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*Had* to Update Quicken

April 17th, 2015 at 09:34 pm

I bought Quicken Deluxe in 2012 at Costco for $20.
I had never used Quicken before and quickly fell in love with using it. Honestly, I open and update our accounts in Quicken probably three to four times each week. I love the colored charts and how easy it is to track every penny. I also use it to plan my bill paying a month ahead of time.
It's like a game for me when I'm on Quicken. Smile
(My DH has even referred to me paying bills/accounting as "playing on the computer"!)

About two months ago I started getting messages about how if I didn't update to the latest edition I would lose the ability to download transactions directly into the program. This is a big deal for me. It saves mucho time to just click a button and have all my financial accounts updated. Oh sure the program would still work after May 1st; I'd just be manually entering all transactions.

Had I known at the beginning of the year they would shut off the auto downloading I might have bought it at Costco again. They have Quicken on special every January. I checked the price now - $49.99.

The biggest rip-off is the maker of Quicken - Intuit - says "upgrade now and we will give you $10 off". The cost on their website is $74.99, so $64.99 for all the loyal current customers. The highest price out of anywhere I checked.

Last night I broke down and purchased the 2015 version through Amazon - downloaded and installed it with about three clicks. That process was very easy and smooth.

So far the new version works the same as the old one that I was quite happy with, plus these "improvements".
* The chart and graph colors are in a new color scheme - whatever. Rolleyes
* Some things have been moved from one side of the screen to the other - I find that annoying.
* I get my credit score listed in the side bar - wow (not).
* You can access your account from your phone - I opted out of that for now as I want to try to limit exposure to sensitive account info.

It cost $39.99 on Amazon. BUT, I still had gift card money from the CC rewards so it cost $0!
*Silver Lining* Big Grin

And honestly, $40 every three years for something I use so often is a good deal. I just hate being pushed into it.

Where Did March Go? Tahoe Trip. DH had Pneumonia.

April 7th, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I can't believe we are a week into April already! What?!

Catching up here..

In the last half of March we took a four-day family getaway with another family to Lake Tahoe. We rented a house. Which sounds so fancy, but in reality is a reasonably frugal way to vacation. This was the first time we have ever stayed in a vacation rental, but I will definitely do it again.

We split the rental 50/50 with our friends. They have three young kids. We invited a friend for DD to hang out with. That made 10 people total. We paid $100/night ($200/night total) and $75 cleaning fee. The house was plenty spacious for everyone to spread out (four bedrooms & three full baths). The pool table kept the teen girls entertained and actually off their cell phones for a little bit! Big Grin

We ate in the whole time and cooked in the large kitchen; which was nicer than mine at home.
That kept our food spending equal to staying home.

We visited the Discovery museum in Reno at $8/per person. Such a fun place!

The other mom and I had a champagne and goat cheese binge one night in front of the gas fireplace. Glorious. Big Grin

We picnicked at one of the Lake's beaches. No park fees because it was "off-season".




Took the all the kids tubing on the last patch of snow we could find nearby. Splurged $30 for tube rental.

Woke up to a dusting of snow one morning to everyone's delight - especially the four youngsters. Smile




Then when we got home DH started saying how much his chest was hurting. We thought that his asthma was flaring up. But, by the next day he was really hurting. A trip to the ER confirmed pneumonia. Frown
(Is this year going to be the year of medical expenses?? I sure hope not!)

He was pretty sick for about a week. Breathless and tired. And coughing of course.

Doing much better now, but not 100% yet. Did go back to work last Thursday on limited duties.
No sick leave pay for the days he was out. Frown

One good thing is that he is getting a sleep test for his sleep apnea. Something I've been saying for several years he should do...

Get $100 Credit from Ting Until December 1st!!

November 28th, 2014 at 08:20 am

WOW!

If you are thinking about signing up for Ting cell phone service NOW is the time!

[url]https://zlibcgmej.ting.com/[/url]
By using my referral code (or another SAer's link) you will get $100 towards a phone and / or service.

To sweeten the deal just a bit more, many of the high end smartphones are on Black Friday sales.

Happy Saving to you all!

Halloween 2014

November 1st, 2014 at 02:16 pm



DH and I carved our pumpkins with stencils. DD free-handed her *LOVE* carving.

Spending for Halloween was low this year.

DS was a pirate. We bought a foam hat at a craft store that my sister's hubby glued into a classic three pointed hat. Then I cut the bottoms of an old pair of his sweat pants and he wore a striped shirt of mine. Total costume cost under $4!

DD dressed as a band member of Five Seconds of Summer (new teen boy band). We bought a tshirt from Amazon that she can wear anytime. Total costume cost under $20.


$23 - Costumes
$12 - Pumpkins
$ 8 - Candy
$ 8 - Decor Items
$ 2 - 24ct Glow Bracelets

Rain. HELOC News. Spending.

