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Viewing the '$20 Challenge' Category

$20 challenge update - Books & DVDs

October 7th, 2009 at 08:13 pm

I logged most of my books into Cash4books.net. I can sell 5 for about $10 (but one of them I want to read again before I sell, so I'm going to make good use of my long commute tomorrow, then process them tomorrow night).

I cross checked the books on ebookdrop.com, but they weren't buying any of them. At the same time, I logged any books I didn't sell onto paperbackswap.com. You don't get paid for these books (members swap them for free), but for every book of mine someone wants, I get a credit to get a book for free. Comes in handy to buy Christmas gifts, kids' summer reading lists, etc.).

Then, someone in the forums mentioned secondspin.com as an option for selling used dvds. I logged a bunch of our dvds in. Many were only getting $.25 or $.50, so I'll hold onto them, but quite a few were getting $2 and one got $5. Initially, I think I'll part with 4 (for $11) and see how smoothly it goes.

So I'm going to process these orders tomorrow night and assuming I get the checks, that will be an extra $20 or so toward my challenge. Hmmm, a 100% return in 1 day. Wish I could keep that up!

I'm on fire today!

October 7th, 2009 at 01:35 pm

Here's the good, the bad and the ugly for the day, ugly first:

I made the second payment on the cc that was due 10/5, so it's now paid off in full. I'll have to wait until my next statement comes out on the 13th to see what the late fee / interest damage is. At least I have a week to work on my story for the customer rep...

The bad:
Bought pizza at work yesterday, $5 on my id. This is the first slip up since I started.

Bought a bagel and coffee this morning, $1.94. Paid cash out of my allowance.

Went to Target to get fall/winter clothes for DS. I knew it was coming (he's growing like a week) and it was budgeted. Used my debit card. The key: I was all by myself. In and out in 1/2 hour, spending less then I would have if my "helpers" were with me.

The good:

Paid off the credit card.

Balanced my check book and projected out through the end of the month.

Starting the $20 challenge (see below).

Printed out a bunch of rebate forms, matched them up with coupons I have. Showtime has a $25 Visa gift card rebate for signing up for 3 months. We just signed up a few weeks ago so we could catch Dexter (one of our favorite shows) with the intent of dropping it after the season is over. If the rebate goes through, that will just about pay for the 3 months.

I have some money from my birthday, so I'm going to take $20 and start the challenge. I'm going to start slow, post some books on half.com, check cash4books, bottle deposits, some coupon and rebate savings. I'll get more creative after that...

2007 Challenge Here I Come!

January 26th, 2007 at 07:16 am

WooHoo! I put up my first 3 auctions ever on Ebay. 1 didn't sell, 1 sold for $1.25+ shipping, and 1 sold for a whopping $23.57+shipping. When I tell you that this last thing was a gift that I received that I never had any use for, and it's been sitting in my closet for literally the last 10 years, that $23.57 feels like $100 to me! This will be the first deposit into my $20 challenge (minus the ebay and paypal fees, of course).

Meeting with the school today to see how they'll handle son's speech therapy needs. I'll post an update later.

I'm going to try another order with Peapod tonight. Also have to stop by CVS to get some of their freebie deals...

Grocery Shopping

September 7th, 2006 at 12:28 pm

I went shopping while the kids were in school today. First stop: Walgreens, to take advantage of their monthly rebates.

Bought 3 packages of Kotex @$3.49 each = $10.47, minus $3 in coupons = $7.47. Will get back $10 Walgreens gift card, leaving me with 3 free packages +$2.53. I have a bit of a stockpile from the last time they ran this deal, but they don't go bad, so may as well stock up. Also bought a Zone nutrition bar ($1.50, far), and children's Tylenol and Motrin. (Buy 1 of each get a $5 gift card. Used a $1 coupon, too).

I then went to Shoprite. Didn't do quite as well here, as I needed to buy hubby's (expensive) razor blades, and they had beef tenderloin roasts on sale, for $4.99/lb and $5.99/lb. So I bought one of each. I'll freeze one for Christmas dinner, the other I'll make into filet mignon steaks, and beef bourgignon.

I received a $5 Walgreens gift card from last month's rebates, so I'll need to add that to my challenge, bringing my total to $90.36. Missed out on a $25 offer from Citibank to pay 3 bills online. Disappointed in myself, but the offer expired on 8/31, and things have been crazy the last few weeks so I'm not going to lose sleep over it. THere'll be other offers. I also have an offer for credit protection on my credit card. These strike me as an amazing waste of money, but if they're going to pay me $20 to try it out for 30 days, I may as well. Just need to write myself a note to cancel...

