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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.

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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)

Refunds Are Here! Fender Bender :(

February 23rd, 2018 at 05:06 pm

Both our federal and state refunds have been deposited. That'll make budgeting March a little more fun. Smile

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I found out today that my friend will Not be coming on Monday. She apparently got hired in a town in Western Nebraska. Frown Yay for the job, but boo for not coming.

At least I got some needed stuff done around here.

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This morning on my way to work I rear ended someone in a brand new SUV. Frown

Neither of us was hurt - really mostly a slight bump. Her bumper has a few scratches, my bumper has a hole in it ...

We exchanged insurance info and took pictures.

My insurance person told me the worst that'll happen is I'll lose my accident free discount - ~$34/year.

They're going to send an appraiser next week to look at my car, but I doubt it'll be more than our $1k deductible.

We may or may not fix it - DH says its just cosmetic.

So annoying on many levels - one being that it had been 7 years since my last fender bender, 5+ years of nothing more than door dings on this car (so it looked pretty darn nice when washed), and just the hassle of dealing with whatever aftermath. Plus its going to make me even more cautious on icy days than I already am - which may really annoy some people. Oh well.

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I found Victoria on Amazon Prime - watched the first episode with painful buffering and freezing ...

Stopped at the library to see if they could locate it better than me - or do an ILL. They found both seasons! Yay!

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.

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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.

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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)

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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

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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.)

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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)


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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)

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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.

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

Etc

February 9th, 2018 at 07:09 pm

A few days ago I was checking my credit cards and noticed a $41 charge for Planet Fitness. Oops! Had it really been a year since I changed my plan?

I called on Thursday to find out if I could get the fee refunded after canceling. Nope. And to cancel I'd have to go into a location.

So, I did that today. I hadn't been there since sometime in April. I told myself I'd go back when the weather got bad again, but then they were doing road construction which made it a pain to get to ... and I just got out of the habit.

Right now I'm focusing more on getting habits going on taking care of the housework, and fitness throughout the day - so taking 1 1/2 - 2 hours (between commute time and actual workout) to go there ... not worth it at this time.

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I stopped at Dollar Tree and picked up some groceries - some for me, some DH had requested. $24

Then I stopped at HyVee and got .6 lb of Brazil nuts - $7.29 (should last for several months - we eat 2 - 4 each week for heart health.)

I made a bit of a mess getting them - the bin just opened up a bit faster than I was ready for - nuts went all over the floor. Oops. I swept it up as much as I could with my foot, then got a store worker.

Tomorrow I need to get toilet paper and some other groceries.

---
I'm still doing fairly well with bujo. It's helping me be accountable even with I'm so tired all I want to do is lounge. I haven't done any of my bi-weekly tasks yet ... but it hasn't been two weeks yet!

I need to find a source for good suggested memory texts. I have Is 40:31 memorized, but need a new one for my memory work task. I'm wanting ones which help me stay in a positive frame of mind (since sometimes that is very hard lately to do.)

Childhood Friend!, Sick Day ...

February 5th, 2018 at 05:02 pm

I was feeling a bit run down yesterday when I woke up, but powered through it because I had so much I wanted to accomplish.

This morning I was still feeling ugh, and barely made it through my daily smoothie.

Got to work and started off with the standing desk up, but after ten minutes, had to put it down because I just wasn't feeling it. By 9:30 I realized I wasn't going to make it through the day.

I got home just as the snow started up again, and slept through most of the snowstorm. We got another inch, maybe two inches. Glad I didn't have to drive home in it!

I'm still feeling blergh, but hopefully another nights sleep will help.

I get so frustrated with my body sometimes. Why doesn't the stuff that make other people feel so healthy and full of energy do the same for me??? Eating the junk doesn't make me feel healthy or full of energy either ... so guess keep on keeping on, and at some point it will get better.

So anyway ...

