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Car Update Etc.

January 17th, 2017 at 03:51 pm

I am slammed with work lately. I am not complaining. It is good for the budget. Today is especially busy. The only reason I am here now is I have 15 minutes before a phone meeting, so I don't want to get into the middle of any work projects at the moment.

I had the two tires replaced on the car on Saturday. I also got an alignment. The total was $306.26. DH agreed to pay $120 toward it.

On a side note, I am proud of my son. His father got him an Auto Zone gift card for Christmas, so my son decided to tackle his own brakes. This is the first time he has done anything on a car. It took most of the day yesterday, but he got it done with no issues. I asked DH to make sure he got the car jacked up safely and to check on him periodically. He asked DH a couple of questions, but he did all the physical work himself. He wants to tackle spark plugs next. He will do his and mine.

I haven't spent any money since Saturday and don't plan on it until Thursday. I wish I could have five day streaks every week! Time to go sign in for my meeting. Have a great day everyone!

I need to diversify my savings!

January 13th, 2017 at 10:25 pm

I keep my savings accounts with Capital One 360. I have separate accounts for an emergency, short term savings and my moving fund. I have a debit I don't use with them that I can transfer the money to if I were to need money immediately.

Earlier this week I had a log in message to call Capital One. They think someone tried to sign into my accounts, so they froze all of them and cancelled the debit card. As luck (or lack of) would have it, I got a slow leak in one tire and a flat on another today. I only keep an extra $100 in my regular checking, and I just paid all the mid month bills a few hours before this happened.

I will use the credit card to cover the tires and pay it off when the money is freed up. But this got me thinking about what to do with all my savings going forward. This money is frozen for up to 10 business days.

To top it off the girl I spoke to in their security department said she would try to free up one of the accounts immediately, and I could go to the ATM. I asked her what I was supposed to do because the debit got cancelled. She said I should just be able to punch in my account without a debit card. I was without words at how crazy it was she thought that could be done. She admitted after a couple of minutes it wouldn't work.

I could kick myself for getting rid of my second credit card (Long story, but I was ticked off with the company). With one card, I am limited in an emergency without access to savings. I am definitely going to start keeping more savings in my main credit union account. I am also seriously reconsidering Capital One altogether at this point.

2017 Goals

January 2nd, 2017 at 02:15 pm

As I said yesterday, with the move in June it is difficult to set some goals for the whole year. However, I want to be able to reflect back next year, so I am going to give it a shot.

Goals before the move:

Declutter: This is pretty easy since I already started. I don't own a lot and may even finish this goal in January.

Continue improving health: I will continue with the aquacise classes, and I am only shopping the outside aisles of the grocery store. The exception are household goods and coffee.

Save for the move: We are putting away $75 per week for the move. I am also contributing bonuses and snowflakes.

Goals from June forward:

Continue the health goal.

Come up with a long term savings plan: Once I know how mystery shopping works out up north (I will still do it, but I am afraid bonuses won't be as plentiful in a more populated area) I can make a plan more easily. I also want to sub, and I need to see how often I am called.

Volunteer: I think I mentioned I am joining my friend and her family in volunteering for Game on Cancer.

Spend a lot of time with family and friends: This won't be an issue being so much closer. It will be nice not to run around and see who I can fit in on a short trip!

Wardrobe: I read so many posts this morning and got this idea from someone else (I am sorry I can't remember who right now, but thank you for the idea!). I really need to start putting more effort into dressing nicer. Since I am losing weight and don't want to drag more than I have to on the move, I will put more effort into this post-move.


I think all of these are very doable. I guess time will tell for sure!

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2017 at 03:02 pm

Happy New Year! After a lot of soul searching this past year, I knew I needed to surround myself with positive people, live life with more purpose and spend more time with family and friends. I was prepared to follow my son (for the most part) to wherever he decided to go to college. I am so glad he chose MSU. I head home for good (a 100 miles give or take) on June 1st after 19 years. And yes, it is for good because I am getting too old for the major moving adventures. I know the year won't be perfect or without challenges and major changes, but overall it should be a great year!

