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Sold House, Moved to Condo

August 28th, 2011 at 08:40 am

Long time no check in!

Short story that took a majorific LOT of work... On 6/24/11 we sold our three story house and downsized into 3 bed 2 bath condo. Paid cash. Moved. Still debt free!

Went on vacation on 8/13-8/20. Home. Still debt free w/$130 still in the vacation fund to apply to next year's vacation.

The condo we bought is in a nice gated quiet community. One story unit with very nicely done courtyards front and back and no neighbors upstairs. Security guards make the rounds several times a day. Some one else does all the yard work & outside maintenance. Pool is just across the walkway. Very close but far enough not to hear any noise. All bills paid except electricity in the presently very reasonable HOA fees of $290 a month. Showers are already geezerhood ready w/nice handbars and a low threshhold, etc.

We are very happy with the major decluttering that took place to get here. Many items went to auction, given to friends and family and lots of Craigslisting and ebaying went on and many many trips to donate to the Goodwill!

Paying cash for the unit has run us to the nearer end of the bottom of our cash position, so that will have to be re-beefed! Still have not begun to withdraw any $$s from retirement funds and don't expect to have to for quite some time. Paying the HOA fee & electric bill by autodraft is making life pretty simple. Now I just have to pay the CC bills which I still payoff monthly. The unit is all electric so that's a switch that I'm having to get used to, but so far the two electric bills I've received seem reasonable enough.

Hubbie just turned 65 this month and he made it to Medicare with no major medical mishaps which would've likely wiped us out financially as we had no medical coverage for him. Hurraaaaaaay for him on all counts!

For you new folks who don't know me - I just want you to know that saving and being in anticipation beforehand of life's financial events can turn out okay for you! Don't give up!!! Budgeting may be a pain in the patumpkus at first but the benefits are worth the effort.

Well, folks that's all the current news fit to print. More again later if I think of it. If it seems as if I had abandoned you all, I apologize. Life was just too too busy to even think about much computering!


Habitat's Resale Store Comes Through!

August 31st, 2010 at 02:35 pm

We've been looking for a new cabinet to go over the stool in the bathroom remodel. The one I had up there was an antique-y looking one (crackle paint & old hardware) and Hubster thought it time for something else for prospective buyers. Ehhh.

The ones at the big box stores look like crap and they wanted at minimum $115 plus tax for them. I had checked at three different stores and nothing looked any good and the prices seemed awfully exaggerated for what you were getting. No sale.

CashHappySon and I went yesterday to metro area to do some banking and while we were there I thought we might as well take a chance and look at Habitat for Humanity's resale Store where they sell old and new lumber type items. Score! I wasn't exactly sure it would work so took Hubster over there today and we found the closet doors we also need for another room and the right cabinet. Total for 2 solid wood louvered closet doors and a bathroom cabinet? $16.28. Yippy-Ya! Lurv a good bargain.

I will have to repaint the cabinet, but I don't mind - I'd much rather do that than overpay for something ugly to begin with. I'll try to get some pics of the before & after looks to post later.

Also, I will likely take the old cabinet to the junque' booth and sell it at a good profit. It'll be all profit as I got it for free to begin with.

Lux Bites Bullet In Upcoming Bathroom Re-do

August 28th, 2010 at 04:40 am



This past week - we've met with and ordered from our plumbing contractor a new bathtub and surround, which will run about $1610 installed. Had to do it - the vinyl bathtub has been cracked for awhile (whoever installed it before we bought the house did not get the concrete base down correctly) and the tape job Hubster did to keep it from leaking was an okay short-term fix, but it's been needing doing, so we're biting the bullet. One less thing for potential buyers to balk at.

I went earlier in the week and bought the new hardware for the shower and replacement matching faucet for the sink, new towel hooks, toilet paper holder, new toilet seat, flush handle, valves, doo-whichies and doo-ma-bobs, etc. to the tune of $400.

Waving bye-bye to $2000 not so fun necessarily, but something we have saved for, so nothing debted for.

While I was at the big-box lumber store I was happy to see that to just buy the stuff to do the tub & surround in the materials we chose? $1474 plus tax, so it is very much to our advantage to have someone who knows what they are doing being the wrecking crew & installer instead of us. Cost difference is minimal - $136!

http://www.onyxcollection.com/onyx-shower-wall-panels.html

Boys and Hubster working hard on the yard this week. We got another load of the ice storm firewood to Dad, and there are probably 8 or more loads left! I bought my crew ice cream sundaes last night to the tune of $11 and change. Ordered a birthday DVD gift for $25ish yesterday off ebay.

My continued absence...

June 10th, 2010 at 05:54 am

Since I was last here...I've been on a weeks vacation in NM and AZ w/the parental units visiting family, then my brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly, then another week's vacation in Missouri w/FrugalSon as Hubster stayed home to be with his sister, then my older brother passed away and we had his funeral.

Many of you may remember my posting about the last time he was in hospital...COPD and diabetes. Give up smoking now and save your family some grief later, okay?

We then spent some time cleaning up brother's affairs and then we (Hubster, FrugalSon and CashHappySon and I) went on another vacation, this time to Arkansas. Now, I'm back in my spot, hopefully for the summer and can catch up with you guys here on Saving Advice dot com!

Vacations? All paid for in cash AND I ended the travel season w/$60 left to put back in the pot for next year's vacations. YEAH for advanced anticipatory budgeting! It works.

Another financial event of note is that while we were gone on the last trip Hubster's final tier of unemployment benefits have ended. We are now totally going to be dependent on our retirement savings, Social Security and his carpenter's pension. I think we've got life covered, but it may run close at times. Saving MORE while you're working? Always a great idea!!

Today's Five Plus

November 28th, 2009 at 07:41 am

DONE-1)Shower, Dressed, Makeup, Breakfast & Vitamins.

DONE-2)House checking & Money Markets checkbooks balanced.

DONE-3)Stop an old autodraft before 1st.

DONE-4)Add new autodraft that will cover auto insurance, house insurance and house repairs their monthly pro-rated amount that we set back. To-do's numbers three & four are the result of insurance shopping that Hubster took care of for us - nice savings included! It paid for us to shop around - our new insurer is AAA. Twice the coverage and about $500 a year less cost! I'll take it! Auto insurance was due for renewal 11/30 so that's all spent, but there should be about a half of a year refund coming in on the house insur.! Old Agent - Send it!! Big Grin

DONE-5)Set up CC payments for Dec - 56.14 & 23.15 balances on two cards. We never carry a balance any more. EVER. 69 days TOTALLY DEBT-FREE and counting!

DONE-6)Paperwork filing.

DONE-7)Recharge camera batteries.

DONE-8)New entry here showing my spare bedroom BEFORE & AFTER pics. After repainting the bed and investing in different bed-linens.

DONE-9)Clean out purse.

DONE-10)Sketch out painting idea for Jeffrey's Penny Experiment. http://www.pennyexperiment.com

DONE-11)Get old comforter & shams listed on Craigslist.

12)I've been eyeing the closet in the spare bedroom. The clothes/shoes/stored items all need to come out and the walls & shelves in there need a coat of paint. Actually while doing that I need to 'encourage' Hubster to help me change the way the shelving is in there to add some more up top storage - we now have a LOT of wasted space. There is probably wood in the attic that could be used to add some more simple storage shelving. He's not up yet - he'll be thrilled with this idea - NOT!!!

The reason I want to get into this closet is there is a bunch of his parents' stuff that needs going thru and either shared with siblings or gotten rid of. So far, it's just THERE, overlooked and neglected, as it will stay unless I press the issue.

This is their jewelry, his Dad's coin collection, and family photos. I feel bad - he has two sisters who could be enjoying some of their Mom's jewelry. The coins and Pop's jewelry could possibly be worth something as well, and they could all probably use a small cash influx right about now, and the family photos ought to be shared.

13)Work on FrugalSon's & my personal (not House) budgets for 2010.

Okay - that's today's direction. Here we go!

---

Yesterday was a No Spend Day for the housebudget. Well, it was no-spend if you don't count that we popped off and invested in ING's 2% CDs yesterday. I don't consider that 'spent'. AND, while I had planned to pay yesterday for the meal out w/family, you can't beat my Dad to any restaraunt and pay first. He's a sweet little pain-in-d'patumpkus that way!

The whole way there I was encouraging Hubster to speed up or he'd beat us there and have already fixed it up with the cashier. Sure enough, he was there first. If I'd of been driving, we MIGHT have made it there early enough, but Hubster drives like your Great-Grandma on a handful of downers! I have to read in the car or go further C.R.A.Z.I.E.R. than I already am!



