Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The cost of high cholesterol

I went to my doctor last week to discuss my "moderately" high cholesterol, which went up quite a bit from my last exam a year and a half ago.  She didn't feel it was quite bad enough to make me go on a prescription medication (which she said once I start, I will be on for the rest of my life) but recommended an alternative, supplement method of taking Red Yeast Rice pills.  I found some at Walmart for $7 for a 30 day supply, so probably cheaper than a prescription.  I will go back to the doctor in 90 days to be retested.  It seems that my problem may be herediatary, rather than weight and diet.  I am not overweight at all and when I tracked the cholesterol I was getting daily it was pretty low.  Hopefully, this will work.

Also found out that my new health insurance is really not going to work with my out of network chiropractor.  He had agreed for me to just pay the $20 copay and he would accept the lower reimbursement from the insurance.  But, after the first claim was processed I have discovered that the $20 copay doesn't apply to out of network chiropractic visits - and there is a $1000 deductible to be met before the doctor is reimbursed anything, so basically he would only get the $20/visit from me and nothing else. Not fair to him and I don't expect him to agree to that.  So, guess I need to start looking for a new one.

On a separate medical note, Dh has gradually been increasing his dosage of the medicine he is trying.  He's not feeling drowsy or drunk-like from any of it so far so we just keep increasing every day. He did have one night he woke up and was sort of hallucinating, it seems (saw lots of lights and a lady sitting on the end of the bed drinking a soda!) but that hasn't happened again.  It will be a couple of weeks before he is up to the full dosage and according to the doctor a couple more weeks after that until he starts feeling any benefit (if he does).  He also has an appointment with a surgeon on Thursday morning (he is actually going to this appointment all by himself!) to look at the lump he has on his chest and then they will schedule for it to be removed. I'm sure it's just a small local anesthetic type of procedure. 

It's hell getting old!

Getting ready to paint the house

The painting the house project has begun!!  Dh and Ds were out starting to take some rotted boards off of our wood shed and the neighbor was outside and came over to find out what they were working on.  Turns out he has a bunch of cedar boards he is going to give us - so that is great.  On the down side Dh realized there is more rotten boards on the open part of the wood shed than he thought so will need to buy extra boards for that.  All in all, though with the free stuff from the neighbor and the extra we have to purchase we should come out about the same as Dh budgeted for wood replacing.  Also, his friend that recommended the painter is going to come over on Friday and help Dh and Ds with replacing and pressure washing/bleaching the house, garage and shed.  Then it will be ready for the painter to come!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alone time

Looks like I'm finally going to get a few hours of peace and quiet all to myself this afternoon.  That doesn't happen much around here. Dh is always home, since he doesn't work anymore, and with it still being summer, both kids are home a lot.  Well, they are all taking off in an hour or so.  It will be so nice to have the house all to myself - well, just me and the dog and he loves naps.  I'm one of those people who really enjoy my me alone time.  I used to get it all the time when dh worked and the kids were in school. Now it's a very rare treat.

I do have doctors appointment this afternoon but it shouldn't take too long.  Just need to go in to have the doctor tell me what cholesterol medicine she wants to put me on.  Then my mom is picking me up at 4:30 and I'm going to spend the evening with her.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leveraging to get by until next payday

Ugh! I am down to the wire on money until I get paid at the end of the month.  A few things blew my "cushion" between paydays.  The battery on one of our vehicles died so had to fork out $100 for that and then we had to make a quick little trip out of state and spent one night in motel and gas and food.  So, I'm sitting here with $169 (and that was after raiding my coin jar - it was filled up anyway and needed to be rolled or taken to coinstar. Ended up with $61!) and still a week until I get paid.  Ugh!

