I utilize alternative income as part of my birthday/holidays/Christmas fund. In 2015, I collected $852.30
Alternative Income totals 2015:
Gift promotion $10
cc rewards: $566.53
change jar $76.2
insurance reimbursement $49
My 2016 Goal for alternative income through things like Mypoints, Ebates, Coke Rewards, Credit Card rewards, etc is $200. Much less this year as I giving a break on credit card promotions for a while. I will use for normal purchase rewards, but am not opening new cards as we are looking to sell/buy a new house this year.
Viewing the 'my points' Category
I utilize alternative income as part of my birthday/holidays/Christmas fund. In 2015, I collected $852.30
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
$76 Chang jar
$20 Bing Rewards
$28.35 Settlement check
$49 insurance reimbursement
$40 inbox dollars
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)
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)
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 Ė I have a lot accomplished already! $252.72 cash/AGC to spend for Christmas.
Cash in ING acct ($45)
-$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 Ė 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
$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
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
- 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.
I don't normally talk about the things I do to earn extras, but I have to give a shout out to MyPoints. The site is easy to join. You sign up, recieve a few emails a day, open then & click the link to the referred site. No actual purchases necessary & as the points (usually 5 per email) add up, then you can redeem for a gift card.
I was looking over the site tonight & realized that they have stats for me. I have been a member for 4 years and in that time, I have earned 17,725 points & redeemed 14,750. To give you an idea, a $25 gift card is usually roughly 3750 points.
If anyone is interested in joining, please give me your email & I will be happy to send you a referral!
And for the 2nd part of my post: Today, I went grocery shopping at Acme ($15.41) and Walmart ($24.93). The Walmart total includes 2- 40 lb bags of kitty litter! I stocked up
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 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
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
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
Lastly: Get to bed early (Ha!)
Yesterday & today are/were no spenders due to being sick. I had to leave work early yesterday.
This morning, I did run to Walmart (5 mins from my house) to return a Redbox movie that I had meant to return yesterday. And I returned a shirt and pair of pants that I had bought a few weeks ago. $26.00 credit back to my account.
For the rest of the day, I'll be lying around. I tried some food, but its not sitting too well. I REALLY have to go back to work tomorrow, so I'm going to take things VERY easy.
I have all the windows/doors open in the house. Two days ago, it was back into the low 60s, now its in the mid 70s. I'm enjoying the weather tho.
As for spending, I now have the two days of no spending. But I did waste some food. I packed a sandwich, salad and milk for breakfast/lunch at work yesterday and I left it there. The milk will be salvagable since it was in the fridge, but not the sandwich/salad.
In other news, I sent an additional $65.53 to the student loan. I've been slacking lately because of all my clothes spending. I pretty much got myself a whole new wardrobe. And it was worth every penny
For the month of May, my focus is on my grocery spending. I joined the challange over at Krystal's blog over at Give Me Back My Five Bucks.
My budget is $50.00 per every pay period ($100.00 per month). I've spent $22.60, leaving $27.40 until the 15th. Definately doable since I will only need some veggies, lunch meat and soda between now & then. I'll keep updating on how I do.
Today was a no spender. I did a lot of stuff around the house today. Did a couple of loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, washed the floor, cleaned and vaccumed the living room, balanced my checkbook and made food to take to work tomorrow. I feel like I've gotten a lot done.
It was fairly warm today, so I had the heat off and the shades up until it got dark. I've been wearing my robe & slippers in an effort to keep the heat down. Anything I can do to keep my electric/gas bill down.
I actually went & got new slippers from Boscov's yesterday for $6.97. My old ones were ripped on the side, which wasn't a bit deal to me, but then the cardboardy stuff on the bottom started flaking off all over the house. Thus the need for the vaccuming
I've had a $25.00 gift card to Linens n Things for awhile now. I orginally was going to use it for a Christmas gift, but I didn't. So I'm thinking of getting a bathroom rug and some hand towels for my downstairs bathroom. Or possibly using it for a birthday gift for my friend in February. It depends on what I end up deciding to get for my friend.
