<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Home > Category: Uncategorized

Viewing the 'Uncategorized' Category

The Calm Before the Storm

September 11th, 2018 at 04:09 am

Over the last couple of days I could comment but not log in. I know someone else mentioned having this issue recently. Anyhow, it is working now.

This past two weeks has been a roller coaster. Grandma did not adjust to the assisted living and is in a hospital awaiting a permanent placement. The dementia is getting a lot worse. I hope they find a placement asap. It is so sad and frustrating.

My mom's health is declining as well, but I will hold those details for a future post.

My youngest son called last Wednesday. He was supposed to be home on leave this weekend. They changed it last minute, and now he is in Georgia training for three weeks first. He had to pack up and get there in two days, but he made it fine. I think he is far enough south to not have too many issues from the hurricane (coastal GA).

My daughter is in the direct path of the hurricane. They are under mandatory evacuation this morning. She is in NC near the SC border, just a little north of Myrtle Beach. Thankfully, they are renting a furnished place. I have no doubt their place will be gone if it stays on the current path (and intensity). They removed their personal belongings last night. She is just under 6 months pregnant. She called her doctor who said she was okay to fly if the flight was under 4 hours. She booked a one way tomorrow (Pray the flight gets out!) for only $160. I worry about her DH who is a lineman and will work up to 18 hours days, not to mention have to go through the storm. I am thankful her mother-in-law who lives inland is storing their stuff, her car and watching their dog.

So yes, I am incredibly stressed. However, I am also excited to see my daughter this week (Her birthday is Thursday too!) and my son in a few weeks. I wish they could have been here at the same time, but I will take what I can get. My grandkids (via my oldest who lives by me) are going to get two major surprises because they have no clue of either visit. I cannot wait to see their faces!

Thinking of CCF and everyone else who has to weather the storm. Stay safe and let us know you are okay when you can.

Changes are Coming

August 15th, 2018 at 05:59 am

My time caring for my grandma is coming to an end. Unfortunately, she has had a large decline in the last week. She no longer recognizes her home and is getting feisty because we won't take her home. My aunt found a beautiful assisted living facility. She will be going there September 1st.

I will readjust my September budget. School will be starting, so I am sure by mid September subbing will be in full gear. I am also being given a two week severance.

I will pay the IRS off and put an extra month's rent in savings beyond what I already have saved. This will leave the personal loan and student loans. I have to talk to them as I was due to readjust my income based payments.

I am going to start booking more mystery shopping for September too. However, I do plan on taking it easy and working a light schedule the first week. I need to recoup.

Be careful what you research

July 23rd, 2018 at 06:09 am

About six weeks ago, I started researching my mother's family. I knew my paternal grandfather divorced my grandmother and allowed her second husband (who I always considered my grandfather) to adopt the kids. As I have taken care of grandma, one of my aunts and I have become very close. She filled in a couple of missing names for me. I ran with it and found out more than I bargained for. Apparently, I have a knack for this. For less confusion, biological grandfather is H. from this point, and the man I knew as my grandfather is E.

-My mom and her siblings have a half brother and sister via H. There was a rumor he might have more kids, but no one knew for sure or where to look. It took four weeks but after I finally found out their mother's maiden name, I found them. There is no doubt. I have seen their photos and have solid proof H. is their father. They live in the south.

-H. who was a jerk, was also a narcissist. He named his second son a Jr. My uncle (from first marriage, my mom's full brother) was also a jr. (although they renamed him during the adoption). Who names two kids the same name?

-H. died in the 70s of cancer. His second wife never divorced him. I wonder what she knew. I assume nothing. She seemed pretty religious.

-I am pretty sure my grandma and H. were never legally married. I can find no records, but I found his record of signing up for the service. He is listed as single, yet this was just a few months before my uncle was born. The marriages of the year they were supposedly married are public in our state, but there is nothing.

-Onto my grandfather, E. He had two kids too. There was a rumor of this but we were all told he was sterile and figured their mother lied about it. However, I found them too and I have seen photos. I would bet money they are E.'s biological kids.

