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Medical Expenses

June 7th, 2018 at 04:29 am

I don't budget for medical as we are rarely ill and our insurance covers pretty much everything when we are. We also have a rather large emergency fund.

One of my daughter's and I are now seeking care from a provider who cannot be reimbursed by our insurance. Our insurance simply doesn't cover this common treatment. So out of pocket it is.

Our initial exams with diagnostic tests were $199 each, or $398. I had nearly all this in our emergency fund set aside at the beginning of the month. So that was easy.

I paid $1152 for a series of visits that will cover both of us through the summer. This was a 30% discount offered for paying in one full payment. That is a significant savings. So on the charge card it went. And since we never pay interest on credit cards, I went looking for funds. I found $300 set aside for eyeglasses, but we aren't in current need of those. And finally, the easiest thing to do was to use some of Big Goal Savings we had accumulated this year that was still sitting in our checking account.

I would have preferred not to pull from the Big Goal money, but I think our health needs are a bigger need. My goal is to pay ourselves back, we may have extra vacation funds later this summer, or after I evaluate the funds I have for tuition and housing I may have some to throw from there.

Cash saved gets you the medical you want that the insurance companies will not pay for. Cash is freedom!

A Gift and an Injury

April 21st, 2018 at 06:44 am

My parents send my husband and I a $100 check every year for our anniversary. This year was no different. We usually save the money, rarely making a purchase. So yes, we deposited that money into our savings account to count towards our Big Goal.

As far as other snowflakes, I redeemed Amex rewards equal to $25 this week. I also transferred $3.49 from a small eBay sale to our savings account. I have two items I need to list to hopefully bring in a few more dollars.

I got a call from my oldest daughter yesterday with concern she may have fractured a bone in her foot. It was a goofy thing where her foot got trapped between her chair and her desk, so a bit crushed on the side of her left foot. She iced it and went to bed. Woke up and found it very painful to even walk. Somehow she managed to hobble around campus, and late in the day went in for an xRay. Luckily no break or fracture, just a bone contusion. So she has instructions to rest, ice, and elevate. My mom gave her some Ace bandages to use for compression. And the doctor said she could take up to three ibuprofen for pain. My daughter was shocked at the dosage suggested. She is one to stay away from all drugs as much as possible.

About two weeks ago, we realized our daughter was dropped from our insurance because she turned 21. Luckily we got right on it and updated her information to show she is enrolled full time in college. But then yesterday, I questioned my husband that it really did take effect. Initially, it seemed that no it had not. He did some sort of online enrollment and then did get a letter emailed to him before she arrived at the clinic. The visit is free at the University Health clinic (up to five per year), but the xRays will need to go through insurance. She has a $150 deductible so that will need to be met before insurance pays. It is worth it for piece of mind, knowing she didn't break it...just felt like it!

It's a beautiful day here, were going out for a hike! Enjoy your weekend. Stay frugal and healthy.

Using It Up: Butternut Squash

March 30th, 2018 at 10:31 am

I guess it was January when I last made a point of using things up. I was doing an Uber Frugal Month with spending and using things we already had on hand was part of making that work.

I had some diced butternut squash in the fridge that I didn't even get to then! It's almost April! Late this morning, I threw the squash in a saucepan with garlic, onion, ginger and carrots to saute' for several minutes. Oh yes, there was salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. I added some chicken broth (made from bouillon) and simmered for another ten minutes. And then in the end added a cup of milk (I was going to use coconut milk, but it had gone bad, oops!). Finally, blended it with my immersion blender.

My food stores are still pretty limited from the Uber Frugal month. To me this means we are buying only what we will actually eat and use! Far less food waste or extra money spent.

I know it's a holiday weekend for many and could mean more spending on groceries, but be sure to check your pantry before you go shopping. Maybe you already have ingredients you need, or possibly you have something on hand that could be used instead of something you think you need to buy.

Yesterday, I listed six new items to eBay. These were items we found this month to let go. These were ones that may have a chance of selling for a few dollars. I'm hoping for some quick sales!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend! Stay frugal out there. Smile

Not Afraid of Vegetables & Fruit

January 10th, 2018 at 05:44 am

Patient Saver commented on my last blog post this morning pointing out that not all carbs are bad for you. She is absolutely right. I didn't specify in my last post that I'm eliminating refined carbs as much as possible. I am still eating lots of vegetables and some fruit at every meal. I like bread too much and because my daughter practically only eats refined carbs as the basis of her diet, I eat them too. So working on eating less of those and even more vegetables. We actually did really well in 2017 adding more vegetables into our daughter's diet. The stuffed peppers from the other night...new to her. She was willing and scarfed it down before her pasta.

