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Back on Four Wheels

July 10th, 2018 at 05:38 am

I got my tire yesterday, but I had to pay the full price in order to take my car. The tire place had not heard from the warranty company (after the initial authorization) so they advised me to pay and get reimbursed rather than wait days for payment to come directly to them. I guess they go through this a lot.

So I paid $351, and later in the day I faxed the invoice to the warranty company. They have authorized $334 in payment. I hope they are quick in cutting me a check. Since I don't have a land line, the fax cost me $2 to send at Office Depot.

My hair dryer pooped out yesterday, so I picked up a new one at Walgreens. It was $18, on sale for 20% off. I do hope it lasts longer than the last one.

My other spending was $21 at IHOP, where I hung out with boys while I waited for the tire to be delivered to the tire shop. I'll give the receipt for that to DIL today. I'm not sure whether she will reimburse me, since it's not our regular Thursday Eat-Out Day -- but this Thursday I'll be doing a mystery shop for lunch, so it should be pretty cheap for the boys.

We also went to the library, where I picked up three new books.

Variables are now at 33%. The bulk of the tire cost is not counted in this, but I did count the difference between my payment and what the warranty company has authorized.

Two weeks and a day left till pay day, so I'm doing pretty well, despite some surprises.

Free Dinner

July 8th, 2018 at 06:18 am

Yesterday I rode with my son to an out-of-town baseball game, which we lost, but it was a good game. Afterwards my ex (who had also come to the game) took all of us out for dinner, which was nice. It was a free meal for me, but one that I didn't really need, since I had already eaten about as much as I should have for the day. But I couldn't turn it down, as I had no separate transportation.

Came home and had a long telephone conversation with my other son, whom I hadn't heard from in a while. He is feeling the pinch for dental work -- his daughter and his wife. But he was in good spirits, and lifted mine, which were rather low.

Today, since I am still using the temporary tire, I'm going to try to just stay home. I'll have to drive a lot tomorrow getting the boys to music lessons and then to the tire store, so I'm just staying off the wheels today.

Mystery Shopping, Again

July 7th, 2018 at 07:57 am

The flat tire kind of took front page news yesterday, so I didn't even talk about my experience with the pizza delivery mystery shop.

It happened on the day I was not feeling well, but I had to follow through. Because I was a little woozy, I did not comprehend the instructions as thoroughly as I should have. I knew I was supposed to take at least three pictures of the pizza at a 90 degree angle. What I didn't get was that I was supposed to put notes beside the pizza showing my ID number and the store number. I took the pictures, and then I ate a piece. And then I saw the deal about the notes. Well, I couldn't add the notes and take a picture of a pizza with a piece missing -- even moving the pieces was a no-no.

So I emailed the agent and explained why I was not filing a report. I assumed I was going to have to absorb the cost of the pizza.

Next day, in the midst of all my flat tire drama, I saw an email from the agent telling me that they needed a report or my assignment would be cancelled. I returned a rather snippy reply that I had already sent her an email to explain, and she should check her inbox.

Well, it turns out she had sent me an earlier message that they could still use the report (which I had missed because I was driving) and I should go ahead and file it. So I had to apologize, hat in hand, and I promised to file the report by 4 pm. That meant I had to retrieve the labels from the box, which was in the trash, but, thank goodness, not in the dumpster. I got the report done and sent it in.

I'm not sure, at this point, whether it will reimbursed or not, so I counted the expense as "eating out" and I will remove it if I do get a reimbursement.

No one was around to eat the pizza, so after I ate the one slice, I put the rest in the freezer.

So, back to the car. I got a call yesterday from the tire dealer saying that there was a possibility the tire will come in today. I am hoping so, because I have to take the boys to music lessons at 9 on Monday, and I'd like to have the car all fixed by then.

This morning I took the short trip to the gym and then to Food4Less, which is in the same plaza. I spent $35. I am hoping this will be enough food to last the month, with only emergency fill-ins. I WILL have to buy some pet supplies, but I don't count those in groceries.

Between yesterday and today, I've spent $4.50 on laundry.

Variables are now at 25%.