I had another movie night with friends. I made a meal out of food from the freezer. We had some leftover beer and watched a movie that I had borrowed from the library. It was a lot of fun.
The last paycheck that I received from work as missing the last 9 hours of overtime that I earned before taking my new position. I spoke with my manager and it should show up in my December 30th paycheck. All of it will be going directly to Student Loan#1.
Last month, I cleared out my balance from MyPoints for a few small gift cards to use for Christmas. I havenít really paid attention to how long it takes me to build a balance with MyPoints. But since I literally cleared out the balance to zero, Iíve been watching it build back up. It went from 0 on November 5th to 790 as of today! Iím sure that I could have done better as Iíve missed some of the offers, but still, its growing quickly
Also, last week, I signed up for Cash Crate. I spent about 10 minutes signing up for a couple of offers. Then I let it sit for a few days, waited for the offers to be validated. Then I cancelled the free trials. I only did 3 to start out with. I was able to cancel them within 10 minutes. Altogether, I put in about 20 minutes of time (mostly while I was watching tv) and a small fee of $1.95 for one of the offers and I now have a balance of $29.75, a copy of my credit report and score and the opportunity to earn more with the program.
Iíve been staying within budget for groceries and entertainment/spending, which has been my goal for the month. I have plenty of funds left in the grocery budget. But not so much in the entertainment/spending budget. I have cut that budget amount down quite a bit and although I have money, I prefer sending it towards Student Loan #1.
So I have about $5.47 until the 30th. Not including the $20.00 that I have in my Christmas budget to spend on dinner out with my mom on Christmas Eve. I should be able to do it though since most of the holiday weekend will be spent with family. And the rest of next week will be spent working or with family. Weíll see how it goes.
I truly enjoyed my short time off. With all the OT I've been doing, I haven't had a decent amount of downtime in a very long time. I did little spending, lots of relaxing and nothing that I needed to do around the house, other than mow the lawn.
My goal this upcoming weekend is to plan most of my Christmas shopping. Over the weekend, I recieved an unexpected $25.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com from my Amazon Chase card. I had put the air conditioning bill on it, then paid it off immediately, but apparently it earned the gift certificate anyway! I'm going to put 1/2 of the g.c. towards a book that I've been dying to get and 1/2 towards a Christmas gift. Plus, I have a $5.00 off coupon from purchasing my Harry Potter book through Amazon. I'm also eligible for another $25.00 gift card from my points which I'll use for a gift. The rest of my Christmas money is already in savings.
I kept my A/C on all weekend, but at a higher temp most of the day, utilizing the fan & being downstairs in the day. At night, I turned the temp down a little more so that I could sleep comfortably. There's a lot of humidity right now & its messing with my sinuses.
I've been doing pretty good money-wise. I just sent off another $284.54 as an extra payment to Student Loan #1. I get paid again on the 15th and the check will include 41.5 hours of overtime, all of which, minus my weightwatchers fee and an unplanned gift expense of $43.00, will go to the loan.
My hair dryer, that was already on my list of things to replace, completely broke last night, so I"m going to buy one today. I have the cash for that earmarked in my personal items catagory in my budget.
This week I'm working between 16 & 18 hours of overtime between Tuesday & Saturday. All of which will go directly to that loan.
I've been listening to Dave Ramsey again & all I want to do is to pay this student loan debt off. I really can't wait!
On a side note: I lost 2 pounds this week! For a total of 6.8 pounds.
My goal for this week is pack my lunch every day. I spent 55 cents on a soft pretzel today & I'm picking up some veggies from the grocery store, but I am hoping to make Wednesday through Saturday no spend days.
I had grand plans to stop by the library & the grocery store on the way home from work yesterday, but I was just too tired. So I skipped the stops & went home, ending up with a no spend day.
Today I packed breakfast & lunch, but didnt pack dinner, so I ended up grabbing a sandwich. I'll stop by the grocery store on the way home tonight & pick up the tomatos & banana. I plan on making food for tomorrow & then going straight to bed. I am BEAT!
