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Archive for January, 2006

Zero Percent Credit Card

January 31st, 2006 at 07:08 pm

I'm pretty excited. Over the last few days I've received 3 offers for various 0% credit cards. I spoke with hubby about transferring the balance on our home equity line to one of these cards. The balance is currently $23,319, and our rate is 6.74% (and the Fed just raised rates!). Even with the tax deduction, it still works out to about 5%, so switching to a 0% card would be great. We pay in the neighborhood of about $135/month on the interest...I'd love to get rid of that while we pay it off.

Other than that I had a quiet day. I returned overdue library books to the tune of $4.20 (painful!). There was also a bookfair at DD's school, so we bought a few books there. Dinner was in the crockpot at 10 this morning (I love that).

That's it for now...

January Challenge Recap

January 31st, 2006 at 07:04 pm

I received two deposits from ebook, for $26.67 and $25.49. I need to email them re: the $3.81 deposit, as that was mailed out along with the others. At least I got the two bigger deposits!

When I started the challenge, I laid out 5 ways to meet my goal. The end of the month seems like a good time to see if I need to tweak anything.

1) Bank bonuses - My goal for the year was $900. So far, I've applied for Affinity Bank ($75), Citibank ($200), and will do Chase in February ($100), for a total of $375. That's a great start, though I'm sure that I won't be able to keep that pace up going forward.

2) Ebook - Wow I really underestimated this. I was hoping for $30/month. So far, I've gotten $71.12, and again, while I probably won't keep this pace, the $30/month is still totally do-able.

3) Rebates - Again, I underestimated. I planned $120/year ($10/month). So far, I've sent in $98 worth of rebates. It's amazing how many are out there.

4) Recycling - Totally off on this one. I wanted $100/year, but will be lucky to get $35. I'm not too upset given how the other categories are doing.

5) Other - I've had a few half.com sales, and also some referrals for different things that will bring in a few bucks here and there.

So far so good...On to February!

New total: $79.33

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $6.65 (half.com), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2)

Finally, a rebate!

January 30th, 2006 at 02:52 pm

Waiting for my rebates is like watching grass grow, but I finally got one today. It was for the wireless router, but unfortunately was only for $15, not the $20 I thought. But I'll take it! So I can cross an item off of my outstanding list.

New total: $27.17

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $25.49 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebook), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $6.65 (half.com), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2)

Half.com sale

January 30th, 2006 at 07:27 am

Had a sale on half.com. I'll update the totals after I mail it out.

Also, in reviewing my last few entries, I'm going to put on hold the bank bonus offer from NVE. Given that I recently opened Affinity for $75, am in the process of opening Citibank ($200) and plan on opening the Chase ($100) in February, I thought that was more than enough. I saved the advertisement, though, so in the future if I decide to do it, I can see if it's still valid.

I'm still waiting for my rebates to come in the mail, and for my ebookdrop deposits. I feel like I'm watching a pot of water boil...

January Recap

January 30th, 2006 at 07:22 am

So I made it through the first month of 2006 (which technically doesn't end until tomorrow, but I've accounted for all my income and outgo). Here's how I did:

I was right on the mark with groceries and gas for the car. This is a big deal for me, because I'm usually way over on both of these. The gas is even better than it looks, because I have a $57 credit coming back to me next month thanks to my Shell MC. I was also on track with most of my other categories, which don't usually change.

I was way under on car maintenance ($42 vs $150), clothing ($70 vs. $150) and gifts ($50 vs. $250). That's great, but the downside is that I came up with the estimates thinking that I would be using an envelope system, so the good months would offset the bad months. However, I couldn't get that to fly, so I'll have to see the impact of that as we go through the year.

I was on the wrong side of a few categories as well. "Extracurricular Activities" for the kids was way high- $238 instead of $100 budgeted. I'm not worried about it, as most of it is for their Spring activities, and I won't be incurring $100/month for the next few months. Dining out was slightly high ($123 vs. $100) and hubby's life insurance is up to $69/month from $55.

The biggest bummer for me is that I was only able to put $500 toward the HELOC instead of the $1000 I had hoped for. $350 of the difference was due to an unbudgeted repair. The other $150 went to my brother, who is going through a tough time and needed some help. I'm not expecting to repeat either of these next month, so hopefully I can get back to the $1000. Still, $500 is better than nothing.

Had a quiet weekend otherwise. Nothing really new, and no great financial happenings...

