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Analyzing the Spending and EOM Goals

June 17th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Well, the spending is in the first half of the month and there isn't anything really surprising. I'm average about $80 a week on gas and $125 a week on groceries. Gifts/Clothing categories are down - carrying over for July (my brother's wedding and more family in town).

End of month goals:

1) $103 additional principle payment to mortgage (I'm liking even hundreds in the balance Smile
2) Making some prepayments to 2015/2016 tuition (about 5%) of totals since we know what we owe since all financial aid and scholarship amounts are in
3) Increase 401K contributions to 11% from 10%

Also trying to rework some things to see about sponsoring a child through UNITED and maybe increasing contribution to church by a bit.

Dec FL balance is at $400
M's ipad balance is at $270
(I expect the FL balance to increase with DH's side gig check up to $500)
(I expect the ipad balance to increase once I redeem a forgotten 23000 thank you points with Citibank on DH's card)

Slow and steady wins the race - or in this case - funds all the pots.

What a $1 bag of frozen fruit at the Dollar Tree get you:

June 16th, 2015 at 06:57 am

10 oz of frozen blueberries
10 oz of frozen strawberries
12 oz of frozen pineapple
12 oz of frozen mango

I should add that the selection of what is offered varies; sometimes it is only berries, other times it is mango and pineapple.

This has been helping to keep the price of our smoothie consumption down. I will admit to buying the bags of pretzels, frosted animal crackers, and fudge covered graham crackers (which my children prefer from the fridge) as snack staples for the days I don't bake.

Last night was my oldest daughter's scholarship Mass at our Diocese's chapel. It's been celebrated by the auxiliary bishop the past few years. She has been the first student ever to receive the scholarship all four years of high school, and she was approached about speaking at the fundraising luncheon next spring. That is a great honor for her, and we as her parents are so proud. The reception was very nice and low-key, my parents came as did one representative from the council that recommends her.

Photo will self-destruct in a bit, but wanted to share. Smile

Tracking the Spending; anyone bank with Byline?

June 15th, 2015 at 08:35 am

After several weeks of tracking the spending (consumables/extraneous/utilities), I've found that
on the average the household has been spending:

Groceries $130 (after 10% savings with coupons)
Gas $80

Groceries includes all household/personal care/pet products.

The grocery spending is up with the increase in fruits and vegetables (still on the smoothie kick - though I can buy frozen fruit at the Dollar Tree - so I buy whatever they have: been pineapple, mango, and blueberries - we've been doing recipes according to those). We're also going through more Greek yogurt and almond milk, more chicken (about 7-8# a week), and baking stuff since we're cooking a lot more from scratch for snacks and stuff). My goal is to be in the $125-$135 range weekly.

Surprisingly, the healthier eating isn't costing as much to the budget as I initially thought it would. We are also going through flax seed and nuts so that is included in the budget increase as well.

I'll continue to track the spending. I've worked up a list of needed things to buy, and I'm just watching the sale ads from the Sunday paper and for other deals - last year I ended up with a $100 Old Navy card purchased at CVS and got $15 ECB which worked out well for me outfitting my sons and buying some baby shower gifts.

And does anyone here bank with byline bank? They have a pretty good deal right now - $300 for a checking account and savings account with $5K. I'd lose the liquidity of my EF for 90 days, but think it'd be fine. (Already farmed out $5K of EF for another offer.)

End of month goals:
1) Make a payment of 8%-10% on tuition balances for upcoming 2015-2016 years.
2) Make additional mortgage principle payment of $103
3) Increase 401k to 11% up from 10%

These things should be easily attainable if spending remains within normal limits. Entertainment: going to spend $20 on a groupon for local pool admission for one day.

Daily Udate

June 12th, 2015 at 05:45 am

Dark and rainy morning here in the Midwest. Most likely a good day to go back to bed, but the girls need a ride to church where they are helping out with a drama camp.

Frugal triumphs yesterday
1) Saved gas and had girls bike to church
2) Made homemade mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies for dinner
3) Opened the Capital One account for $50 bonus in 90 days

I missed having a NSD because I spent $6 on elastic ankle supports for my oldest son who was complaining of some pain after the last soccer game/practice. I am so glad that the season is ending tomorrow, and I imagine if the pain continues he'll go to see the doctor. We've never had any sports related injuries which is surprising with all the sports/dance the kids do.

Moved up one extraneous expense (pom camp fee for younger daughter). It is in August, so I assumed I could pay in July and had it on the list of "To Pays". They'd like payment now, so my additional principle payment to mortgage drops from $200 to $103. Oh well, so the juggling of the money balls continues.

Still operating from the premise of economic choice - decided to put off an outing to see the first run movie Jurassic World to next Tuesday when it is $5 at the local Cinemark. We'll treat the cousins and then have a sleepover, should be a lot of fun. If we had gone today - would have been $8/person. Still spending the same amount, just including others.

Frugal doing for the day:
1) Library for movies and books and wii games
2) Eating from pantry/freezer
3) Still on track for my weekly budgeted spending of $125 on groceries, looks like we'll be using frozen fruit in the Vitamix for our smoothies, since not planning on shopping til next Tues or Wed.

Organizing goal for the day:
1) Books > final cut to shelf/picture books and early readers to basement
2) Final bag up of items for tomorrow's drop off to SVDP

All is fine in and out of the money realm. Smile

Frugal festivities continue

June 11th, 2015 at 07:55 am

along the lines of:

1) Opened capital one savings account with $5K from EF - will get $50 in 90 days (this was in lieu of opening checking accounts - which I had planned, but never did). Also considering the Discover savings account for DH and making another $50. Will most likely divert those bonuses to Dec FL trip.

2) I have decided to take a seminar this summer - one week long the first week in August. Tuition during the summer is 35% cheaper than in the fall/winter/spring sessions.

3) I returned an impulse purchase to Sam's Club - $5.xx. I realize that I don't look good in orange and I never will, and I really like my white/black/grey palette. Note to self: avoid clearance priced clothing in the color orange/melon or turquois/aqua green. These will never, ever work for you.

4) I returned the Christmas gift to the store DH purchased it from and have a store credit for $76. I didn't have his debit card for it to be credited to - but I do like the store he shopped at, and will have it for future needs or whims.

5) Cleaned up the jewelry that I'm going to hopefully sell tomorrow.

6) Limited driving today and designated it a NSD.

Frugal Doings

June 10th, 2015 at 05:11 am

1) Tracking spending (again) and realize that I save 10% average weekly on the groceries using coupons on things we use regularly Aldi's had almond milk and Greek yogurt on sale, so I stocked up a bit on those items (still cheaper than regular store)

2) Took two surveys at the bottom of receipts and yielded one free donut at Dunkin Donuts and free fries at Portillo's.

3) Today will spend $3 on Wed. morning kid movies at our local theater

4) Cashed out $150 in Target gift cards from PNC Bank to put towards younger daughter's ipad needed for school

5) Passed on textbooks to nephew for his frosh and soph years

6) Cancelled oldest son's registrations to Boy Scout Camp (he's going on a different trip with extended family that week) so that resulted in a $280 refund.

7) Gained back 1# of 8.5 lost - need to make better food options - definitely attributable to carbs. Frown

8) The Christmas trip fund has $225 thus far (two of DH's checks from side gig plus money my daughter didn't spend on her trip to FL that need not go back into the cash flow).

9) Going to move $5K to a savings account at Capital One for a $50 bonus to be credited in 90 days.

10) Going to work the smoothie recipes around the seasonal produce on sale coming up

11) Younger daughter found a dress for my brother's wedding at Nordstrom Rack - can't say that I've ever been there - but will most likely visit again. My limit was $30 and she found the cutest Betsey Johnson dress (but smallest size is 2 and it will have to be altered) for $48.xx after tax (down from $130?!). She covered the overage, and I'll cover the alterations. So cute, and the girls are now done with clothing for the event.


The old Polish proverb goes:

June 9th, 2015 at 01:42 pm

"Not my circus, not my monkey."

Flipside of that is:

"Not your circus, not your monkey."

In the event that anyone feels the need to offer unsolicited advice along the lines of "what I think you should do" or "I don't agree with you" - such comments will be deleted. I'm not asking for anyone's approval on or acceptance of what I or my family does.