Today, I'm making a Pumpkin Lentil Soup for dinner to use up some mini peppers that are slightly past their prime but still good. I also have a can of pumpkin on hand and will use up the rest of my red lentils.

As I'm writing this I'm eating one of six halo oranges that have been around from the holidays. Between my daughter and I we should have no problem eating them before they go bad. I'll make some eggs later to round up my breakfast. I just checked the fridge and I probably should have the leftover taco meat for lunch. I will likely end up eating them with tortillas (refined carb). If I still had romaine, I'd make a taco salad. Smile

Last night we had apple spiced pork chops with mixed vegetables and corn bread. That used up a wilting apple and the mixed vegetables and the last of the corn bread mixes. I only ate one corn bread muffin. There is a leftover pork chop. I will offer it to DH with his soup tonight. If not I have two choices, freeze it or eat if for lunch tomorrow.

So far the only spending since Sunday has been gas for my husband's car. Although he hasn't entered the receipt so maybe there is other spending. I will need to buy him shaving cream today, but I'm going to buy that at Target and use the gift cards we have on hand. I think I need one other thing, but otherwise no other spending.

Also, I think there has been some spending on textbooks and , but those have been budgeted for and can't be helped in a uber frugal challenge. Other than renting or buying used. Not sure what my daughter has done this semester, but she is not officially in the challenge. Smile

I found out my parents are coming to visit. Arriving on the last day of this month, and they stay for 11 days! They won't be here the entire time (also visiting friends that live the next state over), but I think this means that the challenge for me will likely end at the end of the month. I originally wanted to go through the first week of February. That will just be a bit more difficult with guests. So three weeks to go!!

How are you doing eating all the food? How do you feel you are doing with the Uber Frugal Challenge?

Netflix Increasing & Be Kind

December 5th, 2017 at 01:27 pm

I had an email this morning that our Netflix subscription amount is changing from $11.99 per month to $13.99 a month. Sounds like their will be more programs and the ability to download for later watching as benefits. Never a fan of price increases, but we will stick with Netflix for now.

Purchased my daughter some vitamins on Amazon today. I used the Discover cash back for a credit of $2.38. Final cost was $12.36. I think I will send that cash back amount to our Big Goal. I should add in the coupon savings from Sunday, too.

I had to take a mental health break today. I had some stress and anxiety pop up on me this morning. I'm feeling better already. To help, I called my mom, went for a two mile walk, ate a good lunch, and then took an epson salt bath. Later I added some relaxing oils to my diffuser while I listed to some very nice relaxing YouTube music. I also got up and got busy in the kitchen making some muffins and hummus (not to eat together!).

I share because this time of year can be stressful for various reasons. It is okay to take a time out and take care of ourselves. And it doesn't have to cost anything! And be kind to those you meet as you don't know what their current struggles may be.

A Recipe and Update On College

November 15th, 2017 at 04:27 am

We had this for dinner last night. It was really good! Lots of chopping, but very healthy. I'm making two other recipes from the website later this week.

The VA Education department has continued to provide us a housing payment of $1112 per month for our oldest daughter. I just made a $200 deposit for next years housing contract. My daughter would like to move off campus, but is having a hard time finding a roommate. There are ways to find roommates, but she would like it to be someone she knows. If we go the on campus route again, she will get a discount for being a returning student. That discount for the fourth years is $1097. She packs her schedule full...18 hours on average, so living on campus saves a lot of time and hassle than living off campus.

Our youngest daughter applied and was accepted to her college of choice. She plans to major in Industrial Engineering. This is in our former midwest state that we are still residents of. We did however have to provide documentation to the school to get her classified as a resident. Luckily, we were approved. They do provide in state tuition for all military members, spouses and children. This college charges a flat fee for 12+ hours, rather than break it down by credit hour. Of course, as an engineering student she will have higher tuition in her junior and senior year.

Specifically tuition and fees for 12+ hours is $4,318 per semester, or $8,636 per year. She did receive two renewable four year scholarships. One is worth $8,000 ($2000 per year) and the other is worth $10,000 ($2,500 per year). Very reasonable in my opinion. It's the housing that adds up! I don't have the details on those costs yet, as we have not picked a housing option. I think housing will be less than we pay for our older daughter, so that is a plus! And she will be applying for more scholarships soon, so fingers crossed there is a little more money to assist.

4 Months = $25K

April 25th, 2017 at 10:51 am

On January 4th of this year our retirement accounts topped $400,000 for the first time. As of yesterday, our accounts are valued at $425,768. That is a change of $25K in less than four months. Some of that change is our contributions to retirement, but the S&P 500 is up nearly 7%, so this growth is a factor as well. It sure would be nice to see this continue through the year. I do like to think the next major milestone, of $500K, could be soon!

