Home > Archive: October, 2022

Archive for October, 2022


October 31st, 2022 at 09:16 pm

Happy Halloween, everyone! It's very dreary here, but warm enough for trick-or-treaters to enjoy their evening!

I gave each grandchild $10, so that's $40, and I also bought some more candy, which was $8.

Tomorrow I'll do the October recap, but I can tell you now, I did not keep my variables in check -- I spent 111% of my budget. Not TOO bad, I guess, except that that doesn't even count the $217 I spent for the Thanksgiving weekend hotel room. And with Christmas spending coming up, it will just be harder.

Last Grocery Trip of the Month

October 28th, 2022 at 02:31 pm

My friend decided that she was going to drive herself to the infusion center, so I did not drive down there to be her chauffeur. She's an adult, so I respect her decision. I have already heard that she made it there and back safely.

So that left me free to perform my final grocery shopping trip of the month. I spent $23, bringing my total for the month to $99. I went to Mariano's, because I wanted to buy popcorn. While I was there, I bought other things I cannot buy at Aldi. 

Here is the SHORT list of what I got:

Popcorn (bag of kernels, not microwave)



Bay's English muffins

Kozy Shak pudding

That's it!

I will say the creamer came in a large bottle -- 2 quarts! It was the best unit price. It should get me through next month easily.

I bought the butter, even though I still have a couple of sticks in reserve, because it was on sale, and I expect that butter prices will just get worse.

I bought some non-food items as well. I spent $13 on Halloween cards and candy (counted as a gift). I spent $19 on face serum -- probably not the best place to buy that. I should have waited till I got to Walgreens.

What I did get at Walgreens -- a fresh bottle of B12, which cost $12.

I have plenty of food in the freezer and pantry to make meals this week, so don't worry about my weird sounding list. Smile



October 25th, 2022 at 03:46 pm

I booked my hotel room today for Thanksgiving, using the Amtrak booking service to earn points for future train trips. Surprise, surprise, the full amount is already being processed on my credit card. I thought it would not be processed until I check in. Well, it's no big problem, I have the money. Just didn't expect to be spending it now. Two nights were $217. Not sure if fees will be added later. 

This amount would have taken my variables over 100%, so the cost will be taken out of savings. My variables are now at 76%.  But only a few days left in the month.

HOWEVER, I'm leaving on a short trip tomorrow to help a friend who needs transportation to get an infusion. So there will be some cost in that.

Since I will be away from home on Thursday, I won't be doing my final October grocery shop then. I may do it when I get home on Friday, or I may just try to guts it out till the end of the month. It would be awesome to spend only $76 on groceries this month!

Today's Grocery Shopping

October 20th, 2022 at 04:46 pm

It's my grocery shopping day -- third out of four this month. I spent $29, unintentionally going over my $27 limit. I'll make that up next week. I'll have to count more carefully -- not in my head!

Here's what I got at Aldi for $29:

5 lbs. of potatoes

Flour tortillas

Worcestershire sauce

Hot sauce

Canned crushed pineapple

12 oz. hot dogs

Hot dog buns

Crescent rolls


1 lb. hot Italian pork sausage

1 lb. butter

1 dozen eggs

I didn't intend to get hot sausage! Totally picked up the wrong package. I hope it is not TOO hot.

I bought crescent rolls because the can I had on hand popped in the fridge and turned to cement. What a waste! I'm going to have to check this one every day; can't let that happen again. I like to use up leftovers in homemade "hot pockets" made out of crescent rolls.

I also bought paper plates for $7. That is tracked in a different category.

Possible meals on tap this week:

Hamburger Stroganoff

Mac & Cheese

Cottage Cheese & Pineapple

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits


Hot Dogs

Barbecue Beans & Sausage

Loaded Potatoes


I also have four servings of cannelloni in the freezer. So there's going to be more than enough to eat. Next week I'm going to have to get chicken and ground beef, so that might be the whole order. Oh, and I will have to get creamer next week, too. Can't do without that!


Pay Day

October 19th, 2022 at 02:53 pm

It's Pay Day! Which, anymore, just means I pay off my two credit cards and update my spreadsheets. Everything else is automatic. The big news is that today I was able to transfer $1500 to savings. I still haven't hit my $5K emergency fund goal, but another month like this would do it. I also have a little more than $2K in a different account for the bathroom remodel. I am rethinking that, as I clearly have to replace some tiles in the tub area now. I can't wait to have the money for a complete overhaul. They are white subway tiles, so I don't think they will be difficult to match. I just hope the wall behind them is okay. 


