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A Little Lax

March 13th, 2013 at 07:23 pm

Record keeping has been a little lax this past week so I'll try to get that updated. My Emergency Fund is now at $3044.20, (or will be with tomorrow's auto transfer of $10) so I need to come up with $155.80 to hit my March goal. $100 will go in on my monthly deposit on Friday, and there will be two more $10 auto transfers this month, so that's $120 taken care of. That means just coming up with an additional $35.80 by month's end.

I added $3.32 to the coin jar yesterday.

Things that have been paid since Friday:

$336.00 Dentist
__90.00 Physical Therapy
_375.86 Mortgage
_150.00 9 Rabbits
_146.40 Feed and supplies for Rabbits
_187.72 3 Prescriptions
_300.00 to Mom for her utilities
_156.29 Doctor
_206.27 Sleep Doctor
_168.64 Doctor
_757.82 Van loan
__50.01 Gas
2925.01 Total Money Out

I did not pay extra on the mortgage this month. I still might, but with all the medical bills, I chose to be more conservative. I did pay extra on the van loan though. Medical was ridiculous this month and it's only half over. That is just $718.92 out of pocket this month for medical expenses, $1054.92 if you add dental.

I met with the sleep doctor today and yes, I do have a mild form of sleep apnea. It hits me when I go into REM sleep or into deep sleep, which explains why I can get lots of hours of sleep but never feel rested.

I am now waiting to hear from which medical device company it is my insurance will work with. Sleep Doctor told me today that they are separating from Aetna as of May 9th. I asked him if that was because Aetna sucks and he said, well, he wouldn't actually come right out and say that.

But Aetna does suck and they like to deny things a couple of times before they will pre-approve anything and make you jump through lots of hoops. It's covering less and less and less and charging more and more and more. I remember when they used to be a good insurance, and you could go to whoever you wanted, but gosh, it's been over a decade ago. I really miss the insurance we had with DH's former company.

I think I'm now at least halfway to hitting my $2500 family deductible for the year. I just wish that certain things would count for it that don't. Like my physical therapy, which they don't think I need anymore, but every time I skip it I start losing my ability to walk, so I've been paying for it for a while now. Or the chiropractic at $225 a month for the unlimited visits family plan (which is actually cheaper for us than our portion of 4 appointments would be). That's $585 a month that doesn't go to our deductible at all, but thankfully we can use the HSA for. And our portion of dental does not count towards the medical deductible.


The rabbits are doing great and the little ones are growing visibly now. I have to harden myself a bit to not grow attached to them as they are adorable. I am glad I have not let the kids talk me into naming them. In my book they are bunnies A through F.

The chickens are doing well, too, although I think it is time for Queen to have another bath. Actually, they could all do with one. Because of the heavy rainfall and mud. Apparently no one has told the chickens that when it is raining, it is not a dust bath they are taking but a mud bath. I am just extremely glad I got some Wellies, because I can't imagine walking around back there without good boots right now.

Payday Spending and EF Update

February 8th, 2013 at 06:18 pm

Today was payday. I added $110 to the Emergency Fund bringing it to $1835.35.

Bills paid out today were:

$1000.00 to Mom
__100.00 to Chase
__757.82 to Van loan
__570.00 Mortgage
___25.00 Kids' allowances
___44.87 Phone old house
___72.56 Internet
__110.00 Emergency Fund
___19.00 Garbage (HT)
___72.00 Water/sewer (HT)
__100.00 Property Tax (HT)
__100.00 Propane (HT)
__100.00 Miscellaneous and Groceries

I also set aside $90 for physical therapy. Both the mortgage and the van loan had extra sent to principal. When the mortgage hits it will put it just under $14K left.

I need to come up with $64.65 this month to hit my EF goal of $1900 by the end of February. I added $13.03 to the coin jar, what was left of my miscellaneous money from last week.

I also filled up the van with gas, $49.79, but that went on the AMEX which gets paid off at the start of every month now.

Other than milk, I shouldn't have to buy anything for the next week.

DS needs new tennis shoes. His feet have grown tremendously. I will inherit his current ones. They are very nice Nikes that just happen to fit my feet. Hand me ups, I guess. I will probably get shoes for him next payday, not this one.

My first mammogram went okay. I don't know what I was being such a scaredy cat about it for.

Credit Score Went Up, Ranch Visit, Shopping

January 26th, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Most, but not all, of the debt repayment hit our credit report. We have a monitoring service through Experian due to theft years ago. I'm paranoid enough about it, to keep tabs on at least one of our reports. So it is lagging one month behind on the mortgage, but it was lagging 3 months behind as I think the credit union only reports it quarterly, and it is one payment behind on both the AMEX and the BoA, but it will catch up. Meanwhile our credit score went up to 790.

Now I'm all antsy for February 8th to get here and I can start paying the Chase card off. It's kind of contagious, that push to get further and further out of debt. Paying Chase off probably won't have much of an effect on our credit score. It's the car loan that is likely keeping it from going over 800. Still, we are positioning ourselves well to buy a new house.


We went down to the sustainable, free-ranging, organic (and grass fed in the case of the beef, no soy or GMO's in the case of the chickens) farm today and I spent $297.78 of my $300 monthly meat budget. We came back with 4 chuck roasts, 8 pork chops, 2 beef stir-fry, 2 bacon, 2 whole chickens, 10 ground beef, and 2 ground pork. We still have a couple of packs of bacon and some hamburger from our last trip, so this should meet our protein needs nicely for the month. And of course there are our free eggs from the backyard chickens.

I really hope to be able to order a half a steer this year. We will see how it goes. I also wouldn't mind a whole pig, but the ranch doesn't do that so we'd have to find another source. They do a $300 box of pork though. I'm not really sure if it's worth getting though, because we pretty much only eat bacon, ground pork, and pork chops when it comes to pork. Very occasionally I will make pulled pork for burritos from a roast, but not often.


On the way back from the farm there was a gas station that had gas for $3.17 a gallon if you had cash, so DH and I ransacked his wallet and my purse and scraped together $31 (including the last couple bucks of the meat budget money) for gas, since the absolute cheapest it is in our county is $3.25. So the tank sits at 3/4 full now. Well worth it since we were driving by it anyway.


We went to Costco after we got home and I used my rebate coupon. We stocked up on some toiletries, garbage bags, canned pineapple, butter, and oranges. Charmin had a $2 off coupon, so that was nice. We stopped at another store for Organic milk, green onions and bananas.

I feel like I put myself through the wringer today, though. On the bright side my knee isn't hurting. On the not so bright side everything else is. I'm sure it will be better in the morning, though. It usually is.

Another Shot off the Starboard Bow

January 11th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Today is payday, finally, the first one of the new year, and the damage is $123 and some change more in taxes out of this first check. Next week will be a bit higher as it is a seven day paycheck and not just a five day one.

I started my morning by taking a shot at the Evil Empire and paid off another $2000. DH bought his one way plane ticket on Wednesday which had brought the balance on the BoA VISA to $5,983.64. So the new balance on the VISA is $3983.64. I will have 3 autopays coming out before the end of the month, so that will go up a bit, but I am still on track for paying the card off by month's end. Total credit card debt currently sits at $9083.64. This is the first time in a very long time I have been under $10K. Go me.

Then I made the car loan payment. I also paid another medical bill to the podiatrist and made a payment on my crown to the dentist.

$2000.00 to BoA VISA
757.82 Van payment (plus extra to principal)
205.30 Dentist
75.00 Podiatrist
50.00 Two weeks of allowance for the kids
$3088.22 Total

I still owe $350 to the dentist for my crown and should have that paid off by the end of the month. I am thinking of rescheduling my 2nd crown until after vacation in March. The tooth has not been hurting since getting the other crown put in. I don't think I'm hitting it anymore when I grind my teeth at night. The last one ended up costing $200 more than the estimate because of how much novacaine they had to give me.

