Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pay Day

Today is payday, so I got my bills due paid online this morning. I do not know what is up with our health insurance company's online bill pay system. The first couple of months I ended up paying over the phone because I couldn't figure out how to log in. I keep a list of logins and passwords and what I wrote down wouldn't work. Last month I finally got it figured out, got logged in and decided to set it up on auto pay for the first of each month. I tried to log in this morning - just to make sure my auto pay was still set up and going to work and the password wouldn't work. Finally I had to request a temporary password and then reset the password. Just for kicks I then logged out and tried to sign back in with my new/reset password. Nope. Wouldn't let me log in again. Good grief.

I am finally starting to pay a little extra (just since last month) on our home equity loan that is interest only payments (for another 5 1/2 years and then switches to normal type loan payments). I am, for the time being, adding the $25 a month I get reimbursed from work for my home internet and whatever I earn on my PayPal debit card cash back, which is averaging about $30 a month. It's not much, but at least something will start going to that huge principal each month. I'm going to try to keep track of whatever else savings I have each month (if I under budget something) and start adding that to it too.

DD got home yesterday, took a nap and then made dinner for us, which was a nice surprise. She was super tired from their trip and a bit sunburned. She headed back to school about 8pm and got back there just before 10:30. Her first class today isn't until 10am so at least she'll get to sleep in a bit and rest up.  She didn't do that great on her grades last quarter. A C, a C+ a B and a D+ in physics. OUCH! She studies so much, but it's really her fault for not finding out what her grade was going along through the quarter. It seems these professors don't really tell you how they grade (curve or what) and a couple of times I'd ask and she'd say "I really don't know what I'm getting in that class". Well, get your butt in there and ASK! Tell the prof you really have no idea what your grade is and you need to know how you are doing throughout the quarter so you don't end up failing! She is going to go talk to an adivsor this week and see what she needs to do. She has to maintain a 3.0 to even stay in this business program/major.

Well, off to work for the day.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Not ready for Monday

After last week's 2 day work week I am so not ready to work all week.  Well, I guess technically it might end up a 4 day work week, since I start jury duty on Friday. Ugh! DD is supposed to be back sometime later this morning, but won't be heading back to school until this evening (waiting until after all the rush hour traffic is done) so at least I'll get to see her for a few hours after I get home from work.

I had to make another trip to Lowe's yesterday morning to pick up one more bag of weed and feed. I thought we had been getting one, but it's two needed. They also had some big bags of potting soil on sale, so I got a couple of those for when I plant flowers soon. While DH walked around with the spreader and applied the weed and feed and the insecticide on the lawn I got the vacuuming done.  Then I went outside and sprayed some clear sealant on that cute owl balancer I got for the yard. It was recommended if you wanted to keep the finish looking newer and not weathered. Trying to keep the dogs off the lawn area for 2 days isn't fun. I'm used to just letting them out and they go wherever they want (yard is fenced). Now we have to go outside with them and make sure they stay in the front gravel area or go way down in the back of the property.

Then I made a yellow cake for this week's dessert. Then I took a nap. Got up about an hour and a half later and just watched a bit of tv, while we waited until it was time to leave for our dinner reservation. DH tried to get out of it a couple of times, of course. LOL. Finally when I said that DD got us the $100 gift card and they also gave her a $20 gift card with it, but that card has an expiration date of 3/29. No sense in wasting that card and we've got to go sometime anyway.

Anyway, it was a delicious dinner, I wasn't really looking at the prices too close. We had $120 to spend. Well, it all came to $125! Plus I still had to tip. Honestly, $147 for some food is just not my thing.  We don't even drink alcohol, so I can imagine what it would cost for wine or drinks. DH ordered a coke and I had a lemonade. We had an absolute amazing appetizer of hot crab and artichoke dip. I had some clam chowder soup and DH had a salad. Then we both had the prime rib.  I couldn't even eat it all. We were both so stuffed when we got home. We brought home the leftovers and DH can have a steak sandwich for lunch and I'll take the leftover clam chowder. It was brought out to me with a bowl with some bacon pieces drizzled with something on the bottom of the bowl and then she poured the soup over it. Yum. She was a good waitress, so I gave her a 20% tip of $22.

At least tomorrow is payday....and then I get to pay my income tax bill. Oh Joy.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday morning

DH had a super productive (ie he over-did it physically) day yesterday. Me not so much. I had a terrible headache most all of the day.  He did his monthly spray for ants. (I still can't believe I paid almost $45 a month to have this done for 2 years!). Then he did a little bit of leaf blowing (I think he just likes to use it). After that he mowed and then sprayed some round-up weed killer around some areas. That all kept him busy for a good part of the day.

I went outside with the dogs for a late morning ball throwing session (just before the headache hit). The first thing I noticed when I stepped outside (with just a sweater on) was how warm the air felt. As I stood in the sun tossing the ball to the dog I listened to all the different bird sounds coming from all around. Then I noticed a little bird drinking out of our new bird waterer thingy. Then he got right in and was taking a bath with water splashing everywhere.  He was having a wonderful time. I wish I would have had my phone on me so I could have taken a video or picture.

DD texted. They are sightseeing around today and she's having fun. She'll be back Monday, but basically has to get her stuff and drive right back to school to start Spring quarter. Hard to believe after a couple more months she'll have finished a year of college already.  She's busy applying for summer internships, something she needs as part of her degree program. Hopefully she'll be able to find something fairly close to home and not be driving an hour or more each way.

I need to be productive today, besides just getting the grocery shopping done. The headache is gone and there is a whole house that needs to be cleaned. Best get it all started.

Friday, March 27, 2015

End of the work week

A very short 2 day work week and I'm already anxious for the work day to end today and the weekend to start!  I had fun with my new little bank deposit scanner at work yesterday. A big stack of checks to deposit for almost $200k and zip then through the little scanner and the deposit is made. Handy new little gadget :)

We are still very much on track for getting a mid year bonus. If we keep on the same sales rate, we'll probably hit our end of June goal at the end of May. Currently we are almost double our sales from last year at this time. I don't think that has ever happened before. The economy must be picking up. We've even hired a couple more people this past month for new positions added, so that is good too.

I guess I don't need to fill up with gas tomorrow (I have been filling up every Saturday after grocery shopping, just to try and make the work week less hectic). I only drove to work one day this week and still have almost a full tank. Hopefully, it will get me through all of next week. I usually only use a little over a half a tank per week, so I should be good. Filling up each Saturday also seem to make the budgeting more "even".

