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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!


SD Sioux Tribe Emergency Response Needed

January 30th, 2010 at 09:20 am


Photo credit: Juanita Oros

Many of you know I'm of Native American ancestry, this is not my tribe but the situation in SD is one I've just been made aware of. If any of you can help in any way I'm sure it would be most appreciated! If all you can do is spread the word that help would be great as well. It's true there are many people in Haiti who need our help, but there are people here on American soil that need assistance too! National media attention is needed in this situation. Do not be fooled. We are not all 'casino rich' or receiving an 'Indian check' each month. Many do not receive any government assistance.



South Dakota Sioux Tribe Seeks Emergency Assistance After Ice Storm


"Last week's ice storm in South Dakota left thousands without power and water. While many Red Cross resources are being diverted to relief efforts in Haiti, there is still the need for money and supplies in the upper midwest, specifically for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which has a full list of needed medical and general supplies.

Power outages forced 35 kidney dialysis patients from the tribe to temporary relocate to Rapid City, and the reservation requires glucose strips, first aid kits and even children's medicine.

The local Wal-mart has sent food and supplies, but in-kind contributions are being accepted. A full list of what the Tribe requests:

•Non-perishable food
•Cots
•Heat sources (heaters & fuel)
•Camp stoves & fuel
•Lithium 1, 2 and 3 batteries for law enforcement
•Lamps/Batteries/Lamp Oil
•Toilet paper
•Paper products for the shelters
•Pampers/formula
•Hand/baby wipes/Hand sanitizer

Ship in-kind donations to:
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman's Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Supplies
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

You can also contribute money to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's emergency relief fund, which has been depleted in the past months. Online donations are currently unavailable.
Mail checks to:
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe/2010 Disaster Account
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman's Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Fund
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625"


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704094304575...


http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Hotel de'Frugalis - It Costs How Much??

December 1st, 2009 at 04:49 am

Tried to make this post last night and it went to blipdom. Trying again!



How much does it cost to stay the night in the Hotel de'Frugalis? Or put another way, how much does it cost to live here each day? $13.68.


Mortgage $000.00 (pd. off 9/21/09)
Insurance $001.59
Taxes $001.66
Utilities $010.43
____________________
Daily Rate $013.68*
Monthly Rate $410.40
Yearly Rate $4924.80

I am not unhappy with this figure.

Cheaper than most hotels I can think of.

And, we just lowered our rates when we reshopped our house insurance. And costs may go down further this year as my heating bill just came in way under last year's balanced payment plan figures.

However, it does go to show you how much even a paid for home can cost you.

"You paid off your house! AWESOME - now you're on easy street baby!!!"

It might blow somebody's mind to think it still costs to live here if they don't consider true costs. The actual rate above would be higher still if I'd of managed to figure in upkeep, repair and maintenance dollars.

It's here where I get to thinking of something many of us ofteN overlook or just gloss over:

Cost vs. price.


Figuring out the true cost of home ownership.

And then I get into thinking about Use Value vs. Exchange Value.

In many countries a home isn't thought of for it's dollar value like it often is here in the US, but more for the tradition or use value as a home to flourish in that is purchased for generational use, rather than flipping potential or investment potential.

That being considered, here's a nice calculator on the buy vs. rent debate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/business/2007_BUYRENT_GRAP...

This gentleman's article goes on to help you figure out, if you're in the shopping conundrum of rent vs. buy, how to understand the Rent Ratio. A way to effectively compare apples to oranges. Yes, the article is a bit dated, but the ratio will still work.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/28/business/28leonhardt.html?...

Okay, so now that begs the question, how much does it cost you to stay in the Hotel of YouAndYours-dom?

Strength to Bust Thru The Web?

October 30th, 2009 at 02:02 pm

Do I have enough strength to bust thru the web of too much to do???




