Thursday, July 24, 2014


Yesterday was no fun. I had my dentist appointment to deep clean one side of my mouth and do the crown prep work on the lower molar. I was so numbed up, since they had to do both top and bottom that my nose and ear was numb! When she was done with the deep cleaning I went into another room to have the crown work done and got some more Novocain. At least that helped numb the pain for most of the afternoon, but by evening, even after taking 3 ibuprofen I was really hurting.  Finally at 8:30 I was able to take 3 more. It was hurting so bad I almost took one of the pain pills leftover from DD's wisdom teeth surgery. They have expired, but I googled whether recently expired meds are really ok to take (according to the articles I read, 90% of meds are really good for years).  I decided to wait a bit longer and see if the ibuprofen kicked in and apparently it did, as I fell asleep. It's a lot better this morning. More just ache-y.

I go back in a month for the other side deep cleaning and to have the permanent crown put on. I think my out of pocket is going to be like $700-800. I had $456 left on my dental benefits for the year, $458 left on my FSA account and put $562 on my Care Credit account (that thing has been a lifesaver!). I told her to add on the second half of the cleaning and charge it now, so that I'd be offered the best terms on the no interest financing.  The larger the amount, the longer the terms and I would have rather had one charge that I can spread out over 12 months than end up with 2 smaller charges that would only be 6 months to pay. I still don't think she charged me enough, because in looking at my "estimate" paperwork when I got home, I will still owe them another $250 or so.  She was apparently a "fill-in" receptionist, as their regular one was on vacation, so probably not quite up to speed.  I looked at the Care Credit paperwork when I got home and it will be 18 months financing at no interest. Works for me - that will make it about $31 a month, which can easily fit into my budget, though I'm sure I'll pay it off  earlier than 18 months, but it's nice to have the option.  I'm trying not to complain too is my fault for neglecting my teeth for years, but I'm back in the game now and must pay the piper.  I'm just praying the crown work doesn't end up turning into needing a root canal, which happened to me years ago on a cracked bottom molar (don't eat corn nuts!) on the other side of my mouth. I was in more pain after they put on the crown then before and ended up needing a root canal.

I'll have a dental appointment to pay for DD just before she goes off to college, but she won't need x-rays on this visit, so I think it will only be around $160. I dropped the dental insurance I had through work for her. It was costing me $725 a year - for $2000 in benefits and 2 teeth cleanings a year cost about $400 total. She takes good care of her teeth, so I figured it was worth the risk to give up the $1275 a year in potential coverage, which would really be $950 a year, if you factor in the cost of the annual premiums vs. the cost of the annual cleanings ($725 - $400).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Before and After

Here are a few before and after pics of the small bathroom we re-did.


And here's a close up of the awful sink!

The little bit of the cabinet you can see on the left was there before, we had just taken it down before I took the "before" picture, so looked like a bare wall.  I found the mirror at Bed Bath & Beyond. DD loves it.

Floor before:
Floor after:

I also ordered a double curved shower curtain rod (like I've seen in hotel rooms) and that should give DD a bit more "room" in the shower.I still need to touch up the cabinets with the wood "Restore a finish". It helped a little when I used in on our master bath cabinets, but not much. I might get brave one of these days and just paint them!   But for now I'm happy with the changes and updates - especially to get rid of that ugly "wallpaper" pattern I have looked at for 25 years!

I'll do some before and after pics soon of the master's still not quite done.

Sunday stuff

I stopped in Target yesterday for a few things.  Mainly for cat and dog food. Target was having a deal where if I bought 2 bags of Purina One cat food at $11 each, I would get a $5 Target gift card back. Plus, we needed dog food for our older dog and I had a $2 off coupon for that. When we got to the register the cashier leaned over and quietly said "do you have a smart phone?" and DD told her she did. She gave her a code to text and said if we had $50 in pet food we'd get $15 off. I said I didn't think I had $50, so we added it up and it was $42. I quickly did math in my head.......if I bought another $20 bag of dog food, I'd get $15 off.  No brainer. So DD ran back and got another bag. Then that second bag also triggered another $5 Target gift card! Free bag of dog food! I was thanking the cashier profusely and she was happy I was so happy, LOL.  I've been so busy this past week with work and the bathroom remodel, I hadn't had much time to scope out the deals, so I am grateful the cashier was awesome.

