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Archive for March, 2018

Cheap Gas, Budgeting 3rd paycheck

March 30th, 2018 at 06:52 pm

A few weeks ago I used a coupon at a local grocery store where the first time you transfer a prescription you get $2/gallon off (up to 20 gallons)

2nd month you get a $25 gift card, 3rd month you get $30 worth of meat.

Wednesday night I was on empty, and DH had 1/4 of a tank ... so before he went to work we filled up with the 20 gallons of gas - $.59/gallon.

We had $22 in the gas budget, so cheap gas was a good thing!

Thursday night when I showed DH I had upped our gas budget to $350 he groaned and exclaimed -why that much?! (I had talked to him about this at least 2x previously ... but I guess it didn't sink in til the number was in black and white ...)

So I reminded him that the last few months we'd been spending roughly $330 - 350 each month, and having to WAM from other places. It hit him that his gas was averaging to $10/day.

*he's a delivery driver and does get some cost for a delivery fee for gas

I'm curious if this will cause him to drive the much more fuel efficient vehicle a bit more ...

(It's hard on his back and shoulders - the CRV is so much easier on him.)

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I had a 3rd paycheck this month.

Usually I'd do 1/3 each to EF, Student Loan and then whatever project we're working on funding.

But this time I put $100 to EF, Pet fund, Vacation fund and then after discussing with DH ... $100 to housecleaner fund and to yard work fund.

I'm planning on posting an ad on nextdoor for someone to come in for 4 hours.

*Must have experience with multi-cat households
*Must be good at organizing
*Must be able to work on Sundays

I think I had some other things I was thinking too, but forget.

I plan on having the person work with me the first hour or so on helping me get the kitchen organized better. Then deep cleaning kitchen, then bathroom, then laundry room, then floors/carpets.

After that, we have agreed to $50/mo for return visits (2 hours)

My hope is that if some of the deep cleaning stuff gets done that I never get to, that I'll be better motivated to keep up with the surface cleaning.

DH also said he'd pick up some of the mowing.

Yardwork - we are going to hire someone to come help get the yard cleaned up - pulling volunteer trees, cleaning up berry bushes, etc. Then hopefully it'll be easier to keep up with ...

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We have checked listings, and there is very little in our price range that appeals. C has also dropped off the face of the earth, so I'm guessing he drove by our place ... Oh well. Neither of us really relish the idea of everything involved in selling/buying/moving. So for now, the subject is dropped.

--

my left arm isn't doing any better. In fact, it may be worse. I probably will give it one more week with the elbow brace, and then call my doc for a PT referral. Frown

Tennis Elbow

March 20th, 2018 at 03:14 pm

Well somehow I have ended up with tendonitis in my elbow - or tennis elbow. I was sent to a sports medicine place and fitted with a band placed right below my elbow. It's supposed to give my tendons a different pressure point so they can rest and re-strengthen I think. If it doesn't improve in a few weeks, then we'll do physical therapy.

My blood pressure was 110/80 Smile

The arm band cost $24. I put it on the US Bank card and will submit the receipt to my FSA for reimbursement.

She also told me to take ibuprofen 3x a day for inflammation.

I pretty much have loads of aspirin ... but I remembered in DHs cabinet there was a bottle of ibuprofen - and there was! So no money out there.
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I got home in time to call our electric provider and get my account unlocked and change the cc to US Bank.


I need to have DH do the same for Netflix, and then also Internet. Then I think I'll have switched everything I can. Come on 5%! Smile

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The funeral for the coworker will be on Thursday. We're probably going to take a bus to the church. It sounds like a lot of people are going. Our new accountant (less than six months) is going to cover the phones for me so I can go. I thought that was pretty sweet.

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I thought about going to see I Can Only Imagine tonight (5$ Tuesdays) since I was home early ... but decided not to. Maybe if it's still out here next week.

