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Archive for December, 2013

A Year of Snowflakes

December 31st, 2013 at 03:50 pm

In 2012 I decided to keep track of all of my snowflakes. I am happy to report that I also kept track in 2013. Over the past year my grand total is $3,480!!! I can't believe that I saved almost $3,500 just by keep track of those small amounts that we take for granted. Keep in mind this isn't from money I've earned or worked for but from things like rebates, returns, selling stuff, gifts, etc...

I share this with you as we enter the New Year to encourage you to save those small amounts and watch them add up over time. Small snowflakes do indeed turn into snowballs with time.

My 2014 goal is $4,000 and I'm already at $284 with the 52 Week Savings challenge that I started 1 Dec instead of waiting. I plan on using all snowflakes except $750 for Christmas, to pay down my mortgage.
Here's to more Snowflaking in 2014!!!

52 Week Savings Challenge Update

December 31st, 2013 at 02:56 am

Hello everyone! After returning a few items today, I deposited the $1 bills that I have been saving since 1 Dec. I can't believe I had $66 dollars saved but some of that was cash from previous returned items as well. So now I've completed week 1-12, 49-52. I still have an item I need to return to Kohl's and will add that to the challenge as well.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge- 1 Jan

December 30th, 2013 at 08:04 pm

What a great way to start the year! I'm not new to smoothies or juicing but this will be great to get me back on track. Anyone care to join in? If so just sign-up below

Text is http://simplegreensmoothies.com/30-day-challenge and Link is

Frugal Tidbits

December 30th, 2013 at 04:58 am

I’m a member of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover forum and another member proposed some small steps that can help you get out of debt by taking small steps. I wanted to share her list with everyone and I hope you find it helpful.

Are you going to second hand shop?
Are you going to get adept and selling stuff on Craig's List?
Are you going to become a coupon master?
Are you going to learn to cook your favorite restaurant meals at home?
Are you going to learn to sew?
Are you going to learn to cut your family's hair?
Are you going to groom your pets yourself?
Are you going to get really good at making the best home packed lunches?
Are you going to start a soup and/or smoothie bucket?
Are you going to learn how to plan meals, shop the specials and cook from scratch?
Are you going to get better about borrowing instead of buying?
Are you going to finally make combining trips a habit?
Are you going to try planting a vegetable and herb garden?
Are you going to start taking clothes to consignment?
Are you going to shop for a cheaper cell phone service?
Are you going to shop your insurance for a better deal?
Are you going to learn what your appliances cost to use and use them less?
Are you going to ride the bus or carpool?
Are you going to switch to cloth diapers?
Are you going to give up the cleaning lady or lawn service?
Are you going to learn to change your own oil?
Are you going to stop throwing out food?
Are you going to learn to do minor repairs around the house?
Are you going to let people know when you have a need and are looking for an inexpensive alternative?
Are you going to calculate how much of your budget is eaten up by interest charges?
Are you going to start exercising to reduce health care expenses?
Are you going to give up the gym membership and start cycling, running or walking instead?

Debt piles up with a 1000 little charges. One way you get out of debt is by eliminating 1000 little expenses. Do you feel like you can start taking on any of the items above? If so, commit to a couple and report back on your successes and failures

Loving Chase!!

December 23rd, 2013 at 08:42 pm

I’m loving Chase right about now! Previously I posted about getting an offer in the mail stating if you open a new savings account with them they will give you $200(other stipulations apply but nothing very hard). Well today when I went to pay on my Chase Sapphire card online, a promotion appeared where if you open a checking account, they will give you $200. The main stipulation is that you have to have some sort of direct deposit of $500 or more to avoid any fees. Well that’s pretty easy for me to do, I will just change my GI Bill payment to go there every month. The account also has to stay open 6 months or you will lose the deposit. I’m also still working on the Chase Sapphire reward of spending $3k to get $500 back. So after it’s all said and done, Chase will be giving me $900! See why I’m loving them Smile

