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Archive for July, 2008

I've made a decision

July 26th, 2008 at 05:58 am

In my last entry I was lamenting that I would have to charge upcoming dental work. After getting out of debt last year, I SO hate to do that.

I've decided that I will take the money from my medical premium account to pay for it. I still have half a year to make it up, since the premium is not due until January.

That will force me to save, and I won't be paying interest.

Why didn't I think of that before?

Going back into debt

July 23rd, 2008 at 04:59 am

I went to the dentist yesterday for my quarterly cleaning and to have the old crown put back on. Bad news. There is decay under the crown and the dentist wants to replace it ASAP. He also looked at the other tooth that will be crowned and said the decay is getting worse there, too. If I don't have it crowned now, I'll have to at least get a filling. Getting a filling would be a waste, since I will have to get the crown eventually anyway. So I made an appointment to get both teeth done at once in mid-August. It's going to cost more than $2000 and I won't have the cash. I'll have to charge it. That breaks my heart. I never wanted to carry a credit card balance again, but now I see clearly why it happens.

At least I will get the whole thing over at once.

In other news, I sold an old diamond ring to the antique store for $130. The owner actually discouraged me, saying it was probably worth more in sentiment than value, but actually it is not a very sentimental piece for me. I already have my mother's diamond on a pendant and my own engagement ring will be reset for my son when he proposes. This particular ring was my great aunt's, to whom I was not close. It was small and in a very worn, old-fashioned setting. It was not particularly charming in appearance. So I was quite fine with letting it go for a little cash.

My sister sold $200 worth of jewelry and says she still has more. I shudder to think what she spent purchasing it, but at least she seems to be finally getting it that she has to raise some cash if she is going to stay in her house. She has to hide the money from her husband, though, or he will spend it. They are such a sad case.

Sold Some Gold

July 20th, 2008 at 02:58 pm

I am $103 richer because I sold some old gold jewelry. I mainly did it to encourage my sister, who is having financial troubles (continually) to part with some of hers. She sold jewelry to the tune of $700+. I just hope she doesn't blow it foolishly. That is something she has, unfortunately, done all her life.

My money will go toward paying off the credit card next month. I am very close now and may not have to use savings as I thought.

However, I do have to really look at my budget and figure out where I am going wrong. I am spending too much. It is so easy to do with my income so small, but I can't take out any more from my retirement fund. When I set up my income, the idea was to take only the interest and profit. With the stock market the way it is, my income is outpacing profit. I know the stock market will eventually recover, but it is scary.

I think I have to have a no-spend month -- or two -- to get back on track. By that I mean no spending on anything that isn't a necessity. Most of my needs are taken care of in my living situation so it shouldn't be that difficult.

However, I have been keeping a list of expenses coming up -- a dental appointment, a trip to the vet for my cat, an oil change, and car inspection. That doesn't count the two crowns that I need -- which I would like to get done this year for tax reasons.

Well, back to the drawing board. I'll figure it out.

Just Got Back

July 17th, 2008 at 10:49 am

I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago with my kids. It wasn't as expensive as I feared it would be. Gas was only $126. Meals were about $73. I spent $4 on tolls and $7 to rent books-on-tape. But here's the expensive part: $199 on gifts. That included two birthdays, a housewarming, contribution toward a cookout, and little things for my grandson, so it's not totally out of line.

I've spent a lot of money this month. Too much. I won't be able to pay off my credit card in full without dipping into savings. I don't like to do that, but I would like it even less to carry a balance on the card, even for one month. That is one thing I swore I would not do in retirement. So I won't.

I need to go back to pinching and scrimping.

Next week I have to go to the dentist for a cleaning, and while I'm there I'll have to get an old crown cemented back on. I wish I had the money to replace it now, but I just don't. So I have to waste the money on cementing it. I hope it is not too large a fee.

Dental fund, fruitless tomato plants, and the cough that won't go away

July 7th, 2008 at 06:52 am

My medical/dental fund is up by $8 because Bank of America matched my "save the change" savings. I probably won't be able to put any toward it this month because I have overspent so badly. Don't know quite how I did that, though the semi-annual car insurance was a big chunk. And having three animals who need Frontline every month is not cheap, either. We live right beside the woods, so our pets must be protected constantly from ticks.

