Good afternoon, all. Just a short note to let everyone know I’m trying to make some changes here to my site. It’s hard, because I am not technically savvy.
So, please bear with me. Hopefully sooner rather than later I will (mostly) know what I am doing…
I need more money. I need to save more money. And because of this, I read. A lot. All over the internet, Facebook and Pinterest. I have read many different tips. So many people refer to Dave Ramsey. He makes many good points, as do many other writers. I am not criticizing nor endorsing, but lately I have been scratching my head with the tips on how to save and how to get ahead.
The first one that made me smile is to amass a $1,000 Emergency Fund. Really? Wow. It is hard enough to pay our bills day to day. Tell me, please – how am I going to get this in place? They tell you to have this, yet don’t explain to you how to do it when you’re living day to day, paycheck to paycheck.
Pay all your debts – well, yes. That’s what I’m heading towards, hoping to do. Saying this in articles describing your financial life – well, to me it’s almost insulting. Of course we all want and need to pay our debts!
It’s good to have a 3-6 Month LONG RANGE Emergency Fund – well, hell yes that’s a good thing to have. But this one goes along the road of $1,000 excess, yada yada yada…If you’re just barely skating paying your regular bills, how in the world can you get more? No one ever explains this. No one!
You’re told to invest 15% – again, how is this possible? How do you do it if your daily expenses are barely getting met? I would do this if SOMEONE TOLD ME HOW IT CAN BE DONE. How?
Give to Charities – I barely have enough money for me, for us – but yes, I do donate. I realize that even in the financial situation I’m in, I am lucky enough that I can still give to people, pets, etc. that need. Of course, I would like to give more. And maybe one day I will be able to. I do also feed many cats in our neighborhood. I cannot look at a cat and wonder if he or she is hungry. I just HAVE to put food out for them. Just in case.
Make an envelope system – good idea, yes. Right now, currently I have this going on – I have one envelope, and it’s marked CRUISE. It has $30 in it. Not a lot considering a more significant deposit will need to be paid by November.
Don’t buy a new car – no worries, none. I am THRILLED with my 2015 Chevy Spark (in Grape Ice) and I feel no denial, whatever at all. It is the perfect car for me. My daughter in law calls it the perfect Lisa-mobile.
Check your Cell Phone and see if you can upgrade, downgrade – change your bill. Well, I did this, and we saved a bit. Though last time my phone and my son’s were just paid off, they seemingly, amazingly needed to be upgraded as they stopped working decently. I swear it is like the phones are pre-programmed to need upgrades. Right now we have until September to think about changing. Ugh.
They tell you to INCREASE YOUR INCOME – well, yes. Of course. So you sign up to deliver for Door Dash and Grub Hub, and you want to drive for Uber (because all of a sudden, Lyft deletes your vehicle type). It is not as easy as you think. You have to consider the area in which you live. Trust me. Not as easy as it seems.
Get Free Items whenever possible – I cannot believe anyone in what they would consider a financial crisis would not do this. Do not be proud. Investigate what you are eligible for, what programs you can be accepted into. And take advantage. But, without a doubt – when your situation changes (and it will) make sure you give back.
Avoid Brand Names – hahaha, who with financial concerns does not do this? Another tip that is almost insulting.
Eat Less – great tip, if all is good. If you want to lose weight. If you are not hungry. Self explanatory. No more words needed.
Start a side hussle – yes, I agree. I have started two – a cat sitting/cat care business – to hopefully make us some money, and to give me my “need” to be with cats. And I’ve started a home laundry service. So far both are going slow, but that is to be expected at the new beginning of anything.
These are my thoughts on money, finances, etc. – hate all of it. I would so very much appreciate any ideas and tips you all have…we need to help each other!
Lately I have had problems with motivation. Motivation in every way – I’ve been finding it hard to be motivated to get anything done. I do the basics, and of course I do what I need to, what I have to. But doing anything beyond that, anything extra – it’s just not been happening.
I think part of this lull I’ve been going through is because for such a long time, I just have not felt good. I believe there’s something going on with me, health wise. I don’t think it is anything serious, but how I’ve been feeling is what is preventing me from just…doing. I hope to get this under control soon, as I have an appointment with my doctor. I am hoping she finds something wrong that we can fix, and I can move on, and move along.
I find myself very happy and proud to see and know I did what I wanted, what I needed to do. I’ve been trying hard to stay on track, to stay the course as they say. I realized a few things that have helped me.