I have just under $300 for the next week. I need to buy toilet paper and tissues. Normally I go to Costco for that, but I am just not up for a warehouse store, so I'm heading to Kmart. I've been out of tissues for a week, not great when everyone is sick. Even if Charmin is nice to blow your nose on, tissues are better.

I need to do a grocery shop, too. I have a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase. This is one of the rare times I will use coupons, since most are for processed junky foods and are useless to me. They are also having a sale on Organic Valley products so I will get milk, heavy cream and half and half (the last 2 for making ice cream) if the sell by dates are decent.


January 10th, 2013 at 04:58 pm

I have been wondering about maybe paying off the Sienna when we sell the house. Right now we have close to $800 a month going to it (we're paying more than the actual monthly payment). The van will be 2 years old on June 6th, so we have a while yet to go to own it free and clear. We've knocked off about 4 months worth of payments by paying extra.

This is only if we get anywhere near our asking price and can still bank a good amount for a new downpayment. With the car paid off it frees up $800 a month to go towards college or the EF or the downpayment. But I don't know. A bigger down payment means a smaller mortgage. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I did talk to DD about the fact that if she went to the local community college for two years and then transferred to the local university (they partner so credits from BCC are transferrable to WWU), it would save us about $15,000. She seems amenable to that and it would give us more time to save the money for WWU.

I figure we can save about $12,000 a year for college each year once the credit cards are paid off. The $10,000 that we will save by her going to the community college the first two years can be saved for WWU and should be enough to cover the shortage for years 3 and 4. Assuming that tuition doesn't go up too much, of course. There will also be tax returns and hopefully yearly bonuses that could be saved for college if necessary.

How did college get so expensive? When I went it was about $100 a credit up to 15 credits and then anything between 15 and 18 credits was free and if you took more than 18 credits (not recommended) it cost money again. Mom paid for half, I paid for half.

It helped that I had a scholarship from work that was enough to at least pay for my books. It also helped that taking classes in the summer session was cheaper. But it's been 22 years and tuition has just gotten ridiculous, even with the local discount. We are definitely going to feel it, but we should still be able to manage without loans. I guess I've gotten good at managing these last almost 18 years since I've been married.

If my daughter can manage to find a job, I'll expect her to contribute. Same for my son when he gets there. But that's a big if in today's economy and I don't see that getting any better. This depression is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I am just hoping we won't see an all out collapse of the American dollar, but the rate at which the government is spending I'm not holding my breath.

They just make me so mad. I mean, the aid to help Sandy victims has been tacked on with so much crap with each elected official getting a little something something for his own state. That sort of thing is business as usual for our elected, but it needs to stop. It should be about helping out the victims, not seeing what you can get for you and yours before you'll okay help.

I wish we could add an ammendment to the Constitution saying that bills had to be specifically for that one thing only and not to help pig farmers in Arkansas or corn growers in Nebraska (just randomly picking here) when it's supposed to go to rebuilding stuff in New York. That's half if not more of the problem with our debt. So much greed. That's the kind of entitlements that need to stop, the ones the officials get away with.

I wish we could make all elected officials live on a wage that was just high enough they couldn't get food stamps and make them have to pay for their own medical insurance and lose their vacation days until they've balanced the budget or at least cut all of the fat our of it. I bet it would happen pretty darn fast if they had to actually feel it.

Sorry, this turned into a bit of a rant. Don't know where it even came from.

Tomorrow is payday and I'll get to see what the higher taxes does to the paycheck. Ah, well, maybe that's where that rant came from. The waiting.

Easy Come, Easy Go

November 30th, 2012 at 09:45 pm

I find that the closer I am to being out of credit card debt, the easier it is to pay the bills. It feels less and less like money slipping through my fingers and more and more like seeing the summit of the mountain and knowing it's not much further and just a little push will get me there.

I got to contribute $100 to the Emergency Fund this time, something I haven't done in a while. I also deposited the coin jar money to the EF as well, so that was an additional $97.05. The EF now sits at $1205.41. It is good to see it going up again.

I funded my funds, bringing the totals to $85 in the HoA Dues Fund, $200 in the Property Tax Fund, $400 in the Propane Fund, $400 in the Vacation Fund, $400 in the Mac Book Fund, and $200 in the Christmas Fund.

Expenditures for this paycheck were:

$1000.00 AMEX
__100.00 Chase VISA
__300.00 To Mom for her utilities
__100.00 EF
___21.98 Electricity for the Old House
___50.00 to the Holding Tank for garbage (not due 'til Feb)
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 My Life Insurance
__59.89 Car Insurance
__45.63 Old House Insurance
__41.16 ADT Security for theOld House
_153.00 Storage
_100.00 Vacation Fund
__17.00 Dues Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_500.00 Mortgageon Old House ($376.14 plus extra to principal)
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Mac Book Fund

I also spent $56.20 to fill up the van. It was 3.39 per gallon. It's a little cheaper at Costco, but I really didn't want to go over there today and as long as it is no more than a 20 cent per gallon difference, I'd actually use more gas going over there and then waiting in the interminably long lines.

And I spent $230.41 on groceries. I stocked up on some things that my cupboards were bare on, mostly canned goods. I also restocked the flour stash and bought some oranges and milk. I am definitely starting to see the higher prices now. Even though I didn't buy any meat since we get it at the farm now, I still wanted to see what the current store prices are, and Holy Toledo are they high. I mean some of them are higher than their grass-fed, organic counterparts. I may need to up the grocery budget once we finish eating the inventory in the freezer. I'm trying to hang on to $600 a month, but half of that is spent at the farm.

I paid out DD's allowance for two weeks, $30. DS does not get an allowance until 12/14 as his was advanced to him so he could buy something on a really good sale. I also took out $200 in cash.

I bought DD a new MP3 player. She was willing to settle for the 4GB one, so it was $40. I used part of the $200 in cash for that. Since it was half what I was expecting it to be, I told her I'd just pay for it if she'd do some extra chores for her grandmother. So she's going to clean all of the bathrooms, mop the kitchen floor, vacuum, and clean out Mom's fridge. She's also going to do all of the laundry this weekend.

DD is going to stay after school one day next week to teach her English teacher how to knit using a loom. They're going to knit some hats for some charity and they need to make 26 between now and the 18th. Knitting goes much faster on a loom. I didn't get the details on what charity, but I think it was local. I find it kind of hilarious that my sixteen-year-old daughter is teaching a sixty-something-year-old woman to knit. It's like, shouldn't that be the other way around?

Speaking of knitting, I really need to get going and finish making DS's scarf so I can start on DD's. It's hard to work on his because he is with me so much since we homeschool him. I am trying to keep it a surprise. His sister has made him a hat in the same yarn.

I almost wiped out a pair of elderly jaywalkers tonight. I guess teenagers are not the only ones to dress all in black and take crazy chances walking after dark. If it hadn't been for the man's white hair and the woman's white shoe souls, I'd not have seen them in time to stop. And they were only 20 feet away from the well illuminated stoplight with it's cross walks.

14 days and counting until the bonus checks will be put in the mail...

Paying the Bills

November 9th, 2012 at 02:59 pm

Today is payday and for once I got to sit down early and do everything. As of today the only bill that hasn't been paid for the month is the internet bill. I don't think it has come yet. That means the vast majority of next week's paycheck can be split between credit card debt and Christmas. It feels nice going into the holidays without having to scramble this year.

