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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Life has been a bit chaotic for us but it is starting to mellow down a bit. My brother and his wife have now returned to work, although they do not have electricity yet. I helped my brother fill out the disaster assistance from FEMA's website and he received $500. We sent an additional $550 to help him out. He was able to purchase a generator to run the fridge, fans and the washer.
Financially speaking we are keeping up with the "Lofty Savings Goal" and I am excited to tell you that we're at 89.7%, a bit over 10% to fully fund this. My mom is now living with us (since late August). She came to us two weeks prior to Hurricane Maria and I am so grateful she did. Otherwise, I would've been going crazy. I've been working an extra hour almost every day at work at $30 an hour. I did not sign for it at first but I was practically begged to do it. On some months, I can make an extra $400. Sometimes, I wish I could just go home after my regular hours; my job drains me mentally and physically.
I am starting to look into Christmas shopping. I did buy a nativity set that I definitely did not need but wanted badly. I waited a month to buy it hoping that the itch to have would go away, but it never did.
Fall in in the air in my neck of the woods and I love it. Autumn is my favorite season!
For those of you who have donated to relief agencies aiding in Puerto Rico, as an American to an American, I want to say THANK YOU!
A little back story; In 1940, my grandfather, a U.S. Army officer was stationed in Puerto Rico where he met my Puertorican grandmother. They soon wedded and from that union, my dad and uncle were born. In 1950, my grandfather, at that point, separated from the U.S. Armed Forces, left Puerto Rico alone to the mainland to look for work planning to eventually send for my grandmother, my dad and uncle. Unfortunately, my grandfather was killed in a car accident at 32 years old. My grandmother chose to stay in Puerto Rico to raise her boys close to her family as she worked as an English teacher at a public school. My grandmother never remarried. Although, I was born in the U.S., I was raised in Puerto Rico until I was 12 years old. We were a "strange" bunch, the only kids in our hometown with an English surname in a Spanish-speaking country. The majority of us were blonde with very fair skin.
Love of culture runs deep in our blood. It's been 36 years since I lived there but I still get goosebumps and butterflies every time I visit. God knows when I'll be able to go again; I'll have to wait until electricity and water is restored. One thing is certain, I will be back. My brother and his family are still there and so are an array of extended family.
Please continue to pray for my brother and family and again Thank you United States of America for taking care of your fellow Americans.
We are going on day #5 of no communication with my brother in Puerto Rico. By now, you probably heard or seen the devastation of Hurricane Maria in the island. I just need to know that they are okay.
Please pray for my family in Puerto Rico as they are being pummeled by another Cat 5 hurricane. I'm super worried.
Hello! Thank God I survived the fist full week of school (work). It is terribly exhausting after two months of a lazy summer. Believe me, I know how blessed I am to have those months to do what I want.
Finances have been a bit chaotic due to my non-nonchalant attitude. It's time to take the reigns again! On a happy note the "Lofty Savings Goal" is growing as we are at 85.2%.
DS#2 was bit by a tick and has Lyme Disease. Fortunate for him the classic bull's eye rash was a dead give away and he is now on a 3 week antibiotic regimen. He did start feeling a little run down but hopefully he will be just fine.
Well, this is for this week. Please know that I'm thinking about all of you going through tough times.
Please pray for my family and friends as Hurricane Irma makes her way into Puerto Rico tomorrow. My brother and his family as well as a ton of extended family and friends live there. Thanks you.
For my fellow Floridian bloggers, I am thinking of you and please stay safe.
A few months ago, I told my DS#2 that starting November he is to contribute $400 for rent. He already contributes $200 towards the family groceries, pays his own car insurance, cell phone and his personal items. He is a great young man, super responsible, kind and generous and works a full time job with great wages. He saves most of his money and he is on his way to buying a two family home as an investment property. He intends to continue living with us and we are fine with that.
Do you think that $600 a month is fair? He agreed to it without protest but why do I feel guilty?
As it turns out, we decided to do the hardwood floors after all. The first estimate came in extremely high. We got two other estimates and decided to go with the second highest of the three. It was tough week since we decided to go with oil base instead of water base. We stayed at my son's house for four days while the work was done. We are extremely happy with the work and I love my shiny floors. This concludes our yearly summer home project.
One more week and off to earn my keep.
The living room floor is pine and original to the 1900 addition to the existing farmhouse.