-E.'s two biological kids were born during his marriage to my grandmother. They live locally.

-Yesterday, I was quite upset to find E. married the biological kids mom FOUR weeks before he married my grandma (This is via the actual county record). So, my grandfather who I idolized was a bigamist. He married them in two different states which I guess is why it was never found out.

So here I am full of info and not sure what to share and not share with my family. My aunt feels it is a dishonor to my grandma to say anything while she is living even though she has dementia. She wants to share after she passes. I feel my mom and other siblings have a right to know there is another brother and sister via H.. However, I don't know if I want everyone to know E. was a bigamist. Was the adoption even legal for that matter if he married the other wife a month before my grandma? The adoption was two years later. And who the hell adopts four kids, treats them like gold and has two biological kids he doesn't bother with for the most part? On a side note, my aunt said there was rumor he used to eat breakfast once a month with the biological daughter.

My aunt has the marriage certificate of grandma and E. and it looks fake. It probably was. I am so sad. My poor grandma was duped twice.

What would you want to know if this was your history? I am struggling with this info and what to keep between me and my aunt and what to share. I will probably delete this post in a couple of days to be on the safe side, but I felt I needed unbiased opinions.

Paid off Personal Loan 1 and Other Updates

July 12th, 2018 at 05:25 am

I cashed out for a $25 (cost was 2200 SB, equivalent to $22) Southwest gift card on Swagbucks yesterday. Once I receive it, I will purchase my plane ticket for Vegas. I reserved my room. They only held $76 up front, but I have the rest set aside. The room came to just under $95 per night after taxes and resort fees. I am told this is good for Vegas.

I paid off personal loan 1 this week. I mailed the check on Monday. I also paid another $67.50 to personal loan 2 (I pay twice a month). I have a payment set up for the IRS at the end of the month. I don't recall if it was $50 or $60. Either way, I believe I can knock it out by September.

On the health front, I was fasting 12 hours per day. I have upped that to 14, as research shows this is the best way to go.

I am finishing up laundry and packing up. I leave my grandma's around 12:30 today (until Sunday afternoon). My son, grandson and I are heading to the county fair on our way home (They were at my parents). My daughter-in-law and granddaughter are on their way to Texas for her sister's wedding.

Tomorrow I set myself up to try doing work for Instacart. I am not really looking forward to it, but I want to give it a try. I also set up 5 mystery shops near home this weekend. I want these debts paid off!

Debt Repayment

July 2nd, 2018 at 06:38 pm

I have student loans on deferment until September, which I will track at a later date. I had a few other debts that were fairly small and I don't even think I mentioned them much, if at all. I won't get into the specifics. The point is they need to be paid. I started paying on them May 1st. I have updated my sidebar and will continue to do so.

Assuming there are no major issues, the plan is as follows on those debts:

Personal Loan 1 will be paid off by August 1st.

The IRS debt will be paid off by October 1st.

Personal loan 2 will be paid off by December 15th.

Kids' Christmas and Birthday Shopping Done!

June 6th, 2018 at 06:00 am

I went to one Toys R Us last week and another this week. I was told they would be closed by the end of June. I managed to buy for four kids Xmas and Birthdays. I spent $158 total, but I had it in my sinking funds. I figured better to spend it now than to pay full price (or close to it) later on.

I also bought an extra gift for my grandson for finishing Kindergarten this week. I did additional shopping on behalf of a friend as well for her grandson. That is not included in the total. She will reimburse me.

In case you're curious, the markdowns average 50% off (40-60%). There was even new stuff. For example, I got my grandson Incredibles 2 toys.

They are the last of the Toys R Us Kids Frown

Vegas Trip

May 29th, 2018 at 05:23 am

I have been debating the last couple of days if I should justify a trip to Vegas in November. I am not a gambler. The trip is for a mystery shopper conference. I decided to do it. It's business, so it is a tax write-off.

I figure I should be able to go for a total of $800 or less depending on airfare.

Conference fee: $125

Hotel (rate for attendees) for three nights: $201

Spending: $150 or less (I may justify one show if the price is right.)

Airfare: $250 ish (I hope!)

Misc: $50 (Uber/Taxi to and from airport)

Everyone I know in the business has doubled to tripled their work after attending a conference. I have wanted to go to one for a few years now.

On the off chance any of you who mystery shop are interested, I would be open to sharing a room. I am not booking anything for about a month. I want to see if there is any talk of any special pricing for the conference. It's early, so I know nothing will sell out. I want to pad my sinking fund a little more first anyhow.

New Laptop, Saving for a Trip, Fitbit Group

May 20th, 2018 at 04:04 am

I am still plugging along going back and forth between my place and grandmas. It isn't too bad. If there is no traffic, I can make it home in an hour and 15 minutes.

I am putting in extra days, so my next check will be nice. I also officially signed a 6 month lease at my current apartment. I got a credit for staying a year, and my rent for June is only going to be $225.00. I bought a laptop with what I saved on rent. I was in desperate need of a new laptop. My old one is 5 years old and makes weird noises, has no battery and is super slow. I was willing to spend up to $530 including taxes on a new one. After a lot of research and returning one that would not get out of a restart loop, I got one that now works well for $380 including taxes. It is sooo much faster. It should really help with productivity. I took the remaining $150 I had budgeted and put it in savings.

By the end of August, my only remaining debt will be student loans. I have cash flowed all scheduled car maintenance and the laptop. There should be no further major expenses for quite some time. After August, I am going to start saving to go to Europe. My son is getting stationed in Germany. I plan on visiting while he is there. I hope to go in 2020, as my BFF and her family are going then to visit her stepson who will be an hour away from mine. However, at this point my son does not know how long he will be stationed there.

My son sent me a Fitbit for Mother's Day. Weren't there a few of you on a FB group for this? I would love to join if someone would share the info. Thanks in advance.

I need to get moving. I am going to try and relieve my aunt around noon, and I have some cleaning to do here first. Enjoy your Sunday!

Groupon Spending

April 27th, 2018 at 02:36 am

I got a couple of great deals this week. I don't normally bother with Groupon, but I had 30% off for TMobile Tuesday. I bought a deal for a local chiropractor (with excellent reviews) for $35 after the deal. I also went through Swagbucks for an additional 10% savings. This deal includes full xrays and three adjustments.

A local vision place also had a deal for $69 for an exam and a $200 credit toward glasses. I found a code for 20% off that and again got another 10% off through Swagbucks.

I know these are great deals. It's also justified spending. I have the money, and it is for my overall health. However, I always feel guilty spending money on myself.

On another note, so far so good caring for grandma. It is a little tough being gone from home so much though. I feel like I am constantly on the go, especially since I am subbing when I am home. This is the case today. I also have the grandkids for a few hours this evening. I am heading back down to the Detroit area tomorrow instead of Sunday to go to a comedy night tomorrow night (Cancer fundraiser) with friends. Even though it will be busy, it should be a fun weekend. I hope you all have a great weekend as well.

Chaotic Day

April 13th, 2018 at 05:19 am

I picked up my car Wednesday and spent the afternoon hanging out with friends. I drove home yesterday morning, and it was a beautiful day. Around 3 PM, all hell broke loose. One of my aunts called and said my grandma went ballistic when the nurse showed up. She was tired of everyone coming to her house and living this way. She threw my two aunts who were there things out the door and told them to get out and locked the door (Not sure at what point the nurse left, I think she was outside with them). Apparently she wanted to know when I would be there and is calm about that. My aunt asked if I would stay five days a week.

Short version is I am going to try this. I really want my grandma to die peacefully at home. She is with it enough that I know she would be devastated and more miserable in a nursing home. It was decided to take her off all medications (She does not want to take them) other than the one that calms her down which we can put in her food.

Hopefully, with less changes she will be a little more calm. I don't know the outcome of last night yet.

While I was on the phone, calls kept coming in and I said to my aunt that was strange and I should see what was going on. I excused myself and hung up. Come to find out my son's apartment building was on fire!

Turns out it affected two apartments at the opposite end of his building (don't know the cause). They came to my house and had pizza while waiting for the okay to go back. Everything turned out fine.

No matter how things are at grandma's at the moment, I am not going back until Sunday. I have commitments today and tomorrow. I have shops and my tire replacement is scheduled.

Well, it is time to get to some work done here. Hopefully today will be a little less crazy.

Car and Apartment Update

April 10th, 2018 at 07:08 am

My car had a serious issue with suspension. A friend of a friend who is a reliable mechanic looked at it and gave me a great deal. He is replacing both of my control arms and my air filter for $510. I need to replace the worn down front tire (the bad arm caused the wear) and get an alignment once that is completed, so I plan to spend about $700 when all is said and done. It's never fun to spend money on repairs, but I am relieved it's taken care of, and I had enough money saved.

Although I gave my notice on my apartment (was due today) before I drove to grandma's this past Saturday, I have decided to do a 6 month lease. There is just so much going on, and I cannot fathom having to pack everything up and store it in less than two months. Six months gives me breathing room. I will likely still share something with my cousin long-term, but I was just not happy with thinking about couch surfing all summer. I will rescind my notice (which I was told I could do through May 24th) on Thursday. I will continue thinning out and selling/donating what I can over the summer. My youngest will be home for two weeks in late August to get the rest of his stuff.

On the positive side, my family is giving me a $50 gas card every month to assist with the back and forth travel. Also, now that I will be comfortable with the car, I can do more mystery shopping (I was staying as close to home as possible). I won't save as much as I would have with no rent/utilities, but I should still be able to save a significant amount of money with being gone half time (less on electricity and groceries/household goods) and the income from taking care of grandma.


April 2nd, 2018 at 04:42 am

I had breakfast with my cousin on Saturday before driving home. She is going to look at apartments/condos this week while she is off work. I am leaning on toward sharing something with her, but I want to see what we can find in our price range. We both agree we need three bedrooms, at least 1 and a half baths, and we prefer a private entrance and washer/dryer hookup. We hope to do this for $1300 or less.

I figured out approximately what I would save by living with her, and it would be significant. I would be ready to replace my car in a year if needed rather than two if I stayed on my own. I could also put more away in my ROTH. I based this without staying with grandma. If that continues for a significant period of time, I will do even better.

On another note, I stayed three days with grandma last week and it went well. She is VERY repetitive, but lucid for the most part. I am home for the week for pre-scheduled dental work and to feed my son's cats while they are on vacation. I head back down to grandma's on Saturday through Wednesday morning.

I hope you all had a nice Easter. Mine was quiet because I came home rather than staying the Detroit area to celebrate with family or friends. I needed the day to think and plan ahead.

Should I renew my lease?

March 24th, 2018 at 05:21 am

I am on the fence about renewing my lease. I would love feedback. Starting this week, I am going to be caring for my grandmother half the week. She lives 80 miles from me. My family said I was more than welcome to stay there on my days off as well. For now, I am going to stay there on my days off one week, and go home the next week on my days off.

Anyhow, my lease is up May 31st. Grandma's heart is failing. The doctor said he has no crystal ball but estimated around 6 months.

I have to decide on my apartment by April 15th. My options were a year lease or month-to-month, but since my youngest is in the military I can sign a 6 month lease. Month-to-Month is $906 per month and the 6 month lease is $755 per month. I would also only pay $200 for June as a promotion. If I stay, obviously the 6 month is the way to go.

Please also keep in mind I am not in a position to replace my car if something happens to it.

Pros for keeping the lease:

-I live within walking distance of the mall, library, post office and park. I am on the border of two counties so my access to bussing is excellent as well. If I have car trouble, I can get around.

-My oldest son lives in the same complex, which means my grandkids are totally accessible anytime I want to see them.


-I would be paying for an apartment and utilities I would only use about a third of the month.

-Other than my son, everyone else is closer to where my grandma lives (20 miles or less).

Pros for staying at grandmas full time:

-No rent, utilities or groceries. My family insists on the groceries. What I do buy would be covered with mystery shopping.

-Friends and family are nearby.

-I can store my stuff in her basement or garage.


-I am not sure I want to live in that area after she is gone. I am not fully against it either.

-I would have access to rides, but if my car came to the point it could not be fixed, I would be dependent on others. The bussing system there is not what it is here.

-It would probably cost me more to rent there if I got an apartment there after grandma passes. My cousin and I have discussed moving in together, but I don't feel I should count on it.

-My son and daughter-in-law have no one in the area up where I am now but me to help out.

-This could last one month, 6 months, 2 years, no one really knows. The house would be put up for sale as soon as she passes.

I am very tired of moving around. However, I give up the lease, I know I could save a ton of money if I base this on the expectation I would likely have this situation for around 6 months. I cannot make up my mind at this point. I welcome any and all feedback.

*Note on the car. I am having it looked at when I am down there in April. It has a noise, but I expect it is a control arm ($400 and that is saved up). I trust the person who is going to look at it which I why I am going to take it in on his schedule. I had it thoroughly checked out and put money into it before I left Florida last year. It really should not have any other major upcoming issues.

I can also sub, mystery shop and edit in both areas so I am not location dependent as far as my other work goes.

Life in Limbo

March 13th, 2018 at 05:15 am

I have been around reading, but I have not posted in a little while. My life is in limbo again. I mentioned previously my grandma was not doing well, and my family mentioned me caring for her. That never came to fruition. However, she had a heart attack last week, so I was asked again.

Trust me, I want to care for my grandmother. However, my family can be very wishy washy. I spent two days making general plans and cancelling subbing dates in April. I wanted a few weeks to meet subbing, mystery shopping and dental obligations, so I said I could start after April 6th. My grandma is in rehab for minimum of two weeks anyhow. Now they are talking three days a week. It is 75 miles each way for me, and my car is a 2010. I would prefer the whole week every other week if I am not doing it full time. My uncle said he would get back to me next week. The pay would be more than fair, but I don't dare budget a dime of it until it actually happens. I am also NOT giving up my apartment at this point.

I spent last week staying with my mom while my dad went to Florida. That was frustrating because my mother does not do anything to care for herself anymore. She has the capability for the most part. She constantly falls in the house. However, she will not do any form of exercise and refuses physical therapy. I was so mentally and physically (I deep cleaned the house) exhausted when I got home Sunday. I slept through the night the last two nights which is very rare for me.

Financially, it was good. I had use of my dad's car. I subbed half days and did $250 dollars worth of mystery shops in those 9 days. My dad covered all groceries and gas. He also handed me a $100.

On a positive note, my daughter is coming in from NC for the weekend to visit my grandma in rehab. I will ride down to the Detroit area with my oldest son who is my neighbor. I can't wait to see my daughter and meet her husband (After a short courtship, they got married in September).

My youngest son did very well in basic training and is now in tech school in Mississippi. He is flourishing in the Air Force and really enjoying it. He also broke up with his controlling girlfriend which was a huge relief for everyone!

I will post another update with a new budget once the plans are concrete.

Glade Plug-ins for Car Moneymaker at Walmart via Swagbucks

February 2nd, 2018 at 03:45 am

I know many of you are members of Swagbucks. There is a current deal for 1000 (equivalent to $10) Swagbucks if you purchase the Glade Plug-ins Car Starter Kit and 2 refills at Walmart. I looked up the pricing. The kit is $4.98 and the refills are $2.98 each. There is also a coupon available on Swagbucks for $1.50 off the kit. This makes it a moneymaker! Don't forget you also get 10 SB for redeeming the coupon.

If you are not a member of Swagbucks and would like to join, my referral is: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/michgirl1970

You can find the deal at: http://www.swagbucks.com/shop/in-store/23594

For maximum value, do a walk-in at Walmart for kicks via the Shopkick app (I think it is currently 15 kicks) and scan the receipt for points via Receipt Hog.

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!

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.

<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>