Living for TODAY, No/Low Buy Update, Positivity, Retirement Journey, Travel

July: A challenge update and a few unexpected surprises!

Photo by Maria Orlova on

It’s July 12th, and I’m well into my July savings challenge. As far as the everyday spending, I did well.

Here is my spending from July 1st – July 10th:

  • Groceries/Eating Out: $107.96
  • Road trips (excluding actual vacations): $169.01 (a trip to NY to visit my parents)
  • Gas: $0 (All gas was for our NY trip included above)
  • Vet/Dog Food: $0
  • Personal care/household. $37.00
  • Gifts: $17.02
  • Clothes: $0
  • OTC Meds: $16.00
  • Personal spending: $0

Total Spending: $346.99

My goal was to only spend $750 for the whole month, however certain circumstances and happy surprises have made me change this month’s challenge and pivot.

Here’s what happened in July (so far):

  1. My foot is still fractured: An MRI confirmed it. Okay, this wasn’t really a surprise, but I was a bit disheartened. The orthopaedic doctor said I had three options – 1. stay off foot and give it more time 2. try a stem treatment to stimulate growth in the bone for the low, low price of $2000, or 3. have surgery. (He didn’t sound confident in any of the choices, so I can tell you surgery will be the very last resort.) I’m seeking a second opinion and I will see where this leads before I make any decision. In the meantime? I liked option 1 the best, so I’m staying off my foot.
  2. My husband received a raise! This was quite unexpected, as he hasn’t had a raise in three years. It was a very welcome surprise. 🙂
  3. We booked a trip to Italy! We were presented with an opportunity to take a ‘bucket list’ trip this September to Italy. The price was amazing, so we decided to go for it, foot issue and all. We booked a 9-night Mediterranean cruise. We will be spending two days in Barcelona, Spain before the cruise and two days in Rome, Italy after. My husband and I are thrilled to be able to go on this trip, something we’ve wanted to do for a very long time. (The extra money from my husband’s raise actually clinched the deal. 😉 )
Photo by Piotr Arnoldes on

The trip itself was paid for from our vacation/travel account, which we’ve been building up for just such an occasion. Since we’ve never been to Europe, I want to purchase some extra travel items as well as some new clothes. This will most certainly put me over my savings challenge budget, which I am perfectly fine with. I still hope to reign in my normal expenses i.e. eating out, groceries, personal spending, etc. so that I can put away some extra spending money for the trip. I’ll do a follow up monthly spend at the end of the month. 🙂

How was your week? Any suggestions for how to dress for Spain, France and Italy in September? Please share!

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.

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!

No/Low Buy Update, Retirement Journey, Rising Prices, Spending

Spending Update: May 1 – 7th

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 disorder.* Also, in order to see my true savings, I am also tracking items I was tempted to buy but didn’t. 

I’m writing these spending posts – both to keep myself accountable and to catch myself from impulsively purchasing items I truly don’t need. I think it’s important, especially in these highly inflated times, to make sure I am spending my money wisely and getting value out of our hard-earned money. If nothing else, these posts will most likely make you feel better about your spending when you see mine. 😉

The first week in May turned out to be a bit of a spendy week. I hope expenses will slow way down for the rest of the month.

Here is the May 1 – 7 spending:

  • Groceries: $120.00
  • Eating Out: $62.00 (dinner out)
  • Personal Care: $179.00 (shampoo, conditioner, make-up — IT Cosmetics)
  • Dog: $131.28 (monthly dog food and bully sticks)
  • Hair cut & color and tip: $135.00
  • Home repair: $25.12 (Hubby fixed a sink)
  • Mom: $75.75 (dinners sent)
  • Gifts: $250.64 (1st Holy Communion, Father’s Day (early), Birthday)
  • Charitable Giving: $50.00
  • Deposit on 90th birthday cruise for my Mom: $300.00

Total Spent: $1,328.79

As you can see, there were some hefty charges already in the first week. Lots of gift-giving, for sure. And there is still more to come! I’m hoping my cosmetic purchase will last for at least 6 months. Otherwise, I’ll have to switch products. The costs are just too prohibitive.

There was really nothing I wanted but didn’t buy — I pretty much broke the bank in April, so it’s no wonder I didn’t really want anything.

How was your first week in May? Feeling much better about what you spent when you look at mine? 😉

No/Low Buy Update, Retirement Journey

No/Low Buy Update: Week 10.

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. 


This was supposed to be a no-spend week, with only two items on the list: groceries and my hair cut and color. Well, that didn’t happen.

No excuses. All purchases are self-explanatory.

What I spent March 7 – 13th:

  • Groceries: $41.03
  • Home Maintenance: $42.38 (filters for vacuum cleaners)
  • Gas: $31.31 (Hybrid fill up)
  • OTC Meds/Household: $63.42 (Replacement tylenol, advil, benadryl, tissues)
  • Hair cut and color: $90 + $10 tip = $100.00
  • Clothing/Accessories: $77.00
  • Clip for dog collar: $10.60
  • Gifts (family birthdays coming up): $107.59
  • Eating Out (Ordering in): $30.41

Total: $503.74

I was able to buy ahead for birthdays in April, and take care of items that were needed for the house. Even though the total seemed high, it actually was well within the budgets I’ve set for each category.

As far as what I ‘almost’ bought, there were several things that caught my eye online. However, they have all been left in carts around the internet. Baby steps.

How was your week?

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

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!