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Retirement Update

July 21st, 2015 at 12:25 pm

I don't do updates on my retirement often but I should.

I started both my 401K and Roth IRA in 2012. My employer match is 6% of the 401K.

Right now I am contributing 15% of my income not including the match (I did not start out contributing that much). The 6% match is just icing on the cake right now.

I follow the Dave Ramsey program or at least try hard to do so!

For three years, not bad.

401K $41,027.12
Roth IRA $17,569.72
Total $58,596.84

Auto and Homeowners Insurance

July 16th, 2015 at 09:12 am

My auto and homeowners insurance is up for renewal. It is increasing by $369.

The auto went up an additional $241 and for homeowners $128.

I have asked the independent insurance agent to research it to see if he could get a better deal. I'm going to do some research of my own.

Weight Watchers Week 2 and other updates

July 7th, 2015 at 02:13 pm

My weigh in today didn't go as planned but I'm not upset. I'm up .6lbs. Seriously! A half a pound! I think its because of my clothes or atleast that is what I'm telling myself. I did the points. I exercised so I don't see why I didn't get a loss. Maybe the scale was off. LOL!

In looking at my Fitbit weekly report my average hours asleep a night is 8. I'm glad about that. I do need to increase my daily steps though!

I have $129.50 pending with Ebates right now. My next check will be here August 15th.

I've also received $5 Kohls cash and $5 Famous Footwear. I have a 15% off and there is a b1g1 50% off at Famous Footwear. I wonder if I can combine everything. hmm! Well I'm going to swing by after work today and see what I can get. I don't have a coupon to use with the Kohls cash. Last time I got 3 pair of Asset by Spanxs briefs that suck in my gut!

DD2 and I went to the library last night. I picked up an audio book by Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus. The girls who were abducted in Cleveland and held for years. I also picked up two travel books one from Lonely Planet and there other I think is Fodors on China and the United Arab Emirates so I can do some research.

Other than going to a bakery the girls and I have not been eating out. At work they do cater in on Thursdays now and sometimes for meetings on other days.

I get paid this Friday and will take inventory and make a menu plan and try to use all that we still have. I really stocked up the last time I went to the store.

That's pretty much all that I have going on right now.

Beijing & Shanghai 2016

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:22 am

Another trip! Woo hoo! I am working on my bucket list.

Original Price $1400
Early Booking -$300
Coupon Code -$100
Price $1099

I will need to purchase (2) Visas @ $195/ea. I added discounted excursions for $343. Total $1637 per person!

What is included:
Round-trip non-stop flights from Houston
All intra-China flights and ground transportation
7 nights superior first class hotels with private bath
8 Meals: 7 American buffet breakfasts plus 1 lunch
Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
Professional English-speaking tour guides

The excursions are:
Tiananmen Square
Palace Museum
Forbidden City
Lama Tibetan Monastery
Beihai Park
Kung Fu & Peking Duck Dinner
Great Wall of China
Hutongs, Summer Palace & Panda Zoo
Temple of Heaven
Tai Chi class
Yu Garden
Shanghai Museum
Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Acrobatics Show
Boat ride through Suzhou's Grand Canal
Silk Reeling Factory

What is not included:
tips, some meals and souvenirs!

This flight is also 15hrs! yikes!!

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!

Dubai Trip 2015

July 2nd, 2015 at 11:08 am

I guess if you don't save your post frequently it gets deleted. Anyway, I lied when I said I wasn't going to do any more traveling and focus on paying off the mortgage because I found some good deals and booked!

Original price $1499
Early booking -$300
Coupon code -$100
Total $1099

I added additional items like airfare from Houston for a direct flight which was $395 and excursions $424. Total price per person is $1918.

What is included:
Round trip flights via scheduled carriers including fuel surcharges, taxes and fees
5 nights superior first-class hotel plus late check-out Day 7
Buffet breakfast daily
Arrival & departures transfers with meeting, assistance and porterage

The fun stuff the excursions -
Half a day Dubai city tour
Burj Khalifa
Desert Safari & BBQ Dinner
Full Day Abu Dhabi
Dhow Dinner Cruise
Dubai Museum
Al Fahidi Fort
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Zayed House
Yas Island, where the Ferrari World theme park and Formula 1 race track are located

What is not included:
Tips, some meals, souvenirs!

