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Archive for December, 2010

Happy New Year

January 1st, 2011 at 06:15 am

Happy New Year to all and may everyone have a better year than the last one!

Day 2 of the Biggest Loser (BL) DVD -- my back has been bothering me a bit and this program has not been helping in that area. But I did the best that I could. Am going to focus on stretching as much as possible - this had better get better soon. Hockey starts up a week from Sunday and I need to be able to play (not well, just play).

No decluttering today - but will be back to that tomorrow. Did several loads of laundry. Also did some shopping. Got 5 pkgs of NY Steak from Stater Brothers for $2.99 per lb - great price in these parts. DH (who got back this evening) will grill a few tomorrow. Add some garlic bread, veggies, and caesar salad for a great feast. There will be leftovers and I will freeze a bunch of steaks as well.

Was looking for LED lights after Christmas for outside lighting - but no luck. Target was totally out, no at VS and RiteAid, and Ace Hardware had clear ones only. I will try again this weekend - and if not then, time to give up and wait until next winter.

Looked at DH's last paystub of the year, and it is a go for a Roth IRA contribution for 2010. His income can swing widely, so we don't make any contributions until the following year. My income is fairly set year to year. Starting in 2011, I will be contributing additional monies to my 457b via the "catchup" provision. For the next 3 years, this will be a small "ouch" but well worth it. Another reason to be more mindful of spending on more things that I do not need (or have but don't know where they are).
The year after these extra contributions are completed I can retire if I wish. I plan to wait until early the following year due to tax purposes. I do not plan to tap into the 457b until absolutely necessary. My pension should be more than enough to meet our needs (and DH continuing to work).

This past week has given me time to reflect on what life may be like when retired. I am enjoying my time with DD, and am actually sad to think I have to go back to work next Tuesday! Frown

More goals for 2011:
Evaluate finances more thoroughly to ensure that monies are balanced adequately for DH and me based upon our risk level and ages.

Plan a trip to Alaska this summer --
DH wants to DRIVE there with our Airstream. We would stop at places of interest both ways. So the trip would be a minimum of 4 weeks (I think). Debating whether we should plan specific RV parks to book or not. I do get real stressed if things are planned. DH seems to think it is OK to blow and go. Most places on other trips I booked online. Some were good and others a bust (according to DH). I did not consider them a bust just not as good as the others....... Smile

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Tad Bit Cold for Southern California

December 31st, 2010 at 06:04 am

Sure was cold today -- the high was in the low 50s! It really feels like winter now. Last night the wind was blowing and the house kept creaking. It was a little scary since DH was at our acreage yesterday with Sophie the dog. More rain is again coming on Sunday. Maybe the drought really is over......

DD got me a Biggest Loser DVD for Christmas. Tried it out yesterday and the suggested weight loss is 30 lbs (sigh.....but I already knew that). The program even was about spot on for my measurements (another sad sign). It also had a calorie count for me for the next 12 weeks. I am going to try my best with this program - every other day with the DVD plus walking, running, or bike riding on the other days (or same days if possible). Easier said than done.

Spent time today finishing up charitable contributions for the year -- I must be on some list because I get waaaaaaaay too many labels, etc. in the mail. I will only give to a few groups that mean something to me. I wish I knew how to get the others to stop sending me stuff..............

Talked to a good friend today to cheer her up. She has some severe health issues (she's my age!) --- pneumonia, blood clots in her lungs, obesity, and now, a golf ball sized tumor in the brain. The pneumonia and blood clots were discovered in November and are under control. A few weeks ago she had some stuttering issue and went to hospital where after some testing the tumor was discovered. Additional testing will be done next week and hopefully there will be a positive prognosis. Seems the two incidents were unrelated. Definite plus point --- she quit smoking!!!! Also eating better and plans to start exercising to the best of her ability pending the resolution of all these problems. Fortunately her DH just retired so there are no interferences on his end.


2011 goals:
1. Do not buy anything unless it is really, really needed.
2. Use what I have until #1 applies.
3. Lose 30 lbs via diet and exercise by July 1.
4. Use cash in lieu of CC for groceries for 3 months. Determine if less monies are expended when cash is used.
5. Open up online account for DD.
6. Declutter home by a minimum of 100 items by February 1. Donate or freecycle items (garage sales are not worth the effort for me).

I plan to add to those goals tomorrow.





Getting to the End of the Year!

December 29th, 2010 at 05:53 am

2010 has been a busy, busy year but has zoomed by so fast that I can't remember very much.

On the financial front.....
DH has taken a test for a position at his employment that pays much much better. Once he goes through the testing process, he will be on a list in the event that there are openings. Chances are good. Plus is that the pay is better, pension is slightly better, 40K matching is better. Cons are more responsibility and will work more hours (but not overwhelmingly so). Work should be slightly safer as well. Since I am planning to retire in about 5 years (DH not eligible for about 12 years) the added income would offset any reduction in mine.

DH and I has been at a tug of war concerning my vehicle. It is a 2000 Ford Explorer that has had some expenses almost reaching its blue book value. DH wanted to dump the car earlier this year and buy a new car. My point of view is that the value of this car for transportation is greater than the amount of monies that may be expended for something new. I am hoping that the car will last another 12 months. Then we can get a new whatever car (I an NOT particular). Even if we had to spend $1000 on it, we would be money ahead vs. payments. The other advantage for waiting is that I utilize a vehicle for business purposes and therefore can depreciate a new purchase. I prefer to wait a little closer to retirement.

It turns out that we had a few lucky "breaks" regarding the Ford. Car needed new rear shocks. DH bought them at a local auto parts store to install himself. Turns out he was sold the wrong shocks. He called and spoke to the manager who asked him some questions about the existing shocks. Turns out he was able to return the new ones for refund AND get two completely new ones free for the rear because they were still under warranty. And to add to this automotive excitement, DH asked, "What about the front shocks?" Yup, got two new ones for the front for free, too. He was happy as a clam! Smile

I also got a happy surprise at the eye doctor. Seems that glasses and contacts are covered separately (new feature). I was able to get an eye exam, 4 boxes of contacts, and a pair of glasses for free!

The wine making experiment is a success! Next year DH plans to plant more grapes. Olive processing is still underway --- olives are curing in a bring topped with olive oil and will be ready for canning in about 2 weeks.

Christmas was at my folks, and was fun. My bro cooked the turkey and DD and I worked on the stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes. Other goodies rounded out the meal. For gifts, we do the white elephant. Bring a mystery gift ($25 value or so) and we roll dice and steal, etc. Gift cards with a gag gift are the norm. DD got a Target GC along with New Year's popper. For some unknown reason, the Clapper was a popular item! I brought that, and my nephew was asking what the price was and where I got it. I actually got it last year at CVS for 90% off.
DD also got Wii Family Game Night 3 and we have been having fun playing it.

Today was spent decluttering and boxing items to donate by Friday. I sure did not realize I had so much stuff that I forgot all about!!!!! Hope to make a big dent before I go back to work next Tuesday.

Another storm is expected here in So CA late tonight and it may rain for most of the day tomorrow. So, tomorrow DD and I plan to go to Target and see if the Christmas items have gone down to 75% off. I know the rest of you in other parts of the US have more severe weather than here. But the last long rain was tough -- we were not directly affected (except for a few roof leaks) but many people were displaced.


Have a happy week and a Happy New Year!