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Archive for March, 2016

March Recap

March 31st, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Housing - $677
Taxes - $472
Medical/Health - $246
Entertainment - $201
Gifts/Charity - $167
Utilities - $161
Groceries - $128
Vet/Pet Supplies - $103
Fees/Services - $67
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $67
Phone - $52
Vacation/Travel - $47
Clothing - $43
Personal - $32
Eating Out - $31
Household Supplies - $28
Gas - $23
Fares/Parking - $16
Laundry - $14
Grand Total - $2575

It was an expensive month -- dentist, ancestry.com subscription, haircut, state taxes, vet, even new boots! I spent 105% of my variables budget (still fine for the year, though).

Even though it's not crazy out of line, I hope that April will be more moderate.

Day Thirty-Nine

March 31st, 2016 at 01:34 pm

Calories: 1529

I had to estimate the calories I ate at the restaurant last night, but I think I am pretty close. I had skewered chicken and vegetables on rice. I ate all the chicken and some of the vegetables, some of the rice. I brought the remaining veggies and rice home to make fried rice later.

It was a cheap night -- $17 for museum entrance, dinner and parking. And it was a good time, despite having to walk through quite a bit of rain. At least I got my walk in!

Today's weather is supposed to be stormy, so I will stay in.

Today's project is to find someone to replace my windowpane. It was cracked last fall in a hailstorm. I called the company recommended by our property manager at that time, and they never got back to me or followed up. Then I sort of forgot about it. (It's behind a blind, so I never see it). So today I will see if I can find someone who is willing to come and look at it. I'd like to use the replacement cost toward my bonus.

Next week, when my kids are back from vacation, I'll go get my car repaired. No big problem, but last time I took it in there were some recommendations that I need to follow up on.

Later today I'll do my March recap, as I doubt I will do any spending today.

Day Thirty-Eight

March 30th, 2016 at 01:23 pm

Calories: 1567

A glass of wine tipped me into the 1500's, but it was a deliberate decision. I don't want to stop drinking my red wine -- I really enjoy it, and it's good for my heart! But it's 89 calories a glass....

I mailed my three packages yesterday for a total of $28. I scored free parking when I pulled into a space with a meter still running! I had 12 minutes to go in and out of the post office, and I made it!

Then I went to the bank and deposited a $3 check from Franzia. I think it was a rebate.

Today I'm going to the south side of the city to visit the Oriental Institute with a bunch of friends. Afterwards, we are going to a nearby restaurant. I've already checked out the menu, and decided I will get the skewered chicken & vegetables.

Before I go, I need to get a few tasks done -- a load of laundry, clean the fish tank and VACUUM -- desperately needed -- why do I put it off so? It's not like it's really hard!

The jeans I wore yesterday were kind of settling lower on my hips than they used to. I am feeling better in general. I feel trimmer, even if it isn't real obvious. I hope by the time real spring weather comes I'll be able to get rid of some clothing that is too large.

The other day I picked up a coupon someone had dropped, and I think I will use it -- $10 off the purchase of two bottles of Layer Cake wine (which I like) and any meat item. The wine would be good to take to my brother's next time I go.

I saw a good movie yesterday on xfinity on demand -- the Sundance channel -- it was called City of Your Final Destination. It's a Merchant/Ivory film that didn't get good reviews, but I enjoyed it! Maybe my standards have slipped, now that I'm always seeking out free movies. It was about a young doctoral student seeking permission to write a biography of a famous writer, but it was a character study and and love story, too.

I still have the two movies from the library to watch and they are due on Saturday, I'd better get to it!

I noticed this morning when I opened my Greek yogurt that its use-by date is today. I know I can still use it till a week from today, so I guess I'm going to be eating a lot of yogurt this week. I looked it up, and apparently I can freeze it, too, though it will change the texture. Not sure how I would like that, but I can always mix it with fruit or preserves. Has anyone here ever frozen Greek yogurt? Mine is plain, by the way.

Iggy update -- he yowled again last night, so the ears weren't the problem. I suspect he is just mouthy.