Today's Five - Fortified Plus

[X]DONE - 1)Dressed to shoes
[X]DONE - 2)Makeup
[X]DONE - 3)Bed made
[X]DONE - 4)Laundry
[X]DONE - 5)Breakfast
[X]DONE - 6)Walk
[X]DONE - 7)Replace Calculator Tape
[X]DONE - 8)Vacumn Living Room
[X]DONE - 9)Fix Lunch for self & Hubster
[X]DONE - 10)Dust TV w/static brush
tried can't find wire 11)Put wires on family art/Hang in Studio
[X]DONE - 12)Put papers back in safe
[X]DONE - 13)Get gift tube put together
[X]DONE - 14)Beans in Crockpot
[X]DONE - 15)Bake cornbread for supper
[X]DONE - 16)Find Orange Paint in basement
[X]DONE - 17)Paint orange on wall
{x}half done - 18)XFind address for tube / Xpackage up / mail off
[X]DONE - 19)Closet, find 2 things to donate - (I found four things)
[X]DONE - 20)Read for inspiration on Flylady dot net - I have seriously fallen off wagon w/Hubster home this year.
21)Work on New Proposed Budget for SS & Pension
22)Revamp house-budget's categories on You Need A Budget software
23)Update Networth for October
{x}half done - we spoke, we'll speak some more! Big Grin 24)Talk w/Hubster about Roll Over funds where to invest - I'd like munis or T-bills or even somewhere outside the bounds of US borders, the state of the U.S.$ is worrying me.
[X]DONE - 25)Find 2 jobs online for Hubster to apply for tomorrow. He's still looking for employment because he can draw UE till late Dec. even w/SS.
At least in our state, here's a legal opinion:


http://nelp.3cdn.net/f96d84de63766102b2_8rm6b99ab.pdf


Hubster called UE office today and got the same answer.

And, if he gets a part-time job we might have access to a cheaper health-care insurance plan for him.


"Habits are cobwebs at first, cables at last." ~ancient proverb


Don't laugh at the first five or so of these on my list. The only thing I was consistently getting done was laundry. Some days I'm a nightgown girl all day, and it was getting to be too often when I had nowhere to go. Got to get back to my Flylady routines. I don't mind having one day a week to stay in my jams. But more than that? It's just too easy to let everything go to pot. And I need to eat breakfast EVERY day!!

I need good habits and I get better at keeping those good habits up when I keep in touch with the Flylady dot net method. I can't keep up with all the emails but I can check my book & read online to inspire myself.

Right now the second coat of paint is drying on my little orange spot and then I can move the chair back and vacumn that last tiny little corner & put the vacumn totally away. Everything else has been vacumned, even the dining room which I had no intention of doing today!

Another area that was getting sloppy was the cooking. If I don't stay on myself it's just too easy to forget to get anything out of the freezer and then just run out for fast food. That's got to stop! Beans are cooking in the crockpot and smelling good. After checking the cabinets and freezer I see I'm out of ham up stairs and will have to make a return visit to the basement to check for some canned ham to oooomph up the beans.

Okay, I told ya'll my house was a scary place after dark. While vacumning in the foyer I decided I'd open the front door to get right up to the threshold edge. Boy am I glad I did - the cobwebs - you wouldn't believe!!! It's scary in the daytime too!

No one ever uses my front door, like hardly NEVER! Jumping Jehosophat that thing was full of cobwebs which is unusual. So I go to cleaning it up and finally figure out why. The last time someone had it open (like maybe early spring?) someone (I'm not naming names), but someone AHEM! left the glass up on the storm door and it only had that very porous screen covering that part allowing critters into the space between storm door and wood door.

It's good to clean ocassionally! Big Grin Really, I keep telling myself that. If someone had come to that door, they'd for sure think no one had been in this haunted house for ages! Truly. There was dust and cobwebs and other ick on the doorknob even! Oh my. Well, Housekeeper of the Year? I'm not. But, that glass over the screen being down? Will save some utility bill $$s come this winter! And it keeps winter weather off my wood door too.

Back to my list! Crack that whip. I likely won't get it all done, but I'm on it like white on rice.

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_...

---

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

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

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.

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.

Yet Another Rate Hike?

January 16th, 2009 at 08:06 am



Adding to the challenge:

$20 CHALLENGE

$004.27 balance
+001.22 change from OTC meds & kleenex
_______
$005.49 Jan MTD

2009 Challenge Total $5.49
Cumulative Challenge Total $1008.27

Medical update: Feeling a tad better today, just can't swallow much without pain and now FrugalSon is getting this crud. Hubster had it first bringing it home from his last week of work.

Prices at the pharmacy for OTC for mucus - name brand $20.99 - generic $7.00. Quite a spread! Guess which one I picked?

Of financial news we've heard of yet ANOTHER possible rate hike on utilities.

Thanks to Princess Perky for reminding me, I just made another KIVA loan.

Waste Is A Resource Out of Place

August 16th, 2008 at 05:50 pm



Did anyone else see this? Ethanol made not from corn but from beer mash???

