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Archive for December, 2021

December Recap & 2021 Recap

December 31st, 2021 at 06:44 pm


Housing - $795

Gifts/Charity - $788

Groceries - $233

Medical/Health - $202

Utilities - $187

Personal - $99

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $63

Gas - $52

Fees/Services - $40

Entertainment - $34

Phone - $31

Eating Out/Takeout - $25

Household Supplies - $24

Laundry - $18

Pet Supplies - $11

Clothing/Accessories - $5

Parking - $1

Grand Total - $2,608

It wasn't a bad month, really.  The biggest chunk was Christmas spending, which affected both "Gifts/Charity" and groceries.  The other categories were pretty much in line.   The higher-than-usual medical was due to getting my crown recemented.


2021 (With comparison to 2020)

Housing - $9546 ($9708)

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $2719 ($1332)

Utilities - $2246 ($2148)

Gifts/Charity - $1707 ($3888)

Insurance - $1695 ($864)

Groceries - $1408 ($1596)

Fees/Services - $1184 ($564)

Medical Health - $1142 ($1848)

Car Repair/Maintenance - $1135 ($2184)

Vacation/Travel - $1028 ($0)

Taxes - $938 ($912)

Home Repair/Maintenance - $748 ($5076)

Vet/Pet Supplies - $742 ($1104)

Personal - $644 ($168)

Phone - $506 ($612)

Eating Out/Takeout - $498 ($540)

Gas - $357 ($204)

Entertainment - $325 ($288)

Clothing/Accessories - $236 ($204)

Household Supplies - $214 ($276)

Laundry - $196 ($204)

Grand Total - $29,215 ($33,720)

So -- I spent less in 2021.  2020 was a bad year for home repairs, car repairs, vet bills, medical, and gifts.  But great for no vacation costs!  2021 saw a big jump in insurance, furnishings (mostly due to table refinishing), fees/services (tollway costs?).  Gas - higher but not as much higher as I would have guessed.  Food -- both groceries and eating out -- was lower this year than last.  I credit that to much more discipline in the kitchen -- and fewer opportunities to eat out.

Net worth rose from $206,582 to $219,295.  Some of that is due to a higher market value on my condo.  I have deliberately been very conservative on how much my condo is worth, because I know that a sale is a tricky business, no guarantee.  Anyway, I'm very pleased that my net worth has risen at all, given that I am retired and not bringing in much income!

On to 2022!  I can hardly wait!

This and That

December 28th, 2021 at 07:42 pm

This morning I bought breakfast at Burger King - $4 - and then filled up the tank for $26.  Yesterday I bought aquarium supplies for $11 and a prescription for $8.  Variables are at 86%.

In a couple of hours I'll be driving my son to the airport -- not normally a big deal, but it is snowing like crazy.  First snow of the season. 

My son's cat is here, hiding under the bed.  I saw her once, when she sneaked into the bathroom.  I wonder when I will see her again.

In a few days I'll do my year-end recap! I hope 2022 will be a better year, just like I hoped that 2021 would be.  Omicron is not giving it a very good beginning.

COVID Close Call

December 22nd, 2021 at 08:20 pm

Last night my son called me to let me know that he had just tested positive for COVID.  He is fully vaccinated and boosted, but he still got it.  He is not worried about getting sick -- his symptoms are mild -- but since he was planning on traveling with his family to Florida tomorrow, that obviously put a wrecking ball in his plans.  Well, it turned out that no one else in his immediate family -- nor me -- tested positive (I took care of testing this morning.)  So his wife and sons are going to Florida, and he will join them when his quarantine is done on the 31st.  He is currently staying at his dad's house -- which is unoccupied right now -- so everything has turned out about as well as it could.

It was a harrowing morning getting tested -- long line outside in the cold, and the check-in process, all done online on my phone, was challenging.  They gave me both the rapid test and the PCR.  As soon as I was done and declared negative, I went straight to Midas because my tire light came on this morning.  I knew they were watching at least one tire and I expected to have to buy a new one.  But it turned out that the problem was only low pressure, so they fixed that for free, and I was on my way.

