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Archive for May, 2008

That stupid colonoscopy

May 31st, 2008 at 06:34 am

Well, I finally got the bill from the gastroenterology center for my colonoscopy. It is $644 -- my insurance only paid around $255 because it was out-of-network. Like I had any choice? The only in-network services around here are family doctors and pediatricians. What is really discouraging is that I am still expecting bills from the doctor who performed it and the anesthesiologist (who I am certain are out-of-network also), so I'm not nearly done.

If I'd had any idea it would cost me so much out of pocket I wouldn't have done it. I'm not in the risky profile at all.

That said, I am glad I don't have cancer, but I wish there had been a cheaper way to check on that!

This will really throw my dental fund into oblivion. I don't see how I'll ever get those crowns at this point.

Anyway, I'm changing my savings goals -- it will now be the Medical/dental fund.

Back in Business

May 29th, 2008 at 04:30 pm

Well, my laptop is back, and working. It cost me $118 to get it fixed -- but I had a $100 Best Buy gift card to put toward it, so it would have been $218 otherwise.

I've loaded all my programs and have started rebuilding my spreadsheets. One nice thing about having to start over is that I can do things better now -- leave out some stuff that doesn't matter any more. Put things in folders that make sense. You know.

Other than repairing my laptop, I don't have much financial news. I had to buy Frontline Plus ($91) for my dog and cats -- oh yes, I have two cats now. I've adopted my son's cat, since he can't take her to his new apartment in Chicago. While I was at the pet place I got cat food ($14). Radio Shack was having a sidewalk sale, where I found a great toy for my grandson for half-price ($15), which I'll probably give him for Christmas.

I did some pre-totals of my May spending, and it doesn't look good....

Laptop in crisis

May 27th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Yes, my laptop's hard drive has died, and nothing was backed up. I lost all my financial records, that I kept for quite a few years, my tax stuff, my novel, pictures. My fault; I knew better. When I pick up my laptop, with its new drive, I will also get a flash drive and mend my slackard, lazy ways.

In other news, I got a refund of $75 from my insurance company for an overpayment to my doctor. It went to the dental fund.

Computer Troubles & Letter to Clarks of England

May 24th, 2008 at 06:26 am

Well, between using a new USB port and new cartridges in my printer, my printing process was all messed up yesterday. Finally got it working at the end of the day, but it was frustrating.

I sent a letter to Clarks of England about some sandals I bought only three months ago. They are showing significant wear on the "toe" of the sole, and I haven't worn them very much. Very surprising, since I consider Clarks a quality shoemaker. Anyway, I sent a picture and a letter to the president of the company. I'm not really expecting anything, but I did want to express my disappointment.

A Little Shopping

May 23rd, 2008 at 07:02 am

Went to Target and Best Buy yesterday. The reason for the Target visit was to look for a small desk for our office. We found it is very difficult to find a desk shorter than 44 inches -- the standard length seems to be about 47 inches, but that won't work in our space.

While at Target I stocked up on cards I need for upcoming birthdays, etc. Also I bought an ice pack that looks like Thomas the Train to send to my grandson, who is definitely at the stage where he is getting "boo-boo's." About $30 altogether.

Then to Best Buy, where I needed to get advice on my laptop, which had a faulty USB port. I bought a USB card with two ports, which neatly solved the problem for $67.

I also paid a doctor bill -- $37.

I should not spend anything else until my credit card cycle ends -- June 11. That's a long time! Well, I have a little cash, too. I think I can make it. (If in fact we do find a desk, my cousin will be buying it, so that is no problem!)

Triple A, pizza, and medical bill worries

May 22nd, 2008 at 06:56 am

Yesterday I renewed my AAA membership -- 14 months for $19.95, so a really good deal. (Technically I'm a new member, since I am in a new state.) I also got a pizza dinner for just the $4 I paid toward the tip for the delivery guy. My cousin paid the rest, at her insistence.

I keep getting statements from the insurance company about bills they are not covering, or not covering very much. I am not getting the actual medical bills, however -- not yet. I'm a little worried. I guess I'd better think seriously about switching to a doctor in my PPO. There aren't many of them around here, since I retired to an area far away from my place of employment. When I first came here, I just went to the same doctor other family members were already going to. Everyone in the family is crazy about her, and they'll be on my case if I switch. (They're already a little ticked off I'm not using the family-appointed hairdresser.) But nobody in my family has to live on the income I have, and they are all spendthrifts. AAWWWGGGHH!

10 Things I Regret

May 20th, 2008 at 11:58 am

Whaaa??? No one has entered yet? I'll take a stab.

1. I regret wasting way too much time in school, and not earning the degrees I was going for. I could have been in the job market so much sooner -- and not wasting money in tuition and books.

2. I regret not buying a house when I was young and had the opportunity to pay so little before real estate skyrocketed.

3. I regret not starting retirement savings until I was 38.

4. I regret spending so much on clothes when I was young. I didn't even consider secondhand clothing in those years -- and I had way too much. I especially regret a certain $200 red coat that I didn't wear much because it was too tight and too dressy.

5. I regret ever getting on the credit card merry-go-round. Nuff said.

6. I regret staying in jobs I didn't like, that didn't pay, that offered no upward mobility. Why was I so afraid?

7. I regret buying a house with only 10% down. I was afraid I would never have a house and sprang for a builder's deal.

8. I regret using money from my 403b for said down payment.

8. I regret all the "feel-good" spending I did after my divorce. It didn't really make me feel good, and I should have been building a foundation for my future.

9. I regret not getting interested in finances until my back was against the wall.

10. I regret not making saving a priority all my life.

I have heard others say, "I have no regrets." I say, I've had plenty. And boy, would I like to do some things over.

