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cadberry last won the day on January 9

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  1. We have been on "Stay in Place" since Wednesday and before that it was "encouraged" - but my job is still open (gov't) and unless/until they offer administrative leave, I am not inclined to burn through my personal leave and our office doesn't have the equipment to let people work remotely. We have the capability, just not the equipment. They have supposedly ordered 5 laptops for our 14-person office. Three people do need to stay home because of age and/or underlying health conditions, so that leaves two that they want to hold in reserve in case someone else needs it because of exposure or illness. Our office space is set up so we are not on top of each other, social distancing was something we tended to do anyway (I work with a bunch of introverts), so I don't feel any more at risk about going to the office and back. They are allowing flexible schedules to reduce the number of people in the office at once. I took a personal day on Friday to help with that but also because I haven't had a day off since MLKJr in mid-January. I used the time to do a few things around the house I've been wanting to do.
  2. I don't know about you, but I'm getting corona-weary. I never thought I'd experience something like this in my lifetime. Previous generations had wars and unrest and uncertainty. I know 9/11 changed so much about how we lived our lives, but this coronavirus feels like it is changing our society on a more personal level. I don't know how long it will be before it peaks in our country, but I do know that how people communicate and interact with each other, for business, leisure, well-being is changing. In a way it feels like we're beginning to look up from our phones and other devices to see each other, and at a time when having the technology and communication network those same phones and devices represent provides a safe way to do so. DSHome's work is having him work from home a couple of days a week to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time. My office is allowing flexible hours between 6A and 7P plus half-day over the weekend. I don't have work-technology to allow me to work from the house at this point, but they may be working something out to get the right equipment to allow VPN. If that happens, I'll likely do a combo of working from home, working in the office, and taking some annual leave. Nothing is changing for DSAway as his classes were already online, and he wasn't planning to attend the graduation ceremonies, so if they are cancelled (as they probably will be), he'll not be disappointed or missing out on something he wanted to do. DH's biggest inconvenience was the closing of the public library. He had a book on hold that he was going to get last Saturday but they sent out the closing notice on Friday after they were already closed. But believe me, he will not run out of things to read based on the stack of books he's been meaning to get to at home. Because we buy loss-leaders and stock up routinely, we were not part of the "woe is me, I can't find toilet paper" crowd. We had purchased our three-month supply a few weeks ago. We did lay in some extra groceries so we don't have to go into the store / mingle with other people. Restaurants are still open in our area and we agreed to help support them as we can through take-out service a little more than usual. (It's nice to be in BS7 where we can do that.) What's been interesting to me is how much people are sharing with how to make the most of closed schools through instructional classes, information, etc. Virtual tours, exposure to art and opera and painting and all sorts of things. Businesses stepping in to help sustain their communities even when its costing them what little margin they may have. Big businesses expanding their community outreach. Anyway, I hope our LLNOE friends stay well and weather this storm successfully. Be safe. Be well.
  3. Happy New Year, fellow LLNOE'ers. We hope you have a prosperous 2020 and meet the financial goals you've set for yourself. It's hard to believe how much things have changed for us in the last year. As a recap, we inherited money from DH's father in 2018 but didn't make a decision about using it to pay off our debts until March 2019. We used some of the inheritance to clear us from BS2 and provide the balance necessary for BS3. I was able to increase my retirement contributions to meet BS4 (DH is already retired). And BS5 and BS6 were already handled. Which landed us tenderly in BS7. We don't take it lightly that we are in BS7. In fact, we are still working on aggressively replacing the inheritance money so we can feel like we didn't "rob Peter to pay Paul." Which means Christmas wasn't much more than a craft again this year, but we were able to do more giving to others than in years past. DH and I cancelled a vacation we had planned in September (more on that later in this post); instead we used our timeshare for a week with our guys post-semester end / pre-holidays. It was nice to have a vacation that I didn't feel like we were broke! We actually over-budgeted for the trip which I think surprised us all. The reason we cancelled our vacation in September is that I had a job change. For a variety of reasons, I left a place I had worked for nearly 3 decades to do the same work just somewhere else. A better environment, an opportunity to increase my skill set, and overall improvement in my quality of life. The new place was very generous in offsetting the benefits I was losing (my insurance, for example, was only $30/month for family plan at my former place as the rest was covered by the employer; my new job is $180. My new job offered more salary dollars to offset that difference among other things.) I have been so much happier since making the job change. (Oh, we had trip insurance on our vacation plans and even though we cancelled within penalty window, our trip insurance covered the difference so we didn't lose anything). Other accomplishments: DSHome graduated in December! He started a full time job in July in his field. He is looking forward to having "just work" now after doing a semester of full time school and full time work. We are so proud of him. He'll still be DSHome until he moves out hopefully by summer. He's been saving his money and has enough saved up for a car and moving expenses already. So we'll help him start looking for a dependable car this month and then an apartment in the spring. (He's our son with Asperger's so everything is a step at a time.) DSAway is one semester from graduating himself, but he's not sure what he wants to do / where he wants to live after college. He'll be participating in career fairs, etc., this month, and I'll continue "job coaching" him in terms of alerting him to possible positions of interest. His lease expires the end of July so he has until then to have his next steps figured out. As for me, while I love my new job, I am thinking about retirement. I'm 14 months away from being eligible, so I'll have some big decisions to make with DH later this year. I do want to have the inheritance money replaced before I retire, so that's a goal and will play into the timing. I am using Lloyd's spreadsheet to project how much each month we need to replace in order for me to retire at various points in time. Dhis 8 years older than I am, so I don't want to delay too long on retirement for us to enjoy some time before we're unable to physically. Thankfully I am enjoying my work and expect that to continue, so it's not like I will "need" to leave. Just things to consider. So all this said to say we are looking ahead to an exciting year ahead of us, finally with a feeling of financial peace!
  4. So there was a leak in the a/c for the vehicle to the tune of $875+. And our home a/c needed a relay replaced when we had its annual service, so that was $245 (inclusive of the annual service fee). We did get the new dishwasher but it is sitting in the garage until after our next payday. We are putting in the application for a $40 credit on our utility bill because of the new dishwasher. Everything was cash flowed and we were still able to add some to the savings, but not as much as we wanted. I had a slight panic moment last weekend when paying bills in that I thought I had missed the car payment and was going to be late... of course I hadn't, since we didn't have one! Our DSs are finishing up the semester; one more week for DS-away and two weeks for DS-home. DS-away will move home for summer to do his paid internship. Thirty hours a week, so that's more than he originally expected.
  5. cadberry

