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Still Getting Ready

July 18th, 2022 at 11:46 pm

One more little purchase for the trip. I bought MiraLax in packet form. I would hate to need it and not have it. The box of ten packets was $18.

On the way out of the store, I found two pennies on the floor. I have picked up almost $110 since I started keeping track.

I had it in my calendar that I was catching the train on Tuesday, but when I looked at my ticket I saw that I had it wrong. The train leaves on Wednesday. That gives me an extra day of prep. I'm almost ready. The only things that are not packed are things I need to use on Wednesday morning.

I am forcing myself to eat from my freezer and pantry. I am having some weird meals! But I'm not hungry.

It's Been Crazy

July 17th, 2022 at 01:16 am

Spending in the last few days has gone nuts. First of all, the biggest thing, was an electrical problem. I turned on a hanging light in the kitchen, and sparks flew up and down the wire. Very scary. I called an electrician, and he came out and diagosed a problem with the switch, the wiring behind it, and the breaker panel in the basement, which needs to be replaced. He also recommended that I replace the light. Then he did a safety check in other areas, and recommended that I replace my old smoke alarm and add another in my bedroom.

Since I am leaving soon on my trip, he did not do the repairs, but made everything safe. When I return, he will come back to do the repairs. I paid half the estimate -- $1231!  Thank goodness for emergency funds!

Then I ordered a new hanging light from Home Depot - $39.  He will install it when he comes back for the repairs.

Then there's the eating out. I have just topped $100, very unusual for me. A big chunk of this was meals for my grandson, in conjunction with his baseball games. There have been quite a few away games, and after all those hours of traveling and playing, he's hungry. Also, I have not grocery shopped very much, not wanting to leave food at home while I'm traveling, but that means that sometimes I pop out for a quick meal.

I had to replace the filter in the aquarium -- again! That's $17, but it happens too often; I don't know why the thing keeps breaking. Everything is junk these days.

I had to pay my semi-annual auto insurance - $813 -- and my AAA membership renewed for $99 (I have a premium membership, so I can have my car towed a decent distance, if need be).

There have been a few extra expenses for the trip as well, and ordinary expenses like deoderant and probiotics and a new umbrella.  

Variables are only at 65%, because the electrician's bill and insurance come out of savings. Thank goodness I have planned for both emergencies and big bills like insurance.  Kind of sad though, because I'll have to rebuild my EF now, when I was doing so well saving for my bathroom remodel.

Trip is Getting Close

July 12th, 2022 at 05:32 pm

As my train trip is edging closer, I decided to quickly order some small organizing travel bags from Amazon. At the same time, I ordered a new umbrella, as one of the ribs broke on my old one, and a picture frame to replace one that is just too heavy for the wall. The total cost was $52, taking into account some Amazon credits I had.

I have been worried about how to get to the train station, which is in downtown Chicago. I didn't want to ask my son to drive me, as he would be working, and I didn't want to Uber, as it is expensive, and kind of nerve-wracking, too. The Metra train would be a good option if I didn't have bags, but of course I will have bags -- and it's about a six-block walk. I finally decided to ask my son, and it turns out he will be going on a business trip that day, and he is delighted to drop me off at the station and then use my car on his trip -- thus DIL will have their car while he's gone, so it's a win-win all round. I think he said he would give me the reimbursement he gets for the trip, but I'm not sure I heard him right! Anyway, I'm just glad to have a ride and also glad that he will have my car and it won't get towed because of street cleaning, or anything like that.

Yesterday was a baseball game (as is today) and I spent $22 on lunch for my grandson and myself. The game was held in Highland Park, and I sat behind a couple who had been at that fateful parade. They had been situated very close to a couple who lost their lives -- the couple whose little son was spared but is now an orphan. I could tell they were still very shaken, and I gave them my heartfelt condolences.  I think this is going to reverberate in our communities for a long time.

