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Archive for November, 2011

New Clothes, Moving Money, and Bonus Musings

November 29th, 2011 at 06:36 pm

I added $9.56 to the coin jar today.

I did a bit of clothing shopping. It's been a very long time since I've bought much in the way of clothing, but since losing the 45 pounds almost everything is too big. I have also been very cold lately to the point that jacking up the heat doesn't help and neither does three blankets on the bed.

So I got a couple of turtlenecks to wear under my nightgown. I also got three chenille sweaters, two zip front and one pullover, and I got two new pairs of jeans in the smaller size. That gives me four pairs of jeans (I had two in my closet from a long time ago). I think this should keep me until spring.

If the turtlenecks don't keep me warm I may end up getting an electric blanket. I don't particularly like using those because I always take water to bed with me and I have a tendency to spill and I'm always worried I am going to shock myself or something. It's getting so that the only time I feel warm is in the car with the heat jacked up or in the shower.

DH bought a new pillow and we got some medicines and a new pair of tweezers and (very bad) four bottles of soda. They were cheap, at least.

I transferred the money from ING to my checking account today for first of the month bills. Of the money I had set aside I still have $648.08 left. I will probably put $200 in the emergency fund and then if I don't need the rest between now and the 16th, I will put what is left into the January/HSA money.

We got paperwork in the mail in case we want to put DH's bonus into his 401K. We don't, it's earmarked for debt repayment, but if they sent him that, it means he is definitely getting one. And also I wouldn't think they'd send out 401K paperwork unless it was a substantial amount to put in there. Two to three more weeks to go to find out just how much it is going to be. I hate living in suspense. But it is at least good news that there will be one.

Are the Blogs Glitching?

November 28th, 2011 at 02:40 pm

Why is a post I wrote yesterday showing up as being written today about an hour and a half ago? It's jumped postion up the list and it looks like several other blogs have been reordered also.

Financial Housekeeping

November 28th, 2011 at 01:10 pm

I just spent the last hour fixing my spreadsheet for my Emergency Fund and Holding Tank money. The last set of updates either didn't save, or didn't get transferred correctly from the laptop that's now in the shop and the one I am currently using.

Thankfully I was able to figure it out by using the numbers I found on my blog. But from now on I'm going to be even more detailed than I currently am, because I didn't quite write out everything and I had to do a little guessing on what I'd set aside some of the money for. It equalled out to the correct amount in the end, though, so I think I am fine.

I have gotten the hang of Open Office and I'm not sure I'll ever buy regular Office again for a computer. Especially since they limit how many times you can install it. I'd still be using a previous version of Office that I own if they'd let me install it more times. It's not like I'm installing it everywhere, I've just had cruddy luck on a lot of my computers in the past. I paid enough for it that I should be able to install it on my laptop when the previous ones break down. But the stinginess of that limit means I will be far less likely in the future to purchase these types of programs from Microsoft. They basically shot themselves in the leg with that one.

Now if I can find a good program for photo editing that is either free or doesn't cost an arm and a leg, I'd be happy. I used to have a good one that I was given for Christmas, but it only runs on Windows ME or previous versions. There's all kinds of incompatibility with anything current.

I balanced the checkbook today, which wasn't hard since I've been doing the math all week instead of leaving it to the last minute.

I am hoping that I won't have to use all of the money that I set aside in the holding tank for first of December bills. I've got over $1000 from the last paycheck and I think I can get away with using only half the money I put in the holding tank and if so, I'll have maybe another $700 to set aside for January/HSA money, which would be really nice. I might put $100 of that $700 into the EF. We will see how it goes.

Not Financial

November 27th, 2011 at 09:48 am

Please pray for my neices' father, who had a heart attack yesterday. He is only 46 years old, and they are only 16 and 12. Ex-BIL may have been a jerk to my husband's sister, but the girls still need their father in their lives.

Payday and A Bit of Shopping

November 25th, 2011 at 09:29 pm

I don't normally go out and about on Black Friday. I'm more of a curl up in bed with a book all day sort of person after Thanksgiving, but we had an appointment for an oil change and the stuff they do at the first 5000 miles, so rotated tires, checked fluid levels, etc. One of the things that we got for buying the car in this model year was free maintenance for the first two years. This is not a maintenance package that we paid for in advance, it was simply one of the perks Toyota was offering this year. But I had totally forgotten about it, so I assumed I would be spending $60 or so today on that. It was nice to be reminded I wouldn't need it.

We haven't actually hit 5000 miles yet, but I figured I would soon (it was 4,640, so close enough) and I didn't want to bother with it myself while DH was gone so best to do it a little early while hes home and be done with it, especially before I have to drive down to Seattle on the 9th.

After the van was done we filled up at Costco at $3.47 a gallon. We paid $45.35. I about fell over. We haven't filled a tank for less than $50 in forever. And then of course when we got back home we saw a station at $3.39. Oh, well. Anywho, after Costco we headed up to Fashion Bug in Marysville. We figured it was enough off the beaten path that it wouldn't be swamped with shoppers, and it was around 3:15 when we got there so it wasn't bad at all and plenty of parking right in front.

I found a parka for the winter like I've been wanting. There were two I liked, identical but for color. One was purple and one was a jewel tone blue. The purple one clashed with my gorgeous blue purse so I went for the blue, which I liked better with my skin tone anyway. It was $99.99, but marked down 40%, so we paid $59.99. It's really warm and should be much more useful in warding off the cold winter mornings than my ski jacket has been. That's all we bought there.