Another Bank offer

January 27th, 2006 at 08:04 am

Citibank is offering new banking customers who already have a Citibank credit card this offer: Sign up for a Citibank checking account and receive a $100 bonus, credited within 120 days. Link your Citibank credit card to this new checking account and make a transfer from the checking account to the credit card, and receive another $100 within 90 days.

I signed up for the EZ Checking, which is free with Direct Deposit. There is no minimum initial deposit, no minimum monthly balance, and no fees (because of the direct deposit). You only need to make one transfer, of any dollar amount, to be eligible for the bonus.

Seems like a great deal to me...this is definitely one of the higher bonuses out there! I'm not sure when it expires. You can call (866) 810-9040 if you're interested. Mention offer code MVR3.

New total: $12.17

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $25.49 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebook), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $6.65 (half.com), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2)

Mailed a book

January 26th, 2006 at 10:13 am

Stopped at the post office today to mail the book I sold on half.com. It cost me $2.07 to mail the book, and I'll get back $6.65, for a net profit of $4.58.

Also, while reading the local paper, I saw an advertisement from a local bank. Open a free checking account (min $10 to open) with direct deposit and get a $25 bonus. No monthly fees, no minimum balance. I think I'll sign up tomorrow, and use this account to hold the money for my property taxes.

New total: $12.17

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $25.49 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebook), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $6.65 (half.com)

Kindergarten Registration

January 26th, 2006 at 08:11 am

I registered DS for kindergarten. Hooray. As excited as I am for him to go, I'm more excited that I only have 3 more preschool bills to pay! The process was painless, though I do need to drop a form at his doctor's office, and another at his preschool, to be filled out.

I took a vacation day today to get this done and run some other errands. I need to mail the half.com book at the post office, we're meeting some other moms for lunch, I need to return some (late) videos to the library, stuff like that.

I started going through my old postings to categorize them. I got through Mar-May 2005. It's interesting to read back on them. I now have a running list of stuff I meant to do and never got around to, that I should get back on my list! I think the categories are great. That way, as I think about different parts of my budget, I can go to other blogs and see their categories right away for helpful hints.

Hubby is away overnight, so I'll try to get some straightening up done tonight. Have a great day!

Starting my challenge in the blog...

January 25th, 2006 at 07:43 am

I'm going to start tracking my 2006 challenge as part of my blog. For those of you who haven't been following the challenge, my goal is to turn my initial $20 into $2000 to fund a November vacation to wine country. I'm planning on using 5 ideas to fund this challenge:
1) Bank bonus offers ($900/year)
2) Selling books ($360/year)
3) Sending in rebates ($120/year)
4) Recycling (Orig. $100/year, now $35)
5) Taking advantage of other ideas from here and other sites ($520)

I received a $10 credit from Direct TV for moving to auto-debit of my bill from my checking account. So:

New total: $14.24

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $25.49 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebook), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 Pepsi rebate.

Flexible Spending Headaches

January 25th, 2006 at 07:33 am

So I called my company to see if we could change our 2006 Dependent Care amount for our flexible spending account. Seems like mine is an unusual circumstance (of course). If I quit altogether, that would definitely be a "qualified change in status". Likewise, if I didn't have a job and got one, that would be a qualified change. But moving from one job to another, and changing hours in the process, which therefore changes my need for dependent care, "does not appear" to be a qualified change. Fortunately I'm working with someone who seems conscientious, and is escalating it to her management. We'll see what happens.

Other than that, I took care of some financial housekeeping. I entered the Staples rebate, faxed some receipts for my flexible spending, and got caught up on some other stuff. I wasn't able to finish January's review last night, but should get to it tonight...

Staples Rebates

January 24th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

Stopped at Staples today to pick up some markers and pens that are free after rebate. (I won't count this toward my challenge, because I wouldn't have bought them otherwise, but the're always nice to have extras around the house). I love Staples EasyRebates...everything is done online! I also sold a book at half.com. It's usually feast or famine with them, so I'm hoping that another 3 or 4 books will sell over the next few days!

Not a great couple of days for spending...I had fast food for lunch yesterday and today (no excuse) and the kids want Burger King for dinner. That's so tempting because they have CCD until 5, so it beats cooking, and hubby is going out for dinner. We also needed to have our watches serviced, cash only Frown

I think I'm at a point where I can pretty much finish up the January budget, so that's my goal for tonight...

