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$500.00? Yes!

March 17th, 2018 at 04:42 pm

I took advantage of the Chase $500 bonus on new checking and savings today. Was able to use the promo code and setup the account online. It's a bit of work to set up the external accounts and wait for them to be verified. I have to transfer $15,000 from Capital One to Chase for the savings requirement, which remains for 90 days. That earns me $200. (I'll be losing $56 in interest from Cap One but earning $200.) After that, I only need to keep $300 there. For checking, I must set up direct deposits from my employer of $500/month. I earn $300 for fulfilling the checking requirement. After 6 months I will close the accounts.

I'm excited, because once I receive the $500, I will add that to my Surgery fund for a new balance of $1,040.

Saturday savings

March 17th, 2018 at 01:35 pm

This is a good day so far. I got up early, made chicken stock in my insta pot. Took under an hour! I cleaned my master bath, including the shower. Which is usually such a chore due to the hard water stains on the glass doors. However, I have found a practically free and easy way to get the mineral deposits off!!! Are you interested?

Ok, here is the secret: the mesh bags from produce like lemons or potatoes. It has the right amount of scratch, but gentle. Use your cleaner of choice. Mine is white vinegar (with citrus peels soaked in them) sprayed on the glass, let sit for a couple minutes, gently scrub (ball the mesh up like a bath pouf), rinse. For the shower floor I like to use Barkeepers Friend with the mesh. I've switched over to all natural cleaners a few years ago.

After that, went to two grocery stores. Only bought a few items but got great deals. At Fred Meyer, a salad kit that was marked down from 3.49 to 1.99, then I had .45 coupon. Picked up a container of heavy cream, a ripe large avocado, free range eggs ($$ but worth it to me), ginger root and an orange bell pepper on sale. Next, Safeway. I had a club card deal for two corned beefs for 1.99/lb, picked those up and some sausage patties. Since I spent over $10 I had another club deal for $2 off. Uncured ham lunchmeat marked down to 1.99, a head of cabbage, ben & jerry's for 2.88 (I think the cartons are getting smaller Frown ), and a tiny french baguette for .99. Used a 10% off coupon received from S.O. getting a flu shot; only saved an additional 1.83 but the coupon was about to expire. total grocery spend was $27. Said no to Girl Scouts at both stores. (I'm very happy this is their last weekend).

I deposited the money I made from my jewelry sales. Calculated my income/expenses through the end of the month, and due to my decreased spending and that I get 5 paychecks this month, I think I'll be able to sock away an extra $700 into my savings! Next month I hope to do an extra $400. The April figure is pretty optimistic, since I am starting auto deduction of $125/week on my payday into my Capital One account. It's a big goal but i should get close.

Have a great weekend!!

Pre- Friday!

March 15th, 2018 at 03:03 pm

It's warm and sunny in the Pacific Northwest. I love it!!

I made $200 selling more jewelry. A silver coin, a pair of earrings with tiiiiinnnnny diamonds, and 3 rings, one had particles of diamonds, all had gemstones.

Surgery payback fund is up to $540.00.

I bought a bowl of fruit this morning at my work cafe. $1.35 for about a 2 cup capacity. You can also get a larger bowl for $1.80. They have a nice variety and you can fill it to the brim! The strawberries and pineapples were washed and cut; saves me so much time. I also picked out some red grapes. I take them home and we can snack on them for a couple days. It's a bargain. I love it in the summer, when they have cherries!

My food budget as of today is : $169 out of $350. I am picking up a rotisserie chicken for dinner tonight, and on Friday taking my best friend to a birthday dinner. The restaurant will be doing happy hour so I will eat off of that menu and drink water (can have wine when I get home!)

I failed on the "zero on clothes" for March. My friend gave me a Friends and Family 25% off for Athleta, which I looooove but their clothing is $$$$. I looked online and only found one item I'd like but it was $128. 25% off and tax would make it about $105.00. Well I couldn't justify that, but they are in the same family as Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. I started checking out the other sites and Old Navy had great looking stuff and everything 40% off. I bought 9 items for the same price as that one jacket. I haven't received my order yet, but surely I won't like at least half the items when I try them on, so will be returning some with the prepaid label. I also had $22 on a gift card, so I can deduct that from my spending.

I'm using the excitement of these new spring clothes to keep me motivated on eating right and exercising!

Trying to Sell Stuff is frustrating

March 14th, 2018 at 10:55 am

I don't know how people do it... I listed a couple items on OfferUp and local FB Buy/sell and no success! On a positive note, this is strengthening my resolve to stop buying so much stuff.

