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Archive for March, 2014

Any Decent Honest Online Survey Sites to Earn From

March 31st, 2014 at 11:51 pm

So. It seems no matter how hard I try...I cant get a straight answer pertaining to an on line survey site whereby I could earn some extra income. So here is my challenge. For every recommended site I visit that turns into passive income...I will mail the blogger an autographed 8x10 black and white of me. No strings attached. I'll pay shipping and handling.

Busy Financial Day

March 31st, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Busy Financial Day for Jamie.. here is what I accomplished

1. Opened a duplex escrow account whereby 1/2 of the rental income will go for taxes and insurance. This will keep my operational and savings accounts more clearly defined

2. Finalized the applications for my second and third credit cards. Both maintain moderate interest rates, exciting rewards and combined with my first card, gives me $34k in avaliable credit. Great power!

3. Verified all information is current on my $40k unsecured line of credit through my bank. This along with number 2 above secures $74k in available credit. Great power!

4. To leverage my reward programs, I ordered all but two monthy bills be applied directly to my credit card per month. The only remaining expenses are my mortgage and electric bills. I will do the mortgage tomorrow and have to speak with my electric company as all the information online suggests they use a third party billing company and charge $7.50 per credit card payment transaction.

Doesnt sound like much but I am very content with my actions today.

Lose Change Update

March 31st, 2014 at 05:29 pm

3/31/14

Balance: $1.46
Deposit: $6.35
Balance: $7.81

Okay...so I have decided to ramp up my Lose Change Challenge (remember, all monies are applied to my mortgage princpal as of 12/31/14) to include $1.00 bills. This is going to be tough as I rarely have the ability to just sock a dollar bill away...but, I am going to really try.

All said, I don't know much, but as of right now, I will never pay interest on $7.81 again...lolololololololololol......Jamie


Only My Second Credit Card in 20 Years

March 31st, 2014 at 12:27 am

Well, in answer to the advice of Retired to Win and following along a path I have been considering for a few months now, I just signed up for and was approved for my second credit card. In fact, this is the only other credit card I have has in 20 years. My first one is a Chase Platinum....$15k line....9% fixed...decent reward system. I have always been very happy with this card, the customer service, the security and rewards. The newest member of the family is the Capital One Quicksilver. Why you ask...well, $100.00 cash back bonus if $500.00 is charged within the first 3 months....no annual fee.......$10k line.....1.5% cash back on all purchases....I don't have to deal with rotating reward options (which isn't that big of a deal but I thought reducing the thought process was healthy at this stage in my life). The only "gripe" I have is the interest rate!!! What is going on???? Between 12 and 22%??? And this for a card that required an Excellent Credit Score????!!!! Well, since I never carry a balance, it really doesn't affect me but still....WOW! Is this normal? What say you!

Lose Change Update

March 30th, 2014 at 05:38 pm

3/30/14

Balance: $1.34
Deposit: $.12
Balance: $1.46


Slow and steady wins the race!

Lose Change Update

March 29th, 2014 at 01:00 pm

3/28/14

Balance: $1.34
Deposit: $.00
Balance: $1.34

Just didnt have spare change today.

Lose Change Deposit

March 28th, 2014 at 01:51 am

3/27/14

Balance: $.64
Deposit: $.70
Balance: $1.34

Woooohooooo....I broke the buck barrier!

Much Needed Advice

March 27th, 2014 at 03:19 pm

Hey Folks,

So, my sister went through a break up two years ago. She had no place to go and thus, I offered up my home. At that time, I chose not to charge her rent of any kind and also allowed her to house her two cats. Two years later, she is still here, not a penny has ever been paid or offered, her cats have caused about $500.00 worth of damage to the carpets and furniture and frankly, with her graduation from college scheduled in May (yes, she was a very late collegiate bloomer), I believe it's time she takes on some fiscal responsiblity. Thus, I have drafted the following email:

As of May 1, 2014, I will begin charging you rent. The breakdown is as follows and my expectation is that this amount is paid on or before the 1st of each month:

$10.00/month for land line phone usage (if there is an overage of minutes, I will let you know. To date, there has been none and with rollover minutes accumulated, I don't anticipate this being an issue)

$10.00/month Netflix/Sat

$50.00/month Electric/Air

$50.00/month Heat

$10.00/month Garbage

$20.00/month Internet

$150.00/month Base Rent

Total Due per Month: $290.00

I believe after two years, this expectation is fair. I also believe it is much less than you would have to incur if you were living on your own, which I tried hard to consider when making this difficult decision.

