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New tax documents, spending, etc

January 19th, 2018 at 07:23 pm

Today I got the tax form in the mail for SIL's money. The weird thing is that it shows part of it for 2017 and part of it for 2016 on the same document.

Does this mean I'm going to have to amend my 2016 taxes?! I sure hope not - never have done that before. Ugh.

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DH and I ate at Ihop Thursday night. I bought a gift card via swagbucks and got 125 SBs for the purchase.

I ordered off menu Smile my DH didn't think they'd do it, but they did. We used the whole $25 card.

My car was getting pretty dirty and I was worried about the salt/brine - so today was a 50 degree day here and I decided to get my car washed. Along with half of the city ...

I paid $20 for the entire works ... I know, not the most frugal thing, but my car hadn't been washed since August... and I usually do the DIY wash and go places. So .. a splurge. Smile

I have spent more on groceries than I was hoping for, but it still is under what I had been doing. Work in progress.

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I have a 32 oz wide mouth jar of blackstrap molasses - I'd really like to find a pump lid for it. Any ideas?

I cashed out $75 in PayPal so far this month from Swagbucks.

I also cashed out for a $25 Amazon gc from Perk.

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DH is making use of our tv setup. We watched the Viking's game on Sunday (Yay!) and he was watching the news when I came home tonight. So, it seems as though it was a well spent $40. Smile I still need to figure out if we're getting channels from just the converter box or from the antennae and box.

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I'd been noticing that we hadn't been receiving the weekly sales papers in our mailbox - since at least December. I mentioned it to DH and he suggested I call the local paper.

Instead I posted on Nextdoor asking if anyone else was having this issue. Most responses were no, but there was one other yes. I had someone from the local paper pm me and tell me we should have been having a newspaper delivered on Wed and Sun since Thanksgiving!

We'd somehow been selected for a complimentary subscription through February.

Huh?

I wrote back and told him we had not gotten any papers - at least not that we'd noticed - we don't use our front door hardly ever!

He told me he'd talk to the courier and have a supervisor check on it (this was Tuesday.)

Wednesday morning I walked out our back door to find a newspaper there!

I'm anxiously waiting for Sunday's paper full of coupons!

Who knows how long this will last, but I'm all for it. Smile As long as they start delivering our sales papers again once the complimentary subscription is over.

Anyone ever hear of something like this?

New Water bill, etc

January 11th, 2018 at 04:50 pm

The last few water bills (billed bi-monthly) have been $112, $110 and $90. Around the time of the $110 bill we had a leaky tub faucet fixed. I figured it would make some difference, but not a huge amount.

Guess I was wrong! Our latest bill - $65! That's about what it was when we first moved in.

Will help make up for the gas bill ....

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So ... I've decided to go back to my eating plan I did last January. Essentially eat on target 6 days a week, and then 1 day a week anything goes (within reason.)

Partly this is because my DH is getting more and more unhappy with the meals we can share ... when I told him my decision last night he estatically said - Yay! Little Ceasar's!!

Partly it is because no matter how well or unwell I eat, it seems to have no effect on my energy levels or feeling well/healthy.

Partly I just want to reduce my stress level ... (as evidenced by falling apart in my car after work yesterday when I slammed my fingers in the door ...)

I'm just tired all the time. Feeling blah all the time. No energy. And to top it off, it now seems as though Aunt flo is going to be paying multiple visits per month ... Yay ... 42 .... I think its so unfair for woman who'll never have a child to have to deal with that. At least woman who have a child get something out of the 30+ years of monthly misery.

So .. spending ...
junk at Walgreen's two days in a row - covered by rewards dollars ...

Later tonight ... Little Caesars -~$9

Spending, etc

January 7th, 2018 at 11:55 am

Ok, so last night I stopped at two stores.

Aldi's - $18.81
Spring mix -- $1.99
Yellow mustard 20 oz - 0.65
Brown rice spaghetti - 1.89
3lbs red delicious apples - 3.39
2.16 lbs bananas - 0.95
6 oz bag of pepitas - 2.19
frozen Brussel sprouts x 2 - 1.78
Veg stock - 1.89
Unsweetened almond milk 32oz - 1.99
4 oz canned mushrooms x 2 = 1.10

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Walgreen's -27.25
razor - $9.99
Airwick refills (2 pk) - 6.99
Get Well card - 2.99
Daytime cold/flu syrup - 6.29
Black cherry water - .99

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Ordered from Amazon
2 pk razors (different type) - 9.99
silicone ice cube molds (for freezing lemon juice) - 11.99

Used a $5 gift card

Cost $18.31 (after taxes)

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This morning I made a 3 bean veggie chili for my lunches. In a bit I'll be washing dishes and some other chores.

Later tonight I'm making barbeque and roasted potatoes for dinner (soy curls and homemade bbq sauce)

Swagbucks is being torturous to earn anything right now. Geesh! Luckily I completed a 50 sb survey on my second try today, otherwise I may have just given up for this month. (getting monthly master bonus)

I really need to get outside today - a balmy 34 degrees! I walked to the library and back yesterday in 22 degrees. Smile

I should finish book #2 today, and start book #3 - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant Based Nutrition. I saw it recommended in several places, so am curious to see what it may offer.

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I updated our YNAB budget with all of the end of 4th qtr amounts. Our networth went up 4.6% for the 4th qtr. (I only update retirement/investments at the end of each quarter.)

I'm starting to feel somewhat better finally - a little bit of energy even. Hopefully this means I'll get some tasks accomplished. I'm SO far behind on stuff it isn't funny ...



Car Troubles, etc

January 6th, 2018 at 01:45 pm

Saturday, January 6

So I'd noticed my gas light blinking on Thursday when I was heading into work. After work on Thursday I knew I needed to get home sooner than later since we were going out to eat.

So, based on other times where my light started blinking, I figured I'd be fine til after work on Friday.

So .. Friday after work I did my usual stop at the credit union, then I stopped at Walgreen's to pick up a prescription, and headed towards home.

I'd planned on getting gas at a station a block from my house, but since I was passing a Russ's, decided to go ahead and get it there.

I pull up to a pump, turn off my car and get out. After swiping my card and trying to select my fuel, I realized the pump was not working. So I canceled my transaction, and got back in my car to pull forward to the next pump.

My car wouldn't turn over. It wouldn't move. There were lots of scary lights lit up.

Trying not to panic, I turn my car off and restart it again. Same thing.

I try calling DH, but his phone wasn't in the room with him (had been giving him issues) so he didn't hear it.

I try calling my insurance agent to find out how I contact roadside service. Voicemail.

I try looking up the number of my insurance company to see if the roadside service number was listed. No bueno.

I try calling the ins. company ... endless phone tree only to find out they close at 5pm EST.

Finally I call my brother - about 3:20 pm his time. He doesn't answer, but calls me back. He was in a meeting with some clients. (That's what I was afraid of ..)

He listens to me, and tells me it probably just is out of gas. So put it in neutral and push it forward to the next pump.

That's what I did - pumped gas ... voila! Running car!

No more waiting til the last possible moment to get gas for me!!

*My agent called me back and told me my service is where I contact someone to do whatever, and then get reimbursed up to $100. I had Geico most of my adult life, so was used to their system.

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Daily Dozen - 4 days of 90% completion

Still reading book 2 of 52

No refined sugar since Sunday

Today did first real exercise in who knows how long ... walked to the library to return some books and pick up a few. Smile 22 degrees out .. balmy

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Spending

Thursday - $11.41 Granite City restaurant w/DH
*$20 gift card, left $7 tip for great waiter

Friday - $27.86 gas
Prescription - $37.63

Planned spending tonight (Saturday):
Aldi's (groceries)

Walgreen's - razors, cold meds ~$20

First Day Back to Work, $

January 3rd, 2018 at 07:26 pm

Today was my first day back to work. I still wasn't feeling great, but not enough to stay home another day.

Went ok, though I definitely was TIRED by the end of the day.

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I weighed myself this morning so I can have a starting weight for a 5% loss. I think it is doable ... if I keep eating well and get consistent with exercise...and don't just maintain for the next 12 months like the last six ... Even if I *just* maintained, that'd still be a win!

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Spending: $0

Daily Dozen - 90% (no exercise)
3 tasks: Cleaned cat boxes, washed dishes, made pumpkin nut muffins (for easy to grab snack)

Book 2 of 52: about 1/2 way done

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We received the $1,038 reimbursement check from the railroad for SIL's funeral expenses. Since it comes from an annuity it's taxable ... bizarre considering it's supposed to be a refund of sorts ...

We'd already been reimbursed from the estate (which we told them) so ... we did the 1/3 to the future (Emergency Fund) 1/3 to the present (fence fund) and 1/3 to past/debt (DHs student loan.) I paid the student loan today - it had $128 at 6.8% interest. It was the smallest of them, but I just didn't like having that interest rate. Smile He has about $3k left. His IBR payment is $51.81 - the other interest rates are 3%.

