Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2nd

It's been a LONG time since I've had a TRULY Zero Spend Day.

May 1st was all about my dad, getting him to the VA to pick up his final paperwork and then off to the Assisted Living Facility ... which meant I had to write a check for $2,600.00 ... holey cow that was tough. I will be reimbursed $1100 once his social security comes in, but still ... it was a tough pill to swallow.

The good news is that all parties seem to agree that he will get the VA Aid and Assistance, which could be as much as $1700 a month applied towards his living costs there. However, until that time where they finally review and approve, we have to pay it ... so my dad gets a whopping $1,159 a month ... after his $50 payment plan to VA (don't ask, no idea whatsoever how he got such a huge balance on that!) he will have $1,100 to give forth towards the $2250. The ALF is giving us a break at $2000 til the VA kicks in, then it goes to $2250 a month. And the BEST news? VA will pay back what we've already paid ... I just hope it's sooner than later!

So ... that means, NO EXTRA MONEY to be thrown around. Huh. I suppose it's good that I do know how to live frugal when I need to ... but still ... I'm a little frightened ... what if I lose my job ... what if Mark loses his job and so on.

Not to mention all these little incidentals that come up such as a few minutes ago a phone call came that my dad fell and was asking for Tylenol, which the doctor did approve but now we need to GET the Tylenol ...I have some at home but they want it now ... uggg ...

So, I'm aiming for a few more Zero Spend Days for May ... starting with the Grocery Challenge I talked about over on the other site (Frugal In Florida) ... I think I can do it since I really have NO choice ;-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21, 2012

Geesh, can you believe it's the 21st day of April already?? I know I can't. Time seems to be flying by around here.

Anyways, an update (and I just didn't have the heart to type UPDATE in the header yet again.

Spent $15 at The Fresh Market and then $30 at Publix this past week. Hubby just came back from the store with sauerkraut (for the pork roast I pulled out of freezer), red potatoes, Vernor's, and olives. Pretty much all stuff for HIM as I don't particularly care for any of that.

Need to go and get a $20 gift card for a 14 year old girl from Ulta today ... and a 6 pk of yummy-licious beer to share with the mom for a party this evening.

Sent the Boy $100 for groceries and miscellaneous stuff. Another $60 was paid out for his bus pass to come home for a week (beats what it would cost for gas and a 6 to 7 hour car ride)

Had to put in $60 worth of gas into the truck this week as 2 trips to the VA this week really suck the gas ...

I will need to tweak the budget YET AGAIN to work out the ALF for my dad. He gets $1159 a month in social security . The ALF is $1875 a month AND he needs to pay for his prescriptions which is approximately $450 to $500 a month. No, he does NOT have insurance and he does not have Medicare Part D although I need to see if we can get him enrolled NOW that he's moved to another state. In the meantime, the VA has ZERO co-pay for 2012 due to his income level this year. Which is really nice and helps tremendously (being a pretty bad diabetic with all these other unknown issues is really freakin expensive, by the way) ...

VA has a program that is called Aid and Assistance where they will pitch in to help pay for assisted living. I just can't figure out HOW they calculate how much to pay out ... sort of stinks that I will be flying by the seat of my pants to see how much and WHEN he qualifies. Uggg. Hubby keeps asking me what else I need to do. Sign the lease, stroke a check, pack up dad and stuff and drive him there. Dad is not please AT ALL, needless to say, but I think he does understand that I cannot provide the care he needs AND deserves. :-(

That my friends, is why I'm thankful I tackled the new year with a Year of Zero ... it's sort of put me in training to do THIS now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Again :-)

I am back from Indiana and have my dad in tow. It's been an interesting few days to say the least.

A few things of note:

He can't find the bread in this house. Ummm, probably because we don't eat bread and I had to make it a point to stop and get some.

He wants to go buy a book for his scanner. It can't cost but maybe $20., I think I can find the codes for you online (I didn't think he needed the book, silly me).

He wants to go buy some new sunglasses. And shorts. And cookies. And binoculars. And this and that., dad, you need to be saving every penny you have for the ALF. \

He is trying so hard to show how independent he is. Yet, he forgets to do 2 of his 8 insulin shots (yes, EIGHT) and ate half a package of oreos (yes, one whole row) and wondered why his sugar was over 400. Uggg.