Challenge envy

September 5th, 2006 at 05:54 pm

I decided to quit the 2006 $20 challenge at the end of July, when I used the money I was saving for vacation. I think I was a bit burnt out, between the whole e bookdrop experience earlier in the year, and all of the bank account openings.

That said, every time I get an unexpected source of income, I immediately think "Challenge Money"! I miss it, especially as I read everyone else's entries about how they're doing. So I decided to dip my toe back in the challenge pool!

My challenge savings account (the first one I ever opened with a bonus!) currently has $61.65 in it. I don't have a goal for the money - I'm just going to accumulate it until something strikes me.

Today in the mail, I received a $13.71 Eckerd rebate and a $10 Walgreens gift card so I'll transfer that today, bringing the account to $85.36.

On the Outstanding Items list, I have a few things to add:

$10 Chase bonus for online bill pay
$10 Pepsi rebate
$24 Bali (Buy2Get1 Free, *2)
$10 Everyday Values grocery voucher
$10 Everyday Values grocery voucher #2

I think there are others; I'll check my notes and add to it later. I'm excited to be back in the game...

Back in the saddle

August 9th, 2006 at 12:08 pm

OK, I'm back from the Jersey shore. Weather was great, kids had a ton of fun. Now it's time to get serious. First piece of good news: I got the $200 pool rebate. Quickest turnaround I've ever seen! This will need to go into the checking account to offset the cost of the thing. I also received the $3.xx Lysol rebate and a $16.47 half.com payment, both of which I'm putting into my savings account. (I'm officially done with the $20 challenge through the end of the year, but I'm still going to save stuff like this separately).

I'm also starting to get organized (tall order). I renewed the registration for my car, due by the end of the month. (Learned THAT lesson!) $76.50 to the state of NJ...don't know why it's so much, but they have you over a barrel. I also have two $10 rebates from all those free trials from a few months back. Not sure if they'll pay out, but it's definitely worth the $.37 stamp. Finally, need to mail in the $10 Kelloggs Eggo rebate.

Speaking of Kelloggs, I'm not sure if I blogged about two great deals from my last shopping trip. I bought 10 boxes of Eggo Waffles for $20. I got a $10 coupon for my next order at checkout, and will get a $10 check through the mail in rebate making them effectively free. I also bought 4 boxes of Barber Chicken (2-ct). They were $2/box, and I had $5 in coupons, making them $.75/box, or $.38/chicken. Can't beat that for dinner! I like them because they're fast and easy when I forget to defrost something else...

I need to look over this week's circular and do my shopping tomorrow. I also need to order some discount gift cards for back-to-school shopping. (I've been putting this off because it requires me to go through my daughter's closet, which is a huge chore!). That's about it for today!

Back from vacation

July 4th, 2006 at 07:46 am

First, a few musings about our vacation in the Outerbanks: 1) I've never seen thunderstorms like I did there. Every late afternoon, the skies would open up and absolutely POUR! Torrential! Luckily it didn't affect the day too much, as we were good about getting out to the beach mid-morning, pool in the afternoon, so the kids were ready for a break when the storms came. 2) What should have been an 8.5-9 hour trip took 12.5 hours on the way home. Every road we took had traffic or an accident, and we ran into major thunderstorms between Washington and Baltimore, then again in NJ. Got home at 10:15 on Sunday and we were all exhausted. But we did have a great time!

I updated my net worth when I got back and was up just under 2% for the month. I need to finalize the June numbers and see what July looks like.

A few good pieces of news when I got back: First, the $14000 transfer from the HELOC to the 0% card went through, leaving me with a HELOC balance of about $1700. I'll try to pay that off as quickly as possible, then tackle the 2 0% cards. Second, Citibank deposited the $200 bonus I was supposed to get for opening that account. I also got a few rebates in the mail that I was waiting for.

As for the challenge, I'm thinking about wrapping it up for the year, too. The Citi bonus was the last big thing outstanding, and I was planning on using the money for my trip to California at the end of this month, so I'll be draining all the money from the account.

Of course, I'll still take advantage of rebates, book sales, etc., but that money will be going toward the HELOC, instead of into a separate account. I need to take a break from the bank offers and free trials, which were a big part of the money I've made so far this year. I loved the challenge, though, and will be back in 2007!

