Sunday, April 6, 2014

Waiting on a fat paycheck this week, and the budget

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While the normal payday is the 15th, since that day falls on a non business day (we'll be on break), I'll receive my next paycheck this Friday. Better yet, it'll include the 3 extra days from March that weren't paid out on the 30th. Great. I'll also receive April's C/S for the 15th, so my checking account will soon look a lot healthier. I've also recently received several reimbursements, when combined, equal several 100's of dollars. That will also hit the bank. Rent, the CC (to be paid in full if possible as usual) and the final installment for our new CSA are due around the 15th so it's easy come, easy go, but being back on full salary is such a relief. Each month, monies are set aside for our Summer expenditures. Unpaid leave took a dip into that needed reserve, so efforts remain to keep under budget, for the remainder of the school year, through the Summer months, until I am back to work for the new school year.   Austerity April it is:

- I will try to reduce utilities whenever possible. Heating season is almost over, fortunately, and no more plow service, although lawn cutting starts again in a month. Small electric appliances remain my friends (Crock pot, convection toaster oven, bread machine, etc)
-I need to be more vigilant about paperwork. Things got pushed aside on the dining table while I was recovering. Several medical insurance claims need to be addressed/pursued. Things like twins both have same DX from eye MD yet one's claim is reimbursed at a much higher rate than the other thru our ins. plan. 2 kids see the same MD every few months. 4 claims (2 per kid) were mailed in the same envelope. One was paid out for an Aug visit, yet the other states that it was not submitted in a timely fashion. Both were processed the same day. The second claim enclosed was paid out for kid # 1, but the claim for kid # 2 was not processed, yet also enclosed in the same envelope. My eye MD apt was only partially paid out. When I called yesterday, I was told that it was covered at the max. reimbursable amount through our vision plan. Since I have medical eye DX, my eye visits have historically been paid in full (minus any deductible) for the past 30 years with this MD. So, I will be writing several letters to get this cleared up, and ask that claims be recoded and resubmitted. This nonsense is chronic I am afraid. Sigh. Just gotta keep on top of them. Approx $400 of monies rightfully due back to me, so yes, it's worth it!
-meal planning for the upcoming month helps me to use up what is on hand, most likely bought on sale/cheaply compared to usual prices. This focus also has helped me to cull some lurkers out of the pantry, and now I am also fixated on the frozen lurkers. I also need to reduce what is stored as we're participating in a CSA from the end of April thru the end of Nov. We're eating more canned/frozen now as a result. Also, if we do end up moving, I want to reduce what we have to move out of here.
-planning is ongoing for anticipated "extras" such as DS's upcoming birthday. He decided that a laptop wasn't a good choice for him, as he can't afford Internet at his apartment (I looked into getting it for him-too expensive) so he wants Xbox. Cheaper for me, I have the freebie cash rewards points converted into cash credits on the CC. Fine. I will make him a cake, using supplies on hand, he wants ice cream ($2.50) and instead of a sit down restaurant meal, he wants Chinese take out, for which I have prebought Aldi's egg rolls and pot stickers, which are cheaper than what the Chinese take out charges. Done. I have the funds to cover what we do order out. Additional, small gifts to fill a gift bag were purchased, on sale/clearance and using coupons when possible
-We continue to eat what is on hand. I was blessed with a gift card to a local store, which allowed me to top up on some items. I stretched it as far as I could. I spend Sunday's reviewing what is on hand, my upcoming menus, luncheon needs, personal care needs etc. and decide when/if I will need to do any shopping for the upcoming week. This week should be a good one, with only milk at this point being required come Tuesday
-I need to top up my car today. I was planning on doing so after attending a film today with DD, but she was asked to work today. We'll see the film another time, perhaps next weekend. I don't like to go out for only one errand such as this, but it can't be avoided. I don't want to deal with a low gas tank before work this week, and being forced to pay in town prices which are almost 40 cents more/gallon compared to the town next door, so an extra trip will be made.
-I am starting to run out of a few essentials such as bread flour, AP flour, sugar. This will be purchased this upcoming week.
-we avoid waste, which covers a lot of territory. Tangible, washable items instead of disposables such as rags for cleaning, dish cloths/towels, cloth napkins. This also reduces our trash, which is charged at 20 cents/lb. It can add up quickly. Composting food scraps also helps. Reduce/reuse/recycle it is.
-I don't anticipate any household expenses (repairs/maintenance) beyond a chimney cleaning service this Summer. I have several, do it yourself projects to keep me busy, assuming that I am not having hand surgery this Summer.  I should have all of the supplies needed to do these projects. This remains an unknown, as I'd push it off if we are moving-that still is up in the air. My car may need an oil change service, but that is free to me at the dealership, as a bonus. Nice.
-Needs remain in the clothing department. Twins need shorts, T's, possibly some Summer Pj's. With a June birthday, those needs may end up on the list shared with relatives. I still need a navy cardigan, capris/cropped cotton pants, dress pants. I will continue to cull through what I have in storage bins here, and then hit the second hand shops before turning to store sales. I have 47 work days left for the current year, if I had to, I'd muddle through as I have. Recent spruce ups through Savers has stretched my current wardrobe. My room is usually quite cold in the Summer months (already is at the moment!), so longer pants are suitable with layered tops, in the off chance that the A/C isn't working on a given day!
-Regardless of our Summer address, possible hand surgery, we will be vacationing at home. Staycation it is! There are numerous freebies and reduced admission options for local events that we can take advantage of. I'm OK with that. I set aside $600/year for "vacation" and would like to limit whatever we do, to no more than $300 if that. Day trips, picnics, etc. In a week, we'll be on April break. My plans at this point include: finish culling through my clothes/stored clothes, shop for replacement items, shop for June birthdays, switch over sheets from flannel to cotton, remove some extra layers (blankets) off of the beds, wash and store them; switch over to Summer/Spring curtains. I'm still keeping the doorway curtains up, as they really make a big difference. Ditto the plastic on the exterior of windows/slidders. That'll probably come down on Memorial Day weekend.




1 comment:

Marcia in rural WNY said...

I know what you mean about doctor bills. My DD spends hours on the phone or writing notes about the billings from their insurances. Doctor's office codes things wrong, she and DGD go same GYN, but charges (even for co-pay) are not the same! Infuriating but she chases them down like you do, because it's too much $$ to ignore. I'm finding that since being on Medicare, many doctors around here don't ever bill for the "patient's responsibility" portion. I have employer sponsored medical insurance besides the Medicare, but there are sometimes smaller amounts but occasionally over $100 amounts I could be filled for! I pay if they send a bill. Otherwise, I don't.