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Archive for August, 2022

August Recap

August 31st, 2022 at 05:56 pm

Finally, it's the last day of August! I won't spend anything today, so I did my recap:


Housing - $4,246

Car Repair/Maintenance - $223

Utilities - $198

Groceries - $109

Fees/Services - $45

Clothing - $37

Household Supplies - $36

Medical/Health - $35

Phone - $32

Gas - $29

Entertainment - $17

Laundry - $16

Personal - $11

Vet/Pet Supplies - $7

Eating Out/Takeout - $3

Gifts/Charity - $1

Grand Total - $5,046


So, overall my spending was about the same this month as last. It's been two tough months, as the spending really exceeds my income. But September should be better. I hope.

The high housing cost was due, of course, to having to pay a special assessment for a new roof.

The car repair was an oil change and new filters, as well as a steering wheel lock.

The fee was the wheel tax, in other communities known as a resident sticker.

The clothing was the pair of UGGS I got so cheap for my birthday!

Nothing else is out of the ordinary -- except for the very low eating out category! That was just a drink and an ice cream cone, different days.


I have a plan for next month's grocery shopping -- which will begin tomorrow.  Since I want to stick to $100 a month, I'm going to do a weekly shop of $20 or $25 a week, depending on how many Thursdays are in the month. I think it will be doable. Also, easy to carry!  Tomorrow I'll report on what I was able to buy.


Toner and Ice Cream

August 29th, 2022 at 04:16 pm

My printer ran low on toner, so I bought a new cartridge from Amazon for $22. It looks intimidating. I haven't tried to install it yet. Till  now, I've been using the sample toner that came with the printer when I bought it at least a year ago. That sample served me well.

I bought an ice cream cone at McDonalds yesterday -- an impulse purchase, and I enjoyed every lick. I am still holding firm on grocery shopping, but this came out of Eating Out/Takeout, which I hadn't tapped at all this month.

I made chicken fried rice this week, which gave me two large servings. Today I made pancakes for breakfast and I'm going to have a hamburger for lunch. Dinner -- always light -- may be cheese and crackers with carrot strips. Or I may break out one of the Lean Cuisines. 

Two more days after this and I can shop again.

Personal and Health Spending

August 24th, 2022 at 05:04 pm

I went to the gym yesterday, and afterwards walked over to Sam's Club. I didn't find what I was looking for -- folate supplements -- but I bought a twin-pack of body wash for $11. Then I drove to Walgreens and bought the folate -- a BOGO offer -- for $9. Variables are now at 63%.

I continue to avoid the grocery store. Yesterday I made stuffed peppers, and today I made vegetable rice soup. I am drinking my coffee black. I'm out of fresh fruit, but I do have prunes. I'm out of sweets, too, but I guess that really isn't a bad thing. Plenty of possible entrees and plenty of vegetables on hand.

FYI, the items mentioned above do not come out of my grocery budget. My grocery budget is strictly for food.

My Day Trip, Etc.

August 21st, 2022 at 03:36 pm

My day trip to see my BFF was great, but would you believe, I had another memory snafu! Last time I realized I didn't have one of my wallets (but found it at home later). This time, as I was getting ready to drive home, I realized I didn't have my phone. In a panic, I went back to the last place we'd been, and was SO lucky to find it sitting there on the bench untouched.  I'm starting to worry about myself!

Since this was a late celebration of my birthday, BFF paid for my lunch, including dessert and a specialty coffee. So it was a very low-spend trip. I paid $29 for gas, because the price was so low -- under $4! And, even though we shopped, I spent only $1 on a light bulb!

Yesterday I stopped at Sam's after going to the gym. I spent $12 on a large bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid. I shouldn't have to do that again in a while!

Today should be nice and quiet. Since my grocery spending has exceeded my goal, by a bit, I'm on a food-shopping moratorium. I didn't have creamer with my coffee this morning, and it was missed, but hey, I still had my Joe. I had an English muffin for breakfast and I'm going to make chicken fajitas for lunch. There's lefover potato soup for dinner. I have plenty of food for the next ten days, just might have to do without a few favorites.

Pay Day

August 17th, 2022 at 02:16 pm

It's pay day! This is the day I finally pay that electrician's bill via paying off my Discover card.  There were other things on it as well -- I put everything I can on the card, but I always pay in full. Anyway, the payment exceeds $2800.  That led to a nice cashback bonus of $31.  I still have about $750 in checking, above what I will need to pay for utility bills later in the month. If it's not been used by the end of the month, I'll keep it there anyway, since I like to have about $1000 in checking as a buffer. The emergency fund stands at $1756 right now -- I want to get it back up to $5000. When I do that, I'll start diverting money into the bathroom fund, which is at $2257.

Making this Discover payment makes me feel like I'm over the hump.

I also got $41 from Allstate for participating in Drivewise.

