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Long Time No Post - and Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2018 at 06:43 pm

I'm still here!

I didn't post much in 2017 or 2018 -- unorganized, unmotivated, and overwhelmed. And yes, for 2 years straight! While I'm still dealing with my overwhelming to-do list (getting better) and my fatigue due to a chronic illness (also improving) and burnout issues (hope to retire from my stressful job in late 2019), my spouse passed away suddenly in April 2018 and I have been trying to adjust to the 'new normal'.

The unexpected shock (apparent heart failure--he was passed out on the bedroom floor when I came home from an appointment) and natural grief from the loss has me a little off kilter (still). The good news is that I'm doing ok -- or at least I'm doing the best I can do -- and have a lot of family and friend and church support and also attended several grief counseling sessions.

I'm grateful that I had a lot of honest talks with him several months before he died. I was prompted to 'heal' and he was prompted to respond accordingly, so I feel blessed that we were able to clear the air on a number of things that had been constantly misunderstand.

Financially things have changed. Insurance policies were helpful in paying for the funeral costs and for debt he didn't discuss with me (about $12,000 in credit card debt). Because of his cerebral palsy, he was not approved for any large policies, but I'm thankful for what we had in place. Neither of us had a will -- I FINALLY got a will and trust in place after this happened. That, plus the counsel on estate matters after his death, cost about $2,100. It's sad that a tragedy like this, seemed the only thing that could get me to accomplish the will thing, but sometimes a shock is what it takes. I've been procrastinating about it for at least 10 years, if not longer.

My parents are visiting this Christmas week until mid January. It's good to have family around. I'm grateful. Merry Christmas to me!

And Merry Christmas to you, my saving advice friends! Happy saving!

Hello 2017

January 17th, 2017 at 03:51 pm

Long time no post. Still dealing with the usual fatigue and family/medical issues, but managing as well as I can. I'm more of a browser with Saving Advice than a blogger, but I like to do updates, especially around the beginning of each year.

I updated my sidebar for 2016 to compare with the numbers below from 2015. Some progress, but a lot of major purchases (roof replaced, used car purchase, medical and dental bills). Always more to do. I've been on automatic pilot and have not been able to accomplish many of the goals I set for myself, but it's a new year and I'll begin again.

Copied from sidebar -- As of Dec 2015 --
Mortgage: paid off
HVAC loan: paid off
No credit card debt
Retirement: $39,797 IRA (trad'l)
Retirement: $222,100, 401K
Retirement: $8,723, Roth IRA
Wealth acct: $18,523
Freedom acct: $4,046
Christmas acct: $40
House repair/major medical acct: $1,105
Grandkids acct: $140
Savings bonds: $5,700

Plan to make monthly deposits into house repair acct to prepare for property taxes. I've managed to use the freedom account for part of it these past 2 years, but the bill (or the 'large-ness!' of the bill) seems to catch me off guard even though I know it's coming.

Anyhoo... Happy Saving everyone!

Practicing Extreme Positivity

February 24th, 2015 at 05:13 pm

Thinking positive about the finance plan this year. ALL IS WELL! EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT!! I AM PROSPEROUS!!

Normally about this time I start to fizzle and have to fight my discouragement. It seems like we have a lot of bills. Current bills increase, but salary remains about the same. And I have little support from the family--I'm the breadwinner, the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and the grocery shopper. However, as I get older, I find that everything usually turns out ok. I mean, I'm creative and I'm frugal, I can still find humor in most situations--heck, I AM SUPERWOMAN!!

Anyhoo...

Items I've checked off my to-do list:

1. Health insurance for my son. Done. $160 per month. He's aging out of my medical coverage, but he's not self-supporting and still requires medication for mental illness. Looking to extend my current coverage for him, but that requires a lot of paperwork that I haven't been able to coordinate with the doctor.

2. Income taxes. Done. Refund expected: $1200. Will split between savings and paying extra on mortgage.

3. First round of de-cluttering. Done. 8 boxes of 'maybe', 12 bags of donation, several bags of trash and recycle. Next round of de-cluttering will take place at a later time.

4. Paid escrow. Done. $535. Monthly mortgage payment still increased by $19, but that's better than the $50 monthly increase the bank projected.

