How I Keep Myself Wealthy

587fd5f944027151941214bdFor over forty-five years, the giant supermarket, Shop Rite, has been offering its customers a twice-a-year (January 1st and July 1st) savings bonanza entitled ‘The Can Can Sale‘ (click here). I’ve been going to this bi-annual event since 1987. That’s thirty years of stocking up on the basic essentials, as long as it came in a can! On each visit, I would buy enough to last me for 6 months until the next can can sale. That meant healthy caned fruit juices for my kids, oodles of tuna fish, peanut butter, fresh pasta sauces, coffee, vegetables, fruits and beans (to name a few of the many items offered at steep discounts) If you live within driving distance to the store, it’s worth the can-can sale trip!

FullSizeRenderSince it’s just DH and me now, our hoarding has narrowed down a bit. I still get cases of Tuttorossa plum and crushed tomatoes, Botticelli Virgin olive oil, Bumble Bee tuna fish, assorted canned beans (kidney, chick peas and white beans), olives and a few more canned incidentals. Instead of going twice a year, however, we go once and buy enough to last us throughout the year. The sale usually goes on for two weeks. This week I bought one case each of plum tomatoes and crushed tomatoes, a case of assorted canned beans, some cans of Bumble Bee tuna fish (packed in water) and 6 cans of small black olives. That savings came to $36.24.

Next week, Botticelli virgin olive oil will be marked down by $3.00 to only $9.99 a can. Last year this was marked down to $8.88 a can but in all honesty, over the years I’ve seen these can-can sales dwindle in value. Nonetheless, we use about one gallon of olive oil per month and if you’ve ever checked out the price of olive oil, it’s very, very expensive. Shop Rite’s can-can sales still offer great values. DH and I are both Italian, so cases of plum tomatoes and olive oil are staples in our family. Stocking up on these items alone is a great value to us. (every Sunday is still pasta night in our home!) We’ll be buying a case of olive oil which will be another savings of $36.00.

Another way we have saved money this past week/month/whatever was by buying a new, left-over, heavily discounted RV all set up for boondocking. What is boondocking you might ask? Boondocking is the ultimate way for any travel frugalista to well, travel. Boondocking means you are camping for free! Boondocking has been so popular that websites, YouTube videos and smart phone apps have been dedicated to it. Our RV is set up to be totally self-sufficient, solar ready (to heat water, work the fridge, keep the lights and TV on) has a large capacity water storage unit just perfect for a daily Navy-style shower, has a back up generator and enough propane to heat the RV, heat the water, run the BBQ or interior kitchen two-burner gas stove.  In other words, DH and I plan on doing a lot of traveling throughout America via boondocking; meaning much of our travel expenses will be null.

I downloaded a free app off of iTunes for my iPhone called Park Advisor (vs $9.99 for All Stays). It lets me know where all the free campsites are located (Wal Mart, casinos, military locations, public state and federal parkland) as well as rest stops, RV campsites (KOA & Good Sam’s and other private camp grounds) the nearest gas station, restaurant and help center. If there’s a phone available, I just click and call for more information. Directions are just another quick click away. On the first night we got our RV we stayed at a campground that cost $60 a night, but I got a 10% discount with my Good Sam’s card. Nonetheless, we paid $54 for a full hook up. Next night, I used the app while we were on the road, the app found the closest Wal Mart AND gave us directions to the location. DH and I had a great nights sleep, for free. Got up the next morning, DH was able to brew us some coffee and we had a few muffins for breakfast before we were out on the road again.

Total cost: ZERO. Now, that’s the new way I like traveling. Times have certainly changed.

Another bonus on the road traveling: the discovery of Panera Bread cafe’s. It’s nice to get a good, organic, clean, chilled and healthy salad on the road. We joined Panera Bread’s frequent customer appreciation program and we will be getting some nice rewards (free food) on our many trails.

Plan on hearing some more good RV savings from me in addition to my landlubber savings. Retirement is all about keeping down expenses while doing more things, adding on more activities and more adventures. At least, that is what it is for me!

Live well and prosper, my friend. Lie well and prosper.

It’s RV DeJa Vu All Over Again

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All hooked up and ready to roll!

