I used to love going shopping, but now I hate it. I hate having to spend money on something I need. It's crazy, I know, but somehow in my financial growth journey I eradicated pleasure from the shopping experience.
This weekend I bit the bullet and went shopping for shoes and sheets, both of which I needed. Since Kohl's was promoting a sale, I went there. I bought a set of Croft & Barrow 550-ct sheets for half price, and two pairs of Naturalizers for 30% off. Then got another 15% off for using my Kohl's card, plus $20 in Kohl's cash. Altogether I spent $139, and saved $112, not counting the Kohl's cash. Now, I know the retail price is inflated, but I still felt I did pretty well. I'm pleased with the shoes -- I have a hard time finding comfortable shoes for work. These are soft loafers, and I got the same style in black and in brown. Just have to make sure I don't put on one of each some dark morning!
I also bought pet supplies at PetSmart and Target, spending $37 -- but I hope the supplies will take us through April. I had a $3 coupon for PetSmart. I spent $32 on groceries, sticking to ten items. I got a haircut for $17, including tip. And I ate out twice -- once at McDonalds because I was out and about and hungry, and once at a new restaurant where I met up with a colleague to transfer some supplies for an event. She suggested lunch, and I agreed because these social opportunities don't come along too often. So eating out cost $15. Add to that $3 for laundry, and that's my weekend!
I did get to spend some time with the grandsons, and had dinner with the family (and was sent home with leftovers) so it wasn't all spending!
Today I drove to work, since I woke up too late to catch the train. But I am driving, anyway, through the month of April, for two reasons: to take it easier on my knee, and to gauge how the cost compares to the price of a train pass, now that I have to pay $30 more. The first challenge is figuring out free parking for a month. A parking pass is $100 annually. There is no monthly option. There is a free lot, but it is 4-5 blocks away. There is street parking, but only for six hours at a time. Tomorrow I am going to look into the possibility of a temporary pass, citing health reasons. I don't know how that will go, but I'll try.
I received the set of Bialetti saute pans. Oh, I love them! I made French toast on Saturday morning and they browned up like a dream on the ceramic lining.
I did not receive the Shark hand vac, although UPS confirmed delivery. I called BB&B this morning and they will send another and put a trace on the lost package. I hope it was not stolen, as packages are left in a vestibule that is open all the time. (But it is set way back from the street, so I doubt that a thief would just wander in....) Perhaps a neighbor took it by mistake. If it turns up, I can return to the store. The only down side for me is having to wait longer for the vacuum. And of course, wondering whether this one will be okay. I've never had a package problem before....
Archive for March, 2014
I used to love going shopping, but now I hate it. I hate having to spend money on something I need. It's crazy, I know, but somehow in my financial growth journey I eradicated pleasure from the shopping experience.
Last night the board that I serve on held an informal dinner event at a Greek restaurant downtown. I spent more than I usually do -- I guess I just decided to have fun and not worry for a change. The entire bill for drinks and dinner was $37 -- well, that's not really so bad, is it? Now that I look at it in black and white it doesn't seem like so much of a splurge.
And I really did have fun! It was a great group of people, lots of lively conversation, and the servers outdid themselves.
As it turned out, the restaurant was pretty close to the station, so I didn't have to get a taxi. I did have a bit of a walk in the rain, but I had company, which made it easier. I guess I pushed myself a little too hard, though, because in the night the pain in my leg was really bad.
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my brother's wife recently sold a business she started about 10 years ago. It was pretty successful, and I knew they were going to get a nice chunk of change. However, I just looked at pictures of the new house they're buying, and I'm taken aback! 3,800 square feet, situated on a lake with docking privileges, a pool in back, glass walls looking onto the lake -- it's pretty spectacular. I can tell my brother is kind of taken aback, too, but he says he is not going to stand in the way of his wife enjoying the fruits of her hard labor.
I'm not exactly envious -- well, I guess I am, a little. I wouldn't want so much responsibility, but I wouldn't mind having a little more of the good life. It just seems so odd that the siblings all live so differently. My sister throwing money away at every turn and living pretty much in squalor, my brother living in splendor, and me in a little walkup hanging on by my fingernails.
Oh well, it will be a nice place to visit!
There was no announcement yesterday but I got a little more information. Two people in our little unit (7 people) have indicated they are leaving -- one is actively looking for another position, and one is going into an entrepreneurial gig full-time. There is also the possibility of a third person leaving, depending on how some circumstances in her life turn out. And a fourth person is considering early retirement in the summer.
