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Nephew #2 started a Roth IRA with $5K - I'm so Proud

May 12th, 2015 at 08:17 am

My 23 year old nephew has the habit of frugality. I told him that even though he can't find full time work, he is in the place to start planning for the future, so this weekend, he started a Vanguard Roth IRA in one of the SP500 accounts.

I wish I had done that when I was his age, but I'm so proud of him for doing it now. He's already better at figuring out all the nomenclature on their site and made his selection within a few hours with some study.

I explained since he is paying very little for rent - $240 a month to me, and I'm paying for food for all of us, this is the time to start his funding for future. His little nest egg will have years to grow. He is also signed up at work for a 401K and has started saving in that too.

I wish they taught classes on this in highschool. Instead we send kids out to get jobs and they waste all their money on electronic toys and end up with nothing but debt.

He already has the habit of savings, and now he has a goal. I'm so pleased for him.

Tax Refund, Rebate and A RAISE!!! Yahoo!

March 30th, 2015 at 05:38 pm

Got a big income tax refund, because nephew #1 hasn't had a job in two years, so I declared him a dependent. $3550. $3K for long term care insurance, $500 for Church and $50 to short term savings.

Got a rebate from American Express - I pay full balance every month. Got $174 back. This will pay for my costco membership, also a bunch of groceries (including dog food for the rescue shelter), and another $40 in savings.

And then Boss called me in and gave me a 3% raise! With things so harsh in the job market, I was very glad. The extra savings will go into long term savings.

Staters had half hams for 88 cents a lb. and man was it yummy. I may buy another. On the other hand, the spiral cut hams seem to be a fail on the nephew enjoyment scale. I have one in the freezer - may give it to Martha's kitchen or the local shelter.

Mortgage is almost down to $80K. Paying ahead as much as possible monthly - usually $270 a month.

I'll be 60 years old in July. Retirement is staring me in the eye. I plan to retire (God willing and as He wills) when I'm 68 but who knows. I hope to keep in better shape. I'm trying to walk 10000 steps a day.

Nephew #2 is a good saver and he socks it away in the bank. Nephew #1 is unemployed, but boy is he a blessing buying groceries, not to mention good cook.

Thanksgiving Approaches and its Turkey Sale Time

November 13th, 2014 at 08:24 am

Staters had their annual turkey sale, where you can get a turkey for 57 cents per pound if you buy $25 in groceries.

I stocked up on items that were on sale that we use, like diced tomatoes, tuna, apples (we were out), and got some of the Thanksgiving specials like a frozen turtle pie and fancy coffee creamer that I rarely buy because of the expense but bought because it was at a much better price.

I got a 21 pound turkey and had a time of it struggling it into the cart. They said only one to a family, and I'm trying to decide if I should find another Staters and stock up on another turkey there.

My cupboards are full of tomatoes, flour, tuna, soup, and good things, and I feel a little like Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Big Woods at Harvest. Its Stock Up Time!

And then Nephew announces he might have to work all day on Thanksgiving. So I told him we would have Thanksgiving on Friday. Yikes.

I am making a goal to put more money on my mortgage. I have already paid down $10,000 on the mortgage from $92K to $82K but its not enough if I want it paid off for my retirement. Since I'm 59 and I'm hoping to work until I'm 66 and a half, I still won't have it paid off. I'm keeping a spreadsheet on my computer at home now tracking how much is on the principle and how much I have paid down. I am also thinking about putting most of my income tax refund into the mortgage as well. In the past I used it for home improvements, but I think I can put it into the mortgage instead until I feel I have defeated the mortgage dragon beast.

Take care you guys. I hope this holiday season is one of blessings and not of commercialism induced stress.

Pork Roasts - Anyone got recipes?

November 3rd, 2014 at 10:17 am

Life is good. Had a great Halloween and got lots of extra goodies at a work place halloween party to take home. Nephews doing well.

I don't usually cook pork, but I notice that the price of pork is coming down at times and roasts seem reasonable. Does anyone have recommendations for doing a good pork roast for my raving appetites?

This year I got $80 in Von's cards for groceries from car pooling - Got the money months ago and Von's was having a very rare sale on boneless, skinless chicken breast for $2/lb. I got 40 lbs of it and we just finished it off, so I'm keeping an eye peeled for inexpensive meats (and hopefully another chicken sale).

