Goal Setting, Retirement, saving money

2019 Goal: Living on our future retirement income – with real numbers.

black calculator near ballpoint pen on white printed paper
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of my 2019 goals is to live off an amount we will need in retirement…an amount we believe we need to live a life we want to live in retirement.  For us, that includes travel and spending three months every winter in a warm climate (destination undetermined).  (I write the last part with conviction, as the temps are cold and there is 10 inches of snow on the ground.)

So what is our magic number?

After numerous calculations and a bit of guess work (who knows what healthcare will be when we retire), we figured we will need between $7,000 – $8,000 a month.  For 2019, I will be taking the lower number of $7,000 (which includes our $2,400 mortgage).  We hope to have our mortgage paid off by the time my husband retires at 62, however we kept the $2,400 in the budget as it most likely will be replaced by purchasing health insurance until the age of 65.

How will we come up with $7,000 in retirement?  We will have three sources to pull from:

  1. Personal Savings;
  2. Social Security (yes, we will be taking it at 62); and
  3. Retirement accounts

Social Security will provide $3,000 of the $7,000 (at least as of this writing), and we can use personal savings/retirement accounts for the rest.

By withdrawing $7,000 a month from our retirement accounts, our savings will still last more than 30 years based on very conservative calculations.  So, between social security and our retirement accounts, we can go as high as $10,000 a month (to help with inflation) if we need to.


Here is our monthly retirement budget *in real numbers*  (and what we will be living on for 2019 and beyond).

*Please note we do not have any debt.  Being debt free is very important when entering retirement, including your mortgage.

  • *Utilities/Water/HOA $500
  • Food/Eating Out $600
  • Household $125
  • Subscriptions (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime) $50
  • Gasoline/Car $200
  • HealthCare  $2400 (Our mortgage for now)
  • HSA – Medical Expenses $500
  • Vacation/Travel $500
  • Misc. (clothes, personal care, etc.) $400
  • Cell/Cable/Internet $300
  • *Insurance/Taxes  $1,000
  • Gifts/Christmas $200
  • Home/Car Maintenance  $225

*These are figures based on where we live now (a high cost of living area).  It is probable that we will be moving out of our large home into one that is smaller and fits our future lifestyle.  We are hopeful that insurance/taxes/utilities will all be lower when we do so.

This is our plan, but of course everyone’s retirement plan will be different. Some will need more, some less.  My parents, who live in upstate NY, live comfortably on $2,500 a month.  My MIL, who lives in PA, unfortunately, attempts to live on a social security check of only $1,500 and it’s rough.  So, don’t plan on living on Social Security alone, you won’t make it.

We have seven years before we actually take the plunge into our third phase of life called retirement.   A lot can happen between now and then, but I’m hopeful our health stays good and the retirement accounts continue to grow.

If you are in retirement now, or are gearing up for retirement, how does your budget look?






saving money

Online Banks for Personal Savings. Which one is the best?

white piggy bank on brown wooden surface
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Online banks are a great place for all those looking to park some savings without risk. I’ve been using Ally Bank (not sponsored, or affiliated), and have been very pleased with the consistent increase in paid out interest. It’s a great place to put an emergency account, sinking funds or college savings that you will be needing within a year or two.

Many bloggers/YouTubers suggest Capital One, which is another online bank with the same type of services. There is an opportunity to make money by being an affilliate with Capital One that Ally does not offer, however, that doesn’t help the average person looking for the best rate.  Since both banks offer the same service, it really comes down to rate.  For a quick comparison between the two – Capital One is currently offering 1%, up to $10,000, then 2.0% with a balance of $10,001. Ally is offering 2.20% with a minimum of $1.

There are other online banks that offer even higher rates, such as MemoryBank (2.4%) and MySavingsDirect (2.40%). You can find other banks and rate comparisons here.  Either way, most online banks offer much higher rates than the average brick and mortar bank and would be worth a look.

Happy saving!



saving money

10 Reasons People Can’t Save Money

10 reasons not to save money

The recent government shutdown has shed light on the fact that many Americans are bad at saving money.  With little or no emergency savings, this 20+ day shutdown has caused havoc on many hardworking families.  Of course, with the way our government works, and the fact that a shutdown happens every time the toddlers in Congress don’t get their way, I would expect by now government workers should have a special sinking fund called “when congress can’t get their act together”.  Thankfully, government workers will eventually get paid.   Not so for the many people who get laid off from other jobs.  Saving becomes important for everyone.

