Looking ahead with the budget

So, I tallied the rest of the month with food, nonfood, cat food, and we’re at $700. The food bill was @ $500, so the $200 is non-food, cat food(which is pretty high since our one kitty is not doing well and we buy a lot of cat food for him to eat. Ollie has a thyroid cancerous tumor and isn’t long for the earth. He’s a super sweet Maine coon and at one time weighed in at 20lbs.image

So back to the budget.  I added B’s two take home checks and it covers our bills but not a lot extra. It’s going to have to be my SS checks that give us the annual bills. And I’d like to start making  extra payments on the Santa Fe. If we can pay that off it’ll free up $600 . Yes, that’s a high payment but he gets a reimbursement of almost $400 a month so it works out. Looking ahead though, we cannot have a car payment in retirement.  I’m kinda freaking out a bit concerning the actual numbers. We don’t have a large 401 or anything so… But I’m hopeful that I can knock this out by the end of the year. Next would be our second. That was part of the worst re-finance in the world during the time when they were giving out re fi’s with no income verification and over inflating home values. Yes, we were incredibly stupid to do it. But this is finally, almost under $20,000 so that’ll be the next thing to get rid of.

It is , of course, ambitious, but I feel compelled to work this out.

We will see……

Dinner is chicken tacos in the crock pot with rice.

Frugal Friday

I made my food only budget $500 this month. There are 5 days left and I still need a few things. I’m at @ $475. So I may come in a little over. But this doesn’t include cat food for our 2 cats, one of which is in decline and probably has either a thyroid or diabetic issue as it’s eating lots of food. But this cat, Ollie, is my daughter’s love, so we buy food. I’m at @ 100 for the month. We alternate who buys so my part is probably @ $45.  Then there’s wine/beer( for hubs, I don’t drink beer) is at @ $60.

So overall, I’m pretty happy with the numbers but I think I can get just food down to $400. I’ll track in February again.

Our electric bill came in great at $237. That’s half what it was last year at this time.  So I’m thrilled.

I just canceled the phone insurance on my sons’ phone so that will drop the bill by another $13. Then next month I’m planning to pay off his phone so that will drop the Verizon bill even more. By about $30 more dollars. I know he should be paying it off but right now he’s starting CSU Sacramento and taking a full load 18 units and his gas /food bill is going way up. We’re probably way too giving to him as we paid his parking pass and will pay this semester’s tuition.  I know, I know, he should be figuring it out himself but we feel responsible.  We’re making a monthly payment so I’m hoping B’s next bonus gives us boost.

My gas in the VW runs $25 every 3 weeks , so pretty good.

With my SS checks coming in we’re able to save for our annual bills and I think that will make a big difference.

I’m still using YNAB. I like it for the most part and I think when we get annual bill categories funded it’ll be even better.

That’s about it for this week.

Homemade pizza tonight.

 

Ending 2017

Goodbye 2017.

It has been a great year for me. I know some people have not had a good year including my sister who has had some serious health issues. I guess it’s all about how you experience the year with health, finances, family, work,  and just life.

I’m so grateful my health has been good and I think that’s the main reason this has been such a good year. I think that makes all the difference. Even money or finances take a back seat to health issues. If you’re in relatively good health, I think you can handle whatever comes your way.

We had some great camping trips and work trips too. I always love going to Santa Barbara with B when he has to see the co-ops. It’s such a treat. This year I went up to the North Coast for the first time with him too. Eureka is a bit of a depressed area but the co-ops are amazing. so that was fun. Plus we camped at new Brighton twice and that was lovely especially going to Gayles Bakery. It’s the best!! Camping at Lake Tahoe always tops my list of the best things that have happened. This coming year we may do things a little different in regards to Tahoe. And I still haven’t booked any camping trips yet.

Learning how to Lodge cook was lots of fun and I ended up with 2 Lodge camping pots. It was such fun to cook a pizza in camp and other great recipes like chili topped with corn bread and breakfast casseroles.  Such fun!!

