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UK Planning and Spending

May 29th, 2017 at 06:56 pm

We had our planning meeting with our daughter's BFF's family on Saturday night to talk through England planning. I think her mom really wants to join us! But it's all systems go--and I booked flights Sunday, and after looking at hotel prices in London, booked a two-bedroom airbnb for six nights instead. The airbnb also gives us plenty of options for breakfasts in, access to laundry facilities, and other meal options. It's a self-contained flat with a full kitchen etc. And--it's in my old neighborhood in London so I know the shops and transport very well. I thought about exploring a new part of the city, but finding a two-bedroom with three beds for under $200/night was a triumph. Now, of course, the girls want a day trip to Paris. DH would prefer to have a day to himself in London, maybe with his brother or BFF, so we'll trade off who has the girls so I can have the following day with my London colleagues.

Real life also progresses here. I spent more than I wanted to at the garden center, as usual. We spent Saturday clearing the raised beds and doing lots of weeding and chopping. I also drove DD to Half Price Books where happily we bought nothing and got $12 for her outgrown books. I'm making several boxes for the upcoming garage sale. Lots of things can go. Plenty to do!

Cash In and Junk Out

May 25th, 2017 at 07:02 am

It's been kind of an odd money week. I spent nothing on Monday or Tuesday, but I needed two new headlights, and took the car to our local mechanic yesterday. He has a very hard time replacing these headlights--as has everyone who has tried in the past. He was rattled, cranky, and asked if I'd pay in cash for the seemingly slim $40 he charged. I only had $35 on me as I was expecting to put in on my card, but he was happy with that. I think he's doing some of that "under the table," but I like him,he specializes in this make, and he's six blocks away. I guess I saved $5? I also sold two jigsaw puzzles on the local FB list for $6, cashed $25 out of Swagbucks, and was paid for an editing job. The $425 is going into the 100K fund--very slowly building, but the interest rate there has gone up slightly.

Our water meter will be replaced by the village this morning. There's no charge but I'm waiting around for them to arrive and trying to find more things to sell.

Back from Door County

May 23rd, 2017 at 03:13 pm

I had a lovely five days with BFF in Door County. We used the airbnb where the family stayed last fall. The weather was not fabulous, but the cherry trees, forget-me-nots, and trilliums (trillia?) were all in bloom. We hiked a lot, took the ferry to Washington Island, ate delicious food, drank wine, watched movies, shopped, and talked and talked. My BFF is the best traveling buddy. We made lots of long-term plans and had a wonderful time.
My regular spring classes are done, graded, and projects headed for the shredder. Either students pick them up or off they go. I went to the university today and ran into pre-med students I'd had in my fall classes. They're lovely folks, and I told them I'd help with application materials. It's above and beyond, but I sure like them all. One young man has Syrian parents and is taking two years between now and med school to work in refugee camps. How can you say no to someone like that? Another young woman has been accepted to Kings College London and wants to sit down and talk London. Can you see why I like them?

My evening class continues with the other side of the socio-economic scale. I've got a student who is just out after 10 years in prison. Man alive, the stories.

So, I've spent a lot on Door County, our upcoming anniversary, and various things. We need to do a little belt tightening soon. I do have a few things listed on FB, but am traveling to Minneapolis in a few weeks for a friend's birthday which coincides with her neighborhood garage sale. We're all bringing things to sell so I plan on spending much of tomorrow gathering and pricing. I deposited two small rebate checks into the 100K fund. It needs a funds infusion. I need to make some lists.

More Spending

May 15th, 2017 at 10:19 am

And the spending just continues. I think it started a week ago when I got a haircut. My local salon had a deal where you buy a $100 gift card and get an additional $20 added on to it. It's my regular spot, so there went that $100 on top of the haircut I'd already paid for. Then there were the sheets on Friday. Then there was $150 at Costco. Yesterday we had a lovely Mother's Day brunch. Some of this was a bit excessive, but yikes, it seems like a lot right now. I was hoping for a NS day today, but DD really needs some shorts and honestly, a good amount of new clothes. She's grown three inches in the last year, and not much fits.

Small economies (very small in retrospect) include taking home food from the dept picnic on Saturday, laundry on the line today, and a few small rebate checks. UK planning continues, and we've managed to wangle an invitation for two nights with friends outside Cambridge.

