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A Day in the Life of Mystery Shopping

April 13th, 2017 at 04:53 pm

Some of you have noted interest in the past, so I thought I would share a day of mystery shopping. This isn't everyday, but I could do this type of day at least three times a week. The times include the shop and the report. This is my agenda for tomorrow:

1.) Breakfast at Sonic:

Pay: $10 (Originally $5, Bonus $5)

Reimbursement: Up to $7.80 (It's enough for a complete meal. I will probably take my son to school, and he can eat it beforehand. I am trying to avoid fast food.)

Report Easy, no narrative

Total time for this shop: 30 mins

Time for payment: 30 days

2.) Local Credit Union for a typical transaction:

Pay: $10 (This is low pay for a bank shop, but I need to go there anyhow.)

Report: Easy, one section of narrative

Total time for this shop (Assuming no long lines): 15 minutes

Time for payment: 6 weeks

3.) Ross (Clothing store)

Pay: $24 (Originally $14, Bonus $10)

No reimbursement (purchase and return-I will go to Fed Ex. which is near Ross and then return the item.)

Report: Easy, no narrative

Total time for this shop: 45 minutes

Time for payment: 30 days

4.) Fed Ex

Pay: $25 for a package pick up (No idea if there is actually anything of value in the package. The tracking says it weighs 1 lb.)

Report: Moderate, some narrative

Total time for this shop: 30 minutes

Time for payment: 2 weeks

5.) Hot Head Burritos

Pay: $0

Reimbursement: $15 (It will be enough to cover two burritos and two drinks.)

Report: Moderate, some narrative

Total time for this shop: 45 minutes

Time for payment: 5 weeks

I took this shop because it is my son's favorite place. I rarely do reimbursement only shops.

These shops are all local (5 mile radius).

I will make $69 cash and up to $22.80 in reimbursements. With the shops and driving, I am expecting 4 hours of work at most. I can't do the burrito shop until 5 PM, so I will go home and do the other reports and go back out for that shop.

Sidebar Update

April 1st, 2017 at 03:38 pm

Since my son isn't getting a car right away, we took part of the check from the accident and fully funded the moving fund.

As far as Amazon savings for the laptop fund, it is down from $127 at the last update. I bought a few needs. I needed printer ink, a new screen protector for my phone and an AP Physics book for my son. I was down to $97 and some change at one point, but have built it back up a bit and now back up to $113.

The weight loss is on track. I was down 11 pounds last check (early this week). I have just under two months to lose another 14, so it can be done.

I Officially Have a Place!

March 27th, 2017 at 07:36 pm

I ended up with a different apartment than the first I mentioned. This one had more bang for my buck. For $745, the complex has a business center, fitness center, outdoor and indoor pool. The indoor pool was a HUGE draw for me because I like aquacise so much. It is within a few miles of the first place, and it is a good area.

I am so close to so much shopping which is a plus. I hate spending money, but I sure love earning it via mystery shopping! I also figured now that my son is without a car for awhile, it is nice this is on the bus line.

My anxiety level is a lot lower now. I hated the feeling of not knowing where in the heck I was going to live. Now I can relax a bit.

Bad News/Good News

March 22nd, 2017 at 01:10 am

First the bad, my son totaled his car this morning on the way to school. It appears his brake line had some kind of leak. He did not get ticketed although he hit the car in front of him. Since the car is 20 years old they opted to total it already. He is not hurt, and he only took the bumper off the other car. That was odd because he drove a huge Chrysler and the other car was a small Toyota. My son is pretty upset. He loved his car. I reminded him cars can be replaced but people cannot.

Onto the "Good" news....Geico worked fast. They already looked at it and told me they appraised it at $2200 which is more than double what he originally paid for it. However, we put work in it. In the end he just about evened out. I am pleased with the amount. I just wish it never happened.

It is going to be serious pain, but we are going to try and keep one car for the next two months. I will drive him to and from school. He works within walking distance. DH works late afternoons so it can be done. After we get to Michigan we can decide on a car.

Michigan Trip Recap

March 18th, 2017 at 12:27 pm

The Michigan trip was a success. My grandson got to see snow for the first time (He's four) and LOVED it. Watching him play in it was worth the trip. He was so good on the trip. I miss him terribly already.

