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February 27th, 2013 at 02:20 am

I just hit the 10,000 points mark and ordered my first $100 CVS gift card! I am starting to run low on my stock of personal care products so this is great timing. I hope to be able to do this every few months.

Overdue Update (long) and swagbucks question

February 11th, 2013 at 06:09 pm

I have been keeping up pretty well with my 2013 financial goals so far. I am averaging 3-4 NSD's a week. I continue to pay an extra $1400 a month toward my mortgage principle which now stands at $96,352.74. And I am steadily staying below my target of spending $50 a week for groceries. Now that football Sunday parties are over it's been pretty easy.

Some great news on the job front! I work at a community college that has multiple campuses. I have always worked at the campus located the farthest from my home, typically a 45-60 minute drive each way, and I had to buy an ez-pass because I had to commute through a tunnel everyday. I had put in for a transfer to the closest campus to home (10 minutes away) a long time ago, and it was finally approved! My gas usage will easily be cut in half (maybe more),and I won't need the tunnel pass anymore, and I get to sleep in an extra 30 minutes every morning! Sweet!

I joined swagbucks on 12/31/12 and as of today I have 7231 points. I am waiting to get to 10,000 to purchase a $100 e-gift card to either CVS or Walmart. I plan to use this to stock up on all my personal care products. Has anyone else used one of the e-gift cards from swagbucks? I am wondering if there are any glitches with these? Either printing them out or trouble using them in the stores mentioned?

Owning it in 2013!

January 7th, 2013 at 06:20 pm

This is my weekly update on the goals I set for myself for 2013. I did great in some, and had an epic fail in others. When I fail, I intend to just OWN it, and not make excuses. Then try and do better the next week!

Financial: From 1/1/13-1/6/13 (short week)

I had 4 NSD's out of 6 (great!)

I spent $69.71 at the grocery store. My goal was to keep it below $50 for the week. However, I hosted an NFL play-offs get together on Sunday and $23.45 of the total spent was food for the party. So, I'm not sure how to think about this one. I am happy that my team won and we all had a great time!

Health Goals:

I was consistent every day with taking my vitamins and drinking lots of water (great!)

I did not lose my 1 lb. last week. On the contrary, I gained half a pound. Big fail, and I own this. No excuses. I just ate too much and...

Exercise 4 times a week goal: Fail! I did not work out once last week. Again, no excuses. I just need to to better.

Also, I joined swagbucks on 12/31 and to date I have 1,335 bucks! Once I get to 10,000 I am cashing in for a $100 CVS gift card to use for toiletries and paper goods.

Have a great week!

2013 Goals

December 31st, 2012 at 08:46 pm

My 2013 Financial Goals:

1. Pay down my mortgage principal by $25,000.
2. Keep careful track of every penny spent. Track # of NSD's each week.
3. Use coupons and keep my grocery food shopping to a $50 a week budget. This is for food only, not personal care products. I know there will be weeks where I can stay well below the $50 budget.

Health Goals:
1. Lose 1 lb. a week
2. Workout 4 times a week
3. Cut back on eating processed foods.
4. Drink more water
5. Take my vitamins every day

I think these are all reasonable goals and I am looking forward to continuing to track my progress here!

Happy New Year Everyone!

CVS shopping

December 31st, 2012 at 12:26 am

I was runnung low on a lot of personal care items and I noticed that CVS was offering $10 extra bucks rewards for spending $30 on select items. I was happy to see some great sales on the product brands that I normally purchase. I checked all my coupons and found that I had a coupon for each item I wanted to buy, and I had a $4 off CVS coupon, so off I went. I purchased:

36 rolls of Charmin (double roll) TP
3 bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo
1 bottle of Pantene shampoo
1 bottle of Pantene conditioner
1 bottle of liquid Tide detergent
2 Secret gel deodorants
1 bottle of Dawn dishwashing liqid

I saved $14.50 using coupons and my total with tax was $31.88. I used a Visa gift card I received for Christmas to pay for it so no money out of my pocket!

And, I still have the $10 extra bucks to use on a future purchase, so I'll realize another $10 of free stuff.

The CVS is in a shopping center right up the street from my house. My grocery store and my bank are also in this same shopping center so I use very little gas to access the CVS and can combine my grocery shopping
in one trip! I am a happy shopper today!

