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

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.

Photo by Printexstar on Pexels.com

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. 😉

Cash Savings, No Buy/Low Buy, No Spend Year, Retirement

MY NO/LOW BUY YEAR CHALLENGE.

Via

It’s the beginning of a new year (and hopefully the last year before my husband’s retirement!) and I’ve decided to embark on my biggest challenge yet! For 2022, I’ve decided to stop shopping. A No Buy/Low Buy year, if you will. I will still buy groceries, of course, and household items, pay my bills and take care of my health. I will put gas in my car, and buy birthday presents. However, I won’t be buying things that I don’t truly need.

My number one reason for this year-long challenge is to save as much money as possible to add to our cash stash. We have the means to retire today but we would like to have at least two years’ worth of expenses in a cash/non-retirement investment form. I am confident that if I stick to this challenge, we will achieve that goal by December 2022. My second reason, and probably more important than the first, is to curb my impulsive spending on stuff that I just don’t need.

Here are the general guidelines I will be following for this challenge:

  • Follow my buying/no buying lists (see below) with no exceptions.
  • USE cash when in stores.
  • LIMIT and/or AVOID online purchases, especially AMAZON.
  • UNSUBSCRIBE to store emails and social media that encourages spending.
  • KEEP track via WISHLIST of what I would have purchased if I wasn’t on this challenge.
  • WAIT 24 hours before making an INTENTIONAL purchase for items I am allowed to purchase.
  • REQUEST ‘use up’ or experiences as gifts for myself instead of stuff.
  • GIFT giving is fine, but I must stay within the budget I’ve set.
  • FIND a support system. (I’m counting on my readers to keep me in line!)

THINGS I WILL BE SPENDING MONEY ON (Low Buy)

  • Basic Bills (mortgage, utilities, cell phone,internet, insurance and taxes)
  • Subscriptions
  • Health care costs
  • Groceries, gas
  • Replacements (only) for clothes, make up, personal care items, household items that wear out or run out
  • Haircuts and color treatments
  • Gifts/Charitable contributions
  • Home/Car maintenance
  • Eating out occasionally
  • Pet food/Vet
  • Experiences/Outings
  • Educational courses
  • Travel that has already been planned

THINGS I WON’T BE SPENDING MONEY ON (No buy)

  • Home Improvements
  • Home Decor/Seasonal Decor
  • Furniture
  • Clothes, outerwear and shoes (unless it is a replacement)
  • Planner supplies: planners, pens, markers, stickers, etc.
  • Purses, wallets, jewelry
  • Travel luggage, bags, accessories
  • Books, apps
  • Subscriptions boxes (any)
  • Perfume, extra make up
  • Excessive gift giving
  • Nail salon visits
  • Miscellaneous and unnecessary dog items (yeah, this needs to be listed)
  • New cruise/travel bookings

I may be speaking too soon, but I don’t think this will be as daunting as it seems. I have more than enough of the items that are listed on the “do not buy” side, so I doubt I’ll even miss anything. Most of the purchasing and spending I’ve been doing has been impulsive, mainly from advertisements and social media influencers. And that type of shopping has to stop altogether, not just for this challenge. I’ll be keeping track of the items that I almost bought, so I can also keep track of how much I saved by not buying them.

I will do weekly updates, monthly updates, and quarterly updates on this blog to keep myself accountable. I hope you’ll follow along and keep me accountable too!

Next up? My yearly budget plan.

Anyone else curbing their spending this year?

No Spend Year, Retirement, Retirement Journey

Happy New Year! Welcome to my new blog.

Happy New Year! May 2022 bring only good things to you and yours!!

2021 was a pretty good year for me. There were many blessings to be counted. There were also some misfortunes (getting Covid and breaking my foot). However, even with those two health snags, I still had a good year.

My blog went silent for a while, a long while…. because I made the mistake of canceling the ‘business’ membership of this blog and the whole site crashed. I was so discouraged, I walked away from it for a while. I’ve decided to give it another go, but this time as a countdown to our full retirement. I’m excited to document this, as I believe it will be helpful for anyone else getting ready to retire. We are exactly one year away from this accomplishment! As exciting as that is, we still have some work to do. This space will focus on how we will be preparing for a life with no more paychecks.

