"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Bliss

Here I sit on my balcony watching the sun set. I just polished off a cosmo. A gentle breeze is wafting over me. I am so peaceful and happy and that is not just due to the alcohol.

I have been crunching my numbers to extricate myself from my debt hole. It is all falling into place. I will hopefully be debt free (excluding car) by next summer. My burden is lifting.

I rolled my 401k into the company plan thus eliminating all the fees and responsibilities I had. According to their calculator, I will be fine if I continue as planned. My fingers are crossed. I don’t want to fall back on my kids.

I have been going to the gym EVERY weekday. I only have 30 minutes, but I try to makes them count. Add in longer walks on the weekend and this week I finally feel a difference in my strength. The scale hasn’t budged, but fuck the scale for now.

I feel joy, a lightness and such incredible relief. I am so very thankful. So let me enjoy this breeze that is finally bringing hints of Fall and be grateful for this reset. Thank you, Karma. I am blessed.

Job Stability

Job stability is always an issue.  I don’t care who, what, when or where you work — job stability should always be lurking in the back of your mind.  It’s on my mind right now for several reasons.

  1.  My first review and goal-setting is coming up.  When I look into 2020, I have things that will keep me barely occupied.  Not enough in my estimation.  2021 has some good projects but not too earth-shattering for my position.
  2. My company is about to lay off some folks.  It’s a group that hasn’t been producing income.  Gulp.
  3. I finally got the overdue money from Maggie & Co.  This will help my IRS bill fortunately.  I have to chat with my accountant before I go crazy and send the IRS a big payment, but I’m looking forward to it.

I have mentioned to my boss twice that I “still have some capacity” for additional work.  She hasn’t come up with anything extra for me. I would like to stretch and be busier than I am, but after two mentions it is time for me to shut up.  Sometimes I am just sitting  reading the NY Times or some online BS.  I hate that.  I am just not a person who enjoys being paid to do nothing.  It worries me.

Granted, this is a brand new role and they haven’t had someone in it.  I have worked on several things and have some other long-term projects that I can pick at, but there really isn’t a tremendous work flow.  At least not a work volume that I am accustomed to.  I am not too worried.  My boss seems to like me tremendously and I have won over my admin (remember, she was the one who ignored me for the first 30-45 days).

Perhaps this goal-setting review process will help, but I have never seen those exercises produce any meaningful insights.  For now, I will revel in a steady paycheck, a 10 minute commute and great health insurance.  Hopefully I will get my financial house in order quickly and be ready for whatever comes next.  I am very, very grateful for what I have. When I added up my Maggie & Co income, it would not have sustained me this year.  Yes, I am very fortunate for this second chance.  Thank you!

carl-heyerdahl-KE0nC8-58MQ-unsplash

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Frugal Begins

I mentioned in my last post that I am in the midst of adding a few new kitchen accoutrements.  I haven’t been cooking much if any for the past several years since the Hunter tended to dominate the kitchen.  One of the best ways for me to keep my spending (and hopefully weight) under control is to simply eat at home all the time.

I was inspired by the book, The Art of Eating In  by Cathy Erway.  She spent two years not eating out in New York City.  It’s a great read.  You can also read Cathy’s blog.

Anyway, one of the easiest ways to save money is with your food budget.  I am all set to do just that, but I wanted to make my life easier with a few extra gadgets.  The dutch oven is essential for launching my idea of baking.  Not just muffins and brownie mix, but bread.  Cathy talks about a “no-knead” bread that she made constantly.  That’s what I am talking about.  If I am not going to dine out, then I need to be able to cook good stuff.  I need to meal prep so if I am tired, I am not tempted to order something.

I got another book, Budget Bytes, which is also blog.  Beth Moncel is a nutritionist/food scientist and she knows how to cook on a budget.  She has been a big inspiration that I can have some fantastic meals for pennies.

Right now the frig and freezer are full of ingredients.  Now it is time to create some great meals. I have planned out my first round of menu items.  Until I get the freezer a bit stocked with some ready-to-go options, I will be cooking more than usual.  I am hopeful that I can get it down to a couple of days a week with plenty of leftovers.  Fortunately I like leftovers.

There is only one big ticket item left to acquire and that is my sofa.   I have found two good candidates on OfferUp for half of what I was willing to spend.  I hope to see them soon and I should be able to get some guys from work to haul it up for me.

