Deployment, Living for TODAY, Positivity, Retirement Journey

An August update.

Photo by le vy on Pexels.com

I can’t believe a whole month has passed since I’ve posted. I thought August would be a financially quiet month, but alas it was filled with spending – lots of spending – albeit the good kind!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • I booked and paid for a cruise for January with my daughter;
  • I paid extra on our mortgage as we are trying to pay it off as quickly as possible;
  • I purchased a few more items for our Europe trip in a couple of weeks; and
  • At the last minute, my husband and I decided we wanted to surprise our son at the pier when his ship pulls in after a 7-month deployment in a week, so we paid for a flight, hotel, and car rental. I.can’t.wait. πŸ˜‰

To say I spent a lot of money last month is an understatement, but I must say it was all worth it! I truly have not added it up this time. (Perhaps I don’t wan’t to know….)

Even with all of that spending, our networth managed to increase from July by $27,000 (mostly from investments) . We are still on track to retire on time. πŸ™‚

How was your August?

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. πŸ™‚

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?

News outlets, Positivity

An unbiased news source. Finally.

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

It’s been a crazy ride since the pandemic, election, and economic woes. The news outlets have been nothing less than fear-mongering, sensationalism, and politically slanted at best. Finding a good news source without all the ‘opinions’ has been challenging, to say the least. To save my sanity, I chose to avoid all news outlets completely. But that’s not good either. I need to stay informed.

Recently I found 1440 Daily Digest. * Their motto reads:

Why 1440?Β The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history.Β Guess what else?Β There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what’s happening in the world.

At first, I was skeptical. Lots of news outlets say they are unbiased, but they aren’t. This news outlet is the real deal. After several weeks, I can honestly say it’s all been ‘just the news’. Once a day it lands in my email, and I can pick and choose what I need and/or want to read. It reports all the news good or bad, without political slant or opinion. They include the ‘need to know’ news stories, sports and entertainment, science and technology, business and markets, world news and politics as well as some ‘feel-good’ stories at the end. They also provide links if you want to delve into news articles further.

Hmmm…concise, comprehensive, and objective news. What a concept.

Check it out here* and let me know what you think.

*1440 just started a referral program to spread the word and these are affiliate links. I have no problem standing behind this news source. πŸ˜‰

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 Pexels.com

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. πŸ™‚
  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. πŸ˜‰ )
Photo by Piotr Arnoldes on Pexels.com

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. πŸ™‚

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

Cash Savings, Florida, Positivity, Retirement, Retirement Journey

Plans are changing. A retirement update.

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

In a past blog post, I listed how we planned on retiring in 2023, even with inflation looming. If you missed it and want to know how we thought we were going to do it, you can read it here.

Fast forward 2 short months. A lot has changed, and most of the changes have been out of our control.

  1. Our retirement nest egg: i.e. the stock market.

Since January 1st, we have lost 15% of our retirement portfolio. The stock market has gone up and down so much it rivals the Yukon Striker! For all intents and purposes, that loss equates to three years of living expenses. Because my husband is so ‘young’, we wouldn’t be able to access social security for at least seven years, so our portfolio and personal savings is what we had hoped to draw from when we retired.

2. Selling our home and moving. Our original plan was to sell our home and buy another, smaller home without a mortgage. Since we still have a small mortgage on our current home, this would allow us to be not only mortgage-free but give us some extra cash. Our home’s value has gone up 17%, but we believe finding another home would be difficult. Real estate values have exploded, and homes are going very fast BUT for way more money than they are worth. I refuse to play that game. 2006 – 2009 was not that long ago. πŸ˜‰ Florida was once on our possible relocation list, but the overpriced real estate and the problems with homeowner’s insurance are making us rethink this possibility. At least for now.

3. Cash Savings. This is one thing that is in our control. My husband is still working, and will continue to do so if the market continues to be a bear. In the meantime, we are on schedule to put a year’s worth of expenses away by the end of the year. If we decide another year of work is necessary, we will continue to put cash away as well as pay off our mortgage in full.

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances require a change of plans. We are adapting to these changes – even though they may require a change in our retirement date. However, we still believe our retirement is right around the corner, and are looking forward to a new adventure.

If you are retired, or are planning on being retired in the near future, how has the present financial environment changed your plans?