Thursday, April 30, 2015

Just Call Me Cyclops

Well I survived the surgery.

I am getting real tired of walking around and looking at stuff with one eye shut so I can use my glasses.

And I look like someone punched in the eye(all black and blue around my eye).
The woman sitting in the prep area next to me was getting her second eye done and she was 95!
And I was by far the youngest patient in the facility.

It's over so let the healing begin.
And I am so bad at putting eye drops in my own eye.....I may have to refill these bottles of drops! lolz


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lots of Little Things

This week is flying by and here are a bunch of little things I wanted to talk about......

* I have hit 50 miles of cycling for the month as of last night.  My goal for April was 30 miles, as I got in 22 miles in March so I thought that was a modest increase.   I am really going to have to think about what to "up" the target to for May.  Considering we'll be traveling for half the month and I'll be getting other kinds of exercise, plus probably won't have access to an exercise bike I don't know if I should change the goal.  Maybe just play it by ear and get in as much cycling as I can will suffice for a goal next month?

* I went ahead and did some grocery shopping the past couple of days on May's food budget money.
Since I won't be able to drive starting tomorrow for about a week I went ahead and got my food money cash at the bank and picked up some deals.
And speaking of eye surgery......

* I am a tad annoyed at this eye doctor thing.  It's a massive operation that he runs.  When I was giving all the forms and info about this surgery last month they wrote down all my follow up appointments but did NOT give me a time to report for the surgery, just the date.  The form said I would be called "a few days before" that date with what time to arrive for surgery.
Well, I am suppose to go in tomorrow, Thursday but as of yesterday Tuesday I still hadn't been contacted with the information.  Plus I keep getting forms in the mail from them the past month that need signing and returning, with notes attached that this dept. or that forgot to have me sign something.
This gives me NO FAITH that they will call or something else will happen to screw this up.
So I had to end up calling them yesterday asking for my surgery time.
Hey! I am suppose to put expensive drops in my eyes starting on Wed. and if everything wasn't in order yet and they were going to cancel this surgery date I wanted to know BEFORE I started using those drops.  Plus rescheduling this procedure anytime soon would be problematic as we are going away next month and I couldn't fit in follow-up appointments at appropriate intervals, etc.

I ran some errands and while I was gone I got two, COUNT 'EM  TWO phone calls from different people at the doctor's office about my surgery time.  So as of now, we are still on for this cataract surgery.

I must say that I am a bit scared about it all.  Anything involving my eyes freaks me out.  Heck, I have a real hard time putting drops in my eyes, what am I going to do once they come at me with scalpels?! 8-(
I hope they have a real good sedative for me, and maybe a straight jacket.
Don't expect to see me post much if anything in the next couple of days since my eyeball will be out of commission for awhile.

* I got a food bank donation up to the local church.  I put the stuff in my car which made me remember to take it all over while I was out bopping around town.

 That's 10 jugs of laundry detergent....

And 4 jars of peanut butter

Since I no longer extreme coupon my donations are a tad more modest.  But I still pick up extra when I find a really good deal.  I get to give without it costing me lots of ca$h and the food bank gets supplies.

* I got my new Rite-Aid card in the mail last week.....

It came in a big fancy envelope with all kinds of information.
Between the +Ups Reward program going away AND now the Video Values Program has been discontinued(!)I have serious doubts about what kind of savings I can see with this new Plenti deal.
I won't be able to drive mostly next week so I don't know if I'll even go in the first week the new program is in force.  I may just sit back and wait until I hear back from others who it's working for them before I venture out into uncharted waters at Rite-Aid.

* There is one deal I want to do at Rite-Aid next week and if you have a Rite-Aid in your area Rivulet, you may want to get there and pick this up since you use Dawn.

Next week Rite-Aid has DAWN dish soap on sale, 3 bottle for $3 and buy 3 and earn 100 Plenti Pts.
There is a .25¢/1 Q on Dawn on Coupons dotcom.  Print 3 Qs(using 2 different computers since you can only print 2 per computer).
$3-.75¢=$2.25 OOP and earn $1 worth of Plenti pts.  So effectively $1.25 for 3 bottles of Dawn.
And remember to get a rain check if they are out!

* I sold another piece of fabric on Etsy this week. rah. 
That makes 7 pieces sold since I relisted a bunch of fabrics earlier this month.  Once August gets here and they all expire I'll see if I want to relist any of the 60 or so fall/winter fabrics I still have.

* I am slowing getting through my daughter's things she left here when she moved to Louisiana.  They are still all strewn about my living room but the piles are getting smaller.  I've bagged up 3 more piles of stuff for Salvation Army and thrown away another bag full of old worn out clothing.  Some of the items I was going to bring to her(clothes and toiletries)I had bought for her, she now can't wear(underwear) or doesn't need(tampons). So I guess I'll be putting that stuff up on eBay once my Summer traveling is done.  Or if I just don't want to bother it can go to Salvation Army(underwear) and the food bank(tampons).  Thankfully I no longer have need for tampons.... ;-)

* I am chomping at the bit to do my Savings Challenge numbers for April and my May 1 net worth.
We had a third paycheck this month and kept our expenses low, so the savings will be MASSIVE!
Can't wait to post that one since it will be a big kick in the pants toward our goal.

* I found my phone charger cord!  It has been missing for ages......I hardly ever use my cell phone.  I just turn it on to make a call or if I am anticipating receiving a call.  Last week I used the phone quite a bit and the battery died, so suddenly, finding the charger was a big deal and on my radar.
I dug through the bookcase by my desk where I shove stuff like that and found it.
I also found the plastic casing piece for one of the end of it that came off in my car last Summer(while traveling)so was able to duct tape that back on as well.  My phone is now fully charged and I know SONYA ANN is ruing the day I found that charger.  Maybe I should prank call her while she's in Vegas.  I should wait until 7am tomorrow when she is hung over and trying to sleep, right? ;-)
And speaking of Sonya Ann.....

* Sonya is having a $25 Amazone gift code Giveaway on her blog while she is partying hardy in Vegas.  So go on over and enter it HERE and tell her I sent ya!
Oh, and you have to split the winnings with me if you win it. 8-)

And speaking of giveaways--don't forget that my Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway is open until May 10th and you can enter every day on that one too!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Food & Toiletries Spending......April Update

*I am posting this a few days early since I am done shopping for the month.*

 Onward to April's food spending report.......

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for APRIL 2015.

I have posted April's totals on the Total Grocery Savings for 2015 Page located HERE and have updated the Yearly Totals there.  I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in March.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals SumMy spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 3(2-3 at home this month). No kids under 19.


OOP  $9.00
Value $18.50
Savings  51.35%

OOP  $112.79
Qs/Ads $80.63
Value $193.42
Savings  41.69%

OOP  $27.64
Qs/Ads $20.03
Value $47.67
Savings  42.02%

RITE-AID *(see below)
OOP  $1.55
Qs/Ads/+UPs  $66.13
Value  $67.68
Savings  97.71%
SHURSAVE STORES(small local independent affiliated stores)
OOP  $13.23
Qs/Ads  $6.09
Value  $19.32
Savings  31.52%

OOP  $33.76
Qs/Ads $33.41
Value $67.17
Savings  49.74%
OOP  $103.44
Qs/Ads  $85.65
Value  $189.09
Savings  45.30%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 97.71%, Dollar Tree at 51.35% and Target at 49.74%.  My WORST savings rate was the Shursave store at 31.52%.

