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Archive for July, 2016

First Month Fully Integrated Finances

July 31st, 2016 at 11:03 pm

Although we've now been married just over 3! months, July was the first month where we followed a joint budget and I completely took over the bill paying. It also was the first full month where we only had one household - although we were paying the final bills from our former apartments.

Whenever DH wakes up, we're going to have a quick budget meeting for August. One thing we've kind of had to hash out this month is the when/how of him giving me the cash tips to deposit. He was used to to just going by the bank once or twice a month to make a deposit. I want to make a deposit every Friday (when the lobby is open til 6.)

He didn't see why I wanted to do that since our account balances have more than enough for our daily expenses. I explained to him that all my money is directly deposited and that helps me be able to guage what the next month's budget will be like. When I showed him how much was available to budget for August from my contributions versus what he'd given me so far ... he started giving me the tips as he got them. Smile (He's a delivery driver - makes a small hourly wage, but averages 2x that in tips/delivery charges.)

So ... since we were putting everything together this month, it is difficult to say what our "income" really was - our budget was based off of all moneys from various checking/savings being put together. Expenses include final bills and deposit charges for new accounts. In other words, this isn't a typical month for us by any means. Smile

So .. expenses:
Mortgage (loan only) $526
Extra Principal: $25
Natural Gas: 69.20
Electricity: 382.44 (includes June bill that got misplaced!!)
Phone: 239.04 (last month of DH needing to use phone as a hotspot for Internet - our bill for August is less than $60.)
Water: 51.43 (2 month bill)
Internet/Cable: 150 (deposit, extra house visit)
Groceries - Fast food: 29.81
Groceries - 265.08
Auto Fuel - 241.87 (delivery driver ....)
Tithe: 130 (DH isn't on board with tithing, but is ok with me continuing my same level as before)
Giving: 30
Car Maintenance: 14.97
Car tax/licenses: 421.69 (Tags for 3 cars, 2 new licenses)
Clothing: 20.40
Computer Replacement: (DH) 249
Garmin Replacement: (DH) 142
Household (blanket, toiletries, paper goods, fan, etc.) 148.36
Medical - Non-deductible (allergy, etc) 64.53
Medical FSA Reimbursed- 80.48 (copays, meds, heating pad)
Pets - Cats - food/litter -$80.97 (a LOT of litter/food)
Pets - Cats - Medicine(flea meds) $77
Pes - Non Cats - Food - 13.50
Pets - Non Cats - Medicine - 16.61
Fitness - 41.83 (my gym membership, hopefully can cancel soon)
Date Night: 14.77 (although will be getting pizza tonight)
DH fun money - 16
Laura fun money - 79.22
Student loan (DH) 55
Medical debt (DH) 372

Whooh! I think that covers it! Besides the money put into the above categories, there was also money put into a variety of other holding categories.

August will be spendy for car maintenance, and I just got approved for a new AE card which I'll be using to make a $1k payment on the medical (get back 250!)

I'm looking forward to what our first month of spending will be like without deposits and final bill fees. Smile (also without needing to replace electronics!)

I have around 6 hours of overtime in August, and I think September will be a 3 paycheck month. DH is working on putting together some speaker sales. (To help fund his boat and tv wishes.)

Mortgage Principal Balance:
Start 7/1/16 - $112,000
As of 7/31/16 (2 payments) - 111,619
Medical Debt:
As of 7/1/16 - 3,668
As of 7/31/16 - 3,296
Student Loan - TBD

Doctor Visit Results ..

July 23rd, 2016 at 12:45 am

So I finally heard back from my doctor about the bloodwork results. My lymphocytes had gone back into the normal range, but my platelets had not. She also said that my ferritan levels were on the low side. So she suggested two options - try taking iron supplements for two months and retest; or, go see a hematologist.

I decided to try the iron pills first. Reading about the symptoms of low iron, it sounds a lot like me. Extreme fatigue, brittle nails, etc.

