Home > Archive: April, 2014

Archive for April, 2014

Bonus! And April Recap

April 30th, 2014 at 05:52 pm

Just got my bonus reward from my BankAmericard. With the 10% added bonus for putting the reward into my savings account it is $125. My snowflake total has risen to $510.61.

My April spending totals are as follows:

Housing - $677
Furniture/Equipment/Decor - $253
Home Repair/Maintenance - $212
Gas - $180
Fares/Parking - $156
Groceries - $145
Utilities - $140
Gifts/Charity - $100
Household Supplies - $81
Taxes - $66
Medical/Health - $58
Eating Out - $51
Phone - $50
Vet/Pet Supplies - $46
Fees/Services - $38
Clothing - $21
Laundry - $20
Entertainment - $8

Total - $2302

Not the worst month ever, but not the best. I ended up paying for the train ticket AND for the gas to drive in the same month, although the train ticket will cover next month's commute. Utilities were higher because the electricity bill came twice this month -- at the beginning and at the end. Groceries were higher than usual because I did more stocking up. I had state tax to pay, and medical co-pays. I had the plumbing expense, and the splurge at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

I think I can still handle $1500 savings out of my next paycheck if nothing goes awry!

Back on the train tomorrow

April 30th, 2014 at 03:35 pm

Today was my last day of driving to work for a while. My parking pass expires today. I bought a train ticket for next month ($135) and also filled up the gas tank ($50).

Yesterday I bought a beach pass ($26). Doesn't seem anything like beach weather yet, but if want to even walk along the shore I have to have a pass. And since the beach is so close to my home, I do intend to use it a lot.

I also wasted .50 on parking only to find out that the train station was closed. (I bought my ticket at a different station.)

Later today I'll do my April recap, since I do not intend to spend anything else today.

Remember the other day I mentioned using a $7 coupon to buy cat food? Well, someone left the same coupon in the break room -- so I'll do it again! Anything I can do to save money on the pets! The cost of pet food has gone up dramatically in the past few years, and I have added the extra expense of taking care of an aquarium -- and buying the more expensive crystal cat litter. However, I've been lucky that the cats haven't needed veterinarian care in the past few years. They are getting older, though -- that won't last forever!

Working from home

April 29th, 2014 at 06:02 pm

I'm working from home today. I had a scheduled appointment with the exterminator, and decided I should call the plumber and get that done, too. But going in to work for half a day is ridiculous when I spend 2-3 hours on the road, so my boss very kindly let me work from home today.

So, the financial damage. The plumber was $276. Plumbers are expensive, but especially so when you have vintage plumbing. My bathtub was not draining, but the pipes are too old and small and brittle to be snaked in the normal way. Luckily, we have a company here that caters to older buildings since there are so many in the area. He took care of the plug (lotta hair, he said). He recommended an enzyme treatment to keep the drains clear. Buying a bottle of that was part of the cost -- however, I have to go get it. He offered to deliver but I said I was going out anyway. Now I wish I'd kept my mouth shut -- there are strong storms rolling through and I would rather NOT go out! Oh well.

The exterminator only cost $11.50. I don't have much of a problem but I do catch sight of bugs every so often -- and I'd like to keep it not much of a problem. I got a special price because the property manager worked out a deal with him.

I thought, when I went out, I would get a train ticket for next month. Now I wonder if the Evanston station can sell me a ticket that will also go to Elmhurst (different zone). We'll see. I usually get the tickets downtown, but I don't want to have to pay to get downtown.

I guess that's all! It's one o'clock, so back to work!

Oh! I forgot to say! I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond last night with my expired coupons and got $49 back! Sweet! They couldn't have been nicer, either.

A Little Indulgence

April 28th, 2014 at 03:16 pm

Well, it was a fairly spendy weekend. The biggest reason was my trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond. My intention was to buy over-the-door shoe organizers, which I did. Three of them. And I even bought the more expensive ones with a classy striped pattern. I'm not unhappy that I did that -- the bags will be part of the room decor when I close my doors, so they might as well look nice. And the reason I bought three -- I have two doors to my bedroom as well as a closet door. I thought I would spring for ample storage space, not only for my shoes, but for boots, belts, small purses etc. They are not fully filled yet, but in winter I will use them for scarves, hats and mittens, too.