DH's boss called him yesterday to let him know that he will be working an extra week on his next hitch. They still don't know about January. They'll have a better idea of that after he works the extra week. But one guaranteed extra paycheck is great. Especially if he has the three weeks off. I can just save it for that time period and if there is anything leftover put it toward debt.

I hadn't paid the car payment yet, so I'm including it here, but the money for that was from last week's payday. Here's what went out today:

$1700.00 to BoA credit card
_757.82 to car loan
_300.00 for glasses (3 months same as cash, paid in full now)
1000.00 to Mom
__37.68 Garbage
_100.00 to Vacation Fund
__72.00 to holding tank for water/sewer
__44.87 Phone at old house
__23.00 for kid's allowance (DS owes me $2, so that's lower than usual)
_300.00 for beef money
_100.00 cash for miscellaneous stuff

DH is going to be buying a new pair of workboots, too. They will be around $200. They are steel-toed, steel-shanked, electricity proof, water proof, and Arctic safe. The last pair lasted him about 5 years so that works out to about $40 a year. Not bad for safety gear.

Airport Day

October 22nd, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Today is an airport day, so DH is getting ready to go. He emptied his wallet and added $5.45 to the coin jar. I'm really not looking forward to driving again. DH does most of the driving when he is home. I really don't like to drive in high traffic areas, and that whole side of town is very high traffic. I take the back roads as much as possible, but at that time of day it's impossible to avoid all of the traffic.

He got gas last night, too, half a tank to fill it up cost $33.32. That should be the last expenditure for the week if all goes to plan.

It's Been a Long Week

October 21st, 2012 at 03:45 pm

I think I am fairly glad this week is almost over. I am fortunately doing a lot better than I was. The doctor thinks I had a sinus infection on top of the flu and that is why it has taken so long for me to start to shake it.

He also gave me some medication for my chronic insomnia. He started me on 75mg which knocks me out cold for the night. He gave me both 25mg and 50mg pills to take together. That way if 75mg is too much I can easily lower the dosage. After a few days of getting 12 hours of sleep and catching up on my sleep debt, I decided to try the 50mg dosage last night. That was much better, with me waking up after nine hours of sleep.

Now I just need to determine when to take it, since I will need to be up at 7 to take DD to school starting Tuesday, since DH goes back to Alaska on Monday. So far it has seemed that if I take it at 9, I fall asleep around 1 a.m. So maybe I need to take it around 7.

I am just happy to be sleeping again for more than three or four hours a night. Life looks different when you get enough sleep. And getting enough rest is definitely helping me to kick the flu and the sinus thing.


Last night was cold. It dropped to 41 degrees and it smelled like frost, but we didn't get a frost. It can't be much longer before we do. Today it is very sunny and 50 degrees. On Thursday night it is expected to hit 34. Not quite freezing but probably enough to kill the tomatoes off for good, so I will pick them and wrap them in newspapter to ripen inside.

The green beans are definitely done. If the zucchini get 3 more days I will have a couple of them to harvest. I can cut some of the broccoli today. I want to give the rest a few more days. Supposedly broccoli tolerates the cold. We'll see. I'll pull the remaining bunching onions Thursday. There's only two bunches left. I'll also pull the kohlrabi that is ready.

I will definitely miss garden fresh eating. And I will miss having a lower grocery bill. We have plenty of fruit preserved and the tomatoes, but very little in the way of vegetables. I guess that is what happens when you plant late in a horrifically rainy June and then have a heatwave in July and August that messes with tender plants. Next year I really need to plant in early May, downpour or not.


DD had a fantastic time at the Homecoming Dance, and she and the boy that she went with are now officially boyfriend and girlfriend. I met him before the dance and he was more nervous than my daughter. He seems like a sweet boy, a good match for my daughter and her tender heart. I hope all goes well there. I am excited for her, but of course a part of me worries about the eventuality of a broken heart somewhere down the road. But we can't protect our children forever.


The chickens are definitely slowing down production. Today there were only 4 eggs from them. The ducks seem to just be keeping on. Maybe the lack of sunlight doesn't bother them. I think Kyri has finally finished molting because she looks less like a raggamuffin and more like a nicely groomed hen again. Usually the end of a molt means they'll start laying again (since they don't when they are growing new feathers), but since the days are shorter, she may not until much later.


I added $10.80 to the coin jar yesterday. DH is filling the tank again on the van. It is only at half, but I don't want to deal with getting gas if I a still feeling sick next week. A full tank should last me until he gets back from Alaska next time. Oh, which reminds me, I found the receipt from the last fill up, which was $73.83. Gas has dropped from $3.94 on that fill-up, to $3.74 as of last night.


I am about 1/3 of the way through reading the Democratic platform. Then I will read the Republican one. So far it is very dry reading, but I am noticing a lot of very careful word placement. This may be because I've done lessons on persuasive essays and on propaganda essays and I am noticing some of those elements. I am sure there will be equal amounts of that in both platforms. What I wouldn't give for a no-nonsense Moderate party who believed in being socially responsible as well as fiscally responsible.

Big Shop

October 12th, 2012 at 09:18 pm

I did my big shopping tonight. It's been a while since I've needed to go to Costco for anything other than gas. Even so, I did pretty well, I think. I spent $118.40 ($3.72 of which was tax). I got 4 cases of tomato sauce, 1 case of chili, 1 case of cream of mushroom soup (for DH, I won't touch it with a ten foot pole), cheese, organic pizza snacks, toilet paper, and quart and gallon size freezer bags.

The reason I bought tomato sauce is that the kiddos don't like the home canned straight, but they'll eat it one can home canned mixed with one can store bought. I think next time I can tomato sauce I should make it spaghetti sauce with sugar and seasonings in it. It's just too tomatoey for them. Since I only canned enough for about half the year, these 48 cans should do me for the year.

I also bought a few convenience items, DH's soup, some chili and the pizza snacks. As much as I'd like to be 100% from scratch all of the time, there are days when I just get too sick and I just want to be able to open a can or have the kids open their own can of something. Until I start canning my own homemade soup that is something I have determined to live with.

After grocery shopping we got gas there, but I can't find what I did with the receipt. I'm pretty sure it was $70 or so since the tank was empty and gas was at $3.92 per gallon. When it shows up on my AMEX I'll report the amount. If I remember.

Afterwards we went to Haggen and I got popcorn, beef hot dogs (for DH), tortillas, bread (still a little too sick to be baking my own), milk, orange juice, onions, yogurt, nasal spray, and cauliflower. Oh, and 3 12 packs of Pepsi Throwback (for DH). I spent $77.63 there.

Again, a couple of convenience items and the very unnecessary soda, unless you consider marital harmony worth that $11 for 36 cans and I do. DH is 90% on board with the organic, sustainable eating, but there are a few things I don't see him (or me) completely eliminating. Progress, not perfection.

Also spent $8.01 for 2 prescriptions today. We shouldn't have to spend anymore money for a week now, except perhaps for milk. That'll be nice. Tomorrow I should be up for cooking again. The worst of the cold seems to have passed.

Under $16K

October 11th, 2012 at 12:48 am

The mortgage posted to the account today and we are officially under $16K left to pay it off. $15,805.41 is the exact total. Over 80% of the payment goes to principal now. Of course we will probably sell it before it is paid off, but I still like watching it roll back past each $1000.

Speaking of things that roll, our car just hit 11,500 miles and we've had it for 16 months. Which averages out to 718.75 per month, but honestly the bulk of it was put on during our summer driving vacation in 2011, driving back and forth to Virginia Mason for tests, the surgery, more tests, follow ups and more follow ups. In an average month I'll probably drive 300 miles. In a non-average month, like when we go to the zoo or the science center it might be closer to 500, but those months are rare. When we lived out in the country we were easily driving 15,000 miles a year. We drive so much less in town.


