Emergency Preparedness, No Buy/Low Buy, Retirement Journey

April’s Financial Results. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Photo by Sachin C Nair on Pexels.com

Last month I wrote about how I’ve decided not to continue with my ‘No/Low buy year’ and that I didn’t want to feel ‘punished’ by having to control my spending. I was positive I could keep my impulse spending in line. After all, it had been 3 months of diligent tracking and holding back.

Obviously, 3 months was not enough to change my spending ways.

I went into impulse spending mode as soon as I pressed send on that blog post. Good grief. How do I fix that?

Although I will not be going back to the No/Low spend rules as they are, per se, I will continue to track and post my expenses on this blog weekly. That should put a pause on ridiculous impulse spending knowing that I will have to share it with all of you. Let’s hope that works! 🙂

On with April’s financial results. (Be warned. The numbers aren’t pretty. 😦 )

  • Groceries: $1,097.75 (Meat and pantry stock up – I now have a full freezer of meat and veggies and canned supplies.)
  • Eating Out: $122.34
  • Miscellaneous: $87.79
  • Coffee Beans: $80.00 (On sale and stocked up for 3 mos.)
  • Household/Personal Care: $944.74 (Stocked up on all household and personal care products for a year)
  • Hair cut and color: $100.00
  • Clothes & Accessories: $173.06 (I don’t even remember what I bought. 😦 )
  • Pets: $110.51 (dog food and treats)
  • Home/Car Maintenance: $1,343.00 (new electric lawn mower and power washer)
  • Gasoline: $142.17 (trip to NY and high gas prices 😦 )
  • Mom: $1,092.00 (a new IPAD, dinners, etc. to help pass the time now that my Dad is in a nursing home. 😦 )
  • Gifts & Holidays: $458.00 (Several birthdays, Easter, Hosting)
  • Charitable contributions: $202.23
  • Road trips/vacation deposits & travel accessories: $673.00 (This is where a lot of the impulse came in. Ugh. 😦 )

Grand total for April: $6,626.59

Adding it all up made me a little sick. That’s a lot of spending for just one month. However, not all of the spending was bad. We wanted to prep a bit by way of stocking up on household and food items. We also wanted to get rid of the gas-powered tools and switch to electric. And, since my Dad went into a nursing home, making my Mom’s life a little easier was worth every penny.

However, the overspending on holidays, birthdays, travel accessories (a new suitcase and such), was a bit over the top.

I’m reigning it in for May. There are a few expenses that are out of the ordinary, but for the most part, I should be able to get back on track. You’ll see it in my first May budget report.

How was your April?

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.

Cash Savings, Cruising, No Buy/Low Buy, saving money

How we are saving over $1,500 on our upcoming cruise.


Cruising is our preferable way to vacation. We love the convenience of unpacking once, having multiple venues to eat, free entertainment, and many ports to visit. But we’ve learned there are more costs to cruising than just the cruise/airfare. Even the “all-inclusive” lines sneak in extras. Since we have taken quite a few cruises since 2016, we have figured out what is worth the extra cost and what is not.

And, in the spirit of my 2022 No/Low Spend Year, we have decided to cut out some most of the ‘extras’ and save a bunch of money.

Pre-Cruise (at home):

  • Manicure/Pedicure/Waxing: Usually I would treat myself to a gel manicure and a spa pedicure before the trip, as well as a brow/lip wax. Instead, I’ve decided to give myself a spa day at home and save the time and money at a salon. I have all of the tools to do so. I will bring touch up nail polish on my trip. Savings: $150.00$200.00
  • Dog sitting: Original plan was to hire a dog sitter. Instead my daughter graciously offered to take care of him (which hopefully will always be the plan!) Savings: $400.00


We chose a less expensive hotel this time that included a few extra perks: Free shuttles, free happy hour, free breakfast. (You would be shocked to see how much two eggs over easy and toast cost at hotels in Ft. Lauderdale!) Savings: $100.00

On Ship:

Photo by Live on Shot on Pexels.com
  • No alcoholic drinks. For this cruise, all drinks are included. One might argue that we already paid for the drinks. However, we booked this cruise over a year ago, and prices were a lot lower. We are figuring we have saved at least $150 – $200 on drink costs.
  • No specialty dining. Most cruise ships have specialty restaurants that offer different food fare – Hibachi, Italian, and steak houses to name a few. We have always taken advantage of trying one or two out on a trip. This time we will not. There are more than enough food venues already included, so we will not be paying extra for dining out. Savings: $200.00$300.00
  • No shopping. Even though the $10 sale will entice us me, we will not buy a thing. Savings: $10 – $100.00
  • No gambling. Ah, the excitement of the casino. We often played the slots ‘in our downtime’ between dinner and a show. However, we won’t be contributing to the cruiseship’s bottomline by participating this time. Savings: $100.00

At Ports:

  • No Excursions. We’ve been to all of the Caribbean islands on this itinerary so we won’t be taking any excursions. We do plan on getting off the ship and enjoying the public beaches for a couple of hours. At most, we will pay for chairs and an umbrella. Savings: $250.00 – $500.00
  • No Port Shopping. With the exception of a possible t-shirt for my husband, we will not be purchasing anything on the islands. Savings: $100.00

Total savings: $1,460 $2,000! Wow!

