Time slows down for no one and I am no exception. I can't believe my last entry was February.
Lots of things have happened and hopefully I can recap goings-on.
DS2 moved out back in February to live with his grandparents (my parents). Needless to say it was prompted by a disagreement between him and DH but since then things between them have improved. It was a very tense time and I hope to not re-live that again.
DH and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and we went to London. Wow! We loved it there and we even saw Queen Elizabeth. It was a fluke because we were just meandering around until we reached Buckingham Palace. Then next thing, her motorcycle detail drove out to the street to block traffic then her green car (Bentley?)drove out slowly. We actually saw her face! What a thrill!
We took a bunch of photos on DH's cell phone. When we came home, we showed a few then we decided to transfer the photos to our laptop so we can create an album. Well, somehow, the photos did not transfer and we lost all the photos. We are trying one more thing and if that doesn't recover the photos, then they are lost. Needless to say that I am devastated about that. All the fun we had and nothing to share.
So.... Here is some advice from a hard lesson learned for those about to embark on a trip of a lifetime like we did: backup your photos somehow, like upload them in the cloud, Facebook, email to yourself each day of your trip.
Another lesson learned: Walking in a metro city is not the same as walking in your neighborhood. It is more intensive, so if you are middle-aged and chubby like me, or simply not accustomed to lots of fast pace walking on sidewalks, side-stepping, mini-sprinting so you don't get hit by a car ... don't underestimate how bad you will feel at the end of the day. Be sure to pack some muscle cream or those back patches. And take care of your feet. By the end of our trip, even with comfy shoes with good support, my feet looked like I trekked the globe barefoot. Take an extra pair of shoes with support inserts. I plan to bring one of those little inflatable foot tubs and some Epsom salt next time I travel.
Crossing the street? Look RIGHT first! If you look down at the sidewalk curb, you will see that printed as a friendly reminder!
In England, they don't use washcloths so be sure to bring if you use them for showering.
I don't know where people there do their laundry because we did not see one single laundry mat in London and our hotel didn't have one. A good thing we brought one of those Tide Pods with us. I punctured it and poured the detergent in a ziplock bag. With that we did our laundry in the sink.
The Oyster Card is a must-have to get around. The tube is remarkably easy to use. It was DH preferred way to get around.
We flew with Norweigan Airlines and we recommend it. They don't fly from our own airport so we drove a couple of hours away to the airport they fly from.
Time slows down for no one and I am no exception. I can't believe my last entry was February.
My goals are:
Lose 6 pounds this month.
15 no spend days.
I received two free loaves of Pepperidge Farm bread from a friend.
I heard that there will be an Aldi store coming soon near my neighborhood. Yay!
There are two birthdays in my family later this month: my mother and DS1. We normally go out to eat so I will need to be careful of my intake on those days.
I will contact my CPA for an appointment to get our income taxes done this month. I would normally do this myself but when it comes to a small business, I don't want to take any chances and make any mistakes. It is very much worth it to me to have a professional handle it.
Where to begin! Well here goes:
Unsubscribed from Comcast internet service. ($89/mo).
Unsubscribed from AT&T cell service family plan ($223/mo).
Subscribed my parents to Consumer Cellular 1,000 talk minutes for $30/month. I bought them flip phones for $30 each.
Subscribed myself and DS2 to MetroPCS for $50/month. Once DS2 finds a job, he will get his own account.
DS1 subscribed to MetroPCS independently for $30/month. We all scored free phones and transferred our phone numbers.
DH still hasn't converted yet. It takes awhile for him to convert.
Before: 223 AT&T + 89 Comcast = $312
After: 30 (Consumer Cellular) + 50 (MetroPCS) = $80
Total Savings per month = $232
As for income taxes. Still waiting for DH's W2 in the mail.
I joined Weight Watchers for $45 for 3 months. I have lost 6 lbs so far.
As you can see from my sidebar, I have a hefty credit card balance to pay.
I have a 720 credit score. With that, I am looking for a credit card with the following features:
1. No annual fee.
2. Balance Transfer with 0% APR.
3. 24 month term minimum on 0% APR.
4. The most likely card that would grant $20k credit.
I am prepared to pay $400 per pay period ($800 per month) before the end of the term to get this albatross paid off.
If you are perusing the rates for a card similar, will you send me a link?
Well, I met my goal last month with my own money for my $1,000 emergency savings and my FIL gifted each of us $1,000 for Christmas.
I decided that in my Capital One 360 savings accounts needed to be fully funded.
Car insurance (due in March) = 500.00 (added 242.55 to meet goal) Deposits from my paycheck will be toward September's payment.
