<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
You are viewing: Main Page

Day One Hundred Eighty-Four

August 24th, 2016 at 05:51 am

Calories: 1329

I had a lovely dinner in the city with E; it cost me $20, plus $2 for a train ticket. Next time I take the train, I'm going to have to put some money in my account, so that's another September expense coming up.

I'm getting ready to go to Indiana for three days with my BFF. I expect there will be a little spending. I moved this trip up by one day so I can be home on Saturday morning for my grandson's first fall ball game.

I bought fuel injector cleaner yesterday for $6 -- can't tell yet if it's made a difference, since it has to mix into the gas in the tank. I'll know by the time I get to Indiana!

I got an email yesterday from my boss at the museum -- they need more work! So I'll have a little extra income again -- we won't talk till Monday though, to figure out the details.

Today is payday, and I've paid my mortgage and credit cards. I won't do my August recap, though, until I get home again. I can report, though, that variables spending came in at 90%, and that's including the dinner last night! The clock starts over today!

I'll check in again with you guys when I get home on Saturday.

Day One Hundred Eighty-Three

August 23rd, 2016 at 05:37 am

Calories: 1698

The calories above reflect the free meals I got at the College -- all kinds of stuff I shouldn't have had! But I did take plenty of fruit as well.

I skipped dinner entirely, having maxed out my calories. I realized that I was following the pattern of Intermittent Fasting, which Dido (?) mentioned yesterday. I did all my eating within eight hours. I've been kind of unconsciously following that pattern, because I so often do finish up my calorie count rather early in the day. It's not too uncomfortable, but I think ideally I would rather spread out the calorie count through the day, rather than feast and fast. But I think I'll read up more about it. It might be good for maintenance, once I reach a weight I'm satisfied with.

My car is hesitating upon acceleration. It may be that I got bad gas. Or the fuel injectors may be clogged or going bad. Anyway, I'll start out by getting a fuel injector cleaner. I can do that today; there's an auto parts store right by the gym.

Today IHOP is serving $1 short stacks. I think I may indulge. I know I have been kind of an IHOP hog lately, but the calorie count for a short stack really isn't too bad. It just doesn't offer much food value.

The $1 collected will go to a charity.

I'll survey the parking lot first -- if it looks like the place is jammed, I'll probably pass.

Meeting my friend E. tonight for dinner. She has selected a tavern in the station complex where I used to transfer. Should be easy to get to. I'm really looking forward to seeing her again; it's been a long time!

Day One Hundred Eighty-Two

August 22nd, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Calories: 1472

I just got back from a half-day at the College from which I retired last year. They were having their annual opening breakfast, which featured a talk by the new President. I found out when I got there that they were also having an all-day team-building retreat as well. I was urged to stay for a couple of the sessions and then for lunch. So I got two free meals today! And the sessions I went to were pretty interesting. It was nice to be an interested, but not involved, participant. And it was good to see old workmates. They seemed so happy to see me, which felt really good.

I learned that the College did away with contributions to faculty/staff retirement funds just after I left. This is on top of freezing wages. I knew they were discussing it. I'm glad I got out when I did.

On the way home I had a powerful craving for a milk shake which I gave in to. $3. I also bought gas - $20. Variables spending is 83%. Just fine, since pay day is Wednesday.

Since the breakfast was so early, I didn't go to the gym this morning. I can still do it later on, since the gym is open 24/7, and I may. I'll be spending three days this week at BFF's house, so I won't get in any gym time then.

It has really cooled down, and I am enjoying a cool breeze coming in the windows. The AC can take a rest. In fact, it's perfect napping weather!

Day One Hundred Eighty-One

August 21st, 2016 at 08:17 am

Calories: 1549

Just got back from the gym, where I did my treadmill and abs. Joining this gym is one of the best decisions I've ever made -- it makes exercise so easy, and I feel so much better. And it gets me out of the house every day, which improves my outlook for the whole day!

I bought $10 worth of gas yesterday in anticipation of my trip tomorrow to the western suburbs. Then I'll top off the tank when I get there, where the gas is so much cheaper. The breakfast I'm attending starts at 7:30, which means I'll need to be on the road by 6:30 at the latest! Yikes, I used to do this every day, but now it seems daunting.

I'm going to try not to spend any more money before pay day on Wednesday, other than for dinner with my friend E. on Tuesday night. Even after pay day I think I will try to hold off on groceries. I'm going to Indiana to visit BFF Wednesday through Friday, so it would make more sense to get groceries when I come back.

That said, the food situation is getting a little challenging. Not that I'll starve, but I'm having to be a little creative. For instance, yesterday, tired of eating spaghetti, I turned the remaining spaghetti sauce into chili. It wasn't bad, though I would never enter it in a chili contest!

I'm out of fresh vegetables/fruits and bread (but I do have frozen vegetables and end pieces of bread in the freezer).

