Frugal Friday

Back from the world of DEX, so now it’s on to how the week went money wise.

We did a grocery shop at Safeway that came in at $95 plus some wine which I’m not including in the grocery amount. I’m working on a Walmart order for next week that should take us thru the following week. That week we head down to Capitola, so the stuff I’m buying is partly for that and partly so the kids have some extra here if they need. Of course, they can get their own food too, which I’m sure they will.

I had to pay OP for my Dex copay of $36.00. That will be all I need to finish all the chemos. I checked online with the mail order and it was only less as a 90 day supply. So I won’t need that again so it’s a unusable as such.

I did order some N 95’s this morning as I/we will continue to use them even when the vaccine numbers go up. California is supposed to open more up and I’m not going to get caught in variants if I can help it.

My daughter paid for the nursery things so that didn’t cost me anything.

We’re ordering a pizza tonight but it’s from Celestino’s and their extra large is only $23, so that’s a good deal. I could’ve made one but it’s nice to do something different.

Here’s some shots of the garden shed as it is now.

And here’s a picture of one of the Japanese maples leafing out. These were planted by my daughter about 3 years ago!

I did my usual chores this morning after out walk. I vacuumed, mopped the floors, did a reset of the house ( going around and putting away whatever is out of place).

Friday’s my energy definitely comes back so that’s nice. I still don’t drive but tomorrow I’m going out so it should be fine.

Monday Musings

It’s cloudy today. I guess no BBQ tonight. That’s ok, I have plenty of things I can cook. Because of chickens laying so many eggs, I will make a quiche of some sort. I have the pie crust in the refrigerator chilling. I don’t know why I resist making crusts. In the food processor it took all of 2 minutes to get it to form a ball and then into the fridge.

This morning I have already done the bedroom zone, made the quiche crust, windexed the mirrors and am still needing to vacuum.

I also paid the UCD bill for April by phone. I still need to do Allstate some time this week. That’s not due till April as well but I might as well do it sooner than later. I can remember vividly when we had zero money to pay bills on time and always had to do payments. Even our property taxes we had to arrange. Grocery shopping was limited and there was NO extra money for anything. I am grateful that we can pay what we need to. There’s not a lot left over but to me that’s fine as long as the basics are paid.

My son, who spends money like crazy,:) asked for a special edition Rockstar Pendleton for his birthday so I will do that too. It’s a throw size and quite stunning in reds and blacks with men on horses riding facing forward. I guess it’s from some game he plays.

The kitchen is back together and next we will move on to the entryway and B’s cubby. The one wall was actually an outside wall so it’s the siding on the house. It’s painted in the Navajo White I used originally around the house. We’re planning to use the semi gloss on that and the other siding too. I don’t think we’ll start this week but maybe Saturday. This area was a deck that we built right after we moved and remodeled. So 26 years ago. Then at some point we closed it in as room. At some point we should make the foundation of it up to code as it is only on foundation blocks. i don’t know maybe that would work but I doubt it and it would need concrete. Well, that’s out of my zone of things to think about.

Today is our no walk day and I don’t plan on going anywhere.

Five on Friday

The rug I bought for the entryway/B’s office space is way to big and the door hits it so it needs to go back to Costco. He turned his desk toward the wall so I moved a small rug I have in front of my little Ikea couch to put under his chair. It looks way better. I’m not a big fan of rugs everywhere so this is a good option for now. In the winter we do need small rugs to wipe our feet on but the rest of the time I pull them up.

We had a nice walk with only one other guy who showed up. We see him on a rare occasion but usually he walks on the side of the road. It was supposed to be raining so no one else was there ie; AH!! Or if he was, he was gone by the time we got there. So quite lovely.

We’re starting the painting this morning. I took all the jars off my wall shelves. I think we’re going to add another shelf for my larger Ball jars. I’ve been so frustrated with Ikea and them not having ANYTHING IN THE WAY OF PANTRIES FOR ALMOST A YEAR NOW. Next to the fridge is where I want a Sektion freestanding 4 door pantry. I’ve checked every week but still out of stock. I really don’t want to do something else as I like the Ikea line and it works well for us. I’m hoping that we can get down there in the next month and maybe I can speak with one of the kitchen design people and find out when it might be available. In the meanwhile the restaurant shelves will have to do.

