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Archive for October, 2006

A walk to the library

October 30th, 2006 at 04:10 pm

It was a no-spend day. It was lovely weather today, so at lunch time I decided to walk to the library and check out some more books -- I also picked up a bunch of free magazines -- all recent, so I will look through them for coupons.

To thank my friend who let us use her home theater last night, I gave her a coupon from my entertainment book. It's good for a free dinner for her birthday at a good restaurant in town (but she'll have to be in a party of four.) It wasn't much, just enough to let her know I appreciated her favor to me. And she is someone who will use it. I also went through the book and tore out some coupons for a car repair shop that I don't use, but that another friend does. I'll give them to her next time I see her.

Someone brought carmel corn to work today, and I could NOT leave it alone. It is something I can't resist. I'm going to have to go back to restricting myself from eating between meals; I'm out of control. Just because something is free does NOT mean I have to eat it!

Meals today:

Breakfast: Toast, bacon, coffee
Snack: Carmel corn
Lunch: Lean Cuisine pizza, brownie
Snack: Carmel corn
Dinner: Lean Cuisine Sante Fe rice & beans.

$1 left!

October 30th, 2006 at 04:22 am

I spent $20 yesterday, leaving $1 in my checking account. Tonight my pay check will go in, so I am not worried about a $1 day!

I spent $10 on gas, $5 on groceries, $3 on cat food and $2 on Bio Salud, which is a health-related expense.

In the evening I watched "Last of the Mohicans" with friends at a home theater. It was a true theater experience -- big screen, dark insulated walls, risers, big easy chairs, surround-sound. Fabulous. Nice to have friends with nice gear!

Meals yesterday:

Breakfast: Grits, orange, bread & gravy
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich, clam chowder
Snack: Hot chocolate
Dinner: Lean Cuisine (chicken in basil cream sauce, pasta), brownie
Snack: Popcorn & diet coke (free)

Pondering a nothing day

October 29th, 2006 at 05:21 am

As promised, I spent the whole day at home yesterday and spent nothing. I realized I feel somewhat guilty staying in on weekends and I've pinpointed two reasons. I've always been a pretty quiet, shy person, and all my life I have been pushed to "get out" and "be more social," to the point where I felt like a freak. Although I don't believe that it my head, anymore, I think those feelings of shame are still lurking inside. The other reason -- now that my kids are grown I live alone, and I truly won't see anyone unless I do go out. While I am introverted, I do still like people and socializing in small groups. So I do feel like I'm cheating myself when I stay in.

That said, I realize that going out usually involves money, and if I want to really pull in the reins on my spending, then I have to have quiet days at home. It's kind of a quandary.

Yesterday I finished a book, "Lost & Found," by Carolyn Parkhurst (pretty good yarn about being in a reality TV show), and I watched "The Break-Up," on loan from my Netflix friend.

Today I WILL go out -- I have to get gas, some groceries, etc. I will limit myself to the $21 in my check book and report back.

Meals yesterday:

Breakfast: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich.
Snack: Oatmeal with raisins & brown sugar.
Lunch: Biscuits & gravy
Dinner: Lean Cuisine (BBQ chicken pizza)
Snack: Tortilla chips

A rainy no-spend day

October 28th, 2006 at 05:39 am

Yesterday was another no-spend day, so I am still holding onto my $21. Today will take care of that, though. I am very low on gas, and need to get some more Bio Salud. I will probably also get a few groceries to get by these few days.

I got a call from my wellness coach yesterday -- as part of a fitness initiative at work, we get calls from a coach if we agree to it -- and I had to admit I wasn't keeping up with my exercise as I had been. I was feeling all motivated by her advice and support, but when I started to go the gym after work, I had to walk through deep water (it was raining cats & dogs). So my shoes were wet. But I thought, okay, I'll still go. It was cold and miserable, and I really didn't want to but I told myself I would. I started to pull out of the parking lot, and traffic was backed up as far as I could see. I thought, that's it, and turned my car around and went out the back of the lot towards home. I couldn't have got to the gym without getting into the traffic jam and I'm on my last quarter tank as it is. So I didn't go. Right now money is more important than exercise. I will try to take a walk today to make up for it.