I went to the Lansing area with my friend and her husband on Tuesday. We looked in a few areas, and in the end I decided on an apartment in a quaint town just west of Lansing. They had the cutest little main street type of downtown within walking distance. Also within a mile in the other direction was Meijer (in my opinion a better quality Walmart with groceries in the Midwest) and the typical chain fast foods, gas stations, etc. I need to do my taxes since I am self-employed and then officially apply for the apartment. I am going to take care of it all this week. Best of all the rent is $710 with gas, water/trash and sewer all included. The apartment is 2 bedrooms/1 bath.

As I mentioned previously, this was originally my daughter's trip and I tagged along. I gave her $150 from an overpayment for the cable/internet (A long story and hours of calls, but I finally got it) for gas/car wear and tear and the hotel. Other than that, I spent the following:

$12-A cake for my daughter's half birthday (Her card on her real birthday never arrived)

$10-Cracker Barrel for my dinner on the way home

$3-Toy for my grandson on clearance at Kmart going out of business

$3-Wendy's for my grandson

$ 32 gas for my friend for the Lansing trip, and I used my card once on the road for gas ($1.92 in Northern Tennessee!)

$5 Tip at lunch when out one day

$5 (approximate can't find receipt) for coffee on the way to Lansing. I also picked up a soda for friend's hubby.

$15-Arby's for 6 of us before we got on the road. My son gets half off, so it was pretty cheap considering.

Total =$85

Our meals were all covered for the most part with the hotel breakfast and my family members. My dad took us out twice. My uncle was also up from Florida and took care of a meal. Another uncle bought us lunch another day. My grandma also bought lunch one day. My parents also cooked a lasagna one night.

On a side note, my son's trip with his dad got canceled. His dad was supposed to fly in from CT and they were going to drive my son's car to the Gainesville area to see his dads father. The Nor' Easter ruined that. His dad couldn't get another flight out until Friday and they were due back on Sunday anyhow, so he just got a refund instead.

Non financial brain dump...

March 8th, 2017 at 01:17 pm

I am incredibly anxious this week. It's not like I haven't been aware for many months I am going through nearly every major life change this year. However, with the trip to MI This week, it really is hitting me hard.

I don't want any regrets. I know when I moved here, it wasn't the best decision. Overall, it worked out but in retrospect it wasn't a great decision.

I KNOW moving to MI is good for us. For one, after research my moving there will get my son in-state tuition this year. This is going to save thousands! I also know it is never a bad thing to be near friends and family.

Part of my anxiety is driving in March. The weather can be a factor. Luckily, I don't see any major storms on the horizon. Please pray and/or keep us in your thoughts the weather is decent for us on the trip there and back.

When I get to MI, I am going out with my cousin house/apt hunting to see if us sharing a place is viable. That may not work because of where she needs to live. It is further from Lansing than I prefer. I am also going to Lansing for a full day to look at places there.

In the end, it isn't like I would ever be homeless if I don't find something before the move. I can put my stuff in storage and stay with my parents for a month or two. However, I would have much more peace of mind if I have a place of my own to move to on June 1st.

On the marriage front, DH is freaking out that he will be homeless. However, he has made no effort or progress. It seems he expects me to take him in if nothing falls in his lap. I can't do it anymore.

Savings Update

March 4th, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Moving fund is up to $700. It would be more, but I needed to put over $400 into the car for a control arm.

The laptop fund is up to $127 (Amazon). I recently cashed out for $25 on Swagbucks.

Class Action Lawsuit-New car or parts in last 20 years

March 3rd, 2017 at 12:44 pm

You might be eligible to get in on this if your car or part qualifies. You must have proof of purchase. The deadline is March 16th.


My car qualifies!

I applied for a job...

February 18th, 2017 at 05:41 pm

It's funny how much Google knows about us. I was looking at my Google feed and came across an interesting seasonal job opportunity. A testing company is hiring for test scoring. They have remote work and location work available. They are opening a location within walking distance of my parent's house. Since I am moving to MI soon, I applied. I said I was available for the remote and location work. I talked to my parents, and they said I could stay with them during the times I am doing the seasonal work onsite if I am hired.

My editing job is flexible, so it would not affect my regular work at all. I have done some volunteer test scoring before. I really enjoyed it. I will let you know if it pans out.

By the way, my daughter asked my son if we could take my 4 year old grandson on our road trip to MI next month. He and his wife agreed. It will be interesting. However, I am excited to spend the time with him.

