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Archive for July, 2013

Chase Bonus

July 28th, 2013 at 08:36 pm

I finally got to Chase yesterday to open the savings account that required the $10,000 minimum but which had a bonus of $150. Momcents Laura was right; the money does have to stay there six months, but that's fine. And the account has to stay open. Neither of those are an issue, and although I still hate big banks, the personal banker was lovely and took all my refusals to open checking, investment, home equity loans, or mortgages in stride.

I'm liking finding these chunks of money. I wonder what I can find this week?

Swagbucks Content Issues

July 27th, 2013 at 04:40 pm

I've just contacted Swagbucks about some of the content issues on their pages. It seems to have gone from bad to worse, and I think they need to do some audience analysis to determine what sort of content should be on their site. It's really bad. I'd hate to stop, but I will if it doesn't improve.

How do the rest of you SB users feel about this?


Rainy Day Activities

July 27th, 2013 at 04:36 am

We had huge downpours today which slowed down my errand list. Yet DD and I had our traditional Friday lunch out. We alternate choices, and today was hers: Culvers.

We stopped at Office Max to get a few school supplies, including most of their specials. She needs a new calculator this year which they had for $15.99. Our next stop was the ever-tempting Target where we got more school supplies, a cute jean jacket for her, and a few grocery items. A big shout out here for DD who spotted the identical calculator at Target for $6 less. Plus, of course, the savings with the Red Card.

I used several good Target coupons and got a $5 gift card as well as returning some party items from last week. All in all, good savings, good shopping.

I'm reading an older Kate Atkinson novel which I also like. This is part of the Jackson Brodie detective series, and it's a good summer read.

Some Small Things

July 25th, 2013 at 07:50 pm

I have loads of small things to take care of this week; many to save or make money.

Today I got the redemption from My Points for an Amazon gift card so have credited that to our account. A nice little $25 for not much work. I also canceled one of DD's little-used online memberships, saving $6/month.

I have Target returns and adjustments to do tomorrow, checks to deposit, adjustments to check up on, and that bank account to open. I hope to get them all done tomorrow.

I'm tutoring again tonight. It's gone ok, and I only have three more evenings of it after tonight. It's a bit of a hassle with DH needing to come home early, but we're doing it.

Tomorrow I'm starting an all-out assault on Study Abroad marketing. Wish me luck!


Halfway Through My Summer Class

July 24th, 2013 at 07:26 pm

Yep, it's midterm night tonight. This class has been so much better than my "Mysteries" class. I'm really enjoying them, although they're a little goofy.

I had dinner with friends last night. These are the same ones that are moving soon, so we finalized the times I'm taking them to the airport next week. My meals out spending will certainly decrease when they leave, but I'll be sad. Hoping to visit them in Germany next spring.

DD and I have started some school supply shopping. I always play a little game with myself trying to figure out by how much I can beat the pre-packed price. My simple life!

Party and Upcoming Spending

July 23rd, 2013 at 04:10 am

We spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 for the weekend party. I didn't think it would be that much, but we seem to have lots of wine left over and DH was given lots of wine as well.

The only spending other than food, drink, and paper goods was on some flowers for the house and big beverage jars for the outdoor bar. We've eaten leftover food for the past couple days, and don't have much left. All in all, not too bad.

On the selling front, I sold something on ebay for $5 and a book for $50. The biggest triumph from the entire party prep was the dejunking. We still have the garage to do, but the rest of the house is MUCH improved.

Besides class and study abroad planning, I'd like to spend the next five or six weeks relaxing, reading, and financial planning. To that end, DD and I went to the library today for a few more books. We spend a lovely afternoon just lazing about and reading.

Party Fun

July 22nd, 2013 at 04:55 am

We had a great time at the DD and DH birthday party--with over 50 people including kids. I seem to have made about the right amount of food, and it was good to see some people we hadn't seen in a while.


We'll be eating leftovers for only one more day, and I anticipate being recovered from this by tomorrow!

More on the costs and what I'd do differently when I post tomorrow.

Party Planning

July 19th, 2013 at 02:05 pm

Tomorrow is the big party for DD and DH's birthdays. I think we're expecting around 35-40 folks so hoping the weather is cooler but pleasant. I'm making pulled pork sandwiches, half a dozen salads and sides, and a chocolate cake, lemon curd cupcakes, and maybe a fruit tart.

