Home > Archive: February, 2023

Archive for February, 2023

What a Month!

February 28th, 2023 at 09:56 pm

May I have very few months like this one! My total spending was not only above income, but above several months' income.

Of course, the main reason was buying a new (to me) car. But that wasn't the only thing.....

Here's the recap:

Auto Expenses - $7548 (down payment, repairs)

Housing - $769

Utilities - $234

Medical/Health - $204 (Urgent care, x-ray, MRI, prescription)

Gifts/Charity - $107 (birthday, gift to AHA)

Groceries - $101 (inclues Girl Scout cookies)

Vacation/Travel - $37 (day trip to Indiana)

Gas - $33

Phone - $32

Furn/Equip/Decor - $32 (Goodwill finds, new phone holder for car)

Eating Out/Takeout- $30

Laundry - $18

Entertainment - $17

Personal - $15

Clothing/Accessories - $7

Fares/Parking - $3

Grand Total - $9187

My car cost was offset by a generous $2K gift from my ex-husband, plus he paid off the balance beyond my down payment and trade-in. I am very grateful, as there is no way I would have been able to swing a new car on my own. Of course, it is not a new car; it is used. But I hope it will be the last car I have to buy.

I hope March will not bring so many surprises. I do have one nice thing to look forward to -- I'm going to go down to BFF's house for the weekend, where I'll go see her granddaughter in a high school production of "Guys and Dolls." Should be fun!

Catching Up

February 22nd, 2023 at 09:10 pm

Yesterday I met BFF in the middle city. We had lunch and took a long walk in the mall. The lunch was $16 and I had enough leftovers for two more meals. I also spent $22 on gas, and I bought earring backs at Claire's for $7. I also bought a cable for charging my phone in the car, but it was the wrong one, so I returned it.

This morning I did my grocery shopping at Mariano's since I needed popcorn. I spent $32, and in addition to the popcorn I bought apples, crackers, 5 cans of soup, pudding, English muffins, eggs, and dairy-free "alternative" yogurt, which I'm trying out for the first time. Prices were noticeably higher than at Aldi, but you just can't get everything at Aldi. That should complete my grocery shopping for the month, bringing the total to $91.

The other day I donated to the American Heart Association ($40) in response to a request from my granddaughter, who's doing this for school.

Variables for the month so far are at 59%.

My TV is not working today and none of the fixes I Googled are working either. It's probably time to dump Xfinity and just go with streaming, but I would have to set up internet access before cancelling. The internet is still working. I'll probably go with RCN (now Astound). It seems to be popular in this area, and it's what my son went with. But I'm just not in the mood to deal with it now, so I'm procrastinating.

It's been raining all day and we are expecting to get freezing rain as the temperature drops. I'm glad I got my errands done this morning. I'm going to hibernate.

Eye Trouble

February 17th, 2023 at 01:34 pm

I woke up from a nap with a pain in my eye, so I immediately went to the eye doctor. He determined that the pain was caused by a small abrasion, most likely the result of dryness. He told me to get Systane eye drops. I went over to Walgreens and got the drops - $14. After a day of use, my eye is feeling much better. The visit to the eye doctor was free, because I had a debit card provided by Medicare Advantage, to be used for medical costs not covered by the plan. It's worth $250. This was the first time I used it. I wonder if I could have paid for my x-ray and urgent care visit with it -- or if it is just for eye and dental. I'll have to check on that.

Variables are now at 43%.

I got a notice from my insurance company that my new car will cost me another $117 semi-annually. It was not a bill. That will come soon, I'm sure.

Edit: I checked. The card is just for dental, hearing and vision costs not already covered by the plan. Still, a great benefit!

Repairs & Groceries

February 15th, 2023 at 07:20 pm

I picked up my car yesterday from Midas. The total bill was $1029, less than I was expecting. They did not do the maintenance on the rear brakes; they said that while there was some wear, it was not time yet. What WAS done -- front brake service, alignment, tire balance, cabin filter, serpentine belt, wipers ... I think that's it.

Today I went to Aldi, my second trip of the month, and I spent $30. I bought milk, creamer, butter, biscuits, frozen green beans, frozen peas, baby carrots, coffee, granola, salsa, peanuts, graham crackers and a six-pack of ramen. I thought that was pretty good. Maybe I'm just getting used to it. My variables are at 37% -- of course, that does not count the car repairs. That does include a medical bill for $55 that I paid the other day. More of that is on the way. I had an MRI last month and I don't know how well my Medicare Advantage plan will cover that. Waiting for that shoe to drop.