But I didn't stop with shoes organizers. I kept finding things I wanted. I bought a long bath mat for the hall closet, so that I had a washable floor cover under the cat pan. I bought a rug pad for my hall runner. Both of those were actually sort of needed.

Then I found cute little squeeze containers for dressing. I thought they would make toting salads to work easier. And then I found a liquid soap dispenser that would look neat in the bathroom. And then I saw K-cups on sale. And then I saw "the most comfortable pillows in the world." And I bought two.
And I did need pillows; mine were about flat. And yes, they are very comfortable.

I just didn't expect that I would spend $279 at BB&B! I had one $5 coupon that someone left in a cart. The clerk told me I could bring in my receipt with more coupons if I had more at home. I found five coupons, but they are all expired. I've heard they honor expired coupons; guess I'll be testing it out tonight!

While I was in that shopping plaza, I went to PetSmart and bought an aquarium filter to have as a backup ($20). Last weekend I lost power for a while and it made me realize that if the present filter died (and it's kind of old) I would have to scramble to replace it quickly. Now I'm set.

Then I went to Carter's -- still trying to match a top to a bottom for my granddaughter. I bought a pink tank top which looked fine in the store (I had the pants with me) but in a different light -- still the wrong shade! I'm giving up. I'll just send all the clothes and hopefully DIL will have a nice white T or something to go with those pesky pants! While I was there I picked up a 3-pack of socks, which my granddaughter always needs. My Carter's purchase cost $16.

I made a side trip to Pet Supplies Plus, where I actually got a true bargain -- a $13 bag of cat food (Hill's Science Diet) for $4. I had a $7 coupon and the food was also discounted.

I did my usual grocery shopping for ten items, but I also bought ten "Smarts Ones" entrees, because they were on sale, and I had a coupon for $2 off on ten. And frozen entrees make lunch-packing easy. Thus, groceries were $47.

I did three loads of laundry over the weekend. ($4.50) And I found a quarter.

This morning I had an early doctor's visit which cost me $15 co-pay, but I got a break on parking -- the gates were up, so no $5 charge.

I didn't pack a lunch today, since I didn't have anything that would weather an hour commute and another hour at the doctor's. I'll probably go to the cafeteria and get a salad, which is a pretty good bargain.

And my gas tank is low; probably shouldn't try to make another round trip without filling up.

So, wow. It feels like a lot of spending. However, coming up on the end of the month, my total is not out of line -- still well below $2K, which is my limit. I guess a little indulgence every once in a while is not a bad thing.


April 25th, 2014 at 03:38 pm

Oh dear, lost my entry. I haven't done that in a long time.

Well, I'll make it quick. I lost two pounds! Just happy to see the scale move after three weeks! That said, I'm not crash-dieting, I'm just trying to settle on an eating plan for life.

I spent nothing yesterday.

Weekend plans include going to my grandson's baseball game, plus the usual errands.

Happy Friday everyone!

Long Ride Home

April 24th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

On my ride home last night, one of the main routes was closed. I had to take a detour, which put me into a very slow-moving line of traffic. My ride was much longer than usual. I got very hungry and stopped at Steak N Shake for a $4 guacamole burger. I had been planning on making fried rice at home, but I ran out of patience. When I finally got home, I had to do a load of laundry so I'd have a pair of pants to wear today! I've put away, or given away, my wintery pants, but I haven't broken out the capris yet, so while we're in this transitional phase my options are a little limited.

I signed up for pest control in my unit - $12, one time only. They'll come next Tuesday. I've seen a few bugs and I figure there are more that I can't see. It's an old building so it is prone to infestations.

Guess that's all that's going on in my world!

Red Light Donation

April 23rd, 2014 at 03:07 pm

My only spending yesterday was $1 to one of those guys who approach cars stopped at a red light. He said he was a pastor and that the money will go to a program for women and children who are abused. Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. I usually don't give anything in that situation, but he had a kind face.