I’m planning on starting a freezer/pantry clean out. I’d like to try and make all our meals from either the freezer/pantry for the next 2 weeks. So far I have

  • lamb chops, new spring potatoes, asparagus, and quiche for the veggies( B and whoever else doesn’t want lamb). We actually rarely it but once a year in spring I like to do some.
  • ravioli with Rao sauce
  • burgers on the BBQ both meat and veggie
  • tofu scramble with veggies, nuts, and seeds,
  • breakfast for dinner as we are getting so many eggs:)
  • split pea soup
  • lentil soup
  • turkey chili/vegetarian chili with cornbread
  • pasta night
  • frozen lasagna night
  • Another quiche, probably mushroom/gruyere
  • grilled chicken on the BBQ/tofu on the BBQ
  • polenta with cheese and sauce, salad
  • Thai something with rice, either tofu or chicken or chickpeas. I do have some dry chickpeas I need to use.

I’ve done the budget for April and the extras are Allstate car insurance, DMV for the Santa fe, the UCD extra fucked up bill, and think that’s all.

I was going to go to town but decided to wait till tomorrow and get a few more chores done since Thursday’s really not too productive with the Dex. Today though the energy is there so I might as well use it.

Friday Stuff…

Well, the biggest excitement is that our county just opened up vaccines to over 65 so we were able to schedule both of us for next week. We have to drive to Roseville but that’s okay at least we have an appt. I do expect I’ll get a fever and headache since even with a regular flu shot I do. But I’m 100% ok with that and will just deal with it. I’m pretty excited!!

I dropped off our property tax payment this week. I was going to do it with a cc but there was a fee(apprx. $25) for that so I decided to just write a check. So that saved the fee.

We went to Costco also and it was @ $600. So $350 was food and the rest non food( including organic chicken food) and alcohol. I’m guessing the next time were back is March sometime. I was hoping they had their fruit trees out but they didn’t. It’s a great place to get citrus trees at a very reasonable price.

Cooking wise, I made a marmalade cake and Wow!! It was amazing. The recipe was from Nigel Slater. It was like a pound cake batter with the marmalade mixed in. It was absolutely delicious.

My son made a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to cook Everything”. It was baked bread cod. It came out delicious. I had bought the Wild caught cod at Costco. It was pricey ($20)but it made enough for dinner and lunch so probably that made it about $3.00 a serving. We would eat more seafood if I bought it but usually I go with shrimp or salmon from Costco. So this was a nice change.

I’ve picked up the Benjamin Moore paint so I’ll be starting the 15 min. sessions this weekend.

Frugal Friday

I made all our bread and snacks this week. The sourdough seed bread was really good.

The chocolate sheet cake went pretty fast too. I used my new hand mixer and the frosting got nice and fluffy. This morning I’ve got a pan of brownies started and am thinking about making some scones as well.

We were going to order out pizza but then we all decided to just stick with homemade cheese and one with pepperoni. That all will save $40. minimum. Pizza is very expensive these days.

So with me being on Vel/Dex two days( Wed and Thurs) cooking dinner is a challenge so my daughter is doing Wednesday night pastas and my son is doing Thursday whatever. Last night he did a turkey pot pie and a tofu pot pie. Boy, were they ever delicious.

This is the tofu one in one of my small Lodge pans!!! He ate it all!!!! it had tofu, mushrooms, carrots, onions, cream, wine, salt and pepper. Yumm.

So because I was dexed up I paid a bill early:) I guess that counts as a frugal win since now it’s one less to do. Actually almost every bill we have, is paid directly except this one and PGE. PGE because we’re on their balance program so that your bill is averaged over the year. For some reason they don’t do auto pay for that.Go figure.

My VW( Buggie) got an oil change this week so that cost but since I drive it under 2,000 miles a year the last time it was done was late 2019 so it was time.

I still need to plan a small shop for lettuce, and a few things next week. I haven’t decided to just go to the Holiday here or actually do a Walmart pick up. I guess I’ll think about it since I won’t do it till Sunday or even Monday.

