Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hello Anxiety, It's Been Awhile

This virus has got me all screwed up.  As businesses, theme parks and beaches have been closing, my
anxiety has been off the charts.  I have prepped for hurricanes, with hurricanes, you have the expectation that normal will return within a week or so.  This is a whole different animal. 

The last time I experience this much anxiety and stress was ( 8 years ago) when I was living with and taking care of my sick parents, working, and planning their funerals within 6 months of each other's passing. And then untangling their estate afterward.  That about did me in. 

I have coped with the current anxiety by grocery shopping/foraging ( A LOT)  for all items necessary ranging from frozen corn to the elusive toilet paper.  My daughter and I have spent a lot of money (her more than me) on having enough for the kiddos and to eat and things to keep them occupied.  

Today's shopping was online.  I found toilet paper online that may or may not be here by the end of April.  Honestly, TP is like gold, isn't it?   I figured by April we will need some.  I have some stashed but it may only last a couple of weeks.   Oh, we were out of milk, I ran to Publix but they were out too.  Then I passed by Family Dollar and they did have a full cooler of milk.  I picked up two gallons and headed back to the house.  

I did get my taxes done on Monday, we will be getting a small refund.  No doubt some of that will go to cover this panic/anxiety shopping.  Did I mention I picked up paint to repaint the master bedroom? Yeah, I need to stop and get a grip. 

To better cope with the stress, I have been taking walks twice a day, and then if time permits I will float in the pool and listen to the birds in the trees.  This has been helpful, and I do feel a bit more in control. 

How are you doing?  I hope you are coping better than I am.  

Friday, March 13, 2020

Frugal Friday and Link Love

It's not often that I keep up track of how frugal I have been on a weekly basis.  But as a reference for me, later on, I am going to try to do better.  Do you find that keeping track of your frugalness helps you?

Monday: My husband saved $2.72 on gas using GetUpside  I didn't go to the store so that was savings in itself!

Tuesday:  I saved $ at CVS on Toilet Paper, Paper Towels and Hand Soap with my CVS card.  I didn't have any extra coupons or Reward Bucks.  My receipt after the transaction was full of a bunch of offers!  Fetch  (my referral code WX8BV ) gave me 1578 points on this purchase too!  If you have the app, you know how exciting it is when all the confetti is blowing up your screen lol!

 Hit up Publix to get more BOGO PowerAde for the hubs lunch and frozen BOGO ravioli.

I also saved $1.69 on gas using GetUpside when I filled up.

Wednesday     We purchased a new mattress from Tuft and Needles and we also purchased two new pillows.  We like the mattress but the pillows are not our favorite.  Well I like the mattress, the hubs is still on the fence about it.  I emailed the company to return the pillows and they quickly responded and sent me a return label.  That will put $86.00 back in my pocket.

When I bought the new mattress, I also found a nice comforter set on clearance at Belk online.  Well, we hate it.  I contacted Belk online and they are sending a return label for the comforter set.  The old comforter set is back on the bed.  Another $87.00 back in our pocket.

Thursday  This was NOT a frugal day.  After dropping off all the returns at FedEx, I immediately participated in a round of panic shopping. I am kinda glad I did. 

Friday    I had to take my vehicle back to the dealership to have a look at the brakes that they worked on in January of this year.  They are pulsating when pressure is applied.  This is related to the front brakes as they "turned" them and replaced the pads.  The service rep said they will have a look at them and so far it will be no charge to resurface them if that is the problem.  Will update later if that changes.

Link Love for this week!  I am pretty sure you read these blogs too, but just in case you don't, stop on by and check them out.

What are you all doing to stay sane during this Corona Virus event?  Streaming?  Suggestions welcome. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cancelled Trip to DC and Panic Shopping

The buds on cherry trees around the Tidal Basin start to open in this file photo. Cherry Blossom Festival organizers announced Wednesday that several events this year will be canceled. (J. David Ake/AP)
Cherry Blossom Festival Cancels Events 
True Confession time.  My husband and I had planned, booked and reserved all that we needed for a successful trip to Washington D.C for the last week in March.  The trip was paid for and all was good until that darn coronavirus reared its ugly head. 

We were still going until we received a call regarding our booked tour to the White House and the Capital building.  They are suspending all tours until April 1.  Great.

