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Mid Month Spending

February 17th, 2018 at 03:44 pm

With all of my standard bills paid already for the month of February, I am left with $141.75 for the rest of the month to stay below my goal of $1000 spending for the month. I have one more doctor's appointment this month so that will be a $10 co-pay, and dinner plans next Saturday, but it's just at a local pub so that will be minimal spending. I have a full tank of gas, and the fridge and pantry are pretty well stocked so other then some minimal grocery shopping I shouldn't have much other spending. I have a Wal-Mart gift card I can use for food if necessary.

Things at work are still difficult. But, I am determined to go in and try my best to enjoy my day, and my work with students, and try and ignore the politics and sniping. I'm too close to retirement to leave, and would never be able to find another job with my salary and benefits at my age, so I'll stick it out and focus on the positive!

I have decided to forgo a big vacation this year, I just don't want to spend the money, and honestly I'm just looking forward to relaxing and having a staycation this summer. My ex-husband and I travelled extensively when we were married, and I just don't have the travel bug anymore. I'm glad to have travelled as much as I did when I was young, and was able to walk endlessly, and explore, and didn't mind roughing it a little. I do like to take some local weekend trips, but I don't like flying anymore so I'm content with that.

It's snowing here on the east coast, but I don't expect more then a few inches, and it's supposed to warm up again tomorrow so any accumulation will melt pretty quickly.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

January Spending

January 31st, 2018 at 06:21 pm

Total Spending $990.87

Here is a breakdown of January Spending. My goal was to stay under $1000 for the month. Did it!

Fixed Expenses:

Verizon Bundle: 172.85 (Internet, home phone, cable)
Monthly Condo Fee: 185.00
HVAC and water heater maintenance contract: 27.95
Pocket money: 20

Variables:
Utilities: 119.95
Gasoline: 30.30
Groceries: 237.82
Health: 55.60 (scripts and co-pays)
Dining Out: 28.26
Shopping: 113.14 (clothes and sheets)

Some notes:
*My condo is paid in full, no mortgage.
*My car is paid off, no car payment
*No Credit card debt

My Verizon Bundle includes a premium sports package (not giving it up)

Condo fee includes: water, trash removal, snow removal, all outside building maintenance, and landscaping

In other news, I had a follow-up chest x-ray and doctor's appointment and I'm happy to report I am all clear from pneumonia! I'm feeling so much better. I am expecting some medical bills to come in in February but the spending goal remains the same, to stay under $1000.00

Sunday Update

January 21st, 2018 at 12:42 pm

I am finally feeling better after my bout with pneumonia. I had another chest x-ray on Friday, and see my doctor for a follow-up on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll get the all clear.

I cashed out some swagbucks today, $50 Walmart GC and a $50 CVS GC. I also redeemed $38.82 in cash from credit card rewards. And I received a $50 check from my fantasy football league winnings. I came in second place this season!

My monthly spending is at $771.43 so far. My goal is to stay under $1000 a month. Since my condo and car are paid off this is a reasonable spending goal. At the end of each month I'll post a breakdown.

I spent 65.71 at Ulta yesterday. I was almost completely out of make-up. I don't wear a lot and this will last me quite a while since I stocked up. I used a gift card I received for Christmas to pay for it so no money out of pocket. I also went out to dinner last night with my brother and SIL and spent $18.59.

Today has been a much needed quiet day at home. I did some laundry, cooking for the week, and general cleaning. Now I'm relaxing watching the football games!

Have a great week everyone!

A Bumpy Start To 2018

January 6th, 2018 at 05:08 pm

My new year did not start out very well. What I thought was a cold, then thought was the flu, was confirmed through a chest x-ray as pneumonia. So I've been off work most of last week, and will most likely be out this coming week. Thank goodness for a lot of accrued sick time, and decent health insurance. I'll have some bills coming in from the initial urgent care visit so not sure what the total damage is yet. So far I've only had to pay $20 for 2 scripts and a $10 co-pay for a follow-up appointment. The only good thing is that I haven't been able to go out and spend any money!