I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon with some of my favorite YouTubers and share my thoughts on why people may not be able to or won’t save money.

Let me just preface this by saying for many years, we didn’t have a big enough emergency fund to weather a job layoff.  We were not savers.  We flew by the seat of our pants hoping and praying that my husband wouldn’t lose his job.  We had retirement savings, but not liquid savings.  We would have been just as vulnerable for a loss of income.  Thankfully, we are in a different place now, but I do understand why people can’t/won’t save.

Here are my 10 possible reasons you are unable to save money.

  1. You don’t make enough money.  You have settled in on a job or career that pays too little.  This is something you can control.  You may either be feeling stuck in an area that has no jobs, or you are just plain lazy.  I speak from experience with my own family members on the lazy part.
  2. You are a natural spender, not a saver.  You like stuff.  Lots of it.  You spend every last extra dime on the latest designer purse (oh wait, that was me), new technology, or latest fashion.
  3. Your love language is gifts.  You’d give away your house if you could to show someone you love them.   You are quick to pay the restaurant bill for everyone, or buy your kids what they need, in lieu of saving money.  (Guilty as charged. 😦 )
  4. You have too much month left over after you spent all your money.  Usually this means your required bills are more than your take home.  Perhaps you have credit card debt, student loan debt, car loans, home equity…  It doesn’t leave you any money to save.
  5. You have health issues that don’t allow you to work. This one is tricky, as there is not a lot you can do about this.  This makes me think of a story my Mom told me about my grandmother.  Although he received a very small social security check each month, she always had money to give to my mother when she visited.  She rented a tiny apartment in Boston (subsidized) and ate very well (fresh fruits and veggies)  She was able to cover her bills and have a bit left over to save.  She lived to be 96.  I wish she were alive today so I could pick her brain on how she did it, but I can figure it out.  She was disciplined. (See No. 10).
  6. You live in a high cost of living area. Period.
  7. You bought more house than you can afford. This one is so easy to do.  We did this.  Banks wanted to lend us as much money as we wanted.  At the time we purchased our home in 1998, we really couldn’t afford it.  It took nearly 40% of our take home income.  It ended up working out for us, as the value of our home more than doubled and we were able to refinance into a 15 year 2.625% interest rate when rates were at an all time low and my husband was making much more money.  We were lucky.  People who bought in 2006, not so much.
  8. You are a single income household. Whether you are single, a single parent or a stay at home Mom, living with only one income is tough.  (Unless of course it’s a very large single income).  I always worked part time, so there was always a little extra coming in.
  9. You believe money is evil and try to get rid of it as soon as you get it.  There are many people who feel they don’t deserve to have money, or believe that rich people are evil.  This is a tough mindset to change.
  10. You don’t practice self-discipline.  This may be the most important reason of all. Self-Discipline is a learned skill.   When practiced, self-discipline brings stability and structure into a person’s life.   This not only helps in being able to save money, but also maintaining your health and well-being.  I’m sure we can all work on this one.

It’s really important to save money.  By having a rainy day fund somewhere tucked away, you can handle most storms that come your way.

Want more ideas?

Check out some more ideas on why people can’t save money with the following YouTubers.

Kristen Marie: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw1SkD1v14BD50cePTi51Vg/featured

Freedom In A Budget: https://www.youtube.com/freedominabudget

Wendy Valencia: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwEy…

A Joyful Home: https://youtu.be/_AIN-2JMVoE

Connie Porter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA7sG…

Our Life On A Budget: https://youtu.be/65DJhitQ05

Well Behaved Wallet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGKtz…


Goal Setting, saving money

My Year of Intentional Spending (and what it really means)

You may have noticed that I wrote in one of my goals for 2019 that I was going to challenge myself to have a No Spend Year. What it should have said was:”Have a no spend on mindless stuff that doesn’t matter and doesn’t help me meet my goal year“. But that was too long. So I shortened it.

The Why

After spending the last six months decluttering my home while still spending money on stuff that I will probably declutter in 2019, I decided it was time to stop the madness of all of this spending on stuff that doesn’t matter and redirect the funds to things that do matter. This isn’t just about spending, however. It’s about appreciating the things I already have and being grateful for all that has come into my life already. That’s hard to do when I keep bringing more stuff in.

My inspiration to attempt this challenge came from a book I read last year. Cait Flanders’ book, The Year of Less, changed my way of thinking. It is a book about her year long shopping ban, how she changed her habits and discovered what truly mattered to her. I continue to read her blog as a source of continued inspiration.

