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Archive for June, 2015

June Accounting

June 30th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

I think my personal challenge / getaway goal worked pretty well.

In my Everyday Expenses categories:
Groceries - $103.92
Medical - $40.64 (Allegra D)
Kari - $9.05 (food and litter)
Treats - 18.78
Movies Out - $5
Gifts - $39.50

SO much better than May!

I earned extra income in June:
$78.xx - parking garage job
$50 - PP GC from Swagbucks
$25 AGC from PerkPoints
$10 - AGC from Bing
$10 - Pact

Besides my usual ROTH contribution and my 10% to my EF, I had $313.06 left over! That means I have $156.03 to put towards my getaway in August. (The other half goes to my EF.)

In July I'm going to do the same thing, really try to keep my spending down as much as possible. There are a few things I know I'll have to spend on though:

new shoes!!
higher electricity bill than the past 5 months or so
possibly have to renew car registration?

I know I have at least one shift at the parking garage in July, and I might be able to manage $50 from Swagbucks again. I'm also going to put some more things up on eBay and FB ... see how that goes. I think $100 more should make for a nice trip.

My EF is at $8220.25 of my $12k goal. Sloooowwwlllyy moving towards the goal.

Right Turn Lady Again!

June 30th, 2015 at 12:03 am

I couldn't believe my eyes ... when I was waiting to make a right turn from the gym again today -- the same lady in the humongous SUV was next to me making a left turn! How bizarre! At least it didn't take 5 or 6 minutes this time.

I went to the gym today (as I said above Big Grin ) and *almost* chickened out of going into the weight room. I walked for nearly ten minutes on the walking track "warming up" ... (read . getting my courage up) It was full of guys - finally I saw a women go in there. My warmup was over. Smile

With the warmup and a five minute cooldown, I did about a 40 minute workout. I decided to go with a full body compound move workout. When I got there I tried to find out if they have fractional? plates, but I couldn't find a trainer to answer my question.

I think for now I'll just do the dumbbells for now (except for the deadlift - they have extra weighted bars for that.)

I can definitely feel that I put my muscles to the test! My arms are all shaky. Smile

I got my $25 AGC reward from Perk today - already spent it on my next installment of pea protein powder (for my smoothies) and a drain cleaner thingy someone suggested before (was waiting to get free shipping.)

For those who read and/or made suggestions/comments ... the boat was not (and won't be) purchased. This came about without me saying a thing. Smile Medical debt will be wiped out. (or nearly so) That's more like what I thought this person would do!

We had something unusual happen at the bus station today - NO callers or visitors making complaints! That is kind of a rare occurrence.

3 more days til the long weekend!! Can hardly wait!!

Skeeters and Pancakes

June 28th, 2015 at 04:44 pm

Saturday afternoon I went to a local park to join a group of church members - some bike, some walk. Yesterday I was the only walker. Frown It was pretty humid and the sun was beating down, so I thought I'd take the path with the most shade. However, after the short jaunt from the parking lot to the path where you decide your direction, I changed my mind.

Why? Skeeters!! I was being attacked by hordes of mosquitoes. So I chose the more open route.

45 minutes later I came back. One of the bikers was there at the parking lot and told me I had a swarm of mosquitoes all around me. I didn't even know ... I guess the sweat on me made me not feel them or something??

Will definitely need to be getting some bug spray before my next outdoor adventure!!

This morning I made oatmeal-banana-greek yogurt pancakes. They are so good! My first pancake turned out really good. I was able to spread out the batter in the pan with no issues. The second one though ... as I was spreading the batter around, half of it ended up falling out of the pan onto the burner!

I quickly turned the burner off and used one of the back burners (not as big as the pan and a little off kilter.) I'm just glad I didn't set off my fussy smoke detector!

I cashed out for a $25 AGC from PerkPoints last night. Now let's see how long it takes to get enough points for the next one ...

My weight had gone back up for awhile ... but the past month or so it has been going back down. Today I weighed in at the lowest in 3 months. Now if I can just keep that trend continuing!