Lunch in the Midway City

July 10th, 2022 at 02:31 pm

Per usual, I had a wonderful day with BFF, except for one major glitch. While she was shopping, and I was sitting out in the sun, I peeked into my purse and noticed that one of my wallets was not there. I carry two -- one with cash and credit cards -- and loyalty cards -- and the other with my drivers license, insurance cards, library card, transit card, vaccination cards, and probably other things I'm not thinking of. It was the second wallet that was missing, and I was in a panic. I tried to retrace my steps, and I was afraid it might have been lifted when I was at a baseball game. Plus, I was quite worried that I had to drive home without my license on a day that involved heavy traffic.

I was so worried, the day was spoiled, and we agreed to cut it a bit short -- not too bad, probably only about a half hour before we would have parted, anyway. I made the long drive home, long because traffic was TERRIBLE, and I was so impatient to be home and look for my wallet. When I finally got home, I found it in the bag of books I had brought home from the library the day before. Lessen learned. I will always put things back where they belong, especially important things like wallets!  But what a relief!

Aside from that, it was a lovely day. We ate lunch outside at a taco restaurant ($20). We shopped, but the only things I bought were sunscreen ($18 for two tubes), and a box of Clif bars on sale ($4), which I will take with me on the train. We found a bench in the shade and talked for a long time. When it was time to go home, I stopped at a gas station and topped up the tank, because the gas was $1 less per gallon than it is at home. ($23)

On Friday, in between the two baseball games, I went out to lunch with my son. He hardly ever wants to do this, so I jumped at the chance! We went to a Korean chicken restaurant and my lunch was $18.

Variables are up to 26% -- not bad, for what feels like a lot of indulgence (happy indulgence!)


Keeping Spending Low

July 7th, 2022 at 03:40 pm

I've been keeping my spending low, but the other day I did "splurge" and go through McDonalds drive-up. Smile  I spent $4 on lunch. I had food at home, but too many things to do before I could go home.  Variables are at 15%.

I have a game to go to this evening, and two tomorrow -- if the schedule doesn't change. The schedule has been very fluid this summer. On Saturday I'm going to visit BFF at the halfway city.  I haven't seen her in a while, and it should be fun. I'm getting used to the high gas prices, so not cringing about the drive.

The weather has been pretty nice recently, except for a few rain showers. Nice enough that I haven't had to turn on the AC very much. I'm appreciative for every day I don't have to do that.


It Hit Home

July 5th, 2022 at 01:18 am

I assume this made the news -- I don't know because our local news was covering it all day and I couldn't see the national news -- but there was a mass shooting today only fourteen miles away -- in fact, in the same town where I went to a baseball game a couple of weeks ago and got stopped by a train.

Six people died and more than twenty were injured. Some of them are being treated here in my town.

Somehow it is more horrifying when it is close by.

It happened at a July 4 parade, and the shooter was on a roof, looking down and shooting off his high-powered rifle. Children and grandparents were gunned down.  All festivities up and down the lakeside were cancelled.

The shooter almost got away. They didn't catch him until late in the day, when a cop spotted his vehicle. Really good police work, because in the morning, they didn't even know who he was.

I felt sick all day, but I did feel better once he was caught. Honestly, I didn't know if it was even safe to go out, not knowing where he was.

I don't understand how this can keep happening. Our country has gone crazy. 


July 1st, 2022 at 10:15 pm

I was feeling much better this morning (and it's cooler) so I went to the gym. Afterwards I filled the gas tank at Sam's ($53) and bought groceries at Food 4 Less ($43). I expected to only pick up a few things at the grocery, but I ended up with four bags. At a little over $10 a bag, that's not too bad. But it's almost half of what I have budgeted for the month! I have yet to buy snacks for the train. I know I will take several apples, and I hope I can manage to make some oatmeal cookies, with lots of nuts and raisins. So maybe I won't have to buy snacks. I do plan to buy sandwiches on the train, though I know they will be terribly overpriced.

News is swirling around my building that there will be a special assessment for a new roof. This morning I talked with a neighbor who is a former board member, and she believes it will be in the area of $2000 per unit. I have it in savings, but hate to spend it that way, of course. On the other hand, if I was in a house, just think how much a new roof would cost me!

June Recap

June 30th, 2022 at 10:14 pm

It was a pretty good month. I kept variables down to 80%. I'll be able to sweep $840 into savings, though I won't do that until my insurance payment is withdrawn in the next few days, and my RMDs are deposited. Don't want to cut it too close.