I thawed a whole pack of burgers yesterday. Didn't really want to, but they were all stuck together, so I couldn't thaw one at a time, like I was planning. (They came this way from the store, with no wax paper or anything between the burgers -- I know better than to freeze burgers in one big stack). I cooked four of them, ate one in a bun, and froze the other three. Today I'll do the same, so I'll have six cooked burgers in the freezer. They'll be easy for lunches, though not as tasty as fresh-cooked burgers.

My trip to visit lakeside lighthouses with SIL has been canceled. Her schedule got too crowded. I'm just as glad -- not that I wouldn't have enjoyed it, but it would have been another September expense that I didn't need. I have two birthdays in September, a conference/workshop to attend, a dentist and doctor appointment, and I'm due for an oil change and a haircut. I'm sure there are other things that I'm just not thinking of!

Day One Hundred Eighty

August 20th, 2016 at 06:59 am

Calories: 1321

I was just getting ready to go the gym, when the skies opened and rain came pouring down. So I guess I'll wait till it clears a little. No reason to get soaked, when I can easily wait.

Other than a load of laundry, I didn't do much of anything yesterday. Financially, I'm in a holding pattern till payday on Wednesday. However, I am concerned about how low my gas tank is getting. I don't think I should chance taking an hour drive on Monday without getting gas first. So I think I'll just get a little bit today, and then do the big fill-up when I go to my old work town on Monday, where the gas is so much cheaper. Variables spending is still 79%, so I'm doing okay, even with that $200 charge for washing windows at the beginning of this budget cycle.

EDIT: I almost forgot -- I did one frugal activity yesterday -- or non-activity. It was peak savings day -- a two-hour period in which to dramatically reduce electrical usage. I turned everything off -- AC, lights, TV, appliances, etc. I just lay on my bed and dozed and read by natural light. Soon I will get a text telling me how much I saved, which will be a credit on my next bill.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Nine

August 19th, 2016 at 06:34 am

Calories: 1529

I seem to be naturally gravitating toward 1500-1600 calories a day. This seems to be my comfort level. I eat food I like and I don't go hungry -- my two requirements for a diet! Of course, it is not fast. But that is better, anyway, for the body. And I do burn around 120 calories a day in the gym, except for the strength-training days, when I assume I burn very little.

I did a little extra calorie-burning yesterday, though. When I was preparing to go out to lunch, my son called and asked if he could use my car. He had to appear in traffic court, and my DIL took their car on vacation. No biggie, I could take the El to lunch. But when I got downtown (this time MY downtown, not the big city) I was disoriented and walked the wrong way. I eventually doubled back, but I probably spent 20-25 minutes walking. Then, when I took the train home, I got off at the wrong station! Which meant another 15 minutes of walking. It was a little hot for all that walking, but it was good for me.

Lunch was great, and only $7. Good to see old friends, too.

Variables spending is at 79%. But there is spending coming up. I'm going to the College's opening breakfast on Monday, which is free, but it means I'll have to fill up the tank. (Which I also like to do, when I go to a more distant suburb, for the lower cost per gallon). On Tuesday I am scheduled to meet a friend for dinner in downtown Chicago. For that I'll travel on the El, but the meal won't be cheap. However, I can probably legitimately count the meal in next month's cycle, as the charge to the credit card won't post till Wednesday.

Reminder about variables spending -- this is the amount I allow myself to spend after subtracting $$ for fixed bills and for savings. The savings are for the EF and large semiannual bills. I can spend 100% of my variables spending and still be on track, but if I come in under, I have extra savings to celebrate!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Eight

August 18th, 2016 at 08:27 am

Calories: 1594

Just got back from the gym. No shopping planned today, but I will be going out to lunch with friends at Naf Naf grill. Looks like I can get a chicken shawarma sandwich for under $10.

Yesterday, no sooner did I say that I didn't need to pick up any necessities, than I cleaned the litter box with the last baggie. So I had to buy a box of small trash bag liners - $3.

I am still disgruntled that I have to buy them at all -- plastic bags have been outlawed in my suburb and the city of Chicago, but I really depended on them for throwing out used cat litter. I wonder if the whole scheme hasn't backfired, because businesses are now giving out much heavier, reusable plastic bags that are probably worse for the environment than the thin ones were.

I also did a $1.50 load of laundry yesterday.

Got an email that the replacements for the shoes I bought in Georgia, which I had to exchange (by mail) for a larger size, are in the mail today. I'm so relieved; for a while there the company had both my shoes and my money, and they were not responding to my emails. (Turned out they were having problems with the "contact us" email on the website.) I got a nice apology from the manager for the lapse in communication. Now I'm really looking forward to my "new" shoes.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Seven

August 17th, 2016 at 07:25 am

Calories: 1506

It turned out my DIL had a job interview yesterday, so she didn't leave for her trip till afterwards. Meanwhile, I took the boys to the park.

