Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hello

Another day, another $40. I am so tired that I would pay the $40. back to them to have a day off. But it doesn't seem to be in the cards. 

They are saying we may be done by April 5th. We'll see. It's just an estimate.

I miss blogging every day. But hopefully I will be back soon.

I am headed out the door for another long day. All of you have a great money saving day!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Crazy Weekend

Five minutes after I got home from jury duty on Friday night, my grandson came to spend the weekend with us. This was promised to him long before I was put on jury duty. 

I was exhausted but we had fun Friday night playing Pokemon Monopoly which we continued on Saturday when we had time.

I took him bowling and to the yogurt place on Saturday. He also went clothes shopping with me which he was not too thrilled about. However, he behaved beautifully while we did.

Since we have been retired I have rarely purchased clothes. With going to jury duty, I don't have many clothes to wear that are what I consider decent for court. Most of my clothing is pretty worn. So I found two tops on sale at 55% off that I could wear this week. I still need to try them on to make sure they fit.

Last night, I made a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread which my grandson loved. We played monopoly again until his bedtime.

We were up at 7am and finished the game. I made a breakfast of eggs, juice, and sausage. We played until my son arrived at 12 noon. My son and grandson left just a few minutes ago. It is 3:21PM and I have a lot to do. I need to do all of the laundry. I am making a meatloaf for dinner along with baked potatoes and then after dinner, I have to take meat that is thawing(pictured above) and figure out what I have to do ahead of time to make meals this week.

I have a full week of jury duty. No time off so I need to plan 5 meals. The meatloaf will last tonight and tomorrow night.

Tuesday night I will make fajitas with the chicken strips and some sauce and flour tortillas that need to be thawed. So I have to cut up onion slices for those and have them ready for the week. We will have a side of corn.

Wednesday I will make dirty rice with ground turkey meat that is already cooked and in the freezer. Broccoli will accompany that.

Thursday Hubby will make chicken piccata using the 4 chicken breasts and we will have that two nights in a row. He will make some rice and green beans to go with it.

That gets me through the week. I checked this morning and I have enough food that I can quickly make for my lunches. The beginning of last week everyone was walking to go out to lunch to eat. Then they started complaining about the money. I told them it is a lot cheaper to pack a lunch and a lot healthier too. So most people are now bringing their lunch. We all eat together in the jury room. And on the nice days we are now going out for short walks after we eat if we have enough time.  

It was bad enough that we got take out for dinner two nights last week. I don't want to eat up all of my jury pay doing that. That's why I planned all the meals this week. 

I am very tired today and plan on hitting the sack the minute the dinner dishes are done if the laundry is done. 

I hope you all have a great week and I will try to pop in if and when I have the stamina to do so. This has all been very tiring for me.    

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Last One Until Fall

Since dinner has become a problem while I am at jury duty(work), I decided it would be ready when I get home. After spending money on takeout the last two jury days, I was not about to do it again.

So I put the last pot roast until Fall in the crock pot this morning. I added potatoes, onions, carrots, a chuck roast, onion soup mix and cream soup. This should last us two meals. Thank God for my stockpile!

When I get home I can enjoy a glass of wine and a nice meal.

Time for me to get ready to go and make my lunch.
I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Out Of Retirement?

For those of you who know us, you know that we have been retired for many, many years. The past couple of days has made me reminisce about why we retired early.

It was so that we had the freedom to do what we wanted when we wanted to do it. It was to not ever have to answer to a boss again, just ourselves. It was so that we could sleep in while everyone else was going to work or just get up early and follow our own schedule. It was so that we didn't have to hear that alarm beeping every morning, jump out of bed, get showered and dressed, eat breakfast, pack our lunch, and rush out the door. It was so that we never again had to drive in crazy rush hour traffic. Not doing any of these things has led to a wonderful, peaceful, stress free life. 

The past couple of days that has all gone out the window. I have been getting up when the alarm beeps at 5:30am. I have been jumping in the shower right away, getting dressed, drying and curling my hair, and putting on my makeup. Then on goes the full apron so that I don't get dirty while making breakfast or packing my lunch. While enjoying my second cup of coffee(yes I need that caffeine to get moving), I discuss with Hubby what his plans are for the day. He is homebound because I am taking our only car. But he is a homebody at heart so it doesn't bother him. I just assume that he will have my dinner ready for me when I get home at night because that is what I did when he served on jury duty. Then I rush out the door to drive in rush hour traffic to the court house. As I am driving, I briefly glance to see if I have gas in the car. I make a mental note that I will have to get gas in the next few days if jury duty continues.

Every morning I have to leave very early so that I can get a parking space. The courthouse parking lot is very woefully insufficient to handle all of the employees and all of the jurors that have been summoned plus all of the attorneys, and people who are there for another trial, etc. If you don't get there early, you have to park down the street and take a long walk to get to the courthouse. I would get there about 1 hour early and within 15 minutes every spot in the parking lot would be taken and people would be driving around and around looking for a a space then going back out to park somewhere on the street. The building wouldn't open until 8:30AM for us. I would watch as the employees would start trickling in about 7:45AM.

On our lunch break I would go back out to my car and eat my lunch. I wouldn't dare go home for lunch or move my car for any other reason because I knew that the parking space would not be there when I returned. I would watch other people return from lunch frustrated because they couldn't find a space. Then they would have to hunt in the street again for one. On the second day yesterday, as I ate my lunch during the 2 hour lunch break the judge gave us, I looked up and so many people were eating their lunches in their cars and not moving them either. They learned that lesson the day before.

I would check in by calling Hubby every lunchtime to see how he was doing. The first day the call would have amused most of you. After talking with Hubby a few minutes, he says to me,"What did you plan for dinner?" I said,  "I expected you to make dinner and have it ready for when I get home". He says " I don't know what you have here to eat or what to fix." I said " Honey, there are three food pantries, a freezer and a fridge with a freezer with lots of food. Didn't you plan dinner this morning? Did you pull something out of the freezer to thaw?" He says " No. I thought maybe you took care of that before you left." What he says and what I actually hear are two different things. What I hear when I listen is I am too lazy to plan, prepare, and fix dinner. Sure enough, he then says to me, "Could you pick up dinner on the way home from court?" So I picked up submarines at Subway on my way home.

I was so glad that I did. I was so exhausted when I got home that I poured a glass of Moscato which I drank with my submarine. The last thing I needed to do was make dinner and do dishes.  After I ate, I went to lay down to take a nap because I was so tired. I never woke up until yesterday morning to start all over again. Now don't get me wrong, Hubby did empty the dishwasher, do all of the breakfast dishes, and keep the house picked up. Yesterday he actually entertained two guests who unexpectedly showed up at our home.  I was so disappointed that I missed them. Hubby was actually thoughtful enough to take a picture of them so that I could see them but it still wasn't the same.     

These past two days I have felt like I am working again and out of retirement. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about jury duty. It is my civic duty as it is for everyone over 18 years of age in the U.S. It just makes me remember why we retired. This so much feels like I am working again!

I am enjoying it even though it is a lot of waiting around until the judge summons us into his courtroom. Then on breaks and lunch, it is a lot of waiting around until we have to go back to the courtroom while the process of selecting a jury continues. The process is very interesting but that is a topic for another day.

So as organized as I am, it's been crazy. Every morning, I rush and rush. I make a breakfast of either eggs and sausage or ham because I know that the protein will sustain me until lunch time. Cereal or other carbs won't.

I have been packing a lunch of sliced cheese, dry salami, triscuits, and some peaches that I canned last year. I always make sure that I have two refilled water bottles with me. The building is hot and by about noon you are so dryed out that you really need to drink a lot of water.  I also add some carrot sticks to my Bento box. 

I take my lunch with me every day, my purse, my makeup bag because of course I have to refresh my makeup at lunch. And I also take a book to pass the time in my car. Yesterday I spent some time talking with my best friend, JoAnne, who lives in Chicago. It was wonderful to chat with her and catch up on all of her family and what she has been doing. I miss her. When we lived  close by each other, we saw each other every day for our morning walks. Now it is a long plane ride to see each other.

I also miss chatting with all of you each day. It would be nice to get back to posting every weekday.  However late yesterday afternoon, I was picked as a juror for a trial. I was sworn in and so I start again tomorrow. The judge estimates the trial will take 2-3 weeks. So it is going to be a while before I get to posting normally around here. Please be patient, I will be back.

I have today off(yes, that does sound like I am working). So I have to spend today doing laundry so that I have clean clothes each day, going to the bank to deposit some checks, picking up drugs that have been sitting at the drugstore, making a return, picking up a few groceries for lunches, filling the car up with gasoline, and planning and preparing dinner.

I also have to plan lunches and dinners for the next couple of weeks so that things are going more smoothly around here. More on that this weekend. 

I hope you all have a great rest of the week.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It Most Likely Will Be Another Long Day

It was a very long day yesterday. I came home exhausted. I ate dinner and went straight to bed. It is going to be another full day at jury duty.

I can't wait until it gets back to normal around here.
I hope you guys have a wonderful saving day. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I Have Been Called

I have been called for jury duty on Monday. So I will be doing my civic duty. I will pop in when and if I can. 

American Dreamer

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Two Words That I Have Always Hated

There are two words that I have always hated. I always have to catch myself and make sure that I am not using them. I hate to hear other people use them. To me they are an excuse that doesn't hold much merit. The only time I can tolerate them is if there is a medical issue. By now you probably know those two words. They are: I Can't.

I can't do that. I can't save any money. I can't cook every night. I can't clean the house. I can't find frugal food. I can't learn anything new. I can't live off a budget. I can't organize my home. This list can go on an on.

When I hear these words, I cringe. I want to scream but "You Can".  When I hear I can't do that, I hear you say but I don't want to. When I hear that you can't save any money, I hear that you don't want to try etc., etc. 

In today's world, there isn't anything you can't do unless you are medically or mentally challenged. With google and You Tube, you can learn how to do almost everything. We live in such a great informational world. No longer do I have to go to the library and bring home books and research what I want to do. I can do it with the push of a button. There are so many things that I have learned with these sources. 

Hubby and I have always been DIY people up until Hubby has had recent back issues. Back issues that prevent him from doing certain chores. Most of them I have taken on except for the outside work. Fortunately, we never used the words we couldn't save money. The savings is what helps us afford the help now. But most things we can still DIY and if we don't know how to, we learn via the internet.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard the words I can't save any money. I would be rich! I can't save any money is an excuse. What the person is really saying is, I don't want to give up anything to do that.  Every one can save some money every week. I don't care if you make $18,000. a year or $100,000. a year, you can save money every week. Back when we weren't making much money when we first got married, we started saving $10. a week. It was not easy. There were so many things that we could have spent that extra $10. on. We did that faithfully every week and we did not ever touch that savings account. When we felt we could save more we challenged ourselves to save $15. a week, then $20. then $30. then $40. then $ 50. etc. 

If you feel your budget is too tight, find a way to save $1. a week, then $2. a week and keep upping it until you are comfortable. Once you start looking for ways to save, you will be amazed at how much you can put away every week. But you have to want to. If you aren't willing to give anything up to save that money, then you are saying I don't want to not you can't. I can't is just an excuse. 

I am sure that we have all seen people who made or make $50,000. to $100,000. a year or more who say they can't save any money. They buy things on credit because they feel they deserve them and get themselves into major debt. We see magazine articles or stories about these people all of the time. Their biggest whining is about how they can't save any money so they can't get out of debt. Yet, they aren't willing to give anything up. They buy monthly gym memberships, go to the movies weekly, eat out 2-3 times a week, buy stuff every week that they don't need, send the girls to dance lessons, send the boys to camp and I could go on and on. But you get the idea. None of these things are prohibitive but not if you have no savings and are in debt.