I shopped at 7 different stores this past month. 

TOTAL Out of Pocket........ $301.41
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$241.44
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$542.85
TOTAL Savings of...................................44.48%
TOTAL Savings WITHOUT Rite-Aid.............36.89%

This closes out the April food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into April wanting to do a $300 monthly spending and actually accomplished this....if you don't count the $1.55 I spent at Rite-Aid which put me $1.41 over.  ;-)

The monthly savings percentage went down by 25.28% in April to 44.48% compared to March's 69.76% average.
Didn't I tell y'all when I stopped buying stuff at Rite-Aid my percentages would plummet? 8-(

The savings rate for the year so far now stands at 65%.  That's a 3.70% decrease in savings over March's YTD total.  It's still hanging in well over a 40% savings rate for the year but will be going down further unless I jump back into Rite-Aid shopping at a savings rate comparable to before they ditched the +Ups Rewards Program.

I have spent a total of $1,233.86 on food/toiletries in 2015.  That averages out to $308.46andahalf per month.
I'm pretty happy with that.


I want to continue to eat down some of our stockpiles of canned/boxed food and empty out the freezer a bit more. We will be back up to 3 adults for May since College Boy comes home on the 9th for the Summer.

I will mostly probably need to increase my food spending in May to accommodate another mouth to feed and buy items Hubs and I don't eat but that College Boy considers essentials.

I won't set a number yet but will play things by ear.  We'll be traveling for part of May so the eating out/vacation spending will increase and the food budget spending may actually not increase even with another person to feed.

What I am trying to say is that May will be a total crapshoot.  8-)
If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share yours with us all.
*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in April?
*  Do you track your yearly food spending?
*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons vs. buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?

Monday, April 27, 2015

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "What's For Dinner" Edition--

Last Friday I pulled the last 2 pieces of salmon out of the freezer for dinner.  I have always wanted to try to replicate the Bourbon Glaze Lone Star puts on their salmon so I did just that.  I cooked it a little too long and it came out too thick(almost soft ball stage)so I ended up scrapping much of it off my fish.  But I still had enough to make my salmon taste very yummy.  Paired with a macaroni salad(which used up bits and pieces of peppers, carrots and celery that was getting past it's prime)and a big pile of sugar snap peas it made for a very filling and tasty meal.
I believe I used the recipe found HERE.
Why pay $17 at Lone Star for something you can easily make for much less?
Anyway, onward to the meal planning!
Here's what was planned last week.......
1.  Hamburgers on rolls, Corn on cob
2.  Leftovers
3.  Meatloaf, Squash & Onions, Macaroni Salad
4.  Ravioli, Salad
5.  Salmon, Macaroni Salad leftovers, Sugar Snap Peas/Corn
6.  Lena's Lemon Chicken w/Zuchinni, rice
7.  Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1.  Hamburgers on rolls, Corn on cob
2.  Leftovers(Hubs had Spaghetti, I had Soup)
3.  Meatloaf, Squash & Onions
4.  Tacos
5.  Lena's Lemon Chicken w/Zuchinni, rice
6.  Salmon, Macaroni Salad leftovers, Sugar Snap Peas/Corn
7.  Leftovers (Hubs had soup, I had a big salad)

Everything went as planned, except no ravioli, tacos instead to use up that ground beef I bought on Sunday.

Last week I made 3 trip to the food stores and spent $91.65 OOP on $181.67 worth of reg. retail groceries. 

I had 0 transactions at Rite-Aid last week....again.

$299.86 spent of my $300 April food budget, leaving us .14¢ for the last 4 days of the month.(Counting that $7 Weis gift card I have $7.14)

Leftovers going into this week are--spaghetti and meatballs, taco meat, macaroni salad, meatloaf, squash and onions, lemon chicken w/zucchini, fajitas filling, rice and sugar snap peas.
TONS of leftovers and it is a good week for them this coming week.

Here is the plan for this week.........

1.  Osso Buoco, mashed Potatoes
2.  Leftovers
3.  Leftovers
4.  Leftovers
5.  Leftovers or Take-Out or Fend for Yourself
6.  Leftovers or Take-Out or Fend for Yourself
7.  Leftovers or Take-Out or Fend for Yourself

The only night I plan to cook a new meal is Sunday.
What I need to buy for this menu......nothing actually.  We may need a bit of milk but that's it.  Hubs will not be home a few nights for dinner so I'll just heat up leftover something or other(plenty to choose from!)and Thursday I have my eye surgery so I probably won't feel like cooking(IF I can see to cook lol) and Hubs doesn't "cook" so it will be leftovers, Chinese take-out, sub sandwiches, pizza or whatever we can scrounge around the kitchen.

After I pick up the milk, I'll be closing out the month's spending early.
Friday starts a new month so I'll probably wait until then to pick up a few good deals this week, so it's on May's food budget.

The local ShurSave affiliate store has a Spending $25 on certain item(Grilling Season)get a $10 OYNO Coupon back starting this week.  One of the items is Glad products.  There is also a SavingStar offer of Spend $25, Get $5 Back on Glad and Clorox products.  So I could spend $25 and just buy the Glad products and get $10 Voucher from ShurSave and $5 cash back from Savingstar, making my OOP on this deal $10.
I think I will do this deal but since I've already got $12 from buying Glad trash bags on Rite-Aid rain checks toward the SavingStar component of this double deal I'll just get $13 of my $25 worth of items at ShurSave in Glad items and the other $12 in bags of charcoal(to use in my smoker this Summer).
What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Double Standard Much?

As I hear more on the earthquake that struck Nepal my heart goes out to all affected.

An associated story on Yahoo yesterday told of a chief executive at Google who was killed while making a climb on Mt. Everest yesterday, due to an avalanche that was triggered by this same earthquake.
It's just a terrible event all 'round and I am saddened by what has transpired as are most other folks.

Not to denigrate this natural disaster that has left many dead, homeless or worse, but this event got me thinking about something else in regard to that mountain climbing executive in general.
I am not casting aspersions at him personally.
This is rather a commentary on our society and the way it operates.

In regard to this American who was killed in the avalanche.
He's a highly placed Google executive.
I'll bet he's very valuable to the company and worth a lot of money.
And he engaged in a highly risky hobby, mountain climbing.
And his company was "a ok" with that evidently.  I'd go so far as to say they probably encouraged him in this pursuit seeing as it lent an air of excitement and glamor to him but also attached itself to his company.

Now suppose you are a lowly peon in a company, not an executive making fists of money, and slogging away in a job, being a cog in the wheel and making a modest salary.
It's a sure bet you can't afford to traipse off to another continent to play adventurer.  Get your employer to allow you to have that kind of time off from your job? Nope. Not to mention you having the sort of disposable income that mountain climbing in far off lands would cost you.....passports, plane flights, accommodations, guides, equipment, etc. 

So maybe you have another risky smoking cigarettes.
Hey, it relaxes you and it's something you can afford to indulge in and something you don't have to fly somewhere to engage in.

