So I'll do my July recap.
Housing - $2123 (includes semi-annual property tax)
Gifts - $317
Vacation - $297
Medical/Health - $215
Fees/Services - $155 (AAA & lawyer's fee)
Fares/Parking - $153
Eating Out - $130
Groceries - $107
Utilities - $97
Entertainment - $34
Gas - $30
Vet/Pet Supplies - $15
Laundry - $15
Furnishings/Equipment - $11
Personal - $9
Miscellaneous - $9
Clothing - $4
Household Supplies - $4
Grand Total - $3726
Once again, too high. But I had the property taxes to pay, a vacation, a gift to my son, an unexpected fare payment, a doctor's bill, a lawyer's fee, and it was time to renew AAA. The eating out total is high, but a big chunk of that was for the hibachi dinner which was a sort of payment for services rendered.
The good news is, it looks like I'll have about $350 to transfer to my slush fund, as long as nothing else unexpected happens before pay day on the 15th.
Next Monday I am moving into a smaller office at the other end of the hall. I started packing yesterday. I threw away a ton of stuff. I will only be able to take my bookcase, not my file cabinet. I may have to figure out a different configuration of desk and computer table as well, due to the narrowness of the space. I might have to put my computer on the desk. The only configuration I have figured out so far will give everyone walking by a clear view of my computer screen, which I don't like.
The good part (if there is one) is that I'll have a better view, and at least I don't have to move into shared space or a cubicle or an open area.
I have quite a few plants which will have to find new homes.
Anyway, the purge felt good. There was a lot of stuff I never used (inherited from my predecessor) that I was only keeping "just in case." Since three bosses have left in my four years here, I don't think anyone's going to be asking about old meetings and lists. Everything that's important has been saved electronically.
Archive for July, 2013
So I'll do my July recap.
Yesterday it was a little brisk, so I wore a jacket. I stuck my train pass in the jacket pocket, and there it still is, hanging on a chair in my dining room. I realized it when I was on the train this morning. Luckily, the conductors on both legs recognized me and did not demand payment. But the trip back is much more crowded and the conductors may or may not know me. So for insurance, I bought a ten-ride pass for $47. (Cheaper per ride than daily tickets). It is not a bad thing to have, for when I have company. And I'm already planning to do train rides as part of my grandsons' birthdays. Trying to make lemonade out of lemons, here!
It's especially ironic that I did this because I went to such lengths to save such a little bit of money yesterday. I walked from the station to the grocery store to return the Redbox DVD, and then walked home, so I wouldn't have to use the gas. Well, it was also some extra exercise on a lovely day. And I got to gawk at big houses in new-to-me neighborhoods.
And I found two cents.
I'm emailing back and forth with my friend in Hyde Park; we may go to the Art Institute this weekend. It's free for me as a BofA customer -- just on the first weekend of the month. If she can't make it this weekend we'll go the first weekend of September. I love the Art Institute and haven't been there in six or seven years. Hoping it works out!
My grocery shopping yesterday was only $30. I stuck to my ten items, which were:
Kind of an odd list, but I was just buying things I had run out of. It was a pretty easy trip up the stairs. I have to remember that it REALLY helps to keep the list small.
I also got my free Redbox: The Impossible. It was a pretty good movie, though not quite as moving as I thought it would be.
I have to be sure to return it today, so that it stays free. There is a Redbox a couple of blocks away from the downtown station, so I might try to do that between trains. If there isn't enough time between trains I'll have to drive to the grocery tonight, but I hate to use the gas!
In the evening I made some soup with veggies and broth -- chicken to be added after I thaw some -- and some "garden vegetable" spaghetti sauce. Successfully used up all the celery, carrots and onion. I dried the cherries in the oven and that worked out well. They will be good on salads.
Then I made a batch of pumpkin muffins for my breakfasts.
I earned another $5 on Swagbucks and $3 on Pine Cone. I don't have any comment about the content on Swagbucks, as I never actually watch the videos, but I am a little disgruntled that sometimes I don't get my points. Especially when I have to enter a code to be awarded -- nothing seems to happen. Anyone else have this?
