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heading into a new year

December 9th, 2010 at 07:06 pm

I've been faithfully reading all the entries over the past months because I'm absolutely fascinated with intentional/frugal living. It's amazing how just writing your goals and reviewing them occassionally helps.

Over the past year the basic financial tracking that I've done has helped with the low-grade anxiety that comes withb really managing my finances for the first time.

Thanks everyone---


September 30th, 2010 at 02:39 pm

Just made a $91.00 trip to costco for the next two weeks. ?enus for the next week: chicken posole, pork roast, pizza and salad, zuchinni,green beans and cauliflower. I? Hoping to find an orphan zuchinni at work...but so far no dice.
In the home improvement area: roof and all associated work is finished, the acid stain on the basement floor is nearly finished, the new kitchen lighting is waiting to be wired, the woodshed was built from recovered wood, and the firewood is stacked. Everything was paid in cash. Our days of a vacation every couple of months are. Long gone!
The next focus will be to pay off the house asap. $1000.00 extra this month.

six months later

July 27th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Wow, can't believe six months have passed since my last entry. I still have money on the mind (like many people). DH can expect 10 furlough days this year and sees his retirement investments dropping like a stone. He hopes to retire at 62 and my goal is to help him do that. My deferred comp accounts don't fluctuate much, but I expect that my job will furlough people soon. I need to hang in at least six more years (26 years) and then hope to find a job that pays for my insurance. That is, of course, if all goes well. The news is full of stories about people who thought they'd planned and then are hit with a medical or family emergency that wipes out the cushion they believed would help them get by.

Six months ago, I was complaining about our leaky roof. We're finishing up with the repairs to the car decking (wooden ceiling) and will have a check for the new roof in the mail to the roofing company this afternoon! The rains can come... although our part of the country is experiencing summer, finally.

My money plan is to start my financial year from 7/25/10 and to track our spending patterns for a year. Our rough budget is:

*insurance-(car, house and medical co-pay): $250/month
*car payment (low interest) - 355.00
*house payment- (including 500 principle pay): 2280.00
*house bills- (water/sewer/garbage,electric,phones,cable):600.00
*food: 300.00
*spending-300= 150x2
*gas- 150= 75.00x2
*travel- 377.92
*propane- 125

The remainder of any check will go to the "E" fund. A large part of the fund was used to pay for the roof which makes us both nervous--more reason to start saving!


January 4th, 2010 at 06:15 pm

Back to work in 2010. This is a landmark year because my finances have changed so much.


January 3rd, 2010 at 03:18 pm

Trying to prepare for the new year like many others. This month, the plan is to actually spend 300.00 for 2 people on the grocery budget. If I have the food ready, DH doesn't stop by the store to buy dinner. So far, turkey porcupine meatballs, turkey muffin meatloaves, chicken and brown rice ready for 5 lunches and dinners for the next couple of weeks. According to NPR, home cooking is going to be a trend... we just have to have salad and vegetables in the refrig and we'll be set. $100.00 remaining of the food budget.
We've hung 2 loads of clothes in front of the woodstove and haven't used the dryer yet this week-end.
Mentally preparing for the garage sale that we'll have as soon as: the weather improves (less rain and temps up to 55), and when we've cleared out more junk. It's usually a social experience and accoring to DH, having a clear garage floor will be glorious!


January 2nd, 2010 at 12:14 pm

There's a lull in the rain this morning. Thank goodness for that. Our roof was leaking yesterday (water drippping off the ceiling makes it very clear that our big priority must be saving for a new roof!) Our ceiling is wooden so it doesn't do damage to the sheetrock, but still...should we have buckets in the living room at our age?

Started doing inventory in the pantry, closets and garage to try to use more stuff up. After a month of not buying additional freezer stock, I can see inside instead of hoping nothing falls out on the floor.

Made an $800.00 payment to HELOC/total this month $1016.00.


January 1st, 2010 at 11:25 am

The holidays were fine, but I'm glad the festivities are winding down. My decorations are packed up for another year and the cleaning will be finished by this afternoon. I've been reading other entries that list goals for the new year which is right up my alley. My usual practice is to use the back of an envelope or the little notebooks I use to keep track of daily spending, but they're hard to find and so it's easy to lose track. This will work a lot better.

1. spending
a. use a budget for food and recreation
b. allowance in cash $150.00 each

2. Fun (pay as we go)
a. 12 activities away from home
b. record and post

3. Focused pay off of HELOC
a. total payment of no less than 1k
4. Roof
a. aggressive saving (20K)
b. agree on material- metal/comp?
c. obtain materials
d. commit to tear off date
e. hire someone

5. Rock wall
a. obtain materials
b. do the work
c. complete new planting

6. acid stain basement floor
a. remove furniture
b. clean floor
c. acid stain
e. poly finish


December 2nd, 2009 at 06:43 pm

Spent $17.00 for dry cleaning. DH and I sat down tonight and budgeted money for the month--big change from 10 years ago when we weren't married and had no idea what the other was spending. I was the one with all the secrets because I was ashamed of my reckless spending and ridulous amount of debt.

