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Archive for May, 2006

sick feeling

May 27th, 2006 at 03:43 am

The good news is we were able to pay for the radiator in cash and only the rental car will be going on to a credit card.

The bad news is the creditor who is claiming I owe them more than I do chose a rotten collection agency to collect the debt. They have lied to me about several things, violated the law in a couple of ways, and I've had to report them to the FTC.
Before I realized they had lied and such I agreed to make a $50 payment to them this weekend to keep it from going onto my credit report yet. I'm now wondering if it's on my credit already and they lied about that (probably) and I feel like my bank account has been jeopardized. As soon as the boy's latest paycheck clears I'm going to go in and cancel my account and get a new one. Our joint account has been approved so I can use it until the new one's fully open.

I feel sick over this whole mess and I may end up having to contact a lawyer, which I cannot remotely afford.

lots of money gone

May 25th, 2006 at 11:58 pm

The car's radiator has had a couple of cracks in it. We only knew of one until the the guy at the oil change place mentioned the second. Last night, on the boyfriend's drive home from work, the radiator became too unstable to risk driving it any more.

So today we took it back to the same place to get it replaced. That's almost $400 gone in the blink of an eye. It would have been cheaper at another shop, but that was for a used radiator and we didn't trust the mechanic a fraction of how much we trust these guys.

My Insiders Club Access card will allow us $3 off the cost which is a small help. But I'm afraid some of it will have to be charged to a card as I don't think we have enough cash to make it. Quite a bit of it actually. Thankfully, we didn't have to rent a car today because my mom was able to give us a ride. Tomorrow though, if they don't get it fixed in time for the boy to leave for work, we may have to resort to renting one. It will ridiculously expensive even with our 25% off deal since he and I are both under 25 and because Enterprise jacked up their rates due to Memorial Day.

Thankfully, my shell card from MyPoints is already here so at least we've got an extra $10 to spare thanks to that.

I also had to reschedule a job interview today and will need to reschedule one for tomorrow too.

Oops!

May 24th, 2006 at 07:22 am

I just realized that I never received an email from ReviewStream regarding the review I'd sent in. There was a site glitch apparently, and some of the reviews that were accepted didn't receive emails. Mine however isn't on the site at all. Now I'm not sure whether it wasn't accepted or if it was never submitted due to the glitch. Luckily I have a copy of it in an email so I'll submit it again, I suppose.

update: I submitted again but now they seem to have gone MIA. Oh well. Glad I didn't write but the one review.

MyPoints and eBay

May 23rd, 2006 at 03:05 am

Today I requested a $10 Shell gas card from MyPoints. It should be here in a few weeks. I also sent in my rebate stuff for the Insider's Club. I'm hoping it's not too late, otherwise I'll be beating myself up about it for a while.

I mailed off the second ebay item today and the money came into my account from Paypal. I made $11.55 on it after Paypal fees and shipping. I'll figure the money from both items soon and add up my $20 challenge total.

I found several new cash programs online today and last night. I'll post more about them when I've had a bit more experience with them.

coupons!

May 23rd, 2006 at 01:31 am

Received my requested coupons from Simple Green today. Simple Green is awesome. Not only did they send me 3 coupons for $2 off (which means I can get it for free) with no expiration dates, they also sent me two sample size spray bottles of concentrated Simple Green. Excellent all around and they probably just got a customer for life. They have a new product specifically for stainless steel that I may try using one of these coupons.

I also got a couple of coupons from Kimberly Clark for Scott brand paper products. We use their paper towels because they soak up more and the bathroom paper because it's cheaper. I like their products but I'm not very impressed with their actual company so far. The email message I got back was kind of short and almost curt, and the coupons are only for 50 cents off even though you can print a $1.00 off coupon from their site. (I mentioned I couldn't print them.)

I would just give up on paper towels but it's difficult to do when you have 7 cats and a 3 year old nephew.

a new goal

May 18th, 2006 at 11:21 pm

Make $100 profit on eBay.
To be put towards my debt. I want to kill 2 birds with one stone - clutter & debt. I'll include the 2 things I just sold in the total but not anything sold before that. Shipping cost and ebay & paypal fees won't count towards the goals so it has to be the profit made once those fees are taken out.

(It also all goes towards the $20 challenge. So, maybe it's 3 birds with one stone? Hmmm.)

Access & Points

May 18th, 2006 at 08:04 pm

I'm $4.77 out today because I mailed the letter regarding a debt out certified with a return receipt requested.

In other mail news, I received my Access card from MyPoints today. Excellent timing as it means we can get a discount when we go in for an oil change this weekend. I'm going to have alook around the Access site, I'll let you know what I find.