October 18th, 2022 at 12:11 pm

I noticed this morning that I had two email reminders that my condo assessment fee will be paid by autopay in a few days. I saw this before, but it occurred to me this morning that there shouldn't be TWO messages. I opened them up. One was for the smaller payment that I entered earlier this month, in order to take advantage of the credit I have for slightly overpaying. The other was the regular payment. Yikes! They would have taken two payments out of the bank! So I got online and deleted the regular autopay. I will have to go back in and set it up again once the smaller payment is made. Sheesh. Autopay is not always easy.

Free Food

October 17th, 2022 at 03:30 pm

No more spending to report, but I did get some free food. On Saturday, after my grandson's last baseball game of the season, my son bought pizza to celebrate. Then on Sunday, we all met up at my ex's house and ended up staying the day. Not only was I fed all day but I was sent home with bagels and salad. The salad was the kind that was very heavy on toppings. I ate one serving last night, and then fished out any remaining lettuce and drained it of dressing. I'm going to make an omelet with what's left -- lots of tomato, cheese, bacon, olives. I'm expecting it will be very good. The bagels went into the freezer for another day.

I had made cannelloni on Friday, which didn't turn out great, since the sauce broke. But I had a serving, and this morning I divided and froze the rest. I have more sauce and cheese to add when it is thawed and heated.

I had been thawing a chicken breast, and this morning I sauteed it. I've not decided what to do with it yet.

All this is to say I'm really ahead of the game on food this week; I don't know if I'll be buying much on Thursday.

Grocery Shopping

October 13th, 2022 at 07:49 pm

I went to Aldi today, expecting to spend $15. I spent $13, because there was nothing else on my list that was $2 or less! Here's what I got: lactose-free milk, dried cranberries, cottage cheese, mozzarella, sour cream, and cream cheese.  I know, lots of dairy! And me, lactose-intolerant! I'm planning on making cannelloni, and I for sure will take my lastase pills when I have a serving.

I had a good day with my son and grandson yesterday which started out with bad luck for them -- a flat tire. I picked them up and took them to the DVM, which was their intended destination. GS got his learner's permit. The traffic was terrible and the place was packed, so it took quite a while, but it was good to have the time together. Afterwards, we went to a casual dining restaurant, where I was treated to a late lunch.

It's turning cold today. Makes me think about how heating oil prices are rising, which I'm sure will result in a rise of assessment fees. It happened last year, and I think it's going to happen again. Frown

New Coat

October 12th, 2022 at 03:54 pm

I have a lightweight winter coat (I guess you could call it a fall coat, though I wore it often in winter). I bought it 11 years ago, I think, at Macy's. It has held up well all these years, but now the lining is wearing out, and not all the snaps are working. I intended to replace it last spring, when coats were on clearance, but I waited till too late, when nothing much was available. So I decided I would replace it for sure this fall, before the Christmas shopping season started.

So I went to Macy's! And I was pleased to find that many coats were 30% off and there was a great selection. I picked a Ralph Lauren, which retailed for $255, but I ended up getting it for $157, because I agreed to open a Macy's credit card, getting another 20% off.

My grandson, who says I've been wearing that original coat as long he's known me (and he's fifteen!) will be glad to see I have a new coat. Maybe. He might not notice at all, knowing kids!

In recent months I've bought a new winter hat and boots (and I deliberately picked the coat to coordinate), so I will be all decked out when the cold weather comes.

I haven't reported lately on my variables. I am up to 57%, and I'm not yet even halfway through the month. Of course, the coat really threw it off. But it is a reminder to be careful now.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping day, and I'm going to try to do it for $15. Might be a bit of a challenge!

Panera & Goodwill

October 9th, 2022 at 03:38 pm

I went to my grandson's baseball game yesterday, and afterwards went to Panera for lunch.  It was $12 (and delicious!) Panera is quite near Goodwill, so I decided to stop in before I went home. I'm so glad I did! I found a pair of jeans, Dockers, which fit perfectly and seem brand new. I suspect they have never been worn. They were tagged at $6.99, but they were having a half-price sale on pink tickets, so I got them for $3.49! I also bought a few Christmas/birthday gifts. My total spending was $14.  I was bummed when I got home and looked at the receipt and saw that they had charged me for a reusable bag. There was a stack of them at checkout, but I did not take one. Then, as I went through the list, I realized that they did NOT charge me for two Christmas stockings. So it evened out. In fact, a little better than evened out.

