Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How detailed is your retirement budget?

Earlier this week The Frugal Queen asked if we have really budgeted for everything. I'd have to answer no as I base the year's budget on last year's expenses and known increases in things like health and car insurance or property taxes.

Some people keep separate online account "envelopes" to save in advance for the rare and/or unknown expenses that pop up be it car or dishwasher replacement, vet expenses or whatever. We keep general savings and investment accounts.

This month's unbudgeted and unexpected/unplanned expenses have me wondering if that is the best approach once we are living on retirement income. Just yesterday it was a new car battery for our older car - $166 that was not included in the annual servicing & licensing budget. We do budget for poodle princess's monthly shot, meds, annual exam & grooming, but this month she had lots of tests and changes in meds and food - $718 and a substantial financial gift to elderly relatives who are struggling financially.

I have no problem with any of those expenses and am happy we can afford them. However, I didn't really budget for any of them and I'm wondering if there is a change that would be helpful to try as I know our first year or so of living on retirement cash flow is going to take lots of adjusting and planning.

Please share your ideas and experiences!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

27 weeks & counting or is it 25 - to putting our house up for sale

Small steps completed this week.

- Washed the walls, treads and risers in the stairwell and found no painting is required
- Met with a potential contractor for the bath remodel; waiting for a bid
- Talked to our realtor who is now suggesting we list the house in mid-March to beat the rush.
- My husband managed to get the non-working chandelier down and Ace Hardware nearby had the right kind of socket to fix it! Working light again and little spent.

So why may we have 25 weeks left instead of 27 before the house is on the market? Our realtor is thinking that we may need to get a jump on the Spring listing rush.. The current plan is that I will be in Berkeley helping with childcare for our soon to arrive granddaughter from February 27-March 11 (assuming she arrives on schedule). We plan to be in S. CA the week prior to look for a home and to prepare for and celebrate my FIL's 90th birthday. So that will be a bit tight if we put it up mid-March.

Need to get on with all the prep a bit faster LOL.

Leftover to do's from last week:

- Work on cleaning basement floor
- Go through bedding and cedar chest; make decisions
- Try to thrift new coverlets/bedspreads for both beds
- Schedule appointment with the arborist to get bid for final pruning work prior to house painting.

I'm also doing a couple of meetings this coming week to continue transition my volunteer and officer responsibilities with my Friends of the Library group.

We just learned that my husband's 93 year old uncle is in hospice care. He is in California so there will be a funeral trip when he passes away.

We also found out the results of yet another blood test on our dog. Her liver function was not looking as it should be despite medication changes so a bile test was done to pursue the possibility that she might have developed a liver shunt which causes the blood to not flow through the liver. She is down to 15 pounds from a steady 16.2 pounds - dropped it all in 2 weeks. However, this latest test showed normal results! So now they are thinking she may have a low grade UTI and will test for that this week. We bought her some chunky stew canned food and she gobbled it down so at least we can get her to eat more. Generally she is happy and spunky - much better than before her medication changes for her Addison's Disease.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

For a moment I felt 16 again

The very last time I got caught in a downpour without an umbrella I was 16 or 17 and about a mile from home in Champaign, IL on a very hot summer day. I got drenched - but, oh well. It was warm and I was young and felt very alive.

The second time I got caught in a downpour without an umbrella was earlier this afternoon about 3 blocks from home. I am 67 and living in Atlanta, GA. It was warm enough and for a moment I was transported back to a summer day long ago.

I was walking the dog though and for a dog who loves getting a bath she sure hates being rained on, hence her raincoat which we faithfully put on her when we know it is raining and she has to go out.

We ran. We gave up and just got soaked. She kept wanting to stop and shake and I wanted to keep going LOL. My husband met us at the door with towels and a hair dryer.

I felt very alive. And surprised at how far I could run LOL.

PS - This was a good antidote to how very mortal I felt yesterday after attending a memorial service for a friend who was only 6 years older than I am at the moment. A lovely tribute to him followed by a celebration of life at one of his favorite restaurants. Still I felt the ticking of the clock.

