<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: January, 2017
 

Archive for January, 2017

Property Tax

January 31st, 2017 at 09:50 am

Not much to report, but I did get my property tax bill and already sent in the check. It was $970. It's a good feeling to just be able to do that. The second payment -- in the summer -- should be lower; my total bill should be somewhere around $1750.

My variables so far are at about 26%. I do plan to make a stop at Aldi today after work/gym.

Planning to meet friend K for lunch at a Greek restaurant on Friday, and then I'll go down to Indiana to spend the weekend with BFF. So there will be some spending ahead, but nothing extravagant.

Sunday Afternoon (in the Home of CB)

January 30th, 2017 at 04:26 am

It was a nice, quiet Sunday. In the afternoon, I went to the library and checked out a book and an audiobook; also bought two books at the book sale ($2). Then I stopped on the way home to get my hair cut ($16).

My grandson came over briefly in the evening because they had a "ketchup emergency" so I filled a small container and sent it back with him. Would have just given him the bottle, but it's HUGE. Since I always go for the cheapest unit price.

I finished my challenging puzzle. It was a copy of the Seurat painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Even though it was only 500 pieces, the pointillistic style made the pieces very hard to distinguish from one another. Still, I enjoyed the process, and it's satisfying to have it done. I'll look at it a few days and then start another.

The weather has turned colder and snowier. I may have a longer commute this morning. I'm glad I filled up so I won't be worrying about stretching my gas.

My Florida son's birthday is coming up. I think I will just send him a check, since they are always struggling. For Christmas, I got him some bulbs for their outdoor spotlights, which I didn't think was very exciting, but it's what he had on his list. With cash, he can get anything he wants, or put it in the family budget, if it needs a boost.

My Miscellaneous Income statement came from the museum, so I can start on my taxes. I didn't dive in this weekend. I may work on it this week, if I'm not too tired after work. Today I'm going to babysit for a few hours after school, so that's all I'll get done today!

Girlfriend Lunch

January 29th, 2017 at 05:00 am

My girlfriend lunch was pretty much the whole day -- I left at 9 in the morning to drive to K's house, and we drove together to the restaurant, where we met B at 1:30 (she was late -- whizzed past the exit.) I got home at 5. And I was so tired I didn't do much before bed.

Lunch was $33, and mostly delicious, though my entree -- meatloaf -- was a disappointment. Meatloaf can be very good or very bad. It wasn't very bad, just eh. Nevetheless, I brought some home to pack in a lunch, and I also brought home my veggies and some cornbread. I'll use the veggies in soup today.

Obviously, we had a great time, because we talked so long. We had a table right next to the fireplace -- with a real fire -- it was very cozy.

We made plans for a trip together -- very much scaled down from the original idea, which is fine with me. We will go to Madison, Indiana, which is on the Ohio border, and stay in the state park lodge. Madison is a charming old town with good restaurants and antique shops; lots of beautiful nineteenth-century architecture. If we get a hankering for city pleasures, Louisville and Cincinnati are not far away. Now we just need to firm up the dates. K and B are much busier than I am, so they will decide.

Before I set off in the morning, I did laundry and went to the grocery, where I spent $38. I'll probably do more shopping today at a different store when I go to the gym. I'll get gas, too.

Car Repair

January 27th, 2017 at 04:58 pm

Well, I feel like I'm working just to pay for car repairs. This time it cost $975. The master switch assembly had to be replaced; they also cleaned two drains and did an evaporator flush. I declined a tune-up; that can wait.

I also paid $8 to replenish the gas I used today.

The loaner was a beauty! A 2017 RAV4 -- they certainly know how to entice someone who is struggling with an old car. But I'm not buying a new car. Actually, even after I switched back to my own car, I felt like it still ran pretty good.

I woke up VERY early this morning, and now I'm coming to the end of a long day. I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow I'm meeting my girlfriends in Indiana for lunch. This get-together has been rescheduled twice; it was supposed to happen before Christmas! I'm looking forward to seeing them and exchanging gifts. I'm also really looking forward to the lunch -- it's supposed to be a good restaurant!

