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Archive for October, 2021

A Little Bit More Spending

October 30th, 2021 at 03:01 pm

Last night was my ex's birthday dinner at a local restaurant.  My DIL picked up the tab for the table, but I gave her $20 toward it.  I brought a bottle of wine ($15) for my ex.  When I picked up the wine, I also spent $4 on a grocery item for myself.

I don't expect to spend anything today other than feeding the washer and dryer for one load, but I expect that I will do some grocery shopping tomorrow, so I won't do my October recap yet.  

Two negative financial events -- a book I ordered from Amazon has been recorded as delivered, but I do not have it.  I'm only out of pocket for $5, but I also used points which I wish I had back.  Weirdly enough, it was supposedly delivered by USPS and I have to contact them to trace the package, which I expect is useless to try on a weekend.  (I suspect the package may have been stolen.  It's that time of year.)

The other -- I returned a pair of shoes to Skechers and received a credit of $61.  However, my credit card doesn't seem to know that.  It is not showing up on my account as either processed or pending.  This might be a time lag thing.  I sent an inquiring message to Chase, but it won't be answered until Monday or Tuesday.  I may drop by Skechers tomorrow when I do my errands, just to check that they processed it correctly.


October 29th, 2021 at 04:32 pm

I got my booster shot yesterday -- no problem at all.  While I was at Walgreens I bought a birthday gift for $12 and afterwards I spent $6 on lunch.  I could have skipped that, but I was awfully hungry and running errands all day.  I got a lot done -- I returned shoes that hurt my feet to Skechers, I turned in some electronics for recycling at Best Buy, I picked up a book on hold at the library, I went to the post office, checked in at the refinisher's, and I dropped off a bag of donations at Goodwill.  I also went to the gym.

Today I'm meeting my kids and my ex to celebrate his birthday at a new restaurant in town.  DIL sent me the menu and it looks like it is quite reasonable in its pricing.  I'm already planning on getting a chopped salad and soup.

My table -- which has been gone so, so long, will probably be ready at the end of next week.  At least that's what the refinisher says.  When I went into the shop he sat like a contrite little boy and said he had no excuse for taking so long.  He said he has stopped accepting orders because he is so overwhelmed with work.  It has been no hardship to me, since I can always eat in the kitchen booth, but it does mean I can't make dinner for anyone else.  Which has been kind of nice!  Anyway, I hope it will indeed be ready when he said.

Forgot to update on the food stretching project!  After I had two meatloaf sliders, I chopped up the remaining loaf and made kind of an ersatz chili with green peppers, onions and mushrooms.  The leftovers from the fast food I bought yesterday -- chicken strips and fries -- were repurposed this morning into an "eggless omelet" -- chopped up the meat and potatoes, added peppers and onions and mushrooms (again!) and some cheese -- heated in a skillet, it made a nice breakfast.  Tomorrow I'm going to finish off the mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce to add to spaghetti -- thus using up some half and half that needs to be used.

Just Stuff

October 26th, 2021 at 12:06 am

Today I took a trial run to the Walgreens where I'll get my booster on Thursday.  I wanted to make sure it was in a safe part of the city.  It looks like a neighborhood where I wouldn't want to live, but is probably okay to visit for a half hour in the daylight!  Afterwards I went to the gym and then to Aldi, where I spent $33, which included Halloween candy.  I don't hand it out at the door -- no one comes into my gated building -- but I give it to my grandsons.  For my Oregon grandchildren, I'll just send cards and cash.

We've had two days of pouring rain.  Today I realized that water was coming in around one of my AC units.  I pulled it out in order to wipe it up, and then I went ahead and put it away (after testing to make sure the unit was still working!)  While I was at it, I took down and put away the other one, too.  These units are pretty heavy, and it wasn't easy, but it's a good job done.  Now I'm banking on no more hot weather -- which I think I should be able to count on at the end of October!  But who knows in this crazy climate!

On the food-stretching front, I thawed some spaghetti sauce (with mushrooms) and added macaroni.  The final product was enough for three meals.  I've eaten two, and will have the last serving tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning I'm going to thaw one of my little personal-size meatloaves.  I'm going to slice it and make meatloaf sliders with my brioche rolls, which should make lunch for several days.  I'm also going to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast tomorrow.  One batch generally lasts for three days.

Variables are going well -- I'm only at 63%, and less than a week to go.

Booster, etc.

