Home > Archive: July, 2016

Archive for July, 2016

Day One Hundred Sixty

July 31st, 2016 at 02:28 pm

Calories: 1381

No more spending to report.

I just got back from the gym, one-half hour on the recumbent bike plus abs. I plan to go tomorrow morning, too, although I will be leaving for three days in Michigan. Tomorrow is strength training and I don't want to skip it. Since I have the cheap membership, I can't go to a Planet Fitness in Michigan.

Tomorrow is free pizza day, too, and I will miss that! But of course I will be getting free food for the next three days. Smile

I have the makings for a Mexican turkey meatloaf, so I'm going to either make it today, or freeze the ingredients to make it when I come home. We'll see how the day goes. It's not steamy hot, so using the oven is a possibility. I should make granola at the same time; make the oven do double-duty.

I found a home for all that copy paper. I cleared out the bottom drawer of my file cabinet and stacked it there. It's easily accessible, and it will stabilize the file cabinet (not that it's unstable, but now it's really rock-solid!)

Day One Hundred Fifty-Nine

July 30th, 2016 at 05:32 pm

Calories: 1673

Believe it or not, the thing that tipped the scale yesterday was a salad! I just piled too many yummy things on it.

Yesterday I spent $9 at Target on Command hooks. I know I probably have some somewhere, but I couldn't face looking for them. I had to buy a set of 12, so I probably have 11 pairs tucked away somewhere!

I bought the hooks because the large high school graduation photo of my son fell off the wall (scaring me to death) in the middle of the night. The sticky stuff has dried out. Trying to re-use the hooks that were on it did not work.

When I get to the "stuff" segment of KonMari that will take care of the awful closet where the Command hooks are probably hiding. But I'm not there yet. I'm still on paper.

I also did a $1.50 load of laundry.

This morning after the gym I mailed three packages for $19, then stopped at the grocery and spent $41 on ten items: peanuts, dishwasher detergent, coffee, sliced cheese (American and Swiss), biscuits, ground turkey, blueberries, red pepper, and wine. I've now bought 30 items for the month. I anticipate I will buy a couple loaves of bread when I'm in Michigan (the day after tomorrow), and I'll buy a bottle of wine to take to my brother's house, but that should hold me on grocery shopping.

Variables spending is now up to 50%, only a few days into this pay cycle. Still, I think I'll be okay; I've gotten a number of expenses out of the way and I can start to do some coasting.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Eight

July 29th, 2016 at 02:37 pm

Calories: 1028

I just have the feeling I've forgotten to count something I ate yesterday, but I can't think what it is. I did end up skipping breakfast -- not intentionally -- so maybe the count is true.

I stopped at Aldi's after the gym yesterday. Bought my ten items: eggs, salad, bacon bits, spreadable margarine, vinegar, creamer, flax seed, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, ice cream. $19. You just can't beat Aldi for prices.

In the afternoon I went to Office Depot and bought copy paper and hanging files. I had a coupon for a box of copy paper for $27.99 (original price $55.99). Wow. I think I have enough paper to last till the end of my life. It's so heavy I have to carry it up from the car one or two packages at a time. So far I've managed to get four of them upstairs. I still have at least six packages in the car.

The cost of the hanging folders was $14. I needed those to continue my organizing project.

That brought my variables spending to 41%. I'm not panicking yet. Especially since I came in 15% under last month.

The Office Depot receipt offers $10 off a $50 purchase if I complete a survey. I'll do it, just in case I need more office supplies. (Certainly not paper!) I also got a $5 off coupon from DSW. It does not specify a spending requirement, so I'll try to find something very close to $5 -- socks, or a stocking stuffer.

Today I'm going to do some laundry, box up some books and shirts for my sister and her husband, and clean the fish tank. Whoa, busy day, I should rest Smile Actually, I'm off to the gym for strength training.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Seven

July 28th, 2016 at 02:40 pm

Calories: 1514

I did my July recap yesterday, and here is the breakdown:

Property Tax: $823
Housing: $677
Insurance: $335
Utilities: $176
Vet/Pet Supplies: $153
Eating Out: $121
Fees/Services: $98
Gifts/Charity: $93
Phone: $52
Vacation/Travel: $47
Gas: $47
Person: $46
Medical/Health: $44
Groceries: $29
Laundry: $15
Household Supplies: $7
Car Repair/Maintenance: $7
Fares/Parking: $2
Entertainment: $1
Grand Total: $2814
Variables: 86%

So the grand total is less than I thought it would be. Overall, not a bad month, considering that I had to pay taxes and insurance, both semi-annual expenses, as well as two annual fees (AAA and I-Pass). Get a load of those groceries, huh? But the pet supply expense and the eating out expense more than makes up for that.

