May 24, 2013

End of week totals...

This week has been very very busy, but there have been some good increases for side income. Here’s how it turned out.

  • Swagbucks 4600 points ($50 gift card)
  • Shopkicks 9940 points ($25 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $28.24 (via check)
  • Panda Research $31.02 (via paypal)
  • Plink 9730 points ($95 gift card)
  • Health Savings Account $210 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • My Coke Rewards 512 points
  • Perkstreet Perks $8.00
  • Amazon $44 (Gifts & Rewards)
  • Emergency Fund $998.50
There is a huge sum of money that was taken out of the Emergency Fund, it was for a down payment on our new car!!! Stay tuned for the post with photos to come.

May 18, 2013

Car Shopping...Yikes!

I’m in the market for a “new to me” vehicle and it got me to thinking about being proactive by researching & preparing for a new vehicle.
This week I stopped by a few dealerships and discovered that I was totally unprepared for the questions being thrown at me. Do I want 4 or 8 cylinder? Do I want a Vista View or convertible? The options were endless. I was quite overwhelmed by it all, but I began taking notes.

I started by making a list of wants vs. needs and quickly discovered that half the things the salesman was pitching to me were definitely not necessities. Secondly, I downloaded the free Kelly Blue Book/NADA app. This will help significantly in determining the actual retail value for any car I consider purchasing and thus gives me a slight advantage in the negotiation process.

Next, I determined how much my budget could afford to pay each month and how much I can use towards a down payment. Going in blind is foolish and will certainly cost me dearly if I don’t know what I can afford to spend. Lastly, I checked my credit score so that I’m aware of what interest rate I could expect to receive.

I decided to skip using Car Fax, I do not find this service reliable because it relies heavily on the word of previous maintenance technicians and this history does not go back far enough to really determine all that has taken place in the life of a vehicle.

So now I’m ready to tackle this head on. I’d like to think that I have an edge, but I’m just going to take my time. I have flexibility on my side and no time constraints. I could take it or leave it, I hope that will also help me to score a great deal. Dealerships need customers, I don’t need a new car.

May 17, 2013

End of week totals...

This week shaped up to be pretty decent for side income. Here’s how it turned out.

  • Swagbucks 4563 points ($50 gift card)
  • Shopkicks 9897 points ($25 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $27.69 (via check)
  • Panda Research $30.23 (via paypal)
  • Plink 8920 points ($85 gift card)
  • Health Savings Account $200 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • My Coke Rewards 512 points
  • Perkstreet Perks $8.00
  • Amazon $44 (Gifts & Rewards)
  • Emergency Fund $1864.00

The biggest increase was in the Emergency Fund, I was careful not to “over-save”, there just happened to be some over time offered at work and no bills due this week.

May 11, 2013

Saving with good intentions

Recently, after my epiphany on how I was hoarding money, I realized that set-backs do happen and I’m not a failure, my intentions for saving for an emergency are noble and I need to stop stressing about it.  Whether you are saving for an emergency, a vacation, or a home, be sure you are saving for the right reasons. My husband and I had to figure out what was most important to us.

We weighed the pros and cons and came up with a checklist on how to determine that we are truly saving with good intentions.

1. What are we really saving for?
2. Do we really need it?
3. Will this benefit us nominally or substantially?
4. Will the savings cause other bills to fall behind?
5. Are we truly allowing God to be supply our needs or are we building a “just in case” fund. 

True reliance on God means total surrender of our hearts and finances, no matter how scary the unknown is. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that you doubt Gods ability to supply for you just because you have an emergency savings, in fact, the Father encourages savings. 

Proverbs 21:5
Proverbs 21:20
Proverbs 30:24-25
1 Corinthians 16:2

May 10, 2013

Using a credit card like cash

There is a pretty big debate among personal finance junkies on whether using a rewards credit card (or any credit card for that matter) is a good idea. Some say play the credit card companies and take advantage of the cash back or rewards, while others think that it’s just one big overspending trap waiting to happen. I used to feel that it wasn’t too smart to charge something just to earn a few silly points. But the truth is those points add up and if done right you can earn yourself a nice little bonus every year responsibly. If you spend your credit card just as you would a debit card or cash then spending won’t get out of control.

How to Use a Credit Card like Cash
Using a credit card like cash is actually pretty simple to do. Here’s my method:

·         When you make a purchase on your credit card write it down in your check register and deduct it from the money you have in the bank just as you would if you had wrote a check or used your debit card.
·         When your credit card bill comes in add up all of the charges you have already recorded and make sure they match your statement.
·         Write the credit card company a check! You have already accounted for all the money when you made your purchase on the card. No worries!

Let all of you points accrue and get a nice little bonus at the end of the year!
If you have the willpower and are just wanting that extra bonus at the end of the year then you should have no problem using a credit card responsibly. Just make sure that you account for each purchase when you make it, not when the credit card bill comes in.

Story by

End of week totals...

This has been not so bad for side income, after last weeks fiasco with over-saving, I made sure to stick to the two savings methods. Here's how it turned out...