Day Thirty-Seven

March 29th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Calories: 1611

Too much snacking yesterday, but it was kind of a stressful day.

I found another vet for Iggy and got an appointment right away. They are almost as close as the other vet and free parking is available, which is a big plus around here! I really liked the vet who treated Iggy, so I think this was a very good move.

Iggy has earmites. His ear was also full of scabs because of his scratching. I don't understand why it took me so long to notice! The vet removed a lot of crud from his ear, then treated both ears with a topical medicine, and gave him an injection to help with pain and to ward off infection. We will have a followup next week. I feel he is in good hands, and I'm very relieved. He didn't yowl at all last night. Of course, he hated the whole experience, but now I think he is finally feeling relief.

The cost was $70. My variables are at 95%.

Tomorrow I'm going on a museum visit with friends, with dinner afterwards. I think the museum is free, but of course dinner is not, and there may be a parking cost, too.

My task today -- which I meant to do yesterday until I decided that Iggy MUST go to the vet -- is to mail some packages. And if the weather warms as nicely as they are saying, I will go for a walk!

Day Thirty-Six

March 28th, 2016 at 03:15 pm

Calories: 1411

Did well on my calories yesterday. I didn't do much of anything else, but it was a pleasant day.

Today I'm trying to get an appointment to take Iggy to the vet. I just had a botched conversation with someone at the vet's office about whether I'm a new client or not. I've been to this vet before, but not with Iggy, so I said yes, Iggy is a new client. But I told them I had been there with another cat (Captain) who was put down this summer. He said, well, this doesn't make sense, you aren't a new client, then. Apparently they have different rules for new clients and he thought I was trying to work the system, or something. All I want is an appointment for a new cat -- whenever! Is that so hard?

He just called me back and said they had never seen Captain and that they are not taking new clients. WHATEVER!! Their records are messed up; I didn't really like them, anyway. I'm finding a new vet.

Day Thirty-Five

March 27th, 2016 at 01:11 pm

Calories: 1421

Yay! Back on track! For supper last night I had a bowl of roasted carrots. It was like taking medicine, but it did fill me up.

Yesterday I did another load of laundry, went to the bank, went to the grocery and library, and picked up my dry cleaning ($32).

I didn't spend anything at the grocery, just picked up a free box of crackers with a virtual coupon.

I checked my new Chase account yesterday and my $300 bonus for opening the checking account has been deposited. So I updated the snowflakes on my sidebar. I also added the value of my coupon, and $6 from Pine Cone. The $200 bonus for the new savings account will be deposited at the end of three months.

I am already halfway to the point where I was last year in December. I was able to give $300 to each grandchild's college fund last year; maybe this year I can top that.

At the library I picked up two DVD's: Selma and Wolf of Wall Street. Haven't watched either of them yet.

This morning I boxed up a package of shirts for my BIL, books for my sister, and clothes for my Florida grandchildren. I'll mail those three packages tomorrow.

Looking forward to a day of quiet contemplation. Happy Easter, everyone!

Day Thirty-Four

March 25th, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Calories: 1644

I used a calculator to find that a woman of my age, at my level of activity, should consume 1493 calories per day to lose weight. That's about what I thought, very close to my personal goal of 1400. But since I'm so hungry, and therefore cheating, maybe I'll take up FF's suggestion and up my allowance a little.

No financial activity today except $1.50 for a load of laundry.

Oh, and I saw on my online bank account that I was charged twice for the birth certificate -- or at least two charges are pending. I had to go through the process twice because THEY said it didn't go through. Not happy. I sent them an email, but I probably won't get a real answer for a few days.

Other than doing the laundry, I didn't leave my condo today. I didn't do all of the cooking I planned on, but made steps -- i.e. I didn't make the quiche but I fried the bacon -- I didn't make the soup but boiled the carrots. I will get those things done tomorrow. I need to make granola, too.

Variables spending is 81% and less than a week to go. I have plenty of food and gas -- but I do need to pick up some dry cleaning tomorrow, so I'm not home free.