Weight Watchers Week 1 Results

July 2nd, 2015 at 10:34 am

I recently joined Weight Watchers. I felt that it was needed. I have been so tired lately. Even to the point where I am winded going up and down the stairs. Having a desk job, not exercising or watching what I eat have all contributed.

For week 1, I am down 4.2lbs which is great! Next week I hope to get my 5 POUND STAR!

Changes that I have made, I've been tracking and watching what I eat, drinking a ton of water, eating plenty of fruit and veggies. This weekend I will start exercising regularly to speed up the process and get to feeling better.

I enjoy the meetings and the group leader, its a group that I know and the location is so convenient being just over by the food court here at work.

Last week I used my extra points that I am allotted but I am going to try to not use the 'allowance' and just stick to the daily target points!

Lost post..hate when that happens!

June 18th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I lost my post so here I am retyping Smile

Pending FB sale for my trampoline for $40. It's been raining a lot here in Texas and the person who is coming to pick up the trampoline has to take it down and haul so we are waiting for a better day. I have another person interested incase he flakes.

Dental refund update. I over paid my account by $40 and the dentist agreed to give me half of what I paid for the root canal/crown. Now that I have opened an investigation with the insurance company she doesn't not want to issue me a refund for anything. I told the office manager that the $40 was over payment and that it should be refunded and she said she would send it but it might take up to a month. I will have to stay on top of that and on top of the investigation so that I can get the benefits replenished back to my account and see if the dentist is going to honor the agreement of refunding me half of what I paid out of pocket.

Hater at work. SD is a lady that I worked with 10 years ago at another company and I know her well. She is very difficult to work with. She has chased two people away recently and they are looking for a replacement. I saw that the job was paying up to $90K and applied. I told her. She hasn't spoken to me all week. I'm going to withdrawal my application.

New watch and purse findings

June 11th, 2015 at 12:02 pm

For my 5yr anniversary at work, I picked out a Bulova watch. I received it yesterday and it is just as nice as it looked in the catalog. I had planned to wear it today and forgot.

I also received a post to a garden bed that I am building. Over the weekend while assembling the post broke. I am surprised at how fast they shipped it.

Digging through my purse looking for a USB I found a few things listed below that I put in there but forgot about and I'm glad that they haven't expired!

-$2 CVS ECB's
-$10 JCPenny
-Kroger catalina for a bx of free tampons
-$20 Kohl's cash + 15% off coupon

I hope to get a few clothing pieces from Kohls and JCP.


June 10th, 2015 at 01:37 pm

I am hoping to have an update with more funds put towards the mortgage soon!

This week I will have 4hrs+ of overtime. Today we had a baby shower at work and Mexican food was brought in. Brownies and ice cream were for dessert.

I've been slacking with menu planning at home. That is something I am going to work on tonight. I'm going to take DD2 to the pool and read one of my many library books. I hope to get a walk in before it gets dark. I could use the exercise!

Flood Insurance and Appraisal District

May 28th, 2015 at 01:16 pm

I just received an email from our neighborhood association stating that The US Army Corp. of Engineers has stated that our subdivision could possibly flood in heavy rain. The bayou running alongside the community is part of a watershed leading into George Bush Park. George Bush Park is part of the Barker/Addicks Reservoir system that was created to reduce flood damage by preventing downstream flooding of the Buffalo Bayou into downtown Houston.

Given Canyon Gate's location between the bayou and levee, it is recommended that homeowners have flood insurance.

I have checked before and was told that I wasn't in a flood zone. Given recent events. I will be getting flood insurance. I wonder how much it costs.

Ft. Bend County Appraisal District miscalculated 145,000 dues and new statements were sent out. I was one of those. This year, I've hired a company to protest my property taxes. There fee is 50% of what is saved. If the findings show that they couldn't save me anything then I don't pay them a fee.

