Gratitude, Home Care, Living for TODAY, Quarantine

10 Positive Ways 2020 has Changed my Life

exotic mellisuga minima bird sitting on stem in green field
Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com(Birds are beautiful.  I love watching them.  Something I’ve gained from 2020…)

I’ve always been a pretty upbeat and positive person, but 2020 has challenged me in ways I didn’t think possible.  Staying positive has been the biggest challenge of them all.  It hasn’t been easy finding the ‘good’ in 2020, but I did, and I hope these things will help you see the positive as well.

10 positive ways 2020 has changed my life. 

I am…

  1. Finishing home projects.  Not being able to go anywhere has enabled me to concentrate on what needed to be done at home.  We’ve removed wall paper (FINALLY!) and painted rooms.   Some of these projects have been on my ‘to do’ list for YEARS. 
  2. Trying new recipes. We haven’t eaten in a restaurant in 8 months (although we have had take out).  I’ve been enjoying eating at home, and with that trying new dishes that mimic some of our favorite restaurants.  Our food at home tastes so.much.better.  We know exactly what is going into our food, and with that comes peace of mind.
  3. Saving money.  I’ve written a blog post on how much we’ve saved since the beginning of 2020.  We are continuing to save, and have a HUGE goal for 2021.
  4. Changing financial goals I wouldn’t have, in a million years, predicted a year like 2020.  My husband kept his job, thankfully, but had to take a 10% pay cut.  It made me realize that we have been a bit complacent in our financial goals for retirement, and now have an urgency to pay off our mortgage.  We’ve always ‘wanted’ to, but now have a plan to get it done by the end of 2021. 🙂
  5. Appreciating Nature.  I’m not a fan of masks.  I will rarely go to places that require them.  I do, however, take long walks in nature….something I’ve grown to appreciate more and more.  And thankfully those walks have helped squelch the extra weight brought on from Netflix binging and snack eating early on. ;o
  6. Changing and improving travel plans. Like millions of other people, our travel plans were haulted abruptly.  We were supposed to cruise to Alaska.  The new cruising protocols make my skin crawl, so we won’t be cruising anytime soon.  We will, however, be traveling to Alaska.  By land.  And it will be so.much.better.  Something we may never have done had it not been for the events in 2020.
  7. Valuing time with family. Family dinners, family birthdays and just plain family get togethers have been my social lifeline, and I’ve never appreciated them as much as I do this year. 
  8. Taking an online class.  I’ve been ‘retired’ from my administrative/bookkeeping job for two years.  I’m a bit rusty on my skills, so I’m in the process of taking classes online to become certified in Excel and Quickbooks.  This will put me in a very marketable position should the need arise to obtain work, which can be easily done online.  I’m not sure I would have done this pre-2020.
  9. Living more simplyNot going to restaurants, traveling, or running around shopping has allowed me to cook from scratch, read, journal, walk, and live very simply.  A very positive side effect, indeed.
  10. Slowing down.  2020 has afforded me the time to slow down.  I have more time to reflect on what is truly meaningful to me, which in turn, has altered some of my plans going forward.  I may not have figured this out if it wouldn’t have been for 2020.  For that alone, I am grateful.

How about you?  What has changed this year for you?  Anything positive?

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.

black and white spray bottle
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?