But practicing this hobby also had consequences.
Consequences that the company that you work for and provides your health coverage deems "bad".
So your employer puts pressure on you in various ways to give up this hobby.
Your fellow workers who don't smoke get health bonuses while your rates to go.
The company bans smoking on their job site which makes your job experience unsatisfying.
A peer pressure culture at the office against smoking takes hold and you are made to feel bad about yourself and this company pressure even extends into your lifestyle outside of the office I'll bet.

And this all "a ok" with the people who run your company, because they are among this upper, elite class of society....and they make the rules.

IMHO-This is  just another case of our society having a double standard.

The Elitist Class is admired and encouraged to engage in risky behaviors and are seem as glamorous.  And we, the unwashed masses, are told by the elitist media to look up to these folks and their behaviors.

Why am I not surprised?
The elite in this country run our companies and make-up our governing bodies.
Over 50% of the current sitting legislators in Congress are millionaires-271 of the 533 members.
The wealthy have everything in this country locked up.
They are not looking out for you or I.
We are on our own out here.

The Double Standard is alive and well in America in 2015.



Saturday, April 25, 2015

End of the Week Food Shopping With Video

I ended up going up to Weis(PMITA)Markets yesterday, Friday.

What I got.

53% savings rate!

I made a little video about my shopping trip.
It's located HERE.
If you are super bored go ahead and click on this link.

My camera battery was running low so I was trying to hurry but remember to talk about everything I bought, so of course I forgot to mention the Johnsonville Brats deal. lol

Those are $4.29 reg. retail, were on sale for $3.50 and they each had a $2 instant discount sticker on them, so $1.50 OOP each.
Not bad and this is something you can tuck into the freezer for Summertime grilling later.
If we still ate crappy hot dogs they have a killer deal on a 3lb. pack of Hatfield dogs....reg. $7.98, on sale for $4.98 and 1 of the packages had a $3 instant discount sticker so would have been $1.98!  I left that bargain behind for somebody else.

I forgot to use a $7 Weis gift card I got for the PowerAde products Catalina deal last month that didn't work correctly.  So when you add this to my .14¢ left in my April food money I have $7.14.

Ok, I am off today to get some things done(I hope!)so watch this video and let me know what is on your agenda for today.


Friday, April 24, 2015

How Ready Are You For Retirement? Part 2

                    photo by Joe Belanger
Ok, so having a financial cushion is only one part of being ready for retirement.....albeit, a MASSIVE Part of it!

If you go into your retirement years without money(or for a rare few these days, a company funded pension)your Golden Years won't be so golden.
After all, it takes money to sustain even the most modest of lifestyles.
And let's face it, living on ONLY your Social Security check just won't cut it.

That Social Security check, once you hit the major age(depending on what year you were born in)is a help but unless you had a very high paying job for many years while working that check probably won't cover all your costs of living ANY sort of life.  A married couple has a better change of eeking out a modest lifestyle on only Social Security but really, if you don't have to, don't plan on SS being your own source of funds.
Again, there are exceptions, but for most people, you need other assets to draw upon in retirement.

And then, if you retire early there are those years of not working you need to bridge with cash until you can access your own directed retirement funds, your pension(if you get one)and/or your Social Security check.

And if you are in the US and retire early there is also that small worry about paying for your healthcare(unless your ex-employer funds something for you to draw to pay for these expenses)until you hit the golden Medicare years.

There are two other big components, besides how much cash you bring into retirement, that will have a large affect on you and what kind of retirement you have......

One--Your financial position at retirement in regard to debt.
Two--How much it will cost you to maintain any lifestyle.

So it pretty much goes without saying that you need to be DEBT-FREE once you decide to retire.
Retiring with personal or mortgage debt is not a good thing and not the optimal state to be in when you retire.
As commenter SAK noted in my last post on retirement, "The reality is that the biggest driver of what you need in retirement is driven by where you start your retirement. No debt, own home, savings, good health AND good health insurance.....".

The best position to begin retirement in is to carry no debt.
Get your house paid off(if you own one).
While it's possible to retire with a mortgage, if at all possible, it's not something you want going in.  A mortgage is just another bill(usually one of your larger ones)that will have to be paid until you get that sucker paid off.
Now it IS possible to retire with a small mortgage(that is going away soon once you retire)but most people and financial experts will tell you it's not an optimal state to be in.

And depending on the owning versus renting options, in your chosen area it may be cheaper to rent.
The real estate markets as you all know have been crazy since the early 2000's.  Some parts of the country it just makes no sense to buy a house.  The prices are just so high it would tie up all your assets and leave you with little to live off of.(Of course, when you die and your heirs sell the house they will be rolling in dough.)

 Many people go into the retirement years without a paid for house.  Just remember that the real estate market can change at any time, even if renting is cheaper now.  Rents will most certainly increase as the years go on so if you don't plan on retiring in a paid for house, adjust your living expense sheet to cover rental increases.....or be prepared to move(which will incur it's own set of new expenses and may not be something you are physically up to doing as you age).
Have a housing plan if you rent, but it's pretty smart to also have a back-up plan if markets and prices change drastically.

Again, as you look to your retirement years don't do anything stupid with debt.
Pay off your house, your car(s), any unsecured debt(credit cards), loans on lifestyle toys like boats, trailers, ATVs, etc.

And if you still have student loans going into retirement?!  You need to get those paid off asap.
If you cosigned on any loans for your kids or others you need to make sure those are paid off as well......and on second thought, you really shouldn't have co-signed in the first place, especially if you are too close to retirement to get them paid off. ;-)

We all want to help our kids and family but really, is it a wise choice to put yourself into more debt for them?  The government will give your kids loans to go to school, but they are not going to loan you money to fund your retirement.
If you only have so much money and it's a choice better funding their college education and your retirement, pick your retirement.  After all, if you don't have enough to live on in retirement that means your kids may be obliged to support you when you can no longer work.  Don't plan on being a burden to your kids.  Between paying off student loans, their own mortgage, car payments and paying the expenses their own kids will cost to raise them, your adult children have their own hands full!

Besides, your kids will have a long working life to pay back their student loans while you may only have 10 years or so left to fund your retirement. 

Not that I am suggesting your kids wait for 30 years to get student loans paid back.....they should be doing whatever they can to pay those back asap!  Deferment interest really adds up on non-subsidized student loans.  Even though my husband had both undergrad and graduate school federal loans, bringing both into our marriage, that was a top priority early on in our marriage-to pay those loans off!  The sooner you pay off student loans the less interest you will pay and the sooner you get to decide what to spend your money on next.

Don't fund your kids' lifestyles by carrying debts for them into retirement.  If you feel compelled to loan money to your adult children then at least make sure it doesn't impact you too much financially and for gosh sakes, get something in writing that can be enforced spelling out the terms of the loan, in case they decide on down the road to just not pay that money back.

The other component that can have a big impact on your retirement is how much you will need to cover your lifestyle once you stop working.
You need to take a good hard look at  your expenses, both the every month regular ones as well as the irregular expenses that only come up so often in your year/life.

Hopefully you will not be supporting kids(grandkids too) or parents when you retire.  Optimally it will just be yourself(and your spouse if you are married).

Do you know approximately what it will cost you each month to live the life you want to?
If you are on the downslide into retirement(over 50 usually)but not retired yet, it's never too early to sit down and go over the numbers.