2015 Travel - Italy, Canyon Lake, Dallas, Galveston

May 21st, 2015 at 08:39 am

I've mentioned before that when booking travel at work I go through Ebates and use Hotels.com. When you book 10 rooms using Hotels.com you earn a free night that is worth the average of those 10 night stays. This year I have earned 3 nights and I'm close to earning a fourth!

I used one of those nights for a solo trip to Dallas for a Dave Ramsey event on retirement. Nothing exciting but having time to myself was nice.

Another night I used for a nights stay in Galveston, TX. It's an island here close by. We stayed the Saturday night before Easter. Upon arrival DD2 was given a small Easter basket. The hotel had face painting, balloon animals, indoor and outdoor petting zoo, Easter egg hunt, scavenger hunt, moon walk, sack hop racing, hula hoops, smores by the fire pit outside by the pool and much more. I paid $23 out of pocket because the average amount I had wasn't enough but it was SO WORTH IT! We had such a wonderful time and will be back.

I booked a buy one night get one night free for a place at Canyon Lake, TX. I had been before with my parents had such a great time so this time I wanted to invite them to come along with us. We went on walks, fishing and sat outside on the porch and hand fed deer.

The Italy trip was our big trip for the year! We were in the Tuscany region. Cooking class, tour and wine tasting at a castle. Horseback riding tour. Visiting an organic farm, dinners, etc. It was just amazing!

Over the summer my mom wants to go to Fredericksburg, TX with my sister and I along with our kiddos. Right now, I don't want to go anywhere!

Five Year Anniversary at Work

May 19th, 2015 at 01:46 pm

This month I celebrate my five year anniversary. It's not really a celebration but I'm happy that I have stuck around through the good times and the hard ones.

There are several oil and gas companies here in Houston, Texas that are having layoffs. I am very thankful to have my job!

I have great benefits. If I need to take off for any reason I can without feeling pressured or having guilt. The thing that I like most is that I work half day Fridays and on that day I am able to wait at the bus stop for DD2. It makes the daily long commute worth it.

Paying down the mortgage

May 18th, 2015 at 08:21 am

I made another wire transfer today toward the mortgage! It's not a lot but its something. I will have another wire transfer at the end of the month when I get paid and do a sweep of my checking account.

$50 of the money was from a return that I made at Michaels. I bought a nice wood piece with a black chalkboard map of the United States on it but couldn't find anywhere in my house to hang it.
$133 was a nice check from Ebates.

Balance $94,602.03
Paid -$448.28
New Total $94,153.75

I hope to break the $90K mark soon!

Paying down the mortgage

May 11th, 2015 at 02:13 pm

I made a wire transfer today toward the mortgage!
Woo hoo!

Balance $98,405.64
Paid -$3803.61
New Total $94,602.03

This was hard for me because I wanted to buy 'things' like a new stove, dishwasher, dining room chairs and clothes but all of that can wait.

Not thinking lately

May 4th, 2015 at 02:10 pm

I don't know what my deal is. Maybe I have too much going on but its costing me and its really getting my attention now.

I had my back brakes serviced a few weeks ago. Well they are still squeaking. I looked at my car maintenance file and go figure just 8 months ago I replaced the back brakes. What a waste of money. I must have gotten confused and failed to ask for the front brakes to be replaced. That will cost me an additional $167.

With the heat here in Texas I am trying to some of my windows with curtains. I bought 2 curtain rods at Target and used a $100 gift card. After it was used I had the guy trash it. When I was walking out, I noticed that there was a crack on the end piece. I returned it and then bought another paying with cash. When I woke up this morning I realized I was in too much of a hurry that I didn't look at the receipt and sure enough it was put back on the $100 gift card that was thrown away. That cost me $27.

Another promotion for DD1!

April 1st, 2015 at 11:17 am

I am very excited! DD1 has been promoted from team leader to assistant manager at Chick-Fil-A. She has been with this location since the store opened. They are ranked #9 in the top producing stores in the US.

When she first started working there she was making $7.50/hr. now she is at $10/hr. Did I mention she's been there ten months?