This year I have no plans for Easter. I usually do the Easter bunny/egg hunt thing with the grandkids, but they are on their way to Florida. I haven't pushed myself to join in on someone else's holiday -- so I've decided to make Sunday kind of a spiritual retreat day -- a day to pause and reflect. I'll let you know if I come up with anything earthshaking!

Day Thirty-Three

March 25th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Calories: 1673

Struggling a bit. Suddenly 1400 seems so low. Got to stay focused on the big picture.

Yesterday I grocery-shopped early in the morning. My grandson had promised to take pepperoni to school for "mystery sandwich" day, but didn't tell anyone till it was almost too late. I volunteered to get it and I bought a few items for myself: paper towels, detergent, cat food, kitty litter, canola oil, half & half, poppy seeds, toothpaste, bacon, turkey sausage, and salad mix. $51. Then I delivered the pepperoni to my grandson as he was climbing in the car to go to school. Tragedy averted.

Later in the day I completed the application to get a new birth certificate. $18.

I paid my bills, which included my mortgage and three credit cards, Discover, Visa and Kohl's. And I sent $20 in Easter cards to my Florida grandchildren.

While reading Dollar Stretcher, I was prompted to try missingmoney.com, and, lo and behold, I found a payment from Indiana Gas (to me) being held in North Carolina. All I know is it is less than $50, but I ordered a check. Maybe it will be enough to pay for the birth certificate!

Today's plans are to do laundry and finish listening to the audiobook I checked out for my trip. Plus, I have some cooking to do -- I want to make curried carrot soup, crustless quiche, and cook off a chicken breast I took out of the freezer. It's cold again, so a good day to stay inside and get things done.

Day Thirty-Two

March 24th, 2016 at 11:04 am

Calories: 2320

Oops. I should have planned better. I knew I had a birthday party in the evening, for my DIL's mom, but I racked up too many calories during the day. I was in a using-up mode, and I had French toast sticks for breakfast and a Reuben sandwich for lunch. At the party, I ate two tacos with guac and strawberry shortcake.

Oh well, back on the wagon today.

Yesterday was payday, but the deposit showed as "processing." So I'll pay the bills today, just to make sure everything is covered. I have the mortgage and two credit card bills to pay.

I am working on a bonus on one of the cards. So far I've only spent about $700. I have to spend $2500 in my first three billing cycles, so I basically have two more months to spend $1800. Need to get going. I have car repairs to do, a window to replace, a passport to buy, and a vet visit to make. I'm sure I can come up with more.

Speaking of the passport, I have to take my birth certificate along with my application. I thought I knew just where it was, but it isn't there. I have to get a replacement. That is not as distressing as the thought of where the birth certificate might be. It's possible it was stolen. I remember I carried it in my work notebook for a while because I needed ID for something. Terrible idea I know. Is it possible someone lifted it, and I didn't notice? I haven't had any problems with identity theft, but if someone took it, they would be using my maiden name.

I hope it is just lost somewhere in my house.

Day 28 through 31

March 22nd, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Day 28: 1210
Day 29: 1333
Day 30: 1479
Day 31 (Today): 1410

I spent a long weekend with my BFF in Indiana. As you can see above I stuck to my diet, even with dinners at Applebee's and Olive Garden, movie treats, and a hot dog at Dog & Suds!

The mini-vacation cost me $29 in food and $17 in gas. My BFF had a lot of gift cards she wanted to use up and was very generous in sharing with me. We even went to a movie (Zootopia) that cost me nothing because she had a gift card.

We both really like to treasure-hunt at Goodwill, so that was one of our stops. I spent $6 on clothing, $22 on gifts, and $14 on stuff for the house. Best find was a dressy red jacket and a black satin skirt for $2! I'll have to lose more weight to get into them, but for $2, it was worth the gamble. Another good find was two Wilton cake pans -- like new -- but they were $6.

I did some re-thinking about my variables budget, and decided it was silly and even counterproductive to try to to work large semi-annual and annual expenses into it, even things like the dentist and annual subscriptions. They just throw it all off. I have the slush fund in place for unusual expenses, and that is what I should use. With that adjustment, my variables spending is now at a more reasonable 69%. To make this work, of course, I will have to be vigilant about consistently rebuilding the slush fund whenever I come in under budget. I don't anticipate this will be a problem, but I will certainly be mindful of it.