One of those people is the supervisor of this unit.
If all four leave, it will be pretty ugly.
The talk about reorganization, however, is mainly about adding at least one position to our unit rather than taking away.
I'll just continue one day at a time. The last time the supervisor's position was open, I was the interim (with no pay raise, I might add). I don't want to do it again. It is a thankless job, and I just about went crazy. I don't have the expertise. I'm good in my field, but not in IT and finance, which is what the supervisor's job entails.
I wish I had left a few years ago when I still had the chance.
But on to happier news -- I'm going to a dinner in Greektown tonight. OPA! It's cold and rainy today, so I'm going to indulge in a cab ride from the train station if the weather continues like this.
I found a penny last night and a quarter this morning.
If I stay on target, it looks like I will transfer $1000 into savings on pay day (a little over two weeks away).
Not a word at work about the changes ahead.
If anything happens, it will be today, since the boss is out tomorrow and Friday. So my guess is if he has something to say, he'll say it before he leaves for the week.
In related news, the Trustees officially decided to reduce the College's retirement contributions. It won't affect me, though, because the new rules won't go into effect until after I retire.
I went to physical therapy last night. My therapist feels that I am not responding to treatment as well as I should, so I'll be making a trip to the doctor, probably after the next (final) two sessions. I may have to get an MRI to figure out what's happening in my knee. The IT band problem is still there, of course, but it may be a response to a bigger problem in my knee, like a tear where the muscle attaches to the bone. I don't like the idea of more surgery, but if surgery is what it takes to get rid of this pain, I'm on it.
Well, happy hump day, everyone!
Well, nothing happened yesterday. I was told to expect more vacancies, more shuffling of duties, maybe some reorganization. Nothing, not a word. Maybe the shoe will drop today.
My hand vac burned out and died. With two indoor cats, one long-haired, I REALLY use the hand vac to keep my furniture clean. Should use it daily, in fact. So when I got a 20% off code from BB&B in my email this morning, I went ahead and ordered a Shark. There was free shipping for purchases over $49, so I added a set of three saute pans that were on clearance, 40% off. These are the Bialetti pans with the white ceramic interior and red enamel on the outside. My current saute pans are a wreck -- cheap to begin with, old, scratched, with burned-up bottoms. I am going to enjoy having good tools to work with! Plus, the red pans will look so much better hanging on the rack. They will go with my red toaster!
So I guess I'm done with the challenge. I think I've learned what I've needed to learn. Now I need to concentrate on replacing things, judicially, of course. Good quality at the best prices. I am still in the market for new work shoes and a new set of sheets.
And before I retire in a year and a half, I should get a new mattress set, a washer/dryer unit, and get my couch recovered. And my DIL is watching Craigslist for me for a good used dining room set. THEN I can retire!
With a week left on the challenge, I am at $0, even counting the $10 in extra income this month.
I had a bad day on Friday. I got some bad news at work, which may affect my job -- not so much danger of losing it, but danger of being thrown more work and responsibility than I can handle. I will know more today.
Anyway, it threw me into an emotional tailspin, so I turned to my comfort zones -- food and Goodwill. I did keep it down to $16 spending, so I'm not reporting a real lapse, so much as a blip.
And my Goodwill trip yielded some nice future gifts, especially for my granddaughter -- some brand new clothes in her next size up.
For myself, I bought a pair of jeans. Yeah, I just bought a pair a matter of weeks ago, but I'm going to have to donate them back. They are too low-cut, and I am just too old for that. I spend every minute pulling down my shirt while I'm wearing them. Enough of that. The "new" pair are classic Lee's, much better for me.
My upsetting work news made me leave my phone charger at work, so I wasted a lot of gas charging my phone while driving around this weekend.
The good thing was I didn't grocery shop, and I did all the cooking I was planning, so I am well-fixed for all my meals this week.
With so many in this community losing their jobs, or on the brink of it, it seems foolish to be upset that my job may be TOO MUCH. Heck, for all I know, I may lose my job -- I don't know how this is going to play out. As I say, I'll know more today.
But listen to this -- since Friday I've found .78! Three quarters and three pennies. Love it!
Woo-hoo! My favorite day of the week (except for the weekend days, of course!)
Practically no one is at work today. Spring break is next week, but looks like everyone is starting it early.
