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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.

No-Spend Saturday

September 30th, 2018 at 06:19 am

I like to have a no-spend day early in the pay cycle. Often I feel the urge to stock up on something every day when I have the money, and then I run out of money too fast. A no-spend day slows me down.

Today I am headed to a cookout, and the weather is still too cool for my taste, though it is starting out warmer than yesterday. I checked with my friend J to make sure I wasn't expected to bring something, and she said, no, don't bring anything. So I won't!

I guess I will wear lots of layers!

I was considering taking the train, since the fare is now free for me, but when J texted me with plans I realized that her schedule would be too tight for her to pick me up at the station. So I will drive. I'm already down to about half a tank.

Guess that's it!

Just Stuff

September 29th, 2018 at 08:10 am

It was so cold yesterday. And it's still cold! The boiler doesn't get turned on till mid-October, so I hope we have a warmup.

Last night I went to GS1's football game. It didn't start till 9! Thank goodness it didn't last too long. I was freezing, even though I was wearing three layers and I was wrapped in a blanket.

Today I'm going to GS2's birthday party. This is his party with his friends, which is being held in a game room at the university. I won't be doing much there, except socializing with any other adults that turn up. The kids will all be tuned into the cyberworld.

Oh, but there is a baseball game before that. So, another busy day.

I got a call from a SHIP counselor! We have agreed to meet on Tuesday.

I completed a mystery shop yesterday -- free dinner -- and on the way home I stopped at a PetSmart and bought kitty litter for $18. It's a 42-lb. package and I could barely get it into the cart and then into the trunk. I'll have to use the dolly to get it upstairs. But it was only .03 per ounce and is supposed to be low-dust.

Variables are at 11%.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to go to meet a friend in one of the western suburbs for a cookout. But we haven't really talked lately, so I'll have to touch base to make sure it's still on. In this weather, I'm not too excited about it.

What was THAT??

September 28th, 2018 at 05:37 am

I woke up at 6 am this morning to a loud CRASH! I shot out of bed, expecting to find something knocked over. I have a lot of boxes stacked in the dining room because of the impending garage sale. But -- nothing. I looked all over and nothing is out of place. I know it wasn't part of a dream, because Iggy was freaked out, too. So I can only surmise that something happened upstairs. There were no footsteps, so whatever happened, it happened without human intervention.

Anyway, it sure got me going early.

I went to Sam's yesterday and spent $37 on toilet paper, Poise pads, and bread. I like picking up the Sara Lee artisan white bread whenever I'm there. I have to eat white bread because of my kidney condition, and the Sara Lee brand is pretty good, without the high cost of bakery bread. (Please don't urge me to eat whole wheat bread -- it is not easy for kidneys to process and not recommended! Honest!)

In the evening, I took GS2 to a hamburger place to help me out with a mystery shop. Well, actually, I was helping out his dad, who was carting GS1 to football practice while mom worked. I spent $8 over what the mystery shop company will reimburse. If DS asks about the cost, I will tell him, but otherwise I will let it go. It is basically covered by the fee I earned.

I'm going again tonight, to a different location. This time without a child in tow.

GS1 has a football game tonight at 9 pm! Don't know if I'll make that. If I do, I'll bundle up, because Fall has fallen.

Still waiting on the SHIP counselor. I did get a call yesterday from someone who identified himself as an independent agent (on voicemail). He probably got my number from one of the internet searches I did. I may call him back today to see if he will answer my questions. But I would rather talk to someone from SHIP.

Pay Day Spending

September 27th, 2018 at 06:59 am

What a nice feeling it is to start a new budget month. I did some shopping yesterday, spending $27 at Aldi and $16 for a new ink cartridge, which I ordered from Amazon, using a $5 credit. I also spent $1.50 on laundry.

