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Aldi & Sam's Club

January 25th, 2023 at 10:32 pm

Today I shopped at Aldi for the second time this month. I spent $26 and bought butter, apples, frozen pie crusts, tuna, green peppers, flour tortillas, lastose-free milk, crackers, salt, half & half, baby carrots, and biscuits. For another $5 I bought a boot tray -- much needed today as it is wet and sloppy.

I made a side trip to Sam's for gas, which was $24 for a half-tank.

Variables for the month are at 50% and I have bought no big-ticket items.

Edit: I almost forgot! In addition to what's listed above, I ordered leggings from Amazon ($94 for six pairs) and Command strips ($21). Those are already included as variables.

Weekend Company

January 23rd, 2023 at 11:23 pm

BFF came and stayed with me over the weekend. We were pretty low-key and didn't spend much. I spent $18 on eating out and $15 on gifts. We ate at home most of the time and watched movies on Netflix. So far my variables spending is only 26% for this month.

I've received two tax documents. I'm going to take my time before I file. I always seem to jump the gun and then I have to make changes because I was lacking a document. This time I'm going to make sure I have everything. Not that my taxes are very complicated!

The weather has remained very moderate after we recovered from that cold blast at Christmas. But it looks like we may get snow in a few days. I wouldn't mind if it didn't come!

First Grocery Trip of the Year

January 17th, 2023 at 09:48 pm

My freezer is finally starting to empty out of food left over from my Christmas brunch. And I was starting to run low on some key items. So I made a trip to Aldi today. I decided to hold my spending to $25, since that's what I'm used to. And I did indeed spend $25. I bought vinegar, stoplight peppers, granola, Swiss cheese, Ranch dressing, spinach, Graham crackers, bread, coffee and flour. They fit nicely into the two bags that I am able to carry upstairs. I'll go back next week, since there were quite a few things on my list I didn't get. And one was salt! Why didn't I get that, cheap as it is? Because there was NONE on the shelf. Is there a salt shortage?

Tomorrow is payday -- Social Security payday, that is, and I'm excited to see the new amount, even though I already know what it is.

My spending has been very low this month. It's good to have a month like this every once in while. I hope it keeps up!

New Rules for the New Year

January 12th, 2023 at 03:54 pm

I'm not making resolutions so much as new rules. I've already instituted the haircut rule -- one cut per quarter. Now I'm adding a few more. No more buying beef at the grocery store. There are so many things I like to make with chicken. And many meatless dishes, as well. It's just not worth it to buy beef. But I will allow myself the occasional hamburger -- or beef-based meal -- when I go out. That will be the treat that supports the rule. Another rule -- no more using my phone at night. I know it's keeping me awake. Why do I do it? And no more looking at the news feed at all. It only depresses me. During the day, I'm cutting out a couple of games and cutting down on the one I continue to like. Simplifying.

A couple of rules that will actually cost me more: use the parking app and stop looking around for free parking. It's an exercise in frustration. So much more calming to just park where I need to and pay the little bit it costs. Also, put health first. Go see the doctor instead of hoping something will go away. Be willing to spring for a test instead of cheaping out and then paying for it in anxiety. And do all the things that I know will help, healthwise. Go to the gym. Walk. Eat more fiber. Cut down on sugar. Stretch! Relax. Drink water. Humidify. Never, ever, ever skip my medication.

Nothing really earth-shattering here, but all things I think will make life a little better in 2023. And all easy to do.

Plugging Along

January 11th, 2023 at 05:19 pm

I love January! It's always so low-spend! For me, anyway. I haven't been to the grocery store yet -- I'm still eating food left over from the Christmas brunch. I won't go until something comes up that I must have, but so far that hasn't happened yet.

Today I got my annual mammogram and afterwards I treated myself to a breakfast sandwich. I actually bought two, since the second one was only $1. I'm hoping it will still be appealing or at least edible tomorrow morning. The two sandwiches were $5. Then I stopped at Walgreens and spent $16 on facial cleanser and denture cleaning tablets. No, I don't have dentures, but I think the tablets will be useful in my crockpot humidifiers. They get so scaly, so fast. I think the tablets will be cheaper than resorting to distilled water, and handier, too.

