Sunday, December 31, 2017

Retirement update

We have enough saved and set it up to ride out down turns in the stock market. We have it set up that payments will come in at 3 different times(we will have 3 different accounts )a month instead of just the first of the month and only once a month. I heard from a lot of retirees this is a hard adjustment. Dad has his set on 2. Mom O has hers on 3. Social Security comes in at the first of the month.

I take a sheet of notebook paper each month and deduct ALL the expenses out as I pretty much know what my utilities average and I use the HIGH side of that average. BEFORE we start even thinking of getting groceries or gas or spending money. IT took me a year (we were in a bankruptcy) to save 3 months expenses so I could put in the checking and deduct everything BEFORE we even got our first retirement check (which is Jan 10th). How I did this was add up monthly bills MINUS the things we could go without (Amazon prime, sam's club, netflex -we don't have cable, no groceries and only 2 tanks of gas, health ins costs. Times it by 3 and divided it by 52 as I knew I had a year to save it up. THAT amount was paid into ALLY bank so we wouldn't use it on a automatic withdrawl just like it was a weekly bill. I then added what ever I could save into our regular savings also and stocked piled using sales and coupons.

We still haven't settled on additional savings plan , key requirement when you retire and look at living another 30 some years as several in Hubby's family have lived over 100 and he's not 60 until next year. We have decided only 1 acct will be pulled from for now especially with buying a house and rehabbing it. We don't want to get into the mind frame of Ok we saved what we budgeted so we can spend the rest attitude at times we could save MORE.NOR do we want to run out and buy a ton of things for the new house. (FRUGALWOODS WEB SITE)

CHANGE IN HEALTH INS...OH HEAVENS help me from pulling my hair out... Hubby's company changed ins providers that take affect 1/1/2018 for employees.BUT he retired 12/1/2017 so should have been put on retirement health ins 1/1/2018....NOOOOOO some reason they put the wrong date in and it's going to be end of Jan  before that gets switched so I had to fill out paperwork FOR employee to make sure we HAD ins and then will have to do retiree paperwork. AT least they are making sure we are COVERED. Health ins money will go into a money market fund so I can keep that separate from the rest.

We are tracking each month what we spend in gas and where we are going. We know we will be going to visit parents more often and doing things with kids/grandkids. BUT we can't afford to just run all the time (the medical appts and retirement appts have worn us out this month). MOVING will be costly. We are pricing different ways to get it done.

With Daughter moving home (Pray for her as she has 2 places that should open up for her to rent in Jan) will increase the utilities but she brings enough leftovers home from her lunch at work that she covers her own dinners. She has offered to pay for the increase.

I can give myself a headache thinking the changes that will happen in the coming year.

Blessed Be

Monday, December 25, 2017

Dec 14th each frugal day until the 26th

14th I had appointment in town with ortho doctor about my surgery arm this morning so Hubby took me as I had other errands and he wanted to get gas (gas buddy and speedway card) He picked up my CVS prescription (FRUGAL FAIL forgot to show CVS card so didn't get credit towards extra bucks) while I was at the doctor's. I ran into Walmart after the appoint to get the 7 inch sq disposable plates I use to vacuum cookies and a new mouse for laptop. Mine died, Hubby gave me his so I got the new one for him.Got gas on way home as we found the other Speedway was 3¢ cheaper than to one we had planned to go to. Sat down and figured out how much taxes we would pay if we pulled money from the 401K this month on top of the earnings from work. Car is going down hill fast since the transfer case is no longer working, Used left over London broil with onions and mushrooms to make wraps for our meal. Hubby picked up the turkeys we are deep frying for SCARES on Saturday from a friend that bought them and had them thawing at his house, Hubby also brought home 2 sandwiches after he went to grandson's bowling meet. Used coupons for sandwiches so bought one and got one. He got the cheaper sandwiches instead of our favorites. Both of us are watching how much we eat not just what we eat.