Savings Update

February 10th, 2017 at 12:26 pm

I am up to $92 in Amazon credit for the laptop. I accrued the following so far this month:

$5 Mobile Meter
$1 Mplus Rewards
$10 Media Insiders
$25 Cross Media Panel

The moving fund is up to $550 after a small deposit from me and money from my son from his paycheck.

Explanation of the Two Trips on Sidebar

January 31st, 2017 at 02:22 pm

I updated my sidebar. I thought I would explain the two trips. A few weeks ago my daughter decided she was going to drive up to MI in March. My grandma isn't in the best of health, so she wants to see her asap. She was going to do the drive on her own. Her best friend is going, but she doesn't have a license.

Anyhow, we talked, and in the end I decided to join her and help drive. I am paying the difference in gas for her to swing over to the far end of the panhandle to pick me up. Basically, everything figured in, my portion going to run no more than $200. We are driving straight through. We have a place to stay and most, if not all, of our meals are covered. My uncle will be in town from Florida too and insists on covering meals. My parents also tend to want to feed us. We are packing food for the car. I have a refund coming from the cable company (another nightmare story) and will use that money for this trip. In addition to helping my daughter drive and seeing my grandma, I want to look at towns where I am considering living. This takes the burden off sending friends and family to do it for me.

The New Hampshire trip is not set in stone. One of my close friends is getting married Labor Day weekend. I really want to go, but she knows about the major move and totally understands if I cannot make it. I will see how the move all works out and decide in June on that one. I won't do it unless I can cash flow it from regular spending and any potential leftover moving fund money.

I also wanted to note the moving fund is just the cost of moving our stuff. I already have money set aside for first month's rent and a security deposit.

Laptop Fund Etc.

January 30th, 2017 at 01:49 pm

I have started a laptop fund. I am going to purchase a new laptop with what I obtain in Amazon funds over the next few months. Assuming my current laptop lasts, I plan on getting the new one in June after the move. I hope to earn around $400 in Amazon gift cards by then. My current laptop is 3 and half years old and has minor issues. I hope to keep it as a backup.

I will have enough from Cross Media (formerly known as Screenwise Trends) for another $25 later in the week. I just added $20 from my daughter. She gave me an Amazon card for my bday. She insisted even though we normally only do birthday cards. My current total is $51.

On the birthday note, my youngest baked an amazing blueberry muffin cake. It is the best cake I have ever had! I also got a nice card from my oldest son and his family.

I am afraid the aquacise classes weren't so frugal this month. I absolutely need to go today and tomorrow. Even with those visits, it will only be four visits (It's $25 a month for unlimited classes. They are offered M-F) for the month. I was sick earlier in the month, and after that I had a huge work project. I feel so out of shape. I really need to get back to that routine!

Have a great week everyone!

Car Update Etc.

January 17th, 2017 at 03:51 pm

I am slammed with work lately. I am not complaining. It is good for the budget. Today is especially busy. The only reason I am here now is I have 15 minutes before a phone meeting, so I don't want to get into the middle of any work projects at the moment.

I had the two tires replaced on the car on Saturday. I also got an alignment. The total was $306.26. DH agreed to pay $120 toward it.

On a side note, I am proud of my son. His father got him an Auto Zone gift card for Christmas, so my son decided to tackle his own brakes. This is the first time he has done anything on a car. It took most of the day yesterday, but he got it done with no issues. I asked DH to make sure he got the car jacked up safely and to check on him periodically. He asked DH a couple of questions, but he did all the physical work himself. He wants to tackle spark plugs next. He will do his and mine.

I haven't spent any money since Saturday and don't plan on it until Thursday. I wish I could have five day streaks every week! Time to go sign in for my meeting. Have a great day everyone!

I need to diversify my savings!

January 13th, 2017 at 10:25 pm

I keep my savings accounts with Capital One 360. I have separate accounts for an emergency, short term savings and my moving fund. I have a debit I don't use with them that I can transfer the money to if I were to need money immediately.

Earlier this week I had a log in message to call Capital One. They think someone tried to sign into my accounts, so they froze all of them and cancelled the debit card. As luck (or lack of) would have it, I got a slow leak in one tire and a flat on another today. I only keep an extra $100 in my regular checking, and I just paid all the mid month bills a few hours before this happened.

I will use the credit card to cover the tires and pay it off when the money is freed up. But this got me thinking about what to do with all my savings going forward. This money is frozen for up to 10 business days.

