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Archive for October, 2012

October wrap-up, November goals, $10 more to trip fund

November 1st, 2012 at 04:30 am

We had a good month: surpassed the $1790 debt-repayment goal with $1843 paid in October. My other goal was to do a 2-week raw cleanse, but we cut it short after one week. For me that was fine because I hit my weight goal and didn't have as much motivation.

Hit three of my 2012 goals this month: net worth is $300K, student loan debt is less than $40K, and my weight is under 130. 3 big goals down, 2 to go for the year!

For November, a slightly more modest debt goal to pay $1750 of principal. Another goal is to at least start a novel for NaNoWriMo. My third goal is to do at least 2 upper-body and 2 lower-body weight training workouts each month in November (since this isn't a full week, I just want to get at least 1 of each done by Sunday).

As I predicted, I got a $10 Target gift card for wearing a Halloween costume to work! I'll buy groceries with it and take $10 of grocery budget for my trip fund. Now it's at $138!

We had a great, eventful Halloween. AA had tons of fun at my job, NT's job, daycare, and trick-or-treating in the evening. Oh, and opening a Halloween present my parents mailed. I filmed her cooing over the toys and had her say thank you and give her love, posted the video to YouTube and emailed my dad the link. Smile

I do feel bad because one of my old college friends is the BIGGEST Halloween fan, and she's in New Jersey where everything got canceled. She had to take her elaborate yard display down before Halloween even hit. I have lots of friends and family on the East Coast, but thank goodness so far everyone seems to be doing fine. It's weird to think that my winter holiday season is in full swing and so many people's lives are on hold, tradition and routine and even basic creature comforts suspended temporarily. Really hoping the recovery efforts go fast and smooth for everyone affected.

Unexpected boost to the Va. trip fund!

October 31st, 2012 at 02:54 am

So, I haven't made any money for my maybe trip to Va. since I found $46 extra in the haircut fund. I'm hoping to raise at least $300 to pay for the bulk of airfare for me and my toddler AA.

Then, yesterday we got our annual profit sharing check from our grocery co-op! I always forget it's coming, and the amount varies from year to year, so I don't factor it into my budget. This year it's about $82.

So I'm putting that toward my trip fund, taking me to $128. Not too bad! I'm very close to being able to order a $10 Target card from MyPoints; I can put that toward groceries and get $10 from the grocery budget to put into my travel fund. That will take me almost halfway to my goal. I still have some books and videos I can try to sell, but I keep putting it off because I hardly have any free time. At some point I'll get desperate. Smile

I might get a Target card at work tomorrow; it's Halloween and sometimes they give cards out as prizes for dressing up in costume. If I do I'll put that to groceries and take money out for my trip.

Slowly but surely, building up money to help pay for this. Oh, and I have one less relative to visit when I go over, so I can just do a really short trip; AS's mom is moving to Connecticut this Friday, so she won't be in Va. in December. It's sad she won't get a chance to see her grandkids, but for this trip, it makes my timing that much more flexible.

Reached my October debt-repayment goal!

October 28th, 2012 at 02:02 am

Checked AS's student loan and her monthly payment had hit. $128 to principal, taking us to $1843 paid in October, a bit over our $1790 goal. Woo hoo!

We have had a slightly spendy but marvelous weekend so far. Hoping tomorrow is quiet and productive.

Friday we went to a dinner party at some friends' house. Luckily we got a ride, so no cost except NT bought a bottle of wine for the hosts. They had two little boys who were fun and nice, and had lots of fun toys AA loved. Everything was vegan-friendly, even the desserts. At the end of the night, the hosts gave us a winter coat and pair of snow boots just AA's size. Score!

Today we went to a corn maze, an outing organized by my college's local alumni chapter. Only two others besides my family decided to go, but they were two of my favorite local alumni! We again lucked out with rides; they met at our condo and took some of us in one car and some in the other. Admission was $13 but AS found an online coupon that gave $1 off per person, and both kids were free. We bought cider for the drivers, and we also got roasted corn, cotton candy, mini-donuts and kettle corn. Phew! Of my family, we divvied up expenses and figured out we spent $21 per person total. Not too shabby, considering all the fun we had: besides the snacks there was a corn maze; a giant bouncy-pillow thing; a corn pit; and a petting zoo with goats, sheep, camels, water buffalo, parakeets, ponies, llamas, and several animals I wasn't familiar with.