I used a heater at work yesterday and finally got comfortable in the afternoon.

Oh, I forgot to report on my homemade dog treats! They turned out looking like little gingersnaps. My dogs eats them, but he always looks at me like, "What's THAT?" when I hand him one. So I don't know if they're a smashing success or not. They probably weren't all that cheap to make either -- they called for whole wheat flour and wheat germ, among other things. But making them kept me from having to go out and buy treats.

Meals yesterday:

Breakfast: Grits, orange, coffee
Snack: Animal crackers (free at work)
Lunch: Lean Cuisine (salmon, spinach & rice)
Snack: Trail mix (free at work)
Dinner: Biscuits and gravy

Almost a free lunch

October 26th, 2006 at 03:58 pm

I went out to lunch today, even though I had brought my Lean Cuisine and was all prepared to stay in. A co-worker offered to treat; she had a gift card to use, plus she wanted to talk. We went to a local bar that has great hamburgers. I contributed $1 for the tip.

I also paid $16.60 for dry cleaning, but it wasn't cash -- the dry cleaning expense is always automatically put on my Discover card, as I have an arrangement where it is picked up and dropped off at work.

I actually have $21 in my checking account, not $17, like I said before. I don't know how I keep coming up with more, but I think I'll make it fine till pay day on the 31st.

I have set up a budget for next month and I'm excited about starting it! I know it is probably a bad time, with my grandbaby coming and a long trip ahead, but I figure, there never is a normal month, and the whole point of a budget is to make it flexible enough to work in any circumstances.

I don't know what's going on at work, but it has been freezing all week. I keep wishing if I have to be so cold, I'd like to at least be saving money! I guess my employer is saving money. I wore my winter coat in the office all day. Our building manager keeps sending out messages, "They're working on regulating temperatures for winter..." This better not be the winter temperature, because I won't be able to work in those conditions. Everyone else is complaining, too, so hopefully something will be done.

Tomorrow I will wear layers....

Meals today:

Breakfast: Apple coffeecake, coffee
Lunch: Hamburger, fries, diet coke
Dinner: Cheddar potato soup, brownie

You gain some, you spend some

October 25th, 2006 at 06:26 pm

I balanced my checkbook again, and I have $17, not $3. I also have about $2 in cash. I spent $5 on lunch today -- this was my lunch day with the boss. I could have brown-bagged, but I didn't have the right supplies or the time to get a brown-bag lunch together this morning. We went to a new fast-food place that serves pita's, which were huge. I had a coupon to get one free and we split the bill. It could have been worse.

Less than a week now till pay day!

Supper was free -- I brought home some soup from yesterday's carry-in -- actually there's enough for tomorrow night, too. I did this with the permission of the soup-maker!

I ran out of dog treats today, so I spent this evening making some from scratch. I think they will be pretty good but the recipe called for too much time in the oven, I think. I am afraid they are a bit scorched. We'll see tomorrow whether they pass the test with my dog.

My daughter-in-law had her last ultrasound today and she emailed me a picture of my grandson's face. Awesome! Handsome already! Can't wait to see him in person.

Meals today:

Breakfast: Blueberry coffeecake (at work, left over from yesterday), coffee
Lunch: Beef pita with onion, peppers and lettuce, diet coke, baked chips
Dinner: Cheddar potato soup, brownie

Frugal accomplishments

October 24th, 2006 at 05:46 pm

High points of the day:

We had a carry-in at work. I brought homemade brownies, and in exchange got a HUGE lunch. Unfortunately, I ate a little too much. I am still full, and I have skipped dinner.

I got my oil changed and a 16-point inspection for free. Had a coupon.