There was so much leftover pizza from the meeting that we were all urged to take some home. I took eight pieces and divided them into four packages to freeze. Even though it sounds like I took a lot, it was a drop in the bucket. There is still almost a whole pizza in the fridge this morning.

If I stay on track, it looks like I can move $1500 into savings next payday. However, the weekend trip to Tulip Time may cut into that.

Only one more week of driving, and then I'm back on the train again. So far I've spent $129 on gas. I still have 3/4 of a tank, so that might get me to the end of the month. Might. My average expenditure on gas each month is $39. So if I subtract that, and if I am able go without another fill-up, then I can say that driving to work is cheaper, especially now that I no longer get the $30 discount.

However, I won't have free parking next month. And that isn't counting wear and tear on the car, etc. And there is no doubt that riding the train is safer.

When I turn 65 in August, I'll be eligible for a half-price ticket, and that will make a big difference.

Of course, if I end up working remotely, my commuting expense will drop down to one trip a week! But my gut instinct is that that won't happen.

Yesterday's spending, and the big meeting

April 22nd, 2014 at 01:45 pm

Spent $42 on gas. I got a good price - $3.79 a gallon. Don't laugh, that's good around here!

I took my decluttered stuff to Goodwill and popped in to shop. I spent $3 and got a toy for the toy box, an ornament for a friend, and an ornament for me! Though I may decide to use it as a gift, since it's in a nice box.

I retrieved my goody bag from my son's fridge and had the other half of the HUGE burrito I bought on Sunday for dinner last night.

At yesterday's BIG MEETING, I got a free lunch, as pizza, salad, cookies and pop were provided to soften the blow.

And what was the blow? Nothing that affects me. There will be a lot of reorganization, but our unit will actually get more help in form of a new "generalist" position -- someone who will take up the slack for all the members of our team. Many of the others will have new lines of reporting. In fact, just about everyone was affected except me -- I'm not sure what that means. No one was let go, but that was not surprising, since there has been a lot of attrition. Just reassignments, more mid-level bosses. I may "lose" my office, but what that would mean is that I would be permitted to work remotely, and that would be a plus! We'll see. The office allocation is the part that is not decided yet.

I'm just glad that at the age of 64 I still have a job, frustrating though it may be at times.

'Twas a Happy Easter

April 21st, 2014 at 03:53 pm

Such a nice day. I shared egg-hunting and basket-opening with the grandsons, went out to my favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch, and had a great traditional Easter meal prepared by my DIL.

My weekend spending: $1.50 for laundry, $6 at a garage sale (muffin tin and candles), $16 for kitty litter, $10 for Easter stuff, $25 for groceries, $6 for fish food, $20 for lunch. I also paid my phone bill - $50 - and my Comcast bill - $74.

Decluttering/Organizing: I moved my shoes from the hall closet to my bedroom closet (still need to get an organizer that will fit). I started working my spring/summer clothes back into the closet from storage. I think I will do that a little at a time rather than all at once, as the weather is still iffy. I got rid of some wine glasses. I moved my wooden spoons into a French jelly jar to sit on the countertop. (Working on decluttering a utensil drawer that's a challenge.) That's all I did on top of the errands and the holiday doings. Oh, and hosting dinner on Saturday evening -- Hawaiian chicken on rice, nothing left but rice!

Going into a meeting soon where the "big changes" at work will be revealed at last.

I was planning to stop at a laundromat tonight to wash my oversize comforter, but I forgot the quarters -- and I need to go to son's house tonight to pick up the doggy bag I left in their fridge, anyway. So I will do that tomorrow, as well as drop off the Goodwill items. Oh, and I will get gas. My third fill-up this month, I believe.

My DIL graciously gave me the hambone and plentiful ham scraps from the Easter dinner, which I will use to make split pea soup. Probably not till the weekend, but I'm already excited. An easy dinner and I love it!

We are planning a trip to Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan, in a few weeks. We will stay with my brother, so it shouldn't be too expensive. Hoping the boys will enjoy tulips and Dutch dancers!