B went and bought another stack of boards to turn the corner on the fence. We will do 3 panels down to block off the neighbors hoard of junk. Then that will be done. Sometime when the weather turns sunny again I ‘ll get a gallon of redwood stain and paint it. I like painting overall so I don’t mind doing most of that.

Earlier in the week I redid one of the Heywood chair covers. I use painters canvas and it holds up well.

This is the only keyhole Heywood chair I have. The others are solid back. The key hole ones are more valuable.

Basically, you just cut the piece to fit and then staple down. Pretty easy. This is the piece that I took off. I plan on doing another one today.

It’s raining out and it looks like rain for the next week with temperatures colder. I guess that’s good. The mountains will get much needed snow.

Frugal Friday

It’s hard to keep writing about my boring life after watching the news and the disgrace of Pro-trump supporters. As many have said, there are no words that can really express the outrage and horror of it all. I just hope they get him out before it’s too late and he does something else.

This week I spent $90 at groceries down at our market. It’s more expensive but more convenient too. Plus it supports our local Holiday market. Next week I plan on Costco, so that won’t be frugal but I haven’t been there since the end of November so I guess that counts for something.

We spent $99 on smog/oil change for the van and I will do the DMV on line next week. This is our 21 year old van and it’s still going even if it is ‘pinkish’ ( the red paint on the hood is all faded to a pale red/pink color.:) But we still use for Home Depot trips. I love my van even if I don’t drive it very much. I mostly use my VW which is also 20 years old but the paint on that is perfectly fine.

Speaking of which, half the fence is up and that was another $150 for wood. So at least that much more to finish it. But it really looks nice. I’ll post a picture soon.

We still haven’t gotten our stimulus check as there was a problem with Turbo tax and the accounts. I did receive an email saying they were fixing the problem so that’s good at least. I’m guessing we will use some of that to finish the fence.

We had our propane tank filled this week too and that was $230. That usually lasts us 3 months or so. Our electric bill is still up there but since we’re on the balance payment plan it averages out. The weather has been in the 50’s and low 40’s at night so we aren’t use space heaters in the bedrooms. That should help next months bill.

We started watching Bridgerton and it’s quite good if you’re looking for a series. Plus the Money Heist is intense and superb. We just started Part 3. It’s in Spanish but subtitled.

My no spend month is going sort of ok. I bought a cookbook( Midnight Chicken) which is terrific. So that wasn’t needed but I do love cookbooks and to justify it, I am the COOK here so…( I also bought air filters for the air purifier so that was household. And I bought a pair of Levis. I only have 2 pairs of pants and the one I wear out to town and to doctor appts. It’s a pair of Levis in a dark wash. The other is light denim and is my around the house jeans . So I decided I needed something else to switch off with the other pair. They didn’t have the light denim so I bought black. Not sure how they will go for everyday wear but I’ll try. So I guess overall, I’ll see how the rest of the month goes. NO spend months aren’t usually completely no spend for me but I am much more aware of not just hitting the Amazon button:)

Five on Friday

Finally, it’s 2021. I’m not sure how great the year will be but I’m hopeful. I start Velcade mid month, as expected. I asked about getting my shots in Rocklin which is about 25 minutes away, and he said sure that would work. Mercy ( or Dignity Health),has a satellite facility there and it will make it easier. Unfortunately, I’ve fractured another rib so it’s smart that I’m starting now. Fractures, in case you don’t know about Myeloma, are one of the damaging aspects of this cancer. I’ve had multiple rib fractures, so I know what it feels like. Unfortunate, to have it happen right now and also quite painful. It limits how much stuff I can do around the house. With rib fractures there’s not much you can do. If it’s a vertebrate or another bone they can some intervention. Oh well, I’m just glad it’s not a vertebrate.

We had a fun New Years eve with sub sandwiches from our Holiday Market. We watched the newish Starsky and Hutch and it was fun. We didn’t crack the champagne but will today.

Budget wise, I came under $800 on groceries including holiday food and alcohol. This is the lowest I’ve had since the pandemic started and I was stockpiling every month. Into January I’ll try and keep it between $700-800. That includes food, non food, and alcohol.(mostly wine and some beer). I’m planning a Costco trip mid month so we’ll see how much that adds if I add in prepper stuff. I’m not planning to but will stockpile a few things like coffee, Rosarita veg. beans, TP, and a few other things. The rest is just stuff we need like cheese, fish, bread etc.