We will still have extra expenses — Uber rides, meals outside the cruise, and tipping. But saving almost $2,000 on stuff that won’t make or break our trip? Ahhmazing.

No Buy/Low Buy, No/Low Buy Update, Retirement Journey

No/Low Buy Update: Week 9. Time for a reset.

Every Monday during 2022, I am posting an update on what I spent for the week as a way of keeping myself accountable for my No/Low Buy Year. Also, in order to see my true savings, I am also tracking items I was tempted to buy but didn’t. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The weather is starting to get warmer and my foot is starting to heal. I’m getting around a lot better which also means I’m starting to go back into stores. That spells a bit of trouble when I’m trying to do a No/Low Buy year. This week I’ve spent money and I’ve broken my own rules. The good news is that I caught myself by returning said ‘banned’ items. However, this seems to be happening a lot. I’m growing weary of the “buy and return game”. It’s exhausting. It’s definitely time for a reset.

What I spent March 1 – March 6th:

  • Vet appt.: (Auggie’s rabies shot and year visit): $111.45
  • Dog food: Dry/canned for 30 days – $124.00
  • Personal care: eye liner replacements: $20.81
  • OTC Meds: $14.38
  • Eating out: $55.09
  • Outing with grandkiddos: $56.00
  • Groceries: $228.51
  • Gas fill up: $61.36
  • More clothes: $203.00 (topped off my spring/summer clothes)

Total: $874.60

The eating out category sucked. All fast food. I thought I *fixed* that several weeks ago. Ugh. Although it may seem like I’ve purchased a lot of items of clothing (by the price!), I have not. I bought just enough. I hope to get back down to my smaller size as soon as I can start exercising again. I guess we’ll see.

What I almost bought but came to my senses just in time:

  • Two books: $23.00 (purchased and returned)
  • Clothes/more shoes: $242.00 (purchased and returned)
  • Apple phone charger: $99.00*
  • Mason jar lids: $6.99*
  • Bellway Fiber Supplements: $24.99*
  • Backpack for trip: $52.00
  • Backpack purse: $99.00 (purchased and returned)

Total: $546.98

The asterisk items were inspired by YouTube hauls, and I definitely caught myself before purchasing. Clothes and shoes were brought home, tried on, and quickly returned to the store. The backpack and purse were not needed at all. One was purchased and returned, the other was never purchased.

Although I caught myself (again) and returned the items on my ‘no-buy list’, it’s time to re-commit to my no/low buy rules. And, in the spirit of the ‘no buy’ part, for the next two weeks, I won’t be spending any money (with the exception of a few grocery items and a hair appointment.) I believe that may be the perfect ‘reset’ of all. We’ll see how that goes. 😉

How did you do this week? Please share!

Amazon, Budgeting, No Buy/Low Buy, No/Low Buy Update, Retirement Journey

No/Low Buy Update: Week 8 (the week everything falls apart….)

Every Monday during 2022, I am posting an update on what I spent for the week as a way of keeping myself accountable for my No/Low Buy Year. Also, in order to see my true savings, I am also tracking items I was tempted to buy but didn’t. 


Well, what can I say? An upcoming trip, weight gain, clothes that don’t fit, a constant search for shoes that work with my broken foot, and a son who is deployed. I shopped both online and in person. I was a little stressed this week.

I have come to realize that when I’m stressed not only do I over eat, but I over spend. I am becoming keenly aware of it and caught myself…sort of. The purchases below do not reflect what I originally spent, but only the things I kept and actually wanted/needed.

What I spent February 21st – February 28th:

  • RED t-shirts: $79.76. (If you are so inclined, please pray for my son’s safety as well as all those who are deployed. He is a on a naval destroyer ship and with things going on in the world as they are, it’s been a stressful time for this Mama.)
  • Clothes & Accessories: $447.53 (includes shoes, undergarments, jeans and summer wear for both my husband and myself). Ouch.
  • Groceries: $118.83
  • Eating Out: $62.30
  • Household/Personal Care: $45.99
  • Spontaneous Giving: $144.26
  • Pets/Auggie: $49.65 (replacement prong collar and latch — this pup needs continual training!)

Total spending for the week: $868.56

Okay, so that was a lot lower than I thought, but still high for a No/Low Buy Year. I’ll have to reign it in a bit in March to stay within my budget for the year.

Things I almost purchased but didn’t:

Total: $530.99

I’m kind of laughing at the things I almost purchased. I don’t need pajamas at all. In fact, my pajama drawer is already too full. And the wooden food storage bag containers? So cool, but so unnecessary. Besides, they were on Amazon, and I’m not doing Amazon. I came to my senses and returned most of an online clothes order.


Total spent: $3,761.74 ($1,468 was Auggie’s surgery, and misc. stuff needed for him)

Total I almost spent: $785.00

My takeaway for February:


  • I stayed under my food budget.
  • I continued to bless others with giving.
  • I had the money already set aside for neuter surgery.
  • I could have spent way more on clothing/shoes, etc. but held off.


  • I spent way too much money on clothes and eating out.

I don’t like my impulsive behavior when I’m stressed. I’m hoping in March I can start walking my daily 3 miles which always makes me feel better, and less likely to snack and spend.

How did you do in February?