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Archive for April, 2021

April Recap

April 30th, 2021 at 07:56 pm

This is the last day of April, but I won't do any spending today, so I totalled up my spending for the month:

Housing: $795

Car Repair/Maintenance: $250

Vet/Pet Supplies: $212

Utilities: $186

Home Repair/Maintenance: $142

Groceries: $129

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $88

Medical/Health: $73

Phone: $52

Eating Out/Takeout: $48

Fees/Services: $40

Gas: $23

Gifts/Charity: $20

Entertainment: $16

Laundry: $16

Personal: $6

Household Supplies: $3

Vacation/Travel: $1

Grand Total: $2101

Variables: 113%


Car repair was the $250 deductible to have the windshield replaced.

Pet supplies were cat food, dry and wet, three bags of fluids, 12 needles, 3 bags of cat litter pellets and 6 bags of cat litter pads (for Breeze system).  Iggy was rather expensive this month, but I'm glad he's still around.

Home repair was the replacement/adjustment of locks and new keys.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - two phone chargers, some secondhand kitchen stuff, organizers.

Medical/Health - Shingles shot and my medical premium

Fees/Services - Replenishment of my tollway pass

Nothing else really needs explaining -- except the $1 for travel.  That was a tip on my short Uber ride trial.  The ride itself came out of a debit card account that has already been logged.  I saw afterwards that I could have put the tip on my Uber account, but not until I was already handing him the cash.


I was surprised this morning by a call from the locksmith.  The technician who was sent to my house on Wednesday has tested positive for COVID.  I wasn't too concerned, since I am fully vaccinated, but with my trip coming up so soon I was a little worried about possible transmission.  I messaged my doctor and he recommended getting a pretravel test at Immediate Care.  But he was pretty sure there was little likelihood I have the disease.

I'm going to do that tomorrow.


April 28th, 2021 at 03:30 pm

The locksmith just left.  Final charge was $131 for adjusting the front lock, replacing a cylinder in back and a new key.  Most of the cost was actually for the service call, but whaddaya do -- you can't exactly take a lock in to the store.

This pushed variables up to 113%, which is unfortunate, but it had to be done.  I could have waited a few days, but didn't want to do anything too close to my vacation departure date.  The average of my variables this year has been 97%, so I'm good.  Just have to be sure I don't spend anything for the next two days!

Forgot to say -- I also ordered a box of pads for the Breeze litter box -- that was $50, which helped to push variables up to 113%.

Pet Supplies and a Class Settlement

April 27th, 2021 at 07:33 pm

I just purchased two bags of fluids and 12 needles to make sure I have enough for Iggy while I am gone.  Total was $28.  Pet supply spending is high this month.  Variables are now at 87%.  There are only a few days to go, but the locksmith, who is coming tomorrow, will be expensive.

When I came home, there was a postcard in my mailbox about a class settlement for Blue Cross Blue Shield, which was my insurer while I was employed by the college.  I got online and filled out a claim form.  I have no idea how much it will be or when it will come, but I always follow up on things like this.  I was grateful to have my blog to refer to in order to figure out what years I was employed at the college.  Turns out it was 2009-2015.

Uber and Other

April 26th, 2021 at 06:54 pm

I tested out my Uber account this morning.  Since it's now attached to a debit card that is provided by the city, I wanted to make sure it was working okay before I need it for the ride to the airport.   The ride went fine; everything worked as it needed to.  I asked to be taken to the locksmith, where I had some keys made.  From there I walked to the train station and rode home.

And there it gets kinky.  I was normally friendly to a fellow rider -- big mistake!  He decided that I should go out for coffee with him and was asking leading questions about where I lived and who I lived with.  He was insistent, and CREEPY, and all my warning bells went off.  I got home safely and I don't think I was followed, but I was quite shaken.  I have not had to deal with this kind of a threat in quite a while.  I won't be riding the train alone again any time soon.  The train is more and more dangerous these days in other ways, with reports of robberies and beatings and even gunfire.  Rare, yes, and mostly at night, but demanding caution.

