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Archive for October, 2018

Expensive Dinner

October 16th, 2018 at 06:26 am

Dinner out with my friends last night was expensive. They chose the restaurant, which was pretty upscale. I chose one of the cheapest entrees, but when I added soup, wine and dessert, it added up. The total with tip was $47, which won't sound expensive to many of you, but it is to me.

The only part of it I regret is ordering the wine. I forgot it contributes to my RLS (restless leg syndrome) and I suffered for it last night. But I was caught up in the moment. We toasted to my friend's new job and new life in Ohio, and it wouldn't have been quite the same with water.

I spent two and half hours commuting to and from the restaurant and now my gas tank is only half full.

Variables are at 60% with a week and a day to go, so that isn't bad.

Today I'm going to go to the gym and then to Sam's to buy bread. I'm also going to make a stop at the bank to deposit most of my cash from the yard sale.

I ordered my OTC drugs from OTC-Essentials yesterday. For $50 I ordered two boxes of famotide, Vitamin D, generic Zyrtec, and band-aids.

I made a batch of meaty spaghetti sauce yesterday, and I'm thawing a chicken breast to make some medallions. For breakfast this morning, I used up the last of the asparagus in a cheese-asparagus omelet.

Later today I'll take care of the boys after school, but I also need to make some time to do some online training for the upcoming election. That's my next hurdle, working two election days, which will bring me another $200 or so.

After the Sale

October 15th, 2018 at 06:05 am

I'm back home after my yard sale weekend. I cleared $94 -- I was hoping for at least $100. We did not get as much traffic I was hoping for, and I was pretty soft on prices. But I did get rid of about half of my merchandise, and the rest went to Goodwill, so a lot of decluttering has occurred.

I spent $21 on gas. My helpers and I went to a movie and dinner, so that was $7 and $11 respectively. I spent $13 on food while I was on the road.

More spending tonight, when I go out to dinner with some old work friends. This is a must-do, as one of them is moving to Ohio, and I will probably not see her again.

I'm pretty tired, and a little disappointed, but it was a good job done.

And I did find a dime!

Edit: I just found $7 in my purse which I had stuck in an odd place, so I did break $100 in profit!

Edit again: $5 more! Washed it this morning in my jeans pocket. Is that laundering money?

Getting Ready for Yard Sale

October 11th, 2018 at 05:54 am

Today I'm going to be carting boxes to my car, and I'll leave early in the morning to head to Indiana and start getting my yard sale set up. It has turned cold! I hope that doesn't scare away people! We will bundle up and get through it.

I'm also running a load of laundry.

Later today I'm going to stop at the library to return books and check out an audiobook, and then at the bank to cash a $20 bill into ones. I've got my change all ready -- $12 worth to get started.

I still have to create a Craigslist ad, but my hope is that we will get a lot of drive-by traffic, also.

I did not spend anything yesterday.

I got some free treats in the mail yesterday -- products to try out for Pine Cone.

I got a payment from one of my mystery shop companies -- $18 in fees. Also some reimbursements, but I don't count those as income, as that money already bought stuff. I'm expecting a payment from another company in about 10 days.

So far, I'm getting through gap year okay!

Haircut, Etc.

October 10th, 2018 at 06:02 am

I got a haircut yesterday for $18, using a $2 coupon. And I paid my grandson $5 for his cat-sitting services while I was gone last weekend.

My variables are at 42%, with two weeks to go.

The ortho doctor's office called last night and left a message that it was too early to make an April appointment for surgery. I see him in December for a followup appointment, so I'll discuss it with him then.

That reminded me that my primary care doctor wanted me to make a followup appointment 4-6 weeks after our last, so I scheduled one for October 30.

Nothing is on tap today except for child care after school.

Yesterday I repacked some of the boxes for the yard sale, and I have taken two of them down to the car.

I won't list my new eBay items until I get done with the yard sale. I don't want to be scrambling for boxes, etc., until that big event is finished.