When she asked me to babysit, I said sure, and then went into action cleaning up the house -- which really needed it. Then she said she wanted me to take them to the park so they could run off some energy. Ha! So I cleaned the house for nothing! Well, I will enjoy it, and it did need to be done.

Spending yesterday was $17 for TP, and another $17 to join the family football pool this year. My "fee" was lower than usual because I had winnings last year that rolled over. I generally don't win anything, as I am very unknowledgable about football, but I do enjoy being in touch with the family.

Variables spending is at 76%. There is nothing I have to buy today. I've got enough creamer to get me through tomorrow, so it's not needed yet!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Six

August 16th, 2016 at 06:27 am

Calories: 1489

Very quiet day yesterday. I did my gym session and went home. Did not do much except a lot of reading.

We were supposed to have rain and storms, which did not really materialize, but a nice cooling front came through. I turned off the AC.

My stipend from the College went into the bank. It is going into the Chase account that I opened in order to earn a bonus, so it is kind of out of sight and out of mind. Eventually it will be a great help to me in my gap year.

I've been eating food from the freezer. Today I took out a large container of spaghetti sauce to thaw, so I see pasta in my future!

Yesterday was a no-spend day, and I would try to make today one as well, but I have to buy TP on the way home from the gym! I've decided I will only buy necessary items as I run out of them until payday. There is a grocery store almost right next to the gym, so I won't be going out of my way. Today it is TP, tomorrow it will probably be creamer. I'm very low on bread, too, but I have biscuits, tortillas, crescent rolls and buns, so I obviously have plenty of carbs and can make do!

My grandsons and DIL are leaving on a trip out east today, so things will continue to be quiet for me!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Five

August 15th, 2016 at 06:00 am

Calories: 1656

I went out with my grandsons and their other grandma yesterday -- lunch and then a street fair. I only spent $3, as the other grandma picked up the lunch tab (I paid the tip) and the street fair activities were free. I also picked up a lot of free stuff -- including two tote bags, a water bottle, and a mini-fan!

The downside is that standing for so long really did a number on my legs and hips. I was awake a long time last night before the pain finally abated enough so that I could drift off. Gotta solve this....

Nine days left in this budget cycle, and I have 28% of my money left. But I have two lunches out scheduled, as well as a trip to the western suburbs. I don't want to dial back on my activities, just be mindful of the pace my money trickles out....

I found the too-small bras I had put away, and I can wear them now! My drawer is suddenly packed! But this is good, as I am changing bras more often now that I am working out almost every day. So far I have only gotten rid of one that was too big. I've also gotten rid of a couple pairs of pants and T-shirts, and several pairs of capris are going to be donated at the end of the season. When the season changes, I am going to open up the bins of too-small clothes to see what I can wear.

My DIL is urging me to buy new clothes for the cruise in January. But I plan to still be losing weight, so I don't want to buy anything now. I think a lot of the clothes that have been put away will seem new. Anyway, I don't plan to buy new clothes -- I think, for my DIL, that's just part of the excitement of the trip for her.

Off to the gym -- treadmill today!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Four

August 14th, 2016 at 06:42 am


I bought $6 worth of free food yesterday with MyMixx virtual coupons -- a jar of peanuts and a jar of peanut butter. The peanut butter was supposed to be maple or cinnamon flavored, but other customers had cleared the shelves of those. I checked three stores, ending up at my home store. I talked to customer service there, and they nicely substituted a jar of regular peanut butter in the same brand. It never hurts to ask!

I bought a cheeseburger lunch at M Burger for $7 -- delicious! I don't regret the occasional lunch out when hunger strikes. I just try to get something I really enjoy. And it fit into my day, calorie-wise.

My other purchase was a book of stickers for my granddaughter -- $4. I'll use them to decorate the letters I send her.

I found two pennies, pushing me over the $75 mark in found money. Woo-hoo! Next milestone -- $100!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Three

August 13th, 2016 at 08:01 am

Calories: 1940

Well, good thing the day before was low, because yesterday was high. I really didn't try to rein it in at all; in fact, I wasn't even going to count, but just call it a cheat day. But in the end, I counted, just to know.

It was the day after my birthday, but it was the day I did my birthday eating. My grandson accompanied me for lunch at IHOP, and the whole family for dinner at Gulliver's, a local pizza restaurant. My spending for the day was $13 at IHOP, since my grandson didn't treat. Smile

It was both hot and rainy. I had a sleepless night because my legs started hurting and feeling jumpy, which was really irritating. The more tired I get the worse it is, making the solution -- sleep -- impossible.

So I slept in this morning, till 9:30, which is very unusual. That breaks up my usual routine -- by now I would be done with Planet Fitness -- but I am still waking up. I will get there.

Next thing on the calendar is lunch with friends next Thursday at Naf Naf Grill.

Variables spending is at 70% with 11 more days to go till the budget resets.