When she was approached with the idea of being an assistant manager she was told that she would need to work more hours. She currently works 5 days a week and is just a tad bit over 40hrs a week. She went back to them and told them that because of her college courses she would need to keep the same schedule. After that she thought that they might not promote her but they did! =)

New Tires

March 30th, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I bought new tires for my car on Friday before heading out of town for a 3 hour drive. The tires were very much needed!

If I bought the same Michelin tires I had the cost would be $870 and there was a $70 rebate available.

Second option was buying Yokohama tires for $750 and there was a $100 rebate.

The Yokohama tires have a 70K mileage warranty on them and the Michelin had a 50K. So for $150 less I went with the Yokohama.

Next up on my list - back brakes, tune up, inspection and registration. It sure beats a car payment!

Last and only debt THE HOUSE will be under $100K as of March 1st!

February 26th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I am thrilled! Super thrilled!

I have been debt free for sometime but since my house is on auto pay I don't log in to see the balance. Yesterday I was listening to an audio book on my drive into the office and got fired up.

I logged in to see that my balance is $103,078.

After my March payment and an additional $3K I will owe $99,248. I am going to put any extra that I can towards this final debt.

I was projecting that I could pay $16500 this year. $27960 for 2016 & 2017 then have it paid off in 2018 before I turn 40 in December!!

After that happens. I will do some updating and repairs to the house then go on a nice vacation as a treat then MAX OUT my retirement accounts! I can't wait for this to happen. Smile

It's been awhile..

February 24th, 2015 at 11:45 am

Just a little jibber jabber!

I looked on KBB yesterday to see what my suv's value is and was shocked to see that it is $6700. It seems like just yesterday it was $13K. I need new tires and I'm debating on getting just regular average ones that would run me $500 or get ones like I have Michelins (sp?) $100. I need back brakes $300 and my heater and ac still does not work. I priced it before and they told me $2500 but still didn't know what the real cost would be until once they got in there. I just don't want to put into my car more than what it is valued. I'm also at $140K miles and its an '07. I think for now I will just replace and fix things. I am the only owner.

I started my taxes but I didn't finished them. I can't claim DD1 because she's over 17 and has an income of over $3950/yr. Even though I pay the mortgage, food, lights, etc. I can't claim her. That leaves me with her school expenses. She isn't enrolled in a college per se. She is enrolled in a program with a life coach, degree plan manager and other things. She tests out of classes at the local community college or testing center. She earned 21 credits in just 4 months. She's rockin' it! She will be finishing her freshman year early. Back to the school expenses, since she isnt' enrolled full time I don't know what all I can claim and since I can't claim her TurboTax said that she can claim the school expenses that I paid on her taxes. Both her and I are paying her college but I'm going thru the money I saved first before she uses hers. I'll have to do more research.

The good news is we leave in 14 days to Italy for Spring Break! It's going to be so much fun. This will be our first time traveling out of the country together.

The flight is going to be crazy. We fly from IAH-NWK then take a overnight flight to Milan and the hotel is 3+ hrs drive. See what I mean, crazy!

We are working on packing our bags and having things ready in advance because I'm sure there will be last minute scrambling.

Earlier I was thinking about the child support. In July we are up for renewal and the max has increased. My lawyer will charge $2500. Not sure if I want to jump on that yet or not. But - I was thinking because I monitor my account waiting on it and here we are Feb and it is not in my account that I will just change the routing # and have it go to one of my other accounts and not my checking. That way I don't spend it on an unexpected bill or expense and it just collects throughout the year and at the end of the year I can deposit some towards her college account and the rest towards my very last debt - the HOUSE!!

Tracking Gift Cards

January 2nd, 2015 at 06:41 am

In following BankerGurl, I am going to try to keep track of my gift cards throughout the year.

-Free Kids Meal @ Chick Fil A
-Crate and Barrel $4.10
-Macy's $.70
-AMC $50
-AMC $50
-AMC $25
-AMC $7.77
-Starbucks $32.73
-Visa $.92

Total $171.28 + kids meal

It's been awhile..