I came home very tired this morning, but it was a good time.

Day Twenty-Seven

March 18th, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Calories: 829

Grilled Swiss on Rye
Brussels Sprouts w/ Parmesan
Apple
Yogurt
1 square dark chocolate
Wine

Yes, calories are really low today, but I suspect they were really high yesterday.

I went to Walgreens today, just taking a walk, but of course I made the mistake of going in. I just wanted to see if they had the eyebrow pencil I had seen advertised.

Well, they had them, and they were offering a second one for half-price. So I bought two, one for home and one for my travel kit.

Then I looked at the reading glasses, and I saw there was a BOGO deal on Foster Grants. So yes, I got two pairs of reading glasses. I have lost two pairs this year. I keep reading glasses in my living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, work area, and purse. I really need them all these places and I am NOT going to wear them on a chain around my neck. In the past, I have picked them up supercheap at garage sales and such, but this time, I got nice ones at the right strength for me -- and they are attractive, too. I think they will help with my headaches. I can really tell the difference, and I'm kind of embarrassed I never got the correct strength before.

Anyway, I spent $48 at Walgreens. (But I saved $39!!) That pushed my variables spending to 109%. And it's only the 18th. And I still have a weekend trip ahead of me. Ah well. Last month was low-spend, and I think April had better be low-spend as well!

Day Twenty-Six

March 18th, 2016 at 03:25 pm

Day Twenty-Six was a planned cheat day. I don't know how many calories I consumed, but it was well over the limit. I figure I will do this for special occasions, but I will have to be careful about how many "special occasions" I have. I'm thinking I should limit cheat days to once a month, and only for a good reason, so, say if April goes by without a special occasion, I don't just create a cheat day for the fun of it. Make sense?

The dinner was a success; everyone enjoyed the food and had a good time. I made quite a mess in the kitchen but I've got it down to one sinkful of dishes waiting to go into the dishwasher.

Today I'm getting ready to go to Indiana for three days to visit my BFF. We are trying to visit once a month, alternating between her home and mine. Since we are both retired, it should be doable. I wish she lived in my area, but this is the next best thing. With her blessing, I am taking my laundry there, which will save me both in quarters and stair-climbing.

Before yesterday's dinner I went to Target, intending to buy placemats and maybe some flowers. Well, Target doesn't sell flowers (at least my Target doesn't). And the placemats were not what I had in mind, so I passed on them. But I did find three plain white platters, half-price, on one of the clearance end caps. I snatched them up; they are exactly what I need, an excellent find. I also bought a water bottle and a little gift (recipe book) for my DIL. I spent $33.

I also spent $5 for lunch at McDonalds. I didn't want to worry about making lunch while I was cleaning and prepping for the dinner. I bought myself a Happy Meal, because the portions are small, and I had them add an extra toy, so I would have something for both boys when they came over. And they were delighted with their Hot Wheels!

So I'm at 98% in variables, and it is unlikely I will come in under budget. But last month was only 66%, so I can afford to go over a bit. Just as long as I don't make it a habit!

I will report tonight on my calorie intake today, and then I'll do a catch-up post on Tuesday, when I come home again. I WILL be counting calories, even though I am, so to speak, on vacation!

Day Twenty-Five

March 16th, 2016 at 09:57 pm

Calories: 1448

Toast & Marmalade
Cheese & Olive Quesadilla
Applesauce
Baby Brussell Sprouts & Parmesan
4 Gingersnaps

I went grocery shopping this morning and spent $52. I won't list my items, because I bought 22, not 10! I am getting ready for my St. Pat's dinner tomorrow, which will be a very high-calorie menu -- Grilled Reuben sandwiches, homemade French fries and Shamrock Shakes. I figure each sandwich is 650-700 calories. Add the fries and shake, and it will be a big cheat. But it is a planned cheat, and I will be back on the wagon the next day. This meal has become an annual tradition, and I like to have a few traditions.

Yesterday I wore a pair of jeans that were starting to feel quite loose, and I thought, "It's working!" This morning I pulled on a different pair of pants -- they were still tight. It's going to be a slow process, but at least it's a plan I can stick to, and I don't feel deprived or angry. The big plus is just knowing that I'm working on it has made me much more tolerant about my body. I know I will make a difference in the long run.

Day Twenty-Four

March 15th, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Calories: 1321

Everything Bagel w/Olive-Nut Spread
Chicken Biscuit
Popcorn, No Butter
1 Square Dark Chocolate
Tea w/Sugar
Veggie Plate

I haven't actually eaten the veggie plate yet, but I have counted it, and I will eat it later.

Today after voting in the Illinois primary I walked to the hairdresser's and got a haircut ($15). I had been letting it grow out a little, but yesterday I happened upon an old picture of my shorter style and realized I just liked it a lot better. Even though it's trendy for older women to wear longer hair, it doesn't necessarily look better. So wearing long hair will not be one of the ways I save money in retirement! Ah well, my haircuts are cheap. I found a great cutter at Supercuts, and I will mourn when she moves back to Seattle in a year or so.

I did two loads of laundry today -- I washed my sofa pillows, the cat's bed, and my bath mat. All really needed. I also did some more filing. I've gotten down to one box of papers to sort and file. And most of them will be tossed.

I didn't get to the grocery store today, but it's better to go tomorrow anyway -- closer to the day of the dinner. And I have to do some serious cleaning tomorrow. I love my DIL, but she and her mom are much more particular about housework than I am, so I always feel a bit on the defensive when they come to my house.

Day Twenty-Three

March 14th, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Calories: 1467

Egg Casserole w/Cheese & Broccoli
Everything Bagel w/Olive-nut spread
Veggie Plate
4 Gingersnaps
Wine
Tea w/Sugar

The sugar in the tea was a mistake. I meant to put in Truvia; didn't even realize I'd added sugar until I tasted it and it was unusually good!

I had a bad day. I felt very depressed this morning, thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts, and then a headache came on. It was so bad I went to bed after taking Advil; then I used the PurMist to clear out my sinuses, just in case. In the afternoon the headache got better, and my mood improved, too. I'm almost back to normal now.

Tomorrow is election day. After voting, I'll go to the store and get the supplies for my St. Pat's dinner. Then I'll get started on cleaning. All the floors need cleaning -- but I want to hold off until closer to the time the company comes.

Today I cleaned my stovetop, soaking my burners in ammonia. I wonder if the fumes got my headache started? The good news is they look spotless.

Day Twenty-Two

March 13th, 2016 at 10:44 pm

Calories: 1669

Egg casserole w/cheese & broccoli
Toast w/butter
Everything bagel w/nut-olive spread
Popcorn w/butter
Gingersnaps
Piece of dark chocolate

I know, I know. It's a depressing cold, rainy day and I was depressed and I just ate stuff I like. Carbs galore. Tomorrow is a new day.

It was another lazy day. I did a lot of reading, and watched "Dances with Wolves" on TV. I also caught up on "Finding Your Roots" on PBS, a show I enjoy very much.

I did clean the aquarium, a job I like to put off. I was going to do another load of laundry, but didn't want to go outside, even though it's just down the staircase. It's an outdoor staircase.

But I did change all the clocks! This is the first year in a long time that the time change won't affect me at all, since I can get up whenever I want!

Day Twenty-One

March 12th, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Calories: 1384

Pancakes & Syrup
Bacon
Berries, Grapes
Olive/Walnut Sandwich
Yogurt
Everything Bagel
Wine

I behaved myself at the brunch, only taking two small pancakes with a dash of syrup, 2 slices of bacon and a lot of fruit. And I had several cups of black coffee.

On the way home, I stopped at the grocery and picked up another free yogurt. They keep giving me virtual coupons, and I keep taking them up on it. I will always take free food.

Once home, I did a load of laundry, but otherwise have been quite lazy. And I think I will continue to be lazy the rest of the day!

Day Twenty

March 12th, 2016 at 12:48 am

Calories: 1467

Egg Casserole w/Cheese & Broccoli
Coffee w/Creamer
Olive-Walnut Sandwich
4 Gingersnaps
Lite Yogurt
Everything Bagel

In the interest of truthful reporting, I caved and had a bowl of cereal last night, raising the calories yesterday to 1883. Eek!

I took some items to the dry cleaner's today, and learned that this family business is being sold after 65 years. I hope it will continue to be a good place to go! I don't do too much dry cleaning, but there are some things that just have to be done professionally, and I like going to a place I trust.

I went to OfficeMax and bought command hooks and file tabs for $8. Then I went to the grocery and spent $26. Items bought: Facial tissue, cat food, tuna, Easter candy (yeah, I'm finally done with that!), Swiss cheese, Greek yogurt and Easter cards. I had coupons for most things, saving $9. On the way home I stopped at Dollar Tree and spent $5 on 5 packages of frozen fruit. Variables spending is a scary 83%. But it is the dentist bill and the Ancestry.com bill that are throwing it out of whack, especially both falling in the same month.

Getting a free breakfast/brunch tomorrow at my ex's house (family party). I'll try to be mindful of what I'm eating, but make it a true brunch, taking the place of breakfast and lunch, calorie-wise. Then I hope a light afternoon snack and light dinner will suffice.

Since I ran out of file tabs, I didn't get too much farther on my filing project, but I'll pick it up again tomorrow. I'm doing a lot of purging as I file -- it is very cleansing!

Day Nineteen

March 10th, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Calories: 1558

Egg casserole w/cheese & broccoli
Coffee w/ creamer
Grilled cheese sandwich
Steamed carrots
Yogurt
Popcorn
Gingersnaps
1 piece dark chocolate

It's only 4:20, but I have to be done eating for the day; the calories are too high. It shouldn't be a problem, though; I am always hungrier at midday than I am in the evening. It was just one of those hungry days.

No financial news today, other than I found a $20 bill while sorting papers. I got some serious work done today sorting and filing. Still lots of work to do, as I have put it off for way too long. But it's a good feeling to have completed as much as I have. And it's good to be looking at a clean desk. Now I have to tackle the various boxes and bags I have stowed away, full of papers I didn't want to make decisions about. I figure I will be able to throw away about 90% of them.

Day Eighteen

March 10th, 2016 at 12:14 am

Calories: 1377

Coffee w/Creamer
Cheese Quesadilla w/Avocado & Tomato
1/2 Blue Moon Burger
1 cup Chicken Salad w/Cranberries & Walnuts
4 Gingersnaps
Herbal Tea

I'm still a little hungry, but I'm done today.

I deposited the $15K today, walking to the bank to do it. On the way back I stopped at Walgreens and bought two Beanie Baby bunnies for the grandsons' Easter baskets ($10) and two packages of brushpicks ($5). I am much better about flossing with a brushpick, so I decided to go for it. I don't like handling floss that's wet with saliva, even if it is my own saliva! The dentist made me aware yesterday that I need to be much more vigilant about flossing, and the brushpicks will make it much more likely that I will do it.

Day Seventeen

March 9th, 2016 at 12:45 am

Calories: 1826 (whoops!)

Everything Bagel
1/2 Blue Moon Burger
French Fries w/ Ketchup
Split Pea Soup w/Croutons
Shamrock Shake

Yeah, it was that kind of day. I didn't eat at home at all. I didn't go hog wild, but didn't eat like a dieter, either. That's okay, a bit of a cheat will happen now and then. I'm in this for the long run, and I'll be back on the wagon tomorrow.

It was a spending day as well.