DH is home safely now. Looks like he might only need to work one extra week around Christmas and not two. His alternate piped up wanting some extra hours, too. So they decided to split it. It'll still be a nice amount of extra money, just not as much as we were expecting. I'm not counting on it for anything anyway. I know better than that.


I slept pretty well last night, but I guess my body is making up for that tonight by keeping me up hacking. And it was so darn hot in the house I opened the window, but I only got to air it out a little before PePe went for a stroll and marked his territory. The skunk comes through at least once a week and always, it seems, when I am too hot and need to open the window, the stinker.


DD went to school today and seems to be feeling much, much better, which gives me hope that in a couple of days I will be, too. DS is not as sick as me yet, but he held off on showing symptoms longer, so he's probably just a few days behind me.

We managed to do math, vocabulary, grammer, usage and mechanics, and literature before I had to stop and die for a while. DH stepped in and did science and history. Hopefully he can do that for the rest of the week while I try to get better.


I cancelled my physical therapy today on account of how I feel, so that saved my $90 for the week. I've rescheduled for Monday, though. Hopefully I won't be contagious by then.

She Was a Good Car

September 23rd, 2012 at 11:56 am

Well, with 147,530 miles on it, our 20 year old Crown Victoria has gone to its new home. After putting in $1000 worth of labor fixing up and painting our old house, it's gone to one of the workman who bartered that labor for it. It was a little sad seeing it being driven away, but also nice knowing it's gone to a good home with people who really needed a nice family car. And he knows how to pop the dent out that my mother gave it when she backed her truck into it with the tailgate down.

I think this is the only nice photo I have of it that doesn't have a family member in it. That was the first nice car we ever bought and only the second car I'd ever owned. It was a 1992 that we bought in 1998 for $13,000 with only 19,500 miles on it. It had been beautifully maintained and it purred like a kitten. It was one of the most comfortable riding cars I've ever owned. When we bought her they said she should get to 200,000 miles easy, possibly 250,000 on that engine. She was still beautiful.

We weren't driving it because it needed brake work and a new battery, so we've essentially been a one car family for quite some time, but now it's official. On Monday DH takes the little paper down to the courthouse to make it legal and then he goes to the insurance company to drop the insurance on it. It won't be much of a difference because it only had the most basic stuff on it as it was so old, but it will be a little less.

It kind of feels like the end of an era seeing it go, but I'm glad it went to be reused instead of recycled. It was in too nice of a physical shape for me to be happy with the idea of it going to a junk heap when with a little work on the brakes it is perfectly useable for several more years.

It will cost us $5 to transfer title, but that's an acceptable amount to us for the amount of work we got on the house for it.

Little Suzie Homemaker

July 6th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

So tomorrow guess what I am going to make and can? Nothing to do with fruit, so if you guessed jam or jelly, nope. Instead I am going to make something relatively quick, fast and easy, but something I have never even thought about making before. My one big problem with buying this storebought is that it uses yellow number five. And also, I don't ever go through it fast enough. And it doesn't come in small enough containers and is really hard to find in a glass jar, without it costing an arm and a leg. It's something that only I eat in my household, although DS says he might try it since it will be homemade.

Have you given up? It's ordinary yellow mustard. I found a recipe online that I liked the look of that will be very easy to make. It will make two cups worth and I want to can it in half pints. I will only end up processing one jar and using the other one straight away, but if it turns out tasting good, I will make a bunch more and probably branch out into deli-style mustard, Dijon, Chinese hot mustard, and honey mustard. Shelf stable homemade mustard with no gunge in it will make me very happy.

I like all of the ingredients in the recipe, but I will leave out the optional 1 tsp of cayenne. I don't want my mustard to be as hot as cayenne makes things. Even when I just use 1/8 tsp of cayenne in my sausage recipe, my eyes still water a bit and my kids prefer it when I just use 1/16th tsp. The paprika and turmeric will be enough spice for me. I will post the recipe if I like how it turns out.


I have to take the van back on Tuesday. There is a small leak in the oil pan. A valve needs to be replaced. It will take them 3 hours, but it is covered by warranty. I will go without the kids. 4 hours (including the travel time) without them will be nice after two weeks with no school. I love them to death, but they are driving me a little crazy.

This and That

July 6th, 2012 at 11:58 am

I have the car scheduled for an oil change this afternoon. I'm not sure how much it runs anymore, but it's under $40. They will also wash the car, which could use it, though by the time I drive it back home again it probably won't be clean anymore. There's a lot of dust on the freeway right now for some reason.

The last few days in the 70's have been very nice. This house doesn't have AC, but we can still keep it pretty cool. We keep the windows closed and blinds on the sunny side of the house drawn in the morning and then as soon as it passes over the house around eleven we open all of those windows on the now shaded side and close the ones on the other side of the house. Once the sun goes behind the trees around 8 p.m. then everything is flung open. It keeps things comfortable.

My garden is starting to take off with the heat and I can see the tomato plants visibly jumping in size from day to day. So are the brassicas. I have moved my lettuce more into the shade to try to prevent bolting. They have more than paid for themselves, but I'd like to keep them going as long as possible.

The corn Mom planted is halfway up my thigh. The yarn in our part of the country is that corn has to be "knee high by the 4th of July" if it is going to make it before the cold sets in, so I think we're set on that. She planted it in the middle of her flower garden. It looks very pretty there and not at all out of place. Hopefully there won't be any neighbors in a tizzy over vegetables growing in the flower beds. Our near neighbors don't give a hoot, but it seems there is always someone. Fortunately there is no HOA here and Mom has never been one to care what other people think anyway.

The kids and I are going swimming this evening. I am really looking forward to it. My body is really stiff after picking up all the fireworks debris off the ground (there was a lot that came in from other people's stuff landing in our yard and driveway) and swimming always helps with that.

Speaking of fireworks, or firework debris, I'm just leaving a note here to remind me that War Chest was the best firework we purchased and not to buy the Corruptor again because it was disappointing. Also, no more Mad Dog fountains and only one Purple Rain from now on and to get the big one. Flak Fire and Blue Craze were fun. Old Glory is a nice, low key fountain with lots of color that I liked, but the kids weren't very impressed. No more strobes, too many in a box and no one cares much after the first one. No more turtles. Ground flower types are still a hit after all these years. And no matter how old they get the kids will still want to do pop-its.

I added .92 to the coin jar. And I think that is about it.


June 12th, 2012 at 10:46 am

Gas prices are going back down here though the range is still pretty ridiculous. It is $3.89 per gallon at Costco and $4.59 a gallon nearer my home. I decided that with a 70 cents (!!!!) per gallon difference it was worth it to go over to Costco today. I went right after I dropped DS off at school. There was still a wait, but it was closer to ten minutes instead of a half an hour. It amazes me how many people let their cars run the entire time they are waiting in line. It was 63 degrees so no one needed their air conditioning or heater on, but over half the cars were running while waiting.

I also went to the credit union. They had misapplied the last prepayment on principle for the mortgage to the regular payment so I had to get that straightened out. It's still showing online as wrong, but I have a printout of it as right so hopefully the online one will catch up in a day or two. I should have caught this a week ago, but at least I still caught it this month.

I got $100 out of savings. I will replace it on Friday. I want to go get some plant starts today, but I didn't want to run my checkbook all the way down to zero. I know I have the account balanced, but I just prefer to keep a little money in there until payday in case I did the math wrong somewhere. I am always paranoid about that. Although if it did for some reason go under, my CU automatically transfers money from savings for a $1 fee. Still, I'd rather save myself the fee.