On the way back we stopped at the Outback in Burlington and had dinner. I had an appetizer plus a baked potato for my dinner and DH had a burger and baked potato, plus baked potato soup. There was also the rye bread and we each got a strawberry lemonade. It came to $31.88 and we left $40. The server did a really good job so we tipped a little bit extra. It was nice to have a little date with DH without the kids along.

When we got back home my nephew (who was born when I was 9), his wife, and my great nephew were here visiting my mom. My eldest sister was also here. We all visited for a while. My great nephew is just 18 months old and he is such an adorable baby. He's very verbal and you can understand quite a bit of it, too, and also very active. This is the first time they've been up here since he was born that I've not been too ill (bronchitis, stomach flu, and recovering from surgery the three previous visits) to be around him. Usually I have to stand in the doorway for a minute and that's about it, but this time I actually got to interact with him and talk to everyone else. And my nephew's wife announced that she's pregnant again and the baby will be here in June.

Today was also payday and DH's reimbursement check for changing his flight so he could work those extra weeks came in the mail today as well. That is $145. Which is perfect, since we've already absorbed that cost. It should about cover what we need to give his sister between cash and gas to help her out right now.

So...

November 24th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

...what are you going to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? I've got plans in place for pot pies, soup, noodles, enchiladas and quesadillas, as well as a few TV dinners with leftovers as is.

Found out today that DH's sister is in a precarious financial position. Worse than we'd ever thought. And this week is a breaking point. Her work isn't depositing her paycheck until Monday because the bank is closed on Friday. Her mortgage company took the payment out early because the bank is closed on Friday. Unfortunately she wasn't prepared for that and her account is $90 short, and now she has an overdraft fee as well. And she simply can't afford it.

This is yet another thing in our lives that points to the importance of having an emergency fund. We are going to give her some money so she can get through this and then we are going to try to give her $100 a month in grocery store gift cards. DH is also going to take her to fill up her gas tank. It'll make some things tighter for us, but she'll at least be able to feed her kids.

It's Official

November 23rd, 2011 at 12:28 pm

We have definitely hit the cap on out of pocket insurance for this year. We have never done that before. I know it was a crazy year for medical, but not even the year I gave birth to my daughter and we had to stay in the hospital for five days with her in NICU, we never hit any caps. So hopefully I really can schedule the knee surgery before January.

If not, well, considering how much it costs, we'll likely hit the cap again next year, too, but a lot sooner in the year. At least I have enough saved so far to cover next year's deductible. That will be a help.

My deposit finally hit ING yesterday and my interest for yesterday and today jumped quite a bit. I mean, it's still small, but before this last deposit it was piddly. I should earn around $4 in interest this month from ING. Some people might laugh at that, but I never laugh at free money. I only wish they'd go back to paying out 4%. This .9% business is ridiculous.

Another Free Prescription and TJ's Run

November 22nd, 2011 at 05:23 pm

Well, DH went back to the pharmacy to pick up the other prescription the pharmacist didn't see on the shelf last night and it was free, too. This one is normally $40, so we have definitely hit some sort of cap. Of course, I can't find our medical benefits file. DH had it when we opened the HSA and didn't put it back and doesn't know where he put it. Of course I can find the one from 2010, but that changed so radically this year that I'm not sure it's comparable. Still it did have an out of pocket limit so I'm assuming this one does, too.

DH is trying to find something on the insurance website, but good luck with that. Basically every time he signs into the insurance website, the website waggles its fingers in its ears, sticks out its tongue, and blows us a raspberry. Quite possibly it flips us off and flips us the bird simultaneously as well. Okay, okay, its just very user unfriendly and likes to crash like a toddler learning to ice skate (frequently and without any grace). If it weren't such a good insurance I would be far more cranky about that than I am.

If I could end up having that knee surgery this year, though, that would mean nothing out of pocket and that would be incredibly amazing. I am going to ask them to please find me any time or date before year's end. I will go in on Christmas if I have to, to not have to pay anything for it.

I went to Trader Joe's today and spent $95.44 on groceries and my cart was packed. I haven't done that at any other store in a while. Usually it's half a cart for twice as much money. That left me with $4.56 to put into the coin jar. My end of the year EF goal is definitely in sight.

Tired Today

November 21st, 2011 at 06:51 pm

I am exhausted, but I have been running all day. I had two medical appointments today, one at 11:00 and one at 2:15. And DS had early release at 12:15. DH had an appointment at 1:00 so he dropped me off at my first appointment, picked DS up after school, then we switched and I took DS and the car, ran home for a quick lunch and DS stayed with my mother while I ran to my doctor's appointment at 2:15. DD got out of school at 2:15 so DH walked from his appointment to the high school (six blocks), then he and DD walked from the high school to my second doctor's appointment (eight blocks), and then we all went home together.

Life with one car can be a little tricky sometimes. Well, technically we have two cars, but the battery is dead in the Crown Victoria and it needs new brakes, so...eh. One car. We'll charge the battery when we are ready to get the brakes fixed. But that's $700 I just don't see spending right now. We may end up trading it in at some point on a small, more gas efficient used car before getting it fixed, but not until our credit card debt is paid off and we can pay for it in cash.

Most of the time we really can get by with one, but DD will be 16 in August and it'll be a little more complicated with 3 drivers in the family. DD has more and more activities and I really am getting tired of playing chauffeur all the time and it's only going to get worse. I think we'll go as long as we can stand it though and then shell out for something in the $5000 range.

