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Cash Envelopes - Who Does It? YNAB - Who Does It?

November 15th, 2018 at 08:38 am

Today is my birthday. I'm taking it as an opportunity to look forward and make serious progress in our lives towards simplicity and responsibility.

I've spent (wasted) time on-line looking at budgeting stuff. I'd like to have and adhere to a spending plan. I'd like to ideally do it in cash. With envelopes. Does anyone here do a cash envelope system? My biggest challenge is handling the variables. I'd like to ideally have separate funds for groceries/gas/miscellany/other.

I'm upping the weekly spending to $250/week, broken down as follows:
Consumables - $100
Gas - $62.50
Miscellany - $62.50
Other - $25.00

I've been very unsuccessful at trying to break down budget categories that are narrow and include things like clothing/gifts/entertainment/etc. Perhaps I will graduate to this eventually. I am longer a recreational shopper.

I've also looked into using the YNAB software program. I will be one month ahead starting 1/1/2019. We don't use credit cards. We are paying down medical debt. We don't have many outside savings accounts.

I've spent too much time watching tutorials on youtube and IG, especially TBM (The Budget Mom who has elaborate budgeting/booking keeping practices) and Six Figures Under (who I enjoy reading her blog, but the YNAB video intimdated me).

So what works for you and what doesn't? I'm reinventing myself and money practices so I am game for any and all suggestions.

Also, in January we will be putting 10% in the 401K, we will be taking a family vacation in January or March (currently have $4,000 earmarked for that), and have increased our HSA funding from $1,000 to $1,750. I will be bringing in $300/week part-time, we will also pay cash for our daughter's semester at community college and continue to cashflow home improvements.

The Way the Other Half Rolls

November 10th, 2018 at 07:21 am

I've been blunt that our economic situation has been precarious at best being house poor and always on the brink of unemployment. We won't be house poor in (hopefully) six months with a downsize and DH is actually becoming secure in the position he's remained in (with new computers and added duties and being cross-trained).

Our car situation is one area to be improved. We've always purchased our cars outright. And my parents gifted us their minivan when they downsized to a SUV. Our oldest is dating a you-tuber. Like a famous you-tuber who makes a boatload of money and is 7 years older than she is. He wanted to talk to my husband about her birthday gift. I thought it was going to be an engagement ring (I would be fine with it, though in my ideal scenario they'd wait a few more months) Thankfully it wasn't a ring, but he wants to buy her a car. Hers is definitely old and she thankfully doesn't drive it very far.

We vetoed that since she's set to travel for months at a time in 2019. And she has enough money to purchase herself a car is she wishes, but she's not in that mindset right now. He agreed with my husbands points against the purchase; I hope he just takes her on a nice vacation instead.

And here I am happy that I can afford to pay for my (most probable) furnace repair on Monday if new batteries in the thermostate don't rectify the situation.

Bequest Received in Full and Other Money Thoughts

November 8th, 2018 at 10:35 am

Today I received the second installment of the bequest from my grandparents' estate.

I put 90% into a Vanguard account.

The remaining 10% will be used to for home repairs for our primary residence. My thrilling purchase tomorrow will be a new bathtub. We also need to update the master bath shower. The realtor is coming 11/22 to advise on upgrades (repairs). We are giving ourselves 6 months for the repairs. Slow and steady wins the race I suppose.

My children each also receive an additional sum of money outside of the education fund. I will set up Vanguard accounts for them. I will divert 90% of the funds to that and then 10% to their local accounts. (All but the youngest have PNC Virtual Wallets - 2 checking/1 savings & debit cards).

I'm also making necessary repairs to the cars. Tomorrow it is brakes and front tyrods on one of the minivans.

I'm also contemplating supporting ethical companies as I'm decluttering and replacing some things. And in the spirit of declutter and moving towards minimalism, Christmas gifts for the kids will be an additional day on the family vacation. And one item to open in the range of $65. And new pajamas for Christmas Eve.

It will be nice to start January 2019 on solid financial footing.

Other Spending

November 7th, 2018 at 08:19 am

I received the first installment of the bequest from my grandparents' estate. I put 90% into a Vanguard account and the 10% will be used to start some repairs and rennovations on our primary residence.

I did spend some of it on needed items.

I spent $120 on clothing and got the following: Son 1 - pair of sweatpants, 5 underwear, 1 sock; Son 2 - pair of sweatpants, 5 underwear, 2 socks; DH - 5 pairs of underwear: Me - 1 Holiday dress, 1 winter sweater, 1 pair of tights.

I also spent $30 on a MyPillow for my husband who is sick at the moment. He usually never complains about anything, but he asked if we could upgrade. The MyPillows are made it the USA and are now at Jewel (grocery store) for $5. I spent $32 with tax.

So much for a sneak peak into my thrilling shopping life!!

And I have a $10 gift card to CVS. Will save that for candy for the Christmas stockings.