  • Plink 8870 points ($85 gift card)
  • Swagbucks 4560 points ($50 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $27.53 (via check)
  • Panda $29.39 (via paypal)
  • Health Savings Account $190 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • Shopkicks 9639 points ($25 gift card)
  • My Coke Rewards 479 points
  • Perkstreet Perks $8
  • Amazon ($40 gift card from Christmas & Rewards)
  • Emergency Savings Fund $1678.22
My husband is still looking for work, so we are being extra vigilant in saving pennies and cutting cost. I hope to have a good weekend with Shopkicks and Plink. Have a great weekend and Happy Saving!

May 08, 2013

Praise through adversity...

Last Thursday was my husbands first day at his new job, Saturday was his last. Yet still, I am not worried. I believe that as surely as the Lord brought this job about, he will bring another. It’s so unfortunate that my husband is out of work once more. However, he and two other men based that decision upon discovering that they were lied to about their employment status. I asked my husband if they perhaps made an emotional decision, but after a long discussion, I stand by his decision not to return.

My heart especially goes out to one of those men, my husband shared that he has no food at home. He and his wife are trying their best to get by to feed themselves. I quickly realized just how fortunate we are, even in our similar circumstance. So, back to square one for us, but we are not afraid, we are thankful for what we have, and what God will surely supply. As everything unfolded, I was quickly reminded of the lyrics to “Praise you through the storm” by Casting Crowns.

“I lift my eyes up to the hill, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”.

That’s more than enough for me.

May 06, 2013

Savings Overload?

Is there such a thing as saving too much? I learned last week that there is. In my haste to put as much as I could into the Emergency Fund, I ended up causing my account to be overdrawn. Thankfully, I check my account daily & noticed it the very next morning and contacted my bank. I explained my error to the representative and was provided with a courtesy reversal of the fee, a hefty $29 dollars.

I decided to re-evaluate my weekly contributions so as to never let it happen again. But I thought about it a bit more and discovered I was becoming obsessed with saving money. It was affecting me on a personal level, I was questioning every single transaction, even if it was actually necessary. I would delay a purchase just for the sake of watching the Emergency Fund grow.

I really had to reflect on this because it was such reckless behavior that I was creating, in fact I was becoming greedy & was hoarding money.  That knowledge slapped me pretty hard in the face. I had to remind myself that the importance of establishing an Emergency Fund of $2500 was not as important as having total financial stability. I am so disappointed in myself because I know better than that. The big picture is what is important.

I figured out that I was trying too many different savings methods at once. I was doing my daily $1 transfer, the 52 week challenge, along with my own weekly contribution. It was just too much! After some long thought, I decided to eliminate my own weekly contribution and just stick with the $1 a day and 52 week methods. These will be plenty to manage without becoming overwhelmed and allowing myself to let greed creep in. Ultimately, the Father is going to be the source for all of my needs, I need to remind myself of that daily.

May 03, 2013

End of week totals...

This has been a great week for side income, all the overtime at work really paid off (no pun intended). I was able to put a little bit more into savings. Here's how it turned out...

  • Plink 8230 points ($80 gift card)
  • Swagbucks 4560 points ($50 gift card)
  • Inbox Dollars $27.76 (via check)
  • Panda $27.50 (via paypal)
  • Health Savings Account $180 ($10 weekly contribution)
  • Shopkicks 9477 points ($25 gift card)
  • Check points 2400 ($3 gift card)
  • My Coke Rewards 409 points
  • Perkstreet Perks $8
  • Amazon ($52 gift card from Christmas & Rewards)
  • Emergency Savings Fund $1615.00
I will be working this Saturday for a bit more overtime, I'm grateful that it is available, Saturdays are much quieter and allow me to get more work done. I hope to increase the Emergency Fund to my goal of $2500 by August. 

May 02, 2013


As you may recall, in March, my husband found out that his store would be closing, which would mean that he would be out of work. You may also recall I said that I wasn’t worried about the surprising news because I felt that God had it all under control. This week he was hired on with a great company and received his highest earning job ever.

That got me to thinking, why am I so content with making the wage I make even though we struggle? At 33 years of age, I realized it wasn’t a competition for me to care about keeping up with the Joneses. I enjoy saving money, I enjoy my job, I enjoy couponing and though I may not see a high financial yield in it, the happiness I feel in return brings me joy.

I’m so proud of my husband and I know he is very excited to begin his new career. One of the great benefits has been the location, his new job is down the street from mine and we have almost similar hours. That works out great since we are a one car family. The Lord gave us better than we could have asked for. I love how the Father continues to blow my mind!


The benefits of sacrificing…

We’ve all experienced some degree of sacrifice at one point in our lives. Whether it be in our jobs, relationships or finances. When it comes to money, I’ve found that sometimes it hurts to put off a bill or delay a purchase of a needed product for the sake of saving money for a more comfortable retirement.

What I gain in return by sacrificing has not only affected my finances, but my way of thinking.

1.    I’ve learned to say NO to unnecessary purchases.
2.    I’ve gained confidence to achieve my financial goals.
3.    I look at the big picture to determine what’s actually important.
4.    I skip the temporary fads by not rushing out to buy the “next big thing”.
5.    I save money by denying myself.

It’s not an easy task, and sometimes I just don’t like having to deny myself, but just as a spoiled child, there has to be discipline in order to achieve your financial goals.