Found out yesterday that Dad will likely be having cataract surgery within the next month or so. If it's on a Friday, sister will drive him. Any other day of the week, I'm his chauffeur, and I'll need to budget gas money for that. Glad to do it - he often takes long driving trips to make his living/playing, it's worrisome enough for my 78 year old Dad to be out driving cross-country, so at the very least I need for him to be seeing well! He doesn't have to keep working, but does like a mad-man. He's a very hard worker.

The Emperor Will Have No New...

November 7th, 2009 at 03:16 pm

The Emperor will have no new clothes. At least not for awhile. Up to my eyeballs in calculator tape revamping the Frugalis Family housebudget. Better hope Santa puts clothes on the list for those here who need them as there is no room at the inn for new clothing. Being up in the air over the possibility of healthcare coverage for Hubster sees me throwing all extra dollars into the Medical category until we find out exactly what kind of coverage we'll be able to get.



Nope, not Hubster, he has better knees.

Today has been a No Spend Day.

Yes, we paid off the house, but those dollars are going into future house repairs or updates. For now.

His Inner Sanctum Violated

November 2nd, 2009 at 07:06 am

Yesterday was spent working on a really detailed networth statement and cooking a fabulous Sunday dinner.

On the norm I just catch the various bank accounts & retirement funds, but yesterday went to zillow & edmunds and did a more in-depth look at where we are at starting Hubster's official "Golden Years" with ALL of our assets! Not too shabby. Could of been a lot better, but for us, it's looking better than expected and Hubster was quite pleased with the "If We Cashed in All of Our Chips" numbers. I am too!

One of the things I'd been forgetting to put into our networth calculations is our burial plots. Ours are paid for already but we might end up selling & replacing them in a different location. Depends on if we decide to downsize and where.

Today I've got a To-Do list that far outnumbers five - there are 45 things on my list! Boy, am I behind!!

The majors today will be:

{x}2/3rds - filler now drying - 1)Filler on twin bed veneer. It's outside and up on the working platform.

[X]DONE w/a snafu - 2)Buy paint for above project. - Got the paint, started on back side of headboard. More gray looking than the deep black. I tried to tell the guy in the store that it didn't look right - he was filling in from electronics - but he insisted that it was right based on how dark it looked when dry. It did look dark, but I've got to go back tomorrow now as it just looks like a funky gray on the bed. POOODLES & FARTZWAZZLES!!

[X]DONE - 3)Mail off tube.

[X]DONE - 4)Content placed on my other blog.

[X]DONE - 5)Write & mail off sympathy note to friend's family. Long time ill, she passed away this weekend.

6)Get those newly figured out categories into YouNeedABudget software. I upgraded my software this weekend and we're going to be starting a fresh new budget this month with some newly aligned goals and taking into consideration the different income sources we're firing up. Keeping spending in a tight line will be KEY!! A fine balancing act, if you will. Of course we want to put off withdrawing from our retirement accounts as long as possible.



[X]DONE - 7)Get these entries up on Saving Advice!

Yesterday was a No-Spend Day.

I have a dime on my keyboard to start off November's $20 Challenge.

$20 CHALLENGE

$000.00 beginning balance
+000.10 laundress pay
_______
$000.10 Nov MTD

2009 Challenge Total $993.45
Cumulative Challenge Total $2047.21

Sicily's baking inspired me and I grabbed out my sourdough starter yesterday and made some fantastic sourdough rolls and I also made a chocolate pie. My fellows thank you Sicily!

While I'm out today I'll be making a bank run and depositing October's $20 Challenge Money. Yes, Pigger squealed again when I violated his inner sanctum!

And, speaking of inner sanctums, remind me to tell ya'll later, but Hubster has a stalker - one of his old fellow employees now hopped up on meth!

Back from the Races

October 29th, 2009 at 06:18 am


Yesterday was a new day at the Frugalicious races...

Got up early and Hubster and FrugalSon loaded up the back of my pickup with wood for my Dad using the wheelbarrow as I was not venturing back into the muddy yard with my truck again after getting sunk and stuck the other night. I picked what appears like the last of my tomatoes for the year and took about half of them for Dad.

Then Frugalson & I loaded up and went to the bank and got my signature on Hubster's Carpenter's Pension notarized and then scooted on over to the post office and got it mailed off.

We took off on the backroads and drove the hour and half trip to my Dad's and he and FrugalSon unloaded the wood while his wife and I visited. They got through and I got to visit with my Dad for about 30 minutes and then we started heading back.

Dad had slipped me $40 for gas. He can well afford it and if he didn't get wood from me? ...he'd be buying it from someone. Nice. It takes about $50 to fill my truck and I can get one full trip to his town and back out of it, plus some other running around my town. Last trip was on me.

I needed to treat my helper to lunch so at his choice we stopped for a burger basket, frosty rootbeers and had the rare treat of fried pickles as an appetizer. Yummers. $17.23 + $3.00 tip.

After lunch we stopped at a good garage sale. I bought myself two nice little side-tables - they are very heavy, have a cute rustic style to them and are formica-ed on top. So useable with those tops & too Too TOO cute to pass up.

I don't know that I NEED them, but will try to work them into the house. If they don't work out I might sell one or both of them in my booth at a profit. Or maybe FrugalSon can use them downstairs in his apartment. They are sweet little tables & at $25 for the pair, I can easily double my money. The finish on the legs is a bit aged, but they could be really cutened up w/some beige or antique white paint on the legs! Or, even some barn red or a forest green for a bunkhouse or cabin look. Here's one of them before cleanup:





Also bought myself a cute new to me denim jacket for a $1.00, and the guy running the sale, who was flirting with me ended up giving me a paperback for free - wooo, a big spender type! Big Grin

He was a nice man, but kind of overtly obvious with the compliments, thinking my son was my husband because obviously I couldn't P.O.S.S.I.B.L.Y. be that old, etc. Yeah, right. Nice to hear, but you know it's patently not true. I do look younger than my age, but not THAT young.

Also got two paintings in frames for $3 each. We'll probably paint over the canvases and have the frames to use for our creations. Cheap art material!!!

Then it was off to my Mom's house where they gave me a very nice metal patio table. They had three outdoor sets? I think one of them was from stepdad's Mom's estate. They are closing in their back patio and now have one inside that room and one set outside and this set just extra. Nice. I had given CashHappySon my old set when he moved away.



This patio set is black. My other outdoor set ALMOST matches it but is white/yellowish. The white set is 'chippy' and likely this coming spring, I'll wirebrush it down and paint it out black to match. I spot-shot the rusty areas the other day w/rustoleum to get it thru the winter. I nearly STOLE the white set late last year at a thrift store. All seven pieces for only $27.00! The other little table Hubster is using indoors for his printer stand.


(note one of the little arched water spigot cubbie covers that Hubster made the other day over on the left)

Mom THINKS she knows where the umbrella and stand is at in her storage building.

I'm counting my parental units as Corporate Sponsors! They're members of the Golden Eagle Elite Club!! Thank God for our parents. They've all done so much for us through the years.

We visited with Mom about 15 minutes and admired stepdad's handiwork on the new patio room, then jumped back in the truck.

Stopped at vitamin store and spent about $30 there, needed more magnesium for routine maintenance and also Sambucol to keep the sore throat and flu bug away. Pricey stuff but needed for to the keeping away of the creeping crud & the blue funks!

Then we stopped at the Dollar store for FrugalSon to buy more minutes for his Tracphone.

Then we got home by about 3:15 and I crashed! Then I got back up and took vitamin herby stuff to keep from being sick as I felt achy, and ate the rest of the Tortilla Soup from the other day at about 5:00 p.m. and then laid back down.

FrugalSon stayed outside and unloaded all the new bunkN'junque off the back of the truck.

FrugalSon then went out and helped Hubster who was mowing on the rider, by pushmowing the garden area and then the top-yard for the last mow of the season and to run all the gas out of the mowers so they can be winterized.

Hubster spent the day yesterday raking up all the leaves and twigs and general messiness that the tree cutters left behind and trying to repair a cheap-o rake that kept breaking on him. The last rake we had lasted about 15 years. This one? Lasted less than one season! Come on folks lets manufacture something worthwhile could we????

Then they stayed outside till dark-thirty chainsawing and stacking the rest of the wood in the front part of the yard. We are racing trying to beat winter! I had made Hubster promise not to chainsaw until I got home. I rushed around as much as possible for this daytrip to get back so he had some daylight left to work in. Supposed to be cold and wet the rest of the week here.

After all that cutting & stacking they came in and FrugalSon heated up the Black Bean soup that was also in the frig and they had that and sandwiches and marble cake for supper while I was going thru a nice little sleep cycle on the couch.

Poor FrugalSon had quite a busy day off!
I am feeling much better this morning. Like a new woman. Bouncing up at 5:30 a.m. Hubster is still sawing logs. In bed, that is!

Taking the $8 I didn't blow at a garage sale to the $20 Challenge.