The problem is though, I eat a lot of foods that are iron rich! My smoothie five days a week has strawberries, etc. in it. Spinach, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and on and on are most of my diet.(outside of my chocolate addiction ...)

So I don't get how I could have low iron.

Right now I'll try just about anything to get my energy back. So .. iron supplements it is. (taken with OJ for now - vitamin C helps the iron absorb better.)

The supplements are pretty cheap - got a 30 day supply for just a few dollars. So .. worth it.

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DH and I had our first date night (just us) Thursday night for July. Ordered out from Ming's and ate in the bedroom with the door shut - to keep the cats out. Smile

I had been supposed to cook, but just had no energy to do so. So DH suggested Ming's. Smile I'm going to do the CC roast on Sunday instead (when it's likely I'll have the most energy, after two days of not working.)

We still have most of our date night budget left - since DH's friend paid for our meal at the Chineese buffet on Sunday.

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DHs friend who we dogsat for and who had indicated he'd reimburse us for the meds we bought for his dog ... well, it looks like he isn't going to follow through on that. Ugh.

I bought the meds knowing full well that we might not be reimbursed, but of course I was hoping! $150 out the door.

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Our electric bill ... OMW! Somehow I missed the June bill (amoungst the many final bills, etc) - that was $99. Then the July bill - $149! Ouch!!!

We had our a/c set at 72 - DH agreed to let me put it up to 78. I couldn't sleep at all at 78. So put it down to 76. That seems ok so far.

Hopefully our next bill won't be so huge!

DH helpfully told me that big electricity bills should be expected in a house in the summer. Really hubby? I had no idea. Smile Doesn't mean I have to like it- or live with it! Big Grin

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Our checks for our joint account finally came today. We bought them from Walmart - enough to probably last us the rest of our lives. Smile (250 I think.)

It came in some weird packaging from someplace in New Braunfel's TX. At first I thought it was some kind of tourist brochure and almost tossed it without opening ... Glad I didn't do that!

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At work we now have 8 women and two men in administration. Smile One of our men who retired at 53 was replaced by a woman.

I really like her so far. In fact, she helped me out big time with a project I was working on.

We are changing our bus routes and our time schedules completely in October. My boss gave me a spreadsheet with all the time schedules on it for all the routes that one of the dispatchers had created.

The problem with it was 1. All the routes and times were on one sheet; and 2. All the times were written without a colon. i.e. 843P instead of 8:43P

So, the first problem was easily fixed. It was the second problem which caused me a great deal of frustration. How to insert a colon into umpteen cells without having to click on each one individually?

I tried every thing I knew how to do, plus what I could find on Google. Nada. Then TN saved the day by suggesting a V Lookup - and made one for me too!

From there, it was just a matter of around 4 hours of copying and pasting. Smile (There were a lot! of times needing colons ...)

Updates

July 17th, 2016 at 01:46 am

Life is going pretty well overall.

I made an appointment with an allergy doctor for August 23 - the only caveat is that I have to stop all allergy meds for 5 days prior. Yikes. Hope I can survive that.

I got my refund of my security deposit from my apartment. They charged me for cleaning the carpet. Huh? It wasn't stained or worn more than normal? DH says that it's expected that you clean the carpets when leaving an apartment. Maybe just in NE? I never did that at any other place I lived, and always got my deposit back.

Oh well, I was prepared to not get any of my deposit back since these property managers have proven to be exceedingly picky ... so, getting back $117 of $415 is better than I hoped for.

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This afternoon I was walking in the park near our local zoo and got a bit lost. Smile So I got out my GPS to get me back to my car. I stopped near a statue and was staring at my phone - when this young teen stopped near me and said, "Pokemon?"

I smiled at him and told him, "Sorry, no."

There were lots of people in the park with their nose to their phone ... assuming most were Pokemon hunting.

I'm glad the game is getting people out and about.

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DH seems to be adjusting to living with a budget so far. The real test will be next month - I've already done some projections, and unless he gets some really good tip money the next couple weeks, we're going to have to lessen the fun money categories. He probably won't like that too much.

