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Archive for August, 2016

Day One Hundred Ninety-Two

August 31st, 2016 at 06:15 am

Calories: 1550

Yay! The car is ready! And the total cost is less than the estimate: $4305. Now I just have to get there to pick it up. I bought an Amtrak ticket last night - $25. Unfortunately, the train only runs that way at 5:45 pm, and arrives at 9:45 pm (because of the time change.) So I'll spend the night at BFF's and pick up the car tomorrow.

I want to put the charge on my Discover card, but just in case it is too large of a charge to go through, I'm going to transfer enough $$ to my checking account as a backup. I don't see why it wouldn't go through -- I think my credit limit on Discover is quite large, and I pay off the card every month. But I don't want anything to go wrong!

I got an offer yesterday for a Chase Sapphire card - $500 bonus for spending $4K in three months. That's a nice bonus but the spending is a little high for me. I think right now I am better off curtailing my spending -- drastically, if I can!

So, in the interest of "earning" the car repair bill money, I have turned off the AC for the last couple of days. Today, I think, it will be no problem, as it is cooling off. I will pack my dinner to eat on the train, rather than buy food on the way (peanuts & raisins, probably). If I have time I will run a load of laundry at BFF's house. These are little things, but I am trying to think in terms of little things, which are mostly the ones at my disposal. I think, combined with the extra income from the museum, I can make up the difference fairly quickly if I put my mind to it.

The museum still hasn't contacted me. It's always a waiting game with them, but I assume since I have been asked if I am available, they will eventually get in touch again.

Day One Hundred Ninety-One

August 30th, 2016 at 05:42 am

Calories: 1483

I spent a quiet day at home yesterday. No spending. I didn't accomplish much, except some household tasks.

I did not hear from the museum, and I heard nothing about the car. Of course, I don't expect to hear anything about the car until this afternoon, since they will get the part today (I hope).

I was called by TIAA to participate in a focus group that would have paid $175. However, after answering a series of questions, they decided I did not fit the profile they needed. This usually happens to me on surveys and such. I don't know what it is they are looking for, but it's not me!

I don't know the final tally on my car repair yet, but when I do, I'm going to actively work on making up the deficit. One thing I've decided to do is put a cap on my college fund gifts to my grandchildren. It doesn't make sense to give all my snowflakes away, when I need to pay for unexpected expenses. I will give them $350 each, which is still above what I gave them last year.

Of course, the money I make from the museum will be a big help, but last year I made $5K altogether, and that's about what the repair will cost. I can't really count on this particular stretch of work amounting to $5K.

All that said, yes, I DO have an emergency fund! It's just that, in retirement, it is so hard to replenish an emergency fund. I don't want to just drain it away.

Day One Hundred Ninety

August 29th, 2016 at 05:52 am

Calories: 1387

I had a really pleasant day yesterday, just getting back in the groove after my little vacation. I was thinking -- I love a break in my routine, and then I love getting back in the routine!

I took a walk with my grandson and his other grandma to get frozen yogurt, which was my dinner. ($5) Then we went to the park; GS played while the grandmas talked. On the way home, I picked up a bottle of creamer ($3) at Walgreens.

I also registered for a networking event ($60).

I also did a load of laundry. ($3)

Variables spending is 20%.

I'm going to be without a car until at least Wednesday -- that's the very best case scenario. I expect it will take longer than that. And then I have to take the train down to get it. The only train leaves at 5:30 pm, so it will be a two-day event.

Meanwhile, I can't go to the gym -- not only because of transportation, but because I left my pass on the key ring which is with the car! I can't go to the grocery, but I have enough to make do, and Walgreens is near enough in case I really need something. So I'm just going to enjoy this time until life gets back to normal. I have a stack of books to get through, after all!

I expect I will hear from the museum today with more details about what they need from me. I am hoping that it won't be such a hassle getting on the payroll again, since I've been on it before. I am also hoping they don't need me to actually come in immediately, because that will mean more public transportation.

Days One Hundred Eighty-Five to One Hundred Eighty-Nine

August 28th, 2016 at 08:25 am

No calorie counts to report. Not because I didn't eat, but because I didn't count.

