I need to pick up something for lunch and a bag of dog food today on my break - $50 for the dog food, $15 for lunch and leftovers for dinner. Tomorrow I need to go to the grocery store, I never did make it this week and am out of everything now. I also need to get ingredients for a tapas dish for a dinner party I am going to on Monday. I have no idea what I am making but will estimate $75 for my groceries and the ingredients. If my grandma is feeling better I will stop by and finish setting up her computer and Kindle, I might try to take her out to lunch but she’s been sick all week so I don’t know if she’ll be up to it. $30 if we go to lunch, otherwise I will just get a coffee for $5. The rest of Saturday and Sunday I need to spend putting my house back together. I keep telling myself I am going to get it done each weekend and then I don’t finish it. Everything has been in disarray since before the holiday’s (the worst time to start completely reorganizing a house) and I can’t deal with it anymore. I will drop off my laundry so that’s one thing I don’t have to deal with. Probably $10-15. Total: Somewhere between $150 and $185 and a lot of cleaning time.
I moved in with my Grandma for a year and a half when I was 18 since she lived close to the state university I was attending. I was informed that this was going to happen when my mom saw me looking over the dorm options. Mom gave Grandma some money for that each month, I don’t know how much but it was more an excuse to get Grandma to accept some money rather than helping me out. My dad took a small loan from his boss to buy me a ten-year old car and a used computer for school. The boss went out of business about six months later and forgave the loan. So thanks, Dad and Bob! I left school extremely depressed and moved to an apartment by myself in a crappy complex across town. It was walking distance from my job. I lived there for a year and then moved back to my parents’ house and lived there rent free for the next 8 years while I worked an assortment of low paying jobs and attended community college off and on. I paid for my own groceries and most of the household supplies and did all the housekeeping. At the time my dad was on the road a lot as a cross-country truck driver so it was mostly me and Mom. Nothing about this situation helped with the depression. When I was 25 I got a full-time admin job through a friend of my mom’s and started saving money to move out and buy a better car. When I was 28 I moved into the apartment I still live in. My mom paid the pet deposits, I had a cat and two dogs but one of the dogs was my dad’s and the other she adopted from a co-worker of hers because she felt sorry for them. She doesn’t actually like animals and told me to take them with me when I moved out. She also gave me some money each month towards pet expenses until Dad lost his job about six months later. In the two years before I moved out she spent a couple thousand on vet bills for the dog we got from her co-worker. Now I am at the same company in a non-admin position I occasionally give my dad money. Usually he asks if he can borrow $20 or order something for him when he doesn’t want to argue with my mom about taking money out of the bank. He always says he’ll pay me back and then doesn’t. It’s probably about $150 a year so I don’t worry about it. A little more than two years ago I changed my cell plan to a family plan and added both my parents and my Grandma. Mom pays about half of it. My mom has a lot of control issues that are mitigated by not living with her. Dad would love it if I moved back in. It’s weird but it takes a lot for me to ask my mom for financial help even now. A couple of years ago my credit card put a freeze on my account while I was traveling for work and I couldn’t check into my hotel. I sat in the courtyard for about 20 minutes wondering if it was worth sleeping in my rental car for a night before I called and asked my mom to loan my $100 for one night until I got paid so I could check in because a part of me feels like any sort of weakness, especially about money, is going to be held up as an example of my failure. Dad’s on a VA disability pension and Social Security now. Mom still works and makes about half what I do. Dad probably isn’t going to make it until she retires. Their house is paid off and I think she will stay there for a few years past retirement and then sell it and move to a retirement community. She always says that she isn’t going to avoid asking me and my sister for help like her mother does and her grandmother did and I don’t have a problem helping out financially but we are never going to live under the same roof again. Wow, that was long. Money and family issues are fun!
Friday night went as planned. Dinner for Grandma’s birthday and my cousin gave me $40 towards the Kindle I ordered back in November. Grandma wasn’t up to me coming over to set up the Kindle or going out to lunch so I stayed in all weekend. I watched Jurassic Park 3 and did a couple sinkfulls of hand washing. I also cleaned out my overstuffed hall closet and learned I have a tendency to not throw away the plastic tp wrapper when I buy a new pack. Netflix and Emily Books both charged my credit card ($8.65 & $13.99) – I didn’t estimate those since they are part of my regular budget and I forgot they were coming out this weekend. I also ordered an apothecary jar and a hall/mail organizer from West Elm for $69.85 total. I hadn’t planned for that either but it comes out of the house budget. I almost spent all the house money on a pair of bookcases with a drawer in the bottom but eventually convinced myself that I didn’t need them. I didn’t make it to the grocery store so that will happen this week sometime. Total spent: $92.49 but not on anything I estimated Total estimated: $105
Tonight I am going to a family dinner for my grandma's birthday. I already got a card and a present so no cost tonight. My cousin might give me some cash towards the Kindle my sister and I got Grandma. Tomorrow I think I am going to the farmer's market ($25) but am not sure. I need to get regular groceries ($50) and might take my Grandma out to lunch depending on what she has planned ($30). Sunday I need to work on some stuff around the house and get new pillows at Target. No cost to me since I have a gift card from Christmas. Total: $105 if I go to lunch.