I'm considering making a new savings goal - enough to pay for 8 30 minute personal training sessions. That would be enough for 4 weeks of 2 sessions. I would use it for strength training only. I need to find the gym's brochure with the actual costs, but I think it was around $350 for 8 30 minute sessions. (It's $50 for one 30 minute session, but you get a break on multiple.)

Maybe starting in August, I can "pay" myself $10 every time I go to the gym more than 1x in a week.

Before I'd actually commit to a trainer though, I'd want to interview them thoroughly. I've been doing a lot of reading on it (strength training) and know exactly what I want - so would want to make sure the trainer would fit with what I've learned.

I had a pt once before, only for strength - liked him a lot, but I don't think I really made that much progress. I think I'd be a lot more pushy now about getting exactly what I want out of it.

I don't know if I'll really be able to bite the bullet on paying for it again or not ... last time I think I used part of a tax refund. Just thinking about it right now.

Groceries, Drama at the Bus Station

June 27th, 2015 at 12:36 am

After working out today I was trying to make a right hand turn from the parking lot, and ended up sitting there for five minutes because a lady in a huge SUV was trying to make a left hand turn. I couldn't see over her and she made no attempt to let me know when I could go. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but it would seem to me like if you are in an oversized vehicle you might be aware that you are not see through ...


Anyway... I stopped at the grocery store today and spent $10.71. My last shop for the month. It does put me over my goal of $100 by about $3, but I'm okay with that. SO much better than the $350+ I spent last month on food/junk, etc.

Bananas, apples, frz. veggies/fruit and 1 candy bar. So, 5 items. Smile

This afternoon I got a call from a man who was wanting us to see if his father was on one of our buses. His dad is an 80 yo and very frail - he'd said something about wanting to go to a particular location in our city, and then later was nowhere to be found.

I got a physical description of the man and the time he was possibly missing since. At first our bus driver supervisor said the man should contact the police first. But then the asst. living home where the father lived called asking the same thing and confirming that someone saw him get on a bus.

There followed a bunch of bus drivers getting descriptions of the man, and a confirmed sighting of him being left off downtown, but not having gotten a transfer. I received a third phone call from someone else looking for him after we had the sighting confirmed.

By about this time it was time to close up, so I don't know the ending of the story.

I really hope they found this mans father though.


June 23rd, 2015 at 10:55 pm

So I just got off the phone with NE. He got a call from his sister letting him know that their aunt had died.

This wasn't really unexpected because she'd been suffering from Alzheimer's for awhile, and not in the greatest health.

What WAS unexpected was how long ago she had died.


NE's sister was contacted by the aunt's son to let her know that the aunt had left her some money in the will. Otherwise who knows when she would have been told about the aunt's death.

Apparently the son got all hissy fitty with her because she hadn't come down to take care of the aunt last summer.

Oy vey.

NE is going to have to call this guy because he also was left something in the will. If it is the same or similar amount as what his sister was left, it'll be enough to pay off his surgery debt and have some left over. That would be a huge weight off his (proverbial) shoulders.

I just hope this guy doesn't try to berate NE for not coming down there .. NE would not let that fly. (He hadn't been asked to do so in the first place.)

Just wow. I'd feel so awful finding out a month AFTER a relative died. No chance to go to the funeral (if there was one?) etc.

I cashed in for my second $25 PayPal from Swagbucks today.

I went to the gym yesterday after work. Barely found a parking space - guess they have some kind of swim meet at the outside pool?? When I was leaving I picked up keys off the key board .. walked all the way out to my car ... and realized I'd gotten the wrong keys!! So trudged back and exchanged. Ooops. Don't think anyone missed them ...