Auto Inspection

February 11th, 2023 at 08:23 pm

I had my mechanic look over the new car. It is sound but there is quite a bit of maintenance to catch up on -- brakes, mainly, but also some belts, filters, alignment, rotation, etc. The cost for the auto inspection was $148. They asked me to come back to have the codes checked out after the computer reset (codes had been wiped), so I'm taking it in on Monday. Then, after I learn what I can from that, I'll schedule the maintenance work. Hope there aren't any new surprises, but I do have a 12-month powertrain warranty, so that should cover anything big. My ex, learning about this, chipped in $2K. I can't stop the man!

There really hasn't been much other financial news. Luckily! I have continued to eat from the freezer and pantry and haven't needed to go to the grocery. There are some medical bills to pay, but I'll do that when my Discover card re-ups. That will be tomorrow, in fact.

It's Done

February 8th, 2023 at 12:37 pm

I traded in my Kia Soul yesterday and bought a 2021 Toyota Corolla. My ex came with me and insisted that he was going to help out financially. I was in no position to argue. (Though I did.) In the end, I contributed $6,000 in cash and the $7,200 value of the trade-in. He paid for the rest of it, and I'm embarrassed to say how much that was. I told him I would pay him back, as I was able, and he said he didn't want me to.

Some history here -- when we divorced, he was so besotted with his new love that he had no regard for what was going to happen to me. He did everything he could to limit child support (there was no alimony), and all his energy seemed to go toward impressing my replacement and lavishing her with gifts. In the following years, his income skyrocketed while I struggled for every penny, and he seemed to be completely blind to that. He made many comments that indicated he thought we lived similar lives.

Fast forward to now -- he is no longer besotted with his new love and other family members tell me he has cheated on her several times. Big surprise. Not. But his attitude toward me has changed, and he has given me money for several home repairs in the past few years -- and now this. I do think he is trying to make amends, but he is not able to say he's sorry. He's just that limited in character. But I will take the money, even though it is uncomfortable, because I think I've earned it. And because I was in a bind, and this needed to be done.

I have some work to do to build back my savings. I will do it, bit by bit.

Some short-range challenges -- my phone holder doesn't fit, so I'm going to have to figure that out. And I can't figure out where to put the charging cord. Bluetooth is a mystery to me. I'm hoping my son can help me with the technical issues.

Today is a grocery shopping day, but I have enough food on hand and I'm going to defer it as long as I can.

Smash and Grab

February 5th, 2023 at 11:53 pm

On Thursday night my car was broken into. Someone smashed the rear side window, got inside and somehow dismantled my steering wheel lock, and went through all the nooks and crannies and threw everything around. Nothing was taken; I had nothing of value in the car. But I had to replace the window. It was $367, which I paid out of pocket so I could get it done right away. Tomorrow I will call my insurance agent. I think he told me they would pay whatever was above my $250 deductible, but frankly, I was so rattled, I'm not sure what he said.

It turns out that eight cars in my general area were damaged that night and one was stolen. All were Kia Souls.

I am in a bad situation. I have to park on the street, leaving my car vulnerable every night. Kia has done nothing to help out its customers. There is no "fix" to protect my car from people who think if they get inside they can start it without a key and steal it. If there were a way to fix it, I would do it. I actually like the car. But I think I'm going to trade it in, even though it will be very hard to swing it right now. I can't spend every night worrying about whether my car is safe.

You're probably wondering how they took apart the steering wheel lock. I'm wondering, too. My ex suggested that there must be such a thing as a universal key, and this team of thieves had one. I don't know why they didn't take my car! Maybe they only needed one, for whatever crime they were planning to commit.

Anyway, I'm going to be looking at cars in the coming week. My ex is going with me. He insists he wants to help.

In other news, I grocery shopped on Wednesday, at Aldi, and spent $28. That was a bit over my limit, but I had some expensive things on the list -- a bag of frozen chicken breasts, walnuts, prunes, bread, and creamer.

I also spent $14 on fast food during those couple of days when I was getting the window fixed. There was a lot of waiting involved.

This morning I refilled a prescription for $15.

I will keep you posted on my car search and what a new car will mean to my budget.