Home > Archive: August, 2018

Archive for August, 2018

Polishing Done

August 31st, 2018 at 12:56 pm

I polished all the silver items I had to offer, but decided to put almost all of them in the garage sale rather than offer them on eBay. They were very tarnished and they just didn't come back all the way. I'll let someone else work with them a little more, if they want to. At least they look better. One item is actually good enough to sell on eBay. It's a 50's era cigarette lighter. It looks like a lamp, and it is heavily embossed. A pretty piece, for someone who collects that kind of thing.

Picture taking is done; now I need to get them online. BFF is not coming this weekend, so I'm on my own. Not sure if I'll get much done today, though, as I have Grandma duty after school, and an out-of-town mystery shop to do before that.

BFF decided to wait till next weekend, so we can go together to the girls' outing in Shipshewana.

I have two free meals to look forward to this weekend. One is the mystery shop referenced above, and on Sunday I am invited to breakfast at my ex's house.

I didn't do any spending yesterday, other than running a load of laundry for $1.50.

Silver Polish & Sandals

August 30th, 2018 at 12:30 pm

A bit of spending yesterday. I got the silver polish at Food4Less for $4. Then I went to DSW to use the $5 birthday coupon I got a few weeks ago. I ended up buying a pair of Oshkosh sandals for my Florida grandson for $4. They were on clearance, and the store was having a additional 20% off on clearance items, and then my coupon brought the price down to $4. I think he'll like them -- they are patterned with sharks! Which he loves, for some reason.

So now I just need to put together his birthday package and send it. I only spent $5 altogether, for the sandals and the Matchbox cars. Definitely a win!

Variables are at 51%.

I did not get around to using the silver polish and I didn't take any more pictures. Hoping I can get that done today, so when BFF comes, we can work on getting the stuff online.

Made plans with my friend M to meet next weekend with the "girls" to shop and hang around in Shipshewana, which is an Amish community and flea market center in Northern Indiana. That will cost me, if only for food and gas.

I learned that my savings on peak savings day was $5.50! Best I've done yet.

I did a Pine Cone survey for $3. I've been trying to schedule mystery shops, but I keep coming up empty. Someone beats me to the punch. I'm also being a lot more picky about what I will accept.

I went to the library yesterday and stocked up on more books. I freak out if I don't have something to read!


August 29th, 2018 at 01:02 pm

Yesterday was a peak savings day -- if I reduce my electricity usage, I get a credit on my bill. I have done this three times already this month. The first time I didn't get any savings because it was really hot and I ran my air conditioners. But the next two times I got credits between $3 and $4. Not much, but every bit adds up! Yesterday, I turned off my air and I got pretty miserable, as it was not only hot but humid. I had sweat running down my face! But I stuck it out, and turned on the air the minute the time was up. I'll see in a few days whether I saved anything this time.

It would have been a no-spend day yesterday, but I sent $30 to my granddaughter's kindergarten fundraiser. I don't like those things, but I wanted to be fair, since I have supported my grandsons' school fundraisers in the past.

Variables are at 49%, and I have four weeks to go. But I have done some stocking up on food and pet supplies. I hope I can keep the spending lower now. I know I will have to make one more grocery run for perishables and basics like butter, eggs, etc. I still have to mail a birthday present to my Florida grandson. I have a bunch of Matchbox cars I got at a garage sale, all still in the package. I will send those along with a $10 bill.

I'm supposed to meet friends for a shopping day in northern Indiana next weekend, but I don't plan to do much shopping, just socializing. I'm sure we'll be eating lunch out, too.

I got more pictures taken yesterday for eBay. Just a few more to go. I have a few silver items which are tarnished, so I guess I have to get some silver polish to make them look good. BFF is planning on coming up this weekend to help me through the process of getting the info online. I'll be glad to get this done so I can reclaim my dining room table.

Monday Doings

August 28th, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Got a very nice haircut from my regular place yesterday for $17, using a $3 coupon. I also ordered aquarium filters from Amazon for $14, and I sent $34 to my cousin to join in this year's family football pool. Who knows, maybe this year I'll win something! (I never do.)