Find a good calculator online to project how much money you can/will draw each month from your savings(and how much your Social Security will be once that kicks in).
Then write down all the expenses you will have in your golden years and see if your savings/retirement funds/SS projections are enough to cover your projected living costs.
I know it won't be totally accurate but just having some idea of where you stand with your savings rate NOW can let you know if you are on target or need to beef up what you put away/invest.

Since your expenses will change as you age(you will spend more on lifestyle during the early part of retirement, while the later years will see that spending shift to being more heavily involved with medical expenses, even after you hit Medicare age)it might be wise to figure what you need when you are "young" retired(in your 50's, 60's and some folks into their 70's)as opposed to your last years(70's-90's and beyond).
You will most probably travel a lot more as a newly retired(if you are given to travel as a way to fill your time).
You may also want to volunteer your time in causes you believe in or work part time as you ease into retirement.  While a part time job will give you a little cash injection it won't fund your lifestyle and both non-paid work as well as paid work will mean more expenses incurred on your retirement budget.

A good thing to try when figuring out your retirement expenses is to see how little you can live on BEFORE you retire.
Try it for a month or two to see what level of lifestyle you are comfortable living.
Of course there will be things you can't do while working(like not using your car or public transport).
but you could go without eating out, or cable or cell phone plans, electronic toys, traveling.
All I saying is to find your basic living NUT.
The bare minimum you will need to spend in retirement to sustain you(and your spouse if applicable).
How much you need to spend each month for the bare necessities you are comfortable living with(or without).
If you can cover your NUT each month with your retirement fund withdrawals/pensions/social security you are doing aok.

Of course, if you will have more money than that amount each month, good for you, and you won't have to live a monk's life if you don't want to in retirement.
You can always add in more expenses to cover the extras in your budget as your money holds out.
Hopefully you will have enough to cover the needs of your life and can easily add back in some of your wants.

Now don't just sit there........get cracking on a Plan for your Retirement!
It's never too early. ;-)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Shopping This Week

Here's what I started the week with.....

Still no Rite-Aid trips.
But I did go to Maine Source the restaurant supply store for produce and meat.....

2.65 lbs yellow squash
3.45 lbs. zuchinni squash
2 English cukes
3 lbs yellow onions
4 ears of corn
6.81 lbs. ground beef
1 gallon zero cal. peach tea
1 bag potato chips(hubs wanted this)
Total spent....$35.84
Reg. retail on all this at the grocery store would come to $71.30

I also stopped in at the local Shursave market on the way home from my dr. appt.
No picture but I got.....

5 PowerAde Zeros
1 bag of croutons
1 head of lettuce
.50 lb. roasted turkey breast(for Hubs' lunches this week)
2 bags corn chips(they were BOGO and I caved!)
Total spent......$13.23
Reg. retail on all this when no sales would come to $19.32

Here's what's left this week so far.....


I still want to get over to Weis for some cheap cheddar and coffee(it's BOGO and I have a $1.50 off Q).  Should be another $10 spent on food this week.

The meals planned for this week......

1.  Hamburgers on rolls, Corn on cob
2.  Leftovers
3.  Meatloaf, Squash & Onions, Macaroni Salad
4.  Ravioli, Salad
5.  Salmon, Macaroni Salad leftovers, Sugar Snap Peas/Corn
6.  Lena's Lemon Chicken w/Zuchinni, rice
7.  Leftovers

Here's what has happened so far.....

1.  Hamburgers on rolls, Corn on cob
2.  Leftovers(Hubs had Spaghetti, I had Soup)
3.  Meatloaf, Squash & Onions
4.  Tacos
5.  Lena's Lemon Chicken w/Zuchinni, rice

Next two days will be salmon meal and then leftovers(there's meatloaf, taco filling and will be chicken leftover by tomorrow).
That bag of ground beef I bought meant more beef dishes this week.  I also have hamburgers for lunch a few days this week.  I'll be beefed out by Saturday night. ;-)

So I'll have $30 left for next week's meals.  I've got plenty of meats but we are running low on fresh and frozen produce.
Next week might be some strange combinations of dishes but I'll be fine since I still have plenty of cukes to make pickles! lolz

How is your food week going?


Throwback Thursday

I've been trying to scan and edit some of the photos in my mom's stacks of photo albums this week.
It's slow going since I have to scan them into hubs computer(the printer with the scanner is attached to his machine upstairs), then he has to email me the photos, then after uploading them to OneDrive I have to download them to my machine and then edit them. ugh.  Why won't they download from the email attachments directly to my machine(instead of having to upload them first to OD)I have no clue!
And then Hubs emailed me some scanned photos as!?!?
I will Never get this all finished before I die.....ugh!

Anyway, here is a photo I love.  I am not in it since I wasn't born yet when it was taken.
It's of my maternal grandparents(my mom's parents)and my maternal grandmother's mother.

I believe this was taken in the mid 1950's, given the clothing and the car parked next to them.
The building behind them has a store sign which I think says "Leggett's"(You can see the first 5 letters.).
Leggett's was a smaller department store chain that began in 1927 in Lynchburg, VA.
Not sure if this store was the Lynchburg store but by this time in the 1950's they had more stores dotting the map in south central Virginia......Farmville, Roanoke, South Boston all had a Leggett's.
Suffice it to say, they were standing in a mid-sized city somewhere in Southeastern Virginia.

Anyway, this photo is of my great grandmother Lucy Baker Vassar, her daughter Lillian Vassar Harper and Lillian's husband, Wirt Harper.

Yes, my grandfather was named WIRT.
Don't's an old traditional Southern name.
People are naming their kids far worse names today IMHO.

Anyway, once my mother left home and married at the ripe old age of 16, her parents were empty-nesters, free to do as they pleased since she was an only child.
My mom left home in June of 1951 right after she finished 11th grade.

My grandmother worked full time and my grandfather did not at this point in his life.
They did go on vacation every year and I've been told that often, after my mother was living away from their home, that they'd take Lillian's mother with them, as she was a widow.

Can you imagine as an adult married couple, taking your mother along on all your summer vacations?

So I have quite a few photos of the three of them together in various vacation type spots and some not-so vacation type spots.
I love my grandfather in this one.
Let's just say that my grandfather was something of a "character".
He would "mug" for the camera and I am sure he put the bill of his cap up like that just for this photo.

Yep, Wirt was a fun guy......
And I love his two tone "stepping out" shoes. lolz


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Did Someone Say Giveaway?!?

Spring has finally seemed to have arrived so why not have another Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway of 2015.

This is Giveaway #3 for the year. 8-)

Check it out..........

1 x White Chocolate FLIPZ
1 x Max-Freeze Topical Pain Reliever
1 x Pantene Shampoo
 2 x Ora-Gel Kid's Toothpastes
1 x Crest Oral Rinse
1 x Aveeno Hand/Body Lotion
1 x Carmex Lip Balm
1 x Sally Hansen Nail Hardener
1 x Revlon Emory Boards
1 x Colgate Toothbrush
1 x Cover Girl Mascara
1 x NYC Lip Gloss
2 x Cover Girl Eye Shadow(teal and blue)
2 x Starburst Jelly Beans
1 x Almay Lip Pencil(mauve)
5 x Assorted brands Nail Polish Colors(white, navy, yellow, lavender and black)
Just some close-ups of the goodies.......

