Friday, January 24, 2020

Frugal Friday and Moving Money to Earn Money

What have we done this week that has been frugal?  We have had all of our evening meals at home.  My son in law and I share the cooking and meal planning by putting together a meal plan for the next couple of weeks and post it on the fridge.

We chat daily and confirm if we are still sticking to the haphazard menu planning or going in a different direction. A different direction means we will probably have grilled hot dogs/chili dogs instead of what is on the schedule.

Not eating out is big for my husband and me.  We used to do it a lot and I would justify it by saying I worked hard at work and I deserved to treat myself.  I said that more than once or twice a week. Sigh. I am pretty proud of our efforts to save money by dining in as opposed to dining out.  Since I resigned from my position with the school board in October 2019,  I have been better able to prepare meals at home.  It is a really good feeling.

CVS lured me back with a 40% off one item coupon, so I used that coupon, a digital coupon for $1 off of any Oil of Olay products and bought a bottle of Oil of Olay lotion.  Original price was $11.99 ( overpriced, to begin with) and with coupons the after price was around $6.50.  Then a 20% coupon printed out  $2 CVS Bucks and a $3 off a $15 dollar shampoo purchase.  So.. I went back and picked up 3 bottles of Loreal    Pantene shampoo, conditioner, and a pre blow dryer condition for $15 (CVS sale) used the $3/15 CVS coupon, the $2 CVS buck coupon AND a newspaper insert coupon for $5 off Loreal  Pantene Hair Care.  The final price for me was $5.65 for all three items. 

I moved some money this morning.  It was a bit emotional, as the money was the last of my mom's cash from her burial account.  (She put money away so that when she passed her final wishes of being buried in Wisconsin with  a service  headed by her pastor from Florida and family attending would take place)  That journey took place in 2014, a year after she passed.

Anyway, there was $10,000 left in the account that I have been sitting on.  It has been in a regular saving account earning nothing and up until lately, I could not even decide what to do with it.  The money was and is a BIG emotional anchor that I am trying to get off my back.

So, 6 years later, I decided to put the money in laddered CD's.  When all is said and done and it will take some time.

An example of what I am working towards
EVENTUALLY the CD's will renew monthly (after they are on a 12-month schedule).  It may sound confusing and I was a bit confused, to begin with, but I think I have it down now.  I started with 3,6,9, 12 months CDs, and next month will repeat the process and a month after that, I will again repeat the process.

When the 3 month CD is going to mature, I will switch that to a 12 month CD and will do that until all CDs are maturing at 12 months.   Since I only have $10,000 I won't be able to fund all 12 months, but you work with what you have.

So, now the last bit of my mom's funeral cash has a plan to earn a better interest rate and I still don't know what I will do with it.  The emotional attachment is still there, and well....  I just don't know.

My hubs is unaware of this money, as we know he would have made plans for it and it would all be gone just like that.  I am not ready to spend it.   Not on him, not on debt, not on anything.  At least now, it will earn a bit more until I can decide what to do with it.

So there you go. Frugal Friday shenanigans are accounted for.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Transfer Tuesday and Paying off Debt 1/21/2020

Transfer Tuesday is here and it is time to move some money around to pay down debt!

We have made a couple of purchases with the rewards card, mostly items for my husband's church.  They have several upkeep projects on going, and my husband uses his tithe money for such projects.  He put about $370 dollars on the card for electrical wire and stuff.  This month we are getting 3% back on purchases from Lowes, Home Depot, etc so that will be a few more dollars we can put on our debt.

Back to the cash envelopes and maybe opening a Capital One 360 account with multiple savings accounts to track sinking funds, I still am on the fence about it but after this week, I may go ahead and try it in moderation. 

I made two purchases for the yard, see the Firecracker plants I bought, and I debited the purchases.  Meanwhile, I have the CASH for the purchase at home in an envelope, but it was kinda spur of the moment and I have been looking for those plants forever. If I had the digital sinking funds on Capital One 360, I could slide the money over easily instead of driving to the bank to make a deposit, or finagle some way to redistribute the cash for the envelopes next week. The struggle is real!

So tomorrow, I am going to the bank to deposit CASH for what we spent on the yard and then I will apply that to the balance of the HELOC. 