I'm working on some creative financing here.  I think I have enough gas to get me to work the 3 more days I have to drive into the office until next Wed.  If not, if I charge the gas on my debit card as "credit" it takes 2 days to show up in my checking, so if I have to get gas on Mon or Tues, I'll be ok (my paycheck direct deposits on Tuesday night at midnight).  I still need some groceries, but am making due with scrounging the pantry for meals and just buying the very minimum of food. I could get some of it at Target (limited food selection) and then the Red Card Debit doesn't come out of my checking for 2 more days.  And then I remember I have to buy Dd's ASB card at $35,  a $20 copay for a dr visit on Friday, I had to spend $30 yesterday for meds for dh.   I'm sure other things will come up too :-(

My new plan is to "leverage" the college tuition money my mom is giving for Ds's fall quarter.  (Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my parents have all along said they would pay for the kids college - something my dad really wanted to do.  THANK GOD!  It's been such a blessing to not have to take out loans, etc.  And mom is especially pleased that Ds is getting all A's!). Anyhow, tuition is due 8/31 and I was going to pick up the check from my mom when we have dinner at her house on Sunday.  I know my bank will hold it for at least one day, maybe 2, due to the dollar amount.  Plus, as my devious mind is at work trying to figure out how I'm going to make it on $169, I decided that if I can get her $1300 tuition check deposited I can "use" a little of that money to float us until the 31st, when I get paid and when I have to get online and pay Ds's tuition.  I emailed mom to ask if I could pick it up today or tomorrow and she said no problem - WHEW!

I hate middle of the month paydays - after the house payment and auto insurance, gas and groceries there is just enough to get to the end of the month.  The end of the month payday is much nicer.  I get my regular paycheck but I also get my paychecks for my 2 side jobs.  Plus, I don't have near as much expenses with no house payment coming out of that payday. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A step in the right direction

I took Dh to his doctor appointment today.  Guess I am glad I did go.  I really really liked this doctor and he seemed to focus right in on Dh's health problems.  He worked out a plan for a medication to try (could take up to a month of increasing dosage to get results) and said for this visit let's skip the physical.  He said he could do that at the follow up visit in a month or so.  So, am keeping fingers crossed BIG that this medicine helps him to start feeling a little better! 

The medicine is a $15 copay, so was relieved that that's all it was.  For this "graduated" method of dosage we actually had to pay for 2 different mg. prescriptions, so $30 out of pocket today, but once he gets on regular dosage it will be only $15/month. I was expecting some big expensive prescription.  The new insurance I switched to at the beginning of this year is much better.  Covers the first 6 office visits w/only 25% coinsurance and a physical in full.  Prescriptions are $15 copay. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sole provider blues

I had a realization this morning.  And it's not one I'm real pleased about. I am basically married to a child!  There is really very little about Dh that acts like an independent adult man.  He told me yesterday he can't even go to his doctor's appointment to have a physical by himself. I have to rearrange my work schedule to take him! (apparently he can't fill out the questionnaire by himself.)  I wouldn't be surprised if he needs me in the room with him during the exam.  Even my 19 yr old son can go to the doctor by himself.

There is really little that I don't take care of, from the finances, to being the sold provider, cooking, cleaning, decisions on just about everything, really.  No wonder I'm tired all the time and it's a little depressing too.  I guess it would be nice to have a husband who could take some of the load and one who could make decisions.  Dh is the most indecisive person I know. It drives me nuts to spend hours or sometimes days for him to make a decision about something.

Well, better get off to work and take care of everything.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday couponing

I just got done watching a few episodes of "Extreme Couponing" for the first time.  It didn't come across quite as bad as some reviews I've read on couponing sites.  I think it showed that most people were doing it to save money, not to hoard...though seriously, who can use 35 bottles of Maalox? it would expire before you could literally use that much, LOL.

So, ya, I am definitely a "baby" extreme couponer.  I hit up 2 Walgreen's today.  I kind of messed up and didn't split up one of my purchases like I should have in order to roll the Register Rewards for less out of pocket, but I still got some good deals. 

3 Reach Toothbrushes (I was down to 1 in my mini-stockpile)
1 Listerine Pocket pak
3 Trident gum 18pks
2 Revlon nail polishes
2 Dry Erase Markers (6 packs)
1 Bic highlighters (5 pack)

Total out of pocket came to $8.61 (I had a $5 Register Reward from last week to apply) and I got back $12 in Register rewards.

