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DHs sister

June 23rd, 2017 at 08:50 pm

DH's sister has been in the hospital this past week. She is being sent home tomorrow for hospice care. As we found out today at the family meeting, she has been under treatment for her liver disease (possibly liver failure) for at least the past year. The first we learned of it was about 4 months ago - and not from her, but from DH's step brother.

It looks as though her time left may be measured in weeks, and not months. I feel bad because I still really don't know her. We've tried to reach out and spend time with her, but she hasn't been very receptive.

So now we're having the discussions about what her wishes are for after she dies.

I thought I would have liked to have had this time with my dad, so I could have had the tough conversations, but I'm not so sure now. Maybe the quick, painful rip is better than the slow, excruciating tear.

She has no estate to speak of, and anything she did have would be eaten by debt. So taking care of that shouldn't take too much time hopefully.

We're kind of frustrated with the hospital - it seems like they don't have great communication amoungst their departments. We've had so many things that don't jive told to us .. like it was stressed to us that we needed have a decision from her on a DNR and life support by tonight. So DH spent at least an hour trying to get her to make a decision, and I tried for about ten minutes.

I saw DH getting increasingly frustrated, so I suggested calling the hospice nurse. I went out of the room and did that - and was told to not worry about getting any of the paperwork done right now. It could wait til next week.

Ugh. Just one example.

Just a note - please have your wishes for your final days set out for family members *before* it comes to something like this.

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Financially ... this is going to cost us something at least. We'll probably go with cremation (which we'll probably end up paying for.) There may or may not be a memorial service - if there is one, it'll be kept very simple. Since again, we'll probably end up footing most of the bill.

Don't get cirrhosis of the liver. It's not a fun thing at all.

Walmart Pay Frustrations and More Snowflakes

June 18th, 2017 at 11:08 am

So last night I set up Walmart Pay on my phone. I added a couple gift cards I'd earned from a defunct app which I'd never printed.

Then I carefully consulted the various rebate apps to see what I could use and headed to Walmart.

At Walmart I got some of the items on my list which were a good value.

Then AFTER checking out, I find out that there is NO PRINTED RECEIPT!

I should have gone over to customer service and returned the items/rebought them, but I my frustration level was high and I didn't think about it.

So I headed to Aldi just to find out they were closed. Frown

Then I went to Hyvee and got a rebate item plus almond milk.

Pretty much the only app the Walmart receipt will work for is ReceiptPal because they take ereceipts.

I would go there today and do a return/repurchase, but the rebate value isn't really worth the time or gas. Frown

Sigh. I'm guessing Apple Pay works the same way.

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I got the $5 bonus from iBotta and cashed out for $25 PayPal.

I also have hit the $40 mark with Inbox Dollars, and will cash out tomorrow when it credits.

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Tonight we are going out to eat at a pizza place called Romano's. DH has been wanting to go for several weeks, but I couldn't because weigh in day was too close. Smile Now that next weigh in isn't til July 17, I can go out to eat.

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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?

Maybe a Fence? June Snowflakes so far

June 12th, 2017 at 07:42 pm

DH called me this afternoon to tell me had the quote from the fence guy. At first he said it was $7k! I just about croaked. I told him we'd have to wait til next summer, unless he could make some quick sales of his audio stuff.

He called me again five minutes later and told me he had been looking at it wrong - the quote was $4895. That's more like it! I told him if he saw the fence guy, to schedule a start date!!

We'll be having two small gates and one large gate, plus some trees and bushes removed / trimmed. He also is going to bury one of our gutters.

It'll be so nice have a fenced in yard.

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June Snowflakes so far:

Swagbucks - $25 Walmart; $25 Paypal

Pact - $10

Earnhoney - $5

Earnably - $10

So $50 in cash so far. $25 to my ROTH.

Northpointe Checking, etc.

June 7th, 2017 at 07:19 pm

If you read the website "doctor of credit" you probably already know about this. Just in case you don't ...

The Northpointe bank in Michigan offers 5% interest on up to $10,000. Direct deposit is not required. You do have to make 15 debit transactions each month, and either a ACH withdrawal or deposit of at least $100.

This is a great opportunity for those who may not have direct deposit available (or who can only have it sent to one place at a time like me) to get in on a place offering a decent interest rate.

I opened an account this past Sunday, and just got the welcome email today ... so they are a bit slow. (You can do this all online - no matter where in US.)

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My new iPhone came in a few days ago, but I didn't get to pick it up til Tuesday night. It has a 6 digit passcode which is hard to get used to - I keep starting my old passcode ... I got the SE, so my old otterbox works with it, and I don't have to worry about it not fitting in my purse pocket, etc. Smile

Having a new phone is letting me see just how bad my battery was on my old one. This morning both phones started at 100% battery. They were running videos ... within 90 minutes my old phone was on 40% and my new phone was about 91%... What a difference!