I won our family's football pool last week! Well, sort of -- it was a 3-way tie. I think I will get a little cash for that.

My old work friends have planned a dinner at a restaurant about an hour away. It will take place next Monday and it probably won't be cheap. But still, I'm in. I need to keep my social contacts active; it's so easy to get isolated once you're retired.

I got an email that I still had a $19 reward on my Wells Fargo card, so I went through their online catalog and selected a boat tote that was on sale. I won't use it for boating, however, I'll use it for quilt pieces. I started a quilt at least a year ago and haven't made much progress, but if I can sew together pieces at odd moments, I might get somewhere.

It's still warm today, but we're expecting a cold front today. That's too bad, because it means it will probably be cold for the yard sale. But I'm committed. I'll do it.

Back from my Trip

October 8th, 2018 at 03:18 pm

I'm back from my weekend trip to Indiana. I'll be going again next weekend, when I will actually have my garage sale. It will be a yard sale, though. The garage will be closed up tight.

My BFF's son is letting us have it at his house, which is in a well-traveled, highly visible area -- plus they have a large flat yard and a wide driveway. So despite the extra work of having to take the stuff there, it will be worth it.

I still have one more carload to take down.

A trip is always a bit of money, but it wasn't too bad this time. It was $57, with $43 going to gas, and $7 for food, as well as a $7 movie. The gas was higher than usual because I headed out very low on gas and thus had to fill up twice. The food was so low because I mystery-shopped an evening dinner for us and used a gift card for a lunch. The rest of the time we ate at BFF's. The $7 was just for food on the way there and back. We decided to spring for a movie because we hadn't done that in a long time. We saw "A Simple Favor" which was very clever -- expect some twists and turns!

I did do a little shopping as well. I bought some loaf pans and storage boxes for $17. These were both new to replace rusty old pans and boxes falling apart. And I spent $6 on 7 secondhand items I believe I can resell on eBay. Yes, the bug has got me. If even one of these items sells for a fair price, I will make a profit. Goodwill was having a half-price sale.

Also at GW, I found a book I wanted to read and a little figurine for DIL's Christmas village -- .50 and .35 respectively.

My variables are now at 37%.

My condo insurance of $208 was withdrawn from my account, but that does not count in variables.

I'm looking forward to a free bagel breakfast tomorrow at Planet Fitness!

Why I Didn't Get Paid

October 5th, 2018 at 06:10 am

Duh. I forgot that the mystery shops pay a month behind. I didn't get a September check because I didn't do any shops in August.

I'm getting ready to get on the road today. I'm going to take boxes of garage sale stuff to BFF's, and we will go out to dinner tonight on a mystery shop. It's the first time I've ever tried a shop outside of my area.

I didn't spend anything yesterday. Got some free snacks at the "grand opening" of the new high-security entrance at GS2's school.

I turned the pork roast into pulled pork in my crock pot, and I cooked half of the ground beef and froze the rest as mini-patties for sliders.

I know I won't be able to get all the boxes in my car, but I'm excited I'm finally done with the first phases -- culling all my closets and drawers, boxing the stuff up, and selling the good stuff on eBay. Now it's just transporting and selling.

Free Pizza, and Some Spending

October 4th, 2018 at 06:39 am

I babysat the boys yesterday afternoon, and we had free pizza for lunch, courtesy of a mystery shopping assignment.

But it was not a no-spend day. In the morning, I went to Food4Less and spent $41 on what I hope will be my last grocery trip of the month. I bought 13 items: taco sauce, ground beef, crescent rolls, tuna, mushrooms, pork roast, dry milk, peppers, onions, croutons, cheese, salad dressing and sherbet.

Today I'll put the pork roast in the slow cooker to make pulled pork, and I will also cook some of the ground beef and freeze the rest.

Tomorrow I'm heading to BFF's in Indiana, so I will need to pack the car tonight with as many garage sale boxes as I can fit in.