Grocery Spending - Tracking

November 7th, 2018 at 07:28 am

I read somewhere (Budget Mom?) that a reasonable amount for spending for consumables is $100/month/person. I've got six now (everyone is home full-time for the time being). So I *should* be spending $150/week. I will also add that my spending includes lunches for everyone (they either are home at the noon hour or pack a lunch). I've been tracking (back at it) for three weeks now.

Oct-Week 3 - $162.50
Oct-Week 4 - $120.00
Nov-Week 1 - $112.50

The week 3 was high because there was a Sams run and I purchased several items that I don't normally buy at Aldi's or Jewel.

This week's expenses include my ingredients for today's cooking session that includes:

- California meatloaf
- Black bean and corn quesadillas
- Taco filling
- Oven baked chicken tenderloins
- Chickpea and peach curry

The above totals include all consumables such as personal care products/pet food/paper and cleaning products too.

Only way to improve is to be candid about the situation. I would like to get that down closer to the $100 range, even though I operate under the $150. (Please keep in mind that guideline doesn't suggest a HCOLA or diets that need to accomodate keto or gluten free - just a random target number that I gathered from watching IG videos). With today's cooking session that will get us through at least four days of meals, I am hoping that Nov-Week 2 will be around $60. We'll see!

Welcome to My Shopping Basket, Or My Exciting World

November 1st, 2018 at 08:09 am

Way long ago I was a recreational shopper. Then lack of funds reformed me to an intentional shopper.

My sons are 14 and 16 and both growing like weeds. The lack of funds coincided with lack of proper clothing.

I normally delete my emails before reading them but am glad that I read that Kohls was having Black Friday online deals now and Kohls cash is upped to $15 per $50 spent.

Here's my recap:

2 pairs of fleece lined pants $20.00
2 packs of 4-count boxers $32
1 pack of 6 pair socks $18

I had $8.80 savings and free pick up at local Kohls.

OOP $57 and $15 Kohls cash

So that's my totally thrilling shopping cart.


Honking My Own Horn

October 30th, 2018 at 02:15 pm

Every year at my husband's current employer, there is a Halloween event that includes a chilli cook off and a pumpking contest. Two years ago we won the pumpking decorating contest (turned one into cookie monster thanks to pinterest).

Last year we didn't fare very well in either category.

This year I am proud to say that I won the chilli cook off! I found a simple recipe for a creamy chicken chilli in the crockpot.

Here it is:

Place two pounds chicken breasts in the bottom of crockpot.
Add drained can of corn and rinsed and drained black beans.
Add can of diced tomatoes WITH liquid.
Add one yellow onion chopped.
Add one green pepper chopped.
Season with one packed of dry ranch dressing mix.

Cook on high 3 hours.

Remove chicken breasts and shred. Return to crockpot and mix well with vegetable mixtures. Add on brick of cream cheese cut into squares, stirring til well blended.

Cook an additional 15 minutes.

I've never considered myself anything beyond basic in the kitchen. I'm pleased that my simple recipe was recognized and won.

Prize: Engraved ladle with our names on it.
And a $15 gift card to AMC Cinemas. I'm thrilled about that since I've forgotten how much I like seeing movies in the theater. Hello Date Night!

Happy Halloween!

Updates on The Future

October 30th, 2018 at 09:10 am

I've decided to ditch emotions when it comes to money. I have realized that I just lacked a real approach to life. Things I was in denial about:

1) old cars cost money
2) real estate ownership is expensive
3) the mountain of medical debt will go down slowly
4) its ok to enjoy life and go to that matinee movie with your CVS purchased box of movie candy
5) growing teen age sons go through clothes and shoes quickly

I dared myself to look at January 2019 budget with my part-time employment income and things are looking up. I will be able to make needed car repairs, home repairs, take that vacation we're saving for, and properly budget categories before the funds need to be there. We are also narrowing our targeted area for townhome ownership and are pleased with what we are seeing in our price range. We've upped what we wanted to spend by $50K and space won't be an issue (I am now realistic that smallest possible isn't going to be best - with kids still with us and inlaws who are older). (We will still purchase the townhome cash with the equity from our primary residence and rental property sale).

I still haven't discussed details of the bequest from my grandmother's estate. I'm only speaking to my uncle (the executor). I'm still of the opinion that I'd rather have my grandmother than talk about her money. The waves of grief will are still rather continual. And I don't consider myself a wallower, but I'm just careful on who I let in.

My best friend is a singleton and now she's wanting to make me medical power of attorney and executor of her estate. My youngest son is her godson and heir. To be honest, I don't want to talk to her about her situation at all. She can talk to a lawyer and then let me know what I need to know.

I purchased the first Christmas gift of the 2018 season. Kids are only getting one gift in the $75 range. Got older son the Lego Hogwarts Express set - Target matched their online price of $65 and I used the Red card saving 5% (linked to debit card). I also wrapped it already! (CCF, you'd be proud of me!)