Just reply accepting these terms so I know you have received this email.

If you have any questions, please let me know as I would be happy to discuss this with you.


So, what say you? Let me provide one caviate....my parents suggested I do this two years ago.

For the most part, she is no trouble at all. However, it "feels" to me that she views my home as a flop house. A place eat, sleep, do laundry, shower, keep her cats safe, study and keep her belongings.

One expectation I have is that she will reply - "I can't afford it so I'll move out". Therein lies a very sticky feeling for me. First, if she moves out, she will simply just mootch off someone and continue to ride this wave of poverty as long as she can which unto itself, really is not my business. But worse than that, it would confirm that it really only has been a flop house for her and how dare her take on monthly rent elsware versus paying it to her brother.

I know, a lot to digest. But hey, I figured you all would guide me along a fair and commesurate path. Thanks a ton!

An All Encompasing Thank You Letter

March 27th, 2014 at 01:18 pm

Dear SA Family,

I have been part of this family, albeit somewhat missing for a couple years, since 2007! I have read about the highs and lows of my SA families. I have witnessed great accomplishments and seen some terrible situations unfold. I have followed stories of children, extended family and everything in between! Through all of this, I am extremely grateful for the guidance, support, advice, suggestions, prayers and otherwise, friendship. I am thankful to each one of you and for each one of you. As I sit here in Rochester, NY, freezing my backside off, I am reminded that the trials and tribulations I face are the very same ones faced by those of you between Austrailia to the Napa Valley, CA. In an odd way, that makes me feel much less alone. Thanks everyone! - Jamie

Lose Change Deposit

March 26th, 2014 at 10:48 pm

3/26/14

Balance: $.05
Deposit: $.59
Balance: $.64

Chaaaaa Ching!

Lose Change Update

March 26th, 2014 at 12:30 am

Okay, so some updates are going to be "ho-hum"...like this one. A deposit of $.04 bringing my total up to $.05. Stop laughing......I know, not much right....but, if I do this day after day, at the end of the year, I am going to have a nice little deposit to make against my mortgage principal....wish me luck:

3/25/14
Deposit - $.04
Balance - $.05

Mortgage Pre Pay Made today

March 26th, 2014 at 12:26 am

So, to many this may not be a big deal. To me, it's huge. It was only $50.00. At one time in my life, I was almost doubling my mortgage payment with the second going toward principal. Things change. Events happen. Life takes odd twists and turns. But today, I put $50.00 towards the principal of my mortgage. I added four cents to my lose change challenge (see update) and all in all, was a great day.

Talk About Motivation....

March 24th, 2014 at 05:53 pm

If you ever need motivation to reduce spending and increase savings, read any one of the blogs posted by Retired to Win! Wow. I just had shivers run up and down my spine. So, what have I done to join forces with the Great and Wise One (new name for Retired to Win)....well, I have:

Reduced my Satellite TV bill from $60.00/mo to $10.00/mo by electing to go with local TV only and supplementing my viewing pleasure with a $7.99/mo Netflix account - Net savings = $42.00/mo (this is ~84% of my monthly mortgage principal payment of $50.00 right off the bat)!

I have replaced every single incandescent light bulb in my house with with a compact fluorescent replacement! The new rule....if you don't need the light, turn it off!

