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Roth IRA Shortage/Game plan

September 19th, 2019 at 05:02 am

I contribute $300 a month to my Roth IRA, no easy feat, but I make it a priority now that I am no longer contributing to the 403B retirement fund. I ran the numbers and I will be short $1,450.00 by April in order to fully fund it ($7000). Yesterday, I paid $100 towards the deficit and I will continue to do that whenever I can to minimize the shortage. If for any reason I fall short, the shortage will have to come out of savings.

It is nice to evaluate the numbers on short and long term goals.

Payday update

September 15th, 2019 at 06:35 am

I received my payroll check from my new part-time job. There is a pay rate error that does not benefit me, so I already sent an email to get it rectify. Nonetheless, I am so happy to be able to make some money to keep us afloat. We are still blessed with hubby working about 20 hours of overtime pay every pay period. I may add that so far, I am really enjoying my new role as a teacher's aide.

I paid some bills, contributed $150 towards my Roth IRA (main goal) and saved a little bit of money. Any money that goes into the savings account is a victory in my eyes. Smile

My 50th birthday celebration was awesome. My favorite gift? An orchid. I just hope I can keep it looking as beautiful as it is now. Lots of gift cards which are greatly appreciated.

Autumn is in the air in my neck of the woods and I love it. Autumn is my favorite season of the year as I love everything about it including the cooler temps. I am so excited for apple/pumpkin picking, apple cider donuts, hay rides, fall colors, leaf piles, Thanksgiving, etc.

Then comes my least favorite...winter!

Truck and other things

September 7th, 2019 at 07:01 am

My husband's truck was totaled by the insurance company, as we suspected. The adjuster said that it has a bent frame. On the bright side, the insurance payout was more than we had anticipated. We think it was because of the truck's condition and low mileage. Anyway, we are moving forward with a used replacement SUV or truck.

Husband has been working a lot of overtime hours at work. He's tired but mentioned that he's taking advantage of it now that the hours are available.

As you might remember, I'm trying something different with grocery shopping. I'm buying all the groceries we need at the beginning of the month. I've allotted $25 a week for dairy products and fresh produce. I saved $25 this week because no dairy/fresh produce purchase was necessary.

That's it for this week. I hope you all have a good weekend!


September 5th, 2019 at 04:52 am

I'm enjoying my work schedule. I start a little after 9:00 and done by 2:40. I have a 5 minute commute unless I get stuck behind the New York City bound train signal. Did I mention how much I enjoy not having to think about lesson plans, grading, observations, etc.?

It looks like this may be a temporary job as we are moving forward with spending winters in Florida. We want to give our plans a fare shot and see how we acclimate ourselves to the changes.

Payday update

August 31st, 2019 at 01:45 pm

Husband's paycheck included a nice $350 of overtime pay. It's always nice when he works the extra hours because it boosts his meager wages. I say meager because in our high cost of living state his pay rate is small. Regardless, this job enabled him to complete his 25 years in a state pension and we are so very grateful for that. We were a bit worry because a person only has two years to continue pension contributions under an existing pension fund. If it passes the two year mark, it's like starting all over again. When he was laid off, he was at the 24 year mark. One year away from making it to a full pension with service years and health benefits.

First thing we did was to contribute $150 to my Roth IRA. We also paid household bills and the mortgage payments. It helps that we do not have to pay heating bills until probably December and our last auto insurance is due in September. We pay that from September-December and March-June. Our next mortgage payment on our home is July of 2020 and the Florida home payment is due January, 2020.

I also grocery shop for the whole month with the exception of fresh produce. I have a little less than $100 to cover that. I spent $82 at Aldi and $123 at Costco mostly meat. I buy the meat in bulk and split it at home. It's a lot of work but I have enough meat for 37 meals for a family of three. That should last us a bit into October. I have a lot of food in our pantry and freezer. I also canned lots of tomatoes and carrots. I am trying to at least make one meatless dinner meal, but he is not so happy about it.

Now to the not so good news: My hubby was involved in a car accident and we think that the insurance is going to total the truck. It's a 2008 truck (we bought it brand new and just has 40K miles. The truck was in excellent shape. Our car insurance will go up since it was his fault. He is really bummed about it. I'm just glad that no one was hurt. Material things can be replaced.