Gym annual fee (due in October) = 175.00 (added 118.95) I can cut this deposit in half since the next fee is due in October 2018.
CCW Club Dues and Extras (due in July) = $60.00 (added 53.80)
DS Guardianship and Senior Year = 500.00 (added 406.28) The "fully funded" goal is actually the rock bottom amount I needed. I am sure I will need more.
I will still contribute from my paycheck but I feel secure in knowing that these funds are set aside for the near future.
In the meantime, I still have the $1,000 rock bottom for emergencies.
My hopes are that in 2017, I can be a savings rock star like the rest of you superstars!
Has anyone ever heard of the website "Goodreads"?
They do not sell books but instead they are a site where people review books. You can also create a "want to read" list and also keep a list of books you have already read.
On the site, there is a link to books that the authors or publishers giveaway. I started last week entering for the giveaways and already won three books!
Check it out at www.goodreads.com
Just got a new client at the beginning of the month and have completed two inspections so far. I haven't invoiced yet but plan to at the end of the week. Nice to have some more $$$ coming in! Blessed!
In other news, I cancelled my personal training because my insurance premium has increased. So I am postponing using up the rest of my sessions for January (after the holiday eating extravaganza). I haven't been tracking my food and I know I am eating way too many goodies.
One of the department stores nearby is closing because they are not renewing their lease at the shopping center. So...everything is reduced drastically and I bought a Queen size comforter set and additional pillow cases. Regular price was $249 for the whole thing. Price I paid was $90 and change. It was a planned buy as in, I have been wanting to buy a new set for a couple of years but the price was way too high for a quality set. Our bed looks beautiful.
Check out my sidebar. My father in law sent us a $5k gift for Christmas (!k for DH, DSs and me). My uncle gave me $120 which will be $30 each for me and the boys. So that adds $1,030 to my emergency fund, catapulting my balance from $1,000 to $2,030. I'm so excited! I will reach my goal way before June 30th!
I am very thankful!
As of today, I reached my goal of $1,000 in emergency savings. That is approximately one month of my share of expenses. That does not include my husband's share.
Next goal is for three months of my share of expenses and I only have $2,300 to go. I set my goal date for June 30th of next year but I think I can get it by March or April.
I started this journey in September and I was able to meet this before the end of November.
My hope and prayer is that I will not need to tap into this.
A different goal:
I want to start a new car fund. My car can likely function for another 5 years so I want to start equivalent savings program as though I am paying a car payment. I will likely have enough for a down payment by the time I am ready to buy.
Ambitious for me. I sat down yesterday and put together our monthly expenses (bare bones expenses). Then I expanded the list to 3-months, 6-months, and 12-months. I decided, that even though I have debt, I need to make a serious effort to save beyond my initial $1,000 for emergencies. My goal is to continue saving to reach these milestones. My husband and I are at the age that layoffs, injury or illness can seriously impact our life. We are truly living paycheck to paycheck. My sidebar is updated with my savings goals. I'm very close to goal #1 and once I reach that milestone, I will put it in a CD. I truly hope we don't ever have a need to touch it.
In other news, inspections for my side biz are picking up from one of my clients. More money!
Breakfast: Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, coffee, Goodbelly.
Lunch: Overnight Oats and Orange juice.
Well we are in the middle of open enrollment at work and of course, the company said there would not be any premium changes. Yay! Oh, but wait, later they come to say that premium stays the same if you are union. If you are under SCA (Service Contract Act), the premium increases.
There has not been a wage increase for SCA contractors for the entire eight years of the Obama Administration. So, while everything else goes up, my salary has stayed the same.
So, with employee and children, the increase amounts to $74.02 per pay period or $148.04 per month. Swell! And we have a new insurance carrier. Luckily my husband has a job and carries his own insurance. Spouse coverage is insanely expensive.
I now have to figure out how to live on $148.04 less per month while trying to get ahead.
I received a free haircut at Great Clips and I got a 25% discount on my purchases at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I'm a veteran.
I bought some Christmas gifts and spent $160.
Went out to lunch with my mom and the boys and spent $60.
I know it is late but all veterans and active duty military personnel, first responders and their families for their service and sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy in our country.
Food: Over the weekend, I ate like a fool. I don't even remember what I ate. Weekend food tracking is tough.
Fitness: Sunday went to the gym for cardio.
Paid bills since it was payday on Friday. Credit card #1 is now under $14,000. So far this year I paid just over $3k on the card.