    Go away, Murphy

    At least it's not a big fix!
  6. Murphy is trying to knock on the door. Our 21-yr old dishwasher is on its last legs; we've kept it going the last couple of months while finishing up what we owed other people, but now we need to figure out what to do. We switched to using a different cycle which seemed to help, so we think something is wrong with the sensors, but even on the shortest cycle, it's still not reliable. We have $750 in the "home appliance replacement" fund that we could put towards it; there are several places that have sales ongoing and we've called the plumber to see what he would charge to do the installation. We have looked and with the sales going, it should fall within our budget. If we find with tax, etc., that we don't have enough to buy it and get it installed , we can delay the installation for a week or so. The other Murphy thing is the A/C on the car we just paid off is not working properly. We googled and found it's a relatively common problem with the type of vehicle. DH is calling the service department this week to find out what our options are. We have a car maintenance fund but if we need to replace the compressor, it will either have to wait or we'll have to move money from the dishwasher to the car and then just wait on the dishwasher replacement. We can wash dishes by hand a lot longer than we can drive around without a/c as we're heading into the warmer months (over 90 out yesterday). In the meanwhile, we'll tighten up the flexible spending areas so we can refill the sinking funds accordingly while still working towards rebuilding our savings. I am thankful that neither of these are emergencies.
  7. We've planned our first debt-free vacation! We're doing a weeklong cruise to Bermuda, paid for in cash. It will be later this year. This is the first vacation we've ever done that we haven't used a credit card to reserve / pay for. It's very cool to know that we aren't going to have to pay for it, because we've paid for it! Does that make sense? We budgeted for our onboard expenses and excursions, too, and have that set aside in a separate envelope. It feels a bit surreal to have a vacation to look forward to after not for so long.
  8. It's been a long time since I browsed the aisles at the grocery store. I shop with a list, with coupons, with the ad, with a relatively decent plan for what we're going to eat in the next week. I look for loss leaders, stock up where I can, etc. But today I took the time to actually look at the shelves and think about how we can add some variety to our "rice and beans" but still maintain an appropriate grocery budget. My "splurge" was a box of oven-ready gluten-free lasagna noodles that came with instructions for making the lasagna. It doesn't call for meat and the jarred sauce was BOGO as was the mozzarella and the store-brand ricotta cheese. I didn't know any of that when I picked up the box of noodles, but it sure made me happy that my "splurge" wasn't going to be so much of a "splurge" after all.
  9. cadberry


