My spending was so high in December. Here's the recap, since I do not plan to spend anything today:
Car Repair/Maintenance: 749
Eating Out: 62
Vet/Pet Supplies: 25
Household Supplies: 12
Grand Total: 4,468
Yeah, wow to the gift total. Part of that is donations to grandchildren's college funds, but it is mostly Christmas. I have to do better next year. I blame gap year to some degree -- until September, my income was too low to even think about buying ahead. Then from October to November I was slammed (literally) with car costs, so everything fell on December's budget. I did not find many bargains.
The car repair was the cost of my 30K service. In hindsight, I should have deferred this till January, but, oh well. Didn't know it would be so high.
Insurance (auto)-- paid it early, since I put it on a credit card to avoid withdrawal from my checking account, thus easing the January budget a little. The semi-annual premium is just a little higher than it used to be, which is a reflection of the newer car and not a punishment for the two claims I made this fall.
Groceries -- higher than usual, mostly due to hosting a party.
Fees/Services -- wheel tax, a parking ticket, replenishment of I-Pass.
Everything else is pretty much in line, business as usual.
My annual spending was $34,090, just a little bit lower than 2018's $34,752.
Car Repair/Maintenance: 2,216
Vet/Pet Supplies: 825
Eating Out: 717
Household Supplies: 268
Home Repair/Maintenance: 170
The unusual expenses here are:
The new car (under Equipment), which was about $5,000 more than what I got from insurance after the wreck.
The new hip (under Medical), which was about $1,000 out of pocket.
Car repair -- two months with bills over $500 and two months with bills over $200.
Just a note -- the mystery about the prescription cost doubling is solved. When I looked at the bottle, I saw that I had twice the the usual amount of pills. Duh!
I had terrible sleep last night but I'm going to the gym this morning before I fall apart for the day.
Tomorrow I'll have a few words about how I will try to cut costs in the coming year.
Archive for December, 2019
My spending was so high in December. Here's the recap, since I do not plan to spend anything today:
The hot water is being turned off today -- for the whole day -- so I got up early and took my shower and I put a load of laundry in. (I like to wash in warm water.) I don't really have any other plans for the day. Snow is coming down, so it's a good day to stay in. Though I don't think the snow will stick until this evening.
Oh, here is one plan. I will probably finish my last library book today, so I will go to the library to get some more. I cannot go to bed without a book to read.
I walked to the store yesterday, which was about 6,000 steps. I was pretty tired when I got home. I spent $4 on an onion, celery, and two loaves of bakery sourdough bread. I bought the bread because it was a BOGO deal and I really like it. I now have three and a half loaves of bread in the freezer, but it will all get used.
I did more than 8,000 steps altogether yesterday, which exceeds my Fitbit goal. I need to be better about doing that more often.
I did not actually make the pea soup yesterday. I did the first step of sauteing the chopped onion and celery, but then I put the pot in the fridge. I wasn't hungry, because I'd had leftover pizza for lunch. I am getting so I don't really crave a third meal every day. Just breakfast and lunch seem to be fine. I will finish off making the soup today. For lunch!
It dawned on me yesterday that I had not paid the mortgage yet. I had transferred the money to my savings account in the credit union, but I did not then transfer it to the mortgage account. For some reason I have to do it in two steps like that. So I transferred the money, rounding it up with a little extra toward principal. I believe it is due on the first, so that is cutting it close. Whew!
I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of the new year. I am hoping 2020 will be a year in which I can redeem my finances. But you can't control bad luck, which was my bugaboo in 2019, so I'll just concentrate on being the ant, shoring up for the winter. A little bit at a time, and consistently.
I went to the gym yesterday and afterwards went to Food4Less, where I bought split peas and poultry seasoning - $4. I want to use up my leftover ham in split pea soup. I looked up a recipe and it turns out I also need to get an onion and some celery, so I'll go back to the store today. Maybe I will walk, if the rain lets up enough.
Our building is getting a new water heating system on Monday, so there will be no hot water all day. I'm trying to plan for that. It will mean no shower, no laundry, and no running the dishwasher. I'm washing my hair today! And running one load of laundry.
I got a packet from United Healthcare which lays out their new program for free OTC medications and health-related items. (This is for Medicare Advantage clients.) They have apparently contracted with Walmart to provide the goods. The benefit is the same, moneywise -- $50 per quarter. But you have to use a registered ID card and select items from Walmart's website. Looks like it will be more cumbersome, but, it also looks like there may be a larger range of items to choose from. I registered my card, but I am not eligible for anything yet. I assume eligibility will kick in mid-January, like it was on the old system.
Yesterday I went to the vet's and spent $19 on prescription cat food. Then I went to Walgreens and got a prescription refilled. It was $20 -- twice as much as it was last time, and they did not have an explanation. I had them check the GoodRx price and it would have been $71. On the way out of the store I gave $5 to a panhandler. I guess because it's Christmastime, and because I was moved by his simple and dignified request.
Variables are at 75%, but about $2000 in unusual expenses (Christmas gifts and car repairs) was not counted. Sigh. It's going to be a struggle to pay all that off without paying any interest. I called the insurance company yesterday and had them put my semi-annual auto insurance payment on a credit card, so that will at least delay a chunk of what I have to pay this January. February should be easier.
Like others, I am musing about the year end and the year to come. I won't do my recap until the 31st, but I'm pretty sure it will be higher than last year. Next year, as I have stated before in a comment, will be a year of recovery for me. I want to pay off the car, and build up savings. Everything else is on hold -- except I do want to squeeze in a trip to Oregon because it's just been too long since I have seen my son's family.
I can say that it looks like my net worth actually went up by $2,000, so that's a pleasant surprise.
Christmas Day was great! Loved the movie, "Little Women," and we found a Chinese restaurant that was open. I had some lo mein which, even though advertised as "small," was big enough for three meals. Spent $7 at the movie and $11 for dinner.
Another friend joined us and we played games and just had a really good time together.
The following morning we went out for breakfast to a diner that was so cheap! And good, too. I spent $4 for the meal and left $1 for the waitress. Then we went to Goodwill, where I spent $26. Mostly bought gifts, which included jelly jars, and I also found a string of white Christmas lights that worked. I treated myself to three sweaters -- Merry Christmas to me! Before I left town I filled up for $23.
I did not buy any food on the road either on the way there or back. I usually do, so that was restraint on my part.
I listed to a free audiobook that I checked out through "Libby," (having finally figured out how to the use the media feature in my car). So all in all it was a pretty frugal trip.
Now it's back to reality.
I got $250 from the insurance company yesterday. That is half of my deductible for repairing the new car. Apparently the other driver did admit 50% responsibility.
I am still expecting $500 from the accident in October. I was charged the deductible even though my car was totaled, and the other driver is responsible to pay it. Apparently the other insurance company is fighting it, or lagging on it. No wonder, that accident damaged seven cars and totaled four of them.
And I am still awaiting $800 from the warranty company for the portion I did not use. I was told it would take sixty days, which would mean the end of December. Any time now.
I sent $600 to my Oregon DS for the grandkids' college fund. I wasn't able to do that last year, but I am reinstating that tradition this year. I already told my local DS that I would make the contribution for their kids in January. I am hoping the $800 will arrive to help grease the wheels. I am not real hopeful about the $500.
I'm heading down to Indiana tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with BFF. The weather is cooperating. It should be clear sailing through the city. I am only going to stay one night, because I don't like to leave Iggy alone longer than that, now that his health is declining. Today I'm just tooling around, getting little things done, reading, and catching up on Mrs. Maisel!
I had a lot of turkey left over from my Christmas party, so I made turkey noodle soup for lunch. It is smelling so good! It is so simple to make. The meat was already cubed. I just added it to chicken broth, put in some fettucine (broken up so it's not so long) and a bunch of seasonings (basil, bay leaf, parsley, and a combo spice from Penzey called Northwoods). The broth is made from a jarred soup base from Sam's. I noticed that my brother, the retired chef, uses it when he makes soup, and it is so good. And cheap!
I went to the gym this morning and then stopped on the way home to get a haircut. It was $25 because I gave my stylist a Christmas bonus tip. Not much, but I know every little bit helps. She is a young newlywed and can't go home for Christmas, since home is on the west coast, and she and her husband have to work. I know she is feeling it, but I trust that she and her friends will figure out a good way to celebrate.
My neighborhood is so quiet! I think everyone is gone! There are a lot of young people who are in some way involved with the university, and when school is out of session, they all seem to go somewhere else. I look forward to going down to see BFF again, but I'm also enjoying the lovely calm of these few days.
I really wore myself out getting ready for our family Christmas party. And I made way too much food, which I have to deal with now. But overall I think it went very well. I got some lovely gifts, and I think everyone liked my gifts to them, or at least they put on a good act!
Unfortunately, something I ate disagreed with me and I had an awful night of unmentionable distress. I checked with the others, and it was just me, so I'm glad about that. At least I didn't give my guests food poisoning. My digestion is so much more sensitive than it used to be, and I haven't learned my limits yet.
Before the party I spent $24 at the grocery store, and that was my only spending. My plan to keep grocery spending low in this high-spending month hasn't worked out so well. My variables overall are at 61%, but that doesn't count Christmas gifts or car repair. I've got some work to do to get back on an even keel.
Today I'm doing laundry and just generally cleaning up. The dishwasher has already run twice. I was supposed to meet BFF and her family downtown, but I am not feeling well enough, and I will get to see her on Christmas Day, anyway.
I got home last night around 7 but it seemed like midnight. It was a grueling trip on the highway -- so much traffic, and slow going.
I had a nice time at the retirement party and got to talk to some other old friends in addition to my old boss. He seemed really pleased that I had made the effort to come.
The trip was a bit costly. I spent $60 on food and gas, as well as $43 for the pizzas I will serve later today, at our family holiday party. I also spent less than $10 for some little stuff at Goodwill, some of it gifts for next year.
I have lots to do today, and I am so tired! But I knew I would be. Today I have to pull together a meal and clean up the house, as well as pay the bills. I'll get started on that right now!
I'm leaving in just a few moments for my Indiana trip.
Today was payday. I updated my spreadsheet but I will handle the bills and such when I get home. The deposit is still pending -- and anyway, I don't want to take the time, or rush the process.
I took the boys to music lessons last night and we went out for dinner afterwards. They chose Culver's. The total was $18. I introduced them to the game of twenty questions and they loved it! They could hardly wait to teach this "new" game to their parents.
Okay, I'm on my way! Hoping for good roads!
Good heavens, I'm really losing it. This morning I went to the post office to mail a Christmas card to a special friend. It was one of those 3-D cards so it had to go in a padded mailer. I didn't have one, so I picked one up at the post office. I stuck three stamps on it and put it in the letter drop.
When I got home I realized - duh - I hadn't paid for the mailer. I didn't even go to the window. So I went back and told them what I had done and paid for it (1.79). Then I asked how much postage one of those mailer requires. Whoops! Way more than I put on, because it was now a package, not just a Christmas card!
The people at the post office were so nice. They tried to retrieve my "package" but it was already gone. So my friend will have to pay the difference, or, it may be returned to me and I'll have re-mail it -- and it will be late.
I sent him an email to explain. I hope he is amused.
Other spending today was .50 for parking, so it has not been a big-spending day.
Tomorrow I am heading to Indiana for my old boss' retirement party, and I'll be back on Thursday night. Looks like the weather will cooperate, though a cold front is expected. As long as it doesn't snow!
I got the jam made yesterday, though I did not find the original recipe I used last year. This batch is a little thicker and less sweet than last year's -- but it is still good!
Then I grocery-shopped for the food I could buy ahead for our family Christmas party, spending $51.
This morning I went to the gym, and mailed off a rather long form to the insurance company that is handling a claim against me. I can't understand how the woman behind this can believe that I am solely responsible for a backup bump in a parking lot, but there are all kinds. I thought she had agreed to a 50/50 settlement, but still this is dragging on.
I am now on the winter plan for filling up the tank -- that is, I fill up when it gets down to half full. I did that this morning - $20. I remember -- and it was not that long ago -- when I was surprised that I spent $20 on a full tank. Now it's twice as much, and I don't even blink.
Yesterday's big event was my grandsons' recital. It was held in a retirement community, because their teacher always likes to combine performance experience with entertainment for the elderly. They actually had two "shows" yesterday -- one for the regular folks, and one for those in the memory-loss unit. She didn't require the kids to stay for the second show, just those that could and wanted to. My grandsons wanted to, so we were there the whole afternoon. It was very heart-warming; I was so proud that the boys wanted to do this without any prodding. And they both did a very good job performing. GS1 played a Bach concerto and Pachelbel's Canon on the violin. GS2 played a tune called "Evening Song" and the theme from Star Wars on the piano.
Unfortunately, DIL was not able to attend. Their cat had eaten a lot of string and had to go to the vet. The cat is home now. Most of the string has been pooped out and they are on the watch for more. Cats! Why do they do this? Iggy eats toilet paper. I cannot keep a roll (or a box of Kleenex) anywhere in his reach!
Okay, so none of this finance-related. But it did make for a no-spend day.
I haven't gotten around to making the jam yet, so that's my goal today. I have to find the recipe I used last year (for cranberry-orange jam) which is on the internet somewhere. Hope I will recognize it, as it was a good one.
Nothing new to report except that I spent $21 on groceries yesterday at Sam's.
It's supposed to snow today. We've been lucky so far except for that freaky snowstorm on Halloween. Winter is coming, and I don't look forward to it at all!
I ordered sleeping bags for the Oregon crew, and altogether they were $135, after several discounts. (I am trusting they do not know about or read my blog!) They were on their Amazon lists, so it wasn't my idea, but I am very pleased to give them something I am sure they will use for adventures in their new location.
It was another calm day. Today I am heading out to the gym, and then will stop at Sam's.
I am loving having this break in my Christmas preparations. I got started much earlier than usual and it has paid off. My next event is my grandsons' recital on Saturday, and then next Wednesday I will go down to BFF's for a day of fun before I go to my old boss' retirement party on Thursday. Then it's home again to get ready for the Christmas celebration with my local family on the 20th, before they all head to Florida. I am hosting, but I will make it as easy as possible, with pizzas and salads for dinner, and orange rolls and eggnog for treats. I will be bringing the pizzas from the Indiana town where BFF lives -- we all used to live there, and these particular pizzas are a favorite of all from way back.
On the 21st BFF's family is coming to Chicago for the Christkindl market and other holiday fun, and I will meet up with them for the day. Then on Christmas Day I will head down to BFF's again to spend the day, which will include seeing "Little Women" and going out for Chinese food.
This is unusual, since I usually don't see much of BFF during this time of year. It's just worked out this way.
It's a lot of driving, and I am hoping for good weather.
In financial news, my variables are at only 31%! That's because I did not include either the gift category nor the car repair category. Those are too big to cash flow. Hoping January will be a good recovery month, though I will have to pay my semi-annual car insurance. It is a little more than it used to be, what with having a newer car. Very small increase, though.