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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.

Update

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.

Cons:

-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.


Cons:

-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.

Budget

January 21st, 2018 at 07:05 am

After all the unanticipated income chaos with the tutoring and subbing fiascoes, I am finally leveling out. I created a budget going forward. I anticipate this budget to run through August. My goal is to have my certification requirements completed over the next few months so I can seek a full-time position next school year.

The numbers are net and figured on the low end, as my income fluctuates. Any additional money I will put in savings.

VA work : $300

I am using this money to pay the credit card and my dad ($150). The remainder goes to savings ($150).

Subbing (figuring on 15 days per month): $1050

I am using this money to pay the rent, health insurance, electricity, internet and water.

Editing: $500

I am using this to pay the cell phone, car insurance, life insurance, renter's insurance and critical care insurance (I can't find a disability policy on my own, so this is the next best thing).

Mystery shopping and microearning (Swagbucks, etc): $750

The first $400 goes to gas, groceries, bus passes and entertainment.

Remainder: IRA (avg. $350)

Any subbing over 15 days goes to savings. This covers any months that fall under 15 days and the summer months. My student loans are on deferment until September. I plan on keeping the editing and still doing some shopping when I get full-time employment. I will then start paying off the loans aggressively (and boosting my retirement savings).

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.