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Archive for October, 2011

Everything Changes...Again

October 30th, 2011 at 02:49 pm

DH called me from work a few minutes ago to tell me his schdeule has changed yet again and that we know now what he will be working in January. It's not pretty and it won't be easy, but I think we will have enough money to cover it without touching the EF, thank goodness because of how it all lines up. But now I will have to redo the calander yet again and the budget yet again. I only did this last night. I wish I'd waited now. Ah, well, hindsight is 20/20.

So instead of coming home on Wednesday like he was supposed to he will work an additional 2 weeks for a total of 4. He will come home on the 16th of November and be home for 3 weeks, so he will be home for Thanksgiving after all. Then he goes back on December 6th and works until the 21st (2 weeks) and then he will come home for four weeks, so we will get him home for Christmas after all. Then he'll go back up to work on January 16th after no work for four weeks straight. After that he will supposedly work 2 and 2's, but I am not holding my breath. It'll end up being whatever work needs it to be.

I guess I should consider us lucky. They let some people go (but DH was assured he would not be one of them, supposedly he's good for another four years). They will probably hire the others back by February when they ramp up again, but it's got to be hard for those other families. I've asked DH to ask his boss about maybe getting unemployment for those four weeks since this is unpaid time off that he'd work if he could. It wouldn't be much, Alaska comepensation is worse than Washington. But it'd be maybe $1000 for 4 weeks. He's certainly paid enough into it. Then again, I'd only want him to claim it if we can't make it without it.

I should be able to bank two full paychecks if all goes well. I hope all goes well. I'm probably going to be stressed the entire time. I know we will be very careful about our spending for the next few months.

Budgeting Through Year's End

October 29th, 2011 at 05:08 pm

So I sat down with my calendar and my budget and figured things out for the rest of the year. Now that we are on a four week cycle (3 weeks of pay, 1 week of no pay) it should make it easier to pay things without having to make a tremendous stretch of two weeks with no pay. It was doable, but always took a lot of planning. Less planning now, more ease when making payments. I don't know how people who get paid only once a month do it. Well, yes, I do. Planning.

DH said last night that they are getting caught up on stuff so he won't have to work that extra week, which means he will be home on Wednesday. Boy, 2 and 2's go so much faster than 3 and 3's. He still doesn't know about that extra week off in January, though. Ugh. I don't like being in limbo. So far I've got $1000 saved just in case. I am hoping to add at least $2000 to that by year's end. Then if we don't need it, to extra debt repayment and to HSA it goes.

Everything is so tangled up right now. It may be June before we are out of credit card debt. I just don't know. At the beginning of the year I was so hopeful we'd be out by year's end. Oh, well, stuff happens. I wish we hadn't had so much new medical on top of everything else this year. Still, we have made more progress than I ever dreamed, so I have to stick with the positive mindset that it's coming and we'll be out of that debt soon enough.

The tax return should be huge because we can deduct the full amount of a maxed out HSA. That will at least put a big dent in it.

Hmm...I wonder if I can stretch $2000 over that extra week period instead of $3000? I am going to have to juggle some more numbers, but if I can free up that $1000 for debt I would feel a whole lot better.

Payday and Property Tax

October 28th, 2011 at 08:00 pm

First off I paid the property tax today of $518.07 for the half year. That's not part of the payday spending, but I don't need to make 3 posts today, just to say that.

Now for the regular payments:

$1000.00 to Mom (loan payback)
___37.61 DH Life Insurance
___32.70 Me Life Insurance
___86.30 Car Insurance
___41.25 Old House Insurance
__142.00 Storage
__180.00 Tae kwon do (2 months)
___65.21 Virginia Mason
__144.00 Water/Sewer Old House (2 months)
__261.60 Dental
___82.57 Clothes Shopping
__106.00 Kids' Allowances (6 weeks)
__217.62 Grocery

I will also be paying the AMEX and the Mortgage on the 1st, but will post that when I do it. I will also pay for physical therapy and dance class for DD next week.

We went to Kmart today and I got each kid a fleece-lined sweatshirt for the colder weather. I also got them each an umbrella. I got myself 4 pairs of the super fuzzy warm slipper socks. I looked for pants but didn't see anything I liked. I've lost so much weight I am constantly tugging my jeans up and it is annoying.