Housing: $746

Fees/Services: $200

Utilities: $190

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $171

Gifts/Charity: $140

Groceries: $93

Medical/Health: $56

Household Supplies: $45

Gas: $40

Personal: $39

Eating Out/Takeout: $39

Phone: $32

Entertainment: $17

Laundry: $16

Grand Total: $1824

The fee referenced above is the annual subscription to Webroot and a service plan through Best Buy.

The rather high F/E/D category came about because I ordered supplies for my upcoming train trip, I bought a box of dishes at a garage sale, and I treated myself to some new pans.

Gifts were higher than usual because there were two birthdays this month.

Nothing remarkable about the other categories, but I am proud that groceries were less than $100, even though I stopped receiving free food from the senior center.

I have felt a bit queasy all day today and I've stayed home. The heat isn't helping. It's in the nineties. I stood it as long as I could before I turned on the air. I slept very poorly last night and I'm very tired. A brief afternoon nap helped.

I intended to go to the gym today, but I'll have to make it tomorrow, if I feel better.

Two Games, and a Little Spending

June 24th, 2022 at 08:16 pm

On Wednesday I drove my grandson to two different baseball games in two different cities. My son and DIL were working and could not do the driving. The two games were scheduled only three hours apart, which was pretty close. As it turned out, my navigation failed me on our trip to the second location, and I got my grandson to the game late. (We were also slowed down by a train that came to a dead stop at a crucial crossing.) He was taken out of the lineup and it was a disappointment to him. But he was very nice about it, making sure I knew it was not my fault. 

We did stop at a McDonald's on the way, because he was hungry (and  because I had to visit the john!), and if I had known I was going to have all this trouble, we could have skipped that. But at that point, we thought there was plenty of time. The cost for that stop was $12.

It was brutally hot all day, and I was not able to find shade in either location. Altogether, it was a pretty awful day, and I was really glad when it was over. 

On Thursday I spent $24 on a gift card and a birthday card for DIL, to add to the Amazon gift I had already bought.

Today I went to the gym, and then through a drive-through, where I spent $11.  Variables are at 67% with only six days left in the month.

Coffee Run

June 22nd, 2022 at 05:14 pm

I was getting low on creamer and coffee -- staples in my house -- so I went to Aldi. I spent $31 on groceries. I also spent $28 on a lidded saute pan and a teakettle -- both in the light teal color that I've been collecting. I knew I would regret it if I passed these items up. They were on sale, and, you know, when they're gone from Aldi, they're gone.

Variables are at 62%.

Today I am headed out for two games in two different towns. Neither one of them my town! I'm picking up GS1 in about a half hour. It's still blazing hot, but the dew point is not in the high zone yet, so it might be bearable. Yesterday's game was cancelled due to high heat -- that's why there's two today.

Despite the heat, I'm still getting in my walks -- just a lot earlier in the day. I'll be glad, though, when the temperature drops to a more normal level.


June 21st, 2022 at 03:30 pm

Yesterday my inhaler clogged when the count was about 100. I took it to Walgreens and asked if this was typical. They said no, and the pharmacist fooled around with it and got it going again. Then I asked if I had a refill coming, because I no longer had the box the inhaler came in. I did, and since I was there, I got the refill. It is the last one, so I'll have to contact my doctor. The refill was $30. Variables are now at 55%.

Today I'm going to an away game, 45 minutes away! It will take half the day, but I'm the only one available to take GS1. The game was formerly scheduled right here in town, so this is a disappointment. Maybe I can get cheaper gas up there in the boonies.

Sounds like the heat wave will continue all week, so this is not going to be an easy time, for my comfort or for the budget.

Father's Day Coming Up

June 18th, 2022 at 05:23 pm

It's Father's Day tomorrow. I'll be celebrating with my ex -- who of course is the father of my children -- and my local son, and the spouses and grandchildren as well.  I'm planning to make some strawberry applesauce for the brunch.

Today I walked to Walgreens and bought Father's Day cards ($7) and coffee ($7).

I looked at sea salt hair spray but couldn't find anything I thought was in a good price range, so I came home and ordered some from Amazon for $6.

Variables are at 53%.