Old Principal Balance $82,999.46

  • 20.53 (Home Improvement)
  • 47.07 (Home Improvement) 
New Principal Balance $82,931.86

How are you doing on your debt?  Successfully whittling it down, I hope!

Monday, January 20, 2020

I Found Firecracker Bushes!

When I worked at the elementary school one of the teachers had these wonderful bushes that had long slender branches that would fill with orange red blooms during the summer heat of Florida.  She said I could get a cutting or two to use at my house, and that certainly would be more economical. 

It did not happen as my schedule was slam full and I just never found the time.  Yesterday, after church I went by a locally owned garden business to scope out what they had. 

Kim's cabbage patch has a great selection of plants and inside there are fresh fruits and vegetables.

The business is a converted gas station.  If you are ever passing through Clermont, stop by.  Kim is a wonderful business owner that supports many causes in the area.  

I love bougainvillea but they have thorns that will pierce your foot and will take over a yard if left to its own devices. 

Jackpot!  Firecracker bushes!  

I loaded up FOUR of these babies and they will be planted this week.  I am so excited that I found them.  They are great for bees and butterflies.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cash Envelopes: Maybe A Change

Back in November, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about budgeting, paying off debt and cash envelopes. There are a TON of videos about all of these topics and one can very easily get sucked into watching them ALL day.

There are also lots of Etsy stores that will sell you pretty cash envelopes, but for now, I have managed to avoid that purchase.  I went the generic route and made my own using scrapbook paper I picked up at the GoodWill and clear packing tape.  This was easier for me and less expensive AND will allow me time to decide if ALL 12 envelopes are necessary.


Budgeting for the categories is necessary but is it necessary for me to pull out the cash and stash it in the envelopes.  To date, I have used $40 cash from the hair cut envelope and $30 cash from the medical and dental envelope.  On the flip side, I do have an envelope for dry cleaning, but I debited that amount when I picked up shirts last week.  Oops. 

There is an auto-tag envelope and tags are due in a couple of months, I can either go to the Tag agency and pay cash or purchase them online and debit it.  The latter is much easier.

But, since I have been pulling out cash for the envelopes and for groceries, tracking the cash is much easier.  Well, until something comes up and I have to make an impromptu purchase.  I LIKE having cash envelopes, it makes me happy to pull out the money and count it.  I know, that may sound a bit weird but I do like it lol. 

There is the option of using Capital 360 Online banking and having 15 or so sub-accounts to use as virtual envelopes.  That may be an option, but I need to see how fast money moves from one bank to another.  I say that because I use a different bank for eBay and when I transfer money to OUR bank for payments, etc it will take 7 working days!  That's a little worrisome when you are under a time crunch to get a payment made on time.

Back in the day when ING was an online bank, I seem to remember having multiple savings accounts.  Didn't Capital ONE buy them out? 

There is no decision yet about what to do with the cash envelopes that I really don't use in real life but would use it in virtual life via online transactions.
What I do like is having cash stashed.  :-)  But, I need to figure out something that works for the future.  Sigh...

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Transfer Tuesday and Paying Off Debt 1/14/2020

Transfer Tuesday is here and it is time to move money to pay down debt!

The final tally on the water pump replacement on the truck was $1400.00 and that was covered by eBay funds.  Now we have to put money away for his brakes which are evidently just as expensive.  Sheesh!

I did not have any credit card rewards to send over to the HELOC this week, mostly because I have been paying cash for just about everything.  Woo Hoo!  Since I have been paying cash for groceries (pulling out $220.00 every two weeks for groceries) my grocery shopping has definitely been more focused and with intent to stay under budget.   Amazing how that works.  I ended up with $4.00 leftover and just rolled it over to the next two weeks.

To be true to transfer Tuesday, I moved $500 from my hidden RMD account.  Shhh.... I have to hide  some money from the hubs or he will SPEND it  in no time.  It is just how we (or I) do things.

We do have a ways to go, don't we?

Last week was a blur!  I spent a lot of time on figuring out how to coupon at Walgreens and then going to Walgreens to shop and reap the benefits.  It is a complicated process and takes diligence and patience.   I have managed to stock up on make-up that I will use this year and still am ahead $5 in register rewards.

