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Update

January 15th, 2020 at 11:56 pm

I received my last paycheck today and my husband his last overtime check from work. We paid half of the credit card bill, $270 went to my Roth IRA ($1,330.00 remaining to fund 2019), moved $300 to savings and left $200 in the checking account. We should get husband's January and February pension checks on the first of the month. Snow birding is going well but we have spent a significant amount of money on groceries and some other necessities. I do miss my kiddos dearly but not the frigid cold weather.

Goals during these winter months in FL are to stay away from withdrawing money from our savings, pay bills with pension check and finish funding my Roth IRA by April 15th.

Challenges/Updates

January 5th, 2020 at 09:14 pm

Today I decided to participate in the 52 weeks savings challenge. I turned 50 years old in August and I would really like to start fulfilling some things in my bucket list. My goal is to begin working on bucket list wish #1 by the end of 2020. I hope to double the weeks and complete the challenge in 26 weeks and start all over again to double the amount saved.

I also joined the Uber Frugal Month Challenge because Lord knows we will incur some expenses to start our seasonal residence in Florida. I've been doing well with minimal spending so far. I also return to work tomorrow and it will be my last week at my part-time job. I had to take 2 sick days because my surgical foot procedure left me with lots of pain. I am still recuperating but I think I'll make it through the week. Stitches come out on Friday just in time for travel.

I've already located a church closest to our house as well as a Publix, Aldi and Walmart. I downloaded the digital coupons app for Publix and I've clipped some coupons already.

I contributed $270.00 this week to my Roth IRA. This brings the amount I still need to contribute to $1,600.00. I have a couple of months to make a dent, if not it will come out of savings.

2019 Recap

December 31st, 2019 at 03:54 pm

Here is the recap for 2019:

The first six months of 2019 were devoted to beefing up our emergency fund, prepaying monthly mortgage obligations and furnishing our FL house. All in anticipation of my decision to finally resign from a $80K teaching position. With my resignation, came a much better state of mind for me. Losing the income was quite the adjustment at first. In September, I ended up taking a part-time teacher's aide position. I loved this job very much. As expected, my salary is 1/4 of what I was making but the income helped us cover some last minute expenses.

Financially speaking, I'd say it has been a good year. Our emergency fund is now over six figures; we have no other debt other than the mortgages. The rental property income generated allows these homes to pay themselves and our FL home. My husband's retirement pension is meager, but will provide health insurance for the both of us. This year will conclude with a very minor foot procedure for me. I could've waited for 2020 to do this but our current health insurance has better coverage than our future health insurance.

In 2020, my husband will apply to get 75% of his social security benefits and depending on how things panned out, I will seek part-time employment as a substitute teacher (if we decide to continue winter birding). Our goals for 2020 is to continue adding to our savings even if it's small amounts. I also want to continue fully funding my Roth IRA; $7K from this year on.

Going on

December 30th, 2019 at 05:53 pm

We are off to Florida in less than two weeks as my husband is a retired man as of today. I'm a little nervous because we are traveling with our dog. I hope he does well with traveling. Hubby and I are spending time getting rid of things that have not been used in years and our basement looks a lot better now. I've not shop for groceries in a while (just a perishables). I want to unplug our chest freezer before we leave. We are basically eating from the freezers and pantry.

DS#2 will be taking over the bills/property taxes on our NJ house. The mortgage is paid until July. At that time, we will reevaluate our living arrangements and a possible sale of the house to our DS#2 may take place. We will move into a small cottage in one of our rental property if that's what we decide.

I got a three-wheel bike for Christmas; it was shipped to Florida so I am hoping to get as much exercise as possible. I also intend to use the small gym in our community center.

This is it for now. I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy, happy New Year.

Christmas/Goals for 2020

December 25th, 2019 at 10:14 pm

If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you. Happy Holidays for all others. In just another hour, we will be hosting a get together with family and friends. We had our Christmas breakfast with our sons and DS#1's girlfriend (I think soon to be fiance). Very simple: biscuit casserole, bacon and orange juice. The casserole contained eggs, cheese and sausage. We exchanged gifts, laughed and get together preparations began.

We definitely cash flowed Christmas, about $500 and I'm happy about that. I also saved $60 by downloading a coupon for the first visit at a new vet. We have to have certain things in place in order for our dog to travel in cabin with us next month. In all, we only had to pay $38 for the distemper vaccine. I took him to get his rabies shot at a free clinic sponsored by our county. We calculated over $100 in savings on all of that.

I only have two financial goals for 2020. I want to fully fund my Roth IRA and keep ourselves from withdrawing any money from our saving just because we've been careless and spend more than we earn.

How was your holidays? Any financial goals in mind for 2020?

Getting there

December 18th, 2019 at 12:58 pm

As of Friday, I'll finally be under the $2K mark to fully fund my 2019 Roth IRA. I have four months left to contribute $1,870.00, which means I'll have to contribute $467.50 from January-April. I am now on a mission to make this happen. If for some reason, I cannot cash flow contributions, any remaining balance will have to come out of savings.