DH and I spent the entire July 4th holiday weekend driving out to Michigan, picking up our brand new (left over 2017 model) RV Hummingbird Jayco Model 17RB and then hauling it back home to New York. If we had purchased this same exact model in New York, it would have cost us $22,000. If we had purchased it in Florida, it would have cost us $20,000 BUT by buying it and picking it up in Michigan (thus eliminating any destination or delivery fees PLUS it was a leftover, year end model) we got the unit for $14,800 (and this includes a $218 make-ready fee, which was fine with us because New York wanted to charge us a $1,000 make-ready fee).

The entire round trip for us cost us $394 cash for gas, breakfast and dinner (3 each) and a $99 hotel fee for the first night before we picked up our RV. Once we got our RV we boondocked all the way back home. We financed this purchase because we’re not fully retired (more on DH’s so-called retirement later on) AND since we still own two homes, I don’t want to touch our cash reserves just yet. So, what we did was pay off our previous zero-interest charge cards (due to remodeling  and new furniture costs) to the tune of $13,097.89 to make ready for this new loan. I know, I know, I know, we’re not supposed to go into debt when this close to retirement but here’s my justification:

There is no justification. No excuses. What we did makes perfect financial sense to DH and myself. We exchanged one debt for another, all payable within our monthly passive income should a calamity come our way. Both our homes and both our cars are paid for. Other than what I mentioned, we have no debt. The interest we are paying on the RV loan is tax deductible (as it’s considered a 2nd home). I consider this a lateral move with no stress whatsoever on our budget. The loan has no pre-payment penalty so if DH decides to sell his car, or we sell one of our homes, the debt will be paid off in full.

The only negative thing that happened with the loan was this: I was quoted, in writing (thankfully) the length, term and monthly cost of my loan, $142 per month. Naturally, when I got to sign the financial papers, the quote was changed to $162. I was told that that was because they couldn’t give me a 12 year loan as promised. They could only do a 10 year loan. Granted, yes, the salesman told me I should be happy because my loan would be paid off quicker. A light bulb moment went off in my head. NO! I said. You’re making me pay $2,400 more over the life of the loan! Then I made the light bulb connection……..MY AGE………I’m 66 and the bank wants its money back ASAP. To make a long story short, I showed the salesman my quote. That’s the reason, I told him, I’m here buying the RV. Honor it or I’m gone…….They honored it. End of story.

If anyone out there has ever applied for an RV loan, it’s one of the most difficult loans to get. Why? Because RVs are considered luxury items. The salesman told me I had an excellent credit score (near800) and I told him I am a fanatic with paying off my debts on time and in full as much as possible. I have graphs and spreadsheets and calendar reminders….I’m a nut…….But having that great score opened up a brand new door for DH and myself. Now, we can finally get to travel all over the United States, plus Canada, and a convoy trip to Alaska. My friends back in Newport RI keep clamoring and asking when I’ll be back. Our family in California and Colorado keep asking us when we will be there to visit with them. Paying for airfare, hotels (think:bedbugs) and worrying about my dog has been such a drag since I gave up my previous RV two years ago. I worked the numbers and because there is so much DH and I want to see and do, going back to RVing was our only thrifty solution.  Our main goal is to travel cross country and see the National Parks, especially The Grand Canyon and Zion National Park.

Now we can.

Here are some quick iPhone shots I took of our new RV. It’s only 17 ft long. As I said, if you go small (like DH and I always do) you can have it all. Don’t mind all the tags hanging down. The oven is a microwave/convection that also triples as a grill. Sweet. We have an interior flat screen TV (DH has to hook it up) and indoor/outdoor (bluetooth & USB) stereo music AM & FM radio and CD/DVD player. The bed is queen size. We have a full separate bathroom in the back with sink, shower stall and toilet (not those all-in-one toilet/shower combos……ewwwwww!) We have tons of space (even a linen closet in the bathroom). The unit is solar ready (for when we boondock) also has an outdoor shower (for when we party hardy at the beach), an outdoor hook up for a flat screen TV with satellite and cable and it has an outdoor gas grill. The electric awning has multi-color flashing LED lights if we want to turn the RV into a disco (tee hee….thinking seriously about that!) and we have one slide-out which makes the kitchen/eating area a bit more roomier.

You’ll have to excuse me for now. DH and I are exhausted. I need to sleep now. DH has to go back to work tomorrow. Oh, which BTW, they are so happy with the quality of his work, the company made DH the project manager. This means he got an instant raise PLUS a sign-on bonus, which went right into The Grand Canyon Fund. DH has once again delayed his so-called retirement, which as long as he continues to stay healthy, is fine with me. He’s happy. And our bank account is super happy. Go figure!

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LED lights under awning turn red, green, blue, yellow & white via remote control

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Fridge with freezer, microwave/convection/grill oven

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Two gas burner, sink, exhaust overhead, spice rack, ample storage space

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Overhead storage space (above kitchen table)

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queen size bed (messy, I have to tidy up) kitchen table fold down to another bed

separate sink and shower

bathroom has separate shower stall w curtain, free standing sink

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RVs best feature: your own toilet. Linen closet behind mirror

More Frugal Gourmet Dinners

I’ve been on a cooking roll this week! Creative as ever but always with a watchful eye towards the bottom line. First up: cheddar cheese asparagus quiche (made with evaporated fat free milk) Delish. Next: sauteed chicken, onions, peas and tomatoes in garlic olive oil, tossed with feta cheese over spaghetti. Double delish!

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This Was A Week For Stupid Tax

Apparently, DH and I are NOT paying attention to our financial matters. This can be a problem as you will soon find out when you hear about all the stupid tax fees we got hit with this week!

At the start of every work week, DH is given $60 in cash (his calculations, not mine). This is supposed to cover his gas and any little emergencies that might come up. Unfortunately, DH considers a little emergency buying himself a bottle of flavored seltzer each and every afternoon ($2) and an occasional candy bar (despite packing both candy & bottled water in his lunch box). DH says he works hard and he deserves these treats. Throw in a banana every once in a while at a buck a-piece for good luck.

On Friday, DH’s car ran out of gas. He just barely made it to the gas station only to find out their network was down and he couldn’t use his credit card. Why did DH want to use his credit card to buy gas after he had his allotted weekly sixty bucks to supposedly cover this expenditure? Because he had no cash! How could he when he’s spending about 33% of his alloted allowance on soda, candy bars and bananas? The gas station attendant told him their ATM machine was working if he needed cash to buy gas. DH called me first before using the ATM where I promptly scolded him for mishandling his money so improperly. DH’s solution was for me to give him more cash for the week. Really? I don’t think so.

Anyway, DH was stuck at that gas station because he let his gas tank go so low he couldn’t drive to another gas station or find one of our bank’s ATM machines. DH used the gas station’s ATM machine where he was immediately charged a $3 fee and our bank also charged another $3. SIX DOLLARS TO TAKE OUR OWN MONEY OUT OF THE BANK! I called our bank the next day to request a refund and they told me they eliminated that benefit a year ago. This was the first time in 16 years, since we first started banking with this bank, that I ever had to pay any ATM fees. The bank didn’t care about my loyalty or good behavior. DH and I were now out $6.00 because of his inability to manage his own life. Yes, things happen BUT when you are on a fixed income, things like this should be easy to avoid.

This wasn’t the end to bank fees, however. I needed a bank check this week as the down payment on our new RV. The bank charged me $10 for this privilege. WHAT? I usually got this service free because of all the total funds we have deposited in this bank. No more, said the clerk. “We stopped that two years ago“. That shows you how long it has been since I have used any of the bank services.

The next two faux pas are my fault. I usually pay all of the bills near the end of the month when I get my SS check. This month the check came in super late and I was NOT paying attention to all the due dates. I paid two bills one day late AND got charged $27 and $5 for these two stupid tax errors respectively. The first was on DH’s credit card, which he promptly called and got the money refunded (as it was his first offense) with no bad mark on his credit file. The second was to a utility company and no, they weren’t waving the fee. Too bad.

The total amount for this week of Stupid Tax came to $48! When you are on a fixed income, as DH and I try to be on, we can not be making mistakes like this. Forty-eight dollars is an awful lot of money. Almost half of a weekly grocery shopping spree. That would have meant buying less groceries for a week if we didn’t have a back up savings account. It was just pure carelessness on both of our parts. Now that I am aware of our joint stupidity, it’ll probably never happen again.