I signed up for another mystery shop at lunchtime on Thursday. This time I'll take the boys with me. I've done this particular shop so many times now I don't think they'll be a distraction.

Michigan Trip Cancelled

July 6th, 2018 at 11:56 am

Why, you say?

Because I hit a pothole, hard, on Lake Shore Drive (during rush hour), got a flat and bent the wheel, and I can't get a new tire & wheel till Monday.

I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

I should have been scared, going flat on a busy road like that, but it happened so fast I didn't have time to. I just got over (four lanes) and took the first exit, as there was no shoulder. I had to drive a bit to find any place I could park the car. That's how I bent the wheel. AAA came and put on the baby spare. I had to go all the way back home and beyond to find a tire store that would fit me in. (Every place was overbooked because of the holiday.) And even then, there was no tire like mine in stock. So I'm grounded. No Michigan this weekend.

My warranty will cover all but $20. I don't know why it isn't completely covered, but $20 is not going to break me.

Meanwhile, I'll go back to reading my book and attending baseball games!

The Fourth, and the Night After

July 5th, 2018 at 08:28 am

On the Fourth, I went with my kids to my ex's house for a cookout. Well, really a cook-in. After dinner my kids and I went to the beach to watch the fireworks. The beach is an easy walk from our condos, but I had to find a parking place, since I had driven to ex's. It took me ages! And I ended up parking too close to a fire hydrant, but I didn't get ticketed, so it all worked out.

Then last night, I woke up feeling a little unsettled. Soon that feeling turned to -- well, a terrible night in the bathroom. I admit I did eat a cheeseburger without a dairy pill, but I don't usually get much of a reaction from cheese. Something must have been a little off.

I felt so bad and lost so much sleep that I begged off taking care of the boys today. I still feel like I'm in recovery mode.

Today I have to order a pizza for a mystery shop. Of course, I don't feel like eating one, but you have to follow through if you've asked for an assignment. I can do it any time today, so I'll order later in the day. I've offered to share with the kids; we'll have to see if their schedule permits.

I'm leaving for my Michigan trip tomorrow. I have to get there by 1 to meet my friend P. That means leaving at 9 at the latest. I'm taking my laundry, so I don't have to pack! Except toiletries, of course. Really looking forward to it, but I hope I'm feeling better.

I don't believe I spent anything yesterday. I did figure out that I have enough padding in my checking account to cover the property tax bill and the other automatic payments that are coming out. I always round up on withdrawals, and round down on deposits, so that I build up a bit of a cushion. Sometimes it comes in useful!

Lower Property Tax

July 4th, 2018 at 06:03 am

I got my property tax bill -- second installment -- in the mail yesterday. I was very surprised that it was only $169. That is the lowest I ever paid. I'm not sure why it is so low, but I'm pleased. I already paid it out of my checking account. Now the account is just a little in the red (because of future withdrawals scheduled). But I think I can make up the difference without touching savings, if some mystery shop payments come in.

I did a mystery shop along with the boys yesterday in a garden shop. I had to buy something to prove I was there, so I let the boys each pick out a small thing for themselves. One chose an air plant, and one chose a pack of catnip seeds. The bill came to $8, and $5 will be reimbursed.

Afterwards I stopped at the grocery and spent $24.

Variables are at 16%.

In the evening we had an exciting baseball game to watch. We were tied in the seventh, and went into extra innings to finally make the win. Our boys haven't won much this year, so it was especially sweet. The game lasted three and a half hours!

I am not planning much today. It would be a gym day, but I think it is closed. I will probably walk over to the beach tonight to see the fireworks.

A bit of a cool-off has allowed me to turn off the air conditioners, but it seems like today might heat up again.

Just Where is That Baseball Diamond?

July 3rd, 2018 at 05:09 am

Yesterday was tiring. We had a baseball game at 6pm at a location an hour away. Well, with rush hour traffic it was an hour and a half. Plus, Google Maps TWICE directed me to the wrong location. I can't figure out what went wrong, but had I not been able to text my son and get better directions, I never would have made it there. I was almost ready to just turn around and go home.