We have a trip out of town from Friday through Tuesday. We'll be with 4 other friends- sharing meals and trying to figure out bills. Agh...hate that part of traveling with others. Some of us will be walking in a Santa walk and on Sunday I'll be running in the morning in a big run. Everything for the trip has been paid, again, a big change from the past.


November 30th, 2009 at 06:31 pm

Hey, didn't spend anything today. I packed food for all day (chicken casserole and fruit) and managed to keep myself from thinking about spending money at the mall or the grocery store and was able to find something more useful to accomplish. Tried to get caught up at work and cleared files off my desk.Tonight, DH made dinner out of the freezer with enough left for lunches. Hope to have another day of using up food from the pantry, filling up my coffee cup from home and avoiding traffic from christmas shoppers. We have about 600.00 in major bills (insurance, propane, phone) to take care of this month. It is so nice to not be worried about where the money will come from. The next step will be to continue to add to our emergency fund.

last Sat. in Nov

November 28th, 2009 at 04:24 pm

Today will be dedicated to cleaning and maintaining. Boring but necessary- sharpening a couple of knives(done)--wiping down cupboards--cleaning drains(baking soda and vinegar makes a great show, done)--cleaning out the car--checking tire pressure--wiping off floor mats(done)--coloring hair (done)

**clothes ready for the work week--**consolidating household files--
**manuals for appliances in one place--**clean off pantry counter. That ought to take rest of the day. No spending today. Dinner out of the freezer and refrigerator. Chicken stew with vegetables. Made a lot--leftovers for lunches for most of next week. We'll be out of town from Friday to Tuesday. Will use stuff up that might perish.


November 26th, 2009 at 07:13 pm

Thanksgiving is finished. Thank goodness/ and here come the holidays...
I hope that I can be sensible around the black friday frenzy. My plan is to record my spending, to go shopping with a friend (most of my crazy shopping is done by myself) and to stop early for some exercise.
This holiday has been a little different without my Dad. He'd been gone (except for his sweet nature) for almost 5 years with his encroaching dementia. I'm sure he's some place with lots of fishing, lots of good food, Where old guys can tell wild stories on the bank of a river where no one's back hurts...Not too bad a place to go when you're tired.


November 24th, 2009 at 06:07 pm

I've had the flu for the past couple of days. Hope to be well by Thanksgiving day...or sooner. I've realized that a function of financial responsibility is to hold tight and try to enjoy the day without thinking about spending and consuming. It's challenging to balance planning and deferred gratification.


November 21st, 2009 at 01:23 pm

My running buddy stood me up this morning, got to run solo in the rain. It was early enough and rainy enough to keep people indoors, so no dodging dogs and folks out for a leisurely walk. My week-end routine has changed recently, but did include the usual walk through goodwill (no buying) and grocery outlet. I was too early for the turkey bowling event but the place was hopping. Got out of there quickly after buying more vegetables for turkey dinner #1.
Turkey cost $4.59
dressing mix .87
potatoes $1.00 for 10#
celery $1.50 for a lot
eggs $1.49 a dozen
can o' pumpkin from last year
fresh cranberries-freezer
brussel sprouts $2.00
flour- pantry
sugar- pantry
canned milk -pantry
All this adds up to be less expensive than one of those dinners in a box which have always sounded kind of intriguing.

By this afternoon, our household bills will be paid and we'll be paying principle with extra cash!


November 20th, 2009 at 07:04 pm

Today I only spent a few dollars I collected from the change jar on groceries. Brussel sprouts on sale at Top Foods... The refund check is in the bank and ready to pay this month's household bills. Tomorrow I'll pay them and the rest of the month is dedicated to principle payment on the HELOC.
30 minutes of cardio
good dinner from the freezer
good Friday evening time with DH
Tomorrow is another day.


