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Archive for December, 2015

Interestiing Day at Work, Ting

December 29th, 2015 at 04:50 pm

So ... today at work they had to let go of one of the bus cleaners. He apparently was very unhappy about this - as in emailing threats to the big wigs.

Had two police officer visits - one to pick up the phones/wallets from lost and found, and then the same officer was back to deal with the fired employee threats.

Also had one of the newbie bus driver trainees come by asking about how to sign up for the health insurance. He wasn't too happy to learn he had to wait til he'd been employed 90 days. He had apparently already canceled his other insurance (assuming Obamacare.) Did he not read the new employee information??

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The last few months I've been having trouble keeping my data usage in the small bucket. It was looking like I was going to go over again this month as well. But somehow, someway I was kept in the small bucket! Which means $9 less than I had budgeted. Yahoo!

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Swagbucks was annoying me today. No bonus points on any of the apps, etc. But then I saw I'd had 60 points in coupon redemptions come in! Sweet! Now if only some more will come in on Thursday so I can get my 31 day bonus for sure.

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The new YNAB is being officially released tomorrow. Which means I have until Jan 31st to decide if I want to upgrade for the 10% discount price. I know I'll probably go for it eventually, but I don't really want to have to WAM $45 to buy it right now. Sigh ... maybe I'll come into some extra money in January. Maybe I'll get away with doing my taxes for free this year (I think I can do the state taxes at least on the state website - will have to check into that.)

If you are thinking about buying YNAB4 - you'll have do it today. By tomorrow you'll no longer be able to purchase it. (It still can be downloaded by people who already have a copy, it just can't be purchased.)

Snowstorm! Well ... not really. :)

December 28th, 2015 at 06:21 pm

After all the hoopla about the 6 - 10 inches and big gusty winds ... Yeah, we maybe got 4 inches? I will say though, it is cold!

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I cashed out for another AGC from PerkTv last night - about five minutes before NE came over. Smile So, that adds $25 to my 2015 extra money total. Smile

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I somehow managed (I think) to not go into the next data bucket on Ting this month. Which means I had $9 to put in my Remote Starter fund in January. Smile

This is a good thing because ...

I'm probably going to have to WAM from that December category to put into groceries.

I tried to talk NE into just using what we already have on hand (other than for the Martinelli's sparkling juice) for NYE dinner. He was really set on doing the homemade pizza. Sigh.

So I'll be getting a Chef Boyardee kit, cheese, and a Martinelli's. He's picking up the hamburger for himself. (We'll split the cost.) I already have mushrooms and pineapple.

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My mini-goal 1 update =
So far, so good! My place was pretty picked up today, so there wasn't much cleaning/picking up to do. So ...I spent about 20 minutes working on my to shred pile. There's still probably about 3 days worth of 20 minute sessions left to go. Smile

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At work today I didn't have a book with me and was desperately bored. So ... I decided to try to see if I could possibly get the Kindle app on my computer without having to download/install. It worked! So now I won't be quite so obvious about reading a book ... Smile

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I'm in two Bounts challenges this week. One is the 50k steps by Friday, and the other is walk/run a 5k by Friday.

I've got about 17k steps so far, and am hoping that Friday will be decent weather wise so I can go for a 3 mile walk in the local park. That would be a cool 100 bonus points between the two challenges. Smile

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It is SO cold in my bedroom/office. If I was planning on staying here another year (in this apartment) I'd invest in some weatherstripping or something. I put a towel at the bottom of the door (one that leads outside) but am not sure what to do about the windows. I think that's where most of the cold is coming from.

I can mostly cover up, but my hands are what bug me the most. I think I had fingerless gloves somewhere ...

2015 Spending / Savings

December 27th, 2015 at 02:14 pm

Patient Saver's post made me curious to see what my totals were for the year. This is really the first year I've actually managed to almost 100% of the time track my finances faithfully. I've been using YNAB since around 2006, but would go months+ at a time without tracking ...

So ... I think this will give me a good basis to start with at least.

I'm going to go with my biggest expense to smallest, then look at savings.

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Rent - 5,160 - 430/month
Groceries - 2153.25 - 179.74/month average
This is a lot more than I would like to spend on groceries. I would like to get my average down to 150/month for 2016 - including any treat type foods. (This groceries figure does not include treats.)

Tithe - 10% of net - rent (This is what my dad, a pastor told me was a good way to figure for tithe.)

