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Archive for May, 2015

Quick Made Money Update

May 29th, 2015 at 11:39 am

I've sold 8 diapers for a total of $70 (minus shipping and handling, which is about $3.50 per order, and most diapers sell in 2s and 3s).

I invoiced for the proofreading I've done, which is at least $90. It will actually be a little over that, because one was a rush proof and I'll be paid for my time on that.

I still have 9 fitted diapers and 5 Flips covers left to sell. Hopefully they'll go soon.

I am currently in the middle of proofing an anthology, and I want to be able to invoice for each story in the anthology on one invoice, so I'm holding on to those for now, even though I've finished 3 and could invoice for them if I wanted to.

So hey, that's $160 for savings right there. Not too bad for this month.

Sell Sell Sell

May 27th, 2015 at 11:16 am

One of the side effects of Brandus moving out is that I've finally admitted we won't be having any other kids. We tried for several years, then put everything on hold starting last year when he first started really struggling with alcoholism.

Which means I am finally clearing out my favorite cloth diapers that I saved from when Voldemort was a baby. They're really cute and super soft and I love them, but they make me sad, and I would rather they go to a kiddo who needs them.

I've sold four so far for a grand total of $35, and have several more listed, so hopefully the rest will go soon as well.

As it's summer coming up, my time to proofread has increased as well. Currently, I'm proofing an anthology ($15 each story), a second proofing on a novel ($30), and a novella ($30). I've also yet to invoice on second proofs for two novels ($60). It doesn't leave me rolling in dough or anything, but it definitely helps over the summer when I'm trying to bank as much of my teaching paycheck as I can.

Voldemort does still go to childcare over the summer - not full time, just two days a week - because I have to pay to keep his spot open anyway, so why not make sure he gets to spend time with other kids and I get to spend time NOT dealing with the eight billion questions a day he likes to ask. Smile

We're getting there.

One Bite at a Time

May 22nd, 2015 at 08:59 am

The husband cancelled our couples counseling appointment yesterday, and when I told him I was upset and wasn't interested in talking to him at the time, he said he has the right to be upset and take some time too.

Whatever that means.

But, he did actually reschedule the appointment for June 9th, so at least he took it seriously when I told him it was up to him now.

I'm still working on cutting costs - I decided to reschedule the cleaners for every other week instead of weekly, which does save about $130 per month.

I didn't cancel my uppercase box subscription entirely, but I did take it down to the next level, which is only about $7 difference a month, but still!

I also cancelled the kiddo's subscription to Kidstir, which is a cooking box. It's a lot of fun, but he's barely touched the last two boxes, so I put it on hold until we've got a little more wiggle room and he shows an interest in starting it again. So that's about $25, I think - I'm too lazy to check right now.

Adding up those changes plus the ones I cut before brings the amount per month that I am going to be able to reallocate to $443 per month!

Which leads us to...

I did give in last night and order a new laptop, which was desperately needed. I waited until Dell posted their Memorial Day sales, and only spent $400, which I think is fair. I had the money in my personal savings account, but I put it on the Discover because they were offering an extra cash back if I paid with my card.

So, $443 less going out plus $400 for a new computer leads to no increased money out of pocket - technically, I think.

I'm planning on putting at least another hundred towards the Discover every month and the rest in savings. Because even though I might be blase about currently not being set up for a job next year doesn't mean the idea doesnt occasionally strike terror into my heart.

Worker Bee

May 21st, 2015 at 09:22 am

At the end of this year, my classroom is closing.


I am an early childhood special ed teacher, and I teach an inclusion classroom - meaning some of my children are typically developing, and some have a variety of disabilities.

This means that my classroom is very dependent on the number of children placed (kids with disabilities) and children enrolled (typical peers).

Right before the winter holidays, the principal called me down to tell me my projected numbers for next year were low, and so my classroom was closing.

This isn't the first, or even the second time this has happened. It is, in fact, the third.

I hate it. Because I can never get fully comfortable in any school because I'll probably be moving on in a couple of years.

It also means that I have to apply and interview for the school where they are opening a classroom.

In the midst of all of the personal life mess, I just don't have the energy to jump through that many hoops - especially because I've turned in applications for several jobs already.

So, I'm solo parenting, my husband has made no progress that I can see towards starting any type of treatment, and come August I will no longer be pulling a regular paycheck.

I probably should be panicking, but I'm not.

I'm a special education teacher - I can sub every single day of the school year if I want to. It's not as high of a paycheck, but we'll get by. We might have to tighten the belts a bit more, but we have a good amount in our "taxes" fund that hasn't been needed, plus my second job (proofreading) brings in a hundred or so per month. Not a lot, true, but that will cover groceries.

