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Financial Updates (from EOM Aug/Beg Sept)

September 12th, 2017 at 01:38 pm

401k Update (Self only)

Personally Contributed $11,710.92 YTD
Company Matched $4,391.84 YTD

TOTAL Contributions YTD: $16,102.76


RETIREMENT UPDATE
Current Personal Retirement Balance Total (without Spouse) $141,464.07 (UP from $119,755.27 on Jan 10th)



Health SAVINGS UPDATE
H.S.A Cash Amount: $43.24
H.S.A Investigated Account: $1743.20
Y.S.A (H.S.A) Account: $1916.36

Health Savings Accounts Total: $3702.80


Non-Mortgage DEBT UPDATE:
CC B (0%) $6,281.41
CC P (0%) $2,171.38
CC W (0%) Furniture Purchase $1754.35
CC B (PIF Monthly) $48.48
CC AZ (PIF Monthly) $66.31
CC T (PIF Monthly) $208.44

TOTAL: $10,530.37

SLUSH FUND SAVINGS UPDATE (to be used throughout the year as irregular expenses occur):

Facebook Kid Sales (sale & purchase of items for the 2 year old via yard and FB sales) $199.50
Facebook House Sales (sale & purchase of items for the house) $41.00
Clothing Fund: $60
2017 Gifts Fund $1271.00
2018 Gifts Fund $140.13 (all from free sources of income)
House Slush Fund $329.94
Home Upkeep $52.29
Medical Slush $93.26
Auto Slush $320.84
Membership Slush $52.48
2017 Gifts Fund $1271.00
Car Insurance Savings $195 (paid bi-yearly)


REGULAR SAVINGS:
Joint Savings: $500.19
EF1 Savings: $13,000
EF2 Savings $3855.03
2018 Gifts Fund $587.23 (all from free sources of income)
Nephew UGMA Acct: $947.74
Daughter UGMA Acct: $300.01
Daughter 529: $752.81
CC Repayment: $184



Alternative Income

October 18th, 2015 at 09:07 pm

I met my gifts/Christmas budget goal for 2015 and have started on 2016.

For the 2015 budget, the funds were made up of automatic savings of $60 per month, small amounts of cashflow and some from alternative income.

2015's alterative income has included:

$10 from Gyft
$350.69 Credit card rewards
$36.23 Ebates
$76 Chang jar
$20 Bing Rewards
$10 MyCokeRewards
$28.35 Settlement check
$49 insurance reimbursement
$40 inbox dollars
$25 Mypoints

TOTAL $645.27

Can't beat that!

Any further extra money is going to my 2016 Gifts/Christmas fund.

So far, I have:

1365 My Points (Goal 3500-3700)
332 Bing Rewards (Goal 475 for next $5 AGC)
2420 Recyclebank points (no goal exactly)
$10.20 Inbox Dollars (GOAL $30)
1572 Mycokerewards (Goal 1400 for $20 gc)
$6.61 Shopathome
$6.31 Ebates

My Oct, Nov & Dec's auto budget ($60/mo) is going directly into the 2016 fund for a nice jump start. I already had set aside some overtime funds as well. More family to buy for with all the new kiddos (my new little one, my sister-in-law's new baby, etc)

Enjoying Maternity Leave/Christmas Gifts

September 26th, 2015 at 07:26 pm

We have been enjoying our joint maternity leave and are about halfway through. Our little one is so much fun!

She's sleeping today, so I did a little 'shopping'. I used the info from Laura (Keeping it Frugal)'s post about nearly free clothing. I ordered 2 outfits for the baby and a work shirt for myself and paid $0.52. Can't beat that!!

Today, I used a tip from a frugality site that I like to order 5x7 Wooden photo panels from Walgreens.

I used a picture of my nephew playing soccer & ordered 2 for my sister & mom for Christmas. I used a picture of my 2 year old niece playing that I had taken earlier this year and ordered 2 for my mom & sister for Christmas.

Then I made one 5x7 of my husband holding the baby in an outfit that my MIL crocheted and one of my husband's nephew holding the baby. My Mother-In-Law will go ape over them!

Then I took a picture I had taken at our Little One's 1 month birthday and ordered a copy for my sister, my mom & one for myself.

Then I a fun picture of my little one for myself and a picture of the dog in a funny pose for a gift for my husband.

Total of 11 5x7 Wooden photos (normally $14.99 each for a total of $164.89) for $3.75 each (for a grand total of $41.75. Got some great Birthday/Christmas gifts!!

Birthday Season has started!

October 24th, 2014 at 02:25 am

My Mother-in-Law's birthday was a week and a half ago. We went out to dinner ($30)and gave her a gift card to ACMoore for $50. It was a splurge, but she is going through a rough financial time and she makes crafts that she sells to help her through it. The GC will help make that happen!

My Mother's birthday is Saturday, but we went out to dinner with my parents, sister and nephew. My Dad snuck the tab, but we paid the tip (sharing with sis). Better not to argue with my dad! LOL

So $15 on dinner and we gave her a photo book I made of my nephew ($8.49), a mini photo book of my niece )($0.60) and a bag with her initial stitched in it ($8). She loved them!

In November, we have my 2 sisters-in-laws birthdays, my niece's and my husbands, plus 2 good friends. December is my nephew's birthday plus my step-nephews. And then of course there is Christmas.

Thank goodness for my all year planning!

Thoughtful & Frugal Gift for my Dad!

October 1st, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Last weekend, my father & I went to Longwood Gardens, in PA. Its a beautiful garden/conservatory that was once part of a DuPont Estate. The place is something that is close to my family's hearts for many reasons.

However, my Dad & I are the photography hobbyists and last year we went for the day on a Groupon. Groupon had the same deal again this year - Tickets at $9 each, so he & I headed up there on Sunday.

We went very early in the morning & skipped the sites we have seen the most and headed straight to their new section, the Meadow Garden. Absolutely gorgeous! We spent about 4 hours walking around, talking and taking pictures.

Sunday afternoon, I edited and uploaded many to share. My Dad said he loved the day and we promised to make it a tradition and plan to go next year too.

Anywhoo, in addition to the Groupon discounted tickets, I found a great way to commemorate the day after receiving a free Shutterfly Coffee mug code from Kelloggs. Thanks to their random email, I put one of the pictures from the day at Longwood on a mug.

