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Archive for March, 2017

Spring Break Lunch

March 30th, 2017 at 03:50 am

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 29th, 2017 at 01:55 am

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 26th, 2017 at 02:54 am

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 09:17 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 05:11 pm

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 04:15 pm

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 09:30 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 14th, 2017 at 03:47 am

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 08:14 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 5th, 2017 at 06:56 am

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 09:35 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.