 I'll leave this giveaway open until May 10th, Sunday, at 11:59pm.  The next day I'll put all the valid entries into a container and draw out a name and that person wins.

You may get ONE ENTRY per Day by leaving a comment on this blog post until the Giveaway ends.

To get BONUS entries---

* Post about my Giveaway on your own Blog,  on Facebook on Twitter or some other Forum you frequent with a link to your post.  This will earn you 2 additional entries for each action and you can do this once during the course of this giveaway(8 entries total if you do all 4).  Please leave 2 additional comments on this blog post for each additional Bonus entry. 
* Become a Follower of this Blog to get 1 more entry.(Hit the "Join This Site" Button at the top right side of this blog).  Of course if you already Follow my Blog, leave a comment ascertaining that for 1 more entry.
Please leave a comment if you become a Follower or are a Follower already and give me your ID/name on there so I can verify it.
* Join the Bloggers United Federation if you have a blog to get 1 more entry.  Leave a comment saying you want to join up with your blog addy and I'll hook you up.
(All members who have already joined the BUF will of course get 1 Bonus entry as well.)

  Disclaimer--This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses within the US or Canada only.
If you are in Canada, you will receive a smaller box of goodies, as the shipping rates internationally are ridiculous and I am not taking out a mortgage on my house to pay to ship this stuff.  ;-)

If you need this shipped to Canada, I'll have to change the box and it's contents a bit.  I can ship a plain box weighing up to 3lbs. via 1st class mail, which, while more than the flat rate Priority to US addys, is still affordable.  These prize boxes usually weigh 7 or more lbs. when full, so if the winner is in Canada, I'll let them pick and choose which of the items they prefer sent in their box, until the box weighs 4lbs.  I hate to have to do this(not ship ALL prizes to them)but I would hate it even more to exclude them totally from entering the giveaway.

Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you in your comment.  If you're not a registered Blogger User with your contact information on your User page, please put your email addy or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get ahold of you if you win. If I can't contact you then you can't win.  Thanks!

So let's get this started!


Bloggers United Federation

Sonya Ann has started a small consortium of bloggers. *yikes I wrote bloogers but fixed it!*

Anyway, we are a group of assorted bloggers banding together to support each other's blogs.
As SA our fearless leader said it, "It is really about building a solid network for all of us, driving more people to each other's blogs and hopefully, earning more. "

I urge you to join with us if you have a blog.
Just let me or Sonya Ann know, either by leaving a comment on one of our blogs or by emailing us directly, and we'll "hook you up".

All you have to do is simply to promise to go to other member's blogs and to link to each other every so often to get your readers to become other BUF's members' readers.
This isn't limited to a certain genre of blog, a certain country, age or sex.....except no x-rated blogs though you can say PORN every now and then. ;-)

Heck, maybe some day we'll have a convention or something......or I'll show up on your doorstep......ok, maybe that's too creepy, huh? ;-)

I've made a separate page containing the List of the Bloggers United Federation Members which is the tab titled "Bloggers United Federation" (duh!)at the top of this blog.  Each member is a hyperlink so you can just click on their name and go to their blog.
Leave them some comments, let them know who sent you there and just show them some love, ok?

I have also included(most were already there anyway)the BUF Members' blogs on my blog roll.  Each BUF member has an asterisk next to their listing there, to denote their membership.

So come on, what are you waiting for?!
Join us.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ancestral Connections Are Everywhere!

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I discovered 2 years ago that my bloggy friend Sonya Ann and I are related.  We are 9th cousins.
She and I are descended from Captain Samuel Snead(my 10th Great Grandfather, her 9th Great Grandfather).
He was our first Snead to immigrate to American. Samuel came to the Virginia Colony with his wife, Alice Gallimore Snead and their son, William, in 1635.

Our most recent shared ancestor is Samuel Sneed's grandson, John Sneed, who married Alice Tinsley.
From there our ancestor's branch off, Sonya's line being the son William Sneed of New Kent, Virginia and mine, the son Samuel Sneed of Hanover, Virginia.  Back then, name spellings were quite fluid, Snyd or Snead one time, Sneed the next time.  Over the years the spelling of the name got standardized in her line to SNEED, my line to SNEAD, but it's the same family line.

One of the famous cousins we share--Golfer Sam Sneed.  My 6th cousin 3x removed.

Anyway, who would have thunk it, that I'd find a long lost cousin in blogland?

So imagine my surprise when I had my last giveaway and the winner, chosen at random, had the same last name as the maiden name of one of my 3rd Great Grandmothers!

I emailed her if she knew anything about her family history and after some back and forth we discovered that we share an ancestor in Abraham Stapp II who married Dorothy Moss 1678.  Abraham was 2nd generation of that family born in America. We are 8th cousins 2x removed(I am straight 8th cousins with her grandfather).

One of the famous people we almost share, Scott Stapp of the grunge band Creed.  He took his stepfather's surname so genetically we aren't cousins.

But we do share this guy.....

Kentucky legend & frontiersman Moses Stepp.  That's his grave in Martin County, KY.

I find this happening every time I turn around.  I find ancestral connections to people I meet in my life.

More recently I was talking to another blogger buddy, Jay, and he said he was related to Roy Rogers(Roy's real name was Leonard Franklin Slye).

 Well I went to look up Roy's parents and Leonard's mother was named Mattie Womack.  Gee, I have a line of Womacks in my family lines. I traced Roy's maternal side Womack line back a bit and wouldn't you know, it flows back to Prince Edward County, Virginia, where my Womack's were too.
I feel confident that once I do some more digging I'll find the actual link to Roy Rogers maternal line of Womacks to mine.
So far on the paternal side of Sly family I haven't done enough research to connect Jay but he says it is there.
So while Jay and I aren't cousins we are both probably each related to Roy Rogers, Jay through the paternal line and me through the maternal line, so we are from allied families.

It sure is a small, small ancestral world we live in.

Have you done any genealogy research that led you back to famous or infamous people in your family tree?


Monday, April 20, 2015

I'm Skeptical

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon this blog......HERE.

This Mavis Butterfield person seems like a kindred spirit....even if she seems to be an Uber gardener.
She use to coupon heavily and went into that extreme couponing mode when it was hot a few years back just like me, and her food spending was under $100 a month for 2 years.   We both stopped doing the heavy couponing for free stuff thing as we saw that most of the things you got for free using coupons were NOT good for you.  Mavis' food spending shot up a little bit but still stayed under $185 a month overall in 2013 and 2014.

Now she has challenged herself in 2015 to only spend $100 a month on food for her family of 4.
Oh, and she is only grocery shopping at Costco for the year.

Ok, so before everyone gets all depressed and disheartened that they can't feed a family of 4 for a year on $1,200, let's talk about this.
I applaud her for doing this but really, she isn't only spending $100 a month for food.
She is going into this challenge with a whole kitchen/pantry full of things bought before the challenge started.
Condiments, spices, staples like sugar, flour, etc.
Plus she seems to have a lot of preserved food starting off too(she's mentioned a ton of frozen blueberries about 5 times in what I've read so
Plus she is using gift cards gifted to her and getting free Zaycon credit for meats when people sign up through her referral link.
And she is doing bartering with neighbors to get a bit of variety into her rotation so no money changing hands.

