Five on Friday

Let’s see, my labs came in but I had to call the nurse to get the results. My doctor is on call for other doctors this week so he is slammed. My CBC is all the same and normal, Kappa light chains went up to 15.0, Lambda was the same at 11.1, the ratio went up just slightly to 1.30 ( from 1.27).  So not bad but I’d rather the ratio be a little lower. But still all in the normal range.  June marks 2 years of being off all chemo.  What a lovely time it has been and I am grateful every day.

We zipped down to Costco at 9am to get a few things. Mostly coffee. Last week I had to go buy a pound at Starbucks and that was a rude awakening. So off we went. We filled up the Santa Fe, and then got thru Costco fairly quickly. I didn’t need a whole lot so it went quick. We also paid our membership which was due June 1st.

Tonight is a pizza night and I gave my son cash to get a Round Table. I had a coupon for a speciality pizza for $19.99 and we love their gourmet veggie. So a good deal.

We were going to go to the nursery and get some pots for me to re-pot some of my house plant friends but it’s raining so we nixed that. I guess we saved money by not going but I’ll still need to get some at Home Depot in the next week or so.

Yesterday I went out to the barn and declutter more magazines, some kitchen things I had put in a box for my son when he was going to live at SFSU( which he didn’t do), and other misc. It’s the start of a small thrift store run.

I worked on the budget and June looks okay. Still working on finishing the CC that we put Z’s tuition on. I’m okay with that. I’d like to target end of July to have it done.

I think that’s all I can think of.

We did feel bad for all the campers heading up to Tahoe for Memorial day weekend. It was pouring down rain and I’m sure it’s worse up there.

 

 

 

Meal Planning and budgets

I like having a meal plan if only for the simplicity of it. I know what the week will bring and then it’s just simpler.

This week we’ll be having:

Monday: is usually fish or pasta / so we’re having cod from Costco, asparagus and spinach with a sprinkling of goat cheese

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday but we’re having Amy’s cheese enchiladas with beans or rice

Wednesday: pasta night so I think we’ll do spaghetti with sauce and a salad

Thursday: Crockpot Thursday, so I’m thinking a nice soup in the crock pot maybe lentil.

Friday: Friday night pizza, I’ll either do homemade or perhaps we’ll order. It depends on the mood. Usually, I prefer my pizza plus the price of ordering is fairly steep but sometimes it’s a nice change.

Saturday: I thought of grilling something as B got the gas grill ready to go, but I think it’s supposed to rain. Maybe some grilled chicken then or I still have a few cornish hens in the freezer and B bought a lentil loaf from a natural foods store he services in Nevada City.  I guess we’ll see how it goes.

B is gone most of the week traveling for work up to Eureka so he won’t be here. Dinner will just be my daughter and me. My son is at school late so doesn’t eat dinner with us.

Generally eating vegetarian and B has been one for over 50 years, we eat lower on the food chain. I think it’s healthier overall. I’m fairly skeptical of food fads like Paleo, keto, Vegan, whatever. Back in our youth, it was macrobiotics. I remember going to a cooking class in Macrobiotics back then… interesting… but later he died of some sort of cancer fairly young ( 40ish) so that didn’t help much.  I think all things in moderation.

I do like Michael Pollan’s take on using meat as a side, organic and harvested ethically.  I generally always buy organic meat( chicken, beef,) but sometimes bacon slips by and it’s not organic.  Well, I guess if one is trying.

Budget wise, food is still our biggest variable.  Although, total with animal food, Costco, nonfood, wine, we’re still averaging @ $800 for 4 people so I don’t think that’s too bad.

I finished the entryway zones and even washed the front door.

We went to the gym and it was nice to get back to the rhythm. It was closed yesterday for Easter.