Medical - $1286.91 - 107.24/month
This includes an $800 ER bill from fainting in March. Here's hoping that there won't be any big bills like this in 2016! (Not included is the $700 of FSA money which was completely spent.)

Vacation - 974.88 - $81.xx/month
About $500 of this was reimbursed by my aunt for my CA trip. Most of the rest was from when my mom came out here to visit me.

Internet - 865.91 - 72.16
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I hate how much I am paying for this, but unless I gave up Internet completely, it is unavoidable. (Nothing cheaper available that has WiFi.)

Restaurants - $545.42 - $5.45
OH MY WORD! This is an entirely ridiculous amount of money to have spent eating out / fast food places. $35 of it is for a restaurants $200 credit, but still. Way too much money. My goal in 2016 is to not eat at fast food place or restaurants unless I'm with someone else. Hopefully this will cut this amount down a lot. (Plus using the $200 credit for gift certificates.)

Electronics - $463.38
Thanks to losing my phone this year ... plus a couple cheap smartphones for PerkTv use, etc.

Electricity - 452.54 - 37.71/average

Giving - 451.80 - 37.65 average
Not as much as I'd like to do. For 2016 I've added two new categories to up this amount a little.

Car Insurance - 433.60 - 36.13 average

Household - 419.23 - 34.94 average
This includes $100 to the housecleaner UGH, plus replacing shower curtain, etc. Cleaning supplies, new to me loveseat, bookcase etc.

Treats - 397.69 - 33.14 average
I think I actually spent more in this category than this that got "lumped" in to the groceries category ... Really need to get this one WAY down.

Gym - 395.63 - 32.97 average
Sigh. I signed up in March and by September pretty much have stopped going. I have a two-year contract - I really need to get over there and see what it would cost to get out of it. Or somehow get myself going there again.

Kari - 337 - 28.08 average
Stocking up on cat food/wet food/litter, replacing litter boxes/scoops, license fees, etc.

Auto Fuel - 326.84 - 27.24 average
Not too bad I guess. This includes several extra tanks in March when I was driving back and forth from the hospital for NE.

Phone - 321.69 - 26.81 average
This includes the ETF from ATT and several months of no phone bills due to Ting credits.

Car Care - 312.11 - $26.09 average
A couple of oil changes, transmission fluid, wiper blades, etc.

Natural Gas - 306.50 - 25.54 average
The sad thing is that there is a $14/month "customer fee" irregardless of actual usage. So really the lowest possible to get this would be about $18/month. And they are talking about raising the "customer fee."

Clothing - 193.51 - 16.13/average
This is two pairs of shoes for work/church, bras, new pair of jeans, and misc. items throughout the year.

Car Tax - 175.09
Yearly car tax

Beauty - 154.26 - 12.86 average
The majority of this is from my treating my aunt and grandma to a mani/pedi at Thanksgiving time

Gifts - 83.01 - 6.92 average
I actually spent more than this, but was able to use Amazon money to pay for most gifts.

Miscellaneous - 80.85
This includes library fines, and other small things that don't really need a category.

Tax Prep - 34.98
This will be less this year since I only have to do one state's taxes.

Entertainment - 15
Bought a CD from a concert

Movies - 10
Two movies (matinees)

iTunes - 6.41
A couple of apps

Savings:
7% of my gross salary is automatically deducted to my 401b, plus a matching 9% from my company.

On my own, I also put $2500 into ROTH savings.

Between cash savings, retirement savings, stock growth, etc., my networth went up roughly 20k this year. (At one point it was up much, much, much more ....)

So .. of my total income this year, I kept ~18% of it, plus the ROTH savings, plus the 7% which was automatically taken from my paycheck.

So, a rough estimate of my savings rate for the year would be about 35%. Not great, but not horrible either.

2016 will be interesting because I'll hopefully be saving a LOT more until August, but then will be spending a HUGE chunk around September.


A White Christmas!

December 25th, 2015 at 07:18 am

Thursday morning I woke to my car covered in snow - the first real snow of the season so far. Smile It was a little dicey driving to work - but thankfully not many people out on the roads.

Here are some pictures I took once I got to work:

This is from inside our front foyer looking out at the street.

This is the view from my "office" area of the roof of the bus garage.

