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Purchasing and New Medical for 2020

October 27th, 2019 at 07:00 pm

I ordered a couple things off Amazon last night. I bought a 4 pack of 100 ct dye free Ibuprofen. I can, on occasion, find one bottle at Walgreens. We all would prefer to have our own bottles, but that has not been the case. I don't know why they never have it in stock or keep so little in stock, but it is getting frustrating. We have four Walgreens in town. One would think they would have more than one bottle between the four of them. They all carry it.

Then I bought some lens wipes for our glasses. I have been really unhappy with the Walgreens brand of wipes lately. I've had a lot of issues with them either being completely dried out, or being drenched so much that you have to then use a dry wipe afterwards. The brand I am trying had five stars. We'll see how good it is.

I did manage to get another package of the breakfast sausage I like and pick up a couple packets of hot dogs yesterday, too, along with some milk. I spent $20.18. I almost bought grapes, too. They had a sample of these yellow grapes (technically white, but they were very yellow) and they were very sweet and at first I liked them, but then I got this weird aftertaste up in my palate that was like almost burned caramel. I asked DH if he got it, too, and he said yeah, and he didn't like it. So we put them back. I am glad they had samples. I wish more stores would put out fruit samples, especially when bringing in something new.

I did get my steps in yesterday, but I don't think I will today. I'm having a bad joint day with the shakes in my hands. They were so bad that I had DH season the roast and put it into the Instant Pot for me. I figured if I did it, we'd end up with floor flavored seasoning, not my favorite. LOL

MIL says she will cover our hotel costs and food costs for going to Virginia Mason. That will be a relief. With having to buy the dishwasher I didn't want to have to spend an additional $300 for this visit.

We are getting new medical in January. It's Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Cadillac insurance. It will cost a little less, too. The deductible will be the same, $3000. And there will be a FSA of up to $2700. I'm not sure of all the details yet, but apparently you could write a check in January if you needed to for the full amount and they'd just take it out of the paycheck through the year as you go. It does have to be used up by 2 months into the following year, but I can't even remember a year when we didn't have $2700 in medical expenses so that will never be a problem.

I don't know what the out of pocket max is, or the per person deductible yet. DH is going to see if they have a .pdf or a print out so I can go over it. Dental and vision will stay the same as they are different programs. Although I am thinking about bumping up to the better dental because DH needs to get a crown and I need to repair a chipped tooth.

I wonder if the HSA can be used for dental or just medical. I'll have to have DH ask.

Grocery Spending Tracking

October 20th, 2019 at 06:39 pm

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. We ended up going to 7 different stores, because the stores were out of things that I wanted to buy. It was super annoying. Although I ended up with 7,356 steps yesterday, which is three miles. Usually I do about 3000 steps, which is my goal until I get stronger. So it was a lot of steps and I woke up having lost 2.1 pounds. Apparently I burned 3800 calories yesterday. I guess when you are lapping big stores and going up and down a lot of aisles, you do that.

Anyway, our first stop was at Costco. I spent $139.60 there, but $19.99 was out of the clothing budget for a pair of sweat pants for DS and $14.69 was for garbage bags which came out of the household budget. And then tax was $3.02. That tax goes with those because we don't have tax on food. So $37.30 was non-grocery spending and $101.90 was grocery spending. I bought:

3 4 pk steamer bags of organic frozen broccoli
2 Caesar salad kits
1 jar organic strawberry jam
1 8 pk of organic corn on the cob
1 package carné asada
1 bag Bibigo organic chicken potstickers
1 bag Bibigo beef mandu dumplings

After that we drove to Fred Meyer #1 $106.32. $3.14 of that was for a magazine and tax which comes out of my allowance and the actual grocery spending was $103.18. The first 3 items are for my daughter, who is sick. I bought:

1 gallon of vanilla HD ice cream
2 bags of Fritos
3 bottles of Sierra Mist sugar version
4 jars of Rao's Chicken Noodle Soup (expensive, but good and clean, no soy, no additives or preservatives)
4 2 packs of Mrs. Grass Noodle Soup
1 bunch cilantro
5 hothouse tomatoes
6 opal apples
6 jazz apples
2.5 lbs of cod fish
2 10 lb bags of ice
1 Woman's World magazine

Then we went to Fred Meyer #2 and spent $57.70. I bought:

2 loaves of Naked potato bread (on sale)
8 jars of Rao Chicken and Gnocci soup (expensive)

After that we went to Haggen #1 and spent $36.59. They were out of the sausages I wanted. I bought:

1 18 ct bag of cowboy cookies
2 loaves of pumpkin bread
1/2 gallon of Simply orange juice
1 18 ct bag of chocolate chip cookies
4 mountain rose apples (new variety, these things are pink inside, and taste like sweet tarts candy, won't be buying again)
1 big bag of red grapes

Next we stopped at the grocery outlet and spent $8.76. We went in looking for steaks, but they didn't have any good prices so left without them. I did buy:

1 organic red cabbage
2 bags of garlic croutons
5 kiwis

After that we went to Safeway. They were out of the sausages I wanted so we didn't buy much there. I spent $13.96 there. I bought:

3 packages of uncured pepperoni
1 package of beef sticks

Haggen #2 actually had my sausages, though not as many as I would have liked to buy. I spent $33.37 and bought:

1 18 ct bag of snickerdoodle cookies (yes, a lot of bags of cookies, but they are for the whole month, some went in the freezer)
3 packages of Hempler's breakfast sausage
2 acorn squash

So I spent a grand total of $355.46 out of a $400 grocery budget. I have $60 left in my grocery envelope for fill-ins and a couple more packages of sausage, because I had $10 leftover from last payday.

Now I need to make up my meal plan for the week.

Getting Ready to Go Grocery Shopping

October 18th, 2019 at 10:09 am

I am working out my meal planning and my shopping list for the next two weeks. It's payday so it is shopping day. The sales are really crap this week, but I've got a lot of meat in the last two weeks that were on terrific sales. So I think my focus is going to be on getting some codfish, breakfast meats, fruits and vegetables. We want to go out to the u-pick apple place and pick up some apples on Saturday.

We really like the Hempler's breakfast sausage so I am going to stock up on that for the freezer. All of the frozen brands seem to have TBHQ or TBX in them and that makes 3 out of 4 of us react badly. And we might go to the farm on Saturday to get bacon as well. Nothing compares to their bacon and we can put down a down payment on a turkey for Thanksgiving while we are there. I have ham.

I do need to get a few of the 4 packs of broccoli steamer bags from Costco now that they are carrying them again, some strawberry jam, and some prosciutto.

I'd also like to get a couple acorn squash. I've been craving it and I didn't grow any this year. If the farm stand is still open I'd like to get a garlic braid, too. I want to plant some garlic this fall. Last year I didn't make it out there in time and missed the garlic. I could order it, but theirs is so good and keeps for about 9 months.

I really need to do a freezer inventory. That always helps with meal planning, and not buying stuff we don't need.

Keep On Keeping On

April 4th, 2019 at 04:51 pm

DH had to pick up some pure maple syrup at Costco last night, so that cost $11.59. That seems to have gone down a good bit since the last time we bought syrup. I think it was around $15 last time, so that was a nice surprise.

The last two days were kind of painful. I think it was the storm. I am sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. I swell up when rainstorms come in. I also get headaches. It's weird. But the sun is back out today and also last night was my second shot of Enbrel and my joints are feeling better again, except my left hip, which is out and my chiropractor is on vacation. He won't be back until the 10th.

It is possible that I may be someone who has to take two shots of Enbrel a week, but I imagine it is too soon to tell. But the joint flare could also have been the medicine wearing off. I don't know. It's too soon to tell on that as well. No nausea or vomiting with this second shot, but I took some Zantac last night to try to prevent it, and it seems like it did.

Tomorrow we have another rain storm coming in, so if my joints hurt again, then I'll assume it was the pressure and not the medicine wearing off, since I just took the shot.

I have been maintaining my weight loss, but have not been very good at losing anymore. I haven't really been trying this week, but I need to get my act together, because I still have a lot to lose. We are going to get our gym membership signed up for this weekend and I can get back in the pool again. I am going to take it easy and only walk in the pool to start, not try to swim laps or use the water weights. I need to build up my stamina. Then maybe after a week or so, I might take a class.

They have Aqua Zumba one day a week and water aerobics the rest of the week days and Saturday. I will start with Aqua Zumba as it is easier on the joints and more fun. I will have to get up earlier for the water aerobics if I decide to start that, but Aqua Zumba is at 10:30. They do have two night time water aerobics classes if I just can't get up early enough. But they are at 6 p.m. and I imagine quite crowded at that time of day.

DS will be using the work out machines and weights while I am in the pool. He isn't really keen on water aerobics, though he did enjoy them when he was younger. I think he is self-conscious to be in a pool full of women, even if most of them are middle aged to old age.

I don't really know if DH or DD will use the membership or not. DD says she will to use the pool, but she is never able to get up, so I don't see it really happening unless she changes her sleeping schedule. I'm not going to drive there twice a day. It is a bad traffic situation later in the day and hard to get in and out.

