Frugal as in necessary vs frugal millionaire because it’s hip.

This is my blog and my opinions. If you don’t want to read my rant about frugal necessity vs it being a luxury for millionaires( or asset millionaires) don’t read it then.

Recently, I followed a blog trail and ended up at someone’s site that was dedicated to being very frugal and ways to save a buck. Some of it was weird and using really cheap food stocks. ( think the blue box of mac and cheese and Krusteaz pancake mix). Ok, perhaps they’re not all bad but still.

Anyway, then this blogger is writing about being debt free and their monthly expenses. I was still on board here at this point. Then they go on to talk about net worth and assets. So she says, well our net worth went up $69,000 from the stock market taking  our net worth to over @ $2,000,000. I just about threw up.  Why are you even taking about trying so damn hard to be a cheapskate when you have that much money to draw from if you need it.

So then I started really thinking about this in relation to some other bloggers that do the same thing. The most famous is probably Frugalwoods. She wrote a book about  how being frugal lead them to be FIRE and independently wealthy.  What she doesn’t say is that her husband has continued to work from their home for an IT company whose salary is over $250,000 a year and benefits on top of that. Her salary comes from her blog, book and some independent consulting.

You know what? It’s easy to save 75% of your salary when it’s that big. Or even 50%. Honestly, it really seems to me pretentious and dishonest. Yes, it’s terrific you can grow kale on your 66 acre farm in Vermont to save money. And you eat the same thing for lunch every day. But it’s another thing is that YOU DON”T HAVE TOO> You have the savings to fall back on but what about the people that don’t.

How many low-income people eat beans/rice/pasta while struggling to pay the rent. They can hardly make ends meet and being frugal is a necessity.  They have no savings, retirement, etc. They live paycheck to paycheck.  We’ve been there.

Even now, we have Social Security and a small amount in retirement that we started way too late. Yes, that’s our fault but remember when you have no money to save because your bills/income are the same, ( actually bills out numbered income) so there is NO wiggle room.

PS. We still have a mortgage so that didn’t create the asset!

There are a few other bloggers like that, that I’ve just stopped reading because it’s ridiculous to read about trying to sell stuff on eBay to make a few bucks when you own multiple homes worth millions. Why not just donate that stuff to Cancer thrift or something?

Now they whole Frugal thing is so popular right now and I totally support it especially ones that really do give genuine advice because they are NEEDING to be frugal. I remember Frugal Queen in the UK. She had a terrific blog and had to be frugal.

I don’t know…  clearly this is a rant of mine which I take full responsibility for and that it clearly hits a nerve.

I think it is important to be frugal and careful with money and really everything including ones resources. But it’s another thing to have a blog about being frugal when all the while it is just white privileged rich people needing to pretend they need to save a buck because that’s how they got their money?? Not!

And BTW, it’s a great thing to pick up pennies or whatever change you find on the ground especially when your annuities and income are almost $6,000 a month. Whew, that must be tough.

And BTW, Thrifty Mom from Boise is really thrifty because that’s how she survives as a single mom with 2 adopted children. Now that’s real.

 

Okay, enough ranting. I’m going to go figure out my budget for our fixed income and see where I get too.

 

Please, do not respond in any nasty way. I won’t post those and it’s not worth it.

PS, I have huge respect for bloggers like The Prudent Homemaker, Thrifty mom in Boise, Where the journey takes me, Living Richly in Retirement,The Occasional Nomads, and lots others. It’s more the privledgedness( I don’t think that’s a word) in regards to frugalness that is my issue.

Friday round-up.

I’m really glad this week is over.

It’s been hot and that’s made it hard to be outside. I’ve been going out to the pool every day at 4pm so at least it’s a cool down to some degree.

My dentist’s appt went really well and they are taking every precaution so I felt safe. The crown was done in around 3 hours, start to finish.

My oncology appt also went fine except he was really late. He apologized as a family he had an appt with was having some issues. Nothing new, just wait till my numbers go up to 500. 😦  I sorta feel like a ticking bomb.  I was home by 12:15 so not too bad. Geez, people are driving CRAZY!!!

Tonight we’re ordering pizza out. It’s too hot to turn the oven on. So that will be a nice change.