I'm not too worried about knocking this one out fast .. we have so many other places for our money to go, and the interest rate is less than our mortgage.

I wish I had dallied a bit on getting the paperwork in though ... the check was dated in 2017. I had been hoping for it to be dated 2018 for tax purposes.

Oh well. Who knew this was going to happen when I sold some of my stock earlier this year? We may still be able to *squeak* under the tax savers credit limit, but I have my doubts.

1st week of 2018 Grocery Report

December 31st, 2017 at 11:08 am

I decided to do my first grocery spending on Dec 30 instead of Monday due to the lovely below zero temperature we are enjoying currently. Smile

Some items were purchased with a giftcard / on Amazon. I'm still counting those items towards my total $160 personal spending budget. I also bought a few items DH requested which will not go towards the $160 total but the general food budget.

My goal is to eat healthily without spending a lot.

So ...

Amazon -

3lbs of raw cashews - $21.99
1lb Nutritional Yeast flakes - $11.41

*both items used to replace cheese, cream, etc. Should last many months.

Stock up budget - $33.40

Dollar Tree
4 10 oz bags mixed frozen berries - $4 (smoothies)
5 3pks mandrain oranges - $5 - (work snack)
$3 personal spending budget (i.e. junk)
1 32oz Almond Milk!! $1

Stock up budget - $43.40

Walmart
Generic Old Fashioned Oatmeal - $2.48
Generic PB2 powder 30 oz - 9.98
Smuckers Natural PB - 3.32
Pecan halves (DH)
Hungry Man x 2 (DH)
Bananas .44/lb - $.86
Bulk lemons $.48/each - $.96
Fresh parsley - $.98
bag of whole carrots - $1.54
4 red delicous apples - $1.64/lb - $2.25
1 green bell pepper - $.78

Stock up budget - $59.18
Produce budget - $7.37

Other items purchased -
Can colander - 1.88
Juicer - $3.97
Egg slicer - $2.97 (slicing whole mushrooms)

Used $50 giftcard earned from koinme

Aldi's
2 cartons veg. broth - 2.98
2 pkgs frozen brussel sprouts - $1.78
Garlic Powder - $1.19
160z walnuts - $5.99 (32oz bag at Walmart is cheaper!)
Organic seeded bread - $3.79
3lbs sweet potatoes - $1.49
2 x 8 oz spinach - $2.49
4 six pack raisins (work snack) $4.36
8oz fresh mushrooms - $1.49
baby carrots - $1.69

Stock up budget - $73.70
Produce - $20.10

Ok, so I went a bit over in both stocking up and the weekly budget. This is a prime example of why I need to write this all out.

One area I know I need to improve on is my work snacks. If I joined costco I probably could get one of those huge things of raisins and a large can of Mandrain oranges and then portion them out ... I'd just have to see if they have the kind not packed in sugary gel ...

At Walmart they had a 32oz bag of Walnuts for $9.34 but I couldn't remember what Aldi's price was, so waited til Aldi's. Now I know. Smile

Currently reading - Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson
Listening to - Klove on my Alexa Dot
Will be making for dinner - Beefless Stew
http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2015/06/07/beefless-stew/
and Braised Cauliflower from the How Not to Die Cookbook

2018 Goals

December 30th, 2017 at 02:58 pm

So I've been thinking about goals for the coming year. I want to try to keep them fairly simple so I may actually manage to do them.

Health:

Big Goal: Lose 5% of current weight

(I lost 10% in 2017 and have managed to keep it off since May.)

Plan - Average 35k steps per week.
Minimal use of processed foods.
Water from the tap, plant milk, and tea only.
Complete the Daily Dozen at least 90% 5+ days a week. (Have a check off list on my fridge)

Financial

Big Goal 1: Fully fund both ROTH's - $12k

Big Goal 2: Reduce Grocery Spending - keep personal average to $160/month or less. (not including DH's food) *Check sidebar for explanation*

Big Goal 3: Increase EF by $3k

Personal

Big Goal 1: Complete at least 3 tasks daily before vegging at computer

Big Goal 2: Get the office organized with functional files. Put together the bookcases. Keep it that way.

Big Goal 3: Read 52 physical books.

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I am not planning on doing the uber frugal challenge, however, I do want to be more transparent with my spending. I think I've gotten lax on being mindful.

So, I am going to attempt to post my spending a few days a week here - starting January 1.



Nutcracker, Snow, Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2017 at 10:39 am

I really enjoyed myself at the Nutcracker. DH tolerated it. Smile Afterwards we ate at a Chinese place with a grill. I was able to fill up on grilled veggies and tofu.


I updated our budget and realized we only had $50 left in the grocery budget! I knew DH still needed to buy his turkey and the stuff for the rum cakes. That was $28. So I tried to buy as little as possible and make do with what I had on hand.

As I was making the tater tot casserole yesterday I realized I was out of veg stock, and only had one can of green beans. So I subbed green peas .... I've got a whole casserole to eat for myself (other than the piece DH ate.) Oh well.

I got my $50 Walmart card from Koinme, so I can use some of that for groceries without it affecting the budget.

I plan on adding a category for next year for Holiday spending - the extra spent for Thanksgiving day food, Christmas day food, multiple Christmas cards, stamps, and I did buy a gift card for my mom ... Need a separate category for this.

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DH gave me a spice rack for Christmas! It is beautiful - made of solid oak. He's going to stain it to match our cupboards and hang it on the wall. I'll take a picture of it once he's done that and I've filled it with my spices. Smile

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DH has been pretty okay with us not having cable. But there are a few times where I know he's really missing it. This coming Monday (NYD) with the Florida bowl game (Scott Frost) he's really missing it.

So ... I finagled our household general budget a bit (i.e. borrowed from some more flush categories) and bought a set top converter box and antenna for his huge analog tv monstrosity that sits in our living room. Hopefully that setup will pull in whatever channel the game is on. Smile

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We woke up Sunday morning to 4 inches of snow! It was so beautiful.


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DH went with me to the Christmas Eve service at my church Big Grin and then we went Christmas light looking. We ended with my favorite one - the place I call the "Alley Place."

Afterwards DH made his rum cakes. 1 for us (mainly him - I had two bites of it.) 1 for the partner and sister of his sister, and 1 for his long time friend.

We however were out of good paper plates. I did NOT want to use any of my real plates (did that last year for the one we gave his sister, and only got it back after her memorial service ...) So ... I ended up driving our Honda CRV for the very first time.

I don't like driving vehicles that are high up off the ground, but this wasn't too bad - other than backing up ...

I still haven't driven our pickup truck. (And won't for awhile now since the insurance for that is now covering the CRV - until winter is over.)

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I'll be taking Kari (cat) to the vet again tomorrow for a recheck. Hoping it won't be another $168. I'm pretty sure she's over the UTI though.

It would be nice to not have any activity in our pet fund (other than food/litter) for at least 6 or 7 months so we can actually rebuild our funds to a reasonable level!

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Well, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas all!

More $ to the Vet

December 12th, 2017 at 05:05 pm

Kari has a UTI - I dropped her off this morning and picked her up after work. $168. Sigh.

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The Nutcracker is this Sunday!!!

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I bought two Christmas gifts this year. One for DH (after he told me he'd gotten me something, and then after I asked him to tell me explicitly what he might like ...he's impossible to shop for,) and a movie gift card for mom and her husband. (from Raise.com) All in all, about $80.

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I'm debating about what I want to do on Friday. I took the day off as a b-day gift to myself. Usually I'd go see a movie or something. But having had the Moviepass the past few months (now canceled) it's not such a special thing.

I have a doctor's appt in the am, so that'll get me going. Then I want to stop at the Oriental market and stock up on tofu. Maybe get a mani/pedi? Maybe stop at Lane Bryant and see if they have their bra sale yet? (Desperately in need of new ...) Or just go home and spend the day chilling with kitties and Netflix. Smile

Hmm...

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On Sunday I had a couple teenagers and their younger cousin here helping me get leaves picked up and into bags. The garbage service doesn't charge extra after Nov 30. The 4 of us did 10 bags in about 2 hours. I paid them $30. It was WELL worth it. There's still more to go (after 20 bags) but it's much more manageable I think.

I was a bit perturbed at DH who decided to not come out and work in the yard while the kids were there. He did go out later (after dark) and got a good bit done on our deck.

With DH's shoulder/back/knee issues and energy level issues ... I'm really thinking it may be time to hire a yard service. Otherwise it slowly is falling on my shoulders. Everything. And its not like I'm a ball of energy either. We got a house with a yard like this for DH. I just wanted space for a small garden.