The game lasted a couple of hours, and I didn't get to bed until around midnight.

Before the game, I went to Sam's and bought paper towels and Command strips. I spent $29. I shouldn't have to buy paper towels again for quite a while. As for the Command strips -- I have quite a few wall hangings, and some of them keep coming down. I'm going to double up on the problem children. I don't dare use the traditional nail in the wall, as I have old plaster walls.

I was going to order the Command strips from Amazon, but got a pop-up saying that Sam's had a better deal. I hadn't even thought of them.

Today I have a mystery shop in another suburb -- a garden store. I have yet to read through the guidelines, but I know I have to pretend I'm going to make a walk, or build a fence, or something like that. The boys will be with me; I hope they won't blow my cover. I'm going to put them in charge of buying the $5 item for which I'll be reimbursed.

Tomorrow I get the day off -- a day of rest, whee! And on Thursday I will get to order a free pizza via mystery shopping.

Almost forgot -- I also spent $28 on gas at Sam's. Variables are now at 12%.

It's Monday!

July 2nd, 2018 at 05:32 am

Yesterday was a good catch-up day. I set aside a lot of things to sell, some for the garage sale, and some for eBay. My dining room table is full of boxes now. I'm going to start taking the full boxes down one at a time as I come and go.

I have to take the boys to music lessons at 9 this morning, which pretty much jump-starts my day. I don't know what the plans are beyond that. We might go swimming, but that will depend on DIL giving me the passes. I've already made their lunch, peanut soup. They loved it in Williamsburg; I hope they'll love it here.

The weather has cooled off a bit, so I turned off the air and opened the windows this morning. It feels good and I wish it would stay that way.

Yesterday I ran across some old journals I kept back in the 80's and 90's. I never kept them very long at a time, but it's still a good window into my past. I was really worried about money then. I was in debt, living hand to mouth, didn't see any way out. I was also very busy, and I refer to a lot of events and people I don't even remember. Makes me appreciate the security and sense of peace I have now.

I'm going to Michigan this weekend to visit my brother, and I'm going to have lunch with my friend P, too. Looking forward to the fun and relaxation, but not the drive!

DIL's Party

July 1st, 2018 at 06:21 am

DIL had a great 40th birthday party. It was held at a local brewery, in the big backroom area where all the kettles and barrels are kept. They provided trays of antipasto and bread, and of course there was birthday cake. I tried not to indulge too much.

A lot of her friends came, but also some of her relatives from Indiana, whom I hadn't seen for a while, so I spent most of the evening catching up with them. It was a fun night, and unusually late for me!

Before the party, I attended GS2's last baseball game. It was ridiculously hot, but I brought a folding chair and found a spot in the shade. I spent $1 on a lemonade, sold by a boy who said he was collecting for the homeless. GS2 got a trophy at the end of the day for being the fastest and hardest-working. They all got a trophy, of course!

Today, I am going to chill, literally. I'm staying home. Even though there are things I could do, I think I am better off staying in the coolness and resting. I'll be running around soon enough, and it looks like this heat is not going away soon.

I have two mystery shops next week -- one at a garden center, and the other a pizza delivery.

I got a $55 check from one of my companies yesterday. About half of that was a reimbursement.

Trip to the Credit Union

June 30th, 2018 at 04:29 am

I drove to my credit union yesterday because I wanted to talk to a mortgage specialist in person. The credit union is about 20 miles away, but the trip was longer than that because traffic was terrible. Lots of construction.

Well, of course I got there, and they don't even have a mortgage person in the office! They gave me a phone number. I should have called in advance, I know.

In order not to waste the trip, I made a stop at a bakery outlet that is in the area. I spent $9 on Texas Toast, mini subs, English muffins, Hawaiian rolls, hot dog buns, mini bagels and ginger snaps. All stuff that will help me feed the boys this summer.

Then I made another stop at Dress Barn. I had a gift card balance to use up. I bought a swimsuit cover-up which cost me nothing, and I still have $4 on the card.

Before the trip, I got my hair cut - $18, and that was with the senior discount. The price is creeping up. But boy, it feels good to get all that hair off my neck!