RereadingTotal Money Makeover

December 23rd, 2013 at 05:11 am

As some of you may know, I am a Dave Ramsey follower when it comes to my finances. I’m currently on what he calls Baby Step 6, which is paying off your mortgage. In an effort to get me motivated for 2014, I decided to reread his book Total Money Makeover (if u haven’t read it, I highly recommend it!). I started with the chapter that pertains to BS6 and it has really hit an accord with me this time around. I think it’s because I’m closer to paying off my mortgage (projected July 2015). Dave Ramsey states “every dollar in your budget that you can find above living, retirement, and college should be used to make extra payments on your mortgage”. I’ve known this and have been practicing it since I bought my home in 2011 but I’ve also been throwing snowflakes at other goals instead of all at the mortgage. So what I’ve decided to do for 2014 is to throw all snowflakes at the mortgage, except $750 that I will use for Christmas. I was going to put increases to income at the mortgage and snowflakes towards Christmas and a trip to the Bahamas in 2015 but now I will focus on Christmas and the mortgage only.
I know that there are others here that are focusing on paying down/off the mortgage and we should post often to help keep each other motivated and accountable because as Dave Ramsey puts it “paying off the mortgage is a marathon, not a sprint”.

Another 52 Week Savings Update

December 21st, 2013 at 05:41 pm

My HoA dues came in $20 less than what I budgeted for so I'm taking that $20 and marking off weeks 9&10. I have now complete weeks 1-10 and 51-52. I've also been saving my $1 bills since starting this challenge 1 Dec and will deposit it at the end of the month to avoid temptation Smile

52 Week Savings Challenge Update

December 21st, 2013 at 03:16 am

Hello, I hope everyone is doing well! Today I received an unexpected $50 Kohl's gift card as a Christmas gift, so I'm going to reduce my clothing sinking fund by $50 and add it to the challenge. So far I've completed weeks: 1-8, 51-52. Speaking of Kohl's, I also received an email from them with a coupon of $10 off any purchase, so I will go within the next few days to buy something totaling close to $10 as possible and will add that to the challenge as well!!

2014 Income Increase

December 16th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

With the increase in my GI bill payment, military retirement pay, and VA(Veteran Affairs)compensation, my total increase comes to $160 a month. The best part $108 of that is tax free Smile I will send all of it towards extra principal payment to the mortgage.

Side note: I received $3 from Pinecone which is going towards 2014 52 Week Savings Challenge.

Afternoon Snowflakes

December 12th, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I received a rebate of $10 that I had mailed off for a couple months ago and I returned an item today to Big Lots for $5. That brings my grand total for 2013 to $3500! My original goal was $3000 so it's all good. I've decided to take the $15 and add it to the $108 I posted about this morning and throw one last snowball at the mortgage.

This will be it for tracking 2013 snowflakes, any snowflakes excluding cc rewards from here on out will go towards my 2014 52 Week Money Challenge of reaching $1378 nlt 1 Dec 2014!

Early Morning Snowflake

December 12th, 2013 at 01:52 pm

I just checked my USAA account and saw that my annual distribution hit in the amount of $108. I knew it was coming but the amount is larger than I expected...gotta love when that happens SmileNow I need to decide if I'm going to put it on the mortgage or towards 52 Week Money Challenge!

Moving My Emergency Fund

December 10th, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Currently I have my emergency fund sitting in my Smartypig account earning 1% annually. Received an offer in the mail today from chase where if you open up a new savings account, deposit $15,000, and keep it there for 90 days they will pay a $200 bonus. The account has to be open at least 6 months but the full amount only has to stay there 90 days. After the 90 days are up, I only have to maintain a $300 balance to avoid fees. If they want to pay me to park my money, I will take it! The offer is good until 3 Feb so I'm going to wait until this quarter's interest is paid on 31 Dec and then start my transfer process. Glad to not have to spend money for once to get rewarded. YAY to more 2014 snowflakes in the forecast!!!

Done with Ebay for 2013

December 9th, 2013 at 03:13 am

Well the two items that I had listed didn't end up selling tonight so I'm calling it done for ebay selling this year. I sold $389 worth of stuff this year so I'm not complaining.

Side note...I get a two break from school starting 18 Dec and I plan to take advantage of it by doing things around the house that I've been putting off. With that said, I'm thinking that will be the time I also end 2013 snowflake tracking. Anything that comes in after that will go towards 2014 52 Week Money Challenge. I just want to spend the last couple weeks relaxing and preparing for the New Year!!!

What Do You Count as Snowflakes?

December 8th, 2013 at 07:20 pm

I know many of us here practice the concept of capturing what we call snowflakes. Snowflakes are normally considered the amounts of money you may get back from returning items, rebates, coming in under budget, etc... In order to determine what my 2014 snowflake goal will be I'm curious what everyone considers snowflakes to be.

Historically I haven't counted any increases in my military retirement pay or VA payment as snowflakes but now I'm thinking why not count them? It's always said "the more we make, the more we tend to spend". While I was in the military, the one thing I practiced was whenever I got promoted or a raise, I took that increase and saved it because I was use to living without it anyway. That way when I reached higher ranks, I was still living off of what I made earlier in my career.

I say all of this to ask you whether you think pay raises or cost of living adjustments of any sort should be considered as snowflakes?

52 Week Money Challenge

December 6th, 2013 at 07:22 pm

As I posted earlier, I'm starting the 2014 challenge now because part of it will be used for Christmas 2014. Earlier I was able to mark off weeks 1-4 because a bill came in under budget. Well today I returned an item to Wal-Mart for $15 and I got an email from Kmart stating they were giving their members 3000 points or $3 in points just because. Well I spent it today so I reduced my grocery budget accordingly. So now I'm able to mark off weeks 1-7!! I will not count this $18 towards my December snowflake total(which is going quite well but that's another post)

Amazon Deal-$5 off $35 Purchase

December 4th, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Check out the below, I just did it and it stated my promotional credit would be applied to next purchase. I plan on using this in conjunction with my AMEX Amazon purchase I mentioned earlier. Basically I will get $75 in gift cards for $45, cant beat that! Hurry not sure how long this will last.

BTW it didn't publish my wish list to Facebook only the comment I put it which said I wanted to have good times with friends and family for the holidays.

Text is http://hip2save.com/2013/12/04/amazon-hot-create-publicshared-amazon-wishlist-5-off-any-35-purchase-credit-must-use-by-1215/#comments and Link is

2014 52 Week Money Challenge

December 4th, 2013 at 02:26 am

I'm sure many of you read about the money challenge from the beginning of the year where you save the amount based on the week you are on. For example, if u are on week 1, you save $1 and if you are on week $15 you save $15. If you are consistent, at the year of the year you will have $1378. Well I've decided to start now instead of waiting until 1 Jan. The main reason is because like before, I will be using part of the funds to pay for Christmas 2014 and I figured now would be the perfect time.

I plan on reaching goal by doing things like coming in under budget, saving my $1 bills again, selling stuff on Ebay, etc... I will not use any of my cc bonuses that I have coming towards this particular goal but they will go towards by overall 2014 snowflake total once I decide what that goal will be. I've already created line items in YNAB to help me keep track.

Anyone care to join me in saving over $1300 for the next 52 weeks?

A Few Flakes Already

December 3rd, 2013 at 12:31 am

I received a rebate check from ShopatHome for $25 and a $5 Amazon gc via swagbucks. An item I had listed on Ebay last night sold as well so as soon as I receive payment I will update my total!

Check Your AMEX Again!!

December 2nd, 2013 at 01:43 pm

There's a bunch of new offers. I got the below:

ToysRUs: Spend 25 get 5
Kohl's: Spend 50 get 10
Chevron: Spend 40 get 5

Make sure u check expiration dates a well.

Check Your AMEX Offers

December 1st, 2013 at 08:23 pm

I currently have a offer where if you spend $75 on Amazon.com, they will give you a $25 statement credit!!

Cyber Monday-Possible Snowflakes

December 1st, 2013 at 04:04 pm

If you plan on taking advantage of Cyber Monday like myself, I just wanted to remind you about using Ebates to possibly earn you cash back on your purchases. Basically you check Ebates to see if the site you plan on purchasing from is listed and instead of going directly to the site, you go through Ebates and earn a certain percentage cash back. For instance, they are currently paying 4% cash back to shop at Walmart.

Once again, don't make purchases that you don't have the money for so you don't have to worry about making returns for items you shouldn't have purchased! Happy Holidays!

Text is Ebates and Link is http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=fdQXrcGDT3IZze4i5pM7TA%3D%3D