Home > Archive: December, 2014

Archive for December, 2014

Gift Card Inventory

December 30th, 2014 at 05:29 pm

I like to always do an inventory of my giftcards after Christmas to see what I have and what I need to use up before I forget about them.

Some were gifts, some I purchased for a lower cost then the face value, and the CVS is from my Discover Rewards.

Here is what I have right now:

$5 Target
$5 Target
$5 Target
$10 Applebees (Bonus Card Expires 2/28/15)
$10 Applebees (Bonus Card Expires 2/28/15)
$10 Target
$20 Target
$25 Scheels
$25 Olive Garden/Red Lobster/LongHorn Steakhouse
$25 Walmart
$35 Walmart
$50 Applebees
$50 Applebees
$50 CVS
$50 Texas Road House
Total $375

$200 Wellness Reimbursement

December 29th, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Reminder! - If your work or insurance offers any type of reimbursement accounts (FSA, etc.) or wellness incentives, etc. Be sure to get those in before deadlines!

I just submitted for my $200 wellness money, that covers 8 months of my gym membership!!

Plan of attack for New Year's Goals

December 29th, 2014 at 04:47 pm

Since last year was the hardest year of my life....I am ANXIOUSLY looking forward to 2015!

My goals are in the previous post and and I am EXCITED to get started!

*The roomate piece is moving forward since my basement is now clean and I can start seriously searching for a roomate.

*For the home improvements, I have started to look online at paint schemes to start picking out what I want to do for the bathroom wall repair/painting job.

*For savings, I have auto deposits set up to both my savings and also with joint savings with BF. We both want to save for the future, so can help motivate each other.

*BF and I decided to make a goal of not going to the casino until we go on a vacation to Laughlin in March. Two 1/2 months without a casino trip will be tough on both of us, but then we will have more time and for working out, getting more sleep, and working on the cleaning and home improvements we plan to do! Plus more $$ in our pockets!

I also have plans set up to help me reach my weight goals.

*I will be working out a MINIMUM of 2 days a week at the gym and 1 day a week at home/outside. (It's hard to get in a lot of gym days since I spend an average of 2-4 days a week out of town at BFs place).

*I currently drink a minimum of 2 cans of Coke per day, often times more then that. Starting 1/1/15 I will be weaning myself off (I am not quitting cold turkey because I get awful caffeine headaches). I am initially going to be starting by stopping pop at home and going out to eat, and also reducing my 2 cans at work down to 1. I think I will do that for about a week or so and then go down to just 1 mini can (6oz) at work for about a week and after that I should be able to get by with NONE!

*Goal of drinking a gallon of water a day, which would be 4, 32oz Powerade bottles worth. I am TERRIBLE at drinking anything but pop, so need to make that a priority.

*BF and I are starting a new Diet Bet online for 1/1/15. Making money motivates me a LOT, so that will be a good extra kick in the butt!

*BF got $250 in Mastercard giftcards for Christmas and we are going to go in together to buy an elliptical for his place so I have options to workout there (too cold outside, currently -23 today with windchill!)

I am ready for 2015!!!

My basement is clean!

December 29th, 2014 at 04:10 pm

BF and my Mother helped me IMMENSELY this weekend and the 3 of us worked together to completely clean out and scrub down my basement on Saturday. I also found another large duffel bag worth of XH's stuff, so that should be everything now since every room has now been gone through.

Everything is lovely and clean and organized. My garbage and recycling bins are overflowing with stuff I got rid of! The only things I have down there is storage things (a few bookshelves, boxes for presents, luggage, stockpile items and rummage sale items) so if/when I find a roomate there is just a small amount of items to move upstairs, but for now I will leave them down there as no reason to make upstairs squishy right now.

So now it is all set for a renter! BF's Aunt has a possible roomate for me (which I am very interested in because she is age 30+ and a lot of the potentials are in the 20ish range which I am not super excited about). If she doesn't pan out in the next week or so then I plan on posting pics on my FB to see if any friends/family are interested. I am really not interested in having a total stranger live with me, so I am going to start with this route and see how it goes.

January 2015 Savings Update

December 29th, 2014 at 03:41 pm

Local Savings $1610.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,625.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $690.00
Total Regular Savings = $25,925.00

Rollover 401K $800
401K $39,028.87
IRA $10,161.59
Total Retirement = $49,990.46

HSA Savings = $10,376.38

Total Regular Savings $25,925.00
Total Retirement Savings $49,990.46
HSA Savings $10,376.38
Total Savings = $86,291.84

$20K Update - Casino Win!

