Goal Setting, No Spend Year, Budgeting, Retirement Journey, Cash Savings, CDs

How We saved $50,000 in One Year.

Pay yourself first.

Whaatt??? That’s not new. I know! It’s been around for years!

As my dear regulars know, I’ve attempted no spends, low spends, etc. for years trying to save money. My goal was always to stop my impulse spending and to be able to save some cash. Usually, it worked for a couple of months, but then I would ditch it, which in turn, made me feel like a failure.

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This past year, I attempted the Low/No Spend idea again, but got bored with it and fell off the rails. However, we were still able to save a little bit of cash, and in June, my husband and I purchased IBonds with the savings we had in the bank. The IBonds were paying 9.6%!

It was then that I had one of those light bulb moments. I decided to stop focusing on what I couldn’t buy (the spending) and focus on how quickly I could pull together large chunks of money (savings) to take advantage of the new higher rates of CDs.

This new focus changed the way I did the monthly budgeting. I started sending money I wanted to save to Ally Bank before I even paid my bills. Then, after fixed expenses, whatever was left was what we could spend, without guilt. As each month went by, I tried to up the savings amount and lower the spending amount, which in essence turned out to be a low spend anyway (with the added bonus of not beating myself up for buying a lipstick!)

Once the desired savings amount was in Ally Bank, I quickly transferred it into a non-penalty CD. (Interest rates aren’t huge for the CDs, but they are finally adding dollars (and not pennies) to the bottom line.) And, because it was in a CD, I was less inclined to pull the money out for something I really didn’t need. It absolutely worked, because after 12 months, we now have an extra $50,000** dollars in our cash savings accounts!

Our plan is to retire in early 2024, and I’m excited to keep up with my savings goals!

Have you been taking advantage of the CD and savings rates?

**Having said all of the above, I must mention we are empty nesters. We do not have college tuition payments (anymore!), or other child expenses. My husband is at the top of his game with income. This is our last push towards adding to our savings before my husband retires in 2024. Also, I say ‘I’ a lot because I’m the one who handles the bills. The savings would probably be $100,000 if it was up to my husband because he spends literally NO money. 😉

Budgeting, Impulsive Spending, Retirement Journey, Spending, Weekly Spending Update

July Challenge Update: July 11-17

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It’s been a crazy week for my July challenge. There has been a lot of buying and returning — primarily travel-related and clothing. I will try to be more diligent with my online orders, and hold off purchasing clothes until September. I’m definitely a work in progress as far as online spending.

In other news, I decided to go ahead with the bone stimulator ($2,000) for my foot, because I will try anything before surgery. That will come directly out of our Health Savings Account fund.

An Unexpected expense.

I spoke with my son this week. He is still on deployment and unfortunately got Covid as did most of the sailors on his ship. He told me he was pretty sick for a while but thankfully he is now on the mend. He was vaccinated and boosted, so I imagine he contracted the new variant while in a port. He never asks for anything, but this time he asked for snacks. I was out the door as soon as I ‘hung up’ the phone (as any Mama would do 😉 ). $180 later (and worth every penny), a 14x14x14 care package was on its way. 🙂 Included items: Vitamins, Emergen-C’s, cough drops, toothbrush, soups, mac and cheese (add water), cookies, beef jerky, chips, and candy (the non-chocolate variety, as chocolate would melt). It was filled to the brim. He is in a port now, so I hope his package will get to him soon!

An idea of what I sent. 🙂 (via)

Without further ado, here is my July 11-17 spending:

  • Groceries & Eating Out: $51.00
  • Misc.: $3.00
  • Pets: $99.86 (dog food and dog pool)
  • Misc. travel: $99.00 (Travelon backpack/cross body bags)
  • Mom & Dad: $38.00
  • Spontaneous Giving: $180.00

Total spend: $371.86

It is clear that I won’t make my $750 challenge, especially since I’ll need to do a large grocery shop soon. Unexpected expenses will always pop up, and as long as I can keep my usual categories within limits, I’ll still be able to sock a little money into savings.

How was your week?

Budgeting, Impulsive Spending, Spending, Weekly Update

A new month, a health update, and this past week’s spending.

Every Monday during 2022, I am posting an update on what I spent for the week (variable spending only) as a way of keeping myself accountable for my impulse spending. Also, to see my true savings, I am tracking items I was tempted to buy but didn’t.

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I can hardly believe it’s June already! We will soon be halfway through 2022. Crazy.

I had such wonderful plans for the summer, but, unfortunately, they are all dissolving quickly as I anticipate the possibility of foot surgery. Since breaking my foot last November, recovery has been a slow process. The fracture did start to heal and there was some bone growth. Every month I went for an x-ray, and every month the doctor reported that “it was still cooking”. It was promising. Until it wasn’t. Two weeks ago I went and he did not give me my usual update. Because it’s been over 7 months, I have what is called a ‘non-union’. As long as there is still pain, surgery may be the next step. I will be getting a second opinion, for sure, because the thought of starting all over with crutches and a boot depresses me. But I do not want to live with the pain either. I guess we will see.