In other news, I did get $3 from Pinecone. I also received some pending Swagbucks amounting to 1712 for a hotel I booked through the site. I currently have just under 3000 SB to redeem in early May for Amazon gift cards. And it looks like my husband has a couple things sitting in the Amazon cart...so hopefully I can score those for free.

I'm thinking next week my grocery list may be meatless. That may save a bit of money and be healthier as well. I picked up a Forks Over Knives magazine with lots of yummy looking plant based recipes. My daughter is nearly a vegetarian, so finding new things for her to try is a good motivator as well. Or maybe the motivation to be to try to save at least the cost of the magazine (which I never buy) $7.27! Ouch.

Planted Our Mini Garden

April 9th, 2017 at 03:20 pm

I mentioned previously that I was going to plant some vegetables this year. I've always loved fresh vegetables in the summer. After talking to my youngest daughter, she has good memories of picking beans, and tomatoes from our garden. So we are doing it again.

My landlord put in a pretty large mulched bed with two shrubs and a small tree right before we moved in. I was so surprised as the backyard had nothing but grass when we looked at it. I was a bit irritated as I knew the bed would need weeding. But I'm now grateful the area is there, so that I can plant some things without pulling out the grass.

I did have some major weeding to do to prepare the area, but the hoe we own was very helpful in getting them pulled up! There is hardly any mulch left that the landlord put down two years ago. A neighbor is required to put down mulch based on her rental contract. That is something we are not required to do.

I planted snow peas and romaine lettuce from seed. I put the lettuce in grow bags (basically directly into a bag of garden soil, with the bag ripped open on the top). I purchased two tomato plants, a summer squash, a zucchini, and two strawberry plants. The strawberry plants are in a large metal tub. These will go on our screened in porch to keep the birds away from them. They will get plenty of sun. Everything else is planted directly in the garden bed. I made sure to plant items where they will get the most sun (to the south of each tree). I guess the peas are behind one of the trees, but I think they will get enough sun. If they don't work out this spring, I will try another crop in the fall in another spot.

The snow pea seeds were $1.89. Organic romaine lettuce seeds were $2.24. The strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash were $3.40 each. The bags of soil were $1.80 each. I did have to invest in two tomato cages for $8.60. My total investment was $36.73 plus tax ($39.30). If I can end up with produce worth more than $40 this summer I will be ahead financially. That will make the effort well worth it!

I know some of you are big gardeners. Anyone else planting anything edibles this year?

More Money Coming!

March 27th, 2017 at 05:12 pm

My husband told me today that we will be getting about $105 from his recent travel reimbursement. This was the trip where he bought some friends dinner to the tune of $140. That meal isn't specifically being reimbursed, of course, but it will offset that expense a bit. I didn't think he was getting anything extra.

Our college daughter was home for spring break last week, so we did a little clothes shopping, went out to eat a couple times, and celebrated her birthday with cake from a bakery. And now the funds left that we budgeted through the end of the month are getting slim.

I did jump ahead in the budget a bit and bought tickets for my husband, daughter and I to see a local Sherlock Holmes play in early April. Those three tickets were $55 total. And we will be seeing Beauty and the Beast in the theater this coming weekend. This much more than we usually spend on entertainment in a short period of time. But thankful that we can afford to do so when we find something that is of interest for all of us.

I listed four CDs on eBay today in a lot. Not sure if they will sell or not. I think I may have listed them for sale in the past, but I don't have a record of it on my account any longer. So if I did it was more than two months ago. I figured I would try one more time. Smile

I've been doing pretty good at accumulating Swagbucks, but I'm going to need to spend my time getting my garden planted soon. I'm going to do zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, lettuce, snow peas, onions, cucumber and strawberries. I'm going to do the strawberries in a pot on our screened in porch to keep the birds away! I'm not real optimistic about them, but my younger daughter insists since she didn't like them when she was younger and didn't get to eat any!

Oh, I thought I'd ask those of you world travelers what you think about exchanging currency before a trip? How much of the total expected costs would you want to have in the foreign currency? 20%? 50%? The teacher leading the trip can exchange for a lower fee at her bank. We know some cash is likely a good idea. She would need pounds for the two days in London, and euros for the remaining ten or eleven days. She also has a no foreign transaction fee debit card that she will likely use as well. I think we may also add her as an authorized user on one of our credit cards, as an extra back up option.

