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Yeah, I know I just published one Saturday, but I’m so behind that I need to catch up at least a little. Real post coming soon. Probably?
Anyway, these diaries serve two purposes:
- They help keep me aware of my spending
- They’re great for those who, like me, are financial voyeurs
For reference, the goal is to live on $240 or less each week, though because of the cap, I don’t take amounts of more than $60 out of weekly funds.
So let’s see how I did!
I work on holidays, but after the initial bunch of emails, the day was relatively quiet.
Mom and I went to get a few last things at the store, including some snacks for CTG and the newspaper.
The total was $15.92 at Fry’s and $5.22 at Dollar Tree.
When we got home, I answered the couple of emails that had come in, then went through the ads.
I ended up getting a smoothie blender for $14.99 on Macy’s ($16.37), but I went through Mr. Rebates for 12% cash back, plus I used my Chase Freedom card, which is offering 5% for purchases that use it via PayPal.
I got Pirate Party Guy (PPG) a well-reviewed massage gun from Amazon for $43.37 after tax. (As an Amazon affiliate I’m compensated for orders made through my links.) He works out at home, and doesn’t get massages as often as I do. So hopefully he likes it.
I wanted to get my friend — self-dubbed for blog purposes Kinky Pharaoh (KP) — and my masseuse each a Thoughts of Dog calendar.
KP got a dog a couple of years ago, and he’s gaga for his pup (as he should be) so I think he’ll love it. My masseuse has three dogs, and she’s gotten me a little something for my birthday twice, plus a discount on my last birthday massage.
I also picked up my annual Ann Taintor wall calendar, since it cracks me up every year.
The above links are Amazon affiliate links, but I actually bought those on Calendars.com through Mr. Rebates. It was offering 4% cash back, plus 20% off $50+ orders.
Unfortunately, those three calendars were only $44. Besides wanting the discount, I needed at least $49 for free shipping. I almost abandoned the purchase, but I found a Jeopardy 2023 daily calendar that intrigued.
I’m used to having something entertaining each day — for two years I had the Anti-Affirmation calendar and this year I’ve had Thoughts of Dog — so that was actually pretty appealing. Or it could make a good present for my friend, CTG.
In the end, the four calendars were $51.56.
Speaking of CTG, he came over at 2 p.m. He made roasted brussel sprouts with garlic, pepper and olive oil. Mom ended up making gravy from the low-sodium turkey, so I could actually have some. (Yay!) So we had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and brussel sprouts. Plus pumpkin pie, of course.
I was checking emails off and on all day, but CTG and I played Bananagrams for a while after the food.
He left around 7 p.m. and Mom and I watched some TV until bedtime.
Total spent: $132.44 — owowowowowowow
I got up and got through emails pretty quickly, then I scanned another couple sites’ Black Friday ads.
Ironically, I’d already done pretty much all of my Black Friday shopping before the actual day. It’s weird to remember that it used to really be just one day — and that the low prices were mostly in-store only.
Normally, I use Mr. Rebates for cash back, but sometimes Rakuten has a notably bigger rebate. So I do use it occasionally. If you haven’t joined Rakuten cash back shopping, new members get a $10 bonus.
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to get my friend Fellow Dating Warror (FDW), so I did some searches. He loves Monty Python, so I just did a search for Monty Python gifts.
I found a blog post that showed a bunch of fun presents — and one of them was perfect. He and I both enjoy party games/board games, and it turns out there’s a Monty Python card game! (As an Amazon affiliate, I’m compensated for purchases through my links.) Even better, it was pretty affordable at $17.90 (so $19.44 after tax).
Once work was done, Mom and I watched a little TV before going to the opening night of the local adult puppet troupe’s Die Hard: A Christmas Story.
Mom loved it every bit as much as I thought she would. I bought a water for $4 after tip.
The show was only about a mile from a great ice cream place I’d wanted Mom to experience. So we went there.
The place has great flavors. I love the Honey Lavender. The Bourbon Toffee Caramel Crunch is also amazing (and I’m not even a huge toffee fan). There’s also the Cookie Monster, which is Oreos, Nilla wafers and one other cookie I can’t remember all mashed up. And the ice cream is bright blue.