I don't know where the money would come from for that though ...0

Property Taxes!

December 5th, 2017 at 05:30 pm

So I checked the website today to see if our taxes were posted yet. They were! We paid ~$2300 last year - but they upped our taxed value from $113 to $142 so I knew they'd be up a good bit.

I guestimated $3k and have been saving $250/mo towards that.

The new tax amount? $2760! That means we have a choice - move $240 to the CRV tax/registration category or something else; recalculate what we need to save monthly and absorb remainder into budget, or keep the extra as a buffer. I'd be fine with any option.

I was told today that we should have protested our assessment since it went up so much. I didn't even think about it due to thinking there was no point - it was the accessed value at the time of sale. If so, too late now.

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I got another leaf bag done tonight. Tomorrow afternoon I have my dentist appt in the pm and probably will get home a little early. Hopefully I can get 2 or 3 bags done before I have to go help out with the costumes for our living nativity. (Sat night program.)

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I am debating on the wisdom of getting a $25 AGC card. It's a free $3 (only 2200 SBs for first one) vs the $25 Paypal for 2500 SBs. I sometimes wonder if I spend the AGC $ more freely because I don't have to account for it in my budget. Whereas if it is cash, then I have to account for it.

Is it worth it to lose the "free" $3 to get only PayPal from SBs? In a year's time that's equal to 1 1/2 $25 giftcards ... But do I piddle away $36/yr of the "free" money?

Dentist, Rethinking Spending, ROTH's, etc

December 4th, 2017 at 08:10 pm

Thanks again everyone for your kind words about Sunny. It is so strange to not have her here.

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I got word from my doctor that my bloodwork came back looking good. She didn't test for vit D and my platelets looked high - so I'll be going back on the 15th for a recheck of platelets and a check of vit d.

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I went to the dentist this morning - had two fillings replaced and a partial deep cleaning. Ouch. I had gone to the dentist a few weeks ago for a cleaning (after not having gone for a year) and found out I needed a deep cleaning of my back teeth.

I bought a water pik which should hopefully help going forward. (If I actually use it consistently ...)

I have another appointment on Thursday for the other side of my mouth.

DH needs his full mouth deep cleaned - he has appointments in February.

Glad to have FSA money set aside for stuff like this.

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I have decided to cancel my MoviePass. While it was fun for awhile to go see any movie I wanted to, it's started to get tiresome trying to not only find a movie I want to see, but one that's playing at a theater I want to go to. Most of the ones I want to see seem to be at the downtown theater - and the night I prefer to go - Saturday - isn't a great night to be downtown!

My spending money isn't coming in as much lately. Swagbucks is still a decent source, but most of the other things I was doing seem to be getting more difficult, or I just have gotten tired of them.

So ... I'm going to be much stricter with my spending of my fun money. I've been a little too free with it in some ways.

I'm also going to try to be a little more tight with spending of the family budget money. Especially groceries. That seems to be edging up and up the past few months. (along with the scale ...)

I'm going to continue to budget $300/mo to groceries, but any month we come under it, the balance is going to go to the EF. I'd really like to get that up to at least 12K. That way if DH gets to the point where he can't do his job anymore, we have funds on hand to last til he can be approved for disability (without having to go into our ROTH savings.)

Speaking of ROTH's - DH's is fully funded ($6500) for 2017! It earned $457 since we opened it (in June I think?) That's a lot more than it would've earned sitting in either our 5% or 3% checking accounts! My ROTH is about $1k short of being fully funded. (We had $3500 set aside for the DH's ROTH when we started his account. Each month I've allocated $1k to be split between our accounts since then. Plus, I have my retirement accounts at work - one of which shows a 14.5% increase!)

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Can I say how much I love the Echo Dots we bought?!

They may actually end up saving us a little money ... I called my grandma on Saturday like I do every week using the Dot, and it didn't count towards my minutes! As long as I remember to call my mom or brother that way, that'll save several hundred minutes whenever that happens. I forgot to use it tonight when I returned my DHs call, but will be working on remembering. Smile

We've used the intercom a few times, and I've used the thing where you can have multiple ones play at the same time (like when I'm cleaning and listening to music) DH really likes it for hands free alarm setting, and has been requesting a lot of music. Smile

I have a couple podcasts I listen to, plus my news flash with the daily Bible study reading. Smile

I also am loving the easy list making.

This would be in terms of Kon Mari a joy producing purchase Smile

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We got some yard work done yesterday. DH cleaned out the shed and rearranged everything, he then put in the fence lumber so it won't warp over the winter. (Forgot to mention that $200 worth of cement is toast due to being put on the ground and covered with a tarp. Thanks Fence guy. Not.)

I bagged up 3 bags of leaves from part of our front yard. (Did a 4th one today after work.) Also picked up a ton of sticks.

We're running out of time to do yard work. DH got a bee under his bonnet due to wanting to put his CRV in the garage. Thus why stuff is slowly starting to get done outside.

I've also decided energy or no energy, I WILL do at least one hour of focused effort on housework or other needs everyday plus whatever we do on Sundays. (Only day we both have off together.) Eventually maybe I'll catch up and can go to 20 minutes daily plus cat litter.

Sunny is Still Sick :(

November 6th, 2017 at 05:59 pm

Lots of money spent at the vet the past few weeks on our little Sunny girl (cat.) Vet thinks she may have a c something virus.

We may have two teeth pulled and possibly have some mouth sores biopsied on her. Hoping we can figure out how to make her comfortable, if not better.

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I decided to cancel the clean food dirty girl food plans - just too much for just me. Most things DH tried he didn't like. I'm going to go back to simple and boring.

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I got my oil changed at Sear's today - used a Groupon I thought had expired, but it took it at full value! So I paid $4!

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My brother's band had their album debut on the 22nd. My brother wrote five of the six songs!

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I'm going to be opening an Infiniti account and parking $5k there at 5% interest. Then I'll have $16k in all at 5%, and the rest of cash at 3%.

I'm also considering this account where if you deposit $50/mo for two years, they'll give you $150 bonus. It works out to 10%.

*Both of these are on Doctor of Credit

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Check your AmEx deals - Petco has a spend $25 get $5 off deal (online) plus lots of other deals.

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Talking to my brother a few days ago, and I realized that he is 37, mom is 67 and grandma is 97! Smile

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We may be getting a little money from DH's sisters railroad benefits. Her son may be getting $12k and has said that he'll give us 10% since DH has done a lot of the work. We'll see what really happens though.

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I redeemed $40 from ReceiptHog a few days ago.

RetroPay, Grocery budget, Napa fires, etc

October 14th, 2017 at 01:06 pm

Hi all.

So on Thursday I got my Retropay - minus the OT hours (next check) and it was $768.xx. After taxes and retirement, it was about $576 extra. Not too shabby.

1/2 of it will go to our general budget and 1/2 will go to my fun money.

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I bought two clothing items from Grayson for $27. I'm disappointed in them, but it'd cost nearly $10 just to ship them back. So ... I'm thinking of just keeping them and making them work. One reason I don't like buying clothes online!

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I hadn't updated our budget for awhile, but finally got around to it yesterday. I was surprised to see we'd only gone through 1/3rd of our budget.

Of course I need to go grocery shopping tonight .. so we'll see what happens.

I decided to sign up for the clean food dirty girl meal plans - $20/month. I've kind of been backsliding on my eating and think part of it is due to boredom. So I'm hoping that having meal plans set out for me will alleviate some of that. We'll see.

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As some of you may remember, my brother lives in Napa. So far he has luckily not had to evacuate, but he's assured me he has his car packed and ready.

So sad about all those places destroyed and lives lost. Redwood Adventist Academy (one of my church's highschools) was completely destroyed.

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I'm planning on going to see The Princess Bride on Sunday at our downtown theater. 30 year anniversary showing. It's also showing on Wednesday at certain theaters across the USA.

After that we'll probably be going out to eat at Golden Corral again - Groupon deal 2 meals for $19. (all you can eat Prime Rib ... yuck.) I'll be loading up on fruit and veggies. Smile

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We're making slow progress removing the brush pile that our errant fence guy created. Probably two more truck loads to go.

I have the feeling the fence will not be put up til next spring ... Hopefully all the wood we have will make it through the winter (for the fence.)

What a fiasco.

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DH fixed the warm air blower machine. I thought it was dead and we'd have to get another one. But Thursday night he took off the shield and futzed with it for 5 or 6 minutes, and Voila! it was working again. Smile $30 not spent!

I've put on the electric blankets and our wedding quilt. It was very welcome Thursday night, but last night it was too much.

Haven't turned the heat on yet though. Smile

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I'm going to Aldi tonight to see if they have the $50 HP wireless printer. Our printer stopped printing 6 or 7 months ago, and there have been multiple times we wished it was working.

