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Archive for November, 2020

Last Day of November

November 30th, 2020 at 05:02 pm

I did some online Christmas shopping today, totalling $190.  I had decided ahead of time that I could spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $40-50 per person.  The gifts I got for my grandsons are a little under, so I will give them a little cash, too.

My big gifts will be money for college to all four grandchildren.  I'll take care of that after pay day in the middle of December.  I'm not sure yet how much I can afford to give this year.

It's the last day of the month and variables are at 98%.  I'll post my November recap tomorrow, even though it's basically done, and I doubt that I will spend anything today.

Yesterday I made 12 pints of broth -- 10 beef and 2 chicken.  I was using up the refrigerated soup base that endured the power outage.  Everything I read said that it would be fine if the broth was boiled, so that's what I did.  All of it went into the freezer for future cooking.  The freezer is full again.  I hope there are no more power outages!


November 27th, 2020 at 04:21 pm

Thanksgiving was nice.  Our restaurant-purchased meal was good, games were fun, and Zoom brought us closer to loved ones far away.  Masks were worn, windows were open, so I'm hoping the six of us came out of the experience safe.

I'm wondering if, after all this time, I should restart a new blog, since I can't change anything on my sidebar.  It will just get more and more out of date, and frankly, I'm really annoyed that others can change their sidebar and I cannot.  What on earth can be wrong?  I would have left it blank had I known it was going to be permanent. 

On the other hand, if I start a new blog, am I just buying more trouble?

Aldi Trip via Instacart

November 24th, 2020 at 03:06 pm

Last night I picked up groceries at Aldi via Instacart.  The total was $38, and variables are now at 74%.

I will do this again, but this experience was a bit rocky.  The communication was not good.  When I was notified that my order was ready, I notified the shopper via the app that I was on the way.  Aldi is 15-20 minutes away.  The shopper seemed to think I was telling her I was already there and I got a notification that she was looking for me.  Then she called me, and told her I would be there in two minutes.  When I got there ... crickets.   Nobody around but regular shoppers.  Now, I parked in the wrong place, because it was dark and couldn't see the signs, and that was my fault, but I was watching the door, and no one was coming out with a big load of groceries.

I tried calling the shopper, but for some weird reason the call went to MY OWN PHONE, which was not helpful.  It wasn't a fluke, I tried this numerous times and even left voice mail on my own phone.  Finally she came out, when I was starting to believe that I must have accidentally placed the order at the wrong Aldi.

The other thing that was a bit awkward was that the groceries were packed in rather short paper bags without handles.  I had to transfer them to my own totes so that I could carry them upstairs.

Next time I will park in the right place and I will not notify the shopper until I am there.  The "on the way" button doesn't seem to work right, and the "call the associate" button DEFINATELY does not work right.

I was lucky when I got home that there was a parking place not too far away from my door.  I was also lucky I could park on the right side of the street, so I won't get a ticket from the street sweepers.  Later today I will have to move my car to the other side.  I will take the opportunity to drive to the library and return some books, and get some new ones.  I should be able to do this with no contact.

We are forging ahead with our pared-down Thanksgiving plans.  I will bring some deviled eggs.  But we are taking health guidelines seriously.  Most of the meal will be prepared food from a restaurant.   We will eat separately, by household, and wear masks at all other times.  We will socially distance, and I know I will wash my hands constantly.  I am hoping hard that we will not add to the problems the country is currently experiencing.

Sidebar Not Working for Me

November 22nd, 2020 at 04:11 pm

I was so hopeful when others reported their sidebars are working.  Alas, mine is not.  Is there a trick I don't know?

Just wanted to say, my net worth is going up!  At the end of last year, it was $201K, and this year -- to date -- it is $206K.  And that is without fiddling with the value of my condo.  I haven't had a raise, or anything, so I guess I am managing my money better, and the small portion of my retirement account that is invested in the stock market is doing well.  I am somewhat surprised, given all the surprise expenses I have had this year.


November 21st, 2020 at 03:54 pm

This morning I ordered a pair of leggings from Lands End.  $31.  I have found in the past that Lands End clothing fits me well, so here's hoping.  If I like these leggings I may order more.  It's a higher price than I would like to pay, but these are unusual times.

I think they will make good pajama bottoms, in addition to serving as leggings!

Variables are at 70%.

Looking forward to another day at home.  No plans to go out until I pick up my groceries on Monday.

Online Christmas Shopping, Instacart, Thanksgiving

November 19th, 2020 at 04:46 pm

I did a bit of Christmas shopping online yesterday.  I spent $186.

I also ordered groceries from Aldi via Instacart.  I spent $53 but got a $20 discount for being a first-time user, so only $33 out of pocket.  The groceries will not be ready for pickup until Monday at 7 pm.  I guess there is a surge in curbside pickup; not surprising.  I have plenty of food on hand to get by till then.  The groceries have not been charged to me yet, so variables are at 66%, not counting them.

After lots of going back and forth in my mind, I have decided I will join my family for Thanksgiving.  There will only be six of us, and plans have already been made for open windows, food ordered from a local restaurant, and eating in separate rooms, according to household.  When we are in the same room, we will wear masks.  We will play games after dinner, wearing masks.  

It will not be 100% safe, like staying home would be, but I think it is an acceptable level of risk, and it will be good for my mental health!  

I should add, I will not be traveling.  This is local family -- my son, DIL, grandsons, and ex.  Ex's wife will be traveling to be with her daughter, so it will just be the six of us.

Pay Day

November 18th, 2020 at 02:09 pm

Pay days are so undramatic anymore, which is good!  This morning I paid my mortgage and two credit card bills in full.  

Today I'm going to start looking at Amazon wish lists and start ordering for Christmas.

But what I really want for Christmas -- a vaccination!

Electrical Work Done

November 18th, 2020 at 01:12 am

The electrician came today -- actually it was two of them -- and they worked for hours.  When it was all done, I gave them a check for $858.  As I told a friend, that's a lot of labor and lot of money for something that doesn't show!  But of course it's necessary.  One thing does show, however.  I have a new ceiling light in the hall, in a spot where the old fixture was in the way of a cabinet door.  Big improvement.

Laundry is going up.  Yesterday, while taking my laundry down, I ran into a technician who was changing the coin trays so that they would each accept another quarter.  Yep.  It will be $1 to wash, $1 to dry.  It was .75 each till now.  Well, at least that will be easier to add up.  But I will go through quarters even faster, which isn't good in this time of coin shortages and the need to stay inside.

The technician very nicely gave me one free load since I was caught unawares.

I guess that's it!  Tomorrow is payday.

Discover paid off

November 16th, 2020 at 03:49 pm

I logged into my Discover account this morning and verified that the balance has been paid off.  No other financial news, but that's good news!

My fridge is looking quite bare.  There are a lot of things I could buy, but we are under a stay-at-home advisory, and I intend to be very vigilant.  Grocery shopping is permitted, but no grocery shopping is better!  I may eventually use my Instacart account and buy some groceries from Aldi.  I can pick them up curbside.  I haven't done this before, but son has, and he said it was pretty slick.

Anyway, I made of list of meals I can make without going shopping, and it's pretty impressive, considering -- meatless spaghetti, French onion soup, trail mix, peanut butter sandwich, tuna sandwich, tuna macaroni salad, mac & cheese and quiche.  According to the websites, the cheeses I had on hand -- hard and unopened, will be safe.

Tomorrow the electrician is coming.  That would worry me a little bit, except that the last time he was here, for the evaluation, he was very, very careful about keeping his distance, wearing a mask -- he even wore footies that he left outside the door.

Today I'm doing three loads of laundry.  That will be lots of exercise up and down the steps!

Another Birthday

November 14th, 2020 at 04:34 pm

Today is my grandson's birthday.  Later we will get together briefly in a small group for cupcakes and I will give him $50, which is what he wants.  Yesterday was my granddaughter's birthday.  I sent her an Amazon package several days ago.  In two weeks it will be my son's birthday.  I ordered his gift yesterday -- clothing he picked out on Amazon -- and it will arrive on Friday.  It was $50, after using discounts.  Variables are now 43%.

Now that the birthdays are all handled, I can start thinking about Christmas.


Balance Transfer Fee

November 13th, 2020 at 02:51 pm

I looked at my credit union account this morning, and it posted a balance transfer fee of $44.  I added that to my spending spreadsheet.  Variables are at 37%.

Yesterday I made strawberry sauce, which I will have on pancakes today.  Today I will make some spaghetti sauce with mushrooms.