It has been terribly cold in my area of the east coast with wind chill temps below zero. I'm sure my utility bill will be higher then usual as a result.

My main financial goal for 2018 is to diligently track my spending each month. I really need to do this to get a real picture of my yearly spending so I can plan better for what I'll need when I retire.

My other goal is to post my numbers here at the end of each month, and check-in more frequently. I do read the blogs every day.

My continued thoughts go out to Thrift and her family.

Struggling

October 8th, 2017 at 04:24 pm

I've really been struggling at work. I committed to filling in as the Interim Director of Career Services for 6 months, and was given a 3% salary increase. I have never wanted to go into management and was very happy with my job as a career counselor. But we lost a lot of staff to retirements and reassignments, and some people got jobs at other colleges and we were really in a bind, so I agreed to it when asked by my boss.
The endless meetings, driving all over the beltway to our other campuses, and the double talk and outright disrespect displayed by upper management has really worn me out. I informed my Dean last Friday that when my 6 months is up (early January) I will not be extending this interim position for another 6 months and will instead go back to my job as a career counselor. Needless to say she was not happy. I will also forfeit the 3 % salary increase, which is fine with me.

So I am recommitting to watching every penny spent (I've been a little lax lately, but nothing too crazy). I want to start living on a monthly budget that I have worked out that I have estimated that I will need when I retire. My retirement plan so far is to retire from full time work at 62 (in about 5 years) and work part time. It's still a plan in progress. My health insurance will be subsidized by the college so that cost will be somewhat reasonable. I'm just really tired of working!

Vacation Cancelled/Irma

September 7th, 2017 at 02:09 pm

We decided to cancel our vacation to Myrtle Beach South Carolina because of hurricane Irma. We were due to leave on Saturday, and we were waiting until today to make a final decision, and then we saw the announcement by the Governor of South Carolina that mandatory evacuations from coastal areas would go into effect at 10a.m. Saturday.

While we are disappointed, it pales in comparison to people who will likely lose everything. This is only a cancelled vacation. My prayers go out to everyone in the path of Irma.

Fortunately, we have trip insurance. It clearly states that money will be refunded if there are any mandatory or voluntary evacuations in place due to weather. There is a slight deduction for an administration fee but we will see most of our money back for the condo we rented. We were driving, so no airline issues.

Please keep Florida, and any other states in the path of this storm in your thoughts or prayers.

Enjoying Life!

August 13th, 2017 at 04:01 pm

I have really been enjoying life this week, to the tune of spending $213.99! So much for my low spend August. A good friend came for a visit Saturday and we hit the mall. I'm really not a big shopper and usually avoid the mall like the plague, but she needed a dress for an upcoming wedding and I wound up finding several tops that I can wear both to work and just out on the weekends, a pair of shoes, and 3 pairs of capris. We also had dinner and drinks out. She spent the night Saturday and today we went out for brunch before she headed back home. We have been friends since high school, and she lives about 2 hours away by car so we don't see each other often enough. We had so much fun and I don't regret the spending a bit.

I also have a few large purchases coming up. It's time for a new cell phone. I have a Samsung S3 that I bought new about 6 years ago. It's still working OK so I'm not in a hurry but I think it's time to upgrade.

I also need a new bed. Mine is about 15 years old and it's starting to sag. I'm also waking up with backaches that go away pretty quickly once I get up and stretch out, but I don't want to be in pain every morning!

So that will be my new savings goal. I'll need to start researching both to see how much I'll need to save.

I'm getting excited about our upcoming vacation next month. A week at the beach, oceanfront condo, and we bought tickets to a dinner/show while we are there. My share of the condo cost and ticket is already paid for, and I have spending money saved. We are driving (about an 8 hour drive) so I'll be pitching in for gas too since I'm not driving. Can't wait!

