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Archive for November, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving (a day early)

November 27th, 2013 at 06:13 am


Just wanted to send warm wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to my SA family! It is a blessing to have this place. I like to come and share and vent, and ponder life. Despite where else I blog, this is my favorite place. Smile

I'm at a place right now where I am not so much worried about the finances. Whatever happens, things will turn out. If it is unemployment, we'll make it work and my DH will become employed again.

My ex stepmother died yesterday. She was the last wife my biological father had. She was always nice to me and I had a nice conversation with her several months ago. She went in her sleep to eternal rest. Again, not much more to say. Another reminder that life is more important than money.

My aunt (a senior) didn't make it here for Thanksgiving. Apparently the man she arranged to drive her the 45 minute ride to the Amtrak station died last week and she missed her train. I suspect she might not have wanted to come for fear of the weather or whatever. We still went ahead and went downtown to the Art Institute and at our annual Breakfast with Santa and Drury Lane, my brother will be joining us rather than the aunt. I'm thankful to have a brother and am glad that he will join us.

So, it is my wish that everyone has a day filled with family and feasting! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sixteen years ago today ...

November 25th, 2013 at 06:05 am


I entered the game of Motherhood. And I've also added several more players to the game over the years.

Baby girl is Sweet 16! She celebrated with five friends at the Imax to see "Catching Fire" (cost $90) and pizza ($25 from Little Cesars). Tonight is her small family party and the Sunday is the large family party she'll be sharing with her younger sister (12.5 months younger). I couldn't have been blessed with a more beautiful, smarter daughter than what I have. She's a challenge at times (I gave birth to myself, actually, so that understanding I have of her is a double-edged sword at times).

Our puppy had his surgery on Saturday, and ended up having a baby tooth pulled, too. Cost $140 (younger daughter paid for the tooth extraction). The snip was covered by the rescue organization he came from, but we still had blood work, IV, some other medication, etc. He's awfully cute in the cone of shame!

It is a one day school week for the kids, really two, but we're playing hooky tomorrow and going to Union Station to meet my aunt coming in by Amtrak. This is the very Catholic aunt, so we'll be heading to the National Shrine of St. Therese Lisieux and the Syro-Malabar Cathedral in Bellwood. My younger daughter is probably on track to be a Bible Scholar with what she already knows, and I do have one son expressing an interest in the priesthood, so several of my clan are VERY excited about these excursions.

Thanksgiving day is at my brother's. I bring several side dishes to share, so need to get that together.

It was a definitely high spend weekend, but definitely worth it!

Coming in a hair above/below!

November 21st, 2013 at 08:15 am


Sickling returned to school today - for 1/2 day. He's feeling better because he was picking fights with his brothers yesterday, so at least I know we're on the mend. He isn't ready to eat solid food at school or run around in gym class, so I'll pick him up at 11:35 today (school gets out at 2).

I was able to be out and about and tackled some to-dos.

Went to Kohl's and redeemed Kohl's cash for a winter coat for DH for Christmas. It is a nice Columbia one, regularly $110, on sale for $79.99. Not sure what additional discount they took because there was no tax and I had $80. The cashier offered me the one certificate back because it had $.01 on it. I declined.

I had a coupon for $10 off of a $50 grocery purchase at Target. My pre-coupons total was $50.25, got it down to $35. Still lacking a comprehensive meal plan, but have my mom's $10 coupon, so will make a better go of it tomorrow.

All for now.

Wednesday Wednesday

November 20th, 2013 at 06:14 am


OK, managing to surviving the nasty virus that my youngest has. Could run 3-5 days and I think that we are at the start of day 4. Lots of vomiting and diarrhea, airing out and disinfecting, up at all hours, minimal cat naps.

The upside of this is my house is very clean. We've only spent $12 on this round of illness (popsicles, peptobismal, wipes). I haven't been able to leave the house, with the excpetion of last night for 45 minutes when sickling was asleep and another son needed a ride to basketball practice.

I snuck away to Christmas shop: $25 at Ulta for a Too-Faced make-up sampler, and $15 for the PLANES DVD at Toys R Us. I also took care of my brother's dogs and made $10.

