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Credit Card Rewards Tally 2019

June 2nd, 2019 at 10:33 am

2019 TALLY:

$550 Gift Cards (Citi, Moi)
$150 Bank Bonus
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$700 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.

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I finally got around to redeeming our gift cards. They had a much wider selection than I expected (better than in the past).

I redeemed the following:
**$100 Target (will help cover summer groceries)
**$100 Kohls (kids both need running shoes)
**$100 Regal


Was going to get the Regal card anyway, but the Regal card was on sale so was able to get an extra $10 out of our $500+ reward. Score! We will mostly stick to the free movies/rewards, but this will buy some extra movies during the summer.

Restaurant gift cards redeemed:
**Cracker Barrel (just because we got a new one here, have only been on the East Coast otherwise)
**Red Robin
**Ruth Chris (will do a fancy date lunch)
**Seasons 52 (for date night)
**Olive Garden (we sometimes order in with my parents)

These gift cards will last us a long time, we don't eat out very much. These will easily last us the rest of this year, but I did redeem with our "reduced income summer" in mind and having more treats at our disposal.

***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.***

July 16

July 17th, 2018 at 08:10 pm

July 16
$81 Groceries
$12 Indian Grocer
$50 Sushi (birthday) lunch
$18 Amazon
Dinner: Chicken Satay

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Not much to report for Monday. MH took the kids out for their birthday sushi lunch.

MH did the grocery shopping for the week.

MH picked up some Amazon Prime Day deals (some power strips and charging cables that we needed).

MM(15) did hand me $40 cash to deposit into his bank account. $20 from in-laws. $20 he just found in his bag (???). It might have been $20 I gave him for something or other (or I wonder if my dad gave it to him for spending money on their river trip). But, whatever. Finders Keepers. He did also receive $20 from his great-grandfather. His cash balance is up to $1,250 and he is due for a study visit (medical study that pays well) so he will probably get up to $1,500 soon.

If DL received any cash, he hasn't told me. I am sure he got the same $20 from MIL, and he does have a $20 check from the great-grandfather.

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One In, One Out

I did choose a shirt to pull out of my closet. It was one I bought for a couple of dollars last year (patriotic). When I pulled it out to wear it around July 4th it was too itchy. (It seems that clothing is getting more soft over time, so this feels like sandpaper). Anyway, I should have just thrown it in the donation pile at that time. But I made sure to do so when I brought home my new shirt. & I did offer it to the kids first, but no one wanted it.

I put MM's old shoes in the trash today.

July 15, Crazy Errand Day

July 17th, 2018 at 06:34 am

July 15
$10 Gymnastics
$ 2 Target
$50 Birthday Dinner
$22 shoes (will probably return)
$28 Kohls
$22 Groceries
$47 Fuel (minivan)
Dinner: ~out~

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Sunday was pretty exhausting. I am starting to regain some strength and probably was overly ambitious on the chore front. By 5pm I was pretty much done and ready to go to bed. I am sure the heat didn't help.

It was MM's birthday. He had his gymnastics class and he was thrilled because it ran long (extra 1/2 hour).

I got a lot of errands in. I was going to take DL shoe shopping but he was in a mood and refused to go. which was probably for the best, because he would have freaked if he knew we'd be waiting 1.5 hours for his brother. His feet are roughly the same size as mine, so I shoe shopped for him.

There is some expensive shoe store right by gymnastics and Target, but they have good clearance prices. So I perused over there. I checked the size 12s and would bring MM back if there was anything I thought he might like, but the pickings were slim. I found a $20 pair of flip flops for DL. DL told me at some point plain black was fine, but I have yet to find anything. Until today. With tax, spent $22.

Ran to Payless because DL is perfectly happy with his tennis/every day shoes but they are falling apart. Was just going to buy the next size up. All the shoes in his size were all mostly brown/black and they had few tennis shoes anyway. Wondering how big they make that particular shoe since it does look more "little kid", but he's up to size 9. Anyway, it's best he tries them on. MH said he would take him shoe shopping this week. It's been a battle (to get him to go to the store to try on shoes), so I will let MH fight that battle.