15th. Had to go start paperwork for pre approval of mortgage for new home. Checked gasbuddy for cheapest gas, used speedway fuel card for discount, got breakfast sandwich for our lunch at Speedway as Hubby had a coupon for buy 1 get one free and they were $2 for the 2 of them so we got 2 sandwiches for $1 and we had our drinks. Mortgage guy said for not being out of a bankruptcy for even a year yet we have done very well at rebuilding our savings and  credit. Usually credit takes 2 yrs to rebuild after bankruptcy and if he hadn't seen the date he would have thought it was over 2 yrs (GO US) SIDE NOTE if you are or have been in a bankruptcy get a copy of your payments so if you go to get any kind of loan in the 4 yrs after you have that because they will ask for it. On the way home we stopped at a restaurant (planned) that we were told by Hubby's co workers that was reasonable... FOR LESS than the price at MC D's or WENDY'S we had a balanced meal and drink even with leaving a tip.I brought part of my sandwich and fries home.  We have 2 financial places. One with 401(k) work and one we rolled over pension to into an IRA. We contacted both of them to get that scheduled to get rolling as needed in mortgage. We snacked on what we had in frig when we got munchies.

16th Hubby fixed bfast from pantry. We have a Christmas dinner tonight with the SCARES so we will snack for lunch as we will be prepping 30 lbs of potatoes donated by our daughter, for mashed potatoes and deep frying 2 turkeys. Turkeys came from friend so our outlay is only the cost of the oil that we bought at Sam's club and we donate the used oil to a friend that heats his work shop with it and will give us "credit" for oil when we have work done by him.

17th  Started making candy and cookies for the kids from the pantry. Fixed today's and tomorrow's meals

18th Took our truck to mechanic for oil change and tires (on sale). Had MRI (paid by ins) of shoulder that had surgery during the summer

19th Had appointment with finance guy so used coupon and ate lunch at a restaurant we only are around when in that area. At leftovers for dinner.

20th Hubby was in Wapak to meet a couple friends so picked up prime rib we had ordered that was in that town also. We ate from the pantry as I was finishing cookies and candy so Hubby could make the snickerdoodles when he got in.

21st  We checked the kids schedules and routed the cookie delivery to be the shortest route. Our daughter paid for our lunch as we had to deliver the Christmas stuff to her at work.

22nd Hubby had bfast with ex co workers using a gift card he was given to pay for it. I made dinner from the pantry and freezer

23rd We were just hanging around the house when the dogs started barking and when I went to the door I found our one daughter that had been living with a friend climbing out of her car with her suitcase. One this child would not be on our door step unless it's last resort. The place she was suppose to get on Friday got backed up as the elderly lady isn't going into the nursing home until Jan now so she came home rather than stay with the friend and strain that relationship. We ate from the pantry and she talked about what she thought should be her "share of the housework, groceries and rules about coming in." I am not sure but it sure sounded a lot like the same rules we had when she was 17 and living at home LOL. She agreed she would help pay the electric bill , the only bill that will be affected by her staying here especially since we had to put an electric heater in the room she is using upstairs. She offered to take the items I am going to take to Goodwill with her and drop them off when she goes to work saving us a trip to town as the Goodwill is within a couple blocks of her job. She also started looking (again) for another place just incase the elderly lady doesn't go in to the nursing as what was planned.

24th Daughter went and got a couple of her sons and one of their girlfriends to come see us, she provided the drinks and snacks for everyone. We had the prime rib, daughter ate it as leftover when she got in and did the dishes (that was nice to wake up to a clean sink) and the 2 sons that usually come called after they got home from work. I put together a stocking for my daughter since she was going to be here separate from what we had already given her that she saved to open with her sons at their other grandparents on Christmas.

