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Archive for June, 2013

swagbucks newbie

June 16th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I'm missing my dad today - he died 13 years ago.

I joined swag bucks back in February, but havenít taken the time to participate until Friday night. Oh my, it is quite addictive. I first read creditcardfreeís recent ďtutorialĒ posts and then dove in. I can see that this will be a major time suck if Iím not careful! And, while the rewards are fun, they are not big enough to spend TOO much time pursuing them. Like CCF illustrated, I think a strategy is the way to go.

The videos and tv clips are an easy way to get a few points here and there. I downloaded the tool bar and am using the search feature, which seems to generate points a few times a day. I tried a few of the surveys, but I donít think I will qualify for many of them since I donít have a family and I donít purchase many mainstream products. Iím not sure if itís worth the time to keep trying. I just did one of the ďtasksĒ Ė WTF? Very odd search engine comparison exercise. I ended up not finishing because it got too tedious, but I did receive 20 points, which I wasnít expecting. Still, I donít think the time investment will be worth doing future tasks.

The first night I became obsessed and ended up accumulating 192 points. But, that was over the course of at least 4 hours! It might be best to shoot for the goal amount each day and stop there.
Iím thinking of using the points for Amazon gift cards to put towards a digital camera that I want to purchase. I donít think Iíll be able to hold out long enough to get it for free using points since it will cost $600 or more, but I could see earning some money towards it. Every little bit helps! Iím starting with a $10 Amazon gift card that I earned a few months ago by downloading my credit unionís iPad app and trying it out. I currently have 432 sbs, so when I get to 450, I will redeem them for a $5 Amazon gift card. Iím assuming it makes most sense to redeem the points as I accumulate them for the $5 gift cards, since the higher denominations seem to cost 500 points for each $5 rather than 450? Not sure how that makes sense.

I still donít understand how to get points playing the games. For some of them, you have to sign up for a tournament and use real money? Is there a way to play something during a bit of downtime for some points?

Iím bummed that I didnít try this right after I sprained my ankle. I had to spend a lot of time lying down with my foot elevated and I could have been racking up points without feeling like I was wasting time!

Update Ė I decided to try another survey and it worked. I just got 50 points for doing it (I should have timed it Ė was probably 10 Ė 15 minutes?) So, now I have 487 points. I guess I will now learn how to redeem points for a gift card!

How much to pay a cat sitter? and craptastic raise...

June 13th, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Iím going away at the end of June for a week and I just hired my neighbor to watch my sweet baby kitty Jubes. Iím so excited that she is available! She and her husband rent one of two apartments in the house next door to me and, while I donít really know them, they seem mature and responsible. Now I feel like I can really relax when Iím away, knowing that someone will be keeping an eye on my house as well as taking care of the cat.

What is a reasonable daily rate for someone to stop by once a day to replenish food & water, scoop litter box, and make sure that kitty is ok? I was thinking $15 Ė 18 dollars a day. Is that enough? What do people pay these days? I think Iíll be gone 8 days total.

My quest for healthy eating continues, which is helping both my grocery expenses and my waistline, although not as quickly as Iíd like it to!

I just got notification of my companyís raise percentages this year and Iím really disappointed. I will receive a 3.3% raise for high achievement. Ugh Ė I got a 3.5% raise last year for normal achievement. High achievement was 4.5% last year! I was expecting to get at least 4.0%. I feel like Iím getting ripped off by 1.2%. Arghhh. Iím so annoyed and pissed! So much for incentive for this year. Boo.

Well, off to drop a bunch of money on getting my hair colored. Yeehaw. Smile

Tuesday, Tuesday

June 4th, 2013 at 02:11 pm

(Bizarre that my blog post has the same title as Miss Angel!)

Lots of thunderstorms in my area this past weekend, so I did a lot of relaxing at home. I made it through a crazy March, April and May at work and things will start to slow down now a bit for the summer. Yay. Unfortunately, because of this craziness coupled with depression during the last few months, I spent way too much money on comfort foods and eating way too much of them! Add a sprained ankle into the mix and I now weigh about 155, which is the heaviest Iíve ever been. I think it was PatientSaver who once said that she was flirting with the 150s in weight Ė Iím sad to say that I seem to be in a full-blown relationship with the 150s!

Thankfully, I reined in my eating habits starting two weeks ago and have been doing a pretty good job buying less food overall, especially junk food, and eating healthier foods in smaller quantities. I had a big score on cauliflower the other day. I mostly shop at a local food co-op, but thereís a small supermarket in the same neighborhood which I also use. They sell organic cauliflower heads for 50 cents less there, so I stopped by on Friday to pick one up. The heads all looked like they were past their prime (although still fine), so I decided to ask for a discount. Rather than paying $4.49 for one head, I was charged $1.25. So, I asked it if could get two! Iím so excited, I love cauliflower. I also bought a large papaya that was on the deep discount rack for $2. I havenít tried it yet, so donít know if it will be a bargain or a bust. I recently found a local, free range egg source at work for $2.50/dozen which is cheap for my area!

Iíve just started to incorporate some gentle exercise into my day that hopefully wonít hurt my healing ankle. I bought a bike trainer on sale from Bike Nashb@r, assembled it with my mountain bike last weekend and have started to use it. Iíve also been taking short walks wearing my ankle brace when I have time. I really miss exercising after a very sluggish few months. One financial bonus has been that my gas consumption has gone way down recently. That will climb back up with summer travel.

I havenít really lost any weight yet, but my first goal was to reorient my taste buds to healthy food and to stop my sugar/fat addiction. Once I get into the habit of eating well, I love to eat tasty, nutritious food. But the minute I start to drift to the dark side of junk food, it can be a slippery slope, and I tend to get into ďall or nothingĒ mode. So, Iíll ride this wave as long as I canÖ

Todayís meals
Breakfast Ė rolled oats, steamed broccoli, olive oil & salt (was supposed to include a hard-boiled egg, but I forgot to bring one to work!)
Snack Ė organic watermelon and a few walnuts
Lunch Ė small amount of deli chicken, lots of lettuce, red cabbage, grated carrot & daikon radish, and stone-ground mustard wrapped up in a multi-grain tortilla.
Snack Ė organic cantaloupe slices
Dinner Ė a Thai coconut curry dish that I made on Sunday with cauliflower, bok choy, carrots, onions, coconut milk, thai curry paste and small shrimp. Served over brown rice. Yum.

I havenít check my 403B total recently. Itís currently at $317,533.84. Iím hoping that my entire retirement portfolio will hit $400K by the end of this year, but that will all depend on the whims of the market.