September 26th, 2014 at 09:46 pm

We had a little rain early Thursday morning and again this evening. The weather has been very mild for weeks and the rain didn't change that - still mild. Plus the rain makes everything smell so nice and fresh and we can certainly use the moisture.


Our loan officer from the CU left me a voicemail that she was completing the documents today. DH and I will sign early next week and the money will be available by next Friday.
DH has contacted several roofing contractors. Some have come to the house already, but we don't have any written estmates yet. We want to get moving on the roof ASAP.


Re: Spending.

DH's side work profits were used to get the truck's water pump replaced (finally), two new tires and a few other odds & ends replaced (wipers, filters, etc.)
$1451 in auto parts and repair

It is the start of a new 4H year.
Yearly membership dues and two pre-purchase tickets for the large fundraising dinner came to $71.

DD is in the Honor band at school this year. Band camp weekend for $135.

I bought a Groupon for the Pilates studio I used last year for $89/eight classes.

I went kayaking last weekend with a girlfriend. $55 for the all day, 11 mile trip down the river. It was beautiful and relaxing, but....

My back was so tight after kayaking that the following day I had a spasm and threw my lower back "out". Had to see a chiropractor yesterday to pop everything back in place. (Primarily the left side of my pelvis.) I haven't used a chiropractor in over 13 years, but I really needed help.
$45 and worth every penny!

Everything (including $900 to debt payoff!) was paid using side money. WooHoo! Keep it coming! Big Grin

Mower Repair & Pre-Sale Gym Membership

August 17th, 2014 at 03:59 pm

Our lawnmower wouldn't stay running. DH had to take it the repair shop. He picked it up this last week. $146 for a new carburetor. Ouch!
We were told that to prevent this from being a problem in the future we cannot use "cheap gas". (Who knew?)
It was recommended that we only use Chevron Supreme in the mower.
(I hope that helps any other mower owners out there.)

------
A new health club is being built in our city. They are running a pre-sale special that has the rates about 50% less than regular.

DH really wants to get back into the gym again. Unfortunately this club doesn't offer racquetball (for the sake of his knees maybe that's not such a bad thing).

The cost for our entire family with the special rate is less than the single member rate at the club we had used previously. And the special rate is locked for the length of the membership. If me or the kids end up not using the club we can suspend the additional memberships (me, DD, DS) and reactivate later still keeping the promo rate. At the minimum we can get DH in there working out a few times per week and squeeze $35/month into the budget. We can cancel anytime without fees, so we felt like there wasn't any risk to giving it a try.

Car Repairs. Two More Short Paydays.

April 13th, 2014 at 06:21 pm

My car was repaired last Sunday.. sort of..

I took it for a little test drive just to be sure it didn't give me any trouble before my commute Monday morning. It was a beautiful late Sunday afternoon. I cruised just out of town and through rolling green hills with houses, gardens and animals. I was really enjoying my drive and then the car started running badly again..

Even worse, actually, because it had no power whatsoever. I was glad I was on a quiet country road with nobody behind me. I puttered for a few miles, pulled into a school parking lot and had to call for a tow home.

I was glad it was only me stranded and that I was in a safe place and not on the side of the highway.
I passed the time by watching baby goats playing in the field next to the parking lot and catching up with games on my phone.

Unfortunately, I was 9 miles from home and we just have basic roadside service that covers up to 5 miles of towing (or to closest repair garage), so we had to pay the 4 mile overage. Frown

Turns out there was a second sensor that needed replacement. The car would run fine until it got hot then it would crap out. Our mechanic neighbor finished that replacement early Tuesday afternoon (and the car has been running great since *KNOCK on WOOD*). We returned the rental car that night - we had it for five days.

$542 - repair
$ 82 - car rental
$ 40 - tow


AND as if that isn't financial headache enough, we had two more paydays short of the weekly income I budget for.

On 4/4 we came up short by $240.
On 4/11 short by $318.

The costs for the repairs and the funds to balance the budget have come out of the now pitifully depleted EF.

Frown

Ting Cell Service Saves Us $80 (or more) per Month

April 3rd, 2014 at 01:03 pm

As most of you know we use Ting here and LOVE it.

Recently we were able to switch DH and his beloved iPhone over to Ting. That simple change has saved us $60/month. Which came at just the right time because we ended up needing $60 more per month to cover the new health plan for the children.

As stated in the title Ting service actually saves us more than $60 each month.
Here is how I am basing that statement:

Sprint (network Ting uses) is now offering it's "Framily" plan. So assuming all three of us phone users in our family used that plan it would be $45/pp/mo. That is $135 per month. And say another $6 for taxes and fees, so $141 total per month.

Here is our Ting bill from February 18 to March 18.
(so you all don't think I made up numbers!)



(Our texting is high due to DD. She pays difference between the $5 Medium level and whatever level her texting lands us.)

Yes, that total is $61.97 for three smart phones. Really it could be much lower if we tried harder to limit some of the usage.

