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

 

 

Rainy again

It’s a rainy Monday. We walked in the park and it was just misting.  Yesterday, there was an Easter service that we walked by. And there were 3 sets of new baby goslings.  Unfortunately today we saw a Canada goose had been gotten by a coyote or mountain lion and feathers were everywhere. And there were only 2 sets of parents.  Canada Geese are extraordinarily fierce with their young so it must have really tried to protect the babies. WE did count the babies and I got to 19 so maybe some of the ones of killed goose went over to the other parents. I hope so.

We had southern fried tofu for Easter dinner. Of course, we don’t celebrate Easter as such, just as a renewal of a new cycle of life. Not based on Jesus. So I made a potato salad and we had some deviled eggs. I didn’t fry the tofu but baked and you’d think the end of the world had come. I guess I’m not doing that again.  It was pretty good just not quite as tasty as when I fry them.

This week is not too busy. I have an Invisalign appt, and that’s it. Plus I’ll go to the Koffee Klatch on Thursday.  I have a good size load of Life magazines to go the Humane Society Thrift store.  There are some great ones from the 40’s going but it’s just the way it needs to be. Plus the van is full of Foodbank boxes so I’ll do that tomorrow on the way to the gym.

Next week are my labs so that’ll be interesting. At some point, my light chains will begin to increase and then who know. For now, I live each day as if it is a gift.  Life is precious, non-essential live it as fully as you can.

 

One thing about minimalism is that as you clear the nonessential, you really begin to experience things differently. DEfinetely clearer and more in touch with what is around you. It’s a process for sure.  I have to say, every time declutter or look at what is it I want around me, I’m surprised at what the answer to that is. I want my house to be clean, clear of stuff and just a simple place to live, cook and be. It’s getting there.

They’ll be a lot of no spend days this week as the budget is used up. We have a DMV to pay and that’s about it. So, freezer meals and pantry plus what I bought at Costco. Lots of salads.

Tonight is pasta night. I’m thinking an alfredo with a big salad.

 

 

Tree hunting and budgets

I’m not sure the two go together but that’s whats happening.

We’re heading up to Tahoe City to get a forest service tree permit to cut a Christmas tree. Yes, I know it’s an hour drive to get a $10 permit but it’s fun to tromp around and look for a tree. Although, I’m not sure we’re getting the tree today as it depends on the areas they designate. But the permits sell out so that’s why we’re going today. Plus, we get to go out for lunch somewhere.

My budget is set for December and I only have a few Christmas items left to get. Wine for my sister in Connecticut, cash for my son and a few odds an ends. Both our gym memberships are our christmas presents. The anytime fitness has a joining sale this weekend so no intiation fee and one month free so a great deal. Mine was 39 to join but only 9.95 a month. I met with the trainer yesterday and she showed me how to use some nifty machines. So I feel ready to get going.

We’re going to push hard to get rid of all debt except maybe my dentist bill in the next 3 months. I feel we can do it if we’re focused. This is credit card stuff form the trees coming down and we just had to pay my son’s spring semester( more than I thought). He’s not getting the board of govenors grant this year so it does impact the bottom line. We have one more Allstate bill and thenn that’s done till spring. So overall I’m feeling positive about it.

We are in for cold and rainy weather this weekend. It’ll begood to stay home and keep the fire going. Well, I’m going to the gym at least twice but after that.

Dinner is taco tuesday!

Bread making 101

Well, I’m back in the thick of it. I’m reading everything about the no knead bread and today I’m starting loaf # 4. I’m going to shorten the first rise and the second one as well. I’m guessing( after reading a lot) that the yeast has done its thing and there’s not enough oomph for it to do the final puff in the oven.  So today, I’m not using sour dough, just the 1/4 teaspoon yeast and will do the first rise for 12 hours or so. I’ll have to see as that  puts me at 7 pm. So I may need to do it tomorrow am. I may have to read up on leaving close to  24 hours. That seems like a long time.  But the second rise I’m definitely doing for just the hour not 2.  I also ordered a proofing basket to get the nice marks you see on bread like it whole Foods.  I’m having fun figuring it out.

My daughter and I had a great trip into the Sierras to Quincy. Very low key and just delightful. We stopped in Truckee on the way home for bagels at a place she had been wanting to try.They are very close to New York bagels.  We bought 1/2 dozen to bring home.

The refi is still in limbo with the subordination again. It was going to fund this week till they realized  they still didn’t have that info. So it’ll be another bit yet.  They’ve done a good job on this so far, so I hope it’s done so we don’t have to pay October’s payment. We are still over in the budget.  So we need a little catch-up. since I can’t work, my job is to figure out how to get our budget to work and still have money left over:)  That has yet to happen. But I’m hoping with the savings of $500 a month on the house payment does the trick.

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Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread

Thursday Budget stuff

IMG_0009Before June budget stuff here’s a picture of Donner Lake.IMG_0014And here’s another. It’s very warm here in Northern California with not a lot of change over the next week. Tomorrow and Saturday are even hotter. So we will need to put in our window air conditioners. This will raise our electric bill but it’s too hot not too use them.

