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Archive for September, 2017

Tomorrow is Not Promised

September 30th, 2017 at 09:11 am

Pizza night was good. So funny about the Harry Potter movie -- we put the DVD in the machine, and on comes Polar Express! We took it out, looked at the label -- yes, it said Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkeban. I've never seen that happen before! Luckily, we also had Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on hand, so we watched that.

The pizza cost $20, and C and I both have two pieces left over for later.

This morning we went to GS1's football game, and then out to breakfast -- it was a very early game. My share of the tab was $16 including tip.

While I am spending these last weeks with C, I am not going to worry about costs like this if it means I can spend time with her.

This afternoon there is a baseball game. I hope to get a brief nap beforehand, and then after the game I should do my gym routine. I'm going to take my workout clothes along since the field is in the same vicinity as the gym.

How is it that these sad days are also happy? I guess I am appreciating the simple things, knowing that tomorrow is not promised.

Pizza Night

September 29th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Tonight is going to be pizza night at C's house. I'm getting Jet's pizza for us and the grandsons, and we're going to watch a Harry Potter movie.

I went to Aldi again today to get 10 more items: wine, crescent rolls, tuna, OJ, shredded cheddar, chicken breasts, butter, apple cider vinegar, dill pickles, and spreadable margarine. This trip cost $35. (The wine is a box, and the chicken breasts are a large bag of frozen).

I still need to do more shopping. I have to buy personal items -- shampoo, body wash, deodorant -- and produce.

But at least I have enough on hand to make meals.

Today's meals are: Breakfast - johnnycakes. Lunch - vegetable beef soup & crackers. Dinner - pizza.

I did laundry this morning and went to the gym. Then I visited with C and made brownies for tonight's "party."

Variables are now at 18%. It goes quickly. I don't feel I've even done much yet.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to pizza night! Jet's is my fave! And it's not even a Chicago-based pizza!

Busy Day

September 28th, 2017 at 04:56 pm

Well, it's been a busy day. I got up early and did laundry. Then I went to Aldi to get more groceries ($19). I bought nothing that had to refrigerated, because I was going straight to physical therapy afterwards (and it turned out they sat in the car all day). My 10 items: Bottled water, ketchup, oatmeal, peanuts, bacon bits, cheese dip, instant mashed potatoes, evaporated milk, coffee, and applesauce.

It was my last physical therapy session. I'm not perfect, but better, and my therapist gave a bunch of stretching exercises to do regularly at home. And I will!

Meanwhile, my DIL took her mother to the doctor (problems with the drain) and asked me to step in for story time at school. So I went to the library and checked out a bunch of recommended books for second graders. By that time it was past lunchtime, and I hadn't had breakfast, so I bought lunch at McDonald's for $5.

At two I went to the school and did my stint as a "surprise reader." My grandson was really surprised, as he was expecting his mom! It went okay -- I am not a great reader -- that is, I am a great reader, but not actor, or interpreter, and I found it difficult to show the pictures and read at the same time. It's quite a skill that storytellers have! But no one threw tomatoes at me.

After school the boys played outside for a long time, as the weather was so nice. Finally I packed them up and brought them home and made mac & cheese. Then I sent them home. (They are old enough to cross the street themselves now.) My son took the younger one to Tae Kwan Do, which was a relief -- I thought I was on duty for that, too.

So, C has had an adjustment to her drain, which was bothering her. I texted her and she responded that she was tired, but hopeful of feeling better.

I think I may deliver her favorite pizza tomorrow if she is feeling better.

I'm pretty tired; looking forward to an early bedtime.

Pay Day!

September 27th, 2017 at 08:47 am

Pay day never felt so good! I paid my mortgage and Discover bill this morning. I donated $45 to my grandsons' school fundraiser. I did a load of laundry and went to Aldi for 10 items: eggs, almond milk, stew meat, bread, spinach, croutons, turkey slices, granola, dressing, and crackers. I'll be back tomorrow to get 10 more. This trip cost me only $14 because I had a $10 credit on my credit card.

Today's meals: Breakfast - johnnycakes. Lunch - turkey sandwich w/spinach. Dinner - Vegetable beef soup & crackers.