I headed out to my usual Aldi, but it was finally closed while it finishes remodeling. So I just kept going and went to an Aldi in a neighboring suburb. What a surprise that was! The Aldi there is BEAUTIFUL! Basically the same stuff, but more produce, and everything is laid out much better, in a much brighter environment. I hope this is what our new Aldi is going to look like.

What I bought for my $27: spring mix, cheese, evaporated milk, pasta sauce, syrup, apples, rolls, oatmeal, canola oil and cookies. I will have to shop again in the not-too-distant future because I am getting low on eggs and butter, and I also have no meat in the freezer.

Today, after I go to the gym, I'm going to Sam's to get toilet paper and pads. And I'll take a look at the kitty litter again to see if they've started carrying a dust-free litter.

My variables now stand at 7%.

Pay Day!

September 26th, 2018 at 06:18 am

It's finally here.

I paid the mortgage and my assessment fees. I paid my two credit card bills in full.

Later today I will pick up some groceries.

After subtracting fees and the overspending last month, I have $168 to add to this month's variables budget. I am hoping I will be able to stay within budget this month.

Here is the recap from last month:

Housing: $713
Utilities: $284
Medical/Health: $240
Groceries: $99
Gifts/Charity: $71
Vet/Pet Supplies: $59
Phone: $52
Gas: $49
Entertainment: $48
Household Supplies: $47
Vacation/Travel: $44
Fees/Services: $40
Personal: $17
Eating Out: $16
Furnishing/Equipment/Decor: $16
Laundry: $15
Miscellaneous: $11

Grand Total: $1821

Utilities were higher than usual because I paid Comcast twice -- just a matter of how the due dates fell.

Medical, of course, was higher than usual because of an expensive prescription and specialist copays.

I had two birthdays this month but only spent $71 altogether on gifts/charity. Yay!

Everything else was pretty much in line.

I applied for an HSBC credit card to earn the $150 reward. And I finally ordered my $200 Amazon gift card from Wells Fargo, which I will use for Christmas spending. They are sending a physical card, so I hope it isn't in the mail too long.

eBay seems to have settled down. I am methodically ending listings that have no action.

Still no word from the SHIP counselor.

Grandson's Birthday and More Medicare

September 25th, 2018 at 07:22 am

I didn't spend anything at GS2's birthday last night -- the meal was covered. All I spent out of pocket was the $10 that went into the birthday card.

The birthday card was one I found in my stash of unused cards. It featured Ziggy, a cartoon character we don't see any more. My grandson's step-grandmother commented that it must have been something I didn't sell on eBay. Ouch! Not sure whether it was meant in fun or not, but I'm pretty sensitive about my financial situation and I don't appreciate barbed comments from someone who's never worried about money a day in her life.

Anyway, not only did I not pay for dinner, but I took home GS1's leftovers. So I guess my cheapskate reputation is well-deserved.

Another eBay mistake caught up with me. Today I'm paying someone to take one of my items. In other words, the postage was way above what I had calculated. For some reason I had calculated the weight as 3 oz. when it was, in fact, almost 1.9 lbs. A typo, I guess. So the extra postage cost ate up all the profit and I had to shell out .20 besides. Now I know what to do about postage, but in my early listings, I was just winging it -- and not so well. Overall, I have done well, though. I've cleared $343 after all fees and postage costs are subtracted. That's way above what I was expecting.

I have not heard back from the SHIP counselor yet. But yesterday I got my 2019 annual notice of changes from UnitedHealth. There is a section explaining what to do if I want to change my coverage, and it clearly states that I can switch to original Medicare with a prescription drug plan by enrolling in a drug plan before December 7. That will automatically disenroll me from my current plan. This contradicts what I have learned on other sources about the disenrollment period starting in January.

Of course, doing so would leave me without a supplement, which I guess is the sticking point.

Anyway, I really need to talk to this guy and I hope he calls me back.

A Little More Income

September 24th, 2018 at 11:34 am

I just packed up two more items I sold on eBay, and I just did another mystery shop. Altogether about $25 in income. I am working hard on these side hustles!

