Quarantine, Retirement Journey, Spending Freeze

Retirement Preparation Update

official currency united states of america
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

We have just completed six months of 2020.  Can you believe it?  It has been the longest six months of any year I can remember.

Anyway, it’s time to check in with our retirement preparation.  Our ultimate goal is to retire in exactly 43 months.  (I haven’t figured out the days, hours, or minutes yet, but I will soon 😉 )

When the pandemic started and the stock market crashed, I thought we would have to extend our retirement plan out two extra years.   When the market bounced back, we successfully rebalanced all of our accounts, and have a much less volatile portfolio.  We won’t have significant gains, but we also won’t have significant losses.

The biggest eye-opener was our lack of sufficient cash. We had 6 months’ worth, but it didn’t feel nearly enough with our age as factors.   We have implemented a new savings plan and are now socking away nearly 40% of my husband’s income (even with a 10% pay cut).  This has been relatively painless since we are not going anywhere or doing anything.

I imagine once the world opens up again, we’ll have the travel bug and want to start going places.  We have a Disney cruise planned for May 2021, a trip we planned with our entire family 1 1/2 years ago.  If, however, masks are still required, this trip will be postponed until all’s well with the world.  I have that trip money already set aside.  My grandchildren may be teenagers by the time we go, but we are going nonetheless. 😉

pluto costume
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

As far as other trips, we may postpone until retirement so that we have enough cash to feel comfortable when we do say goodbye to a paycheck.

As far as the budget, the only wild card has been food.  The grocery stores have been hiking up prices and I’m trying to stay fairly close to what I’ve allotted.  The only way I can do that is to shop solely at Aldi.  But even Aldi has raised their prices.

All in all, we are on track to retire in early 2024.  How are you doing with your budgets?

saving money, Spending Freeze

Gearing up for a 3-mos Spending Freeze

abundance achievement bank banknotes
Photo by Pixabay

How does one save a bunch of money really fast?  Don’t spend any!

I’ve been revisiting the idea of a spending freeze. I did a successful one for the month of February several years ago. And I saved a bit of money.  But as I was perusing the internet, I found one person doing an arbitrary 4-month spending freeze. Hmmm.  If I want to save a lot of money fast, why not do more than a month, perhaps a 3-month spending freeze?

We are about to enter my least favorite months of the year Jan/Feb/Mar- which I affectionately call winter suck.  Why not do something productive to get ready for spring?

christmas cold friends frosty
Photo by Pixabay

This spending freeze will be about giving up wants.  After all, I’m already living with abundance and more than enough.  I certainly can go for 90 days without purchasing any more.

THE RULES:

The following items are off limits for 90 days: (Every one of these items is a trigger for me.)

  • Clothes, shoes
  • Books, cds, dvds
  • Household decor
  • Wine (I may or may not stock up in December)
  • K-cups
  • Purses/wallets
  • Jewelry/clothing accessories
  • Planners, stickers, pens (yes, they are a thing)
  • Trips (other than NY to see my parents)
  • Eating out
  • Travel items/accessories
  • Manicures/Pedicures
  • No online spending (unless it can’t be purchased in a brick/mortar store)

Things I can spend money on:

  • Groceries (within a budget of $100/week)
  • Medications/Medicine/Drs. appts.
  • Anything that Ben (my sweet, sweet boy) needs
  • Replacement products (i.e. toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, make up) * Find the cheapest way to replace through coupons, sales
  • Bills (utilities, mortgage, etc.)
  • Gasoline (but only one fill up a month for me)
  • EZ Pass for my husband to go to work
  • Date night (2x) No need to punish my sweet husband. 🙂
  • Travel to my parents in NY (a necessity)
  • Gifts (3 to be exact – 2 birthdays and an anniversary)
  • Hair cut and color 1x (absolutely, positively necessary.)

If anything else should come up that I didn’t account for, I will update this list.  In the meantime, I will work on coming up with at least 100 things to do for free to keep me from spending.

This freeze will officially start January 1st.

I’m actually excited.  A challenge that will bear fruit at the end.  Money fruit, that is. 😉

Anyone with me?