I have seen so many people in my lifetime who go out to dinner every week because they say I can't. I can't cook is a really big excuse. I couldn't cook when I got married either but I learned from cookbooks that I borrowed from the library. Today you can learn from the internet. If you are going out to eat 2-3 times a week it isn't because you can't cook, it's because you don't want to. Try to turn off that TV program at night or stop spending time on meaningless gaming and instead research something on You Tube or google something that will save you money in your kitchen whether that be a new recipe or how to save a buck on your shopping. 

The one that I hear all of the time is "excuse the looks of my home, I don't have time to clean". I hear I don't want to clean because it isn't a priority. Everyone is busy today but I believe that everyone can take the time to spend 30 minutes a day picking up, cleaning, or doing laundry during the week. Then you and your family can pick one room a week to pick up or clean for an hour on the weekends. That keeps a home pretty clean. Schedule those chunks of  time out every week and your life will be less stressful because you and your family aren't living in a mess. Do the same with getting organized. Take 15 minutes while something is cooking to clean out a cupboard or drawer in the kitchen. Steal minutes of time here and there and eventually everything will get organized.

For some reason and especially at social gatherings where it seems to come up, I hear food is so expensive. I am spending $700. to $1000. a month for my family of 4 to eat. I want to ask what are you eating? Where are you shopping? Do you have an Aldi's? When I ask if they have looked at what they are eating and what alternatives they have for buying food cheaper, I hear it's impossible to spend less. In other words they don't want to. They don't want to take the time or they don't want to learn. I want to take them shopping next week and teach them so that they can save $200. to $500. a month. 

When people are in debt, they usually do not have a budget or they don't stick to it. When I hear I can't live off a budget, I hear we don't want to or I know that their budget isn't working and it needs to be recalculated. If you can't live with a budget, you will never get out of debt. 

The one I really hate is hearing I am too old to learn anything new. I hear this from people who are 30 something right up to 60-80 year olds. What you are really saying is I don't want to be bothered learning anything new. I will be 70 years old this year and I can truly say that I have never stopped learning nor will I ever stop learning. If I can learn something new every week, you all can to. You just have to want to.

Learning is the reason that Hubby and I live so well in retirement. We learned from before we even married with the choice of education we chose. Then when we married, we spent a lot of time learning about finance and the stock market. We learned what jobs paid what and what jobs had what benefits. We didn't get where we are today without researching everything. That is how we made the best choices for our family. Hubby took promotions when they would benefit us. Our family was always at the forefront of our decisions. Hubby turned down two substantial promotions when they would have uprooted our family. One would have sent us to New York City and one to another large city in NY. Both would have not been to our or our childrens' benefit. Could we have made more money if we had gone to either place? Yes, lots more money! So you see we didn't always just take the money into consideration, we took what would be best for our family into consideration. We did not believe that living in these cities would be best for us. We researched housing, other costs of living, and schools and said no. We did this each time knowing that he might never be offered another promotion but that turned out not to be the case fortunately. 

As we had to make a repair in our homes or maintain our cars, we researched and did it ourselves. Hubby taught himself everything that he knows to this day by researching and learning. He did all repairs, all maintenance, all electrical and plumbing in our home. This just didn't come natural to him. He sought out the knowledge. Anyone can do the same.

So the next time you hear yourself say I can't, stop and really think about what you are saying. What can you do to change that? I do that every day when I don't want to clean, when I don't want to cook, etc. The way you think about those things will affect your bottom line.    

Sorry if this is so long but due to unforeseen circumstances, I wasn't able to post yesterday. Hence the long post today.

I want to remind all of you that I may be on jury duty starting on Monday. I will find out tonight and if I am called I will let you know. Those days that I am serving, I may not be able to post. We will see how long those days go.

I hope all of you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and a terrific weekend. We will be celebrating St. Patrick on Sunday evening when my daughter in law and grandson fly back from a trip to Disney World. She surprised my grandson this week with a 4 day timeshare trip. My son stayed back because he had to work. Fortunately our snow storm stopped about 2PM the last day and they were able to fly out that night to Orlando. 

A P.S. to Chris: As you are trying to catch up on all of my blog posts, I am trying to catch up replying to all of your wonderful comments. I have not forgotten you. I am replying to as many as I can each day.