My city is taking applications for a pilot Guaranteed Income program. The plan is to pay recipients (not sure how many) $500 per month for a year.  I read up on it, and I realized that my income is low enough (just barely) to qualify. And I'm also old enough. So I started filling out the application. There were numerous questions on the application about my assets, my health and insurance, my job status, my net worth, home ownership, ability to pay bills, etc.  I realized that despite my low income I'm doing pretty well, and the money would be better spent on people who are in worse shape. I'm sure there are many of them. I would be ashamed to take up a slot and deny someone who is unemployed, with dependents, no property, no insurance. So I closed the application and decided to just keep going as I am. They would probably take one look and throw out my application, anyway!

Today I'm taking it easy, but tomorrow I'm driving to the midway city to meet BFF for lunch and a late birthday celebration. Life is good!

Errand Day #2

August 16th, 2022 at 02:33 pm

Since I didn't get everything done on Saturday, I had another errand day yesterday. I got my oil changed ($150, due to some filter replacements), paid my wheel tax ($40), and went to the bank to deposit my gift funds and buy some quarters. 

While at Midas I had a discussion with one of the mechanics about my worries of thefts in our area. I have a Kia, and the TikTok challenge has taught our local criminals how to get in, start, and steal Kias and Hyundais.  They say theft of our vehicles is skyrocketing, and I feel particularly vulnerable since I park on the street, and I am very close to a rather sketchy area of Chicago (though my neighborhood is quite safe). That means that Chicago criminals can take a very short field trip to steal vehicles in our "ritzy" neighborhood.  He recommended a steering wheel lock. I had to go to two different places to find one, and I got the last one at the second. It was $69 -- more than I wanted to pay, and I see I could have gotten it cheaper via Amazon. But that didn't even occur to me at the time, and the truth is, I needed some on-hand instruction because I really didn't know how to use one or even what they looked like.

We also discussed the prevalent catalytic converter thefts. He recommended a cable covering that costs $480 as the only shield on the market that would fit my car.  I passed on that. I feel reasonably safe on that one, since my car's converter is reportedly difficult to remove, and the low carriage makes it uncomfortable. If it is stolen, insurance will cover it, though that is a bother, of course.  I'm more concerned that my whole car is not stolen!

Variables are now at 51%, which is about on target.

In other news, my new routine of creatively using up leftovers has led me to make a breakfast casserole this morning. Oh, there's the timer! It's ready!

Errand Day

August 14th, 2022 at 04:10 pm

Yesterday was my errand day. I hate to do on a Saturday, but it was really time to get groceries. I went to three different stores and spent $57. I think I did pretty good. I got a cataloupe, English muffins, popcorn, 3 Lean Cuisines, pudding, prunes, sausage, chicken breasts, biscuits, bread, carrots, peppers, crackers, tuna and granola. My total grocery bill, halfway through the month, has exceeded $100, which is where I want to stop. I think I'll be able to get through the month with no more grocery spending. I may have to drink coffee without creamer at the end of the month.

I also bought myself a birthday present! (I do this every year.) This time I found a pair of UGG's on clearance at DSW. With the deep discount and my birthday coupon, the cost was only $38. They retail for $200! These are the short booties, not the tall ones, but they have that wonderful warm lining, and I think my feet will be happy this winter.

I intended to pay my wheel tax, but the senior center doesn't offer that service on weekends, so I'll have to do it later. One of many reasons never to make Saturday your errand day!

Yesterday Was My Birthday

August 12th, 2022 at 02:05 pm

It was a good day, overall. I got flowers, cards and electronic good wishes. In the evening, I went to DS' new home and we had Chinese takeout and played games late into the night. Well, late for me. It was about ten!

I was very tired and disoriented by the darkness -- and, not used to the new neighborhood, I set off in the wrong direction when it was time to head home. I couldn't see my usual landmarks, nor any street names, so I kept proceeding the wrong way. (I wasn't using navigation, because I thought I knew my way!) Well, I ended up in Chicago and heading south, when I live to the north. I finally recognized a landmark and realized I needed to turn around (which wasn't easy!) Along the way I kept seeing groups of people who looked like they were up to no good -- it felt scary, though I'm sure I was in no danger. I was just hoping my car wouldn't break down, because it was the wrong hour and the wrong place!  Got home, finally, and I got a text from my son about whether I'd gotten home all right. I wonder if he was tracking me on his phone. (I have told him that would be okay -- I would like someone who loves me to know where I am, in case I get into trouble.)

My ex was at the party and he gave me a generous cash gift. I'm appreciative, but it also feels a little awkward.  But as I've said before, it's a drop in the barrel compared to what I lost when he took off on his little midlife crisis. So I take it. I'll deposit it in my savings account today.

I got a notice from the county assessor yesterday that my property has been reassessed. The estimated market value is somewhat less than what the bank estimated when I refinanced. But I changed it in my records, anyway. An estimate from the assessor seems more official. 

