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Archive for March, 2021

A Pay Cut

March 31st, 2021 at 04:03 pm

I get a small interest-only payout from my retirement fund each month.  This month (and for the coming year) it was reduced by 15%.  I had to make adjustments in my variables plan, but it will be fine.

This will definitely be temporary, because in January I will have to start taking RMD's, which will yield a higher payout.

I was going to do my March recap, but I remembered that I have to get Easter cards and send $$ to the grandchildren, so my spending for this month is not done.  Can't believe Easter snuck up on me like this!  But I believe I say that every year.

With my adjusted variables budget, I have spent 90%, but that does not count the above.

I'll check in with you tomorrow with my March recap.


A Short Walk

March 26th, 2021 at 02:09 pm

I took a short walk to Walgreens yesterday and picked up a prescription refill for $3.  I intended to take the long way home and get more exercise, but my toe was bleeding -- irritation from the shoe I was wearing.  I was also feeling some acid reflux, so I just wanted to get home.

Variables are at 83%, with five days to go.  That is good, but my savings have taken a hit, with buying a phone and getting panoramic x-rays at the dentist.

I finally talked with the refinisher.  He had not responded to my email because he is swamped with work, and has no one doing the front office work right now.  He asked me to call again in a couple of weeks, when he hopes he will be more caught up.


March 24th, 2021 at 03:24 pm

Well, yesterday was expensive, as I expected.  Not only did I order a new phone, but at the dentist's office it was time for panoramic x-rays, so the cost for that and cleaning was $254.  Then I got my fancy haircut.  I say fancy, because I went to an upscale salon, and I paid the price - $70 for the haircut and $14 for a tip, because I'm not going to stiff the stylist, who did such a good job.  Yes, I do like the haircut.  I kept my hair longish, but he cut in some long layers, which means I can use my natural wavy hair rather than trying to fight it.  He also reshaped it in general, and advised me to grow out the sides of my bangs, because my bangs are too wide.  Cutting my own bangs for a year has been a bit of a disaster!

The question is -- will I go back?  I feel I can go quite a while without a trim, so I have some time to decide.  It is clear that there is value in getting an expert to do the job, and I look better than I have in a long time.  But that's a big chunk of my budget, so I'm going to have to decide if it's really worth it to me.  I might not feel the pain so much if I hadn't already spent more than $500 that day.

Busy, Busy

March 23rd, 2021 at 02:56 pm

I had a great day yesterday visiting with BFF in a town midway between where we live.  We had lunch and spent several hours sitting outside on a park bench, talking.  My lunch cost $15, a stop at an ice cream shop cost $4, and I spent $15 on gas.  I didn't really need it, but I was in the land of cheaper gas, and I never pass it up.

This morning I bought a new phone!  It's the budget-friendly Moto G5, $283 from Amazon.  It will arrive on Monday.  Hope my old phone holds out till then.  On top of all its other glitchiness, it's now crashing apps.  I wish I didn't have to transfer to a new phone while my son is out of town, but surely I can figure it out.

I have figured out that I must have been using an old email address when I was trying to contact the refinisher.  I never took the time to call, because I have been so busy -- and I continue to be busy today -- but I will call tomorrow.

As for today, I'll be going to the dentist and then to the hairdresser.  I might have to grab a lunch at a drive-through in between; the appointments are only 2 hours apart.

A Walk and Some Shopping

March 21st, 2021 at 10:40 pm

I took a walk yesterday and stopped at Walgreens about mid-way.  I stocked up on shampoo and conditioner (BOGO deals), and I also bought an eyebrow pencil.  I was so thrilled to find one that is gray (my hair is almost white) but it's pretty dark, really looks about the same as the black pencil, so definitely TOO DARK for my face, but maybe I can learn to use a light hand.  The Walgreens purchases totalled $33.  Variables are at 71%.

Tomorrow I'm meeting BFF halfway for lunch.  We are both fully vaccinated now so this is a celebration meal.  Then on Tuesday I'm going to the dentist for a cleaning and getting my hair cut.  So there's probably no way I'll come in under on variables, but maybe I can make it up next month.