Spending Yesterday

February 12th, 2017 at 06:36 am

Yesterday, we did a bit of needed spending. My daughter needed a new purse as her old one had a broken zipper. I had a $10 coupon at JC Penney and the purse (leather) was on sale for $33. A very good deal. Unfortunately, my husband didn't do the best with his shopping. He picked up three workout T shirts, Nike Brand, that he told me were $11 each. One rang up as $21, and the other two for $18.75 each. He did get long sleeve shirt on clearance for $8.99. He went backed and looked at the display and didn't read it right. Ugh! I'm letting him keep them as it just isn't worth the effort to fight him on it. He is not a good shopper, luckily he doesn't shop for new things too often.

I bought a 10 pack of no show socks for $11.99 at Kohl's. I had a $6 coupon (for my 6 year anniversary with my Kohl's card) so I paid just over $6 out of pocket. Now that is my kind of deal!

We shopped at Fresh Market for some ingredients to make two meals. This one was yummy! I have a ton of leftovers, too. The cost of the food, including some snacks, was nearly $39. We also bought some other vitamins, so the bill was $65 exactly.

Today we go do our regular grocery shopping trip at the commissary. I think I may buy some Girl Scout cookies, if there is a troop selling there today. Otherwise, we are staying home and will enjoy some time outside. It's going to be 82 degrees here! Spring really is coming. I'm already seeing buds on trees, and some trees already put out pink blooms! I'm sharing for those of you up north. It really is just around the corner. Hang in there!

Oh, and I heard my husband mention picking up flowers and Valentine's cards for my daughter and I. Last year, I convinced him not too. I'm not sure what to say this year. It's hard to squash someone's nice intentions!

And finally, did you look at your retirement accounts? Probably at an all time high once again. It is nice to see!

Roasted the Chicken

January 10th, 2017 at 04:48 pm

We haven't spent much in the last couple days. My husband filled up with gas, but needed to after a 3 hour car round trip in the car to take our daughter to the airport last night. She made it back to school, only missed one day of classes. The first day...which she definitely wasn't thrilled with! Oh, and he also spent $8 to buy her dinner before she flew out.

I ordered one of her books online from Amazon today. The bookstore was completely out. She's renting it. I had credits with Amazon to cover the whole thing, so no out of pocket costs on that one.

I roasted the whole chicken I had in my freezer tonight. I put it in late this afternoon, with no expectation to have it for dinner. We will have the breast meat for dinner tomorrow night. Then I will cut the remaining up and portion it to freeze for other meals. I think I have a plan for a couple meals to use it with but I'm not remembering those at the moment! Oh, I am going to make bone broth with the bones tomorrow, that will use up the celery.

I have cooked all the remaining barley. Most of it was used in the mushroom barley soup I made for dinner tonight. We now have two servings of that soup left. I used some of the barley to eat for breakfast. I ate one portion this morning with cinnamon and a little sugar. Tomorrow I will eat it with some frozen strawberries (that I will thaw). I finished the romaine lettuce, the frozen banana and frozen blueberries today at lunch when I made a smoothie. I added chia seeds to that smoothie also. Last night we finished the fettuccini noodles and my husband ate more of the turkey bacon.

This pantry stuff is harder than it looks! I feel like in some cases I use something up, but then have leftovers which I then need to incorporate into a meal for someone...and often that is me. I definitely don't need to buy anything for my own lunches for awhile. There is plenty here!

I do expect a small grocery run in the next day or so. We should have bought tortillas, and I remembered we didn't get the fish I wanted (to have with rice) because the commissary had not yet restocked when we were there Sunday morning. They had been closed on Saturday due to weather, so not everything was put out.

I feel pretty good about how we are using up this food that I bought and should have made a plan for! The whole chicken was going to be for Christmas, but with Riley (our cat) ill and dying, I just didn't have the energy to do it. (We had to put her down on December 27th, so the days prior were tough).

Amex Offer & StepBet

January 9th, 2017 at 08:07 am

I paid our cable bill with my husbands American Express card last night. This charge still qualifies under the 10% back on satellite and cable bills that expires at the end of January. The maximum credit is $30 and our other bills have qualified us for $28.95 of that $30. So this bill will get $1.05 credit. I plan to use $25 in rewards towards the bill as well, so our final bill this month will be $55.03. If you remember we turned in a cable box and exchanged it for a digital adapter a couple weeks ago, that is saving us $10 a month now. We did get a $5-6 credit for turning it in mid billing cycle.

I'm debating about doing a StepBet. I know I could win. I have a treadmill, and I go on regular walks with my neighbor. The bet is $40. For those of you who have done these in the past, what have some of your payouts looked like? Is it a good return? I may do another 4 week DietBet, if I don't do the StepBet.

In pantry news, I've finished the english muffins, and the clementines. I plan to have a green smoothie for lunch to use up the romaine, frozen fruit and some of the chia seeds.

