April and May 2021

The last two months have just flown by, so this is going to be a monster post. Sorry! Lennox and I are finally fully vaccinated. We’ve seen our families and gone to the museum, and it was fantastic. I was truly at the end of my rope, and if someone as introverted as I am had gone that far over the edge, I can only imagine how messed up the extroverts have gotten.

I’ll try to sum up as best as I can.

APRIL 2021

LEARNING

I continued working on my Norwegian skills using Duolingo.

MAKING

I sorted through and thinned out the patterns in my pattern storage and recycled quite a bit. I cut out a robe to use as a swimsuit cover-up, sewed a t-shirt (of course) and a beret, and finished knitting an almost-complete winter hat I found in a storage box. I have no idea how long it had been there or why I had never finished it! I rarely knit these days and probably won’t make a habit of it again, but it was nice to finish something so simple. I also baked some delicious vegan oatmeal cookies.

WRITING

I failed pretty miserably at my Camp Nanowrimo project. Oh, well!

CONNECTING

All the usual texts and calls, plus calls to my parents.

HOUSEHOLD

Like virtually everyone else who has spent over a year kicking around their own house, some of our stuff has worn out, and there are other things I want to replace or improve. I ordered a new sofa cover from Bemz and bought a summer weight coverlet from Target. That coverlet was a complete impulse purchase — I did a curbside pickup at Target within three hours of deciding to get one — but it was perfect.

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I spent far more than I’d intended on both clothing and sewing in April, but May was way worse. Oh, well!

April Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $30 Planned / $25.91 Spent
Audiobooks $10 Planned / $3.23 Spent
All Sewing $25 Planned / $110.83 Spent
Clothing $35 Planned / $109.51 Spent

Household Spending
I’ve had to increase the groceries budget, but not by much. I’m going to try to keep a better eye on waste to help keep costs down. We spent quite a bit more than usual on general household goods, but that was mostly the new sofa cover.

How I saved money in April:

  • I used a birthday coupon code to get 20% off on a tea purchase (that I would have ordered anyway). Actually, since I ordered 5 items at the same price, it was like getting a free box of teabags.
  • I used a 5% off birthday coupon on a Target order. It wasn’t a big discount, but it’s still a discount.
  • And I used one of my last unexpired birthday coupons for $5 off takeout at Jason’s Deli.
  • I downloaded several free sewing patterns from various places for a summer dress, a t-shirt with bishop sleeves, a fabric belt, and a fanny pack.
  • I downloaded two free Kindle books.
  • I didn’t strictly need it, but I used $35.00 in combined discounts on a sundress from Torrid, which made it half price.
  • I accumulated enough points for a free burrito bowl on my Freebirds app, so I ate one.
  • I read 9 ebooks from the library, re-read 3 Kindle books I already had, and listened to 3 Audible titles for a second (or third) time.

How I made money in April:

  • I worked my regular hours at my day job and finished (and billed) quarterly work for a private client.

MAY 2021

LEARNING

I started the new revision course on Writing Mastery Academy but didn’t make much progress on it.

MAKING

I drafted and sewed a kind of experimental Morning Glory top in black knit and sewed a tank top for my tee of the month club.

WRITING

I didn’t write anything. I didn’t even write a postcard! Ridiculous.

CONNECTING

Now that we’re fully vaccinated, we’re getting busier again! We visited Lennox’s family and my family in person, along with the usual calls and texts. It was so exciting to see our people, especially the bottom halves of their faces!

HOUSEHOLD

I finally bought an Instant Pot, and yes, we got the one with Baby Yoda on it. I mean, not only is that super appropriate (Yodito loves to eat), but it was actually $20 cheaper with the Star Wars graphics! I guess it was on clearance. We also decided to renew our lease and stay here for another year, as they offered to keep us at our current rent.

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I spent so much on clothing again. It started to get hot, and I sort of panicked, I think. I also bought some sandals I didn’t need. I’ve been doing really well on my book and audiobook spending, though! I’ll try to rein myself in for June.

May Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $20 Planned / $10.11 Spent
Audiobooks $20 Planned / $16.18 Spent
All Sewing $50 Planned / $44.20 Spent
Clothing $150 Planned / $208.91 Spent

 

Household Spending
I haven’t finished my May spreadsheet yet, but the major categories are done. We’re doing fine on the new groceries budget, though we went slightly over on restaurant spending for the first time in at least a year. We spent quite a bit on household stuff again, but I had expected that. We did have a nice surprise, though. We had pre-paid the co-pay for my surgery in February and had been warned that the actual balance might be different after everything was complete. I fully expected to receive a notice for another outstanding amount, but we received a $700 refund instead! I was tickled.

How I saved money in May:

  • I let my points accumulate longer than I usually do, so I had two free Starbucks drinks in May. I don’t use the Starbucks app just to get the free drinks (though that’s a great benefit), but also to nudge myself to stick to my budget by only putting a certain amount on the app. It works for me.
  • I downloaded two free Kindle books and an Amazon First Reads title.
  • I used my very last unexpired* birthday perk to get a free DVD rental at Redbox. (*Until next year!)
  • I resumed my Audible membership and discovered that one of my wishlist titles was in their new Audible Plus library — meaning I got to listen to it without using a credit. I also used my May credit on a two-for-one sale, and one of those titles was on my wishlist, too. Not bad, considering I thought I might cancel the membership altogether!
  • I used a $5 Walgreens reward on a couple of composition notebooks. I spent $1.47 (including tax), which was cheaper than the dollar store.
  • I had another free burrito bowl at Freebirds.
  • I cashed in survey points for a $5.00 Amazon gift card, then used the card to buy an inexpensive streaming documentary. I used the remainder on most of the cost of a bargain ebook. I really stretch those tiny gift cards I get from doing surveys.
  • I downloaded some free graphics from Creative Market.
  • I used $1 coupon codes to rent DVDs for $0.87 each at Redbox on two occasions. (Uh-oh, I remember that Redbox is a thing again! I guess that birthday freebie worked as a gateway drug…just as they intended. Hahaha!)
  • I read 18 ebooks and 2 physical books from the library, as well as 3 free Kindle titles and one Prime title. I also re-read a Kindle book I already had and listened to a title in the Audible Plus library.

How I made money in May:

  • I worked extra hours for my Mom while she was on vacation.
  • I received a payment from a client I had billed previously.
FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m hoping things continue to look a little more “normal” over the summer, and I’m so grateful to be vaccinated. Not everything is peachy, of course, but some things are finally looking up.