I'll hold onto the designer handbag and try again in late summer. I'm going to take more jewelry in tomorrow to the place I went before. This time I have some rings that have diamonds and gemstones, not just plain gold or silver pieces like the first time. It will be interesting how much they value them. I will be more selective about selling these.

I went through some of my Mom's boxes and found a box of pennies and a few other coins. Some of them were fairly old. I sorted and put aside pennies that were 1960s and older. She also had a Susan B Anthony coin,and a buffalo nickel from 1920. Also, three $2 bills! Very cool and I'm keeping them. The rest of the pennies and other coins I rolled and have $5.00 to add to my "extra income" fund.... I need to come up with a clever name for it.

So far:

Extra income fund:
$335.00 - jewelry sale #1
$5.00 - coins
$340.00 TOTAL

Spavings Fund:
$61.11 -balance
$50.00 - AMEX blue cash reward
$111.11 TOTAL

Makin' extra money

March 1st, 2018 at 12:28 pm

The time is drawing near for me to pay my credit card that I charged the hospital bill on. I'm transferring the money from my online savings, so no sweat there, but I feel the need to 'make up' for spending this money. Even though the expense was totally beyond my control. That's how I roll.

This is my list for recouping some of the money, from easiest to hardest.

Making Money:
1. $900- Sell EE savings bonds: I have bonds that my Mom purchased over the years in the 80s. She passed away 4 years ago. Her and I are co-owners on the bonds. I've been cashing them in once a year as they mature. They earn 4% so I don't want to cash in early. I'll have to wait until 2020 for the last ones to mature.

2. $100 ? - Online surveys... I haven't signed up for any yet; going to research over the weekend. This should be easy to do while vegging out at home.

3. $200 ? - Sell unwanted gold/silver jewelry - I inherited my Mom's jewelry. I don't wear any. Of course there are a few items that have sentimental value, but the rest I have no interest in. I have selected a few items and will take them to a couple reputable local dealers. Hope to get $200 or more, but I have no idea really....

4. $80-$100 - Sell a Dooney and Burke handbag. I've already listed it on Offer Up a few months ago and got several weird inquiries so I removed it. Will try my local city Facebook buy/sell pages.

Saving Money:
1. $500+ - Don't buy clothing and house decor- I would typically spend $100 or more per month on stuff out of boredom or 'I deserve it'. So if I don't buy, it's kind of like earning.

2. $200 - Suspending my massage membership for 3 months. I belong to Element Massage and have a great therapist there. I already suspended it for Jan- Mar. I will resume a couple months and suspend it again. I really enjoy my massages and not willing to give them up completely.

3. $200 - Change to cheaper cell phone service. I currently do prepaid Verizon. It's $49/month and I get great service. I need a company that uses the Verizon network due to where I live. I found one called Red Pocket. I can get a plan that would work for $20/month. It's a pain to switch and port number, and what if the service is bad. But I can save more than 50% so I should try.

4. $150 - Participate in a focus group. I signed up with a local research company. It's inconvenient to drive into Seattle on a weeknight, and hard to qualify for the surveys. I'm only willing to do it for a minimum of $100, or $150 if it's a 2 hour survey.

That's my list. It won't cover all my expenses but it's a good start.

My AMEX 'Hustle'

February 23rd, 2018 at 02:30 pm

I've been meaning to share this for awhile.... probably not the first one to think of the idea. When I tell my friends they are pretty impressed!

Calling it my Hustle because it's very trendy on the blogs to talk about a Side Hustle. I don't have other ways of making money, besides my full time job. So I try to think outside the box to maximize my cash back. I guess you could call it a Lazy Hustle.

I have the AMEX Preferred Cash card. The biggest benefit is the 6% cash back at the grocery store, up to $6000 year. I've never come close to maxing that out, which I want to do (without being wasteful) because that's a guaranteed $360.00, less the $95 yearly fee.

Besides the obvious buying groceries, I also purchase gift cards for other businesses I frequent on the regular. This is mainly Starbucks and Amazon for me.

Now here's a more clever one, if I do say so myself. I have both a Fred Meyers (Kroger) and Safeway close to my home and each has a gas station. I also have QFC (another Kroger) a little farther away. I buy gift cards for the stores (Kroger at QfC, Safeway at Safeway) so I earn 6% back at each gas station. I don't get 6% back at F.M. because it's categorized as a discount store. So I use the gift card purchased at QFC for anything I buy inside FM AND their gas station.

