Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday morning

Sunday was a day of sleeping in (for a change) and just relaxing most of the day. I did make a run to Petsmart for dog food. I had a $5 off $25 coupon and I also got lucky that our brand of dog food was on sale, plus a free can of dog food to go with the dry dog food purchase. Got the huge bag of Purina One for $23.88.  Then I went shopping for a birthday present for my mom. It was so hard, I really had no idea what to get her this year! I ended up getting her a couple of paperback books to read and some Lindt chocolates. I think I'll also pick up some flowers.  Then the next weekend we have Mother's Day and my grandma's birthday.  She's even harder to buy for now that she lives in a care home.  But, I think I will get her a bouquet of flowers and some chocolates. 

Though I love watching my daughter play tennis I think we are all a bit ready for a normal schedule again. She said she felt strange leaving for school this morning without her tennis bag.  I made dinner last night and tonight's dinner will be quick and easy club sandwiches along with watermelon.  This week should be home cooked meals, other than our normal Thursday - where I get Dh is weekly cheeseburger and fries from his favorite place.  I want to get that fast food/take out category down again!

Friday, April 27, 2012

April in review

My paycheck goes into my account tomorrow, so this is the end of the month for me today. April was not real good in terms of saving any money. In fact, I ended up $20 short this month, which had to come out of savings.  The bulk of the "extra" spending went to home improvement/repairs ($21), lawn maintenance supplies ($80), brakes, oil change and air filter on Dd's car ($163), clothing $(60 - Dh needed new shirts), tennis shoes for Dd ($38), new towels ($25), and doctor bills for Dh ($110).  And $240 for chiropractor That all adds up to almost $750. Ouch!

I really think the 2 week grocery shopping helped reduce my grocery bills. I only spent $886 and that includes $163 from last night's grocery trip - which normally would have come out of Saturday's paycheck, if I would have shopped Saturday, like normal. I just don't have time to get the shopping done after work today or tomorrow, so I went last night....But, being so busy, tired, and strapped for time, this should have been a "2- week" trip and I only shopped for one week.  I just didn't have the time to figure out 2 weeks worth of meals yesterday.  I'm afraid I'm going to get back into once a week again, but I'll try getting back to shopping for 2 weeks next week, because I think it did help quite a bit.

Fast food was back up at $212, but I know that is because of Dd's tennis schedule and having to go to watch her matches 2-3 times a week and getting home past time I'd feel like cooking. This should get back down some for May, I hope.

More than likely the upcoming doctor bills over the next few months are going to wipe out my savings/EF, but at least it's there and I won't need to be playing catch up to get those paid. And Dh will probably meet his deductible then (He is on a higher plan at $3500) and the rest of the year will just be coinsurance after that.  I could have put him on a plan with a lower deductible, but the extra in premiums offset the reduction in deductible, so it was a wash...and I'd rather take a chance that he didn't need to use up the $3500 deductible (as he hasn't most years) and keep the premium's lower, if I can.  Most years this has worked fine, but this year will just be one of those high medical expenses years, unfortunately.

My electric bill isn't going down as much as I'd like - it's just been extra cold here this spring and we've had the heat on quite a few days.  I'm really hoping for an April bill that is below $200, but I won't get that bill for another week.

So, I will try for a better May.  I'd at least like to put something towards savings!  I'm so close to $3000.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catching up

Tennis season is almost over for Dd and maybe I can get back to a normal schedule of work and life. It's been fun for her second season, but somewhat frustrating too.  I can see a huge improvement from when she just started last year but the coach has been a bit frustrating this year.  She keeps switching around the doubles teams and who plays singles, which is not making for a very consistent team overall. Last year they only lost one match, this year they are only 4-4, not good.  Dd played yesterday with the girl she did pretty well playing the first few matches with, but then hasn't played with her for the last 5 matches or so.  It did not go well, as they were just not in sync with each other.  Dd is frustrated that this weekend they go into playoffs and she will probably be paired with this same girl and they really haven't gotten to play together in over a month.  She did get to play singles once, for the first time, and while she didn't win she did very well for her first time and liked it much better than doubles. We plan on having her do tennis camp or lessons this summer, which I think will really be good for her.  My mom even offered to help pay for the lessons, which is awesome and much appreciated.

I got two nice little surprises on a couple of my monthly expenses.  My auto insurance is going down - just $4.40 a month, but it's better than going up and then I got my annual notice on my mortgage escrow account. It is going down $30 a month starting in June and I got a $63 check on top of that!  I'm sure something will come up to take the place of the $34, but at least it helps some.  Now, when June comes along I'm also going to have to get tough and ask for a raise....I didn't get one last January because they decided to only give it to those who hadn't had one in over a year, but they will reconsider in June.  I will ask by the end of June, if nothing has been brought up about it by my boss, but boy am I going to be mad if I get turned down this time. 