Payday is Friday. Everything is on autopilot. Spending is reasonable across all categories. We've done additional dog caring the past few weeks for mom and stepdad, and brother, and made $105: $50 was a wedding gift (another one is in the works) and $50 for daughter's birthday later in month. I did end up with $900 for my birthday which is in the Reserve Fund of the PNC Wallet.

Trying hard to rebound from the news of the librarian's daughter's suicide. It has been an opportunity to talk about coping skills with my kids, but I haven't done too well. I usually start crying (the sort of silent, choked up freeze). I am a crier by nature, and I had myself a good cry at the Wedding on Saturday. I am tired of crying.

Non-financial, Sad Day

November 18th, 2013 at 05:51 pm

I know we are a diverse group here in our religious beliefs, but there is a spirit of warmth and congeniality that is very wonderful in this little corner of the blogosphere called SA.

Could you please, please spare a minute for prayers and wishes for peace for a family we know through the high school? Their beloved 24 year old daughter committed suicide on Friday. Such a tragic and senseless thing to those around the family. I cannot imagine the depths of their despair as they try to heal from this event.

Her name was Megan. Thank you, and God bless.

What to do when the language of love is spoken in money?

November 12th, 2013 at 07:20 am


In some previous version of this blog (this is the third reincarnation, similar to Dr. Who!) I have divulged about my biological father. He was married to my mother long enough to produce two children (me and my brother) was an abusive control freak who came from a family with money but didn't bother to pay regular child support. Many rough years and experiences that I have worked hard to move past.

Anyhow, my DH used to work for my father doing apartment building maintenance and repair and management. There was a huge fall out four years ago and my DH stopped working and speaking to my father. The substance of the argument really boiled down to my father's love life, lack of fidelity, what I knew because I used to listen to his crazy girlfriend, and what I told DH not to share. Not to be involved. It wasn't moral or right. So DH was loyal to me, not him and it all ended very badly.

I haven't seen my father in four years. I do send him a Father's Day card and a Christmas card (with usually a small token gift, like a keychain or Christmas ornament). I do this because in my faith I am taught to honor my parents, this is the best that I can do. I did talk to him in March when his sister died. I've learned not to expect things of people, but I had hoped he would at least go to the funeral. But he didn't and then had choice words to share about his sister's husband. etc.

Why the backstory? Not quite sure. Just wanted to set the scenario.

My birthday is Friday. My brother (who is still pretty thick with my father despite their own tumultuous past) dropped off a birthday card. My father always remembers my birthday with $300-$400. This year he gave me $700 in cash. Probably because my brother shared that my husband will probably be unemployed come January.

I don't really know why I feel conflicted about this $700. I suppose he's worried about me. I just wish he didn't speak the language of love with money. His parents did it (but I was always the good girl of the grandkids and never any trouble, so I wasn't manipulated by their money). However, biological father has used money to control and manipulate in the past. Too bad I don't feel right taking his money.

Thanks for listening to this psychobabble. It will probably self-destruct shortly. Just wanted to put it out there so I can go back and reread it.

I am just confused.

A productive (hefty) spend at Kohls

November 11th, 2013 at 05:28 am

Despite frugal living and choices, this family of mine always seems to have someone in need of some item, and I can usually deal with it without breaking the bank. Sometimes though, everyone needs things at the same time and it gets scary and ugly.

My girls both grew taller and were in desperate need of cold weather wear. We are also going to a wedding on Saturday and most people lacked at least some item. (I took care of the boys at Old Navy with black dress pants and I found a white dress shirt here and there at Goodwill).

Anyhow, my mom had a 30% off coupon and I used her credit card (I don't have one of my own and you need to use the store card for the discounts). Here is what I bought (pre 30%):

Pair gym shoes DH $50
Columbia winter coat son: $40
Dress for myself for wedding/Christmas: $48
2 dresses for daughters for ": $66
Pair of jeans daughter; $25
Christmas gifts (2 scarves for mom and MIL): $28
Neck ties for boys for wedding/Christmas: $24
7 other shirts/sweaters for girls for remainder

I spent $300 and got $60 Kohls dollars back. According to my receipt I saved $350.
I feel satisfied with the haul and at least my girls are clothed adequately until Spring. Smile

My payment plan with my mom is $100/month over the next three months. Ordinarily I would have just paid it off, but given Christmas and other expenses, it is easier this way with breathing room for me.

I can return a dress that I previously purchased for only $20, but it is dressier and I may consider keeping it.

I was surprised how many shoppers were out on a Sunday night, and I imagine it will only get worse closer to Christmas.

Who would think funding the envelopes would be so fun?! And other random stuff!

November 8th, 2013 at 05:26 am


It is payday. And I get to go to the bank and take out cash to fill my empty envelopes! This week's auto repair bill ($370) didn't completely derail my plains, just wiped out the balance across all envelopes. The $6 I had left in cash was distributed yesterday $4 to DH for some driplets of gas for his tank and $2 for daughter to take public transportation back to her friend's house after school today.

I'm definitely going to cut down on the driving -- my boys will have to "hello to the bus" to help reduce the gas I'm using.

My house is still very chilly/freezing - 62 this morning. DH thinks first course of action is to replace thermostat. I came across a receipt for two unused bags of ashphalt patch that we didn't use two months ago. As long as we return by 11/28, I will get $22 plus tax back. I will put some of that toward the thermostat. I was happy to find this small bit of money to be found. DH is on board for the return (50# bags and my 138# body don't make for an easy handle).

I am going to borrow my mom's other space heater, it does definitely take the chill out of the house, but it takes too much time for the family room/kitchen to warm up.

Off for a day of doctor appointments (physicals for boys) and conferences (also for boys).

And DH cracked a tooth. There appears to be an ever-present challenge to keep the Extraneous Fund alive!

Inflating the sadly deflated Extraneous Fund

November 7th, 2013 at 09:35 am


I made a note in my calendar to follow up with Bank of America regarding a promotion (spend $500 get $100). I completely forgot about it until I flipped through the calendar.

I made a quick call and my redemption options included a check in the amount of $108.23. I opted for that and I should have the check in my mitts in 14 days. Hoot hoot!

So: $100 from tomorrow, $15 from dog walking, $50 (realistically garnered from grocery account), and this $108.23, I am feeling a bit better.

I also forgot to add the issue with the heater/thermostat. We're running at 63 in the mornings and 69 during the day. Our thermostat doesn't seem to be working. It came with the house and we've been here going on nine years. DH thinks it most likely is the problem because the furnace did run fine after it stopped working efficiently and we put new batteries in. That was last week. I'll have my stepdad do it next Monday. Not sure how much thermostats cost, either. Til then we'll love our space heater and have to wear extra sweaters.

Adding to the list of thing the extraneous funds needs to cover isn't as fun as adding funds to fund those. That is sort of a tongue-twister in itself.

And I haven't even factored in my birthday funds. Smile

Sadly deflated Extraneous Fund

November 7th, 2013 at 05:53 am

This is a revision of my earlier post today. I've decided to implement the attitude of gratitude given it is November and Advent is almost upon us.

I am grateful that I had enough money across all envelopes for the brake job yesterday. ($370) I am also grateful for the finds that I made at Goodwill.

The Extraneous Fund (presently at $0, will have $100 tomorrow as allotted) needs to cover some upcoming expenses:

$191 (est) two tires for DH's minivan (priced at Walmart and they are the best deal)

$40 for dog grooming (cancelled that today because I have a sick child home, and incidentally: no money)

Ink for our printer. I don't know how much the colored cartridges run, but I think I recall $40 range.

Potential plumbing call for the slow drains at the rental property. DH will attempt one of them on Saturday morning. Our plumbing contact is a friend from DH's fraternal organization and charges $50 an hour.

I will have $100 for the fund tomorrow (payday). I will also earn an additional $15 toward this today by taking care of my brothers dogs. If I am very careful with the grocery budget (keeping it very basic and sticking to tuna for DH's lunches and a vat of chili and breakfast foods twice a week rather than once a week) I can probably get another $60.

DH will make $50 taking care of my mom and dad's dogs from Saturday to Sunday and we've already ear-marked that November-birthday daughter's cash gift, so I won't be adding that to the Extraneous fund, and I won't need to eke it out of any other place.

And to make it even more sobering, I've worked on the "Unemployed Scenario Budget" using the insurance quotes from State Farm as a guide. *phew*

I am definitely at the point of looking at every dollar and where it goes. I was able to avoid using the credit/debit card by wiping out the envelopes. I know that isn't the way it is usually done, but I did it anyhow. I have $6 until tomorrow.

Confession

November 6th, 2013 at 03:51 pm

Somewhere in me is a person who wants to have expensive things. You know the kind of life where you don't look at the price tag and buy the things that you want just because you want them. Coach bags and Uggs in different colors, and a new sweaters every year in the right color and fashion. That isn't me in reality, but somewhere in me she lurks.

My birthday is coming up later in the month. I regularly get monetary gifts from my biological father and grandmother and inlaws. This year I decided to spend the funds on a new purse - a Coach mini crossbody version in a wintery color similar to the one I've used every spring summer for the past three years (since my mom bought it on sale for my birthday in 2010). I've seen them on sale for $100. Yep, that was what I was going to do. (Note: My funds usually exceed $100, but I had this purse as my #1 Wanted Item)

Then my oil change this morning turned into a "you really need brakes and we can do it right now" ($20 up to $370 that included new windshield wipers, etc.) I started feeling sorry for myself that my birthday funds would need to go to buy new tires for DH's minivan. And I wouldn't be able to get my new winter purse. Pout pout (childish, yes. very childish).

I happened to have a 25% off a purchase at Goodwill because it is my birthday month coupon in my purse at the time. And Goodwill happened to be across from the Midas I was at.

I went in and I just happened to find a version of my favorite Vera Bradley bag in fall/winter colors (I do own one of those purchased at the Outlet store). It was $24.99. The pattern is a brown/turquoise sort of medallion pattern from a few years ago. It matches my daughter's lunchbox that she's used for the past three years. I've decided to break away from my normal black attire and try a brown scheme this season. And I really like it.

And my daughter saw it and said, "I love it, Mom. Just like my lunch bag. Maybe I can borrow it some time?" It had the seal of approval of a fashion-conscious teenager to boot!

I bought three winter casual shirts for DH, two really nice sweaters for myself (a J.Jill and Jones of New York in the brown/beige family), four books and the Vera Bradley bag for $42. (I saved $15 after the coupon savings).

I am so happy that I found my frugal self. Now it really doesn't matter much to me if I buy two tires for DH's with my birthday funds. Smile

Money tune I am whistling today is: happy

November 1st, 2013 at 11:50 am


Cash that I have spent today:

$33.42 for 3-month Rx for DH's thyroid medication. Transferred to Meijer and got a $25 off coupon. Also got $1 off of produce and 10% off all grocery items.

$4.00 was what I spent on groceries after applying about coupons/savings. Ended up with: 10 cans of Progresso soup, gallon of milk, 12-pack Danimals, package of cheddar cheese slices, 2 pack mini French bread, one box of Quaker Oatmeal breakfast squares, 3 pack Romaine hearts, bunch of bananas, and 2# grapes.

Purchased a Steak N Shake $20 gift card (for outing tomorrow) and got a $5 gift card for use in January.

$25.75 for a furnace filter for the rental property.

I was productive taking care of volunteer paperwork I procrastinated about. Triple soccer practice today to make up for yesterday's cancellation.

Tomorrow we go to Hammond. I borrowed the DVD from my brother of THE CHRISTMAS STORY for our trip, and I went down and got out the Santa hats for our picture.

My daughters are contemplating a switch in Irish Dance schools. They head to the potential new school for a class on Mondays. There is a six-month ban on competition, so they'll need to decide quickly if this a correct fit. My older daughter started the exams to become a certified instructor, and the new potential teacher found that very impressive. Also younger daughter's results. We will see the outcome.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a happy November.

Goal: Continue to pay off high school tuition as quickly as possible.