I'm still doing all the overtime I can, which is good, because I'm in the middle of this monster project & I just want it to get finished. It is really stressing me out. I'm looking at it possibly being done by Saturday, if some of my coworkers pitch in tomorrow, which they probably will. I will be so relieved when its over.
I am planning on cashing out a gift card through MyPoints this weekend. I have a friends birthday coming up & it'll be great to use to buy the gift. As soon as I figure out what to get him.
I was just updating some numbers for myself to see where I stand and decided to share.
January I had a total of $2852.63 in cash savings.
Today I have $9038.44 (not including 401k, IRA, and savings bonds)
Seeing the numbers makes me want to save even more Right now I'm playing on the computer & watching a movie borrowed from the library. I have the heat off, windows open and the lights off. I want to keep my electric bill low, all the extra in that budget catagory goes to the student loans too
I'm going in for overtime tomorrow. Somewhere between 4 & 7 hours. We'll see how I hold up. I'm still feeling a bit ill. If I'm up to it, I have $20.00 in gift cards to Bed, Bath & Beyond, plus a 20% off coupon. Its about a 1/2 hour drive there, but I might go & try to get a few gifts for my gift closet. I have some birthdays coming up soon.
I have about 3500 points in my MyPoints account. I'm thinking about cashing that out too, so I can use a gift card for the birthdays too.
Up until this year, I've always been on my family's AAA membership. I've used the services a few times & I really feel that its important to have that help since I'm a single woman who knows nothing about cars
So this year, I signed up for the AAA membership on my own, since my primary address is now different than my family's. I used a link through MyPoints, saving $10.00 off the annual fee, and getting 2 extra months as part of the deal. Then I used my Chase credit card, which had a $10.00 credit from making $100 of purchases last month. I had put my gas and groceries on there and paid it off immediately. So my true out of pocket expense for the membership was $39.50! Plus I'll get points towards a gift card through mypoints.
I feel like I got a GREAT deal!
I'm settling in the house just fine. I've yet to turn on the heat, although the temperature took a dive tonight. I'm just using a down comforter to stay warm.
I packed my lunch today and made my dinner at home. I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
I spent $2.00 today. $1.00 for a large bottle of ibuprofin & $1.00 for a 200 count box of sandwich bags. Yay Dollar store.
I normally work 8-5 on Saturday, but I took a 1/2 day. I have a friend who runs a moving company on the side & he's going to move my Aunt's furniture for me. Some pieces will go into the basement & some will go in the living/dining room. I called around for prices & this guy is giving me at least a $100.00 break on this.
Also, I gave my storage unit 10 days notice for vacancy as their policy requires, but since I wouldn't actually be moving until after my next due date, under their policy, I would owe them another month's rent. HOWEVER, since it was just one day, they waived it. $110.00 saved due to niceness!
I am pretty proud of myself for staying organized. As I unpacked, I recycled all the boxes & put all the empty storage containers in the basement. Now I'm going through & sorting & labelling all my holiday decorations for Christmas & Halloween, as well as craft stuff, old paperwork from my aunt & other things. Everything is labeled clearly & stacked neatly. This is a HUGE deal. No one in my family has ever had an organized basement! I'm the envy of my parents.
Next big project is to tackle THEIR basement!
I would also like to mention that I had accumulated about $80.00 in gift cards from MyPoints & other promotions, which is used for things for the house & its projects. That money went a long way.
I've become very lax about discretionary spending and my goal this month is to track all money as well as limit cash usage. I have a few different office parties to contribute to in the next week, which won't help, but I'm trying to offer to contribute food, not cash. That way I can control my spending.
Hope everyone is staying warm & cozy. As the temps start to drop, I recommend hot chocolate, extra socks, cozy blankets & snuggling with animals & loved ones!
I've seen a few blogs lately about gift giving and being frugal. For Mother's day I gave my Mom gift cards that I received from signing up for trial programs. And I gave her a Brooch from the dollar store.
I had a moment or two's pause before buying the brooch. I felt guilty spending so little on a gift for her, but at the same time, it was perfect for her style and it was definately in my price range. She loved it & had no idea that it came from the dollar store.
