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Archive for August, 2017

There is such a thing as a free lunch...

August 31st, 2017 at 11:55 am

This week, all of my lunches have been paid for as I'm participating in a company certification appraisal. I rarely eat out anymore, so it's been a treat to not have to pack lunch. Today's the last day, so we're eating out rather than ordering in.

I had bought a ton of food last weekend, but my lunches were so big that I often only ate half and ate the other half for dinner. Yesterday, I ate the whole thing for lunch, but ended up feeling full the rest of the evening except for a small snack plate of chips and homemade guac.

We're definitely good on groceries as we haven't even touched the fruit/sandwich things and still have plenty of leftovers. I decided to go back up to PA this weekend to visit DH again. He comes home next Saturday, but I miss him and it's a less than 5 hour drive. Tonight, I will turn the leftover rice and corn into stuffed bell peppers for my brothers to have enough food to get them through the weekend.

Paying the piper...

August 30th, 2017 at 12:55 pm

...or you know, the credit card. The first of several large payments is set up to take out on Friday - $1200 which will bring the card down to 2900. The next two Fridays will have $1000 payments (DH's per diem reimbursements) bringing it down to $900. Next Friday, DH will also get overtime in his regular paycheck of about $800 which means we should be able to pay off the credit card in full! While it sucks that my husband worked so hard for a month and won't have much to show for it at the end, I am so grateful that this string of bad luck didn't derail us further.

Savings is up to 310.08.

DH got some potentially awesome news, but I don't want to talk about it and jinx it. Please keep your fingers crossed for us because it'd be a big blessing if it comes through!

Chase Marriott Paydown

August 24th, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Things are moving along here. This week, I've just been focused on making it through, but the past two days, I've started being productive again. I sent a large payment in to the Marriott card before the statement closed. For some background, the Marriott card is the only credit card we routinely use anymore. For more than 6 months now, we've been paying it in full. We don't put all of our expenses on it - just health insurance, DH's soccer tickets, and Sling TV (all of which are in the budget). Since we're still working on getting a handle on the credit cards, I'm leery of putting everything on it and not being able to pay it all in full by the due date. Typically, the card closes with about $300 on it, and we pay it in full. With the animals, car repairs, and 2 impulse purchases, we've run that card way up. Last statement balance was $1670, and this one is $4100. We were able to pay the last one in full and with a lot of diligence and a bit of luck, I think we'll be able to swing this one.

It's a bummer that all of DH's extra money has to go to those things instead of furthering our other goals, but I'm at least grateful that we're in a much better financial position to be able to weather these things without adding to our debt.

The emergency fund is up to $285. I'm going to add $20 to it on Friday to get it over $300.

Impromptu Weekend Trip, More Car Troubles, and Some Payments

August 21st, 2017 at 12:44 pm

DH is out of town for work. He decided he didn't need the weekly trip into town to the nice hotel moving forward, but since it was nonrefundable for this weekend, he stayed there. I was really missing him, so I decided to drive the 4ish hours up and visit him this weekend. We had a blast, and it was pretty low-spend. Besides gas, I spent less than $10 on the way up for a few travel snacks and a case of water for DH. DH paid for our dinner (Papa John's) out of his weekly allowance since he hadn't spent much. On Sunday morning, we were both awake pretty early, so we had the free breakfast at the hotel and decided to make a quick trip up to his normal hotel. There's a waterfall not far from it that was beautiful. We also went into the state park. DH found a trail that leads to a bunch more waterfalls (including a 40' one!), but we couldn't take it since I hadn't bought hiking boots. We also found a lake on top of a mountain and a beautiful beach.

Around 2 pm, I went to leave. I had just gotten on the highway when my tire pressure sensor came on. Apparently, our terrible luck with tires hasn't run out yet. Fortunately, there was a Wal-Mart at the next exit that was able to repair the tire for only $10. Since I wasn't far, DH came and got me since it was at least an hour and a half wait. Even though it sucked leaving much later than I wanted, I'm glad we got another couple of hours together. My sensor light is still on, but the car's driving fine. I made it the 4 hours, so it's holding the air, but I need to take my car in to our normal guy to have him double-check the tire and see if he can reset the light.

I did manage to send a $300 payment in Friday to the credit card we'd been using, so that was the last payment to cover the entire bill in full. The next bill hits the 23rd, so we'll need to come up with about $5k to avoid interest. I had apparently been getting DH's return date wrong, so he'll have another week of per diem and overtime. That should give us everything we need to pay off the card in full by the due date.

One Thing After Another

August 17th, 2017 at 01:36 pm

It's just one thing after another. I'm actually embarrassed to type it all out, but the short version is...we've spent about $6k this month. Most of it necessary, some of it frivolous. The only positive is that by my calculations from DH's overtime/per diem, we should only be short a couple hundred by the time the credit card bill is due. I think I can make up that deficit by keeping grocery/miscellaneous funds low. DH decided he didn't need the hotel in the city one night a week, so in the future weeks, we'll save that $200 from his per diem/reimbursement money.