October 22nd, 2021 at 07:23 pm

Yesterday my ex told me he'd gotten the Moderna booster at Walgreens and urged me to sign up.  Long story short, he did not get the booster, he got a third full vaccine, and I don't know how, considering he is not immunocompromised, or at least not that I know of.  But anyway, I did get an appointment that evening, but they stopped me at the gates.  Even though I have chronic kidney disease, that does not make me immunocompromised -- I would have to be on dialysis or receiving transplant drugs to fall into that category.  However, while I was there, the clearance came through for anyone over 65 -- but the pharmacy did not have the booster in stock, which is a half-dose.  In the end, I came away with no booster.  But today I made an appointment to get that done next Thursday.  I'm glad.  I will feel that much safer once it is done.

I donated $10 yesterday to a homeless shelter, and this morning I bought an exercise book on Amazon for $5 (I had a $17 credit).  My variables are now at 59%.  And we're 71% of the way through the month, so after worrying about how fast the money was going, my spending rate has slowed down considerably.

I'm continuing to stretch food as far as it will go.  This morning I ate the last piece of spinach quiche for breakfast.  For lunch, I made taco "pies" out of the leftover taco filling, using crescent dough in a muffin tin for the crust.  That made 5 pies and I'm freezing 4 of them.  There is still some filling left, so I'm going to make a taco omelet tomorrow morning.

Today was my errand day, but I did not need to go to the grocery.  Probably will on Monday.  I went to the gym, and returned some library books.

I finished my first draft of Part One of a dystopic novella I am writing.  I sent it to a former teacher for comments.  I hope he likes it!  Determined to start on Part Two today.  Once I finish it, I plan to self-publish on the internet.  This is mostly for fun, not to make any money from it.

Dentist's Visit and Stretching Food

October 20th, 2021 at 07:40 pm

I went to the dentist yesterday, and I got my teeth cleaned and got bitewing x-rays.  I couldn't believe it was time for x-rays again, but they said my last x-rays were panoramic, so a different animal, I guess.  Anyway, I did not pay for any of it; they filed the claim.  I guess it pays to complain.

That saved me some money.  The only recent spending was $2 for laundry this morning.  Variables are at 57% and we're 65% of the way through the month, so finally I am not in the overspending category.

I have been quite dismayed by the rise in grocery prices.  I am trying to combat it by stretching out what I have on hand.  This week I have made spinach quiche, using up leftover Swiss cheese and leftover spinach, and making the crust from scratch, which went pretty well.  I have had a couple of hamburger lunches, making small patties to fit on brioche rolls.  I cooked off the rest of my ground beef this morning to make taco filling tomorrow.  I have tortillas in the freezer, and some frozen peppers and onions.  Also have plenty of shredded cheddar.  I have some salsa, but I think it will probably have to be thrown out.  But I think I will be okay without salsa.  I have plenty of spices on hand to make a taco seasoning mix.  I have apples and carrots on hand for roughage, as well as frozen veggies.

I'm not planning to go back to the grocery store until I run out of something vital.

Gas is crazy high, too, but my monthly expenditure is not higher, so I must be driving less.  I credit my plan to do errands and gym on one day, and stay at home the following two days.  It's working, as well as being relaxing.

My electricity bill was the highest it's ever been, but I think it was reflecting heavy use of the AC last month.

I don't think prices will go down any time soon, so I'm determined to be vigilant.


Dentist and Medicare

October 16th, 2021 at 08:53 pm

So... sometime last year I handed my Medicare Advantage card to my dentist's receptionist and asked her to check for dental benefits.  I kept seeing ads on TV touting the benefits on the plan I have.  I know I didn't have dental benefits when I started, but I think last year that changed, though I was never notified.  The receptionist acted put out and did some sort of cursory check and told me I had no dental benefits.  I took her at her word, though her attitude should have tipped me off.

So I have an appointment coming up, and after seeing more and more ads I decided to check for myself.  No easy task, as the website is pretty confusing.  But it really looked like I should have a $0 copay for cleaning and x-rays.  I called my MA provider, and the rep I spoke to said yes, I do have those benefits on my plan.  When I told him the story about the receptionist, he became quite affronted on my behalf, and he ended up calling the dentist's office and paving the way for my benefits to be recognized and honored.  I was asked if I could identify the person who gave me the misinformation, but I could not.  She was just the lady at the desk, to me.  Perhaps she is not even there anymore.

I feel a little bad about going into the office on Tuesday.  I was honestly just checking on my benefits and didn't expect that the rep would call the office and take them to task.  But I guess I'm glad it was done.  I just really like my dentist and I don't want the relationship to be tainted by this.

