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Archive for February, 2013

The last day of February

February 28th, 2013 at 08:27 am

The day isn't over yet, so I won't do my February totals yet. I got a boost, though, from a survey I completed last month -- they finally sent me my $20 payment in the form of a debit card.

I spent $2.41 on a cup of coffee this morning. I was stuck in the downtown station for almost an hour and felt I had to buy coffee in order to sit and wait at Corner Bakery. I try to avoid the regular waiting room as the panhandlers work that pretty regularly.

I don't know how I managed to misread the schedule, but I was expecting to catch a train much sooner than that. I was late for my dentist's appointment -- luckily, they can get me in at noon today, so that didn't turn out to be a problem. Except that I was late to work for no reason. I can't make it up at the end of the day, either. My sons are bringing over a file cabinet tonight -- I believe it's the last item I will receive from the big move. But who knows what might be left on Saturday? Smile

The fish and their tank were delivered last night. I was a little worried at first about the stress they endured being transported in a bucket, but they all are alive this morning and seem to be swimming about happily. I have three angel fish, three catfish, three tetra, an algae-eater that looks prehistoric, a fancy guppy and couple of vanilla-looking fish that my son can't remember what they are ... may be a kind of tetra. I got all my instructions from my son, plus all the accoutrements. I think I can do this.

Got my last bill from the uro-gyno surgeon last night for $76. It will be covered by my flexible spending account, but I will still count it as spending. (Not really my LAST bill -- I will have another follow-up in a year.) But basically that's all a done deal now. I'm feeling pretty good. Hope there will be no more medical issues for a while.

Snow Country

February 27th, 2013 at 06:30 am

We really got dumped with snow yesterday, as predicted. It was pretty warm, though, and the snow was heavy and wet, and inevitably, slushy. We were dismissed early from work, but that was mostly for the benefit of the drivers, who did face bad road conditions. For me, the walk to and from the stations were quite a bit easier than some I have experienced before. Cold, blustery and slippery is a lot harder than warm, snowy and sloppy.

Since I had an extra hour at home, I made chicken with honey-mustard sauce for dinner. I also had a salad and a cup of pumpkin soup, and a glass of wine, so it felt quite festive! At about seven I noticed that I had missed a text from my DIL inviting me for dinner. Oh well. I sent her an apology and a request for a rain check. (This is my DIL who is NOT moving to Florida.)

A co-worker brought in scones for breakfast this morning. Yum! I was going to make oatmeal, but now that can wait for another day.

With February almost wrapped up, I can say it's been a pretty frugal month. I've spent less than $2000 -- I'll do the full recap tomorrow. But that is the figure in my head that I'm always trying to beat. The only thing that could happen now is that the rugs could be charged today or tomorrow -- but I have a hunch that even if they're ready they won't want to deliver in this weather.

I'm not losing a son, I'm gaining a fish!

February 26th, 2013 at 07:07 am

Well, more than one fish. He is going to bring his aquarium over tonight. Do I want it? Not really, but it will ease his mind that his fish have a home.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom about fish? I've only had goldfish before, and not much success there.
I don't know what I'm getting yet, but I do know they are not goldfish.

I babysat again last night, but tonight we will be getting a snowstorm, so I will stay at home. They got a lot of work done last night. My son filled his car and mine with trashbags and we hauled them to the dumpsters at my place. He still has a lot of work to do, though.

They both got a little emotional last night. The reality is starting to hit that they are making a big change and will be away from family (though they will have SOME family in Florida -- my son's half-sister lives there, as well as his aunt and a cousin. On my side of the family, I have a cousin and uncle about 30-40 minutes away.) But this will be a huge change, especially for my DIL, who has never lived anywhere but Illinois and Indiana. Moving to a new home with a new baby and a husband who is both studying and working -- well, I don't envy her. I plan to write every day for a while just so they have something to look forward to in the mailbox.

I have nothing financial to report, other than it was a no-spend day. I didn't even get fast food at the station, like I planned, and as it turned out I didn't need it, since my son had ordered a pizza.

They let me look through the books they are selling and I chose three. I have quite a stash of reading material right now!

Baby-sitting

February 25th, 2013 at 07:50 am

Sunday was a little busier than Saturday. In the morning I went grocery shopping, spending $29 for groceries and $4 for static spray. I came home and made cream of pumpkin soup and chicken barbecue. My son called and asked if I could watch his daughter while they packed, so I spent the afternoon there.

My DIL mentioned that my GD, while she has a lot of clothes, is short on pants, and since she dirties them a lot, it's a problem. So I told her I would stop at Carter's on the way home and pick some up for her. I bought six pairs: pink bell-bottom sweats, gray bell-bottom sweats, two pairs of stretchy jeans, and two pairs of striped leggings -- one pink and white, and one navy and white. That should hold her a while! Although I found sales the cost came to $57. But I got a $10-off coupon for my next visit, so I'll go back in a few days and get a little something to put in a stocking this Christmas.

I'm going back again tonight to babysit again. I'll go straight over there after work, so I'll probably pick up a sandwich at the station. They are way too busy to worry about feeding me. They are packing the truck on Saturday! Alas! Alack!

Lazy Day

February 23rd, 2013 at 02:47 pm

I haven't left the house and didn't shower until 3 o'clock. But I haven't been totally lazy. I did four loads of laundry, caught up on my mending, did some cooking and some picking up.

I watched the last episode of Downton Abbey. Shocker!

My dentist's office happily rescheduled my appointment without a charge. Now I'm scheduled for Thursday at 9. I think I will take a later train, so I can walk to the dentist from the station. It will be closer. I do so hate to drive when it isn't absolutely necessary.

My brother called this morning. He is going to come to visit the weekend after next -- he will be flying out to Texas on Sunday and I'll give him a ride to the airport. Usually I don't see him unless I go up to Michigan to visit, so I'm pleased. Unfortunately, he will just miss seeing my son, who will leave for Florida next weekend. I can't even stand to think about that. Frown

Working to Save Money

February 22nd, 2013 at 06:24 am

Today I'm really working to save money. I have a dentist's appointment today, so my usual routine is to drive instead of take the train. However, we had quite a snow dump last night, and I really didn't want to drive this morning. Besides, I am saving the cost of a 50-minute trip in gas whenever I take the train. So I bundled up and walked to the station. And I actively resisted buying coffee or pastries, even though I REALLY WANTED THEM! When I got to work, I had a granola bar and string cheese, and there was fresh coffee on tap.

Well, that still hasn't solved the dentist problem. I called early and left a message on their answering machine that I didn't have a car today and I would like to reschedule. If they call back and tell me there will be a charge, then I will bite the bullet and walk to the dentist. It is less than a mile; however, not really great conditions for walking. Maybe by 1PM there will be more cleared walkways.

I bought next month's train pass last night for $105.

I got a message from my property manager that my overpayment for the assessment fee was removed. The bank shows a "temporary" credit. I think I am okay. Now I will have to watch to see if the next payment gets withdrawn.

Planning to make my mortgage payment today -- $700, which is $379 more than what is owed.

Still no word on the rugs. I know the material was received last week, so I wonder if something has gone wrong with the cutting and binding. Or maybe they are just backed up.

My field trip

February 21st, 2013 at 01:50 pm

I went to a one-on-one meeting at a university (fairly) nearby to learn how to take over the reins of Treasurer for my professional organization.

I took the train -- two-hour trip each way. Did a conference call, some intense training, and then a nice lunch. Went home after lunch but stopped at my office on the way back to drop off a huge armload of papers, and caught the tail end of an emergency meeting. Just some of the usual fires to put out, but it was good I was there.

It cost me an extra $3 on the way out (on top of my monthly train pass) but on the way back only $1, since I got off at the midway point and then got back on again.

I bought breakfast at the station's Corner Bakery ($4) and lunch was $12 -- wonderful veggie soup and and a BLT.

I was pretty drained when I got home, but I think I am going to enjoy being Treasurer. You know I like working with money! I am going to learn a lot more about financial reports. If I weren't a few years away from retirement I would say it's good for my resume!

In other news, my son came over the other night with a huge box of food they don't want to move to Florida -- pantry items -- and he also brought over, and hooked up, a monitor and keyboard to my laptop. It will be nice to have the ease of a desktop computer at home. And the food is going to ease my grocery shopping for quite a while. My pantry is now stuffed!

This and That

February 19th, 2013 at 06:35 am

I filled a prescription yesterday for $5. That was my only spending. It was my first trip to the pharmacy-only Walgreens which will be in operation until the old building is demolished and rebuilt. It is right there in the same strip mall, so it won't be a problem for me. Just not much stuff to buy there!

