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.

 

A new year

I’ve been busy meal planning this morning and working on checking what’s in the freezer and pantry. Since we’re doing the Frugalwoods uber frugal month, I plan on eating out of the pantry and freezer as much as possible. I’d like to set a food budget of $400 for the month. I started a spreadsheet, thanks to my tech-savvy daughter for setting it up), that I’m separating food, cat food, nonfood. So the $400 will be food only. So I still need to decide on how much for the other stuff.

I’m making a shepherd’s pie for dinner and then a veggie ham that B got. We haven’t tried it so, I’ll post how it is.

1727-Albert-Einstein-Quote-Out-of-clutter-find-simplicity

I’m trying something new and taking a video of each room. So far it is a great tool and I redid a few things in the entry way and it looks better. I think seeing it objectively is a such an amazing tool.

This week is the entry way zone and laundry room. So I’ll work on those two areas.  Not a lot to declutter but simpler on the eye by removing a few things and repositioning a few.

This week I have a fasting blood test for insurance and then next week is my regular labs. We’ll see.

 

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 🙂

 

Friday things

I went and helped set up books for the bake and book sale tomorrow.  Then I left to take my son to pick up his Subaru that had some sort of oil leak but it was covered by the warranty we got when we paid for the engine to be rebuilt.

Then I went to the store and picked up cream, cat food, wine and a few other essentials for the weekend.

Tomorrow I am going over to the book sale early to help out and then leaving around 10 or so since we’re driving up to Chico so B can pick up his motorcycle. It’ll be a long day but I’ll get thru it. He’s been set on a Triumph which is what he had in college. Then reconsidered and found a brand new Honda Rebel. It’s a smaller motorcycle and that may be a good thing.  It won’t hold resale the same as a Triumph, but that’s not why he’s buying it.  This money comes from the many bonuses he has had over the years that usually has gone to bills. So it’s his turn.

 

Speaking of budgets, things are okay. The bills are getting paid but we’re still not putting away money above and beyond the 401 k that is taken out automatically.  In the next 2 months we have property tax and house insurance so 2 really big annual bills. Sigh… I really hope we get a handle on this as retirement looms out there.  But I am optimistic we will have it sorted as we go into those years.  We have to get rid of the car payment and that will free up some money.  But he gets a reimbursement for the car so it’s a double edge sword.  Still, I hope by mid-year next year the Santa Fe is paid and then we can look at the last car loan for him in these last 3 years.

I am trying very hard to be as frugal as I can and only buying essentials.  Even so, things do come up.

Dinner is Friday night pizza.

 

Five Frugal Things Friday

It’s been a good week overall. I’m happy with the reorganizing and decluttering I did.

  1. Ate our meals at home and shopped at Grocery Outlet for things to get us through till I shop Costco next week.
  2. I’m trying to do only 2 very small loads of laundry a day,( white and dark). Although that may not seem frugal, it’s frugal with my time as I keep up on it and it’s not huge loads.
  3. Read 4 books this week free from Netgalley. They’re e- books but fun. Most were  cookbooks but one was a self-help called 30 days to Joy ( or something like that). What I liked about it was her take on just do what brings you joy.  I thought that was very simple and yet we need to read or hear that.
  4. We want to update our kitchen someday( when we have money) Ha….. Ha… but in the meanwhile, I decided to paint the cabinets again so at least they look better.  So, instead of groaning we can’t afford to remodel, I bought a high gloss white paint and voila!  It’ll do for now.
  5. All the bills are in for the month and budget done. Unfortunately, we will have a very expensive auto repair on my son’s Subaru.  He needed the head gaskets done to the tune of $2500. Plus an accelerator problem. We offered to put it on our CC so he at least has a car. The other option was to sell it as is but then he wouldn’t have a car. So it’s cheaper to fix a car than buy a new used car. So, that won’t be frugal to charge it but it will be cheaper in the long run as hisSubaru will run for a good long while.