FullSizeRenderExcept that DH called me late yesterday, after work as he still was in the company parking lot. He needed gas again and he ran out of cash. (if I give him more cash he’ll just buy more stuff, so more cash is NOT the answer). This time I was better prepared and technically, so was he. He had enough gas in his car to shop around if need be. I had more money in our debit card account and I told him to fill up to $25.

Starting next week, his cash allowance will be reduced and he will use the debit card for gas.

I hope he enjoys his seltzer treats.

Live well and prosper, my friend.

Live well and prosper.

Is A Recession On Its Way?

expansions-1There’s no doubt that a recession is coming. After 8+ years of expansion, the third largest in US history, it’s only natural that our good times (?) will soon be ending. When we have bloggers, such as Mr. Money Mustache writing posts about an upcoming recession (Great News: There’s Another Recession Coming), then we all know for sure one is on its way!

Mr. Money Mustache has these words of wisdom:

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the US economy in recent years, you might notice that things are looking pretty darned rosy. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 40 years, wages are rising, and house prices have not only recovered from their fiery crash of 2009 – they have had several years of record breaking prices in most regions, just like the stock market.

It’s a lot easier to fix your problems right now, with a stiff economic tailwind at your back, than it will be in just a couple of short years (or less?) when the high seas and lighting bolts and whirlpools are ripping at your pockets. Fair weather preparations include:

  • Rake in your big paycheck while it lasts and don’t blow it on temporary luxuries
  • Keep your living footprint efficient – in expensive cities this is a great time to rent, and not a great time to spring for the sprawling home of your dreams on a big mortgage.
  • Eliminate any last shreds of consumer and student loan debt.
  • With the stock market at higher price-to-earnings ratio than usual, there is less harm in paying off your mortgage earlier, keeping six months of living expenses in cash or money market funds, and other non-stock investments like rental properties in low-cost cities (where reliable rent is over 1% of total property price per month).
  • Design your career and your self-employment side gigs so that they are resilient: multiple streams of income from different sources, and an easy answer for “What would I do if my job or industry ceased to exist?

My own rule of thumb, as crude as it may be is HGTV. During the 2008 Great Recession, which hosted the biggest collapse in the housing industry, I don’t know how that cable television station stayed in business. Its whole core operating system is based on the housing market. No housing, no tickee. Yet, somehow HGTV hung on and did more decorating shows than renovating. Have you recently spent a Saturday afternoon watching HGTV lately? Their entire lineup seems to be an endless supply of young, fresh-faced, eager couples, intent on buying as many fixxer-uppers as they can, renovate them back from the bone up and then flip the house for a neat, clean profit. Sound familiar? Yup, it’s 2008 all over again.

Two indicators of a recession are the housing market and the car sales market. To me, the housing market has slowly gotten out of control again (see above). Perhaps, unbeknownst to you, BUT a lot of people lately have been getting easy credit car loans and guess what? They’ve been defaulting. Sub-prime auto loans (just like the housing sub-prime loans) have been on the rise since 2015 AND in equally rising default numbers since 2015. Why have these red flags gone un-noticed?

Also, you can’t walk away from a car loan default like you can with a mortgage default. When you take out a loan to buy a car, somewhere in all those papers you signed is a clause that states if your car is repossessed, you are still personally responsible for the balance of the loan and all the interest and related fees that go with it. Those collections and wage garnishments can go on for years, long after your car is gone.

Ouch. Looks like this recession is going to hurt. Literally!

So, as Mr. Money Mustache (and I) ask: should you be worried? No, of course not says the Mister. After all: who cares about the price of gasoline, or affording cholesterol pills, or how to make the next truck payment, when you’re a wiry and muscular Mustachian, riding your swift and sensible bike a few miles to work and banking almost all of your enormous paycheck every two weeks? As for me, I don’t ride a bike nor have truck payments BUT I do worry about my cholesterol pills and the price of gasoline. I’m on a fixed income and I do live from Social Security paycheck to Social Security paycheck. And it’s not enormous. The best way for me to prepare for the upcoming recession is to make sure I am no longer  in debt, have ample savings in the bank and continue (no matter what) to live slightly below my means.

