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Update

July 30th, 2022 at 05:44 pm

Well, we all got Covid in July. We are all vaccinated and one booster. For me the fatigue and nasal congestion was the worst and it took me exactly 10 days to test negative. Covid is not fun even on its milder side. Frown

On a financial update, it looks like it will end with a little over $200 surplus. We met our savings goals and I was put $100 ($5K to go to fully fund) towards my Roth IRA. Summer are very lean for us because I do not work during the summer months. 

We have made the decision to start paying off our investment property starting August. The goal is to have it paid off in seven years at which time I can also start taking my state pension. Paying it off is an investment on our future income.  We have a healthy emergency fund. 

Budget Update

March 27th, 2022 at 08:45 pm

I am pretty anxious to have a clean slate come April. March has been a dozzie partly because of unexpected events. My son had surgery earlier this month and he's convalecing at our home which means a higher food bill, electrictiy, water, etc. I would not have it any other way and we are happy we can help in his recovery. I am also traveling to see my mom and I'll be away solo for two weeks. On the bright side, I've been able to earn money since leaving my full-time job. All of the money I earn is used to cover future vacations, my retirement account, gifts, fun events, etc. My mental health is in a good place right now as I no longer have the stressors of a very demanding job. 

February Budget:

Husband's income/investment property surplus

$2968.00 (income)

$2200.00 (expenditures)

$768.00 (savings)

Extra income (me): $1,100.00 

Roth IRA contribution (me): $700.00 (2021)

March will not look as pretty. Frown

 

 

 

Update

January 17th, 2022 at 03:07 pm

Since my last update early December, we've been able to continue tracking our expenditures and fortunately for us, we've had a surplus every month since October despite our shoestring income (high cost of living state). I've made some extra income this month $1,125 as a substitute teacher. My goal was $700. I think I can still make a little bit of more income this week and then we are going away for a few weeks. We were able to cash flow that trip in its entirety. I also managed to contribute $600 to my Roth IRA. The goal is to get as close as I can to the $7k mark and write a check (if necessary) to fully fund 2021.

Update

December 3rd, 2021 at 01:56 am

Prior to leaving my job, I decided to give our new budget a trial run. That was for October and November. So far, we've been able to follow the budget and we even had a bit of a surplus in certain areas. It takes decipline to keep track, but as the CFO in our household, I am determined to make this work. I managed to make some money right after my last day of work. We are also cash flowing a winter vacation and accomodations are already paid and car rental is covered as well. I have $300 cash for spending money; the goal is between $500-800. We plan to cook most of our meals in the condo we rented. This vacation is basically to get away from the cold for a few weeks. I will also be traveling for my Mom's 80th birthday at the end of March. I want to make as much money as I can between now and then.   I made another contribution to my Roth IRA ($250).

Update

November 4th, 2021 at 03:37 am

The new budget trial run in October was successful and my employment will end in a couple of weeks. I've already lined up work as a substitute teacher at $125 a day. Any money I am able to make will go to saving, traveling, fun things and my retirement. Fortunately, my husband carries health insurance for the both of us through his state pension and we just paid off our house this past summer. I am grateful and relieved that I am able to leave a very stressful job.

Our new budget is $2,300.00 (including $800 in property taxes every month). We do not have any debt other than utilities and insurance policies.

Booster Shot?

October 6th, 2021 at 02:43 am

I'm thinking of getting the Pfizer Booster Shot as I'm a teacher exposed to hundreds of kids every day. Has anyone opted to get a booster? I made the appointment, but I am tempted to cancel.

Budget Trial Run

September 26th, 2021 at 03:04 pm

Although, our income will not be reduced until mid November, we will be living on my husband's retirement income alone starting October 1st. It will give me (I'm the CFO in our household) an opportunity to twick or make changes to our budget. As it stands, we'll have a surplus of $750 in our budget. If it proves to be correct, I will put half of it in our savings and the other half to make contributions to my Roth IRA. Any money I can make will be going to fun things like traveling, retirment and a helping others. 