To top it off the girl I spoke to in their security department said she would try to free up one of the accounts immediately, and I could go to the ATM. I asked her what I was supposed to do because the debit got cancelled. She said I should just be able to punch in my account without a debit card. I was without words at how crazy it was she thought that could be done. She admitted after a couple of minutes it wouldn't work.

I could kick myself for getting rid of my second credit card (Long story, but I was ticked off with the company). With one card, I am limited in an emergency without access to savings. I am definitely going to start keeping more savings in my main credit union account. I am also seriously reconsidering Capital One altogether at this point.

2017 Goals

January 2nd, 2017 at 02:15 pm

As I said yesterday, with the move in June it is difficult to set some goals for the whole year. However, I want to be able to reflect back next year, so I am going to give it a shot.

Goals before the move:

Declutter: This is pretty easy since I already started. I don't own a lot and may even finish this goal in January.

Continue improving health: I will continue with the aquacise classes, and I am only shopping the outside aisles of the grocery store. The exception are household goods and coffee.

Save for the move: We are putting away $75 per week for the move. I am also contributing bonuses and snowflakes.

Goals from June forward:

Continue the health goal.

Come up with a long term savings plan: Once I know how mystery shopping works out up north (I will still do it, but I am afraid bonuses won't be as plentiful in a more populated area) I can make a plan more easily. I also want to sub, and I need to see how often I am called.

Volunteer: I think I mentioned I am joining my friend and her family in volunteering for Game on Cancer.

Spend a lot of time with family and friends: This won't be an issue being so much closer. It will be nice not to run around and see who I can fit in on a short trip!

Wardrobe: I read so many posts this morning and got this idea from someone else (I am sorry I can't remember who right now, but thank you for the idea!). I really need to start putting more effort into dressing nicer. Since I am losing weight and don't want to drag more than I have to on the move, I will put more effort into this post-move.

I think all of these are very doable. I guess time will tell for sure!

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2017 at 03:02 pm

Happy New Year! After a lot of soul searching this past year, I knew I needed to surround myself with positive people, live life with more purpose and spend more time with family and friends. I was prepared to follow my son (for the most part) to wherever he decided to go to college. I am so glad he chose MSU. I head home for good (a 100 miles give or take) on June 1st after 19 years. And yes, it is for good because I am getting too old for the major moving adventures. I know the year won't be perfect or without challenges and major changes, but overall it should be a great year!

Financially, my son and I are saving aggressively for the move. I will set long term goals later in the year when I am settled in Michigan.

I hope this year brings only the best for my fellow SA'ers.

Snowflakes Etc.

December 22nd, 2016 at 09:06 pm

Christmas Day it will go in the 70s here, but I still am seeing snowflakes! I have done very well this week.

I got a $5 Amazon through a new app I downloaded (Mobile Meter).

I just cashed out $22 on Pinecone. I took $15 in cash, got a $5 Starbucks card and also got a $2 Virtual Visa card.

The best part was the freebies/discounts for TMobile Tuesdays this week! I got a free sub, a free pair of hat and gloves (I was only supposed to get one or the other, but she gave me both), two pairs of socks through Zappos, and half off a Boxed.com order.

I cannot believe how expensive Zappos is. I had a $25 credit and free shipping. All I could afford were the two pair of socks! Boxed.com was also free shipping and $10 off at least $19.99. I spend $11.98 out of pocket for a case of Gatorade and a 30 pack of Sun Chips. I would have never paid the full asking price, but I thought that was a good deal. All items were already delivered too.

Like I said, as adults we don't exchange Christmas gifts, so I guess all that was Christmas to myself!

Christmas Plans Changed

December 20th, 2016 at 01:37 pm

Christmas plans have completely changed. My stepson called and said it is too far to drive from his in-laws in the Jacksonville area to see us in the Panhandle. He said the drive is too much with kids. He wanted us to come to him. I do not have the time off, and my son and his friend both have flights here the 26th and 27th. DH took time off and was going to take the car to go see him. I told him that was not happening. My car needs work and is okay for short drives temporarily, but it needs to two tires, a tune up, an alignment and possibly fuel injectors. I already planned to do this in January. Mind you DH didn't want to pay for any of the work because we are splitting up in a few months. I couldn't do it this week even if I wanted to. The money is in Capital One and by time I transfer it, the work wouldn't be done in time.