Lazy Friday

April 19th, 2014 at 01:14 pm

Well, I had a pretty lazy Friday at home. I relaxed more than I worked, but I did get a few things done -- a load of laundry, replaced some bulbs in kitchen ceiling (which required a ladder, so I'd been putting it off), loaded and unloaded dishwasher, made French onion soup, cleaned the aquarium, and took out the trash.

Today I'm going to grocery shop and run a few other errands. I need to go to PetSmart, and I need to find something to use as Easter baskets for the grandsons. I thought I had some stashed away, but apparently I used them last year! I also need to wash my comforter, which is too bulky for the washers downstairs, so I need to find a decent Laundromat.

On Thursday night I stopped at Kohl's to use the rest of my Kohl's cash. I bought a skirt and a pair of pants for my granddaughter. They go with the two tops I bought last week. So it was $20 in full for both outfits. Not bad. When my sons were young, I tried to limit myself to $10 per outfit, and prices have soared since then.

My next-door neighbors have listed their condo for $165,000. This is VERY comparable to my condo -- not only the same layout, but the same level of upgrading. The only thing they have that I don't is a washer/dryer unit. I don't think they will get full price, but it will be interesting to see what it does sell for. Right now I'm still figuring the value of my condo as $111,000, which is what I paid, but I'll change it to whatever their place brings, and, hopefully, my net worth will rise!

Board Meeting

April 17th, 2014 at 01:48 pm

We had a very productive board meeting last night. And the box lunch was awesome! From Corner Bakery -- my favorite place as some of you know! I ordered a roasted veggie sandwich, which I ate last night. I put aside the side items -- chips, fruit cup and cookie, and I will eat them today. It's all logged in myfitnesspal and I'm under my calorie limit.

However, the two free dinners I've had this week have been offset by the cost of parking. $15 for just a few hours last night. Parking in the city is a nightmare.

I signed up to be in a focus group next month, sampling food in the cafeteria. I'll get a free breakfast, and also a $15 gift card to use in the cafeteria. So there's my $15 back!

Before the meeting, since I was early, I went to a nearby Macy's and bought 5 pairs of socks for $21. My receipt says I saved $28. Still a lot for socks, I think, but they are a nice quality and I hope they will last a while. I go through socks quickly with all the walking I do (when my knee is working!)

And it will be back to walking next month. My knee is much better, so I'll get a train ticket again next month and make that daily walk to and from the station. Even if the cost of driving and training turn out to be the same (I'm testing the theory this month), it is much more relaxing and safer to take the train. And there are no spending temptations en route!

Just got the invitation to my niece's July wedding. I think I've figured out my outfit. I'll wear a dressy black skirt (I have a short one and a long one) and an off-white top that has a lacy texture. I just need to figure out a scarf or jewelry or something to finish it off. I even have suitable shoes already. So I think the only expenditure will be the accessories and perhaps some lacy hose.

Now to figure out the gift, and the accommodations!

Free Dinners

April 16th, 2014 at 03:30 pm

Yesterday I went to a workshop at a nearby university, and then went to the Happy Hour following, since free appetizers were promised. It turned out my whole dinner was paid for since it was $1 hamburger night! (However, if you want toppings on your burger ... you pay more per item).

Tonight I'm going into the city for a board meeting and the president just emailed me asking for my box lunch order. So a free dinner tonight as well! My food is really stretching this week. On Monday night I made chicken fajitas and I had enough left over for lunches yesterday and today.

It's a short week for me, since we have Good Friday off. That's good for the gas tank.

No decluttering yesterday, since I didn't get home from Happy Hour till 8:00. Tonight will be even later, since the board meeting starts at 6:00, so nothing will get done today, either.

I have $2.81 left on my Kohl's cash and two days to use it, so I have to remember to pop in and buy a pair of socks, or something.

Went over my limit on the diet yesterday, so it's back on the wagon today!