Working with much less, but happy

September 25th, 2021 at 03:22 am

Significant loss of income is expected by mid November in our home. I am grateful that we have no mortgage, no small children to support and no consumer debt  The loss of income is voluntary. This was a second try at a profession that I feel may have reached the end of the road. We will be living on my husband's income which derives from a dimunitive state pension, early social security benefits and $500 surplus on a rental property. Our health insurance is covered by the state pension and it costs less than $50 a month. Any money I can make will go to fund my retirement through a Roth IRA. In all, I feel very grateful to have play the cards right and stay out of debt. We also have a healthy emergency fund. 

Update

September 4th, 2021 at 06:35 pm

Since my last post a couple of months ago, all our financial efforts (now that the house is paid for) are going towards amping my retirement funds and beefing up our savings. My husband is already retired and a decade older than me. I neglected to fully fund my Roth IRA but I am not, if I can help it, allow that to happen from this day forward.  

Our bare bones budget is $1950.00 ($800 of it is monthly property taxes) since we do not have any consumer debt and children in the home to support. Our boys have been self sufficient young adults and for that I am really proud. I am also increasing contributions to my 403B. As of now, when I retire I can claim a $2,400.00 state pension at the age of 60. 

Overdue update

March 2nd, 2021 at 01:04 pm

It's been a little while since the last update. Things continue to move along with some hicups here and there. COVID hit our family late December to early January with my youngest son testing positive. Fortunately, there were mild symptoms in comparison to the others. He has recuperated and I'm grateful. One of my siblings has it now and experiencing much more difficult symptoms Frown. I received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and second dose is coming up. Hubby is getting the first dose tomorrow.

On the financial front, we are still pretty intense on paying our mortgage off and have made great strides. We are under $50K now and determined to be completely out of debt by December 31st, 2021.  I am also preparing for a return to work physically. I've been working remotely since September of 2020. I am super nervous, but hopeful that many parents decide to keep their children home for the remainder of the school year. It will be a hybrid school day with two cohorts and one day completely remote for deep cleaning. 

I hope all of you are doing well and safe.

 

Update

December 12th, 2020 at 03:38 pm

Hi All-

It's been a little over a month since my last update. We are on track to meeting our Mortgage Pay-off goal for the remainder of 2020. If everything goes according to our plan, we might be able to surpass our of goal $75K principal balance. This might be a bit overzealous, but I am hoping for a paid for house by this time next year. 

Christmas Day will be super low key this year for reasons beyond our control. We will have our morning Christmas Breakfast, gift exchange and Christmas dinner. Just the four of us + my oldest significant other. 

On another financial news, we are selling one of our rental properties to our youngest son. He is young, has a great job and the desire to invest in his future. He paid off another rental property in less than two years and is now netting $1,400.00 a month after paying property taxes and Homeowners insurance. My oldest is quite different; he has no interest in being a landlord and is perfectly okay with renting. I don't see anything wrong with that either. 

Work is okay and I'm doing the best I can during these strange times in our educational system. I am a little behind with my Roth IRA distributions but fortunately I have until April 15th to fully fund it. 

Well, this is all I have for you. I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a Prosperous, Healty and Happy New Year.

 

 

 

Update

October 31st, 2020 at 03:28 am

I started blogging here twelve years ago. I lost all of my entries a while back when the site had technical problems; I was never able to recover any it. Anyway, here I am. Life has taken many turns in those twelve years. We put our two sons through school with no debt, invested in rental property, I left my well-paying job, found a part-time job that I loved making a fraction of what I was making, hubby retired and we tried snowbirding in Florida, but it did not work out, COVID hit and changed our lives (for some more than others and the battle continues), went back to teaching and I'm debating whether to return next year and as of this weekend, we will be empty nesters. Our last bird is spreading his wings.

It's been quite the ride, but I feel like I'm in a good place in my life. Frugality and gratitude has been the force behind all of our success. I regret nothing. I've win some and lost some.  I am certain that we will continue to navigate calm and choppy waters for the rest of our lives.

