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Thank You

June 16th, 2023 at 11:17 pm

Thank you all for your kind words about my son and his health crisis. I am happy to report that he is home and recovering well from his second surgery. It will take him some time to get back to normal, but he is young and strong and he will do it.

I bought a plane ticket to go visit him in mid-July. The ticket was $485. I've also spent $50 on a care package, $26 for gas, $12 for cleaning supplies, $4 for paper plates, $24 for groceries, and $6 for laundry. I have spent 72% of my variables budget, and that's not counting the plane ticket, which is coming out of savings.

I am finding that I am very tired now that everything is getting back to normal. I was so tense for such a long time while my son was struggling. Once I started to believe that everything would be okay, I sort of crashed. I am hoping to regain some strength in the next few days, because next Thursday I will be babysitting my local grandkids while their parents take a long weekend vacation. "Babysitting" doesn't quite describe it, since they are teenagers, but I will be there to keep on eye on things, making sure they are fed and showing up when and where they're supposed to. It will be good to spend some time with them!

Terrible Week

June 10th, 2023 at 02:38 pm

I have had a terrible week. My son was sent home from the hospital too early -- sounds to me like the doc was anxious to get started on his vacation -- and he hadn't been properly monitored (IMHO), so a day after he came home he woke up in the night vomiting bile and went back to the hospital in an ambulance. He went back into surgery the same day and part of his colon was removed due to two blockages -- one caused by scar tissue and one section that just wasn't working. He also has some residual infection. A port has been installed so that any fluid buildup can be detected early. I am hoping and praying that he is now really on the road to recovery. I have had one conversation with him since the second surgery, and he sounds better. I think the new surgeon is a big improvement over the first, but who knows, maybe the problem just wasn't obvious before.

I have been frantic, beyond stressed.

Spending: $23 for groceries, $81 for gifts, and my Best Buy technology plan renewed for $212. And this morning I spent $5 at a garage sale for two car mats. I was planning to get Weathertech mats, but these are heavy and fit well enough and I think they are going to be fine. Saved me a lot of money.

A Stressful Beginning to June

June 3rd, 2023 at 12:12 pm

Yesterday's spending: $25 for toilet paper at Sam's, and $2 for laundry. Variables are at 11%.

I forgot to report that last month's variables spending was only 54% of the allotted amount. A very good month.

My son in Oregon is in the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Unfortunately, the appendix burst, so he is in a lot of pain and in danger of infection. I am very stressed about that. I am also stressed because I have several spots that the Urgent Care doctor wants me to have looked at by a dermatologist, with an eye toward a possible biopsy. I couldn't get an appointment before September 11! I am on the waiting list for anything earlier. So frustrating.

Vacation plans are on hold while these issues are sorted out.

May Recap

May 31st, 2023 at 07:35 pm

Housing - $769

Utilities - $171 (low because gas bill did not hit this month, due to holiday)

Groceries - $100

Fees/Services - $40 (replenishment of tollway pass)

Vacation/Travel - $36 (short trip to brother's house)

Medical/Health - $33 (premium and band aids)

Eating Out/Takeout - $30

Gas - $28

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $24 (avocado keeper, mini-cooler)

Entertainment - $23 (streaming)

Laundry - $20

Household Supplies - $16 (dishwasher detergent)

Home Repair/Maintenance - $15 (doorknob set)

Clothing/Accessories - $12 (jeans from Goodwill)

Phone - $33

Car - $7 (car washes)

Personal - $4 (hair conditioner)

Gifts/Charity/Hosting - $2 (donations)

Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $1364

 

Catching Up

May 22nd, 2023 at 07:47 pm

I haven't reported any spending since the 15th, but actually I haven't spent all that much. I spent $21 on groceries at Aldi, plus another $4 for an avocado keeper (which worked fairly well -- the avocado still developed a brown skin but it was easy to scrape off). On Saturday I took a long walk and stopped at a favorite eatery, where I spent $25. I had enough leftovers for a second meal, but still, it seemed like a lot for a brunch. Today I spent $3 on a car wash, the second one this month. I'm trying to keep it down to once a month, but this morning my car was covered with some kind of sticky residue which must have come from the trees. It was gross. I've done a couple of loads of laundry ($4), and that's about it. Variables are at 45%. I think I'll be able to put $1500 in savings if there are no surprises.