Tax Day AND Pay Day

April 15th, 2014 at 03:06 pm

Taxes are done, so I concentrated on pay day tasks. I had balances on three credit cards -- my original Discover, which is still the default for some automatic payments, the new Discover It card, which I got for the reward (already earned but there is still a balance), and my BankAmericard Cash Rewards card, on which I'm currently working toward the reward. Altogether it only amounted to $470. I only had $200 on the BankAmericard, but I've got two more months to spend $300 more. Then, I believe, I'll get a $100 reward.

I transferred $500 into my slush fund and $500 into my EF. (For the latter I used mobile banking for the first time, so we'll see if I did it right!)

I paid my mortgage.

I finally gave up my paper check register and I'm now keeping an excel version that I created. Then I keep the balance in my smartphone, so I know how much there is when I'm out and about. I could probably put the spreadsheet in my phone, too, if I knew how to do it! Does Evernote handle spreadsheets, does anyone know?

I did three-fourths of the planned errands yesterday -- I mailed the gift ($6), exchanged the ink cartridge ($1), and picked up the prescription ($6). I did not go to Goodwill, but that's okay, I may have another box to add.

Today I am going to a professional workshop. I've already paid the $10 fee. There is a planned happy hour afterwards, so if I decide to stay for it, there will be a little spending there, as well as figuring out how it will fit into my diet. I'm catching a ride, so I guess I will do whatever the driver wants to do.

The dreaded meetings yesterday went well. I have a lot more work to do, but a clearer direction. Despite all the drama of a few weeks ago, nothing has happened in terms of staff members leaving, though I think they are all still working on it!

We have snow on the ground today! I had to clean off my car! It's actually quite lovely -- one of those snows that turns all the trees and bushes into lace. But still not very welcome in the middle of April!

State Taxes Done

April 14th, 2014 at 01:25 pm

I e-filed my state tax this weekend. Yeah, Illinois, for providing free e-filing! It was pretty painless, too, except for two things: I owed more than I thought, and I had to submit numerous times only to eventually figure out that the problem was simply too many characters in one field. (My retirement fund has a very long name).

So I thought I owed $1, judging from the information that came up while doing my federal taxes on TaxAct. But it is actually $66. That's okay, just means less to put in savings tomorrow, but taxes must be paid!

I did a bit more decluttering and cleaning. I went through my bras and took out the small ones, to save for my EVENTUAL weight loss, and the shabby ones, to save for emergency oh-heck-no-clean-bra days. I completely stripped my bed and washed the mattress pad and dust ruffle. I put some more clothes in the Goodwill box, and got the box down to my car (needed son's help for that!) Digging a little deeper in the hall closet, I found some Christmas ornaments and decorations that needed to go to the basement with the others. I also found the drill bits to go with the drill that I gave to my son. I'm taking baby steps, but I'm getting things done.

I went to Kohl's and used my Kohl's cash to buy two tops and a swimsuit for my granddaughter. The swimsuit will go in an Easter package. The two tops will wait for later -- I'll try to find bottoms to go with them.

I spent $38 at the grocery, keeping to ten items: popcorn, granola, toilet paper, body wash, wine, chicken breasts, deli roast beef, strawberries, mini peppers, and baby spinach. I turned in my "winning" Monopoly pieces to get more -- ended up with quite a bunch, but all duplicates of what I already have.

I forgot to pick up my prescription, so will have to do that tonight. I also need to exchange a printer cartridge, mail my granddaughter's Easter package, and take the box to Goodwill. I'm already tired from a poor night's sleep, so I hate thinking about doing all this stuff after work!

I caught up on "Call the Midwife" on Netflix. I thought I had missed a lot, but actually had seen most of the episodes. Next I have a whole season of "Mad Men" to watch.

I have two meetings today -- just one of those days to get through. It's also cold and rainy, with snow in the forecast. Really? Too depressing.

Krispy Kreme Donuts

April 12th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

So I took a box of donuts to work yesterday for our farewell event. At the end of the day, the box was still half-full. Had I left it there, they would have sat for the weekend and been thrown out Monday morning. So I took it home.

This morning I had one for breakfast, and then froze the rest in individual bags. I figure I'll eat them a little at a time, as a treat now and then. Not sure how good they'll be after being frozen. We'll see!

I read an article on making donut chips, much like bagel chips, and I might do that for the grandsons.