We've made tons of progress paying extra on our mortgage principal. Hopefully, we can continue to do this, if not, I'm not sweating it. At 51 years old, I've placed a high value on a stress free life. I don't need fancy anything; I'm content. I feel blessed beyond measure and for that I am so very thankful. 

Hope you are all well!

 

Working now?

October 21st, 2020 at 01:49 am

Hopefully this site is working now. I hate to complain, but I lost entire blog (years worth of entries) a while back and was never able to get it back. Then, I get flagged as a spammer and I was unable to write entries a little while ago. Somehow I managed to get it resolved.  

Good/Bad

October 9th, 2020 at 02:44 am

We continue to tackle our mortgage hoping to pay it off soon. We are now a little under $95K from $247K. It is hard to stay focus since we recast our loan and the payment is very low now. I'm seriously considering working until June and stepping down from my position. I left in 2019 to a lesser paying position (about 70% less). My life that year was so nice. I was then offered a teaching job for 2020-2021 and I accepted to give it one last shot. It's not working out for me; still very stressful and I've been experiencing headaches, lack of sleep, emotional eating, etc. I can't allow this to happen again.

Update

September 16th, 2020 at 12:31 am

It was pay day today and boy was I really looking forward to this paycheck. Lots of things to pay.

$809-credit card #1
$375-credit card #2
$130-electric bill
$200-Savings
$300-Roth IRA
$100-personal spending money
$220-Mortgage Principal
_____
$2,134.00 TOTAL

We decided to recast our mortgage loan. The payment is now $504 instead of $1275. We are going to put the difference towards the principal (hopefully with additional funds) and be done with this loan ASAP. There is a $250 fee for recasting the loan.

Five Digits

September 4th, 2020 at 01:13 pm

We made it to the "under 6 digit club" on our mortgage principal. Goal is to be completely paid for primary residence by July of 2023. I might recast the loan to have a lower payment while putting all the extra money on the principal. The payment will be substantially lower, but I'll pretend that it is still the original payment. I think it's worth the one time $250 fee. There are no prepayment penalty ever.



Mortgage/Retirement

August 23rd, 2020 at 03:18 am

I had a pleasant day today with my children and husband as we celebrated my birthday. They took me to my favorite brick oven pizza/meatballs place. My state continues to have outdoor dining only. It was a rather warm day today, but we made the most of it.

I start working in a week again, but I have lots of webinars and orientations next week. Our district will be completely remote instructions which presents lots of challenges for both the teachers and the student body. I am, however, grateful for this.

Our mortgage paydown challenge is going well. I also filled out the paperwork to continue funding my 403B retirement fund. I also plan to aggressively continue funding my ROTH IRA. I am going to be contributing 15% of my income before taxes.

An update

July 23rd, 2020 at 02:43 am

I was able to bring down the mortgage principal balance to $158,902.45 this month. I doubt very much that I'll add any more money to the principal this month and August may be a bit too tight. Come September, I am hoping to do more since I'll be working by then.

I finally came up with a bare bones budget ($3670). We have enough savings to cover our bare necessities for at least 12 months and 6 months of mortgage payments for our rental properties. I will continue to add money to our savings in smaller quantity as our priority right now is to pay off our four walls and continue with my retirement contributions.

I also continue to stock up on can goods, toiletries, rice and beans just in case. No directives yet as to how our state will reopen schools in September. Our school district promised that we should know by August 4th. Let's see what happens.

Porch

July 18th, 2020 at 01:41 am

Porch has been replaced. The final cost was about $4,400 with $2600 was labor. We are happy with the result. Husband painted the porch beams today since we did not replaced these. They were in excellent shape. Here are some pictures of the end result. We still have to paint the trellis and landscape a bit.







Financial plans

June 30th, 2020 at 08:06 pm

In a couple of months, my salary will go up substantially as I will be working full time, my husband is receiving a small pension with health insurance and in November of 2020 he will start collecting early social security benefits. I'll be 51 soon and my husband 62 in October. I am already contributing 15% of my income between a 403B, Roth IRA and Teacher's state pension. We thought about our next move financially and decided to aggressively try to payoff our primary home in 5-7 years (hoping for 5 years). We also want to travel every year and make a major trip each year starting 2021. COVID haulted our plans this year but that's okay. I rather be safe than sorry. We have no debt other than our mortgages and we're paying cash for all home renovations and repairs. My children are grown with good jobs and making it on their own, our cars are new (ish) and basically it's just my husband, my fur baby and I. I am formulating a money plan to make this happen.

On another note, the central AC is done and paid in full. It feels nice not to depend on fans and window units to keep cool. The highest estimate for our porch deck repair came at $6K (materials and labor), the second one came in at $4,800 and we are waiting on the third estimate to make a decision.

Home renovations

June 23rd, 2020 at 12:20 am

We are officially installing central AC in our house. We have talked about this since we bought the house in 2014. The cost? $10K I'm not sure if this will enhance the resale value of our house and honestly I don't really care. This is our forever home (I hope) and we just want to be comfortable during the summer months. We expect to spend about $20K this summer in home projects but we've saved and will be paying cash for all of it. The last time we did major renovations to our home was in 2015. That was for two bathrooms and a second floor laundry. We are getting estimates for our porch deck repair tomorrow.

Update

June 21st, 2020 at 02:23 pm

We are officially living on my husband's small pension and rental property income for the summer months. We have been and will be spending some money on home projects; tree removal, porch deck replacement and installing central air. The latter is still pending, but summers are very humid here in NJ and I truly dislike window units. It's been in our bucket list of home projects for a while now and I think we will finally pull the plug on it.

On another note, it looks like I'll be opting out of health insurance benefits come September. My husband has really good insurance through his state pension. By doing an opt out, not only will I save about $400 a month, but I'll also get $5K from the school district at the end of the fiscal year minus taxes. We plan to use that money to go on vacation next summer. We are not making any vacation plans this summer because of COVID. Speaking of COVID, our numbers are going down significantly and that makes me very happy. I dream of the day when COVID is a thing of the past. I hope you are all well.

A question

June 14th, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Do you think that people who are employed have the ability to save money even in smaller amounts no matter how deep in debt they are? I'd like to read your take on this.

$$$ update

June 1st, 2020 at 02:43 pm

Payday update:

----We paid July's mortgage payment today and hope to pay August mortgage payment by mid June.

----Transferred $300 to the savings account

----Contributed $100 to my Roth IRA. I'm hoping to contribute another $200 by mid June. I'm a bit behind because of some financial setbacks due to the pandemic, but I am determined to fully fund for 2020.

I have two more paychecks to go as the school year ends pretty soon. July and August will be tough with just my husband's pension check and whatever income we get from the rental properties. This is the reason we prepaid July and August mortgage payments. On the bright side, there will be no house heating oil bill or car insurance to pay during the summer. Come September, I'll start working again and things will ease up (hopefully).

I hope all of you are safe and well.

Update

May 12th, 2020 at 08:14 pm

Hi All-

I hope you are all well. My husband and I have been at home since March 17 with little physical contact with the outside world. DS#2 who lives with us is still working. Our town's tally of deaths due to COVID is somewhere in the 40 range and closer to 700 in the positive cases. We live in a blue collar immigrant community with many people working in factories and crowded living arrangements. Needless to say, our town has been hit hard. Frown

On a bright note, we've been keeping in touch with friends and family via Zoom and Google Meet. We have laughed a lot and that's comforting. We are almost at week #3 since our last grocery haul, but we will have to shop soon. Home heating oil price per gallon is also down. We filled our tank the other day for less than $400, a first for us. I've also continue funding my Roth IRA and putting some money aside in savings.

I've also accepted a new job for the next school year. I'm going to give it a shot one more time. We are committed to remain consumer debt free despite the significant increase in income. If anything we will use the added income for home improvements and travel. I'm going to have a positive attitude, but I will not stay beyond the contract commitment if I feel that it's not where I want to be. My husband had a difficult time coming to terms with the reduction of income last year when I left my job. We have learned to live on a lot less income and we can do it again if necessary.

Please stay safe and well SA family.

Payday/Reflection

May 1st, 2020 at 07:48 pm

Hi All-

It was payday for both my husband and I. I'm still getting paid and as always I am extremely grateful. My husband receives a small small pension with health benefits for both us. I was able to make a contribution to my Roth IRA ($350), a partial payment to the credit card ($500), electric bill ($52), a charity donation for a local food pantry ($25) and $600 transferred to savings. I left a few hundred in the checking to pay some small miscellaneous bills.

About the rents...tenant #1 (children in the household) said he could give us half of the rent this month because he still had to buy food and pay some utilities. We told him to hold on to the money and we would figure something out once he started working. He mentioned that he will start working next week. We just could not take the rent, not even half, when he has not been working at all. Money isn't everything and he is a good person. Tenant #2 paid via Venmo and we have not heard from the other two. We are prepared to pay the mortgages ourselves for a few months if necessary.

Reflection:
We are more fortunate than most during this pandemic. Nothing has been handed to us, purely hard work and knowing the importance of putting money away for a rainy day. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of people we know or people that my friends and children know. We are definitely not out of the woods by any mean. Husband and I have decided that when this storm passes, we will dedicate a good part of our income doing things that we've sacrifice throughout the years. We plan to travel more, donate more and enjoy life's simple pleasures.

Life is so unpredictable and short. Please be safe and well.

Update

April 20th, 2020 at 03:32 am

I honestly lost count on how many days we've been in quarantine. I think it's been 33 days with many more to go. As you may already know, New Jersey has been hit hard trailing New York. It seems that everyday, there are over 3,000 people testing positive for COVID-19. The last count for our town is 367 positive and 11 deaths. Our county is the ninth in the state with positive COVID. Our governor said that the curve has been flattening, but the amount of stories of people losing their love one is heartbreaking. The paper featured a story of a family who stayed on the phone with their dying father for 36 hours. They just wanted him to know that they were there even if it was not physically. I cried.

Not all is negative, lots of communities have banned together to collect food and money. Today, my BFF dropped off a bag of potatoes and beer for my husband just because I mentioned it in a conversation. On a personal level, I feel that this has brought me closer to my faith. Going forward, I hope not to take things for granted. Financially speaking, the last 30 days have been the lowest in terms of money spent on life. My cc closed yesterday at a little less than $800. It's usually about $1300-$1500. We charge everything and pay the credit card in full at the end of the month.

Please stay safe and well.

Pay day

April 15th, 2020 at 07:18 pm

It's payday today. As always, grateful that I still get a paycheck even when schools are not in session. COVID19 continues to be devastating in my state and in my town, there are close to 300 people with the virus and 10 deaths have occurred. One, a person that I was acquainted with. We went to the same high school. I confess that I've been an emotional wreck during this pandemic; I've been praying for humanity and those afflicted with the disease. I hope that when it passes, we come out of it better human beings. Both of my sons are still working so I pray for their safety all the time.

Financially, we are in a good place. The stimulus check will be used to pay the mortgage on one of our rental homes. So far, in that specific home, one of the tenants will not be paying his rent. We reassured him that we understand and to concentrate his efforts on having food on the table and utilities paid. He has two small children and their well-being is most important. He mentioned that he has enough food to last him for a while. Last month, I saved the $1,500 that we usually profit from the rental properties to cover part of the mortgages this month if necessary. That money used to go towards the FL house mortgage. The goal is to stay away from the savings account. So far, we've been reimbursed for homeowner's insurance and the escrow reimbursement is on its way (according to Wells Fargo).

That's it for today. Please be safe and stay well.