I got an offer for 25 free prints from a place called PhotoWorks through MyPoints. I went ahead and accepted for the 25 points and found out there's a way to get another 25 prints for free if purchased through a seperate order. Not a bad deal at all.
It's an excellent deal actually because if you choose to get any more than that you can earn either a rebate through Ebates or points through ClubMom. So I may see if any family members want me to upload & order some pictures for them and they can cover the cost.

I added the boyfriend to my AmEx last night as an additional cardholder to help him establish some credit. He currently has NONE, even though he's turning 24 this summer. Better than credit card debt but still not a wise move.

Writing for Money

May 18th, 2006 at 01:31 am

I'm burned out on writing for the day.

I wrote a letter regarding a debt.

I wrote a KnowHow article for ClubMom.

I wrote a review for ReviewStream.

I wrote a couple more answers for Helium Knowledge as well as a question about the best free software you can find where I listed some of my favorites.

I wrote a couple of entries at WritingUp whose blog service I'm trying out.

I wrote an entry late last night before bed at my personal blog and then a short one this morning.

I need to get away from the computer and stop thinking about writing and money for a bit. Definitely so.

another ebay item

May 17th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

The doll I listed at the same time as the bear has sold. Once I have the figures all done for both items I'll post them into the $20 challenge.
Since I've had these successes I think I'll go ahead and try to list some more stuff, probably this weekend.

MyPoints and ClubMom

May 16th, 2006 at 10:03 pm

A lot of my pending points at MyPoints finally credited so I redeemed some for a $25 gift certificate from WebCertificates. I'll probably use it at Amazon and take advantage of the free shipping.

I joined the Insiders Club at MyPoints which was a hefty chunk of change but I think it will be worth it once my Access card arrives. I have two shipping rebates I need to send in. I ordered blinds from Blair.com (and got points) and should receive about $5 back for the shipping, and I took advantage of one of the book club offer for 1000 points and should receive about $15 or so dollars back for the shipping.

The 20 points for tips at ClubMom credited. I wish they had a grocery partner in my town, I'd take more advantage of my membership there. On Flash's advice I'm going to up my word count and submit a few of the higher point "know how" articles rather than the "tips" next time.

Since so many sites will pay or award for writing, I believe I'm going to start writing reviews and articles in my spare time and then afterwards choose which site to give the article to based on what they'll give me. It will improve my writing skills, give me something productive to do until I finally find a new job, and will hopefully make my typing speed even higher for that new job.

Sharebuilder

May 16th, 2006 at 08:35 pm

I misunderstood how the fees would be taken out at Sharebuilder so when I thought I was investing $17 and leaving $8 in my account for fees, I was actually
investing $9 and the rest of the $17 was for fees. So I got a much smaller share than I had meant to buy. I'll know in the future though.
The investments did count towards the promotion though, and they'll be depositing $25 into my account in roughly 4 weeks.

I am totally impressed by their customer service. I used their email service rather than calling, and when I first wrote to them I got an automated email saying, "This is an automated response to let you know that your email has been received and will be personally handled by one of our Customer Care Agents within the next 2-business days"

That emails hows in my inbox as being at 2:09pm. At 3:11pm I received an email from Customer Care. The email was not just a form email like it is with so many sites, and it actually fully answered both my questions and then some. Plus, at the bottom it had this: "I apologize for any confusion. If you need any further assistance you may contact Customer Care between 5:00am and 6:00pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, at 800-SHR-BLDR (800-747-2537)"

Since I ALWAYS have to write to Bank of America twice just to get an answer, if I choose to use their email service, and since just last night I was having to threaten that I would report a company to the Better Business Bureau and would even go to the media if I had to*, I am extremely satisfied with my experience at Sharebuilder. I may even write their main office and praise them for it.

*Tracfone. Please, do yourself a favor and never deal with this company. I think I may have finally gotten the issue resolved but I wish I had typed "Tracfone" and "scam" into Google before we decided to use them.

money in, money out

May 15th, 2006 at 03:15 am

I made $15.68 on the sale of the Marine bear. That's after Paypal's fees, after the tax deductible MissionFish Red Cross donation, and after all the Ebay fees I currently owe. So, $15.68 towards the $20 challenge. I'm still hoping the doll will sell. I have a watcher for it so my fingers are crossed.

I spent money I hadn't intended to today but I finally found matching saucers for my thrift shop dinner plates and they were on sale for 25% off. I love the pattern and they're very well made dishes. I looked for the matching bowls but they didn't have any.
There are technically more than I'll need but I paid less for 11 saucers than I would just for the shipping on a single bowl of the same kind from Ebay. I'm really happy to have found them as they seem to be difficult to replace. I'm thinking I'll try selling the extras.