Oh, and I did two loads of laundry for $3.00.
Yesterday morning, before I even showered or started on any of the chores I was planning, my DIL called me up and asked me to go garage-saling with her. What a great day it was! She was the big winner. She spent $7 on an armful of beautiful clothes, including new workout wear. She also bought two bags of legos for $10. Once she sorted it all out, there were not only hundreds of new lego pieces, but parts for many other building systems and games that they own, and even a game for a gaming device. I spent $8 on a pirate ship, with pirates, treasure chest, map, and cannons, for my grandsons to play with at my house. (Already tested and approved!) I also spent $3 on clothes for my granddaughter, $1 on a new Boynton book for her birthday, $1 for a beautiful little Chinese teapot, and $11 for a new set of drinking glasses -- 12 glasses in all. Three are a little different, but that's no problem for me. I am very happy to get rid of my set of thick glasses which never look clean. I think I will wash glassware by hand from now on. Now matter what I do the dishwasher makes a mess of my glasses.
After I got home, when I was putting the new glasses away, I got out the smaller stackable IKEA glasses and washed them all in hot water and vinegar. They are improved.
I also finally put away the Blue Willow teacups in a high cabinet with a glass door. They used to be in my hutch, but I'm changing that over to red & white dishes (mainly Old Britain Castles). So the teacups are out of the way, but still visible and pretty in the kitchen.
I also bought a Powerball ticket yesterday (I only do that when the jackpot is high) and I actually won $4 for having the Powerball!
At the end of the day, we all went to the local hibachi restaurant -- my thank you to them for cat- and fish-sitting while I was on vacation. I had a Groupon, but even with that, the bill was $88. However, the food was terrific, and the entertainment priceless -- especially for the kids. And I easily have two lunches out of the doggy bag I brought home.
Today I'm doing laundry and later I'll go to the grocery. I also plan to dry my surplus cherries and get that pasta sauce made.
I found two pennies and a quarter! I'm getting really close to that $30 mark!
I looked up my codes on the McDonald's website and found that I won a free movie on Redbox. Whoo-hoo! (That was sarcastic).
I will use it, though. Unfortunately I often do not find much of interest on Redbox, but since I haven't been going to many movies lately there must be something recent that will interest me.
I babysat my grandsons last night while my DIL went out for a run. She fed me a nice turkey-burger supper before she left. When she got home, she asked me to stay a little so she could pack up some food for a homeless person she saw in the park. She has such a good heart.
The boys were playing chess -- hysterical! Can you imagine a 5- and 3-year-old playing chess? Needless to say, the rules as they interpreted them were very bizarre. They had found a used chess set at a thrift store, but since it was taped shut they didn't know that pieces were missing. I'll try to find another set in my thrift-store shopping so that between the two we should be able to make a full set.
I bought a lot of fresh produce last week and now I am faced with using it up. I will finish the strawberries and watermelon today, and I will make a salad for dinner. But there are a lot of cherries left, so I am going to try drying them. I'm also going to cut up the carrots, celery and onion and put them into a pasta sauce.
I really have to remember there is only so much I can eat. I should only buy a couple of types of produce each week -- or very small portions.
Tomorrow night I am taking my son's family out for a meal at a Hibachi restaurant. This is in payment for all they did while I was on vacation. I have a Groupon to ease the pain.
I got a notice from my flex plan yesterday that they denied a payment to my doctor. I looked up my account and saw that my balance is a few dollars short of the bill. I guess I will just pay it myself and use the balance for other things that come up this year. I'm a little disappointed the money went so fast. I still have the CT scan to pay for! I am too conservative about what I put into the flex account, but I am always fearful I'll have a really healthy year and be unable to use it!
The CT scan is done, although it sure didn't go smoothly. My doctor had not signed the order, which meant lots of waiting till we received a new order via fax. Then I had to wait again while the radiology staff checked on whether the contrast should be injected or consumed. The answer was injection -- like the last three times. Guess they have to be careful, even when the same procedure is repeated over and over.
