Home > Archive: August, 2013

Archive for August, 2013

A Setback for DS

August 30th, 2013 at 05:00 pm

My son just learned that his new employers are moving the business to a different city. They must be very shaky and disorganized if they hire someone new one day and move the business the next, so it's probably just as well. Except that he is out of an income again! He is still expecting the airfield job to come through when their licensing is resolved, but needs something temporary. Sigh.

They do have savings, but I hate to see them burn through them. I hope something turns up soon.

I had a no-spend day yesterday, and I'm hoping to have a quiet, low-spend weekend. I'll be going to a cookout on Saturday, for which I'm making brownies, but other than that, I'll be doing laundry and catching up on housework and cooking. And sleep. Maybe I'll get more of the puzzle done.

Dinner with Friends

August 29th, 2013 at 02:53 pm

That was my big expenditure of the day. $30 for a top sirloin that was a tad overcooked, but still, it was a wonderful social evening.

I didn't get home until 10 because the trains run so infrequently at night. I had to wait more than a half hour at each stop. And I can never just fall asleep right away, especially after a stimulating evening, so I didn't get much sleep before the 4:45 alarm. I'm beat.

I saw seven rabbits yesterday -- and not all together. I saw seven rabbits in seven different spots. And they were so fearless, they hardly moved when I got near. One of them appeared to be living on a narrow strip of grass and shrubs on the elevated track -- a little island in a land of concrete. How weird it seems. When I was younger it was very rare to spot a rabbit, but now they're everywhere!

Wild Trip Home

August 28th, 2013 at 04:19 pm

Last night's commute was the kind you don't want to repeat too often. The train heading downtown was quite late due to police action at another stop. I arrived downtown just when my train home was scheduled to leave. I went running to the train, which I could see was still there and still boarding -- when I realized I didn't have my pass. I had left it on the other train!

Now, you have to visualize the downtown station. It's a big cavernous station with 14 tracks coming in, all in a line. I really didn't know which track I had arrived on, so I had to do some running around and questioning conductors just to figure out what train to check. I finally located the train just as it was closing its doors to clean up, and one conductor tried to throw me out, but the other one recognized me and heard my plea that I had left my pass on the train -- and not just this month's pass, but next month's too, tucked into the same holder. He told me to wait and he would do a quick check. And he found it! Glory be! Saved me over $100 right there.

Well, by this time, my other train was LONG gone. Not only that one, but the one scheduled after it. There was one more train heading north, but it doesn't stop at my station. Nevertheless, I took it, because I didn't know how late the next one might be. I called my son and left a message asking him to pick me up at the D station. He didn't get the message until later. So, I arrived at D station, on the hottest day of the year, wearing shoes that were already blistering my feet, and facing a two-mile walk home. (Oh, and I had no cash for a taxi.)

I did have a first aid kit in my bag, and I taped up my feet the best I could with band-aids. Still, only a few blocks later I knew it would be too painful to make that walk. But I was walking by a North Face store, and I had the inspiration to go in and look for a pair of thick socks. I found them -- SmartWool socks, which were $20 a pair. (!) I bought a pair and put them on and it was like magic. My feet were protected, and the walk was doable. I made it home, with one stop for a cooling bottle of 7-Up.

It was 7:00, and I had left work at 4:00.

More excitement this morning. I almost missed the train because I blew a fuse by plugging in my flat iron. After I reset it, the aquarium filter didn't re-start, so I had to prime the pump with more water to get it going, since I couldn't leave the fish all day without aeration. Made the train in the nick of time -- hair unkempt, no make-up, huffing and puffing.

This commute is getting to me!

In other news, my other spending yesterday included $6 for lunch, and $100 sent to my son in Florida, who broke his glasses and couldn't see to fly without getting new ones -- immediately. He and his wife are getting back on their feet but needed a little help with this one, and I was glad to do it. It is a loan, but I'm not going to stress about getting it back.

Tonight I'm meeting friends for dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant. I'm really looking forward to a relaxing evening with good food and conversation! I hope I have no adventures to report tomorrow.

Whatta Day!

August 27th, 2013 at 02:49 pm

Yesterday after driving to work and putting in a full day, I set out at about 4 to run some errands in my work town. The first errand was to mail a package -- 4 pounds of baby clothes for my granddaughter. The cost was $12. I had to wait in line to use the kiosk, but otherwise, no problem.