DS needs a winter jacket, but I couldn't find any boys' coats, just women's and grown men's. I may have to order him something from Land's End, but we will check Penney's first. I was hoping he could wear his sister's old coat (it was a boy's coat from Land's End because she had such a long torso she couldn't wear girl's coats then) but his shoulders are too broad. Otherwise it would fit him perfectly, but he finds it really uncomfortable. He was bummed because he always liked the coat. DD wore it for three years though, so I guess that's okay.

I really need a new parka but I am hoping to limp along with my ski jacket because by winter of 2012/2013 I hope to be down to the weight I will stay at and don't want to buy an expensive coat I will only be able to wear for one year. I will probably keep a lap blanket in the car though. At least our fancy shmancy Sienna has seat warmers (which seem like such a luxury, but I love them) and that makes a big difference because they warm up before the heater does.

Emergency Fund Update

October 28th, 2011 at 07:31 pm

I deposited my coin jar savings to my Safety Net at CU#2.

$559.53 Beginning Safety Net
+_41.50 Amount Added
$601.03 Total Safety Net

I also sent $100 to the less accessible portion of my Emergency Fund.

$1800.95 Beginning EF at ING
+_100.00 Amount Added
$1900.95 Ending EF at ING

$1900.95 at ING
+_601.03 SN at CU#2
$2501.98 Total EF

So I've met my goal of getting the EF to $2500 by the end of the month. My next goal for the EF is to hit $3000 by the end of the year.

After all of my shopping today I also added $10.27 to the coin jar, so already started on that next goal.

Thank You

October 26th, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Today was a bad day. Just a really bad day, the sort where you just keep coming across people that are downright mean for no reason that a sane person can see. It's nice to know when days like this happen, I can come here and find like-minded people who have kind hearts and good intentions. Not financially related at all, but I am definitely grateful for this site.

ING Dropped and Property Tax Coming Up

October 25th, 2011 at 10:07 am

I go into my ING account every week or so just to check on things and I was very disappointed to see that the savings account is no longer at 1%. It's dropped to .9% from the last time I checked. I had heard the money market one had dropped, but not the savings account. And they didn't even notify me. Usually they notify of an interest change. Pretty soon it's not going to be worth keeping money in an online bank. I wonder if this has to do with them being bought out? I really miss the days when ING was at 4% interest.

I have to pay half year property tax by Monday. It's $518 and some change and I have it in my ING account where it's been gathering interest while I saved up for it. I am going to be sad to see it drop that account down, but that money was saved for taxes, so it needs to be used for taxes. I will transfer it tomorrow so that I can get the last piddly bit of interest on it that I can.

This is the first time I've successfully put money aside for property taxes each month. Normally I just come up with the amount when I have to and don't make as big a debt payment on the credit card. But this year I was able to take that small step away from living paycheck to paycheck. I had tried in the past but always ended up using the money for something else along the way. That was when I had no EF to speak of.

I was able to reschedule my physical therapy appointment for Wednesday so that money is still set aside for that.

The PTSA called and said that not enough kids signed up for the Japanese class so she'd be sending my check back and did I want it mailed or sent home with my son. I didn't see the point in wasting a stamp and my son is responsible enough to bring it home with him. I am glad they asked though. Some kids are not. They are still trying to get something together, but probably 8 sessions instead of 13 so it won't cost as much.

I could have told them asking parents to come up with $75 bucks for an after school enrichment class with only 4 days notice was a bad idea. When most people live paycheck to paycheck, they need a couple weeks' notice to scrabble money together for something like that. I'll put the money back where it came from when I get it.

Stomach Ugh

October 24th, 2011 at 10:28 am

Or I should say stomach bug, or maybe something I ate, or possibly the new antibiotic disagreeing with me? But whatever, I feel yucky today. I cancelled my physical therapy appointment and left a message about rescheduling, but may not be able to, as she is sometimes heavily booked. If I just have to wait until next Monday than I can use that $60 for something else. I'll probably just dump it into the EF (although I still really want to buy season 3 of Fringe, that really can wait until Christmas).

DH Just Called

October 23rd, 2011 at 09:15 pm

His work just asked him if it was possible for him to work an extra week. That doesn't necessarily mean he will be asked to do it, but he wanted to know if it was okay with me. *sighs* I told him to go ahead and take it, even though it means working 3 weeks on, one week off. It's a whole extra paycheck and we can bank it for that extra week in January he might have to take off. I was trying to scrape up enough to save an extra week's pay between now and the end of the year anyway without having to wipe out our EF, so that just makes things easier financially.