I have difficult veins, so getting injected was the worst part. Seriously, it felt like she was groping with the needle inside my arm. When I was released, the bandage on my arm was soaked with blood. I was feeling a little faint from the whole experience when I drove out of the parking lot, and I was particularly alarmed that I couldn't SEE very well -- couldn't even read the signs. I felt much better when I realized I had put on my reading glasses instead of my sunglasses!
Traffic was bad on the way home and it was a two-hour trip. I was so tired I went to bed at 7.
So, spending. I skipped lunch because of the procedure and was roaring hungry when I left the hospital at 4, so I spent $10 at McDonalds. I got a bunch of Monopoly pieces that didn't win anything (didn't check the codes online, yet). But this is no fun. I thought I would at least win a food prize!
I also stopped for gas -- $30. Unfortunately I passed up the cheapest station because I was hemmed in by traffic, but at least I was able to stop before I got too far north -- where the gas is always higher.
Free muffins at work this morning! I don't know what the occasion was, but I availed myself!
Not too much to report today. I bought a birthday card last night for a co-worker ($4). More than I like to pay, but I was having trouble finding the right card. This is for someone who really needs a boost; it needed to be a nice card with a supportive message.
I drove to work this morning and stopped at McDonald's along the way. I wasn't hungry when I left home, but got hungry on the road. And then I thought about that article that Jeffrey wrote on the Monopoly game and thought, wouldn't it be fun to buy a couple of hash browns and win big? Well, of course I won nothing. I do like it that I know what the rare pieces are, though, so I don't feel pressure to collect them all. I'll play a little, for the fun of it. My boys and I used to get a kick out of playing and it's making me a bit nostalgic.
I found a penny this morning as I got out of the car. I was hoping it was a dime, because it was gray from exposure, but no, a penny! I'm closing in on $30 now so I'm getting anxious to find more.
The weather has finally turned cool and lovely. I slept without the air on last night and even got under a quilt in the middle of the night. I love it! I can't understand how anyone likes hot weather.
Later on today I will go to the hospital to get my test done. Hoping I will once again have a good result. Fingers crossed.
Yesterday's spending -- I bought my train pass ($105), did a load of laundry ($1.50).
Today's spending (so far) -- $9.20 for stamps. I brought my breakfast and lunch today, so I hope there will be no more spending.
I got a notice from my property management company that they will add a lawyer's fee to the assessment this month. That's because the lawyer successfully lowered our property taxes, so we are all still coming out ahead. My portion of the fee is $98. (Shoulda been a lawyer -- there are more than 30 units in the building.)
I scheduled my CT scan for tomorrow. I am watching an adrenal nodule that was discovered when I had my appendectomy. I think I've had three tests so far, and there has been no change. I'm supposed to do the scan every six months, but this time I have let things slide and it's been closer to a year. If there is still no change this time I'm going to discuss with my doctor how often I really need to get this done, because even after insurance it is still pretty expensive.
I will have to remember to drive tomorrow so I will have transportation to the hospital. It will be a street cleaning day, so that will work out well -- I won't have to figure out a safe place to park!
I still have to figure out how I will get my TDAP and shingles vaccines.
And I will have another doctor's appointment in a few weeks to follow up on my bronchitis. I'm still coughing, though it does seem to be slowly diminishing.
I am still battling the heat, but today promises to be cooler. I ran the air conditioners yesterday only after work and through the night. I turned them off again this morning. It will probably be stinky hot again when I get home, but I just can't see running them all day when I'm not even home, unless it's over 90. Because I have the cats to think about, though they seem to be doing fine. I give them lots of fresh water, and they seem to enjoy lolling around on the tile floor in the bathroom.
Although it was cooler this weekend, we didn't get quite the break I was hoping for. Temps remained in the mid-80's with high humidity. That made it HOT in my second-floor condo, so I ran the air conditioners most of the weekend. I turned them off each morning, but each day heated up way beyond my comfort level.
I tried to keep up on my chores, but I was moving slowly. I did a lot of reading, since I can't really watch TV with the air conditioners on, because of the noise level. Maybe if I had new air conditioners they wouldn't be so noisy, but I am using the ones that came with the condo, and while they do work, they look as though they have some years on them.