Conservatively I can earn an additional $100/year by doing my Grocery Gas Station hack, if I do it consistently. I earn even more by using the QFC card for FM store purchases (they sell clothing, home goods, electronics etc). It covers the annual fee! It's a bit more thinking to keep track of my GC balances but I just cut up blank address labels and stick them on the front of the cards and update the balance with a pen after each use.

The other idea, which I haven't done yet for some reason, is to buy Netflix GCs and load them on my account. That would earn me about $15 more/year.

So, any other ideas from Cash Back experts??

Stock Market Correction

February 8th, 2018 at 06:11 pm

Received a Mr. Rebates check for $21.11 and deposited into my Capital One savings.

Now, onto the stock market and the craziness of the last few days. All I can say is "Finally!" Then I say, "Oh no.... okay don't worry". (I mean, what good does that do?) But really, as of today, the Dow is back to where it was in early December. Is that really a correction? So it's down 10% but it was crazy high. A lot of my stocks are still closer to their 52 week highs than the 52 wk lows. I love a good sale, but it needs to go lower before I take advantage by buying. What do you guys think?

Yep, I was right (unfortunately)

January 16th, 2018 at 09:07 am

I have a detached retina. Surgery in a few hours. Family and friends are stepping up to assist me, which is such a great feeling. I won't be blogging for at least a week while I recover. Thank you for the positive thoughts!

Good news is I will be forced to relax at home for at least a week, and I get a 10% discount for prepaying my out of pocket cost at the hospital.

I'm scared about my eye

January 15th, 2018 at 11:37 am

I have an eye exam this afternoon. Worried because one afternoon last week, in the car on the way home, I noticed there was a blurry/cloudy spot on my right eye. It's like when you rub your eye and your contact slips and gets scrunched on one side, only I don't wear one in that eye. I tried washing it out with water and lens solution. I'm worried that it's a detached retina. Of course, self-diagnosing on the internet is a bad idea, hence the dr appt. Please think good thoughts for me!

On a positive note, I had FOUR No spend days last week! And my kitchen backsplash is installed and grouted! I'm thrilled with it. Last step is the drywall person to stop by and repair the area where there used to be tile and now it's all wall. After that, I'll be able to really clean and make it sparkle!

Weekend to-do and spending diet

January 12th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

I've had 3 no spend days this week (M, W and Th). (Today also, most likely). I'm pretty proud of that!!
That's a total of 5 no-spend in 11 days. My goal is 15.

My grocery spending is $97.57 out of my $250 budget. So far, I'm right on.

My new kitchen backsplash is being installed right now. I had new granite counters put in November and waited to pick out the backsplash material. Then, various delays, including my tile being out of stock, contractor getting sick etc. It should be done by tomorrow! That is the extent of my kitchen project. I'm not including that spending in my diet, because it would have been taken care of last month.

My diet and exercise are going well. I'm starting to feel a little slimmer (but not going to weigh or measure for awhile because I'm trying to focus on other benefits). I am still tired in the morning, in spite of getting 8 hours of sleep, but have more energy in the afternoons, and hunger is better controlled. I can tell that my upper body is getting stronger with all of the tricep push ups, downward dogs, side planks, etc that are prevalent in the Piyo program.

So for the weekend, I will clean and reorganize my kitchen, cook some meals for next week, do my workouts and relax.

Spending Diet update

January 9th, 2018 at 11:46 am

1/5 - $14.12 for family size papa murphy pizza (4 meals)
1/6- 23.38 food (groc)
1/7- 33.59 gas, 6.37 food
1/8 - 0
1/9 - $92.91 for colon cleanse system, 29.29 groc

I have been thinking of doing a colon cleanse for a few days, so this is not an impulse purchase. It falls into one of my exceptions to spending: medical/ health. I'm not getting the results I expected on my other plan,so I will switch to the colon, then back to the "Fat Flush". I'm still doing my Piyo exercise and eating clean.

Over the weekend, I was at Fred Meyer getting groceries and I was drawn to an endcap in the health aisles. There were 50% markdowns of my favorite natural soap brand "Zum". There were soaps, travel kits and soy candles. The company uses all essential oils and everything smelled so yummy! And 50% off! I put two items in my basket before saying to myself, "Hey, what the h**l? You're on a spending diet!!" I replied, "Yes, but these are my favorites at half off! They will all be sold out by Feb 1!!!" Miraculously, I put them back and went back to buying my planned vegetables. I am pretty happy with myself! I think this type of interaction is a "ah hah" moment and the main purpose of a spending diet.