Our finances were good and we were frugal yet got quite a bit done around the house. We even bought a wood splitter on sale for B to use. It was bought with one of his bonuses so that made it even better. We still have some big chunks of tree to deal with and I’m hoping this coming year we can take 2 more Ponderosa pines down so there will be more to split. Food and groceries in general still seem to be our biggest variable expense so I’m working on looking at working on that. I do menu plan and plan my Costco trips but food is just so expensive. I’m tracking food, non-food and pet food and this may give me a better idea of where it’s going. We ended December with just under $1000 for food, nonfood, Christmas food, alcohol, and pet stuff. Most months I run @ 600- 700 so that’s high. Although the Costco trip had gifts in it so I could reduce the amount by that and then it’s maybe $800.

I continued to declutter right up to Christmas and as a matter of fact, have a small load in the back of my VW to go into the thrift store.  I would guess this year I’ve gotten rid of 2000 things. many just small but others not so small.  For next year, I’m going to look at each room with a critical eye and see what can be improved. That should be a fun project.

Well, I’m making a whole wheat bread in the Zojirushi on the dough cycle and then I’ll bake in a pan. It’s a king Arthur WW bread recipe and so far looks good. Then I just finished baking the butternut squash for soup tonight and made a batch of mashed potatoes to freeze for when I make a shepherds pie on Monday.

So I’m off to read a bit and decide if I’m going to town.

Looking at the new year and budgets

We had a delightful Christmas with lovely thoughtful gifts. A couple of favorites were the knitted cotton dish cloths by my daughter, a thrifted Japanese vase from my son, and this wonderful print from my husband.

IMG_1147 the lights are just a reflection of twinkly lights in the living room.

This was taken from a picture of me looking out at Lake Tahoe in 1977 or there abouts. It may have been one of the first times we were up there. Jason, our first boy, was sitting with me but you can’t see that in this picture. My son stylized the picture and added Lake Tahoe. How cool is that? All in all a lovely day.

So on to budget stuff for the new year.

My plan is to get all the annual bills fully funded with our Social Security.  Since we just opted to start SS even though B is working still.  All that money will go to annual bills and EF.  We looked at all the numbers and it still made sense to start this now.  I started mine early anyway but that amount is pretty small since I never worked full time and that was one of my main reasons for working at the library.  Anyway, now I get an increased amount called spousal something.  Wow, I didn’t know that was possible.  So the budget looks good for saving 100% of this money even though the monthly amount will be scary when full retirement comes.  But we need this to go forward.  The only thing I might do around July is to pay a chunk of the Santa Fe off. Right now, that’s a big payment but almost the whole amount is going to principal. It’ll be under $10,000 soon, so I’ll decide then.   Other than that, just keep going. We know there’s no way to pay off the mortgage so that’s a given. We’re planning to sign the Subaru over to my son and take him off our auto insurance and that will decrease that substantially.  Hopefully, we can do that before the next 1/2 bill rolls in which is March.  So who knows how it’ll play out, we will just do the best we can.  When we add in part b and supplemental insurance after B retires that will affect the monthly amount too. So that will need some research since my chemo drugs, when I’m on them, can run over $10,000 a month so we better have insurance to cover them.

Well, I’m off the gym this morning and then I’m in the Living room zone this week. I’ll take down the tree and put things away through the week.

Dinner is YOYO 🙂

 

My world on Friday

Well, I got up at 5am. Actually, I think it was 4:53

Emptied the dishwasher, clean the few stray dishes and had coffee.

I went out to walk at 5:25 am.

I came back, got the pizza dough going for Friday night pizza.  Then from the comment yesterday, I got out the oxo and put it in my Le Creuset and simmered and scrubbed and voila, it worked pretty darn good. Thank you for that tip. It’s not back to white, but looking at the other one, I don’t think it was white white, more of a tannish white. But not sure. Anyway, it looks lots better.

Last night I ended up making scrambled tofu with celery, carrots, onions, pumpkin seeds and, a sprinkling of cheese.

I swished and swiped the bathroom, my daughter vacuumed and I tidied the kitchen. So far 2 small loads of laundry done.

I went to the gym and it was crazy busy so I didn’t do a whole lot. All the machines were constantly being used. Too many people for this introvert.

It’s a cloudy day and it may rain. I’m going to go read.

