Home > Archive: November, 2018

Archive for November, 2018


November 30th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

I did my Amazon Christmas shopping yesterday for my local DS, DIL & GS's. Glad I did, as one item will not be delivered till December 17. I used a gift card, so there was no out-of-pocket spending.

Today I'll try to get it done for the Florida family.

I took the boys to music lessons yesterday and I took them to McDonald's on the way, which was $8. My DIL will reimburse me for that.

I have a mystery shop to do today, and today is also a gym day. I need to stop at Sam's for cat food as well.

I might take in a movie! I'm interested in seeing "The Favourite." I have a $3 reward for concessions which will expire today.

Not sure at this point how I will fit all this in. At least I don't have to pick up the boys today.

Another Day

November 29th, 2018 at 03:59 pm

I spent $17 at Aldi yesterday. As it turned out, I did not have to pay for my dinner out; XH picked up the tab. And I brought home half of my dinner, which I will have for lunch today.

But my Amazon Prime renewal hit, to the tune of $119.

My variables spending so far, very early in this pay cycle, is at 24%.

I'm not expecting any other big bills, and my Christmas spending will be done mostly with gift cards.

I'm negotiating with the family to change the Christmas dinner to a Christmas brunch. One member of the family is not available from 3 to 6. I'd rather get all the work done early in the day rather than late. We'll see how it goes.

Today I'm taking the boys to music lessons, as well as picking them both up from school. I have to be on my toes to get advantageous parking places so I can get to lessons on time. Last time we barely made it.

Oh, and on the good news front, my $200 check for working at the polls arrived yesterday. Hooray!

Pay Day

November 28th, 2018 at 01:09 pm

I spent 86% of my variables in November. Here is the breakdown of my total spending:

Housing: $1105
Utilities: $164
Medical/Health: $123
Phone: $104
Groceries: $95
Vacation/Travel: $73
Eating Out: $55
Personal: $54
Gas: $47
Entertainment: $43
Fees/Services: $38
Vet/Pet Supplies: $24
Gifts/Charity: $21
Fares/Parking: $20
Laundry: $18
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $10
Clothing: $10
Household Supplies: $3

Grand Total: $2007

As I said before, assessment fees and phone bills hit twice, artificially raising the total.

My average variables spending so far this year is 88%, and I am happy with that.

I'm going to do a little grocery shopping today at Aldi. In the evening I am going out to dinner with DS & family for his birthday. I bought a gift for him a few months ago, so I just need to wrap it today.

Many aches and pains today from cleaning off my car. It was not only covered in snow, but there was a thick layer of ice under the snow, which was very hard to chip off. But I got it done, and there is only light snow expected today.

Snow Day

November 27th, 2018 at 01:56 pm

We had snow yesterday, but not the amount predicted. However, I will have to clean off the car in a big way this morning when I go to the gym. I stayed in all day yesterday.

I've received all my mystery shop payments and I will have $96 to add to my variables next month (which starts tomorrow!) Plus I have $246 in Amazon credits for Christmas.

I haven't received my payment for poll work, but I looked it up, and it can take 4-6 weeks. It hasn't even been three weeks yet.

Since this has been a long month (October 24 - November 28), my assessment fees hit twice, as well as my phone bill.

I got my Christmas tree up yesterday, and half-decorated. I still have a few boxes of ornaments to add -- I just ran out of steam. I am using an old quilt for a tree skirt this year, and I love the way it looks. My Santa collection, which is always growing, will be lining the front windowsills this year.

I will shred the leftover brisket today and add barbecue sauce. I'll make some sandwiches and freeze the rest. I still have a lot of meals in the freezer, so groceries should not be too expensive this month, even though I am hosting Christmas dinner on the 16th.

My Amazon Prime renewal will hit tomorrow. I will let it renew. I still have lots of Christmas shopping to do, and I am watching the shows on TV, mainly Mrs. Maisel.

Back from Thanksgiving Trip

November 25th, 2018 at 06:12 pm

I got home from my Thanksgiving weekend this morning. I left very early, trying to avoid a predicted storm that will drop 12 inches of snow on us. So far, no snow. I won't be sad if the prediction is wrong.

I spent $73 on my little vacation. $20 for gas, $19 for bread & butter gifts, $8 for road food, and $26 for groceries. Variables are at 84% and only three days to go.

It was a really good time, great food and family fellowship. Lots of games and good times.

My brother sent me home with some brisket and ribs. We did have turkey on the main day, but these were leftovers from Friday and Saturday's meals. Sweet!

Made a little progress on my placemats while we were all sitting around and talking.

Now it's time to get serious about getting ready for Christmas....