There is a lot of room in my fridge and freezer, with all the compromised food gone.  Still, I have plenty of food in the pantry.  I'm going to stretch it as far as I can.

Chicago is under a 30-day stay-at-home advisory.  I'm going to do my best to honor it.

Balance Transfer

November 12th, 2020 at 03:03 pm

I transferred my Discover balance to my credit union credit card this morning.  It is interest-free for 12 months.  I set up a payment reminder to myself to get it paid off in 10 months.  What I like about this offer is that I didn't have to get a new credit card.  I can use one I already have.

Now that I have that big chunk handled, I can concentrate on paying off the electrical contractor, and buying Christmas presents.

I still wish I could update my sidebar.  I keep mentioning it here, because I can't use the "contact us" link either.  So I hope someone who can do something is reading this.

If Not for Bad Luck ....

November 11th, 2020 at 05:53 pm

I would have no luck at all.  Sometimes I feel that way.  Yesterday evening, after spending almost $100 on groceries, my power went out in a storm and stayed out for 18 hours.  A lot of the food I bought will have to be thrown away.  Sometimes I just feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall.

Had I been more on the ball I could have saved some of it, but it was black as pitch in the house and I didn't think the power would be out so long.  It's never been out more than a few minutes before.

I didn't get much sleep, because I was so upset.  This morning, there was no heat and no hot water.  I had to keep driving around so I could charge my phone.  It was dismal.  Thank goodness things are back to normal, but now I have the task of getting rid of all that compromised food.  Sigh.


November 10th, 2020 at 05:42 pm

I just got back from Aldi, where I spent $98, on the nose.  I decided that I would stock up while I was there, in hopes that I won't have to go out again this month, and maybe longer.

My grandson's birthday is this weekend.  He asked for cash, and I have it ready for him, but I don't have a card.  Maybe I will make him one.  I haven't heard if there is going to be a gathering, but if it isn't an outdoor gathering, I won't go.  I am really getting uncomfortable with indoor gatherings, even small ones.

It is really good news that there may be an effective vaccine on the horizon!  I would be in the number 2, group, as I am over 65 and have kidney disease, which increases my risk of dying from COVID by 3. Frown

Variables, by the way, are at 32%, just about right for being about a third of the way through the month.

Granddaughter's Birthday

November 8th, 2020 at 06:04 pm

My granddaughter's birthday is coming up, so I picked out some things from her Amazon list and they will be sent to Oregon soon.  After using discounts, the cost was $40.  I wish I could be there to hug her instead, but that is not possible now.

Yesterday evening I went to my ex's house, along with my son's family, and we watched the speech of the president-elect and toasted with champagne.  A very fun evening with loved ones, and, I hope, the beginning of a better tomorrow.



November 7th, 2020 at 04:20 pm

Lunch with BFF yesterday was so much fun.  The damage -- I spent $33 on a birthday gift for her (I got there early, so popped into a shop), $30 on lunch, and $20 on miscellaneous shopping -- Christmas and housewares.

It was a very pretty day, unseasonably warm.  We ate outside and, after poking around in a few shops, we sat on a park bench and talked for at least an hour.  We wore masks while in the shops, but I noticed some other people weren't, even though it is mandated.  I hope I didn't pick up the virus!

This morning I did a load of laundry - $1.50.  There is at least one book on hold for me at the library, but I think I will wait -- I have five days to pick it up -- and see if more turn up.

Can anybody edit their sidebar, or is it just me?

Football Pool

November 4th, 2020 at 06:35 pm

I've been in my family's football pool for the whole season so far, but my son, who is the moderator is only now asking for the $35 fee.  He didn't before because he didn't know how the season would play out what with COVID and all.

So I sent $35 to him via PayPal.  I had to send it from savings, which is a drag.

I just got a 0-percent balance transfer offer from my credit union, and I think I will use it to pay off my Discover card this month, which will top $2K and is really messing up my budget.  What with a bunch of birthdays, and Christmas, coming up, I need some slack.

In other news, I'm planning to meet BFF this Friday for her birthday -- again at the midway point in Indiana.  I haven't been shopping, so I'm going to scour my home for a gift.  I have a gift stash in my closet which might yield something.  We are quite modest in our gift exchange, and she will totally understand why I haven't been shopping.  Our COVID numbers are staggering.