Five weeks from now and I'll have been at bus company for 1 year! And I still have people coming by the window sometimes asking where the "other older lady" is. Smile (she retired)

Spending: Monday - None (other than buying Fitbit stock)

Tuesday - None

Sunday Outing and Resisting Tempation

June 23rd, 2015 at 12:44 am

Sunday afternoon NE and I went on another little joy ride into the country. We went out as far as Hickman (for those who know NE area) and visited a couple lakes there. We stopped at the local "grocery store" called Jack and Jill and each got a drink. (He treated Smile )

We also stopped at a large hotel that had a lot of brochures for tourist attractions in the area, and took a number of them to look at further.

It was a nice way to spend a few hours. Smile

Right now it is looking as though I'm going to have about $300 in "extra" money this month. That is .. if I continue to resist temptation til a week from tomorrow. Smile

That means I'll have $150 or so to put towards my little get away. That will pretty much cover lodging and gas. So July will be all about getting the money for food and entertainment.

I have $11 left of the $100 I allocated for my groceries category. Must resist temptation. (SO wanted pizza this weekend -- delivery pizza! But resisted!)

I'm trying to make the Allegra last a little longer by not taking it on the weekend ... not sure that is such a good idea. Because I have a bad sinus headache right now. Wasn't bad Saturday or Sunday, but maybe it was because I'd built up over the previous 5 days ...

I checked the Dollar Generals here, and :**( no frozen fruit. So I had to get the frozen fruit from the local grocery store - $3.29 for 1lb.

Spending: Saturday - none
Sunday - $13.33 - frozen fruit, etc. (groceries)
Monday - none

Sold and Bought Some Stock Today, etc.

June 20th, 2015 at 12:59 am

I have a good amount of stock in an electric car company - mostly inherited, but some that I personally bought with my own cash or with money rolled over from a company 401k fund. I've been wanting to diversify it a bit with another single stock, but hadn't found anything cheap enough or interesting enough.

With the recent IPO of Fitbit, that changed. Smile

I love my Fitbit, and from the many articles I've read, it seems to be a pretty healthy company (ha ha - no pun intended, really) with good growth potential. I'd forgotten about the initial IPO date, so unfortunately wasn't ready to pull the buy card at the start of the bell Thursday.

So I pulled it this morning. Smile I had $170.00 cash in my brokerage account which was leftover from the rollover where I purchased electric car stock. So I bought 5 Fitbit shares. I want to buy more than that though, so I went ahead and sold 5 electric car shares, which netted a bit over $1k after the trade fees.

I tried buying more Fitbit after work today, but I got a popup saying that if I put the new order through, my other one would be canceled. ???? So I guess I'll have to wait til Monday and hope the price doesn't go up too much by then.

All of this trading and selling and buying was done in an IRA account, so whatever tax consequences there will be won't happen for another 20 years. Smile

When I put my own cash money into the electric car stock, it was roughly around $1k. Enough to buy a good amount of stock, but not enough to hurt if I happened to lose money on it. That's kind of how I figured how much stock I'd go with for Fitbit.

I'm curious to see where this will go. Big Grin

Hectic afternoon at work today. Have a new story for my bus chronicles - might do one tomorrow. Smile

Did some grocery shopping this afternoon. bread, fruit (bananas and oranges), cheese, frozen vegges, chocolate, soda ... $18.41

Also stopped at a local green grocer type place (OH) and treated myself to some stuff from their deli - curried tofu, cajun yams, and a spinach/lentil, etc. patty. $6.31 It was either that or give in to my strong desire to order pizza ...

I'm reading a really good book by Elizabeth Musser right now - Swan House. I've read other books by her, and they were also very good. (Christian, romance, historical, major issues like racism, poverty, etc.)

I got paid for my part time parking garage job! $73.65 - that is one 8 hour shift (although it wasn't actually a full 8 hours, because I left 30 minutes early after being told I could if I wanted to.)

I don't know when I'll have another shift though, because it seems like all the available ones are on Saturdays. Frown Sometimes having beliefs that are so different from the mainstream can sure make it hard to find the extra income (and sometimes the main source of income too ... so many jobs I've had to turn down over the year due to Friday night/Saturday issues ...)

