Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eye Glasses

WOW!  It has been a very long time since I have purchased retail glasses. 

Since my oldest was about 6, we bought at a discount place close to us.  The first pair cost us $120.  Over the years, the prices there rose to about $200 per pair, which made us go on-line.  Really, glasses are ridiculously expensive and there are 5 of us in glasses now.

Because of the cost, both my husband and I have gone without replacing our glasses or getting an exam for a couple of years.  At our age though, we really need to be getting checked yearly.

It is the cost of the glasses that keeps us at bay.

So, we have new insurance that covers frames and lenses - first for us, so we made our merry way to the eye doctor and settled in for some new frames.

This was -L's first time to get a prescription for glasses, so a big deal.

We sat down and I asked for benefits first.  $120 off frames, and 20% on lenses.  Total for ONE pair of glasses including exam - $410.  The lowest level of frames was $225, so not horrible with the insurance, but the rest of the cost were the lenses!

OMG!!!!!!

Very uncomfortably, I asked for the prescriptions and got their eye measurements.  All while having to listen to the high pressure sales tactics.

Needless to say, we are going on-line for glasses.  Not sure exactly how we will do that for our daughter's since she does not have glasses we can measure for ear distance, etc.  We may go to Wally World and have her try on some and then take the measurements.

I am not trying to cut corners on their glasses, but I cannot pay that much either!  For all five of us, it would be about $2,000 per year.  Killer!

On-line, all five of us can get glasses plus sunglasses for around $750 per year.  HUGE difference.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holidays

I think of Holiday celebrations a little bit differently than the majority of people. 

From what I understand, there are two main types. 

1) Those that have large get togethers and fight the entire time.  Almost like it is not a holiday without it.  It seems normal and expected.

2) Those that have large or small get togethers and everyone gets along, they watch the parade, have a good meal, maybe watch or play football, eat dessert and then go home.

For me growing up, it was #1 on speed.  Not good at all!  I was glad when I grew up and had a choice about it.  However, the effects of those holidays are LONG reaching and I still don't want to participate too much.

I love the build up - the idea of it, but when it comes to the day, I am sullen and just not much fun.

Same this one - my boys are going to their Dad's, so I just don't feel like cooking for 6 hours for just the four of us.

I will though - turkey, green beans, roasted potatoes, etc.

However, for those of you that enjoy #2 - I hope it is a lovely day and you don't think about diets! Get a nap and have another slice of pie!

For those of you who drudge through #1, I am so sorry and you are more than welcome to visit us for a very laid back Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 24, 2014

In a Mood...

Not a good one either.  Today was one of those days that my kids got on my every last nerve and I broke.

Rooms were horrible, no one helps around the house, rolled eyes, pathetic sighs, talking back and basically my every day painful.  I am DONE WITH IT!!!!

I made them clean their rooms completely!  Yelled at them about needing to grow up - not my best moment, but there is one worse.

My oldest is always talking about how other employees at his job are "biting the hand that feeds them".  Well, I told them they had gnawed off the arm that feeds them. 

Really - it is pretty funny, but I was so mad. 

Now, I am just wound up with all this energy, but in a good amount of pain, so cannot really go burn it off.  I am just sewing and sewing and sewing.  I am done with the quilt top, I am dethreading and hope to get to the store tomorrow so I can start quilting.  I would love to get done in time to send it off for Christmas.

Oh, I had a rheumatologist appointment today, but I cancelled it.  I am no different from the last visit and he could not help me then, so I highly doubt he can help me now.  I refuse to take the antidepressant meds.  I am not depressed. 

I will tell you what I think the problem is - STRESS!  4 kids, debt, and living in a pretentious as fuck place with retirement looming!

Sigh - I need a glass of wine.  I highly doubt yoga will happen tonight.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Money and Christmas

We are actually sticking to budget this year!  It is amazing! 

I made these cute little treats for all the 10 year olds to 20 year olds in our family.  These are siblings kids!  When you have step-brothers and sisters, the numbers get large!  We have a total of 11 nieces and nephews, and 1 brother of mine that we still gift because he is only 18!






I bought earphones on ebay for $1.50 each and used Christmas cloth from my stash to make tiny drawstring bags for them.  I put red and green m&ms around it in a plastic ornament. 

Ok, breakdown of cost per ornament gift:

1 set of earphones - $1.50
1 cloth drawstring bag (used stash) - $0
1 plastic ornament ball - $1.94
9 strands curling ribbon (used stash) - $0
1/2 bag of m&ms - $0

Total: $3.44 per gift

How did we get the m&ms for nothing?  We used points redeemed from our credit cards to purchase CVS gift cards.  I then used coupons to get the price down further while they were on sale 2 bags for $5.  They ended up costing 2 bags for $4, but since the gift cards were purchased from points, then they were free.

LOVE this gift!  My kids want one!

OK, other news - more to the Citibank -D!  $938!  Down to $12,954.58.  Now, I just want to get below $10,000.  It seems to be taking forever, but in reality, it was over $20,000 two months ago.

This time, it will not get another hit for 3 weeks.  Our next check pays the monthly bills.

Cannot wait until we have NO credit card debt.  I am not sure what living is like with no credit card debt!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas for the kids

We finally got their Christmas wishes and sat down to figure out WHAT of those we wanted to get them.