I’ve done our budget for July and the only BIG expense will be the trees at @ $4,000. Geez, I really hope that’s it for a few years but probably not.

I put a yard sign up BLACK LIVES MATTER. I like it and it just shows some support. I would be out there protesting if I could. I did for VietNam but now I can’t risk getting COVID or bringing it back to others. So, just a small way of showing some support.

There’s a great news story trending about a young barista at Starbucks in Southern California who told a guest they had to wear a mask in the store. She went on a verbal rampage and then took his picture, posted it on Facebook while continuing to shame him. Tons of people came out in support of him and NOT the privileged white woman and then someone started a GO FUND ME tip jar. At last count, it’s up to $32,000. Wow, that is a really heartwarming story. That is some lucky kid.

B is still working on our daughters room windows and they really look nice. These new type windows have a UV tint which is amazing.  It definitely cuts down on the sun’s heat coming in. Plus he’s working on getting the ceiling fan up but that is requiring new wire so kinda a pain. But at least there will be some new wiring. When we had the guy do the wiring when we remodeled, he must have been on drugs and the wiring is screwy. Why he didn’t replace all the old wiring is unknown.

I probably won’t be going to the store till next week and haven’t decided where. I might just go to Safeway but I’ll need to write a list and see what I need.

 

 

Five on Friday

I think I will just abandon Friday for now as nothing we’re doing is very frugal. But five on Friday does highlight that.

  • So we went and did the Costco and Trader Joes trip on Tuesday. We went early and TJ’s was still fairly busy. But we were in and out at a mere $167. Some snacks, tofu, frozen veggies, salad stuff, tea, wine, and who know what else. Costco was busy but again we made it thru pretty easily although by the time we left it was getting packed. I had one woman run in front of me almost knock me over( not really, just imagining) to get to the Clorox wipes. Geez, lady.  My son wanted some Knobb Creek whiskey? so that was expensive. But it was a giant bottle. Anyway, we got out of there under $200 with $100 being the whiskey, his Captain Morgan Rum, and B’s Sierra Pale ale. All of which I do not imbibe.
  • Our windows finally arrived so we went and got those from Home Depot.
  • We were back at Home Depot to get wood for the windows and insulation. There is some dry rot that needs to be fixed. More $$$.
  • The weather is heating up to 100 degrees + this week. Not my favorite thing.
  • I made three new recipes this week. Organic Turkey meatballs. They came out pretty darn good. Then I made on the BBQ a seasoned Tri-Tip from Costco I had bought back in March. I watched a YOu Tube to see how it was done and I actually followed the directions and it came out great. Then I had bought some fresh Ahi Tuna at Costco. It was pricey but again I watched YouTube and got the timing down as it’s a quick sear. It came out really good and there was enough for all 3 of us meat-eaters to have lunch the next day. So $17. for 2 meals for 3 people. It’s not beans and rice but we eat that a lot of the time anyway.
  • My daughter bought a ceiling fan for her room and the wiring is too sold to reuse so B will need to go get the right wiring for that too. This old house was really not built very well and then when we had the wiring redone when we moved in the guy who did it, did the worst job possible. He totally screwed what circuits do what and it’s really a mess but to try and prefix that would just be too expensive. So we’ll do what we can.

California along with many other states is seeing an increase in COVID -19 cases. Honestly, this whole thing with people NOT wearing masks is getting out of hand. If it saves lives and keeps the virus from spreading why would you think it’s political. It’s science, folks. Plain and simple facts of how a virus spreads.

Now we’ve got idiot in chief, planning this rally tomorrow with his idiot, science deniers, all together. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Catching up

We got the tree quote and it came in at a good price. Plus we’re adding in having the very large oak that hangs over the barn trimmed. That will cost $1,000 but partly that’s because he needs to bring in his boon. I’m good with the cost and it’ll be a relief for the big tree to go. We still have the 2 other leaning Ponderosas and the one that leans toward our neighbors is a concern as the soil there is much softer as it is downhill. But I just cannot deal with that right now.  If it gets worse, then we will need to do something.