The nicer weather can't come soon enough. DH really needs to get out of the house and be busy with yard work. He's on my last nerve - enough said. LOL. Today is mostly sunny, so maybe he'll be able to mow the lawn again.  That always takes up a good hour or more of his day and usually puts him in a better mood.  About a month ago I showed him the "health" app that came on our iphones, where it shows how many steps you walk in a day. I showed it to him because I was joking that he must walk a mile when he is on the phone with someone because he paces all around when he talks. He seriously does walk a mile or more! Some days (when he's feeling ok) he walks 3 or more miles a day! I can barely get in a half a mile, unless I'm out shopping. Though most of the time my phone is sitting at my desk and not on me. There have been a couple of days where he's walked 10,000 steps - and that's all from just in the house and around our 1.25 acre property (he walks the whole area almost daily to look for and scoop dog poop). Then if he gets on the phone he puts on a bunch of steps, LOL.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday already

Back to work today. The rain has finally let up and we're supposed to have partly sunny and 70 for a couple of days. Even though I have to drive into work I always kind of like Thursdays - probably because I don't have to make dinner - haha! Every Thursday I stop by the little mom and pop burger place and get DH his double bacon cheeseburger and fries.

Does anyone else hate cooking as much as I do? Ugh. I have always disliked it. I think the only thing that I've learned to do to make it somewhat bearable is plan my meals ahead each week. Then I'm not standing in the kitchen every night trying to figure out what to make and if I have all the ingredients to make it. Thank God for two nights a week of take out food. Next week we get 3 days. I made reservations for Sunday evening at the restaurant DD gave us the gift card to. We will get a nice steak or seafood dinner with a view of the city.

Since the neighbor behind us got out of jail a week or so ago, their house has turned into drug central again. Since the drug bust the bedroom window all the deals were done through had been boarded up. Since guy got out of jail a week or so ago, the boards are down. On Monday morning DH witnessed the guy literally breaking into the house, through the window and climbing in. Within an hour the cars started coming and the drive-up drug window was back in business. Yesterday a car went in and out to the house on our street at least a dozen times and many of those times was at the house behind us before or after. DH called it and reported a suspicious vehicle at least 3 times, I think when I called it was the 4th time. Nothing from the cops.

As soon as our yard blooms with all the leaves on the trees and I can plant all the flowers (sometime in May) I am calling several realtors so we can get some estimates on what our place is worth. Obviously there is no way we can get rid of these drug dealers, and all the maggots they bring in, by ourselves so our main goal needs to be to move as soon as we can. It won't be soon, but at least we'll have a good idea of where we stand and how long it might take us to get where we need to be.  It might light a fire under DH's butt to get serious about selling all that race equipment out in the shop once and for all.  Maybe the threat of us actually leaving will also light a fire under good neighbors butt to get involved with trying to help get rid of these drug dealers. He's really not going to like it if we move. He has always joked if we ever move he's moving next door to us again.

I've been ignoring my knitting the past couple of weeks because I made a mistake and hadn't figured out how to fix it and I knew I'd need more yarn and didn't have it yet. I tried to fix the problem last night and just made it worse. I think I was only about 1/3 of the way into it so I ended up pulling the whole thing out! When I got it off the circular needles I also realized it was wider than I really needed it to be, so I could reduce that and cast on 40 stitches instead of 52. I cast on and got about 2 or 3 rows into knitting and realized I goofed again! Somehow I didn't finish a row and turned around and started the next row and so I had this uneven blanket started. Geez! So, it's all pulled out again and just laying on the coffee table.  I'll try again tonight.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Still enjoying another day off

I took Monday and Tuesday off work to spend a little more time with DD while she is here a few days. It's been nice.  Monday we just did a bunch of shopping around (in the pouring rain). It seems like I spent a bunch of money, but I really didn't spend much.

First we went to the bank so DD could deposit her Spring quarter tuition check from Grandma and then we got Starbucks (used my gift card) I finally spent my $50 gift card at Kohl's, plus I had a $5 off coupon and a 15% off coupon. That gave me $65 to spend with nothing out of pocket. I thought I was really close to $65. I bought a pair of jean capri's (my first pair!), a cotton blouse and two t-shirts.  It came to $80........as always seems to happen when I shop at Kohl's, whatever price sign is on the rack I get something off of turns out that the items wasn't really from that rack or something along that lines. I thought the jeans were going to be $29 and they ended up being $37.50.

Then we stopped at Michaels, just to check and see if they had the yarn I need to finish my blanket back in stock. They did and it was on sale for $4.99 so I got the 5 skeins I needed.....that night I got an email from Michaels with a 20% off your whole order coupon. Just my luck! After that was Petco, because I had $10 in Palsrewards that expired that day. I bought 2 boxes of dog treats and the coupons wouldn't ring up. Said I already used them. GRRR! This was the first time I even earned them and the first time I was going to use them. The guy called the manager over who didn't know why either, other than to advise me to call and find out what is going on. She offered me $4 total off the 2 boxes, so I said ok and spent the $6. I went online to my account when I got home but couldn't figure it out and decided it wasn't worth my time calling. I won't be getting dog food there anymore anyway.

Then we went across the street to Penney's at the mall. DD wanted to look for some tank tops and maybe tennis shoes. She found one tank top and a pair of capris.  We had a 25% off coupon, but for some reason it wouldn't apply to the jeans...just the way our luck was going with coupons that day!
We decided to get lunch across the parking lot at Panera. We split a sandwich and chips so lunch only cost $7. Then we stopped at Ross for her to look for some more tank tops and she found a couple there.  I browsed through the home goods stuff while she tried on her clothes. They had some cute wind chimes for cheap, so that's probably where I'll go back to get one or two when I get my arbors flowered and decorated up.

Yesterday morning I took her to a doctors appointment to follow up on her big toenails fungus problem. The oral medication she has been on for 3 months has not worked at all. We saw a different doctor in the  office this time and she is putting DD on a topical anti-fungal medication, plus another 3 month of the oral medication.  I was expecting a big charge at the pharmacy for the new medication but it was only $20.  We went to a little diner nearby and had breakfast while we waited for the pharmacy to open up and get her prescriptions.

Today was back to work (a work from home day) and my boss sent me an email first thing asking how my long weekend was. After I replied she emailed back and told me to take today off, too, with no charge to my vacation time. Again, one of those nice little perks from her! While it's not extra money in my pocket, it is extra time :)  I told her I had payroll and a state tax return to file, so I'd get that stuff done and then take the rest of the day off........and a nap!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gift ideas?

I need some advice and suggestions.  DH and I have a wedding to attend next month and I have no idea what to get the couple for a gift.  They are in their early 50's (2nd marriage for both), so obviously already have a house set up.  Plus, they are not close friends, so I am not really familiar with their likes and tastes (other than they are both down to earth, same income level, not showy or brand name types).

I haven't even been to a wedding in years. I don't know what is an appropriate amount to spend, let alone what I should get them for a gift. HELP!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Who's home?

I get so excited to have my girly home and then she's never here! LOL.  Oh well, that's what she should be doing at 19.  I did get to spend all Friday evening with her. We just watched tv and chatted. Then she was up early yesterday to go pick up her BF from the auto repair shop, where he was leaving his car for the day. They showed back up around 2pm for a couple of hours until they had to go pick up his car. He had wanted to get some work done on it before they drove it 1000 miles (and back) next week for their little Spring break trip. He's so responsible :)  They came back around 7pm and spent the evening and I just watched tv with them until I went to bed.