I'm determined to get my grades completely ready today, although I must plan my evening adjunct class too. I SO want to turn them in before I head to Door County with BFF on Wednesday (where I'll just spend more.) Sigh.

Bedding Buy

May 12th, 2017 at 10:57 pm

I spent the morning at school proctoring a competition exam. I got some grading done while watching over the testers, said goodbye to more students, and came home and to promptly fall asleep for an hour. The endless sitting and grading is starting to get to me.

I looked all set for a NS day, but saw on a "bargain" website that Macy's had sheets on sale. We really need new sheets for our bed, but I may've also bought sheest in a London pattern for either DD's bed or the guest rooms. They were adorable, in a pretty blue that matches both her room and the guest room--and not so steep at $17/each. I also bought them through Swagbucks so will be getting a 6 percent rebate on them. The king-size sheets for our room were significantly more, but both sets of ours were in sad shape. As that sort of thing always does, it got me thinking maybe I should paint our room. It hasn't been painted since we moved in 14 years ago. The trouble is it has a deep red/burgundy carpet that doesn't go with much. We painted it a deep tobacco color, and I am very sick of it. I think I'd like a pretty gray since the woodwork and trim is white. ideally I'd like to recarpet, but that could wait.

See what happens when you spend some cash? You start thinking of more ways to spend more.


On a thriftier note, I sold eight of DD's books. I'm taking a $1 commission and giving her the other $7. I'm eager to get more posted, but those stacks of papers still need to be read.

Two Down, Two to Go

May 10th, 2017 at 10:54 am

It's been a busy week, but I said goodbye to two of my classes this morning. They're so weary, but they were both good classes. I still have some grading to do for both of them, but they're the easy one. My health science writing classes will end tomorrow. I still have an avalanche of their papers to grade, and will spend the rest of today on those.

Tomorrow should also be full. After my classes there's the department award ceremony and I'm humbled to say I won the teaching award. I'm pleased to say it comes with some cash. It remains to be seen how much cash, but I'm happy about it no matter what.

We've sort of been coasting around here until my grading is done. I did cash $75 out of Swagbucks and put $50 in my 100K fund. we'll have 97599.32 to go. Little by little, I guess.

Plans are Being Made: Advice Needed

May 6th, 2017 at 07:58 pm

So, we're off to the UK again this summer. DH needs to help clear up his parents' house, and it looks like DD's BFF will be joining us. I've just booked a cottage via airbnb, and we'll spend another week between London and someplace else.

I'm trying to figure out what to do about costs and could use your sage advice. The BFF's parents will pay airfare, but the usual cottage/car costs should be all ours. Should I just tell her parents to figure money for meals out? We may end up with two hotel rooms in London, and she'll need cash for tourist-y things. Any advice?

I will also have them buy travel insurance, and I guess we'll get a notarized letter etc from her parents authorizing travel.

Eight Days

May 3rd, 2017 at 05:55 pm

Eight days and 8000 papers from now to the end of classes. I don't have much other news. I think starting a diet during these last stress-filled weeks of the semester was probably a bad idea. But we're still working at it.

I deposited $1000 (rounding up) from my adjunct job into my 100K UK House goal and made a whopping 68 cents interest on it. You can see the totals in the sidebar.

I'm very eager to get started on house projects, go for a walk, read a book, eat down the freezer again. But first--back to the papers.

That $20 Went Fast

April 28th, 2017 at 05:15 pm

My general feeling is once you break a $20 bill, it just disappears. And I certainly felt that way today. Someone on a local FB list was selling serving pieces and a few extras that match our everyday dishes for $8. I met with students all morning and desperately needed a cup of coffee to make myself grade more papers, so off went another $2. I took DD for a doctor's appointment, but had to run back to judge a contest at school, so gave her $5 and told her to wait in Panera until I got back in 45 minutes. And because I was in a hurry, I had to pay for parking at school, so I could turn around quickly and pick up DD. Yep, I've got $3 left.

Not sure all of that spending could've been avoided, but I probably should've brought my own coffee. I've still got odds and ends on my gift cards. Perhaps I should try to use them up on grocery shopping this weekend to fill in some of those gaps. And darn Swagbucks maybe.

