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Archive for July, 2020

August Grocery Spending Challenge

July 29th, 2020 at 03:33 pm

I decided to do a grocery spending challenge for myself for the month of August. This is a problem area for me, so I want to try and keep myself accountable by posting how I’m doing here. Plus, I think challenges can be fun!

In July I spent $198.21. I am a single person so that is just for me! I’m also not on any kind of special diets and I don’t buy all organic. I do intend to continue to eat a healthy diet of fresh fruits and veggies and try and stay away from too much processed foods. I’m not trying to only eat rice and beans all month (although I like rice and beans)! This is for food only, not any household, personal care products or pet supplies. Part of this challenge is to really pay attention to what I already have in my pantry, fridge and freezer. I have some things, but I’m not starting out fully stocked. I anticipate my first grocery shop of the month will be a larger sized one, and then hopefully smaller shops the rest of the month.

My goal is to spend less than I did in July. To make it more interesting I will place a goal of spending $20 less then July and see how I do.
If anyone wants to join me for this challenge, I’ll be posting a weekly update where you can also post your progress. Please join in if you would like!


July 22nd, 2020 at 02:30 pm

Financial Update:
My car insurance company issued a refund for June for $15.19. This is a continuation of offering this discount that was given to all customers in April and May.

I rolled up $25 in pennies and cashed them in to my bank. They were happy to take them.

So far for July I cashed out from both Swagbucks and My Points for a total of $150. I use the cash payout to Paypal, then just transfer the cash to my bank.

I am on track to stay under budget for July.

Upcoming Purchases:
I will be purchasing a filtered pitcher of some sort (like Britta) so I can stop buying bottled water. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time. I will wait until August, so it comes out of that month's budget.

I am researching treadmills. I need to exercise more, and I prefer walking. I had an old one several years ago and I did consistently use it. The weather here has been so hot and humid that it is limiting my ability to walk outdoors, and it gets way too cold in the winter. When I retired my plan was to use the gym at the college (which I can use for free as a retiree benefit) but who knows when it will reopen. And it will just be nice to not have to go anywhere on bad weather days or when I am just too lazy to go out!

Prepping: (I am prepping for Fall just in case)
I have been building up all my paper supplies, vitamins, cleaners, hand sanitizer and any other household and personal care products that I use. I am in pretty good shape with these types of products overall.

I have also just begun to stock my pantry. I only stock up on food items that I usually eat. I have some rice, beans (I use these for chili) pasta, pasta sauce, canned soup and meats (tuna and chicken). I will wait until later in August to stock up on freezer food. I’m really cutting back on the amount of meat I eat. I buy just a few extra things every time I go to the grocery store.

Life: Things are going pretty well overall. I am staying busy with reading, puzzles, word games, sketching, cleaning and safely visiting with my brother and my best friend to socialize a little. I feel like I have fallen into a pretty good routine, which is good for me since I function much better overall with some structure to my days! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.

Mid Month Spending Update

July 16th, 2020 at 08:20 pm

My spending so far this month is at $1326.15. All my regular monthly bills for July have been paid except for my cell phone bill which will be due later in the month. The only other spending I anticipate will be one more small grocery shop. I still have $173.85 left for the month to cover those costs, more than enough.

When I first retired, I set a strict monthly budget of $1500. I was a little worried that would be too restrictive and I wouldn’t have much left for a few indulgences here and there, but so far so good! I spent $140 for a salon visit (color, cut, style and a generous tip) and I picked up some takeout a couple of times, so I’m able to splurge a little here and there.

The salon visit went well. They keep the front door locked so there is no walk-in traffic. When I walked in the first thing I noticed was the smell of Lysol! The salon was spotless.They took a temperature check and asked me a few screening questions. There were only 3 employees there, my stylist, one other and the receptionist. The only person to get close to me was my stylist who wore both a face mask and one of those full plastic face shields. She also shampooed me, no separate shampoo person. I went with a short bob style that I love. I won’t have to go back for a few months, and we will see how things are going at that time. This visit gave me such a boost! A little bit of normalcy in a dark time.

CB In the City’s post earlier today got me thinking about all the loose change I have so I started rolling it up. Once I get a decent amount together, I’ll take it to the bank and cash it in. A national shortage of change is another thing happening as a result of this pandemic that I never thought I would see.