I’m starting another round of decluttering. Mostly this is paper stuff. I’m going thru all our old receipts, medical things and throwing away anything that isn’t needed. Also, little stuff in drawers, like old pens, screws etc. It probably won’t add up to a lot but I’m motivated to do another sweep. I also started a bag for the food bank with food I know we’re not going to really eat. ( I see you canned chicken:) ). There’s nothing big I’m decluttering like furniture since everything we have has already gone thru multiple layers of decluttering. Still, I always like to look at things from a fresh perspective.

I’ve made up my monthly meal plan.

I’m renaming Wednesdays, Pasta Wednesday since that will be my Velcade/Dex day. It’ll make it easier for the others to cook if they know what the plan is. 🙂 I also dashed out to Target to get one of their simple calendars. I loved the one from last year but they didn’t have quite that style. It’s funny how such a simple thing like a minimalist calendar is so hard to find. I checked all over and the nicest were like $20 and up. Even on etsy they were expensive. So Target had just what I wanted for $5.00. It was pretty empty just like I hoped.

Looking back at the year… and ahead!

The year that shall not be named, oh F#ck it, 2020, was certainly difficult.

All the Covid deaths, the necessary lockdowns, enormous food bills, canceling all our trips including Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc, and all the rest. Certainly, the election was totally anxiety-filled and still is until Biden is sworn in. The stuff trump is still pulling is appalling. ANd all the GOP spineless idiots. Some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths is truly mind-boggling. I read in the WP that the idiot( he’s a newly elected representative) that is possibly going to challenge the votes recently said,” he found out that there were three branches of government”. WTF? are you mentally challenged?

At least we’ve been healthy so there’s that. Both of my kids have their jobs, so that’s excellent.

Climate change is worrying with California fires and really no rain. We’ve had a few days but nothing like normal.

Barb, over at “Living Richly in Retirement”, is a great blogger. She recently moved to Texas( very brave in my opinion) and was just writing about going over her budget categories for the new year.

So I got to thinking that I’d like to do that too. I’m going to look back at food( of course the pandemic meant Instacart a number of times), what I spent on Amazon stuff( scary amount), and Home Depot( home improvement). Then I can realistically set some numbers for 2021. Like do we want to set a certain limit? I’m not sure. Basically, I usually look at , Can we afford it? So set amounts might be a good new way forward.

Catagories could be:

home improvements/ this might be just stuff around the house or bigger like the window replacements/

outside/yard stuff( especially in spring and summer we do spend a lot on seeds, plants, dirt/soil.

dining/take out. This isn’t too hard. I usually give us $50. which is pizza night and a taco night.

travel/camping, In a normal year when we go camping, it is paid for in advance, and usually, I bring or give us @ $200 for food or fun. I’d have to add up a normal year but based on 2019 I’d say $1,000.

Annual bills are fixed amounts so I know those numbers.

I’ll keep thinking of other areas too. Clothing etc is generally not a category as we really only buy something if we need it. I need some new Birkies this year and a new pair of jeans. Birthdays, anniversary, we don’t do much but it might be good to designate something.

Medical/ we have Medicare and supplemental plans so those amounts are in the monthly budget. We did get a SURPRISE ( not good) letter from UCD med center saying we still owed $2500 from Barclays transplant. I freaked out. So we’re waiting till she sends what it is in a letter. But I will call and challenge whatever it is as we were told over and over after we reached the deductible it was 100% covered so I have no idea where they are coming up with this. When we did the GoFundMe, $6000 of the 10,000 we got went to that deductible. So???? I’m not as freaked now since it usually takes me a few days to calm down but still it will need to be dealt with and how much going back to that paper work am I going to have to do??? Not happy about this. Plus, WTF, it’s now 18 months later.

Well, I’ll start my list with those things and see what else should be added.