Practicing extreeeeeeme positivity. I am grateful. I am healthy. I AM PROSPEROUS AND ABUNDANT, yes I am!

Happy saving everyone!







Reworking the Savings Plan

September 30th, 2014 at 04:49 pm

Financially, I'm still holding on. Still dealing with fatigue and burnout, but managing. My plans this year for 'super funding' the freedom account and the household account didn't work like I'd hoped, but I did my best. Both accounts got a super 'work-out' rather than the super-funding I'd hoped for.

Now that we're near the end of the year, I usually get motivated to rework the savings plans. So we're moving in a different direction -- to pay off the mortgage.

I withdrew $300 from the grandkids account (thanks for the advice, savingadvice friends) and deposited $83 of dimes collected over the years in my dime jar and put that plus a little extra to pay $450 extra toward the mortgage for 1 Oct. If I can pay an extra $500-$800 each month, I may be able to pay off the balance in 2 years or so.

I'll reduce my 401K contribution to free up about $120 every 2 weeks, or $240 each month. Plus I'll use part of my regular savings allotments to pay extra. Sounds good on paper, right??

I'll use our regular household checking account to pay the regular payment, then a different checking account (that I now use for household/major medical) to pay the extra payment. (I love credit unions!) That will help me keep things straight, budget-wise.

My only issue: higher taxes when I reduce the 401K contribution. I'll review the IRS calculator to check my withholding.

We'll see how it all pans out over the next few months. I'm excited. In the meantime, I'm still trying to come up with creative ideas to save even more.

Happy saving everyone!!

Midyear Review 2013

June 30th, 2013 at 05:17 pm

Still dealing with my fatigue and job burnout, but staying positive. Taking short walks about 4 times a week.

Here's what's happening in my savings world:

Midyear review numbers to compare to my sidebar:

As of Jun 2013--
Mortgage: $47,287 remaining
No credit card debt (yay!)
Retirement: $39,843, IRA (traditional)
Retirement: $157,441, 401K
Retirement: $2,711, Roth IRA
Wealth acct: $22,941
Freedom acct: $5,053
Christmas acct: $280
House repair acct: $1,498
Grandkids acct: $438
The Kid: ?? (looks like I have time!)
Education: $8,504
Creative ventures acct: $260 (for writing, arts and crafts supplies)

For my brand new 52 week savings challenge:
June, week 3: $1
June, week 4: $10

After the car purchase in May, I also had to change my tax withholding to have more income tax taken out of my paycheck (boooo!!). But better this way than to have a large tax payment at the end of the tax year. The Kid is no longer in college (boo!) so I can't claim tuition. The mortgage has less interest (both boo! and yay!?) so I can't claim that on my taxes. My, how things change over the years...

Making progress, but I still feel impatient. I want to make HUGE GRAND MAJOR progress. But little by little, I'll get there. I can complain, but who cares really? We all do the best we can.

So thanks, saving advice friends for helping me stay motivated. Happy saving everyone!!

June So Soon

June 22nd, 2013 at 03:36 pm

Midyear already. The year is flying by. Oh my!

I keep thinking I can do more drastic things to save more money, but nothing has come to me yet.

I'm adjusting my $20 challenge to the 52 week savings challenge which might help me focus. I wasn't staying focused--I noticed with MY VERSION of the $20 challenge I would roll the 'savings' over into the next round of spending rather than deposit the money into savings. A smaller focus might help me keep the smaller victories in my savings.

At the end of the month I'll get my numbers together to compare to my Dec 2012 sidebar. Made some progress, but also need to revisit some goals.

I just wanted to post a note and continue to encourage (and by encouraged by) my saving advice friends.

Happy saving everyone!

Budget Business

February 16th, 2013 at 08:09 pm

I'm still hanging in there with the budget. Modified my Excel spreadsheet to work better for me and it's working. (It ultimately took about 3 or 4 years to get it right for my lifestyle.) It's pretty simple now and I can track my checkbook and freedom account a lot easier, which was my hope for 2013. KEEP IT SIMPLE. I had a really complicated system before and I just couldn't keep it up.

Anyway, the budget of Me, Inc., has us on track to begin looking for a car to purchase in March or April. That money will come from the wealth account. Still have little to no help/input from the family, but I'm pressing my way.