Of course, with Thanksgiving coming, I'm hoping for sales on Turkey and hams. I have a standup freezer that I have cleaned up and ready for turkey and hams, and other meats on sale.

Dog Gestapo Came A Calling or My life of Crime

June 12th, 2014 at 08:39 am

I never got any of my rescue dogs their license. I have 6 rescue dogs currently.

The dog Gestapo came a calling and wanted my nephew to show them their licenses. They gave him a correctable citation for $3500 that we have 20 days to get them all their shots (they have them but are due on many of them in July), get microchipped (theyy are but I have to prove they are microchipped - $25/dog), fixed (they are all fixed but I have to prove it too), and then pay past due fees for never getting licenses.

They are going all over the county to poor neighborhoods and doing this, causing a lot of poor people to have their dogs put to sleep or worse, to abandon them in the desert.

I found out I can only have 4 dogs, but am hoping they will let me have them all - Since this appears to be a way of getting tons of money and killing off little innocent creatures.

I have uptodate records on the two latest rescue dogs, but I can't find my stuff on the other 4, so this is going to be an expense, but its my own fault for never getting the licenses.

And oh the stress of knowing I was in the wrong. but now my life of crime is over and my doggies will be legal.

What a week.

This gripe session brought to you by Miz Pat

Nephew #2 got a part-time job!!!

November 14th, 2013 at 03:24 pm

He starts working inventory at Target from 4 am to 8 a.m. part-time.

He is so excited.

And then, he got a call for an interview at Home Depot for a job that would not screw up his early morning schedule. This is great!

Nephew #1 is kind of bummed he doesn't have a job yet, but he is working on it and that counts. Plus, he's driving everyone to and from work.

I am so enjoying both of them. Nephew #1 cooks (pizza from scratch that is divine!), and they are such good company. We like doing inexpensive day trips, and hikes and they both are frugal.

God is so good!

Nephew #2 Arrived Safely

October 7th, 2013 at 07:40 am

Nephew #2 is here and I am so happy. They are such nice intelligent young men. We took them to our favorite Mexican restaurante for carne asada and he loved it. I love seeing where I live through new eyes. He thinks the desert is beautiful, and was excited seeing palm trees.

We stocked up on groceries, and I purchased 2 folding chairs and a laundry basket (we were running out of chairs).

So far, I haven't destroyed this month's budget either. We are eating healthy foods and Nephew #1 is a better cook than I am. He made pizza from scratch and it was wonderful.

Nephew #2 is the one who made me very proud financially. He called me when he got his first job and asked how much he should save, like 20%. I told him, if you are living at home, after you give your Mom and Dad money to help out, you stick 90% in the bank and save $10K and then put it in a safe long term investment fund. You will have started to save for retirement and you will have learned to save. That this may be his biggest opportunity to get started on good finances, when he's still at home and doesn't have a house and car to pay for.

And he did just that - he saved $10,000. I am so proud of him. Today he is checking out banks in the area.

It is exciting to hear both of them talking and laughing. And the dogs like him alot. They barked initially, but follow him around and jump on his lap and demand scritches.

My Dear Nephew is at a Job Fair

September 18th, 2013 at 10:01 am

If it is appropriate for you, please say a little prayer for a young man who is shy and trying to find his first real job. If not, think good thoughts for him.

I'm so excited and hopeful!

One of those Days to be Glad you have Savings

August 27th, 2013 at 09:59 pm

Where I worked had a huge power failure, so I was told not to go into work. Thank God for Personal Time, so I can get paid for off time. Then I tried to start the car and it was dead. Then they asked me to come in and the head of HR came to my house to pick me up. I sent the car to my dealership with nephew and called in my credit car information to them. Nephew paid the dealership. I spent $65 on the jump (YIKES), $159 on the new battery (Paid too much but now I have a working car), was at work from 9 to 115 p.m. working off generators and it turned out they didn't really need me, although I got a lot of ideas to prepare for the next massive problem and was happy to help. We also went and bought donuts for everyone and I resisted the temptation! I've lost 15 lbs. and I want to continue losing till I've lost another 7 lbs.

