Saturday, December 31, 2016

Big News to End 2016

Drum roll please!!!!!  If you were to look at our bank website and log onto our account you would notice this:


image:  viewalongtheway.com


That's right.  Our mortgage is paid in FULL!!!!!!!!  We are on cloud nine about this.  I tell ya at the beginning of 2016 I thought about this bur really didn't think it would happen.   But it did and I couldn't be more happier.  We have one more debt and that is my car.  We owe $15,687.05 on that.  I've been making extra and additional payments on it and we are on course to pay this off 2 years early.  I really thought about putting pedal to the medal and pay it off in 2017 however I think it best to get our emergency fund to where it needs to be.

I just wanted to share this great news with ya'll!

Monday, December 26, 2016

How Was Your Christmas?

Well..........mine was great!  Really enjoyed it.  Having said that I've been thinking and tell me how you feel.

We spend a lot of time and for some money on a day because we want to show our love and appreciation to family and friends.  We want the perfect gift, the perfect home, the tasty food and guess what!  We do all of this planning and before you know it-it's over.  I mean, dang it's over. Seems like it would be a better trade if Christmas lasted for a week.  Am I the only one that is wondering about this?  Please don't misunderstand me.  I am not a humbug.  I am not anti Christmas.  I love Christmas.  I love Hallmark movies.  I love the music.  I love what it is really all about but I don't love what the season has turned in to the last few decades.

There is this huge buildup and then we go back to our regular lives.  I want to incorporate the spirit of Christmas more into my life so that I will be more giving and loving and merciful.  I am hoping that this will be the first day of that spirit in a yearlong project in my life.  How will I do this?  I have no idea.  None. Whatsover.  But I've got to do something.  Plus do it in a way that does not incur debt.

Now.........onto frugality and finances.  One more payment and the mortgage will be done.  Kaput!  I can't wait.  Lord have mercy, that may just be worthy of throwing party.  Not really but it could you know?  LOL  This is one step in pursuing the freedom I so want.  Then we have one more debt.  My car.  I want to pay it off early.  I'm not exactly sure how early or how to figure it out.  I've been throwing more money onto the payments in some months.  Making 2 payments in other months while keeping status quo in others.  I would like to continue with making 2 payments in a month however the husband wants to take 1 nice vacation every year and I start saving for that in January.  I usually save at least $1000-1200 for that.  Now we don't spend that much but I like to have that much saved.  He mentioned going to Gatlinburg  or the Smoky Mountains.  I wonder if they will be open for business since they had such devastating fires.  I would love a mountain vacation.  Somewhere like Colorado!!!!!!!!!!!!  I've seen photos and it looks gorgeous.  Plus it looks a lot cooler than North Carolina in the summer.  Yep.  We are already of thinking of vacation plans.

The next few weeks we will be going through boxes and drawers and closets to start cleaning this place up.  I am really excited that the husband was the one who brought this up.  I want so much gone from here.  Not a totally minimalist approach but somewhere in the middle.

So what you got going on after Christmas?


Friday, December 16, 2016

It's Almost the Weekend

What frugalicious plans do you have?  Me?  I HAVE to buy one more gift for a particular coffee lover in the fam.  So far I have not purchased a gift for the hubster because he says he needs new shoes and he has to try those on.  People, he has some of the widest feet I've ever seen.  He is a runner so he needs running shoes plus a pair of nice shoes to wear to work. Those two items will be quite pricey.








Then his cell phone is really acting up horribly so that may need to be replaced.  UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!  I know, first world problem.  We will see if it can be fixed.  Neither of us are handy at fixing things like that so we will have to ask the experts.


And we need to replace the new chair that we bought in May.  Can you believe it?  It is a swivel chair.  We've already replaced it once.  No, we are not hard on furniture.  In fact the guy who came to look at the second one said we keep great care of our furniture.  Since this is the second swivel chair in less than a year, we would like to get another type.  I hope that the store does not give us a hard time about this.  My husband is waiting for them to contact him about it.


It's getting quite cold here in the Old North State but it is supposed to be HOT on Sunday.  You never really know what is going to happen around here during Fall.






Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Last Few Days

Today will be a photo montage of what I was doing the last few days.  Nothing to really get excited about but just a glimpse into the wonderfully exciting life we live here in central North Carolina!  LOL


First of all that giant bottle of generic Allegra.  We renewed our membership to Costco.  I know that some out in blogland debate the whole warehouse thing but this product alone makes it cost effective for us to join.



This pig sign was at a restaurant we ate at after church on Sunday.  It is called The Pit.  You may have seen it on the Food Network.  A few years back the pit master competed against Bobby Flay and won.  The bbq in NC is pork and may I say it is delicious.  Please, if you are ever in the state you MUST try it.





the photo above is moi after my eye exam and having my eyes dilated.  Oh what joy!  It took hours for my vision to return to normal or what could be considered normal for me.




this is a photo of my bbq and mac and cheese.  The mashed potatoes belong to the hubster.  For some reason they put them on my plate.  I did not eat them.  I was too enthralled with the mac and cheese.  MMM MMM good.



and this is a scene from inside the restaurant.  I just think it's cute. 


So other than not much is going on in the Gtown household.  How about you?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Another Debt Bites the Dust

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!! another debt bites the dust and I am so happy.  That leaves us with a mortgage and car loan and that is it.  The mortgage will be below $3000.00 after this last payment.  I can just taste the freedom when that debt is gone.  Ideally I would like for it to be gone by the end of January 2017.  What could be better?  Having it paid by the end of December but I am not sure if that can happen.  AFter that, it's just the car.

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and closer.  I can't tell you how exciting this is for me.  It really means freedom.  At least it does for me.  Now just because the debts will be gone soon doesn't mean we are financially set.  Far from it.  We need to build up an emergency fund.  I would like a minimum of 6 months but prefer a year.  In addition, we need sinking funds to pay for items such as home maintenance and/or appliance replacements.

But still I am excited about being mortgage free.

What are you looking forward to when it comes to finances?  Or are you dreading something?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Comings and Goings

So how all of ya'll doing?  Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?  Are you full and tired of turkey already?  Me?  I'm more of a ham girl myself.  It's been a bit since I posted.  Oh my I need to do better than this folks!

So last weekend we went to the Raleigh Christmas parade.  It was nice.  Even nicer that the weather was AMAZING!

Here are some photos from that day.

BTW-how is your christmas shopping going?









Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

I Withstood a Want

For me this is BIG. I've always wanted a red leather Coach purse. Today is my birthday. We were in the Boone and Blowing Rock area this weekend. On the way home there is a Tanger outlet mall with a Coach store and low and behold there was this beautiful red leather purse. For $149 I could take it home. I put that bad boy on and went to a mirror to see how good it looked. It looked great!  Beautiful. Perfect size. And I did I mention it was on "sale "?  The price tag original price was $395.
My dear husband said get it. It's your birthday. But something snapped inside at the last minute. I put it back on the shelf.  That my blog friends was a big step for me.  You see.......some ladies like shoes, I love purses.  I have way too many purses but it is really hard for me to give them away or sell at consignment shops.  I have made money in the past with selling several Vera Bradley purses via consignment though.


I'm not sure I will ever be a minimalist but I sure don't want to be a purse hoarder either!  LOL

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Can We Stop the Food Wars?

Please?  Yesterday I read a post on facebook from one of my local farmers markets.  It was about a farm in Georgia that had closed and how great the goats were etc............Now don't get me wrong, I love farms, I like to support them when I can and I dearly love farm animals.  However I kept reading the article and this farm charged $8.00 for a dozen eggs.  I realize that farmers have to charge a fair amount for them to make money so I am not being critical of this farmer but I left a comment simply stating that most people I know simply can't afford $8 a dozen eggs.  There is a demographic out there that can and I say that's great!  Go for it but it's too much for me.  Well the farmers market responded to me that they wanted to teach me to buy my groceries, all of them, at the farmers market.  They said that I would need to buy better beef but perhaps use less of it and that most Americans have a ton of food waste.  Yes that is true indeed but I did buy a pound of beef at the NC State Farmers Market ONCE at either $8 or $9 a pound.  Nope! I won't be doing that again.  I replied back that for folks on very limited budgets it was hard to justify spending even $5.00 for a dozen eggs.  I know of a family of 5 whose grocery budget for the month is $100.00 and no they are not on any type of assistance and no they don't want to be on assistance and yes they qualify for assistance.  The wife does an amazing job of getting really good deals on her food.  I'm sure that what she buys would send most foodies in a frenzy worrying about her family's health and the state of the earth.  Nope she doesn't buy hardly any snack or junk items because 1-they can't afford them and 2-they have food sensitivities that prevent it.  With her spending $50 every 2 weeks it makes no sense to spend 10% of her budget on eggs.

