Home > Archive: March, 2022

Archive for March, 2022


March 28th, 2022 at 08:32 pm

I wasn't able to click into entries or add a new entry for several days. I wonder if anyone else had that problem. Anyway, it's working now.

So, in the last 8 days since I posted last, I have done a little spending. 

Eating out - $27 (but I may get $19 back -- my son said he would reimburse me for GS1's lunch)

Groceries - $53

Stamps - $12

Laundry - $4

Aquarium Supplies - $24

Variables are at 91%.

Tomorrow I am heading to BFF's house in Indiana. She is having cataract surgery on Wednesday, and I'm going to chauffeur her and help her out until she feels up to par.  So there will be some travel expense. This is the first time I've been to her house since the pandemic began -- we've met in the middle quite a bit, but it will be nice to actually spend a few days together.



A New Game, a Cheap Lunch, Etc.

March 20th, 2022 at 10:46 pm

My son and GS2 came over yesterday with a new legacy board game for the three of us to play. I had told my son I would pay for it -- he didn't allow me to do that, but he did accept half, which was $20.

I forgot to mention I got a real expensive lunch at Sam's the other day - $1.50 for a hot dog and .25 for a bottle of water! And today I ran a load of laundry. Variables are now 77%. (I forgot to count the body work in my previous variables report.)

GS1 has a baseball game tomorrow, but it is early afternoon and almost an hour away. I assume my son won't go because he has to work -- unless he has asked for the time off. If he is going, I'll ride along with him, but otherwise I'll pass on this one. Gas is too costly these days. And GS1 will probably not play. 

Today I was put something away in one of my closets and the bar full of hanging clothes collapsed. It's done that before. I decided not to try to fix it. Instead I did a big purge and reshuffling, and now I only have hanging clothes in one place. I have one large bag and two small bags to take to Goodwill, next time I get out in that direction.


March 18th, 2022 at 03:18 pm

I picked up the inhaler yesterday at Walgreens ($30) and also bought two packages of Poise pads for $29. I have re-learned that Poise is the best way to go -- the cheaper brands just don't work as well.

My doctor told me to use the inhaler before bedtime, since that is the worst time for my cough.  I tried it out last night -- it was my first ever go with an inhaler. I'm not sure I did it just right, but I did have a pretty good night. My doctor did not say the word "asthma" but I wonder if that's what's going on with me. If so, I'm happy to pay $30 a month to alleviate this eternal cough.

GS1's baseball started up again last night.  He's now on the high school freshman team.  He was not in the starting lineup so that was a bit of a disappointment.  I left at the fifth inning -- not because GS1 wasn't playing -- I'm happy to support the team -- but because it was SO COLD and I really wasn't dressed for it after such a deceptively warm day.

I got the body work done on the car and it was only $40.  I was pleased.  Also pleased with the work. They did manage to find matching paint so I don't have to worry about ordering some and doing it myself.

Variables are now at 69%.


March 17th, 2022 at 02:14 pm

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday -- my annual checkup.  Everything is mostly good but I have some things to follow up on. I'm to make an appointment for an ultrasound of my gallbladder, and to see the surgeon who fixed my broken ankle -- ten years later it is swelling, sometimes painful, and sometimes numb. I'm picking up a prescription this morning for an inhaler to help with my chronic cough.  As for my kidney disease, my GFR has dropped somewhat but the doctor doesn't seem concerned.  I am still in the upper half of stage 3.

I noticed yesterday that someone had scraped my rear bumper, so I went to the body shop to see if it could be buffed out.  The guy I talked to said he could do it, but I have to bring it in today and leave it for two hours.  The shop is within walking distance of Planet Fitness, so I'll go over there and do my strength training.  If I still have time to kill, there is a restaurant where I can hang out with a cup of coffee.

There are a few little spots that need to be painted.  I'll have to order some paint; the shop I went to doesn't carry it.

Speaking of restaurants, I went to Five Guys yesterday and spent $15 on lunch. It wasn't as good as I remembered.

I also spent $3 on a car wash, and $3 on parking.  Variables are at 62%.

Heard from the IRS

March 14th, 2022 at 08:30 pm

So I finally got my letter from the IRS.  Though it still refers to bogus info -- wrong income, dependents that I don't have -- I have figured out that it is actually correct that I received $537 and the $1400 difference is the stimulus payment (DUH!) which I mistakenly claimed as a credit, thinking I was just reporting income. I would like to talk to a live person about the wrong info, but the new phone number is no better than the other, and I can see I will never get through. So I'm letting it go. They have -- somewhere -- my letter in which I was assuming there had been an identity theft, and all the accompanying documentation. I don't know what they'll make of it, since now it doesn't look like identity theft but more like some confusion on the part of the IRS about why the $1400 was denied. I'll let them sort it out. I have the money in hand, and it's the right amount, and that's what counts.

