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22 Days of No Extra Spending


We made it 22 days into October before I had to break down and spend some money. I’m pretty proud of that number, it’s definitely the longest I’ve ever gone.

But the kids finally convinced me to hit up the grocery store. (I combined my shopping with my personal shopping client so it didn’t cost me anything in regards to extra gas or time away from work.) I spent just at $36.

With both twins taking their lunch to work and Sea Cadet taking a dinner to school two nights a week, our lunch meat ran out. Then we ran out of milk. And I ran out of bacon. We are out of fresh veggies and fruit as well, but have plenty of canned still so I decided not to restock those at this time.

Buying Meat on Sale

But I was in luck, I found 3 packs of sandwich meat (12 oz each) marked down to $2.49 each due to the use by date being within the week. Since I knew the boys would eat it quickly, I grabbed them. I put one in the freezer to extend it a few days and they should last us to the end of the month. Yeah!

Back in Virginia, I knew which days the grocery stores marked down in their meat department was able to get great deals on meat by buying it close to the expiration date. Since I freeze all our meat, the expiration date doesn’t matter much to me.

Unfortunately, bacon never seems to be on sale, but I determined I could make it through the remainder of the month with one pack. I just can’t stomach eggs without bacon, but cooking them in the bacon grease solves this. As I cook the bacon a couple of pieces at a time, I will save the grease. When I’m out of bacon, I can use the grease to satisfy the taste issue for me until I restock.

Meal Plan

We are still going strong following our meal plan and I haven’t deviated much. But I have a few times. With the cold weather setting in, I am cooking more soups that I planned on in the crockpot. Their favorites thusfar have been potato soup and chicken taco soup.

It’s great for two reasons: 1) I started it and forget it for the rest of the day. Voila, dinner is ready when the kids are hungry without me having to stop work. 2) I’m able to use more canned items in the crockpot than I normally would and am really working through cans of things we probably wouldn’t use otherwise.

As we eat meals, some newly created, I am making a list of the ones the kids love, and already started on the meal plan for November, along with a grocery list as we run out or low on things so I’m ready to grocery shop when its time.

I did splurge on one item, it was only $2.50 and I feel like I’ve already gotten that back. I purchased a box of 4 crockpot liners. I’ve never used them before but as much as I’m using the crockpot, cleaning it is a pain! I used one for the first time this week and I’m not sure I will ever go back!



Crappy A/C Situation


After taking the day off work and dealing with sweltering heat (inside our home was 90 degrees), I was able to have two different A/C companies come out to look at the damaged A/C unit and give me their opinions. Folks, the news was not good.

Our brand new unit, not even two years old (put in as part of negotiations when we bought our house) is totally shot. Done-zo. The first repair guy thought the unit may have been struck by lightening. The second repair guy thought it was blown due to a power surge. We had some flooding with a recent monsoon that would’ve partially submerged the unit and the guy think it caused a power surge that blew the whole unit. Both companies agreed we would need to replace:

  • compressor & compressor plug (which was blown right off the compressor)
  • condenser coil

In addition to these, we’d have to fill the Freon, use an acid neutralizer, and I don’t know….give our first born child??? Ugh, typing it here it doesn’t seem like a long list but one repairman referred to the compressor and condenser as the “heart and brain” of the A/C. Both said it’d be better just to replace the unit all together. But we just can’t afford that. So we’ll repair it instead.

We thought about trying to file a home-owner’s insurance claim. We do not have a home warranty, but lightening is covered through home-owner’s insurance. Flooding, however, is not. It was a separate policy that we declined.

Since the unit is still super new, the main parts are covered (which, I was told, run about $2,000/each, so we really luck out there!). But for the items not covered by warranty (like freon, acid neutralizer, etc.) and the labor to do all the work, we’re looking at about $1100. Oh yeah…..and the condenser coil has to be ordered direct from the manufacturer. It takes TWO WEEKS to arrive. We agreed to pay a $150 rush charge, which will put it here in 5 days. But that’s still FIVE DAYS with no working A/C in the middle of a Tucson summer where temperatures are predicted to be up to 111 degrees!!!!

Not okay, folks.

We started to initiate a home-owner’s insurance claim (when we thought the damage was due to lightening), but I think we’re going to just close it out and pay ourselves. If the total ends up being about $1200-1300ish (that’s the estimate + rush charge to get the part here faster), it doesn’t really make sense to file a claim. Our deductible is $1,000 and I don’t think having the extra $200-300 “benefit” would outweigh the cons of having our insurance go through the roof and having a claim on our record. Is that what you guys would think? I’m open to suggestion here, head still a bit reeling from taking in the news that our brand new A/C unit is totally shot.

We still have the issue of being displaced for the next 5-6 days, too, though. We stayed in the house last night and it was one of the worst nights’ sleep of my life (taking me straight back to the day of having twin infants type of no-sleep). It was 88 degrees for most of the night, but it’s hot stale air. It felt suffocating. We all slept downstairs (the bedrooms are upstairs, but the upstairs was at least 5 degrees hotter than downstairs), and we all tossed and turned and sweated our butts off. It seriously felt unsafe and I’m not going to do it again.

I already booked a hotel to get us through the weekend (Fri & Sat nights). That’s another $100/night. This is serendipitous timing, but one of my old friends from grad school is moving back to Tucson on SATURDAY. He bought a 3 bedroom home but is a single guy so he has tons of space and not a lot of possessions to fill it. I already reached out, “I know it’s stressful timing since you’re going to be in the middle of a move…..but could we bring over some air mattresses and crash for a few days if needed????? Oh, and welcome back!!!! 🙂 ”

He agreed and said he’d be happy for us to stay. I hate to put a friend out like that, especially in the midst of their cross-country move. But he’s literally the only person I know in town who even has the space to house a family of 4. I’ve had a couple friends say they’d take the girls, but at this point (they’re 6), they still haven’t even had a slumber party and I’m kind of scared of/opposed to the idea. This is a bit different since it’s a safety related thing. Oh friends…I think you can see I’m kind of all over the place here, grasping at straws and trying for any reasonable band-aid of a solution to get us through the next week until our A/C is in working order again.

So that’s the update. Right about $1300 out of pocket (could be much worse, but the main A/C components are all warrantied). Even so…we literally don’t have an extra $1300 sitting around. Our “EF” right now is like $500. So this is a huge hit. I’m going to have to figure out something to move money around. It’s really bringing to light our dire financial situation. Obviously that will be the point of future blog posts but for now I’m trying to figure out the immediate crisis at hand. Our broken A/C.

Any thoughts or suggestions in terms of whether to try to file a home-owner’s insurance claim (again, we’re leaning against it….not sure it’d even be covered, but I’d like your thoughts) AND what to do in the meantime while we wait for the unit to be fixed? We’ve also thought of renting a portable unit – it wouldn’t help the whole house but might allow us to “camp” in the living room and sleep comfortably there? Thoughts? Ideas?