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Archive for June, 2014

Florida Trip Recap

June 28th, 2014 at 06:34 am

Had a great time in Florida visiting my family. The grandkids are so cute. My grandson is almost two and loves to say: "Look!" (high pitched) followed by "Wow!". It is amazing how everything is new and wondrous to young children. The baby is 5 months and rolling over and trying her hardest to crawl.

We ended up going to Key West this past Monday. It was so hot and humid, but overall a nice time. We split the rental, gas, and parking($70). Other spending during the trip included taking my son and his wife to Chili's ($37 including tip) as a thank you for picking me up at the airport and letting me stay with them, a happy meal I split with my grandson at the mall (I estimate $4, I forgot to keep that receipt), and a couple of drinks ($3.50)from the drugstore. I almost forgot my meal in Key West. We ate at Denny's which allowed us to sit and have a meal without paying the prices at the popular restaurants. I had fruit and yogurt. My total was $7 with my portion of the tip.

My overall total was $122 which was over the $100 I had hoped for, but not bad considering all I did.

Since I returned I have been trying to catch up at work and prepare for our trip to northern Maine next weekend (that one will definitely stay within budget).

Trying to Keep It Frugal

June 15th, 2014 at 05:50 am

Summer plans have taken shape and I am going to have to be careful about keeping it frugal. My trip to see my kids/grandkids in Florida is Thursday. So far, it is costing less than $100. I paid $168 for my plane ticket and am earning most of that back because I picked up two mystery shops while I am down there. I will stay at my son's condo, so no hotel or car costs (Although I will give them some gas money for driving me around).

As I said previously, I put off a trip to Michigan. I will go in October. However, we are now going to northern Maine July 3-5, but again I picked up mystery shops on the way home. Those pay for the hotel. We will pack a cooler and the Hampton Inn provides a nice breakfast. I don't think we will need to eat out while we are there. Basically all we need to cover is gas and at the least, I will earn 2% back on that.

Later in July I am going to Foxwoods (casino) in Connecticut overnight with a friend. I am not a gambler, but I am going to keep her company. I would have had to drive to CT anyhow to drop my son off for his summer visit with his dad. Now I get to keep my friend company and we will split expenses. Since I needed to go that way for my son, I will pay the gas. She wants to stay overnight, so she will cover the hotel.

In August my husband is going out to Washington to see his son and his family (son paid for trip). A friend and I will drop hubby off at the airport in Boston and spend the day there. I love a good excuse to spend a fun day in Boston. The libraries offer some nice museum passes for the day (the aquarium too)at huge discounts. I hate finding my way around so I was happy to have my friend go with me! I told her we can take my car and I will of course pay the gas if she does the driving.

My plan is to keep all summer trip expenses under $400 total. The gas for CT is the only thing I am not counting because it is part of my custody agreement and in the regular budget.

On another positive note, I have almost doubled the number of students I expected for the summer at tutoring. This is a huge relief! Well, off to start the day. I am working my way (literally) up to Portland, ME today. Happy Father's Day to the dads and everyone else who has taken on that role!

Trip Update

June 6th, 2014 at 05:58 am

Less than two weeks until the Florida trip. I can't wait. I don't love the state itself (Lived there for four years and hated it), but can't wait to see the family.

I decided to put off the trip to Michigan in July. After careful thinking, I am going over Columbus Day weekend in October. I won't have to drive and my grandma's birthday is the day before I leave. Other perks to waiting include a free rental car (I am getting close to enough points on my credit union Visa) and I also just applied and got approved for the Barclay card (spend $1000 in 90 days and earn enough points for $200 travel). I am going to put all purchases over the next few months on the two cards (of course paying them off as I go)which will make the trip to Michigan very cheap. I will stay at my grandma's house, so I will only pay the difference on the what isn't covered for the plane ticket and a couple of meals.

As for 4th of July weekend, I didn't want to mope around with nothing to do and we do have some money saved for summer fun. So, we are driving to northern Maine and staying there the 3rd-5th.

Not all of my time has been taken over by the travel bug. I spent a good portion of the day yesterday reorganizing the tutoring office and getting it ready for summer (new materials etc.). Today I have several mystery shops before heading in for an abbreviated afternoon of tutoring. It's hubby's bday, but his brother has "surprise" plans for him so we did his cake yesterday and probably will do his dinner tomorrow since I have no clue what the plans are for tonight.

Have a great weekend. It is going to be a scorcher here in New England, but I am looking forward to the sun!

Need to Stay on Track

June 2nd, 2014 at 02:33 pm

I have overspent lately and not kept very good track of money. This isn't a huge amount and I have been able to cover it. I need to stop and rethink my accounts. The mystery shopping really throws me off sometimes. I plan for the initial out-of-pocket expenses, but sometimes I am required to pay cash and other times to use the debit card. For some reason, this seems to make everything harder.

Long story short, I believe I have a system in place that will alleviate the issues, so I should be okay going forward. The other thing I need to watch is stopping at the grocery store by my office for lunch. That adds up quick!

In other news, the tutoring is going well and I currently have enough money banked for all the summer expenses including payroll. Any other money that comes in will mean I get a paycheck (there are still some parents who need to pay summer tuition and are on track to do so this month).

The mystery shopping is ramping up too, which is great. I suspect my summer income will be quite a bit higher than I anticipated.

I may have mentioned this before (sorry if I am repeating myself),I am going to Florida to see my adult kids and grandkids the 19th-24th of this month. I paid cash for the plane ticket months ago and I have picked up a couple easy mystery shops while I am there that cover that will cover giving gas money to give to my son and a meal out.

I am procrastinating about a second trip over the long holiday weekend (I am closed the 3-7 of July at tutoring) to see family and friends in Michigan. I will see what the final tally is for summer tutoring payments mid-month and make a final decision. I would drive and have a place to stay, so it mainly will cost gas and a few meals (I am quite sure half of my meals would be covered at family and friends' houses).I really want to go, but it is a very long drive for a few days. Then again my grandmother will be 87 this year. She is in excellent health for her age, but I hate skipping a chance to see her because you never know.

Last but not least, I am on track with savings and debt repayments. I need to update those figures and do a post with some actual numbers soon.