So I guess my point is why don't we all let folks buy what they want at the grocery store or at your local farmers market.  Let's let them spend what they feel is a right amount for their family.  Let's support the farmers when we can because that is important.  Most farms are not the huge farms that people want to protest against but rather family farms that are working hard to treat the animals the correct way with love and care while at the same time making a living for their families.

So I will try to buy more at my farmers market knowing that I can't succeed 100% of the time and I will also buy groceries at Kroger and Aldi.  That is the way I can save money for MY family.  I don't expect everyone to feel this way but I hope I've given ya'll something to consider.  I know the article spoke to me about the need to support the farmers but it also spoke to me that many have no idea how hard it is for some families to put even the cheapest of food on the table while trying to keep a roof over their heads.

See!  I actually do shop at the NC Farmers Market

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Beefing Up on Savings

Remember when I mentioned that I had been making 2 car payments a month?  While I think that is good for us, I've decided instead to beef up our savings.  Our savings is better than it used to be but woefully short of where we need to be.  I am concerned, not overly but still concerned about the next recession.  You know one is coming, right?  I mean they are cyclical.  It really doesn't matter who is in office.  It will happen.  Now some presidents handle the situation better than others but we won't go there will we?  I'm staying out of that one.  LOL.


I have a goal to saving an additional $4000 by the end of the year.  That is $800.00 a pay check.  I hope I can do this.  Nope, I am going to do this.  We need this cushion like yesterday. 


I wish I had been more like Meg B.  Her head was screwed on right from the get go.  Me, not so much. 


The hubster has over 30 years at his job and if a recession hits, he could be one of those folks who are asked to "retire".  Just another reason I want to pay off the mortgage as early as possible.  Even when meeting my $4000 savings goal I will also overpay the mortgage to get it paid off by the end of January 2017.  That will free up a lot of money for us.


Once our savings account gets a better cushion-then I will attack the car payment again. 






image:  paydayr.com

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Mumblings

Every work week starts the same for me.  Sunday flies by and before you know it it is time to go to bed.  Then that wonderful alarm clock goes off to remind me that once again I have to get up and get ready to work.  Work according to a schedule that I'm not that fond of.  Work when I am growing more and more discontent with what I hear and what I've been told.  I so want to be in charge of my time.  How about you?  Are you in charge of your time or do you dance to the beat of your employer?  My employer is a good place to work.  I just want out.  And right now I can't get out due to poor financial decisions made in the past.  Poor money handling skills.  Stupid money handling skills. No discipline.  It didn't seem so odd because so many others were doing the same.  Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed.  Do it all over again.

Now I am almost 55 and I want off of the hamster wheel.  That feeling gets stronger and stronger.  I will accomplish this goal.  I don't know when it will happen but I will accomplish this goal.  There is so much more to life than clocking in.

Oh well.......I must go now.  Have a great Monday!


image:  lovethispic.com

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Homesteading-My Final Frontier?

Homesteading seems to be all the rage right now.  So many people are fed up with their lives that they want to do something completely different.  Many of these people have left the cities and gone rural-farm animals and all.  They are the modern day equivalent of Green Acres.  Now I am NOT belittling them because I find myself drawn to blogs and magazines that speak to these ideals.  No I do not want to go off grid.  I love electricity and running water.  So I will never be one to go off the grid.  But I do like the idea of self sufficiency.  Doing what I can on my property to help my family and hopefully others.  Trouble is we live in a subdivision, in a town that does not allow chickens much less goats or cows etc........So what's a girl to do?  Do we sell the home we have now and move out in the county?  Well the hubster wants to move to downtown Raleigh.  To a condo.  Kind of hard to be a homesteader in downtown Raleigh, ya know?  Myself?  I would love a tiny tiny place maybe out in the county on maybe at the most 1 acre of land.  I really want chickens.  I even have the names picked out already.  Do we stay where we are and start what we can within the confines of our town?  The most we could have is a garden.  We could start to cook from scratch for every meal and also for personal care products.  That could be my own little corner of the homesteading world.  

