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Archive for June, 2015

Last Day

June 30th, 2015 at 05:35 am

My last day should be pretty easy! I finished up cleaning up my email yesterday, and all my files and drawers are cleaned out. The only work I have to do is updating some reports.

My lunch yesterday was $4, and I didn't have to pay anything for the Happy Hour last night. I didn't stop at PetSmart, so I will do that tonight.

Today I'll go to the caff and get some breakfast. Lunch will be free. Hopefully, I won't need to stop for food on the way home. I'll eat a big lunch!

At one time I thought I would bring in bagels on this day, but I completely forgot -- it doesn't fit into my budget, either! Anyway, it's not typical for people leaving to bring in food, I just thought I would make the gesture. But I won't. Smile

My budget spending is still at 86%. My DIL had to cancel the dinner on Wednesday because of baseball practice and suggested we just wait till we all get back from Michigan. Works for me!

I already made plans to meet friends for lunch next week. I'm going to work at keeping my social life lively. I know the four-walls syndrome can set in after retirement -- I'm not going to let that happen!

Second Last Day

June 29th, 2015 at 05:55 am

This is my second last day of work. All I will do today is clean out my email and straighten things up for the new person.

I drove so I can carry things home -- also, so I can go to a Happy Hour tonight with a few colleagues. I bought breakfast at McDonald's for $3 on the way. I'll also have to buy a lunch, as I forgot to bring the cheese and crackers I was planning on. But I can get a salad quite reasonably at the cafeteria.

I had a dream last night that I had bought a car but didn't have the money for a car payment. Hmmm. Am I subconsciously worrying? I hope it isn't a premonition that my RAV4 is going to fail (after 15 years!)

Yesterday, after I loaded the washer, I took a half-hour walk by the shoreline. It was a beautiful day! I walked over the city line into Rogers Park, then came back and put the laundry in the dryer. I think I might try to make that a habit. It saves me stair-climbing but forces me to exercise in an enjoyable way. Between that and walking to the grocery and library, I should get plenty of exercise to replace my walk to the station.

I've spent 86% of the variables budget. I'll have the eating-out expenses today, and I'll stop at PetSmart on the way home, but I should come in just under budget, as long as I wait till Wednesday morning to do my grocery shopping!

No grocery shopping

June 28th, 2015 at 09:20 am

I don't really have much financial to discuss today. I just thought it was noteworthy that after a 5-item shopping trip last week, I didn't go shopping at all yesterday. I still have plenty of food, and the only thing I need to buy for is for my DIL's birthday dinner. We're going to do that on Wednesday, but she still hasn't decided what she wants! I can stop Wednesday morning, if it comes to that, but I wish she would let me know.

It's funny how I am really starting to think in terms of being home all the time. Like I was thinking, oh, I don't have to do the laundry today, I can wait until Monday. Oh, wait a minute, I do have to go to work on Monday!

I can feel myself relaxing, though. No more do I have to get everything done on the weekend.

Yesterday I went to my grandson's baseball game (though I spent the whole time in the playground with the younger grandson). I did some housework, watched "Poldark" (thanks, Laura!), read a little, cooked a little (burned my carrots, oh well!) It was great! I'm looking forward to many more days like that!

Last train ride, last muffin

June 26th, 2015 at 06:25 am

Sniff, sniff. (Or is it hurrah?) I'm riding the train for the last time today, since I'll drive on Monday and Tuesday, in order to carry stuff home. So I honored the occasion with my last muffin and coffee from Corner Bakery. $4.

My awesome lunch yesterday (both food and company!) set me back $14. That was my only spending -- I was very, very tempted to stop for food on the way home after work, but gave myself a stern talking to. Had beef stew at home, which I'm sick of now. Put the last serving in the freezer.

Tonight I'll make the chicken pot-pie pockets. I never even got to the chicken piccata. It's still in the freezer, on tap for next week. And I have another serving of French onion soup to consume.

I put two big chicken breasts and some taco sauce in the slow cooker last night after work and let it cook for four hours. That will be the base for the birthday meal, I think. My DIL is very likely to ask for either tacos or enchiladas. If she doesn't, I'll have it on hand to make meals for myself.

