Tag Archives: budget

Why I intend to play the Pennsylvania lottery

Greetings, readers. I have finally talked myself into, after much thought and some discussion, playing the Pennsylvania lottery. I know the chances of winning the big one are as high as getting struck by lightning, however I am the eternal optimist. I’m going to begin with the $1 or $2 scratch cards and perhaps play the Cash 5 once a week. Will I ever play the million dollar Powerball game? Once or twice a month for that one will do. I must remember I am on a budget.

Yes, my budget. I only have so much money a month for everything. I am trying desperately to get through each month on or under budget. So far it is a learning experience. I love to spend. What would I do if I won the lottery? Oh, boy, the options I would have. First, I would pay off all debts. I would buy a small house for my fiancé and me to live in, and whatever was left I would put in a certificate of deposit, some stocks and bonds, and maybe a savings account. If I won very big, I would fulfill my wish list mention in this linked blog entry from November 28, 2012.

Again, being on a budget, no I am not going to go hog-wild. I’ve read reports of people who literally buy hundreds of scratch cards a week. Sometimes they might break even, other weeks not so much. I’m desperate but not that desperate.

Where is this sudden lust for money coming from? For one thing, that part-time job I was going to get last September didn’t pan out. I was looking forward to that addition to my monthly income. I am wishing to purchase such items as a PS4, a smart phone, and eventually a new laptop. As a child I was always surrounded by money. We weren’t millionaires, but I wanted for nothing. I am learning to save or do without some things but it is difficult.

I’m sure that friends and family members will not think this is a good idea. I can just hear David now. But I’m going to do it anyway. With my expectations set low, I won’t be disappointed when I don’t win very much – if at all. If I do happen to win the $400 million jackpot, someone had better call an ambulance, because I can tell you now that I will go into shock and faint straight away.

I’m going to be on a slightly different work schedule tomorrow but a blog entry will be put up either by Rebecca or me at some point in the day. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

I am learning to make budget

Greetings, readers. For the past six months I have endeavored to finish the month on or under budget. So far I have failed miserably. Last month was the closest I have come, only needing $50 extra. Here is why I do not make budget.

Reason #1: Although my medications are not full-price because of my insurance, they do average out to about $75 a month. There is a big ka-ching out of the $600 right there. Meals on Wheels is helping me on food, but …

Reason #2: I like to enjoy my TV time munchies. The closest place to get them, plus cat food and paper products, is next door at the local pharmacy. I do look for the specials, which helps, but that particular store usually wants top dollar. Things like ice cream, chips and popcorn are quite expensive.

Reason #3: Occasionally I need to rent a Zipcar, such as for this Sunday to visit Mom at the cemetery. I am budgeting $20 – $30 for that. As you can see, blink and the money slips away quickly.

Lastly, I am still an impulse shopper. I am not nearly as bad as I used to be. At the beginning of each month when I have money, if I see that thing I really want, I usually break down and get it. I am pleased to say that in the last two months, I have not made any impulse purchases. I have told both Rebecca and Mr. Updegraff, the accountant, that we are going to use this computer until it dies. I am also still using my old PS3, and although it is not on life-support, it won’t last forever. I would like to get a PS4 before those go obsolete.

I feel bad when I make myself sound like a poor person. With a trust fund, I’m really not; though it comes to me in monthly installments. I’m still trying to learn to come in on or under budget each month. If I can learn to do this, I’ll feel better about myself and make that lump sum of money last longer.

When I was younger, my family made sure that I wanted for nothing. My folks did not teach me, however, how to save money or make a budget and stick to it. If I needed a little extra spending money, I got it. Now, I’m trying to work with a half-empty tool belt of life skills. Being aware of these issues, I will get better each day and each month. But it is a slow process. I’ll need some good wishes and prayers.

If you would like to leave a comment, or share your story, please do feel free. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m going to forgo the KISS concert

Greetings, readers. The other week, I saw on the electronic billboard outside the Bryce Jordan Center that my favorite band KISS is coming to do a concert in August. At first, I got happy heart palpitations. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that being a person who has not made budget in six months, there was no way I could realistically expect to save up for a ticket.

I have seen my band in the past. They came to State College in 1996, 1998, and either 2000 or 2001. So if I miss them this year, I will not cry in my beard.

