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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 ...

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

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Tempting ...

February 28th, 2018 at 05:07 pm

So today I went to the health fair put on by a combo of the city/county people. There were a few new booths that weren't there last year.

One was a booth where you could get your blood typed. I did that because I had no idea what mine was.

I'm O+! That means not many could donate their blood to me, but mine could go to anyone! This makes me feel almost obligated to donate.

Another table was a fitness center in downtown. They offer barre classes.

I've been wanting to try barre for a long time. The only place I knew of that offered it was in the far South of town.

It's $15 for one class, but you can get class passes to reduce the cost - i.e. $425 for 50 classes.

They offer them at 5:15. So I'd have plenty of time to make it there from work.

I so want to do this.

But I'm spending so much on the cruise ... I have enough for the cruise, but need to save for the flight and tips. And general spending money.

Even if I sold everything salable (i.e. fluff worth something) I might get $100 at most.

I really want to do this class. Maybe I could just do the one ... I may not even like it (doubt it)

I need to set aside money for replacing my phone and my computer too ... even though neither will be for a number of years.

I need to replace my shoes - both work dress shoes, sandals and sneakers.

Too many places for money to go and not enough coming in!

I really need to figure some way of bringing in more spending money other than Swagbucks/koinme/perk/earnhoney/inbox dollars/bank interest/cc rewards.

Maybe I could try selling my plasma ... the last time I tried, I chickened out. I don't like needles much.

Paycheck Stub $ Changes

February 27th, 2018 at 04:57 pm

Today I was able to see my paycheck for Thursday - my raise is reflected on it! It looks like about $50/paycheck (*26) Not too shabby.

That plus the extra $10 from the tax cut thing ...

So first thing I did was change my withholding on my W-4 from 1 to 2. I figure it to be safe enough since we got back over $800 this year.

Then I changed my 457 contribution up $50.

The net result will still be a little extra in the paycheck, and an extra $1300 in my 457. Smile

I'm about halfway finished with book 9! Back on track.

I'm mostly finished with setting up my bujo for March. I left out a few things which I ended up not using, and added a few things.

One thing I added is a 31 day drop it challenge. Basically going extra strict with my eating / exercise - hoping it will jumpstart the weight loss again. I'm up about 8 lbs from January ... Frown

Too Many CCs

February 25th, 2018 at 01:22 pm

Oy Vey. Apparently I have applied for too many credit cards the past two years. Not only did Chase deny me, but US Bank. Seriously. I'm not even a serious cc churner!

I have a score in the excellent range.


I really wanted to take advantage of the 5% utilities - esp since both our gas and electric budget billing have gone up, up, up!

I probably should close some of the cards and then just wait til January to try again. So annoying.

(dh's score won't qualify for either of the cards I want - though it's getting close.)

I'll just have to focus on bank bonuses for the next year or so.

We're having our budget meeting tonight. One thing we'll need to discuss is whether or not we'll get a Costco or Sam's membership. Sam's is half of Costco's, and we have 4 Sam's vs 1 Costco. But I like Costco so much more.

In reality it may be better to do neither.

I see myself getting cat litter, oatmeal, bulk beans and spices ...at Costco. DH gas, meat products???

I pay $10/30lbs of cat litter at Petco and we go through around 60 - 70lbs/month

I get old fashioned oatmeal $2.29 for 32 oz at Aldi's or steal cut for $2.79 16oz. I go through a canister about every 6 - 8 weeks.

spices - I just paid $3.49 for 8 oz of turmeric at Walmart. That might last six weeks?

I'd only get there at most 1 x per month due to distance (20+ minute drive)

As for Sam's, there's one on my way home from work (sort of) so I could get gas there too more than 1 x a month.

You can get a refund on your membership if you find it's not working for you right? (Costco)

New Checking / CD, Beet Juice

February 21st, 2018 at 07:19 pm

So I scoured Doctor of Credits site today looking to see what I could do now that Northpointe is defunct.

I thought about doing the Chase checking/savings offer, but was sadly informed I couldn't since there are no Chase branches in my area. Frown

So, the other one which looked promising - Christian Community CU - $200 bonus w/direct deposits, signing up for estatements, etc. Must keep open 6 months. Avoid fees with balance of $1500.

Plus, a 18 month 4% CD for up to $2500.

Big caveat - must be a non-Catholic Christian.

So, I've applied. I need to scan my Driver's license and send it, and then I guess someone will contact me?

Anyway, this plus 5k on my insight card at 5% will at least keep the money working hard for me. And will be slightly less hassle.

I stopped at HyVee tonight to pick up a 5lb bag of potatoes for $.49. (Mostly for DH.) While there I decided to look to see if they had beet juice (supposed to be excellent for lowering blood pressure.) They did! $7 for 32 oz.!! Gulp.