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Christmas Eve with NE started off a little rocky. When I got home he was in a pretty bad mood because the rum cakes he'd made hadn't turned out as good as he expected, along with some other frustrations. After talking it out though, he got back into a good mood and we went to the Christmas Eve service, then Christmas light looking. We passed by a Dominoe's that was open and decided to get a pizza - we both were pretty hungry.

His gift for me hadn't come yet, so we are going to wait til it arrives to exchange gifts.

He'll be coming by later today to do tater tot casserole (and maybe try again with the rum cakes). In the meantime, I'm enjoying not having to go in to work! Smile And in a few hours will make some Christmas calls.

Merry Christmas everyone!

2015 Snowflakes

December 23rd, 2015 at 05:45 pm

I know it's not quite to the end of 2015, but I don't think I'll be getting any more snowflakes this month. I'm not sure if I got everything possible - I kept changing how I recorded things, so I may have missed a few things.

Here are the main sources of extra income this year:

Achievemint - $100
Bing - $105 (including a $5 cashout in by next week)
Checking Bonuses - 300.00
AmEx bonus - $250.00
DataXCoup - $14.90
Discover Card bonus +some cash back - 83..90
Interest - $104.39
Ebay / cash sales -171.02
iBotta - 47.25
MobiSave - 19.60
Pact - 130.00
Perk - 150 (I think there was more - but can't verify)
Pinecone - $102
parking lot job - $137.13
SavingStar - $5.16
Class Action - $29.23
Bounts - $10
Walmart Savings Catcher - 5.18
YouGov - 100
Swagbucks - $720
ReceiptHog - $10
Walgreen's Balance Rewards - ~$70
MyPoints - $50

$2714.86

When they say that every little bit adds up, it does! I actually hadn't realized that I'd made so much with Swagbucks this year. Wow.

I'm thinking of doing a fresh budget in YNAB to clean up some of the payees / categories for 2016 - so hopefully I can also make it easier on myself to track extra income.

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I also was looking at my networth from January til now. It had some amazing highs (namely when one particular stock was nearing $300 ....) but overall has grown roughly $16k.

Recognized at Work!

December 22nd, 2015 at 05:18 pm

Today I got an email with a link to the most recent newsletter for our city department. Each month people are chosen from across the city to be recognized based on a theme.

If I remember correctly from when my supervisor was recognized (I asked) you go to a dinner and get some kind of certificate, maybe a day off work and some money??

This month's theme was about community.

Guess who was picked from the bus company? Big Grin

Here's what my boss wrote about me:

"Laura has been working for bus company for just over a year, and she has proven to be a great asset in the way she works with the public, both over the telephone and in person. She truly cares about the community, and has participated in several of our public events promoting ridership by assisting with route information and sharing her sunny disposition."

I asked my boss about it and apparently I wasn't supposed to know yet. Smile Oops.

I'm guessing whatever will happen will happen after the new year.

Anyway, pretty cool I think. Smile

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So my property manager is coming to change my furnace filter tomorrow.

Guess what I did tonight? About another 45 minutes of focused cleaning/picking up. My place is looking pretty spiffy about now if I do say myself. Smile Although I do have all the slides, etc piled up in a corner. (I told him that I had a bunch of stuff I'd brought back with me that I didn't have a good place for.)

So, hopefully no nasty email surprise later.

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My brother sent NE and I a box of Harry & David chocolates for Christmas. It came today. I really appreciate it, although now I feel kind of bad because I didn't get him anything ... that's been our understanding for a long time. Not sure why he decided to send something this year. Oh well, it was thoughtful of him. (Been practicing that a lot ...)

My Afghan is Here!

December 21st, 2015 at 04:21 pm

After several failed attempts to pick up my afghan from the FedEx drop off, I finally have it home. It is quite lovely I think and warm too. Smile

My aunt made this for me with yarn I picked out when I was in CA over Thanksgiving. She's taught herself how to knit entirely through youtube videos.

Here's a pic (with Kari photobombing of course.) Smile

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So I finally got a sort of non-auto response reply from restaurant.com regarding my $200 credit. This after three exactly the same auto responses.

It basically said to reply to this email if your issue hasn't been resolved and we'll escalate it. So ... I replied and now I wait.

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NE and I were taking stock of what we'll need to make 5 rum cakes (he's decided he wants to take one to work.) What it boiled down to was we'd need another bottle of rum. Ugh. That stuff is expensive! The pecans also aren't going to be cheap ...

At least I already have pretty much everything we need for the tater tot casserole on hand (except the particular brand of veggeburger he wants for it.)