My little vacation in Indiana was great, but disastrous in one way -- car trouble. Basically, my transmission went out.

I was faced with the decision to repair or buy a new car. I didn't feel ready in any way to buy a new car, so I decided to repair, even though the repair is a little more than the retail value of the car. The truth is that right now, while I'm in my lean years, I would rather spend $5K than $15K, and I'm gambling that the car will last without any more major repairs until 2019, when my income will go up and I will feel more secure financially. I know many others would make the decision the other way, but this is what feels right to me.

So the car is in Indiana. I took the train home, and I'll take the train back when the repair is done. They had to order a part (ironically, from Chicago), and don't expect to get it until Tuesday.

I am hoping I will earn enough from the museum to pay for the repair. If not, I will make up the deficit in other ways. I want to maintain my net worth.

Before that little bomb fell, I was having a good time on my vacation. My BFF and I did some eating out, and we hit THREE Goodwills! We both love treasure-hunting at Goodwill, so it was great fun. And we went to see Florence Foster Jenkins, which was very well-done and quite touching.

My vacation costs were $72, which counted food, movie, and transportation. At Goodwill, I spent $26 on gifts, $35 on clothing, $18 on household things, and $4 on books. My most exciting purchases were the clothing -- I got some nice pieces for the cruise (where you have to dress for dinner), some workout wear, and new jeans and capris. All a size smaller than what I was wearing before.

We made our eating out dollars stretch. We had gift cards to use up, and ordered meals that gave us leftovers to eat at home.

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster. I was scheduled to take the train to Chicago at 7:30 in the morning, but the train didn't come until 10:30. It had hit a tree that fell over the tracks in a storm, and the engine was damaged. When I finally got to Chicago, I had to wait for two more hours for a train home. I was so, so tired, but a good night's sleep restored me.

This morning I did my August recap:

Housing: 677
Home Repair/Maintenance: 200
Utilities: 144
Vacation/Travel: 110 (that was my Michigan vacation)
Groceries: 84
Household Supplies: 81
Eating Out: 69
Gas: 57
Phone: 52
Entertainment: 51
Medical/Health: 39
Gifts/Charity: 24
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: 14
Laundry: 11
Car Repair/Maintenance: 7
Fares/Parking: 6
Grand Total: 1626

Day One Hundred Eighty-Four

August 24th, 2016 at 05:51 am

Calories: 1329

I had a lovely dinner in the city with E; it cost me $20, plus $2 for a train ticket. Next time I take the train, I'm going to have to put some money in my account, so that's another September expense coming up.

I'm getting ready to go to Indiana for three days with my BFF. I expect there will be a little spending. I moved this trip up by one day so I can be home on Saturday morning for my grandson's first fall ball game.

I bought fuel injector cleaner yesterday for $6 -- can't tell yet if it's made a difference, since it has to mix into the gas in the tank. I'll know by the time I get to Indiana!

I got an email yesterday from my boss at the museum -- they need more work! So I'll have a little extra income again -- we won't talk till Monday though, to figure out the details.

Today is payday, and I've paid my mortgage and credit cards. I won't do my August recap, though, until I get home again. I can report, though, that variables spending came in at 90%, and that's including the dinner last night! The clock starts over today!

I'll check in again with you guys when I get home on Saturday.

Day One Hundred Eighty-Three

August 23rd, 2016 at 05:37 am

Calories: 1698

The calories above reflect the free meals I got at the College -- all kinds of stuff I shouldn't have had! But I did take plenty of fruit as well.

I skipped dinner entirely, having maxed out my calories. I realized that I was following the pattern of Intermittent Fasting, which Dido (?) mentioned yesterday. I did all my eating within eight hours. I've been kind of unconsciously following that pattern, because I so often do finish up my calorie count rather early in the day. It's not too uncomfortable, but I think ideally I would rather spread out the calorie count through the day, rather than feast and fast. But I think I'll read up more about it. It might be good for maintenance, once I reach a weight I'm satisfied with.