Dealership told me that my radiator is cracking and I need a new one. I'm hoping to run it in on Friday and have it checked at a radiator specialist first - but I expect to have to spend $600 on a radiator. Yiiyiiyi, but I'm so glad I can pay for it all.

Nephew came to pick me up at work and told me that he tried to buy gas at a shell station and was told he owed $40 bucks and was given no gas. They told him he selected cash. He told them he got no gas. He finally argued them down to $10 and left and found a better gas station. Sounded like a massive scam to me. I can't believe any gas station would let you pump and then expect payment.

I took him out to lunch $12 at a little Mexican restaurant near work where they make the best carne asada burritos in the universe.

Then I came home and took a luxury nap!!! What a wild day.

Its 7:00 a.m. and I'm still Employed! Thank you GOD!

August 20th, 2013 at 07:35 am

I survived the layoff.

Company general assembly at 9:30 a.m.

Still in shock - so many good people were let go, some with many years of service. I'm still not sure of the number.

And my sister emailed me and asked if my other nephew could come and stay with me. I told her yes, of course.

I also told her I'm running out of bedroom space. Ben and I discussed moving our desks into our bedrooms and making the office into a bedroom. Cal plans to come in October.

He has a degree, work experience and references, so he has better chances at getting work.

Layoffs at work

August 19th, 2013 at 01:22 pm

We subcontract to the Army so we're losing business and today so far 6 people I know are gone. Say a prayer or think good thoughts for me.

Never, ever take 4 dogs at a time to the vet to save on carfare!

August 6th, 2013 at 02:59 pm

I take my babies to animal samaritans for shots, and everyone is due around the same time. So I decided to save on gas, and kidnap nephew and 4 dogs and get the dogs their shots.

1) Nephew vs labby drool and head licking
2) 4 panting dogs trying to break into the front seat
3) 4 whining dogs when they realized this wasn't walkies
4) Mad escape attempt at the door of the clinic
5) One small chihueenie and a leash ties up 2 chairs, a nephew and 3 other dogs
6) Bella pees all over her leash because they were going to cut her nails

We did save money on the shots and the gasoline, but the nephew may never be the same.

Cable, Internet & Phone Service

July 12th, 2013 at 05:20 pm

I found out there is a web site called whitefence.com that lets you check for bundled or non-bundled deals on internet, cable, phone, and utilities. I just called my cable company and cut my base price down from $160 to $122 a month for 1 year by negotiating with them about better pricing. I am so excited. I have basic tv cable, but I really need the phone service and internet, so WOOT.

Spent Money on Shoes

July 2nd, 2013 at 10:57 am

I don't know about you guys, but I'm 57 and my feet hurt after an 11 hour day. So this weekend I hesitantly went and purchased shoes that cost $118 each. This is the first time I have purchased new shoes that didn't hurt horribly the first day and make my feet break out in blisters.

I used my Birthday budget, which generally goes for things like clothing,

Nephew makes Awesome Pizza

June 25th, 2013 at 11:37 am

Beloved Nephew made 4 pizzas from scratch and invited our Neighbor to eat with us on Saturday. They were glorious. Eating leftover pizza is FUN! We had the last pieces yesterday.

I am a month ahead on Mortgage payments. I don't pay it right away, because I'm afraid the bank would screw up receiving a payment too soon. When I get to the point where I'm 2 months ahead (slowly, slowly but surely), then the Extra Payment will turn into an all principal payment and I'll still be a month ahead.

My savings for house and car repairs is coming in handy too. I have $4K saved and I need to spend about 1.5K on work on my 2000 Honda Civic. I'm very pleased, and the rest of the money may end up in a small CD or go to my other bank where I'm saving for Major Improvements (i have an old stove still in the kitchen - built-in that I want ripped out and made into a pantry).

I have started a diet through work called Naturally Slim - I have been on it 2 weeks and have lost 6 lbs. - WOOHOO!

Hello, I've been away for awhile.

June 19th, 2013 at 10:31 am

Hi you guys.

I'm sorry I haven't posted in ages. I fell into a depression, but now I'm back. What helped is my nephew, who can't find work in Michigan, moved in with me. He's looking for work here, but he also does housework, he cleans, he does the lawn, he does his own laundry, he cooks (yum yum) and its a joy to have him around. (He is also thrifty!)