My next step is to recap the first half of the year and see what's good, what's bad and what's ugly.


June 19th, 2006 at 07:25 pm

Recapping the last few days: Saturday, we did indeed go to the town fair. What a fun day! The fireworks were GREAT and the kids loved the games and rides. The weather, which has been close to 90 for days, was great. Glad to see my property tax dollars hard at work Smile. We spent $31 for dinner, which bought burgers, dogs, and soda for 5 kids and 3 adults. Not too bad, and the proceeds support the firehouse. Sister bought Italian Ices afterwards. Well worth it.

Father's Day was quiet. I was able to use gift cards I had on hand to buy his gifts, so that worked out well. He slept late, I made breakfast, then we went to MIL's for a BBQ. Another fun day, but felt like 100 degrees! Man it was hot!

DD finishes school tomorrow. She had 1/2 days today and tomorrow, so I'm working from home. My great buy of the day: I got a 30-pack of Klondike bars for $2.99. Normally $9.99, BJs had a $1.00 off coupon, and I had a free coupon up to $6. We don't normally buy them, but I like to have them around for those times that I run out of ice cream. (Another deal - I went there to get a case of Ensure Plus for Dad. Normally $36/case in ShopRite, $32.99 in BJs. Again, they had a $4 coupon, and I had a $1 mfr coupon, so I got the case for $27.99 or $7/6-pack.)

On to the challenge front, I still need to call Citibank about the $100 bonus, but did get an email that they'll give me $25 if I pay 5 bills by the end of the month. Seems easy enough. I also received in the mail a $15 check from my Citi credit card if I enrolled in credit protector. I've thrown so many of these out over the years, but I deposited this one. I have a 30-day free trial (and already made a note in my calendar to cancel), and they don't charge you the (really high) fee if you don't carry a balance (which I don't). So it seemed like a good risk...Also found 2 quarters in the grass, but I gave one each to my kids for their piggy banks. A pretty good day...

Hubby is away through Wednesday, and we're driving to NC on Sunday morning, so my goal is to use up the perishables we have on hand so nothing spoils. I also need to start thinking about what I'm going to pack so I can make sure I have the right laundry done...

Over halfway there!

June 8th, 2006 at 04:18 pm

I never recapped my challenge at the end of April or May, so I took a look at it now. I added $70 from 7 days worth of commuting savings, and some misc. savings (half.com deposit, coupon savings, etc.), bringing my new total to:

New Total: $1079.75/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $5 (PNC gas voucher), $5 (PNC Gas Voucher 2), $10 Shoppers Essential Voucher, $20 Passport to Fun Voucher, $30 Sprint phone card.

Coupon Train Total: $37.29

My breakdown goes like this:

1) Bank bonuses ($900) - $225 in hand, another $200 on the way, and an offer for a $75 bonus that I'll take advantage of if I can get my act together before the offer expires. So I'm on track with this, though I may lower the goal because I'm drained from doing so many of these.

2) Books ($360) - $158.07 and counting. Doing ok without ebookdrop, though I'm considering placing a small order with them using books around the house to see if they've got their act back together. I'd feel much better if Diva Jen could get her situation with them resolved...

3) Rebates ($120) - Already have $123.50 in hand, with more outstanding. It's amazing how many are out there...

4) Recycle ($100) - $1.95 'Nuff said.

5) Other - $346.93, thanks primarily to the trial memberships

6) Everyday savings - $224.30, thanks primarily to my new commute and coupon savings.

So I'm over halfway to my goal. The three big things have been the trial memberships ($250 worth of gift cards for $12), the rebates (they're everywhere!), and the $10/day from my commute, which is really adding up. Always on the hunt for new and interesting ways to build it, though...

Long time since update...

June 2nd, 2006 at 12:46 pm

Crazy as usual...Anyway, here's what's been happening:

May ended on a good note, thanks to my brother paying me back. I'll total up the categories this weekend and post my progress. Looking forward, June is going to be an expensive month. We owe the other half of our beach house rental for vacation, the towing charge for the car, gardening-related expenses, etc.

The savings from my commute has been useful. $10/day has been going to my challenge, and $10/day has been going to the HELOC. So I was able to pay down $90 on that. (A drop in the bucket, but a start).

On the challenge front, I'm adding the following: $50 (commute), $8 (FritoLay), $4 (April Walgreens), and $.25 (April Eckerd), for a total of $62.25. I also mailed out 3 half.com books for $4.53, so the net add is $57.72, bringing my new total to $953.09. Almost halfway there.