I also spent time chasing down sales at Publix and Winn Dixie, all to keep the grocery spending under control!  It takes time, but I am hopeful that with a bit more experience I can whittle down the time it takes to save the money.

For now, when a store has BOGO on items that we WILL USE, I will typically buy two deals for a total of 4 items.  This has allowed me to stock up and slows down my need to run to the store.  Well, mostly.

I will work on doing better posting next week.  PROMISE!!

Old principal balance $83,499.46
  • $500 from RMD 
New principal balance $82,999.46

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Transfer Tuesday and Paying Down Debt 1/7/2020

It's  Tuesday and its time to move some money around and reduce our debt.   Last week the hubs took on the job of replacing the water pump on his 2014 Ford truck.  While he had everything torn out of the truck he went ahead and replaced hoses, did an oil change, and there may have been something else but I don't really retain truck talk stuff.  The final tally on the parts for the job is at $1400.00.  Sheesh! That will be covered by eBay funds.

I did implement cash envelopes/sinking funds back in November 2019 for such events, but there certainly was not enough to cover that in the envelopes.

This Tuesday we are sending $20 to the HELOC balance.

I sold a stroller on Facebook Marketplace for $20 and that will go straight to the debt.  There are no credit card rewards to transfer this week.  So, the $20 is it for this week.

Old principal (Heloc) balance $83,519.46

  • $20 from the sale of a stroller 

New principal balance $83,499.46

Last month we were able to send an extra $1534.48 to the HELOC balance.


As stated previously, I set a 2020 goal of reducing the Heloc balance by $20,000.   Theoretically, I will be counting on eBay to help a great deal with the debt reduction by applying at least $1000 a month from eBay earnings. That leaves approximately $667 a month to earn/find/reduce other spending and apply that to the Heloc balance as well.

Here is how we did last week on Transfer Tuesday

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Cash and Carry

There are still kinks to work out in my budget and ways to save and do better.  Yesterday, I took a leap of faith when getting cash for my cash envelopes, I took out an extra $120 for groceries for the week.

 Typically I would use a cash reward card for groceries, but I am pretty sure that concept gave me mental permission to spend more. So, I decided to try the cash and carry approach.

Well, actually I took out too much.  $180 for cash envelopes, $120 for groceries and I somehow thought I needed to pull out $400 instead of $300 so I ended up with an extra $100 cash.  Good grief.

Anyway, I put the $120 in a homemade cash-carrying envelope, stuck it in my purse and off to the grocery store I went.  First I went to Aldi's and I was amazed at how empty the parking lot was.  Come to find out they were closed.  So then I went ahead and went to Target with my list and managed to stay on task and spend $46.00 of my weekly allotment.

I have flyers for this week's ads and am planning accordingly.  Publix has a couple of BOGO's I am interested in, Reynolds Heavy Duty Aluminum Wrap being one of them.   Publix also has a digital coupon for $1 for Ragu Spaghetti Sauce (I think) and it is also BOGO.  Winn Dixie has Tide and Downy on sale with Digital Coupons available.

I purposely left about $30 in our checking for groceries that my husband will stop at the store and pick up.  Mostly milk and Powerade is what he will stop and pick up and it is easier for him to use a debit.

This experiment in spending only cash for groceries will be a great tool for me to reduce my grocery spending and putting extra cash towards our debt.  It may not always work out and be enough but in the long run I am hoping it will retrain me in how to shop more with purpose as opposed to shopping for instant gratification.

The extra $100 that I took out is tucked away at my desk waiting for next week. Some days I need to take my time when it comes to money management.

Check out this money-saving app.  It was recommended to me by a FB friend.  If you try it out, let me know what you think. I have accumulated $10 in saving so far.


Use this link or enter my promo code LISA22752 to get an extra 15¢/gal cash back on gas on your first fill-up:

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Transfer Tuesday and Paying Down Debt 12/31/2019

It's time to move some money around and reduce our debt.  There are a few things going on that will require cash.  The hubs is preforming a semi-major truck repair in the form of a water pump replacement. The cost of those parts is currently at $825.00 and it may be a bit more before it is all over.

We do put aside money for truck/car repairs in a  recently implemented cash envelope system, but there is not nearly enough to cover this repair.  The bill will be covered by eBay earnings that were originally earmarked for the HELOC repayment.