Mugs are normally $14.99, but I only have to pay the $6.99 shipping for a gift for my coffee addicted father. Woohoo!

Christmas 2014

September 29th, 2014 at 03:05 pm

My 2014 Christmas/Birthdays goal has been to fund the year through a small budgeted amount and 'free money'. Any additional funds I have made, I have put into that fund.

To Date for the year, I have put $1060.66 in the Gift/Christmas Fund! Of that amount, $821.61 has been from the 'free money' sources.

I have made the following to date:

-$23 in Amazon Rewards from Bing (started late this year)
-$395.89 in Credit Card Rewards
-$175 in Checking account bonuses
-$6 in Price Matches
-$32.47 from Inbox Dollars
-$53.11 Ebates Rewards
-$65 in Superbowl winnings
-$61.44 old escrow reimbursement
-$10 Free Starbucks gift card

To date for the year, I have spent $311.50. Not too shabby as a bulk of my shopping is done!

2014 Christmas Fund Update!

February 25th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

$264.74

$10.96 Ebates
$65.00 Superbowl bet winnings
$10.00 Monthly Automatic Deposit
$0.07 Interest Deposit
$39.48 Amazon Rewards
$25.00 Citi TY Rewards
$32.47 Inbox Dollars
$10.00 Monthly Automatic Deposit
$0.05 Interest
$4.00 Christmas present price adjustment
$2.00 Christmas present price adjustment
$10.00 Monthly Automatic Deposit
$55.71 Amazon Rewards

2014 Christmas Funds updates (Snowflakes!)

January 6th, 2014 at 07:03 pm

Getting a great start on my 2014 Christmas Fund!

I currently have:
$55.71 from credit card rewards.
$6.00 in price change refunds from previously purchased gifts
$0.05 in interest from ING
$20 (2 $10 auto deductions from checking to ING account once a month)
TOTAL $81.76

I just requested
$32.47 from Inbox Dollars
$25.00 in credit card rewards
TOTAL $57.47 (New Total will be $139.23)

I am expecting
- to request $33 from a cc when the points post 1/20
-9 Ebates when they mail 2/15
TOTAL $42 (Next New Total will be $181.23)

Each month, $10 goes inot the account and obviously there is a bit of interest. I definitely call this a great start!
That's a pretty darn good start, don't you say!

Snowflakes Updates!

December 8th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

All of this talk about starting to save for Christmas 2014 has me thinking! I am already off to a very good start!

-Waiting for a credit card rewards check of $55.71
-Will be able to cash $33 in cc rewards at the end of December (another card)
-Expecting $50 in Old Navy rewards due to a promotion for certain members. For every non-Old Navy use of the card, earn 250 points ($500 points = $5 Old Navy bucks) up to 20 times. I used the card for Christmas gifts & is paid off in full. This will go toward my clothing budget and funds from the clothing budget will go into my Christmas fund as they apply each month with the budget
-About ready to cash out $30.73 from Inbox Dollars. Just waiting for pending points to hit.
-Expecting a $9 Ebates payout in February
-Bing Rewards points are 203 of the 525 goal (for a $5 Amazon gift card)
-MyPoints 1271 out of 7600 Goal
-Swagbucks 144 of 450 Amazon Gift Card goal
-Recyclebank 900 points, not sure of goal

I definitely feel like that's a good start!

Christmas Coming!

November 18th, 2013 at 02:50 am

I took a look at my gift closet & gifts I have gathered specifically for Christmas.

Compared that to my Christmas List & here is where I stand:

FH (future Husband)
TBD Budget $30 (We agreed)
Mom - TBD Budget $40
Dad - TBD Budget $40
Sister - [DONE]
Wine Money Clutch ($4)
Scarf ($2.2)
Homemade magnets
Nephew K
$25 Gamestop gift card (from MyPoints)
$50 GC to clothing store (Need to buy)
Xbox Live Membership (To be purchased)
Nephew K Birthday (in December)
$25 into Car fund
$40 cash for sports needs
$1.73 Baseball Hat
Niece 1 month old) - [DONE]
$2.99 Crinkle Toy
$3.25 Finger Puppets
Kid B - [DONE]
$20 Gamestop gift card (from CokeRewards)
Kid B December Birthday - [DONE]
$20 Regal Gift gards (from Mypoints)
Kid J - [DONE]
$1.45 Bracelet & headband
$3.89 Hello Kitty Watch
$3.00 Hello Kitty Jewelry
FMIL (future Mother-in-Law)
Magnets
TBD gift
FSIL A (Future Sister - in Law) - [DONE]
Magnets
FSIL M [DONE]
Magnets
FSIL JM [DONE]
Magnets
FBIL (Future Brother-in-Law)
TBD
Friends M&E [DONE]
Magnets
Friend L [DONE]
Magnets
Friend NB [DONE]
Water Bottle ($3)
Scarf, pink ($4.34)
Friend NG [DONE]
earrings ($2)
magnets
book ($3)
Friend MC
TBD
Friend L [DONE]
Scarf holder $2.99

Payday & Countdown to Christmas

December 14th, 2012 at 01:43 pm

Today was payday and after the expected bills were paid out of this paycheck, I was able to:

-Put $5 into my gas sinking fund (for extra gas usage in summer). Any leftover at the end of the month goes in there too

-put $48 into my emergency fund ING account

-set aside $120 for groceries for the 14th through 31st envelope

-put $190 for entertainment expenses 14th-31st envelope

-have $140 left of my Christmas budget for last minute gifts & items to bring to parties

-$20 in toiletries envelope

-$20 in the pets envelope

- leave $45 in checking for gas for this pay period

The entertainment & groceries is where I really go astray, so I plan on working hard to be able to stick to to the budget. I plan on NOT going over!

On that note, I know tonight is date night. I have a $25 groupon for a local pub where the BF & I will have dinner & a drink. I am hoping to not go over $10 out of pocket

Tomorrow, we are decorating for CHristmas, watching Christmas movies & in the evening going to see his nephew in a play ($10 ticket). I am planning on making breakfast, lunch & dinner at home.

Sunday, I am doing a dollar store run with my girlfriend...we get excited about all the holiday stuff there & its a tradition. $10 of my CHristmas budget is earmarked for it. We will also do brunch on a groupon that I have. I am hoping to get out of brunch with $10 out of pocket.

Monday night, I am doing Trivia at a bar with some friends. 1/2 price pizza and free trivia. I earmarked $25 for this.

