Home > Archive: July, 2010

Archive for July, 2010

Keeping the spending down

July 29th, 2010 at 05:51 pm

Now that I am back home, I'm keeping spending to a minimum. I peeked at my Discover card online and I see that I racked up $1711 what with the conference/vacation expenses and all. I expect to be reimbursed for about $980, so that's not TOOO bad. I just hope the reimbursement will come before the Discover bill is due. I think it will.

I bought lunch at Subway yesterday for $6.50. I wouldn't have gone out at all, but my boss asked me. We had work issues to talk about. Many work issues, which are ongoing and hard to figure out. Sometimes I really wonder if I'm going to make it to age 66 on this job. It's very technologically oriented, and I am having a harder and harder time keeping up with the technology. When I started in this field, it was more of a research/analytical job. Now it's all data and statistics and metrics. Ugh.

Tonight I have to go to Wal-Mart to fill a prescription and get cat food. I'll forestall the rest of my grocery shopping till the weekend. There isn't a lot I have to get, and I'll try to keep it down.

Two more weeks till pay day, so I just need to keep stretching.

The damages

July 27th, 2010 at 05:13 pm

I'm back from my conference/vacation in California. It was partially a vacation, because I stayed one extra day and spent time with my West Coast cousin. Everything I did on that last day, I paid for myself.

My employer shouldered most of the costs for the other days, but there were some I took care of myself (by choice). Since I am a fundraiser, I do like to give back to my institution in little ways. So I paid my own tips and for part of the ground transportation. I also paid for my chocolate martini, because I'm pretty sure booze isn't one of those things that gets reimbursed!

Here's the breakdown:

Ground Transportation: $28
Food & Snacks: $65.63
Drink & tips: $30.50
ATM fee: $4.25
Gifts: $26.05
Hotel Room: $196.08
Hoodie with LA emblem (souvenir AND because I got cold): $36.21

All in all, a bit more than I paid for my five-day vacation to North Carolina, but it was a very different sort of trip.

I got to see some old friends I used to work with, and I learned quite a bit, too! My boss was there as well, and I think we will definitely be implementing some new ideas.

The day with my cousin was nice, too. We mostly just drove around and ate (made one stop to watch birds at an estuary) but it was good catch-up time. He didn't even know I had moved to Chicago, so there was a lot of catching up to do!

Just got my pedicure

July 20th, 2010 at 08:18 pm

And my toenails are shimmering like pearls. Plus, I got a great foot massage, with special care taken for my healing ankle. It was $25 plus $5 tip, and worth it.

Last night I bought cat food and cat litter to tide the critters over while I'm gone ($11).

Got lunch at McDonald's and tried out the smoothie. I like it! Also got a Happy Meal. The portions are right and I get free toy for the grandson. ($4.61)

Tomorrow, bright and early, I fly to California. I did reserve a taxi. It will be a flat fee of $28. I only live 8 miles from the airport, but oh well. You do what you have to do when you live in the big city. It'll still be cheaper than parking the car.

There will be computers at the conference, so I may get the chance to check in. I'm not lugging my laptop. I would if had one of those cute little notebooks, but mine is a golden oldie, and heavy.

I will see some old friends, so I'm pumped for that! Just hope I can sleep tonight....

Good deals!

July 19th, 2010 at 03:53 pm

I picked up my cat on Friday and got a nice surprise -- the cost for her dental work was only $230 as opposed to the $300+ they quoted me. It helped that I already have pain medication for her. And I guess her teeth weren't as bad as they thought.

On Saturday I felt like garage sale shopping. At first it didn't feel like much fun, since I have decided not to buy for the booth any more (I'm going to pull out in December, unless things really turn around). I saw lots of things I might have bought for the booth, but didn't see much for me. Then I went to a place where some ladies were selling nice clothes. I ended up getting a J.G. Hook red pea coat, a Gap velvet blazer, Jones New York white pants, a white turtleneck and two cotton knit tops -- all for $10!