I have been trying to schedule my surgery, but the doctor's office is not responding to either my calls or my message via the website. Maybe today.

One of my mystery shopping companies did not pay on September 20, as they should have. There were three September shops I made prior to the 20th, so I emailed the schedulers for each shop to let them know. Frustrating.

Yesterday's Activities

October 3rd, 2018 at 05:52 am

I caught up on my sleep and I feel much better.

My appointment with the SHIP counselor went well -- she was a fanatastic lady. Interestingly enough, she herself is on an Advantage plan, and she has been through several surgeries herself. We talked about a lot of things, but the bottom line is that switching to original Medicare may very well put me at risk for having no Medigap plan, and therefore paying 20% for most services. Also, it looks like every Part D plan is more expensive than my current premium (like -- three times as much!) And if I did qualify for Medigap that would be another $80 on top of that. So I'm sticking with what I have. Suddenly the $295 inpatient fee doesn't look so bad. Especially since, as I did not understand before, that covers the cost of surgery as well.

I am going to try to schedule for April 2. I'm waiting for a callback from my doctor so I can do that. That is when all my caregivers will be available, and the weather will be getting better.

After the appointment I went to Aldi and spent $23 on 10 items -- biscuits, butter, eggs, peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans, chicken, ice cream and rolls.

I also got $1 sausage biscuit at McDonalds because the counselor had to push back the appointment time and I had skipped breakfast.

Today it's strength training at the gym, and it's a half-day of school so I'll have the boys in the afternoon. I've signed up to do a pizza delivery mystery shop, so that will take care of lunch.

I got my new HSBC card yesterday so I can start earning my $150. And I also got the $200 Amazon card I earned from Wells Fargo.

Variables are at 16%.

Everyday Stuff

October 2nd, 2018 at 06:35 am

I did three loads of laundry yesterday, spending $4.50, but that was my only spending.

I went to Planet Fitness in the evening and had a piece of pizza for dinner. (I worked out, too!)

I mailed my last eBay item. Probably my last. There is one item still listed. It put it up as "Buy It Now" and it still has two weeks to go, but though it has a number of views, there are no watchers.

I boxed up everything else and it's ready to go down for the garage sale.

I'm planning to go to BFF's house this weekend and I'll take a carload full of garage sale stuff. I'm also going to do a mystery shop in her city.

I'm doing one here tomorrow.

DIL had a bad day yesterday, grieving for her mother, and we had a late-night phone conversation. I was glad to be there for her, but I was unable to sleep afterwards so I had a pretty terrible night. Just going to be operating on fumes today.

Soon I will be going to my appointment with the SHIP counselor. I think I will pick up some groceries afterwards.

Wonderful Cookout

October 1st, 2018 at 06:44 am

The cookout yesterday was great, and I was glad I went! Not only did the hostess provide a great spread, but there was a jazz band for entertainment. It was quite a production, really! So glad my friend invited me.

I learned that J emailed me in June about getting reduced tickets to see Hamilton. I never even saw the email. I get so much junk email, it's hard to see the real stuff. And I was very busy then and probably not reading my email well. I'm so disappointed I missed that opportunity, because I would love to see Hamilton. J and I tentatively made plans to go see it sometime if we can get tickets. This will be hard to do in my gap year -- a year in which I will also get surgery!

So yesterday was another no-spend day. I did stop for gas at a Sam's out in the western suburbs -- not because I needed it yet, but because I thought I would get a good price. Before I filled up I saw that the price was no better than what I get. AND, the pump I pulled up to was only pumping premium, so I just got out of there.

My eBay auctions are running out and I'm very close to the end. But one item did sell yesterday, so I'll pack that up today. As soon as everything is done, I'm going to pack up all items and start seriously schlepping the boxes to my friend's house in Indiana. I may make a trip next weekend.

Today is pizza day at Planet Fitness, so I'll be sure to drop in for a little exercise and a free dinner around 5:30 this afternoon.