The only thing I had asked of her was what she was doing Monday and Tuesday. If she wasn't busy  then I'd take those days off work, but if she was going to be busy doing stuff with friends and BF then I'd just go to work. She assured me those were my days..... Now she's already trying to squeeze time in with a friend on Monday or Tuesday........

I went grocery shopping Saturday morning. Spent $150 dollars. DH always unloads it into the house for me and was like "how do 2 people eat this much every week?". Well, it's not all food - some of it is toothpaste and stuff like that. There's always some purchase for pets or feeding outside birds." But, ya, how do 2 people consume this much every week?

The 3 most expensive things on my grocery receipt was a pack of 2 steaks for $12 (which DH and I ate last night, since DD wasn't home for dinner), a party size tray of frozen chicken enchiladas and rice (but this will give us 2 meals and is one of the only things DH will eat leftovers) that was $14 and a big 7 pound box of Milk Bones dog treats for $11. Even though our dogs are big, I buy the small size and even then break them in half to give our dogs as treats. Just those 3 things were almost $40 of my expense. Plus I bought toothpaste and mouthwash, but I did have a $1 off coupon for each, at least. And we needed a new dish "wand" and refills and those came to $6 total.

I bought ingredients to make some chocolate chip cookies and also picked up some strawberries, little cakes and whip cream.  Aren't these strawberries big and so yummy looking?!
They will be dessert with tonight's dinner of a cheesy/bacon/hashbrown casserole (that most likely DD will end up not here for! LOL)

I also am trying to add a bit each week to stock up for emergencies. This week I picked up another 4 pack of Del Monte green beans. Walmart has them in this 4 pack box, but they are found on end aisles and never in the same place each week. They stack nicely in the cupboard, so when I come across them I buy one. For awhile it was corns but lately it's been green beans in the display. I also bought a couple cans of chili (with meat and beans).  Last week I bought some flour, sugar, a jug of water and a 4pk of the veggies.  Next week I think it will be more chili and tuna. Just trying to spend $5 a week or so for some items to stock up on.

It feels nice knowing that while today is Sunday, I still have 2 more days of my "weekend". Even if I do end up getting stood up!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A few Yays!

Yay for Friday! Yay for Spring! Yay for my daughter coming home today! Yay for having next Monday and Tuesday off work!

It's rainy and cloudy and dreary, but at least it's not cold and snowing.  DD will be home later this afternoon, sometime. She has to stop (again) at our friends auto repair shop on her way home. She keeps having the same problem with her oil gauge not working (it's been replaced like 2 or 3 times now) and now she keeps leaking anti-freeze now.  Hopefully friend can figure it out at some point and this car can last her through college and getting her back and forth to whatever internship she lands this summer. She already put about $1300 (it was a very good deal from friend) into some major engine work and we were hoping that would take care of problems and get her through college time with it.

I haven't mentioned our "crazy lady" neighbor in a long time (she lives kitty corner from the front of our property- the backside of her property borders a front corner of our property). We try to avoid her, but I guess yesterday DH and our good neighbor were outside at our fence/gate talking (about the stray chicken walking down the street!) and she came by (I guess she was trying to catch the chicken for the other neighbor who lost it) and proceeded (in her broken English) to tell my DH he needs to fix the corner of the road (on slumlords part of easement) and take a tree out (on slumlandord's property) that is growing roots under the pavement, etc. DH just laughed at her and told her to go talk to slumlandord - it's all on his property and it is his tenant who has been tearing it up the corner of the road with his truck. Then she says he needs to put gravel at the pot hole at the corner. He said why don't you go buy some and put it there. I spent my money and time for 20 years putting it there every year to maintain it.  You've never spent a dime in 20 years.  She just got mad at him, yelled and walked away. Not sure why it's always our problem to fix every damn thing in this neighborhood. Last year she told him she expected him to mow the grass on the side of the road (on her property) that is on the OTHER road that ours connects to!

No big plans for the weekend and two days off. DD and I will probably just do shopping, coffee and pie ;)  I still have a $50 Kohl's gift card to use. I think I will get a new blanket for our bed. I bought a cheap red one (for Christmas bedding) at Ross a few months ago. It is terrible. All the fuzz just keeps coming off onto all the other bedding. It needs to go - or at least only be used at Christmas time. There is red fuzz everywhere. I thought I would just keep using this blanket all year and for some dumb reason, when I was using some of those space saving vacuum bags I put the other blanket in one of them and now it's all sucked up inside a vacuum sealed bag LOL. I guess I could just get it out, let the air out, and take the blanket out and then reseal it, rather than buying another blanket.  And I would kind of like to use the $50 on some clothes for me. A new pair of jeans or capris, as least.  Ok... might have to rethink that plan.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Some things going right

The emergency food I ordered came this week. Looks like DH made some shelf space in the shop for it.  I ordered this from beprepared.com, as it was recommended to us by our neighbor.  At the time they were having a special if you ordered $200 you got a free case of vegetables.  Later in the week I got an email that the breakfast kit I had ordered was no longer in stock or going to be available, so that was removed from my order and all the rest was being shipped. My total was now $154, which then wouldn't qualify me for the free case of vegetables (a $114 value). I really did not expect to get it sent with my order. Much to my surprise they sent the free case anyway! Now, that is good customer service and as we do a little stocking up with this kind of food over the next few years, I will definitely be buying from them again.  I still need to figure out some breakfast food to buy that has this same long term shelf life.  I'll have to look through their website again.

I stopped at the dentist office yesterday and whew! Got the charges reversed to my FSA debit card and then ran through my CareCredit card. When she tried (twice) to charge the CareCredit it would not go through. Then I suggested I call and find out why (because I had more than enough available credit to use) but she said she would call for me. After a bit of a wait on hold she finally got to talk with someone who explained that she needed to choose one of the no interest payment options for it to go through. Very glad that it is now taken care of. I was stressing a bit over it since I found out. She was really sweet and helpful (as well as the other lady at the front desk who had to help her out a bit with getting the credit to run through).

Our home value is now showing higher again on Zillow.com. Woohoo! We are now within $13k of what we owe, according to Zillow's value...and I highly doubt this value is as high as it really is. We have done a bunch of upgrades inside, including all the fencing and extra landscaping outside.  This summer, once we are in full bloom and looking as good as we get, I'm going to call a few realtors to get some estimates on what we could sell it for. I'm sure it will still be nowhere near where we'd need to be to have enough equity to put down on a new place, but it will be helpful (at least mentally) to know how close we are getting and it would be nice to know we are finally out of the negative, at least, even if we don't have enough equity to move yet.