DH tried it before heading to work - no danger of him guzzling it ... but he did say it was tolerable!

Now to find a reasonable juicer to make our own.

Both our electric and gas budgeted amounts are up for March. Which is great since DH is having a string of nights where he's not making his normal amount. Plus, a short month.

Our rainy day funds will be getting short shrift in March I'm afraid. Luckily August will be flush - 3 March paychecks plus tax refund.

Rug Doctor, etc

February 19th, 2018 at 01:29 pm

Seeing as though it's a long weekend for me, and my friend is coming a week from Monday - I had a long list of things to do.

What I have accomplished so far:

Spent a total of 3 1/2 hours vacuuming ... vacuum wasn't cooperating at first, and then I had to keep stopping and cleaning it completely out. The joy of cats.

Spot treated the carpet.

Scrubbed the tub.

Hung the mirror in the dining room (second mirror doesn't have hanging wire, so am forgoing that project for now.)

Steam cleaned the carpets.

Reminded DH to bring me the dishes from the abyss of the basement (similar to socks in a dryer ...)

And ... then woke up this morning not feeling it at all. Stuffy and sore and just ugh. Glad I got the steam cleaning done yesterday ...

There really isn't that much left to do ... so it will be what it is.

In prep for the cruise I started looking up airfare. Southwest was by far the cheapest.

So ... I decided to apply for a SW rewards card - 50k point bonus would more than pay for my flight. Maybe for a shuttle to/from the airport too - then probably Amazon cards ..

I got the message saying I'd be contacted via snail mail ... I'm going to be really annoyed if they don't qualify me - it's a Chase card, so I think the rule is 4/24 (4 cards in 24 months.) I have 4 Chase cards - but at least one of them is over 3 years old+.

Now I'm going to have to wait to make sure before going for a US Bank card with the $150 bonus - which would cover most of the airfare. (5% utilities bonus category too)

I'm on book 7 for 2018. That's been going a bit slower than I hoped. I have to remember to keep a book on my desk - because as soon as I sit down, I have at least 1 - 2 cats on my lap. Smile

DH and I had an interesting conversation last night. I'd asked him to write down what he felt we each contributed to the household, and also what we each appreciated about the other. I did the same.

Our lists were really pretty close! I had more things listed, but it included pretty much everything he had on his lists.

Afterwards he attempted (without complaint) to help me get the cat tree put up. In the end we both declared it a piece of junk only fit for the garbage. (I'd bought it 5 or 6 years ago in New Mexico for Kari - some of the connectors had cracked - he tried drilling holes and adding screws, but then it cracked even more.)

I almost forgot! As I was picking up my office, I came across an unopened letter from Northpointe bank. It was from January 26. It was sad news ... they are ending the 15 transactions for 5% deal - and going to $1k/mo transactions for 1%!

Um...yeah. I can get a better rate at nearly any online bank without having to go through loopholes.

So, that means at the end of February I'll start the process of migrating the money back to our joint account (that pays 3% on up to $30k.) I may also finally fund my Insight card with $5k for 5%. (Procrastinate much ...)

Maybe a Cruise?

February 16th, 2018 at 06:51 pm

A few months ago when I was talking to my mom she mentioned wanting to get together with my brother and I again. This last week I was talking to my brother, and he mentioned it too.

So I got thinking ... what about a cruise! We went on one when dad was alive - the 4 of us - a friend was getting married on Cozumel and 3 of us were in her wedding party. We had a blast!

I looked it up - and a 7 day cruise out of Galveston is still about $500! Not cheap, but not bad for 7 days lodging, food and entertainment.

The next thing would be figuring out airfare. Maybe get one of those travel rewards cards?

We're looking after Thanksgiving - time to save up and to plan.

I'd need to take 6 vacation days, but I have at least 5 right now (which I'll need for whatever vacation DH and I do.) I think I should have enough built up by then.

The next thing is figuring out how to save enough for the cruise, airfare, etc. I'm making around $75 - 100/month with swagbucks, and then more off and on from other places. But half of that goes to my giving/tithing category. The other half I divide between spending and big goal. So .. it builds slowly.

Maybe this will be the motivation I need to get stuff put up on ebay, etc. Smile

I hope this really happens!

*I was trying to find something that left from San Francisco so I could see my grandma as part of the deal - but as far as I could tell nothing starts/ends in San Francisco. (I'd go with a shorter cruise)

We went to a Mexican restaurant for our belated Vday dinner. It was a unique place - flour tortilla chips, veggie tacos made with green beans, broccoli and something else, etc. The food was decent, but overpriced. Our waitress was awesome though - DH said she was in the top 10%. Left her a $10 tip. (our bill was $32)

I've got a whole list of stuff I plan on getting done this weekend as part of prepping for my friend's visit. Hope I actually get to it all ...