I also need to go to the library and turn in some books. It's more or less on the way to Joe's so that shouldn't be too difficult. As long as the five minute drop off parking spaces are available I will drop them off. I don't want to pay a quarter just to turn in books. And I can't just park in the handicapped spots which don't require money in the meter and do it anymore, as my permit expired at the end of May. I don't think I will try to get it renewed, either as I am walking almost normally now. Unless I start hurting again, I think I can do without it.

Another Trip to Burlington

June 2nd, 2012 at 11:41 pm

DH and I drove down to Burlington today. Our main purpose was to go the ranch and get sustainable, pasture-raised organic beef, pork, and chicken. And that was accomplished nicely. I set aside $300 and I actually came back with $30.56, so spent $269.44. I could have bought a bit more, but I thought this would fill our available freezer space nicely and it certainly seems like a month's worth of meat (if not more). The leftover $30.56 will go to our freezer fund.

Surprisingly, as expensive as this meat is, I think our grocery bill is actually going down. This meat is much more filling because our bodies recognize it as being more nutritionally sound, so we are eating much smaller portions of it at meal time, probably by half. And it tastes so much better and is much more satisfying. Flavor can be so key. I also love, love, love the fact that there is so much less packaging. It is wonderful not to have all those polystyrene meat trays to throw out all the time. I noticed it took longer to fill the garbage bin this month.

I ended up with 3 whole chickens (between 3 and 4 pounds each), 6 packages of bacon (about 8 pounds), one package of sweet breakfast sausage links (1.5 pounds), 8 pork chops, 4 beef chuck roasts (2.5 pounds each), and 8 pounds of hamburger. I forgot to ask them about a ham, doggone it!

We do still have some meat left from last month's purchase as well. 2 packs of hamburger, an entire flank steak (about the size of a good London Broil), 1 New York strip steak and 4 ribeyes (they did not get made this week after all because LIFE HAPPENED). Plus we didn't end up ever making the duck, it's still in the freezer. I just got really sick the one day and went down for about 24 hours and then was fine again. Oh, yes, and while rearranging the freezer I found some Cornish game hens, as well, so those need to get made.

I asked them about Thanksgiving turkeys and they do have them. They start accepting orders in July so I will need to remember that so I can get my order in. They range in size from 12 pounds to 22 pounds, so basically you order a small, a medium or a large and get something in that range. We will order a small, which is the 12 to 15 pound range.

I also asked them about the pork family boxes and we can order one of those soon if we decide we like the pork. We already know we like the bacon and the polish sausage. We got the pork chops to try. I also asked them if they make anything similar to a hot dog and they usually do come summer time so I will ask again the next time we go down.

A pork family box costs $300 and contains 35 pounds of meat. That works out to over $8 a pound though. Yes, it's organic and pasture-raised and sustainable, and that is super hard to find, but about the only thing I usually pay that much for is wild caught Pacific salmon and usually I can get that for $5.99 a pound if I buy the whole fish. They don't sell a whole pig, unfortunately, the box is the best you can get. I may just stick with individually buying their bacon and sausage and the occasional pork chops and not bother with the other things. We'll just see how good those chops are, first.

I'm pretty much set for meat this month, but I will need to go to the Food Co-op to pick up some more turkey hot dogs so I can make DS up a big batch of corn dogs at the Food Co-op, some roast beef, ham, and turkey slices from the deli for school lunches, and some duck eggs if they have them as they are so good for baking.

I also will need to buy flour soon. While we were in Burlington we found the organic flour mill where you can buy the 25 or 50 pound bags of flour or you can buy the 25 or 50 pound bags of wheat berries. I do eventually want to get my own little flour grinder, but that's way down the road after the beef purchase. Unfortunately the flour mill is not open to the public on Saturdays (or maybe at all on the weekend), which is the only time the farm store is open, so we can't make just one trip to get what we want.

I am about to open a five pound bag of their flour that I got at the store so I will see how long it lasts us and then calculate what our flour needs will be. It might be worth it to get 100 pounds when we go and store them in the new chest freezer when we get it. I wish I could find it sold locally in the 25 pound bag. I am going to ask at the Food Co-op, since I know they let you buy cases of stuff at discount if you are a member. So maybe they have the big bags available in the back or something. If it will save us a trip it might be worthwhile.

I think we are going to switch back to the Organic Valley Milk but in the cartons, not the plastic jugs, unless we can find the other organic milk in glass bottles. The type in glass bottles that we are drinking now is not homogenized and I really just can't handle the cream separating. We've tried shaking it to death but sometimes there are still lumps, and it's just texturally weird and visually unappealing. If it was just me I'd cope, but everyone wants us to at least have homogenized milk. I will buy the other for making yogurt though if my first experiment with making it tomorrow goes well.

While we were down in Burlington we stopped by the Corningware Outlet Store and bought an 18-piece set of Pyrex storage containers at a good discount. These are glass containers with BPA-free plastic lids. We got 20% off. They also had some lids you could buy individually for some containers we already had at home that came without lids. They were $1.49 each and if we'd ordered them direct from Pyrex they'd have been 3X that much with shipping. I also picked up a new set of measuring cups and spoons (the sort that have six different sizes on each). I'm not sure what we did with the receipt, but we spent around $54 there.

We also got gas today, $66.90.

And I think that's it. Tomorrow should be a restful day. DH is taking the kids to his mother's after lunch. I will be making yogurt and baking bread, but that is all that is on my agenda. I will probably finish reading a book and do some writing and maybe even watch the other half of the movie I started on Wednesday. And take an uninterupted bath. Ah, bliss!


June 1st, 2012 at 01:17 pm

Today is payday, the small one, but they didn't take medical out and I had $1200 left over from last week, so I got to send a whole $800 extra to the BoA Visa. This isn't the regular monthly payment, it's all to principal, yay!

Payments made today:

$800.00 BoA VISA
__84.72 Car Insurance
__41.25 Old House Insurance
__37.61 Life Insurance DH
__32.70 Life Insurance Me
_154.00 Storage
__41.16 ADT Security on Old House
_100.00 Freezer Fund
_100.00 Mac Book Fund
+455.86 Mortgage (plus $80 extra)
1847.30 Amount paid out today

Oh, we have to go pay car tabs, too, which is around $90. I don't remember for sure, but will edit this after we pay it. And I'll have to write a check next week for hot lunch money for DS. That will be for $9 for the rest of the school year. And I have to contribute allowances, $19 today and $19 next Friday.

That leaves me with $400 for the next two weeks, but no bills to pay before the 15th, which is our next payday. Plus I have $1000 in savings that is earmarked for old house stuff, but could be dipped into in a pinch and replaced on the 15th. And I also have the $300 from last week that is set aside to buy organic, pasture-raised, sustainable meat tomorrow. So mostly these next two weeks I'll just be buying milk and produce and some bulk spices.

It feels good to have everything squared away and to not have to think about finances really for the next 2 weeks. I mean I will think about them, obviously, when you blog this much about money, you do think about them. But not in a "what should I be doing now?" way.

Oh, and the Mac Book Fund and Freezer Fund are both new items on the budget. The freezer we are saving up for will be around $600. We need to buy that before we can buy half a beef, which I will start saving up for as soon as the freezer is paid for.

The Mac Book fund is for my daughter. She has waited patiently while everyone has gotten new computers in the last few years while she limps along on an old PC and she is next on the list. She wants a Mac Book for video editing and for college, so even though it will likely take me a year to save up for it, I thought I'd start now. She's just finishing her sophomore year of high school, so she probably won't get it until towards the end of junior year, but she's just happy to be getting one eventually. She's easy like that.

