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!
Viewing the 'Outflow' Category
Long time no check in!
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.
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!
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.
"Very few people have knowledge of their true expenses. Because they do not consider intermittent and irregular expenses as regular monthly obligations, their expenses turn into emergencies and financial crises." -Mary Hunt
As we are lately revamping the Frugalis House Budget, I thought I'd give a breakdown on what we put back each month on automotive expenses over and above repair/maintain/replace funds, gasoline expenses & the auto insurance escrow.
Many people overlook these costs listed below and then are caught short when it's time to pay the piper. Some of these things come up at the most inconvenient times.
These are monthly amounts set back for future costs. Yes, I literally move them into savings to hold until the money is all there. I also set back a small bit of money each month to replace our driver's licenses. On the side the date listed is when we anticipate needing these things replaced.
On the car:
Car Battery $2.15 /$50 - 2 years
Car Tires $10.41 / $250 - 2 years
Car Tag $6.95 /$83.40 - yearly
Car Oil Changes $8.75/$105-$35x3 times year
$28.26 per month
On the truck:
Truck Battery $2.15 /$50 - 2 years
Truck Tires $22.22 / $400 - 18 months
Truck Tag $5.20 /$62.40 - yearly
Truck Oil Changes $5.83/$70-$35x2 times year
$35.40 per month
Today was a No Spend Day for me. The housebudget spent money on dog food $11.45 & getting the dog's toenails clipped $5.00 and stocking up on dishwashing soap while it was on sale for 69 cents a bottle & some ice-cream $8.44.
A nice change of events (I'm afraid to call and find out why) but I got our recent electric bill and it's down about $30 lower than usual. I'll take it!
Yes, Hubster is an awfully sweet man, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about my plastic honey bear, Hank. He's about to get all likker'd up inside.
On Saturday I went to our local farm store where they were having a 20% off everything that fit in their 'green' bag sale. You had to buy their 99cent bag. So worth it.
They were having honey on sale. 5 lbs. bottles - which normally sells there at 13.99 a bottle, on sale for 10.99.
I had four dollar off coupons. I ended up getting my honey at $7.99 a bottle. Almost half off. SCORE!! How Sweet It Is!!
I bought four jugs. Honey does not go bad. It might crystalize, but stick jug in warm water and the honey melts back. This stash should last a while.
I have been weaning myself off of white sugar and have gone to using honey as my main sweetener.
I refill my little honey bear, Hank, from the big jug. A savings device. Buying those individual little bears can get costly. I'd like to have a nice glass or ceramic honeypot. Maybe I could put it on my Christmas list, along with the tea ball I'm asking for?
And as for honey bear's sidekick?
Meet Poppie, The Popcorn Clown.
A hold over from my childhood days. We keep our 'currently using' popcorn in an old Grapette Syrup bottle in the cabinet. Our storage for larger supplies is elsewhere. Poppie, kind of scary in a droopy sort of way, but friendly none the less. These are neat old bottles that had a slot in the top for making him into a bank.
Here the 1 lb. bags at the grocery had been going for .88 a bag for years. All of a sudden they are up to 1.39 a bag! I like to stock up so I don't have to wander out in the snow and ice later. Said farm store had 12&1/2 pound bags on sale for $5.49. Since they fit in the 20% off bag? I got two bags, making my outlay for popcorn at .359ish a pound. SCORE!!
Popcorn - an inexpensive, yet filling snack. It's a Sunday afternoon tradition at my house, no matter how large the luncheon feast, we pop a big bowl of popcorn and settle in for a movie & nap.
My bag was heaaaaa-vy - 45 lbs plus. I also stocked up on a few spices while I was at it. I can pack a bag let me tell you! And, now I have another nice little green bag to go with my others.
Hank & Poppie, a couple of friendly faces when I open my cupboard - they, along with Pigger, help me save & stretch our food money.
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.
link to PDF file about a Predictable Secure Pension For Life - has a nice checklist:
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.
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.