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Update

May 11th, 2018 at 07:26 pm

I have not given you an update in a while, but I've been around reading your blogs. Two weeks ago my husband was notified that his contract will not be renewed and he will be out of work at the end of June. I am sort of relief to finally know. This job was causing a lot of turmoil and taking the peace out my home and I can say with conviction that I am glad it's over. Financially speaking, we will be just fine. I've been working on a plan for a while now and our emergency fund is extremely beefed up.

Here is the plan:

My husband will applied for unemployment benefits while looking for a job. We plan to save all of the unemployment money.

My DS#2 (who still lives with us) offered to help pay for the property taxes and homeowner's insurance. $700 a month. He has a really good job, saves a lot of his money while spending a bit of money on entertainment and car stuff. That leaves us with just the mortgage payment and household bills. We have no consumer debt other than mortgages.

I decided not to contribute to summer savings at work. My employer takes 10% of my net income to stretch my pay checks into the summer as I am a 10 month employee. That will give us an extra $775 every pay period. I will try to prepay July, August and September mortgage payments during the year if my husband does not find a job by then.

I will coupon and look for deals on groceries to keep this category in check.

No vacations, no mindless spending, etc.

On the bright side:

My income covers our monthly expenditures.

I will continue to contribute to my retirement accounts. I don't want to stop contributing because I am already behind contributing to retirement accounts.

Warmer weather is here and heating bill is at a minimum.

Mini Lofty Savings Goal #3 is fully funded.

The good and bad

March 27th, 2018 at 04:11 pm

It is a year today of my sister's passing from kidney failure complications. I'd been feeling sad for a few days now; unable to sleep well and thinking of her a whole lot. My sis was not just my sister; we were super tight and our bond was immeasurable. I miss her every day. People keep telling me that she is in a better place and as a Christian I believe she is but I don't know why it bothers me so much to hear that. Maybe because I am selfish and just want her to be here with us. I just really hate hearing that, especially when they say, "Don't cry, she is in a better place." I took the day off from work today, I could not fathom dealing with kids and coworkers. Frown

On the financial side, everything is going well. Part II of the Mini Lofty Saving Goal was completed today with our federal income tax refund. I am on to the next one. Moving to warmer pastures is still tugging at our hearts and we really want to make this happen but it will take for us to save as much money as we can.

This is for today. I hope you are all having a good week.

An update

March 22nd, 2018 at 03:46 pm

I am still at reduced hours at work. One of the schools is closed due to an electrical fire during a nor'easter. I can get used to these hours which are basically part time hours. Anyway, I've been preparing a lot more meals ready to eat after work. I mainly do this because I know I will be completely not up to it and also because DS#2 comes home after work and the guy is famished. It is definitely helping me eat out less and save money.

I am on month two of keeping track of every penny we spend and I am happy to report that it is indeed helping us spend less. Our electric bill was a bit less this month since I've been washing clothes and running the dishwasher after our provider's peek hours. I wish I can bring it down to under $100; we are just a bit over. On a side note, I hardly ever use the clothes dryer.

Mini Lofty Savings Goal Part II sits at 70% as of today. This one is taking longer than previous one but it is mainly because some money has been diverted to the mortgage principal and the Roth IRA.

Mortgage

March 14th, 2018 at 07:06 pm

It pays to spend some time perusing our mortgage company's website. I discovered today that we can pay the mortgage biweekly with no added fees using auto pay. By doing so, we will be making an extra mortgage payment every year. Smile

Mortgage

March 14th, 2018 at 07:06 pm

It pays to spend some time perusing our mortgage company's website. I discovered today that we can pay the mortgage biweekly with no added fees using auto pay. By doing so, we will be making an extra mortgage payment every year. Smile

Planned meals

March 13th, 2018 at 06:33 am

The nor'easter dumped 27 inches of snow in our area causing an electrical fire in one of the schools and as a result we are on a reduced schedule. I will be getting home much later in the day so I just know that I will be too drained and not in the mood for making dinner. So last night, I prepared three days worth of dinners for the three of us. Planning ahead will force me not to spend money on take out food.

I turned down the opportunity to earn at least $200 extra per week at work doing before care. Financially, I rather keep our frugal lifestyle than having to work more and quite frankly we are okay financially that I can turned this down. My DS#1 commented that he hopes to have the opportunity to turn down extra money someday. I told him to keep saving, investing and keep a balance in life and he may just be able to do the same.