Our younger (black) dog is doing really well on the food transition. I'm just taking it nice and slow, as he has plenty of his original food to use up. We're at half and half now and while he's always excited to eat, he seems even more so this week. He knows he's not supposed to come into the kitchen (they eat just outside the kitchen, between the kitchen and dining room.) but he's practically halfway into the kitchen bouncing up and down for me to get out of the laundry room and bring over his filled food bowl.  It'll be interesting to see how the yellow lab takes to it. He'll pretty much eat anything too, he's just not as exuberant about it LOL.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I have no green

I got online yesterday and was like "what's all this St Patrick's Day stuff?" and realized it was already March 17th! I've never really gotten the whole St. Patrick's Day hoopla.  I don't drink, I don't like corn beef and cabbage and green really isn't in my wardrobe. I certainly don't get the money that is spent each year on all the stuff out in the stores. Oh well.

DD is happy to have her dorm room to herself the rest of the week. Her roomie had all her finals Monday morning and then flew home. DD's finals were yesterday and this Friday, so at least she'll have some peace and quiet to get some last minute studying and down time. She got a little testy with me Monday, which I'm sure is from the stress.  On Saturday I had sent her a text asking if she had made a dentist appointment (6 months ago) for her spring break, because if she did, she'll need to cancel it since she won't be here most of it. She said she did. I sent her a reminder email Monday (knowing she didn't actually have any tests that day) to call and change it and she gave me this kind of snippy email that she is trying to study, her appointment isn't until May, so it doesn't need to be done this week. I just replied back "ok. You told me it was during your break. Never mind then".

A couple hours later she called me at work and apologized for her email. She said she thought the appointment was during break but later checked and found out it was May and then didn't tell me that. I said that I knew she was very busy this week and reminded her because if she forgot to call and change it I'd be the one paying the no-show fee!

Work is going ok. Getting lots done, at least, though cutting big bonus checks to the 4 managers yesterday was a bit of a reminder......The dang IRS audit from my side job is finally over. It has gone on since last May! And they hardly found anything. It's like she couldn't find anything substantial so then kept asking for more and more, trying to find something. In the end, we owe about $400 in taxes for a missed 1099-INT.

I was supposed to have a dental appointment this morning to get my permanent porcelain veneers put on. I just got a phone call (right before I was going to leave) asking if I got their message yesterday about my appointment. Oops. I saw that we had a voicemail (I get emails of the voicemail, too) but didn't read or listen to it because I thought it was their usual day before reminder. My veneers haven't come in yet, so they need to reschedule.  After I hung I up went to delete the unheard voicemail and there was no message telling me it needed to be rescheduled! It was just the reminder message.

I'm still going to stop in their office later today, when I need to run over to Target and pick up a prescription. I need to get this FSA problem figured out and if they can refund my FSA debit card and rebill my CareCredit card, then I'll need to be there in person anyway to give them my cards. I am HOPING this is what they can do.

Here is my new bench/picnic table in it's home.  DH sprayed it with weatherproofing and now it was ready to go outside to get rained on.
I'm dying to plant the flowers beneath the lattice and see if they actually grow! I have the seed packets - just waiting until next month - apparently the best time to plant them. I'm also going to put some hanging baskets on each end. Maybe that's what I'll end up using my Walmart Savings Catcher money for in May - flowers!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Where did the weekend go?

The weekend went by so fast and I'm not even sure why! Sunday was just a weird day all around. I woke up to our phone/internet/tv service out.  It didn't come back on until 3:30 that afternoon. It was pouring buckets (we had like 2 inches of rain this past weekend) so I couldn't go outside and do anything in the yard.  So, I baked. I made some peanut butter cookies and then I made some "Blarney Stones" because DH has been asking for them. They are his favorite and something his mom always made.  DD and I tried to make them once before.....and now I remember why we only did it once before.  They are a big old mess to try and put frosting on the squares and then try to hold onto them to dip in the crushed peanuts.  I'm sure there must be an easier way.

DH was bored so he took a bag of the cookies and headed over to visit with a friend of his.  Who's gonna turn down a visit from a guy with cookies?! LOL.  About the time I was getting dinner ready a huge windstorm kicked in. I thought our house was going to blow away.  DH got home around 6:30 (I had a nice long quiet afternoon and a nap with the dogs), ate his dinner that had been staying warm in the oven and as I'm trying to frost the dang Blarney stones the power goes out. It finally came back on a little after 9, right as I decided I might as well just go to bed by then.

Woke up to a big mess of branches and tree limbs in the back yard and a panel of good neighbors fence (on the other side of his property) had blown over.  DH spent the day (luckily it was sunny today) cleaning it all up and running it through the woodchipper. He has spent the evening helping good neighbor repair his fence.

When I got home from work today DH was in the garage building something. A little squirrel or bird house (whoever decides to move in) out of some scraps.  Super cute. He hung it on the tree, went back to put his tools away and by the time he got back a bird had moved in :)  I put a few pieces of yarn out near one of the bird feeders, just to see if they will take them.

DD has finals this week and will be home on Friday, so I am ok if this week goes by quickly. I am taking next Monday and Tuesday off work to hang out with her, since Wednesday she leaves on a trip with her BF and another couple and then straight back to school.  Plus, I'm ready for a couple of days off work. It's always a long time between New Years holiday and Memorial Day weekend with no days off.

My favorite things

I have several things I'm using right now that I really love:

Waze - a traffic app on my phone. I am in LOVE with this app. It literally saves me at least a half hour a day in commute time. I am getting to work in about 10 minutes less time and at least 15 minutes going home. It has not taken me more than 70 minutes to get home since I started using it. Though there were so many commutes home that were turning into 90 minutes to 2 hours before that!
Seriously, if you live in an area with a lot of traffic use this! Trust it's weird routes that you have never driven before. It works!  Plus, after 10 years of commuting home it's kind of fun to not know which way I'm going to be taken home.

Walmart Savings Catcher - Since using it last August I have earned back $134.17. I cashed in before Christmas, but now have $66 saved up again. My plan is to just leave it all building up until next Christmas shopping time. I figure I should at least have a couple hundred by then. It couldn't be easier to use. I just scan the little barcode thingy on the bottom of my receipt with my ipad mini (or you can key in the receipt #) and in a few days it updates with what I have saved by them finding lower prices at other stores in my area.  I save more on this than I was able to find using coupons, though of course I still use coupons when I have them.

Amazon Fire TV stick - once I finally got this thing working it is awesome. It loads the streaming services so much faster than the bluray player I was using (that stopped working). I push one button on the little remote and bam! either the Home menu is instantly on the screen or if I left off in the middle of a show it goes straight to that. Super easy to use and works great with our Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services. (and who doesn't want to have Timothy Olyphant instantly pop up on your tv? LOL)

Amazon Prime - I paid for DD to have the student prime, but we all use it all the time. The free 2 day shipping is so nice and half the time the stuff gets here the next day. I've found myself buying stuff that ordinarily I would make a trip to the store to get, but since I know it will be here for sure in 2 days, I just order it from Amazon.  Saves driving and shopping time. Plus, I like the streaming tv and movie service that comes with it. I think it also comes with a free book a month and I need to figure out how to get that.  Once DD is no longer getting it at the student rate, I will probably pay the $99 a year for it and then cancel our Netflix subscription.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Goodbye stuff

I decided I needed a 10-15 minutes break from sitting at my desk while working from home yesterday and pulled out the 4 dress suits from my closet and folded them up in a big bag. I added lots more stuff to take to Goodwill too! A dress skirt, 2 casual pants, king size sheet set, dress slacks, 3 pair of jeans, a tote/work bag, swim suit, 2 tanktops and an old electric typewriter.  I have totally gotten rid of all clothes that either do not fit or I do not wear!I don't think I have ever been in that state before.  Yay me!