I know for sure a recession is coming. The only unknown is when. Statistics state it will be within the next two to three years. Personally, as the country’s luck will have it, it’ll probably be much sooner. In any event, I’m getting ready for it today. Paying down debt, reigning in spending, stockpiling as much cash as possible, de-cluttering and continuing to live small. That’s my key to a successful recession roller coaster ride. When you know it’s coming, it’ll be a lot more fun (if you consider recessions fun, that is) if you’re prepared.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

 

 

Aldi Is Turning Into Just Another American Rip-Off Food Store.

I did my regular weekly (I’ll use that term lightly and I’ll tell you why in a second) shopping at Aldi this morning. Have you noticed more and more products just aren’t on the shelves anymore? For instance: ready-made pie crusts. It’s been three weeks and still no pie crusts at my neighborhood Aldi. I specifically went into Aldi today (instead of Wednesday, my usual day) to buy dog food. The bag just doesn’t seem to last as long as it used to despite me feeding my doggie a bit less every day.

I was told they were out of the dog food because Aldi was having the packaging redone. That was an odd answer, don’t you think? Are they getting a new supplier? I asked. No, was the response. Just new packaging.

New packaging?

It wasn’t until I got home from shopping at Aldi did I understand what the term ‘new packaging’ meant. Take a look at the ‘new packaging’ large can of coffee I always buy at Aldi:

coffee

‘new packaging’ means 30 less cups of coffee for the same price of $5.29

I bought a new can of coffee at Aldi, paid the same price I have always been paying, $5.29 but when I went to pour some of the old remaining coffee grounds into the new can I made a startling discovery. The new can (on the left)was much smaller than the old can (on the right), contained 3 ounces less than the old can, which turns out to be 30 less cups of coffee than the old can! I started looking around at all of the other products I had been buying at Aldi and I noticed I had been shortchanged on many other items, such as cookies (9 biscotti instead of 10) dry goods (15 ounces instead of 16) pasta (12 ounces instead of 16) and so on and so on.

Aldi has now officially become like all the other rip-off grocery stores in America.

This was probably why I had to do my weekly shopping twice-a-week vs once-a-week and why my monthly food budget rose from $350 a month to almost $500!! DH and I kept running out of stuff long before 7 days have passed. These last two shopping weeks, I have been buying double of what we always eat (such as chocolate, bread, cereal, sliced turkey and block cheese) Even with the double shopping, there just never seemed to be enough food in the pantry. DH was always hungry.

I’m going to have to start looking at things more deeply now. I seem to be affected by a triple threat: buying twice, preparing more and eating less.  Hmmmm? In the interim, here’s what I’ve been doing lately to seemingly save some money on food:

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I’ve been making my own refrigerator pickles

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savings bits of leftover fruit in the freezer for smoothies

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here’s a strawberry smoothie, with a bit of plain yogurt

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marinated Greek chicken breasts (garlic, lemon juice, oregano, olive oil)

What To Expect In Your 60’s

th-1This month’s AARP magazine (click here) has a ‘surprising snapshot’ about what we all can expect in our 60’s regarding our health and wealth. Sure we have a few challenges along the way, but when you get right down to it, our 60’s can be a whole lotta fun. It’s the time when we have the money and the resources to do what we always wanted to do. We aren’t afraid to career-jump, travel, spend money, find our passion, balance and party-hearty (I’m guilty of that last one…….)

Did you know that we 60-year-olds spend about $90 a day? We lead the nation in workforce growth, have incredibly high credit scores, are less stressed out about money (after all, our mortgages are paid off) and we all look great as a result? We may party too hearty BUT we carry that partying into our bedrooms. We probably take daily multi-vitamins and we also get our annual exams thus keeping our blood pressure, sugar count and cancer screenings in check. We’re keeping up with the news, staying in contact thanks to social media, we know what matters most, we tend to be charitable and we live our faith. Amen to that!

In our 60’s we’re also very adventurous. Now is the time for us to see Zion National Park, take that cruise down the Danube River and finally for the first time ever, drive that fancy sports car! Over 40% of boomers have a travel wish list (guilty!) like to bask in the sun (guilty!) bathe in the sea (guilty!) enjoy bringing the family along but now, secretly plan on having fun at Disney with or without them (guilty as charged, baby!)