This is all so new to me. And I'm trying real hard :)

So far, Zero Spend for Monday and Tuesday. Unless I count his purchase (I used his card) for the bread. $3.99

I promise to try and make more frequent, exciting posts!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Updates and Such

Boy, I really need to get back in the groove of things. It's been mobbed at work and the personal crap is taking it's toll on me too.

I met a few girlfriends Friday night for prickly pear margaritas @ Canyons. Yummm. Except, I got there AFTER Happy Hour, so I ended up spending $12.75 for ONE drink. Yikes. But my girlfriends all pitched in and bought me another and another (3 total). That was nice of them. And I managed not to become a blubbering drunk ;-)

Then Saturday night, my BFF and I went to a little party together. We got there at 7pm and got on the road back home by 9. Got home at 9:30, Hubby had the pool all lit up and pretty and was making burgers. So we chilled at the house til midnight just enjoying the small talk about nothing. I really needed it and I think everyone could see that.

Sunday was a day of running and looking at ALF's out west. I say out west as in 10 miles straight west, 30 minute drive. Not so bad for a Sunday afternoon. Only downside? Cost. $1875 starting. IF his VA kicks in on it, much more doable, but the question is if I can handle the excess until that time AND what IF IT DOESN'T kick in?

So I've been reviewing the budget yet again. Technically, IF I was to stick with the really strict budget and not get sidetracked, I'd have about $1400 a month to provide. That's fine and dandy in addition to my dads $1100 ss check.  BUT the ALF is $1875 a month. Includes room and board, 3 meals plus snacks, excursions, daily activities and so on.  Cable in his room is extra (we'd have to buy a tv, no biggie really) and he could have a little refrigerator for snacks and water if he wanted.  My #1 selling point was the medication management. 5 insulin shots a day is alot for me to worry about. :(

IF the VA kicks in, he'd only be responsible for about $600 a month. But we would have to pay the full amount until the VA kicks in and IF they approve, then they would reimburse us back from the first day in. So it sounds promising but just a lot out front.

THEN of course, we'd have his medication to deal with. Not sure how much that would cost, or the whole procedure on that. The one ALF states that a local pharmacy delivers to them. He should be getting VA meds, and he was at one point, I really need to get on top of this and find out what's going on so we can get it squared away once and for all.

So April should be my LAST big American Express bill (the past 3 months have had flights, funerals/cremations, hotels, rental cars, etc.) and then I can get totally focused on finances.

My math is looking a little fuzzy lately and I'm not at all pleased with that!

And now tonight, another girlfriend wants to meet me at Shooters ... I'm wondering what the heck my face must be looking like that everyone is wanting to take me out ... yikes!! :) But that's what good friends are all about, being there when you need them most!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

4 Days of Zero Spend!

Woohoo! Not a whole lot of exciting stuff going on around here but hey, I've not spent any money for FOUR DAYS! That's an excellent thing, don't you agree?

I finally got around to doing the freezer inventories, 2 of the 3. Wow, I have a LOT of food. Really should only need to be picking up fresh produce and maybe milk (although I currently have 2 1/2 gallons and 1 gallon of almond milk at the moment).  I do need to replenish the lettuce and spinach but otherwise, good to go.

In other news, a trip to Indiana is coming soon as apparently, my dad is ready to be released at the end of this month. Rather bad timing in that it's the week before Easter and do you really think tickets will be somewhat affordable? I need to fly up there and get him (along with all his medication and whatever else I can think of quickly) and then turn around and fly back to Florida with him in tow. This will be interesting.

Curious what this will do to the budget temporarily. I mean, he has 'some' money left over every month since I turned the car back to the bank. He does have bills that need to be paid, I am working my way through them, trying to prioritize what I have here and there and deciding what NEEDS to be paid, and what can be possibly negotiated. Yes, bad debts. That is what I'm talking about. And I am so not ready for the bill collectors to figure out he's living HERE and calling our house for him. Uggg.

He will stay with us for a bit, a few weeks, possibly longer, til I can find him someplace to live. I just don't know why, but Mark and I are not comfortable with him being here by himself 10 to 12 hours a day. I've got tile everywhere, steps here and there, and well, it's just a big house. And if he's coming and going on his walks, how do I make sure he locks up when he leaves (sorry, he's not used to arbitrary break ins like we are down here, daytime break ins are 75% more likely than night time ... and the list goes on and on.  I feel very bad in that we DO have the room for him, I've got a guest room, guest bath and a guest kitchen, plus the Florida room located on the other side of the house. We could go for days without seeing each other, technically. But yet, come Friday and Saturdays, when we entertain, the music, the activity at the bar area, the laughing etc., could be 'disturbing' to him. Yes, I'm worried about inconveniencing HIM. What the heck??

