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Archive for January, 2017

Frustrating Day - Avoided Temptation

January 30th, 2017 at 06:58 pm

I won't go into it - but take TWO phone calls in a row of 15+ minutes at the end of a day where I had lots of sales which needed to be reconciled ... and with the 13 minutes I had left I could reconcile the total from just the amounts to the cash/checks/credit cards but NOT to the actual passes. If I'd had another five or six minutes I might have done it - but Union regs say I have to be done at 4:30, and I'd already pushed it 3 minutes.

That plus multiple annoying other phone calls, and I was not in a good place.

Driving home I really wanted to stop and get junk food. But I didn't.

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I got an email from Citi saying they had No Record of my redeeming points for a check. Ummm...

So I called and redeemed AGAIN - this time for $650. I also converted my card to the double cash back card. Hopefully in time to avoid the annual fee of the Thank You card.

I had ordered some things from Amazon on Sunday due to arrive Wednesday. When looking at the email today, I realized I'd somehow put my old name and address!!

So I contacted Amazon, and they're sending a replacement order! Sweet! (I then went into my address book and deleted the outdated info.)

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A budget meeting funny .... Last night DH and I had filled all the categories except the fun group. I saw there was still $552! Both DH and I were in disbelief because we'd put some large amounts in several categories. So we went through all of them again to be sure we hadn't skipped any.

We got to house maintenance and found out that I'd entered 30 instead of 300! That one little zero makes a big difference!

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I'm going to wait til Wednesday to do a monthly recap - but lets just say I'm happy with groceries. Smile

Dietbet Week 2

January 28th, 2017 at 06:39 pm

So I'm still doing well with my eating plan. DH made pancakes on Thursday, plus I had A cookie I had been given Wednesday.

Friday I struggled a little with the temptation of free donuts my boss brought in. I even googled what was the best way to freeze them. In the end I just chose to forget they were there.

I'm still not sure if loosening my plans on Thursdays is for the best. Also, after watching this video, I'm considering just saying no to sugar completely. But .. baby steps.

https://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM (Sugar: The Bitter Truth)

I'm not quite sure I believe my scale or not ... but I stepped on it this afternoon, and it showed 9lbs gone ... which is more than I need for the first round.

Cutting out soda wasn't enough - it was cutting out all my junkfood eating (and dairy and eggs.)


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I haven't done so well with the 15 minutes ... although I did actually open th steamer mop and USE it this week! My dining room floor at least looked better.
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I found a new app - it's called IQ. It sends you one question at a time to answer for researchers, and then pays you immediately through paypal. I've gotten one question so far, and was paid $.25 instantly. Not a huge moneymaker obviously, but so easy.

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I finished a Stepbet today. I'm going to wait for payout before joining the next one. After this next one though, I may have to take a break, depending on when we do our CA roadtrip. We're talking April, but time will tell.

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I got in touch with Amazon today and got things fixed. (I had siged up for prime, but didn't realize I'd been charged for Amazon cloud drive on a rarely used card. They're refunding that charge. -I'd had it free for a year after a purchase.)

I also contacted Citi about the rewards check I'd ordered for the student loan. They're forwarding my question to the right place.

I also cashed in for $207 in rewards from the Barclay card. This will be put towards the student loan.
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Before I go, I thought I'd share one of my common heat sources. DH took the picture a few days ago. Please excuse the messy desk.







"Barbeque" etc

January 23rd, 2017 at 05:37 pm

These ads are really annoying.



Last night I made "Barbeque" for dinner using soy curls. My DH, mostly a carnivore, gave it a thumbs up. We also had beans and Brussels sprouts - all made in the InstantPot.


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DH's car is having break issues, so I came home from work and walked outside instead of going to the gym so he could use my car. My phone didn't die until I got home and took it out of my pocket to end my walk. It was cold, but I got home before it was dark.

He has an appointment on Wednesday. That cheap car isn't so cheap - plus its annoying having to change my plans so often. Ugh!

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I made whole wheat spaghetti tonight for dinner so I could use up the sauce. There's enough for dinner tomorrow, unless DH eats it not realizing its whole wheat. Smile

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It was so nice today not having to take pictures of my food for Pact. I may continue the workout and myfitnesspal pacts, but I think I'm done with the veggie pact. (Although that's the one that makes the most money ....)

Week 1 Dietbet, etc

January 22nd, 2017 at 02:14 pm

Tonight mark one week since my official first weigh in. I don't want to jinx myself, but it feels different this time. I was able to go into grocery stores this week and most totally ignore the chocolate aisles.

I returned the non-working food processor to Aldi, and then stopped at Walgreen's and bought a Mini-bullet using my $5 rewards towards it and did not buy candy. (I would before use the $5 as an excuse to buy candy for "free")

It looks like I am down about 4lbs so far - though some of that is probably water weight.

I did have pizza Thursday night, but wrapped up one of the slices to freeze for Thursday lunch, and told DH he could have the other one.

Maybe I've finally flipped the switch like with soda.

Our grocery spending definitely shows the difference. We are at $182 for the month, and other than produce, I don't see any more til Friday.

