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Archive for June, 2021

June Recap

June 30th, 2021 at 10:31 pm

It's been such a strange month.  The computer breach messed with everything, and just when I think I've done all the cleanup, something else happens.  Today I realized that my electric bill was not withdrawn from my new bank account.  When I went into my electric account online, I found that I had deleted the old bank account information but apparently did not successfully add the new one.  The bill was overdue, so I made a one-time direct payment and then updated my autopay with the new bank account into, per their online instructions.  After I did that, the account was still showing that I had not paid, so I called to verify that I did.  The person I spoke to said that it was pending and would be withdrawn today.  I checked my bank account a few minutes ago and there is no pending payment there.  I guess I just have to trust that it will all look right tomorrow.

I thought I was all done with spending this month, but I was surprised to find a $99 payment to AAA from my Discover card.  Nothing wrong with that, I just had not expected it yet.  So that threw my fees/services category into a "big ticket" item, rather than a variable.  Meaning it will tap savings.

Anyway, here is the breakdown:

Housing: $795

Home Repair/Maintenance: $590 (rug cleaning and new pads)

Fees/Services:  $356 (computer service agreement, tollway pass, AAA membership fee)

Utilities: $178

Gifts/Charity: $116 (two birthdays and a scholarship donation)

Personal: $101 (haircut, pads)

Medical/Health: $64 (premium, OTC meds)

Vacation/Travel: $54

Phone: $52

Groceries: $48

Eating Out/Takeout: $46

Clothing: $37

Gas: $23

Entertainment: $16

Laundry: $16

Vet/Pet Supplies: $12

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $11

Grand Total: $2515

Variables: 74%

Big Ticket items: $946 (ouch!)

I'm tracking big ticket items because I want to be able to predict how much to divert into savings proactively.  So far I'm averaging $620 a month.  Higher than I want it to be, but it is what it is.

Near the End of the Month

June 28th, 2021 at 02:50 pm

Since the end of the month is coming fast, I started the process to assess my spending categories.  I found I had neglected to record a few things, so my variables are higher than I thought -- 111%, so, 11% over budget.  With only two days left, I think I can keep it there.

The cold I caught last weekend has lingered all week.   The first few days it was very strong and I was pretty miserable.  It is finally abating.  I feel much clearer, though not completely clear.

I felt good enough to go to GS1's baseball game last night.  A cold front came in as we sat there.  I was glad I had brought a hoodie, even though it seemed like a ridiculous thing to do when I grabbed it.  The game was short, as it was a slaughter, and unfortunately, it was our team that was slaughtered.  But that was not unexpected.  They were playing a very strong team.  GS1 knew a lot of the kids on the other team, and he had a good time playing them.

GS2 has gone to camp, and I sent him an e-letter this morning.  He will be gone for two weeks this time.  This is a Y camp.  They are at half capacity, and the cabin mates are going to take part in planned activities as a pod to prevent too much interaction.  All the campers are under 12, so unvaccinated.  They posted pictures yesterday, and they were all wearing masks.  For the pictures, anyway!

Back to financial news, as soon as my automated payments to the utilities go through from my new bank account, I'm going to close the old one.  That should happen within a few days.

I got three replies from Equifax the other day in response to my request for my credit report.  The first one I opened said I was not entitled to a copy, as I had already received one within the last 12 months (not true!)  The second one was a sternly worded letter saying I had to supply more ID.  The third was the  report.  This does not give me great faith in the service.  Anyway, I looked through the report, and did not see anything alarming.  I will continue on the freeze on all three reports until I have a need to unfreeze them.  


Mini Vacation and a Cold

June 23rd, 2021 at 10:46 am

I'm back from my weekend trip, but I brought a severe cold home with me!  I have been struggling for several days, but I am finally feeling better.

My trip cost $53, which includes gas, food, and pet care.  I also spent $47 on great buys at Goodwill.  I bought 8 tops, a hoodie and a pair of jeans, also a few housewares, including a brand-new hand mixer.  When I get to feeling better I'm going to weed out the closet and get rid of some older tops to make way for the new.

While I was gone, my Illinois Tollway pass replenished to the tune of $40.  Upon my return, I spent $11 on cold medicine, $24 on groceries, and $13 on personal items.