My grandson had a bad first day at his new school -- nothing specific, just a shock to his system, I think. Suddenly being a little fish in a big pond. My DIL texted me to join them for dinner at a pizza place, but I was charging my phone and half-asleep over a book, and I missed the text and the dinner. I texted my grandson, since he has a new phone. I'm sure everything will be all right, now that he knows his grandma loves him. Smile

I got started taking pictures of my stuff for eBay. I'm just using my phone, so the pictures are not exactly professional quality. But I'm hoping they will do. I photographed 17 items and then I kind of wore out. I'm hoping to get started earlier and get more done today.

BFF hasn't made any commitment since offering to come, so I'm just plowing ahead.

I opened the windows last night, and it was very windy and almost stormy, though a storm never developed. Storms are predicted today and then a 20-degree drop in temperature. Goody!

Gathering Provisions

August 27th, 2018 at 01:48 pm

Yesterday was a spending day. I started out at Sam's, where I spent $34 on Pledge, lunch bags, bread, Sweet & Salty bars, and a book, which will be a gift. On to Aldi, where I spent $27 on cheese, salad, almond milk, pizza, rolls, cookies, walnuts, chocolate syrup, soy sauce, chocolate chips and cheese dip. And then to PetSmart, where I spent $43 on cat food and kitty litter. At PetSmart I saved $10 by using a coupon, which I generated on my last trip by buying a large bag of dry grain-fee food. In order to use the coupon I had to buy another large bag. I am well-stocked with dry cat food!

My DIL reimbursed me for the spending I did on the kids this week. After that adjustment, and with the new spending, my variables are now at 31%.

It was very hot, as promised, and when I got home at noon I was wiped out. I pretty much spent the rest of the day reading and watching TV.

Today I'm going to make some chicken & dumplings, using up leftovers. I'll get a haircut if I can get an appointment. And I need to order aquarium filters on Amazon. I looked at them at PetSmart yesterday, but they were not on sale, so Amazon is cheaper.

It is continuing hot today, so even though I cut the air off last night, it's back on again today.

Haven't heard yet whether I am to pick up my grandson after school. My older grandson is now going to be handling his own commute on his bike, but the younger one will still need a ride. Since I haven't heard anything, I am assuming DIL is handling chauffeuring on this first day of school. So I may have another day of freedom?

Stay-At-Home Day

August 26th, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Yesterday was a stay-at-home day. I completely cleared out the storage space in my basement, and I have gone through all of the boxes. I am now ready to start listing on eBay. I have approximately 50 items to sell.

My BFF offered to come up and help me with that, so I don't want to just dive into it. But I might get started with taking pictures, anyway.

Even though it was supposed to be hot yesterday, I was very comfortable just using my fans. It's supposed to get REALLY hot today, but in these early morning hours, I am still okay with the open windows and fans.

I'm going to do some spending today. After going to the gym, I'm going to go to Sam's, Aldi and PetSmart.

Planning on getting a haircut tomorrow, after all the back-to-school kids are done.

Still need to decide on a birthday present for my Florida grandson. For my local grandson, I'm getting a book about Fortnite tips and a crisp $10 bill.


August 25th, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Today my son is going to load up my storage area with C's stuff -- it had to be cleared out of her old condo to make way for new tenants. I have almost cleared mine out. There is very little that I need to keep in there. I found places upstairs for my Christmas tree and decorations, and it will be much better to pull that stuff out for the holidays without having to go up and down stairs.

I have removed all of the boxes of stuff left over from my booth, and it has all been sorted as either garage sale or eBay. The next step is to set up my eBay store. I'm dreading that!

Aside from a load of laundry, I did not spend anything yesterday. I had the boys for half the day, but I fed them with leftovers and we didn't do any activities that cost money. They were entertained most of the day with new Lego sets.

We have had several days of cool, even fall-like weather, but it's supposed to heat up today, and even more tomorrow. Back to air conditioning!

Movie, Lunch and Haircuts!

August 24th, 2018 at 03:48 pm

Yesterday was a busy day with the boys. I took them to see "Hotel Transylvania 3" -- keeping a promise I made weeks ago. Because I had some free passes, that was only $6. Then, since it was Eat-Out Day, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and got lunch for $18. I believe my DIL will pay me back for lunch. But until then I'm logging it as an expenditure.

