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Been Awhile

March 23rd, 2019 at 05:40 pm

Just checking in. Not really too much to report. The most interesting? thing going on recently is all the flooding in my state (NE) and Iowa.

The immediate impact has only been felt as water restrictions - which were mandatory for two days, and then voluntary for 3 days. Seeing all the pictures of the animals who were stuck in the water or snow for days - their flesh eaten away at … Frown Frown Frown All those homes and people's livelihoods GONE. So sad.


The longer term impact I think will be felt much further away than just the Midwest. I expect meat prices to go up, and probably wheat/corn too.


Being so close to so much devastation, and yet not really being affected by it, makes you wonder how that happens. How do people move forward after losing everything but their lives?


We work so hard to be financially smart. To work towards financial goals like retirement or being debt free or paying off a house … Yet all that work and effort could be gone in an instant through no fault of your own.


I was talking to my insurance person (the company that has our home insurance and auto is pulling out of NE) and she was telling me that the majority of the people don't have flood insurance. So FEMA is their only hope.

Then you see what is happening in Africa, and our flooding issues become insignificant.

Sigh.

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In other news … I finished my second class - an A+ of course. Smile I start my 3rd one in a few weeks - Business English. Not particularly looking forward to that - but a refresh of grammar probably won't hurt.


DH and I took a road trip to Des Moines plus 2 hours last Sunday. He wanted to attend a fish swap and buy a huge tub thing from some guy out in the country. We stopped at Bennigan's for dinner - so DH got his corned beef meal. That was a LONG ten hours of driving.


DH is really getting going on the fish thing - has been breeding like crazy. He has a contact at a local fish store that is buying some off of him. There's fish tanks all over the basement …


He's lost 70lbs since his heart attack (Oct) and just got his most recent bloodwork - cholesterol under 100!! Blood sugar was back in normal range. He's done it completely by just losing weight - not by eating healthier … just less.


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A CD that paid 5% for 12 months came due this month. I had them put the money back into cash. I'll be moving it into our checking which pays 4%. (The renewal rate was something ridiculous - around 2%)


I haven't filed our taxes yet. In no hurry since we owe.


I got back to my highest weight … sigh.


Am trying a method espoused by a book titled Mini-habits for weight loss. I picked four super small habits which I religiously try to accomplish - 1. Do one (wall) pushup. 2. Walk/run/dance for one minute. 3. Eat one salad. 4. Fill water bottle and drink it all.


I also added two more mini-habits - 1. Clean something for one minute. 2. Open a French app.


About 9 days into it, and I only missed 100% on last Sunday with the marathon drive. Most days I'm doing way more than the minimum. It seems to be working - I'm back down 3 lbs and I'm getting things done at home.

Anyway, this is pretty long now. I will try to check in more often. I do read everyone's blogs, even if I'm not leaving many comments anymore.

Small World, etc.

January 21st, 2019 at 05:41 pm

I was playing SwagIQ tonight and not really listening to the guy rambling about the winners, when all of the sudden I heard "creditcardfree!"

Was that you CCF?!

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I stayed home and vegged all weekend. Finished Season 2 of Handmaid's Tale. Got myself a week and a half ahead in my online class. (You're allowed to work ahead.) Not much else really.

DH and I went out to eat Sunday night at Hacienda Rael. I got the veggie fajitas. I ate 1/3 Sunday night, and then had some for breakfast and dinner today. Yummy!

I'm 8 days out with no added sugar! (Partly why I holed myself up this weekend - my sweet tooth was saying go out and get something …)

Tonight I made something that might be very dangerous. I soaked 8 mejoodl dates, and then pitted them. Put them in my small food processor, added a Tbsp of cacoa powder (the non-sugar kind), about 1/4 cup of almond milk, and 2 Tbsp of natural pb. OH MY YUM!!! I could have eaten the whole thing right then and there.

But I put it in the freezer to set (after scoring it into 6 pieces.) I'm going to try to restrain myself to one a day.