KISS has been my band since 1975. You would think that the urge to go to the concert would overwhelm me and that I would have to get a ticket. So far, not so. I will admit I do suffer from impulse shopping, so I was happy to see that I was able to resist the urge to stop the bus, run up to the ticket counter, buy a ticket, and get back on the bus. Maybe KISS really isn’t the band for a 50-year-old after all.

I think another reason why my interest is low is that none of my friends are big KISS fans. If there were three or four of us who could chip in the money for the really good seats, and make a party evening out of it, that would be one thing. Instead, I would be going alone, for my girlfriend does not like the band, and I would also have to worry about such things as the noise level and blinking stage lights setting off a seizure.

Time will tell if I will call the ticket office just to see how cheap the cheap seats are, but I really do believe that I will not be going to this show. For me, a KISS fan who has every album and most CDs, I call that a budget victory. One battle won, many more battles to go. 🙂

R.I.Ps go out to former WWE wrestler/manager Chyna (real name Joan Laurer) and of course, to pop music star Prince. You will both be missed.

Until next week, I wish everybody a fantastic weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Want to buy some stuff for cheap? Plus, a joke.

Greetings, readers. Today I am in one of my fickle moods. Things have not bounced my way since this past weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs both lost their playoff games, and I didn’t quite get as much reading done on Four’s a Crowd as I had hoped. Before I get into the particulars, I’ll start you off with a joke.

Q: Why didn’t Han come out with the rest of the orchestra?

A: He was practicing his solo.

Okay, okay, I know that was terrible. Hopefully some Star Wars fans will get a chuckle.

There are days that I am happy and bouncy and everything is right with the world. Today is not one of those days. I’m still having budget problems which seem to be getting worse not better. And big expenditures are on the horizon. As my girlfriend tells me, we just have to take one day at a time. And she is correct. If I really stopped to think about what was coming up in the next three months, I’d probably go crazy. Hopefully by April, I’ll have my new permanent budget in place and money issues will be better. In the meantime, I’m looking around my apartment to see if I have anything to sell.

On a side note, about Keekee’s vet visit last week, I received her vaccination certificate in the mail today. She is now legally healthy for another year as far as the rental office goes. At this very moment, she is staring me down, waiting for her dinner.

Tomorrow afternoon, I have therapy at my new day and time, and will have plenty to discuss with Dr. Joanne. After that, I’ll go visit Traci and we will watch something fun on TV.

With the Pennsylvania primary coming up in the spring, it’s going to be time for me to take a hard look at the candidates. I loath politics. But if I don’t do my part and vote, I’ll have no leg to stand on to complain if the other person wins. I’ve made a joke to several people that if a certain candidate is victorious in the Presidential race, I’m going to move to Mexico. I don’t think I’m going to have enough money to do that. Most people don’t think that he is going to win though, so that is not going to be a problem.

On Friday, I’m going to have a top ten list for you and I’ll dig deep down and make it an extra special one. Tomorrow I’m going to read over several of the top ten lists to make certain that I don’t accidentally repeat myself.

Until then, stay warm if you are in the deep freeze, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things that are going on in my life right now – Dec 2015

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I thought it would be a good idea to post a top ten list of things that are going on in my life in the current moment. Most are good things, a few of them are perhaps not so good. I don’t think I would consider any of them “bad”. Life is a journey and a struggle and every once in a while we get a peach pit in our peaches and cream. So here we go.

#10. Fog. [The last four days State College, PA. and surrounding areas have experienced thicker than usual fog. This morning I awakened early as usual, looked out my window, and could not see the buildings across the street. Very unusual. State College is prone to bad weather from time to time, but thinking about it, I must admit fog is the phenomenon we have the least.]

#9. Learning to win on the WWE 2k16 wrestling game, PS3 version. [As my regular blog readers may remember, recently I got a copy of this wonderful video game. It is much more difficult than I was expecting. I am finally learning how to win on it. My overall record is 2 wins, 11 loses, and a whole bunch of just watching the computer playing against itself. Fascinating game. I must be careful, because I can play it for hours, which is not good for my very mild seizure issue.]

#8. Christmas decorations going up and excited about Christmas. [Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Even though I can no longer have the big, real Christmas tree with tons of ornaments and lights, I do try to decorate a little bit to remind myself of the great days when Mom and Dad would spruce up the house and would make it look magical. Pop never let us turn the lights on once tested until Christmas morning, which made it seem more wonderous.]