Tomorrow we’re going to Home Depot to get the boards for the last garden bed.  I budgeted a small amount for this since it’s now or not plant. In the long run, it’ll be frugal when we have lettuce, etc.

Tonight is Friday night Pizza!

Simple Sunday

We went to Costco yesterday and got a ton of stuff. A fire extinguisher we needed, some organic sheets ( yeah.. they were 29.95), lots of food stuff, coffee. I also went to the customer service desk and got a refund on the stuff that my husband bought 3 days before the coupon book came out. I didn’t know they did that. I was pretty impressed. I won’t need to go to Costco for a month at least. Unless I decide to go get veggies and fruit there.

It also wasn’t raining and that was a big plus.  After putting the load away, I made us a brunch of scrambled eggs( our own) and avocado, tomatoes and cheese. Pretty tasty.

This has been a gloomy week with lots of rain and it looks like more is heading in today. Although right now its okay out, no rain. On Wednesday we head to Santa Barbara. B is working the co-ops and I’m going along since work pays for it all. We will pay for my portions of food but hotel and gas are covered. I’m looking forward to it.  I love SB, even though I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s  somewhat locked in by mountains and of course ridiculously expensive. But it’s great to visit and I love the beach trail. Since we’ve been there before we know a couple of great places to eat, plus there’s Trader Joes and Whole foods just to get some snacks and lunch stuff.

Our budget plans are going very well. Paying off the last bit on a CC is going very well. Actually, I way ahead of my schedule. But that may change or slow down since in the next month we need to get wood for the new garden beds and a truck- load of soil. So that will be an extra expense. But the garden gives us food and freezer stuff to so it’s a win.

I did a bunch of paperwork stuff this week. I needed to reapply for my LLS grant which covers my health insurance and copays to the doctor. Nothing diagnostic but it does help. Then I had to update my son’s FAFSA because he plans to go to San Francisco State university in the fall as a senior. I would like to see him get a grant for housing and tuition but we’ll see. They now do the year before ( 2015) and that was the year B sold stock so we had a larger gross amount. So that may impact it. I’m not sure if I could have done 2016 as that was substantially less. But it said taxes from 2015.

Today is a gym day and then I’m going to roast a chicken with a new recipe from William Sonoma that calls for oranges and red onion. Sounds good.

It is COLD!!!

On our walk this morning it was 37. Yesterday 36. It is very cold and frosty. Plus our day time temperatures are not even getting into the 60’s. It looks like it’s going to stay like this for a few weeks. usually we bounce back up into the 60’s so it isn’t quite as cold. But I  checked our PGE last year and it was cold enough that our bill was very high. This year I havent turned on the ENVI heaters and our bill was half of last years. So even though those heaters are convection and suppose to not use alot of electricity our electric bills for Nov, DEc, Jan and Feb, were pretty ginormous. For such a small house it doesnt make sense. So this year I’m not going to turn them on and go back to a small space hater and see what the bill is for Dec. Not exciting, but day to day stuff.

The budget is set for December and looks ok. I did book 3 camping times at NEw Brighton so I put those on a CC. I’ll need to budget in paying that off. We’ll probably cancel one as its close to the one really wanted with the ocean view. But I had booked the other before just in case.

I’m not doing alot on the Christmas front. Both trees are up and decorated. For Christmas dinner I think I’m doing enchiladas, beans ,salad  and some sort of desert. We’re not big desert eaters so I might get like cheese cake sampler from Safeway( 2 pieces). I’ve stuck with only buying a few gifts so that’ll be different. It’s good though ,all part of just minimising it all. I dont think I could do the no decorating or no gifts at all but who knows. If anything I’ve learned never say never. Because you just dont know what’s around the corner.

Today I’m just home tidying and catching up some laundry. Tomorrow I’m going to the gym and then drop off some thrift store stuff unless I get motivated to go today.

Dinner is Tortilla soup with chicken for us and just black beans for the veggie.