When I woke up from my 4 hour nap (sweet!) I was looking on FB and saw a childhood friend posting about needing an air bnb room because she was going to be in my city!! Wait what? So I messaged her to find out when it would be - she said Tuesday, Feb 27? I think - she has a job interview here and in O town the day before!

I told her I needed to check with DH, but if she hadn't already booked a room she could stay here.

I haven't seen her since I was 13 years old! She lived in my neighborhood in Albuquerque. We would play at each others houses, walk all over the neighborhood talking about many things including the latest Days of Our Lives episode Smile, ride bikes all over, etc. One time we even tried to get a job at a local fast food place together (but were told we were too young.)

When DH got up to go into work, I surprised him by being here. Smile Then I told him about my friend's post. Surprisingly, he seemed okay with it (after asking me where we'd put her Smile ) Unsurprisingly, he said he was okay with it as long as he didn't have to do anything extra for it. Urgh.

I told him that beyond not leaving his clothes all over the kitchen when he got home from work, and making sure the cat litter boxes in the basement were clean smelling I would take care of anything else.

So many times I have to remind myself that he is not my dad. He wasn't raised in a home where the dad did much at all, and his mom pretty much expected NOTHING out of him. So yeah, moms of little boys - please expect them to do stuff so they turn into men who do stuff as a matter of course!

I'll probably take that Monday off from work so I can do whatever last minute cleaning that needs to be done. On the 19th I'll probably rent a rug doctor to try to get the carpets clean..er.

My friend has multiple pets, so hopefully she won't be too put off by the house.

It would just be beyond cool if she got the job, and moved here with her family! I might have someone to go do things with once in awhile! Maybe invite her family here for dinner sometimes or something.

Even if she gets the job in O instead, I'll still have someone within reasonable distance to get together with once in awhile.

I really, really hope she gets one of the jobs she's interviewing for!

---
I heard the stock market tanked today. Haven't checked since this morning. Sounds like a good time to make my ROTH purchases for the month. Smile

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.

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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.

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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



No Drama Here :)

February 2nd, 2018 at 06:38 pm

Just want to say thanks for all your support, advice, etc the last few posts.

Surprising what a calm, sit down, adult discussion can do to defuse difficult situations.

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Can I just say how much I'm loving my stand up desk? It makes the day go by faster, and I don't know if I'm imagining it or not, but I feel more energetic.

My fitbit is telling me I'm definitely more consistently active -today I scored an 8 out of 10 on moving at least 250 steps in an hour! My goal this month is at least a 5. So yeah ... Smile

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I really hope it's not just the newness of it, but so far the bujo seems to be helping me actually get things done!

Tonight I cleaned the litter boxes, added litter, washed half the dishes in the sink (before the water started getting warm), cleaned the bathroom counters/sink/mirror and prepped my breakfast for tomorrow.

All on a work night. At the end of a long stressful week.

I also finally got a couple donation things I'd done for SBs canceled before another donation could be pulled out. One was a simple phone call, the other I had to go through multiple phone trees. Ugh.

Forgot - I also stopped at the library and did a couple returns/pick ups.

I might start on book 4 for 2018 tonight, but I am wanting to get to bed at a decent hour - so that may be dangerous ...

Standing Desk! Car spending/saving, Etc

January 31st, 2018 at 07:47 pm

Back in August? a co-worker and I approached the main boss about getting standing desks. He approved the idea. We had two vendors come out in September and make quotes. A vendor was approved in November. The purchase order was made.

Finally, yesterday the installers came! They were late - it took them 3 hours to install mine and co-workers. Coworkers is a simple attach to the desk model. Mine is not a simple one. Smile I got the one where they attach legs to the bottom of the desk that rise and fall via motor.

I was willing to go with the cheaper model, but asked if the one I got would be possible. Smile I love it!!

I'll be getting an anti-fatigue mat (employer) and I am going to look for a small step stool to help with position changes.