Yesterday’s doctor visit was quite good. We decided not to do a maintenance of every 2 weeks for now. Also, I won’t see him for 2 months but will get monthly labs to see what’s going on.  I’m sure this is a gamble but I think if I have the chance to be drug-free for a short while it will be worth it. I still have 3 Velcade shots so not till July. I’m feeling positive about my decision though. My numbers have never increased radically and hopefully this  will stay the same so future relapse will show it self early on.

Onward to the budget. June is still starting out at a deficit so I will need to transfer a little money to cover a few things. But overall our June budget should show that we need $700 less due to a few things.  I’m hoping the numbers even out by B’s first paycheck of the month. Electric has gone down, but we’re on the balance pay program so it’s balanced based on the year so it’s still at $200. But that should drop once it gets recalibrated.

Also, school money won’t be going out and a few other things will drop too. July will even be better when the Harp refi takes effect ( I hope).  this was of course, a tough decision but with the increased % by October under the previous modification we really don’t have a choice. After much thinking and discussion, the way I have come to see this: we don’t want to move, we will never pay off the mortgage in retirement, so we need to look at getting the mortgage to be an amount that is like a ‘rent’. This refi will do that so I’m pleased with that. When one of us goes to the great beyond then that other person can decide to sell or stay. Unfortunately with my diagnosis, I can’t get life insurance, but many years ago B had me get life insurance ( a small amount ) thru his work. But it would be enough to help. One thing I am concerned about and maybe someone knows the answer to this.. Is when B retires from this company would my life insurance policy just stop? Or would we be able to keep it and keep paying on it?? does anyone know the answer to this?

Well, dinner is crockpot Thursday chicken. Since I’m on dex today, that’s a good thing as I don’t feel much like cooking.

Speaking of cooking, I’m reading the new Ruth Reichel’s book,My Kitchen year  it is so great. I’d highly recommend it.  Of course, I don’t think she would consider crockpot chicken, but then again she’s not on dexamethasone.

Budgeting and the new week

Well, really, a new budget is needed since the old one is completely blown. Today, I’m going to write up new numbers and see how they stack up. June should be a better month for a number of reasons. 1. B will get a bonus and that will get us back on track. 2. We’re not going to give my son any school money, as he’s done for this semester. Also, he’s going back to his old job, so this will definitely help. 3. At least one of our bills has been reduced by $125. so that’s helpful. 4. We are going with a HARP refi and that will reduce our payment. This hasn’t happened yet but I hope by July 1.

We are still working on paying off the Federal taxes  that we put on the cc but it still will be a few months. The only extra this month is our AAA membership. So, we should be able to snowball money in the CC. We’ll see. It seems it’s always something.

Today I go get my blood tests.  I should know by Thursday what my numbers are. So I’m going in to do that , then pick up a few groceries(cat food)….. Plus I might drop off the Goodwill stuff, just to get it out of the car.

Dinner tonight is pasta with sauce and salad. I’m making a bolognese sauce in the crockpot.

This week I’m in the bedroom zone. I’ll probably tackle the closet as that seems to be my nemesis.

 

 

The haves and the have nots!

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

This is an article on the sad state of financial affairs of many people. The author is quite honest in his evaluation of his own current financial affairs and how he got there. He has a loan modification and is paying off credit cards.

Honestly, I totally agree with him. I wish we had been more financially smart. We never made any smart decisions financially till really about the time I was diagnosed with cancer. But even in those first difficult years with treatment and A Stem Cell Transplant, we made plenty of mistakes. The biggest was refinancing when the market was at its height. We were foolish to believe the loan officer that this was a good deal to maximize money in equity. What a mistake. When the market crashed and we’ve been under water in this house, we are now on the other side that the market is coming back up. WE too had a loan modification and it saved us. This actually is just ending and then the interest rate is going up.

I think when I started to embrace being minimalist, budgeting, not spending money for things clicked for me. We’ve mad a lot of progress and are quite frugal in all expenditures. Yet, there are still expenditures that are outpacing income. We’re helping our son with money at junior college. We pay for his car insurance and food. It is not giving us much to put away but we want to help him right now. Smart move? I don’t know but we are making the decision to the best of our ability now. We also put our Federal taxes on a credit card and we’re having to pay that down.

All in all, everyone, I’m sure does what they can but sometimes keeping up with expenses versus money coming in is a struggle.

I also think that people who have received inheritances or who are wealthy, or have no mortgages , or maybe they’ve just done everything right and made enough money in their careers and have money to put toward savings etc,. Some of these people just don’t get it. Yes, we have family members who really don’t get it and of course live their happy go lucky lives with inheritances they received.

Yes, you can be frugal, budget, sing till your blue in the face, but sometimes there just isn’t enough money and how many of us are one pay check away from disaster. I’ve learned a lot in these last 5 years about being frugal and stockpiling pantry items, having a small emergency fund but there’s still a long way to go.

I don’t think it’s for us to judge others, though, maybe just some compassion and understanding.