$022.82 balance
+008.00 garage sale leavings
_______
$030.82 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $993.10 (think I'll beat a thousand this year? Who'll give me odds?)
Cumulative Challenge Total $2046.86


*Little known L.L.Frugalis factoid: I used to jockey as a pre-teen.

S.S.S.G.

October 28th, 2009 at 02:14 pm



S.S.S.G. = Social Security Speedy Gonzales.

Hubster's first SS check which we applied for on Monday morning 10/26/2009 at 9:00 a.m.? Hit our bank this morning Wednesday 10/28/2009 by 8:00 a.m.! Holy Cow, when did the U.S. government get so efficient???? I am thrilled, amazed, gobsmacked, etc., etc., etc.

We are both pretty darn impressed!

"¡Andale! ¡Andale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!" (Spanish for "Go on! Go on! Up! Up!) Yeeeehaw!!

Here I was thinking they were Speedy's cousin, Slowpoke Rodriquez!

One of my favorite childhood cartoons:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXJv5-L6FwM


---

Today and Carpenter's Pension

October 27th, 2009 at 08:29 pm



Tonight we filled out the online forms for Hubster's Carpenter's Pension to begin. We had busy busy daylight hours today that kept us from getting it done during the day.

It has to be printed out and taken in for a notarized signature. Spouses are protected from being left out of pension benefits and decisions by the law requiring that we sign off on the decisions. It's rather a strange thing. His application signature? Requires no notarization. Mine as spouse? Does.

Anywho, I plan to go first thing in the morning to the bank and get it notarized and off in the mail. The way I understand it we are asking for it to begin on 11/1. Not sure when the first check will arrive though. It will be back-pay from 11/1/09 though no matter when it actually starts.

First we had to get an estimated payment paper from them, which we did, telling them when he was planning on applying. That & the online application gets them on notice that he's to be put in the starting line up. Once they receive the notarized paperwork evidently they spring into action and send you a letter telling you when the first check will arrive.

We're going automatic deposits on this as well.

Once it's up and running they notify the authorized state insurance agency that he's eligble to go with that HCTC (I think it stands for health care tax credit) thingamadoodle that will get him the 65%-80% discount on some health care insurance coverage. The money in the pension check will be nice, but the healthcare benefits that we're hoping to get until he qualifies for Medicare? EXCELLENT.

Step by step folks. It's a process.

Keeping yourself going lockstep through the process can be, shall I say, taxing. He hates paperwork and gets majorly frustrated by all the little boxes to be checked and legally jargoned disclaimers that are made.

Also required are copies of birth certificates and marriage license. Fortunately that was all still out of the safe from the SS office visit.

Once this starts I will be so relieved. If you've been reading along with me from the beginning this was the mysteriously disappearing pension. I fought long and hard thru Congressmen, etc. to find out where it was 'hidden' and get it on somebody's radar that several million dollars of this company's pension funds had just slipped silently away after a company bankruptcy and was hidden deep within several layers of insurance buyouts by a major insurance company and it's many subsidiaries - I'm not naming names but it almost barked like a dog in it's commercials, Charlie Brown.

Finally we were able to get it taken over by this Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. It's a really AWESOMELY GOOD thing that they are doing protecting people's pensions in these trying financial times.

Today was a personal No Spend Day for me.

Today we went to another town to deliver some of CashHappySon's winter clothes.

Today the nearly local parental units came over. Since early this year they now live 30 minutes away instead of two hours away.

Today I got my truck stuck in the muddy yard trying to load up more wood to take to my Dad's tomorrow.

Today my Step-dad helped get the truck unstuck.

Today I baked a chocolate marble cake.

Today I balanced the housebudget checking account.

Today I called the bank on the sudden $15.47 checking fee that they whomped on our housebudget account. Because of Hubster's age we have a FREE Senior checking account.

Today they refunded the mistaken monthly fee.

Today my Mom had a brain scan and a check on her caratroid (sp?) artery to see why she's getting so confused and forgetful. No indication of when the results would be back.

Today my Mom told me the same story for about the 100th time.

Today I acted like I heard it for the very first time, again.

Today we had quite a spirited family discussion of the moral tone of our country and bashed various and assorted politicians.

Today I cooked a pot of Tortilla Soup for lunch.

Today I paid two CC's in full, as I do every month. We are still debt free. Housebudget paid.

Today I paid the water bill, 3000 gallons this month - $40.45 - that's for 3 adults, 2 of us who are home all day every day now. Housebudget paid. $2.50 of that is for prepaid ambulance service. ARG!

Today I cooked steak, baked potatoes and a salad for supper.

Today Hubster worked all afternoon cutting up the biggest chunks of the wood into small enough pieces so my Dad can carry them.

Today was quite a day.

Now, I'm going to bed w/the lumberjack! Talk to you all later.

Good night Gracie!

---
link to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
http://www.pbgc.gov/


link to PDF file about a Predictable Secure Pension For Life - has a nice checklist:

http://www.pbgc.gov/docs/a_predictable_secure_pension_for_...

---

Visited the Social Security Office

October 26th, 2009 at 02:07 pm



We definitely applied for Social Security benefits for Hubster this morning.

On SS he'll be getting about an $185 a month increase over unemployment. A raise! Not near what he was making last year but a raise over what we've had coming in this year. Unemployment will stop (at least we believe it will). He's to call and double-check on that. If not, it runs until Dec 24th.

This gives some extra moolah to the budget to help him get some kind of health insurance.

To facilitate that we are also going ahead this week and starting his carpenter's pension. It'll be small (decidely not the 80% of final salary he was promised for years!) and we are likely going Joint Life on it so it should continue to me for my lifetime at the same rate as we'll draw now if something were to happen to him. If we just went on his lifetime it would be more in the check now. But I'm younger by a good bit and likely will be the longer liver.

Once this starts he'll be able to get health insurance thru our state approved insurance program and PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp - they took over the pension plan when his company went kaput) will help offset the cost of that approved insurance somewhere in the range of 65-80%.

If we can do that until he's eligible for Medicare it should all work out. At least that's the current plan. With the pension & SS increase over unemployment there should be room in the budget to cover this healthcare expense.

At any rate, SS checks should start within the next few days to a couple of weeks the lady said. She was very nice and quite helpful really. There were a gazillion people there but we had the first interview of the day and were called first out of the crowd because we had an appointment scheduled.

I stressed over this interview more than was reasonable. Just silly really, but I was - woke during the night, triple-checking to see that I had all the needed paperwork, then woke early before the alarm and rechecked it. What a goose! I seldom get that worked up about anything.

I'm unclear as to when the carpenter's union pension check will start arriving - somewhere in the 1-3 month range after they receive the paperwork.

SS will be a direct deposit.

Where's the Orange Paint?

October 25th, 2009 at 02:03 pm

...it's down there.

YEP, you know where.

(cue spooky music)


Well, it's got to be dug out SOME TIME so I can paint the spot where the smoke alarm used to set. Some wacko man type personage must of installed it in this weird space between rooms. It was there when we moved in. Along with the thermostat that now sits hidden behind the big picture there. Who puts a thermostat smack dab in the middle of a wall? A man, I'm telling ya!!

This new trim installation in the dining/foyer area gave us the opportunity to fix this area into two different paintable spaces. As it was, whatever color was painted on that one wall in the living room had to tie all the way over into the foyer AND dining room area.

before:




after:



This way if a person wants to they can paint those two wall spaces a different color, and I'm likely to change the orange wall in the foyer area (to the right) later to the same yellow that's already in the dining area and on the other side of the foyer.



The trim in the dining room had to be thin to fit over the door AND go all the way down that long skinny little part that divides the addition of the dining room from the older portion of the house.

Okay - Who's ready to go d.o.w.n. **THERE** again and dig out the orange paint?

Not me.

Not today anyway. Perhaps some time next week I'll get my bravado up and venture into the basement again.

And, then Hubster can reinstall the smoke alarm ?elsewhere?, I'll finish painting the ceiling in the dining room and we can then consider this little chapter closed for now. Oh yeah, the new paint on the ceiling trim? Makes the rest of the trim in the room look like crap! Big Grin Always something, huh?

I love my orange wall. It's very warming at night in the rest of my cave (living room) with the lamps on. I realize it's not for everyone and will most likely have to be changed back to boring bland if we list our house for sale in the future. But for now, it makes me smile.

All except for that little white circle!

Orange paint - On next week's to do list.

Living Room
Before:

Do not adjust your screen, those WERE wavy lines you see at the ceiling line!

After:

Free boards in the attic, some paint, a lot of cussin' & discussin', and a couple of tubes of caulk later? Ta-da. Then you saw it - now you don't!

The Week Flew By!

October 25th, 2009 at 08:22 am

Yesterday was a No Spend Day.

I spent about two hours in the basement yesterday looking for Hubster's Honorable Discharge paper, and realizing that I've a ton of work needing done down there - out of sight, out of mind.