This morning on TV - it was quite early here as I hadn't even had my coffee yet - was a morning show of some kind talking about Coors and their ethanol reclamation project.

With our trash service broken it caught my attention. I was beginning to crazily wonder what I could do creative w/ about 17 days of trash???? Later today I found this out on the web from the tag line that I remembered from the show 'waste is a resource out of place'.

"Minimizing our impact on the environment is the right thing to do and it's good for our business," said Molson Coors CEO Leo Kiely. "Bill Coors used to say that waste was a resource out of place - that thinking still drives us today to recycle, reuse and reduce our consumption of energy and materials when and where we can."

I'm not a beer fan but I'm going to try to remember this phrase! I do try often to reuse stuff but I'm disinclined to save 25+ oatmeal containers if I've no use for them. I wish there was a better way to sort & distribute such stuff as you know would be good for churches, schools, scouts and other groups to use in their projects.

"Reduce, ReUse, Recycle!" I recently painted such a sign on an old barn board I had laying around. Put it in my junque booth.

As I'm typing this guess who just drove by? My OLD trash service and FINALLY picked up the trash! They don't know they're out yet! Come Monday they'll find out as Hubster's calling them up AGAIN! And I'll be wanting a refund for the last half of this month.

Oh, did I tell you? FrugalSon PASSED his driving test!!!!

Woooooooooooooohoooo!

Jun &Jul Utility Figures OH the Excitement!

August 1st, 2008 at 01:11 pm



Looking backwards I see that I didn't post our June utility records. And I want to keep going forward tracking those costs here. So here are June & July!

July utility figures for Frugalis Family of four adults (1 female/3 males):

$97.33 CableTV/Internet/Phone
$94.00 Gas
$66.00 Electricity
$38.85 Water/Ambulance
$14.00 Trash
_______
$310.18 July total

The cable/phone bill went up because I added a feature to block all those annoying 800 number calls that were coming in with no one on the other end of the line! So sad that a consumer has to protect themselves this way and there is no way to get them to stop calling you five or six times a day. GRRRR! Anyway, that's why that went up. I did some investigating online and it seems that many people have this same trouble and there seems no way to stop them from dialing! OUGHT TO BE A LAW!

Water bill was down for July because we were out of town for 10 days on vacation.

---

The June utility figures were:
$90.75 CableTV/Internet/Phone
$91.00 Gas
$64.00 Electricity
$49.40 Water/Ambulance
$14.00 Trash
_______
$309.15 June total

~~~

AVERAGE FRUGALIS UTILITY BILLS - 2008
$310.18 July totals
$309.15 June totals
$309.15 May totals
$318.70 April totals
$313.08 March totals

Since I started tracking here the average is $312.05 per month.

~~~

I did get a notice from my trash carrier that starting in August they will be taking a bit more on the old autodraft payment to cover gasoline prices.

Ho-hum!

It's to be expected and they were the one company that had not adjusted their rates since we moved here in 1999! They are well worth the trouble to keep me from hauling stuff myself to the dump which would cost me exactly the same amount PLUS my gasoline & time/energy to do the hauling.

I can't locate the paper at the moment that stated exactly how much they'll be going up but it was rather a small increase and I'd say well deserved!

FYI: I have a two story home w/a walk-in attic & a walk-out basement that has central heat & air. The basement is not heated/cooled but stays at a naturally regulated temperature year round. It's always nice down there!

Upstairs I keep the shades drawn all summer and have curtains over all the blinds except in the kitchen & utility room.

We did put new energy efficient windows in last April. I've yet to do the homework to see if heat/cooling bills have gone down. Funny, huh? I should do that!

With attic & basement space we run about 3600 square feet. We keep 1600 or so sq. feet on the main floor of it 'conditioned' at all times.

We don't monkey around w/the thermostat and it stays set at 72 summertime, 78 wintertime. I use portable fans in the areas we need extra cooling in from time to time and I sleep w/one of those Vornado fans blowing on my face all night every night year round for white noise & I like a BRISK breeze.

In the winter time we do bring up a space heater from the basement to use in the bathroom. 28 days out of 30 we never use it, but sometimes it is extra nice if you've been out shoveling snow or some such and need a hot bathing experience.

I always figure if we're too hot we can take more clothes off or if too cold we can bundle up more!

I wash one load of colored laundry per weekday & Sunday and 2 loads on Saturday (1 whites/1 colored).

Dishes are done once a day by hand. We use cloth napkins.

