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Archive for January, 2021

Mid Month Check In

January 17th, 2021 at 03:13 pm

Everything seems to be on track financially so far. My total spending for January is at $770.54. Most of my usual bills have been paid already except for health insurance. I received a notice from the college that they are no longer able to automatically process my monthly payment to my credit card, so now I will either have to mail a check or money order, or call in to make the payment on my card. I like using my credit card because I earn cash back on it, so that is the way I will go. It is a minor inconvenience, but just one more thing I have to remember to do monthly. 

My grocery spending is at $157.77. One of my goals for 2021 is to keep my monthly grocery spending at $200 per month, so I have $42.23 left. I am well stocked up and have a loose meal plan for the rest of the month. I expect to only need to purchase some fresh produce next week so I should come in under goal.

I am having a great earnings month from Swagbucks and My Points so far, cashing out for $225 to date. I expect to cash out one more time in January so that will go up. The first few months of a new year are usually really slow for these types of earnings sites, so I am really happy with this. 

I continue to volunteer at the food distribution center once a week. The situation is dire. We have been running out of food before we can help everyone in line. We open up at 11 a.m. and people have been lining up in their cars as early as 9 a.m. We did find another large source for food donations so I am hopeful we will have more to distribute soon.

I am patiently waiting for my turn to recieve the vaccine. Our Governor updates us quite frequently on where things stand so I am hopeful that I will be eligible sometime next month. Until then, I am continuing to practice the same safety measures that have kept me healthy for almost a year now. Can you believe it's been that long? 

I have been more diligent with walking every day, weather permitting. I slacked off a bit and the scale is showing it. The weather here has been pretty mild so I am taking advantage of it. I am hopeful that by summer when the heat really kicks in I can get back to my mall walking group. We are all eager to get back to it!

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!



2021 Financial Goals

January 2nd, 2021 at 06:09 pm

Since I retired my finances are pretty much on auto pilot, so I needed to really think about what I wanted to accomplish for 2021. In reviewing my 2020 year end numbers I decided to try and reduce my spending in the following categories:

Groceries: In 2020 I spent a total of $2897.22. For 2021, I want to challenege myself to a monthly budget of $200, ($2400 for the year). My grocery spending is only on food, I don't include personal care items, paper or cleaning products etc. What does get included is food spending on entertaining. I like to have people over, and while that was reduced a lot due to COVID, I did still have my small family bubble over for Sunday football game watching. I have my brother, nephew and cousin over for certain games and I always make lunch for everyone. I also spend on Christmas baking. In 2020 I made food gifts for friends and family. It gets a little too much to try and seperate everything out because I use items I already have in my pantry, and I have any leftovers for meals during the week, so my food budget will include food costs for entertaining. I also plan to continue to purchase healthy foods. I won't buy a lot of processed food just to keep within budget.

Shopping: In 2020 I spent $1262.66 in this category. This includes any kind of shopping. Clothing, household items, paper products, gifts etc. . My goal is to keep shopping below $1000 for 2021. I don't include large ticket, replacement items in this category, such as having to buy a new appliance if something goes up. This category is more for everyday shopping  types of items. I have an emergency fund for larger ticket items that break and need to be replaced.

Utlities: In 2020 I spent $1011.45. I actually thnk this is pretty good, averaging about $84 a month. For 2021 I will just continue to use cost saving measures and challenge myself to come under my 2020 total. I won't go all extreme and turn the heat so low that I am uncomfortable, or be too hot in the summer. I try and limit my dryer usage, turn out lights, unplug things, etc.

Income Goals: I do not plan to return to the workforce in 2021, even part time, so I decided to challenge myself to make more money from Swagbucks and My Points then I did in 2020. In 2020 I made $1825. So my goal will be to make more then that in 2021. I have been active with Swagbucks for about 9 years now, and I just added on earning from My Points. I do not spend any money on offers, I only do things like surveys, watch videos, play free games etc. I have learned over the years how to maximize my time. I do spend more time on it now that I am retired, and staying in more due to COVID restrictions. I really enjoy Swagbucks and My Points, but I understand that many people feel that it can be a time suck! Earnings usually are low the first few months of a new year, and pick up as the year goes on. 

Other: I made some other health related and personal goals that include drinking more water everyday, eating healthy (I got off track the last few months of 2020) and continuing to volunteer at the food distribution center.

I also intend to spread kindness and understanding as much as I can. Sometimes that is as simple as saying good morning to someone, paying a compliment, or buying a cup of coffee for someone in line. Make a phone call to a friend you know is struggling. Be tolerant and understanding. Just the other day I was feeling low, and had some things weighing on my mind. A lady behind me in line at the grocery store complimented my hair style. It was such a small thing, but it cheered me up! You never know what someone is going through. 2020 was a rough year and I would like to do my small part to try and make 2021 a little better!