It is a little frustrating though. He already is going to be missing Thanksgiving and Christmas when originally he was scheduled to have them off and now he won't be coming home when he was supposed to or for as long as he was supposed to. I seriously hope they have the rumored huge bonuses (that I am not counting on for anything at all) because he has gone so far above and beyond the call of duty it would be nice to be rewarded for that fact.

Bit of a Week

October 23rd, 2011 at 03:31 pm

Have I really not posted since Wednesday? I guess part of that is that there just is not that much for me to do financially until this coming Friday and the other part of that is that I have been chain-reading the Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon (lighting one book from the previous book, sort of thing, badly mixing metaphors). I had forgotten how intriguing her writing can be and how hard and fast it sucks you in.

I did fill up the gas tank on Friday at $63.28 for 16.969 gallons.

I added $5.82 to the coin jar so will definitely hit my EF goals for the month. I have no cash left, but I have $23.96 left in checking. $15 of that will go to DS hot lunch costs this week and that leaves enough to buy a gallon of milk if I need it, but I bought two on the weekend that were marked $2 off each (which is awesome for organic milk) and they should make it until Friday.

I have plenty of fruit and veg and frozen meat, so I'm good on groceries otherwise. I am going to need to find a major sale on green beans, though. Since Costco stopped carrying the S&W brand and I hate their Kirkland brand (which surprised me, because usually Kirkland is decent on most things) I have had to be buying it when it goes on a good sale.

I am a little picky on green beans since we eat them almost every day. S&W, the generic Haggen store brand, or Trader Joe brand are my preferences. I prefer the first two since they go on sale on occasion, but TJ's at least tastes good. I can't stand other store brands or Del Monte (which again I don't get, because I like other Del Monte products, just not the green beans). I used to love Western Family, too, but I haven't seen those around in ages. They used to have great case sales, too.

I had my MRI on my knee on Friday. I will hopefully know something mid-week. I'm mixed on what I want. If they find something it means it can be fixed and maybe I'll have a chance at not being in pain, but it also means more surgery. If they don't find something it means there is nothing to fix and I get to have chronic knee pain, difficulty walking, and random swelling for no apparent reason for the rest of my life, but no surgery. *sighs* It's never an easy choice, is it?

I have physical therapy tomorrow and have the $60 set aside for that (wasn't including it in the other money I had left since it is earmarked). It's the only thing that keeps me walking these days, I honestly do believe.

The diet has gotten a little bit...squidgy the last few days. Working on getting it back in top form again. Didn't gain any weight from it, but not for lack of trying. *snorts*

Random Bits

October 19th, 2011 at 01:41 pm

I rolled coins last night. I had enough to roll quarters, nickels, and pennies, which means I just need to come up with $2.50, plus the planned deposit of $100 on the 28th, to hit my EF goal of $2500 by the end of the month, which is great.

DS's school is offering 13 sessions of Japanese lessons for $75, after school twice a week, so he'd stay until five on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Only thing is they sent home the notice yesterday and they expect the money in by the 21st. Really not that much notice. It would have been better if we could have it in by the 28th, which is payday. I will have to borrow the money from the holding tank savings and pay it back on payday.

I hate to do it that way, but otherwise he will miss out on this opportunity. His sister is in her second year of Japanese at the high school, and so he already knows a few words and is really interested in learning more. Maybe my daughter (who is also teaching herself Korean) won't be the only one to go to an Asian country for a few years to teach English.

My son's homework last night was really interesting. It was on the Mono Lake ecosystem in California. It's a saline lake. I had always thought that the Great Salt Lake was the only saline lake in America, so you learn something new every day. He brought home a DVD from class (he has issues sometimes focusing in class when other kids are being rowdy, so the teacher let him check it out) and I watched it with him.

He was able to answer the first four questions pretty easily, though I had to have him look up the word abiotic because neither of us knew what it meant (absence of life). The last question was hard and not answered in the movie so we looked it up first on wiki, then on fossweb. Fossweb sounded nearly word for word like the film but had an extra bit that neatly answered the last question so DS figured out how to put it in his own words and got that one done. I hope it was right anyway. Middle school homework seems harder than high school homework, but he is really learning so generally doesn't mind the difficulty.

DD is staying after school today so I only need to make one trip to pick both kids up instead of two, saving on gas. DH did not fill up before he left and there is about 1/4 tank left. I was planning to take it over to Costco after I dropped DS off at school, but I was too exhausted from two nights of not enough sleep. I came home and went to bed instead and slept until 12:30. I feel much better, sleep wise, but my throat is still bugging me every time I swallow.

