In a previous post I lamented how I was looking forward to October because September was laden with extraneous expenses: $375 for brakes, $225 for dance shoes, $250 for asthma meds, $102 (amended) for trumpet start ups, $500 for root canal (crown not included) expenses (procedure and meds).
I went out this AM to start my car and nothing - some sad sputter which my friendly car mechanic diagnosed immediately as "dead battery" (I was on the cordless and let him hear the sad 'ding-ding-ba-ba-tic-tic-tic". He came over within the hour with his handy-dandy jump start thing and I drove over to be fit with a new battery. $175 later I was able to drive away.
UGH! The good news is I have decided to try to stretch my grocery spending for this week to ten days. I stocked up on $1 cans of Progresso soup and figure we can have sandwiches or salads on the side.
I started with $200 for the week (really $232, but I'm forgetting the $32). We spent $30 on gas, $9 on misc (duck tape and blister band aids for my dancers), $6.50 on Christmas gift, and $119 on groceries/household between three stores with $15 in coupon savings. $36 left for the week.
Archive for September, 2011
I'm looking forward to October, just because Sept was such a money drain.
Today was payday, so I'll consider it October because my budget starts today for the month.
The oldest one needed to be at school at 7:00 for a study group on the Constitution. That meant that the rest of them needed to take the bus. They've become a spoiled lot, being driven every day. However, the bus comes at 7:11. At 7:09 (it's only a 1/4 block walk to the corner/stop), I'm listening to "It's SO cold" "Will you walk us?" "Where is a sweatshirt with a hood?" "That is MY sweatshirt that you're wearing." "Do we have gloves?"
OK, my root canal pain is over and done, and now I'm plagued with a COLD! Drippy nose, popping ears, sore throat. And I'm on amoxicillin for any infection that might be there.
Well, off to don on some warm clothes and head to the store.
For the record, my family has eaten through every morsel of food that was consumable. We have one apple and a handful of mini cucumbers left, and two muffins from breakfast yesterday. I am officially Mother Hubbard.
Incoming tomorrow: $2,550
Utilities for the month: $850
Living expenses for two-week period: $450
Tuition Payment (1/2 of Annual): $685
Credit Card Payment: $570
Living expenses should be minimal for this upcoming two-week period. I've got 6 pounds of chicken and 4 pounds of ground beef, and we've got 1/2 tank of gas in each car. AND the goal is I'm only trying to spend $300 of the $450. I think I can do it!
I am SO ready for a new month and cannot wait to flip that calendar page to Oct.
Sept did have it's highlights: a weekend away with the family and a birthday party. We've added a second car to our mix, making transportation not so much of an issue - less orchestration of driving where in what succession and who will carpool with us.
But, the big BUT is the amount of money that went out this month:
$375 for brakes and oil change
$250 asthma medication for older daughter
$225 for shoes for older daughter (hard/soft for dance)
$94 for trumpet start up ($52 monthly lessons/$42 rent to own and deposit)
$500 my tooth troubles ($25 RX, $90 consult, $380 my portion - projected - of root canal)
Looking at that list I just want to say "Murphy, go away." But they're not all Murphies. I budget about $500 for extraneous which is everything outside of gas/groceries.
I've got $600 in a little savings account (my PNC Bank "Reserve" account) which I'll have to turn over to cover some of this.
Pay day is tomorrow, thankfully. I have $12 left in the checking account.
My menu for the next ten days is going to comprise of chicken and ground beef menu items. I'm thawing 6# of chicken breasts and 4# of ground beef. Tomorrow is cook-away-day and I'll be in the kitchen.
I am feeling somewhat better today. No vicodin required, though I feel bad - a very raw sore throat and like I am recovering from a broken jaw.
$9.38 for generic vicodin (qty 15)
$15.00 for generic amoxicillan qty 28)
$90 to dentist for x-rays and confirmation tjat I need a root canal
$385 paid to endodontist for my supposed portion of the root canal (May be more depending on coverage)
Because I've got a dental fear, the experience, while they tried to make it pleasant, was excrutiatingly difficult. Anyhow, I survived.
