$100 Segway Tour
$ 18 Parking SF
$ 5 Tolls
$ 70 Lunch
$ 20 Dinner
MH owed me a raincheck, because he was working any time off I got this year. I mean, I think I took an unpaid week off in May and another week off during summer. Not sure if time off between jobs counted because I never ended up with any down time anyway. But had told MH at some point (May?) I really wanted to do a segway tour in Golden Gate Park. Just something fun to do. So we put a pin on that.
No idea how to pay for this out of the budget. Vacation fund has already been spent for the year. I mean, we have the cash. But just to say this wasn't particularly planned for. But given events of the last week this is now entirely moot. I will get to that in my next post. Short explanation: Will have some money windfall this month, and I will be working a TON.
We had already earmarked this day because though we were both pretty exhausted, the kids were going to be gone all weekend and it seemed a good of time as any. & now I know I am working non-stop for the rest of the month. Which was all the more reason to take a bit of a vacation day.
We started out in my favorite part of San Francisco (which is so easy to drive to also, no downtown madness) and we ate lunch at my favorite beachfront restaurant. (I just ate there with bff a few weeks ago). We were questioning this decision when we arrived around 1pm on Saturday and the usually infinite beach parking was total insanity. People double parking all over the place; we got trapped in the parking lot for quite a while because people were just sitting and waiting for spots to open up and no room to go around. I told MH I swore I'd been there on the weekend before and had never seen anything like this. Ugh! But we did find a spot near an exit and felt like maybe we could get out in less time than it took to get in.
The restaurant/brewery has a low cost lower level and an upscale upper level. Bff and I had decided to splurge on the upper level last time. On Saturday, the wait downstairs wasn't horrible but was wondering if it might take an hour to drive the 3 miles to our final destination, so we decided to go with the no-wait upscale restaurant upstairs. I told MH the food was really good; we had some money to splurge anyway.
We ate *very* well. We were feeling pretty pressed for time, but I looked outside and it looked like everyone had just disappeared. Tons of empty spots and no more crazy traffic jam on the main road. Phew! We had arrived in some sort of "what on earth have we gotten ourselves into?!" chaos and it was practically a ghost town when we left around 2:30. ???
We were so scared off of "insane mobs of people" that we took an exterior route to the Golden Gate park parking garage. (Google maps/Waze was showing me all sorts of slow traffic within the park). This cost us $18, but was probably worth it to ensure we got to our tour on time. Hindsight 20/20 we could have probably found free parking all day. All my usual hangouts have free parking, so this was the only place we paid for parking. $18 for a couple of hours.
We were pretty early, but by the time we found the meeting spot we were pretty much on time.
I've never ridden a segway before. It was somewhat terrifying. But it was fun and definitely a good place to do a tour like that. So many characters out and about, and I have never seen most of Golden Gate Park. But I think I was really wise to just sign up for the short tour to see if I even really like it. 3 hours would have been a lot! This tour was more like an hour. Was $50/each.
Afterwards there was some live music we stopped to enjoy. For maybe 5 minutes. We decided we should probably move our car and go find somewhere free (or at least reasonable) to park.
We headed over to the Sutro baths, which was close to where we started and is my absolute favorite area of the city. The old bath ruins, the beach, and then just lots of nature. We went for a nice hike in the area before heading home.
In the end, I had some initial doubts about what on earth we were doing there on a Saturday, but it ended up being a very pleasant day.
We stopped for some fast-ish food on the way home, and got home around 9pm.
Due to traffic, we went over the Golden Gate both ways. Which I prefer anyway (is a very pleasant drive, though a bit out of the way). We don't have our license plates yet so it was a free crossing. That is how we managed all that paying only $5 in tolls. We went over some other bridge that had no tolls (may also be electronic?) and then paid $5 at the last toll that we usually drive over on the way home.
We just went around all the traffic so didn't get stuck in any traffic.
Total fuel costs for this 225-mile trip? $13.61 (That's about $1 electricity, the rest is gas fuel. We averaged 45 mpg with the gas fuel).
That's good because we have to drive down to San Jose Monday to pick up DL. His flight arrives Monday afternoon.
Archive for October, 2018
$27 Fuel (hybrid car)
Dinner: chicken enchilada casserole
Friday was pretty uneventful.