We also ordered pizza for dinner when we got home, which was $16 per person. So the whole day cost $37 per person, but it was worth it!

This should be the last expensive social weekend for a while. I'm still in debt to my own allowance, so I'm looking forward to some quiet cheap weekends at home so I can get my spending money in balance again.

Baby's much better, scheming to raise trip money

October 23rd, 2012 at 03:23 am

Thanks for all the well wishes for SL on my last entry! As is often the case with infants, she was super-miserable for about 12 hours and then perked right up! Today she's been drinking huge bottles to make up for her poor appetite yesterday. Smile

Work gave me my $50 Zappos card for completing the pedometer challenge! I spent it right away because my black work flats are pathetic. Not even "flats" anymore; I noticed today that the soles have worn out in such a way that they don't land evenly on the pavement anymore.

Zappos is pretty expensive compared with what I'm usually prepared to pay for clothes (my typical range is $10-$40 per item depending on what it is). I finally found a pair of black flats on sale for $44, so I got those. What to do with the last $6? I did a lot of searching by lowest price among the departments and settled on 3 pairs of socks for AA for $8.50. So for $2.50, I got a nice pair of work shoes and three pairs of toddler-sized socks. And I got more fit earning the rest. Not bad. Smile

I've been looking for cheap airfare to Va. and so far found tix for about $195 each, which would be close to $400 to take the toddler (infant would ride free on my lap). I'm hoping I can do better by not being picky about days and by waiting for last-minute deals.

Meanwhile, I glanced over my budget spreadsheet to try and get an idea of what's coming up, and I noticed I have too much money in our haircut fund. So I was able to pull $46 out of that and put it aside for plane tickets. Now I just have to conjure up the rest of the funds! I know we have some DVDs and books waiting around to be sold, so maybe this week or weekend I can take the books to the used bookstores to see if they'll take any, and post some of the DVDs online. It'll only get me a few bucks here and there, but every little bit helps!

Looked at my Google Adsense from this blog just now. I earned $2.32 last month and just over $5 this month! Unfortunately, you can't receive payment until you hit $100. At this rate I'll be able to get $100 in a year and a half or so. LOL. Still, that'll be a nice surprise at some point.

I should ramp up MyPoints clicking and surveys. I might be able to scrape up a few bucks that way. If I get Target cards with MyPoints, I can use them toward groceries and take cash for myself from the grocery budget.

I'll keep thinking!

Life updates

October 21st, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Pretty quiet day today. The 7-month-old SL is sick, and not happy about it, but other than that not much going on. I've only recently gotten over a cold, and who knows if I'm going to catch this one too, so I'm just trying to rest and do as little as possible. I do need to make lunches for this week, but I can do that later. Right now AS is at a work function and NT took AA to the park to feed squirrels.

It was a hectic but pretty good week at work. Training is going well with my new hire (who is also an acquaintance I like, so that helps). I also found out I had 3 more vacation days allotted this year than they thought, and that I'll get 20 days next year! I was very pleased with both bits of news, but I already have more PTO this year than I know what to do with. I tacked the three days onto two I was taking in December anyway so that I now have a whole week off with no plans, plus random days off here and there in November and December.

I got it in my head that I should visit my parents and AS's mom in Virginia, and take both daughters with me. I know they would all like that, and what with the family visit to England planned next year, I don't know when we'll get out to Va. in the near future.

There is the question of how to pay for it though. I'm a to-the-penny budgeter, so I don't just have money lying around for an impromptu trip. Of course I could just ask my dad for the money, but I'd rather find a way to get there myself. I know he'll loan me one of his cars to drive while I'm there, and that everyone will provide food for us. So it's just the plane tickets for me and AA I have to worry about.

I'm going to keep my eye out for a last-minute deal. I would love to get there for about $300. Of course I still need to figure out where that $300 would come from, but we'll see. These things have a way of working out, and worst comes to worst I could just gradually pay it back in with my spending allowance.

I don't look forward to staying with relatives, but I can't justify the expense of a hotel and rental car. My parents' house has finally succumbed to my mom's hoarding and general uncleanliness, and they now have a fairly severe roach problem. AS's mom's house is better, but last time we were there, the hot water had been turned off. And my sister's is the best option, but even it is strange -- sparsely decorated in some places, unaccountably cluttered in others -- plus it's a 30-minute drive from my parents and even longer from AS's mom. Plus her husband, my brother-in-law, can be a real PITA sometimes.

But, I love everyone (well, except my BIL) and I feel more of a duty to visit home now that I have kids who should see their grandparents (and vice versa) from time to time. So we'll see if I can swing it.

I definitely don't want to go home for major holidays. We are creating our own traditions here with my nuclear family and close friends, and it's never relaxing to go home anymore. I believe holidays should be for ultimate enjoyment. So this random mid-December trip would be just the ticket.

***

I've had a very fun weekend; costly but fun. We ended our raw cleanse a week early -- I'd already hit my weight goal, AS and NT also lost a good deal of weight, and our friend we were doing it with just hated it. So we all went out to a Thai restaurant on Friday. The kids were great, the food was great and the company was fun. Then yesterday I went bra shopping -- it put my spending allowance in the hole but so worth it -- and then last night went to a reading by one of my favorite authors (AS's press publishes him). No admission fee, but I bought food and drinks there. Then there was an after-party which, thankfully, didn't cost me any more money. My boss was there; he's a poet active in the literary community and good friend of AS's boss, so I wasn't surprised. He's a good guy so it was nice to see him.

So I had a lot of fun, but I've already tapped my next week's allowance and then some. Our super-social October is nearly at an end -- I have a corn-maze event with my alumni chapter next weekend, but hopefully that's the last thing I'll have to spend money on for a while. I think I can get back to equilibrium on my allowance by mid-November if I'm careful.

***

I think I'm going to try and participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. I've done it almost every year since I found out about it nearly 10 years ago. I've never reached the 50,000-word goal, but it's always an interesting experiment.

This year I really need to have a firm plot in mind, or I won't get anywhere with how busy and tired I feel most of the time. I also need to rid myself of the inner editor that points out every cliche and badly written sentence and slows me down or gives me writer's block. I should brainstorm this week or so before Nov. 1 so I'm not flailing blindly on the first day.

***

We've completed our latest three credit-card spends, payoffs are planned, and we're just waiting on rewards for the last two. The rewards were $100, $100 and $150 for spending $500 on each ($1500 total). I've decided to take a break from the rewards credit card churn unless a big, tempting one comes to light. All I've seen recently are ones I've already done and/or little rewards like the three we just did. I hope something new and exciting comes up before we start our Xmas shopping! Meanwhile, we'll probably get a Target credit card so we can get 5% rewards on our spending there at least.

***

We totally blew it on our grocery spending this weekend. We'll be about $100 in the hole by the time we buy diapers. I'm hoping to gain back some ground with Amex rewards from our grocery spending card that gives us 6% back.

I think that's all my news. SL has managed to fall asleep, so the house is quiet for the moment. I'm just going to sit and savor it!

Reached our 2012 net worth goal!

October 19th, 2012 at 03:26 am

We were only about $2K away from our goal when I calculated our net worth at work today. Then I remembered I had a statement from one of NT's UK pensions, which I can't access online. So tonight I dug out the statement and recorded those gains. We were only $6 short of $300K net worth!

I went to our Barclays account where our moving fund is stashed, and saw that the balance had gone up another $1 in interest. So I transferred $5 to it and bam! We're at $300K net worth!

Of course this isn't as nice a round number as it looks. Our UK assets and debts are skewed because I still use a $2=1 pound ratio, even though a pound is only worth about $1.60 now. So in actuality, our assets, debt and net worth are actually smaller.

But as a milestone that I worked diligently toward, it's still pretty dang satisfying!

Three 2012 goals down, two to go!

The least annoying price increase ever

October 18th, 2012 at 06:50 pm

Our daycare is raising its rates, I believe it's starting in November. After much agonizing, our daycare lady decided she had to raise her prices. $15 per month per household. (Not even per kid!)

I've never been happier to have a price go up. For less than $1100 per month ($1050 at current prices, $1065 after the increase), our daycare provides 10 meals a week (for the toddler), education, playtime, exercise, socializing with other lovely kids, developmental activities, a calm and disciplined (yet loving) environment, the skills of our daycare lady plus several others (her mom, sister, daughter and husband), field trips, monthly music class with a visiting teacher, craft supplies, and most importantly a place that both girls are visibly happy and excited to come to every day. And she takes less than 2 weeks' paid vacation per year, just days here and there. Usually just on major holidays, or to redecorate the classroom or attend teacher conferences!

Also, take into account that average cost of a daycare center that would offer most (not all) of the above amenities in the downtown-Minneapolis area would be about $1500 a month. Per kid, not for both!

So yeah, you won't hear me grumbling about this come Nov. 1. Our mortgage increase, on the other hand ... Wink

October 2012 net worth update - REVISED

October 18th, 2012 at 04:22 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
#1: 13,884 pounds ($27,768)
#2: 17,268 pounds ($34,536)
#3: 3,709 pounds ($7,418)
NT's 401(k): $20,031
NT's Roth IRA: $4,664
AS's 401(k): $8,005
AS's trad. IRA: $1,682
AS's Roth IRA: $8,740
CJ's 401(k): $47,242
CJ's Roth IRA: $4,664
NT's flat: 130,000 pounds ($260,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $160,000
Emergency fund (shared asset): $16,455
House down payment/moving fund: $1,490
---
Total Assets: $602,695

Total Debt: $302,695

Current Estimated Net Worth: $300,000

August 2012 estimate: $292,272

Change in net worth: +$7,728

Summary: Most of our retirement accounts stayed pretty stagnant (meaning they lost some value, since we did contribute cash to them all), but NT got a matching distribution in his 401(k), one of his UK funds had a significant rise, we added to the EF and moving funds, and we paid off a decent amount of debt. It all adds up! We were just $5 short so I put that amount in the moving fund to take us to our goal. Smile

Our net worth topped $600K for the first time, and we have now reached our goal of $300K net worth! Now I just hope the markets hold out enough for us to keep this net worth through the end of the year.

I will update my "Individual Net Worth" page shortly so you can see how it breaks out per person.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are very approximate. I don't have a way to check NT's UK pensions or flat value, so their values stay static for the purpose of this update (unless I happen to get some info by chance). UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $2 for every British pound, which was the exchange rate when I started keeping track. I maintain that ratio for the purpose of tracking progress, even though the exchange rate is now closer to $1.60 per British pound.

REACHED TWO 2012 GOALS!

October 16th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Whoof, what a busy day (and past couple of weeks)! I'm running home in a bit, but I'm bursting with this news and just had to share.

First, I weighed in Sunday night and had lost over 3 lbs.! That takes me down to 128, or 1 lb. lighter than my 2012 goal! First annual goal reached, WOO HOO!

Then today, an extra payment to NT's student loan posted. (Well, the weird site doesn't show the payment, but the principal is even lower than the amount I sent in, so I'm counting it! Must have forgotten to record an earlier snowflake payment) Anyway, the loan balance is $884 less than it was, so that takes us to $1715 paid in October, just $75 to go on the monthly goal. More importantly ...

Our total student loan debt is at $39,478! That means we reached another 2012 goal of getting student loan debt to less than $40,000!!

It feels SOO good to finally meet not one but TWO of our annual goals, with over 2 months to spare! Here's hoping we hit the rest this year too!

Long tiring week; raw food cleanse starts Sunday

October 13th, 2012 at 03:59 am

I've been sick, training in a new employee and super busy at work besides. I'm hoping the weekend will give me enough down time to recover!

However, we decided to finally do the raw cleanse, starting Sunday. We only went $5 over on groceries in the last two-week period, so we're actually in good shape, but eating raw costs a lot more than our regular diet, so I'm expecting we'll be back in the hole. Well, at least I feel good about our ability to get out of it again.

Anyway, it should be fun and different, but it will also be a lot of work, since everything needs to be prepared from scratch. Lots of soaking, chopping and blending, basically.

Our friend will be doing it in tandem and borrowed a dehydrator from her mom, so I'm interested to see what treats she comes up with.

So our menu looks a bit different. We are having cooked meals at night most days, but they have to be very simple and whole-food-based.

Saturday lunch
Taco baked potato

Saturday dinner
A&C eat out; N&AA - quesadillas & black bean burgers

Sunday
Breakfast: raw buckwheat porridge
Lunch: Thai salad & pineapple
Dinner: Raw corn salad w/avocado dressing

Monday
Breakfast: leftover porridge; fruit
Lunch: Asian salad w/sesame vinaigrette
Dinner: Mexican lettuce wraps w/sunflower "refried beans" & avocado

Tuesday
Breakfast: fruit
Lunch: Daikon apple slaw, lettuce, avocado
Dinner: Cauliflower & mustard greens w/ peanuts over rice

Wednesday (A out w/co-workers)
Breakfast: raw oatmeal w/cinnamon, raisins & apples
Lunch: Veggies marinara
Dinner: Stuffed squash

Thursday
Breakfast: leftover oatmeal
Lunch: zucchini noodles alfredo
Dinner: Bulgur-stuffed portobello & carrots

Friday
Breakfast: fruit
Lunch: Salad w/ raw goddess dressing
Dinner: Tofu & veggie stirfry over brown rice

GREAT weigh-in, but my month just got spendier!

October 8th, 2012 at 05:00 am

I stayed home and got a TON of stuff done, but didn't rack up many steps. So AS and I went for an hour-long walk after the girls went to bed and I met my steps goal for the day!

At the weigh-in, I'd lost a little over a pound! Since I'd been very close to 132 before, but wasn't counting it, now that I'm down to 131 that counts as 2 more lbs. down, just 2 lbs. to go for the year!

So tomorrow I have the day off (at least I don't have to go in), so I'm planning to have lunch with a friend. That night I THOUGHT I was being invited to dinner at another friend's house, but she messaged me and the other girl invited, asking where we want to eat. Bummer. I'm not going to back out, but I'll just look for the cheapest options at both places tomorrow.

Then today as I was checking off to-do items, I remembered I wanted to figure out costumes for me and SL. My job is having a little trick-or-treat thing Halloween morning, so I wanted to bring the girls in costume, let them hang out for a bit and then take them to daycare.

AA already has a costume my sister gave me for a Sesame Street character (Abbycadabby?). So I looked around on eBay and bid on an infant Elmo costume that would come to less than $10 with shipping if I win. AA thinks Oscar the Grouch is really funny right now, so I looked at adult Oscar costumes but they were really expensive. So I bid on a green shirt, green pants, a green stocking cap and a silver strapless top. I figure that will make a passable Oscar (if I'm with two other more recognizable characters).

All the items including the Elmo costume should come to less than $30. Good news, though I'm already into next week's spending money. Realistically, if I get through tomorrow only spending $20 (yeah right), and don't order anything at trivia night Tuesday, I'll only get $30 on Friday. $20 will go into my theater fund, leaving me $10 for the following week. And that's the rosy scenario! LOL. Oh well, I know I'll have a slow week eventually and be able to start saving up for more wardrobe items.

On the grocery side, it's as though AA has heard we might actually squeak by on budget for once, because she's been inexplicably plowing through the half-gallon of milk we bought Friday. We'll probably need to get another one in a day or two. Which might be just enough to tip us over budget!

Oh well. I'm choosing to focus on my weight loss. One thing feels under control, anyway!

Spendy weekend

October 7th, 2012 at 06:21 am

Oh my. I got my $80 spending money on Friday and right now I've got $5 left to spend. Where did it all go?

$20 went into my theater-tickets fund.

I went to a show with NT last night; though I'd paid for my tickets ages ago, I spent $7 on coat check and $25.50 on food and drink. Oh and bought a drink for our friend who drove, $6. So $38.50 total.

$3 for wine for home. We had a $30 Groupon-type certificate we'd bought a week or two ago, but spent $39 (part of it was buying a gift bottle for our friends throwing a party tonight). So $3 for my share of the overage.

$20 for my share of the babysitter tonight. We also got a carshare to go to this party, but luckily we have a carshare budget item so it didn't come out of our spending money.

Wow, I've spent $81.50! So I must have had a bit of money left over from last week. (There were some complicated Amazon refunds and other issues that made it a bit hard to tell until I got everything sorted out.)

Then at the party, I promised I'd have lunch with a friend Monday for his birthday. (I have the day sort-of off; office is closed though I will need to keep my work smartphone on me to monitor emails, since our biggest client doesn't have Columbus Day off.) And it's my turn to go to Tuesday trivia.

So, I have a feeling I'm going to go over $5 and have to pull from next week's spending money. But knowing that will keep me from spending too much either Monday or Tuesday. This same friend is inviting us for dinner at a restaurant Saturday for his birthday, so I need to make sure I have money next week for that.

Anyway, groceries this weekend were much better news. We spent $75 for the week, when usually we have trouble staying under $100! We needed to cut down because we have to get a lot of diapers this week, and because we'd spent more last week, stocking up at the Asian grocery store and taking advantage of deals on some staples.

We should have just enough for diapers and wipes, and as long as we don't need anything else during the week we won't have to dip into the 15th-30th grocery/household money.

Last week we seemed to have a lot of time- and labor-intensive meals. Or maybe it's just being in the most challenging period of having a 2.5-year-old and a 6-month-old, and we're all exhausted. Either way, this week we went for the simplest options we could think of, while still using all our CSA veggies. Here's our menu starting with Friday night:

Friday
Spaghetti & tomato sauce

Saturday lunch
bok choy yakisoba

Saturday dinner
Veggie burgers, leftover "gunsmoke" slaw

Sunday lunch
Italian style spagetti squash & sauteed chard
http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/italian-style-spaghetti-squash/

Sunday dinner
Tofu turkey, gravy, cauliflower, turnips, cranberry sauce

Monday
Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup

Tuesday
Mexican chikn seitan/corn/bean rice bowl & salad

Wednesday
Spaghetti w/ broccoli, garlic & lime

Thursday
Pancakes & maple-"bacon" celeriac & apples

Trip to England booked! And other random money news

October 3rd, 2012 at 03:07 am

Last night I booked our airfare to England! It was complicated because it turns out it costs more to transfer your miles to someone than the miles would actually be worth. Idiotic and pointless! So what we did was book each of our tickets separately (well, I bought AA's and mine, and AS had SL added to hers as an infant in arms) and used the "pay with miles" option to pay for a portion of our ticket with our miles.

The tickets for the three adults and the toddler were $1151.50 each, and SL's cost $160 (I believe; AS added that over the phone and it hasn't shown up on the credit card, but I think that's what she told me). With miles earned mostly from our new credit cards and some from previous years' trips, NT got a $450 discount, I got $300 and AS got $300. So the airfare for three adults, a toddler and a baby came to $3716. Without the miles it would have been $4766! I'm reasonably happy with our final price, AND they're nonstop, and we only have to take off one more day of work than planned (leaving Thurs. night instead of Friday, which would have cost a thousand more OR we could take a flight with a layover).

Since we're booking so early, I don't have all the money for the trip. I'll pay off the cards near the end of this month, when we'll have all but $1266 of the fare saved up. The checking account surplus will have to float us until we get $850 in the November budget and the remaining money we need in December. I'm uncomfortable doing it this way because it locks in the travel portion of our budget; basically, if someone lost their job tomorrow, we wouldn't be able to slash "Travel" until we finish paying for the tickets. But with such a large airfare and wanting to book as early as possible, I decided to risk it.

Once the airfare is paid for, I'll start saving for the rest of the trip: insurance, car rental, cat sitter/boarder, food, entertainment, souvenirs/gifts, etc. Luckily we'll be staying with friends and family so we don't need to get hotel rooms and will be able to cook most nights to save on eating expenses. I've calculated we'll be able to save $8000 total for the trip by May, so with $3716 going toward airfare that leaves $4284 for everything else. Sounds like a lot, but two weeks in England, that money is going to have to be stretched out very smartly. (We'll also each get our regular $80 per week spending money, so that will help a bit.)

NT started a shared task list in Google Drive so we can peck away at the things that need doing gradually over the next six months.

Did I have other random money news as promised? Oh right. NT called about the weird hospital bill that we doubted was right but paid anyway. Turns out they'd mistaken it for a workman's comp claim he'd had around the same time (two unrelated finger injuries, one on the job and one not). Once he gets some records from the hospital and sends them to insurance, they should be able to reimburse us some or all of the $120 or so that we paid! This is REALLY good news in a hard-luck year for health expenses. Let's hope I get similar luck on the $60 bill I just got for my OB visit.

Speaking of that, I definitely got enough of the required preventive health measures done this year to earn $200 of free flex money next year! That will be great because otherwise I was probably going to up my flex contributions, but this way I get more without decreasing my pay!

And, I'm on track to do my 10,000 steps per day this week. This week they're counting Monday (yesterday) through next Monday, so we need to do 80,000 steps in 8 days. Then I'll get a $50 gift card. Just enough to keep me motivated! Smile

The lady who rents our parking space sent us her check, $255 for 3 months. She only needs to pay a month at a time but chooses to do it this way. We're not complaining! That will certainly help me float the rest of the airfare until December.

I've been finding a lot of pennies recently, as well as a nickel. Wonder if it's just chilly enough that people don't stop to pick up the small stuff? Reminds me, I've got to empty it into the girls' piggy bank soon; I just stuff it into a pocket of my purse as I'm walking along.

Today I made an impulse purchase as I was getting some prescriptions refilled. CVS had these cute diecast cars with working doors and the thing where you drag them backwards and they shoot forward. They were $6 each, and they were all so cute, I finally gave in to temptation and bought a yellow VW beetle for AA. She really likes playing with cars at the barbershop, so she was very pleased to get it. I try not to buy them things, they have SO much more than they need. But considering the dozen adorable things per day I manage to resist buying, I guess I can forgive this one little purchase. Smile

I still haven't eaten out! I'm having fun putting it off, deciding what I want to get first. Smile Plus, with some extra treats I bought at the grocery store, and this VW car, and photo prints for my mom, I'm wiped out this week. Next week I need to help pay for a babysitter, and I'm going to a show (tix already paid for but will want drinks), and I'm still saving for clothes and theater tickets. So hmmm, not sure WHEN I'll feel like I have enough money to eat out. It'll be all the sweeter when I do. Wink

I guess that's enough babbling for tonight. I need to clean up a bit before AS and NT come back from trivia and think I just sat around. (Which I kinda have so far. Wink )

October debt & savings progress

October 2nd, 2012 at 05:49 pm

All our mortgages hit:
US: $447 to principal
UK1: $268
UK2: $56
UK3: $60

All told, $831 down, $959 to go on October debt repayment.

I also was able to transfer US$680 into UK savings, so that takes our EF up to $16,430.21.

I got another medical bill in the mail, this one for 90-some dollars. Not too bad, but $60 was for my annual checkup, which I thought was now 100% covered by insurance? I'm going to call and make sure I have to pay it, because we have next to nothing set aside for medical expenses now. I do have about $40 of flex spending left, so I guess I could use that. It reminded me that NT had a $120 bill I wanted him to question because it had a confusing note about insurance coverage, but he kept not calling about it so I eventually paid it so it wouldn't be delinquent. Hopefully he questions it at some point and maybe we can get a partial refund, but who knows if either part of that will come to pass?