So.... I don't think I will meet my goal of 15 "no spend" days. But this is not a bad thing. First, it is still making me pause and really think about what I'm buying and if it's necessary at this time, or can I wait, or make due with what I already have. Second, if I'm forcing myself to overbuy on food, it could go bad before I have a chance to use it. So I'd rather go shopping more often, but buy less of the perishables so I minimize waste. (Does that sound like I'm justifying not meeting my goal??? Probably.... but I'm still going to get as close as I can!


January 5th, 2018 at 08:57 am

It's been the longest short week ever...

Here's the recap of my spending diet:

1/1 0
1/2 $6.25 lunch
1/3 $25.16: lunch salad, gas, groceries
1/4 0

My company has an on-site cafe and it's pretty awesome. Most of the food is organic. There's always something healthy to eat at the salad bar. I can get a good sized salad for under $5.00. The best deals are in the morning. Two eggs and sausage runs $2.25. There's a fruit/oatmeal bar that has flat cost of $1.35/ $1.80 depending on bowl size. When I have fruit in my diet, I get the large bowl and fill er up- it holds over 2 lbs so it's too good of a deal to pass up!

Recession won't get me down!

February 15th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Here is my new, improved outlook on the economy: A downturn in the economy will benefit me in the long run, so I happily accept it and am using it to my advantage.

We all know, by looking at the history of the stock market, that there are ups and downs, but over several years/decades, the returns are big. Therefore, I welcome this temporary decline to invest in stocks which are have great growth potential and getting them at a "bargain".

The decline in savings interest rates is distressing to those of us who have a lot of liquid assets; however, I'm going to keep stashing my cash into the highest rate accounts I can, because when the rates do bounce back, I will benefit right away - the money will already be there.

Useless financial advice

January 28th, 2008 at 11:26 am

Lil Monday Rant!

I don't consider myself to be a genius or anything, but I'm so tired of the watered down financial tips that are abundant on the internet, news, magazines, etc. these days. I suppose it could be helpful to someone who doesn't have much common sense or is seriously in debt, but not for those of us who are already pretty careful with money.

For example, I am tired of hearing about the "latte factor". I don't buy a latte everyday, so I can't give it up and save the $4.00 and invest it for 40 years to wind up with an extra $1.5 million (or whatever number they come up with). I already have a 401k, Roth IRA, six months of living expenses in a savings account,pay off my credit card monthly, funds saved up for my next car, furniture, vacation, etc etc.

Where is the advice for this type of person?

I (don't) heart ING

January 25th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

Wo! I can't believe they lowered their rate to 3.65.... from 4.10 !!! I'm glad that I don't have my long term savings there. I would pull all my money out but it's only $4000 so I doubt they would care.

I have decided to up my 2008 savings goal $500 to $7500 since I'm doing so good already!

Rewards for spending

January 17th, 2008 at 10:38 am

Yesterday, I received my new AMEX Blue Cash card. Since I have no consumer debt and very disciplined in keeping a budget and paying on time, I decided to maximize my rewards! Here is a run down on this card's benefits:

Spend up to $6500 in a year, and receive:
- 1% back on grocery, drugstores and gas
- .5% on everything else

Anything over $6500:
- 5% on grocery, drug, gas
-1.5% everything else

Up until now, I have been using my Nordstrom VISA, which earns 1 point for every dollar charged, except 2 points per dollar at Nordstrom. Once you accumulate 2000 points, you receive a $20 Nordstrom GC. During the big sales you can double your points earned. This is all great, as I love Nordstrom, but guess what I realized: I hardly ever shop there, except to redeem the GC's! So I'm really only earning 1% by using this card.

I went through my 2007 credit card bills and compared my actual Nordstrom reward with what I would have received with the AMEX. It was $180 vs. $320. That is a difference of 78%!

What I love about this is that instead of working more and being taxed on the earnings, I am "earning" a credit on my credit card that is not taxed!

I also take advantage of two online reward sites: Mypoints and Mr.Rebates.

Mypoints works on a point system. You can earn anywhere from 2-10 points per dollar on purchases, or some companies give you a set amount... like 500 points on any purchase over $25. Points are available after 30 days and you can redeem them for gift cards. The gift cards have different point costs, so I go with the companies I shop at that have the best ratio of dollar value to points. They also send emails that you click on and earn 5 points just by going to the sponsor's site, so you can get rewards even if you don't shop online (although it takes much longer that way.) Generally when you order the gift card, it arrives within a week.

Mr.Rebates rewards you with cash. It's measured as a percentage... anywhere from 2-20%. It takes 90 days for the rebate to become available and you have to wait until you accumulate $25 in rebates. Once you request the check, it comes in a few days.

I am very excited to take full advantage of these programs this year, and will be keeping track of how much $$$ I will be earning.