Today's chores, besides the gym, are to do a load of laundry and wash the floors. Oh, and I need to go to Jewel and pick up two MyMixx freebies -- flavored peanut butter and dry-roasted peanuts.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Two

August 12th, 2016 at 08:14 am

Calories: 1034

Doesn't seem like the calorie count should be so low. I ate some trail mix that was very filling, but it was only 360, so I guess the total count is correct. It felt indulgent!

My evening at the Art Institute was great, though short. I wished I could have seen more. On the other hand, since I was with a group of younger people, I wasn't able to go at my own pace. Lots of stairs, no sitting, walking from one end of the building to the other instead of moseying through. So it's a good thing it was short, I wouldn't have lasted on my feet any longer! I had to take Advil before bed, because my legs were aching.

I was able to take the purple line all the way there and back, with only a short two-block walk to the museum. The purple line is safer than the red line, so that was a relief. Unfortunately, the purple line doesn't run as regularly as the red line.

I spent nothing at all!

Today I'm going to pick up GS2 after his morning Minecraft camp and take him to IHOP. I'll use my free short stack coupon.

GS1 comes back from his week-long camping experience today. I'm sure he will be tired and smelly. (Since the camp pictures show him wearing the same outfit for days). If he's not too tired we will all go out to dinner tonight for my birthday, but I have made it clear I am okay with getting together later. I remember coming home from camp and only wanting to sleep.

On another note, I hate it when my frugality backfires! I have been hand-washing my bras for quite a while now, and just noticed that the hooks and eyes are rusting on some of them! (And the rust is staining the fabric.) I never even thought about rust so I haven't been too careful -- letting them soak a long time, and hanging them up while they're still pretty wet. So disheartening. One of them is a favorite. Now I know I will eventually be replacing them all as I lose weight, but I'm not ready to do that yet.

I did put away some bras that I outgrew at one point, so I'll see if I can find them and if I can fit into them now.

Day One Hundred Seventy-One

August 11th, 2016 at 09:11 am

Calories: 1464

And it's my birthday! I got a nice set of books from my Florida son & DIL yesterday. It is a set of two novels by Fredrik Backman. I don't know anything about him, but my DIL always does a good job of picking out books for me.

My local son and DIL are still planning a birthday get-together. DIL left it in son's hands -- always a mistake. Smile He's very sweet, but planning is not his thing.

My visit to the Art Institute, which will happen later today, is an insider's tour. It has been organized for the board that I used to serve on, but as an emeritus member I am also invited. (I'm also still a member of the association). I'm looking forward to it, but not to the trip downtown. It's HOT, and there have been reports of robberies on the El's red line, which I will have to take home. Makes me nervous, though it should be safe at 6 pm. The robberies have occurred late at night.

I am not nervous enough to pay $30-40 for parking.

I finally figured out how to chat with tech support at Kaspersky, and they gave me a scenario of how to solve my problem, but after going through the process several times, with no better result, I gave up. I downloaded a free internet security program called Avira, which I was able to do with no problem. I'll have to remember to cancel Kaspersky before they renew next April.

I looked up some Yoga sessions on my in-demand TV station, and I tried to follow along on one that was free. It was too advanced, and I overdid it. (Ouch!) I think I just need to start out with some simple stretching and forget about the yoga, at least until I get more limber. That's probably enough, along with the walking/bicycling and strength-training I'm doing at Planet Fitness.

I have received happy birthday messages from several old friends, as well as my man friend, who remembered it out of the blue without any prompting or hinting from me. So I guess I won't give up on him altogether! Smile

Day One Hundred Seventy

August 10th, 2016 at 07:33 am

Calories: 1439

Just got back from the gym. I was going to stop for breakfast at IHOP -- I got another coupon for a free short stack -- but my stomach wasn't feeling great and I decided to pass.

More computer problems. On the advice of the technician at Office Depot, I tried to run my Kaspersky software. Much to my surprise, I couldn't even find it on my computer, even though I renewed and updated in April. Then I found it on a list of removed apps, a result of the cleanup that was done by Office Depot a few weeks ago. After reading up a bit, I learned that Kasperksy's previous version (the one I had) doesn't work with Windows 10, which may be the reason it was removed, so I tried to download the new version. Multiple times. I kept getting a error message, kept having to restart, on and on. The message implicated that my computer may be infected, but I ran the anti-virus scan they suggested and nothing popped up that was even questionable.

Kaspersky's "technical support" seems to be all online, just FAQ's and that sort of thing. I couldn't find a number to call. I did online-chat with a sales rep, but she could only refer me to the tech page, which was no help at all.

I hate going without internet security, especially when I've paid for it. So I guess it's back to the shop. Or try again to find human help from Kaspersky.

Maybe I should let it go and download something free. I've heard there are good programs out there -- any suggestions?