I'm working toward the YNAB system of living on last month's income this month. I'm half way there since the 11/2 paycheck will cover all living expenses for November, the 11/16 paycheck will cover November's mortgage and savings account contribution.

I'm also aiming toward low-spend, but we've got my birthday and older daughter's this month. Decided on doing an escape room experience for us instead of dinner out. That will be fun and a memory maker. I'm also getting a new tattoo to match younger daughter's. Simple and tasteful, though some might not agree. DH thought we should get matching ones too, but we'll save that til next year.

So, its going as well as it can be. Hope things are stable and positive with everyone. Smile

The Future

October 24th, 2018 at 09:56 am

Thank you for the condolences on the loss of my grandmother. When you are born to teenager, your grandparents sort of become like parents who meet your physical and emotional needs. I was blessed with four wonderful grandparents, and since I've lost my last, I imagine this is what orphanhood might feel like. I love my parents, but they're much more like siblings to me. Older siblings. I modeled my parenting on how my grandparents treated me. Still so sad. I started looking at T'giving cards yesterday until I remembered that this year I lost the only two people I still sent them to. More sadness.

I am receiving a bequest from my grandmother's estate. I don't want to talk about details with my mother or brother, since they don't know much. My uncle is the executor and I will hear from him about the details, until then - nothing to talk about. I do know that my children each receive $20K. I do believe that my share will be substantial.

It will be nice to have an EF again.

I also have a job lined up starting in January. Two days a week/20 hours/in the range of $15-$17/hour. I will look into online classes to finish up the MSMOB.

We are also moving forward on our plans to downsize. We are slow and steady with the decluttering. A big accomplishment was dejunking the garage which now can fit two cars. I had a bad habit of accepting anything that people were giving me. And funny thing is that I only found about 1 in 8 items useful.

DH is still employed, getting a new laptop and being cross-trained on things. He think he's fine for another six months.

I've closed the book on worrying and anxiety about finances.

We're skipping large Christmas gift and are planning a trip to the Bahamas in early 2019. We have $3,000 in the vacation fund.

Life is good. I hope it is improving for everyone.

Lost my grandmother

October 16th, 2018 at 10:10 am

Eight days ago my grandmother died at the age of almost 99. I was able to spend time with her one month before she passed, and I think that she might actually have waited to see my daughter. D arrived on Friday the 5th and had a really great day with G. The chaplain came and they had a wonderful 45 minute visit and my daughter got to pray over her great-grandmother. Saturday my grandmother was tired and they figured it was just the excitement of having D there. Then on Sunday she was tired, but in good spirits, having spent time outdoors in the Cafornia weather which she so enjoyed. They had her favorite dessert at dinner and the next morning my uncle and aunt were notified that my G passed away in her sleep.

My grandmother wasn't in bad health, but was definitely frail and having a hard time maintaining weight and had become more oxygen dependent. So while it wasn't completely unexpected, I had still hoped to see her again.

I am sorry that the other Laura lost her mom. And I hope that Lucky Robin's Dear Girl get a diagnosis and reliable medical treatment so she feels better.

I guess this was really just a lament post. Nothing here has changed one way or the other moneywise; we're still just moving along toward the future.

Prayers for everyone who needs them.

Q4 2018 Update

October 2nd, 2018 at 01:18 pm

Hard to believe it is the start of the last quarter of 2018.

Goals for the quarter:

1) Continue to track expenses
2) Save 10% of all income

We are finally graduating from paycheck to paycheck living (or where we run out of money four days before payday). We've paid $6,000 balance for property tax and $3,500 to a bill that was we were going to be sued for. We've managed to cashflow tons of smallish emergencies (tires/batteries/back to school/sports fees/class ring/etc).

Some of it is because our older children are fiscally responsible, contributing to grocery budget by cooking one dinner a week each and contributing more towards fuel expenses with increased car usage). Some of it is because we are just spending less. And I've re-negotiated down one medical bill from $200 to $95/month. Not ideal, but more breathing room.

I'm still job searching. I'm overqualified for some work, underqualified for other work, will consider two part time jobs or just a full-time temporary position. I've been ou tof town to California to help out with a family situation, so that derailed some plans. Just moving onward and not sweating things! I will find a job. Hopefully the right job. At the right time.

DH is still employed - and his job has become more secure with one of his counterparts out on sick leave. Looks like he will have a offer at the beginning of Q1 2019 with his most previous old boss. 10% less pay, but closer to home.

All the more reason for us to continue the declutter and move to downsize. We're making good progress and have finally decided on a subdivision that we really like and offers a floor plan that will work for us and the kids we will have with us (still all four).

Hoping to achieve my goals through continued accountability.


September 19th, 2018 at 09:13 am

Hard to believe that 2018 4th Quarter is almost here!