First up will be a year-long Low/No Buy challenge. Yes, I know, I’ve tried this before and failed. However, I really never had a good enough WHY. I do now. We want to have at least 24 months of living expenses in cash savings. We also want to downsize our home and buying more crap would make that very difficult. I’ve been intrigued by those who have actually accomplished this challenge and felt that at this point in my life (children out of the house) I have half a chance at succeeding. My next post will outline the guidelines and rules.

I hope you will join me as I embark on this new blog and challenge. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!

Goal Setting, Minimalism; decluttering, No Spend Year, saving money

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again, when we contemplate how we want the new year to take hold.  It really is all about taking control and setting goals (and, of course, following through).  Here are my goals and focus areas for 2019.

19 Goals for 2019

Health/Fitness

  1. Lose 10 lbs.  To obtain my ‘best’ weight, I should lose 20.  But 10 will be considered a success.  I have a free app called LOSE IT, which will help me keep track, and I’ve joined a Diet Bet game for January.
  2. Train (again) for a 5K and sign up for 2 races.   Last year was the first time I ran a 5K.  I was injured, but I finished.  This year I want to train and run at least two more (hopefully without injury).
  3. Maintain 10,000+ steps a day. I have the Fitbit Versa, which I absolutely LOVE.  It will definitely help me keep this goal in check.
  4. Follow a Low Sugar Diet/No Dairy.  This was the best one I could find.  Honestly, I’m trying to figure out if a certain food group is causing havoc in my body, and I have a feeling it’s the absurd amount of sugar I’m inhaling.  But then again dairy makes me feel bloated as well.  We shall see.
  5. Try Yoga.  I know I need to stretch more, and this has been on my ‘to do’ list for several years.  Time to do something about it.
  6. Annual Drs. Visits. – Striving for well visits onlyFingers crossed. 

Personal/Home

  1. Read 12 books.  One book a month – something that educates and/or nourishes the soul.  Suggestions welcome.
  2. Play the Minimalism Game.  3x.
  3. Create a space just for me. We have an extra bedroom that I want to make into a meditative, contemplative, hideaway just.for.me.  More to come on this one.
  4. Attend one spiritual retreat.  To be determined.  I’m not sure what direction I want to go with this, but I’m really ready to embrace spirituality.
  5. Journal/Gratitude Daily. This is self explanatory, right?
  6. Fix the kitchen appliances.  We have a cooktop that we have to ‘light’, and an oven that doesn’t hold the temperature.  They must be replaced this year.

Work

  1. Start a new blog.  Done! Well, sort of.  There’s a lot of work I still need to do to make this blog what I hope it to be. 
  2. Create money making opportunities online.  I have some ideas on how I’d like to add to the household income.  I already have my eyes set on some affiliate promotions that will go great with my blog message.

Finances

  1. Live on our proposed retirement salary for the entire year. We will have our mortgage paid off by the time we retire, so I’m not including that amount.  I’m using a monthly figure of what I believe will be a realistic withdrawal from our retirement accounts.  The wildcard, of course, is healthcare since we won’t be eligible for Medicare at 62.  I’ll have to try and figure that one out.
  2. Have a NO SPEND year.  Yep.  You read that one right. A whole year. I will be addressing this in another blog post with my preset rules for the No Spend.  It will be very different than what you are usually seeing for a No Spend.  I’m excited.
  3. SAVE 40% of take home pay. With no college tuition payments, and a lower ‘proposed’ salary, this should be a slam dunk.  At least that’s what I’m hoping.
  4. SAVE for a Baltic Sea Cruise. We hope to do this trip for our 25th wedding anniversary in May, 2020.

My 19th goal for 2019 is to reconnect with all my blogging friends whom I have missed so much!  Please leave a comment so I can add you to my blogroll!

Here’s to a prosperous and healthy New Year!