Variables are now 5%.

We are having severely hot weather. I am running my air conditioners full time. I got a text yesterday that it was a peak savings day, which means if I reduce my electrical usage I get a rebate. Yesterday was just not the day. I didn't want to give the heat a chance to get a toehold. My two AC's are barely keeping up as it is.

It remains very hot today, and GS2 has a baseball game. I wish they would cancel it, but it is his last game, and I think they will carry on.

Tonight I'm going to a local brewery to celebrate DIL's 40th birthday. I think food will be provided. Cake for sure!

Yesterday I took all the leftover stuff out of the freezer that I had tucked away to use later. Broth, milk, chopped zucchini, soup. I needed to make room in the freezer. I'll make stirfry today, and perhaps some peanut soup.

But for now, I'm going to the gym. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Eat-Out Thursday

June 29th, 2018 at 06:08 am

The boys definitely know that Thursday is Eat-Out Day! They don't miss a beat.

This time I had a coupon from Corner Bakery offering two full-size entrees for $9.99. That was perfect for them, as one could get mac & cheese and the other could get pancakes, their favorites. I had had a late breakfast so ordered only a muffin. The total bill was $14 and my DIL paid me back for it already. I paid for dessert at McDonald's -- two cones for $1.32.

We also checked out a couple of parks. And there were music lessons in the morning. At the end of the day, there was a baseball game. We lost, but played a good game.

Today I'm going to get a haircut, if I can get scheduled with my stylist, and then I'll go to my credit union to talk about my mortgage. This evening I'm taking care of the boys while my kids go to a fundraiser. That should be pretty easy, as it's after dinner, and they can get themselves to bed now.

Planning on a visit with my brother (in Michigan) next weekend after the 4th.

I'm starting to pull out stuff for a garage sale, and I'm kind of surprised by how much I can declutter. Since I don't live in a good place to have a sale, I'm going to haul the stuff to BFF's in Indiana. That won't happen for a while, but I'm getting ready.

I haven't done much spending yet -- a couple of loads of laundry, and one run to the grocery for peppers and onions. And of course, the ice cream cones. Variables are at 1%.

Pay Day

June 27th, 2018 at 11:49 am

I've paid my bills, and I still have savings, though quite reduced. At least I can take comfort in knowing I had the money to pay them. And I have a new (to me) car.

Here is my spending last month:

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $9244
Fees/Services - $2257
Housing - $1105
Insurance - $687
Medical/Health - $227
Utilities - $164
Vet/Pet Supplies - $91
Groceries - $89
Gas - $89
Eating Out - $77
Gifts/Charity - $73
Phone - $52
Clothing/Accessories - $24
Entertainment - $22
Laundry - $12
Fares/Parking - $5
Personal - $3

Grand Total - $14,221

Of course, the "equipment" in the first category was the car. Most of it, anyway.

And most of the fees and services were related: warranty, license plates, wheel tax.

I had to pay assessment fees twice this month.

My semi-annual insurance came due, and it reflected the expected jump from insuring an old car to insuring a newer one.

I had a dentist's appoint and an eye appointment.

I took Iggy to the vet.

Gas was higher due not only to prices but more driving as I cart the grandsons around.

It was just a killer month.

Gap Year is now in full swing, and my savings have been hit hard. Just what i didn't want to happen. But I am confident that most of my hurdles have been conquered, and the future will be frugal, but fine.

Cheap movie

June 26th, 2018 at 06:44 pm

The "cheap" movie cost a little more than expected. Doesn't it always? The admission was $3. But we spent $9 on drinks, $7 on popcorn, and $4 on candy (which we sneaked in.) The boys each had $5 to contribute, so it wasn't TOO bad. But who knew drinks, especially, would cost that much? The boys had big expectations of what their $10 would buy, and the damage was done before I could intervene. Oh well. It was fun. GS1 met up with a friend and we sat together. A good time was had by all.

At my mystery shop this evening, I exceeded the reimbursement limit by .45. Last of the big spenders! I brought home enough for another meal. And I earned $6 for enjoying a free dinner, but I won't see it till next month.