New Total: $953.09/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $5 (PNC gas voucher), $10 EV gas voucher, $30 Sprint phone card, ??(half.com)

I made it through the last week without grocery shopping. I mailed out the caboose ($2.79), bringing my coupon train savings to $35.29. Pretty good...

Oh, another cost of my disorganization: I was late making my car payment this month, and was charged a $9.50 fee. I pay online on the 15th of the month with my other bills, and for some reason, I overlooked this one. I had it set up on auto-pay a while back and ran into a problem with it, but I may try it again to prevent another oversight like this. So between the car getting towed and the late payment, my disorganization cost me $129.50 this month! YIKES!


May 23rd, 2006 at 07:32 pm

I'm reaping more rewards from my new commute. Tonight I checked out the parking situation at the station which would give me the absolute best deal. I drove into the brand new parking lot, plenty of spaces, clean and well lit. When I went to the ticket machine to see how one goes about paying for the parking, I saw several big signs that parking is FREE until September 1st! It doesn't get any better than this! I will be heading there tomorrow morning, and $10 more to my challenge account for today.

Sold 2 books at half.com for a total of $4.50. It usually costs me less to ship than they reimburse me; I'll update the total when I actually ship them out.

Also on the challenge front, Chase emailed me to say that they're so glad I opened an account with them a few months ago, wouldn't I like to consider opening a second checking account with them, for a bonus of $75? Well sure, I'd love to! I have until mid-June to get it done, so I'll tackle it sometime over the next few weeks.

Still need to take care of some financial housekeeping. My problem is that by the time I think of it, it's usually too late in the day.

New Total: $895.37/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher), $10 EV gas voucher, $30 Sprint phone card, ??(half.com)

Coupon Train Savings Total: $10.08

Am I cycnical or what?

May 22nd, 2006 at 03:35 pm

I opened a bank account last month to get the $50 bonus. I received my first statement today and it had a $12 maintenance fee listed! I called up and explained that the account I signed up for was free everything, no fees. The rep agreed and said she would put through a credit right away. But I hung up wondering if they make this "mistake" on purpose, knowing that some (many?) people really don't pay close attention to the fees and don't challenge them. $12/month is highway robbery!

I had a great weekend shopping! I'm adding $10.63 to my challenge for coupon-train coupons and rebates that I used, and another $10 to my challenge for using my new commute today. I'm also gearing up for my big grocery trip later this week.

I took care of some paperwork today, completing my Eckerd and Walgreens rebates, completing a gas voucher and a voucher for a $30 Sprint phone card from Everyday Values. I need to cancel that membership tonight or tomorrow.

So an all-around pretty good day today.

New Total: $885.37/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher)

Coupon Train Savings Total: $10.08

Rebate goof...

May 19th, 2006 at 01:00 pm

I sent in a rebate for Listerine. The bottle had a rebate tag around its neck. I glanced quickly at it, and didn't see that the expiration date was 6/30/05 (I thought it was 6/30/06!). So I sent it in and it was returned to me. Ugh. I'm going to check the rebate forum to see if there's a different Listerine rebate I can use the receipt for, otherwise I'm out a few bucks...

Day 2 of the commute went well. I transferred another $10 to my challenge account, and $20 to the HELOC. Wahoo!

New Total: $864.74/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher)

Commute worked!

May 18th, 2006 at 07:04 pm

Hot dog! The new commute worked out very nicely. I made the connections with no problem, and it only took a few more minutes than normal.

Best news is that I found a new twist on the commute that may make it even better! If I go to a different stop on the line, I can park for $2.50 instead of $7, which would save $4.50/day=$22.50/week=$90/month MORE than what I'm already saving by doing today's commute!

I also convinced hubby that $10/day of my savings can go to the challenge account to help pay for our trip, and the rest of each day's savings will go toward the HELOC balance.

Also a good mail day. I received another $10 gas voucher from one of those trial memberships. Glad to see they're paying out, despite the fact that I cancelled. So that's $20 more for my challenge today!

New Total: $854.74/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher).

Tomorrow should be busy and quiet at work. Nothing on for tomorrow night, a bunch of local errands (and a badly needed cut and color) on Saturday, and down to my dad's to do shopping on Sunday.