Back to health -- I tried out some of the poses in a yoga book (which I trash-picked months ago). It is a good book; the poses are very clearly and thoroughly described, but I have to keep looking back at the book and turning the page, thus breaking the rhythm. A video would be better, a class even better than that. But classes around here are expensive, and my budget is already stretched. I guess the frugal thing to do is to just memorize the sequence of movements -- maybe make flash cards, or something.

I do think yoga would be helpful for my stiffness and joint problems.

Financial news -- yesterday was a no-spend day!

Tomorrow I go downtown to the Art Institute, but my El ride is prepaid, admission is free (because a former colleague is leading the tour), and I'll carry a snack. So something that could have been very expensive is basically free.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Nine

August 9th, 2016 at 09:38 am

Calories: 1541

I did two loads of laundry yesterday for $3. My only spending.

Today I got my annual mammogram and had to pay $3.50 for parking.

But I got a free breakfast at Planet Fitness! They serve bagels and cream cheese for breakfast on the second Tuesday of the month. There was orange juice and coffee, too.

My friend had to cancel dinner tonight, so we rescheduled it for two weeks from today. I'm just as glad. That will put the dinner so late in this budget cycle that I can count it on the next.

Yesterday my computer went blank while I was working on it, so I took it to Office Depot. They got it going again and checked it over. Couldn't determine what made it do that. I didn't want to pay for the diagnosis, since it was working, so fingers crossed it was just a glitch.

He did suggest I run the virus protector program, which I will do. I used to get prompts to do that, but I haven't had one in a while.

Anyway, I was all braced to have to buy a new computer, so I feel like I got a reprieve!

I applied and was accepted yesterday as an election judge, which means I will get paid $175 a day for working at polling places. I guess I am in a pool of judges, just have to wait to hear about training and assignments. Hope I get assigned, I figure it's an easy thing to do while I am not working.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight

August 8th, 2016 at 08:20 am

Calories: 1026!

Did I miss something? Did I count wrong? Just good choices, I guess!

Yesterday GS2 earned his yellow-stripe belt for Tae Kwan Do. He was as nervous as if he were taking the SAT's, but he did fine. He even broke a board with his hand -- not required for the belt, but he did it!

After the ceremony I went to the gym, then came home and had a lazy, no-spend day.

I did my strength training at the gym this morning, and I'll do some laundry this afternoon.

Tomorrow will be busy. I have to get a mammogram in the morning, and at 5:30 I'll be meeting a friend downtown for dinner. We haven't selected the place yet, but wherever it is, it will mean a ride on the El. It will mean a little spending, too.

On Thursday, which is my birthday, I'll go downtown again, for a private tour at the Art Institute, arranged by one of my board friends.

Good times!

Day One Hundred Sixty-Seven

August 7th, 2016 at 08:41 am

Calories: 1680

I don't know why sometimes when I eat more than 1600 calories, I'm still starving, and sometimes when I eat 1400 calories, I'm just fine. Yesterday was a hungry day, which lasted late into the night. I didn't give in and eat even more, though, and I'm glad I'm starting fresh today.

This morning I was part of the group that sent my older grandson off to camp. His first time -- he'll be gone for a week! He was super-excited and also a little teary. But he had a couple of buddies with him, and he'll be fine.

Later today I'll go to my younger grandson's belt promotion test for Tae Kwan Do. I sure hope he gets that yellow belt he's dreaming of!

I found a penny today at the send-off, and that prompts me to say -- look how close I am to $75! One more penny. $75 is the next milestone, which I have been seeking for a while.

I picked up two free food items yesterday after the gym -- a free piece of birthday cake from Corner Bakery and free low-cal fruit pops from Jewel. I've already eaten the cake, which I am sure contributed to my hunger yesterday! But it was good.

No spending yesterday at all, and I don't think I will spend anything today either.

It's already getting hot, so after a couple days of not using the AC, it's going on again later. But that reminds me, I earned a $2.30 snowflake for reducing my usage during the last peak savings day. (I was actually on vacation, so it was easy!) I'm doing well on snowflakes -- earned $129 since July 1! $49 for ordering free OTC items from OTC-Essentials, $16.77 in a class action settlement, $9.12 from Discover cash back, and the rest was coupons, promos, and found change. To date, the grandchildren are receiving $450 each in college money this Christmas.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Six

August 6th, 2016 at 05:32 am

Calories: 1660

It's always hard to cut back the first day after vacation. I hope I will do better today.

The movie yesterday ("Nine Lives") cost $22 for tickets and $8 for drinks. I did bring a bag of mini cookies to handle requests for snacks. Got free parking with a validated ticket.

Variables spending is at 67%. Oy!

I do think it will be another low month for grocery spending, though. The freezer is still well-stocked with food I've already prepared.

I need a haircut and my car needs an oil change, but I will put off both of those till next month's budget.

My BFF wants me to come down to visit next weekend. She knows my budget isn't doing great this month and promises low-cost fun. We'll see. The gas alone would be $25, and it would be more prudent to just stay put the rest of the month -- but I also hate to pass up good times. This is what retirement is all about.