Also, I forgot to report that my refinance was completed last Wednesday! So nice to have that out of the way. I don't have to make a payment till mid-April, which gives me a little break this month.

On the way home from Michigan, my windshield washer fluid stopped squirting. It was snowing and spitting, and I had to stop and clean my windshield manually at a gas station. Today I took the car to Midas -- where I got my oil changed last month -- and had them check it out.  I assumed someone forgot to top it off when I got my oil changed. But not so -- they said there was plenty of fluid in the receptacle, and the mechanism was working fine.  I don't know what happened! It certainly wasn't working on Saturday.

While I was out, I stopped at the gym and did my strength training and then went to Sam's, where I spent $41 on probiotics, bread, hair conditioner and underwear. Variables are now at 59%.

The new phone is working fine, though I did lose all my progress on several games I play. And the $50 late fee was indeed removed from my account. All is well.

Michigan Trip

March 13th, 2022 at 05:07 pm

I'm home from my short trip to Michigan. It was great to visit with my brother and his family, and I also got to see an old friend who is in assisted living now. His health is precarious, which is hard to see, but I hope the visit brightened his day.

I'm not sure how much I spent on gas, because I forgot to grab one of my receipts, and Discover is only showing the pending amount of $1 for the time being.  So I'm guessing it was $42.  I made two gas stops, because I wanted to fill up before I got back into Illinois. Good move on my part -- gas is about .50 higher per gallon here.

My other spending was $2 on road food, $14 at an antique store, $19 on wine and hand soap (bread & butter gifts) and -- here's the one that makes me sad -- $159 for a new phone. Yes, it turned out to be true that the 5G-compatible phone I bought just a year ago did not weather the 5G upgrade because it is not voice-over LTE (?)  So it was apparently using the 3G network. The guy who sold me the phone at Target said it's all been a big mess, very poorly handled, and he has been selling new phones to a lot of unhappy people.

And of course when my "old" phone conked out, I was on a trip.

What happened was -- the phone was working perfectly except suddenly I could not call or receive calls.  Ironic, huh? Did everything except what a phone is supposed to do. My replacement phone, I was told, is not quite as good -- though I can't tell the difference -- and it is using the 4G network, which I was promised will be viable for several years at least. A truly 5G-compatible phone would have been at least $500. I just couldn't do it.

So the carrier that kept hassling me to get a new phone was right after all. I am quite annoyed because switching over to a new phone is never quite smooth. There are new things to learn and I was happy enough with the way things were. But Consumer Cellular did provide a nice discount on the phone, and it's a Moto G like my old one, so I'm happy about that.

The other annoying thing that happened -- just before I left home, my property management company sent out an email that they goofed up and gave us the wrong numbers on our new monthly assessment fee.  Mine is $2.44 more.  The problem is, two days later, they charged me a $50 late fee because I hadn't changed the automatic payment -- which I didn't do because I was traveling and then transitioning to a new phone. I wrote a scathing email after I managed to get my new phone up and running to pay the flippin' $2.44.  I did not pay the $50. It looks like the late fee has been removed from my account, but I'm going to keep checking. No one actually answered me yet. How annoying is that? Their mistake -- two days notice -- ridiculous. I hope it was something automatic that was corrected.

Well, that's it -- the good, the bad and the ugly. Overall it was still a great trip.

My Day in the Halfway City

March 6th, 2022 at 03:01 pm

I had a really good time yesterday with BFF in our halfway city. We had lunch at a little diner we hadn't tried before. My lunch was $13, including the tip, so it was very reasonable. Then we shopped around the square. She bought some things, I didn't. But when we went to Goodwill, I did buy three small crockpots for $15. I have found they are ideal to use as humidifiers, much easier than a real humidifier, and I can tuck them into small spaces in various rooms. Winter is almost over, but it was worth it to make this purchase. I also ran into a BOGO sale for the melatonin I use, so I spent $14 for two bottles, and I bought gas for $20. I got it for $3.95 a gallon -- that's about .10 less than the cheapest gas in my area.

My subscription hit my credit card yesterday. It's $189 and I'm logging it as a big ticket item rather than as a variable.  Variables are at 25%. 