Ds is still looking for a full time IT job.  His current seasonal job is just about over, so we are hoping something comes up soon. He did get asked to come in for an interview last week, but the day they wanted him was the one day out of all that he could not miss being at his current job - they had a huge job that needed to be done that day and no one else to do it. He explained this so the woman who wanted to set up the interview that he was available any day but that day but I guess they weren't flexible enough to schedule it a different day.  Like my boss said - if they are that inflexible it probably isn't a great place to work anyway and in my opinion, Ds NOT blowing off his current job shows that he is a responsible and loyal worker.

Dh went back to his doctor yesterday as his right arm and hand keep going numb.  (The 3x a week chiropractor visits he just did for a month didn't seem to help at all, unfortunately). He is now being referred to a specialist to have some nerve conduction testing done.  And he changed his meds a bit to increase the dosage, so maybe that will help too. The neurologist appointment is still 6 weeks away.

I haven't had time to read anyone's blogs the past week or so. I feel like I am missing out on you all! Hopefully next week I can get back into my normal routine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How's this for logic?

On Sunday morning I finished reading "Catching Fire", the 2nd book in the Hunger Games series. Of course it left me hanging in suspense and I wanted to start reading the third book right away. I spent all day thinking I didn't want to wait 2 or 3 weeks until I have enough MyPoints to get the $10 B&N gift card for my nook so I could purchase the third book.  Then Sunday night when I went to bed (and usually read for awhile) I had an idea.  I'd buy the book now and then when I have enough points for a $10 gift card I will purchase a Walmart gift card, instead of B&N, to go towards my groceries, thereby replacing the $10 that just came out of my budget! So, I bought it - totally logical, right?!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm still around...

Boy, it's been a busy week or so. I took a couple days off last week for a 4 day weekend and then have been re-arranging my work schedule all week to be able to go watch Dd's tennis matches.  I just haven't had the energy to get online much after all that.

It's been a bit spendy, but was budgeted for and ended up being less, which is nice.  I spent $25 on 4 new bath towels. We needed to put new front brakes on Dd's car, which Dh and Ds were able to do, so we just had to pay for parts. I had budgeted $175 but it was $140.  Then her check engine light came on and for some reason Ds decided to change her oil, even though that wasn't due for another 6 weeks, then they put on a new air filter.  We've since determined the check engine light is most likely related to her gas cap, so not really a big issue.  The oil change and filter took up the rest of the brake budget, but at least it won't be an expense in 6 weeks.  And I'm glad Dh was able to tell me about the brakes a month ago, so I could plan for it.  Ds just changed the oil and air filter on the car he drives, but he used his own money, so that was nice.

My 71 year old Mom decided she was going to have liposuction done! OMG! I don't know what she was thinking, but yesterday she told me she changed her mind (which I figured she would, she is famous for saying she is going to do this or that and then never does) and is not going to do it. 

I also had to schedule our pest control company (we get those little "kitchen ants") back to monthly service now. We'd been on quarterly service all winter, but with the weather warming up the ants couldn't wait to come back for a visit! Ugh.  The guy just came and was a new young guy and he was so thorough. I was impressed.  I thought I'd have a one-time extra charge for all he did today, but it was just the regular monthly amount.  Plus, he said he will spray around the garage and shed monthly, which the previous 2 guys they sent out this past year did not do that.  I don't know why we've had such an ant problem the past 2 years. We've lived here 23 years and would need someone to come out maybe every 2-3 years but they'd come out once, maybe twice and that would take care of it. Now we can barely go a month without them coming back.  Makes me wonder what has changed on our property.

I haven't looked on the past couple of weeks to track my spending, but I know fast food has been up there again - I'm just too tired to cook after getting home at 6 pm (last night it was 6:45) from Dd's tennis matches.  I probably won't be posting as much until her tennis is over - just a few more weeks.

I will probably spend the weekend reading the 2nd book, Catching Fire, of the Hunger Games books.  I just got a $5 B&N gift card from Swagbucks (thanks to the extra help from my new referral!) and put it towards buying the book for my Nook, so I only had to pay half.  I'm getting close to a $10 gift card from MyPoints, and will use that to purchase the 3rd book, eventually.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Money and aging parents

I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day and she was telling me about how she is going to start taking over the bill paying for her parents, who are in their mid 80's.  Her mom has been losing her eyesight and my co-worker thought this was something she could help her mom with, since she lives in a different state and is not able to physically do much to help out.  I'm not sure about her dad, but it kind of sounds like her mom has always taken care of the bills, so dad, at his age, is not really an option to start having him pay the bills.

My co-worker has found a bit of a surprise where her parents finances are concerned. She found out they have over $15,000 in credit card debt.  She's making a trip to visit her parents and see what she can work out to start getting their finances in order.  But she feels like she is in a tricky situation.  She doesn't want to make her mom feel like she is judging her or trying to take over her finances, but she also knows she really needs to get her mom to make some changes. In a phone conversation with her mom, just mentioning the credit cards to see how her mom might react, it is obvious her mom doesn't really have a grasp on what these cards are costing her.  Her comment to her daughter was "but I am making a $300-400 payment every month on them".  My coworker had to point out to her mom that she is also charging the same amount each month or more, so the balance is not going down, plus she is paying over 20% interest on the 2 cards.  Mom's reply: "but I saved 5% on my purchase by getting the card".  And then she told her she just signed up for a Target credit card so she could save the 5%.  Co-worker tried to explain to her she is not saving 5% if she isn't paying off the balance in full each month.