My cousin and sister both sent me emails urging me to come to NC. I think I can manage it in September or October, and BFF may come too. Right now more traveling doesn't sound too tempting, but I know it will later!

Day One Hundred Sixty-Two to One Hundred Sixty-Five

August 5th, 2016 at 08:28 am

I did not track my calories during this time. It was clear from the get-go that it wasn't going to happen. I was on vacation, and I ate like I was on vacation. But I don't think I entirely pigged out.

I did keep track of spending, though. My little trip to Michigan cost $113. $24 of that was for gas, $20 was for a ticket to a minor league baseball game, $9 for stadium food, $20 for hostess gift, $8 for road food, $16 for groceries, and $13 for eating out. I felt like I was spending a lot of money, so I hope I didn't forget anything. Oh yes, I spent $3 to purchase an audiobook which was on sale at Cracker Barrel.

The grandkids, especially, had a wonderful time. My brother and sister-in-law were very generous with their time and the use of their boat and pool, so the kids were in the water or on the water most of the time. The baseball game -- West Michigan Whitecaps vs. the Dayton Dragons -- was a big hit with GS1.

I got very tired, myself. It was hot, and I didn't sleep well, and I was probably eating too much of the wrong things, and not getting my exercise. It is good to be home. I've already been to the gym and feel like I'm back on track.

This afternoon I'm taking the boys to see "Nine Lives."

And now I'm going to catch up on your blogs!

Day One Hundred Sixty-One

August 1st, 2016 at 07:17 am

Calories: 1491

Hah! Just accidentally deleted my post! Well, I'm almost on my way. Did my strength training, got breakfast at IHOP (free short stack, but coffee & tip came to $5.) Now I'll get on the road.

I'll post again when I come back, but I'll keep track of calories and expenses!

Here I come, surf and sun!

Day One Hundred Sixty

July 31st, 2016 at 06:28 am

Calories: 1381

No more spending to report.

I just got back from the gym, one-half hour on the recumbent bike plus abs. I plan to go tomorrow morning, too, although I will be leaving for three days in Michigan. Tomorrow is strength training and I don't want to skip it. Since I have the cheap membership, I can't go to a Planet Fitness in Michigan.

Tomorrow is free pizza day, too, and I will miss that! But of course I will be getting free food for the next three days. Smile

I have the makings for a Mexican turkey meatloaf, so I'm going to either make it today, or freeze the ingredients to make it when I come home. We'll see how the day goes. It's not steamy hot, so using the oven is a possibility. I should make granola at the same time; make the oven do double-duty.

I found a home for all that copy paper. I cleared out the bottom drawer of my file cabinet and stacked it there. It's easily accessible, and it will stabilize the file cabinet (not that it's unstable, but now it's really rock-solid!)

Day One Hundred Fifty-Nine

July 30th, 2016 at 09:32 am

Calories: 1673

Believe it or not, the thing that tipped the scale yesterday was a salad! I just piled too many yummy things on it.

Yesterday I spent $9 at Target on Command hooks. I know I probably have some somewhere, but I couldn't face looking for them. I had to buy a set of 12, so I probably have 11 pairs tucked away somewhere!

I bought the hooks because the large high school graduation photo of my son fell off the wall (scaring me to death) in the middle of the night. The sticky stuff has dried out. Trying to re-use the hooks that were on it did not work.

When I get to the "stuff" segment of KonMari that will take care of the awful closet where the Command hooks are probably hiding. But I'm not there yet. I'm still on paper.

I also did a $1.50 load of laundry.

This morning after the gym I mailed three packages for $19, then stopped at the grocery and spent $41 on ten items: peanuts, dishwasher detergent, coffee, sliced cheese (American and Swiss), biscuits, ground turkey, blueberries, red pepper, and wine. I've now bought 30 items for the month. I anticipate I will buy a couple loaves of bread when I'm in Michigan (the day after tomorrow), and I'll buy a bottle of wine to take to my brother's house, but that should hold me on grocery shopping.

Variables spending is now up to 50%, only a few days into this pay cycle. Still, I think I'll be okay; I've gotten a number of expenses out of the way and I can start to do some coasting.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Eight

July 29th, 2016 at 06:37 am

Calories: 1028

I just have the feeling I've forgotten to count something I ate yesterday, but I can't think what it is. I did end up skipping breakfast -- not intentionally -- so maybe the count is true.

I stopped at Aldi's after the gym yesterday. Bought my ten items: eggs, salad, bacon bits, spreadable margarine, vinegar, creamer, flax seed, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, ice cream. $19. You just can't beat Aldi for prices.

In the afternoon I went to Office Depot and bought copy paper and hanging files. I had a coupon for a box of copy paper for $27.99 (original price $55.99). Wow. I think I have enough paper to last till the end of my life. It's so heavy I have to carry it up from the car one or two packages at a time. So far I've managed to get four of them upstairs. I still have at least six packages in the car.