I had my quiet day yesterday. No spending, no driving, just a calm day of relaxation.

Tonight I go to my grandson's family birthday party at Buffalo Wild Wings. That should be my last hoo-rah before pay day. I'll try to order cheaply. But I think I've earned enough this month to make up for the deficits and to give me a little extra for next month.

I stopped at the Senior Center and they gave me the number of a SHIP (Medicare) counselor to call. I made the call, but had to leave a message on voicemail, so who knows when we will actually talk. I hope it's soon.

Medical Stuff and Mystery Shopping

September 22nd, 2018 at 05:55 am

Yesterday morning I got a mammogram, and I already have the results. No sign of malignancies, but due to density it is recommended that I also start getting sonography. I'll have to check my insurance. Another reason to make a change. I did a little reading on my plan yesterday, and it looks like I would have to pay $295 per day just to be an in-patient in a hospital. That's not even counting rehab. That's terrible! I thought Medicare always covered hospitalization, but maybe that's only original Medicare and I have a Medicare Advantage plan. Changes will be made. More reading to do.

I spent the rest of the day on mystery shopping. I had to go back to the car dealer and get a business card -- which meant I had to listen to the spiel all over again and get back on the salesman's radar. It was a bit of a drive, too, thirty minutes away.

My other mystery shop was to go to a self-storage facility and rent a unit. Then I identified myself as a mystery shopper and got the whole thing cancelled. I felt kind of bad because the employee went through all this rigmarole for nothing. But his company contracted for this. The two shops, if I get full payment, will yield $70. No, not much for all the time I put in.

In the evening I went to GS1's flag football game under the lights. It turned quite cold and I was really ready to come home.

I'm taking GS2 to a complimentary screening of "Smallfoot" today, and then we'll drop in on GS1's baseball game.

I'm getting quite low on gas, so I should fill up today. I hate to do it, being so much over budget already, but I think I must. Safety first.

Friday Plans, and Thursday Doings

September 21st, 2018 at 07:13 am

In a few minutes I will head out to get my annual mammography, and then I will do a mystery shop at a storage facility.

I got my blood test done yesterday and I got the results this morning. It looks to me like my kidney function has actually improved a little! I haven't received my doctor's comments yet.

Yesterday I got a surprise at the end of the day when I found I was expected to take the boys to their back-to-school bash. Son and DIL each thought the other had told me. Anyway, we got there, not too late, and I got a free dinner out of it. Hot dogs and chips, not great nutrition, but free!

I ran a load of laundry and that was my only spending. I should be able to wait until pay day now before running laundry again.

Monday is GS2's birthday, and I need to buy a card to put the cash in -- or at least find a card in my stash. I also have a book for him. The family dinner is planned at a restaurant, so I'll have to buy my dinner unless someone offers to treat. That probably won't happen! So, I hope, that should be my last spending in this pay period, unless the gas tank empties out too fast.

Another Day

September 20th, 2018 at 06:15 am

My day with the grandsons was pretty easy, as GS2 spent most of the day at a friend's house.

I did one load of laundry yesterday, and there was no other spending.

No more sales on eBay. I went in and stopped the re-listing of items that are not getting views and watchers. There are still a couple more new things I could list. One of them is a porcelain clock which is worth at least $200, and I would not take less. But I have to get my sister's permission to sell it, as we bought it together as a garage sale. The other is a cast iron cornbread pan, which is worth around $30-40, but is SO heavy. I would have to charge a lot in shipping. And there are several others being sold right now.

I got two complimentary tickets to a preview of Smallfoot on Saturday. I will take GS2, as GS1 has a baseball game too close to the time. I hope it won't cause hard feelings. If GS1 feels left out, I'll take him when the movie officially opens.

I took a break from thinking about the hip replacement yesterday. Today I need to figure out how to get in touch with a Medicare counselor so I can figure out if I have to change my supplement in order to get the best coverage for this particular event.

