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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?

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.

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.

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.

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