Last night I set up the humidifier from Goodwill to make sure it worked. I thought it worked great last night; however, when I got up this morning, I was surprised at how little the water level had gone down. I'll fiddle with the settings tonight before I decide on its functionality.

We had free sandwiches and brownies for lunch at work yesterday -- leftovers from an alumni event. So I saved the lunch I brought for today. Every little bit counts.

Speaking of little bits, I found .26 this weekend! A quarter and a penny. That brings my total findings -- money from the ground -- over the $20 mark. I've been keeping track for two years now.

Last night I simmered a leftover partially-eaten chicken thigh in water to make some broth. Tonight I'll add some noodles and some more chicken for homemade chicken noodle soup. It's a real good chicken soup day -- cold, windy and snowy. Kind of a shock after yesterday's warm weather. As the weatherman said this morning, winter's not done with us yet.

Tomorrow I have an all-day meeting out in the western suburbs. I have to leave the house at 5:30 to catch the train. Plans are to buy lunch there, so it will not be a no-spend day. In fact, I'll probably have to buy breakfast and supper, too. Also, I think I may have to supplement my train pass with a little cash. The suburb I'm going to is out of my zone.

Super Weekend

February 18th, 2013 at 08:16 am

It rarely happens that I lose an entry, but I guess I took too long this time!

So I'll try to make it brief. My BFF came up for the weekend. We ate out twice for brunch, shopped at a variety of places including thrift stores and retail stores, went to a book signing, watched a movie on Infinity -- just had a great time.

My costs:

Eating out: $33
Snacks: $8
Movie: $5
Shopping: $82
Groceries (Aldi): $44
Gas: $30
Laundry: $5

I also bought some non-food at Aldi -- kitty litter, body wash, detergent -- $14.

And I owe my BFF about $13 for a book that she put on her B&N loyalty card and which is now heading to Indiana in her car. Smile

My great finds at the thrift stores were a new in-the-box Homemedics humidifier (the same one I almost bought for $99, only $35), a new pair of Jones New York jeans, some wonderful wall art and decorative items for my home, and some great stocking stuffers to tuck away till December.

Now it's back to reality and back to work!

Pay Day and Now I'm Broke

February 15th, 2013 at 07:24 am

Payday is here, and I paid off my Discover card to the tune of $3,495. I transferred $1,000 from savings to do it. Hurts, but that's what the slush fund is for.

I spent $7 last night on two small boxes of Whitman's chocolates for my grandsons. I was hoping they would be on sale, but no dice. Interestingly enough, there were virtually NO valentines left on the shelf! I don't know if they sold them all or if they just cleaned them out a little early.

I had a very nice dinner of salad and homemade heart-shaped pizza with my son's family, and they gave me a box of Girl Scout cookies to take home.

For some reason, it seems any kind of stimulation in the evening gives me a sleepless night. Whether it's a bad experience, or a good one, if I do anything other than go straight home from work and zone out, I can't go to sleep. I'm really exhausted this morning, and I'm so glad it's quiet at work and no one will notice. So far, anyway!

Still don't know whether I will have company this weekend. I do hope she will arrive tomorrow rather than this evening, because I think it's going to be an early night for me! I'm pretty sure she won't try to brave the traffic tonight. Friday night rush hour on Lake Shore Drive is not for sissies! Or, more to the point, not for anyone who isn't extremely patient.

There was a sign at Walgreen's last night saying they are moving! Actually, they are rebuilding on the same spot, but will temporarily move out during construction. Darn! That's my go-to spot on the way home when I need to take a break. Oh well, now that the days are getting longer and the weather is moderating, it's an easier jaunt to the station. As my mother used to say, we've broken the back of winter.



Pine Cone Payment

February 14th, 2013 at 01:07 pm

Well, I'm sure all you Pine Cone users have noticed that they changed their payment setup. They now pay in points which can be saved up for merchandise. There is still a cash option, which I selected, but I couldn't see any way to check out without having them "ship" the payment to me via snail mail. I've been happily receiving the payment through PayPal for quite some time now, but I couldn't see any way to designate that's what I wanted.

I find technology very annoying. Especially when a company makes changes -- it seems like there is always a glitch.

Anybody else figure out a way around this?

It's Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2013 at 06:24 am

And I forgot to get a little something for the grandsons. I will stop at Walgreen's on the way home and pick up some candy and cards. Maybe they'll be on sale!