Even splitting the cost .. my grocery budget is going to go over.

Oh well, January I will do better!

Lovely Birthday Dinner, etc.

December 18th, 2015 at 08:10 pm

Thursday when I got home from work I was SO hungry and SO cold ... but I knew we were going to be eating out, so I didn't want to spoil my appetite.

So .. I bumped the heat way up (it was COLD) and did about 20 minutes or so of cleaning/picking up. Then I started getting ready - actually putting on makeup! and actually fixing! my hair .. :big grin:

My manicure from when I was out in CA was still good on my left hand, but several of the right hand fingers were looking pretty sad. So ... I spent about 25 minutes taking the polish off. Then, just as I was finishing the second coat of polish, NE called saying he was on his way over! Uh ...

So he came over and I finished getting ready. Then before we left I used a coupon code that had come in my email from Restaurants.com to get a $25 gift certificate for $4.25. *Still have not heard back from customer service about my missing $200 credit!*

The fancy restaurant we went to is a repurposed home built in the late 1890s. The restaurant itself has been in business around 22 years. It is really beautiful inside the home. I kind of wanted to explore it, but thought that might be a little unclassy ... Smile

A few minutes after we were seated, our waiter came by to get our orders. As soon as I mentioned that I was vegetarian, he went and got the chef! to come talk to me. The chef (who turned out to be the waiter's dad) sat and talked with us for at least 6 or 7 minutes. I think he was a bit flummoxed when I told him I didn't like spicy foods... Smile When I told him that I do eat eggs, he was like "Oh, a fake vegetarian." LOL! (It was especially funny because NE teases me almost along the same lines.)

A little while later our entrees were brought out. OH MY WORD! The dish the chef created was this HUGE mound of spinach linguine with lots of veggies. I mean HUGE. I ate as much as I could last night, had some for lunch today, some for dinner tonight, and have enough probably for dinner tomorrow too! It wasn't the best tasting dish I've ever had, but it was pretty good.

The cool factor was mainly though that the chef came by personally to figure out what to make for me. Smile

I wish we could have had someone along to take a picture of us outside of the place - very nice backdrop. Oh well.. Smile

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So far so good with my mini goals. I've been getting in a lot of practice with Oh Well at work. Smile I also have been making sure to get some cleaning/picking up in each of the past 3 days.

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I cashed out for $12 from Pinecone today (thanks CCF and LibLady for alerting me about the $3 status!)

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I think my afghan came from my aunt today - but I had to arrange delivery to a closer pickup spot for tomorrow. (Otherwise I'd probably never get it - since they like to come at 9 or 10 a.m. on weekdays ...)

Speaking of deliveries - I'm still waiting on the package from my mom - with birthday and Christmas gifts. She mailed them a week ago Saturday - I'm the only person who hasn't received their package yet.

It could possibly be in my mailbox right now ... but of course my mailbox key isn't working again! I stopped by the PO to mail my mom's package (I know, procrastinate much ...) and went to the window to ask about who I needed to talk to. I was told that it was my property managers job to take care of it.

So ... I made the dreaded call and spoke to PMs wife Frown Frown She said she'd have him take a look tomorrow. (Hopefully NOT a look in my apartment ... much better, but still needs work.)

I really do not like the cluster mailbox thing where you have to have a key to get your mail ... (Key was working just fine on Wednesday. But on Thursday neither I nor NE could get it open.)

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My boss and I were talking yesterday and were discussing the person who retired from my position. I mentioned to her how I've had several people bemoan the fact that I don't decorate for all the holidays/dress up for Halloween, etc. She told me she was GLAD I don't do that. Big Grin What was really funny though was that about 15 minutes after she left, one of the main bemoaners came by to buy a pass!

I'd also said something to her about how it seemed like finally after nearly 1 1/2 years that people have accepted that I'm a stickler for following policy (previous person *wasn't*) Then ... today I have not one, but TWO different people challenge me on the policy. Oh brother!

(For low income passes the only requirement is to show a photo id - plus only can purchase one pass per person per month - this gives a %55 discount from the regular fare pass. The policy used to be much more involved - people had to sign a log with name/address. Then before that they had to prove their income with bank statements/tax returns, etc. So it's NOTHING now - just a photo id!)

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So anyway, I'm glad for the weekend. Smile

On Sunday NE and I will probably do some shopping for our Christmas dinner / Rum cakes. He wants to do 4 this year. 1 for his sister, 1 for his friend, 1 for us, and 1 for a mutual friend.

Thankfully we have plenty of rum left from last year (that was the most expensive thing we bought last year!) He's probably going to come over here early on Christmas Eve to make the first two - since I won't get home til at least 4:45, and the CE concert starts at 6, then we'll be doing C lights looking. Smile

We're doing tater tot casserole (vegetarian) for Christmas Dinner. I know, not exactly traditional, but he really doesn't want to do a vegge dinner roast or tofurkey. So ... we compromised.

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I need to update my sidebar - maybe tomorrow. Smile

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I finally managed to get a doctor's appointment set up for the end of January. It took two days of calling during my breaks and leaving voicemails. But it's set up now. One of the things I'm hoping to do is have the doctor write me a prescription for Allegra D and Flonase so that I can use my FSA money for them. I'd much rather use pre-tax money for that stuff than post-tax .. or maybe pay for it with my regular card, then get reimbursed - so, pre-tax plus cashback. Smile

Anyway, it's past 10, so I should be signing off here. (In preparation for that mini-goal ...)

Mini-Goals for Year 40 (Not a Mini-Post :D )

December 16th, 2015 at 05:35 pm

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes. Smile

It was a pretty low-key birthday ovearall. Tomorrow night NE and I will be going out to a fancy restaurant here (still working on the gift certificate problem ..)

NE stopped by between deliveries to tell me happy birthday in person. Smile

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So ... what are my mini-goals for year 40?

I've been thinking about a lot of the different goals I've had, and how I've managed to do some .. for awhile, and others not really at all. I think maybe part of it was that some of the goals were too big / too much all at once.

So .. I decided that I'm going to try doing mini-goals. I'm going to choose one or two things to focus on for 30 days (or so) and not worry about the rest. Then if those goals are doing well, I'll add something new.

I'm hoping that by doing it this way, the mini-goals will become deeply ingrained habits.

So ... here are some of the mini-goals I'm thinking about:

MG1: Do something for 15 minutes (or more) every day that helps improve my environment. (Cleaning, decluttering, putting up pictures, etc.)

MG2: Say "Oh Well." When someone does something that gets you flustered or upset, or you're thinking that you'd really like something (junkfood) but know you aren't going to have it ... say "Oh Well." That's their problem / I'd rather be healthy / I'd rather have the money for ....

MG3: Do something active for at least 15 minutes everyday intentionally.

MG4: Do something for your spiritual health at least 15 minutes a day (read the Bible, pray, memorize verses, etc.)

MG5: Do something for your personal growth at least 15 minutes a day (play the piano, use Duolingo to practice Spanish, etc.)

MG6: Do something for others at least 2x a week (work on church library, volunteer, etc.)

MG7: Connect with others at least 2x a week (email/letter/phone call) Have at least 1x a week be someone different than the week before.

MG8: Turn off computer/phone by 10 p.m.

MG9 - Floss every day before going to bed.

MG10 - Give yourself a manicure or pedicure once a week.

Others may be added as I think of them. Smile

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Financial Goals:

Main Financial Goal - Make spending decisions based on category balances only.

I have 3 main savings goals for this coming year -

High Priority - House Downpayment. This is where my regular savings, 90% of Windfalls (bonuses, tax refunds, SBs paypal earnings, survey earnings, etc.) will go. I'm hoping to hit $4k by September, and then probably sell up to ten shares of stock to add to the amount. (Goal of house purchase in September. Starting the process in August.)

Medium Priority Car Replacement - This will be getting a set amount of $50/month til #1 isn't needed.

Low Priority Remote Car starter - Leftover amounts in groceries, gas and utilities will be funneled here. (Would like to have $350 by September/October.)

Other Goals/Decisions:

I am no longer going to be purchasing ready made treats/sweets for consumption at home or at work. I can purchase the *ingredients* to MAKE treats for myself (such as chocolate chips to go into cookies) but not store-bought cookies.

Eating out / Fast Food is only going to be something that happens WITH another person.

Soda is an OH WELL item.

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Today I started with MG1 and 2. (My focus for the next 30 days.) When I got home from work, as soon as I changed into something warm, I spent about 45 minutes picking up, putting away, throwing away. The place already looks much better. (It will need several more days of 15 minute sessions to be looking "good.")

