Turning 60

I thought it would just be another birthday for a woman who really doesn’t pay much attention to her age and who is really not afraid of aging. But in the couple of weeks before the big day, I started having flashes of gold in my vision. What the heck?

My vision is important to me and absolutely something I want to keep for awhile so I went to see the eye doctor. Turns out the gold flashes were a sign that my eyes were going through a normal aging process, vitreous detachment. Ohh-kay. Happy birthday to me. However, if the vitreous tries to take the retina with it, then I had a chance of becoming partially or completely blind. Not ok.

Then my teeth decided to celebrate my birthday, too. I went to the dentist which I do routinely because I have a goal of keeping my natural teeth all my life. The bad habits of youth resurfacing as I age- a couple of my teeth that had some pretty large and very old fillings were beginning to crack. Great. Here come the crowns, three of them for an average cost of about a thousand bucks a piece. Happy birthday to me.

I am thankful that the eye thing resolved without any further problem and that I can afford the crowns. At this time I have medical and dental insurance. But it makes me realize that, as I plan to retire early and live on as little as possible, I do need to put some cash aside to cover health care costs that insurance won’t cover.

Truthfully, I was hoping, since I have been in very good health all of my life, with both parents in their 90’s and still living, that I could just neglect getting any insurance at all. I realize now, that if I do that, I have to increase the cash savings or forgo treatment.

Blind? Toothless? Not something I want. Some things are worth spending money on.

I wonder if some of the bloggers I follow who live on very little, retiring early but are still ‘young’, ever think about what their future might hold as far as health?




No Washing Machine

The new apartment I moved to doesn’t have a washer or dryer. I debated buying at least a washer because I could always use the balcony to line dry. (Fortunately, the balcony is on the side of the apartment, away from the ‘public’ area and strategically hidden from the apartment next door by some tall evergreen trees).

I considered my alternatives:

  1. Rent the washer. Well, this certainly is not consistent with my goal to reduce my monthly expenses.
  2. Purchase new- absolutely not considered due to the cost.
  3. Buy used from Craig’s list, etc. I nixed this idea because I get nervous about buying something that either ‘needs work’ or will soon ‘need work’. And then there is the problem of getting the washer from there to here. I would need a truck. And a dolly to get it up to my second floor apartment.
  4. Buying used from an appliance store would provide some assurance that the machine would work and it would also be delivered. However, considering I plan to move in a year, do I really want a washer to add to the moving list?

Do I even need a washing machine? That became the question. Is there something else I could use?

I could go to the laundromat. But I hate going to the laundromat. And that means more money being spent.

Then I remembered the posts I read at annienygma when Annie’s washing machine went kaput.She mulled the options she had.

What options do I have? Hand-washing is one of them. And it is a viable option, at least for me, because I work at home, I pretty much wear the same clothes a few days in a row (except the undies, of course) and I really don’t have a lot of laundry to wash.

I discussed this option with my roomies- my sister and my mom. My sister was pretty much game for anything because she has a goal very similar to mine- downsize, minimize and frugalize.

My mom, who doesn’t even do her own laundry by the way, was aghast at the thought of living without the convenience of a washer. At the age of 94, she has lived through a lot and, while she didn’t experience the beating the laundry on the rocks at the local creek era, she pretty much saw the evolution of the modern day washer and certainly, raising a large family, saw it as a necessity.

However, since she doesn’t do her own laundry, I decided to proceed with my decision to not buy a washer and come up with an alternative.

I would be fine washing my clothes by hand either in the bathroom sink or tub. But my sister wasn’t really keen on that. So, we came up with this option:

The laundry pod the-laundry-podWill let you know how it works!


Saving on Groceries

I know that the ‘experts’ advise that, to avoid overspending at the grocery store, we should shop weekly or monthly. I tried that and it just doesn’t work for me.

I have spent hours creating a beautiful menu for the week based on what’s on sale at the stores, shopping on a Saturday and buying all that I need for the week.