I made some loose plans to go over to my brother’s sometime this weekend for dinner, probably burgers on the grill and sitting outside which we love to do. And my BF and I continue to walk together a few times a week, so I’m getting enough socializing to keep me sane. I think being an introvert is coming in handy! Stay safe and well everyone.

Breakfast For A Dollar

July 12th, 2020 at 08:18 pm

I went to the grocery store today and spent $62.05. I am well stocked for the next two weeks. Aldi had a great sale on eggs at .49 cents a dozen (large eggs). I picked up two cartons. Just for fun, and because I am somewhat bored, I calculated the cost of breakfast each day using the eggs, toast, butter and coffee:

2 eggs: .08 cents (this would be more usually, but I am using the Aldi’s sale eggs)
1 slice of bread: .20 cents
Butter on toast: .10 cents (not exactly sure but it can’t be any more than this, I don’t use a lot)
Coffee: .27 cents
Creamer: .10 cents
Grand Total .75 cents!

Sometimes I will throw some veggies in my eggs if I have any leftover, like peppers and onions to make more of an omelet. If I do this, I would add on another .25 cents, making the total $1.00. This is a typical breakfast for me. When I first get up, I drink a bottle of water (16.9 oz) to hydrate, then have my meal. I really don’t mind eating the same thing every day, but if I want something different, I’ll have oatmeal and fruit.

I also made a pot of creamy potato soup using the free potatoes I got last week. I’ll be having that this week for either lunch or dinner, along with a spinach salad. I can’t imagine that this soup cost more than $1.00 a bowl. It was a basic recipe but very good!

I stopped at CVS to pick up a prescription and a case of water. At the checkout they had very large bottles (32 oz.) of Germ X moisturizing gel hand sanitizer for sale. It was $9.99 and I was running low, so I picked it up. This will last me a very long time. The water was $2.99. So, for both items the total was $12.98. I used $13 of extra bucks to pay for it so my cost was zero.

I have an appointment on Tuesday to get my hair colored and cut. I really need a haircut! I haven’t been to the salon since the very beginning of March before everything shut down. My stylist said they are strictly adhering to all the required safety rules including reduced staff and customers, sanitizing the stations between each use, wearing masks, and the required distance between stations. She’s a good friend so I trust she is being extremely careful.

Not much else happening, it was a quiet weekend. I hope everyone is well!

A few errands

July 8th, 2020 at 06:51 pm

It is extremely hot and humid in Maryland today. Summer is not my favorite season. The humidity just seems to drain all my energy really quickly. I did venture out to run a few errands though. I had a coupon from my grocery store for a free 10-pound bag of russet potatoes. I dropped half of these off to my brother as I will never eat that many! I’ll need to find some recipes for what to do with the rest.
Then I went over to CVS and bought 5 bottles of shampoo, and a 6-roll pack of paper towels (the really big, jumbo rolls). After using coupons and extra bucks I paid $5.69 out of pocket, and .95 cents of that was tax. I also received another $10 extra buck to use on a future purchase. Extra bucks are just like cash, you can use them on anything you want to buy. CVS is giving away a free item a day to its CVS Carepass members through next week. Today’s item was an apricot facial scrub, worth $4.39, I think. So that was a nice freebie.

A friend from work called me to vent a little about having to physically go back to work. She has been working from home.The college is reopening and ending the work from home option on August 1st. She is really worried about being exposed to COVID. Everyone is required to wear masks, and all staff will be given the full plastic face shields as well. There will be temperature checks, and they have hired safety monitors to patrol the campus and buildings to be sure students are being compliant with wearing masks, and social distancing. There will also be extensive cleaning efforts by the maintenance staff. They are going to try and offer only one third of classes in person, with a third being virtual, and a third being a hybrid combination. Class sizes will also be smaller so students can spread out in the classroom.

I can’t even imagine how this is going to work in K-12. What a decision for parents to have to make for their children. Is it safe to send them back? How will the buses work? Cafeterias? Does it do more harm to their development to keep them home? I know that the public-school system in my county sent out a survey to all parents for input on what they would like to see. So much to consider.