We have also made a few improvements on my she-shed (eBay storage) with the installation of a new light fixture an updated electrical.  This came to about $100 and will be covered by eBay earnings. 

Old principal (Heloc) balance $84,107.03

  • $13.52 Credit Card Rewards
  • $1000.00 from eBay PayPal account 

New principal (Heloc) balance $83,093.51

I set a 2020 goal of reducing the Heloc balance by $20,000.   Theoretically, I will be counting on eBay to help a great deal with the debt reduction by applying at least $1000 a month from eBay earnings. That leaves approximately $667 a month to earn/find/reduce other spending and apply that to the Heloc balance as well. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Goals for 2020

1.   Work on reducing the HELOC balance.  The amount is considerable ($84,107.73) but I am dedicated to whittling it down by $20,000 in 2020.  Okay, I realize that $20,000 is a HUGE goal, and I hesitated at this amount.   I had to convince myself not to lower it because I did not want to set my self up for failure.  But, the only failure is not trying.  Any amount put towards lowering the balance will be a success. So there you go!

2.  Increase Emergency Savings from $1000.00 to $3000.00.  Right now our emergency fund carries about $1200.00, but by the end of the year, we would like to increase that to $3000.00 for a little more peace of mind.

3.  Getting healthy. Time to focus on getting rid of some extra weight and change our eating habits.  This is a goal that we have every year, and every year we fail.  My stumbling block is I am an emotional eater and consume food when I am happy or when I am sad.

4.  Building online income.  I sell on eBay and (will be expanding to Etsy) and it is consistently inconsistent. But I will continue to work at adding listings, tweaking what is already listed, and promote on Pinterest and Twitter. The earnings will go towards paying down the HELOC.

5.  Christmas 2020  Set a Christmas spending budget which I currently estimate to be at $1000.  This includes spouse, grown kids, grandkids, Christmas tips for my hairdresser, pool guy, mail person, and our pastors.  Maybe If I set an amount NOW, it won't be such a shock in December.

I will finish ALL holiday shopping by Thanksgiving!! No more of this last-minute stuff. My mom ALWAYS finished her shopping by Thanksgiving and I use to do the same.  I really need to do it again, to enjoy the holidays without the stress of  Christmas shopping.

6.  Have more fun!  Life is short and I know that saving money, budgeting, and being frugal is important.  But....   having fun and enjoying life is just as important!   Living in Central Florida provides many opportunities to visit theme parks and be a kid again.  An annual Disney Pass is one of my sinking funds/categories. I love to go and visit the theme parks with my grandkids or even by myself.  They make me happy.

7.  Plan a Trip  To Wisconsin.  It is family reunion time!  I am hoping my anxiety won't get in the way of travel this year.  We will have to put away a couple of thousand for this trip for travel and lodging.  I really want to go, but the anxiety of planning gets to me.  I know once I get there it will be fine.  But, I have to get there first.

8.  Roth IRA..... hello....  you remember me, don't you?  My retirement planning has become more important than ever.  I will research ways to better invest with my ROTH and shop and interview financial planners. We have one now, but I need to make sure he is the best person for me and my retirement goals.

9.  Read 10 books.  I miss reading books.  With everything online, I spend too much time reading and catching up online.  I could not tell you when the last time I actually held a book in my hands and read for enjoyment.  It has been a while, that's for sure.

10.  Compile a folder/notebook for our estate planning.   I need to put all of our "financial things and paperwork" in one place for safekeeping.  A notebook with all current accounts and final wishes and arrangements will make things easier for the family members who have to take care of it.

There is nothing suggesting that the end is near, but I need to get all this in one place for peace of mind for us and our family.

So there it is a list of goals for 2020.  For me, it will be motivation to stay the course for self-improvement and paying down debt.  I have put up yearly goals in years past, sometimes they motivate me and sometimes they are so overwhelming that I will self sabotage my own success.
Self, let's stay on the side of success and not self-sabotage this year. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Endless Rainy Days, Christmas Cactus, and Acid Reflux

Red and Pink Christmas Cactus

On the bright side, my Christmas Cactus is blooming.  This particular plant displays two colors, bright pink and a deep red.  I love the red and when they are done blooming, I will be propagating more of the red Christmas cactus for next year. 