Photo caption: Fortunately NOT my basement!


Ours is bad, but not THAT bad.

The biggest part was moving boxes out of the way of our long-term filing cabinets. Ninety-nine percent of those boxes came from MIL & FIL's estate. I am going through the boxes and selling stuff in my booth, it just takes time. Gaa! They were major hoarders though - not her maybe, but my FIL definitely was.

Tomorrow morning we have our appointment with Social Security to begin Hubster's SS payments. Wish us luck. Hopefully I have gathered all the necessary papers.

Hubster spent yesterday working on making some very nice vent & water connection covers for the outside of our house. The construction of our house is a wild mixture of cement block, rock and siding. There's a weird little arched recess where the water hose connects out front and he's decided this year (we've lived here since '99) that it needs covering. Whatever. It'll be nice. The man does good work.

Last week while I was out running around - museum presentation, breast cancer awareness party, and a funeral - he got the dining room trim up and painted. I'll get pics later.

The ceiling trim there & in the living room looks fabulous and makes the rooms look completed to my eye. He could care less, but it drove me batty from the day we arrived, the rooms just didn't look finished. Now we still have all three bedrooms, the utility room, the bathroom and the strange pass thru area between kitchen and dining room that need the same treatment. But they'll wait till later (hopefully spring).

I've yet to get the bed drug out and veneer filled & painted, but it's been piled with 'stuff' out of the dining room all week. Hope to get it all unloaded and then tear the bed down and get onto fixing it. I'll need to buy more paint so thinking that'll run about $20.

On Friday I rode along with parental units to a funeral (it was my nephew-in-laws mother who passed) about two hours from home and we stopped beforehand for lunch $5ish at fast food place, and then we went to a nearby town for a few hours in an antique mall. I spent nothing there which was a real feat as I had a long time in there as my Mom picks up every single item (or so it seems)! My Stepdad and I each made about six laps around the mall in there and Mom only got half-way thru before we drug her out! Then we ate supper on the way home and I spent $6.00 for a burger basket & fries and drink and $2.00 on the tip.

I balanced two checkbooks yesterday.

Need to take Ms. Carmel to the puppy groomer and have her nails clipped - $5.

Need to send money to the plumber for that hot water repair earlier this month - $300.

It's bill paying time and most everything is automated these days so it'll be interesting to see how my little routine differs now that there is no house payment to be made. I am planning on setting up an autodraft for the old mtg. payment amount out to savings for a future roof, HVAC, carpet, etc. fund.

Today's Plans...More than Five

October 19th, 2009 at 07:54 am

Greetings My Lovelys,

Today's TO DO list - Made last night, which is actually a better time to plan, as that way you can hit the ground running rather than kill a perfectly good morning farting around on the computer! Big Grin Who me???

Most of us say we're morning people, so why do we waste the better part of the day?

Everybody on board? cause away we go...

[X]DONE - 1)Make Bank Deposit.

[X]DONE - 2)Call Dentist - make payment plan. Write check.

[X]DONE - 3)Post Office - Drop off bills.

[X]DONE - 4)Move money back local to repay Lux for Tree Surgery.

[X]DONE - 5)Stop AT&T automated payment - so we don't get crammed on that $12.95 IDL charge we didn't authorize. Make online payment instead.

[X]PARTIALLLY DONE - got it purchased. 6)Buy Haircolor for Lux's House of Beauty night. Get it on head!! Big Grin Be boot-i-fied! Under $6 - long hair, buy 2 boxes.

[X]DONE - 7)Buy brackets for Museum Project. Under $3. Plan B - try this afternoon at another place when I go out w/Hubster because Plan A place was closed. Plan B place had them but they were $7.50 in the metro area. Local would've been much cheaper! Procrastination costs again. Frown

8)Package FrugalSon's SOLD painting & prints for shipment! They can go out in tomorrow's mail.

9)Call tribe about sons' enrollment.

[X]DONE - but No Sale - Buyer didn't show - ARRGGHHH!!! 10)Go with Hubster this afternoon to drop off Craiglist sale of extra mirror - $34 inflow.

[X]DONE - 11)Call Jennifer with donation information for Breast Cancer Awareness.

[X]DONE - 12)Have Meatless Monday (thanks Paulette Goddard for the idea!) Beans are soaking for supper.

[X]DONE - 13)Laundry.


I'll update again as the day goes along.

Must get busyyyyyyyyyyy and go to town.

TTYL! Got to go see if Ol' Nellie can get me to town and back.



Your friend,
~L.L. Frugalis, Bus Driver to the Stars

My Intentions Are...

October 18th, 2009 at 08:12 am



Here's my five I intend* to get done today:

[X]DONE 1)Sort some bills that need paying and write the checks, address, stamp. One rogue bill here ?somewhere? that came in earlier this week from the day Hubster got laid off in early January. He went to the doctor early that morning only to arrive at work to layoff news for the entire plant. Evidently they've been trying to collect from insurance company all this time and it's a no-go. I normally put all bills in one place and a quick glance this a.m. finds that paper missing - perhaps it's on Hubster's side of desk?

2)Clean off side desk-table whatchie. (I need to get you all a picture - great buy!**SEE BELOW) Maybe that bill is there? Piles of files and miscellaneous junk mail gets piled there from time to time. Okay, PEOPLE, who stacked this stuff h.e.r.e. of all places??????????

ON HOLD - MORE PARTS NEEDED 3)Get canvas framed & name plaque installed. This will entail encouraging Hubster to do it for me. Hopefully today. I need it for sure by Wednesday a.m. I keep trying to get him to let me do it with his instructions so I learn to feel confident with those tools, but this particular project is in need of the pro's touch.

[X]DONE - 4)Cook Sunday dinner - creatively, using any leftovers that can be incorporated into something looking like a balanced meal. Wish me luck, I'm going in to the tupperware...

[X]DONE - 5)Strip & wash current bed linens and get the flannel sheets on the bed. It's cold here! I told Fern already, I'm out on the heat challenge. Hubster turned it on early this a.m. as it got down to low 30's last night. His fault entirely Smile, I SWEAR I could've made it with more blankies & a nightcap! Shiver me timbers!


[X]DONE - Alternate #3)Paint one wall of living room & trim doo-dads so Hubster has them to work on dining room. His decision to start this late in the day! After this there is only one portion of one wall in the living room repainting job that needs doing. It'll wait for another day.

*I will update throughout the day as things get done.

**side-table desk whatchie:

Great for when a project needs more space, such as for collating papers, sewing, crafting, sorting STUFF, extra place settings for a crowd, etc.

I paid $49 for this and then went to Walmart and bought paint in their discounted 50% Oops Mixed Up The Wrong Color aisle to get paint that nearly matches walls & desk in living room - SCORE! The cabinetabledeskwhatchie was originally $69 at a junk/antique mall. I asked if they'd take $49 - I figured dealer had anywhere from $0-35ish in it. I'm perfectly willing for dealer to make a profit, but they don't have to make their entire month on my back, you know?

An FYI - ALWAYS ASK FOR A DISCOUNT at these places. Many are already preauthorized to give at least a 10% discount without contacting the booth owner. You can get often get more off by asking them to call them and just ask. Worth a try.

I resisted when I first saw this and left it there and kept thinking and thinking about it - always a good sign that the something would be useful to me, so back I went for it some weeks later glad to see it still there.

Anyway this thing was a perfectly servicable white when I got it but it didn't match the decor. ALWAYS when shopping in these places think of if you could make something work for your place with a bit of paint, spray or brush. I OFTEN spray paint items from the antique'heap. EASY fix. This thing has drawers on both sides (6 total) which is cool and the drop-leaves are also on both sides. I want to add wheels to it which would make it even mo'betta!! Note that for a future Five Things list? Maybe next month.

What? I told you if it stands still? I paint it. Forever am painting some thing.

Oh look. I even gave Hubster 3 drawers of this for his very ownsome. He accuses me that all the space in the house is mine and all he has is one sad bookcase to store his good stuff on.

Also when shopping an antique mall, think REPURPOSING. Just because it's always been used as a frobtottlebaum, doesn't mean you can't use it as a bobleknocker, does it? Go for it. Note our repurposed two user desk beside this thing - it used to be a kitchen table.

For all you Flylady fans - this however is one of my hotspots.

Five

October 17th, 2009 at 09:32 pm



1)Laundry DONE

2)Paint ceiling in Dining Room 1st coat DONE (prep work so Hubster can get crown molding up in that room) Needed because WACKED OUT bug spray man hit the ceiling in here with his bug juice making BIG ugly stains! Saving myself the cost of hiring a painter worth it's price in a post-whiplash neck-ache to a Frugalista such as myself. Ben-gay here I come.