Variables are at 128%. I'll be so glad when this month is over.

Day Care Today

September 19th, 2018 at 05:39 am

No school today, so I will be taking care of the boys. I have cheese and tortillas to make quesadillas for lunch. And baby carrots, which they will probably not eat.

I had my follow-up appointment with my primary doctor yesterday. He wants me to get another kidney test (blood test) to make sure that the Celebrex is not hurting me. He agreed with the ortho surgeon that there is no hurry to get the hip replacement done. The blood work is free and I can drop in any time.

I also got my flu shot. Free, of course.

I talked with DIL about the upcoming surgery, and between the two of us, we figured out that the week of January 7 would be best. Now I need to investigate whether I can go to rehab afterwards. Mainly, whether Medicare will pay for it. Also, I need to make sure Medicare will pay for the surgery itself. Apparently, from the little reading I have done, it has to be shown to be medically necessary. Why would anyone do it if it's not medically necessary? I don't understand, but I'd better find out.

I have one week to get through before pay day. On Monday, I have to go to GS2's family birthday party (he has a birthday party with friends a few days later). The family party is being held at Buffalo Wild Wings, which means I'll have to buy a lunch. I also need to add $10 cash to the inexpensive gift I bought already. I'm going to look cheap, and I hate that!

I got a bill from eBay for $43. I'll subtract that from my eBay income before adding it to next month's budget.

Sales have really dropped off the last few days. Everything is set to be relisted, and now I think I should go in and change that. I did that once before, and it didn't stick, but then I was glad for the relisting because I made some sales from the second time around. I guess I'll give it a few more days.

I did not make it to the gym yesterday, and I really should go today, but it will have to wait until the boys go home.

Hip Replacement

September 18th, 2018 at 06:42 am

The ortho doctor said that I have advanced arthritis and spurs in my hip and that I will need to get a hip replacement eventually. I don't have to be in a hurry about it as long as I am comfortable enough. Right now I feel pretty good taking the Celebrex, but I can't take that long-term, so I need to figure out when I can do this.

The main thing to figure out is who will take over the afterschool care for six weeks while I recover.

The other thing to figure out is where I will recover. Everyone I know here lives above ground level (including me, of course) so the question is, can I go upstairs after surgery or will I have to go to a rehab center until I can?

Good thing there is no rush to figure this out.

Switching back to eBay reporting, I have four packages to mail today! One is a real snafu. I listed my Scrabble pieces for $3.50 because that looked like the going rate. But I mistakenly did not charge for shipping. So I made a whopping .31 after the sale! Major goof.

The other interesting thing that happened is that I listed a scrimshaw pendant that I bought at a garage sale a good twenty years ago. EBay took the listing down because they cannot be a party to selling ivory. Well, I didn't think it was ivory, but I did the test with the hot needle and now I think maybe it is. HMMMmmmm. I guess I will wear it instead of sell it.

I'm going to my primary care doctor today for a followup. On Wednesday I'm taking the boys to their doctor for flu shots. Feel like I'm spending a lot of time in doctor's offices. I'm getting a mammography on Friday!

So today's agenda -- doctor, gym, post office, library (need more books), after-school pickup and care. And I really should do another load of laundry!

Quiet Sunday

September 17th, 2018 at 05:16 am

I did one load of laundry yesterday, and that was my only spending. I didn't leave the house other than to take out the garbage.

As for the chores I meant to do, I did clean the fish tank, but I got derailed from the vacuuming and dusting. Instead I entered six more items to sell on eBay.

I got paid for one of my auction items, so I will need to package that up today.

I'm heading to the doctor in a few minutes. I'll let you know tomorrow how it went!

Eking It Out

September 16th, 2018 at 07:58 am

No spending yesterday. I went to a baseball game and pretty much spent the rest of the day reading and watching Netflix. I tried to mail an eBay package but forgot the post office was closed on Saturday afternoon.