This weeks's savings

I am starting to get into Walmart's price matching with other store ads.  Yesterday I saved almost $10 in price matching, plus I had $5.75 in coupons (would've been $1.90 more but I left a few coupons at home - darn!).

with coupons I picked up a few more things free or cheap:
Cascade 3pk - free
Small travel size first aid kits(4) - .25 ea
Speed stick deodorant (3) - .99 ea

I had enough MyPoints to cash in for a $10 JCPenney gift card - will use towards school clothes for Dd and my mom gave me a $10 off $10 purchase JCPenney coupon.

Earned enough Swagbucks to get a $5 Amazon giftcard.

We took Dd's school pictures ourselves at a pretty park.  Turned out nice - we will get them printed at Walmart for probably less than $10 - we just haven't been able to pick our favorite picture yet!  Much cheaper than what the school photography company will charge for pictures, that we probably won't even like.  Dd loves photography and has a really nice Nikon with extra lenses.  She posted her pictures on her Facebook page and now has 4 of her friends asking her to take their school pictures!  She's doing them for free to get the practice and experience, but is hoping in the future she can turn it into a little business while going through high school and college.  Her first "photo shoot" is today :-)

Will try to get some great deals at Walgreens today - will post later if I actually find the items in stock!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And the house painting saga continues...

I did what I usually do when Dh has a meltdown.  I just pretty much ignore him, as there is no reason to incite him further by trying to discuss it with him.  When he gets into that mental state there is absolutely nothing I could say to make sense to him, anyway.

Well, after being gone half the day today running errands and such, I get home and he tells me he called the painter guy.  Said he told him that he thought his quote of $1800 was a great deal, but just not quite what we have right now to spend and that we would hopefully be able to use his services in the next 8 weeks or so, before the rainy season hits.  Well!  The painter guy said no problem - if we wanted, we could give him 50% to do the job and pay him the balance the next month.  I said that sounds PERFECT!.  I will totally have enough to cover it by the end of Sept, which is really only 6 weeks out.  I think I might finally get my house painted :-)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Money and paint

This painting of the house project  started out as "let's do all this ourselves".  Then it turned into "let's hire the guy who did our friends house - we do the prep work and trim (after) and this painter guy just comes in and sprays the main color (our friend paid $500 - I figured maybe $800 or our house).  Now it's turned into "let's have the painter guy do ALL of it".....for $1800!  While I will say that is a very reasonable price to have it all done with very little work on our part (dh estimates $200 in materials to replace some rotted trim pieces)..a total of $2000 is not really in my budget for the next month.  $1500 or so I can do...but we are also hitting the time constraints where we need to do this in the next 2 months or it gets to wet and rainy.  And dh acts like I should just have $2000 laying around, no problem. HELLLOOOO? What world is he living in?  We live on one income, paycheck to paycheck, remember?  I can't seem to even mention money or budgeting around Dh or he goes into breakdown mode.

He has always acted like he is just owed money and should be rich - without having to work for it.  He actually labored his butt off for 15 years, but never made any money, it all went back into his business which was really just giving other's a paycheck and not us, money all just down the drain, really.  He doesn't get that for the most part the folks he thinks he should be like actually worked like crazy to get it and understood HOW to do it.  Like the guys that own the company I work for - they got where they are by many many hours, lots of promoting themselves and their business (something dh has never been willing to do) and making smart money decisions.  They didn't get it buy sitting around saying "I wish I was rich".

I TRY so hard to make our dollars go as far as they can and it actually pisses him off!  He'd rather just spend the money and not have to worry about where it comes from or if there is even the money for it in the first place.  We are on such opposite ends of the spectrum where money is concerned it's scary.  I guess I'd have some appreciation of his method of money handling if he actually contributed any! He won't get a job, even part time, and he won't make the effort it's going to take to get some disability or SSI income coming in.