_-
Using the mini-Magi Bullet today, I made hummus. DH was awake and taste tested it - thumbs up. I did use canned chick peas, but will get some dry ones to use once I'm out of canned.

In the Instapot I made a pot of Great Northern Beans, and then my sweet potatoes and farro for lunches.

In a bit, I'll be using it to make "pulled pork" with soy curls, and then brussel sprouts - for dinner.

I got YNAB up to date today, and got all my receipts into Receipt Hog and ReceiptPal. I'm 8 receipts away from a $100 gift card in ReceiptPal.

I cashed out for $25 PayPal from Swagbucks, and also for $10 from Achievemint.

I also got notice that $200 cash back reward has been credited on the recent credit card deal.

I ordered a meal delivery from HomeChef through Swagbucks. It cost $20, but I should receive $20 worth of Swagbucks in return. Making it free (obv.) That may be my lunches for a week in February (or Sunday dinner with DH, plus a few lunches.)

I need to get something to lay my sweaters out to dry - something away from the cats (and cat hair.) Wen I bought all those sweaters, I didn't realize most of them were hand wash. Oops.

Jan 18

January 18th, 2017 at 08:22 pm

So far so good on my Dietbet gameplan. Essentially it consists of:
No white flour foods (except Thursdays)
No foods that are solely junk (except one small treat on Thursdays - unless this becomes a slippery slope)
When buying something with added sugar (like spaghetti sauce) look for the one with the least.
Track actual food eaten on Myfitnesspal - goal - between 1600 - 1800.
Increase veggies consumption.
No soda.
No dairy or eggs - exception Thursdays.
Strength train 2x a week.
Get at least 7k steps 4x and 9k steps 2 days.

Thursdays I'm allowing exceptions (and major holidays like July 4) within reason. Mainly so I can eat what DH fixes for dinner, but also to leave room for one thing I'm craving each week.

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Thank you everyone for your comments on the post I deleted. I felt it wasn't a post I wanted left up for too long.

On that note though - I took the advice a number of you gave, and came up with this plan:

When I get home this is my routine:
*Feed cats
*Put away items from day
*Put together gym bag
*Prepare lunch and breakfast for next day (unless Fri.)
*Clear out sink / empty dishwasher
*Clean litterboxes
*Set timer for 15 minutes and do something
*Get something to eat
*relax Smile

I think this is something I can actually stick to doing. (Of course, this doesn't include laundry, etc.)

I'm thinking of proposing something similar to DH - only he'd be exempt from the 15 minutes if he did something major that week like mowing the lawn or snowblowing.

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Ugh Pact. This is an app that I use to track veggies/food tracking/workouts. I usually make at least $10/month up to as much as $16.

A few weeks ago I missed my veggie pact by 1 item (I'd eaten the right amount, but didn't get the photo uploaded in time.)

So now I'm back and forth emailing them because they aren't going to pay me for last weeks Pact because my Paypal agreement expired. I wasn't told of a problem. My first inkling was when I couldn't edit my pacts for this week.

I'm thinking I'm going to get back to the $10 cashout, and then be done with it. I hate to lose the extra money, but it sure would b one less thing to worry about.





My Lunch, Won Two Drawings

January 3rd, 2017 at 06:18 pm

So yesterday I tried doing two things at the same time in my InstantPot - a method referred to as pot in pot. I put 4 sweet potatoes on the little rack that comes with it, and then a pyrex dish with a cup of brown rice,some seasonings, and water. I cooked it for 25 minutes, and then about two hours later, took it out.

Perfect. Smile

I had made beans on Sunday in the IP.

So, this week's lunches will look like this: sweet potato, beans/rice, frozen veggies, apple.

The smaller container holds Triscuits and hummus. I had been buying the little $1.19 box of hummus/crackers at Aldi's. But then last weekend I found container at Walmart.

So, less waste and less money! (I did buy hummus, though I plan on making my own - once I can figure out what's wrong with my food processor.)

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The gym was stereo-typically full of people today. Thankfully I was still able to get a treadmill. Smile
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My Fitbit wasn't syncing today. thankfully, resetting it worked. I'm almost to 10k steps - that would stink to lose that!

(I try to do my stretch days for Stepbet on Monday/Tuesday so I have them out of the way.)

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I won 1k points from PointsClub this weekend from liking a FB post and entering a sweepstakes code. I'm halfway to a $25 gift card.

I also won 20 coins from ReceiptHog for one of the receipts I added in December. I'm close to a $20 PayPal on it.

Not a whole lot, but I rarely win anything, so it felt kind of cool to win two drawings within a few days of each other.

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I managed to go to Dollar Tree 2 days in a row without buying a candy bar or slice of pie, etc. I wouldn't have gone the second time, but DH really wanted some of the spicy beef burritos. (Got frozen fruit the first trip.)

No more grocery shopping til Sunday!

Freaking Out a Little ... taxes ; 2016 Joint Spending; 2017 Goals

January 1st, 2017 at 02:29 pm

So .. DH brought me his 3rd paycheck for December this morning when he got home along with the paystub.

I'd printed out my paystub at work last week.