Other than the scaliness, I really like using old crockpots as humifiers. They fit discreetly into my small rooms, they're absolutely quiet, and they do a good job. I'm on the lookout for two more -- one for the kitchen and a second one for my dining room. The living room could use a second one, too.

I'm enjoying some unseasonably warm weather! I'm so sorry for the troubles California is having right now and hope everyone stays safe.


January 4th, 2023 at 09:35 pm

I've done a little spending in the last couple of days -- $8 for hair conditioner (big bottle from Sam's), $16 for probiotics, $24 for a haircut, $5 for parking, $4 for laundry. That's 8% of my variables.

This morning I realized that the insurance payment would be withdrawn soon, and there wasn't enough in checking to cover it. I transferred some money from savings. I'll transfer it back after pay day. It's just a timing thing. But I was really glad it dawned on me to do that.

My electric bill was unreasonably high this month and I tried to talk to someone at ComEd. I didn't accomplish that, but I did get a general email saying that some customers were overcharged due to a billing error. I certainly hope I am one of that group. I haven't heard any followup to that.

No resolutions this year -- except to wear oven gloves! I'm tired of getting little burns on my hands. As for everything else, I'm just going to keep plugging along.

2022 Recap

January 1st, 2023 at 06:04 pm

Housing - $12,027

Home Repair/Maintenance - $3,056

Gifts/Charity/House - $3,026

Utilities - $2,425

Insurance - $1,775

Vacation/Travel - $1,184

Groceries - $1,119

Taxes - $1,021

Medical/Health - $987

Fees/Services - $877

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $704

Personal - $644

Car Repair/Maintenance - $553

Gas - $427

Clothing - $415

Phone - $379

Eating Out/Takeout - $359

Household Supplies - $264

Entertainment- $260

Vet/Pet Supplies - $190

Laundry - $186

Fares/Parking - $7

Grand Total - $31,885

Variables - 113%

The big thing this year was the special assessment fee I had to pay for the replacement of our building's roof. That was $3500. It was not a surprise, but the board had put if off so long it was on a back burner in my mind. I am relieved that it's done. I would hate to go into winter with a bad roof.

I also had large bills (for me!) for plumbing and electrical work.

I took a vacation on the train to Oregon this year. All in all, it was pretty frugal, but I wouldn't do it again unless I reserved a sleeper (which is a lot more expensive). I learned that I cannot sleep in coach. At all.

Personal was a bit high because I went through that spell of going to salon stylist. When inflation started ratcheting up, I realized that was something that had to be cut. (Ha, ha!) My new plan is to only cut my hair once per quarter at Supercuts. With a blunt cut, that's doable.

Clothing was a little high because I invested in a new winter coat and two pairs of boots. I think this coming year I will be set.

My grocery spending has been a success story. I managed $100 or less per month pretty easily. Even if prices continue to climb, I think I can make adjustments to keep me in the same range.

I've been lucky on car repairs, and I hope it continues. My car is a 2014, however, so I am braced for some possible big expenditures. 

I haven't spent too much on gas because I don't drive that much! Generally, its one day out -- when I combine errands -- and two days in. The falling prices recently have been very welcome, however.

And eating out was very low! Hope I can keep that up!

December Recap

January 1st, 2023 at 05:39 pm

Well, December was quite a month. Here's how it played out.

Gifts/Charity/Hosting - $984

Housing - $769

Taxes - $505

Utilities - $212

Groceries - $99

Home Repair/Maintenance - $85

Medical/Health - $56

Household Supplies - $33

Phone - $32

Gas - $27

Personal - $22

Laundry - $18

Vet/Pet Supplies - $17

Entertainment - $14

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $13

Eating Out/Takeout - $7

Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $2894

Variables - 65%

My analysis - well, obviously, Christmas was the big hit. I don't think I can do anything about the gift-giving without being a grinch, but I think I might opt out of the Christmas brunch next year. If I do it again, I think I'll rely on takeout, so it will probably be more expensive -- but it took too much out of me this year. I have to make some concessions to age and energy levels.

I did speak to each of my children about giving the college fund money with birthdays rather than Christmas, and they were fine with that. That will even out the flow a little bit.