Book Sold on Half.com

January 24th, 2006 at 12:00 am

Sold a book for $5 at half.com. I'll update the totals when I ship it out. This just goes to show you the stark difference between half.com and ebook. When I initially checked this book out at ebook, they were going to offer $1.75 for it. Instead of acting immediately, it sat around for a week and when I went back to ebook, it was no longer in demand. So I went ahead and put it on half.com for $5. (Had no idea if it would get that much, but there were only a few copies of them for sale). It sold within 2 days! If that happened everytime it'd be great, alas I usually have books sitting on half.com for months...

Taxes

January 23rd, 2006 at 01:40 pm

I got my W4 forms in the mail today. Although I don't have all of my mutual fund statements, I felt like I had enough info to get a feel for what the tax picture would look like. Boy did I ever! First cut has us owing in the neighborhood of about $6000! We always owe (last year was about $3000, which was bad enough). We never readjusted our withholding after we refinanced our mortgage (and are paying significantly less in interest). Last year we owed a small penalty (~$30) and still didn't bother changing the withholding! I usually get about $1800 back from NYS, but that's still a huge chunk to pay. Thank goodness for hubby's bonus in April, though we hate the fact that we always need to use it to pay taxes.

I talked to hubby about going to an accountant this year. We've done it a few times in the past, but I hate to pay someone $400 to tell me I owe $4000! But with the AMT, and with the fact that we live in NJ and work in NY, it's getting complicated enough that I'd feel better with professional help. And he should be able to tell us what to set our withholding at once and for all. I hate this time of year...

Groceries

January 23rd, 2006 at 05:33 am

I went grocery shopping yesterday. Ended up spending $92.xx, which was great considering that I spontaneously bought a 8.5 lb pork loin on sale for $.99/lb! Can't beat that price. I'm going to cut it into 1 lb pieces and freeze. I have a couple of crock pot recipes I want to try, and can always cut them into pork chops. Great deal. So that brings my grocery total to $458/$500 for the month. Next week will be a bit tricky. I usually go shopping on Sunday, which is Jan. 29. I've been averaging about $90/week, but will need to stay way below it in order to make my goal for the month. I think if I stick to the basics (milk, bread, eggs, etc.), I'll be in good shape. Also, that will give me a good head start on February's bill!

I had the massage yesterday, which was lovely...I wish I could get one per week! Usually I get gift certificates for Mother's Day, birthday, anniversary, etc., so they're few and far between...Today I need to put in all of the CVS receipts and a doctor bill to be reimbursed from my FSA.

That's it on a rainy, Monday morning...

Grocery Store trip

January 22nd, 2006 at 12:00 am

Went to the grocery store today, and turned in a whopping $.30 worth of recyclables. (Hey, it's better than nothing!). I also bought the soda and chips necessary for the $10 Pepsi rebate. The store was running a great sale - buy the 4 12-packs of soda for $10, get the 3 bags of chips/pretzels for free. That worked out well for me, because I wouldn't normally have bought the chips, and I did need soda. (We're not big soda drinkers, but I like to have some on hand and I'm completely out from the holidays). So, the new totals are...

New total: $4.24 (thanks to $.30 recycling)

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $25.49 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebook), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 Pepsi rebate.

No massage today...

January 21st, 2006 at 12:30 pm

The spa called this morning to say that the girl who was to do my massage went home sick. They couldn't get anyone to come in to take her clients, so I had to reschedule (for tomorrow morning, so it's not that bad). In the meantime, I've had the whole day to myself. It was such a beautiful day (again!) that I walked to the post office and CVS. It's probably about 2 miles round trip, so I was pretty pleased. (As you can gather from my posts, I don't exercise that much! Smile). I spent $25.xx at CVS, almost all of which will be reimbursed.

I'm just going to putter around for the rest of the day. I looked over the grocery sale papers and made my list for tomorrow, I have some laundry to do, and I'd like to straighten up a bit. Nothing too strenuous...

Flexible Spending dilemma

January 20th, 2006 at 08:06 am

I don't know if it was the three day weekend or what, but this week absolutely flew!

I'm looking forward to another quiet weekend. Today we'll go to the park after school (high near 60 - can't believe it's January!). Tomorrow, hubby is taking the kids to his mom's after DD's basketball practice. They're staying for dinner, which means I have the whole day to myself Smile! I scheduled a massage using the gift certificate I got months ago (can't believe I haven't used it yet), so the tip will be the only money out of pocket. Sunday, we're staying home, watching football and using my crock pot (chili maybe?).