Updates, Video for Patient Saver

August 21st, 2017 at 06:12 pm

So ... DH got some discouraging news last week. His shoulder that he'd been having physical therapy on - which wasn't helping - has two shriveled up rotator cuff tendons. The only option offered was cortizone shots 2x a year. Otherwise, just live with it.

So he won't be off work for 2 -6 weeks, but he now has to live with two messed up shoulders.

Ugh.

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Two months after writing the check to the fence guy, we have progressed to having the fence posts delivered. No holes dug, no posts put up, etc.

What a lesson this is for us.

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I am now down 38lbs from January. 20lbs more and I'll be at my lowest weight in 15 years.

I am thinking of looking for a plant based doctor to see if they can help me figure out why I still have little energy and am still having sleep issues.

---
I watched the eclipse today. I knew I wanted to do it, but I had no idea how amazing it really would be. I had almost decided against doing it after reading articles expounding the dangers. Then I took a two second glance at a 1/4 covered sun, and was hooked!

I found myself almost compelled to look up, even when I didn't have my glasses on. It was a strange pull.

---
I'm going to be getting a standing desk at work! I just have to go over to purchasing and choose what I want.

I'm hoping this will make me move more.

----
Patient Saver - I watched this video today which I think you may like. It's interviews with a number of plant based doctors (Greger isn't included though)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcT0w_v8E6s

I found it fairly interesting.

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I had 3 hours of overtime yesterday welcoming uni students to school. Lots of fun Smile

Sick Kitty

August 12th, 2017 at 01:49 pm

Thursday night after giving our furkids their 2x weekly wet food meal, our Sunny girl lost her meal .. w/blood too.

Today at noon was the first appointment I could get. She didn't throw up any more (that I could see) so the vet didn't think it was something to worry about. However, he did notice an upper respiratory infection - and gave me some meds for that.

Sunny has been curled up on my lap sleeping since then.


The vet visit cost $67

----
I got 4 hours of overtime this week. I won't know until Tuesday if the new payrate is in effect yet or not.

Next Sunday I'm working the Big R Welcome for local uni students. That'll sure be fun. Smile

---
Thursday night we ordered takeout for the first time in a long time. A local Chinese place that had 4 options with no salt/sugar/oil/msg!! I was amazed. I got steamed veggies with tofu, then made brown rice for myself.

They accidentally made my order "homestyle" with an unknown sauce. DH noticed this, and got them to remake my dish - we got to keep both. DH ate the homestyle - yay! he ate veggies! - and said he'd get it again (liked the sauce on the broccoli)

---
I finished the last episode of Downton Abbey yesterday. Frown Somehow I hadn't seen season 5 or 6 till this month.

---
Our fence guy is STILL stalling. He's put in maybe 10 hours worth of work so far. Supposedly our supplies will be coming Monday. We're not holding our breath.

Life Ins ?, Updates

August 5th, 2017 at 03:09 pm

So I received one of those promotional mailers from one of the credit unions I have a CC at - essentially offering me a free $1k of accidental death and dismemberment policy.

I usually throw those things away, but this time I looked at it a bit more closely. As I did so, I noticed that it says that your spouse would be covered at half of your coverage (members coverage.)

Hmmm... I am already amply covered through work. So if something were to happen to me, DH would have no financial worries. Not so much if the reverse were true.

I'm able to add $5k/yr to DH's policy thru work, up to $50k. $50k would be a good amount to help me keep the house, and make whatever upgrades I'd need to do in order to rent out the basement (if that's what I decided to do.) That's 8 years out though.

For $7.50/month, I can have a $50k family plan. So, that would give me $25k + whatever I'm up to with my work plan if something happens to DH.

What I'm not sure of is what they consider "accidental death." The only thing mentioned that isn't covered is suicide. So ... would a heart attack be considered accidental death? Or dying of diabetes complications? etc?

It also has a hospitalization benefit - so if you're in the hospital more than 7 consecutive days, it pays up to $1k/month.

My DH would in no way shape or form qualify for normal term life insurance. So something like this appeals to me - I'm just wondering if there is something I'm not thinking about.

(No, we don't have human dependents, but we do have many furbabies. Either one of us would have a difficult time affording this house on our own. Renting would be out of the question w/our "kids." I'd just feel more secure knowing that if something were to happen to DH before we get to the financial place where he can retire, that I'll be taken care of (without having to dip into my own retirement funds.)

If DH started eating more healthfully, then I might not be so concerned about this. As it is, I doubt that is going to happen. So ...

----
The fence guy did come out and spent about 3 days sporadically working on prepping our yard for the fence. Then he didn't come at all for an entire week.

No communication at all.

We are getting REALLY frustrated.

----
It looks like the city union contract for my job is finally going to council to be signed! A year later ... So, hopefully on my next paycheck I'll be getting the backpay from a 2.5% cost of living raise, and then on the next paycheck, will be getting an additional 2.5% cost of living raise.

Plus the overtime I'll be getting this month (and some retroactive pay from previous overtime - they took out some language which will make around 6 hours of OT that was paid at straight time, into 1 1/2 time.)

My next two paychecks should be pretty darn sweet. (Good thing, seeing as though we need to squirrel away as much cash as possible for DH's shoulder surgery/time off work!)

---
DH took care of the small estate affidavit for his sister on Thursday. Got it notarized and took it by her bank. This week he'll be calling the railroad to find out what the money situation is there, and then we can figure out all the finances.

I was proud of him for getting it done so quickly (Thursday was the 31st day from SIL's death - so first day it could be done.)

Thursday was also his birthday. 51 yo! We drove to a town called Marysville and ate at a Wagon Wheel restaurant. I was able to find food I could eat - DH had something called drunken chicken and mashed potatoes. I stole one fry and one fried mushroom ... not on my plan, but a little smudging once in a while won't kill me. Smile

---
I'm going to be making this recipe tomorrow -

Eggplant parm

https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-eggplant-parmesan/

with some modifications (no oil)

We have been harvesting eggplants from our garden. We ate the first one on Sunday, and have 3 more to eat now. So, I may do a double batch of this recipe, and freeze some.

Here is my hubby with our very first eggplants:


---
So far I have redeemed a $25 gift card for Walmart from Swagbucks.

---
I returned a bunch of books to the library on Friday. I'd put them in a tote with a jug of distilled water (for the cats to drink) and some water must have leaked ... I found this out as I was putting the books in the return bin. Two of them had visible water damage. Frown

So I brought the books into the library and showed them to the person at the desk. She told me one book was old, and not too damaged, so she wouldn't charge me for it. The other book though was brand new, and much more damaged.

She started looking for the barcode, and then realized it wasn't a library book after all!

I guess I had put all the library books on top of this book (all cookbooks) and when gathering the books to take back, just swept them all up. So ... I guess I should be glad it got water damaged!

Fence update, Math ?, etc

July 29th, 2017 at 12:50 pm

So without a word to us, the person started working on the landscaping part of the fence project on Monday. We think he's dragging it out as long as possible before needing fence supplies ... for whatever reason. At least its started!

---
I'm trying to figure out what to save for property taxes. This year we paid $2212 for an evaluation of $114k. Next year our evaluation will be $140k (what we paid for the house.)

I'm guessing that'll be about $3k. The first half will be due May 1, and the second half due August 1.

I at first just made the goal to have $3k by July, but I've been thinking that that might be more than I need to save each month or perhaps less.

I need $1500 by April, and then another $1500 by July. What is the best way to do this? For whatever reason, I just can't get my brain to figure this out.

----
I paid the cremation costs on the new AARP Chase card - so should get $200 cash back on the next statement.

Snowflakes for July:
Bing - $5
Dietbet - $288
Earnably - $15
Earnhoney - $10
PACT - $11.29
Perk - $25
Pinecone - $12
Swagbucks - $125
Youlotto - 5.07

1/2 of these will go towards our spending money and 1/2 will go into the general budget.

I overspent on groceries this month ... a lot. I had tried to keep it to $200, but right now we are at $314. Most of the spending was in an effort to have lots of choices stocked for DH to help him on the eating healthy challenge. Which he didn't even make past day 1 .. Sigh.

I'm budgeting $300 for this month to be more realistic, but am hoping to keep it lower.

Our August budget is going to be tight. DH missed 4 days of work - unpaid. But September should be pretty flush - I have 6 - 8 hours of overtime in August, plus a 3 paycheck month.

However, it's looking like DH will be having shoulder surgery - with a possible 2 - 6 weeks off work. Gulp. Unpaid. So I'll be squirrelling the extras from August into an off work category. Hopefully DH can do some eBay sales during that time so it won't be totally without income. I'll also hold off on sending money to our ROTH's in September in case we need it.

---
DH is turning 51 on Thursday! We may be going to eat at a place about an hour from here to celebrate.