Already my fitbit is showing increased active activity. I made 7 of 10 250 steps in an hour. Usually my average is 3 ...

--
So last night we dropped my car off at Brakes Plus because it had been having increasing squealing issues.

Today they called my DH and told him it needed a new belt and a new battery. DH emailed me the info - I told him that I thought that was strange, since I was pretty sure I had some kind of belt put on just a few years ago there.

So during lunch I called them to find out what belt they were talking about. Yep, it was the serpentine belt, and it was the one replaced by them 2 years 2 mos ago.

So in the end, what would have cost $114 for parts and labor, cost $38.95 after a $25 coupon.

Guess what is being added to my bujo (bullet journal)?

You guessed it - A page for recording auto maintenance!

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So now he's wanting his log in info for his ROTH.

You can probably guess why.

I can't exactly say no. (I'd actually given it to him previously.)

I'm thinking a compromise I am willing to live with is that as long as there is an increase of 6500 each year, I don't care what you do with the rest. Or say I'm ok if you put half of it in index funds or bonds - safe steady investments, and then the other half in more speculative stuff.

It's not like you can really do day trading within a ROTH, at least not quick trading. Though I did lose most of the $1k I bet on Fitbit ....(bought second day at $42 .... now is at $5 something. Yech. So yes I know it is basically gambling. (He throws the electric car stock at me - you have all those shares of the car stock - isn't that gambling? Well, yes, and I've been trying to convert them into less gambling type stuff. But the stuff in the taxable account has to be done carefully and slowly...)

It isn't like I can tell him what to do with the money in his retirement accounts ... because then he could do the same with mine. Oy vey. The one money issue we never really discussed before marriage. (Other than him being totally floored when he found out what my networth was after we were engaged.)

I might bring up the idea of consulting with a 3rd party financial advisor again. Because I'm not really sure what to do.

I mentioned to him that the ROTH money has been growing pretty well - he says back, well, yeah, the stock market overall has been growing a lot, so of course the ROTH would. UGH@

I really thought we had all the money stuff ironed out beforehand.

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.

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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

5 vehicles and a snow ban ...

January 22nd, 2018 at 08:19 pm

So yeah, we have 5 vehicles. 4 of them are basically my husbands. 1 of which doesn't have a working transmission.

My car lives in the garage. 2 of the other vehicles live on our driveway. The other two are parked in front of the house.

Today we had a blizzard.

DH calls me around 7 and tells me he's been hearing that the mayor has declared a snow ban.So all vehicles parked on the street in snow routes or school routes need to be moved - effective midnight to 7 am.

We live across the street from a school ....

DH was going to try to come home between deliveries to play musical cars. He of course was VERY busy - nobody wants to go out and get food during a blizzard / bad driving conditions.

So I said I would do it. Argh!!

There went a very frustrating hour of my night.

I ccouldn't get the darn prizm to start. I got the truck started and drove it (first time ever driving it) into the garage. The garage door wouldn't close because the truck was too long.

So I looked at the map again, and realized that the street running on the north side of our property was not in the school route. So I decided to park the truck there ...

Cue trying to turn around in the street and getting stuck in the snow. Cue the truck blocking the majority of the street.

Thankfully I remembered that the way to get unstuck was to straighten out the tires.

I finally managed to get turned around and facing the correct way. Only to be completely stuck again. Oh well. Its parked near the curb and facing the right way.

So then I call DH and tell him I can't get the durn prizm to start - even with messing with the steering wheel. We figure out that I was using the wrong key.

Oy vey!

I use the correct key, get it turned on and brushed off, and put it in the garage. Of course only after I pull into the garage (with the door firmly shut) do I remember that there is no inside door handle.

I try rolling the window down but it wouldn't go down far enough for me to be able to reach the outside handle. I waited and waited.

Finally I decided to try rolling down the back window and reaching around. Whew! That worked!

Let's just say I'm not volunteering to do this again.