I had an exhausting trip to Costco but I got almost everything I wanted/needed. Of course, the next day I realized I hadn’t used the coupon that was tucked quite nicely in my wallet and I didn’t see when I went to pay. Oh well, next week maybe. Costco seemed to have most everything except no liquid hand soap or Clorox wipes. I have plenty of regular CLorax that I can mix with water if I need to make up a disinfectant.  The hordes were after toilet paper that apparently you have to make a beeline for the minute you enter the store and the meat counters were crammed with people trying to get stuff. I didn’t need any meat at all so I avoided it. I suppose I could have bought something as back up but I think with what I have, we’re good.

B’s biopsy came back great. No blasts, no MRD disease, no sign of MDS so that is really a gift. Hopefully, this GVHD will get resolved with the new drug. But since it is so expensive and they are( well, the hospital aid fund) paying for it, that it will do the job and then he can get off it.

I’m planning on driving down to see my doctor at the cancer center instead of doing a video chat. I just want to touch base with him and get his impression of my light chains going up so much. It’s not a good trend and I really would rather start Velcade than risk fractures or other horrible things. There’s no guarantee about anything but at least it’s the logical thing to do. I really hate the thought of dealing with dex and pretty much losing 2 days a week but at some point that will be the reality.  I can tell though, my energy shifting and I’m more tired and less energetic.

I also have my delayed dentist appt at the end of the month to replace a crown. Not looking forward to that.

Such strange weather we’re having. It’s hot then cool, then hot again. Today it’s quite cool and we even have a twinkly fire going just to warm up the house. Weird.

http://magnonsmeanderings.blogspot.com/2020/06/j-k-rowling.html 

I was reading this guys post as he’s on someone’s blog list that I read( I read lots of British blogs), but he was commenting on JK Rowlings’ comment about transwomen and I really flipped at what he was saying that he agreed with her that whatever sex you’re born that’s what you are. Really? How narrow-minded. Trans women are women and trans men are men. Period. He also said he had never read Harry Potter or seen the movies and I thought how weird he’s got this appreciation for JK R and hasn’t even read her stuff but when she goes off the rails about trans women he’s all for it. What astonished me is his comments were all agreeing. Well, I commented he needed to learn about transgender people and that it had nothing to do with ” the clothes” they wear. ( He was saying they can dress like a woman but they’re not real women). Anyway, my comment posted, and then, just like that, he took mine down and the other person who also tried to clue him in.

Go check it out.

 

Simple Sunday

What the fuck is wrong in America?

The awful murder of an innocent black man by 4 policemen.

The absolutely horrendous situation of the privileged white woman calling the police when a black man asked her to leash her dog( which was posted on a sign right behind her). Thankfully, this did not end violently and I’m glad she was fired from her job.

I’m glad there are protests going on. Something has to change in this country.  Of course, with a pandemic also going on, it’s tricky. I’m just depressed by it all. We have a racist president who is invoking violence, plays to his base, is a narcissist, and cannot feel anything except his own shit.

Something has to change.

In other news on the home front, we had another Instacart Costco order that was expensive but worth it. I spent @$375 for food and then a tip. Lots of stuff was prepper pantry stuff like bleach, cleanser, and toilet paper.  Some good food stuff like tuna, potatoes, avocados, bananas, and more. I looked at the receipt and then what I was charged by Instacart and most things were about $2.00 more that way. I ordered Sierra Pale ale for B and that was $4.00 more. So it definitely adds up but to not have to go into the store is worth it still.  The young man said the store was very busy and the checkout lines long. So I think a good choice. I’ll reevaluate in June about the time I need coffee. Of course, it’s a privilege that we can do this right now. There have been times in our past when I had $10. 00 a week for food.  And there have been times when I had zero money for food. So, for now, we can do this. Down the road, who knows. We’re living on a very limited income which will come in under $30,000 so… we shall see.

Our weather has been crazy with over 100 degrees one day and then hail and thunder the next. today is partly cloudy and cool. At least we’re not running the coolers all day.

I had my eye exam and everything seems stable with my macular pucker. Can’t do much about right now.  I also decided to cancel my crown on Tuesday and wait a few more weeks. I’m nervous about the air filtration in the office and stuff drifting around. I’m not sure much will be different in 3 weeks but I’ll try.