 

Looking ahead with the budget

So, I tallied the rest of the month with food, nonfood, cat food, and we’re at $700. The food bill was @ $500, so the $200 is non-food, cat food(which is pretty high since our one kitty is not doing well and we buy a lot of cat food for him to eat. Ollie has a thyroid cancerous tumor and isn’t long for the earth. He’s a super sweet Maine coon and at one time weighed in at 20lbs.image

So back to the budget.  I added B’s two take home checks and it covers our bills but not a lot extra. It’s going to have to be my SS checks that give us the annual bills. And I’d like to start making  extra payments on the Santa Fe. If we can pay that off it’ll free up $600 . Yes, that’s a high payment but he gets a reimbursement of almost $400 a month so it works out. Looking ahead though, we cannot have a car payment in retirement.  I’m kinda freaking out a bit concerning the actual numbers. We don’t have a large 401 or anything so… But I’m hopeful that I can knock this out by the end of the year. Next would be our second. That was part of the worst re-finance in the world during the time when they were giving out re fi’s with no income verification and over inflating home values. Yes, we were incredibly stupid to do it. But this is finally, almost under $20,000 so that’ll be the next thing to get rid of.

It is , of course, ambitious, but I feel compelled to work this out.

We will see……

Dinner is chicken tacos in the crock pot with rice.

Frugal Friday

I made my food only budget $500 this month. There are 5 days left and I still need a few things. I’m at @ $475. So I may come in a little over. But this doesn’t include cat food for our 2 cats, one of which is in decline and probably has either a thyroid or diabetic issue as it’s eating lots of food. But this cat, Ollie, is my daughter’s love, so we buy food. I’m at @ 100 for the month. We alternate who buys so my part is probably @ $45.  Then there’s wine/beer( for hubs, I don’t drink beer) is at @ $60.

So overall, I’m pretty happy with the numbers but I think I can get just food down to $400. I’ll track in February again.

Our electric bill came in great at $237. That’s half what it was last year at this time.  So I’m thrilled.

I just canceled the phone insurance on my sons’ phone so that will drop the bill by another $13. Then next month I’m planning to pay off his phone so that will drop the Verizon bill even more. By about $30 more dollars. I know he should be paying it off but right now he’s starting CSU Sacramento and taking a full load 18 units and his gas /food bill is going way up. We’re probably way too giving to him as we paid his parking pass and will pay this semester’s tuition.  I know, I know, he should be figuring it out himself but we feel responsible.  We’re making a monthly payment so I’m hoping B’s next bonus gives us boost.

My gas in the VW runs $25 every 3 weeks , so pretty good.

With my SS checks coming in we’re able to save for our annual bills and I think that will make a big difference.

I’m still using YNAB. I like it for the most part and I think when we get annual bill categories funded it’ll be even better.

That’s about it for this week.

Homemade pizza tonight.

 

Ending 2017

Goodbye 2017.

It has been a great year for me. I know some people have not had a good year including my sister who has had some serious health issues. I guess it’s all about how you experience the year with health, finances, family, work,  and just life.

I’m so grateful my health has been good and I think that’s the main reason this has been such a good year. I think that makes all the difference. Even money or finances take a back seat to health issues. If you’re in relatively good health, I think you can handle whatever comes your way.

We had some great camping trips and work trips too. I always love going to Santa Barbara with B when he has to see the co-ops. It’s such a treat. This year I went up to the North Coast for the first time with him too. Eureka is a bit of a depressed area but the co-ops are amazing. so that was fun. Plus we camped at new Brighton twice and that was lovely especially going to Gayles Bakery. It’s the best!! Camping at Lake Tahoe always tops my list of the best things that have happened. This coming year we may do things a little different in regards to Tahoe. And I still haven’t booked any camping trips yet.

Learning how to Lodge cook was lots of fun and I ended up with 2 Lodge camping pots. It was such fun to cook a pizza in camp and other great recipes like chili topped with corn bread and breakfast casseroles.  Such fun!!

Our finances were good and we were frugal yet got quite a bit done around the house. We even bought a wood splitter on sale for B to use. It was bought with one of his bonuses so that made it even better. We still have some big chunks of tree to deal with and I’m hoping this coming year we can take 2 more Ponderosa pines down so there will be more to split. Food and groceries in general still seem to be our biggest variable expense so I’m working on looking at working on that. I do menu plan and plan my Costco trips but food is just so expensive. I’m tracking food, non-food and pet food and this may give me a better idea of where it’s going. We ended December with just under $1000 for food, nonfood, Christmas food, alcohol, and pet stuff. Most months I run @ 600- 700 so that’s high. Although the Costco trip had gifts in it so I could reduce the amount by that and then it’s maybe $800.

I continued to declutter right up to Christmas and as a matter of fact, have a small load in the back of my VW to go into the thrift store.  I would guess this year I’ve gotten rid of 2000 things. many just small but others not so small.  For next year, I’m going to look at each room with a critical eye and see what can be improved. That should be a fun project.