New commute tomorrow

May 17th, 2006 at 03:42 pm

I came up with 5 different ways to commute to my job, all of which are less expensive than my current route. I think one of them will work out everyday, so I'm going to try it out tomorrow. (The rest depend on where my kids are and when they need to be picked up). The new daily commute adds up like this:

Gas: ~$10.50 (vs. $12)
Tolls: $1.40 (vs. $2.05)
Parking: $7 (vs. $20)
Mass Transit: $6 (vs. $3)

Total: ~25/day vs. $37.05. Doesn't Jean Chatzky have a book about saving $10/day? Here it is! And if I can take advantage of some of the other options sometimes, they're even cheaper (and of course, working from home or vacation is the best!).

So I'll try it out tomorrow and see how it goes. Because the kids' schedules and mine change, I'll need to plan out each week or month to see what the best combination is for me. I really hope the timing of this new way works!

On to my coupon train savings: I went to the store today and saved $3.50 using coupons from the train. I paid 4.05 to send the train on, so I'm down -$.55. Not to worry, I'm saving my coupons for a week or two from now when I get to use my 20-30% off certificate.

On to the regular challenge: I called Citi and confirmed that I would be getting the first $100 by June 15th, and the second $100 90 days thereafter. A long wait for sure, but for $200, I'll suffer. I received the $5 Green Giant rebate and another $10 gas voucher, so I'll add the $15 to the challenge, bringing me up to:

New Total: $849.74/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher), $10 (EV gas voucher).

I mentioned a while back that we were moving our trip up to the end of July. I checked about using Frequent Flyer miles but none are available on the flights we checked. Regular r/t flights are running in the neighborhood of $450. We were only planning on paying for one (and were hoping it would be cheaper), so I'm going to need to absorb this too. Perhaps my $10/day savings with my commute can fund it...

Why I could never EBAY full-time

May 14th, 2006 at 08:31 pm

So this woman contacted me and was interested in buying some books I had listed at half.com. Then she tells me that she's actually interested in ALL of the books in the series that I had (29 in all). She asked me to calculate the total bill + shipping and I got back to her with an email Saturday afternoon. Then, NOTHING. So I send her another email on Sunday to make sure she got my email and wanted to go forward. She finally sends me an email at 9:00 Sunday night to say sorry, she actually found some books at a discount store that she bought instead, but she'd keep me in mind for future purchases (don't bother!).

HELLO? She contacts me, she knows how much the books are because they're listed at half.com, I get back to her in record time, then she bags it, after we agreed in principle and were just working out the details. Is it me or is that totally rude? Not to mention deflating because I was really looking forward to the contribution to my challenge account.

So I realize that I could never do the ebay thing full-time. It's just too frustrating when you run into people like this. Sorry for the rant, had to get it off my chest.

Other than that, had a great Mother's Day with the kids...got some nice flowers and a gift certificate for a massage. Hope all the moms (current, future, grandmas, etc.) had a great day!

Happy Happy Dance!

May 13th, 2006 at 07:49 am

So I mentioned last night that I received an email from someone looking to purchase Magic School Bus books as a gift. I wrote her back figuring that she'd buy a few and I'd make a couple of bucks. Well, she wants to buy ALL 29 OF THEM!!! At $2 each, I'll be adding $58 to my challenge! (I'm charging her actual shipping costs, so that will be a wash). Even nicer...we've agreed to have her make payment thru Paypal directly, and I'll ship them out Monday, bypassing Half.com and their fees! That's a TREMENDOUS boost to my challenge and it has completely made my day!

Spent the morning sipping coffee, checking out the Sunday coupon inserts and making my grocery list for the week. Cleaned out all of my desk drawers over the last two days, so while that's like a drop in the ocean in terms of the disorganization in my house, it's a start and I'm pretty happy with it.

Off to enjoy the rest of my day...

I'm over myself

May 12th, 2006 at 03:16 pm

Wow, that last entry was a downer...I'm now officially over myself!

It's going to be a dreary rainy weekend, which is ok by me. We've got a birthday party and communion party tomorrow (still need to get the communion gift). Sunday we're going to MIL's for the afternoon. We usually pick up hanging baskets for her, and flowers for hubby's aunts. I'll be hoping (lucky) to keep it under $50.

I'm excited about an email I received today. I have a number of Magic School Bus books listed on half.com. Someone emailed to check the shape of the books, because they wanted them for gifts. I wrote back that they were practically new, and to let me know which ones she wanted. I'm hoping that she'll buy a few of them, which will add $2 each to my challenge.

