Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blog Wrap Up: I'm Off on a New Adventure (Part 5 of 5)

This will be the last blog post on this blog.  Through cash-only living I was able to get out of debt and end up with a really unique, interesting life (considering that ten years ago I figured I would be working like a maniac at a job I didn't really like until I was 90 because I had to keep up with my debt payments!).

Thanks to everyone who has followed along with me on my journey out of debt (and my journey through temporary jobs and interludes of travel and angsty posts and everything else that composes a life).  And thank you so much for your supportive comments!

I have just started working on a new blog which I think will more clearly support my new life, one of adventure and travel and writing and all of the other things I want to do going forward (I'm sure there will be some money posts thrown in as well).

Please find me at... Writing My Way to Adventure

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog Wrap Up: A Whole Bunch of Frugal Tips (Part 3 of 5)

As I discussed in my last post, the main way that we were able to dig out of debt was to go cash-only.  The way we were able to go cash-only was to considerably lower our everyday expenses.  If we hadn't also gone frugal, we would have certainly ran out of cash before we ran out of things to buy.  Here, in no particular order, are all of the frugal habits that we regularly use:

  1. We don't have cable TV; we bought digital over-the-air antennas for each TV.  For about $20 each, we will have free TV for life.
  2. We pay cash for our cell phones (usually on Amazon, sometimes at Walmart, and once on sale on the TMobile website).  Buying a cell phone over two years on a contract through the cell provider is the most expensive way to buy a cell phone.
  3. We each have the $30 TMobile cell phone plan through Walmart (1500 talk/text minutes and a little data for hubby, unlimited text and internet with 100 talk minutes for me).
  4. Because I often need to call in for meetings, I have a monthly plan through Skype for $2.95 for unlimited calling and $3.95 a month for a Skype phone number.
  5. We buy almost everything we need at the $1 store and the 99 cent store.  If we must buy something these stores we don't have, we go to Walmart (ie: I haven't bought make up at Macys for years...the cheap stuff at Walmart works just as well and recently I found that the $1 nail polish works just as well as the more expensive brands).
  6. I haven't shopped at a mall in years.  We buy all of our clothes, home decor, etc. at the Goodwill.
  7. We have recently started shopping at the Goodwill outlet which offers even better prices on clothes and other goods.
  8. For things we don't want to buy used, like underwear and shoes, we shop the clearance sales at Ross and TJ Maxx.
  9. Hubby makes his own coffee at home each morning in a $10 drip coffee maker.  No Starbucks, no Keurig...just basic, cheap, and tasty coffee for pennies a cup.
  10. We use half of the recommend amount of many things (ie: cut dryer sheets in half, use half the amount of laundry soap, half the usual amount of toothpaste, half the usual amount of shampoo, etc.  Obviously I don't recommend half the amount of medication since that is a whole other ball game).
  11. I clean our house each week (no more housekeeper).
  12. We also do our own (minimal) landscaping (no more yard guy either).
  13. We don't buy items that need to be dry cleaned (this is an added expense that we don't need).
  14. We hem pants that are too long, mend clothes that need repairs, iron our clothes before each wearing...basically do all of our own laundry service to keep what we wear looking good.
  15. We have minimal items in our bathrooms--soap, razor, shampoo, and hair conditioner in the shower (as opposed to a friend who has three kinds of soap, a product for shaving, a half dozen hair products, etc).
  16. We keep the heat down in the winter (and wear sweaters around the house, watch TV with blankets over us, etc).
  17. We keep the air conditioner up in the summer (we easily tolerate the AC set at 78 degrees).  We also use ceiling fans to keep the house cool as well as drawing the shades during the heat of the day.
  18. Instead of cable TV, we have a subscription to Netflix to keep hubby entertained.
  19. We use our library to get lots of free things--books, music, classes, a bajillion free Kindle books to read, etc.
  20. Everywhere we go I ask for discounts.  We get locals discounts (a common thing in Las Vegas), senior discounts (for hubby) and veteran's discounts (also for hubby).
  21. We get a big break on our annual car registration fee because our county offers this sort of discount to veterans just for filling out a form.
  22. We don't have vices.  Well, hubby uses his minimal monthly allowance to play poker but we don't drink, smoke, do drugs, etc.  
  23. I pay almost all of our bills online which saves the cost of stamps.
  24. All of our bank accounts are free of any charges (two credit unions and one bank which gave us a free bank account because they hold our mortgage).
  25. We are a one car family.  And this one car was paid for in cash and will be driven until it literally dies.
  26. I often walk to do errands and shopping.  This not only saves gas but it is also good exercise.
  27. I call our cable internet company every time our cable rate is set to go up and ask for a discount (this has worked well so far).
  28. When I saw that our car insurance rates were always going up, I shopped around and threatened to change companies unless ours could give us a better rate...and they did.
  29. We dropped full coverage insurance on our car and only have liability since the car is old and we would only get a few thousand for the car should it be totaled.
  30. I raised the deductible on our house insurance which lowered the cost of this insurance.
  31. We pay some of our bills (sewer, car and house insurance) annually or bi-annually which gives us a small discount over paying these bills monthly.