I still have a lot of clothes (or so it seems) but it's all stuff I do actually wear. Now I have to go through my shoes. I don't really have a lot of shoes. I have narrow feet and shoes cost a good penny for narrow, so I've never been able to afford it, nor been much of a shoe horse anyway. I pretty much have 2 pair of tennis shoes I wear, some flip flops, a few sandals, a few dressier shoes (that rarely get worn) and some snow/rain boots.

I don't know why I still have that typewriter. Hasn't been used in years. In fact, I think it needs some work. One of the keys sticks, if I recall. I think my mom bought it when I was in high school and had to type papers for school. It's in a case and just taking up valuable room in my small walk in closet.

I still don't know what to do with DS's stuff and his room. Over Christmas break I did get in there and box it all up. Lots of stuff in that desk, all the dresser  and nightstand drawers, drawers under his bed and all the stuff in the closet.  It took me several tries because it was just too depressing. Now we just have a whole bunch of boxes stacked up in the room on the floor, so now the room seems even more crowded and depressing. I hate going in there, and I know DH is as reluctant as I am to address it. I just wish he'd take all the boxes out to the garage, but I know he hasn't because he doesn't really have the room. If it were just a matter of hauling them out there and stacking them in an empty corner it would probably have been done. But he'd have to go out there and spend an hour or two trying to re-organize (the already organized shop/garage) and that would be too much "thinking" about DS, you know?  He is trying (though not very hard) to sell some of the racing equipment, but nothing has gone yet. If/when that happens that will make some extra room out there. I would like to "re-do" the bedroom and make it into an office for me. I just don't know what to do with all his stuff. He basically left everything but some clothes and even then there were drawers and closet filled with clothes he didn't wear or didn't fit anymore. I did at least give all that to Goodwill.  One of these days I'll see if I can at least get all the boxes into the closet and just shut the door.  That would be a start, I guess.

Ok, so now I just depressed myself when I was feeling really good about getting rid of my excess clothes!

Friday, March 13, 2015

A nice surprise

DH is having a good day putting around on the lawn mower and mowing the lawn today. It's supposed to get to almost 70 today. Crazy. Our younger dog loves lawn mowing days. I think he thinks he is helping too. When in reality he just goes along way ahead of DH and drops his tennis ball in the route and then DH mows along and picks it up with the ball chucker and gives it a toss. Our older pooch does not like the lawn mower at all. As soon as it turns on he's banging his big butt on the screen door to let me know he wants back in the house...and then it's nap time.

I got home to a very nice surprise yesterday when I pulled up and opened the garage door to park.  A very nice wooden bench seat was sitting there! But once I got out to look at it he showed me it also folds in to a small picnic table! I have been wanting both - so this is perfect!

These are the photos from Amazon, so that's why they are different colors. Mine is more the top color and he is going to spray it with a wood sealer to help hold the finish.  We haven't decided where we will put it yet, but probably near where we put our BBQ grill in the summer, near the back door.

He said he was online the other day looking for plans to make something and saw this and figured he couldn't make one for much less than this cost, plus it was free 2 day shipping on DD's prime account. DH said he couldn't wait until Mother's Day to get it for me :-) 

The never ending story

Is everyone as sick of hearing about our drug dealing neighbors as we are of living next to them?!

They are still at it - most of the traffic is during the day, when the dad is at work and some during the night, when he is mostly likely asleep. The oldest son is an out of control angry tweeker.  The Dad plays dumb. There are always one or two cars that are apparently their "runners" - they are the ones in and out 10 times a day. Stay for a few minutes, leave for 10-20 minutes. Rinse. Repeat. No one who lives there, except the dad has a car. We keep reporting online to our county sheriff drug tip line......it's getting really old after basically writing the same thing time and again - for over a year now! I've pretty much just started doing a weekly update, rather than daily or every couple of days. My last report to them basically just said "still averaging 700 cars/walkers a month to and from this house".

One of the latest "runners" is a guy who wants to drive 40 mph down a 400 foot private road. Even the dad yelled at him last Saturday to slow down. Sunday he was right back at it and DH ran outside on one of his trips by and yelled at him to slow down. His response was "shut up - this is a public easement"!! Gee...where do you think he got that response from. DH told him he is on private property, blah blah.  He came back Wednesday afternoon, stayed 2 minutes and upon leaving decided to 4 wheel it off the nice paved portion of the road and do a burnout in our landscaped (nicely graveled and then trees along our fence line) area next to the fence.

About the time I got off the phone with the dispatcher, our good neighbor pulled in from work and said he saw the gravel marks. DH told him who/what and he said "he's around the corner parked talking to the girl (renter's daughter) and that other guy that lives with them (turns out he's renter's brother in law). Right then the two of them came walking down the street and DH and neighbor asked them who drives that white car. They played dumb first and then she said all's she knows is his name is Aaron and he's homeless. Good neighbor said he saw him turn down the road behind our properties (to go to the other property scum landlord owns), so that meant he was coming back out at some point (there's only one way out of our neighborhood). So they stood on the corner while I talked a bit with the daughter and uncle.  I made sure to pass along to them the info that we have talked to an attorney and have every right to sue their landlord for "abuse of use of a private residential easement". Sure enough about 5 minutes later the car tries to leave the neighborhood so DH got a few pics of it with his phone and we were able to get the lic# (no front license - the whole front bumper is missing) and make/model.

Of course we knew it would be a couple of hours before we'd get police contact. Deputy "newbie" was the one who called (we've been dealing with him the past 4-5 months. He couldn't even find our house the first time and he's basically been 100% useless) instead of coming out. He said there's nothing he can do and DH said well, we need a resolution and he replied "it's above my paygrade"! So DH asked who he could talk to about it then and he said gave him the name of the night duty Sergeant. I called the non-emergency dispatch # back and said apparently I need to talk to this Sergeant, can you tell me how to get a hold of him and I was told they'd send him a message to call. About an hour later this Sergeant actually came to our house. He was awesome. He was one of the swat team members who busted the house behind us. He was not aware of all the drug activity still going on in our neighborhood/specifically at the house on our street. So, obviously all my daily/weekly reporting of the activity to narcotics was useless. Obviously my visit to the precinct in January to request more patrols was swept under the rug. When we told him that the deputy didn't come out and only called us and said it was above his pay grade he wasn't too happy. He got on his phone and told the deputy to get over here and take a report!  He then took down names, etc and all the info we have on what's been going on here (now for a year and a half) and said he would get a message out to everyone, day shift, night shift, narcotics, that this area needs to be worked again. Yesterday a cop drove down our street and turned around in the culdesac at their house 2 times in 90 minutes. That was really good to see. And the Sergeant called DH again yesterday afternoon to get more info. DH said it sounded like he called him from a meeting with others in the room.