Then I went to Goodwill with a bag of stuff to drop off. What should have been a 5-minute drive took nearly an hour. First there was some kind of police action in the middle of the highway. They I got into a lane where someone was stalled. After I got around him, I sat in the turn lane for ... centuries? There were two turn lanes, one blocked off. We were turning onto a road that was down to one lane because of repaving. The really irritating thing was that drivers kept butting into our line, AND PEOPLE WERE LETTING THEM IN! Really? There's politeness, and then there's silliness.

Finally got to Goodwill, where I calmed down my road rage with a little shopping. I spent $16, and bought a pair of capris, a long-sleeved tee, a work blouse, a Santa ornament, a Blue Ridge pottery plate for my hutch, and a bud vase. Very happy with all my purchases.

Then it was back out onto the awful road again (not so bad this time, though) and on to get a haircut -- $15 including tip. I got a new hairdresser this time, and I liked her work. I will remember her name, because it's the same as my granddaughter's!

I didn't dare get back on the same road to go home, so I headed in the opposite direction till I found a main road north. On that road I stopped for gas - $30 -- and for a car wash -- $3. By the time I got to the road heading east toward home I was starving and couldn't wait another 30-40 minutes for dinner, so I went to McDonalds and bought the $1 cheddar onion burger and a small smoothie -- $3.77.

The traffic was still heavy and I don't even know what time I got home. I remember glancing at my watch after I'd chilled for a while (literally -- I hadn't left the air on), and being surprised that it was 9:30.

I wasn't ready for sleep and worked on the puzzle a while. Finally had a glass of wine and turned in.

A day like that makes me glad I usually take the train. Although it wasn't a BAD day, just a lot of frustrations.

Today it is supposed to get up into the upper 90's. I left my air conditioning units on -- low. It kind of makes me nervous, but if I don't, I'll walk into an oven tonight, and it would take hours to catch up. The cats will enjoy it. Smile

Monday Morning Check-In

August 26th, 2013 at 03:49 pm

As always, it was a weekend that went way too fast.

On Saturday night, my grandsons slept over. Well, they slept; I didn't. There was a lot of moving around; let's just say it was musical beds.

My fatigue on Sunday, as well as the heat, made it difficult to do the things I had planned. For instance, I was supposed to bake for a work party today, but I didn't, so I ended up spending $14 on muffins on the way to work. I was planning to make lasagna -- that didn't happen either.

On Saturday morning, before the kids came, I went to Home Depot and spent $20 on single-edge blades, felt pads, and command strips. Then I went to PetSmart and spent $29 on cat food and aquarium supplies.

Finally, it was off to the grocery, where I bought two rolls of quarters, and made my ten selections. It was really hard this week. I ended up with:

Granola Bars
Almond Milk
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Green Pepper
Grand Total: $31

As I said, I was planning on making lasagna, but a quick look at the ground beef convinced me it was going to be meatless. And then it didn't get made! But I'll still try to assemble it this week, even if I can only do one step each night.

Other meals I have on tap are egg salad sandwiches, and chicken sandwiches (enough for two nights each); and in the freezer I have stirfry, pizza, and carrot soup.

Plus I have $15 toward an entree at BRAVO. I'm hoping they will let me just box it up and take it home.

Part of my Saturday routine has become using up or somehow processing all the perishables in the fridge. This week I had a cantaloupe which was unpleasantly hard and tasteless. I cut it into slivers and made a slaw with mayonnaise and dried cranberries -- still have two servings of that, and it's great! I also cooked and consumed my green beans.

I did only one load of laundry this weekend. I'm trying to wear my pj's two nights in a row. I love to wear fresh pj's but even I have to admit it's creating too much laundry.

I still had a free Redbox coupon from my McDonalds Monopoly adventure, so I rented The Call on Sunday afternoon. It was very good in the first half; kind of fell into cliched movie horror flick at the end, but I did enjoy it for free.

While the kids were at my house, I opened a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. They're too young to really help, but it encouraged them to open their puzzles and work on them. I've completed the border -- filling in all the rest will provide for some entertainment this week! I forgot how much I liked jigsaw puzzles. This was a freebie, too. Got it from my work "library" and will return it when I finish it.

So, on to today. I drove today. Not only did I have to pick up treats, but I have a package to mail, and I just can't handle all that on the train. I will make the drive worth my while. I brought a bag for Goodwill, and I will get my hair cut at my "old" place, as well as get gas and a car wash.

