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Archive for September, 2007

Spending

September 26th, 2007 at 06:08 am

I'm not doing so well at getting through the month without spending. Yesterday I had to fill a prescription ($26) and buy a baby shower gift ($32) -- which I have to mail today.

I also had two family birthdays this week -- both my cousins. I did not spend much there, but used a Barnes & Noble gift card to buy them books. The books cost $8 above what the card covered. However, I also had to buy cards, and I ended up buying cards for my sister to give as well. The cards cost $11 for four of them -- more than the gifts! Because I was pressed for time, I ended up buying them at a gift shop, so they were expensive. Luckily I had gift bags on hand, so there was no wrapping cost.

The rest of the month

September 16th, 2007 at 06:48 am

Because of the big vet bill, I have blown my budget for this month. I had to take $$ out of my emergency fund. I hate to do that, even though that's what it's for! I may not be done with vet bills yet. My dog still has an open sore on his belly, so I'm going to call the vet and ask if he should have another round of antibiotics.

Also, my cousins' birthdays are this month. I hope there are some good things in my gift stash -- or I can use my Barnes & Noble gift card.

I need to refill a prescription. Even though I've been bad about taking it, I should refill it.

My haircut can wait until the first of October. I did find a place that charges only $22 for a cut if you come in with washed hair and pass up the blow-dry. That is what I prefer to do anyway. I never really like what stylists do. I know this place does good hair; my aunt has already tried it out.

I have decided to start walking again. I've been getting next to no exercise since I moved here. I figure that a walk to the grocery store is doable; also the walk to my other cousin's house. I think I can even walk to Wal-Mart. Now that the weather is finally cooling off, walking is a more attractive option.

Invaded by relatives

September 10th, 2007 at 05:52 am

But in a good way. My aunt and uncle, who are loads of fun, are visiting for a month (though they will be off at a timeshare for a week of that). This brings my sister and my other cousin here on a regular basis, so they can get in their visiting, too.

Yesterday was football Sunday, so we had a groaning board of food. The refrigerator is stuffed with food, and so are the cabinets. In fact, there is food on the counters because there isn't room in the cabinets. I have stopped trying to make my cousin be frugal with food. Clearly, she needs to have LOTS of food around and doesn't care a bit about the cost. I find it very hard to manage -- I just hate trying to find something in the fridge -- and I know a lot of it will go to waste, but I am outnumbered. So I will let it go.

My dog is still doing better. His E collar is off, and though he occasionally licks his belly, he is not chewing on it. He is much perkier and back to his old self.

I haven't spent anything at all since the vet visit, unless you count the $40 phone bill. If I can keep that up, maybe I will get through the rest of the month without going over my limit.

On Saturday I gave a woman a lift home from the grocery store. She was planning to walk a couple of miles with many bags of groceries -- I honestly don't know how she thought she could do it, but she said there were too many deals to pass up. Her car had been totaled, she herself was quite crippled up from the wreck, and her son didn't show up to give her a ride. When I took her home, it was a sad little trailer. Certainly made me feel appreciative of what I have.

More on the dog, and financial ramblings

September 6th, 2007 at 06:05 am

Just dropped my dog off at the vet for a followup and more treatment for his infection. He is doing much better. However, the Elizabethan collar he is wearing is causing a commotion. My cousin's dogs are afraid of it, and bark and try to nip at him. Also, my cousin is quite worried about how her elderly parents, who are coming for a long visit starting this weekend, will fare with a big, rampaging dog who keeps bumping into everything. She brought up the collar at least fifty times yesterday -- not outright telling me to take it off, but obviously trying to get me to do it. I want to give him the best shot for recovery, so I'm holding firm. If the vet says today that it can come off, then I'll do it.

That's not money-related at all, is it? The money part is that today's visit will be another vet bill. I only budgeted $200 for vet/pet supplies, and have already spent $335, so that is blown out of the water.

I also budgeted $50 for furnishings/equipment, and spent $55 yesterday on a jewelry box, file boxes, a bath mat, a frame, and a pole for hanging my tapestry. And I spent $23 of my $30 budget for gas. So this budget obviously needs some work.

On the good side, I have $80 in my regular savings account which has accumulated from little things. When it gets up to several hundred, I'll transfer it to the money market, which is my emergency fund. I have $10,268 in there now, and my goal is to keep it above $10,000, so I'm doing all right there.

My poor dog

September 3rd, 2007 at 03:44 pm

My dog, who is 13, recently developed a terrible abscess on his stomach. He has been chewing on it since Saturday, but the Labor Day holiday has made it impossible for me to get help for him. The only option is an emergency vet clinic, which I called on Sunday, only to find there was a 3-hour waiting period. With my restless dog, not an option. I've also been told it costs $400 to walk in the door.

So a friend who is a nurse practitioner, and who prescribes for her own pets, wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic, which cost me $4 at Wal-Mart. (Love Wal-Mart and their $4-for-generic policy!) I've also been giving him Benadryl. Still, he is worrying it constantly, and it is very shocking in appearance. We were both awake till three last night while he bit and chewed on it, and I tried to get him to stop. I am so glad I can go to the vet tomorrow. Why do emergencies always happen on holidays?

I was so worried about the dog today, I opted out of the traditional family outing to get ice cream at Chimney Rock. We did grill steaks outside last night with my sister and her husband, so I guess that was my Labor Day celebration.

August Recap

September 1st, 2007 at 12:17 pm

Finally, I am starting to get an idea of what my regular expenses will be in retirement. August was still an expensive month, because of a vacation ($503), car insurance ($287), and various fees connected with getting established in NC ($283). But on regular, monthly expenses I spent only $504, which was well under my goal of $600.

I spent $54 on medical (doctor's bill from a visit in May), $74 on phone (which included some extra charges for having a new account), $68 on vet/pet supplies, $42 for a wall hanging, $72 for gifts, $27 on eating out, $10 on gas, $13 for clothing, $51 for entertainment, $56 on personal items, $10 on household supplies and $13 on miscellaneous.

I'm very proud of the wall hanging. I bought it yesterday at a furniture store that is liquidating its stock. It is a green and white toile tapestry, quite large and heavy. It will cover the fuse boxes in my TV room. It was originally $148 and I got it for $42. It's gorgeous!

I spent $250 on groceries this month, but since my cousin and I were both out of the house on vacation this month, that is not especially low.

I've set up a budget for next month:
$30 - prescription
$40 - phone
$200 - vet (my dog may need minor surgery)
$50 - furniture/equipment
$50 - gifts
$25 - eating out
$40 - entertainment
$40 - personal
$20 - miscellaneous

That is only $525; pretty aggressive.

I also want to spend only $400 of my cousin's money on the groceries. That is aggressive, too, especially since her parents (my aunt and uncles) will be visiting for two weeks. But I will try.