I think I am going to have to accelerate savings for the computer fund. My computer keeps restarting itself. Every day, sometimes twice a day and it is getting super annoying. It keeps saying my computer has an error and has to shut down. Ugh. I am going to try a few things to see if I can't find the error, but it may not be salvageable.

This computer has quite a few things wrong with it that they never seemed to be able to fix 100% and now it no longer has a service contract, so I just can't see throwing money at it when I can throw money at a new one. I am not sure I will get a laptop this time, though. I think I may just get a desktop instead. We'll see. With my current phone, I don't really need a laptop to take with me anymore. I only write at home these days.

Although I do like taking the laptop into the bathroom while I am taking a long bath and playing a movie, so there's that. I guess I'll figure that out once I have the money saved up. I want to save instead of 18 months same as cash, but will do that if this thing goes belly up before the money is ready.

Quick Grocery Trip and New Drug Regimen Begins

March 28th, 2019 at 11:41 pm

I had to spend DH for milk and ice. He spent $7.99. Yes, I know I can make my own ice. I don't. It's one of the luxuries I allow, since I have trouble cracking ice cube trays with my RA.

Speaking of my RA, I started Enbrel last night. It's a pen type injector. I was really nervous, but it was simple. It hurt a little when the needle went in, but far less than a regular shot. The medicine itself did not hurt.

It's not supposed to take effect for a month, but some people have had it take effect immediately. I think I am one of those people, because I slept all night on one side. Usually I wake up a couple times a night to switch sides because of the pain. I'm not saying I am pain free, because I am not, but it was easier to get out of bed this morning than any time in recent memory.

I did have one side effect, though. I threw up this morning out of nowhere. I was perfectly fine, then ate a string cheese, and 30 seconds later got all the signs I was going to throw up and then did. There was a lot of bile, but fortunately I had drunk a lot of water, so it wasn't as nasty as it could have been. Vomiting is a side effect of the drug, as it has been with almost every RA drug I have tried. However, I've been fine the rest of the day.

Also I had more energy today than I have had in ages. I am still a little sick, but I had enough energy to do two loads of dishes and 4 loads of laundry. I have not had the energy to do that since I was on steroids for that really bad sinus infection. I also made dinner, including slicing an onion. Some days I can't cut things up. This was not one of those days.

So I am cautiously optimistic. We will see. Even if I still hurt, if I am not tired all the time that will be a drastic improvement. I am used to living in pain. Having the energy to get through a day is worth more to me than being pain free. But hopefully that pain will get better each day with this drug. And I won't get any of the scary bad side effects.

Figuring Out the New Budget

March 22nd, 2019 at 01:55 am

The paycheck hit the account early. Usually it isn't in there until eight a.m. So I went ahead and did the budget for the end of March (and what I didn't do out of last time's paycheck because I was sick) and then closed out the budget for the month. After that, since this paycheck did have the new amount with the raise on it, I changed my budget template to account for the increased money and then I set up the April budget.

So it looks like we will have $1177.54 more in each paycheck. Now some of that will go to increasing the tithe amount to keep it at 10%, but the rest is all going to be thrown at the monster mom loan. If we are careful, I should be able to make payments of $700 the first payday of each month and $1300 the second payday of each month. At least barring any unforeseen circumstances.

I would have actually been able to make a $1000 payment this time, but I doubled the clothing budget as DH ripped out yet another pair of pants. He does this by getting down on one knee and then stretching forward to pick something up. I tell him not to do it, but he keeps doing it. And it always rips outside the seam so it can't be repaired. So he needs to get a couple of pairs of pants, DD needs a new cardigan (she gets called so easily even when it is warm out), I need a new cardigan and possibly a couple t-shirts. I need to go through my closet to be sure, but I think I need at least two.

I paid off the credit card (which I do monthly), but it was high this time because of all the take out while I was super ill. So if not for that I would have been able to make a $1300 loan payment this payday.

I am feeling a lot better. I still have a runny nose and a cough, but I have been able to sit up all day for 2 days running, and I was able to make dinner three days in a row now, so there should not be anymore take out, except for the weekly meal that MIL pays for if we choose to have it.

I am still not super hungry. The flu really killed my appetite. I've lost 17.4 pounds total since the 6th. Not on purpose, but I'll take it. I am up to one meal and one snack a day, but will try to get up to one meal and two snacks tomorrow. But eating is still a chore. But I really need to make sure I am eating at least 1200 calories.

I went grocery shopping today. Just one store and I used up the rest of last payday's grocery budget. I will do more shopping tomorrow with the new grocery budget. I figured it would be easier on me to just do one store today and one store tomorrow, than try to do two or more stores in one day. I don't have the stamina for it. I did make it through the shopping without having to use my inhaler, so I've vastly improved since the last shopping trip.