Wednesday night, I am having dinner with another good friend & exchanging our gifts. We are doing $5 burgers at a local pub that does EXCELLENT Burgers! I earmarked $10 as I won't drink and will probably order water.

Thursday night, the boyfriend is taking me to a CHristmas Burlesque show. We saw this troup a few months ago & loved the show. He splurged for the tickets, so I will pay for the drinks there. Probably looking at $30-40 there.

Next Friday, Saturday & Sunday are up in the air for plans and the following week will be Christmas. I think we'll be doing a happy hour with friends at some point & I was thinking of seeing if another set of friends wants to come over for brunch to do our gift exchange.

So there is little wiggle room in my entertainment budget, but I am happy to not spend on eating in the work cafe or having fast food to have the experience and time with friends and at events.

Getting Thing Done!

October 11th, 2012 at 01:46 am

After a long period of inactivity due to heavy social schedule, plus lack of energy that I have been attributing to the thyroid, I FINALLY have energy to get things done.

Sunday, my family, my boyfriend & I took both my nephew and the bf's nephew to the PA Renn Faire. I spent quite a bit, but it was so worth it. We really had a great time!

Monday, I stayed home & started in on getting things done. This mostly consisted of napping then organizing the kitchen/pantry now that my Roommate moved out. The boyfriend is moving in Dec 1st,but in the mean time, I can clean, organize & enjoy having the house to myself!

In the last week, based on some promos I found - I earned 18 Redbox credits. I used 2 over the weekend.

I am pickingup some ideas on Pinterest. Tonight,I painted my keys with nail polish to make it easier to tell them apart. I have a house key, a screen door key, key to my parents, key to my work desk, key to the mailbox and a few misc ones.

Here's a quick of the final paint job! As you can see, I love different colors Smile



Between yesterday & today, I worked full days then:
-Cancelled lawn guy (now that the broken foot is officially healed)
-signed up for 2013 Medical from work
-Called in a prescription refill
-returned books to the library
-picked up a window sealing kit at the dollar store & 1 organizational tote for the kitchen
-relisted several items on craigslist
-Cleaned out fridge(had to - there was a big cherry limeade spill) and then cleaned the kitchen, wiped down cabinets, counters, ect and washed the kitchen floor. Also polished the kitchen table
-Cancelled subscribe & save deal that I got on Amazon
for toilet paper
-ordered a book on amazon for my mom in that same deal (she'll be paying me back)
-requested 2 $5 Amazon gift cards from swagbucks
-requested reimbursement from insurance for prescriptions paid out of pocket
-picked up prescription
-made appointment with guy of Craigslist to sell my old mower (now I use the reel mower)
-Put several items to sell on my county's Classifieds group on facebook
-obtained 40 MyCokeRewards from a friend off the Classifieds (I use these rewards for soda coupons). The boyfriend and a friend collect them for me. I am always looking for more codes though!
- started wrapping my coaster gifts for christmas
-updated new points into my coke awards
-Waiting for $10 earnings to hit my InboxDollars account so I can request my $40 payout. I earned it by ordering 3 bottles of wine for total of $15.01. These will be used for holiday partys and were already on my to-buy list
-working on swagbucks - want to get to another 450 points
-finish laundry
-fold laundry
-put out Halloween decorations
-watched Netflix movie
-made dinner at home

Tomorrow, I am doing a (cheap) dinner and a (free) movie with a friend. So my to-do list is much smaller:

1. 10/15 budget
2. 10/31 budget
3. 11/15 budget
4. budget after BF moves in (paying 1/2)
5. Have fun with friend!

Good & Bad & Good again

September 18th, 2012 at 01:45 am

Friday night, the boyfriend & I had date night in. We rented Battleship off Amazon (for free with my Swagbucks AGC), I made dinner & we had a few drinks & enjoyed ourselves. Pretty frugal

Saturday - we went with my College roommate & her husband to a Brew Fest an hour away near a casino. The tickets were $25 each, but I found a groupon that did 2 tickets, plus $15 in free slot play each for $25 total. So - a savings of $55! We enjoyed ourselves, played our free slot money, enjoyed free sodas after the beer tasting & headed home. Very frugal day...

Until...I dropped my cell phone in the toilet. UGH. I was able to get it out quickly (and this was a clean toilet - hadn't gone yet). I dried off what I could with towels, took the battery out, and when I got home, put it in rice overnight. With the help of Droid forums, I was able to factory reset the phone & it is working again. I am a lucky, lucky woman.

If it had not worked, I would have just used my boyfriend's old phone. I was not putting anymore funds into a cell phone.

Sunday, I went to the Farmer's market, the grocery store and then Weight Watchers. I had HOA stuff to do at home, slept a good part of the day, made a yummy dinner & enjoyed some Netflix.

Today, I had a no spend day - packed healthy & did not go out of bounds Smile

Tomorrow - I have a 6am work call - so hoping to get out of the office a bit early tomorrow!

My physical therapy has ended (insurance will no longer pay). I am doing at home exercises for 2 weeks and if its not better, going back to the foot doc to fight the insurance. Fun

On another insurance note, I am STILl waiting for my $389. I keep calling & as of today, they said the funds will be back in 48 hours. I will believe it when I see it.

New news - Roommate is moving out (it's been a year & my boyfriend & I are ready to live together).

So it will be a weird transitional month, financially as she moves out the 1st weekend in October and I don't have an exact date for when the boyfriend will move in. But it won't be bad, just cash flow tightness.

So for now - pack food as much as possible, frugal activities, selling on craigslist & finishing Christmas stuff with freebies!

More Coasters Made -FRUGALLY!

September 12th, 2012 at 01:55 am

I am making coasters for Christmas gifts this year - I showed photos in a previous post. It involves scrapbooking pape, modge-podge, ceramic tiles & acrylic spray. SUPER easy to make!

I made 11 set of 4 tonight. My mom has requested holidy ones (snowmen, clovers, hearts, santas, ect) so for her birthday & Christmas, she is getting a LOT of coasters!

The paper usually costs 19-59 cents each (with coupons). 1 page of paper will make four coasters. I bought the modge podge on sale for approx $3. Coasters are $0.16 eah at Lowes and I purchased a BIG roll of felt adhesives for the bottom (so to not scratch furniture).

I made more tonight becuase I finally went to Lowe to get more tiles. I am glad that I waited because I was able to get a $10 of any purchase coupon by signing up for their MyLowes program. I used that coupon to purchase a box of 100 tiles. Seemed like a lot, but I went through 44 of them tonight! My out of pocket was $6.00 or $0.06 per tile. Not too shabby!

The best part is that I am picking paper that goes with the person's own style, so the gift itself is pretty personal.

Soooo close to meeting my Mostly Free Christmas 2012 Goal!

June 23rd, 2012 at 07:28 pm

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to have a mostly free Christmas this year. I have used Swagbucks, MyPoints, Cashcrate & InboxDollars, survey sites, and a few credit card rewards to meet this goal.

I cashflowed approx $66 as I found things I liked for future gifts.

I earned $147.07 in Amazon Gift cards (plus $79.99 that I used for a reel lawn mower).

I earned $437.67 in cash - through rewards, gift cards, ect that I turned into cash.

This totals $651.13.

My goal is 760.38 which includes budget for:
-gifts for family/friends
-my boyfriends end of November bday
-my 2 nephew's bdays (in December)
-my neices bday in the fall
-fudge for coworkers/neighbors
-homemade coasters
-mom's bday in Late october
-Christmas cards
-Uncles card/postage to england
-small decor additions
-work friends Happy HOur
-big New Year's Eve outting - funds for weekend

Once I reach the goal (and I will based on Mypoints cards about ready to cash in) - I will work to build a gift budget for the rest of birthdays in the year and eventually 2013's budget. My swagbucks earnings have taken a bit of a dive lately, so I will have to work to maintain this level. I find this fun Smile

Longest I have ever been away from here! Free $ update

May 4th, 2012 at 09:42 pm

Hello All - while I have been reading, I have not been riding. LOTS of things going on personal, family, financial, ect. But to start off my coming back, I wanted to update my "Nearly Free Christmas Goals"

Christmas Cash Update – TOTAL: $526.05

Cash – Free Money in an ING account $168.24
2011 Rollover Amount $1.06
YTD Interest: $0.27
Serve.com $20
Mom Mastercard promotion $20
Synovate Check $5
Magazines.com Refund: $10
CashCrate $61.91
Mypoints gas card to cash $50



Cash – Free Money in an ING account (TO BE DEPOSITED THIS WEEK) $139.03

$105.03 Credit card rewards
$20 for signing up for auto mortgage pays
$5 Synovate surveys
$9 refund from car insurance


Amazon Gift Cards Already Deposited $203.56-79.99 purchase = $123.57

Jan AGC from Swagbucks $25
Jan AGC from Bing $5
Jan DVD trade-in $3.80
Feb AGC from Swagbucks $25
Feb Amazon trade-in $62.01
2nd Feb Amazon trade-in $22.75
March AGC from Swagbucks $25
Amazon Promo $10
April AGC from Swagbucks $25
***USED $79.99 for a Reel Lawn Mower – Christmas balance is after that expense***


Money/Rewards requested and on its way: $57.77
$10.00 AGC from Swagbucks (For May)
$47.77 Inbox Dollars


Out of Pocket/Cashflowed gifts: $37.44

$24.95 for sister’s gift (After $5 coupon from Hallmark)
$10.00 to Kohls (gift card that got me 500 MyPoints with a bday promo)
$2.49 gift for friend


Feeling REALLY good about where I stand. I have depleted funds in other areas due to multiple weddings in 6 weeks.

I have a debt paydown plan for the year and I want to build my efund back to a nice comfy level. So I am going to be diligent about finding extra funds to get that done. I will be sharing the plan soon!

Good to see you guys!!!

Nearly Free Christmas 2012 update

February 8th, 2012 at 02:35 pm

I hate to post & run - my life has been hectic lately, but I wanted to update on my Christmas Challenge.

I have done crazy good so far – I have a lot accomplished already! $252.72 cash/AGC to spend for Christmas.

Cash in ING acct ($45)
-$20 Serve.com
-$20 Mastercard Bonus
-$5 Check from Synovate

Pending Cash to go to ING ($61.91)
-$61.91 Cashcrate payout

Amazon Credits ($95.81)
-$5 AGC from Bing
-$25 AGC from January Swagbucks
-$3.8 – Dvd Trade-in
-$62.01 DVD/Video game trade-in

Amazon Pending Credits ($25)
-$25 AGC from Feb Pending

Cash-flowed Amounts for purchases (7.49 oop & $10 in coupons)
-$2.49 oop Plus $5 Toys R us Coupon for 1 gift (cost $7.49)
-$5 TPPR credit plus $5 out of pocket for $20 Overstock Giftcard

Misc ($20)
$20 Overstock gift card

*I also have:
12,000 My Points to spend
$13.01 in my Inbox Dollars (Need to hit $30)
$3 in my cashcrate (need to bring back up to $20)
196 current swagbucks
325 Bing Points

Free 2012 Christmas updates & Results of the broke wrist

January 23rd, 2012 at 03:51 am

Typing is hard with the wrist in the cast Smile But I try! Financially, I am losing 3 days pay from the wrist, had to use 1 vacation day and 1 sick day and have already shelled out $168.59 between xrays, a 2nd cast & some meds. Luckily, I have a Medical Reimurbsement account with $400 supplied by the company...because my deductable is $1500.

As for my 2012 Christmas Challenge is going well so far!

- I started with $40 between a Mastercard promo & Serve

- I recieved and deposited a $10 check from Magazines.com

-I have redeemed $25 in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks. I have 302 points currently & am hoping to get 1350 by end of month so I can redeem a few more $5 AGC's at the beginnging of February. Smile

- I have 11,100 in MyPoints to be cashed out later this year

- I have acccumulated $59.09 in Cashcrat money - to be cashed out in February

- My Inbox Dollars are at $11.27 (need 30 to cash out)

-Bing - Cashed in $5 Amazon gift card - currently have 246 accumulated again.

- Recyclebank - 430 points

- MyCokeRewards - 159 points

- I just joined Superpoints (by invitation only & am my way to earning a $10 gift card. 1/2 the fun is you get to just spin a wheel for a chance to earn points. Let me know if anyone is interested in an invite Smile

In other news - today was a no spender. I will have some grocery shopping tomorrow, a happy hour Tuesday, date night Wed or Thurs & then a party Friday and a Free concert Saturday. Its going to be a busy week!!