*But I will say that it wasn't that scary driving the truck ... I may actually be willing to do that again.

---
When I got home tonight I spent over an hour Getting Things Done!

I went through all the papers on my desk and sorted out what needed action, what could be tossed, and what needed to be shredded. Clear desk!

Then I went into my closet and got the big pile of folded clothes from 3+ weeks ago that I hadn't gotten put away ... and put them all away!

I also emptied out a bunch of different bags of stuff that were hanging off doorknobs ...

I also got my clothes out from the dryer ...

Yeah. I felt accomplished, even though this is stuff that should have mostly been done a long time ago.

---
DH has set up an account to do trading. I'd sold $5k worth of our stock in our taxable account for the express purpose of letting him have it to "play" with.

Years ago he did a lot of day trading and really enjoyed it. So, that's kind of what he'll be doing again. He told me about the stocks he's looking at, and his reasoning. Sounded pretty reasonable to me.

I'm interested to see how he does with it.

For him, there's only an IRA and taxable investments really to put money away for the future.

I'm okay with losing $5k if that happens. (Although obviously I hope it doesn't!)

---
No spending yesterday or today. Probably none tomorrow either unless the roads are better (was focused on not getting into a crash today ...)

Spending, $Small crisis Averted ...

January 21st, 2018 at 11:22 am

Last night I stopped at Dollar Tree, Aldi's and Russ's.

I spent a total of $37, although some of that was stuff for DH.

A few dollars were also because Aldi's was out of SO much, so I had to substitute or get it elsewhere.

DH also spent $12 on grocery items last night.

We're looking like our total grocery spending (non-gift card) will be around $150 this month!

This week I need to pick up more cat litter and also refill our water jugs (for cats water dishes)

I can't think of anything else.

---
So ... yesterday I was updating our budget and was wondering why our income was so low. I figured out approximately how much more should be coming in, and it was a good $500 less than last month.

I knew DH has had several low tip nights, but that really only accounted for maybe $150.

So after doing some more sleuthing, I realized that DH's paycheck from the 12th had never been deposited!! That was about $300 (he gets paid a paltry hourly rate, but gets decent tips usually in cash, plus delivery fees to cover gas)

I thought I remembered him giving me the check, but it wasn't in my purse. I was starting to worry that maybe I had lost it!

Before I decided to tell him (major egg on my face) I thought that maybe I should look through all the paper junk on my desk.

After about ten minutes of searching, I found the check! I really need to encourage him again to get his dd info to his employer. Yikes.

Of course, it would also help if my desk wasn't a huge pile of papers ...

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.

New Year's Blerghh...

January 1st, 2018 at 04:07 pm

I started feeling run down about a week ago, but pushed myself through work til the end of the week. Of course, as soon as I didn't have to go to work, my body completely gave in to the yucks.

I had really been hoping to do a lot of cleaning and making ahead items for the freezer this weekend. About all I got done was clean the kitchen once after making the beefless stew (and then DH makes a new mess making one last rum cake ...ergh!)

I am probably going to take a sick day tomorrow as well. Hopefully my supervisor isn't going to think I'm just trying to extend the long weekend.

---
Yeah, about the "beefless" stew I made yesterday. Definitely not a repeater.

The cauliflower recipe I made from the How Not to Die cookbook though was a hit - especially the lemon tahini sauce.

---
DH really wanted to see the Peach Bowl.

I had bought a digital converter and antennae for our huge analog tv in case it was showing on a local broadcast channel.

It was showing on ESPN of course.

So ... I signed us up for the 7 day free trial of Sling - I checked off just about everything you can check off for. If I let it go past the free trial, it'd cost $118. Hah!!

Let's just say we are NOT impressed.

I couldn't get it to work on my DHs Chromebook. And then when I DID get it working on my Windows 10 computer, I couldn't record off the ESPN3 channel - so not only did DH have to wake up early to see it, I had to give up my computer for a few hours. (first world problems ...) DH also said the camera angle/video was really crappy. No play by play, commentary, etc.