I did see the doctor yesterday and I have to pick up a new packet of antibiotics tomorrow which is on the way back from Costco so I can make that in one trip, too. I also have an MRI scheduled on Friday for my knee. I hope they find something this time, something fixable. It is hurting all the time now.

Coin Jar/Emergency Fund Update

October 18th, 2011 at 01:42 pm

I added $13.27 to the coin jar today. I may have enough to roll coins today, but even if I don't I have enough for a deposit Friday because I have $24 in bills alone. I don't tend to think it's worth the bother to go to that CU unless I have at least $20 to deposit to the Emergency Fund and then I'll combine it with a trip to Trader Joe's. It's not like either one is really out of the way that much, it's just that that CU is really awkward to get in and out of and there is horrible, nasty traffic at that intersection.

I'm trying really hard to make it to $2500 by the end of the month. I do have $100 scheduled to go into the EF on the October 28th payday, but that still leaves me with around $15 to scrape up. I think I can do that. I may have already if I have enough coins to roll.

ING will have at least $3 in interest this time on my savings account, though I'd like to use that for November's goals if I can, which is to get the EF to $2750 and of course December's goal is to get it to $3000. Since I only allot $100 to the EF each month, any other money I deposit is generally a savings from somewhere else, like groceries or gas or because some bill was unexpectedly lower than it was supposed to be. And of course I save all one dollar bills and change. Most months I make my goal if I push hard enough, which is nice.

Money Spent

October 15th, 2011 at 08:34 pm

DH ended up spending the entire $40 I sent with him. Only $28 of that was on food. The other $12 was so he and DD could get into the tournament. They did not tell us, either in person, or in the paperwork that there was a fee to get in to the tournament for non-participants. I was really annoyed about that, because what if I hadn't sent any cash down with them at all?

Anyway, DS placed second in his division and got a silver medal. I am so proud of him. It's a pretty medal, too. I've seen the vid and he did such a good job. The kid who got gold beat him by only .1 of a point. Pretty darn good for a first tournament.

Homecoming and TKD Tournament

October 15th, 2011 at 01:10 pm

Last night DD went to her first dance, which was also the homecoming dance. She went over to her best friend's house after school yesterday with a group of friends and they all got ready together. Everyone brought $10 for dinner and her best friend's mom went and got them take out, so that was $10 out. I don't remember if I said earlier in the week or not, but the dance ticket was $6.

She had a really good time with all her friends and even danced with a boy, though she mostly just danced with her friends. She's not allowed to date yet (though if there were a particular boy and I met him and liked him I might not make her wait until 16) so that works out just fine with me. My mother wouldn't even let me attend dances until I was 16. I don't see any harm in it as it is a group thing.

I am now waiting for the rest of the family to get back from DS's tae kwon do competition. DH taped it so I will at least get to see it. They took $40 with them to grab breakfast on the way down and lunch on the way back. DH texted me about buying a t-shirt for DS if they weren't too much, so there might be a little more spent than I was intending, but I thought it would be a nice souvenir from his first tournament and his sister did get a class of 2014 t-shirt last month from her school, so it would even things out a bit. I am a little nervous waiting to see how he did. His instructor told us he thought he'd at least get a bronze medal, but of course never tells the kids that and encourages them to participate simply for the experience.

The Will's the Thing

October 14th, 2011 at 07:05 pm

It's been several months since DH's grandmother died and today in the mail we got a bunch of legal documents. Apparently DH was named in the will, to get 5% of the estate. We don't actually think there will be anything left by the time the house is sold and the state is paid back for all the nursing home care, but you never know. The house is a five bedroom, two bath, 2 living rooms type rambler on a decent bit of property, but in this economy probably wouldn't get more than $250,000 for it. We were just really surprised to get the documents as it has been quite a while ago that she died.

Random Chicken Ramblings

October 14th, 2011 at 01:10 pm

The chickens are such sweethearts. Since Mom has been laid up I've really gotten a chance to see their distinct personalities. You wouldn't think birds would have as much personality as dogs and cats, but they really do.

Patricia (black and white) is stubborn and insists on sleeping in the exact same spot on the roost every single night. If one of the others is in her spot, she will push and nudge until she's made room for herself.

Queen (red) is in charge otherwise and she bosses the others about and heaven help any of them if you put out some seeds and they try to get there first. You could hear her scolding them a block away! Their favorite is cantaloupe seeds.