December 28th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Went for a last hurrah for the year casino trip with BF and came home up $400! Not sure how many gamblers are on savings boards (LOL) but I was playing Incan Chief, which is a penny game, I was betting .90 a spin and I got 360 free spins! I ended up about $700 ahead, I played $200 more the rest of the night so was $500 ahead. I gave $100 to BF just because, and the rest to savings!

I also got $100 as part of my Christmas gift from my parents, I think this is the first time ever that I got any cash! The $100 bill was in an envelope that said Garage Door, so I stuck it in savings to go towards that repair

Current Balance $25,400.00
+$400.00 Casino Win
+$100.00 Christmas Present
+$25.00 BF Payday to Joint Deposit
Balance $25,925.00

Local Savings $1610.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,625.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $690.00
Total Savings = $25,925.00

2015 Goals

December 23rd, 2014 at 12:00 am

Normally I like to have many different savings accounts earmarked for specific goals....but since I had everything combined for ease of allocation during the divorce, I am kind of liking the ease of just having a few different accounts. Makes things much simpler!

That being said, it is harder to identify separate savings goals when everything is combined. So I am taking a different approach for my goals for 2015, and just saying to pay for the items with, and reimburse savings to the same starting balance.

Here is what I have so far:

-Pay in cash for repair and painting of living room, kitchen, bathroom and entry way walls
-Pay in cash for new garage door
-Pay in cash for new patio door
-Keep savings at/above $25K by end of year

-Remain Debt free other then mortgage
-Get mortgage balance to under $160K ($166,850 as of 1/1/15)

-Continue contributing 6% to 401K
-Restart contributions to ROTH IRA
-Research and review allocations of ROTH and make appropriate adjustments

-Be positive
-Work on letting go of the past and embracing the future
-Lose 50lbs
*Sub goals for this are
--Work out at gym at least twice a week
--Quit drinking pop (currently drinking 2 cans a day minimum)

-Find Renter for basement

Use it or Lose it - Gym Challenge

December 22nd, 2014 at 05:29 pm

I have decided to do a "Use It or Lose It" Challenge for myself and my gym membership.

I have had a membership at the same gym for somewhere around 6 years. I like my gym a lot, it is very clean, has lots of equipment, TVs on all cardio equipment, showers, tanning, etc. It is also open 24hrs/7 days a week which is a plus. My membership is $25 per month.

To say my attendence at the gym is "spotty" would be generous. I do like working out, it is also one of my only options to watch TV since I cancelled cable in June. But I don't make working out a priority (i.e. I am lazy) and with work, OT, taking care of the house on my own, and having a BF that lives an hr away, I often don't feel that I have time for the gym.

So time for a Use it or Lose it Challenge with the gym. My challenge is going to be to use the gym a minimum of 2 times per week (I know this doesn't seem like much, but I am usually out of town 4 days a week, so that only gives me 3 days to get there, I can still work out at BFs house in addition to my 2+ gym days). I am going to do this for 6 months, and am only giving myself 1 buy week, where if I don't make it twice for 1 week, I get a pass. But only 1 week for the 6 months (If I am sick or out of town on vaca or something I may make an exception, but needs to be valid). If I go twice a week every week for 6 months I will keep my gym membership. If I don't....then it's time to cancel that baby...if I can't even make it 8 days a months then it is def a waste of money.

I started my challenge last week and I went right away on Monday and Tuesday, so off to a good start! This week will be trickier with Christmas Eve and day full of family time, but I think I can go Tuesday after work and the Christmas morning before we go to do festivities.

Week 1 (12/14/14)
Day 1 - 1 hr elliptical, 100 crunches
Day 2 - 30 min treadmill (15 run/15 walk)

$20K Update - BIG Deposit - Back to $25K!

December 21st, 2014 at 08:46 pm

I have been doing a lot of little things to get my finances on auto pilot, and wrapping up small ends from the divorce.
-I changed my internet banking user name (it was previously my married last name).
-I changed my text alerts to my personal checking account so I can check by balance from my phone (it was previously set to check the balance of the joint checking).
-I changed my credit card due date to the 22nd of the month. My mortgage is automatically taken out of my checking account on the 10th, so now I will have one paycheck for the mortgage and one for the credit card. Months when I get 3 paychecks should have an extra paycheck.

