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Home > Archive: January, 2015

Archive for January, 2015

back to reality

January 6th, 2015 at 02:46 am

I went back to work today - boo! I got up fairly early, gathered up my pre-made lunch and workout clothes and headed into the gym at work. I arrived later than planned and considered skipping the workout and just taking a shower, which I desperately needed! (My bathroom renovation project is still in progress, so I am without a tub/shower. I showered at a friend's house every few days over my break, but her husband had an accident this weekend and I didn't want to bust in on their lives yesterday.) Then I realized there was no way I was going to convince myself to exercise this evening after work, so I decided to do the workout and just arrive later at work than I wanted to.

I did 30 minutes on the treadmill - 10 minutes warm up walking, 15 jogging with some fast sprints thrown in at the end, 5 minutes cool down walking, followed by 10 minute of yoga stretching. One of my main goals when I exercise is to remain injury free, so I always ease in, cool down and stretch (although sometimes I get lazy and don't do much stretching). Yay - I then showered and felt great afterward. So glad I "just did it"! My weight was 141 this morning, so possibly a pound or two lighter.

I spent some time yesterday preparing food for the week with items I had that needed to be used up. I made three salads for M, T, W lunches and an egg bake with eggs, milk, local kale, scallions, goat cheese, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano that I will slice and eat for breakfasts. Here's what I ate around 10:00a today:

The egg bake was tasty and the pear was perfect and delicious. Salad and clementine for lunch, although the fruit was not tasty, so I ended up composting half of it. Dinner was pasta with broccoli, carrots, kale, scallions, tuna, kidney beans topped with olive oil, salt & pepper. I'll have the same for dinner on Tuesday. I started "no sugar" today and will have freshly ground peanut butter with raisins if I get a craving this evening.

I'm determined to have a very small food budget this month by using up what I already have. I should only need to buy fresh veggies and fruit for at least the first two weeks.

Lunch for three days

I've already checked off some of my weekly financial to dos!

Called my doctor's office for a massage referral and I already received it electronically! I usually forget to do this at the beginning of each year and it takes me forever to contact the doctor, which delays the massage therapist's billing, because the insurance company needs the referral form to pay out. She will be very excited when I see her on Wednesday with form in hand!

I printed out the bathroom contractor's bill and gave him a check this evening when I got home since he was still there working.

Before I left work, I scanned the healthcare account paperwork and emailed it to the processing office. I think the $1400 reimbursement will be mailed in check form. I should probably figure out how to have it direct deposited for next year, but at the moment I just want it done and on its way.

I'm going to attempt to go to the gym before work again tomorrow. Same workout as today. It's hard to cut back to 30 minutes after having so much time during break to exercise, but I know that 30 minutes done consistently is better than longer sessions done sporadically. I sometimes get caught in a trap of thinking I need to do long workouts and then I avoid them because I don't have time or energy. So shorter and sweet should do the trick this week.

Last day of vacation

January 4th, 2015 at 02:10 pm

I have been staycationing since Friday, December 19, and return to work tomorrow. My workplace closed from Dec 20 through January 1 and I took off Dec 19 and Jan 2 to make my vacation a full 17 days. The entire block of time only cost me two vacation days because we automatically get paid during the break without having to use our time.

I finally feel rested and rejuvenated and have my energy back and now it's time to return to work. Frown I really don't want to go! I know, poor me.

Yesterday was productive!

I finished filling out my healthcare account paperwork! I will scan the many sheets at work tomorrow and email them to the provider for reimbursement of $1400. I met my daily swagbucks goal while I was working on it. I did finally reach 2500 swagbucks the other night, so submitted a request for $25 cash.

Disposed of my trash and recycling at the drop-off spot my town provides every Saturday morning. A private company has to be hired if you want weekly curbside pickup, but I'm too cheap for that because i just don't generate all that much trash. Recycling is free and trash is $2.50/small bag and $5.00/large bag. I usually have a small bag of trash and sometimes the guy doesn't charge me! I forgot to bring money this week, so will need to take an extra $2.50 next week.