My mortgage debt is down to $86K from the original of $93. I keep no credit card debt, but pay off my card every month, and I now have $20K in savings in my emergency unemployment fund and $1000 in my emergency fund.

My ex-husband started bugging me by email and phone as soon as the restraining order expired. I haven't responded to his overtures (he's married for pity-sake), and I am contemplating another restraining order. He doesn't threaten me, he just demands that I forgive him. I think he just ran through the settlement and wants more money, and while I am working on forgiving him, I will never trust the man and see no reason to have a relationship with him.

I still have 4 rescue dogs, and now a nice nephew.

Life is good.

My Garage is insulated and has drywall!!!

March 29th, 2012 at 01:45 pm

I'm so excited. The garage looks great and the insulation should make a big difference in the living room and kitchen. Only bad thing is the garage door opener will open but not close with the control - may have to pay to get it fixed - my contractor is my neighbor. He also put new filter stuff in the swamp cooler so I'm set to start summer.

I also got 2 days of overtime which translated to $450 dollars which will go towards tiling the bedroom and bathroom.

And so far I can take one pack of insulation back to Home Depot for a refund.

I saved $800 last year in utilities from insulating the attic. I put that money toward the garage project. So far I've spent $170 on insulation, $560 on drywall work and $300 on the installation of the insulation and the work on the swamp cooler - So really my out of pocket expense so far is $230.

And the dogs only ran away 6 times while they were doing the work. The little stinkers.

Never Buy Groceries When You are Tired

March 26th, 2012 at 08:29 am

I have been spending between $20 and $40 a week on groceries, but Sunday night, I didn't feel well and waited till the last minute and spent $56 at Trader Joes and another $15 at Staters. Yipes.

On the other hand, it was more healthy stuff than I usually get.

My income tax refund came - Yipee!!!

March 21st, 2012 at 01:20 pm

I am going to use it to pay my state tax ($30) and then part of it will go toward insulating the garage (which is a huge heat source in the summer).

I stuck it all in savings $3690, in my emergency account, so I am less likely to want to use it on wild purchases.

Happy Dance!

Did My Taxes - I Get More Back This Year

March 5th, 2012 at 09:44 am

$3,600 back on my federal taxes. I am so pleased

Got my April mortgage payment already set up and paid some of my March bills already - they mailed the bills early.

Whenever I don't spend all of what I budgeted for utilities and monthly costs, I put the extra money in my Emergency Unemployment Fund - and this month I had 80 to put in that fund. I'm also spending less on food and restaurants, so I hope to see some savings in that category too.

Purchased a new computer and got a Best Buy Master Card - it lets you pay over time with no interest and I just mailed my first payment of $340 (Computer was $780). I should have just put it on another credit card where I get money back, and I find myself nervous not having paid the whole price in cash. My inner frugalista alarms are going off.

Paid last month's credit card bill late and called and Citi forgave the late fee. The only money I have spent on this card is the $3.82 in interest I just paid.

Puppies broke into the bookcase and ate bird books - Maybe they are bird dogs. Pictures of North American Birds were tossed all over the backyard. The puppy is getting longer and is such an affectionate creature when she's not trying to eat shoes, books and bedding. I love her to pieces.

Checking in

February 8th, 2012 at 10:01 am

I've been sick with a sinus infection since Christmas and a miserable bunny except for my sympathetic pack of vestal virgins (4 fixed female dogs).

I'm trying to input expenses either as a note on my iphone (company provided) or directly into my excel spreadsheet every day and always weekly.

Also, when I get a pay check I immediately distribute funding for monthly utilities, mortgage payments, gasoline, etc. This lets me know what I have left for groceries and possible additional savings.

My natural gas bill last month was 78 dollars, so I turned off the heat. I live in the desert and have an electric blanket (blanket #2, Blanket #1 eaten by puppy) and 4 dogs who sleep with me and hog the bed, so with turning off the heat, my natural gas bill went down to $17. I am very pleased.

So far it appears I am not going to have a comfortable retirement - my 401K is still greatly depleted because ex-spousal unit got half of it. However, its building up. I'm thinking $2K a month to live on. So prepaying the mortgage as much as possible is a good idea.

