<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: August, 2017
 

Archive for August, 2017

Two Fun Days

September 1st, 2017 at 01:33 am

Yesterday one of my London friends was visiting her parents in Chicago, so we met for lunch at a nearby outlet mall. I haven't been to an outlet mall in years, but she had shopping to do, and brought her mom. We had a delightful lunch, I really enjoyed her mother, and her dear mother bought lunch! Meaning to spend nothing, I did end up buying a cute gray and white striped shirt at the Gap outlet. I had an additional 15% off so it was only $18. Not strictly necessary, but it's nice to have one or two new things to start a new season, yes? I also had a coupon for the Ghiradelli outlet and got a small bag to add a daily treat to DD's school lunches. It was fun to ramble around the mall's shops a bit. I spent time in the Le Creuset and Company Store, but resisted.

Today was even more fun. DD and I spent hours at a nature center in a town about 45 minutes away. We saw lots of animals, got to feed some, and I sort of fell in love with a porcupine. Beautiful day in a beautiful forest setting and a nice way to wind up our summer. We'd heard about a place to pick peaches--which I didn't think was possible in Wisconsin--so then headed out there to pick some peaches. It was lots of fun. Between those peaches and our CSA veggies, we have enough food for a week. Or two. More fun awaits tomorrow. It seems like a good way to end the summer.

It Was an NSD

August 29th, 2017 at 08:44 pm

My second consecutive NSD day hopes were dashed when my friendly carpenter wanted the second part of the bathroom cash. I expected him to ask for it a week ago, so perhaps I earned a few cents interest on that $8000. Ugh. But things are progressing in there.

My class started last night with nine students. It's beginning composition and usually we read a variety of essays from a textbook assigned by the university. I've decided to tweak it and make the readings all essays about people and their relationships with money. They're all adult learners, so why not talk about money, right? We'll see how it goes. I pulled a bunch of essays off the web, but would welcome anyone's suggestions for more.

The bright spot is more junk is leaving my house. We keep throwing random things into the dumpster, and the red wagon has been picked up as has the light fixture. Count that as $20 in. I've just listed a small table which has sold too!

Determined to Recoup

August 28th, 2017 at 05:02 pm

Yesterday's garage cleaning did mean I found some more items to sell and declutter. I've sold DD's red wagon from her childhood days (kind of sad?), and it's awaiting pickup with the bathroom light fixture.

I've also cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which is being transferred to my Big Goal UK house fund.

In other frugal news, some of the fridge veggies found a new home in a pot of soup, and I've made extra brown rice and quinoa for salads this week. DH is taking soup to work for lunch all week.

My adjunct class starts tonight, so it's good to be back in the earning cycle. it's just composition, but maybe I'll have another superstar like my ex-con from two terms ago.

Cleaning the Garage

August 28th, 2017 at 04:22 am

DH and (briefly) DD and I spent the bulk of the afternoon cleaning the garage. We got a lot done, and happily I found a few things I can sell. I'll try to get them listed tomorrow. But what a yucky job. We tossed a bunch of wood and pipe found in the garage, recycled garden pots, threw away big sheets of plastic, folded tarps, and sorted all the various types of garage-dwelling liquids. We have two shelving units in there and have always rather slovenly just put all the various things on either shelf. I wiped down the shelves and separated the garden stuff from the automotive stuff. It looks much better. After a shower and a drink, we complimented ourselves on a job well done.

Raining and Pouring Into the Budget Sinkhole

August 26th, 2017 at 03:34 am

What a week--this morning I got an e-mail from the capstone project coordinator that after a dozen years of evaluating these projects, the university has decided to eliminate the post on all their campuses. It's not a huge amount of money, maybe $150-200 a month, but this last term is it. Not sure what this will mean for my big goal since that was a major source of funding for it. I'm going to have to figure a few more things out, but I keep reminding myself it's only money.

Dishwasher Costs for CCF

August 23rd, 2017 at 09:54 pm

I've been curious about how much it costs to run the dishwasher after your earlier post, CCF. Here's what I found from the SF Gate:
Multiply the wattage of your dishwasher (most models fall in a range between 1,200 and 2,400 watts) by the number of hours you run it each day. Divide this number by 1,000 to find the number of kilowatt-hours the dishwasher uses. Multiply this number by your cost per kilowatt-hour to come up with the daily cost of running your dishwasher. For example, suppose your dishwasher is rated at 1,800 watts, you run it for two hours a day and your electricity rate is 13 cents. Multiply 1,800 by 2 to get 3,600 watt-hours, or 3.6 kilowatt-hours. Multiply this figure by 13 cents, resulting in 46.8 cents. So it costs you just under 50 cents a day to run your dishwasher.

Those are pretty much our Dishwasher wattage and costs per kilowatt hour. Fifty cents a day.

From Budget Sieve to Sinkhole

August 23rd, 2017 at 08:35 pm

Last night we got a call from the bathroom contractor that, while not unexpected, has turned my budget sieve into a budget sinkhole. The toilet in the family bath they’re re-doing has been leaking and many of the floor boards are rotten. All was revealed when the tile came up. That wasn’t too awful, but taking off the drywall also revealed that our ensuite shower—located just behind the family bathroom—was leaking from the dial and had been doing so for some time. The drywall was completely soaked, the joists and lath were rotten through and through. The only real cure is to tear out that shower as well.
The previous bid on that bathroom was way too high for us, so I’ve asked their designer to try to find ways to bring that price down. We could live with the current vanity and sink; the sink is an attractive marble-look Corian, and while the vanity could benefit from a paint job, it’s mostly fine. I’d consider installing some sliding shelving baskets in there ourselves to make better use of the space. But no matter what, it’ s going to be a chunk of change. I’ve been resisting an uber-frugal month, but we certainly need to cinch things in. A tighter food budget only does so much. I wonder if I can find some things to sell? I’d look for extra editing work, but I have a full class load and my evening class from Monday until Christmas. Thinking, thinking, thinking.

My Budget Sieve

August 23rd, 2017 at 04:07 am

I've needed at least one or two new tires for a while, but over the weekend, we decided to take a look at all of them, and one was very bad. So today out went $573 for four new tires. That included free installation, and I'll get a $60 rebate. Looking at the fine print it appears it's not a cash rebate, but a gift card to one of several retailers--Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Home Depot, Staples, or Target. So now my Target gift cards just keep on piling up.

I've also paid the insurance today, transferred more money out to pay the bathroom remodelers tomorrow, and it looks like there is some damage to the bathroom floor that will need addressing before the new one goes on.

Good thing we've got tomatoes.

Gutted

August 22nd, 2017 at 02:39 am

Not me, just the bathroom! Our bathroom contractors showed up at 7:30 this morning and spent the day taking out the sinks, toilet, vanity and wall tile along with removing the light fixtures and towel bar for reuse. I'm giving the relatively new and nice Kohler faucet to a friend; she may also take the light fixture. While I'm still a bit anxious about the cash, we're also excited. DD and I watched the eclipse at the university. We have a widely respected astronomy department, and the director of the planetarium is a real treasure. We were able to buy glasses there for $1, and had a great time sitting with friends. Lots of them constructed box viewers, brought picnics, and enjoyed the humid afternoon.

I do have a bumper crop of tomatoes. It may be time for a caprese salad. While I've enjoyed the tomato canning of years past, I'm probably going to pass this year. The semester is sneaking up on me, and I'd rather get prepped. We had BLTs for dinner tonight with some coleslaw. Any one have some fabulous summer easy dinners to share? I have the August menu blahs. I can figure out how to use my CSA veggies but am uninspired otherwise.

Grocery Day

August 19th, 2017 at 04:36 pm

We've been getting by on freezer food, fill ins, and CSA veggies this week, supplemented happily now with garden tomatoes, but it's time to buy some things. We seem to need all the staples from olive oil to tortillas to eggs and milk. Perhaps a Costco lunch is in order!

The Whole Tooth

August 17th, 2017 at 03:58 pm

Yesterday was all about the teeth, thankfully not mine for a change. My DD got her bottom braces removed and is just on retainers on the top and bottom. We finished the $100 co-pay several months ago, so it won't make a difference in our outlay, but she is ready for corn on the cob. We'd scheduled a cleaning with the regular dentist a few hours later, but when we arrived, learned the hygienist was ill and we've had to reschedule. It would've been nice it they'd have called!

I haven't done a big shop since we got home, so we've been mostly eating from the freezer. On the way back from the dentist I bought a new things to fill in until tomorrow or Saturday. I'm going to try to crank the grocery bill down, especially with CSA veggies coming today. Our CSA e-mail said they're done with summer squash deliveries for the year, but we're welcome to come and glean. We just might. They're about 30 minutes from us, and while we don't really need the zukes, it might be worthwhile for all of us to visit. Plus I love the idea of gleaning--all Ruth and Naomi and that. I saw a fabulous French film a few years ago about potato gleaners that really stuck with me.

As I wrote on Patient Saver's blog, my DD earned/won several reading prizes at the library. For reading 2000 pages, she got a new hardcover she'd been wanting and was entered into a drawing for other prizes. In that drawing she'd won 7 new manga titles. She's over the moon. I encouraged her to apply for the teen council at the library too thinking it might be a way into a PT job when she's old enough, and she was accepted there as well. How fun!

I'm prepping for classes and reading capstone projects. Two read in two days means $150. I'm also going to call ATT to see if we can pare down our bill. Like CCF, I'm focused on that big goal. Towards that, I've deposited $125 from Swagbucks--mostly rebates on travel.

A Little England Review

August 16th, 2017 at 04:52 pm

Back from the UK and sorely missing it already. DH and I always sit down after trips and figure out what went right and wrong. Apart from our first-day mishap and a few rainy days without much done on the Isle of Wight, everything went very well. The car was a perfect size for the four of us, my daughter’s buddy was a great traveler if a bit overwhelmed sometimes, we saw LOTS of old friends, ate plenty of great food, and I had a glorious day to myself in London. We went to the theatre three times—the Globe, a participatory Alice through the Looking Glass, and the Bob Dylan play I so much wanted to see. I reconnected with my old colleagues and had a wonderful lunch with them.
Our best “new” thing was the great airbnbs—all so different and so fun. The London flat was convenient, in my favorite neighborhood, and large enough for all four of us comfortably. The a bit-too-small cottage on the Isle of Wight overlooked the river and sea, offered great views of fireworks and the Red Arrows, and was right next to a “floating bridge” aka small ferry connecting both sides of the river. The girls rode that free half a dozen times a day just for fun. We had a beach BBQ with friends too. The final airbnb was in a small village inside the London commuter belt but close to our friends in Windsor. The granny annex was in a gated home with spectacular views from the adorable leaded glass windows over the village church steeple and all the way to Windsor Castle. It was gorgeous and made me feel like I was living in a British novel seeing that church steeple outside the windows. Every airbnb left us coffee, tea, a pint of milk, and bread.
Now to gather myself together to take the next steps towards paying some bills, readying the bathroom for the Monday remodeling, prepping us all for school, and figuring out where to go from here. August is a nasty month for us with the next bathroom installment due along with the annual home insurance, DH’s tuition, school supplies, car insurance, and life insurance. In other financial news, DH’s siblings have sold the UK house to his brother. We’re working out payment schedules now. That cash will go into the UK savings for our home there. The village airbnb gave me a lot to think through about the costs in somewhere not quite in central London, but charming and cheaper.