Financially, my son and I are saving aggressively for the move. I will set long term goals later in the year when I am settled in Michigan.

I hope this year brings only the best for my fellow SA'ers.

Snowflakes Etc.

December 22nd, 2016 at 09:06 pm

Christmas Day it will go in the 70s here, but I still am seeing snowflakes! I have done very well this week.

I got a $5 Amazon through a new app I downloaded (Mobile Meter).

I just cashed out $22 on Pinecone. I took $15 in cash, got a $5 Starbucks card and also got a $2 Virtual Visa card.

The best part was the freebies/discounts for TMobile Tuesdays this week! I got a free sub, a free pair of hat and gloves (I was only supposed to get one or the other, but she gave me both), two pairs of socks through Zappos, and half off a Boxed.com order.

I cannot believe how expensive Zappos is. I had a $25 credit and free shipping. All I could afford were the two pair of socks! Boxed.com was also free shipping and $10 off at least $19.99. I spend $11.98 out of pocket for a case of Gatorade and a 30 pack of Sun Chips. I would have never paid the full asking price, but I thought that was a good deal. All items were already delivered too.

Like I said, as adults we don't exchange Christmas gifts, so I guess all that was Christmas to myself!

Christmas Plans Changed

December 20th, 2016 at 01:37 pm

Christmas plans have completely changed. My stepson called and said it is too far to drive from his in-laws in the Jacksonville area to see us in the Panhandle. He said the drive is too much with kids. He wanted us to come to him. I do not have the time off, and my son and his friend both have flights here the 26th and 27th. DH took time off and was going to take the car to go see him. I told him that was not happening. My car needs work and is okay for short drives temporarily, but it needs to two tires, a tune up, an alignment and possibly fuel injectors. I already planned to do this in January. Mind you DH didn't want to pay for any of the work because we are splitting up in a few months. I couldn't do it this week even if I wanted to. The money is in Capital One and by time I transfer it, the work wouldn't be done in time.

So, DH is renting a car and leaving Christmas Day and coming back by the 29th. I understand not wanting to drive several hours with kids, but I am a little ticked. This was not an issue when the original plans were made. DH and I don't mix finances, but the general idea of having to rent a car and get a hotel room irks me considering it was sprung on him last minute. In the end, I realize it is a moot point to let it bother me. It doesn't affect me personally. I just don't get others' line of thinking at times

My Christmas celebration will be on the 27th with my son and his best friend. His friend's flight arrives in the morning. We will do a Christmas dinner (I am off that day), and I will give them their gifts. I will have the house to myself Christmas Day. I suppose if I feel cooped up at any point, I can go see a movie.

Scholarship Award

December 16th, 2016 at 10:56 pm

My son got his award letter today! MSU has granted him 11 k per year in scholarship money and a one time study abroad scholarship (up to 5k). He already has 1500 from back in elementary school. Dr. Ben Carson sponsored that one. I remember he had to write an essay. He won that in 4th grade. He has also been applying for obscure scholarships he's found FastWeb lately. I am so incredibly proud of him. His hard work is paying off for him quite well!

Holiday Bonus

December 16th, 2016 at 01:50 pm

I printed my paycheck this morning (Yes, it is odd. Our check is emailed to us! The credit union processes it with no issue.). When I logged into the secure site to get my check, I realized I got a $50 holiday bonus. It was a pleasant surprise because not only did we not get anything last year (Of course I was only there a month at the time, so maybe I just didn't get anything.), but we are independent contractors.

I ended up spending another $28.50 on gifts. I donated $7 to the gift baskets for my main boss and the two bosses above her (suggested amount). I also ordered a gift for my grandma on Amazon. She is the one adult I buy for. I was told not to, but I wanted to, so I did! I had $10 credit, which kept the total down. She always sang the song, "I Love You a Bushel and a Peck" to us as kids. I bought her a photo frame with the saying and a small box of chocolates. I paid to have the frame wrapped as well. I am now officially done!