My First Cup of Coffee

April 27th, 2017 at 01:07 pm

Let's make that my first cup of coffee shop coffee for the semester. And it was well-deserved, I think. I was up late late late trying to untangle upset students mired in a group project. They hate each other; they want to work independently, they are clearly stressed and crazy. I arranged to meet a couple of them after my classes, and the angry meeting I was anticipating turned out to be sad. Several of them are facing failing classes (not mine) and they were grateful for the few crumbs I had to offer them. Students need some sort of stress mgmt techniques. They exhaust me.

My class is actually writing a report on increasing 401k participation in my fictitious organization. It's to teach them about audience, report formatting, etc. And my secondary (and hidden) purpose was to encourage them to do some research about retirement planning and financial literacy. I'm really pleased with it; several of them have commented about how they're "accidentally" learning so much about pensions and 401ks. Now they're very keen to start investing and enrolling in their plans--which surprisingly are offered by many of their employers. I hope when they have fat retirement accounts they drink a toast to me--or send me $10.

My Magic Number is 5

April 25th, 2017 at 06:03 pm

No, not the lottery, but that's how many sessions of each of my classes I have left. Circle the date in red: May 11! I cannot remember when I've been so happy to have a semester over. I think it's the combination of being here vs London this spring, my brand-new class, and the ongoing budget cuts.

I've had a fun week. I drove with colleagues to a small river town on the MN/WI border called LaCrosse to give a presentation at a teaching symposium. It's a pretty town with the beautiful Mississippi bluffs. They all went out for dinner after our session on Thursday, but I ate the free lunch and was upgraded to the fancy level at the hotel where I had a free glass of wine and appetizers. I stayed in all night and graded papers. Friday brought free breakfast, lunch at the conference, and my only food spending--a nice dinner at a beautiful supper club on the river bluffs. It was fun to be with my buddies, though none of them would be my ideal traveling companions. And we always talk too much about work. I did buy a pretty scarf and some earrings at a local shop.

My adjunct class ended last night with hugs all around. What a nice group of women. And I spent hours today evaluating capstone projects so that'll add some $$$ to the bank account in June. The next adjunct session starts in two weeks.

I've also cashed $50 out of Swagbucks which will go into my 100K goal. And I found a penny in the parking lot. Today's biggest find was a very cute outdoor wrought iron plant holder marked "Free" curbside on the way home. I love it! It's missing one terra cotta pot but is sturdy and fabulous.

Three Weeks and One Day

April 19th, 2017 at 12:40 pm

until the blasted semester ends. I'm hanging on, not spending much, but fueled by caffeine and sugar. I seem to have legions of students who need help, are tired too, have lost the plot, or something else dire. Despite some major grocery spending last weekend, I seem to have spent nothing for days.

Tomorrow I'm driving with a friend to a teaching conference and meeting some other colleagues there. I am so excited, but so tired at the same time. I have a short presentation to do, and miracle of miracles, the university is paying for our lodging. It's over at noon on Friday, so we hope to have some time to hike Friday night. If you want an indication of how boring I currently am, I'm planning on holing up in the hotel room and grading papers all Thursday night. And worst of all--I'm looking forward to it.

DH is also busy at work and I need a couple hours tonight to pull things together around here.

Friday Fun

April 14th, 2017 at 09:38 am

I usually go to church n Good Friday, but DD has the day off and needs some cheer. We're going out to Noodles for lunch (with our coupon) and picking up the making of something strange called Rainbow Slime. Her friends are coming at 2 to mix this goop up.

Yesterday was our dirge of a department meeting, harried students, textbook reps, no lunch--all on a day of little sleep the night before. I honestly cannot believe I had the foresight to pull a lb of hamburger out of the freezer before I left for school and make a hamburger pie thing when I got home. But it was another no-sped day for me, though DH had to pick up half and half on the way home.

So--we're off to Michael's (with coupon), and tomorrow I'll do the "real" Easter shopping. I'm sort of treading water here with the expectation things will ease up soon.

Another NS Day!

April 12th, 2017 at 03:03 pm

And a sunny one at that. My MW classes are working on a big project, so I'm there mostly to give feedback. The Tuesday/Thursday ones are still getting modified lectures, and we're building in some time to work on their projects. My students are really really tired. With four weeks left of the semester, they seem to have hit the wall. I think they'll need some love--probably in the form of doughnuts next week.

I was about to splash out on a coffee during my office hours today, but found one lonely little orange teabag in my work bag, so made a quick cup of tea through the magic of the electric kettle instead. Chalk up a $2 savings.

Our theatre building at the university had a serious fire on Sunday causing over a million in damages. But the local community has been very generous offering us space, extra materials, and cash to rebuild.

Something a little strange has happened with my DH's job prospects. He's heard from a source that his old job may be interested in having him back. I think if they offered him a non-contract job, he'd go back, but we'll talk it through tonight and see how steady it is.

I have indeed deposited $1300 in my new account toward the $100k goal. So, I'm 1.3% of the way there! This may be painstaking progress, but I'm eager.

It's spaghetti night here. Do you all have a regular taco/spaghetti/pizza or something night?

Staying Sort-Of Hunkered Down

April 11th, 2017 at 05:29 pm

This has been a glum week in my academic department; we've issued "none renewals" to seven people, some of whom have been here for more than 15 years. Demographics are hurting us, and it's going to be a bleak few years. I've spoken to several of them, and we're trying to figure out what we can do for people. My decision to go for what I'll call alt-tenure a few years ago was, in retrospect, very wise. It seemed to have no reward at the time and took months to complete, but we're only hiring two people without it in the fall.

Faced with their situations, we're still in modified frugality around here.I've spent nothing since Sunday, and tonight was an amazing variety of leftover made a bit more exciting by crudites and dip. Eat it all, as my friends the Frugalwoods say. DH is still toting his lunch as is DD. I gratefully accepted a coffee from the textbook peddler who came to visit me during my office hours.

I'm very glad Monday and Tuesday are done. The rest of the week is busy but easy. I'm starting the cash transfer toward the $100K goal tonight.

The Power of Sleep!

April 7th, 2017 at 02:42 pm

I've had way too many late nights this week editing a dissertation for a local nursing student. English is her second language, and her grammar and phrasing needed a lot of work. But it was an interesting project, and despite my issues getting her tables to merge into the original copy at 1am this morning, we're finished! She had the original tables, so all is well. I took the dog to have her stitches removed this morning, deposited some rebate checks, came home, and took a nap. Two hours later I felt like a human again and started cleaning the kitchen, catching up on laundry, and grading quizzes. Inspired (as always) by CCF's idea of a new savings goal, I'd like to try to save a big chunk alongside our regular retirement savings before DD heads to college and we consider moving to the UK. Ideally, I'd like to shoot for $100,000, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. The more reasonable figure is $50,000 but I'm going to aim big. Maybe I'm loopy on sunshine. So far it's been a NSD as the stitches removal was free.

Tired Tuesdays

April 4th, 2017 at 05:48 pm

I'm always beat on Tuesdays; I guess I've resigned myself to it for the rest of the semester. That evening class is full of personality--which is my polite way of saying I can't get them to discuss nicely, in fact everyone seems to all talk at once. Last night I actually commanded two students to be quiet for ten minutes so others could talk. On the positive side, if I can get 15 working adults enthusiastically discussing 100-year-old stories, something must be going right. But one of the women said to me on the break, "we must exhaust you." And they do. And the class is over four hours long. And I have two more classes beginning at 8 on Tuesday mornings.

But I got a lot done--after school I stopped for milk and a few things. The checker forgot my coupons and sent me to customer service for a refund. Hey, it was $4.45. There's no way I'd leave that money there. And I'm using the wellness- incentive pre-loaded debit card DH got last year for our grocery spending this month. That should ease the budget a bit.

I also stopped to vote on the way home. We had a bunch of small local elections, a judicial race, and the school board. The sun came out for a few hours so we put the chicken on the grill, and I roasted some potatoes and carrots. Since they're talking about sleet and snow tomorrow, I'm glad we took advantage of some of the sunshine. And I found a penny on the street!

I'm going to write a quiz tonight, work on the dissertation, and try to get to bed early.

Spendy Friday Leads to Frugal Weekend

April 3rd, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Friday DD and her BF went with me to Kohler to the famous bathroom design center there. Trip Advisor described it as "the Disneyworld of Plumbing." I have to admit, we had a very good time. Imagine 14-15-year old girls turning on all the taps, envisioning themselves in the model rooms, critiquing everything from sinks to soaking tubs--and blabbing a lot about their ideal homes. Since DD went to the movies with her BF's family on Thursday, I treated her to lunch and the $12 lunch special was augmented quite a bit by tiramisu and cannolis as well as wine for me. But we really enjoyed the Kohler art center and spending a goofy day together.

Spending continued as my office mate and another colleague went for wine and apps later--and missed the happy hour specials.

Something had to give amidst the riotous food spending so I told DH we were eating from the freezer and pantry and not going shopping over the weekend. He was less than enthusiastic, but I had a pouch of that Rick Bayless Frontera simmer sauce which made a lovely dinner over chicken on Saturday night with frozen veg, and plenty of beans and cheese for a huge pan of enchiladas with some leftovers for lunches.

Frugality wasn't the only reason I didn't go shopping; I spent hours and hours on a dissertation I'm editing. Yikes, what a mess. Great topic but not fabulous writing and a tremendous lack of knowledge on APA citation. Untangling bad citation in scholarly work is a nasty job, and I'm afraid this will cost her more than she bargained for. The writer wants it ready to submit to her advisor by Friday. She has to look over the parts I sent, then I'll come back to it on Tuesday or Wednesday. And off to tonight's lit class in a couple hours. I need another spring break!

Spring Break Lunch

March 29th, 2017 at 08:50 pm

To (barely) help enliven DD's spring break, we had lunch at Noodles. I did have a BOGO coupon, but at least she got out. I feel bad that I'm so busy this week, but hopefully we can make up for it later. Someday perhaps our breaks will fall on the same week? Total spending for the day was $8.27.
Big big projects at school. I'd like to speed up the rest of the semester.

Haircut!

March 28th, 2017 at 06:55 pm

I bought 50 cents worth of coffee last night to get me through my evening class, but that was the total for yesterday. Today I had a haircut and bought three loaves of discounted bread at the local coffee shop. They always have day-old lovely loaves for $2.79. We pop them in the freezer and think they're worth the cash. The fresh loaves are $5.
I forgot my gift card for the haircut, but will just use it next time. Not much other news. Seven weeks left of the term!

Cold and Rainy

March 25th, 2017 at 07:54 pm

I had some simple goals today--the library, return and mail some packages, and go grocery shopping. Despite the cold rain, the library worked out well--and we've finally received the 5th season of Homeland. I went to the UPS store to return a pair of DD's shoes to Zappo's, but the USPS had closed before I got there with my sample glasses frames. That'll have to wait until Monday. The third return was the air compressor/inflator I ordered from Target.com which never worked. It was also my attempt to use up my various gift cards, so I got yet another gift card as credit and did more grocery shopping at Target than usual to spend it rather than "real" money."

Target grocery prices are hard for me to figure out. They're significantly more expensive on some things, but the Tazo tea, cocoa mix, and a few other things were almost 1/3 less than my usual grocery store. I still have over $35 left on that card, and a lot of credit at Target.com. Maybe when we get the bathroom remodeled, I'll buy lots of lovely new towels. We could probably use another set of sheets as well. I spent $48 at the regular grocery store, and we seem to have SO much food now. DD has spring break and I wanted to buy a few nice things. We'll also use some BOGO lunch coupons. Not Mexico or Florida like some of her friends, but a few fun outings after work.

The dog is still resting. So far, so good.


Long Night's Journey Into Day

March 24th, 2017 at 02:17 pm

(Sorry, Eugene O'Neill for that title) Our dear dog is home, but obviously very tired and in some pain. I slept (well, not much) on the floor with her last night, and she really didn't want to lie down. Lots of shaking, pacing--all the pain signs. DD is also home with a cold, so I have a sick-ish kid, a pain-riddled dog, and a very tired me. DH is happily at work.

I've made some soup, given the dog pain pills and a small amount of meat, and am grading papers and trying to compose a grant proposal. The surgery etc was $902. When I estimated our income needs in retirement I should have thrown in a lot more for pet necessities, I can see that now. I'm not sure we'll always have a dog, but I would like one most of the time.

I'd also like another week off school, but that's not going to happen, so I'd better finish this pile up. And do some forward planning for classes.

I just got next year's tentative schedule for my adjunct evening classes. It's a lot more composition and less literature than I'd like, but it's a nice 5/6 terms, so I'm going to take them. It's going to be a busy weekend, and I'm handing off dog watching to DH to finish things up.

Dog Surgery

March 23rd, 2017 at 10:11 am

Our small dog is in surgery right now to remove her rapidly changing fatty tumor. I always worry about these sorts of things so have been up since 4:30 mindlessly fretting--but also got a bit of grading done.

Fun lunch with university colleagues yesterday. After I got home and took DD to the ortho, I cashed out $25 in Swagbucks and $45 in Chase rewards. DH spent about $20 on liquid ibuprofen for DD's braces-bothered mouth and ice cream for the same issue as well as a few odds and ends.

I'm still working on clearing out the basement freezer, so pulled out two containers of homemade soup stock and some broad beans. Veggie soup on the horizon as it seems like it's going to be a wet and miserable weekend. You may be chagrined to hear there are still some lima beans left, but I'm hoping to dump them into DH's soup over the weekend. Not much other news--lots of school work and housework. No decluttering done over break. Maybe I still have some time this weekend.

One-On-One with Retirement Advisors

March 22nd, 2017 at 09:15 am

Can you hear me sighing a bit with relief? I spent a very productive 45 minutes with my 403b advisor this morning. She was excellent, and I'm so glad I went.

She plugged IRA values, my state pension values, my 403b, SS, and other numbers in--and generated a rating of worst case/ mid-range/ and best case. Apparently they rank your retirement readiness from 0-150 with 150 being the best. We got a 150+--even with the worst case scenario. Granted that includes DH's new job with a hefty 401k Match--but most of it was from my state pension, SS, and IRA.

She gave me some good advice on shifting cash into DD's 529, and really staying the course--seeing if we could squeeze another couple hundred a month into things to allow us more travel money etc.

But I now foresee a carefully budgeted for bathroom remodel in our future. I am both very relieved, and still a bit anxious. Hopefully that anxiety will disappear after DH gets a few months under his belt.

We also talked college costs--and we decided to shoot for $30,000/year for DD. We have a long way to go on that, but I think it's do-able. She's decided not to go to French camp this year, and I'll try to plop that money into her 529.

It was interesting to hear her cautionary tales of people whose readiness scores were under 20. Now off to BOGO lunch with friends.

Weekend Away

March 21st, 2017 at 02:30 pm

I spent the weekend in Minneapolis with my girlfriends. One of these women has been my friend since second grade--a million or so years ago. And the others--I've know them all through first, and sometimes second marriages. They're my traveling buddies too.

It's about a 5-6 hour drive, but I had Bill Bryson on audio book, and the weather was ok. We had a dinner and a lunch out--and theatre tickets at the Guthrie. Considering how constrained my spending has been, I think we did well. I stayed with one of them, and we ate breakfasts and had cocktails there. I splashed out on a $25 Eddie Bauer sweater, but packed a sandwich to eat at the rest stop rather than giving in to my Culver's temptation. It was a lovely start to spring break.

Although it's break, my evening class continued last night, but I spent nothing. DD and I are headed for $5 Tuesdays to see Beauty and the Beast tonight.

And DH got paid! Isn't that nice? He's been paid for a week and got his back unemployment. I haven't really relaxed about money yet, but I will.

My women friends and I had lots of talk about retirement and how to do what we'd like to do. Mostly we want to travel, read, and do some volunteer work. Aiming for all of that I have a meeting scheduled with my 403b advisor tomorrow morning. Hoping for some reassuring news. Our fall teaching schedules have been published, and thankfully I have a full load.

Snow Night

March 13th, 2017 at 08:47 pm

No snow day at my university this morning, and the drive was pretty darn bad. It usually takes me 15 minutes, but it was about double this morning. It was still snowing like crazy when I got there, so I decided to park in the ramp for the first time this year. It was the right decision--so snowy. Only about half my students came in. I left at noon and spun out on a side street on the way home. Luckily the guy behind me was able to avoid me, and somehow I managed to steer into the skid, so all was well--although pretty scary.

By 2pm, my evening class was cancelled, and I must say I did a happy dance. The thought of a long slog in heavy snow seemed awful. Multi-car accidents all over town. So I got a bonus night off, finished writing my midterms, and felt like I won a prize.

My only spending today was the parking ramp--a good thing since we've had so many car repairs and other expenses.

The other good news for the day is that unemployment approved my husband's claims that since he;d accepted another job it was valid to turn down work. I'll be looking for that cash soon.

Ugh--Lots of Spending

March 10th, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Between a trip to the emergency vet last Sunday night and a tire replacement and brake repair to my DH's detestable car, it's been an expensive week.

The vet visit also means the dog needs surgical removal of a lipoma that has turned bad. There are a few cancerous cells in it, and last weekend it developed a cyst which burst, caused an infection and other issues. So--that'll mean another $1000 toward the end of the month.

Because he pays zero attention to these things, DH has no idea when he gets paid. His first week there has gone well, though he dearly misses the free lunches at his old job. He bought lunch the first day, but was shocked to spend $5 for a mediocre salad. Can you tell he has not bought lunch for 15 years?

To remedy this cost, he is bringing his lunch. Before I started my new class on Monday night, I made a big pot of soup from an easy mix in the cupboard. He has been eating that with a sandwich and some fruit all week. We'll experiment with some new ideas when my spring break begins in SEVEN days.

Students keep asking where I'm going for break--it appears I'm going to the veterinarian. But I'm secretly plotting a drive to Minneapolis to spend a long weekend with my girlfriends before all this starts.

My new class did indeed start on Monday night. It's Women and Literature--and I have 13 women and 4 guys.
Glad for the work, but not the extra load right now.


The air compressor we bought with my Target gift card balance has now broken, so that will have to be returned over the weekend as will a pair of shoes DD wanted but which are way too big. Oh, and I have Warby Parker frames to return.

I've also scheduled a one-on-one with the financial rep from my 403b account over spring break. All this work is making me want to do more retirement planning.
Lots more happening, but I'll update later today or tomorrow.

Work, Work, and Some More Work

March 4th, 2017 at 10:56 pm

It's at that point in the term where I could work 18 hours a day. Capstone projects are rolling in, I have a new evening class on Monday,and there's plenty of grading still to do.

In an effort to plow through some of it, I stayed home while DD and DH went to friends for a game day. I did manage a trip to the grocery store, but that was about it.

DH and I had a celebratory lunch out yesterday as he begins work on Monday. You'll recall that my office mate was urging us to go out, and now that he's ready to begin, we felt like we could spend a few (well, more than a few) dollars on a lovely lunch at a cozy French bistro--great wine--great tarts--great lunch. I'll miss the old boy when he's back at work.

In Like a Lion

March 1st, 2017 at 01:35 pm

I walked to school in a rainstorm, but halfway through my class, everyone started oohing and aahing. No, it wasn't my brilliant teaching, it was a big snowstorm. It's heavy wet snow and looks gorgeous.

It looks like another NSD. I had student meetings after class, but managed to make a quick cup of coffee in the office before heading out, ate lunch afterwards at the TIAA Cref seminar held for "America Saves" week. I think the seminar was pretty basic--especially for frugalites like us here at SA, but it was pretty clear not many people thought much about money and debt. They did an interesting exercise--handing out cards with eight categories including housing, savings, debt, transportation, utilities, food, entertainment, and healthcare. Our small groups tried to figure out percentages for each. I was astounded some folks argued for food at 20% of their budget while others thought housing should go to 40%. Then they told us to factor in retirement savings too and figure out where the cash would come from.

It was worthwhile--especially since I won a prize--a small notebook and pen--and several packages of mints for guessing the answers. But I was a bit worried at the level of financial literacy around me. I think perhaps I was one of the few faculty there--lots of admin folks, some unionized cleaners, etc. Financial literacy should be taught earlier, I think. And I think workplace pension contributions should be automatic; folks should have to opt out rather than in. It gave me some good ideas for class projects. But like attending healthy eating seminars, this is information many of us know, but often don't act on.

Now twice buried--snow and still grading.

Paczki Day

February 28th, 2017 at 07:49 pm

Before I moved to Milwaukee, I had never heard of paczkis, although somewhere in my dim memory I think my first husband talked about them. Are you all familiar with them? The usual pronunciation sounds like poonch-key. They're big jelly-filled doughnuts very popular around here on Fat Tuesday. That's been my only spending this week so far: $3.99 for six paczkis. I had half of one for breakfast, but found the dept admins brought in a couple dozen, so I relented and had a whole one. I think I'm in a paczkis hangover now. I rarely eat that much fat and sugar in one go-- I almost look forward to a leaner tomorrow and Lent.

In minor financial news I deposited another $25 insurance reimbursement and filed for flex reimbursements for DD's ortho and dental work. TIAA Cref is sponsoring some sort of seminar tomorrow for "America Saves" week, and I've registered for it. I hope to go after tomorrow's classes and office hours.

My major post-paczki triumph today was finding the new George Saunders' book at the library. They have a "hot" shelf, but you can't reserve the books. I'm looking forward to digging in this weekend.

Buried in grading. Absolutely buried.


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