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Archive for November, 2022

November Recap

November 30th, 2022 at 09:51 pm

Bah! November! Too much spending, especially for the month before Christmas, with very few dollars actually going toward Christmas gifts.

Housing - $746

Home Repair/Maintenance - $509

Gifts/Charity - $225

Fees/Services - $195

Utilities - $192

Vacation/Travel - $126

Medical/Health - $116

Groceries - $85

Gas - $63

Vet/Pet Supplies - $61

Eating Out/Takeout - $55

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $53

Household Supplies - $49

Personal - $46

Phone - $32

Entertainment - $25

Laundry - $14

Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $2593

Variables - 129%

A last-minute charge from Amazon for Prime subscription changed my variables. Plus, there were some adjustments, for a few things I hadn't logged.

Anyway, the home repair was the plumbing bill. Gifts were mostly birthday gifts in a month packed with birthdays. Fees/services included the above-mentioned Prime membership, plus my tollway pass and AARP. Vacation/Travel - Thanksgiving trip. Most other stuff is self-explantory, but the Groceries deserves a mention. $15 below my $100 goal. Yay! Of course, traveling and eating out helped with that.

Tomorrow I will start seriously Christmas shopping. 

I have learned that assessment fees for next year will increase by 5%. I'm not at all surprised. I'm looking forward to that raise in Social Security. At least it will make things a little more manageable, I hope.


Thanksgiving Trip

November 27th, 2022 at 09:48 pm

I got home from my Thanksgiving trip yesterday. It was an exhausting trip, mainly because I didn't sleep well for three days, but there was also some drama with family health issues. I don't believe my sister will ever try to make the trip again due to her issues and some cognitive decline. My brother wasn't well either, and the friend I always visit seemed very much diminished by Parkinson's. It was kind of a sad time.

And it was pretty expensive. In addition to the hotel cost, which I had already paid last month, I spent $60 on gas. The restaurant buffet meal was $48, and other eating out was $18. My tollway pass autoreplenished for $40 -- though I don't count that as vacation cost, it goes in the fees/services category. But it was a bad time for it to hit.

The hotel where I stayed charged $100 to my credit card, with the understanding that it would be reimbursed if there was no damage or evidence of smoking in my room. Of course I am a *model* customer, but I am distrustful of corporations and I hope I will really get that money back. And I hope it will come back before I have to pay the credit card.

For these few days of the end of the month, I am trying to spend nothing, though I did laundry this morning. Variables are overextended at 118%. That is my STOP sign. But as soon as the month turns, I'm going to have to get busy on Christmas shopping.

What Emergency Funds Are For

November 23rd, 2022 at 09:02 pm

Yesterday I was glad I had an emergency fund. My bathroom sink was clogged and I called a plumber. I had him look at the bathtub drain, too, which was slowing down. The fix was not cheap. $509 later, my drains are running freely. This is exactly what emergency funds are for.

However, my EF had not yet been built up to the level I would like it to be. This will make achieving that goal harder. The actual hit to the EF will not come, though, until I have to pay the credit card next month. Such a shame this happened right before the holidays.

Speaking of the holidays, I bought some snacks this morning to take to my brother's house tomorrow - $30. I also bought gas for $32, and I refilled a prescription for $30. 

I adjusted the Big Ticket spreadsheet, because of the plumbing cost, which adversely affects my variables. But I am still under -- 94%. Probably won't manage to stay under 100% for the month, though.

I'm planning to get up early tomorrow and get on the road. I have high hopes that an early start will help me avoid the worst of the traffic. It would have been awful if I had tried to make the trip today.

A Visit from BFF

November 21st, 2022 at 04:48 pm

As usual, I had a fun visit with BFF, and, as usual, spent some money. $71 on eating out (some of that was treating BFF for her birthday), $8 on a movie (first time since before the pandemic!), and $40 on Christmas gifts found while shopping small boutiques. Add to that, I ordered a birthday gift for DS ($62), bought a vitamin supplement ($53), bought a couple of home decor items at Goodwill ($10), and bought a set of hair rollers at Walgreens ($19). A new attempt not to fry my hair every day.