With all this, I overspent on my variables, which is up to 106%, and I have a week to go.  But I have no regrets.  I got some great deals and the rest was necessary.

Today is DIL's birthday.  I have some presents for her -- still unwrapped.  I feel too sick to take them over, so maybe one of the grands will come and get them.  Off to look for gift bags!

Baseball, a Trip, and Stuff

June 18th, 2021 at 01:25 pm

Yesterday I went to another evening baseball game, in which GS1 performed well, but the team performed fabulously!  It was a rout!  I bought myself dinner on the way home - $9.  There is another game tonight.

Tomorrow I am heading down to BFF's house for our first weekend visit since the pandemic.  We have been meeting in the middle for lunch every other month or so, but this is the first time we are getting back to pre-pandemic visiting.  I'm excited!

I have "hired" GS2 to look in on Iggy while I am gone.

Today will be devoted to doing little things to get ready for the trip.

The day before yesterday was payday.  My social security was deposited, and my automatic payments seem to be in order.  Some of them are still pending, but that is typical.  I have had to do more wrangling with TIAA about the direct deposit of the payment I receive from them, but I think the problems have finally been resolved.  If the direct deposit doesn't work, I will get a physical check sent to me.  The holdup has been that I do not yet have any checks for the new account, so I can't upload an image of a voided check.  Finally they figured out that they could verify my ownership by depositing and withdrawing a small amount.  That happened yesterday.  I verified the amount, and I trust now that everything will work.

After several pleasant days, we are poised for more steamy, hot weather.  Too bad.  I hate having to run the AC.


June 15th, 2021 at 09:12 pm

I had a few more gifts to buy -- two family birthdays this month.  I had some cashback rewards on my Discover card, so my out-of-pocket spending was only $25.  Variables are at 77%, and it's only halfway through the month.  Hope I can stay under this month.  The computer problems messed with my budget!  But the good news on that -- all my accounts are now linked to the new bank account and I'm only waiting to make sure all the automatic payments/deposits go through before I close the old one.

Another expenditure

June 14th, 2021 at 01:11 pm

Yesterday I was reminded that I wanted to contribute to a scholarship established by a good friend of mine.  I sent in $50.  Wish I could do more than that, but it is what it is.

Gassed Up

June 13th, 2021 at 03:06 pm

This morning I went to the gym, and since it is close to Sam's, I filled up the tank.  $23 for half a tank.  I think the posted price was $3.29.  Yikes!


June 12th, 2021 at 01:54 pm

Yesterday I took my grandson to dinner.  We both got appetizers and the total was $25.  I also picked up $25 worth of groceries at Aldi.

This morning I ordered a birthday gift for my Oregon DIL.  Using $23 worth of credits, I only paid $20 out of pocket.

I transferred my funds to the new bank account yesterday.  They advised that I wait until I see that my automatic payments/deposits are working before I close the old account.  It will be a month before all of them post.  Guess I'll play it by ear.

Still Cleaning Up

June 11th, 2021 at 02:24 pm

I'm still cleaning up after getting scammed.  Yesterday I froze my credit reports and mailed in a request for copies of each one.  I would have requested them online, but it was too convoluted a process.  I'm hoping I froze them in timel.  It's hard to remember everything I have to do.  But I think I'm ready now to transfer my money from the old bank account to the new one; I have updated all my automatic payments/deposits.  When that's done I can make an appointment at the bank to close the old one.

I did a bit of spending yesterday.  I picked up a bag of fluids at the vet's ($12) and spent $6 at Steak N Shake for a light lunch.  Variables are at 54%, but that is skewed by the $220 I spent to clean my computer and upgrade my security.

My son has LifeLock.  He couldn't say whether it was doing anything, but he hasn't had any trouble.  Does anyone hear have LifeLock?


June 10th, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Well, it happened to me.  And I let it happen, which is the worst part, but at least not too much damage was done.

I'm talking about a computer scam.  I thought I was talking to a Microsoft rep, but no, of course I wasn't.  In the end, I had to freeze my bank account and open a new one, change all my passwords, get my computer cleaned, and update all my automatic payments/deposits.  A lot of work, which I'm still doing.  The only money I "lost" was purchasing a service agreement from Best Buy so this won't happen again.  Or is less likely to.  That was $220.  I was lucky it wasn't worse.  Of course, I don't know if it is over yet.  It may be that the thieves took information that could result indentity theft.