I also went to the gym. I'm going to get back into a steady routine, a little different than the old one. I'm cutting a couple of my strength training exercises that might stress my knee, and I'm cutting out the treadmill in favor of the bicycle. I'm only doing 15 minutes on the bicycle till I build my strength back up.

Last month's recap:

Housing - $1069
Utilities - $174
Gifts/Charity - $150
Medical/Health - $97
Groceries - $93
Gas - $82
Eating Out - $77
Clothing - $70
Vet/Pet Supplies - $59
Phone - $52
Vacation/Travel - $51
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $45
Personal - $30
Fares/Parking - $17
Miscellaneous - $12
Laundry - $9
Household Supplies - $9
Entertainment - $8

Grand Total - $2104

I paid my assessment fee twice this month, making housing high.

Utilities were a a bit high due to air conditioning.

Gifts/Charity - Two birthdays and some pre-buying for Christmas.

Gas was unusually high. I've been in the car a lot this month.

Clothing - a big chunk of that was a pair of shoes.

Fares/Parking - higher than usual due to hospital parking.

All in all, not bad. It was actually a little under average.

Variables spending was 110%. Hope to improve on that this month.

So -- those last couple of weeks were grueling, trying not to spend anything at all. Sometimes it felt good to be stretching my frugal muscles, but mostly it felt bad. I felt poor. I felt constrained. Lesson learned -- don't blow your whole budget in the first couple of weeks.

Last Day of My Month

September 26th, 2017 at 04:21 am

I get paid tomorrow, so this is the last day in my budget cycle.

It won't be no-spend, because I have promised to take C's friend to Merrillville, Indiana, today, where she will meet her husband and go home. I will have to fill up my tank, and I'll have to do it before I leave Chicagoland -- I don't have enough to make it to Indiana, where the gas is cheaper.

Since we're meeting her husband at 11 a.m., there will probably be a road food cost, too. I don't have the kind of food to pack right now.

A small expenditure yesterday -- I took older grandson to McD's for ice cream cones - $1.10. He was very hot after playing football in the schoolyard. Younger grandson was off on a playdate.

My assessment fee hit the bank this morning. That means I've paid it twice this month. It all evens out -- I only pay 12 times a year -- but it just makes this month seem harder. Glad to see it end.

Physical therapy -- I'm going to have at least one more session. I'm making progress, but I am not as far along as my therapist would like me to be.

I mistakenly went at 10 a.m. yesterday instead of 1 p.m. But there was an opening at 11, so I just stayed for it. I sat in the car (in a free parking spot) and read until it was time. I reflected on how, if I hadn't been broke, I would have gone home and come back at the later time, probably losing my parking space and using more gas. When the money runs low, it really focuses you.

Birthday Party

September 25th, 2017 at 05:24 am

My grandson's birthday party was great. It was held at IHOP, his favorite restaurant. I couldn't believe it -- they were so crowded, and yet they handled our party of 12 quickly and efficiently -- both in seating us and serving us. I contributed $20 to the bill and ordered an entree that fed me for both lunch and dinner.

Afterwards we went to my son's house for the gift opening. My grandson has been grilling me for weeks about my gift, and I was so afraid he would be disappointed by a stuffed animal and a T-shirt. But he loved them.

So, of course the $20 really threw off my budget. I have two days left now, and I'm 7% over. But some things you just have to do.

I'm really getting low on food now. My freezer is almost empty; the fridge is mostly stocked with condiments, and even the pantry is clearing out. My meals planned for today are: eggs, soup & roll, and cheese quesadillas with Spanish rice.

All my laundry hampers are full. But I have plenty of clothes, so that's no problem except for sleepwear. Tonight I'm wearing my swimsuit coverup as a nightshirt -- and I'll wear it tomorrow night, too!

I have physical therapy this morning. I hope it will be my last session. Rest has improved my knee so much -- I think I need rest more than exercise right now. And each session costs $45, which I can ill afford. (I haven't paid any of it yet; it will come in a chunk.)

It will be another hot day, and tomorrow will be as well, but a cooldown is coming. I am running my AC, but not full-time. I was quite comfortable last night with the air off and the ceiling fan on.

When payday comes on Wednesday, I will be plenty busy with shopping, laundry and paying bills. I have to say I'm looking forward to it!