Doing well with Freebies & the Free Christmas Challenge

January 14th, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Lots of updates. I ran a bunch of errands today - so bunches of spending. Vet (27.99), gas (36.91), Acme,(41.52) Farmer's market(9.14) and Walmart groceries(23.86) and Walmart cat litter (5.36).

I saved $2 at the vet by pointing out a price discrepancy.

I broke out my new crockpot and made BBQ Shredded chicken for dinner tomorrow. Then headed out to my HOA meeting.

I cancelled my plans to hang out at home. I plan on doing some online points earning, laundry and cleaning. All meals were had at home Smile

I have gotten several freebies in 2012:
-2012 pocket calendar
-craft paper from 2 gift wrap rolls
-3 Kindle books (recent ones)
-$10 credit Groupon for shopping locally
-Publix wine bag
-Personalized Valentines Day card
-2 snack bags of chips
-Shoprunner 2 year membership ($79 value)
-1KB memory card

I also have really hadd a good start on my Free Christmas 2012 Challenge: $70 total

-$20 Serve.com checks
-$20 Mastercard promo
-$15 Amazon giftcards from Swagbucks
-$5 amazon giftcard from Bing Rewards
-$5 check from Synovate
-$5 Toys r us rewards

I also have pending:
-$58.15 from Cashcrate
-8,973 points with MyPoints (another 2,000 pending)
-$11.27 Inbox Dollars (need $30 to cash out)

New Year Frugal Updates

January 3rd, 2012 at 05:23 pm

Still out of work for the wrist until Thursday. I go to the doctor's tomorrow and will probably work from home for a week.

My work switched insurances on January 1st, so I had to call yesterday to confirm there would be no problems with my 2012 appointments with the ortho guy.

In the new year, I have a few goal - specifics are drawn up, but here is the overview.

2012 - Goals

1. Pay for Christmas from cc rewards an rewards sites
2. Limit lunches bought to 4 times a month
3. Pay down debt (more specifics to come)
4. Downsize cluttter in home (more specifics to come)
5. Upgrade Health *several areas included
6. Track 100% income and spending
7. Track freebies (like that someone else on this site tracks them)

2012 Freebies to date:
free kindle book - Secret Holocaust Diaries
free kindle book - Dead-ish
free 2012 calander from mom
$5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks
$5 Amazon gift card from Bing Rewards
2 wrapping paper inner rolls made of heavy craft paper (for crafts later)

CC rewards to Christmas: $140
$20 mastercard bonus
$20 Serve.com (depositing today)
$100 from Citi Thank You (in WM gift cards which will be used for groceries & the grocery cash will go into the Christmas ING acct)

Typing is hard right now, so posts will probably be short from now on Smile

'Free' Money for Christmas 2012 Update

December 15th, 2011 at 06:15 pm

I have another $20 to add to Christmas 2012 Money.

-$10 Rebate expected
-$10 from Magazines.com for a promo
-$20 from signing up with Serve.com
-$20 from Mastercard for using their card for $200 in Christmas shopping (No extra purchases made to get that deal)

All the funds are 'in the mail' and I am goign to update a sidebar with these funds.

I am also expecting $200 from one new Citi card and $100 from another new Citi Card.

CUrrently, my focus is on earning money/gift cards from credit card rewards, MyPoints, CashCrate, Recyclebank and similar sites. Smile

Lots of Bonuses & Deals (LONG - sorry!)

November 28th, 2011 at 02:34 pm

I have been working to earn credit card bonuses, rewards points & points through rewards sites. Any funds earned will go straight to my fund for my sister's upcoming wedding. If any of the rewards (MyPOints) come in gift card form, I will get cards that I can use for necessary items such as groceries and gas and those funds (from the budget) would go to the wedding fund (And debt payoff once that wedding goal is met).

So to help me with this goal, I opened a Bank of America Amex.
-Earned a $50 statement credit for $100 in spending (used for cell phone bill & normal gas spending. [Net $50]
-Earned a $25 credit for spending $26 at a local wine store for Small Business Saturday. Wine will be for Christmas gifts. [$1.00 out of pocket for 2 bottles!]
-Earned a $25 credit for a Target Purchase. I am not heading to Target (at the mall) at this time of year, but I was able to purchase a (needed) mascara online for $5.73 (including shipping) [19.27 Net]
- ALl usage is budgeted & will be paid off within the next 2 weeks

I opened a Citi Dividends card. $200 in rewards for $500 usage.
- I put the remainder of my car insurance on this (and will pay it off from savings) $480
- $29.07 gas (normal budgeted spending)
- *there is another offer I signed up for where if you spend $200 after signing up a Mastercard, by 12/31/11, you can get a $20 Mastercard gift card, but I am not making this a priority to meet

I opened a Citi Preferred card for $100 for $500 spent.
-$206.23 normal spending on card (budgeted & will be paid for in 2 weeks)
-Still need $293.77 but this will be completed by planned spending
-Also signed this one up for the Mastercard deal. I just need to meet that $200 goal by 12/31 (Which I will do since I need to get another $293.77
- At the end, I will get $100 rewards AND a $20 Mastercard gift card

I have been working my MyPoints. Reading every email sent for 5 points per viewing. I also utilized some of their deals.
- Started with 896 balance on 11/25
- Did a survey for 10 points
- Completed 76 searches using the MyPoints toolbar in Nov (earned 90 points)
- Signed up for OpenSky.com through MyPoints (earned 50 points PLUS a $15 credit on the acct for signing up)
- Used $15 credit & free shipping to purchase a soup/salad container for work lunches. $7.00 out of pocket (paid out of entertainment spending). Earned 3,500 in MyPoints for first purchase. (3700 mypoints approx = $25 gift card)
- Opened an ING Sharebuilder acct (Something I wanted to do anyway) By using the MyPoints link, I earned 200 points for opening the acct & will earn 2,000 points with the first transfer. I will be doign that tonight.
- I purchased a magazine subscription for my dad for CHristmas (Planned purchase). I bought 2 years because if the purchase was over $15, I would earn 1,000 My points.
- After all of these earnings hit, I will have 7,746 in points - approx $50 in gift cards!!

I also am working to utilize Swagbucks more. I am a new member, but have about 123 in points between searches, toolbards, daily polls and more searches. I will be keeping this up!

In other news, all my CHristmas shopping is done - except 1 gift for my boyfriend and the Christmas tree itself. So woot!