Getting Ready

November 20th, 2018 at 01:47 pm

I got another mystery shop payment yesterday, but it was a reimbursement, so it doesn't add to my extra earnings. Still expecting more. And still expecting the check for my poll work.

I did get the $3 from Pine Cone for the survey that I wasn't sure was a survey.

I got my hair cut yesterday. I didn't have any coupons this time, so it was $18. In the afternoon, I picked up the boys at their individual schools and took them to music lessons. That tied me up until 6 pm.

Today I'm going to get ready for my trip. I have plenty of gas, but I want to get an audiobook at the library. I have packing to do, but laundry is caught up enough to do it.

I'm a little worried about the traffic tomorrow, but I have to get the boys home from school this afternoon. I could leave this evening, but I'd rather drive in the morning. So I'll leave as early in the morning as I can.

Oh, and I finally got the chili all put together and it's delicious! I had two servings yesterday. I'll have two today and then there will still be some to go in the freezer.

The Big Event

November 19th, 2018 at 01:28 pm

My grandson's recital was held at a venue called the Jazz Showcase. It was right next to Dearborn Station and it was an old building with a twenties nightclub atmosphere. Many greats have played there, including Dizzy Gillespie. Fun.

Anyway, his performance went very well -- only one little hitch in tempo. They compared very well to others. And he even won a raffle prize -- a jazz CD.

We were also treated to a short set by a professional jazz quartet, which was pretty great.

I spent $12 on parking, $20 on a late lunch/early dinner, and $5 for a ticket to the performance. Variables are 71%.

After we all came home we played a couple of rounds of "Bang!" and then the day was pretty much done. It was only five, but it seemed like ten. I didn't get anything else done.

Today I'm taking the boys to music lessons, getting a haircut, and doing laundry. And I'm going to finally finish putting together that chili!

I've made a commitment to serve Christmas dinner for the local family. The entree may be provided for me, as XH (ex-husband) gets a free ham from Rotary every year. We'll see. Other than that, it will just be the traditional sides and desserts. This will take place on the 16th, not on Christmas Day.

I thought it was time to step up, as I have been the recipient of this event for years.

Can't believe I'll be leaving for Michigan the day after tomorrow. I have to get on the stick!

Trip to the City

November 18th, 2018 at 03:35 pm

I'm getting ready to go to my grandson's Chicago debut! He will be playing a jazz piano duet with his best friend. The event is some kind of educational jazz festival.

I made Laura's chili yesterday, but instead of setting the crockpot on high, I set it on low. So I looked it up and found I needed to cook it for four more hours. Since I had started it in the afternoon, I was ready for bed when it was done! I put the crock in the fridge and later today I'll shred the chicken and add the cream cheese and heat it up on the stovetop. I think it will still be good.

I spent $3 on ingredients yesterday. Variables are now at 64%. I have a trip coming up, and I'm due for a haircut, so it will probably end up being a close one. I get paid on the 28th.

I paired up fronts and backs on the placemats and I will be able to make 12, which is the ideal number. Not sure if I'll get started on the sewing today, as a trip to the city is always an ordeal, and I'll be tired.

Mystery Shop

November 17th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

My mystery shop ended up being pretty much a wash. I bought an ornament for $15, so with the $5 reimbursement and the $12 payment, I made $2. If they give me full credit. Still, I'm glad I bought the ornament; it has special meaning and I'll always enjoy putting it on my tree. And it made more sense to me to buy something I really wanted rather than buy something I didn't want for $5. Believe me, pickins were slim for $5 items.

I did a Pine Cone survey yesterday, but I wasn't sure in the end whether I really did a survey or just the pre-survey, where you don't get paid. It's getting hard to tell; the qualifying part seems to be getting longer and longer.

I received a $6 mystery shop payment through PayPal. Still waiting for the big one.

I cut out 26 fabric rectangles yesterday. That means I can make 13 placemats. It may not be that many, since I can see that some of the colors and patterns will not go together well. Today I'll do some pairing up and make the final decisions.

Nothing on the agenda today except going to the gym. And I want to try out Laura's chicken chili. I'm not sure I have all the ingredients so I may need to make a run to the store.

A Little Money In

November 16th, 2018 at 03:13 pm

I got two of my wishes. I got a mystery shop payment ($12) and my Amazon gift cards came ($150). I have two more mystery shop payments to come, bigger ones. And eventually I will get the $200 check for working at the polls.

Yesterday was a pretty quiet day. It was both snowy and rainy and finally settled on rain. For that reason, I went and got GS1 after school, who has a pretty long walk, and a lot to carry. GS2 went to piano lessons with a friend.