My car is hesitating upon acceleration. It may be that I got bad gas. Or the fuel injectors may be clogged or going bad. Anyway, I'll start out by getting a fuel injector cleaner. I can do that today; there's an auto parts store right by the gym.

Today IHOP is serving $1 short stacks. I think I may indulge. I know I have been kind of an IHOP hog lately, but the calorie count for a short stack really isn't too bad. It just doesn't offer much food value.

The $1 collected will go to a charity.

I'll survey the parking lot first -- if it looks like the place is jammed, I'll probably pass.

Meeting my friend E. tonight for dinner. She has selected a tavern in the station complex where I used to transfer. Should be easy to get to. I'm really looking forward to seeing her again; it's been a long time!

Day One Hundred Eighty-Two

August 22nd, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Calories: 1472

I just got back from a half-day at the College from which I retired last year. They were having their annual opening breakfast, which featured a talk by the new President. I found out when I got there that they were also having an all-day team-building retreat as well. I was urged to stay for a couple of the sessions and then for lunch. So I got two free meals today! And the sessions I went to were pretty interesting. It was nice to be an interested, but not involved, participant. And it was good to see old workmates. They seemed so happy to see me, which felt really good.

I learned that the College did away with contributions to faculty/staff retirement funds just after I left. This is on top of freezing wages. I knew they were discussing it. I'm glad I got out when I did.

On the way home I had a powerful craving for a milk shake which I gave in to. $3. I also bought gas - $20. Variables spending is 83%. Just fine, since pay day is Wednesday.

Since the breakfast was so early, I didn't go to the gym this morning. I can still do it later on, since the gym is open 24/7, and I may. I'll be spending three days this week at BFF's house, so I won't get in any gym time then.

It has really cooled down, and I am enjoying a cool breeze coming in the windows. The AC can take a rest. In fact, it's perfect napping weather!

Day One Hundred Eighty-One

August 21st, 2016 at 08:17 am

Calories: 1549

Just got back from the gym, where I did my treadmill and abs. Joining this gym is one of the best decisions I've ever made -- it makes exercise so easy, and I feel so much better. And it gets me out of the house every day, which improves my outlook for the whole day!

I bought $10 worth of gas yesterday in anticipation of my trip tomorrow to the western suburbs. Then I'll top off the tank when I get there, where the gas is so much cheaper. The breakfast I'm attending starts at 7:30, which means I'll need to be on the road by 6:30 at the latest! Yikes, I used to do this every day, but now it seems daunting.

I'm going to try not to spend any more money before pay day on Wednesday, other than for dinner with my friend E. on Tuesday night. Even after pay day I think I will try to hold off on groceries. I'm going to Indiana to visit BFF Wednesday through Friday, so it would make more sense to get groceries when I come back.

That said, the food situation is getting a little challenging. Not that I'll starve, but I'm having to be a little creative. For instance, yesterday, tired of eating spaghetti, I turned the remaining spaghetti sauce into chili. It wasn't bad, though I would never enter it in a chili contest!

I'm out of fresh vegetables/fruits and bread (but I do have frozen vegetables and end pieces of bread in the freezer).

I thawed a whole pack of burgers yesterday. Didn't really want to, but they were all stuck together, so I couldn't thaw one at a time, like I was planning. (They came this way from the store, with no wax paper or anything between the burgers -- I know better than to freeze burgers in one big stack). I cooked four of them, ate one in a bun, and froze the other three. Today I'll do the same, so I'll have six cooked burgers in the freezer. They'll be easy for lunches, though not as tasty as fresh-cooked burgers.

My trip to visit lakeside lighthouses with SIL has been canceled. Her schedule got too crowded. I'm just as glad -- not that I wouldn't have enjoyed it, but it would have been another September expense that I didn't need. I have two birthdays in September, a conference/workshop to attend, a dentist and doctor appointment, and I'm due for an oil change and a haircut. I'm sure there are other things that I'm just not thinking of!

Day One Hundred Eighty

August 20th, 2016 at 06:59 am

Calories: 1321

I was just getting ready to go the gym, when the skies opened and rain came pouring down. So I guess I'll wait till it clears a little. No reason to get soaked, when I can easily wait.