Low-Spend Day, and Delay on Car Repair

January 26th, 2017 at 04:32 pm

Spent just .71 today on coffee.

After work I went to the service center and actually talked to the very same person who handled my car repair last time. He convinced me to come back tomorrow morning so that I can have a loaner. That way I can still go to work while the car is getting worked on. Nice to know I have that option. I hope they won't be upset about the length of my commute; I probably should have told them. Oh well, I will certainly fill the tank before I return the car.

Just hope the car will be repaired without too much $$ and time. I am committed to going to Indiana on Saturday to meet my girlfriends for lunch. It's been canceled and rescheduled twice already; can't do it again.

It will be fun to drive a newer car tomorrow! I hope it doesn't make me long for one of my own.

Doctor Visit

January 26th, 2017 at 04:42 am

My visit at the doctor was great! Not just because it only cost $5, either! He verified that my kidneys are doing well; the creatine number is actually a little better, which is unusual; it's usually a steady downgrade. We talked about diet, and he verified that I don't have to worry about "kidney recipes" at this point -- they are for people on dialysis -- and I should just eat a wide variety of healthy foods. He did warn me not to go on an all-protein diet, which I wouldn't do anyway.

I do have to go back and get more blood drawn, as my cholesterol level wasn't checked, and that needs to be done because it hasn't been checked since I switched statins. That was just a miscommunication with the doctor who was covering for him.

I've decided to go in to work today and take my car to the shop tomorrow, if I can get an appointment. It's operable, just annoying, and needs to be fixed before it gets worse.

Spending yesterday: Aside from the $5 doctor visit, I spent $2 on parking, $20 at the grocery store, $5 for after-school snacks with my grandson, and $1 for a toy from Goodwill.

The dark cloud is that C met with her oncologist yesterday. DIL did not offer a lot of details, but said that she is turning down chemo that would make her sick, because it would only extend her life by two months. (She is going to get other chemo.) This sounds so dire; I can't bear to think about it.

DIL said she had a wonderful day with her mother yesterday, opening up and talking about many things they had never discussed before, and it was a very loving and sharing time.

I am still hoping for a miracle. Sometimes I can't be a realist.

Did It!

January 25th, 2017 at 05:46 am

I had a no-spend day yesterday, and I ended my January pay cycle with only 96% of my variables budget spent. I'm proud of this, because my variables included $461 for vacation expenses.

It was a short month, since I didn't start counting until Jan. 1 (instead of my payday, which fell in December.) So it did not include my mortgage or assessment fees, or even utilities -- all of that was paid in December. Plus, since I was away from home until the 10th or so, my regular expenses were low.

Here is how it fell out:

Vacation/Travel: 461
Insurance: 335
Phone: 52
Gas: 49
Groceries: 46
Gifts/Charity: 43
Medical/Health: 38
Eating Out: 32
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: 31
Vet/Pet Supplies: 18
Clothing: 12
Laundry: 11
Household Supplies: 2
Fares/Parking: 2
Grand Total: 1132

Doubt that I'll be able to match this again!

This morning I paid my mortgage, my credit cards, and an outstanding medical bill.

I'm going to the doctor later on, but that will only cost $5. (I will be billed, however, for the labs I had done last week.)

After school, I will pick up my grandsons, and we'll probably go somewhere for a treat.

I'm probably going to take tomorrow off as well as today, so I can take the car to the shop. I can't do it today, as I have to have it available.

This morning I made myself silver dollar blueberry pancakes, which I served with Kerrygold butter and pure maple syrup. Yum. These little treats get me through.

Checking In

January 24th, 2017 at 05:33 am

It's time to go to work, but I wanted to check in.

I spent $7 yesterday, on a valentine card and food at the museum. My variables budget is 96% spent (if I've estimated correctly). Just have to get through today, and if I don't spend, I've come in under.

My car is acting up with an old problem. The power locks aren't working. That itself wouldn't be such a problem, but it's an electrical problem and might affect other things. The problem comes from water coming in somewhere and pooling on the floor. It's been fixed before -- two times, the last time about a year ago. Sigh.

My computer is a little wonky lately, too. Yesterday I was putting in an entry and the internet just disappeared. I didn't get it back until this morning.

