved up money for their own cars.  With car prices being so crazy right now, I am now viewing it as an "at least through college" car for the kids.  After our mechanic has raved about the car a few times, I suppose it's a car that can last us those few extra years.

Musical cars...  Dropped off DL's car, picked up my car.  Went home got the rental and dropped that off.  On the way there, MH got a call that the stereo was ready.  We had planned to eat a leisurely dinner while we waited.  So we picked up the car and drove two cars to dinner.  Had a celebratory dinner to celebrate getting my car back, and also to celebrate some good money news that day.  

I got official word re: year end bonus.  I received a very unexpected 8% bonus this year.  Woohoo!   It's been 5% during my first few years at this company.

Net bonus should be around $4,000.  I suppose it's extra appreciated this year because I had  a big tax hit (loss of DL's child tax credit).  If not for that, I probably could have kept $6,000! It's just a one time hit.  Will have his college tax credit next year. My #1 wish list item is to pay down the mortgage.  But will have to wait and see how cash gifts sort out this month.  Reminds me, am also received $200 yesterday.  Last year my work did $200 in lieu of Christmas party.  My boss totally forgot (why they did that) and so did the $200 again this year, in addition to "employees only" Christmas party.  

I may need the bonus money to get 2022 IRAs funded.

MH and I were both in a car at some point Thursday and I told him, we are in the "It's always something" stage.  Which I think is just how it will always be with only 1.1 incomes *and* a mortgage *and* kids.  Other than hitting a big psychological milestone (with the mortgage) *and* locking it in that we only have a mortgage on this house for 30 years max...  After that, mortgage paydowns will 100% take a back seat to college expenses and home maintenance.  I'd probably want to set aside ~$20K (for HVAC replacement at some point, and other home maintenance items) before throwing bigger chunks at the mortgage again.  Then there's maybe wisdom teeth re: DL and MM 100% is going to do braces again and surgery.  $10,000 here, $10,000 there.   There's always something.

After the big news day on Thursday, MH won $250!  It was a script contest.  Nothing he was excited about or passionate about, but probably the first time he's ever received any money re: film passions.  So that is exciting.  He told me today he has no idea how/when he will get this money. 

& after all that, MM(19)'s college financial aid office got caught up.  Phew!  I really thought they went home for the holidays.  I was thinking, "Must be nice!"  But I saw rumblings online that financial aid (refunds) were showing up in kids' bank accounts.  I literally logged in to MM(19)'s bank account this morning to see if I could set up to notify me when he received deposits.  The money was already there!  Which puts them back on track.  Except that they forced us to pay tuition early (not showing a financial aid deferral for MM).  But I did just check the tuition calendar and financial aid disburses January 3rd.  Which is when they intend to refund us for over payment of winter quarter.  Fair enough.  Won't be any later than usual.  It's just that I wouldn't have paid in the money (in 2022) if they had allowed us to defer tuition payments for financial aid. 

I am really glad they sorted this out.  I was running through tax projections last weekend and was starting to get really irritated.  I didn't realize how much this would potentially impact our college tax credit next year.  If we were refunded same or more than what we paid (in 2023), that could have cost us thousands of dollars in Federal tax credits.  Which is something I hadn't thought of before.  I am really happy that they made it right, during this calendar year.  Second quarter is still messed up, but one quarter's timing right at the turn of the new of the new year...  It's a little more forgiveable.   

I am sure they had parents and students absolutely freaking out.  I expect that most at our income level would have been struggling to cover tuition they never expected to have to pay.  I presume they got a lot of pressure and is why the money is now in my bank account.

Nov '22 Savings

December 11th, 2022 at 07:49 pm

Received $73 bank interest for the month of November.

Received $180 I Bond interest for the month of November.


Snowflakes to Investments:

--Redeemed $2 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card 

   Less: $95 Annual Fee 

--Redeemed $92 cash back on Citi card

--Redeemed $33 on dining out/gas card (+ groceries during Q4)


Other Snowflakes to Investments:

+ $8 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)


TOTAL: $40 Snowflakes to Investments


Snowball to Savings:

+$1,200 MH Income


401k Contributions/Match:



Savings (from my paycheck):

+$950 to cash (mid-term savings)

-$1,200 Life Insurance**

-$  580 Travel Expenses/Film Festivals

-$  400 MH new cell phone

-$  100 Web light and microphone (for film festival interviews)

-$   78 Pest Control


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

+$1,500 to cash

- $5,800 Property Taxes (cash)


TOTAL: -$3,325 Net Pulled from Cash 


Pulled from 'College Savings'

-$7,830 Tuition + Rent



For Comparison:

Gas Rental Miles Driven November: 224

Fuel Costs: $55

The rental came with 1/2 tank of gas.  Will probably spend $100+ in December. 