And it Shatters

March 19th, 2018 at 07:27 pm

At least six years ago I bought 4 blue glass bowls from Walmart. They're the larger size bowls. I've used them and used them. They've been microwaved countless times and InstantPotted lots too.

Tonight I put a heaping serving of frozen veggies into one of the bowls and put it in my IP and set the timer.

About 20 minutes later I came back to get it out.

As I attempted to lift the bowl, it fell into pieces. Most of which landed in the IP.

Frown

Guess I won't be using those in the IP anymore. I should get bowls that are made for that function I guess. (Though I'd think glass bowls should be fine in high temps??)

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DH came home as I was cleaning up the mess. He wanted to give me a hug because of an email I'd sent him earlier.

A coworker (a dispatcher) with whom I hadn't liked too much, had gotten cancer about 9 months ago. He and his wife had adopted a set of 5 kids about 3? years ago. The youngest is 7 now??

I spearheaded a once a week meal thing for them, which only lasted about two months because I couldn't get anyone else to join in. (He was a pretty gruff person and hard to get along with ...)

So ... I found out today that he passed away on Saturday. I feel so bad for his wife and the 5 adopted kids (and their natural kids too - all grown up, but that doesn't matter when you lose your dad.)

We're probably going to take up a collection for them soon. Glad I have some money in my giving fund to contribute.

I hate cancer.

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We had an Amy's cheese-less pizza last night with a side of roasted mushrooms and broccoli. DH said it was an okay meal that he'd eat again. Definitely not on the cheap side though. (Probably about $7 per person in total.)

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I got our trash service switched over to the US Bank card today. I need to call our electric service tomorrow to get my account unlocked - my password wasn't working and it locked me out. So I'll have them change the card at the same time.

I'll have to pay the gas company each month manually to do it via credit card. Kind of a pain ... but maybe worth it.

The phone is already switched over.

I wonder if Internet and Netflix would count as utilities??

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My doctor's appt is tomorrow for my arm/shoulder. I really hope she has an idea of what to do for it. It really is limiting me in what I can do (like I can't do the barre videos - well, I guess I could do it on one side with arms, and one side without ... but ...)

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DH sold an amp! Something he bought for $50, and thought was worth maybe $125 - he sold for $200!! He decided to overprice it because this other guy who's been getting lots of stereo stuff from one particular site and reselling it, has been marking stuff up ridiculously and it's been selling. So ...

Hopefully this will light a fire under him to sell the rest of it! And get the basement cleared up and organized! Smile

This and That

March 18th, 2018 at 11:18 am

3 weeks of six complete on my Stepbet. It definitely is getting me moving more ... like yesterdat afte church I only had 1400 steps but needed 9400 (for a stretch day.) If it weren't for the stepbet, I *might* have gotten in a 30 minute walk and called it a day. But instead I did a 90 minute walk, plus some shopping. So ended the day with over 12k steps.

I looked into the Runbet (new app) but the current game expects a min pace of 15 min/mile 5x in a week. Yeah ... I do good to do a 17 min/mile if I'm trying to do a walk/jog ...

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On 3rd week of Drop it challenge. That's going pretty well. The scale is continuing to move in the proper direction. Smile

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It looks like we are going to have to up our gas budget. Currently it's at $300/month. The last two months I had to WAM from groceries because we were over budget. As of last night there is $90 left with at least 5 more fill ups for DH and possibly one for me.

I think it is a combination of DH driving the CRV almost exclusively (much easier on his knees/shoulders) and the higher gas prices.

One of the fill ups will be fairly cheap though - I transferred a prescription to HyVee and got a coupon for $2.05/gallon. I just have to make sure DH uses my Perks card to get the discount.

The next refill (prescription) I'll get a $25 gift card, and the 3rd one I get a $50 meat pkg (for DH).

A bit of a hassle, but worth it for the freebies.

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I ordered 3 pairs of shoes from JC Penny's via SBs. A total of $106. I may have to send one pair back though - I had triple checked that all were wide width, but the order email I got shows the sneakers as a medium!