A lot remains the same: husband still being extended at current employer and he is one of 4 people from ODN left. He had a prospect that didn't turn out into a solid offer; he now has another prospect at 10% less than his current pay. Because of the level of misery he's experiencing, if it happens I'm supportive of this.

Our two older ones have jobs and contribute financially (putting gas in cars and cooking two dinners a week). Our third turned 16 and is judicious with his spending and will look for a job at the end of soccer season.

My resume is finally updated and I've applied for four part-time jobs on line yesterday. I'm most comfortable in higher education, so that's where I've been looking. I was ready to put out resumes earlier in the month, then went out of town to deal with a family emergency so that delayed my original plans that are now finally executed. (I've rethought subbing mostly because I don't have the $100 required for license and fingerprinting).

We are dodging money bullets left and right. Car tire - $180. New car battery - $133. Back to school funds and sporting fees for 8th grader - $400. Soccer sports fee for high schooler - $225. New driver to the insurance policy - $60/month (though I offset that by dropping landline).

We remain paycheck to paycheck, but I am seeing an improvement in cash flow on 10/1 once we make final payment of property taxes and owe $3,400 to a bill that went to collections. I've renegotiated some medical bill payments down by 35%.

So there really isn't anything new. At all. But we are now really preparing to list our primary residence for sale and are doing well on our declutter and clear out. It's embarrassing how much stuff we've collected over the years. But the future is bright!


August 16th, 2018 at 11:08 am

I blogged previously as P2P Living. Didn't really bond with that blog and couldn't remember what my password was, but this identitiy was engraved on my mind, so here I am again. Back as me.

What's changed? Not much aside from my attitude. We did graduate to full-fledged Paycheck To Paycheck living; we'd run out of money at about Day 9 out of Day 14. NOW we make a deposit to our Vanguard money market WEEKLY (growing EF again slowly) and we are solvent still at the next pay day.

The rental property is successful now, with a low-maintenance tenant who pays in cash and on time. Earlier when they were going to be out of town on vacation on due date. We are pleased as punch about that. Those funds are catching up on property taxes due in full by end of October.

Job Front: DH was officially notified that the job opportunity that has been linger since April no longer exists. A new CFO and soft sales led to the decision to only replace one of three senior financial analysts; chosen candidate had 12 years experience and background in Marketing. NOT DH.
** He still is employed at current situation, extended indefinitely. So paycheck is a paycheck at this point. His severence is 3.5 months and is unemployment benefit eligible. He's pretty miserable though given all he's doing is STILL AND AGAIN putting out fires that other people create.

I'm looking now for a job since the kids will be back in school Monday. I'm finding it hard to get in at an entry level for OD since everyone is only hiring Project Managers which I fall short of talent-wise. I've decided to join the student chapter of the OD Network and hope to build some bridges that way while taking one class at a time.

Job wise: I can't decide if I should pay the $100 to get the sub license for my state ($50 for fingerprinting and $50 for license) or just look for a part-time job at the local community college. Haven't really a clue - but must decide soon.

Back to watching the pennies after a hiatus of tracking; though not entirely irresponsible spending.

Today: Took forgotten coupon to Payless and got $7 back on BTS for older son. Also returned slimey carrots for $2.

We did cancel the land-line and I'm paying bills online biweekly. That seems to be working.

Now everyone is back at home and my grocery bill will be increasing; I'm car sharing, so my fuel expenses will be decreasing as everyone needs to chip in.

DH is getting busier with his side job working for biological dad. That's how we're funding our upcoming vacataion - CASH! - and we currently have $1,400.

I also did list some items on FB Marketplace and sold a dress for $5 this month. Not much, but I'm trying to stay on top of things like that to at least contribue some $$.

Also, we are finally decluttering and got rid of a load of furniture from our basement plus some items from the garage. We've started looking at Open Houses for townhomes and are deciding where we'd like to look and what size we will need.

ETA: I also reversed a $20 account maintenance fee over at Vanguard by electing for electronic delivery of all statements/notifications. Go me.

So, I'll be returning to blogging here and let P2P sort of fade into the abyss. Off to catch up on things. Smile

Suggestions Please.

June 9th, 2018 at 10:35 am

For a young man that I don't know well (first cousin's child) who is graduating law school. I've met him several times, very nice.

My cousin is hosting his graduation dinner at my house tomorrow for the family (20+ people) having it catered from Portillos.

I'd like to give a small gift, but my budget is currently running on empty. I initially thought about a coffee mug and gift card to Starbucks, however he is Mormon and as such does not drink coffee (no caffeine). Nor liquor of any sort.

Nice frame? My budget is probably $15 max.

Thanks in advance.

I love it when it’s under budget

June 7th, 2018 at 11:31 am

Last month D’s inhaler coverage changed with the insurance’s Decision not to cover Qvar. The replacement inhaler was $65. Same Rx today was $20 copay. I had budgeted $65. I called in a Rx over-ride so I’m getting next month’s now, putting $25 transfer to Vanguard.