Other than a load of laundry, I didn't do much of anything yesterday. Financially, I'm in a holding pattern till payday on Wednesday. However, I am concerned about how low my gas tank is getting. I don't think I should chance taking an hour drive on Monday without getting gas first. So I think I'll just get a little bit today, and then do the big fill-up when I go to my old work town on Monday, where the gas is so much cheaper. Variables spending is still 79%, so I'm doing okay, even with that $200 charge for washing windows at the beginning of this budget cycle.

EDIT: I almost forgot -- I did one frugal activity yesterday -- or non-activity. It was peak savings day -- a two-hour period in which to dramatically reduce electrical usage. I turned everything off -- AC, lights, TV, appliances, etc. I just lay on my bed and dozed and read by natural light. Soon I will get a text telling me how much I saved, which will be a credit on my next bill.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Nine

August 19th, 2016 at 06:34 am

Calories: 1529

I seem to be naturally gravitating toward 1500-1600 calories a day. This seems to be my comfort level. I eat food I like and I don't go hungry -- my two requirements for a diet! Of course, it is not fast. But that is better, anyway, for the body. And I do burn around 120 calories a day in the gym, except for the strength-training days, when I assume I burn very little.

I did a little extra calorie-burning yesterday, though. When I was preparing to go out to lunch, my son called and asked if he could use my car. He had to appear in traffic court, and my DIL took their car on vacation. No biggie, I could take the El to lunch. But when I got downtown (this time MY downtown, not the big city) I was disoriented and walked the wrong way. I eventually doubled back, but I probably spent 20-25 minutes walking. Then, when I took the train home, I got off at the wrong station! Which meant another 15 minutes of walking. It was a little hot for all that walking, but it was good for me.

Lunch was great, and only $7. Good to see old friends, too.

Variables spending is at 79%. But there is spending coming up. I'm going to the College's opening breakfast on Monday, which is free, but it means I'll have to fill up the tank. (Which I also like to do, when I go to a more distant suburb, for the lower cost per gallon). On Tuesday I am scheduled to meet a friend for dinner in downtown Chicago. For that I'll travel on the El, but the meal won't be cheap. However, I can probably legitimately count the meal in next month's cycle, as the charge to the credit card won't post till Wednesday.

Reminder about variables spending -- this is the amount I allow myself to spend after subtracting $$ for fixed bills and for savings. The savings are for the EF and large semiannual bills. I can spend 100% of my variables spending and still be on track, but if I come in under, I have extra savings to celebrate!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Eight

August 18th, 2016 at 08:27 am

Calories: 1594

Just got back from the gym. No shopping planned today, but I will be going out to lunch with friends at Naf Naf grill. Looks like I can get a chicken shawarma sandwich for under $10.

Yesterday, no sooner did I say that I didn't need to pick up any necessities, than I cleaned the litter box with the last baggie. So I had to buy a box of small trash bag liners - $3.

I am still disgruntled that I have to buy them at all -- plastic bags have been outlawed in my suburb and the city of Chicago, but I really depended on them for throwing out used cat litter. I wonder if the whole scheme hasn't backfired, because businesses are now giving out much heavier, reusable plastic bags that are probably worse for the environment than the thin ones were.

I also did a $1.50 load of laundry yesterday.

Got an email that the replacements for the shoes I bought in Georgia, which I had to exchange (by mail) for a larger size, are in the mail today. I'm so relieved; for a while there the company had both my shoes and my money, and they were not responding to my emails. (Turned out they were having problems with the "contact us" email on the website.) I got a nice apology from the manager for the lapse in communication. Now I'm really looking forward to my "new" shoes.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Seven

August 17th, 2016 at 07:25 am

Calories: 1506

It turned out my DIL had a job interview yesterday, so she didn't leave for her trip till afterwards. Meanwhile, I took the boys to the park.

When she asked me to babysit, I said sure, and then went into action cleaning up the house -- which really needed it. Then she said she wanted me to take them to the park so they could run off some energy. Ha! So I cleaned the house for nothing! Well, I will enjoy it, and it did need to be done.