Walked with a friend for 75 minutes. A wintry mix storm was brewing which made the air damply cold and much more chilling than the few days before even though the temperature was warmer. The pace was slower than my normal, but it was wonderful to socialize - I was starting to get bored on my solo treks. No exercise today most likely due to forecasted weather, although another friend just texted me to see if I want to walk during a child-free window she has around noon. It looks pretty sloppy outside and I have a lot I want to accomplish today, so not sure if I will go.

I made myself post-walk blueberry pancakes. I am working on cleaning out my food supply and used up some pancake mix. Added local blueberries that I picked and froze last summer and some maple syrup from my neighbor's sugar house. Yum!

Financial goals for the week:

Final steps for processing the healthcare paperwork.

My health insurance is crazy good and massages, acupuncture, chiropractic care, etc., are all covered. I've been getting 90 minute massages once a week for years, which keep me sane and healthy. I need to contact my doctor to get my yearly massage referral. I have chronic neck tightness which is managed with the massages.

Pull credit reports from annualcreditreport.com (thanks lil' miss splendid!). I didn't realize that the credit reports don't contain a score. I get a number each month on my discover card, so I guess I can assume that it's accurate unless I find mistakes on my credit report? Where do I get my official credit score if not on the credit reports?

Keep pursuing the expired reward points problem with my credit union.

A have a small bag of pennies and a few other coins that I found at my mom's house over Thanksgiving that she didn't want. So, I will take them to the sorter at my bank and deposit the small amount into one of my accounts.

Find the latest invoice from my bathroom contractor and pay it - I haven't looked at the total yet.

That looks like enough to keep me busy since work is starting and I will have much less free time.

Oh, and my weigh in today was 142. I am so excited by the amount of walking/running I did this past week. I do hope to lose a few pounds on this challenge, but mainly I want to maintain the weight that I lost last year. I'm tired of yo-yo-ing!

Thanks to Patient Saver, I can now post photos again!

What I cleaned out of my office this week!

blueberry pancakes

Financial Snapshot, January 2015

January 3rd, 2015 at 02:50 am

Current net worth:
Retirement accounts 506,047.55
Brokerage 58,701.49
Cash 72,449.17
House 200,000
Total 837,198.21

I just discovered that I tallied my net worth on this blog in early January 2014. This is exciting because I am terrible at tracking my money and now I can see the difference between then and now - yay! I wish I could display my 2014 spending like others are doing, but I didn't keep track and it would take a long time to go back over credit cards statements, bank accounts, etc. Maybe 2015 is the year I tackle expense tracking.

The 2015 net worth total isn't quite accurate because I have some credit card charges and a bathroom contractor invoice that I will pay soon. I also still owe some money on my auto loan. But, it's more fun to look at the larger numbers. Smile I always hesitate to put my house value in my net worth because it's such a non-liquid asset.

One goal for 2015 is to set aside some of the cash for an emergency fund, put some towards house projects, and start investing some, probably in index funds. It's just kind of sitting there now.

Some financial tidbits:

I started on my 2014 healthcare account paperwork today - it's so very tedious. I will continue working on it, submit it and deposit the $1400 in my kitchen account for now, although I may reallocate it later.

I had many late credit card payments this year because I would just forget to pay the ones that weren't automatic. So, today I set up auto pay online for my Chase card.

I called Banana Republic to pay a $25 balance that was a late charge that a customer service rep wouldn't remove last month (because it wasn't my first one on that card - doh) and this time I got a rep who did remove it, plus a 1.26 finance charge. Sweet!

A few more year-end snowflakes that I have added to my kitchen account: 17.83 (Dec interest from my checking account) plus 33.80 (mileage reimbursement from a Dec offsite meeting). I also added a very generous Christmas check from my mom.