Then I went to Goodwill, because I need some black capris. I found them, as well as a navy pair. They came to $10. I also found a necklace and three pairs of earrings for $4. I'm feeling very well-dressed -- for less!

I also went to Nordstrom's Rack and bought another bra -- I figured out that I needed another to pack for the conference (I don't want to be handwashing in the hotel). That was $24 -- which is just what all of the above cost!

I also got some gas for $24. I tell you, it was a weekend of 24's! What could 24 mean?

I will probably get my pedicure tonight.

I did not get an oil change, but that can be done when I come back.

Now I'm trying to figure out how I will get to the airport on Wednesday. I foolishly bought a 7:30 a.m. ticket, so I'll have to get there at 6:30. If I'd gotten a ticket for mid-day, someone from work could have driven me. I'll have to ask one of my sons (neither of whom live very close) or bite the bullet and hire a taxi.

More expenses and money worries

July 16th, 2010 at 01:16 pm

Got my hair cut last night and with tip it was $56 (I think -- I forgot to write it down and can't find a receipt). So expensive. It's a good haircut, but short. My hairdresser cut it shorter on purpose so I could go longer between cuts. She was really listening to me about my discomfort with the cost. She also told me to come in any time for a complementary bangs trim, so she's really trying to work with me.

I dropped my cat off at the vet this morning for dental work -- she has a cracked tooth, and we don't know what all until they really get in there. It will be at least $300.

This will be an expensive month.

I didn't sleep well at all last night; I think I've been letting money worries get to me, even though there is no crisis right now. I am worried about finding permanent housing in this area. I am willing to make sacrifices, but what really worries me is that I won't get a loan because my income will be low. Maybe I should buy before I retire? That would mean a long, ugly commute, but I could do it. These are the thoughts that thrash around in my head at night. Anyway, it won't happen for several years, and meanwhile, I'll keep saving.

Got paid.

July 15th, 2010 at 09:19 pm

Yep, got paid. Transferred $450 into savings. Paid my rent and Discover.

More upcoming expenses: oil change is due, and I want to get a pedicure before I go to my conference. Yes, I know that's a want, not a need, but I WANT, I WANT! I'll be in California wearing sandals, I must have painted toes!

I'll see how I feel about it on Saturday.

Bad news for baby boomers

July 14th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

No spending today or yesterday.

I heard that 64% of baby boomers are not ready for retirement -- that they will, on average, run out of money in two years' time.

I don't want to be one of those, so I'm back to serious penny-pinching. On my ride home from work, I didn't even turn on the AC. Then I picked up a book from the library, which will be my entertainment for a few days. Tonight I'm having a salad for dinner, and I will till all the lettuce is used up. No more wasting!

Tomorrow is payday, and I have $416 left in checking to transfer over to savings. I think I'll round it up to $450 when my deposit hits the bank. I think I'll make it a rule to always round up to the nearest $50. I do love my saving games.

I've been saving $5 bills for Christmas, but since I'm not much of a cash spender I only have $105 so far. Maybe I should start saving $10's.

I finally have a date for the shower (for my DIL to be). September 11! Kind of an infamous date, but it works. Now I'll get to work planning. I have enough time to be creative and throw a nice party for not much money.

Sad news from my son -- he had to return his shelter dog. Apparently the dog's life had been so traumatic before they adopted him that he couldn't overcome his fear and consequent aggression. He seriously frightened my DIL -- cornered her with bared teeth and hackles up -- and he is a big dog. I am so sad for all of them, but I know you can't live with a dog you fear.

Grocery shopped

July 13th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I guess I was pretty low on stuff. My grocery bill was $130, which generally covers me for a month. However, some of it was non-food, which I will sort out when I do my tracking.

I used a lot of coupons and got $10.50 off that way, but it also encouraged me to buy more than usual. I also got $17 off by using my preferred savings card.

Really, except for perishables, this should last me the month.

We'll see how I do on that.

Oh, dear!

