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Getting a Bit Tight

January 14th, 2019 at 05:54 pm

We've paid both visa bills completely,so our travel bills are all accounted for. It's going to be a bit tight for the next month as my contractor husband won't get paid for while we're gone.

I haven't taken many steps toward frugality since we've been home, but we could take some steps towards eating through the freezer. Instead we've been doing some cleaning and decluttering. We thoroughly cleaned our fridge, have worked our way through the closet, and I'm cleaning the office and downstairs closet later this week.

Next weekend I'm off to Minnesota for a weekend with my best friends. One, a friend since second grade, has recently bought a house on the north shore of Lake Superior and is working half time in the Twin Cities. So we're all headed up north of Duluth where the temps should be below zero all weekend. I'm cold just thinking about it.

In the interest of frugality (ha), I've used gift cards earned from textbook reviews to buy a new jacket. I'm going to need it if we're snowshoeing this weekend!

I also need to load in 2019 goals. Many of them will be unaccomplished 2018 goals. It was that kind of year.

Lovely Lovely London

December 23rd, 2018 at 01:25 pm

Ok, it may be raining right now, but what a lovely time we're having.
We arrived Wednesday, found the airbnb with no problem, got settled in, went for a walk by the Regents Canal and got some groceries. It's quite a spacious two-bedroom in a nice area of London, but I do mss the "old neighborhood."

Thursday, I had lunch with a study abroad friend, we did a little stint at the British Museum, than a dinner at home to recoup a bit.
We tried to see the WinterWonderland in Hyde Park, but it was just too crowded. Friday we were off to see the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, catch up with some friends, and then headed to the Southbank to see their European Christmas Market--which was much less crowded, free, and fun. Friday night was
the Barbican to see Macbeth. Meh--but worth it to see Eccleston, at least for me.

Really fun day with a long walk in St James's Park with family yesterday, lunch, a chance to see the new great nephew too. DD and went to the National Theatre to see Hadestown--her Christmas present. It was wonderful--and walked and walked on Bond Street and through Piccadilly to see lights. Very fun day.

Today we mt friends for lunch in Hampstead, did a long walk, and came heme stuffed and suitably tired. The airbnb has been good with both a washer and dryer. We've spent little except on food as the theatre tickets were all bought ages ago. We;;, maybe a few books at my favorite bookshop.

I've also managed to keep up with the project grading I took n to help pay for all this. It's fun assessment, and so far, not bad at all.


Happy Christmas to all my SA Friends!

Replenishing

December 3rd, 2018 at 05:50 pm

Our bank balances are looking better. DH and I both got paid on our regular jobs and my adjunct job too. We're still going to have to juggle a little, especially with Christmas and the London trip.

I finally see some light at the end of the term. I should be finished grading everything except final projects by tomorrow. And I plan on a very early night tonight.

We had a comforting meal of leftover Swiss steak tonight. It's one of my childhood favs, and it seemed perfect on the cold wet weekend. Glad I made enough for leftovers. Soup on the stove for tomorrow.

There will be a dentist bill in the near future. I have a troublesome tooth that needs dealing with and I hope to get it taken care of this week.


Oh--almost forgot our big fun news: My DH has been working on a masters in history. There's no economic justification for it, but it's been a part-time thing for several years. The big news? His paper won the best graduate paper of 2018 complete with a $400 prize. Very proud of him.

Hello, Hello

November 26th, 2018 at 06:01 pm

Oh man, it's been 21 days since I've posted?

Here's a short (?) summary:
We bought a new-to-us car. We'r big believers in quality used cars, and this one is a fancier, newer version of my wrecked car. I love it.

Shelling out the difference between the blue book value from the wrecked car and the cost of the new car has made things a bit tight around here. We paid cash, but I've emptied many a pot to find that cash.

The semester is over in 2 1/2 weeks.

We stayed in Cheeseland for Thanksgiving and had dinner with my office best friends--and her boss,, the undergrad chair, and an assortment of others. Wow--meeting people's partners is always interesting.

Need to do some London planning--by the end of the week. I've already booked two plays and a Christmas carol sing-along at Albert Hall. And a family event. And a lunch with London colleagues. Maybe I don't need to book more? But I want to!

I've taken on an odd assessment project that I'll learn more about on Thursday. It's a limited amount of work for $1500. I'd rather not, but hey, we need to dig out of the car situation.

More soon!

The Ongoing Car Saga

November 5th, 2018 at 06:34 pm

Two weeks later, I still have the repair shop's loaner vehicle. The body shop still has my car. We still don't have the accident report from the city. We've been back and forth with the repair shop and have, I think, come to some sort of settlement. The total damage is more than the blue book value of the car, and they offered to either have the vehicle repaired or give us a check for the amount of the repairs.

We've decided to write the car off, but are waiting for them to draw up a document exempting us from any legal liability concerning the accident. So we've begun the process of looking for a new (used) car. All of that is frustrating.

Apart from that it's been busy. I've just paid for the ACT fees for DD and another round of ACT prep subsidized by the school district. Work is very busy.

DH is adjusting well, I think, to his new job but still doesn't like being on the 23rd floor. My adjunct class has also begun. It's small but interesting. The class is "Bestsellers," and this week we're reading _Hidden Figures._ They struggled with _Lincoln in the Bardo_, but I expected that at an open enrollment institution. I'm trying to stretch the grocery budget with soups and pantry cooking to cover some of our car expenses.

Piles of grading and conferences with the athletic academic advisors tomorrow on the precarious status of their students.

Rain Rain

October 1st, 2018 at 11:49 am

It's a cold and wet day here. And busy. I'm heading to Seattle to meet my BFF on Thursday and feel like I have thousands of things to do before then. In the meantime, DD and I are off to see Hank Green speak at the university tonight. Y'all might be more familiar with his brother, the YA author, John Green. DD is a huge fan and we culdn't turn down a chance to see him at the university tonight.

We're trying to eat through the freezer contents, but this may be a week for getting through rather than making progress. Back to grading and writing quizzes.

Finally!

September 24th, 2018 at 07:56 pm

We jumped though all the hoops, got DH's degree verified, and waited, waited, waited, but he began the new contract today. He said it went very well, and he's very happy to be back at the company where he worked for 15 years. The atmosphere is so much more his style, very casual and conversational. He saw loads of people he knew--and they started off te day with balloons at his desk, a Starbucks card, and a cookie. I figure it will take us a little over a month to regain our bearings. But finally we're back on track. No spending other than coffee here.

Crossing My Fingers

August 30th, 2018 at 08:37 pm

It looks like DH may have a job offer! And he's got another interview for a different job at the same place on Tuesday. No definite thing yet, but it looks better.

Busy day with meeting after meeting at the university.
More when we know more.

More Scrounging

August 17th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

Just got an e-mail from my adjunct job, and they've canceled the class that begins on 27 August. It's way underenrolled. Bleah. It will be fine, but we could use that paycheck this fall.

I need to think about some strategies to get through DH's unemployment more comfortably. He does have an interview next week, so fingers crossed for that.

Where We're At

August 16th, 2018 at 09:26 am

Well, I took a look at August's upcoming bills, and tried to face what I think I already knew. It's going to be tight until October 1.

DH got paid yesterday, and will likely have one more reduced check. I'll get a check from my adjunct class on September 1. Although it seems like I've been working all summer on my regular university stuff, my contractual period doesn't start until Monday, and I'm not paid until October 1. But I'll have another adjunct class starting on 27 August which will mean a check from them on 1 October.

In the meantime I just paid DD's school fees. She's taking three AP classes so the fees for them were included in the $515 I paid. Our household insurance hit my credit card at $1200. And my DH's annual life insurance is another $760. I spent a fair amount on our trip to MN. Ugh. August is our most expensive month

We certainly have enough in savings to cover all this and much more, but I'll breathe a little better when the unemployment starts or even better, if he gets a new job soon.

His resume is all updated and posted, and he's been in contact with lots of his old colleagues at his job before this one. I don't doubt he'll get a new job, but I do hate the uncertainty.

I'd committed to doing health and hygiene kits for the AODA treatment house sponsored by our church. It's our favorite program, so yesterday DD and I went out to see how well we could tackle the list. I scrounged up coupons, checked thekrazycouponlady site, gathered registered rewards from Wags, and EB from CVS and we did pretty well. I think I need bankergurl to advise, but we went to Walmart (yuck, I hate Walmart), but managed free shampoo, ziploc bags for a rebate from SB, and 88cent shower caddies. We got free toothpaste at Wags too. I found a bag of toothbrush covers in the bathroom to check that item off the list as well as some bars of soap. We're about halfway through the list. It's satisfying to be able to do this and made me feel good.

Today is our CSA box. I foresee yet more summer squash, but we did enjoy the fresh bean salad yesterday. I think it'll be roasted veggie enchiladas tonight.

I've been doing all my cash anxiety items--daily SB, mypoints, scrounging for stuff to sell, watering the new crop of chard, lettuce, and beets. I also started the mandated 21-day meditation for my $150 wellness rebate that accompanied my health screening. But also streaming Aretha Franklin as a tribute and mood lifter.

Grumbly

August 13th, 2018 at 08:27 pm

Well, here we are one week into DH's unemployment and I'm grumbly. Not just at him, but at students, administrators, my new teaching hires, and myself. I think I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe a long workout tomorrow.

DH has been working on finishing his summer class. He's paid until 8-20, so is ready to file for unemployment. I spent the morning getting things for my new hires and their fall semester and the evening finishing the last summer class. In between I wrote a syllabus for the class that starts in two weeks. That all has made me more grumbly.

Odds and Ends

August 9th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

DH has started his unemployment application, and I'm happy to see he's been going to the health club. He asked if we should cancel it, but it's cheap and keeps his mood up.

I cashed out some Swagbucks, filed for a flex reimbursement for his hearing tests, and did a quick pantry/freezer inventory. I'm going to try to limit grocery spending to $25-35/week while he's unemployed. We have a full-ish freezer and weekly CSA deliveries, so not much to buy. And I may try to sow some radishes, carrots, and spinach where the blight has destroyed my tomatoes.

My major purchasing quandary is our UK airfare for December. We've paid for our airbnbs, so there's no question we'll go. I need to look into all our air miles and see if I can patch one or two flights together out of those.

In the Eye of the Hurricane

July 22nd, 2018 at 02:33 pm

A little Hamilton reference for y'all. In the eye of the hurricane it IS quiet. But man, so much going on for so many around us. My DH's ex-professor and now friend seems to have either a stroke or a mental breakdown. He's been calling us all hours for days; sometimes calling 40 times a day. We've contacted his estranged family and the local police because he seems to be in real trouble. And we've had to turn off the phone.
You may remember a few weeks back when I asked for advice about a colleague/friend struggling with money. She's had a tough road--a son with childhood leukemia, a husband with half a kidney removed from cancer, her own gallbladder out, etc--now her husband's cancer is back. We've spent the last couple of days trying to allocate her classes to other teaching colleagues and help with a childcare and meal rotation.

In the midst of that I got a FB message from a cousin and my elderly aunt is fading fast. They expect perhaps a few days left for her.

And then there's my DH's sister whose physical and mental stability have really gone downhill.

But we have good news through of all the pain and trouble around us. Our Friday appt with DH's ear specialist went very well, and we will schedule him for ear surgery in September. They're confident it's a bony overgrowth and that they can correct his quickly diminishing hearing with laser surgery.

And we had a lovely however wet day working on our history project in a nearby town. We also enjoyed a tour of a WW2 submarine. We are such history dorks. An hour on that sub convinced me a life under water is not for me. What brave sailors those were.

Cancelation Means Relaxation

July 18th, 2018 at 07:44 am

My DD has been taking an ACT prep class along with her summer French conversation. And we've been trying to get to the gym almost every day. These balanced with too many summer university meetings (for which I am NOT paid) have made things hectic. She needs to be driven to all of them--too far to bike. This morning looked particularly hectic with a dog groomer drop off, water zumba, and picking up a friend. But halfway to the groomer's, we got a text that zumba canceled, so we canceled the friend. Normally this would have us a little upset, but those hours crammed in before her classes now feel like a gift.

Yesterday was too hectic--my Tuesday morning teaching hangover from a late class, two meetings, lesson drop-offs, my DH working late from home until 10, and trivia with my trivia buddy. Trivia was a disaster. Neither of us know anything about Formula One racing or country music, and normally we do pretty well. I had a fun time chatting with him, but there is just too much going on.

So onward. I've got a few hours of work and can fit everything else in, including the gym with a bit more breathing room. All this running has meant lots of gas spending, as well as coffee shop spending since no one seems to want to meet at the university. We need a vacation from summer vacation.

A Steamy Weekend

July 16th, 2018 at 05:57 am

Ugh--it's been like a steamroom here the past few days, but the humidity is supposed to lift today. We had our usual round of groceries, laundry, and cooking this weekend. I'm ready for a bit more excitement.

I did get a closet reorganization done. I still need to do DH's closet, but despite earlier promises, he hasn't been too eager. He spent $100 on shoes over the weekend, but because this was at the local Bon-Ton store closing, he got THREE amazing pairs of shoes--Nunn Bush and Cole Haan for that price. I spent nothing. I really need nothing at all.

Keeping up with the CSA veggies with a stirfry and a big pot of minestrone for DH's lunches this week. Off to the gymn- It's going ot be a busy day with lots of appointments. More on that later.