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Keeping track of my personal finance goals.Nhgirl1970's Personal Finance Blog
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Health Update

October 2nd, 2019 at 12:55 pm

As many of you saw before we lost several months of the blogs (I hope that info returns), I found out I have ovarian cancer. I had a follow up appointment yesterday. It is stage 4, which initially devastated me. However, the doctor said because I had accumulated fluid around my lungs that had cancer cells, that put it above the midline. This automatically stages it at a four. The fluid was drained in the hospital. She said otherwise, based on what she saw, she would have staged it at a 2. She truly thinks she got it all. The reason for the chemo is to get small cells that may not be visible to the eye. I lost 23 pounds in four weeks. I needed it, so as long as it doesn't go down much more, I am happy as far as weight goes.

I get a chest port today. I get a stomach port on Friday. I start chemo next Wednesday. I have mentally prepared myself the best I can. I am going back to editing tomorrow which will help occupy my time.

I urge you if you ever get full after a few bites on a regular/semi-regular basis, start urinating too often and/or have bloating or breathing hard, insist on getting a CA 125 test. Regular blood tests and pap smears do not catch ovarian cancer. It spreads so quickly. My doctor agrees with me that my mass probably grew large within a 6 week period. My mass overtook my right ovary completely. The fallopian tube was not even visible. It spread over to my appendix.

Anyhow, on a positive note, things are moving in the right direction. Financially I am holding my own. Thank goodness I had moved in with my dad in June. It gives me much more of a cushion since my rent is cheap.

Another new job

March 22nd, 2019 at 03:09 pm

I took on another editing job. The first two days I really wondered if it was going to work out. This is more independent contracting work. However, the main company I edit for is more structured. I have a lot less guidance with the new company. I like the fact I have more flexibility, but it is quite a learning curve when you have little input. I think it will work out fine now that I have figured out a few things.

Based on the initial interview call, I thought I might only end up with $200-$500 more a month. However, it appears they gave me many more clients than we talked about. It looks like I may be giving up subbing. I only need to sub once a month to keep the insurance.

I will update again when I know more firm numbers.


March 9th, 2019 at 01:27 am

I am so grateful to my generous family. My daughter brought my new baby granddaughter for a visit last weekend from NC. My dad knew I was sad the day they were leaving and bought me a ticket to go see her over spring break. It was a great deal at $125 round trip. He said it was a thank you for driving back and forth to take him on his trips so much lately.

Tonight my uncle officially booked my trip to Germany this fall to see my son. That was also a great deal through WOW Air. I head there in September.

I am not sure if I mentioned we did the car deal last week too. I sold mine to the dealer, and my dad used that money down on his new car. He gave me his 2013 Chevy Impala (with only 36500 miles). I offered to pay a few thousand since his was worth quite a bit more than my car, but he said we were even!

Another aunt of mine gave my daughter a belated baby shower last weekend too. We sure are lucky to have such great relatives!

Need Advice on Germany/Europe

February 23rd, 2019 at 05:49 pm

I know several of you fly to Europe fairly regularly. My generous aunt and uncle want to fly me to see my son in Germany this year. I am looking to go in September. I found a flight for $780 round trip including taxes and checked bags (From DTW). Is this a decent price?

I am only going for a week, so if I only can get to one other country, what would your recommend other than France (son and I have no interest)?

Thanks in advance!

"Free" Car!

February 13th, 2019 at 10:59 am

It feels like there will be school all summer at this point. Out of the last 13 school days, there has been school for 3 of those days. Needless to say my subbing income has been nearly non-existent. Thank goodness for increased editing and shopping.

On another note, my dad wants a new car. He has agreed to sell me his car for half of what its worth! It is a 2013 Chevy Impala with 36,500 miles. I am going to get it (after he buys the new car) for 3k! I should be able to sell mine for right around that, so in the end basically a new, free to me car! He also said I could wait to pay him until I move in with him in June so things are less tight for me with the lost income lately. I figure I will give him 1k up front anyhow and hang on to the rest of the sale of my car as a buffer until June.

I have some other potentially good money news, but I was sworn to secrecy. I am also not counting my chickens until they hatch!

Mystery Shopping Income Update

February 3rd, 2019 at 01:10 pm

I have been upping my game and doing more mystery shopping. I had really slowed down since late summer. I earned $413.50 in fees and $47 in reimbursements for January. This was for 41 shops. This is low because 70% of the shops were phone calls that were $7 each. They took 12 minutes on average, including the call and report. This money was earned in January, but much of it will be paid out in late February. I only worked for 7 companies. There are about 200 companies (not all have work in all areas), so there definitely is potential for a lot of income. I only traveled more than 3 miles for one shop (15 miles and that was because it brought on potential for more work in the future closer to home). Only two of the shops had bonuses.

For February, I have 13 shops scheduled so far with an income of $147 and $18 in reimbursements. I am not doing restaurant shops. My reimbursements are groceries, and one is for hardware. I hope to do about 50 shops total. Of course with winter, I don't schedule too far ahead. I will be working near home and by my dad's in the Detroit area. He is going to Florida and told me I could use his car while he is gone. So, I will watch the house and be able to do a lot of shopping in an area with more work (and little travel).

New Year's Etc.

January 4th, 2019 at 01:56 pm

My cousin and her son came up and spent three days with me at New Year's. It was fun, and I love her dearly. She has a heart of gold. However, she has zero control over money. She "tries" to be frugal. In the end whatever she saves on one thing, she spends on another. I bought pizza as planned and a "retirement fund" cute bank at the antique store which was a whole $2.12 after discounts. She bought doughnuts, Chinese, Chick Fil A, and something for her son and herself at the three antique stores we went to. She also bought a few items at Meijer. Mind you, we had planned the pizza and Chinese. It was plenty for all three days (and I offered to cook). However, she won't eat leftovers. Oh well, it's her business I guess. It's sad though because she makes very little money.

I am doing fairly well on my track to stay healthy. I did get beef and broccoli when we ordered Chinese. I got a small order and did not get rice with it. I only had two small pieces of pizza over two days. I sent almost half it home with my grandkids.

I set up mystery shops nearly every day to make more money and stay a little more active as well. I did two Goodwill shops this week and managed to get rid of some stuff as well as make money off the shops. I got rid of a bag of my mom's clothes and a bag full of freebies I never used.

Today I am doing a bank mystery shop and going to the state library to do some family history research. I have some editing work to do this evening when I get back.

2018 Financial Wins and Fails

December 29th, 2018 at 11:54 am

Here is my list to sum up the year:


-Cash flowed Christmas

-Cash flowed Vegas trip

-Added to the Emergency fund regularly


-Did not put enough in my IRA

-Did not pay off personal loan 2

-Did not use coupons as much as I should have

Sweet End to a Terrible Year

December 28th, 2018 at 01:10 pm

Just few days left of the year. Good riddance. I would love to burn the calendar on this one. However, it is ending on a sweet note. My granddaughter was born yesterday morning. This is my daughter's first (and she says last) baby. She was in labor for 31 hours all for it to end in a c-section. Mom and baby E are healthy though.

I can't wait to see the baby in person (daughter is in NC). I got plenty of pics, a video and a video chat yesterday though!


2019 Goals

December 13th, 2018 at 12:32 pm

I am working on my 2019 goals. I may end up adding or tweaking, so I am not putting this on the sidebar yet. Here is what I have so far:

1. ) Sugar intake (processed)
Creamer only for sugar 6 days a week (I drink one cup of coffee a day). I am allowing myself one cheat day a week within reason.

2.) Minimum 20 minutes of exercise per day

3.) Read two books a month

4.) Limit Facebook to 15 minutes a day and YouTube to an hour a day (This has replaced some TV time. I watch financial videos for the most part.)

5.) Get rid of 150 items by May 15 (before I move)

6.) Buy an item, get rid of an item

7.) Save $100 per month through May in EF

8.) Add $150 per month to sinking funds

My financial situation will completely change after May. My lease is up at the end of May, and I will move in with my dad. He wants the company, and I would be crazy not to take him up on a $100 rent offer. Also, my grandmother's house is going up for sale on April 1st. At some point, I know I am getting some money. I just don't know how that is going to be distributed or how much. I will write up a more solid financial goal for the second half of the year when I have more info.

Christmas Shopping and Raises

December 4th, 2018 at 10:57 am

I am done Christmas shopping. I didn't have much to do since I did the Toys R Us haul this summer for the kids. I bought Alexa and a Fire Stick combo for my dad (my son is splitting this with me) and ornaments for my kids. We don't really do gifts for the adults generally, but I cheated a bit.

My bff does a LOT for me, so I wanted to do a gift for her family. I went to the local farmer's type market here (It is HUGE and has everything you can think of including a very large beer and wine selection). I got $40 worth of stuff (German beer and hard cider, cookies, salsa, bbq sauce) and put it in a wastebasket. Yes, a wastebasket. My bff loves A Christmas Story and I saw a leg lamp wastebasket, so I got it. I also included A Christmas Story Fudge in the basket.

All in all, I am not much into the holidays this year with my mom and grandma gone, but I am doing my best for the grandkids sake.

Other news on the financial front: I got a 4% raise for editing (yearly raise). I also just found out starting tomorrow the district I sub in the most raised the pay by $25 a day! That being said, the pay was pretty low before for regular day-to-day subbing. It is now a good rate (after all they require a degree).

Grandma passed away

November 26th, 2018 at 11:19 am

My grandmother passed away Saturday morning (exactly six weeks after my mom, her daughter). I am sad, but it was time. I hope she can rest in peace now. The funeral is tomorrow and then I will finally go home. I have been gone since the 10th.

There were seven of us staying with grandma for the last week of her life. We ended up with four Thanksgiving dinners due to family and friends. I am sad it was my grandma's declining health that brought on the situation, but otherwise I enjoyed spending time with my family last week.

I am not sure if I mentioned it, but during the conference in Vegas I negotiated more responsibilities with my company. I will square those away once I get home.

It has been one hell of a year. I can't wait for it to be over. However, it WILL end on a sweet note. My daughter is due on December 24th. I can't wait to meet my granddaughter!

Grandma Update

November 22nd, 2018 at 02:46 am

Vegas was great. I got home and spent last Friday with a friend. My grandma got considerably worse and I have been at her house staying with several family members since this past Saturday. It has been very hard watching her die a slow death. She is 91 and has had a long life. The upsetting part is having to see her die this way. It doesn't make it any easier that my mom died less than 6 weeks ago.

Regardless, I am thankful for my family. If there is anything positive in all of this is spending quality time with my family the last few days. I am also thankful my mom will have her own mother with her very soon. I hope you all have a peaceful Thanksgiving. I know it has been a tough few months for several of my SA friends.

Vegas Plan

November 6th, 2018 at 10:37 am

I leave for Vegas on Sunday morning. I am traveling alone. Most of the trip is already paid for including:

Conference ($125)
Hotel Room ($392 including resort fees and taxes)
Plane Ticket ($275)
Three Meals (Lunch on Mon and Tues are part of the conference, and our company's owner is covering dinner on Monday.)-FREE
Shuttle to and from airport ($26)
High Roller ($20)

I have $150 to spend, and I also have $15 in Starbucks cards to cover coffee. I figure this should be plenty for food, gambling and tipping. Forty of that is from the change I saved all summer for gambling, which is the limit for me. I don't plan on seeing any shows.

Sunday-Treat myself to brunch and the High Roller before checking in at the hotel. I will just relax Sunday night (I actually am responsible for editing that day). I will find a cheap dinner option for Sunday evening at the hotel food court.

Monday is all conference related and dinner with my coworkers.

Tuesday is also conference related. It would have been my mom's 70th birthday, so that is my gambling day in honor of her (She loved bingo, so I will do my best to find a bingo slot machine). I will gamble after the conference. I will keep dinner cheap that day too.

Wednesday-Walk the strip and enjoy the freebie entertainment at the different hotels. I also have to work that day. If I win anything gambling on Tuesday, I have told myself I can keep 25% for fun. Depending on what is left in the food budget, I may find a mid-range dinner option.

I head home on Thursday morning. I will let you know how the budget panned out when I return.