My gift purchases have exceeded $200, so I moved them out of "Variables" and into "Big Ticket." Big ticket items come out of savings, but I do track them carefully and make monthly additions to savings based on the big ticket average. Next month, gifts will be another big ticket item. This puts variables at a comfortable 74%.

However, I had to call a plumber this morning. He's coming tomorrow to unclog my bathroom drains, and it will be $79 minimum for the service call. And then, Thanksgiving is coming up. I will be paying $35 for my meal at a restaurant, and there will be additional vacation costs, I'm sure. Gas, for certain.

It's that time of year. I always look forward to January, when I can be frugal again.


I Guess Wednesday is Now Grocery Day

November 16th, 2022 at 08:03 pm

Once again I needed to shop on Wednesday, so I guess I'm going to make it my permanent grocery day. I think it's a better day than Thursday anyway -- more bargains, I understand.

I overspent this time and I only have $16 left for next week's shopping. However, I will be going to Michigan for Thanksgiving so I won't really need much in the way of groceries. I will be buying snacks to take to my brother's, but that will come out of my vacation budget.

The reason I overspent is that BFF is coming tomorrow, and I wanted to have a few things she likes on hand.

Here's what I got for $33: celery, canola oil, cheddar cheese, chocolate chips, lactose-free milk, ice cream, cream of mushroom soup, canned fried onions, tuna, apples, bread, biscuits and peanuts.

I also ended up ordering a new shower curtain liner for $14. I have given up on cleaning the old one.

Variables are now at 82%. Mercy me.


November Birthdays

November 14th, 2022 at 05:03 pm

I think I mentioned before that I have three birthdays in November. That is not true. There are actually five birthdays in November. The big ones are: DS, GS1, GD. But there is also XH (who I have to recognize because he has been giving me generous birthday gifts the last few years -- as well as paying for some home repairs.) And there is BFF, who is coming up tomorrow, I hope. She may bow out. She doesn't like to drive to the Chicago area, and besides that, it's going to snow. She hasn't been here since before the pandemic, and I really hope she will come, but I won't insist -- I'd hate to have it on me if indeed something went wrong!

Anyway, I realized that while I had a gift ready for her, I did not have a card. And she always gives me a card, a nice one. And I did not have a bag for XH's gift. So it was back to Walgreens where I spent $8 on those two items.

I almost set out to get a new shower curtain liner this morning, because my current one is developing that dreaded pinkish mold on the bottom. Instead, I am soaking the bottom of the liner in a bucket of vinegar. I'll soak it all day and rinse it when I shower tomorrow. If that doesn't kill it, I'll get a new liner. With the way things are going this month, I'm rethinking every purchase.

Everyday Things

November 12th, 2022 at 10:07 pm

I'm doing well on my grocery challenge, but other expenses are rocking my boat. I just updated my spreadsheets, and variables are at 69%, and we're not even halfway through the month. Today's spending was at PetSmart. I have had to dump all the live plants in my aquarium -- they all died but one, and it was turning black. Instead of the plants killing the algae, the algae was killing the plants. I bought some plastic plants, and I also stocked up on feeder blocks and filter pads. Altogether it was $61, yikes! I also ordered a set of scissors and a package of 24 washcloths from Amazon, and that was $29. So not even anything fun or exciting.

Second Grocery Trip

November 10th, 2022 at 02:44 pm

I did my second grocery trip of the month a day early. I was at the gym and decided to peek in on Food4Less to see if they had any clearance deals. I found good things, so I decided to spend my weekly allowance there. I spent $21 and I got: cereal, coffee, two cans green beans, spiced almonds, five tomatoes, and two large bottles of ketchup. Everything but the coffee was deeply discounted. The coffee (Kroger brand) was the same price I pay for coffee at Aldi. The cereal was Halloween Fruity Pebbles, which, it turns out, isn't very good, but oh well. It was cheap.