Spending yesterday was $17 for TP, and another $17 to join the family football pool this year. My "fee" was lower than usual because I had winnings last year that rolled over. I generally don't win anything, as I am very unknowledgable about football, but I do enjoy being in touch with the family.

Variables spending is at 76%. There is nothing I have to buy today. I've got enough creamer to get me through tomorrow, so it's not needed yet!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Six

August 16th, 2016 at 06:27 am

Calories: 1489

Very quiet day yesterday. I did my gym session and went home. Did not do much except a lot of reading.

We were supposed to have rain and storms, which did not really materialize, but a nice cooling front came through. I turned off the AC.

My stipend from the College went into the bank. It is going into the Chase account that I opened in order to earn a bonus, so it is kind of out of sight and out of mind. Eventually it will be a great help to me in my gap year.

I've been eating food from the freezer. Today I took out a large container of spaghetti sauce to thaw, so I see pasta in my future!

Yesterday was a no-spend day, and I would try to make today one as well, but I have to buy TP on the way home from the gym! I've decided I will only buy necessary items as I run out of them until payday. There is a grocery store almost right next to the gym, so I won't be going out of my way. Today it is TP, tomorrow it will probably be creamer. I'm very low on bread, too, but I have biscuits, tortillas, crescent rolls and buns, so I obviously have plenty of carbs and can make do!

My grandsons and DIL are leaving on a trip out east today, so things will continue to be quiet for me!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Five

August 15th, 2016 at 06:00 am

Calories: 1656

I went out with my grandsons and their other grandma yesterday -- lunch and then a street fair. I only spent $3, as the other grandma picked up the lunch tab (I paid the tip) and the street fair activities were free. I also picked up a lot of free stuff -- including two tote bags, a water bottle, and a mini-fan!

The downside is that standing for so long really did a number on my legs and hips. I was awake a long time last night before the pain finally abated enough so that I could drift off. Gotta solve this....

Nine days left in this budget cycle, and I have 28% of my money left. But I have two lunches out scheduled, as well as a trip to the western suburbs. I don't want to dial back on my activities, just be mindful of the pace my money trickles out....

I found the too-small bras I had put away, and I can wear them now! My drawer is suddenly packed! But this is good, as I am changing bras more often now that I am working out almost every day. So far I have only gotten rid of one that was too big. I've also gotten rid of a couple pairs of pants and T-shirts, and several pairs of capris are going to be donated at the end of the season. When the season changes, I am going to open up the bins of too-small clothes to see what I can wear.

My DIL is urging me to buy new clothes for the cruise in January. But I plan to still be losing weight, so I don't want to buy anything now. I think a lot of the clothes that have been put away will seem new. Anyway, I don't plan to buy new clothes -- I think, for my DIL, that's just part of the excitement of the trip for her.

Off to the gym -- treadmill today!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Four

August 14th, 2016 at 06:42 am


I bought $6 worth of free food yesterday with MyMixx virtual coupons -- a jar of peanuts and a jar of peanut butter. The peanut butter was supposed to be maple or cinnamon flavored, but other customers had cleared the shelves of those. I checked three stores, ending up at my home store. I talked to customer service there, and they nicely substituted a jar of regular peanut butter in the same brand. It never hurts to ask!

I bought a cheeseburger lunch at M Burger for $7 -- delicious! I don't regret the occasional lunch out when hunger strikes. I just try to get something I really enjoy. And it fit into my day, calorie-wise.

My other purchase was a book of stickers for my granddaughter -- $4. I'll use them to decorate the letters I send her.

I found two pennies, pushing me over the $75 mark in found money. Woo-hoo! Next milestone -- $100!

Day One Hundred Seventy-Three

August 13th, 2016 at 08:01 am

Calories: 1940

Well, good thing the day before was low, because yesterday was high. I really didn't try to rein it in at all; in fact, I wasn't even going to count, but just call it a cheat day. But in the end, I counted, just to know.

