I have been trying to cut expenses, so that I may save a little more money. My husband and I plan to retire with in the next ten years. We are hoping that the stock market recovers in that time and while we are hoping that happens we are still contributing in the market just not with the same gusto as before. We are trying very hard to pay down both of our mortgages before that time and build a bit of savings. As mentioned earlier I have been looking for ways to cut my expenses and a few of the ways I have been able to were to: cut phone service from a line that wasn't really used too often,cut the gym membership, cut paying for my daughters savings and IRA and also cutting the amount invested every month in my sharebuilder account. With the amount that is now left over from not paying these bills every month it is all going to my outstanding balances on my credit card accounts. Once I have hit 0 with the balances that money will then go to savings. I should have the credit cards paid off by April or May.
Viewing the 'saving' Category
I have to start being very frugal again starting this month until I get the credit cards paid off.
DH and I purchased a home in Florida and the start up cost is quite expensive. It should start to flatten out by December. It is taking a real rearrangement of the budget but it is doable. First we have stopped buying isolated stocks. I will continue with my sharebuilder account but I cut the amount in half, as to what I was contributing. Adding to savings will not happen until January. The wood flooring for the house has been put on hold. I am back to cooking dinner every night and making lunch and breakfast as well as clipping coupons. I am still selling books on half.com and retuning cans and bottles for the deposit money. I will have to start thinking more creatively again in other saving areas.
My bank balance is at zero again. This is a good and not so good thing. Good b/c the money was spent wisely. Not so good b/c it took a long time to save and I have to start all over again.
The money was spent on a down payment for a home in Florida. Hubby and I figured while the prices were low that now would be a good time to buy. We also took into account the very low mortgage rates. We purchased a very nice home in an area that will greatly appreciate in the future. We don't plan on really living in it for about ten years. In that amount of time we hope to make extra payments on the mortgage, without penalty and have the house paid off in about 12 years. By that time my husband and I will be retired. We will spend 6 months in Fl and 6 months in NY. We should have our primary home paid off in about 5 years. That will give us some breathing room.
WE also have had to shell out about 5,000.00 to get our pool fixed. I have to say that was money well spent too. The pool has never looked better and already we have gotten so much use out of it.
My projects with the home improvements have been progressing but very slowly. Still waiting on the hard wood floors.
Starting July 1st I am going to put myself on a very strict financial budget and get myself back on track again with the savings. It's kind of weird, I'm so happy about the house but I also feel guilty about spending the money to get the house.
Right now pretty much everything is on auto pilot. Savings, Stocks, Ira's etc.
I have been doing my best at continuing to use coupons and shopping for the best prices around. Still selling books on Half.com. Cooking more vs. eating out. I don't know if that will change when the nicer weather gets here. Still visiting the thrift shops for deals. I can see some of this(frugalness) is seeping into my daughter. She always looks for a coupon now, no matter what it is. She also likes to save her money and is also beginning to see what a real savings is vs. a big waste. DD is also more enclined to recycle these days than ever before. Hubby too.
I do have some large expenses lurking around in the near future. The first is to repair and istall the wood flooring in my home. Pool repair and some landscaping projects. I'm hoping to get a tax return and use it for these projects.
My doggies have been good, very healthy I haven't had them to the Vet in a while. That alone is quite a savings.
Oh, I was able to recycle and old cell phone to someone who needed a phone b/c they lost theirs and couldn't afford to replace theirs.
My Kiva loans are doing well. Two of the three loans I made are almost paid up. Once they are paid in full I am going to increase the amount I loan. Last year I loaned 300.00 this year I will increase it to 500.00. I feel very good about this. I am helping people by enabling them to help themselves.
On the down side, I have been watching my IRA dwindle down to about 15% of what it was, before the down cycle. I'm hoping that things will pick up again in the summer and around the presidential elections. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Stock market is back up again and so are the funds. Just trying to play catch up with the bills since vacation. It ususally takes me a while. And for some reason September is always a big bill month.
In other news our new employees just got a 2.00/ hr raise today. Needless to say they were very happy about that.
Extra payment was applied to the mortgage this month. New total=169,534.00.
So, all in all, things are looking up.
For me, the advice I would give is to do whatever you can do yourself and not pay someone to do it for you.Such as mow your own lawn, wash your own car, clean your own home, do your own garening,clean your own pool. Wash your own dogs. Grow your own veggies when you can. Mind your own money unless you absolutely can't. Always sign your own checks. Always make sure your are getting what you paid for. Pay your cc's off every month. Always try to find the best price on what ever it is you are purchasing. Try eating at home more. There are many others but these are the one's that came to mind right away.
Put money into my share builder account. Saved the rest in cash. Boy when you think the market can't get any worse, it does.
Cashed some bottles in today. 2.00 worth.
Picked some more fresh tomatoes. Made all meals at home. Gas is down around here 2.89/gallon.
DD leaves tomorrow to go to Chicago with her boyfriend. She got a great deal on her hotel. Right in the center of downtown Chicago, 89.00/night. She used travel ticker. I just hope her room is nice for that price. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Sold a total of 4 books on Half.com today. Mowed my own grass. Shopped for and made my own meals. Washed my own clothes and ironed them. And took my two nephews to the ocean. That's what I did today to save money. Oh! and went to work.