It's a new month! I paid my credit card bills in full, as well as my mortgage. After my gym session, I stopped in at Marshall's and bought some headphones (mainly to use at the gym) for $14. Then I went to a new (to me) grocery called Food4Less. Spent $32 for ten items: crackers, cookies, walnuts, mac & cheese, breakfast bars, raisins, popcorn, cooking spray, croutons, and frozen hamburger patties. I used a coupon that wasn't credited, so I'll have to wrestle with them today about that.

I'm going to stop at Aldi's today and buy another ten items.

Then I stopped and filled up the tank for $27, much needed; I was almost on empty.

My variables spending is already at 33%! That's mainly because I called the window company yesterday and charged the $200 fee.

It is so wonderful to have air conditioning again. I can hardly describe how good it feels, how renewing and refreshing it is. Ironically, the hot weather is breaking; we're supposed to get a cold front! But it isn't even August yet; there will be more hot weather.

Now I'm going to the gym to work out on the recumbent bike and try out my new headphones!

Day One Hundred Fifty-Six

July 27th, 2016 at 01:29 pm

Calories: 1757

I almost came in very low yesterday, but late in the evening I ate some trail mix. I was up late, unable to sleep, and it had been a long time since I had eaten.

My leg pain and restlessness was very bad last night. I don't know why. I was very tired, and that seems to set it off. But how do you avoid getting tired? All I wanted to do was sleep, and there was no way I could do it. I woke up feeling fine.

The windows are finished and the AC is installed. What a luxury it will be to just turn the units on when I get warm!

Yesterday was the first day I skipped the gym. I had to babysit my grandson for half of the day, and between that, finishing up with the window washers, and having my son install the AC, there was never a good time to slip away. It's not bad to skip a day every once in a while, I'm just taking note that it's the first time, and I've been really good about taking advantage of my membership so far.

I haven't paid for the window washing yet (have to wait for the office to open so I can phone in my credit card information). So the payment is officially in the August budget, which starts today! I will try to cash-flow it. It is definitely a want, not a need, and I don't want to tap savings for it. But that will mean being careful this coming month.

I haven't done my July reckoning yet, but it appears that my variables spending ended at 86%, and my total spending topped $3,000. I'll get to it later today and post tomorrow.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Five

July 26th, 2016 at 01:44 pm

Calories: 1177

Great day calorie-wise. I'm sure the heat was a factor.

My windows are washed on the inside, but not yet on the outside. The cleaners decided the best plan was to do all the internal washing, including removing and washing the storms and screens, and then put the storms and screens back after all the out-facing panes are washed (which will be done today). This will insure that every pane is clean on both sides.

But, wow, I am so hot. I can't open the windows, because the cats could jump out; there is nothing to block them.

The cost is more than it was last year -- $200. It was $160 last year.

I think next year I will either skip the inside cleaning, or do it myself. I will just have to figure out how to remove and put back the storms/screens when the professional cleaning gets done. (Otherwise, the dirty out-facing pane is trapped behind the storm/screen, and it doesn't get done.)

I know that I can't do it as well, and it will be pain using a stepladder, but this is seeming like a lot of trouble and a lot of money.

Anyway, the AC units will go up tonight, and I am dealing with my last few hours of the heat dome.

After the cleaners went home, I went to the gym yesterday and did the strength training. Getting a little more comfortable with the routine. Today I'll walk on the treadmill.

I also posted a bunch of snail-mail letters for my granddaughter to receive on "mail day" at her preschool.

Today's mission(s): Once the windows are done, I will wash and put back the window shelves and knickknacks. I will do a couple loads of laundry, and drag out the air conditioners. I'll probably need my son's help to actually get them in the windows, and he is not available till the evening.

It's almost over....

Day One Hundred Fifty-Four

July 25th, 2016 at 02:12 pm

Calories: 1457

It's WINDOW-WASHING day! At least I hope so. I haven't heard from the company yet. The washers are not yet on site.

I'm on my last nerve dealing with the heat, but today is a bit cooler. And I have the hope that I can install the AC tonight after the windows are all clean, inside and out.

I went to the library yesterday to cool off. Unfortunately, they do not have comfortable chairs, and my back started hurting. (I think as a result of the strength-training exercises.) So I did not stay as long as I thought I might.