I took Norton off my computer and installed McAfee for free. I still had two months of my Norton subscription but it was not acting right. It took some doing to get the McAfee installed, but I did it!

I balanced my checkbook and it looks like I may have more money than I thought. I'm skeptical, so I'm going to do it again before I'm sure.

Meals today:

Breakfast: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich
Lunch: A plate full of little bits of various casseroles, salads, soups, side dishes, rolls and desserts.
Dinner: None

Now I'm starting to worry

October 24th, 2006 at 04:26 am

Not about my finances -- about my mind!

Yesterday I arrived at work without my lunch. Now you remember I have only $11 till the end of the month, so I couldn't consider buying lunch. But using gas to go home is also a draw on my resources. Well, I went home for lunch, figuring it was the lesser of two evils. At the end of the day I start changing to go to the gym -- no shoes. And here I had a second chance to get them at lunch, but didn't notice them sitting right on the living room floor. So I skipped the gym rather than make ANOTHER trip.

This morning I have to take my car to get the oil changed. (I have a free coupon). I must do it, because it's overdue, and because I could get a call from my son any time now that the baby is on the way, and then I will be jumping in the car and driving 10 hours to Kansas City.

So I made an appointment to drop it off at 7:45 a.m. This morning I get out of the shower, get dressed, look at the clock and think, "Omigosh, it's time to go!" I jump in the car, I'm on the road, and then I notice -- I'm an hour ahead of myself.

I can't believe this. So I go to Wal-Mart so as not to make it a totally wasted trip. Where is my brain?

I made a discovery at Wal-Mart. One of the things I needed to get was some more Activia yogurt. I saw a product in the same area called Bio Salud. It's not yogurt, just little bottles of liquid that carry the live bacteria. They were only .88 for five, as apposed to $1.88 for 4 Activia. Of course, it is not really a food item, either, but the reason I am buying Activia is for the bacteria. I took my dose as soon as I came home, and it tasted good!

I also bought a can of tuna. My cat gets a little bit every morning and evening and I was running low. My total spending was $2.38. So I have between $8 and $9 left.

Meals yesterday:

Breakfast: English muffins, tomato juice
Snack: gingersnaps, coffee
Lunch: Lean Cuisine (chicken pecan w/rice & peapods), bread, butter & jelly.
Dinner: Macaroni & cheese, broccoli

A very low-key Sunday

October 23rd, 2006 at 04:05 am

Yesterday was a no-spend day. And I did not leave the house or even get out of my pajamas. I decided not to go to the gym, because I need to make my half a tank of gas last till the end of the month. Wouldn't want to spend my $11 on gas!

I mainly played computer games, read and cooked. In the evening I watch a Netflix loan, Eight Below, which made me cry -- mainly because one of the dogs looked just like mine.

It was too cold to replant my iris, but it looks like it will warm up by Wednesday.

Meals yesterday:

Breakfast: English muffins, yogurt
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich, broccoli
Snack: Strawberry ice cream
Dinner: Pizza, tortilla chips & salsa

Baby Boom revisited

October 22nd, 2006 at 06:08 am

It turned cold this morning (or more accurately, some time last night). The wind is howling. I think I am going to stay in all day -- although I should go to the gym. I only made it once last week.

I watched "Baby Boom" on TV this morning, the old Diane Keaton movie. I remember the first time I watched it and how I yearned for a house in the country, even with all the problems she had. Now, watching it with a more critical eye, I see how shamelessly it glossed over everything. Yes, big bills for plumbing, new roof, etc., but all easily resolved with a home-grown business that went national in a few months with no visible workers! Oh well, it was a fairy tale, and I still enjoyed watching it again.

I realized this morning that I actually have $11 for the rest of the month, because I have $3 in checking! Hmmm, I think that works out to about $1 a day.

Marie Antoinette and iris

October 21st, 2006 at 04:47 pm

It's been a no-spend day for me. I'm determined to make my $8 last till payday.