As a money saving idea and b/c I was fed up with the high prices of tomatoes I decided to grow my own tomatoe plants this summer, along with green peppers and eggplant. I used a container garden for these plants. The tomatoes have been fantastic. I bought a starter pack of seedlings with 6 different plants in May. Now I have cherry, grape, Roma, beefsteak, early girl and I can't remember the last one. Everyday I have plenty to bring in the house and I am starting to have enough to start giving away. The peppers were a disappointment. But the eggplants are a suprise. I didn't think that they would grow. So long as the bugs don't get to them I think they wil do very well. The outlay for all these fresh veggies was about 20.00. I had to buy alot of potting soil at the start to fill the containers. It's funny b/c everyone is involved in taking care of them now. They love the fresh vegetables and it was fun watching them grow.
I started receiving repayments to my Kiva account. This makes me very happy!
Tonight, we are meeting our son in the city for dinner. He has been so busy we haven't seen him in a while. He wants us to try this restaurant near his house that he thinks is great. DD and I will be taking the train into Queens and meeting hubby and son at the train station. Should be fun.
This week was a good savings week. Finally! Cooked most meals at home and didn't do any unnecessary spending. I really can't remeber going to any stores this week other than Walmart and Costco. And I didn't buy much while I was there. Just necessities.
The girls are on their best behavior at work . Hubby promised them if they keep up the good work he will give them a raise in 2 weeks time.
This past July our forbearance for our mortgage was swept into our principle. So, when I get the mortgage statement this month I should notice a significant drop in the balance. We pay our mortgage every 2 weeks instead of once a month.
We are going to the property this weekend to meet the contractor and to ask him to perc the land, from there we will drill for water and then site the house. If all goes well we should be getting our builders permit soon after.
This has been a beautiful weekend. I didn't go anywhere just stayed around the house and visited my Mom and brothers. It was a pretty frugal weekend too. Thank goodness b/c as I have mentioned I really do have to get ahead again on the savings. I am hoping that this week I am able to save 100% of my salary. I am a few thousand dollars behind in my cash savings.
In this effort I took the Sunday paper and clipped coupons and then made a list of the items that were on sale at the supermarkets using the stores flyers. There were a few restaurant coupons that I clipped as well.
This week I have to bring in one of my dogs to the vet for their rabbies vaccine. While I am there I have to remember to get their scripts so that I can order their medication from Petmeds. I am going to try the mail order for their heartworm and tick and flea medication. It seems like a pretty good deal as opposed to buying from the vet.
I have a few things on my to do list this week. I have to call the contractors to schedule a date to perc the land. I need to get a hold of the roofers to send us the certification of our new roof. I need to find a contractor to fix the water damage on the ceiling in the hallway from when my roof leaked. I still need to get estimates on putting down a hard wood floor in the family room this fall. I also need my brother to come over and replace the pole light that fell yesterday in my walkway. It never ends!
For the 4th of July hubby and I decided to go upstate again and try to speak to someone about the log cabin. This time we actually have an appointment on a Saturday afternoon. We will spend a few days up there and we also decided to take a quick trip to Montreal.
Montreal happens to be one of my favorite cities. The people are friendly and it is very clean and well cared for. Their public transportation system is excellent. My daughter also loves it there, she will be going in Sept. to see a concert and staying over night.
With regards to this trip, last night I was trying to find a good rate on a room. I didn't want to spend a lot of money since I really don't spend much time in the room(just to sleep). I tried Hotwire.com. It was kind of strange. This was my first time using this site. You select which grade of room you would be interested in and the price, without knowing the hotel name or it's exact location. They tell you the ammenties and its general location and that is all the information you get until you pay. After you pay they give you the name of the hotel, the address and then you are able to access the hotel's website directly. I was afraid to submit payment. I had my daughter telling me not to and my husband saying what the heck go ahead and try it out. After submitting payment, I found out that I was given the Omni hotel in downtown Montreal which is a 5 star hotel for 103.00/night plus tax. Wow I couldn't believe my good luck. Now I just have to wait and see the room. My daughter is still warning me. She said that they will be booking me in the broom closet. We will see. I will let you know how it worked out when I get back.
Today was pay day and I am happy to report that I was able to put most of it away into savings. Hubby and I picked our 2 DRIPS for the month.
Summer is moving along so fast...My tomatoe plants have sprouted tomatoes in the last two days(sooo cute). I sure hope they taste good.
Pay day was yesterday. I was able to save 100% of it.
Not doing too well in the weight department. Haven't lost an ounce. Very discouraging.
Still deciding which DRIP I will participate in this month. Most likely will be GE.
Will be going to Windham this weekend and then heading over to PA to check out the property and to find out infromation about purchasing a log cabin to place on the property. Hope we will be able to swing it.
Put $85.00 into the $20.00 challenge today. This money consisted of rolled coin(from returning bottles), a dividend check and some cash that wasn't spent from my pocket money. Today I am walking around with 0.00 in my wallet. Tomorrow is pay day. I feel that I am on track.
I went to Home Depot today to see if I could find some energy saving devices. They didn't have the CFL's I was looking for and they didn't have a low flow shower head either. I left there and went to Lowes and it was the same story there. Totally frustrated. My daughter had complained to my husband this morning that the toilet wasn't working, so he took the lid off and the both of them had this look on their face when they came out with the filled plastic bottle I had put there, the day before, to conserve water. I think they think that I am going too far with my conservation. I don't. There are so many things that can be changed in my house to make it much more efficient. My wish list is an attice fan, a programable thermostat and a new front door. Oh well with everything else in the works I guess I'll have to wait.
I got some great looking steaks on sale today. So guess what's for dinner. Steak, some onions and mushrooms, mashed potatoes and veggie.