While there, I read a bit in a book called "The Joy of Half a Cookie." It's about using mindfulness to lose weight -- in a nutshell, eating what you like but being very mindful of how much you are enjoying it, and whether you feel sated or not. The idea is that you will naturally eat less if you learn to listen to what your body is telling you. I didn't check the book out. I will try to be more mindful of my eating, but I'm not going to stop counting calories. My experience has been that when I change horses in midstream, that's when the diet fails. Or I fail.

While there, I went to the book sale section (they have a continuous book sale of donated items). I found five books at a total cost of $2.50. The reason I am buying books rather than checking them out is that I can share them with friends and family after I read them, and there is no time limit. It's worth it to me for the small cost.

On the other hand, if there is a specific book that I really want to read, I will always check it out at the library. I don't ever pay the retail price for a book.

My variables spending so far this month is at 85%. That would be a cause for celebration, so late in the pay cycle, but it doesn't include the upcoming fee for window-washing, my property taxes, or insurance premium. Overall, it's been a costly month, which will require draws from savings. (And the savings are there for that purpose, I just hate to do it!)

Day One Hundred Fifty-Three

July 24th, 2016 at 02:33 pm

Calories: 1397

We had slow-moving thunderstorms last night, which caused a lot of trouble with flooding, stranded traffic and damage, but also cooled things off. At least temporarily. It's supposed to get up in the 90's again today. But It was cool sleeping last night, and there is a cool breeze coming in the windows. Giving the fans a little rest.

I was going to skip the gym today, but realized that I may not be able to go tomorrow because of the window-washing. So I'll go. Today will just be a treadmill day.

I did my first routine on the strength-training machines yesterday. I was on my own, so I had to frequently consult my cheat sheet, and I had a little trouble getting the machines set right. But I got it all done. I am supposed to do the ST 2-3 times per week, but my trainer said I can do the abs every day if I like. And I may. My middle has never recovered from my hysterectomy, when I was cut across the belly.

So, I guess I should talk about finance, huh?

I'm on hold now, waiting for payday on Wednesday. No spending yesterday. I was all set to go to the movies to cool off, but there was nothing I really wanted to see, so it would have been a waste.

I will probably go to the library today because the parking is free on Sunday. I will sit and read, and maybe find some DVD's to check out.

Day One Hundred Fifty-Two

July 23rd, 2016 at 03:00 pm

Calories: 1309

The big story here continues to be the heat dome. I usually feel a little respite in the morning, but this morning it is already hot and humid. I have the fans going.

Since I live on the second floor (really the third, because there is a ground level) I can't escape the heat-rising effect. The big, thick walls protect me to some extent, but it seems like once it gets hot, the heat just takes up residence. Really can't wait for a break in the weather. We might have storms today, but according to the weatherman, they will only cool for a short while.

I am planning another trip to Michigan. My son and one of my grandsons weren't able to go last time because of a baseball tournament, so they want to get their fair share of swimming, boating and good eating. We have settled on the first through third of August. I contacted man friend, but he will be away at that time (and I do know it's legitimate.) I'm going to send him the retirement book, but otherwise let things rest between us.

I am also planning a short trip to Wisconsin in September, right after Labor Day. My SIL wants to come and drive up the lake shore to visit lighthouses. Not my thing, but it will be a couple of pleasant days, trusting the weather cooperates.

I'm also trying to get a road trip to North Carolina on the books. Probably in October. This involves pinning down BFF, who is notorious for changing plans. But I think it would be fun if we can actually schedule it and stick to it. And it would be a chance to see my sister and my cousin.

The session with the personal trainer was great. He pinpointed five or six machines to work on, showed me how to use them, and gave me weight levels and repetition levels to begin with. When I told him about the challenge I have with my broken-but-fixed ankle, he recommended some stretching exercises and then gave me his own stretching strap. I didn't go through the routine, because I had already done cardio on the recumbent bike. I am not yet sure if I will go today. I do have to go out to get a free MyMixx item (yogurt) so I might as well go to the gym. It will be cool.

Day One Hundred Fifty-One

July 22nd, 2016 at 01:54 pm

Calories: 1489

The first super-hot day out of four went pretty well. I went to the gym, then came home and made a delicious meal on top of the stove. "Beach chicken," which I've always made in the oven. (If you're curious, it is boneless chicken breasts topped with layers of onion slices and lemon slices, then dabbled with ketchup and brown sugar. I've done it with pork chops, too. When it bakes in the oven, the toppings cook down to make a barbecue-like sauce.)