As English Castle said, it is indeed "cooler by the lake." It is lovely today, sunny with a light breeze, and I enjoyed the walk.

A Reprieve

June 15th, 2022 at 07:46 pm

I was all set to chauffeur my grandson to an away baseball game today, but, thank goodness, it was cancelled. It is really, really hot today, and I'm so glad the organizers had the sense to keep the boys from playing in such awful weather.

There was a game yesterday, which was equally hot. It was in the main field, where there are bleachers and a roof, so it wasn't so bad for the fans. At least we could sit in the shade. And there was a breeze. But the boys were running around in the hot sun, and you could tell it was getting to them. Luckily, my grandson was not in the lineup, so he didn't have to play. He is still nursing an injury from making a diving catch in the outfield.

But speaking of diving catch -- in the year-end awards ceremony he won the the "Golden Glove" award for outstanding fielding! It was well-deserved. He will go after anything. He gives his all.

And, speaking of the awards ceremony, we had a little excitement that evening. The ceremony was cut short when the tornado sirens went off, and a violent storm popped up out of nowhere. We were ordered away from the metal bleachers. I ran to my car as the wind picked up, almost hard enough to carry me away. I drove home in the sudden darkness, flashes of lightning going off constantly. Many cars were on the side of the road, but I was so close to home, I went for it. But I was awfully glad to get there safely. And everyone else got home safely, too. It was just a very strange, sudden storm. It passed quickly, with very little damage in the area.

Okay, as for money things -- I spent $2 yesterday taking Gatorade to my grandson, and I've done a couple of loads of laundry. I also bought a birthday gift for DIL. With my Amazon credits, it was only $31, so I'll need to find something else. Variables are at 50%.

I picked up my free lunches at the senior center yesterday. There was a sign posted, requesting a $12 weekly donation (although in the small print, they said they wouldn't turn anybody away).  I did not sign up for the next two weeks, as I usually do. I'm a little confused, actually. Everyone who is eligible for this program has a pretty low income, and my interest was certainly to save money. I think I can take that $12 and make much better use of it for the way I cook and eat. Of course, I am a pretty resourceful cook, very accustomed to repurposing food and never throwing anything away. Many people are not.

When I thought about it, I decided that this program is probably more suited to people who do not cook much, for one reason or another, and need the help.

Anyway, I'm going to take a hiatus and see how it goes. I don't really want to pay the $12 donation, but I am uncomfortable not paying it. I still want to keep my grocery budget under $100, which I think I can do, even in these trying times.

And besides that, it's been an awful lot of mashed potatoes! Really.

It's Going to Heat Up

June 13th, 2022 at 03:13 pm

They are forecasting temps in the 90s the next few days. It's still pretty temperate, so I took my walk this morning to take advantage of the coolness. I walked to Walgreens and bought two packages of Poise pads in order to take advantage of a sale. Cost was $29. Variables are at 44%. Since we are almost halfway through the month, that's about the right pace.

Summer baseball is starting up. There is a game today, and two tomorrow -- when it gets really hot! What unfortunate timing!

A Garage Sale, and Sam's

June 10th, 2022 at 09:34 pm

Yesterday, when I was out walking, I ran into a garage sale. I ended up buying a box of dishes for $10, and a Delft vase for $5. I was only interested in some of the dishes, but the owner wanted to offload the whole box. $10 was a good price for what was in there. I added sixteen bowls to my set, mostly the small fruit bowls, which I really needed. Yes! I am passing along seven other pieces to Goodwill.

Today I went to Sam's and spent $6 on hamburger buns and raspberries, and $24 on dishwasher pods.

Variables are at 41%.

Was It Really Only a Year Ago?

June 9th, 2022 at 03:14 pm

My Best Buy service plan/Webroot subscription just renewed. It must have been one year ago that I bought it after falling for a scam and getting lots of malware installed on my computer. I can't believe it was only a year ago. What a nightmare that was! It seems I made it through -- so far-- with no ill effects.

It will cost $200 for another year of service. I'll see how it goes -- but right now I'm feeling that it paid for itself and I am enjoying the peace of mind. It's there if something bad happens again. 