Navi is the biggest, but the youngest. She is almost completely white and stands a head taller than the other two and two heads taller than Kyri. She is very solid and will come up and rub her head against your ankles in greeting, like a cat.

Kyri is a little pill. She is the most adept at getting out of the penned yard and she will lead you a merry chase before you can get her back in the protected area. And then she looks at you like she was just stretching her legs with this innocent expression on her face. She's a banty auracana and gold-colored.

Kyrie and Navi need another month before they start producing eggs, but Patricia and Queen are pretty consistent, laying an egg about every 36 hours, so some days there are two and some days there is one as they are not on the same schedule. I will be glad when the other two start laying so we won't have to cut back at all on eggs. Got spoiled when the flock was bigger. And organic eggs have gotten amazingly expensive.

Meal Planning for Today

October 13th, 2011 at 10:28 am

We are really eating up the leftovers this week or making use of some of our free items (like eggs, blueberries, gifted jelly). I froze some of the leftovers a while ago and have thawed them to get them eaten up. I only count the cost of something the first time I serve it, even if it does not all get consumed as it is too hard usually to break the price down into individual servings of casseroles, soups, or stews.

Free eggs (from our chickens)
Milk $1.50
Cornbread Muffins with (free) blueberries .79

Total: $2.59

$3 DS Hot Lunch
DD Peanut butter and apricot jelly (free, homemade from aunt) sandwich .75
apple .50
small baggy chips .50
DH leftover pizza (free)
Me porkchop (.75) and salad (.25) with cheese (.25) and basil infused olive oil (.10)

Total: $6.10

Milk $2.00
Leftover ravioli and leftover lasagna (free)
Leftover meatballs (free)
green beans ($1.00)
salad (.50) with dressing (.50), cheese (.50) and sunflower seeds (.25)

Total: $4.75

Grand total: $13.44 Doing well today because of all the leftovers. No temptation to break the No Eating Out challenge today, but boy did I want to yesterday.

Not Much in the Financial Arena Today

October 12th, 2011 at 07:59 pm

With no more bills left to pay until the 28th, it's sometimes hard to know what to post about. I earned a small amount of interest on three different CU accounts for the last quarter, but I misplaced the statements so I'm not sure exactly how much for the one. The other two were both .23 cents each. I need to look around for those statements so I can figure out the other one.

Mom had her first physical therapy session not in home today. I took her up to St. Luke's (techinically St. Joseph's, because they bought it out years ago, but it was St. Luke's when I was little and all long time Bellinghamsters still call it that). It went pretty well and it looks like in the future I can just drop her off and pick her up and not have to stay, which will be nice. It'll mean having an hour to myself which hasn't happened basically since she had the surgery.

Meal planning today was a bit erratic because we all sort of had different things.

$2.50 all natural breakfast sausage
$0.25 oatmeal
$0.25 pancake
$0.25 real maple syrup
$1.50 milk

Total: $4.75

$3 DS hot lunch
Free leftover pizza
.50 apple
$1.00 2 all natural beef hotdogs
$2.57 can of chili
$1.00 milk
.50 cucumber

Total: $8.27

Free Leftover potroast
Free Leftover ptoatoes and gravy
$1 can of green beans
$2 nectarines
$2 milk

Total: $5

Grand total: $18.02 So I'm well under the allotted $20 per day today. I haven't added the numbers up in a while so it's nice to see that I am naturally under the daily grocery budget without trying.

Recently I finished reading the last book in Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series Victory Conditions. I decided to start the series over since it had been years since I'd read the first few books and the library had them (I have them in storage, but I wasn't going to try to find them there), so I checked out the first one, Trading in Danger, yesterday and I'm already over halfway through it.

It was fun meeting some of these characters again for the first time. I also picked up the first three Herris Serrano books in a compendium and a book of short stores by the same author. I am finding much more time to read these days and I love Moon's military in space sci-fi novels with the strong female leads.

Not much else going on. DS has his belt test tomorrow. He's going for his purple belt. Then on Saturday he goes to his first tournament which I will have to miss as someone has to stay home with my Mom and of course no one in the family has time to come stay with her. Not that they have bothered to come over much at all. One sister came over for 2 hours and one granddaughter came over for four hours. My other sister hasn't come at all. DD will tape it though so I can see it.

I am really kind of annoyed at my family right now. I know parental care usually falls on one child, but they could help a little bit. This is an important day for my son and it just irks me that no one is willing to do this for a few hours so both his parents can be with him.