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I decided to not go with my points based plan for housekeeping. I came to the realization that I probably wouldn't follow through on it - so can't expect hubby to. I did get him to agree to go to his first physical therapy appointment - tomorrow - I made the first appointment, but its up to him to make more.

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Tomorrow I'm putting up the posters for the Food Bank drive. Here's hoping we beat last year's numbers.

Saving Goals and Thinking About Housework

June 3rd, 2017 at 01:11 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This will be done with my "funny money."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mowed the Lawn! Free Magazines

May 29th, 2017 at 09:47 am

On Sunday I mowed for the very first time in my life. Smile My dad or brother had always done it when I was growing up, and later I was too worried about my allergies to try.

But since I started eating less sugar/dairy/processed foods, my allergies have been much better. In fact, it's been months (at least 4) since I had one of my near migraines (usually related to sinuses.) So I decided to give it a go ...

I actually enjoyed it. Smile It took me two hours just for the backyard ... it was really overgrown. DH picked up sticks and ended up using the weedeater.

I did the front yard this morning.

Our yard now looks fairly nice again.

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We ate at Tico's last night and had our budget meeting. I love their chips and they have good vegetarian selections. DH loves their guacamole and their signature desert - the Ponzenita.

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This morning I washed out the rest of the litter boxes (I did some on Sunday) and also did a headlight restoration project on my headlights. When we were on our CA trip we'd realized they were very cloudy - at night in the middle of a snowstorm ....

I think they look much better! The test of course will be driving at night.

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Two weeks ago we bought two wood file cabinets from FB Marketplace for $50. We used our truck to pick them up. SmileI finally got them moved from the living room into my office last week - now to figure out my filing system. Smile

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I keep meaning to mention this - Recycle Bank! It is a website with lots of articles / pledges , etc. on recycling/reusing etc. You earn points for reading stuff/quizzes/pledges. You can redeem the points for free magazine subscriptions.

It doesn't take much time at all to earn enough for a subscription. There is a fairly good selection too.

New Snowflake Makers, Updates

May 28th, 2017 at 07:18 am

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Won Round 4 Dietbet! etc

May 20th, 2017 at 11:37 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

I told him I could relate ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunny's Home!!!!!!!

May 13th, 2017 at 07:17 pm

When I got home tonight from grocery shopping I thought I heard two cats snarling at each other. I checked around the yard and called Sunny, but no response. So I went inside and put groceries away and cleaned the litter boxes.

I was about to head down to the laundry room when I noticed Buddy (big orange tabby) looking out the window with his tail bushed. I looked out the window and saw the Pepe look alike stray staring at something in our garden.

I went outside and slowly approached it, talking to it. It ran off before I got to near it. Without really expecting anything, I started calling Sunny again.

I got an answering meow! At first I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, but then I saw her just behind a bush. I walked slowly towards her talking all the time. She sort of ran from me at first, but let me pick her up.

She also kind of struggled as I carried her inside. She was definitely hungry and thirsty! The other cats are sniffing her with lots of curiosity. Which she isn't liking too much....

Other than having lost a little weight, she doesn't appear injured at all.

I honestly had little hope of her returning - and had even said as much as I walked in the door with the groceries. I'm glad I was wrong!!

Interview and Lost Cat!

May 12th, 2017 at 07:45 pm

Thanks everyone for your well wishes. I think I did fairly well. I definitely was in a better frame of mind than my last interview.

If I'm offered the job, I think I might take it ...
It sounds like I'd be busier, have more computer related projects ... and can wear jeans everyday! Smile Not to mention a bit over $2/hr raise and it's slightly closer to home.

I should know by Thursday or Friday.

-----So I got home early on Thursday ... DH wanted to go buy a lawnmower off Craigslist. We did that, and then got home and I raked leaves out of the bushes/side areas and DH started mowing / mulching. Unfortunately I didn't realize that along with the leaves, I was getting rocks.

We now need to replace the glass in our front storm door. Oops.

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This morning I went to feed the cats and realized one was missing! The best we can figure is that she (Sunny) got out around midnight when DH went out to his truck for something.

We spent close to 45 minutes this am searching, and I spent another 90 minutes this evening looking. We posted on Craigslist, Nextdoor and Facebook. I also contacted the Humane society.

Sunny is one of the two elderly cats with bathroom issues. Still, she is one of the sweetest, most precious cats. I am so sad. Frown

We also put one of the litterboxes outside. This is supposed to help them smell home from a mile away.

Here's our Sunny girl:


Interview tomorrow!