Plus, I need time. The flexibility of subbing means that I can take days off when I need to. It means I can make it to Voldemort's field days and school plays without having to beg for a personal day.

I have concerns, of course - health insurance, for one big thing.

But the benefits are looking better and better.

I might still get another teaching job, and that will be ok. But if I don't, I'm ok.

We'll be ok.

Cheap Fun

May 18th, 2015 at 08:22 am

The past two weekends have been pretty good low cost weekends.

Last weekend, Voldemort and I met up with a friend of mine and her kiddo, Voldemort II (they have the same name - it's pretty hilarious), and we went to Big Time Trampoline, which is a big warehouse type place with trampolines, a foam pit, and a maze.

I had won passes to there during the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference a month or so ago, and when my friend mentioned that she wanted to go and take the boys, I handed over one of the passes, and so both boys got in free!

We spent a few quarters on arcade games and claw games, but overall, it just cost us the gas to get there.

This weekend, I met up with the same friend to take the kids to the zoo this time around. We used to be members, but our membership has lapsed, but we still had two passes to get in and one free ticket for the train or the carousel.

Voldemort and I packed our lunch, but we bought chips and drinks inside the zoo to fill them out a little, as we had sandwiches and an orange each, and that much walking makes you hungry!

The boys were far more interested in using the map to navigate than they were in seeing the animals, but we had a blast.

And then last night, for a special treat, Voldemort got a Happy Meal with a free coupon I had gotten a while ago. I had pasta salad made at home, as McDonalds tends to give me stomach aches.

Overall, not too much out of pocket. And it's awesome having a friend to hang out with while the boys run wild. VII is 5, while V is 8, but they don't seem to mind too much. And my friend is a single parent, so having someone to bounce thoughts and frustrations off of while I'm solo parenting is really helpful.

Just writing down some changes..

May 15th, 2015 at 11:54 am

I'm skipping any and all talk of brandus right now, as he has given me a headache with his inability to get off his pity pony and deal with his mess.

So, instead! Budget!

I cancelled one of my subscription boxes, Homegrown Collective, as I'd signed up for a 6 month subscription two months ago but the two boxes I've gotten so far don't thrill me to pieces, so that's $156 I'll get back.

I have another subscription box that I will most likely cancel - Uppercase, which sends out a personally selected YA novel each month, which i ADORE. But, I have about 17 library books gathering dust at home that I haven't read yet, and it would put $32 in the wallet every month.

The husband cancelled cable, leaving me internet, which is what I use anyway, and phone. So that will go from $200 or so (I KNOW, I don't want to talk about it), to $65, saving $135 every month.

He didn't end up cancelling the cleaners, and I'm torn on that. On the one hand, it would save $90 a week, but on the other hand, if we don't have cleaners, things like mopping and vacuuming will NEVER EVER HAPPEN. I'm pretty good at keeping up with dishes and laundry, but anything else - especially while working full time - ain't gonna happen.

Cancelling the dairy delivery is something like $30 a week, but we haven't had that long so I'm not going to count it at the moment.


Cancelling and downgrading those things is going to wind up saving $206 per month, which is a pretty good chunk that can go towards the only cc that carries a balance (Discover - $8034), or, in the savings account, as my classroom is closing at the end of the this year and I don't have a job secured for next year. But that's a story I'll get into later.

ETA: I totally forgot to add in the return of the rented violins! I'm returning them after work today, and they are $37.40 each, so that's an additional $75, bringing the total of money no longer going out up to $281!

Following Up

May 13th, 2015 at 12:21 pm

I've had a few questions about brandus and plans and alcoholism and stuff, so I figured I would put the answers in one new post instead of trying to answer in comments.

1. Yes, Brandus usually goes to daily AA. Sometimes. When he hasn't gone for several days, I usually expect a relapse. I'm not paying for his hotel, so I'm trying to stay out of it, other than offering to help him find a place. He is unwilling to contact his friends to ask for help, so.

2. I've gone to Al-anon in the past and hated it. I did have a family support group through health insurance, but it was cancelled last month due to low numbers. It was very helpful, so I was very unhappy at it closing. At the moment, I go to individual therapy and couples. I can't find an al-anon that works with my schedule, as i can't take the kiddo - regardless of my feelings, I don't think he needs to know the nitty gritty of his father's issues. I AM looking for a group I can attend.

3. I am keeping Voldemort as shielded as I can from all this. Brandus is not allowed to drive him anywhere, and I'd prefer they be somewhat supervised. I have family and friend support, thank goodness - family is far flung, but we're working on figuring out how to make sure the kid is somewhere safe and cared for the brief times I am scheduled to be out of town.