Errands, laundry and housework are on tap for today, as well as the warmest weather of the year! Enjoy, everyone!

Easter Spending

April 11th, 2014 at 02:07 pm

I had a $10 coupon for Fannie May candy, so I stopped at a store on the way home and got Easter candy for the grandsons -- $28. Yeah, that's a lot for candy. But they don't get it very often and I think they're old enough now to enjoy the good stuff.

For my granddaughter, I think I will buy a swimsuit I saw at Kohl's (will use my Kohl's cash) and will also include a couple of new outfits I got at Goodwill. She is too young to want a real Easter basket, and heaven knows, she has enough stuffed animals and the like.

This morning I got gas. The price has shot up in the past few days so I spent $49, the tank being near empty.

With gas over $4 a gallon, this will not be a cheap month for commuting by car. Oh well, I will be back on the train next month. I can't remember if I've shared this already, but a friend has told me that seniors get a half-price discount, so if she's correct, in a few months my ticket will only be $65. That'll help!

This morning I also stopped at a grocery and bought donuts for work -- $7. This is the departing colleague's actual last day, so treats were encouraged.

Looking forward to catching up on things this weekend. My knee is feeling better than it has in a long time. I don't know what's done it -- whether it's the prescription pain killer, or the fact that I'm walking less, or my muscles getting stronger -- but I'll take it! Feeling better is giving me more energy to get things done.

I did not declutter too much yesterday. I cleaned out my train bag. I did not get to the papers in my office, as I had hoped, because other work interfered!

Free Coffee

April 10th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I'm sitting here with my free coffee from McDonald's. I've actually gotten it three times during their promotion. It saves me from having to use one of my Keurig cups. I feel a little embarrassed to go through the drive-thru and just ask for one free item, but it's their promotion, right?

I did not do the state taxes last night, as I got home too late and tired. It will be a good weekend task.

The only decluttering I did was to box up another box of books and mail it to my sister.

What I did last night was go to a good-bye party for a colleague. She got kind of a raw deal -- she's an interim director but was told not to apply for the permanent position, since they already had someone in mind. So she quit. Seems to me it's not really legal to tell someone not to apply. Anyone can apply, am I right?

Anyway, she has behaved with a lot of class. I think she is happy to be re-inventing her life and getting away from the toxic atmosphere here. Sad, but true.

I spent $5 for pot roast nachos which I counted as my dinner. The glass of wine I ordered was picked up by the office account.

I spent $6 to mail the package to my sister.

Tomorrow is my weigh-in day. I'm going to do it once a week only, on Fridays. I hope I will see at least a small loss. (The pot roast nachos, while sounding like a splurge, was a half-order and was within my calorie limit for the day.) (Oh. And they were delicious!)

I think I will try to declutter my work desk today, unless there are fires to put out.

Five more days to pay day, which is only exciting to me because I get to make a transfer to savings! I'm expecting to transfer $1,000 this month.

Saw the doctor

April 9th, 2014 at 03:05 pm

My doctor's visit yesterday didn't really provide me with a solution. My x-rays showed good knees without arthritis, so I guess that's good! But they didn't give any insight into the pain. He is guessing a meniscus (sp?) tear, but he is not in favor of surgery for such tears, feeling that it leads to bigger problems by decreasing the cushion between the bones. He is more in favor of pain management until an actual knee replacement is viable.

That could be a long way off, since my knees are essentially good.

That said, I am much better this week; the pain is now localized in one spot which is where the muscle attaches to the bone. My PT feels this is symptomatic of a deeper issue, and that I might need to get a second opinion. Then she released me from PT with the admonition to keep up my program at home.

So I'm kind of in limbo. What the doctor said makes sense to me, and I appreciate that he is being thoughtful about the whole process rather than grabbing the chance for a surgery. I think he is showing integrity. On the other hand, I want to end the pain! My prescription is helping, and he is encouraging me to get injections, but I've had bad experiences with those and really don't want them.