Today I'm going to stay in on this hot day and do some chores. At the bare minimum I have to do laundry and take out the garbage. It's also time to clean the fish tank again and just do some general vacuuming and dusting. How much do I want to do this? Not much. But I am going to dedicate today to getting it done.

As I coast into the last few weeks of my pay period, I am trying harder to stretch my food. This morning I baked biscuits (from a can) and ate a couple for breakfast, along with applesauce. The rest are going to be made into sausage biscuits, to put into the freezer. After I cooked off the sausage patties, I was left with a pan rich with sausage bits and drippings. I made that into gravy, which I put into the fridge. When I was a kid I loved bread & gravy, and that may be a meal in the next weeks.

My jar of applesauce is close to empty. I'm going to add some water to shake it up and get it all out, and then I'll cook it down again. I'll store it in a container which is easier to empty.

For lunch today, I'm going to make tuna melts on crescent rolls. That should be good for about three meals.

I have lots of carrots, so carrot soup is undoubtedly in the future. And I have lots of peanut butter. I'm getting low on bread, but I have the ingredients to make bread, if I have to.

I also have rice on hand, walnuts and peanuts, eggs, dried fruit, pasta, potato flakes -- I feel pretty confident I can stretch all this out for the next week and a half.

My DIL and I have arranged a new after-school schedule, to start this week, where I get the boys on Tuesday through Thursday, and she handles Monday and Friday. That will give me nice long weekends free for travel, etc. Assuming I will ever have the money to travel. Smile Kidding. I know I will.

Tomorrow I go to the ortho doctor. I'm going to ask them to bill me, rather than pay the copay ($50) outright. If they agree, that will push the bill off to the next pay period.

Hoping he will not tell me that surgery is imminent. I'm doing well on the Celebrex, but unfortunately, because of my kidney disease, I cannot take it indefinitely. I'm just going to take this one day at a time.

Money In, Money Out

September 15th, 2018 at 05:51 am

The slow payer paid! I will mail the item out this morning. There are two more bids on other items which will bring in another $10.

I had to pay my Netflix fee yesterday, so variables went up to 126%.

I transferred a $14 cashback reward from Discover to my bank account.

I've pretty much decided that I will cash in my $200 bonus from Wells Fargo as an Amazon gift card and use it for Christmas shopping. I haven't done it yet, though.

The mystery shop at the car dealer went fine yesterday; however, I wasn't able to get a business card from the sales associate, so that may mess it up. I did explain why I could not, but they can be very picky. I enjoyed the test drive -- what a beautiful car, a luxury SUV! Wish I really was in the category where I could buy a car like that, but that is not my life.

Meanwhile, I just continue to eke it out. I will have to do some laundry soon, and I have an appointment with an ortho specialist on Monday, so the money does continue to dribble out.

Trucking Along

September 14th, 2018 at 05:40 am

I sold an item yesterday for $25. It will go out in the mail today. My total is now $482, according to eBay, but they must be counting the payments for postage, because my total is $344. Big difference.

Still waiting for one payment. There is another item that has a small bid on it.

While I was in the process, I was saying to myself I would never do this again, but now that I am in the rewarding part of it, I realize that I will -- not with such a big group of things, but here and there, a few items every once in a while. Especially now that I know how to do it.

No spending yesterday. A week and a half to go till payday. My variables are at 124%. I'll aim to keep it there as much as I can, and then I'll go for 76% next month. Which should be easy, with all this extra money.

Today I am going to do the visit part of a mystery shop at a car dealer. It's at a ritzy suburb that I always wanted to see -- today I will!

There's a flag football game beginning at 8 pm, and another baseball game tomorrow morning.

Old friends from work are planning a dinner get-together, but the date hasn't been pinned down. It will for sure be in my next pay period.

Another Sale

September 13th, 2018 at 07:14 am

I made another sale on eBay for $7. The $15 payment has still not been made, so now I'm waiting on two payments. The $15 sale occurred two days ago. Does anyone here, more experienced on eBay, know what you do if someone wins a bid but doesn't pay or make contact with you? I would like to relist the item if she isn't going to buy it.