I am considering consolidating CC1 and CC2. CC1 has a lower APR and is fixed. I would like to wait for a promotional rate and get my balance lowered on both before I do this.
I anticipate next payday to be short since I had to take a couple of days off. Hopefully, I can make do with the shortage (about $160 less).
Breakfast - Coffee and a biscuit
Lunch - Not sure yet
Dinner - BBQ (DH is grilling tonight)
I completed one inspection today so that is $50 for me.
I decided to combine my emergency savings with my healthcare savings. The healthcare savings was really another emergency savings for the days I take leave without pay. The amount in that pot of money was at $190. So as of today I am a tad over $100 away from my $1,000 goal. I transferred $700 to Capital One 360 so it would grow a little bit faster because the interest rate is .75%. My credit union rate is .25%.
Breakfast - The usual
Lunch - Leftover quesadillas
Dinner - Black beans and rice
Walgreens = $22.97
$25 automatic deposit to savings on payday
$16.69 dividend check from Publix
$41.69 total deposit to savings
Has anybody heard of the 21-day fix containers from Beachbody? Walgreens has the el-cheapo version for $9.99 plus tax. I bought that on a whim along with some stuff I planned to buy.
Here is the link to the 21-day fix https://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/21-day-fix-simple-fitness-eating.do
Breakfast - The usual
Lunch - Scrambled eggs on toast and a banana
Dinner - Homemade chicken pot pie
Snack - Back to Nature Multigrain Flax Crackers and a coke.
Fitness - 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes personal trainer.
1-liter Coke = $1.07
Gas = $20
Check for niece and nephew's birthday = $40
Total = $61.07
According to Mint.com, here are my Spending Trends from last year (2015):
Auto & Transport $6,065.27
Bills & Utilities $3,565.28
Fees & Charges $3,080.93
Food & Dining (most purchases) $2,092.08
Business Services $1,750.35
Health & Fitness $1,315.34
Gifts & Donations $340.00
Personal Care $80.97
Misc Expenses $16.00
I'll have to examine the uncategorized and miscellaneous spending in particular to figure out what that is. But this gives a picture of what my annual spending is. If I am to put together an effective emergency fund and retirement fund, this is a good place to start.
Breakfast - The usual
Lunch - Leftover quesadillas (from last night's dinner) and a pear
Dinner - Chicken and rice
Snack - Back to Nature Multigrain Flax Crackers with some low-fat cream cheese.
Savings Recap for October:
Starting balance = 412.89
Ending balance = 687.00
Total savings deposits in October = 274.11
Some deposits were snowflakes (money from my aunt and my dad). The rest was on my own.
Goal for November = 100.00 (2 paydays).
Goal for December = 213.00 (3 paydays).
Food Flakes (total = $22.20):
From some coworkers, I received ...
a box of Kashi Teff Thins Crackers valued at 4.19
a box of Back to Nature Multigrain Flax Seeded Flatbread Crackers valued at 3.49
three lbs of Seattle's Best Medium #3 Coffee valued at 4.84 each or 14.52 total.
Breakfast - grilled cheese, coffee, Good Belly
Lunch - overnight oats and orange juice
Dinner - not sure yet
Fitness - 30 minutes cardio (that's the plan) and 30 minutes personal trainer.
Well, today is the first of the month and I got my interest payout of a whopping 11 cents (.25%) in my savings account. At least that makes a nice round number of 682.00. My goal is $1,000 by December 31st so I have five more paydays to go (two in November and three in December).
I lost track of my change jar total. I've been adding here and there.
Breakfast - The usual.
Lunch - grilled cheese, banana, pear
Dinner - beef stew and rice
Extra food - Halloween candy
Fitness - getting up off the couch several times to open the door to trick-or-treaters.
Well, today is the last day of the month and it is payday for DS1 who does a lot of the inspections. I managed to do three. He did 11 inspections and one shed tear-down and haul (with DS2 as his helper). Needless to say, he had a very good month.
In total, I earned from the side biz $150. He earned $625 and his brother earned $75.
DS1 is in college and has pockets during the day he can do these jobs. The schedule has evening and Saturdays open but most people opt for mid-day during the week.
Breakfast - The usual.
Lunch - Grilled cheese sandwich and a coke
Dinner - Fettuccini Alfredo with shrimp
Extra food - 2 snack cakes
Fitness - Cardio for 20 minutes and personal trainer for 30 minutes
My dad gave me $40 towards gas (even thought I told him several times it wasn't necessary).
My aunt gave me a gift of $70 cash.
I paid back DS1 $20 because he put gas in my car while we were away.