Computers are turned off every night. I try to unplug everything that isn't absolutely necessary - in the kitchen this means the microwave, coffee pot, tv, toaster, etc. are all unplugged if not in use. In the bathroom hair-dryer is unplugged after each use. Two electric clocks in the house - all others use rechargeable batteries and all bulbs that can be are CFLs.

We have natural gas for heating & cooking.

Some one is home all day every day.

---
Paid bills today and requested my CashBack Bonus from Discover card today. That $20 should show up in the old bank account in a day or two if not today. When it does I'm adding it to my $20 Challenge.

Feeling Lennonish, but Albert works!

May 30th, 2008 at 08:39 am



The conversation over on the SavingAdvice.com forums about folks trying to feed themselves on limited means and with limited shopping options has got me feeling all Lennonish this a.m. But, Albert will work! We're ALL needed to fight the gorilla on our joint humanity backs! No man is an island.

"A human being is a part of a whole,
called by us _universe_,
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself,
his thoughts and feelings as
something separated from the rest..
a kind of optical delusion
of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from
this prison by widening our circle
of compassion
to embrace
all living creatures and the
whole of nature in its beauty."

~ Albert Einstein


-------
The May utility figures are in:

$90.75 CableTV/Internet/Phone
$92.00 Gas
$63.00 Electricity
$49.40 Water/Ambulance
$14.00 Trash
_______
$309.15 May total

April totals were $318.70, so we're down $9.55 this month! YEAH!! Big Grin

-------
Cleaning out the wallet to add to the $20 Challenge:

$013.25 balance
$020.17 cleanout
_______
$33.42 May MTD

2008 Challenge Total $141.08
Cumulative Challenge Total $669.69

Acid Rain? No, I'm Queen of the Mist!!

May 7th, 2008 at 10:20 am


Pic: Annie Taylor, (Queen of the Mist) who, in 1901, became the first person to plunge over the brink of Niagara Falls in a barrel.




Come along Lil'HippyChillen' and sing along with me...

"My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,
My Bonnie Lies Over The Rain Barrel!"



I've been bemoaning the price of my water bill on here lately. This morning on a whim - since it's raining here today - I put out an old trashbarrel under the inside L corner of my roof, where two ridgelines meet, to fill w/rainwater. I'm planning to use it to water the banana trees and tomato plants later this week when the sun comes back out. Don't try this at home if you've got small children about. If you've got kiddos you need a closed system that one couldn't fall into!

Then serendipity led me to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwe_pVOYOrY&feature=dir


Holy Toledo, this place says there are beacou gallons to be had? WOW!

http://www.rainbarrelguide.com/

So, if you are feeling greenly conservation minded you might want to do something similar. As a teen I was constantly washing my hair w/rainwater, but that was back before acid rain and such. Oh, we probably had it, we just didn't know it!

I did speak to Hubster this week about perhaps installing a graywater system of some kind, and he said he thought we could hook one up pretty easily, so we'll see. Doubtful we'll go this far! I was just thinking of hooking off of the bathroom sink or something. I'm not this much of a gardener!


http://www.emmitsburg.net/gardens/articles/adams/audrey/wa...


This reminded me of my time in Honduras. Many people live w/cisterns year round as their main source of water.

And once I started thinking of this and googling around for pics I found this link that many of you may enjoy sloshing around in:


http://blog.makezine.com/archive/diy_projects/122.html


and this should have a special appeal for a certain someone who opposes composting toilets!


http://www.reuk.co.uk/Rainwater-Toilet-Flush-System.htm


Well, of course I have to categorize this post as INFLOW! Big Grin

April Utility Bills Were...

May 1st, 2008 at 04:38 am



April 2008 Utility Bills fell out like this:

$90.75 Phone/Cable/DSL
$92.00 Natural Gas
$14.00 Trash Service
$62.00 Electric
$59.95 Water/Ambulance Fee
______
$318.70 April Utilities
-$313.08 March Utilities
________
$ 5.62 >difference

Dang that pesky water bill. All I personally did different this month was water the 6 tomato plants TWO DAYS for just a couple of minutes - I didn't just stand there mindlessly either, purposefully watered only as little as was needed!!

Going to look at getting a different shower head and pricing out a more water saving washing machine! GADZOOKS!! I will refrain from cussing (HRUMPH - I mean discussing Big Grin)about a 10 yr. old refrigerator that possibly needs replacing because it isn't freezing correctly this morning until after I try moving it out a little further from the wall and vacumning the coils today.