One thing I'm not doing is cooking this weekend - other than spaghetti on Sunday. I have enough stuff in the freezer for lunches. So hopefully that'll save time / energy for cleaning!

One of the things I want to get done this weekend is hang the mirrors! We have plaster walls so I'm really nervous about hanging heavy stuff on them. I'm going to be looking for youtube videos on it.

I'll also be renting a rug doctor ... see how much that'll help. Sigh.

If DH will do something about the basement ... litter boxes and chickens ... that might help too. Doubt he'll do anything though.

Visited R Cave!

February 12th, 2018 at 06:53 pm

Last night DH and I went on a private tour of the cave his family used to own. There is a brewing company on top of it now.

J, who has written a book about the cave was our tour guide. A few weeks ago DH had spent a few hours with J in the cave. J told me he'd added a section in the book about the visit. Smile The book should be out in March or early April.

I was really impressed by the cave. It was more than I thought it would be. A couple places J took us into areas that are off limits to the general public. Generally, where the bats are.

In one place if I had stood up, my head would have bumped into a hibernating bat! It was so tiny that I could have easily cupped it in my hand.

I would have taken a picture, but DH had my purse (he'd stayed on the flat surface) plus I don't know if it would have bothered the bat.

DH's stepdad had given J a sand art bottle filled with sand from the cave. J offered it to DH - and he happily took it.

*Please ignore the mess in the background

I can hardly wait for the book to come out!

I got the last tax form I needed today. Will be getting $833 Federal, and $135 State.

We'll do our usual 1/3'rds - 1/3 - Future (EF); 1/3 - Present - (budget items - probably car repair and pet fund), and 1/3 Past (DH's student loans)

Tomorrow my new paystub should post so I can see if my raise has gone through yet and if the tax cut has gone into effect on it yet.

I cashed out Inbox Dollars for $27 last night, and tonight I cashed out Koinme for a $50 Walmart card

Feeling Productive, $pending

February 4th, 2018 at 03:12 pm

I don't know if it's feeling accountable to my bujo, maybe having a little more energy, or what .. but I've been getting things done the past few days!

Yesterday I did laundry (AND got it put away correctly ..) washed some more dishes (ran out of hot water again so didn't finish), 2 hours of grocery shopping and putting things away, and got caught up on receipt pal/hog for receipts.

Today I cleared off all the doors (I have a bad habit of hanging stuff on door knobs or over the top of doors ...), finished the dishes, made veggie chili, made black bean burgers, prepped potatoes for my lunches, swept the upstairs, kon married my dresser, and some other things I'm forgetting.

Grocery shopping

Walmart -
32 oz Walnuts - 12.96
32 oz ground flaxseed - 6.76
Smucker's All Natural PB (no oil, no salt) 16oz 3.32
6 oz Pepitas (smoothie) - 2.98
bananas - .44/lb
Date almond rolls - $4.98 (addictive!)
1 can of pears lite syrup - $1.08

I was really annoyed with the CS at Walmart and the Walmart Pay app. With Apple Pay you still get a paper receipt. Until last night, I was able to request a paper receipt from a cashier and get it. Last night though I used scan and go so had to go to CS desk. Ugh! What a waste of ten minutes.

Dollar Tree
3 burritos (husband) $3
Jamacian Style veggie patty - $1
TJ Farms frozen veggies - $3
3 pk Mandarain oranges - $4
frozen berries blend - $2
various household stuff - $6

Aldi's --
*out of a lot of stuff! 3 weeks in a row

2 cans garbanzos - $1.30
veg broth - 1.79
frz broc florets - .89
red onions - .79
cucumber - .49
3lb sweet potatoes - 1.49
3lbs navel oranges - 3.69
bag baby carrots - .99

*used a raincheck for canned diced tomatoes

8 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes 3.12
Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar -- 16 oz 3.45
16 oz flat leaf spinach - 3.99
2 sparkling waters - 1.38

Raise! Used Apple Pay for First Time, Bullet Journal brain dump

January 26th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

I met with my supervisor today for my 3 1/2 year check-in. My score was higher than last year (whether that means anything really or not ...) but the end result is I got my next step raise of 2.5% That puts me at ~$16.28/hr if I'm figuring it correctly. It should go into effect by my 2nd February paycheck.

Once I see the first check with it, then I'll figure out how much I'll up my 457 contributions. I currently do $100 per check (26 checks)

I'm now making about what I did my 4th year of teaching ... My 8th year I was in the 40k range. Sigh...
I miss the paycheck, but not the hours or dealing with parents of perfect kids.

I forgot my purse at home this morning, so I had to stop by home to get it in order to make my weekly deposit of DH's tip money. That meant I went to the 84th st location, which made stopping at Aldi's a no brainer.

