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Archive for October, 2012

Visiting the "reserve" account again (aka small savings) and Happy Mom Moment

October 23rd, 2012 at 01:26 pm


I raided the small savings account to the tune of $42 yesterday to cover a Target purchase. The splurged items were two long-sleeve T's with the Chicago Bulls on them, one for DH and oldest son. They've been invited to a Bulls game tonight (tickets are free and they'll be watching the game from a private suite) and there will be a $20 contribution to cover dinner and snacks. The kind invitation was extended to the seven boys on the basketball team that son is on, and it is a "pre-season kick-off celebration." We live in an area we are on the way low socio-economic scale (people living in 3500+ square foot homes, Cadillac Escalades and Land Rovers, and season tickets to the major sports teams are the norm). I suppose it is at least nice to glimpse the way the other half (more than) lives. Last sporting event my son attended with this family, I was just happy that he had a long-sleeved Blackhawks t-shirt because the other kids were all in official jerseys. He seemed happy just to have the Bull on his chest.

Older daughter just finished her first quarter of high school. Her GPA is a 4.0. One A in her honors class offset the B she struggled to get in Spanish II. And B she earned in Honors Biology was weighted and counted as an A. Mighty proud of her! I think that into Friday's bi-weekly budget, I'll try to add in a surprise outing to lunch or coffee. Smile

Saved: $300 in meds for remainder of the year

October 20th, 2012 at 05:06 pm


Older daughter had her annual physical exam yesterday. She has asthma and once we run out of the corporate-sponsored funds from the HSA, we are out of pocket on everything, including her asthma meds.

I asked the doctor if for the remaining two months of the year we could switch daughter to the least expensive maintenance meds inhaler-based. The doctor said she'd check her sample and we have two months of her regular meds ($123 a month) and a regular albuterol inhaler (Proair-costig $65).

Needless to say, I was quite thankful for this; it saved us $300 for the remainder of the year. Ad DH said, "that is 3/5 of our Christmas budget".

We also got DD another pneumovax, she hasn't had pneumonia in the five years since she had it last.

Today I'm thankful that we live in a country that has the medical advancements to keep my daughter healthy, and for the cost-saving gesture of the doctor.

Overspent

October 19th, 2012 at 05:17 pm


And had to transfer $45 from the short-term savings (PNC 's Virtual Wallet's "Reserve" account) to cover the deficit in the checking account.

I was a Mother Hubbard this morning and did the weekly shopping to Sam's Club/Walmart. Last week I spent $94 for everything (in all fairness had 3# chicken in the freezer toward this past week's meals).

Today was a whole 'nother story. $118 at Walmart and $41 at Sam's Club. We were down to the last roll of toilet paper and paper towels. We needed a rinsing agent for the dishwasher and soap for both the dishwasher and washing machine. And worms for the turtle and frog (frost is making it difficult to dig for them). And dog food and dog treats. And we're hosting a sleepover for with four additional girls tomorrow night. And I needed seam sealer and a drop cloth for the camp-over tomorrow night (our tent needed a bit of attention since it's new and the seams are still naked). It all really adds up!

And I even back away from the cereal (saving about $8) since I'm cooking more in the morning (French toast or scrambled eggs or frozen homemade waffles from the freezer). The kids are also eating spaghettios in the thermos two days next week so that cuts down on the deli purchase. I've introduced popcorn and flavored seasoning instead of chips or pretzels. And instant pudding instead of ice cream. Produce was apples/bananas/strawberries and carrots/sugar snap peas with dressing. DH's lunches will remain tuna salad.

I'm thankful for the small savings account to cover the overage. My prayer intention today is the people who rely on the local food banks for their meals.

On a happy note: gas is down to $3.56 a gallon at Sam's Club. And milk only went up $.10/gallon there.

Round 2

October 18th, 2012 at 01:32 pm


My long post yesterday got eaten, lost, gone.
All that remained was the title. Glad that it brought humor to some (Petunia). Smile

Cranky kids, stressed husband, lack of sleep, ineffective boundaries have left me frazzled. Today is a bit better, sun and sleep can have a positive effect, but I'm not sure that it will sustain me through the day. Frown

Science fair is well underway. Oldest daughter got her grades up in the classes she was struggling in (C to a B in Spanish II, she's had some difficulty with indirect pronouns and past tense verbs), and Picture Day (today) is done (hair cuts, clothing selections, etc).