You don't like how we chose to celebrate birthdays, move on and don't comment.

I try to afford people the respect that I would like to receive. Life is too short for such drama.


Money Tides Might Have Turned

June 5th, 2015 at 08:02 am

Today is the first day of *the*frugal*summer. We slept until 9:30.

The goal for the summer is have at much free and frugal fun as possible this summer, with the goal being a nice trip to Florida in December (birthday and Christmas gifts for kids/funded with our savings and Christmas cash from grandparents). We've got everyone on board.

We are having our celebratory year end dinner out tonight at Portillos (minus daughter in FL). We've saved our change (and I will obviously supplement from the Consumables category). Managed to effortlessly save $32.50. (Everyone's change and my singles plus a random $5).

We have on our calendar of (almost free) things to do:
1) Visit Lincoln Park Zoo
2) Participate in library reading club
3) Free concerts in the park
4) Car show (free) on Friday nights
5) Trip to MSI where we have a membership already
6) White Sox game three tickets from rained out game for a different game
7) Volunteer at local humane society
8) Feed my starving children outing
9) $1 movie at our local theater - kids movies on Wed mornings
10) Use a groupon for a visit to the local pool (skipping a membership this year)
11) My girls are volunteering as counselors at three camps my church is running - one son is also a counselor for one camp, and several are attending various ones
12) Summer reading for upcoming grades starting in the fall

We're trying to calculate the value saved on some of these things and then using that to fund our account and keep it afloat.

And my oldest son hap opted out of BS Camp (that I just paid $280 for but should be able to get a full refund) to go on a "Boys' Outing" with my brother's new father in law, brother in law, stepson, and nephews. It sounds like a whole love of fun in a huge RV with camping, fishing, biking, etc. I secretly wish they'd invite me. Smile

So, all in all, heading in the right direction. Smile


June 4th, 2015 at 05:15 am

Since the school work is winding down, I'm finding more time to tackle problematic areas in the house (yesterday was organizing my cookbooks/transferring out winter boots/coats from closet/tackling year end papers and supplies from the kids). Consequently, lots of things are going into the trash or donate boxes. Very satisfying to see progress with less.

That said, we're tending to value experiences over stuff. We don't need more stuff. I don't think we want more stuff. DH and I talked about a trip to FL in December as birthday/Christmas gifts to the kids (5 birthday from 8/23 to 12/22). Factoring in what we receive as gifts (cash from parents) it is probably do-able. Excited about that plan and putting it into action.

Streamlining: Just trying to work smarter, not harder. Tomorrow is payday and there isn't anything exciting or mind blowing about that. I was down to my last $8 (this appears to be the theme "Running out of money the Wednesday before Friday's payday". My mom lent me a trash sticker (cost $3.82 weekly for trash pick up) and three eggs. The kids ate left over and DH and I had scrambled eggs.

Confession: In going through my closet I found a black patterned tunic my husband bought me for Christmas. He let me know that the sales gal helped him out. I don't exactly like it very much. At all. My mother loved it and bought herself the exactly one. Twinsies with your mom who is nineteen years older than you: Not gonna happen. Good news is it has the tags on it, and I have the receipt. I can return in for a store credit. Back it is going, and is will be forever a distant memory, until I see my mother wearing it. Right? Wrong? It cost $73 with tax. (Side note: DH did get me beautiful earring, too, that I love and wear with regularity when I get a bit spruced up!)

And I'm going to see about selling two rings and diamond necklace. Rings were from the dating days when I wore them (and I believe DH purchased them from MILs friend who had her own version of a pawn shop) and the diamond necklace was a hand-me-down. My children have their own nice jewelry and these aren't sentimental items - in the least.

Tomorrow is first full day of summer when I won't have to be a responsible parent to get up and say good-bye to a school-bound child. Last day of finals for younger daughter. She had a tough, tough time with Spanish -- thinking about dropping it for next year and doing Latin.

ETA: $4.81 impulse purchase (shirt from Sam's) going back. Will count that in my "smart money" too.

Random observation:

June 2nd, 2015 at 02:44 pm

It costs more money to eat whole foods, but I'm thinking that it is totally worth it.