ETA: Tabs were $85.74.

This and That

May 24th, 2012 at 09:44 pm

I haven't been feeling great the last couple of days. Not sick, really, just...yucky. Today I didn't stick to my meal plan. I cooked, it's just that the idea of doing a complicated new recipe did not appeal. Plus, I realized I was out of soy sauce, so I couldn't really make the marinade. I ended up just doing bacon cheese burgers, corn on the cob, and nectarines. It worked well. We picked up soy sauce so we can make the Tropical Chicken Stir-fry tomorrow and bump the ribeye meal to next week. They are frozen so it's not that big a deal. Plus DS is doing a make up tae kwon do class tomorrow for when he was so sick, which means a stir-fry will just be easier than the other.


I found this interesting booklet on meal planning: http://nchstd.documents.s3.amazonaws.com/More%20Month%20than.... It's kind of a crash course for people who don't really know what they are doing. It wasn't exactly news to me, but I think it would be very helpful for someone who hasn't tried meal planning before and wants to dive in. It does require time though. I think this is more for families with a stay at home parent (and not of very young children, but at least preschool age and up, because some of it would just be hard to do with a toddler clinging to your leg or wearing a baby) or maybe one parent who is only working part time. I'd find it hard if I was working full time. Not that it's not doable, but it's probably not practicle in that situation. Also didn't really care for the breakfasts, because I don't like oatmeal (unless it's in cookies or bread or granola or Joe's O's), but it's not hard to plan breakfasts. And I liked the shopping lists. It's a good teaching tool really.


I added $6.98 cents to the coin jar. I picked up a prescription for $25. We filled up the gas tank on the van, $57.16. We did a major stock up run to Costco so I shouldn't have to go there for a couple of months, and picked up six LED lightbulbs there, batteries, toilet paper, and of course groceries.

I got really annoyed at a lady there. She was trying to squeeze between me and the shelves instead of going around DH and I. There was not room to do this and she was practically shoving her cart into me. I was probably less than gracious about it because I was having a bad pain day in my leg which always makes me walk slower. I walked even slower at that point. I get cranky when I hurt. She huffed loudly and finally just went around us. I wanted to tell her off, but I bit my tongue. People are rude enough at Costco without me adding to it.


Spent $10 on two foam swords for the kids. I probably played with one of them more than was seemly for an adult, but it was fun to whack something today. Very stress relieving. This was actually an expense for school.


Here, have a photo of the half grown chickens roosting in the coop. I will try to get a photo of the ducks up soon.

Oh, and here's a photo of the damage my mother "didn't" do to our older car. The suction cup dent remover does not work to pull it out, either. It cost $5.

I Found My Camera and Odds and Ends

May 17th, 2012 at 09:48 pm

This makes me so pleased. DH's camera is the one that won't take photos anymore and mine had gone missing, but it showed up today, rather mysteriously. I'm pretty sure it fell through a crack in the space/time continuum, because it was not there last night. Or this morning. Or maybe one of the kids snuck it back after finding it in their rooms or something and isn't saying. But I have it.

It is not as good as the other one, but I hate not being able to take pictures. There have been so many times in the past couple of days when there has been something I've wanted to snap and couldn't. I am still researching new cameras, as I do feel we need to get a good, high quality one soon, but I no longer feel so rushed to do so.


I almost blew it today on a credit card payment. I had accidentally charged something on one of the paid off cards and then forgot about it until the last minute. And I do mean last minute. As in it was 4:40 and I had to get home to a meal I had started making but left my daughter in charge of. Fortunately she was just finishing putting everything on the table as I walked in the door. I was able to eat in 20 minutes and had enough time to drive over to the one drive-thru branch of BoA that stays open until 6, so I got it paid. If I hadn't paid it today there would have been interest. No more cutting it that close for me!


I also picked up a prescription because I was on that side of town, $3.35.


I got gas today. The pump shut off at $50. I don't know why, I pre-paid with my AMEX card and I've never had it shut off before the tank was full except on really hot days and even then it was a gallon shy not this much. It was only 12 gallons and I have an 18 gallon tank and it was empty. It should not have clicked off at 3/4 of a tank, but I was in a hurry so I didn't try to do a second purchase or go in and see what was up. But I figure DH will be home when it runs out again and he can take it and get it all the way full.

Gas was $4.29 a gallon. Ouch. It's cheaper at Costco, $4.17, but not worth the time driving there and the time spent in the line. It works out to be cheaper to pay the 12 cents more a gallon. I actually save money that way, which tells you gas prices are ridiculously high.


Tomorrow is payday. I will be running around a fair bit to pay things and to do a small amount of grocery shopping. Produce mostly, but I also want to look for some BPA free storage containers. I'd like to replace all of my cheap plastic with either BPA free plastic containers or glass containers.

One of the hints I saw on doing this for cheaper was to buy things in glass containers that you could reuse, but most of what I buy either doesn't come in a container (fresh fruits and vegetables) or doesn't come in glass at all, only plastic or tin. Peanut butter and jelly come in glass, but they are small, so while I might be able to fit a serving or so of some food in one, I wouldn't be able to fit planned over leftovers for the next days meal into something like that. I also do get a glass bottle of mango nectar that my son can have but it has a narrow mouth so it would be hard to store anything in it, except maybe popcorn or rice (which comes in a cardboard box anyway, not plastic). Maybe small uncooked macaroni noodles or shells.

I did see some quart-sized and pint-sized Ball canning jars at Goodwill when I was there that I could use. I would have to buy lids and rings to use those for storage, plastic wrap on top defeats the purpose of using sustainable products, but that is certainly cheaper than Pyrex with lids, which is what I was looking for in that aisle of Goodwill. I found lots of Pyrex, but not any with lids. Something to think on as my reusable plastic wears out and we switch over to products that are better for the planet.

Today is Payday

April 27th, 2012 at 06:20 pm

So far today I have paid $700 to BoA VISA, $600 to AMEX, and $265.86 to Costco. We bought two new high pressure, low flow toilets for the old house, plus selected organic groceries there (and some raw sheep's cheese imported from France that they were sampling, so good, and we usually get some kind of expensive cheese when we go there). The toilets were $79.99 each plus sales tax of 8.9%. They are one piece models where the tank is part of the toilet unit, so very easy to install. We also bought gas while we were there, filling the tank for $59.56.

I figured out the budget for this week and next week's pay, and then figured out that since the car payment isn't due until 5/19 and we get paid on 5/18, I could actually skip making a car payment out of next week's check and make it on the 18th in person instead. I could then take the $800 (payment + additional principal that I always make) and put it on the BoA VISA instead. It's cutting it close, but I do still have enough money in the EF to cover the car payment if needed.

That should still have us on track to have the VISA paid off by the end of May or at the very latest the middle of June. I wasn't expecting to have to buy a new bed for DS this month, but sometimes things happen. Maybe we won't have to use the full $1000 I've set aside to have the whole house professionally cleaned. We are going to email about setting up an estimate. Then we can make an appointment to have it done. Then the only thing left to do will be to change out the toilets, get an estimate on fixing the window, and then scheduling an appointment to actually fix the window.

And then we will have to make a decision on replacing all of the interior doors and frames, or letting the house go As IS/Where IS without fixing those things. I don't think we are going to paint. I might get an estimate to see if it is worth it, but...I don't really want to put that much more money into it. I just want it clean, on the market, and not have to worry about it anymore. At least the roof is sound. We are twelve years into a thirty year roof warranty come July, and it was an excellent roof we put on.