I asked the fella if he knew if the museums were shutting down, he said to check the Smithsonian website.  I did, they are still open but have suspended several activities that are hands-on activities. The cherry blossom festival is that same week, and several events that go along with the festival are also canceled.  I really did not want to take the chance and get to DC and everything be shut down. That stressed me out too!

We chatted about it and decided to cancel and try again later this year if all is well.  What does this mean financially?  There will be no charge for the hotel reservations that are canceled. 
The airfare will be credited and we can use that credit for another flight.  Translation: we are not getting our money back.  The credit will last a year.   The extras we paid for such as extra legroom baggage will be credited back to our credit card. 

I didn't post about the trip because I tend to get really anxious about flying.  And talking about it make it worse.  I only told my family and one friend that I was going.  Truth be told, I was still anxious! 

The canceling of the trip led me to think I need to run to the store and stock up on groceries.  You know, just in case everyone is going to be quarantined. I know we probably won't be quarantined but hey, I am ready.    What it really was is that I bought into the hype and hysteria, but whatever.  $120 later I think we should be good for a week to 10 days if not more.  It totally blew up my grocery, but confessing the crime here helps :-)

That is all for this Thursday.  I need some cookie dough now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

What About Those Multiple Savings Accounts on Capital One 360?

A couple of weeks ago I decided to limit my cash envelopes from 12 to 3. Groceries, Eating Out, and
Blow money.  In place of the cash envelopes, I decided to send the cash to my Capital One 360 savings account with the intention of setting up at least 9 individual savings accounts to compensate for the envelopes.

Ask me how many accounts I opened up.  Six.  Ask me how many have funds in them. One.  Yeah, so what does that mean?  It may mean I have too many accounts to keep track of.  There are our personal checking and savings, my eBay checking and savings,  two PayPal accounts, then there is the CD's I recently began to open, Oh... well, I just don't know if I want to "manage" anything else.

I do track in a notebook what goes into each envelope or savings account. Again, is that too confusing?  Nah, I need to see where it all is going and celebrate the fact that I am actively saving money.

Going back to the cash envelopes for groceries and eating out, well this week I did not pull out any cash but I did use my rewards card grocery shopping AND tracking each purchase to keep it under my weekly amount.  We used the rewards card for eating out at Firehouse too.  This can be a slippery slope for me, so we will see how it goes this pay period. As it stands now, I have spent this week's grocery money so no shopping until Saturday.   Being accountable is so hard sometimes lol.

Maybe in the future, I will utilize the multiple savings accounts and split up the money into appropriate sinking funds.   This is my year to figure it out so I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Transfer Tuesday and Paying Down Debt

Hello Tuesday!  This is the day that we make an extra effort to pay down our debt.  Every Tuesday we apply extra cash (whether it be BIG or small) to our outstanding debt.  This helps keeps us aware of and accountable for our debt. And it all makes a difference.

Previous balance $80,470.00

*Last week I sent in a $2000.00 payment and listed my new balance at $80,065.96.  The payment was not designated for the principal only, so the payment due was also paid.  Confused?  So close to breaking into the $70,000's!

Today we are sending in the regular payment of $385.00 amount and applying it to the principal.
And since I can't stand the fact that we are still above $80,000 I will be sending in an additional $100 from my eBay PayPal account.  There! That feels better.

  • Payment of $385.00 
  • Payment of $100.00 from eBay PayPal 
New balance $79,985.00


We take our taxes to the tax preparer next week, I am hoping for a refund or at least not to pay.  Then we can apply more to this debt.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Weekend Update Strawberries and Empty Shelves

Saturday was a beautiful day, sunny, cool with a light breeze.  I was slowed down with dizziness that may have been caused by the lingering cold.  I think my sinuses are still jacked up.  I started back with the prescribed nasal spray, and popped a couple of DayQuil and eventually felt better.

I did get the kitchen cleaned up and a load of clothes done.  My daughter picked up a few things at the store for me, so I didn't have to go out.  And then the hubs brought home take out pizza. 

Sunday, I felt better and went to Publix to pick up strawberries that are on sale for more strawberry shortcake.  The first time I made the strawberry shortcake, I bought those little angel food like cups that come 6 in a pack.  The family wanted more cake so I check the bakery to see what they wanted for an actual Angel food cake.  They wanted $6.49 for a cake. I thought that was a little high so I went back to the cake mix aisle and Publix also had cake mixes BOGO.  I picked up two boxes of Angel food cake mix for $2.29.

