What a month. Crazy spending. Here is how it breaks down:
Furnishings & Equipment: 227
Eating Out: 75
Vet/Pet Supplies: 30
Car Repair/Maintenance: 25
Household Supplies: 3
It is the costliest month I've had all year, but what really tipped the scale was the medical. I supposedly have an out-of-pocket cap of $1750. We'll see if that holds true. I'm almost there.
I was looking at a magazine in the break room today and pulled out an insert with coupons for Dominick's. It was a good find. I shopped on the way home from work. I paid $23.82, and my total savings was $17.77, or 43%! Here is what I bought:
5 "Eating Right" entrees (their version of Lean Cuisine)
1 box Eggo muffin tops
2 lbs. Jimmy Dean sausage
Red Baron pizza
Obviously, it was a frozen food promotion. I had coupons on all of the above, as well as a $5 off coupon for buying $15 worth of frozen food. That's okay. I will want a stocked freezer when I'm recovering from my surgery -- which is next Wednesday.
And since I bought only 11 items I can still go to Wal-Mart tomorrow and get the few things I need.
Tomorrow there is a rummage sale at a big church in a well-heeled area. I want to go, but then again, I want to make October a lot leaner than September. But there might be great deals! Or I might just spend money on things I don't need! What to do, what to do. I'll see how I feel tomorrow.
Archive for September, 2011
What a month. Crazy spending. Here is how it breaks down:
Last night I pressed my samplers and took them to Michael's. This time the trip took even longer than last time -- stop, stop & go traffic all the way. I'm so glad to have that done. Next on my list -- get some jewelry repaired. I'll wait a bit on that.
No spending yesterday, no medical bills arrived. It was a pretty calm day.
I started watching "Mad Men" on Netflix. I'd never seen it before, though, of course, heard a lot about it. Since I am old enough to have lived in that era (as a young teen) it brought back a lot of memories. Yes, people smoked all the time like that! I have never smoked in my life, other than one cigarette in the bathroom when I was in eighth grade. I was somewhat of a novelty among my friends, because everyone else was a smoker. When I was in graduate school, people smoked all through the seminars. There was a permanent haze in the air. I'm glad that kind of acceptance is no more -- and I'm glad I never got addicted myself. Just think of what I've saved by that one good habit alone!
I am getting so tired of medical runarounds. I have promptly paid every bill that's been sent to me, and still there is hassle.
I got an email from FlexPro saying I had to send them an EOB statement for the whopping $14.10 I charged to their card. Uh, it's from Adventist Health System. Do they think I bought candy there? I wonder if this is going to happen for every charge I made. Why do they even issue a credit card if you have to send documentation for everything?
Well, for the last three days I have not received a new bill, so that's something.
I was supposed to go to a library book discussion last night, but when push came to shove, I just wanted to stay home. Maybe I will enjoy that sort of outing more when I am not working. Instead I watched the last episode of "Downton Abbey" on Netflix. I am really enjoying that series, but it stopped with Episode 7, clearly right in the middle. I have to find out how to see more. Maybe the library has it.
Looks like this weekend's grocery shopping will be at Wal-Mart. I need to fill a prescription, and so far I have no food items on my list other than wine, which isn't a necessity.
Well, I found Michael's. It is at least two suburbs away, maybe more, but I found it with no trouble. However, it was after work, and I was in rush hour traffic, so it took a while.
I had a coupon for frames for 25% off, so I found a nice 8 x 10 for my son's wedding picture (if it ever comes -- that's another story). I wanted to find one that coordinated with my other son's wedding picture, and I found a good one. After the discount, it was 7.99. A lot more than I pay at Goodwill, but I've been looking at Goodwill for a while and not finding one. I used my 40% off coupon on a set of figurines for my DIL's Christmas display. The set included a yellow lab (like theirs), so I thought it was a winner. It will be a Christmas gift. After the discount, it was about $10. I also bought a tiny plate stand for a little Chinese plate that has been dangerously propped up on a shelf. Looks much nicer now. And I picked up $17 worth of baking supplies for a co-worker who will pay me back.