Next week I have my labs so we’ll see what news I get there.

 Barclay has another Bone Marrow Biopsy on Wednesday( such fun) so hopefully, he’s still fully engrafted. He started the Jakafi and I really hope this fixes the GVHD stuff.

Well, that’s all the news here at home. We did finish Ozark and it ends pretty violent and setting up for a 4th season. It’s good drama and Laura Linney is one of my favorite actors.

Flylady zone is the entryway this week if you’re following.

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week with really glorious weather. We’ve eaten dinner out on the patio and it’s been great. The mosquitos are coming out though so that’s a pain. Just when it’s getting nice enough to sit out after dinner, wham, mosquitos buzzing. I guess I ‘ll try and find the bug spray today.

The chickies are growing and going outside in a new cage on the grass but still coming into the dog crate at night. They have t least another month of going back and forth and then they will still need to be separated from the big girls for a while. Getting chickens is actually a lot of work. But by September we will start getting some eggs so that’s nice.

This week I have my doctor’s appt and I will be doing a video appt. I’m not sure how they set it up yet but should know tomorrow( Monday).

I went down to our Holiday market the other day when they opened( 7 am). Spent a small fortune but got some extra things for the prepper pantry. Ever since we moved to this area in 1975, I have been a bulk buyer. Beans, rice, honey, oats, etc. We had a small co-op in Auburn at that time and we could order stuff. We also did a buying club with what is now UNFI( That Barclay just retired from after 25 years). It was Mountain Peoples Warehouse then and you could order bulk things even dairy like cheese. Then a group would get together and separate out orders.  I don’t think they allow buying clubs anymore but I could be wrong. Anyway, that’s what we did. Somewhere after embracing a minimalist house, I started backing off on having a prepper pantry. I still would buy Lundberg brown rice and a case of tomatoes from Costco but I had been trying to back off it. Then all this Shit hits with Covid-19 and yes, I am back in buying bulk in full swing.

A prepper pantry though just isn’t bulk rice but enough food that could last you anywhere from 3 – 12 months. Now I don’t want a bunker with guns and food but I do want to build up my pantry.

Some stuff I’m putting out in the barn on the restaurant shelves( stainless steel). Extra dish soap, laundry soap, canned goods are going out there. Some packaged goods are going in bins to store. I’m planning on buying a food preserver thing that seals the contents of the bag but I want to wait and see what Costco’s looks like before I commit to it.

So far my plan is to have a dozen boxes of Pasta, a case of kidney beans, a case of cannellini beans, a case of refried beans, a case of tomatoes, and other smaller quantities of condiments, sauces. Mostly stuff I know would eat normally. I did buy 8 freeze-dried meals but I’m not sure about doing that again as that is not something we would normally eat.  I’ve been meaning to try one just to see how it is. Also a couple of boxes of tea and sugar. I keep some extra coffee in the freezer but in a shut down that wouldn’t last long. Maybe I’ll check into instant or freeze-dried coffee as a backup.

Right now the freezer is being eaten down and I haven’t bought a lot to replace things till I get to Costco which I’m thinking will be mid-May.

Dinners have been uninspired like spaghetti and sauce, meatloaf( I bought as I don’t know how to make a good one), rice and beans, grilled chicken, salad, and just normal stuff.  Tonight I am grilling chicken outside and will make a potato salad I think. I made a nut loaf with brown rice yesterday so I will serve that to B.

Well, life goes on, or as the chaos theorist in Jurassic Park says” Life finds a way”.

Flylady has two zones this week. Living room zone and entryway zone. I did the living room already but still need to vacuum.

 

Five on Friday

It was a beautiful week here in Northern California. Yesterday was 75 degrees. It got breezy in the afternoon but still nice. It’s supposed to start raining Saturday and go almost a week with snow in the Sierras. Well, we do need it but the sunshine and perfect 70-degree weather is hard to beat.

We are exploring different places to walk, so yesterday we went into Auburn and had a coffee at Depoe Bay( which roasts their own beans) and then walked around. We went up to the Gold Mining Museum and looked around and then walked the sidewalks. It was nice and I was surprised at the different routes we could take that would add up to a few miles. So, we will do this again after the rain stops.