Lists – make a list. An actual list. I find at times I really am old school, and having an actual LIST on a piece of PAPER seems to motivate me. I am all for using my phone for this too – but for me, it’s easy to ignore a list on the phone because it’s not as obvious. What has worked lately is having a list, the list on both my phone and paper. I cross things off as I do them, and while checking in on the phone I will update my list. When I see my list with cross outs on it, I get motivated to make sure all things are checked off. And when this happens, I feel motivated to be able to do it another day with another list.
Goals – I need my goals to be reachable, to be realistic. I cannot expect myself to do ten errands when I know realistically I will only do five. If it’s possible, I will divide my goals (such as errands) into two days – say today and tomorrow. I feel as though this is giving me a break – making it easier. When I do this, I stay strict and do the five I promised myself I would do. The other day, I had stopped four different places. I was at my last stop. At the post office. I was there to buy four stamps. That was all I needed. The place was so crowded. I was surprised that it was such a hot bed of activity on a Tuesday afternoon. Tempted as I was to leave and go back the next day, I stayed. As much as the few minutes I wasted was frustrating, I didn’t want to add one more thing to my list of errands for my next outing. So I waited, got my stamps and ended the day happy that I did what I set out to do.
Focus. You have to focus on the big picture. Recently we took quite a lot of my things from my sister’s basement. Her house is being sold, and the landlord wanted things cleaned out. We rented a truck, and took all the boxes, totes, etc. from there to here. Everything I have is finally in one place now. I’ve been all over the place, so to speak for almost five years now. While I do not like the few totes that are still in the dining room, waiting to be brought to our basement or to the attic, I have to focus on the fact that everything is here now. And it’s a matter of time until all the boxes are put away. I know that I cannot nor should not keep everything we took from there. However, I’m focusing on the fact that it’s all here now, and there is no rush to go through it. It’s been five years, so if I do a box or two a week, that’s ok. Eventually it will all get done.
Tunnel vision. You’ve got to have it. As with all the boxes, I can visualize the fact that finally after all this time, I will be organized. All of my children’s memories, memories from my own childhood, clothes for each season and shoes will be clearly marked, organized and “findable” should I ever need certain things. Seeing this organization in my future allows me to keep going, head down, straight ahead until I hit the finish line.
Why. It’s key to figure out why at certain times you are unmotivated. As I’ve said, sometimes I just do not feel good. At these times, I need to give myself a break and just be happy I did the things that HAD to be done. There are times that you’re just not going to want to DO anything. That has been me. A LOT. Sometimes there is a reason – your health, if someone else needs you, if you are sad (like after losing a beloved pet). I have always been good to myself. I’ve cut myself a break many times (too many times) and because of that, when motivation strikes me and I’m doing good – I need to seize the moment and barrel through.
What are your problems with motivation? How do you overcome them? I would love to hear more reasons and solutions. I really would!
I’ve heard, read, known – that people just don’t like cats. Why? Whenever this is stated, nothing is ever provided for why – why people don’t like, or even worse, hate cats. I don’t see how this is possible.
I am old – fifty-six, to be exact. And I have had cats in my life since I was turning four – so it has been a LONG time. Every cat that was in my family was just that – a family member. How anyone can try to convince others that these furries are anything but – they are losers, and have no clue.
We recently suffered the loss of our boy, JB. It was awful, yet after his diagnosis – he lived with it, we lived with it. The night we found out that he had cancer was the absolute worst night of my life. I know that sounds crazy – as both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer, etc. With them, we knew. With J – his diagnosis was a shock that we had NO idea to prepare ourselves for. I loved my parents without care, without reason – and nothing could be done to prepare me, to prepare us for the loss. Loss is loss, regardless of who it is, and when it comes.
I am just feeling sad tonight. Yet, as I say this – as I type this, my baby – our baby – Malenky is on my lap, not leaving me. At all. I think the boy knows. And I love him for it…
This is a big year for our family – in the next few months, or a little more actually – three family members will be hitting milestone birthdays. The ex-husband will be turning 60, my middle son will be turning 30, and my nephew will be turning 18.
I have always tried to do notable things for those special birthdays – 16, 21, etc. What I have done is usually give the recipient the number of gifts corresponding to the age they are turning. It was hard enough finding thirty gifts for my oldest son last year – to get sixty for his father, well – impossible!