Then after getting some more sleep ... I got on TaxAct and entered our info as much as I could without all the forms.

OMW! I really hope that once I have the proper forms it will look a lot better!

To buy our house, I sold some stocks and took a distribution from my ROTH (all contributions/5+ years old.)

Our combined income just from our jobs this year was a little bit more than I had figured when deciding how much to sell, but that doesn't account for the huge tax bill.

Nearly $4k between Federal and State!

They are showing the stock sale as Interest income and not Capital Gains!! If it were just capital gains, almost all of it would be taxed at 0%. (Possibly all of it.) So this just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

If this really is the case ... then there goes our fence. Ugh.

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I seem to have deleted my budget for the first few months of the year before DH and I started joint budgeting. So ... these figures are for July - December - once we'd both moved into the house and totally combined finances.
Immediate Obligations
Mortgage - 2633 (loan payments only)
Extra balance payments - 200
Natural Gas - 217 Average - 36.27
*Electric - 819.29 Average - 135.40
*This included a missed payment due to moving, etc. prior to July - so really, 7 months worth.
*Phone 484.84 Average - 80.70
*This includes a $200+ bill for DH when he was still in his apartment without WiFi
Internet/Cable - 365.65 -- Avg - 60.94
Water - 214.60 (billed bi-monthly) Avg - 35.77
Netflix (4 months) 42.74 - Avg - 7.14
Groceries - 1903.90 Avg - 317.32
Car Gas - 1554.80 - Avg - 259.13
True Expenses
Oops Tax (Accident Ticket) -- 151.95
Car Insurance (DH only - 6 month prem) 177
Car Maintenance - 1351.51 --- Avg - 225.25
Clothing (minus my $170 purchase) - 182.74 Avg - 30.38
Computer Replacement - 284.88 Avg - 47.41
Phone/Garmin Replacement - 173.81 Avg - 28.97
Home/Yard Maintenance - 2311.10 Avg - 385.20
Household General - 1039.23 Avg - 173.17
Medical - Non Deductible - 146.97-- Avg --24.50
Pets - Cats - Food/Litter - 375.63 -- Avg -- 62.60
Pets - Cats - Medical - 542.28 --- Avg --90.40
Pets - Non Cats - Food/Shelter - 114.62 -- Avg - 19.10
Pets - Non Cats - Medical - 38.54 -- Avg - 6.42
Quality of Life
Vacation - 237.28 -- Avg --39.55
Fitness (gym memberships) 293.76 -- Avg -- 48.96
Just for fun
Laura birthday (includes concert) - 165.77 --Avg -27.63
Scott Birthday - 103.94 Avg - 17.32
Date Night (eating out/take out) 226.84 -- Avg - 37.81
Debt payments
Student Loan (5 months) - 261.05 -- Avg -- 43.51
Medical Debt payments - 2390 -- Avg - 398.33

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DH has been talking more and more about needing to find a different job which won't be so hard on his knees/hips - something like a night auditor at a hotel. I'm okay with that, but I'm thinking that to prepare for the drop in income once that becomes necessary, that we need to scale back on some other things to create a good buffer.

I'm not really sure where we can cut back much though. One area I'm going to try is to cut back on grocery spending. Maybe see if DH would be willing to set the thermostat to 60 degrees (heat) (is at 65 now.)

We've got some big expenditures in 2017 though ... fencing our yard / removing trees/bushes / purchasing a winter vehicle someday for DH / an extended roadtrip to CA to see Grandma/brother, etc.

Plus, we have the goal of eliminating the student loan debt by December. Approximately $4200.

I'd like to say, well, let's just live on one of our incomes and put the rest into future savings. But ... just filling up the categories of immediate obligations puts us slightly over what DH brings in. That's before putting money into car replacement/ car maintenance/ house maintenance, Pets costs, etc.

The only way I can see us actually being able to put away significant amounts is if DH actually starts to sell his electronics.

Tonight is our budget meeting for January/2017. So, this may be a large point of discussion.

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Okay, my 2017 goals. (so far)

Financial:
1. Pay off DH's student loans by December. (Approx. $4200)

2. Reduce average grocery spending to $250/month

3. Discuss the amount of needed buffer for DH to take a different low-paying job with less stress on knees, etc.

(Car costs and gas costs would be exponentially smaller with a night auditor job .. but the income would probably drop at least $5 - 6 /hour.)

Health:

1. Increase fruit/vegetable intake to an average of 35 servings a week.

2. Reduce added sugar - Buy/eat added sugar items only 2x a week. No more than one servings worth.

3. Reduce processed foods / foods that come in packages. (Not sure how to make this a measurable goal)

4. Do 30 minutes of strength training each week.

5. Complete 8 StepBets successfully.

Home/Self:
1. Create a doable cleaning schedule and DO IT.

2. Actively play with the cats ten minutes a day.

3. Limit computer time during the work week after work to two hours. Limit computer time on the weekend to 3 hours. (Not including budgeting time.)

4. Don't get sucked in to Mama Drama.

5. Less Overthinking/Guessing negatively/More Positivity

6. Keep an active lookout for a different job.