So I'm a little worried that big expenses are coming up. I don't want to clean out my savings before my gap year.

Well, that's it! I'm on the road again!

Have to Make This Quick

January 22nd, 2017 at 04:05 pm

Mercy Street is restarting tonight! I want to watch the last episode of season one so I will be up to speed.

I bought gas today for $23. My variables spending is at 95%. I have to buy a valentine tomorrow for my granddaughter, because I promised I would send one for her school valentine box. So there will be a little more spending.

I got one of my December checks from the museum today. They still owe me another one.

I'm still waiting for my tax form from the museum -- it's not a W-2, can't remember what it's called. Also waiting for the statement from TIAA. So I'm not going to be one of the early filers.

I finished hemming my pants today. I started a jigsaw puzzle. I went to the gym. I made migas for breakfast. It's been a good day.

People Before Money

January 21st, 2017 at 04:20 pm

That's what Suze Orman says, and that's what I was operating on today. Despite my plan to spend as close to nothing as possible, I went out to breakfast with C and DIL and my grandson. It just felt right. We need to treasure these good times.

Also spent about $1.50 on parking. I'm not sure, because my grandson kept shoving in coins from my coin purse before I could count them, but we ended up with about an hour and a half in time, so I assume we spent $1.50.

I planned to go to the gym this evening, but it's not going to happen. I WILL do it in the morning.

I was very domestic today. I baked molasses cookies, which I froze in individual baggies for my lunches, and I worked on shortening a pair of pants I bought at Goodwill some time ago. I'm going to double hem them, and I'm about halfway done. I'll finish them tomorrow. So, baking and sewing, very home ec, right? I also really scrubbed my stovetop, which never looks very clean, but at least it looks better.

Grandson's basketball game was very exciting. A win for us! That's why we had the celebration breakfast.

Unfortunately, my son couldn't come because he has strep throat. I am so hoping I don't come down with it. I've finally conqurered the cough from my last cold -- I don't want more illness. But I do think I kissed him the other day....

It's Friday

January 20th, 2017 at 02:30 pm

I haven't even had a long week -- only three days of work -- but I'm glad it's Friday.

My boss treated me to coffee and a scone this morning, so it would be a no-spend day today, except that I just put in a load of laundry.

I got my test results. Most of it means nothing to me. There was only one comment from the doctor -- CR improved. I think that means creatine level is improved, which is good; that would mean improved kidney function. I can see offhand that potassium and sodium are high, but still within normal ranges. Same with glucose. I guess I'll learn more when I actually see the doctor on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the plan for this weekend is to keep my spending down to a bare minimum. I haven't got the gas yet -- I can do that on Sunday, before I go back to work. The only household thing that is in danger of running out is toilet paper! I have two rolls. Hmmmm. At least they're BIG rolls. Smile

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Waiting for Pay Day

January 19th, 2017 at 03:14 pm

My day at home yesterday was pretty quiet. And, other than a $1.50 load of laundry, it was a no-spend day.

I didn't even use any gas. When I went to get my blood work done, I took the train. I didn't want to deal with parking. Of course, there is a cost in using the train, also, but it is not out of pocket, since I prepay by making deposits on my Venta card. And as a senior, I only pay half of what others pay.

Today I spent .71 on coffee at work. I had an assignment that went fairly smoothly, and I was able to leave early. I went to the gym afterwards and it was still light when I came home. I love that!

I have enough gas to get to work and back tomorrow. A fill-up this weekend will insure that I will get there and back next Monday and Tuesday. Then on Wednesday I will get paid. If I can hold off on spending till then, my variables will be 88%, which is great, considering that I spent $461 on vacation expenses.

$2.71

January 17th, 2017 at 04:03 pm

That's what I spent today - $2 for a prescription and .71 for coffee.

Even though I slept well last night, I felt kind of unfocused at work today. I struggled to finish my assignment -- actually, it wasn't an easy one. But I completely forgot how to run a certain report, and it was embarrassing to admit that to my boss. It's been a while since I've done that, and when you get older, that kind of stuff doesn't stick any more. Annoying!