Mother's Day and More

May 15th, 2023 at 09:20 pm

I had a really nice Mother's Day, with a salmon luncheon prepared by the "chefs" at my son's house and a lovely cash gift of $100! I was going to put it in the bank but decided to hang onto it as cash, since I don't know how this debt ceiling thing is going to go. Even a small disruption in Social Security would make life difficult for me. I hope it won't happen, but I probably won't rest easy till it's all over.

Today I got a car wash ($4) and gas ($28) and bought band-aids ($7). Variables are at 38%, and we're halfway through the month, so that's good.

Great news came through today -- my son got a much-deserved and much-overdue promotion. He works for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now he will be tracking employment rather than product prices, and with a higher level of responsibility. The pay raise is not too impressive, but it puts him in another track where raises will be more frequent, and higher. He is very happy, and so am I!

Weekend Trip

May 10th, 2023 at 01:59 pm

I had a brief vacation at my brother's house in Michigan this past weekend. I hadn't seen him since Thanksgiving, so it was good to do some catching up.

I spent $36 on gas and food. Also, my IPass replenished automatically, and that was $40.

Yesterday I bought a new doorknob set for one of my interior doors. It was $15. I installed it myself; fingers crossed that it will hold!

Today I'm heading out for groceries. It is a $20 week, so I won't be getting much!

April Recap

May 1st, 2023 at 03:37 am

I can't believe April is over already! Here is how my spending went:

Housing - $769

Utilities - $220

Fees & Services - $201 (license plates, Sam's Club)

Gifts/Charity - $108 (Easter dinner, postage for donations, Wikipedia)

Household Supplies - $96 (water filters, laundry detergent)

Car - $89 (oil change, two car washes)

Clothing/Accessories - $70 (walking shoes)

Groceries - $45 (this was low because Easter dinner provided many leftovers)

Vacation/Travel - $44 (day trip to middle city)

Personal - $36 (toothbrushes, haircut)

Phone - $33

Gas - $26

Entertainment - $23

Laundry - $20

Eating Out/Takeout - $9

Fares/Parking - $4

Grand Total - $1819

Variables - 107%

This has been the lowest spending this year, despite the variables being high. No big ticket items. I transferred $900 to savings.

 

 

Variables Maxed Out ... And Then Some

April 28th, 2023 at 08:15 pm

Yesterday I met BFF in the middle city for our monthly lunch/gabfest. I spent $44 for gas and food. Then I spent another $70 for new walking shoes. That was unexpected, and it put me over on variables (105%), but I really did need walking shoes, as my current pair is literally falling apart. The bad news is, I began to question the fit last night and took them back to my DSW this morning, only to learn that I couldn't exchange them because I had walked outside. Well, that makes sense, even though they look immaculate to my eyes. So I'm stuck with them. I will have to see how they will work out as walking shoes. If they don't, I'll have to demote them to occasional wear and get another pair for walking. That's a shame, since I really can't afford another pair. In the store, they felt perfect, so perhaps my feet swelled a bit.

With my variables overcharged, I'll have to spend nothing for the next few days. Glad it's only a few days.

So Now I'm Rich?

April 19th, 2023 at 01:08 am

I recently applied for the senior benefit access through the Illinois Council on Aging -- a renewal, actually. I've been receiving the benefit since I retired, but it has run out. To my surprise, I was denied because my income was too large! I checked my figures, and yes, I exceeded the threshhold by less than $500. It was that slight raise to Social Security last year that did it. Not the larger one this year.

Without the senior benefit, I have to pay the full price for my license plates - $151 instead of $25. Also, I no longer will be able to ride the trains or buses for free. I'll have to pay full price.