She is not even 4 months into the year and almost up to $500 in spending but feels her monthly totals will be going down once she can start harvesting from her garden so yah, that should give her lower totals OOP.
But is she adding in all the costs associated with growing that food?  Seeds, tools, added water use for her home, the costs to preserve the foods she grows......they all add up, don't they?

As for Costco.......we don't have one here and I've only been in one once(this past January).  It seems to me similar to those other warehouse places like Sam's Club and BJ's.
Isn't the running joke you can't get out of a warehouse store without spending at Least $100 a trip? lolz

I don't know.
The large packages of stuff is fine for things you eat often but what about dishes you only need a small amount of something for?
She batch cooks and freezes dishes too which is fine if you have ample freezer space.

Back in 2010 I grew just shy of 94 lbs. of food that year.  It will be interesting to see if she meets her goal of growing TWO THOUSAND POUNDS of food this year. 

I'm going to continue to follow along with this scheme and see how it pans out.
Hey, I am game for anything that brings down my food bill without making us eat a less healthy and/or less varied diet.....aren't you?  ;-)

And now I am off into an online suckhole looking at articles/blogs on feeding your family on $100 a month......



This Week on the Dining Table

The "Finding New Things to Clear Out" Edition.....

Just when you think you have everything cleared out you find something else to get rid of.
Last weekend after hauling the daughter's stuff down to the living room I opened the door to the basement and spied a basket hanging on the wall of the stairwell.  It use to hold dog supplies.  No dogs anymore so I will post this lot on the local Freecycle board.  I also have a metal dog crate, a dog house and an outdoor chain link metal dog run/kennel to rehome.
And then there are the pol stairs behind the run/kennel out back.
So much to get rid of.......

Anyway, onward to the meal planning!
Here's what was planned last week.......

1.  Spaghetti and meatballs, salad
2.  Ham and bean soup
3.  Fish, potato salad, whatever veggies I can dig out of the freezer
4.  Kielbasa on rolls, grilled onions, Brussels sprouts
5.  Chicken and Confetti pepper fajitas
6.  Leftovers
7.  Maybe get Take-out or BLTs(if I can find some nice tomatoes this week)

And this is what actually happened--

1.  Spaghetti and meatballs, salad
2.  Ham and bean soup(I had broccoli cheese soup)
3.  Fish, potato salad, Brussels sprouts
4.  Kielbasa on rolls, grilled onions(hubs ate leftover pot. salad too, I had some salad)
5.  Chicken and Confetti pepper fajitas
6.  Leftovers
7.  Take-out Chinese

Everything went as planned, more or less.

Last week I made 2 trip to the food stores and spent $37.69 OOP on $69.66 worth of reg. retail groceries. 

I had 0 transactions at Rite-Aid last week.
And that one won't be changing for some time to come. lolz

$209.76 spent of my $300 April food budget, leaving us $90.24 for the last 10 days of the month. 

Leftovers going into this week are--1 slice of quiche, corn, mac and cheese, 2 soups, spaghetti and meatballs and fajitas filling.

Here is the plan for this week.........

1.  Hamburgers on rolls, Corn on cob
2.  Leftovers
3.  Meatloaf, Squash & Onions, Macaroni Salad
4.  Ravioli, Salad
5.  Salmon, Macaroni Salad leftovers, Sugar Snap Peas/Corn
6.  Lena's Lemon Chicken w/Zuchinni, rice
7.  Leftovers

2 nights of leftovers and 5 nights of new dishes. 
What I need to buy for this menu......squashes, ground beef, coc. (In reality we went to Maine Source on Sunday and bought these already but since meal plan runs Sunday to Saturday this spending goes on this coming week's week.)  I plan on spending about $40 this week(with the ground beef being the bulk of that spending).

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Accomplishments

It was gloriously WARM yesterday(it hit 77F degrees here!)and sunny on Saturday so hubs and I headed outside to work on an outdoor project we didn't get to last year.

This is the side of our house.  It's the westerly side and doesn't get much sun most days right next to the house.
We cleared it out last year(pulled up lots of tree and bush starts)and dug up a big ugly bush to the right of this photo.
The shrubs flanking the tree trunk are Forsythia.  The one on the left is too close to the house and just a spindly mess so we ended up pulling that one up too.

We found what looked like a buried GI Joe in there too but it was just his arm stuck in the ground.
Oh, the things you find years after your children grow up.......

So we got the area raked out of sticks and leaves, leveled the dirt abit and got the edging set and pounded into the ground.  Next comes landscaping barrier and then pretty white stones.  Once the tree leafs out this area is very shaded.  I plan on getting that bench this year to place into the bed and I'll hang my wind chimes in that little tree.  It will become a nice cool place to sit outside when the weather gets hot.  There may be a bird bath in the future near here, out in the side yard too.
Now we need to arrange for the delivery of stones.

This is what this area looked like last Summer.
It's impossible to get grass to grow over here so this stone bed will be a nice it will be less area to mow for hubs.

I also started cleaning up/uncovering the back garden bed on Saturday while hubs was doing the "down on your knees" stuff....

Lots of dead leaves.  It's still too early to plant here but I hope to get at least a part of the bed ready to sow some lettuce seeds soon.

Some onion sets that wintered over in this barrel planter are growing already too.
I need to get proactive this year with the garden.
Maybe I'll keep track of how much I grow this year like I did back in 2010!

We've got the leveled and round place in the backyard now where our above ground pool use to be.
It gets a lot of sun so would be perfect for growing stuff here.
Maybe I'll scrap all the sand off of there and turn it into a garden bed?
Or since it has electricity running back there, maybe I should put in a pond or put a fountain out there?

I don't know about a pond's a lot of work to maintain and real estate professionals will tell you that putting in too much outdoor/yard stuff will keep some people from buying your house(when we go to sell in 3 years).  People are turned off usually by landscaping and "stuff" in that vein since it all needs maintenance.  People don't want to spend their days working on their yards.  They want simple, nice looking and easy to maintain from what I've been reading.  There seems little sense to us to put in time/money into the yard that won't make it more saleable in 3 years.

What do y'all think we should do with this piece of the backyard?

We still need to clean up the front flower bed, get more plants to put in there and then re-mulch.  It's too early to plant yet but we can clean it up, probably next weekend.  By the time I can see again(after my cataract surgery)College Boy will be home and I can buy plants and have him help me get them put in before we go off on our road trip to Louisiana.

Today we are off to drop a load at Salvation Army, mostly made up of our daughter's cast-offs, and then to Maine Source for some produce and meat.

What are you up to today?



Friday, April 17, 2015

2 Refrigerator Pickle Recipes

I am sharing 2 pickles recipes with y'all today.
First my mother's fridge pickles recipe.  These are a quick and easy, "eat them right away because they won't keep" recipe.  More a cuke with some flavor than a true pickle.  A great summer side dish to use up some of those too many cukes in your garden.

Carole's Almost New Pickles

3/4  cup sugar
1/2  cup water
1 cup vinegar(white)
1/2 tablespoon dill weed
1-2 cucumbers, sliced

Slice cukes.
Combine 4 other ingredients in pot.
Boil until dissolved.
When cooled, pour over cukes and refrigerate.
Ready to eat in 4-6 hours.
Reuse liquid to make more pickles.