  32. We buy quality items that last longer and stay in style longer rather than buying less expensive trendy items that are cheaply made and go out of style quicker (like shoes.  I like quality shoes such as Keens or Clarks or Brooks but I still buy them at a good discount at TJ Maxx and Ross).
  33. We group all of our errands together which saves gas.
  34. We also try to stay home a couple days each week which also saves gas and keeps us from spending money.
  35. We buy store brand products instead of name brand products (like Equate hair gel, Equate dandruff shampoo, Equate hand lotion).
  36. We take advantage of hubby's military benefits (shopping at the commissary, my super inexpensive health insurance, etc).
  37. We get our hair cut at the cheap Great Clips place instead of an expensive salon.
  38. To make my haircuts last longer, hubby trims my hair between cuts which means I only need to pay for about four haircuts a year.
  39. I do my own manicures, pedicures, waxing, and hair coloring.
  40. When we color our hair, we only mix half of the product and save half of the hair dye for the next time (we each have short hair so half of the hair dye works fine for our hair.  Just don't mix the product together and save it as this won't work).
  41. We have inexpensive pets (gold fish.  And hubby cleans and reuses their filters to extend the cost of these filters).
  42. We also have inexpensive hobbies (I like walking, hubby participates in a few inexpensive bowling leagues--he also happens to be a great bowler so at the end of the season he always wins more in award money than he spends on the weekly fees).
  43. Since hubby is a senior, he paid $10 for a lifetime National Parks Pass which we use often.
  44. There is so much free entertainment in Las Vegas that nearly all of our entertainment is free (free movies, free guided hikes, free rodeos, free community events like parades and art shows, etc).
  45. We are also members of House Seats (for a flat $89 fee, we can attend a myriad of Vegas shows, every day if we are so inclined, for two years!).
  46. Hubby uses his monthly allowance to play poker.  When he plays poker he gets comps for free meals so any time we want to eat out, it is free.
  47. Hubby also plays free poker online and through this he wins prizes such as $50 restaurant gift certificates and free rooms at local hotels.
  48. We shop loss leaders at the grocery store and make our meals based on what is on sale.
  49. Unless we are eating our free with hubby's comps, we cook almost all of our meals at home.
  50. We make much of our food at home from scratch (it's super simple to make yogurt, pizza, baked goods, etc).
  51. Using a whole paper towel is wasteful so hubby cuts the roll of paper towels down the middle so we only use half a paper towel at a time.
  52. We use basic cleaning products (bleach, ammonia, vinegar, scouring powder...and a lot of rags instead of disposable cleaning products).
  53. The SIL gave us a Swiffer but when it ran out of disposable Swiffer pads, I just made my own out of rags.
  54. When we host parties, we also do all of the cooking (it's cheaper and tastier than catered).
  55. When we attend dinners with friends, I always bring baked goods, etc. instead of purchasing items to bring.
  56. We moved to an area with a much lower cost of living (this saves us an inordinate amount of money).
  57. Hubby likes a certain kind of cologne so we found a place to buy it cheaper than retail (at the military exchange store) and he uses less of it (it used to be six sprays each morning, now he is down to two...this really stretches out the product to the tune of 1.5 years between purchases instead of every six months).
  58. When items come on sale we stock up (like right now all of our closets are full of toilet paper because the commissary had it on sale for a third of its regular price.  Ditto for pork that we found on sale for 99 cents a pound).
  59. We occasionally use coupons on items we purchase but it needs to be items that we would have bought anyway.
  60. When we know we will be away from home during a meal, we make sandwiches and take them with us.
  61. On occasions when we are out at meal time and didn't bring food with us, we hit up a fast food place and eat off the $1 menu only (this tides us over until we get home for a very cheap price).
  62. When we do eat out, even with hubby's comps which get us free meals, we almost always order one meal and share it since restaurant portions are so huge.
  63. We purposely bought a small house when we moved (this saves on heating and air conditioning costs, cleaning time, decorating costs, etc).
  64. When we first moved to our new place, we recorded our electricity usage daily and worked on ways to reduce our electricity costs to save money (ie: keeping the air conditioning on low 24/7 uses a massive amount of electricity so now when we leave the house we set it on 82 then lower it down when we get home).
  65. We shop for things on Craigslist rather than buying new (ie: we couldn't find a treadmill at the Goodwill so we checked Craigslist and bought a barely used one for $50).
  66. We only shop the Goodwill on Wednesdays because it's half off for seniors on that day.
  67. Whenever we have a problem, we try to Google the problem and fix it ourselves (so far we have fixed a dripping shower, a dead microwave, and a clothes dryer that kept shutting off...the parts for these repairs were pretty cheap and the labor, of course, was free).
  68. We don't go to the stores unless there is something we absolutely need to buy (just wandering around stores aimlessly makes us buy stuff we don't really need).
  69. The hubby and I debate nearly every purchase from what kind of tortilla chips to buy (I have a favorite brand at the 99 cent store) to what kind of computer to buy (hubby tested out a new one, didn't like it, and promptly decided to live with his old one until something better than Windows 8 comes out).  Basically we start with "do we need this" and if the answer is yes, we move on to "which is the best deal for our money, what features do we really need and really don't need", etc.