I have enough wings left over for another meal, and I took home most of my salad, which I ate for dinner last night.

Later, I took them to get haircuts. DIL gave me the cash for that.

I'm working hard on my storage area cleanout and garage sale prep. I've now gone through all the boxes that held my former booth items. Now I'm going to go through my Christmas boxes. I know there's a lot of stuff I can let go. My son and DIL will start moving in C's old storage items tomorrow morning.

I've found several nice surprises -- things I will keep. One is a kitchen clock -- I've been looking for one for quite some time, and there it was in my basement! And I found some red Delft pieces which I used to have up for sale in my booth, but which I am now displaying in my hutch.

Friday is usually a day off for me, but today I'm going to watch the boys from 1 to 7. My kids will be spending that time getting C's old condo ready for new renters.

The boys go back to school on Monday. I'm ready for a break!

Variables are at 16%, which may change if DIL reimburses me.

Thursday News

August 23rd, 2018 at 01:26 pm

After going to the gym, I hit Food4Less yesterday, spending $38. I got apples, cereal, peppers, onions, sherbet, tuna, rolls, bread, tortillas, honey and coffee. Also some movie candy and a bag of Cheetos for the boys. Then I shelled out another $10 for stamps, which they sell by the book at the cashier's station.

I took the boys to mini-golf yesterday, spending $10 for the two of them to do 18 holes. They actually did the nine-hole course twice, since the 18-hole course was busy with a big group.

My son came over in the evening and helped me bring up a lot of boxes from my storage unit, as well as the big box with the Christmas tree, which I will now store in my hall closet. Most of these boxes are leftovers from the antiques booth I used to have. I'm finding a lot of surprises -- things I didn't even recall owning. Many of these items I'm going to put on eBay. If they don't sell, they will go to the garage sale. I'm not going to list them, however, until I get through all the boxes.

I got a text from my sister yesterday. Her FIL died recently, and left them some money. They were expecting this, but it turned out to be more money than they were expecting. She was already in the process of selling her house, and now they have bought a town house, which will have more amenities for her husband, who is in a wheelchair and is probably headed to assisted living. I'm glad for her, but worried at the same time. She has a history of being very bad with money management. She says she understands that they must live on their SS and leave the capital they have untouched, but I can only hope she really does that.

I got my ride-free card yesterday! Now I can use the trains and buses to get around and not have to pay a cent!

My son is feeling very blue and overwhelmed with stresses at work and no progress at all in finding a new job. My heart aches for him.


August 22nd, 2018 at 11:46 am

Yesterday wrapped up my August, because today is pay day.

It was a low-spend month. I spent only 83% of my variables, took nothing out of savings, and got a few breaks in the timing of my bills.

Housing: $713
Vacation/Travel: $188
Gas: $83
Utilities: $74
Phone: $52
Fees/Services: $40
Medical/Health: $37
Entertainment: $34
Gifts/Charity: $23
Groceries: $20
Eating Out: $13
Laundry: $9
Vet/Pet Supplies: $4

Grand Total: $1323

The reason for the very low food costs is that most of them were included in my vacation/travel budget. And I got a lot of free food on my travels. As well as free food from mystery shopping.

I didn't pay Comcast this month (but it will hit twice next month.)

I completed my second gap-year month. If I can do this every month I'll be just fine.


August 21st, 2018 at 05:43 pm

This is the first time I've gotten this far since the blogs went down. Hope it will work, I've missed the blogs!

Mine still looks a little wonky, though, but I can live with that.

I'm still hanging in there, waiting for pay day. Tomorrow. Will probably have to spend today -- I'm taking the boys to see "Christopher Robin" and will probably have to get gas. At present my variables are at 75%. Even with some spending, I should come in below.

How's eveyone else doing?

Four Days Till Pay Day

August 18th, 2018 at 11:49 am

So I've got four days till pay day. I want to spend as little as possible during that time.