May 10th, 2017 at 07:30 pm

I got a haircut and a mani/pedi yesterday. Today I wrote out my 3 paragraphs about why I want to work there (which I was asked to do) and DH proofed it for me. Smile Then DH let me use him as a practice board for questions until he had to leave for work.

I'm slightly anxious, but overall feel much more prepared and in a better frame of mind than the library job interview.

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It all of a sudden got hot here! The last two nights were miserable for sleeping... Tonight it has cooled down enough to be comfortable thankfully.

The little fan I used last year is pretty much worthless, so I will be getting a box fan soon. Maybe tomorrow.

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I paid my auto and the home insurance today - $1110. That'll be some nice cash back. Smile

Some recent snowflakes (this week) -
$50 AGC from Koinme
$50 Paypal from Swagbucks
$25 AGC from earnhoney

I had meant to do paypal for Earnhoney, but I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention. OOps.

I have enough in my phone fund to get my new main phone (iPhone SE) but I may wait a few more weeks to order it.

I've been watching Cable Girls on Netflix - just finished episode 8 last night. Definitely different (and not for youngsters)

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I'm not looking forward to calling my mom on Sunday. I haven't talked to her since New Year's. At that time she decided to go back to the man who'd shown over and over and over he couldn't be counted on. I told her she was an adult and had to make her own decisions, however I wanted nothing to do with him nor his money.(She'd constantly bring up that he was going to leave my brother and I a significant amount - though BOTH of us repeatedly told her we didn't care about her leaving us money!) Somehow I think she's taken that to mean I don't want anything to do with her.

Honestly, I'm not sure what would be safe to talk about. Trump? Nope. The man? Nope. My recent trip that she knows nothing about? Nope. Hmmm.... I can't not call her. Ugh. I guess I have to play an adult.

So ... not much else really.

Long Day - Conversation at Work

May 1st, 2017 at 07:08 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm back! Trip Job etc

April 30th, 2017 at 01:31 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, not a good answer, but the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Computer and YouGov

April 2nd, 2017 at 10:34 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egged! Surprise Gift Card

March 25th, 2017 at 04:26 pm

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

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

Someone had egged our house again!

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

Apparently some kid is using our house for target practice.

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

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

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

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

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

Snowflakes and Shocking Death

March 24th, 2017 at 07:10 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Checkpoints - almost enough for a $10 AGC

Just remembered two more!

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

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

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

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

He was so young - such a preventable death. Frown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello

March 13th, 2017 at 06:41 pm

So as was pointed out to me recently, I haven't posted in awhile. Partly due to my frstting keyboard. It taks me forever to type a sentence, let alone a pst.See all the errors? That's with me fixing some of them.

I'v also let mylf inge watch Call the Miwife, and been reading actual physical books. Smile

I'm reseching for a new computerThis ones 6+ years old an reformatted 2x.

Not too muh to report really.

DH is getting excited about our CA roadtrip - I just hope he can get his shifts covered. I'm happy to go see my grandma and maybe my brother. Plus ten days away from work don't hurt either. Big Grin

I have been doing some new paid to watch sites which are pretty easy money - earnhoney and koinme. I also have been using the inbox dollars app - won $1 yesterday. (trying for $40 by end of march.) I am SO close to another $100 giftcard with yougov!

DH has sold 3 magazines to somebody in Australia. $20 each! He still has lots of magazines to list.

I fished another Stepbet yestdy. Probably a $9 profit. I'm almost to Round 2 on my dietbet, and I think I'll make it! Weigh in is Saturday. I'm right there - so just need to watch the salt! Chocolate is still an issue ... but not TOO bad.

Ok, I fixed about 50%o typos in this post. So ... can see why I haven't been posting much. Smile (and why my comments are mostly short!

Doctor Visits, etc

February 21st, 2017 at 07:35 pm

Most of my Monday afternoon was taken up by doctor visits.

I thought my appointment was at 1:30, but it was at two. I showed up at 1:15... Thankfully they have wifi.

They saw me pretty close to 2. My doctor wanted me to do some more bloodwork - thankfully I had not eaten since 9 am - so I was able to do it right away. I also was able to get my first mammogram done. That was interesting.

I was glad to get all of that out of the way on my day off.

At my mammogram appointment I got to use the free valet service at the hospital. I tried to give the guy a tip, but he told me couldn't accept it. So it really was free! (DH laughed t me when I told him, but really, you never can know for sure, can you?)

Next, I rushed to where my DHs appointment was. We had a good discussion with his doctor, which I think helped us both rethink some ideas. We also got a replacement glucose meter - the one we had wasn't working. DH had fought mm on this visit, but said it was worth it. Smile

---
as he was getting ready to leave for work, he noticed my two front tires are nearly bald! I'm not sure how I've missed this... I'll be getting new tires soon.

---
My thyroid meds are being upped again. Here's hoping they'll help with the energy levels.

---
We have magazines up on eBay, but no sales yet. He's starting them pretty high ...but we'll see.

---
I'm thinking about doing the Citi checking offer. You earn a $300 bonus for doing things such as direct deposit and moving $15k into the account. I need to make sure I follow through on it though if I start it. I had started the same thing for Santender, but never got past the initial deposit - and lost $150 bonus. Frown It'd really stink to lose $300.

---
I had changed my monthly deduction from my paycheck to go into my 457 RoTH instead of the 457 Traditional. This really cut my take home ... I'm wanting to do enough for the savers credit ($2k) but I'm not entirely sure if money put in a Traditional works for that or not. I need to do some more research on it - because it really is taking a bite.

The main thing I need to figure out is if it'd be better to put the money in the ROTH an get the $200 tax savers credit, or put it in the traditional and have my paycheck go back up.

---Gotta go - DH came home early. Smile

Dietbet Round 1 Over, Budget Changes, etc

February 19th, 2017 at 12:08 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taxes, Citi card, etc

February 14th, 2017 at 08:36 pm

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

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

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

Next year we should get back around $1000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Home Chef Meal, etc

February 11th, 2017 at 12:20 pm

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

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

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

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

We added a package of mixed veggies.

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

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

Angel hair Pine Nut Puttanesca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan Budget, Other $ News, etc

February 2nd, 2017 at 07:28 pm

I decided to try using Snip to copy my budget this month. It'll be much easier o read I think. Smile

Of note:

Groceries - we spent $85 less than budgeted! We're keeping our budget at $300, but only topping it off to $300 and not building from month to month.

Extra income -
$207 from CC rewards
$100 from ReceiptPal (instant!)
$10 from Bing
$50 Swagbucks
$10 from Pact
$25 from Perk
$45 interest
$21 profit StepBet
$.25 IQ
$.60 Mobi
???

Tithe/Giving - I forgot to do this in December. So two months worth. DH doesn't believe in it, but agreed he'd be ok with me continuing. Recently he's been making some noise about him getting an equal amount in spending money. I've told him sure - but he's going to have to figure out how to make that work in our budget! Probably nothing will come of it.

I am so close to having enough for a new computer and new phone! If I can just by them along for a few more months ....

Vacation - We are planning an April roadtrip to CA. Somewhere in the realm of 8 - 10 days. Some of our expenses will likely be reimbursed - we'll be visiting my Aunt/grandma/brother. Still, we're trying to save a good amount towards it. DH doesn't have paid vacation, so we have to save a weeks pay plus expenses.

Car Insurance - In January I had both of ours together, but have separated them starting in Feb. It'll mae it easier to know how much we hvae.








---
In other news - You may remember the dog we took care of this past summer? How we bought $150 worth of medicine for its skin allergy? The owner told DH he would reimburse us. That was in June??

Since then we'd not heard one word from them. Wed written the money off as a loss.

DH got a text from the wife yesterday asking about it. DH replied and confirmed that they still owed us tat money.

Today,DH got a voicemail from the owner. It sounds like they plan on paying us the money! I wonder what prompted this? Maybe they realized that we're unlikely to be willing to house sit/ take care of their animals. Only time will tell I guess.

--

DH right now is driving back from Kansas where he picked up a box of 176 magazines for $50. He's going to sort them into sets ad photograph them, and then I'll list them on eBay.

National Lampoon, Metal (music) and Cream (music) are some of the titles.

He says he's found some single titles go for $20 on eBay. Which is great and all ... but if they don't get listed, then that's $50 +gas wasted. Sigh. We'll see I guess.

Frustrating Day - Avoided Temptation

January 30th, 2017 at 06:58 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dietbet Week 2

January 28th, 2017 at 06:39 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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







"Barbeque" etc

January 23rd, 2017 at 05:37 pm

These ads are really annoying.



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


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

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

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

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

Week 1 Dietbet, etc

January 22nd, 2017 at 02:14 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 18

January 18th, 2017 at 08:22 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





My Lunch, Won Two Drawings

January 3rd, 2017 at 06:18 pm

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

Perfect. Smile

I had made beans on Sunday in the IP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No more grocery shopping til Sunday!

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

January 1st, 2017 at 02:29 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nearly $4k between Federal and State!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Okay, my 2017 goals. (so far)

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

2. Reduce average grocery spending to $250/month

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

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

Health:

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

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

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

4. Do 30 minutes of strength training each week.

5. Complete 8 StepBets successfully.

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

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

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

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

5. Less Overthinking/Guessing negatively/More Positivity

6. Keep an active lookout for a different job.


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