Although winter is already in full force here, I figured I would do a little summary of our gardens this year and how we did. We have a pretty small yard and only two raised beds measuring 2×6 and 2×8 so we are pretty limited on the garden real estate but we do try to make the most of it. Over the past 5 years we have narrowed down our the vegetables that we grow to one that we have had success with and of course, ones that we enjoy. This past summer we planted 3 varieties of kale, rainbow chard, carrots, green beans, and unsuccessful cauliflower and cucumbers. Continue reading “The Wonders of Gardening”
I might be strange to discuss Medicare stuff as most of us on this early retirement journey are years from Medicare eligibility but as most of us in this community are planners calculating every need that might arise, I figured it was an important topic to cover (plus I have been doing some insurance CE on the topic so I figured I could share my wealth of knowledge).
Most of us don’t know the costs associated with Medicare and might even think that we just automatically get Medicare once we turn 65 for free. In reality, we have to “earn” this benefit by paying into the system over the years. For the average person this isn’t an issue because it takes them a few decades to amass enough money to retire but for those of us in FI community we have BIG dreams and those dreams often mean not working the majority of our adult lives.
For almost two years now my husband and I have been on this journey towards financial independence/retire early (FIRE) so the thought of climbing the corporate ladder was not on the forefront of my mind. After all, I am trying to leave the corporate world. But last fall I was faced with a big decision, should I climb?
The company I work for is a two-person operation for day to day management even though we are under a larger company. So when my boss, representing 50% of the workforce, pulled me aside last fall and told me he would be retiring in Nov of 2016 I had a huge decision ahead of me. Should I take over? Continue reading “Climbing the Corporate Ladder”
After very busy summer and even busier fall, last weekend Mr. SFF and I finally had an entire weekend to ourselves! And what did we decided to do? Get away from it all, disconnected out in the woods and it was wonderful!!
Mr. SFF’s extended family (his mother’s cousin) own a small little camp out in the woods. He encourages family members to come out and use it as he lives out of state and can’t come up all that often but it often sits empty. Apparently no one has used the camp for the past two years. The camp itself is nothing special, just a small main room with double bunk beds, a small kitchen and small bath with another set of bunk beds but it has everything you might need for a relaxing weekend. The thing that does make the camp special is the fact the Mr. SFF’s great-grandmother was actually born on the property (the original cabin burned years ago). So there is history and the property is beautiful. Continue reading “A Free Weekend Getaway!”
Another month gone by in our journey and our food expenses look pretty much the same. We went out three times which is more than I would like but two were special occasions and once was after helping my sister for a few hours and we were famished for lunch.
One dinner out was to celebrate our anniversary (happy 8 years Mr. SFF!). My lovely mother in law sent us a check for $200 to celebrate this special occasion so that is exactly what we did. We went out to a nicer restaurant and spent $133.48 for dinner, drinks and dessert (including tax and tip). This was certainly a nice treat and something we would not have done if it were not for my mother in laws generosity. Continue reading “Monthly Food Update – #9”
I have been a little absent from my blog over the past couple of months, posting very little of interest. I am attributing this to my lack of down time at work and also being busier outside of work. There are some changes coming up at work (more to come on this soon) and I have been busier which means less time daydreaming about what my life could be like without work. It’s kinda funny that my husband and tell right away if I was busy at work or bored out of my mind as it has a direct correlation to my mood. Busy most of the day and I am generally happy. But if have time to twiddle my thumbs (ie: browse the web) I am usually less happy by the time I get home.
At the beginning of the year, especially right after our vacation, I was in a pretty big funk and the boredom at work really didn’t help. At that time I crunched the numbers and if we worked really hard and the market cooperated (the big unknown there) I figured out it could be possible to reach FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) in 3 years. We would certainly have to be extra careful but with some planning we could make it work. Continue reading “When Boredom Leads to Unhappiness”
Wow, I have been so busy and preoccupied with life that I am way behind on my post. There is nothing really notable about this past month’s food budget other than going out socially a few times so our dining out costs were slightly higher but our general food costs were in control and within our normal range.
One thing we have started doing a couple of months ago was making our own pizzas instead of ordering out. I am not talking all the way from scratch as that is too much work but at least putting our own together. No matter which route we go with this it is not cheap as I am gluten free but I have found it is slightly less expensive if we make our own and we have decided we actually prefer our homemade ones. There happens to a company, Against The Grain, that makes AMAZING gluten free items. When we are in the mood for a pizza night I usually buy the three cheese pizza (in the freezer section) and then we put on our own toppings. Our recent favorite is adding chorizo, red peppers, and some kale or Swiss chard from our garden. Amazingly yummy and making my mouth water as I type this. Last time I made one I itemized out the costs just to see how much it was saving us. Continue reading “Monthly Food Update #8”
Have you ever looked around you and seen how messy the lives of people around you are? There are many types of messes that I could refer to but I am specifically talking about money and general finance messes. How years of poor money management, spending willy-nilly on every little thing you “need”, or completely ignoring the fact that in order to retire you need actual money to live can really create a huge mess for family down the road. I have been seeing a lot of this around me recently and it makes me even more thankful that we have our own $hit together.
We haven’t done everything right, but we do have a goal and a plan and we are at the very least thinking about these things. Continue reading “Getting Your $hit Together”
Normally receiving a letter from the tax man, either the feds or the state, is not a good thing. Did we file our taxes incorrectly? Do we owe them money? The list of questions as I opened that envelope were endless. But as I read the letter from the state tax man it had great news: our property taxes were going down! Woot, woot! I know, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement!
Our little state has a homestead exemption where they offer tax relief for households making lower incomes. When Mr. SFF was fully employed we didn’t qualify but part of the way through 2014 he was laid off and started working for himself making less money (but still plenty for our frugal household). 2015 was the first full year of his self-employment and so our total adjusted gross income was much less so low and behold, we now qualify! We file the form every year and I usually don’t even think twice about it so when I received the letter from the state department of taxes I was pleasantly surprised. We are certainly going to enjoy the $1,244 tax savings this year and likely just put this money towards our goals.
But with this came the bigger revelation, our income will be even lower when we reach FIRE and are only working part-time meaning this credit should be even larger. This is huge news! Continue reading “Hello Mr. Tax Man!”