My goal this weekend (in addition to relaxing) is to start the review of my budget. I took out a new finance book from the library...mostly the same stuff, but I'll use it as reference as I go through my list.

Coupon Train Savings

May 8th, 2006 at 02:56 pm

On Saturday I received the second round of the coupon train. I decided to keep track of what I'm saving versus shipping costs. I marked all of the coupons I took out with a red dot, so I would recognize them in the envelope with the rest of my coupons. Periodically I'll add the amount I've saved to my challenge total.

I mailed out the package today, so my total is -$4.05. Can't wait till next week's shopping trip!

6 Days since my last post!

May 8th, 2006 at 08:41 am

Wow, it's been almost a week since I've posted. I'm on this site every day, but just haven't had the time to update the blog.

Had a busy week. Went to a Communion on Saturday, and had a Cinco de Mayo party yesterday. The party caused the grocery bill to be much higher than normal, but I should still be able to stay within budget this month.

I need to update my budget and see how things are looking for May. I did pay the last preschool bill last month, so that should be a big help getting things back to normal.

Like alot of people here, it seems like May is pretty crazy with the gifts. We have one more Communion next weekend, MIL's mother's day present, plus whatever hubby gets for me, a birthday and a bridal shower present (already have gift cards for both) and 2 kids' birthday parties (already have presents for both). So I'm hoping the bank won't be broken...

Updates to the challenge: Not much. Got the $4.10 deposit from half.com. Need to call Citibank about the first $100 bonus.

New Total: $834.74/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher), $10 (EV gas voucher).

20% off Groceries

May 2nd, 2006 at 01:37 pm

ShopRite is running a promotion where you can get up to 30% off based on how much you spend in a set 5-week period. ($300=10%, $600=20%, $900=30%). Dad's bill on Saturday was about $325, so I got a 10% coupon already. I'll definitely spend enough over the month to get the second certificate, for a total of 20% off. Combine that with the coupons I hope to get from the coupon train next time it stops by me and I'll be ready to stock up!

The Communion on Sunday was fun; great weather. Back to work yesterday and things have been busy! Ran a few errands today, including paying my property taxes, so that's behind me. On to the next thing!

These trial memberships have been great. A friend of ours is getting married in July and is registered at BBB. We want to get her this appliance on her registry for $60, minus 20% coupon = $48 minus $40 in BBB gift cards from these memberships = $8 out of my pocket! Can't beat that!

Have a few more updates to add to the challenge: I'll add in the BBB gift cards, so that brings me to $850.64. I'm also submitting a $5 gas rebate from PNC and a $10 gas rebate from Everyday Values. Not sure if I'll ever receive them, but it's worth the stamp to find out.

New Total: $830.64/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), half.com ($?), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Apr Walgreens), $.25 (Apr Eckerd), $5 (PNC gas voucher), $10 (EV gas voucher).

Things are looking up!

April 29th, 2006 at 08:36 am

I fell asleep on the couch last night at 9:45! This almost never happens...I'm more the 11:45 type. I needed it because I was absolutely exhausted, but I woke up refreshed this morning and things are looking up!

I'm going to a Communion tomorrow and hadn't yet gotten a gift. I was planning on getting a piece of jewelry. Money is usually the norm for these things, but the people are LOADED, so I felt wierd giving that. Anyway, a friend who is also going said she was stopping at the jewelry store to get a pair of earrings for the girl. She offered to pick me up a matching bracelet, I told her my budget and it was done! Crossed off my list without leaving the house. (She even offered to wrap it, but I thought that would be taking advantage!). So one thing done.

Then I asked hubby to take DD (and DS) to her softball game today. That will allow me to get out of the house at 1:00 instead of 3:00, which will let me return stuff to 2 stores, take care of Dad's shopping, and run some errands of my own.

Did manage to run the numbers for the end of the month and my net worth increased 1.96% last month, which is awesome considering that I had to take $8000 out of savings to cover the tax bill. Reminds me that we're doing ok, even though I feel like we're struggling. Especially with property taxes due 5/1.

On the challenge front, I received my March Walgreens rebate, which will add $6.30 to the challenge account. I'm also ready to send out April Eckerds and April Walgreens rebates. Also subtracting the $.90 it cost to mail the half.com book.

So all is good in MJRUBE94-land. Hope everyone is having a good weekend...