We'll see....I'm sure it will take a long time, like it did for our neighbors bust behind us.....which by the way.......they went to court yesterday (after the one spending almost 3 months in jail and the other out on bail) and apparently charges were dismissed......this world is a damn mess........

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Baby steps

I've been doing very small de-clutters around the house. A bit here and a bit there.  A drawer here and a cupboard there. The other day was the cupboard with all the cereal in it. DD was the biggest cereal eater in the family and most of the boxes were stuff she eats...or wanted to try....and then never finished (the story of her life with food!). Most of it was stale by now and there was one box up there that was several years old! Good Grief! Now there is a box of what DH likes (Peanut Butter Crunch) and a box of what I am currently eating (Cinnamon Life), along with a partial box of Cheerios and Rice Krispies that are still edible. I had a bowl of Rice Krispies last night.

Today I walked by and opened a drawer in our built in china hutch in the dining room. It wasn't very full (I think I had already done some cluttering of it during this past year) but there was some odd stuff in it. Something that looked like a lid to a jar candle...some mismatched napkin rings and little plastic pieces of something I have no idea what from. Tossed it all in the garbage. The drawer is pretty much empty now.

My next de-clutter will be the 4 dress work suits in my closet. I have not worn any of them in over 19 years! They were part of my wardrobe when I worked before DD was born. Nice suits, too! They have spent years tucked away in a corner of DD's closet (because she had more room at the time) and the last several years in my closet. For years I just kept them "just in case" I might end up with a job where suits were required (does anyone wear that anymore?).  By the time I went back to work when she started Kindergarten, business casual was the office attire. Now it's jeans. This past weekend I was looking in my closet and realized even if I ended up with some (god-awful) job where I had to wear a suit - WELL none of these would fit me anymore! They are all size 4 and I ain't no size 4 anymore.  They need to go, so I guess I will fold them up and put them in a box or bag for Goodwill or Salvation Army.  While I'm at it, I'm sure there are still other clothes I can get rid of too..and shoes.

The less stuff the easier it all seems to keep cleaner and the more I want to keep it clean. One little area at a time!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I seem to be getting forgetful (or more so than usual!) lately. I set stuff aside on my desk at home for action/use later and poof! it goes out of my mind.

I did remember we still have a restaurant gift card to a fancy restaurant to use and when I pulled it out of it's spot on my desk and opened up the folder/card it came in I found the Kohl's $50 gift card DH had given me for my birthday, which then reminded me I also still have a $25 Target gift card in my wallet.

Ok, that's no too bad - no harm no foul. But also sitting on my desk, propped up with some other mail is my jury summons! I got in in the mail 10 days ago. Last Monday I was going to call the court about it. Mostly out of curiosity of why I am required to serve on jury duty for a city that I do not live within the city limits of. My address is this city, but I live in the unincorporated part (subject to county court jury duty). I get no benefit of city services from this city. I can't even use the library. Well, I totally forgot about the letter and everything, this past week, apparently.  I tried to call and got recordings (it's not that big of city!) and basically a message to email with questions. So, I got online and sent my inquiry about it.  I got called on this same thing years ago and when I called and asked the guy about it he said "good point, I'll take your name off jury duty".  I just got the email reply. No luck getting out of it this time.  That's ok, at least it's only one day a week.

Now I'm wondering what else I am forgetting about! Or maybe it's not so much forgetfulness as it is I tried to clean up my desk and put these things in different spots then normal in an effort to be "neater" and then didn't come across them in my normal daily activities.  Ya, I'm gonna go with that theory. Better to have my messy piles and know where everything is :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I've talked about it before. I've researched info on it over the past couple of years. I even have a folder in my favorites that I put in website links for.  What you ask?  Emergency preparation - especially for food storage! I just haven't really done anything at all about it because I don't have the room in the house and our garage is so dang stuffed (though very organized due to DH's OCD) I didn't even want to attempt to find room out there.  Plus, I know myself - and I know I am not organized enough to keep track of all what's there and making sure stuff gets rotated out and used before expiration dates, etc.

But honestly, the world is really starting to scare me. Obama and his agenda scares the crap out of me. While DH has been working on his supply of guns and ammo (nothing major! don't freak out. He's just got some small cannisters to store a few different types of ammo in. All labeled, of course  since he loves organizing). And even if it's not something politically related, we live in an earthquake zone and it's not a matter if if, but when. I mentioned that while it's great in the event of "shit hitting the fan" we can protect ourselves and our home, it won't do much good if we are starved! So he jumped right on board and is going to make some room out in the garage for some long term food storage. Plus, the garage is all his turf so he can be the one in charge of keeping track of and organizing the food storage. Win win.

Our neighbor really is a doomsday prepper. His guns and ammo make DH look like nothing.  He has boxes and boxes of long term food storage among all his other stuff to be prepared for. He even has this seriously huge generator, like the size of a small shipping container. He sent DH a link to a website he buys food from to gradually stock up on. They were having a sale and a special through last Saturday. Spend $200 and get a free case of veggies (valued at like $115). Hmm...I looked it all over.  It was all freeze dried type of foods you can just add water to and heat up. Stuff that will last 25 years! My idea has always been stocking up on stuff from the grocery store......but like I said - I KNOW I will be terrible about keeping track of it all.  The more I thought about it the more I realized it would be good to have some of this type of food on hand, too.  Easy and quick to make and a shelf life longer than I'm going to probably be around.

I decided to make the investment and spend the $200.  I bought some breakfasts of scrambled eggs and bacon and 2 different dinner meal packages and some crackers to get me over the $200 (neighbor said the crackers are good).  All would give DH and I about 30 days of meals. Plus we get all the veggies free: corn, grean beans and peas.  After I ordered I told DH I don't care how hungry I might be, I'm not eating peas and he said "me neither".  We laughed and he then emailed neighbor and told him we placed an order, but does he like peas? We'd make a trade. LOL. He called back later and said he loves peas so he'll trade us some beans or rice. Ha ha.