Today I have a mystery shop in an adjoining suburb. On this shop I have to buy something and will get reimbursed up to $5. (I'll also get a payment.) This place will have lots of Christmas stuff, so I'm going to look for an ornament, or a little gift.

On Sunday I'm going to GS2's recital (jazz piano duet) which will be held in a downtown auditorium. I'm going to ride with DS & DIL, since parking will be an issue -- and so will driving, as the Bears game is at home. As a non-parent, I will need to buy a ticket for a whopping $5.

In a comment, I explained that my homemade gift plan has changed. I am going to give food gifts, which is more my speed (jam, bread and spicy nuts). With my Christmas fabrics, I am going to make placemats, but I am not going to stress myself getting them done. They may be a gift for next year, or they may end up being mine. Depending on how they turn out!

Busy Day Yesterday

November 15th, 2018 at 02:43 pm

My DIL's cat passed shortly after I wrote my entry yesterday. I had just called the vet to make an appointment to put her down. My son came home and the two of them took her to the vet for cremation. It was a sad beginning to the day.

However, it was GS1's birthday, and there were several distracting events in the evening. First of all, GS2 had some of his artwork displayed at a local show, so we went to see that. Then GS1 performed in a school concert. He was in both the symphonic and chamber orchestra, so he played 10 pieces! After the concert we went to his grandpa's house for gift opening, and pizza, salad, and brownie sundaes -- his choice for the meal! He was very lovely about receiving the robe from me. I think because he had already gotten the video game he wanted from mom and dad, he was in the mood to be gracious!

Mid-day I had time to go to the gym and then stop at Sam's to get Lactaid ($17) and gas ($24).

Not much going on today. Tomorrow I'm doing a mystery shop, and on Sunday GS2 performs in a piano duet at a jazz concert downtown.

Someone asked how I am doing on homemade gifts for Christmas. I haven't even started! Not sure about making potholders; I've looked up the directions and it looks a little more complicated than I thought. I am really not a very handy, crafty person!

This and That

November 14th, 2018 at 04:11 pm

I ordered myself a new shower curtain liner from Amazon, using my gift card, so there was no cost. I bought a new liner a few weeks ago, but I bought a cheap one, forgetting why I couldn't buy a cheap one. Two weeks of fighting the curtain as it drifted in and stuck to my legs, and wiping water off the bathroom floor, made me realize I had to admit my mistake and correct the situation. I read lots of reviews and I hope I selected one that will stay put. The one I bought is water-resistant fabric, weighted at the bottom, and longer.

I went to the gym and bicycled and took advantage of the bagel breakfast while I was there. I'll go back today for strength training. Then it's off to Sam's to get the dairy digestive aid. Tonight is GS1's concert and then his birthday party.

I'm making plans for Thanksgiving next week. Will probably leave home on Wednesday morning so I can help my brother with preparations (not that he needs much help!) And I'll stay till Sunday, when my nephew flies back to Florida. I tried to make plans to have lunch with my friend P, but he will be gone that whole time, so we decided to meet some time in December.

I was interrupted here -- my DIL called and asked me to stay with their cat while she took GS2 to the doctor. Their cat is dying. She is grappling with whether to have her put down or not. Since it's GS1's birthday, she really doesn't want the death to happen today. I sat with the poor kitty for about an hour and a half; she is sleeping now.


November 13th, 2018 at 01:51 pm

I'm impatient for more income -- waiting for payment from mystery shops, the county clerk's office (for poll work) and for the Amazon gift cards I ordered. And I'm wishing that some of my eBay items would sell.

Instead, I got a letter telling me that my assessment fees will rise by 5% in January, which will be about $20 more.

So far, I have only $41 to add to next month's income.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. Today may be another, though soon I will need to buy dairy-aid pills.

Someone on Freecycle offered a 40-gallon aquarium with fixtures, but I didn't reply soon enough to get it.

I finished "Pillars of the Earth," which is a very big book! I want to read the sequel, but right now I'm reading "Crows Over a Wheatfield" by Paula Sharp. I got it from one of those "little libraries."

Tomorrow is GS1's birthday. His orchestra is having a concert, so we will go to that and have the party afterward. I ordered his gift on Amazon, using a gift card, so it was free. He won't be thrilled -- it's a robe -- but I couldn't afford the toys he had on his list. I have to make my Amazon gift cards last through Christmas. Anyway, I do hope he will appreciate the robe on cold winter mornings to come.

Movie Night

November 12th, 2018 at 02:27 pm

So, I wrote a little while ago that I took GS2 to a free screening of Smallfoot. GS1 was playing in a baseball game and could not go. I promised him I would take him when it came out in the theaters if he wanted to go.