Then, except for Christmas, I will be on a spending lock down.  I really don’t need anything, so it won’t be a hardship.  The hardship will be not buying tickets to events or eating out.  It will be interesting to see how I can keep busy and lively without spending money, but I really need to get myself out of debt and on a firm financial footing.  It isn’t forever.  I am hopeful I can clean things up in less than 2 years.

Here we go……

 

ella-olsson-lMcRyBx4G50-unsplash

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

I Respect Her but….

I’m reading a free O magazine that AARP sent me. That was a pretty pathetic sentence for someone of my tender years <wink>. Anyway, I like and have always respected Oprah. I think she is smart, insightful, however, the bloom is coming off my Oprah rose. “Why?” you ask.

I am reading this article about her favorite breakfast. Her personal chef, Eddie, makes this amazing poached egg dish. 16 ingredients not including salt, pepper and olive oil. Shaved percorino cheese, truffle zest, fresh peas, baby shiitake mushrooms. This one egg dish takes over 30 minutes to throw together. Who has time, patience and money to make this? Anyone with a personal chef I’m guessing.

Her magazine, now that I am on a hard core spending fast is about more, more, more. Spend more money on stuff, experiences, self-care/love, etc., etc.

And while I am ranting about Oprah (I have no idea why she has rubbed me wrong today), let’s talk about her investment in Weight Watchers. She talks about loving and accepting yourself as you are, but she plugs WW. I don’t get it. I feel a big disconnect there.

Anyway, that’s my Oprah rant. Oh, and here is the recipe. It does sound delicious.

Less Stuff

I am looking at my moving estimates and inventory of what’s going on the truck. Wow, I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff.

Granted I don’t have a couch right now, but I have really pared down. I still think I have too much stuff in the photo album and memorabilia area, but otherwise I feel like I have de-cluttered tremendously. I’ll regain control of that stuff when I am settled and can sort through them at my leisure.

The Hunter thinks I have too much stuff. He shakes his head at my boxes. However, I like having a few things for entertaining. Not much, but I do need 4-6 of three different types of wine glasses, a few serving dishes and the like. My dining room stuff fit into about five medium boxes. I thought that was perfectly acceptable.

I don’t think he realizes that I left a 3,000 SF house chock full of stuff six years ago. When I moved out, I vowed to never again have so much stuff. That is one vow I have kept.

This is my fourth move in the past six years. Each time I let go of stuff. These last two moves have really lightened my load.

For example, I have two small file cabinets. I never filled them up, but I was going to take one for important papers. Now I’m thinking, nope. I don’t think I need even one. Give me a plastic file bin and be done because I save all my records online.

Amazon just delivered more packing tape and paper. Yes, I see the irony of that, but they were the cheapest. I know what I will be doing this weekend – packing.

The good news is the move is coming in at or under budget.

Adulting

This week was one of “getting shit done”.  I tackled packing up my son which involved a lot of sorting through stuff that has been in storage for the past year, creating an inventory of things he may need (lost in the break-up of his girlfriend) and then packing his car to capacity.

We actually had fun with all of the drudgery.  I coaxed him into saying good-bye to five garbage bags of old clothes.  We literally did the Marie Kondo method of “does this spark joy?” .  We were entertained.  He patiently tried on tons of clothes during the process.  We also had some shopping and a few miscellaneous errands, so the time went quickly.

He has already arrived in his new city and has hit the ground running.  He has a lot of “adulting” tasks to complete the next week, but his spirits and attitude are great, so he should be fine.

All of this sorting and packing for him has inspired me to get started on my own stuff.  Fortunately I have weeded out most of the superfluous except for the damn china and silverware.  Despite a huge purge for my last move, I still find things I won’t need or want, so a dreaded garage sale is in my near future.  I did tackle some administrative stuff like getting a new auto insurance quote, finding a cheaper cell phone plan, changing my renters insurance and adding a jewelry rider to it.  I have been quite productive.

I am still working on the Hunter’s big consulting project.  The client has been dragging their feet a bit about launching everything.  That’s actually good news for me because there is a ton of behind-the-scenes administrative work to do and I am about 75% complete.  I should be able to wrap it up soon.  He has another new potential consulting client that we are meeting next week.  My fingers are crossed on this one.