Most distressing, though, is that I don't know what it will do to my property taxes. I re-applied for the Senior Freeze Exemption before this denial came through, assuming that I still had the benefit access. I checked that box, not knowing I was soon to lose it. I am afraid that I will be denied the freeze exemption as well, and that could make a big difference in what I have to pay in property taxes.

It's disheartening. I'm obviously still low-income, just not QUITE as low-income as before. I know they have to draw a line somewhere, but being on just the other side of the line will make me poorer yet. I guess I should be grateful for the years I did get this benefit. Unless they raise the threshold, there's no way I will get it next year, with the larger increase in Social Security this year.

So I went ahead and spent the $151 for my license plate tags.

I was also automatically charged $50 to renew my Sam's Club membership. I guess that's okay; I do use it. But it came as a surprise, and I'm feeling awfully pinched. Variables are at 88%, with almost two weeks to go.

Tomorrow is my grocery day. I'm going to try to stick to necessities. Luckily, I have quite a few meals in the freezer.

Car Care

April 13th, 2023 at 08:18 pm

Yesterday I got an oil change. It was $81. And I had a coupon! I also went through a car wash for $4.

Variables are now at 58%. I'm less than halfway through the month, so the spending is trending a little fast.

Easter

April 11th, 2023 at 03:17 pm

I had my family over for lunch and games on Easter Sunday. I spent $87 on food, which I logged on the Gifts/Charity/Hosting category rather than groceries. I have lots of leftovers, so this will affect my grocery spending. I believe I will skip it tomorrow. I don't think there is anything I really need. 

I ate some leftover salad yesterday, which was already dressed and tossed. I believe it gave me diarrhea. Anyway, I had quite a time in the night. I have to learn not to eat food that is questionable. My digestion is so much more sensitive than it used to be!

Spending

April 5th, 2023 at 08:13 pm

I grocery shopped this morning. I was planning to spend $25, since there are four Wednesdays in the month, but I went over by $3. I'll make that up later. I also bought Easter cards ($4) and I spent .50 on parking. Variables are at 24%.

March Recap

March 31st, 2023 at 08:33 pm

March is going out like a lion. Severe storms with possibility of tornadoes forecasted. I may be spending the night in my closet. (It's large.)

Here is how the month's expenses shook out:

Housing - $769

Taxes - $561

Car - $515

Utilities - $237

Clothing - $149

Gifts/Charity - $112

Insurance - $108

Vacation/Travel - $68

Groceries - $58

Medical/Health - $41

Eating Out/Takeout - $41

Household Supplies - $36

Phone - $32

Gas - $26

Entertainment - $25

Laundry - $14

Personal - $13

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $10

Fares/Parking - $2

Grand Total - $2817

The taxes were the first semi-annual payment of my property tax. The car expense was new hubcaps and minor body work, as well as a wash. The clothing expense was a whole set of new bras. Gifts - some early shopping for Christmas and birthdays, as well as a little charity. Household supplies were office supplies. The other stuff is not worth remarking upon.

EXCEPT - how about those groceries! I can hardly believe I spent so little and yet I have plenty of food on hand. I just don't have too much. That is the big difference. I have been buying too much, and then struggling with how not to waste it. I have learned a big lesson here.

Edit: A few things didn't get counted.  I have made some corrections.  And an added note, variables were at 96%.

Last Grocery Trip of the Month

March 29th, 2023 at 05:05 pm

I went to Aldi today -- twice, it turns out, because I used a kiosk where someone had already scanned a couple of items, and I was charged -- I had to go back. They refunded me and were lovely about it. Anyway, I spent $19 and I got pizza dough, tomato sauce, sausage, peppers, shredded Italian cheese, creamer, mayonnaise, tuna and crescent rolls. I spent another $12 on Easter candy and stocking stuffers which are logged as gifts. Variables are at 95%, and I hope I'm done.

Tomorrow a nurse practitioner is visiting on behalf of my insurance provider. I do this every year. They come in, ask many questions, do some tests, check out my prescriptions and the safety of my home, and I get a $15 gift card. I actually appreciate having another person on my health team, and they benefit because they catch a lot of conditions before they get too bad (and too expensive).