I'm hoping I can develop the attitude (in my mind at least) of Oh Well at work in dealing with some of the people that whine and complain. That way maybe I can deal with it for 15 more years.

The Oh Well is also going to be replacing my habit of Coke and Chocolate on stressful days. Oh Well - the day stunk like donkey balls - I'll live another day. (Thankfully there are quite a few short weeks in this coming 30 day period which hopefully will help make this habit easier to form! Big Grin )

Last Day of Year 39

December 14th, 2015 at 05:09 pm

So ... I had lots of ideas and plans for year 39. Those plans and ideas worked about as well as most New Year's resolutions. Smile

Nevertheless, a new decade of life means maybe plans and ideas and goals can be a bit better off than just another set of resolutions. We'll see I guess.

Financially I did okay. As of now I have quite a few LTP (long term planning) funds fully funded and have started on the Car and House funds.

Health/weight wise ... um ... If I remember what I started at last December ... Well ... I pretty much maintained I guess. I pretty much haven't been to the gym in at least 3 months (although I have been exercising - just not at the gym.)

Friendship wise ... While I still don't have anyone here I "hang out" with outside of church activities, I am a little more involved. Maybe eventually that will lead to something. Someday.

Relationship wise .... Mostly good, with some frustrations that rear themselves at times overly much. But that generally tends to happen when I'm way overtired.

Job wise - Most days/most of the time it's ok. I have a great boss, and a couple co-workers I also like. The co-workers who were causing drama before have pretty much completely laid off. So ... it's tolerable.

It's definitely helping being able to take time off now and then to get away. Like today - I took off to have a long weekend as my birthday present to myself. Although I might have taken today off anyway because Sunday I did something to my back, plus feeling miserable cold/allergies. (My back is feeling better tonight, as are my cold/allergies.)

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Yesterday NE and I went to the local urgent care place because NE had a finger infection. (Most likely from him biting off a hang nail ... When I asked him if he was going to stop doing that - Why? 1st problem in 49 years? - Ohhhhkaaayyy.)

While we were waiting for his prescription to get filled, we went over to SuperTarget. I had $2 coupons for cat litter (Scoop Away 25lb) plus the Savings Catcher had 25% off it. I unfortunately forgot my Red Card though - asked at the front desk and was told to bring my receipt the next time and they'd make an adjustment.

Of course ... I wasn't used to having NE along on a shopping trip, so I also spaced using the coupons (but not the savings catcher!)

I went back to Target today and was able to get both the 5% adjustment and the $4 in coupons! (I also bought a 3rd box with a coupon. Kari is SET for litter for a long time!)

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While I was out today I also stopped at Walmart - mainly to pick up a few iBotta items - definitely things I'll use, but didn't need right now. I also was really wanting to find a Terry's Chocolate Orange .... no luck. Stopped at a few other places too. All sold out. Frown

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I cashed out for $20 from iBotta today, and also for $25 PayPal from Swagbucks.

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I got a postcard from my doctor letting me know that I need to schedule a baseline mammogram .... Oh the joys of my new decade. Smile I was going to do it today, but then realized that I don't know what my bosses schedule is like ... so need to get that info first.

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My aunt (who Thrifty Ray has met) has really gotten into knitting since retiring. While I was in CA over Thanksgiving she made me slippers, and had me pick out the yarn for an afghan. She texted me today to let me know that it was finished! I might have it here by Friday. So cool! (Or should I say, so warm!)

Now that we can post pics again, I'll post a picture of it when I get it. Smile

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If I'm on the upward mend of this cold on top of allergies thing, then hopefully within the next few days I'll have the energy to get my apartment back into shape. I'd really hate for the property manager to come in right now ... (not dirty, just really, really cluttered/messy)

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Oh! I almost forgot. I logged in to restaurant . com today to buy the gift certificate for the fancy place NE and I will be going to on Thursday night. Only to find out that my $200 credit seemed to have completely disappeared!! I checked on Living Social to make sure they hadn't reversed the offer I'd purchased or something ...

I wrote customer service and got a form reply telling me how to redeem an offer. Ugh! I replied ... nothing back yet.

SO VEry Aggravating. (I bought a $200 r.com gift certificate for $35 from Living Social. I hadn't used any of it yet!)

Doings

December 12th, 2015 at 04:50 pm

Well it seems like I have developed a cold on top of my allergies. Ugh. So having Allegra D (24 hr) and Flonase in my system daily, and STILL sneezing, sniffling and coughing ... not much else to do but tough it out.