Today I'm making an omelet and a tomato casserole. I'm also going to add chopped tomatoes to the leftover bean/franks casserole which I'm taking out of the freezer. That should make it more of a soup.

I somehow forgot to log last week's Aldi shopping trip, so, my variables have taken a jump to 45%.

More Spending

November 9th, 2022 at 03:37 pm

November 7 was a busy day for spending.  I ordered a birthday present for my granddaughter ($60), bought candy and cough drops at Walgreens ($18), paid my annual AARP membership fee ($16), and ordered rubber shelf liner from Amazon ($17).

The candy was to put in a mug for a birthday gift, but about half of the bag is left over, so I'll have to count half as a grocery expense rather than a gift expense. That means my limit tomorrow when I grocery shop is $19.

The rubber shelf liner is to be used to make my throw rugs less slippery. I think I got that tip on Dollar Stretcher.

I am doing well on my food supply. I haven't even used any of the frozen chicken I bought last week. Today I'm going to make cheese quesadillas for lunch, garnished with the very last of my homemade meat-filled spaghetti sauce. For breakfast I had toast with peanut butter and honey. Supper -- I don't know yet! It may be granola with raisins and walnuts. I am rarely very hungry at suppertime.

Variables are at 37%.

November Spending

November 7th, 2022 at 03:47 pm

Yesterday I bought two packages of Poise pads in a BOGO offer for $27.  I was so happy to get a fresh supply because the last time I bought them I mistakenly bought the wrong size. So glad to be right-sized again!

I went to the dentist two days ago, but there was no charge, because checkups, cleaning, and x-rays are covered on my Medicare Advantage plan. I used to pay a lot more for the dentist, even the few years when I had dental insurance. The dentist told me there were no problems with my teeth or gums, which was good news.

On Friday I drove my son to the airport. It was a dreary day and the trip was not much fun, but I'm glad to do it, since he does so much for me. I'll be picking him up again tomorrow.

The roofers have gotten started on our building's roof. It's been noisy, but I think the demo part is done now and things should quiet down. I keep hearing a helicopter and I wonder if it is delivering supplies to the roof. It makes sense. I don't know how else they would get them up there.

I just put in a load of laundry. Variables are now 14%. However, I have three birthdays this month (I'd better get ordering!)

Grocery Shopping

November 4th, 2022 at 03:40 pm

My first grocery trip of the month was actually two -- I bought raspberries at Sam's for $6, and then I spent $19 at Aldi for 3 lbs of frozen chicken breasts, crackers, bread, a block of cheddar, and granola. There were many things on my list I couldn't get, but I'll get by. I still have plenty of leftovers in the freezer. Today I'm planning to make hot pockets using crescent rolls and leftover sausage gravy mixed with cheese.

While at Sam's, I bought gas ($31) and toilet paper ($24).

My shopping took longer than expected and I got hungry, so I bought a pizza slice and drink at a local pizza place ($7). 

Variables are at 9%.

October Recap

November 1st, 2022 at 02:00 pm

Housing - $746

Vacation/Travel - $217

Utilities - $192

Clothing - $182 (Coat, shoes, jeans)

Groceries - $98

Personal - $75

Gifts/Charity - $72

Medical/Health - $38

Phone - $32

Gas - $31

Eating Out/Takeout - $30

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $23 (kitchen stuff)

Entertainment - $17

Laundry - $16

Household Supplies - $13

Grand Total - $1782

Variables - 111%

It was a pretty frugal month, except for the splurge on clothing. The coat and shoes, however, have long been on my list for replacement, and I got good prices. The jeans came from Goodwill.

The vacation cost is for a hotel room over Thanksgiving, already paid for.