25th  We ate left over sweet rolls for bfast, snacky food that had been given to us for lunch and leftover prime rib with onions mushrooms for philly steak wraps for dinner.  Daughter came up with a menu from the pantry after I wrote out what we had going on this week so she knew where we were and could help take care of the dogs(which 2 are hers anyways). We also talked of shower schedules as she leaves for work at 9 and won't be home until after 6 and maybe later as she tries to help her ex run the boys to sports practice and games.  Hubby had to dig the cars out by hand as he didn't want to bother the landlord on Christmas as usually he has someone come take care of that.. We haven't had snow to amount to anything on Christmas day in 7 yrs. I put the prime rib bones and fatty meat to simmer for broth to finish the broth on Wed and sliced the rest for the freezer. I will give Army son some as he is bringing us some ham on Wed.

Tomorrow is the 26th  We will be at Daddy's to give him his presents (he has always celebrated Boxing Day as it was his mother's habit) We have gift cards that was given to us to take him out to lunch. Our other 3 daughters went together to give us cash to leave tip money and have gas to go. Daughter that lives with us had a friend let her know he was dropping off chili to her at work tomorrow so we will have that if we are hungry after getting back tomorrow. I also have homecanned soup if we don't want the chili.

Daughter that moved in ran vacuum and decluttered a WHOLE room AND my small desk. I really hope her OCD stays kicked in until we get 2 more rooms done LOL.

Blessed be

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas ,Blessed Yule, Happy Holidays

May you and yours have blessing overflowing. May you find peace, happiness and be content no matter what life throws at you.

Blessed Be
Juls Owings

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

13 days into retirement

You can barely see Rascal (black dog)..just his eyes reflecting the flash LOL . It's a 3 dog night most nights but Rascal has always left the bed after he thinks I am asleep and Wilbur (boxer) has taken to getting up and going to curl up with Hubby on the couch. Hubby sleeps sitting up due to health issues. Charlotte (white fur) sprawls and she's only going to be 6 months on the 18th.She was suppose to be a medium size dog like her parents but the husky is coming out in her with her LONG legs . She's as long as Rascal and Wilbur and almost as tall.

Our days have been medical appointments as much as we can squeeze in this last month on the better insurance. Medical for the 5 infections I have picked up Thanks to having strep throat and not knowing it and another medical for my surgery arm that was doing good but has locked up now on Thursday. ADD dogs out (especially Charlotte as she is still potty training lol and does NOT bark will growl and yip but no bark) and dogs in.Add to that we are looking for a house...might have found one but still looking until the day it closes. Hubby has added attending a sporting event for each of the 3 grandsons that is playing. I've been able through the years to catch at least one for each but he hasn't with working. One of the positives of being retired. Plus he will be having breakfast with his 3rd shift coworkers once a month and breakfast with die cast coworkers every 4-6 wks

Pantry is over stocked... (I do have a place I can get boxes for the 1000 plus canning jars I have full ). I have canned goods where I don't normally have them so made a list and posted it on the side of the frig of what and where and the date I put it there. We have found a menu does not work for us as we end up stretching the meal for 2-3 more meals.Good to stretch the food might also be bad to stretch is as the food isn't getting used up LOL

Money is tight as we won't get regular income for a year maybe two. Add on to needing 2 vehicles and the down payment for a house.We have a budget, it's the amount Hubby would get if he collected social security at 62. Daddy was living on his investments and in 2008 lost everything except the assets so had to live on his social security. It was not a pretty picture but he did it. He still only spends $35 a week on his groceries, eating soups mostly. My niece does his grocery shopping once a week with her own shopping as she is within 5 miles of him when she is shopping. Gives her excuse to stop in and check on him also.

I am watching as we seem to nickle and dime ourselves by going to the now it goes on a post it on the microwave and WHEN we go to town for another appointment we can decide to either go get it or wait until the next trip. I pitch the store ads when they come in the mail. Don't need to think wow ...that's on sale...I can shove it somewhere .