Anyway, the keys were $11, and I paid the Uber driver a $1 tip.  The ride was "free" since it charged my debit card, and I counted the cost when I made the deposit way back when.

I arranged to have a locksmith come on Wednesday and adjust one of my locks (my grandson is having trouble unlocking it) and to have a key made for the secondary lock on my back door.  I have never had a key for that lock, so haven't been able to use it (and I have felt quite safe with the primary lock), but it's silly not to use it, so I'm getting the key.


April 24th, 2021 at 01:43 pm

Last night was GS1's first baseball game of the season.  It was COLD, and even though I thought I had bundled up enough, I was miserable.  The game was called after six innings -- not because of the cold but because we were losing the light and storm clouds were gathering.  It didn't rain though.  Unhappily, our team was behind, so GS1 was bummed that they didn't get the chance to pull ahead.

The game was at a park 45 minutes away.  I forgot to eat beforehand, so on the way I bought dinner at Subway for $8 and at the game I bought coffee for $1 to keep my hands warm.

I have been approved for senior benefits again -- you have to keep proving that you are still poor enough to qualify -- I'm always poor enough!  It was kind of challenging to apply though, because I had to attach scanned documents and I no longer have a scanner.  I tried using the Adobe Scan app, but needed help from DIL.  Got it done, but it was not easy!  Don't know how other seniors are managing.  They really should have a mail-in option because I know there are seniors out there who are even worse than I am.

The senior center connected me with a person at the department of aging, who helped me with other aspects of the application.  She was wonderful.  

I will renew my license plates on Monday, when I am sure that the system is updated.


License Plates

April 21st, 2021 at 08:26 pm

I tried to renew my license plates online this morning, but when I clicked on the "senior benefit" box, it said I wasn't eligible.  Now I remember getting a letter saying that I didn't have to re-apply last year, because of the pandemic -- no one was in the office to handle that stuff -- so benefits were renewed automatically.  I guess time has run out.  I filled out a new application, and I have to wait 48 hours to be accepted.  Then I'm not sure how long it will be before the system recognizes me.  I'm glad I got started on this early.

Today was pay day and on top of paying my normal bills, I also ordered cat litter pellets from Amazon.  They won't be delivered until April 28 - May 5.  That's okay, as long as they aren't any later than that.  On May 6 I leave for Oregon.  I guess my son can bring in the box if it comes late.  $38.  It's been a heavy month for pet supplies -- I'm already up to $134, more than I've spent on groceries!  Variables are up to 79%, but only 9 days left in the month.

Senior Benefit and Uber

April 20th, 2021 at 01:14 pm

Yesterday I went to the local senior center to get some help with installing my Uber app.  I wasn't having trouble with the app per se, but couldn't get it to accept the debit card I wanted to use.  The debit card was a benefit from the senior center, so that's why I went there for help.  They couldn't help but did refer me to someone who could.  Turns out I was just entering the wrong zipcode.

A word about the debit card -- it is a benefit for seniors at a certain income level.  I can use it for transit, which includes buses, trains, taxis and ride services.  I'm not sure if I can use it for air travel.  Anyway, I deposit money into the account, and it doubles in value when used -- i.e., if I have $50 in the account I can spend $100.  A really nice benefit.  Since I am already "ride-free" on local buses and trains, I plan to use it mostly for Uber.  I'll use it for getting to and from the airport in a few weeks.

The senior center is close to Aldi, so I went there again to get ten more items.  $22.  Variables are now at 72%, which is higher than I would like for this point in the month.  Payday is tomorrow, so I'll be doing some non-variable spending, but I'm also going to order some pet supplies from Amazon.

Snow is in the forecast today!  It's cold enough -- I had to turn on the radiator this morning.

Aldi Trip

April 18th, 2021 at 09:18 pm

I made a short trip to Aldi this morning, where I spent $31.  I stuck to 10 items, even though there were many temptations.  Even 10 items are heavy to carry up three flights.  

I found a nickel in the parking lot!  Since I started counting, way back in 2011, I've picked up $105.48!  It's been very slim pickin's the last year, though.