So at Haggen I spent $192.43 and bought:

Aspargus
Green cabbage
Scarlet carrots
Daikon
Red grapes
Oranges
Green bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Strawberries
2 beef chuck roasts
3 family sized packages of sirloin steaks
1 pork shoulder roast
1 package chorizo sausage
1 sliced ham chub
1 sliced turkey chub
Popcorn
1 loaf of Naked bread
1 package of Naked hamburger buns
4 jars of Classico Alfredo sauce
4 jars of Miracle Whip

The last two items were on super good sales, but you had to buy 4 to get the sale price. That's okay, though. The MW will last us until the next big sale and at $2.99 it was half price. The Alfredo sauce I use at least twice a month for Chicken Fettucine Alfredo and at least twice a month for the kids' pizzas (DD can't eat tomato sauce anymore). I make them a chicken parmesan bacon pizza with Alfredo sauce. It's honestly just like the one from Pizza Hut only no tomatoes. The kids say it is actually better. Probably because I cook my crust to crispy, unlike PH.

I still have to make up a meal plan for next week. I will be making pizzas tomorrow, burgers and jo-jos on Saturday, and pot roast on Sunday. I'll work on next week's meal plan after I've finished all the grocery shopping.

Cleaned the Fridge

March 3rd, 2019 at 03:10 pm

I didn't fall asleep last night until around 3 a.m. Ugh. But I cleaned the fridge since I was so awake. And I was very pleased that I didn't have to throw anything out. I have been focusing on getting leftovers used up to reduce our food waste and it seems to be paying off. I do have all the leftovers sitting on one shelf, though, so that they are easy to be aware of and don't get shoved to the back of the fridge.

Between this and eating down the freezer, I have been able to not spend the entire grocery budget for the last two paydays. Admittedly, there are still 5 days left until the next payday, but I think there will still be a little left. I'm not talking a ton. The first payday it was only $15, but usually I spend right up to the line. This time it looks like it will be closer to $50. It would be more, but we are out of ketchup and since they are on sale I am going to stock up and get 3. DH eats a lot of ketchup.

So far I have not decided what to do with any extra money. Maybe just throw it in a jar to save up for a side of beef. That way it is still going towards food.

Snow Keeps Falling, Snow Keeps Falling, Down, Down

February 10th, 2019 at 09:00 pm

...to paraphrase one of my favorite songs from the 80's. The snow started around 3:00 this afternoon and we already have six inches. It's supposed to snow non-stop for the next few days, too. DH and I were out doing our grocery shop. We went to five stores, but the second to last one had closed early due to the weather. We only missed it by about a half an hour, but fortunately that was Whole Foods, which was just a want, not a need, run for sopprasetta.

Usually I will spread out the shopping over a couple of days, but not when the weather is only going to get worse. So here's what I bought at Safeway:

1 Pepsi Throwback (sugar kind, and bad)
2 Pirates Booty
1 Tostitos Lime
2 Classico Alfredo Sauce
2 packages O Organics Popcorn
2 1/2 gallons of O Organics Milk
1 bag of spinach
2 limes
1 box organic blackberries
1 organic red onion
4 organic roma tomatoes
1 lb deli roast beef
1 lb deli roast chicken

I spent $64.86 there. Next we went to Costco and I got:

1 box shredded parmesan cheese
2 4 packs frozen broccoli
1 bag of six bell peppers
1 box of Kodiak Power Waffles
1 bag of sausage patties
1 2 pack of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 packages of Yangtze pork
1 4 pack Kerrygold Irish butter
2 24 packs of organic eggs
2 3 packs of organic chicken sausage links
1 bag of peeled garlic
1 2 pack of prosciutto

I spent $172.99 there. Our next stop was the food co-op. We were looking for tortillas without soy in them, but there's had soybean oil so I only ended up buying:

1 head of organic lettuce

I spent $2.99. Next we went to Trader Joe's and I bought:

3 5 lb bags of Russet potatoes
2 packages of uncured beef hot dogs
4 packages of flour tortillas (no soy!)
2 containers of sunflower oil
1 box pita crackers (no soy!)
1 box rosemary crackers (no soy!)

I spent $43.97 there. So total grocery spending was $284.81, well under my $400 two week grocery budget.

We did pickup some household items as well. At Safeway we got 2 bottles of body wash for DH for $6.51. At Costco we picked up a case of toilet paper and 2 4 packs of Zyrtec for $98.99 for a total of $105.50. TP and body wash came out of the Household Envelope and Zyrtec came out of the Medical Fund Account.

Now I shouldn't have to budge from the house until the Snowpocalypse is over.