The Check and Food Prep

August 8th, 2022 at 04:41 pm

I've written the check for the special assessment, but it's still sitting here waiting to be mailed. My knee hasn't permitted me to use the stairs.

However, today it really does seem to be better.  When the rain lets up (if it does!) I will take a walk to the mailbox.

I seem to be on a new routine with cooking and food prep. I don't make a meal plan! I'm finding it works much better to use up leftovers immediately without starting something else. Sometimes that means I make something unexpected -- more creative -- something I hadn't thought of before.  Or hadn't planned on, anyway. Today I'm having leftover spaghetti for lunch, with cauliflower and carrots on the side. Those came from a California medley package, which I cooked yesterday, but it yielded too much to eat in one day. I picked out the broccoli and I will use that to make broccoli cheese soup tonight. Or tomorrow. Often I don't make a meal at night; I tend to eat a light snack that requires no cooking.

That will take care of the current crop of leftovers, so I'll start over tomorrow, taking something from the freezer.  I'm always watching the perishables in the fridge, too. I've got my eye on using up cheese and apples before they get too old.

I think this simple change in my routine will bring about savings.

I have a running grocery list, but so far it has not exceeded ten items, which is about how much I can comfortably carry.  If I wait a few days, I can charge it to the new month. This month has been challenging, to say the least. I don't want to add anything to it.

Special Assessment

August 6th, 2022 at 03:24 pm

Got the official word on the special assessment.  It is $3498. I'm going to pay it in full, although financing was offered. I'll write a check once the transfer goes through from savings to checking.  I had been hoping to charge it, in order to get the cash back reward, but I don't think that's an option.

I transferred $3900 instead of $3500, getting my numbers mixed up off the top of my head!  Well, checking is low, anyway, because of the electricians' bill, so I'm going to let it stay there. It will eventually get swept back when I start building back my EF. Right now I'm just in survival mode.

My knee is worse again, after one day of moderate activity. So it's back to rest and inactivity.

Grocery Shopping

August 4th, 2022 at 12:59 am

I went to Aldi today, spending $46.  That's not bad, considering I was out of just about everything. I concentrated on the basics -- coffee & filters, granola, bread, eggs, veggies, milk, cheese, butter, baking powder, and, because I have hamburger buns in the freezer, frozen beef patties. Oh, and I bought some oatmeal cookies for my sweet tooth.

I also needed to do a load of laundry, so I started it on the way to the store, and finished it when I came home. That way I minimized the stair-climbing. My knee is better today, but every once in a while I get a sharp pain that tells me it's not over yet. I have figured out it is bursitis, which I've had before and I should have recognized the symptoms. I probably did this to myself when I got on my knees to look under the bed. I have to remember I should always use a kneepad.

BFF still wants me to come visit, but she was exposed to someone with COVID this morning. She's pretty blase about it, and she says she will test herself tomorrow morning, but I really don't want to visit if there is a chance of infection. I've gone all this time without getting it; I don't care to start now! Anyway, I think walking around fairgrounds is just what my knee doesn't need, so that's another reason not to go. But I promised to talk with her tomorrow. I really do want to see her, but not under these conditions.

July Recap

August 1st, 2022 at 12:15 pm

Home Repair/Maintenance (Electrical) - $2462

Auto Insurance -$814

Housing - $746

Utilities - $208

Fees/Services - $138

Eating Out/Takeout - $107

Vacation/Travel - $100

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $98

Medical/Health - $63

Gifts/Charity- $58

Vet/Pet Supplies - $58

Groceries - $55

Gas - $53

Phone - $32

Personal - $28

Entertainment - $17

Laundry - $12

Grand Total - $5049

Variables - 91%


Fees/Services were my AAA renewal and replenishment of my Illinois Tollway pass.

Eating Out - mostly related to baseball games

Vacation/Travel - food for the train, and meals bought in Oregon

Furn/Equip/Decor - flower pot, makeup mirror, umbrella, organizer bags, picture frame, ceiling light

Medical - premium and two OTC products

Gifts - birthday flowers for friend

Vet/Pet Supplies - aquatic plants and filter for aquarium

Groceries - really low! Lots of eating from the freezer

Personal - deoderant and sunscreen

Entertainment - streaming services


It was really an expensive month for me, but mostly things I couldn't help. I spent about twice my income, which is concerning. I do have savings to cover the overage. But my EF will be ailing once I make the transfers.

In other news, I somehow strained my knee and I am hobbling around. I don't know if I'll be able to get out of the house today. I have enough food for today, and probably for tomorrow, too, but I do need groceries soon. I may need to have groceries delivered if my knee does not improve.

My BFF has invited me down to her place to attend the state fair on Friday. I don't know if I'll be able to do that, but I will if my knee gets better.  Here's hoping.