I'll pay for it via my Big Ticket account -- savings -- so it won't affect my variables. So far, I have not spent a lot in Big Ticket items this year.

Talking to BFF yesterday, I figured out -- from her experience -- that I am having issues with the fascia tightening up in my thighs. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it was -- it felt like a plank in my leg, but painful. It comes and goes but it often happens at night. I've been reading up on it. I may order a tool from Amazon to help soften it when it stiffens up. I've found some stretching exercises that may help. I'm feeling encouraged now that I know what it is. I was mystified.

There's always something!

Home Depot and Aldi

June 7th, 2022 at 09:39 pm

The weather cleared up yesterday, so I went to Home Depot and Aldi.  At Home Depot, I spent $5 on foam pipe insulation -- which I used to stuff the open spaces around around my air conditioners. At Aldi, I spent $38 on groceries, and $24 on two frying pans. I hope I will like them; they are the Crofton brand, so cheapies, for sure. But I have liked other Crofton things I have bought.

I was in the market for new frying pans, because I dropped one of mine, bending it out of shape, and then absent-mindedly left one on a burner, scorching it badly. I was going to get a new set at Sam's, but these pans were marked down and I thought I'd give them a try.  They're quite pretty -- light teal on the outside, and white on the inside. (Note: I never buy expensive frying pans, because I'm quite hard on them -- see above -- and I find they all stick after a while, no matter the cost.)

Variables are at 37%.

This and That

June 6th, 2022 at 03:29 pm

I went to the bank to buy quarters -- I could only get one roll, which is what happened last time. I guess I'd better start spending cash, if only to get quarters. Some condo-dwellers like me have told me that their housing associations have taken the change appartatus off their machines, making laundry free, but have raised the assessment fees by $20 a month. I like the convenience of that, but I wouldn't like a $20 charge. I pay less than that for laundry.

Anyway, I got my one roll, and then, because the bank is close to Mariano's, I walked over there to buy a few things that are not available at Aldi. I spent $10 there. One thing I managed to buy was popcorn. Yay!

I was planning on going to Home Depot and Aldi today, but it's pouring down rain. I may wait till it stops, or I may wait till tomorrow. I have to go out tomorrow, for the gym and my senior meals. Maybe it would make sense to do it all at once.

Speaking of senior, I am planning to attend a couple of free lecture sessions at the senior center on Thursday. One is on the use of polymers in medicine, and the other is about Parkinson's. Most of my interest in going to just to get out and be among people again, but I used to date someone who was a polymer scientist, and I have a dear friend who has Parkinson's. That particular sessions sounds like it might be more of a support group, but I would like to learn a little more about it.

My son installed my air conditioners yesterday, even though the temperature is still moderate. When the heat cranks up, as it will, I will be ready for it.

Forgot to mention -- I also spent $40 on gas. And that was for half a tank! At Sam's!

A Popcorn Shortage

June 2nd, 2022 at 02:40 pm

I walked to Walgreens yesterday, intending to buy popcorn (kernels in the jar). They didn't have them last time I went, and they didn't have them this time either! I am missing my popcorn! While I was there, I bought body wash , creamer, and bread, all of which are getting low. I spent $13.  Variables are at 23%.  In just one day!

I didn't move my car yesterday. Today I may have to. I'm taking GS2 to the dentist. I'm going to propose walking there, but I'm prepared to drive if that idea doesn't fly. There has been very little action on the street repair, so I'm wondering if it will actually finish up on Friday. It seems like last time it took a whole week longer than predicted!

Day One Spending

June 1st, 2022 at 03:54 pm

When the calendar changed to June, I decided to start the month by purchasing a few things on my Amazon list. I need to be getting ready for my train trip in July. I bought a collapsible water bottle, a portable charger, a pill organizer, and a neck pillow. While I was there, I also bought sandwich bags for household use -- I like the ones that do not have a zip lock. I can close them with clothespins or twisty ties and get a much tighter seal with less air trapped inside. I don't use these for sandwiches much -- more for small food items and leftovers.  I don't see them in grocery stores anymore! These came in a package of four boxes.

I  also ordered a birthday present for my DIL in Oregon.  

All told, I spent $190, which isn't too bad, but it's 22% of my variables budget.