Another No-Spend Day

September 24th, 2017 at 05:36 am

I racked up another no-spend day yesterday. I went to my grandson's flag football game in the morning. In the afternoon, he decided not to go to the baseball game. (It was way too hot; last week they called an ambulance for an overheated player.) So, good call. I spent the day resting and cooling off. I'm not hesitating to use the AC now.

At noon today I'm going to IHOP for my other grandson's eighth birthday party. Just a family party. I'll have to pay for lunch; I'll try to make it frugal. The gift is wrapped and ready to go. I was proud of myself that I found an appropriate birthday card in my stash of unused cards.

Today's meals: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - IHOP. Dinner - soup & roll.

Counting today, three days to go before payday. Variables are at 103%.

Friday

September 23rd, 2017 at 04:53 am

After making the effort to go to the doctor's office for my flu shot, I learned I didn't have an appointment. I had made the appointment online, but the staff had no record of it. This was an annoyance, because it was a waste of gas, and my gas tank is getting low. Thank goodness I didn't get stuck for parking.

In the evening, I went to C's house. Her visiting friend made stir fry. I helped with the chopping, and when she realized there was no teriyaki sauce, I went to the store to get some. So I'm out another $2, but got a free meal. After dinner we watched the second Harry Potter movie.

My knee was bothering me so much I could hardly sit still. I don't know what triggered it -- the heat, stair climbing, standing too long? It could be any or all of those things. After I went home, my night's sleep was restless and short.

I don't think I'm going to beat this. I think I will have pain forever.

Today GS1 has a flag football game and a baseball game. And it's so hot. I wish they would cancel because of heat, but I'm sure they won't.

Anyway, I hope I can get a nap in between the games. C will try to join us for the baseball game. I hope she uses good judgment about how she is feeling. Last night she seemed tired and dispirited.

I complain about my knee, but I am definitely counting my blessings.

A Little Bump

September 22nd, 2017 at 05:31 am

My no-spend run ended yesterday, but in a small way, not a big one. I wasn't able to find a free parking space when I took my grandson to Tae Kwan Do, so I paid $1.15.

Today I'm scheduled to go to my doctor's office to get my flu shot. Since it won't take long, I should get free parking in the nearby parking garage. The flu shot is free, too.

Today's meals: Breakfast - corny mac & cheese. Lunch - soup & toast. Dinner - salmon & potatoes.

With the adjustment I made to the variables budget, I'm now at 102%. Five more days!

I'm still doing fine holding off on laundry. I will run out of pajama bottoms, but in this hot weather, that certainly isn't a necessity!

Since my knees were both hurting yesterday, my physical therapist wants to continue meeting next week. I have two more appointments set up. But over the weekend I am ordered to rest, which is okay with me.

Even though the temperatures are climbing into the 90's, I have avoided turning on the AC. I have been doing okay with fans. And it does cool off at night. Still, I will be very glad when this unseasonable heat wave ends.

Still Slogging Through

September 21st, 2017 at 11:04 am

I went to physical therapy this morning, and even though I was cutting it close, time-wise, I found a free parking spot. Normally I would not bother to hunt when I'm flirting with being late, but being on this self-enforced money diet, I am making the effort.

I got my electricity bill yesterday and it was higher than usual. Both electric and gas have slowly increased, so I found it necessary to rework my variables allowance. If the fixed expenses get higher, the variables must get lower.

I know that gas & electric are not really fixed in the sense that, say, my mortgage is, but I have chosen to limit variables to things I can control more easily.

Anyway, it was only a $10 monthly cut to variables, but it will make the challenge just a bit harder. Good practice for my gap year, when the cut will be deeper.

After really good progress, my knees are both hurting today. My physical therapist is prescribing rest over the weekend. I'm not sure what happened, except perhaps too much stair climbing.

Meals today: Breakfast - corny mac & cheese. Lunch - soup & breadstick. Dinner - potato bowl.

Only six more days, counting today, until my budget resets.

Another No-Spend Day

September 20th, 2017 at 05:30 am

I got through another day without spending money. A week to go.