I joined two new survey sites. Hopefully, I'll qualify for more surveys with them than I have been with others. For a while I was making decent money with surveys but it's been a long time.
I also went ahead and requested a check from Inbox Dollars. I decided the gold membership wasn't worth it.

Flash was kind enough to provide me with a link about coupon trains so I'm off to learn more about that.

today

May 14th, 2006 at 04:35 am

Let's see. Today...

I answered more questions on Helium Knowledge including a few more financial questions. (See a list of my answers here.)

I did a few Inbox Dollars emails since I'm behind on those. I have more than enough to get another check since I got an offer credited a couple of nights ago, but I'm debating on whether or not to get the Gold Membership, too. (Has anyone done this? what's your experience with it?)

One of the items I listed on ebay a few nights ago has been sold. Part of the total will go towards the Red Cross through MissionFish but the rest, minus fees, will count towards my $20 challenge. I'll know exactly how much soon. I've had decent luck with ebay on the few items I've listed but I don't like how much time it consumes in order to start an auction. I may try selling stuff on Craigslist which will also count towards the challenge.

I also wrote a couple of tips for Club Mom which I've never done before. I should hopefully get 20 points for that. We'll see if it's worth the trouble.

As for the "No Grocery Shopping..." goal:
We discovered that what we thought was a full box of spaghetti was actually less than a third full. Not too much of a dent though, we still have plenty of other pasta. Yesterday, I made a run to the bread store and got a loaf of white bread and the last bag of sourdough rolls they had. A whole $1 spent on that, not bad at all. I'm thinking the milk may last quite a while, too. We may have to pick up some more wheat bread but that's only another 50 cents. I think we shouldn't have any problem making it a month. Hmm, we do need to eat the bananas before they go bad though.

one good way to increase savings

May 13th, 2006 at 07:19 pm

I wrote about HeliumKnowledge yesterday. Today I answered the question "If you had to name just one good way to increase your savings what would it be?" I brought up paying yourself first and putting the money in a really good savings account, like INGDirect. Of all of the ways to save, that would be my one pick if I had choose. It's easy, it's safe, and anyone can do it. I'm quite happy with my INGdirect account and I've even recently purchased one of their 9 month cds. Once I'm able, I'll be setting up a direct deposit to go to them every month.

What are some of your favorite ways to increase your savings?

$20 Challenge

May 13th, 2006 at 04:52 am

I've decided to join in on the $20 challenge. My first unusual action is joining HeliumKnowledge. I haven't taken part in any of the sites that pay you for writing. This will be my first experience with it. I'm hoping to make at least a little bit extra income by using it, we'll see how it goes.

I will probably put most, if not all, of my $20 challenge deposits into paying off debt since it does me more good to get rid of it than to earn interest on savings.

edit: Oh, another thing I did today that will count towards the challenge - I invested money in stocks for the first time ever. (Scary and exciting!)

I had signed up with Sharebuilder in order to qualify for a good chunk of money from one of my "get paid to..." sites. I deposited $15 at the time and another $10 this week, originally planning to earn money through the money market fund. Today I decided to put that $25 into 2 stocks. (I couldn't decide between them.)
One of them is almost 2 shares, the other is probably about a third of a share. A total of $17 dollars. The last $8 went towards Sharebuilder fees. Here's the thing though - I used their "Plan" link to make these buys. By doing that it should qualify me for $25 they agreed to give me thanks to a promo code I had.

"To receive the ShareBuilder $25 Promotion, all you need to do is make sure you've set up your ShareBuilder Plan and have a transaction before 02/05/2008"

If it does, then that makes $17 dollars worth of stock plus whatever my returns are on those stocks basically free since I will get another $25 put into my money market fund. and I will have $17+ to put towards my challenge, the way I see it.

beginnings...

May 11th, 2006 at 10:55 pm

Since today marks the beginning of my goal to not go grocery shopping for a month, I thought it was a good day to begin a blog here at savingsadvice.com

Our pantry is overstocked and the fridge is well past the point of being considered full. My boyfriend only takes home cooked dinners to work about twice a week. We're both trying to lose weight. There's no real reason why this can't last us.
I'm allowing for stuff like milk and bread, those will definitely need to be restocked at least once during the month, though the milk may last for most of it. It depends on how much cooking I do with it. The bread is ridiculously cheap though since we get it at the bakery thrift store.

Not buying groceries will mean a bit more money to put towards our debts and savings, and that is definitely what we need to focus on at the moment.

The challenge/goal ends June 11th.