I have another birthday, for my other DIL, coming up later in the month.

The cool weather arrived as promised, and it will stay here all week. I hope I can keep my electric bill under control this summer, and breaks like this help a lot.

May Recap

May 31st, 2022 at 10:30 pm

Housing - $746

Utilities - $192

Car Repair/Maintenance - $160

Personal - $141

Medical/Health - $134

Groceries - $102

Gas - $44

Phone - $31

Eating Out/Takeout - $28

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $20

Laundry - $18

Entertainment - $17

Clothing - $13

Household Supplies - $6

Gifts/Charity - $1

Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $1654

Variables - 79%

It was a good month. Despite some costly things, I kept the budget under control.  The costly things? I got my fuel injection system cleaned. I had a haircut and bought some personal grooming items. I paid for an ultrasound I had a few months ago.

The very good news is that I kept grocery spending down to $102. Eating out was only $28 and that included a dinner out.

I can easily sweep $1000 into savings, leaving another $1000+ in checking in case next month is challenging in some way.

Today I went to the library, the gym, and the senior center to pick up my frozen dinners. My street -- the whole block -- is closed for resurfacing repair. (I don't know why -- they just did this last year.) Anyway, parking is a challenge, and will be for the next three days at least. They are saying only three more days, but the city's time estimates are often wrong. This morning I found a spot in the next block, and I plan to stay there. I can walk to Walgreens for food -- I'm well-fixed for food, anyway -- and there are no events on my calendar for this short time. So I'm staying put.

It is very hot today, and it was yesterday, also, but we are supposed to get a break tonight and for the coming week. My son hasn't installed my AC units yet, so I'm making do with fans. They are okay, but they are not cutting the humidity.

Speaking of my son -- he and DIL have purchased a new condominium with four bedrooms (one to be used as an office). They got a good price on it, too. They and the kids have been crammed into a small condo for many years, and this will be a wonderful change for them. They won't be quite as close to me, but only a 20-minute walk away -- a 4-minute drive. DIL started her new job at the university today. So many good things are happening for them, and I'm delighted!

I Broke My Spending Ban

May 24th, 2022 at 09:30 pm

But it was not a grocery item. Really, my self-imposed no-spending order is all about keeping my grocery spending down to the $100 level. I chose to buy facial serum yesterday, when I suddenly ran out, because I want to maintain my facial regime without interruption. I didn't know I was so close to being out, because the container is opaque.

So I walked to Walgreens and made the purchase -- $23. I hope that I won't have to replace it for a while. It only takes a dab.

I am really pleased with my facial care routine. I see visible improvement, but even more, my skin feels great and it makes me feel so good. It's definitely something I want to keep up!

I am putting my facial care items on my Amazon Wish List just in case someone in the family wants to buy them for me for my birthday. My DIL bought me the nighttime retinol cream for Christmas last year, and I was so delighted.

Today I went to the gym and then I picked up my five frozen dinners. Along with the leftovers in my freezer, I should have plenty of food to get me to the end of the month without grocery shopping.

Variables are at 79%. 


Lazy Sunday

May 22nd, 2022 at 03:29 pm

Nothing much is happening today, and I'm enjoying it!

Yesterday I was supposed to go to two baseball games, but it started raining when the first game began. I went to my car to wait out the 30 minutes it took to decide to cancel. After a bit, I went to McDonalds and spent $2 on a cheeseburger. When the time for the second game rolled around, it was still raining. I assume the game was cancelled. It didn't really matter, because I was not going to go sit in the rain. I'm a loyal grandma, but there are limits!

Later in the afternoon, it cleared up enough to take a walk. One nice thing about all this rain is that the grass is greener than I've ever seen it. It's brilliant!

This week it will be temperate, and for that I'm glad -- my AC units are not yet installed.  Looks like I can put that off for another week.

I am working my way through the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacquelyn Winspear, so I'm enjoying living in the post- WWI era for a while. Library books, of course. 

I found some frozen ham cubes in the freezer yesterday, so I had scrambled eggs and ham for breakfast, and later on I'll make some ham salad for sandwiches. As I mentioned yesterday, I don't have much bread, but there are hot dog buns and Hawaiian rolls in the freezer.  I don't anticipate any problems getting through this last week (plus two days) without spending. I do enjoy a challenge!


