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Archive for January, 2022

The Target Trip

January 28th, 2022 at 10:55 pm

I went to Target yesterday to use my gift card. I ended up spending about $9 above the $25. I was aware I was over, and could have put some groceries back, but I wanted everything I bought.  So this is what $34 bought -- coffee, creamer, bread, cheese, sausage, raspberries, blueberries, and crackers. That's it!

Variables are now at 48%.

We got socked with snow today -- nine inches. I had to sweep off my car, so I could move it to the opposite side of the street in preparation for plowing tomorrow. The worst part was finding a new place to park, because the snow was so deep, every open space looked like a trap. I finally parked way down in the next block, where the snow didn't look quite as deep, but I have no idea if I'll be able to drive out of my spot tomorrow -- when I have to move the car to the other side of the street. How I wish I had a garage. Oh well. Winter won't last forever. It sounds like the east coast is going to get a whopper of a storm, and I commiserate.

Warm Feet and Gift Card!

January 26th, 2022 at 06:43 pm

Just a couple of financial events. I ordered some sheepskin insoles for my boots because I'm tired of frozen feet. They were $12 and will arrive on Friday. And I received a $25 virtual Target gift card for participating in a local focus group. Whee! I'd like to go out and use it today, but it's too cold.

Variables are at 47%. I am so close to the end of the month -- with the help of the gift card I may get through to the end without spending any more.

Dribs and Drabs

January 25th, 2022 at 05:53 pm

It seems like I've been spending in dribs and drabs all month.  Just when I think I'm done, something else pops us that I need.  I think I am not doing such a good job of monitoring my household inventory lately.

Anyway, I had to pop out yesterday and buy light bulbs at Home Depot ($8) and aquarium filter pads at PetSmart ($20 - value pack).  It was getting dark and there were snowplows all over -- plus towing trucks.  Even though everyone had been warned, there were so many who parked on streets designated for plowing.  I came home about 40 minutes before the plowing ban ended, and saw some of my neighbors get towed away. So I got back in the car and went to McDonalds for dinner ($3) -- ate in the car in a plow-free neighborhood, and when I got home again all was clear.  You know it's winter when plowing rules your life!

Today it is bitterly cold -- temperature was 4 degrees this morning, with a wind chill factor of 10 below. So I'm not going out today. I may make a quick run to the garbage dumpster -- that's all.

I'll be making potato soup later on -- well, soon!  It's going to be a good day. Smile

A Stop at Walgreens

January 22nd, 2022 at 10:40 pm

While I am out walking, I sometimes stop at Walgreens, which is only a few blocks away. Today I stopped and picked up some coffee creamer, as well as some facial serum -- altogether it was $26.  As I said in a comment, Aldi was clean out of creamer last week, and I substituted half & half -- but since I am lactose intolerant it's kind of a pain to have to take a dairy pill with each cup. And I don't really like the taste. So I popped into Walgreens to see if they had creamer -- yes! And while I was there I bought serum since I am almost out. 

I'll use the half & half in cream soup or something like that. With a dairy pill of course. Smile

I got an email this morning informing me that I had underpaid the assessment fee.  I was aware that a 3% hike was coming, but I guess I assumed I would get a warning to change my automatic payment. The payment went through at the old amount. Luckily, it was easy to pay the difference online, and then edit my payment amount going forward. So no harm done.

It's been a quiet month financially. With only a week and two days to go, variables are at 37%.


Net Increase

January 19th, 2022 at 03:57 pm

I got my SS payment today, and my net increase is $112.  I don't think that's going to make a whole lot of difference in light of inflation, but, oh well.  I will continue just doing my best.

I ordered my free COVID tests yesterday.  I hope the package is small enough to fit inside my mailbox; otherwise, it will be left in the vestibule and could easily be stolen.  I'll have to make sure to check it often.

The 5G rollout was supposed to happen today, but it's not happening near airports.  I don't know whether I am close enough to O'Hare or Midway to be affected or not.  Anyway, my phone is working.  I have been warned by both StraightTalk and Consumer Cellular that my phone will not work with 5G -- even though my phone says it is 5G compatible and its very name is Moto G 5G.  And it's less than a year old.  I have been pushed hard to purchase a new phone, but I'm not doing it until I am convinced my phone won't work.  I'm not sure these carriers are scamming me, but I do think they may be working with information that is not correct or complete.  And both of them were VERY interested in selling me a new phone.  I dropped StraightTalk and signed up to Consumer Cellular, just to get the same story.  Ah, no.  I may be sorry, but I'm waiting.  It'll be easy enough to go to Best Buy and get a new phone, if I really have to.  Stay tuned.

First Aldi Trip of the Year

January 18th, 2022 at 08:33 pm

I went to Aldi this morning -- first time in the grocery store this year!  I spent $50 on groceries, $6 on toilet paper, and $8 on a utensil crock, which I didn't expect to spend, but they happened to have one that was the right size and color.  I was planning to look at Goodwill, but this was so much easier.

Variables are now at 33%.  I am working with an estimated budget right now, since I don't know what my new SS payment will be.  But I'll find out tomorrow!

Did I mention that on Thanksgiving my sister brought me boxes and boxes of books?  I have been plowing my way through them, which is a delightful way to spend this dismal lockdown.  I have also become addicted to FarmVille3.  I do so enjoy harvesting those crops and buying pigs, cows and chickens.  I never buy any tokens, as much as they try to urge me to, so it's free entertainment.