---
We'll be able to file the small estate affidavit on Friday for SIL. So we can pay ourselves back for the cremation and DH can contact the railroad. If there is money coming from there, then we'll deal with the medical bills. If not, then the medical places just will have to eat the costs.

--
I'm still going strong on my new way of eating. I haven't had chocolate or processed foods or other junk foods in over 5 weeks!

The weight loss is going slowly, but it is progressing downward. The last time I weighed this much was around 2005! Another 20lbs and I'll be where I was in 2004 when I first met DH.

--
We had some torrential rain here this last week. I saw someone get stuck in the water driving home from work. When I got home I asked DH if he'd checked the basement for water. A few minutes later he calls me and tells me that not only is there water - but standing water!!

He goes outside to check the gutter pipes while I start vacuuming the water. He found out that the end of one of the pipes was clogged with mud and acorns. He tried to clear it and then realized the clog was near the roof ...

So ... I got up on the roof ... DH handed me a branch from our yard that was curved (after I'd tried with another stick) and I got it unclogged! Then came the petrifying part - getting off the roof!

We're going to have someone replace that pipe with something bigger so it doesn't clog so easily.

---
I bought a Shark vacuum a few weeks ago - the kind you can take part of it off and use as a dustbuster. I absolutely LOVE it! It's easy to clean and it does the job! I paid $79 for it after using a $50 Walmart card - it was a refurbished deal.

---
I stayed home two days this week to try to catch up on housework and projects. Sunday I did a lot of cooking and some cleaning. Monday I did a lot of phone calls and computer work. Tuesday
I went through my closet and found a large bags worth of giveaways and reorganized everything else. I also got most of my artwork hung.

I wanted to hang my mirrors but I was too afraid to use the stickies - though they're made to hang 16lbs. The mirrors are at least 30lbs each.

We have plaster walls so I'm just not sure how to hang something so heavy.

Dietbet, Memorial, the Fence!

July 21st, 2017 at 08:24 pm

So, starting off with the best ...

I lost a total of 32 lbs since January 17 and won
$288! A profit of $173 ($115 starting bet.)

Better yet though, I feel as though I have made real changes to my eating habits.

One prime example - every other time I had finished a weigh in (and won) I had given myself permission to go "off Plan" for a day ... or two or three... This time though, I have just kept on trucking. Eating the same way I have since I made the decision to go fully Whole Foods Plant Based no refined sugars, limited salt/oil.

Yesterday at work someone had brought in several boxes of doughnuts. Some of which used to be favorites of mine. Thursday I was able to look at them, remember how good they tasted, but realize I didn't really want them.

Today there still were some left, and I had to go by them a zillion times ... it got harder, but I told myself I could have a "milkshake" when I got home. Smile (dates, almond milk, a handful of walnuts, peanut butter, cocoa powder) Yum!

-----
In the so so category ...

The memorial for SIl was on Saturday afternoon. There wasn't a huge turnout. Most people seemed to be either neighbors or friends of her son. It was kind of sad really. DH was both relieved and disappointed at the turnout (he wasn't looking forward to being focused on by a bunch of people.)

We took care of SIL's ashes last night, and then stopped by DH's stepdad's house. Oooh boy. When he goes, we're going to have a lot of fun with his place. Not. He has barely a walkway through his house. It's not filled with trash, but with STUFF. Loads and loads of framed pictures lining the walls (not hung, but leaning against the wall.) 50++ dressed mannequins, a room full of Barbie dolls in boxes and other dolls. And so much more. He's 86 and definitely not in good health.

DH's sister had gone over to his place every Sunday and "shared a beer" with him, up til a month or so before she got really sick. DH won't "share a beer" with him, and if he goes over there once a month that would be amazing. (No love lost for stepdad - Hitler is one of his heroes. As is Sarah Palin and Trump. Ugh. He was a real turd to DH growing up.)

DH would really rather have nothing to do with him, but I think his good side will win out over his enmity towards the guy. He's all alone now ( a bed he made for himself, as DH says)

It's just really sad.

----
Now for the stuff that makes my blood boil.

DH knows this guy through work who has done projects for the pizza restaurant owner many times over the years. He also does fences.

So .. DH talked to him about doing our fence.

After many delays, he finally comes over and gives us an estimate.

A few weeks later (after DH texted him several times) he called DH to say - I was waiting to hear if you wanted to go ahead or not.

So, DH writes out a check to him for the cost of the materials = $2254 and I tape it to the back door. The check is cashed by the end of the day.

I call the utility line to have them come out and mark the property. The materials were supposed to be delivered by the end of the week.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him to find out what's going on.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him again. "Oh! I texted you a week and a half ago blah blah blah. My guys will be there on Thursday."

I call the utility number to have the lines refreshed.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him.

Crickets.

DH leaves him a voicemail.

Crickets.

DH calls again and leaves a voicemail.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. My grandfather died and I've been dealing with that the last month. I just got back into town, and should be able to start Friday morning."

This was Wednesday. He was seen at the pizza restaurant Saturday morning.

DH leaves him a voicemail telling him that if there is not some movement on this project by Monday, we are going to ask for our money back.

Crickets.

I'm not looking forward to going to small claims court.

New Budget Plan, Snowflakes, Dietbet, Ibotta Rebate!! Meal train

June 17th, 2017 at 08:41 am

Ever since my DH injured his so-called "good" shoulder, I have been contemplating what would happen if he couldn't work anymore. I realized we would be in a *very* tight spot. Yes, we have reserves which we could repurpose for daily expenses, and could cut into the stocks ... But that just feels like a short term solution with long term consequences - since the reserves and the stocks are for long term needs.

So, after a lot of thought and juggling of numbers on my part, and then the ensuing discussion with DH, we have made a mutual goal of fully funding both of our ROTH's by the end of this year. $12,000.

We already had $3555 set aside for whenever we opened DH's Roth. Then I felt comfortable putting the $1900 we had set aside for the EF. I also decided that as much as I would love to do a cattery design in the cat room/family room, that by the time we had saved enough to do it, we'd probably be down two cats. So ... I'm putting the $455 set aside for that towards our goal.

That just leaves $6,090 to reach our goal. Or, an average of $1,000/month starting in July.

We are cutting our spending money from $400 to $0. We are cutting the Date Night category from $100 to $60. Groceries will go from $300 to $200. I am also stopping the $25/mo Extra Principal. Plus, I will be stopping my extra contributions to my 457 at work - this will add approximately $140 back into the budget. There also is the $185/mo we've already been setting aside for DH.

That puts us at $890.

Which just leaves $110 to fund each month.

Our plan is to take 1/2 of whatever we make (profit) in side jobs or overtime and put it towards the goal. The other 1/2 will go towards our own spending money.

If we reach the $12,000 goal early, then we will decide what we want to do.

DH has also agreed to sell the non-functioning Honda! Not paying the title/registration for that thing will add back at least $100 which we can also put towards the goal. The sale price of the Honda though I think we'll put all into DH's car replacement category.

The purpose of all this is to get as much money put away as possible in a place that will most likely outearn the 2.5% of our current checking, and even the 5% of the Northpointe checking, but still be assessable if circumstances warrant it. (Contributions only.)

Best case scenario we won't have to touch any of it for ten or eleven years.

I'm going to be doing a new budget in YNAB to reflect all this, plus to cleanup the current budget. Smile

*I just thought about something - we have probably $200 in cashback rewards on our cards - that could go towards our goal too. Smile

---
June Snowflakes as of 6/17
June Snowflakes so far:

Swagbucks - $25 Walmart; $25 Paypal; $25 PP

Pact - $10

Earnhoney - $5; $5

Earnably - $10

Yoolotto - $6.75

MyPoints - $25 PP

FetchRewards - $10 in Walmart gift cards

**On Swagbucks there is a deal where you contribute $9/month for 4 months to WCF (World Wildlife Fund) and then 60 days after the 4th contribution you get 6500 SBs. So, a $29 moneymaker (plus you get a nice tote bag for grocery shopping.) Someone on the FB Swagbucks Swaggernauts group verified this offer with Swagbucks.

----
Dietbet Round 5 weigh in was today - and I made it again! Now just one more month to go for the final big payout!

-----
On iBotta there is a current bonus called Dash for Dollars. You only have to complete ONE branded rebate by the 19th to get a $5 bonus!

---
At work we are doing a meal train for the dispatcher who is going through chemo right now.

I was thinking of doing a meal of corn pudding, green beans, mashed potatoes and brownies. My DH thinks there isn't enough protein. There's cheese in the pudding, but I can't think of anything else that would go with it.

Dh suggested lasagna .. but to me that would be so much more work, and more expensive too since I already have most of what I need for the pudding meal.

Any ideas?