Property tax was a surprise. The invoice came so late I forgot about it altogther. Luckily, as a senior, I did not get the big jolt that others have. I have a senior freeze exemption. A great benefit in my county.

The home repair was $85 for a technician to look at my dishwasher and tell me to flip the switch under the sink. That is totally my fault and a definite senior moment, as I knew it was there, yet also forgot it was there.

The $17 pet supply expense was cat food for the grand-cat I'm babysitting. I may get that back, if my son offers. Generally, he brings more than enough food, but this year he was so stressed about getting the family out before the blizzard/polar vortex hit that he didn't get to the store and just brought what was on hand.

Everything else is in line. Groceries and gas, both under budget. Variables were low because most of my spending was concentrated on Christmas stuff, which came out of Big Ticket (savings for expensive items/services).

January will be low-spend, I think. I do have a $968 payment for auto insurance. I have never had much luck with changing insurance companies, but I'll look into it before the next payment in July. I am over 70 and I live in a dense urban neighborhood with a climbing crime rate, especially theft. So I think any company is going to charge me a lot. Eventually I will give up my car, but I'm not ready yet.

I got a notice from my electrical supplier that the next bill is $90. That's about twice what last month's bill was, and I thought that was high. I'll call them on Monday to get some clarification.

Aldi Trip

December 30th, 2022 at 01:54 am

As the year comes rolling to an end, I have made my last grocery trip. I spent $19, making my monthly total $99.  I also spent $4 on half-price Christmas gift wrap for next year. My food purchases: bread, carrots, brown sugar, instant potatoes, frozen green beans, shredded cheddar, chicken bouillion cubes and strawberry preserves.

I still have lots of food in the freezer, so these were just regular pantry items I was out of or running low on. I probably won't do a lot of cooking this week. I'll be eating from the freezer.

The brutal cold weather has given way to unseasonably warm weather. It's supposed to rain tomorrow. And it will remain warm all week. Go figure!

It's the Day After the Day After Christmas!

December 27th, 2022 at 11:11 pm

I had a quiet and lovely Christmas Day. My actual family celebrations took place on the 11th and the 18th, so the 25th was just a me day. I opened the presents that were delivered from my Oregon kids and some friends in different states. I had long telephone conversations with those close to my heart. I watched some Christmas movies and I made a Christmas dinner of sorts -- sauteed chicken breast, mashed potatoes, carrots and wine. It was actually a delightful day.

But very cold. I did not go out of the house during the polar vortex. I forced myself out yesterday because I had to go get my car from the hospital parking garage -- my free time was up! From there I went to the university lot where my son's car was parked. I made sure the car started and then I moved it to a different spot. Scraped it enough so that the parking sticker was showing. Then I went to PetSmart and bought some cat food ($16) for my grandcat.

Today I did some laundry and took some boxes out to the recycling bins.

Of course I am starting to look forward to the new year and thinking about how I might do things differently. I'm certainly going to stick to my $100 grocery plan. I'm going to take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill -- in fact, I'm going to work my way down to a capsule wardrobe. I have a new haircut plan -- cutting my hair to chin length and then letting it grow to shoulder length. I figure I should be able to go three months or so without a cut, and I'm going back to Supercuts. I'll miss my stylist at the salon, but I have to admit I can't afford their prices. Those are just some early thoughts.

I'm excited to be getting a "raise" and I hope I can leverage it to good effect.

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and that the new year will be amazing!

Waiting Game

December 22nd, 2022 at 04:41 pm

I've done everything I can, and now I'm just waiting for the storm to hit. This morning I drove my car to the hospital and parked in their garage. I can leave it there till the morning of the 26th. I walked home, picking up three books from Little Libraries on the way. It is still mild. 

Unfortunately, I fell this morning -- tripped over a box -- and I landed hard. I can tell I didn't break or sprain anything, but I'm going to have some bruises and a lot of discomfort, I think. At least I don't have to go anywhere.

The only thing to worry about now is whether the power will stay on. They did an upgrade on the electrical system this fall, so I'm hopeful.

I did some tinkering with next year's budget, and it looks like the raise in Social Security will a little more than offset the increases in assessment fees and insurance. If I can continue my $100 a month limit on groceries, I should be okay.

Blizzard Prep

December 20th, 2022 at 08:31 pm

A blizzard is on the way!

Good news from my kids. They have been able to change their flight to tomorrow morning, thus getting out of the area before the storm hits. The grandkids will miss some school, but I'm sure a lot of that is happening. And it is really better that everyone is safe. Also, they will be parking one car at the airport and the second car at the football stadium, so there won't be any concern about moving their cars for snowplowing.

Mine, of course, will still have to be moved. But the city always opens the municipal parking garages when the snow is heavy, so they can get the plowing done. I'm just waiting for the announcement, and then I'll move the car there. I will use the one next to the train station and ride home to the nearest station, 4 short blocks away. Oh, and did I say the parking is free? Also the train ride, because I'm a low-income senior citizen. Train rides are always free.

I went to Aldi this morning to stock up on a few things. Even though there is a lot of leftover food in the freezer, some staples were needed. I bought peanut butter, bread, granola, butter, maple syrup, crackers, crescent rolls, biscuits, eggs, rice, lettuce and tomatoes. The total was $33. I'm still on track to only spend $100 on groceries this month, thanks mostly to the brunch food being counted in the gift category!

Once I get the car moved, I'm ready to hunker down. Now I'm just hoping I don't lose power.

My Early Christmas, and Bad Weather on the Horizon

December 19th, 2022 at 03:21 pm

I had my Christmas with my kids yesterday. It was so very nice -- many traditions were followed -- the Christmas movie on "Christmas Eve" -- "Spirited," this year -- with popcorn and M&Ms. Homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast on "Christmas morning." Stockings, and so many beautiful gifts. A board game afterwards.

I only wish I had been feeling better. I was sleep-deprived, and it showed.

Now, as the kids get ready for their trip to Florida, we are looking at bad weather coming at just the wrong time. They are flying on Friday afternoon. Forecasters are saying things like "blizzard conditions" and "dangerous wind chill."

My own little mini-vacation in downtown Chicago has been cancelled. Which is a relief. I would love to do it in good weather, but not in the kind of weather that's being predicted. And I will save some money.

My worry now is shuffling around my car, and my kids' cars, as snowplowing takes place. Well, I'll face that when I have to.

I can't remember if I already shared that my assessment fees are rising by 5% in the coming year. I got more bad news yesterday -- my auto insurance bill arrived, and it will cost $200 more for a six-month period. Yuck. No matter how much I try to control my spending, there are always things I can't control.

I did talk to DIL about making my college fund donations on birthdays this year instead of Christmas, and she was fine with it, so that will help.

Christmas Brunch

December 15th, 2022 at 05:42 pm

Our Christmas brunch went well, though, even with careful planning I managed to exhaust myself.

There was lots of leftover food and I'm still dealing with how to preserve it. Some things had to be thrown away, but not much.

I have finished Christmas shopping. Two small things -- for stockings -- have yet to arrive from Amazon. I hope they make it before gift-opening on the 18th!

I'll be meeting BFF and her family on the 22nd in downtown Chicago. We will stay a couple of nights there and visit the Kristkindl Market, the zoo (maybe) and the Art Institute. BFF has invited me to go home with her for Christmas Day, but honestly, I am not crazy about the idea of sitting in on another family's Christmas. Plus, I will need to get home to take care of my grand-cat!

It looks like I have spent $933 on gifts and the brunch this month. That's a lot, but I do have the money in savings to cover it. It's about the same as I spent last year. It is what it is.

Not counting the gifts, my variables are at 46%. I should be able to come in very low in groceries this month, with all the leftovers on hand.

I'm enjoying the holidays, but looking forward to a much more frugal January!

Just Wondering

December 10th, 2022 at 04:42 am

I'm wondering if people are able to post. It seems like we are stuck, but maybe everyone is just busy.

I have finished buying food for my holiday get-together on Sunday. It is somewhere in the neighborhood of $177. I can't be exact, because I did buy a few other things that are not for the the brunch. That does include two bottles of wine, but otherwise, it's just food. I was especially struck by how expensive the fruit was -- berries, grapes, pineapple -- all higher than I expected. Inflation has gone rampant.

