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Archive for June, 2018

Trip to the Credit Union

June 30th, 2018 at 04:29 am

I drove to my credit union yesterday because I wanted to talk to a mortgage specialist in person. The credit union is about 20 miles away, but the trip was longer than that because traffic was terrible. Lots of construction.

Well, of course I got there, and they don't even have a mortgage person in the office! They gave me a phone number. I should have called in advance, I know.

In order not to waste the trip, I made a stop at a bakery outlet that is in the area. I spent $9 on Texas Toast, mini subs, English muffins, Hawaiian rolls, hot dog buns, mini bagels and ginger snaps. All stuff that will help me feed the boys this summer.

Then I made another stop at Dress Barn. I had a gift card balance to use up. I bought a swimsuit cover-up which cost me nothing, and I still have $4 on the card.

Before the trip, I got my hair cut - $18, and that was with the senior discount. The price is creeping up. But boy, it feels good to get all that hair off my neck!

Variables are now 5%.

We are having severely hot weather. I am running my air conditioners full time. I got a text yesterday that it was a peak savings day, which means if I reduce my electrical usage I get a rebate. Yesterday was just not the day. I didn't want to give the heat a chance to get a toehold. My two AC's are barely keeping up as it is.

It remains very hot today, and GS2 has a baseball game. I wish they would cancel it, but it is his last game, and I think they will carry on.

Tonight I'm going to a local brewery to celebrate DIL's 40th birthday. I think food will be provided. Cake for sure!

Yesterday I took all the leftover stuff out of the freezer that I had tucked away to use later. Broth, milk, chopped zucchini, soup. I needed to make room in the freezer. I'll make stirfry today, and perhaps some peanut soup.

But for now, I'm going to the gym. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Eat-Out Thursday

June 29th, 2018 at 06:08 am

The boys definitely know that Thursday is Eat-Out Day! They don't miss a beat.

This time I had a coupon from Corner Bakery offering two full-size entrees for $9.99. That was perfect for them, as one could get mac & cheese and the other could get pancakes, their favorites. I had had a late breakfast so ordered only a muffin. The total bill was $14 and my DIL paid me back for it already. I paid for dessert at McDonald's -- two cones for $1.32.

We also checked out a couple of parks. And there were music lessons in the morning. At the end of the day, there was a baseball game. We lost, but played a good game.

Today I'm going to get a haircut, if I can get scheduled with my stylist, and then I'll go to my credit union to talk about my mortgage. This evening I'm taking care of the boys while my kids go to a fundraiser. That should be pretty easy, as it's after dinner, and they can get themselves to bed now.

Planning on a visit with my brother (in Michigan) next weekend after the 4th.

I'm starting to pull out stuff for a garage sale, and I'm kind of surprised by how much I can declutter. Since I don't live in a good place to have a sale, I'm going to haul the stuff to BFF's in Indiana. That won't happen for a while, but I'm getting ready.

I haven't done much spending yet -- a couple of loads of laundry, and one run to the grocery for peppers and onions. And of course, the ice cream cones. Variables are at 1%.

Pay Day

June 27th, 2018 at 11:49 am

I've paid my bills, and I still have savings, though quite reduced. At least I can take comfort in knowing I had the money to pay them. And I have a new (to me) car.

Here is my spending last month:

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $9244
Fees/Services - $2257
Housing - $1105
Insurance - $687
Medical/Health - $227
Utilities - $164
Vet/Pet Supplies - $91
Groceries - $89
Gas - $89
Eating Out - $77
Gifts/Charity - $73
Phone - $52
Clothing/Accessories - $24
Entertainment - $22
Laundry - $12
Fares/Parking - $5
Personal - $3

Grand Total - $14,221

Of course, the "equipment" in the first category was the car. Most of it, anyway.

And most of the fees and services were related: warranty, license plates, wheel tax.

I had to pay assessment fees twice this month.

My semi-annual insurance came due, and it reflected the expected jump from insuring an old car to insuring a newer one.

I had a dentist's appoint and an eye appointment.

I took Iggy to the vet.