My BFF is coming to visit in June, and we're scheduling her return home to coincide with my trip out, and she will escort kiddo to my parents' house.

The return trip might be un-escorted minor, so if anyone has done that with a kid, please share!

My other sister has a good friend in Denver who has a kid a few years younger, and we've been trying to set it up so that we can trade the kids back and forth and give both of us a breather.

We've got two week long summer day camps set up for him as well (robots! space!), and there is Michael's Arts and Crafts summer program that he can participate in, which is low cost and easily available.

The nice thing about being a teacher is having some wiggle room in the summer for scheduling - I'll probably still have him in child care two days a week or so to give him a chance to spend time with other kids, but mostly, he can be home with me.

I hope that answers some questions!

Turn It Off

May 12th, 2015 at 12:25 pm

The husband and I are still separated, and he swings back and forth between understanding and totally ass. He's managed to find a long term stay hotel, which is still pricey, but not as bad as a hotel room every night.

It feels like we're moving closer to divorce, instead of moving towards healing.

He's cancelled cable entirely - he kept wifi, which is what I mostly use. I don't really watch tv.

He cancelled the local dairy delivery.

He's cancelled the weekly cleaners.

All of these are things that impact me more than him, as he's not at the house, but they are all things I've okay'd for him to do.

And I have to admit that those things together are a good size chunk of money that will no longer be outgoing.

But it's still weird and hard. I've noticed that we turn the lights off when we leave, and the heater/ac stays at the level I put it before bed.

The bed stays made. The dishes get done.

But I also make the kid's lunch and get him to and from school. I check all the homework, deal with all of the whining, do all of the laundry.

I feel off balance. I'm still looking for my new normal.

Some Found Money

May 7th, 2015 at 01:42 pm

Over lunch, I pulled out a stack of medical bills from Brandus' seizure - ambulance, ER doctor, substance abuse evaluation, etc - and prepared myself for pain and agony. Last time I called, we had realized that our insurance hadn't been applied, so I was calling to see if it had gone through, and what the balances looked like now.

I thought I had maybe $300 in my flex account for medical bills, but I had $841!

I immediately paid off my personal medical balance, which was a little over $300 - I had an ultrasound and some fun additional uterus related testing a few months ago, and those add cost fast.

I then called about the ER doctor, which was originally $1200. After insurance went through, it was knocked down to $112! I paid that one off in full!

I called on another two as well, but the insurance was still processing, so there was nothing I could do today. The ambulance had only sent the cost to insurance on May 1st, so who knows how long that will take.

But we still have $429 in the flex account, which means I can take care of a chunk of Voldemort's lingering medical bills (it's been a rough few years. Seriously) when I get home. We had that one set up on a payment plan, but I managed to space when the payment was due, so I have to call and what I can do about that.

Yikes. So many medical bills!

Another Day, Another..Wait, Where are My Dollars?!

May 7th, 2015 at 07:34 am

I checked my bank balance this morning, and SURPRISE, we're down to under $300. And it's only the 7th.


Admittedly, Brandus did text me last night and told me he would transfer money from his account into the joint account, as he had accidentally put his hotel for the past few nights onto our card instead of his. So that's a little over $300 back in.

But still. I double checked the numbers, and it seems to be pretty in order.

These medical bills are killer. I'm going to have to call and redo our payment plans on some of them.

I am proud that I managed to talk myself out of fast food last night, and instead made sandwiches and packed them for the kid and I to eat in the car (the plan was the park, but it was raining) before taking him to his piano lessons.

I had nearly convinced myself to grab fast food for lunch today, too, but at the last minute, I went with a sandwich again. I packed Voldemort a simple lunch out of what was in the fridge, so it wasn't anything special, but he's generally happy with pepperoni, crackers, and fruit, and then I threw in a homemade banana bread muffin that I had forgotten we had in the fridge, so yay for no spending on eating out!

I'm still working on cutting down our spending, too. We do have several things we can cut entirely, but some of them do require TIME, like the violins that Brandus rented for him and the Dark Lord to learn to play. We've had them 5 months, and except for the first two weeks or so, neither boy has touched them. They're a $37 each rental, but the rental place is 45 minutes away from both my work and my house, and this week has involved a lot of after school running around, so I haven't been able to do that yet. And until this past few weeks before we separated, I had been asking Brandus to take care of it. He's unemployed, so he should have the time, but oh well.

Hopefully on Saturday I'll have a chance to take that $75 monthly charge out of our spending, which would be a relief.

Still Juggling

May 6th, 2015 at 09:24 am

Couples counseling last night was hard. I told Brandus that I needed to see him complete either an inpatient or intensive outpatient program before coming home. He was upset and even with the counselor helping facilitate the discussion, it was still hard and he was angry and I was crying.