If you thought your 30’s, 40’s or even your 50’s were fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet. For me, turning and being in my 60’s was the chance to finally toss off all the negative feelings and emotional crap I had clinging to my mind and body (BTW, we ladies in our 60’s love, love, love yoga and meditation…..who knew?) I don’t give a rats ass what anyone has to say about me, mumble about me or spread rumors about me. This is MY time now and no one, including you, is going to ruin my almost last and final chance to live a good and fulfilling life. I’m having fun and enjoying my new-found freedom with my same-age wonderful new friends!

Your 60’s is also a time to give back to your community. I’ve teamed up with a long time friend of mine (46 years and counting) who for over twenty-five years has been working with women who are recovering from cancer. She helps fit women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy and radiation with either custom-made or OTC wigs, hairpieces, scarves, hats and sometimes make-up to hide their scars. I’ve been working on her website and have been instrumental in her press releases and promotion. In the very near future, I hope to be accompanying her when she does a wig consultation. Her office or your home, she will meet the needs of these women and help them get through one of the most difficult times in their life.

Enjoy your sixties. Welcome them into your life. They are the gateway to your seventies and if all my summations are correct, our 70’s are going to be even brighter than our 60’s.

Live well and prosper, my friends. Live well and prosper.

 

Debt Snowball Report.

We started on May 30th, and to date so far we have paid off $4,746.98 of zero-based credit card debt. We plan on paying another $2,621.31 by the end of June. In the interim, we paid our HOA quarterly fee of $1226, got a certified bank check for $1,500 as our RV down payment and somehow managed to put an additional $1,650 into our savings account. WHEW!

Then we will be taking a break from paying down our debt for the first two weeks of July because we’ll be in Michigan picking up our new RV. On our way back we’ll be spending a few days at the Letchworth State Park in upstate New York (click here).

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Letchworth is oftentimes referred to as  ‘The Grand Canyon’ of the east. DH and I have been looking forward to visiting the state park for some time. Now, with our RV, it will be possible.

Once we are back from vacation, we will be ‘attacking’ the last strand of old consumer debt in the amount of $5,729.60. We set up a six week plan of paying $955 a week (with a final adjustment on week #6). Once this final debt has been paid off, DH and I will have paid off approximately $13,097.89 in consumer debt (not including the HOA, RV down payment or savings).

Why are DH and I so gung-ho in paying off this zero-based consumer credit debt (after all, it’s at 0% and we have many more months to go)? We did it to make way for NEW consumer debt, in the guise of the RV loan, which will be slightly under $15K and spread out over 10 years. DH was fortunate to take on this high-paying project work purposely to pay off the old debt and make way for the new debt. Once DH complete this job, it will be his last. He will officially retire. He will probably sell his car (since we won’t need two cars anymore) and pay off the RV loan balance in full. Could we have waited? Should we have waited before we bought the RV? In retrospect……..NO…….life begins today. Especially when you are in your sixties and life is ebbing away. Let the young work, toil and save. We sixty-somethings have a time limit.

Once DH officially retires at the end of August, come September DH, the dog and I will pack up our RV and start touring America.

Go west, old man. Go west.

And so we shall.

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There are over three separate falls at Letchworth.

Want It All? Think Small.

thThe only way, I have been able to afford it “all” is by thinking and buying small. I’m not saying ‘tiny’ but I am saying small. By owning a small house, small car, small vacation home, small boat, small RV and by living small, I’ve been able to have everything I wanted. I know my way of reasoning has been contrary to the usual mode of thinking but over the decades, my living small has worked out perfectly for me. By reducing the size of almost everything, I’ve been able to have more, enjoy more and afford more.

My homes have never been more than a few square feet over 1000. Smaller homes mean smaller: cleaning expenses, maintenance costs, living expenses, furniture requirements and utility costs. Space is a premium, so you are compelled to only buy and store what you need. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The only thing that is big in my life is my bank account. By living the smallish lifestyle I can save more money and build up more wealth. I have found over the years that living with less has actually made me happier. I detest clutter, so nothing gives me greater joy than living in an environment that is affordable, cleanable, maintainable and within budget. I don’t buy anything other than what’s necessary for me and DH. I don’t envision parties or guests or family members nor do I make room for their infrequent visits. That’s what backyards or the local neighborhood diner is for.