The dining room and kitchen are hickory (harder wood and shines more)
It was pay day today. This payroll check concluded my summer savings paychecks (through work). I'll be back at work in three weeks.
I am excited to continue pushing to meet 100% of our lofty savings goal. As of today, we are at 83.1%. Quarterly property taxes are due at the end of the month ($1,807.00) but I already have $1,100 set aside for that. $100 went to contribute to my Roth IRA; 403B retirement fund will resume on September 15th.
Weekly frugal doings:
1. I made 12 mini burritos (meat/beans/cheese) for my guys to snack on during the week.
2. I made refrigerator dill pickles with two huge cucumbers gifted to me. (4 quart size canning jars)
3. Line/Rack dried all of our laundry all week.
4. We've not spend any money on eating out since last Saturday.
5. I have two items in my Amazon cart but I am short a little over $6 to get the items for free using credit card rewards. Since, the items our wants and not needs, I decided to wait until the end of the month when I can cash in some more rewards and purchase the items completely free. I'd been so tempted to pull the trigger and buy them but I'm working on impulse control. I'll just wait.
We decided to hold off on refinishing the hardwood floors until next summer.
Yesterday, we received a check for $1200 from our mortgage escrow. I put that money towards the "lofty savings goal" which sits at 81.7%. Once we reach the goal, we will begin paying extra towards the principal of our house (once again).
We have quite a few tomatoes in our garden and I see that the cucumbers and squash are beginning to sprout. The pepper plants are also beginning to flower. We've been eating cucumbers and yellow squash given to us by friends. I love this time of the year.
I've been making some extra meals to freeze. The other day I put everything together for chili, I also made 20 Mexican flautitas with some leftover chicken, sweet and sour chicken and browned boneless chicken breasts for salads and pasta. Today I am making mini bean burritos and pickling some cucumbers.
Three more weeks of summer vacation and I'm off to work!
I am finally done writing curriculum this summer. I was allotted sixty hours at $30 an hour to write K-5th curriculum on my subject area. I am guessing that it will net me about $1,500. It was tedious work but I am grateful to make extra money this summer. I will put the money towards our "lofty savings goal" which by the way is at 78.5%.
The first estimate to strip/sand/stain and polyurethane our hardwood floors came in really high at $5500. It is double what we expected to pay but maybe we were unrealistic about the cost. We are waiting on a second estimate and then we will decide.
I am glad the humidity has eased up a bit on my neck of the woods. High humidity causes all kinds of skin problems for me and it makes me miserable.
Summer break is coming to an end for me pretty soon; a few more weeks and I'm back to the daily grind.
I had really good intentions when I decided to participate in the Uber Frugal Challenge but I want to say that for me, it was a semi frugal fail. Too much eating out.
I did buy two comforters today for two of our beds. The existing ones are getting a little worn and it was time to throw one of them away. In all, I spent a little over $300, thanks to a 20% coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I take a lot of pride on my home and I like to keep it clean, organized and looking nice. I am frugal with other things to spend the money on our home. We are going to get our hardwood floors refinished this month and we are in the process of gathering some estimates.
Our "Lofty Savings Goal" is now at 77.8%. It is, most likely, going to stay that way for a little while since we want to pay for the floors without having to tap into savings.
One more month and I will be back to work; I am certainly enjoying the time off but time off does not pay the bills.
Although, I am not a big fan of AC, it is by far what I missed most from our old house. The fact that we were able to cool the entire house during heat waves was priceless. We are going to look into installing central air next spring. For now, I'm keeping curtains close and cooking meals outside on the grill or crockpot.
July 12-18 edition of frugality:
1. No hamburger buns so I used flour tortillas and made quesadilla burgers. (mea culpa)I should've checked to see if I still had burger buns. Turned out to be delicious.
2. Ran out of sandwich bread for my daily breakfast so I used Naan bread instead as toast. I love Naan bread!
3. I've not used the electric dryer at all.
4. I've been slowly emptying the freezers by not purchasing food items except for perishables.
5. Swept hardwood floors rather than vacuuming.
-I threw a whole cantaloupe away because I waited too long to cut it.
-There is still a little bit of food waste but not as much as we used to.
-We ate out a few times this week. I'm trying to cut this back to just once a week.
UFC- I don't feel that I've been as mindful as I should be, but I will keep on trying.
Savings- We are now at 76.3% on our "Lofty Savings Goal. My goal is to continue as gazelle intense to reach the 100% mark.
