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Archive for March, 2010

Weekend spending & saving

March 22nd, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Lots of spending this weekend. I spent $100 on groceries, $31 on gas, $12 on gifts for my grandson, $15 on fish oil, $4 on dishwasher detergent, $19 on cat food & litter, and $20 on a donation to Habitat for Humanity. Plus, the water bill came out of my account, and it was $56.

What have I done to save? Well, I DIDN'T buy shoes as I had planned. It snowed on Saturday, and it seemed all right to wear boots to the fancy dinner. I DIDN'T go to the fundraiser on Sunday -- babysat instead -- but in its place I did donate $20 to the cause. Still, $20 is less than I would have spent on four lunches, and my co-worker was more than grateful for the donation. Since the fundraiser was a rousing success, I didn't feel bad about not making it.

Had an awful day at work today. I decided I must be sick, but stuck it out -- now that I'm home I feel much better. Hmmmm. Maybe it was the Advil I took.

Five and a half more years to work! I realized yesterday I don't have to think "6" any more! I can do it.

Lost & Found

March 18th, 2010 at 01:02 pm

Some time ago I bought a new digital camera that came with a rechargeable battery and charger. Some time after that I completely lost track of the charger. I looked high and low, even in my car. I gave up and decided to get another one from Target, but it turned out I couldn't buy it separately at the store. I was advised to go online. I didn't get around to it.

Then, yesterday, I couldn't find my pill box. Now, it's pretty big; it has 14 sections, so I couldn't figure out how it could just disappear.

I started looking in all kinds of unlikely places (after I looked in the likely ones) and voila! Inside my living room end table I found the battery charger! You never find just what you're looking for, do you? But that was a nice surprise.

Later on, I opened up the freezer and my pill box was in there. Apparently, when my mind was on autopilot, I processed the pill box as "food" and put it in the freezer.

Ah me. Senior moments.

Our St. Pat's party at work yesterday was lovely. There was a big spread that included corned beef, soda bread, scones and all sorts of non-Irish goodies, too. Irish music played softly in the background all day. Everyone was in such a good mood. As they say, everyone was Irish!

So, because of the spread, I got a free lunch AND dinner, because I took home some of the leftovers (with permission). And there is still some left today, so I just had a scone for breakfast....

Green River soda

March 17th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Just spent $11 on Green River soda and cups for our St. Pat's party at work. I could have baked something cheaper -- or bought something cheaper -- but the soda WAS on sale and I think it will be well received. Often drinks are not provided at these potlucks and people miss them. Anyway, it will look so festive!

I have to attend (in work status) a dinner on Saturday night. Dress code is "cocktail." I have a black velvet top and black satin pants that I think will do, but shoes are a problem. My ankle is still swollen and I have been wearing high top shoes for support. I have a pair of black sandals with low heels, and I'll see if I can wear them comfortably. Otherwise, I'll have to shop for something. It wouldn't hurt me to have a nice pair of black flats, anyway.

On Sunday, I'm going to try to attend a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. Basically, it's a buy-a-burger deal at a local restaurant. I hope I can get my kids to come down and I will treat us all. I really want to do this, because the woman in charge of the event has been so helpful to me while I have been recovering from my broken ankle, and I think making this event a success is the one thing that will make her happiest right now.

So it seems I am in spend mode rather than save mode. Once this week is past, it will be different.

A big transfer into savings

March 14th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I just transferred $1695 into my EF, bringing it up to $2728. Woo-hoo! I will be using some of that to make my move this summer, so it won't last, but it will be so nice to pay cash instead of charging it!

On Saturday morning I decided to buy a coffee table. I've been looking for one all year at garage sales and whatnot, but yesterday I was so tired of not having a place to set down my mug I decided to just go to a furniture store and get one. Well, I went to a furniture store, then Target, and then an antique shop, and still didn't find one. The catch is it has to be pretty narrow, and all I could find were big ole honkin' tables. What happened to the little cocktail table? So I've put that desire on hold again. Meanwhile, at Target, I found something else I've been hankering for -- a grill pan. Cookware is my guilty pleasure! I found something called a "green pan" which is nonstick but not Teflon. I think it will work great for the occasional filet or chicken breast. I also bought Easter basket supplies, shampoo, and pots for my plants, and the grand total was $71. I also got lunch at McDonalds for $3.60, since I knew I wouldn't be up to making lunch when I got home.

Today I decided to do something with all the bread crusts in the freezer. I made a batch of bread crumbs and croutons and also put some in a breakfast casserole. The crusts are all used up and I can start collecting them again!

My weight was 3 lbs up from last weekend! I knew I was misbehaving and that I would pay for it, but didn't expect that high a jump. So I will have to get serious again.