Well, it sounds like we have one more hot day, and then a true cold front. I can hardly wait.
My spending this weekend was $62 on groceries, $5 on kitty litter, and $179 for a doctor's bill. I also spent $3 on laundry, and I have another two loads to do tonight.
On Sunday I decided to make crockpot Stroganoff, so I invited my son's family over to help me eat it. It turned out pretty well, but I used cream cheese instead of sour cream and it really didn't blend in very well. I wonder if plain yogurt would work?
I also made a fruit salad and celery & carrot sticks with a homemade yogurt dip, to make the dinner a little more summery! After dinner we all played Yahtzee, except for the littlest GS, who sat on my lap to supervise the game. It was a good evening.
Today I'm wearing a pair of pants I bought at Goodwill a few weeks ago. I couldn't pass them up, because they were L.L. Bean black pants in good condition, and the right size. But at the time I thought, I don't really need black pants right now ... but I'll never find them again at this price! I'm so glad I bought them! They fit perfectly and feel great! I will get a lot of use out of them. And they are not as dressy as my other black pants, so they do fulfill a somewhat different role in my wardrobe. I hope the "new" white capris will turn out to be as good a buy.
I love Goodwill!
I've been running at least one air conditioner all day since I got home from Florida (I'm alternating them to give them a break). Yesterday morning I blew a fuse because I turned on the hair dryer. Oops! Have to remember I just can't do anything extra without turning off the air conditioner. I imagine I will have an unpleasant electric bill this month. Forecasters are predicting cooler weather this weekend, and I sure hope it happens.
I did not get gas yesterday, as I had planned. Even after the full trip to work and back I still had more than half a tank, so it didn't seem the thing to do. I am sure I will have another opportunity to fill up in a cheaper locale.
But I did go to Goodwill to drop off my books, and I found the white capris I've been searching for for $5. I also spent $5 on gifts, toys, and Christmas decorations.
I also went to the grocery (in my work town) just to buy quarters, but they said they weren't giving change any more. I hope the same grocer in my home town is still providing quarters. I don't know what I'll do about laundry otherwise. I suppose banks will do it? I'll ask at the branch at the station tonight.
Even though I left town last night at about six pm, I still got stuck in traffic. There was construction on a main road I wish I had avoided, but once I was on it, I couldn't seem to get off. I hate the stop and go traffic, not only because it is frustrating, but it's such a poor use of gas.
On the plus side, I found a dime yesterday! I also spotted a penny on the train this morning, but we were "de-training" and I couldn't have picked it up without risking getting trampled. Every once in a while I just have to pass them up!
Had a good night's sleep last night -- so much so that I slept too long in the morning and didn't get up in time to make the train. So I drove. In a way, that's better -- I won't have to walk in the heat -- but it's a waste of money when I've already paid for the train. Oh well.
When I drive, though, I try to make it worth my while somehow. Today I bagged a bunch of books to take to Goodwill on my way home. I will also take a peek inside to see if I can find white capris. I will fill the tank, even though it is not quite half down. The cost of gas in the western suburbs is always lower than in my area.
The downside -- I stopped at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich and orange juice. My excuse was that I needed to get change so I could repay a co-worker. But I was also hungry. I haven't been to the grocery yet since the trip. Last night I was not interested in anything except going to bed.
Laundry is getting piled up, but I need to "buy" quarters. Those I can also get at the grocery. Maybe tonight I'll have the energy. I was supposed to have dinner with a friend, but she had to cancel, which makes me both sorry and relieved -- sorry not to see her, but relieved that I have a free evening for catching up on things!
I'm back from Florida -- back from the steamy tropics into the steamy Midwest!
It was a great week with my son and his wife and especially with my adorable granddaughter. She is crawling like a pro and will soon be walking if she has anything to say about it!
It was a little costly....
Vacation costs were $297, mostly for food and gas, but that also includes a baggage fee and a trip to the aquarium. I also spent $66 on clothes for GD -- she was growing out of everything she had -- and I gave the kids $200 to catch up on a few bills. We are calling it a loan, but I'll never tell them to repay me.