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I cashed out for another $50 SBs PayPal. It was a payout from a focus group I did a bit over a month ago. I'm glad I was patient - was getting ready to email to find out what the delay was about.

I made over $500 in spending money this month! $200 from signing up for Doordash via Swagbucks, and then a couple other offers credited, plus CC cash rewards, etc. If only I could do that every month!

My plane ticket for France is fully funded, and now I'm working on funding lodging/travel expenses.

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I'm starting my 4th book of 2019 - Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has to be back to the library by Thursday - it has holds on it. So, I'll have to read quickly. Smile My first non-fiction book of the year. (I'm going to try to do 1 non-fiction per month. Not counting cookbooks …)

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I won another Stepbet - it looks like a $10.50 payout ($50.50 altogether.) If we get a treadmill, then I'm going to do the Runbet again.

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Right now we have spent the least on groceries in nearly a year! There's still 9 days left of course … but I don't need anything for this week, and won't need much for next week.

$tretching, etc.

January 16th, 2019 at 06:27 pm

So DH found an insurance company that will cover him (did I mention he'd been given the pink slip by Farmer's??) His current liability only for 3 vehicles is $332 for 6 months. As of February, liability only (with slightly higher coverages) will be $882 for 6 months.


Ever since August I have been saving more than normal for his car insurance renewal - but nowhere near enough for this.


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The vehicle which he has been dragging his feet on selling is $349 of that. I'm of half a mind to tell him he can pay that portion out of his spending money - then when he actually sells the darn thing, he can be reimbursed for whatever portion they reimburse.

But in reality, it probably is a good thing he hadn't sold it yet. Since his CRV developed bad suspension issues. We were quoted $1700+ by Brakes Plus. The husband of a lady who I go to church with, did the labor for $285 and DH ebayed the parts for another $230.

Of course, it now desperately needs new tires - to the tune of $500. We have $440 in our car repair fund.

A couple of times DH has mentioned that we really should have at least $1k in our car repair fund. Um … yeah, we would have that - if his cars weren't needing repairs all the time!
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The property appraisals came out last weekend. Our house had a $25k increase. Um …. There are also rumblings about increasing property taxes.

That's about a $55/mo increase - which isn't terrible … but when you couple it with the huge hike in insurance premiums, increased ROTH contributions to max out, and other piddly increases in various services … Ugh.

We're going to have to seriously reconsider how we do the budget. And I know he's going to hate my suggestion. Not that I'm going to like it much either. But the money has to come from somewhere, right?

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Oh, we still are deciding on if we are getting a treadmill or not. DH is worried we'd get shocked when using it since our plugs aren't grounded. So .. he's looking into joining a health club.

That's fine - it's just it only benefits him, and it'd make it easier to not do it.

So if he decides to go the gym route, that's another monthly expense to add.

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Some of this is mitigated by a 3rd paycheck this month. That will cover the increased insurance premium and the shortfall in the tires. I had other ideas for the money … but what can you do?

I also received a very generous check from my aunt for Christmas. When she told me about it, it almost sounded to me like she wanted it to all be for me only. I did not tell DH this, because I didn't want him to feel bad.

It's not his fault that he basically has no family left, nor that my family is pretty generous. I feel when I'm given money like that - that it belongs to us equally. My mom has sent me $100 for my birthday before - but none for him on his birthday. I split it with him (again, he doesn't know it was meant just for me.)


I have 3 family members who could quite possibly pass on in the next year to two years. Cancer, old age and Parkinson's/defeated attitude. I have travel money set aside for this. 2 of the 3 I'd probably be reimbursed at least plane fare.


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I have not done any shops for Shipt. I have tried, but it really doesn't seem to be busy in my area.

I kind of have given up on it.


I signed up for Door Dash through SBs when it had the $200 bonus. I actually kind of like it! I have done 10 orders over 4 dashes and made about $72 + the $200 bonus came through early from SBs.


When it stays light out longer, I might do a few hours during the week, and a few on the weekend.