And now the "several hours" of numbness is beginning to wear off and I don't think I will make it.
I had planned on driving some, but that is not in the works. I rearranged the schedule and am now taking a vicodin. Awful, awful, awful.
$9.38 for vicodin.
$90.00 for consultation at the dentist to find out I'm being referred on to an Endodontist for a root canal tomorrow.
My share tomorrow post insurance $325-$550.
Unknown amount for Rx of Amoxicillan.
I refer to myself when I say that.
I lost a filling about six weeks ago. I hate the dentist. It was sensitive to cold and hot foods and if I bit funny on things, there was a pain.
Well, guess what?
Pervasive pain, apparently in reaction to nothing (meaning not aggravated by hot, cold, or certain foods). I've tried to bum drugs off of my inner circle - but my offers were marijuana or naproxin. I called my dentist and he called in some vicodin.
I have an appointment tomorrow at 9:00 to deal with my issue.
I should have made an appointment when I lost my filling in the first place.
ETA: Cost for 15 vicodin $9.39 (generic)
What frugal thing are you doing today?
I've resurrected the recipe for Baked Potato Salad. It has been easier to buy things at the grocery store deli rather than to make them from scratch. However, in the interest of economizing, today I'm making pasta salad and baked potato salads for our party tomorrow. I have most ingredients on hand for both, but will need shredded Parmesan and Baco-Bits.
I'm also making an apple pancake on Sunday morning which will save my inlaws at least $18 (they usually buy one take-out from the local Greek restaurant). My first go-ahead at the recipe worked, but I'll need to add more brown sugar and cinnamon per my kids.
Well, full day of errands and cooking and cleaning lie ahead, with inlaws coming and lots of sports activities and the party tomorrow.
Hope you all have a good weekend!
Most of my money management has been (of late) juggling and trying to get by. We were SO good prior to vacation, making wise economic choices. Unfortunately, the lack of disciplined spending on vacation and the lack of a schedule in life, has made things ... well ... difficult. Things can be better managed. I know what bills are due and when the are due. I should be able to better predict extraneous expenses and use the EF for emergencies (like the $375 car brakes this month). Anyhow, time for some concreteness, if that's a word.
That said, now I roll out my goals for the fourth quarter:
(1) $3000 to debt. I'm ashamed it's there. It needs to leave. I did a balance transfer so it's 0% til March of 2013.
(2) $1500 to savings. I'd like grow the saving account to $15,000 - we're presently at $12,000 (with $18,000 ear marked for car) = Total is $36,306 (which 5,700 will leave at end of month for property tax second installment on both properties)
(3) $1500 for car purchase to bring us to right under $20K when time to purchase.
I'll probably post accountability updates mid and end of month. I think it should be do-able.
DH is a member of our religion's fraternal organization. He's been involved for about two years and has met some wonderful like-minded men of all ages. One of them happens to have a vehicle that will be unused until the end of December and has offered it to him. It will cost us $55 a month to cover the insurance on the car and then we'll give a gift card to the young couple once they return to the country as a token of our appreciation for their generosity.
It has been a one-car existence since the end of April. All in all, it hasn't been too difficult with DH taking the train and his company's shuttle. We've had to call on my parents to help occasionally with transportation issues/schedule conflicts. We've also had to carpool at times, and adhere to a strict time-line on Tuesdays and Thursdays driving cross town back and forth for soccer/dance/Cub Scouts/volleyball practice. We pick the car up on Monday and I look forward to being able to divide and conquer, rather than continue on this pace.
Between our goals to pay off debt and meet some other goals, I figure that I can reasonably save another $1,500 toward the next car purchase. We're presently have $18,000 cash saved for the car, though that decision would change should unemployment befall us.
And thanks to you for putting up with my brief pity party yesterday. I have to laugh at my pathetic whining - I was sleep deprived and ear-ache suffering - not that is a valid excuse for such childishness. Anyhow, back on the road to maturity.
Our frugal finds of yesterday:
(1) At an upscale dept. store, we found two nice birthday gifts for the girls' friend whose having a party on Friday. $31 for a Juicy Coutere necklace ($17 down from $68) and a Guess wallet ($48 down to $10). Within my budget.
(2) The trumpet rent-to-own option was $22 for the first three months, not $22 for the first three. I only paid $22 + $20 deposit. First payment is due 12/21. I have a bit of money to carry forward toward that. If I purchase the trumpet there is a 25% discount. We'll see if son likes it and continues.
(3) Mailed off $3 rebate - given to me by parents who don't want to deal with rebates.
OK, this is where I play psychoanalysis with myself.
Why does this whole Poconos thing really bother me?
(1) My up-bringing. I was raised by divorced parents. My mother didn't become educated until after my brother and I were grown. She worked minimum waged secretarial jobs. My father came from big-time money but didn't pay child support on a regular basis. We lived in a small apartment and ate mac and cheese while my father lived alone in the big house and drove a Corvette. I think this whole Poconos thing dredges up some unresolved identity issues here.
Who am I, really?
I am a wife and mother. I don't work outside of the home, and I feel it is my job to make sure that I am the best money manager that I can be. I don't feel that I am girlfriend first and need weekly outings to complain about my life (lots of whining when I was at the first and only get together). A friend told me she found this group like a "sorority". I have friends, but I prefer quality time with my own family and family friends. The sad thing is: I really like myself, but feel that if I'm not running with the Poconos crowd, then I'm an outsider. But do I really want to be an insider? Probably not, though the wrapping on the package does look pretty.
I need to remind myself that this is really about me.
Snap out of it, Laur! Time to embrace your inner frugal beautiful self and move on.
I have reworked the budget to adjust for 4th grade son's band expenses per month. I shopped around and found a more affordable rent-to-own option on a Trumpet. I wasn't able to put too much into savings this month because my EXTRANEOUS category of expenses was pretty much depleted BEFORE $375 for new brakes and $225 for new dance shoes for my daughter (two pairs, she is on toe and needed new hard shoes, etc).
So, I'm feeling fine until I read an email this AM. I am (as are all mothers at the school my children attend) cordially invited to attend a three-day well-deserved spa experience at The Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos from June 9th - June 12th. The group must be minimum of 100 for exclusive use of the entire resort. Cost per person per day is $399 based on double occupancy. Air travel from O'Hare will be $523 round trip, or $308 with a stop-over. Total would be roughly $1,500 to $1,700.
You can see it here:
I am too poor to go. Not that I want to go. Not that I would remotely want to spend time with most of these women. Honestly, though, I do feel envious after looking at the website, apparently one of the country's top resorts and #5 in the world (I quote that from the email invitation)
This is where I copy and paste what I spent on my ENTIRE FAMILY'S VACATION from August.
$691.75 hotels for 7 nites on priceline.
$751.75 entertainment (bounce tickets, Jamestown, WV Cavern, ghost tour, huge bounce slide)
$298.36 souvenirs and gifts (each child had $40 to spend, plus we got a bevy of salt water taffy and the standard mugs for inlaws, etc)
$405.30 for gas (2200 miles logged on odometer from start to finish)
$147.98 on groceries for the picnic there, snacks in the car and the hotel, breakfast food in the hotel room
$414.07 for dining out (we did some costly snacks, mostly Wendy's and a pizza, an expensive breakfast, a buffet at Golden Corral for $54 and then a dinner at a local VA Beach bar called Harpoon Larry's for $100).
All spent: $2,709.21
OK, let's average the cost of my possible solo trip to the Poconos ($1,600) and realize that for $1,100 more I could do a family trip. I guess I'm just not of the mind-set that I need or deserve a trip to the Poconos because I'm a harried wife and mother. (I'd have included the email, but for privacy of others, I can't).
More evidence that I clearly don't fit in with the majority of the mothers at the school.
(1) "A peaceful night of rest can make all the difference." Not my own observation. That comes from my newly-turned nine year old who has a witty disposition and academic challenges due to reading difficulties.
His preferred time for homework is right after school. 2:54, after he has been home for ten minutes, changed and had a quick snack. Well, that didn't work for sick me yesterday. Then to top it off, he had a class with his brother at the public library from 4o - 4:45. Because we're a one-car family, DH picked us up at 5:20, meaning we had dinner by 6:30, then the girls had to get to dance. So homework was started at 7:15. Big mistake for a child set on a routine, who had regular schoolwork plus missed work from the Friday off, to tackle this. It was a melt down with crying and carrying on. After 15 minutes of realizing we weren't going anywhere with homework, I told him to go to bed. We'd deal with it in the AM.
5:55, there is my child, fully dressed in uniform (belt and socks on) looking at me. Happy, eager, and ready to do his school work. All of it. We spent 75 minutes on it (6:00 - 7:15) and got it all done (though I helped to color his Hungarian flag). As he was leaving out the door, he turned and smiled and thanked me. Adding, "A peaceful night of rest can make all the difference." Apparently so.
(2) "The complaint department is closed."
That is my observation. Why is it when I am sick and I let people know that I'm not available to talk (I am really a listener to the people closest to me who need to talk)? One of my good friends has a SIL out of state who is back in the psych unit again. I haven't worked on one of those for 15 years. I can't offer much. I did famly therapy for a brief time with families dealing with eating disorders. Can I talk to my friend's daughter who is less than compassionate toward the "sick" relative, and is downright mad at all the time her mother (my friend) is spending on the phone to deal with this? Um, no ... not now, my ear drum feels like it will burst.
My brother is dating a friend of my best friend, if you follow that. They are all grown-ups and I don't need, nor do I want to, be involved in second-guessing and analyzing whether or not things they say will have certain consequences. The specifics aren't relevant. All I want to do is nap.
Even my kids were cranky yesterday, so much that I banned all media (no computer - other than to type letters to great grandma) and no TV. It was a nice and quiet evening, with reading, and puzzle working, and general quiet.
Found missing UPC code for a $3 rebate for gas tank for the grill.
Found out who to submit rembursement form for DH's Boy Scout Leader Shirt $43 anticipated
Will be paid $100 for typing job
How fast one can lose motivation and zest for life when one is feelign compromised.
OK, so I've self-diagnosed myself with an ear infection. I know why babies cry all night when they have one of these. I've medicated myself with ibuprofin and am using those OTC ear drops for pain. I'm mustering enough energy to get the bare minimum done.
We had a nice weekend away, despite sharing a hotel room with six other people with varying degrees of snorting and coughing away. My oldest believes in using Vicks Vapor Rub on her feet at bed, slathered in it, covered in socks. If only I had done that to the other coughers in the family, it might have been quiet.
The dance competition scene has left me ... tired. My younger daughter dances at one of the highest competition grades and got three overall scores from three different judges, placing her 3rd, 6th, and 9th overall of 12 dancers. The mathematical forumla they use to average these makes NO sense to me, and she didn't place in the top half because they didn't use the same markings (subjective numbers) in addition to the ranking.
The older dancer is in one competition grade under, and is scored individually in five dances: she ended up with 2-4ths, 1-5th, and 1-1st. She was pleasantly surprised by the last one afte rher hiatus during the summer.
So now the real preparation begins for the Irish Dance Mid-America Championships. This means dance four days a week, and Sunday for four hours. And my daughter have both decided to dance four-hand figures because they'll probably be in the same group. That is an additional class, though only one hour. Realizing the schedule, just makes me further tired.
The weather here is making me depressed. Cold and raining. Bah, I'm not in good shape. Back to bed for me.
So the routine continues, different day ... different child home sick. *Sigh*
We're out of town tomorrow-Saturday for an Irish dance competition in Muskegon, MI. We're leaving after rush hour and stopping in Michigan City, IN to tour the Barker Museum, have a picnic on the shore and then tour the Old Lighthouse. We should be to our hotel by 4:00 and plan on swimming and pizza in the room. We've done this trip several years in a row (I think this is our fifth time) and we enjoy the lazy pace and afterward on Saturday we go to Lake Michigan and "chill".
I have a long list of to-dos and am shocked by how much money is going out: $375 for unexpected brakes, $164 for Flovent for my girl, just after filling $99 Veramyst. Well, breathing and brakes are both important, just I wish not back-to-back.
Well, on I trudge, slept-deprived and lethargic. I cannot wait until tomorrow.
No, I haven't won tic-tac-toe.
BUT, I did win the lottery of a third child home three days in a row - never the same child, each with differing maladies (cough/fever and aches/stomach).
I have spent minimal money: cough syrup and an RX for oldest (saved $30+ on the Rx - Veramyst - used an online coupon for $25 off, but it was rounded up to $31 plus some change).
The haze over Chicago is getting old - the smoke and smell have created warnings for those with respiratory issues to limit time outside. The oldest wasn't happy to hear that I called the gym teacher and left a message that she can't participate in today's mile run outdoors.
My car is in for an oil change.
I'm doing a free-lance typing job that pays $100, that I'll finish today.
Obviously, nothing fun or remarkable going on here. Just keep on keeping on.
My younger daughter is off to a Fighting Illini versus South Dakota Jackrabbits game in Champaign/Urbana with friends. Thank goodness her blue and orange was clean, as this was a last-minute ingitation! Long day for her, leaving at 8:00 AM, game at 11:00 AM, plus her own volleyball game at 8:00 PM. Go ILLINI!
And DH let me know that the Bears game is tomorrow at Noon. I'm off to a shower anyhow with the girls, and he requested a run past the store for "proper" snacks - I guess that means cheese popcorn and root"beer" for their own soiree. Go BEARS!
Back to school. Which means my tenant called to say her BTS expenses were so great that she cannot pay her rent this Friday, and will pay NEXT Friday. She was reasonable in that she reimbused us the $40 that DH spent last weekend to change two locks.
Our list of extraneous expenses continues to grow - older daughter needs new Irish Dance shoes. She checked the used bin for 4.5s at the studio, but since she is on toe now, nothing worked. Bless her for trying, the cost will be $150. Oldest son wants to join Band, playing the trumpet. I've looked into options for getting at trumpet, and found a local place with a "rent to own" option for $7 more than the rental fee. Since he is a creative child and loves art, I'm thinking this is something he will try, like and stick with. Factor in an additional $75 a month for that. Our extraneous fund of $350 will certainly be eaten into this month ... and next month too looking at other things like car registration/birthday party for boys/etc.
I will have to sit down and rework the budget this week coming up. I am at the point where we pay all of the utilities and bills for the month by the 3rd (because that is the last autodraft date for EFTs), I like it that way, too. DH found out that his severence would be 10 weeks if he loses his job, that makes it a bit easier to plan on how to use those funds.
Anyhow, that was a bit of a ramble. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!
Thanks for your supportive comments to my post yesterday. I must remind myself that nothing good comes out of comparisons. I try to never compare my kids - because they all have different talents and are blessed in their own way. I shouldn't compare myself with others, because ultimately I'm pretty happy with who I am in the version that I presently am, though I hope to improve in ways that really matter.
I read this, liked it, and thought I'd share it:
This was posted in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
For my non-Christian friends, please modify the last verse to suit your beliefs.
I promise my next post will be monetarily-related.
I'm trying hard not to be judgmental, Brooklyn Girl's Inner Bitch Post has me thinking.
I spent Friday night in a world where I clearly do not belong. It was a First Grade Get Together for the boys in Miss K's class. There is a small number of them, and some of the mothers feel that they all must be best friends outside of school. This is the 5th round of parents at the school that I am encountering, and I don't feel the need to bond and be best friends with all of them. My son is by far the most social of my children and of course I would go so he could have a good time.
I am not a well-coiffed, manicured, pedicured, Gucci flip flop, platinum and diamond ring wearing mother. I will not complain that two children left me with stretch marks and what would a third do? (I should add that after seven pregnancies, I have NO stretch marks). I didn't have a hard time taking the T-tops off of my convertible and that is why I was late. I could never fathom saying that because one of my children had colic, I would never have another one (child) because I need my sleep to function. I would never refer to a recently purchased vacation property as "my husband's, because I had to clean it. My cleaning lady didn't want to drive to Michigan to do it."
The general attitude of these women made me go ... "What?! Really?"
The newest mother, joining the grade this year, had me alienated at Word 1. To me: Oh, cute dress. That's Wish brand out of Australia. I think the line was '07?" Yes, my dress is probably five years old and I did purchase it for $7.50 at the resale store.
And the second: Again, to me: I would NEVER drink diet cherry coke. The dyes in there .... (insert shudder, complete with pulling shoulders up to ears, eyes closed tightly, pretend shiver) You should know what it's doing to your insides.
And the third: To meL You have HOW MANY children? Did you say in 8, 6, 5, 3 AND 1 grades? Oh, well ... 8, 7, 4, 2 and 1. Not much different. Do you have any more at home?
Oh dear, leave me alone in my resale dress with my cherry coke ... red dye 5 pulsating through my body. My husband couldn't get there fast enough to pick me up (in our one car family we needed to share and I got a ride there with my friend).
It is going to be a long year.
Our EF now stands at $43,100.
I am feeling secure with that, given the discussions that DH and I continue to have about potential unemployment. We've talked with friends, and unfortunately there don't seem to be any great leads to follow up on at present.
We're expecting a low-expense weekend, spending time for our last-hurrah at the pool, and DH is repainting our bedroom (how fast taste can change - it's been 6 years in this house and I have a gold rather gaudy bedroom). Say hello to dark neutral walls and brown/blue bedding. I'm saving money by recycling my drapes from the family room, moving those upstairs and then getting new ones for my family room.
It's payday. All the bills for the month are paid, with the exception of some BTS expenses (year books/milk/party and 8th grade fees). Looking good moneywise. Certainly making wiser money decisions.
We are splurging to see the final Harry Potter on Monday.
Hope all have a restful and relaxing weekend!
OK, I think I finally have a routine down for the couponing thing. Confession: I usually cut them out, they sit in a pile, I *think* things might match up, some go in my purse, or the car - they get crushed, lost, etc.
I spent the past 25 minutes going through my stash, weeding out the expired one and things I know I will never use. I diviied them up in small like pile: dairy, bakery, condiments, prepared foods, shampoo, etc. No more broad categories like all snack or all personal care - now crackers and granola bars and chips are all separated out, as are shampoo and deodorant and feminie products, etc. I see exactly what I have, and I sat down with the flyers for the two stores that I usually frequent. Because I've just sorted out the coupons and I know what I have on hand, I'm able to quickly identify things on sale that I have coupons for.
I'm having my sons' combined birthday party on Sept 24 and am expecting the usual crowd of 25 people. I plan on doing a deli spread in additioned to barcecue/pulled pork sandwiches.
Today along I found Baked Chip on sale for $2.50, and I have a $1.00 off of one. Three bags of chips for the party will cost me $4.50. Sargentos Natural Sliced Cheese is on sale for $2.50 and I have a $.50 off - so on five items I will save $4.00 and spend $8.50 (versus $12.50).
Thinking I'm getting the hang of this!
Just wanted to share my (perceived) success!!
I just saw that Clark Howard has a book "Living Large in Lean Times". Has anyone read it? What are your thoughts?
In light of our recent decision that DH's current job is presently unpredictable (I'm not naive enough to believe that any position in this economy is safe, but the prevalent attitude at his employer is negative, especially given their status in the three forerunners of the industry - being the only one to post a loss, while the other two posted gains - however minor - whew, was that a tangent!), I've revisited Mary Hunt's new edition of Debt-Proof Living.
I'm wondering if this would be a redundent read, or help to broaden my outlook on our situation.
Thanks in advance!