DH's family has put his grandparents' place on the market for $189,000. It's a fairly big house on a half acre with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an old fashioned parlor, living room, decent sized kitchen with pretty modern appliances (less than five years old), a garage, and a double carport. I think it's a steal at that price, but they are pricing it to sell. Apparently the state won't get any of it, since the rental on it paid for the nursing home care. So whatever it sells for, DH will inherit 5%. If it sells for the $189,000 it'll be around $9000 after the realtor's fee is taken out. Not a bad little windfall. It's in a prime neighborhood, but the market is bad all over the county, so who knows when it'll sell?

I added $3.67 to the coin jar today. 11 cents was found money. The rest was change from buying bread and milk at the grocery store. I've really got to download the manual to my mom's bread machine so I can go back to not buying bread.

DH picked up two prescriptions today. It was supposed to be 3 but DH didn't know that and it had been called in on Friday so it was in a separate bag on the shelf and the pharmacist didn't see it. So we'll have to go back. I guess maybe we'll to WalMart tomorrow since we have to go back that way and I need to buy at least 2 pairs of smaller jeans.

Anyway, the one prescription was $10 and for some reason the other one was free when it's usually $2.99. I am wondering if we've hit some kind of cap for the year? We've certainly spent enough on medical (probably just around $10,000 for our portion) and I know there's a cap somewhere, but I was thinking it was $12,000. Although it's entirely possible we've hit that amount out of pocket, too. I did accidentally shred some statements before we set up the HSA and I know at least one of them was for around $1000 and the other close to $600. I'll have DH look it up.

Pizza Cravings

November 20th, 2011 at 04:08 pm

So I ended up with some serious, serious pizza cravings tonight. I didn't want to order out and I didn't have the time to make dough from scratch, but I did have one of those ready made pizza crusts from http://www.rusticcrust.com/ in the house, plenty of tomato sauce and herbs, shredded cheese and sausage, onions, and peppers, so I made it and it was delicious (though I still prefer my own dough) and perfect for a fast pizza without buying a frozen pizza, store made one, or ordering out.

I love Rustic Crusts. We've tried a couple different ones and find them very flavorful. (Crazyliblady, they have a gluten free one). I find they taste way better than Boboli which I have never liked either the thickness or the flavor of or all the additives and preservatives. (DH thinks Boboli are great, but then he likes those cheap cardboard pizzas, too). And, at least in the store where I buy them, they are less expensive than Boboli as well, despite being organic.

So far every time I have bought one there has been a coupon inside for 50 cents off your next purchase.

Car Stuff

November 20th, 2011 at 01:53 pm

I forgot to mention that I filled up the gas tank for $53.31. It was running on fumes, and I am still not used to filling it on less than $65. But it is down to $3.49 a gallon. The last time I filled up it was $3.69 and the time before that $3.89 so I am really liking this general downward trend. Let's hope it lasts through the holidays.

I made the kids do a general clean up of the back of the van. It was getting ridiculous and I told them both that no one would be sitting in the front passenger seat on cold mornings on the drive to school if the back didn't get spic and span pronto. Front seats have warmers in them so this is a major threat. Those seats can be cold in the morning. I never thought I'd love such a "useless" and "luxury" gizmo, but I really do.

I am still in love with our van and our choice to get it still feels like the right one for our family (even if we could have gotten an almost as nice one that was five years old and didn't have everything we wanted for a lesser price and the interior wood was weirdly colored and it was white on the outside). I was expecting to feel a little bit of the shiny wear off by now, but nope...still shiny! And the fact that I can stretch out the bad leg whenever I need to and the easier accessibility with getting in and out reinforces my decision every day. There's a lot I am frugal with and a lot I am willing to give up, but I am happy to have splurged on this vehicle, despite how nervous I was about it at a time.

It's getting a lot of that winter dirt on the outside, so we'll be taking it up to the $13 car wash (wash and wax) this week. Since we plan to drive this car for at least ten to fifteen years, maintenance is important to keep it looking nice. Also going to have to schedule an oil change as the little warning screen popped up saying so. I do love having more than an oil light or an engine light.

Gadgets can be useful. The other day at the courthouse when I was getting my temporary disabled parking permit renewed for another six months I somehow or another locked the steering wheel. Not on purpose, but I must not have straightened it out in the parking space. Anyway it wouldn't start (totally freaking me out), but then the screen pops up saying that I had locked my steering wheel and I needed to unlock it while starting the car, so I knew exactly what to do. Otherwise I might have sat their quietly freaking out then called AAA and looked mighty stupid.

I am happy with the choice of the vehicle, even if it was an expensive one. We pinch in enough other areas and physical comfort really is important when you are disabled.

How Hard Can it Be...

November 19th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

...to spend one $40 gift card? Seriously, DH and I picked up the organic free range turkey today at Safeway and we got an 18 pounder. It was marked as $37.21 and the milk we got was $3.09. So we whip out that gift card and then hand over our store card and...$9 off! So, yeah, we still have $9 and some change left on the gift card. Neither one of us wanted to try to use it up today. I did look around while we were there for anything else, because we just rarely drive out there, but I was not going to pay $7 for 10 pounds of potatoes (can you say price gouging?) or any of the other ridiculous produce prices there. Especially when we stopped at a different store on the way home and they had 15 pound bags of potatoes for $3. Seriously, these things are supposed to go on sale for the holidays, Safeway. Get with the program. And also another reason why I rarely shop there aside from the distance, it is just far, far, far too expensive.