I spent $10 on junk food and lotto (basically I threw it away).
So I have 80 "snowflakes" left which I deposited in my emergency savings account. My sidebar is updated.
Breakfast - Scrambled egg and toast, coffee, good belly.
Lunch - TBD
Dinner - TBD
Fitness - Personal trainer at the gym
My expenditures from the weekend trip were minimal. My parents paid for the hotel rooms and food. I paid the rental car and fuel. They wanted to pay all of it but I put my foot down on that. The hotel and food was way plenty. I haven't tallied everything yet but I estimate about $500.
The weather could not have been better. It was cool, crisp and dry - not typical.
At the hotel on Saturday morning, there were four iguanas sunning themselves and roaming under tables while people ate breakfast. It amazed me at how they were unfazed. I asked a family that came inside after awhile if they were bothered by the iguanas and they said that where they are from, they are like chickens and they eat them.
My thoughts for those considering moving to South America as an expat to retire, spend some time in Miami just for a taste of the lifestyle because, trust me, it is different!
Breakfast - The usual
Lunch - Salmon with cream cheese on toast
Dinner - 2 slices of pizza
Snack(s) - banana and a pear
Fitness - nothing
I was able to add $44 extra to my savings this payday in addition to the $25 that I automatically transfer which put me over $600. I know that I can put in $25 per pay day and I have five paydays left which is $125. That would leave an additional $250 I need to find to reach $1k by December 31st.
I have an to do today inspection today (side hustle). DS1 has been doing nearly all of them so I need to get on the ball.
Tomorrow we depart for Miami (finally)for the weekend. Teacher planning day is tomorrow so I'm taking DS3 along with my parents. DH and DS1 & 2 are staying home.
The reason for the trip is to see my uncle with Alzheimers. My dad is the oldest living sibling and my uncle is the youngest son. I think they are about 8 or 9 years apart. My aunt from NYC is here to sit with my uncle (my mom's brother).
I am renting a car instead of booking the train. Last time it was 8 hours late. Though my mother would rather take the train but I can't stand it. It's boring and it feels eternal. I would have a hard time with delays. Its a 6 hour ride by car and a 9 hour ride by train.
Breakfast - The usual (overnight oats, good belly, orange juice, coffee)
Lunch - can of fruit cocktail, chicken salad sandwich
Dinner - Tater tots.
My mom fed DS3 leftovers from their last night supper after school. DS2 ate a large and late lunch at school. DS3 was still at school come supper time (but he packed a substantial lunch including snacks). DH and I were not particularly hungry. So as a totally dysfunctional and lame attempt at a masquerade of a supper, DH put some tater tots in the oven.
What can I say? Some days are like that.
In other financial news:
We received our checks from our clients from last month.
DS2 received a refund check from the college for a course that he dropped.
Yesterday was a no spend day.
Breakfast - Overnight oats, coffee, good belly, orange juice
Lunch - chicken sandwich and diet Snapple (I bought a case at the thrift store for $1.00 ... yes... 24 bottles for a buck)
Dinner - beef stew, beans, and rice
No spend day yesterday.
Anyone heard of "Birchbox"? My co-worker subscribes to receive beauty samples for $10.00 a month. She gave me samples that she says she knows she wont use and gave them to me in one of their cute boxes.
In the box:
Amika Dry Shampoo and Conditioner
Lip Laquer lip gloss
Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (LOL!)
Purifying 2 in 1 Charcoal Mask
Dr. Brandt Pore Dermabrasion Exfoliator
Dermae Sunscreen SPF 50
Marcelle Liquid Makeup Remover
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask (for hair)
I may give this box away as a gift to my uncle's neighbor who has been so helpful caring for him. I'm keeping the lip gloss though.
My aunt also gave me a lip gloss last night and it gives a gold tone to my lips (elegant).
Breakfast – Omelete and toast, coffee, Good Belly and orange juice
Lunch – Fish and fries
Dinner – macaroni and meat
Extra food - Chocolate candy
Gas = 39.45 yesterday
Today will be spendy
This morning, I will take my uncle to his doctor (he is open on Saturdays).
Then my aunt, my mom, DS3 and I will go to lunch and shopping. I need to pick up a replacement cell phone for my uncle and I wanted to buy one for my aunt. I need to research a frugal plan for her.
DS1 and DS2 will be going to a property mid-day to dismantle and haul away an old shed. DS1 is out now doing a home inspection (scheduled for 9:00 am). Then DS1 has to be at his part-time job later at 4:00 and comes home around 10:00 pm. I know he’ll be exhausted.
