Emergency Preparedness, Goal Setting, Retirement Journey, saving money

How I saved almost $45,000 in 6 months.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-2068975-1.jpeg(In case you were wondering, I stopped blogging for a while so the robo boomer haters would stop commenting. Life is stressful enough without reading such garbage. BUT, this is my happy place, where I can talk about all things money and I wanted to continue to document my journey to retirement, financially speaking. Besides. There are way more nice commenters than mean, so I’m back. 😉 )

There are many ways the present pandemic has changed my life, but none so significant as the way I look at money.  After all these years, I thought I had it down. I didn’t. I’m still learning.

After my husband’s salary took a 10% pay cut, and many employees were furloughed, I started to realize that we may have to retire earlier than we’d like. It changed how we looked at our preparation for retirement, and how we would change the way we handled our money going forward.

We wanted to save money….FAST.  And we did.  $45,000 in six months.

How did we save $45,000 in six months?

Here is my breakdown by categories:

TRAVEL/VACATION ($11,942.00)

The pandemic cancelled our Anniversary trip.  We had prepaid all of the trip, so all of the money that has been returned to us went straight into savings.  Unfortunately, the airlines decided they needed our money more than we did, so they kept $3000 for future flights (to be used by December, 2021). The cruise lines had no choice but to refund the money on trips they cancelled.

Our anniversary trip was expensive.  We had hotels, airfare, cruise, etc. Our total refunds for that trip totalled $9,000.

Because cruising has taken a huge hit during this pandemic, and the unlikely chance our Disney cruise would be “normal” by May, 2021,  I decided to cancel our family cruise.  I received our deposit back in the amount of $2,942.00.  It, too, went straight into savings.

CAR REPAYMENT ($12,000.00)

We purchased a car for my son while he was in college with the assumption that he would pay us back as soon as he started working.  I’m proud to say he is now gainfully employed as an Ensign in the Navy.  And I am equally proud to say he paid us back every penny (in record time, I might add).  We deposited that $12,000 directly to savings.

MONTHLY SAVINGS. ($15,000.00)

I’ve been able to save $2,500 monthly based on salary and expenses.  (the 10% pay cut didn’t occur until May.)

OTHER SAVINGS ($6,000.00)

The rest of the money came from saving on our usual spending categories:

There have been monthly expenses that have increased.  Food for instance.  The cost has been ridiculous.  But by saving in other areas, it has not busted my budget, thankfully.

We also did a few home projects totaling $1,500.00. In fact, I’m typing this blog in my new ‘yoga/office room’.  🙂 I’ll write about these projects in another post.

$45,000 added to our other savings gives us almost a years’ worth of expenses.  We are comfortable with this.  However, we will be very selective of how we will spend future money.  Our plan is to send most of the extra money to pay down our mortgage, leaving us some for fun.

Although we still have the travel bug, we will start up again with small, weekend trips.  Cruising is no longer appealing as long as they have ‘pandemic’ procedures in place.  I mean really, who wants to have their temperature taken every day and wear masks on a cruise ship?  Really?

Anyway, that’s how we did it.  How did the way you handle money change during the pandemic?  Please share!

 

Kindness, Positivity

A gentle reminder to T.H.I.N.K.

Think Before You Speak Sign Inspirational Wise Words image 0

We’ve all read it, seen, or lived it over the last several months.   Be it the news, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, or any other venue, people have been expressing their opinions in a less than thoughtful way.  I would even go as far as to say they’ve been downright vile.  We all have our opinions, but we must remember different doesn’t mean wrong.  So, before you speak or put words down on paper, please T.H.I.N.K.

Wouldn’t we all be happier if everyone followed this?  Just sayin.

 

Gratitude, Home Care, Positivity

Finding a little inspiration.

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Life sure has been different since March.   Although I enjoy time by myself, I am mostly an extrovert.  Social distancing, wearing masks, and staying at home has been quite discouraging for me at times.

However, I believe in remaining positive and try to find ways to make each day count.   Since I am mostly staying at home now,  I am constantly looking for ways to improve my surroundings.  I look for inspiration wherever I can.

I happened to watch a video, IvyKitchen, and was so inspired that I thought I’d share.  It’s about a woman who shares her life by showing her daily routine and how she creates delicious food for her family.  It’s calming and serene to watch her go about her day.  Her food preparation looks simple but delicious.  Although her videos are in Korean, you can get the gist of what she’s making with the English subtitles.  I always learn something new and find myself enjoying being at home more each day.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 

How are you being inspired?

 

saving money, Spending, Using cash

6 Reasons I’m Switching to Cash. (even during the pandemic.)

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’ve written about using cash in the past, and most recently how I won’t be using it during the pandemic.  However,  I’ve changed my mind, and here’s why.

  1. It will lower my food bill.  My food bill was reaching all-time highs — upwards of $800-900 a month.  Not acceptable for 3 adults. Now that I’m shopping for food myself and use only cash, I will have a better chance of not overspending.
  2. It will help me lose weight(I know this is a stretch) This goes with #1.  There is an interesting phenomenon that has happened during this pandemic,  Something called the Quarantine 10, 15 or 20. (I fall under the 10 range).   We should be eating less, right? Instead, I am overindulging on food and it’s showing up on my waist.  If I have a limited amount of cash, I’ll make sure I have enough of the right foods (i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat) before I pick up the Coke, Hershey Kisses, beer, wine, chips, pretzels… You get my drift.
  3. I don’t have to track it on my credit card.  Although I get cash rewards with my Chase Blue card, I end up spending a bit more than I would normally.  Although I’ll still use it, I will use it much less.
  4. It will delay gratification.  I grapple with impulse purchases, especially online.  If I use only cash, I won’t be able to indulge my impulse whims.  Or, if I do, I know that it was budgeted for, and no guilt will be involved.
  5. It’ll keep me away from online spending.  Let’s be honest.  Online spending is so darn easy.  Although it was necessary during the pandemic, stores have opened.  Using cash will decrease my online spending by a lot.  Just sayin… 😉
  6. Ultimately, I’ll have more money to save.  Reaching my retirement savings goals sooner is the best reason of all. 🙂

Are you using cash?