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Archive for January, 2018

Ending the Month with a NSD

January 31st, 2018 at 04:56 pm

Ah, the long stretch of January has just hours left. I was reasonably frugal, used up lots of food, and decluttered a fair amount. That needs to all extend into February. Our dog was coughing and trying to clear her throat in the middle of the night, so I was up with her until she settled down. Unfortunately I never did and was awake from 3am on. I thought about canceling class, taking it online, but decided I could push through as I had a partner activity planned for half the class. It turned out fine, and I even abstained from my morning coffee purchase since I was planning on returning home at noon and napping. So, I saved $2 and came home for a two-hour nap. For the next month, I have a pretty darn easy semester, at least relatively. I have four sections of the same class, so it's one prep starting at 8am every day. People complain it's boring to teach just one thing, but sometimes it's just a gift. There's lots of reading and grading, but man, it's just so much easier. What happens in a month? My adjunct class starts on Monday nights. More money, but more schedule balancing.

And we continue to eat through the cupboard and freezer. Tonight before his class DH had leftover pot roast and DD and I ate pancakes and sausages with strawberries. I made half a dozen extra pancakes since the griddle was out which someone will eat for breakfast. It's going well. And payday is tomorrow. And again in 28 days.

Quiet Monday

January 29th, 2018 at 07:37 pm

It was a quiet day today which was particularly welcome since our daughter woke up at 1 am sick to her stomach. I didn't sleep much after that trying to listening to her, but managed to struggle up and out for my 8am class. Today's spending was just coffee, and then I headed home to take the next shift with the ill one and send my husband off to work. She appears to have revived as the day went on, so we watched Netflix, I graded papers, and we had simple lunches and dinners mostly from the pantry and from leftovers.

Not much other news--school has started in earnest, so plenty to do there.

I'm planning an early night to try to recoup some sleep. Lots on tomorrow's schedule.

An NSD!

January 26th, 2018 at 03:31 pm

I had a long meeting this morning, and at the end, colleagues talked about going out for lunch, but we talked so long it just didn't happen. Lunch out might've been nice, but it saved me at least $10 to go home, read papers, eat leftovers, and watch Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry bake on PBS.

A frugal dinner of a bargain frozen pizza awaits. And the remains of the going-into-meal-4 rotisserie chicken are now in the slow cooker becoming broth. My shriveled grape tomatoes just finished roasting with a bit of oil and balsamic, and they may dress up the pizza. That rotisserie chicken was first served as is, then chicken tortilla soup, then chicken pie, now broth. Amazing. I'm a little tired of being frugal, and have to shop for a potluck dinner tomorrow night, but we'll stay the course for the next week. Since it's hardly like we're going to Monaco the following month, I think it will also be a mostly frugal February.

Teeny Tiny Baby Steps

January 24th, 2018 at 10:08 am

While this sounds like Dave Ramsey advice, it was really me walking the six blocks to the university today, The sidewalks were full of ice, and I've developed a mortal fear of falling. Day Three of the semester seems to be going just fine, and hopefully today's spending will just be coffee. I see chicken tortilla soup on tonight's menu. It's kind of a flurried evening for us as DH starts his new class and DD is at theatre until 6, so we will eat in shifts.

To help eliminate our overseas transfer issues, we're opening up a Chase savings account--mostly for the SWIFT transfer capabilities, but also for the $200 bonus. Our local bank --which I love--can't seem to accept SWIFT international transfers, although I've sent money out from them. And DH needs to withdraw some British money for his tuition. I can't say we've come to complete agreement on that issue, but he'll pay for half with British cash, and we'll cash flow the other half. Graduate school is an expensive hobby, but perhaps one day he will teach. And the $200 bonus for keeping 15K in the account will lessen the hurt for me a bit. I opened a Chase for the bonus several years ago, but he's still eligible.

I have many meetings on Friday, but it's nice to be 3/4 through with the teaching week. In thinking about uber-frugality this month, I think we've been more frugal than usual, but probably not up to uber. Maybe I can find a few ways to increase cash and limit spending in the remaining week. We have been good about eating through the pantry and freezer, and the chicken tortilla soup will help with that. Hmm--maybe a few things to sell? Or make some time to review our internet service? Anyone have ideas for a couple quick wins?

Snow!

January 23rd, 2018 at 10:36 am

It is gorgeous here with about four inches of snow. Yes, it made driving a little scary this morning, but I have a short commute and left early. However, the snow emergency plowing compelled me into the parking ramp at the university again this morning, but it's so lovely.

Classes Day Two have gone well. Most of my students seem fine, though it's hard to tell right away.

I'm headed home to do some housework and maybe start a pot of tortilla soup. For some lame-brained reason I subscribed to a Dave Ramsey Food Ideas list on FB looking for frugal meal ideas. I don't think it's the list for me as Sunday night they were discussing ways to eat squirrel. However reading their suggestions had my DD laughing so hard it might have been worth it for the humor alone.

I almost hate to ask this, but have any of you eaten or considered eating squirrel? I suspect that other (many) qualms aside, it's probably a regional thing.

Some Frugality and Lapses

January 22nd, 2018 at 05:25 pm

We decided not to have an official date night before the symphony Saturday night and had dinner at home. I can't say it was a good idea. It just put a damper on the evening and made me feel cranky and deprived, so we got a glass of wine at intermission--then ran smack into my boss. DH's tuition is due again, and our electric garage door has broken and is apparently not worth fixing. But I did officially start the 52-week saving program X2 to fund London. Since I had a fair amount of cash I saved bigger weeks instead of starting with $1. Then this morning on the first day of class it was pouring rain. I just couldn't face walking my usual four blocks in the rain, so spent $5 on parking. But we have been good about eating through the freezer and pantry.

DD's passport needed renewing so I had photos taken at CVS today and used extra bucks. Some small economies I guess. Back to it.

Meetings and More Meetings

January 18th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

This is one week of seemingly nothing but meeting after meeting. I somehow escaped the parking monitor when my last meeting went (ugh) 90 minutes over. No excuses for that, I think. In other non-eventful news, I was invited to a brunch tomorrow and baked banana bread from the freezer bananas and bought bacon as requested. Now it's been canceled as my colleague got a last-minute class, so I think we'll be eating banana bread and bacon and something else in the days to come.

I've transferred some $ from Swagbucks toward my big goal which has hit $3800 or a whooping 3.8% funded. That seems sort of sad to me, but slow and steady, I guess. Today is the day our London students leave for the UK. So wish I was rolling my big suitcase out to the car too.

Happy Days

January 17th, 2018 at 03:21 pm

I've had a couple of lovely days. Yesterday a tedious meeting turned into a happy occasion as two of the top three places in our writing competition were taken by MY students from last term. I couldn't be happier if I won myself. The prizes are small-ish with the top student earning $150, but it's so fun for them and great for their resumes. I've also made progress on readying my classes for the upcoming term.

We got lots of decluttering done, and today I made $15 on a selling some of that stuff. And I had lunch with a colleague--one of those lovely long lunches because it's so fun to talk with them. I cashed $50 out of Swagbucks which is going to my big goal. I'll credit my totals when it hits the bank.

And I made the most delicious mac and cheese yesterday from a recipe on a can of evaporated milk. Fattening and decadent, but used up lots of pantry stuff and delicious.

Quiet and Snowy

January 15th, 2018 at 11:46 am

We're all home today for MLK day which has turned into a nice snowy organizing day around here. We continue Uber-frugal helped by the overflowing pantry and freezer. I've just started bean soup for my DH's lunches this week. I had beans in the pantry and a ham bone in the freezer. I also extracted a bag of CSA carrots from the freezer which I'll put in the soup and try roasting some with dinner. I'm not sure about roasting veggies which have been frozen, but we'll give it a try. yesterday's spending was a canister of oatmeal and the church offering. We're also going to sit down today and try to fund DH's grad school tuition more mindfully. His classes handily total (ugh) $5200/year, and I think he finds that figure staggering as do I. But if he wants to continue, some cuts will have to be made elsewhere. We'll see what happens. For now, the decluttering and the freezer contents reduction have been very satisfying. Ideally I'd like the chest freezer empty by spring break.

Exhale

January 13th, 2018 at 11:48 am

I always have tremendous conference presentation nerves which I don't totally understand since I stand in front of students and talk every darn day. But despite a hot room jammed with people, our talk went fine. I did a little networking, ate a rather lousy free lunch, and am now ready to start again on semester work. We all have Monday off for MLK day, but DD is in her intensive study mode.I think I'll spend a chunk of the day tomorrow and Monday getting everything lined up for the semester.

We are diligently--and indeed joyfully--eating through the pantry and freezer. Last night's excellent enchiladas incorporated taco leftovers, a lonely somewhat shriveled sweet potato, the chipotle cheese no one was eating, and one can of the four cans of enchilada sauce clogging up the cupboard. We also have a lot of pumpkin so I made a large loaf (now half gone) of pumpkin bread. I just extracted a bag of mixed beans that will transform into soup for DH's lunches next week.
I spent nothing yesterday and had a happy day at home.

Still Uber-Frugal

January 8th, 2018 at 10:47 am

Not much willpower required as we're in a quiet zone right now. I'm finally almost over my cold, and only spent some cash on groceries over the weekend. We went nowhere else and did nothing. How's that for boring? DD has school exams coming up and rejected the offer of a movie. I'm working on a conference talk and spent a good part of the weekend doing a lit review. Later today I'll put it all together, create a PowerPoint, and an annotated bibliography. I love these projects so I'm happy as can be.

Tomorrow I'll go glasses shopping and spent some time at the university working on my annual review and next term's projects. It will be good to get out!

Leftovers loom for lunch (how's that for headline?), and perhaps for dinner as well. I tried a new pot roast recipe from Cooks Illustrated that was pretty darn good, so I'm looking forward to the dinner leftovers. I need to do some intensive tidying around here too. DH and I are still working on our jigsaw puzzle--a Monet sea scene. I feel a little dorky saying it, but we're enjoying doing it together.

January quietness hasn't turned into January blahs yet--probably because It's so nice to have a break from the classroom. Two more weeks of this bliss to come.

Thinking About the Year Ahead

January 4th, 2018 at 10:42 am

We've started the uber-frugal month around here, but so far it's been no problem at all. We all got cold after Christmas, and mine struck last Sunday cancelling our NY plans. We have gift cards for CPK and the movies so we've rescheduled NY Eve to next Saturday night. We did get started on a jigsaw puzzle, and I've managed to keep up with normal housekeeping and cooking, but not much else.

For the New Year, we've started to make some plans, but they're not much different from last years. I need to lose some weight, ideally about 20 lbs. We need to pay ourselves back for the bathroom remodeling. We'd like to spend Christmas next year in England. I've started to make travel plans with friends for some mini-getaways. I still have many house plans, but DH and I need to sort them out.

The only spending for the year so far has been an eye exam for DD and me. My prescription increased very slightly, and DD apparently has the eyesight of a sniper, according to the optician. New glasses for me. Plans to follow.


I'm thinking so much about Thrift, her writing talents and her determination. Please know we're all pulling for you.