I found two more pennies on the train this morning. I also got a free Sara Lee snack cake yesterday evening -- they were handing out samples and coupons in the station. I don't know if I'll use the coupon but it's serving me well as a bookmark!
No spending yesterday.
I should probably do my state taxes this weekend. I only owe $1, so it just seems like such a waste of effort. Wish I could just send them $1 without all the paperwork!
My son found an affordable new home to rent in Florida that he's very excited about, so everything is on the up and up for him. He loves his new job. And my DIL's mother finally found a job at a new upscale grocery store, and she will be looking for a condo to buy as soon as she gets on her feet. So all the family news is good!
I'm looking forward to a cook-in this weekend. I made a list of possibilities on Evernote: crockpot lemon chicken, granola, zucchini bread, Mushroom-Swiss croissants, eggplant casserole, egg salad, soup broth, ricotta bruschetta ... can hardly wait to get going. The only part I dread is all the dishes to wash!
This time 4 pennies -- one in front of Walgreen's and three in front of an apartment building.
I saw three rabbits on my walk to the station, and thought, "How did they survive the winter?" The hardiness of wildlife amazes me.
We had a freaky snow this morning, but now the sun is shining. We're supposed to hit 50 degrees later. Freaky.
I spent nothing yesterday, so I'm still hanging on to my $6. However, I've earned $7 in snowflakes this month, and I just finished a Pine Cone survey so another $3 is on the way. So I'm going to say I have $16 left!
I have a work-related expense coming up that I won't count. Dinner in Greektown next Thursday. I'll be going to represent the board. Really looking forward to it!
I'm also looking forward to raiding my pantry & freezer this weekend and cooking up a storm. Ironic that I just bought the grocery cart and now don't have the money for groceries! I think I'll be okay, though. For one thing, I have about five servings of lasagna left. I have a large chicken breast that I will stretch in some way. I have cheese and eggs and quite a few vegetables that need to be used up. And I have all that sauerkraut! This will be fun.
Last night I found .11 in the parking garage when I went to physical therapy. This morning I had to pass up two pennies on the train -- too many people surging through. Didn't dare stop and bend over!
My therapist added a new exercise and last night I paid for it. I feel better today, though the early morning was rough. I will continue the exercise but will not do so many reps.
I am still hanging on to that $6. I really wanted to buy breakfast in the station, but this exercise is all about learning how to say no to wants.
I will forgo grocery shopping this weekend and have a pantry/freezer raid. The only thing I might have to buy is cat food.
I noticed that the sheets I put on my bed have a big frayed hole. I have three sets, so I'll be okay, but I will be on the lookout for bargain sheets.
Another expense coming up is shoes. I have boots and sandals and not much in between. I need to buy some simple loafers in black and brown to get me through the transitional seasons at work.
And my hair is in my eyes! A haircut is in order. But not until April.
I'm looking again at the possibility of installing a stackable washer/dryer. If it would fit in my bedroom closet, that would be an easy place to install the hookup, as the bathroom is on the other side of the wall. We'll see. That might be a summer project.
Found two more pennies this morning in Walgreen's parking lot. They were pretty banged up, so I think they've been there a while under the snow!
I wore regular shoes today for the first time all winter. Boots no longer needed! I can't tell you how good it feels to walk on dry pavement. Winter is finally over!!! Even a freaky cold snap will not set back the progress that's been made!
Knock on wood, my knee seems to be getting better. It's not back to normal, but it's better. I am still very careful on the stairs, because I'm sure that's what took it over the edge in the first place.
I realized that I forgot to log a cup of coffee I bought on Saturday while I was waiting for stores to open. So I really only have $6 left in my challenge!
Of course, I have more than $1,000 in checking, and I'm carrying around $55 in cash -- that's on top of what is reported in my sidebar. But in my mind I have $6 left!
I remember the days -- not all that long ago -- when I had $27K in debt, an empty wallet, a checking account that I had trouble keeping in the black -- I'm a different person now. It feels so much better. That's what I wish I could say to everyone who is living paycheck to paycheck. It just feels so much better this way.
Believe me, I remember times when I truly had only $6 to finish the month!
I have PT tonight, but this time I have enough food on hand to cover the whole day. Plus it's a little later than usual so I might be able to stop at home first.
I'm going to milk that $6 for all it's worth!
I found three pennies this morning, in three different places! I felt like that was my reward for getting up and getting out very much against my will. I had a very bad sleepless night; finally got up at 4:30. I ended up walking to the station early and then sitting out in the cold because the building was locked. I'm drained and exhausted today but I should sleep well tonight.