Books and Library

March 6th, 2018 at 06:30 am

One of my goals this year is to read at least 12 books. I know it is not a lot but I just want to get back to it. I decided that I will not be purchasing any books and use our town's public library. My library stub states how much I've saved by borrowing books from the library and mine sits at $32. I am on my fourth book now. So far, I've read the following:

Wonder (borrowed this one from a student)
The bridges of Madison County (old book but I loved it)
Little Fires Everywhere

It's a wrap!

February 27th, 2018 at 02:14 pm

Bare Bones Budget experiment has ended. Tomorrow is payday and I don't for see having to spend any more money. Thanks to the experiment I concluded that we can handle our financial obligations if we both were working for minimum wage in New Jersey.We have no more college tuition or car payments at this point.I am happy that we can do that if need be. It includes a $300 contribution to my Roth IRA every month. Smile It is so liberating to know this.

Tax returns and more

February 22nd, 2018 at 06:14 am

We filed our taxes and we will be getting a refund from the feds in the amount of $2028. However, we owe the state of New Jersey $567 Frown.

Our bare bones budget is going well. We are hoping to do our last winter heating oil fill up early next month, but it all depends on how the weather is in March.

On a positive note, my husband and I will be celebrating our 28th Wedding Anniversary this weekend. It is through the grace of God and dedication to one another that we have come this far. I thank God for giving me a life partner who does everything possible to make my life easier.

NO GO

February 16th, 2018 at 07:47 pm

It looks like a move will not be a positive financial move for us. Most of the houses I liked required a high HOA monthly fee, have higher taxes than surrounding areas and we are short by at least $70K (if we were to buy cash). I am not upset, we've worked so hard, sacrificed too much to lose what we have to a hasty and bad decision on our part. I think logically and put emotions aside when making financial decisions.

For now, we will continue to save money and live it up a bit. On a bright side, I am soaking the sun as much as I can in this beautiful February Florida weather.

Pay day

February 14th, 2018 at 08:29 am

Pay day for us today; here is the rundown:

$150.00 to Roth IRA
$125.88 to mortgage principal
Pay quarterly property taxes Frown
$300.00 to savings

We are doing great following the bare bones budget. I will not include my trip expenses since it was planned way before deciding to follow a strict budget.

Meals

February 13th, 2018 at 05:19 pm

My DS#2 and my hubby will be home on their own for four days. I really don't want them to spend too much money on take out so I left three dinners in the fridge for them to reheat in the microwave. They can order pizza on Sunday and God willingly, I'll be home on Monday.

I am looking forward to the Florida sun and it seems like the weather will be nice.

Update

February 10th, 2018 at 03:02 pm

-Mini Lofty Savings Goal Part II is 30% funded.

-Our quarterly property taxes are due on Monday to the tune of $1800 Frown.

- Headed to FL on Wednesday; real estate market seems to be a seller's market as it is here in New Jersey. I am going to check things out but in a perfect world, we would like to pay for a house using cash. It seems like we are short of that $60K. Let see what happens; the purpose of this trip is to feel the market and we are not buying anything yet. In the event that a move is not possible; here is the plan...

This month, we are running a bare bones budget (mortgage, property taxes, HO insurance and household bills). We want to see if I can leave my job and live on much less than my current salary. I really need out as it is taking a toll on my health. I am prepared to do what it takes to feel better about where I spend eight hours of my day.
Let's see what happens.

My Seasonal Affective Disorder has been better this year so far. I just had a few days when it was very difficult to function. I am eagerly awaiting for Spring to come. Looking forward to the Florida sunshine.

Retirement Milestone

February 1st, 2018 at 08:19 am

As you may already know, I did not start contributing continuously to retirement accounts until I was in my late 30s. Ten years later, I finally hit the $100K mark (not including what I already have in a state pension). I'm hoping this amount is not short lived but I am super excited about making a small dent on retirement category.

January's outcome

January 29th, 2018 at 02:59 pm

I'm closing January since tomorrow is payday and all money has been allocated. And this is how it went...

Overall savings increased by 4.5%
Roth contributions contributions in January $300.00
Extra Mortgage Principal in January $325.00

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We are thankful that my hubby is still employed. I hope and pray that his job continues for the rest of the year and next year as he will be eligible to collect a full pension with 25 years of service which will include health benefits. If not, we will cross that hurdle when the time comes. As the CFO in our home, I will try to save as much as possible.