Yesterday was a NSD. My sister came over for cards. We had a simple dinner of baked chicken, couscous, broccoli and watermelon. It rained almost all day which was a VERY GOOD THING! Right now we have 6 buds on 9 tomato plants! Yes, some of the plants are just providing greenery. The variety we bought supposedly doesn't produce until September, though, so there's still hope.

I may call the doctor today. I am still coughing from the bronchitis I had, what, four weeks ago? I'll have to check, but it's been a long time!

Good news and bad news

July 5th, 2008 at 11:32 am

The good news -- thanks to you kind people, I got $25 for my contest entry!

The bad news -- I spent $10 for a deposit on WorldWinner (receiving a $10 match). I am now a little under $20 even though I have won a couple of times. I can see that this could be a very bad habit. But at least I got some MyPoints!

I went to Wal-Mart today to pick up a prescription ($1 -- can't beat that!) While I was there I got some body wash ($3.70), then ducked into Staples and bought a package of memo pads ($7.78). The memo pads will go into a "game kit" for my son -- the rest of the kit will be a box of playing cards (13 decks, from Sam's) pens with his and his girlfriend's names on them, and a big bag of pistachios. (It's a family tradition to eat pistachios while playing cards.) Anyway, this will be his housewarming gift for his new apartment in Chicago.

I'll be leaving on that trip on Thursday -- can't believe it will be so soon! Right now it's looking like my cousin will not go along, so I won't be able to split costs. But that's okay, it's her decision to make!

Just catching up

July 4th, 2008 at 08:24 am

Yesterday was errand day, and I spent a little.

First stop was Pet Source. I bought kitty litter, cat food, and three doses of Frontline Plus for $73.

Next stop was Lowe's. I didn't spend anything, but my cousin bought some fencing and some kind of hose attachment for fertilizing.

Then Wal-Mart. My cousin bought groceries, and I bought a broom, laundry basket and personal items for $19.

On the income side, I received an $8 check from my retirement fund because of a miscalculation in interest.

In less than a week I am heading to Chicago to visit my sons. I think my cousin will come along as far as Indiana, so that will help with expenses. I think we will even use her car, since her mileage is so much lower than mine.

Today I'm going to do some kitchen stuff -- fry up a pound of bacon and make a pot of rice. We always keep those on hand. And I think I'll make some banana muffins to use up some very freckled bananas.

Laundry day, too. I'm so excited, I get to use my new laundry basket!

Medical/Dental Fund

July 2nd, 2008 at 05:32 am

Through the garage sale and various little economies, I have finally raised my medical/dental fund to a whopping $177!

One of my old crowns fell out the other day. I stuck it back in with PolyGrip and I'm hoping for the best. It'll be a long time, I'm afraid, before I can replace it.

I opened an ING Sharebuilder account (mostly in order to get $25 for the new account). I'm a little bewildered by it. I don't really want to invest it -- my retirement nest egg is invested and that's enough fun for me! And I would have to add a lot more to it to invest anyway. Is it okay to let it sit? I know many of you are ING customers.

June spending

July 1st, 2008 at 07:33 am

From most to least --

Medical/Health - $756 (colonoscopy, urgent care)

Car Insurance - $254 (semi-annual)

Gifts - $132 (DIL birthday, donation of dictionaries to school, early buy for cousin's & sister's birthdays, material to make greeting cards)

Clothing - $57 (underwear & pjs)

Eating Out - $47

Cell Phone - $45

Miscellaneous - $35 (checks, postage, newspaper ad)

Gas - $25

Personal - $20 (haircut & toiletries)

Fees & Services - $18 (eBay, Privacy Assist)

Entertainment - $15 (Netflix, Photo development, book)

Vet/Pet Supplies - $14 (Cat chow & vitamins)

Furniture/Equipment - $7 (Basket for things to file)

Total outgo was $1425 -- not good when income is $637. But $644 came out of savings for the medical expense.

Medical costs are my worst hurdle.