Payday/new adventure

December 14th, 2019 at 03:18 am

Pay day today. Both my husband and I will get paid again on the 20th.

Most of the money went to pay a large credit card bill. Our new washer, Christmas and other things were charged to this card. I did transferred $300 to savings and made a $270 contribution to my Roth IRA.

Our emergency fund has reached the amount we feel comfortable with. From this point forward anything we add to it is a bonus in my eyes.

My job ends mid January. I resigned as we are leaving next month to warmer pastures for the winter. Hubby is retiring in just a couple of weeks. Our sons are doing great; good jobs, happy and healthy. We did all we could to ensure a good start for them in life. Now, it is time for us.

Washer/Pay Day$$

November 26th, 2019 at 02:33 am

We've been looking for a used washer, but have not been able to find one. It's either too much money for a used one or too old. We gave up on the idea of a used washer and bought a new one. I am grateful that our son allowed us to use his washer at home; it is definitely not the ideal situation. We ended up paying $757 with tax and a five year warranty. I opted for a front loader because the top loaders are a constant reminder of how short I am. I am super careful and I wipe the inside rubber/detergent reservoir where water tends to accumulate. Delivery is tomorrow.

Pay day is a bit early this week, since we are off on Friday. We will make a partial credit card payment, $270 will go to my Roth IRA ($150 usual deposit and an extra $120 to cover the April 15 shortfall), some will go to savings and we'll pay a few smaller bills. My husband's extra overtime check will go to savings to minimize the blow of having to buy a new appliance, but thank God that we have an emergency fund.

I also three orders for my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I will probably net about $55. I also bought four Christmas gifts today ($112). I predict that I'll have to spend an additional $150. I also have to spend a little bit up money to purchase the ingredients for my share of the Thanksgiving feast. Ours is an infusion of typical American Thanksgiving food and our culture's traditional food.

Well, that's it! I hope that you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Pay day and big decision

November 16th, 2019 at 04:34 am

Payday today for the both of us.

I contributed $150 to my Roth IRA, $2,900 to fully fund it. I think I might send an additional $100 next week.

Paid two credit card balances.

Saved all of husband's overtime check.

Put cash on three envelopes: $50 for husband's retirement party (to be held in January), $14 for the Thanksgiving Food Drive(charity) and $15 for eat out fund.

I also paid a few small bills: electric bill, phone and cable.

________

On another note, We made a big decision this past weekend to put our vacation home on the market. This past year, we've only used the house for a month or so. We feel that it is a waste of money as we don't plan to use the house as a full time residence. We estimate that between the mortgage and bills, we spend about $17K to keep this home. I have no emotional ties to the house so it was an easy decision.

Insurance Policy

November 13th, 2019 at 02:21 am

I happened to check our car insurance policy to ensure that a car that was totaled was removed from our policy. The policy showed that we still owed over $500. Sure enough, it had not removed. My husband called and we now have a payment of just $149. I think we are going to try to be a one car family now that my husband is retiring in a couple of months. I work in town and if he needs the car, he'll just have to take to work and pick me up.

Escrow

November 6th, 2019 at 01:08 am

I've been sending and extra $25 here and there to the escrow of one of our rental properties. Every year, there seems to be a shortfall due to the property taxes going up. Yesterday, I received a check from the mortgage company for $206 for a surplus on our escrow and our mortgage payment went down $26. I am going to continue paying the same amount and send the extra $26 to minimize any escrow shortage next year.

It pays to ask!

November 1st, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Two weeks ago, I finally bought curtains for our vacation home. Long time in the making, but nice curtains and rods are so darn expensive! Anyway, the total spent at Bed Bath and Beyond came to $767.74 including an item that I needed them to ship directly from the store. I gasped, swallowed hard and whipped out my credit card.

I realized then that BBB sometimes puts out 20% on entire purchase. I looked through my stash of coupons and I have none. It occurred to me to put a "ISO" (in search of) post on Facebook that I was looking for this specific coupon. About an hour later, someone responded and said that she has one and that I can have it. I took it back to the store and without question they credit me $151.36. Do you know that BBB takes expired coupons. Mine was from 2017 and no problem! I felt so victorious when I left the store.

Payday update

November 1st, 2019 at 02:02 am

Yesterday was payday. Yay for a nice overtime check from husbands extra hours of work.

$2443.00

$700 of $2100 of the quarterly taxes came from our budget; DS#1 helped with $1,400.

$350- Roth IRA ($150 bi-weekly contribution and $200 to the projected short-fall)!

$921.00- credit card payment

$72.00- groceries

200.00- savings

20.00- charity

smallish amount was left in the checking for small bills as they coming.

I'm going away for a few days next week and I have put aside the money I made with my little side hustle to cover food for those days.