I drove past Target on my way back to pick up MM and thought I'd get him an icee. I sometimes do that, but usually we share a small. I thought, I will surprise him with a large icee. Wouldn't you know, they were out of everything but small? *sigh* (I did get him the small. Was better than nothing, and he told me it was refreshing).

At this point I am only about 1/2 way done with errands. I took MM to Kohls after his class. They have an abundance of extra wide shoes in stock and I had some gift cards (I got for the purpose of buying the kids shoes). I actually found a cheaper pair of flip flops for DL and MM found a pair also. (They both have sad flip slops that are too small. Mostly they just refuse to go shopping). Those were $15 each. I grabbed a shirt from the men's section. (It just caught my eye when we walked by, and was on sale for $10). MM found a pair of tennis shoes for $55. His shoes were 12 months old, which isn't bad for a growing boy/man. In the end, that was all $28 cash (after gift cards), which I Was pleased with.

MM was telling me how the kids at school like to brag about how expensive their shoes are and how many they have. He just thinks it's dumb. He's telling me from an, "I don't understand people" standpoint. Welcome to the club. (This is a teenager who didn't want anything for his birthday. He's really extreme in the other direction).

After that we went to the grocery store to get fuel and groceries. I had a '50-cent off per gallon' coupon from MH's big grocery run the prior weekend.

We stopped by the grocery store because I wanted to pick up some eggs. I was going to make deviled eggs for the kids, but ended up being too exhausted in the end. I don't even remember what else we got. MM wanted some string cheese and I picked up some deli meat. Probably some other odds and ends.

MM chose Mongolian BBQ for his birthday dinner.

Though we spent a lot of money this weekend, I am overall pleased with the spending. I think in most cases we got more than we paid for.

I think I mentioned before, neither kid wanted to do a birthday party. They both just chose lots of eating out, instead. I think we got off easy!

July 14, Long Day

July 17th, 2018 at 06:05 am

July 14
$32 Fuel
$18 Water Park (parking/locker)
$ 4 @7-11 (snack)
$30 Birthday Gift
Dinner: leftovers

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Saturday was a long day. We decided to pick up the kids because I wanted to visit the water park in our parents' city. (It is significantly nicer than the one here, as I recalled). Plus, the weather was *perfect*. 20-30 degrees cooler than our July weather.

I guess I should say, original plan was for the in-laws to bring the kids to us. But it was better for us to just switch that around.

We tried to get there at opening, but failed. We got a late start and had to pick up the kids first. The water park looked crazy crowded but in the end most the lines were pretty short. We stayed 2 hours, as planned. I think that worked out pretty well, even though we missed the first/less crowded hour. DL was in a mood and didn't talk to us the entire time. But anyway, given all of the above, I think it went as well as could be. I got enough slides in to feel like I got my money's worth.

Did I mention that it was the month of birthday? MH wanted to get his mom a birthday present, so got her a gift card. He tried to consult me, but my family isn't much into birthdays. I balked at $40, accordingly. So he went with $30. (Usually his sister takes the lead and they go in together. Or we plan ahead and have free gift cards).

Before that, we did fill up the gas sipper with gas (we have a cheapie gas station by our home). We did end up driving 250 miles round trip.

After the water park we had lunch with the in-laws. MIL made lunch for us.

After that, everyone was pretty tired and ready to go home, but we wanted to see my parents for at least an hour. Usually MH handles the drive home (which is often much later; he is the night owl) but he was wiped. I was also pretty wiped, but I probably had slept more the night before. Anyway, I was fine with driving as long as we got home before dark. I also needed some caffeine and calories to stay awake, so I did a stop at 7-11. I don't remember the last time I did that, but was worth being more alert for the drive home.