I was going to dash last weekend, but decided the weather wasn't something I wanted to deal with in my car. This weekend could be a repeat of that unfortunately.


I managed to finish reading/read 3 books in one day … Smile thanks to being snowed in. (2 by Tracie Peterson - Embers of Love/Hearts Aglow, 1 by Petersheim called The Divide) I started the 3rd book in the Peterson series - Hope Rendered.

I had read about half of Embers of Love while on … Jury Duty! Yes, last week (and this week) I was slated for jury duty. I actually got further than Ii ever have before - into the courtroom and sitting in the pews to listen to the voir dire (sp?) After 2 hours, all but 12 of us were dismissed.

I learned one thing though that made me glad I didn't get on the jury - if we were sequestered, not only no tv, no Internet, etc. But NO books!! Sorry, I'm not down with that.

I'm curious to find out how much I'll be paid for my time. For work, I just had to keep track of my time away, but got paid normally.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

January 1st, 2019 at 10:54 am

Looking back at 2018 financially …

We increased our EF by $1200.

I had a goal to increase by $3000, but we had several weeks where DH was off work due to his heart attack, plus lots more medical costs. So I'm ok with it only increasing that much.


We fully funded both of our IRA's to the tune of $12k. ($1k of that funding did come from selling non-IRA stock the month after DHs hospital stay.)


We sold all of the electric car stock at $350/share. It went up to $369 a few weeks later, but is now at around $300 … so I'm glad to be off that roller coaster ride. All the funds were put into an index fund - either in the taxable account or our IRA's.


DH successfully raised and sold his first batch of angel fish. Fish are his main hobby right now (he owned two pet stores when he was younger.) This hobby comes from his fun money so it doesn't really affect our finances.


I paid for my cruise vacation with my mom fully out of my fun money - earned via Swagbucks, Earnably, Earnhoney, YouGov, credit card rewards, etc. etc.


Our medical fund was pretty much wiped out this year … but we had the money set aside for it. I'm putting it all on a credit card which will give me $500 cash back. So … a small win there.


DH has lost 45 lbs+ since Oct. I have gained 30lbs since January ….


At work my employer added 9% of my salary to my retirement, took 6% of my salary, and then I added another 11% or so. I increased the amount in February when I got a step raise, but since the new contract hasn't been signed yet, I haven't gotten my cost of living raise yet (usually in August) so that's all I increased it.


We paid $2k cash for some yardwork / improvements. This hopefully will reap dividends in ease of maintenance going forward.

I completed one course towards my AA degree - advanced typing, with a 97%. As soon as I get the official grade report, I'll be putting in for reimbursement.
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Looking forward:

I will be taking 2 -3 more courses towards my AA degree in 2019. (Microsoft Applications 1 and 2, and possibly Intro to Accounting)


My supervisor will be retiring in November … so I'm not sure how that is going to affect things at work. She's working on our main boss to reclassify me to a higher level of pay.

I would like to add $2k to our EF.


I want to save $2k towards our medical deductible again.


We will fully fund our IRA's at $13k this year.


We need to focus on putting money towards our car repair fund. 3 of our 4 vehicles are really old and eating up money.


We will either be purchasing a treadmill or DH will be signing up for a gym membership. Purchasing a treadmill may involve getting an electrician to ground some of our electrical outlets - this is something we are still researching.


Hopefully a fence will happen this year. We have the money set aside for it - its just getting someone to actually do it!


DH wants to continue to grow his fish business.


I'm continuing to save towards a possible France trip - once my SIL is able to leave the US again. I have $600 of my $2000 goal.


Some of my usual earnings sites are getting more difficult to earn from. I have signed up with Shipt and Doordash to hopefully make up for lost fun money from those sites. My goal is to bring in $200/month besides what I can manage on the various sites.


I must stop the weight gain. The big culprit is my not avoiding the junkfood - i.e. sugar and chocolate. I have managed to avoid soda for over 2 years now - mainly by not allowing myself even a "sip" of DHs when eating out. I think that may be the only way for me to overcome the sugar/junkfood thing too - just say 100% NO.