November 19th, 2009 at 08:01 pm

Thank goodness the weather settled down a little. I'm home from work and enjoying fishsticks and wine. Fishsticks in their many forms are my favorite kind of junk food. These were waiting in the freezer after being picked up from our local grocery outlet. Wine from there too.
I'm attempting to clean out the pantry and freezer to prepare for the new year. I'll have to find recipes for canned beans, olives, hotdogs and lots of chicken parts. The focus for the next week will be the turkey defrosting in the refrigerator. The plan is to cook the bird this week-end and have thanksgiving in 2 session- this Sunday and again on Thursday. I have all food for the sides stockpiled over the last week. I was actually able to use a few coupons other than the ones that the grocery stores have in their weekly flyers.
**got 60 minutes of cardio tonight after work, running around the lake.
**got the thank you notes out
**scheduled dental appt-- next opening was 1/20/10
1. deposit reconveyance refund check (we're still not sure what it means- but it must have come from the HELOC)
2. 60 min cardio
3. schedule car maintenance-ouch
4. look for change
5. clean out hygiene products we'll never use


November 19th, 2009 at 08:23 am

My entry last night didn't go through because of the storm. Internet reception is poor at my house in the best circumstances-- but apparently something about the wind, power outage and sheets of rain affected my coverage.
So the update:
**bought stamps to send out thank you cards, almost $8.00
**didn't get 60 min of cardio--
**spent $11.00 at Goodwill-- prices there are getting too high( almost new pair of running shoes, nine west jacket)
**made dinner by candlelight(thank goodness for a gas stove, woodstove and city water. About 2 years ago our neighborhood was able to get a grant to upgrade our failing water system)


November 17th, 2009 at 08:22 pm

There probably are some benefits to writing about financial goals. I realized early this morning that spending $400.00 on Christmas is unrealistic and pointless. After spending a few minutes calculating how I could meet the other money goals I set yesterday, spending on the holidays is definitely not a priority. DH and I have our retirement spreadsheets on the refrigerator and that is definitely a priority. I'm sure that if I were a more enlightened person I could enjoy my job and think about ways to contribute until my 67th birthday, but it's truly not in me now. As it is now, 70 months and counting until retirement. That means paying mortgage, heloc and DH's car. It can be done.

follow-up on yesterday:
got 60 min cardio (I liked the comment about not making a production. The weather here is going to be rainy for the next, um, 7 or 8 months-- and so it's got to be part of the daily activities)
cashed out CD deposited
clothes ready to go
no laundry completed

5 things tomorrow:
1. 60 minutes of cardio
2. make an appt with the dentist
3. notes to the Aunts
4. thank you notes for funeral stuff
5. buy stamps

the question-are you making your life more complicated?

November 16th, 2009 at 06:25 pm

It's good to be back. My Dad died last week and it's been hard to get my equilibrium. I'm happy that he doesn't have to experience pain any longer and I'm aware that that true adulthood is here. In my world even if you have to provide care for your parents and don't agree with their choices, they're still in charge. I was lucky because my Dad and Step-mom were hard workers and my Step-mom was good at saving and economizing. They retired early with regular income and always saved a little money, even in retirement. I miss them both.

The question is, are you making your life more complicated? I'd have to say, sometimes. Credit card makes life more complicated because it limits your belief in your ability to do what you really want to do (even if it's a small amount). Bad lifestyle habits make life more complicated. Life over 50 is easier than it was in my 30's--although it would be nice to have some of that money in the bank right now and some of the strength and endurance in the body.

So, for tomorrow:
1. check on CD rollover
2. 60 minutes of cardio
3. laundry completed
4. clothes on the hanger for the next 4 days- makes exercise a lot more doable if your work clothes are ready to go at o'dark thirty.
5. pack lunch
6. cash in change and in the bank

Goals for the next 3 months:
1. emergency fund-$500.00 increase
2. house fund-increase $200.00
3. fun fund- increase $150.00
4. continue to max out deferred comp
5. christmas-$400.00

the details matter I guess...

October 25th, 2009 at 04:43 pm

Ok, I had high hopes that I'd be able to report that I'd saved money, not spent money and used some good frugality ideas this week-end.

Instead, I spent more money than I have in in months. $720.00 in medical, 40.00 food and 40.00 recreation. Not good... but not the end of the world, I guess. DH will still be able to retire on schedule and we'll continue to pay on the HELOC and the mortgage.

Spent Sunday seeing my Dad in the nursing home, going grocery shopping and cooking for the week. My work has an annual chili contest and I'll be ready for that on Wednesday because I've made a smoking texas red chili this afternoon. I also made apple-sauce, cooked a pot roast and am baking potatoes as I sit here at the computer tonight.

Dh is asking me to empty the compost and so I'll close this week-end by filling up the compost with my delicious apple peelings. Good night everyone.

A beginning

October 23rd, 2009 at 10:38 am

I've been reading financial improvement blogs for several years now and even though it seems a little like peeking into a stranger's window when they're most vulnerable, I just can't stop. Mostly because my relationship with money, managing money and just managing life is similar in almost every situation. Sometimes I'm fascinated by the trainwrecks that people can get themselves into and sometimes I'm impressed and intimidated by the skills that people use to manage their resources. When I read, I don't judge because I've made a lot of dumb financial moves. There've been improvements and hopefully there will be more to come. For me, my relationship with money is directly tied to my ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Those credit cards used to burn up in the old days when I felt kind of low. The areas that I want to track are listed.