I did need to make an unscheduled fuel stop because I was mostly out of gas after work trip. Though I don't need gas fuel to run the car, I believe it is important to have some gas in the car to keep everything working properly (uses the gas generator for some car function). I filled up all the way because we had two Bay Area trips planned in the next few days.
Thursday night we were going to go out to some event at the art museum. But we were both too exhausted. I was going to be supportive of MH, but was so relieved when he said he was too tired to go out. Phew!
The film production company he has been volunteering for was going to be showing some of their films and he wanted me to meet some of them, etc. Oh well...
By Friday we were definitely ready for a very quiet night. DL is still in Finland. MM(15) was whisked off to go camping in Tahoe for the weekend, with one of his friends.
No spending on Friday except for the fuel stop (which was really more of a work expense than a personal spending thing). I guess I'd consider it a no-spend day, in that regard.
Oh, and employer brought in lunch because most of us were out of the office Thursday and we had a computer system changeover (while we were out). Nothing was working Friday and everyone was freaking out. I personally didn't have much to changeover (boss didn't give me access to a lot of things before, knowing this change was pending) and bills/money (moi) was given first IT priority. So I wasn't freaking out too much. But I probably barely squeaked by without a lunch break and it works out because I was going to leave early on Monday anyway. I feel like I've already made up the time for that.
Dinner: Tortellini with cream sauce
No spend day!
In the end we did a re-do of work field trip (was canceled prior week due to weather). Drove out to new home construction site about an hour out of town. Completely in the middle of nowhere.
One of the realtors took 10 of us out to lunch (our office + sales staff).
This is the tiny town:
As to the homes, WOW! Got to tour the models. It's a small home builder. Although we loved buying a new home when we bought our current home, and it was an exceptional deal (much cheaper than resale) given the circumstances at the time. We've been pretty "meh" on going that route again because it was a lot of work (lots of push back about every little thing, I know they HATED us because MH pushed back with every little change and whatever). Not sure I really want to go through that again. But more to the point, we've never owned real estate outside of a HOA and all the newer stuff is HOA.
In the end, this is something I will ask eventually and learn more, but my home builder employer seems to refuse to build with any HOAs. I guess my next question is how rare is it to establish a HOA later down the line.
So I don't know about the job (it's all good so far, but it is a very "economically dependent" kind of job, and who knows. Just being cautious as to the long term). I don't know how long the job will last, but I am really sold on buying one of their homes in the future. We may just do this again!
The home builder we bought from was very small and flexible, and this company is the same. To buy a custom home in our state would be infinitely expensive but these homes are really unique and they are willing to customize anything within reason. Which is some of what we did with our current home, but I think these floorplans are even better.
I told MH the little town was so cute, and the food was so good where we ate out, I might take him and the kids at some point for a weekend trip. I am curious what MH would think of some of the models and colors/styles of everything. We easily agree on about 99% of stuff, but home decor is like something we can never agree on. I am in love with some of the floors they had and I thought, "Probably MH will hate it." *sigh* So, first things first. Does he even like the layout?
In the end, everyone in my office had carseats (PITA to remove) and so I offered to drive. I will get a $45 auto reimbursement.
I spent about $7 on gas and will be reimbursed $45, so that is not a bad deal. Is not on the same scale as my last high miles job, but it works.
This reminds me... My first job out of college was all travel. I was putting around 25,000 work miles per year on my car. I had just bought a 10-year-old sports car (though very fuel efficient) for around $5,000. It only had 30k miles on the odometer? But the low price was due to the age of the car. I was earning around $1,000 per month in tax-free auto reimbursements, or about $12,000 per year. Seriously. Enough to replace my car several times over.
This is one of those things people have been really snotty (to me) over the years. Because they ASSUME. I've had people tell me they can't own such old and unreliable cars because they have to travel so much for work. *rollseyes* & look, it's been about 20 years since I have had this job. I have probably barely mentioned in my blog. If anyone on SA ever said this to me, whatever. I think it's a fair assumption. But when I was a couple of years out from that job, I was just always dumbfounded what people who barely knew me would assume. Because obviously I've never had a high miles job. ??? Why would anyone assume that? Because I drive old cars?
Anyway, so, this $45 reimbursement is not anywhere on that scale. But I am thinking that I may be able to completely offset *all* of my gas driving costs with work reimbursements, and that is pretty cool. I will take it!