I'm hoping I can get him to sit down with me as I allocate the money out, so he can see all the places the money has to go.

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We're having a quasi-date night tomorrow. Going to eat at a local Chinese buffet with the owner of the dog we dogsat for. Hoping he'll reimburse us for the medications ... but not holding my breath. ($150)

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Thursday night we went to Dollar Tree and picked up a bunch of frozen items - vegetarian stuff for me, and chicken for DH. Smile Also, the fixing's for spaghetti. Which is what DH made for dinner. Smile (We've agreed that we will take turns making dinner for each other on Sundays/Thursdays. His two nights he doesn't work at all.)

I'm going to probably make a cottage cheese loaf on Thursday night. Then next week will try out a new recipe.

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I still haven't used my Instapot. I'm not sure why really. Tomorrow though I plan on doing the water test, and then using it to cook a butternut squash and some sweet potatoes.

I am going to be volunteering at our VBS program M - W nights, so want to have something easy to fix for my dinners. (probably am going to make butternut black bean burgers and sweet potato burgers)

I also got some firm tofu, and am planning on frying some of it and baking some of it. Then cooking a cup or so of quinoa and brown rice for lunches. (along with a zucchini and yellow squash and onion - all on good sales.)

Will see what actually gets done tomorrow. Smile

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Almost forgot - I had DHs and I's 3 car registrations/wheel taxes combined into the same month for renewal (August) For all 3, it was $392. That was a good bit less than I had estimated, so that was a bit of money back in the budget. Smile Although DH wants to get a 4 Runner by November, so I need to have money set aside for that registration/wheel tax too. (Guessing $100 - 120.)

(The 4 Runner is for getting around delivering in winter, and also pulling the eventual boat ... He's funding both purchases by 1/3 of the inheritance check, plus 1/4 of whatever sales he makes via Craigslist, etc. We've agreed that 50% of sales go back into a "business operating fund" for purchasing more inventory, making repairs, shipping, etc. 25% goes to his car/boat/tv funds, and 25% goes to the general budget - i.e. debt payments for now.)

Doctor Visit and a Close Call

July 12th, 2016 at 02:37 am

So today I took off of work early to go to my doctor's appointment. My boss came out to help someone at the window who'd come just as I was getting ready to go.

Before heading out, I stopped at the restroom. Then I had to pass near the window on my way out. Guess who was at the window being helped by my boss? Let's see if you can guess, "My problem is that I don't agree with the policy about lost passes ..."

As soon as I saw/heard this, I scooted out of there ASAP. Seriously, that lady is back already? Did she lose her pass already? I am SO glad I didn't have to deal with her before leaving, or my blood pressure would have been sky high!

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As it was, I left with plenty of time to get there. You never know how long it'll take ... I got to the turn off about 30 minutes early, but then missed the turn off.... So, got there about 20 minutes early. Smile

They still had me in their system by my maiden name, so got that all updated. Then gave them the bill from the lab with my maiden name (got a call later from their coding department telling me I'll have to get back in contact with the original place. This may be fun ...)

Anyway, when my doctor finally came in to the room she told me that my platelets have always ran kind of high ... really? But that they don't usually get concerned til its in the 600's (mine was 580.) But still combined with the lymphocytes, it was worth looking into. So she's scheduled me for a repeat CBC and a blood smear (where a person looks at the individual cells?) That'll happen on Wednesday morning.

She also is referring me to an allergist. She said that I could possibly take allergy shots for a couple of years, and then be DONE with allergies! Oh joy! If that is truly possible... I'll deal with getting shot up every month for a few years!

She thinks that my tiredness, moodiness, nauseousness, lack of energy etc etc etc can all be attributed to my allergies (and insomnia due to allergies/taking Allegra D.)

All I know is I'd really like to stop putting all these chemicals into my body (especially when they don't seem to be helping all that much) and get my energy back!

We'll see I guess.