I'm so frustrated with my local credit union VISA rewards program. I had just about reached the number of points needed for a $200 statement credit, so I charged an item in November to make up the difference. Then I noticed on my statement that my reward point total actually went down with no explanation. I finally had a chance to call customer service on Wednesday and found out that the points expire after 36 months. That is not explained on the statement as the reason why the total went down. I'm so annoyed because I can't tell when the next glob of points is going to expire! So I called the credit card coordinator at my bank today and she's supposedly "looking into it" for me. It sounds like they won't refund the points. I can redeem points for a $100 credit right now, but that costs 10,495, whereas the $200 statement credit is 20,495, so not only am I losing points to expiration, I'm also spending more on a reward. Compare this to Chase, which gave me the $200 bonus when I complained that the bonus was only $100 when I signed up for my card, and Banana Republic, which just today reissued a $20 reward coupon that expired on December 31. On a lark, I called BR on Wednesday to see if there were any options for an expiring reward coupon that I wasn't going to be able to use in time. The guy said to call back after the 31st and ask for it to be reissued. OK, I can get on board with that! I know that these are huge companies compared to my lil' credit union, but I am quite aggravated.

I was hoping to reach 2500 swagbucks today, but the offers have been virtually non-existent. I have managed to rack up 200 points so far, but I'm still 25 short. If the options remain slim, then I will need to abandon swagbucks.

Weight this morning was 143. I took a 75 minute walk/run outside in the very blustery cold, followed by about 20 minutes of yoga stretching. I am taking full advantage of my free time to exercise because once I return to work on Monday my motivation will fly out the window. I was exercising regularly this fall, so I have a good base already established and am bouncing back pretty quickly from the holiday season. I did cross country ski three times, went to the gym once and walked a few times during mid-December, so I wasn't completely sedentary. I hope to walk tomorrow morning before the weather is supposed to turn nasty and then probably take a rest day on Sunday. Then I'd like to go to the gym at work on Monday, but we'll see!

Whew, perhaps a 2015 goal should be to master the art of writing shorter blog posts...

Happy New Year! weight, exercise, etc.

January 2nd, 2015 at 01:11 am

Happy new year to all!

OK, how do I add a photo, did the process change?

I stayed home last night, but between Facebook, texting and the phone, I was socializing all night without having to leave the comfort of my couch. Smile

Checking in for the weight loss challenge started by Patient Saver. I am currently at 143 with a goal of 135. Most importantly, I want to exercise fairly regularly and eat well for better energy and health and if the weight comes off, great. I already lost some in the fall (from about 150 to 140), then gained a few back over the holidays, which is fine. I'm going to cut out processed sugar completely starting on January 5 (it will be easier to do once I return to work). I did this a few times last year and I love how I feel after a few weeks – more energy, waking up earlier, less depressed.

I took long combo walks/runs (over an hour) during 5 of the past 6 days, so I'm off to a good start with the exercise portion of the program. It's been very chilly where I live (teens and low 20s), but I love to walk in the brisk air, so I bundle up and am fine. I usually walk on my road, which is long and rural with no side streets, so I either go north or south. I was starting to feel bored, so today I mixed it up and drove to a wooded wilderness area a few miles from my house to take my walk. I don't really like to be in the woods alone, but went for it. Normally the ground would be covered with snow and ice at this time of year, but we had an early thaw so I'm taking full advantage of being able to exercise outside. If there was good snow, I would be cross country skiing instead. I hope we get some soon! I want to walk at least two more times before I start work again on Monday. Then it will be harder to motivate. It will be dark in the mornings and evenings before and after work, so I will most likely go to the gym at my workplace a few times. I should create a schedule.

After walking, I stopped at a neighbor's house for a New Year's brunch and ate lots of yummy food. That will probably be my only meal of the day - I’m still full! I'll have a clementine and some walnuts later if I get hungry.

Like others, I've been tackling some organizing and decluttering and want to continue during the next three days. I also want to complete the paperwork for my 2014 healthcare account (I set aside $1400!). That money will go into my kitchen fund. Although maybe I should pay off my car loan. I'll have to think about that.

I need to cancel some of my credit cards. Can someone remind me how to pull a credit report? I'm not sure what accounts I even have open at this point!

Happy New Year and may 2015 be lush! I'm binge-watching Gavin & Stacey this week and am now all about the Welsh lingo, I am. Smile

new year's day walk through the woods