Do any of you homestead or have the homestead dream?  Do you make as much of your products that you can?  Are you as self sufficient as you want to be?


image: rurallivingtoday.com






Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Save on Medical/Prescription Costs

So today saw me at my 6 month follow up at my dermatology office.  I have Rosacea plus very sensitive skin (as I've mentioned before).  I have using Cetaphil to cleanse and moisturize along with Soolantra to help with the redness.  This works really well however I find Cetaphil can be a bit heavy and make my facial skin feel oily.  I asked my provider is there is something that isn't as heavy but also won't strip my skin of oil.  She gave me several tubes of different types of prescription washes to try.  I am so thankful for those samples.  That means I won't be wasting money on something that doesn't work.  I mean, you can't return prescriptions.  This can be a great way to save money on prescription costs.  So don't forget to ask if you can try some samples to see if you like a medication.  It never hurts to ask.  What is the worst that can happen?  Your doctor says no.  Oh well.......give it a try.  Also, sometimes it is cheaper to get a 3 month supply of your pills instead of 1.  Check to see what is cheaper for you and go that route.

See these amazing tubes of generosity?  I will try and see which one works best!


I also made a trip to my Penzeys store.  I got the Italian Herb and Tsardust free.  I think I need to step away from Penzeys or build a cabinet to hold all of the containers I have.  It's a problem folks.  What are your favorite spices?


I love how spices smell and add so much flavor to meals.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Paying Off Debt Faster

Much faster.  I've been doing something the past month or so that I totally forgot to share here with ya'll.  Remember..........I want my freedom and I'd like to have said freedom sooner rather than later.  So.............I decided to make a car payment every time I get paid.  I get paid twice a month, on the 15th and last day of the month.  I was so tired of seeing how long it was going to be until the car is paid.  We only have our car and our mortgage.  If we are blessed and can continue to pay extra to the mortgage then that debt will be paid at the end of January or perhaps sooner.   It will still be over a year until the car is paid for-yes I know Dave Ramsey would not approve of buying a new car.  Well when we buy cars we keep them for a very long time.  Long after the loan is paid but I digress.  Paying 2 payments each month will obviously get the loan paid twice as fast.  I am looking forward to the day that I can tell ya'll that the balance is zero.

Now I will still be putting some money in savings.  I have not been putting every. single. dollar. to debt.  I don't feel comfortable doing that.

Making 2 payments a month kind of hurts.  It sure would be more fun to be able to spend that money on other things but we have no one to blame but ourselves.  Hopefully a year of extreme frugality will pay off-pardon the pun-in more ways than one.

After football season we will be able to cut expenses even more.  It's a 7 hour round trip to see our college play.  Yes I know that some of you don't understand why we do that.  Well it is the ONLY thing the hubster really asks to do.  We put money aside to pay for tickets so they are not charged.  But it still puts an extra strain on the budget.  He likes to tailgate.  Me?  I would be happy with a sandwich but not him.  I can't tell him no.  So add up the extra gas it costs on top of the money it costs to have tailgate food.  We don't go crazy on the tailgate either but I'd say it does add about $15-$20 to the grocery bill for that week.  Maybe not that much but you get the idea.  So like I said, after another month or so those expenses will be gone until next fall.  Whew!  I am looking forward to that.
I watched a movie last night.  It is a Christian movie.  I think the title is Stand Strong.  It was about a family who lost everything, the husband's job and the family home.  This family was used to living way above their means.  The husband's mother refused to bail the family out again.  She told her son he had to stand on his own two feet and get his finances under control.  He had to swallow his pride and ask his brother if his family could move in with them.  His brother's family lived in your basic ranch.  Nothing fancy but a warm environment.  They had a garden, chickens and a stockpile of groceries in the basement.  At one point in the movie, the 2 sister in laws were not exactly seeing eye to eye.  The sister in law that moved in was not appreciative at all that they were living rent free, with a roof over their heads and good food to eat.  All she could see was what they had in the past, what they lost.   She belittled the friendliness of her sister in law,  the hospitality that was being shown to them.  She made fun of their garden, chickens and stock of food.  At this point, her sister in law overheard them and it hurt her feelings.  Here she had opened her home to her family to help them in their time of need and they were just plain rude.  Her response to their ungratefulness was to tell them that her garden, chickens and food supply allowed her to help them.  To feed them.  Well you pretty much get the point.