It was the day after my birthday, but it was the day I did my birthday eating. My grandson accompanied me for lunch at IHOP, and the whole family for dinner at Gulliver's, a local pizza restaurant. My spending for the day was $13 at IHOP, since my grandson didn't treat. Smile

It was both hot and rainy. I had a sleepless night because my legs started hurting and feeling jumpy, which was really irritating. The more tired I get the worse it is, making the solution -- sleep -- impossible.

So I slept in this morning, till 9:30, which is very unusual. That breaks up my usual routine -- by now I would be done with Planet Fitness -- but I am still waking up. I will get there.

Next thing on the calendar is lunch with friends next Thursday at Naf Naf Grill.

Variables spending is at 70% with 11 more days to go till the budget resets.

Today's chores, besides the gym, are to do a load of laundry and wash the floors. Oh, and I need to go to Jewel and pick up two MyMixx freebies -- flavored peanut butter and dry-roasted peanuts.

Day One Hundred Seventy-Two

August 12th, 2016 at 08:14 am

Calories: 1034

Doesn't seem like the calorie count should be so low. I ate some trail mix that was very filling, but it was only 360, so I guess the total count is correct. It felt indulgent!

My evening at the Art Institute was great, though short. I wished I could have seen more. On the other hand, since I was with a group of younger people, I wasn't able to go at my own pace. Lots of stairs, no sitting, walking from one end of the building to the other instead of moseying through. So it's a good thing it was short, I wouldn't have lasted on my feet any longer! I had to take Advil before bed, because my legs were aching.

I was able to take the purple line all the way there and back, with only a short two-block walk to the museum. The purple line is safer than the red line, so that was a relief. Unfortunately, the purple line doesn't run as regularly as the red line.

I spent nothing at all!

Today I'm going to pick up GS2 after his morning Minecraft camp and take him to IHOP. I'll use my free short stack coupon.

GS1 comes back from his week-long camping experience today. I'm sure he will be tired and smelly. (Since the camp pictures show him wearing the same outfit for days). If he's not too tired we will all go out to dinner tonight for my birthday, but I have made it clear I am okay with getting together later. I remember coming home from camp and only wanting to sleep.

On another note, I hate it when my frugality backfires! I have been hand-washing my bras for quite a while now, and just noticed that the hooks and eyes are rusting on some of them! (And the rust is staining the fabric.) I never even thought about rust so I haven't been too careful -- letting them soak a long time, and hanging them up while they're still pretty wet. So disheartening. One of them is a favorite. Now I know I will eventually be replacing them all as I lose weight, but I'm not ready to do that yet.

I did put away some bras that I outgrew at one point, so I'll see if I can find them and if I can fit into them now.

Day One Hundred Seventy-One

August 11th, 2016 at 09:11 am

Calories: 1464

And it's my birthday! I got a nice set of books from my Florida son & DIL yesterday. It is a set of two novels by Fredrik Backman. I don't know anything about him, but my DIL always does a good job of picking out books for me.

My local son and DIL are still planning a birthday get-together. DIL left it in son's hands -- always a mistake. Smile He's very sweet, but planning is not his thing.

My visit to the Art Institute, which will happen later today, is an insider's tour. It has been organized for the board that I used to serve on, but as an emeritus member I am also invited. (I'm also still a member of the association). I'm looking forward to it, but not to the trip downtown. It's HOT, and there have been reports of robberies on the El's red line, which I will have to take home. Makes me nervous, though it should be safe at 6 pm. The robberies have occurred late at night.

I am not nervous enough to pay $30-40 for parking.

I finally figured out how to chat with tech support at Kaspersky, and they gave me a scenario of how to solve my problem, but after going through the process several times, with no better result, I gave up. I downloaded a free internet security program called Avira, which I was able to do with no problem. I'll have to remember to cancel Kaspersky before they renew next April.

I looked up some Yoga sessions on my in-demand TV station, and I tried to follow along on one that was free. It was too advanced, and I overdid it. (Ouch!) I think I just need to start out with some simple stretching and forget about the yoga, at least until I get more limber. That's probably enough, along with the walking/bicycling and strength-training I'm doing at Planet Fitness.