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On Sunday I made a recipe from the Stuffed at the Gills blog for Chow Mein noodles. It reminded me sort of of my favorite Amy's meal - Chinese Noodles with Cashew sauce. It was a bit of work ... but oh so good! Even DH approved. (We had a bit of a tiff because he was tired of my "trying" out recipes that weren't turning out that great ... we compromised that I'd limit my "trying out recipes" to 2 x a month. Otherwise we'll stick with ones we know we like already. Whatever. )

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I've started putting FSA eligible expenses on my credit card. I also downloaded the app for the FSA place - already have submitted two claims and been reimbursed for one. Pretty nifty! (Now if I can just find the receipt for the copay DH had back in May ... getting his 1 1/2 year checkup on his shoulder, that'd be another $25 back in the budget ... gotta be around here somewhere.)

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Our associate pastor preached this week. While I'm not too sure what I think of him overall, I did really like the story he focused on and how he related it to today.

He talked about the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well. His focus was on how Jesus gave a great example of breaking down walls and barriers. Jews and Samaritans were very close cousins, but hated each other. The Jews thought they were better than the Samaritans. Sound familiar?

What I wonder is how can I / we go about breaking down the walls / barriers today? How can we make everyone feel equally worthy of love, equally worthy of a good place in the world, equally worthy of respect, equally worthy of dignity? All of us bleed the same color ... no matter race, religion or sexual orientation. All of us are equal in God's eyes.

How can we get the blinders off of peoples eyes so they can really see this? If we could do this, the world would be so much better off.

Sigh.

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On an unrelated note - I got the iPad working again without having to take it in anywhere. Smile It is now mine. Ha ha ha. Big Grin (DH is quite happy with his Chromebook.)

Personal Responsibility - Does anyone have it anymore??

July 6th, 2016 at 01:35 am

What a wonderful first day back at work after a long weekend. Not.

Starts off with a mentally challenged man making rude gestures at me while telling me he's not stupid and that he could do any of our jobs better than we can ... No idea what prompted this - I hadn't even had a chance to say good morning to him before he started off ..

Then multiple calls of complainers ...

Then I realize that I put a $5 bill in the $1 bill section, but got distracted before I could move it to the right place. Guess how much the cash box was off? $5. first time I've been off in months. Ugh.

Then of course ... the sinus headache....

Topped off by the lady who had called last month about losing her bus pass and wanting us to replace it for her for free. When she was told that our policy is that we are not responsible for lost passes, she ranted about how illogical and stupid that ws to me on the phone for ten minutes, and then when I transfered her to the bus driver supervisor, she ranted to him for ten+ minutes - finally ending that she was going to contact the mayor about our stupid policy.

So ... she shows up today just after I finished counting the cash and realizing that I was short $5. My head was pounding. There was 8 minutes left to go.

She asks me if I remembered her calling about her lost pass. I told her that I talk to a lot of people in a month, so sorry, I didn't . Then she says she'd found her pass, so had "let it go." Then proceeds to rant and rave for ten+ minutes about how stupid and illogical our policy is. Acting like she expected me to agree with her.

One particular gem ... someone losing their pass isn't the fault of the bus company, nor is it the fault of the person who bought the pass - it's an act of God. So of course the bus company should refund or replace the pass. I wanted to say - Are you out of your mind? Seriously? On what planet is you losing your pass an act of God?

Finally at 4:33 she says that she has to get out of there. My boss wasn't much help .. just came by as she was leaving to tell me it was time to log out and go. Gee, really? How about telling this lady her ranting time was way past up.

I plan on asking her if I can tell this lady if she dares show her face again, that she needs to buy her pass elsewhere. I do NOT want to deal with her again.

(I'd reiterated multiple times that this is our policy. Did no good. She just wanted to rant.)