So, DH is renting a car and leaving Christmas Day and coming back by the 29th. I understand not wanting to drive several hours with kids, but I am a little ticked. This was not an issue when the original plans were made. DH and I don't mix finances, but the general idea of having to rent a car and get a hotel room irks me considering it was sprung on him last minute. In the end, I realize it is a moot point to let it bother me. It doesn't affect me personally. I just don't get others' line of thinking at times

My Christmas celebration will be on the 27th with my son and his best friend. His friend's flight arrives in the morning. We will do a Christmas dinner (I am off that day), and I will give them their gifts. I will have the house to myself Christmas Day. I suppose if I feel cooped up at any point, I can go see a movie.

Scholarship Award

December 16th, 2016 at 10:56 pm

My son got his award letter today! MSU has granted him 11 k per year in scholarship money and a one time study abroad scholarship (up to 5k). He already has 1500 from back in elementary school. Dr. Ben Carson sponsored that one. I remember he had to write an essay. He won that in 4th grade. He has also been applying for obscure scholarships he's found FastWeb lately. I am so incredibly proud of him. His hard work is paying off for him quite well!

Holiday Bonus

December 16th, 2016 at 01:50 pm

I printed my paycheck this morning (Yes, it is odd. Our check is emailed to us! The credit union processes it with no issue.). When I logged into the secure site to get my check, I realized I got a $50 holiday bonus. It was a pleasant surprise because not only did we not get anything last year (Of course I was only there a month at the time, so maybe I just didn't get anything.), but we are independent contractors.

I ended up spending another $28.50 on gifts. I donated $7 to the gift baskets for my main boss and the two bosses above her (suggested amount). I also ordered a gift for my grandma on Amazon. She is the one adult I buy for. I was told not to, but I wanted to, so I did! I had $10 credit, which kept the total down. She always sang the song, "I Love You a Bushel and a Peck" to us as kids. I bought her a photo frame with the saying and a small box of chocolates. I paid to have the frame wrapped as well. I am now officially done!

I sent the remainder of the bonus to the moving fund. I also got my regular monthly bonus, which covered my taxes out of this check.

Total Christmas Spending: $145.17

I got a raise too!

December 6th, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Ceejay's post reminded me about posting my own raise. I just received my evaluation and got a 4% raise. Although in most ways we are treated like employees, we are independent contractors as editors. This is because we are paid per edit and have flexible hours (We do work certain days.) My raise is per edit.

I did not get a raise on my hourly position with the company since I have only been doing it since July.

Christmas Spending Total

December 2nd, 2016 at 03:48 pm

Christmas spending is done. Here is the breakdown:

Mini fridge for son-$49 (My daughter contributed half as an early grad gift for her brother).

MSU hat for son-$15.90

MSU shirt for son-$15 ($5 Amazon credit).

$25 movie gift card-$0 (You.gov redemption) I will give this to my son's best friend. Since he is here when we are celebrating, I would feel bad not to have something for him.

Lighted hover ball for nephew-$7 (free shipping, 15% off, and $2 gift card used)

Spice set-$0 (mystery shop). I am sending this to daughter and her bf's mom who are cooking a big Christmas dinner.

Dress up set, Batman and copter, activity book for grandkids-$12.77 ($30 in Amazon credit, Prime shipping).

Stocking stuffers for DH grandkids who will be visiting (He bought their gifts. I wanted to contribute so made stockings)-$5 (15% off at Target. I had extra stockings so just needed the stuffers.)

Candy for all stockings-approximately $8 (I lost this receipt somehow. I did get the 15% off at Target and the candy was on sale.)

Dental floss for son and friend's stockings-$0 (I got these on grocery store mystery shop. It's a running joke between them.)


There will be food bought for our belated celebration. However, nothing will come out of my pocket. DH will cover anything not covered with grocery store mystery shops. Edited to add: $3 for wrapping paper. All spending was cash!

Target Savings Today and Tomorrow

November 27th, 2016 at 01:06 pm

Target is offering 15% off your total order online or in the store. I am going to get my household goods.There are a few exclusions including higher end electronics and gift cards, but I don't see it excluding sale items!