As far as spending for the first week in June, it was a mixed bag. I had two impulsive purchases, an ‘oh crap’ moment, and a few regular expenses.

June 1 – 6th Spending:

  • Groceries: $166.00 (a two-week shop)
  • Eating Out: $5.00
  • Hair Cut and Color: $120.00 (includes tip)
  • Charitable/Spontaneous giving: $200.00
  • Ticket: $97.00 (expired state inspection — good grief I deserved this one!)
  • Car Maintenance and state inspection: $694.00
  • Household: $38.04 (kitchen towels, oven mitts, and cleaners)
  • Auggie: $22.00 (shampoo, conditioner, and dog toy)
  • Clothes & Accessories: $297.69 (a new shirt and two new wallets!)
  • OTC meds: $21.00 (Tylenol/Advil)

Total weekly spending: $1,660.73!!!

Wow. $791.00 of the $1660 was my car. Because I hardly drive these days, I totally missed getting the state inspection, which was due last October. I totally deserved that ticket, and quite frankly was embarrassed that it had expired 8 months ago! I definitely dropped the ball on that one. My car was due for maintenance and ended up needing a few things, hence the $700 bill.

The other large expense category $300. Some of you who have been following me for a while know I have a weakness for purses and wallets. And, after getting the news about my foot, I was feeling sorry for myself. No excuses, just the truth. I wanted to replace a wallet that was worn out, so I purchased the same one online. I found a coupon code, so I thought I was a savvy shopper. ;). A few days later, I started thinking about a wallet my sister had given me that she purchased in Italy. I still use it, but it is smaller than what I usually use. So I started searching for Italian leather stores and found saw an absolutely gorgeous wallet on Cuoieria Fiorentina‘s website. Without a moment of hesitation, I purchased it. I guess old habits die hard. I may return the first one, but we will see once I have both in my hands. I wasn’t planning on purchasing either, so I guess this falls under the category of ‘impulsive’.

Everything else was spending as usual. I’m hoping this coming week’s spending will be a lot less.

Your turn. How was your spending this week? What are your plans for the summer?

Budgeting, Medical Expenses, No/Low Buy Update, Prayers, Retirement Journey

MEMORIAL DAY and a May Budget Update.

Every Monday during 2022, I am posting an update on what I spent for the week (variable spending only) as a way of keeping myself accountable for my impulse spending. Also, to see my true savings, I am tracking items I was tempted to buy but didn’t. 

https://parade.com/1021399/marynliles/memorial-day-quotes/

As the weather changes and there is more sunshine, my mood tends to lighten up. And, invariably, with my happier mood comes more spending.

As we move closer to a retirement date, I find it easier to pay attention to my savings versus my spending. And, as long as I’m meeting my savings goals, I’m free to spend the rest.

And that is what I did in May.

Below are all my variable expense categories. Two of them are unusually high, and one of them was simply out of my control. Can you guess which one that was??

Hint: Auggie.

Below are my variable categories and the amount I spent in each.

  • Groceries: $491.52
  • Eating Out: $145.12
  • Household: $94.41
  • Personal Care/Hair: $332.95 (make up purchases, hair cut and color)
  • Misc.: $36.72
  • Clothes: ($15.92) a RETURN
  • Auggie: $755.96 (dogfood, dog sitting and trip to the Vet for a double ear infection.)
  • Gasoline $126.55
  • Roadtrip to NY: $165.80
  • Gifts: $392.19 (includes most of June’s birthdays)
  • Charitable/Spontaneous Giving: $158.18
  • Mom & Dad: $182.24 (Supplies for my Mom and Dad)
  • OTC Meds: $121.92 (Vitamins, pain relievers)
  • Medical Expenses: $455.27 (my foot! and some prescriptions)
  • Personal Spending: $15.96 (a pen refill)

Total Variable Spending for May: $3,458.87 (this amount must make you feel great about your budget! I aim to please…)

Wow. When you add it all up, it seems like a ridiculous amount to spend. However, when you look closer — everything but the medical expenses, gift categories and pet costs are within a decent range.

I have no problem with gifts and giving. ESPECIALLY when it involves my parents. Vet costs, however, are outrageous. One might want to think twice before getting a pet – the costs could be quite prohibitive to a budget.

Also, sadly, my foot is not healing. The X-rays show the fracture is still not fully healed. There is some bone growth, but not quite enough. Since there is still pain, a surgery may be in my future. Praying that my foot heals before the next visit because surgery is the last thing I want.

As far as our overall savings, our networth went up by $15,000 this month as the markets slightly recovered, I made a huge payment to our mortgage and put more money into our savings accounts.

I anticipate June to be about the same as far as total expenses, however, most of the spending will be in the travel category. ;). I’ll write about our travel plans in another post, as they have a lot to do with future retirement plans. Stay tuned.

Your turn. How was your May? Please share!

Budgeting, Retirement Journey

A little delay…

Monday’s post will be a couple of days late. I wasn’t able to put anything together while visiting with my Mom this past week. I will definitely share some updates and the likely changes to our retirement plans in the next post. (Yeah, reality has set in with both inflation and the market decline). Stay tuned. 🙂

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