10-day green smoothie cleanse turned out profitable; weight loss of 8.5# for me, and 15# for DH. I am pleased to say that I followed to a T with the exception of 1 small cup of 1/2 caff coffee in the morning. (I hate to say what I was drinking pre-cleanse). I've also managed to kick the sleeping pill habit. It's been a rough go, but I think I'm finally finding equilibrium with wake/sleep times natural to my body.

The kids are getting way less processed snacks. I've yet to become totally reformed, but we've said good-bye to soda (opting for lemonade/ or Arnold Palmers). We've said hello to healthy bytes and home-made cookies. Less bread, more chicken. (Like 7# of chicken in one week - with seven eaters).

Went out to eat today with my mom and daughter at Egg Harbor. (Not sure if those are around the US or just Midwest?) And I had a fresh fruit crepe, passed my English muffin on to the others, and drank water. Smile

Today I spent $68 at the grocery store for the next few days. Save $6 in coupons and got a free milk.

Calling it a wash --

May 27th, 2015 at 05:36 pm

On my way into Walgreens, I was approached by a gentleman who appeared to be in need. His minivan was an older model, and we had made eye contact, I smiled and nodded. (My new thing is try to always be positive, I caught a glimpse of all the tired parents in the car line after dropping their kids off at high school and no one particularly pleasant - I'm trying hard at that).

His request was very specific - he was in need of some type of fluid for his car - I am bad with motors and I can't say that I'd know which fluid it was - his debit card had been turned down and he needed $6.10. It was broad daylight and I wasn't too weary or concerned because he seemed legitimately in need. I told him that I'd see what I could do.

In Walgreens I was buying items on sale and with coupons for maximum savings since my funds feel somewhat depleted. My coupon savings was $8.00. I had to take $10 cash out over my total (wouldn't allow me the $8 that I saved), so one my way out I handed it over to the gentleman. He was quite appreciative and we blessed each other.

He said he'd pay it forward. I'm thinking that small acts of kindness like that can make the difference.

Feeling happy with the outcome.

Calling it a wash --

May 27th, 2015 at 05:36 pm

On my way into Walgreens, I was approached by a gentleman who appeared to be in need. His minivan was an older model, and we had made eye contact, I smiled and nodded. (My new thing is try to always be positive, I caught a glimpse of all the tired parents in the car line after dropping their kids off at high school and no one particularly pleasant - I'm trying hard at that).

His request was very specific - he was in need of some type of fluid for his car - I am bad with motors and I can't say that I'd know which fluid it was - his debit card had been turned down and he needed $6.10. It was broad daylight and I wasn't too weary or concerned because he seemed legitimately in need. I told him that I'd see what I could do.

In Walgreens I was buying items on sale and with coupons for maximum savings since my funds feel somewhat depleted. My coupon savings was $8.00. I had to take $10 cash out over my total (wouldn't allow me the $8 that I saved), so one my way out I handed it over to the gentleman. He was quite appreciative and we blessed each other.

He said he'd pay it forward. I'm thinking that small acts of kindness like that can make the difference.

Feeling happy with the outcome.

Interesting observation:

May 26th, 2015 at 11:59 am

As the reality of having little to no extra funds until next payday (extraneous category was totally depleted and then some), my sudden whim for wants increases.

< in money, > in wants ?!

What is that about?

I'm rather disgusted with myself and should never meander around Sams during the early hours when they let Business Card holders in. I actually stopped at looked at $89 Coach sunglasses (?!) and a three-tier tray made of galvanize steel for $24.99 (?!) (One decorating blog I follow does sinfully delicious home vignette decorating in one of those - Why couldn't I?). And an orange yard stool (heavy glass maybe)down to $19 from $39 (but, it would match the colors in my neutral and drab family room!)

I really don't know what do say to myself. I am literally stretching my dollars and turning in my pennies for solvency (I could use credit cards or transfer from my savings in the event of a "real" emergency). Where is my fortitude?

Wow, I am feeling really off-kilter and out-of-whack.

Watching the dimes ...

May 24th, 2015 at 05:47 am

I tracked the spending - and while it has been within realistic realms - I added up the amount spent on snacks and trips to Wendy's after sports practices. And DH's obsession with premium beef jerky while filling up his car. That adds up quite quickly to a family meal out at Portillo's.

There is a soccer tournament going on this weekend (Sat/Sun) with at least ten most likely 12 games for three players. I did yesterday's run, DH is doing today's. I had to be there at 7:00 AM yesterday and DH's start time was 8:15 (its about a 45 min drive). Anyhow, I let everyone know that there is a family dinner out on the calendar to celebrate the last day of school for the last remaining student 5 (on 6/5). At Portillos, (their new favorite place) and that is where all the "snack" money is going.

This meant that I packed healthy snacks and drinks yesterday, and sent more snacks AND sandwiches today. My thrifty Boy Scout made a comment about those dimes will turn into dollars. That made me laugh.

DH and I are doing a raw food/green smoothie cleanse for 10 days. That wasn't as costly as I thought since it used frozen fruit and fresh greens. I did have to go to the health food store for ground flaxseed. I am hoping to lose 6-8# and am sticking just to walking, actual bike riding, and using the recumbent bike at the Y.

It's busy, busy coming up these next two weeks with my own school work, kids' final projects, DH's work schedule. Etc. My first inclination is to run to the prepared foods (i.e., packaged and processed) but I'm not doing it. I'm making home-made mac and cheese plus something in the crock pot, and I've got ingredients on hand for homemade cookies. I also have a recipe for no bake energy bites which I can finally make since I have the ground flaxseed.

Hope everyone has a restful weekend. And if you know a veteran, say "thank you."

I know that several of our SA family are military families, so I thank you for supporting your loved one as they make this country as great and safe as it is. Smile

Meet Flo, my new best friend

May 20th, 2015 at 05:28 am

The renewal of the insurance policy on the rental property went up to $1,042. That was roughly $120 increase across the board.

I happened to get a flyer from Progressive. After a quick (HA, not really, rather longish) phone call Flo, I was "outsourced" to another provider who deals with rental properties.

My replacement coverage was raised to $220K for the dwelling and my policy dropped to an overall cost of $795 annually. I paid the $130.34 for the policy to go into effect on 7/19. I will then make ten payments starting 8/19 for $65.67.

I'm pretty pleased about that. Once I have my other paperwork for policies in front of me, I'll call back for a quote on the primary/cars.

Small (positive) money blips

May 19th, 2015 at 09:42 am

1) Opening a savings account in DH's name with Discover. Minimum required to open account is $25, with $50 bonus credited.

2) Opening a checking account in my names with Citibank. Will maintain the minimum and make one bill pay for two consecutive months for $125 bonus.

3) Being much more diligent with spending and couponing. I managed to save 50% of items we use regularly by matching up CVS coupons and manufacturer coupons. Definitely spending smarter.

4) Will have enough money left at month's end to throw some crumbs into my IRA. At least $100, hopefully $125.

5) Volunteering to work the used book sale at younger daughter's high school. I will first dibs on her books for next year, plus a discount!

6) $5 free dollars at Old Navy will be used to purchase a new uniform polo for my son. The light blue color just doesn't allow any survival rate as do the older grade's dark blue.

7) Also decided on adding a specific item to my wardrobe. I will be replace two or three different old and faded items. The cost is $34.95 at American Eagle. If I wait until the 24th, there is $10 off of $40. I can always through a pair of socks onto the purchase to get the discount.

Totally stealing CB's thunder with this quote: these are all bricks to building my financial empire. Smile

How the other half shops ...

May 15th, 2015 at 09:57 am

DH took the day off to watch the boys' Spring Sing at school. We then had a $25 gift card to spend at the upscale grocery store (foodie organic Heaven, apparently).

I understand the importance of making wise food decisions for one's family; I'm embracing some small changes this week forward.

We wandered aimlessly before deciding the funds must be spent because we wouldn't be returning (we've had the gift card at least several years).

We looked for ginger and ground flaxseed- no luck on either of those. Frown Here is what we spent:

$10.99 for take and bake organic pizza
$2.99 x 2 Lentil soup mixes
$6.99 on honey roasted peanuts
$2.50 for a protein bar

OOP was $1.51.

What I am doing this week for healthier living:
1) smoothies x 3 mornings breakfast
2) home made no-bake energy bites
3) salads x 3 lunch/dinner
4) making homemade air freshner w/essential oil
5) only 1 2L of soda to go with pizza.

Passing the buck ... rather keeping the buck ...

May 13th, 2015 at 06:10 am

Every year my kids' school (elementary) has the VIP Show - complete with each grade singing a song and then the spectacular finale at the end with a school-wide sing. I've been at these for nine years now, so I'm nostalgic, but no longer so gung-ho.

I actually recall perseverating about "the" right outfit for each child for several years running. We were always outshined by the one mother with seamstress talents who could sew specific items. I stopped competing and it got to be a bit more fun.

The school then did the "VIP logo-themed t-shirt" a few years back - an art contest with the winners work onto a t-shirt ... available for purchase at $12/each. I did that one year and spent $40 (they were $10 three years ago). No one every wore the t-shirts again, saying they were itchy, ugly, etc.

Since then I stopped buying those, and simply put the kids in a solid-colored t-shirt coordinating with their grade's color. Saving my money. Worst case scenario, I have spent $3.50 on a T shirt at Michaels (and that's before using a 40% off coupon).

Tomorrow is the VIP show. We've got all the required-color T's, and this year I've saved myself $36.

Oh, if I had only been wiser back then ... live and learn ... and keep your bucks ...

Final cost for prom (Temporary picture included)

April 27th, 2015 at 08:28 am

My daughter purchased her own ticket ($100 - included dinner at a local upscale suburban events place, transportation by luxury coach to and from the boat in Chicago, 3.5 hours on the luxury cruise liner that went up and down the lakeshore). She also gave $30 for her dress, paid for her own French manicure ($19) and some bracelets and fancy flip-flop gladiator sandals ($20).

I paid for balance of dress $39xx (but ended up with a $10 coupon for JCP). $25xx for slip, undies, and mascara. $75 for hair/make up. (The $75 was under what we would have paid at a salon, and a fellow seminarians wife did a wonderful job for that 2 hours worth or work)

Picture will self destruct in a bit.

Dreading the numbers ...

April 19th, 2015 at 06:32 am

And not the numbers you think!

Calories. I'm in the middle of trying to cook for someone who needs to gain weight (daughter has 6 weeks before a nurse check to see that she has gained 2.5 pounds) and who needs to lose weight (husband just had physical and his doctor told him at the rate he is gaining, he will 300 pounds in 5 years - he is a stress eater and clearly has lived a stressed life lately).

Scored some deals this week: Nutella for daughter was only $6.xx at Sam's. She also eats the full-fat mac and cheese from Trader Joes which is $2.98/serving but yields 600+ calories. Jewel has vegetables (frozen in bags) for $.88. So I'll be back to stock up on those for husband.

The rest of us are sort of blobbing along with our regular menu. And we're now back to running in 18 different directions most nights, so the crockpot needs to kicking into high gear.

Breakfast: I am doing better with having muffins vs. Poptarts. We also froze some waffles left over from a dinner. We still go through tons of yogurt and fiber bars. I should try to find a recipe for the fiber bars online and make myself, but time is really short here. (Insert excuse: School is way harder this time around).

Ok, off to catch up on the bogs. Have a wonderful and restful day!

Nudging along in the right direction

April 17th, 2015 at 02:31 pm

Slowly, but surely.

We neglected our retirement contributions while we were in flux wondering about the stability of my husband's job situation, etc.

He received a 2% pay raise, and today I raised his percentage from 6% to 10%. I also sent $1,250 to my 2014 IRA on Wednesday.

I keep thinking "If only I did this in smaller dribs and drabs, it wouldn't be so painful." So not only have I paid the saving account first, but I have small goals for the May and June as far as throwing bits of money to retirement.

I do feel very good about upping from 6% to 10%. That will be significant in the long-run.

So, slowly creeping along in the correct direction.

Prom dress shopping = Done

April 15th, 2015 at 05:29 am

I had a 20% off coupon that expired yesterday for a purchase at JC Penney's.

Older daughter purchased her own prom ticket ($100) so DH and I agreed to buy her dress and shoes.

All of her friends got dresses from Penneys, so we headed there. She tried on every single size 1 we could find - long, short, in between, sheath dresses, cupcake dresses, etc.

She ended up between two: the classic pale pink lace, strapless, long, with bead embellishments in a heart-shape on the bodice AND the other was a very elegant black lace number, reminiscent of something from the Roaring 20s flapper, open back with beading. She ended up with the first one because it screamed "prom".

I am not sure of the fate of the dress, whether she will keep it or exchange it. But the particulars of the purchase:

Original price: $138
Less 40%: - $54.01
Less 20%: - $16.00
Tax: $ 5.28
Total $69.27

My daughter contributed $30
My OOP $39.27

Also earned $10 off my next purchase due to their in-store rewards club.

Bringing my outlay to: $29.27

Pictures to follow.

Prom Time

April 14th, 2015 at 06:21 am

My older daughter asked me for a check for $100 this morning for her prom ticket. I was a bit surprised because she had mentioned in passing she was going to go with a group of girl friends, it is at a local banquet hall and then they take a party bus to a boat ride on the Chicago River.

Before I could say anything, she added, "I left two $50s by your keys. It is probably easier just to pay by check. Thanks."

She is a good kid. She then let me know she'd like to look at the resale shop for a dress or see if there are coupons for Penney's because a friend got a dress there for a reasonable price.

DH and I agreed we'd cover the dress. All I remember about my prom, when I was a junior at the same high school eons ago, my dress cost $40.

Anyone remember incidentals from their prom?

Color Experiment

April 10th, 2015 at 05:44 am

Hypothesis: If green is the color that you want to maintain, how long will you be able to avoid red?

I have a bad habit. I end-load my desired payments to whatever the day of payday. Essentially, if I spend more than what I am planning, the end-load payment is obviously decreased. Makes sense?

This two week period I've front-loaded the payment and am "Paying ourselves first."

And I was amazed at how my spending habits/patterns changed when we were down to our last cash this week after time away. We made it with $.30 to spare. The cupboards are a bit barer and we ate cereal for dinner last night.

Today I am taking my cash for the week out of the ATM. No debit card usage this go around. I am hoping to be pretty accurate on how much I target to spend.

So this week it is all GREEN. Inconvenience will be going into the gas station to prepay for gas. And that really isn't an inconvenience.

This week to save money I:

- Bought cereal on sale at Walgreens and using a coupon paid less that $1.50 per box. This is an area I'd like to improve on - boxes of sugary crap cereal should really be gone.
- Bought one of the required text books for my class and have requested the remainder through inter-library loan.
- Requested generic Flonase through the Pharmacy instead of paying 3x as much OTC

Hoped for outcome of this week:

Spending in the $150 to $175 range and putting an additional $200 toward retirement.

Synchronizing those winding down with those winding up

April 9th, 2015 at 05:46 am

1) We started college visits this past Spring break with older daughter. Only seen a few, but she has a top contender that we both like which will be hard to beat. Small liberal arts close to home. She's opting to not live on campus and work from a Chicago-based agency, so I am hopeful all goes well for her.

2) I am back in school today, officially a graduate student of the establishment I have attended as a SAL. A bit excited by it all, a very interesting track I am on. But also wondering since we've got lots of unknowns.

3) DH moves to the new location tomorrow in Itasca. He's serious about working remotely on the days he has classes (he starts in August). Sounds like a wise move on his part. I've made suggestions in the past, but he wasn't really ready to listen, so it is nice that he has a plan of his own.

4) We meet tomorrow with the person who may be able to advise us on pursuing an adoption from the country we are interested in. From here it is essentially a private international adoption and those plans were quashed right away, but this has the Church involved and the help of someone pretty high up. We remain cautiously hopeful and have decided to tell everyone what is going on so we have plenty of prayers covering us.

5) We went away for a few days over Spring break to an indoor water park in Utica, IL. Only an hour a way with tons of hiking options and plenty of indoor fun. We spent more than usual on a room, but it was a suite and there was enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably. Well worth the price.

6) We are officially down to our last $2.50. Payday is tomorrow and we paid for everything cash for our time away. Really nice to do that, first time possibly ever. But definitely making strides.

Merry Christmas

December 24th, 2014 at 04:53 pm

Half the celebrations are done, but we went to Mass and gift exchanged with my family. Tomorrow we host the meal and people come dressed in comfy clothes. From mine to yours. Happy holidays (we've got an extra this year) Smile

Merry Christmas!!

December 24th, 2014 at 07:56 am

Wishing all my SA family a very Merry Christmas! I am thankful to be part of this little corner of the world where I am cheered on, propped up, and propelled forward.

This has been a year of uncertainty, and while our situation now has certainty, I am looking forward to embracing the future.

Thank you all. And Merry Christmas!!

Yes, I have it. And I don't want it ...

December 22nd, 2014 at 06:34 pm

Well, today was a wash. Some things got done, the most important being a celebration for younger daughter's birthday that is today. Dinner ended up being orange chicken and egg rolls from Panda Express, and store-bought cupcakes from Jewel.

With some of us under the weather last night, we had Grandma over to watch "Saving Mr. Banks" and tonight birthday girl wants to watch "Frozen". This will be my first time watching it, and I feel rather thrilled to be joining a club of sorts. I know the songs, but other than that ... not much.

Tomorrow's to do list is short, and I should be able to accomplish it in a prolonged energy burst of 45 minutes or so.

I've medicated myself with daytime flu and cold stuff and it works for about 2.5 hours - not the four.

Confession: My family didn't send out Christmas cards this year. I might aim for New Years if I can pull something together picture-wise. Older daughter put together Elves of us at OM. I feel a bit saddened by it, having concluded that run now being OD. And an OM store in my area is closing. Well, we're ushering in a new era. Lots of changes on the horizon.

I'm tired of thinking of it. So I am off. To watch "Frozen" and most likely fall asleep.

Hope all is well with all of you, and you are finding Christmas cheer.

Alas, I think I've got it ...

December 22nd, 2014 at 07:53 am

we had our flu shots back in October, but I've got the aches and pains, a raw throat, and a sinus headache. And it I have a million things to do today.

It is one daughter's birthday and I'd like to pull something together for a little celebration. And I've got to take care of delivering the signed paperwork to the council office for the cub scout charter.

Oh, I had hoped this wouldn't happen ... and I might of jinxed myself ... no on to cry to cause my mom is still down ...

Slightly overwhelmed, but it will be fine ... I think ...

December 21st, 2014 at 07:49 am

My mom is pretty sick with something and is heading to the urgent care clinic. I hope antibiotics make a difference, she's been down for four days.

My 94-year grandmother is convinced she will get sick if she eats anything in a house with germs. Not good since she lost 12 pounds over the past several months (reason why she's staying between my mom in IL and uncle in CA). I don't there is much I can do to combat that thinking, except for maybe bringing take-out? A sack of burgers from White Castle or Arbys?

We're braving the mall for shopping for our Advent Buddies. We're trying to work this around watching the Bears game. And they decided to bench Cutler after some mega-deal; had an interesting convo about mismanagement of funds in that decision.

My mother can't host Christmas Eve being sick with a small house. My brother just hosted a family dinner last night and I've got Christmas Day. I left a message for my brother that I'll do Christmas Eve AFTER Mass. Before won't work for me since DH is working. And I'm going to make a pan of baked ziti, buy a bottle of two or wine, green salad and garlic bread. And I'm not using my China. I'll buy holiday Chinet.

It feels a bit overwhelmed, but in managing my own brood, I've concluded that other people take their cues from someone. If I am calm and insist that this isn't a big deal, it isn't. Right?

My best friend is also having some relational issues with her new boyfriend. Oh, their romance is fine, but he's the parent of five children, one seriously ill - like residing a residential psychiatric clinic. If best friend thinks its bad now, I had to tell her just wait until this poor girl is reintegrated in the changing fabric of her family. Makes me a bit tired, but I listened and talked for 1 hour and 45 minutes last night.

Ok, time to adjust the game plan and make it all work.

Phew ...

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