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Archive for the ‘money’ Category

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.


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…


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.


Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Changes Abound

I have been meaning to write about the upcoming changes that will be occurring in the next two months. I have found a new place that I absolutely love and have passed the application phase, so I am just waiting for my lease.  I can walk to a bunch of stores including Target. I am 10-15 minutes from my beloved beach and only 15 minutes from work.

I have been busily figuring out what will fit and what won’t. I am incredibly excited about the place.

Then we have the Hunter.  I truly have mixed feelings.  I want him in my life, but I don’t want to live with him.  Does this make sense?  I want to have my own space, my own free time.  He snorts and says I just want his “pinga”.  Maybe, but I also enjoy the intimacy of having someone to chat with and share day-to-day stuff with.

However, I am so over living with him and the Kracken.  Both are messy.  Both destroy my belongings.  I want to cook certain things and he doesn’t like those things.  He keeps crap in the refrigerator and freezer that I don’t like and we should just toss out anyway.  When I am home in the evening, we don’t really spend time together.  I scrounge up something to eat and he sits outside all evening smoking a cigar.  I live in a place where I would never invite anyone over because it’s a mess and has no sofa or seating for guests.

Having said all that, the Hunter treats me with respect always.

But I can’t afford the place where we live.  I can’t afford to be the primary breadwinner, nor do I want to.  It has been four years and I am still the primary breadwinner and by a long shot.  The lease and utilities are in my name.  Over the four years, if I add up the direct $$ I have given him, the things I have bought him (clothes, laptop, 2 cell phones, etc.), the furniture & other things he and the Kracken have destroyed, I am over $40,000 over the past four years.  Probably closer to $60,000.  I am not as generous and giving person as I like to think I am because I am a bit resentful about that.  A smidgen.

Yes, he has made a promise to pay me back about 25% of that and he is paying me for the work I am doing for him now.  But….I am broke and I need to get my financial house back in order first and foremost.  I am 55 years old and I need to be focused on retirement planning, not debt reduction.  I have $40,000 of debt between the IRS and credit cards.  Add in my car and we are over $50K.  I can’t live with that weight on my shoulders.  I don’t want to.

I have a plan and with the little bit of income Maggie & Co. has generated, I should be able to put the debt behind me by the end of 2020.  I’ll explain more about that in another post.

I imagine waking up in my new, cozy apartment designed by me, for me and I am so excited.  Yes, I will need to buy a few things, but these will be frugal purchases.  Space will be limited because my grandmother’s dining table is taking up some valuable real estate, but the buffet will become my TV stand and the corner china cabinet is too adorable to say good-bye.  I have been laying things out on a scaled plan and it looks like a roomy love seat may be my best option.  That’s fine with me.

I am ready for my next chapter.  But first I have quite a bit to do:  get my son back from Asia and off to school inside of a week; help the Hunter launch his new, lucrative consulting gig and pack.  Lots of packing.  All of this has to happen in about 45 days.  Wish me luck.  You probably won’t hear much from me until I get to the other side…


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Slooowww Down

I have been figuring out how to slow down and smell the roses at this new job.  Fortunately I have always been a very good self-starter because this job requires a high amount of that skill.  I just keep reminding myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

The other thing I keep reminding myself is that they hired me to be their in-house expert.  To that end, it is up to me to keep my knowledge and skills sharp.  I have been seeking out organizations that will help me with this.  My old professional organization is one.  I also attended meetings of two others that I discovered I prefer over the old one.

Also, I want to start writing here more, however, I have a strong rule that no personal stuff will be done on a work device.  I have a few financial spreadsheets on my work laptop, but I have been careful.  I worked for a Fortune 500 and know that every keystroke and download can be watched.  The head of IT is not someone I want to cross.  He has a clearly defined kingdom and while he gives off the air of the befuddled professor, he doesn’t fool me for  a minute.

Overall life is good.  My bank accounts are healthy.  Maggie & Co. is winding down but I anticipate several more substantial paydays from it.  I plan on hoarding those monies until I move and pay my 2018 taxes.  Then I can attack my debt with some sizable payments.

My realtor GF suggested that I try to lease my current place to perhaps avoid the 2-month termination penalty.  That might mitigate things, but I’m not sure how to go about it.  I could use her even though it isn’t her geographic area.  I think that just delays in the inevitable.

I have been thinking about cutting my housing budget down substantially.  This means I might not be able to live in the urban area I wanted, but that might be OK for my new frugal resolve.  I will be notifying my landlord probably around August 1st, so the clock is beginning to tick.  One of my perks with the new job is the low-cost prepaid legal service for minor matters.  I figure I’ll have them write the letter to my landlord so we get it right the first time.

I have a list of personal financial stuff to do.  Things like lower my renter’s insurance coverage, call my whole life insurance co and discuss options to lower my premium for a year or so, renew my auto tag, budget, budget, budget, QuickBooks for Maggie & Co, etc.  The good news is that none of this causes me anxiety any more.  A year ago I would have been frozen in fear and stress.  Now I shrug and get to work.

I find myself working over the weekend, some evenings.  I am BUSY.  Now if only my new job could keep me fully occupied.  I have finally confessed to my boss that I still have capacity for more work.  She’s been traveling almost constantly since I started, so once she returns we will discuss this further.  I like her and she needs help, so I may end up with things outside my expertise, but I’m a smart cookie and learning something new would be good for me.

It’s all good, thankfully…..


Photo by Camilo Ayala on Unsplash



I’m Chugging Along

Life has been chugging along without any awful drama.  Work is great.  I’ve been there for 3 paydays and another one is coming up this Friday.  Some of my Maggie & Co. business has taken some wicked turns that would have left me gasping in panic if I had continued.  I thank my lucky stars, Karma, God, whatever you want to call it, every day.

I tried joining a gym to exercise in the morning before work and shower at the gym.  I hated the showering part, so I’m cutting my losses by cancelling the membership.  Instead I will just run around my neighborhood several times for 20+ minutes in the morning.  It’s dark, but my neighborhood is lit up like it’s daylight and I feel comfortable doing that.

The Hunter and I took an amazing road trip over July 4th.  It deserves its own post.  Suffice it to say, we had a fabulous time.

I want to write about how I am feeling about the pending move and all the upcoming changes.  It’s daunting.  Tomorrow I go to look at places in the new town for the first time.  I have someone from work helping me.  She is a realtor and does most of the company’s relocations.  She is super nice and I see our friendship continuing (hopefully) after this.

I have no complaints other than the drive is tiring.  Two hours of highway driving every day does wear me down, but at least traffic flows.  I am preparing for a very frugal life once I move.  The Hunter and I have struck a deal that will be my side hustle going forward.  He is winning a new piece of business that will be substantial.  I am so proud of him.

Anyway, I am alive.  I am fat and happy.  I figure the fat will solve itself once I get settled.  Both kids are doing great and my son returns from Asia in about four weeks.  I can’t wait to see him.  He will be packing up and heading off to grad school shortly upon his return, but at least we will once again be in the same time zone.

My oh my am I relieved that I have come out the other side?? Abso-fucking-lutely.  Now I have to help my BFF get there.  She is in her valley of despair.  Fortunately she says that I give her hope.

Anyway, let me get some rest.  My 5:30 am wake up and jog will be here before I know it.


Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

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