My son and I went out on Black Friday exclusively to get extra Shopkick points. I bought laundry detergent because it could not wait until today. Both Target and Walmart were dead at 7:00 AM! As a matter of fact, I got a front row parking spot at Walmart. In the end we splurged and went out to eat breakfast at IHop (It was dead there too!). I realize my time is short having kids at home, so I am willing to make a splurge once in awhile for quality time.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend! I know I ate enough that I need to go to my aquacise class every day this week!

Christmas Shopping

November 20th, 2016 at 02:11 pm

It was a beautiful 60 degree day here in NW Florida yesterday. Luckily, I was not overly busy with work (I LOVE not having set hours), so I took a few hours off and went Christmas shopping.

I have a very short list. This year I am only buying for my son, grandkids and nephew. We generally don't buy for past 18 in our family. I have done so a couple of times when I had an unexpected windfall, but this is not the case this year. Plus we have a ton of big expenses with moving in 2017!

I shopped on Amazon for the grandkids and have just under $42 in my cart. I got them cute little animal banks. The animals pop out of the box and grab the money. I also got the batteries and a memory game for them to play together. I should be able to accumulate most if not all of those costs in credit before I order and send. I ordered the traditional Christmas Crackers on Amazon yesterday since they are hard to find in my area. I covered those with Amazon credit.

My son wants a mini fridge. I priced them online but went to Lowe's, Kmart, Target, Walmart and Home Depot yesterday. Lowe's and Home Depot had the best deals. I found one on clearance at Lowe's for $99 that is 4.2 cubic feet. I will probably end up getting it, but I will make sure there are no great deals on Black Friday first. Home Depot's was only slightly smaller and also $99. Those are on sale through the 30th.

I already have an MSU shirt (Amazon credit) and a movie gift card (earned through YouGov) for my son as well. This is the last year he gets gifts, so I want to make it as nice as possible without going broke.

I should end up less than $150 out of pocket this year. Other than the fridge, I figure the other fifty (or less) will come from cash flowing my nephew's gift and a couple small items for my DH and son's stockings (As previously stated, DH and I are amicable and in the same house, so I want to have something small for him even though we are splitting up in the spring).

Oh, I also have a nice holiday spice pack from the Spice and Tea exchange I got on a mystery shop. I am sending that to my daughter since her and her bf's mom are cooking a large Christmas dinner.

How are the rest of you doing with your Christmas budget? I see CCF has done well so far!

Moving On

November 12th, 2016 at 06:12 pm

I had a post with my two sense on the election, but I opted to delete it. It was non-biased, and I don't think anyone would have found it offensive. However, I decided to stay out of the political discussion.

Speaking of moving on, my DH has finally made progress on moving forward with his life. He realizes I am not backing down from moving to MI or separating from him. Although he has not solidified his plans, he is planning on temporarily staying in a travel trailer on his brother's property in NH while he gets on his feet. In the meantime, while he is here he is going to save up and start getting rid of items he has acquired and never uses. I told him as long as he can behave, he can stay until the lease is up at the end of May. It is a huge relief to me we are doing everything amicably and also not to wonder if he will have a roof over his head.

I am saving all I can as well. What is so upsetting is the amount I can save versus all the expenses makes it difficult to stay ahead. I have put out a lot for senior year expenses, money to MSU to hold my son's spot, and I am saving for the move. I also need a tire (which means buying at least two) and possibly fuel injectors for the car. I was going to slow down on subbing, but it doesn't look like that will be an option.

I went through my expenses. I cut out Netflix. The only other things I can technically cut are cable and swimming. Swimming is my one "fun" item, but it is also my primary exercise. I am holding off on cutting it for now. It is $25 per month for unlimited aquacise classes. My DH knows we are splitting up, but is insistent on buying me an Xmas gift. Maybe I should take him up on it and have him pay a month or two.

As far as cable, I found out it will actually cost me more to keep just internet. It is so frustrating, because I really don't watch tv much.

I have no other entertainment budget. I literally only do things that are fully reimbursed by mystery shopping (eat out or movies).

I looked at my car insurance in September when I added my son's car. My total insurance bill is only $105 per month, and my son pays his $40 share. It won't get much cheaper than that! We will go to to the dentist next month and then I will drop that insurance until the move. It will likely be a different carrier in MI anyhow.

The other thing I looked at was the cell phone bill. I am grandfathered into an old TMobile plan. I pay $120 for five lines (unlimited everything) including taxes. My son, daughter, and best friend contribute to that bill as well.