BoA Payments

October 11th, 2011 at 01:21 pm

After my doctor's appointment I went through the post office drive-thru drop off and mailed 4 bills. Then I went to the Bank of America drive-thru and paid $1000 on the credit card and made the car payment. I don't have to worry about anymore bills now until the first of the month. Hmm...may have a hard time figuring out what to blog about. Maybe I'll go back to making meal planning posts as I haven't calculated daily food costs in a while.

I need to go to the store to pick up more pseudoephedrine and nasal spray and also stamps. I never buy stamps at the post office as the lines are too long and they have taken out the vending machine due to vandalism.

I am trying to figure out dinner tonight. Maybe I can make a picnic ham in the crock pot. Then there would be protein to gnaw on for the rest of the week. Oh, my diet is still going well. I have not cheated once in 35 days, so yay, me. I did my measurements and I have lost 11.5 inches, so that's nice. I knew I had to be because my clothes are getting so baggy and I've had to switch to some smaller sizes in the closet. Weight loss is setting at 42 pounds. The cortisone shots do make the weight loss slow or halt, but it will wear off in a couple days and resume losing again so long as I don't go on a carb binge or anything.

Maxed Out HSA

October 11th, 2011 at 11:01 am

Chris went and ran the money through the HSA today and we have officially maxed it out through the year. For some reason the CU had put a 22 cent dividend into the HSA. It was my understanding that the HSA was a non-interest bearing account. Interest deposited in it could really screw things up if you are maxing out. If there are dividends then they need to be added to our interest bearing savings and not the HSA. Anyway, they got it sorted and we've hit the $6150 allowed this year.

I've gone through all the medical statements that we've gotten since March when we switched to this plan. I still have to go back to the ENT and see if I can get a copy of the statement I accidentally shredded or at least a dollar amount, though I don't think there should be any trouble getting what I need to get. We've spent well over $6150 in medical bills since March so I just have to have the paperwork to back it up.

I am going to the doctor again today for me knee for another cortizone shot on the other side. I wish he had done them at the same time to save me the trip. There is something funky going on though when I raise and lower my knee. You can actually feel it moving above the knee cap and it's making a crunchy sort of crackling thing go on, which is new and very weird. I will have him feel it as it might make a difference on what he advises me to do next. I think I should get an x-ray and then if needed an MRI. Some things show up better on an x-ray, like ACL tears or miniscus tears.

I really hope next year is a better medical year than this one has been. This one has been just crazy.

A Good Coupon

October 10th, 2011 at 07:17 pm

I don't use coupons much, because quite frankly I find them time consuming for itty bits of cents off here and there, mostly for items I seldom use (processed foods, expensive not environmentally friendly cleaners) and we don't have the wonderful toiletry specials around here that some folks on the blogs get at drugstores (right with you PNW Mama). So except for the Organic Valley coupons I print out each month to save on milk, I rarely use them.

But in the mail today came a coupon for a free razor and a $2 off coupon for replacement blades. I know where they get you is in the blades (and I use electric for my legs and disposable Gilletes for underarms so they last a long time anyway). DH uses a rechargeable electric razor. But free is free and I can make that one last a long time for just underarms. It doesn't specify any store so I can pick it up anywhere. I will likely only use the free razor and not buy the blades.

Bills Paid

October 9th, 2011 at 06:57 pm

So I sat down with my stack-o-bills and wrote out checks for everything. I won't have to pay anymore bills until the 28th. I have two bills that are due on the 31st, but they are local so if I mail them on the 28th, they will get there in plenty of time. Otherwise there are no other bills due this month, though all the autopays save one come out the first week of November. Nothing is due before the 17th and we will take that one and a couple others in in person anyway, since the BoA drive-thru is very close to the high school.

It will be nice not to worry about any bills for the next 19 days. I did a major grocery run today and I now have $282 to get through until the 28th. That should do me just fine. $120 of that will go to physical therapy, but all I should have to buy between now and then is milk and some produce. The gas tank is almost full. I do, of course, have money in savings I have set aside in case DH has to take an extra week off at Christmas, but if I had to, I could tap it. I don't think I will have to. We won't be eating out at all between now and the end of the month anyway.

Tuesday we will run money through our HSA and then dump it back in our checking account. We will do this before mailing any bills. We are definitely maxing out this year. We've actually spent more on medical bills this year than the max for the HSA but not enough to be over 7.5 percent of DH's income. But we can still deduct the entire $6,150 and our property tax without having to itemize and it would still be a bigger tax return than itemizing.