I did finally set him up with a doctors appt soon.  To get established with a physician and go from there on his health problems. He hasn't been to the doctor in a good 5 years. After spending several years seeing many specialists and testing for no answer.  He would not take any medicine for his symptoms as he was afraid it would mask his symptoms while they were trying to diagnose him.  He finally seems at the point now he is ready to try medicines.  So maybe this will be the step towards getting some medicine to feel better (and maybe feel like working again?) or towards getting disability.  We have to do something about it one way or the other.  I've sat back and just "let him be" long enough now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crappy News

I went to the doctor for my annual physical exam.  Last year I had slightly high cholesterol and was advised to watch my diet.  Which I thought I had done.  I switched to 1% milk and tried to keep track of the cholesterol mg's in the foods I normally ate.  Problem was, most of what I ate was pretty low in cholesterol already!  I know I should exercise, but just hadn't convinced myself to get on that bandwagon.  Well, today's report showed my cholesterol level has increased quite a bit- CRAP!  The email I got with my test results said the doctor recommends medication, so I will be calling tomorrow morning to get the info on that.  Wonder how much that will cost........

I also finally put a message into this doctors office to get Dh set up for a physical and hopefully some help with his health problems.  Maybe there is some medication that will help him feel better, even though the doctors never could come up with a diagnosis of what is wrong with his muscles.  I'm gleaning on a very smalllllll hope that if he could feel better mayyyybeeee he could go back to work - or at least work part time.  One step at a time, I guess.

Ways I Save

One of the ways I save money on my "entertainment" is by using the local library.  I love to read but certainly cannot afford to purchase books all the time, even 2nd hand used books.  Our library is less than 2 miles away so I frequent it almost weekly.  It's basically an endless supply of reading material, dvd movies, and books on CD.  I listen to the books on CD on my hour drive to work and back (3 times a week).  I enjoy it so much and it makes the drive go by so fast!  Movies, at least current releases are a little harder to get in a timely manner, but I just go online and reserve several that I want to see and they seem to trickle in, giving me enough to watch.  When I get low on books to read I have reserved I just go online to say the Barnes and Noble bestseller list or one of the bookclubs websites and see what books are popular and new and add them to my reserve list.  I do sometimes have to wait quite awhile for newer popular titles, but it's really not that big of deal to me, as long as I have something to read.  Several years ago I was paying $15 a month or so for Netflix.  When RedBox came out I dropped that.  Now I just use the library for movies or RedBox when I come across a free code.

I've kind of been "itching" for an e-reader, like the Nook or Kindle.  I had myself all talked out of it pretty easily, since I can't afford to purchase the books for it. But then I recently realized I can borrow books from the library to an e-reader!  The Kindle isn't part of downloading system, but the Nook is.  I think I'll hold out awhile and see if the price comes down some.  The black and white version is $139 (do-able) and the color is $249.  Still out of my budget, but something I could put on my christmas or birthday wish list.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Extra Money Update

ok, so today I figured out the error of my ways...I mean my budgeting.  That just seemed like too much money left over.  I neglected (again) to deduct for the Comast bill of $138 that was coming out of checking today and the $50 in checks written to the DMV that will clear soon.

The painter guy finally showed up, but took a quick look around and told Dh he'd either call or email an estimate....whatever...

I am pleased to report my bedroom is still spic and span and clothes are still all put away!  The kitchen is still clean and no dishes left in the sink.  Woohoo!  I'm working from home tomorrow so I'm going to try to work on cleaning my desk up.  I need to figure out something to do with all these coupons.  I tried the binder method - it just doesn't work for my brain.  I'm a "piler" not a "filer".  I'm not sure what I should do to organize.  All the great couponers seem to use binders.  Maybe a small box with separators for the different categories would help some.  I'll have to look around for something cute.

Dd is off for 2 nights of camping with a friend and her family and another of her girlfriend's went along too.  Ds is at school tonight, getting finished with his labs and finals on Thursday. (Then he doesn't have to start Fall quarter until the end of September, so he will have a nice break).  Ds's girlfriend is spending a day or two with us - seems her parents are having some serious marital issue (some "potential"? infidelity) and she was too upset be be at home last night.  Not sure if she is coming back here again tonight or not.  I have a feeling it will be quite awhile before she can forgive her dad....she has always worshiped him and was definitely "daddy's girl".  I feel bad for her and her family and hope they can work it out. 