I need to go to CVS, probably today, but everything will be reimbursed through my FSA. I'll also try to hit the grocery store on Sunday so I can go without the kids.

I need to figure out what to do with my dependent care Flexible Spending Account. I signed up for the maximum $5000, knowing that I would come in just around there. (DS has 6 months of preschool in 2006@$655/mo, DD has 6 months of after-school care 1 day/week @$87/month, and they both were to have 1 day of after-school care Sept-Dec at $165/mo). That would have totalled $5112, plus any ad hoc after-school care uses thrown in (where I pay per day).

However, I'm starting a new job at my company in the middle of February. Although I'm not quite sure what the new schedule will be (I'm part-time), I don't think that I will need the after-school care on a regular basis beyond March. That means I'm only guaranteed to use about $4200, between DS's preschool and the after school care Jan-March. Although I'll definitely continue to use the before/after school care on a drop in basis, I don't think I'll use it enough to make up the $800! Usually, you can't change your FSA totals unless you have a qualifying change in status. I'm not sure if moving from one part-time situation to another counts. I'll definitely need to look into it though, so I can adjust if I need to. At least this is happening early enough in the year for me to react...

So that's about it for now. Have a great weekend everyone!

New Chase Bank Bonus

January 20th, 2006 at 12:00 am

I found my next bank bonus. (Actually, it found me!). Chase is opening a new branch in the next town over. They mailed out coupons for different bonuses based on the type of account you open. The one I'm likely to open is a checking account, free with direct deposit. The normal bonus for this account is $50, but if you open the account during a particular 2-week period in February, they'll double it, for a $100 bonus. Minimum deposit is $100, and you need to leave the account open for 6 months. The great thing about Chase is that they allow one cash bonus per customer per calendar year, so I can take advantage of this, even though I already got bonuses from them in 2005. Last year, I also got a $100 bonus from a local branch opening and about 6 weeks later, they sent me an offer for $50 or $75 to open a savings account. Hopefully, they'll do the same thing here! For those of you interested in taking advantage of bank bonus offers, your local newspaper and "junk mail" are great sources for offers like these.

Ramblings...

January 19th, 2006 at 07:00 am

Today's ramblings:

1) My January electric bill came in at $114.40. My goal is $135/month, but the fact that I came in under is a bit deceiving. The $135/month is an average, and my electric use goes up considerably in the summer due some to air conditioning but mostly the pool filter. Hubby has it running 10 hours/day, I think. I know there's a calculation one can do based on the number of gallons in the pool that says how much it should be running. I need to find that before the summer to make sure we're not running it too much. Anyway, I need to build up enough of a credit balance before the summer hits so I can keep to my target.

2) Gas (for the car) spending is going well this month, too. So far, I've spent $251.69/$350 budget. I think I should be able to stay within budget, and this isn't even counting the Shell rebates I'll get.

Overall, I think this should be a good month as far as sticking to the budget. I'll need another week or so before I'm totally confident of this, but so far so good.

Rainy and windy...

January 18th, 2006 at 09:05 am

I feel like I'm all over the map today. The weather stinks! It's 58 degrees, which would be great for this time of year except for the strong winds and driving rain. Couldn't use an umbrella when dropping off the kids this morning because it was so windy...we were all soaked!

I have a few money-related errands today. I need to deposit some money in the bank, setup direct deposit for my new Affinity checking account, and stop at the library to pick up two books for sale for my $20 challenge. Hubby is in Boston for the day for a business trip, so he won't be home until late, which should give me time to finish up my half.com inventory.

I forgot to mention that Santa brought me an ice cream maker and a crockpot. I've used the ice cream maker a few times already. It's probably one of the few things that aren't cheaper when you make it homemade, but it's soooo good. I haven't tried the crockpot yet...maybe this weekend.

I finished reading "Confessions of a Slacker Mom". It was an easy read about how this woman is avoiding the spoken and unspoken pressure on how to raise your kids "the right way" today, and instead is raising them in the manner that she was raised. Interesting and definitely more consistent with my style of parenting...

That's about it for today. Have a great day.

Library Stop

January 18th, 2006 at 12:00 am

Stopped by the library today but could only find one of the two books for sale. So I bought the one, combined it with a few others from home and put the order into ebook. Total for the order was $4.58-$.10(cost for book) for a net of $4.48. Not bad.