28 weeks and counting - to putting our house up for sale

Or 6 1/2 months minus planned 2 weeks in California with new granddaughter and a weekend in Asheville.

We seem to be caught in the regular maintenance mode rather than prepping mode. A carbon monoxide detector reached its planned obsolescence, the socket of a ceiling light fixture failed as did a closet light, yard work beckons, etc. The new bathroom vanity did arrive and we like it - whew. Still waiting on contractor bids. We also attended a memorial service Saturday afternoon.

End result - little progress this past week although I did remove some small items from the study. I need to get on the stick and get busy!

So here is what I could get done this coming week in addition to the routine and regular chores.

- Wash walls, risers and railing in stairwell.
- Work on cleaning basement floor
- Go through bedding and cedar chest; make decisions
- Try to thrift new coverlets/bedspreads for both beds
- Schedule appointment with arborist to get bid for final pruning work

And then there is the rest of life including lots of yard work, another blood test for the dog as we try to get her Addison's under control again, haircut for me, book club, Pilates, hemming new slacks and so on.

Monday, September 12, 2016

When your mind is more willing than your body

I'm pooped and sweaty and wishing summer would get the heck over with! But the last of the pile of bricks that came with this house 19 years ago are now at the curb ready for someone else to "enjoy". It doesn't look like that many bricks and using a wheelbarrow that had a full tire instead of a flat one made it easier but my body definitely wanted to quit before I was done. Heat and humidity - yikes.

I also finished removing a perennial bed. Now we are ready for leaves to fall. We live on a corner and this is the view of our back yard from the side street. Some flower pots and a can of paint on offer too.

It took less than 48 hours for them to be taken! Out by 10am Monday & gone by 5pm Tuesday. Got to love my neighborhood.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

29 weeks and counting - to putting house up for sale that is

Whew - another hot week, a sick dog, plans to go to Asheville for the weekend to stay in a friend's condo, grandbaby to be presents bought, dinner with a friend who's husband died recently, property taxes paid (1st installment), more stuff leaves the house and YES, THE ROLL TOP DESK IS GONE.

The man who took it said he has always loved roll top desks so I think it will be a nice addition to his household. Now that it is gone the room seems huge and the blue wall will be much easier to paint. We are at the point of calling it Big Blue (its brighter blue in real life) and laughing a bit hysterically about all the painting we are doing. My husband is shaking his head and asking himself why he painted it a different color in the first place as we always knew we would sell this house this coming spring due to his retirement LOL.

We talked through what remains to be done that requires my husband or hired help to do. We are going to wait until the end of September at least to make decisions on what painting to pay for depending on how much he is able to get done on weekends. This weekend he is starting to paint the last feature wall and some patches on adjoining walls.

I'm feeling a bit frustrated because there isn't much left that I can do solo. Even things I could do like continuing to declutter require joint decision making. Oh well, soon the leaves will fall and I'll be spending a lot of time raking them. For now it is routine yard and house work mostly.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

30 weeks and counting - to putting house up for sale that is

I've been taking it easy on the house front. It was my 67th birthday Thursday and I gifted myself a break from hard labor. In addition, the fall Friends of the Library book sale took up Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.

I did put in time outside with regular yard maintenance and with removing a flower bed and its brick border. Hauled the bricks to the curb and they were gone in less than 2 hours. More to haul from a stack behind the garden shed but the wheelbarrow tire needed pumping up first and is now awaiting reattachment to the wheelbarrow. Nice to know they will go easily though.

Inside DH put a patch on a wall where the drywall tape had come loose. He also grouted the new tile back splash in the upstairs bathroom.

AND - we found someone who wants the roll top desk! 4 someones in fact. I finally took some friends advise and joined the neighborhood list serve and within a few hours I had 4 potential takers. The first to respond is supposed to pick it up today but it is nice to know I have back ups. Also very nice to know where to list future large furniture items. SIGH - she hadn't measured her space and decided it was too large. On to the next person who said they would like it.

Plans for Week 30: It is starting to sound repetitious LOL.

The last feature wall (behind the roll top desk) will get painted over.
More yard work both maintenance and simplification will happen.
More decluttering will happen.