One Meal Out Planned and Turkey Plans

November 19th, 2011 at 01:40 pm

So today we are going out to eat mid-way between lunch and dinner, since the restaurant we want to go to is slowest at that time. This is the only meal out we are planning for during the next two weeks. I figure with Thanksgiving next week there will be plenty of leftovers. I have a bunch of divided containers that will be perfect for freezer TV dinners of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing. Then just pop one out, cook it, add a salad or other green veggie, and you're set for a future dinner.

With the leftover turkey I will also make turkey enchiladas, turkey pot pies, and turkey vegetable noodle soup, some to be frozen, some to be eaten. I will make quesadillas at least one night.

DH's work gave him a $40 gift card to Safeway for Thanksgiving so our turkey will be free. I am going to get the biggest organic free range one I can find for that amount. I don't generally like going to Safeway as it is a 30 minute drive away. I am hoping to have enough leftover for two bags of Great Horn Valley bread for my simple stuffing. If not, I'll make a couple loaves of homemade bread myself on Tuesday. I just have to download the manual to the bread machine my mother gave me when mine went kaput.

DH's family should provide the potatoes, sweet potatoes, milk, butter, pumpkin bread, pies, salad, green vegetable, and not green vegetable (probably corn). I will make one chocolate pie myself so my son can have something he's not allergic, too. I just need to find the right kind of graham crackers for the crust and TJ's chocolate pudding mix. There will probably also be apple (he's allergic to apples), pumpkin (he's allergic to cloves), and lemon meringue (usually a store bought one so usually has yellow #5). I may try my hand at a key-lime this year if I find the right kind of graham crackers.

Eight Weeks!

November 18th, 2011 at 08:53 pm

They said it could take up to 8 weeks to fix my computer as there are three things wrong with it (and it might require the screen being replaced and parts being ordered from Japan, yikes). I'm not going to go that long without a computer or the internet. So, I've been putting money aside again in a laptop fund and we used it to buy a cheapie. It's a bit more than a Netbook, but it's an off brand so it was quite inexpensive. It has a great keyboard though, so I can keep up with my book writing and short stories, as well as this blog, my diet support group and online tracking software, and all the financial spreadsheets.

I downloaded Open Office. I'm not going to buy another MS Office program and the one I had can only be installed on one computer, and hopefully can actually be reinstalled on that one. But at least Open Office works for my writing and my financial spreadsheets, so yay.

The laptop cost $379 plus $33.35 in tax. It wiped out my laptop fund again, but I will start adding to it again next month. It came with a six month free trial run of Kaspersky anti-virus and I installed my free malware program as well.

DH and I are considering dropping the gym membership. With my knee the way it is, I have a hard time even swimming right now and he's in an off exercise phase. Maybe we can pick it up again after my knee heals from the next surgery, but for now it seems like a waste of money. We aren't on a contract anymore so no cancelling fee. Our other option is to opt out for three months. We'll figure it out.

Payday--EF--Computer

November 18th, 2011 at 09:45 am

Okay, this might be my last post for a while. I am taking my computer in to be fixed and I don't know how long it is going to take. Or how willing DH or DS will be to give up their laptop or netbook respectively to let me go online a bit. It's almost worth getting another netbook at this point, as one or the other machine is always a problem and it would be nice to have a cheap spare for backup.

Before I take it in though, I did all the payday financial stuff. I sent $2900 to ING. Of that money $1770.09 is to be set aside for first of December bills. $129.91 goes to the Emergency Fund. $1000 goes to January/HSA money fund.

January/HSA fund money is now at $4483. The goal I've set for that is $6000 so another $1517 to hit that goal. I should be able to do that by the end of the year with no problem.

I added the $129.91 to the EF and also took the coin jar money (added $3 more yesterday) which is $34 and deposited it into CU#2, the Safety Net.

$2134.31 EF at ING
$+671.53 Safety Net at CU#2
---------------
$2805.04 Total EF

I swept past my goal of hitting $2750 by the end of the month and am well on my way toward my goal of $3000 by year's end.

Next week's paycheck will be more than enough to get through the two following weeks with no pay and hopefully half of it will go into the January/HSA money, but I'm not relying on it. It is the small check so usually only between $800 and $1200 depending on if they are taking out medical that week or not. They shouldn't be, but sometimes they take out weird things.

DH said that bonuses will be mailed out after the 15 of December, so we could have it within a week of that. We still have no idea how much it will be, though. And I still kind of half believe it's a fairytale. Oh, well. If it comes it will be a nice surprise.

All right, I'm off to get the computer fixed and stop by the court house to get my temporary disabled parking pass renewed. I can't believe it has been six months already. The doctor has okayed it for another six months. Then maybe by the time it's up, my knee will have completely healed and I won't need it anymore.

Stuff and Other Stuff

November 17th, 2011 at 08:33 pm

Not too terribly much going on. Tomorrow is payday and it's pretty much planned for so not much to do then but figure it out to the penny and then do it. A good chunk goes into savings, so yay.

DH has decided he is finally going to go on a diet. Probably the same one as me. I don't honestly know how I will cope with that. I find that when I am dieting I need to be very protective over my food and my diet and making sure I get what I need when I need it. Which can be difficult if my food suddenly goes missing because someone else ate it, and DH is a big culprit for that or at least has been in the past. So we will likely have to get very, very organized about food or things won't be pretty.