I have received happy birthday messages from several old friends, as well as my man friend, who remembered it out of the blue without any prompting or hinting from me. So I guess I won't give up on him altogether! Smile

Day One Hundred Seventy

August 10th, 2016 at 07:33 am

Calories: 1439

Just got back from the gym. I was going to stop for breakfast at IHOP -- I got another coupon for a free short stack -- but my stomach wasn't feeling great and I decided to pass.

More computer problems. On the advice of the technician at Office Depot, I tried to run my Kaspersky software. Much to my surprise, I couldn't even find it on my computer, even though I renewed and updated in April. Then I found it on a list of removed apps, a result of the cleanup that was done by Office Depot a few weeks ago. After reading up a bit, I learned that Kasperksy's previous version (the one I had) doesn't work with Windows 10, which may be the reason it was removed, so I tried to download the new version. Multiple times. I kept getting a error message, kept having to restart, on and on. The message implicated that my computer may be infected, but I ran the anti-virus scan they suggested and nothing popped up that was even questionable.

Kaspersky's "technical support" seems to be all online, just FAQ's and that sort of thing. I couldn't find a number to call. I did online-chat with a sales rep, but she could only refer me to the tech page, which was no help at all.

I hate going without internet security, especially when I've paid for it. So I guess it's back to the shop. Or try again to find human help from Kaspersky.

Maybe I should let it go and download something free. I've heard there are good programs out there -- any suggestions?

Back to health -- I tried out some of the poses in a yoga book (which I trash-picked months ago). It is a good book; the poses are very clearly and thoroughly described, but I have to keep looking back at the book and turning the page, thus breaking the rhythm. A video would be better, a class even better than that. But classes around here are expensive, and my budget is already stretched. I guess the frugal thing to do is to just memorize the sequence of movements -- maybe make flash cards, or something.

I do think yoga would be helpful for my stiffness and joint problems.

Financial news -- yesterday was a no-spend day!

Tomorrow I go downtown to the Art Institute, but my El ride is prepaid, admission is free (because a former colleague is leading the tour), and I'll carry a snack. So something that could have been very expensive is basically free.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Nine

August 9th, 2016 at 09:38 am

Calories: 1541

I did two loads of laundry yesterday for $3. My only spending.

Today I got my annual mammogram and had to pay $3.50 for parking.

But I got a free breakfast at Planet Fitness! They serve bagels and cream cheese for breakfast on the second Tuesday of the month. There was orange juice and coffee, too.

My friend had to cancel dinner tonight, so we rescheduled it for two weeks from today. I'm just as glad. That will put the dinner so late in this budget cycle that I can count it on the next.

Yesterday my computer went blank while I was working on it, so I took it to Office Depot. They got it going again and checked it over. Couldn't determine what made it do that. I didn't want to pay for the diagnosis, since it was working, so fingers crossed it was just a glitch.

He did suggest I run the virus protector program, which I will do. I used to get prompts to do that, but I haven't had one in a while.

Anyway, I was all braced to have to buy a new computer, so I feel like I got a reprieve!

I applied and was accepted yesterday as an election judge, which means I will get paid $175 a day for working at polling places. I guess I am in a pool of judges, just have to wait to hear about training and assignments. Hope I get assigned, I figure it's an easy thing to do while I am not working.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight

August 8th, 2016 at 08:20 am

Calories: 1026!

Did I miss something? Did I count wrong? Just good choices, I guess!

Yesterday GS2 earned his yellow-stripe belt for Tae Kwan Do. He was as nervous as if he were taking the SAT's, but he did fine. He even broke a board with his hand -- not required for the belt, but he did it!

After the ceremony I went to the gym, then came home and had a lazy, no-spend day.

I did my strength training at the gym this morning, and I'll do some laundry this afternoon.

Tomorrow will be busy. I have to get a mammogram in the morning, and at 5:30 I'll be meeting a friend downtown for dinner. We haven't selected the place yet, but wherever it is, it will mean a ride on the El. It will mean a little spending, too.

On Thursday, which is my birthday, I'll go downtown again, for a private tour at the Art Institute, arranged by one of my board friends.

Good times!

