April was not the best, financially. Car expenses. Medical expenses. Small tax bill. Increased caregiver expenses for DS. On the positive side, I expect the natural gas bill to be way down with the warmer weather and as we have not yet turned on the A/C, the electric bill shouldn't be any higher than the winter months. Plus, now that DS is almost finished with finals, the commutes should be fewer, resulting in fewer fill-ups at the gas station.
We will be taking a trip next month to a national medical conference in Kansas City, Mo. DS specifically asked to go this year as he would like to meet other young adults with his condition. I volunteered to be the local chapter representative at the conference, which means my registration fee and 4 nights in the hotel will be covered. That is huge, especially since it's a pricey hotel. Breakfast and lunch are included, so that just leaves dinner and road meals, plus a hotel stay on the drive out and back. Our biggest expense, I think, will be renting a trailer to pull behind the van. We can no longer fit the medical equipment DS requires along with our luggage and the wheelchair in the van. All in all, it should be a doable trip. I have a separate checking account where I deposit my freelance income and there will be enough in there to cover our expenses. We won't be taking a caregiver, so that will free up some extra dollars.
I'm in the market for a nice new camera and I have a plan for that. At DS's university, the food sciences department routinely runs taste tests for various companies. I am on the sign-up list, so I receive email surveys nearly every week. If I fit the criteria, I go in and spend 10 minutes tasting and rating whatever they have. I schedule mine to coincide with drop-off time for DS so there is no added travel. Payment is immediate in the form of $20-$25 Target gift cards. I've been stashing my cards and will cash in for a good camera before we had to Kansas City in June. Feels almost free!
Bring it on May - I'm ready!