I realized I don't have enough funding for the extra $280 a month for mortgage prepays, but I'm continuing to still work on paying it down some, and may devote more funding when I get a few more home repairs/improvements done - I really want to get my garage insulated because it will cut down cooling, and I also want insulated double pane windows in front of the house for the same reason. So I think when those get done, I may just work on house pre-pays.

I'm doing a new thing in housekeeping/minimizing, which is to clean a section at a time. The house turned into a pit while I was sick (and it wasn't wildly organized or clean before them - see mention of 4 dogs above). Monday night i cleaned the entire sink counter area and threw out items that were just sitting there that I don't use - Minimizing! and thoroughtly cleaned everything else. Wow, it made me feel better.

Last night I cleaned the entire counter area by the stove (unbelievable amount of junk). I pulled out the shredder I purchased last year and have never used and shredded credit cards I don't want, and bank type papers, and then threw out the puppies' body weight in sales fliers and expired coupons. I put away the vitamins and meds, put away the kitchen implements I didn't need and cleaned everything off or washed it.

I had been overwhelmed by all the housework I need to do but combining cleaning and minimizing on a specific area worked very well and got me wildly enthused about minimizing and organizing again. And it felt so nice to wake up and come into the kitchen in the morning and have that little oasis of neatness greet me.

Tonight I'm going to clean the top of the freezer and sweep the whole house and then work on my credit card reconciliation.

Does anyone know how to make Puppy proof quilts?

Christmas was Nice!

December 26th, 2011 at 09:28 pm

I have changed my way of keeping track of money. I track it daily on 2 different spreadsheets. One is for the month,and one is for credit card purchases because I always pay off credit cards.

Doing this, I can see I didn't budget enough for Christmas but I now make notes for the next year's budget.

This Christmas my boss got me an adorable black woven poncho and matching gloves. Just right for early desert cold mornings, and a friend got me two nice tops that can be worn as a layered look. Work gave me a $35 Walmart card, my next-door neighbor and dearest friend got me a Barnes & Noble $25 card and my sister got me a $100 Amazon card.

I got myself an I-pod touch 4th gen. I went way over budget for it, but did enough overtime to pay for it. I get to work tomorrow at double time for two days and I am hoping that will pay for vet fees for Bella who had some fatty tumors to be checked and was due for shots. Since she had just eaten my library card, she was really scared going to the vets - must have figured she was going to be gotten rid of - all my dogs have fears of being abandoned. Poor little darling. Doctor called just before Christmas to tell me the tests came out good - no cancer for my baby dog.

The I pod works on my WiFi at home and means i can call my sister and talk to her for free and see her on WiFi. Its like the coolest thing in the world. I spent hours talking to my nephews and nieces and sister and it rocked big time. Also has free applications that can do all sorts of great things.

Christmas is coming and i ain't getting Fat!

November 16th, 2011 at 02:33 pm

Sung to the tune for "Christmas is coming and the Geese are Getting Fat", a traditional British Song.

I am going through a mixture of feeling Christmasy and feeling sad. My neighbor's son passed yesterday at 59 of the effects of kidney disease, in particular an infection caught at the hospital. No Mom should have to watch her child die and she's a special and much loved friend.

In my Church, yesterday was the official beginning to the FAST before Christmas. Yes, we diet before the holidays. Actually, its kind of a solemn and joyous thing to do, and is kind of the equivalent in some ways to not pigging out at lunch before you go out for that big huge dinner. So I'm eating more simply and trying to steer clear of the things that really don't do my diabetes much good anyway.

I have not gone into debt this year, but I haven't met my savings goals and have done some impulse shopping. I made a Christmas Budget, and who knows, may stick with it. I have extra in my credit union account that I might put toward getting the garage insulated which would help with fuel bills.

I just want to wish everyone on the list the best and richest of God's blessings this holiday season. May you make memories that shine like stars, and not have to raid your cookie jars.

Take care

Itty Dog has Passed Away

October 24th, 2011 at 08:43 am

A small white dog died yesterday at age 21
She had a long and active life
Originally an orphan, she and her sister were adopted.
The Alpha of her pack until her health failed, she was a fair and caring leader
She loved children and learned to play Hide N Go Seek with them. Children we didnít know would come to the house and ask to play.
Halloween was her favorite holiday because she was convinced the children were visiting to see her
Christmas was also special, especially when we decorated with candy canes, which all mysteriously disappeared, while she tended to have minty fresh breath
Her very favorite thing besides mealtimes, was to sit on her humanís lap and have her head stroked.
She hated baths and having her nails trimmed, and would often limp pathetically for hours and then change sides.
Loved by all except cats, she was my dearest friend for 19 years.
She died quietly surrounded by kind hands and love.