    So we've closed the BS2 chapter. BS3 is done, too, thanks to the inheritance from DH's father. BS4 - made the changes this week to bump up my retirement contributions to 15%. BS5 - well, both our sons will be done soon - one later this year and one next spring. Between prepaid college and their scholarships and part-time job earnings, it's covered (with a little help to DS-away as he's finishing). Our mortgage has been paid for years. So that brings us to BS7. We're ready for you! Dave always asks couples what the secret to getting out of debt is... I have to agree with all of those people who say Budgeting. Before we started this journey, we had a vague sense of where our money was going, but once we started envelopes, tracking, spreadsheets, CASH, well, we can tell you now exactly where our money has gone - and where it will be going. Just because we've paid off our debts doesn't mean we don't have sinking funds to fill. And oh yeah, we'd like to take a small, PAID FOR UP FRONT, vacation this year.
  10. Welcome back - it sounds like you've had a lot to deal with in the last few years, and now you're gaining control over the things you can.
  11. Good for you for continuing to pursue your degree, even while it takes up a lot of time.
  12. Miranova - it was definitely worth checking into.
  13. Miranova, I am glad your tenant is being understanding - we are beginning to see people being mad and unreasonable in our area about things that just take time no matter how many people you have working around the clock. While situations like these often bring people together, there are some who use the opportunity to raise points of conflict. It truly reveals a person's nature - those who tend to seek the good in things and serve others, and those who are only out for themselves. I hope you're able to get the place repaired and that it can happen quickly for the sake of the tenants. Thank you for the explanation about hurricanes and insurance - I didn't know how that worked.
  14. Let me begin by saying that we are well, we had no damage to our home, and our power and water are restored. However, half of our city is still without power (since Thursday night) and it may still be a few more days. We are blessed beyond measure to be where we are at this point. Next let me say that we are so thankful that we saved back some of DH's leave payout from his retirement because that has relieved some of the anxiety related to storm preparation and post-storm "survival". I had filled my car with gas, gotten our cash for the pay period, and we had postponed a trip to Sam's Club which would have filled our refrigerator for the month. Instead, when the storm hit and our power went out (36+ hours), I wasn't concerned about the contents of the frig because it wasn't much and we had our grocery money still intact. It was probably time to take everything out and do a deep scrub of the inside of the frig and freezer anyway. We have a deep freezer (chest style) in the garage but since DS moved to college, we won't be needing it (it's where we kept supplies of frozen pizza, waffles, etc., which we won't be buying as he was the only one who really ate them). In fact, we decided that we'll just shut it down for now and make do with our refrigerator's freezer, so that should save some electricity each month. Speaking of electricity, 36 hours of no air conditioning (or other power usage) should help our bill be a little bit lower. Our neighborhood is also on a well which means when the electricity is out, so it the water, so maybe our water bill will be down a little bit, too. However, our expenses for this will not be down as we made an early evening decision to leave town when we knew our electricity wasn't coming back before nightfall. Our DS at home has some health considerations that the heat and humidity and such were going to complicate, so we found a place a few hours north and spent two nights with air conditioning and running water! This is why I am thankful that we had the extra cash saved back from DH's leave payout, so we could do that. If it wasn't for DS, I would have just stuck it out another day to see what happened, but sometimes you just can't "wait and see." We packed as much food as we could take with us so we only had to spend money for the room, gas, and a wee bit of food. And while we were away, we visited a state park and tried to "salvage" the long weekend. We kept in touch with neighbors so we knew when the power was restored to our neighborhood and while we had made reservations through Monday (in case the power took longer to restore), as soon as we were notified, we made arrangements with the hotel to check out a day earlier. One of our grocery store chains runs a promotion occasionally where if you spend a certain amount on groceries, you can get a gas card for 20% off. We had done that in August and had $25 on the gift card. Plus I finally got around to joining the fuel rewards program, so we were able to use only the gas gift card for the fuel we needed. I'm still getting accustomed to how hotels process debit cards, so I'm glad we had the extra from DH's payout to "buffer" the "hold" they place on the debit card. Anyway, I'm glad we're getting settled again. The frig is clean and I went to the store for essentials. And only essentials. I hope if any of you reading this experienced Hermine that you came out without any damage or loss.
  15. cadberry

    It's August!

    You can do it! You have reasonable goals and a plan. Keep up the good work.
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