Weekly frugal doings:
1. Continued to hang laundry on dryer racks.
2. Recycled and reused a graduation card.
3. Consolidated shopping trips
4. I'm still using items in the freezers to make meals. I've only spend money on perishables (fresh fruit, eggs, milk, bread, etc.)
5. Recycled a bunch of toilet paper tubes and newspapers to make starter for the wood burning stove for the winter months.
UFC has been a bit challenging lately since we've been invited to quite a few birthday and graduation parties. Today was definitely a bust because it's my first born 27th birthday. I plan to keep watching our expenses.
We had very enjoyable 4th of July. I'm so grateful for this great nation and I feel privileged to live here.
Our "lofty savings goal" is now at 73.5% and we will be able to add a bit more next week. On the Uber Frugal Challenge front, we've had two no spend days and just one eating out day. The other expenses have been on necessities.
I am going to start working on curriculum writing just to get it over with and I do want to get paid as soon as possible.
That's all the update I have for you. I hope you have a great week.
I finally ordered an AncestryDNA kit. I saved $9.95 on shipping by using an internet code. I've been wanting to this for a long time. I know that a great percentage will be Iberian (Canary Islands) but I am most curious to know if I'm part Irish or Scottish. I cannot wait to get the kit and send it back to them.
The shipping code is FREESHIPDNA.
Both hubby and I spent the whole day yesterday cleaning up a small patch of grass on the side of our house. It had been neglected when we bought the house and it remained in total abandonment in the two years (almost 3 years) we've had the house. The only existing plants were the blue grass and we had to dig them out and replant them. We used a bunch of Hostas from different spots of our property to minimize the cost. In all, the only things we bought for the patch were two hanging plants ($10), $10 for mulch and a garden flag ($11 but it was a want and not a need). We rebuild the stone wall adding another layer of rocks, dug out and replanted the blue grass and other plants. We also mulched the front and side yard and at the end of the day and $31 later, this was the result:
Today was the first day of the Uber Frugal Challenge. No eating out but hubby did buy beer. I don't mind, he is a low maintenance kind of guy and he is entitled to enjoy something. Hoping for a no spend day tomorrow.
Some frugal money saving things I've done this week:
1. All laundry done this week was washed and put to dry in racks.
2. I vacuumed the bedrooms only once this week. I usually vacuum a lot just because I like to see the vacuum marks on the rugs.
3. I bought some things using credit cards rewards and gift cards. (no out of pocket expenses)
4. I used decorations already on hand to decorate for the 4th of July. Resisted the urge to buy more stuff.
5. Hubby and I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and scored a lot of 11 Nutcrackers/Santas for $8. My hubby bargained with the cashier to get it from $12 to $8.
How about you?
Today marks the third month without my sister. It is very difficult not being able to talk to her but I've come to accept her death. Grieving is a very strange thing; sometimes there is complete calmness in my heart and there are days in which the storm never seems to end. Anyway, she will always be in my heart.
I am also participating in the Uber Frugal Challenge in July (see details at Frugalwoods.com). I just want to force myself to make meals out of things we already have in the freezers and pantry. Way too many things in there that need to be eaten. I want to be able to reach 74% mark on on our lofty savings goal by then end of August. We're at 71% as of today.
We've been busy bees on the house front. We are cleaning windows and screens, power washing the siding and porch deck, landscaping, etc. I'm taking advantage of my hubby who is on vacation this week.
This is all of I have to tell you today. Patient Saver, Thriftorama, please know that I'm thinking of you.
As it turns out, I will be writing curriculum this summer, 60 hours total at $30 an hour. This translates to about an extra $1,600.00 net income this summer. I applied because I can do this from home and I got to keep the work laptop for the summer. I am hoping to also receive the one time payment for changing health benefits from family to self/spouse next month.
Today is my first day of summer vacation and I am making a list of things I'd like to get accomplished during my time off. First thing today, my six month dental check up.
Yesterday, I was gifted an additional Walmart, Amazon and Home Goods gift cards from students and a colleague. Yay me!
Quick question: I've always made mortgage payments by the first of the month, but I see that it will only incur late charges if paid after the 15th of the month. Let's say, I decided to pay the mortgage on the 15th, will this affect our credit score negatively?
We went to Costco today and the bill was over $300, but we bought a ceiling fan for our bedroom to help with the upcoming hot summer days.