Gas was higher due not only to prices but more driving as I cart the grandsons around.

It was just a killer month.

Gap Year is now in full swing, and my savings have been hit hard. Just what i didn't want to happen. But I am confident that most of my hurdles have been conquered, and the future will be frugal, but fine.

Cheap movie

June 26th, 2018 at 06:44 pm

The "cheap" movie cost a little more than expected. Doesn't it always? The admission was $3. But we spent $9 on drinks, $7 on popcorn, and $4 on candy (which we sneaked in.) The boys each had $5 to contribute, so it wasn't TOO bad. But who knew drinks, especially, would cost that much? The boys had big expectations of what their $10 would buy, and the damage was done before I could intervene. Oh well. It was fun. GS1 met up with a friend and we sat together. A good time was had by all.

At my mystery shop this evening, I exceeded the reimbursement limit by .45. Last of the big spenders! I brought home enough for another meal. And I earned $6 for enjoying a free dinner, but I won't see it till next month.

Tomorrow is pay day, and it's going to be a killer. I have BIG credit card bills to pay off -- the aftermath of buying a car. Hope I'm still standing when all is said and done.

The Day Before the Day Before Pay Day

June 25th, 2018 at 07:53 pm

Made it through another day without spending. I am not even doing laundry! And it is piling up, but not unmanageable.

Tomorrow is the last day before pay day.

I made bread today with the help of my grandsons. They were truly amazed that such simple ingredients could turn into bread! The loaves turned out very well this time, and after we treated ourselves to warm bread and butter, they took some home.

We also took a pretty long walk, and my older grandson invented a board game! He called it "Speedy Sploshion." He printed out the "cards" and the game board, and it was pretty cute.

There may be minor spending tomorrow if we go to the kids' movie, but it's only $1 apiece.

Another No-Spend Day

June 25th, 2018 at 05:54 am

No spending yesterday despite one real temptation. After last night's baseball game (a big win for GS1's team) we all went to Culver's in celebration. I had to go along, as I had hitched a ride with my son. I did not order anything and sat and watched everyone eat their delicious food.

Otherwise the day was pretty nondescript. I took a walk around the neighborhood in addition to doing strength training at the gym. I repaired the purse I bought at Goodwill. It wasn't zipping up well, kept catching the lining in the zip. I tacked the fabric down, and then stitched down one area where the fabric was too close to the zip. Then I waxed the zipper, and it's now zipping up well. It took me about 40 minutes.

I got a call to do another mystery shop at a burger place -- one I've done several times before. So tomorrow evening I will have a free dinner plus a little folding money. I prefer this kind of shop to the kind where I have to pretend to buy something and and then renege. That's uncomfortable.

No Spending Today

June 23rd, 2018 at 02:43 pm

I did use some gas, when I drove to the library and then to the two baseball games. I checked out two books which I must finish within one week.

I gave DIL her birthday gifts: a desk organizer, a globe stand, and an Amazon gift card (which I earned with hotel points).

I got a $25 Panera gift card in the mail, which I earned with travel card points. I also got info on my auto warranty, which was a relief. I didn't have any, and I wasn't sure whether it was coming.

I ate leftovers from yesterday's dinner for breakfast, and at 3:30 I ate a second meal of meatballs in marinara sauce with penne, and California blend vegetables. I ate a tiny serving of ice cream -- trying to cut down on sweets, but not cut them out entirely. I feel very satisfied, and I think I'm going to stick with two meals today.

After the games I did some routine housework, and now I am reading and lounging. I'm very sleepy and I may make it an early night.

Overall, a very nice day.

Graduation Day

June 22nd, 2018 at 04:46 pm

My son got his MS in December, but he went through the graduation ceremony today. It was in one of the vintage theaters downtown, very retro and opulent. The ceremony took most of the afternoon, but it was time well spent. My favorite part was the bagpiper who led the graduates out!

I rode along with them, so I didn't have to worry about downtown parking. But I did end up going out to dinner with them afterwards. I tried to order sparingly, and I only spent $13.

Now I'm very tired. It's been a big day!