Thrift and others going through health and financial issues please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

The future

January 28th, 2018 at 07:05 am

Thinking about the future. It's scary but I don't want FEAR to win this battle. I'm 48 years old and I do want to live life under my own terms as much as possible. Next month, we begin our search for a home in another state. I told my husband that I refuse to settle for just any house. I am not looking for luxury; I just want a home that meets our needs and one we can be happy living in.

If by any chance our move is stalled or not possible, I decided that I will resign from my job sooner than later. I am grateful that it is a good paying job and that it has afforded us many financial opportunities, but I honestly have a really hard time going to work every day. My husband is supportive of my decision and he is willing to continue working until I find a good place to work. We will definitely have to tighten our belts but we are no strangers to making sacrifices and we have enough funds in savings to help us move forward. Until then, we will continue hoarding money.

On another note, Mom is back home. She left yesterday and when I talk to her on the phone she sounded so upbeat and happy. I am happy for her.

MLSG Part II begins

January 19th, 2018 at 10:02 am

Part II of the Mini Lofty Savings Goal is on! I hoping to be able to complete part II and part III by June 30th when the new fiscal year begins at work. It's going to take discipline but I think I can do it!

My mom is going home next week. Too cold for her here. I am cooking a special meal before she lives. I will miss her but I know that this is not her home.

Have a great weekend.

Leap of Faith

January 18th, 2018 at 07:20 am

Mini Lofty Savings Goal Part I is fully funded! I am on to Part II of this goal with the same amount as Part I. This is an ongoing effort since we have big plans for this money.

I am going on a personal mission/mini vacation next month. I am hoping to visit a few towns/cities we are considering moving to in the near future. Winters in New Jersey really take a toll on my body, mind and soul and we feel it is time to consider a move to warmer pastures. Our children are now grown men with decent jobs and doing well for themselves and are very supportive of us. DS #1 is actually making the trip with me!We've given them the best life possible within our means. I am optimistic and feel that we are on the right track to make this happen.

I may add that we will have an income that will help sustain us while we settled. Hubby will a collect a small state pension and some other sources of income from rental properties. I will look for work once I am settled since I am ten years younger than my husband.

Any Floridians here? Any suggestions?

Update

January 14th, 2018 at 08:25 am

This pay period:

Mini Lofty Savings Goal is at 90.2%. I hope to meet this goal by February. This savings goal will be ongoing and in smaller amounts.

To date 2018 Roth IRA contributions-$200

Goal is to contribute $2750 by June 30th and the remaining $2750 by December 31st.

Mortgage Principal Reduction Extravaganza-$200
I wish I could do more but with Hub's job on shaky grounds, I have no choice but to be cautious.

Have a great work week!

Update

January 14th, 2018 at 08:25 am

Quick update

January 6th, 2018 at 06:40 pm

Mini Lofty Savings Goals sits at 60.5%.

We made some progress on the mortgage principal the last months of 2017 but because of the uncertainty of hubby's job still lingers, we decided to stop paying extra on the principal.

We have plans that I will share with you in due time.

I sincerely hope you all have a great 2018 and please send positive vibes or prayers to all our fellow SA bloggers, especially Thriftorama.

Roth IRA

December 30th, 2017 at 07:07 pm

My first Roth IRA contribution for 2018 is setup to withdraw from my checking account on January 2nd. The goal is to have $2750 in contributions by June 30th and the rest by December 31, 2018. My intentions are to fully fund the Roth IRA in 2018. This year I was able to fully fund it for the first time ever.

2017 Ups and Downs

December 29th, 2017 at 07:15 pm

2017 Financial Ups

We managed to live on 50% of our income and save the rest.

We bought a two-family house which will produce income each month if it remains fully rented.

Both my husband and I are gainfully employed and hoping to stay that way.

Managed to pay an extra $5K to the mortgage principal.

Fully funded my Roth IRA for the first time ever.

2017 Financial Downs

Hubby's job has been very stressful

We paid $46 in interest on a credit card because I forgot to do an automatic payment. Live and Learn; totally mea culpa.

Personal Ups

Husband and I both celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary.

DS#2 graduated college with no debt.

Personal Downs:

I lost my Sister in March to complications of End Stage Renal Failure. I miss her every single day of my life. Miss her voice and her craziness.

I did not lose any weight Frown

My extended family were hit with a Category 5 Hurricane turning their lives upside down.

Hoping for a happy, healthy and Prosperous New Year for all of you! Happy 2018!