The ex has said he doesn’t need (or want) sixty gifts – so I will humor him. He was and is a candy person, so one of his gifts will be a large box with sixty pieces of candy – mostly Reese’s of some kind, plus other things. We have come full circle in the years since we separated and divorced, and his girlfriend and I are planning to give him a nice party to celebrate. Besides the candy, and making some sort of a sign in thing for people to put their thoughts on – what else can I bring, make, take with us?
Kevin will be thirty. It’s almost a year away, but I like to plan ahead. Obviously I have known the boy since the day he was born, and like his oldest brother, Michael – he will get thirty gifts. He and his wife, my beautiful daughter in law Amanda, have six cats and two rabbits – my fur grandkids. I could up the items for him to include things for the furries – but I want it to be for HIM. What else could he want, need? Like his Dad, he likes Reese’s. I want to spoil the boy, because he is a great son, a great husband. And he deserves it.
Then there is my nephew, Dan. I cannot believe he will be turning 18. I remember getting the call when he was born. That does not seem to be that long ago, but I guess it was. Eighteen gifts is not too hard to figure out. The issue with this is that he will be turning 18 when we are all on a cruise – he will not be able to drink the day of his birthday on the ship, but we will be in either Nassau or Freeport that day – so on land, he will be able to. What can I get him? What can I bring on board? I want to make it memorable for him. When we went on our cruise (my first one) this January, we had such an amazing time, and an event that had us laughing until we hurt – I want his 18th birthday to be memorable!
I am on Pinterest all the time. I try to research the kind of things I’m looking for – in every aspect of my life. I guess what I’m saying right now is…I need ideas! I want these three events in my family’s life to be special – and I’m asking for help.
What do YOU think I can do to make a 60th, 30th and 18th birthday special? Any and all help will be so appreciated…
I love to cook, and I love to eat. This is a fact. Another fact is that I like things to be easy. Laid back. And simple. That got me to thinking about some EASY things I like to make to eat…
Easy Chili – if you’ve got a hankering for chili, and don’t want to wait all too long – make what I call Easy Chili. I take a large can of Baked Beans – I like the Brown Sugar kind – and a can or two of store brand “chili beans.” I add in a package of chili mix if I have it, or if I don’t – a few shakes of chili powder will do. This ends up being more like Vegetarian Chili, because I don’t usually add any kind of meat. Though I usually have a can of canned chili on hand, so that can go in too. If you want, it can go an hour or two in the crock pot, or a few minutes in a pot on the stove. I always have shredded cheese and sour cream on hand, so I can pretty much satisfy my chili cravings whenever they pop up…
Easy Chicken and Broccoli – In my freezer I always have a bag of individually frozen chicken breasts. When I’m in the mood for this kind of dish, I pop a breast or two into a pot of boiling water. They cook up fast this way. While the chicken is boiling, you can microwave some frozen broccoli. When the chicken is done, cut it in strips or chunks. Stir fry it in butter, margarine – whatever you use, and add whatever seasonings you like. While this cooks a bit on low, you can boil some pasta or cook some rice. When all ingredients are done, toss together and you have a nice, quick meal. And an easy one. Depending on what you are in the mood for, you can drizzle it with soy sauce to make it Asian style, or Italian salad dressing or a bit of spaghetti sauce (just a tiny amount) for an Italian flair…
Easy Spaghetti Meat Sauce – I always and I do mean always have jars of spaghetti sauce on hand. Because I just love pasta so much! Sometimes though, I want more than just sauce on top of pasta. When this hits me, I cook up a bit of sausage in a pan – or microwave – I use breakfast links, so they cook fast. You can use the regular kind or hot – whatever you’re feeling at the time. While your water boils, and after the sausages are cooked – run them through a little chopper, you know – the small food processor “thingy.” Add them to a pot of sauce that is warming. Once all is done, spoon/toss together – add some grated cheese, and you’ve got a great EASY meal.
Easy Quiche – you can easily make quiche, and it doesn’t have to have a crust. Simply take four or so eggs, mix with some milk and whatever you want your quiche to have – usually mine are based with cheese, and vegetables too. Mix up, and pour into a greased pie pan (I use my clear glass one). It doesn’t take much longer than twenty minutes. This is a healthy meal that is also EASY.