As the Month Winds Down....

May 20th, 2022 at 10:30 pm

Yesterday I went to the gym -- masked up because we are in a high transmission area right now -- and then went to Aldi to stock up on a few items. Much to my surprise (and I shouldn't have been surprised) my two bags totaled $71. And I bought no meat.  I did buy fresh flowers and a cookie sheet, so the true food cost was $58.  Looking at my receipt, I see there were two expensive food items -- mixed nuts, and maple syrup.

My total so far this month for groceries is $102. I was hoping that with the free meals I'm receiving, I would be able to keep my grocery costs under $100.  Well, I think I can stay out of the grocery store for the rest of the month, and almost achieve that goal. I will have to do without popcorn, though (which I cannot get at Aldi -- not the kernels-in-a-jar variety). And I failed to get bread. But I have some carbs in the freezer. It's just 11 days. I'll be all right.

I am also hoping to stay away from the gas station for the rest of the month. I did not go to a baseball away game today -- not just because of gas prices, but also because storms are predicted.  There are two home games tomorrow, and that's it for the season.

BUT -- GS1 is going to try out for summer ball, so I may just get to keep going to ball games once the season starts up. And I suppose some of those games will involve some travel.

I never realized that retirement was going to be such a challenge. Not that I regret it a bit.


May 19th, 2022 at 12:30 pm

I got my hair cut yesterday, with my usual angst about the cost.  It was $73 plus a $15 tip. But I came out loving the haircut so much that I felt justified in spending that much. It just bothers me when everything else is so expensive. I can't believe the salon has not yet raised the price since I started going there.

On the way I picked up some paper towels at Walgreens for $6. I needed paper towels, but mostly I needed to get the correct change for the hairdresser's tip.

It was pay day, so I paid all the bills that weren't automatic. The hospital finally charged me for the ultrasound I had several months ago, so I paid $113 for that. That's the copay, of course. 

Variables are at 67%.

I'm thinking about making a grocery run today. I am almost out of creamer and working on my last stick of butter. Also, coffee is getting very low. I will probably do it, but I'm not yet in the mood.

This is the last week of baseball.  There's a game tonight, one tomorrow and two on Saturday.  They are clustered like that because so many have been cancelled due to rain. After this week, there will be no more baseball till next spring! I'm going to have to find another free entertainment.

This and That

May 15th, 2022 at 07:22 pm

The gas that I didn't get a receipt for was $44. Gosh. I remember being shocked when I paid more than $20 in one fillup.

Since then I have eaten out twice, both times associated with baseball games.  So far eating out totals $21.

I ordered a jar of my night cream from Amazon, which will arrive today.  It was $30.  I figure I use two jars a year.

I just put a load of laundry in - $2.

Variables so far this month -- 42%.

Tomorrow I'm getting my fuel injector cleaned, which will be around $140. And then on Wednesday I'm getting my hair cut, which will be $73 plus tip.  So this will not be a low-spending month. I hope I will have something to sweep into savings.

I have been avoiding the grocery store, but eventually I will have to get some staples.  I will say, though, the free frozen dinners are helping out.

There is a full lineup of baseball games this coming week, but then they will be done for the year. Some of the games are away games. I hope I won't have to fill the tank again.

Good family news -- my DIL got a job at a major university (some of you can probably guess which one), which will really help out with tuition for my grandkids when the time comes. Not to mention it will be a great boost to their family income. So happy for them!

How Much For That Gas?

May 12th, 2022 at 03:21 pm

I filled up the tank last night, but I was distracted and didn't get the receipt. I have no idea how much it cost. I checked on my Discover card this morning, but they are just showing the $1 pending, which is typical when I fill up at Sam's Club.

I stopped at Walgreens on the way home and bought prebiotics/probiotics for $21, using a $5 credit. I DID get that receipt!

Variables are at 19%, not counting the mystery gas.