Note - I am an Seventh-day Adventist. Similarly to Jews, we celebrate Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.

I think I have settled on what my August trip is going to be - Des Moines -- Friday - Living History Farms; Saturday - Memories Day (visit church my dad was pastor of, visit various places we lived, etc.); Sunday - Adventureland!; Monday - drive home and recover. Smile

I still need to get the addresses from my brother - our dad kept a list of all the places he lived his entire life. My brother has it somewhere. We lived in three different houses in Des Moines. I'm most curious about the house we lived in where my bedroom was in the finished attic, we had a lake within close walking distance, and I had an awesome friend named Tara who lived across a hayfield from us that had a small stream running through it. Lots of good memories there.

I was in 3rd grade when we moved from there to New Mexcio.

On Sunday I plan on going to Dollar General to buy frozen fruit, and also stop at Sears to see if they have the shoes I want. (dress shoes for work to replace ones that are falling apart) I'm going to try to hold off til July to actually buy them though so I can put it on my Discover card and have it count towards July's $500 spending.

I've also been thinking more about the Nationwide thing of using the debit card 8x in a month to avoid fees. If I give myself a budget of $20/month for treats (which would be much less than I have been spending) that would mean 2x a week I could get about $2 worth of a treat. So in reality it would be money I'd spend anyway (realistically) and $20 not put on the Discover or Swagbucks cards isn't going to be that big of a deal. And it's only for 3 months + 2 weeks.

A good friend of mine and her family are doing fundraising to pay the fees to adopt a baby boy from Papau, New Guinea. They were missionaries there this past year and were asked to adopt this particular child, but before it could happen, they had to come back to the US. I'm thinking that this might be where my charitable giving will be going starting in July.

So that's all for now folks ... (bet you thought it was never going to end ...) Smile

And One More - August Trip Thinking

June 17th, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I'm thinking of going to Des Moines, IA for a few days in August. Possibly spend a day at Adventureland (found a $4 discount coupon for August), then spend a day or so checking out old houses I lived in in the area. Maybe another day doing other stuff in the area.

I haven't been there since 1986?? So if anyone has any ideas of interesting things/places there, or nearby, I'd love to hear it!

I checked hotel prices in the area, and am finding run down places for $60+. Checked AirBnb and found a nice looking place for $45. Will need to do some more looking on that front.

I might end up going somewhere totally different though ... just not quite sure where yet.

Financials More Or Less

June 17th, 2015 at 11:52 pm

I asked today about having a direct deposit split between two banks and was told that the city isn't set up for that. (I had that capability when I taught ten years ago .. could do it myself on our website.)

So that means I'll have to have my whole paycheck go to Nationwide for a few months. Then do a quick withdrawal. Good thing I have a month's buffer in my checking account at all times. Smile

I've also done some thinking about the 8 debits per month to avoid the $8 checking account fee. I think that will be a total hassle and would probably end up making me spend more than $8 each month that I might not have otherwise spent. So .. considering that the bonus is $200 ... I'm going to eat the $8 fee until I get the reward - probably total $24 - $40.

Got Firefox working again properly! I was beginning to think I was in need of a new computer ...

I did something called "Refresh Firefox" that got rid of all my add ons (Adblock, Swagbutton, etc, etc.) It's now running super silky smooth! I'm just going to deal with the ads for now I think.


$9 .... at Walgreen's. Sigh. So tired today all I wanted was some chocolate and soda. Kind of overdid it.

Dollar General - found out where one is which is near another store I like to go to once in awhile. I might try to get over there on Sunday - also want to go to Sear's to see if I can replace my dress shoes. They are beyond bad.

Bus Chronicles 1

June 17th, 2015 at 11:37 pm

I realize this isn't really financial, but in a way it is .. sometimes at work these things happen and I'm bursting to share it with someone .. but have to be choosy about how often I share so I don't interrupt others. Smile

What these will be - once or twice a week when I have enough material, I will write about some of the more interesting phone calls, people, and lost items at our bus station. This is mostly for myself, to kind of record some of the things that happen. However, I'm hoping some of you might find them interesting as well. Smile

Lost and Found Tales

- a new dish drainer
- a bucket of crickets
- a backpack with a XXX DVD and other ....
- a large bag of moldy food (probably dumpster food)
- post it notes --- Here's a story that makes this interesting ....