3)CashHappySon's coats & winter wear from basement DONE

4)Cut up last of canteloupe likely for this season before it's gone-by freshness date DONE

5)Hang up clothes on top of dog cage DONE

It's ALWAYS Something - Keep Vigilant!

October 17th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Not much going on here - except I spent a bunch of money buying frames for mine and FrugalSon's artwork at the 50% off sale. That took a load out of my wallet and now I'm nigh on to broke in the checking account department. But we got lots of frames for artwork we've had sitting around, as we say in my neck of the woods, nekkkkid.

Good news for FrugalSon as he sold an artwork this year. His first. Big doings, and he had prints made of it and has sold those as well! He's now a PRO. Momma Frugalis is sooooo proud.

The dog herd left this morning again after another round of sitting. Another tiny bit of inflow here for the dog-sitting, and I'm going to take $20 of it and put it toward this month's $20 Challenge as that seems to be lacking and the rest I'll put towards the RV Land Travel fund LATER, if I don't have to have it to run on later in the month.

That frame expenditure ran me close to empty and I do have an out of town trip to make later this month that will likely take cash.

Today will be a No Spend Day.

Housebudget spent yesterday $90ish for groceries, and I spent $15 for a name plaque to go on the bottom of one of my paintings that will be going to a museum later this month as well. So, all said and done, I'm experiencing a temporary cash flow problem! Oh well. I can always pull back out of savings if I had to, but I won't do that unless absolutely necessary and I can't see any upcoming expenses that I haven't already accounted for.

The tree guys are all gone and Hubster has much chainsawing left to do on some big pieces - the base of one tree stump sits at 37 inches before it flared out toward the roots! Our collective emergency fund said OUUUUUUUUCHHHHHH over that expenditure, but twas needful. Back to boosting that savings now.

BEFORE after death by FREAKISH ice-storm



AFTER very sad, it changes entire look of main approach to house:


These are only the corner on one side. There were about 8 more gigantorific trees that had to come down all together all around my house. The back of my house now feels naked and VERY exposed! They cut to 14 inch length & stacked most of it.

While Hubster was out trying to get the rest of it cut up his chainsaw stopped oiling itself, so it's back in the repair shop, and who knows what that'll cost.

It's always something. ;{

Took one load of the wood to my Dad's this week, there are about five or six more loads to go! He'll have wood to burn all winter and some for next year likely.

Our phone bill came and whatever special we had signed up under has now ended adding another $20 a month to that expense, and there was a 'CRAMMED on' charge for IDL - some kind of identity thingawhich that we did not ask for at $12.95 a month, and now have to wangle around to get taken back off the phone bill. Ought to be a law. The phone owner cannot ask for it to be removed, it has to come in the form of a credit from the CROOK who crammed it on there to begin with. They have you by the neck!! ARRRRRRRRRRRRGGG!


Photo caption: Abott & Costello?


Did I mention? It's ALWAYS something. Vigiliance is key. Somebody always trying to play GOTCHA in the wallet department!!


$20 CHALLENGE
$000.77 balance
+020.00 Wooof-woof!
_______
$020.77 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $983.05
Cumulative Challenge Total $2036.81

Thinking Inside the Box

October 6th, 2009 at 09:20 am

Got my thank you note to be mailed to the post office yesterday. YEAH for getting it done!

Got about 15 minutes done inside the stash-and-dash box yesterday. Yeah, a big box, huh? Not really, just a copy paper size box.

And it's all THAT stuff - you know, the 'I don't know what to do with it' S.T.U.F.F.

For instance, receipts. ...when to keep? when to throw away? I hate all those little pieces of paper!! Note to self - LESS money spent means less receipts! Big Grin That would be good!!

And other stuff - like neat articles that I want to save, but don't really have a category for in my already 'stuffed' file cabinet.

And more stuff - magazines and booklets. Moved to read pile by the couch.

And even More Stuff - such as family member's papers that they conveniently stick on my side of the desk, as if I'm the paper fairy that will make it just suddenly go away??

Recycled that back to Hubster's side of the desk & in FrugalSon's case to the file-pile place which is the corner of the love-seat which lets him know those are his papers to file - with strict orders to either do something with it themselves, like filing or throwing it away, but under no circumstance was it to migrate itself back to my side of the desk! :{ Elsewise? The crabby Paper Fairy would probably rise up and smite them!!



Yet More Stuff - Got some thrown away like those darn grocery store ads from God Knows When! Got some things shredded.

The inside of the box is still not empty, but looking better. More time still needed here.

I found a penny in there! Taking it to the $20 Challenge.

$000.76 balance
+000.01 miserly pay for an inside job!
_______
$000.77 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $963.05
Cumulative Challenge Total $2016.81

Transfer of Assets Complete

October 6th, 2009 at 07:16 am



Hubster's 401-K rollover completed yesterday - 10/05/09. That was really quick, being this is the one we had to do by snail-mail, which we requested by mail on 09/26/09. Now we just have to reach a conclusion on how to invest it. That might (scratch that) will definitely take longer! Although I have some things in mind, just have to get Hubster going the same direction in thoughts as me. Wish me luck with THAT!

Yesterday was a No Spend Day. Big Grin

Five Things Challenge Update-The Sunday Edition

October 4th, 2009 at 11:44 am


Five Things Challenge Update

The Sunday Edition


d-o-n-e, done, Done, D-o-N-e, ..and DONE!!!

On today's list were:

[x]1)House Budget checking account balanced. - This is different than the other two I did the other day. Account is rather on the empty side though, so watching House Budget spending extra closely for a day or two.

[x]2)Cook Sunday lunch trying a new recipe. Used another out of Kraft's Food & Family magazine. Not horrid, not bad, but probably won't repeat - Chicken & Stuffing type casserole.

I did try one in there last night that FrugalSon said was FABULOUS. (Haven't heard that in a while!) It was the Chicken Caesar Wraps. I wouldn't say fabulous, but Hubster and I both agreed they were pretty good.

I, of course, being me, changed the recipe around to make it a warm wrap by heating the bacon, chicken & cheese before filling the warmed tortillas. Served with soup as I wasn't sure how filling it would be and it was rainy & damp by supper time yesterday.

I am trying new recipes because we had gotten into somewhat of a rut AND I'm trying to cook more since CashHappySon is not here to trade off cooking with FrugalSon & I. Have to get myself back in the cooking habit!

[x]3)File all the paperwork from bills paid. This tends to stack up! There were several months that needed doing.

And for future to-do's, there is still purging that needs to be done in filing cabinet. That might make the actual filing a more enjoyable thing if it weren't crammed full!

[x]4)Write a thank you note. A native friend sent me FREE copies of two books he wrote. I wanted to send my thank you note on native stationary, but it was in the other room and I put this off ALL WEEK rather than get on up off my duff and go dig it out. Took me all of 15 seconds once I made myself get it done! How often do we do this to ourselves? The packing envelope has been dragging me down all week sitting here on the desk LOOKING AT ME waiting to be done! That procrastination on my part was making me lose the joy of the gift!

[X]5)Clip and sort coupons. I've not been using coupons much the past few years once I lost my nice organized coupon box, but I can save money when I use them, so since we're getting ready to be 'fixed income' folks? I might want to get back into the habit. I sorted them by use-by date & put them in a ziplock in my wallet, at least until I see if I want to get back into couponing more seriously.



On another note I sat up in bed and slapped myself on the head this morning. Even though we've decided not to put our MM money into CDs for the moment until the SS & pension checks start coming, what is stopping me from moving it over to just drawing more interest? I don't know. How silly. Moved it just now! Gaaa!!! Then if we don't need it, it can slip right into some CDs.

Didn't get the chest of drawers painted because it clouded over all afternoon yesterday and I was afraid to risk it. Sure enough, we rolled it on the dolly back into the utility room and no more than 5 minutes later? Raindrops!

Maybe early some time this coming week it will get done. I know for sure I don't want it sitting in my utility room for very long. Needs another 30 minutes or so of sanding. I walked by and caught Hubster giving it a 'feel' to see if it was done right! Big Grin Still cloudy & rainy looking here today so, no-can-do today.

He finished installing crown molding yesterday evening in LR. Next to do is fill nailholes and joints then touch up paint. We may have to caulk a few places at the ceiling line as this old place (built 1942ish) has a few wavy spots on the ceiling line. IOWs, not much was level to begin with on this project. Pics to come when finished. Then it's on to the dining room molding!

Today will be a stay home and No Spend Day! Maybe some popcorn, a movie in the DVD player and a nap.

A Peach, a Bull, An Eagle & Lincoln?

October 3rd, 2009 at 07:19 am

A Peach, a Bull*, An Eagle & Lincoln?

What do these things have in common?

They are all on the coins I pulled out of my wallet in an effort to get my October $20 Challenge off to a start. Here we go!

That's right boys and girls, three quarters and a penny. Seventy-six cents. 7 - 6. 76 centavos, 76 Cents.