New Total: $830.64/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), half.com ($?), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $20 BBB gc, $8 Tostitos rebate, 4.00 (Mar Walgreens), $.25 (Mar Eckerd)

Groceries and Gas

April 24th, 2006 at 06:59 pm

I just went through my totals so far for groceries and gas this month. Good news: I've spent $429.70 so far, plus another $35 or so that hasn't hit my credit card yet. I'll definitely come in under my $500 goal, because I won't need to go the rest of the month.

We've also spent $263.26 on gas out of a $300 budget (stretch) or $350 (reasonable). I know hubby filled up one of the cars for about $40, and I filled one up for close to $50. I don't think either of those hit yet, which will put me right at the $350 mark. I think the cars are still pretty full, but there's alot of week left. I'm guessing one will need to be filled again before the end of the month.

I need to return some clothes/sneakers I bought for DS that don't fit, as well as pick up some gifts for Communions we have coming up. The first one is Sunday, so I need to take care of this over the next few days.

Updates to my challenge: I received the $20 Lowes cards and the $20 CC cards in the mail today, so I'm adding $40 to my challenge. We're also having a Cinco de Mayo party, so I picked up 2 bags of chips + 2 jars of salsa. They're on sale at ShopRite for $10 (2/$5 each), and they have an $8 MIR. However, I had $2.10 worth of coupons so they'll be FREE FOR ME! Boy are they going to taste even better with my margarita!

New Total: $825.24/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), Walgreens Mar (6.30), half.com ($?), $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $20 BBB gc, $8 Tostitos rebate.

RiteAid Rebate

April 23rd, 2006 at 08:00 am

I received the March RiteAid rebate. $33.75, of which $3.75 goes into the challenge account. Also, I signed up for another trial, and will add the $20 BBB gift card to the outstanding items.

New Total: $785.24/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), Walgreens Mar (6.30), half.com ($?), $20 Lowes gc, $20 CC gc, $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s)(?), $20 BBB gc

Cranky kids

April 21st, 2006 at 02:15 pm

Boy are my kids wiped by the end of the week! DD has been such a crankpot since she came home from school and NOTHING is making her happy. I hate days like this...it makes me fear her preteen/teen years! My son is happy but exhausted (just like mom).

Made some more progress on the challenge front. I received the $20 Barnes & Noble gift cards from a trial membership, I got the $50 bonus from Valley National, and half.com deposited the $15.65, so I'll add another $85.65 to my total. I also sold another book on half.com (Feast or famine I tell you), for $2 plus shipping reimbursement minus actual shipping costs. I'll update the total when I mail out the book.

New Total: $781.49/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), Walgreens Mar (6.30), RiteAid Mar (6.50), half.com ($?), $20 Lowes gc, $20 CC gc, $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s) (?)

Valley National Bank

April 19th, 2006 at 07:20 pm

I can't believe how much I got done today! Went to the bank, 2 grocery stores, BJs, CVS, and the new bank to open my account. I also did a load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, made Rice Krispy treats, and a ham soup with the leftover ham bone from Easter. (And it came out pretty well, if I say so myself)! This is in addition to spending an hour at the park, and DD's softball practice for 2 hours. I'm about to pass out!

The big news today was opening the new bank account. Anybody who's read through my posts knows how much I rave about Affinity Bank in California. Well, for those of us in Northern NJ/Manhattan, Valley National Bank is a close second. I opened savings accounts for the kids last fall. They'll match up to the first $10 the kids deposit, which I thought was cool. And even though their savings rate is paltry, I like the idea of having a brick and mortar place the kids can visit to deposit their money.

So they're running a promotion through the end of the month where they'll give you $50 for opening a free checking account. No minimum required to open the account, no minimum balance, no fees, no nothing. And the $50 will be credited to my account tomorrow. (I need to leave the account open for a minimum of 6 months). One of the bummers associated with these bank deals is that you need to wait for them to credit you the bonus, sometimes follow up, etc. Can't beat having it in hand the next day. LOVE this bank...

Off to bed...

Accelerated Challenge

April 18th, 2006 at 08:00 am

I was planning on saving my challenge money for a return trip to California wine country in November. However, we're now going with another couple we're friends with, and we need to do it over the summer (late July/early August) due to the kids' school schedules. So while I'm excited about going with this other couple, I need to pick up the pace with regard to the challenge.

With that in mind, I'm opening another bank account tomorrow. I was planning to do this in March but was too disorganized and needed to take a break. However, the bank extended the deal. $50, no minimum, no direct deposit needed. Can't pass it up.