20 years ago I had paid so little for the car in the first place that I was really able to leverage the reimbursements. In this case, I will be able to leverage somewhat my "super cheap fuel".
P.S. I have never in my life owned an "unreliable" car. I have owned some very old cars, but they were all perfectly reliable.
$ 12 movies
$ 36 Fuel (gas car)
Dinner: Chicken artichoke pasta
DL(13) skyped us again from Finland. They were able to see the Northern Lights their first night in Lapland.
MH and I went to a free movie screening. It was the "Hate U Give" movie. MH saw a rare super advanced screening of that one many months ago (probably not even the final cut) and said it was exceptional. But MM(15) didn't want to go two nights in a row. In the end, they chose to show it in a small theater. *sigh* It was pretty clear we'd be most likely stuck in the front rows (which I can't do). So we bailed at the last minute. MH had 3 movie tickets and he is still using Movie Pass. (He's been racking up free movie tickets because you can rack up theater rewards while seeing all the free movies with your movie pass, and I don't even remember the last time I went to the movies, it's been so busy).
We didn't wait to see for sure that we couldn't find seats because the cheapie theater was across the street from the theater we were at, and several movies were already starting. We just figured MH had already seen the movie and it was the kind of movie we would be willing to support financially and plan to take the kids to eventually. Let someone else see it for free in our place. We went across the street to see "A Star is Born".
Oh, but MH has a problem and wouldn't let me use the "free movie ticket" at the cheap theater. Save it for the expensive theater. Though he may have 3 more free tickets by the time I ever go to a pay-for movie again. *sigh* But that is my MH! So we paid $6 for my movie ticket (MH used his Movie Pass) and then $6 for a soda to go with the free popcorn. I hadn't really eaten a proper dinner and the smell of popcorn was getting to me while standing in line for free movie for like an hour. (That is always the catch with the free movies. First-come/first-serve; lots of waiting in line). I could not believe the cheapest drink was $6. Bottled water cost more, but needed something to wash down the popcorn. Next time I will bring a water bottle from home. Yeesh!
I think MH did the first fueling of the old gas car this month.
MM(15) took the PSAT at school today, for free. (His school just pays all of the fees).
That reminds me, I didn't even know that AP tests cost money. I saw some discussion about that during summer and I decided to ask school board friend about that. I didn't even know because it had been paid for last year. I didn't know if that was a school-wide decision or a district decision or what, so was going to ask friend who serves on the District Board. In the end, it came up in passing and MM(15) told me his school pays for all of the AP tests. (I guess I should have asked him!) One of his teachers also mentioned this during Back-to-School night this year.
$ 8 New scanner/printer
$10 Lunch Out
Dinner: Taco Rice Salad
I got a new scanner/printer for side work. I had asked MH to research and maybe pick one up for me. I was running out of time so I believe he picked it up Tuesday and set it up for me Wednesday. I tested it out Thursday. Phew!
It only cost $8 out of pocket because I had a $100 Staples gift card (credit card reward).
This is a very nice upgrade from the 1990s era copier I had from my last period of self-employment. (Which was the cheapest copier I could find. Still works!)
OLD COPIER - No longer useful since it won't scan and I can only copy one page at a time.
I needed a scanner and a paper feeder, which apparently is very affordable these days.
I would also like to buy a nicer/heavy duty shredder. Is the one big perk I will miss from my old job (we had such a heavy duty shredder, I just took in a batch of personal stuff every month or so).
I was awaken by a skype call (from Finland) at 6:30am. Which was nice and lovely, but we generally try to leave the house at 6:40am. Ack! I took the alarm clock out of retirement. Don't think I really need it, but I definitely need the backup until we settle into new schedule. I initially thought maybe I was catching up from missed sleep during the time period when I left my last job. But on Wednesday night it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, the exhaustion. I was able to wake up before my alarm clock on Friday. Maybe I will never know the reason I was extra tired. But Thursday I was so relieved when our plans out were canceled. It may just be emotional exhaustion from all the extra GO GO GO and socializing. Staying in, I didn't feel as exhausted, and my body was able to wake up on time.