Hello October Challenge.


...and A.WaY we go!

$20 Challenge
$000.00 beginning October balance
+000.76 interesting coinage mix
_______
$000.76 Oct MTD

2009 Challenge Total $963.04 (only $36.96 remaining to break that $1000 ceiling!)
Cumulative Challenge Total $2016.80

*The bull is the skeleton head of a bull on the Montana quarter. It caught my eye as I pulled it out of the wallet and thought it looked like a fake-o coin! They came out in 2007, but I think this must be the first one I've noticed.



Yesterday was a No Spend Day for me.

House-budget bought $40ish worth of lumber supplies for home updating. After Hubster finishes with putting up of crown molding** in living room, we are continuing into the dining area and putting some up in there as well. That's what those supplies are for. It would've been $50ish, but I had a nice coupon!

**If I had known that FREE (with purchase) crown-molding stuff was in my attic since we moved here? We'd of put it up week one, well maybe, week five. This has bugged me for ten years unnecessarily!!! Ratfinkus!

Right now we are waiting for some spackle to dry and then later today I will paint an area that had a 'dry-wall fall-apart' as Hubster went to nail some of the trim up the other day. Then, he'll get to finish his portion of the program. It looks AWESOME! Well, maybe not to everyone, but if you've been wanting something done nigh on to foreverish? What he's got done already? Looks SOOO gooooooooooooood!!!

FrugalSon bought himself a radiant oil-filled heater yesterday at Lowe's for $39. The same one at Walmart? $63!!!!! Pays to shop around.

Yesterday afternoon after I got back from the lumber yard, where I went while my carpenter took a nap, I went outside and spent about two hours sanding on the carcass of my chest of drawers. Hope to get some paint slapped on her today and get that finished so I can start on the bed. Want to get this stuff done before the snow flies this year. Or at least before cold weather sets in.

Took Long Enough

September 29th, 2009 at 06:51 pm

It took me long enough but I managed to meet Househopeful's 5-Thing Challenge and got my list done today. It's now mid-evening here and I'm just now finishing up. A couple of things threw me off schedule.

a)Hubster is a perfectionist and I had to sand the drawers on the chest longer than I wanted too! It'll be better in the end for it, but yeah, now my hand's cramping. Ha! How did this wonderful man end up with slap-dash me?

b)First thing this morning I got wayyyyyy sidetracked on a special assignment (no pay) for a local agency. It was very important and it got done with my assist. Took about 3 hours that I hadn't planned. Done for a good friend.

c)I called my Mom to check in on her after her recent vacation thinking it would be a five minute call. Well, no, after about 45 minutes I finally got my ear unbent! Shouldn't have taken this long as they came and picked her dogs up the night they got back in and had dinner here, so, it wasn't like I didn't already hear this story once already. Gotta love my Momma! Then my step-dad got on the phone & reiterated everything she had just told me and they had both told me on Friday night! Love them! Hate to talk to them on the phone!


So, after the distractions, what were my 5 Things?

1)Balance house budget checking & money market accounts. DONE. Enjoying the fact that no mortgage chunk needs to come out in a couple of days! Big Grin YAY-YA-LU-YAHHHHHH!

2)Load of Laundry. Washed, folded, put away. DONE. Part of the normal routine.

3)Paint the other four drawers on the chest. DONE. Before they could be painted they had to be sanded to perfection! Well, that's what happens when you're married to a Master Carpenter. He never SAYS anything, just makes tsk tsk sounds. Pooh. Still to be done is sanding and painting the main body of the chest of drawers.



4)Spend five minutes going thru a stash-and-dash box of papers that got stashed when relatives came in town. DONE. More time in the box still needed!

5)Walk three times today for 10 minutes at a time with the timer. DONE. I need to do this regularly for leg circulation purposes as sitting at the desk most of the day kills my legs. Must get up and move around, as I don't want to throw a clot!

Thanks Househopeful!

And, while I was outside getting scrutinized on my project Hubster was busy setting up his table saw and stuff getting ready to put up my crown molding! Yeah HIM!! Maybe tomorrow??? I'm going to be gone but he'll have the house to himself, so maybe it might happen. Sky supposed to be clear tomorrow.

Not on the list but done anyway? Added Hubster to FrugalSon's Roth IRA as a contingent beneficiary and made a market order for FrugalSon on some gov. bonds in that account as he had a bit of cash sitting idle. Out to work you go dollars!!

Also got the crack in my deacon's bench filled, sanded and painted. It still needs a coat of clear laquer or something over it. It normally sits outside the back door for Hubster's smoke-hole out of the rain.



Am also wanting to paint my garden hose reel-away box before I put it away for the winter AND the little bridge that crosses my back creek. These will have to wait as the rest of the week when I'm free? ...rain's predicted.

Here's my little buddy who checked on me all day at my desk! At this point he's about five feet away. A little out of focus but cute!



I had a No Spend Day. House budget bought burgers tonight as the old grey mare was too tired to cook from all that sanding! Tsk tsk!!

Those With No Health Insurance-Check this!

September 29th, 2009 at 09:21 am

This is a direct quote we got from Hubster's pension plan, perhaps some of you aren't aware of this program - we weren't. This may not help everyone but hopefully it might help some of you.



"You may be eligible for a tax credit that helps pay for qualified health insurance. If you are age 55 or older and NOT eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, you can use the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) to pay 65% of the cost of your "qualified health insurance". The HCTC, administered by the Internal Revenue Service, is available as an advance tax credit for monthly health coverage premiums paid by you or as a refundable tax credit on your federal tax return.

If you qualify for the monthly advance tax credit, HCTC will help you pay your health insurance premium every month, provided you have "qualified health insurance". HCTC can tell you what is considered to be "qualified health insurance". If you don't wish to take advantage of the monthly advance tax credit, you can still claim 65% of your "qualified health insurance" premiums as a refundable tax credit on your federal tax return.

If you are eligible for HCTC, you may also be able to apply for National Emergency Grant (NEG) Gap Filler funds, which are available in certain states to help individuals pay for their "qualified health insurance" until they begin receiving the advance tax credit through the HCTC Program. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-877-US-2JOBS (1-877-872-5627) and ask if your state has a NEG Gap Filler Program.

For more information about the HCTC and Qualified Health Insurance, visit the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov (IRS Keyword: HCTC), or call the HCTC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-628-4828 (TTD/TTY: 1-866-626-4282)."

Retirement Here We Come

September 28th, 2009 at 04:49 pm


"More Social Security for the American Family." Poster for the Social Security Administration, by an unknown artist, undated - Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, National Archives and Records Administration

---

PROJECTS-
I got one of the drawers painted on the chest of drawers when the fumes from the oil based enamel gave me a whopper of a migraine over the weekend. I'll wait a few more days to work on the other ones because I know it will wipe me out again. Bugger! Let me see --- which day do I want another migraine????

OUTFLOW-
Today is a No Spend Day for my personal budget. Housebudget paid a bill.


PENSION-
What we worked on today was setting up the online account for Hubster's Pension. We also watched a nice explanatory DVD that came with his papers. After that we then went online there and requested a formal 'Estimate of Benefits'. Time to get that back 15-45 days. Step 1 in their process.

And then 90 days afterward to get the actual pension started after we do the formal application which can be done online as well. We are getting ready to push the button on this because as I figure it his extended unemployment will run out Christmas week, December 23rd to be exact. O Happy Holidays, huh?

We already have a pretty fair estimate of what the monthly defined benefits amount will be - nothing huge, but we are aiming for a joint plan that will give him a certain amount each month while he's alive and then it cuts in half to pay me for the rest of my life should I outlive him.

The real reason we are going ahead with this one is that it will allow us to get the HCTC (health tax credit whichie-I may have the initials screwed up) that will pay 80% of health insurance premiums for Hubster. He currently has no coverage as his employer went bankrupt as a LLC and did not have to provide COBRA. The most recent inquiry on health coverage for him? $1600 a month!



EGADS AND "Hang on Elizabeth I'm Coming!" [Old Sanford & Son reference] He won't be able to get Medicare coverage until he's 65 so we would be/ARE wide open for disaster if he had a major medical issue before then. I am okay on this front as I am a registered member of my tribe and can get medical treatment thru my tribal membership. I'm sorry but my thoughts are if you can easily afford $1600 a month for insurance coverage on a regular basis for just one member of your family? You probably don't need the coverage!

---
SOCIAL SECURITY-

Hubster is 63 years & basically 3 months old, and with no lively prospects of finding employment he can perform, then we are looking to press the early Social Security button as well. By the time that process gets going he will be basically 63 yrs & 6 months old. Not what we'd originally planned to do (he was planning to work until 70), but looks like that's the way the cards have played out. We called and talked to a SS rep online today (Teresa in Iowa was very helpful & kind) and we have an appointment set up for October 26th which is the earliest we can get in to our local office. We could of course go ahead and do it online, but there are still many unanswered questions and we will be using the time between now and then to write them all down, get all our needed papers together - birth certificate, military discharge, marriage certificates, etc., etc., etc.........[it's all here someplace Smile] and if we want to we can try to continue deciphering the answers online and possibly make a few more calls to reps and then do the formal application online.

We will still keep the October appointment anyway as there are more issues we have questions about that likely won't be answered online. Haven't seen them so far!

We are getting there people. Not without lots of discussion though! Much to be considered, hashed and rehashed, or as I like to say 'cussed and discussed!'.

---

UTILITIES-
I paid our water bill online - 3000 gallons, 34 days in the billing cycle thru to 9/18/09, in the amount of $40.45, $2.50 of which is for the ambulance service to our rural area.

---
MONEY MARKET VS. CD LADDER
On those MM funds that were earning next to NOTHING!!!? We started yet another CD at ING (Ughhh! Hubster liked the 12 month option), at 1.85%. Emigrant has 2.00% for 16 months & beyond. I wanted to go there, so we decided to do one amount at ING and then some laddered CDs at Emigrant for dates spread out.

Well, the ING one got done, but the Emigrant ones we decided to wait. Why? Because if it takes a little longer to get the Pension & SS income coming in we don't want to be 'income-less' for a month or two or three. Yes, we could put expenses on CCs for a month or two if needed, but we don't really want to.

So, for now the majority of the MoneyMarket $'s is still sitting in the MM earning very little. Remind me after those checks start coming in to move the other on out! (yeah right, like I'm gonna forget!!!)

We are going to leave some in there as our cash cushion, but we don't need this much just sitting idle!!! Guess who made this decision? Ummm, wasn't me! Frown I've been complaining about it for YEARS!

Even if we do need 'some' cushion in case of a shortage before those checks start coming? ...it isn't THIS much. Oh well. That's the way it is today! I will keep pitching for only leaving a bare minimum bit idle and moving the rest.

Round Up Sunday - Not A Church Activity

September 27th, 2009 at 01:48 pm



Many churches have a western wear day that they call Round Up Sunday where they make an effort to 'round up' members who've been absent for a long time by making a concentrated effort to invite them. This is NOT what I'm talking about.

But, this is...

After lunch today, I'm cruising into my online savings accounts just looking around, checking rates, etc. and decided to play Round Up. Do you ever do this?

Here's some for examples:

Driver's License Renewal Fund (for me & Hubster)sitting there with $45.05 in it and I made an online transfer of $4.95 to round it up to $50.

Clothes Fund for me (I could care less about clothes) was sitting at $10.01 so I sent off 2.49 to round it up to $12.50. One of these days I'll need a new pair of tennis shoes, and this is where the money will come from. Recently bought 'foundation garments' so it's rather low at the moment.

I rounded up the RV Land Travel Fund by $1.51 making it now have $142.50.

I rounded up the Houseboat Fund by $7.19 making it $375.00.

...and so on in various and assorted accounts.

Of course these numbers won't last as we're getting ready to end the month and interest will be added, and my automatic contributions will be going in too, but usually every couple of months I just go in and toss some random 'Round Up' number in there to keep it growing. I'm rather broke at the end of this particular month, so there's not much going, but every little bit counts.

These are all accounts that I make regular monthly contributions into anyway as they are part of my regular budgeting process. I know it makes for additional banking entries but it's not that big of a deal, ya' know?

Do you ever play Round Up into savings accounts? Why or why not? Are you doing this regularly or randomly?

Today is a No Spend Day.

Hubster sold an old stereo piece of equipment today on Craigslist for $15.

This Week's Wind Up Quickies

September 26th, 2009 at 08:54 am

Worked Thursday to get Hubster's 401-K rolled over to Fidelity. Tried to do it online by ourselves. No luck. Tried to do it online while talking to a Fidelity rep. No luck. Forced to go the old fashioned paper route mainly because of where the 401-K is being held. Crossing fingers. That mail went out Thursday.

---



On Friday we sold a big old heavy iron smoker/BBQer for $25 using Craigslist. It would not fit into our plans to downsize some time in the future. It was rather gigantic and old, starting to have some rust out issues and I had gotten it for FREE years ago by being a willing Sanford & Son type hauler-away of 'almost' any good junq'ue. We used it for many years when we were hosting church picnics, but that need has fallen away as the church we belong to now is way far away. Haven't decided what to do with this $25 yet, probably divide it up between my various goals. Will make a followup post when I decide. Any condo or smaller house we may buy in the future? Ehhh, we can either get by without a cooker or we'll get a nicer propane one or maybe a nice George Foreman electric grill on a stand.
We're not that big of entertainers any more and we don't grill out often anyway. Yes, I probably could've bought some heat-resistant paint and painted this and got a bit more out of it, but the sides are rusting out, and most importantly I wanted it GONE! One less thing to move if we decide to later.
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We are waiting until the September interest posts in our Money Market account to move some of it to Emigrant Direct where it will earn a bit more money. Leaving just enough in MM to cover a true CASH emergency. Haven't decided yet whether to stash the money moved in $1000 incremental CDs ladder, but that's the likely way it'll go. This is our Household Emergency Fund.

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Today I deposited $100 in my pre-Roth account aka Grrls Just Wanna Have E-Funds, on my way to getting as much of next year's Roth IRA contributions together as I can. I did this by depositing a check by mail - this is the first time I've made a long-distance deposit of a check into Fidelity. Usually I just deposit locally and then go online and move it. We'll see how it goes. I always feel sketchy about trusting the mail! That envelope went out this a.m.

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While I was out I cleaned out my wallet at the bank and deposited $52.02. This & the $100 will go towards my $20 Challenge and in the Grrls Just Wanna Have E-Funds because that's where it temporarily resides. I came home from the bank and moved it to Fidelity.

$106.17 balance
+152.02 check & wallet cleanout
_______
$258.19 Sep MTD

2009 Total = $962.28
Cumulative Total $2016.04

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Passed one without stopping but did stop at another garage sale - bought nothing! Yeah me! So today likely to be a No Spend Day as I don't intend on going back out.

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Early this a.m. FrugalSon and I hit the walking trail down by the river for a nice 30 minute walk before he had to report to work. Nice and quiet in the park at that time of the morning. Noticed one of our local hospital has installed free bicycles to be loaned out with a CC deposit in case the bikes aren't returned w/i 24 hours. Nicely done with a self-serve set-up! Might have to try that some time.

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I'm working on painting crown molding trim's last coat today before it's ready for Hubster's installation portion of the program. This is for the living room.



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Rehabbing an old deco 'bow front' chest of drawers that had veneer chipping off. I went to my small town art supply place and they were out of the 'goop' I needed to fill in those chipped out places w/o replacing the veneer. The lady there was nice enough (I am a GOOD regular customer) to loan me her giant tub of it. Came home and filled that stuff in. Chore for this afternoon is to sand it down and start painting it.



I'm also going to do my girlhood bed. I already fixed the veneer on it once with a costly $250 veneer job years and years ago and then all my kids used the bed and the veneer on it is now chipped again as well. So later today I'm planning on hauling it out and filling the chunks in on it as well. And then I'll be painting both these pieces out in a low-gloss black. More AFTER pics to follow later.


The Open Roads Are Calling ME!!!

September 24th, 2009 at 12:55 pm



Are you guys watching the PBS series on the US's National Parks? Watched an episode or two last night about it and the lodges that are in them and am re-inspired for more land travel. As discussed in a previous post about having a houseboat I mentioned that I'd like to one day own a small Toyota type RV and I stated that this desire/goal was going unfunded.

Today while I was out on the web looking around rate shopping (still have money sitting in Money Market account earning diddly that needs moving) I looked at my ING account. You know I had a big hoo-ha with ING at one time, BUT, I've been having $12 a month autodrafted into there for a while now and it didn't really have a goal. So, today I went in and gave it a new nickname and goal - RV Land Travel.

Current balance is $140.99. It's earning 1.30% APY. Meaning about .15 a month right now. Ehhh, well. It now has a reason for being!

Going over to the sidebar to set up a new tracking section for it. I am ready to hit the National Parks trail.

Unfortunately my wallet isn't quite as ready as I am! Oh, and have you noticed? All my current goals have to do with travel or motion of some type? I, being gypsy-hearted like to go go go, yet Hubster could care less if he ever gets out of the yard!

IT IS FINISHED! We are T.D.F.

September 21st, 2009 at 10:38 am


"Does this smile make my wallet look fatter?"



We are TOTALLY Debt Free!

I came home from the bank after wiring the mortgage company their money and decided I wanted to have a MOMENT of debt-freeness. So, who else did I owe?

I had small balances on 2 credit cards. These are from this month's charges as we don't carry a balance EVER any more. Went online and PAID OFF. Balance $0.