The house requires some repairs (ugh!). We need at least $2500 for the shower surround wall repair in our main bathroom. We're getting there, but let's not talk about the kitchen stove, the garage doors, and the water heater. Such is the life of home ownership. I just hope the duct tape holds until I'm more comfortable with the numbers.

Still searching for money beneath the mattress or in the couch cushions. I have 2 goals that I feel discouraged about. I want to contribute to my Roth IRA (fully) and I want to pay off my house in about 6 years, which is about when I'm eligible to retire from my job (and start a new part-time career/freelance/on-line venture, something).

I've been procrastinating because the money doesn't match my ambitions. I'm leaning toward paying $100 extra per month toward the mortgage. And maybe $2000 extra each year. (Haven't been able to find that amount in the couch cushions!) And for the Roth IRA, I might cut down my savings allotment to the wealth account AFTER we purchase the car (I'm trying to say focused with the car purchase) and use that to contribute to the Roth, maybe $200 a month. I can also convert more of my traditional IRA.

I'm working it out, just slow going. Procrastination. Fatigue. I'm inspired to keep at it by reading all the blogs.

Happy Saving everyone!

Checking In

August 24th, 2011 at 04:34 pm

It's been a little while since I checked in. I've been busy and still dealing with job burn-out, but I'm grateful for health and a job in these days and times. I'm feeling better thanks to a couple of days off... Plus I always get motivated during my birthday month.

Taking steps to take care of my health and get enough sleep. I almost wish I could take my bed and pillow with me to work, but I'm sure my boss would frown on that. (smile)

Still tweaking the budget, but it seems like a lot more money is going out than I'd like. I'd love to plug the leaks--pun intended!! We've had plumbing issues (oh, the joys of home ownership) that added a $600 expense and car issues (oh, the joys of car ownership) that are not yet completely repaired/maintained. And the Kid (oh, the joys of parenting) is doing much better--and I'm SO INCREDIBLY grateful--after his mental health breakdown last year. He is again enrolled in a few college classes so we have that expense as the Bank of Mom, Inc.

I haven't kept up with Saving Advice as much as I'd like, but I still get inspired every time I hit the site and catch up on other blogs. I love you guys!! Now I'm going to go clip some coupons. Happy saving!


Quick Hit

May 2nd, 2011 at 04:28 pm

Helloooooo....Quick hit due to the fact that I'm too busy and too exhausted for words.

Still tweaking the budget. Updated my sidebar goals.

Still inspired by all my saving advice friends. Did I ever tell y'all I love you? It helps to have somewhere to go when you need encouragement in the finance department even in the midst of stress, fatigue and overextending myself. True love is so hard to find...

GO SAVERS GO!!! GO SAVERS GO!!

Checking In

July 15th, 2010 at 04:41 pm

Hi Saving Advice friends!! Just checking in. Don't have a lot to say. Don't seem to have a lot of time and energy to blog lately (or iron clothes or wash dishes or vacuum or run errands or...) but I'm here. All I can do is keep trying.

My parents just left my home and it was wonderful having them visit for 2 weeks from the next state over. However, spending time with them and seeing how much they've aged, it makes me feel guilty about my lack of progress in estate planning and creating a will. I still haven't done so. It's like writer's block or something.

My to-do list is still 30 miles of rough road. I really have to break it down to more manageable pieces, but then that's another 'to-do' item. (smile)
I think I need a personal secretary (smile).

Positive progress on other things:

The kid is doing somewhat better.

The wealth account has reached $15,000.

My parents were able to help us clear the tree limbs that were scratching the roof (which means we've scratched THAT item off the to-do list). It also means we saved about $500 for a handyman/tree trimmer. And some new roof shingles. (We rented a long-handled chainsaw tree trimmer for $40 for a day.)

Because my father drove his pick up truck to visit, we were also able to use it to pick up the kitchen table that I finally ordered, saving a $50 delivery fee.

Parents are great, aren't they?

I'm still inspired by everyone's blogs. Happy saving everyone!

The Search for Simplicity: The To-Do List

October 27th, 2009 at 04:55 pm

Just checking in...

I notice that when I'm feeling the need to get motivated or inspired I head to Savingadvice or I flip through a few familiar books that I have. The computer at home is up and running (another wipe and fix, this time by brother-in-law), but it is faster to do internet at the library (dial-up at home is cheap but slow.)

