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Not Much New

November 12th, 2018 at 09:23 am

I have today off, so thought I'd check in with my SA family.

We are still waiting on the hospital to send DH's records to the insurance company. I'll be bugging them about it again tomorrow.

We turned our heat on a few days ago when the temp went down to 8 degrees outside. Figured it was time. Smile

Last Sunday DH and I had raked and bagged 9 bags of leaves in our front yard. I put them out for Thursday trash day - thinking we were in the free pickup zone. Found out that's not til December. But our awesome garbage company picked them up this morning free of charge.

Our front yard is covered again in at least as many leaves … Hopefully we don't get a big snow before December so we can bag those too.

I cashed out for a $100 cash from YouGov a few days ago. (surveys) I also cashed out for a $25 Walmart card from ReceiptPal this last week. I'm getting close to the $40 mark in ReceiptHog. I should be able to cash out for $20 from iBotta soon too. In Swagbucks, I've cashed out for over $125 this past month. If my cruise credit ever credits, that will be another $100 or so.

I bought an OXO salad chopper so I can do my own chopped salads. I have been buying the 24oz pkg which includes salad dressing and toppings. I toss the dressing, and the salad barely makes 5 decent servings. So … am hoping to if not save money by going DIY, at least have less waste and bigger salads!

I'm progressing on my piano practice - most days at least 40 - 60 minutes of practice. I want to get a pedal for my keyboard so some of the songs in the easy hymn book sound right. I also need to get a midi connector so the piano app recognizes my notes. Just haven't pushed buy on any of this yet - comes out of my spending money. How badly do I want it, right? Smile

I am not progressing on my French. Somehow I lost my practice mojo. Hopefully it will come back …

DH continues to go to Cardiac Rehab and is losing weight and gaining in how much cardio he can do. We're looking into buying a treadmill for home. (used of course)

I have a couple credit card offers I'm looking at - though I'm hoping to wait to trigger them until more of DH's hospital bills come in. Only a few hundred dollars worth have been billed to us so far. With lots more to come...

Still nothing on the car accident. We're starting to wonder if no news is good news … that would be a major blessing in all of this.

What a Month!

October 29th, 2018 at 04:59 pm

The latest stressors …

On Friday I got home to find a letter from our insurance company stating that they were "pre denying" our claim for Cardiac Rehab due to DH not having a condition that warranted it.

Needless to say, panic ensued. He'd been to six sessions already at $250 a pop. They're getting him to actually EXERCISE. The education part of it is pretty worthless, but the GETTING HIM TO EXERCISE is priceless.

I posted on a FB group with people who've gone through heart attacks (or their SO has.) And they talked me down. I got a plan of action put together - call the hospital on Monday and figure out what the heck is going on.

Then I checked the insurance website. The first hospital's charges of around $16k was mostly covered, except for our out of pocket and deductible.

The second hospital, where he had the stent put in, had $42k+ in charges. And in big red letters - NEED MORE INFORMATION. If we do not receive more information within 45 days, we will base our decision off of what we do have.

My panic level greatly reduced at this point. This explained why they were pre-denying Cardiac Care. If they didn't have the proof to go with the charges from the stent hospital, then they'd have no reason to believe Cardiac Care was needed.

So … it at least was enough to get me through the weekend.

I called today and left a message with someone. I hate voicemail.

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DH's good vehicle (not great on gas mileage, but the best for his shoulders) may have an engine in the last stages of life. He has less than $1k in his car replacement fund due to having cleaned it out to buy this particular vehicle.

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Haven't heard anything new about the car accident / insurance. I hate to push DH to check into it.

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DH's stepdad with whom he was estranged … (he actually wrote him a long letter a few months ago trying to mend fences - no response) … died a couple weeks ago. DH found out because of an email from the guy who wrote a book about a local cave here DH and his stepdad's family were a big part of.

So yeah .. DH is getting a nice stress free time of it while recovering.

And yes, if you were wondering, my stress levels are quite low as well. If you consider Saturn pretty low.

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DH is doing so well changing his eating patterns. Not perfectly, but so much better than I would have believed to be possible.

Getting him to eat vegetables without me sitting beside him having a big bowl of them, is still a work in progress … but he's reduced his level of SAD diet by at least 95%.

I spent a lot of money on groceries this month trying to figure out dishes that would at least somewhat tempt him, as well as things he can take with him to work easily.

I'm hoping this next month will be more reasonable.

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We are not contributing to our ROTH's this month from new income. He was off work for almost two weeks. We agreed that this was the simplest way to do it.