I am getting ~30mpg on my (freeway) work commute. 


Hybrid Miles Driven November:  276

Fuel Costs: $7 Electricity 

(assumed 50 miles & 14 KwH per full charge)

This car is stuck in body shop re: early November accident


Electric (EV) Miles Driven November: 706

Fuel Costs: $13 (home) 

(assumed 300 miles & 60 KwH per full charge)


Most charging (both cars) was done at home or at free chargers.

We did 25 miles of free charging this month (at the mall).

Note:  I am putting some of my commute miles on the EV.

I don't think we did any out of town driving this month?  DL(17) and I drove to the Bay Area once (for a college tour) but we took his car.


Note:  I am always lagging a month behind because any bills charged in October will be paid off November and reflected in my November numbers.  I charge in one month and the next month I figure out how to pay for everything (if I need to pull anything from savings).  So this update reflects October spending & November savings.

November is particularly ugly because I had some large *cash* expenses that I couldn't push off to December.

**Life insurance.  This is my insurance that went up 4x? for turning 45.  I need to address it.  Will either be eligible for ~1/2 rates (based on health) or will have to shop around.  Before age 45, this insurance was very inexpensive.  This is on my to do list.

Note:  Just got my LT disability renewal which didn't change much.  But reminded me I do get cash rebates on these premiums and I just looked it up.  I may get $300 back re: bigger life insurance premiums.  Obviously still need to shop around, but it's not quite as nasty as it sounds.  While going through the application and medical stuff, I am going to apply for a bigger disability benefit.  I didn't make enough income before.  & if I am going to have them pull my medical records anyway, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Short term savings is *done* and zeroed out for the year.   I'd generally charge life insurance to short term, but I didn't plan for such a large insurance expense. 

Because there were no more short-term funds, everything else was deducted against mid-term savings.  Travel expenses above our budget, new cell phone, etc. 

MH finally invested in a ring light and a nice microphone, because he had some online interviews set up (re: film festivals).  We've been very frugal on this front (er, we've been cheap).  I think MH and DL might still be sharing a webcam.  I don't need one.  MM(19) has a webcam integrated into his college laptop.  Oh wait, we only had one webcam pre-pandemic but MH eventually bought a second once, after things settled down. DL(17) does have his own webcam now, which he does not use much.  Anyway, my point is that this purchase was very long overdue.  I am sure MH's friends and relatives appreciate that he got a light and doesn't just sit in the dark now.  😁  He's always used skype a lot, with friends and family (for past ~20 years).   He probably should have bought a light 10+ years ago.  & the microphone is just crappy on his current webcam.  MM(19) might appreciate our investment, we do skype with him a lot to keep in touch, while he is away at college.

MH did also invest in a new cell phone.  His cell phone was 4 years old.  I think this is one of the longer stretches that he has had a phone.  His last phone, I considered to be very expensive.  I personally try to stick to ~$100/year Max (willing to buy a $400 phone every 4 years).  So overall, I was happy with what MH spent, and was less than I expected.  (It's a $650 phone, but he received $250 for trading in his old phone.)

Re: tuition & rent ~ The school owes us $2,300 (CA middle class financial aid x 2 quarters) and we intend to reimburse ourselves (from college funds) $2,500 for our net tuition costs (x 2 quarters).  This leaves about $3,000 (net to cover) which was pulled from rent money that we set aside in 2021.

Financial aid office is still crazy behind and has kicked the can down the road to 2023.  Was supposed to sort out refunds in early December but gave up and is saying "January" now.  Which means of course, "We are closed for the rest of the year and will get back to it in January."  Lord knows when they will actually figure it out.  In the meantime, I still have no idea the odds that MM(19) will get any other scholarships this school year, etc.  On the plus side, will owe very little (if anything) for spring quarter.   

Looking ahead to December, I just feel very saved by the bell.  We have multiple large inflows of cash coming in.  So otherwise it was a spendy month (though we would not have gone negative, like we did in November.  No *big* expenses like property taxes and college bills).  But it will be a very flush month, with all the extra cash flow.  I will probably net $4K with my bonus, and we should get $1K from the state any day now (inflation relief).  