This afternoon I made lemon "brownies" -- no, they are not brown, it's a deceptive name.  It's really a small one-layer lemon cake.  Delicious. 

I stocked up on library books yesterday and I'm enjoying a pleasant day on the couch!

Fun Day

April 16th, 2021 at 01:27 pm

I had a fun day with BFF yesterday.  We met in the middle for lunch.  Lunch, by the way, was really cheap this time, only $9!  Afterwards, since we are both fully vaccinated, we visited two different Goodwills, and I spent $17 -- mostly kitchen stuff -- ladels, ramekins, drawer organizers, and a pretty red basket.  I spent $21 on gas, and bought a soft drink for the road for $2.  Another unexpected expense -- I bought a phone charger for the car.  I don't know why I didn't realize I would need this when I bought the other.  I got in the car yesterday morning and tried to plug in my phone, and of course it didn't fit.  I did not use my map app to get to my destination -- I knew it well enough -- but I felt more comfortable on the way home with my phone plugged in and my map app directing me.  Anyway, the phone charger was $19.

Variables are now at 63%.

I was thinking of ordering some comfy clothes for my vacation coming up, but since variables are running so high this month -- not to mention I had to buy a windshield -- I decided to make do with what I have.


April 13th, 2021 at 10:31 pm

It was another shopping day.  I went to Panera first and got the Tuesday special -- a baker's dozen of bagels, plus I had a free one coming, so 14 bagels are now in the freezer.  $8.  Then I went to PetSmart and stocked up on the cat food that Iggy likes -- $41.  Best Buy was nearby, so I went in and bought a charger for my new phone - $17.  Then I went to Sam's and spent $43 on groceries, mostly produce.  I also renewed my membership for $40.

Clearly I can't leave the $250 cost of replacing the windshield in variables, so it went on the Big Ticket spreadsheet.  Variables are now at 53%.

GS2 came over for his second lesson on giving Iggy fluids.  He's going to take care of him while I'm in Oregon.  He is still struggling with inserting the needle -- afraid of hurting him.  More lessons coming.


The Table

April 12th, 2021 at 04:54 pm

I just arranged -- finally -- to have my table picked up for repair and refinishing.  Because of the shop's workload, it won't happen until May 17, but that's fine.  That will be after I come back from Oregon, and I will be ready!

I just redeemed $14 in cashback rewards from Discover.  I've been keeping track of extra income this year, and so far it's been $3,068.  Most of that is the two stimulus payments.  I don't have much extra income anymore.  I stopped doing mystery shopping, and Pine Cone doesn't send me surveys anymore.  I somehow got off their radar after I tried to use their app.  That's okay; I don't really like doing the surveys, and it's not that much income.

I also took a look at my "big ticket" spending last year and found that I averaged $1K per month in spending that is not part of my variables budget.  Last year it included things like getting my ceiling replaced, getting a lot of electrical work done, some major car repairs, a new computer, Christmas spending, and donations to my grandkids' college funds.  I was surprised it was that high.  I'm okay -- my net worth has continued to slowly rise -- but I do hope that this year won't be quite as costly.  So far I'm averaging $430 per month, which is more where I would like it to be -- but you never know what's going to happen.  Getting the table done, for sure, will push that up.


April 8th, 2021 at 10:29 pm

I got my windshield replaced today.  The plan was for them to come to me, but it rained all day, so the technician and I agreed to meet at the company site.  It was a bit of a drive, but I took the opportunity to stop at Panera and get my free bagel.  I am entitled to a free one every day this month, but since our nearest Panera closed, it's not easy to just pop in.  I'll get a bagel when I am somewhere near a Panera.

I also did a load of laundry.  

BFF and I made plans to meet at the halfway point for lunch next Friday.

My Oregon son and DIL got their COVID vaccines yesterday!  And my local son and DIL are getting theirs tomorrow morning.  Now everyone except the under-16's are vaccinated.  Such a good feeling.

Cracked windshield

April 7th, 2021 at 09:32 pm

Feeling much better this morning, I headed out to do some grocery shopping.  But when I got in my car, I saw that the windshield was cracked!  I got out and checked all around the car to see if there was any other damage, and there was not.  I don't know what could have happened!  I called my insurance company and someone will come out tomorrow to replace it, but since I have a deductible I will have to pay $250.