I'm planning to make roll-ups of crescent rolls and taco meat and cheese today. I still have plenty of frozen chicken, a can of tuna, and the makings for sausage biscuits. I also hope to have the time to make bread today.

I made granola yesterday.

I'm going to go back to the gym after a too-long break. Traveling, getting sick, and grandma duty has taken its toll on my regular schedule. The gym is several miles away, and when I get in the car I will probably see that I will have to put gas in it if I want to get around safely.

I also need to go to the library, which is in the opposite direction.

I'm making a list of things I need to get after pay day: cat food, kitty litter, aquarium filters, haircut, and a run to Aldi to stock up. Birthday presents for my grandson and granddaughter. A jelly thermometer.

I forgot to mention that during my travels I found .55. And I was able to do laundry for free during that time.

My son and DIL need my storage space -- they have to clear out C's storage area for the new tenant. I am fine with it, since I've been clearing out anyway for the garage sale. And this way, I will for sure get my son's help for bringing up the boxes, which I have to go through anyway.

Home to Stay

August 17th, 2018 at 04:15 pm

I just got back from Indiana. The funeral was lovely, and it was very nice to get to know BFF's family better.

There was a dinner in the church after the funeral, so my only spending was $9 for meals on the road. I did not have to fill the tank again. (Though I will soon.)

I have the weekend to rest before I start taking care of the boys again next week. School starts the following Monday.

Variables are at 73%. I hope the next few days are low-spend. I should get groceries, but I'm going to try to be creative instead.

Back Home -- Briefly

August 15th, 2018 at 08:21 pm

I drove home from Michigan this morning, but tomorrow it's back on the road again to go to the funeral in Indiana.

My stay at my brother's house was lots of fun. Aside from the swimming and boating which we usually do, we also went blueberry picking. I picked 2 1/2 lbs. for $5. My kids took advantage of the dune buggy rides. My brother cooked us great meals, and we also went out to eat for one lunch. I also got to meet my friend P for lunch.

My vacation spending:

$28 for gas
$38 for pizza (treated one night)
$14 for restaurant meal
$7 for road food
$5 for blueberries
$18 for groceries

It was pretty cheap. My brother very sweetly did not want me to pay for the pizza, but I felt he had done enough cooking and needed a break!

I came home to an unhappy cat in a warm condo, but it was not terrible. I had left the windows cracked and the fans running.

While I was gone, I was awarded by ComEd $3.60 for keeping my consumption low on a peak savings day.

I also got a mystery shop payment for $39.

I ran out of reading material, and bought a book at Barnes & Noble, but I had gift cards to cover it.

Variables are 70%. And I still have another trip to go. But I may have enough gas to cover it, and I shouldn't have to eat out -- unless the family chooses to eat out after the funeral is over, which is a possibility. I'm not family, but I am invited.

Only one week till pay day.

And only a week and a half till school starts! I'll be glad to go back to a fall schedule, much as I love spending time with the boys.

Getting Ready

August 11th, 2018 at 11:39 am

Well, another no-spend day yesterday, and now it's the day to head north to Michigan. I'm going to try to get out of here by noon or so.

I slept poorly last night, as I often do before traveling. Think I might have gotten five hours.

My grandson and I packed my trunk with garage sale boxes yesterday. I won't have the time or the help to load up the car after I come back from Michigan, and I can't take a trip to Indiana without taking a load.

The storage unit contains at least 10 more boxes to go through. Whew!

I'll be leaving my cat for four days this time. I hate to do it, but with both my grandsons coming up to Michigan, I won't have anyone to check on him. I'll just leave lots of food and water. I'll have to check on the weather forecast to see what to do about windows/cooling etc.

I'm going to take my laundry, as it's so much easier to do it there than at home.

On the way I'll be buying bread-and-butter gifts. I plan to get a couple of loaves of their favorite bakery bread and maybe a carton of Seagram's Escapes.

Free Day Revoked

August 10th, 2018 at 11:37 am

I thought today would be a free day, but DIL has to work (because of being on vacation next week) so I have to be a grandma!

Yesterday I took GS2 to the pool. He has a pass, but I have to pay for a guest pass, which is $8. And he bought a $4 ice cream treat.