They are so good with money, but have been caught up short. To make a long story short, the man who recruited my son has not lived up to his promises; my son is not getting the work he needs even though he has done everything he was required to do in good faith. Apparently the company was counting on being licensed for something they are not....not yet, anyway. And my DIL's mother talked them into a bigger rental than they wanted, promising that she would pay the difference in rent. Well, you guessed it, the checks haven't been coming in. And she is a wealthy woman -- there is no excuse for making a promise like that and not keeping it. My son has been too trusting, which is his nature, but he has to learn to be a little more skeptical.
Anyway, that's why I gave him $200.
He is looking for work as a server until the helicopter job is resolved. My DIL has put out applications in retail. They will make it, but they're going through a rough patch.
Meanwhile, I have had other expenses -- my second semi-annual property tax payment, a medical bill left over from my appendectomy -- it will not be the frugal month I had hoped for.
I did have a lucky break, though. I volunteered to give up my seat on an overbooked flight and got a $200 voucher for future travel. I will definitely use it, so I'm counting it as extra income.
Now I just want to catch up on sleep! I must have been too caffeinated yesterday -- I just couldn't fall asleep after arriving home, and morning came too soon. But I had to come to work and face all the stuff that piled up -- didn't dare put it off another day. And things aren't as bad as they could have been.
It's good to be back!
I am sicker than ever -- so I am going to the doctor this evening to get some antibiotics. Not a moment too soon, since I must leave for the airport tomorrow at 9. My DIL will drive me. I will try to do something nice in exchange, since I know the airport run is NO fun -- but this will be so much better than trying to do the CTA. Especially now that I have to use up time to go to the doctor and then get my meds.
I just felt so bad about asking my DIL since she and DS are also stuck with cat and fish duty while I'm gone.
I still have so much to do at home. I have to load the dishwasher, vacuum, clean the cat box, take out the garbage ... I was going to get a lot of that done this weekend, but ended up feeling too rotten, and too hot, to get much of anything done.
At least I got the fish tank cleaned! And all the perishables cooked and frozen.
I also went to the grocery and spent $20 and got $50 in cash. I went to PetSmart and got some water conditioner for the fish tank ($5) and then made a quick trip to Kohl's to use my $10 coupon. I bought two pairs of shorts for my granddaughter for $.87!
Now I just have to get through today, get to the doctor's after I get home, get that medicine and do the cleaning.
I'm not sure how much I will get online in Florida, but I will try to post a few entries!
It's been a quiet weekend. My son's family is out of town, so I am just sticking around home. I did a couple of loads of laundry. I am cooking all the perishable stuff in my fridge, getting ready to leave for a week. This morning I had migas for breakfast and I will have carrot soup for lunch. I froze some cooked peppers and onions. Yesterday I made a quesadilla that used up a lot of odds and ends.
I've started to pack -- have all the outfits set aside -- next I'll do the underwear, accessories and toiletries. I want to get it all in one rolling bag. Still planning to take the CTA, but I have to make sure they will take a credit card. I am without cash, and I hate it! If the CTA doesn't take credit, I will have to do the taxi -- and make sure THEY will take credit.
I still feel icky from my cold -- I have a cough that won't give up. I just sent a note to my doctor on the website, basically begging for antibiotics. We'll see how that goes. I hope he doesn't require me to come in -- that will mean losing a half-day of work. But I think it's come to the point where I need chemical intervention.
It's very warm today, but I haven't turned on the air conditioners. I have the windows open. It's not too bad.
I got an email from our property management company talking about the "dramatic car fire" in front of our building yesterday morning at 3am. I didn't hear a thing. I didn't go out yesterday, so didn't notice anything. I'm going to go down and check right after this. My car is parked in front -- better make sure I didn't get any damage. (And if it was MY car on fire, I'm going to blow a gasket!)
I need to get a pedicure -- my last one has grown out -- my nails are too long and are two-tone. I was going to do it yesterday, but when I started reading reviews of nail places around here, I got freaked out by all the negative reviews. Decided to do it on Monday at lunchtime at the place I already know.
