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Archive for September, 2016

A&L 3rd Quarter 2016

September 30th, 2016 at 05:22 am

One thing I realized when I started this blog is that I didn’t have a full picture of my financial situation. The numbers below are mine. DH and I keep our finances separate. We have an arrangement of who pays for what and it has worked for us for nearly 25 years.

My credit score = 727 (according to Mint, update coming in mid-October)

Total Savings (Cash) = 960.76 I guess in reality, I am a lot closer to having $1,000 saved in cash but these are divided up for specific items.
Emergency = 407.82 (my goal is funding to $1,000)
Automotive Insurance (due in March) = 115.21 ($500 goal)
CCW Dues & Cards (the dues portion is fully funded now) = 40.15
Christmas Gifts (this is cash and does not include gift cards I’ve accumulated)= 70.96 ($200 goal)
Clothes/Makeup/Hair = 20.00 (fully funded for hair so far).
Gym annual fee x 4 @ 39.99 = 21.00 ($160 goal for August 2017)
Healthcare (this is time off work without pay) = 130.18 (1-1/2 days worth so far – goal is 3 days)
DS3’s Senior Year expenses (he is a junior this year) = 63.58 (goal is $700)
Sharebuilder (I’m building some cash to buy shares. I already have investments) = 7.63 (goal is $100)
Travel = 44.38 (goal is $1000)
Change jars (combined) = 40.47(no real goal – $100 as a stash fund)

Total Investments = 44,015.70
Fidelity 401k = 22,922.48
Sharebuilder = 21.093.22

Home Value (according to Zillow) = 96,000 (rounded)
Car Value (according to wherever Mint gets its information) = 8,000 (rounded)

Total Assets = 148,975.56

Debt Balances = 123,363.23
CC1 = 14,245.90 (9.90% APR Fixed)
CC2 = 3,953.36 (15% APR Variable)
Student Loan = 18,039.78 (2.8% Fixed)
Mortgage = 87,124.19 (6.375% Fixed - Maturity date = 6/1/2036)

Total Liabilities = 123,363.23

DH and I split these up. DH takes care of the cell phone bill (DS1, DS2, my parents contribute), the mortgage, his own fuel, automotive insurance (though I just started saving for my car to contribute) and most of the groceries.
My expenses are as follows (budget for the month) = 717.36
Electric and water (budget) = 200 (variable)
My fuel = 160 per month (variable)
Alarm company = 54
Internet service = 86
Gym membership for the family = 87.36
Groceries (sometimes I buy) = 100 (variable)
Tithe = 30 month
Breakfast – Grilled cheese, orange juice, coffee
Lunch – Breakfast burrito (ham, egg, cheese), banana
Dinner – Garbanzo soup with white rice
Snack - apple

Back to Normal

September 29th, 2016 at 04:54 am

Sort of back to normal. My uncle had heart stents put in on Monday afternoon and was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday, the home health nurse came to do his evaluation and today, the physical therapist will come.

My uncle's neighbor will be assisting him with getting up out of bed in the morning since he is unsteady on his feet and help him get to bed. She is a Godsend!

My aunt will be flying in from New York next week to stay with him while we go to our original trip to Miami to see my dad's brother who has Alzheimer's and of course, his sisters. If you recall a couple of weeks ago, a series of unfortunate events occurred that caused us to cancel our trip.

So, I'm back at work today and working to get my own life back to normal. I gained weight because I haven't been tracking my food and also I haven't exercised. My family, as understanding as they are, were feeling a bit neglected. It is amazing how one event can turn your routine upside down.

Financial: DH gets paid today and he will pay the mortgage tomorrow. As for my spending... well, lets just say I dread tallying my receipts.

Health (today):
Breakfast - overnight oats and coffee
Lunch - ham, egg, cheese burrito
Dinner - ?????
Snack - banana
Workout - personal trainer and 30-minutes cardio.
Goal - lose 2 pounds by October 7th.


September 25th, 2016 at 05:53 am

My uncle as of last night is doing well. My mom and I stayed with him from 9:30 until 7:15 when the night shift came on. I'll be there probably around 10 or 11 today. Hopefully the social worker at the hospital will come around. I have a list of needs for him after his discharge.

I texted my boss to tell him I would be out Monday and maybe Tuesday.

I am baking a birthday cake for DS3. His birthday is on the 28th (Wednesday) and we planned to take him to the arcade and buy pizza. I'll see how I can work this in.

Thanks everyone for your concerns and advice. The extra support helps!

Hospital Stay

September 24th, 2016 at 04:47 am

I took my uncle to see his doctor yesterday morning. His EKG showed abnormality so he ordered a visit to the ER. Long story short, he had a heart attack.

After doing tests including a heart cath, results show nearly 100% blockage and they are considering a CABG. My uncle who is 89 does not want surgery. He is widowed and they never had children so I'm his surrogate "daughter" and power of attorney.

I'm hoping for a home health nurse to be there for him whenever he gets discharged. Although he is here until next week (he's having a fit about staying in the hospital).

Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit distressed. I stayed with him all day and overnight. Came home at 7 am and am planning to return to the hospital at 9.

Prayers requested for recovery for him, and strength, endurance and wisdom for me and my family. Thanks!


September 22nd, 2016 at 05:38 am

Sorry for the long and dreary post… just rambling.

Health (today):
Breakfast: overnight oats, coffee
Lunch: Scrambled egg on a slice of toast,
Dinner: Pork roast w/mashed potatoes left overs
Snack: apple
Extra Food: green tea
Workout: I did walk around the parking lot yesterday while my son was in therapy and later at home I did 10 pushups. Tonight, Lord willing, I will go to the gym and exercise with my personal trainer. I need to make time to exercise now more than ever because I am feeling the stress building.

Finances (yesterday):
NSD for my, but DH had to buy gas and pick up some lettuce at the grocery store for his lunch salad.

My paycheck posted in my account and it is for the full amount. I found a penny and added it to my coin jar.

Received the mortgage statement and for the first time in a good while I really looked at it. My maturity date (last mortgage payment) would be June 1, 2036. Our monthly payment is 797.40. We were paying 805.44 and then escrow estimate went down and reduced the payment. We just continued paying the 805.44 which is an 8.04 difference but every little bit helps. I wish we could do a little more but that is as much as we can do right now. It amounts to about 96.00 additional per year.

My Interesting Life
My uncle fell in his bedroom last night. Seems the walker slipped from under him. My sons and I had to go over and hoist him to his bed. We are looking into getting a wheelchair for him because he feels now that he cannot support himself upright anymore. My dad is frustrated and my mom is stressed. Both are having difficulty dealing with this.

Tomorrow I’m taking annual leave to take my uncle to see his doctor and to see what he says. I will have a list of things to ask regarding home health care, wheelchair, meals on wheels, or anything else. I just can’t think straight. If anyone has suggestions on what to ask his doctor regarding services and assistive items, please comment. I want to be ready and have him set up comfortably and without worry.

I learned yesterday that I cannot apply for FMLA for my uncle’s care because it only covers parents, spouse, and children (and of course, myself). I am down to 32 hours of annual leave until my drop comes in April (my hire date anniversary). Needless to say, I’m glad I’m setting aside some cash for when I need to take LWOP – leave without pay. I see that coming in the near future.

In the meantime, on the passenger side of my car, the little latch on the car door is broken so my husband had to do a temp fix so that I can close the car until he can buy the new part and install it. I put some blue painters tape on the inside and outside handles as a reminder to not use that door. No riding shotgun for any passengers as they will have to go limo style and sit in the back seat.

Another Day Another 100 Dollars

September 21st, 2016 at 04:58 am

Health (today):
Breakfast: overnight oats, apple and coffee
Lunch: Cheese omelet w/tomato and onion on a slice of bread, plain greek yogurt with frozen blueberries
Dinner: Pork roast w/mashed potatoes
Snack: fresh pineapple
Extra Food:
Workout: I had to cancel my workout yesterday because I ended up with one additional inspection. I really need to make the time tonight to at least go to the gym and walk the treadmill for a half hour. I know I would feel better.

Finances (yesterday):
I spent $4.28 at Wendy’s for lunch (even though I brought a grilled cheese from home). I didn’t have cash so I used my credit card. Not good.

I should receive my pay stub today so I’ll know what my paycheck is.

I earned $100 yesterday (at the time of the last post I only had 1 scheduled for $50). I rarely touch the money from my side business. We have the typical expenses that involve paying for insurance, business license/tax and other things business oriented. We pay DS1 when he does inspections. But we have earned enough to pay off my car (I had $5k left on my car loan balance), and bought desperately needed living room furniture $2k. We were sitting on flat cushions and getting pinched by the springs.

DH did his side gig yesterday and came home early (10:00 pm). Typically he gets home around 11:30.

I decided to add an additional $10 to my medical leave fund. I estimated that before taxes, I make $147 per day. After taxes and deduction that makes about $80.50 per day. I would like to have a cushion of 3 days since the leave is intermittent. So far I have $110 saved so that is just over a day I have saved.
It is very hard to make my goals with the cut in salary due to an FMLA day.

I’m here at work now and after I get off work, I’ll stop over at my uncle’s house to check on him. Then I’ll stop by my parents to check on them and pick up DS3. Then I drive DS2 to his therapy appointment before the rush hour really hits. Maybe while I wait, instead of reading, I’ll just walk around the parking lot for a half hour. I think I’ll do that because after I get back home I know I won’t feel like dressing out and going to the gym.

Catching Up

September 20th, 2016 at 04:50 am

Health (today):
Breakfast: overnight oats, banana, Good belly, and coffee
Lunch: Grilled cheese, plain greek yogurt with frozen blueberries
Dinner: nothing planned – probably leftover BBQ
Snack: fresh pineapple
Extra Food: I don’t know yet - hopefully nothing.
Workout: Personal trainer and probably some cardio.

Finances (over the weekend):
Friday: Asian buffet 41.43
Saturday: Grocery shopping – DH paid and it was nearly $200! I have no idea what I bought but most of it was non-food items that we needed which brings up the price. Haircuts for DS2 and DS3 at Great Clips (they had the weekend sale 7.99) so it was 19.98 including tips.
Sunday: Chinese food (again) 44.36, Gas 33.08, Krystal for a rootbeer float for myself 2.13* (raided the change jar).

Payday from my day job is Friday (but my credit union posts it on Thursday). I hope it is a full paycheck.
Also payment from my side gig is coming in the mail this week for $250.
This afternoon I will earn another $50 from my side biz.

*I was feeling stressed over the weekend. Have you ever felt detached and just going through the motions? That was how I felt over the weekend. I didn’t even track what I ate over the weekend. The weekends have always been hard for me to track since the meal schedule isn’t the same as the weekdays.

Update on my uncle (he is 89): We are looking into a home health nurse for my uncle at his request. He is doing better but still unsteady and a little down. He said he called his doctor yesterday and left a message so that he can order/prescribe or whatever they do so that Medicare would cover the service.

Update on my parents (both are 84): They can’t wait until a home health nurse starts because it has been hard on them to do for my uncle. My mom gets tired easily and my dad has issues with his knees. Mobility is an issue for him as it is now for my uncle.

I see that there are some “getting to know you” lists out there! I will work on mine later when I have a little more time.

Trip Cancelled

September 16th, 2016 at 01:13 pm

Breakfast: Kodiak cake, ham and eggs, coffee, orange juice
Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich on 1 slice of bread
Dinner: Chinese Buffee
Extra food: Rum and coke

Trip cancelled because the train was 5 hours late. It was actually 9 hours late. When I got the first call, my folks and I agreed we should go ahead and cancel. This wasn't a good week anyway and I didn't want to tempt fate.

Superstitious? You tell me...
1. Uncle has a fall and is depending on us.
2. Mom keeps "generic gifts" stored away, and this week she looked throughout the house and couldn't find them.
3. Mom also chips a tooth on Wednesday so she had to see the dentist for repair yesterday.
4. The train is super delayed.
5. Today is full moon (harvest moon), which I don't know if it also means it is more powerful than the ordinary full moon but everyone is on edge (including me).

Suffice it to say, it was not a favorable time for traveling as much more could go wrong. We are planning for October.

In the meantime, I did an inspection that my son was going to do so I earned $50. Yes!

Preparing for Trip

September 15th, 2016 at 04:56 am

Breakfast: overnight oats with coffee
Lunch: Ham, egg and cheese omelet with 1 slice of toast
Dinner: nothing
Extra Food: chocolate

Topped off the gas tank on Monday
Can't think of anything else.

I was busy yesterday (and tired)! I picked up a book about first ladies from the library to read on the train to Miami. I finally started packing for my small trip over to Miami with my parents. DH told me last night that he would be sure to give me some cash so I’m not strapped. My dad is paying for the train fare and hotel. Fortunately, we won’t have to go to Naples because my aunt and uncle will be coming to Miami instead. My uncle is the reason for the visit so this makes it much easier for us.

Earlier this week, my uncle fell. He is doing better but he is now using a walker for support. My mom chipped a tooth yesterday so she will see the dentist today and hopefully repairs can be made. Tonight I go to the gym and workout with my new personal trainer.

Things to do:
Pack, do my nails (I do my own), wash and style my hair, print out train tickets and hotel confirmation.

Monday Life

September 13th, 2016 at 05:57 am

Breakfast: overnight oats with coffee and Good Belly
Lunch: Greek salad and strawberries
Dinner: rice and beans with chicken
Snack: apple
Extra Food: chocolate candy.

I was only down a 1/2 tank but since gas is down to 2.01, I went ahead and filled up.

I also stopped to get a coke, bananas and ham at the grocery store.

I paid DH most of the cash I borrowed last week from the emergency cash stash at home. I owe a little bit more but my paycheck was short a day because of FMLA.

Yesterday I called the FMLA case manager at Cigna to see if my trip to Miami with my folks would qualify as FMLA since they need my assistance. I left a message so hopefully they will get with me today. That would put me two days without pay so I’ll earn even less next payday. I’m glad to be setting aside a little for those short days but I’m trying not to tap in to see if I can survive with less.

I drove DS2 to his therapy appointment and then, picked up a book at the library that I requested.

My uncle had a fall yesterday at his house and is now a little unsteady on his feet. He is 89 and lives alone but only a half block from my parents and three blocks from me. It is a scare because at that age, things go wrong quickly and I am not prepared for that. I’m trying not to think about it because it puts me almost in a panic. DH and DSs will check on him while we are away for the weekend.

I was feeling very tired yesterday and turned in early. It’s rainy weather that gets me feeling sleepy.


September 12th, 2016 at 05:44 am

Breakfast: 2 cinnamon buns and coffee
Lunch: 1/4 smoked sausage and baked beans
Snack: Wendy’s frosty
Dinner: 1/2 sandwich and unsweetened tea from Panera

Wendy’s frosty are 50 cents right now so I got one for each of the boys and one for me. $2.14. That is all I spent on Sunday.

My friend treated us to Panera to celebrate DS3’s birthday. She was his religious education teacher and confirmation sponsor. She is a very great lady and I am privileged to call her a friend. We went to see another friend who is recovering from open heart surgery.

Wore one of my new tops to church yesterday.

That’s pretty much it for Sunday!

This morning one of my coworkers told me that he and his wife started attending the Dave Ramsey class at their church. He is young and in debt but he and his wife are totally on board with getting their finances together. I’m proud of them!


September 11th, 2016 at 06:13 am

Breakfast: Kodiak cake and coffee
Lunch: Scrambled egg and toast
Dinner: 2 empanadas, glass of wine
Snack: 2 small chicken nuggets

Produce market $31
Clothes $35

Snowflake $15 from scratch off lotto ticket my mom bought for me.

Last night I colored my hair and this morning I'll do my nails and take care of some laundry (I meant to do it yesterday).

I bought 3 tops yesterday for the trip and also for adding to my wardrobe. I need to get rid of 3 old items that I no longer wear.

Today I plan to meet a friend to visit another friend who is convalescing after open heart surgery. Then after we will go to church (evening service). After church our friend and I will take DS3 to Panera because she wants to treat him for his birthday (which is the end of the month).

Busy Saturday

September 10th, 2016 at 04:39 am

Yeseterday health:
Breakfast: Overnight oats and coffee
Lunch: Greek yogurt plain and frozen blueberries
Snack: none
Dinner: Beef stew with rice, plantains, and crackers.
Extra food: chocolate candy (disappointing willpower!)
Broke my plateau!

No spend day Smile
Watched TV Frown

Things to do today:
Side biz - two inspections this morning.

Make reservations for the Amtrak and the hotel for Miami. My dad does not like to plan things too far in advance. He finally gave the ok to do it last night. We leave on next Friday and return Monday.

My mom wants to go shopping for a new blouse. I'm in the market for a new blouse and shoes. We'll go shopping this afternoon.

Some laundry and prepare dinner.

Payday and Expenses

September 9th, 2016 at 05:40 am

Breakfast: overnight oats with coffee
Lunch: Leftover BBQ chicken on Kaiser bun
Dinner: Empanada
Snack: Green tea and apple
Extra Food: low calorie protein drink
Workout: 30 minutes on treadmill and 30 minutes with personal trainer. My personal trainer is moving to Maine so last night was our last session. She is very good and I’ll miss her. I will continue with another trainer who is also very good.

I do need to incorporate more vegetables in my diet. I get burned out with salads. The green tea that I buy is Republic of Tea http://www.republicoftea.com/ and I add the Matcha powder in my overnight oats and I brew the Double Green Matcha around lunchtime. I don’t think I would be drinking the tea every day but at least on my workout days as it does give me a boost of energy.

Overnight Oats have various combinations. Here is my recipe (high calorie but nutritionally dense):
Old fashioned oats = 1/2 cup dry (150 calories) lowers cholesterol
Chia seed = 1 tablespoon (60 calories) omega-3, antioxidant and energy booster
Powdered peanut butter = 1 tablespoon (25 calories) low fat and low calorie version of the real thing, plus it is a flavor-enhancer. Same amount of protein as the real thing.
Walnuts = 1/8 cup (100 calories) omega-3, antioxidant
Raisins = 1/8 cup (42 calories), potassium, iron, and fiber
Designer Whey vanilla protein powder = 1/2 scoop (50 calories) protein
Matcha Green Tea powder = 1/8 teaspoon (zero calories) energy, fat burner and antioxidant
Lowfat Milk (1%) = 1 cup (102 calories) calcium for bone health

Total calories = 529
Macro breakdown = Carbs 69, Fat 23, Protein 32, Fiber 12.

Snowflake: Received as a gift from work some restaurant coupons from a fundraiser. Nice!

Expenditures so far:
1/2 power bill = 98
1/2 student loan = 90
100% Internet = 84
1/2 Visa = 125
Gas = 40
Groceries = 77.02 I forgot eggs! Eggs were on on my mind but I forgot to jot it down on my list and they are on sale for 80 cents a dozen for the large. I pulled out 1.60 from my dresser change and gave to DS1 to pick them up today because we have run out and we are an egg-eating family.

According to Mint, Zillow now has my home valued at $90,068 and we currently owe 87,124.19. It is a seller’s market now so if you are in the market to buy a home, do your homework!

Frankly, I see the housing bubble bursting again soon. If that bubble bursts like it did seven years ago, my side biz will start to boom again. My side business is property preservation and inspections. The meat of this business is foreclosures, which makes this a boom industry when the housing market crashes.

Healthier Eating

September 8th, 2016 at 05:42 am

Breakfast: overnight oats with coffee and Good Belly
Lunch: ham and cheese sandwich
Dinner: Leftover BBQ hot dog with bun
Snack: Green tea
Extra Food: low calorie protein drink and vanilla ice cream

No spend day yesterday. Today will be a spend day because I need to gas up my car. Today is also payday and I am low because I took an FMLA day last pay period.

I’m trying to stay low on my calories. I know for a fact that if I stay in the 1,200-1,300 daily calorie range I will lose weight. On my workout days, I’ll increase to 1,300.

The adjustments to my eating plan are rather small. For now, I’m not consuming my mid-morning snack (aka 2nd breakfast), a glass of wine each night, and sweets (I caved and had ice cream). I’ve substituted green tea and protein drink. I’m also have taken up food tracking, measuring portions and clean(er) eating.

Opportunities Lost in Watching TV

September 7th, 2016 at 03:20 am

Breakfast: overnight oats, coffee
Lunch: ham and cheese sandwich
Dinner: hot dog on bun (plain)
Snack: banana
Extra food: low calorie protein drink
Workout: personal trainer for 30 minutes

Yesterday was a no-spend day.

I’ve been sitting in front of the TV almost every free moment until 11:00. Not good! So I’m on a self-imposed television watching strike starting today until my show “Gotham” returns later in September.

Some background: We cancelled cable television about five years ago. It was very hard for me. My DH put his foot down and said no more because we are paying to be zombies (he’s right). But it has been so hard! So, a few months ago, I purchased a digital converter box and an antenna (rabbit ears) and now we have a bunch of channels. DH is ok with that compromise since the investment was low ($80) and the channels are free and the picture is clear. We own the old fashioned tube tv and when it dies, we’ll buy another one from the thrift store for $30.

I binged on the Downton Abbey marathon this past weekend (heaven)! But enough is enough for now. I’ve had my fill and can wait until the regular season begins.

It reminds me of spending and about a term I learned in finance class called “opportunity costs”. Opportunity costs means that in order to get something, you have to give something up. In the case of watching television, it means giving up my valuable time that I could be doing something productive.

2016 Holiday Budget

September 6th, 2016 at 03:15 am

Breakfast: Cinnamon roll and coffee
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich and chips
Dinner: Hamburger from the grill
Snack: None
Extra food: Root beer float

Here is my budget for the holidays:

Thanksgiving Dinner: $100 (we do both turkey and ham and ‘pot-luck’ the sides) I wish one of us worked for a company that gives away a turkey or a ham to their employees. That would be really a nice perk. But we don’t so if we want it, we gotta buy it ourselves.

Christmas Gifts: $400 (Mom, DH and DSs)

Christmas Dinner: $75

Grand Total = $885
DS3 = $100 for Adventure Landing, birthday cake and money gift
Twin niece and nephew = $25-40 for birthday gift(s)
DS2 = $125 for Japanese Steakhouse, birthday cake and money gift
Total = $265

Candy = $15
Costumes = $20-$30
Total = $45

Thanksgiving Dinner: $100 (we do both turkey and ham and ‘pot-luck’ the sides) I wish one of us worked for a company that gives away a turkey or a ham to their employees. That would be really a nice perk. But we don’t so if we want it, we gotta buy it ourselves.

Christmas Gifts: $400 (Mom, DH and DSs)

Christmas Dinner: $75

Grand Total = $885

Happy Labor Day and Weekend Trip Budget

September 5th, 2016 at 04:44 am

Happy Labor Day in the USA! We are going to the beach to say good-bye to the summer! We are packing a cooler with sandwiches, potato chips, sodas and water. No plans to spend any money today except to top off the fuel tank.

Breakfast: Ham & Egg omelet with toast, coffee, and good belly
2nd breakfast: none
Lunch: peanut butter sandwich
Dinner: Fetuccini Alfredo with shrimp and garlic bread
Extra food: banana

Grocery shopping
Home maintenance items at Home Depot (salt for our water softener, AC filters, faucet handle and replacement washers for the shower).

DH and I had a discussion about our financial future. Topics we explored are how to earn extra income – passively, toward paying off our debts and saving for retirement. I think we are finally getting on the same page. Now we have to put together a strategy. I pulled out my textbooks when I took a financial planning course (I was going to change careers and be a financial planner but I decided against it.). However, the course was very eye-opening and I got insight from the financial planner’s side – one that the average consumer doesn’t see. So I will spend some time studying on how the best approach to move our 401k funds leftover from our previous employers and figuring out how to properly reinvest it. We are thinking about real estate. Lots of research ahead!

Weekend Trip Estimates:
Meals: 4 days x 2 meals per day = 8 meals x $15 per meal=$120 x 3 adults = $360 (I’m estimating high).
Transport round trip for 3 adults = $158
Hotel 3 nights at $125 = $375
Rental car 3 days @ $35 per day = $105
Total estimated for trip = $998 (ok $1,000)

Remember, I offered to pay for the meals and my dad will pay for transport and hotel. Hopefully we won’t be eating that expensively and we won’t need to rent a car.

Thinking Ahead

September 4th, 2016 at 06:59 am

Breakfast: 1 Pancake (Kodiak cakes w/matcha tea powder), a banana and coffee
2nd breakfast: none
Lunch: Chicken pot pie leftovers
Dinner: Attended the potluck dinner at church and I brought shredded BBQ chicken and a cherry pie.
Extra food:

I counted all my change jars and it was eye opening. I have over 40! That’s crazy. That does not include DH’s change jar.

I had to buy materials for my side business. A whopping 2.14.

I also bought for my twin niece and nephew at the dollar store a Halloween greeting card and a trick or treat bag for each of them. I also bought a birthday card since that is coming up in a couple of months.

While at the dollar store I went on a spree and bought a dozen each Halloween cards and Thanksgiving Day cards. I am a member (actually this year I’m a board officer) of our church women’s group and part of our ministry is distributing greeting cards to nursing home residents. This is an out of pocket expense for each member and each lady buys a dozen or so cards apiece. This is money that I have budgeted for this. I already wrote out the cards and have them ready for this year. Yesterday’s purchase are for next year. At the dollar store, the cards are beautiful and cost only .50 each. Sometimes I order greeting cards online from Current (www.currentcatalog.com) and take advantage of free shipping.

Planning and budgeting because the money is going to start flowing from now until the end of the year.

While in Miami, I may get some Christmas shopping done at the Miami International Merchandise Mart (www.miamimerchandisemart.com). I LOVE that place because it is really affordable for high end things like handbags, fragrances, jewelry and clothing.

My first gift purchase is a shirt called a ‘guayabera’ for my dad for Christmas and it came from my Christmas fund. Finding a long-sleeve one is not easy but I found one with very good reviews on Amazon. He wears the short-sleeved version every day. So anyway, my dad’s gift is purchased and it came in yesterday.

Gift ideas:
I saw on a commercial on TV for the ‘Neon Glow Twister Tracks’ for only $20 (http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Mindscope+Neo+Tracks+Flexible+Raceway&FORM=HDRSC2). I think I may get that for my nephew who will turn four in November for his birthday. I will have to find an equivalent gift for my niece (his twin). On the other hand, I may wait until Christmas to send it so that they have presents from me under the tree. And for their birthdays I may just send money and a card for each of them. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle that right now. I also plan to send them each an Advent Calendar (the kind with chocolate). I usually send that around Thanksgiving.

I’ll have to think hard on what to give my mom, DH and DSs. Believe it or not, my DSs love the $9.99 gift card from Great Clips! In the past, I got them each a card and loaded it with the equivalent of five haircuts. I know they will each get that.

DS3 is the next one to have a birthday at the end of this month. We will likely go to Adventure Landing (www.adventurelanding.com)? DS3 turns 17.
Niece and nephew twins birthday is early November and they will turn four.
DS2’s birthday is early December and he will be 20. He enjoys the Japanese Steak House so we may celebrate doing that.

Holiday Planning:
Halloween costumes and candy: We get invited to two parties a year and I half-way manufacture our costumes. This year, DH and I are going as Beetlejuice and Lydia. The boys have long past stopped dressing for Halloween but they may dress up if they go to the party. If they opt to stay home, they don’t mind passing candy. Lately there haven’t been too many trick-or-treaters.

Thanksgiving dinner: I am planning my Thanksgiving dinner budget. I think we may be having other guests this year. My worry isn’t the food expense as much as the space. We live in a very small home so I don’t know how we’ll accommodate everyone.

Christmas: My mother usually does the dinner. Now that she is getting older, I may need to step up this year and do a greater share of things. So I need to get the usual menu together and budget for the meal. Of course, gifts.

Personal and Business Spending

September 3rd, 2016 at 04:59 am

Breakfast: Pancakes (Kodiak cakes) and coffee
2nd breakfast: none
Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich on 1 slice of bread
Dinner: At my parent’s home Garbanzo beans soup, white rice, cuban crackers, peach pie(I try to eat smaller amounts during the day because my mom serves so much food at dinner).
Extra food:a glass of wine

Dinner menu for next week:
Saturday: BBQ chicken (I may take this to the church pot-luck)
Sunday: Spaghetti and sausage w/garlic bread
Monday: Dinner at my parents
Tuesday: Rice w/red beans and cornbread
Wednesday: Crab cakes with potatoes and green beans
Thursday: Chicken tenders w/potato wedges and corn
Friday: Dinner at my parents

Personal income – Payday (DH’s day job)
Personal spending - Amazon.com 126 for replacement of PCB assembly for our stove (thermostat board). The 5.99 credit was applied. The burners are running hot and aren’t turning off. My DH will install.

Business spending –
1. Renewed our workman’s compensation exemption for DH and myself $102.
2. Paid DS1 for August side gig $585 (he did most of the work this month)
Business income:
1. Received two checks from one of our clients equaling 80.
2. I expect a check any day now from another client for 752.49 (the 2.49 was materials reimbursement) So total for the month of August is 830.00 (I’m not counting the reimbursement).

August Side Biz recap: 830 income - 687 expenses = 143 profit

Fun fact about my DH’s side gig: When he does an inspection of a car for a bidder, he sometimes finds some really neat stuff. He usually finds music CDs to add to our collection. Recently he found a top-quality mid-size flashlight (www.maglite.com). Would you call these ‘snowflakes’?

For my side gig for today, I had to reschedule due to the weather. I got an assignment from one of the clients that is very easy to do and I will do it tomorrow.

Upcoming Weekend Trip

September 2nd, 2016 at 06:03 am

Well, Hermine came and went. Our household is fortunate that our power only blinked. We woke up to a windy day. DH and I have the day off so a four day weekend. My prayers for those in its path as it goes north. Sorry she had to come to ruin your holiday weekend Frown

Health yesterday:
Breakfast: Overnight Oats and coffee
2nd breakfast: none!
Lunch: Greek salad and apple
Dinner: Chicken pot pie
Extra food: Plain low-fat greek yogurt with frozen blueberries, cheese, a glass of wine.
Workout: 30 minutes cardio on bike and personal trainer workout (arms).

Financial: No spend day.

Weekend Trip:
In a couple of weeks I will be going to Miami and Naples, Florida with my parents for a three day visit. DF will stay home as this isn’t really a pleasure trip. We are going to see my aunts and uncles, one who has Alzheimer’s.

My dad said he would pay for everything. I offered to pay for our meals and he conceded (thankfully). We are going by Amtrak (www.amtrak.com). So he’ll pay for transportation and lodging and I will take care of our meals. At least the hotel has complimentary breakfast so lunch and dinner is all I need to worry about.

I don’t think we will need a rental car as my aunt will be available to drive us wherever we need to go. If for some reason we do need a rental car, I think I can get a little compact car to bop around in. I need to budget carefully. My rule of thumb is to set a budget and then add 10%.

Her Name is Hermine

September 1st, 2016 at 04:36 am

We are still under tropical storm watch even though Hurricane Hermine hasn’t made landfall yet. We are making basic preps. We do not know yet if schools will close tomorrow and whether or not DH and I need to report to work. Though we are located at the southern end of the storm when it passes through, the possible impact on our area could be tornados, intense rain and flash flooding. I understand that Hawaii is getting a double hurricane at the same time. Louisiana is still reeling weeks after their storm. Pray for all those impacted by these storms.

Health yesterday:
Breakfast: Overnight Oats and coffee
2nd breakfast: cheese omelet on 1 slice of toast
Lunch: Greek salad and apple
Dinner: ‘Brown Dinner’ (Salisbury steak with mushrooms, onions, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans)
Extra food: banana and 3-2-1 brownie (http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/cakes/patti40/3-2-1-microwave-cake/)

Snowflake: Amazon credit of 5.99 for selecting no-rush shipping (for Prime members). Promotional credit expires on December 7th so I need to remember to order something else on Amazon before then.
I got this for ordering my dad’s Christmas gift yesterday.

Financial Goals:
I’m following Dave Ramsey and working on baby step #1 – save $1,000. I'm already a third of the way there!

At the same time, I am working at paying off my debt but I am thinking that perhaps I should pay the minimums and become more aggressive with savings deposits in order to reach $1,000 by December 31st. The last quarter of 2016 I will devote to doing this. I have some money crunching to do but I think I may be able to achieve this in four months.

Come January, I will devote 2017 with baby step #2 – paying off debt as aggressively as I can. My smallest debt also carries the largest interest rate, so I may just go with the debt avalanche method. Dave Ramsey’s method is the debt snowball.

I am so glad I started this blog. This has helped me tremendously these last few days in getting my financial perspective together. Thanks everyone for reading and for your encouragement!