That will put an end to -- drumroll -- four no-spending days in a row!

Free breakfast today -- though not a healthy one -- treats brought in by the staff. I also hear there will be a free chocolate fountain at the cafeteria, though that probably means you have to buy something to dip in it.

Tomorrow is payday. It is also the day I will pay my $3500 Discover card, pulling $$$ out of my slush fund to do it. I know it will hurt a little, but i can build up the slush fund again. I do have several challenges -- the second half of my rug payment and my income tax. I won't be able to do a lot of saving.

I have pretty much made it through my week after the grocery skip, but the fridge looks really bare. Since I may have a guest this weekend, I'll have to do some stocking up on Friday evening. I say I MAY have a guest because my BFF is planning to come, but is also in the process of moving her mother into a nursing home, and if a room opens up unexpectedly, she must stay to take care of the move.

I just got a call from my DIL -- an invitation to come over for heart-shaped pizza tonight! I'm in!

Snowflakes and freebies

February 13th, 2013 at 08:09 am

My snowflakes turned into a bit of a snowball yesterday when I added in my Discover rewards for this year. Suddenly I'm over $100!

I earned $48 in Discover rewards, $29 Thank You card from Macy's, received a $15 Pier One gift card, earned $9 from Pine Cone, and found .07! That's just 2013.

I am slowly working my way up in MyPoints and Swagbucks, but I won't count them until I redeem gift cards. Discover rewards I will count month by month, since they can be redeemed any time on Amazon.

I babysat my granddaughter last night, and my son, who is packing up to move, offered me a lot of stuff he doesn't want to move. I am going to take a nice 4-drawer file cabinet. I also took four pieces of Corning ware that he thinks were left in the house when he moved in. And I took a set of graduated prep bowls that I gave him (think he forgot where he got 'em!) but I was happy to take them back! Then my DIL suggested I look through some clothes that her mother had left for a garage sale (which will never happen, since they must move in one month). I took two T-shirts, a dressy top, and a sweater-jacket.

My son is also offering computer parts, like a nice monitor and keyboard. Since I have a laptop, I'm not sure how useful they would be.

They really have a lot of stuff. I never realized how much. I'm glad I got him gift cards for his birthday! They are planning to do a lot of donating to charity.

My BFF is coming to visit this weekend. We are going to a book signing on Sunday, but the rest of the weekend is up for grabs. I'm hoping my rugs will arrive before she comes, but I talked to the shop, and it looks like only a maybe.

Thank You card and a big mess

February 12th, 2013 at 06:35 am

Yesterday I got a $29 Thank You card from Macy's. I had forgotten that was coming to me. It is a sort of rebate on my purchase of a down coat and boots. I will either save it for gifts or put it toward a new bra. My best black bra "broke" the other day -- the underwire, that is. I should probably stop buying underwires -- that's always what goes first. If I get a bra, I'll wait for a super sale first.

I had my first homeowner's disaster -- not such a disaster, but a yucky annoyance. The bleach bottle sitting under my sink has apparently been slowly leaking. The floor of the cabinet is ruined (as well as a box of washing soda). Actually, maybe it was lucky that the washing soda soaked up a lot of the liquid. Anyway, I'm going to let it dry out thoroughly and then will probably lay vinyl squares over it.

I've found two pennies in two days. My total, since I've been keeping track, is $19.80. Close to $20 now -- just stuff I picked up off the ground!



Skipped the grocery

February 11th, 2013 at 06:09 am

This weekend was notable because I skipped grocery shopping. I didn't want to put any last-minute spending on my humongous Discover account, and I felt there was enough to get me through the week.

Amazingly, I even hosted a lunch and made a birthday cake from scratch!

Now my fridge is looking a little bare. The grandsons finished my almond milk. I ran out of wine and creamer. I used up cheese, vegetables, salsa, and evaporated milk in soup. Many condiments are running low.

I think most of my suppers this week will be grilled cheese. Not because I have no imagination, but because I need to use up the skim-milk American slices that have passed their sell-by date. I figure they are good for a week, at least, and I intend to eat them. They cannot be frozen.

I also have some chicken thawing, so I'll need to eat that this week, too.

My lunches are set -- there are plenty of individual frozen servings of leftovers in the freezer.

But I think there will be a big Aldi trip coming up this weekend!