As for the decluttering project, I made some progress yesterday. I went through all my winter hats, gloves, scarves etc. and stored them away. I threw away one pair of gloves, and several scarves needed laundering. I cleaned out the floor of my bedroom closet, throwing away several tote bags and a reading pillow that my cats have been lying on and covering with their hair. They aren't worth the cleaning. I started on my big hall closet, making a little space but there is much more work to do there. Mostly I just got rid of baskets. And I cleaned up the cat pan area, which is a never-ending task. I organized my purses, but I probably should get rid of some. Haven't made the decisions on those yet.

As for financial news -- my medical visits yesterday cost me $15 in copays and $3.50 in parking.

I Really Meant to!

April 7th, 2014 at 02:46 pm

Declutter, that is.

Well, I did some. I cleaned off my desk, which was stacked with mail. Most of that went into the garbage, and the important stuff was filed.

Since I have new sheets, I cleaned out the sheet drawer and set some aside for drop cloths. I had two brand-new king-size top sheets that I was saving for sewing projects. I admit now that that will never happen, so they are going to Goodwill.

And since I have new saute pans, I took the old pans off the rack and they are going to Goodwill, too.

And I untangled the wires behind my TV set. That was in the process of trying to make Netflix work. Did anyone else have buffering problems this weekend? I finally gave up. I may cancel if I continue to have problems. Don't really like watching a show two minutes at a time.

I did two more loads of laundry. And I advanced several more levels in Candy Crush. OK, a major time-waster there.

On Sunday evening, I went out to dinner with my DIL's mother. The kids are in Florida for spring break, so we are both at loose ends. We went to a local restaurant that is a refurbished firehouse. I maintained my diet and had thai chicken salad, $13, counting tip. My dinner partner had a big burger that made me salivate, but in the end I was satisfied with what I had.

I'm supposed to go out to lunch with a colleague today, but she's having plumbing problems, so it might not happen. Luckily, I do have food on-hand in the break room fridge.

Tomorrow I'm taking the day off to get my x-ray and to meet with both the ortho surgeon and the physical therapist. I went to the x-ray facility on Saturday without checking hours (bad me!) and of course it was closed.

Spent $38 on groceries. I bought 18 items this time, mostly because Green Giant frozen vegetables were on sale for $1, and I stocked up. They are great for lunches.

I did not do my state taxes -- procrastinating, procrastinating.

I have stayed under my calorie limit on myfitnesspal every day since I started. Though yesterday was VERY CLOSE. I do not plan to weigh myself again till Friday.

I guess that's all folks!

No-Spend Day

April 4th, 2014 at 02:20 pm

Except for doing laundry, that is. $1.50.

I returned the second hand vac last night. Between that and the laundry I didn't have any time for de-cluttering. Hope to make progress on that this weekend.

I made the appointment with the ortho surgeon -- not the one who fixed my ankle, but someone in the HMO group. Then I looked him up and found that he had many stellar ratings, so I feel good about it.

I need to get an x-ray before I go (next Tuesday). I'll try to do that this weekend. I have to check on hours.

I'm so excited that I am making these steps toward getting better.

I've started tracking my food intake on myfitnesspal again (and I just downloaded the free app to make it even easier). I find that if I plot out my meals and snacks for the whole day, it's much easier to stick to it. So far I've gone three days without being uncomfortably hungry. I've lost four pounds! But that's not real, that's the difference between the doctor's scale and mine.

Another thing to do this weekend is to tackle my state tax. I'm going to do it on paper, but I have to download and print out the form.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Too many hand vacs, and other stuff

April 3rd, 2014 at 02:43 pm

Well, lo and behold, I now have not one, but two hand vacs from Bed, Bath & Beyond! I posted a few days ago that I had a confirmed delivery but no package, so I contacted BB&B. They ordered another, and they both turned up together! Now I have to take one back to the store. I'll do that this evening.

I'm relieved that no one stole it from the vestibule.

I mailed a package yesterday - $6 - and bought gas - $38. I looked for cheap prices on GasBuddy and was very pleased to find the lowest price right on my route home! $3.72 at a Thornton station.

I didn't do any real decluttering yesterday, but I did do a load of laundry and loaded the dishwasher. That was all I was up to in the evening. I guess you could say that I decluttered the laundry basket and the sink.