Anyway, we hit all the lights green and miraculously made it to school/work on time, after late wake up on Tuesday. I didn't have time to think about packing lunch, so I invited "twin" to lunch. The 1/2 hour lunch isn't very satisfying with so much going on at old job, but it may be fine if we eventually settle into a weekly lunch date. I've generally always left one lunch out every week in my budget, for socializing, but work too far out and have a short 1/2 hour lunch, so it's only lunch with my friend who literally works right around the corner. I don't foresee ever meeting MH for lunch at this job, or anyone else.
In the evening MH and MM(15) went to a free movie (free advanced screening).
$4 Lunch Out
Dinner: Shepherd's Pie
Monday was a very uneventful day.
$ 3 Groceries (garlic bread for dinner)
$23 Fuel (Hybrid Car)
$25 Target ($5 Groceries + $20 towels)
Dinner: Spaghetti @ Parents' House
I had picked up a couple of $5 towels at Target the week prior and decided to stock up on a few more. I also did like 5 loads of laundry (so it felt like) and noticed our old cloth napkins were pretty sad, so picked up a few more of those. All that stuff was on sale, I just ordered online. The kids would probably appreciate some nicer towels (that aren't like 20 years old). I had been storing all the old towels under DL's sink in the kids' bathroom, but he keeps using them. I bought the new towels for the kids. While thinking about it, I may just move the old towels somewhere else. I have mostly empty space in the small pantry we have upstairs.
MH volunteered at the public TV station on Saturday. When he was done, we drove to the Bay Area. We saw my parents first and had dinner with them. After the Safeway nightmare a couple of weeks back, I told them we would pick up some garlic bread (in our city) to go with dinner. MH also filled up the electric/hybrid car with gas, while at the grocery store, with a gas coupon. We just filled it up all the way because we will be driving to the Bay Area 1-3 more times during the next couple of weeks. (Don't ask! It's just one of those months). Is our 'low cost of living' trade off, but I think I will be very happy with the low cost of fuel to get to/from, and is also probably why I am entertaining actually making all of these trips. If we were paying full price for gas, something may have to give.
$14 Lunch Out
$12 Diner Out
The reason we went to the Bay Area over the weekend, was to drop off DL(13) for his Finland trip with my in-laws.
Phew! I can't believe he went through with it. He's just been so moody, and before that was reluctant to go. I guess he is their problem (in-laws) for the next several days.
MH dropped them off at the airport around noon Sunday. Then we drove home around 1:00. No one was particularly hungry, so we stopped mid way for a light Taco Bell lunch. For dinner, we hadn't planned ahead at all. I ended up ordering a small pizza for MM(15) and I. I had a Round Table coupon, 10% off. I don't know if I have ever ordered a small pizza before. But I didn't think anyone else wanted any and was just going to get a personal size pizza. When MM said he'd like one too, I looked up the measurements and the costs. Was about the same size as two personal pizzas, but much cheaper to just get the small.
Though we have been eating out a ton, we are well within our budget. Mostly just a few dollars here and there. I'd like to meet up with "twin" for lunch this next week, but other than that I think it will be mostly leftovers for lunch and home cooking for dinner. Though we may treat MM for a dinner out if it's just the three of us. Our dollars will stretch a lot further if it's just the three of us, and will probably also have a lighter grocery week.
-0- No Spending
Dinner: Steak & Potatoes
This was my first full-time week at new job and first week with fast charger. My fuel (electric) costs for the week amounted to $5.
Dinner: Cheeseburger Pasta
MH did another grocery run. Can't say I've really talked to him all week. I am guessing he just didn't have time (to plan one big trip) and so broke it up into a couple of smaller trips this week.
For work, I was going to go on a bit of a field trip but it was canceled due to crazy weather. I work for a home builder now; we were going out to look at the construction process for some development that is probably close (location-wise) and where we can see construction in its various phases.
We actually bought our current home as new construction. I appreciate it because I have any idea what they are talking about half the time. It gives me some insight from the buyer side. & now I am learning more than I would ever want to know about the seller side.
In the end, I had planned to get like a $2 Taco Bell lunch on this day, because I wasn't really sure if we'd just stop to eat on the long drive back to the office. Because of the weather and everything, and some horrific accident on the freeway in the a.m. (delaying some employees by hours) they ordered in lunch and paid for it. I got the sense it was a rare thing.