The BF's bday is this week and we are going out in town tomorrow night with friends for his bday. I will be driving about 45 mins each way for the group (Designated Driver) and using up gas (Budgeted for) plus paying for parking $20 and part of his meal (approx $40 out altogether). Wednesday, we are going out with his sister & different friends (hoping to keep the bill around $30). Thursday is dinner with his family - he chose Olive Garden. Which is great, since I have that free $50 gift card. I can cover both our meals PLUS some of the family's.

As for the Lunch Challenge, I packed all of my food for today. Breakfast, lunch & snacks. Lunch is actually pasta salad leftover from the boyfriend's THanksgiving. He even packed it up for me! LOL

Additionally - I should add that I UNFRUGALLY lost my cell phone in October. I frugally borrowed my friends old one for 2 months until my contract is up for renewal 12/28. And on Friday, there was a groupon for $25 (I had a $10 credit, so it was $15 out of pocket). For that Groupon, PLUS $35 activation, I can get a Droid X or X2 once my contract is up in December. Compared to what my friend just paid for upping her contract & getting a Droid, I am definitely making out on the deal!

Today's 5 Things: are actually more than 5
-Complete Sharebuilder trade
-update budget for 11/30
-MyPoints & Swagbucks sites
-WD40 Front Door
-Make dinner at home, lunch for Tues/Wed
-CLean kitchen, wipe counters & vacuum floor
-Pickup Living Room
-Gather library movies to return
-Finish laundry & put away
-Clean bedroom
-Unclog bathtub drain
-Unclog upstairs bath sink drain
-Wipe bathroom counters, tub & toilet, vacuum floor
-Play on the internet
-Pack night clothes for BF's bday, work clothes for Wednesday
-Portion medicines to keep at work & at boyfriends (Have to take thyroid meds & vitamins &Missing them REALLY screws me up)

To Do List, Finanacials, Goodies, Updates

November 11th, 2011 at 02:57 pm

I have to confess, I have been financially irresponsible lately. I have to get back on track. So part of that is being on this site more & being accountable to myself Smile

So in random form, here are some thoughts/lists.

-I am having a game night tomorrow night. Total out of pocket approx $50 as I am stocking up my liquor cabinet and making lots of food. Utilizing my freezer/pantry for the food as much as possible. Games already owned and a good time will be had by all Smile

- Sunday, for the friends dinner that I have, I am in charge of the sides. I will be supplying a salad, so out of pocket approx $8 (including bringing over some dressings)

-I just received a free gift from Clinque for a purchase I made. I have been having terrible breakouts, so I am going back to buying Clinique face wash. Worth it if my skin calms down Smile The free gift included a makeup bag (Very cute), a mini makeup bag, a 1oz cleanser (perfect for travel & can be refilled), .5 oz moisterizer with SPF20, regular size lipstick (In a color I like), regular size eye liner (on my to-buy list anyway), a travel mascara (in the color I wear), a full size eye shadow kit in colors I can wear, and 4 perfume samples (again perfect for travel). Over $50 value & I just restocked most of the needs I had for makeup Smile

- I received a call that Olive Garden is sending me a gift card (Amount unknown) for the trouble with a pre-authorization of $99 going onto my account. The charge never went through, but it was inconvenient.

- I am reinstituting my Lunch Challenge for myself, although I did terrible this week. My goal is NO out of pocket spending for food/drink at work for the rest of the month

-I plan on finishing Christmas shopping in the next two weeks. All in cash!

-I scored some deals from Acme. They have a little Holiday Book by their ads in the store. In it are coupons for things like $1.00 off 1 Acme brand (Everyday Essentials) pasta and 1 EE pasta sauce. I was able to snag both for $1.89 after coupon. I will be going back today for another set. Its never bad to have pasta stuff in the house! I also got 3 cans of Acme fruit for $2.00 total (After $1 off coupon). They have also had a lot of register rebates lately & I will be using them as I have about $3-4 left of those.

-I have a few returns to make - a non-working alarm clock to Target & a pair of shorts to Walmart

-The roommate situation is working out great. She actually contributes to things like paper towels & tp and CLEANS. None of the previous roommates did any of that Smile

-I got a $15 parking ticket for not feeding the meter enough when I got stuck inside the pharmacy earlier this week. I will have to pay it

-Dyed my hair at home instead of paying for color in a store. I have gotten SO many compliments, I am definitely going to keep this up. $4.99 for the box after coupon.

-Used a Deals Voucher for $10 to Fulton Paper. I make jello shots on a regular basis for parties, ect and use a particular type of plastic cup. I was able to use the voucher for 4 sleeves of the cups, 2 gift bags and 4 boxes to be used for gifts of fudge. I still have another $10 voucher to be used by next year. OOP for the 2 vouchers was $10 (and bought months ago)

-Itemized all of my stockpile in the bathroom cabinet. I have a ton of freebie samples of bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body washes and lotions. I am trying to use up most of them as well as some of the travel sized stuff I have recently scored for free. I do plan on leaving enough to carry me through a few weekends of travel though!

-I itemized any freebies/rewards that have to be used. Did the same with coupons Smile

-Plan on looking into cheaper cat food. The cats have crystals and one is overweight, so I have them both on Hill's Prescription Weight Diet. But its expensive. Will be looking into non-prescription alternatives.

- I just got a 20% off ANYTHING at Kohl's. Might hit up their clearance for some gifts. (Will use Christmas cash - no additional unplanned spending)

- I need to be in a financial lockdown. So the budget is getting tightened. I want to pay down debt, control spending and just get back to my financial goals. I am a little ashamed I have gotten out of hand. But I can say for sure that I am turning a corner Smile

Updates, Updates, Updates

October 20th, 2011 at 02:14 am

Today was a no spender (yay). I packed food for work, went looking for a Halloween costume (no luck yet), went to kickboxing to find out that my training session was cancelled. The guy rescheduled the session and gave me 2 more classes for free. Great customer service!

I have several financial goals for this week:

-Budget out entertainment spending between now & the 31st.
-Stick to grocery budget
-Eat in as much as possible
-Finalize Medical Plan choices
-Make new monthly budget
-Put up more items on Craigslist
-Finish most of Christmas shopping
-Start figuring budget for sister's wedding & 2 other weddings I will be attending in 2012 plus another one I will be attending in 2013.

