Home > Archive: July, 2022

Archive for July, 2022

July 2022 Saving/Spending

July 31st, 2022 at 04:12 pm

Income Total$1415.00

     * $1200 Recurring monthly retirement account distribution  

     * $200 Swagbucks and My Points earnings (cash out to PayPal

     * $15 Health co-pay refund


Total Spending: $1232.73

Total Savings$182.27 (difference between monthly income and monthly spending) 
Fixed Expenses: 
Verizon bundle (internet, cable): $160.43

Cell phone: $67.79
HVAC and water heater contract: $29.95 
Condo Fee (includes water) $190.00 

Health Care: (includes health, dental, vision, prescription plans) $477.78 
Utilities: $102.55
Gasoline: $47.68
Groceries: $67.43
Health: $3.42 (co-pays, scripts refillsvitamins and personal health care items) 
Take Out/Dining Out: $32.61

Shopping: $0

AARP Yearly Renewal: $16

McAfee Anti Virus Yearly Renewal: $37.09


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


Notes: Good month overall, I squeaked in under my $70 target for groceries, no shopping, and was able to sweep some to savings.

10 Things I (mostly) No Longer Buy

July 24th, 2022 at 06:16 pm
  1. I cut out, or cut back on buying these things to save money, for health reasons, or have found alternatives. 
  3. 1. Bottled water: I finally bought a filtered pitcher. 

  1. 2. Cleaners: I buy these 4 things: bleach, vinegar, blue Dawn dish soap, and baking soda. I make my own cleaner and it works great. My house is clean and sanitized. DISCLAIMER: This does not work on all bathroom surfaces. It depends on your type of tub and shower materials. 

  1. 3. Air fresheners and plug ins: I make a freshener using an essential oil. There are tons of recipes for this on-line. I really don’t even use this much as I am sensitive to most perfumes and fragrances. 

  2. 4. Lunchmeat: It’s just too expensive. I really don’t miss it. 

  1. 5. Soda: I drink mostly water. I do like diet iced tea with my meals and will have coffee in the morning and make an occasional iced coffee. 

  1. 6. Pre-packaged salty snacks: I have zero willpower with chips and pretzels etc. And can you say shrinkflation? I buy bags of unpopped popcorn and use my air popper and a little melted butter if I am craving a crunchy snack. 

  1. 7. Liquor: I have never been much of a drinker, so this was easy for me. I will occasionally have a glass of wine or a beer when I go out to dinner. 

  1. 8. Most Vitamins and Supplements: I do buy and take a daily vitamin, and a prescription Vitamin D supplement per my doctor but no others. I really try and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.


  1. 9. Plastic food storage containers: A while ago I invested in some glass containers. They work great and last a long time.  

  2. 10. Laundry soap, fabric softeners and dryer sheets. I still use them but will stop when I use up what I have on hand. I do have a good amount in my stockpile but will investigate alternatives when these are used up. 


These are just things that work for me that help me to save money and for health reasons. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with purchasing these items if they work for you! Since I retired, I have the time to make cleaners and research alternatives. I am also the only one in my household and I fully understand it is harder to cut out certain things if others in your household enjoy them. Is there anything you have stopped buying or found an alternative for?

Some July Updates

July 17th, 2022 at 06:00 pm

My July monthly spending so far is at $1086.06 with all of my usual bills paid, except my cell phone. My grocery spending so far is at $55.85. I will need to make one more shop, but just for a few things so I’m hoping to stay under $70 for the month.  


Many years ago, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my neck. I manage it mostly with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds, stretching exercises every day, and using a heating pad when necessary. But over the past few months the pain and stiffness has really been increasing, and my usual methods just weren’t working so well anymore. My doctor ordered an MRI since it had been many years since I had one. I wasn’t surprised that it has progressed to include moderate stenosis, and I have a herniated disk. The arthritis is very pronounced. I was given a script for a much stronger anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxer and to consider physical therapy to start with. This isn’t something that will ever get any better, and it will most likely continue to get worse as I age. So, finding effective ways to manage the pain is very important to my quality of life. 


Financially, my health insurance covers the PT, but I would have a $25 co-pay for each visit. If I go once a week that’s $100 a month expense. But it’s worth it. I went to PT a few years back for this issue and I remember that it really helped. I will try and pay for this out of my monthly earnings and not dip into savings to pay for it, but it stretches my already very tight budget even more. 


My earnings from Swagbucks and My Points is now even more important. But it has been getting a bit harder to earn as they have cut out some activities that were easy money makers. It is taking me more time to earn the same amount of money each month. I will keep plugging along with it, because I really rely on this income, but I am starting to explore some other ways to make money from home. I really, really do not want to go back to working for an employer.  


I had lunch out yesterday with my family and we had a great time.  I also got together with some former co-workers for lunch last week. It seems that quite a few people have either retired or joined the ranks of those who joined the “great resignation”.  The college really needs some fresh leadership who is open to considering more flexible schedules and hybrid work from home models.  


I have started researching some new cell phone plans but have not made a decision about switching yet. Since I no longer have a home phone, having reliable cell service is my most important consideration when deciding who to go with.  


The weather here continues to be hot and humid with some really severe storms that seem to pop up almost every day. Next week’s forecast doesn’t look any better. 

Property Taxes

July 7th, 2022 at 03:37 pm

I received my property tax bill in the mail, and it does include the Homeowners Property Tax Credit of $991.00 that I was approved for. Total bill comes to $2,245.44 for the year. This also includes a discount of $9.89 for paying the full amount in the month of July. Last year, without the Homeowners Property Tax Credit I paid a total of $3235.36.  


Of the $2245.44 I paid this year, $1064.73 of it was “other charges” that includes things like, sewer benefit, sewer service, water benefit, water distribution and a bay restoration fee. Sigh.  


Before I retired, I had saved money into a separate savings account that I use only to pay yearly property taxes, car insurance, and condo insurance. When I am able to save any money from my monthly income (after my monthly expenses) and most of my yearly tax refund, I sweep it back into this account. Right now, I have a solid 15 years' worth of savings to cover these expenses. This account is not my emergency fund, I have a separate savings account for those kinds of expenses when they pop up. This system is working really well for me so far.  


This month so far, I have spent $28.93 on groceries. I’m trying to keep it another low spend month by using up what I have on hand. I was sent home with a bunch of leftovers from our 4th of July BBQ at my brother’s, so I’ll be using all that up this week. We had a wonderful time, and it was great to catch up with some of my cousins that I haven’t seen in a while. 


I was notified that my cell phone bill would be increasing by another $6 a month. Time to start looking around for a cheaper plan. I really dislike switching things when they work really well but at almost $66 a month with this increase, it’s just too much.  


The weather here in Maryland has been hot and humid and we have been getting a round of rain and thunderstorms nearly every day this week. Typical weather for us this time of year, except the storms seem much stronger with the last one producing a tornado just to the south of me.  


I hope everyone has a wonderful upcoming weekend!