Low-Spend July: Days 9-22(!)

My “low-spend” July hasn’t been AS successful so far as it could have been!  I’m seeing a trend here.  Haha.  I’m continuing to simplify our space and my routine, so that’s fun but sometimes requires spending a little money.  Is it essential, or non-essential?  That’s personal and only you can answer.  But I’ve decided that even in these low-spend months, I don’t want to go without if I need to purchase something to make my life simpler.  I’ll think about it, analyze it and try to find it used/cheap.

Bills are paid.  Minimal “non-essentials” have been purchased.  The biggest issue is food ~ fast food, snacks and eating out.  K had her first significant Crohn’s/UC flare and that means expensive pre/probiotics, Ensure (I got generic) and a gluten-free diet.  Gluten-free substitutes are pricey, but I’ve been buying them because it’s even harder to be gluten-free if you can’t ever have a tortilla or a cookie or muffin.   The few times we’ve let her try something with gluten, her symptoms start to worsen again, so this gluten-free diet looks like it will have to be an ongoing thing.  I did notice that in the regular baking section, our Walmart has gluten-free baking mixes from Pillsbury for $2.48 each, whereas the other brands are in the special gluten-free sections and run $5+ each.  I purchased a couple of gluten-free cookbooks.  Recipes are free online but I needed inspiration and I sometimes have to have books to thumb through.  $20 well spent.

The flare meant a GI visit.  Our co-insurance was $71, which was a relief because I thought we might have to pay the whole $450 for the visit out of pocket.  There will be bloodwork and stool tests and I’m not sure what our share of those will be.  I now don’t understand why our co-insurance was 100% when I went to my rheumatologist and endocrinologist and had thyroid scans and biopsies last year.  Insurance rejected all of it…and I’m still paying on all of it.  The insurance didn’t change between 2016 and 2017…so I have to research to see if there was a mistake. I’m hoping there was, since I need to go back to the rheum and endo but haven’t because of cost.

I also still am owed a $40 refund from Lane Bryant but I think I’ll have to go to the store to get it processed.  Tom also was able to clear the clogged ductwork in our house that was keeping the dryer from venting properly. It saved us at least $300, because that was the minimum quote I had for having someone else come unclog it.  Score.

I finally set up my new vanity ~ a $40 simple desk from Amazon.  It’s working out great!  I’m repurposing a mirror I’ve tried to sell (it’s not my style) and am going to use it over the vanity.  I’m spray painting the frame first so it will be MORE my style.  I purchased this in June but just now set it up.

We bought a new fridge for the kitchen ~ much larger and a better configuration than what we were using.  It was $200 used and it’s ICE cold, which made me realize that the new fridge we bought a few months ago (and spent $700 on!) does not stay nearly cold enough!  We moved that fridge to our laundry room and I scheduled a warranty service for it…and I sold our ugly and too-large laundry room fridge for $200….so broke even.  And the kitchen AND laundry room both look better now.

I bought two new pans…a 12″ skillet and 5qt deep saute.  Mine were so dead that there was no nonstick left and I was using a lot of soap. water and elbow grease to clean them.  Also wasting food that would stick.  I searched for deals and got this cute skillet for $15 and this nice saute for $23.  Now, they wash up fast with little resources or effort, and things aren’t burning on.

As far as side hustles, I need to work on more of our rehab American Girl dolls, because I’ve sold all of the ones I’ve finished!   I have a few waiting in the wings.  Doll prices are definitely down.  I hope they’ll rebound soon in anticipation of the holidays.  I could hold onto the dolls I have and sell them later, but I like to keep my inventory rotating.  I sold Tom’s old desk from his former office-in-the-corner-of-our-master-bedroom set-up.  I only got $50 but it all adds up.   I have a few more things for sale, but if they don’t sell by tomorrow evening, they’re going to Goodwill.

As far as NOT spending…I really want a few things but I’m waiting.  An 8qt Instant Pot would be nice…large family and big cuts of meat barely fit in the 6qt plus when I make bone broth, I don’t get as much as l’d like due to not being able to fill it all the way.  I have two 6qt and one has a broken lid….still works but I probably shoud NOT use it.  When I finally get an 8qt, I’ll toss the broken lid and save the extra 6qt body in the garage, in case my other 6qt breaks someday.

I also really want to try juicing again.  I’m debating between a $100 juicer or a $300 juicer…that price gap is between vertical models that work OK and horizontal models that are harder to use and clean, but take way more juice out of the pulp.  The pulp is great to add to compost and I plan to replant my neglected garden late summer.

Speaking of compost, I want to finally invest in a horizontal compost tumbler to keep near the garden.  They used to be over $100 but I’ve been seeing them for $50-60.  Soon.

We have a large cracked window.  It’s taped and is inconspicuous, but needs to be replaced at some point.

We need to have an electrician fix a broken can light.

We really want a metal security door….both for safety and also so we can leave the front door open for air circulation during the half of the year that has temperate weather.

We need a whole new AC system.  Our current system is close to 10 years old and leaks coolant.  $735 in coolant/repairs a month ago and humidity still reaches almost 60% on humid summer days.  And it costs $20/day to run.   And we’re still uncomfortable even setting it on 74/75.  In fact, I have a heat rash and am sweating as I type.  A new system will be more efficient.  Tom thinks he has a lead for financing.

My SUV needs some minor repairs and regular maintenance (the AC isn’t doing great), and a modification to safely tow heavier travel trailers.  And we want a travel trailer!  We’re looking at hybrids but they’re not cheap.  We don’t mind renting but it’s $$$ and inconvenient, and difficult to insure.

I could go on and on, but there IS a lot we’re waiting on, or going without, in the interest of not spending as much.



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