These are a bread and butter type of pickle.... not dill and not overly sweet.

Sluggy's Refrigerator Pickles

2-4 cucumbers(depending on size), sliced
1-2 medium onions, sliced(red or white)
2 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar(white)
2 tablespoons salt *
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon mustard seed

Combine sugar vinegar and salt in a pot and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Add spices.
Put onion and cuke slices in a large glass jar or pickle crock. (I use two glass jars that 3lbs. of honey came in.)
Once liquid is cooled, pour over veggies in jars.  Put the lid on and refrigerate.  It helps to go shake the jar every so often as the turmeric will settle in the bottom and your pickles on top won't be as pretty yellow as the ones on the bottom.
Ready to eat in 6 hours but better the next day and onward.

If you find the flavor too strong you can water down the "juice" too, but try it first before doing that.

You can skin the cukes or not, your preference.  Be sure and wait until the juice cools to pour over the cukes, otherwise you will end up with soggy pickles.

*If sodium is a concern for you, you can reduce or omit the salt.  A little salt pumps up the sweetness though.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Food Shopping This Week & Other Shopping Splurges

Went to Maine Source restaurant supply store this week for some produce.....

4 x assorted peppers
4 x English cukes
2 x cantaloupes
2 x hot house tomatoes
1 x package of hot dog rolls
1 x Arizona zero-calorie peach tea

$16.93 OOP
$28.85 regular retail

 Then it was to Weis(PMITA)Markets for milk and the mushrooms I forgot that I needed for fajitas on Thursday......

As you can see I also ran into some instant discount stickers for salad greens, bakery products and tube-type meats. lolz

1 x Baby Greens 50%off sticker=$1.99
1 x Asst. Salad 50%off sticker=$1.49
.63 lb. mushrooms=$1.88(cheaper than buying the containers of mushrooms)
1 x Kaiser rolls 50%off sticker=.99¢
1 x Sourdough bread 50%off sticker=$1.69
3 x Bob Evans sausage $2off sticker(and on sale)=$1.99 each
1 x Smithfield smoked sausage $2off sticker(and on sale)=$1.34
1 x Hebrew National reduced fat franks $3off sticker=$3.69
1 x 1/2 gal. milk=$1.72 *not pictured*

Total after sales/discount stickers=$20.76 OOP
Regular Retail total=$40.81
Savings rate of 49%......

And what am I doing with all those cukes?
Why pickles Watson!......

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles with Red Onions

Total spent on groceries this week.....$37.69
I know it's more than the $20 I wanted to stay under but this is how I shop and frankly spending an extra $18 on food during a week isn't going to bankrupt us. ;-)

You never know when those lovely discount stickers will appear and on WHAT they will appear.
When they do(and it's something we eat), I buy them and either change the menu to use something up fresh or I freeze them(if they can be frozen like meats) for later use.
It doesn't usually add much to my food bill and it keeps me from having to pay full retail to buy it when it's needed later on.
So in the end, shopping a little now saves me more later.

Do this long enough and you may never have to pay retail for food again(except for a few items around here like milk which, thanks to the strong PA dairy lobby, never goes on sale and is price controlled).
I did pay full retail for the loose mushrooms too at Weis.  I wanted to make chicken fajitas this week because Maine Source had peppers on a good sale but they didn't have 'shrooms on sale.  Weis had containers of 'shrooms on sale but the bulk loose 'shrooms are cheaper at full retail than the boxed stuff on sale.
Go figure! these are my "go to" 'shrooms.

As of today we have spent $208.21 and have meals planned/food for though April 18th of this month.
$91.79 left to spend on food and 12 days left in April to eat.  That's highly do-able.

I want to mention that we went out the weekend before Easter and bought "non-food stuff".
I don't often buy stuff/wants, but we did at the beginning of April.

Macy's had their "lowest price of the season" sale going on.
Funny but they don't say which season it is the lowest price of.....lolz
Anyway, I bought this..........

A toaster oven
Don't ask me why.
It was under $18 and everything being equal I prefer a toaster oven to a toaster.
Toaster oven is more of a multi-tasker and seem to last a bit longer than any of the toasters I've owned.
Our toaster is still humming along but once it goes to the great small appliance heaven, we will be ready to unpack this bad boy.

As it was an awesome sale on some kitchenware stuff and we have 2 young adults who can use said kitchenware stuff we also bought the older 2 kids these.....

A 10 piece set of stainless steel cookware.
After a coupon, sale and tax, they were each under $50 for a reg. retail of $180 set.
Nice cookware for 74% off?
Yes, please!

Macy's had a cheaper SS set(their house brand)for under $40 BUT this one is heat safe to a higher temperature and I know my kids.......they only know 1 heat setting....HIGH!
So we laid out an extra $10 for these puppies.
'Nuff said. ;-)

These and the 12 bottles of mead we bought at the Meadery the end of March have been our big spurges lately.

No shopping at Rite-Aid this week, except to pick-up Rxs.

How is your food shopping going this week?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How Ready Are You For Retirement? Cheer Up, It's Not So Bleak!

Alex left a comment on the blog on my Random Money post about how your "income" will change in retirement......
"We try to put away up to 25% of our pay into retirement or other forms of saving. One thing I try to keep in mind is that we won't have to replace as much of or pre-retirement income because of what we have taken out now for the 401(k) and health insurance....."

Let's talk a bit about this idea.

All the retirement gurus say you need anywhere from 75% to 100% of your current income, while working, coming in each year in retirement to live the sort of life commensurate with the life you lived while working.

This is hogwash!

Let's talk rationally a little about the difference between your working years and your retirement years.

First off, when you retire, you won't need to be taking cash off the top of your income to save it for retirement.
We have arrived at THAT destination!
No more saving for tomorrow because tomorrow is here.
Of course it's nice if you don't need to spend all your income each month in retirement and you can put some back for another time, an emergency and/or something special you want to do.

Whatever percentage of money you save each month from your salary, you won't need to do that anymore.
If you make $80K a year and put 25%(or $20K) a year into retirement savings, you won't need to do that action in if you think you need income of $80K a year in retirement, you actually only "need" $60K to live your $80K a year "working life".

Get it?

Second, let's look at the long list of taxes you pay each pay period.  Once you retire and don't earn a paycheck, most of the taxes you pay while working go away.

* Federal Withholding  You get no paycheck, there is nothing to withhold anymore.

* Federal Medicare/Employee-Employer(also known as FED ME/EE)  This what you and your employer pay into to fund Medicare.  At age 65 you will begin to collect on this and once you stop getting a paycheck you don't pay into this anymore.

*  Federal Social Security(also known as FED OASDI/EE) This is what you and your employer paid into to fund Social Security.  You can begin to collect this anywhere between age 62 and 70.  If you collect it earlier you get less(but more payments over time), collect it late you get higher payments(but fewer payouts over time).  "Full" retirement varies as to when you were born and they keep ratcheting up the "Full" retirement age.  It use to be 65 but if you were born after 1937 it goes up incrementally each year.  Mine is 66 years and 10 months.  Anyone born 1960 or later it's 67 years for full retirement.

* State Unemployment Insurance(also know as Unempl EE)  This what you and your employer paid into your State government to pay you a benefit if you ever were unemployed/laid off through no fault of your own(not fired for cause).  You aren't employed any longer so you don't pay into this.