Our house painters left yesterday and did a spectacular job. I really liked them and their work ethic, especially in this heat.

I've started on the dressings but am off now to roast the corn for the corn and black bean salad. I'm never quite sure how much food to make, worry about not having enough, and end up with extras. I guess that's just the way it is!

On days like this, I wish I had another refrigerator. But since that only happens a couple times a year, I'll make do. Maybe my neighbors can chill some beverages? They are invited!

Better get going!

Decluttering Continues but More Junk Added

July 18th, 2013 at 02:30 pm

My super-decluttering powers continued yesterday as I found that a local Goodwill has drive-through drop-off. They were pleased with the aquarium (me too!) and the converter boxes. I am SO pleased to be rid of another big bag of stuff. I have more outgrown clothes to give to a friend at school tonight too.

However, more junk was procured at Target yesterday, albeit useful junk. A distant Target had all their 4th of July stuff half off. So why did I buy $20 worth of that? We're having a combined birthday party for DD and (long-suffering) DH this weekend with an American/British theme. Fortunately for me, all the red and blue cups, plates, tablecloths etc were half off. I'd already bought some, so the full-price ones will be returned, but pleased as can be that they're cheaper now.

A bit concerned that as I age (rapidly, this week) I'm taking on my mother's obsession with garbage pick-up. After my class last night, I was on the curb at 11 hauling stuff out. Pre-party or post-decluttering nerves? Not sure, but at least it's out.

Happy Decluttering but Unhappy Husband

July 17th, 2013 at 04:34 am

I had a fabulous time today doing the dread basement cleaning. I have no idea why I enjoyed it so much, but I suspect it had something to do with the weather. Cleaning a cool basement in 100 degree weather is nice. Or maybe it's just me taking a stand.

Some of the back story on the basement: We redid it a few years ago from a very 1960 rec room to a nice white space with a little built-in bar/sink, a huge wall of closets for out-of-season clothes and a big space for DH's books and papers. Short version: His paper hoarding and book collection was way out of control. Any flat surface is immediately covered with his junk. I fight back upstairs, but I'd really let the basement go.

But my dear daughter really wanted a space long promised to her, and I have to say, I just got sick of his mess. I knew he'd have the hoarding anxiety attack when I told him I was doing it. He had LOTS of warning, and I promised to straighten and rearrange, but not throw any of his "stuff" away.

But frankly, it's my house too, and I'm done with it. I swear he was on the verge of going through the recycling bags to check every bit of three-year coupons for traces of treasure. He started to argue with me about getting rid of the remotes for the TVs we recycled. But tomorrow they're going to Best Buy where the TVs went to die.

I'm not having it; the clutter is stagnating and depressing, and if he needs therapy to deal with it, well, the insurance will cover it. Any one else remember the "Twilight Zone" episode where the murder rate spiked in the 100 degree heat?

Today's Conundrum

July 15th, 2013 at 02:13 pm

I ordered some things from Kohl's last week--summer shorts, pjs etc. Pleased as punch because I got Swagbucks, free shipping, and a promo code, I like everything we received. But also in the package was an swimsuit we didn't order for an 18-month old. I wasn't billed for it, and it wasn't on the packing slip, but the packer must've put it in the box with our things.
I phoned Kohl's who said to either keep it or return it next time I'm in the store. Yet I know, like Target, it's hard to escape from Kohl's without buying anything. I had two alternate strategies: donate it to the charity shop since I don't know anyone suitable for this swimsuit or list it on ebay.

Hmm--what to do? Should it just go back to Kohl's?

Basement Dejunking

July 14th, 2013 at 05:07 am

Oh my, DH and I spent some serious time in the basement last night getting rid of junk. It wasn't always as bad as it is now, but DH really tends to hold on to things. I had a heckuva time convincing him to let go of an old-style TV, a VCR and a huge chunky old computer monitor. The VCR went to the Salvation Army with a big bag of toys DD has outgrown, and the monitor and TV went to Best Buy for recycling. But he's upset about it. It burns him that things purchased in the last 20 years are worthless. But they are. And they're taking up space.

It looks MUCH better, but the next round of dejunking is going to have to be done when he's at work. He doesn't miss it when it's gone, but the process is really difficult for him.

Chasing Chase

July 11th, 2013 at 11:06 pm

The local Chase branch seems to think I'm a multi-millionaire. I get a checking offer at least once a month, and now they've started calling me with checking offers. But as an ethical protest against big banks, I switched to the university credit union, and have no intention of switching.