I've spent 85% of my variables budget. Expenses coming up, that may or may not fall within this month: birthday dinner, treats for last day of work (but, as that's a work expense, I won't count it in variables), laundry, feeding block for the fish, maybe more kitty litter.

My actual vacation expenses won't begin until July. It will be cheap, anyway -- gas, road food, and a box of wine for the party. Maybe I'll even spring for some chips!

Cleaning Out

June 25th, 2015 at 06:02 am

I spent most of yesterday cleaning out my office and computer. Still have lots of work to do on both. There is a lot of stuff to throw away, physically. As for the computer, I found out yesterday they don't just wipe it clean, they save the documents for future reference. So I'm paring down, trying to get rid of the junk. Even with only six years on the job, there is a lot of junk. Especially in the email! It's time-consuming.

I found .11 yesterday. I'm on a roll! I think the economy must be getting better; people aren't bothering to pick up dropped change any more.

No spending yesterday. This morning I got a free cup of coffee, with a coupon, from Dunkin' Donuts. Lunch out today, but I'll try to keep it reasonable!

Another day, a few more pennies

June 24th, 2015 at 06:25 am

Well, the change-finding tapered off yesterday. I found only 3 pennies.

My total spending yesterday was .17. That's how much postage I needed to add to the three Forever stamps I placed on the big envelope heading to the Unclaimed Property Division.

My DIL was gracious about delaying her birthday party. I didn't add that her gift hasn't arrived, and may not for a week or so. I bought it from Amazon, but it was from one of their affiliate merchants.

However, the Happy Hour was also changed to Monday, so the adjustment wasn't even necessary. I'll let it stand, though. I can't pull off a birthday dinner after a day of work. I don't know what I was thinking in the first place.

I had a talk with the other retiree in our office. She is younger, and she has MS. But she is married, so she can go on her husband's insurance. She is concerned about her loss of income, and wants to find another job. I don't think it will be that easy, unless she has connections. Once you pass 60, no one even looks at you any more. Add to that her illness. I advised her to look at what she can cut in her lifestyle, and she said there is nothing to cut. But I know she goes out for lunch regularly, and carries a Coach bag and wears Uggs. And I know she has doled out a lot of cash to her grown children. I hope she figures it out.

I have five more days, counting today. Such a strange feeling!

Found .38 Again!

June 23rd, 2015 at 06:44 am

Weird. Yesterday I found .38 in various places, just like the day before. Should I play the lottery? Smile

I got my documents notarized and today I'm sending off the claim for my mother's unclaimed property (life insurance dividends). The total will be $1109.16. I will keep 1/4 and divide the rest among my siblings, and, in the case of my late brother, his children. So my share will be $277.29. That will be a nice snowflake to add to my grandchildren's college funds.

I got a little bump in my retirement fund from the College -- the last payment went in yesterday. An extra $655 was added as part of the retirement incentive package. (Most people got much more, but my years of service are short!) Plus the regular payments, mine and theirs, went in, so this little fund, that was begun only three years ago, is almost at $20K. When I set it up, I was expecting it would only reach $10K, so I'm pleased. (Obviously, the bulk of my retirement fund was earned elsewhere!)

That pushed my net worth up a bit, too. This is the highest it's been since the 2008 meltdown.

Low-Spend Weekend

June 22nd, 2015 at 06:07 am

I was toying with the idea of doing a grocery skip, but instead settled on doing a 5-item shop instead of a 10-item. Oh, my goodness! 5 items are so much easier to carry! And it was super cheap. $13. I bought beef shank (reduced for quick sale), butter, Swiss cheese, an onion and a bag of red potatoes. Over the weekend, I made batch of beef stew, and French onion soup. Plus, I took all the leftover rolls I had in the freezer and made croutons.

Possible meals this week:

Beef stew
French onion soup
Chicken pot-pie pockets
Sweet pepper omelet
Potato-veggie scramble

I also bought a $2 StreetWise magazine and spent $3 on laundry. And I found .38 in various places!

On the entertainment side, I went to my grandson's baseball game, and watched two movies on HBO's freebie weekend -- Divergent and Gone Girl.

I started watching The Good Lie, which was very interesting, but I was too tired to stay up any longer.

It was a bad weekend for sleeping, and I can't say why. I hope that sleeping will be easier once I am retired.