But perhaps the most impressive concoction is called Fat Elvis. It’s a peanut butter ice cream with honeyed bananas and small bits of bacon. I’m not even all that into bacon but it is freakin’ delicious.
The place will also serve your ice cream between two halves of a glazed donut, but even I have my limits. So I got a cup of the Fat Elvis and Honey Lavender, and Mom got a cone of the Butter Pecan for a total of $9.77.
Total spent: $57.54
I woke up earlier than I’d hoped, so I lay around in bed texting/messaging and playing a game on my phone.
I pulled the trigger on some makeup items from Wet ‘n Wild. I was running low on some products, and it was having a 30% off sale, so I got several items for $28.21. I’ll also get 7% cash back through Mr. Rebates.
My bank account was taking a beating the last few days, but all for things I’d want/need anyway. Plus, it meant I really only have to figure out a good gift for CTG, and I’d be done for the season.
Mom did some last-minute laundry for me and otherwise got ready to leave. I was feeling kind of beat, so she took a Lyft to the airport. But we got in some time just watching TV and chatting before that.
I chilled out for the rest of the night.
Total spent: $28.21
I woke up feeling rested.
I putzed around on my phone for a little bit. I bought a song off iTunes for $1.40, and the iCloud storage charge of $1.08 hit my account.
It was a good thing I felt rested — because my freezer was nearly empty of actual meals or even the base ingredients (like enchilada sauce) that I use for meals.
While I felt up to cooking, I wasn’t sure whether I felt up to cooking and a semi-extensive shopping trip for the variety of ingredients. Especially given how many things I wanted to get started. So I used some of my Instacart+ credit card credit. It was $53.99 total.
While I waited for the groceries, I took out some salsa to thaw for a dish that I like (Mexican chicken). I also started a batch of enchilada sauce, which I use as a base for a few things. I’ll try to do another recipe post before long to explain more.
Finally, I put together a marinade for some Greek Yogurt Lemon Baked Chicken, coated the meat in it and put it in the fridge for the next morning.
When both of those dishes were done, I divvied them up into two containers each and threw them in the freezer.
Once the groceries arrived, I started some challah bread. There was turkey leftover from Thanksgiving. In days of yore, I’d have just eaten it cold and salted. Alas, high blood pressure ruled that out. So I was going to make turkey cranberry sandwiches.
It’d been years since I last made the bread, and I had to alter the recipe a bit to lower the sodium. I switched regular salt for kosher salt (it has about 400 fewer milligrams of sodium per teaspoon), and I used around 3/4 of a teaspoon rather than a full one.
The dough had to rise, be punched down, rise again, be braided and then baked. but I eventually got it mixed/kneaded/rising and finally took a break to relax and watch TV for a bit.
The bread ended up being ready around 7 p.m. and was absolutely worth it. Pictured below is my pretty results — after some quality control had been performed, of course.
By that point, I was pretty beat. So I just relaxed the rest of the night.
Total spent: $2.48
I woke up and took care of emails. Then I started the yogurt chicken in the oven, and I coated some more chicken in the spices listed in a gyro recipe I found, and I threw those in the slow cooker.
After that, I settled in and looked at some Cyber Monday sales.
I ended up finding one more o-sale game, Unstable Unicorns, that I wanted to buy. (As an Amazon affiliate, I’m compensated for purchases made through my links.)
That purchase means I’m not allowed to buy any more games for a while. But it was $13.99 (pre-tax) and I’m not not gonna buy a game with the tagline “Build a unicorn army. Betray your friends. Unicorns are your friends now.”
I’ve since played the game, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s like a slightly more complex Exploding Kittens.
I bought a few other cheap things, including a small $25 shiatsu massager. I have a mat that sits in a chair — which I love — but it doesn’t reach all the way up my back, let alone my neck. This one is smaller and can be positioned on neck/shoulders, upper back, etc.
The total for all of the items was $52.83.
I went and picked up my blood pressure medication for $14.14.
On the way back, I stopped and filled up the car for $45.92.
I had been thinking about going to the weekly board game event again. I’ve had to miss several in a row. But I needed to just lie low. So I stayed in.