This will also help the grocery spending …


I'm doing well overall with a whole foods plant based diet - except when I make exceptions for the junk I crave. No more exceptions! Lets see the power of this way of eating.


I bought a pedal exerciser thing from Aldi, and am looking at one of those bike stands if we don't get a treadmill.


Good News and Bad News

December 13th, 2018 at 04:46 pm

First, the good news.

I checked on our insurer's site today to see if there was any update to the $42k hospital charge for my DH's 3 day stay. It showed that it has been paid, and we have $0 obligation! (We more than met his deductible for 2018 and out of pocket.)

So … that is a huge relief to not have to fight that.

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The not so great news …

We dropped off our CRV last night at a local auto shop. This morning they called DH and told him that it had some major alignment issues, and possibly bad ball bearings. To the tune of $1400. Plus the vehicle needs new tires.

This may or may not be all that's wrong with it. (The check engine light has been flashing on and off for a month or more.)

We have about $500 in the car repairs fund.

DH has about $1300 in his car replacement fund.

We are discussing whether or not it would be prudent to try to sell the CRV (might get 3 or 400 for it in current condition) or to borrow from the EF and fix it. Hoping that the fix will do the trick.

We might be able to get another $500 or so from the Prizm (which DH planned to sell already.)

A $2000 vehicle won't be great … but spending $1400 + tires when we're not sure it's going to fix the problem …

Ugh.

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We are going out to a pizza place tonight called Mellow Mushroom. I found it highly recommended on the Happy Cow app (for vegetarian and vegan places.) DH can have his meat, and I can get tofu or tempeh plus tons of vegetable options for toppings!

It's a bit on the expensive side, but it is my choice to celebrate the waning days of my 42nd year. Tomorrow will be my last day, then Saturday I'll be a new number. Smile

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My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday / Christmas. I told her, "Of course, you know you don't have to get me anything?" She responded, "But you know I will anyway." So, I gave her a list of 6 or 7 different ideas.

So far, I have already received: a pedal for my keyboard (sustain sound) and a new piano bench! Now I won't have to worry about the bench breaking in the middle of me playing a song. Smile

She said she's going to send the kitchen items for Christmas - an immersion blender and a food processor (are the two ideas I gave.)

(Our little food processor I bought at Aldi's a couple years ago had the plastic container thing crack. I still can use it, sort of. I asked for a 10 cup one, because more than a few times I could definitely have used a larger one.)

Fell On Ice, New CC, Insurance

December 9th, 2018 at 12:02 pm

So Friday morning the garage door remote wasn't working. I had to get out of my car to close the door. I wasn't thinking about where I was stepping, or how.

Both feet slipped right out from under me and I landed flat on my back. I don't think I hit my head. (I was wearing a banana clip, so unless I hit the side of my head …)

I was able to get right up with no issues and continued to work. A few hours later I started really feeling it.

My supervisor let me leave 30 minutes early so I could go to my chiropractor. So frustrating because I'd just gotten my back to feeling good.

DH got a strongly worded email suggesting that something needed to be done about the driveway. He did put some salt down when he got home from work.

I bought a couple gel packs from Walgreens that can be frozen or heated, and a thing of Tiger balm. DH says I smell like I'm in a horse barn. Oh well, it's helping.

I've spent most of the weekend icing/resting my back.
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I applied for the Citi Savor card. A $500 bonus after a $3k spend. That will be easy - just pay all the medical bills on it, and will be mostly there.

Lemonade out of lemons and all that.

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Speaking of insurance. I think I mentioned the check we received for $932 from the insurance company. I had no idea what it was for.

We also had received a bill from the ambulance company for $1004.

Come to find out that since the ambulance wasn't under contract with our insurance, they couldn't pay them directly. So .. they sent us the money to pay them.

Works for me - that's nearly 1/3 of the CC spend needed. It just seems really bizarre.

Insurance/Medical, Lawyer, Rewards Checking, Jury Duty

December 4th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

We are still waiting to find out what the insurance is going to do about the $42k bill. I sent an email tonight asking about the status.

I received a check from the insurance company for $936. I have NO CLUE what it is for. I emailed them to see if they can tell me before I cash it.


DH is now down 45 lbs! since October.


My back has been giving me fits the last month or so. Last week it started to seize … So, I went to a chiropractor for the first time in my life. 2 x last week, and 1x so far this week. My back is feeling SO much better!


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DH met with a lawyer last week - to the tune of $300. OUCH!


Once he heard the backstory, he was flabbergasted because it seemed DH's insurance dropped the ball. He knew the lady's attorney (bicyclist DH hit) and contacted him. Sounds like other attorney was pretty ticked at the ball that was dropped.


So... hoping this is the end of it for us.


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I found out that my credit union has raised its checking to 4% and up to $40k! Sweet! Pretty soon, I'll have to pull the money back in from the 4% CD's if rates keep going up.


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I'm being called for jury duty the first two weeks of January. I talked to my supervisor today, and she told me that I'd just have to keep track of any hours spent on jury duty. But I would be paid my normal salary, plus keep any jury duty pay.


Sweet!

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I decided to NOT bite the bullet on an Instacart subscription. But … if there's any money left in the grocery category, I'll put it towards it.


I'm determined this month to not overspend the grocery category!

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A fascinating article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_godfather_of_fake_news

Aldi's and Instacart! Etc

November 24th, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Last week when I was shopping at Aldi's, I saw that they had launched their partnership with Instacart. That made me quite happy. Aldi's is about a 10 minute drive past my house. That isn't too bad if I'm starting from home, but if I'm going there after work, it then becomes a 30 minute one way drive.

I signed up for the two week free trial of Express where you don't pay any extra fees (other than a tip for the delivery person of course.) I've already used it twice. I had been on the fence about it when they didn't have Aldi's included, because all the other stores are on my way home. But now I'm really considering it.

It's $99 for one year of Express service. That works out to an extra $1.94/week if I use the service every week. Which, I probably would.

I'm still debating on it though.

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We ended up going to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving. I had planned on making a lentil roast and sweet potato rolls, but DH thought that making turkey for just one person/one meal would be too much effort.


So instead of putting in hours in the kitchen, I put in nearly 6 hours doing yard work. Blowing leaves out of the edges/bushes and bagging them up. I bagged 9 1/2 bags worth of leaves.

After we ate, DH put together the contraption that goes on the leaf blower to clean the gutters. He had to end up duct taping it on - so, no more leaf blower. It did the job of cleaning the gutters though.

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I've been watching Christmas movies on Netflix, also, the show Sisters. I also watched "Precious" on Amazon Prime - powerful movie.

It's been nice to have time to do that.


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It's supposed to snow here starting around 2 a.m. We may get 3+ inches. Of course, DH took our snow blower in to be fixed on Monday …


It's hard to think about snow when we've had highs in the 50's+ the last few days.


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We got the bill for DH's ambulance ride - the one we were told, "Don't worry about it - it's all included." Yeah … all except for $1k … I'm waiting to see what the real bill will be.


We're also still waiting on the revised EOB for the $42k hospital stay. I have received EOB's showing they are covering the Cardiac Care, so I know they've received the necessary info.


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DH got a call from his insurance agent this week. They had been sent a form asking for our financial information. We thought that was weird - how would they know what our assets were?


At any rate this has spurred DH to find an attorney to figure out how best to deal with all this. He had been working on it before the heart attack, but then it kind of fell to the side in priority.

(This is in reference to the accident he got into in August - he hit a cyclist while turning right - while on a delivery.)

From what we can tell, his employer should pick up the tab for this - but we're looking into a lawyer to see what, if anything, we need to do to protect ourselves.

Once this is over, we will be getting umbrella insurance!

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Is it just me, or are others having someone make rude comments on very old blog posts? I responded to one, but have been deleting the others.

This is when it would be nice if we could turn off commenting on posts after a certain time period.