One of these days I'll be back more regularly.
I have certainly missed you all and want to catch up on everyone's blogs.
The kids and I are doing well. Naturally emotional ups and downs. Financially I have been in a very solid and comfortable position. I'm beyond thankful for that since dealing with everything would be 100 times more difficult if I couldn't make ends meet.
Certainly the children and I would have been better off if there had been some life insurance, but that was not in place. Giving us a financial foothold is the children's monthly death benefits from Social Security.
No benefits for me because I make too much. However, if I ever made less due to reduced hours or job loss I would be able to receive money then.
In other financial news I decided to refinance my house. Refinancing to a conventional loan saves me $114/mo in PMI (FHA loan). I also consolidated the HELOC and my cc debt which saves me several hundred a month in minimum payments.
I was initially resisting the idea of paying off my cc's with my house. But, reducing my amount of outflow every month was the deciding factor.
My new mortgage payment will be $280 more per month than it is currently. I have been paying $315/mo just for the HELOC payment and several hundred more to credit card payoff.
The amount that we receive from SS each month is enough to cover the mortgage and utilities.
My future is a huge question mark.
Who knows how long I'll be living in my current home.
Being able to save a large amount of cash to an EF seems to be the best plan for me right now.
As part of the refi I had to have an appraisal. Housing is ON FIRE here.. It's crazy.
Anyhow, house appraised for $455k!
We purchased it for $265k seven years ago.
It boggles my mind.
Next up working on my taxes...
Y'all take care. I'm looking forward to catching up more soon.
Viewing the 'Credit Cards' Category
One of these days I'll be back more regularly.
Friday I applied for the Costco AmEx card again.
(You all may recall I have applied for this card twice before and been rejected - not because of bad credit either.)
It has been almost a year since I last applied.
When I didn't get this card last year I got the WF Propel AmEx. That worked out great because it had a big bonus.
But, the Propel card has an annual fee and I will need to cancel it soon.
This year I was approved for the Costco AmEx!
(Hence the "Third Time a Charm" title.) I think I was approved this time because the Southwest card I just closed had such a large credit line that it made the credit:debt ratio much "better" looking.
This card has no annual fee and 3% back on gas, 2% on travel & restaurants, 1% on all else.
I like having an AmEx to use at Costco since that is the only CC they accept... for now.
I read they are going to take other cards in the near future. Having this card might be a moot point there, but 3% on gas purchases is nice.
Still busy painting here... Now I'm doing a bookcase for DS's room.
I did get my Chase Southwest points redeemed for $600 in gift cards. When I took them all out of the shipping envelope it really was a fist full of cards.
I was able to purchase the new bedding for DS's bunk bed almost completely with some of those CC reward gift cards.
I spent just under $10 to cover what the gift cards didn't. Such a sweet feeling!
And, earlier this week I cancelled the card and had the $99 annual fee refunded. So all is good.
I took on a last minute cat sitting job twelve days ago. The owners are clients where I work and one of their cats was diagnosed with diabetes three days before they were headed to Hawaii. I agreed to make twice daily visits to their house to give insulin injections since the house sitter was not comfortable medicating the cat. It has been a big time commitment and extra driving, but I am happy to report that the kitty is doing very well on his insulin injections.
I will make $520 gross. I haven't looked at my gas expenses yet. Their house is 19 miles one-way from my house, but only 2 miles from my office.
I'm so glad the gas prices have come down recently!
On Thursday I cashed in $25.54 points for account credit on a Chase account.
And $125 worth of account credit to a Wells Fargo account.
Next, I need to gift card shop ($600+) with my Southwest points. I don't think there is a cash option there.. I didn't see one.
As many of you know our house has needed a new roof pretty much from the time we bought it. We have been limping our old, original-to-the-house roof along by patching spots and last year a tarp over the worst spot.
Well, DH collected estimates from six contractors last month ranging from $9700 to $16600. We chose to go with a company who has been in business in our town for 40 years. DH signed the contract and I selected the shingle color last week.
(I think it is a good mix of brown and grey.)
We also added two 10" round skylights to the job to brighten up our dim hallway.
The contract price is $13,320. *Deep Breath*
We have the HELOC to pay for the job.
DH asked if there was a cash discount and was told "No". Then he asked if there was an additional fee to use a cc and was told "No". So, I will first charge it to a credit card for the points then pay off with the HELOC.
The only thing is any card I use is *only* going to get me 1% ($133). Which beats $0 for sure. But, I am thinking we could easily meet the spending requirements for two or three bonus paying cards.
Maybe the Southwest card and a Sapphire card?
Going to have to do a bit of thinking....
$4299 Starting Balance
- $ 15 Survey Snowflake
- $120 Regular Payment
$4164 Ending Balance
My goal is to have this cc balance at $3900 before 1/1/15.
Since we paid off the first "Special Focus Debt", here is the next one on my list.
(What I mean by "Special Focus" is the debt that I will apply any snowflakes or found money to.
It's my Special project. )
$4342 -- Starting Balance
- $40 -- Snowflake Payment
- $ 3 -- Psychological Gratification
$4299 -- New Balance
DH and I have both been blessed by some side work this past week. I have a dog that I am pet sitting at our home for two weeks and DH installed a furnace and new duct work for an acquaintance last weekend.
I decided to use the cash I made and some of what DH made to PAYOFF the "Special Focus" credit card.
$876 - Previous Balance
$0 - Current Balance
At the end of last month I received a $60 check from one of the companies I do a monthly inventory survey for. This company pays me quarterly - $20/month.
$976 Previous Balance
- $60 Snowflake Payment
- $40 Regular Payment
$876 Current Balance
We got new tires for the Pathfinder.
It had been three years and three months since the last tire replacement and at least 70k miles. They were really worn, to the point that I was worrying about driving too far on them.
Four new tires, an alignment and taxes/fees came to $960.
I redeemed my Wells Fargo AmEx points for cash into our checking account. That was $550!
I made $60 for pet sitting this weekend.
Won $25 cash prize at a veterinary technician meeting this evening.
And I booked a pet sitting job coming up soon that will pay $400.
Sunset view from the side of the house (DS's bedroom window).
My phone does a good job with pictures, but this doesn't quite convey all the shades of color there was in the sky. Hope you all enjoy anyway.
In other news, the bonus points have posted for my Wells Fargo Propel card. Yay!
Unfortunately, their system is down, so I can't redeem right now. *Shucks!*
Monday I received the usual $15 check for the monthly inventory tracking.
$991 Starting Balance
$976 New Balance
Pushed it just a little here and used all my cat care money for the week to drop this balance under $1k.
I say "pushed it" because DH still was short a few hours on Friday's paycheck. We ended the week with about $60 less than what I budget for. I think so far there has only been one week where we weren't short. It is slowing goals down for sure!
AND we'll be short again this Friday as DH doesn't get holiday pay for the Fourth of July. Phooey..
The $80/week cat care cash is REALLY helping to buffer the low paychecks, but I'd rather be using the cash for other than covering regular bills.
Okay, here it is.....
$1071 Previous Balance
- $80 C.C. Cash
$991 Current Balance