Luckily, Christmas Cactus are extremely hardy and I can't kill them.  This year they have thrived as I have made it a point to keep them watered and fertilized.  Last year, not so much.  The neglect only produced a handful of blooms. 

It has been raining on and off for the last 4 days here and we all are about to go stir crazy!  The rain
Tree limb down next door
has soaked the trees, limbs are down in our neighbor's yard and so far we are lucky in that respect. 

My husband has been gathering parts for the repair/replacement of the water pump on his 2014 Ford F-150 and let me tell you, they are not cheap at all. Right now the total is up to $900!  Good Grief!  We are blessed that he has the skills to do the job as the labor at the dealership would be astronomical. 

Since he has to remove a good deal of engine thingys to get to the water pump, he is going to replace all that needs to be replaced including serpentine belts, hoses, and whatever else needs to be replaced for a 100 thousand tune-up.  Right now the truck is at 70,000 miles.  After this major repair, the truck will be good for another 100 thousand miles.

The truck repair is going to impact debt repayment, but I am glad to have eBay earnings still squirreled away. At least we will avoid MORE debt this time around.  
I still have to take my vehicle to the dealership for an oil change, tire rotation, and a brake check.  My vehicle is still under warranty so we utilize the dealership for service as we don't want to void the warranty.  

On the bright side of this weather, we are all getting our rest, the days are full of naps and movie watching. I have also been busy with listing on eBay and packing up sales too. I have avoided going to the stores for anything.  Instead, I send my husband with a list.  This way, the spending is kept under control.  Truth be told, I have enough stuff/groceries to get us through the New Year.  If we need a loaf of bread, I will send someone

to get it.  

Last night or early this morning I woke up with a case of reflux.  That burning stomach acid crawling back up into my throat, it is an awful feeling.  Thankfully, it does not happen often, but when it does I will drink pickle juice to cool the burn.  It works!!

In about 10-15 minutes after drinking the pickle juice, the burn is gone and I can go back to bed.  Look, on the left of this pickle jar you can see another jar of mostly pickle juice tucked away just in case it happens again.  

To prevent another occurrence of acid reflux, I must remember to not eat so late and to not eat while sitting in a reclined position.  It is a recipe for disaster, for sure. 

I sure hope the rains stops today so we can get stuff done outside. We are all going a bit stir crazy here!

  Hows the weather where you are?

Friday, December 27, 2019

Celebrating 41 Years

  Yesterday was our 41st wedding anniversary and we celebrated by spending the day in a nearby historic city eating and taking in the sights.  The drive was about 40 minutes from the house, road construction turned it into an hour drive.

The weather cooperated, overcast and not too hot.  It was a
fun and relaxing day.

Today its time to start putting up Christmas stuff and getting the house back in order after the holidays. 

The Breezeway Bar and Restaurant 

Lunch was Fish and Chips 

We were able to eat outside and people watch. 

We checked out a local book store 


This chair looked comfy, but I didn't try it out.  Thought it would tumble backwards lol

Second floor of music

James Dean in the corner

Bubble gum machine with brain candy

Ice Cream for Desert!

Salted Carmel, it was delish!

I love old buildings

Fish art

We make a quick stop at a Goodwill downtown.

It was a small store, but I found a few items to flip.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas filled with love and happiness.

Transfer Tuesday

It's transfer Tuesday and it's time to pay down the HELOC.  Last week I moved credit card rewards to the HELOC balance, it wasn't a lot but it all counts.  I also sent $100 from my eBay earnings to reduce the balance a little bit.  After the first of the year, I will move over a bigger chunk, but for now, a $100 is okay. 

In the mail this past week, I received a check from my former employer.  It was a bonus for all school employees that were employed last year for our school.  We collectively brought up the school grade from a "C" school to a "B" school.  It certainly was nice to get that check!

The check was for $546.02, I sent $346.02 to the HELOC and $200 to our savings account.  Pretty sure we will have to buy a new water pump for my husband's truck, so we need to have that money to cover that expense.

  • $8.66 Credit Card Rewards 
  • $100 Transfer from eBay
  • $346.02 Bonus from last school year (a pleasant surprise)
New principal balance $84,107.03

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