I am feeling VERY at peace with everything. Was my third quiet night in a row?! I spent the last couple of evenings catching up on chores around the house. Phew! I was happy and I had lots of energy. This is my more normal mode, but I lost it somewhere along the way. (Well, normal mode is a lot more relaxation, but I will take, "Time and energy to tackle piles of neglected chores.")
I hesitate to even say it, but everything has calmed down since last weekend? A rare week of peace during this crazy crazy year.
I admit I didn't go to the old office at all this week. Didn't even hear from them at all? I stopped by the week prior and it was complete chaos. I think it was early-August when they pleaded with me to "wait two weeks" while they sorted things out with the lawyers. *sigh* Fast forward to last week of September, and absolutely nothing has been decided or resolved. New receptionist's father was in the hospital and she was beside herself and expecting she would need to take some time off. It's completely unreal over there (endless medical and family leave because of all the tragedy). Last I heard was that cancer employee was probably in late stage cancer (it had spread very aggressively to her lymph nodes already).
UPDATE: I've since been told that "useless employee" has officially resigned. Cancer has spread. Both my old employer's wife and "awesome admin" wanted to talk to me; they may want to fill me in more about what is going on with her.
$28 Groceries (Target)
$ 3 Groceries
Dinner: Salsa Verde Carnitas
I also made pumpkin bread this night (after promising MM many many times).
I had posted some old beach/sand toys on Craigslist (for free) and someone picked them up today.
The weather was completely crazy today! I was going to leave work a little early but the sky just opened up and the parking lot was becoming a river (right around the time I was going to leave)! UGH! I had gotten a flash flood warning at lunch (for the noon hour) which seemed pretty random because it was a beautiful/sunny day. Anyway, once the craziness passed, around 4:00pm, I took a deep breath and drove home. By some miracle, I made it all but the last 3 blocks home before I entered some other *crazy* storm. I think because the wind seemed to come out of nowhere, I was thinking "hurricane" type weather. Which is one of the first things MH or MM said to me when I got home; that it was some kind of unusual tropical storm or something like that.
So, I don't know how I got so lucky, but I had as pleasant of a drive as I could have. We had thunderstorms most the evening.
I don't remember exactly which date (or why) MH made the $3 grocery run.
MH also picked up some Target groceries while waiting for MM (gymnastics). Usually we buy things like granola bars and cat food/litter at Target.
$ 8 Lunch
Dinner: Zuppa Toscana (soup)
Total electric (car) fuel costs October 2: $1.02
(This was for 48 miles, or a very average day of new commute)
Did I mention that we have just been putting out fires left and right? MH didn't have time to go grocery shopping until Tuesday. (Would have generally gone over the weekend).
I didn't plan well at all and I went out for lunch. At my old office, it was a bad neighborhood and there really wasn't anywhere nearby to eat. The faster food places generally had very long waits, consistently burned food, and often ended up going out of business. I can see (looking back now) that I never had a lot of temptation on this front.
Today I hadn't planned well and I was starving around noon and remembered one of my favorite Delis was in the area. ("Twin" had told me this). The bad news? It's so close I can walk! Anyway, new work neighborhood is totally complete polar opposite. I am happy to say that the deli wasn't crowded at all around noon. Not sure how other places are, but today was the first day I really had the mental capacity to take note of my surroundings. (I've just been on such brain overload). Today I took the time to look around and see what stores and restaurants are in the area, on my drive in.
I did eat only half my sandwich and kept the rest for Wednesday. I doubt I will have the time to meet "twin" for lunch this week so maybe it works out. I'd like to start doing a weekly lunch date with her.
$23 Target (Groceries)
$ 0 Movies (Free Screening)
Dinner: Pasta with chickpeas and garlic sauce
MM(15) is just now returning to gymnastics post broken toe.
We stopped by Target (right next to gymnastics) to pick up some face wash (for the teenager), some hair ties, and toilet paper. I always just throw this household type stuff in our "grocery" category. (I don't remember the last time I bought toilet paper, but we were dangerously low; MH couldn't get to Target until Wednesday. We were in the neighborhood, so I just put it on my errand list).