AND the amount I actually *paid* last month was $36.97 because I had a $25 referral credit (THANK YOU dear person!).

I think the savings are even greater if you compare plans from AT&T or Verizon. One of them is offering a "special deal" - a four line plan for $180/mo.

SO, if changing your cell service to Ting sounds like something you'd like to do you can save $25 right away by using my referral code:

[url]https://zlibcgmej.ting.com/[/url]

MonkeyMama and Ceejay are also using Ting. I know MM likes it. I am interested to hear if Ting is saving CeeJay money and if she likes her new phone.

UPDATE: CeeJay was the first one to comment! Big Grin

Yippee! DH's iPhone on Ting Now!

February 5th, 2014 at 04:49 pm

Last night I transferred DH's cell phone over to Ting. I am so excited about this mostly because of the big monthly savings. Secondly, because it's one less bill/company I have to deal with monthly.
I had offered many times to buy him a new phone just to get him to move to Ting, but he is very attached to his current phone.

Just a note: Ting is not fully supporting iPhones.. yet.. *Fingers crossed* for other Apple users. They are activating iPhone4 and 4s that are Sprint "branded" which basically narrows it to two phone models being eligible. This was where we got lucky because DH's phone is a 4 and he bought it through Sprint on Black Friday 2011.

I did have to maneuver a bit to make it happen.

First, I had to swap his Sprint service to an old cell phone so we didn't lose his current number. That meant digging around to pull out all our old phones. Then I was almost ready to give up because the first *four* I tried were not supported by the Sprint network anymore so they couldn't be activated. I almost didn't try the last one - glad I did 'cause the *fifth* old phone worked like a charm!
That made the iPhone inactive with Sprint (the phone must be inactive in order to re-activate with Ting).

Next, I logged into Ting a requested the number be "ported" and to activate the iPhone.

Two hours later I received the email that stated the number has been ported and to finish the activation steps.

My DH was happy because I told him he might be without his phone for 24 hours because I didn't know how long it would take to get his phone number switched.

I was/am so happy because the savings each month!!
Big Grin

**Previous monthly cell charges:

DH's Sprint = $86/mo (average)
Me & DD's Ting = $33/mo (average)

Total = $119/month

**New, anticipated, monthly charges:

Medium Minutes = $9
Large Texts = $8
Medium Data = $12
Device charge = $6 (x3)
Taxes = pocket change

Total = $49/month

$70/month SAVINGS!

**Happy Dancing**

Ting Lowers Rates! (Especially on Data)

February 3rd, 2014 at 07:50 pm

This is great news, especially for higher usage customers!

Even though I use as little data as possible by connecting to Wi-Fi most of the time, my DD typically bumps us to the next level of usage with her YouTube surfing and music listening while not on Wi-Fi. Not that it is a *big* deal - about $10 additional per month that she pays for.

Here is the email I received this morning:




Then this evening I was able to read the blog post and saw their new rate table.



**Remember my referral code is on my sidebar and it will save you $25 when you decide to switch. Smile


Financial This 'n That

November 9th, 2013 at 07:51 am

Called our cable provider for a lower rate. We have TV, internet and home phone bundled with Comcast.
I was all set for a tough negotiation and threats of leaving. Didn't need that at all! The CSR was super nice and I was all set less than 15 minutes later. Smile
Kept our same package and services for $120/month for two years.
A savings of $55/month compared to their *regular* rate! ($16/month less than the *low* rate we had been paying.)

DD lost/forgot her debit card. (While walking home with a friend she stopped for a fast food snack.)
An hour later our bank called - her card had been brought in by a good citizen. Big Grin
A good lesson learned.

Our gas and electric bill last month was the lowest it has been all year (I think?) $80. Such mild days and nights in September/October we didn't need the heat or the AC.

Had to reorder checks. Totally ran out right before the first of the month. Rolleyes
Last time I bought them was March 2012.

It has been slow at work, so this past Tuesday my boss reduced my schedule back to a half day on Tuesdays again. (He is a total dork, but that's a different post.)
Darn it - I was liking that bit of extra income.
The silver lining is that I work in the morning, pick up DS from preschool in the afternoon and get home well before dark.
My work schd is pretty sweet: full day, half day, full day, half day, full day, weekend.

Might be able to switch DH's iPhone to Ting at the end of this month.
(Shhh..I got an email about beta testing..)
That could save us an easy $40 to $60 each month! Very excited!

Had a 0% balance transfer offer come up. A bit of quick math and I figured the upfront transfer fee would "pay for itself" after 3.5 months. We would not have the balance paid off by then. Prepaying a bit of interest now to reap long term 0% benefit will pay off in the long run.

I am continuing to earn $80/week with my quick, 30 minute, twice weekly trip to give an old cat fluids.
I also earned $140 by pet sitting some other cats five days last week.
This extra cash has been so awesome! Big Grin