Whether or not you are a Christian, this movie, even with bad acting,  made an impact on me.  Would I be so open to having a whole family to live with us?  Heck-would we be open to having one person live with us?  Would our stockpile be able to absorb the extra demand?  What have I done to show hospitality to others?

Have you ever opened your home to someone who fell into financial difficulty?  If so, for how long?  How were you able to accomplish this?




Saturday, October 15, 2016

The North Carolina State Fair

Remember how I was lamenting working fulltime?  Well I did something about it.  Naw...........nothing like putting in my notice but I did take Friday off to attend the State Fair.  The hubster and I went and it was really nice to just walk around, relax, look at all the sights.  Smell the wonderful food and of course we had to do some taste testing.  I mean a fair isn't a fair unless you eat some of the food.  Am I right?

Here are some pics of our time there:


huge pumpkins

beautiful plum rose with darker rose around the edges

jellies

yummy goodies

beautiful garden flowers

I love piglets.  What can I say?


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Are We as Unhappy as We Seem

Today I noticed something when I was out at lunch.  One of the employees behind the counter was making faces and clearly looked annoyed while taking a customer's order from the drive thru.  Bam!  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  Do I look like that to someone who may see me at my workplace?  and why are so many of us unhappy with our jobs?  Do we have unrealistic bosses?  The coworker from Hades?  Do the hours suck?  Are we getting paid what we think we should?  The questions could go on and on.   Then these questions got me thinking even more.  What can we do about this?


Of course, we could look for other jobs.  That sounds easier than it is though.  Sometimes the grass is NOT always greener on the other side.  What can I do to improve my attitude?  Will my attitude improve IF I were in another position?  Can we financially afford to take a lesser paying job or to simply leave the workplace?  Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?


Our mortgage will be paid off very soon.  Once that occurs I am more free to make workplace decisions.  Believe me, I have these thoughts on a regular basis.  I've worked full time for over 30 years and I am tired of it.  I've spoken of wanting freedom before and I want it even more. 


I really like some blogs out in the blog world that speak to these situations.  Caitflanders.com is just one that I admire.  She's young, got out of debt, works for herself and is living her life on her terms.  Not her company's terms.  She makes intentional decisions from how she spends her money to how she spends her time.  She's decided that minimalism is for her.  Minimalism may not be your cup of tea but you see my point.  It IS HER cup of tea and she is making it a priority. 


What is my cup of tea?  If I get a new cup of tea, will I be happier?  Will the new cup of tea help me achieve my dreams of being free from the workplace?


Cait said in a podcast........change your money and you can change your life.  I think Dave Ramsey is kind of along those lines as well but for some reason it really spoke to me when I heard it on her podcast.  Change. my. money. Change. my. life.


I live that thought.  Perhaps others would be happier as well.


Thoughts?





Need Advice-Winter Boots

I am looking to buy winter boots. Any suggestions?  We don't have terrible snowy winters but I am tired of wearing my regular shoes.  I need something very comfy as I've had foot surgery in the past and I am looking for something that is not so outrageous in price.


Give me your ideas!


Something along these lines is what I am looking for.





Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cash is King

As you've probably heard Hurricane Matthew made his way through North Carolina yesterday.  We had tons and tons of rain, high winds, flooding and the prerequisite power outages that goes along with such storms.

Although we live over 2 hours inland, we felt it here as well and let me tell ya'll cash, is. king.  Some stores were open however their credit/debit card systems were down.  They were only taking cash or checks.  Well Friday afternoon, after work, I went to the ATM and got extra cash out.  Best move.  I like to pay with cash for the most part anyways but it really comes in handy during times like these.