I'm hoping next week will be more frugal. Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Update

August 6th, 2017 at 05:59 pm

My spending for the first week of August was pretty good. I spent $49.25 on groceries, and I am stocked up for the week, and probably into the following week. I did go out with friends over the weekend to a local steakhouse. I'm not much of a red meat eater but I do enjoy an occasional steak! I spent $27.03 including tip. We had a great time and I really enjoy my time out with my friends. I also went out to lunch with a coworker and spent $10.04. This wasn't planned, but she needed a shoulder and someplace away from work to talk. I "spent" $11.66 at CVS but used a swagbucks CVS gift card to pay for this. I also stocked up on my coffee pods from Walmart "spending " $34.87 but used a SB Walmart gift card for payment. Today was pretty low key, spent the day getting ready for the week ahead. I did some cooking, cleaning, packed my lunch for tomorrow and got my clothes ready. Hope everyone has a good week!

How low can I go in August

July 30th, 2017 at 06:39 pm

I'm feeling the need to tighten the belt in August! I've been a little loosey goosey with spending this summer, not anything extreme, but I haven't been tracking my spending. Too much eating out, and random purchases. I go on vacation in September, so I need to get back on track next month. My fixed expenses are set, so that leaves groceries, utilities, gas, shopping, and entertainment to really tighten up. I did my usual grocery shopping today for the week and I am set with a menu plan. No eating out this week. I should be able to have mostly no spend days this week too.

Have a great week everyone!

Weekend Update

July 23rd, 2017 at 03:32 pm

It has been extremely hot and humid here, with the heat index nearing 105 degrees for the last few days. Yesterday I had a lot of errands to run and I think the heat took a toll. I had a headache most of last night and today was just feeling very tired, so I stayed in and got some chores done around the condo and napped off and on all day.

Yesterday, I spent $49.21 at Walmart on various personal care, cleaning, and food items but used a Walmart gift card earned from Swagbucks to pay for it. Then I hit CVS for water and soda and a couple of other things and spent $19.07 and used a CVS gift card from SB to pay for that. I've been consistently earning at least $100 a month from Swagbucks.

Spent $15 at a local farm stand on some delicious tomatoes, corn on the cob and peaches.

I got a $5 Blue Diamond settlement check, cashed in $4.50 in rolled change and deposited the $50 check from mom.

I realized I haven't had to buy gas yet in July! I filled up my old car around the end of June, then I traded it in and the new car had a full tank. But I'll have to fill up this week.

Not much else financial news to report. Hope everyone has a great week!

Money in!

July 16th, 2017 at 06:05 am

My last paycheck included a 2% COLA increase, and $1200.00 bonus. Since I am at the top of my pay scale range I no longer receive performance increases as a % of my salary. Instead, I receive a once yearly bonus. I have put that bonus money away to pay for expenses for an upcoming family vacation in September. I also noticed a $196.91 credit back to my credit card from the hospital where I had an outpatient procedure done back in early May. I suppose I was overcharged or double billed.

My mom left to go back to my sister's yesterday. I miss her already. She's 90, and these visits are so precious. She handed me a $50 check for "expenses". If you knew my mom it is pointless to argue with her about these things.

Work is crazy! Career Services is undergoing a major restructuring, and over the past year many career services staff either retired, left the college for other jobs, or took other positions within the college but outside of career services. As a result, I was asked last week to assume the role of Interim Director of Career Services. This will come with a salary increase, but I haven't received the contract yet.

My utilities bill for the last billing cycle was up to $103.59. This is up from $82.69 the previous cycle. It has been extremely hot and humid where I live, and mom liked all her laundry blasted in the dryer, so the increase wasn't unexpected. I keep my thermostat set at 78, any higher and I start to feel uncomfortable. But the dryer usage will definitely decrease!

I don't use the dishwasher much because I live alone, but I always seem to have a sink full of dishes, and I wash them every day. I guess I'm just cooking at home more which is a good thing!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Still here/bought a new car

July 9th, 2017 at 09:57 am

How did spring/summer get away from me?? My mom came to stay with me (on the weekends) and at my brother's during the week since mid-May. She will be returning to my sisters (where she lives full time) next weekend. While it was wonderful to see her (she's 90 years old) it did throw my budget out of whack! Extra food costs, eating out, way more laundry (and dryer use) and some shopping. I did not track everything, so I'm looking to get back on track soon.