Money is auto-pilot. Found $125 in the checking account (really a check hadn't cleared the last time I looked and the balance was lower than it should have been). It was helpful for the $33 for pictures (3-$11 packages, the 8th grader has her pictures that we buy in Feb), $13 for haircut, $29.72 to Aldi's for groceries and produce to get us through to Saturday. The incoming funds on the 26th are all planned for and there isn't really much to fret about.

DH is stressed in a major way at work. This is the point where it is time to come up with the exit strategy. His plan is to become a Deacon and this means a return to school for a degree in pastoral counseling and theology. If we sell the rental property and have virtually no mortgage on the primary residence, and our income drops substantially, the financial aid (grants and scholarship) increase proportionately. I missed the boat on a job that I might really have liked with the Diocese.

He'll have to stay put or return to school part-time until the house sells, and I presume we'll put it on the market in the Spring.

I have to pay off the last $3,900 in credit card debt soon. I'm seeing what can go. Irish dance will most likely be leaving as my girls have sort of moved on to poms and lacrosse. My boys have always been low-cost activities (soccer through the park district, scouts and band).

Once the debt goes, I'll put 20% into retirement while we can. My girls are taking over more of their own expenses and I'm sure it will all be fine.

And my best friend is falling apart, completely disintegrating before my eyes. I've learned that she was suicidal with a plan, though she assures me she is much better now. I don't even care about her money situation (doesn't make enough at the second job - a hospital outpatient position - to cover her bills, needs a room-mate, $400 a month student loan payments are now due - she exhausted all forbearance and deferment opportunities). She's off the psychotropic meds and is desperately chasing after the man she pushed away. She didn't trust my promise to have her dog put down and then I'd make sure his ashes were with hers or at her grave. Her new plan included doing away with him, too.

I called this morning to make sure she was still alive. She was. (Last night was a difficult one with her pertaining to the man, and she sent him a $40 package of cookies and hand-dipped strawberries to celebrate Sweetest Day, before he was mean to her).

I guess it is a good day then?

Rant over. Thanks. This is really where I do most of my mind dumping, isn't it?

Whole lot of nothing (or letting the nuts get to you)

October 17th, 2012 at 02:02 pm


Spending diet?

October 15th, 2012 at 04:08 pm


Spending here is going to be to the minimum. The 10/26 payday will leave a bit more room, but not much more. We trucked through out "extraneous funds" for the following: $124 dance competition fee/$56 dance class fee/$60 for Cub Scout camp out (includes golf outing to nice course that we'd never usually spend the $ on and also a steak dinner), $30 for furnace filter for rental property, and $100 for license plate sticker.

I have to be realistic about our tackling the last of the debt. On the 26th, it will have been $2,600 we've paid on it since the start of November. I've also paid $1,000 in tuition in the last two months. I am not sure whether or not I will be able to realize the goal of hopefully no more debt (balance at $3,800) and minimal tuition balances. We'll see ... I am diligently achieving the monthly goals, but with the holidays coming, not sure how much that will be able to continue.

From last Friday's payday, I was able to fritter away $200 for Christmas or vacation or whatever.

Monies spen this weekend:
$10 for DH and I to see Varsity football game at daughter's high school; younger daughter (8th grade) performed with the pom team and clearly has nothing to worry about when it comes to making the team - tryouts are in April. Smile
$12 for Flapjack Feast at our parish. Not many places that my brood can be fed for $12, an all you can eat pancake and sausage festival.

8th Grade daughter finished the experimentation portion of her science fair project: determining the rate of transpiration on common sage plants. It required manipulating four variables (plus the conrtol group) and measuring the 15 plants at two-hour interval yesterday (from 8AM to 8PM, and then at 8 AM this morning). Spent $34 on the 15 plants which I imagine I'll keep until spring and the plant. She borrowed a scale from my stepdad who is a teacher so didn't have to deal with that. We've already purchased the tri-fold poster board at Michael's with 50% off coupon. Her paper is mostly written, too.

Help! Anyone have any good chili recipes to share?

October 9th, 2012 at 06:50 pm


I've entered a chili cook off (the entrance fee is deducted from a fee for the kids' school) and I don't have a good chili recipe - my bland run of the mill recipe wouldn't impress anyone on a good day!

Anyone have any recipes to share? Or at least ideas to point me in the direction of something that would at least be a formidable contender for a runner-up prize?

Smile

Very unsettling event make me think twice

October 7th, 2012 at 09:12 pm

I have had a few times when I've felt completely vulnerable, most of them related to my profession (clinical psychologist) before having a family. Bipolar patients off of meds, having a resident of a group home for behaviorally challenged young males claiming paternity of my unborn child, family stalked by schizophrenic tenant evicted from my father's apartment building). I've always been fortunate in being level-headed, I've filed police reports and know our local police, and I am lucky that the last incident involved the psychiatric unit that I worked on and I was able to get information by knowing people who still worked there and I was able to get the police involved prior to his release. OK, so you know I've had my share of run-ins with the crazies.

Today we were at Mass, noon, and we werethere minus one child with my inlaws (my mother was elsewhere in the Church). We were the first people in line for Communion and it appeared that another Eucharistic minister came up from the side of the church. At this point our pastor and deacon are handing out Communion center row. I saw this wasn't a Eucharistic Minister, rather a person with a glazed crazy look. He point his finger behind his ears and started hissing like he was a Satan/snake combination. He paced frantically and made his way toward an icon. At this point because we were the second family in the Communion line, I motioned for my husband to go because other big men were coming up onto the altar. I told my kids to return to the pews and I left to the Narthex to call 911. One of the security for parking is a cop and he called for back-up and they got the guy off the altar, behind it and out the church onto the main street.

Very scary. People go to the movies to think their seeing a premier and bad things happen. This crazy could have had a gun, and I sent my kids back to their pew. I told my husband to help out and apprehend the crazy. Granted there were seven to eight large fathers who headed and corralled and there wasn't incident after that.

Ultimately, it sort of put things in perspective. Doesn't matter that I should fret about a coupon expiring and be upset over a $3.00 expired ECB. Everyone was very subdued after this event on the way home.

My younger daughter is sensitive and she felt bad that she didn't buy my oldest son a present at his birthday in August. We were at Target so that my youngest could spend his Target gift card from his birthday. Daughter asked if she could buy the oldest son a remote-controlled hexbug because that is what he really wanted and didn't get. I lent her the $20 and she paid me back when she got home.

So while I'm hoping to get more organized, I will find a balance between fretting over stupid stuff and I'll spend more time smelling the roses. And supporting my kids buying gifts to show love and kindness to their sibs.

Thankful, and productive

October 5th, 2012 at 01:33 pm


Today I am thankful for the health of those that I love the most and am happy that most of them are content with their choices. For those that aren't exactly content, I hope that they move towards a place where they are.

My husband has a friend whose wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was stage one and the surgery was yesterday. The surgeon feels that they got everything and the bone and pet scans showed that it hadn't spread. This reminds me that life is precious.

That said, I've got a full weekend ahead with a roller skating party and family party for my almost 8 year old (birthday on Monday).

It is 8:35 and I've got the older two out the door (younger daughter is "shadowing" older daughter at the high school. The rest are fed. I've baked a cake, got stew going in the crockpot, made a jello salad for the party tomorrow, and I am moving on to my 36 muffins for breakfast for tomorrow. I am now getting ready to color my hair and the oldest boy is gong to shower,he's got a sccial day today with get togethers.

I have to get the birthday boy a hair cut, and go to the Boy Scout store to have pins for tomorrow's woodsy outing. And I have to run to Aldis. Then skating party at 3:30.

Lots of things, but all under control. And when all is said and done (after paying for last round of groceries and skating party) I will have $16.00 left to last next week.

Have a greatday everyone!

Really?! Frustrations and Drama.

October 3rd, 2012 at 02:25 pm


I am fighting to maintian my positive attitude. I thought I've been able to deflect some things pretty well lately, though it is all feeling sort of heavy right now. Sadly, in the grand scheme of life nothing is very note-worthy.

The good thing is that money-wise, it is all working out. I've got some realistic estimates on the cost of son's party, plus the party menu for the family party on Saturday. I already purchased his gift. I did use some coupons today at CVS and spent over 50% on some shampoo, body wash, and Robitussin (using coupons and ECB). I also found older daughter's favorite shampoo at Walmart rolled back to $5.94.

Best friend is back in a needy way, though this time she's weaning herself off of Wellbutrin. She's being pretty forthright about how bad she was in her relationship that ended in August. And she is blaming the meds in a big way, no self control, etc. She wants me to vouch for her sanity with the man that she is trying to re-establish contact with. I've done it once in the past (8 years ago) when she went postal after being on Lexipro. Don't think I really want to be involved. The good news is in her mental clarity and an eye toward the future, she is taking a serious look at her finances and making some wiser decisions (like postponing a trip that she really can't afford). Boundaries on this one are sticky because I have interceded for her before, but I don't want to now. Looking back it was all rather juvenile. Ugh.

The 2nd grader had a melt-down yesterday and today. He didn't want to go to school and feigned illness and I could tell something was bothering him. He is the most well behaved of my kids (and they're all mostly well behaved) (he was the only child in kindergarten to get an O (outstanding) for self-control. Well, the teacher yelled at him yesterday. The first time ever he has been yelled at. And she screamed at him. It was apparently the end of his 7-year old world. It was nice to see his sibs rally around him to boost his spirits, and I hope he manages to get through the day without falling apart. His party is on Friday, so hopefully that will keep him cheered up.

Drama-momma is back in a big way, and I have ignored her phone calls. She really has a way of inserting herself and making problems where there really aren't any. Essentially both girls are shadowing at a high school on Friday, and they're following my older daughter. The other girl was complaining that my oldest isn't in honors Algebra (which she presumes she will be in) and chorus (mine is in gym, which this girl will have to take). I guess my child told her child that maybe she should request someone else. This turned into a "Why would *M* tell my daughter to shadow someone else? I must get to the bottom of this. I have to get my paperwork faxed in!" I ignored the call because I had no idea there was an issue. The girl then called and was a bit snotty in her message which was a toned down version of what her mother said. My daughter called back and said she knew she was on speaker phone and called the girl out on her desire to shadow someone with a more similar schedule, but then added of course she could shadow with her. *sigh*

Despite the fact that I didn't respond, I do resent the intrusion. I know that it doesn't matter, but it still upsets me.

On a happy note, I am putting up my fall decorations today. Looking forward to some cheerful autumnal colors. Pleased to say that I'm not purchasing a thing, just revisiting some of my favorite knick-knacks from the past.

And I've turned the ringer off on the phone.

"Saving while spending" - the new mantra

October 2nd, 2012 at 02:37 pm


Moving on to Christmas Big Ticket Item #2 for third child, oldest son, Lego Enthusiast, lover of all things Harry Potter. Diagon Alley. Now on the "Hard to Find List" of Lego Items. (I should add that I live in my own version of Lego-land - Harry Potter, Ninjago, now Monsters, and then just the general play stuff). That items is not on shelf at any local store (Target, Kmart, Toys R Us) so my options were to buy it online or go to the nearest Lego store at a big mall about 20 miles away. I was going to take a ride to the mall, but don't really feel like going that far by myself to run in and buy one item (the Lego set) and not being any sort of recreational shopper, I decided to see about buying it online.

I found it at Target for $148.99 which is the price at the Lego store. It was over $50 and qualified for free shipping (a savings of $9.09) and I used my Target Red Debit card and saved an additional $7.75. So I'm having it shipped to my mom's and his major gift is done (mostly the kids get three or four items to open on Christmas morning). Moving right along ... though I am a bit bummed that I couldn't use my American Express gift card because something about not being able to split orders on third party cards, etc. Anyhow, paid cash! And still have gift card.

I also found a $20 coupon for the Veramyst Rx I need to pick up for my son. That puts $20 back in our company sponsored HSA. Smile

And I double checked my husband's EOB for dental services and saw that his xrays were covered. Mine from the month earlier were denied. I didn't follow up with Delta to find out why mine were denied. As soon as I saw that his were covered, I DID make the phone call. I found out that claim SHOULD HAVE been covered and will be covered. My payment dropped from $128 to $30.75 just like that. Big ole smile on my face.

We've got a busy weekend coming up with birthday festivities for the soon to be 8 year old. We've got a five day weekend school-wise, so he's having a skating party at the roller rink Friday from 3:30-6:30 with ten friends. My inlaws are coming in on Friday for the family party on Saturday night. I'm working on the menu and shopping list for the party and weekend guests.

So all spending is staying within parameters, including party and groceries. The unexpected $151 for the Christmas purchase might make it a bit tight next week, but I anticipate left overs will fill out menu plan and minimal extraneous (anything outside of groceries/gas) expenses next week.

Onward and upward, "saving while spending" Smile