And I end up wasting so much food! I am talking about fresh vegetables, like lettuce, tomatoes and salad greens.If I buy enough to last the week, I don’t have room in my smaller fridge and we don’t eat it all or it rots before we do eat it.

I have to drive to the store ( I walk the three miles in nice weather) everyday to buy my mother’s daily newspaper (don’t get me started on that!) so I pick up the fresh food for the day when I am there.

I buy only what is on sale in the produce section and enough for the day, sometimes for the next day or two. I stick to my daily budget of $20 or less using the spending tracker.

When the farmer’s market is in full swing, I do go there and buy almost a week’s worth- whatever will fit in my fridge. The produce I buy there is fresher and lasts longer.

I keep our meals simple- the evening meal is usually a type of meat/seafood and a generous serving of vegetables.

It’s been working for me so far.


Minimalism in the Closet

There is certainly no one way to minimize and simplify one’s life but, for me, it means simplifying whatever I can to minimize the number of decisions I need to make.

So here’s what I did to simplify my clothing- I got rid of all the clothes that were too big now that I lost 50+ lbs. (go me!).

As I replace what I wear out or size out of,  I will stick with a few basic colors. I opted to go with black, white, jeans and khaki.

I went to the local St. Vinny’s and was lucky enough to hit a day where everything in the store was half-price! I scored 4 black shirts- 3 long-sleeved and one 3/4 sleeves. I think I paid $3.50 for all of them and each top was in excellent shape.

Still in my closet after the purge are a couple of pair of jeans, a couple of khaki slacks, some black pants and some shirts. Some of these don’t fit me yet but I promise I will get into them after the Biggest Loser challenge that starts tomorrow at work.

What will I wear? I don’t even need to ask myself that anymore.


I Will Not Commit

Ok, I will admit it. I am a very slow learner.

And I am very impulsive. I make rash decisions.

The combination of my slow learning and my impulsiveness have led me into a lot of trouble financially.

I need to stop making decisions. I need to stop and just think.

I think that a lot of my problem is the headfirst dive I take into the trapping of commitments.

I have trapped myself into apartment leases, cable subscriptions, Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions, cell phone contracts, iPhone leasing, credit card debt, and tuition payments. I also have a commitment to sponsor a child in Thailand at the tune of $38 per month.

Now that I finally realized this, I am making a commitment to no longer commit.

When my apartment lease is up, I am moving to a rental that will let me go month to month.

I cancelled my cable.

I am going to let my cell phone contract expire and I will find a much cheaper cell service that requires no commitment.

No further iPhone leasing.

No more charges to my credit cards. And that should translate into no more online ordering. Man, that is fast and dangerous!

Finish the tuition payments.

Cancel the Netflix and Amazon.

I will continue to sponsor the child because I do have a heart.

oh, yes, the internet. Unfortunately, I am committed to providing my own internet service so that I can have the honor of working for a multi-BILLION dollar company in this work at home position. Cheap bastard-corporation no longer provides the internet service.



Dejunking the Bathroom

Since reading The Zero Waste Home I have been thinking more and more about all the STUFF I have. Stuff I have accumulated and will never, ever use. One area that has been on my mind lately is the bathroom and all the stuff I have there, especially in hair care products.

I gave up shampooing in July 2015 (with a one week relapse this past month which I will tell you about in the future). Even though I don’t use shampoo, conditioner, mousse, and sprays, I kept it all.

And, because I am not brand-loyal and have always been trying for that perfect head of hair, I have a LOT of partially used bottles in numerous brands.

Enough. I decided to get them all out of the bathroom today.

Results below.

de-junking the bathroom

Fair to say it is not just hair care products but also surplus toothpaste – tubes my mother bought a case of and gave to me- stuff I don’t use.

We are planning on having a moving sale this summer before we head to NC so I am going to save these and put the partially used ones in the free box and sell the rest.

I don’t know about you, but when I get rid of clutter, I feel better.