Thursday, May 28, 2015

Savings

I have a Capitol One online savings (and checking) account. I opened them up about a year and a half ago to take advantage of a special offer they were having where I got $175 in cash back reward for opening and leaving some money in there and using the checking debit card.

I've started using the savings again to transfer $100 a month from my side job income to cover taxes due on the self employment income. I owed about $1100 this year, so hopefully the $100 a month set aside will cover next year, or at least be close and not have to pull much out of my regular savings, like I did this year.

In logging in each month now, I see that I can have several (up to 25!) savings accounts, with different names, to save for different things. I think this might be a good plan for me. I'm going to start with two new savings accounts. One for "Pets" to use for vet bills and one for "Water" to save for our monthly water bill that is paid annually. 

For the Pet category I am now saving each month due to the new food I switched too. I'm not sure how long this 40 pound bag will last yet (the first bag lasted 2 months but that was during the long transition time where I was feeding a little of old and new food). So far I have had this 2nd bag 2 1/2 weeks and there is still quite a bit left. For now I'm just going to guess it will last a month and that I am saving about $30 a month in food and start setting that aside for now. Once I see how long this will last, I can get a better estimate on what I am saving per month.

We pay $20 a month for water, but I pay it for a full year each January. That's always kind of a hard hit, coming right after Christmas expenses, so the payment usually comes out of savings or whatever year-end/Christmas bonus I have received.

So, that's what I'm going to start with. Putting the $100 away each month has been painless, so I'll add these two and see how that goes. For the most part the $30 Pet savings will be be able to come out of my monthly food budget, that I am under budgeted most months. If I can manage these well, then I can add another one or two annual expenses to save for. Like our car tabs.

Speaking of water.....our water went out twice last week. Well owner old lady had to get a repair guy out and do some more repairs on the pump, I guess. She just put in a brand new pump last October.....she should really not have had any problems with this for years and years. DH went to try using a sprinkler on the front lawn yesterday. Holy moly - it actually works now that we have decent water pressure! He can water the front part in one shot. Last summer we couldn't even get a sprinkler to work, the pressure was so dang low or it would be such a small sprinkling that it would take moving the sprinkler 3 times just to cover our small front yard area. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weekend update

What an unexpected weekend I had! I knew my half-sister was vacationing here in the states but Saturday morning got an email from her that they would be driving through during the week and would like to stop for a visit. I wasn't keeping my hopes up too high....so I wouldn't be disappointed. Then Sunday she messaged me that they would be in town on Monday afternoon. We all had dinner together and I took work off yesterday to spend the day together.

We had breakfast and then drove into the city for some sightseeing. DD had a morning test and when she got done she drove to the city (it's about halfway between our house and her university) so she also got to spend the day with us. The weather was great and we had a great time until later afternoon and then they started heading home.  I think one of the highlights for me was we stopped to watch this guy for a minute doing caricature drawings and when we passed by again coming out of the stop he said "can I do a drawing for the sisters?" It was neat to me that he knew we were sisters. Never having grown up with any siblings, it was kind of a nice feeling to have a sister :)

I had Friday off too and the first 3 days were just hanging out with DD and not doing much of anything. She and her boyfriend asked me to go to breakfast with them and his mom on Monday morning, so I thought that sounded like fun. As we are driving there DD mentions that there will probably be other people at this breakfast. Her BF goes to some breakfast meeting every Monday morning for some community organization he belongs to. Oh......ok.....we get there and it's a group of about 10. BF and his family are very involved in local community and politics so it was kind of mix of a community project group with some local politicians.  SO NOT MY THING AT ALL!! The only good part was at least they were all conservatives, haha! Here I thought we were just going to have a nice breakfast the 4 of us. Oh well.

On the way to the breakfast we stopped at her BF's house to ride to the restaurant with them. I'm always curious to see other people's houses. I like to see how they decorate and stuff. I've always been very self conscious to have people come to my house. With it being a manufactured house and nothing fancy at all, I've always felt very "less than" everybody else. BF and his parents live in a 2 story house in a nice housing development (just mid-range, nothing fancy or high dollar) and I must say I left there feeling really good about our place! Our yard is always immaculate (now, haha) and while my home is certainly nothing fancy, it's clean and tidy inside. BF's house was in terrible need of a lawn mowing, not much of any landscaping, the porch was cluttered with stuff and the inside was pretty dang messy and cluttered!  I felt good on Monday that I really had to do very little to ready my house for my guests that afternoon.There was no mad dash to clean house, because I have been keeping it clean all along :)  Yay me!  (only took me 40 years, LOL)


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reunion

I got a wonderful surprise email on Sunday from my half sister. She and her boyfriend had been on vacation and were driving back home through my area and she'd like to stop and see me. We have been in contact several years, but have not seen each other in over 30 years! They got here late yesterday afternoon and we visited awhile and then went out to dinner. DD was still home, so she was really excited that she was able to meet her half-aunt, too.  They spent the night in a nearby hotel and today we are going to spend the day together, having breakfast and doing some sight seeing around the city. It's been really special being able to see each other (we share a father) and I'm also very grateful I have a job where I can just text me boss last night and tell her I need today off :) 

Monday, May 25, 2015

A little make-over

I had sort of been looking for a new paper towel holder. Something in red to match the rest of my kitchen stuff that I've gotten new recently.  This is my old wooden paper towel holder. I think I bought it as part of a matching set of canisters, salt and pepper shakers, napkin holder (none of which I have anymore) and paper towel holder sometime during our first year of marriage, so I've had it 30 years. Yikes.



Instead of buying a new one (prices ranged from $10-$30) I bought a $1.50 can of red spray paint and within several minutes and some drying time I had this

It matches the other red items and red valances in my kitchen perfectly. Should be good for another 30 years...haha!



Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's only Thurdsay

Friday is a half day at work (with Monday off, of course) so I decided to take the whole day off Friday, since DD is home. I only have to use 4 hours of vacation time. I've got like 187 hours. Geez....I need a vacation.....I'm also working from home today. My boss emailed me at the end of yesterday and said I could work from home and I reminded her that we had another phone/webinar meeting. Well either she didn't get the invite or it got buried in her thousands of emails so she sent the meeting host an email rescheduling to next week.

DD got home last night. She could have left school at 2pm but then it would have taken her 3 1/2 hours in afternoon traffic, so she waited and left at 5pm and got home at 7:30 - with another huge load of stuff from her dorm room! There can't be much left there, LOL. She will get to stay until next Tuesday morning. I'm sure she will be with her boyfriend most of the free time, but it will be nice seeing her and it's nice knowing she's tucked asleep in her bed.

It was another crappy week with our drug dealing neighbors. We know the methmom has been back for a good month or two but we haven't really seen her (just heard her yelling from time to time). Well, she finally ventured out the other afternoon and took a walk down the street and one of our dogs happened to be out. He did what he is supposed to do - alert us by barking at the front fence that someone is out there. She couldn't spend the 15 seconds it takes to just walk on by....no she had to antagonize the dog and then go off the paved road and come over to the fence (about 10 feet from the paved road) and start yelling at our dog. By then DH was walking out the front door and calmly just told her to stop antagonizing the dog. She starts yelling "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" DH just laughs and said ya, I know who you are. Just move along and stop antagonizing the dog. She kept yelling "do you know who I am?" over and over. DH just kept saying " just move along" Then she proceeded to tell him her husband will take care of him and his dog and she'd just start throwing rocks at our dog.  DH called the police and she took off down the road (who knows where). When they did finally arrive they told DH they are familiar with her, have arrested her before, etc. They apparently did go down and talk to her - or at least they were down at their house for about 10 minutes.

Our dogs are not outdoor dogs. They are inside most all the time, except of course to have potty breaks outside, to get a couple of 10 minute ball throwing sessions, or when we are out doing yard work. It is to the point that just about anytime we go to let them out some drug scumbag is out there or ends up being out there during their 5 minutes outside. In fact, this particular time DH looked outside before he let the dog out (a common thing we have to do now) and saw someone walking down the street. He waited until she had passed by before he let the dog out, so he wouldn't bark at her. Then as soon as he thought it was "safe" to let him out, here comes methmom. It's never ending. Maybe we'll get lucky and they will go camping for the holiday weekend - they've done that a couple of times before on long weekends. It would be really nice to have a couple of days of peace and quiet. Especially since our good neighbor is out of town (his dad passed away) so DH feels extra pressure to watch his place.

And our water has been off for the second time in 5 days, so we are back to problems with that and dealing with that wonderful old lady. Other than I'm not. If it happens again, I'll just report it to the county again and let them deal with it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sandals

It's finally time to replace my summer sandals. I've only had them about 15 years! For some reason I've always thought they were a pair of Naturalizer brand sandals, but in looking at the worn out label on my old shoes they are Easy Spirit brand.  I remember my mom bought them for me one day when there used to be an actual Naturalizer store at the mall.  I must have been thinking of a different time/pair of shoes.  I have very narrow feet and these were way more than I could afford at the time and she kindly bought them for me. I wear these every summer, all summer long. A couple of times the past several years I have touched them up with some brown shoe polish. They have always been super comfortable and boy have they lasted. They've walked through Disneyland and Disneyworld over the years :) I guess when you pay for a good shoe you get a good shoe.



But, alas, they are wearing out. The buckle strap on the right shoe is coming loose. I really should have replaced them last year, but I made them last one more year. I wore them yesterday for the first time this year and finally decided a new pair is a must. With how comfortable these shoes are and how long they lasted I decided on buying another pair of that brand. I couldn't find anything I liked in that brand at all. Nothing even similar to this style anymore is offered, from what I could find online. So then I searched Naturalizer brand.  I figured I was going to have to spend about $80.  I did some online searching and decided I liked this pair best and it comes in black, instead of dark brown.



Then I did some searching for the best price - every where seemed to be about $79, but I found a 20% off coupon code at shoebuy.com and free shipping. Plus there was no sales tax! I got the shoes for $63.16.  In addition to that I went through my Swagbucks shopping portal and will earn about 6% back and I used my rewards debit card and will get another 1% back, making my final cost on these $80 shoes about $59. I really hope they are comfortable.

Online shoe stores are a great thing for us narrow footed folk. I have always hated shoe shopping since I was a little kid. Not very many stores carry narrow widths and those that do are expensive and have little selection. It was always head to Nordstrom, find something I liked and ask if they have narrow only to be told it wasn't offered. Finally, I'd have to just say "show me what you do have in narrow" and make my selection from that and never end up with what I really liked and wanted. But now that there are online stores there is so much more selection for me to find narrow width shoes! I'm still not a shoe horse by any means, but at least the few pair I do have now are one's I like.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dinners

I'm sure I've mentioned it before.......I HATE cooking. Mostly I hate making dinner. And I hate trying to figure out what to make for dinner. DH pretty much only likes a handful of things, so in that sense it should be easy to plan, but I get so sick of eating the same exact meals every week. But, pretty much that's what it ends up being.

At least we have cut our fast food expense way down with it being just us two. Two nights are budgeted for take out. I always plan all my dinner meals for the week before I go grocery shopping. So, this is what I have this week, starting with last Friday night:

Friday - Tuna Casserole (only because I don't want to go grocery shopping that afternoon and I had nothing else to make. I prefer early Saturday morning)
Saturday - Steak (on the BBQ now that we have it out and weather is good)
Sunday - Hamburgers (BBQ)
Monday - stopped at Subway on my way home and got sandwiches
Tuesday -  ? (Tomato soup and grilled cheese - Just decided this morning what to make)
Wed - Meatloaf
Thurs -Take out for DH from his favorite burger stand

I can always think of 4 meals for the 5 I make at home and always am stumped what to make the 5th.
There are other things I made on a regular basis, but not enough to want them every week, so they get rotated in every 2-3 weeks (like tuna casserole, chicken sandwich ring, pizza, tacos, etc). I'm a terrible cook! I mean the food is ok......I just don't have it in me to get excited about it and DH is such a picky eater. Last Sunday I made this cheesy bacon hashbrown casserole that is really good and always tons left over for my lunches for the week. Well, last Tuesday was my ? day and I hadn't figured anything out. I didn't even have tomato soup on the cupboard to make. DH does not like leftovers (unless it's from Thanksgiving) but I went ahead and re-heated it anyway......he had 2nds...of leftovers! That probably seems ridiculous to most, but it's a huge deal around here, LOL.

For my shopping trip this past Saturday I tried to come up with 2 weeks of dinner meals and shopped accordingly. I was able to get most of it, but a couple of the dinners next week need fresh ingredients and I will need milk and such, but next weekends shopping should be a much quicker trip. I was also able to get a good deal on soda (dh drinks) at Target for $2 each and stocked up on 8 12 packs.

I told DD that while she is home for the summer (in a few more weeks) she is in charge of making dinner one night a week. She was very agreeable, so that is good. I don't care what she makes as long as I don't have to make it. But she does have to keep in it the area of what DH will eat. She likes to try new stuff, so maybe we'll end up with a new recipe or two we all like.