I haven't been to the store since Dec 1st. Mom O who has been retired now going on 20 yrs said this is really good. I have to make sure the milk expiration date is at least a couple weeks out to stay out of the store.

Deciding where to put the investments is hard. I read JL Collins The Simple Path to Wealth . I used to read the Morning Star online and I have watched CNN about the stocks. Stocks is risky but treasure notes. money markets and annuities are not going to make you money for the long haul. I interviewed 4 financial advisors and picked the one closest to my decisions that does sort of want to bang his head against a wall when I bring up paying cash out of investments instead of paying interest and private mortgage insurance for 10 yrs like they suggest we do.

I decided since Hubby is clueless and wants to remain  clueless (not really he just doesn't want the stress ) that we would be invested with 50/50 mix, 50 stock and 50 bonds. PLUS we were going to pull the down payment and enough money to get a new to us car (Daddy can't get in the truck) along with the taxes. I read JL Collins book The Simple path to wealth and read Frugalwoods blog about retirement. Might pay cash for the house. Then we wouldn't have to worry about a down swing (remembering 2008) and not having money to make the mortgage. We could easily live off Social Security.

Blessed Be

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What We did this week that was frugal

I signed up again for Frugalwoods Uber  frugal month challenge for January

Hubby borrowed a book from EMA to study for the test to move up the ladder with his HAM radio license. The test is free for him.

I dug through some gifts/candy that I had bought before and divided it up as Christmas gifts

I opened the curtains for sunshine to help warm the house and closed them before it was dark to keep the warmth in. When the wind is over 25 mph I close the bedroom door to keep the heat in the front room. Wind sucks the heat out right through the walls it seems.

I finished either putting plastic on the windows or taping them shut to stop drafts.

I turn off lights in rooms we are not in, except Christmas lights. We only keep them lit during certain hours.

Hubby has moved his laptop to the dining room during the day so he is not turning on the lamp, he sits in the darkest part of the front room as it's on the north end of the house.

I turn the printer off after using it.

I turn my laptop off at the power strip after using it.

I turn my coffee pot off at the power strip after using it., I reheat in microwave then end up drinking it cold anyways from sitting when I side track doing something so I am getting to the point of not reheating it all the time.

I washed the laundry with full loads on short wash with homemade laundry soap and dried some on the drying rack and others in the dryer using the sensor instead of the timer. By using the sensor I have noticed I am not over drying and not having static cling issues

We ate leftovers/planovers most of the week. I "refilled" the paper towels (pup is getting better about making it outside but still has accidents on the way to the door during the night) toilet paper, dish soap, Hubby's vitamins, dog biscuits and dog dental bones from the pantry supply which my kids call Mom's grocery store.

My doctor gave me some free samples of a medication he wanted me to use but was worried about it triggering my Crohns. Didn't want me to spend the money and then not be able to take it. As long as I eat before and after taking it I do okay. So he gave me a prescription to finish out.

I turned the lotion bottle upside down into a container. I had added water to a couple times but thought there was more, sure was as I am going into week 2 of still using it.

I put an old wool blanket rolled up at the bottom of the staircase to the upstairs to keep the cold air from coming down as we don't heat the upstairs at all.

I canned beef broth.

I canned turkey with broth.

I canned turkey broth.

I canned ham broth.

I cut the pork shoulder roast into 3 meals, froze 2 and made bbq pulled pork with the third which has left enough leftovers that I am putting what is left in the freezer for another meal.

Hubby bought the 2 picture frames for Christmas gifts at Walmart using a gift card we was given last year and 100 lbs of dog food during Menard's 11% rebate sale...using rebates we had gotten back, I finished the last of the Christmas shopping except for a kitten that I was just told is my new  four legged great grandbaby , his name is Milo.

Hubby ordered the Christmas Prime rib as he was told by a friend  that goes to the same butcher shop it was down to $6.95/lb, We might have both sons at Christmas unless they work or the weather is bad.