Right now Chase is doing a promotion where they pay 5% if you use one of 4 mobile payments systems with the Freedom card. I usually use our Citi card once we've maxed out the debit card transactions (for our accounts that pay checking interest) but for the next few months where Apple Pay is accepted, I'll be using that.

After Aldi's I stopped at Walgreen's to pickup a fedex package I'd had held there. (love it!) It was my blackstrap molasses, iodine supplement and Amla powder from Amazon.

My bullet journal stuff should arrive tomorrow.

I plan on having
An index
1. Monthly calendar spread
2. Daily habit tracker spread
3. Bi-Weekly Chores tracker
4. Monthly chores tracker.

2, 3, and 4 are kind of the SHE system all in one place.

5. Anything Goes page - a place to record phone #'s of places I need to call w/acct info, etc. Essentially one place for all the scraps of paper this stuff normally goes on ...

6. Dailies Pages - Record anything that needs to happen / remember on a specific day

7. Memories - Things I want to remember that happened that month

8. Gratitude's - Things I'm thankful for

Info Pages -

9. Swagbuck offers Info / how to cancel / when / crediting info

10. Items I want to sell - where listed, how much, when did they sell, etc

11. Library books - title, when due, etc


12. Books I want to read

13. Movies I want to see

14. Recipes I want to try (use post it notes - include info about book, web, page etc.)

15. Memory Verses Learned

16. Books read with short reviews

17. Movies watched with short reviews

18. Recipes tried and liked (post it notes so easily moved to new journal or to daily page for planning)

19. Master Grocery List - A cumulative list of common items purchased each week. Use a pencil to mark the items you need the current week - mark in pencil unit price to track when its on a stock up price

20. Spice Index - list of spices owned - mark in pencil when running low

21. Wants List - Write in pencil things you think you might want - research, wait at least a few weeks ...

22. Home repairs list - big list of things that need to be done

23. Medical appointments (all in one place)

24. Vet appointments /vac records, etc

25. Car Maintenance

Other things I haven't thought of yet. Smile

The index makes it easy to find what you're looking for so you don't have to worry about pages being in an organized order.

The journal I bought has a pocket where you can keep photos or other items.

There will be little artwork in my book - drawing isn't my forte. Smile

This journal will go with me everywhere. It'll become my second brain.
Morning Pages - I have a tendency to be wordy sometimes, especially when upset ... The idea of the morning pages is that you write out by hand 3 pages (1 1/2 sheets) of unedited, unfiltered thoughts every day. It's a way to process thoughts which may not be good to share with others, or just get the creative juices flowing.

It's suggested that you don't reread them at all for a few months - in order to build your confidence/desire to keep up with it with no judgement

Crisper Pan, Bullet Journal, etc

January 25th, 2018 at 06:26 pm

The past few months I have seen the Crisper Pan in various stores. Essentially it is something that turns your oven into an air fryer.

I've debated and debated about it, but didn't pull the trigger. Mainly because I couldn't find anyone "live" to give their opinions.

A couple days ago I encountered a "live" person! She enthused about it.

So yesterday I stopped at Bed Bath Beyond and bought it, plus a huge copper/non-stick frying pan (to replace ours that is warped ...)

I used our gift card from our wedding, so no oop.

I probably will use it tomorrow to roast some veggies. Can hardly wait to try it!

Something else I've heard loads and loads about for a number of years ... bullet journals.

They always seemed way over complicated and expensive with all the artwork and stickers and and and ...

But this week I read a discussion on the YNAB forum about them, which made them seem much less intimidating.

I purchased two journals from Amazon - one for the bullet journal, and one for something called 'morning pages' About $20 altogether.

I plan on keeping it pretty simplistic as far as artwork goes. Smile

I've tried using todoist to keep track of tasks, but it just is too much. The SHE system .. never really got it off the ground.

But I think that this may work for me.

DH got stuck in a snowbank last night. Called me at 3 am to look up 24 hour tow places. He got home about 6 am - just in time for me to have to get up and going. Yawn ... so tired today.

He has towing insurance - reimbursable. So it was a $53 charge which we'll get back - but also get cc points for.

Normally TH night is one of our two nights together, but DH is meeting with a guy who is writing a book about a local famous cave. DH's stepdad's family owned the cave / land until the early 2000's. DH conducted many tours of the cave and his picture was in the paper a number of times in relation to the cave.

Hopefully he gets home soon though - I'm not sure how much longer I can stay awake. Plus he's supposed to be bringing dinner! Smile

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 ....

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

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

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)

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.

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.

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


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.

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!

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

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

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

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
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.


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)


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


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.

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.

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

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

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

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.)

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!

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.

The Nutcracker is this Sunday!!!

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.


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


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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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!)

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

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.

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.


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.

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)


I found it fairly interesting.

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


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.





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



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.




DH texts him.


DH leaves him a voicemail.


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.


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?

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