Still he needs to be losing weight as well so hopefully it will all work out okay and we'll just slide into a good place with it all.

I got excused from jury duty, but again, not permanently. Until April 30th, though. Which might actually be a good time to do it. I don't want to do it in the summer, because we are hoping to send the kids to a camp in Arizona this summer and I don't want to spend all that money and then get called for the days we are supposed to fly down or come back. Because, "I spent a bunch of money and you are ruining my plans," is not a good excuse to get out of jury duty. I am hoping that by the end of April I'll have had the surgery and healed well from it.

I don't know why they don't just give up on me, though. I mean, it's been going on two years now and I keep having to have surgeries and they keep getting doctor's notes, and I keep telling them I will have to have more surgery in the future, and it's like they don't believe me or something even though I always do and I always have a note. Why do they not call healthy or non-injured people in? I swear I am the only person I know that has ever been called except DH who was called once. I've been summoned 15 times. They really liked to do it when I was pregnant on bed rest or nursing and then the years I was homeschooling.

Anyway, I hope I am good to go for the next date, because then they can't call me again for 3 years. I will have 3 years of peace without trying to schedule appointments and any future surgeries around some arbitrary court dates.

DH is Home

November 16th, 2011 at 02:02 pm

After a month of being in separate states, DH is finally home. And he grew a beard while he was gone, but didn't tell me! Not that I mind, I love DH in a beard, and he usually does grow one in the winter, but I was very surprised he'd done it so soon. He looks all distinguished now.

Today is going to be a no spend day, even though DS thinks we need to celebrate DH being home by going out to eat. I said no, but I am making my bacon cheddar cheeseburgers tonight and sweet potato fries so it'll be a bit like diner food. DS doesn't think that cuts it, but I don't care.

I read Jeffrey's article on not shopping at Costco with interest, even though I pretty much politely disagree with most of it. I've talked about my reasons for shopping at Costco before here: http://luckyrobin.savingadvice.com/2011/02/26/why-i-buy-in-b.... I think his reasons are good for him and his mad couponing skills, but not for me and my need to avoid most manufactured foods (which is generally what coupons buy).

I can usually resist the shiny though and stay out of the areas where I don't need to go (electronics, jewelry, books, clothes, games, CD's, toys). When I go to Costco I have a plan and don't wander. Plus I live close. Makes a difference. Also makes a difference if you go Tuesday at 10:30 and not Saturday afternoon. Last time I went was a Saturday afternoon. BIG mistake. It could turn you off the place for life. Still I like to see the other opinion. It just goes to show that you have to evaluate these things based on your own circumstances. Once my kids are grown and have moved out, I doubt I will need a place like Costco anymore. For now it suits our needs.

I was able to reschedule my VM follow up appointment, so now I will be seeing the knee surgeon on 12/6 and the Virginia Mason doctor on 12/9. I am going to take my daughter out of school at 10 on 12/9 and she will come with me to Seattle and act as my navigator. We will then spend the night in the Inn at Virginia Mason and have a mother/daughter afternoon/evening. On the way back we will hit Fashion Bug and possibly The Avenue. Depends on whether or not I feel confident enough to drive through Ballard. Probably not. Their traffic scares me worse than downtown Seattle traffic, which at least seems to have more of a rhyme and reason than "you can't get there from here."

I really need to find a new parka. It has been far too cold already this fall. I was going to try to wait until winter 2012/13 to buy one as I am still losing weight, because I didn't want to buy one that would be too big next winter. But now I'm thinking a gently used 2X coat would probably resell pretty well on E-bay if I don't overprice it, maybe half of it's original value. So if I can find one, I will buy one. I am really tired of these cold mornings. I also need a couple new pairs of jeans since mine are literally falling down. I keep having to hitch them up they are so baggy now. DD wants a couple more pairs of jeans as well. I will set aside enough money for that out of the next paycheck.



Not Much to Report

November 15th, 2011 at 04:23 pm

I am pretty much basically on autopilot until Friday as far as finances are concerned. And even then, it'll just be setting some money aside for the first of the month bills and dumping the rest into savings. We have moved past living paycheck to paycheck. It is really weird. I know that we aren't that far away from it, maybe a month or so ahead, but having as much money in the bank as we do right now, I don't have that same unsettled feeling in my stomach that I've been living with since the first round of big surgeries started eight or nine years ago and brought with it the debt we have been struggling to get out of ever since.

DH has heard that bonuses will be paid out right around Christmas time, but not the set date. We still don't know how much, but all evidence points to a fairly substantial one, between 5 and 10% of his yearly income. It would be so nice. I know I shouldn't even be thinking about it yet, but I find it is on my mind a lot. I tend to worry about things I have no control over. And anticipate. A lot. I need to stop that, because there is no guarantee of anything in this life, especially end of year bonuses.

At least I know for sure that our tax return next year will be huge, because we maxed out our HSA and we will get all of that back. At least that money I can depend on and maybe dream about a little.

Didn't make it to the CU to deposit the coin jar scrapings. I totally forgot, which is easy enough to do. Maybe tomorrow after I pick up DH from the airport. It's been a month since he's been home. I will be so glad to see him.

Another Long Day...

November 14th, 2011 at 05:31 pm

...and it's not over yet. I had an appointment this morning with a deep tissue masseuse because my quad muscles are all locked up again and my hip is totally screwed up from all the limping. It helped quite a bit and I am walking a lot better. That was $90.