Of course looking at the schedule, even with a zillion of channels, I'm reminded of why I haven't had cable in so many years. (of my own accord) There's just nothing on the majority of the time that's the least bit interesting.

At least on Netflix there's stuff like The Crown, When Calls the Heart, bunches and bunches of silly, predictable Christmas movies .... etc. I could go to Amazon Prime and find stuff to watch there too I'm sure if I ever ran out of things on Netflix.

Or you know ... work on reading the next book on my 52 books for 2018!

Or, gasp! do some housework!

---
Poor DH is having to go out delivering pizza's tonight. The low is supposed to be around -8 F. He won't wear a scarf because it gets in his way, nor will he wear a stocking cap ... He will at least wear gloves sometimes.

I hope people are generous tippers tonight - both due to the cold nobody wants to venture out in, and due to the outcome of the Peach Bowl game today. Smile

---
Accomplishments:
1st book of 2018 read - Treasured Grace (vol. 1)
2nd book of 2018 started - Beloved Hope (vol. 2)

No spending.

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.

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

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



Nutcracker, Snow, Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2017 at 10:39 am

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---
Well, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas all!

Good, Busy Day Off, $ Ruminations

December 16th, 2017 at 11:30 am

So I got to sleep in a little on my birthday. At least a bit of a lazy and easy wake up. I was greeted by the Alexa Dot playing a Happy Birthday song to me as my alarm - which was funny weird. Smile

I had a doctor's appt for bloodwork at 9, but had gotten a call around 4 on Thursday which I was only able to catch part of (voicemail) and of course when I tried to call back the office was closed.

I tried calling before going, but got their answering service. So I decided to just go and see what was up.

Apparently since the city switched insurances (from BCBS to AETNA) the lab my doctor uses is no longer in network. Great - already had labwork done in November (start of new ins plan year) wonder how much that's going to bite.

They'd canceled my appt due to this ... I told them to please see if I could get into Quest (now in network) that day since I had the time.

So while they were getting this all figured out, I headed to Aldi's - they have mejodl dates 1 lb for $2.49!! I spent a total of $33 there.

Then I headed to Kohl's to see if I could find anything that grabbed me. There was one sweater I really liked - but not $26 liked. So left with nothing.

Next I headed to Lane Bryant. I got fitted for a new bra (down 2 cup sizes! Like I'd mentioned, desperately needed a new bra!) I bought two - used a $25 coupon - spent $76. I told my husband - glad these things last a long time!

While I was at LB I got a call telling me to go to a local hospital to get my labs done - walk in anytime.

I needed to put my groceries away, so I went home first, then headed to the hospital. That was at least 40 minutes later. They didn't have any idea I was coming. It was nearly noon.

30 minutes later I had my labs done - after the tech joked that she thought the birthdate was written wrong. Smile

Now on to HyVee (grocery) to see if I could find the things Aldi didn't. Spent $16, but still was missing a few items (ordered on Amazon)

On my way to Bed Bath Beyond, I stopped at the Oriental Market and stocked up on tofu and a new bottle of stir fry sauce (vegetarian) - $13

At BBB I walked around for awhile and ended up getting a hanger for tank tops/cami's, a set of sillicone hot pads and some special glasses for night time driving (for DH.) I used two 20% coupons and a gift card. So no out of pocket cost. Smile

Next I headed to Dollar Tree and stocked up on Frozen fruit and diced tomatoes ($.50 a can!!) ~$16

Finally I stopped at the Credit Union to make our weekly deposit, and then home.

I had planned on a mani/pedi but by the time I got home it was 3 pm and I was tired. Plus my mom was going to be calling me ... so I decided to just stay home and chill the rest of the day. Smile

I did have some chocolate - the Harry & David's popcorn my brother sent, and chocolate covered potato chips from Aldi's ... Mmm yum!