I got my final document for the unclaimed property, so I'll send that in today. I also got my welcome letter and card for my Medicare Advantage program, and a letter from Social Security saying that I had been approved. Thought I already was, but, whatever!

My DIL and I set plans for her birthday dinner on Friday -- however, I think there may be one last Happy Hour on Friday, so I will try to reschedule. I need a whole day to cook anyway. The weekend would be better, or barring that, Wednesday the 1st. The first day of full retirement! On the next day I head up to Michigan for a family reunion, so the full force of retirement won't hit me right away.

Variables Spending

June 19th, 2015 at 06:03 am

My variables spending percentage is now up to 78%. I bought a gift for my DIL that cost $63. It took some deliberation on my part, but in the end, I decided to buy what she wanted without trying to come up with a cheaper version. It was from her Amazon list -- a sports bra. She is a serious runner and very particular and I know that only this particular sports bra would do. I could have bought a different color for a few dollars less at Kohl's, but it was not that much of a savings -- and the wrong color.

I have an unofficial limit of $50 on gifts, but there is give and take. My gift to my other DIL was actually $46, so they kind of evened out! I think it's okay, because they won't compare gifts, and I got each of them what they wanted.

I also refilled a prescription for $15, but that doesn't come out of variables, since it is a flexible spending item.


Budgeting -- Tight Month

June 18th, 2015 at 06:17 am

I drove today, hoping to sidestep the Blackhawks celebration madness, and I stopped for gas on the way in - $31. I've spent 69% of my variables budget now, with 60% of the month done. I may try to skip the grocery this weekend; I seem to be pretty well stocked, at least enough to get me through another week.

With my gas tank full, and enough pet supplies on hand, I should be able to get through the rest of the month on the $225 left in the budget. I DO have to buy a gift for my DIL, and make a dinner for her. But there is no other expected expense till July.

I will load up the car with personal stuff from my office before going home. It will probably take me several trips to empty it, so I will use every chance I get to take a load home.

I located my mother's death certificate and obituary in my files (yay me! I'm usually bad at this stuff!) So now I just have to wait for the third property form to come in the mail and I can send it all in. A little over $1000, to be split four ways among the siblings. Nice snowflake!



Retirement Stuff

June 17th, 2015 at 06:24 am

Yesterday was another no-spend day.

I found another quarter by the same range of parking meters. I also found a penny in the college parking lot.

I had my exit interview yesterday. Mainly, I learned that my $12K lump sum will go into the bank on July 15, and that is also when my little monthly stipend will begin. I am estimating that after taxes, I will get about $200 a month for the next three years. Also, a lump sum will go into my retirement fund -- only in the $500-600 range as I remember. That may happen sooner. I should check today!

(New readers -- this is not all that I will receive in retirement. I will start getting Social Security in August, and I will also get a monthly interest payment from my retirement fund. It will be a lean budget, but doable.)

I got a letter from my Medicare Advantage provider telling me I can no longer pay my monthly premium from my Social Security check. Since I am not getting a Social Security check until August, this is not a surprise. Smile What is concerning is that this is the first communication I've received about paying, and there is no information about due dates, etc. I am a little worried about the company's administration, especially coupled with the hour-long conversation I had with them yesterday about my "lack" of medical coverage this past year. (Not so!) Ugh. Want this done.

I will send a check to the indicated payment address. I have the option to call and pay with a credit card, or to call and get a form to set up automatic payments, but I don't want to deal with their staff again. The person I spoke to yesterday seemed very nice and personable, but also didn't seem to know what he was doing. What has happened to customer service? It just doesn't seem to exist any more.

I emailed my insurance company yesterday and asked about a senior or retirement discount. My agent replied that I am eligible for a discount on my condo insurance, but not on my car, as I only have liability coverage now. However, if I get a new car someday, I will be eligible for a discount. Not sure how much my savings will be, but I'll certainly look for the discount when I get my condo insurance bill. Every little bit helps.

Looking forward to yet another free lunch on Friday -- another colleague leaving, another party. Soon I won't be able to rely on all these free food events. I wonder how retirement will impact my food bill? Positively, I hope, as I will have more time to plan and execute meals!