My co-worker is financially savvy, so there wasn't really any advice I could give her that she doesn't already know.  It's just hard when it's your own parents! We both agreed that when she is visiting she should get out the statements and try to show her mom how much she is getting charged interest each month.  The hard part now is she can't see well, so it won't have as much impact on her to actually see the numbers in print.  It will be interesting to see how my co-worker's visit with her parents turns out.  I have a feeling she will end up helping them get out of this financial debt with her own money, more than likely, without even letting her mom know about it.

I'm glad I won't have to go through this with my mom, one less thing to worry about as she ages.  She probably still has the first dollar she ever earned, LOL.  Dh isn't close to his parents anymore, so their financial problems (and I'm sure they still have them  - they always did) won't be ours to deal with.  Thank goodness for that - they are nearing 80 years old and I know even 6 or 7 years ago they still had 20 years left on their mortgage and loads of credit cards.  I doubt much has changed in their lives. Scary.  We have 15 years left on our mortgage, so at least it will be paid off when I retire, which is a minimum of 15 year away.  I don't want to burden my kids or leave them with a mess to clean up when I get old.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Reconnecting with old friends

I received a Facebook friend request the other day from someone that was one of my very best friends in junior high and high school.  Just the message...I thought that was kind of strange, since we haven't had any contact with each other in about 25 years.  I mean who sends someone they haven't talked to in 25 years a friend request without a "hello - how have you been all these years?" message?!  But I accepted her request and put sending her a message about catching up with each other on the back burner (because sleep has been more important this week!)

But, in snooping around her Facebook page I see she now lives in a different state and then discovered something pretty funny - she is in a relationship with a guy that was my boyfriend in high school! What are the odds of that happening, especially since they both live in a different state than where we all grew up.

Then I decided today to write her up a message and was opening my "messages" on Facebook and see a message sitting in "other messages" (what is that?) where she sent me a message a week before the friend request with the "hello, how have you been?" message. For some reason it never showed as a notification on my Facebook page that I had a message.  Nor did I get the other message that was in there from someone asking me if I was the person they used to work with (I wasn't). 

So, I'm looking forward to catching up on 25 years with her.  I haven't searched out any of my old high school friends to be friends on Facebook. I haven't even listed my maiden name on Facebook.  About 4-5 years after high school I got totally fed up trying to maintain and keep the friendships intact with my 3 closest friends. I was always the one trying to keep contact and finally I just stopped - and not a one of them contacted me again....other than my very best-est friend - about a year after, I found out she was getting married when I got her invitation a week before she was getting married.  She had been my maid of honor just a few years prior and I was so hurt that she couldn't have even let me know she was engaged or be invited to a bridal shower.

Interesting that all 3 of them have searched me out now that we are in the age of Facebook.  I was happy to hear from them and happy to message back and forth a bit - and I tried to get together with one of them, who lives pretty close by, but again, I seemed to be me making all the effort, so I gave up - again.

I'm sure this latest "friend" will end up the same way.  But, at least I got to see that my old boyfriend ended up pretty much bald and a bit on the overweight side, LOL!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday update

There is really not a whole lot going on here this week.  Dd is on spring break and Ds just started his final quarter for getting his Associates degree in computer network engineering. He only has 2 classes left and then he's done. One computer class and the other is an "internship" - where his is just using his current job as the internship.  He's still looking for a full time job.  He did do some computer repairs for someone other day and made $100 and then got an order to make some decals for a fellow racer, probably another $100 from that.

I have been beyond tired the past few days, hence the lack of posts.  Both Monday and Tuesday I'd get about halfway through my hour drive home from work and just want to close my eyes. I'm sure it's from the week long interruption to my regular sleep due to Dh's excessive snoring as a result of his bad head cold. It's finally getting a bit better, less snoring the past couple of nights, but I haven't seemed to catch back up on sleep yet.  I have tomorrow and Friday off - a little "spring break" for me - and hopefully can get rested up with the 4 day weekend.

Not much plans the days off, just haircut appointments for Dd and myself tomorrow afternoon and then lunch with my mom and grandma on Friday.  I'm also due for a touch up on the hair color so I'm going to do that later this afternoon, when I am finished working (from home).  I liked the darker color I went with last time and good thing, because I still have 2 boxes of it left (free with coupons). I just wish it would stay that color, instead of gradually just lightening back over several weeks.  It's a bit too dark at first, so that is why I decided to color it today - then I'll have 5 days to tone it down a bit with washing until I go back to work on Monday.

Well, back to my work day - I'm already tired!