But I feel ok.

He did text this morning and apologized for how he acted, and I told him I still want us to go see Annie as a family, as we got tickets a while ago, and I think it would be a low stress way to spend time together. I'm not backing down on what I need to see from him, and I have an individual appointment with the therapist next week, and another couples in two weeks.

So, another month, at least, of solo parenting, depending on how long it takes him to follow through on completing a program.

I had told him I want to spend time with him, and I want Voldemort to spend time with him, but with him being so incredibly out of it the other day I don't feel safe with them just being left alone, and I sure as HELL don't feel safe with him driving the Dark Lord around.

So I'm trying to figure out how to juggle family prior plans and the Dark Lord's schedule and still have time to take care of myself, which is all very complicated.

I forgot to pack Voldemort's lunch last night, and we were rushing around this morning to get to work on time for professional development, so he had to buy lunch today. He has the money in his account, but I try to pack his lunch most days.

I did pack my lunch last night, as we had ravioli with zucchini and brown butter for dinner, and I made off with ALL of the leftovers, because it is delicious - and because, Voldemort, of course, turned his nose up at the zucchini.

Regardless, I am managing to keep us both fed and the house vaguely clean, so I'm counting the sudden solo parenting to be going successfully, although any and all advice from anyone who has gone through anything similar would be awesome.

Crockpot Dinner and Leftover Lunch

May 4th, 2015 at 06:36 pm

In my ongoing quest to not think about the couples counseling appointment I have tomorrow to see if we are going to be able to work things out, I bring you: my dinner.

I was so pleased this morning when I remembered to load the crockpot and turn it on before leaving the house - Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken, which is ridiculously easy.

Toss in some chicken thighs, most of a jar of pesto, packet of ranch dressing, and a little bit of chicken broth, ignore for 8 hours on low, then stuff face.

I had planned to have it for dinner tonight, then have pesto chicken and motz sandwiches later this week. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much the thighs would shrink, so after Voldemort and I ate our portions and I packed my lunch, we have MAYBE enough for one sandwich.

Which can work - I'll shred it pretty fine before layering it on the sandwich, we'll split it, and add some veggies and fruit on the side and it will all work out just fine.

I also took a small piece of the chicken for my lunch.

I pack bento most days, even if mine aren't as cute as many, and the easiest way to do that is to use leftovers. So here we have brown rice, pesto ranch chicken, parmesan corn, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. I will most likely add a snack of an apple and a peanut butter yogurt dip that is super yum in a sidecar container.

Voldemort's lunch hasn't been packed yet, but I'm planning on monkey towers (banana peanut butter bites on crackers), grape tomatoes, a plum, and...something.

I just hope I can actually eat tomorrow - when anxious, my stomach gets a little cranky, and I'm thinking the couples counseling definitely qualifies as something anxious making.

A Day at a Time

May 3rd, 2015 at 02:37 pm

It's been a long time since I've updated, and it's been a very long two years.

Since B's mother has died, we still have not sold the house. Mainly because he hasn't done anything with it. No estate sale, no setting things up with a realtor, nada.

More importantly, he lost his job.

October 2013, his school called me to come get him. He was well above the legal limit for alcohol. I picked him up, got him home, tried to get him help.

We've been fighting this battle for so long.

This past December, he had a grand mal seizure from detoxing, in front of my entire family and a bunch of kids, on the Santa Clause train.

In March, he was brought home by the cops.

We're separated at the moment, and I'm trying to stay hopeful, but it's really hard.

We're meeting with the couples counselor on Tuesday, where there will be ultimatums given, and I find myself looking at the budget and wondering what the hell to do.

I know I can survive as a single parent. I know. We've been living on my income primarily anyway. But there is also the crazy amount of medical expenses due to ambulance rides, ER visit, intake, and 3 days stay in the hospital - and it's under my insurance, so yes, it is my responsibility.

So I'm trying to cut some corners anyway. And because I don't want to talk about my marriage anymore, I'm going to talk about money.

I called Comcast and cancelled two of the premium channels B had insisted on, plus the $5 "insurance" fee that Comcast charges: $25/monthly right there.

I downgraded my Audible membership from Premium to Gold, from 22.95 to 14.95, saving $8/monthly.

I cancelled our forgotten Care.com membership - of course, AFTER we had been billed again, but still, that's $50 every six months, which adds up.

I have a subscription box I can cancel, and if things do go south and B and I can't come to an agreement about his treatment, I can cancel the local milk delivery, as that is mostly for him.

I know I have a lot of options to be able to cut corners without changing much around my house, but I am hoping the corner I don't have to cut is my marriage.