Hug Day

March 20th, 2021 at 06:41 pm

Yesterday was the 14th day after my second vaccination, so it was my hug day!  I went over to my son's house and hugged them all, very energetically!  It felt so good.  Afterwards, they took off for their spring break in Florida.  They cleaned out their fridge while I was there and sent me home with two bags of food.  So far I've eaten a chicken-veggie-brown rice casserole, a big salad, and a stir fry courtesy of their gift.  I have added to the freezer: orange chicken, rice, more of the same casserole, and homemade taco sauce.  Later today I will make sausage gravy (for breakfast tomorrow) and broccoli cheese soup for supper.  I have been snacking on blackberries.  There is pepperoni, cottage cheese and deli turkey for later.  I'm probably forgetting things.  I won't have to grocery shop again for a while.

Later in the day, my new hairdresser called and asked for a $25 deposit for my upcoming haircut on Tuesday.  That's something new to me.  Maybe because I'm a new customer?  I had them put it on my Discover card.  It will go toward my haircut.  I'm used to paying less than that, but this isn't Supercuts!  I'm going with a stylist who cut my hair once a couple of years ago (had a gift certificate).  He was exceptionally good.  I figure in order to deal with this mop of unruly pandemic hair, I will need someone good, at least for the first cut.

I also spent $6 to rent "Promising Young Woman."  It was okay.  I probably could have skipped it.

Double Pay Day

March 17th, 2021 at 09:53 pm

It's my pay day, and I got the stimulus payment today.  So it's like a double pay day.  I paid my bills and I ran a few errands -- grocery shopping at Aldi ($31), and pet supplies at PetSmart ($14) and the vet ($14).  Variables are at 62%, with two more weeks to go.

I sent an email to the guy I was in touch with last year about refinishing my table.  He hasn't responded yet.  If I don't hear by tomorrow, I will call.  I started with email because I could forward the conversation we had before, as well as pictures of the table.  Now that I have the money in hand, I'm really eager to get going on it.

House Call

March 16th, 2021 at 03:31 pm

Yesterday was my house call from UnitedHealthcare.  Ironically, it was a snowy day.  That's ironic because I cancelled twice previously due to bad weather.  I guess bad weather just couldn't be avoided.  It didn't affect me, but I hated to be forcing the nurse-practitioner out in such weather.  She didn't seem to mind, though she was glad I was her last patient.

All the tests were good, and I was declared healthy, though it was hinted that I should lose weight.  Yes, I knew that.  I've wanted to lose weight my whole life (except childhood) but at this point in my life I have accepted that I will never be able to do that, and I am just concentrating now on eating healthy.  Dieting makes me physically and mentally miserable.

I will get  a $15 gift card (Visa, I think) in the mail some time in the next six weeks.  She also left me some coasters with UnitedHealthcare plastered on them.  I doubt that I will use them, as I already have more decorative ones, but whatever.  Kind of reminds me of being in fundraising -- we were always giving junk to donors that they didn't want.

I looked it up, and I'm scheduled to get my stimulus payment tomorrow.  Feeling rich, I impulsively ordered a book from Amazon that I saw advertised on Today -- "The Call to Unite."  It looks like it will be the kind of inspirational reading that I like to keep around.  The book was $24.  Variables are at 56%.

My original plan was to go to Aldi today, but I'm going to wait another day in hopes that the snow melts, and I won't have to clean off the car.  I will do some laundry today, though.

Trouble Again?

March 15th, 2021 at 01:48 pm

No one has posted in a few days, and before that, comments wouldn't stick.  I'm guessing we have technical trouble again on the site.  If I'm right, this won't post!

I haven't spent anything in the past few days and I don't plan to today.  I've checked my bank account every day, but so far no deposit of the stimulus payment.  As soon as it posts, I'll start the process of getting my table refinished.

Two more days to pay day, and four more days to being fully vaccinated (that is, 14 days after my second shot).  On that day, I'm going to hug my grandsons.  Hard.

Ten Items

March 12th, 2021 at 08:33 pm

I returned to my old standby, buying only ten items at the grocery store.  Makes me focus, keeps the bill down, and ten items are manageable to carry up three flights of stairs.  I spent $28.  Biscuists, crescent rolls, shredded cheese, a bath poof, baby carrots, strawberries, raspberries, apples, baked beans and bread.

I ordered a frame from Amazon.  With cash back discount, it was only $8.