Then DS#2 and I made a trip to Lowes to see about purchasing a ride-in mower for hubby. He's been looking for one on Craigslist for about two years now with no luck. So after some questions, we spend $2500 on a John Deer tractor with grass basket attachment and warranty. We are splitting the purchase between DS#1 DS#2 and I. It is worth the investment as my hubby is getting older and struggling to cut 2 acres of land. The boys help but it is still a lot of work. This will be his Father's Day present. I had a 10% coupon and I used it towards the purchase.
I'll be limiting the big purchases for a while.
Things have not been going that well for my husband at work. I am cautiously optimistic, but quite frankly my mission right now is to save as much money as possible to weather the storm in case of a job loss. We've been down the road before. Fortunately for us, he is able to get a state pension (23 years of service) in 16 months. It doesn't replace his current salary but we can make do if necessary. For now, I am hoping and praying that it lasts as long as possible. 2017 has been a tough year for me emotionally with the loss of my sister but I have to maintain the focus to keep it all together and remain grateful for the good things in my life.
Payday today and I'm excited to tell you that we are at 67.4% of our lofty savings goal. I also made a $100 contribution to my Roth IRA. I'm sending $25 to my nephew and adding $50 to my "summer fun fund". I also received an email from our HR person at work informing me that I will receive a one time payment of $950 because our health insurance plan changed from a family to two adult plan. I should have the check some time in July. Yay for extra money!
Snowflakes last week:
$85 (hubby's side hustle mowing lawns)
$200 (DS#2 groceries contribution)
Food (the type that takes a long time to prepare)
$30 for an extra hour of work
$40 for an hour of tutoring
Today was the first day of a four day weekend. I spent much of my day doing laundry, cleaning the house and making a run to Costco for much needed food items. Some items will last for a long time (soap, saline solution and facial towelettes).
DS#2 contributed $200 towards groceries. He is saving a lot of money by living with us and as long as he is doing that we definitely do not mind. He is a responsible young man who finished college while working full time. He already has a nice emergency fund.
We should be at the 67% mark of our lofty saving goal on Tuesday and if things continue as planned, we will reach the 70% mark by June 30th. I am also at almost half way mark on the summer fun saving fund. I am working 5 extra hours at work between now and June 9th and should net about $130. I have two more tutoring sessions for a total of $80 and a $313.00 refund from the bank for when we paid off the HELOC. All of it will be going to have fun this summer.
Well, that's it for today. For those of you in the USA have a wonderful Memorial Day!
Freebies/rewards/gifts/snowflakes for this month
Five books (through a book exchange)
A gallon size bag full of homemade Mexican chicken flautitas from my Sister.
$25 Amazon credit card rewards
A pink toothbrush courtesy of our dental health provider at work.
Dinner at Chili's for Mother's Day
$125 cash gift
$180 for six extra easy hours at work
DS#1 paying for the liquor for his brother's graduation party (Yay me!)
Any for you this month?
It was pay day today and I'm excited to tell you that we've reached the 65% mark of our "lofty savings" goal. I hope to be at 75% by the end of August. I'm a 10 month employee so every September I reset goals for our "fiscal year". I am thinking of not participating in summer savings at work for the next school year. They take 10% of my income every pay period and I receive the money back in two installments in the summer (July 15th and August 15th). It is nice to get paid in the summer but I can do so much more with our money. I still have a little time to think about it.
I am also putting some money aside to have a little fun this summer. I started a "fun summer fund" with the $100 I got from DS#2 for Mother's day. I hope to have at least $500 saved by June 30th.
I am starting to be able to talk about my Sister without crying. Some nights, I found myself looking at pictures I have of her and listening to messages she left me. One morning as I was getting ready for work, a thought entered my mind. I said, "Let her rest in peace, she is no longer on dialysis three times a week, no longer in the hospital every other month, etc." Ever since then, I think of her often but I am a lot less weepy.
On a financial note, we closed on our refinance loan Monday and just yesterday all funds were disbursed. I am happy about the HELOC is paid for now. The ARM on this loan was going up every other month and it was making me pretty uncomfortable. We do, however, have a mortgage now. I'm not worry about it as we don't have any consumer debt and we are done paying for college. we don't think we'll be paying off this loan quickly as I have in the past because I really want to have substantial cash in the bank to offset any life events.
We are also celebrating my son's college graduation with friends and family next week. We are catering most of the food for the event as I would really like to enjoy our guests and not worry about food preparation.
Well, this is it for today. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and for all of the mother's here, Happy Mother's Day!
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