The lawn will have to be mowed this weekend though. And probably at least every weekend from this point on, at least in the front where it shows from the road.. *sighs* It won't be too bad. We'll need the gas mower this first time, but after that I can use the push mower. And I can save the back yard for DH when he's home and he can use the gas mower for that.

I have some other bills to pay and set money aside for but I'll probably do that tomorrow. I did make a deposit to the Safety Net of $122.30.


I forgot to post this before I left, so we took the kids clothing and bathing suit shopping after school, a planned expense, and got spring wardrobes for them (shorts and t-shirts for DS, Capri pants and t-shirts for dear daughter. They each got a bathing suit and I got one, too, though I am annoyed about it. The one I really wanted and liked the colors in various shades of green and blue of the most showed way, way, way too much cleavage even for me, and I'm pretty comfortable with that sort of thing, but dang, I would have had to pin this to feel comfortable in public. It fit so well, too, otherwise. It was an older ladies swimsuit, too. Why do they think we want to show off that much over age 40? It's like the toddler booty shorts. I mean, why? It'd be one thing if I was buying a bikini, but this was a swimdress style suit.

The one I ended up buying was various shades of pink (one of them hot pink, which I do like, but most pastels, which I don't) and brown. I am not really a pink person, but due to things that often tend to be out of my control, I have far too much pink in my wardrobe already. Usually because I just want to be clothed and the only thing left in the styles I like and my size by the time I get to shopping is the pink ones.

But it fits perfectly and supports perfectly. The skirt is a little too long for my preference, but hopefully it won't get in my way when I do the crawl stroke. I used to have one that was so long my hands would tangle in it when I swam laps. This one isn't billowy though at all. So I bought it. One nice surprise is I was able to buy it a size smaller than my other swimsuit. (I like to have two because I swim almost every day mid-spring through mid-fall, and the older one invariably falls apart from all the chlorine mid-season.

I mean, if I wanted to spend over $100 for a suit, I would order one online and get the colors I really wanted, but I don't, and a $33 suit with proper support and coverage, even if it isn't the greatest colors, is fine with me. And DH likes it regardless and says it looks good. It's just my dislike of pink, not reality. Sometimes we have to make compromises in life. This isn't a big one.

We also picked up some school supplies to replace what was worn out or used up, and some OTC medications to replace the stock used up when ill. The last thing I want to do when I am sick is go shopping for medications, so I really like to have enough on hand to treat 3 of us if we go down at the same time (DH is seldom sick).

We went to two stores and spent $73 at one (after $8 off from our loyalty card and were given a $5 gift card because we qualified for having spent over $50). At the other, where we did the bulk of our shopping we spent $265.56 (almost the exact amount we spent at Costco, interesting).

I was so tired by the time we were done, I decided to get takeout pizza instead of making some. *sighs* Willpower, thy name is not LuckyRobin. So that was $27.18. And after a quick run to the store tonight for milk and crackers I am not going to spend any money (except to write out bills) for the rest of the weekend. I hope.

Got an Offer--Sort of--On the Car

April 26th, 2012 at 07:39 am

Last night one of the workmen who is remodelling the bathroom asked about the Crown Victoria, which has basically been setting there the past four months with a beyond dead battery and needing about $600 worth of brake work. He is interested in buying it. Blue book if it were in perfect working order is $2000. His price range is $1500. I said $1000 would be fair considering the work it needs done on it.

He is going to talk to his wife about it and bring a battery with him the next time he comes and we can make sure it is just the battery and not the starter.

It is such a good family car and I would be very happy to see it go to someone who needs a nice, solid family car, which is what they need. She has been such an excellent car over the years. She's a '92 that we bought in Jan of '98 and have maintained well. He was very surprised to know it was 21 years old since there is hardly anything wrong with the paint, just two tiny dings and you have to know where they are to notice them. It still looks shiny and nice and only has around 134,000 miles on it.

We've pretty much been a one family car anyway since we needed brake work done, and it'll make Mom happy to see it gone. Even in the years when we've owned more than one car, we didn't use it often enough to make it really worth having two. Now, if DD starts driving regularly we might buy a second inexpensive car, mostly because I don't want her driving our expensive van without supervision. But she hasn't even got her permit yet (lack of time and interest, really), so I don't see that happening before we move out. Once our credit card is paid off I am going to start setting some money aside for a new used car, but not too much as most money will go towards saving for a down payment and some to building up the emergency fund.

If his wife does give the okay to buy the car for the $1000, we will take that money and put it on the credit card.

Speaking of the credit card, I got up the courage to transfer most of the EF today and we will be putting it on the credit card, leaving us with just a $1500 EF. That is my compromise. $1000 just didn't feel like enough to me. I'd be happier with $2000 but that interest rate is ridiculous on the card. Now I just have to wait the 3 business days for it to show up in my account.

Money Out--Daily Expenses, Etc.

April 5th, 2012 at 07:15 pm

I am so sick it's ridiculous. Thank goodness the workmen were working outside so that I could sleep in. I went to bed at 9:30 last night and slept pretty well, but woke up every four hours or so coughing. Which is what the cough syrup dosage was for, every four hours. But fortunately I did get back to sleep. My skin hurts, my joints ache, and I am running a fever of 100.3 and can't get warm.

I went to the doctor this afternoon. DH had to drive me because I couldn't focus at all. It's not the flu which I feared, but borderline walking pneumonia. My bronchials and windpipe ache beyond belief right now. I ended up with four prescriptions, $25, $15, $15, and $7.55. My breathing was so bad he gave me an inhaler of albuterol, which I haven't needed in a couple years, and a nasal spray. I've also got an antibiotic (one that won't make me sick to my stomach this time) and the really good cough syrup which is helping already. I am so wiped out though. I have dozed off and on all day, I can't read a book, though I can read the computer a bit, and I can watch television for about 20 minutes before I doze again. I don't rember the last time I was this tired.

Let's see, other expenses have been 3/4 tank of gas for $63.73, $1.51 for a McDonald's double cheeseburger, and $25.71 for groceries. Also DH had to pay a deposit on the security system upgrade that we will be doing when he comes back home next time of $225. That's half up front, half the day of. DH also treated his dad to dinner yesterday at Subway spending $12.37, after he helped DH put up the drywall in the bathroom. I think that is everything.

Today's Spending

March 28th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I added .74 to the coin jar today.

I spent .50 on parking meters.

I spent $37.50 today, $30 for three types of the Boar's Head deli meats that we will divide up and freeze for DS's lunches for the next month and $7.50 for a bagel sandwich, small chips, and pickle spear for DS's lunch today as we were completely out of everything that he isn't allergic to and I was really, really behind on everything this morning and I had to pick DH up at the airport.

I went to the dentist at 11:30 to have some chips repaired and my portion was $68, so paid that, too.

Random Money Out

March 14th, 2012 at 05:28 pm

I don't normally give people money. I have a thing about the people on the corners with their "Please Help" or "Will Work for Food" signs wearing brand new looking Nike shoes and name brand jeans. Totally possible that they bought them at a thrift store, but when I am wearing my three year old no name jeans and off label shoes, I'm very unreceptive.

Still, this girl approached me in the parking lot today and she was semi-hysterical. I mean, either she was a top notch actress or she was genuinely upset. Her story was that she'd just left the local community college (was nearby, check) and she'd run out of gas on the Guide (scariest road in town to break down on, it's five lanes across and busy (also nearby, check), none of the nearby gas stations will loan out gas cans because they never come back (I've heard that before), and she didn't have any money on her and her roommate was in classes until late. The Home Depot was nearby but they didn't loan cans and one cost $10 (about what we paid the last time we bought a gas can). And she had only managed to collect a handful of change and most of it was Canadian (also, likely, lot of Canadian shoppers come here).