My BIG expenditure was getting my two samplers framed. I had a coupon for 60% off, but it still cost over $100 for each. I don't have the receipt right now, but I believe one was $120 and one was $106. OUCH! I guess this is my Christmas present to myself this year. Both samplers are old and precious to me (I believe my grandmother did one as a girl), so they are worth being well-preserved, and I think they will be beautiful when finished. I've been meaning to do this for a long time.
The kicker is I have to press the samplers and take them back -- they don't want to stretch old material so they will be framed flat. If I want them to be wrinkle-free I have to take the wrinkles out myself. So I have to make that trip again.
Offermatic will refund me $5 for having shopped at Michael's, but in the light of what I spent, it doesn't seem like much of a savings!
My haircut cost $27, because I agreed to a blow-dry, and tipped generously. I got a really good haircut this time -- not from my regular stylist. I may want to switch, though that could be awkward.
I walked to the hairdresser, which gave me about 40 minutes of exercise, not counting the time I spent wandering around the grocery store looking for something to buy. I wanted to break a bill for change. I finally bought a birthday card. As it turned out, though, the hairdresser had a new setup so that I could put my tip on the credit card. So I didn't even have to break the bill.
Paid another $40 medical bill, this time to pathology consultants. Who knows what for. I must be getting near my cap.
My chicken fajitas turned out pretty good, which is good because I'll be eating them for a while. I have enough for at least two more servings, maybe three.
Tonight I'm going to Michael's -- not only to use my Offermatic rebate, but I also have a 40% off one item, a 25% off coupon on a frame (which I need) and they're running a special on custom framing -- and I have two samplers I've been wanting to frame for a long time. Their special is 60% off for two items. I just have to find one of them. I have an idea where it is -- I just hope it's there.
I still have the Tall Ships groupon -- my illness derailed my plans for taking a sail this summer. It expires on Saturday -- and now it's COLD! My son thought my grandson might be interested in going with me. I would have to leave work early on Friday to get there on time, and I've taken so much time for sick leave (and will take more) that I hate to ask. I think I may just have to let that $15 go.
For this week's grocery visit, instead of focusing on 15 items, I decided to maximize my coupon use. I had some that were ready to expire. Ironically, I bought 13 items, still well within my goal!
Head & Shoulders shampoo ($1 off coupon)
Cat Chow ($1 off coupon)
Advil ($1.80 off coupon & on sale)
2 bottles Chi-Chi's salsa ($1 off coupon & on sale)
Low-dose aspirin (on sale)
Keebler cookies (on sale)
Hummus ($1 off coupon)
Beef lunchmeat (house brand)
2 lbs. butter ($1 off & on sale)
Mayonnaise (house brand, $1 off coupon & on sale)
Bag of gala apples ($1 off coupon)
Total savings: $18
I'm pretty proud of the savings -- also the fact that everything I bought is something I use regularly.
Had a great time at my grandson's birthday party, but I came home to a reminder of why I'm being so frugal -- in the mail was a letter from BCBS, a copy of what they had sent to the hospital. They are denying the $95,000 claim until the hospital provides more information. Oy! This is totally out of my control but it makes me uncomfortable. I thought switching to a PPO plan would spare me this kind of grief, but apparently not. All I can say is, I hope the hospital follows through. They can't get $95,000 out of me -- that's more than two years' salary -- gross!
Today I'm resisting turning on the heat. It's a little cool, but I'm moderately comfortable in my sweatshirt. Tonight I'll use the heated mattress pad.
My only errand today -- a haircut!
This one from the infectious disease center. My share is $300.06. It doesn't give me the option of using my Discover card, and it's too big for my FlexPro card. Guess I'll put it on my Capital One. I will definitely have to hit savings next month to pay these off. I hate it that I am getting these bills at the same time that stocks are falling. Feels like a double whammy.