I asked for tomorrow off last week, because I thought I would be needed to pick the boys up from school. That is no longer the case, but I'm taking the day off anyway. I'm going to get my labs done in the morning, and next week I will see my doctor to follow up on the kidney disease. This will be the first time we can judge how quickly it is progressing.

Yesterday I got a lot of ordinary house work done, including getting all the Christmas stuff stored in my basement storage room. It felt good to finally get that cleared out.

I've been diligent about going to the gym since I got back from the cruise; not so diligent about my diet. I'm not pigging out, just not cutting back as much as I should. So that is something to work on.

I'm looking forward to reading in bed tonight, and waking up whenever I want to in the morning!

Free Lunch and More

January 16th, 2017 at 08:20 am

Yesterday 12 members of my family got together at a local pizza restaurant for lunch. My ex paid for the whole thing! He has these spots of generosity. He certainly has his faults, too, but I do appreciate his good points, now that I don't have to live with him any more.

Anyway, I not only got a free lunch, but took home a box of sauteed vegetables and three slices of pizza. The pizza slices I froze individually for lunches. The vegetables I divided into broccoli, for broccoli cheese soup, and peppers/onions/mushrooms for omelets or migas. I froze those little packets, too, because I have a lot of food on hand to use up now. I have not yet used the tortellini -- I must do it today -- and I have a cooked chicken breast to use up. The reason I didn't make the tortellini last night was that I was too full from my big lunch.

I did a load of laundry yesterday, but it cost me $2.25 rather than $1.50. The washer I was using quit in the middle of the cycle, so I had to transfer my wet clothes to a new washer and start over. I see today that said washer is still full of water. I didn't report it, because I was too hurried yesterday, but I hope someone else has.

I need to do another load today, but now there is one dysfunctional washer and two filled with wet laundry. It's so annoying to share laundry facilities with others, especially when they are not very considerate of others. That wet laundry has been sitting there for hours.

No big plans today except to catch up on housework.

Indulgences

January 15th, 2017 at 05:12 am

Yesterday I caved and bought some things for myself. I had a 30% Kohl's coupon and the usual 20% BB&B coupon, so I went shopping with the thought that I could do some gift-shopping, which I would like to spread out more this year prior to December.

At Kohl's I looked only at the clearance areas -- where the markdowns were 70-80%. I ended up buying two bras for myself ($12 for both) some kitchen towels for myself ($6) and baby clothes for my soon-to-be-born grandniece ($16). So yes, I did get a gift!

At BB&B I bought a kitchen waste bin, the kind with the flip top and and the pedal. With my coupon, it was $25. I've been wanting to replace my bin for quite a while; it is highly visible in my kitchen and my old one was a disgrace.

I also picked up $13 worth of groceries (getting two free items) and did a $1.50 load of laundry.

My variables spending went up to 86%. I have ten more days in this pay period. I'll probably have to get more gas, but I think I'm pretty good on groceries.

I got an $80 bill for the tail end of my physical therapy. I'll pay that when I get paid so that it will go on the next cycle.

I was planning to make chicken with cranberry sauce last night for dinner, but when I opened the bag of cranberries, they were spoiled. Stupid me! I guess I was thinking they were like dried cranberries, and would last forever. Should have frozen them. So instead I had plain chicken with peas on the side.

I've been writing down my menus in the morning along with my to-do list. Today I'm having blueberry pancakes for breakfast, lunch out (free), and dinner will be chicken tortellini soup.

Guess that's it!

Saturday Morning

January 14th, 2017 at 05:40 am

I worked 7 1/2 hours (straight) yesterday. I was reminded that Monday is a holiday, so I had to finish my assignment. There was still quite a bit to do, and I am afraid it is rushed work, but it was what I had to do.

I came home tired and did not stop at the gym or do anything else.

I've had diarrhea for two days now and I can't figure out what's wrong. The only food I had both days was strawberries, and I can't imagine they would do this to me. I finished them this morning, so we'll see.

I do need to make an appointment with the doctor anyway.

I spent $3 on coffee and a scone yesterday. I forgot to pack the cheese and crackers I was counting on for lunch, though I did have carrots and strawberries and gingersnaps. I was going to buy a sandwich, but they are very expensive at the museum, so I bought a scone instead.