Princess is ok

September 22nd, 2011 at 05:22 pm

Ok - 1) it was Princess not Queenie - Queenie was sitting on my lap while I was typing and worrying and asking me with big doggie eyes where her baby was
2) vet bill - $1500 - Yipes - but glad very glad i have savings to cover it
3) the puppies have eaten 7 books, the mattress pad, my sheets, an old picture of my ex (good dog!) and all my comfortable shoes - I'm going shopping for shoes and i found really nice sheets at Ross for way less than Walmarts
4) My boss gave me a verbal warning for having too many sick days - I have worked here 25 years and never been given any kind of reprimand - I guess I've been depressed and that made my immune system get low and my allergies have been really horrible. I'm still freaked but he says if i call him the night before or tell him the day before that i think i'm getting sick, he'll work with me.

Queenie is at the Vet

September 5th, 2011 at 01:05 pm

I was sick this weekend and didn't notice Queenie got in a cupboard and ate a whole box of whole wheat rotini.

She's at the veterinary hospital now. It (the pasta) swelled up inside of her and she's having a very bad time and in pain.

Its going to cost over $1200, which is freaky, but I'm glad I have the savings there.

Please think a kind thought about a little dog.

Queenie and Princess

August 8th, 2011 at 11:15 am

Here they are

Pat's IPad Challenge and Puppy Update

August 8th, 2011 at 09:38 am

I have decided that I want an Ipad, but I have to save for it, and it canít come out of my emergency savings, which is supposed to continue to grow. So Iím cooking more and trying really hard to not go out for lunch or dinner. Iím buying my groceries every two weeks, instead of every week, so I have time to plan recipes and cook some ahead. (salad stuff will be purchased as needed).

Doing this in this fashion will do many things:
1) I will have time to look for deals and decide exactly what I want
2) I will have time to decide I really want it, and that its not a foolish whim, because, hey Ė I donít need it to survive, to do my job, so itís a luxury, not needed.

Queenie and Princess are now no longer afraid and are confident that this is their house and that they are in control Ė I know this because Princess barked at the bull mastiff that made her freak out when she first came to live with me on Thursday. Queenie wouldnít let Princess out of her sight, but now lets her run wild all over the house because she knows sheís loved.

Two New Little Sweeties

August 6th, 2011 at 12:23 am

Today I took Queenie and Princess to the Pet Rescue Center and gave them $300 and had them added as rescue dogs. They are mine, all mine!! and now they will get all their shots, an exam, a toothpull of a wolf tooth, get spayed/neutered and have chips installed in theirs necks. Considering vet rates in the area, this is an excellent deal, and also gave me the opportunity to have an expert look at them.

And boy have they perked up! they are still shy gentle little souls, but they are excited about food and clean water and gentle hands. The puppy also has shredded a book jacket and a phone book, learned to jump on the bed and was scared to death of molly the labrador until she realized she was a dog and not a monster giant. they have figured out the doggie door.

Because the lady at the rescue center thinks that they are in good health now that they have rehydrated and been fed decently, i'm letting them be with the other dogs because 1) i want them to get used to each other before I have to go to work again 2) I know there is a risk of worms, but if they get them I'll haul the whole group in for care. Its more important that they feel safe and free.

I'm pretty sure from Queenie's reactions, that she was tossed from a car and possibly beaten, but now that she knows she is safe and loved she is blossoming. They have explored the yard and made friends with everyone and are starting to show confidence, and they really like blueberry pancakes.

I feel like a Mom wolf with a little sweet pack of varied sizes and ages. Its great!

I'm a Sucker!

August 4th, 2011 at 09:10 am

We found 2 little lost dogs, a mama and her pup running around starving and terrified in our factory area at work. They are dehydrated too. I'm going to adopt them. I know I have 3 dogs, but Itty is 21 years old and every day is a gift, and I can't stand the thought of them being separated.

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