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Another trip

January 20th, 2018 at 05:10 am

I went to my friend's memorial last Saturday. It was strange. There was a table with photos, but no one got up to speak publicly. It was more or less like a class reunion. I did not feel any closure. As a matter of fact, there is an investigation into the death based on how the body was found.

I am heading back to the Detroit area later this coming week. I am leaving Wednesday afternoon and returning on Sunday. My BFF and I have the same birthday, hence the reason for returning so soon. We are celebrating Saturday night (Bday is next Sunday) via a party at her house. I took a grocery store shop on Saturday and will see what I can provide for the party via that shop.

My bus ticket totaled $24.50. I will take the local bus to the Greyhound station (less than a block to catch that bus), which will be an additional $2.50 round trip. My BFF is picking me up and returning me to the Greyhound station. I will give her $10 for the gas. The trip will cost $37 round trip (200 miles total).

I lined up subbing while I am down there. Those schools pay $10 more a day than they do in this area, which is a plus. My dad always lets me use his car. I help them with errands/cleaning in return, so no cost there. The town where I will sub is next to my grandma's town, so I will visit her after school on Thursday or Friday.

Today, I am taking the free Walmart bus finally. I have $20 set aside for a gift for BFF. Otherwise, my only spending will be the butter I forgot the other day when I went grocery shopping. I will also finally use up my $10 off $10 or more at Staples. There is a fairly large shopping center connected to WM, so I can keep busy the full two hours until the bus returns.

On a side note, I also got my first letter from my son from basic training. He is doing well and was designated a leadership role.

I need to moving now that I have finished my coffee. I want to do a little editing and cleaning before I catch the bus at 11:30 AM. I hope you all have a good weekend!

Sad news

January 10th, 2018 at 07:54 am

My first crush and one of my dearest friends passed away unexpectedly yesterday. No cause is known yet. He just turned 48. I am devastated. Life is precious. Between the news from Thrift and this news, I am realizing this more now than ever.

This and That

January 3rd, 2018 at 07:20 am

I am trying to have a more positive outlook and nearly titled this "Can't catch a break" but decided to look at the bright side. My car has an issue and I believe it will need a new control arm (replaced one in the spring and was told the other should be done within the year). Well, it is now more critical. I wish it would have waited another month till I caught up. However, with my new outlook I decided to let it sit (although I will go out and run it) other than one trip tomorrow to pick up something I have to sign for at a particular post office not on the bus line (luckily it is only five miles).

I have two schools I can walk to for subbing. Also, I got contacted yesterday from someone I regularly did virtual assistant work for in the past. He wants me to work for him again. He was always kind and generous. I am happy to do this. We are working out the numbers, but this will be a HUGE help!

Snowflakes came up and I gave them more thought. I have the following to redeem:

-I have a coupon for free eggs at Meijer (will wait another week)

-I have a $10 off $10 or more coupon for Staples

-$10 Walmart gift card (from Cross Media Panel redemption)

I was going to ride the free Walmart bus today to the local WM and use the WM gift card and Staples coupon (same center) but it is extremely cold, and the bus comes two and a half hours after drop off. I really don't want to walk between all the stores to kill time. I am opting to take the bus to another WM and grabbed a Goodwill shop next door. The bus ride is $4 round trip (I will use the change jar for this). However, the WM is a half hour away, so it is a good deal and that bus runs every half hour. It picks up a 100 feet from me too!

I am going to try and go car free until late this month. I have so much close by and great busing, so it should not be a huge issue other than limiting where I can substitute. However, the two close by schools have given me a lot of work lately, and I can probably tell them the situation and get in there as often as I want.

I decided one of my personal goals for January is to put more effort into Swagbucks. I have a friend who made $107.70 last month. This was not with any purchases or surveys! She lets the videos run overnight and said it helps immensely.


December 28th, 2017 at 04:11 am

I said in the past that I wondered if I could eat on mystery shopping alone (if I lived alone). My son leaves for the service next week. I am going to try this challenge to a point in January. However, I am also spending January catching back up financially, so I cannot afford a lot of output as far as restaurants go. Therefore, I am going to try to spend no more than $15 per week (I know groceries go a lot further than restaurants) out of pocket and fill the remainder with Kroger shops. If it goes well, I will try it without any cash out of pocket in February.