I did not have to work on Saturday, as I previously reported. My boss acknowledged that it was ridiculous for me to travel three hours to in order to work one or two. So Saturday was my errand day and clean-up day. I bought kitty litter at PetSmart ($16), groceries at Jewel ($27) and then I made a stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond for a little cart to haul my groceries upstairs. I had all but decided to get one that cost $50 after looking online, but when I saw them in person, I opted for the smaller $25 version. Granted, it will probably be less sturdy, but the bigger one just seemed too big and bulky for what I need. I tested it out immediately with the groceries I'd bought. Pulling it upstairs was a little awkward, but definitely easier on my knee.
On Sunday I made Reuben sandwiches for my son's family, and we played games afterward. It's becoming a tradition for me to make Reubens on St. Patrick's Day -- or the weekend day closest to it! And they turned out really good this year. I used marble rye bread, which made them pretty. Now I have lots of sauerkraut to use up! I'm thinking there is such a thing as sauerkraut soup, no? Or maybe I'll eat it as a side with Polish sausage.
I also made potato salad from scratch, which I rarely do. I used up some celery, carrot and onion and threw in a couple of hard-boiled eggs. It was really good, too.
I didn't have phone service for much of the day yesterday. I kept getting a message about the mobile network being down, or something like that. Never had that before! I haven't tried today, but I hope it's working again.
It was frustrating, because I saw something on Facebook I wanted to verify -- apparently my brother is moving, after many, many years in the same house, the house where we always have Thanksgiving and family reunions -- and not a word to me! I want the story, but I haven't been able to call him. And when I tried to email him, I realized that the only email address I have is his work email -- and he retired on March 1! And then I looked at his wife's email, and HERS was her work email -- and she's at a different job! So basically, they are off of my radar.
Then I read an email from my cousin, who knows ALL ABOUT the move, had a long talk with him, yada yada yada. What? Am I chopped liver?
I think my long work/commute hours are taking a toll on my private life. I am too tired to keep up with the busy social lives of others, and I think everyone is starting to forget about me!
My $300 challenge is floundering. I have only $8 left. What has thrown it off was a memorial gift (in honor of my friend who died of brain cancer) and the purchase of the cart. If I really HAD to I could have forgone both. But I didn't want to, and I do have the money. This is just a good reminder of how quickly $300 can be racked up!
I'll try to be extra careful the rest of the month, but I doubt that I will come in under $8!
Finally! I got to transfer some money back into my slush fund. $1150, to be exact. When it gets up to $2000, I'll start concentrating on my emergency fund again.
Yesterday I did not do any of my assigned exercises. (But I did walk and do stairs -- can't avoid that). I had a much better night. I am not pain-free today, but I am better.
I'm not going to discontinue the exercises, but I'm going to do them gently, at my own pace. I have to heal. I know I need to strengthen my hips to avoid a recurrence, but for heaven's sake, I have to heal first! (Yes, I'm having an internal argument with my physical therapist.)
I just want to chime in with Deacon's Wife that I am so glad to part of this community, too. We just seem to have a great synergy. And I am so proud of BankerGurl, for being so brave and open. We love you, Gurl!
Oh boy, am I in pain! I eliminated the exercises we thought were the cause, but I had pain all night and it's lasting into this morning. Advil isn't helping. For something that's really quite minor, in the whole scheme of things, this is a challenging condition!
I have to work this Saturday - registration for our annual scholarship dinner. It's a black tie event, so it means dressing up, especially if I end up being a seat-filler. I think I might get a manicure. I remember last year feeling ashamed of my hands, even though I was appropriately dressed.
I'm going to wear my most recent mother-of-the-groom dress.
No big financial news, except that it's pay day tomorrow and I'm so excited about making a big deposit into my slush fund!
We got that promised snowstorm, so I'm working from home today. With the roads bad, trains delayed, sidewalks buried, and my leg acting up, there's just no way I'm going to try the commute.
I had another physical therapy day yesterday, so another day when I had to be away from home for three meals. This time I bought dinner -- a sandwich at Dunkin Donuts. I don't have my receipt with me, but I think it was about $5.
My therapist condoned dropping a couple of the stretching exercises. It seems like stretching my hamstrings is hurting more than helping. I am continuing to do gentle stretches while lying down.