I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll try them on just in case.

(I ordered dress shoes for work, sneakers and sandals.)

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I got my extra paycheck on Thursday. My tax changes and 457 contribution changes both were in effect already. So it made the check a bit over $100 more than normal! Of course health/dental and vision weren't deducted - so that won't be normal.

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I cashed out $30 from my Citi card. There's nearly $40 on my Chase card I can cash out, but I'm going to wait til the next statement ends so I can cash out the max. (April only pays 5% on categories I don't use, or get higher payout elsewhere.)

I got a new Discover card (they changed my previous one to the It) - for April they only have groceries at 5% - so my AmEx card at 6% is better. So that card will continue to not be used at least for the next quarter.

I'm about 1/2 way to the $500 spend on the US Bank card. It's taking a bit of time to get my utilities all switched over to it.

I cashed out $25 from Earnhoney, and am close to another $25 SB cash out too.

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I signed up for CBS All Access 7 day trial. 150 SBs deal. I wanted to like it, I really did. But for $5.99/mo it has extremely limited selection and a horrible navigation/UI. I did find the show Limitless with all episodes - so binged on those this past week.

I canceled it last night after watching the last episode. If they'd had full episodes of Person of Interest, or the last two seasons of CSI then I might have kept it for another month or two. But seriously limited selection of full episodes.

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Update on my standing desk - still loving it! I use it in the standing position about 60% of the day most days. I have an anti-fatigue mat and monitor risers.

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I have a doctor's apt this Tuesday for my shoulder. The past two weeks or so I have been having some strange pains from my left shoulder/bicep. I'm not really sure what caused it. I've been putting off going to the doctor because I kept hoping it'd go away. But it hasn't.

I'm guessing I'm going to have to do physical therapy for it.

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I had a dentist checkup this last week. Previously I'd been told that I needed to up my dental hygiene routine. So I picked up a water pik and an electric toothbrush. Apparently what I've been doing worked! I was told I had good improvements and to keep it up.

My visit didn't cost me anything because I had a credit from a previous visit where I was overcharged.

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At church this quarter the Sabbath School lessons are on stewardship. This week focused on debt. The person leading our class seemed to kind of assume we all were in debt ... He said something about - think about how good it will feel when you're not in debt - how much good you can do ...

Well ... I didn't feel comfortable piping up that other than the mortgage and less than $3k is student loans, I already know what that feels like!

Yes, it IS a good feeling ... but just because you don't have debt hanging over your head, that doesn't mean that you then have tons of money to do whatever you want to. No ... you then have all the things you know are coming up that you need to set money aside for - short term, mid-term and long term. It never feels as though it's enough ..

Then DH and I got into a discussion again about why it's necessary to have money sitting in our account for things like our medical deductible. I told him it's so if something happens where we need to use our whole deductible, then we can pay the bill in one lump sum and save 10% or more. It gives us options. He was like - why can't we just make payments and use that money elsewhere?

I'm not sure if he was pulling my chain or not (he likes to do that) but UGH!



Still Chugging Along

March 9th, 2018 at 07:33 pm

I've been doing the Drop It challenge for a bit over a week now. So far, so good. I've actually been eating a salad everyday for lunch! (Unheard of! Esp with grape tomatoes ...)

I haven't found it too difficult yet. And it appears to be working - have lost about two lbs. 5lbs to go to get back to my Jan 1 weight. Sigh.

Today was day 5 of my Stepbet. I just need one more active day for this week.

I have decided to do barre videos at home instead of messing with going to a class. At least for now.

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AMEX sent me an upgrade offer to the card that pays 6% back on groceries. Annual fee waived the first year and $150 bonus when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

Sweet. My property taxes will take care of $1400 of it, then there's a chewy.com (cat food) offer spend $75 get $25 back, plus use it for groceries ... no problem.