I took C to get her hair cut yesterday, which made her feel so much better. At about noon her friends from Indiana arrived; they took her out to lunch. I was surprised she felt up to it, but I think they gave her a shot of energy. In the evening, three of them needed a ride to a downtown station, so I took them. I used Google maps on my phone, but when we "arrived" we couldn't see the station, and we were in the middle of heavy traffic, with no place to really stop and look around. They decided to get out and ask directions and walk the rest of the way. We knew we were very close. I felt very bad leaving them there, but checked in with C to make sure they made it okay, which they did.

One of the friends is staying for a while. She has brought Harry Potter movies, so I think we'll have some movie nights.

I had another physical therapy session yesterday, and this morning, my knee feels pain-free. I know that won't last, as I move around and put weight on it, but it is such a good feeling. It is definitely improving.

I am working away on my food stores. Yesterday for breakfast I had corny mac & cheese; for lunch I had soup and a breadstick, and for dinner I had walnuts and cranberries.

Today I'm planning to have corny m&c, teriyaki salmon w/mashed potatoes, and cheese quesadillas w/veggies.

It is time to do another load of laundry. That is, one of my hampers is full. I keep four hampers going -- darks, lights, colors & reds. The colors hamper is full. However, I don't need to do laundry in the sense that I do have clean clothes to wear. Since I am scrimping so hard, I am going to wait until I actually have to wash in order to dress. I know I won't actually make it for another week, but I'd like to see how far I can go.

I made $1.80 on another peak savings day (electricity) so that went into snowflakes. I've also earned another $3 from Pine Cone.

Creeping Variables

September 18th, 2017 at 04:13 pm

My variables have crept up to 101%. I can only conserve cash as much as possible now. I do actually have $57 available, left over from previous months, but I still want to be uber-careful.

Luck was on my side today. I had to go to the hospital for a mammogram. It took less than an hour, so parking was free. Then, this afternoon I picked up the boys from school. They didn't even ask for a treat. I took them home and we watched the Simpsons -- after homework was done, of course.

So I have managed to spend nothing today.

Food is getting to be a challenge. Today I made a box of mac and cheese and layered Jiffy cornbread on top and baked. (It's a real recipe on the internet, except made from scratch.) Well, it actually isn't very good, but it will still serve for a few meals.

Here is what is still available:

Mac & cheese & cornbread
Peanut butter toast
Chicken vegetable soup
Meatless vegetable soup
Purple potato soup
Walnuts & cranberries
Cheese quesadillas
Eggs
Salmon fillets

It's just that I so often don't feel like eating anything that's available.... I'm going to stick with the plan, though.

Tomorrow I'm taking C to the hairdresser and then I have physical therapy. I've also offered to get my grandson's bow replaced before he has music lessons tomorrow. I'll probably be picking the boys up after school and taking them to music lessons.

My older grandson helped me with my home exercises -- which require another person to provide resistance. He was really helpful!

Sunday

September 17th, 2017 at 11:36 am

Today I bought some cat food ($14) and filled a prescription ($13). That tips my variables just over 100%, and I have nine more days to go. Not surprised; C's setback has made budget-watching both difficult and trivial.

I also did another load of laundry.

I guess my goal for the rest of the nine days is to spend as little as possible -- but if C needs something, that is out the window.

C's company has left and she is napping. I may go over later, if she is up to it.

Tomorrow I have a mammogram, and on Tuesday it's back to physical therapy.

I believe I will be on duty all week for after school care, unless DIL makes plans for the boys to go to friends' houses. Everything is on a day-to-day basis now.

Baseball, ice cream & DNA

September 16th, 2017 at 03:03 pm

Just bought an ice cream cone at McDonald's for $1. No, I shouldn't have sugar, but after sitting out in the sun for a long baseball game, I felt like an ice cream cone was elevated to a "need."

C went to the game with me, along with her friend from Indiana. She did well, but seemed tired at the end. It was a long and boring game, and grandson did not perform very well. But at least it was a lovely day, though warm.

My inflammation is gone, so I am permitting myself small portions of sugar to see how I fare. If my legs start to ache again -- out it goes.

My DNA results came from Ancestry.com. I was not too surprised. I am 96% European (mostly English, Scottish and Welsh), and 4% West Asian (which encompasses Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Iraq, Iran and others). That was a bit of a surprise, but it is also marked "low confidence."

My son is 90% European, so he must have gotten a dash of something else from my ex.

The test was free to me; son & DIL bought me the kit for my birthday back in August.

I guess that's all that's happening!