I’ve decided to stop going to the gym and just walk and pull out my 5lb weights. Even though Sundays are the lowest people day, I just can’t risk it.  We are in the high-risk group. I am concerned with either of my Adult children who do work in the public sector bringing something home but I guess that’s the risk. They do wash their hands frequently and are quite conscious of what this means to us.

Budget wise things are good. I have way overspent on stockpiling stuff but I just figure that’s a one-off for now. I do still need a few things like cat food for Finwe who is a very picky eater. We also had our bi-annual Allstate bill come in. For 3 cars it was a little over $1,000. Seems expensive. Even our old Dodge van was $290 for 6 months. It seems high but I like Allstate and we’ve had them for 40 + years. This is the type of annual bill that will have to be paid out of our savings as the regular income only covers monthly expenses.

I did request a form for UCD financial help since the medical bills in August are what is causing a headache. Especially since the August 30 bill is for the Cystourethrocopy when the Cobra insurance wouldn’t pay the full amount. That alone was almost $4,000 with our part being over $1300. So I’ll fill out the form and see what happens if anything.

Well, today is not a walk day at least right now at 6:30 am, maybe later.

Five on Friday

I like to do five on Friday occasionally as opposed to Frugal Friday although this was mostly a frugal week.

  • We did get the Santa Fe serviced so that was not cheap but car maintenance is just part of annual bills. Our next big bill will be the spring property tax and our car insurance.
  • We haven’t eaten out at all since the end of January so maybe this weekend we’ll do a Panera date.  We spent quite a bit eating out in January. I think we got Round table twice and that’s not cheap even if it is just pizza. I’m using cash for groceries and trying to keep it with $100-$125 a week. I’ve actually used quite a bit from the freezer and dumped some stuff that was just too old.
  • I walked almost every day, except Monday. Since my foot fracture 2 years ago, I try not to be too compulsive about walking EVERY day.
  • I  started another minimalist declutter game. That’s the one where you do one item on day one and then 2 items on day two and so forth. I usually get thru to day 30 but sometimes it’s just little stuff. I went thru 4 drawers in my office area and did get rid of numerous pieces of junk.  I’m going to go thru the closet pantry and declutter any food I haven’t used or probably won’t. I don’t keep a large stockpile so that should be easy. I used to try the stockpiling for the apocalypse and decided it the apocalypse comes we’ll just have to die. ( haha).

I need to wash the sunroom windows soon too.  In memory of Kirk Douglas, we’re watching “Spartacus”. It’s really amazing what they did with sets in those days. No CGI!

The weather is a little warmer and it’s nice to get outside some. I think today we’re hitting 60 which is not too bad for February.

I want to get to the nursery soon too and get some potatoes to put in the garden. My daughter has planted the garlic and onions so hopefully, we’ll have a good crop of those. Potatoes do well in our soil so.  I’m hoping we get apples this year to make applesauce. Last year the tree was in it’s not producing year but the year before was a blockbuster year, so that makes this year a production year( I hope).

 

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week although weird again with the holiday in the middle of the week. I kept thinking Thursday was Monday. Oh well, it seems that we’re back on course and today is Sunday.

We did a shop a Costco on Friday and didn’t overdo it. I bought extra coffee and TP so we won’t need to ‘run’ down there for those things. We are eyeing a new TV though. Ours is about 8 years old and still works but the sound quality isn’t the best. There are some sales for the super bowl so if I think we can swing it, I will.

B’s last SDI was this last week too. He did get a notice to have his doctor fill out a form about not returning to work, so I’m not sure if they would extend his benefits to use up the little he has left or if it’s just paperwork. What I read is the maximum award is 12months, so we’ll see. We’ll try and do that next week although he sees his doctor on Tuesday and I’m sure it won’t be in the mail by then.

This month will be the big test of how we do without the SDI. I know it’s going to be an adjustment. But at least we have no big bills in January just the car tags for the old van. Still, that’s $150. I have been saving quite a bit of the SDI so that I know I won’t be adding to the savings.