Thinking about Baselle's bout with food poisoning, I threw out a bunch of stuff in the fridge. I hate to waste food, but trying to use it up by eating it, when it just may be a little too old, is not a good idea. Out it went. Hope you're feeling better, Baselle!

A trip to the vet

March 11th, 2010 at 04:01 pm

Well, I won't be putting $2K in savings this month. I took my cat to the vet yesterday, and it cost me $365. She was limping -- had been for days. So we took x-rays, and found out she has arthritis in both front shoulders.

Most of the cost was for the medication -- which will last for two years. I will inject it myself, which doesn't bother me. I did it for several years when I had a cat who was diabetic.

I also have some oral meds for the first six days. I tried to give her the first dose this morning and got most of it on my sleeve. I'll have to get better at that! I do believe the orals are more difficult than the injections.

Even though this was an expensive trip to the vet, this cat has cost me very little so far in her life and she is a total sweetie, so I am all in favor of helping her through her pain. The vet explained that there are not as many good options for medications for cats as there are for dogs -- hence, the expense. I didn't feel pressured at all. It was my decision.

The vet also mentioned that there are some dental issues to address later, but we'll get through this first.

I just may win the car challenge ....

March 5th, 2010 at 06:41 pm

by racking up the most miles!

Went to the doctor yesterday, which is a 45-minute drive away. I have to travel that far because he is the surgeon who operated on my ankle, which I broke while visiting in the north suburbs. Tried to transfer to a doctor down here, but the insurance won't let me. So I'm stuck with that.

I'm also traveling twice a week to physical therapy, which is 20 minutes away.

I am trying in little ways, though. The other night I had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up a prescription. While there, I also picked up the few groceries that were on my list. I am going to try to avoid the grocery store this weekend, and get creative with what I have on hand.

I have a container of sour cream that passed its sale date on March 1. I am going to try to use it up this weekend. Plans are for turkey stroganoff (thus using up the turkey in the freezer, too), a potato casserole, and clementine cake. (I'm going to adapt a lemon cake recipe, since I have no lemons but plenty of clementines). Anyway, clementine cake sounds better, doesn't it?

Recent spending:
$78 - dentist
$2 - Shamrock shake at McDonalds
$15- doctor co-pay
$10 - prescription
$8 - groceries
$22 - renter's insurance
$48 - cable & internet
$60 - car insurance
$46 - electric bill

This is my lean time - every month between the 1st and the 15th (pay day) I try to spend as little as I can so I can transfer a big chunk into savings. This month, because of my tax refund, I should be able to put more than $2000 in there.

Sacrificed for a champagne pail

March 2nd, 2010 at 07:10 pm

My driving challenge is off to a bad start, but I had to go to a neighboring town yesterday to pick up a freecycle item. I was first in line for a crystal/silver champagne pail, so I went and got it. It is new and in perfect shape, and it will make a good wedding/shower gift down the road.

I updated my sidebar. My car fund and housing fund are pretty static right now, as those are stocks. When I get my EF where I want it to be, I'll start saving more $$$ for the car and down payment, but I don't know whether I want to put it into more stocks, or just keep it in a savings account. I can't afford to lose any money. I go back and forth. I have six years, roughly, to save for a home, and I want to make the most of it. I won't even buy a car if the one I have now lasts, but it's got 100,000 miles on it, so it probably won't.

Soup Nazi

March 1st, 2010 at 06:30 pm

I made soup this weekend -- not just one pot, but two! The first was made from the chicken I brought home from Maggiano's. Simmered it and made nice broth, added frozen soup veggies and pieces of the chicken. MMMM... Just had some for lunch and it is delicious!

I also "made" butternut squash soup with chicken. That is, I added chicken to a box of organic soup. It was good, too. They will both serve as lunches this week.

My trip to the grocery store this week yielded some good buys. Because I can't stand on my ankle very long, I limit my shopping to ten items, but I allow doubles (no extra walking for those). I got two-for-one deals on plastic bags, my favorite oatmeal cookies, vitamins and calcium tablets. Also got a gallon of milk for less than I usually pay for a half-gallon. I will have to drink up this week to avoid letting it go bad.

I made my first Goodwill trip since my accident. Didn't find too much, but I did find a BIG shirt for my BIG brother-in-law (not easy to find), a wonderful cobalt blue bowl that will go nicely with my Blue Willow dinnerware, some Easter baskets and toys to put in them for the grandsons, and some items for my antique booth -- a lidded wooden bowl and some vintage puzzles (probably from the fifties). All that for less than $10.

On Sunday I had a no-driving day -- heck, it was a no-getting-dressed day. Saved money on gas, hot water, shampoo.... It was also very nice to just laze around and just what my ankle needed. Today I am walking much better than I was just last week.