July 2020 Progress Report

Mindful Spending: Despite the triumphant feeling of paying off the mortgage, the month ended with a “dog ate my homework” moment when I realized I shredded July’s  purchase list and receipts instead of June’s.

However, I know the biggest lapse in Mindful Spending: about $40 for costume jewelry. Perhaps it displays a terrible shallowness, but I successfully combatted the Shutdown Funk by forcing myself to dress up every morning. Call it “Slob Prevention,” if you will, or “Getting Dolled Up,” in the lingo of my grandmothers. By any name, it helped – and revealed the sorry state of my jewelry box. (Some people have Sock Gremlins taking one of a pair; I have an Earring Gremlin.) Continue reading

La Casa de Tontería: Mine!

Having debt bothers me. A mortgage loan for a house is called “good debt,” but I never thought so. Consistent monthly payments were better than the arbitrary rent-increases that set me packing, but the niggling thought of foreclosure was always there. The more I improved La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense), the more I wanted to own it outright.


With penny-pinching and do-it-myselfing, I planned to pay off my mortgage in December.
At the beginning of work-from-home, I turned the inside of the front door into a central planning center for tasks and bill deadlines. The up-to-date loan statement, posted next to the calendar, often caught my eye. The dropping interest portion pleased me – except when I compared it to other monthly expenses.


Today I went into the bank and, after comparing mortgage and savings account balances, paid it off. Finally La Casa de Tontería is truly mine.

Putting the Middle-Man Back In

Please forgive the delay between posts. I was in a lovely place with spotty WiFi and, at the best times, WordPress had endless loading patterns.

This past week, I returned to brick-and-mortar stores. Having items delivered to my doorstep wasn’t saving money nor helping my community. Plus, it’s difficult to judge something like color and fit online (although fitting rooms are still closed).

It was a rather strange experience to have no Canadian visitors, to avoid other people like the literal plague, and to smile despite a mask (“invisible” smiles are high on my list of Things I Hate About Covid-19). The current coin shortage has forced me to use a credit card, putting a new wrinkle in budgeting. But there was the clearance rack (replacing workout clothes was $4.35 cheaper than anticipated) and the book I wanted was in a logical spot despite the rearranged, distancing-pattern shelves.

As for The Young Human Factory, we’re waiting to hear from the governor about what stage we’ll be in for the reopening. We are using a “middle man” regardless: lessons via live chats and online assignments). Ugh.

Saturday Night Check-in

Writing: Meh. I spent a lot of time sorting files, looking for handwritten notes on the next chapter. I have  a LOOOOTTTTT of notes. As a result, only about 1500 original words this week.

Work: Two weeks after the contractual end of the year, The Factory finally closed for two months. I’ll be heading back early. The second week of August is a training session in, ironically, Kagan Cooperative Learning.  So far, the CDC guidelines for reopening schools don’t allow students to be facing each other and advises that social distancing be maintained in the classroom.

Garden: A single radish plant has supplied me with three harvests of seedpods. The first squash blossoms have appeared – on the plants grown from the last-minute seeds carelessly tossed into a sinkhole, naturally. A dearth of landscape fabric forced me to use cardboard boxes as weed-block around the shed, which looks terrible but can’t be helped.

La Casa de Tontería: Inside, the house looks like a cyclone hit. I returned the last box of work material to The Factory, except for two boxes of reading materials I purchased to supplement a class. This weekend, I’m tidying and deep-cleaning – a real chore.

Mindful Spending: I was privately messaged about this, but a blog-answer is best. I stopped posting monthly updates because the Shutdown changed the cost and availability of everything. Not to mention a new category of expenses appeared: working-from-home. I begin July anew.

 

 

Covid Cooking

My friends, M’e the Fashionista in particular, have been sharing recipes to try during the stay-at-home order. Unfortunately, they tend to have unavailable ingredients like flour and cream.

My recent foray into the grocery store consisted of buying eggs and searching the discount meat bin. Finding a package of beer brats for $2.24 means I have something tasty to add to the usual frozen vegetables (zucchini, green beans, and peppers, usually).*

Mostly I make do with whatever is in the cupboard, whether it’s canned salmon or a jar of pickled peppers. My current favorite dessert combines the following ingredients:

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First, make the instant oatmeal, and then add pumpkin and chopped nuts to taste. Easy peasy.


* Yes, I’m still following the plan of The Year of Mindful Spending. It’s ironic that I’ve spent more on books since the shutdown – children’s books for The Young Humans, most of whom had never read Treasure Island, Call of the Wild, or other classics.

The Accidental Stockpiler

One of my brothers joked about people stockpiling toilet paper because of coronavirus. It’s absurd because TP is produced in the US and Canada, not overseas. It’s even less understandable than buying up all the dust masks in the land.

I laughed, then I thought about it: how much toilet paper do I have?  Chain pharmacies offer me limited-time discounts and use-as-cash coupons. Whenever they do,  I buy staples like laundry soap, bleach, toothpaste….

Also, when the regional Kmart went out of business this fall and I had to use my “points,” I bought a package…. or was it two?

Well, I checked. I have three unopened 12-roll packs in the linen closet!

Good grief.