I also got an email from a website called www.onsaletag.com, where you can sell books, cds, dvds, etc. Never heard of it before, but I'll check it out tonight and see how it works. I'm still a bit concerned about ebookdrop, so if I could find a viable alternative, all the better. Has anyone heard of this website?

Edited to add: Ok, I checked this site out. It looks like they're trying to compete with half.com, in that they don't buy or sell, they just act like the middlemen. However, (this may sound snooty or elitist - I don't mean it to be), the grammar on this website is so bad that I can't believe the site is for real. I can't believe that someone trying to promote their business would allow it. It's unreadable! So I think I'll pass, at least until I hear more about it...

In the meantime, I have a few updates to make to my challenge total. I need to subtract out $5.58 to cover the cost of mailing the half.com books. I need to add in the $2.20 from Eckerd's March rebates, and add a few more things to the outstanding list. So it now looks like this:

New Total: $695.84/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), Walgreens Mar (6.30), RiteAid Mar (6.50), half.com ($15.65), $20 Lowes gc, $20 CC gc, $10 gas voucher (Jan-Mar), IDT Phone card(s) (?)

I definitely need to think of some more ways to boost this up!

Easter Leftovers

April 17th, 2006 at 06:28 am

I hope everyone had a great Easter. We were at MIL's...big spread, far more than I prefer. (I'm Irish and hubby's Italian. Even after 11 years of marriage I've never gotten used to all the food that's served, eaten and wasted on holidays!)

Anyway, after gorging ourselves all day, we came home with plenty of leftovers: lamb to have tonight for dinner, coldcuts and other pickings from the antipasto, and about 20 pieces of spiral ham, plus the bone. I'm thinking of making some sort of soup with this, but I need a recipe...So I'll be eating all week.

On the money front, I received the $35 Office Max rebate from the shredder. I was sweating this out because I think Office Max is going out of business so I didn't think I'd get it. I also got a $5 Eckerd card as part of their monthly rebates. Neither of these is going to my challenge, because I wouldn't have bought the stuff without the rebates, but it's still money in my account!

I mailed out the 2 half.com books this weekeng. Spent $4.08 on postage. I have to check my account to see how much is coming back.

Other than that, busy at work, busy at home...Have a great day everyone.

Making Progress

April 15th, 2006 at 07:29 am

I finally got my act together and started making a dent on my list:

1) I photocopied and signed our taxes, and will drop them at the post office today.
2) I closed one checking account and will close the savings account on Monday.
3) Completed the form for hubby's mail order RX and will drop that in the mail with the taxes.
4) Called the heating/ac company about our service contract. It went up 33% from last year. Price hadn't changed for many years, so they went through all their contracts and reset the prices. Still worth it.
5) Signed me and dad up for the IDT class action lawsuit.

I still need to sign up for MyPoints Insider Club.

I have a bunch of errands to do today, including grocery store, dry cleaner, bank, laundry, cleaning, etc. Luckily we didn't have much planned for today.

On the challenge front, I sold 2 more books at half.com, and I need to add the $10 gas voucher to my list of outstanding items...

Got the Barber coupons!

April 13th, 2006 at 02:37 pm

So I got the $10 worth of Barber coupons in the mail today. That's great, because I buy these for dad all the time and will have no problem using them up.

I also received the $15 in gas vouchers from PNC. It's so annoying...they give you three coupons for $5 each, one for the next three quarters. So now instead of submitting it and being done with them, I have to keep track of them for the rest of the year! I won't add that into my total until I get each check.

I also have $40 of gas vouchers from the Auto Advantage membership. I wasn't going to bother with them, because I cancelled the membership and didn't think I'd get them. However, I did receive a $10 check for groceries from another membership even though I cancelled, so it may be worth the cost of the stamp to submit it.

Finally, I didn't think about doing this before I sent the coupon train on, but next time I get it, I'm going to keep track of the coupons I take and use. Anything I save above and beyond the postage to send the train back out should go to my challenge. I should be putting all grocery savings in there, but am not that disciplined...

Almost forgot...Found $1 on the way home from work and signed up for 2 more memberships.

New Total: $699.22/$2000

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $5 (GG Rebate), $15 gas vouchers (PNC), $2.20 (Eckerd March), Walgreens Mar (6.30), RiteAid Mar (6.50), half.com (?), $20 Lowes gc, $20 CC gc

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