Today I'll be taking it easy for the most part - although I do plan on getting some housework done. Dishes/sweeping/mopping/laundry..

Tomorrow I'll do something foodwise for my lunches, fill up a few more leaf bags, and .... Nutcracker!! Woo hoo!

---
I saw an idea somewhere about making shorter tops more professional looking by simply adding a layer of a long tank top. I'm going to be checking Goodwill for some. I have a few, but I think black would be best since my dress pants are all black.

I really need to replace my work flats. I'm hoping I can find Mary Janes that will work.

Is there something you can attach to the bottom of your shoes to make them more slip resistant?

---
I cashed out rewards points for our Credit Union account - $15 (This is the account that pays 3% interest!

Also Citi DC - $26

--
DH's ROTH is fully funded for 2017 - and has earned $500 since inception!! (started it in June or July I think.)

My ROTH is short $1045 from being fully funded.

I get a 3rd paycheck in March ... but there's so many places that could use padding .. pet fund especially, I don't know that putting it towards the 2017 ROTH is the best use of it.

To fully fund DH's for 2018 it's $500/mo.
To fully fund mine, it's ~$458/mo.

So, $958/mo. We're setting aside $1k/mo.

So .. $42x12 = 504
$1045 - $504 = 877
504/4 = 126

So, we'd need to set aside an extra $126/mo for 4 months to have 2017 and 18 fully funded. Ugh. Probably isn't going to happen. Just taking out the $1k/month is making our budget thin enough.

Or ... if I put the January contribution fully into my 2017 ROTH, then ...
13k / 12 = $1,083/month

So, $83 extra all year long. I wonder if that'd be doable ...

*FYI - DH never had any kind of retirement savings til we opened this ROTH. I had been setting aside funds for it til he finally agreed for me to get the ball rolling. I have retirement funds/accounts galore, although I've never fully funded a ROTH. Smile

We are using the funds put in my ROTH as a very last resort EF since it's been open more than 5 years and they have more time to grow.

ETA - I just realized my calculations were based on $6k for DH instead of $6500. Ooops. But the $1083/mo still would do what I'm thinking.

More $ to the Vet

December 12th, 2017 at 05:05 pm

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

---
The Nutcracker is this Sunday!!!

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

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

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

Hmm...

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

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

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

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

Property Taxes!

December 5th, 2017 at 05:30 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dentist, Rethinking Spending, ROTH's, etc

December 4th, 2017 at 08:10 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I also am loving the easy list making.

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

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

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

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

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

Goodbye Sunny

November 27th, 2017 at 05:09 pm

Sunny crossed Rainbow Bridge on Saturday. We buried her in our backyard. We had the vet give her a sedative first - which I think made it a better experience (only my second time seeing a pet put to sleep.)

It feels strange not having her sleeping with me, or getting up on the kennel for food ... but it is for the best.

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Tomorrow we're having a meeting with the two head honchos about the lost and found policy.

Can't come soon enough seeing as though just today I got hung up on before I had all the info I needed and was patronizingly asked if I'd told them we're not responsible for lost items. Good thing it was over the phone and not in person ...

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I did some black Friday shopping - bought 4 Alexa Dots to use as an intercom system, etc. DH isn't too excited, but he'll catch on eventually. Smile

Also subscribed to Plan to Eat. Am going to give it a try.

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DH agreed to go to the Nutcracker with me for my birthday! 2 tickets were $83 after all the add on fees/taxes. It'll be Dec 17.

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I have a doctor's apt this Wednesday. I'm hoping she can figure out why I'm still way low energy even with eating so healthfully. I'm wondering if my synthroid needs adjusting after having lost 30+ lbs, or if my iron is low again ... or ... who knows.

Positive and Negative

November 17th, 2017 at 07:26 pm

So ... the positive. DH has FINALLY found his all weather vehicle. After over 1 1/2 years of looking.