Rakuten was offering 20% cash back at PETCO, and PETCO has a 20% off $50+ order (up to $20 ). So I placed three orders for cat food and cat litter. For a painful $265.15. But it’s enough food and litter to last me probably a year.
In non-financial news, the turkey cranberry sandwiches were delicious. But messy.
Total spent: $378.04 ($112.89 out of weeky funds) — owowowowow again
It’s our busy season at work, so I didn’t have as much downtime as usual during the workday. But at least the day went quickly, I guess.
I finally found a good gift for CTG. Just about the perfect gift, I think. His favorite horror movie is The Thing, and he cooks a fair amount. An Etsy seller has The Thing-themed laser-engraved images on bamboo cooking utensils.
Unfortunately, handmade stuff ain’t cheap (understandably). So with shipping and tax, the total was $40.93. Sigh.
I pay for Hulu once a year to save a bit of money. I have the cheaper, with-ads version. I was going to upgrade, but it’s now almost double, and the ads don’t bother me that much. I mean, we all gotta use the bathroom or get something from the kitchen at some point.
Anyway, the yearly payment is $86.31
When the workday was over, I ran out and picked up two of the PETCO orders. (The third was at a different location, due to low stock at my preferred store.) Foreshadowing: I inexplicably thought it was a good idea to carry two 40-lb litter boxes in at once. I guess I figured it’d be balanced?
The trivia venue for the night doesn’t serve food, so I ate and rested a bit. And then somehow just ran horribly behind while getting ready. Luckily, so did the couple who was meeting me, so at least I didn’t keep them waiting.
I got there about 10 minutes before the start — usually I get there 30 minutes ahead of time — and they showed up 20 minutes later. Thankfully, just in time because the guy knew an answer I didn’t.
We did well in the first half, but we fumbled in the second and didn’t get the final question right. So we didn’t place in the top three.
It wasn’t until I was driving home that I realized that I’d been so rushed that I never got a cider or soda. Argh.
There’s no table service there, you just get a drink at the register, so I didn’t have a server to tip. And we had gift cards from previous wins, so technically the bar didn’t lose any money by my not ordering. Still, oops.
My dating options have been dwindling so that I’m basically back to just seeing PPG. So I sucked it up and downloaded a new dating app.
To help avoid some of the rollercoaster, I only swiped on a few guys and stopped once I had four matches. And I’m working on the assumption that most if not all of the matches won’t end up leading anywhere. Maybe it’ll be less exhausting this way.
The most promising guy will be called Librarian Guy, for what I hope are obvious reasons. He was funny and seemed sweet.
I got swept up in messaging, but I got to bed at a relatively reasonable hour, thankfully.
Total spent: $127.24 ($40.93 out of weekly funds)
I got up, got through the overnight emails, then left for a dental cleaning.
Not to brag but… no cavities. Don’t be jealous of my awesomeness, folks.
I stopped at the store on the way home for a few things, including pita bread for the gyros. The total was $17.67.
CVS was on the way home, so I stopped off to get a couple things. With my CVS Carepass monthly credit, I paid $6.11.
When I got home, the back pain hit. My right lower back was (understandably) protesting the previous day’s litter haul. Argh.
Thankfully, I wasn’t due to go anywhere else that day. I messaged with a couple of the matches. One had already been ruled out, and one seemed unlikely to work out, since he works nights, and his only days off are ones when I usually see PPG and either have trivia or visit my friend KP.
So I swiped on a few more guys, and I got two more matches.
I kept chatting with the librarian, and we agreed that if my back was okay (or okay enough) the next day, we’d meet up. Otherwise, we were planning for Saturday.
In the evening, a friend came by and helped me playtest some of the new games. He left around 9 p.m. and I watched some TV and tried to work on my back. Thank goodness the shiatsu massager had shown up!
Total spent: $23.78
Total spent: $749.73 ($398.27 out of weekly funds)
Wooooow. Just… wow. I don’t think overall spending has ever been this high except when I have home or car repair to pay for. And even the weekly funds spent… Oof.
Anyone want to brag about their Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases?