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Archive for May, 2011

Catching Up

May 30th, 2011 at 08:42 am

After two crazy weeks, I have a day with absolutely nothing to do (besides grocery shopping, but I don't count that).

I am caught up on the May finances. Turned out Citibank only dinged me for the interest on the late payment, not the late payment fee, so I avoided $35 there. I'm no putting the due dates in my calendar so I don't forget them again! DH got a ticket this month ($87, but it's the points I'm worried about). This is the first time either of us have ever gotten a ticket, and I think our auto insurance company has a forgiveness policy on the first one, so I'm hoping it doesn't hurt us too much. Our rates are already through the roof just because we're in NJ. And I paid SIL for the 2nd half of the beach house payment, so our vacation is all paid for. Woohoo - 6 more weeks!

We're closing on the mortgage refi tomorrow. That was the smoothest process ever (so far).

On the extra income front, things have definitely come to a screeching halt. I haven't been on Swagbux in forever (no time), so no $5 amazon cards. I also haven't sold anything on half .com for a while. I do have a book for paperback swap .com to get in the mail. No money for this, but a credit I can use to get another book. I'll have to check the kids' summer reading list.

Finally, things seem to be calming down a bit. Hopefully that'll get me on this site more often.

Extreme Couponing

May 15th, 2011 at 01:01 pm

I've heard about this show, and today watched a few episodes for the first time. (Taking advantage of a really rainy day). Wow! On the one hand, I'm totally impressed; these people regularly save 90% of their bill through careful planning and great organization. I'm also impressed that in some of the cases, it was driven by people being resourceful in response to tough family circumstances like layoffs, illnesses, etc. On the other hand, it seems like some of these people are treading a fine line between good money management and sickness. I don't care how upset your stomach gets, can you REALLY use 75 bottles of Maalox before they expire? (note that these and other things do not appear to be donated; instead, they're taking up every nook and cranny of their house). I spent the whole episode going back and forth thinking, "wow, I should try to do this" and "uh, maybe I'm ok with my couple of coupons each week". Interesting, anyway.

I balanced my checkbook today. I have to pay SIL for our portion of the vacation house we rent. Also planning for nephew's confirmation next weekend, which requires a card, gift, and something for DS to wear (I assume sweats don't count!).

I tried Peapod again for groceries. My reverse psychology is that when I go into the stores, I always get tempted to buy stuff that's not on my list, and my bill is always higher than it should be. Alternatively, when I order online, I only order what I need. Peapod is affiliated with StopNShop, so we get those sale prices, and they do accept coupons. If the order is $100+, delivery is $5.95 + gas surcharge, and they often send coupon codes for free delivery. Anyway, I placed an order yesterday for delivery this morning from 7-9. It was absolutely POURING out, and it was SO NICE to have the guy bring all of the groceries right into my kitchen. Worth every dime, for sure. I'm going to stick with this again next week and see how it goes.

Finally, something new to report!

May 13th, 2011 at 11:27 am

After months of nothing new with my finances (not that I'm complaining, mind you), I finally have news to report: I just refinanced my mortgage with Chase.

My current mortgage with Chase has 7.5 years left on a 15-year fixed, at 4.625%. They offered me a no fee refinance to a 10-year fixed at 3.875%! My monthly payment drops from $2005 to $1433. My concern was that I'd be adding 2.5 years on to the term, but there's no prepayment penalty, so I arranged to continue having the $2005 automatically withdrawn from checking each month, which will result in my paying the loan off 2 months sooner than I currently would, and save $4k in interest. Also, because the payments are automatically withdrawn, they give me a 1% bonus each year which they apply toward the principle, which is another $175 or so. Wahoo! I know it's not much, but I'll take it!

Not much on tap this weekend. I got paid today, so I have some bookkeeping to do. Weather is supposed to be crummy, so maybe we'll do some clean-up projects in the house...

Happy Mother's Day

May 8th, 2011 at 08:08 am

Happy Mother's Day to all my SA mom friends. I was able to sleep late, until about 10:00, which is an incredible treat! Hubby and the kids are making me breakfast burritos (thanks to many leftovers from last night's cinco de mayo party), and coffee in bed. DD has a soccer game today, followed by dinner with MIL. A quiet, relaxing day for sure.

On the financial front, I had no luck with Citibank waiving the late fee for last month's late payment. To be expected, as I did the same thing not so long ago. I get on the credit card companies for a lot of things, but this one was 100% my fault.

May is shaping up to be an expensive month. I owe SIL the second half of our beach house payment, which will be about $1000. Also, I bought much-needed new clothes and shoes for me and the kids. (As an aside, let me tell you how depressing it is to go shorts shopping for tweens. I can't believe how short these shorts are! It took us forever to find ones that were long enough).

There's not much going on financially this week. I'm learning my lesson from last month and putting all of my due dates in my calendar! Other than that, looking forward to a slow week...