I was given a gift in my lifetime. There was a period in my life when I was able to clearly see what was most important in my life. That’s when the stock market crashed in 2001 and almost everything I owned was either gone or taken away. I was living large and over leveraged.  My lifestyle was technically ‘rented’. It didn’t take long for me to default on my responsibilities, have my savings and checking accounts seized, my car repossessed. It was through the grace of God that I sold my home one day before it went into foreclosure. The equity I made on the sale got me out of all my troubles BUT not without teaching me a very valuable lesson. Every night, before I fell asleep, I would say this prayer I composed, to God:

Thank you God for my comfy bed

And the roof above my head

Every day a hot shower and three meals I’m fed

Thank you, Lord for this homestead 

If you have a comfortable bed to sleep in every night, a safe environment to live in, access to hot water and ample nutritious food, you my dear friend, are living large. Very large indeed. Learn what is most important in your life and live smaller.

Manage with less. Do without.

Live small and you can have it all.

I Feel Terrific! Best In Years.

It took my cardiologist a bit of time and experimentation to finally get my meds in balance (in the beginning statins and other drugs he prescribed were making me sick, nauseous, weak and depressed) BUT I am happy to report that these last three weeks, I have felt terrific. With no end in sight! I got my nighttime sleeping habit (or lack thereof) under control and I am actually going to sleep at night at a decent hour (around midnight, a BIG improvement from 3AM!) and waking up in the morning at a reasonable hour: 5AM (instead of noon!) I’m breathing much better at night, thanks to ‘Breathe Right’ nose strips (I have a deviated septum).

My whole body seems to be functioning much better and clearer. I guess my arteries are running smoother, my heart must be beating better and everything feels like it’s doing what it was supposed to do all along. But, I must say that the Number One thing that is gone from my life, which, if you have been following my blog, was a BIG Hindrance Factor (BHF), is gone! And that BHF was stress! I finally chucked it to whatever was irking me and said to hell with it all! Once I put that stress out of my life, the rest just fell in to place.

I’m feeling terrific now. I’m feeling positive and I actually am happy when I wake up in the morning. No more dread. No more fear. I’m not afraid of anything anymore. I’m losing weight. I’m more mindful of the food I have been eating currently (or wrongly eating in the past) and have made many positive changes to my lifestyle. DH and I got rid of so much clutter that I am even more certain that living in a clutter-free zone helps my mental status tremendously. My home runs now like a fine tuned engine. Everything has a purpose and a place. If it doesn’t, it’s tossed into the garbage. No regrets. I am absolutely peaceful just sitting in my comfy chair, on my back yard deck staring off into the tree tops just so happy to be alive AND to feeling so, so good.

Have you ever known me to be so happy and content? I don’t complain about anything anymore. And NO! my doctor hasn’t put me on mood swinging drugs. Just a statin to help lower my cholesterol, which has been making my blood flow more freely, thus nourishing my brain. The other drug I take helps prevent heart attacks.

I guess it takes a while to find the right doctor, who understands you and takes the time to prescribe the right medicines that are right for you. I also realize that this point in my life, may be my last hurrah, so I had better make the best of it.

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My sister and I both just recently got this book: :1,000 Places To See In The US & Canada Before You Die. I rented mine from the library but will be buying a used copy as soon as my library rental is up. My sister has already started her travel journey and is determined to see as much of the world as she can. DH and I are a little bit behind her BUT we should be off in our RV seeing as much of the US and Canada as possible, within the next two months. Our main goal is to travel together in the future. We’re all eying a cross country trek to Alaska! That’s going to be super fun!

Another one of our mutual friends has been eying an Airstream RV Bambi model, and will probably join us on our travels to Alaska. The more the merrier!

Live well my friend and prosper. Take care of your health. Downsize and de-clutter. Pay no attention to the negative, toxic people you may meet on your journey. Toss them aside and just concentrate on yourself. Because in the end, you’re going to be ALL you have.