I'll just have to set a reminder to downgrade in eleven months.

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I opened two more accounts.

One with the MoneyBank - make 3 $200+ ACH deposits and get a $100 bonus.

The second with another Christian based credit union (which does include Catholics unlike the other one) for a 12 month 4% CD for $4000.

I haven't closed Northpointe yet because I'm waiting for my dd to get switched.

I was talking to DH about it and he of course was like, "Why don't you give me the money - I'll make a lot more than 4 %." Oh yeah ... like the 2.6% you barely eked out after 6 weeks (stock he bought and sold) Rolling my eyes.

So back when we figured out how to squeeze $1k/month for our ROTH's from our budget. one of the things we did was to say that we were not going to budget any spending money. Spending money would come from non-main job hours/activities. (Swagbucks, etc for me)

After a few months I saw that DH wasn't getting any spending money and was worried that he'd get frustrated and want to stop the ROTH funding. So ... I said -why don't you keep anything you make over $120 on Friday and Saturdays? (cash) He'd been fairly consistently bringing $10 - 20 over that on those nights.

Then ... he had nights where he was bringing in $50 - 80 above that! There were also a few Fridays where he came in significantly under $120. Or weeknights where he was bringing in less than usual.

It was making our budget very squeaky.

I kept waiting for him to say something like - I shouldn't be taking all of this extra on weeks my other nights are low. Let me even it out.

Didn't happen.

So at our last budget meeting I brought it up. He wasn't too happy, but wasn't surprised either. Mostly he was annoyed because I was tinkering with our budget plan again. (Which I think is funny because there's been at least two times where the major changes came as a result of something he wanted ...)

So we agreed to a base amount he would contribute to the family budget. Over that, he gets to keep it. This will help keep the budget more even.

But ... the other night he tells me that he's now more motivated to work harder at work because he knows it means more money for him. I asked him why didn't it motivate you to contribute to the family budget? He said ... The family budget has plenty of money. This is MY money.

Anyone see something off here? Or is it just me?
I really wish I'd never brought the idea up in the first place.

*Note - I'm not posting this to be negative towards DH. I honestly just am wondering if my thoughts on this are off base or not. Maybe it's a case of where we both are still struggling with the his/hers/ours thing. We both were so old getting married .. both pretty set in our $ ways ...

Today's Mail!

March 3rd, 2018 at 01:44 pm

So remember how I was perplexed on how I got rejections from both Chase AND US Bank for new cards?

Well, I guess I assumed wrong when I got the message "you'll hear about our decision in 7 - 10 days via mail"

Because guess what I got in the mail today? My new US Bank card! With a ridiculous (good) credit limit.

I've got my rewards categories all set up. Now I just have to get my electric, gas, trash and cell bills all transferred over. Smile5% here we come! (Not to mention the sign on bonus Smile ) I wonder if the one I signed my DH up for went through too (with his go ahead). That'd be sweet.

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I got my first interest from my new 4% CD (at the Christian Community CU). That'll be nice having $2500 earning 4% for the next 18 months. I need to get direct deposit set up soon though for the checking bonus.

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I did a Pinecone survey, and nudged Karen about the shopping Amazon thing. Hey, it's an easy $3, and I need to find the $'s wherever I can. Smile

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I can't remember if I mentioned this here or not - but I signed up for a Stepbet starting tomorrow. My previous six week returns were all between $9 - $20. I should be able to complete two, or possibly three between now and the cruise.

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I bought some sticky socks to use in the barre class. I may try it on Monday or Wednesday. (They were $2 after my Amazon gift card from Bing.)

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I was supposed to go to a small group potluck this afternoon. I even made a big pot of veggie/bean soup to take. But then I realized that it was being held at an assisted living home, so was worried about how many people might be there ... and chickened out. Sigh.

Sometimes I can get myself out to events, but more often than not, I decide to stay home instead. I wish that wasn't so. Sigh.