Car Repair

May 10th, 2022 at 08:39 pm

Yesterday I drove to a Kia dealer about an hour away in order to get my safety recall done (airbag software).  My local Kia dealer is not taking appointment for this recall -- at least, not yet.  I wanted to get it done. Air bags are pretty important! They did an inspection as well and recommended that I replace my fuel injector. I told them I would have it done at home, since I had already waited two hours and didn't want to wait another hour. It will cost $175. I've made the decision to keep this car as long as possible and baby it along, so I will take care of it soon.

I went to Mariano's and bought a few groceries I cannot get at Aldi. I spent $14. I also spent $1 on a Mexican pastry on the morning of my safety recall -- it was my breakfast, which I didn't have time to get at home, the appointment being quite early. Variables are only 14%, which is amazingly low at this point.

I picked up my free frozen dinners today. I had one left over from last week -- the baked chicken dinner, which does not heat up well in the microwave. I cooked the chicken thigh on the stovetop this morning and will probably make chicken salad or chicken fried rice. The vegetables went into the freezer into my veggie bag.  This weeks dinners are: Asian chicken, cheese ravioli, roast turkey, BBQ pulled chicken, and Italian sausage marinara.  I already ate the Asian chicken, which was pretty good. They all come with two veggies (often one of them is mashed potatoes). I also get a bag of fruit cups and juice boxes, which I use to flavor my water. They also give me a bunch of crackers.  Sometimes it's graham crackers, and sometimes saltines. Sometimes both.

My gas tank is about half full, and I have an away game to go to later. It's about 30 minutes away. Generally, I don't let the tank get under half full, but it's no longer winter, and I don't want to charge anything until my Discover card rolls over. That will be soon. I have a haircut coming up, as well, and, of course, the car repair.

It is finally warm! Soon I will have to have the air conditioners installed, but for now, I'm just enjoying having the windows open.

New Store

May 5th, 2022 at 05:01 pm

A new store has opened up in my neighborhood. It's called Wild Fork. I checked it out yesterday on my walk. Turns out it sells frozen food exclusively. Many specialty meats, but there were a lot of fruits and vegetables and desserts as well. I was interested because it's a 15-minute walk away, and if I were to lose my car in the future, I could easily get there on foot. Between that and Walgreens, I could get pretty much everything I need except fresh produce. That would be a little trickier. But for that, I could take a free train ride to a Mariano's. This is all speculative.  I DO have a car, and I'm not planning on getting rid of it. But with the way things are now, you never know, I might have to somewhere down the road.

So anyway, since I spent a lot of time looking around in the store, I felt I needed to purchase something, since helpers kept asking me what I was looking for. I bought a $5 pint of sorbet, which is delicious!

I went to GS1's away game yesterday. I did not ride with DS, because GS2 had been exposed to COVID, and DS was being super cautious. Well, he picked up a nail in his tire and got a flat, so he didn't make it to the game at all. It was just me, holding down the cheering section. And it was a great game! We won by one point in a cliffhanger. Such fun. But it was awfully cold. I was wearing a hoodie topped with a lightweight winter coat, and I was freezing. There is another game today, and I'll dress more warmly.

I swept $1000 into savings yesterday. That officially tops off my emergency fund. Now to save in earnest for the bathroom remodel.

Rainy Day

May 3rd, 2022 at 09:10 pm

It is one of those gloomy, rainy days.  There hasn't been much letup. I went out this morning to do my routine at the gym and then to the senior center to pick up my frozen dinners. I came home and after lunch, fell asleep. It's just that kind of day. There was a baseball game scheduled this evening, but it has been postponed. I'm sure the field is drenched.

I haven't spent anything today, but yesterday I went to Aldi and spent $32. $25 of that was on groceries, and I also spent $5 on flowers, to dress up my entryway, and $2 on personal-size pizza pans. I will use those for pizzas, but also they will fit well in my toaster oven, when I warm up things.

My mortgage payment was automatically withdrawn from the bank on the 1st, but it didn't appear on the online credit union account. My mortgage has been sold to Fannie Mae (I knew that), and another mortgage company is servicing the loan, but I didn't know where to track my payments and new balance. I called the credit union today and I was directed to web address where I registered and got access to a nice snapshot of the new loan. Whew! I was afraid I was going to be in the dark, making payments to a black hole!

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