@MrDean Vanguard is a very good idea here. They also offer low cost muni bond mutual funds with short maturities and low expenses that are a good place to park short-term cash. Also, if you have a brokerage account like Schwab or Fidelity you can purchase CDs through the secondary market, often at a higher rate than what the bank is offering because you might be buying the last year or two of a longer term CD that someone is selling. And if you need to money unexpectedly you can sell it through the same market.
I didn’t estimate on Friday but I had a low-cost and reasonably productive weekend. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to but I am beginning to accept that I can’t finish my to-do list in one weekend without exhausting myself. Friday I was at work almost an hour later than I planned to be finishing up a report for my boss’s meeting this morning that now he thinks he doesn’t need. I picked up dinner on the way home ($5 for greasy goodness at Del Taco) and watch a week of The Daily Show I had DVR’d. Saturday I met my parents at a new farmers market down the street from my house. It was small but it was their first weekend. I hope it grows since it is close enough I could ride my bike if I got around to putting air in the tires. I spent $30 on produce, baked goods, kettle corn, and fancy dog treats. Then I went home and read and napped for the rest of the day. Sunday I stayed in and worked on organizing my office/storage room. I used the 45/15 system from unfuck your habitat and it worked pretty well even though I had trouble keeping the breaks to just 15 minutes. I started watching Pretty Little Liars while I was working since the episodes are about 45 minutes long and I thought it would be interesting without sucking me in so I forgot what I was doing. That had mixed results and I may just rewatch a sitcom or listen to music while I am working. I also ordered a copy of the Price of Salt from Amazon. It would have been $20 but I had points to redeem so it was free. And iTunes charged me $1.40 for a song I downloaded on Wednesday. Total $36.40
On Car Talk
If you are looking for a new car, Nicole at The Toast wrote a guide to buying a car online without having to deal with the salesperson at the car lot. The comments probably have good info on buying a used car.
I sort of do this. My mother loves Chick-fil-a. She always liked their food and fully supports their politics. If I say I would rather meet her somewhere else for lunch she makes it into a whole big thing that I usually don't have the energy to deal with. So I meet her there and eat some hate-fried chicken and then donate $20 to the Trevor Project to make myself feel better.
This was an expensive but productive weekend. I went to Target Friday night and finished almost all my Christmas shopping. $4 for a coffee and $400 for stuff. That includes $50 of random household stuff I needed anyway, $40 for my nephew’s birthday present, and the rest was all Christmas. I still need to get my dad’s present, a steering wheel for the El Camino he is slowly restoring, check out my wrapping supplies, and maybe get a couple more kids gifts. I found out on Saturday that my estranged uncle and his three kids might be coming to our extended family Christmas party this year. After two hours and lots of money at Target, I stopped by Five Guys just before closing to pick up dinner for 10. I didn’t spend anything on Saturday. My parents hosted my nephew’s birthday party and continued the traditional of renting a bounce house so that was a lot of fun. Mom put a margarita in my hand as soon as I got there, which was also fun. After the party I went with my mom and sister to the Fry’s gas station and mom filled up both our tanks with discount gas since she had a bunch of points to redeem. It was an early Christmas present for my sister since they were heading out of town (Disneyland, lucky kids) but I owe her a movie ticket the next time we go. Still came out ahead there. Sunday I woke up slightly hungover despite only having two drinks the night before. Mom makes a strong drink. I stayed in eating junk food and watching Peter Pan. I spent .99 on a three month Spotify Premium subscription and $70 on a couple of tshirts and a tote bag from the Autostraddle store. I eagerly await my Misandry shirt. Total was $485 well spent.
The last time I was in RadioShack was about 10 years ago. I wanted a flat-screen tv and they had one on sale that my under-employed living-at-home self could afford. My dad came with me to the mall because they closed the RadioShack next to the grocery store several years before and even my father will venture into a mall to browse in a RadioShack. There were three employees on the floor and we were the only customers. A middle-aged guy was standing behind the register and a teenage boy was playing with some sort of robot toy, maybe trying to get more people into the store. A pregnant woman in her late twenties was the only one to acknowledge us and when we realized the tv I wanted was on the very top shelf of the display she went to get a ladder and started to climb up it to retrieve the tv. My dad stopped her and went up the ladder himself. We took the tv to checkout while she put the ladder away and the middle-aged guy told my dad that he wasn’t going to ring it up with her code for the commission since ‘it wasn’t right that she made an old guy like you climb up and get it’. My dad was in his mid-fifties at the time. Dad threw a fit and insisted she get the commission since she was the only person who had bothered to help us and tore the two male workers a new one for expecting her to climb the ladder. The tv still works great.