In today's advanced industrial society you'd think we could make a frig that would last longer than almost 10 years to the day!!!

Wave goodbye to the stimulus package Mrs. Frugalis! DAGNABIT!!! I wanted to add that to our Roths. There is some money in the Frugalis Furniture/Appliance Fund, but not much.

Compared to March 2008:
$90.68 Phone/Cable/DSL
$97.00 Natural Gas
$14.00 Trash Service
$62.00 Electric
$49.40 Water/Ambulance Fee
______
$313.08

I still need to look back at this time last year and go thru all the files and see what last year's utilities were.

Utility Bills and the Good News is...

March 28th, 2008 at 08:21 am



Sweet Black Toffee got to come home from the vet last night. She is trying to walk herself around again. She wobbles and falls over a lot. Back left leg working great. Right rear leg comes and goes. We are to do physical therapy with her three times a day and she has some meds.

As long as she can eliminate on her own I think everything will be okay. As the doctor was explaining it to me the first day his scenario was we'd be doing basically a colostomy bag and physical manipulations to help her go potty, which wasn't the type of life we wanted for her or ourselves.

So far so good. She went potty by herself this morning and is on predisone which is keeping her thirsty & kidneys going as well. Mostly she is back to her usual sleeping all the time. You can wake her up and interact with her on any given day and within 2 or 3 minutes she'll tire out and curl back up to sleep. She is after all a little old lady!!


Toffee - 2005


Vet bill on the CC to the tune of $180.00. Will pay that out of the Veterinary Fund. Thank goodness for pre-planning, although obviously there isn't enough in there for anything major.

Talk about your up and down days!!!

Right before we left for the vet my sister called and asked 'when was the last time I had talked to our Mom?' I had spent about 2 hours on the phone with her just the day before. Okay, she says, now she is wearing one of those heart monitor packs for 24 hours. Say what??? Both my parents are falling apart at the same time. I live one hour from my Dad and an hour and 1/2 from Mom.

I get off phone w/Sis, go to the vet w/Hubster & CashHappySon thinking we are going to say goodbye as they closed w/i 15 minutes, find the dog much better and get Toffee, come back home and call my Mom.

Seems she had recently changed health clinics to one closer to her home and they had changed her medications from one she takes twice a day to a time released type. The new one appears to be what is making her heart race.

After I got off the phone w/her CashHappySon started acting the 'wicked-child' again and I frankly did not need the additional stress. Hubster had his job cut out for him again trying to referee!

Ay-Carumba!! Thankfully the rest of the evening smoothed out and I went to bed early w/a warm corn-bag (microwave heated) and de-stressed w/a good book. I'm reading about the Ochs family who started the New York Times newspaper. Very interesting. The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family behind The New York Times, Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones, Little, Brown and Company, 1999.**

Giving parental units time this a.m. to get up and running and I'll be calling to check in with both of them!

----
$20 CHALLENGE
$007.38 balance
+003.25 wallet cleanout
_______
$010.63 March MTD

2008 Challenge Total $65.07
Cumulative Challenge Total $593.68

----
When I was paying bills yesterday I thought I'd do a little addition and check how the utilities are running. This is more for informational purposes into the retirement planning stages because if we pay our house off and stay here I wanted to see where we'd be.

Going to try and start logging them here monthly.

Utilities for March 2008

$90.68 Phone*/Cable/DSL
$97.00 Natural Gas
$14.00 Trash Service
$62.00 Electric
$49.40 Water/Ambulance Fee**
______
$313.08

*Landline charges. I recently ended my cell phone contract that I'd had for about 6 years and have gone with an Emergency Use Only tracphone (pay as you go.) Cell is now paid out of my budget and Hubster doesn't carry one.

**A couple of months back the rural water district we live in decided to start charging us $2.50 month for emergency medical services fee in the off chance we need to use an ambulance. If we had our druthers we'd pay for an ambulance IF and when we needed one. Boo Hiss!

Okay, back to the utilities, so w/the projection of having the house paid off right about retirement time and adding in current house taxes of apprx. $56.00 a month and we'd be sitting here (in today's dollars) paying right at $370.00 to live in our home. Not too shabby, eh folks??? But, we must not forget to factor in that nasty inflation!!

$370 a month - That's low enough that we could stay here and hire out the lawn care, if we wanted to. Ahhh, the joys of not buying TOO MUCH house!

----
I personally had a no-spend day yesterday.