*  State Withholding  and other State or Local Taxes(aka LS Tax)  No job, nothing gets paid into for these.

A few years ago Hubs paid $34,066.35 of our income into these tax categories.  If we want to live on the income level he made that year, that is $34K we don't have to replace of his income to do so in retirement.

Of course your retirement income, depending on what state you live in and what the income source is WILL be taxed in some way so you WILL still need to pay some taxes.  The Withholdings state and federal, Paying into SS/Medicare/Etc. go away but are replaced by new taxes on your income/savings.

The 6 main sources of income in retirement are....
1-tax deferred accounts
2-taxable accounts
3-Roth IRAs
4-Social Security

You will still be taxed on your income in retirement but depending on which mix of sources you have(as well as how much you get each month)will determine what you pay out.
You can do some research now while still working to see which sources will be the most advantageous to have for your situation.  Pay careful attention to those "taxable accounts" as there are many types and the rates can be high depending.

So to sum this point up, taxes in retirement will NOT go away, they will just change and you will probably pay less than when you were working if you play the game right.

Thirdly, voluntary Deductions will no longer come out of your paycheck when you have no paycheck. 

There are Before-Tax and After-Tax types of deductions you have withheld from your pay at your discretion.

These costs include--
Money put into retirement accounts through work
Medical, Dental and/or Vision plan payments
(All these are usually of the "Before-Tax" variety of deduction.)
Various Insurances(life, long term care)
Charitable Contributions
(All these are usually of the "After-Tax" variety of deduction.)

Once you retire, depending on your situation and if you are eligible to collect Social Security and/or Medicare, these may go away or be less than when you were working. (Except generally speaking, Long Term Care and Life Insurance will rise as you get older and continue to hold those policies.)

Of course as we talked about in point one, the contributing to a retirement account will go away.

If you give cash to charities, you may feel like changing that out with contributing your time to charity instead once you no longer work and have more time.  This will still give you the satisfaction of contributing to worthy causes but holding on to that little bit extra cash you use to donate each year.  Trade your time in retirement for charitable causes rather than your money to conserve your cash.

Add in that expenses related to working go down or go away......things like gas and tolls for commuting, maybe expenses related to a second car if you can do with just one vehicle in retirement, clothing & clothing care costs if you need a "business uniform", any supplies or classes or whatever you had to spend out of pocket for to keep your job(that includes meals out too).

And if you have/had kids and they are grown and on their own once you retire, you will no longer be paying childcare costs, school costs, paying to feed/house/clothe/entertain them either.

And hopefully by the time retirement comes you will no longer have a mortgage payment or a car payment to make each month.  That should be a top priority for everyone--to have no debt and everything taking a big chunk of your income today, paid for.

So cheer up!
To live the lifestyle you do now while working, you do NOT need to replace anywhere near your entire paycheck while in retirement.

Thumb your nose at all those "The Sky is Falling!" Retirement Experts....unless of course, you haven't done a thing yet to prepare for YOUR retirement.  ;-)



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Weekend with Picture & Video PORN

Well we sort of got a lot done over the weekend.

Hubs got the deck swing awning put back up and the patio chairs out of the shed.
He also got his Winter/Summer clothes switched out in the closet.

We got everything hauled out of the daughter's old room.
It is presently occupying my living room........

So far all she wants, that I have told her about, is a box of her baby things, a belt and the gorilla suit.
Yes a full bodied gorilla costume.
Don't ask.....

After purging all her crap from that bedroom I started in on reorganizing what was left in there.  I can now almost fit all the toiletries either in the dressers or the bookshelf and I can fit all my tubs of fabric in the closet. Yay!
I might even be able to put my out of season hanging clothes in there.  That would be nice since our walk-in closet is so crowded....mostly with photo albums of family pictures from 3 generations.  While I have very few photos of my grandmother's, my mother was quite the prolific picture taker.  I have nowhere in this house to store ALL the photo albums together. sigh.  I need to come up with a better plan with these.

In the daughter's old bedroom there are also the open shelves of fabric which is a mix of what is left after selling off all I could in 2014/2013 and some of my personal fabric which I hope to use soon.

And speaking of fabric.......I relisted about 81 pieces of fabric last week on Etsy.  Nothing wintery or Christmas, just the lighter weight and Summer-y stuff.  And over the weekend I sold 5 pieces to 2 different buyers.
Go me!!!
These new listings expire in August and I'll decide what to do then...whether to relist anything and/or add the Fall/Winter fabrics depending on how it goes the next 4 months.

Late Saturday I had to go up to Rite-Aid and spend my last $3 of +Up Rewards.  I went earlier in the week but some Load2Card Qs came off unexpectedly(to me)so I still had $3 to use by Saturday night.

I used a Rain Check for trash bags($3.99), use my $3 in +Ups and paid $1.05 with tax OOP.
No more +Ups.
Sad Face.

I did my 1.5 miles on the bike too each day, and here is what I am up to so far for April.....

It's a fancy computerized bike so it tracks lots of stuff.  Note that under distance I have gone 19 miles so far this month.  Last month I worked myself up to 22 miles for the whole month.  At this rate I'll break 40 miles probably for April!

We also cleaned off the front porch and I did a little cleaning in the garage.
Then Hubs hung out his flag......

It was such a nice day on Sunday that we went out to lunch at Bob Evans just to get out of the house.
I took this video there.......

Please ignore whatever I was doing with the fingers on my right hand.
WTF was that?!? lolz

And here the food arrives......

We hung out when we got home.....reading, listening to music and relaxing.

I made a pot of "Sunday gravy" with meatballs for dinner and packed up the Etsy orders.
Before you knew it, it was time for my Sunday TV orgy.....Call the Midwife, Mr. Selfridge & Wolf Hall.

Wolf Hall has some very good acting.  It's a historical drama about the goings on of the Tudor court of Henry VIII.
I've always been fascinated by this guy(going so far as to take a history course in college on Tudor England).  In many ways he was one of the worst British rulers but he also changed the course of the world in some ways for the better.
Such a narcissist.
My interest is also heightened because supposedly one of my 5x Great Grandfathers is a descendant of one of Henry's bastard children from one of his mistresses while he was still married to Catherine of Aragon, Agnes Blewitt.
There are 7 known or suspected illegitimate children of Henry Tudor, only one of which he publicly acknowledged.

My supposed Ancestor from an illustration by John Dryden, courtesy of Wikimedia.

Yah, Agnes "blewit alright".......hehehehe

So there you have it.
My weekend.

Next weekend we have grand plans around here.  The project from last Summer we bought supplies for and never did.
Last year we made this nice surround area for our HVAC compressor on the side of the house.....

We had cleaned out next to the other side of the house last Spring......

We are going to make a similar rockfilled bed on this side of the house.  It will serve two purposes....1-to keep grass from right up next to the foundation(and impossible to get to with a mower)and 2-make it look nice and be low maintenance.  Plus we'll put a bench out in it so we can sit under the tree during the heat of the Summer.

I don't suppose it will get finished next weekend since we need so much stone we'll need to have it delivered and we haven't even began to look into having that done.  At least we can rake it out, level it, put down edging and a weed barrier(with enough stones to weight the barrier down so it doesn't blow away).

That's all I got.......

How was your weekend?