November 11th, 2014 at 08:34 am

Dental -
DD2 has had a filling fall out 3 times now on one of her front teeth. During the two times getting that checked out the Dentist failed to tell me that a filling in one of her back teeth has also fallen out. I'm taking her somewhere new now. She has already had an exam and is going back in two separate visits for dental work. Over $300.00

DD1 had her exam at the place we are no longer going to go to. I take the girls every 6months so within 6 months she had 3 cavities and needs a root canal. I'm going to get a second option which will be over $100 and a root canal alone is about $537. She 'might' need one and I need two.

DD1 also has an eye apt $95.

I received the 2nd bill from the hospital little over $1200. I sent it into my insurance consulting company that is provided free from work to check the billing and make sure there are no errors and that the insurance has paid the correct amount. I also emailed the hospital billing asking if there is any discount that they could apply.

The association fee $1010 is due.
Taxes are due. I received the Mud tax which is $945. I haven't got the county and isd tax yet but I'm thinking it will be over $2700.

I've ordered some new clothes for myself after DD1 politely told me that I need to update my wardrobe. I bought 2 skirts, 4 blouses, 3 tunics, 4 leggings, 2 pr of knee high boots and a necklace. I don't wear tunics or leggings to work but with the cold weather coming this afternoon I just might. The tunics look like dresses! But they are too big to wear with slacks. Paired with a necklace or scarf it should be okay.

Spending a lot of money but I haven't spent much throughout the year.

I'm still selling things on FB and I picked up a free set of bunk beds with mattresses for my moms house. She was in need of beds and mattresses and didn't have enough money for them. I saw these avail and thought they'd be great since she is making a guest room for the grand kids. Kids love bunk beds especially little ones. Well, my mom didn't seem too thrilled. Oh well.

3rd Time Going Through FPU

September 22nd, 2014 at 08:54 am

The girls and I are attending FPU again. This is my 3rd time, DD1's second and I'm bringing DD2 because they were supposed to have child care available but didn't have the numbers in children to have a staff member watch them. Another couple brings their 9mth old and if he gets loud they will walk out with him. Everyone is very understanding. They have water, tea and coffee, cookies and brownies. We love getting a little treat. DD2 brings a book and is very quiet.
We enjoy going!

In yesterdays class alot of the people there were surprised by how much money they are spending on food. Just the small day to day outings for lunch. One lady commented that when she goes to the grocery store and pays over $100 on groceries she gets mad at herself because in her head she wasn't wanting to spend that much but if she goes to dinner and spends $100 she's okay with it because it feels like a treat. Another couple mentioned that if they would just take their lunches how much that would help.

After class we went to the grocery store and got stuff for lunches. Last night we packed our lunches and included a snack. As you can tell, I was paying attention in class.

I helped DD1 go over her budget and tweak a few things. She had her gifts and vacation budget a bit high. Other than that everything looked pretty good. She is really understanding how living at home while working and taking college classes helps.

Farmers Market Run

September 17th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Today was the first day of the City of Houston bringing back the Farmers Market at City Hall. YAY!
It was my first time going to this farmers market. I've had it on my calendar and have been counting the days. I have meat at home but need veggies!

I work on the other side of downtown from this location but they have a bus to use that services the downtown area for free during business hours in the work week. Part of Go Green Houston initiative. I walked over there then used the bus to return back to work.

There were only a few tents and only one that had a good selection of veggies. Others had homemade candy, nuts and bread. There were about 6 food trucks there and pop up tents with vendors selling food.

Since I was meeting an ex co worker and he was being 'good' so I decided not to get food to eat in front of him.

We had a nice time chatting and walking around. It was good to get out of the office.

I had a budget of $34 and ended up paying $6 for the vegan cream cheese pumpkin loaf and $23 for the veggies. I got okra, squash, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and potatoes. Total spent $29 with $5 bucks to spare!

On the way back the strap to my bag broke. Next time I will have to take my moms small grocery cart if she still has it.

Kohl's Shopping

September 11th, 2014 at 01:04 pm

I went to Kohl's last night and bought some work clothes. The cashier let me use a 20% off coupon and two $10 rewards that I received in emails.

