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Archive for October, 2020

October Recap

October 31st, 2020 at 02:13 pm

I have no plans to leave the house today, so I'm pretty sure I will do no spending.  Therefore, I put together my October recap:

Home Repair/Maintenance: $872

Housing: $824

Car Repair/Maintenance: $672

Utilities: $201

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $143

Groceries: $124

Gifts/Charity: $75

Vet/Pet Supplies: $71

Household Supplies: $67

Eating Out/Takeout: $53

Phone: $51

Gas: $34

Medical/Health: $26

Laundry: $15

Entertainment: $9

Grand Total: $3237

Variables:  101%

High points -- or low, depending on how you look at --  the home repair was half the cost of electrical work that must be done.  The other half will be paid next month.  Housing reflects the new $400 payment toward my mortgage, which is $75 extra to principal.  Car repair -- new tire, repaired tire, new ball joint, alignment.   F/E/D: a new laser printer.  Gifts: a birthday gift, cards, and $40 for Halloween gifts for the grandchildren.  Pet supplies: probiotics, cat food and a new filter for the aquarium.

I like to stay around $2400, so this was an overspending month, but most of it could not be helped.  At least I did not tap my savings, though I might have to next month.

I hope we get the sidebar problem fixed soon.  I cannot update mine.  I assure you I am not still reading the same book, and the printer has been purchased.  But I can't change it nor wipe it out.  Are any of you able to update the sidebar?

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!

Using Up Food

October 29th, 2020 at 01:43 pm

My ex's birthday was a few days ago, and I went to the family party.  It was a Mexican-themed meal, and I took Mexican slaw.  I brought home a good portion of it, as well as leftover enchiladas and Mexican rice.  I froze the enchiladas in meal portions.  Yesterday I turned the leftover slaw and rice into soup, adding a chicken soup base.  Today I'm going to add a little chicken to it, to make it heartier, and then I'll freeze it, after I eat one portion.  I still have half a cabbage, so I'm going to saute it with a red onion.  It will be a side dish.  The entree will be the chicken that does not go into the soup.

I was also sent home with almost a whole half gallon of lactose-free ice cream!

I'm planning on doing a lot of eating from the freezer in the coming month.  It will be tight financially, as I will still be paying for the electrical work.  I also have three birthdays in November, and Christmas hard on the heels of that.  This will be a challenge.

Street Sweeping

October 28th, 2020 at 07:05 pm

Today was a street-sweeping day and I had to move my car.  While I was out, I took a swing past the library drop-off bin and the post office mailbox.  When I came back home, there were no parking places to be had.  I mean, there were NONE in a three-block area.  I gave up looking, because I was just driving round and round.  I decided to do other things instead.  First I went to McDonalds to get breakfast, because I was starving.  I spent $3 there.  Then I drove to the Home Depot lot, and sat there in my car and ate my breakfast (indoor dining has been cut back again).  Then I decided to go to Sam's, to pick up some fruit and buy gas.  I bought apples, raspberries and blueberries for $17.  Since I was there, I topped off my tank for $13.  I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do, so I went home again.  This time I found a spot.  It's not my favorite place to park, as it's on a busy street (it's where my previous car was totaled while parked).  But it was my only choice, so there it is.  Tomorrow I'm going to go to the library to pick up some books on hold, so I'll move the car to a better place then.

Variables are at 96%, but the month is almost done, thank goodness.


October 26th, 2020 at 12:55 pm

I've done a lot of spending while the site has been on hiatus.  $1750 to correct electrical problems, $638 for car repairs, $39 for pet supplies, $108 for groceries, $35 for gifts, $10 for postage.  Not sure I got everything there, but the monthly recap will tell all.


October 24th, 2020 at 02:37 pm



October 19th, 2020 at 01:46 pm

Is this working now?

Electrical Smell

October 14th, 2020 at 11:04 pm

When I came home from my Indiana trip yesterday I noticed an electrical smell. It went away quickly -- that is, I got used to it quickly! But this morning I noticed it again.

