In our quest to inventory all our debt we logged into all our credit-card accounts to get the current information. We confirmed that yes, we are more in debt than we want to be, but we feel good about taking the first steps to deal with that.
We hadn’t used one of our credit-card accounts for a number of years, but there still were a good number of reward points sitting there. These points would have the best payoff if we used them towards statement credit for travel, but we aren’t really using that card anymore, and we have many other good travel-hacking credit cards so every time we had seen this in the past we would say ‘We really should use it for a bit to get that travel credit!’ and then would go on with our lives without ever following through.
This time was different. We realized that instead of travel credit we could get Amazon gift cards. No, the pay-off wasn’t as high as using it for travel credit, but we could do it NOW instead of at some unspecified future money. The website was having some issues, so we ended up calling, and it didn’t take long before we had cashed in our points for three $100 Amazon gift cards!
Wow! What a happy find! It’s not really income, but it is money we won’t have to spend when we order stuff on Amazon, which we do pretty regularly.
As and added bonus: Our awesome friend Iliana found a penny between my feet when we were out in the freezing cold! One more coin for our change jar! 😀 Making it a total of $300,01 profits for this episode.
We love going out to eat, but as you all know, it can add up. Part of our quest for financial independence is getting out of debt and saving money, and skipping some nights out seems a good way to do that.
Of course it is not always trivial to come up with meals, but one of our quick and easy goto’s is mussels. Friday afternoon we were shopping and I asked my husband, what shall we have for dinner tonight? We were just walking past the fish food counter in the supermarket ( I know how to properly time my questions 🙂 so we considered what fishy choices were on sale. It didn’t take long to agree on mussels, since it had been a while since we made them.
What I like about mussels is that there are so many ways to make them, and you can just use what you have or you can buy some curry paste (Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste) as we did this time. We also picked up a can of coconut milk.
At home I started rice in the rice cooker so that I could ignore it, and Tom get everything ready to steam some broccoli. I perused the fridge and decided on onions, celery, garlic and carrots, but you can choose whatever you have on hand. Melted a good chunk of butter, sautéed the veggies for a while, then added half of the curry paste, some white wine and the coconut milk. Meanwhile we had washed the muscles and drained them. Added the mussels, brought everything to a boil, turned down the heat to medium and covered the mixture. When I opened it after ten minutes, all the mussels had opened and looked delectable. Steamed the broccoli and we were ready to eat.
Quick and easy meal and it tasted excellent. You can customize it to whatever you have on hand, beer instead of wine, bouillon instead of either, your choice of vegetables, endless possibilities. We enjoyed the satisfaction that we spent only a fraction of the money we would have spent in a restaurant.
Over the years I have gotten more and more overwhelmed with how much stuff I own, and have been working on decluttering and such, but I definitely am not anywhere close to where I want to be. When I read My Year of No Shopping in the New York Times I decided that yes, that is what I needed in 2018.
When you read the article, you can see that she mostly talks about clothes, handbags and makeup, not about essentials like food. Still it resonated with me, and I decided that I loved her idea and would start it this year with my own arbitrary rules. Since it is not as much a rulebook, but a philosophy.
It fits in my philosophy of ‘Less Things, More People, More Travel!’ Two examples of today: I returned an LL Bean sweater which had issues ( I love their return policy ) and instead of replacing it with the same or a different sweater, I took the money and applied it towards debt. Then we went to a jewelry store which had a wicked sale and I saw many items that I drooled over for a moment until catching myself. ‘Yes, I can save $600, but I don’t need or even want to spend $300.’ It felt good.
I still shop for groceries and home goods, but it is nice not to be swayed by a good sale. I know I too often have fallen for the ‘Wow, this is such a steal’ reasoning instead of the ‘Nope, don’t need it, I don’t care if I want it.’ Instead I envision the Trevi Fountain in Rome and how we threw in coins so we would return. I’d much rather spend my money that way!
Next step is going through my stuff at home and getting rid of more and more of them.
This is my very first blog post with an affiliate link to kick off the ‘How to make money with blogs’ part of my story. I have been using Ibotta and have been happy with the offers and payout I get just for shopping for things I buy anyway.
I started in 2016, made $24 pretty fast, but never got around to transferring it to my bank account. When I started this blogging journey, and when I saw how much debt our liabilities added up to, I decided to check it out again.
Started using it a week ago and made $7 already. Which admittedly is not much, but on the other hand I spent 10 or 15 minutes working on it, taking pictures of receipts and bar codes. $7 for 15 minutes of work is $28 per hour.
Today I transferred my full balance ($31) to my paypal account and from there to my bank account, so I can report that that works fine too. Planning on using this ‘free’ money towards debt and get a baby step closer to being debt free 🙂
My next goal is to refer my friends, or my readers to sign up for ibotta. Whoever signs up gets a free $10 start once they redeem their first offer, and I get a kickback to kick off my journey to financial independence. Click here if you want to try ibotta and support me.
Update 1/28/2018: Ibotta only works for readers in the USA. Too bad.
There have been times in my life that I was totally on top of my money, knowing exactly how much I owned and owed at any given moment. And there have been times that I kind of lost track, being lulled into a false sense of security and wishful thinking that sure, who cares about money anyway.
Time to get back to mastering our money and step one today is an inventory of our debts so we can make a plan on how to pay it off as quickly as possible.
I will make a list of how much, which bank, interest rate, minimum payment and how long it will take to pay off with that minimum payment. Then I can start playing with it and deciding where to apply extra payments to get the best bang for our buck in our quest for financial independence.
Another day of figuring out blogging, another day of trying out a new theme (Slightly). I managed to lock myself out of Bluehost three times now by forgetting that the passwords requires a special character and not being able to set back to any of the previous passwords. It might be time to start using a password manager, which has been on my to-do list for too long anyway.
Today was a dreary and wintery day which suddenly got brightened when three cardinals appeared! I don’t remember whether we usually see them in the middle of winter, but am happy to report that they are here this winter, eating our bird seeds. I love how brightly coloured they are.
A new day, a new blogging set up problem. Yes, I do have a bluehost account and I can get to WordPress and have a dashboard, but what theme to choose??? The first time I opened it I chose Astra because it, well, because it was the first in the list. Not a very perfect way to pick a theme I think, so the next day I looked around the internet and tried to figure out which themes were popular and practical. Genesis came up a lot, but that costs money and I don’t feel like I should spend that money on my blog just yet, so I prefer a free theme. There were many sites about ‘the best 42 free themes’ and such, but they mostly helped me to feel more and more overwhelmed, not to decide which one would be good for me. I felt myself sinking into a deep dark hole of analysis paralysis.
Luckily I had just signed up for the facebook group connected to the Making sense of Cents so I asked the wise member of that group about their experiences. Someone came up with Colorlib which looked nice enough so instead of being paralysed I am going to try one or more of their themes and take it from there.
I had suspected the MOJO market place plugin which I already had deleted. But together with Tom, I found out that under the Settings – general settings in the WordPress dashboard, at the bottom there is an option to turn off the ‘Coming Soon’ page.