We probably left the house around 8am and got home around 8pm.

Friday the 13th

July 15th, 2018 at 07:25 am

July 13
-No Spend-
Dinner: leftovers

Phew! Thankfully Friday the 13th was peaceful. It was one heck of a week. The black cloud/crazy insanity seemed to let up for maybe a month at work but then returned. It was just one thing after another this past week. My co-worker's wife finally had her brain tumor removed (LONG Story), my "old employer" had a bad fall, and we had a crazy driver fly through our parking lot and hit a fence. Just a typical week in the year 2018. Seriously!

MH did take our newer car in for a couple of recall repairs. I honestly don't remember ever doing this before. I think we have just been lucky. For some reason I was thinking this was the first car we ever brought the dealer brand directly from the dealer, and that they probably had better records. No idea why I was thinking that because after thinking about it, we bought our prior two cars from their respective dealerships. Duh. I think we were close to pulling the trigger on completely different make cars, so I just forgot. We've only ever bought used cars. Other than these 3 new-ish cars, all the rest of our cars were bought 10+ years old from private parties. I think that explains most of our lack of recalls over the years. (It's only 10 of 25 driving years that we've had newer vehicles).

Anyway, we had one recall and MH tried to make an appointment and they were super annoying. Like he had to get on some mail list and they couldn't fit it in for 4 months!? I don't know. We've only found dealerships to be super irritating. I avoid if at all possible. So MH just got pissed off and gave up. I think the second recall notice was more important. I don't know all the details, but he was able to schedule ASAP.

So, he took care of that Friday. In the end, the timing worked pretty well for us. We are going on a 2000 mile road trip next month and I hadn't thought too much about it. I'd like to think I would have double checked the tires and so on. But in the end, the dealership said we need to urgently replace all tires and some brakes. Anyway, I totally take this with a grain of salt and definitely will not get the work done at the dealership ($$$$$). But I did look up the tires and they are near the end of their warranty. The only work we've ever done on this (5 year old) car is to replace tires, so I think it's reasonable it needs brake work. MH will take care of that with our mechanic this week.

The public TV station that MH volunteers for usually has a really nice appreciation dinner every spring, but they skipped it this year. In the end, MH was mailed tickets to the fair and a free parking pass. I'd probably just give them away (nothing appeals about going to the crowded fair during the hottest weeks of the year. UGH!) But this works out pretty well. Our water park is inside the fairgrounds, which is just annoying. With our season passes we have free fair entry (which you need to get into the water park during the fair), and we also have a lot of free passes to bring friends. BUT, the fair is for the next two weeks, and after that the kids are back at school. MM wanted to invite a few friends on a weekday but it just wasn't going to work. It was going to be super crowded and annoying, and we'd have to pay to get them into the fairgrounds. But I told him we now have two fair passes and a free parking pass so go crazy.

The kids were still with grandparents and MH was working on a movie set until the wee hours (volunteering), so I had a very quiet evening to myself.

July 11-12, This & That

July 13th, 2018 at 11:35 am

Feeling caught up now...

July 11
$10 Lunch
$10 Gymnastics class
$26 Target (Groceries)
$66 Hanes
Dinner:Tortellini

July 12
$1 Donut
Dinner: leftovers

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Thursday (12th) was a pretty quiet day. I treated myself to a donut for breakfast. MH met his parents half way (about 60 miles) and dropped off the kids. They wanted to do spend some time with them and celebrate their birthdays.

Wednesday was a bit busier and spendier.

I went out to lunch with one of my co-workers.

MM(15) had gymnastics class. He missed all the other (July) classes due to birthday festivities and other plans, but he usually tries to go twice per week.

MH took him over to his class and grabbed some groceries at Target while he waited for him.