#7. I am enjoying Spotify music service. [For $9 a month, I am considering Spotify to be a steal. I have found tons of songs and complete albums to listen to. Also, you can click and drag songs into playlists you create. So far I have four lists: my collection of 70s and 80s songs, Beatles songs done by the a tribute band The Coverbeats, my favorite list of KISS songs performed live, and Christmas songs. If you are on Spotify and want to listen to my playlists, drop a comment here or on Facebook and I’ll send you the link.]

#6. Working on a new budget for the new year. [I continue to struggle with money. I keep running out before the end of the month. Here today on the 9th of December I was already talking to my accountant about the slow leak in my wallet. I bought some new pants, a belt, and underwear last night and even though I should have been expecting the amount, the bill gave me sticker shock. I needed the clothes very badly. My old slacks were literally worn out. I need to find a way to get what I need and make my money last longer at the same time.]

#5. New issues with Zipcar. [Up until a month or so ago, my dealings with Zipcar were great. Recently … not so much. The last two times I’ve tried to rent, I’ve either had an issue with the vehicle or none were available despite the reservation I had made ahead of time. The last time, the car that was supposed to be mine for the morning was in for maintenance. I was not told about this – oh joy, oh bliss. The friend I was going to drive to the train station, and who had agreed to pay for the rental fee, had to take a cab. I am picking her up this Sunday, let’s hope all goes well. If not, Zipcar and I will have major problems.]

#4. Doctor appointments for both Keekee and me. [Keekee’s appointment is for a semi-annual wellness check, complete with vaccination, clip nails, and new bag of food, just to name a few things. I have a neurologist appointment in January, to make sure my brain is running the way it should. These appointments made this list not because they are particularly noteworthy but because of the expense it will take to get us there and back. I will either have to take a bus, a taxi, or rent a Zipcar. It is easier to take a cat in  carrier in a Zipcar. Some bus drivers don’t mind, others do, but it is legal. Also, I have a routine dentist appointment in a few weeks.]

#3. Waiting for a notice from the copyright office for my play Kimberly. [We sent in the application, play, and the check a couple of months ago. I want to know that is done by the time Rebecca’s husband Darren is done with the novel based on the play, so that we can then copyright his work.]

#2. Six book sales at the end of November. [Whoot. I was very excited to check my CreateSpace e-store page and find three sales for each of the Bear Spring Camps books. Yay, team! It is not enough to pay the rent, but it is a start. And I am glad that people are still enjoying Picking Up Where We Left Off and Tales from North Bay and Beyond.]

#1. My girlfriend and Thanksgiving with family. [Traci has been my girlfriend since late September, and she went with me to spend Thanksgiving with David and family. Regular readers will know that she got along great with the family and we all had a wonderful time. This is in the #1 spot because Traci was so happy to be introduced to the family and both she and I are happy to have each other, as well as them.]

So, this sums up this top ten list and my life at this moment. Although things are definitely on an upswing for me, I am still grateful for my therapist. She still continues to help me quite a bit.

There will definitely be a blog on Friday, on an as of yet unknown topic. Until then, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

The last month and a half of Mr. Gotrocks

Greetings, readers. I was telling my accountant today how sick and tired I am of constantly being low on cash and stressed about my monthly finances. I told him I was going to come up with a plan by January 1st to rectify this problem. He told me that he has heard this story many, many times. Well, I have said it before. Times have changed, however, and it is a whole new ballgame.

I’m constantly talking to my therapist about how stressed out and depressed I am about my monthly budget. She and I talked about the idea of getting through the rest of this year and having a brand new self-imposed budget ready for the new year. I thought that was an excellent idea. I didn’t tell her, but I was already thinking about that idea myself.

After I get back from my mini-Thanksgiving trip with my girlfriend, Traci, Mr. Updagraff has given me the okay to have Meals on Wheels delivered 5 days a week instead of 3 days. This will take care of my weekday needs. Traci and I are going to have to just realize that any eating out we do will have to be done on the weekends and as cheaply as possible.

If I can get this plan to work, I think my stress level will be significantly lower and I will be much more of a happy camper.

Along with my new budget, I hope to have in place, by the New Year or soon thereafter, a new daily schedule to keep to. It will incorporate the early get-up time, which quite frankly I have become accustomed to. It is having the hours to write part and the going to bed earlier part that will need the most work. I’ve noticed one thing about myself over the years and it is this: I might take longer to get things done, but once I’ve ‘had it’ I do whatever I need to do and I don’t look back.