Me - I'm off to spend the rest of the evening curled up with a good book - my most favorite of all things to do!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Extra Money??

Since the painter hasn’t shown up and Dh hasn’t wanted to get started on the prep work I haven’t had to spend any of the money sitting in my checking account earmarked for this.  I feel rich! I currently have $700 left over from my last paycheck.  That hasn’t happened in a LONG time.  Theoretically, on paper, it should happen every month, but all these other expenses come up each month. 

With that extra money and no painting project started yet I can just FEEL Dh wanting to spend that money on something else….something wasteful…and I just keep TRYING to hold him off (mark my words - this painting project will end up getting postponed until next spring or longer or never).  He is the worst at spending any extra money.  And as always seems to happen in our marriage I finally cave into what he wants because I get tired of his constant asking and pouting if he doesn’t get what he wants.  Now that he doesn’t work anymore he’s not nearly as bad as he used to be – he knows better for the most part…but every so often he relapses and he’s impossible to live with until I give in.  Mostly I give in just because it usually involves spending on something that actually gets him out of the house – even if it’s for just the day!

I worked on some budgeting of my next 2 paychecks (I get paid twice a month) and (if the $700 we have now is not spent) by the end of this month, after payday on the 31st and paying bills, I will have over $2000!!  I keep looking at it over and over.  Something must be wrong, I must have forgot to list something!  Even if the painting comes to $1000, I’ll still have over $1000 left.  This can’t be.  Extra, unspent money hasn’t happened in months and months.  I’ll let you know when I find my mistake :-/

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another home cooked meal

My dinner of marinated chicken wings was very good! and so easy to make. Could have used a few more wings, but I heated up a few egg rolls to add to it, so all was good.  The chicken wings cost around $5 and I already had the ingredients for the marinade.  Tomorrow's dinner plan is hamburgers (done under the broiler).  The weather is supposed to be low 70's most of the week, so it shouldn't be too bad at all to have the oven on.

The painter guy never did show up to give us an estimate - so obviously not a very reliable person.  He was supposed to come Friday and then changed it to yesterday, and then called yesterday and said early Sunday he didn't even call.  Must be nice to be so busy you don't need the work or the money!  But regardless of whether we paint it ourselves or have this guy do it - we need to get the pre-work done - replace some rotted trim and window trims and dh hasn't made any move to get that started anyway :-(

Ds did a couple of computer repair jobs last week and earned $360 - so that is great!  Wish he could do that every week - LOL.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This and That

I spent $20 on a new camera battery for Dd's little point and shoot and the camera still won't work.  We got it at Walmart and it came in one of those hard plastic packaging you have to cut open with scissors.  I was praying Walmart would take it back since it had been opened - they did - no problem! Whew!. I sure didn't want to waste $20.  Speaking of Walmart...I have a new favorite website to visit:
Full of lot of Walmart deals and coupon match ups.  I managed to get quite a few little things we can use for free or very cheap. 

Made dinner at home the past 2 nights.  Last night was French Dip sandwiches and watermelon slices.  Tonight was a chicken sandwich ring, corn on the cob and watermelon.  And I already have tomorrow night's dinner started! Some chicken wings marinating from a yummy sounding recipe I found online.  Last time we wanted watermelon the store didn't have any but the pre-cut expensive kind, so we forked over like $3.75 for a small container that lasted one meal.  This time they had small watermelon's for $2.78 and after cutting it all up, it's enough for 3 or 4 meals.  Much more economical.

We are supposed to have a guy come over tomorrow to give us an estimate on spraying the main color we want to paint our house.  We'd do the prep work and then the trim ourselves.  He did our friends one-story house and detached garage for $500, so am hoping it's a similar amount.  We could definitely manage that.  But the guy keeps calling and delaying a day.  First he was to come yesterday, then today, now not real sure of his commitment capabilities if we do hire him.