Tomorrow I'm going to take my DIL's gift over, as it's her actual birthday. But her birthday celebration is going to be next Saturday, in a bar that is amusingly called "Temperance." Amusing, because our suburb is the birthplace of the temperance movement.

I hope my spending has stopped now, until pay day on Wednesday restarts it!

Steady Rain

June 21st, 2018 at 04:16 pm

It rained all day long, and my grandsons' games were cancelled (thank goodness!) I can't imagine what their uniforms would look like after they played on a soaking wet field.

My DIL asked if I would take the boys to see Incredibles 2 today, since they couldn't play outside. I did, and it was $32 for all three of us. It was a DX theater, which I didn't realize when buying the tickets. I also took them out for lunch, since it was Eat Out Day. That was $23 for the three of us.

At the end of the day DIL texted me to ask the cost of the movie and candy. I told her how much the movie cost for the two of them, and the cost of the candy. I think she forgot about Eat Out Day, especially since we had an unexpected one on Beach Day. So I didn't remind her, and I'll absorb the extra cost, unless she asks about it. I kind of follow her lead on the financial part....

I decided to take the dentist visit out of variables -- when something costs more than $100 I try to cash flow it if I can, but this month I can't. So variables are now 93%, with a few more days to get through. I will probably have to park in the city tomorrow, if I cannot hitch a ride to graduation, and that will be expensive.

My deposit to BOA now complete, I changed the funds in my sidebar. Slush Fund has been absorbed into Gap Year Fund. That will be my source to tap when costs exceed income. The Mortgage Fund is held in my credit union, to which I pay the mortgage, and I will just transfer the payment each month. I'll have to add more to that fund to get through the year.

Eye Doctor

June 20th, 2018 at 04:24 pm

I just got back from the eye doctor. My eyes are dilated and I'm kind of bumbling around in sunglasses. But the good news is, my eye looks healthy, and he didn't see any tears or weak spots. He did advise me to ask my primary physician to set me up with a reference to a retina specialist, just in case. And if I start to see a shadow, or a shade coming down, I am to go to the ER.

The cost was $35.

I bought gas this morning for $30. Variables have now topped out at 101%. And I have six days to go.

I made penne with homemade Alfredo sauce and sauteed mushrooms for my grandsons today, and GS1 said it was the best meal he ever had! They both helped me put it together, and I think their contribution definitely influenced their evaluation!

Tomorrow is Music Lessons Day and Eat Out Day. They will choose the restaurant. My DIL will reimburse me.

I guess the haircut will have to be put off again, until after pay day. It doesn't really look too bad, it's just not holding its shape. I can weather another week with it. I've got enough food and everything else, so I think I can make it without adding to the variables total.

Moving Money

June 19th, 2018 at 04:43 pm

This morning I closed my Chase bank accounts, and I will be moving the funds to BOA and to my credit union. Chase began charging me a $25 monthly fee because my savings balance went too low. They caught me once, but I will not be caught again. I'll update my sidebar when I make the deposits.

I also did a load of laundry, which was my only spending of the day.

Variables are now at 94%, with about a week to go. And I have to get gas tomorrow.

I had a hard day today because of sleep deprivation. I am hoping my aching hip will let me sleep tonight. Meanwhile, a new ailment -- my right eye has suddenly developed floaters and I've had some strange peripheral flashes that may signal retina detachment. So I made an eye appointment for tomorrow. I don't dare let it go.

I still have not managed to get that haircut. Now I have to wait till Friday for my stylist to be back on duty. On Friday afternoon, I'm traveling into the city to watch my son in graduation exercises. He earned his degree in December, but there was no ceremony. He is walking now, mostly to make an impression on his sons, I think. So -- it'll be a good day to have my hair looking nice. I'm even going to wear a dress, which is a rare occasion!

Major Heat

June 18th, 2018 at 03:21 pm

I heard it was 98 degrees today. I certainly felt it. I was at the beach with the boys. Even though I stayed in the shade, it was grueling. I got into the water once, but it was icy-cold and the rocks on the bottom hurt my feet. Oh yes, and the sand was so hot I almost scorched my feet before I put my sandals on.