Fast forward to Saturday night. My son and DIL went to a birthday party, and I had the boys. We decided we would all three go see Smallfoot, since GS2 was happy to see it again. Since it was an evening showing it was $30 for the three of us. I also spent $4 on candy at Walgreens before we went to the show.

Yesterday I spent $30 at Aldi. So variables are now at 56%. Two weeks and two days to go.

I went to a restaurant mystery shop last night, and spent .28 above what my reimbursement will be.

Oh, and I got the review on my shoe store mystery shop and got full credit. I guess, even though it was a few hours past deadline, as long as it's in the inbox when the agent comes to work, it's okay. Anyway, I'll be careful not to be late again.

Today I'm going to be sticking around home and getting things tidied up. So I don't expect that I will do any spending.

Saturday Morning

November 10th, 2018 at 03:45 pm

I did an out-of-town mystery shop yesterday that turned out to be not such a good idea. The gas and tolls pretty much ate up the fee. And I also ended up buying lunch at Culver's because I was gone so long.

So, I filled the tank for $23, and the lunch was $6. Variables are now at 48%, with 2 1/2 weeks to go.

Part of the mystery shop was reimbursement for a small purchase. I bought something that I will try to sell on eBay. There was nothing I needed for myself.

My bonus from HSBC appeared on my account, so I redeemed the points for $150 in Amazon gift cards. This is in addition to the $150 in Amazon gift cards I got from Wells Fargo. Christmas should be stress-free this year! Plus the November birthdays (3) which are all taken care of now.

It has turned very cold today -- wind chill in the single digits -- so I'm planning to just stay in all day, unless GS1 asks me to take him to a movie.


November 8th, 2018 at 02:02 pm

I did a mystery shop yesterday, rather late in the afternoon. I didn't get my report in until this morning. I had 12 hours to get it in, but I belatedly realized that meant 5 am! I finished up when I got up at 7:30 am, so I was late. That will probably affect payment.

It was a shoe store assignment, and the deal was to get a $35 reimbursement on a pair of shoes. I spent $45. So $10 on a pair of shoes was a good deal. However, now I'm not sure now what I'll get back.

For the time being, I'll just count the $10 on variables, and if the reimbursement is denied, I'll make the adjustment.

The reason I didn't get it done last night is that I had a free movie to attend. "Green Book" will come out on Thanksgiving. It was good! Go see it! It's about race relations in 1962, but still manages to be a feel-good movie, very heartwarming, with amazing performances.

Anyway, I got home from the movie at about 10 and went straight to bed, forgetting all about the mystery shop report that I hadn't quite finished.

Today I am taking care of the boys from 4 to 9:30. May be going back to the movies, as I've promised GS1 that I would take him to Smallfoot, and this might be a good time to do that.

Also on tap for today is a gym visit, and I'll make ahead something for dinner for the boys.

Real winter is coming. Snow is forecast for tomorrow!

Long Day

November 7th, 2018 at 01:16 pm

I worked the polls yesterday, and it was a long day. I got up at 3:30, so I could be at the site by 5 am. We did not wrap up until 9:45 pm.

I was at a site with two precincts. My precinct had a light turnout, because it was mostly younger college students living in dorms. However, the other precinct, which encompassed the area around the university, brought in tons of first-time voters who were living independently in apartments. It was heartening to see. They stood in line for hours to place their vote.

I had an hour break for lunch. I spent most of that time driving home and then moving my car to a parking garage. I had a free parking place in the morning, but I realized it was too far away to walk back to at night. I would not have felt safe. I moved my car to a public garage that was very close to the church where the polling took place, and I was really glad, when we finally finished up, that I had only a few short steps to get to my car. The cost was $8, worth every penny.

My only other spending was $2 for a drink from a vending machine. I was parched. Anonymous candidates (I guess) sent in lots of food, but water was scarce.

Someone donated about thirty pizzas! It was very welcome to all the students standing in line. There were donuts and granola bars, as well; it was really quite amazing.

Today I will have the boys for a half day. I also have a mystery shop to do, so I will try to get that done before 11 am. This evening I will be seeing the free-to-me movie, Green Book.

I'm very tired. What a day! I'll be glad when the check comes, though. I think it will be $200, or close to it.

Stay-At-Home Day

November 5th, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Yesterday was a stay-at-home day. Therefore, no spending. And I stayed away from Amazon, too.

Today is a gym day, and I also have a mystery shop to do. When I get those two things done, I'll study my election manual.

I had bad dreams last night. The major theme of one of them was having to walk home in the dark through a snowstorm. I must be worried about winter coming! I was glad to wake up and find out I WAS home.

I'll probably have to fill the tank today, but I shouldn't have any other spending to do.