Tomorrow is my grandson's birthday. I'll go up in the morning for the party. I am regretting that I skipped the haircut last Saturday, because now it's looking pretty weedy. Not that my grandson will care, but I will see some folks that I don't see too often. My ex will probably be there. He actually came to visit when I was in the hospital, though, so he has seen me at my worst. (And no, I don't really care!)
Offermatic gave me a $5 rebate offer for anything at Michael's. I figure I can find something I can use for just over $5. Once I figure out where Michael's is! I've been here two years, and still, I am a newbie in many ways! Maybe if I were a big shopper I would get around more, but I'm not, so I only know a few shopping centers.
Someone here at work is bringing in cans of food and leaving them in the break room. No note or anything. I assume they are cleaning out their pantry and sharing. I have let them be for a few days, but if there are any left at the end of the day I will take some of them. I have no objection to free food! They are mainly soup and fruit; things I can use.
Now the medical bills are starting to hurt. Yesterday I got one for $658. I charged it to my Discover card, but that will tip the balance enough that I will have to dip into savings next month to pay the whole thing off.
I know that's what my emergency fund is for, but I hate to use it.
Any bills I get that are under $150 I will put on the FlexPro card. Looking at the BCBS website, it is obvious there are many to come.
The site says I have a limit of $1750 out of pocket. But the list of bills clearly totals up to way more than that. I wonder how it will work.
Meanwhile, I am keeping a notebook with a copy of every bill I pay, just in case it gets ugly.
I had an old friend stop by for lunch yesterday and I treated at a local restaurant. $25 for the two of us. We had chili and split a sandwich. She talked about planning a "girl's weekend" here in Chicago with another friend of ours. She lives in Indiana and the other friend is in Minnesota, so Chicago is the midway point. Very convenient for me! Plans haven't materialized yet, but I think the idea is a night in one of the downtown hotels and dinner out. Sounds fun, but pricey. I'm definitely the poor one in this group. And now that all my extra money is going to medical bills -- well, it will be a challenge.
The medical bills are starting to hit. Yesterday I got four of them. They totaled $490. Three of them were for radiology, and one was pharmacy and minor surgery. Minor surgery, I ask? What was that? Then I remembered that having one of the abscesses drained was considered minor surgery.
On the BCBS website, I see that the hospital has charged for the two-week-plus stay. $95,000! Insurance is still considering what it will pay, so I don't know yet what my responsibility will be. But wow. The house I used to own cost $95,000.
I called FlexPro to see how much is left in my flexible spending account. I have $261. I charged $76 to it from the bills above, so now I have $185.
I had to write checks for two of the bills, as they didn't provide any option for credit card payment. (My FlexPro account is a debit card). Well, there will still be plenty of opportunities to use up that money.
In other news, I signed up to take part in a book discussion at the library. The book is "Little Heathens," a memoir about growing up during the Great Depression. I haven't started reading it yet, but the topic interests me. A second program will be a presentation about depression-era recipes, and that interest me, too.
It's beginning to seem like every weekend I have one super-lazy day. On Sunday I did nothing productive. Well, I did vacuum and take out the garbage and I put a load of whites in the washer to soak. That was it.
The rest of the day I read, watched movies on Netflix, played computer games and napped. It was a rainy day, so very good weather for laziness. I was planning to get a haircut, but just couldn't make myself leave the house. I decided my hair will look okay for another week.
Of course, a lazy day is also a no-spend day and a no-gas day, so that is some sort of accomplishment!
I'm in a bit of a spending spree. Last night I went out to dinner and it cost $38. I had decided to choose an healthy low-calorie meal, no matter what the cost. It was a fish special -- I can't remember the name of the fish, but it was an unfamiliar one. It was pretty good, but I was not blown away. But at least I stayed somewhat within my calorie limit. (Yesterday I said I would get chicken tacos, but it turned out I snacked during the day and had to scale down).
I still owe $$$ for part of the honoree's dinner, and for my part of her gift. We'll figure that out on Monday.
This morning I went to the grocery store with my freshly-weeded packet of coupons (there were a LOT of expired coupons!) I stuck to my fifteen items, since one of my Lean Cuisine coupons was expired.
House brand honey nut cheerios -- ($1 off coupon)
House brand tissue
6 Lean Cuisines - on sale & $1.25 off coupon
Bag of romaine lettuce - on sale
2 boxes pre-cooked bacon -- $1 off coupon
Ice cream - on sale
Pecan Sandies - on sale
Tomatoes on the vine
Total -- $51.49
Total Savings -- $17.26
I also bought birthday presents for my grandson, which I didn't count with the fifteen. I bought a Diego doll, a duckling Beanie baby (he loves ducks), a four-pack of Play-Doh, some inflatable swim rings and birthday card for a grand total of $25. As the second child, this kid has everything in the world already, so I didn't go all out. The point will be the fun of opening the gifts.
I found another gift for him at Goodwill - $5 for a brand-new (with tags) Carter's baseball shirt. So that should round out the gift package nicely.
Other finds at Goodwill:
A Sag Harbor lightweight beige jacket, like new, $7
A fully-lined wool plaid blazer with velvet collar, $7
Two Japanese figurines for the booth - $1.98
Variety of gift wrap, $3
A Hunt Club sweatshirt, like new, $5
I also bought gas -- $38.30.
And I bought lunch at McDonald's -- $3.91. Could have skipped that -- I had food at home -- but I had a craving for the mango smoothie.
I still have to get a haircut, but I may do that tomorrow.
Oh, and another medical bill arrived -- this one from the infusion center -- $97.
Money out, money out!
Several of us in the office are taking my boss out to dinner tonight to celebrate her upcoming wedding. The others decided to get her a little gift as well. I could have said no, but I didn't. They are going to run out at noon to look for a nightie, and then I will pay my share. Already got her a shower gift, but whatever. She is a good person, and I'm very happy for her. She is marrying somewhat late in life for the first time, so this is a very happy event.
We are going to a Mexican restaurant, so I looked up calorie counts of typical Mexican entrees and have already decided what I will order. Two chicken tacos on corn tortillas should get me in under my calorie allowance. Plus all the salad I can eat, with salsa rather than dressing.
I have gained four pounds since I was in the hospital. Not unexpected, but I want to nip this in the bud. Since I gave away all my big clothes, I can't afford to gain weight!
The weather has turned cool but will warm up again. I have not turned on my heat. The last two nights I have gone to bed early and bundled up to stay warm. I just can't bear to turn on my heat this early in the season. On a high note, my latest gas bill is one of the lowest ever -- only $19!
I have two coupons for Lean Cuisines -- $1.50 off eight, and $1.25 off six. Last weekend Lean Cuisines were on sale. If they are still on sale, I will buy 14 of them tomorrow. They are so convenient to pack for lunch; also, I will want them on hand when I am recovering from surgery. I wouldn't pay full price for them, however.
That will mean breaking my fifteen-items rule, since I have a few other things on my list. But rules are made to be broken (judiciously!)
Also tomorrow, I must get gas and should also get a haircut. Other than that, I'm looking forward to a nice, lazy weekend.
"Uh-oh" is my grandson's new all-purpose word.
But I did a real uh-oh this morning. When I made my transfer to savings, I decided to round up from $653 to $700. No problem there, but then I saw that I had a Capital One bill in my email. I'd forgotten that I charged my son's wedding pictures to Capital One rather than Discover. So I also shelled out $252 that I wasn't planning on paying this month (I was assuming it would show up in next month's Discover bill). We'll see how much of a hardship it will be this month to make do on what's left in checking. I'll try not to disturb savings.
Yesterday I got a notice of a class action suit for owners of Toyota RAV4, 2001-2003. There was a lot to read, but the gist of it was that if I had paid for transmission work, it would be reimbursed. I haven't, and haven't had any trouble, so I guess I just won't respond. Which means I can't sue them later, but I'm not planning to.
Every day I get emails from BC/BS saying that a bill has been paid -- not in full, of course, there is always a "patient's responsibility." So far, though, I have only received one bill in the flesh. It is amazing to see the number of bills for all the different services provided. And I'm not done yet! I still have the actual surgery to get through!
Pay day tomorrow. I am so excited, because I'll get to make a big transfer into savings -- $653! And next month's Discover bill is pretty low, so next month's transfer should be pretty good, too. (I put all my day-to-day expenses on Discover and pay in full). I did put some big charges on Discover -- my son's wedding pictures, a medical bill -- but they haven't shown up yet.
This week we are interviewing the three finalists for the VP position in our office. I am struck by how young they are, and what a short time they have been in the field. It makes me feel like I've rather wasted my years -- but, I never really wanted to have the pressure a VP has -- I've never even wanted to be a director. I just like to do my work and go home. I've had to accept pretty low pay, but it's a lifestyle that suits me.
I just heard from an old friend who is coming to Chicago next week and wants to meet for coffee. Will probably mean a trip downtown after work, but it will be fun to see her. This Friday, a group of us from work will take one of our bosses out for dinner. She's getting married (family only ceremony) and this is our little celebration. So, fun stuff on the horizon!
Saturday was busy, busy, busy. After getting groceries and getting my oil changed, I headed up to my son's house. We had an impromptu birthday party for my great nephew (who is two) in a local eatery. I ordered a broiled half chicken and had lots of lovely leftovers (which I left at my son's, so I hope they are enjoying them!) I already had a present for my great nephew in my stash, so the only cost to me was $10 for the meal.
After lunch, while my youngest grandson napped, I played games with the older one (and his dad), and then we watched "How to Train Your Dragon" on Netflix. Super cute movie.
Dinnertime was my turn for the birthday celebration. The kids took me out to a Mexican restaurant, where the food was good and the guacamole was awesome! I could only eat half my entree, I was already so full. Afterwards we headed out on foot to get ice cream, but by the time we got there, everyone confessed that they didn't really want it. Instead, we stopped a Barnes & Noble, where the kids had a blast with a Thomas the Train set.
When we got back to my son's house, the kids were REALLY tired, and older grandson had a bit of a meltdown. It was just too long a day, with too much excitement.
Grandma was pretty tired, too. Grandma was AWFULLY tired. I had not slept well the night before.
On Sunday I woke up with a headache that stayed with me all day. My body said, "REST, REST!" So that's what I did. I watched several episodes of "Middlemarch" (yes, still into George Eliot) and read quite a bit of "The Book Thief." My only accomplishments were to take out the garbage and start a load of laundry soaking.
Today the headache is gone and I feel rested.
I just got a $3 payment from Pinecone, and I found .02 in my son's alley. First time I've found any change in a while, but of course, I've spent a lot of time being sick. This morning, coming to work, I walked past the little fountain which is drained and disassembled every fall. It was drained but still standing, and there were three pennies in it. I was tempted, but, I don't know -- seemed like bad karma to take pennies from a fountain. I left them.
I'm back in my routine. I went to the grocery and bought my fifteen items this morning. I didn't have a list today, just went with the flow.
Cat Chow - $1 off coupon
Almond Milk - on sale
English muffins - on sale
Tortillas - not on sale but cheaper than the ones that were!
4 birthday cards
Frozen waffles - store brand, on sale
3 Lean Cuisines - on sale
Microwave popcorn - on sale
TGIF fajita dinner (2 servings) - on sale
The almond milk is an experiment. I am lactose-intolerant, but can handle milk when I take the digestive aid with it. Many have recommended almond milk instead, so I will try it out.
I bought a lot of frozen stuff. I'm not ready to do much cooking yet. I'm still very tired, and I will take it easy until I'm not!
I also got my oil changed (way overdue!) That was $24.
In a little while I'm going up to my son's place to spend the day and have dinner. It will be my birthday dinner -- almost one month overdue, because I was in the hospital for my birthday! They are having a garage sale this morning. I don't want to go until they're done (I suspect things I gave them will be up for sale). That's okay. I just don't want to see it!