Eat It All

January 7th, 2017 at 04:26 pm

Checking in this evening to give an update on my progress of eating it all, the food stores we have in our home. I've crossed off what I ate so far. And I actually ate a piece of leftover homemade pizza from last nights dinner, as well as some salad my husband didn't eat earlier in the week. I made fresh soup tonight for dinner. I'm going to freeze the leftovers for later in the month.

Freezer Finds
1 frozen banana
3 2/3 cup frozen strawberry servings
2 1 cup frozen blueberries
frozen tomato soup
1 boca burger
1 microwavable meal
1.5 pounds chicken breast
1 whole chicken

Refrigerator Finds
2 opened jars of salsa
8oz sour cream
balsamic dressing (used half of remaining amount)
1 c. refried beans (ate this in full)
feta cheese (whole package)
3 clementines (ate 2)
1.25 packages turkey bacon (husband ate the 1/4 package)

Pantry Finds
3 English muffins (ate one)
chia seeds
barley (2 servings)
2 c brown rice
2 c white rice
1 c. lentils
1 can black beans
1 can white kidney beans
1 can chunky soup
1 can tomato soup
1 pkg couscous
taco seasoning
1 c arborio rice
12 Wasa crackers (ate 2)
2 cans tuna
spaghetti 1 serving
fettuccini 2 servings

I plan to eat the english muffins or fruit for breakfast. I may also make some green smoothies with the extra romaine lettuce and chia seeds. I can eat the boca burger, tomato soup, and tuna for lunches along with some fresh salad to use up that dressing. My grocery list is much smaller for this upcoming week as I plan to incorporate the chicken, rice, beans, couscous, and the pasta into many meals for the upcoming week.

Do you have anything in your refrigerator that you need to eat up before the food goes to waste?

Diet Bet Update

September 5th, 2016 at 07:58 am

I started a six month Diet Bet on May 3. I won round one, but did not win rounds 2-4! Ugh. I keep trying and have been making progress, just not at the prescribed pace. I have been great at exercise, and have even found a friend during the process! I walk the neighborhood as does she with her dog. We kept running into each other and saying hi, eventually we introduced ourselves and chatted a bit more. Now that school has started and we are going to walk and talk!

Now that I'm on month 5 I am determined to make it to my goal weight by October 3. I have just over 6 pounds to lose. I'm committed to walking more and adding in some squats and push ups. I'm going to drink at least 80oz of water (10 cups) everyday and I'm back to really watching my calories and food intake.

As I have learned AGAIN...I can't out run/walk a bad diet. One has to keep trying to reach those goals. Weight loss is similar to managing finances. If you don't try you are going to miss every time.

I don't regret doing the Diet Bet even though I have failed a few months. I think it has kept me going and more accountable than if I didn't do it. It is always there in the back of my mind reminding me of what my goal was: my health. I might even consider another one after this one ends, as I know I have more to lose when I finish this one.

$477 Left

June 10th, 2016 at 05:29 am

We have $477 left for spending this pay period. Payday is on Wednesday. We will buy groceries before then, but those have been trending around $150 a week. I seem to be buying more since our college age daughter is home. I'm also buying more organic foods, as I have read how much better they really are for you.

Our big plan this weekend is to get our home cleaned up really well. The couple we are renting from is stopping by Wednesday to see the house and yard, on the way to their new duty station. Feel bad they just moved last year and are already moving again! The yard has some major erosion happening, so it will be good for them to see it in person rather just from our pictures. We do have a light bulb that is out that we should replace, and I may need a new grout brush by the time I have scrubbed the tile shower. Overall the house is in great shape, possibly better than it was when we arrived. Smile

I'm hoping that we can avoid spending the full $477 before payday. I'd like to set some cash aside for other things!

More Checks In the Mail

June 9th, 2016 at 01:23 pm

My new (refurbished) FitBit replacement tracker and charger arrived in the mail today. I'm so excited to have it back!! I've been keeping up on walking without it, but I have missed it. It's charging now, so I should be back to using it shortly.

There were also two checks. More class action settlement checks. These were from TransUnion. My husband and I each got a check for $23.67. Not bad at all! I don't even remember what this one was about, but we did qualify!! The money will go straight to the savings account, just like the check from yesterday.

A Few Things

June 8th, 2016 at 06:36 pm

I'm loving watermelon right now!! So good for you and tasty. Smile

My youngest daughter is out of school for the summer, but starts band camp next week, and then her online German class! She is going to be busy...hopefully not too busy, so we can still get to Washington DC in July.

I got a class action claim check in the mail from Tom's of Maine for $30.59! Wow, I sure wasn't expecting that! But I did know just what to do with it. I deposited into our savings account right away!