A 2000 Honda CRV for $4k. We now have FIVE vehicles. We WILL be selling one ... I just am not pushing it right now with Sunny and more fun with SIL's estate.

I might even be willing to drive this thing. It is in nice shape - nice enough that DH plans to put in some of his numerous speaker systems to try out.

I'm just glad to not have DH say - lets drive to Des Moines to look at such and such car - not call till we're nearly there - and find the car is sold. Or look at it and find its rubbish. Done with that!

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I am seriously hating my job right now. One of my responsibilities is dealing with lost and found. A few weeks ago my supervisor and someone else cleaned out the lunchroom and threw out the umbrella box w/ a month's worth of umbrellas. No mention of this to me. No asking if I wanted to do something else with them. I found out only because I noticed the box was missing. When I brought it up to my supervisor, she just basically shrugged and said the lunchroom was overrun with stuff and the umbrellas were old ( time wise) anyway.

This on top of how almost *every time* I go away for a few days, I come back to find my space rearranged or the work flow rearranged to a way that suits my supervisor. This irritates me to no end, although I try to tell myself that she probably thinks she's doing something nice for me.

Then there's dealing with the people in dispatch and lost items. They've trained multiple new people, and some work with me, and some want to do as little as possible.

I get that we are not responsible for lost items ... but when someones lost something, they *don't* want to hear that.

I don't call down for everything I get calls about. I try to deflect as much as possible. Especially since I never know who is actually going to answer in dispatch.

So today I have this mom call about her daughter leaving a $1300 violin on the bus. I call down asking for dispatch to contact the driver. I basically get blown off. I try to tell mom that we are getting in contact with the driver and she can check back on Monday after 8. (because its 3:40 and I have no idea if or when I'm going to get a call back from dispatch)

Mom wants to leave her info so I can call her - I have to tell her that I can't do that (Supervisor's policy)
I do find out when the bus will be back - so tell her she can wait for it at Dispatch in case the violin is on the bus. (not our normal policy, but was ok'd by another supervisor due to a fiasco we had a few months ago with a family heirloom violin stolen on a bus)

Mom calls principal unhappy with my not helping her.

Principal calls the supervisor/school liaison to find out the deal. Asks me what's going on. I admittedly did not react very well. Was so frustrated with not being able to get answers and then getting the blame!

Got the bus driver supervisor to call dispatch - of course he didn't get blown off. The violin was secured.

Mom calls again and I seriously didn't want to speak to her. I was just ready to have the day over!

This is just ONE example. There's another dispatch that gives me a one word answer and hangs up on me.

Then thanks to the latest iOS and Android updates killing all 32 bit apps, the past month I have had SO many phone calls from people complaining about "our" apps not working. They're 3rd party apps people! We have NOTHING to do with them! I'm sorry if you paid $4 to upgrade it - but you didn't pay us that money. Most of them just whine and moan for 5 - 7 minutes, but there have been at least 5 who have gotten totally irate.

Today I had one call me back asking if we could help her get her money back or figure out how to stop the payment. I asked her when she bought it - she said sometime last year and she couldn't remember if it was a yearly fee or a monthly. I was incredulous ... but told her that while we can't do anything about it, I would suggest she keeps an eye out on her account and if she sees a charge, dispute it!

I tracked the calls for a few weeks and got my supervisor to bug the main honcho enough that the links to the apps were removed from our main website. (There was a disclaimer, but who reads disclaimers?)

DH has suggested I sit down with my supervisor and come up with a written out list of needs/expectations wrt lost and found / dispatch. Something we give to anyone working dispatch.

Hopefully by Monday I won't be so ticked off and can approach the matter calmly.

Sorry for the vent.

Tomorrow after church I'm supposed to be going to the Center for People in Need to volunteer at their Thanksgiving give away thing. I know I'll have fun, but right now I really don't want to go. I just want to sleep and be away from people. I'm peopled out.


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