Friday, April 18, 2014

Afraid of the upsell

I scheduled a maintenance check on our A/C this week in advance of the warmer months. We are on a service plan so there would be no charge for the visit. I have had mixed feelings about this company, but not knowing of anything better I've stuck with them. A couple months ago, when our heat went out, they sent a serviceman within an hour and he stayed all day trying to figure out what was wrong with it. He fixed it and we were charged $800. He felt good about the repair and said the furnace was in good shape.

Fast forward to yesterday and a different serviceman did the maintenance call. He spent about 30 minutes at the unit. I heard him cleaning coils etc. When he came back in, he told me that there were all kinds of things wrong and that we just needed to replace both the furnace and the A/C. He mentioned that the furnace is rusted (the previous guy didn't say a word about rust) and that the A/C is not in good shape. He then wanted me to schedule something right then to have a salesman come out and show me what deals they had. He also said the crawlspace is damp, but they could fix that for $3,900.

Call me a cynic, but it just didn't feel right. I thanked him and sent him on his way.

Maybe the units are on their last legs, but I'm not getting rid of them until they have breathed their last. And I think DH will be replacing the vapor barrier in the crawlspace on his vacation next month :) 

Times like this, renting sounds awfully appealing ....

Sarah

Thursday, April 10, 2014

They like me again!

I know my finances are looking better. Know how I know? Because I signed on to the Discover account and a screen popped up saying I was eligible for an increase in my credit limit. Because that's what I need .... more credit.

In case there's any doubt, I declined.

This has been a week of Mondays. One thing after another. Yesterday, I drove DS 45 miles to an appointment, only to find out the appointment is next week. My fault. I read the reminder wrong. And since one of the people we are to see is coming from out of state, we couldn't be squeezed in.

Today, I'm going to work from home. As long as I keep the windows closed and the pollen out, all should be good.

Sarah

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lots going on

The days have been passing in a blur lately. Appointments, bills, family obligations - and at some point we finally bid farewell to winter and hello to glorious spring ... Of course, for me that means allergy season, but I'm willing to grin and bear it to not see any more snow or ice!

We ended up with some extra funds in March and after much discussion, threw an extra $500 at the American Express card. Of course, two days later, our medical equipment provider called to say insurance wouldn't pay for a needed adaptation on DS's wheelchair and we were on our own to the tune of $327. They kindly did not charge us labor or shipping. We have the cash, so we paid it. That is such a huge improvement over past years. We wouldn't have blinked at putting it on a credit card. Medical expenses like that are a big part of our current debt. It's a relief not to be adding to it.

One of the reasons we had some extra to spare is because the grocery bill was considerably lower. I attribute that to two things: all the meat I was able to get for basically free with some awesome coupons and the store's doubling. The second is my giving up soda. I figure that is worth about $15 a week. No kidding. I could put away some diet soda. Haven't touched the stuff since Feb. 14 and I no longer think about it.

Jane suggested I do something with that soda money and I've decided she's right. So I've set up an automatic deposit into a separate savings account - $15 a week. I'm earmarking that account for a 30th anniversary trip. We've been married 28 years and the past 10 have had precious little time alone because of DS's needs. But if the nursing care we are pursuing works out, it might be possible for us to get away for a few days. Just dreaming about it has done wonders for my attitude and knowing that I'm actively saving for it makes it seem like it might one day become a reality.

Hanging over our heads, though, is yet another piece of medical equipment. DS has become considerably weaker in the past year or two and is no longer to lift his arms at all, making feeding himself or even adjusting his glasses on his own impossible. At a clinic visit, his neurologist suggested a mobile arm support that allows some range of motion. DS was able to try it out this week and absolutely loved it. In fact, he wants one for each arm. Just being able to touch his face made him light up. (We able-bodied folks take so much for granted!). DH says he looks like Doc Oc - I think that's the bad guy in one of the Spiderman movies. Of course, the technology comes with a price tag - $5,000. Per arm. Did I mention they are powered by rubber bands. Seriously. So now begins the process of convincing insurance that they are necessary for DS to be independent. The vendor is optimistic and so I'm going to share his optimism for now. Obviously, we won't be able to provide them for DS if insurance doesn't come through. Lots of prayers going up around here.

And now I'm off to update the April numbers.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Sarah

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I love Super Doubles week!

Today starts Super Doubles week at Harris Teeter - meaning they will double coupons up to $2. I have a stack of $2 meat coupons which will double to $4 - yippee!

Harris Teeter is one of the priciest grocers around here, but their meat is excellent quality and I can often find some good deals on their marked-down items - $4 off already marked-down will be a steal! I'm going to do some serious stocking up over the next few days.

Happy Hump Day ...

Sarah

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Oh sleep, how I've missed you

It's been a long week with several big medical appointments for DS and long nights as DH was out of town and I was on my own for the nighttime treatments/turning routine. We even had a day of sleet thrown in there. (Am I the only one who is totally over winter?)

On the very bright side, we may have made significant progress in getting DS approved for overnight nursing care. I hesitate to be overly optimistic, but the thought of DH and I being able to get some rest after 20 years of not sleeping through the night has gotten me pretty excited. The person I spoke with last even said we wouldn't be responsible for handling any of the finances and wouldn't even owe a co-pay. Lots of prayers have been going up around here this week...

And now I'm going to get ready for what promises to be a beautiful day before winter returns tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Sarah

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring has finally sprung!

It was a catching up kind of weekend. I was running low on cleaning essentials and some grocery items. Target had a great coupon in last Sunday's paper that was good for a week - spend $50 on cleaning supplies and get $20 off. Plus, you could use manufacturer's coupons on top of the big one. I was able to get 2 big packs of paper towels, 1 pack of toilet paper, Cascade dishwasher tablets, 2 large bottles of Dawn, mega bottle of PineSol and Clorox wipes. Final cost was $24.78.

Next up was grocery shopping. I do my big shopping at Wal-Mart and then pick up miscellaneous items that are better prices at the other stores near me. I'm lucky that I have so many choices within a 2-mile radius. I went to get a gallon of milk at Wal-Mart -  $4.08!! I couldn't do it. Just couldn't. I checked Food Lion: $3.89. Better, but then I remembered seeing something on the weekend deals at Harris Teeter. $2.79 - score! While I was at Food Lion, I picked up some ground beef marked down to $2.59. I had a $2 coupon for meat, so ... 59 cents. Woo hoo!

It's the little things that make my day :)

DS is on Spring Break, which means I won't have to fill up on gas twice this week. Oh, and today it's going to be ... wait for it ... 76 degrees!!!!

For a Monday, this one is shaping up to be OK.

Sarah

Sunday, March 2, 2014

... And the new month starts out on a low note

Hubs' car died. Kaput right there on the interstate. He had a hard time willing it to make it to a safe location. Called AAA for a tow (I don't know about you, but we get every penny and then some out of that membership) and me for a ride. The shop called the next day and the news wasn't good. It needs a new transmission. If you know anything about such things, that's about the priciest thing to replace. We're talking about $3,500. Ouch.

You might remember that I mentioned some time back that I've been doing some freelance work the past few months and have been throwing that and other miscellaneous money into a separate account with no particular use in mind. Some readers thought that was a mistake and I should be using it to pay down debt. Guess what it's going to be used for? I'm sorry that I'm having to spend it on car repairs, but glad I didn't let it get absorbed by the household budget.

Mostly, I'm ticked off that we're having to replace a major part on a Toyota Corolla with 110,000 miles. Those cars are supposed to last longer, aren't they?

Life happens. Sometimes not the way we planned ...

Sarah