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Archive for April, 2022

April Recap

April 30th, 2022 at 06:55 pm

Since I won't be spending anything today, I decided to do my April recap.  It was really a low-spend month -- $1624 total!

Housing - $460 (No mortgage payment due to refinance - it will kick in tomorrow. This is assessment fees.)

Vacation/Travel - $337 (Mostly train tickets)

Utilities - $218

Fees/Services - $110 (Tollway pass, Sam's Club membership fee, license plate renewal)

Groceries - $95

Gifts/Charity - $90 (Charity donation & Easter gifts for grandkids)

Medical/Health - $83 (Premium, co-pay for specialist, probiotics)

Gas - $58

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $51 (Bed pillows, spice organizer)

Phone - $31

Household Supplies  - $22 (Toilet paper)

Eating Out/Takeout - $19

Personal - $18

Entertainment - $17

Laundry - $14

Parking - $1

Variables - 106%

So it's weird. My overall spending was low but variables were a little high. I believe that's because my savings were in fixed spending -- most particularly not having to make a mortgage payment.


A Little Juggling

April 27th, 2022 at 03:11 pm

Not with oranges or bowling pins, but with my budget.  I had previously logged my train tickets as "big ticket" items -- not coming out of variables  -- but after finding out yesterday that my dentist visit was totally covered by insurance, I decided to transfer the train tickets into variables.  That brings variables to 106% -- but my average for the year so far is only 84%, so I think it's a good move.  Big ticket items come out of savings, and I want to preserve that as much as possible.

There was one more cost that went into that variables percentage -- I renewed my license plate registration. It was only $25. As a "senior below a certain income" I get this nice discount. Otherwise, it would be $151.

My bathroom needs a major overhaul. I'm saving for that. Most people would take out a loan, but I'm determined to save for it -- or at least save a big chunk of it. I don't want to pay interest, and I don't want to have another monthly payment. It may take a long time, but I'm patient! And it's always good to have a goal.


April 25th, 2022 at 06:17 pm

After a really awful night's sleep (too much stimulation!) I managed to get up this morning and get to the gym. I also stopped at the doctor's office to pick up a stool testing kit -- so much better than a colonoscopy. On the way home I went through Burger King's drive-through and bought an Impossible burger for $7. And I got gas at Sam's for $27. Variables are at 64%. Tomorrow I go to the dentist, which will not be cheap, but I'm going to try to cash flow it. I'm also going to pick up a beach pass, which is free for the first time this year! Yay! And I'll get my five frozen meals at the senior center.

May just take a nap this afternoon.....


April 19th, 2022 at 06:44 pm

I bought my train tickets this morning. I opted for coach, because it was SO MUCH cheaper than a sleeper. Maybe I'll regret it, but right now I'm looking upon it as an adventure. BFF's SIL has taken this same trip by coach, and she said it wasn't bad at all. Yes, I would prefer to have the privacy of sleeper. If I were rich, that's what I would do. But I'm not rich. I have to do what I can afford. The two tickets, with insurance, were $332. That will come out of savings. It doesn't affect my variables, which remains at 57%.

I picked up my free lunches this morning after my gym routine. There are some repeats and some that are new. I asked the woman who distributes them whether lactose-free milk was an option. She said she didn't have any, but thought it was a good idea, since lactose intolerance is so common, and she's going to ask about it. Since I don't take the milk, I get juice instead, which is fine.

I already ate today's meal. It was spaghetti and meatballs, with peach cobbler on the side. A repeat. It's pretty good.

Easter Lunch & A Trip in the Future

April 18th, 2022 at 02:52 pm

For some reason, I am unable to submit comments today. So I want to say welcome to Comicguy, and kudos to Amber for cutting down on social media -- it's a rabbit hole! I avoid it, because avoiding it is good for my mental health.

I went out for lunch with my kids and grandkids yesterday. Our tradition is to go to a Mexican restaurant -- they are not so busy on Easter! They wanted to pay for me, but in the end allowed me to contribute $12.

I talked with my Oregon son yesterday and we determined that the best time for me to visit is July. So today I'm going to be looking for a train ticket. The Empire Builder, which travels from Chicago to Portland/Seattle, also stops in Pasco, WA, which is about an hour away from where they live. Wish me luck! A train trip is something I've always wanted to do -- especially now when air travel has become so stressful and unappealing. And I have the luxury of time, so no reason not to take the train.

I have run out of frozen meals (I pick up a new batch tomorrow), so today I actually have to cook something! I think I will make chili. It is cold -- some areas had snow last night -- so it's chili weather.

Okay, that's weird -- I was just able to comment on my own blog, but still can't comment on others.....

Aldi & Walgreens, Etc.

April 16th, 2022 at 11:48 pm

On Friday I went to the gym and then to Aldi, where I spent $57 on groceries, and $9 on a tiered shelf to house my spices. Some of them, anyway. I also have a drawerful.

This morning I walked to Walgreens and spent $9 on brow color, and $3 on a package of hot dog buns.

This is the latest of many attempts to find some viable solution for my graying eyebrows , which really don't look good. But everything I've purchased is too dark -- I don't like my brows to stand out in sharp contrast to my hair -- I just want them to look normal! Hoping this time is the charm. I bought a root touch-up with a comb-like applicator in medium brown. I haven't tried it out yet. Fingers crossed.

As for the hot dog buns, when I checked out my free frozen meal for the day I saw that the entree portion was an all-beef hot dog -- but no bun! I simply have to have a bun with my hot dog. Now I have 7 buns in the freezer. I trust that bunless hot dogs will appear on the menu again, and the buns will eventually get used up.

I am giving my local grandkids $10 each for Easter tomorrow.  Netflix has hit my credit card, as well as my annual Sam's club membership fee.  All in all, variables are up to 56%. But I am more than halfway through the month, so that is about right.


April 14th, 2022 at 02:29 pm

Yesterday I went shopping for a winter jacket on clearance. I didn't find one, but I did find bed pillows on sale, so I bought a couple of Sealy Cool Touch pillows. I slept on them last night, and I love them! And they're washable. They were so reasonable -- $42 for the pair.


This morning I walked to Walgreens and bought coffee creamer ($4) and then mailed Easter cards to my Oregon grandkids with $20 in cash inserted.


Variables are at 37%, approximately halfway through the month, so I'm doing well.


I ate my second free frozen lunch yesterday and it was much better than the first -- turkey, sweet potatoes, and peas and carrots. 

Free Meals

April 12th, 2022 at 07:36 pm

I picked up my first batch of free frozen meals today, and I had one for lunch. It was "Mediterranean pork" with Brussels sprouts and escalloped potatoes. It was pretty much like hospital food, before hospital food improved. I'm not complaining, though. Now I know, having tried it, that I need to repurpose it. Today's meal, for instance, could have been used to make stir fry and potato soup.


I was surprised to receive, in addition to the meals, fruit cups, graham crackers, juice boxes and saltines. Those will find their uses as well. I will make a fruit salad tonight, with the free fruit cup and some I have on hand. I do think this will eventually make a dent in my grocery spending.


Yesterday's baseball game did go on as planned. The weather cleared up, and it was actually pretty nice. DS and I arrived late, however, because first of all, the traffic was horrific, and second, the field at this particular location was tucked away in a place where you couldn't see it from either the street or the parking lots. We ended up walking a lot just hoping to stumble upon it. Which was fine -- I needed more steps! The game was lost, but GS1 played well, and that is what is really important to us.


There are games all week, because so many were cancelled due to rain.  Another one today, but it's a home game, so there will be no trekking around.

A Bit More Spending

April 11th, 2022 at 05:48 pm

The other day I went to Sam's after my stint in the gym. I spent $20 on raspberries and apples.  Variables are at 29%.

I received $39 from a class action settlement from State Farm.  I had already received over $100 some time ago, but the letter with the check said I was entitled to more. Yay! Every little bit helps! I can't even remember what the claim was about.