Funny how happy one can get over found funds, especially when the funds remain limited.

And then the ceiling fell in, or where I just laugh ...

June 7th, 2018 at 07:59 am

We had a plumbing issue with the toilet in the master bath. Twice it overflowed with tons of water. We were't home the second time and it took Offspring a bit of time to turn off the water valve.

It must've been a lot of water because the ceiling in my family room was stained the first day after and actually fell in the second day following.

And there is currently a gaping hole roughly 4' x 8'. DH removed the wall board and we've got the dehumidifier going, so it's not feeling musty or moldy.

Irony: I agreed to host a law school graduation party on Sunday for my cousin who lives out of state, but whose son lives in Chicago. My house is clean and it's being catered by Portillos. I've collected card tables and chairs from family and friends. I am renting a carpet cleaner on Saturday (we've two dogs, one very old who is having more accidents nowadaays).

My mother (who has strong Martha Stewart tendencies) said, "Oh dear. When are the repair people coming in to fix it before that party?" To which I just laughed. Since we're still running on fumes here and the money we have needs to cover oil changes and pet grooming.

I've my final appointment with the Career Counseling Center on Tuesday (finalize my resume) and we're still in the process of finding renters for the rental property.

At least my good humor was here and I didn't let my mother's aghast look that I'm actually hosting a party with a hole-y ceiling get my knickers twisty!


The Future.

June 4th, 2018 at 09:15 am


Updating the resume and getting on linkedin today.


Reworked the budget to include $25 weekly/Vanguard. Not much, I know, but when you're digging out and starting over, it's a step in the right direction.


Have a do list and am planning on tackling it (I've moved away from having a list since I was in survival mode for awhile there). My goal is all 6 items on the list done.

Hello, June. I'm glad that you're here.

Found Some Money, Edited Spending 5/24 & 25

May 26th, 2018 at 07:14 am

We have an unused can of bath-tub finish spray paint that we didn't use over at the rental property ($3 of Comet cleanser and elbow grease worked magic). I found that receipt and DH's taking it back now. That's $40 + tax when we could really use it!

Amended spending for 5/24

$70 - Check from Mom (reimbursed)
$9 - Change rounded up and deposited

-$58.00 - Groceries at Aldi's
-$15.25 - Gas for Versa
-$8.25 - Misc Joanne Fabric for craft project

I used roughly $2.50 from the check book

Spending for 5/25


Smart Money Moves for 5/25:

1) I was organized enough to know where the receipt was for return (Hello at least $40)

2) I skipped the end of year pizza party for the volleyball team (I'm an introvert, find these stressful, didn't have the $ anyhow, so I went to the final match and made arrangement for A to go with the coach). His cost to attend was $0 since it was included in the sporting fee

Right now I am going to spend some time working on my project for the second class, make some muffins for breakfast (from a mix) and some quinoa for lunch.

Low-spend around here just because there's no choice. Have a nice relaxing weekend, SA Friends!

And how deep can the pit be that we need to crawl out of?

May 23rd, 2018 at 01:08 pm

We received notification at the beginning of the month that we owed an additional $3K to the high school. There was a new tuition manager this year, our scholarship package has always been a consistent amount (from the Diocese, the school, and various scholarships). Our son didn't receive one scholarship this year (for the $3K) but the assistance is always one line item. (I should add that we've had a student at this school for six consecutive years and there has never been a problem).

An account reconciliation showed we weren't on the list of CCW Scholars and the amount was reverse. So I had to borrow money from my father, who was totally fine with it. I always said that I would only ask for money for my kids. That happened.

So, I am eight days away from completing my graduate certificate in OD (and I'm doing well). I meet with the career counselor tomorrow. DH's last paycheck is 6/1. He has a promising opportunity with his old boss, but that company is in a reorg structure now. I've decided to look into temp agencies come 6/5.

I managed a small get together for my oldest daughter to celebrate her graduation from community college. I did a brunch and fed 15 people for about $60. That included a memory frame for $8. I also spent an additional $8 on flowers.

We've also depleted our flex spend money and all medical/rx is out of pocket. The latest rounds of DH's PET and CT scans adds another $1,600 to the balance of what we owe. Oh well, the Earth will continue to spin and the sun will continue to set and rise.

But we're healthy and reasonably happy and still have many blessings to be thankful for.


May 15th, 2018 at 11:14 am

What a rough patch. Total breakdown of communication, depression, frustration, ready to throw the towel in. But won't.

Our situation has been stressed beyond belief - everyone is in transition, in flux, and not managing it well. Broken, but not destroyed. Losing the battle, but not the war.

The only good thing to the lowest point is there is only one way to go, and that is up.