  70. I pull our free credit reports each year and review it for mistakes (instead of paying a credit company to do this for us).
  71. I also do our taxes online at H and R Block for a super reasonable fee (this has turned out to be more accurate than me doing them by hand).
  72. I Googled each of our utilities to see what kind of freebies and deals they offered and have received everything from free shower heads and faucet aerators to rebate coupons and home weatherization materials.
  73. We buy some things in bulk (like 50 pound bags of rice which we know won't go to waste).
  74. We only use free apps on our tablets and cell phones and free software on our computers (there is so much good free stuff out there you really don't need to pay for these things).
  75. We let people know we like hand-me-downs and used stuff (when we moved in to our new house we were inundated with free, used furniture, appliances, curtains, clothes, decor, and other stuff from the cousins who had lots of used stuff in their garages that they didn't want any longer).
  76. We hit up Asian and Hispanic markets for specialized items that cost and arm and a leg at regular grocery stores (like coconut milk, special cuts of meat, produce, and ingredients for Asian recipes).
  77. We wash all of our laundry in cold water.
  78. We don't use the dishwasher, choosing instead to wash dishes by hand (this is quick and easy as there are only two of us).
  79. When we travel we do it as cheaply as possible (taking Megabus, getting day passes for the local transit system, staying at friends and relatives homes, watching for cheap airfares, etc).
  80. We've severely cut back gift giving (when the immediate family expanded past 100 people we pretty much stopped gift giving all together, choosing instead to send cash to the kids to spend on their families for holidays).
  81. We keep our car in good repair (check the tires often, regular oil changes, etc). 
  82. We clean filters regularly (the filter on the clothes dryer, the filter on our HVAC system in our home, the air filter in the car, etc...this prolongs the life of the items).
  83. We don't buy extended warranties (we do make sure the product is of good quality, has good reviews and has a reasonable manufacturers warranty).
  84. We look for ways to minimize our bills (at the start of each year we review our list of bills to see if there is a way to reduce it--like cutting down the amount of garbage pick ups we get--or get rid of it all together--like cancelling subscriptions).
  85. We pay attention to postage rates (when we do consider sending gifts or packages to friends or family the first thing we look at is the cost of shipping...flat rate boxes are usually the way to go).
  86. We eat leftovers and never waste food (when hubby cooks Filipino food he usually brings the leftovers to the cousins who love this or to Filipino staff where he plays poker.  We have also "adopted" a homeless guy we pass on a road near our house and often bring him leftovers, extra clothes we don't need, etc).
  87. We get rid of things we don't truly need (we haven't had a land line phone in ages, we ditched the gym membership in favor of free exercise activities, we no longer subscribe to newspapers or magazines, etc).
  88. We pay cash for gas for the car and choose the cheapest gas station in our area (Arco). 
  89. Hubby also tracks our gas expenses so we can tell when we are driving too much (which means we aren't being careful to group our errands enough).
  90. We wear our clothing two or three times between washing (they don't get dirty and this saves the expense of washing and drying them plus wear and tear on the clothes).
  91. When we need to make a bigger purchases, we compare prices, read reviews, find out about price matching, basically we do everything we can to get the lowest possible price on the items we buy.
  92. Whenever I buy something online, I Google the coupon or promo code for the item.  If there is a place that says "promo code" that means there is probably a promo code to be found for it which can often be found online.
  93.  We try to be patient in order to save money.  This might mean watching the sale ads until the item we want is on a good enough sale to warrant buying it.  This also means instead of picking up a cell phone cover for $20 at the local store because I want it now, I buy it on Amazon for $2 and wait a couple of weeks until it is delivered.
  94. We look for a cheaper way to do the things that we want to do.  If we want to go to a movie (this is rare) we choose senior day or matinees over the cost of a full-priced movie (or better yet, we wait until the library gets it).  Ditto for checking out a new restaurant--we will go for lunch which is cheaper instead of dinner which is more expensive.
  95. When we purchase items with cash, or buy a bulk of items, we will ask for a discount (this often works).
  96. We avoid fees like the plague (ATM fees, credit card interest fees, monthly payment fees for some bills, etc).
  97. We don't bounce checks (and the one time that hubby accidentally did this because he wrote a check on an account that we rarely used and had very little money in, he immediately called the bank and asked for the fee to be waived which they did).
  98. We help people when needed and ask for help when needed (ie: when the cousin needed a new hot water tank we immediately took her around to the stores and helped her get the best deal; when we needed a ride to the airport she happily picked us up and dropped us off).
  99. I read everything.  By doing this I have: found great tips for freebies on reddit, found out that Saturdays are 10% off for military folks at our local grocery store, got a great deal on House Seats, filed for a class action rebate on a product that I regularly used, etc.
  100. We retired.  Oddly enough, even though we have less money, we also have considerably less expenses (no second car, no business wardrobe, no business lunches, etc).