Since it was already a challenging month financially, the timing was not good.  When all the pieces fall into place, we'll see where I stand.

Price Creep

June 4th, 2021 at 06:33 pm

Price creep on my haircut -- last time it was $70, this time it was $73.  Ridiculous to pay so much.  But I do like this stylist so much.  I also paid a $15 tip.

I also spent $29 on allergy nasal spray.  It's the generic for Flonase, and I got a twin-pack to get the best unit price.

Can't wait till the 11th when my Discover card cycle closes.  It will be huge, what with the down payment on the table, the rug cleaning, the haircut, and just the regular stuff.  Feeling poor.  I have to figure out new ways to cut back.

Rug Cleaning

June 3rd, 2021 at 12:45 pm

My rugs were picked up yesterday.  I needed to get new pads as well, so the total cost was a whopping $590.  Well, this won't happen again for a while.  The technician made a comment about doing this every year, but with my living alone, having only one cat who uses the litter box religiously, and having three flights of stairs upon which to deposit outside dirt -- I can go a lot longer than that.

Today I'm scheduled for a haircut.  The salon I go to now doesn't allow me to tip the stylist on my credit card payment, so I have to go get some cash before I go.

I'm feeling some shell shock from this spending so I'm pledging to keep food costs as low as possible, and cut everything else as much as I can.

New watch ordered

June 2nd, 2021 at 02:43 pm

My grandsons gave me a watch years ago -- bought from Target, I think.  It finally gave up the ghost, just won't keep good time anymore.  Around the same time my Fitbit stopped working.  I find I keep looking at my wrists for the time, even though I can glance at the phone.  I like to have the time on my wrist.  So I looked up some possibilities on Amazon, and I found I could get a Casio digital watch free with the Amazon points I have.  So I ordered it.  It is not in stock, so it will not arrive until after June 10, which is fine.

Today my rugs (an area rug and a runner) will be picked up for off-site cleaning.  This is badly needed, and with my dining room table out for refinishing, this is the perfect time to get it done.  It is rather expensive, but provides such a better "clean," it's worth it.

Tomorrow I get a haircut.  It will not be cheap, either, but I have reconciled myself to that since I like this stylist so much.  Anyway, with my hair so much longer, I can stretch out the time between cuts.  It's been ten weeks since the last one.

May Recap

June 1st, 2021 at 12:12 pm

It was a spendy month, but most of it in a few categories.

Home Repair/Maintenance: $1000

Housing: $795

Vacation/Travel: $492

Utilities: $151

Fees/Services: $140

Gifts/Charity: $129

Groceries: $74

Phone: $52

Eating Out/Takeout: $48

Medical/Health: $33

Gas: $30

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $17

Entertainment: $16

Laundry: $16

Car Repair/Maintenance: $6

Grand Total: $2999

Variables: 103%

Big Ticket: $1233


The $1000 spent on home repair is the down payment for refinishing my table.

Vacation costs included part of my Oregon vacation and a short trip to Michigan.

Utilities are low because my gas bill did not hit this month.  I'll pay it twice next month.

Fees/Services were license plate renewal and delivery fee for getting my table to the refinisher.

Gifts/Charity: Several graduations and various little gifts.

Groceries:  Very low because I focused on eating from my freezer.

Furnishings, etc:  A set of mixing bowls with lids.

There were no costs this month for Vet/Pet Supplies.  That's unusual, but I was stocked up.  I also didn't buy any clothes, I didn't get any household supplies, and didn't spend anything on personal grooming.


In other news, I had a good day yesterday with my family.  Since it was cold, we had an indoor cookout, with hot dogs, brats, hamburgers and chicken.  Many leftovers!  My ex-husband always buys too much.  I came home with some of those leftovers, which will help me with my grocery budget this coming month.

My ex also offered to pay for re-tiling my kitchen floor.  He is in his last year of employment before retirement, and I think he is trying to make amends.  Since the choices he made in the past pretty much impoverished me, yes, I am taking the money.