We have combined errands with appointments. This has been a juggling act with medical appointments since I am fighting now 5 different infections (doc is to the point of calling me after hours or seeing me after hours), with different stops for meds and we are looking at houses to buy since Hubby retired and we don't need to live around here any more for his work. We also keep a list of houses we want to look at when going to see family so it's not a "special" trip to look at the property.

I used my Amazon gift card that I earned through our health ins to pay for Raw apple cider vinegar with mother as my doctor would like me to start a combination drink of it with honey and lemon juice in water. That pretty much finishes off that gift card.

Since I am having trouble sleeping due to meds I am doing Swagbucks. Keeps me from moving around and bothering Hubby while he is trying to sleep because the dogs will start playing if I move around much at all.

We had 3 different houses in the same area, the realtor really pushed to get us in all 3 the same afternoon.

We are very interested in one that we had drove by several times. We have a contractor doing a walk through on Tuesday as we want to apply for a FHA 203K rehab loan as it has no heat, no electric and no plumbing at it is an AMISH house with 5 acres.It does have a 2 seater outhouse connected to the septic tank/leach bed (reminds me of my childhood). We will see how this goes. Depending on what the cost of bringing it up to "Englisher" standard and the owners accepting it if no one else bids on it before we get this paperwork all done as we had a regular loan available but it won't cover the house at all due to no utilities. We have to meeting for the loan on the 15th in the morning  to see if its' doable we are basing what we can afford to pay on what Hubby would bring in with social security at 62. My Daddy had to start living on just SS in 2008 when he lost over 50% of his investments in the stock market . I already made it clear I didn't want to make things tight for us to meet the payments and our loan officer said he was thankful I gave him the amount I am willing to pay so he can say , hey this is going to be over that or  SCORE LOL Trying to not get my hopes up as it's a great house and wouldn't be hard to switch over to wheelchair accessible which we KNOW is in my future.

I dug out the fake tabletop Christmas tree we had bought in 2008 for the 800 sq ft rental we moved into. Hubby feels better now and so far the pup, Charlotte, isn't trying to get ahold of it and since it's table top Wilbur doesn't think of it as his bathroom LOL. Our dog Rascal is used to fake and real Christmas trees and doesn't bother them.

We are a little bit over budget with Christmas but way under budget with the cookies and candy.

I downloaded a free Kindle book

Got a free calendar from a company  through Shutterfly . I uploaded some pictures and paid the shipping, saved over $25.

Hubby is doing a TRX exercise class twice a week at the plant's wellness center. We pay $26 a YEAR to be members so the classes is free.

I got a deep tissue massage at the wellness center, two hours for $62 including tax, lowest I have found in this area is $50 for one hour.My doctor ordered this but our insurance doesn't pay for it.

Arm that had surgery in Sept is not working right, can't lift the arm above shoulder or move it in certain ways when I was already doing that, made appointment to see Doc on Thursday while still on the better ins.

Shopping list has been sitting on the front of microwave for four days. We waited until we were already going to town for an appointment.

Head guy at SCARES (ham radio group for Homeland security) asked Hubby to go to town and take unit (old ambulance) in for an oil change. We worked it out to be done when we are already in wasted gas.

We used our Krogers points for fuel saving $35, filled up the truck and some gas cans for the generator, sounds like we might be needing it with the weather coming in.

Made Swagbucks goal 7 times , wasn't easy .

I mended a hat and a dog toy.

Hubby replace the board  to my root cellar shelving unit that got destroyed by a leaking water jug using scrap wood we had .

Limiting who I am sending Christmas cards to. IF I didn't get one from them last year I won't send one this year. Most are now doing FB or other social media. Just not the same for me.

