Goal Setting, Positivity, Retirement Journey, Spending

A July Challenge Update….a little late.

Photo by Jorge Urosa on Pexels.com

I apologize for this late update, a lot of unexpected stuff came up and my blog fell to the wayside. I closed out July on Saturday, and thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Spoiler alert: I did not meet my challenge goal.

Let’s just get right to the numbers–

July’s spending:

  • Groceries/Eating Out: $623.00
  • Personal Care: $182.00
  • OTC/Medical: $74.00
  • Clothes & Accessories: $395.00 (hubby bought a few items too!)
  • Gasoline: $32.00
  • Gifts/Spontaneous giving: $352.00
  • Mom &Dad: $80.00
  • Pet: $66.00 (dog food and misc. accessories)
  • Travel (road trips and misc. travel products): $665.00

Total: $2,117.00

I was $1,367 over my goal of $750.00. I can honestly say I do not regret any of the spending. After analyzing the different categories and amounts, I realized that at least $1,000 of the $1,367 overage was for my trip to Italy this September. Planning this trip has sparked so much joy, that I’m not the least bit discouraged from failing this challenge. I’m actually energized and excited for more opportunities to travel, especially in retirement. 🙂

I know some of you were doing the challenge with me, and have been successful! Congrats! Please let me know what you are going to do with all that extra money you saved!

How was July for you?

Cash Savings, Goal Setting, Retirement Journey, Spending

June Spending: Adding it up.

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.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

(I thought I would post this a day early)

June is in the books, as well as the first half of 2022. It’s hard to believe how fast this year is going, and also how slow. (I’m anxious, for many reasons, for this year to be over!).

This week’s spending is rather high, mainly because of gift-giving. I was late in getting wedding cards out (to weddings we didn’t attend) and a family friend’s baby. I decided to just get it down all in one fell swoop. Ouch. I also filled up my gas tank on the 30th, and both categories felt a bit like ‘cheating’ before going into July’s challenge, but I wanted to be fully transparent.

Here is the spending for June 27 – 30th:

  • Groceries: $121.31
  • Eating out: $45.00
  • Personal Care: $7.00
  • Gifts: $506.00! (2 family birthdays, two weddings, and a baby shower!)
  • Gas: $41.65

Total: $720.96

June’s recap of spending by week:

Total Spending for June: $3,812.00.

Not the best month, but pretty consistent with my average spending. Hopefully, I can whittle that down to at least half going forward.

How was June for you?

Goal Setting, Retirement Journey, SAVINGS

A July Savings Challenge and beyond!

Pexels.com

Anyone up for a good challenge? I am! Especially after reviewing my numbers from the year’s first half! I was shocked to learn that I have been averaging about $4,000 a month in variable spending. Although that average was skewed by April’s unusually high month, it is just too high and does not reflect how we hope to spend our money when we reach retirement.

Since we are tentatively nine months away from our planned retirement, higher cash savings will be key. We have saved quite a bit of money so far this year, but there is room for improvement.

So..I’ve decided it’s time to super-charge our cash savings. For this July Challenge, I would like to limit variable spending to only $750.00. Then, going forward until April 2023, I would like to spend no more than $1,500.00 a month.

That includes the following categories:

  • Groceries/Eating Out
  • Road trips (excluding actual vacations)
  • Gas
  • Vet/Dog Food
  • Personal care/household
  • Gifts
  • Clothes
  • Personal spending

Spending only $750 in July will definitely be a challenge. I’ve been looking over the categories and trying to plan out where the $750 will be spent.

We have a trip to NY planned, as well as a birthday celebration. Gas for the trip will take up nearly $100 of the $750 (even if we take my husband’s hybrid).

I don’t need clothes, make-up, household items, or gifts in July (just a family party gathering) and I already have hair color to take care of the grey roots.

As far as the dog, I won’t need to purchase dog food either. I still have plenty of kibble left, plus I can supplement with boiled chicken and brown rice. We just need to take care that he stays healthy because vet bills are outrageous. Last month Auggie had a double ear infection that cost us $500. We do have insurance on him, but we have not yet met the $1,000 deductible.

I feel ready for this challenge, but July is a long month. We will have to find things to do that won’t cost money, or at least not very much. (Any suggestions or ideas you may have on how to make July fun while spending very little would be welcomed!).

As usual, I’ll update every Monday with the week’s spending.

Anyone else want to save money with me?

Goal Setting, No Buy/Low Buy, Positivity, Retirement Journey

A new perspective and a new direction.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted here. There has been a lot going on in my personal life, and I’ve had to deal with some hard issues. I’ve also had some time to contemplate the financial direction I want to proceed with for the remainder of 2022. And the No/Low Year Challenge no longer fits into my goals.

Let me explain.

The main goal I’ve had for this challenge was to be able to put together enough cash reserves to pay for all of 2023’s expenses so that my husband had the choice to retire in one year. We have more than enough in our retirement accounts to retire now, however, my husband wanted more cash reserves not associated with the market. I agreed. We are now on track to meet this goal by June 1st.

Another reason was that the No/Low Buy Yearly Challenge started to feel like punishment. When I wrote the post about our upcoming cruise vacation, it felt a bit disingenuine. We took that 7-day cruise and it was a beautiful week. We ended up switching to a nicer hotel (pre-cruise). Although there was no free breakfast or happy hour offered, we avoided the college students on Spring Break. Priceless. We decided to book an excursion and enjoyed a catamaran/snorkeling adventure in St. Maarten. We played slots in the casino. We won and we lost but had fun playing. We tipped generously. We did everything we wanted to, and we figure we paid an extra $250 – $500 without feeling like we missed out. We had the money in our travel account, so why not enjoy?

So what does this mean for my blog? I will continue to track my expenses, but there will be no restrictions on what I purchase. And for those that were interested in the updates, they will most likely be monthly instead of weekly.

I will continue to make this about our future retirement and how we will be preparing, but it won’t be solely about saving money. There are so many things to prepare for retirement, including where we will live, what we will do in retirement, healthcare, etc. Because there is definitely more to life than money.

I thought I would share a YouTube channel that I came across a while ago. Susan is a single woman in her 60’s, and her beautiful spirit inspires me. With so much garbage on the internet, I thought this might bring a little inspiration your way too. Enjoy.