Today GS1 has a baseball game, but we have had so much rain lately, I don't know if it will go on as scheduled.  It is at another suburb, and is scheduled before DS gets off work, so I don't know if he will go.  (He is still working from home.) If he does, we will ride together. If he doesn't, I doubt that I will make the drive.

Booster and Congregate Meal Program

April 7th, 2022 at 06:49 pm

I got my second COVID booster yesterday at Walgreens. Since I had made the trip, I decided to get anything I was getting low on, to save another trip later. I bought razors ($9) and prebiotics/probiotics ($12).

Today my arm is quite sore and I can only lift it so far. And I am definitely feeling under the weather. But I'm not discouraging anyone from getting the booster! This is a small price to pay for protection, and I'm sure I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

I am just lying around, reading and taking it easy. It's good to have a day like this once in a while!

In other news, I stopped at the senior center to apply for the congregate meal program. I selected the option to pick up 5 frozen dinners once a week. I was inspired to do this by Wink, who has received such wonderful benefits from her senior center! I do wish we received groceries rather than frozen meals, like Wink, but I am willing to take anything to help with the grocery budget. This is a federal program I am eligible for based on my age and income.

So this coming Tuesday, I'll be picking up my first five meals.  I hope they're good!

Medical Stuff

April 6th, 2022 at 05:06 pm

Yesterday I had a couple of medical appointments. One was an ultrasound, which will cost me $143, but I haven't paid it yet. I will pay it on my payday. The other was a checkup with the surgeon who operated on my ankle 12 years ago. My ankle has been giving me some trouble and my primary care physician suggested I meet with the surgeon. He took x-rays and determined I have arthritis in my ankle. He said I may need to have more surgery in the future, perhaps to replace the pins, but it wouldn't be for a while, as the ankle is holding up well. For now, it's better to just live with the discomfort. I was glad to know nothing was seriously wrong. As for the ultrasound, it was to determine the state of my gallbladder -- which appears to be fine -- but I do have a fatty liver (gross, I know!) It is not necessarily dangerous and is reversible with diet and exercise, so I guess it's back to that again. The best news there is that rapid weight loss is counterproductive, so I need to take it slow. That I can do.

The ankle doctor visit cost me $45. There will probably be another charge for the x-rays.

Shortly, I am going to get my second COVID booster shot. That, at least, is free!

Home from BFF's House, and March Recap

April 3rd, 2022 at 04:11 pm

I got home from my friend's house yesterday. She is doing well after her cataract surgery, and we had a good time together. I didn't sleep well the night before my trip home, so I was very tired upon arrival. I didn't do much. I'm trying to catch up on things today.

The cost of my "vacation" was $60, most of it for gas. I spent $18 on food, but BFF provided most of the food.

Here is my March recap:

Housing: $462

Utilities: $218

Furnishings/Eqipment/Decor: $194 (mostly for new phone)

Fees/Services: $189 (

Personal: $139 (Haircut, conditioner, Poise pads)

Vacation/Travel: $128 (two trips, one to Michigan, one to Indiana)

Groceries: $97

Medical/Health: $79 (Premium, prescription, probiotics)

Car Repair/Maintenance: $43 (Minor body work, wash)

Eating Out/Takeout: $38

Entertainment: $36 (Board game, streaming)

Phone: $31

Vet/Pet Supplies: $24 (Aquarium supplies)

Gifts/Charity: $23

Gas: $20

Clothing: $17 (Underwear)

Laundry: $16

Household Supplies: $12 (stamps)

Fares/Parking: $3

Grand Total : $1769

Variables: 100%

It was a low-spend month because I didn't have to pay my mortgage. I actually don't have to pay it again until May 1. I have signed up for automatic payment. The housing expense listed is the new adjusted assessment fee.

I have already done a little April spending -- I spent $5 on the way home for breakfast at McDonalds. I've done a load of laundry ($2). I donated to a charity run my DIL is participating in -- $50. And my tollway pass replenished to the tune of $40.  That puts this month's variables at 11%.