Since the change on the due date for my credit card isn't going into effect till next month, I have a decent surplus in my checking account now. So I am transferring that to savings.

Current Balance $24,540.00
+$800.00 Checking Surplus
+$25.00 Payday to Joint Deposit
+$25.00 Payday to Personal Deposit
+$10.00 to get to next even $100 amount
Balance $25,400.00

Local Savings $1610.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,125.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $665.00
Total Savings = $25,400.00

Piggy Bank Mortgage Payment

December 19th, 2014 at 03:50 pm

I cashed in my piggy bank, $46.08. So I rounded it up to $50 and put that against the mortgage principle.

Balance $166,900.00
-$50.00 Principle Payment
New Balance $166,850.00

"Another" Potential Roomate

December 16th, 2014 at 11:59 pm

I have ANOTHER potential lead for a roomate....this is about the 6th person though so I won't get my hopes up. As soon as I do it falls through for some reason. I have a 4 bedroom house, 2 bath, 2 stall garage, fenced yard, hot tub, shed, etc......and now since I have gotten divorced, I live there alone....which is just silly. If BF lived in the same town I am sure we would move in together, but he lives about an hr away so that is not an option right now due to work. So I have been trying (not very hard though) to find a reliable roomate. How my house is set up, the roomate could have their own 2 bedrooms, living room, bathroom and a spot in the garage all to themselves. The only reason I ever need to go into the basement is for the laundry room. The only room we would need to share is the kitchen. Because it is not 2 separate houses, that person would have access to the upstairs (I mean, there is no way for me to lock them out of my area, or them to lock me out of their area) so I only want someone that I know, a friend or family member or a friend of a friend. We shall see if this one pans out or not. I would charge $600 total, (my mortgage is only $768 a month) and that would include wireless internet, heat/electricity and water. If they want cable they would need to pay that themselves as I do not have cable. If I find someone I would put $500 towards my principle every month and use the $100 to cover any additional expenses (additional heat, electricity, and water costs). I have had several people that were interested just by word of mouth, so I think once I have it cleaned up (just needs a good hard scrub down) I could find someone quickly if I really put the word out there, or asked on FB. I just need to actually get the cleaning done. Goal is to have it done by 1/1/15!

$20K Update - Bingo Win!

December 15th, 2014 at 03:48 pm

My BF coaches Girls High School Basketball team so I went and watched them play this last weekend. During halftime they play Bingo for $1 a card as a fund raiser. I paid my $1 and won! I won $33.50! So I put that in joint savings for us and added $1.50 to even out the account.

Current Balance $24,505.00
+$33.50 Bingo Win
+$1.50 Even Out Amount
Balance $24,540.00

Local Savings $800.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,100.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $640.00
Total Savings = $24,540.00

$20K Update - BF Payday

December 12th, 2014 at 03:44 pm

Current Balance $24,455.00
+$25.00 BF Payday to Joint Savings
+$25.00 Even out Amount to get to next $500 mark
Balance $24,505.00

Local Savings $800.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,100.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $605.00
Total Savings = $24,505.00

December 2014 Savings Update

December 10th, 2014 at 06:16 pm

Total Regular Savings $24,455.00
Total Retirement Savings $48,916.63
HSA Savings $10,376.38
Total Savings = $83,748.01

December 2014 Mortgage Payment

December 10th, 2014 at 03:29 pm

December 2014 Mortgage Payment

Balance $167,400.00
+$505.69 Interest
-$768.45 Regular Payment
-$237.24 Principle Payment
New Balance $166,900.00

Definitely not where I expected to be for my last payment of 2014. But it is what it is....and it IS going down...again...SIGH...

I am close to being back to over $25K in savings again, once there I really want to focus on putting all my extra funds, especially my FB sale money towards the mortgage balance.

$20K Update - TONS of FB Sales and a new auto-deposit

December 8th, 2014 at 07:13 pm

I decided to add a new auto-deposit of $25 per paycheck to my personal savings. That way my savings is going up $50 a month, and my joing savings with BF is going up $100 a month ($50 from me and $50 from him).

Also I had a GAZILLION sales on FB this weekend! Between me, my Mom, 1 sale for my SIL's sister, and 1 sale for BF, we made $390! I made $174! I will post a breakdown of my sales later this week.