I asked my accountant to bear with me until the end of December, in case I need extra cash for the upcoming trip, Christmas presents for friends, and maybe a little something for me. Then Mr. Gotrocks dies. I will no longer be able to live outside my means and I no longer wish to. I think it would help my self-esteem if I got on a serious budget and stuck to it. I shall let you know the outcome. 🙂

Until Friday, when I’ll have a top ten list for you, take care, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

P.S. Prayers go out to the families of the victims from the horrible terrorist attack in France. My heart goes out to you.

I dub the Keurig experiment a partial failure

Greetings, readers. Although I love my Keurig coffee maker, I am finding that since I bought it three months back, I have failed to make my budget each month. When I would get my coffee at Panera, in the early morning, I would tend to get a muffin or souffle, which would add to the cost. I would sit there for several hours, drink cup after cup of free refills, and fight with their internet connection. I figured that the Keurig would let me stay home, have a cup or two of coffee, and save a bunch of money.

Scanning my receipts I have noticed that the K-Cups are close to $8 per box at the store next door. I will usually have three or four cups a day. This means one box will last approximately four days and then more will have to be purchased. This starts to add up quickly. The per unit price is larger than I thought it would be, I am using more K-Cups per day than I thought I would, and I still buy food at Panera (with water), just closer to lunch time.

The way I used to get my coffee was to either make a big pot in the Sunbeam coffee maker, switch it off and nuke each cup as I needed it, or I simply went to Panera, paid a couple of bucks and could enjoy as many refills as I wanted.

Sure I get more time at home now, and that is good, but yet again today I had to ask my accountant for a little extra to make it through the month. This is frustrating me to no end.

At this stage of the game, I am not ready to sell my Keurig on E-Bay or put it downstairs on the swap table. I think the answer lies in finding a store where K-Cups can be bought in bulk so that each individual one is a bargain, i.e. Sam’s Club. A friend of mine says that she is going to look into this for me, and perhaps purchase some and I will pay her back.

I have loved coffee from the age of ten years old, and have no plans to give it up. I thought for sure that the Keurig coffee maker was the answer. Yes, it has kept me at home, but as far as being the economic answer that I was looking for, the jury is still out.

We will be back to a three-day work week next week.

Until tomorrow, have a good day, take care, and happy reading.

I’m on a budget now

Greetings, readers. After three or four months of continuously spending too much money, I’ve decided to make a budget on paper and try to stick to it. I need it on paper because that can be copied onto a computer document; I’ll be able to see it and work with it. For me it is always better when I can see something and adjust it as needed.

My accountant has not been happy with me because I’ve been spending way too much money. So this morning, before our weekly meeting, I jotted down a preliminary budget that I am going to try in November. Expenditures include groceries, Zipcar rentals, medications, and trips to eat out. The first area I can work on is to cut down going to places like Panera and Denny’s. That will be difficult, for I love to get my morning coffee and blueberry muffin while I have my computer time, usually at Panera. If my spending situation does not improve, I will probably be forced to make coffee at home and find something breakfast-like to munch on. Instant oatmeal comes to mind as a good choice. I had it every morning during my school years.

Downtown State College does not have a grocery store per se, but one of our drug stores close to me does have several food aisles. I’m going to compare prices with the other place I go to, which is right next door to me.

I’ve never been good at saving money. I’m not a big impulse spender by any means, but every once in a great while if I see something I just have to have it. Now that I am on my new budget, that is the first thing that will definitely be cut out. Impulse spending is a no-no.

Three of my biggest expenditures will be for Keekee, unfortunately. I have cat food to buy, cat litter, and of course her treats. Also there are her vet bills, like the upcoming check-up, but those are handled by the accountant. Keekee is my baby girl, and I’m not going to scimp on her.

Briefly on another topic. Apartment cleaning is going well. Slow, but well. I’ve made definite strides in the living room and bedroom; I do think Rebecca is proud of me. I have set a lofty but obtainable goal for myself. I am planning to have my accountant and his wife over for coffee or tea near Christmas time. I have that long to get the place in white glove inspection order. My accountant doesn’t believe I can do it. That is all the incentive I need. Haha.

Until Friday, take care, have a good few days, and as always, happy reading.