I see our nearby Target (it's less than a year old) is remodeling to include some fresh groceries.  Should be interesting to see if I find any good deals.  I don't too much with the foods they do have...the milk and eggs are always higher than Walmart.  Sometimes I can find a good deal if I can stack a Target coupon with a manufacturer's coupon.  Plus when I use my Target Red Debit card I save an additional 5%.

Got some more decluttering and housecleaning done today - after spending almost 2 hours at the DMV this morning trying to get "enhanced driver's licences" for me and Dd - oy vey - what a joke! the DMV is SOOOO inefficient.  We went up the the counter and sat back down 7 times!  So, after finally getting back home I cleaned off my messy side of the bathroom counter and cleaned out one of the drawers of a bunch of old or unused stuff.  Then I really cleaned the bathroom and the toilet.  The kitchen is still being cleaned all the time.  As for my desk....well, I did manage to clean one little area off of some file folders and put them up in the upper cabinet.  Since I work from home, I have a lot of papers and file stuff that piles up :-(

Friday, August 5, 2011

A cleaner house

I've never been a particularly neat person when it comes to my house.  I don't know why - laziness, I guess. I just tend to "overlook" the mess.  So, it's always a struggle for me to keep a neat and clean house, but I do try.  It's gotten a lot easier as the kids have gotten older and there aren't a million toys everywhere that I just could not keep up with.  I've always done well keeping the living room looking nice and for the most part the dining room (the 2 rooms a visitor can see when first walking in my front door!).  The rest of the rooms are more difficult for me.  I tend to have "clutter zones" - my side of the bathroom counter, the cedar chest in my bedroom, the floor in my bedroom or bath (dropping clothes), the whole kitchen, and worst of all my desk.  And when your house is cluttered and messy - well......that sure makes it tough to actually CLEAN!

I've tried and tried over the years to be neat and organized.  Sometimes I do well for a few weeks but it eventually gets back to "normal".  I've noticed though, that in the past year or so I'm gradually making my way toward less clutter and messiness.  A big part of that was getting rid of a ton of stuff to Goodwill and a garage sale at my mom's.  And in the past couple of weeks I seem to have come leaps and bounds! I don't know what has gotten into me.  But I realize I just feel much more peaceful when everything is neat and clean.  I'm getting the "neat" part down and now am feeling more desire for the "clean" part to follow.

The kitchen has been totally clean every day this week! I just clean up whatever little mess has been left every time I go in there and Dd has been better about cleaning up the dishes soon after dinner.  I cleaned my bedroom last weekend (ie hung up all the clothes piled on top of my cedar chest) and have just easily gotten into a routine to hang up or put away in a drawer (if it's not dirty) or toss in the hamper.  For the past year I take just a few minutes each morning before I leave for work and straighten up whatever got messed up in the living room after I went to bed the night before (I am the first to go to bed and the first up).

Now I just need to tackle my desk area! It's my very worst area of all and I just haven't bitten the bullet to clean and organize it all again, because everytime I do it's just back to a mess within a week.  But at least my house is now tidy and I can spend some time actually doing the deep cleaning work!  I feel so much better about myself, too :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Burgers and fries

I'm really trying to reduce the amount of fast food meals each week.  Every Thursday I stop on my way home and pick up Dh (and Ds, if he's around) a burger and fries from the local burger drive-up joint.  That I am keeping in the budget, but trying  to cook at home the rest of the week.  It's SO hard for me.  I HATE cooking, plain and simple.  I did well Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday - 4 days in a row!.  Last night I went to McDonald's for our dinner - $18.  But it's also been very warm this past week and I just didn't want to spend a 5th night in a row in a hot kitchen making dinner.  Tonight I'll make tuna casserole and then tomorrow will be Thursday fast food night.  2 nights of fast food expense in one week is better than 3 or 4, I guess.  Dh would eat it every night if I let him and believe me - some nights I'd like to!