I'm selling $1k of stock (electric car) and then moving that to our ROTH's. So they'll still get their contributions, it just won't be new money. (And that stock seems to be going up again after having fallen hugely thanks to its erratic man at the helm.)


We also had to lower what we normally put in various categories. He even willingly acknowledged that putting money in the date night fund when we weren't putting money in (new) into the ROTH's wasn't a good idea.


So anyway … that was our budget meeting on Sunday.


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I'm about halfway through my keyboarding class. The first week of it unfortunately fell the week DH was in the hospital. Trying to figure out an online keyboarding class while also spending the vast majority of my waking hours at a hospital … yeah, that wasn't good.


I've got it figured out now though, and am pretty sure I'll be making an A. Smile


I registered for my next class today - Microsoft Applications 1.


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We haven't turned our heat on yet. There haven't really been very many cold nights yet, so it isn't THAT much of a major thing. Smile Although, we did have our first snow a couple weeks ago.


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My newish supervisor let me know she's going to be retiring a year from this Thanksgiving. So, I guess a year from now I'll see what happens.


I've taken over managing our FB page, as well as the info email. We're debuting a couple new technologies that I'll be doing a lot with - keeping alerts up to date and answering texts, etc.


So, even if I don't stay here, I'm growing my resume.


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I made a couple eBay sales this past week. A set of Dr Suess books and a pair of Keds. Now I need to get some more stuff up …

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OK this was long. I'll try not to be such a stranger!


One more thing - Have you seen Bodyguard on Netflix yet? The one from BBC not Whitney's. Smile I binge watched it this weekend …


I almost forgot! Someone used my Ting referral!! I have a $25 credit from that. (Will have to tell about my phone trials in another post.)

Used Up FSA $ and Probably Maxed Deductible

October 2nd, 2018 at 08:06 pm

A few days ago I was wondering if I'd have to get creative to not lose the FSA money other than the $500 that rolls over to the next plan year (starting in November for us.)

Around 8:30 this morning I got a call which told me it wouldn't be an issue.

My DH drove himself to the ER with a racing heart and chest pains. By the time I got there it was confirmed that it was AFIB symptoms.

His heart rate was 180+, his bp was high, and he was having constant chest pains.

After over two hours of meds, his heart rate was averaging 160+ and he still was having chest pains.

So they did something called a cardio inversion - basically reset the heart.

In two tests of his enzymes, it showed the number went from 17.4 to a higher # - which according to my retired nurse aunt indicates that it was a heart attack.

Tomorrow he's having a stress test and a heart catheter. At which point we'll find out if he needs a stent or a bypass …

I am so thankful for our fully funded medical deductible fund, so I'm not stressing about the money at all. (Yet …)


Updates

July 4th, 2018 at 10:58 am

It's been awhile...


Passport update - It turned out that the birth certificate I had worked just fine. I had found a bunch of other paperwork to supplement just in case, but it wasn't needed. I should be getting my passport by the end of July.


Brother - Brother is NOT going on cruise. Sigh. He is getting married to French girl tomorrow (July 5) at the courthouse. French Girl cannot go on the cruise due to her applying for green card (or something like that.) Brother doesn't want to leave his newly wedded wife to go on a cruise …


Mom and I are still going.


I have no idea what I should be doing for French Girl who in 24 hours will be my SIL. I feel like I should send them some kind of a congratulations card or something …


I have started a budget line for a trip to France -- a year from now they plan to have a big party/quasi wedding ceremony there. Not even sure how much to save - it would just be me going - DH has no interest, plus I'm not sure we could save enough for both of us to go.


DH sold the Honda without a working transmission! He listed it on Craigslist, and 36 hours later it was sold for $500. So we are now down to 4 vehicles.


*I don't remember if I mentioned this or not, but DH found a new home for the chickens.


*We have fleas... Sigh. DH took in one of his "friends" cats which needed medical attention while said "friend" was away on vacation for 3 weeks. Cat had fleas, but couldn't be treated due to several open wounds (both of which healed while staying with us.) Cat was kept isolated in the workshop (where the chickens were previously) but .. DH found out that Cat definitely had had fleas yesterday after walking around in the workshop. Ugh.


*New job possibility - I think it'd be a super stretch, but there is a possibility of a telecommute federal job which a church friend thinks I'd qualify for. There's supposed to be 26 positions opening up soon. IF I got it … salary STARTS at more than what DH and I currently make together.


That would put us in an entirely new tax bracket.