DH and I went to Home Depot yesterday and got most of the cedar lumber purchased so he can start on the garden arbor. Of course, where last year I had shown him a picture of a basic arbor, he wants to build a fancier one, at probably double the cost. When he did up the list of lumber sizes we'd need I realized with some 12 ft boards we couldn't use DD's little truck. We'd need to take his big pick up and neither DD or I were going to attempt to drive that huge thing and back it in with all the other trucks being loaded up. DH's pickup is like perfect and one little mishap and we'd be dead. So, that got him out of the house for the long 5 mile drive to Home Depot :)  DD and I found a Home Depot that is about the same distance from our house, in the other direction, as the one we usually went to, but it's all back roads to get there (instead of a traffic jammed main road with lights at every block) and takes half the time to get there and back and it's not nearly as crowded as the other store. Plus, I knew he'd want to be able to pick out the boards, which of course he did......some we picked up weren't straight enough, etc, so they got put back.  $375 later we got it home and unloaded.  Thanks to my purchase of discounted e-gift cards and, we really only paid $330. Now he's decided with all the holes he has to drill for the bolts he needs a drill press......sigh.....of course I should have known this simple request last year to buy a small cedar garden arbor from craigslist would turn into a major deal.  He found a used one for $125 on craigslist, but the guy never called him back. I told DH I am out of any extra money for the time being, so he'll have to use his "allowance" money to buy one.  Knowing him he'll want to get started today and end up buying a new one!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Disounted gift cards love

I gotta say I am really liking these discounted gift cards I have been purchasing.  Especially the ones for Home Depot that I am getting through  They have printable gift cards, that you can pretty much get instantly and print out immediately.  Super handy vs. waiting 5-7 days for a plastic gift card to come in the mail and I have had no problems using my printable gift cards at Home Depot. We have spent a lot with all the bathroom remodel materials and now DH is going to start on our garden arbor.

My first online order through was done on 4th of July and within minutes I had the email with a link to print out the info or use the code online.  My second purchase was done on a Saturday morning, right as I was heading out the door to the home improvement store. I thought I'd have that giftcard info to print out right away. No, it didn't happen. I got a message that this order had to be human verified and if it was a weekend, I'd have to wait until Monday. Dang! That didn't work out like I had planned. Shoot....I was heading to the store to spend like $150 and I just paid $150 for a gift card I didn't have. Luckily I had enough money in my checking/savings to be able to still get what I needed at the store, while I waited until I could use the gift card....and I knew we would be purchasing more from there soon, so I wouldn't be sitting there with a gift card I couldn't use.  The Giftcardzen website says that they sometimes do human verifications and I guess when/if that pops up it's just due to their "algorithms" in their program.

Fast forward to today and the bolts DH ordered through ebay for the arbor (cuz he was a good boy and did some price searching!) came in the mail today. So, now he is ready for me to purchase the cedar lumber. I wanted to purchase discounted gift cards again, since I am going to be spending over $300 for this lumber. By the time I got around to getting online to make the purchase it was about 3:30pm my time and I worried that I wouldn't get the order emailed right away again, so I called first and she said if I got the order in before they closed in an hour and called back, they'd make sure it was released so I could print it out. Otherwise I'd have to wait again until Monday (they aren't open weekends). I placed the order and as my luck would have it,  it had to be human verified again. I waited about 10 minutes, called them back and in less then a minute had my email! They have great customer service and the girl was super friendly.

So far, I have saved $81.24 (the discounts have been 10.5% and 11%) by purchasing the discounted Home Depot cards. About $30 saved on the first 2 purchases and almost $50 saved on today's purchase - which covers the $50 we spent on the bolts! Win! 

Found Money

That never happens to me!  But, the other day I found $12.70 I didn't know I had. Whoop! LOL

Back in "pre-economy crash" days my bank offered a rewards type debit card. I could earn cash back (I think it was about 1%, maybe a little less, per dollar spent). I used it for as much as I could and earned about $25 a month in cash back that I could deposit straight back into my checking or savings (or take other types of rewards, gift cards, etc) and it cost me $25 annually to have the card, so I netted about $275 a year for doing nothing.  When they discontinued the program I had 1270 points earned, which from what I remember how the program worked I needed 2000 points in order "cash in" to transfer $20 into my checking. I had 1270 points left I couldn't do anything with........or so I have thought the last 4 or 5 years.

The link to the rewards has always still been on my online banking, underneath my account balances. I recall clicking on it several months after the program was stopped and got some message that my card didn't have rewards or something to that effect. I have always wondered why then those stupid 1270 points have still been there all these years later.

I guess I was bored or something over the weekend and clicked on it again and it went to a screen with options and one was "pay yourself back" so I clicked on it just for giggles and it took me to a screen that said 1270 points = $12.70. I clicked again and it let me cash it out! I put it in my savings account and then took a look around the rewards site. I found a section that said 2000 points is the minimum needed to cash out for $20, unless you have a debit card, then there is no minimum.

Then I clicked on "earn rewards", thinking, well there is no way for me to earn them, when my card doesn't give me points for using it anymore.  I was "kind of" wrong. If I shop online and go through that rewards site portal I can earn points per dollar spent that I can in turn get cash back.  Like Target is 2 pts/$1 and Lowes is 3 pts/$, JCP 5pt/$ and 4pts/$ (great for DD's college textbook rentals!)  There are a few, like Walmart that are only 1pt/$, which is the same as I earn using my Paypal cash back debit card (but that one I can earn on any purchase, not just online).  It will definitely pay to start using that portal for times when I do online shopping, especially at Christmas, when I usually do most of my shopping online. I can be earning double and triple the rewards I am earning now with my Paypal debit card.  Like I always say: Every little bit helps.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Open wide

I had a dentist appointment this morning for a cleaning. Just a cleaning, or so I thought.  Apparently I am destined to keep up with the teeth problems. This is kind of a large dental office and they have several dentists that work there. This time it was a different one from my previous visits. First thing she finds is a crack in one of my bottom molars (on the other side of my mouth from the root canal/crown I just had done in February).  I will need a crown (and probably a build up, since the original old filling is so large) done. I didn't need xrays this time, but she wanted to take a look at the ones I had done in January. Hmmm.....she notices that I really really should have a deep gum cleaning done. The hygienist shows me all my previous xrays and why they recommend this must be done. She said she is honestly not sure why this was not noticed when the took the xrays in January!

Crap! I only have $500 left on my dental benefits for the year. The front desk person started to do a cost report for me but was saying my benefits are $1000 max. I said no, they are $2000 a year max and I have $500 left (I just checked online this morning). So then she took her paperwork back, after showing it to me for a split second. She said my out of pocket will probably be like $1100 but she wanted to get back online with my insurance and re-do it.  So, I left there with an appointment for next Wednesday to do one half of my mouth and the crown and no paperwork as to the exact costs. Well, it all has to be done, so I know I can put whatever I am out of pocket on my care credit account and make no interest payments over the next 6 months to a year.

I was taking a look at my FSA account last week, realizing because I am no longer buying DH's medicines, I am going to end up having probably $300 left in the account unused at the end of the year. I wasn't sure how I was going to use it up. No eye doctor visits needed, DH has no more planned doctor visits this year. DD will need a menengitis vaccine for college. Not sure if insurance covers that or not, so maybe I'd get that towards it. Well, I guess now I know I can use that for my dental and take some of the sting out of my out of pocket cost on all this dental work.

And with all that I still need the 2 root canals, and either bleaching or crowns, done on my front tooth and the one next to it! GAH! I have been putting that off until January, when I'd have $2000 in dental benefits to use again. The good news on that procedure is they told me I can have that done at their office and not have to go to the specialist/endodontist. Much cheaper than what the endodontist would charge me. She said they hired a dentist that can do root canals for their patients now and front teeth are pretty easy, since they have only one root and they can do both in one visit. I wish I didn't have to wait until January to have this done (for cosmetic reasons) but financially, it's the smart thing to do.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Back at the bathroom makeover

Bathroom #2 makeover begins today.  Wonder how long this one will take, HAHA! Remodel guy is here working, but back in the master bath, as still quite a few things to finish there first.  Maybe at some point I'll actually get to post complete "AFTER" pictures of the master bath.  Both of the bathroom (and our kitchen) just scream "1980'S MANUFACTURED HOME!!!". LOL.

Of course, now I am jonesing to make over the kitchen.  Maybe next year that will be in the budget to at least texture and paint the walls and put in new countertops. It already has new flooring and stainless steel appliances.  I found this blog where a couple painted their mobile home kitchen cabinets

Very similar walls and cabinets in my home.  Scroll down 4 pics to the close up of the cabinets and that is exactly the type I have. The only thing that is real wood on them is the trim on the front of the cabinets and the fronts of the drawers. But, apparently it can all be painted pretty easily! Just some primer and paint over.  I really like how she added the molding and I think using beadboard on the sides of my island would look nice.....though I also saw a few blogs where people used faux stone panels on the island and that looks amazing. Plus, if I re-did our little island I would take off the damn wheels! I don't know why it was made with wheels. It's not like the kitchen is big enough to roll it around to a different spot. I'm just going to take those puppies off and let it sit there - where it's always sat anyway!  That island was always good for a little laugh though in our younger, pre-kid, have parties days......guests congregated in the kitchen and some inebriated person always leaned up against it at some point and went for a little ride :)  (thankfully since others were standing around on all sides, they never went too far)

Then I came across this blog for painting your countertops to look like granite. OMG! I think she did an amazing job  I would love to try this, but I think I would find a scrap piece or a sample piece of laminate and practice first.  I just love this look and it only cost her about $30 in craft paints.  People are so darn creative.

I think I'm off to order these little prints of watercolor paintings I found on Etsy of hummingbirds. I just have a love of hummingbirds the past year and they would look so cute hanging on a little side wall, next to the door, in my bathroom