I went to Sam's yesterday to buy bubble wrap. Since it's Sam's, there is only a BIG container available, but I shelled out the $13, since the unit price cannot be beat, and I will eventually use it all up.

No other spending. I went to GS1's baseball game last night, and that was my free entertainment.

Working on Getting the Money In

September 12th, 2018 at 05:47 am

I made another sale on eBay -- $8. I used up the last of my packing material to box it up, so I will have to buy bubble wrap today. There is another sale I'm awaiting payment on. That will be $15.

It was a real pain getting this stuff ready to sell, but I guess it was worth it!

No spending yesterday.

I signed up for a mystery shop which will pay $35. However, once I downloaded the guidelines I saw that it was quite complicated, requiring online searching and screenshots, a visit, a possible test drive, and a followup. And it is not in my suburb, but a couple of suburbs away. Oh well, I will do it.

I also signed up for election work, both on November 2 at a nursing home and on election day. No assignments yet. I didn't enjoy my experience before, but I need the money, and who knows, it may be better this time. If I have the opportunity to get more training I will do it. It should bring in about $170 for each day.

I was summoned for jury duty last year at about this time but was not selected. I was told that I would be called again this year, but so far that has not happened. Anyway, if I am, that will be another $17, if I am not selected, and more if I serve.

I have $219 in rewards for using my Wells Fargo card for three months. It looks like I cannot get cash unless I have a Wells Fargo account. My choices are gift cards and travel -- flights and hotel rooms. I will not redeem until I figure out a specific use for it that will help out the budget.

eBay Sale

September 11th, 2018 at 08:19 am

My buyer in Poland paid me through PayPal. After withdrawing the postage, I cleared $244. However, at his request I double-boxed the package, which meant I had to add another $11 in postage. That's okay. It was really a great sale for me! I bought the figurine at a garage sale and I doubt that I paid more than a dollar or so.

This will certainly ease things up next month. Just to explain, I add the extra money I make each month to next month's variables budget. Easier that way for tracking.

Everything else on eBay relisted automatically. Some time today I will go through them and probably mark a lot of them down. Since it looks like this eBay process is going to be a little drawn-out, I think the garage sale will take place in the spring, which will probably be a better time, anyway.

I got my free pizza at Planet Fitness last night, and a free bagel this morning. It was kind of a fluke that the two days fell together this month. I'm going to try to stretch out my food stores as much as possible.

I just picked up a couple of books from one of those little free libraries.

Life is good!

Great Weekend

September 10th, 2018 at 02:35 pm

Well, BFF went home this morning after a great weekend. And my day in Shipshewana with other friends was fantastic.

I spent $44 on food, $30 on gas, and $16 on a memento. Also, my I-PASS replenished again, for $40. I bought a little gift for my granddaughter for $4. When all is said and done, that is not too bad for a great weekend, but this was the wrong month for it to happen. My variables are at 122%. And still more than two weeks to go. That still includes my medical expenses, however, which I will not take out of savings after all. I'm going to see if I can make up for it next month.

I think that may be possible, because eBay sales are going well. My sales have topped $400. HOWEVER, $255 of that I have not received, and I think the buyer may have entered that number in error. It is a buyer in Poland. We emailed back and forth previously because I had to change my listing to enable international shipping, and he/she was talking about a $20 bid at that time. Then he/she wins the auction at $255. Something's not right. We'll see what happens.

I am also bearing in mind that variables were only 83% last month so on average I'm still pretty much on track, though my next doctor's visit on Monday will set me back again.

Today is a day of two free meals -- lunch at my son's house, because I was watching the boys there (school closed for Jewish holiday). The other will be free pizza for dinner when I go to Planet Fitness this evening.

Obviously, I am going to pursue every small economy I can now!

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