I have not been to the gym since Omicron took hold, but I am trying to take daily walks.  It is sometimes challenging, when the weather is cold or windy or snowy or a combination thereof.  But I've been pretty good about it.  I have to admit I feel better when I exercise, even though I sometimes have to force myself to do it.

Dinner Out

January 15th, 2022 at 02:49 pm

Last night I met my kids at a local pizza joint that is going out of business -- a very sad affair, it was a longtime, much-loved business in the area, but they are done.  Anyway, I was the first one there and the line was SO long to get in. We texted back and forth and decided to go to another place instead, where we could eat without the wait.  It was the first time I went out since the proof of vaccination mandate was levied.  I have to say it went very smoothly, and I felt safe.  We had a good time. I contributed $20 to the cost of the pizzas.

I am very anxious for my Social Security payday to arrive -- this coming Wednesday.  I don't know what the amount will be.  I know the increase is 5.9%, but Medicare will cost more, too, which will lower the overall payment. Sounds like they are still not sure how much to jack up Medicare; they are still debating that expensive Alzeheimer's drug that may not even work. I'm sure I would feel less cynical about it if I had Alzheimer's! Smile

Variables are now at 26%, and we are now halfway through the month, so I'm doing well.  However, it is still a costly month, with an insurance payment and my donations to the grandkids' college funds.  I am still holding out on going to the grocery store, being creative about what to eat.  I took home some pizza last night, so that helped!

Cough Drops

January 12th, 2022 at 05:23 pm

I bought cough drops at Walgreens while I was out for my walk yesterday - $6.  Variables are at 23%.  Still holding off on grocery shopping; no necessities have cropped up yet.

Eye Doctor

January 10th, 2022 at 09:35 pm

I went to the eye doctor this morning and spent $114 on glasses and $39 on tests.  The glasses were kind of a splurge -- they are readers, but prescription-strength, and I got the thinner, scratch-proof and shatter-proof lenses.  I hope that will prove a good decision.  I use readers a lot, since I read a lot, and I also need them for computer work and simple things like reading a medicine bottle or a recipe.  Or seeing what's on my phone!  It will be about two weeks before I can pick them up.

Variables for the month are at 22%.

I had a mammogram last week and after looking at the results my doctor put in an order for an ultrasound -- not because he saw anything wrong, but more as a precaution because of my age and the density of the tissue.  I checked with my insurance and there will be a $130 copay.  I have decided to try to schedule in February, since the eye doctor wiped out my medical allowance for this month.

My son & family came home last night from Florida, and they picked up their cat today.  I will miss the little cutie, but on the other hand, she certainly got into trouble a lot -- chewing on plants and wires, jumping up on the table, etc.  I was used to an older, sedate, cat and she is young and frisky!

Anyway, I'm glad they're home. They didn't have quite the vacation they had hoped for, what with the Omicron virus sweeping through the country, but at least they enjoyed some warm weather.  It's COLD here.

So far I have not spent anything on groceries this month.  There is plenty of food in the freezer, so I plan to only buy necessities. I haven't bought any gas, either, and I have almost a full tank.  So I may get through the month without buying any.  January WOULD be a low-spend month, except for my contributions to the grandkids' college funds, and the insurance payment.  And next month it's property tax. Sigh!


January 4th, 2022 at 02:29 pm

I didn't log my upcoming auto insurance payment into my budget spreadsheet.  I don't know why -- I knew it was coming, but I just didn't enter it.  So when it hit the bank account this morning, it left a balance that was surprising. I'm okay, just have to adjust my mind a little bit, as well as the spreadsheet.  My semiannual insurance payment is $747 -- quite expensive.  Older driver in a high-density setting.

I've been doing well on my resolutions.  One day I did not write.  I was feeling a little depressed, and it wasn't conducive to writing.  I have to bear in mind that I won't always feel like being creative.  So maybe that shouldn't be a daily resolution.  Maybe more like a 5 out of 7.

Part of my housework yesterday was going through a canister of pens and pencils and throwing away the ones that wouldn't write.  Quite a few were dried up, but that's not the interesting part.  At the bottom of the canister I found about 10-15 buttons, and a necklace that I had been missing. Weird.

Today I'm venturing out because I have a mammogram scheduled. Luckily, our storm wasn't nearly as bad as predicted, and I have cleaned off the car and it looks like I'll be able to pull out easily.

It's getting very cold tomorrow. That prediction will probably prove true!

So It Begins

January 2nd, 2022 at 04:55 pm

I started the new year with a $600 donation to my Oregon grandchildren's college funds.  I will do the same for my local grandchildren when the family gets back from Florida.  I used to do this at Christmas, but it is working out better budget-wise in the new year.

And for myself, I spent $38 on personal and household supplies.

We were threatened with a heavy snowstorm yesterday, but in fact it didn't pan out to be much.  Thank goodness!  When it snows more than four inches I have to move my car around to permit snowplowing.  This way it can just sit.  Soon I will go take my daily walk -- first time in the snow this year.  Well, obviously, but first time this winter season.

I've been pondering new year's resolutions, and I think I'm making very few this year.  There is no reason to make a resolution about something I'm already good about doing, so I'm concentrating on the places I fall short.  Here they are:

1. Walk 5 days per week, 20-30 minutes per walk.

2. Eat 2-3 high fiber foods per day.

3. Spend 30 minutes per day on concentrated housework.  This does not count making the bed, loading the dishwasher, etc.  30 minutes on things I usually skip or postpone.

4. Reach out to family members once a week.  This doesn't count my children and grandchildren, but the more far-flung family members -- my siblings, cousins, etc.  Also, old friends.

5. Write every day, even if it's only a sentence or two.