DD2 ended up sick this past weekend which amounted to another $700 vet visit. She's feeling much better. She's still on meds and since she hates pills, it's a bit of a pain treating her.

Upcoming expenses include our $800 car tax bill and my friend's wedding which will necessitate a couple of day's hotel expenses, plus spending money. I do still have our Marriott Rewards card free night, so we'll probably use that to take out one of the nights.

DD1's Pathology Results

August 4th, 2017 at 12:00 pm

I forgot to add that we got the pathology results for DD1's tail lump. It was indeed cancer - grade 2 spindle cell sarcoma. That type has a low rate of metastasizing. The other good news is that the sample had defined boundaries, so they're pretty confident that they got it all. We'll definitely have to monitor him, but it looks like he may be in the clear.

His energy is back more than ever. I didn't even realize how much he'd mellowed until these past few days. I knew he was calmer, but I'd attributed it to age. It's good to see his exuberance back, but it's also exhausting because I thought we were past the constant energy phase. I will just enjoy my 8.5 year old puppy while I can.

It Never Hurts to Ask

August 4th, 2017 at 11:27 am

I may be totally wrong, but I feel like someone said this the other's my version of that.

DH is slated for some more out of town work starting the week after next. He gets a lump sum (just under a grand) each week for food and lodging. Whatever he doesn't use is still his to keep. He'll be in Nowheresville and there's not a lot of options. His crew chief had suggested a place that runs $50/night. I called a handful of places yesterday with questions regarding everything from wifi to hot plate/fridge policies to longterm availability (although DH pointed out this morning that I forgot to ask about laundry facilities...). One of my questions was about discounts regarding long-term reservations. I was hoping for a 10 or 20% discount, but this particularly place offered me almost 50%!! It's normally actually $65 and she offered it to me at $35/night plus taxes/fees for 7 nights. So DH is officially booked there for one week . It'll be great to be able to bank that money, but I also told him if it's absolutely miserable to let me know and we'd move him elsewhere. There's some more decent options a half hour away, but I'm trying to avoid having him commute after working a 10-12 hr. day.

Since there's no fridge/microwave/hot plate there, we'll have to figure out food. I think we're going to stock up on those tuna packets for lunch, but dinner's a little more difficult. We have some MREs. The hotel is also a restaurant though, and I told DH that even if he ended up eating there every evening, it was okay. While their fancier entrees run $20 and up, they do have a $5 burger and most subs/salads were under $10. If anyone has any suggestions for meals that don't require any refrigeration/cooking and have a stable shelf life, I'd be grateful for suggestions. Other than peanut butter/banana sandwiches, I couldn't really think of anything.

Dog Update (amongst other things)

August 1st, 2017 at 12:53 pm

DD1 had his tail amputation last Thursday. He is recovering nicely and goes back this afternoon for his follow-up to check the incision. It was a bit of a shock to see him and those first two days were really rough to watch the poor guy struggle to go to the bathroom and get comfortable.

Total surgery cost ended up being just over $1500. With that, his xrays, his annual shots/wellness visit, and my car repairs, we've managed to put $3k on a credit card that I had previously had paid off. (For those keeping track, the other tire was also patched and is so far holding up, so no expenses there...) The good news is that I think we can avoid interest on it. DH has had some very decent paychecks lately with the out-of-town work since he gets both overtime and per diem. He owed his boss $1500 that his boss had fronted him to cover expenses since they don't get reimbursed until after. We were really diligent and had that set aside from his first few reimbursements. When he handed his boss the check, he asked my husband if he needed some more time to pay it back. DH said it felt really good to say, 'Nope!' Small victories, I guess.

We have $800 overtime extra from this past paycheck, one more expense reimbursement of about $500, and overtime of about 20 hours on his next paycheck to apply to the $1500 balance that is due on the CC this month. The other $1500 (the surgery itself) will be due mid-September.

DH is slated to go out of town again starting next week for anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Other guys who have done that work said it's guaranteed 60-hr. workweeks and pretty easy work. DH is loving the new skills he's getting and hopes to be promoted by the end of the year.

The savings account still has $200 set aside. Adding $50 this month, plus $5-$10 every time I resist temptation to eat out. We're going to leave this alone and do our best to cash flow the recent expenses.

My certification studying is still going, and I'm still trying to make some progress on debt payoff while treading water. I did send an extra $75 payment to my personal loan that I was hoping would be gone by now. I also used the rent money from my brother to eliminate the interest-bearing balance on my Capital One CC. The remainder is interest free for a bit. It's painful to see 3-4 balances under the grand mark that we just can't eliminate due to life happening, but we're trying!