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Archive for March, 2013

Unexpected snowflake

March 25th, 2013 at 11:51 am

Woo hoo.I had a nice surprise on my last paycheck.

The company I work for has a referral program for hard to fill positions. Last year, I sent a job opening to a friend and she got the job. I didn't realize that the job was one of the hard to fill listings.

Fast forward to this past Friday. My paycheck had an extra $500 in it because she has been in her job for a year.

I sent out the extra $ to one of the CC this morning! It was tempting to go spend it on something "fun", but we managed to resist.

Feeling blah...

March 14th, 2013 at 10:15 am

I'm sitting in the couch right now debating whether I am going to call in sick to work. I'm nauseated and achy, but luckily no fever. There's a stomach bug going around the schools and my DD2 brought it home to share. Thanks hon.

I detest calling in sick for a couple of reasons. The first is that nurses have awful sick leave. We are expected to always be at the bedside unless we are a hospital patient ourselves.

The second is the little thought in the back of my mind...yes, you are sick, but not really THAT sick. What happens if you get really, really sick next week (month, quarter, summer...whatever)? Then you will have wasted your sick day just because you had an upset tummy...

Nurse's guilt is a powerful thing. On the one hand, I know that I have to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else. Not to mention that if I am sick, I pose a potential threat to my patients. But on the other hand, I know that calling in will have an Impact on my coworkers. Going to work and then having to leave is even worse.

So, here I am. Sitting on the couch. Wondering do I or don't I. Ugh

I hate being sick.

Redecorating on a budget

March 10th, 2013 at 11:34 am

We hit a milestone here last month. DD1 moved in to her own apartment. She graduated last may with her BSN. Took her boards in July and started a new grad program in August. Her leaving means only 2 kids to go until I'm an empty nester.

It also means I can't finally convert her room to a craft room/guest room/office for me.

So I'm starting by cleaning the room from top to bottom. I love the kiddo, but she was definitely a piglet. Her carpet is pretty bad. I was going to hire a company to come out and clean it, but the cheapest I could find was $140 for 2 rooms. I borrowed a Bissel from my mom instead. It's a lot of work, but definitely will be worth saving $120 (after spending about 20 for the cleaning solution). I'm taking a break right now and blogging, then I will get back to scrubbing.

Once that's clean, it will be time to paint. The room and bathroom aren't that big, so paint will be a relatively inexpensive spruce up. After that, I plan on "shopping" my basement for things to furnish and decorate the space with. My current craft table is a door on two wire book shelves in the basement. Not pretty, but functional. I think I'm going to take some of my fabric stash to make a table skirt to beautify it, as well as hide supplies underneath. The guest bed is going to be a tougher item. It may take awhile to come up with something for that, but I'm not really in a hurry.

Lots to do, but my plan is to convert it from a kids room to my new space for less than $100.00.

Wish me luck.

Well pfff...Illness derails my budget.

March 7th, 2013 at 11:02 am



Wouldn't you know it. I thought I was doing a good job working on my budget. But events of this past week showed me a hole that I need to fix.

DD3 woke up Friday morning with a fever. By Saturday, she had a headache, a sore throat and an upset stomach to go with it. The last 3 together have always heralded strep throat. Being a weekend, of course, her pediatrician's office was closed, so off to the urgent care center we went. I have insurance, but the copay for urgent care is about 1/3 higher than a regular office visit.

After a rapid strep test came back negative, the doctor told me that there was a virus going around that was mimicing strep symptoms. They had seen approximately 100 cases in the last few days. So instead of going home with antibiotics, we went home with a prescription for an anti-nausea medication so she could keep down fluids.

Fast foward to Wednesday. DD3 was doing better, so DH sent her to school. I had worked Monday and Tuesday night, so I came home and was taking a nap. Low and behold, 2 hours later the school nurse called. DD3 was in the office with her fever back full force and now she was wheezing on top of it. I picked her up and called her pediatrician. Again.

This time, the lovely receptionist informed me that they were booked solid for the next 2 days. They would happy to fit her in on Friday. Hello?! Friday? Did they miss the part where she was wheezing with every breath? My only 2 options were back to the urgent care of the emergency room.

I'm lucky. There is a fantastic pediatric urgent care clinic not far from my house. We check back in for the second time and waited our turn. As soon as we walked back in to triage, the nurse took one look at my daughter and got an order for a respiratory treatment. After the doctor saw her, she ordered a chest xray (which will run about $300 when the bill finally comes in). Thankfully, there was no pneumonia present, but she was showing signs of inflammation from reactive airway disease.

When DD3 was little she would get this every time she had an upper respiratory infection. It had been about 4 years since her last bout, so we (the pediatrician and myself) had assumed she had finally outgrown this tendency. We no longer had a prescription for an inhaler on hand. So we left urgent care with a new order for the inhaler plus steroids.

I know I'm lucky to have insurance, but an inhaler is still not cheap. Thankfully the steroids were only $4 at the pharmacy we go to.

So back to the budget. Because the we are lucky to be a relatively healthy family (the kids rarely go to the doctor for anything other than their annual checkups), I had only budgeted for a single (regular) office visit plus one generic medication. This past week blew past all that.

I need to redo the budget to find room for the more expensive visits. Anything left over will then be rolled over in to a long term healthcare emergency fund to cover the unexpected.

The best laid plans...

Where do I start?

March 3rd, 2013 at 03:50 pm

Last week, I blogged about how I ended up with the enormous amount of consumer debt that I have. Basically, it's just because I have bad spending habits. This week, I want to focus on how I can turn those habits around and get rid of that number.

Obviously, I need to know where my money is going. The credit cards have been taken out of my wallet, so all that is left is my debit card. That's helping limit some of the spending. Plus, it makes it easy to track where I have spent my $ each week because I can download right in to Quicken. Great, but again, that's AFTER the fact.

I've decided that I need to know BEFORE I spend anything, whether or not I can afford it. That means budgeting and having that budget with me at all times. So I am going to have to either go to the Cash-Only envelope method or find some type of (preferably free) App that lets me do the same thing with my debit card.

My personal preference would be to have an App for a couple of reasons. I hate carrying cash. Many years ago I had my locker broken in to at school and my wallet stolen. At the time, losing that $30.00 was a huge deal. We never did recover my wallet or find out who did it. Another reason I have touched on already is that I like the convenience of having my spending download to my financial software automatically. I always have my smart phone with me, so being able to enter things right away is ideal.

The newest version of Quicken appears to have an associated App that would let me track my budget on the fly, so that's one possibility. Can anyone recommend any other software/apps?