So my lesson is this-try to keep some cash on you at all times.  You never know when you will actually NEED it!!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Work Parties

Lawd have mercy, we had the mother of work parties yesterday.  Now in all fairness it was for a close coworker who will be leaving our department for another one.  And.............I did agree to help to put it together so I can't be too annoyed but.................it sure cost me a lot of money.  I bought items like paper plates, napkins, plastic cloths in addition to the food I brought and the gift.


Now before the environment police go off on the paper and plastic products-just don't.  We do not have plates at my workplace for 6o people.  And if I did have actual tablecloths I would not bring them to work as they would get ruined.  I don't know about your place of work but it can be brutal here with the mess that is made at these things. 


I also need to add that the party took place at work during the day so it would be very noticeable if I didn't partake.


For those who work outside of the home or used to--do you participate in these activities? I couldn't really say no because the party was for my manager and it would look really bad if I was the only one not joining in on the festivities.  Was there a dollar limit you would not go over?  Do you have a signature food item you bring and is tasty and economical to boot?  If you don't participate, do you ever get rude comments or do people pretty much leave you alone?


This experience, while it was really nice, and everyone enjoyed it has me really thinking SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY!



Monday, September 19, 2016

Gas Shortage

The shortage is alive and no so well in our neck of NC. Hubby asked me yesterday why I wanted to fill up my car even though it was nowhere near empty. I told him about the shortage. Where have you been man?!  He was like oh it will be okay. Hmmm...not so fast my friend. Look at what he saw as he finished fueling up this morning. 

Maybe some of the Prepper folks aren't so "crazy" after all. Now I'm not suggesting to go all Doomsday Prepper and build a shelter but we really need to pay attention to the news. What about the trucks that deliver food to grocery stores?  If they can't fill up then we can't fill up. 

Are you seeing signs like this?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Scenes from Friday and Saturday


Well it's that time of year again. Football season and trips to Boone. I know that some of ya'll don't understand why we do this but it's our thing. My husband loves it. We save up for it so it's fine really.

Friday we stayed in a little mountain town of West Jefferson. I truly could live there. The people are so nice and I love the little  downtown "district ". Very artsy and kind of granola. 

Saturday we left bright and early for Boone. Miami came to town to put the beat down on us. Oh well. You can't win them all can we?😜

Here are a few pics our time there. 







This is an Amish store on the way to West Jefferson


I love this cat!



Friday, September 9, 2016

My Neighbor Was Found

Last night.  So thankful that she is alive and safe.  Thank you to all who prayed for her.



Monday, September 5, 2016

Urgent Prayer Request

Our neighbor Serena is missing since Saturday.  She went for a walk and never returned.  Please pray for her and that she will be found alive.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Credit Card Got Hacked and Odds and Ends

So I pretty much check our accounts every day.  On Thursday I logged on to check to see what the mortgage balance was since I made a rather large payment.  Imagine my surprise when I noticed there was a balance our Visa from some software company that neither of us had ever heard of.  I promptly called the bank, they told me that since the charge had not actually posted I could not dispute the charge but they could close the card and issue another one to keep any other fraudulent charges from happening.  This really makes me boil.  

Folks check your accounts daily.  It pays off.  I work for a financial institution and oh my word fraud is so big.  I can't believe how much information people give out no questions asked.  Do NOT give out your financial information to anyone.  Don't believe when you get an email from someone telling you that you will receive a large sum of money in a wire.  They just need your account information. Lord have mercy please don't buy cars from Europe and wire money.  Yes that has happened.  Oh goodness it goes on and on.

Oh well................now to some other things.  Yesterday we went to this fancy schmanzy kitchen store in Raleigh.  It's lovely but man oh man are the prices HIGH.  I love roosters and chickens.  There was this way cute little rooster spoon rest.  Oh my mouth was salivating.  I wanted that rooster.  $25?  Holy cow no!  I could get a real rooster for that probably more than one.



Do you have tomorrow off?  If so, what will you be doing?
Well I have to go watch Notre Dame play Texas!  We are ND!

Oh and here is a pic of a deal I got on peanut butter.  5 jars for a total of $4.00