I know we will get there. I just hope to get a little further ahead before actually having a major car expense. I was hoping to do the regular maintenance and do the bigger stuff in April or early May. My laptop is also on the fritz as well. I guess I will have to see how it all pans out!

Michigan State Bound!

November 2nd, 2016 at 05:25 pm

My son got accepted to Michigan State! It was his first choice, and we are beyond excited. I will be moving this summer. Although I don't hate this area of Florida, there is nothing keeping me here. I have no job ties (beyond subbing which I can easily do up there), friends or family in this area.

I left Michigan in 1998, but most of my family and a lot of friends are there. I look forward to strengthening those bonds. We will live within 25 miles of MSU, so I will be about a 100 miles from my family. Sure beats 1000+. Besides, I think the area I grew up in has gone downhill, so I prefer to live further north.

Now we just have to see what scholarships he gets. From what I read, it looks like at the least he will qualify for $8000 per year. We realize freshman year will cost more with out-of-state tuition, but he will be in-state by sophomore year. I told him to take 12 credits to save some money. He has AP classes, so if he passes all those tests he is ahead on credits anyhow.

I still think his dad may be eligible for getting him some money from the GI bill, but he says no. However, I would bet money he never looked into it. If he qualifies, he would also be automatically considered in-state so I need to push this hard.

On a side note, I am participating in NaNoWriMo, but I didn't get too far yesterday. I did just over 400 words. I love my idea, but I am having trouble putting it into words.

Moving Fund

October 23rd, 2016 at 05:24 pm

I started a moving fund last week. I am transferring $15 a week. This is far from enough, but my son is also contributing $500 between now and when we move. I am also going to contribute my quarterly perfection bonus for editing (assuming I qualify). We are paid a quarter of how many edits we complete in the three month time period. So, if I edited 300 reports in three months, the bonus would be $75.00. I qualified this round. I will have two more attempts before the move. I am also going to contribute my Pinecone earnings.

If I am short come time for the move, I will take it from short term savings. I have over 7 months, but I am researching my cheapest and easiest options. I do not want to drive a moving truck myself. I am leaning toward storage containers. I may also talk to my son's father about driving the truck. He will be in town for graduation. He and my son could spend time together on the drive to MI, and I would pay for his plane ticket home. Therefore, he has a vested interest. Smile


October 21st, 2016 at 07:45 pm

I cashed out on several micro earning sites today.

-$25 Paypal from Media Insiders

-$10 Target from Cross Media Panel

-$25 Regal from YouGov

-$10 Paypal from Receipt Hog

-$5 Amazon from Panel App

The Paypal redemptions will go in the budget. The others are all going for Christmas gifts.

Thank you for your support

October 9th, 2016 at 02:29 pm

Thank you all for your support regarding my impending divorce. The most difficult decision is to figure out how long to let him stay here. I am not sure he has anywhere to go. I hope one of his family members will take him in, but I am not so sure. He has alienated most of them this past year. I have decided to start the divorce process either way. I am going to work on the paperwork and file it later this month with some of my extra money from subbing. It's over $400 for a simplified divorce (no lawyers or assets to split).

I need to ensure we are divorced before he can collect on my social security. I also want my life insurance beneficiaries to be my kids. I have him as the beneficiary and was told since he is my spouse, he would have to sign off for me to leave it to anyone else.

Other than not knowing when to ask him to leave, I am okay. I came to terms with this months ago. Of course, I don't know if I will have a more difficult time when he is actually gone. I have known him almost 17 years. I truly hope he will be amicable. I really do wish him the best. I hope he gets help and can find peace and happiness down the road.

Not so happy update

October 8th, 2016 at 01:45 pm

I've mentioned before my marriage hasn't been going so well. It is over. Since DH has nothing (He does not have the means to get his own place), I am doing my best to not end the marriage until I move next June. After the past two weeks, I am not sure I can do it. His depression (major mood swings) is worse than ever, and he won't get help. He also is not contributing anything to the bills other than gas in the car. There are more details, but I will refrain from sharing on the internet. I really want to end it all amicably and want him to have a place to go, but there is a limit of what I can or should deal with. I do feel it is important to add he is not a violent person.

My cousin is also in a bad marriage, and we have done a lot of talking. We are seriously consider living together when I move back. We are only two months apart in age and have always had a good relationship, so this could be good for both of us. It would save us both money as well. So much to think about...

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