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Property Taxes and Possible Move

July 6th, 2018 at 11:13 am

I received my yearly property tax bill of $3157.49. I save for this so I have the money ready in my account.

We had a wonderful 4th of July. My brother and I jointly hosted a party and had a great turn out with friends and relatives. Even though it was still pretty hot we still managed to play some yard games and cycle in and out of the house for some air conditioning when needed.

My brother and his wife have decided to move south to the Northern Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area within the next year or so. They are both retired, and have been mulling over moving to warmer climates and a place that is more financially friendly to retirees. After lots of traveling to various destinations, they decided this was the best fit for them. Their adult son will also be going. We had a very long talk and I'm seriously considering joining them in a few years after I retire. My brother and I are very close, and I would want to retire close to family. I would miss my friends very much, but they can always come and stay with me for long visits! It's very exciting to think about. I've been there a few times for vacations and have always loved the area as well. When we were breaking the news to everyone at the July 4th party, my cousin and his wife also expressed interest! It would be so fun for all of us to be together after we retire!

I have had this week off from work and have thoroughly enjoyed being off. My retirement countdown app says I have 1 year, 9 months, 25 days, 9 hours, 49 minutes and 5 seconds.... (not that I'm counting or anything)!

Not too much else to update. Time to head out to run a few errands. Have a good weekend everyone!

June Spending

July 1st, 2018 at 04:39 pm

Total Spending $1234.80

Here is a breakdown of June spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month.

Fixed Expenses
Verizon Bundle: 172.71 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
Cell Phone: $51.38
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 60

Variables:
Utilities: 77.12
Gasoline: 29.95
Groceries: 272.82
Health: 10 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 68.08

Shopping: 221.44 (household items, make-up, clothes)
UPS shipping package to mom: 18.35
Ticket: 40

This was a 3 paycheck month and I did some shopping. I also sent $3000 to my savings account, so I'm OK with a little shopping this month. My grocery bill was so high due to pitching in with my brother for a 4th of July party we are jointly hosting this week. I could have put this in July spending but I already bought the food so I'll just include it now. I also had 2 other gatherings I went to with friends and brought desserts and other potluck contributions.

I got a $40 speeding ticket. Ooops! It was mailed to me, looks like I was traveling a bit too fast on the beltway and got a camera ticket. I think this is my first ticket in like 20 years!

* Condo is paid in full
* Car is paid in full (2017 Camry)
* No other debt

Stockpile

June 23rd, 2018 at 04:06 pm

I confess. I have a stockpile. I estimate I have a good six months worth of TP, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, trash bags, batteries, tissues. I don't stockpile a lot of food though. And I purchased all of it with Swagbucks gift cards, so it was all free. My best friend teases me about it (good natured kidding). I got to thinking why I do it. Some people talk about being influenced by parents or grandparents who were effected by the depression. In my case, I think it was the last great recession. I saw so many people come into the career center who had lost jobs, were going to lose their homes, who actually felt they were doing things the right way by having a six month emergency fund but who still could not find employment and were running out of money. It was heartbreaking and it also scared me. I set my mind to paying off my house so I wouldn't be homeless. I saved up a very large emergency fund just in case I ever lost my job. When I recently bought my car I payed cash so I wouldn't have a car payment. I think stockpiling things gives me a certain sense of safety. It's all neatly organized in my storage room. I guess some would call it odd, but I just like having it. Anyone else profoundly effected by a particular economic circumstance?

Random Updates

June 7th, 2018 at 11:58 am

I took a week of vacation time this week. It was "use it or lose it" and I certainly wasn't going to lose a full week of vacation time. So I have been thoroughly enjoying a staycation. It's been wonderful to be able to sleep in, enjoy some lazy mornings, catch up with some retired friends over lunch, and get some things done. I marveled the other day at how quickly I was able to complete some errands because there were no lines! I was in and out at the bank, the grocery store, JC Penny for a return, and the car wash at the dealership.

June is a 3 paycheck month so that extra check will go to savings. I redeemed $61.99 in credit card rewards (cash) and a $9.11 check for a faulty product reimbursement. I did some shopping today for some much needed household items and spent $65.67 at Target so that was about equal to the cash in.

Not much else to report. Work continues to be challenging but I'm staying out of the drama and tussling as much as possible. Day by day! Overall life is good and I'm happy and content.

May Spending

June 1st, 2018 at 03:11 pm

Total Spending $1125.35

Here is a breakdown of May Spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month.

