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Archive for June, 2006

looking back on the last six months

June 30th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Six month averages

Savings: $171 per month
- Definitely not as high as it could be!

Normal bills: $788 per month

Medical bills & prescriptions: $118 per month
- Much higher than usual with all this chiropractic/headache care stuff

House/Pet needs: $168 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Food (including eating out and snacks at work): $260 per month
- Way too high. My grocery bills may put me in the Thrifty Plan of the USDA chart, but eating out is busting my budget.

Entertainment: $175 per month
- Pretty high, what with all the crafting, photo-taking, and anniversary celebrating.

Gifts: $88 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Personal products/Clothing/Haircuts/Massages: $158 per month
- Pretty high for not having had a massage for half of those months - it's the spring/summer clothes.

Gasoline/Parking/Car Maintenance: $213 per month
- So high only because I finally fixed the car in March! Without that, only $63 per month.

The worst part about this? The average total spent is more than I take home per month. *sigh*

It's easy to feel like this!



(taken at the Como Zoo in March)

a few photos

June 29th, 2006 at 07:31 am

Our stay at a bed and breakfast was wonderful. It was nice to take a day off in the middle of the week and bask in the sunshine. We rode our bikes all over town and enjoyed the perfect spring weather! This was one of my favorite views of the Mississippi:



All in all, we had a great anniversary, and neither of us wanted to come home.

Ways we saved money:
- Used our $95 in cash back from our credit card to help pay for our room at the bed and breakfast.
- Used two Entertainment Book half-off coupons for lunch and a coffee break. Saved $10.
- Bought four pieces of pottery, three of which came from the "seconds" room, so we got 10% off. I bought an awesome "seconds" cookie jar with a new lid and saved $10. We took an hour-long tour of the pottery factory, and since we had made a purchase, the tour was only $.50 each.

Last weekend we visited the Arboretum - here's a pretty photo:



and, as promised, a photo of the hidden waterfall near the campground we stayed at a few weeks ago (SO took this one):

Target is the bane of my existence

June 26th, 2006 at 02:03 pm

and I was doing so well...

SO and I went out for ice cream on Saturday night. If anyone living in or visiting the Twin Cities has not yet been to Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul, GO! It's a little pricey but so worth it. It's delicious, rich, homemade ice cream, and they put a little malted milk ball in the bottom of your waffle cone to prevent ice cream leaks. So cool! It's a good thing I don't live nearby. Afterwards we stopped by Walmart and $65 spontaneously flew out of our hands and into their cash registers.

The next day we went to the Arboretum...such a gorgeous place. I had never been. Next time, we'll bring a picnic basket and lie in the shade of the trees. Even with a full parking lot, it was easy to avoid the crowds. Afterwards, we went to Target, The Bane of My Existence. Yes, we needed cereal and yes, we needed a wedding gift. But $206? *sigh* We'll see how long we can go without visiting the grocery store/Target again.

I had made some financial goals for June, simply because I couldn't not make goals. Unfortunately the eating out/Target/groceries goal is a distant memory. I am happy to report, however, that I have only driven to work three times this whole month. Rock!

SO and I made our anniversary B&B reservation. I'm soooo looking forward to it. Smile Four years together certainly flew by.

Also looking forward to the chiropractor tonight! I think my new headache meds might be helping ever so slightly, so it will be nice to report an improvement.

And now for my latest career thoughts...I like researching people. I can find things on the internet like nobody's business and it's fun for me. I think it would be fascinating to do geneology research or work in a history museum doing research. I found a MA program in Milwaukee that sounded interesting - a double degree in Anthropology and Library Science. Still tossing it around in my head. It's 51 credits and about $9K per year if I'd get Minnesota reciprocity. I don't know that a degree is necessary, but it certainly is difficult to get a job at the Minnesota History Museum. and...Milwaukee??

I have contemplated being a private investigator, since that deals with researching people too. I just couldn't be the one sitting in the car for hours staking out the cheating husband, you know? I'd much rather be in the office, looking up information.

striving to not spend

June 20th, 2006 at 09:01 am

Not spending is going fairly well here. Every time I think about going shopping, I remind myself of the fact that I will most likely only have $12 left in my account at the end of this month. Not much wiggle room.

Free lunch today, courtesy of my employer. Can't complain!

On Sunday we went to a friend's barbeque and swam all afternoon. It was lovely and fairly inexpensive...just had to buy a few groceries. Last night we visited SO's parents and had dinner with them for a belated Father's Day gathering. Free food and lots of love, as always. I'm dragging today, since we didn't get home until around midnight.

This week I'm meeting a friend for dinner (hoping it won't be too expensive) and maybe going to the zoo with another friend. Next week I have a chiropractic appt, and we both took our anniversary off from work. We'll hopefully be going to a bed and breakfast (SO has yet to make reservations, so we'll see about that). We both agreed not to give each other gifts, but what did SO's parents do? Bought us something! I have no idea what it is but I am a little afraid of how much it cost. Every time we see them, it's like Christmas.

Have to make a vet appointment for one of the kitties...dreading the cost of that. Perhaps that's why I've put it off all month?

Cercis?

June 13th, 2006 at 01:18 pm

I haven't seen Cercis around lately (since April)... has anyone been in contact with her?

can't..keep..eyes..open..

June 13th, 2006 at 12:19 pm

I visited the doctor again yesterday and started a new headache medication last night. The beta-blocker high blood pressure med was just not doing it for me. The fatigue and insomnia I could deal with, but once the crazy mood swings, bouts of depression, and worse headaches kicked in - forget it.

