Summer Budget Week 4

Are you starting to find these posts tiresome? I am. They are definitely making me hyperaware of how quickly the summer is passing. How am I already posting for week four!

The assessment was obviously a huge expense. I decided to get a private assessment done because I know SFUSD’s threshhold for OT-required sensory differences is much lower than those of a private occupational therapist. I’ve also heard it takes a while to actually get an assessment administered through the district. Having the information before school starts allows me to start advocating for my daughter earlier. Also, a formal diagnoses might help me get coverage from Kaiser for our PCIT sessions. Mostly I just wanted the report done quickly and easily so that I could take my time figuring out how to move forward with the information. Our therapist hasn’t wanted to work much with my daughter until she knows if/what underlying sensory differences are/maybe contributing to her emotional outbursts and aggression. I guess the good news is we haven’t been paying for PCIT for three weeks, and that is the cost of the assessment, so that massive expense was actually in my budget for this summer. I guess that’s a win?

I got art supplies this week. Does that break the ban? They are consumable, but not necessary. I was torn about it. In the end I got them and we’ve used them but I’ve been feeling kind of shitty about it. Also in that purchase was kinesthetic sand, which our PCIT therapist recommended (so not feeling shitty about it). It has been a huge hit and it’s a special thing our daughter gets to use when she makes good choices throughout the day. She clearly loves the way it feels. Heck, I love the way it feels. I would play with it all day if I could.

I did make one purchase that absolutely breaks the ban. I bought a book-on-tape for my daughter ($5.95), which is totally a no-no. I know I shouldn’t have (and yet I did it again today–so there will be that same purchase on next week’s spending report! Fuck!). I can give my weak-ass excuse (see below) but it’s just that, a weak-ass excuse. This is me sneaking the candy bar and gleefully licking each and every finger. This is me straight out cheating. But it’s kind of good that I cheated because I was reminded that I need to cancel my Audible monthly subscription, but I can’t do that until I use up the three credits I have left (the kids books costs less than half of what I spend on a credit so I’m not going to use a credit to get one of those books). Now I need to do some research on the books I want to “read” and what the library does or doesn’t have (and how many holds are on the ones they do have), get my three books and then cancel the subscription so I stop getting charged $14.95 a month for a credit.

{WEAK-ASS EXCUSE: My daughter has been listening to Ivy and Bean book-on-tapes CONSTANTLY this summer–sometimes 4-5 hours a day!–and we only had three books and I just couldn’t listen to any of them one. more. time. Audible awarded me a repeated listeners badge for repeating Ivy and Bean Make the Rules 15 times! I didn’t even know the Audible app has badges! So I got a new book because I just couldn’t. And I got one again this week (week 5) because I just couldn’t again. But I told her no more this summer. We’ll see what the library has by way of kids book-on-tapes that don’t have months worth of holds on them (like the Ivy and Bean books).}

The Paperless Post charge was also lame. It wasn’t until I’d spent 30 minutes putting together my birthday invitation that I realized the one I picked wasn’t free and it was past midnight and I just couldn’t bring myself to start over again so a $6 charge it was.

Oh, there was one more purchase I didn’t record because I used Amazon Reward points to get it (should I have recorded that even though I’m not actually paying for it? Should I record the three Audible books I get to use up my credits even though those charges were actually mad made in past months?). I got a basket for the back of the bike ($22) because when I wear my backpack my daughter’s face hits up against it and she hates that and I can’t go anywhere without at least a backpack because water and diapers and wipes and extra clothes and snacks and all. the. things. So yeah, chalk another $20 up to bike. I still haven’t caved and gotten a bike pump so at least that’s something. (Oh, and I had to get zipties to McGuyver that sucker on so make that $26 more dollars on the bike.)

But there are things I did this week to save money. I loaded up three very heavy bags and one very heavy box of small rocks from my parents’ backyard and hauled them to my house for part of my backyard project (I’ll need to make 5+ more trips to fill the space). I also went to my work and brought the remaining plants from the vertical planter I created last year to plant in the new section with the rocks. The rocks alone are saving my hundreds of dollars, and my parents are stoked to get rid of them because they are redoing their side yard and don’t want them anymore. The plants from work aren’t in great shape but they’ll do, and I’m saving about $60-$100 not buying new plants.

I have been much better about packing food when my kids and I go out and I don’t stress as much when my son isn’t eating what I packed. All I can say is thank god for bananas. I’m definitely spending less on out-and-about food than I would sans ban (and no, I don’t feel bad about the pretzel at the zoo, even this girl’s gotta get her zoo pretzel on).

Also BlogHer is this weekend. I would have loved to go, and visited a friend in NYC while I went, but I shelved it for another year. That saved me a pretty penny and I feel it’s worth mentioning, because I considered it for a month or so before I faced the reality that I couldn’t justify such a massive expense on something I wanted to do just for me.

I think I have a savings plan for the 2015-16 school year. I will share it shortly. In the meantime, my week 4 spending log:

7/2/2015 Toothbrushes for kids (realized I forgot this last week) $8.34
7/4/2015 Kaiser (Son’s Rx + Benedryl + 30SPF daily face lotion) $32.45
7/4/2015 Michaels (paint supplies + face paint + kinestic sand set) $58.77
7/4/2015 Pretzel at zoo $3.95
7/5/2015 Late fee at library $1.50
7/5/2015 Paperless Post (35th birthday invitations) $6.00
7/7/2015 Brunch with Friend $22.00
7/7/2015 Book-on-tape for daughter $5.56
7/7/2015 Sensory Assessment $450.00
7/8/2015 Plumber (fix leak in tub) $126.74
7/8/2015 Safeway (groceries) $40.56
7/9/2015 Gas $46.17
7/10/2015 Zip ties for bike basket $6.52


      1. Waiting isn’t the end of the world if you’re on a spending freeze. Especially if it gives a chance to try out other series or find other replacement activities. We’re still going to want the books my son put on hold when they get in from the library, and they will make our lives easier then, even if we have to find something else for now.

        1. Waiting isn’t the end of the world for me–I routinely wait 1-4 months for the books I want to read to come off hold–but for my daughter it absolutely can be the end of the world. And she’ll produce a tantrum to make sure you understand it’s the end of the world. Sometimes, when it’s the fiftieth tantrum of the day, spending $5.59 for a book feels like a very small price to pay to avoid the emotional onslaught that is lying in wait.

    1. I have not. I have to back up the hundred odd posts on there. I need my husband’s help to do that because I’m not very tech savvy. I know I need to get on there stat.

  1. I found Audible would convert from a monthly charge to a cheap program when I talked to them about not being able to use up my credits. Worth asking them.
    Sounds like you are thinking more before and after you spend money. I think this was your purpose. Congratulations.
    Summer is always gone too fast!

  2. I have to say your posts are causing quite a bit of self reflection for me, money, relationship roles…very thought provoking, thank you!

  3. Sounds like a spending freeze is really hard. Deciding what is and is not banned is complicated! Perhaps a budget like $200 a week for groceries and then and extra $$ amount for other stuff would be easier. Then you can either save that amount for a bigger purchase, or spend it on things you need or WANT. It’s easier to save when you have something in particular you want to save for. Also, this will give some extra time to contemplate large purchases and reduce impulse spending. I’m sure you have already thought of this though but I thought I’d mention it! I’m impressed you have been writing down all of your purchases…the thought of that makes me so so anxious! Seeing how much I actually spend would make me cringe I’m sure! You are doing great:)

    1. I will eventually create a budget like that–the spending freeze is supposed to be like the juice cleanse before the diet. Really it shouldn’t be hard to know what is or isn’t banned–it all should be banned. I’m just struggling and making excuses, because I want to buy things, which is exactly why I’m trying to do the ban.

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