To be clear, this challenge isn’t about deprivation. It’s not about sucking the joy out of every day. It’s the opposite. It’s about spending money on what matters most – my health and wellbeing, my husband, my family, my friends. In fact you may be surprised as to what I actually am able to spend money on with this challenge, which makes it very different from what a typical ‘no spend’ has been.

The Rules

What I will be spending my money on:

  • Regular bills
  • Necessary replacement clothing only
  • Food and eating out (limited because of my health goals)
  • Vitamins, medicines/medical expenses (of course)
  • Travel/Experiences
  • Gifting (but limited to special occasions)
  • Replacement of consumables – toilet paper, household products, make up (limited)
  • Haircuts/color
  • Home Maintenance
  • Paint and furniture for my new room
  • Charitable contributions*

*I may have missed something from this list, which I will add later.

I anticipate, based on my spending in 2018, that I will be able to save at least 10% more of our income, helping me reach my goal of 40% total savings. It’s amazing how much spending one can do in a year without really thinking about it.

I will do monthly updates to keep myself accountable. I’m hopeful that I can and will change my mindless spending habits, not only for 2019 but in the years to come.

If you would like to participate, or are doing something similar, please share! I would love to hear from you. 🙂



Goal Setting, Minimalism; decluttering, No Spend Year, saving money

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again, when we contemplate how we want the new year to take hold.  It really is all about taking control and setting goals (and, of course, following through).  Here are my goals and focus areas for 2019.

19 Goals for 2019


  1. Lose 10 lbs.  To obtain my ‘best’ weight, I should lose 20.  But 10 will be considered a success.  I have a free app called LOSE IT, which will help me keep track, and I’ve joined a Diet Bet game for January.
  2. Train (again) for a 5K and sign up for 2 races.   Last year was the first time I ran a 5K.  I was injured, but I finished.  This year I want to train and run at least two more (hopefully without injury).
  3. Maintain 10,000+ steps a day. I have the Fitbit Versa, which I absolutely LOVE.  It will definitely help me keep this goal in check.
  4. Follow a Low Sugar Diet/No Dairy.  This was the best one I could find.  Honestly, I’m trying to figure out if a certain food group is causing havoc in my body, and I have a feeling it’s the absurd amount of sugar I’m inhaling.  But then again dairy makes me feel bloated as well.  We shall see.
  5. Try Yoga.  I know I need to stretch more, and this has been on my ‘to do’ list for several years.  Time to do something about it.
  6. Annual Drs. Visits. – Striving for well visits onlyFingers crossed. 


  1. Read 12 books.  One book a month – something that educates and/or nourishes the soul.  Suggestions welcome.
  2. Play the Minimalism Game.  3x.
  3. Create a space just for me. We have an extra bedroom that I want to make into a meditative, contemplative, hideaway just.for.me.  More to come on this one.
  4. Attend one spiritual retreat.  To be determined.  I’m not sure what direction I want to go with this, but I’m really ready to embrace spirituality.
  5. Journal/Gratitude Daily. This is self explanatory, right?
  6. Fix the kitchen appliances.  We have a cooktop that we have to ‘light’, and an oven that doesn’t hold the temperature.  They must be replaced this year.


  1. Start a new blog.  Done! Well, sort of.  There’s a lot of work I still need to do to make this blog what I hope it to be. 
  2. Create money making opportunities online.  I have some ideas on how I’d like to add to the household income.  I already have my eyes set on some affiliate promotions that will go great with my blog message.


  1. Live on our proposed retirement salary for the entire year. We will have our mortgage paid off by the time we retire, so I’m not including that amount.  I’m using a monthly figure of what I believe will be a realistic withdrawal from our retirement accounts.  The wildcard, of course, is healthcare since we won’t be eligible for Medicare at 62.  I’ll have to try and figure that one out.
  2. Have a NO SPEND year.  Yep.  You read that one right. A whole year. I will be addressing this in another blog post with my preset rules for the No Spend.  It will be very different than what you are usually seeing for a No Spend.  I’m excited.
  3. SAVE 40% of take home pay. With no college tuition payments, and a lower ‘proposed’ salary, this should be a slam dunk.  At least that’s what I’m hoping.
  4. SAVE for a Baltic Sea Cruise. We hope to do this trip for our 25th wedding anniversary in May, 2020.

My 19th goal for 2019 is to reconnect with all my blogging friends whom I have missed so much!  Please leave a comment so I can add you to my blogroll!

Here’s to a prosperous and healthy New Year!