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Home > Archive: January, 2023

Archive for January, 2023

Mid-Month Update and Good News!

January 15th, 2023 at 02:33 pm

I can't believe it's already mid January!

A couple of months ago I received a benefits package from my former employer with the new health care costs for 2023. It looked like I was going to see an increase of about $85 per month, which would have been a major hit to my already tight budget. When I received the first invoice this month, the cost was the same as last year, other then a small, $1.72 increase in my monthly dental coverage cost. I went back and looked again at the rate sheet and saw that I had been looking at the wrong line item! I have never been so happy to be wrong! I also called the Benefits Coordinator just to confirm and she did. Whew! And in addition, I received the details about the new vision plan and it is sooooo much better then the old one, without costing any more. I am so glad they switched. My glasses are so expensive and it now looks like I can get a new pair, almost totally free every 2 years. This is such great news.

My grocery spending at mid-month is at only $39.63. I had a lot of Christmas leftover food and have been workng my way through that so I haven't needed a whole lot, mostly fresh veggies and apples.

I decided it's time to move forward with my master bathroom renovation. When I bought this condo, I knew I wanted to re-do this bathroom. I want to convert the combination tub/shower into a walk-in shower, replace the flooring (the existing tile is cracking), replace the toilet (I have already repaired it 3 times and it is leaking again) and maybe replace the vanity, although the one I have is fine, I just want a more upgraded one. I have had the money set aside from the sale of my previous home, so it's already funded. I was going to start a couple of years ago, but COVID happened. I'll be calling my contractor tomorrow to schedule an estimate. While I dread the process, the noise, the mess etc., I'm excited to be getting this done. I have a second full bathroom to use during the reno, so that part won't be an inconvenience.

I'm back on my healthy eating and exercise routine after having fallen off the past few months and gaining some weight back. Things are going well and I'm moving back in the right direction.

The weather had been milder all last week, but this weekend it got colder and windy again. I cringe every time the heat kicks on. My bill last period was high for me due to that cold snap. Thankfully, it looks like it is supposed to warm up again this coming week. There isn't much else I can do to keep my bill down, rates are up and I can't control that. Sigh.

I'm still involved in delivering food from the senior center to those in need. Donations have been fewer the past few months, but we are hoping things pick up soon. Wth such high grocery prices, people are really struggling. I have really gotten to know the people I deliver to and they have such heartbreaking and compelling stories, but I never hear them complain. They are so grateful for what they do have, and recieve. 

Have a great week everyone!

 

2023 Goals and Other Updates

January 2nd, 2023 at 11:08 pm

My main financial goal for 2023 is to continue to live on my current monthly income without dipping into savings or increasing my monthly retirement distribution. If I find that I can't, and I am just stretched too thin, I will increase my retirement distribution by $100 a month. 

When I first retired at age 60, I knew that I would be on a very tight budget until I can switch my health insurance to Medicare at age 65, and start taking social security at my full retirement age of 67. I am now 62, so a few more years to go! My retirement account that I currently draw from will last me long past that, even if I need to incresase my monthly distribution a bit to keep up with inflation. So, I'll be fine, but will still need to live frugally and watch my spending.

My only other goal is to lose this 11 pounds I packed on since September. I am a stress eater, and after the sudden loss of my sister-in-law I just really fell off the healthy eating and exercise routine I was on. So, I have refocused and know I'll be able to get back to my ideal weight. 

I received $250 in gift cards for Christmas! I will be using most of it on things I really need. I already ordered furnace filters, filters for my water pitcher, restocking my make-up and facial care products, and a phone case for my new phone. Nothing very exciting but all things I need. There are a few other household products I will also stock up on, I'm still working on that list.

I mentioned before that I had saved $866 on my car and condo insurance by changing companies. I had originally earmarked some of that savings for a new phone, but when I got the free phone I decided that I would take $500 of that money and fully fund my 2023 Christmas fund. So that is already taken care of. The other $366 I will use for monthly expenses if I am running short any month.

I also plan to use my tax refund this year for monthly expenses, if I need to. 

I also plan to forward any money I may not spend in any given month from my monthly income to the next month to use. I doubt this will happen very often, but I did have almost $300 that I didn't spend in December that I'll be using as income for this month, if I need it.

So, overall I think I will be just fine, as long as I continue to budget carefully and live frugally. 

I had so many leftovers from hosting Christmas Eve that I have a very stocked freezer. I'll be making some ham and pea soup, having leftover BBQ pulled chicken, leftover pierogies, and more. I also still have the free frozen turkey that I got in November for future meals. This past week I have been eating things down that would not freeze well, so I haven't been to the grocery store since before Christmas Eve. 

One thing I do not want to do is return to work, even part time. I am so much happier and healthier now and just thinking about going back to work makes me anxious and unhappy. My best friend and I were discussing this yesterday and she feels the same, as do my other retired friends that I am in touch with. It helps to have a social circle of frugal friends.

So I will continue on living my frugal, happy retired life and keep finding ways to stretch my dollars!