Other than that I have been buying an extra jug of drinking water every week and putting it in the extra refrigerator out in the garage. I think I have 8 jugs now. And in the house I have 8 cans stored away of corn. That's all so far. We'll have to figure out a solution for larger water storage, but we are on a well, so it's not like city water that could potentially get cut off. We'd still have access to our water (well, unless the well got damaged in an earthquake - then we'd be screwed)

I think my next purchase will be 2 or 3 5-gallon food grade buckets for flour, sugar and ?.  Maybe rice?  I know I would want supplies like that to actually cook food. As long as we'd have power (we do have a small generator) I know I'd be cooking meals too. We have a long way to go to get fully emergency prepared, but at least it's a start.  I'd also like to buy a good first aid kit.  I guess I'd better start re-reading all those websites I saved in my folder and get reacquainted with what is good to have on hand.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dogs gotta eat

I follow a Facebook page called "Lone Star Dog Ranch".  Along with their own very endearing pack of dogs, they run a dog boarding place as well as do rescues. Any dog would be a lucky pup to get to go spend some time there. Heck, I'd enjoy spending a day there!  Recently the owner wrote a post about dog foods and how healthy (or unhealthy) they are for dogs. I have read articles online before, but there always seems to be so many opinions it just gets confusing on what you should feed your dogs.

She feeds her own dogs a raw diet of food.  While most people (like me) don't have taking care of dogs their daily business and this just isn't practical. So, she wrote a very informative post about what are good dog foods to feed your dog with a link to some helpful info and ratings of dog foods.

Our older dog (and our dog of 14 year before him) has always eaten Purina One. Well, that food is pretty much crap, apparently. 2 stars out of 5. (though I will say he has always had the softest coat, whether that's from the food I have no idea). Our younger dog eats Blue Buffalo - put on when he was a puppy and we were trying to cure his itchiness.  Better, at least and has 3 stars, but nothing great. She said she feeds the boarding dogs (when their owners prefer her to feed them while boarding and not bring their own food) Diamond Naturals.  It has a 4 star rating. She also listed a couple others in the 4 and 5 star range that she would feed dogs.

I've decided I'm going to try out the Diamond Naturals dog food for our dogs. I was expecting that I would have to increase my dog food budget, but it would be worth it to know I am feeding them much higher quality (especially older dog) food. I was pleasantly surprised to find out this particular brand of food is actually cheaper than what I am currently spending. It is only found at feed stores in my area, but the price listed there is $32 for a 40lb bag! Online it was in the $40 range. It is higher in protein and lower in fat, which hopefully will be good for our older dog, who could stand to lose a few pounds and hates exercise.

I stopped by the feed store in my town on the way home and got a bag. Apparently they have baby chicks for sale.....it was a really big store and they must have been in the back as I didn't see them. I warned DH I might come home with baby chicks, too - haha!

Weekend wrap up

It's was a productive day yesterday. Kind of hard to waste a day as nice and sunny and 62 degrees as this! I made a cake in the morning, so we'll have dessert the rest of the week.  Then I went to Lowe's to pick up some "cat repellent". I figured I might as well go there for it and while there see if they got any of the whiskey/wine barrel planters in yet. Much to my surprise they did! I was only there last Sunday and they didn't have any in yet. I bought 2.   Yay!    My car smelled like wine on the way home :-)  I was happy to have them because I knew it would give something for DH to do. Even though the weather is really nice there still isn't really much to do with the yard yet.

We put one on the other side of the front arbor (so now one on each side) and the other one is turned over and a table in our fire pit area. I think I'll get one of those cute lanterns to set on there.  DH filled the one near the arbor up with rocks and dirt, so I'll only need a bit of potting soil when I plant flowers to fill it up the rest of the way.  Then I sprinkled the cat repellant around. I misunderstood DH as to where the cat was pooping. He was actually pooping in the barked area just near the back of our house - on each side of the arbor. Let's see if the stuff works - probably won't......he's a feisty old cat!

Then DH went outside to wash my car. I really did not feel like washing my car, but I went out to help him and he said I didn't have to help, so I said I'll go clean the bathroom instead. He even vacuumed out my car! He way over did it today.  Then I washed the 2 blankets from the back of my car (I thought they might still smell like the wine barrels and threw in the blanket from the sofa (that the dogs lay on) in the wash with them. All clean - or at least now we can sit on clean dog hair, LOL.

For some reason my back was really hurting - like it does when I vacuum or do the weeding (none of which I did) so I went and took a nap.  Got up and put a chicken, rice and vegetable dinner in the oven. A piece of cake was a nice end to dinner.

It was hard getting up this morning. I hate adjusting to the time change.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Finishing up the tax returns

Almost done with tax returns. UGH! As much as I H-A-T-E doing tax returns it's a wonder I ever became an accountant...but not all accountants do taxes and most of the accountants I know don't even do their own taxes, haha. I got DD's done first thing Friday morning. Really took only minutes. She's getting back $344, so she's happy.

I, on the other hand, am going to owe about $1200. I had hoped to come closer to zero than this. I had hoped with the extra taken out of my big bonus check and the tax credit for college tuition I'd be close. I guess income tax wise, I came out even on federal income tax and basically it's just social security I owe on the self employment income from my side job. Last month I started putting $100 a month out of my side job income into my Capital One savings so that next year at this time, I'll have that for taxes and this shouldn't be an issue next year.

I also went over to my mom's to help her finish up her return. She wanted to try doing it online on her own this year, but in the end, wanted me to just look it over before she files it.  Well, that's the impression she gave me. I got over there and she hadn't even tried to start it! I thought I was going to look it over and be done in 15 minutes.  I use Taxact.com. First she wanted to try to enter the info herself while I sat and helped. OMG!!! Add in someone who barely knows how to use a computer along with someone who's internet is soooo slow it reminds me of dialup and I was ready to pull my hair out in about 10 minutes. After she tried to enter one thing about 3 times she finally said I should do it. So, I finally got it all entered in and done - over an hour later. Honestly, I could have had it done, at home on my own computer, in about 15 minutes.

Then I tried to help her figure out why she cannot see any  comments or add a comment to anyone's posts on Facebook. She can see their posts but that's it. She only uses AOL for everything. That is how she searches the internet and goes to other websites. She doesn't even know IE or Firefox exists. The only way she knows how to get on the internet is by clicking on AOL. So, I logged into her Facebook using IE and it worked fine. I have tried and tried to explain to her she does not need the AOL program loaded on her computer. She can access her AOL email via IE and that the AOL program always has problems. I give up, LOL.  I don't mind helping someone one bit, but when I know it's going on one ear and out the other I really don't like wasting my time.

She will be 74 soon. She is worried she might get Alzheimer's like her dad did. She really has trouble remembering what word to use for things and she notices it. She says she wants to ask her doctor about it. I guess there is now a test that sees if she has the gene? Anyway, she told me to pay attention to her in the coming years and see if she is getting worse. In one conversation we had yesterday she was repeating a conversation she had with her BF about me and used my daughter's name instead of mine. So, ya - definitely something to watch for.

Glad to have it all done and no more thinking about it in the back of my mind. I keep a file folder handy at my desk all year and slip anything in it that would be related to taxes. Medical receipts (just in case we end up with a big enough year to claim, though not this year), car tabs receipts and donations receipts. I took stuff to Goodwill and Salvation Army 4 times last year - turns out once every quarter.  (why do I still have so much stuff in my house?!).  Then, when the year end tax forms start coming in (W-2, mortgage interest, etc) I put them in the folder too.  Makes it fairly easy to file. It's not like we have too complicated of a return.