Today I'm cooking. I'm baking carrot-cake muffins from batter that was in the freezer. I'm boiling carrots, most of which will go into the freezer. I'm making cinnamon applesauce. And I'm cooking chicken to use later in fajitas. I SWEAR I'm going to make them this time! Some of the chicken will be saved for chicken pot pie.

I'm using the timer on my phone! Since I have multiple things going, I'm just setting it in 10-minute intervals and I check everything. Hopefully, no alarms will go off today.


October 8th, 2022 at 03:02 pm

I went to the gym yesterday, which is close to Food4Less. I popped over there to pick up scrub pads (I nearly ruined a pan, get to that later). While I was there I checked out the produce clearance and I picked up six Gala apples and 5 navel oranges. Then I spotted another clearance section of regular items. Usually I don't find much I want in those, but this time I found lasagna noodles, a Cracker Barrel mac & cheese kit, Reese's cereal, a brownie mix, a bag of dry lima beans, and a small pack of mini donuts. The total for all of these items was $12. (Not counting the non-food scrub pads, which were $3.) Some are not so great nutritional choices, for sure, but they were so cheap! And I have been sorely missing having treats on hand since I started this challenge.

I was under by $2 on Thursday shopping, so this will set me back by $10 on my upcoming trip. I don't think that will be a problem, as my list, so far, is not large.

So, the pan. I had a plastic jar of honey, in which about a half-inch had crystallized in the bottom. Bright idea -- I would set the jar in a pan of water on the stove and let it warm up to its original state. Well, I completely forgot it. Until the smoke alarm went off when I was in the shower. I didn't burn the building down, but I sure made a mess of the pan. It is a stainless steel pan, so it can take a lot of abuse, and I did manage to clean it up, though it took a lot of soaking and a lot of elbow grease. That was a relief. I was all set to go to IKEA and get a replacement -- I like that pan so much. But it's fine.

I guess I need to make a rule that I can't leave the kitchen when anything is on a burner.


October 6th, 2022 at 04:28 pm

I just came home from my first weekly shop of the month. There will be four this month, so the amount to stay at or under is $25. I spent $23. I bought bread, biscuits, coffee, creamer, powdered sugar, parmesan cheese, canned tomatoes, canned tomato paste, canned mushrooms, granola, and sandwich cookies.

I'm planning on making chicken pot pie, spaghetti, and chicken fajitas (an idea left over from last week). Other meals will materialize, I'm sure. Last week I unexpectedly found I had the ingredients for jalapeno poppers, so that made two meals. I still have leftover soup and quiche. Plenty of eggs.

I did make a couple of purchases from the "hall of shame." Household items, so not from the grocery budget. One was a set of three small stainless steel meal prep canisters with plastic lids. The other was a knock-off of Command hangers. The total for those was $13.

I also went out to breakfast this morning at a sweet little cafe -- divine French toast for $13, including tip. I'm trying to avoid the dreaded fast-food drive-throughs, but I am permitting myself to have an occasional meal out in a restaurant.

New Shoes

October 3rd, 2022 at 02:14 pm

I went to DSW yesterday with a $30 coupon. It had to be used on a purchase of at least $49. That's a pretty good coupon! I didn't find shoes for $49 but found the Van's sneakers I wanted (in the kids' section -- but the shoes fit). My receipt doesn't show the price before the coupon was applied, but my end cost was $22. I do pretty well getting shoes at DSW; I don't know how they make any money!

So the month is off to a great start. 

Today I'm going to make Football Soup -- I assume the name comes from being a popular thing to serve at Superbowl parties. I seem to be attracted to recipes with funny names.

September Recap

October 1st, 2022 at 10:12 pm

Housing - $746

Vacation/Travel - $276 (mini-trip to Michigan)

Insurance - $234 (condo, annual)

Utilities - $197

Gifts/Charity - $141 (two birthdays, early Christmas shopping)

Groceries - $100

Personal - $82 (pads, face cream, a comb)

Entertainment - $51 (streaming, football pool)

Gas - $38

Medical/Health - $36 (premium, Beano)

Phone - $32

Clothing/Accessories - $21 (earrings, winter hat)

Laundry - $16

Household Supplies - $11 (bleach, glue, peroxide)

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $11 (plates)

Grand Total - $1995

Variables - 94%

I swept $246 to savings. This is on top of what I already set aside for insurance, property taxes, and the average cost of big ticket items.

It was a good month. I hit my goal right on the nose for groceries. I didn't eat out at all -- well, I did some but that was counted under "vacation." My spending was under $2000 and I never felt pinched. Maybe I'm just getting used to it!