Financial Figurings

Ways We "Try" To Save Money.

* When we were preparing for retirement, B and I thought of moving to a warmer year round climate (we both dislike winter).  We calculated how much we would have to put our house on the market for, how much the cost of moving would be, where we would move to, the housing prices there, etc.  In the end, we found that paying off our mortgage, staying where we are and traveling to warmer climates over the winter would be our best bet.  So that is the goal we set for ourselves.  2 years after we were both retired we were able to pay off our mortgage.  With the help of our sons, we are managing winter here and are able to travel more to see the son and dil who live in a warmer winter climate.

* When I retired, B and I decided we didn't need 2 cars.  The reason being the cost of gas, insurance and payments are not economical especially when two cars are not used on a daily basis now that we are both retired.  Plus, the fact that most of the time we go to the same places together so why use 2 cars.  This was one of the best decisions we made for retirement.

Because of the pandemic, we have not been using the car as much except to run essential errands and the occasional "ride around" when we start to get house crazy.  This has saved wear and tear on the car as well as gas purchases.  One of the few good things to come out of the pandemic.

* We grocery shop on Wednesdays for the simple reason that the grocery store gives discounts to seniors on Wednesdays.  With the senior discount and the coupons I clip, we manage to save an average of $30.00 a month.  This works for me.

I do have a rant about grocery shopping during the pandemic.  Our grocery store offers special shopping hours for senior citizens and disabled persons.  However, the hours are mostly very early in the morning.  I don't know about other senior citizens but getting up and functioning at 7am to grocery shop is not in the cards for me.  Good thing my grocery store is not at all crowded these days during thr pandemic so we can go in at 11am to shop.

* We have been downsizing for the past year.  Once a month I chose an area of the house to downsize.  It might be as large as a bedroom or small as a closet.  I set up 3 sections - keep, donate, trash.  We have been very ruthless with this system.  We don't keep anything unless we are using it or will be using it within the month.  I am pleased at how much space we have acquired with the downsizing as well as how it has helped me shop.  We don't purchase anything unless it is necessary we have it (such as a small chest freezer we need for shopping sales of groceries) and that it will be used on a regular basis (such as a new electric blanket w/dual controls for the winter).

* I love to read books and have many which I am reluctant to get rid of.  But in the interest of downsizing, I went thru my bookshelves and made a give away pile.  Looking twice at the give away pile, I noticed that many of the books were in very good shape.  So I decided to put them on Amazon to sell and boy, did they sell.  I don't get the original price back I paid for them but I get on average at least 50%.  I have been doing this now for 3 years and the money I make goes into a special emergency fund in the bank.  Every little bit counts.

*AARP - We use this card all the time with discounts on travel, restaurants, services, etc.  It doesn't save huge amounts of money but every dime counts in this day and age.

*Chest freezer and Pantry - the upside of the pandemic put us in the position of expanding our pantry as well as our freezer.  We keep a running list of everything in both and it has helped us a lot especially in the winter months when it has been difficult to get out because of the weather besides the restrictions with the pandemic.

*Meatless meals - Having a member of the family who does not eat meat started out a bit difficult to plan family meals.  However, being quarantined in the house, I have been trying new meatless recipes and testing them on B.  Some have turned out quite good.  Besides cutting our meat bill in half, we are also eating healthier...double benefit!

labels: saving money, coupons, Amazon book seller, groceries, cars, mortgage, moving in retirement, aarp, meatless meals, pandemic
 

2021


                                             MY WORDS FOR 2021...HOPE & OPTIMISM

Well now that 2020 is gone (good riddance), I can now look toward 2021.  The first thing I usually do in a new year is come up with the word I will be focusing on.  This year I am focusing on two words...HOPE and OPTIMISM.

I used the word "hope" a lot in the beginning of 2020.  Hope that the pandemic would not be as bad as the experts thought.  Hope that with the warm weather it would go away like the flu.  Hope that by following all the rules, it would stop.  Each time, my hopes were dashed.  Instead of getting better, it got worse.  The sad part was that it seemed to bring out not only the best in a lot of people but it also seem to bring out the worst.  I hate to admit it but I lost hope many times and drown myself in negativity.  In the warmer months, I was able to get out into my yard and at least commune with nature but when the weather changed and began to get colder, into the house I was sentenced.  I kept trying to find a bright side to all of the sadness, the deaths, the sickness, the hate and one night I found it.

One night in October, I was computer surfing, a past time I like to do, and I came across a quote someone had posted on their site.  It was a quote by Pope John Paul II, a man I much admired.

              "I plead with you--never give up on hope, never doubt, never tire,

                and never become discouraged. Be Not Afraid."

One of the reasons this quote caught my eye at first was that it has the title of a hymn in it that I think of many times when I am in need of solace..."Be Not Afraid".

At that moment I knew what I had to do.  My husband and I had planned to tone down the holidays because of the pandemic and the health of our children but I knew that now was the time to do it as we had always done while making adjustments for the pandemic.  I informed my husband that we were going to do Thanksgiving with all the trimmings even if it was only the two of us.  For Christmas, we would decorate the house just like always and carry on the traditions we could with modifications.  At first, he thought being sequestered in the house had finally driven me over the edge.  But as we talked, we began to think of the good things that we had in 2020.  Two healthy sons and dils, 6 fur babies, food on the table, warm house, good financial situation and each other.  That was a reason to celebrate and then to add to it, 2 vaccines that would make things better in the near future (knock on wood).

On New Years Eve, we said goodbye and good riddance to 2020 and looked forward to 2021 with Hope and Optimism that life would get back to some kind of normalcy. And with that Hope and Optimism, we began to plan 2021 that way.  We talked of vacations we would like to take this year especially ones to visit the children,  projects we want to do around the house, events we want to take part in, etc.  Of course, we will pay attention to what is happening in our community and nation as we go day by day.  But just doing the planning has raised our spirits.

So to all of you and the people who matter most to you, I wish for you to look at 2021 with Hope and Optimism because, I believe, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Happy New Year!


 

We Need A Little Christmas!

Haul out the holly
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now

For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet
Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Hasn't snowed a single flurry, but Santa dear we're in a hurry

Climb down the chimney
Turn on the brightest string of lights I've ever seen
Slice up the fruit cake
It's time we've hung some tinsel on the evergreen bough

For I've grown a little leaner
Grown a little colder
Grown a little sadder
Grown a little older
And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder
Need a little Christmas now

For we need a little music
Need a little laughter
Need a little singing, ringing through the rafter
And we need a little snappy
Happy ever after
Need a little Christmas now
 

Weekly Wrap-Up!!


*Got absentee ballots in the mail.  B and I filled them out, signed them and then B dropped them off at the Township Office in person. Will be happy when this is over.  We are so tired of the political calls on the phone and ads on the tv .

*Put snow shovel and broom on front porch by front door in preparation for accumulating snow.

*Schwan food order came in.  Freezer filled with food for winter as well as coming holidays.  Pantry is full in preparation for winter during the pandemic.

*Tried a new recipe for a meatless dish.  I made a chinese vegetable side dish which can also be turned into an entree by adding shrimp and rice. B is my taste tester since he is the picky one in the family.  Dil does not eat meat so I have been looking for and making meatless side dishes and entrees.

*Firewood, newspaper and fireplace matches are all refilled and ready for cold winter nights.  Also, flannel sheets put on all the beds as well as extra quilts.

*Took my cat Al to the vet for his yearly checkup and vaccinations.  He is in good health and has started cuddling with me again after avoiding me for a couple hours after the shots. Also, dil clipped his nails.  It is amazing to me how he just sits there and lets her do it without giving her a hassle.

*Took youngest son to the dentist for a root canal.  Going to the dentist is quite expensive these days.  Thank goodness for dental insurance.

Escape


This year has been one of cancellations, disruptions, upheavels of all kinds and anger.  There is so much going on between a pandemic, a faltering economy, cruel and bullying attacks during a presidential election, people turning against each other over so many things.  It makes one wonder why getting out of bed each morning is necessary.

Yesterday (Sunday) I decided that I needed to be part of something that never changes.  Something that comes at the same time each year without fail.  Something that even a pandemic cannot cancel.  Yesterday I went out for a walk on my road and immersed myself in Autumn.

I walked down my dirt road and looked at the trees covered in their Autumn colors of red, gold and green.  I felt the chill of the changing temperature fill my lungs.  I watched and listened as a flock of geese in "V" formation flew across the blue sky toward their winter home south.  I enjoyed the quite solitude that comes when one lets the world of nature push away the "noise" of 2020.

I eventually had to come home from my walk; but for one brief hour, it was good to be surrounded by something that had not been canceled or postponed, something that had not changed because of disease or the self-centered meanness of others.  I am certain I will take many of these walks in the future, if only to remind myself that there are things that remain constant in this world.