I told DH that if I got it, I'd want us to continue living with our current budget, but put the extra away in tax advantaged accounts and taxable investments. It would put a big boon to our retirement goals, and give me peace of mind for when/if DH can no longer work.


Plus .. telecommuting! No more traffic or having to deal with office politics. Maybe get a dog … Maybe sell this place and move to the country in a few years ...


This could come at a really good time because I found out recently that my supervisor is going to be leaving for a different position at the end of August. That leaves only one person at work I'd feel semi bad about leaving.


I'd honestly be SHOCKED if I got this job … if was a veteran and/or disabled I'd have a much better chance ….But I'm going to try.


--

My weight has been holding somewhat steady … I'm up 20lbs from January, but it's been there for over a month now, so am really trying to NOT let it go up further. Sigh.


I'm up over $23 from my Stepbets - just started a new one this week. I decided to not do another Runbet though while the weather is so hot. Maybe in September after the cruise I could do one before it gets too cold.


I found two more bank bonuses that I'm working on. One is an in branch one for Union Bank - $200. The other one is a $100 bonus for another bank (can't remember right now.)


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I'm enjoying having today off. I'm also taking tomorrow morning off - personal choice holiday time.


Can't think of anything else terribly interesting … will try to come by more often.

Holy Cannoli! Gas $$

May 27th, 2018 at 11:31 am

I just finished updating YNAB (oops .. hadn't done it since the 13th ...)

We are at $380 for gas - and DH has 3 more work nights - so at least one more tank.

I'd upped the budget to $350 …

But the two trips to the low cost vet - 45 minute trip one way - probably didn't help …

We also have already overspent on groceries by $30. Ugh. I really need to keep up with this more often. It won't help with gas, but at least with groceries, I can make more informed choices and limit the overspending.

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We have to wait til sometime next week for the results of the new test for Baby. Plus take him up back to the vet at the end of the month to see if the new food is helping any. (another blood test + gas$$)

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I finally got credited with the cashback on my US Bank card. It was $177.83 statement credit. But because I cashed out for over $100, I'm getting a $25 gift card in addition (in 6 weeks or so?)

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I mowed the yard again this morning (hadn't set the setting very low last time) and of course didn't wear my gloves … Guess who has popped blisters on her hands? Ouch.

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Tomorrow I plan on cleaning the carpets. Fun fun, but needs to be done.

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I started watching Madam Secretary on Netflix yesterday. I like it so far.

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I bought a soda stream from someone on FB market for $30. I haven't tried it yet, but it was too good of a deal to pass up. (not using to make soda - just carb water)

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DH found a new home for the chickens!!!! Hopefully that is going to help the smell in the house (once he cleans the workshop thoroughly …)



Now off to enter receipts ...

Updates

April 29th, 2018 at 10:27 am

*We haven't been reimbursed for the water heater yet ... I'm going to wait til Tuesday, then contact them if it still hasn't come. Grrr...

*Tuesday was our two year anniversary. We did a mini-road trip on Wednesday.

While on our mini-trip we stopped at two fish stores. DH saw some corals he was very interested in, and I saw a Clown Trigger fish which I think I might like to get after the cruise (when I have spending money again ...)

We ate at a Mexican restaurant in Glenwood, Iowa which we'd been to before and really liked. The food was very good again, but our server left a lot to be desired.

Still, it was a nice way to mark 2 years.

*I got my $200 checking bonus from one of the Christian credit unions.

*I also got my $100 bonus from My Money Bank

*I see my $150 bonus pending on my US Bank card, but it's been pending for several weeks ...

*I cashed out for $25 Paypal from Earnhoney and Swagbucks, as well as $25 AGC from Perk

*We way overspent on groceries this month .. mostly due to my reverting back to some bad eating habits. I'm really trying to reign those in again. Both for $$ reasons and for health.

*I'm halfway through a Runbet and a Stepbet. I also am participating in a Spryfit bet that will end at the same time. About $120 tied up between the three.

* I need to get my passport sorted soon. Only 4 months to go!

*I have been tracking flight prices with Google Flights, so far the cheapest flight has been $216. But that doesn't include baggage. I'll probably pull the trigger in the next week or two.

*I have completed 3 weeks of physical therapy for my shoulder now. I don't think there's been much improvement yet. They tell me it can take 4 - 6 weeks ... then if still not good, do an MRI. Ugh.

*I slogged through Lost in Space and also Let it Go on Netflix. LiS has little bad language and no sexy scenes. LiG is the complete opposite ... is about the realities of motherhood.