Just want to add that my mortgage has finally slipped under the $70K mark! Once I get through these four lean years ahead (reminder: I am drawing spousal benefit now; will switch to full benefit at age 70), I'll go back to putting extra on the mortgage. Right now, anything extra will go into savings.

NSD, Change Found & More Unclaimed Property!

June 16th, 2015 at 06:33 am

Yes, it was a no-spend day (other than paying my bills).

This morning on the way to the train I found four quarters, all scattered around parking meters. Sweet!

I got my forms to fill out for the unclaimed property in my mother's name. I decided to look for more documentation linking her to her childhood address. What did I find, but another unclaimed property under her maiden name! About $340 more, which makes the whole "estate" around $1,000. (Unless she had more squirreled away -- who knows at this point?)

I have to get a death certificate, and proof of residency at the pertinent addresses. I had to get a death certificate before, so I'm going to search my own records to see if I kept a copy.

I actually do have a copy of the Social Security Death Index record, but I don't know if that is what they want.

I added $11.17 to my snowflakes yesterday -- Discover cashback money which I transferred to my checking account.

I am well over the $500 required spending on my BOA Visa, so I will get $100 at the end of the 90-day period.

Money flowing in! I like it!

Update and Good News!

June 15th, 2015 at 09:25 am

I haven't updated since Thursday, when I was planning to go out for dinner. Well, I did! I spent $43 on a not-so-great meal (but it WAS a good time with friends) and also $2 on parking. Evidently I drank way too much, because driving home (50-minute drive) I thought I would POP! I expected to find a place to stop on the way, but my navigator was taking me through sketchy-looking areas where I didn't want to stop. Finally, when I got into the city limits of my own suburb, I stopped at a Steak N Shake. Really uncomfortable experience. (Yeah, I know, I'll blog about ANYTHING!)

Friday was the day I spent escorting the Trustee wives around. Although the day was cold and rainy, it was a pleasant time. The ladies were very nice and game for anything. We visited the lapidary art museum, and also got a special tour of the College's art collection. I got a free breakfast AND lunch, both very good.

On Saturday I babysat all day. I took the boys to the Little League game, and afterwards we got ice cream from the ice cream truck. ($8) The little one just about ruined his pants with all the melted tie-dye colors, but they washed out pretty well! For dinner I picked up a pizza ($14).

Sunday was devoted to grocery shopping, cooking and laundry. I spent $55 at the grocery, which included $9 spent for Father's Day cards. My ten items were:
K-cups, dry milk, flour, eggs, frozen yogurt, Italian beef, chicken breasts, mini sweet peppers, carrots, and salad-in-a-bag. Thank goodness the K-cup expense is almost over. My K-cupping will end with my employment!

I also went to PetSmart and spent $19 on kitty litter and cat food. I got a $3 coupon which I activated by filling out an online survey. I'm always happy to find ANY way to save on pet supplies.

Today was pay day and I got an awesome surprise this morning when I looked up my bank account. I had an extra $4K! That is how much my unused vacation/sick time added up to. I'm amazed! I didn't think it would be any where near that much! I also got a $50 rebate for transit.

Therefore, my month of no income will be no problem at all. I will be able to cashflow it without coming anywhere near my savings.

My variable spending is at 65%, halfway into the month. Still ahead of what it should be, but I don't think this will be a typical month post-retirement.

I spent an hour on the phone this morning trying to get it established with my Medicare Advantage plan that I HAVE been covered for six years and should not have to pay a late enrollment fee. Sigh. I hope it was corrected.

Planned meals this week:

French dip sandwiches
Chicken piccata
Salad
Crudites w/dip; cheese & crackers

Plus these meals still available in the freezer:

Chicken veggie soup
Chicken pot pie

And these, which are almost always generally available:

Omelet
Grilled Cheese
Cheese Quesadillas

This and That

June 11th, 2015 at 06:26 am

It was a long day yesterday, operating with too little sleep. I thought it might be another bad night, with the temps climbing close to 90, and no air conditioners yet installed. But I opened all the windows and turned on the ceiling fan, and I was fine.

Tonight I am going out to dinner with friends, so I drove. That always means I can leave a little later, which makes me happy! I bought a breakfast at Dunkin Donuts on the way - $3.