Broke the six figure mark on the mortgage

December 27th, 2012 at 09:57 pm

Previous balance was $100,453.77. New balance is $98,406.55!

After a wonderful Christmas with family and friends it's time to sit down and prepare some goals for 2013. One goal will be to have as many NSD's as possible. I really want to carefully watch every penny.

I will have one big expense this year, all new windows for my house. The money is already saved, but I will still hate to spend it!

Finally Feeling Ready

December 21st, 2012 at 09:16 pm

Every year I host Christmas Eve at my house. My family all come over for food and fun and gift giving. We always have a great time! On this years menu is glazed ham, risotto, crispy sesame green beans, perrogies in an onion butter sauce,biscuits, a veggie platter, assorted cheese platter, dips, and apple pies for dessert. Wine, beer, and some flavored martinis for drinks. It looks like my mom will be able to come home for most of the day from the assisted living facility too.

So the house is decorated, all of my gifts are bought and wrapped, and most of the groceries are bought so I am finally feeling ready for Christmas! I budgeted $500 for everything this year and while I haven't added everything up yet I did stay under that amount.

It's funny I really generally dislike cooking and grocery shopping, but when I am hosting a dinner for family and friends I really get into it and have been told that I am a pretty good cook! I guess just cooking for myself doesn't really inspire me much.

It suddenly got very cold and windy today here on the east coast. I am glad to be home for the night!

BIG Spenders, we all know one!

December 19th, 2012 at 07:32 pm

I have an old friend who lives in another state, but he often posts on FB about what he is up too. Mostly it involves spending money. He recently purchased a new Cadillac, took a trip to Costa Rico and spent $1000 at Costco on Christmas decorations for his house and food for an upcoming party.

K is a lot of fun, always the life of the party! He has a "you can't take it with you" attitude. What worries me (in addition to his crazy spending) is that he works for a defense contractor and with deep defense spending cuts on the horizon, he may be in danger of being laid-off. He has worked there his whole life and only has a high school diploma, so I really worry that he will have a very difficult time finding employment. He is also over 50, a double whammy.

While I am careful with money, I do spend on activities that I enjoy, and have an active social life, but I budget for these things, so I don't feel like I am missing out on life because I am a saver!

Those Costa Rico vacation photos did make me drool just a little though! My next big vacation will be in 2014....saving for Hawaii!

Rough Couple of Weeks

December 14th, 2012 at 06:41 pm

My 86 year old mom (who lives with me) has been in and out of the hospital the past few months, but really declined about 2 weeks ago and was rushed to the hospital again. She is doing better but will now need to be admitted to a short term assisted living facility for a 4-6 week stay for some post-op care.

The toll it has taken on her is of course my primary concern, but something like this just wreaks havoc with a normal schedule, work, meals, sleep, traveling back and forth to the hospital etc. I just "live better" when I have a set routine and schedule.

My budget for the last 2 weeks is just all messy. I was pulling money out to eat on the run, pick up some things that my mom needed, more gas money than usual etc. My body is feeling it too. Way too much junk food, not enough sleep and no time to exercise or to just chill out.

Now that things are starting to settle down, I can get back on track, but it got me to thinking that unfortunately, my mom will prbably continue to have health challenges and I need to really be more prepared when these emergencies happen so that I don't go into a tailspin.

I have a fully funded emergency fund for money, but seem to lacking on a "life planning emergency fund" for all the other things (not money related) that happen.

On a happier note, it's Friday!

So Close!!!

November 27th, 2012 at 01:25 pm

My 12/1/12 Mortgage payment cleared today.
Previous balance: $102,496.77
Payment breakdown: $1396.41 (regular monthly payment)
Additional Principle: $1400
New balance: $100,453.77

Oh so close to breaking that six figure mark!

Discussions about Mortgage Payoff

November 26th, 2012 at 07:06 pm

Over the Thanksgiving break I was having dinner with several friends. Some are nearing retirement age and one commmented (lamented really) about how she wished she had paid down her mortgage early. It got me to thinking about when/how/why this became a priority for me.

Working as a career counselor I met with many people since the 2008 economic downturn who lost their jobs and some eventually their homes. Many of these people had adequate EF's, (at that time the recommendation for an EF was 6 months living expenses I think) but simply could not find employment. It really inspired me to make paying off my mortgage a financial goal. The security of having a paid off home (at least for me)is priceless. I am not a risk taker, so this makes sense for me.