I will be able to set better goals after January. I have a local voluntary (any agreement would be legally binding) resolution center working on getting me payment from tutoring. At this point, I am still owed $544.77.

I will have lower pay from subbing in January because of the Christmas break. However, I did some renegotiation with editing, and my income will increase with them in January. I also got my yearly raise (20 cents per edit). I also figured mystery shopping on the low end for January. Many companies renegotiate contracts and don't have as much work in January. However, the availability of work usually increases quite a bit by February.

My family still waivers back and forth on what to do about my grandma, so I am not counting on any income from that at all right now. My son and I are heading to visit this afternoon or tomorrow morning for two days, so he can visit before leaving for the service. Hopefully, I will get an update on that.

So for January, I will still squeak by but come February be able to save regularly and set better goals for the year.

Holiday Bonus Etc.

December 15th, 2017 at 02:54 am

Still no payment from tutoring. He sent an email saying the money would be in my account this past Monday. It was not. He sent another yesterday saying he meant this coming Monday. By then my November payment is due. I have not received any payments since November 20th and that was for a September payment that was over two weeks late. I will let you know if it shows up on Monday. If it does not, I am proceeding with legal action. The first half of October payment was due November 18th and the second half was due December 3rd.

I got my check from editing and had a much welcomed $100 holiday bonus. I am going to pick up my nephew a pair of pajamas for Christmas. I always get him a gift but was not going to spend on anyone but the grandkids this year (that total was $18 after Amazon credit).

That being said, my parents and my sons, daughter in law and grandkids (and possibly my brother and nephew) are celebrating at my house on the 23rd. My dad offered to order pizza. However, I said I would really like to make food for them. I have been picking up items with Kroger mystery shops, so it really does not cost me anything.

There are also negotiations for me to go start taking care of my grandma to help relieve my aunts (weekends) after the first of the year. They will pay me. It is not like I am looking to make money off my grandma. However, my car is 7 years old. The money will be put away for a car fund. I am only going to accept what is absolutely necessary. They realize they would have to pay a service a lot more. I am happy I will get to spend time with my grandma. However, she is not doing well so it is hard. Nonetheless, I would do anything for her.

I will get out this weekend to go to the movies. It will be fully reimbursed, and I will get paid $5 because it is a mystery shop. I keep a rolling mystery shopping kitty so this is not part of my regular budget. I will go see Wonder if it is still out. Otherwise, I guess I will have to see what else is playing.

I desperately need to update my sidebar. Once all upcoming income is finalized, I will do that.

Have a good weekend and stay safe out in the weather and with all the crowds!


December 2nd, 2017 at 06:17 am

I am no longer working the tutoring job. I had to write several emails to get my last half of September payment and received it 17 days late. My first half of October payment was due 14 days ago. The last half is due tomorrow. The owner has quit answering emails. I am sending one more request today letting him know I expect both payments on Monday. If he doesn't comply, I am pursuing payment via a family member who is a lawyer.

This company has been in business for 2005. I checked it out before taking the job. Right before I quit, two of the three managers quit. From what I have figured out, the owner eventually has been paying, but apparently when he feels like it and he will not communicate in the meantime. The two payments total just under $500. After this, I am still owed just over $300 for what I worked in November (that payment is due Dec. 18th).

I am so depressed. I should be in decent financial position by now and I am not. Between this payment issue and starting subbing two months late (I blogged about that fiasco), I am barely treading water. I was so looking forward to the holidays with my family and friends for the first time in years, and now it is just a depressing thought. I spent $18 (after Amazon credit) on gifts for my grandkids. I will not be buying anything else.

I took my dad up on his loan to pay for the necessary items to get my teaching license here in MI. I hope to do the first aid while I am off from subbing over Christmas vacation.

Going forward I will be fine. I am going to do more editing and mystery shopping as well. It is a matter of getting caught up and being able to save some money.

It sucks because there were so many events friends wanted me to attend with them this season and I can't. I was supposed to go to Frankenmuth with my BFF's family this weekend. I was invited to two Christmas parties. The parties are near my parents (100 miles each way) and I can't justify the extra gas. I am only driving where I need to because I have limited savings should I need any car repairs.

Thanks for letting me vent once again! Despite my frustration, I am grateful for the roof over my head and the ability to pay the bills even if I can't save right now!

Happy Thanksgiving

November 23rd, 2017 at 02:54 am

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. For the first time in a long time it is more than two or three of us. I am going to my oldest son's who is literally two parking lots away! My parents are coming up as well. Missing out on most of my family/friends for the holidays played a large role in moving back to Mi.

I am not planning on buying anything, but I may go to the mall just to see how chaotic it is tomorrow. I only have to deal with half the battle since I can walk to it.

Since my son and daughter-in-law are going shopping after dinner, we are eating fairly early. They are shopping tonight for a few hours while I watch the kids. Therefore, I better get moving and start peeling my potatoes!

Have a great day all!

Getting My Financial Act Together

November 7th, 2017 at 03:16 am

Now that I have started subbing, I can finally get my act together financially. Of course my income will still fluctuate, but I have more income overall. I based the budget on my regular bills and taxes. I did not include savings. I need $2100 to pay my bills and taxes (They take taxes for subbing, but I am an IC for all my other jobs). Beyond that, I am splitting the excess between an EF, an overhead account (for any additional taxes and summer when I am not subbing) and my IRA.

I figure my average income will be about $2800. This is low for my age and education. The long-term plan is to get certified in MI and obtain a full time position by next fall.

On a side note, I will get health insurance through the subbing agency (kicks in Jan. 1). It isn't wonderful, but it's something. It is also over three hundred dollars a month cheaper than anything I would get through the ACA. I will pay $110 a month for mostly preventative care coverage (part of the $2100 budget). I do have critical care insurance for $50 k as well I purchased on my own. I dropped the dental I had on my own. I am going to use the dental program at the community college. Cleanings and xrays are $25 total. Major work is $65. The subbing agency offers a 401 k, but there is no match. I am going to stick with my IRA.

Things are looking up financially and sad personal news

October 21st, 2017 at 06:24 am

I took it upon myself to call the school district regarding the subbing. I could kick myself for not doing it sooner. I was able to straighten things out. I was a little worried this would cause waves with the staffing company, but it worked out okay. The woman at the staffing company who was supposed to take care of everything was only emailing the district. For nearly two months, she was emailing someone who had left apparently. I am now on the last step. I paid for my subbing certificate (which I could not do until the fingerprints were approved). As long as nothing happens with that, I will be all set. I hope to start subbing after this coming week.

I was getting worried about being paid for tutoring. I have direct deposit. The introductory email stated direct deposits were the 18th and mailed checks were on the 15th. I was told it could take one pay period before I got direct deposit. I had nothing through the 19th. I was going to email the manager after the mail ran yesterday, but the money showed up in my account finally.

I put in my notice for the part time work I do for the editing company. I had to more or less. It overlaps with tutoring. It is a long story, but it also wasn't a matter of doing the work and then I ws done. It requires a lot of follow up which was the big issue. I only work that part of the job 12 days a month officially, so I wasn't losing a lot of money. In the end, I will make up the lost money with extra work through tutoring and shopping. The tutoring is so much easier because I don't do any prep work. I do the calls and fill out my time on a spreadsheet then I am done.

On a personal note, please send out your thoughts/prayers for my grandma. She just turned 90 and had a heart attack a few days later. It affected her mentally. She was lucid and in great shape for her age. My mom said she has now completely changed and will likely go to a nursing home. I guess she is too combative for the family to take care of her. This blows my mind as she has lived on her own in a bi-level home up until now. It is sad, and I feel horrible saying/thinking this, but if there is no hope of her bouncing back, I hope she doesn't linger. She would not want that. She told me this more than once. She said if she ever "lost her mind" (her words) or could not take care of herself, she would not want to go on.


October 11th, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I am still going through the subbing fiasco. Fingerprints supposedly never made it to school district. I had them resent three times. The company working on my behalf...well they aren't much help. The girl is not proactive and only makes inquiries when I ask. Whether I should or not, I am calling the district myself on Friday if there is no progress. It probably is not all that appropriate because I technically work for the subbing company. However, I don't know what else to do at this point.

In the meantime, I have been doubling my mystery shopping (Jokeabee's post inspired me as well). My car is working fine, but I also know it is 7 years old. I cannot afford to replace it right now if anything happened. I also was holding off on doing much shopping because I was anticipating subbing sooner than later. I am treading water but not saving anything. So, I took on a great deal of more shops the last two weeks and for the rest of the month. I need to jump start my savings. I am also going to take my dad up on his offer to go ahead and borrow the money for my certification. With the extra work, I can pay him back fairly quickly. I get my first tutoring check at the end of next week which will also help.

I am not giving up on the subbing, but I also am not holding my breath that it is going to get resolved in a timely manner. Despite all the issues, I am grateful I have multiple streams of income to help me get by until I have a more permanent solution.

Where's Laura/Frugal Texan-Keeping it Frugal?

September 29th, 2017 at 05:07 am

Hope all is well. It's been nearly a month since a post which is unusual.


September 19th, 2017 at 05:57 am

I have to make a confession even though it is only loosely financially related. I have let myself go physically since the move. This is especially shameful because I have a fitness center, indoor pool, park and mall at my disposal. I have been in somewhat of a depression due to finances. I hate that the subbing situation is such a mess. There are also some challenges with editing. There are also personal issues with the family which alone wouldn't be derailing, but they are adding to the overall stress and depression.

I will get paid for tutoring next month which will be a huge help. My weight and blood pressure lately gave me a wake up call. Over the last week, I have done the following to change my situation (and will continue):

I am committed to eating only between 6 AM and 6 PM (I was successful with this in Florida).

I am exercising a minimum of 15 minutes per day (I plan to increase this each week).

I hate the idea of calorie counting. I give up after awhile. I am trying to limit myself to 7 items of food/drink a day. Water is a freebie of course (Generally, my only other drink is my morning cup of coffee). Obviously, there is some moderation in this. I am not going to eat seven slices of cake and consider it a success.

On the job front, if the subbing isn't straightened out by Oct 6th, I am showing up at their offices (about 80 miles away) on my way up north with my dad. We are going to my grandmother's grave north of Muskegon for the day. It would have been her 90th birthday. A "simple" paperwork snafu has made the subbing situation somewhat of a nightmare for me. Phone calls and emails have been unsuccessful so far. If at that point it doesn't get fixed, my dad said he would loan me the money to expedite finishing up the steps to getting certified to teach full-time in Michigan (about $500). This would open up a lot more options for me.

Free Dental

September 16th, 2017 at 09:34 am

I saw on the news this morning that one of the local dentists was doing free cleanings and dental work today only. I ran down there since it was less than two miles away. I got my teeth cleaned. They were doing almost any kind of dental work too. One girl was getting all her wisdom teeth removed free.

I also found out through them the local community college does major dental work regularly for $65.00. I need a deep cleaning so I will be looking into this asap!

My teeth feel better and my pocketbook is "happy" too!

Vent: Why can't people do their jobs?

September 11th, 2017 at 08:28 am

I hope you all don't mind a vent. I need to vent because my hands are tied otherwise. As you all know, I started the subbing process here in MI months ago (did the online modules while I was still in FL). I went to the orientation on August 9th and was told my stuff would be to the districts and I would have a log in within 2 or 3 days. The short background is that here in MI a staffing company controls 90 percent of the districts and that is who you work for. Your prints are sent to one district and they forward them to the rest of the districts on the list that you choose to sub for.

I heard nothing. I followed up and was told to be patient. I waited another week and called again. I was told it's up to the districts. On Sept. 1st I was told the same. I told the woman I understood but something must be wrong. I asked the normal turnaround time and told her what was said at the orientation. She finally agreed to call the district my prints were sent to. She said she would email me by the end of the day either way. I got nothing.

I have also been calling the security company for over a week and the number keeps saying all circuits are busy. I had enough and finally drove to the security office this morning. Apparently they have issues with their phone line. Anyhow, come to find out, the state police forwarded my info to the district under my maiden name, so of course they had no one on file to attach them to. The correct info is being sent over today.

This could have all been avoided if the staffing company had followed up with the district weeks ago when I asked. I am so upset with them, but I also know since they control all the work I had better keep my mouth shut.

I am still afraid I am going to be chasing this because I am told the TCN/Fingerprint number will change. I am not optimistic this will work out and they will know how to properly attach this to the proper paperwork.

My son went through a similar situation last month with his pharmacy tech license. If one person had made a simple call, a lot of trouble could have been avoided.

Anyhow, I will let you know if this is finally straightened out for good this week. I gave up an opportunity to make a little more doing more admin work with my admin job because I thought I would be subbing. It's a big deal to me because it is a foot in the door to furthering myself in the world of education in MI. It also will add around 700-800 a month to my income. They also offer health insurance (it isn't great but at least it is offered).

In lieu of the hurricanes, illnesses, etc. I know my situation is minor. My thoughts are with all those going through much bigger issues.

New Job! Attn: Laura (Frugal Texan)

August 30th, 2017 at 03:42 pm

I added another job to my repertoire. So far, they are moving slow on subbing. I am playing a waiting game. I found a tutoring job on Craiglist. The job is legit. I will be subbing South Korean students five evenings a week for 3 hours. It was on my local Craigslist because they are based out of Michigan (but tutors are all over).

Here is the link (and they need help asap) for those who have teaching experience and/or a bachelor's who might be interested. I figured Laura (Frugal Texan) in particular may want to check it out:


@Laura there is a little flexibility with the hours so it may be worth it even if those shifts listed won't work (they may let you do two hours instead of three)

I contacted them Monday. I got trained today and start tomorrow!

More Major Changes

August 25th, 2017 at 04:50 am

My youngest is frustrated and has pretty much decided not to attend MSU this semester. I am extremely upset on one hand and fully supportive on the other. We have been working all summer on in-state tuition and are getting the run around. It isn't even about the length of time we have lived here. It is about me not having permanent employment in Michigan. They say subbing is not permanent and working from home for my other job isn't considered employed in Michigan either. What upsets me is they knew this all along and only in recent weeks has it become a big issue. I really don't understand where I work is an issue if I live here full-time!

To shorten this long saga, my son says he is seriously considering signing up for the Air Force and letting them pay for school (He had talked about ROTC but never full time) I fear he is going in for the wrong reasons. However, he is an adult, and all I can offer is my opinion. I told him I would like to see him go ahead and just work this semester and go to the community college next semester (We are one month short of in-state tuition with them, hence the suggestion for the semester off). I said at that point he can decide whether he really wants to go the military route or re-enroll with MSU for next year. With AP credits and a semester at community college he would not be behind. He said he would consider my suggestion.

All of this has had me do some serious soul searching. I am going to get my teaching license in MI. Unfortunately, my NH and FL licenses have expired. I won't need to go back to school. However, I do need to take two state tests and get certified in first aid and CPR. I will spend this school year doing all of that while I sub. Depending on cash flow, I may even have it all done in one semester. I figure between the study guides, tests and certification, it will be around $500.

My ultimate goal is to work as an educational/site coordinator (basically advising at the community college level). If I can't land a position in that capacity, I will return to the classroom full time. I have seen openings in both fields, so I know going through the licensing process is worth it.

I love my editing job, but it is too unpredictable to carry on long-term. Due to the logistics of it, I rarely get a full day off. This was another big reason for my decision. Obviously, I will be sticking with it for now.

Trip and Windfall

August 20th, 2017 at 06:26 am

I made yet another trip to the Detroit area this weekend. I went to pick up the Chinese college student who my son was going to room with before he decided to commute. He is such a nice young man! I enjoyed the ride with him. I took him on a few errands on the way back too. He was hungry so we went to Wendy's. It was interesting explaining the menu to him. We also went to the TMobile store so he could get a sim card and to Target for supplies. I got him to the dorm at 10pm last night.

I left on Friday morning because I was off from editing. I managed to pick up a few mystery shops with no out-of-pocket expenses and made $60. A friend went with me because she had a few errands, so it was fun. I had a $10 Starbucks card so we used that for free coffee.

I am happy to say the only money I spent was $3 for my dad's newspapers. I have been doing quite a bit of laundry at my parent's house this summer, so I refused his money when he tried to pay me for them.

Now that things are settled as far as celebrations and trips, I am not going back down until October. My grandma is turning 90!

I came home last night and went through my mail. I was elated to see a check from my apartment management company. I knew I was getting a referral check because of my older son moving in. I expected $25 or $50. The check is for $300! It came at the perfect time. August is so tight with child support ending last month and subbing not beginning until next month. It is all going to bills with one exception. I am going to buy a pizza for my son's family. After all, I would not have had this money if it weren't for them.

Spending 7/30-8/9 and son's "new" car

August 9th, 2017 at 02:55 pm

I spent money on gas, groceries, a duplicate key and two drinks at the mall in the past 11 days. My total spending was $57.79.

I don't anticipate any money being spent in the next several days. I am taking my grandson to the movies tomorrow for an early bday present. It is a mystery shop and includes snacks, so it is free in the end!

I have his party on Saturday, but I bought his gift a couple of weeks ago. I also have a mystery shop for groceries on Sunday.

I think I previously mentioned my son is going to commute to school after all. He got a car today. He put money down and got a three year loan. His payment is $105 a month. I am sure he will pay it off sooner. It is a low mileage 2006 VW Jetta. It is in great shape. The dealer checked it out thoroughly, and we also had a mechanic check it out.

He also got a new job (he starts later this month). He is going to work at CVS right across from campus. He will have a permit for the garage, so he won't have any costs for parking on campus. He will ride his bike around, as his classes are pretty far from where he will be parking.

I went to my substitute teaching orientation this morning. I am all set and just waiting on log in info. I should start working regularly after Labor Day. I can't wait to build back up my savings!

Spending 7/22-7/29

July 28th, 2017 at 07:35 am

Last Saturday I did the Red Robin mystery shop with my three year old granddaughter and oldest son. It did cost me $5.00 out of pocket, but that was the tip.

I had to go back to the Detroit area to pick my youngest son up from his trip to NH. I went down Monday morning and returned Wednesday afternoon.

I spent $55 this trip (rounded up). I don't feel too guilty because it included gas and my grandson's birthday present. The rest was eating out. I used a lot of gas running around. I spent Monday with a friend and ran errands. Tuesday I visited my cousin and my grandma.

When I got back Wednesday, I needed a few groceries. I spent $21 at Target.

I did manage to make money while I was gone. I did three mystery shops (one in the Detroit area and two on the way home) for a total of $67.00.

I also got freebies. I got a pizza that I was able to redeem from last week' TMobile Tuesday. I also got a beach towel for this week's freebie.

I don't plan on spending anything this weekend other than $12 at Kroger. That will be covered, as it is mystery shop.

Total spending-$81.00

It is a beautiful day today. I already went to the credit union to deposit my paycheck. I have to work, but it is a fairly easy day. I will definitely take a walk and maybe pick up the grandkids and take them to the park. The only issue with that is they never want to leave!

This past week's spending

July 22nd, 2017 at 11:22 am

I got off real cheap on the trip down to the Detroit area. My friends insisted on buying my dinner when we went out. I bought a coffee and a cheap lunch while I was there. I also picked up two Meijer shops for $25 each, so I made money that I wasn't counting on.

Since then, I spent another $8.61 at Meijer for coffee creamer and a collander.

Spending breakdown for the week:

$3.71-Biggby Coffee (Ouch!)


I am doing a shop for Red Robin shortly with my older son. I may go a little out of pocket for that. If so, I will put it in my next update.

July 10 and 11 Spending

July 11th, 2017 at 02:50 pm

Yesterday, I got my two tires. The total was $219.75, but I found an unused $50 Visa gift card! So, my out-of-pocket was $169.75.

Today we went to the zoo. I only paid for myself. Grand total of $1! I got a free granola bar and popsicle too! I also spent $3.25 on laundry so my grand total is $4.25.

Tomorrow and Thursday should be no-spend days. By Friday, I will need to get a few groceries. I am hoping my only spending between now and my short trip to the Detroit area on Monday afternoon are the groceries and one load of laundry.

Amazon and Spending July 6-9

July 10th, 2017 at 04:41 am

I made a decision to stop saving for the laptop with Amazon funds. I was hovering between 100 and 125 the last few months. I never got past that because legitimate purchases would come up (printer ink, grad gifts). My laptop is fine at the moment. My oldest son said he has a cheap spare if I have an issue.

Once I start subbing, I can save to purchase one. I figure I should be able to replace it no later than Black Friday. It also will not limit me to Amazon.

I spent $113.38 Thursday on Amazon which nearly wiped out the funds. However, I purchased a lot of needs. It felt good not to spend actual cash. I got a new pair of sneakers. Mine are over a year old, and I wear them almost every day. I also got a bra. I ordered a Prime Pantry box (I had free shipping) as well. I got enough household goods to last the remainder of the summer. I bought a handful of food items including a cake mix for my son's birthday cake.

I was going to hold off until Prime Day. However, a few of the pantry items and the sneakers were low on stock. I doubt there would have been deals on what I bought anyhow other than free pantry shipping, which I had anyhow.

All of this will help my bottom line a great deal. I usually have $75 per week to spend (gas, groceries, household goods, laundry, fun money). I am going to cut that back to $60 for two months. My gas spending in nearly nil these days. Between mystery shops and Aldi, grocery spending is low as well. I am washing the small stuff in the mini washer. Laundry is $3.25 per load. I am trying to keep it down to two loads a week (for both me and my son).

Friday's spending-$34.43

This was for gas, a birthday card, fixings for taco salad (This was to feed older son's family upon arrival) and dryer sheets. My son was supposed to pick the dryer sheets up (which is why they weren't part of the pantry order), but he never did.

Saturday's Spending -$6.07

I bought milk, juice and shredded cheese. My brain apparently was not working well enough on Friday.

Sunday Spending $0

Unfortunately, today will be major spending. However, it will come out of the Emergency Fund. I have a flat tire. I was due to replace the two back tires in the fall anyhow. I am hoping it will be $250 or less. The roads are terrible in MI. It isn't worth bothering putting on top of the line tires. I was just offered another side project at work, so I should be able to replace this money later next month.

Unofficially Taking a Modified Uber Frugal Challenge

July 6th, 2017 at 07:23 am

I should have joined the official Uber Frugal Month Challenge, but I did not. I don't believe I have purchased much this month other than groceries. I am going to unofficially join in and keep track the rest of the month. Beyond groceries the only spending I have planned is the following:

-Cake, ice cream and card for my youngest son's birthday next week. Total cost should be no more than $20.

-I am going to the zoo next week. Meijer is sponsoring zoo days for a $1 per person. I will take the grandkids on Tuesday. My oldest son and his wife will be unpacking, so my youngest son will go with me. That means $4 for tickets and whatever parking costs. I will not buy any food, so I am sure the total will be less than $10.

-I am taking my youngest son to the Detroit airport on the 17th. He is going to New Hampshire to visit friends and his half brother for a week. I am off for two days, so I will stay at my parents and visit local friends. My son is paying for the gas, but I am going to allow myself $20 spending money because it is quite likely I will eat out at some point. There is a small chance this trip will not cost me anything if I can find a restaurant mystery shop.

I will do a little spending via mystery shopping this month, but I don't count that as it is fully reimbursed.

I am off today save a couple of leftover edits and two phone shops. It is hot, so I am going to relax and do a bit of housework.

Tomorrow I am going to walk the mall in the morning. Hopefully, I will see you there Merilee!

Other than that, I am trying not to stress over my son and his family on the road. They leave tomorrow morning and will be here by noon on Sunday if all goes as planned. I am super excited!

VIP Kid update and more..

June 30th, 2017 at 05:12 am

For Laura (or anyone else who may have been interested): I had the interview with VIP, and I thought it went well. However, the follow up email was I didn't have enough ESL experience, so they were not going to go any further with me. That was fine, but I was not happy with them. I raced home from the Detroit area that day to prep for the interview. They had my resume. They know my lack of ESL experience. I guess my point is, they should not have had me bother with the interview.

Merilee, I saw your comment on my last post. We should meet sometime. Do you do the mall walking?I am going to start Monday! I walk in the park now, but walking in air conditioning with others is appealing.

I went to parent orientation at the university yesterday. I learned a lot. My son had to stay overnight in the dorm. I will go pick him up shortly. I hope he had fun!

Also, he got a summer job at Subway. Final tally on his grad money was just over $1200. He bought a bike, lock and helmet. He is also planning on a laptop. He will put any leftover money toward books.

Next week my older son, wife and kids will be here too! I am so excited they are moving here as well. They both transferred their jobs at CVS.

My daughter is going to Wilmington, NC next week to explore the area. She has an opportunity to almost double her income if she transfers her job there. If anyone knows anything about that area, I would love to hear more (as would she).

On the financial front, I am spending as little as possible. I only have one more child support payment left. I am all set up for subbing in September, but it is that two month gap where I need to be very careful. I am trying to pick up more mystery shops and am also volunteering for some extra editing. Even with two trips to the Detroit area, I have barely used any gas. Everything is so close here, I don't think I have used more than a half tank all month other than those trips.

Anyone looking to buy a house in AZ?

June 13th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

One of my FB friends posted this home in AZ on 20 acres:


You must see for yourself...

Settling In

June 6th, 2017 at 05:13 am

I am starting to settle in at my new place. I finally sold my sectional on FB Maretplace and picked up a new love seat on clearance. It is so much more comfortable than my sectional!

I am trying to pick up a little more work. I started the application process with VIP Kid (Thanks again Laura for mentioning it). I also sent an inquiry to a local tutoring company. The owner is interested and is going to set up a meeting with me next week (He is out of town this week).

Mystery shopping is going well in the area. I am near everything and barely need to use my car. The mall is less than a half mile. Also within a mile are Target, Meijer, Big Lots, Aldi and more. There is also a beautiful park and library right across the street.

One of my bffs and her family drove up Saturday (100 miles) and we went to a HUGE farm market. I love that place, and it is only two miles away. This weekend I am driving down to the Detroit area to see some family and go to the same friend's daughter's grad party.

As far as DH, he pulled what I half expected. He had nowhere to go in NH, so he stayed in MI. He actually told me when I was signing my lease I needed to add him. I was furious and told him it was not happening. In the end, he found a room to rent downtown. I have had to be rude with him this past week because my patience was running out. He was not getting there is no longer a "we" without my being quite blunt. Everything is off the moving truck (He got a storage unit), and it has been returned. I helped him find a mini fridge and microwave on the Marketplace. My son agreed to help him move it in today. The fridge is kind of big, and DH can't lift it. I told him this was the last thing we were assisting him with, and he has to sink or swim on his own now.

Checking In

June 2nd, 2017 at 04:48 pm

I made it to MI with no issues. It was probably the smoothest road trip for me ever. I am pleased with the apartment and the neighborhood. Otherwise, I am sore and exhausted. I will be glad when everything is unpacked and put away. I look forward into settling into a routine.


May 25th, 2017 at 01:11 pm

It's the calm before the storm. My daughter, her bff, bff's daughter, and my son's bff (who lives down by my daughter) area on their way up from south Florida. Tomorrow is my son's graduation. They will stay through Saturday. Then it is the final push for packing before we get the moving truck Tuesday.

At this point I am mush. I am completely mentally and physically exhausted. I spent a ton of time this week selling DH's stuff on FB Marketplace this week. I asked more than he was going to and got full price offers on all but one item. I finally had to say no more. After all, I am working on top of all of this!

Anyhow, I wanted to wish you all a safe holiday weekend. If nothing else I will check in late next week after I "back in the mitten" (MI).

Question for those who are landlords or renters

May 16th, 2017 at 11:54 am

I am being told I have to leave the electricity and water on in my name for 5 business days after I leave. Is this normal? It is not in my lease, but it is on the checkout list I received when I gave my notice. I talked to the property manager and told her I am not comfortable for paying for a place I no longer live in legally after the 31st. She was polite, but she said this is standard and I won't receive my deposit if I turn the utilities off early. This house is owned by an individual not a company. I also have no idea if anyone will be living here in those five days. I know when I moved in, it was one day after the other tenant left.

Facebook Marketplace Success

May 13th, 2017 at 11:49 am

I never paid attention to FB Marketplace before. I rarely use the FB app, but I ran across the marketplace recently and put stuff up on it this morning. We made $275 dollars today! Within minutes, I had replies for two dressers, and old kitchen table and chairs and a gas grill.

I am waiting on the person to pick up the table and chairs, but the others showed up within an hour. This is so much easier than a garage sale or Craigslist.

This is stuff that my husband owned for years, so it is his money (although he gave me $40 for putting it all up).

Now I need to look around and make sure I don't have anything else I personally need to sell.

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