I may score some free food from work. There is still quite a bit of Italian beef and chicken piccata left over. We have offered it to our colleague on medical leave, but if she is not interested, I'll take it! There is also a container of broth poured off from the beef which I have laid claim to. It will make wonderful soup. It baffles me that no one else is interested, but I LOVE to cook with leftovers.

Yesterday I was looking at unclaimed property sites and found, to my surprise, two properties in my mother's name! They are insurance dividends amounting to about $750. I found city directory records proving her residency at one of the listed addresses (one I never even knew about! A house we apparently rented before our house was built -- I was 3!) The other address she used is a bit problematic. It is the address of her childhood home -- she was raised by her aunt. The only record I could find shows her living there under her maiden name (misspelled to boot!) probably years before the policy was taken out. My guess is that my parents stayed there temporarily once after their marriage. They moved around a lot. Anyway, I guess I'll have to get a marriage record to prove that she is the same person despite the name change.

It's not a lot of money, but hey, it's ours, meant for us, and worth claiming! I've found money in her unclaimed insurance policies before -- about $7K, and I split it with my brother and sister, and my late brother's children. I'll do the same this time, so I'll get less than $200.

Gift Bought

June 10th, 2015 at 06:16 am

I'm always late sending my Florida DIL her birthday gift. This time I decided to be early. I got on Amazon yesterday and picked out one of her wish list items. It was perfume, which I've never thought about buying for her before! I hope Amazon is very, very good about packaging such an item. It was $45.

So now my variables budget is 45% spent; ten days in.

And I'm going out to dinner tomorrow night. And I have another birthday. What a month.

Got my free dinner at last night's golf outing. I sold raffle tickets and checked out the silent auction winners. No golf for me; I'd rather stay inside! Though it was a beautiful day. I got done around 8 and it was a nice ride home; no traffic.

Unfortunately, as it often happens when my schedule is disrupted, I couldn't sleep last night. Coffee with dinner probably didn't help either. When I have a day like this, I just tackle it in chunks. Okay, you can get up and go to the couch. Okay, you can take a shower and get dressed. Okay, just walk to the station and then you can ride. Okay, walk to work and then you can have coffee. You get the drift.

Luckily, I have only one meeting today, and it's not a scary one. Not that there is such a thing as a scary meeting any more when I only have -- drum roll -- 13 work days left!

Busy Week Ahead

June 9th, 2015 at 05:58 am

This is becoming a busy week. Tonight I work at the annual golf outing. The good side -- light work, great free dinner. The down side -- it won't wrap up until 7:30 or 8 and then I have to drive home (and the golf club is even farther away from home that work is!)

On Thursday I am having dinner with friends in Oak Park. It will mean driving again (as I did today) and another late-r night.

On Friday I am spending the day with at least three Trustee wives. Maybe more will sign up. The day is scheduled with activities such as park tours, art gallery tours, lunch, etc. I generally don't do this kind of work, but a lot of people are on vacation or at conferences, so they asked me. It should be fun, but I'll have to be "on" all day. For an introvert, that's hard work! But again, a free lunch.

On Saturday I babysit all day, including taking my grandson to his ball game.

Speaking of free lunches, there was so much food left over from my retirement party that we are all eating the leftovers for lunch. About 8 people ate lunch yesterday, and there is enough to feed them all again today! (The party was well attended, but too much food was ordered, and people ate lightly.)

I spent $14 this morning on a frozen lasagna, garlic bread and salad to take to my colleague who is on medical leave. I don't believe I spent anything yesterday.

I have two DIL birthdays this month, so it's going to be a tough month to come in under budget. Especially after starting the month with a vet visit. So far I have spent 39% of the budget only 9 days in. Hmmmm.....

Busy Weekend, and Spending

June 8th, 2015 at 06:45 am

I went garage-saling this weekend -- the first time this season! I spent $18, and my haul included a brand-new, large Crock-pot, a new box of embossed notecards, an autumn wreath, a potholder, two toys for the toybox, a silk scarf, a set of wall hooks for keys, and two gifts (a compact mirror and a plate stand). The notecards may also be a gift. Afterwards I spent $8 on lunch at a funky diner that I loved! Will go back again!

My grocery shopping was $28, and I bought: rice, whole wheat bread, sourdough bread, crackers, coffee, mashed potato flakes, salt, crescent rolls, allspice and body wash.