This morning I am going to my grandson's basketball game. Yes, he has begun his fourth sport! He keeps me entertained.

I have lots to do today, but I am enjoying the thought of a three-day weekend!

Life Going On

January 13th, 2017 at 05:24 am

Last night I went to my grandson's orchestra concert and C was there. She seemed to be in excellent spirits, smiling and actually looking quite well. My DIL says her tears come and go, but she is determined not to stop living, and I say good for her.

I spent $16 on groceries yesterday, $23 on gas and $1 on coffee. I was going to stop the coffee habit at work, but it seems I really need it to get going.

I am working on a family tree at work, which is interesting. It's good that I have the ancestry.com subscription so I have a "secret weapon." For those who wonder why I would create a family tree at work -- sometimes donors come from well-known families with historical wealth, and the fundraisers like to know how all the pieces fit together when they plan their strategy.

Anyway, it is complicated work, because it is a very large family, as well as very private, so it is challenging. I have no idea if I have "captured" all the descendents yet, but I can figure out a lot of them from obituaries.

So it's off to work today. I have to miss my grandson's MLK performance. Ordinarily, I would take off, but I can't do it after having been off for 10 days.

Tomorrow, at my grandson's request, the whole family will meet for lunch tomorrow. That includes my ex and his wife, my nephew and his wife and children, as well as my son's family (which, of course, includes C). It will be a big table. I think it's so sweet that my grandson wants to do this. It's also very nice that my ex offered to treat.

Oh, and I should say I talked to my boss yesterday, and she said she had budgeted for my wages for the year ahead. So it seems I will work through 2017, anyway.

The Worst News

January 12th, 2017 at 02:43 am

C did not have surgery yesterday, because they did a preliminary laparoscopic procedure and found more tumors. Her cancer has metastasized. She will have chemo, but they are not encouraging about her prospects.

Needless to say, my DIL is beside herself. We are all grieving hard. I have not been able to see C yet; she was groggy yesterday and did not want visitors.

I took care of the boys after school yesterday and spent $4 on snacks.

I'm going back to work today, but will leave early if I am needed. Sounds like I will have a slick commute, so I will be extra careful.

I'm getting started in collecting my tax documents. So far, I only have the W-2 from the College. Still need the SS statement and the one from TIAA. That might be on their website, come to think of it. Also the statement from the museum.

I reapplied for the Senior Freeze Exemption -- a freeze on property tax. I have to reapply every year. I almost forgot last year.

Life goes on, doesn't it? It seems so trivial now to think about taxes and such, but it all has to be done.

Getting Back to Reality

January 11th, 2017 at 08:06 am

Well, back to reality. No one made my bed, no one cooked me any meals, and I had to clean up everything myself. Not to mention it's cold and dreary.

I went to Planet Fitness this morning, so I'm officially back in the routine. I stopped at the grocery and spent $19. Just staples and meal-finishers.

Today I'm having French Onion Soup for lunch, and tilapia with veggies for dinner.

I've done two loads of laundry. My "whites" basket is nearly full, but I'm not going to do it yet. Maybe tomorrow. I should wash towels, too.

C's surgery is scheduled to begin in about a half-hour. I'm going to go sit with DIL for a while later on. The surgery is estimated to take five hours, and she will be on pins and needles.

Work begins again tomorrow. I've already been warned that payment will be delayed, because they are having to open a new PO number. Sigh.

But it looks like my Medicare Advantage plan is charging me a little less this year. They only withdrew $26 rather than $29. Don't know yet if this was a mistake or an adjustment.

I did not take down my tree and Christmas decorations before the cruise. I would have, if I had been ahead on packing and everything else, but it was last on my list and I didn't get it done. So I came home to Christmas! Last night I took down the decorations and ornaments and boxed them all up. It is a little disturbing that they don't quite fit in the containers that I just took them out of -- did they multiply while I was gone? Anyway, I put some things in the Goodwill bag, because I'm not going to start a new container.

Now I have to take the tree and the containers downstairs. My new plan is to leave the tree assembled, since there is plenty of room in the storage unit and it is a major pain to get it back in the box. And it will be so much easier to set it up next year.