The air has been off, windows open & although its cool in evenings - no heat is needed yet (WOOHOO)

Coupons/GIft cards/Groupons Inventory

September 6th, 2011 at 02:24 pm

I took stock ofmy coupons, gift cards & groupons today so that I can utilize them all before expirations. I actually have quite a bit.

-Exp 9/9 - 40% off 1 item at Old NAvy(will be using for a new pair of jeans)
-Exp 9/8 AMC Theater - 50% large drink & popcorn combo (probably will go unused?)
-Exp 9/10 - 40% off 1 item at Joanne Fabrics, another 40% off 1 item at Joanne, 40% off 1 item at Michaels, 40% off 1 item at AC Moore. Will be using for some Christmas projects
-Exp 9/12 - FRee hiphuggers from Victoria's Secret
-Exp 9/27 - Coupon $15 off $25 at JB Dawson's
-Exp 9/29 - Free appetizer or desert at TGI Fridays (No purch necessary)
-Exp 9/30 - Free panty from Victoria's Secret
-Exp 9/30 - $5 off $25, Buy 1 Get 2nd 1/2 off Dinner Entree or $4 off 2 Lunch Entrees at Timothy's Restaurant
-Exp 10/10 - 15% off total TGI Friday order (waiting to see if go there for anything)
-Exp 10/21 - $10.00 off at Victoria's secret
-Exp 10/31 - $1.25 off Jollytime Popcorn
-Exp 11/11 - Wine Tasting for 2 plus wine gift (appt made for 9/11th)
-Exp 11/27 - $20.00 to local restaurant (Groupon OOP- Out of Pocket- was $10)
-Exp 11/30 - 50 cents off Progresso soup
-Exp 9/12/2012 - 10 Kickboxing Classes plus 1 personal training session, plus boxing gloves(Groupon OOP was $40)
-NO Expiration - $25 off $35 to Pats Pizza (Restaurant.com OOP $2)
-NO Expiration - $25 off $35 to Pats PIzza (Restaurant.com OOP$2)
-NO Expiration - $25 off $50 to Mona Lisa Restaurant
(Restaurant.com OOP$2)
-NO Expiration - $25 off 2 Entrees to Public House Bar
(Restaurant.com OOP$2)
-Free Trial 1 week Gym membership
-NO Expiration - $100 in Fandango cash (purchased for $80)

Today, I have to grab cat food from the vet (They have prescription food), and hit the grocery store. I have a potential roommate stopping by tomorrow - so tonight will be dedicated to cleaning.

A lot of the stores are together either inside or outside the mall, so tomorrow night (Wed) after the potential roommate comes to look at the house, I plan on heading back out
-Joanne for Christmas item(s) - decorative boxes & cardstock
-Return shoes to DSW
-Victoria's Secret for free items & to spend the $10
-Michaels to use coupon for Christmas item(s)

Then Friday, when my coupon starts to Old Navy, I will make a return & use the 40% off coupon to buy jeans.

As for the groupons - The wine tasting will be used Sunday the 11th, kickboxing will be set up for after I come back from Germany. Free gym trial will be used at the same time. And the restaurant groupons will be used as wanted since there is no time crunch. ***I Also want to note that I only purchased at places I know I like or want to try - nothing was bought just cause it 'was a deal'. LOL

And I am working to get back to my To-Do List. Today's 5 things off that list are:

1. Pick up cat food & grocery shop
2. Make dinner/premake food for tomorrow
3. Finish laundry
4. HOA chores
5. Clean house - vac/dust living room, change cat litter, clean upstairs bathroom, clean bedroom

Lots of Deals and To-Dos!

August 30th, 2011 at 03:54 pm

I have had a lot of online 'savings' I have been working on recently - to lead up to some Christmas deals/gifts.

-My boyfriend & I Are movie nuts and go a few times a month to the movies. In an effort to control spending, I purchased Fandango dollars through my work employee benefits at 16% off. Not too shabby.

-Snapfish emailed me a deal where I send my online photo album to 5 friends & they will credit me 100 4x6 prints - this is great for a little photo book I was preparing for my mom. Will just have to pay shipping, I think.

-I found a deal with Amazon Video on Demand where if you tweet about the deal, they give you a $5 video on demand credit. This is great since I have a Roku box & can use Amazon VOD.

-I found a deal for a small Yankee candle $1.49 plus free shipping, then $1.49 rebate through a site that I use

-I have been maximizing my MyPoints offers by reading emails, signing up for newsletters (to my junkmail hotmail account for sign ups like this). I am at 3104 points & want to get to 3500 quickly!

- I plan on pausing my Netflix for the month of September. I will utilize the free (But mostly lame) channels on my Roku box & the library for my entertainment. I can pause my subscription for a few months, I think

- I am heading to Rite-Aid today. I found a deal on their Always pads/panty liners (sorry if TMI!) I have two $1 off coupons that expire today. Will essentially be getting them for 1/2 price

- I am utilizing a groupon I purchased a while back for a local Wine Shop. I stopped by yesterday & they were out ofth e wines that I wanted - so the owner personally extended my offer (it is set to expire) and invited me back today after the shipment comes. I plan on taking them up on it. I will be able to buy 3 very nice wines with the groupon. These are slightly higher quality & will go to my wine obsessed friends only Smile

- I am running back to Victoria's Secret. I have a coupon for a free pair of undies AND $10 off a purchase

So lots of savings today! I am working on my budget as payday is tomorrow and my Germany trip is in about two weeks. THings will be REALLY tight. I have to get on financial lockdown between now & the trip and for a while after!


***Edited to add the following***
-I also requested online a free sample of foodstorage. We will see if it comes in the mail
-Same with a free Welches fruit snack
-I registered to win a party for JOhnsonville Pizza. It would be awesome to win!
-I also found a deal with a new (to me) website much like Groupon except on a smaller scale. They have a $10 credit for joining & the daily deal today was a collapsable water bottle. I was able to buy FOUR bottles for $4.00 after using the credit. I have 4 specific friends in mind who would love this gift!

If anyone is interested in getting this or a similar deal through the site, let me know. I would only need your email to send you a link. I got my referral from a friend & she really recommends the site.

Coming off a 10 day Staycation!

August 15th, 2011 at 03:38 pm

So I was on vacation all last week, plus the prior Friday. My big vacation trip is next month (Oktoberfest in Germany!) So this vacation was very low key.