Variables are at 51%. and Panera

March 9th, 2021 at 04:41 pm

Yesterday my subscription hit my Discover card.  Every year I forget about this!  It's not cheap.  $189.  But I have a huge family tree on the site and I don't know how to disengage without losing that information.

This morning I went to Panera and got the baker's dozen bagel special, along with three containers of cream cheese.  $11 for quite a few breakfasts in the future.

Those two expenditures took variables to 47% quite early in the month.  Yikes!

Stamps & Laundry

March 8th, 2021 at 06:43 pm

I walked to the post office on this beautiful, springlike day to buy stamps.  It's now $11 for a book of forever stamps.  I didn't realize that.  It's been a while since I've bought them.  I use stamps rarely now.

I also did another $2 load of laundry.  Variables are now at 20%.

Back to Normal

March 7th, 2021 at 10:15 pm

I'm feeling much better today -- back to normal, in fact.  I did a load of laundry ($2), and I made spaghetti sauce with meatballs, and a pot of chili.  I haven't eaten either one yet; I'm letting them sit in the fridge.  They are so much better after sitting a while.  Another kitchen task I need to do, which I haven't done yet, it to cut up two onions and flash freeze them.  They are getting a bit old, and I don't want to waste them.

I decided to wait on my grocery shopping until my Discover card cycle re-ups on the 11th.  With the car repairs last month, the Discover bill is pretty high; no point in adding to it.  There is still plenty of food in the freezer and pantry.  My fresh produce is down to two apples, but I have plenty of frozen vegetables.

I'm glad the stimulus package passed, and I can count on another $1400 in my budget.  I will stimulate the economy by paying a local craftsman to refinish my dining room table.  At least, I hope he is still available.  It was a  year ago that I first spoke to him about it.  So much as happened since then!

It's almost springlike today, yet there are still patches of snow on the ground, like tea leaves in the bottom of a cup.  I won't believe it's really spring until they're all gone!

Second Vaccine

March 6th, 2021 at 04:54 pm

I got my second COVID vaccine yesterday (Moderna).  It was quite a pinch in my arm, and today my arm is still pretty sore.  I am also feeling just under the weather in general.  I trust that these reactions will go away soon.  I am very glad to be fully vaccinated, and not complaining at all.

Before it was time to go for my shot, I washed my hair, and when I was brushing it, the brush got tangled up in my longish locks.  I mean really tangled.  I mean, I spent two hours trying to extricate it, and in the end, I had to cut it out.  I didn't have to cut a lot of hair and it isn't very noticeable, but when my two weeks of "curing" after the shot are done, I'm going to get a professional cut.  I've had it with this COVID hair.  Not getting cuts is cheap, but my hair is not suited for length; it's too thick and wavy.

After I got my shot I picked up a couple of sympathy cards.  I haven't sent them yet.  I want to include letters, and today I am just not feeling well enough to do a good job of that.  The cards were $8.  Variables are now at 18%.

I am getting low on produce and need to do some shopping, but again, that is for another day.  Today is all about taking it easy.


March 5th, 2021 at 12:24 am

Yesterday I took a walk to Walgreens and spent $85.  $60 went to OTC drugs, $18 for groceries, and $7 for razors.  While I was there I inquired about making an appointment for my second shingles shot.  I recently got a letter from them saying I should do that.  I was advised by the pharmacist on duty that I did NOT need to make an appointment (????) and that I should just come in 30 days after I get my second COVID shot -- which is tomorrow.  I hope that when I do that, I won't find out that they are completely booked with COVID appointments.  It seems pretty likely, but whatever.

Variables are now at 17%.

So tomorrow is the big day for my second COVID shot.  I'm pretty jazzed.  I know it will be 14 more days before I am fully protected, but just being this far along is so exciting.

I am concerned about the states already throwing off all restrictions.  That is so concerning.  I'm glad I don't live in one of them!

Aldi & Home Depot

March 1st, 2021 at 10:42 pm

I made a trip to Aldi today.  I intended to go back to my old strategy of only ten items at a time -- especially now that being vaccinated is making me feel less fearful about getting out of the house more often -- but I ended up getting 17 items.  They fit into two bags, which was kind of the idea, anyway.  $39.  Carrying groceries up three flights is one of my least favorite things to do.

I also made a stop at Home Depot and bought a specialty paintbrush so I can finish painting my radiator.  That was $3.

Variables are at 6%.