 

March is Marching On

March 27th, 2023 at 02:26 pm

As the month rolls slowly toward its end, I continue to spend small amounts, which have taken my variables up to 91%.  I spent $15 on my newly-named Compassion Fund -- $10 went toward the care of a neglected dog, and $5 to a homeless man. I spent $9 on two bottles of hand wash, and $4 on a Happy Meal. I don't expect to spend anything for the rest of the month, other than laundry, and that money comes out of the change jar (though I do count it in variables). Also my scheduled grocery trip the day after tomorrow. It looks like I should be able to sweep $2K over to savings.

Shopping

March 23rd, 2023 at 10:33 pm

I started feeling better yesterday, so I went to the grocery store (Aldi) after all. I spent $19, and I bought biscuits, raisins, butter, eggs, Swiss cheese, coffee, and French fried onions. With the latter, I made three small green bean casseroles. I ate one yesterday and the other two are in the freezer.

Today I picked up a prescription at Walgreens, which was $15. Variables are now up to 80%.

Lights are still out in the laundry room, so I did laundry in the dark. Well, with the door to the outside propped open. I hope they figure it out soon.

Yesterday

March 22nd, 2023 at 04:38 pm

Yesterday I mailed my package -- $10 -- then stopped at a Hallmark store and did a little Christmas shopping. I'm determined I'm not going to leave it all to the end of the year this year. I spent $47 there on stocking stuffers, some things on sale, some not. Then I bought lunch at McDonalds - $4. I have learned that Happy Meals are just about right for senior citizens. Except for the toy. That I give to Goodwill. If I ask the McDonalds employees not to include the toy, it seems to thrown them off.

Speaking of Goodwill, so far this year, on my walks around town, I have found two abandoned hoodies and three t-shirts. They were all crumpled and wet, and dirty, but I picked them up, and after soaking and washing, they have come out like new. I take them to Goodwill after I get them back in shape. All are small sizes, so I'm guessing that kids peel them off when they get too hot, and they leave them, and their moms say "Where's your shirt?" and they say, "I dunno." I suppose there's a chance someone might go back looking for them, but I think they don't bother. So I hope I'm doing a service. I know if the city maintenance crews pick them up, they'll just go to the landfill.

I was planning on grocery shopping today, but I'm going to do it tomorrow instead. I'm not feeling my best and I think it will be wise to stay home.

I was going to wash clothes, also, but there is no light in the laundry room. Blown fuse, probably, but I don't know where the fuse is. So I notified maintenance, and I think it's just going to be one of those days of relaxation.

Variables are at 75%, and less than a week to go.

Museum Day

March 20th, 2023 at 10:28 pm

My day at the museum was much cheaper than I expected, thanks to the generosity of my friends. Unbeknownst to me, they expected that I would be admitted on their ticket, as they have a membership which admits two guests. Meanwhile, I went ahead and bought admission online. When we met and talked over what had happened, they insisted on taking me to the ticket window to get my money back. Well, as it turned out, they had to count two of their kids as guests, so I wasn't a freebie after all. Which was fine with me. But they wouldn't hear of it -- they said it was their invitation and I was their guest, and they gave me cash for admission and paid for my parking, too! I was really blown away. I spent only $15 while I was there. It was a good day, lots of fun. A bonus was that I ran into my niece and her family while there. They live in Michigan and it was quite a surprise!

Today I walked to the post office to mail a package, but their computer wasn't working and the clerk could not even open her drawer. So I walked the package over to Walgreens, but I couldn't mail it there because I didn't have a FedEx label. So I spent nothing today. Tomorrow I'll take the package to a different post office, but I won't walk there!

This and That

March 17th, 2023 at 04:49 pm

Pay day was on Wednesday. I paid my property tax - $562 - the first of two payments this year. I also went to Aldi and spent another $10 on groceries. My previous shopping, at Food4Less, yielded two boxes of crackers, granola, and bread, for $10. Plus I spent an additional $4 for lotion, which comes out of another bucket. At Aldi, my $10 bought lactose-free milk, mushrooms, onions and creamer. It seems like I am buying less and less with the same amount of money. But since I skipped grocery shopping on the first two Wednesdays, and I seem to have plenty of food on hand, I'm not worried. I am learning that I used to buy way too much!

Tomorrow I am going to a museum with a friend and her family. I do not have a membership, so it will be expensive, but it will be a social outing, which I sorely need. I need Spring, too! It's another cold, windy day in the windy city.

Car Stuff

March 14th, 2023 at 08:09 pm

It was quite a saga yesterday, looking for hubcaps. I finally decided to go with the expensive but sturdy hubcaps from the dealership, since even the people selling the cheap hubcaps couldn't recommend them. Since I bought four, they gave me break on the price, but it was still $399. But they have been installed and they look great, so much better than what I had before.

I've also gotten the front bumper fixed. The body shop jerry-rigged it with a combination of glue and wire, and they are pretty sure it won't pop up again. But if it does, I am to take it back. That was $112 for labor.

I'm starting to feel more easy about the car. Next month I have to get an oil change, and I'll have them check the rear brakes to see if it's time yet. Once that's done, I'll have addressed all the issues except the unsightly hole in the floor carpet. I'll spring for a good Weathertech mat to cover that, and I'll get a matching mat for the passenger side.

I went through the car wash today with no issues, so I think I'm good to go!

In other news, while I was waiting for the car repair to get done, I spent $10 on groceries and $13 on lunch, as well as $4 on a bottle of body lotion. Variables are at 60%. The cost of the hubcaps went on my Big Ticket spreadsheet, so it doesn't affect the variables.

Ancestry, Again

March 11th, 2023 at 03:02 pm

I looked at my Discover card account online this morning, and the pending charge to Ancestry.com was gone. So I went to Ancestry's site and cancelled. That didn't really help, since my cancellation date is a year from now, so they're still going to charge me. They must be having some glitches with their billing. We'll see how it goes. I don't really care either way. If I still have a year to play with it, I'll get some things done. If they don't charge me and I can't do those things, that's fine, too.

My insurance company withdrew $108 for coverage for the new car.

The new Netflix payment hit; it's $16.

My Discover account re-ups tomorrow, so I'll start taking care of some car stuff. I lost a hubcap on my trip. It looks like I cannot get just one to match my current (cheap plastic) ones -- I have to get a whole set. I guess that's what I'll do, as better hubcaps are quite expensive, and frankly, I'm not sure they wouldn't get stolen, since my car sits out on the street overnight, and thieves are clearly operating in the area.  I also want to address the front bumper which is not locking into place as it should.  I'm afraid to go through a car wash. I think the bumper would separate. Forgive me if I'm repeating! This has been on my mind for a while.

Variables are at 36%. I haven't spent anything on groceries yet!

Weekend Trip, and New Clothing Expense

March 6th, 2023 at 07:56 pm

Before I left on my weekend trip, I felt a painful spot between my breast and my armpit. I wasn't too worried, but I went to Immediate Care to have it checked out. The doctor verified what I already thought -- that it wasn't really a lump, it was irritation from the underwire in my bra. She suggested that I replace my bras with better fitting ones with no wires. So in the next few days I bought six wireless bras, very comfortable and yet supportive (Bali Comfort Revolution). The total cost was $143, or about $24 each. If you've shopped for bras recently, you'll realize this was a very good price. That's why I bought six when I had the chance. This was an unexpected expense, but oh well.

The cost of my trip to Indiana was $67, for gas and food. I also did a little fun thrift store shopping for $19, buying a hoodie, a gift, and a few things for the house. 

I came home to find my property tax bill in the mailbox - $561 (semi-annual payment) and then when I checked my bank account I saw that Ancestry.com had withdrawn my subscription fee, which is now $229. I was going to cancel this year, but obviously I did not get on that soon enough. So I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

Anyway, my trip was fun, and the play -- Guys and Dolls -- was so good! It was hard to believe it was a high school production! Way above my expectations!

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.


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