In other financial news, I bought a new 2017 Camry, and paid cash! I buy new, and usually keep the car for at least ten years, or longer if no expensive problems pop up. This system works for me. I will now start saving up for the next one, so when I am entering retirement age, in about 7-8 years, I will have the funds to purchase with cash again.

I'm feeling pretty good financially. My condo is paid in full, new car paid in full, and am saving the max for retirement. I have a fully funded emergency fund as well. It took many many years for me to finally get my financial act together, and it feels great!

Have a good day, and upcoming week everyone!

My cousins new house

April 23rd, 2017 at 03:48 pm

My cousin and his wife bought a new house a few months ago and we were invited for Easter dinner and to see their new place. The house is BIG. It's 3300 square feet with an additional 900 square foot, fully finished basement that is a separate apartment with 2 bedrooms. Their 28 year old son currently lives in that level, rent free but that's another story.

The house is beautiful. Very high end finishes, open concept kitchen, dining, family room, large deck, and 2 car garage. I am still drooling over the master bathroom, 2 sinks, separate tub and large walk in shower with a bench and lot's of storage.

They paid $510,000. The property taxes were listed at just over $5k per year. I know they did not put 20% down because his wife was complaining about having to pay PMI. My cousin is 60 years old and his wife is 56. He works as a truck driver for a large soft drink company. She does not work outside the home, no young kids at home.

I just wonder how they are affording such an expensive home, and I worry about them in retirement. I don't know their full financial picture, but I do talk to his wife quite frequently and I just don't get the sense that they are well prepared for retirement.

I do admit feeling some pangs of envy at the finishes, but not at the thought of that monthly mortgage payment, or utility bill, or cleaning it!

In the end, I feel satisfied with my paid off condo and being able to sleep at night without such large financial burdens.

My new dentist is frugal!

April 12th, 2017 at 03:55 pm

I went for my dentist appointment today, fully expecting to have to shell out a pretty penny for a new crown. I decided to try a new dental practice that is right down the street in my new neighborhood. The dentist took a look at my old crown, which has to be at least 13 years old (maybe older) and said it still looked in good shape and he didn't see any reason to have to replace it with a new one. Music to my ears! They took an x-ray, cleaned up the crown and tooth area and reattached it with no problem. As he was working on me he commented that he hates waste, and has a hobby of fixing and refurbishing old furniture, broken jewelry etc. And then he said, "and don't even get me started on food waste". I think I found my forever dentist! I only paid $30 out of pocket instead of much more for a new crown.

The dental practice is in the same shopping center complex as my new hair salon, my grocery store, my bank, a UPS store and a 7-11 with a gas station. So convenient, just a 2 minute drive from my condo. What I expected to be an expensive, painful day turned out to be just the opposite!

Bought a bed/lost a crown

April 10th, 2017 at 01:51 pm

First off...it's spring break week! The college is closed until 4/18. Happy dance! The first thing on my to do list for this week was to buy a bed for the spare bedroom. My mom is coming to visit in May for about 6 weeks so I needed to buy a bed. After lots of shopping around I settled on a full size mattress with a low profile boxspring and frame. I needed something that wouldn't sit too high up to make it easy for mom to get in and out. With taxes and delivery charge the grand total was $644.18. It was in stock and is being delivered and set up tomorrow. I can cash flow this so it went on the credit card for the reward points and I'll pay it off in full in May when I get the bill. I'll still need to get a mattress pad, a set of sheets and 1 more pillow. I already have a spare blanket and quilt I can use.

Over the past weekend a very old crown on my back tooth came off. I stopped in at the dentist this morning and arranged an appointment for Wednesday. It looks like my insurance will pay for 60% of a new crown so it was estimated my out of pocket would be around $250. Not too bad, but still an unexpected expense. Crowns are crazy expensive!