I also updated my direct deposit for Affinity. When I called to get their routing number, I asked when I should expect the bonus and they said it comes in after the 3rd direct deposit. A bit of a bummer because the earliest I can get it is early March. Better late than never I suppose...

I also have the second Kimberly Clark rebate ready to go out tomorrow, so I'll add that to my list of outstanding items.

New total: $3.94

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebook), $25.49 (ebook), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebook), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebook), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $4.58 (ebook), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate).

Tuesday's happenings

January 17th, 2006 at 06:19 pm

I had a pretty productive day at home today. I did some laundry and cleaned up a bit. Hubby came home to have lunch with DS and me. We decided to go to the local pizza place and hubby treated.

Then, I took DS to ToysRUs to get a toy. He used his Christmas money. I wasn't really into it, because I think the only reason he wanted to go was because his sister used her money to buy something last week and I think he felt like he needed something new too. Boy it's tough. I feel sometimes like they're twins...they want to go to bed at the same time, get the same things, do the same things, etc. I haven't yet figured out how to get them to realize that it doesn't matter what the other one does...

I also stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee this afternoon. Desparately needed and worth every cent. I'm working tomorrow, then coming straight home after picking the kids up from school.

More Rebates

January 17th, 2006 at 12:00 am

I sent out the first $10 Kimberly Clark rebate today. I find that rebating goes much smoother if you do it as quickly as possible after bringing the groceries home. I also filled out a second rebate form, and now need to put the info into an envelope and mail that out. I'll be thrilled if I ever see this $10, as I'm sending it to my dad's house (only one allowed per address) and can't guarantee that it will stay there until my next visit. We'll see.

Other than that, not much new on the challenge front. I'm still waiting for the account information from Affinity...should be getting that today or tomorrow. I can't get to the used bookstore tomorrow because I need to run an errand at lunchtime, so I'll miss that this week. No biggie...

New total: $4.04 (no change)

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebookdrop), $25.49 (ebookdrop), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebookdrop), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebookdrop), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate).

Library & Affinity Bank

January 17th, 2006 at 12:00 am

Stopped by the local library with the kids. While they were picking out their stuff, I wrote down the last row of books they had for sale and checked them out when I got home. Ebook would buy 2, for a total of $2.03. Considering they would only cost me $.20, it's worth it. I'll pick them up tomorrow afternoon on my way to get DS from school. I can also add them to 3 books from home that I can sell for an additional $3.12.

I went through my half.com inventory tonight, added a bunch of new books and deleted other books that I've sold through ebook. I still have a few more to get through, sometime later this week.

Finally, I did receive my Affinity Bank account number so I'll set up direct deposit tomorrow. It should be effective for my Jan 31 pay, so I'm hoping that the bonus will come shortly thereafter.

Grocery Shopping

January 16th, 2006 at 11:52 am

I made it out of the store today with a grand total of $92.91! That's not bad, considering that the kids were with me (added an extra $5 or so to the bill). I also forgot my recyclables. Only about $.25, but I'm trying to be diligent about recycling them. I was also able to stock up on a load of things at the store today, thanks to the Kimberly Clark $10 rebate. My pantry and cabinets are pretty full...good feeling.

After the store, the kids and I met hubby for lunch (we brought our own). It was fun and the kids had a great time. The only other spending today was for gas. So all in all, a pretty good day.

Total groceries so far: $366/$500

Quiet Weekend

January 15th, 2006 at 07:37 pm

I love weekends when I have nothing much to do...I guess because I don't get them that often! We went to Church Saturday night, followed by Chilis. It was fun with the kids, though I don't think they liked it enough to go back. Going to Church yesterday means that today we had nowhere to go and nothing to do. It was beautiful! I made 3 loaves of pumpkin bread, cooked dinner and straightened up a bit. Not much, yet I'm still tired. Go figure.

We're going to meet hubby for lunch tomorrow. I also have to go grocery shopping. I made my list and got my coupons together so I'm all set. I'll need to take the kids (for the first time this year...) but I'm hoping to get in and out quickly and without many extras.

A Little More Progress

January 14th, 2006 at 12:00 am

A little more progress on the challenge: I got a $6 rebate in the mail yesterday from BJs that I completely forgot about...it was for buying oj and oatmeal. Today, I hit the local library for their used book sale. Spent $3 to get $10.57. Not bad, and there was a whole other room of books that I can check out next month, so that's promising.