This is the last week I can park on campus, as my sticker will expire. My new sticker will only allow parking at the free lots off campus, but then again, they're free! A $100 annual savings right there.

Last night I was feeling a little ticked that I had to drive around the block to find a space to park. I reminded myself that I was saving $60 a month, by letting my parking space go, and a few circles around the block sure weren't going to kill me!

Found 'Em!

August 23rd, 2013 at 03:00 pm

The lost vouchers were at home, hidden in a bunch of papers I had taken out of my old bag. I actually went through those papers before, and somehow missed seeing the vouchers, so I'm really glad I took a second look!

I bought my ticket this morning for the reduced price of $105.

I also bought a kiddie smoothie from Jamba Juice ($3) so that I will have TWO "Planes" cups for the grandsons (who will be sleeping over tomorrow night!)

And last night I bought an Amazon card for $25 to give to the daughter of a friend -- she is awaiting a heart transplant in the hospital, and I'm sure her days are long and she could use some distraction.

Wouldn't you know it, though, I recover one thing and lose something else. I left my umbrella on the train last night. Tonight, during my train break, I'll investigate the lost and found to see if I can get it back. If it's not there, I'll get a replacement at Goodwill.

I got a call from one of my medical suppliers that my credit card number didn't work. Turns out, they can't process flex cards. I told her to re-bill me and I'll write a check. I think my flex account is close to maxed out anyway.

Getting close to the end of the month, and my spending is still under $2000! When my assessment fee hits, that will take it over, though. And I still have a grocery trip, and I expect there will be some garage saling tomorrow, too. But still, a pretty tame month, moneywise.

I Lost My Vouchers

August 22nd, 2013 at 05:51 pm

Every month I take my train ticket receipt to the HR office and I receive $30 in vouchers for the next ticket. Well, it's time to buy my ticket, and I cannot find my vouchers! I've moved offices during that time, and I'm afraid that somehow they were lost in the shuffle. I've looked in all the logical places, and some illogical places, too. I need to do a thorough search at home, but I'm not feeling confident that I will find them there.

I really hate to lose $30. It's like losing money out of my pocket.

The HR office cannot reimburse me. It's in their policy. They did give me the serial numbers, so I can find out if someone else has used them, but I still don't think I would get reimbursed.

I just hope they are at home. Meanwhile, I'm going through a big stack of papers in my office, but I don't think they could possibly be in there.

I spent $3 yesterday on a salad at lunchtime. This morning I spent another $3 on a smoothie for breakfast. Last night's dinner was free -- a yogurt/fruit parfait bought with a McDonald's Monopoly coupon -- and today I ate the packed lunch that I didn't eat yesterday.

It's POURING outside, and I think we're getting a significant cooldown after a very hot day. I had to run my air conditioners all night. I'm glad I turned them off this morning AND left the windows closed.

The End of Summer

August 21st, 2013 at 02:49 pm

Yesterday one of my train buddies reappeared -- he is a high school teacher, so he doesn't ride the train in the summer. It was nice to catch up. He had a very exciting summer of travel, while I didn't have much to offer (my week in Florida sounded pretty lame in comparison to Ireland, the Colorado Rockies, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon). Smile

Just another sign that summer is over.

Today the students are moving in. All the main parking lots are cordoned off so that they can park and unload. Staff members are ticked off, as they always are. I just contentedly walk in from the station.

There is also upset in our office -- our offices have recently moved to a new wing of our building. Well, there is still a lot of construction and setting up, and now several staff members are fighting bitterly over the division of space and what kind of cubicle walls should be installed. Sheesh! I'm afraid it's dredging up deeper feelings from a staff member who doesn't really want to be part of our team and feels demoted.

I feel like, isn't life hard enough, without getting bent out of shape about your office? If you can get your work done, it's good enough, isn't it? Apparently not.

I believe I had another no-spend day -- can't think of a thing I bought yesterday.

Last night I made a salad of lettuce, pepperoni, hard-boiled egg, cheese, and sunflower seeds. Yum. This morning I grabbed the last of the frozen pumpkin muffins for breakfast, and some frozen chicken stirfry for lunch. However, it looks like there is a "Taste" street event on campus today, so I might have to check that out for lunch. See if there are any freebies, or at least, cheapies. The stirfry will keep till tomorrow.