But today's offer got my attention. Leave $10,000 in a savings account with them for 90 days and get $150 bonus. I can do that, and although they're betting on my inertia, it's too good to pass up.

I intend to spend the evening poring over the fine print.

Finally

July 9th, 2013 at 05:21 pm

Our state income tax refund finally arrived yesterday. What a relief. We did file late because I was in London, but it's been months. It's almost $700 and I'd like to divide it up into Roths and DD's college fund. That, coupled with a few rebates, will at least get some things rolling.

My study abroad debriefing session is today. Not sure what that all entails, but I'm eager to get going on next year's recruiting. I also need to find a better text for my advanced professional course.

The weather looks a bit scary. Big storms forecast for this afternoon.

Many "To-dos" Done

July 8th, 2013 at 08:29 pm

I am pleased with progress the past few days. I got grades posted, three more capstone projects read, the pay sheet for those turned in, a couple of sale items purchased, and a few small gifts for DD's upcoming birthday ordered.

DH has been working hard on our landscape project too, and tomorrow is officially the kick-off meeting for next year's study abroad in London. My former landlady e-mailed me today asking if I wanted the flat again in January. I indeed do, but am worried I won't get my requisite number of students. She also wants 1/3 of the rent now, which seems a little steep to me.

DD is at Vacation Bible School--although they call it something much jazzier now-- for a couple afternoons this week. The youth leaders are fabulous, and she loves it. Plus who can beat $45 for three afternoons of wholesome child care? I may get that basement cleaned yet!

Summer Nights

July 6th, 2013 at 06:28 pm

DD and I spent yesterday evening with a bunch of my university friends in the most relaxed night in weeks. They grilled, we all brought salads, and I must say, I made the most magnificent mojitos ever. The kids splashed in the pool, wrapped themselves in towels and played in the driveway.

We have a series of two or three more parties before the end of the month. I deal with real life early next week when I need to grade and plan some more projects here.

DH has been fabulous with the brick garden edging. I hate that kind of work, so am delighted he's taken it on.

The rest of the day is devoted to housecleaning before DD's friends come over for a sleepover. Then pizza and a fire in the patio firebowl.

Dumb Luck

July 4th, 2013 at 09:18 pm

I've been in super summer slo-mo lately and have been putting things off all week. But with DH home today, we decided to finally re-do the edging in the front of our house. We've had ugly scalloped plastic edging there for years, and I've wanted brick interlocking edgers.

I'm not a big Menard's fan, but it was near a couple of our other stops, so we popped in and bought 50 of them at 88cents each. Much to our great delight they rang up at 44 cents each as they were BOGO. How fun is that?

I also had a Land's End return and exchange--and both things I exchanged were on sale, saving me another $14 there.

I think I should buy a lottery ticket today!

Beer or Cupcakes

July 2nd, 2013 at 05:53 pm

I had an interesting conversation with my boss this morning. I can't attend a going-away party for a colleague tomorrow because, as I a bit too pointedly told him, I am going to my other job.

But I was trying to think what I could do to let her know I was thinking of her, despite not being able to make it to the party. The party is at a local park that has a beer garden. My boss suggested I give him $40 to buy a round of beer for everyone or make cupcakes or something. Hmm--let's see. Home baked box cupcakes--even jazzed up-- will run me no more than $5.
I wondered about his inability to see that there's a HUGE monetary difference. Or if it's a gender thing? I'm not sure. But I'm making cupcakes.

Lazy Day

July 2nd, 2013 at 03:57 am

We worked too hard in the garden over the weekend, and we were both feeling it today. DD and I had a lazy day, just doing some laundry, a little shopping,a little reading, and a nice walk. I would like a couple of days a week like that!

Besides the garden work, we also cleaned out one of DH's closets. He tends to keep his office wear in our office closet and casual and occasional sweaters etc in our room. I filled up another big bag of stuff for the charity shop and managed to get it out of the house. Today's shopping included some books sold to Half Price Books and DD's gift credit for finishing a month of their summer reading program.

But I have tasks to accomplish tomorrow, yet the lovely weather here has been amazing. We live quite close to Lake Michigan and it was ten degrees cooler than it was just a few miles inland. I feel for all you West Coasters and everyone else with the hot weather. I'd like to send some cool lake breezes your way.