I got my travel reward credit card and charged it up. I was telling MH I was short $13 (I had medical bills and insurance bills to easily get to the bonus). Anyway, DUH. I usually prepay some health insurance ahead (to get these bigger spend bonuses) but just didn't have to this time. I would have pre-paid $13 (adding onto the July payment) if I had thought of it. In the end, I had noticed some holes in my socks and did some shopping on Hanes.com. I will have to check the last time I bought socks/underwear. (I don't remember off the top of my head). They had some big sale and free shipping and so I picked up a couple of other items, in addition to ordering new underwear. I just threw it on the travel card to be done with the reward.

{I will have to do a separate credit card reward post later}.

Oh, and I remembered to check the men's socks for pricing differences. In this case, the pricing was the same either way.

Edited to add: I didn't note buying any socks since 2015. I am not sure how accurate that info is. I can see that being a small enough purchase to not really bother with (going out of my way to correctly categorize).

July 10

July 13th, 2018 at 10:40 am

July 10
$75 Medical
$35 Fuel
$15 Groceries (forgot tomato sauce!)
$9 Walgreens (Groceries)
Dinner: Burritos

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Paid $75 for a medical appointment today. We will definitely max out our deductible this year (which we usually do anyway; my husband has an ongoing medical issue). But this year seems to be my year to rack up medical bills. I've had three ultrasounds already and probably will have two more in the next month. (I'd say 3 entirely different medical reasons, though two may be related). It's just been one of those years.

My test results were good (PHEW!) and was a huge relief, but I have another ultrasound scheduled to follow up and to be on the safe side.

MH was supposed to have his annual MRI this week but it was rescheduled. What I expected to be a high-stress medical week ended up being low-stress. Phew!

I took the 'gas sipper' to my medical appointment but the car was about out of gas. I stopped at a really cheap gas station neat the hospital and near my work. That worked out well.

I stopped by Walgreens for a soda afterwards and picked up granola bars on sale. This is my office breakfast/snack stash.

MH planned to make an "ingredients already on hand" kind of dinner, but didn't realize until the last minute that we had no tomato sauce. Ice cream was on sale, so he stocked up on that too. (I just took care of dinner. Is an old family recipe I can make in my sleep, so wasn't phased with dinner being thrown at me as I walked in the door. Otherwise I may have preferred to turn around and go to the store for him instead).

MH attended a free acting seminar. This is some group at a local for-profit college. They have some really useful film making programs and so on. In this case, he thought the seminar could be relevant to screenwriting and the speaker was DL's teacher from the art school. He's very involved in the local film making community and MH was figuring it wasn't the worst thing to get more face time with this person.

July 9, Two Teenagers!

July 13th, 2018 at 09:28 am

July 9
$7 Game
$26 Lunch (Deli + Bakery)
$61 Dinner (Indian Cafe)
Dinner: ~Out~

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

MH found a Game Stop? gift card and picked up a VR game. (I believe this was a birthday gift to MM one full year ago and that we gave him the cash value in exchange for the card). Just a coincidence that MH happened to find or remember about it this week.

My youngest turned 13! Ack!

I think it's pretty certain at this point that MM(15) is the easiest kid on the planet and is never going to be much of a *teenager*. His brother will make up for it. He's been very *teenager* already for two years. Wink

DL(13) didn't want to do anything for his birthday but eat out a lot. MH took the kids out to their favorite deli and stopped by the bakery next door ($2 for 5 pastries?).

For dinner we took him to his favorite Indian Cafe. We were all very happy to have an excuse to eat there. MH left some huge tip that was way out of character. Is not a restaurant (with servers). He told me he wants them to stay in business. Yeah, because handing them a $10 bill twice a year will keep them in business. Wink It's just funny because it was so out of character. & it added significantly to our spending on this day, so is worth noting.

I need to remember to get DL(13) set up with a checking account. There is no rush except that I can automate his allowance when we get this set up. I am very happy about this because it makes our lives simpler.

Edited to add: In the end, DL grew 5 inches this past year. I was surprised. His brother did the same from age 12-13. That is just crazy!