I made one purchase yesterday -- I was out of CoQ10, which I take in conjunction with my statin, so I went to Walgreens and got the best deal I could, a twin-pack for $43. Variables are at 80%, with a week and two days to go.

My HOA sent a warning that assessment fees will rise by 3.2% in February.  I made the adjustment in my budget.  It was not as bad as I expected, considering the warning about heating fuel this winter.  So far our winter has been very mild and snowless.  I hope that lasts.

Christmas Gathering

December 20th, 2021 at 05:01 pm

Our Christmas gathering on Saturday was very successful. It was a little stressful getting the meal together, but I did have help from one of my grandsons, who wants to be a chef. After the meal, we opened gifts, and then played games. They all stayed all day, which kind of surprised me, but it's an indication that everyone was having a good time.

I spent yesterday cleaning up and putting everything away, and I went to the gym as well. Today I'm taking it easy except for doing laundry and hauling garbage out to the dumpster.

There has been no spending since my last entry. But something financial did occur -- my ex gave me $200. I'll put that into savings, which will put that over $3,000.

As I expected there is a lot of food left over, which I will try to use wisely. Most of the sweets went into the freezer already. One of the casseroles was totally consumed; the other will provide me with several lunches.  A lot of veggies were left, so those will probably become soup. I don't expect to have to do any grocery shopping until 2022!

Speaking of 2022, I'm already mulling over my new year's resolutions. This year I want to really think about what I can do to make next year better than this one.  I'm pretty sure that one of my resolutions is going to be getting out in nature more, and another is to connect with distant family more.  I haven't settled on any financial resolutions yet.

A New Book -- and Groceries

December 16th, 2021 at 11:31 pm

I ordered a book on Amazon today, intending to use my credits, but somehow I ended up paying with my Amazon Visa card.  Oh well, the credits will be good for something else.  The book is authored by an acquaintance of mine from the past -- I recently read a review which said it was the best book the reviewer had read this year.  So it will be interesting to read.  The book was $18.

I also went to Aldi and bought some staples as well as all the stuff I need for Saturday's Christmas lunch.  I spent $95, which is unusually high for me, but the Christmas meal is always expensive.  I will probably have lots of leftovers.

My problem with the mortgage lender was resolved this morning.  It was a simple matter of the property management company updating the information on their website, but they had neglected to do it, and I was caught in the middle.  Today I downloaded an up-to-date certificate and uploaded it on the lender's insurance site, and all is well (I think).  Could have been so simple, but it was a nightmare because someone didn't do their job.

Forgot to mention, I got my hair cut - $73 for the cut, and I tipped the stylist $20 because it is the Christmas season.  He does a really good job, but I have to figure out how to get a good cut cheaper.  I've been stretching out appointments to 12 weeks, and that helps some.

Another expenditure, next day.  I bought some plants for my kitchen window - $53.  Well, that includes the cost of decorative pots.  Everything is so expensive!  But the window looks much better, and the kitchen is cozier.  What spurred me on was that I am hosting our local family Christmas get-together tomorrow.  They haven't seen my place in a while and I wanted it to look nice.

Variables are at 73%, with two weeks to go.


December 15th, 2021 at 01:22 am

Made a trip to Goodwill and spent $15.  Most of it was for baking pans to fill with water and set underneath my radiators.  I'm done messing with humidifiers; hoping a little old school humidifying will work.  I also bought a new-to-me purse -- needed something that would do a better job of holding my phone in a convenient, but safe spot.

I was done with Christmas shopping, but I got a gift from a friend who likes to keep up the exchange (I'd rather not).  I had enough credits on Amazon to get something free, so it didn't really hurt too much to send her a little something.

