MMXX: Aprilis et Maius.

I have a pretty good excuse for not posting April’s wrap-up in a timely manner: I ended up in the emergency room on the evening of May 1st. Don’t panic. It wasn’t the ‘rona (thank goodness), and it wasn’t a heart attack, either. (I would never have gone to the ER if I hadn’t thought that was a possibility.) My heart is A-OK. Even after a veritable boatload of tests, they still haven’t given me a diagnosis, but their best guess is that I have chronic biliary colic — as in a gallbladder issue that doesn’t involve gallstones. Who knew that a vengeful gallbladder could give such horrifying chest pain? I certainly didn’t.

Anyway, I spent a few weeks in bed — particularly after I was prescribed a medication that made me worse — and so my entire routine went straight out the window. I have been a hot, hot mess. So has the world! As above, so below, et cetera.

MMXX: FOUR AND FIVE

MONTHLY GOALS

All of these are on hold at the moment. There were a couple of exceptions: Lennox and I have managed to spend some quality time together — and even recently took a walk at the arboretum one afternoon. I sewed a couple of face masks in April, too, and finished sewing a nightgown I already had cut out. Lennox got a French press in April in order to use fewer K-cups so that probably counts as a “green” improvement. But mostly, I was just ill.

ONGOING PROJECTS

These are also on hold.

WRITING

I’ve been working on an older unfinished novel, cleaning up the first few chapters and working from a new (and hopefully improved) outline. It’s nice to make a little progress on something, even if it’s slow.

MONEY MATTERS

Track personal spending on books, sewing, and clothing.
I managed to stay within my combined book and audiobook budget both months, and compared to previous months spent very little on sewing and clothing.

April Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $25.00 / $22.55
Audiobooks $25.00 / $24.15
All Sewing $0.00 Planned / $63.76
Clothing $0.00 Planned / $0.00

May Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $25.00 / $20.48
Audiobooks $25.00 / $29.15
All Sewing $0.00 Planned / $31.87
Clothing $0.00 Planned / $19.64

I discovered in April that I either put my bundle of spare sewing machine needles in a non-sewing box or, worse, accidentally threw them away. I finally gave in and ordered replacements after turning out all of my sewing storage, including my fabric bins, one last time. Although I ordered through Wawak and spent about $25 as opposed to the $40 or so I would have paid at JoAnn Fabric, it was an expensive lesson about disorganization that I hope never to repeat.

Update the household budget.
I managed to get new budget numbers together right before I got sick, and aside from significantly increased medical costs and a handful of bills that won’t reflect their new levels until June, I succeeded in making the cuts we needed. This was a challenge, and we’ve definitely made sacrifices. We had to cut things we’ve taken for granted for a long time, but our income was reduced to a point where we needed to make drastic reductions — not simply “buy fewer lattes.” I’m pleased I was able to make our budget balance, and aside from those medical costs, we won’t have to tap into our savings for day-to-day living expenses.

How I saved money in April and May:

  • I downloaded two Amazon First Reads titles and four Audible Originals.
  • I downloaded at least eleven free Kindle books, only two of which have been unreadable (so far, though I haven’t read all of them yet).
  • It took 11 weeks, five tracks at a time, but I finally downloaded the entire, massive soundtrack for the first season of “The Witcher” for free from the library’s Freegal service. (And yes, it’s mostly orchestral, but it does include that song.) This is what it’s like living at the intersection of patience and cheapness!
  • I downloaded two free instrumental albums from Nine Inch Nails.
  • I downloaded three graphics sets from Creative Market and several vintage graphics from Graphics Fairy for free.
  • It may be temporary, but our library has restored access to ebooks through the Hoopla app! And we can check out ten titles a month again. Hooray!
  • I managed to snag an audiobook for $1.99 on Chirp that had been on my Audible wishlist for a long time. This beat the heck out of full price or even the cost of a member credit.
  • I downloaded a free sewing pattern from Sinclair Patterns. I’ve wanted to try them out for a while, as they have petite patterns for plus sizes, which are hard to find. I only know of two other companies that offer them.
  • I used money earned taking surveys to pay for my Seamwork subscription and all but $1 of my Patreon pledges in May.
  • I caught up and billed two clients — and they both paid quickly. That seldom happens!
  • Lennox took my car in for its scheduled service at the dealership and got stuck in traffic for more than two hours! At least the oil change was free, as the car was still under their maintenance plan, although that didn’t limit the wear and tear to Lennox.
  • I used another bit of that previously-forgotten Google Play gift card to purchase an ebook. I’d previously read it through the library but wanted a copy for reference.
  • I read 37 ebooks and two physical books from the library. I also read four free Kindle books, a Prime reading title, a Kindle First Reads title, and re-read several Kindle books I already owned.

Whew! That was a lot.

There’s no predicting what June will bring, but at least I’m feeling a little better. Sure, my energy is much lower than usual — and I’m tired of eating a bland, low-fat diet — but any improvement is welcome.