We are also worried about our Florida home. My brother is removing and securing all objects that can turn into projectiles. All can do is sit back, hope and pray for the best.

If you live in FL or in Dorian's path, please know that I'm thinking of you.

Shoestring budget and a splurge

August 27th, 2019 at 07:40 am

I can't believe August is coming to an end! The weather is changing a bit in my neck of the woods. I'm loving it! It's been really muggy, rainy and sticky summer.

In preparation of our new shoestring income, I have come up with a budget to meet our financial responsibilities. My priority, in terms of savings, is fully funding my Roth IRA. If we can put some money aside in savings, great, but if we cannot, so be it. We have about two years worth of expenses saved up. If there is any money left in the checking at the end of the month, I'll sweep it into the savings account. I did account for a little bit of fun money. Fall is coming and I really like to go apple picking and apple cider donuts are my small indulgence.

We are also splurging and we're celebrating my 50th birthday at my favorite but fancy meatball/brick oven pizzeria with all of my girl friends. It was a last minute decision, but I really want to celebrate my 50th (birthday was last week). It's $35 per person for all you can eat brick oven pizza (choice of toppings), meatballs, gourmet salads, beverages and nutella/cannoli cream pies. It's so good!!!!The cost will be split three ways between our two sons and my husband. I am super excited!

We survived the summer on just one income. I am grateful to be able to contribute a little bit of money come September. What are you looking forward to in the next month or so?

Books I've read this summer:

The Home for Unwanted Girls-Joanna Goodman
The Finishing School-Joanna Goodman
Becoming-Michelle Obama
Before We Were Yours-Lisa Wingate

All were amazing!

Frugal doings

August 17th, 2019 at 07:31 pm

I bought a double pack of young whole chicken at Costco. I loved roasting these in the oven as they are so very tender (literally fall off the bone). A double pack is a little over $10 and I think I can make 4 or 5 dinners out of each roaster for a family of three. And if you wonder how I seasoned the chicken: I use Goya Adobo, fresh garlic and I put a whole onion in the chicken cavity and marinate for at least 12 hours.

Meal #1:

Husband ate a little bit of the dark meat with a drumstick and I ate chicken breast meat complimented with white rice, black beans (Spanish style) with homemade Pico de Gallo. Oh...so good

Meal #2: (possibly Monday)

I'll make chicken burritos with lettuce, black beans, homegrown diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, salsa and guacamole.

Meals #3: (Wednesday)

Gnocci chicken soup with homemade dinner rolls.

Meal #4: (Friday)

Spanish Arroz con Pollo (chicken rice), beans and tomato slices.

I may add that the roaster yield 30 cubes of chicken stock as well.

Not bad for a $6 roaster!

I also put together homemade clothes stain remover (1 cup of peroxide and half a cup of Dawn blue dish washer detergent mixed in a spray bottle).

Payday update

August 15th, 2019 at 06:53 am

It's pay day today in our house. I paid the credit cards in full, paid a few bills and transferred some money to our savings account. I also contributed $150 to my Roth IRA. I already set up the next electronic contribution. By the end of the month I will have contributed $3K to the Roth. I'm going to work really hard to fully fund the Roth IRA by April.

Feeling so grateful!


August 14th, 2019 at 10:07 am

Thank you all who helped me make a decision. I decided on option #2 even though it is less money but I will be in town, won't have to do lesson plans, grading (which by the way can take more than four hours of work to be done correctly and thoroughly). I will be 50 years old this month and I'm at a stage of my life where I just want to work to earn a little bit of money, come home and do what makes me happy.

I am clear in the direction I want my life to go even if it's for a while. Our financial obligations will be met through faith in God, diligence and resourcefulness. We have no children to take care of and no consumer debt to worry about and we intend to keep it that way.

A new leaf

August 9th, 2019 at 10:27 am

My job interview with the private school went well and I was offered the position (part-time). I start right after Labor Day. The pay is enough to cover our mortgage and continue funding my ROTH IRA. It is 1/3 of what I used to earn but it was expected. Not having credit card, student loans or car debt to pay as well as a healthy emergency fund has given us more freedom to earn and work less and still be able to live a meaningful life. We have to continue being resourceful, but it's a trade off I'll gladly take.

Hubby did it again!

August 5th, 2019 at 05:51 am

My husband is a Jack of all trades, master of none. He spend sometime researching and watching videos on Youtube to try to figure out what was wrong with our fridge. As I mentioned before, we have a Samsung duo cooling refrigerator. The fridge part of it was not cooling enough to keep food from spoiling. Fortunately, the middle tray was working as well as the freezer. We borrowed a small beer fridge from DS#1 to hold us over until my husband was able to either fix it or deemed it junk.

After some arduous hours, he was able to fix it and it's working beautifully now. Yay for hubby who saved us tons of money! Lowe's Warranty decided to pay us for the purchase price instead of sending someone out as they were not able to get us scheduled in a timely fashion. We'll set the money aside for a new fridge when the time comes.

I (we) paid February, 2020 mortgage payment. I started making mortgage payments ahead of schedule when I was gainfully employed for peace of mind. Our Florida home is two months ahead as well. I have an interview tomorrow at a different school setting (private school). It's a part-time job; three and a half days, Monday and Tuesday morning off. Let's see what happens.

I took my Mom to church and late lunch/dinner. She was happy to be out and about and she is feeling much better two weeks after her surgery. I suspect she will want to go back home soon. I'm glad the political turmoil in the island has subsided a bit. Corruption is the M O of politician there.

Yay for family member!

August 1st, 2019 at 09:39 pm

The family member, who owes me money, Venmo me $250 today. Since, I wasn’t expecting it, as soon as the money is transferred to my account, I’ll set up an automatic contribution to my Roth IRA. Hopefully, he’ll continue paying. I'm also hoping to get a part-time job to fully fund the Roth in full.

Payday update

July 30th, 2019 at 06:28 am

Pay day today for my husband. Thank God for the extra overtime, check which was close to $550 net. I paid half of what is owed on the credit card, made a $150 contribution to my Roth IRA, transferred some money to the savings account and left a little bit to cover groceries and smaller bills. I'll make the February 2020 mortgage payment the first week of August.

I haven't heard from the interview for a teacher's aide position. I am guessing it will be a while (closer to the beginning of the school), meanwhile I will seek other part-time job opportunities.

Weekly update

July 26th, 2019 at 08:22 am

Nearly 5 years ago (when we bought our current home), we bought all new stainless steel appliances on Black Friday at Lowe's. The dishwasher, stove and microwave oven are GE brand. Unfortunately, we were not able to get a GE fridge and opted to get a Samsung. It's a beautiful french door fridge with the center tray and duo cooling. Well, nearly 5 years into it, the top part of the fridge is not working. However, thhe freezer and center tray are working.

We called Samsung to see if any of it was still under warranty. We encountered nothing but really bad customer service. A sassy customer rep and a husband with a quick mouth are recipe for disaster. Anyway, it occurred to me that we did get an extended warranty and my husband called to see what was covered under the warranty. The customer rep was very pleasant and helpful. Since, he could not get us a repair person until late next week he said he was going to put a claim in so that we could get back what we paid for the fridge and taxes. Well, a day later, the claim was approved and we are getting a refund for the purchase. They also do not want the fridge back. My husband will try to fix it or will just go out and buy another fridge. If it can be inexpensively fixed, we'll put the refund money aside in a sinking fund for future use.

Fortunately, we've been able to add to our savings account despite the loss of income. It helps that the mortgage is paid until February of 2020. I did make the February payment with my sick time pay out though. The goal is to keep and add to savings despite of the significant income reduction.

Sick-time payout

July 18th, 2019 at 08:21 pm

I finally received the check for sick time payout from my former employer. I am using some of it to pay the remainder of this month's credit card bill (which we pay in full at the end of the month), some will go to savings, $150 to a Roth IRA contribution and about $200 will remain in the checking account.

Payday update

July 15th, 2019 at 09:20 am

Today is payday for my husband. I did a sweep of what was left in the checking account. No much left ($50) and added what he earned in overtime pay and transferred that to savings ($330). I want to continue saving money even though our income is a heck of lot less now. I don't want to lose the saving habit. Smile

I also made a Roth IRA contribution of $150 and a credit card payment of $700. We have just enough to cover some small bills.

I have an interview a week from Thursday for a part-time Special Education teacher's aide. I don't want to be a teacher (if I can help it). Let's see how that goes. We are returning home on Sunday and after that my time will be spend taking care of my Mom as she recuperates from surgery. I'm so glad to have the time to care for her.