Our February electricity bill was $31 lower than February last year. Most likely a combination of DD not here and our unseasonably warm month. Warmest month we've ever had on record. Ok by me.

DD is off on her weekend getaway with her BF. She sent a picture from a hike they did. So pretty. After that they went on a 5 mile bike ride. It's great that they share the love out being outdoors and active. They lucked out as we are having beautiful low 60's and sunny weather this weekend.

I'm not sure what my plans are today. I guess our cat has been pooping out in our "park" area out between the trees in our backyard and DH isn't too happy about it. Our cat has never before (and he's like 16 years old) so not sure why he's starting now. I'm going to a home improvement store to pick up some kind of cat repellent granules we can try in the area.  I'll check again and see if they got the whiskey/wine barrel planters in yet while I am there.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Retirment planning from a late start

My 401k is up to $41k. At the end of 2014 it was just at $39k. A nice increase over 2 months. Our profit sharing and 401k matching monies should get deposited into our accounts in a couple of months, which will put another $3400 into my 401k....all the more to keep earning a return on! My current contribution is now at $230 a month.  I have NO idea what we'll end up with by the time I retire, but I something is better than nothing. According to the social security report I get, if I retire at age 67 and DH takes half of what I get (at least that's how I read that works - he can either take his amount or 1/2 of his spouse, whichever is higher) we will have about  $39,000 a year to live on from just social security, plus whatever we can keep saving in our 401k. Even if we can only afford to draw down $5,000 a year out of it, we aren't going to live richly, but I think we'll get by on that with no house payments, no car payment etc and plans to live in a lower cost of living area.

So, I just went online to find a calculator to see an estimate of how much I will have if I keep putting money into my 401k for the next 16 years and retire at 67. I was pleasantly surprised.  I found the calculator on Dave Ramsey's website. It was the perfect calculator, as I wanted to put in my current starting amount ($41k) and then all the rest of the info. At first I typed in my monthly contribution as $230 and then went wait wait wait....I'm putting that much in but my company matches half and they also contribute 3.4% of my salary each year. So, really I have $562 a month going into my 401k. I used a conservative estimate of 8% return per year for 16 years........................................................
The total came to $361,333.18!  But, I also plan to increase my contributions as the budget allows in future years. When DD is on her own there will definitely be more disposable money (mostly what I'm paying in car and health insurance) that can go towards retirement savings. And hopefully my salary will at least grow some over the next 16 years. We aren't going to be rich, that's for sure, but I think we'll be able to get by with that and social security.........if not well, my DD is just going to have to let us move in with her in our old age - haha!

What I'd also like to figure out is the value of that $361k beyond the retirement date. Obviously we wouldn't be drawing the whole amount out - just a portion per year, so the amount that stays in the account from year to year will be able to keep growing - at least at a safer, less aggressive rate. That is why my mom still has so much money. She pretty much lives off of her social security and the earnings from her retirement account. The principal is still there (mostly because she started with such a large amount). I'll have to see if I can find some kind of calculator for that scenario.

Friday, March 6, 2015

That didn't go as planned

Well, damn!When I had my dental work done last week I put it all on my flexible spending card/account. Insurance wouldn't cover it as it was considered cosmetic. I just got an email from my FSA administrator. They won't cover it either due to it being cosmetic (never mind that I hit my front teeth as a first grader and set forth this problem I've been dealing with all these years).  I never realized this would not be covered under my FSA money set aside. Now I have 75 days to pay back $1442.  I really didn't want to drain my savings of that all at once. If I had known it wasn't covered I would have put it on my Care Credit card and had some no interest payments over the next year.

I guess what I'll try first is to see if the dentist office can run a credit through on my FSA card and then rebill under my Care Credit card. Or run the charge on my Care Credit and reimburse me directly for the now duplicate payment on my account with them and I can write a check to the FSA company.  Hopefully one of those options will work and I can either way get this transferred to my Care Credit account and spread out the payments a bit. If I can't do any of this, then I'll just pay it out of my savings. My budgeting for what I put in my FSA account out of my paychecks did not include the now $162 a month I have to spend on dh's cholesterol medicine this year, so if I have to pay back the $1442 out of my savings I'll just be able to cover dh's meds each month with my FSA card and won't be $162 a month out of pocket.  It all comes out the same in the end. I just wanted control of when!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nothing much about nothing much

I guess I'm having kind of a blah week, so far.  Trying to dig into a project at work and keep my mind off all the co-workers I see go into my bosses office (my desk is right outside her door) for their annual review and come out all smiling and happy, knowing they got a nice increase in salary. Blah.

I made a couple loaves of banana bread on Sunday afternoon and mailed one to DD. The picture of herself she sent me when she got the box was worth the $11 to ship it priority - LOL.  I asked her if she was going to share any of it with her roomie or suitemates and she said maybe.....probably  not. She said her roomie's mom sends her homemade cookies all the time and not once has she offered one to DD. I'm like are you serious?! She can't even offer a cookie or set a couple out to share? w.o.w.  is all I have to say.

I'm watching season 3 of "Game of Thrones" from library borrowed dvds.  On Amazon Video I started watching "Justified" which I think there are 5 seasons or so. Timothy Olyphant. Enough said. 

I've still been knitting on my next blanket, but stopped night before last when I realized I had made a mistake the previous row. I haven't felt like figuring out what to do yet, but probably will get that taken care of tonight. Plus, I'll need more yarn in a day or so. I goofed on how much I thought was in a skein and that's all they had in stock at the time anyway, so I had gotten the 5 skeins.  I got them on a good sale price and now I don't want to pay full price, so I am kind of waiting to see if there is a sale again.  I'm sending up the blanket I made DD with her BF, who is going up to see her this weekend. He offered to come and pick it up (because he said she's mentioned the blanket to him like 4 times LOL), so I asked her if she wanted it up there (not knowing since it's kind of big and she's tight for space) and her reply was "OMG. YES!!", so I guess that answered that.

Sunday I tried to go to a few garden centers at home improvement stores to pick up 2 more whiskey/wine barrel planters, but apparently I'm still too early in the garden season, as no one has any in yet. I got our previous one's at Lowe's and talked with the garden center lady there and she said she knows they are on order, just not sure when they will be in. From trying to buy these previous years, it seems like they get a bunch in for the season and when they are gone, they are gone, so I was trying to make sure I got some.  I'll have to keep trying back every couple of weeks or so. I need one to match the one that on one side of our front arbor.  I want to flip the other one over and use as a rustic table in our fire pit area.

And I really need to get out taxes done. I HATE doing taxes- haha! Last night I just realized I still have a $25 Target card and a $50 Kohls gift card to use up. I need to do some shopping, I guess. I could use a new pair of jeans for wearing to work.