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Archive for July, 2023

July 2023 Spending

July 31st, 2023 at 06:44 pm

I spent just a pinch over my $125 grocery budget. An overall very low spend month.


Income Total$1158.76

      $1000 Recurring monthly retirement account distribution  

      $100 Swagbucks and My Points earnings (cash out to PayPal)

      $58.76 Income tax refund money


Total Spending: $1158.76

Fixed Expenses: 
Verizon (cable): $104.72

Verizon Mobile: $76.44

HVAC and water heater contract: $29.95
Condo Fee $190.00 

Health Care: (includes health, dental, vision, prescription plans) $479.50

* My internet bill is now covered through the ACP program
Utilities: $116.44
Gasoline: $35.57
Groceries: $126.14
Health: $0 (Doctor visit co-pays and scripts)

Shopping: $0

Take-Out: $0


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

HVAC and Dental Expenses

July 21st, 2023 at 10:59 pm

Yesterday, my HVAC stopped working. I heard a loud screech and then just a buzzing sound. I turned the system off for about 10 minutes then back on and it just made that buzzing sound but never really kicked on. So, I shut it down and called my warranty company. I pay $29.95 a month for coverage on my HVAC and hot water heater. I can tell you that there have been times recently where I considered cancelling this coverage and using that $30 toward other bills. I am so glad I didn't! The motor died and needed to be replaced. I was his first stop this morning and within a couple of hours I was back up and running. Since I have the warranty, my cost was zero. I asked what this would have cost OOP and he said between $900 and $1000 dollars and that was a conservative estimate. In our condo's each unit has it's own HVAC system and owners are responsible for them. 

I also had a dental appointment this week for a cleaning and a check-up. I've been having some sensitvity around a tooth that had already had a root canal and a crown put on it a very, very long time ago. I was dismayed to learn that the remaining tooth under the crown was in very bad shape and needs to be extracted, and replaced with an implant. My estimate after what my insurance will pay is about $2100 dollars. This will be paid from my emergency fund. Dental work is so expensive!

These type of expenses are why I am trying very hard to not dip into my emergency fund for everyday living expenses. I do not want to go into credit card debt to pay for emergencies. 

This weekend I am having a few of my friends over for brunch. I will be making an egg and cheese quiche, and serving coffee and teas. My friends will all be bringing something, a fruit platter, juice and probably some muffins. Then we usually play some cards for a while and enjoy a fun few hours. We try and do this once a month and rotate who is hosting. It's a fun, low spend day!

July Midmonth Update and Applying for Utility Assistance

July 16th, 2023 at 03:35 pm

My spending so far this month is at $1019.74 with almost all bills paid for the month. My grocery spending is at $52.84 so right on budget so far. 

I've been doing a lot of financial reviewing and numbers crunching and reviewing of expenses and I've pretty much decided to start taking Social Security at age 65. I will also be switching to Medicare then as well. The estimated monthly amount I will receive will be more then enough to comfortably live on, and I will still have some money left in my retirement account. I had considered just taking Social Security now, and while things would be much easier for me on a monthly basis now, it would make things harder in the long run, so I decided to wait another 2.3 years (I'll turn 63 in October).

That means that financially, things will be extremely tight for me until then. There isn't much left to cut in my expenses, I already live very lean. 

I get these updates from my utility company with what my next monthly estimated bill will be and it was estimated to be over a third higher then last month (it actually is estimated to almost double). And, they will be increasing the rates (again) in October. I already do everything I can to keep my usage down, but it has been so hot here for weeks that my A/C has been running more. It's just going to keep going up.

I made the difficult decision to apply for utility assistance through my county. This was not an easy decision and I really struggled with feeling ashamed and embarrassed. I've always been self sufficient, worked very hard, and was proud that I could always "pay my way". But now, I just need some help. Going back to work is off the table due to health reasons, I just can't do it and my doctor's have advised against it.

I really debated about wether I should blog about this. But in the end I decided that if there are any other low income people out there who are reading this, and you you are struggling and need some help for a while, please don't beat yourself up like I did about applying for assistance. 

My application is currently being processed, and I spoke with a very nice representative last week who needed some clarification on my income. She was very nice and helpful. I should find out if I am approved or denied soon.

I made some financial mistakes when I was younger, and had to start over when I was divorced in my 40's. My ex wiped out our bank accounts and really left me with a big financial mess. But, I feel like I did a few things right too. I climbed out of debt, paid off my house and car, and saved up an emergency fund. My retirement accounts aren't huge, but at least I was able to save something. My mom lived with me for 5 years and it was my joy to take care of her. I've done the best I could. 

On a happier note, my best friend and I went to a free neighborhood concert over the weekend. It was outdoors so a bit hot, but we took our lawn chairs, packed some snacks and water, and had a wonderful time. And it was all free!