The cost of the hanging folders was $14. I needed those to continue my organizing project.

That brought my variables spending to 41%. I'm not panicking yet. Especially since I came in 15% under last month.

The Office Depot receipt offers $10 off a $50 purchase if I complete a survey. I'll do it, just in case I need more office supplies. (Certainly not paper!) I also got a $5 off coupon from DSW. It does not specify a spending requirement, so I'll try to find something very close to $5 -- socks, or a stocking stuffer.

Today I'm going to do some laundry, box up some books and shirts for my sister and her husband, and clean the fish tank. Whoa, busy day, I should rest Smile Actually, I'm off to the gym for strength training.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Seven

July 28th, 2016 at 06:40 am

Calories: 1514

I did my July recap yesterday, and here is the breakdown:

Property Tax: $823
Housing: $677
Insurance: $335
Utilities: $176
Vet/Pet Supplies: $153
Eating Out: $121
Fees/Services: $98
Gifts/Charity: $93
Phone: $52
Vacation/Travel: $47
Gas: $47
Person: $46
Medical/Health: $44
Groceries: $29
Laundry: $15
Household Supplies: $7
Car Repair/Maintenance: $7
Fares/Parking: $2
Entertainment: $1
Grand Total: $2814
Variables: 86%

So the grand total is less than I thought it would be. Overall, not a bad month, considering that I had to pay taxes and insurance, both semi-annual expenses, as well as two annual fees (AAA and I-Pass). Get a load of those groceries, huh? But the pet supply expense and the eating out expense more than makes up for that.

It's a new month! I paid my credit card bills in full, as well as my mortgage. After my gym session, I stopped in at Marshall's and bought some headphones (mainly to use at the gym) for $14. Then I went to a new (to me) grocery called Food4Less. Spent $32 for ten items: crackers, cookies, walnuts, mac & cheese, breakfast bars, raisins, popcorn, cooking spray, croutons, and frozen hamburger patties. I used a coupon that wasn't credited, so I'll have to wrestle with them today about that.

I'm going to stop at Aldi's today and buy another ten items.

Then I stopped and filled up the tank for $27, much needed; I was almost on empty.

My variables spending is already at 33%! That's mainly because I called the window company yesterday and charged the $200 fee.

It is so wonderful to have air conditioning again. I can hardly describe how good it feels, how renewing and refreshing it is. Ironically, the hot weather is breaking; we're supposed to get a cold front! But it isn't even August yet; there will be more hot weather.

Now I'm going to the gym to work out on the recumbent bike and try out my new headphones!

Day One Hundred Fifty-Six

July 27th, 2016 at 05:29 am

Calories: 1757

I almost came in very low yesterday, but late in the evening I ate some trail mix. I was up late, unable to sleep, and it had been a long time since I had eaten.

My leg pain and restlessness was very bad last night. I don't know why. I was very tired, and that seems to set it off. But how do you avoid getting tired? All I wanted to do was sleep, and there was no way I could do it. I woke up feeling fine.

The windows are finished and the AC is installed. What a luxury it will be to just turn the units on when I get warm!

Yesterday was the first day I skipped the gym. I had to babysit my grandson for half of the day, and between that, finishing up with the window washers, and having my son install the AC, there was never a good time to slip away. It's not bad to skip a day every once in a while, I'm just taking note that it's the first time, and I've been really good about taking advantage of my membership so far.

I haven't paid for the window washing yet (have to wait for the office to open so I can phone in my credit card information). So the payment is officially in the August budget, which starts today! I will try to cash-flow it. It is definitely a want, not a need, and I don't want to tap savings for it. But that will mean being careful this coming month.

I haven't done my July reckoning yet, but it appears that my variables spending ended at 86%, and my total spending topped $3,000. I'll get to it later today and post tomorrow.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Five

July 26th, 2016 at 05:44 am

Calories: 1177

Great day calorie-wise. I'm sure the heat was a factor.

My windows are washed on the inside, but not yet on the outside. The cleaners decided the best plan was to do all the internal washing, including removing and washing the storms and screens, and then put the storms and screens back after all the out-facing panes are washed (which will be done today). This will insure that every pane is clean on both sides.

But, wow, I am so hot. I can't open the windows, because the cats could jump out; there is nothing to block them.

The cost is more than it was last year -- $200. It was $160 last year.

I think next year I will either skip the inside cleaning, or do it myself. I will just have to figure out how to remove and put back the storms/screens when the professional cleaning gets done. (Otherwise, the dirty out-facing pane is trapped behind the storm/screen, and it doesn't get done.)

I know that I can't do it as well, and it will be pain using a stepladder, but this is seeming like a lot of trouble and a lot of money.

Anyway, the AC units will go up tonight, and I am dealing with my last few hours of the heat dome.

After the cleaners went home, I went to the gym yesterday and did the strength training. Getting a little more comfortable with the routine. Today I'll walk on the treadmill.

I also posted a bunch of snail-mail letters for my granddaughter to receive on "mail day" at her preschool.

Today's mission(s): Once the windows are done, I will wash and put back the window shelves and knickknacks. I will do a couple loads of laundry, and drag out the air conditioners. I'll probably need my son's help to actually get them in the windows, and he is not available till the evening.

It's almost over....

Day One Hundred Fifty-Four

July 25th, 2016 at 06:12 am

Calories: 1457

It's WINDOW-WASHING day! At least I hope so. I haven't heard from the company yet. The washers are not yet on site.

I'm on my last nerve dealing with the heat, but today is a bit cooler. And I have the hope that I can install the AC tonight after the windows are all clean, inside and out.

I went to the library yesterday to cool off. Unfortunately, they do not have comfortable chairs, and my back started hurting. (I think as a result of the strength-training exercises.) So I did not stay as long as I thought I might.

While there, I read a bit in a book called "The Joy of Half a Cookie." It's about using mindfulness to lose weight -- in a nutshell, eating what you like but being very mindful of how much you are enjoying it, and whether you feel sated or not. The idea is that you will naturally eat less if you learn to listen to what your body is telling you. I didn't check the book out. I will try to be more mindful of my eating, but I'm not going to stop counting calories. My experience has been that when I change horses in midstream, that's when the diet fails. Or I fail.

While there, I went to the book sale section (they have a continuous book sale of donated items). I found five books at a total cost of $2.50. The reason I am buying books rather than checking them out is that I can share them with friends and family after I read them, and there is no time limit. It's worth it to me for the small cost.

On the other hand, if there is a specific book that I really want to read, I will always check it out at the library. I don't ever pay the retail price for a book.

My variables spending so far this month is at 85%. That would be a cause for celebration, so late in the pay cycle, but it doesn't include the upcoming fee for window-washing, my property taxes, or insurance premium. Overall, it's been a costly month, which will require draws from savings. (And the savings are there for that purpose, I just hate to do it!)

Day One Hundred Fifty-Three

July 24th, 2016 at 06:33 am

Calories: 1397

We had slow-moving thunderstorms last night, which caused a lot of trouble with flooding, stranded traffic and damage, but also cooled things off. At least temporarily. It's supposed to get up in the 90's again today. But It was cool sleeping last night, and there is a cool breeze coming in the windows. Giving the fans a little rest.

I was going to skip the gym today, but realized that I may not be able to go tomorrow because of the window-washing. So I'll go. Today will just be a treadmill day.

I did my first routine on the strength-training machines yesterday. I was on my own, so I had to frequently consult my cheat sheet, and I had a little trouble getting the machines set right. But I got it all done. I am supposed to do the ST 2-3 times per week, but my trainer said I can do the abs every day if I like. And I may. My middle has never recovered from my hysterectomy, when I was cut across the belly.

So, I guess I should talk about finance, huh?

I'm on hold now, waiting for payday on Wednesday. No spending yesterday. I was all set to go to the movies to cool off, but there was nothing I really wanted to see, so it would have been a waste.

I will probably go to the library today because the parking is free on Sunday. I will sit and read, and maybe find some DVD's to check out.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Two

July 23rd, 2016 at 07:00 am

Calories: 1309

The big story here continues to be the heat dome. I usually feel a little respite in the morning, but this morning it is already hot and humid. I have the fans going.

Since I live on the second floor (really the third, because there is a ground level) I can't escape the heat-rising effect. The big, thick walls protect me to some extent, but it seems like once it gets hot, the heat just takes up residence. Really can't wait for a break in the weather. We might have storms today, but according to the weatherman, they will only cool for a short while.

I am planning another trip to Michigan. My son and one of my grandsons weren't able to go last time because of a baseball tournament, so they want to get their fair share of swimming, boating and good eating. We have settled on the first through third of August. I contacted man friend, but he will be away at that time (and I do know it's legitimate.) I'm going to send him the retirement book, but otherwise let things rest between us.

I am also planning a short trip to Wisconsin in September, right after Labor Day. My SIL wants to come and drive up the lake shore to visit lighthouses. Not my thing, but it will be a couple of pleasant days, trusting the weather cooperates.

I'm also trying to get a road trip to North Carolina on the books. Probably in October. This involves pinning down BFF, who is notorious for changing plans. But I think it would be fun if we can actually schedule it and stick to it. And it would be a chance to see my sister and my cousin.

The session with the personal trainer was great. He pinpointed five or six machines to work on, showed me how to use them, and gave me weight levels and repetition levels to begin with. When I told him about the challenge I have with my broken-but-fixed ankle, he recommended some stretching exercises and then gave me his own stretching strap. I didn't go through the routine, because I had already done cardio on the recumbent bike. I am not yet sure if I will go today. I do have to go out to get a free MyMixx item (yogurt) so I might as well go to the gym. It will be cool.

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>