There are many different ways to prepare ourselves financially, some disagree with paying down a mortgage and heavily invest instead. This is not a post about what is "right or wrong" in terms of financial planning. Just my own thoughts about my own personal way of planning for my future!


November 12th, 2012 at 07:01 pm

I joined the site last year but haven't blogged much. I am hoping to write more often to help keep myself motivated!

My main goal remains to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible. I have no other debt. Over the past year I always pay an additional $1000 to my principal each month. As of today my mortgage balance is $102,493. My projected payoff date (with the additional principal added in) is 08/2017. Not bad considering I just bought the house in 06/2010 with a 15 year mortgage.

I ran some numbers and if I can add an additional $400 dollars a month to principal my payoff date would be 09/2016. I think I can do this if I really tighten up my budget. My biggest area that needs attention is the dreaded grocery shopping and eating out! I really dislike cooking and grocery shopping, but I am determined to do better in these areas.

The Dreaded Chore!

January 11th, 2011 at 02:10 pm

OK, we all have that one dreaded chore that we really really dislike. Hate is such an extreme word, but for me, it's grocery shopping! Yes, I hate it. I don't really know why, but I do. I used to observe people blissfully going up and down each isle with their coupons and calculators and store ads, and wonder why they seemed so happy? What was the secret that I was missing? When I was married, my husband would do most of the grocery shopping and I would do most of the cooking. It worked for us.

Now, I cannot avoid it. When it was just me, I could do quick stops, just get the essentials (mindless shopping) and get out! But now, my mom lives with me, and I am shopping for two and need to add this chore to my more "mindful" list. Plus, mindless grocery shopping gets expensive.

My mom has turned into my secret weapon so to speak when it comes to this chore. She LOVES coupon clipping, list making, deal hunting and meal planning! So now, I leave the house once a week armed with my list and coupons, and I found a great time to go when the store seems less crowded.

I can't say that I am loving it, but I don't dread it as much anymore and I do enjoy seeing how much money we are saving each week, now that my grocery shopping has become more organized and mindful! Maybe that was the secret...all those shoppers were smiling thinking about all the money they were saving!

Moving from "mindless" to "mindful"

January 7th, 2011 at 03:31 pm

Today is payday! I paid my bills and had one thousand dollars to "save". So, rather mindlessly I just transferred that money into my savings account. Great! But it seemed kind of mindless, and easy, and safe. But..as I mentioned before I am not a risk taker at all with my money. So it makes sense that I would just plop it into savings.

My two main financial goals are to pay off my house in 5-6 years and to save for retirement. I want to do both of these things in the safest way possible, so I am trying to figure out the best way to maximize my money without risking it. Because I haven't quite figured it out yet, I am not ready to leap into something.

I am considering: Paying extra each month on my mortgage. I have a really low interest rate (4.25%).So is it best to put extra money on the payment each month, or just continue to save the money and when I have enough saved just pay the mortgage off in one lump sum? or, do some of both? I just like the sense of security I get knowing I have that money in the bank should I need it.

Decisions, Decisions!

Well, I am rambling...if you read all this thanks for sticking with it and have a great weekend!

Taking a Hard Look at My Life

January 6th, 2011 at 08:03 pm


So I am fifty years old, divorced, and taking stock! There are so many things that I want to focus on, with the big ones being improving my health and my finances. I am employed full time, own my home (not outright yet) have my 84 year old mom living with me and trying to plan for the future.

I am risk averse when it comes to saving money, so lately I have just been socking money away in my savings account which is currently at just over $34,000. I owe $130,000 on my home and would like to pay it off within the next 5-6 years. I only have about $50,000 saved for retirement. I have no other debt, car is payed for and no credit card debt. I think my money philosophy has been shaping up more as a "pay off all debt" type then the "heavy investor" type. It gives me a great piece of mind to think of having my home fully paid for by the time I am 55 or 56 years old.

On the health front, I have been experiencing a few problems with my back, need to lose weight and get more active.

I believe that physical, mental, and fiscal health are all intertwined, and this seemed like a good place to blog about these connections. I enjoy reading other's blogs, what seem to be random musings are very enjoyable to read!

So that's it for my first entry, just my brief "story" with more to come.

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