I went to the bakery outlet and spent $7 for bread, buns, and bagels. I bought gas for $23. The dentist cost $176 after my senior discount. (That was for an oral evaluation, cleaning, and fluoride treatment.) Lunch with my friend was $25. I paid her share, because she has so often helped me with cat care and rides in the past. Under duress I let her pay the tip. A trip to Goodwill cost $19, all for gift items. (And I got a $5 rewards coupon for future shopping). Finally, I stopped at the grocery store and spent $19 for cat treats, dishwasher detergent, kitty litter, and low-fat cream cheese. I had $1.50 in coupons and everything was on sale.

I also got the $15K from the credit union, which I will deposit at Chase tomorrow, and I got the direct deposit from the College changed to Chase. So I've almost completed everything that had to be done to earn the $500 bonus.

It felt like a busy day. Of course, I drove 45 miles as well, which I'm not used to any more!

Now I'm ready to put my feet up and rest!

Day Sixteen

March 7th, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Calories: 1486

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie
Coffee w/ Creamer
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Applesauce
Cheese & Broccoli Omelet
Toast & Butter

It's early, but I don't plan to eat anything else today, so I'll report in and make it an obligation!

Today I sent $50 to the college I retired from -- since I was in development myself, I really sympathize with their fundraising efforts -- and the college needs support. I also renewed my AARP membership for $13. Supposedly they will send me a free day bag.

Variables spending is at 43%. Tomorrow I have a dentist's appointment, and I'm going out to lunch with friends. If the dentist bill is high, I won't count it as a variable; it will come out of the EF. But it shouldn't be as bad as last time; I won't get x-rays this time.

Tomorrow I will also go to the credit union and get a cashier's check for $15K to put in the new Chase account. And I will go to the College and have them change my direct deposit to the Chase account. I have already signed up for paperless invoicing and bill pay, so I will have met all the requirements for the $500 bonus.

I took a 40-minute walk today to the mailbox and then on to the lake shore. It was brisk, but not cold. Tomorrow it is supposed to be quite warm. My radiators are already shut off. I'm a little cold, but I'm wearing double layers, and I keep moving around, so I'm doing okay. Soon I'll be complaining that I'm too hot!

Day Fifteen

March 6th, 2016 at 11:58 pm

Calories: 1615

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie
Coffee w/ Creamer
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Chicken Noodle Soup
Popcorn w/ Butter
1 Square Dark Chocolate
Chicken Medallions
Asparagus

Calories are getting a little higher than I would like, so I have to watch it better. I did take an hour-long walk today, so that helped.

Ancestry.com charged my Discover card $189. I was expecting it, but thought the charge would come in the middle of the month. I was going to switch the charge to my Alliant card, but I was too late. Oh well.

I got free yogurt today with a virtual coupon, and I also spent $6 on Easter candy.

Variables spending is at 35%. Lots of stuff coming up, so it won't be a cheap month, but with last month finishing up at 66% I can afford to spend a little more this month.

My son in Florida got the word that the mortgage was approved for his new house. He is so thrilled -- they all are. Their new place will be smaller, but it will be in a better neighborhood, with amenities much closer. And it will be theirs. They are packing now and will be moving very soon.

Day Fourteen

March 5th, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Calories: 1537

Strawberries & "cream" (nonfat)
Toast & butter
Taco salad
Frozen yogurt
Chicken noodle soup
Grilled cheese sandwich
Wine

Calories are a bit high today. I should have skipped the wine, but I drank it before I totaled them up!

I went to Kohl's today. I had a 30% off coupon, plus a $5 off coupon. I wanted to find boots, and I did! The boots were on clearance, as I thought they would be. I bought two pairs for $37. Both pairs are knee-high, which is what I really wanted. I haven't had knee-high boots in ages, because my calves are too big. (I don't think they're all THAT big, but clearly manufacturers disagree.) These boots have an extra zipper that provides a little slack. When my legs slim down, I can just zip them up!

The only downside is that I had to use my Kohl's card, rather than put it on my bonus-earning Alliant card. But for the price it was worth it.

I was intending to get Kohl's cash, but since they were so cheap, I didn't get up to the $50 requirement! I decided not to get anything else; there is nothing else I need. For that reason alone, it's just as well that I didn't get the Kohl's cash.

I added the $5 coupon to my snowflakes.