The issues stem mostly from my husband making some broad-based assumptions about my willingness to amend our future plans by several years to accomodate a stable job offer and the reality that he is an only child with parents who need help and are unwilling to make things easy on him. There was the assumption that I would help out with my inlaws who are having a difficult time now with health (this is despite the fact that we are in dire need of additional income, I've spent several months killing myself for a certification so I can gain said employment, and my obligation is to my children not my inlaws - and I should add that they don't like me at all). I will be completing my school work and have applied for a part-time paid internship for the summer. Then I will going to Southern California with my daughter for several months; she is signed there and that agency wants her since she's been in the Midwest working here for the past year. I plan on being able to do contract work there as well. We have a place to stay and transportation issues to deal with, but it will work out.

This means getting ready to downsize as fast as possible. That will free up capital. We plan to sell the rental property and the primary residence and buy a townhome. It really just has to happen sooner than later. We simply cannot afford the mortgage and the taxes on both property. I'm far too tired anymore to play the juggling game with finances.

The good news: I am two weeks away from the end of the academic journey and am pretty certain on a 4.0 GPA for the 25% of the Masters Degree I completed in 20 weeks. Husband has a job interview for a stable positioin at a higher salary with his previous boss. Older daughter is graduating with her Associates Degree on Friday (inducted into the Honors Society, all while traveling and having a successful modeling career). Younger daughter is off to be a camp counselor at a YMCA summer camp for 10-weeks over the summer (she will be earning a very nice amount of money).

Notice there aren't any little money details here; I've sadly ignored the bigger issues by burying my head in the sand and sadly it came down to my breaking point: the unwillingness and inability to move forward on a future that is best for everyone.

So at this point no talk of a permaanent parting of ways. Happy about that. We've never taken that path at all in our conversing and fighting; and to do so was a big mistake.

Thanks for reading. Smile

Boring Old Update and Light at End of the Tunnel

April 29th, 2018 at 04:09 pm

I had $500 allotted for all living expenses for 4/20 through 5/3, as in cash only in a jar.

Here is the breakdown of how its been spent:

$180 for groceries
$80 for gas (my daughters are contributing more so this expense has gone down)
$75 for 2 Rxs (last of the FSA funds were used for dental expenses earlier in the month) One was a 90 day
$75 for Home Maintenance (5 gallons of driveway filler/sealer and weed killer)
$68 for Miscellaneous ($30 for DH's boss's going away party/$20 for son's volleyball activity, $7 for sewing supplies for other son's project, $6 for Zumba for me)

I have $20 remaining for milk and produce and few necessary items for dinners Tues/Wed/Thurs.

I am confident that for 5/4 through 5/17, we'll be able to do it on $400 cash.

The menu plan is fairly basic, we're eating meatless one night and breakfast items for another. I used a rebate check for the weed killer at Menards and saved $15. I purchased the black top filler sealer from Menards because it was on sale this week.

Today I completed the last day of the two weekend seminar. I'd say I'm 65% done with the research and writing for the final for that (5 questions due on 5/38). My research project's review of the literature is done and I'm moving onto design planning (about 65% done with that project also).

I've started doing some preliminary looking, need to get update on linked-in, and think that I have a good chance of becoming employed in a reasonable amount of time! DH is meeting with a temp agency for contract work (they pay a regular salary, offer 401K and health insurance). We think that contact work might be the way to go for him as we transition to the next phase of life.

Unemployment is still looming, but maybe not as large as I made it out to be. Still the EF isn't what I'd like it to be, but we should be OK.

Back in the Saddle

April 22nd, 2018 at 04:14 pm

Three paychecks left until Official Unemployment (5/4, 5/18, 6/1).

Goal is to spend as little as possible. I've neglected mostly everything except schoolwork lately. That's not a good thing given our situation.

Mostly for accountability, I'm posting this here.

For 4/20 - 5/3, our living money (groceries/gas/miscellaneous) is $500. We ran out of FSA funds and had to spend $70 for a prescription. So our current economic reality is: $215/week.

Thus far, have spent:
$85 on groceries
$30 on gas
$30 on DH's outing to celebrate boss's last day. The department is going to a Happy Hour. Reality is: DH can't exceed that amount since we're on a cash basis.

Thus far $145/$215

The $85 on groceries for the week (our cupboards are fairly well stocked). The menu plan is this:
1) frozen pizzas
2) homemade mac and cheese
3) chili
4) baked chicken
5) tacos
6) beef and peppers
7) curried chickpeas

We are also back to cash only.

This will most likely be the tone of future posts; boring/numbers and tracking.

Honest Opinions, Please.

April 20th, 2018 at 07:06 am

Is it okay to attend a Meet & Greet without purchasing the guest's book to be personalized?

I am attending a university-sponsored event tomorrow at no cost because I am a current student. I have paid to join the professional organization (student rate). My goal is to not only learn the topic, but to network.