Meanwhile, the entire time she was talking I was checking her over. Worn jeans, plain t-shirt, not a fancy name-brand coat, and Payless Shoe Source type shoes. Her eyes were clear, showing no sign of drug use, and she had a well-used backpack on her shoulder with the community college logo. If she was scamming, she was incredible at it and deserved the $20 I gave her. She started crying that I gave her enough to not only buy the can, but some gas, too. I just told her it was okay and that I would hope someone would do the same for me or my daughter if we were ever in a similar situation (though we have AAA just so we don't get in that situation, but I didn't say that!).

She smiled at me and calmed down a little and said she just couldn't believe anyone would do that. Then she said she hoped one day she might be in a situation where she could do the same thing for someone else. Made me feel good even if it was a scam. Though I watched her walk over to The Home Depot and then I had to swing around to drive past it on my way out of the shopping center and saw her go into the store, so I feel relatively confident I did the right thing in giving her the money and I hope she has a chance at some point to pay it forward.

Small Errands, Lots of Change

March 13th, 2012 at 02:09 pm

I've run a bunch of small errands this morning and in keeping with my method of never spending ones or change, ended up with $9.10 to add to the coin jar.

I filled up the gas tank at $4.06 a gallon, paying a total of $67.56 for 16.6 gallons. Ouch. It is cheaper over at Costco, at $3.99 a gallon, but it was not worth driving across town and waiting in the line there for a half an hour to get slightly cheaper gas.

I also picked up baking powder and cocoa for making DS's birthday cake which I will do right after I pick up his sister from school and make a deposit of all that coin jar money, finally, at the CU. And I got some OTC cold medicine. I am still fighting this dang cough and I'm tired of the constant tickle so cough syrup it is.

Did a survey this morning. I now have $8.15 in my account, but can't cash out until it hits $10. And of course it takes them two weeks to credit anything to the account before you can cash it out, which is ridiculous, but what are you going to do?

Laptop Fund, Car Expenses

February 14th, 2012 at 11:16 pm

The laptop fund is now fully funded. I am going to start saving up for the next one, though, at the lesser rate of $100 a month. There is just too much that might go wrong with 3 laptops and a netbook in the house. And my computer and the netbook are the only ones with service contracts because the two of us tend to drop things a lot. I've used mine already. It's paid for itself and then some and I have another year and a half left on the contract. I imagine I will at least need a new battery by then, though it's still holding it's charge. That was always the nice thing about the Vaio batteries.

DH got tabs for the Crown Vic yesterday. It ended up costing $42. It's supposed to be $33 according to an initiative several years ago, but they're always finding some way to creep it up. So now I just need to worry about getting the brakes fixed. The steering fluid needs to be flushed as well. I am saving up partially for it and then using the tax return money to make up the difference.

On Turning Fifteen and a Half and Forty-Two

February 12th, 2012 at 05:42 pm

So, I had to get a new driver's license this year. DMV is still the oh-so-enjoyable experience it ever has been. $25 for that and now they make you take your glasses off to have your photo taken. Something to do with facial recognition software. If I had known that I would have at least put concealer on under my eyes. Glasses really hide the dark circles. Still this picture is 50 times better than the last one.

While at the DMV I suddenly realized that DD turned 15 and a half on the tenth, which means she can now test for her learner's permit. Oh, my is that going to be an interesting experience. She downloaded the .pdf file for the book and has been studying it all weekend.

So the time has come to start saving up for a brake job for the Crown Victoria. We've just been letting it set, because we rarely need two cars, but it needs $800 worth of work. We figure she can use it when she gets her license to drive herself to school and back. We haven't wanted to sell it since there are a few rare occasions when it is nice to have it and we knew there'd soon be another driver in the household.

It's also probably better to learn to drive in it before she learns to drive the van. It's a nice, safe car that is easy to drive and easier to park than the van. Once she has experience with it, we will let her learn to use the van. So we decided we'd take the money for the brake job either from the inheritance or the tax return, whatever comes in first. That and her driver's ed class will be the only non-debt repayment that we've allowed for out of either of those sources of money.

$800 seems a relative bargain to get our 20 year old (in otherwise excellent shape) car drivable again.

As for me, I turned 42 today and it has been a great day. My husband bought me a lovely glass rose tea light candle holder (and some books off half.com that should be here sometime soon) as well as the talking scale I wanted (but that he opened last week, forgetting it was my gift). DD made me a calighraphy water color of a sea horse. And my mother and son deep-cleaned the living room so DH could bring the treadmill in from the garage so I can walk on days the weather is cruddy.

The grocery store bakery happened to have a set of white cupcakes with white frosting that they hadn't gotten around to putting sprinkles on so we got that for my cake. And we're having my favorite tacos for dinner (that I didn't have to cook).

Last night was great, too. DH and I went to Outback for a pre-Birthday dinner. I had $42.05 worth of gift cards. Dinner cost $47.55 and we left a $10 tip because the kid was amazing. I had Kookabura wings (mild), celery with bleu cheese, a side of mixed vegetables (they have the best mixed veggies!), a bowl of baked potato soup (I meant to get a cup but said bowl, so DH and I split it instead) and a glass of Strawberry Lemonade. Oh, and maybe 1/3 of the rye bread. Delicious. I brought home half the Kookaburra wings and celery with their scrumptious blue cheese, which I will use up on extra celery I have here.

Bits and Bobs

January 6th, 2012 at 01:46 pm

The mortgage posted to my account. The new mortgage balance is now at $18,544.28.

I added $6.70 to the coin jar.

We filled up the gas tank on the van for $53.84.

We paid $4.74 for a prescription.

I need to pick up psuedophederine, a NyQuil/DayQuil pack, and potassium today, so that will likely be a little pricey.

I have sent a total of $4600 to credit card debt.

DH had to pay $900 for a round trip ticket to work and back. He waited too long and the return part was twice as high as it should have been. *sighs*

I am trying to determine what to make for dinner tonight. Maybe pizza. I still have one of those Rustic Crusts, leftover spaghetti sauce, and some mozzarella cheese. There are a few meatballs left from last night's meatballs so I could crumble them on top of the pizza. I also have yellow onions so could dice some, saute them for a couple minutes, and throw them on as well. Oh, I think there's a ham end as well I could dice up. That sounds good. Not too much work and we can have a laid-back Friday night.

The new mattress is great to sleep on. I've now had two really good sleeps on it.

The PA took x-rays of my hip on Thursday. There is nothing wrong with the bones, so he thinks it is either muscular or nerves. He changed my physical therapy orders to lower stress therapy. If I am still in pain in 2 to 4 weeks he wants to send me to a neurologist, and possibly get an MRI of the area. I really don't want to pay for an MRI right now as we have started our deductible all over again. Oh, I know I have the $2500 set aside already, but I hate to blow through it this soon in the year.

We did run $2500 through the HSA though, just in case.

Not Really Much of Anything, But a Little Bit of Everything

December 19th, 2011 at 09:47 pm

I added $4.10 to the coin jar today.

I put $5 in a Salvation Army kettle.

I spent $10.90 at the grocery store.

I got gas today. It was $3.249 per gallon and I put in 16.213 gallons @ $52.68.

I am out of cash until Friday, but I have $67 in the checking account.

The bonus check did not come today. I thought it had, but it was only DH's paystub from Friday arriving in the mail (as we have direct deposit). Way to get my hopes up and watch them fall. DH will probably be home (Wednesday) before it shows up, but I live in hope.

I am mostly over my cold, just still have the cough lingering. My knee feels better but my hip hurts like blazes. These new physical therapy exercises are hard on it, but do seem to be strengthening my knee.

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.

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