My husband's tablet (Samsung Galaxy)stopped responding to touch commands a few weeks ago. We decided to research if it was a part we could buy and replace ourselves. The answer is yes! We actually bought two screen digitizers at $21.99 each. The second one works!! The first screen digitizer was just a bit hard to reattach and after we did it didn't work quite right. And then to top it off we cracked the screen. But those errors did help us get it just perfect the second time. So for less than $44 we were able to fix something that would have cost us around $400 to replace new. My husband is super happy to have it back!!

It seems that class action claim check helped cover some of our costs! I like that. Smile


June 4th, 2016 at 11:26 am

After a month with two sets of visitors, we are now free to reign in the spending! It actually wasn't bad at all. We did a lot of free things. And I made lots of meals rather than going out to eat. We did spend quite a bit on fuel as we did a lot of driving around, including two trips to the beach!

I was a little worried about meeting my Diet Bet goal because of family in town. Weigh in day was yesterday, and I made it! Scale wasn't cooperating first thing in the morning, but after my 45 minute walk it was under goal by about half a pound. So I officially win Round 1 of my Diet Bet goal! I don't know what the first month payout is yet. The bet was $25.

Our daughter is still doing really well with recovering from wisdom tooth removal. Seems the pain is not as comfortable as it was the first two days, but she is still on enough meds, so not much more we can do about that.

40.5% Return

May 4th, 2016 at 05:32 pm

Wow! I earned a 40.5% return on the money I bet with Diet Bet. That is amazing. The bet was $30. I received $30 back plus $12.15 because others didn't reach their goal.

There were 2280 players, only 1217 of us met our goal. Part of me is sad so many people didn't make it. They lost their money entirely. Some people have posted they still lost weight and were close, just not close enough to win. So they at least progressed on their goal!

I think I'll redeem my cash and put it into savings where I'm currently putting all money snowflakes!

More on Diet Bet

May 3rd, 2016 at 09:03 am

I don't have the winnings of my Diet Bet yet, but I can't wait to find out!! And I'll probably count it as a snowflake when it arrives, so I will be sure to share.

I did sign up for another Diet Bet yesterday. It's a Transformer (which is six months). I did pay up front, which gives you the sixth month free, and paid $125. I do have 14 days to change my mind, but I really need to lose the 10% of my weight and then some, so I do think this will keep me going. And now, I want to win my $125 back and more!!

I did write a little more about what I did during the last Diet Bet on my Organized Friends blog, if you would like to read about it.

So now I'm back to talking about finances!

I wrote two checks today for graduation gifts. They are each getting $25. I'm also going to take out $40 cash later today for a couple that is getting married. I figured checks written to a couple can get complicated when they are first married. So cash it is!

I realized I have two more graduations to acknowledge later in the month. So I need to buy more $1 cards. One will get $25, and the other $50. I'm trying to be consistent with what I give based on relationships. Not that anyone else is keeping track! I've been giving $50 to those who are children of my husband's brothers and sisters. Smile And $25 goes to children of cousins or friends.

I hope to get my snowflake totals together from April and post those tomorrow! Smile

I Won!

May 2nd, 2016 at 06:02 am

I won my Diet Bet. I bet $30, so I get that money back! The final winnings are still in the process of being verified, so I will know in a couple days what the return on my financial investment was.

I lost 9.4 pounds! I can see the difference and my husband can too. This was exactly what I needed to get moving in the right direction. I wasn't even sure yesterday if I would make it, as the scale was still .2 pounds away from the Diet Bet goal. I ate right, exercised and drank a lot of water. I also got eight hours of sleep. And today when I stepped on the scale I was down even more than I expected and with plenty of room to spare!

I'm now in decision mode about doing another bet. I feel like I really need to do another one to keep me moving in the right direction. Even during this last month I had some bad days where I didn't exercise AT ALL and several days where I was eating more than necessary. So without the bet, and the risk of losing money, I feel I may get complacent, which is definitely not what I want!

I think the only thing that is really getting in my way of deciding is knowing that I have family visiting two different times in May for a total of 12 days. That will mess with my routines and meal plans. And I don't want to fail!!

I think I need to do another Kickstarter and maybe start a Transformer(which is a six month bet) at the same time. If I don't try the odds are more stacked against me mentally, right? If we don't try, we don't get where we are going!

I did post about my hesitancy on the Diet Bet forum, and someone has suggested that I start a Transformer now, and then in month three do a Kickstarter. I think there is some validity to that idea. The Transformer would only require me to lose 3% of my body weight in May, rather than the 4% required if I did a Kickstarter in May. That gives me a little more wiggle room with guests, but would still get me to my ultimate goal by November.