Also, we had to call on his Cobra as, just as expected, the Noxafil prescription came in at$1200.  This amount was the Medicare Part D prescrpiton plan that I’m not planning on using that’s why we’re paying the Cobra amount. I am not paying that much money when last month it was 0.00 co-pay.  So he called and the Cobra payment letter was just going out. So we did it online and then now we have to wait for it to get activated by the prescription plan. After that, we still don’t know what the co-pay will be since we haven’t reached any yearly deductible.  It’s all unsettled right now but next week we should know and hopefully, it’ll be resolved.

Plus we know that within a few months Noxafil will be reduced or eliminated so then we will cancel the Cobra and just use the Medicare Part D as all his other drugs are Tier 2. I think it’s only Noxafil that is Tier 5. What a Fucking scam is all I have to say.

Today is a gym day and we will go for our walk shortly.

Flylady zone is the kitchen and I’ll start that today but finish tomorrow.

I made a new recipe last night from another blogger( Teresa Kasner)

She lives along the Columbia River in an old beautiful farmhouse. Her pictures are outstanding. So the recipe was for Chicken with potatoes and spinach in a creamy parmesan sauce. It was good.

This week is Clinic for Barclay and our overnight trip. Plus whatever stress with the prescription stuff comes up.:(

I started a list of projects for the year and we’ll see how far we get.

  1. to drop the wood stove to floor level so that the footprint is lower and less of an eyesore. We built the platform specifically so we wouldn’t be bending to put wood in but it does take up a lot of floor space. This won’t cost a lot except added stove pipe( which is pricey) but we won’t need a lot. And some stone for the floor. Our woodstove is quite efficient and we will keep it for a few more years. Eventually, we will put in a gas/propane stove. But that’s maybe 5 years out still.
  2. We will be replacing windows in my daughter’s room. This will be maybe @ $1000 as it will be 2 windows replacing one large one. The Anderson windows we bought last summer are great and very energy efficient. So that ended up @ $800( I think).
  3. I’d like to also replace the bathroom window. Same size but just more energy efficient. All the windows in the house we’re replaced when we remodeled but they are now 25 years old so an upgrade will be nice.
  4. I don’t think we will get to any bathroom remodel this year.
  5. I think we are going to try and redo some of the kitchen. The biggest thing is the counters and sink( pipes underneath) really need to be redone. Getting a new pantry system from Ikea will be first on the list as that will be freestanding.

There’s always garden work and yard work. That’s kinda ongoing.

Barclay’s official retirement date is January 30. That’s 25 years. It’s hard to let go of, I think, because of the way it all happened with him getting sick. But how incredibly lucky we are for modern science that has given him a new chance without cancer. Even I can’t say that, although I have been extraordinarily lucky that my Myeloma has responded to treatment. Well, it is what it is.

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This was our dinner the other night. A small piece of filet mignon and a Beyond Meat sausage( which are delicious BTW).

 

 

Things to think about for 2020

I don’t do goals so much anymore and I try to avoid putting myself in the position of expectation on myself. I do like lists of things that I would like to do or things that need to be done.

I like Flylady as it gives me a focus on weekly chores.  And I like grocery lists and menus. I also like budgeting and do that daily and weekly and monthly. I also have annual bills tallied. ( This might be the challenging area once were on SS solely).

Now that SDI is ending money will be different.  I have saved as much as I felt I could but there were some big expenses in 2019. We had over $6000 in medical bills. The trees were almost $5000. Plus travel and other expenses during B’s transplant. We were very blessed to have the GoFundMe account which covered Kiwanis’ house for 3 weeks and other expenses.

Overall, financially, 2019 was good. We didn’t rack up any CC debt related to medical bills or anything related to the transplant. I used CC to pay things but was able to pay in a timely manner.

In 2020 we will need to be ultra frugal as there won’t be bonuses, or extra money coming in. Honestly, I ‘m not sure how it will play out but it will one way or the other.

We’d still like to take down the big tree in the back of the house and that will be upwards of $5,000 as it will need a big crane. the other big thing will be, do we want to redo the bathroom so it is ‘age ‘friendly. We plan on staying here so a walk-in shower seems prudent.

I’m also figuring that I’ll be starting Velcade sometime in the next 6 months so that’s weekly trips to Sacramento. Lots to think about.