Just a Regular Day

August 20th, 2013 at 02:31 pm

My only spending yesterday was $1.50 for a load of laundry. I am nearing the bottom of my quarter stash, so I'll have to remember to get some this weekend. Also have to remember to buy some water conditioners for the aquarium -- and felt pads for the desk chair. Hey! This is turning into an errand list!

My free meals seem to be continuing. Someone left muffins in the break room yesterday, so I took one for breakfast this morning. And lunch will be, in part, the leftover macaroni and cheese that my grandson didn't eat on Sunday. Okay, not really free, but certainly could have been garbage had I not made the effort to save it and tote it to work today.

I have earned $5 in Walgreens balance rewards -- I already had quite a few before signing up for the "steps" program, but the steps took me over the top. It is not clear how to redeem it -- perhaps just mention it when shopping at Walgreens? Or make an online purchase?

Yesterday my boss said something about planning for my replacement -- Yikes! It IS two years away!

The Weekend

August 19th, 2013 at 06:40 pm

Third weekend in a row I've gone garage saling and I had great success! The grand prize was a sturdy desk and chair for $24 -- the bonus is that it fits perfectly in my space and looks great. I've been needing a replacement for my desk for years now. The old desk was a Target desk from Goodwill. I set it out by the dumpster with the IKEA chair and they were both gone the next time I looked. Nice recycling!

The new set really looks like wood, but it probably isn't. It's sleek and dark and the chair is very comfortable; just perfect.

But that's not all! I also bought a box full of beautiful baby clothes for $13, which I will send to my granddaughter. A new top for me for $1, some children's books for $1.75, some display bottles for $2. And I found a Razor scooter for my grandson for $10 -- like new and just the right size. And it's just like his brother's only smaller, with red handlebars! (The favorite color of the moment!) Success all round.

After garage saling we all (including DIL's mom) went out to lunch, where I spent $11. I think I startled everyone when I asked to have all the fruit and vegetables the kids didn't eat boxed up, as well as the onion and tomato slice from GS's hamburger! I used up most of it the next morning in an omelet with a fruit cup on the side.

So I am the cheapest woman alive. They already know it.

Later in the day I went grocery shopping with elder grandson -- he was a big help, and I was able to keep it down to 12 items, even with all the suggestions for great things to buy! (Like ice cream, cereal, candy bars....) He helped me scan and bag at the self-service line; quite the little grownup. (He's 6!) So, groceries were about $38.

$3 for laundry, $5 for a prescription -- that was the weekend spending.

On Sunday I made lunch for everyone -- fish sandwiches with sweet potato fries, and mac & cheese for the kids. Frozen yogurt for dessert, and then a game of Yahtzee. It was a good day.

Today I paid a $100 doctor bill.

I had my free breakfast and free lunch at work today; tonight's dinner will be leftovers from yesterday. Life is good!

Kind of a No-Spend Day

August 16th, 2013 at 03:12 pm

Yesterday was kind of a no-spend day. It was pay day, so I did pay my bills (the few that aren't automatic). I also gave a co-worker $10 toward a raffle ticket -- I had already promised. I've done this once-a-year raffle for three years and have never won anything, but the cause is good, which is the important part.

I signed up for Walgreen's Step for Balance Rewards. It is a program where you earn reward points for walking, weighing yourself, and setting goals. I am doing the walking anyway, so why not get paid? And making myself weigh in every day is not a bad habit to get into.

I forgot to set the alarm last night. My inner alarm woke me up with just 15 minutes to get ready, but I did it. All but washing my hair, which really needs to be done, but it was more important to catch the train on time.

I really wanted to get breakfast in the downtown station this morning, but I resisted. I thought about how I'd just earned $3 from Pine Cone, and did I want to just turn around and eat it, or put it into savings? Eating lost out. I have oatmeal here at work, and leftovers from yesterday's lunch are already waiting for me in the fridge, so there is really no excuse for buying food.

It's Pay Day!

August 15th, 2013 at 03:12 pm

More exciting than it's been in a while, because I actually have $300 to put into savings instead of everything being already spent.

I also sent $380 extra to my mortgage.

Last night the kids brought over my new train bag. It's so cool! Light, waterproof, with lots of pockets and dividers, and it's RED! It's also a shoulder bag, which will make it easier to carry. And the top zips shut -- an important factor. With my old bag, I couldn't shut out the rain.

Yesterday we had an ice cream social on campus. I skipped lunch -- not on purpose -- so the afternoon sundae was very welcome. On Monday, which is our kickoff day for the new school year, we will get a free buffet breakfast and a picnic lunch. Fabulous!