We will have quite a hefty return because of the HSA and I am hoping that it will wipe out our CC debt once and for all, though that depends on what is going on with my knee right now and whether or not I have to get it fixed. I'd like to do it this year if I have to since we have already far surpassed our deductible.

The only thing left for me to do now for finances is figure out the new budget for 2 weeks on/2 weeks off as opposed to 3 weeks on/3 weeks off. It's been so long since I've had a budget for the 2/2 that it's going to be a little weird. But I'll get it figured out and then I'll figure things out for the rest of the year. I have to go through and remark my calendar since the paydays won't be quite the same as before. It's a pain, but 2/2 is well worth it.

Coin Jar Update

October 9th, 2011 at 03:47 pm

I added $6.29 to the coin jar today after clearing out DH's wallet of ones and coins. I was able to roll one roll of dimes and one roll of pennies. I am really close on nickels and quarters, too, but not there yet. I have $16.50 ready to be deposited in the Safety Net portion of the EF fund, so hopefully on Tuesday I will remember to do that as the CU is closed tomorrow for Columbus Day.

Money Out

October 8th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Yesterday I purchased a registry cleaner/fixer thing as it was what was recommended for a problem I keep having, namely IE9 freezing up every few hours and crashing my laptop, then when I rebooted it would tell me operating system not found or give me the blue screen of death. It found and fixed 187 system errors and the laptop has not crashed since, so I am relatively hopeful that this problem is now solved. It was getting quite ridiculous. It cost $29.95 but is well worth it, I think.

I did some other computer maintenance that needed to be done, like degragging, Vaio updates of drivers, running my weekly scan with MalWare Bytes software (found nothing) and then double checking that the new security pack from Windows actually installed (it hadn't, so I did it manually). Everything is running so much faster now. Hopefully that will end some of my computer frustration.

Finally Balanced My Checkbook

October 7th, 2011 at 03:35 pm

Usually I balance my checkbook once a week, but I was so exhuasted from my sinus infection/plus virus and helping Mom with her physical therapy exercises, that I actually went two weeks without balancing it. But now it's all up to date. I did last week's budget and then this week's budget and have recorded all the autopays. I still have a few bills to write out and send.

I seem to be missing the internet bill, though. It's usually due around the 21st so it ought to have come already. I'll have to ask DH if he's seen it, or Mom. I can always go there in person, I suppose, if I need to and pay it there.

I need to have DH run some money through the HSA. Been a lot of prescriptions this week.

This is the last payday until the 28th and after paying all the rest of the bills I should have around $500. That is more than enough to get through that time period if I can keep DH from spending money willy nilly.

DS stayed home from school today, but his fever finally broke. I wish mine would.

Coin Jar Update

October 7th, 2011 at 11:54 am

I added 3 dollar bills to the coin jar today. I might have more later today as well, but so far just $3 in. I should check and see if I have enough coins to roll any yet. After I balance the checkbook, which I have been putting off all week. And doing the budget for both last week and this week since today is payday again.

A Couple Days of Eating Out

October 6th, 2011 at 01:25 pm

We've had some takeout this week because I was so sick (pizza and McD's), but I am now back on the no eating out challenge. I am feeling a little bit better, but still a little out of it. Still, I can cook now. I am trying to do a little extra when I do. This morning I cooked 4 chicken sausages and put three away in the fridge so that I can just warm one up each morning. That sort of thing, just so I'm not repeating effort. We have a lot of leftover pizza so I don't have to cook for a couple nights unless I am able.

DD has gone back to school today and DS is home for his second day. DH seems to be doing pretty well though he's still sniffly. Mom has not caught the cold so that is good. She is progressing nicely with her healing, but she really does not want to do her physical therapy exercises, so I have to do a lot of cajoling to get them done twice a day.

I cleaned out my purse last night and I had $6.14 to go into the coin jar. I still haven't balanced the checkbook.

I am doing well on my controlled carb diet. I have now lost a total of 41 pounds since my surgery July 15th, 14 of those since starting the diet. I may have to invest in some new clothes. At least jeans. I can get by for a while with baggier shirts, but I also have some that were too small and are now fitting nicely so maybe not.

I picked up two prescriptions today for a total of $29.27 and went to the doctor.