I also spent $4 on fish feeder blocks to use while I'm on vacation.

Variables are up to 50%.

Our jam-making experiment went well, I think. I haven't tasted the result, but all the jars sealed. I sent one home with GS2.

I have a question for the jam-makers here. What is the best way to skim the foam? I feel like I took too much of the jam away, while still leaving too much of the foam. I used a big shallow spoon.

It certainly was a messy job, generating lots of dishes and stickiness everywhere.

Today I have to fill the car trunk with garage sale boxes, even though I'm going to Michigan first. When I come back on Wednesday, I won't have any help. Today I'll have GS2's help. Maybe on Wednesday I can fill the back seats myself. We'll see. If only I had an elevator!

Plans & Preps

August 9th, 2018 at 01:09 pm

My BFF's mom passed away yesterday morning. The funeral is planned for the 16th. I will be able to make it, but I will have to leave Michigan Wednesday morning, sleep at home, and then take off early Thursday to go the funeral. BFF says I can stay overnight at her place, as most family will be staying in hotels. But if I'm still standing, I'll drive home. It will be a long day. I live about 3 hours from both my Michigan and Indiana locations, but, of course, in opposite directions.

I ran a few more errands yesterday, getting gas ($28), bulk-size food storage bags ($16) and bread ($2). I also went to the library and got a new book to read, as well as an audiobook to listen to on the road.

I promised GS2 we would make blueberry jam today. I haven't tried to make jam for a long time -- hope it goes well.

I'll have a free day tomorrow before I head to Michigan.

The decluttering/garage sale project is going well. I have started on the last area, the basement storage area. The first box yielded mostly things for cheap sale, but one vintage item I will put on eBay. I have a growing collection of things to sell on eBay. When I finish the decluttering, I will list them, and whatever doesn't sell will go into the garage sale.

I will be glad when I can reclaim my dining room!

Late Mystery Shop

August 8th, 2018 at 01:16 pm

Last night I did a mystery shop at 9:30 pm. I didn't get home till 10:15 or so (took the wrong route home) and then I had to complete the survey. So I didn't get to bed till 11, which is late for me. Of course my cat woke me up at the usual time, so I'm feeling pretty sleepy. But I can't nap; I have grandma duty today.

I did another load of laundry yesterday for $1.50.

I bought groceries for $7, using a $5 gift card from Target.

Variables are 39%.

I used my Panera gift card to buy a couple of bagels, which my grandson and I had for lunch with the rest of the sandwich spread I'd made the day before. No cost.

We had heavy rain and flash foods in the early evening which made me wonder if I should even attempt the mystery shop, but it cleared up before it was time to go.

I'll be spending more than a weekend at my brother's; he graciously invited us for the rest of the week after learning that my kids had taken vacation time at work. Don't know how I missed that conversation, but I guess I did! So I'll be contributing to the cost of feeding us next week. I'll need to get more feeder blocks for the fish and poor Iggy will have to spend some more time alone (he hates it!) And I will need to fill the tank again today.

I'll be glad when the summer draws to a close -- it will be more restful.

BFF's mother continues to hang in there. I hope she finds peace soon.

Yesterday's Spending

August 7th, 2018 at 11:56 am

Spent $1.50 on laundry yesterday after Iggy threw up on his quilt. I threw in the towels to make it a full load.

Otherwise, it was a no-spend day. I took GS2 to a local frozen yogurt shop because I had a coupon for a free serving. I didn't get any yogurt for myself.

I made sandwich filling from cream cheese, walnuts and olives, and GS2 loved it! That was a surprise -- I thought it would be too savory for him. I also added some Trader Joe's Everything seasoning.

I have a mystery shop tonight. I accepted it over the phone and didn't understand that I was assigned to be there just before the restaurant closed. It closes at 10 pm and it's about a half-hour away. I don't have much interest in eating at that time of night. I wouldn't have accepted it had I understood, but I thought he was saying I just had to be there any time before closing. This is an annoyance, but I'll do it.