I am doing a major financial reset with my pay cut. I'd say all but the last couple of years and our two-ish years of DINK living (Dual Income No Kids), other than those years we have always been uber frugal. I mean like I was saving 80% of my income out of college because I couldn't figure out how to afford the roof over my head otherwise. & we dropped our income in half to have kids, so just more of the same (though less extreme). On one hand, I would like to just coast this next 9 months or so and see what happens. Eventually I should be able to prove myself and be in a better negotiation position. If this job doesn't work out for any reason, the experience will also help me greatly with being able to increase my salary. Also, MH really wants to return to the full-time workforce, but we just want to give it another 9 months (when MM has a drivers license and both kids will be in high school). So I don't see any drastic budget changes or anything like that, but we definitely do need to rein it in.
We've mostly never increased our monthly budget and so I don't see making any changes on that front. (It's very "shoestring" in many regards). But what will probably be more apparent in my blog is sending my kids on less extravagant/expensive trips (unless grandparents are just willing to pay for everything) and probably cutting back on things like musicals and the Symphony (which we really only added in the last few months). Oh, and no more jetting off to Europe (which I have no desire or plans for). Having not had the means for these things for 90% of my life, I don't think it will be any big adjustment.
Will also probably go back to "saving minimum 10% to retirement" (from paychecks) and won't be adding to "taxable investments" for a while. I haven't done a monthly savings update because we have just been hoarding cash like crazy. But I will reset sidebar goals (they aren't realistic at all with 20% pay cut I've had since January 1. First I lost my overtime and then I took another 12% pay cut with this new job). Instead of saving 30% of my income, we will be lucky to save 10%. Which is my minimum. I would have accepted a lower paying job versus living on unemployment (a 75% pay cut), but I am happy to say this is a job I can live with long term. We save MH's income, so household savings will be around 20%. Not bad for a 20% pay cut. You can see why we aren't in a huge rush to raise his income. (We probably would be all else being equal, but still dealing with a very emotional teenager who probably isn't ready for that. It's all good. In 9 months I can change my work schedule to 7:00-3:30 and I think things will be set up pretty nicely for MH to focus on his career. I think I would have a heart attack if he had to start a new job right now too. I'd love some time to settle into my new job and to make sure it is the right job for me, before we experience more drastic changes. Also, MM should have his drivers license by then, which will help a ton, and is why I can then work crazy early).
I do always track our expenses, but I will track in my blog for October, for better accountability. In my mind, I am just considering it to be a spending reset.
MH already told me that the film production company he has been volunteering for is running some event at the art museum this month. As museum members, I believe we only have to pay $5/each to get in? $5 or $10. Stuff like that, we can easily afford. It's paying $50-$100 to attend one show that is on the back burner. Thankfully our art museum has some pretty amazing concerts (that cost pennies), and so does DL's school (lots of theater, musicals, and concerts).
Last week was a complete whirlwind. Monday did not start out any better. Work is completely crazed. (Though I felt I actually got somewhere Monday with a week of training behind me, working a full-time day, and actually being able to pin my boss down to answer some questions from last week. My To-Do list did not double yesterday, like it had seemed to every day the week prior. Phew! But it was hard to even take a break and my boss's wish list for this week was clearly completely absurd. He also was annoyed I stayed 15 minutes extra to wrap up what I was doing, so I am not too worried about it. They are very serious re: their 9-5 "go home and spend time with your family" culture). Other than that, just endless fires to put out on the home front. Less death and dying and horrible-ness. I appreciate that, for sure. But I am still exhausted. Hoping for some down time tonight.
Yesterday I drove 66 electric miles. That was around 50 miles with my (new) commute and dropping off MM at school. The rest was city driving; running errands and dropping off MM at gymnastic class.
I could have done all electric regardless, but it was nice to have the fast charge in between. (If I got home from work and plugged in for a couple of hours on the slow charger, I would have barely squeaked by with enough miles for evening errands).
Total electric fuel costs October 1: $1.36
**corrected after original post**
Cost to drive gas guzzling minivan 66 miles: $11.06
Fuel Savings: $9.70
There is no doubt we would have pulled the trigger on replacing the minivan, regardless. Might not have necessarily done it before I started my job and didn't have to go so "new" and expensive. Didn't even have to switch to an electric car. (Our other gas car is twice as fuel efficient as the minivan was). I am guessing this is a lot of why we have talked about the replacing the gas guzzler for so many years but was never quite able to pull the trigger. We just haven't had the financial incentive to. But wow, look at that financial incentive now!