And the flies were biting!

Complain, complain, complain. The boys, on the other hand, spent a lot of time in the water and had a great time.

My spending today was $1.25 for ice cream cones for the boys, and $3 for deodorant, which I bought at Walgreens before I went to the beach.

I also charged my insurance payment to my new Wells Fargo card. It was $687, because it was retroactive to the day I bought the car, and also covers July-December. According to my records that should push my total charged to Wells Fargo above the $1000 requirement needed for the $200 bonus.

There is supposed to be a baseball game tonight, but I'm waiting to hear that it is cancelled. The heat is excessive, and severe storms are predicted. For either reason, the game should be cancelled.

Weekend with BFF

June 17th, 2018 at 12:58 pm

BFF arrived on Friday, and left a few hours ago. We had a good time together.

I spent no money on eating out. We did a mystery shop lunch, which provided a meal for both of us, and for the rest of the weekend, I served food at home.

BFF was on a shopping kick. She needed summer clothes. With Carson Pirie Scott going out of business, the time was right for her to stock up on things. I accompanied her to the store three different times, but I spent nothing there myself.

We also went to two Goodwill's together and that's where I spent just a little. The total for the two trips was $15. I found a new purse (yay!) and I bought some gift wrap, as well as a pitcher, a plate and a bud vase. I also got a top for my granddaughter to complete an outfit I am putting together for her next birthday.

My favorite find was the bud vase. It was only $1 and is hand-painted multicolor Delft, in perfect condition. I may resell it someday, but I want to enjoy it first. It's probably worth about $40.

That was it! Our main entertainment was the time we spent with each other.

I got a $15 check from mystery shopping this weekend, too, so I guess the weekend was covered!

Thursday

June 14th, 2018 at 05:05 pm

More spending today. I got a reminder that it was my Florida DIL's birthday. I hadn't forgotten that it was coming up soon, but I lost track of the day. Quel surprise! I sent her a card with a $50 Panera gift card enclosed and texted her my apology for being late.

I also bought a cute desktop organizer for my local DIL's birthday, which is next week. $12. I have another gift in reserve, a globe stand, for which I paid $27, so I need to find another small gift for her.

Next month I'll begin giving token gifts of $10 or less, as gap year goes into full swing. I didn't want to do it this month, as I will still be in gap year mode next June, and the girls would get shortchanged two years in a row.

I took GS1 out to lunch at Noodles & Co., but DIL will reimburse me.

I donated $4 to a fundraiser for a family whose son died in a random act of violence.

Variables are at 72%.

BFF arrives tomorrow, but before she arrives I'll go to the dentist. I'm also planning to close my Chase account, but only if my last payment from the College is processed. And if I have time, I'll get the haircut I've been putting off.

Wednesday

June 13th, 2018 at 01:54 pm

Today's spending was .65 for an ice cream cone at McDonalds, and $22 for a pair of beach sandals. I ordered the sandals from DSW, using a $10 coupon, and I'll pick them up at the store tomorrow. I hope they'll feel okay, but really, they're just for walking on the sand. I didn't own any footwear that wouldn't be ruined by sand and water.

I can't wear ordinary flip-flops -- they cause me pain -- but these are slides with a wide upper band, so I think they will work.

I received a $3 Pine Cone payment. So far this month I've only collected $13 in extra income; it's been slow. But I'm owed $65 in mystery shop wages; I hope some of that comes in soon.

Variables are at 64%. Two weeks until payday.

Tuesday

June 12th, 2018 at 05:47 pm

Kind of a lousy day. I didn't feel good, and the weather is still crummy.

GS1 had an argument with his mom this morning and came over all out of sorts.

I have been wrestling all day with two mystery shop assignments that I can't seem to complete to the satisfaction of the agents. I am beginning to feel like I'm not cut out for it. The assignments are so demanding and sometimes require behavior that I feel is rude or deceptive. And the pay for the time spent is ridiculous.

I know I need the money, but.......

In financial news, I spent only $1.50 today on a load of laundry. And I ordered a $25 Panera gift card using the points earned on my BOA travel card.