I've been incredibly tired and having a hard time getting myself to do anything I don't absolutely have to do. So ... the robe that I was asked to mend near the end of November ... which was needed by today ... guess when I actually started on it? This morning about 5 a.m. I finished it about 8:30 a.m. (Reattaching braiding on edges in places the cloth had pulled away, and sewing armholes together to a less huge gap.)

I took it with me to church today and gave it to the lady in charge of costumes (it's for a drive through Nativity tonight.)

Church was awesome - it was the spoken/musical Christmas story week. Smile I think this year's story was based on a TransSiberian Orchestra musical? (One of the songs was Music Box Blues, the rest were normal Christmas sonts - i.e. Silent Night, etc.) I wish I'd been a little more with it/not so sleepy - but still very much enjoyed it.

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I did not go to the Friday night concert. I realized by Wednesday that I just would NOT be up to it -plus I had that darn robe to do! Part of it also was that I didn't have any money set aside in a concert category - my fun money had pretty much been spent between the Groupon pizza deal and the Living Social Restaurant.com deal. I need to make a separate category for concerts which is NOT to be whacked from for other things. Even if I just put a few dollars in it each month ... Smile

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I was looking on Amazon for a purse (mine is getting really shabby.) While on there I looked at my gift card balance. Ouch! I've been buying ebooks $.99 and $1.99 here and there ... and it's really cut into my balance! So ... back to my old rule of only "buying" the freebies!

I did find a purse that I think will work, but I'm going to wait until I have something else to order with it - free shipping. (The purse is $14)

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Year 40 is quickly approaching. (Like ... Tuesday quickly. Yikes.) I'm thinking about some changes I'd like to make. Some health wise, some financial, one other possible major change ...

I found a house which would be so perfect ... $55k! Has a one-car garage, enclosed front porch, backyard, fence, basement (990 sq ft, 2 br, 1.5 bath)... If there's one out there now, then maybe in August when I can seriously start looking, there's bound to be another one - maybe even more perfect. Smile

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I got my $25 Walmart card from SBs on Friday. So ... I printed it out and went shopping. Smile I had been thinking of getting an Ampore Pedicure device (had a $5 coupon plus a $5 rebate) but just couldn't do $20+ after coupon/rebate. Especially when I found something similar for $10. Smile

After coupons I spent $44.xx total. Minus the giftcard, it was about $19.xx. I got $4.75 in rebates from iBotta, $.60 rebate from MobiSave, $.20 from Snap, $.25 from Checkout 51, and $1 from SavingStar. (None of which I've actually cashed out on yet though.)

I'm $.30 away from cashout on iBotta. I would have been over the cashout limit, but didn't realize one of the items required 2 purchases. Ugh.

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I cashed out for another $25 AGC from Perk today. Will get that on Monday.

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I did some more messing with my YNAB budget this weekend. I realized that my health insurance OOP is $2000, but through my FSA I have about $800. So ... I reduced that category to $1200 and spread the $800 into other categories.

I also eliminated another LTP category, which added $65 into the budget.

What this all means is that I'll now focus my LTP savings on 3 goals - House Downpayment, Car Replacement, and the Remote Starter.

Speaking of the Remote Starter - On Groupon there was a deal to get it done for $170 in O town. Less than half of the price I was quoted here. Unfortunately, there was only $23 in that category. Smile Maybe that deal will come around again when I have the money ready for it.

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Oh! If you remember me talking about the vegge hot pockets I made last Sunday? Well I had a good amount of veggie filling leftover.

Finally on Thursday night I managed to do something with the leftovers! I added a couple eggs, some more flavorings, and a box of Jiffy cornbread mix. Then I formed "patties" and baked them for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

They are YUMMY! Even NE liked them (he wasn't too sure about my adding the Jiffy mix to the batter - but turns out it worked out just right!)

I really need to get the remaining hot pockets and patties frozen though ...

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I almost forgot a funny from my grocery shopping ... two of the rebates were for loose carrots. It didn't specify a quantity. So ... I bought ONE loose bulk carrot. It cost $.10. 1 rebate was for $.50, and the other was for $.20. So ... I made $.60 profit. Smile

This & That

December 8th, 2015 at 06:13 pm

NE and I went out for pizza Sunday night. I found a Groupon deal for $9 for $20 worth of food. The waitress was a little bit ... not with it. She wasn't very attentive to us, but when I got the check and was looking it over, I noticed a handwritten $1.75 on the bottom. Not even loudly, I said, "What's this $1.75?"