The weather is beautifully cool, making the walk to the station comfortable, and no air conditioning needed at home.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

What an Idiot

August 14th, 2013 at 04:25 pm

That would be me.

While clicking through MyPoints this morning, I went to a site called Usually I just close the page immediately, but this time I looked, and I decided to try the "free" tokens they offered. Well, long story short, I "won" a $5 gift card for .01, which, incidentally, also got me a $79 membership on ZBiddy I hadn't asked for. I had foolishly given them my Visa card info to pay the .01 (all along thinking, wrong, wrong, wrong) so the $79 was charged to that card. I was notified in an email. I Googled UnlockYourLuck and read the comments of all the other people who had been scammed, and the lack of cooperation they got, so I just went straight to my Visa holder and reported fraud, and had my card cancelled. Whew. Missed a bullet.

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the real deals from the scams.

Yesterday was indeed a no-spend day, as I thought it might be. Today I spent $3 on breakfast at McDonalds -- the McGriddle was free (Monopoly coupon); the $3 was for a frappe. Thank goodness the game is over; I've had enough of McDonalds for a while! I seem to have lost my free parfait coupon, but my waistline doesn't need it, anyway.

Tomorrow is payday; very excited I will be transferring money to savings for a change!

Good News

August 13th, 2013 at 06:09 pm

At my doctor's visit yesterday, I had very good news. The cat scan showed no change in the nodule on my adrenal gland. I don't have to get the scan any more -- it's been checked enough! If it hasn't grown in this amount of time, it will not grow. That is good news on the health front AND the financial front!

My only spending yesterday was $9 to mail a package of books to my sister.

No spending so far today, and I don't expect to do any.

I drove to work yesterday, since I had to pick up treats AND go to the doctor. So I also brought in some wall art to hang in my office, and I brought some stuff to donate to Goodwill. I try to make every car trip count! But it really brought home how much easier the train is. The stop and go traffic is grueling on my nerves. And all you can think about is how much gas you're wasting while you're sitting there waiting for someone else to move.

I like the way some of you have your current "read" on your sidebar, so I'm going to start sharing that, too! I usually have two books going at one time -- one at home, one on the commute!

Birthday & Weekend Spending

August 12th, 2013 at 05:57 pm

Yesterday was my birthday. My son and his family came over with a homemade cake and ordered my favorite pizza. Then they set to work and hung all the pictures in my condo. It was a lot of work -- took all afternoon, but the place now looks warm and homey. What a difference! They also brought me a picture of a new train bag they ordered for me -- it hasn't arrived yet! But it looks beautiful. Red leather with lots of pockets and dividers. It'll be great for my commute.

Now that the wall hangings are up I will finally post some pictures of my condo. Not today, though.

My Florida son sent me a Jib Jab of his daughter (who can't walk yet) dancing around. Very cute. I was so glad he respected my wish not to buy me a present. They need to get back on track now that he is working. I told him his new job was the best birthday present I could have.

So -- lots of spending has happened. I went to garage sales with DIL on Saturday and spent $24. Got a step stool, a cute wooden chair (free!), toys for the toy box, a Pampered Chef springform pan set (new), some colored bottles for my window, a beach bag, a purse, and a new boxed set of play food which I will save as a gift for my granddaughter. Later in the day I spent $24 at the grocery, and $44 at Kohl's for new underwear -- my birthday present to myself. I bought new panties online not too long ago, but I hate them. They are small and stretchy and the waistband rolls down like a window shade. I'm just going to keep them as back-ups, since I can't really give them to anyone else, having been worn. I am so much happier with the panties I bought yesterday.

On the day we hung the pictures, I spent $42 on new frames and command strips from Target. I spent $3 on laundry. Today I sent my cousin $34 for our annual family football pool, and $40 to pay her back for the dinner I had with her father at his retirement home, which automatically went onto her tab. I also spent $16 on donuts and cider for the office (our tradition here is to bring treats on your own birthday).

On Saturday night got dinner at McDonald's for $1.10, using a winning coupon for the fries and buying the cheddar-onion burger from the $1 menu.

I think that's it! I have a medical bill to pay, but it will come out of flexible spending. And I'm seeing the doctor today (followup on bronchitis) so I'll probably be generating a new bill as well.

Pay day is Thursday, and barring any surprises, I plan to put $300 into savings.