Friday the 5th, I had lunch with my parents (free) & my nephew, mowed their lawn & vegged at home that night. WAtched a few movies off Netflix/from the library

Saturday the 6th - I went to a winery for an event. $10 to get in, $8.00 for a specialty drink & $15 to purchase a bottle of wine. I packed food and my friends & I shared a picnic, enjoyed the band & scenery.

SUnday the 7th - BBQ at the boyfriend's and then watched True Blood with friends.

Monday the 8th - Lunch with my college roommate and her daughter (free - Since her daughter's 3, I went to their house for sandwiches. I brought cookies leftover from the winery picnic). In the afternoon, I went canoing with my nephew (age 10). It was a very uncoordinated, but FUN effort ($3 to get into the park, $8 for the rental.) I Stayed in that night & did some cleaning.

Tuesday the 9th - Went for a 2 hour hike & picnic with 3 friends & a dog Smile It was beautiful weather. THat evening, I met another friend for 2 for 1 tickets at the movies ($6.00 total for both tickets) and then half price burgers at a local restaurant ($5-ish)

Wednesday the 10th - Saw the Help with friends. Read the book, loved the movie ($8)! We went out to lunch after ($15). THat evening, my boyfriend came over & we watched a movie from the library.

Thursday the 11th - Ran errands, packed & left for the beach. My boyfriend's roommate had invited 8 of us down to his parent's beach house. BF & roommate had to work Friday, but it was from home, so they could do that at the beach. I spent about $35 on alcohol to contribute to the parties. The host's mom had been at the beach house earlier in the day & had left us chicken & beef stew for diner, so no cooking!)

Friday the 12th - while the boys worked, the rest of us had a light breakfast, then played tennis at the community's court (Free). We then went to the pool (free), ordered lunch ($8 for a sub) and hung around. THat evening, we made tacos & played board games (I had brought 2). We made some drinks, played some music, danced around and just had tons of fun. We had several cameras & videos going Smile

SAturday the 13th - We made a big breakfast, slept in. After breakfast people split up - some went to the beach, some the tennis courts, I stayed and had a much needed nap! Haha. Afterwards, I went to the pool & read for a while. That night, we got dolled up & went to the resort town at the beach. Cabbed it in & back, but had a blast!

Sunday, we had a leisurely breakfast, then all headed home except for the boyfriend & I. We were meeting one of his friends for lunch about a half hour away. We had a drink at the bar while waiting, then we got a call that the friend & her husband were stuck in traffic. So we ended up having lunch & leaving. It was nice ($40)

That night, we went back to the boyfriends for our weekly True Blood Dinner. We were all too tired to cook, so we ordered in. BF paid for dinner as I picked up the lunch tab Wink

Today, I am back to work with a HUMUNGOUS to-do list. Instead of 5 THings, I need to get about 15 done. And I am going to make it work! haha.

1. HOA chores (Est 1/2 hour of time needed)
2. Rent free movie from redbox promo [DONE]
3. Email about mypoints to friend, email friend of a friend about possibly renting the spare room when this roommate moves out at the end of next month [DONE and DONE]
4. Budget (today was payday)
5. Grocery shop [DONE]
6. Make meal plan [DONE]
7. Find passport in paperwork
8. Laundry-wash bathroom rugs [DONE]
9. Clean bedroom
10. Clean, polish furniture in basement. take pictures for sale
11. Xmas plan (Update budget)
12. Pack gym bag & library bag
13. Make lunch for tomorrow and prep for other lunches [DONE]
14. Change cat litter
15. Watch Redbox movie [DONE]
16. Grab coupons & magazines from Mom's house [DONE]
17. Post mail
18. MyPoints - get points, refer friends [DONE]
19. Clear Home Email [DONE]
20. Research breadmaker
21. Sort stuff for GoodWill [DONE]
22. Take inventory of stuff roommate left behind
23.
Lastly: Get to bed early (Ha!)

Time to Start Thinking About Christmas

July 20th, 2011 at 07:14 pm

Haha - I know, I start early Smile I have done a little collecting of things along the way this year, so I do have a few items already. Also, my circle of good friends has practically doubled with the guy I'm dating having such a closeknit group of friends, so I decided I am making fudge as part of my gift giving to that group.

I had made a single batch for a birthday a while ago - it was SO easy, so I am definitely doing that again!

The people I have to buy/make something for are:

Mom
Dad
Sister
Nephew (plus Nephew's birthday)
Sister's boyfriend
Sister's bf's son
Sister's bf's daughter

My boyfriend

Friend NG
Friend MC

Friend BH
Friend NB

The below mentioned people will probably be getting the fudge:

Friend MGHN
Friend LNDS
Friend MELF
Friend KSEE

Friend PS
Friend ANT
Friend CAM
Friend LIZ
Friend CRY
Friend CHSTK

Work friend KC
Work friend SR
Boss C
Boss K
1 Group Fudge for work peers

Additional Expenses to Budget for:
Wrapping
Cards
Stamps
Work HOliday Happy Hour
Thanksgiving Meal (Include in christmas budget)

Seems like a lot! But I can do it - just need to finalize my Christmas budget this week. Its definitely doable.

Merry Christmas Eve!

December 24th, 2010 at 06:32 pm

Merry Christmas to All! Work let me out at 11:45 today, wasn't that nice of them? I came home & lazed around for a bit & am now packing up all of my stuff & heading over to my parents.

I've had a bad week health-wise, so I am REALLY looking forward to relaxing. I will come back to my house tomorrow night after all the festivities, but for once there won't be a rush. No work the following day!

And as a Christmas present to myself, I completed my goal of a cash only Christmas! Hoorah!

Freebies & Christmas Presents

December 22nd, 2010 at 01:32 pm

This week at work, we had a luncheon supplied by the business, the managers brought in donuts, I brought in cookies for the group & someone else brought in mints. Tis the season for food! lol

Yesterday, I packed my breakfast & lunch for work. After work, I made dinner at home & I went had a few friends over for a gift exchange. Afterwards, we went to the pub for our normal Tuesday night outing. I didn't stay too long as I"m not feeling well again. I spent $5.75 for 2 beers, plus tip.

Today, I packed food again. I have a couple of errands to run after work & I will spend the evening enjoying my Christmas tree & wrapping presents!

In other news - the heats been kicking on a lot. I'm going to hate seeing my electric/gas bill!


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