It's going to get warm outside in the next few days, so I'm mentally preparing myself for no heat inside. Maybe this round it won't be so bad.

Day Thirteen

March 4th, 2016 at 11:36 pm

Calories: 1453

Oatmeal w/raisins & walnuts
Chicken biscuit w/lettuce & mayo
Asparagus
Homemade chicken noodle soup
Grilled cheese sandwich
Wine
Dark chocolate

I am very comfortable eating calories in this range. I don't weigh myself (makes me crazy!) so I can only judge progress by the fit of my pants. I believe they are a little looser -- either that or I have a good imagination! Anyway, I am in this for the long run. My plan is to keep reporting till my title is Day Three Hundred Sixty Five (which will be after my cruise and my Key West vacation). Bear with me; it really helps me to share.

I went to Chase today and opened two accounts -- checking and savings -- in order to get a $500 bonus. The guy I worked with was very helpful; he completely understood about the bonus and said others were doing the same thing, even opening and closing multiple times. Not that he recommended that. Now I have to go to the credit union and get a cashier's check, and get the college to change my direct deposit. I'll take care of both of those tasks on Tuesday. So, $500 coming for my grandkids' college funds! Yay!

Afterwards I went to the grocery to buy my ten items. Actually got eleven, since I couldn't pass up the cheap bananas. Here is my list: Cat chow, salsa, tortillas, paper towels, shredded cheese, eggs, chicken breasts, strawberries, bananas, onion, bread. Total was $28. I used $2.55 in coupons, so that amount went to snowflakes.

Day Twelve

March 4th, 2016 at 12:39 am

Calories: 1410

Banana French toast sticks w/ syrup
Coffee w/ creamer
Taco salad
Popcorn
Pizza bread w/ olives & onion
1 square dark chocolate

I stayed in all day today and only spent $5 to download AdBlock. (I also downloaded Chrome so I could use it.) It's awesome! So thanks for the suggestion! I didn't realize how much all the crawling ads were bothering me.

I think I will go ahead with transferring $15K to a Discover online savings account, but I'm going to do it tomorrow when I'm fresher. I also looked over a Chase offer with a $500 bonus, but it requires opening a checking account, switching my direct deposit, and keeping the accounts open for six months. Also their interest rate is very low. I think I'd rather take a smaller bonus and keep it simpler. My aging brain is seeking less complication, not more!

Day Eleven

March 3rd, 2016 at 01:46 am

Calories: 1469

Granola w/almond milk & raisins
Coffee w/ creamer
Taco salad
1 square chocolate
Frozen yogurt
Chicken biscuit
Lettuce w/ ranch dressing
Wine

A calm and quiet day. I did a load of laundry and cleaned the fish tank. Did a lot of reading. Visited with a neighbor in the laundry room. A very typical retirement day!

Too cold to walk.

I chuckled when I got my property tax bill yesterday -- on the day it is due! Then I realized it was the duplicate I had asked for so I could keep it on file.

Got a promo from Discover offering a $100 bonus if I put $15K into a savings account. I could do it; I could take it from the EF fund. I'm mulling it over. Never had a cyber account before; I'm so old-school in some ways, and I'd rather have my EF all in one place.

I do have my new Alliant credit card in hand. I've only charged $47; I have 90 days to charge $2500. The dentist's appointment will help with that. Too bad I didn't have it for the property tax!

Day Ten

March 1st, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Calories: 1665

Food Consumed:
Yogurt w/oatmeal & blueberries
Toast w/ butter & marmalade
Peanut soup
Cornbread
Carrot strips & ranch dip
Taco salad

Calories are a bit high today, a good number for maintenance but not for dieting. So no wine or chocolate today!

The big news is I have HEAT! I can't even describe what a difference it makes in the way I feel. I have energy; I'm getting things done instead of rolled up like a burrito on the couch!

My only spending today was $1.50 for a load of laundry.

We had a snowfall, but not what they were predicting. I could have driven to the dentist today, but it's just as well that I rescheduled. I'm planning to have lunch with friends in that area, and the new date is better for them.

Happy March, everyone!