I spent $157.53 saved $223.47 and got back $20 in Kohl's cash.

I wasn't looking for clearance stuff to buy I just went in and tried on everything that I liked and felt comfortable to me. Not really looking at the price tag.

I was pretty excited that I was fitting into size 10 and not 12's.

I'm going to give my sister a bunch of my clothes over the weekend. I will only be keeping 1 pr of blue, black, gray and brown slacks. That's all I really need anyway. We have jean day Friday's here at work.

I saw a few other things that I wanted but didn't get. Pillows, rugs and bedding.


September 8th, 2014 at 02:13 pm

I've been couponing again! Here are a few pictures of things I have picked up over the last month. I don't hit every deal (life gets in the way) and we don't eat and use everything pictured.

The things that I am most excited about are the organic beef and organic chicken (not pictured).

The stores that I've been shopping at are CVS, Walgreens, Kroger and Target.

This past weekend I went to my Kroger to get items from the Mega Event and was so shocked that the shelves were cleared. Then I turned to go down another aisle and saw who was clearing them! Ticked me off. I got other items and just left. The store will only give you rain checks for items in the ad so I was only able to get 2 rain checks. I plan to go back at another time.

I'm currently receiving 5 Sunday papers at my house. I pay for the subscription. This is after I sent out a Facebook post on the neighborhood website and no one responded. lol

SA Selling Challenge Update #7

September 8th, 2014 at 10:49 am

My totals for the challenge to date are

4 Wii Games $15
Microsoft License $25
Bag $100
Shelf for $5
Mini fridge for $50
Nike football $5
Cupcake stand $5
Airfreshner $10
4 Mens deodorant $5
10 bags of pens and 5 bags of pencils $10
Crockpot $5
Cooler $8
Rug $5

Total $248

I feel like I've sold more but didn't track it.

SA Selling Challenge Update #6

August 13th, 2014 at 08:35 am

Sold the $10 lot of airfreshner!
Left it on my porch and the girl put the money under the rug.

My totals for the challenge to date are

4 Wii Games $15
Microsoft License $25
Bag $100
Shelf for $5
Mini fridge for $50
Nike football $5
Cupcake stand $5
Airfreshner $10

Total $215

Facebook Garage Sale Page

August 13th, 2014 at 05:46 am

Let me just say the Facebook garage sale pages in your area are where its at. At least for my area it is! At first, I started with my neighborhood garage sale page then also posted to the area garage sale page. I have gotten a hit on almost everything I have posted very quickly too!

Items currently pending pick up
$10 Cooler
$10 Supplies (envelopes, labels, colored folders)
$20 Clifford books (6) and stuffed animal
$5 Rug
$3 Picture/D├ęcor
$10 Air freshner

Total would be $58 if everyone shows up!

SA Selling Challenge Update #5

August 12th, 2014 at 06:11 pm

I put my Kohl's trip after work on hold because right before I was about to leave for the day I went to the ladies room and saw a HUGE rip in the back of my dress. Right where my tush is! No one told me and I'm sure someone saw. How embarrassing! I don't know how it happened the dress wasn't a tight dress. it's fitted then at the waist flares out. In the ladies room, I turned the dress around so the hole was in the front then found adhesive paper that you use to hang a Command hook on the wall and used that to close the gap.

I got home in just enough time to change clothes then go meet a lady to sell my cupcake stand for $5. Then off to return things to the library.

Still waiting on the sale for the camcorder. I have someone picking up a stock pile of Fabreeze air freshner tomorrow. Not counting that until money is in my hand.

These new sales I am making off of Facebook garage sale pages in my area.

My totals for the challenge to date are

4 Wii Games $15
Microsoft License $25
Bag $100
Shelf for $5
Mini fridge for $50
Nike football $5
Cupcake stand $5

Total $205

Another $10 at Kohls

August 12th, 2014 at 08:01 am

I have an email for another free $10 at Kohls. Received an email this morning for 15% off. I'm planning to swing by after work today and see what I can find. Last time I was there I saw these nude heels that I wanted but they were out of my size. I take a lot of time in the stores always looking at everything.

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