Today was my gym/errand day.  I went to Aldi and spent $41.  My variables are now at 57%, and we're 52% through the month.  Evening out.

I was feeling quite smug listening to all the news about how heating costs are going to rise this winter -- I don't have a heating bill.  But then I heard that heating oil will see the highest rise of all, and that is what powers our boiler -- and of course the property management company will raise the assessment fees to cover this rise in cost.  Duh.  If they don't, I will be quite shocked.  That will probably absorb the increase in my Social Security payments, if the proposed Medicare increase doesn't.  These are challenging times for retirees!

Gym/Errand Day

October 14th, 2021 at 12:33 am

Today was my gym/errand day.  After my strength training I went to the library to pick up some books I had placed on hold.  And I also filled up the gas tank, to the tune of $32.  My other expenditure (yesterday) was a $30 copayment for one of my visits to Immediate Care.  There will be at least one more of those.  My variables are now at 52%, and we are 42% of the way through the month.

I heard today that the COLA increase in Social Security will be 5.9% next year.  However, I also hear that most of that will be absorbed by increased Medicare costs.  You can't win!  I'm not going to get too excited.

I did not go to Aldi today.  When I took stock of my grocery list, it seemed there was nothing I couldn't live without until Saturday.  That's my next errand day.  So I passed.

Looking forward to two quiet days at home.  I am completely recovered from my infection, but I continue to be very tired.  I am going to do a lot of reading.  I have thirteen books on hand, because almost all of my holds came through at once.  That's the trouble with placing books on hold, but sometimes that's the only way you ever get certain titles.  Anyway, it should be a very leisurely two days.


October 11th, 2021 at 09:45 pm

Yesterday was my gym/errand day.  I had only one errand to do -- get a package of Always Discreet.  I went to Sam's, but they didn't have it, though they had many other Always products.  Now that I think about it, I think I might have been in the wrong section.  Anyway, I went to Walgreens instead and found a package of 45 on sale for $20.  That seemed like a decent deal.  That purchase pushed my variables up to 45%.  Since we are only 35% of the way through the month, I need to slow it down.  Getting three pairs of shoes at the beginning of the month really threw things off.  Not that I regret buying them.  Another expenditure, which I didn't report, was $20 donated to a fundraiser for my grandson's school.

On my next gym/errand day -- Wednesday -- I'll have to get gas and will probably need to buy a few things at Aldi.  And next Tuesday (not tomorrow but the next one) I have a dentist's appointment.  So the spending will continue.

I am deferring my eye appointment to January so that I can take advantage of my insurance's allowance for a new pair of glasses.

I did get my flu shot the other day, but there was no cost involved.

Gym and Groceries

October 5th, 2021 at 02:39 pm

I didn't feel very well yesterday, but I pushed myself to go to the gym and then to Sam's and Aldi, where I spent a combined $37 on groceries.  I definitely saw the effects of supply chain problems at Aldi, though it did not affect what I was buying.  

Since I didn't feel well, I did not get my flu shot, as I had planned to.  I think I will try to get it done on my next gym day -- Thursday -- and I will try to get an eye appointment for the same day, since the eye doctor and Walgreens are in close proximity.  I'll probably make that a library day as well, so it will be a busy day.  Good thing I'm just going to rest up the next two days!

I'm feeling much better today!

Spendy Day

October 2nd, 2021 at 10:22 am

Yesterday I got my hair cut -- gave up on the longer hair and went back to the chin-length bob -- so much easier to handle.  My stylist did a great job, but it was pricy -- $73 for the cut and $15 for the tip.  Afterwards I went to the Skechers outlet store with the plan of buying anything that was backless with a memory foam insole.  It seems like this is the only type of shoe I can wear comfortably anymore.  I found three pairs, two of them on the clearance rack.  And yet the total price was $185, which feels shocking.  However, these shoes will last me a while; they will be my everyday shoes.  Then, because it was getting toward dinnertime and I was hungry, and the traffic was slow, I stopped at Home Depot for a hot dog and a drink - $5.

That puts my variables at 33% in just one day!  Wow.  I will have to be careful.  I have a dental appointment coming up in the middle of the month, and that won't be cheap either.

My Chase credit card, which has a "tap to pay" feature, is currently offering a deal to add $10 to rewards if I use it three times.  Yesterday I used it three times.  I will use it one more time just in case, but I think all three should count.  The minimum to charge was $3.35.  And on all three I used the tap feature, in case they are somehow tracking that.  So I'm looking forward to that $10 reward, which I will use on Amazon.