Anyways. We will have to wait and see how this works out ... but in the meantime, Zero Spend Days? Bring them on!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New and Improved Budget

This should be an improvement, simply because I’ve added in the Boy’s stuff which I failed to do the last time (doh).
The Boy Food                                                  $100
The Boy Bus Pass                                            $50
FPL                                                                     $300
AT&T                                                                 $30
TMobile                                                            $225
Sprinklers                                                          $50
Water                                                                $130
Bug man                                                           $24
Netflix                                                               $22
Comcast                                                           $115
Gym                                                                   $62
Credit cards                                                     $400
Medical                                                             $25
Food                                                                  $350
Gas                                                                    $100
Savings                                                              $400
Total Expenses:                                               $2383.00
Income should be as follows:
Weekly pay:                                                     $572
Bi-weekly pay:                                                 $2162
Monthly Contract:                                          $400
Bonus (average)                                              $300
Total Income:                                                  $3434
Difference:                                                       $1051
This difference really should be divided up into a fun savings account and then the car insurance, house insurance, wind storm insurance, flood insurance, property taxes and other predicted household expenses. And then we still have the college stuff, which I am STILL waiting to see if we qualify for ANY ASSISTANCE. Yeah, it used to be that Hubby paid ALL that stuff but now we sort of split it, not 50/50 but I pick up my share … he obviously saw the $1000 plus that should be floating around at the end of the month. Heh. Then again, more should be applied towards the credit cards too.
There are other things that should be factored in, such as date night out (Hubby generally picks up that tab, this is MY budget), miscellaneous things, like clothes, etc., but I am trying to live a Year of Zero (I need to keep reminding myself of that and giving myself a BIG pat on the back when I remember!)  
Oddly enough, I just got done doing our taxes and filed them (thankfully!) and we were both shocked at how MUCH money we made, yet again. I think, for starters, we always think: “Not so bad for 2 kids that didn’t finish college and started off dirt poor” which we did, seriously, and then “Really?? Where the heck did all the money go??” This is our second year getting a tax refund only because we both pay in extra on each paycheck (I contribute $150 more a month and he contributes $300 more a month) because we got TIRED of paying at the end of the year, every stinking year, no matter what we did or didn’t do. (BTW, I am all for a flat tax base, trust me, would make life so much simpler instead of having to deal with tax brackets, etc.) …
So there you have it, the new and IMPROVED Budget….let’s see how it rolls out in April!

Do you have a pretty strict budget? And if so, do you find yourself tweaking it as necessary? Just curious!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Technically, I've had ONE Zero Spend Day, and that was Saturday ... only because I felt like crap. No, it was NOT because I had the Espresso Martini's on Friday (and an impromptu Fry Fest with friends) but because the sinus infection reared it's ugly head again.

Sunday, I had to take the Boy to his friend to get the ride back to Orlando. Stopped at the bank and withdrew $100. Gave him $60 for his bus pass and $30 to his friends mom for gas. That left me with $25 in my wallet for the week coming up. Time for me to pull out the debit card and American Express and stash them in the drawer again.

I will be staying OUT OF THE STORES this week for the most part. Mark and the Boy did a Costco run for me on Friday (sweet, I suppose, as much as I wanted to go) and stocked up on the every day things I was needing (eggs, milk, salad stuff, cheese, etc.) ... so not a whole lot of things I can think of that I need at the moment!

I need to hit the American Express bill today with $600. That will pretty much wipe out my bank account for the next 4 days until the 15th where I get my 2 week check. Then that will pay the balance of the car insurance, cell phone bill, water, cable and a few dollars towards credit cards. Uggg.

I hate feeling like I'm upside down. It seems that I go from great to shit and back to great again.  I know that this last month with the stuff going on with my dad and my brother's crap, well, I knew it would be tight. Oh and learn (hopefully!)

I am also hitting the gym tonight as I slacked off last week between being sick and the Boy being home. When I workout, I find I spend LESS MONEY. Is there some kind of psychological connection there OR is it just because who wants to stop at the store when they are all hot and sweaty? I know how I feel!