Home Warranty Paid Off!

April 20th, 2018 at 05:45 pm

Our water heater had been leaking. My DH called our HW company about sending someone to look at it. They didn't have anyone in our area, so told us to choose someone and they'd reimburse us (after that company called them first.)

So that's what we did - called the company that replaced our tub faucet. We needed a new water heater (shockers! it was at least 20 years old ...)

So we had to pay $923.xx up front, and will be reimbursed all but $151 (service call fee, disposal fee and permit fee) One year of the HW is $600. So we got back a little over a year's premium back in value in one shot.

Now our hvac system (also 18++ years old) just needs to conk out, and then we may be safe going without the HW. Smile

Waffle Iron Help?, etc

April 13th, 2018 at 07:55 pm

I was so excited last week when I was able to order the Dash mini waffle iron (with my Perk Amazon card.) Then I got it and put a sweet potato puree mixture in it - trying something I'd seen somewhere.

Royal mess.

I have managed to get most of it off, but there still is a decent amount left.

I can't remove the plates or run them under water. I used a damp paper towel, a damp dish towel, a pair of silicone mini-tongs .... all helped, but not enough.

Any ideas? I really want to use this thing!

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I had my 3rd PT appointment on Thursday. The PT assistant told me she thinks it is my upper trap, not my rotator cuff, due to the pain radiating throughout my arm AND the huge knot in my trap area.

So she's concentrating on working out the knot ... as am I.

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My arm was really throbbing Wed pm, and I REALLY did not feel like going out for a run. Did it anyway, and my arm actually felt better? PT said I probably relaxed the right muscles while running.

I did my 3rd run today. Good thing since winter seems to be coming back for a visit the next two days. Yuck.

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DH and I had a good discussion last night, although it was almost totally derailed before even getting started with me getting ticked at him when he snapped at me. Schwan's guy came at just the right time to give me a few minutes to cool down (got him to take me off his route list)

DH will be going to see his stepdad on Sunday evening(something he is NOT looking forward to) so I pretty much have the weekend to myself.

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I am hoping I met the final requirement for a $200 checking bonus in time. Yesterday I was double checking what was needed for each bonus, and realized I hadn't set up estatements. Oops. Have them set up now.

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I finished a Jan Karon book (Father Tim) "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good" and started another one "Come Rain or Come Shine." It had been awhile since I'd read the series, so I'm not totally sure where I'd left off at.

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My eating isn't going well to put it mildly. Sugar sugar sugar ...junk. At least breakfast and lunch are still healthy ....

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On Monday I'm going to a customer service training thing. I'm just happy for a day out of the office - paid. Smile

Hopefully all the SBs coupon prints will credit on Monday so I won't have to fiddle too much to reach the daily goal. Smile

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Still loving my standing desk. Smile Getting lots of questions about it too.

PT, Cleaner Progress, etc

April 2nd, 2018 at 07:09 pm

I called my doctor's office today to find out if I'd have to come in again to get a PT referral. I don't, since in her notes she said to do PT if not better.

A lady in my Sabbath School group suggested someone she used - so I just have to call my doctor's office with that info tomorrow.

Hopefully it won't require taking too much time off work.

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I posted in Nextdoor tonight for the housecleaning. I asked for two recent references and for them to describe their experience with a multi-pet household. Now I just have to wait and wade through. Hopefully a gem will shine through (that fits my budget!)

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I am on week six of my Stepbet. 5 days to go. Most days I'm meeting the steps just at work - thanks to my standing desk. Smile

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Tomorrow I'm starting a Drop It challenge again. I did well for 3 weeks and then ... ugh.

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My brother finally sent me his part of the cruise money, so I have enough to pay the balance (not due til June.)

Am working on covering airfare now.

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I got an offer from Capital One for $100 bonus if I spend $3k in 3 months. If I put my car insurance and home insurance on there, I'll be halfway. Paying the remainder of the cruise would almost finish it off. I need them to send a replacement card though because I think I shredded the other card. Oops.

I'll easily meet the $500 spend on the Union Bank card, and the $2k spend on the AmEx. So .. that's $350 in credit card bonuses for normal spending. Not bad. Smile

Cheap Gas, Budgeting 3rd paycheck

March 30th, 2018 at 06:52 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I had a 3rd paycheck this month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This and That

March 18th, 2018 at 11:18 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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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.

Ugh!

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

Russ's
*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

Collections

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.

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 ....

---
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

---
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.

---
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

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


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