For -M

1. Headphones with microphone - $25
2. Socks - $10
3. Jeans - $50
4. Suit - $50 (from Goodwill)
5. Big Bang Theory DVDs/Comedy movies ( from 1/2 Price Books)- $50
6. Door Handle for his car -$15

Total: $200

For -A

1: Subway Gift Card - $25
2. 10th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver - $22
3. Brownies (I will make him a special batch) - $5
4. Money for College/Car - $50
5. Socks - $10
6. Word Search Book (most difficult) - $7
7. Small Sketch Book - $8
8. Movie gift card - $24

Total: $200

For -L

1. A Slytherin Notebook - $35
2. A Deathly Hallows necklace - $9
3. A Doctor Who poster - $19
4. A clock radio w/ ipod dock - $15
5. Clothes - $50
6. 3 missions at Laser Tag - $20
7. A trip to Six Flags - $20
8. Movie Gift Card - $25

Total: $193

For -K

1. Pokemon Black and White DS Games - $84
2. Shirts - $30
3. Socks - $10
4. A trip to the Alamo - $20
5. 3 mission at Laser Tag - $20
6.  Poor thing asked for toothpaste - we will give him extra.  $0
7. Trying to think of one more thing since he asks for so little.

Total: $164


Our goal was to stick to $200 each.  The Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Do, Something to See worked out pretty well.  They kept the lists slim. 

We are happy with this.  There will still be stockings that include a $10 itunes gift card (we got for free with our credit card points), their favorite candy and fruit, plus toothbrushes and toothpaste, floss sticks and bath puff balls.  It fills out the stockings nicely without breaking the bank.  We have all the dental items already.  CVS couponing!

Whew!  That is checked off the list!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Financial Friday?

It seems we do all our finances toward the weekend.  It is when we are both together and get paid.  Nothing like the almighty dollar to bring a couple together.

Ok, so this check was the second of the month check.  I love the bi-weekly check that give you 2 bonus type checks a year, but they seem to throw off my balance.  It was the case this month as well.  We knew it would be cutting it close on the Jeep note, but BOA took it out 3 days early!  It was supposed to come out on the 15th - a Saturday, so we assumed maybe the 14th, but no, they took it on the 12th. 

Since we 0- budget balance, there was not enough money in our checking account.  Our savings covered it, with a $5 service fee, but still.  $5 thrown out the window.  Those extra checks kill me.

Moving on, we were able to pay another good chunk to the Credit Card de jour!  Citibank -D received a payment of $2,318.17.  We would have been able to pay more, but we had land taxes due, so that took away from debt, but we will be building there, so I don't mind.  That last card is down to $13,892.58.  Still reeling that this is the lowest amount of credit card debt we have ever had.

Reminder to Self: set a line item budget for land taxes  (this way it won't surprise us again)

We also paid our homeowner association dues. We set aside $75 a month for those though and had the money ready and waiting.  Easy check writing.  The $900 a year gives us two large swimming pools, 10+ miles of trails, 2 work out rooms, 3 fishing ponds, tennis court, basketballs courts, soccer fields, community events, etc.  It is worth it.  Yes, we use it!


SPENDING FREEZE

We are like Sharon, no spending except for food and gas, well that and budgeted Christmas items.  We kind of got on a spending spree lately and we have to full stop on that!

My kids are turning in their Christmas Wishes today.  I am curious to see what they wrote down.  It is getting harder as they get older.  Especially since they are not into "things" as much as experiences.

For Food - $150 a week - 6 people and a holiday.  Wish us luck! 
For Gas - $90 a week - two vehicles (hopefully it will not even be this much with the holiday)

Good news - HEB does it again.  Our little workers are given free turkeys by their employer every year.  Doesn't matter what size.  So, we can get a nice big turkey for free. That helps a TON with the holiday meal expense.  We are keeping it simple - potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and a couple of desserts. 

Thanksgiving is low key for us.  We wake up slow.  I would love to watch the parade, but we don't get regular TV or cable (plus I don't miss the commercials). We have sausage balls for breakfast and then I start cooking around 10-11.  We eat late afternoon and then laze around.  We may go for a walk or play Who Knew.  That's it.  My kind of holiday - LOW STRESS!  My sister and her family may come over, but I am not sure yet. 

What are your holiday plans (for those in the US at least)?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cold here!

I know it is nothing like everyone up north, but dipping into the 20s in November is crazy here!  

Our gas logs should be arriving soon - the fireplace may not get done on the time frame we wanted with everything happening, but I will have a fire to spite it all!

The gas lines worked well, so all we needed was a replacement key and the logs!  $200 and we are in business!  Cannot wait.  I love a fire when it is cold.

We got paid today, but will not be able to sit down and go over numbers until tonight.  I am hoping we get to put a little more toward debt this time.  I cannot remember if it is the first of the month check or the second of the month check.  If it is the first, then it will only be what I made that goes in.  We are aiming for getting all our monthly bills in one check.  I doubt it will happen while we have kids in the house, but it is a goal.

I am actually looking forward to dinner tonight - bacon wrapped chicken, baked beans, sliced tomatoes and cheddar biscuits.  Not a diet meal, but a very cozy one.  I am craving comfort food like crazy!

Well, off for another cup of coffee - it may be a four cup day.  Just cannot seem to get going!

Oh, here are my younger two at Halloween.  -K was Ash from Pokeman  and -L is the 11th Doctor from Dr. Who.  She is a MAJOR Whovian.