Hubby was asked to do an interview with the company's "magazine" Instead of driving the hour for the interview the person called him and did it over the phone to save him time and money.Since they had taken a new picture for his retirement badge she was going to use that as the picture for the article. It's about him doing CPR on a friend/co worker at work. It was a really really bad heart attack and no one expected him to live (doing great and even back to work). ER told the man's family he made it because Hubby worked hard on him until the rest of the squad got there. Plant is updating equipment also.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Grocery store shopping 1st week of Dec

I have been slowly decorating the house .The candles on the mantle have a red bulb, in a colored picture they look like pink smears according to my son. He liked this picture best. Still haven't decided if I am doing anything with the chandelier this year.

We had some friends that wanted us to meet up with them at Hong Kong buffet. We used a coupon and it was in the budget so we went.

 Since we were going to be  in town we decided to go to the store so I checked what we needed to what is now our basic list. We didn't need much. At dinner our friends who was just at the store told us about the pork shoulder sale and the hamburger sale.

December food budget is $260 .Non food is $100...dogs stuff is on separate budget.

I spend $104.52. saved 29%. I got pork shoulder with bone for 94¢/lb (normal price $2.49/lb). I got 9.36 lbs. I got hamburger $1.99/lb(normal price $3.33). I got 6 lbs  I got mushrooms (one white and one portobella) with coupon of 50¢ on each package and I picked the marked down packages saving another 50¢ each. I got milk $1.59. I let Hubby pick out some sweet rolls and he got some canned biscuits for some meals he wants to make (I can also deep fry them into doughnuts and doughnut holes). I noticed he went with the cheaper ones instead of the name brand like he is used to.

This morning we ordered some items from King Arthur Flour after checking to make sure it was the lowest price we could find of somethings he wants to try. I used a discount coupon I had and got lower shipping also.

We now have $71.84 left in food...that is plenty for any produce or dairy we need.

Hubby ordered ink refills for his pen that was cheaper than the pens he had been using (out of non food). He has problems with his hands when holding a pen or silverware. We have been searching for silverware...think we might have found the one we both feel comfortable with.

Menu got tossed out the door with how we both have been hauling butt getting things done. We know we have another busy week with making a trip to see Daddy, massage therapy for me(it's at night for 2 hrs) and 3 appts for both of us. SO I have to sit down and figure that out. Plus I haven't  transferred things to the new calendars either. That can be today.

Blessed Be


Hubby is officially retired from the plant. He has been asked repeatedly what he is going to do now. We figured it out with in hours...not clock in at the plant....make coffee...let dogs out and in ...he might retire quickly on the dog part as he was not thrilled to be up at 2 am since he was not at work. Ended up with both of us up and wide awake.

I do have a post it note on the microwave of his honey to do list...there is 2 things on it. My honey do list is 5 pages long LOL.

We divided the home blessing. I swish and swipe the bathroom, shine mirrors and windows, dust and declutter .He vacuums and hauls out trash and Goodwill donations. We will share sweeping and mopping the kitchen, butler's pantry, mudroom and bath as long as we have a swiffer wet mop. We both do laundry and dishes. Not sure what days that all will happen on as I won't be trying to not be noisy while he is sleeping.

We have to figure out going to the end of the lane for the mail since he won't be picking up as he leaves for work. Mail box is  2/10ths (why do they not call it 1/5th?) of a mile down the lane.

I might have to start crossing days off on the calendar to remember which day it is, we've lost track a couple time when he was on shut down.

MEAL is a big issue as our eating schedules are the same... I don't eat much bfast if any, he eats a bowl of cereal or something light because he was going to bed. I eat lunch at 11:30 with meds, he doesn't want to eat lunch since he is fighting sleep, I eat a snack at 2 with med , he wants to eat lunch if he is awake. We decided to have dinner at 4:30 so we could eat at the table instead of on tv trays and catch the news. THEN he wants a snack at 11 pm because that was his break at work and was hungry at 2 another break time at work. I can guess around 4:30 this morning he will be hungry also as that is his work lunch time. PLUS we haven't stayed with our menu at all this week. We see where the issues will be on that part.

It's going to be an interesting year.
Blessed Be