Still Horribly Sick Here

October 5th, 2011 at 08:22 pm

I wish this thing would pass. Aside from the sinus infection/bronchial infection, I've managed to pick up a nasty stomach bug. What the heck, body? I am just hoping that I don't get my mother sick as she really can't risk any infections right now recovering from the knee replacement surgery. Hard when I'm the primary caregiver right now and have to help her do her physical therapy exercises.

I've been washing my hands so much to prevent infection they are starting to chap and I had to take off my rings. On the bright side I've dropped two pounds in two days, though that will likely rebound back on.

I still have not done last week's budget. I've got all the bills together now at least, but I need to balance the checkbook and see where we stand. It is just so hard to focus. Maybe I'll have DH balance the checkbook for me, as I might just be too out of it to do math.

I am supposed to go to the doctor tomorrow for another ultrasound treatment on my knee. The one I had on Tuesday did seem to help a fair bit. I am hoping that this one will do the trick and I won't have to do a cortizone shot. At least the swelling has gone down.

Both kids are sick, too, but just with sinus infections. DD has missed three days of school and DS missed just today, but he thinks he can go back tomorrow. So does DD, so hopefully they will go back and I can get a bit more rest. At least DH is only got a mild cold and feels pretty decent so he is helping as much as he can with Mom and the kids. I am grateful he is home.

I had some pretty serious withdrawal from this webiste while it was down. I don't think I realized before how much I depend on making daily posts until I couldn't do it, or how much I like to keep up with all of you. I am glad it is back on and hope the guys can sort it all out soon.

Ugh, Sick

October 3rd, 2011 at 01:51 pm

After 3 weeks of fighting this thing on and off I've finally succumbed to it and so have the kids. DS was okay enough to go to school today, but wanted a doctor's appointment after school. DD was too sick for school. We are taking them both in to the doctor at 4. My doctor prescribed Biaxin for me for sinus/bronchials.

I managed to do the first round of physical therapy exercises with Mom this morning before my appointment. The chickens got out though so I had to chase them down and put them back in their pen so was a little late getting there.

The in home physical therapist is here right now, and she will do the second round of exercises with Mom so I don't have to do them. I don't have the energy so it's just as well.

DH will have to take the kids in to the doctor as Mom shouldn't be left alone just yet. He's not so good at stuff like that, but I don't think I can drive again today. Not sure I should have done it earlier. I have another appt tomorrow. This one for my knee. It's swollen and full of fluid and needs to be drained.

I haven't done the budget yet for Friday. I haven't really had time or the ability to focus that well with my head so full and achy. I did send $600 to the AMEX and I know the insurance autopays will come out today, tomorrow, and the next day. And storage. Nothing else is due until the 17th so I can take a couple more days before dealing with the budget if I need to.

I am going to put the no eating out challenge on a bit of a hiatus. I want egg flower soup from my favorite place and might as well get protein and veggies there, too since I probably shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a hot stove at this point. I also want ice cream so I can freeze my throat, but that's probably not a good idea for my diet. I can balance Chinese food. I don't think I can balance ice cream. *sighs*

I hope I get better soon. Too many people need me right now for me to be this sick.

EF Update

October 1st, 2011 at 06:56 pm

I earned $1.86 in interest this month from my savings account at ING. I added it to the Emergency Fund.

$2360.48 Starting EF
+___1.86 Interest added
$2362.34 Ending EF

Exhausted and Behind on Financial Stuff

October 1st, 2011 at 07:46 am

I fell into bed face first last night at 10:15 and was out cold by 10:30. I did not move again until 6:36 a.m. I don't think I've slept that hard in forever. It is exhuasting taking care of Mom now that she is home from the hospital. They really should have kept her in there for five days, but Medicare will only pay for three. It took an hour to get her ready for bed last night. A half hour of that was just going to the bathroom and back with a walker and the other was getting her far enough onto the bed so she could lay on her side without falling off. Very difficult. I will be glad when she can ditch the walker and use a cane, but that is a while off.

I didn't do any of the payday/budget stuff yesterday. I'll have to carve out a couple of hours to do it today. I really need to go grocery shopping, too, but I'll have to have someone here for Mom. Maybe my sister can come over for a couple of hours. My daughter might be able to do it, too, so long as we take her little brother away with us.

I made it to the end of the month with the No Eating Out Challenge but not sure if I will continue that into October. The last thing I want to do is cook, but I know that I should regardless. I need to sit down and make out a menu plan for the week's dinners. It's just hard to find the time right now. Still, I know I have plenty of fixings for just about anything so wasting money eating out is stupid right now. If I have to, I should save that for later in the week when I'm so worn out I can't move.