Now, I have never made an Angel food cake, but how hard could it be?  I don't have a traditional angel food cake pan so I improvised and used a bundt pan.  Mixing up the cake mix was easy, just add water and mix for a min.  The package directions said to put the filled pan on the bottom rack, (remove all the racks in the oven except the bottom one).  Good thing I followed directions because the cake really poofs up!

Angel Food Cake was a bit Poofy

The cake tastes much better than those cake-like cups in packages too.

After church yesterday, we went out to lunch at Firehouse Subs.  It has been MONTHS since we have gone out to eat after church.  Typically we come home and have sandwiches, usual and boring.  But, we both wanted Firehouse.  We each got a sub with a combo, mine was medium and the hubs got a large sub.  I had the pastrami sub and it was so good! But....I was suddenly reminded just how expensive it is to eat out, even for subs at lunchtime.  The bill came to $24.65.  Good grief. 

We passed by Target and checked out the Clorox aisle.  It was wiped out. 

Publix was almost the same, but they did have a sign restricting 2 bleach items per purchase.



I don't know, we are washing our hands all the time and when out we use hand sanitizer. What else can you do, besides just stay home?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Friday Stuff and a Thank You!

Yesterday was my day to get the taxes done day.  It shouldn't be that hard, but I am a bit scattered and so is my paperwork.  Our tax stuff is pretty easy, then you add in the rental, and my eBay stuff it gets a little more complicated.  I do it to myself by waiting until the last minute.  And by not always reconciling the eBay paperwork monthly makes the end of the year pure drudgery when it comes to taxes.

For the most part, I have put it all together.  It did take most of the day, but I sure feel better.  I can
My late blooming Christmas Cactus 
call the accountant and make an appointment for next week.  Whew!  Maybe I can stop stress eating now.  The taxes were really stressing me out and I cope with stress by eating junk.  Emotional eating has always been my downfall.

I am feeling pretty accomplished this week.  The yard work is done, the taxes are 95% complete and no one is sick! Today I will start straightening out my eBay packing corner, plant Sunflower seeds along the fence in front, and take a load of stuff to Goodwill.

  I have been cleaning out stuff in our room that has been there for years and that we never use, such as books, old college books, and in our closet, clothes that I never wear.  I did pick about 5 items to donate, but there are so many more in my closet that I do not wear.  I always think that I will need that item one day so I better keep it.  I pretty much wear the same 4-5 outfits, so pitching out the ones I don't wear should be easy.  Oh... but it is not.

A big thank you to the blogs listed below.  These lovely ladies have included me on their blogroll and I really appreciate the link-up.  If you have not visited these blogs, make sure to stop by and say hello!  You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

It's Going To Be Warm Today And CrockPot Ravioli Lasagne

The weather is crazy and unpredictable.  We will be experiencing 90-degree temps today and tomorrow. The grandkids are excited because we heated up the pool for them.  It's probably been before Christmas before we all went swimming.  At the end of the week, we will be experiencing another cool snap with the weather in the high 60's Friday and Saturday.

I did get the yard mowed yesterday.  It is nice to get back on track with daily and weekly chores and not be laid up sick.  Today I will be headed to Orlando to get my haircut.  It is about a 45 min trip oneway but when you have a favorite hairstylist you do what you have to.   My dentist is still in Orlando too.  He is the best and I will definitely travel to him too.

I stopped by Aldi's with a list of a few things to pick up yesterday.  As you can see, that did not go as planned.  On the plus side I am still on budget.  Out of cash for groceries until Saturday, but still on budget.

It's nice to know I can't run to the store just because.  We have plenty of stuff and will be fine.

Today's dinner is Crockpot Ravioli Lasagne.  This is an easy and delicious one-pot meal that is really easy to put together.  All you have to do is brown the meat, add onions and sauce and layer everything into the crockpot.   

When I buy packs of hamburger, I will cook it with onions and divide it up and freeze it for future meals.  What is not shown is the jars of spaghetti sauce (typically BOGO at Publix).  I defrost the pre-cooked burger, add the sauce with a little sugar.

Then we layer it up.  Oh, before we start to layer it up, I will put in a Reynolds crockpot bag which makes clean up so easy.

Sauce, frozen cheese-filled ravioli, (typically BOGO at Publix) pre-shredded mozzarella cheese or any open bags of cheese will work too and contain to layer until the pot is full.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours until the sides are bubbly and cheese is melted.  A side salad and a loaf of Cuban bread (99 cents at Target bakery) and you are set.  Easy and delish dinner.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Transfer Tuesday and Paying Down Debt

Happy Tuesday!  It is that time again to make a weekly payment ( no matter how big or how small) to our debt.  I find it very satisfying to apply something to our debt every week.  It gives me a goal to find extra cash and it is encouraging to see the balance go down.