But I don't regret the relationships I have had, even failed ones, and I am very mindful that now I am in a good place in my life, and very grateful.

Doggone it!

May 20th, 2008 at 06:03 am

I forgot that PayPal was going to extract fees for my failed eBay attempt. I got an email this morning saying that they will take out $5.95 in ten days. That wouldn't be a problem, but I just stripped my checking account down to $5.25 -- transferred my "cushion" to savings. I started to transfer some back, but psychologically, I just don't want to do that. So sometime in the next ten days I will take some cash to put in the checking account.

I checked out Amazon this morning with the hope of selling some books. The titles I have are selling so low I don't think it's worth the effort. They're going into my garage sale instead.

Adjustment to the Dental Fund

May 19th, 2008 at 04:55 am

I'm going to the dentist this morning to have a tooth filled. Since I know it will cost $175, I adjusted the dental fund accordingly. I also transferred $60 to the dental fund -- the amount left over this month after I paid my bills. I am only 25% funded, which is discouraging. I want to get the crowns by the end of the year, for tax purposes. I'll have to ramp it up!

How I Spent My Stimulus Check

May 18th, 2008 at 05:57 am

My stimulus "check" was direct-deposited in my account on May 9. I immediately applied it to a credit card that was getting pretty full. (I pay off my credit cards in full every month). Just for fun I figured out what my $600 paid for:

Vet bill: $261
Groceries: $131
Restaurants: $64
Frontline for cats: $53
CoQ10 from health food store: $36
Gas: $33
Admittance for five to indoor playground: $20

I guess I stimulated the economy in a pretty well-rounded way!

Catching up

May 16th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I've been gone a few days -- had a nice trip to Indiana & Chicago -- to see my kids and some old friends. It was a pretty cheap trip, despite the high price of gas. Luckily I made it back before the 20c jump in the Midwest.

I've earned another $5 for a survey and $10 for placing in the blog contest, so that goes to the dental fund. Thanks to those who voted for my entry!

On Monday I get a tooth filled, so I'm glad to have that dental fund in place.

Had no luck at all with eBay -- will try again someday with cheaper items, but for now will concentrate on an upcoming garage sale.

My son found an apartment in Chicago -- $995 for one bedroom -- and he's very pleased. I understand it IS a good price for the market, and from the pictures it appears to be a very nice place, with new kitchen and bath, but nice old features like a fireplace (not working, but pretty) stained-glass window and built-in bookcases. Oh, and also a nice deck and yard space, which is unusual in Chicago. He's very excited, and so am I. Now both sons will be in Chicago, much easier for Mom to visit!

One nice financial coup while I was there -- two pairs of shoes from DSW for $15! Had a $50 coupon given to me, and I found two pairs on the discount rack, so it was quite the bargain. My sales slip said I saved $126!

Ah, medicine

May 6th, 2008 at 05:56 am

Well, wish me luck today -- I'm wrangling with the doctor's office and insurance company. Looks like I paid $214 for two appointments in February, but they only filed $94 to the insurance company, so $120 never went toward my deductible. On my income that makes a big difference.

I also got my preliminary statement from the insurance company on my colonoscopy. They said the provider-- the gastroenterology office -- has filed a $900 charge and after insurance pays their portion, the office "may" charge me over $600. That doesn't count the fees for the doctor who performed it or for the anesthesiologist, which total over $1000. Those have been filed but not yet processed. The office hasn't billed me yet, so I don't know what I will actually be expected to pay, but it isn't looking good.

I'm starting to feel that as a healthy woman with no risk factors for cancer, I should have said no to the colonoscopy!

More for the dental fund

May 5th, 2008 at 05:21 am

I just added $35 to my dental fund. I had an extra $10 in my checking account from rounding up cents to dollars. The other $25 is my automatic monthly transfer from check to savings.

I'm heading to Indiana on Wednesday -- as I've said before, I'm driving a friend and will be reimbursed for gas. It will be a chance for me to see friends and family. I have $300 extra in my budget this month and I am hoping there will be enough left after the trip to add more to the dental fund.

My eBay auction ends on Wednesday, so I will be taking the items along with me in case one of them sells! That wasn't very good planning! For what doesn't sell, I hope my sister-in-law will accept them to sell in her booth.

So far I haven't spent anything all month, but that will soon change!

$5 Starbucks Gift Card

May 4th, 2008 at 05:48 am

I bought a bag of Starbucks at Ingles yesterday and got a PIN number to use at their website to order a Starbucks gift card. Only $5, but it will be useful sometime when I am traveling.

I added it to my "income streams" spreadsheet, as it is a sort of income.

eBay question

May 2nd, 2008 at 05:30 am

Okay you eBay veterans out there. I have a question. Now that I have listed my items, how will the fees that eBay charges be exacted? I have a PayPal account. Do I need to transfer money into it for the fees, or will the withdrawal be automatic?

Learning eBay

May 1st, 2008 at 05:31 am

I know I'm way behind most of you, but I am just learning to sell on eBay. Yesterday my sister brought over 5 items (at my urging) and we sat down and figured out how to put them up for sale. They are all in the $30+ range. So far no bids. I don't think they're overpriced -- all are very nice items, but perhaps I haven't made them stand out? We'll see how it goes. It's a learning curve.

I figured out my April spending totals:

Vet/Pet Supplies: $334
Groceries: $191
Medical/Health: $175
Eating Out: $133
Entertainment: $48
Cell phone: $45
Gas: $33
Household Supplies: $21
Gifts: $15

The big vet bill was my dog's annual, treatment for worms, and various medications for both him and my cat. This month, their care was more expensive than mine!