Fixed Expenses:

Verizon Bundle: 172.71 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
Cell Phone: $59.35
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 0

Variables:
Utilities: 61.63
Gasoline: 36.24
Groceries: 239.25
Health: 78.80 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 15.60

Mom's Medications: $177.82
Dryer vent cleanout $70

The $70 dryer vent cleanout is a required maintenance item by the condo board, agreed upon by the owners. A company comes in and professionally cleans out the dryer filter in the dryer, they remove the tubing that vents to the outside and vacuums that out and reattaches it to the wall, and also vacuums out the vents on the outside of the building. Dryer fires are one of the leading causes of home fires and I'm glad this is required. We have it done once every two years. Please remember to clean out your vents!

Every so often my mom needs some help paying for her medications so my brother and sister and I always chip in. That expense put me over my goal of staying under 1000.00 per month, but that's ok.

I still need to get my grocery spending under control, so I'm following Lucky Robin's lead and will be using the envelope system for June. I get $175 firm!! It's just too easy to go in and swipe the card.

I haven't updated in a while, I've just been so busy at work and time just got away from me. But I do always read the blogs.

* Condo is paid in full
* Car is paid in full (2017 Camry)
* No other debt

April Spending

May 3rd, 2018 at 09:55 am

Total Spending $907.86

Here is a breakdown of April Spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month.

Fixed Expenses:

Verizon Bundle: 172.71 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
Cell Phone: $16.99
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 20

Variables:
Utilities: 95.98
Gasoline: 29.03
Groceries: 228.16
Health: 5.70 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 36.34
Tax prep and Financial review: $90.00

My cell phone bill reflects a credit I had due to an error on the purchase price of the new cell phone.

The $90 tax prep fee includes a yearly review that my friend (CPA) does for my retirement accounts. Money well spent.

My grocery bill is still too high. This continues to be a struggle for me so my goal for May is to stay below $200. Should be able to easily do this if I just plan and focus more. I just really dislike grocery shopping.

Overall April was a good month!

* Condo is paid in full
* Car is paid in full (2017 Camry)
* No other debt

Nice Weekend

April 22nd, 2018 at 03:38 pm

The weather was sunny but still chilly this weekend. One of the things I really enjoy is having my morning coffee out on my balcony on the weekends. I'm an early riser, even on the weekends, and I love enjoying the quiet before the hustle and bustle starts. So I spent some time cleaning up out there, washed everything down, cleaned the patio chairs and table and put out the indoor outdoor rug. Now I just need it to warm up enough to enjoy it!

Financially, I'm having a good month. I spent $715.97 so far this month and will only need gas and probably one more small grocery shop for some fresh veggies, fruit and bread. All other bills are paid. I took some chili out of the freezer for lunches this week, and have a pretty stocked freezer for dinners.

As I was thinking about the upcoming work week it struck me how many people I saw for appointments last week who were in the 50's - 60's age ranges and having trouble finding full time employment. A common theme seemed to be age discrimination. These were people with solid educations and work histories, who had been laid off (seemingly for no reason beside their age) and just could not find work. It's so prevalent in todays work culture. It's frustrating and discriminatory and almost impossible to prove. I just wish I had an answer for them.

Hoping everyone reading has a good week!

Sunday Update

April 15th, 2018 at 01:30 pm

April is going a whole lot better then March so far, financially. At mid month I've spent right around $650.00, and all of my usual bills are already paid for the month. I'll probably need to get gas before the end of the month, and some groceries but don't foresee any other spending. I should easily come in under my spending goal of $1000.00 for the month.

I received the $200 bonus from the Chase credit card offer for spending $500 in 3 months. The total rewards amount was actually $208.13. I also cashed out for another $50 Swagbucks CVS giftcard. It's nice to have these extras coming in.

The weather in my part of the east coast was absolutely gorgeous on Friday and Saturday! Spring finally showed up for a couple of days, although POOF, it's gone today. Back to being chilly and rainy. Yesterday I went to my brother's for a cookout. It always feels like spring when we can break out the grill for hamburgers and dogs! We had a great time relaxing in the backyard enjoying the weather and food. I was sent home with leftovers that will take care of a few dinners this week.

Two of my friends and I have been meeting after work a few days a week to mall walk. The weather has been too crappy to walk much outside so we meet up and do some laps inside the mall. It's really a good exercise routine that includes going up and down the steps, but offers benches if we poop out and need a seat! Every now and then we will get a healthy smoothie afterward for dinner.

Work continues to be so challenging. I'm really trying to just stay out of the drama as much as possible, but am determined to retire from full time work there in 2 years. I will not be flush with cash in retirement, but I'm also not going to be afraid of living on a modest budget to be happier.

Wishing everyone a very happy week ahead!

Back to Work!

April 8th, 2018 at 05:05 pm

It's back to work tomorrow after a wonderful week off for spring break. I was able to get some things crossed off my to do list and also have some frugal fun. I took my car in for an oil change, tire rotation and filter change. This maintenance is free from Toyota at the dealership where I purchased the car. I also had the door edge guard replaced (free under warranty) on the passenger door because it had come loose at the top. I also had the HVAC at the condo yearly service done at no cost because it's covered under the service plan I have. So not technically free but no additional cost.

I made a crockpot of chili today, and will be having this for some lunches and dinners this week. I froze about half for future meals. I also had some leftover chicken tortilla soup I made on Saturday for a potluck dinner I hosted on Saturday. It was a casual get together with my friends and everyone brought something. We played a few games and had a great time.

After my very expensive March, I am really watching my spending carefully this month. I went out to lunch once this week, and met some friends for drinks one evening but only had one glass of wine. The week really flew by.

The weather has still been quite chilly but we should be warming up this week, finally!

I hope everyone has a great week!

March Spending

April 1st, 2018 at 04:39 pm

Total Spending $4091.62

Here is a breakdown of March Spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month. Way over!!!!

Fixed Expenses:

Verizon Bundle: 172.85 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
Cell Phone: 0 (new phone contract starts in April)
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 40

Variables:
Utilities: 80.35
Gasoline: 66.83
Groceries: 279.37
Health: 74.78 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 114.93
Shoes: 63.59

One Time Expenses
Condo Insurance (full year) 458.00
New Cell Phone: 480.00
Water Pik: 63.57
Cell Phone Accessories 103.00
Taxes: 1807.00
AARP renewal (year) 74.00

Some notes: My grocery and eating out categories are very high due to buying groceries for my cousin and his wife, and getting take out while I was at their house after the car accident. I also had to fill up my gas tank twice due to traveling to their house. He has offered to reimburse me, but I'm not considering it. I'm worried about them financially, so I'm just counting it as caring for family. They would offer to do the same for me.

I splurged a bit on a nice case for the new phone, a screen protector, an extra charger, and having the store transfer my information from my old phone to the new one.

My dental hygienist recommended that I get the water pik, and I can already see and feel a difference. A good investment in oral health!

Taxes: Yikes! I'll be making some adjustments!

So, overall a very expensive month, but I had the $$ saved for the condo insurance and I was able to cash flow the taxes. I'm looking forward to a much less expensive April!

I had a wonderful Easter with family today. And I have this week off for spring break!

Have a great week everyone!


Some other notes:
*My condo is paid in full, no mortgage.
*My car is paid off, no car payment
*No Credit card debt

My Verizon Bundle includes a premium sports package.

Condo fee includes: water, trash removal, snow removal, all outside building maintenance, landscaping and a master insurance policy.

A very expensive March

March 25th, 2018 at 10:48 am

March has been very expensive. I owed more then expected on my taxes, I bought a new cellphone (mine finally died) and needed to purchase a waterpik (on the advice of my dental hygienist). I get very regular cleanings but still get a tartar build up in between.

My cousin and his wife were in a serious car accident. They will be ok, but he has a badly broken arm and neck and back strain, and his wife suffered 2 broken ribs and neck and back strain. They are back at home after a few days in the hospital, and I took off a few days work last week to help them. They live about 45 minutes away, so I just stayed over at their house instead of driving back and forth. I made sure they had groceries, prepared a lot of meals to freeze so they could easily just heat and eat, and got the house clean and laundry done. They are feeling a little better every day, and thankfully have some good friends and neighbors who are also assisting them.

I only work Monday and Tuesday next week, then I have 2 vacation days off and then spring break! So, 12 days off total! I'm looking forward to relaxing and also tackling my ever growing to do list.

I spent more money then usual this month on eating out and gas money when I was at my cousin's but I'm not worrying about it. Sometimes life happens and we get off track a little!

I did open the Chase (AARP) credit card to earn the $200 cash back after spending $500 in 3 months. This will help offset the cost of the new phone. I also cashed out of swagbucks for a $50 CVS gift card.

I'll post the final (ugly) numbers for March when the month closes out. I'll get back on track in April!

Have a great week everyone!

Savings Update/New Phone/Bathroom Remodel

March 11th, 2018 at 10:48 am

Every payday I sweep money into my savings accounts. I have what I call an escrow account (just a regular savings account) from which I pay my yearly property taxes, car insurance and condo insurance when they come due. I currently have just over 16k in this account, which covers about 3.5 years of those expenses. I also have my emergency savings account, which stands at $27,500. I'll update my retirement accounts in a future post.

My $1000 a month spending budget was established mainly to see what I could live on each month to pay my bills and have some fun. It's a somewhat tight limit, but I wanted to see if it was reasonable. So far so good, although I will go over this month.

My 6 year old, Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone is on its last legs. This was my first ever smart phone. It has served me well, but it's time for a new one. I decided on the Samsung Galaxy S7. Not the newest model, but it meets my needs. I had to order it so as soon as it comes in to the Verizon store I'll update on the final cost with taxes and fees.

Since my savings accounts are pretty flush, I have decided to start pushing my savings into an account to remodel my master bath. I want to have the tub removed and convert it to a walk-in shower, replace the tile flooring which is cracking in several places, and probably replace the vanity and sink. I have a second full bath with a tub so there will still be one if needed. I'm not a big bath person anyway, preferring showers. I think summer of 2019 gives me plenty of time to save for this so that will be my goal. I do intend to age in place in this condo, and the walk-in shower will be easier to maneuver in and out of in the future. And I want to have it done while I'm still working and have the income.

I did some CVS shopping this morning. I stocked up on tissues, fabric softener, TP, Paper towels, toothpaste, and a 12 pack of diet sprite. The total before coupons and extra bucks was $34.30. I had $17.50 worth of coupons and extra bucks to apply, so my total came to $16.80. I used a swagbucks CVS gift card to pay the balance so this purchase was free. And I earned another $9 of extra bucks to use on a future purchase.

I'm spending the rest of my Sunday relaxing, and just getting some things ready for the upcoming week.

Have a good week everyone!

March $$$

March 4th, 2018 at 04:29 pm

This month is already starting off spendy. I renewed my yearly AAA membership, $74, a pair of shoes I had on backorder finally came in, $63.59, and another medical bill for $35.14. It's very doubtful I'll stay under my 1000.00 spending goal for the month, but this will happen from time to time.

I went to CVS to stock up on a few more things I was running low on. 4 bottles of laundry soap, 4 boxes of tissues and a case of water. I spent $22.75, but paid with a swagbucks, CVS gift card so this purchase was free.

I had some yearly lab work done recently and my Vitamin D level came back extremely low. This may explain a few things. My doctor gave me a script for a very high dose Vitamin D that I take once a week for 6 weeks and then we will recheck it.

Things at work continue to be challenging, so I'm really planning on retiring from full time work as soon as I can. I'm 57, and the earliest I can retire and receive the health care subsidy from the college is age 59.5. So I'm saving as much as I can so I can cut back to part time work. I had planned to work full time until 62, but I'll have to see how things go.

We had a fierce windstorm on the east coast over the weekend and many lost power. There are trees and power lines down everywhere. I am very fortunate that I did not lose power and sustained no real damage at my condo complex.

I'm finished getting ready for the week's start. My lunch is packed for tomorrow, my clothes are ironed for the week, and the kitchen is cleaned up after dinner. Have a great week all!

February Spending

February 25th, 2018 at 11:14 am

Total Spending $974.07

Here is a breakdown of February Spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month. Did it!

Fixed Expenses:

Verizon Bundle: 172.85 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
Cell Phone: 65.44
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 20

Variables:
Utilities: 106.22
Gasoline: 33.67
Groceries: 147.21
Health: 111.47 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 69.26
Haircut and tip: 35.00


Some notes:
*My condo is paid in full, no mortgage.
*My car is paid off, no car payment
*No Credit card debt

My Verizon Bundle includes a premium sports package.

Condo fee includes: water, trash removal, snow removal, all outside building maintenance, landscaping and a master insurance policy.

My health costs were high due to bills from the pneumonia. I still anticipate a few more next month. I'm really happy with my reduced grocery spending. I stuck to my meal plan and used up things from the pantry and freezer. I did dine out a bit more then usual but still came in under my monthly spending goal.

I ordered some trash bags (80 count), deodorant (quantity 5) and Clorox toilet bowl wand refills (quantity 20) from Walmart online today. Total was $36.27 but I used a Swagbucks, Walmart gift card to pay for it. And shipping was free if you spend over $35. So this purchase was free. This will last me quite a while. I like to stock up!

Spending a quiet Sunday getting ready for the upcoming week. It's rainy and gloomy here again, so a good day to stay in and read, nap, and relax.

Have a good week everyone! And continued thoughts are with Thrift. She's been on my mind today.


Mid Month Spending

February 17th, 2018 at 03:44 pm

With all of my standard bills paid already for the month of February, I am left with $141.75 for the rest of the month to stay below my goal of $1000 spending for the month. I have one more doctor's appointment this month so that will be a $10 co-pay, and dinner plans next Saturday, but it's just at a local pub so that will be minimal spending. I have a full tank of gas, and the fridge and pantry are pretty well stocked so other then some minimal grocery shopping I shouldn't have much other spending. I have a Wal-Mart gift card I can use for food if necessary.

Things at work are still difficult. But, I am determined to go in and try my best to enjoy my day, and my work with students, and try and ignore the politics and sniping. I'm too close to retirement to leave, and would never be able to find another job with my salary and benefits at my age, so I'll stick it out and focus on the positive!

I have decided to forgo a big vacation this year, I just don't want to spend the money, and honestly I'm just looking forward to relaxing and having a staycation this summer. My ex-husband and I travelled extensively when we were married, and I just don't have the travel bug anymore. I'm glad to have travelled as much as I did when I was young, and was able to walk endlessly, and explore, and didn't mind roughing it a little. I do like to take some local weekend trips, but I don't like flying anymore so I'm content with that.

It's snowing here on the east coast, but I don't expect more then a few inches, and it's supposed to warm up again tomorrow so any accumulation will melt pretty quickly.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

January Spending

January 31st, 2018 at 06:21 pm

Total Spending $990.87

Here is a breakdown of January Spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month. Did it!

Fixed Expenses:

Verizon Bundle: 172.85 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 20

Variables:
Utilities: 119.95
Gasoline: 30.30
Groceries: 237.82
Health: 55.60 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 28.26
Shopping: 113.14 (clothes and sheets)

Some notes:
*My condo is paid in full, no mortgage.
*My car is paid off, no car payment
*No Credit card debt

My Verizon Bundle includes a premium sports package (not giving it up)

Condo fee includes: water, trash removal, snow removal, all outside building maintenance, and landscaping

In other news, I had a follow-up chest x-ray and doctor's appointment and I'm happy to report I am all clear from pneumonia! I'm feeling so much better. I am expecting some medical bills to come in in February but the spending goal remains the same, to stay under $1000.00

Sunday Update

January 21st, 2018 at 12:42 pm

I am finally feeling better after my bout with pneumonia. I had another chest x-ray on Friday, and see my doctor for a follow-up on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll get the all clear.

I cashed out some swagbucks today, $50 Walmart GC and a $50 CVS GC. I also redeemed $38.82 in cash from credit card rewards. And I received a $50 check from my fantasy football league winnings. I came in second place this season!

My monthly spending is at $771.43 so far. My goal is to stay under $1000 a month. Since my condo and car are paid off this is a reasonable spending goal. At the end of each month I'll post a breakdown.

I spent 65.71 at Ulta yesterday. I was almost completely out of make-up. I don't wear a lot and this will last me quite a while since I stocked up. I used a gift card I received for Christmas to pay for it so no money out of pocket. I also went out to dinner last night with my brother and SIL and spent $18.59.

Today has been a much needed quiet day at home. I did some laundry, cooking for the week, and general cleaning. Now I'm relaxing watching the football games!

Have a great week everyone!

A Bumpy Start To 2018

January 6th, 2018 at 05:08 pm

My new year did not start out very well. What I thought was a cold, then thought was the flu, was confirmed through a chest x-ray as pneumonia. So I've been off work most of last week, and will most likely be out this coming week. Thank goodness for a lot of accrued sick time, and decent health insurance. I'll have some bills coming in from the initial urgent care visit so not sure what the total damage is yet. So far I've only had to pay $20 for 2 scripts and a $10 co-pay for a follow-up appointment. The only good thing is that I haven't been able to go out and spend any money!

It has been terribly cold in my area of the east coast with wind chill temps below zero. I'm sure my utility bill will be higher then usual as a result.

My main financial goal for 2018 is to diligently track my spending each month. I really need to do this to get a real picture of my yearly spending so I can plan better for what I'll need when I retire.

My other goal is to post my numbers here at the end of each month, and check-in more frequently. I do read the blogs every day.

My continued thoughts go out to Thrift and her family.

Struggling

October 8th, 2017 at 04:24 pm

I've really been struggling at work. I committed to filling in as the Interim Director of Career Services for 6 months, and was given a 3% salary increase. I have never wanted to go into management and was very happy with my job as a career counselor. But we lost a lot of staff to retirements and reassignments, and some people got jobs at other colleges and we were really in a bind, so I agreed to it when asked by my boss.
The endless meetings, driving all over the beltway to our other campuses, and the double talk and outright disrespect displayed by upper management has really worn me out. I informed my Dean last Friday that when my 6 months is up (early January) I will not be extending this interim position for another 6 months and will instead go back to my job as a career counselor. Needless to say she was not happy. I will also forfeit the 3 % salary increase, which is fine with me.

So I am recommitting to watching every penny spent (I've been a little lax lately, but nothing too crazy). I want to start living on a monthly budget that I have worked out that I have estimated that I will need when I retire. My retirement plan so far is to retire from full time work at 62 (in about 5 years) and work part time. It's still a plan in progress. My health insurance will be subsidized by the college so that cost will be somewhat reasonable. I'm just really tired of working!

Vacation Cancelled/Irma

September 7th, 2017 at 02:09 pm

We decided to cancel our vacation to Myrtle Beach South Carolina because of hurricane Irma. We were due to leave on Saturday, and we were waiting until today to make a final decision, and then we saw the announcement by the Governor of South Carolina that mandatory evacuations from coastal areas would go into effect at 10a.m. Saturday.

While we are disappointed, it pales in comparison to people who will likely lose everything. This is only a cancelled vacation. My prayers go out to everyone in the path of Irma.

Fortunately, we have trip insurance. It clearly states that money will be refunded if there are any mandatory or voluntary evacuations in place due to weather. There is a slight deduction for an administration fee but we will see most of our money back for the condo we rented. We were driving, so no airline issues.

Please keep Florida, and any other states in the path of this storm in your thoughts or prayers.

Enjoying Life!

August 13th, 2017 at 04:01 pm

I have really been enjoying life this week, to the tune of spending $213.99! So much for my low spend August. A good friend came for a visit Saturday and we hit the mall. I'm really not a big shopper and usually avoid the mall like the plague, but she needed a dress for an upcoming wedding and I wound up finding several tops that I can wear both to work and just out on the weekends, a pair of shoes, and 3 pairs of capris. We also had dinner and drinks out. She spent the night Saturday and today we went out for brunch before she headed back home. We have been friends since high school, and she lives about 2 hours away by car so we don't see each other often enough. We had so much fun and I don't regret the spending a bit.

I also have a few large purchases coming up. It's time for a new cell phone. I have a Samsung S3 that I bought new about 6 years ago. It's still working OK so I'm not in a hurry but I think it's time to upgrade.

I also need a new bed. Mine is about 15 years old and it's starting to sag. I'm also waking up with backaches that go away pretty quickly once I get up and stretch out, but I don't want to be in pain every morning!

So that will be my new savings goal. I'll need to start researching both to see how much I'll need to save.

I'm getting excited about our upcoming vacation next month. A week at the beach, oceanfront condo, and we bought tickets to a dinner/show while we are there. My share of the condo cost and ticket is already paid for, and I have spending money saved. We are driving (about an 8 hour drive) so I'll be pitching in for gas too since I'm not driving. Can't wait!

I'm hoping next week will be more frugal. Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Update

August 6th, 2017 at 05:59 pm

My spending for the first week of August was pretty good. I spent $49.25 on groceries, and I am stocked up for the week, and probably into the following week. I did go out with friends over the weekend to a local steakhouse. I'm not much of a red meat eater but I do enjoy an occasional steak! I spent $27.03 including tip. We had a great time and I really enjoy my time out with my friends. I also went out to lunch with a coworker and spent $10.04. This wasn't planned, but she needed a shoulder and someplace away from work to talk. I "spent" $11.66 at CVS but used a swagbucks CVS gift card to pay for this. I also stocked up on my coffee pods from Walmart "spending " $34.87 but used a SB Walmart gift card for payment. Today was pretty low key, spent the day getting ready for the week ahead. I did some cooking, cleaning, packed my lunch for tomorrow and got my clothes ready. Hope everyone has a good week!

How low can I go in August

July 30th, 2017 at 06:39 pm

I'm feeling the need to tighten the belt in August! I've been a little loosey goosey with spending this summer, not anything extreme, but I haven't been tracking my spending. Too much eating out, and random purchases. I go on vacation in September, so I need to get back on track next month. My fixed expenses are set, so that leaves groceries, utilities, gas, shopping, and entertainment to really tighten up. I did my usual grocery shopping today for the week and I am set with a menu plan. No eating out this week. I should be able to have mostly no spend days this week too.

Have a great week everyone!

Weekend Update

July 23rd, 2017 at 03:32 pm

It has been extremely hot and humid here, with the heat index nearing 105 degrees for the last few days. Yesterday I had a lot of errands to run and I think the heat took a toll. I had a headache most of last night and today was just feeling very tired, so I stayed in and got some chores done around the condo and napped off and on all day.

Yesterday, I spent $49.21 at Walmart on various personal care, cleaning, and food items but used a Walmart gift card earned from Swagbucks to pay for it. Then I hit CVS for water and soda and a couple of other things and spent $19.07 and used a CVS gift card from SB to pay for that. I've been consistently earning at least $100 a month from Swagbucks.

Spent $15 at a local farm stand on some delicious tomatoes, corn on the cob and peaches.

I got a $5 Blue Diamond settlement check, cashed in $4.50 in rolled change and deposited the $50 check from mom.

I realized I haven't had to buy gas yet in July! I filled up my old car around the end of June, then I traded it in and the new car had a full tank. But I'll have to fill up this week.

Not much else financial news to report. Hope everyone has a great week!

Money in!

July 16th, 2017 at 06:05 am

My last paycheck included a 2% COLA increase, and $1200.00 bonus. Since I am at the top of my pay scale range I no longer receive performance increases as a % of my salary. Instead, I receive a once yearly bonus. I have put that bonus money away to pay for expenses for an upcoming family vacation in September. I also noticed a $196.91 credit back to my credit card from the hospital where I had an outpatient procedure done back in early May. I suppose I was overcharged or double billed.

My mom left to go back to my sister's yesterday. I miss her already. She's 90, and these visits are so precious. She handed me a $50 check for "expenses". If you knew my mom it is pointless to argue with her about these things.

Work is crazy! Career Services is undergoing a major restructuring, and over the past year many career services staff either retired, left the college for other jobs, or took other positions within the college but outside of career services. As a result, I was asked last week to assume the role of Interim Director of Career Services. This will come with a salary increase, but I haven't received the contract yet.

My utilities bill for the last billing cycle was up to $103.59. This is up from $82.69 the previous cycle. It has been extremely hot and humid where I live, and mom liked all her laundry blasted in the dryer, so the increase wasn't unexpected. I keep my thermostat set at 78, any higher and I start to feel uncomfortable. But the dryer usage will definitely decrease!

I don't use the dishwasher much because I live alone, but I always seem to have a sink full of dishes, and I wash them every day. I guess I'm just cooking at home more which is a good thing!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Still here/bought a new car

July 9th, 2017 at 09:57 am

How did spring/summer get away from me?? My mom came to stay with me (on the weekends) and at my brother's during the week since mid-May. She will be returning to my sisters (where she lives full time) next weekend. While it was wonderful to see her (she's 90 years old) it did throw my budget out of whack! Extra food costs, eating out, way more laundry (and dryer use) and some shopping. I did not track everything, so I'm looking to get back on track soon.

In other financial news, I bought a new 2017 Camry, and paid cash! I buy new, and usually keep the car for at least ten years, or longer if no expensive problems pop up. This system works for me. I will now start saving up for the next one, so when I am entering retirement age, in about 7-8 years, I will have the funds to purchase with cash again.

I'm feeling pretty good financially. My condo is paid in full, new car paid in full, and am saving the max for retirement. I have a fully funded emergency fund as well. It took many many years for me to finally get my financial act together, and it feels great!

Have a good day, and upcoming week everyone!

My cousins new house

April 23rd, 2017 at 03:48 pm

My cousin and his wife bought a new house a few months ago and we were invited for Easter dinner and to see their new place. The house is BIG. It's 3300 square feet with an additional 900 square foot, fully finished basement that is a separate apartment with 2 bedrooms. Their 28 year old son currently lives in that level, rent free but that's another story.

The house is beautiful. Very high end finishes, open concept kitchen, dining, family room, large deck, and 2 car garage. I am still drooling over the master bathroom, 2 sinks, separate tub and large walk in shower with a bench and lot's of storage.

They paid $510,000. The property taxes were listed at just over $5k per year. I know they did not put 20% down because his wife was complaining about having to pay PMI. My cousin is 60 years old and his wife is 56. He works as a truck driver for a large soft drink company. She does not work outside the home, no young kids at home.

I just wonder how they are affording such an expensive home, and I worry about them in retirement. I don't know their full financial picture, but I do talk to his wife quite frequently and I just don't get the sense that they are well prepared for retirement.

I do admit feeling some pangs of envy at the finishes, but not at the thought of that monthly mortgage payment, or utility bill, or cleaning it!

In the end, I feel satisfied with my paid off condo and being able to sleep at night without such large financial burdens.

My new dentist is frugal!

April 12th, 2017 at 03:55 pm

I went for my dentist appointment today, fully expecting to have to shell out a pretty penny for a new crown. I decided to try a new dental practice that is right down the street in my new neighborhood. The dentist took a look at my old crown, which has to be at least 13 years old (maybe older) and said it still looked in good shape and he didn't see any reason to have to replace it with a new one. Music to my ears! They took an x-ray, cleaned up the crown and tooth area and reattached it with no problem. As he was working on me he commented that he hates waste, and has a hobby of fixing and refurbishing old furniture, broken jewelry etc. And then he said, "and don't even get me started on food waste". I think I found my forever dentist! I only paid $30 out of pocket instead of much more for a new crown.

The dental practice is in the same shopping center complex as my new hair salon, my grocery store, my bank, a UPS store and a 7-11 with a gas station. So convenient, just a 2 minute drive from my condo. What I expected to be an expensive, painful day turned out to be just the opposite!

Bought a bed/lost a crown

April 10th, 2017 at 01:51 pm

First off...it's spring break week! The college is closed until 4/18. Happy dance! The first thing on my to do list for this week was to buy a bed for the spare bedroom. My mom is coming to visit in May for about 6 weeks so I needed to buy a bed. After lots of shopping around I settled on a full size mattress with a low profile boxspring and frame. I needed something that wouldn't sit too high up to make it easy for mom to get in and out. With taxes and delivery charge the grand total was $644.18. It was in stock and is being delivered and set up tomorrow. I can cash flow this so it went on the credit card for the reward points and I'll pay it off in full in May when I get the bill. I'll still need to get a mattress pad, a set of sheets and 1 more pillow. I already have a spare blanket and quilt I can use.

Over the past weekend a very old crown on my back tooth came off. I stopped in at the dentist this morning and arranged an appointment for Wednesday. It looks like my insurance will pay for 60% of a new crown so it was estimated my out of pocket would be around $250. Not too bad, but still an unexpected expense. Crowns are crazy expensive!




March Spending

April 1st, 2017 at 04:08 pm

Fixed Expenses:
Condo Fee: 185.00
Verizon bundle: 173.52
Cell Phone: 65.28
HVAC and hot water heater maintenance: 27.95 (see note on this below, new monthly expense)
Pocket $: 20.00

Variables:
Utilities: 87.94
Gasoline: 43.79
Groceries: 172.27
AAA yearly renewal: 74.00 (once a year expense)
Tax Prep and retirement review: 90.00 (once a year)
Dining out: 17.24

Total spending: 956.99

Some notes: I decided to purchase a monthly maintenance agreement that covers furnace, central air and hot water heater.
I also renewed my AAA membership. My car is a 2009, and I did use the roadside service last year when I needed a tow. I like the peace of mind for these two expenses.

I have a dear friend who is a CPA and financial planner. She prepares my taxes each year and twice a year reviews my retirement accounts. She would do this for free but I insist on paying her something. This year I got a tax refund of just under $1100 that I wasn't expecting because she was able to itemize. Worth every penny that I pay her.

Food: I also spent $22.32 at Walmart for food but used a swagbucks GC for this so did not include it in above total. I still feel like I am spending too much on food, even though it's down from previous months.

Have a great rest of your weekend!


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