Saving Goals and Thinking About Housework

June 3rd, 2017 at 01:11 pm

My DH and I both get $200 each month for spending money. For me it covers tithe/offering/clothes/computer/phone, etc. For him it covers phone/computer/clothes/electronics/boat/tv/items he just wants to buy to resell/his soda habit, etc.

As part of this negotiation, it was agreed that whatever "funny money" (his term for my snowflakes) I bring in are to be added to my spending money. If he ever actually sells anything he bought with his spending money, he also gets to keep it.

So .. $160 of my SM goes to tithe/offering. That leaves me with $40/month to decide what to do with it.

I have a lot of categories I put the money into - phone replacement, computer replacement, Entertainment/Eating Out (when done by ourselves, otherwise it goes under date night), Nails, Clothing, Phone farm, Home Gym, and Gifts.

I've been reading CCF and MEC posts about their big savings goals and have been doing some thinking.

I would really like to have more money being socked away for retirement. Currently I have it where we set aside the same amount for each of us - mine in a work IRA, and DH's in a yet to be opened IRA.

What we're putting in to each is not even enough to 1/2 fully fund. (esp for DH since he is 50 and is eligible for catch up.)

The only way we'd be able to fully fund two IRA's would be to get rid of the cats and two vehicles. Probably the money we currently set aside/spend for those numerous categories would do it. (Car Maintenance, Car taxes/registration, Car replacement, Vet fund, Food for cats, Food/medical for non-cats, fund for catifying living room ....)

That's not going to happen, so on to more realistic ideas. Smile

So ... since it can't really be done with our shared budget, and I'm probably more likely to need lots of money for retirement (for a number of reasons) .. I've decided to set one major saving goal to be fully funding my ROTH.

This will be done with my "funny money."

The $40 will go to phone (10)/computer(10)/clothing(10)/(5)gifts/(5)Entertainment.

The funny money will be 50 / 50. 50% goes to the ROTH goal, 50% goes to other categories.

I'm also adding a category - Housekeeper. I'd like to hire someone 3 or 4 x a year to come in and do the deep cleaning stuff like windows, oven, fridge ...

If I somehow manage to fully fund the ROTH, then the 50% will be put aside for an investing fund. When that gets to $3k I'll put it into a Vanguard index fund.

Besides my current "funny money" schemes, I am debating about doing online tutoring via VIPkid. 10 hours a week could net $800/month+ pre-tax. 30% would be set aside for taxes. 35% to the family budget, and 35% for my saving goals.

Before I could do that though, I feel like I need to get a good cleaning/maintenance system established. So when I suddenly have ten hours less a week to do whatever, the house doesn't fall apart.

---
I've been looking at/reading about the SHE system (Sidetracked Home Executive.) I like some of their ideas, but am going to adapt them a bit. Smile

I plan on doing a point system. Each job is worth so many points. Both DH and I need to complete a minimum amount of points each week. However, if we make more than the minimum, the person with the most points gets to decide whether we eat a homemade meal (on their night) or go out to eat at their choice of restaurant. Plus another benefit which would motivate my DH. Smile

Small jobs are ones that take 15 minutes or less - worth 1 point. Medium jobs take 30 minutes or less and are worth 2 points. Large jobs are ones that take an hour or less and are worth 3 points. X-Large jobs are ones that take two+ hours and are worth 4 points.

A small job would be wiping the counters in the upstairs kitchen and bathroom. Or sweeping the upstairs. Or 15 minutes of general pickup and put away.

A medium job would be trimming the bushes. Or doing something like changing the car oil. Or mopping the upstairs. Or 30 minutes of decluttering an area. Or updating the budget.

A large job might be washing a car - inside/out. Cleaning 4 litterboxes (dump and rinse.) Or an hour of decluttering. Or going to a physical therapy appointment.

An extra-large job would be mowing, or shoveling snow, or cleaning the gutters, or shampooing the carpets, or two hours of decluttering.

Each type of job will go on a color coded index card. The cards will be kept in a file box. It will be divided into sections. One for DH only tasks (divided into the 4 categories). One for me only tasks divided into the 4 categories). One for Anyone tasks divided into the 4 categories). And then a completed section where the cards that were finished go (one for each of us.)

On each card will be a description of the task, its point value and a space to pencil the date completed and by whom. There also will be a note on it saying how often it should be done (like gutter cleaning, 2 x a year?)

On Sunday night we can each pick out which cards we think we will do for the coming week.

We both will also have basic routine cards - i.e.
the least to do on a daily basis. For example - In shared living spaces, pick up our own stuff - don't leave things on the counter/floor/door that don't belong there. 10 minutes of general pickup. DH - Scoop one litterbox in the basement. Me - Scoop all the litterboxes upstairs. Dishes go in the kitchen. Trash goes in a trash can. etc.

If we work together on a job ( like we both spend an hour working on the boxes in the basement) we both get the points for the job.

I still have to present this to DH ... so we'll see if this gets past the thinking/planning stage. Smile I'm hoping the allure of eating out plus the other will be enough ...

New Snowflake Makers, Updates

May 28th, 2017 at 07:18 am

I discovered a new receipt app - Fetch Rewards. It mostly earns the big points if you buy name brands, but they do give points for receipts with no name brands too. I've been using it for a week, and have enough for a $5 gift card (bought Boca veggie burgers, and DHs mountain dew...)If you decide to check it out, my referral code is G1GHV. We'd both get 1500 points.

Another earning opportunity is the website earnably. I just cashed out for a $10 paypal yesterday. It's one you don't have to babysit. If you want to help me out, use this link: https://earnably.com/i/lneerg or just search earnably.

I've cashed out for $100 on Swagbucks this month ... mostly thanks to nCraves (all you can eat!)

I'm almost to $30 on Inbox Dollars, but will wait to cash out at $40 - so a few more weeks.


I *might* be able to do a second cash out on Perk for $25 this month. I just need a bit less than 6000 points by Tuesday.

If any of you are interested in getting more into passive (mostly) earning - check out the FB group Making Money with smartphones. That's where I'm learning about some of these things. Also, the group Swagbucks Swaggernuts. Smile

----
So ... DH got into a scuffle Tuesday night with a co-worker 20 years younger than him .... Thankfully no work repercussions, but he really messed up his shoulder that hadn't had the replacement. He's going to try physical therapy to see if that helps.

In the meantime he can't use the new weedeater, and probably can't mow the lawn.

So guess what I'm doing this afternoon? Learning how to mow the lawn! He says we have a manual weedeater thing that he can use - so he'll be doing that and leaf blowing.

At least he didn't get fired. Sigh. (The other co-worker started it. A real turd.)

---
I'm watching a series on Netflix - The Paradise. A BBC program about a retail store. Enjoying it so far.

I also watched Anne with an E. Smile I was so sad when I realized I'd watched the last released episode.

----
I got a letter from the place I interviewed at saying no thanks. Sigh. Just have to keep looking I guess.

---
We're having our budget meeting tonight after we go out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant (Swagbucks local place 300 SB bonus + 7SBs per dollar. Smile )

We spent a lot of money in May - will be getting some nice cashback on the Citi card. I had to do a little WAM'ing for some of the categories, but mostly it was some things that were a bit more than planned for.

We bought a lawnmower, a ladder, a weedeater, and a leafblower amoungst other things ... (oh yeah - more string for the weedeater too) $$$

June hopefully we'll be getting a fence put up - if we ever can get an estimate!

Won Round 4 Dietbet! etc

May 20th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Well the one bright spot right now is that I have one 4 of 4 rounds of Dietbet - winnings are about $90 so far. I just need $25 more to recoup my initial bet, then the rest is gravy. Smile I have lost about 26lbs from my initial weigh in. Nobody seems to have noticed yet, but I can tell a difference in how my clothes fit.

For larger people like me, it seems like it takes a loss of more like 50 lbs or more for anyone to venture to guess ... are you losing weight?

Work ... ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I don't know if interviewing is really a good thing or not ... it gives me hope of getting out of there for something better .. so I start getting irritated even more by stupid things.

I thought I was to hear back about the job by yesterday. The fact that I haven't makes me feel like its probably a no. Frown I hope I at least get the courtesy of an email.

---
DH found a leaf blower he wanted on the Sears website Thursday. So on our way to dinner we stopped by. The in store price was more. I couldn't pull up the online price on my phone. DH was really irritated and didn't want to bother talking to anyone.

Friday I found the offer he'd found and took screenshots and printed them out. Then after work and making the bank deposit I stopped at Sears. I told a sales person what I was looking for and asked him if he could honor the online price. He cheerfully said he could - then thanked me for being pleasant. He'd apparently had a lot of unhappy people to deal with that day.

I told him I could relate ...

So .. the leaf blower in store price was $59.95. Online price was $47.95. I had $7.03 in Shop Your Way points - walked out with it for just under $43.

My DH was quite happy when he came out to the kitchen on his way to work to see I'd gotten it. Smile

---
I did call my mom for Mother's Day. It went fairly well. I bit my tongue hard when she told me she and paramour had both sold their cars and bought one new one. I badly wanted to ask if her name was on the title ... If she does ever decide to leave this guy *for real* she's kind of painted herself into a corner. Sigh. She's an adult.

--
I started a new money making website - Earnably. Pretty good so far.

--
Almost forgot! On Wednesday DH and I bought a ladder from Menards. DH started cleaning our gutters by standing on the third rung of the ladder and moving the ladder constantly. After about twenty minutes of me watching him do this, I offered to get up on the roof and finish the job.

Ii have no fear of heights, while DH does. It was my first time on a roof - and it was a little nerve wracking. But I got used to it quickly. Smile It was actually quite fun ... until I had to get OFF the roof.

DH held the ladder tightly for me and talked me down. Whew! Now our gutters are clean!

Long Day - Conversation at Work

May 1st, 2017 at 07:08 pm

So.... today I had a talk with my supervisor - after asking for the 11th pm off.

Long and short - I told her I am looking for another job. That it has nothing to do with her - but mostly my getting stressed out by the cash aspect. I also told her I was worried about the longevity of my position for a number of reasons.

In a nutshell, she reassured me that the cash aspect is not something to be so stressed about (be careful, but not fearful), and that my position isn't going anywhere.

I'm still going to interview for the job, but mainly for the experience (and I don't know who to contact to cancel.) If I get offered the job, I will think about it, but I'm leaning towards staying put.

I'm glad I told her, even if it was really hard.

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I got a $25 AGC from Perk today. I also did a Schwan's offer for 4000 SBs which instantly credited (spent $27.40 after 30% coupon.)

I stopped at Dollar Tree and stocked up on frozen fruit, etc. Then got some bananas from HyVee. About $10 altogether.

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Are there really people who don't know Hitler killed 6 million Jews in WW2??? A co-worker today made a comment expressing shock at that number (reading something in the newspaper.) I kind of thought that was basic high school history ...

I'm back! Trip Job etc

April 30th, 2017 at 01:31 pm

We got back from our trip Thursday night. Overall, it was a good trip. It was the most time DH and I have ever spent together continuously .... 7 days of 24/7 togetherness.

Our first hotel was in Silverthorne, Colorado. Up til about 8 pm travel was good ... then after stopping for dinner at Beaux Jo's pizza, the snow + darkness + winding mountain roads started. I'm thankful DH was driving.

We discovered that my headlights are foggy and probably need to be replaced. Not a good discovery to be made on a road trip.

Our next stop was in Utah, near Zion Forrest. We ate at a Chinese buffet that had egg foo young!!

The next morning we spent a few hours at Zion - free admission due to Earth Day!

Then on to Las Vegas where we ate at a buffet that had eggplant parm AND tons of sweets ....

Finally we arrived in Loma Linda. Grandma and my uncle were happy to see us. Smile We got to our hotel, and at first were happy ... but then realized the wifi didn't work. Which ... one night would be doable, 4 night not so much. But even worse ... it had a double bed and a sofa sleeper. No way DH and I could both sleep on a double bed. So I ended up on the sofa (DH's feet hung way over the edge.) It was a *miserable* night.

I hated to complain ... but no way was I going to make it on little sleep for 4 nights ...

We were moved to a Best Western. Best hotel ever (other than Branson.) Great room, great wifi ... but the best was the breakfast! Make your own Belgian waffles --- with chocolate chips to add .. and little Nutella packets!! DH liked the eggs/potatoes/meats they had too.

My brother didn't make it down ... said he was sick.

On Sunday my Uncle gave us a driving tour of the San Bernadino valley. DH got to pick oranges and grapefruit from a coup;e of groves. He got a kick out of that. Smile

On Monday we went to Santa Monica pier. DH fished off the pier for a little while - he didn't catch anything, but did spot a sea lion! We ate at PF Chang's - I was the only one who seemed to like it. We spent a good five hours in traffic ....

On Tuesday we went to Lake Arrowhead and ate at a Mexican restaurant on the edge of a cliff.

We left about 6:30 Wednesday morning, and drove all the way to Grand Junction, CO. We made sure to get there during daylight.

Thursday we left about 6:50, and by 7:30 encountered rain, then sleet and then snow. We were out of it by around 11 .... Definitely slowed us down a bit. We got home around 8 pm.

Friday I got one of my tires fixed that had gotten a nail on our trip. It was nice to be back in my own bed with the cats ...

I've got the budget all updated. We spent approximately $540 between gas, hotels, food, etc. Not bad for a 7 day trip.

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I have an interview on May 11 for one of the two jobs I applied for!!

Why are you wanting to leave your job? I hate the money aspect - handling cash. I'm also really tired of dealing with people on the phone ... --- Not a good answer, but the truth.

Have you had any conflict with coworkers - how did you handle it? Yes - one lady I helped with projects was a major perfectionist who couldn't tell you what she wanted in a simple, straight forward manner ... I got majorly stressed out dealing with her, and my supervisor and I had a meeting with her. Nobody liked her. She's gone now.

Again, not a good answer, but the truth.

What are your goals in five years? Umm, have a job? - What I usually say ... I hope to continually improve myself as a person and as an employee.

Why do you want this job? It's a good pay raise, and looks like a lot more fun than my current job - lots of computer related work and NO cash handling ... (I actually have to come up with two - three paragraphs for this question...)

What has been your greatest professional disappointment? (was totally stumped on this one .. finally came back with ... Not being able to foster a good collaborative community at the school I was a librarian at. I was able to get one or two teachers on board, but there was such a turnaround each year that I wasn't able to grow it.)

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DH was looking into tiling costs for the cat room - remove carpet and add tile - he's figured bare min of $5k for the area. Gulp. We need to come up with some other option (less $$) - easy to clean, and won't soak up cat messes... The carpet isn't doing so well.

We plan on removing the carpet in the office and bedroom - hardwood floors under carpet, and tiling the bathroom (currently carpeted.) Hoping these moves will help the smell. (Getting rid of cats is NOT an option.)

If I get this other job, I plan on putting some of it towards a once a month housecleaner ..

Or .. if I *don't* get this job, I'm looking at a teaching Chinese children English online job .. do 8 - 10 hours a week for $18 - 22 +bonuses an hour. And use some of that to pay for a housecleaner.

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I did gain about 4 lbs on this trip. I have until May 17 to lose those 4 lbs, plus 2 more to win round 4. I think I can do it. If not, then I'll be on my way to round 5. Smile

I just need to go back to my stricter diet plan (ate LOTS of junkfood this trip .. plus not much movement.)

New Computer and YouGov

April 2nd, 2017 at 10:34 am

My new computer arrived on Wednesday, but I didn't set it up until Saturday night. Windows 10 definitely takes some getting used to (at least its not Windows 8!)

My old computer is still working, so I'm using it to run videos on while surfing on my new computer. Smile It can connect via WiFi to my modem, but I think I'll be getting another Ethernet cord to connect directly.

I upgraded my monitor and keyboard - already can tell the new keyboard is loads better than the old one. Smile My monitor is a 23" - watched The Secret Life of Pets on it last night. Sweet!

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Last night I used one of the two $25 gift certificates I got for transferring two prescriptions to a local grocery store. Spent an additional $14.

I also went to Aldi. I was a little frustrated because two of the four main things I went there for, they were out of - Almond Milk and the frozen 85% beef patties (for DH.)

We overspent on Groceries in March by $17. In January and February we came in ~$80 under both months, so maybe our overage was due to some restocking.

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We are in full planning mode for our road trip! We plan on stopping in Colorado Springs for Pike's Peak, Denver for some Pizza place, Las Vegas for a buffet, and some forest in Utah. Then finally arrive to the Los Angeles area to celebrate our one year anniversary with my grandma, aunt, uncle and brother!

I am SO looking forward to the time off! If I could find another job here with comparable salary and benefits ... I'd jump so fast... something that had NO cash dealing.

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I *think* I may make it for Round 3 of Dietbet. I'm about two pounds off and 13 days away.

I'm kind of enjoying my break from Stepbet, but will definitely join one again after the trip. It really is a good motivator to get the steps in!

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I received my $40 check from Inbox Dollars yesterday. I'm already closing in on $7 towards my next check. Smile

This morning I did the last survey I needed to do for YouGov to cash out for a $100 Amazon card. I also have enough to cash out for a $25 Perk AGC.

Too bad I didn't wait a few weeks for these to put towards my computer. Smile I'm sure the $ will come in handy for something else. Wish I could order thru Amazon from Apple - then could use it for my phone.

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I forgot to mention this - but I paid off the last of DH's medical debt in February!