I checked around and I thought the hall ceiling light might be the source. I was afraid it held bulbs with too much wattage. So I went to Home Depot and bought new bulbs, stocking up with several boxes for other places as well. I also bought a home theater surge protector, in case the tangled mess behind my TV is the problem. All told, I spent $60 there.

I called an electrician, but they cannot come until Monday. I am on the list in case they get a cancellation. It will be an $89 service call, but they will do a thorough inspection.

While I was out, I went to Aldi and spent $49. And then I went to the bank and got another roll of quarters for laundry.

I forgot to drop off my library books, but I'll do that tomorrow. Since I won't have to get out of the car, it doesn't really matter that I didn't get it done today. I try to bundle errands so that my exposure to other people is limited to one day.

My shopping today brought my variables up to 45%.

Lunch with BFF

October 14th, 2020 at 12:02 am

I had a lovely day with my BFF. We went to the same restaurant we went to last time and ate at a sidewalk table. My lunch was $28 (including tip) because I bought a full salad and crab cakes. Afterwards we went to a nearby mall, which was huge and pretty empty. We did a little shopping, but I didn't buy anything. After shopping we sat on a bench and talked for more than an hour, and then we finally forced ourselves to go home our separate ways.

I bought a Dr. Pepper for the trip home ($1.60) and, since we were parked near a grocery store, I went in and bought some borax for $7. It's been recommended to me for killing mold in the bathroom. I also spent $20 on gas and $5 on a car wash.

All this brought variables to 32%.

Bought a Printer

October 12th, 2020 at 05:48 pm

This morning I bit the bullet and bought a new laser printer from BestBuy. It was $143. I will pick it up at the store on the 15th. This will be my first experience with a laser printer and I hope it will be a good one. It comes with a sample toner that will make 700 copies, so I didn't spring for the toner yet. It will be quite a while before I reach 700 copies.

Variables are at 25%.

The weather has been so nice -- we had a family party at the lakeside park yesterday. We were celebrating my grandson's birthday, and at his request we played a board game -- "Avalon" on a picnic table. Frankly, I never really knew what was going on in the game, but I had fun anyway. I ate too much cake and I paid for it later, but I seem to be back to normal today.

Tomorrow I'm going to meet BFF at the halfway point for another lunch on the patio. It's a little rainy today so I hope it's clear tomorrow.

I'm cramming in all the fun I can before our long, hard winter!

Changing a Habit

October 8th, 2020 at 12:58 pm

I've been in the habit of posting every day. For many years, it has helped me stay on track with my spending. Just knowing I would have to 'fess up has kept me from doing things I shouldn't do.

But lately I find I am struggling to find something to say. My life has narrowed considerably with the advent of the coronavirus, and there is a sameness to my days that doesn't translate well to the written page. My finances are mostly on autopilot and I have few decisions to make.

So I have decided that I will only post when I have real financial news to post. I only say this because I don't want anyone to worry about me. I'm fine.

That said, I don't have any financial news today! But I expect I will soon. I'm not going away....

An Ordinary Monday

October 5th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

This was an uneventful Monday. I washed my sheets and towels. I heated up a pizza. I took a walk, this time into the city -- yeah, it's a very short walk to the Chicago border. I immediately turned around once there, but I did notice that there has been a lot of remedial work on the lakeshore where there was significant erosion. I was glad to see that. I also saw a guy who looked like everybody's stereotype of a white supremacist (leather vest, American flag patches, shaved hair, big bulky muscles) so nicely and and graciously helping out a black guy who was having car trouble. It really did my heart good.

I made arrangements with my son for him to come over tomorrow and get the storms back up.

This morning I woke up feeling more comfortable than I had in a few days, and I discovered that the one radiator I had turned on was giving off heat! I immediately turned on all the others. It's still pretty cool in here but just knowing the boiler is on has made it more bearable. When it gets really cold outside, the heat inside will surge. But in fact we are supposed to get a warmup the next week or so.

There were no financial events today except that I got a letter notifying me that a credit card was canceled. It was a travel card that I haven't used for the past two years. I haven't been traveling! I won't miss it; it was never much of a money-saver.

Ballot Sent!