And, I'm planning on calling them and getting our credit limits lowered! Who needs all that exposure to rip-off? I do have an open dispute with one CC company over a $31.54 charge to McDonald's. I've never spent that kind of money there EVERRRRRRRRRRR! Should've been $3.54. I am a dollar menu shopper unless I'm splurging on a salad.

We owed our accountant $147. I just now wrote him a check and took it to the post office. Balance $0.

We are totally and completely debt free.

We don't owe anybody anything - other than the utility companies their normal monthly charges - any money whatsover!

We are UTTERLY FREE!!! Taaaaaaaa-daaaa!

It feels awesome now, but it will feel extra special good-a-licious Each and Every first of the month when I don't have to send off a wad of cash to the mortgage company.

Paid off 4 years and 8 months early from our contractual obligation!


Breaking the chains of debt? It can be done!

Now, we'll be fueling even more dollars into our House Maintenance Fund for future repair needs on the house - carpets are getting worn, roof in the next ten years likely, and heat/air-conditioner could need replacing at any time.

We do need to do some bathroom repairs relatively soon too as we need to replace our bathtub and the resulting sheetrock & tile work that goes along with. Even if we decide to sell and downsize, the bathroom will HAVE TO be repaired or made allowance for.

I will likely split what was going to mtg. to my retirement funds and this House Maintenance Fund.

I am a happy camper with minimum household utilities running currently around $315 average and $135 a month going for household taxes (apprx. $660 year) and insurance (apprx. $800 year) and other 'slush fund needs'.

So, our household expenses are sitting right now at ONLY $450 a month (not counting saving for repairs & upkeep).

I can tell you friends that's a wonderfully scenic place to be sitting looking at retirement!

Now to convince Hubster we need solar, a woodstove and a water-well and we could get those things lowered even further!! Big Grin I would like to say that I was being tongue-in-cheek, but what sane person likes to pay the utility companies???? I don't.

Either we've got to get those things OR get our investments up in order to have them paid for by the investments in my mind's eye. I know it is probably silly, but wouldn't it be fun to own enough dividend paying electric stock to where your own electric bill became a wash? and gas bill, water bills, etc. doing likewise????? I would ADORE THAT!

A new goal!!! Big Grin Everybody needs something to shoot for, right?

Stay Tuned!!



P.S. I wanted to buy us a treat for today, but suceeded in not spending any money while I was out! So I outlayed a boatload of money today, but not out of my personal wallet, so today's a No Spend Day!!

I did grab two FREE suckers from the bank counter (after telling the lady if they were paying decent interest we wouldn't be doing this) and we have steak, stuff for baked potatoes, salad and a good bottle of wine for tonight's celebratory meal! Don't worry, I won't abandon my Frugalicious Gene ways, I just got the sirloin steaks out of the freezer to defrost - they have an orange REDUCED label on them - cost? $2.33! The wine was bought at case discount costs on our last vacation.

Breathing freely!!! Now off to paint some crown molding trim that was in the attic when we bought the house. Hubster is going to put it up for me as soon as I get it painted.

I'm Soooooooooo Excited!!

September 21st, 2009 at 07:48 am



Well, Hubster and I were having a lovely discussion this weekend about having to do SOMETHING with his 401-K rollover that has been sitting in cash. We are cash heavy and he likes it that way, and I don't. I would like to invest it and get it to earning, dagnabit! He'd be happy with it all sitting in CDs or buried in the back yard. I want growth and have a larger risk capacity than he does. We are constantly trying to meet in the middle. Can you say BALANCED investment profile? I'm trying to!

In the midst of this discussion I was AGAIN mentioning that if we have this cash sitting in our MM, why not pay off the mortgage in case the economy totally tanks and it's all Confederate dollars after the war is over. If that's the case, then I'd rather have my house PAID FOR than worthless blips on a computer screen.

All of a sudden the man (GOD I LOVE HIM) turns to me and says, "Let's just get this one point out of the way first, would you like to pay off the house?"

Duhhhhhhhhhhh, (I didn't say that part out loud, but I thought it! Big Grin)

"YEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! That's what I've been petitioning (some might say arguing) for, for the last six or so years, isn't it????"

He said, "Then do it!"

"Payoff the house?"

"Yes."

"Okay, I will - Monday morning first thing!"

"All right."

"Now let's get back to the discussion about the 401-K."

"I'll have to think about that some more."

So, the 401-K rollover money is still up for discussion, but I am leaving my house RIGHT NOW and going to the bank to wire the money to our mortgage company (was Countrywide, now Bank of America after a takeover).

Can you believe it?

The man is slow to come around, but he finally gets it that we are earning diddly on our cash and paying 6.75% interest!!!

Can you say INFLATION RISK????? Opportunity Cost????
LOSER at the banking game?????

Well, no more. Today, the mortgage will be retired!

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!

I will let you know how it goes. I have accessed the payoff amount and instructions on the BOA website, I have hand-written them AND printed off their page, and I have called my bank and they can do the wire transfer if I'm there before 3:00 p.m.

It is now 9:47 a.m. and I'm off to pay off my mortgage.

You faithful readers know that this has been my dream since before Day 1 here at SavingAdvice.com!

Now this, people, is what excitement is all about for us who are frugal, conservative, and interested in some type of security that can only come from being TOTALLY DEBT FREE!!

(BTW, he is still on unemployment AND may be getting ready to push the early Social Security button - he was laid of in January '09 and has only been granted TWO interviews in that time. TWO! Extended unemployment is about to run out. He is 63 yrs and a few months. Likely we will start his SS at 63 years and 6 months. Discounted but income. We have yet to meet with a financial planner (can't get Hubster rousted around for it) AND we have other retirement money that we may decide to tap into first...all that needs DISCUSSION. He'd rather enjoy his unemployment and play video games instead! Hurumphhhhhhhh!!! He has been trying for work as our plan was for him to work til 70 - he loved his job.)

Even though those BTW facts are disturbing ME, I will not let them cloud this day's EXCITEMENT!! I am here testifying to the fact that continual discussions in a marital relationship between not only May/Dec romantics, but those of differing risk aversions, can be fruitful. Stay the course and keep petitioning for the best LONG-TERM financial outcome for your family! The war may be a long one, but if you pick your battles carefully and execute strategies with a sense of cooperation and try to be sensitive & concilatory throughout the process, things can get accomplished!

Would it be better to keep the money and keep it invested at a rate greater than inflation in some kind of conservative instruments? Probably so! But Hubster was never EVER going to go that route. He just likes the feeling of having cash around. AND, there is no telling how far down the U.S. economy might go. We are buying a sense of security here I suppose.

I am going to be doing the happy dance ALL THE WAY TO and FROM the bank!!

YIPPPPEEEEEEEE!

Diving Into the Deep End

August 18th, 2009 at 03:03 pm

No, not a dumpster! (not yet at least)



I went yesterday on the way to the bank to deposit my $14.71 and stopped in at a place I've been wanting to get to for some time.

In my town there is a lady financial planner (referred to her by my Dad's friendly banker friend). We had a nice visit and if she passes a few more of the Frugalis Frustration Level Tests (ha - I won't turn over my money for someone else to manage nor will I just follow all the advice just because someone tells me it's a good idea).

I mean...

...if I don't frustrate HER too much, we might just be hooking up to let her assist Hubster and I with so many of the issues we have right now with facing retirement, downsizing, making a large financial contribution to a charitable 'entity', a possible trust to insure one of my sons is always taken care of, etc., etc., etc. plus all those icky 'end of life' estate planning issues that will likely be soon forthcoming? I need help. I want to hear educated pro/con arguments based on OUR financial picture, not the universal 'average'.

So, looks like I may be diving into the deep end with the big boys.

So far: PRO-
1)She's appears to be - not a snob. Important to me.

2)Hourly fee based.

CON-
1)She ???might??? be really tuned into annuities and maybe even sells them, I'm not sure, but it'll be a hard sell if that's the case as I'm very leary of them.

Nothing is firm yet. Hubster has yet to meet her. He'll have to come away with the same positive feelings (his spidey sense) or it'll be a no go.

We live in a small town. There is another planner in town, but he's a he. heheehee! Anyway, since I'm projected to be the longer liver, I want to start and stay with some one for the long haul (fingers crossed) of my future financial lifetime. I'd rather go with a female who understands finances from a woman's security point of view.

Okay, folks that's all the news that's fit to print so far today.

No-spending has transpired today. Big Grin

I did come home yesterday and moved that $14.71 out to earn interest and just now updated the $20 Challenge log (a bit - I'm still not done) over to the left.

Thanks to all of you at Saving Advice dot com I was very comfortable in my discussion with her and she was impressed with my knowledge base. She doesn't know I have all of you smarties in my back pocket!!

Would you ever use a financial planner? When?


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