And 10 things we don't do (but other people do find frugal and useful):
  1. I don't hang our clothes out to dry.  Yes it saves money but the clothes are so crunchy!
  2. I don't have a monthly bus pass.  In Seattle this is a great way to get about and save money but the transit system in Vegas isn't that great.
  3. I don't grow my own food.  I tried this and it was a fail (not sure if it was me or trying to garden in 100+ degree heat).
  4. We don't have kids at home as they are all grown and self supporting (you wouldn't believe how much money this saves!).
  5. I don't make my own laundry soap (although I should definitely give this a try).
  6. I'm not a coupon queen (as much as I like free and cheap stuff I don't want to spend the time/reserve the storage space for massive couponing binges).
  7. I haven't cut out every vice (my particular expensive vice is a weekly trip to Baskin Robbins for a Capuccino Blast.  It would save me money not to do this but I like this weekly treat too much to give it up).
  8. I don't rewash and reuse plastic bags.  Many people do but...ick.
  9. We don't have pets.  Many people do and this is an added expense but we are hardly ever home and it is hard enough to find a fish sitter when we go on vacation.
  10. By luck or circumstance we haven't been in situations that can cause a financial catastrophe (like getting divorced, becoming a single parent, having a major medical catastrophe without insurance, co-signing for a loan that is defaulted on and comes back to us to pay, paying for bail or lawyers, having massive student loan debt...you get the idea).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Blog Wrap Up: How to Get Out of Debt (Part 2 of 5)

The whole purpose of this blog was to help me get out of debt (actually at the beginning I had no idea what the purpose of the blog would be, I was just so frustrated with being in debt I needed a place to whine...fortunately I ended up with a lot of supportive people leaving me comments which was super nice and, reading their blogs, super inspirational!).  This was how we ended up getting out of debt:

  • We listened to Dave Ramsey for two hours each day for a good year.  Hubby got fairly sick of Dave Ramsey but his common sense advice--and the repetitiveness of it day after day--eventually planted itself into our subconscious.  He was the first person to say that people didn't have to live with debt--I literally never even thought that was possible as everyone I knew lived with debt.
  • We stopped worrying about what everyone else thought.  For most of our life, we didn't want to be weird (Dave Ramsey gives you permission to be weird and not normal because normal people are broke) but we found that even though we were doing odd things (like riding the city bus and dropping cable) people were really more preoccupied with themselves and barely noticed the things we did.  Plus, at the time, many of the people who we thought would judge us if we didn't keep up with the Joneses, were losing their jobs, going bankrupt, etc.
  • We were brave enough to experiment with many things.  It hit me when we hopped on a city bus in Mexico.  We were on vacation and our usual MO was to ride the city buses around whatever city we were in to get a feel for the area and then I wondered why I was so happy to ride a city bus in a foreign city but had never even considered riding the bus in my own city.  So I left my car at home and tried out our city bus when we got home.  I loved it!  I could arrive at my destination after reading a book or listening to music instead of dodging traffic plus it was literally $1000 a month cheaper than paying my car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, etc.  Holy cow!  So the minute my car's lease was up it went back to the car company and we were instantly a one car family.  Our schedules were pretty flexible anyway and we shared the car often.  Plus I carpooled with co-workers to meetings and got a monthly bus pass for other times and the world didn't come to a halt at my audacious behavior.  Instead, we learned that by daring to experiment, we could save A LOT of money.
  • We cut up our credit cards and went cash only.  If there is one thing that strikes fear into the heart of a shopper (other than the moment when the clerk goes to swipe your credit card and you don't quite know if it will be approved or not) it is not having any credit cards at all.  But we took Dave Ramsey's advice and cut up our credit cards and went cash only (not even using our checking accounts for a while because we were forever over-drafting our accounts).  It's really hard to over spend when you are living cash-only.  When the cash runs out, you are simply done shopping.
  • We also, as Dave suggested, put together a $1000 emergency fund.  We sold stuff on eBay and Craigslist, had garage sales, sold gold, etc. in order to get the money for the emergency fund and this money, since we had cancelled our credit cards, was our only source of funds for an emergency.  When we were using credit cards for emergencies, it was easy to justify a great shoe sale as an "emergency".  When we had a limited amount of money for emergencies, we couldn't use it for anything other than legitimate emergencies (and there were a few times where this money really saved us!).
  • Then we listed our debts, smallest to largest, and made it our mission in life to pay off our debts ASAP.  It was a slow go but slowly but surely our debts got paid off one by one.  To do this we were throwing every single extra dollar at the debts, having garage sales, doing extra work, anything to get the next debt paid off as soon as possible.
  • When circumstances changed, we changed.  For years and years were were an upper middle class family with good jobs and good incomes (and lots of debt to show for it because we wanted to "look" successful.  Obviously there is a big difference between "looking" successful and "being" successful).  But then a bunch of events happened...hubby fully retired, house prices were sliding, I lost my biggest client...and we had to decide what to do.  We could have scrambled and tried to maintain appearances and hoped that the economy would turn around so we could maintain our "normal" lifestyle or we could make a drastic change.  We decided on the drastic change.  We sold our house while we could still got some equity out of it, we sold nearly everything we owned in a massive succession of garage sales and a flurry of Craigslist ads, we paid off our remaining debts, and then, rather than jumping into another similar lifestyle, we decided to be vagabonds for a while.  We traveled for a year and a half (very easy to do, even with both of us living on hubby's small pension, when the only debt we had was a small storage locker fee and monthly prepaid cell phone bills!) then we wound up in Las Vegas for a poker tournament and ended up buying a house and settling there (fortunately the Vegas housing market was pretty near its low point and we got a great deal on a newish house).
  • Since then we have been happily living as retirees in Las Vegas.  We live frugally on hubby's pension and social security and my random income (mostly freelance work and a very cool seasonal job) and we no longer worry about debt.  We don't live above our means any more and we debate spending money on even the smallest things (a habit we developed when we were getting out of debt.  Just a few days ago we were out shopping and getting hungry, I said lets just go to the Chinese place but the prices were $6.99 per person which hubby said was too much so we drove a bit further and ended up sharing a pizza lunch special for $5 total...that's just how we roll these days).
The moral of this story...if ten years ago someone would have told me we would be debt free and both of us retired before I turned 45 I would have laughed them out of the room.  We were so deep in debt (complete with creditors calling us daily and the IRS sending us letters weekly) that I thought I would be working until I was 90 but by using the free advice that is out there (mostly Dave Ramsey but there are a lot of inspirational blogs and websites out there as well) and making significant changes in our lifestyle and our attitudes, we were able to not only get out of debt, but completely change our lives.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blog Wrap Up: From Beginning to End (Part 1 of 5)

I've come to the point where I have decided to discontinue this blog.  I have come full circle (kind of, not really, as I got off the 360 full-circle loop on a way more positive place than where I began) and although I used cash only living for the past few years, I am actually now a full fledged credit card using, credit card holding member of society these days.  But going cash only did serve its purpose and got us out of debt, a fact which I will forever be grateful for.

Looking back over this blog, it really is amazing to see where we began and how far we've come and where we ended up (Vegas baby!).  Seriously, if someone would have told me ten years ago that I would be debt free and living in Las Vegas I would have laughed them out of the room.

I started this blog in a fit of angst on October 17, 2009.  At the time I wanted a new life that didn't include debt (the first post is here) and then I set some goals (found here in the second post).  I am happy to report that since those first two posts, nearly all of the goals I set have been met.  Who would have thought that the goals that I set nearly five years ago would have been achieved, often in such an unusual way?  Although we never did pay cash for a new car (we are still driving our old but trusty, paid off van) we did pay off the house and the home equity loan (by selling the house which wasn't even in the plans when I wrote the list), we paid off all of our credit cards, set up an emergency fund, and did get to travel, travel, travel (after selling the house and nearly everything we owned, we vagabonded our way around the country and through Asia before serendipitously stopping by Las Vegas so hubby could play in a poker tournament).  We ended up buying a newish house, for a quarter of the price of our previous house, just ten minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.

We are now happily retired, living on a small fixed income (with some occasional jobs and freelance work thrown in for extra cash), and enjoying every day doing interesting and exciting things in our new city.  The frugal measures we used to dig ourselves out of debt are now ingrained habits and I am happy to report that we haven't been on the IRS's speed dial list in years (in fact we have been happily receiving annual tax refunds for the past few years which I am always thrilled about).

And if you know me, you will know I always have new projects in the works.  More on that later...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And Another Weekly Update


Week three of working at the WSOP is done and I have about two and a half more weeks to go.  Here's what happened this week:

  • Hubby's cousin gets free comped rooms at the Rio (where the WSOP is being held) and when she found out I was working there, she gave us a room, free, for the past week.  This meant I just had to roll out of bed and go downstairs to work!  Add to that hubby's meal comps at local casinos and we had a basically free week and saved a lot on gas since we didn't have to go back and forth from work to home for four days!
  • I was shocked to receive my monthly royalties payment for my book that I wrote a couple years ago...it was $250!!  It usually averages around $30 to $50 a month so this was a giant jump.  Needless to say, this book is getting updated and republished ASAP.
  • Since I have been working 40 hours a week I have had exactly no time to shop.  What a great way to save money!  All I do is work, eat, relax for a couple of hours, sleep and repeat.
  • I got my first big paycheck from my job and it was just under $1000 for two weeks.  On the one hand, it was a nice chunk of change to add to my bank account, on the other hand, that's a whole lot of work for such a small amount of money.  Eeeekkk
  • I found out that while I am an official employee of the casino, there are a lot of discounts I am entitled to (which I will be sure to use before I am no longer an employee in a few weeks).  Discounts include half off at the buffet (which we really like), highly discounted rides on the new Linq, free or discounts rides on the new Rio zipline (need to find out which it is), and discounts in other restaurants and shows at the various casinos in the chain which we also want to take advantage of.  Yippee!
  • My tiny garden is growing slowly but surely.  There has been a bit more chard and the tomatoes are finally turning red (see photo above).
  • On a serious note, my sister texted me a few days ago and said...and I quote..."our brother is in the hospital and might not make it."  So after a some furious texts back and forth, I found out he had a ruptured spleen and was in surgery, and, well, this type of serious injury coupled with a rapid detox from alcohol doesn't bode well for the patient.  Fortunately he pulled through and sounded OK when I talked to him.  Unfortunately our family isn't very close--between my siblings and other assorted family members, they have enough drama for a complete season of Jerry Springer so I basically choose to keep my distance from all of them aside from a once a year get together which pleases my elderly aunts.  Fortunately, I am still kept in the loop...via texts.  Unfortunately, after some pondering of this situation, it dawned on me that #1...me and my siblings are growing older with the assorted problems that come with aging, and #2...collectively my siblings and their adult children couldn't put together $500 in a crisis.  Which made me realize that if one of them were to pass away, which hopeful won't be for a very long time, this expense would probably fall on me.  Note to self, add more to my emergency fund.  Oddly enough, while I plan for literally everything, planning for this expense, never even crossed my mind until now.  Another eeekkkk.
So that was my week.  Onward!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Week 2 Update

Well I managed to survive week two of my temporary job...here's a quick update:

  • Work was fine.  It did, however, reaffirm my notion that I am simply not wired to work a five-day-a-week, 9-5 job.  I know many people would love this kind of job but I need my freedom.  It makes no sense to have to wait until a certain time to "clock in" and start working when there is work to be done (ditto the idea of standing around doing nothing when there is no work to do).  I absolutely love having more flexible jobs that allow me to work when I want and how I want but I appreciate the opportunity to work a short six-week session and put some extra money in my pocket.
  • Last week I was reading Carla's blog and saw this article.  It immediately reminded me of a shooting that happened in Tacoma a couple of years before we left the Seattle area.  And then, a couple of days ago, the unimaginable happened AGAIN right here in Las Vegas when two police officers were killed in an ambush shooting.  I seriously don't know what is wrong with people these days.  It makes me want to go be a hermit somewhere and not have to deal with people at all since you never know when someone is going to go crazy and start shooting for no reason whatsoever.  Ugh.
  • The garden isn't going so well.  I did get one serving of chard and a couple of tomatoes are turning red but for all of the work and the lack of results I might have to agree with hubby that it is better to just buy our produce at the 99 cent store.  Or maybe it is just gardening in the 100+ degree desert that makes this harder than I thought it would be.
  • Hubby went to the Goodwill outlet again without me.  His take was 50 pounds of stuff for around $35.  Fortunately we can ship most of the things he got (sheets, towels, clothes, cookware, etc) to his son in the Philippines.  Otherwise we would need to have a garage sale as our garage is filling up with stuff and more stuff.
  • On a happier Las Vegas note, this guy's Las Vegas video has gone viral, our Miss Nevada won the recent Miss USA title, and Cirque du Soleil is 30.
  • And from the "two steps forward, one step back" file: we took the van in for it's usual oil change and were happy to see that there was a sale for $11.95 (yeah).  Then we found out that the water pump was leaking so that was a big expense that needed to be taken care of ASAP (boo).  We got a great deal on the water pump and labor because hubby is a friend of the shop's owner (yeah).  Then we were told that the serpentine belt needed to be replaced too which is common is Vegas where rubber anything has an extremely short shelf life in the baking Las Vegas sun (boo).  Then we got the final bill and it was only $200 which is about half of the usual cost mostly, I am guessing, because hubby often brings the guys at the shop lunch (they are mostly Filipino) if he happens to be cooking on the days he drives by the area where the shop is located. Yeah.
Finally, here's a few links you might like: