Five on Friday

It was a beautiful week here in Northern California. Yesterday was 75 degrees. It got breezy in the afternoon but still nice. It’s supposed to start raining Saturday and go almost a week with snow in the Sierras. Well, we do need it but the sunshine and perfect 70-degree weather is hard to beat.

We are exploring different places to walk, so yesterday we went into Auburn and had a coffee at Depoe Bay( which roasts their own beans) and then walked around. We went up to the Gold Mining Museum and looked around and then walked the sidewalks. It was nice and I was surprised at the different routes we could take that would add up to a few miles. So, we will do this again after the rain stops.

I’ve decided to stop going to the gym and just walk and pull out my 5lb weights. Even though Sundays are the lowest people day, I just can’t risk it.  We are in the high-risk group. I am concerned with either of my Adult children who do work in the public sector bringing something home but I guess that’s the risk. They do wash their hands frequently and are quite conscious of what this means to us.

Budget wise things are good. I have way overspent on stockpiling stuff but I just figure that’s a one-off for now. I do still need a few things like cat food for Finwe who is a very picky eater. We also had our bi-annual Allstate bill come in. For 3 cars it was a little over $1,000. Seems expensive. Even our old Dodge van was $290 for 6 months. It seems high but I like Allstate and we’ve had them for 40 + years. This is the type of annual bill that will have to be paid out of our savings as the regular income only covers monthly expenses.

I did request a form for UCD financial help since the medical bills in August are what is causing a headache. Especially since the August 30 bill is for the Cystourethrocopy when the Cobra insurance wouldn’t pay the full amount. That alone was almost $4,000 with our part being over $1300. So I’ll fill out the form and see what happens if anything.

Well, today is not a walk day at least right now at 6:30 am, maybe later.

Five on Friday

I like to do five on Friday occasionally as opposed to Frugal Friday although this was mostly a frugal week.

  • We did get the Santa Fe serviced so that was not cheap but car maintenance is just part of annual bills. Our next big bill will be the spring property tax and our car insurance.
  • We haven’t eaten out at all since the end of January so maybe this weekend we’ll do a Panera date.  We spent quite a bit eating out in January. I think we got Round table twice and that’s not cheap even if it is just pizza. I’m using cash for groceries and trying to keep it with $100-$125 a week. I’ve actually used quite a bit from the freezer and dumped some stuff that was just too old.
  • I walked almost every day, except Monday. Since my foot fracture 2 years ago, I try not to be too compulsive about walking EVERY day.
  • I  started another minimalist declutter game. That’s the one where you do one item on day one and then 2 items on day two and so forth. I usually get thru to day 30 but sometimes it’s just little stuff. I went thru 4 drawers in my office area and did get rid of numerous pieces of junk.  I’m going to go thru the closet pantry and declutter any food I haven’t used or probably won’t. I don’t keep a large stockpile so that should be easy. I used to try the stockpiling for the apocalypse and decided it the apocalypse comes we’ll just have to die. ( haha).

I need to wash the sunroom windows soon too.  In memory of Kirk Douglas, we’re watching “Spartacus”. It’s really amazing what they did with sets in those days. No CGI!

The weather is a little warmer and it’s nice to get outside some. I think today we’re hitting 60 which is not too bad for February.

I want to get to the nursery soon too and get some potatoes to put in the garden. My daughter has planted the garlic and onions so hopefully, we’ll have a good crop of those. Potatoes do well in our soil so.  I’m hoping we get apples this year to make applesauce. Last year the tree was in it’s not producing year but the year before was a blockbuster year, so that makes this year a production year( I hope).

 

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week although weird again with the holiday in the middle of the week. I kept thinking Thursday was Monday. Oh well, it seems that we’re back on course and today is Sunday.

We did a shop a Costco on Friday and didn’t overdo it. I bought extra coffee and TP so we won’t need to ‘run’ down there for those things. We are eyeing a new TV though. Ours is about 8 years old and still works but the sound quality isn’t the best. There are some sales for the super bowl so if I think we can swing it, I will.

B’s last SDI was this last week too. He did get a notice to have his doctor fill out a form about not returning to work, so I’m not sure if they would extend his benefits to use up the little he has left or if it’s just paperwork. What I read is the maximum award is 12months, so we’ll see. We’ll try and do that next week although he sees his doctor on Tuesday and I’m sure it won’t be in the mail by then.

This month will be the big test of how we do without the SDI. I know it’s going to be an adjustment. But at least we have no big bills in January just the car tags for the old van. Still, that’s $150. I have been saving quite a bit of the SDI so that I know I won’t be adding to the savings.

Also, we had to call on his Cobra as, just as expected, the Noxafil prescription came in at$1200.  This amount was the Medicare Part D prescrpiton plan that I’m not planning on using that’s why we’re paying the Cobra amount. I am not paying that much money when last month it was 0.00 co-pay.  So he called and the Cobra payment letter was just going out. So we did it online and then now we have to wait for it to get activated by the prescription plan. After that, we still don’t know what the co-pay will be since we haven’t reached any yearly deductible.  It’s all unsettled right now but next week we should know and hopefully, it’ll be resolved.

Plus we know that within a few months Noxafil will be reduced or eliminated so then we will cancel the Cobra and just use the Medicare Part D as all his other drugs are Tier 2. I think it’s only Noxafil that is Tier 5. What a Fucking scam is all I have to say.

Today is a gym day and we will go for our walk shortly.

Flylady zone is the kitchen and I’ll start that today but finish tomorrow.

I made a new recipe last night from another blogger( Teresa Kasner)

She lives along the Columbia River in an old beautiful farmhouse. Her pictures are outstanding. So the recipe was for Chicken with potatoes and spinach in a creamy parmesan sauce. It was good.

This week is Clinic for Barclay and our overnight trip. Plus whatever stress with the prescription stuff comes up.:(

I started a list of projects for the year and we’ll see how far we get.

  1. to drop the wood stove to floor level so that the footprint is lower and less of an eyesore. We built the platform specifically so we wouldn’t be bending to put wood in but it does take up a lot of floor space. This won’t cost a lot except added stove pipe( which is pricey) but we won’t need a lot. And some stone for the floor. Our woodstove is quite efficient and we will keep it for a few more years. Eventually, we will put in a gas/propane stove. But that’s maybe 5 years out still.
  2. We will be replacing windows in my daughter’s room. This will be maybe @ $1000 as it will be 2 windows replacing one large one. The Anderson windows we bought last summer are great and very energy efficient. So that ended up @ $800( I think).
  3. I’d like to also replace the bathroom window. Same size but just more energy efficient. All the windows in the house we’re replaced when we remodeled but they are now 25 years old so an upgrade will be nice.
  4. I don’t think we will get to any bathroom remodel this year.
  5. I think we are going to try and redo some of the kitchen. The biggest thing is the counters and sink( pipes underneath) really need to be redone. Getting a new pantry system from Ikea will be first on the list as that will be freestanding.

There’s always garden work and yard work. That’s kinda ongoing.

Barclay’s official retirement date is January 30. That’s 25 years. It’s hard to let go of, I think, because of the way it all happened with him getting sick. But how incredibly lucky we are for modern science that has given him a new chance without cancer. Even I can’t say that, although I have been extraordinarily lucky that my Myeloma has responded to treatment. Well, it is what it is.

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This was our dinner the other night. A small piece of filet mignon and a Beyond Meat sausage( which are delicious BTW).

 

 

Things to think about for 2020

I don’t do goals so much anymore and I try to avoid putting myself in the position of expectation on myself. I do like lists of things that I would like to do or things that need to be done.

I like Flylady as it gives me a focus on weekly chores.  And I like grocery lists and menus. I also like budgeting and do that daily and weekly and monthly. I also have annual bills tallied. ( This might be the challenging area once were on SS solely).

Now that SDI is ending money will be different.  I have saved as much as I felt I could but there were some big expenses in 2019. We had over $6000 in medical bills. The trees were almost $5000. Plus travel and other expenses during B’s transplant. We were very blessed to have the GoFundMe account which covered Kiwanis’ house for 3 weeks and other expenses.

Overall, financially, 2019 was good. We didn’t rack up any CC debt related to medical bills or anything related to the transplant. I used CC to pay things but was able to pay in a timely manner.

In 2020 we will need to be ultra frugal as there won’t be bonuses, or extra money coming in. Honestly, I ‘m not sure how it will play out but it will one way or the other.

We’d still like to take down the big tree in the back of the house and that will be upwards of $5,000 as it will need a big crane. the other big thing will be, do we want to redo the bathroom so it is ‘age ‘friendly. We plan on staying here so a walk-in shower seems prudent.

I’m also figuring that I’ll be starting Velcade sometime in the next 6 months so that’s weekly trips to Sacramento. Lots to think about.

Frugal Friday

I’m not too sure anything these days is all that frugal. We still have medical bills coming in that the Cobra insurance(UHC) says we owe due to the fact B was medicare ELIGIBLE but was in fact not on Medicare. WTF! At least it was for only the one month as far as I can determine. But we could appeal but I doubt that we would win it. So payments on that for a while.  So NOT frugal. Or maybe it will keep us more frugal as that money cant be spent elsewhere.  No, I think it would go straight to savings.

I’ve got most everything for Thanksgiving but realized I still need the nut loaf ingredients. I have the brown rice but the binder is cottage cheese and I need mushrooms too. But I can get those next week at our local Holiday Market.

The dental surgery co-pay was $196 so that was worth having the Cobra for as it would have been @ $1500 so that’s good. I seemed to have a reaction thought to something as I started sneezing and my sinuses went berserk. But the oral surgeon seemed to think it was a cold even though I told him I had no cold. Anyway, it’s better today.

Still, no tree guys so that money is ‘hanging’ out in our checking so that’s a savings ( sorta).

I’m not going to the gym as I’m going to Walmart for a pickup and then to the bank to get a notarization. B sold his motorcycle to someone in Nevada and it was signed wrong so I need to sign a paper that says I signed it wrong .P.I.T.A.  Plus I’m still not feeling 100%. He did lose quite a bit by selling the Honda as he bought it new. But that’s the way it goes.

Dinner is pizza and I’m going to try Whole Foods refrigerator dough to compare to T.J’s. I’ll report back.

 

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Five on Friday

  • I decided to do a Walmart order so I can get the items I needed for going to Tahoe. Vegetarian baked beans, veggie dogs, sauerkraut, rolls for the first night. Since I’d spent so much at Costco last week I wasn’t going to but then it seemed the easiest thing to do. Not really frugal, but it is overall cheaper than Bel-Air or Safeway.
  • I have to go to the dentist to have them check on my tooth that broke. I called the Delta Dental that we have on Cobra and it is activated or some such thing( I hope)  so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Today I’m going to call either AARP or a broker to get B signed up for Plan F ( I’m guessing that’s the best although a reader did tell me Plan G was also excellent. And then also the PArt D. I plugged in his prescriptions and it’s the Noxafil that is a Tier 5 so that’s what will make it expensive but we’ve got to do it one way or another.
  • I don’t think that this can all be in place by October 1st but definitely by Nov 1st. Our plan is to pay for another month of Cobra then cancel.
  • All the monthly bills are done except Verizon which comes out at the very end of the month. So that’s good. Next month will be expensive since 2 of our annual bills will come due. AAA house, which is going up because it was canceled and it needs to be done thru California Fair insurance. AAA will still handle it but it’s going up quite a bit. And our bi-annual car insurance, and then in November the property tax which also went up.  Not sure how all this play out once B is not getting SDI anymore but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Frugal Friday

No, not really. Although we haven’t been spending money carelessly. Our grocery budget is our biggest variable expense. I budget $200 a week for everything including pet supplies, non-food items, wine, food and misc. That seems to be a good amount for us.

But when you factor in Costco trips like in August, I definitely go over.  The Costco trips are often items that last a few months if not more. I’ve tried separating out non-food and then I get all confused and lose track of what was what so if I just lump it all together it works better for me.

For August I’m trying out $125 a week and I’ll see how that goes.

We aren’t going on any trips this year due to the medical stuff so there are no expenses there.

We also can’t eat out as B can’t have restaurant food yet. Although I have gotten him In an Out french fries and a shake as he needs to gain back about 20lbs. So we don’t really have an eating out budget. I have gotten a pizza or two so there’s that.

We also don’t have any big projects around the house but there are a few things. We absolutely need to fix our step coming out the door. It is awkward and has two levels so he and our daughter will put down a new concrete step that covers both and goes out farther. We wanted to build a deck out level from the front door and then a step-down but a deck would probably run us $3-5,000. So not now.

We’re on the fence about getting more trees down. I think we will call and see about at least 2 and get an estimate. We still have too many trees that are very big around the house.  But that too is a very expensive project.

We still have co-pays on the medical side too and the GFM is being used for that but it’s getting low.   The $6,000 from the beginning of the year is almost paid off. The transplant co-pays haven’t even shown up yet. Yikes, that could be scary.

Well, all in all, we’re doing okay.