I will add that we just made some necessary upgrades to the rental property (new front/back/garage doors purchased from Menards and installed and bath tub paint, etc) to the tune of $1,100.00 (Paid cash)

DH's last month of work is May. We will have three final paychecks; he is currently working with a recruiter and I am finishing up a graduate certificate in Organizational Development. Our only extraneous spending has been a $100 suit for him from Kohls on sale and $80 textbook for me.

I don't know the etiquette of attending Meet and Greets and don't particularly want to purchase this book. Is it OK if I go and don't spend the $40.

I really haven't a clue; thus the question. Thanks for the advice. In the event that it is tacky to go and not buy the book, I will buy the book and attend.

I have no point of reference for this. Thanks!

College book stores price match. Who knew?

April 10th, 2018 at 01:07 pm

I had a snafu with the last textbook I purchased online from Amazon. On the cover it clearly stated that it was intended for international students and not those in the US or Canada. Boo. I was so happy to get it at a reasonable price; after all the angst, I was able to use it in class and cannot quite actually determine what the differences in the text books are.

I was on campus at the bookstore today for the textbook for the two-weekend seminar upcoming. They only had new books for $105. While being helped, I said I could probably find it cheaper on Amazon, to which the worker said they price match. I ended up with the text book for $73.00 out the door. I was happy with that.

Who knew that they price match? I also found out that the eye doctor sells the contact lens boxes at warehouse club prices. I suppose it always helps to ask if they price match.

I guess this qualifies as "Saving while spending". I will need to Whack a Mole for this puchase (I am $23 short from the EXTRANEOUS FUND). But its fine. Spending across all other categories is at expected or less.

Investing in Professional Self, and Good Test Results!

April 9th, 2018 at 11:32 am

I'm in second the ten-week quarter for a graduate cerficiate in Organizational Development. This is the third week of classes; I am fairly organized in what needs to be done as far as the research project for my Methods class (meeting with library research specialist tomorrow) and also for a two-weekend seminar.

I found out that I can attend the university's Lecture/Speaker Series for free. I have decided to purchase the speaker's book and attend the Meet and Greet the night before for network purposes, and I've also decided to pay $130 for the annual student fee to join the professional network.

I think that I've realized that sometimes capital needs to be invested into a product in order to keep it current. Or, Hello Professional Life.

Also: I've ammended this to say thank you for the prayers and well wishes from the earlier post where I mentioned a new nodule on DH's lung. He's two years post cancer diagnosis and his doctor is conservative. The results of the PET scan were fine, non cancer. Thank you again! Anxiety is ugly.

Win Some. Lose Others. Today was a Loss.

April 3rd, 2018 at 03:29 pm

I was riding high on the thrill of the economical suit purchase for DH.

And I was super proud that I got my required textbook in an earlier version for $35 on Amazon. It arrived today and ... big fail. It's for international students and not intended for use in the United States or Canada.
Topic: Methods of Research in Organizational Behavior. I thought that statistics were universal, but apparently not. The only way to remedy this is to see if I can take out a general methods textbook and try to supplement. It's required for tomorrow, I will limp along.

Also in an effort to corral expenses, I did not renew my Amazon prime today.

I did spend $33 at the grocery store and $25 in gas.

Prayers please for DH's upcoming test. It's a PET scan to confirm that a small nodule on his lung is really the "highly unlikely to be harmful" kind that his doctor thinks it is. DH does have some small nodules of insignificance on his lungs, this is a new one. His other CAT scan results were all fine, he is two years post-cancer diagnosis. I know logically this is probably nothing, but the anxiety and stress is kicking in. Anyhow, he needs to eat a particular diet tomorrow before test on Thurs.

That's all for now. Stay warm; hard to believe its spring out there!

Batten down the Hatches

April 2nd, 2018 at 11:11 am

Goal for April: No to Low Spend.

Already spent $101.66 on a new suit for DH. He hasn't had to interview in about a decade and we decluttered his previous career clothes. He had a variety of pant sizes (36" to 42") (he's been up and down the weight continuum). We cleared it all out and he is starting over.

Kohl's had a great sale ($200 suit coat for $75, $100 pants for $44. On top of that I used 20% off and it was free shipping, plus $10 Kohls Cash back for future use). Used debit card - so I'll consider it a win-win.

Ham bone went into crockpot for bean soup, another crockpot has homemade granola going. I've baked brownies for boys' lunch snacks tomorrow. I did spend $18 building up a stockpile last month.

So trying to plug those money leaks. Prepping for short-term unemployment. Outlook is still sunny.

Happy Easter/Spring and Hello April

March 30th, 2018 at 09:14 am

I closed out spending for March. The extraneous spending was higher because we had title/plate/registration/tax on the minivan my parents gifted us, I paid for spring sports for my grade schooler, Easter cost us $170 (that is the dinner and I spent $30 on each child getting them things that they need (summer clothes), I also had to pay for a textbook that I needed for this quarter and couldn't borrow.

