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Archive for May, 2020

May Spending/Savings

May 31st, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Total Spending: $778.21
Total Savings: $10,000 (includes $8000 vacation payout)
Additional Income: Swagbucks earnings: $100 (cash out to paypal)

Fixed Expenses:
Verizon bundle (internet, cable, home phone): $158.83
Cell phone: $61.28
HVAC and water heater contract: $27.95
Condo Fee (includes water) $190.00

Utilities: $68.62
Gasoline: 0
Groceries: $183.65
Health: $39.26 (scripts refills, vitamins and personal health care items)
Dining Out: 0
Shopping (on-line): $48.62

NOTE: I received a final payout from work for accrued vacation time. After taxes the total was $8077.97. I transferred 8k of that to savings.

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

New Retirement Budget/Healthcare Costs

May 27th, 2020 at 10:35 pm

Now that I am retired my monthly budget will change starting June 1st. When I was considering retirement, the biggest financial concern I had was the cost of healthcare. My cost for healthcare now looks like this:

Medical Coverage (Includes a Prescription Plan) through the college: My Monthly Cost: $422.00. The college pays $381.81
(The total monthly cost for Medical with Prescription plan is $803.81, of this I pay $422.00 monthly, the college pays the rest)

Dental Coverage: Monthly Cost: $25.75 No College subsidy for Dental

Vision Coverage: Monthly Cost: $3.15 No College Subsidy for Vision

Total cost to me monthly is: $450.90

I searched on the healthcare exchange to see if I could do better there, and I found that a comparable plan would cost me almost 3 times as much. The benefits on my current plan are excellent.

Once I reach age 65 and switch to Medicare my price will reduce significantly, and the college will pay toward a surround plan with prescription coverage.

The college also offers me other retiree perks, such as free use of the gym and pool, library, free tuition for classes and use of computers and printers. I will definitely start using the gym when the college reopens, and it is safe to do so! For now, I am walking every day, weather permitting.

Before I retired, I was pretty easily living on around $1000 a month, so my new goal will be to stay under $1500 a month. This will start in June.

In preparation for retirement I saved up a sizable amount of money to pay for yearly property taxes, car insurance and condo insurance. Since I pay these in full, once per year I don’t count them in my monthly spending budget. I estimate I have about twelve years' worth of these expenses saved. After that I can easily pay them from other investment sources. I also have $30k saved up in a different account as an emergency fund. This is for car repairs, replacing appliances etc. I don’t keep a separate car maintenance fund. It took me a very long time to save up this money, with lots of scrimping, frugal living, and at various points along the way I worked 2 jobs, but now it was all worth it.

So, I am feeling pretty good about my plan for expenses in retirement. If I spend under the goal of $1500 per month, that amount will go into savings to be used for vacations or other fun activities. I am often asked about travel plans now that I am retired, and people are usually surprised that I really have no big desire to travel. When I was younger my husband and I (now ex-husband, we were married for 20 years) traveled extensively, all over the world. We wanted to explore while we were young and able to walk all day and didn’t mind roughing it a little. I am so glad we did! The experiences we had were priceless. Now, I am more than content to take shorter day or weekend trips. I dislike flying now and prefer to drive when I do take a trip. When I was at my brothers on Memorial Day, we started discussions about a summer 2021 vacation to the beach! Something to look forward to.

Missing Mom and other updates

May 8th, 2020 at 01:54 pm

May 6th was the one-year anniversary of my mom’s passing. I miss her terribly. On that day it was cold, rainy and windy and a planned trip to visit the cemetery was postponed until the next day. My brother and I drove separately, wore masks, and stayed the recommended 6 feet apart. We placed fresh flowers, said some silent prayers and then sat on a nearby bench (still distancing) to talk. My brother and I are very close, and I have missed seeing him in person, even though we talk and text frequently. It was great to see him, although not being able to give him a parting hug was sad.

After that I went to the grocery store to pick up some fresh fruit and veggies and a few other things. They were still out of the usual things, TP, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. I was surprised that they did have a pretty decent amount of meat, and I scored a couple of packs of my favorite, organic chicken strips that they have been out of for a while. Everyone wore masks and kept a safe distance from each other.

In keeping with my zero food waste quest, I used up a small piece of chicken, a small amount of left over mixed veggies, and a last handful of cooked pasta by throwing it all into a pan with some seasonings and giving it a quick stir fry. It was surprisingly good!

I was curious as to when the last time was that I bought gas for the car. It was March 18th and I still have almost a full tank! I do go out and start her up every few days just so the battery doesn’t die, but I’m mostly only driving to the store and back. I wonder how long I can go until I need a refill. At this rate it could be a while yet.

I had ordered some sketching supplies that came in, and I have really been enjoying rediscovering this hobby. I am pretty rusty, but it’s slowly coming back and I’m happy to have the time to do this again. When I was working full time, I just didn’t seem to be able to access my creative side and I’m glad it’s still there!

Under these circumstances (not really being able to safely go out and do much yet) I think the thing I enjoy about retirement the most so far are my peaceful mornings. I’m still waking up early, but I don’t have to rush around to get ready. I can enjoy my morning coffee, get caught up on the news, check my emails, and slowly ease into the rest of my day. I am already calmer and happier!

Officially Retired!!!!

May 1st, 2020 at 10:02 pm

Today was my last day! I am now officially retired! I have worked at the college for 19 years, and I will miss my co-workers very much. They threw me a virtual party, which was very thoughtful and fun! I received a $250 gift certificate, lots of calls, texts, emails and e-cards. When it is safe to gather together again, I have been promised a celebratory lunch.

I never imagined that my last day of work would be from home during a pandemic. It just drives home that you never really know what life has in store, and to value each day!