I'm sharing all of this and realizing there is some similarities to paying off debt. If we don't have a goal we can't get where we want to go. If there isn't a consequence for failing it is much easier to give up. The consequence for holding on to debt, is less freedom, more interest paid, and if you haven't stopped the excess spending you'll have more debt! Gosh, you could say the say thing about holding on to excess weight...more health issues and likely more weight gain if we don't stop our bad habits.

I'll let you know what I decide to do. If any other Diet Betters have thoughts on how to plan my next bets let me know. I like to hear the ideas of others.

One More Week

April 25th, 2016 at 05:53 am

I have one more week until I weigh in for my Diet Bet. The good news I expect to win, having weighed in this morning just .1 away from my goal. I look forward to having my $30 back and hopefully a little more!

I may do one more Kickstarter bet following this one. It's tough to decide between that and a Transformer. I know I can technically do both, I'm just not sure I want to be betting on my weight for six months in a row.

Diet Bet: The first seven days

April 10th, 2016 at 10:49 am

My transformer Diet Bet started Monday. I weighed in last Sunday and today I've already achieved 58% of my goal. I feel much better because of the better eating and more exercise. Funny how that is. I mentioned to a friend that the reason I think Diet Bet is going to help for me, is that there is a tangible number assigned to the process, 4% of my original body weight to be lost by a set date. It's not vague in the least. And then I'm rewarded with getting my money back if I make the goal, which is super nice to think about! I will say it does help to be mentally ready to do the work. I was ready!!

I probably did spend a little extra money on food this week as I stocked up on more veggies and a few healthier snacks. However, I'm eating less, so there are leftovers, which means some of the food we are buying is stretching a bit farther.

I'm about to buy a foam roller on Amazon. I'm having some tightness in one leg, which has to be related to the knee pain I had the couple weeks before I started this Diet Bet. The knee feels a lot better, but there still some tight muscles that need some work. The foam roller, along with some videos, should help me progress towards healing faster.

Honda is Awesome! (Check For Recalls)

April 7th, 2016 at 05:44 am

We found out recently that my husband's Honda Ridgeline is part of the air bag recall. We received a letter with notification and indication that the parts won't be available until this summer.

Last week my husband went into the dealership for an oil change and some other services. Honda offered to hold the truck in their lot until the repair can be made. In exchange they offered a rental car. We talked it over and decided it was worth it to take them up on the offer. If we didn't and something happened we would definitely regret it. In fact, a 17 year old girl was just killed by a Honda airbag this week in Texas. She went to my friends' daughter's school.

So my husband is now driving a bright red Jeep, until the repairs are made. All of this is of no cost to us. I'm just hoping the Jeep gets better gas mileage. Smile

So I think Honda is definitely doing the right thing in regards to handling this recall with an abundance of caution. I encourage anyone with a Honda to check if your vehicle is on the recall list for the airbags. The website is here.

$1000 Spent and More

April 6th, 2016 at 09:08 am

We finally made the airline purchases for our niece and my mother in law to visit over Memorial Day. That weekend seemed to work best for them and they will see our daughter's more, but the tickets were more expensive. Niece (20) is super excited because it is her first plane ride. She wants to have a window seat, which probably won't be an issue, since I bought Early Bird Checkin for them on Southwest. We spent in total $1004.92. The good news I had already set that money aside in our vacation fund.

I decided against participating in our neighborhood garage sale this Saturday morning. I don't have a lot of stuff. And the big stuff I want to let go of I want more than garage sale prices for. I will have to list them on some sale sites or Craigslist at some point.

Instead of the garage sale, our family is volunteering at the local food bank for four hours. She needs community service hours for the Engineering Program she is part of at her high school. This is our second time, and we actually enjoyed it last time, so it isn't a big deal to go again. We did reward ourselves with lunch out last time, have to decide if that is a habit or not!

I'm on Day 3 of my Diet Bet. I can already tell that my diet changes are making a difference. It really can be about mindset. Once I decided to actually take action and knew what my plan was I felt committed. And that is such a different place to be than where my mind just says 'yea, I know I should eat better' and so forth.

I do need another pair of workout pants! If I have lost some weight by Friday, then I'm rewarding myself with one pair, just so I don't have to do laundry so often!

And finally, it seems I'll be using more gas in my van for awhile. I volunteered to pick up my husband's coworker's son and take him to school in the morning. Unfortunately, we live on the opposite boundaries for the high school. I will take my daughter first, then head to pick him up. He could take the bus, but he's being bullied it seems, so he's avoiding the morning bus. And his Mom needs to get to work and his Dad is out of town for at least the next month. Oh, and he has been tardy over five times, because he missed the bus, which apparently could lead to expulsion. He is a very nice young man. It's just my way of helping our Army family out. I was offered gas money, but I declined. I told his mom I may need her to do something for me someday, so it will all work out!