After a beautiful, unseasonably warm day yesterday, it is cold and blustery today. We had thunderstorms all night, but I'm not complaining -- Iowa had it a lot worse.

Budget Worries

March 5th, 2022 at 02:51 pm

A couple of things to report ...  I bought some Burts Bees toner for $11 yesterday, and also, my subscription to renewed for $189.  Variables are already 41%.  It's going to be hard to stay under budget this month.

In about a half hour I'm going to meet BFF in our halfway city. I'll get gas there, as it is cheaper than it is in Chicagoland. I'll try to keep my lunch tab as low as possible, and nix the shopping. The real point of this get-together is to have some face-to-face time together.

Next week I'm driving to Michigan to see my brother, and, again, I will get gas in Michigan. The savings might not be spectacular, but every penny will count this month. I always take something there -- I think this time I might just make some brownies, as I have all the ingredients already.

I'm glad my mortgage payment will be lower after the refinance. I need a little bit of the pressure off the budget. Did I mention the electric bill shot up? Not because of anything I'm doing, but because I have a new meter, and they are no longer estimating my bill. I am turning off lights, etc. whenever I can.

Refinance Approved

March 3rd, 2022 at 03:05 pm

I will close next Wednesday.  My new rate is 4% -- very close to what I had before, but now it's fixed. My new payment is $57 less than it was.  I'm glad to know that my payment will not change no matter what interest rates do.

I'm going to meet my BFF for lunch on Saturday at our halfway point, and next Thursday I'm going to drive up to Michigan to visit my brother.  I know gas prices will be up there, but these are things I gotta do.

I Don't Know What to Think

March 2nd, 2022 at 06:02 pm

Early this morning I found info on the TurboTax website about where to mail the Identity Theft Affidavit if you have not received a letter from the IRS. I sent it, along with copies of my SSN, driver's license, 1040-SR, and I also shared my IP-PIN in the text of my statement. I walked to the post office and mailed it, feeling like it was a job well done.

But when I came home I looked at my bank account and the reduced amount of my refund has been deposited in my bank account!  If that happened, does that mean another person did NOT file using my SSN? And if not, how did all that false information get onto my record? I don't know -- maybe I made a mistake and I am not entitled to the extra $400 -- but not for the reasons they stated! I still did not claim any dependents, and I didn't say my income was more than $75K.  Where did that come from? Did the IRS mess up? I'm completely confused now.

Anyway, I have to say I'm somewhat relieved.  I don't know what they will make of what I sent this morning, though, since at that point I was assuming the refund would be deposited in someone else's account.

But on to normal stuff -- I went to Aldi yesterday and spent $39 on groceries. I also got $15 worth for free, because I had a gift card from the UnitedHealthcare House Calls program.

I am still awaiting final approval on my refinance. Any day now.

Carrying On (and February Recap)

March 1st, 2022 at 03:44 pm

I have to admit, in the past few days I have entertained thoughts of "Why am I trying? All this economizing and budget attention doesn't even matter in the face of theft." But yes, I know it still matters, so I am carrying on.

My February recap is as follows:

Housing: $806

Property Tax: $516 (Semi-annual)

 Utilities: $209

Clothing/Accessories: $133 (Boots, PJ Pants)

Car Repair/Maintenance: $124 (Oil Change, Alignment, Tire Rotation)

Groceries: $122

Gifts/Charity: $110 (Birthday, Valentines Day)

Medical/Health: $106 (OTC items, Premium)

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $61 (Snow Shovel, Organizers)

Phone: $31

Gas: $24

Entertainment: $16 (Streaming Services)

Laundry: $14

Eating Out/Takeout: $10 (McDonalds)

Household Supplies: $2 (Sandwich Bags)

Grand Total: $2284

Variables: 89%

Yesterday I tried to get help on my tax problem at our senior center (no dice) and I contacted my senator Dick Durbin's office by email -- I had forgotten Lots of Ideas had so nicely provided a telephone number.  But I don't know if telephone is even a viable tool anymore.  You just get a runaround, if you get anything at all.  I hope they will attend to their email. All I'm asking is information on how to get my story to the IRS. So far I haven't been able to share anything with them. As far as they know, the person who used my SSN to steal my refund is me.

My hope now is that a letter from the IRS will actually come to me so I can get the ball rolling on proving identity theft.

All these worries pale against my concern about what is unfolding in Ukraine and what that monster Putin is capable to doing to the world. He is appalling, and I believe we are all in real danger. But I am trying to carry on and enjoy my life.