Tomorrow is pay day, and it's going to be a killer. I have BIG credit card bills to pay off -- the aftermath of buying a car. Hope I'm still standing when all is said and done.

The Day Before the Day Before Pay Day

June 25th, 2018 at 07:53 pm

Made it through another day without spending. I am not even doing laundry! And it is piling up, but not unmanageable.

Tomorrow is the last day before pay day.

I made bread today with the help of my grandsons. They were truly amazed that such simple ingredients could turn into bread! The loaves turned out very well this time, and after we treated ourselves to warm bread and butter, they took some home.

We also took a pretty long walk, and my older grandson invented a board game! He called it "Speedy Sploshion." He printed out the "cards" and the game board, and it was pretty cute.

There may be minor spending tomorrow if we go to the kids' movie, but it's only $1 apiece.

Another No-Spend Day

June 25th, 2018 at 05:54 am

No spending yesterday despite one real temptation. After last night's baseball game (a big win for GS1's team) we all went to Culver's in celebration. I had to go along, as I had hitched a ride with my son. I did not order anything and sat and watched everyone eat their delicious food.

Otherwise the day was pretty nondescript. I took a walk around the neighborhood in addition to doing strength training at the gym. I repaired the purse I bought at Goodwill. It wasn't zipping up well, kept catching the lining in the zip. I tacked the fabric down, and then stitched down one area where the fabric was too close to the zip. Then I waxed the zipper, and it's now zipping up well. It took me about 40 minutes.

I got a call to do another mystery shop at a burger place -- one I've done several times before. So tomorrow evening I will have a free dinner plus a little folding money. I prefer this kind of shop to the kind where I have to pretend to buy something and and then renege. That's uncomfortable.

No Spending Today

June 23rd, 2018 at 02:43 pm

I did use some gas, when I drove to the library and then to the two baseball games. I checked out two books which I must finish within one week.

I gave DIL her birthday gifts: a desk organizer, a globe stand, and an Amazon gift card (which I earned with hotel points).

I got a $25 Panera gift card in the mail, which I earned with travel card points. I also got info on my auto warranty, which was a relief. I didn't have any, and I wasn't sure whether it was coming.

I ate leftovers from yesterday's dinner for breakfast, and at 3:30 I ate a second meal of meatballs in marinara sauce with penne, and California blend vegetables. I ate a tiny serving of ice cream -- trying to cut down on sweets, but not cut them out entirely. I feel very satisfied, and I think I'm going to stick with two meals today.

After the games I did some routine housework, and now I am reading and lounging. I'm very sleepy and I may make it an early night.

Overall, a very nice day.

Graduation Day

June 22nd, 2018 at 04:46 pm

My son got his MS in December, but he went through the graduation ceremony today. It was in one of the vintage theaters downtown, very retro and opulent. The ceremony took most of the afternoon, but it was time well spent. My favorite part was the bagpiper who led the graduates out!

I rode along with them, so I didn't have to worry about downtown parking. But I did end up going out to dinner with them afterwards. I tried to order sparingly, and I only spent $13.

Now I'm very tired. It's been a big day!

Tomorrow I'm going to take my DIL's gift over, as it's her actual birthday. But her birthday celebration is going to be next Saturday, in a bar that is amusingly called "Temperance." Amusing, because our suburb is the birthplace of the temperance movement.

I hope my spending has stopped now, until pay day on Wednesday restarts it!

Steady Rain

June 21st, 2018 at 04:16 pm

It rained all day long, and my grandsons' games were cancelled (thank goodness!) I can't imagine what their uniforms would look like after they played on a soaking wet field.

My DIL asked if I would take the boys to see Incredibles 2 today, since they couldn't play outside. I did, and it was $32 for all three of us. It was a DX theater, which I didn't realize when buying the tickets. I also took them out for lunch, since it was Eat Out Day. That was $23 for the three of us.

At the end of the day DIL texted me to ask the cost of the movie and candy. I told her how much the movie cost for the two of them, and the cost of the candy. I think she forgot about Eat Out Day, especially since we had an unexpected one on Beach Day. So I didn't remind her, and I'll absorb the extra cost, unless she asks about it. I kind of follow her lead on the financial part....

I decided to take the dentist visit out of variables -- when something costs more than $100 I try to cash flow it if I can, but this month I can't. So variables are now 93%, with a few more days to get through. I will probably have to park in the city tomorrow, if I cannot hitch a ride to graduation, and that will be expensive.

My deposit to BOA now complete, I changed the funds in my sidebar. Slush Fund has been absorbed into Gap Year Fund. That will be my source to tap when costs exceed income. The Mortgage Fund is held in my credit union, to which I pay the mortgage, and I will just transfer the payment each month. I'll have to add more to that fund to get through the year.

Eye Doctor

June 20th, 2018 at 04:24 pm

I just got back from the eye doctor. My eyes are dilated and I'm kind of bumbling around in sunglasses. But the good news is, my eye looks healthy, and he didn't see any tears or weak spots. He did advise me to ask my primary physician to set me up with a reference to a retina specialist, just in case. And if I start to see a shadow, or a shade coming down, I am to go to the ER.

The cost was $35.

I bought gas this morning for $30. Variables have now topped out at 101%. And I have six days to go.

I made penne with homemade Alfredo sauce and sauteed mushrooms for my grandsons today, and GS1 said it was the best meal he ever had! They both helped me put it together, and I think their contribution definitely influenced their evaluation!

Tomorrow is Music Lessons Day and Eat Out Day. They will choose the restaurant. My DIL will reimburse me.

I guess the haircut will have to be put off again, until after pay day. It doesn't really look too bad, it's just not holding its shape. I can weather another week with it. I've got enough food and everything else, so I think I can make it without adding to the variables total.

Moving Money

June 19th, 2018 at 04:43 pm

This morning I closed my Chase bank accounts, and I will be moving the funds to BOA and to my credit union. Chase began charging me a $25 monthly fee because my savings balance went too low. They caught me once, but I will not be caught again. I'll update my sidebar when I make the deposits.

I also did a load of laundry, which was my only spending of the day.

Variables are now at 94%, with about a week to go. And I have to get gas tomorrow.

I had a hard day today because of sleep deprivation. I am hoping my aching hip will let me sleep tonight. Meanwhile, a new ailment -- my right eye has suddenly developed floaters and I've had some strange peripheral flashes that may signal retina detachment. So I made an eye appointment for tomorrow. I don't dare let it go.

I still have not managed to get that haircut. Now I have to wait till Friday for my stylist to be back on duty. On Friday afternoon, I'm traveling into the city to watch my son in graduation exercises. He earned his degree in December, but there was no ceremony. He is walking now, mostly to make an impression on his sons, I think. So -- it'll be a good day to have my hair looking nice. I'm even going to wear a dress, which is a rare occasion!

Major Heat

June 18th, 2018 at 03:21 pm

I heard it was 98 degrees today. I certainly felt it. I was at the beach with the boys. Even though I stayed in the shade, it was grueling. I got into the water once, but it was icy-cold and the rocks on the bottom hurt my feet. Oh yes, and the sand was so hot I almost scorched my feet before I put my sandals on.

And the flies were biting!

Complain, complain, complain. The boys, on the other hand, spent a lot of time in the water and had a great time.

My spending today was $1.25 for ice cream cones for the boys, and $3 for deodorant, which I bought at Walgreens before I went to the beach.

I also charged my insurance payment to my new Wells Fargo card. It was $687, because it was retroactive to the day I bought the car, and also covers July-December. According to my records that should push my total charged to Wells Fargo above the $1000 requirement needed for the $200 bonus.

There is supposed to be a baseball game tonight, but I'm waiting to hear that it is cancelled. The heat is excessive, and severe storms are predicted. For either reason, the game should be cancelled.

Weekend with BFF

June 17th, 2018 at 12:58 pm

BFF arrived on Friday, and left a few hours ago. We had a good time together.

I spent no money on eating out. We did a mystery shop lunch, which provided a meal for both of us, and for the rest of the weekend, I served food at home.

BFF was on a shopping kick. She needed summer clothes. With Carson Pirie Scott going out of business, the time was right for her to stock up on things. I accompanied her to the store three different times, but I spent nothing there myself.

We also went to two Goodwill's together and that's where I spent just a little. The total for the two trips was $15. I found a new purse (yay!) and I bought some gift wrap, as well as a pitcher, a plate and a bud vase. I also got a top for my granddaughter to complete an outfit I am putting together for her next birthday.

My favorite find was the bud vase. It was only $1 and is hand-painted multicolor Delft, in perfect condition. I may resell it someday, but I want to enjoy it first. It's probably worth about $40.

That was it! Our main entertainment was the time we spent with each other.

I got a $15 check from mystery shopping this weekend, too, so I guess the weekend was covered!


June 14th, 2018 at 05:05 pm

More spending today. I got a reminder that it was my Florida DIL's birthday. I hadn't forgotten that it was coming up soon, but I lost track of the day. Quel surprise! I sent her a card with a $50 Panera gift card enclosed and texted her my apology for being late.

I also bought a cute desktop organizer for my local DIL's birthday, which is next week. $12. I have another gift in reserve, a globe stand, for which I paid $27, so I need to find another small gift for her.

Next month I'll begin giving token gifts of $10 or less, as gap year goes into full swing. I didn't want to do it this month, as I will still be in gap year mode next June, and the girls would get shortchanged two years in a row.

I took GS1 out to lunch at Noodles & Co., but DIL will reimburse me.

I donated $4 to a fundraiser for a family whose son died in a random act of violence.

Variables are at 72%.

BFF arrives tomorrow, but before she arrives I'll go to the dentist. I'm also planning to close my Chase account, but only if my last payment from the College is processed. And if I have time, I'll get the haircut I've been putting off.


June 13th, 2018 at 01:54 pm

Today's spending was .65 for an ice cream cone at McDonalds, and $22 for a pair of beach sandals. I ordered the sandals from DSW, using a $10 coupon, and I'll pick them up at the store tomorrow. I hope they'll feel okay, but really, they're just for walking on the sand. I didn't own any footwear that wouldn't be ruined by sand and water.

I can't wear ordinary flip-flops -- they cause me pain -- but these are slides with a wide upper band, so I think they will work.

I received a $3 Pine Cone payment. So far this month I've only collected $13 in extra income; it's been slow. But I'm owed $65 in mystery shop wages; I hope some of that comes in soon.

Variables are at 64%. Two weeks until payday.


June 12th, 2018 at 05:47 pm

Kind of a lousy day. I didn't feel good, and the weather is still crummy.

GS1 had an argument with his mom this morning and came over all out of sorts.

I have been wrestling all day with two mystery shop assignments that I can't seem to complete to the satisfaction of the agents. I am beginning to feel like I'm not cut out for it. The assignments are so demanding and sometimes require behavior that I feel is rude or deceptive. And the pay for the time spent is ridiculous.

I know I need the money, but.......

In financial news, I spent only $1.50 today on a load of laundry. And I ordered a $25 Panera gift card using the points earned on my BOA travel card.


June 11th, 2018 at 02:47 pm

I didn't spend anything today. It's cool and rainy, and GS1 didn't pressure me to go anywhere. We played a game of Monopoly in the morning, made lunch together, and went to the (wet) park in the afternoon to shoot hoops.

There is an away game tonight, and I will ride there with my son.

I will have a shorter day with GS1 tomorrow, and afterwards, a mystery shop at the comic book store.

Things are falling apart on me! My purse started flaking so bad I had to throw it away. The handle on my microwave suddenly started dropping chips. I've thrown out a bunch of underwear and socks that gave up the ghost. It's like my stuff knows that Gap Year is here and it's all coming to pieces!

I resurrected an old purse, but it has handle problems and I don't know how long it will hold up. I'm really not in the mood to buy new stuff, I just want to lay low and be super-frugal, just for the coming year. Sigh.

Clothes Shopping

June 10th, 2018 at 04:38 pm

I did a last-minute mystery shop today, which involved checking out a clothing store, trying something on, buying it and then returning it. The top I tried on was $66! So shocking to look at retail prices, when I'm used to buying used clothing.