Not Cruisin', Soon to be Snoozin'

January 10th, 2017 at 12:58 pm

On the cruise, they gave me a door sign that would flip from Cruisin' to Snoozin' -- basically a "do not disturb" sign. Well, my cruisin' is over, and I'm ready for some serious snoozin'. I'm exhausted, but in a good way.

So, for the financial part. I spent $461 on vacation expenses. This was beyond the cruise ticket which I paid for a few months ago. The $461 included land travel, hotel stays, long-term parking, road food, pet sitter, gratuities, excursions and entertainment, taxis and souvenirs.

We made two stops -- one at Costa Maya, which seemed to be nothing but tourist shops. We didn't stay there long, as it was hot and and the kids were cranky. Our other stop was Cozumel, where we spent the whole day at Paradise Beach. It was lovely. I basically just lay around all day under the shade of palm trees, with short dips in the gulf. The boys played hard all day, climbing, sliding, splashing and snorkeling. The rest of the time was spent on the ship, where we ATE, danced, swam, watched movies and shows, and I even won a trivia contest. (The prize -- a ship on a stick!) We had one rough day at sea, when the temperature dropped and we were riding 15-foot waves. No one got seasick, but everyone was dizzy and disoriented. We all finally figured out that napping in our beds was the best defense.

Anyway, it was a great time and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I got home a day later than planned due to an ice storm. My son's family was traveling about 100 miles ahead of C. and me yesterday evening, and they called to say "GET OFF THE ROAD NOW AND GET A HOTEL ROOM!" They had run into an area where cars were sliding willy-nilly off the road and wanted to make sure the grannies weren't going to try it. We stopped and stayed in kind of a fleabag motel (not much choice) and had dinner at a restaurant straight out of the fifties (not retro, just never updated). It was okay, though, better to be safe than sorry.

Now I'm back, sorting through mail and doing laundry. Cruel reality.

C's surgery is tomorrow. I am taking the day off to sit with my DIL and assist in any way I can. Tomorrow it is back to work again.

My vacation expenses have already pushed my variables budget to 66%. It's going to be a month of scrimping and cheese-paring. Totally worth it, though!

Goals and Resolutions

January 1st, 2017 at 02:45 pm

Financial -- I just want to do what I did this year, preserve my nest egg, and even raise it a little. If I can do that every year, I'll make it through retirement fine.

As I've mentioned before, my big resolution is to find joy in everything I do. It's easier than I thought, too. I just have to remind myself. The joy is there.

Then I have some really pedestrian resolutions --

Dry my hair all the way! And use the low setting! No more wild woman hair.

Take better care of my teeth, especially the flossing.

Be more vigilant about cleaning the litter pan. Twice a day wouldn't be a bad idea.

Make my bed every day. It's so much nicer to get into.

Enter my financial data more quickly. When I procrastinate, I forget.

Be more serious about staying within the variables budget.

Buy Christmas gifts all year long -- don't leave it all to December.

Set up a cleaning schedule.

Get back on that 1400-calorie diet.

And always, always take the frugal option, when I have a choice.

I'm heading out tomorrow for the cruise. I have all my clothes and stuff set aside, and I'll pack it quickly in the morning, maybe in the hallway, where my cat can't see what's happening.

I dealt with all the perishables in my fridge. Today I made French onion soup and froze it, and I hard-boiled some eggs. There is nothing in my fridge that is going to go bad.

I went to Kohl's and spent my $5 coupon on a package of nail files. Out of pocket cost - .46.

I went to the bank and got a bunch of small bills. I didn't realize you can now get ones and fives and tens from the ATM!

I bought more fish food and more kitty litter just in case. $14. It probably won't be needed, but heck, it's going to get used eventually and I might as well put my mind at ease.

C. and I are driving down in her car; we will split gas and parking. We are all staying in a two-bedroom suite at Homewood Suites. I used to work for one of those. It's an awesome place!

Then the following day we will drive to New Orleans and board the ship.

I will not be online at all -- will not even be using my phone once we are onboard! So I will see you guys on the other side!