But I did go see a movie with a friend. I had free tickets given to me by a different friend, who donates blood often and gets so many free movie passes she can't use them all. Anyway, we went to see "Marie Antoinette," which was a big disappointment. I'm glad it was free. The costumes and settings were incredible, but otherwise it was strange -- oddly modern touches, like rock music, slang, etc.

My friend and I also took a nice long walk -- it's a beautiful autumn day. And after dinner, I dug up all my iris rhizomes and divided them. I'll replant some of them tomorrow and take the rest to work to share with anyone who's interested.

It was pretty hard work! They were tough to dig up and tough to divide because they were so tightly woven together in the roots. It is a good job done. I'll be sore tomorrow.

Meals today:

Breakfast: biscuits, bacon, orange, coffee
Lunch: peanuts, diet coke
Dinner: vegetable beef soup, English muffin, yogurt

Bummer

October 20th, 2006 at 04:48 pm

Well, I've done it again. I've run out of money -- well, almost. I have $8 left for the month. My bills are paid, but I am out of milk and low on pet food. I'm really tired of this routine, and feeling like I will never get out of this hole.

Spent $10 on gas today, just a half a tank so I wouldn't be flat broke.

I'm also having computer problems; I think my anti-virus program is screwed up. Wish I weren't so ignorant about these things.

Meals today:

Breakfast: yogurt
Lunch: Lean Cuisine (Salisbury steak & macaroni)
Dinner: pizza, ice cream

Recap of my big day

October 20th, 2006 at 03:29 am

Yesterday was a lot of fun, and I don't think I did too badly on money. At lunch, I went with my friends to a newish family-style restaurant. I had a coupon for $5 off a $25 bill. I had to talk my friends into it, but we put all our meals on one bill to get the discount. Mine was $7.04 after the discount and including the tip.

For dinner, I went with a different set of friends to a new Irish pub. Here there were no discounts. I spent $12.55 counting tip. Then we went to a free lecture by Amy Tan (author of Joy Luck Club). She was amazing, very funny and real. It was an evening well spent. My only problem was I was so stimulated I didn't sleep well at all last night.

I woke this morning to the sound of the garbage truck rumbling through the neighborhood. By the time I hear it, it is too late to put the garbage out. This is the second week in a row I have missed it. Being a single person, my garbage isn't too excessive, but I am glad I am in the habit of freezing my perishable garbage. I would be dealing with quite a stink by now!

Meals Yesterday:

Breakfast: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich, milk
Snack: Biscotti and truffles
Lunch: Bacon, lettuce & tomato club sandwich, diet vanilla coke, chips
Dinner: Turkey & cheese grilled sandwich, potato slices, beer

Holy Moly! Truffles and Biscotti!

October 18th, 2006 at 05:41 pm

We had a guest at work today who joined us for an instructional webinar. As a sort of bread and butter gift, she brought chocolate truffles and biscotti. Man! Were they delicious! Especially the truffles. Curl-your-toes-up-and-die-with-pleasure good. I tried not to eat too many of them, but I'm already planning on having more tomorrow.

I didn't spend anything today except $6.06 for cat food. It was an emergency; he was on his last few kernels. I sort of wonder if the dog has been managing to get to his bowl, which is up on the dryer.

Tomorrow I'll be eating out twice. I'll be going to lunch with some old library school chums (this is a regular monthly date), and for dinner I'll be meeting friends at a new Irish pub. Then we'll go to a lecture by Amy Tan, the author, which is a free event. I will do my best to keep my food choices frugal. I do have a coupon for the lunch place. I'm really looking forward to the day!

Meals today:

Breakfast: Grits
Snack: Gingersnaps
Lunch: Lean Cuisine (meatloaf & mashed potatoes), yogurt, truffles, biscotti
Dinner: Lean Cuisine (Sante Fe rice & beans), bread & butter, strawberry ice cream