So here I am and already I feel more energized. I usually just run through the recent posts of everyone, like Ima Saver, Tightwad Kitty, BA, mjrube94, Lux Living Frugalis, Whitestripe, Gamecock, etc. There are so many and I love to read practically all of the recent posts. It helps me stay on track.

I'm still striving for ways to simplify my life, but am overwhelmed by my lack of energy. And lack of enthusiasm. I am now inspired to create a daily to-do list of just 5 things. What a wonderful idea. Sure beats the 375 things I've been lugging around in my head like a concrete block. Of course, I have to put it into practice, which is the first thing to put on the to-do list every day, i.e., make daily list of 5. (ha ha)

I won't keep track of it here, because I don't get on the site everyday, but I do have a notebook/planner that I can use. I'm also reading another book on how to get organized. (Can't remember the title exactly: From Chaos to Order, I think).

Anyway, on the financial side of things, I did finally order my will kit, but now need to fill it out and get witnesses (heavy sigh). I increased my 401K contributions by a percentage. I researched dental plans. (They're EXPENSIVE!!) I withdrew $500 for our Christmas shopping (spouse and I, $250 each)--we decided that the full $1,000 wouldn't need to be used for Christmas gifts and have no requests for anything big. My checkbook is balanced to the penny. The church's checkbook is balanced to the penny. It's almost time to tweak the budget for 2010.

Keep blogging everyone! I can pretend that it's ALL done to inspire little ol' me!!

No Shopping for a Year???

September 28th, 2009 at 05:36 pm

I was fascinated by an article I read, about a family that tried a no-shopping experiment for a year, buying only necessary depletable items like food and household items and some toiletries. The whole family was on board to do this.

I didn't get too many details, but I think I do this already, just not to the extreme that they did it. Plus, my family would not be on board at ALL!

Already, I don't go out to eat often. I've been out 4 times this month due to farewells at work and birthday celebrations for close friends. An unusual month--I usually don't go out for months at a time.

I don't have a cell phone, I don't have any fancy electronic equipment at home, I don't buy DVDs or CDs, I don't do any recreational shopping at the mall or at any superstore (it exhausts me), I don't wear a lot of makeup or perfume, I do my own hair, I don't have a computer right now that needs things, so I'm not spending much money on those sorts of things.

But are there other areas where I can test this experiment? I don't buy new clothes a lot like several of my friends, but I do shop at thrift stores for a wardrobe boost. Can I go a year without buying new OR used clothes?

Or can I skip going to the grocery store for a week and just use what's in the pantry?

Or can I do all my errands during the weekdays that I'm driving to and from work and not drive on Saturday at least 2 Saturdays a month? (No-drive days was part of my $20 challenge, but I don't think I've had any no-drive days this year.)

Can I do more baking and make my own snacks and bread?

Has anyone else tried this for a year?

New Stuff

July 27th, 2009 at 04:30 pm

At least they're new to me...

New position: I started my new job even though I'm in the same building and under the same local boss...I just happen to also have a supervisor that is in another state now. Interesting.

New money: I got a raise! And I feel happy that the tasks of my new job are similar to what I was already doing so I don't have to stress over the learning curve. The plan is to put more into my 401K.

New desk at work: Getting a new desk area (we're in cubicles) creates a need to purge and organize. I'm AMAZED (!) at all the stuff I've accumulated over the years of working at this job. I've been cleaning and organizing at home, too.

New dress: I found a dress at the thrift store for 7.99. It's one of those knit jersy wrap dresses that you can ball up and shake it out and wear it to work without ironing it. I LOVE IT!!

New attitude: The kid has been reading some of the books I've been checking out the library. One was a book on aptitudes and gifts. After reading it and taking the test, he decided to change his major from computer science (which it turned out he doesn't really like--he chose that major because it was business-like, practical and seemed to please other people--like me, my parents, his instructors, his friends). His new major will be English/Communication Arts (Media). I'm supportive and feel like he's making a good decision after reading his test results. This college thing has already been an intersting ride. I'll keep you posted.

New stock market level: Both my 401K/TSP and my IRA are increasing in value. At least a little... yay...