2022 Credit Card Rewards Tally

December 2nd, 2022 at 04:56 pm

2022 TALLY (Preliminary):

$200 Capital One (DL credit card - used for auto insurance)

$ 30 Citi Reward (for charging hotel)

$ 15 AmEx Reward (for charging insurance)



Ongoing rewards:

+$296 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/streaming services)

+$71 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$128 Visa Rewards (3% cash back restaurants/fuel).  Ended up also using for groceries in Q4 (3% cash back)

+$919 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere - health insurance/medical is the *big* expense that we charge, is more than our mortgage payments)

Grand Total = $1,659

I just want to add that historical figures below do also include bank bonuses. They just don't generally work very well for us so I do not utilize as much.  (We did -0- bank bonuses in 2022).

Year 2011 = $4,164

Year 2012 = $2,782

Year 2013 = $2,623

Year 2014 = $3,128

Year 2015 = $2,585

Year 2016 = $1,906

Year 2017 = $3,578

Year 2018 = $2,096

Year 2019 = $2,266

Year 2020 = $2,107

Year 2021 = $2,377

Year 2022 = $1,659

Total 12 Years = $31,271 ***Mostly Tax-Free Income***

Note: I have been tracking since 2011 because that's when the rewards got CRAZY. We have always utilized cash back on credit cards. It's just been extra rewarding during the past decade.

***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 fees or interest.***


I am just leaving this as a placeholder.  All I need to do is add in the December rewards when I have them, for the final 2022 tally.

Honorable Mention to I Bond interest. ~$1,200 interest this year and will be more next year.  I won't include it because it's not a "bonus".  It's basically the equivalent to bank interest.  But it was such a boost this year, and might be some of the reason I did not pursue more rewards.  

In addition to the I bond boost, I just am not as motivated with MH working, and with the kids making their own money and paying for more of their own expenses.  The credit card rewards made all the difference during our lower one-income years.  I feel like I say "meh" every year, that I am losing interest in these.  But...  I keep getting enticed by the easy $800 here and there.  This might be the first year I let it go.  (The year is not over it.  Will see.)  I did do a big reward (in 2021) to pay for MM(19)'s college laptop and I might to the same for DL next year.  So I can see some potential bigger rewards on the horizon.

MM(19) did do a $200 credit card bonus this year.  But he didn't need me to co-sign his credit card.  I was not involved in that, so won't add that to the tally.  I did get DL(17) a credit card and a bonus (and helped him with the spending to get the bonus.)  Same as we did for MM, it was nice to have a $200 chunk to apply to his first big car insurance bill. 

There was also a couple of obvious small rewards that I just had to click a button and/or switch credit cards to redeem.  (I didn't seek them out, but I got an email or saw mentioned online.)

Given the low energy I put towards looking for credit card bonuses recently, it's no surprise that this will be our lowest year (since tracking). 

Gift Card Balances Dec 22

December 2nd, 2022 at 02:52 pm



$50 Hotel Coupon




$50  Regal

$50  Art House Theater




$50 Seasons 52

$50 Cracker Barrel (small balance left)

$ 25 x 1 Jamba Juice (Gift)




$50 Amazon (Gift)

$50 Kohls (Gift)




$25  Starbucks


Note: Edited over time to remove used gift cards. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Birthday/Christmas season hits our household, I have a few gift cards to add to the list.

MH was ordering movie tickets last week.  MM(19) and I were going to go to a movie with him.  (MH has an unlimited pass for himself).  I was shocked he still had credit on the movie theater gift cards.  I guess MH has earned a lot of free passes (that mostly MM(19) utilizes).  

I am going to regift the starbucks gift card to my coworker (holiday gift).  No one in my household likes coffee or starbucks.  I am sure I will get new Starbucks cards this season, for the regift pile.

We haven't stayed in our 'forever' hotel since we got MM(19) moved in his first year of college.  They tripled the prices after that (it's absurd).  It was always definitely a huge discount for what it was, but now it's gone extreme in the other direction.  I share just to say that I don't know if we will ever use this hotel discount.  If prices settle down, maybe. 

I received some new retail gift cards (gifts).  There's nothing I need/want at this point, so will just hang on to them for when something comes up.  I just did some recent Kohls shopping and I don't buy much on Amazon.  I mean, I am sure something will come up.