Then after work I call back our insurance agent about the plumber claim. She told me that they won't cover it (the broken faucet) because the inspection report said that it needed to be replaced because it was about to fall off. Huh?? We were told it was leaking and might need to be replaced, but nothing about it about to fall off ... oh well.) While on the phone with her I stuck my foot in my mouth and told her that we hadn't liked our realtor C very much - one reason being that we had felt like we'd kind of been pushed along in the house deal - for instance, being told to not ask for any thing to be fixed that wasn't major in the inspection report otherwise the deal might fall through. Not to mention that we'd both felt like we did nearly all the legwork of finding places, and he did nothing until we actually had a house to make an offer on .. Too late, I remembered that she had been suggested by our realtor C.

Oops. I plan on sending her an email tomorrow apologizing - not for what I said, because it truly was how DH and I feel - but that she wasn't really the right person to say it to. We hadn't planned on saying it to anyone really - just not recommending C as a realtor if anyone ever asked us.

Then I get home and in the mail is a bill for some labwork I had done back in February I think. I'd gotten a bill for it previously, and called to explain about the name change on my insurance. Apparently I need to call again - because they are still trying to charge me for the full $270.

Ugh. I hate talking on the phone!

I have a doctor's appointment on Monday. Presumably to discuss the labwork with the high platelet/lymphocyte count. But I also plan on bringing up my sinus headaches/allergies and pushing the doctor to help me get something figured out other than what I'm already doing (which only seems to work some of the time.) These sinus headaches are making my life miserable.

Dead iPad :( Updates

July 5th, 2016 at 01:36 am

DH has been using miad for the past 6 nonths or so since his 6th used laptop from eBay in 2 years died... So today he comes into the office and tells me iPad is dead - won't charge, or turn on. I test this out too. reaching the same conclusion.

I call the Apple store in O town and find out the next appointment isn't till Friday at least. The person did tell me about some local places - but didn't know their schedules.

Just on Sunday I worked through a joint budget. I'd put $200 in computer replacement category. Knowing how both DH and I like to be on the computer, I didn't relish the thought of however long it would take for an appointment to even find out if this is fixable or not.

So ... I told DH - let's get you a Chromebook. We'd looked into them before, but had put off getting one. We bought him a 15" Chromebook at Walmart for $179 plus a $40 2 year warranty. Normally I wouldn't go for that ... but DH is tough on computers.

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I added an offer to my Aexpress card to spend $75 at chewy.com and get back $25. Then I went to chewy and ordered 160 lbs of cat litter and 48 lbs of cat food. The total came to $102.

I then added "autoship" for 16 weeks from now to get $15 off. Which brought me to $87. Once I have the $25 credit, my order will cost a measly $62. This will also add rewards dollars to my account - I ave 14 sitting in Limbo until I reach 25 and can cash out.

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DH took me to see Finding Dory on Thursday. Loved the movie, but loved even more that DH took me to a movie he didn't really want to see in the theater.

We were hit with sticker shock though ... unwittingly we chose seats when asked what we wanted. I thought I heard the guy say that'd be $25.50 but was sure I was hearing things. I wasn't. Apparently we chose premium seats. Shows how long its been since we've been to a movie ... yikes!

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I spent some time today cleaning the hardwood flooring and living room carpet. Most of what needed cleaning was dried cat upchuck. I'd been dreading it and putting it off ... but when it came to it, the swiffer type mop and floor cleaning spray left by the former homeowner, made it pretty easy (relatively). Hopefully DH will notice when he gets home tomorrow ... Smile I need to get some more of that spray stuff!

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I'm in charge of the food drive at work this year. I set up three fundraisers, as well as putting out the barrels. A guessing jar, a team challenge to "feed the pig" and selling casual day tickets. To say its not going well would be an understatement.

Oh well. I tried.

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Did I mention that the dog is gone? Big Grin For almost a week now. His owner paid us the $300 he'd said he would, and said he'd reimburse us for the $150 in meds. Waiting.

That first day I walked in and was only greeted by cats ... heaven.

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Ok, I'm going to get a walk in before heading to bed. Hopefully I won't run into any fireworks.