Well, I’m making a whole wheat bread in the Zojirushi on the dough cycle and then I’ll bake in a pan. It’s a king Arthur WW bread recipe and so far looks good. Then I just finished baking the butternut squash for soup tonight and made a batch of mashed potatoes to freeze for when I make a shepherds pie on Monday.

So I’m off to read a bit and decide if I’m going to town.

Looking at the new year and budgets

We had a delightful Christmas with lovely thoughtful gifts. A couple of favorites were the knitted cotton dish cloths by my daughter, a thrifted Japanese vase from my son, and this wonderful print from my husband.

IMG_1147 the lights are just a reflection of twinkly lights in the living room.

This was taken from a picture of me looking out at Lake Tahoe in 1977 or there abouts. It may have been one of the first times we were up there. Jason, our first boy, was sitting with me but you can’t see that in this picture. My son stylized the picture and added Lake Tahoe. How cool is that? All in all a lovely day.

So on to budget stuff for the new year.

My plan is to get all the annual bills fully funded with our Social Security.  Since we just opted to start SS even though B is working still.  All that money will go to annual bills and EF.  We looked at all the numbers and it still made sense to start this now.  I started mine early anyway but that amount is pretty small since I never worked full time and that was one of my main reasons for working at the library.  Anyway, now I get an increased amount called spousal something.  Wow, I didn’t know that was possible.  So the budget looks good for saving 100% of this money even though the monthly amount will be scary when full retirement comes.  But we need this to go forward.  The only thing I might do around July is to pay a chunk of the Santa Fe off. Right now, that’s a big payment but almost the whole amount is going to principal. It’ll be under $10,000 soon, so I’ll decide then.   Other than that, just keep going. We know there’s no way to pay off the mortgage so that’s a given. We’re planning to sign the Subaru over to my son and take him off our auto insurance and that will decrease that substantially.  Hopefully, we can do that before the next 1/2 bill rolls in which is March.  So who knows how it’ll play out, we will just do the best we can.  When we add in part b and supplemental insurance after B retires that will affect the monthly amount too. So that will need some research since my chemo drugs, when I’m on them, can run over $10,000 a month so we better have insurance to cover them.

Well, I’m off the gym this morning and then I’m in the Living room zone this week. I’ll take down the tree and put things away through the week.

Dinner is YOYO 🙂

 

My world on Friday

Well, I got up at 5am. Actually, I think it was 4:53

Emptied the dishwasher, clean the few stray dishes and had coffee.

I went out to walk at 5:25 am.

I came back, got the pizza dough going for Friday night pizza.  Then from the comment yesterday, I got out the oxo and put it in my Le Creuset and simmered and scrubbed and voila, it worked pretty darn good. Thank you for that tip. It’s not back to white, but looking at the other one, I don’t think it was white white, more of a tannish white. But not sure. Anyway, it looks lots better.

Last night I ended up making scrambled tofu with celery, carrots, onions, pumpkin seeds and, a sprinkling of cheese.

I swished and swiped the bathroom, my daughter vacuumed and I tidied the kitchen. So far 2 small loads of laundry done.

I went to the gym and it was crazy busy so I didn’t do a whole lot. All the machines were constantly being used. Too many people for this introvert.

It’s a cloudy day and it may rain. I’m going to go read.

Update on YNAB. So far I’m liking it. One difference from last time I used it is I’m not linking my bank accounts because the total would get all messed up and I spent more time reconciling accounts than not. Last time since the accounts were linked, I’d put in the amount and then Ynab put it in from the linked account and it was not working for me. I like to put it in manually. So for instance, I spent $ 37 at Safeway Wednesday, but I put in $40 for groceries. Since I am always doing bank updates in by bullet planner, I know where our account is daily. So that makes it easier for me to keep things straight. I like the categories for annual bills and that will prove useful once we have money in those accounts. So far my assessment is that I will pay for the subscription when the 30 days is over.

 

Pizza is just cheese and ? tonight. I’m thinking for winter to switch up Friday night pizza to Italian Friday. That way we can do some other things on Friday night. Or any ideas?? What do you do for a weekly theme? It does really help me stay on track with meal planning ( unless I’m too lazy).