Still I feel guilty. I have to get out of that habit. Gift giving should't have an expected price tag on it, but be thoughtful and of use to the person receiving it.
I have a lot of occasions coming up: Father's day, father's birthday, sister's birthday, roommate's birthday, parents anniversary. So here's the game plan: I am going to find ways to give thoughtful gifts instead of going by the price tag and in doing so, I will save money and make my family & friends happier.
My roommie is getting a set of 4 beer mugs...I've scouted out prices online & have come up with a couple of prices. I just have to find the right one.
My dad is getting Lowes Gift Card for Fathers day because he has been doing a lot around the house lately and he enjoys going to lowes.
My sister is getting some hair stuff from Ulta, which I got a gift certificate for Christmas & haven't used.
My dad is getting, for his birthday, some computer photography gadgets from Circuit City--also have a Gift card for there.
Each is something I know they will use, and be happy to receive & I don't have to overspend for anything.
All I have left is my parents anniversary. Need to think about that one...and talk to my sister, we might go halfsies on it.
Things have been very frugal lately, but I have so much going on. I finally have a chance to catch up todcay.
Yesterday we moved all the furniture that we're keeping from my aunts house. My storage unit is packed.
Today, we had a Mother's Day Brunch, it was my sister's treat to all of us. My sister works at a nice restaurant & got us reservations. The food was DELICIOUS. I was able to get VERY stuffed and enjoy my family for free...thanks sis.
I used some of my free gift cards from My points for my mom's gift. She wanted to buy some books from Barnes & Noble, so I gave her some gcs & she was very happy.
Also, I went to the Dollar Store this morning to get cards for my sister & mom for 50 cents each. While I was there, I found a brooch that matches most of my mom's jewelry. She has a very specific style that she likes and thats it. She loved it, and it was only a $1.00.
I went to the library on the way home. Got a couple of novels & 1 movie. I have a huge addiction to movies, but have been trying to curb my renting and buying them. My roommate has netflix & a huge movie collection, so he's been sharing...between that & borrowing from the library, I've been doing very well.
I was supposed to go the grocery store today, but I was too tired. So after the library, I came home for a 2 hour nap. My roomies are making hotdogs for dinner and I have food for lunch tomorrow, so I'll hit the grocery store after work tomorrow. Its a great time to go anyway, no one is there at 9 in the evening.
My goals this week are:
-To plan and buy groceries to eat/pack all meals from home. No spending money for food or drink
-To call my car insurance about lowering my rates. Never hurts to ask.
-To redo my resume. I'm going to send out a few this week.
-To apply for 2 positions that sound interesting to me.
I've been reading a lot about how much people like getting the mail to see what surprises came that day and let me just say I think its great too! I love getting surprises!
Since I'm living in my current residence for a short period of time, I have all my mail going to my parents house. They're 20 minutes away & I visit once a week, so its no trouble to get my mail there.
I went today & picked up a little over a week's worth of mail which included:
$20.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble
$40.00 gas cards
$20.00 Circuit City gift card
all courtesy of MyPoints. They came really quick too.
I received 2 sets of printable coupons this week for gas & pharmacy rebates. This was a bit problematic, since the first part of the rebate was for gas/pharmacy purchases between January and March. I'm not sure that I have any receipts left for either one of those. I'll have to dig through my stack of papers on my desk. Otherwise, I'll still get at least $30.00 in rebates from each through the year.
Since I've signed up for so many MyPoints programs, I've made a nice Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the dates I signed up, what the gift was, when to cancel, ect. Its actually pretty easy to work with & it keeps me on track.
On Monday I have to cancel a few of these programs.
I paid my credit card in full again on Thursday. This starts my new resolve to no longer use my credit card in an attempt to control spending. We'll see how it goes. I've got a LOT of family & friend birthdays coming up. I'm hoping to use the CC & B&N gift cards for some of those.
I gave my dad $10.00 of the gas cards for helping me to fix my headlight a week or 2 ago.
This upcoming week is my birthday & I budgeted an extra $40 to go out with my friends on Friday. We're going to a restaurant & have fun girlie drinks while sitting on the deck on the river. I'm really looking forward to the splurge.