I would never pay $66 for a top.

I will net $20, which really isn't much for all the time I put into it, but I guess I wasn't doing anything else, anyway.

After GS2 took off on the bus for camp, I went to a local bakery with the rest of the family. Someone picked up my tab for a donut and coffee. Sweet! I thought that once I got home I would just go back to bed, because I had a really rough night, but I'm still going. I hope tonight will be better. I do usually get a good night's sleep after a bad one.

I just got my auto policy declarations for Jane Honda. Quite a jump in price! Not unexpected. But the actual bill has not come yet, though I think it's coming soon. I will put it on my new Wells Fargo card, to go toward earning that $200.

My Quiet Saturday

June 9th, 2018 at 05:05 pm

I went to the gym this morning and then stopped at Aldi, where I spent $9 on a few groceries. I also stopped at Sam's and bought gas for $29.

I did a $1.50 load of laundry this afternoon.

Variables are now at 62%. 18 days till payday.

I have a dentist appointment coming up next week which will probably ruin my nicely-laid plans for coming in under budget. Not that I'm having anything special done; it's just a checkup. But without dental insurance, even checkups are expensive.

On the same day, BFF will arrive for her visit. I'm planning on making this one pretty cheap. She knows about my gap year and about my new car, so she's not going to be expecting a lot of frolicking.

Tomorrow I'm seeing GS2 off to camp, and it will be just GS1 and me for the rest of the week. Hope I can keep him entertained!

Poor Iggy!

June 8th, 2018 at 03:22 pm

Well, I didn't do anything I had planned today, because I got panicked about Iggy and took him to the vet. He had a perfectly round bald spot on his belly, and I got on the internet and decided it was ringworm. Which wouldn't have been good, because it's contagious to humans and requires a lot of care, including sequestering the cat and washing everything in hot water.

I took him in for a walk-in appointment (luckily, it wasn't busy.) And I learned I was looking at -- his nipple! Geez. Well, at least it gave me the opportunity to have his ears checked again -- he is prone to earmites -- and I got his nails clipped. The vet also basically did an annual checkup. It cost me $80. But at least I know everything is okay.

I decided my haircut could be put off for another week. And since it was pouring down rain, I didn't feel like going anywhere, especially not to the credit union which is some distance away.

So I had a "kitchen day." I made a chicken pot pie and a strawberry smoothie. I made a new batch of granola. I made apple pinwheels out of puff pastry, chopped apple, mayo and honey. I've run the dishwasher once and it's almost full again!

Otherwise I've spent the day reading, as well as watching a John Cusack/Morgan Freeman movie I had never seen, "The Contract."

Iggy is curled up on the bed, licking his wounds after his morning ordeal. Poor guy. He hates the vet and he gets so wrought up. It was a shame I had to put him through it for no reason, but it's good I got the annual done, anyway.

Pizza Picnic and Financial Finagling

June 7th, 2018 at 02:46 pm

The boys and I had a pizza picnic today. DIL reimbursed me for that, and for the haircut a few days ago. We set up Zelle to make it easier.

I signed up for another mystery shop next week. Ironically, it's at the same comic book shop where I spent so much time on Tuesday, waiting for the boys to decide on how to spend their gift certificate. I feel like I already know the employees!

I made plans with BFF for a weekend visit (here) next weekend.

Tomorrow I'm planning on getting a haircut.

I may go visit my credit union to see if I can get a lower mortgage payment. My balance is low enough to switch to an equity line of credit -- which I was planning to do when the ARM ran out. It runs out next summer, but if I could get a lower payment by switching now, I'll do it.

My Cap One deposit of $407 appeared in my checking account today. One consolidation done. I'm also planning to close my Chase account as soon as the last College payment is deposited on the 15th. It has served its purpose -- to pocket the College money and to fund my new car. I'll move the remains to my BOA account and my credit union.

I'll be glad to get past next month, when all the remaining car expenses will hit the credit cards. After that, it should be smooth sailing, barring any new big expenses!

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