With three daughters, saving money has always been tough at the grocery store, however, we have an Aldi's type grocer about 4 miles away from us (Save A Lot) that I have been using almost exclusively....I have not taken any steps to do a firm cost comparison, however, I seem to get four cloth bags full of food for about $30.00 less than six plastic bags (each plastic bag holds about 1/3 of what my cloth bags do) worth at one of the big box grocery stores. Outside of a few items I insist on in my personal diet (Greek, Non Fat PlainYogurt, Sardines in Water, Vitamins), I honestly can't think of anything it doesn't offer! Their meat selection is out of this world and the girls have not complained at all.

Finally and most importantly, I do NOT feel as if I am sacrificing happiness, need or want! Thanks Oh Wise One! I consider myself your Jedi mentee!



I think I can.................

March 24th, 2014 at 04:16 pm

After much deliberation and calculatory fun, I think I can add $50.00 per month to my mortgage principal. I know it doesn't sound like much, but rest assured, every little bit helps and this is really about all I can earmark for this endeavor at this time. I'll keep you all posted!

Lose Change

March 24th, 2014 at 04:14 pm

Okay....so.....although I thank you all for the great support and comments regarding my No Spend Day (NSD) challenge, I have officially removed it from my blog. This is not to say that should I happend to have a true NSD, I won't make a contribution to my savings, it's just I will not be keeping track and making public my successes/failures. The emotional roller coaster is just too much to overcome...lololol....sniff, sniff, sniff! That said, I am on to another task....LOSE CHANGE! I want to thank those here who have inspired me to accept this challenge and will absolutely keep track of this endeavor! I am really looking forward to seeing how much can be "found" here, there and everywhere! The balance accumulated will be added to my mortgage principal! Wish me luck!

Okay.....UNCLE!!!!!

March 21st, 2014 at 10:44 pm

So, I can probably count on one hand all of the things in my life I have quit. One of them being my NSD endeavor! I simply cannot get away from spending. Now before you judge me as a needy man who spends and spends and spends....check it out. Everyday, due to my job and travel, I spend money on tolls or gas. Now, you might be thinking what about on the weekends. Well, I run into the same issue then as well. From running the girls around or filling up from the end of travels on Friday, I just can't seem to go without spending at the very least, five dollars. Sooooooo......I will consider other methods to save! I guess it's time to start an EF blog. I am doing very well there!

How am I ever going to have a NSD?

March 11th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

If it's not gas, it's thruway tolls. If it's not thruway toll's it's some other need. Rarely, if ever, is it for want. Uuuuggggghhhh!

The Maple Tree Inn

March 9th, 2014 at 09:40 pm

Well, as I said yesterday, due to the annual trip one hour south from home to the Maple Tree Inn for homemade buckwheat pancakes and maple syrup, a NSD was out of the question. Six of us ate until our tummy's were content. Eggs, homemade sausage, ham and of course, those delicious pancakes covered in liquid gold! $105.80....less the wonderful and much appreciated $20.00 contribution from one of our guests left me a total spend of $80.80. As I have become accustomed to having to do, I saved $100.00 for this event over the past four pay periods. Funny, I never in my professional life had to plan/save for these types of things, and about three years ago when I had to start, I felt angry and frustrated and "robbed"...now, I take great satisfaction in it.

Well, so much for a NSD!

March 8th, 2014 at 09:23 pm

Couldn't be helped. The girls are having a massive amount of friends over this evening....(K = 2; L = 1 and H = 6)....since it's Lent, not only do we abstane from meat on Friday's but we also turn from breads and pasta's...soooo, pizza, spaghetti, lazagna...out the door...L had a great idea tho...chicken burrito's....so off to the store we went...then to the dry cleaners to pick up two suits and my winter comforter. The dry cleaning clerk called me "very domesticated for a man"...I chuckled. Really spent a lot of time two weeks ago while on vacation de-cluttering my closets and house in general. Felt good. Anyway, NSD not in the cards today.....tomorrow will not be any better as we are going to the Maple Tree Inn for homemade buckwheat pancakes. An annual treat that although costly, would't be the end of winter without it.

