I’ve recently switched a lot of my banking from US Bank to Chase and have been using Chase’s QuickDeposit app on my iPhone like crazy. It’s great, especially since they increased the monthly deposit limit! No more driving to the bank to deposit checks. But it’s not as convenient as getting paid by QuickPay where someone can send you money electronically. That’s the best.
I even figured out how to send money from our Chase account to our other bank accounts. It’s complicated having so many bank accounts, but each one has a purpose. The Chase account was originally opened about eight years ago when we got HELOCs on some rentals. One was opened very recently because we were able to get a HELOC from UMB on our primary residence. The others are all “legacy” accounts, meaning we’ve had them forever and the kids have accounts at the same bank, making it quick and easy to transfer money back and forth.
I really like all the features Chase offers. I use their credit cards to get miles. I have alerts set so I see every purchase made. (This came in handy when someone in Turkey hacked my friend’s Facebook which led them to hack her email account and find my credit card number which I had, stupidly, sent to her when she was booking hotels for a group of us going on a cruise. I won’t do that again!) You can set international travel alerts from their website, without having to call and speak to someone. You can dispute charges online. Their bill pay function is simple and easy to use. I guess you could say I’m a pretty happy customer.
We were in Boulder Saturday and Saturday night celebrating Parents’ weekend at CU. Party, party, party.
It was chilly, so I was glad I brought a jacket. Jay got me a nice Calvin Klein down puffer jacket at Macy’s a couple of Christmases ago. It was expensive, especially since he probably a) didn’t get it on sale, b) didn’t use a coupon, and c) didn’t use a discount gift card. When we got home Saturday night I noticed that the zipper was broken. I probably haven’t worn the jacket 20 times! No way is this OK. I couldn’t find the Macy’s receipt – probably because Jay threw it out. But, luckily, I had kept the tags, which include the return label sticker. There’s a reason I keep receipts and/or labels!! I should be able to return/exchange the jacket using this. They don’t carry the exact jacket anymore, but there’s one that’s very similar.
Here’s hoping I’m successful.
Update: I returned the jacket, no problem. And I bought another one they had on sale.
I’ve posted about United’s Club/Lounge passes before and about how I’m trying to remember to bring them with me when traveling. Earlier this year, it came in very handy during a frustrating day trying to get to Calgary. Our son flew to Guanajuato yesterday to visit with his uncle. Before leaving I sent him pictures (front and back) of a pass that expires at the end of the month, just in case he runs into trouble – especially on the return trip. His connection time in Houston is 1 hr and 42 mins, which you’d think would be plenty. But that airport is a cluster when you are returning from Mexico. My parents missed a flight there a number of years ago, my brother did just last year, and Jay and I almost did a couple of years ago. Steve isn’t checking any luggage, which will really help.
If he doesn’t need to use the pass, I will post it for sale on Craigslist. It will expire before we go anywhere and I’m pretty sure I can get at least $10-$20 for it. Some of the United Lounges are fantastic (eg. Toronto) with free food and booze. It should be easy to sell.
I caved in and subscribed to Amazon Prime last month. Such an extravagance ($99) and highly unusual for me. However, I figured I could try it for a year and cancel if I didn’t think it was worth the cost. Since I pretty much never pay shipping costs, I’ve always had to group my purchases so that I hit the $35 level. With Prime, I don’t have to do this. The two day shipping has come in handy these past few weeks. I ordered a book that arrived in time for my friend’s birthday and some items that will arrive (just) in time for two family birthdays.
I’m expecting our daughter to use it, too. She routinely pays shipping fees.
I know I’ll use it around Christmas, too. Prices are often cheaper on Amazon than I can get elsewhere. And I often don’t have to pay sales tax. It’s unlikely I’ll save $99 – but I might find the convenience worth it.
Time will tell.
I made soup for an annual soup party last weekend. So much fun. My soup didn’t win a prize, unfortunately, but I liked it enough to want to add it to my list of winter recipes. It was easy to make and pretty low carb (assuming you don’t eat the rice). The biggest issue with it was cutting up the chicken. I used a Costco rotisserie chicken and getting the meat off the carcass and cutting it up did a number on my arthritis.
I get Costco chickens pretty frequently, as they make a cheap and easy basis for a meal when I don’t have something else planned. We never finish one and Jay uses the remains to take for lunch. I think I will try to remember to set aside a part of each chicken, cutting it up and freezing it. After a month or so, I should have enough to make my Thai Chicken Soup!
Here’s the recipe:
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup
4 tablespoons red curry paste
2 12 ounce cans of coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
1 tablespoon lime juice
cilantro for garnish
cooked white rice
- Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, brown sugar and peanut butter in a 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl. Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on medium-high for 2-4 hours (depends on your slow cooker, my crock pot is old and hot!).
- Add in the peas and cook for 1/2 hour longer. Stir in lime juice and serve with cilantro and white rice.
I was at Rite Aid last month filling as many prescriptions as possible. They had a sign offering free flu shots. I usually get one while I’m at my doctor for a visit. But I don’t have any visits scheduled and I don’t know if I can just go in and get a free flu shot without having an appointment. I probably can, but it would be more work than just getting one right then and there at Rite Aid. So I got my flu shot.