I paid $10 for a professional workshop. By rights I should be reimbursed by my employer but I'm on the fence about it. When they are struggling financially, it doesn't seem fair to turn in these petty requests. I am only going because I am on the board, so it doesn't really profit my employer for me to go. I think I'll just claim it in my tax filing next year. At any rate, as a business expense, it doesn't come out of my challenge!
With the purchase of the sandwich, my challenge money must be at about $126 now.
Before I grocery shop again, I'm going to buy a wheeled utility cart so I can haul them upstairs. I think I'll go to Bed Bath & Beyond with a coupon. I suppose that will have to come out of the challenge, so this month is going to be really tough!
I didn't do any spending yesterday, although I did order K-cups from Amazon. No cost to me, because of gift cards on my account. I got two packages (with 74 cups) so I could skip the shipping cost. I forgot to pick some up at the grocery, but this is better.
I really hate having to get K-cups, but that's the only way to have coffee at work now -- either that or buy it at the cafeteria.
Even though they're free, I had to use credit that I would have used for gifts, so that's annoying.
One of my co-workers, whose husband works at the zoo, handed out free passes yesterday. So I can look forward to a zoo trip this summer with my grandsons! It won't be totally free, because they get you for parking, but it will be less costly than usual.
I had another night full of leg pain, and I didn't get enough sleep. I really had to force myself to go to work.
I hear that tonight we will get a snow dump -- at least four inches, and maybe a lot more. We've enjoyed a few days of temperate weather, and some major thawing -- now this. Eccch. Does it never end?
I have $131 left to spend in my challenge -- and 21 more days in the month!
On Friday I bought stamps for $9. On Saturday I put in $10 toward pizzas for a family get-together. On Sunday I spent $38 at the grocery, plus $7 for a prescription, and $2 for a homeless person. Plus, I'm counting my Netflix bill of $8, since it is entertainment, not a necessity. I also spent $4.50 on laundry, but that doesn't count in the challenge.
I didn't do any cooking, like I thought I would. Heck, I didn't even vacuum! On Saturday I was out of the house all day, and on Sunday my leg hurt so much I was out of commission. Even lying down all day was painful.
I now know exactly what's wrong. It's called IT Band Syndrome. My pain has mostly been in the knee, but it can also be in the hip and thigh and all areas at once. On Sunday it was all areas at once. I think stair-climbing is what sets it off, especially if I am carrying something. So I am revisiting the idea of the wheeled cart.
The good news is that surgery is not required, or even helpful -- the bad news is that it will probably take its time healing and I have to learn new ways of moving, as well as follow this exercise program indefinitely. Sigh. Getting old -- it's not good!
I feel pretty good today, though. I hope tonight I can make the potato scramble and tomorrow the potpie.
But I have some really good news! My son got a job! It will start out part-time, as he trains, but will soon become full-time. The best part, it's a fast-growing industry. He'll be flying and building drones, and he will learn it from the man who is considered the expert in the field. And he doesn't have to move -- he can stay in Florida -- though he WILL move out of the house where he's currently living, so I guess he does have to move. He just doesn't have to move far away!
Yesterday I had to run out at noon to move my car (in a 6-hour spot) so I went to Goodwill. The funny thing was, on the way out I walked to the parking lot with a co-worker who said, "Going out to lunch today?" and I nodded, since I don't share my fetish with everyone. And then we both showed up at Goodwill! Turns out she's a Goodwill maniac, too.
I spent $9, buying a pair of capris, a summer shirt, a toy for the toybox and a cute little pottery teapot which I will give to my friend for her birthday. (Teapot collector)
Then I got gas for $38.
This morning I bought a $7 Papyrus card at the station. It was a sympathy card for my cousin. Her friend, who was not expected to make it through the weekend, didn't make it through the day. What a tragic loss. I'm so sad for everyone in her circle.
I went to physical therapy last night, feeling much better, and today I feel much worse. But I think I have pinpointed the cause. I think it is the strain of stair-climbing that sets off the pain. I am just going to have to cut back on that as much as possible until I am more healed. I can't cut it out altogether, but I can go back to the double-step, which is easier on the joints.
I'm working up a rudimentary menu for next week. I plan to make chicken pot pie, stuffed peppers, veggie lasagna and potato scramble. My shopping list exceeds ten items, but since so many of them are single vegetables, I think I'll be okay, money-wise and weight-wise.
It's a lovely day -- and it will reach forty degrees! I can't tell you how invigorating that is for us beleaguered Midwesterners!
Found .11 in the parking garage. I'm on a roll!