October 4th, 2020 at 03:37 pm

It turned out I could not drop off my ballot until October 19. Since I didn't want to wait that long, I took it to the post office. I decided to go to the post office in a neighboring suburb where parking is easy and which is near my favorite burger place! I spent $10 on a drive-thru lunch, a nice diversion. It gave my car a little exercise, too.

Variables are at 7%.

In response to Lots of Idea's good comments, I decided that putting the full $300 extra on my mortgage each month was probably not warranted, since, at my age, even with extra payments, I will probably have to move before I can pay it off. I looked at a few mortgage calculators and can't find a good deal for switching to a fixed rate. Maybe because I have less than $60K to pay off? The fees, too, are prohibitive. For the time being, I'll raise my payment from $350 to $400, which will make me feel like I'm doing something to mitigate the interest, and it will give me some extra cash to do the things I need to do around the house.

My other plan is to win the lottery. Haha, just kidding, I hardly ever buy a ticket.

GS1 had a baseball game at 8 this morning, but DS forgot to put it on the calendar, so when I woke up at 7:30, it was already too late. It was a playoff game, and they haven't won any in this season, so it was probably the last game.

It's another cold day, but a warm-up is expected this coming week -- I can hardly wait!

I never heard anything about the window washing being redone, so I'm going to ask DS to put the storms back up. Truthfully, when the boiler is on, it will be so hot in here I don't need storm windows, but I might as well store them in the windows instead of dragging them down to the storage unit. Anyway, the windows look sort of weird without them.

Mail-In Ballot

October 3rd, 2020 at 01:37 pm

I got my mail-in ballot in the mail yesterday. I am going to devote some time today to researching the judges who are running for election/re-election. When I am done with my ballot, I'm taking it the drop box at City Hall. I doubt there is any real problem with the mail, but this way I won't be adding to the perceived burden.

I picked up my new reading glasses yesterday. What a crisp, clear image they create! I can get a pair every year -- much cheaper than the drugstore glasses -- so I will get some next year, too. I like to have multiples.

It remains unusually cool, and the boiler is not turned on yet, so I am wearing sweats and using lap blankets. Next week it is supposed to be warmer.

Walgreens, Glasses, Amazon, Vaccinations

October 2nd, 2020 at 03:39 pm

My trip to Walgreens yesterday cost $12 -- $7 for groceries and $5 for Halloween cards for the grands. It was a beautiful early autumn day, and made for a very nice walk.

Today I'm going to walk to the same plaza to pick up my new reading glasses.

I got a notification that my payment for the cancelled Amazon order is being refunded. I haven't checked the credit card account yet to see if it's still there. I realize it may take several days for it to disappear. It's a small relief that I don't have to take on more litter pellets!

It's been more than two weeks since my flu shot, so I can get my first Shingrix (shingles) shot any time now. Since I'm not sure how well it is covered by my insurance, I think I'll wait till pay day. Just in case. Also, because I'm not really looking forward to it, as it is a rough shot, like the tetanus shot, or so I've been warned.

September Recap

October 1st, 2020 at 03:39 pm

Housing - $1074
Insurance - $213
Medical/Health - $212
Groceries - $161
Utilities - $159
Home Repair/Maintenance - $109
Gifts/Charity - $95
Clothing - $52
Phone - $51
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $34
Eating Out/Takeout - $33
Personal - $23
Household Supplies - $20
Laundry - $18
Entertainment - $16
Gas - $12

Grand Total - $2282
Variables - 91%

Well, it was a better month than last, and I ticked off a few items. First of all, I paid $300 extra on my mortgage for the first time. This is the $300 that used to go to paying off the car.

I paid my annual condo insurance.

I had a dentist appointment, with x-rays.

I paid for service on my dishwasher, which ended up being just flipping a switch.

I had two birthdays in the family.

I bought some t-shirts and shoes

Bought a set of kitchen towels.

Got a haircut.

The charge for the litter pellets is still on my credit card.

I'm doing a load of laundry today and I'll take a walk to Walgreens later to pick up some creamer. That's one thing I don't like to be out of.

Yesterday's run to the library yielded five more books to read! Woo-hoo!