52 Week Challenge - DOUBLED

March 8th, 2014 at 01:14 am

Okay...I know at this point it's aggressive. I know I have commited myself to tracking NSD's and attached a forced $25.00 savings bonus deposit for each at the end of the month....now this....I am going to DOUBLE my 52 week challenge. This is going to allow me to contribute to both of my goals.....mortgage prepayment and Christmas fund.

Starting the challenge now puts me 8 weeks behind the gun but I will frontload this lost time in November if possible. The important thing is I am starting and will keep you all updated as follows: Each week I will confirm my DOUBLED 52 week challenge deposit and at the end of each month, I will confirm the number of NSD's and thus, the number of $25.00 bonus dollars to deposit. Once again....let the fun begin...

Back to tracking my NSD!!

March 8th, 2014 at 01:00 am

Ok...this is going to be tough. I am going to attempt to increase my NSD, track them and reward myself $25.00 for each one documented. It's going to be extremely difficult with three children and heavy travel for work but I am going to give it a shot! I will update you all each time I have a NSD! Wish me luck and join along if you wish!

Work From Home Ideas

March 7th, 2014 at 01:10 am

Man, I suppose one could beat a dead horse with this topic, however, I pose it with all sincerity. I have some extra time in the evenings. When the children go to bed or I am lounging around after a long day at the office, I would love to utilize this time to earn some extra money. My thought is to ramp up my mortgage pre-payment goals, of which I am going to use 1/2 of my 52 Week Challenge to do so as well (thanks to some great feedback from last nights blog). I am not looking to get rich quick of course and simply would like to earn $300.00 to $500.00 per month, at my own pace, from a reputable organization. I welcome any thoughts or experiences and look forward to my Saving Advice "family" for guidance.

Mortgage Payoff Challenge - Part Deux

March 5th, 2014 at 01:08 am

Sooooo....in line with my new life, I have a new mortgage. On June 1, 2012, I was blessed with a 30 year mortgage for $108,000.00. As of March 1, 2014, my principal balance is $104,820.00. Now one would ask...."blessed with a 30 year mortgage". Well, when you face the many changes both personally, professionally and financially that I faced in 2010, obtaining this mortgage (with a 4.2% interest rate I might add) was not only a fiscal blessing, but a huge step in gaining identity. For me, it meant I had taken one of those baby steps toward recovery. Now please, don't get me wrong. My new norm was facilited by my divorce. The divorce was, shall I say, relatively calm, amicable and not based on abuse, addiction, or any other type of controllable hurdle. We just grew apart and felt we would do better as parental partners versus husband and wife. Nonetheless, to ensure she and my children have everything they need and within the parameters of the legal system, I had to make many, many changes. I have not yet made one single additional payment toward the principal, which anyone who knows me would say....."how is that possible". But as the smoke in my life continues to clear and the many blessings I have and continue to receive, I am starting to consider throwing a few extra dollars against it each month. As you know, every penny counts toward reducing that principal balance and thus, the interest you ultimately pay. As I began my 52 Week Savings Challenge this week, I thought it would be a good idea to earmark it for Christmas. Now as I continue to ponder, maybe a second 52 Week Challenge would be best served as an annual principal dump toward the old mortgage. What say you? Christmas fund and principal dump or one or the other? If one or the other, which one?

It'll be four years in 23 days

March 5th, 2014 at 12:44 am

Wow! In 23 days it will have been four years since my last blog. So much has changed in my life. The company I started in 2001 is no longer in business. My wife and I have divorced and my dream of retiring by age 45 will not be met. Now for the good news! My three girls are doing great. My ex wife and I are working hard to become devoted parental partners and I am finally on the road to financial recovery. A new normal in almost every aspect in my life! I have been blessed to work as an executive for a global corporation where everyday is different than the last going on three years now. I have managed a modest savings account but today, which sparked this visit, I took a huge step in startig a 52 Week Savings Challenge. Nothing fancy. Nothing crazy. My saving goals have changed drastically of course and my ability to save at the rate I once did no longer exists. But....I am blessed beyond words, I am slowly finding happiness and I am beginning to feel that "savings burn" deep in my soul, the one we all share, starting to flicker again. It sure does feel good to be back!