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Archive for February, 2021

February Recap

February 28th, 2021 at 04:37 pm

I won't be spending anything today, so I did my February recap:

Housing: $795

Car Repair/Maintenance: $792

Taxes: $510

Vacation/Travel: $210

Utilities: $154

Groceries: $146

Gifts/Charity: $132

Medical/Health: $84

Phone: $52

Vet/Pet Supplies: $45

Entertainment: $36

Eating Out/Takeout: $17

Gas: $16

Laundry: $14

Home Repair/Maintenance: $13

Household Supplies: $7

Grand Total: $3023

Variables: 97%


Items of note: 

The high cost of car repair involved a new battery, new tie rods, wheel alignment, oil change, new cabin filter, and new wipers.  Plus all the related labor expenses.

Taxes were my property taxes, first semi-annual installment.

Vacation/Travel - my plane ticket to Oregon.  First time I've used this category since 2019!

Utilities were low because my natural gas bill did not hit during this short month.

Groceries were higher than average ($133 last year).  Lots of fresh produce.

Gifts - one birthday, Valentines Day, various small donations

Medical/Health - Medicare Advantage premium, urgent care visit, x-ray, medical masks

Pet Supplies - Aquarium filter, fluids, needles

Entertainment - Streaming, Football Pool

Laundry - I don't know why it's so low!  I hope I counted every load!

Car Repair

February 27th, 2021 at 03:45 pm

My car repair cost $445.  That was after a $30 coupon.  They replaced two tie rods and did a wheel alignment.  I am hoping this will be it for a while.

It's promising to be in the fifties this weekend, and I'm delighted.  It will be a no-spend weekend for me, as I come to the end of the month with variables at 97%.  I plan to get out and walk, maybe even take a walk along the lake, which has been too treacherous lately.

Meals will be easy this weekend.  Yesterday I made green rice and still have plenty left over.  Today I'm going to make smashed potatoes/carrots.  Maybe that's smashed root vegetables?  Anyway, I'm working with what I have on hand that needs to be used up.

Other than that, I'm going to hole up and read!

Tax Refund

February 24th, 2021 at 04:20 pm

I don't think I mentioned a few days ago that I got my tax refund.  It is $909.  It will pay for my plane ticket, my car repair, and some left over!

I got the news last night that GS1 has been selected for the baseball travel team this summer.  Last summer, at the end of the season, he was talking about not playing baseball anymore, so this was especially sweet news.  I guess he just needed a break, and to know that he could walk away from it if he chose to.  I was wondering what I would do for entertainment!

Sunny days are continuing -- the ice and snow are melting!  But we have a ton of it, so it will be around for a while.  My biggest concern is that the vaccine delivery process doesn't get interrupted again, and that it will be a clear day when I head out for my second shot.

Ticket to Oregon

February 23rd, 2021 at 01:12 am

I bought a plane ticket today.  Finally I will visit my son in Oregon.  I have not seen my DIL or grandchildren for THREE YEARS!!!  The first year I was in my lean, gap year and couldn't afford anything but the most basic things, so I did not do any traveling.  Soon after my finances recovered, my son lost his job.  He did not want me to visit until he found a new one, moved, and got settled.  After a few months, he found this job in Oregon.  Just as I was making plans to go, the stupid pandemic hit.  It has been so, so frustrating.  I have been able to see my son a couple of times when he came to Chicago for conferences.  But to lose that time with the kids, especially -- it's been heartbreaking.

I will be fully vaccinated on March 5.  I got the ticket for May 6, because my son said that would be the best time for them.  I can't wait.  I just can't wait.

The ticket was surprisingly cheap -- only $211 round trip.  Alaska Air, which I've never flown before.

I also bought a 10-pack of N95 face masks for $13 from Groupon.  I'll save those for the trip.  I know there will still be some risk despite my vaccination, but it is an acceptable risk for me.  I will be very careful and take all necessary precautions.

I'm keeping the plane ticket in variables, since it is so low.  Variables are at 96%, but there are only six more days.  I do have the car repair on Friday, but it will have to come out of savings anyway.

Other than that, it was an uneventful day.  We are beginning a slow thaw, so icicles are falling from eaves and gutters.  I have to be careful to use only my front door, where there are no overhangs, so no danger.

Got My Car

February 20th, 2021 at 12:41 am

I crawled out this morning to go pick up my car at the city garage.  I had to take the train to get there, and that meant a four-block walk to get to the station.  Once I picked up the car, I went to Midas to get my oil changed.  They weren't able to take me right away, so I scheduled an appointment for an hour and a half later, and I ran some other errands -- I picked up needles and saline at the vet's - $16 - bought lunch at a drive-through for $10, and exchanged books at the library.  The oil change was $44.  Variables are at 66%..

While the car was up on the rack, they saw a problem with the suspension, so I scheduled an appointment to get that fixed next week.  It will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $400.  I'm not happy about that, but with all the problems people are experiencing with bad weather, failing power grids, frozen pipes -- I can hardly complain.

When I got home, I was very tired.  I'm not sure why it hit me so hard.  I tried to nap, but didn't fall asleep.  Finally got up and watched some TV.

The snow in my courtyard is waist high.  The roads are in bad shape, especially the side roads.  I saw many cars that were completely buried.  I can't wait for this winter to end.

Pay Day

February 17th, 2021 at 04:56 pm

Pay days are generally uneventful anymore, but this time I paid my first installment (of two) of my property tax.  It was $512.  The second installment is generally much less, and it reflects my exemptions -- homestead, senior freeze, and senior citizen.  That payment dramatically altered my checking account balance, but there is still $263 extra to put toward table refinishing, if I don't spend it!

The snow has finally stopped falling, but since we got 18 1/2 inches in one day -- on top of a healthy amount already on the ground -- digging out is going to be a challenge.  I'm so glad my car is in the city garage, and I hope by the time I have to take it out on Friday, conditions will have improved.  The first thing I will have to do when I get my car is get an oil change!  Then I will have to pick up needles for Iggy's fluids, and books at the library.  Perhaps a few groceries.

I was supposed to get a house call from UnitedHealthcare today, but I cancelled for the sake of the person who would have to come.

Intending to spend a strenous day reading and TV watching.....

More Snow, More Cold

February 15th, 2021 at 10:41 pm

I think this is the worst storm yet.  At least as far as inches go.  It's not wet and heavy like previous snowstorms were, thank goodness. 

I moved my car into the city garage this morning, but before I did, the car was buried in snow -- and it was cleaned off yesterday!  It was a treacherous, slidy drive, once I got on the road.  After parking, I  had to catch a train home, but I was lucky there.  The train came quickly, and it was not very crowded.  Then it was a four-block walk home from the station, in very deep snow.  Snow was still coming down.  It is still coming down now, hours later. 

I can leave the car in the garage until Friday at no cost.  That's a blessing.  Maybe the weather will be better by then.

When I was at the station, a man asked me for change.  All I had was a $5 bill, and I gave it to him.  He kissed it.  There's something about standing in an awful storm like this that makes you want to help out.

I spent $2 on laundry today.  Variables are at 57%, right at halfway through the month.  I have plenty of food, the gas tank is full -- I have everything I need except needles for Iggy's drip line.  And actually, I have two of those (which  are good for two runs, and fluids are done every other day).  So I should be good until I get the car back.  I'm going to try to relax and enjoy the amazing scenery.

Aquarium Filter & Gas

February 14th, 2021 at 09:47 pm

My aquarium filter stopped working today.  This is the second time in the short time I've owned this smaller aquarium.  The company does not reimburse for early failure -- I guess they know they have a bum product.  At least they are cheap.  $18.  While I was out, I topped off the gas tank for $16.

I wasn't happy about having to go out today.  The temperature is hovering around zero.  There was some snow on my car, but at least it was easy to brush off.  It was light and fluffy.  I was glad to know that my new battery started up fine in this frigid weather after sitting for a day.

I put the second coat of paint on my radiator today.  It's not perfect, but it looks a lot better.

I took the $300+ car repair cost out of variables, which brought the percentage used down to 56%.  The car repair will have to come out of savings.

A Deposit and a Withdrawal

February 12th, 2021 at 11:30 pm

Yesterday I got a direct deposit of $112 from Allstate for Drivewise credits.  Then I took $80 out of my checking account -- $40 for the grandkids' valentines, and $40 for laundry money.  I have plenty of laundry money on hand, but since I was at the bank I got the limit in quarters, since they can sometimes be hard to find.

This morning I took my car to the dealer for recall work -- second time in a year.  Everything was fine and there was no cost.  The biggest disadvantage was that I had to be there at 7 am, and I slept terribly just knowing I had to get up so early.

When I got my battery replaced at Midas, they offered to do an oil change, since it had been a year since I'd had it done there.   I couldn't believe it had been a year, and I said I would need to check and see whether I'd done it somewhere else in the interim.  I couldn't find any evidence that I had.  Even so, it would be time for another, anyway.  So next week I'll take my car back.


A Productive Walk

February 11th, 2021 at 04:36 pm

I've been forcing myself to walk, even though it is challenging in this weather.  Yesterday I decided to drive and park downtown, where I hoped the walks would be less treacherous.  They weren't exactly clear, but they were better than in my neighborhood.

I used my walk to stop in at the library and to go to a hardware store, where I bought a can of radiator paint, and brushes, for $13.  My little bathroom radiator is looking pretty chipped and sad.  A new coat of paint should do wonders.  That expenditure, along with $4 for laundry, brought variables to 85%.

I thought I would stick at home today, but I realized I need to go to the bank and get fresh $10 bills for the grandkids' valentine cards, which I'll need to buy at Walgreens.  So I'll do that after I get cleaned up.

Bleak and Frustrating Day

February 10th, 2021 at 01:29 am

Well, it was a day.  I had to replace my car battery, wiper blades and cabin filter ($304), and while I was out, I shopped at Aldi ($89 -- how did I do THAT?), and picked up another bag of fluids ($12).  If I keep the car repair cost in variables, it is already up to 83%, and I'm not even two weeks in.  We'll see how it goes.  I hate to take it out of savings., but that's probably what will happen.

As others have mentioned, it is bitter cold and snowy here in the midwest.  I am not enjoying it.  Parking is a misery; walking around is a challenge.

Iggy seems to be holding his own, so I have not pulled the trigger.  With the bad weather and the car problems, I am just not in the right frame of mind for taking difficult steps.

First Shot Done

February 6th, 2021 at 05:32 pm

I went to Walgreens (not mine, but one not too far away) to get my first Moderna shot yesterday.  I arrived WAY too early (fearful of things going wrong), so I ended up sitting a long time.  Other than that, it was uneventful.  Today I have a bit of pain and swelling at the site, nothing bad.  I am SO glad to have this under my belt, and I consider myself very lucky to have gotten an appointment when so many are struggling.

Afterwards I picked up a few groceries while I was there - $27.

Today is my Oregon son's birthday.  I sent him a couple of things from his Amazon list - $74 - and I also PayPal'd him $20 to participate in a Squares game for the Superbowl.  Variables are now at 26%.  Time to slow down on spending!

Iggy continues to be okay.  I don't want to take him to the vet during this frigid cold spell, so I'm hoping he continues on this track, for a while, at least.

Medical Payment

February 4th, 2021 at 11:01 pm

Paid $45 today online for my visit to Immediate Care in January.  This takes my variables to 13%.

Snow is coming down like crazy (though it will stop soon) and temperatures are starting to drop.  I hope the cold will not make it hard to get my vaccine tomorrow.  There was a warning on my news feed that antifreeze could freeze.  Eek!

I have my faucets dripping and will keep it up throughout the cold spell.

Iggy Got a Reprieve

February 4th, 2021 at 12:45 am

This is the day I thought I would take Iggy to the vet for his final visit.  But I had to move my car for plowing before 8 am, and the only place I could find to park was way too far away for me to carry a heavy carrier, especially over ice and snow.  So I decided to take it as a sign -- not today.  And as luck would have it, Iggy seems much better and has even had a normal poop!  And he seems alert and peppy.  Go figure.

Tomorrow there will be another storm -- not as bad as the last, but I won't want to be moving around.  And on Friday -- on Friday -- I WILL GET MY FIRST COVID VACCINE!  Snagging an appointment was the most amazing thing that has happened yet this year.  It was beginning to seem impossible; I tried so many times without success, but this morning an appointment grid popped up when I logged into Walgreens' site.  I was so shocked I stared at it a minute before I was sure it was real.  I will go to a Walgreens just six minutes away, which was also very lucky.

Over the weekend we will have frigid temperatures.  The kind where it's best to just stay inside.  So between the weather, the parking, the shot and Iggy's improvement, my decision about his ultimate fate has been put on hold.  I am relieved.  I probably wasn't as ready for this step as I thought I was.

I went to the doctor yesterday for my wellness checkup, and since I hadn't eaten yet I was able to get my labs done on the same trip.  Today I learned that my cholesterol is much better, and everything else, including kidney function, is holding steady.  Such good news.  Afterwards I went to Sam's and stocked up on produce.  $41.  I also bought lunch at a drive-through for $7.   Variables for this month are at 7%.


January Recap

February 1st, 2021 at 02:40 pm

What a good low-spend month this was, despite a big insurance bill.

Housing: $795

Insurance: $747

Utilities: $195

Groceries: $92

Vet/Pet Supplies: $70

Household Supplies: $63

Phone: $51

Entertainment: $46

Medical/Health: $26

Laundry: $26

Clothing: $25

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $18

Eating Out/Takeout: $18

Gifts/Charity: $17

Gas: $16

Fees/Services: $5

Grand Total: $2210

Variables: 52%

We are literally buried here in Chicagoland.  At least in my piece of it, near the lake.  I don't expect to be able to get out today at all.  My plan is to have my son take me to my doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning.  Then I'll walk to my car, which is parked in a garage near the medical office and drive home.  Hopefully by then there will be a parking place available, if the plows have done their work today.  On Wednesday I will take Iggy to the vet.  I hope he won't have another bad episode before then.  Today he seems good, though not eating.  I'm glad he's not eating, since he can't eliminate without pain.  I am feeling at peace about letting him go -- meanwhile, enjoying these few days I have left with him.