Possible meals this week:

Cheesy couscous w/veggies
Chicken pot pie (homemade)
Chicken noodle veggie soup
Spanish rice
Egg salad

I'll be eating out tomorrow night, so I expect this will be more than enough....

On Sunday I got my hair cut. I had a coupon, so it was $14 including tip. And I did two loads of laundry for $3. I gave a lady with a "need help" sign $3.

My retirement party on Friday was lovely. We ate outside at my boss' beautiful home. So much food! I took home a salad, which I feasted on all weekend. The group gave me a framed photograph of the College's chapel with notes of farewell written on the mat. I also have a nice group photograph of all the people retiring this year -- for once I took a pretty good picture!

In other news, the Frank Lloyd Wright tour that I was looking forward to was rescheduled to this Saturday. I can't go because I have promised to babysit, while my kids go to an out-of-town wedding. Oh well. The ticket was already bought, so I'll donate it to someone else who would like to go.

I've now spent 37% of my variables budget. I also sent $420 to Medicare, but that doesn't come out of variables. I was able to charge it to my new BOA card, so I'm already almost done earning the bonus! I am paid up to Medicare through September, and then they will start taking the payment out of my Social Security check. I will probably get another 3-month bill for the Medicare Advantage plan.

Wow!

June 5th, 2015 at 05:40 am

I thought the day before was a good haul, but yesterday I found $1.20! One dollar bill and two dimes.

I drove this morning, since I'll be going to my office farewell party tonight. I bought breakfast at McDonald's ($4), rationalizing that since I had a free lunch yesterday, and will have a free lunch and dinner today, it's justified! Yesterday we had a good-bye pizza party for a departing co-worker, and there is plenty left over to have lunch today.

I almost completed my five things last night. The only one I didn't finish was the mail, because it was 9 o'clock, and I was tired. But I did grab ten pieces, threw away what was clearly junk, and put the rest in my bag to look at today. So it will be done soon.

I didn't sign up for Medicare Part D yesterday, as I got sidetracked by reading all the stuff about Medicare. As I said in a comment, though, I will go for Part C (Advantage) rather than Part D. The HMO Advantage that UnitedHealth offers (through AARP) does not have a premium above the Part B cost; it has a thorough and comprehensive drug list and is well-rated by users. And my doctor's office accepts it. So I'll get that done today.

My only spending yesterday was the $1.50 for laundry.

My five things today:

l. Cat pan
2. Wash bras
3. Mail
4. Get Advantage
5. Pay Part B bill

(I'm going light, because I'll be home late after the party!)

Update: The Medicare Advantage plan costs $29 per month; apparently the $0 premium option is only available in some areas. I signed up. It's done. Since I had budgeted $66 for supplemental Medicare, I'm still good!

Big Haul from the Street!

June 4th, 2015 at 06:09 am

Yes. 18 cents! All along one long block.

No spending yesterday. I did make the chicken veggie soup and chicken pot pie filling and froze them both.

I'm going to adopt the five things concept, and here are the five things I want to get done tonight:

Wash a load of laundry
Change the bed linens
Clean the cat pan
Vacuum
Process 10 pieces of mail

About the latter. I throw my mail into a box after dealing with the urgent stuff. It's a bad system because it really builds up. I'm going to take 10 pieces of mail out of the box every day and do what needs to be done. (And probably most of it can be trashed!)

My task today (before I get home) is to make a decision about Part D Medicare. I only have one prescription (and it's been that way for a long time) so I'm not excited about prescription coverage that I have to pay extra for. But I understand that it's also for peace of mind, knowing that if I get slammed with expensive prescriptions I will have the means to pay them. Looks like the cheapest is Humana-Walmart, at $15.70 a month, which I think requires me to actually use Walmart to fill the prescription. I guess that's doable, there's a new Walmart about three miles away.

Dinner on the Patio

June 3rd, 2015 at 07:03 am

Had a lovely dinner last night, at a Wok 'N' Fire (I know it's a chain around here, but I don't know how widespread it is). We sat out on the patio in the late afternoon sun, drank Mai-tai's and ate coconut shrimp and egg rolls. My share of the meal was $20. But the conversation and catching up with friends was priceless!