I was happy to learn that my new Social Security payment will come in December. It will be a couple hundred more, after the payment to Medicare Part B is subtracted. Every little bit helps!

Property Tax

December 4th, 2022 at 04:47 pm

To my surprise, I got my second installment property tax bill yesterday. Somehow I didn't notice that it didn't come in September, and, in my mind, I was all done with taxes for the year. It made me blue, coming when I am already stressed about Christmas. It is $505. Much less than some people pay, because I have a senior exemption, senior freeze, and homestead exemption. Without those, it would have been $2889!

I believe I can charge it, and that's what I'll do, come the 11th when my Discover card begins a new cycle. That will help. My December budget is on life support.  Making that payment in January would be much better.

I'm also considering not making my annual Christmas donations to my grandkids' college funds. Just not at this time, that is. It would make sense for me to make these gifts along with birthdays rather than Christmas, thus spreading out the cost.  And it would delay that cost to September, the first birthday in the group. Of course, I can make the gifts any time I want, but it's nice to link it to an occasion. Even though the kids don't really notice! The parents do. I have to think about it, especially since the November birthdays kind of fall into the Christmas rush, anyway. And it would essentially be skipping a year, which I don't really like to do.

More Christmas shopping

December 3rd, 2022 at 03:48 pm

I just made another Amazon order for $59. This was for small gifts to even out what I already ordered. Even though I know my family members are unlikely to compare costs, I am pretty vigilant about spending nearly equal amounts on all.

Yesterday I walked to Wild Fork and bought two gift cards for $40 each. These are for my son and ex. My son, I know is a fan. I expect my ex will like Wild Fork even if he hasn't invesigated it.

I still need to buy stocking stuffers for my grandsons. I don't know what to get, besides candy! They have teenage tastes now.

I almost scored a free dinner last night! Haha. I would never have kept it, but DoorDash pressed my buzzer by mistake (the food was for my neighbor) and, because my intercom is pretty crackly, I thought he said he was leaving a package. I told him to just leave it. I went downstairs and there was an aromatic bag of food for my neighbor! I immediately took it up to him, but, my, it smelled good!

Christmas Shopping

December 2nd, 2022 at 03:49 pm

I've bought a few little gifts in the past few months, but my real Christmas shopping started yesterday. I ordered gifts from Amazon and spent $330. These were gifts for my local family. I will order the Oregon gifts later, after my Discover card re-ups, but the local family gathering is early, on the 11th.

Three gifts have already arrived! I'll be wrapping them today. I will be buying some smaller gifts for the local family -- the "something to open" gifts -- as I do my normal shopping and errands. The Oregon family will get just one big gift each, from Amazon, because mailing is just not worth it. 

I just got a flex card from UnitedHealthcare, my Medicare Advantage provider. It is loaded with $250. Unfortunately, it looks like it can only be used for dental, vision and hearing costs beyond what is already covered. Well, that might buy a pair of glasses. I'm also interested in OTC hearing aids, but I'll have to check and see if they are covered, being so new.

A new library branch opened last year, and I have not visited it. I have continued to use the main library. But I have realized that it is on the way to the gym, and that the facility it's in also has an indoor walking track, which would be appealing in winter, so I think it's time to check it out. The main library is way out of my way and the parking situation there is terrible.

And to cap off the positive news, in the last few days I found a quarter and a dime!

First Grocery Shop of December

December 1st, 2022 at 04:58 pm

There are five Thursdays in December. (Yes, I switched back to Thursday, since I didn't shop yesterday.) That means only $20 per trip. I spent $21 today. It was the leanest trip ever, I think. I bought two sweet potatoes, a canister of raisins, a pound of butter, creamer, eggs, yellow mustard, granola, and a package of cookies. I know. I just really miss cookies when there are none.

In ten days I'm going to be hosting a brunch for my family, so I'm going to make two shopping trips before then -- one for non-perishables and one for perishables, the day before. I'm not counting either one in my grocery budget. It will be tracked under Gifts/Charity, which I am going to rename Gifts/Charity/Hosting. It's the right place for it, I think. I will probably have leftovers from this event, which will help with the grocery budget.

I have never seen the shelves at Aldi so empty. If that train strike does happen, I can't imagine what it will be like.

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%.

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