Work was a short week since I took two days off to hang out with my son.  That threw me off a bit, so the week ended before I knew it.  I learned some new technology out of sheer desperation.   I’m not familiar with Zoom meetings, so I coaxed one of the IT guys into giving me a tutorial.  He was laughing when I said that I needed more skills so I didn’t break out in a cold sweat whenever I had to lead one of these meetings.  He was a great teacher because later that day I successfully lead a meeting, shared my screen and multiple files with about 6 people.  That was a big win!

Nothing exciting to report.  I was a bit glum driving home on Friday because I have nothing fun planned.  Life isn’t full of adventure right now.  It’s just a huge re-positioning slog right now.  That’s OK, I am super-excited about my move and I know that by the end of the year I will be on a much better financial footing and I will have room in my life for more activities.  I miss being outside every day, so I can’t wait to get settled and be able to take a long walk every morning.  Commuting two hours every day has eliminated my walk time right now and I really miss it.  Now, let me step away from the computer…

glenn-carstens-peters-RLw-UC03Gwc-unsplash

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Let’s Do the Numbers

I have been running through my budget numbers trying to figure out how much money I need each month for the basics and how much I’ll be able to apply to paying down my debt.

Ever the optimist, I am hopeful that I can sell some stuff, take a loan from my whole life insurance policy and with the remains of Maggie & Co, pay about 75% of my debt in one big whoosh over the next 6 months.  I want to do my taxes before I get aggressive with my lump sum payments.  Lord knows I don’t want to be in trouble with the Tax Man again!  This 75% debt reduction is possible, but I have to be smart.

Right now I have $1500/month going towards debt and paying my son a small stipend.  I tell myself this is all temporary and by the end of 2021 I will have that money going straight back to my bottom line.  The majority should be back in my pocket by the end of 2020 with the stipend ending in 2021 as my son finishes school.

The other area I am looking at is lowering expenses.  My cell phone, cable bill, car insurance all have some fat.  I just got a quote that would reduce my car payment 50% from my previous insurance company.  Thank you, Progressive!  I’ll tackle that after my move.

I am not going to rely on side hustle income from the Hunter and a colleague who wants me to do some content writing for him.  That will be just found money.  I am also not holding my breath for the Hunter to come through on paying me back on his Promissory Note ($500/month for 24 months).  It hasn’t been signed and I haven’t heard mention of it every since.

If I can get all of my money sorted out, debt paid off, Maggie & Co expenses cut off, I will be hunky dory.  I just have to keep my eye on the ball and stay focused ….forever.  I was going to write “until” but this needs to be a lifelong habit.  I can never let expenses creep up on me like this ever.  I have to control my money and not let it control me.

Once I have the debt paid off, it is time to focus on paying off my car and then savings.  Saving for retirement, maxing out my 401k, paying back my life insurance loan to keep that healthy and have some savings allocated for things like car repairs, new car, traveL (yes, I have to have some fun), set up a clothing allowance, a fun allowance, more savings.  You get the picture.  I will stretch that $1500 every which way possible, plus it will grow to $2000 once my car is paid off.

For all you youngun’s, listen to old Maggie over here.  Define “youngun” – anyone under 40.  Feel good now?  Anyway, start saving now.  I started my 401K in my late 20’s/early 30’s.  I should have done more, but I did enough to get the match and later slowly inched it up.  Best thing I ever did financially.  Is it enough?  No, but it’s a heck of a lot more than most people have in their 401k.

Worse thing:  credit cards.  Those damn things are the bane of my existence.  So easy to say, “oh, I’ll pay it off in a couple of months.”  Well, if that is so, then I should just save up the money and pay cash.  Just say no to debt and use the cash envelope system for optional spending.

I used retail therapy during my marriage to soothe my psyche.  Bad habit.  I understand why.  I know why for about 8 years I spent over $12,000/year so my daughter could have a horse and go to horse shows.  I know why I would throw money at any problem or situation at hand.  But it was never the right answer.  Money doesn’t buy happiness.  It only masks the problems.  I understand that now.

I also understand that the lack of money causes unbelievable stress.   I read the posts by folks on various FB pages (like Dave Ramsey, YNAB, etc.) and they have so little and are trying so hard.  They are working several jobs, frugal to an unbelievable degree and working so incredibly hard to fix their financial life.  My hat goes off to them.  I admire their tenacity and am inspired by it.

For now, I keep working my spreadsheets, making my plans and remembering that I have to take care of me first.  I also have to remember that spending is optional.

carlos-muza-hpjSkU2UYSU-unsplash

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Tag Cloud