I also returned some items to Eckerd and got their all-in-one rebate form for the Unilever products, so I'll fill that out this weekend. Kimberly Clark is advertising a $10 rebate this week. I think I'll be able to take advantage of that twice, one for me and one for my dad, because we use a lot of those products. Here are the new totals:

New total: $4.04 (+6 rebate - $3 books)

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebookdrop), $25.49 (ebookdrop), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebookdrop), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10.57 (ebookdrop)

More stew...

January 13th, 2006 at 07:44 am

...and not the kind you eat! I called hubby's benefits group. The term life went up slightly because they recalculated the amount, but mostly because the company raised the rates across the board. I don't know, but a 30% increase seems like a lot to me. (Granted that they haven't raised it for a while, but still). When talking with hubby about it yesterday, he seemed surprised that my 20-year term for almost the same amount was only $30.67/month (I'm only 2 years younger than he is). I think my plan of action is to price out 20-year terms for him. He's due to go to his doctor in March for his annual physical. If things look good (Cholesterol, weight, blood sugar, etc.), I'll bring up the idea again of switching to term. (Point being that he'll have to take a physical for the insurance company too and we want to make sure he'll qualify for the best rate). He may or may not go for it but we'll see.

Continuing to stew...I got my renewal for AAA yesterday - $123!! It includes me and hubby, and AAA Plus, which allows you to be towed anywhere within 50 miles for free. I like AAA, and we've definitely gotten our money's worth out of it with all the car trouble we've had over the past few years. I use a 14-year-old car to do the bulk of my commuting, and between me and hubby we drive well over 30,000 miles per year, so I really don't want to get rid of it. I already eliminated towing from my auto insurance premium (no sense having that if you have AAA). Didn't save much, but every bit helps. My goal for the next week or two is to scour the AAA website and check out all the other benefits they offer. I'd like to take advantage of whatever I can there to help offset this cost!

On the positive side, my gas bill for the cars is $153.73 so far this month. I'm trying to keep it to $300/month, so I'm hoping to come in right about there. I also got my first Shell Credit card statement, and I earned over $57 in credits that will offset any Shell Gas I buy next month. So that's cool. Have a great weekend...

Used Bookstore Run

January 13th, 2006 at 12:00 am

Went to the used bookstore yesterday for my usual Thursday run. Combined with a few things I had at home, I put together a package for ebookdrop that will net me $26.67-$8.67 (cost) = $18! So I'll take out the $8.67 today and add the $26.67 when I get it.

Also, Affinity Bank called today to confirm some information on my application. Everything is a go, and they were sending out the signature cards to me yesterday. I have to say that every interaction I've ever had with them has been positive, which is pretty good for a bank!

I noticed about $.20 worth of recyclables on my counter today (whoopee!). I'll take them to the grocery store this weekend. In my Outstanding Totals, I'm also adding in a few other rebates I have outstanding. My goal for this week is to narrow down my next bank opening offer and get that started. Hopefully I'll shoot to get that done next week...

New total: $1.04

Outstanding items: $3.81 (ebookdrop), $25.49 (ebookdrop), $75 (Affinity Bank), $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $26.67 (ebookdrop), $20 (Norton Security rebate), $20 (Wireless Router Rebate), $8 (Games Make Great Gifts Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip).

Life Insurance

January 12th, 2006 at 12:47 pm

I forgot to add this in my earlier entry...

I got hubby's January paycheck. His life insurance, which he gets through work, went up $14/month!!! He gets x times his salary, so I don't know if they recalculate the total each year and adjust it, or if it's just that he's a year older now, or if they raised the rates on everyone, or a combination of all three, but $225/year is insane! What bums me out even more is that right before the end of the year, I went onto lowermybills.com and checked out 20-year term insurance for him. Turns out it was only about $2/month cheaper than what he had through work. Given that the insurance through work doesn't expire, increases with his salary each year, and doesn't require a separate physical, it was definitely worth staying. I mentioned the increase to him yesterday, and he's reluctant to switch, I think primarily because he doesn't want to take the extra physical and he doesn't like the fact that term insurance expires. I'll call to see what caused the increase, then I'll have to stew about this while I figure out what to do...

On a lesser (but still annoying) note, I got a letter in the mail from our bank. Seems like savings accounts will be charged a $3 monthly fee if the balance falls below $300. This shouldn't be a problem for me, but I'll need to be careful, as this is my "fun money" account and it sometimes falls below that level, also this is the source for the money I use to open other accounts. Hmmm...


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