I sent the remainder of the bonus to the moving fund. I also got my regular monthly bonus, which covered my taxes out of this check.

Total Christmas Spending: $145.17

I got a raise too!

December 6th, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Ceejay's post reminded me about posting my own raise. I just received my evaluation and got a 4% raise. Although in most ways we are treated like employees, we are independent contractors as editors. This is because we are paid per edit and have flexible hours (We do work certain days.) My raise is per edit.

I did not get a raise on my hourly position with the company since I have only been doing it since July.

Christmas Spending Total

December 2nd, 2016 at 03:48 pm

Christmas spending is done. Here is the breakdown:

Mini fridge for son-$49 (My daughter contributed half as an early grad gift for her brother).

MSU hat for son-$15.90

MSU shirt for son-$15 ($5 Amazon credit).

$25 movie gift card-$0 (You.gov redemption) I will give this to my son's best friend. Since he is here when we are celebrating, I would feel bad not to have something for him.

Lighted hover ball for nephew-$7 (free shipping, 15% off, and $2 gift card used)

Spice set-$0 (mystery shop). I am sending this to daughter and her bf's mom who are cooking a big Christmas dinner.

Dress up set, Batman and copter, activity book for grandkids-$12.77 ($30 in Amazon credit, Prime shipping).

Stocking stuffers for DH grandkids who will be visiting (He bought their gifts. I wanted to contribute so made stockings)-$5 (15% off at Target. I had extra stockings so just needed the stuffers.)

Candy for all stockings-approximately $8 (I lost this receipt somehow. I did get the 15% off at Target and the candy was on sale.)

Dental floss for son and friend's stockings-$0 (I got these on grocery store mystery shop. It's a running joke between them.)

Total-$116.67

There will be food bought for our belated celebration. However, nothing will come out of my pocket. DH will cover anything not covered with grocery store mystery shops. Edited to add: $3 for wrapping paper. All spending was cash!

Target Savings Today and Tomorrow

November 27th, 2016 at 01:06 pm

Target is offering 15% off your total order online or in the store. I am going to get my household goods.There are a few exclusions including higher end electronics and gift cards, but I don't see it excluding sale items!

My son and I went out on Black Friday exclusively to get extra Shopkick points. I bought laundry detergent because it could not wait until today. Both Target and Walmart were dead at 7:00 AM! As a matter of fact, I got a front row parking spot at Walmart. In the end we splurged and went out to eat breakfast at IHop (It was dead there too!). I realize my time is short having kids at home, so I am willing to make a splurge once in awhile for quality time.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend! I know I ate enough that I need to go to my aquacise class every day this week!

Christmas Shopping

November 20th, 2016 at 02:11 pm

It was a beautiful 60 degree day here in NW Florida yesterday. Luckily, I was not overly busy with work (I LOVE not having set hours), so I took a few hours off and went Christmas shopping.

I have a very short list. This year I am only buying for my son, grandkids and nephew. We generally don't buy for past 18 in our family. I have done so a couple of times when I had an unexpected windfall, but this is not the case this year. Plus we have a ton of big expenses with moving in 2017!

I shopped on Amazon for the grandkids and have just under $42 in my cart. I got them cute little animal banks. The animals pop out of the box and grab the money. I also got the batteries and a memory game for them to play together. I should be able to accumulate most if not all of those costs in credit before I order and send. I ordered the traditional Christmas Crackers on Amazon yesterday since they are hard to find in my area. I covered those with Amazon credit.

My son wants a mini fridge. I priced them online but went to Lowe's, Kmart, Target, Walmart and Home Depot yesterday. Lowe's and Home Depot had the best deals. I found one on clearance at Lowe's for $99 that is 4.2 cubic feet. I will probably end up getting it, but I will make sure there are no great deals on Black Friday first. Home Depot's was only slightly smaller and also $99. Those are on sale through the 30th.

I already have an MSU shirt (Amazon credit) and a movie gift card (earned through YouGov) for my son as well. This is the last year he gets gifts, so I want to make it as nice as possible without going broke.

I should end up less than $150 out of pocket this year. Other than the fridge, I figure the other fifty (or less) will come from cash flowing my nephew's gift and a couple small items for my DH and son's stockings (As previously stated, DH and I are amicable and in the same house, so I want to have something small for him even though we are splitting up in the spring).

Oh, I also have a nice holiday spice pack from the Spice and Tea exchange I got on a mystery shop. I am sending that to my daughter since her and her bf's mom are cooking a large Christmas dinner.

How are the rest of you doing with your Christmas budget? I see CCF has done well so far!

Moving On

November 12th, 2016 at 06:12 pm

I had a post with my two sense on the election, but I opted to delete it. It was non-biased, and I don't think anyone would have found it offensive. However, I decided to stay out of the political discussion.

Speaking of moving on, my DH has finally made progress on moving forward with his life. He realizes I am not backing down from moving to MI or separating from him. Although he has not solidified his plans, he is planning on temporarily staying in a travel trailer on his brother's property in NH while he gets on his feet. In the meantime, while he is here he is going to save up and start getting rid of items he has acquired and never uses. I told him as long as he can behave, he can stay until the lease is up at the end of May. It is a huge relief to me we are doing everything amicably and also not to wonder if he will have a roof over his head.

I am saving all I can as well. What is so upsetting is the amount I can save versus all the expenses makes it difficult to stay ahead. I have put out a lot for senior year expenses, money to MSU to hold my son's spot, and I am saving for the move. I also need a tire (which means buying at least two) and possibly fuel injectors for the car. I was going to slow down on subbing, but it doesn't look like that will be an option.

I went through my expenses. I cut out Netflix. The only other things I can technically cut are cable and swimming. Swimming is my one "fun" item, but it is also my primary exercise. I am holding off on cutting it for now. It is $25 per month for unlimited aquacise classes. My DH knows we are splitting up, but is insistent on buying me an Xmas gift. Maybe I should take him up on it and have him pay a month or two.

As far as cable, I found out it will actually cost me more to keep just internet. It is so frustrating, because I really don't watch tv much.

I have no other entertainment budget. I literally only do things that are fully reimbursed by mystery shopping (eat out or movies).

I looked at my car insurance in September when I added my son's car. My total insurance bill is only $105 per month, and my son pays his $40 share. It won't get much cheaper than that! We will go to to the dentist next month and then I will drop that insurance until the move. It will likely be a different carrier in MI anyhow.

The other thing I looked at was the cell phone bill. I am grandfathered into an old TMobile plan. I pay $120 for five lines (unlimited everything) including taxes. My son, daughter, and best friend contribute to that bill as well.

I know we will get there. I just hope to get a little further ahead before actually having a major car expense. I was hoping to do the regular maintenance and do the bigger stuff in April or early May. My laptop is also on the fritz as well. I guess I will have to see how it all pans out!

Michigan State Bound!

November 2nd, 2016 at 05:25 pm

My son got accepted to Michigan State! It was his first choice, and we are beyond excited. I will be moving this summer. Although I don't hate this area of Florida, there is nothing keeping me here. I have no job ties (beyond subbing which I can easily do up there), friends or family in this area.

I left Michigan in 1998, but most of my family and a lot of friends are there. I look forward to strengthening those bonds. We will live within 25 miles of MSU, so I will be about a 100 miles from my family. Sure beats 1000+. Besides, I think the area I grew up in has gone downhill, so I prefer to live further north.

Now we just have to see what scholarships he gets. From what I read, it looks like at the least he will qualify for $8000 per year. We realize freshman year will cost more with out-of-state tuition, but he will be in-state by sophomore year. I told him to take 12 credits to save some money. He has AP classes, so if he passes all those tests he is ahead on credits anyhow.


I still think his dad may be eligible for getting him some money from the GI bill, but he says no. However, I would bet money he never looked into it. If he qualifies, he would also be automatically considered in-state so I need to push this hard.

On a side note, I am participating in NaNoWriMo, but I didn't get too far yesterday. I did just over 400 words. I love my idea, but I am having trouble putting it into words.

Moving Fund

October 23rd, 2016 at 05:24 pm

I started a moving fund last week. I am transferring $15 a week. This is far from enough, but my son is also contributing $500 between now and when we move. I am also going to contribute my quarterly perfection bonus for editing (assuming I qualify). We are paid a quarter of how many edits we complete in the three month time period. So, if I edited 300 reports in three months, the bonus would be $75.00. I qualified this round. I will have two more attempts before the move. I am also going to contribute my Pinecone earnings.

If I am short come time for the move, I will take it from short term savings. I have over 7 months, but I am researching my cheapest and easiest options. I do not want to drive a moving truck myself. I am leaning toward storage containers. I may also talk to my son's father about driving the truck. He will be in town for graduation. He and my son could spend time together on the drive to MI, and I would pay for his plane ticket home. Therefore, he has a vested interest. Smile

Snowflakes

October 21st, 2016 at 07:45 pm

I cashed out on several micro earning sites today.

-$25 Paypal from Media Insiders

-$10 Target from Cross Media Panel

-$25 Regal from YouGov

-$10 Paypal from Receipt Hog

-$5 Amazon from Panel App

The Paypal redemptions will go in the budget. The others are all going for Christmas gifts.

Thank you for your support

October 9th, 2016 at 02:29 pm

Thank you all for your support regarding my impending divorce. The most difficult decision is to figure out how long to let him stay here. I am not sure he has anywhere to go. I hope one of his family members will take him in, but I am not so sure. He has alienated most of them this past year. I have decided to start the divorce process either way. I am going to work on the paperwork and file it later this month with some of my extra money from subbing. It's over $400 for a simplified divorce (no lawyers or assets to split).

I need to ensure we are divorced before he can collect on my social security. I also want my life insurance beneficiaries to be my kids. I have him as the beneficiary and was told since he is my spouse, he would have to sign off for me to leave it to anyone else.

Other than not knowing when to ask him to leave, I am okay. I came to terms with this months ago. Of course, I don't know if I will have a more difficult time when he is actually gone. I have known him almost 17 years. I truly hope he will be amicable. I really do wish him the best. I hope he gets help and can find peace and happiness down the road.

Not so happy update

October 8th, 2016 at 01:45 pm

I've mentioned before my marriage hasn't been going so well. It is over. Since DH has nothing (He does not have the means to get his own place), I am doing my best to not end the marriage until I move next June. After the past two weeks, I am not sure I can do it. His depression (major mood swings) is worse than ever, and he won't get help. He also is not contributing anything to the bills other than gas in the car. There are more details, but I will refrain from sharing on the internet. I really want to end it all amicably and want him to have a place to go, but there is a limit of what I can or should deal with. I do feel it is important to add he is not a violent person.

My cousin is also in a bad marriage, and we have done a lot of talking. We are seriously consider living together when I move back. We are only two months apart in age and have always had a good relationship, so this could be good for both of us. It would save us both money as well. So much to think about...

Car Troubles

September 18th, 2016 at 09:23 am

I said it when I posted my list, but I will say it again. I loved reading the lists. I already felt connected to this group more so than any other online group I have ever participated in. I feel like I know you all a bit more now.

My son and I went straight from school to do two of my mystery shops since they were in the vicinity. One of the shops we had to pick up Mexican takeout. I needed photos of the food. I had him pull over on the nearby side street to take the photos before the food was jostled around. The car overheated. Yes, the car he bought last weekend! I am thankful we were parked on a side street and not in the middle of the busy road.

I told him let's not overreact. We had it towed to a place nearby and DH came and gave us a ride home. It turns out it is the radiator. While I am not thrilled to have to shell out money on it so quickly, it IS the original radiator on a 20 year old car. It is worth fixing.

My dad knows my son worked hard to save for the car and depleted his account with the purchase, registration, etc. He also knows I am paying for senior pics for my son this week. So, he offered to let my son borrow the money ($500). With the discount from Geico and the oil change it should be $425, but he rounded up. My son can get his license next Monday (Florida requires a permit for a year!), so he will be all set to drive on his own by time we pick the car up. I have to wait on the check, and the radiator has to be ordered.

My darn tire light came on Friday night. We put air in the tires and so far so good. But then yesterday, I started my car and it sounded rough. I swear, when it rains it pours. I am hoping it is nothing serious. It ran fine later in the day. Bad gas maybe? I plan to have my car looked at thoroughly when this subbing gig is up in less than three weeks.

It is just after 4:00 AM here. I think I will give going back to sleep for a couple hours a shot. I have editing to do later and two grocery store mystery shops. I will rest while I can! Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.

Nhgirl's list

September 17th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

I just typed this and lost it. Thank goodness I copied it!

Reading the lists uplifted my mood a bit yesterday. It was a rough day, but that is for another post. Here is my list. I am a afraid I am pretty boring overall!

1.) I have three kids. I have two boys and a girl (25, 23, and 17).

2.) I have two grandchildren, a boy (4) and a girl (3 in January) via my oldest son.

3.) I currently live in Florida. I grew up in Michigan and also lived in New Hampshire for many years.

4.) I plan on leaving Florida for good after my son graduates in May. I tried Florida twice, and it is not my cup of tea. I am probably moving back to Michigan.

5.) I have been to 46 states (I still need to get to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alaska and Hawaii).

6.) I currently have three jobs, and I like it that way. I am most comfortable with several streams of income.

7.) I am a moderate Conservative.

8.) I almost never listen to music. I don't hate it, but it is not a part of my life. I could go the rest of my life never hearing another song, and it would not bother me.

9.) I have had a strong urge to volunteer lately. I have decided to wait until the move. At that point I have a specific charity to work with in Michigan in mind.

10.) I never grew up with animals in my home. Much like music, they just are not a part of my life.

11.) I would love to travel more. I have not been outside the US and Canada.

12.) I have an irrational fear of being a bag lady. Hence, my need to work so much. I am sure it is also partially because I have always been the major breadwinner.

13.) I have lost 14 pounds since late July. I cut out processed foods and most sugar. I have also participated in aquacise classes.

14.) I've been married twice. I am currently married, but we are discussing a separation.

15.) I really want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I have had a novel in mind for years, and hope I can follow through.

16.) I have an interest in owning a tiny house. I am not a minimalist, but I don't own a lot of things. I like the idea of no mortgage!

17.) I almost never purchase anything (outside of paying my regular bills) that is not reimbursed. I hate spending money. I can thank mystery shopping for this.

18.) I think about my future constantly. As I get closer to 50, I don't want any more (major) regrets.

19.) I am fortunate at my age to have both parents and a living grandparent (who is in great shape for turning 89 next month).

20.) I have never met any SA bloggers, but I would love to do so!

Freebie from Barclay

September 10th, 2016 at 01:03 pm

I just went through my mail and assumed I had another piece of junk mail. I make it a habit to open everything to be on the safe side. I have a Barclay MasterCard. I was sent a $5 Starbucks card as a thank you for being a member.

I wanted to post this in case anyone here has a card with them. Be on the lookout. It is a smaller than usual envelope (invitation size).

My son bought his first car!

September 5th, 2016 at 08:33 pm

My son put a deposit on his first car yesterday. He got such a deal! It is a 1997 Chrysler Concorde and is in pristine condition. It has leather seats, and other than minor wear on the driver's seat, it looks brand new inside. For that matter, it looks new outside as well! It has only had two owners. The original owners were older and kept it garaged. The lady we are buying it from bought it for her mother. She put an additional 800 miles on it and could not drive any longer. We took it on a test drive and everything worked beautifully.

We got this car for $985 which was the Kelly Blue Book price for the 1995 model. The lady thought it was a 95, and so we saved at least $300 because of her error. I felt slightly bad about it, but she said it was no problem.

The car even has ALL of the maintenance records. It is also fully loaded. My son is so excited to go pick it up next weekend! He worked so hard to save for a car. I am tickled he ended up with such a deal on his first car (and it was the first car we looked at).

Since he has his permit for a couple more weeks, I had to wait until DH was available to drive with me to go get it; hence the wait.

Subbing Update

August 30th, 2016 at 03:19 pm

I went in this morning to meet the teacher I will be covering during her maternity leave. Believe it or not, the school district does not offer paid maternity leaves! Thus, she is taking a month off. I will start Friday and work through October 6th. I can handle this short period.

I will only have to take September off from aquacize. However, I am going to sign up for lap swimming on the weekends for the month. I will use my swim lane to do my exercises rather than do actual lap swimming. I can swim, but I am not a strong swimmer.

Yesterday, I also got a lead on another editing job. I am not sure if it will come to fruition, but after a conversation with a mystery shopping company, I was asked for my resume. I would not leave my current editing job. This would be additional part-time work.

I am looking forward to the additional savings the next couple of months!

Life just got thrown back into chaos

August 26th, 2016 at 07:31 pm

Just when I settled in a nice routine, I got a call that changed everything. My son's high school called. This is where I did the long term subbing last year. They offered me another long term position for a maternity leave. Logistically, it makes life difficult. However, I am not going to turn down the money!

My son has to have his permit for a year so won't get his license until the end of September. He has first and last period off. Now he will have to sit around with me during those classes for a few weeks (good time to do homework)!

I will also have to give up aquacize for September and October. The classes are at 7 and 10 am, so it will be impossible.

I don't start until next Friday, so I can finish aquacize for the month and say my temporary goodbye. It will be very tough doing three jobs for two months, but I have done it before! I do understand how fortunate I am. Jobs tend to fall in my lap. I am definitely grateful.

Health and School News

August 23rd, 2016 at 12:18 pm

I have been going to aquacize for three weeks now. Today will be my 12th visit. I guess I can say I am getting my $25 per month's worth! I feel so much better. I have also stuck to eating 12000-1500 calories a day. I have stuck closer to the 1200 the majority of the time. So far, I have lost 9 lbs.

In other news, I got three lucrative bank mystery shops. This is with one of the few companies that pays mileage as well. The three banks will pay $363 dollars total. If only I could pick up that kind of pay for shops all the time!

I can definitely use that money with senior year stuff for my son. He just signed up for the October SAT test (I hope he kills it like he did the ACT!) and he is applying to Michigan State next week which is another $65.00. I also need to look into senior pictures in the next month.

Time to begin the day, my son has to keep his permit one more month, so I have to take him to and from school in the meantime. He has the first and last period of the day off so the bus is not an option.


Justifying an Additional $25 a Month

August 7th, 2016 at 02:19 pm

I got on the scale at Publix (if you are unfamiliar, they have a very large scale right near their entrances) and it was not pretty. I knew I had gained since I started the long term subbing in February. Not only was there stress eating going on, but due to my husband and son's schedules I was often on my own for dinner. I opted for convenience. Unfortunately, I had put on more weight than I thought. Over the past several weeks, I have made changes. Eighty percent of my diet is fruits and vegetables. I am making sure I have no more than 6g of added sugar per day (I can't give up yogurt or my one cup of coffee with cream). I also am shopping for myself only in the outside aisles of the grocery store. The only thing I can think of I will find on the inside aisles for myself are coffee and granola (although I am going to look into making my own granola).

I also joined Aquacize classes at the community center. I love it! It is $25 per month for as many classes as you want to attend per month (10 offered per week). I thought long and hard about adding $25 in the budget. In the end health won out. I figure I am saving money in the long run with better health. I went four times last week. I figure I can average at least three days a week. I am exercising for 15 minutes on the days I do not go to class.

I already feel better. I sleep better and my brain fog has lifted. The changes I have made are those that I can stick with long-term (hence not giving up cream in my coffee). I am not counting every calorie, but when I estimate each day I am sticking with about 1300. I probably really need to add another 100 or 200 later on as I am estimating on the high side. I know it is unsafe if I fall below 1200 and that number is low long-term.

If you want to watch a good documentary about the effects of sugar, That Sugar Film on Amazon (free for Prime) is a good one.

Trip Total and More

July 26th, 2016 at 07:31 pm

Thanks to a couple of mystery shops, a small cash gift, and my Enterprise discount through my daughter, my trip total for 10 days was $325.92. I am pleased.

The visit went well and my son absolutely loved Michigan State. We will still take a day trip to Florida State, but he more or less made up his mind. He is in CT visiting his dad, but he is not taking him to UConn so it is out. I am upset he won't make the time to take him, but my son said he really doesn't want to live with dad full-time. He also does not want to live on campus.

As far as MSU, I would likely move back to MI next year. I am looking around a bit, but I will cross that bridge in the fall when it is a definite decision on his part. I am looking at towns within 25 miles so it is not a far commute.

I emptied out my short term savings today. I had the struts replaced on the car. The total was $672.36. I had $636 even saved up. I cash flowed the rest out of checking. I do need an alignment. The gentleman who fixed it referred me elsewhere and said the alignment would be $55.00. I will get that done next week.

While I was gone, my veggies grew! I have cucumbers and peppers ready to harvest. The tomatoes are getting close as well. I am excited. I have only tried gardening once before, and it did not go well.

Prime Day/Getting ready for trip

July 12th, 2016 at 08:38 pm

I made it a point to not look through the deals. I told myself I would get one of two things if there was a deal. I looked at Prime Pantry and a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Prime Pantry was free shipping for over $60, but I am pretty stocked up these days, so I found it difficult to spend enough. In the end I treated myself to a 6 month subscription to Kindle Unlimited since it was on sale. I had all but $6 of it in Amazon credit.

I also called my parents because I knew the bargain Kindle Fire was going for $33.33 today. I remembered when I was there in October, one of theirs was having issues. They are all set but wanted one for my nephew, so I ordered it. I will get reimbursed when I get to Michigan on Friday.

I need to get moving and do my laundry and pack. I want to get it done since I am off today. For once I am hoping work is slow tomorrow, so I won't feel so rushed. I have to get the rental car and pack it up since we are leaving bright and early Thursday morning. I am so excited to go see my family and friends.

Swagbucks and Amazon

July 6th, 2016 at 12:22 pm

I am sure by now most, if not all of you, are aware that Amazon Prime day is the 12th. Swagbucks has a two day sale on their Amazon gift cards. Unfortunately, the $3 and $5 cards are not on sale, but the rest are. For example, the $25 card is usually 2500 Swagbucks. It is on sale for 2200 Swagbucks.

I have been cashing out all on all of the sites and apps I use so I have the credit in time. I don't have a particular idea in mind, but if nothing else I am sure they will have free shipping that day for Prime Pantry and I will get a bunch of free household and food items.

On a side note, I have to share my excitement for next Tuesday. Not only is it Prime Day, it's Tmobile Tuesday, and time to get the freebies from PinchMe (noon ET on the 12th). My family thinks I am crazy, but I LOVE free stuff!

South Florida trip Total and College News

June 25th, 2016 at 02:16 pm

I did pretty well with the trip to south Florida. I spent $428 overall. This included a car rental for a week and two plane tickets. The only thing I am not including in the cost is the three restaurants. I will be reimbursed for those as they were mystery shops. I also mystery shopped two grocery stores. I picked up snacks and juice boxes for my grandkids with those. I head to Michigan in three weeks and hope that trip is around $600 so my total stays around $1000 for both trips. This should be totally doable as I will stay with family. The major costs will be the car rental (heavily discounted through my daughter) and gas.

In other news, I am so proud of my son. He scored a 32 (the national average is around 21) on his first try on the ACT. This was with no prep and he ran out of time on the math section. He is going to take it again and shoot for a perfect score (he was perfect in reading and close to it in science and English). With his GPA and these scores I know he will get some excellent scholarships. We are daring to hope he may even get a full ride somewhere!


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