I've switched to an old school anti-depressant that is now used mainly for chronic pain. I hope it helps. I am so incredibly tired today that I overslept until 7:20, drove to work, and took a lunchtime nap in my car. I forsee an extremely early bedtime tonight. I'm sure it is a side effect of the new medication. The great thing about it? $5 for a 90 day supply. Can't beat that. The doctor said if this doesn't work, then we'll try anti-seizure meds, and if that doesn't work, I'm off to the neurologist.

Our camping trip was very nice, even though it rained the entire time and our camping mattress deflated in the middle of the night. We were still able to have a fire and eat s'mores (the most important part!). We hiked to a pretty little waterfall and I took a bunch of photos - I'll post some as soon as I can.

Otherwise, just trying to keep June's spending under control and hoping beyond hope that the CT scan bill isn't enormous.

My landlords are getting married next month, and though we aren't invited to their very small wedding, we feel we should give them a little something. We don't know them really well, and I've found a couple of their registries (Crate and Barrel is wayyy out of our price range). They are really into their yard and gardening, though, so maybe I could put together a gardening basket of sorts...

whirlwind zoo trip

June 8th, 2006 at 07:07 pm

We only had half an hour at the free zoo tonight, so I only got one photo. Cutiepie, though.

trying to whittle down costs

June 8th, 2006 at 01:51 pm

I'm trying to be good this month.

- No more cash withdrawals this month. Parents left $40 tacked to the fridge again, so I'm going to make it last.

- Trying not to drive, which saves on gasoline and on parking costs at work.

- Going to the chiropractor every other week instead of every week.

- Received cashback check from credit card, so we have about $100 to play with for our anniversary.

- Going to go through the pantry tomorrow night and use what's there for our camping trip. We'll need more chocolate bars for s'mores, but they are on sale at the grocery store. Just have to walk in, pick up the chocolate, walk out. No browsing.

- No more Target trips this month. (No, I'm not kidding!) I have plenty of everything and don't need anything.

- Brought the Entertainment Book with me today, because I'm walking with my friend after work and we'll probably get some dinner afterwards. If we can use a buy one get one free certificate, awesome!

- Using those free Coke coupons, even though cashiers are quite befuddled by them.

- Currently obsessed with pandora.com, which gives me free music to listen to and new bands to add to my amazon wishlist. It's fantastic because all you have to do is type in a song or a band you like, and it plays similar bands/songs. It's based on songwriting styles, chord structures, and instrumentation rather than "alternative bands" or "pop music". Love it.

camping!

June 7th, 2006 at 08:34 am

I'm going camping this weekend!! Yeah!!! First camp-out of the season for me. Big Grin I am soooo excited.

I'm amazed by how expensive camping is, though...$18 for one campsite for one night, and $8.50 to reserve it (a must around here, if you want a campsite!). Luckily we already have a yearly parking pass. Yikes.

Fresh air, being closer to nature, hiking around and taking photos -definitely worth it. It's supposed to be perfect camping weather, 75 degrees and sunny.

I sent a gift box of grass-fed beef jerky to my dad for Father's Day. Not exactly homemade, but I know he'll like it.

homemade Father's Day gift?

June 5th, 2006 at 02:38 pm

I finally called the doctor's office today, and the CT scan was perfectly normal. YAY! and *whew*. I'm so glad.

The only thing is...what's up with these headaches? The daily ones are getting worse, not better. I'm going to give this med another week, and if it hasn't improved by then, I'll be going back to the doctor. Has anyone tried antidepressants to treat headaches? That may be my next step.

My family visited this weekend, and we had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, so we grilled fresh peppers, onions, red potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and salmon (for the fish-eaters). I made trifle for dessert. I baked a wonderful banana bread for breakfast, too. I felt good about their visit, since they didn't have to buy any meals. I spent a bit on groceries, but it was worth it.

I'm trying to come up with a homemade Father's Day gift. Any ideas? I'm well past the point of drawing cute pictures for him and I don't have any kids to do it for me. I don't think the kitties would like me to dip their paws in paint...

I wish I knew exactly how much the CT scan is going to cost...it could be anywhere from $40-$90, depending on how they bill it. That will determine if I have any wiggle room in my budget.

waiting for the phone call

June 2nd, 2006 at 10:17 am

The CT scan is over. I had it done early yesterday morning. It was a bit uncomfortable and my teeth ached all day afterwards, but it was a quick procedure.

I'm waiting to hear from the doctor about the results. *insert Jeopardy music here*

I still have daily headaches, but I've only been on the blood pressure meds for a week. I'm soooooooo tired! It's got to be a combination of the meds, poor sleep, and staring at the computer all day.

They've updated our tech environment at work and now many of my favorite sites are blocked. I hope this one isn't the next to go. I have no idea how I will manage if that happens!

Speaking of jobs - I did not get that job I interviewed for, the ridiculously long one interview one. I'm glad I didn't get it. After stating that I wasn't chosen for the job, they graciously offered to give me a free half-hour analysis of my test results. (We didn't like you, and here's why?) Uh, no thanks. I talked to some friends and found out that they know people who have worked for that company and were absolutely miserable...so I'm glad it worked out this way.

To pass the time, I've been checking out homes for sale again. SO would really like to buy a house. There are some cute ones out there...but how much can we truly afford? and what about that pesky miserable winter thing? We're going to make a pros and cons list. The thought of moving all of my stuff again so soon doesn't thrill me, either...but if the place I lived in was MINE...it might be worth it.