It's Official

April 3rd, 2016 at 08:02 am

I signed up today for the Diet Bet that starts tomorrow. I bet $30 to lose 4% of my body weight in the next four weeks. It does feel pretty daunting, but I know I need some accountability. I can't keep going in the direction I have been.

My goals are to keep my calories around 1300 and walk 8-10K steps most days. I've done calorie reduction before. It's harder in the beginning, but it does work! The exercise piece will be a bit different for me as we don't have a gym, just our treadmill at home. I think lifting weights was always helpful for weight loss. I will need to use my own body for that.

I feel like my biggest stumbling block may be my knee. I've been having pain, usually AFTER I walk, not during. It then hurts for a couple days which makes me not want to exercise again. So I'm going to do my best to address that issue along the way.

We are grocery shopping today. It seems we are out of lots of things right now, such as paper towels, soap, coffee, laundry detergent. I expect it will be a larger than normal total.

Thinking of Doing a Diet Bet

March 31st, 2016 at 12:10 pm

After LAL posted about her Diet Bet win, I've been thinking that may be something to try. I have been super lazy and unfocused about my health. We have a treadmill in our home, so I can't use weather as an excuse. I wear a Fitbit which was motivating at first, but now has lost it's charm. Of course, last weekend my sister challenged me, so I was all over that...since sisters can be competitive. I won, but she had things come up and was distracted a bit from even trying.

I've stopped drinking pop again. I bought more tea bags and some stevia for sweetness. That alone will help with food cravings. I've lost weight in the past by counting calories. It does work, so some sort of motivation to just get back to doing so would be incredibly helpful. I can't imagine wanting to lose my bet!

The only issue is my knee. It can really hurt if I walk to much, usually the following day after a long walk. I think the primary issue is my leg and back muscles are too tight. It's a vicious cycle.

The bet I'm interested in starts Monday. It's a $35 Kickstarter, so I would need to lose 4% in 4 weeks. I'm going to ponder it the next few days. In the meantime, anyone want to tell me their experience with Diet Bet or just your own inspirational success with losing weight.

We Still Have Power

January 22nd, 2016 at 08:26 am

Around our area it is just raining. But it is freezing to things. The roads appear okay from the window and I see people driving out there. We are staying in regardless.

The longer it rains and the the thicker the ice, the bigger cause of concern. I believe winds are suppose to pick up later, which isn't good.

I'm going to go get my workout on our treadmill done, before any potential outage occurs! It won't work if there is no power.

No store spending today, but there may be a little online spending. We need a new filter for the fridge, and my husband said his headphones stopped working. It's always something it seems.

No Spend Day!

January 19th, 2016 at 04:49 pm

Today seems to be the first day in recent memory that we have not spent any money. It seems one of us is always purchasing something. It could be gas, or a few items from the store, or buying something online. But today, nothing!

It's a small miracle.

Tomorrow though I'm going to buy canned refried beans. Mine didn't turn out. But I have been successful with cooking black beans, so I have hope to try again. Just not this week.

I also need to mail some items to my college daughter. A few items we bought while she was home, but need to mail. She ran out of room in her suitcase! I also picked up some of her favorite snacks, including a box of girl scout cookies!!

I also need to wrap the photo book I purchased for my sister's family. I'm going to try to be creative and use what I have at home. It will also need to be mailed. It's a book, so I'm going with media mail to save on postage. We already have a card on hand we can sign to send with it.

I didn't exactly budget for it, but I think I need to buy a new pair of sneakers. My back and feet have been very tight. I have been walking more (getting in my 10K steps). I think it is my shoes. This happened before, and new shoes solved the problem. It's only been six months since I bought my last pair, but I figure it is an investment in my health! I'll be shopping for those tomorrow too.

A Christmas Miracle!

December 20th, 2015 at 03:28 pm

Okay, that is a very strong statement. But I had to share that I was finally successful at cooking dried black beans! It feels like a Christmas miracle. I've tried a couple times before with no success. The beans were still unedible after hours of soaking and cooking.

I know someone here mentioned that using old beans could be part of the issue. And knowing that I have neglected bags of beans before cooking, I decided I needed to try again.

And yes, fresh beans worked out just like the direction stated! So tonight we had brown rice, black beans (which were seasoned with cumin, onions and garlic), salsa and sour cream. Yummy!! And pretty cheap.

I have at least 5 cups of beans left. I have put 2 containers of 2 cups of beans in the freezer. The rest were mixed in with the leftover rice, so someone will have some lunch this week. Probably me!

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