Frugal Friday

It’s been an okay week. I was supposed to go to the eye doctor yesterday for my 6 month retinal scan for my macular pucker in my right eye but I woke up feeling lousy from allergy stuff I’m guessing. I called at 8am and asked to reschedule. Usually I just ‘plow‘ thru as is my nature but this time I just wasn’t up for ‘plowing’ thru. Fortunately, they were very nice and rescheduled me. Today I feel pretty much back to normal. Still a little sinusy.

Tuesday we had a fun day getting our Christmas tree in the Tahoe area. We stopped for coffee at our favorite place in Tahoe City, Tahoe House. They are a local establishment that’s been there as long as I can remember. There coffee is made with some fancy Swiss machine and is almost like a cappuccino with crema on top. Delicious. After that we headed down the lake and found the tree area and a nice tree.

This time of year in Tahoe is one of my favorite. Hardly any traffic and no tourists. Really lovely!!

There wasn’t much snow on the ground but what was there was very icy and made walking a bit treacherous. But it was fun and now the tree is up.

Obviously, we’re not using this whole tree.

Obviously, we’re not using that whole tree in our small house. You still need to cut the base off at 6 inches and the diameter can’t be more than 6 inches. We cut about 4 feet off and put that in the car to bring home for a Yule log. When we got home we cut an additional 4 feet to make another log and then I used the branches for wreath making and around the house.

The permit was $10. I bought it online and when I checked the next day they were already sold out. I think that happened one other year when we were too late.

I made a delicious beef stew in my new white Staub Cocotte. I waited since Black Friday last year for this deal to come up again. The pot is smaller than my Le Crueset and the design is somewhat different. Under the top are small points that catch the moisture and so the liquid doesn’t just evaporate. I simmered it on the stove most of the day and very if any liquid evaporated. I don’t know if the sale is still on, but if you’re looking for a small dutch oven this one is great.

I paid one of our cars DMV this week and the ‘ole’ van is due at the end of January. I budget these in to annual bills.

Today I’m doing a Walmart pickup for some fill ins like salad stuff and half and half. I think my next in store shop will be Trader Joes in a week or so. That way I can get what ever small things I need for Christmas dinner. We always do fondue Christmas eve and TJ’s has a very good fondue mix. I’m not planning on Costco till mid January and that will be because of coffee. I bought an extra bag last time so we should be set till mid January.

I’m planning to do a No spend month or even a No Spend couple of months. I don’t include groceries in that but NO AMAZON!!!! I’m sure, like most people, Amazon is so easy to just click buy and voila, it shows up. So that’s where I need to just stop that except if it’s a need for the house( like garbage bags or the filters for the air purifier).

Tonight is a pizza night, so I want to get the dough made before I go to Walmart so I’d better get going.

On Edge!!!

It’s Friday and we are still waiting for the results. Crazy.

All the articles in the Wash. Post about the Senate still having control is worrisome. McConnell, the asshole, will block everything. Is there any recourse?? I don’t know honestly, but hope someone can figure it out.

I think I’m going to tune out politics after the final tally and just go about my life. At least if Biden wins we will have some sense of decency back in the White House. I can hardly take another minute of trump and his lies, deceit, undermining democracy and on and on.

We watched V is for Vendetta last night. If you haven’t seen it, you should . It is frightening to see what can happen when an authoritarian /dictator takes over. The story is takes place in London but still relevant especially when it references ex-America.( meaning America as we know it no longer exists).

Well, on to more mundane things. We went to Costco yesterday and spent $500. But half of that was Christmas stuff plus beer for B and Z. I tried to get most of the stuff I needed that was on coupon and did well. I got a new Crock Pot that was $10 off, cereal, yogurt, Kodiak pancake stuff. All in all, I saved $75.00. So I call that a win. We picked up a tin of cookies for our post office and a container of Caramels for another gift. We picked up 2 sets of pj’s for B and Z and I got the new Ina Garten cookbook for Christmas. So really food ended up about $250 I’d say.

We have our first cloudy cool day in like forever and it’s a wonderful change. It was supposed to rain and there were maybe 10 sprinkles but at least it’s cloudy.

I’ve been going full board on the sourdough bread. I decided to go back to Tartine and yes, even though it takes longer, it is the best. I’ll post some pictures once they are uploaded.

Well, I’m off to anxiety land waiting….