July 12th, 2010 at 06:23 pm

My no-spend Saturday went well. I did not spend anything and I did not drive anywhere. I only left the house once when I went for a short walk to mail back a Netflix movie and get some exercise. And I accomplished a few things. I painted a bathroom shelf (which I've intended to do for more than a year) and I framed a garage sale print with a garage sale frame and hung it. A nice, classy-looking decoration for only $6. And I did some much-needed cleaning.

But on Sunday I went up to see my DS's family and take them all out for lunch for DIL's birthday. We went to California Pizza, and even though we shared a salad, two pizzas and two desserts, it was $76 with tip. That fed three adults and a little one. But it was delicious, and I think we all really enjoyed ourselves.

Then, today, apparently not yet done with eating out, I went to Panera for lunch ($7). I don't know, when lunchtime rolled around I just had to fly the coop, even though I have a Lean Cuisine and extra veggies in the fridge.

I didn't do any grocery shopping this weekend, so that will have to happen tonight.

More upcoming expenses: dental work for my cat and a haircut for me.

Planning a no-spend Saturday

July 9th, 2010 at 06:29 pm

Well, I've got two expenses coming up next week in addition to the already-mentioned birthday lunch/dinner. I'm getting my hair cut, and I'm taking my cat to the vet for dental treatment. So I've decided to make tomorrow a no-spend day (maybe it will get me in the habit!)

I have a Netflix movie to watch (Away We Go), and chores to do. Many things I have put off -- paperwork, cleaning, home improvement stuff. More than enough to keep me busy all day. Plus, my sister sent me home with a bag of books, so I've got plenty of entertainment.

The pantry is a bit low, but I certainly have enough to get through the weekend.

I'll try to make it a no-drive day, too.

On Sunday I will probably be doing that birthday lunch, but if it's a no-go, then I'll make Sunday a no-spend, no-gas day, too.

June spending

July 9th, 2010 at 01:07 pm

Now that July is 1/4 over, I'm finally tallying my June spending.

The highest cost was rent, of course, at $1105.

Utilities were $273.80. This counts phone, cable and internet, as well as gas & electricity.

I spent $170.50 on groceries, which is rather high for me. I can cut that down.

I spent $114.24 on gifts -- two birthdays this month, plus a bit of stocking up.

Medical/health costs were $94.25 -- a big chunk of that was vitamins/supplements.

I spent $85.04 eating out. Unusually high for me, but it included several meals where I treated the kids.

I spent $79.77 on furnishings/equipment, mostly items from Goodwill. The biggest chunk went to David Winter houses, which are worth hundreds.

Insurance was $59.65, for both car & renters.

I spent $44.47 on a weekend trip to a friend's house.

Vet/pet supplies came in at $38.44.

Clothing was $30.27 -- all Goodwill items. I believe that bought me two pairs of capris, a scarf and a belt, and some jewelry.

Gas was a low, low $29.83.

Household supplies were $21.51. (I don't count these with my groceries.)

Personal care was $21.07. Cosmetics and skin care items.

I spent $14.84 on entertainment, most of the Netflix fee.

And that's it!

Hope I will do better in July, but I already know I spent more than $200 vacationing. I also have a conference coming up, which isn't supposed to cost me anything, but always does....

My Vacation

July 8th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Looks like my vacation came in at around $210. That was for gas and food. Once I got to NC, we didn't really go anywhere. Played a lot of cards, which is always a real bonding activity for our family.

I am very pleased with that total. Gas prices were good, and because my cousin provided most of the meals, food was cheap. She would only let me -- once -- chip in $20 for pizza. I did more stopping and snacking on the road than I intended, but I found that on an all-day car trip you have to have breaks and things to look forward to.

Now I'm trying to get a shower going for my future DIL. I asked my ex-husband's second wife to co-host with me (weird, I know, but our relationship is fine). We seem to be having trouble picking a date, and time is getting short. Hope to get the date set today.

Another thing looming is the birthday dinner for my other daughter-in-law. Will probably do that this weekend. Which reminds me, I need to pick up her gift! I'll bet I deleted the email from Wal-Mart which I'll need to pick it up. Thank goodness I haven't emptied the "trash" in a while, so I'm off to look for it ....