I also went to the doctor and had an ultrasound treatment done on my leg. Because I'm having an allergic reaction to the tape he's been using to wrap my knee, he suggested I get a regular Ace Bandage (the cloth type and not the rubbery self-adhesive type). I had to look a couple of places. Finally found it at Walgreen's. It was store brand. They didn't even have Ace brand.

And they didn't have it in the First Aid section which is where every other store in the entire universe, including the other Walgreen's in our town, puts it. They, for some unknown reason, put it in the feminine hygiene section. I told the cashier, when she asked if I found everything all right, that I did but it took some looking that it was a stupid place to have it. I can't find what I did with the receipt, but it was $6.31, I believe.

I added $3.50 to the coin jar today. One of those was a found penny. I also had enough quarters for a roll. I've hit $31 in the coin jar so I will try to deposit that in the CU tomorrow. Looks like I'm well on my way to hitting my November goal of $2750 in the EF by month's end.

I nearly wiped out an idiot on a bicycle today. When a van is slowing down to turn right onto a street and has their blinker on, you DO NOT come flying up behind them on your bicycle and try to pass them on the right. That is the height of stupidity and guess what? You will not win. You will also be at fault. More importantly, you will be squashed all across the pavement. Also, your idiocy does not give you the right to then flip off the driver who was obeying the traffic laws and call them a b*tch. You are very lucky you are not dead, Mr. Idiot, because I had no way of seeing you, so get over yourself and go get a book on bicycle safety because you are not smart enough to be operating anything with wheels without a little remedial training. /rant

Payday 11/10

November 13th, 2011 at 07:42 pm

I just finished doing the last of this month's bills and balancing the checkbook. Nothing else is due until the 1st of December. I have $85.29 in checking and $45 in cash. That should make it through until Friday just fine. I've already bought a gallon of milk for DH who comes home on Wednesday (he drinks 2%, everyone else drinks non-fat) and that should do him until Friday.

So bills paid today:

$300.00 to Mom for utilities
__49.65 Garbage
_757.82 Car payment (plus extra to principle)
__10.56 Medical DD
__10.56 Medical DS
_500.00 BoA CC
---------------
$1628.59

I also transferred $2800.58 to ING

$100.58 to Emergency Fund
$100.00 for Propane to Holding Tank
$100.00 for Property Tax to Holding Tank
+_17.00 for HoA dues to Holding Tank
____________
$317.58

So $2483 goes to the Holding Tank for January/possible HSA.

This brings the portion of the EF at ING to $2003.82 and the total EF to $2641.93. I need to come up with $108.07 to hit my November EF goal of $2750. I think that will be easy to accomplish.

This brings the total in the Holding Tank to $3923.70.

Items in Holding Tank:

$3483.00 Total January/HSA money
___51.00 HoA Dues
__100.00 Property Tax
__289.70 for Propane
------------
$3923.70 Total Holding Tank

Propane money is for the old house. I haven't had to fill the tank since the end of spring as the furnace has not been on and used any propane since then. We are starting to get frosty at night though, so when DH comes home I will have him go out to the old house and turn the furnace on to 55 so that the pipes don't freeze over the winter. I am hoping to get by with the full tank and possibly one more fill up around January or February.

We should be able to save a good portion of the next paycheck for January/HSA money. I think at least half, with the other one going to cover the first week of December bills. Then the next paycheck will be the little one and that one should get us through until the next paycheck in mid-December. We will go a couple weeks without a paycheck because of DH's screwy work schedule, but I don't foresee it being a problem as long as we don't go nuts over Christmas or eat out too much. And if he gets the bonus, then that'll just be gravy.

Coin Jar Update

November 13th, 2011 at 04:33 pm

I added $7.30 to the coin jar today.

I also spent $19.20 at the grocery store.

Payday 11/4--Late to State It

November 13th, 2011 at 03:08 pm

Because I have been sort of avoiding a lot of stuff this month (not the bills, just the rest of the minutiae that goes along with recording things), I am finally getting around to listing what went out the payday before this one. I am trying to get back on the ball again.

$1180.00 to BoA CC
___14.08 Electricity Old House
___44.89 Phone Old House
___65.56 Internet
___39.37 Security System Old House
__500.00 Extra AMEX payment (to catch up)
__385.76 Mortgage Old House
__200.00 Laptop Fund
___55.00 Dance Class
__232.42 Medical Bills
__350.00 Grocery Staples Stock UP
--------------
$3067.08

We also spent about $250 on meals out that week and $61 for the stupid PTSA magazine drive for DS's middle school (I bought two kitchen gadgets and Fine Cooking magazine, which I buy anyway). The rest is still in checking.



A Lot to Do

November 12th, 2011 at 10:49 am

I am slowly catching up on all the stuff I have been ignoring this week. I think mostly I've just been exhausted and pushing myself too hard on not enough sleep. I still don't quite feel like I've caught up on sleep even though I slept nine hours Thursday night and eight hours last night. I kept waking up and then going back to sleep. I'm not supposed to have this kind of night restlessness on the medication I'm taking. It's supposed to knock me out cold. Still, I got more sleep in the last two nights than in the rest of the week combined so there is a bit of a difference.

I'm still fighting some kind of ick. Or a new ick that ran across the end of the old ick. Feels like I've been sick with something or other since September and I am tired of it. I can't remember the last time I actually felt like myself.

I have to go grocery shopping today. I have no appetite so that should make it easier. No picking up impulse items just because they look good. I've done pretty well with meals the last couple of days and today is leftover clean up day.

I've got leftover taco meat, cheese, and lettuce for making taco salads. I've got leftover chicken and noodles. I've got half of a very large pork chop and some cooked broccoli. And I've got half a tray of homemade enchiladas, so we are pretty set for the day. It's nice to not have the pressure on there of what to come up with and not be inclined to hit some pizza place or drive-thru.

We actually got paid on Thursday this week because of the holiday and I didn't really notice. Just went on as usual on Friday than saw the date and went, "Oh." I have worked up the budget and just need to write out a couple of checks and mail them off. These are places that don't take online payment and it would waste more gas to drive to them to pay than it would use a stamp.

Once I figure out how much is left I will send it to ING. I think it's going to be right around $3000 or so. This is mostly January/Future HSA money.

We had a hail storm last night. Actually we had two, or at least we had hail a couple of hours apart. They were the size of peas. Really weird weather around here lately.

I need to finish up laundry. I have three full baskets to put away and another load to wash. Wonder if I can get the kids to clean the bathroom? And all the sheets need to be changed. It never ends.

Ugh, What is Wrong With Me?

November 10th, 2011 at 09:36 am

I just do not want to cook right now. Oh, I don't mind cooking breakfast for the kids and assembling their lunches, but by the time I'm done with that I am no longer interested in cooking for me. Today after I dropped kiddo the second off at school I swung through the drive-thru and got food. This is so ridiculous. I suppose part of it, is that DD is on a pre-diabetic diet so she eats one way, and DS is on Feingold diet for his allergies, so he eats another way, and then I am doing controlled carb diet so I eat yet a third way (and that way does NOT involve the drive-thru of a fast food place, normally, there is nothing healthy there).

What I need to do is make up another batch of beef sausages ahead of time and then all I have to do is nuke one in the microwave, add some sliced cucumbers and call it breakfast. I need to get my head on straight about this, because I've frittered away money on lunch this week, too.

So dinner is going to be something very easy tonight to help me get my act together again. I'll roast a whole chicken (rubbed with olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and pepper) and bake some potatoes with it. I've already got some pre-cut broccoli so my only effort with that will be boiling the water. I can get myself back on track if I can just straighten out my mindset.

After dinner, I'll pick all the meat off the carcass and throw the carcass in the crockpot with water, rough cut carrots, celery, onions and garlic and make stock overnight. Then we can have chicken and noodles tomorrow. And there should still be enough chicken left over to make enchiladas and quesadillas.

I'm just a bit frustrated because I could have fed the entire family a meal for the amount I paid at the drive-thru for just me. Maybe it's time for another no eating out challenge.

Kind of Shocked, Though I Suppose I Shouldn't Be

November 9th, 2011 at 08:15 am

In the mail yesterday I got a Christmas catalog. No, that is not the shocking part. I get them every year at about this time, though I've never ordered from this one. It was a catalog for The Swiss Colony and I have been pre-approved for get this: $1000. Now I don't know about you, but to me a $1000 credit limit for chocolates, cheese, nuts, and meat type products means that there are people out there that actually spend that much money on this sort of thing. Ouch.

Even though consumable Christmas gifts kind of seems like a nice idea when you don't need any more stuff, my in-laws have made it clear they'd rather I make them a couple of my lasagnas for their freezer and some homemade fudge or cookies, then ever buy one of these types of packages, because my stuff tastes better to them.

The fact that they offer $1000 of credit to people who have a great credit score but that don't actually make an income of their own, well, that is kind of scary to me. It never comes in DH's name, who actually makes the income. This is probably part of why America is in such a mess right now. Anyway, I did look through the catalog, because it is very pretty and shiny, but then it ended up where it always does, the recycle bin. We don't need that kind of additive/preservative, nitrate/nitrite, fake foods in our lives.

Long Day

November 8th, 2011 at 05:59 pm

One of my friends told me today that she is getting a divorce. It is sad and I feel really bad for her. I don't know her husband that well, I only ever see her, but they have been together for fifteen years (only married for the last few). It sounds like it's a bad situation and I just wish there was something I could do for her. They don't have kids, so at least there's that.

I went to the doctor this afternoon and he wrapped my knee and said he will write the paper excusing me from jury duty, so that's one less thing for me to stress over. He really did not like seeing how swollen it was. I go back on Friday so I can get it then.

I spent money on perscriptions today, $71.51. I also got lunch at DQ, spending $6.40. I just got a meal, though, no ice cream. My resistance was down because I was in pain. That is something I am really going to have to guard against since I will likely be in pain a lot for the next two months and I can't buy a dinner everytime I hurt or I will go broke.

I added $7.64 to the coin jar (.01 of which I found on the ground).

The chickens are going gangbusters on the egg laying front now that we've put a light in the coop overnight. They need so many hours of light a day to lay consistently and in the winter time they don't get it without assistance. We are getting 3 to 4 a day now. We have to check both morning and night though because temps are freezing and if we let them sit out all day or all night the eggs will freeze.

Mom says to go ahead and suspend payments to her for the next couple of months so we can save that money for the weirdness in DH's upcoming schedule, so yet another thing to not have to stress over. Won't have to make them again until February, though we will still be paying the gas/electric/garbage/internet bills.

I need to remember to call Virginia Mason and reschedule that surgical follow-up appointment, as that is the day I need to see the knee surgeon. I keep forgetting.

My son has his first crush and it is rather adorable. And the girl likes him, too. Aw.

I still need to do my entry on Friday's spending, but I'm definitely in the "I don't wanna," phase. I did enter it all on the spreadsheet, so I'm not slacking that much, but I do like to enter it here for accountability.

More Shopping...

November 7th, 2011 at 05:13 pm

...but I'm done now, at least for the kids. DD and I went over to Target after school today and we picked up 2 heavy, lined sweatshirts, 3 long-sleeved flannel or thermal shirts, and 1 similar lined sweatshirt for DS. This should get them through the cold season.

The problem for my daughter is that her high school does not have lockers. So if they wear the big bulky coats that are appropriate for the winter here, they have to lug them around all day long, which is hard to do when you have twenty pound backpacks full of school books because, again, you have no locker. Stupidest thing I ever heard of for a school to not put lockers in. They should at least have a coat and boot room.

Anyway, the heavy sweatshirts should get her through most of the non-snowy days anyway. She has a very compact umbrella for rain.

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow afternoon and having him wrap my knee. It's been buckling badly all weekend and I need the extra support. Today I was almost in tears the pain was so bad, but I had to drive so I couldn't take anything stronger than Ibuprofen and can't until after DS's tae kwon do class, so I have to stick it out a couple more hours.

Shopping, I Sort of Hate It...

November 6th, 2011 at 05:07 pm

...but sometimes it really is necessary. We were finally able to find DS a new coat. He's in that horrible place between young boy and teenage boy that they just appear to think kids that age should go naked because they don't make clothes in their sizes! So aggravating. But we finally, looking in the men's section found a jacket that was just a little too big, where the wrist cuffs weren't too tight, that had a solid zipper. We got a medium. The small would have fit him but the wrist cuffs were too tight. Oh, well, he should be able to wear this coat for a couple of years even if he grows several inches taller.

The original price on the coat was $120, but it was marked down to $70 and then when we got to the cash register it was $54.34. Not bad. It also printed out about a tree's worth of coupons. Of course for stuff I would never buy, particularly at Sears.

I also finally found a pair of shoes at Fred Meyer. Boy was I happy as I have been looking to replace my shoes for a couple of years now. They were marked at $44.99 but were 15% off, so $38.24 (plus tax). I also got a new deep skillet with lid. It's only 12 inch but is should hold as much as my old 14 inch because of the high sides. I've been looking for a while and I just don't think they make them bigger than 12 inch anymore unless you go to the specialty stores. It's not lined with ceramic, but I couldn't find any of those. It was 10% off so $21.49 (plus tax). Not too bad.

DD still needs a couple of warm sweaters but we are having a hard time finding anything she likes. She really doesn't like the winter colors in the stores. We will probably take a trip down to Fashion Bug when her father gets home. Meanwhile I am loaning her some of my stuff that is warmer.

Tried to Sleep In...

November 5th, 2011 at 08:03 am

...but here I am awake anyway. Woke up at 7, just like every morning. Fortunately the kids did not and are sound asleep and I just might be able to snooze for a little while anyway. Last night I was so tired I basically just waited up for Fringe (not that much emotional satisfaction after waiting 2 weeks without it for some resolution that should have happened in this episode, but didn't) and then fell face first into the pillow and zonked out.

I only got halfway through paying the bills yesterday, just stuff that either needed to be mailed off or electronically paid to hit due dates. Today I will be doing the ones that aren't due until mid-month and hopefully squeezing out at least $1000 to send to the January/future medical fund.

Next week I hope to bank almost 2/3 of the entire paycheck. I've got to make the car payment and send an additional bit to the credit card, but that should still leave me around $2500 to $3000 to put in the bank at ING.

Mom paid me back the $2 she owed me for picking up bread and I had .57 in the bottom of my purse so I put that in the coin jar.

I also got gas yesterday and forgot to mention it. It was $57.59 to fill it. It has dropped to $3.59 a gallon, which was nice to see. Last time I filled up it was $63 something for the same amount of fuel.

Going shopping today at Costco (I wish they would open early so I could go now while the kids are asleep) to do some stocking up. I need the organic mashed potato flakes like yesterday. Been out for a month and am getting really tired of peeling potatoes almost every night. I also want to pick up some more of their black pepper chicken kits. The ingredients list is safe for my son's dietary issues, it is so fast to make (15 minutes start to finish) and is delicious and way cheaper than grabbing takeaway. I also need some fresh fruit and veg and some flour and sugar.

Mom wants help today expanding the chicken yard. They keep getting out so she wants to give them more space so maybe they won't be so tempted. I hope it doesn't take long because I have a lot of stuff on my to do list today that requires not being at home. It does need to be done though as I am getting sick of chasing down escaped chickens. All four of them are laying now. The banty started on Wednesday. Her eggs are about 2/3 the size of the regular chicken eggs and will probably take two to make up for the difference in size when eating.

I will try to be back later with an accounting of all bills paid from this paycheck.

Coin Jar/Emergency Fund Update

November 4th, 2011 at 05:24 pm

I think I forgot to mention it, but I added $1.57 to the coin jar yesterday and $3.95 today. Because I was going right by CU#2 today I grabbed the bills out, which was $10 and I had another $10 left from last payday's money, so I added that for an even $20.

This brings the Safety Net to $637.53 and the total EF to $2,541.35.


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