This time, I sauteed the chicken breasts in a frying pan, and chopped up the onions and lemons and sauteed them in the ketchup-brown sugar (and a little water) in a separate pan. When both were done, I put them together. So good. And even though it sounds high-calorie, if you go light on the ketchup and brown sugar, it is not bad at all.

There were two chicken breasts left over, so I cubed them and stirred them into the leftover sauce and then put in the fridge. I'll serve it over rice to make a couple more meals. It may even stretch to three.

Late afternoon I went to Tae Kwan Do. My grandson earned two stripes on his belt, which was a cause for great celebration! We went out to dinner to celebrate that, and also the end of GS1's baseball season. I behaved myself and ordered a salad with chicken. I set aside all the chicken strips to take home; I'll make chicken salad out of those. I contributed $20 to the bill.

My variables spending is now 85% with only five days to go. But that doesn't count what the window-washing will cost, which I'll take out of next month's budget.

Today I'm meeting with the personal trainer; then I'll spend the rest of the day relaxing and trying to stay cool!

Day One Hundred Fifty

July 21st, 2016 at 02:51 pm

Calories: 1645

I had a shake yesterday, which took me to a rather high total, but it filled me up for the rest of the day.

I just cleared the cache on my phone apps, so I'm hoping that will help with the storage problem. And that it won't cause new problems!

This is the first of four hot-hot days. So far I am okay, but it's not yet 9 AM. I have the fans going. I've changed plans for a dish I was planning to make. Instead of baking the chicken breasts, I will saute them on top of the stove, and make the sauce/topping in a saucepan. Ordinarily it all bakes together. I would use the crockpot, but I don't think this recipe would adapt well, as it contains fresh lemons, and it's awfully wet -- needs to cook down.

Getting ready to go to the gym -- it's air-conditioned! And this afternoon I'll go to GS2's Tae Kwan Do class, which is also air-conditioned. If I'm just miserable in between, I'll go to the library to cool off.

I think I may have fibromyalgia. Which is not something I ever thought of, even considered it kind of a made-up disease. But last night I Googled "why do I have knots in my thighs?" and I got a whole host of fibromyalgia information. The list of symptoms -- which is long -- are almost all things I suffer from. Admittedly, a lot of them are pretty universal, like insomnia, headaches, fatigue, etc. But the leg problem is pretty specific. And restless legs is another symptom, which is also something that bothers me terribly. I am interested enough that I am going to start reading up on it, and I'll mention it to my doctor when I go in September.

It looks like the bad news is that it is incurable, but there are things I can do to alleviate the symptoms. Exercise is one, so off I go to the gym!

Day One Hundred Forty-Nine

July 20th, 2016 at 03:15 pm

Calories: 1545

They say the hot days are starting tomorrow, but it's hot now. I don't know how I'm going to survive it! I think I'll spend some time at the library and the mall.

I really wanted to eat more yesterday and I went to bed hungry, but I managed not to cave in. I reminded myself how bad I felt the last time I did that.

After I finish up here, I'm going to Planet Fitness for the sixth day in a row! Today I'm going to try out the elliptical. On Friday I have an appointment with a personal trainer to work out a strength-training plan. I feel I'm really getting my $10 worth. And I totally plan to be there on free bagels day and free pizza day! A frugalista's dream!

I did two loads of laundry yesterday for $3. It feels good to have that done before the intense heat sets in.

My phone -- a Moto G -- is not letting me download many updates any more due to insufficient storage. It says to delete apps, but I am pretty pared down already. Does this mean I have to get a new phone? That the updates take up so much more space that the phone is becoming obsolete? Is there a way to ADD storage to a phone? What are the ramifications of NOT updating? I'm relying on the techies out there for a little enlightenment! I don't really want to get a new phone. It's 2 1/2 years old, BTW.

Day One Hundred Forty-Eight

July 19th, 2016 at 02:39 pm

Calories: 1406

There was a snag to my budget yesterday. The $40 charge to my I-Pass hit my credit card. This is a charge that refreshes every time my credit on the I-Pass gets low. (I-Pass is a transponder that automatically pays tolls on Illinois tollways.)

This means I've spent 82% of my variables budget. And it also means there is not enough left to pay for the window washing next Monday.

Well, I'm still going to get my windows washed. This is not a matter of not having the cash, I'm just not hitting my low-spending goal. I'll have to decide whether I'll take the cost from the slush fund, or roll it over to next month's budget, since it's so close to payday, when the budget resets.

Since I've already had to pay property taxes and the insurance premium this month, I hate to take any more out of savings, so I might just roll it over.

Needless to say, I'm going to make this as close to a no-spend week as possible.