Once again I'm wrestling with my mortgage lender, who demands proof that my building is insured every year, and every year my property management company screws it up and sends me an outdated certificate.  Then the mortgage lender charges ME for the building insurance -- or tries to.  I could scream!  After talking to a few neighbors, I learned that they have never had to provide such proof to their lenders!  I'm ready to refinance and get rid of my lender on that basis alone.  But I'd probably have to have said certificate to get the ball rollling, so I'm still stuck.

Edit: Another expenditure -- $30 for copay on one of my September visits to Immediate Care.  Finally billed for it.

Christmas Shopping Done

December 10th, 2021 at 12:22 am

I finished up my Christmas shopping today.  All I have to do is buy a nice Christmas card for a friend who is in assisted living.  I spent $25 at Walgreens (which includes the aforementioned $10 gift, and several bags of candy).  Then I went to Aldi and got some necessities and also bought some ingredients for my Christmas lunch -- not all of them, just enough to get started on cooking ahead.  There I spent $50.

My tollway pass re-upped again!  Another $40.  I guess I've been doing a lot of driving.  I did have the Thanksgiving trip and Indiana trip in recent days.  Add to that, I think tolls have gone up quite a bit, so I use up my $40 a lot faster than I used to.

I learned today that my sister-in-law lost her mother yesterday.  It was not a surprise, but for all that, it happened quickly.  I will go up to Michigan for the funeral, if I can.  The funeral may conflict with my Christmas lunch, so I may have to do some schedule juggling.  So far I don't even know if they are planning a funeral, but I imagine they will.  My brother is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, so the timing is bad all round.

Christmas Stuff

December 7th, 2021 at 03:34 pm

I spent another $6 on a stocking stuffer gift.  I have to buy another $10 gift to even things out among family members, and then I think I'm pretty much done.  The next thing to focus on will be the Christmas lunch, which should not be too expensive.  I'm making two casseroles, and I'm baking cookies for dessert.  Family members will provide sides and salads (I hope!)

Barring any surprises, I should have $300 for each of the four college funds this year.  I'm doing so much better this year than last!  I guess my little economies have paid off.

I've Been Busy

December 4th, 2021 at 08:17 pm

Mostly busy spending.  Yesterday I met BFF in the halfway city.  There I spent $26 on gas, $13 on lunch, and $15 on gifts.  (Lunch was a bargain, since it was big enough for two lunches, and I also brought home a large slice of ham that BFF didn't want! That will be another lunch!)

This morning I went to Sam's, and spent $6 on body wash, $30 on gifts, and $18 on trash bags.  I also paid my dental bill for the recementing of the crown - $103.

Variables are at 24%.

Amazon gifts are coming in like gangbusters, and I'm wrapping them up as I get them.

I intend to get started on baking Christmas cookies -- but not today.

November Recap

December 1st, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Home Repair/Maintenance - $1125

Housing - $795

Gifts/Charity - $231

Utilities - $180

Fees/Services - $167

Eating Out/Takeout - $119

Groceries - $75

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $75

Vacation/Travel - $58

Gas - $50

Phone - $31

Medical/Health - $26

Vet/Pet Supplies; $20

Personal - $18

Clothing - $17

Entertainment - $16

Laundry - $12

Car Repair/Maintenance - $6

Household Supplies - $2

Grand Total - $3023

Variables - 101%

The home repair cost was, of course, the balance due on the refinishing of the table.  The gifts were mostly birthday gifts.  Fees included a $115 delivery fee for the table.  I also replenished my tollway pass and resubscribed to AARP.  F/E/D was mostly gifts to myself, an antique soup tureen and porcelain mugs.  Gas -- higher than usual -- no surprise there.  Pet supplies - new lights for the aquarium.  Clothing - an emergency sleep sweater.  Nothing else was out of whack.  Groceries were amazingly low!  I really forced myself to eat what was in the freezer.

Yesterday I thought variables were at 98%, but I had forgotten to log a gift purchase.  But I am not unhappy with 101%.  The big payment for the table refinishing came out of savings, of course.