Previous balance (two weeks ago)  82,211.86

  • Credit Card Rewards  $145.88
  • eBay earnings $2000.00
New Balance $80,065.96

I have got to find $66 by next Tuesday to get that total below $80,000!!

  I set a 2020 goal of reducing the Heloc balance by $20,000.  We started on Dec 14, 2019, with a balance of $84,630.00

Here is my HELOC debt tracker.  I like visuals and I came up with this graph to track my debt repayment.  Each square is $50, Each column is $2300.00.  If you look at the bottom of the graph you can see a tiny purple hashmark.  This designates $20,000.00 in DEBT REPAYMENT which is my goal for 2020.

Today, I will be catching up on yard work.  There is an acre of fenceline to put weed killer on and get rid of the grass that the mower won't reach.  Then, hopefully, I can get the mower out and get the grass mowed.  Before the yardwork, I need to run to Aldi's to get butter and onions.  And to pass by the Goodwill to drop off a bag of stuff.

Yesterday I was able to vacuum, dust and catch up on laundry.  That is an endless chore, but it always feels better to get it done.  I also went to Publix to pick up a few things we needed, cat litter, cat food, soda, paper towels, etc.

While at Publix, I noticed that they have a new way to earn money with qualifying purchases of eligible products.  When you purchase $50 of eligible products you will receive a $10 Publix Gift Card.   Each household is allowed to earn up to 12 Publix Gift Cards per household per year.
Here is the link if you are interested.   You scan in your receipt with the eligible purchases marked with an asterisk, as well as the total spent at the grocery store.   There are a few hoops to jump through, but it's not awful.
Here is the link if you are interested.

Here is a link to Pennies Not Perfection my inspiration for Transfer Tuesday.  I stumbled onto her channel late last year, Mary is a young working mother that inspires this old lady to do better.

In three months, we have earned $27.15 on the GET UPSIDE app. Get UPSIDE is easy to use. Just ope the app to see the cashback offers near you, pay with any credit card or debit and take a picture of your receipt. Use my link to get started.  You will save $0.15 per gallon your first time! My GET UPSIDE link.   When you sign up, I will earn a penny per gallon off of your purchases.  It adds up quick.

Have a great Tuesday!! 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Monday Notes

We are back to normal-ish around here with everyone on the road to recovery.  The last few days I have been catching up on cleaning, laundry, and basic grocery shopping.  I have been to the store almost daily because I keep forgetting stuff that I thought I had on hand.  Next week should definitely be better.

If you recall, about 10 days ago I had to take our bulldog in to get treated for her runny nose.  The vet gave her antibiotics.  When I was down and out for the week following her visit, she did not get her pills in a timely manner if it all and the infection went into her eye.  I had to take her back to the vet to have her eye looked at and she did end up having pink eye.  So now she is on antibiotic eye drops and pills for her stuff.  

We are enjoying winter-like weather, temps in the ’50s with blue sky and super low humidity.  The house is open and I am slowly getting stuff done in the kitchen.  Eggs have been steamed for the hubs lunches next week. There were a few items to pitch in the fridge due to lack of use.  Old lettuce and now furry strawberries.  

I am working on pulling the tax info together so I can make an appt to get that done this month.  It is a chore that overwhelms me.  One day it will be much simpler when we finally sell my parent’s home.  Tracking the eBay stuff is a bit overwhelming too. 

eBay was super busy when I was sick as a dog two weeks ago.  Big sales mid-week are not the norm, but I guess it is when you are under the weather.  I schlepped myself out of bed, to the she shed to get the items and then managed to get them packed.  My son-in-law toted them to the Post Office.  And now that I am up and around, eBay is slow.  Which is fine, I am still catching up on house stuff. 

Sunday was a full day without a nap.  We made it to Sunday School and church, came home made lunch for everyone and then after the hubs and I went out for a Sunday drive.  We hit up a Starbucks for a coffee (using a gift card) and drove with the windows down and enjoyed the great weather.  It was nice to get back to normal finally.  
When I was ill, I did entertain myself with YouTube.  I watched Coffee with Kate and Prepper Princess.     Both are very different but interesting in their own ways.