Egged! Surprise Gift Card

March 25th, 2017 at 04:26 pm

A few months ago my DH noticed that someone had thrown an egg at our house. We weren't sure how ong it had been there, so we guessed maybe it was some kid upset that we hadn't done anything for Halloween. (though our lights weren't on,and either of us were home.)

But this afternoon I was sitting in the office by my computer when I heard a very loud noise. ll the cas turned towards the window. I got up to look to see if I could find out what had made that noise. It sounded like an explosion.

Someone had egged our house again!

When DH got up I told him about it, and he decided to look around to see any other mischief. He found a third egg on the same wall - dried.

Apparently some kid is using our house for target practice.

A few days ago I noticed tissues all over the yard. I picked up all of them. Glad I did since i rained today! I also found a ruined smartphone and a good bit of other trash. I just don't walk in the yard much I guess.

I guess this is what you expect living ac from a middle school?

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After church today I dropped off two prescriptions at a local grocery store to get $50 in gift cards for transferring.

As I walked out, a young man asked me if I'd do a survey for a research paper he was writing - for a $10 gift card. So I did the survey (on GMO) and got a gift card!

Now I have $60 in gift cards for this store. Good thing too, since we've overspent the grocery budget already!

Snowflakes and Shocking Death

March 24th, 2017 at 07:10 pm

I thought I'd mention a few of the things I'm doing for my spending money. Some are things most of you do already, but some may be new.

Swagbucks - cashed out for a $25 AGC today, have 1800 left

Inbox Dollars - cashed out for $40.xx today (mostly running video app)

Mypoints - I have enough for a $25 paypal, plus close to a second one

Perktv - 13k points (need 24,400 to get $25 AC)

Survey Sites that don't disqualify you:
Pinecone - cashed out $23 a week ago

YouGov - within two surveys of cashing out for my 2nd $100 AGC (referral link in sidebar)

Passive computer video sites:
Earnhoney - earned $23 in last 3 weeks
---kind of a frustrating site -might be better with a newer computer

Koinme - for next 6 days as $5 signup bonus - earned $16 in less than two weeks (if interested, I can give some pointers, my referral code is: http://koinme.com/af-MUiZwD6Ssh We both get $5.)

Passive mobile only video apps:
Youlotto - earned $5.38 in two weeks

Checkpoints - almost enough for a $10 AGC

Just remembered two more!

IQ - an app that sends you questions to answer and pays immo. Mad 2.25 so far.

Oops, forgot the other one. Smile
Hmmm.. I think thats it other than health apps/bets

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DH found out on Tuesday that a coworker - 40 yo father of two - had died that morning. I'd met this person once - he was one of the few DH got along with/liked to talk to. There'll be a service tomorrow afternoon.

He either died of a stroke, heart attack or diabetic coma. He didn't take very good care of himself.

He was so young - such a preventable death. Frown

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We got our renewal papers for home insurance -$718.I think that' close to what we paid before. It's not due til May - so maybe I could chance signing up for another rewards card ... put this and property tax on it .... Hmmm...

I should be getting my car insurance renewal soon too I think.

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I read a really good Nicholas Sparks book this week - Two by Two. Highly recommend it.

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My diet isn't going so well.. At least I have a few weeks before the next weigh in. (I won $24 in round 2.)

I'm thinking of joining something Stepbet has started called Membership. It's $25 for one year, but it makes the game a bit easier and varied. Plus it eliminates their take of the winnings.

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Hmm not much else I can think of right now. I have decided to NOT build a computer, but am still debating what I'm going to get. I also am planning on getting the 64 GB iPhone SE. That'll save me from having to buy a new protective case. Not sure when I'll get it - but it'll be after the computer for sure!

Dietbet Round 1 Over, Budget Changes, etc

February 19th, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Round 1 finalized today - $14.44 won. (out of a $115 bet - paid out in July.) Officially lost just over 10lbs.

DH didn't want to go upstairs to take my picture, and consequently I had to redo my weigh in (no carpet.) So still made it with 3+lbs to spare.

I kind of went backwards with diet this week - started on Tuesday. Am back on plan now.

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So on Wednesday DH got up earlier than usual, and I talked to him about my ideas for changing the budget so he'd get the same amount I am, including tithe/giving. He was ok with it, so I redid some of the categories and made two new sections.

I showed him what I did Thursday night and he liked it.

Friday morning I couldn't sleep, so we talked some more. He tells me he'd like to have his fun money in a separate checking account. This was right before I had to get up and ready. I told hm we should talk more Saturday am when he got home from work.

We did talk, and the end result is that he's going to have the separate account for his spending money - and anything I make from Swagbucks etc. will be for my spending money (in addition to what we budget.)

I'm not totally happy with this - but if i makes him motivated to actually start selling some stuff from the basement in order to fund his boat/tv/etc.... I'll live with it. He is going to add me as a death beneficiary to the account.

One of the things we decided was to lay off on the accelerated student loan payoff. The interest is less than what we earn on our checking, and we have several budget categories which could use some beefing up - which is what I did with the budgeted money for loan payoff (above the normal amount.)

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Thursday we were going to go eat at a local Mexican restaurant for a belated VD dinner. However, we got there to discover it was closed due to the Immigrant protest.

What was most interesting to me was that this was the first time I was directly affected by a protest.

We were dissapointed, but understood the reasoning behind it. We ate at a pizza place instead.

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Tomorrow we both have doctor appointments. Mine first (yearly), then DH's. I'm going with DH to his for a number of reasons- one being that I can make sure he brings up what needs to be brought up! Hoping we can get some answers/ideas about an issue and be shown how to use the BP cuff and blood glucose meter.

Taxes, Citi card, etc

February 14th, 2017 at 08:36 pm

On Sunday I did our taxes again - now that I have all the needed documents. I started with Credit Karma, but the 1095 health insurance form was unusable. So I moved over to Turbo Tax. According to it, we have a $72 refund from the Feds and owe $524 to the state.

This is due to DH getting a subsidy through April, and our inflated income from the stock sales (to buy the house.)

We couldn't itemize because our interest, etc. was way less than standard deductions.

Next year we should get back around $1000.

I'm waiting to see if Credit Karma fixes their form so I can file for free rather than pay TT $40+

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I converted my Citi Thank You card to the Double Cash (just before being charged the annual fee.) After cashing out $675 in points, we had 1900 left. Today I talked to a points concierge and he made them into a $14 Amazon gift card.

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Yesterday I called animal control because I'd gotten a late notice on Kari's license. I explained that I'd moved, and filed a change of address, but this was the first notice I'd gotten. I also told her DH hadn't received any notices for his cats.

She told me to send it in for just the normal amount with a note saying she said it was okay. Smile

Now to wait for DHs notices. (they had his old address)

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Mom sent us $100 in a Valentines card. I'm not sure what I want to do with it.

I'd told her at Christmas I wanted nothing to do with M's money EVER. She's an adult, and so if she chooses to stay with him, that's on her. I'm however done with the him for a lot of reasons.

Second Home Chef Meal, etc

February 11th, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Thursday night DH asked me if I'd help him with the meal because he didn't know what he was doing. So we worked together on it - I worked on the grape tomatoes, he cut up the olives, capers, oregano, and garlic. (If I would've realized how long the tomatoes would take, I would've used the Mini Bullet.)

Like with the risotto, I felt there were some key steps missing in the directions - things you had to guess at.

I unfortunately burned the pine nuts - which dissapointed both of us.

The recipe didn't call for the tomato mixture to be cooked - but neither of us fancied eating raw garlic or tomatoes.

We added a package of mixed veggies.

Overall it was edible, but not something either of us would try again.

So, even if I wanted to pay for meals from Home Chef, these two meals would definitely discourage me from the idea. Glad we got them for free.

Angel hair Pine Nut Puttanesca

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I had my yearly review at work on Wednesday. Even though my unions contract isn't signed, I still am getting the next step in pay. It makes about a $.51/hour raise. Smile Better than nothing.

I also found out that I still get my PCH days even without th signed contract. So I put in for vacation for April 20 - 28. 5 vacation days, an 2 PCH.

We need to figure out what we'll do with the cats while we're gone. 4 days away is one thing, 8 - 10 is another.

We did get paid back the $150 for the dog's meds. DH went over to the owners house Wednesday night.

We still haven't listed anything on eBay. DH couldn't find the cord to connect his camera to my computer, so has ordered another one from eBay. ($2)

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We're planning on going to Tico's for Valentine's on Thursday. (I'll get Swagbucks for it through Swagbucks local app)

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I cut DHs hair this week and he felt it made him look bald in the front. So he had me give him a buzz cut instead. I'm going to see if the daughter of one of the light duty ladies would be willing to give me a few pointers in cutting men's hair. I've watched youtube videos, but I may need more than that.


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