Getting Jay to go to Rite Aid for a flu shot will be another thing. Luckily, his company offers free flu shots on site every year. I will just have to keep my eye out for the notice and get him signed up and then remind him three times of his appointment.
I did the Alzheimer’s walk with a couple of my friends on the weekend, in honor of one of their dads, who passed away last month. My father didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but he had dementia, so I was walking in honor of him, too.
There was no fee for registration but donations were, of course, hoped for. Rather than donate via the Alzheimer’s site, I donated $50 through my husband’s company’s site. They match donations of $50+ and it’s much easier to use their site than make the donation elsewhere and then submit paperwork.
I have a few loose rules for making charitable donations. If possible, I wait until the end of the year. This isn’t a biggie, but your tax break comes when you file your income taxes, so a donation made in December yields quicker results than one made in January. I almost always choose to donate to organizations that qualify for my husband’s company’s matching program, which is pretty comprehensive. I prefer to pay by credit card, to get the miles. And I always document the donation, even if it’s just $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network drive at Costco, or the Boy Scout in front of King Soopers. I want to limit the taxes I pay in every way possible!
I’ve been focused on “fixing” my knee pain. It’s been holding me back from walking and hiking which, obviously, makes walking and hiking even a bigger issue because I was avoiding it. And it made me feel old.
A vicious circle.
Anyway, I’m seeing a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine, running (and walking) injuries and custom insoles. He’s out of network, so I’m paying 70% of the cost. But he came very highly recommended by a friend who said he saved his life (back pain). And his office is close by. This is important enough to me that I’m willing to spend a little more out-of-pocket than necessary. Besides, after I get reimbursed from United Healthcare, a visit only costs me $22.50 vs. the regular $15 copay. Luckily, I started this before we found out about our insurance going HDHP. I’m so glad I already had a head start on it! I should be finished with my visits before the end of the year.
The doctor confirmed what I thought – that my knee pain is bio-mechanical. It’s not that I need a knee replacement or anything. But my gait and build, etc. all contribute to the issue. He’s given me some simple exercises to do 4x a day, made me some custom orthotics, told me to never cross my legs (so hard), to sit at my desk with good posture (as opposed to pouring myself into my chair, looking like Steven Hawking), and how to tape my knee for longer walks. I’ve started walking 2-3 times/week and was even able to do a 13 mile walk with my friends a few weeks ago. I was stoked!
Now for the Zappos part. It turns out I have really high arches. So high, that even my beloved Birkenstocks don’t support them. I’m determined to wear shoes/sandals that give me the most support as possible. I’m giving away all my cute, but non-supporting, sandals. I found a nearby specialty shoe store and bought a couple pair of Vionic sandals, which have pretty darn high arches. They are cute and give me enough support to wear for parties and going out to dinner. But they aren’t supportive enough for everyday wear (ie. walking around the house or going shopping). The doctor suggested getting a sandal with a removable footbed so I could put my custom orthotics in. I decided on a pair of Naots.
I wanted to support the local specialty store but here were the issues:
- the owner never recognized me, even I was there four times in two weeks and bought two pairs of sandals
- they didn’t carry all the Naot styles, although she would order them for me
- if I decided against the sandal, once it arrived, they charge a 10% restocking fee
- they had all the styles
- free shipping
- no sales tax
- easy returns, no questions asked
- the Naots were $20 cheaper than the specialty shoe store
It was a no brainer.
Got a Bank of America Cash Rewards card for our daughter. Our oldest son has one and is probably earning $15/month in cash rewards. And it has no annual cost. It’s a great card to have – much better to earn $180/yr vs. paying $60! I’m planning to get one for our younger son, too.
I know I’m all about earning United miles with my credit cards. But the kids’ goals are not the same as mine. The credit cards you have should be in line with your goals. I am, in fact, considering cancelling our United MileagePlus card. The annual fee is a hefty $145 and I’ve done the math to see if it’s worth the miles we’re earning. I don’t think so, especially now that the kids are using their own cards and we’re not earning miles for their purchases. And, of course, we still have United’s Explorer and Ink Bold cards. I’ve built our miles up to a respectable 365,000 since depleting most of them almost two years ago. I only use them for flights that would cost $600 or more. Maybe even $700 or more.
I’m even thinking of getting a Bank of America card for ourselves. I’ll probably wait to see what happens next year when Costco’s contract with American Express ends. I’ll be cancelling my American Express then and will be interested in a card that earns cash back for gas purchases.
That makes four ER visits so far this year. Our daughter, who has asthma, was sick. Jay and I went to visit her in Boulder Saturday night. Brought her a nebulizer, albuterol, an inhaler, and Advair. She was only marginally better Sunday. We paid $175 for her to be on the health care plan at CU, but Wardenburg isn’t open on the weekends. I suggested she go to Urgent Care where we have a $15 copay. But, by the time she got some homework done and called the closest one at 3:45, they were about to close.
So, I told her to go the the ER. Turns out she has bronchitis. Between that and the asthma her breathing was really tight and her chest hurt. They put her on prednisone. It will only cost us $75 for the visit because we haven’t yet been switched to the High Deductible plan. And the prednisone will only be $15 (or less).
Boy, am I dreading next year!