I think that the rest of the year is going to fly for us since we are 4th quarter/2nd semester for everyone. I have 9 weeks left of the quarter and I think it should be manageable. The methods of organizational research class requires weekly check-ins with the professor (there are only nine of us in the class), so I won't be stressed at the end of it, and I read the syllabus for the two weekend seminar and I've already started what I can on that (journal article reviews and doing prelim background research on some OD topics).

I am going to attend a Speaker Lecture Series for free; I'm non-degree seeking (16 hour grad certificate) but they agreed to waive the cost. I'm looking forward to it and am glad I accepted the offer. More knowledge is always a good thing.

Looking forward to a low-spend April. It's a short month, I'm fairly organized, and I've been building a stockpile. And collecting easy and economical recipes.

Today we're heading to the Garfield Park Conservatory and eating at Chillis. I spend $50 on gift cards at CVS for Chillis and have $10 ECB. I also spent $50 on groceries at Target and got a $10 gift card. I'm hosting a brunch but it keeps getting smaller and smaller. I don't really mind much; I'm getting less and less accepting of other people's drama.

Enjoy your weekend and see you in April!

Practicing for Frugal/Low Spend/Unemployment

March 25th, 2018 at 03:29 pm

Still challenging myself to keep as much money as possible, spending the least amount required, while still having a happy existence. I think it can be done.

1) I've been decluttering and clearing out. This has been a definite reminder that I've blown money on things that aren't right/don't fit/aren't needed/etc.
I have started a list of items of clothing that I need to maintain a capsule wardrobe; things that my sons need; etc.

2) I will be going to Play It Again Sports to part with Lacrosse equipment and outgrown football and soccer cleats. Hopefully I can get a store credit there or a reasonable cash offer. (Note: I don't regret these purchases!)

3) Today we took our dog for a walk around the local pond. It was brisk and sunny, and we went twice around for 1.00 miles. No cost and minimal complaining. My runner didn't want to run; maybe next time.

4) We went to the library and checked out several movies: Inferno, LaLaLand, In Cold Blood, and some other oldies.

5) I did spend $2.64 at the grocery store for fajita sauce and peppers. We had some fajita steak strips that needed to be used.

6) Tomorrow we are going to the Arboretum and out to lunch with my parents. No cost to us since this an annual even we do with them during spring break.

7) Yesterday we visited my parents and worked a 500 piece puzzle. Free and a good time.

I do think that one is capable of succeeding if they have the correct mindset. I'm fairly new to optimism. I battle SADD and sometimes have an undercurrent of self defeating thoughts. And, oh, the anxiety! But it's getting better.

And I'm keeping myself positive with positive living reminders and memes on my FB wall. And I will toot my own horn: I got a 4.0 for the first quarter (last grade was pending), but I achieved my goal for the first 10 weeks.


Moving Smarter in the Money World

March 21st, 2018 at 09:04 am

I found a bonus offer for a checking acount that requires NO direct deposit of other funds to be bonus eligible. It's thru 5/3 and will pay $200 after a $500 balance is maintaind for 60 days. I can do that. I am doing the bare minimum since I already put some of the EF in a share certificate with a Christian credit union and given the uncertainty of our situation (though unemployment is certain and date certified).

I am also allotting $15 the week of the 19th and the 26th to begin for the April grocery challenge. There are some pretty good prices this week: 4# of sugar ($.97), canned beans ($.50), cake mix ($.80), and canned pineapple ($.80).

I'm also using a gift card to a more upscale grocery store for my ham. Spiral cut is $1.37/#. I got the gift card for transferring an Rx to their pharmacy. Not sure how many will be coming to Easter Brunch this year, so depending on what I have left over, I may go with a bottle of wine or Fannie May mint meltaways as a splurge.

I appreciate all of the suggestions for meal ideas for April. I've compiled an excel spreadsheet and have decided to keep it fun. I'm looking forward to trying some of these recipes. I think a good attitude will be key to the success of this experiment.

Spring Break is next week and since we don't want to break the bank, I'm coming up with some ideas. I have saved some money and have looked on Groupon. I think it might be fun to do a family outing to an escape room. There is one for 6 people for $58. That is what it would cost to bowl or roller skate. We also go to the Garfield Park Conservatory (a wonderful place under the Chicago Park District, and it is free!) and color eggs and go to the Easter Vigil. We also go to the Morton Arboretum with my parents and they take us out for lunch.

I've also started a list of movies for a Family Movie Night. The first is Angels and Demons (my older son really liked the Davinci Code - watched it with him on Monday when he was sick).

So here is what is happening at Easter Brunch:

Sprial cut ham; cornbread casserole; green bean casserole; crockpot mashed potatoes; jello salad. Dessert: Cake Pops and maybe Fannie May meltaways

What's on your menu for your Spring celebrations? (maybe there are Passover celebraters here?)

What traditions do you have?

Aside from the trip to the flower house, coloring eggs, attending Easter Vigil, we also watch "Easter Parade". Sometimes "Brigadoon"

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