Day One Hundred Sixty-Seven

August 7th, 2016 at 08:41 am

Calories: 1680

I don't know why sometimes when I eat more than 1600 calories, I'm still starving, and sometimes when I eat 1400 calories, I'm just fine. Yesterday was a hungry day, which lasted late into the night. I didn't give in and eat even more, though, and I'm glad I'm starting fresh today.

This morning I was part of the group that sent my older grandson off to camp. His first time -- he'll be gone for a week! He was super-excited and also a little teary. But he had a couple of buddies with him, and he'll be fine.

Later today I'll go to my younger grandson's belt promotion test for Tae Kwan Do. I sure hope he gets that yellow belt he's dreaming of!

I found a penny today at the send-off, and that prompts me to say -- look how close I am to $75! One more penny. $75 is the next milestone, which I have been seeking for a while.

I picked up two free food items yesterday after the gym -- a free piece of birthday cake from Corner Bakery and free low-cal fruit pops from Jewel. I've already eaten the cake, which I am sure contributed to my hunger yesterday! But it was good.

No spending yesterday at all, and I don't think I will spend anything today either.

It's already getting hot, so after a couple days of not using the AC, it's going on again later. But that reminds me, I earned a $2.30 snowflake for reducing my usage during the last peak savings day. (I was actually on vacation, so it was easy!) I'm doing well on snowflakes -- earned $129 since July 1! $49 for ordering free OTC items from OTC-Essentials, $16.77 in a class action settlement, $9.12 from Discover cash back, and the rest was coupons, promos, and found change. To date, the grandchildren are receiving $450 each in college money this Christmas.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Six

August 6th, 2016 at 05:32 am

Calories: 1660

It's always hard to cut back the first day after vacation. I hope I will do better today.

The movie yesterday ("Nine Lives") cost $22 for tickets and $8 for drinks. I did bring a bag of mini cookies to handle requests for snacks. Got free parking with a validated ticket.

Variables spending is at 67%. Oy!

I do think it will be another low month for grocery spending, though. The freezer is still well-stocked with food I've already prepared.

I need a haircut and my car needs an oil change, but I will put off both of those till next month's budget.

My BFF wants me to come down to visit next weekend. She knows my budget isn't doing great this month and promises low-cost fun. We'll see. The gas alone would be $25, and it would be more prudent to just stay put the rest of the month -- but I also hate to pass up good times. This is what retirement is all about.

My cousin and sister both sent me emails urging me to come to NC. I think I can manage it in September or October, and BFF may come too. Right now more traveling doesn't sound too tempting, but I know it will later!

Day One Hundred Sixty-Two to One Hundred Sixty-Five

August 5th, 2016 at 08:28 am

I did not track my calories during this time. It was clear from the get-go that it wasn't going to happen. I was on vacation, and I ate like I was on vacation. But I don't think I entirely pigged out.

I did keep track of spending, though. My little trip to Michigan cost $113. $24 of that was for gas, $20 was for a ticket to a minor league baseball game, $9 for stadium food, $20 for hostess gift, $8 for road food, $16 for groceries, and $13 for eating out. I felt like I was spending a lot of money, so I hope I didn't forget anything. Oh yes, I spent $3 to purchase an audiobook which was on sale at Cracker Barrel.

The grandkids, especially, had a wonderful time. My brother and sister-in-law were very generous with their time and the use of their boat and pool, so the kids were in the water or on the water most of the time. The baseball game -- West Michigan Whitecaps vs. the Dayton Dragons -- was a big hit with GS1.

I got very tired, myself. It was hot, and I didn't sleep well, and I was probably eating too much of the wrong things, and not getting my exercise. It is good to be home. I've already been to the gym and feel like I'm back on track.

This afternoon I'm taking the boys to see "Nine Lives."

And now I'm going to catch up on your blogs!

Day One Hundred Sixty-One

August 1st, 2016 at 07:17 am

Calories: 1491

Hah! Just accidentally deleted my post! Well, I'm almost on my way. Did my strength training, got breakfast at IHOP (free short stack, but coffee & tip came to $5.) Now I'll get on the road.

I'll post again when I come back, but I'll keep track of calories and expenses!

Here I come, surf and sun!