So now my variables spending is at 27%, only three days into the month. This is really teaching me how easy it is to get behind in your budget. I'll try to find ways to make up for it.

Tomorrow I have a free lunch -- pizza party for a departing co-worker. And on Friday a free dinner at my own "celebration." (Are they celebrating that I'm leaving???) Smile

Tonight I'll make chicken tacos for dinner, because they're fast, but after dinner I'll make soup and the filling for chicken pot pie. Just because I need to get the food processed and put in the freezer, or whatever. I don't want it to sit around too long.

I learned that one of my college classmates died of pancreatic cancer. I haven't seen her since college, but she's one of those people you always remember. She was so cute and lively, full of fun. According to her obituary, she was a passionate birdwatcher and naturalist (which she wasn't in college!) She's been all around the world pursuing her hobby and she seems to have had a happy life with her husband, who was a college professor. They had no children, but evidently a full life well lived. It makes me sad that she is gone so soon. I am too far away to attend her funeral, but I will send a note to her husband.

It does make me remember to treasure every day I have.

May Recap

June 2nd, 2015 at 02:19 pm

Housing - $677
Groceries - $147
Utilities - $123
Car Repair/Maintenance - $120
Fares/Parking - $111
Fees/Services - $103
Clothing - $55
Gifts/Charity - $54
Phone - $51
Eating Out - $45
Vet/Pet Supplies - $29
Gas - $24
Household Supplies - $22
Entertainment - $15
Laundry - $14
Medical/Health - $10
Personal - $8
Total - $1618

I spent 96% of my variables budget.

All in all, a good month, with a few surprises to handle. I'm glad I still came in under budget.

Money spent -- freebies found

June 2nd, 2015 at 06:56 am

Money flowed out yesterday. It began with ordering my marriage record online ($17), and then I got a fill-up and car wash ($30). Then, with some unexpected time on my hands, I decided to do my ten-items grocery shopping ($23). (The ten items: Taco sauce, macaroni, boxed mac & cheese, K-cups, tortillas, almond milk, creamer, bananas, celery and a Vidalia onion.) I bought my summer beach pass ($26), and then took my cat to the vet ($64). (She's okay, just a scratch that festered.) I also paid $2 for parking, and gave $2 to the guy selling StreetWise.

I almost paid $77 for the marriage record on vitalchek.com, but I decided to check the county website, and it was only $17 to get it through them. So a $60 savings! So glad I looked around.

This morning I bought breakfast at the station ($4).

That brings me to 24% of my variables budget spent!

I found a cast iron griddle pan by the dumpster yesterday. It has a bit of rust, but I think it can be scrubbed and re-seasoned. It's a nice flat, round shape; I can really use it if I can get it back in shape. The other day I found a stoneware jug with a matching cup in the same place. Someone is de-cluttering the lazy way! I guess it's okay; in a populous area like this, there will always be someone to grab nice things that are being recycled.

Meal possibilities this week:

Chicken salad
Chicken vegetable soup
Chicken tacos
Broccoli cheese soup
Egg casserole
Spaghetti due

Made it!

June 1st, 2015 at 06:37 am

I made it through the weekend without spending a cent. But I found a cent (ha ha) and I also got a $15 check from my health provider -- not sure what for, but I'll take it.

I got a call from the Social Security office. They are working on my application, but in order to collect benefits on my ex's account, I have to provide documents proving I was both married to and divorced from him. I found my divorce papers, but couldn't find any marriage record. I'm sure I have some somewhere, but I've moved so much, who knows where it might have ended up? I'll have the write to City Hall to get that record.

The nice thing is, I know it's in the works, and, because I asked, I know the benefit will be what I calculated.

Because I was no-spending, I essentially skipped grocery shopping this week. I can try to go some evening this week, but actually, I think I can make it till Saturday, and I might try. I have a very busy week. I have to take my cat to the vet today (couldn't get in this weekend), I have a dinner tomorrow night, a party of Friday night, and a tour and lunch on Saturday. I also have to get those marriage records and resubmit my SS application, get my cat's past medical records, and get a beach pass (before the price goes up).

I went to my grandson's baseball game on Saturday, and I have to say it was the coldest, wettest spectator experience I've had in a while. Poor kids! I can't believe they didn't call the game. This is not money-related, I'm just complaining!