Savings/Life/Retirement

December 21st, 2017 at 04:11 pm

Mini Lofty Savings Goal will be at 13% tomorrow. Tomorrow is my last day of work 'till January 2nd.
Our Christmas expenditures came right about $200 including our share of the Christmas meal. The stocking idea pretty much helped us a great deal.

We are facing some uncertainties with my hubby's job so I want to be cautious and continue to save as much as we can to so that we can weather choppy waters. Unfortunately, I will not continue to knock off the mortgage debt until we have a clearer picture of where his job stands. I rather be safe than sorry.

Mortgage retirement funds (not including the state pension)is nearing the $100K. I know it is not much but considering I did not work outside the home in my twenties and majority of my thirties, I think it it's okay. We have some money tied up to real estate and we are fine with that.

Principal/Savings Goal

December 15th, 2017 at 05:53 pm

It was payday today. Mini Lofty Savings Goal stands at 20% and we've officially wiped 12 months from our 30 year mortgage by paying extra on the principal. That my fellow bloggers makes me really excited!

It's been bitter cold in New Jersey, making this Caribbean gal yearn for warm weather. I am, however, managing my Seasonal Affective Disorder thus far. Hoping for better temps soon.

We did it!!!

November 22nd, 2017 at 03:33 pm

The Lofty Savings Goal is officially funded!!!! Hard work, sacrifice and determination helped us accomplish this goal. From this point forward, we will continue saving but not as intensely as before. All our efforts are now focused on killing that mortgage.

2017 has been a really rough year for me but I am thankful for everything we have and I just want to continue being a good steward to all of the financial blessings bestowed upon us. I am grateful for all that I have because I know that there are many without basic necessities.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I am definitely thankful for all of you.

Updating

November 16th, 2017 at 09:59 am

We now sit at 98.5% of our "Lofty Savings Goal". Hopefully it will reach the 100% mark by December 31st. We are so close, I can almost taste it. I am making the first significant extra principal mortgage payment on December 1st. I'll just have to wait until payday to come up with a figure. I'm feeling excited about setting goals and working towards accomplishing them?

Update

November 10th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

We are a little less than 7% away from meeting our Lofty Savings Goal. I'm hoping to be done with it by February of 2018 or sooner. I keep a visual aide to help me keep motivated and excited about meeting goals. I can't wait to color fill the 100% line on my savings thermometer. Smile

We closed on the investment property today and we went out for lunch to celebrate. Just a meal at our favorite pizza place. We are simple people. I am already preparing for Thanksgiving and I have the ham in the freezer as I write. We are going to our son's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas at home.

I received a picture of my sister's grandchildren today and I can't believe how big they are. I could not help to think about my dear sister and how much she adore her kiddos. I'll be sending them Christmas gifts on her behalf "from heaven". It's hard to understand why our love ones depart from us suddenly, but I trust that God's timing is perfect.

The Mortgage Principal Reduction Extravaganza begins next month. We may use a portion of our savings down the line to reduce the principal even more, but not yet. I don't like feeling cash poor. My mom is still with us and going home for her is not an option since the island is making little progress as they recover from the aftermath of Maria. She is not very happy about the cold weather but I told her she has to rough it out until I feel she can go back. If there is progress in the months ahead, I will take her for a visit in March. But it all depends.

Well, this is it for today. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Real Estate

November 3rd, 2017 at 07:22 pm

We've been working on a purchase of a two-family home since late August and if everything goes according to plan, we are set to close on this property next Friday. After a little bit of haggling back and forth, we came to an agreement on a purchase price. I know that investment properties are not the easiest to deal with but we've owned rental properties since 1998.

We are aware of all the pitfalls of owning them and the good and the bad that comes with them. We will still have a healthy emergency after we bring 20% of the purchase price to closing. We would not do it unless we have money in the bank to cover our own personal emergencies and anything that comes up with the rental properties. Eventually, we would like to make enough money to cover my income or a good portion of it so that I can perhaps take on reduced work hours or change career paths. Although I love my job, it has become more and more trying as the years go by. I only have one life to live and I want to make the most of it.

On a side note, we have an umbrella policy to help us mitigate any issues.

Fully Funded Roth IRA

October 26th, 2017 at 03:00 pm

Last night, I realized that I should make an effort to fully fund my Roth IRA. I transferred the remaining $4,500.00 contribution from savings to the checking and fully fund the IRA. I think I am going to continue doing this for as long as I can. Fund it and forget about it.


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