From across the room, waitress shouts out that it was the drink (NE's.) I figured that out almost as soon as I said it - but it being handwritten had thrown me.
(She'd forgotten to include it on our ticket at first because she thought we were getting the special which included a drink.)

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I also bought a deal from Living Social which I think will be really good. It was $35 for a $200 Restaurant.com gift card. I already used $10 of it to buy a $25 gift certificate for a local fancy restaurant we're going to for my birthday. (It will be pretty easy to spend $50 there.)

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There's a Steven Curtis Chapman concert here this week. I was really, really tempted to buy a ticket. $25. But ... I really didn't want to go by myself. Plus I just haven't seemed to pick up any energy - in fact I went home early from work yesterday. Frown

I've decided to not go.

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I did some shopping on Sunday - made back around $7 between ibotta and MobiSave. Spent about $35 grocery money and $20 cat money.

I also did some cooking. I've been buying single carrots and red peppers, etc., because there've been iBotta rebates on them - so wanted to use them. Smile

I chopped up the zucchini, carrots, onion, broccoli, (actually put in the food processor ... Big Grin )and then took two cans of Pilsbury's Grands and a can of Pillsubry Croissants (coupon/rebate deal) and made veggie hot pockets! Yummy!

Of course ... I still haven't gotten started on fixing the robe for the Nativity drive through that is happening on the 12th. It really shouldn't take too long to do, just have to DO it! Smile

Other than Sunday, I haven't spent any money this week.

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Hard to believe there is only one week left of my 30's. If what happened at work yesterday is any indication - my 40's won't find me being any less klutzy. (Dropped one of those big calculators and broke it completely. Offered to pay for a replacement - my boss told me not to worry about it.)

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How many of you actually wear robes? I keep being given robes as gifts ... and well, I've never seen the point of them really. So ... they end up hanging around somewhere in my house for years, and then get given away. My mom is sending a robe for NE ... he isn't a robe person either.

Maybe if I was someone more into fixing up my face, etc. before getting dressed or something? Or if I had other people (other than partner) living with me?

Really, what is the purpose of a robe? Just curious really if I'm the oddball out on this one or not. Smile

November Recap

December 1st, 2015 at 05:21 pm

I obviously did not stick with the moratorium on purchasing junk food/fast food this month. However, I did much better than previous months. So ... there is that.

Some of the spending comes from budgeted money / reimbursed funds. For example, I treated myself and my aunt/grandma to manis/pedis and to a meal out.

I also made the decision this month to make my larger "savings" category more granular. I had nearly the $10k goal amount I set for my EF - but decided to reduce it and spread it amoungst smaller/more specific categories. Some of the money in LTP is new, most is not.

I forgot my password for iBotta, otherwise I'd have another $10 in my extra funds (which would go into the Remote Starter fund.)

I did buy several Christmas gifts, but they were all covered with AGC money. I still have over half of what I started with left too. Smile

Spending
Tithe - 10%
Charitable - 30
Rent - 430
Gym - 41.73
Groceries - 124.65
Phone - 25.80
Internet - 85.07
Natural Gas - 22.36
Electricity - 32.68
Fuel - 15.58
Medical - 12.86
Kari - 22 (license renewal, new scooper)
Beauty - 106
Car Care - 229.65 (transmission flush, wipers, rotation, etc.)
Household - 22.49
Vacation - 75
Treats - 28.17
Restaurants - 61.49

Extra Income
Walmart: Savings Catcher - $5.18
Perk AGC - $25
MobiSave - $13.75
Bing AGC - $10
Swagbucks AGC - $25
Swagbucks PP - $25
Pact - $10
Pinecone - $15
SavingStar - $5.16
Interest - $26.xx

Long Term Planning
01 Income Replacement (expenses only) - Funded
02 House Downpayment - +40
03 Car Replacemennt - +25
04 Car Deductible - Funded
05 Health Ins OOP - Funded
06 Vet Emergency - +611.70
07 Travel Emergency +611.70
08 Future - +$50
09 Remote Starter +9.89
10 New Computer +65
11 New Phone +65

P.S. Thanks everyone for your comments yesterday/today.

PPS - Work was pretty good today. Smile