Update on YNAB. So far I’m liking it. One difference from last time I used it is I’m not linking my bank accounts because the total would get all messed up and I spent more time reconciling accounts than not. Last time since the accounts were linked, I’d put in the amount and then Ynab put it in from the linked account and it was not working for me. I like to put it in manually. So for instance, I spent $ 37 at Safeway Wednesday, but I put in $40 for groceries. Since I am always doing bank updates in by bullet planner, I know where our account is daily. So that makes it easier for me to keep things straight. I like the categories for annual bills and that will prove useful once we have money in those accounts. So far my assessment is that I will pay for the subscription when the 30 days is over.

 

Pizza is just cheese and ? tonight. I’m thinking for winter to switch up Friday night pizza to Italian Friday. That way we can do some other things on Friday night. Or any ideas?? What do you do for a weekly theme? It does really help me stay on track with meal planning ( unless I’m too lazy).

 

Going back to YNAB

I decided to try another month free of YNAB to see if I wanted to use it again.

Originally, I bought the program when you could do that but now it is really all revamped and it’s a monthly subscription. Generally, I do all my budgeting with paper and pen, but I thought maybe I’d give this another try.

I started yesterday and the trial goes for a month. I like the visuals of the new program and it is very user-friendly. I put in all my line items for the month but one thing they want you to do is not put in future pay days as that is money not yet received. I always budget paychecks( several times actually) to see where the money is going.  But I put in the amounts and just not the check yet. I’ll have to wait and see if this gets confusing.

My main goal is to have enough money in our checking account to be one month ahead. That really has never happened so YNAB really promotes this idea and so I’m going to give their budgeting approach a try.

Right now toward the end of the year, our budget starts to include lots of annual bills, property tax, Allstate, house insurance, so that’s an area I want to change for next year and have all the money in accounts for that ahead of time. In the past, its always been we’ve relied on B’s bonuses to pay that stuff.

So, I’ll give an update in a week or so. ( Next payday is next week, so that’ll go into YNAB and we’ll see how it looks. Since I have the whole month of bills in already, that check won’t cover it all so I’m not sure if that will help or confuse me.  But I like trying new things or at least revisiting this again. BTW, I think it’s $5.00 for the monthly subscription. Also, right now I don’t have bank accounts linked but if I join I will.

Dinner is pumpkin pancakes, bacon and maybe scrambled eggs.

 

Frugal Friday

Well, we’ve been fairly frugal this week.

I haven’t been to the store for a regular shopping, just bits and pieces here and there. Today, I need to pick up some mozzarella, mushrooms, and olives for pizza. It’s cool enough I think I can actually bake it in the oven.

I did go to Target with my daughter for cat food and then she picked out some clothes for her Library conference in St. George Utah, so that added up but not too bad.

The first of the month’s bills are done and then with the next pay check, it’s just the water bill and Verizon. I got the Verizon bill down quite a bit by paying off my iPhone last month and then we canceled the insurance on both mine and my daughters. So the savings added up. Next when I can pay off my son’s phone in a few months that will drop it even more. As we ready for retirement, these monthly bills must be as low as possible. Plus, no car payment. Right now we’re still paying on the Santa Fe but there is some reimbursement for that from my husbands work. But into retirement, there cannot be a car payment at all.

Next week I do need to get to Costco as we will need some staples like TP and sugar organic tomato paste etc. I’ll try and budget @ 200 for that shop.

We also got our 6-month car insurance bill and it went down substantially because the took off my son’s ticket for speeding and his single person accident. Both of these are more than 3 years old so maybe that was the magic number but it went down almost $400 which is huge. So that will be very helpful.

Figuring out the numbers for retirement is challenging. It will certainly be no frills and if we want to keep living here we need to be sure the basics are covered. There’s no million dollar retirement account that’s for sure.

Today, I’m going to the gym to do weights mostly, and then I have an appointment for getting my Invisalign trays.

Tonight, as I said, is pizza.

Walking in the morning has been delightful and many of the people who were showing up early to beat the heat are gone. There’s still a few who will probably drop away since at 6 am it’s still darkish.  But there have always been a few of us that just keep walking, dark or not. On a sad note, Hobbles the duck went missing sometime during our vacation and I miss him. He was quite a character.IMG_0700