DH and my co-worker are friends so they are going a couple of hours south of here to my co-worker’s mom. She is in her 90’s and had several falls lately. So they are going to pick her up, secure the home, and she will stay with him until they find a better solution for her (round the clock care).
Breakfast - Overnight oats, coffee, Good Belly and orange juice
Lunch - Assistant manager did a cook out so I had boston butt roast, baked beans, potato salad and coconut cake and Coca-Cola. (Healthy? not!)
Dinner - 1 plain hot dog without the bun
Extra food - Chocolate candy and wine.
Fitness - went to the gym/personal trainer
Yes, yesterday was a major eating disaster. It will be better today.
Other than that, yesterday was a no spend day.
Today, I need to buy gas which will set me back between $35-$40)
Tomorrow, I will take my mom and my aunt shopping and I will need to pick up a replacement cell phone for my uncle since his died a couple of days ago, and I want to buy a basic one for my aunt. My uncle will reimburse me but the one for my aunt will be a gift.
That's pretty much it for now.
Not financially related but extremely upsetting. My last entry, I mentioned that I treated my family to lunch yesterday at the Golden Corral. We were there around 2:00 pm and left before 3:00 pm.
At 5:00 pm that same day (yesterday), a man came in to the very same restaurant location and set a woman on fire. She is now in critical condition. Apparently the victim was in a relationship with this man.
The irony is this. I normally don't look at someone's nametag, but I think this may have been the lady who was the server at our table.
Here is the news story: http://www.news4jax.com/news/woman-working-on-grill-at-golden-corral-suffers-burns
Prayers for this lady.
Breakfast - Overnight oats, coffee, Good belly and orange juice.
Lunch/Dinner - Golden Corral (spent $65.00 there)
Snack - none
Fitness - nothing
I left work at 10 am to pick up my aunt and my cousin who "escorted" her through the airport and rode with her on the plane. He is a retired NYC police officer so she could not have been safer. So I took them over to my mom's, then my uncle's, then went to buy some lunch for my uncle, and then we had lunch at Golden Corral. I treated my sons, my aunt and my cousin. My parents did not want to go.
My cousin wanted to fly right back to NY since he works tomorrow which interfered with taking my son to his therapy appointment. The only solution was my cousin to come along to the therapy appointment and then we take him to the airport afterwards. He made his flight on time.
My town is enormous and all that driving made me so tired! After that I check in with my mom and my aunt to pick her up (my aunt) to take her to my uncle's house [are you guys following so far or did I lose you two paragraphs up?] I helped settle her in and I gave her my uncle's house key and then I went home, got in my bed clothes, flopped on the couch in front of the TV and zoned out for the night.
I'm so glad I'm at work today because I get more rest here than at home sometimes.
Stopped at Wendy's for a Frosty Float. So good! $2.78.
Did my one inspection and there were trees down all over including on the roof. The place was already condemned and slated for demolition anyway. I didn't enter but I have a feeling that my client wants me to. I encountered that issue with another property before and I fought it. They still paid me. But honestly, why would you want an interior inspection on a property that is condemned? It doesn't matter anymore if there is damage or not. The city has determined the structure to be unsafe and uninhabitable. I would think that the municipality's warning signage is enough.
While at the property, I accidentally locked my keys in the car and I could not find my little magnetic box with the spare under my car so I had to call DH for rescue. He was on his way to his side gig so I caught him in time before he got too much further. He found it and placed it where I could find it. Crisis averted!
Did my workout at the gym and some laundry. That was my day.
Breakfast – Overnight oats, Good Belly, Orange Juice, Coffee
Lunch – Chicken breast sandwich
Dinner – BBQ Pork Tenderloin and tater tots
Fitness – Gym and personal trainer
Financial: Several developments came about yesterday.
I received a work order for an inspection from a client that hasn't sent one in a couple of months. That one should pay $25 and luckily it is near my neighborhood. I'll do this after work.
A potential new client is a landlord who needs help cleaning out his rental properties and preparing them for new tenants. We will meet with him at one of his vacant properties which is ready for work to provide him an estimate.
A work order from another client to remove a shed. My husband will decide how much to charge and will likely do the work on Friday or Saturday.
And my son has one inspection tomorrow, three on Friday and one on Saturday. That is a total of $250 that will go in his pocket at the end of the month. We pay him the full amount on any inspection he does.
That should help build up the account very nicely!
In other news, my aunt was supposed to fly in from NYC to help us with my uncle but then came the hurricane. So she is flying in tomorrow. I can't wait to see her! I love that woman because she is like a second mother to me.
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