It was a nice Fourth! We had a great "cook-out, eat-in." I played board games with my son, nephew, and grand-niece in the afternoon, and in the evening, we walked to the beach to watch the fireworks over the lake, with my grandson cuddled on my lap. Very impressive fireworks, I might add! My grandson said he likes the "hairy" ones (the chrysanthemum type).
Believe it or not, this was the first time I've been to the beach since I've lived here, even though it is a two-block walk away! The reason being, you have to buy a season pass (except for events like this) and I am away too much and too busy on the weekends to make it worthwhile. I do understand that early morning walks on the beach are free, so I'm going to try to incorporate that into my weekend routine.
I spent $20 on potato salad, macaroni salad and pop at GFS. I should have just brought the one salad, but it didn't look like enough. But two were way too much. Oh, well, at least I didn't look cheap! I left them with the host; hope they don't get thrown out, but it's out of my control.
In the morning I did a load of laundry ($1.50). I need to do two more this weekend before my trip. This weekend will be dedicated to getting ready for the trip. I just texted my son to let me grocery shop after my arrival -- he replied "If you insist," which tells me he was relieved to hear it.
I might try to take the CTA to the airport. It would be way cheaper than a taxi or limo, which is the usual way. Parking at the airport is very expensive, too. I'll have to research the route, and then, I will have to pack light, as I couldn't handle more than one bag on the train. Lots of people do this -- I can, too!
I knew the second half of the tax bill was coming this summer, but I was hoping I had another month! (Since this is my first year in this home, I didn't know the cycle).
Now I have to pay $1462 by August 1. Well, there is no slush fund any more so I will have to take it out of the credit union. After all my monkeying around to avoid it! I'll make a trip there, perhaps on Friday or Monday.
My trip to Florida is imminent, too. I was hoping to make it low-cost, but with my son struggling as he is, I can't be a financial burden on him. I'll be buying groceries, diapers, dog food etc. Maybe we can find some really good deals. The only thing I want to do there besides play with my granddaughter, is make a side trip to visit my uncle in his retirement home. So I guess I'll be buying gas, too! I'm hoping to get the whole family to go; my uncle will love seeing the baby again, who is named after his late wife.
Tonight I'm going to a family get-together which will be capped by walking to the beach to see the fireworks. However, it's raining right now, so I don't know how that will go. Tomorrow we'll be having a cookout and will go see the parade. Again, weather permitting. My contribution to the holiday will be making potato salad and bringing pop. I'm tempted to just go to GFS for the potato salad, as I don't even have the ingredients yet!
I wish I felt better. This cold is dragging on.
I just renewed my parking pass for the university where I used to work. It's one of my retiree privileges -- a free parking pass. I don't use it very often, but it's nice to have when I want to visit old friends. Without it, I would be parking in the boonies -- or paying top dollar.
Yesterday was a no-spend day. And I found .11!
Today, I already spent $20. I bought a cake at Corner Bakery this morning for a party we are having at noon. We are playing musical offices this summer -- half the people on our floor are leaving for another building, so this is a good-bye party. Of sorts.
I got an email notice from my bank yesterday that my account is below $25 and I need to deposit money immediately. I had forgotten that I get that alert; it's been so long since I have had to drain my account in this way. Well, they're going to have to chill; I don't have any money to put in the account. And nothing is scheduled to come out of the account. So it will be low until I get paid on the 15th.
This brings back hints of the dreadful feelings I used to have when I was living hand to mouth, always trying to scrape together enough to pay a bill. The bad old days. I had forgotten what it was like not to have a cushion. Now -- bear in mind, I DO have a cushion now, in my credit union fund, but I just don't let myself access it. It's my long-term emergency fund, and it will help get me through the first years of retirement when I am receiving social security through my ex-husband's benefit. At age 70 I will switch to my own, when it is full vested, but before that -- well, I will just have to put all my frugal skills into action.
I did not take Mucinex-D yesterday, and I slept much better. So I guess it's a trade-off -- do you want your chest clear or do you want to sleep? I do feel I am gradually getting better, though I still have an impressive cough.