There's been a misunderstanding about the Michigan trip coming up. I thought son & DIL would be working on Monday and so told my brother we would all leave on Sunday. Turns out son & DIL will be on vacation the following week and they were planning on staying longer. I honestly don't remember any discussion about a longer stay, but I admit I am getting more spacey, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed, as I have been lately. So I have a call in to my brother, which he is not returning, and I'm feeling like everyone is mad at me.

I found a double entry in my checking register -- I added my TIAA payment twice. I wondered why the balance was so high. I corrected that, and I'm still in the black. Then I made some corrections in my variables spreadsheet, and it is higher than I thought -- 36%.

As I said -- spacey!


August 6th, 2018 at 11:56 am

When I checked in last night, I forgot to report that variables are now at 32%, with 16 days to go. I am supposed to go back to Michigan this weekend, which means more gas. And I will be going back to Indiana soon for a funeral. (Not sure if I will be able to do both.) Other than that, I don't think there are any unusual expenses to worry about.

I left my AC on while I was gone this past weekend, because it was so very hot, and I didn't want my cat to suffer. The AC is still on, though summer storms are expected today and may give us some respite. So I'm sure I can expect an unusually high electric bill.

I'm still doing fine on food, as long as I'm not picky about what I eat!


August 5th, 2018 at 09:45 pm

I got back from my trip to Indiana about an hour ago. BFF's mom is "actively passing," as they put it in the health center, but she may hang on for a week or even two. The first time I went to see her, she was very uncomfortable and struggling in her bed. They have since shortened the interval between morphine doses and she is now much more peaceful. But she does not connect with anyone, she is in her own zone.

BFF is all over the place emotionally, which is not surprising.

When we weren't at the health center, we were cleaning and straightening the house in anticipation of overnight guests. We did go out for dinner last night, which she covered.

Her brother will arrive today and I hope he can help her through some of her mood swings and anxieties.

I will go back for the funeral, when it comes. I think she will have ample help from family until then.

It was a pretty low-spend trip. I had enough gas in the car to get there and back. I spent $14 on road food.

I'm exhausted!

Oh yes -- another expense. My tollway pass refreshed -- $40.

Back to Normal

August 2nd, 2018 at 01:42 pm

Thank you for your get well messages!

I am better today, feeling ready to tackle grandma duty again. GS2 is coming over in about a half hour. I vacuumed the house (because he sits on the floor a lot) and now I am bushed!

My BFF's mother has just gone into hospice care. She has been in a facility a pretty long time with dementia, and she no longer recognizes her family. Her oxygen levels have diminished and she doesn't want to eat, so her team decided it was time.

BFF is thrown for a loop, even though she has been expecting this for a long time. Expecting and experiencing are two different things. I offered to go down and stay with her this weekend, but first I have to see how well I get through this day.

I did another $1.50 load of laundry yesterday -- had to, to wash a "sick" towel, so I just washed everything I could find to make a full load. I shouldn't have to do laundry again for a while.

I don't know if it was the way I was feeling, but I seem to have been in an apocalyptic mood for entertainment lately. In the last few days, I watched "The Road," "How it Ends" and five episodes of "The Rain." I guess when I'm feeling bad, it makes me feel better to see problems that are so much worse!


August 1st, 2018 at 01:00 pm

It was a bad day yesterday, and I didn't sleep much last night, but this morning I woke up feeling better. I still have a stomachache but I am much improved. I did have to bow out of child care today.

I did two loads of laundry yesterday, just trying to keep up with the mess my illness was making. $3.

I found a big error in my variables table -- I neglected to remove the income I am no longer getting from the College. Duh! Kind of what Gap Year is all about. So last month, my first month of Gap Year, I actually came in at 99%. Well, at least I was still under. This month's, so far, is 13%.

I took a shower this morning, and when I get some energy back, I'll put fresh sheets on the bed. This will make such a big difference in how I feel.

I ate only crackers yesterday (which I didn't manage to keep down.) Today I had a piece of unbuttered toast. Here's hoping. This should help out my food budget, anyway.

Yesterday evening there was a concert in the park behind my building. Two different bands played music from the 60's. My window was open and I enjoyed a free concert while lying in my bed. Would have been fun to be there, if I were not feeling so bad. But I'm hopeful that I'll be almost back to normal tomorrow.