Lady calls and tells me she left her bag with post it notes on a bus and that she'd already contacted the driver and knows he has them. I let her know that the bus would be back by her at such and such a time. She tells me that won't work for her. So I tell her that she can pick them up from the bus station. Again, that isn't going to work for her. So I tell her that she can make an arrangement for someone to come pick it up for her. Again, (say it all together) That Won't Work for Me!

I explain to her that those are her only options. She huffily says, "Well, then I guess I just made a donation to your company." I replied, "Well ma'm, if you're not able to come pick them up within the next two weeks, I guess you're right." She asks to speak to my supervisor. Big Grin (I may have been a little bit snarky here ... we'd been going around and around several times.)

My supervisor tells her the same thing and says that I'm the one who makes the policy for lost and found.

Two days later her son comes by and picks up the $3 worth of post it notes.

There Are No Stupid Questions:

1. If I want to ride the bus only a short distance, shouldn't I be able to ride it for free? Nope, if you want on the bus you either have a pass or pay the fare.

2. I washed my pass / kept my pass in my bra / left my pass outside during the rain storm ... can I get a free replacement? Nope, sorry. We aren't responsible for lost, stolen or damaged passes.

3. My child told me that the bus drive said she couldn't take the same bus back home that got her there. Ummm.....

Incredulous Queries:

1. Scratchy/bad connection .. Where is the bus supposed to be coming by Ferris Parkway? Um ... could you please spell that? Annoyed lady spells it. I ask for an address ... realize she's in California, not Nebraska.

2. Lady calls wanting bus info ... figure out she's in Florida ... still wants me to give her bus info ...

Shake your Head - Go Ahead! Repeat Often!

1. "Interesting" Lady ... ten minute+ monologues either describing how another bus passenger is out to get her, her favorite sandwich at the hospital cafeteria and how they make it, or some variation.

2. The Vet Complainer - asks a question about the bus, then proceeds to complain about the mayor, the city, the bus system, NE in general, the VA ...

General Complaints:

1. Ask what time the bus is going to be there. Finds out it's going to be an hour (or possibly 90+ minutes on two particular routes.) Expels a curse or two, and then usually starts complaining about what a messed up bus system we have. The best ones are where they compare our system to LA (CA) or other such megaplexes ... (We are a city, but a city of maybe 600k. We could probably fit in a 1/10th of LA's area.

2. How long it takes to have the phone answered / amazement that I answered on the first ring ... sorry, I'm only one person. I just had the ten minuter on the line where I can't get in a word edgewise, and there were six calls in a row without me even having to hang up before you ...

Head Scratchers:
1. I answer the phone and get this, "Where's the bus?"

2. Even better - I get, "I'm on 10th street, when's the bus coming?" Ummmm...

3. Here's one from today --- Guy calls asking when the bus is leaving from downtown to go out to West O. I start telling him by saying the bus number and the time. He interrupts me by saying, "That bus doesn't go out on West A!" You're totally right sir ... but you didn't ask about West A!

4. Guy calls in saying he lost his wallet. I get the bus route #, time and place. Call dispatch, find out the wallet (supposedly) isn't on the bus. Tell that to the guy. He gets very upset and says, "I've lost 3 wallets on that ______, ______, ______ bus this last month!" (Wallet turns out to actually HAVE been on the bus .. just somehow didn't turn up in the first search.)

General funny / trying to not embarrass customer:

Someone comes in to buy an $8 pass. Hands me the money. I count $9. Double count it. Hand the pass, receipt and a $1 back. Look of surprise - "Did I give you $9?!"

There's lots more ... but I'll save some for another time. Smile