Side money/Autumn

October 27th, 2019 at 06:08 pm

I made $85 this weekend selling my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I'll use the money to pay for utilities in our second home. I'm hoping to receive more orders in the coming weekends.

Autumn is in full motion in my neck of the woods, although it is rainy and dark. Nonetheless, beautiful. I'm taking a short trip the first week of November and I'm really looking forward to it.

What's your favorite season of the year? What's the least favorite season. For me, Autumn is my favorite and least favorite is winter (hands down; hate it!)

My front yard

Update

October 25th, 2019 at 12:30 am

A few weeks ago, I was offered a job out of nowhere. It was a per diem job making excellent money. I considered it and at one point I almost accepted the position, but suddenly, just thinking about the high stress levels I knew I would encounter, I decided to turn it down. No amount of money is worth endangering my health. We are paying our bills and I am in a very happy place in my life. I love my part-time job and I feel that I am making a difference.

I will have to readjust how our paychecks are disbursed in the upcoming week. I totally forgot that property taxes are due soon. I also paid the remaining portion of my smartphone in full ($321). We have to replace the decking on our front porch soon but we will use our savings to pay for that. We're in the process of getting estimates.

Remaining grateful and learning how to live a happy and peaceful life.

$ Update

October 16th, 2019 at 12:53 am

Both of us got paid today. I had everything written down as to how the money was going to be disbursed. Fortunately, my husband earned a nice paycheck with all the extra hours he worked. I immediately set up an electronic contribution to my Roth IRA. We were also able to add a decent amount to our savings account. I feel so grateful and blessed that we are able to save money even when we are living with a limited income. Prior to this season of our lives, saving money was automatic and effortless. Our new reality has taught me to be less judgmental and thankful. Next pay period I am hoping to be able to contribute an extra $100 to the anticipated shortage on my Roth IRA.

By the way, we might have to replace our washer sooner than later. It's making an awful sound and it's leaking water from the bottom. We are not fixing it as it is old. We are, however, trying to buy a second hand washer or we'll wait until Black Friday to buy a new one.

GC/Outing and more

October 13th, 2019 at 02:01 am

I took advantage of the Bath and Body Works sale on hand soaps because I had a $25 gift card. I spent 26 cents out of pocket for six hand soaps including shipping and tax. I usually make my own foam hand soap but I love the nice smell of the ones from B&BW. I certainly would not spend $6.95 for a bottle at regular priceSmile

Dinner and show (Little Shop of Horrors) were great. This little theater has been in our community for 88 years. I am thinking on making a donation at Christmas time. I am also making a donation to our local children's library at Christmas time. In total, I spend close to $50 and I have no regrets!

It's a three day weekend and payday on Tuesday. I'm especially excited because my husband should be getting a nice overtime check (every little counts).

Thrift and more

October 10th, 2019 at 11:33 pm

I stopped at a thrift store after work (mainly because I spotted a parking spot) and I snagged a nice white winter sweater for $3.99 and a hardcover book of one of my favorite authors for a $1.99. I usually don't spend money on books as of late, but for $2, I decided not to pass it up. Good entertainment for little money.

My husband has been working a lot of overtime hours and I am grateful that we will be adding a more significant amount to our savings account. I am, however spending a little bit of money tomorrow night. I am going to see a local production of Little Shop of Horror and having dinner as well with my girlfriends. This little theater is a town treasure and their productions are amazing.

It's also a three day weekend for us. Looking forward to the extended weekend.

Prioritizing our long term needs

October 5th, 2019 at 05:35 pm

I currently have $3.450.00 remaining to fully fund my Roth IRA by April. I currently contribute $300 to it every month and I'll have to make some extra contributions because there will be a deficit.

I use DR Every Dollar budget tool (the free one)to keep me in control as I am responsible for keeping track of our finances. My husband is a simple guy and he'd rather that I take care of our financials. I am happy to oblige.

On purpose

October 5th, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Some of you probably gasped when I mentioned that I took a $60K pay cut recently. This move was years in the making. My husband and I worked hard to get rid of any consumer debt, except for the mortgage. We also establish a two-year emergency fund. In addition, we generate $1,500.00 in rental income. We are now living on $53K gross income (not including the rental income or the occasional overtime pay for my husband). We try to keep our bills low, we eat most of our meals at home and have no consumer debt whatsoever. The rental income is used to pay for a vacation home we bought several years ago. We have no intentions for now to get rid of this property.

As a result, my stress levels are much more manageable and my sleeping patterns have normalized. This is worth every penny I lost in income.

Hello!

October 4th, 2019 at 10:15 pm

Hi All,

I live in a high cost of living state. I recently took a $60K pay cut; long story, but we are making things happen. Our goal is to continue contributions to retirement accounts, keep ourselves afloat and save a little every pay period. So far, we've met all of it and I am grateful. Eventually, I'll return to full time work, but for now I am enjoying it.

GratefulSaver