I went ahead and drove to Aldi, where I spent $26, PetSmart, where I spent $8, and my vet's office, where I spent $47 on fluids and kidney care cat food.  I had to buy a large bag of food because they were out of the smaller size.

Variables are at 31% only one week in.  I'm going to try to cash flow the cost of the windshield, because I've had to make withdrawals from savings the last two months.  I don't want to do that again.  But it will be tough.

Shingles Shot

April 6th, 2021 at 01:08 pm

I got my second shingles shot yesterday.  It was a $47 copay.  My reaction to the first shot was pretty bad -- spiking fever, terrible discomfort.  This time it was better, but I was still uncomfortable.  Today I seem to be over the worst of it, but I am tired from lack of sleep.

While I was at Walgreens, I spent $7 on groceries -- vital things like bread, popcorn and creamer!  Variables are at 17%.

I did not buy a new laundry hamper.  I pulled one out of storage which was packed with old sheets and pillows.  I moved the pillows somewhere else and put the sheets in my Goodwill box.  I moved the hamper to my bedroom, and it is just right.  Nothing spent.

I need to do more grocery shopping, but I'm planning on resting today.

New Phone Working

April 5th, 2021 at 01:53 pm

My son came home from Florida and I finally got my new phone working.  There are some hurdles -- passwords to remember or reset -- but I'm getting there.

We got takeout yesterday and played a card game together.  It was so much fun.  My son and DIL are scheduled for vaccines next week, and my Oregon son and DIL are going to work on getting appointments today.  This is all so encouraging.

Starting today, I can get my second shingles shot.  (I had to wait a full month after second COVID vaccine.)  I am not sure I will do it today, though.  I was pretty sick after the first one, and today I am working on little sleep, not feeling the greatest.  I'd rather start out feeling good.  People tell me the second one is worse than the first, so I am not looking forward to it.

Not much to report financially.  I may make another Amazon order today.  I need a new laundry hamper, something that fits better in my bedroom.

Saved My Quarters!

April 2nd, 2021 at 02:20 pm

This morning I took four rolls of quarters down to the laundry room and then foolishly left them out in the open when I left.  Luckily I remembered pretty quickly and went back down.  They were still there.  I locked them away in my storage closet.

I ordered a few things from Amazon this morning - mascara, a silverware tray, and a plastic basket.  Total was $40.  It adds up!  They should arrive tomorrow.

Yesterday I got breakfast and lunch at drive-thru's.  $12 in total.  Reason being: I picked up my son's cat from the sitter in the morning and then spent most of the day with her.  I can't let her stay with me because she picks on Iggy, and she has claws, and he doesn't.  I'll go spend some time with her today, too.

March Recap

April 1st, 2021 at 01:21 pm

Housing - $801

Medical/Health - $342

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $302

Fees/Services - $229

Utilities - $209

Personal - $128

Groceries - $113

Phone - $52

Entertainment - $46

Eating Out/Takeout - $31

Gifts/Charity - $29

Vet/Pet Supplies - $27

Laundry - $16

Gas - $15

Household Supplies - $12

Home Repair/Maintenance - $3

Grand Total - $2355

Variables - 104%

Housing - I paid a bit more toward my mortgage so I could get the balance below $58K.  I love to hit milestones.

Medical/Health - the bulk of this was panoramic x-rays at the dentist.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - most of this was the cost of a new smartphone.

Fees/Services - mostly a subscription renewal to, as well as replenishment of my tollway account.

Utilities - a bit higher than usual because gas payment hit twice this month.

Personal - a haircut and stock-up on hair supplies

Nothing else needs comment, except an update from yesterday on my gift category.  I withdrew $40 from the bank yesterday in order to give $10 to each of my grandkids for Easter.  I mailed off two of them to Oregon, so that's what I counted.  The other $20 will be logged in April, when I give it to my local grandkids.  I bought some candy and cards yesterday, but did not log them because I used a gift card.