I also worked at BF's grocery store for a few hrs yesterday, they are short staffed and behind with the holidays, so I came in and made meat and cheese trays! It was pretty fun and I made $30, so putting that in savings too! Smile

BF made $80 in a football pick'em game, so he is going to put that in the Joint Savings and I am matching it, so added that as well.

Current Balance $24,100.00
+$30.00 Working at Deli - Personal Savings
+$25.00 Payday to Personal Savings
+$25.00 Payday to Joint Savings
+$174.00 FB Sales ($80.00 to Joint and $94.00 to Personal)
+$80.00 BF Football Pick'em Winner - Joint
+$10.00 BF Extra Deposit
+$6.00 Even Out Amount
+$5.00 (Some how my Personal Savings total got off by $5, so this is correcting that)
Balance $24,455.00

Local Savings $800.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,075.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $580.00
Total Savings = $24,455.00

Some of my favorite savings strategies

December 5th, 2014 at 08:26 pm

I posted some of my favorite ways to save on The Women in Red Savers board today, and I thought I would share them on here as well. These strategies have always worked well for me to save! Smile

I am a HUGE believer in nickel and diming your savings. You do no need a $100 to save money, you don't need $10, you don't even need $1. All you need is 1 red cent to start. Through it in a jar. You started!

Here are my personal favorite ways to save:

Save all of your change, once a month take it to the bank and deposit it into savings. Do not use a Coin Star or anything else that charges you to turn in your change, nearly all banks have a coin machine and will process it for free if you have an account there.

When you get your monthly or quarterly interest in your savings accounts, add a deposit to get that amount to at least the next $5 amount, or even try for the next even $100 amount if it's not too far away. So if after your interest goes in your new balance is $379.18, deposit another $20.82 to get to that $400 mark. It might not seem like much, but I am sure I have saved at least another $1000 by doing this every month.

When you make a savings deposit, do the same thing as with the interest, round it up to the next $5, or even $100 mark (depending on what the amount is). So if I got a rebate for $12.00, I deposit $15 or $20 into saving.List item 4

Put all rebates, bonuses, tax returns, gift money (unless for a specific gift), found money (on the ground, in your car, in the washer, etc.), rummage sale or online selling, recycling money, and any and all other "extra/surprise/not standard" funds into savings. You survived without them before, you don't need them now!

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Set up an automatic savings plan. It doesn't have to be a lot. If you can only start with $5, then start with $5. Then next month try to move it to $10, whatever amount you start with, just try to keep moving it up, no matter how slowly or gradually. Try to set it up for every paycheck, that way you know the money will be in your account on payday, and it will already be transferred and gone before you even have a chance to miss it!

There will (of course) be times when you have to take money out of savings. Sometimes this will be for a planned purchase. Sometimes this will be for an emergency or an unexpected expense. That is ok! That is what your savings is for! Do not get discouraged. If you have to take $100 out of savings today for a car repair, but tomorrow you find $5 in an old Christmas still put that $5 in savings. The old notion of "slow and steady wins the race" is completley true of savings. Just keep making those deposits no matter how big or small and they WILL add up!

$20K Update

December 2nd, 2014 at 09:22 pm

Gosh I am having a lot of $20K Updates lately! Unfortunately this one is to go! I was hoping to skate through and not have to take any money out of savings, but a lot of non-monthly items have added up and I can't cover out of checking account like I was hoping to do. I had 3 birthdays (BF ($200), brother ($25) and niece ($20)) as well as the new hot tub cover ($300) and bi-yearly car insurance ($135), plus Christmas gifts. For now I am going to take out $1000, but if I don't need it all after payday I will put back what ever I can.

Current Balance $25,100.00
-$1000.00 Christmas, BDs, Insurance, Hot tub cover
Balance $24,100.00

Local Savings $700.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,015.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $385.00
Total Savings = $24,100.00

$20K Update - Capital 360 Interest

December 2nd, 2014 at 06:22 pm

Current Balance $25,000.00
+$14.44 Capital 360 Interest
+$10.56 Even Out Amount
Balance $25,100.00

Local Savings $1,200.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,515.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $385.00
Total Savings = $25,100.00

$20K Update

December 2nd, 2014 at 02:53 am

Added my FB Sales to savings!

Current Balance $25,000.00
+$67.50 FB Sales
+$7.50 Even Out Amount
Balance $25,075.00

Local Savings $1,200.00
Capitol 360 Savings $23,500.00
Joint Capitol 360 Savings $375.00
Total Savings = $25,075.00