I did not make a call yesterday about my knee -- now I see this morning that I missed a call from my GP's office, so I'm going to see what that's about first. I tried to call back, but the nurse isn't in yet.

But I am feeling pretty comfortable with the new medication, and driving instead of train-riding is proving to be much kinder to my knee (because I can do less walking and stair-climbing). Driving is pretty nice for running errands, too. It was easy to stop at the post office last night, and tonight I'll stop at a BB&B right on the way. And it's quicker. I've been getting home before 5:30, and with the train, I get home at 6, or later, if the train is running late.

And in ways, it it less stressful. I don't have to worry about catching the train on time. If I wake up a little late, I don't have to rush in a panic. Driving, of course, is more stressful than riding, but so far the drive has been uneventful.

All that said, I still think it is likely I'll go back to train-riding after this month, or after my knee heals. It will be interesting to see how the cost compares, though.

Oops, forgot to add another expenditure. I ordered a couch cover from nomorerack, only $28. Hoping it will make my rough, staticky couch easier to live with.

March Recap

April 2nd, 2014 at 03:38 pm

It was a good month...

Housing - $677
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $167
Groceries - $115
Utilities - $89
Eating Out - $89
Gifts/Charity - $81
Clothing - $72
Vet/Pet Supplies - $53
Phone - $50
Gas - $38
Fees/Services - $33
Laundry - $21
Personal - $20
Business - $10
Miscellaneous - $9
Entertainment - $8
Medical/Health - $7
Household Supplies - $4
Grand Total - $1543

It was lowest-spend month yet this year. Not buying a train ticket helped! Also, one of my utility bills came in April instead of March.

I did just a bit toward the decluttering challenge last night. I cleaned out the front seat of my car! I found a pair of earrings and a penny! And stuff to throw away, of course.

Today I am mailing a box of books I've read to my sister.

I need to get my knee stuff set in motion today, but I'm trying to make a decision. I would really like to engage the ortho surgeon who fixed my ankle, but he is not in the preferred group for my HMO. My GP is willing to refer me, but he says that I would have to get all the x-rays and other testing done with my own group and then physically take them over to this doctor, each time he wanted a test done. I don't really want to add that level of complication, especially since I have the big commute already complicating things. But I really like the doctor and I know he is a fantastic surgeon. If I go with the HMO group, it'll be the luck of the draw. I'm leaning toward an HMO surgeon, since I had a terrible experience with a previous HMO -- they really don't like you to step out of the circle. But I wish I could have this surgeon!

My spending today -- $5 for breakfast. I packed bread to toast at work, but realized on the way that I had no spread for it (I keep a small tub at work). I didn't want dry toast so I splurged.

I am back on myfitnesspal tracking calories. Taking some weight off this knee is a long-term strategy that will make a difference!

Oh, I forgot to share that I negotiated free parking for a month at work! I just explained my situation, and I was given a medical pass!

Going to the doctor today

April 1st, 2014 at 11:33 am

I'm scheduled to go in for a DTaP shot, but I'm going to see if the doctor can take a look at my knee. I hardly slept last night for the pain. It was the second night in a row like that. It feels better now but I'm afraid as soon as I stress it by walking or doing the stairs, it'll hurt again.

I donated $3 yesterday toward gift cards for Student Worker Appreciation Day.

Later today I'll do my March recap. I think it would have been pretty good if not for my last minute spending flurry. But I bought things I needed.

I parked on the street yesterday (at work) where the sign said there was a six-hour limit. I moved the car after six hours -- just a few feet away. It didn't look to me like the cars were marked in any way, though I suppose there could be an electronic monitoring system. Everyone at work says you don't get a ticket unless you leave it overnight, but I hate to take a chance.

Just added two more cents to my found money. My next goal is to get it up to $35!

Chase has offered $200 if I transfer $15,000 into a savings account for 90 days. I'm thinking about it. I could transfer it back to the credit union after I meet the terms. I need to check into the difference in interest, though $200 will certainly outstrip any interest earned.