Easy Mashed Potatoes – I love the mashed potatoes at one of my favorite Irish restaurants here in Scranton. I didn’t entirely realize what made them special right away, but eventually I did. For the easy version, you can use instant mashed potatoes. Prepare them as you usually do. The secret to make them (to me) extra special is to add grilled onions. Yes, that’s it. It seems so simple, but if you grill some onions (in whatever you use to stir fry) and add them to your mashed potatoes – you will see and taste something that is very, very good. And also very easy!
So there are a few of my EASY ideas that I also think are very good tasting. Any ideas, what do you all make that’s easy and good? Would love to hear!
I’m committed to eating better. Eating more regularly. Eating a proper meal at the right time so later on in the night I don’t go crazy and eat all kinds of stuff that isn’t good for me.
Last night, I was hungry. But for what – I didn’t know. I had leftover rice in a container. And I had defrosted a small bit of homemade chicken broth. So…I got an idea. I microwaved some breakfast sausage links – the hot kind. While they were cooking, I stir fried some frozen peppers (the multi colored kind). Once they were soft, I put in the rice and a small amount of broth. I cut the little sausages into nicely shaped pieces (there were only ten, so it didn’t take too long) and added them to the pan. The flavors were cooking together, and it looked like it needed something. I decided to add a small bit of spaghetti sauce. I let it all cook up together for about five minutes.
I have to say, for an impromptu meal – it came out pretty good. So good that I may even make it in a bigger version for Jeff and I, and an even bigger portion to share with family and friends.
It was different. It was easy. It was tasty. And it will now be included in I guess what you can call our meal rotation…
I have not been feeling good these past few weeks. Besides the fact of JB passing away, I have had an infection – it manifested itself into a rash, a face rash – I looked like a clown! It went away, and within a day or two after finishing the antibiotics and steroids, it was back. Ugh, I hate it.
I figured I need to get (more) healthy – so in addition to the doctor telling me I need to get back on B12, I decided it is time to get better foods into my diet. I have a water app on my phone, reminding me of when it is time to hydrate. This is truly a big deal, because seriously none of us realize how quickly a person can get dehydrated. I have chicken and beef plans for the next few days, but for tonight – I didn’t have too much of an idea. So I decided to make pasta. Yes, pasta.
As you will see from these pictures, I whipped up a meal – and it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. I first cooked minced garlic and chopped onions in butter – well, actually, Blue Bonnett – and as it cooked, oh the aroma – so good! While that was cooking, I had pasta boiling on the stove. Once it was all done, I took the pasta, the “grilled” onions and garlic and combined them in a pot with the pasta – and some spaghetti sauce (your choice) plus half a “standard” block of cream cheese. Baked all of this in a casserole for about a half an hour, give or take – and the result was…delicious!
Before baking this in the oven, I put some grated parmesan/romano on top – if you want, put some grated mozzarella on – and within a short time, I had a dinner that was healthy, and delicious – next time I make this, I will include chicken, or maybe shrimp – to increase/bump up the protein…right now, I’m full – and thankful I will have leftovers for tomorrow – and Jeff will have some too, unless he decides to be “healthy man” and take his regular food for lunch/dinner tomorrow…
The woman in this picture is not me – but this is how I feel, how I’ve felt since last Sunday. We came to the realization that it was time, it was JB’s time to go. I felt awful making the decision, yet I knew I had no choice.
He was just so sick. People always say you’ll know when it’s time, and we did. Jeff had to leave for work, he just couldn’t take off. So I called my sister and she went with us. Picked us up, and JB rode there on my lap, all snuggled up in his favorite Florida beach towel. I was so doubting my decision, because on the ride…he perked up! He was looking out the window, checking the sights. It was like his last hurrah I guess.
The technician confirmed what I had thought. The end was coming. They asked if I wanted an exam with the doctor. I would have, but honestly – it cost $95, and I sadly knew what the response would be. So I declined, and they got him ready. I wish they could have gotten me ready. But then again, I would have NEVER been ready for this.
They brought him into the room to be with us. I don’t know why, but seeing him with that black armband, the covering to his IV lines – it just got to me. It was black, with a pink heart. My heart sank. They let me hold him for a moment, and gave him a sedative shot. He immediately relaxed. When THE shot went in, and then the flush to make sure it went properly – start to finish it could not have taken more than thirty seconds. Tops. My boy was gone.
I was with him for some time – telling him what a great cat he was, telling him how much we loved him. Thanking him for loving us as much as we loved him. After some time, we left. This was done at an emergency vet center, and they could not have been more loving or more compassionate. Their condolence card arrived in the mail yesterday – the ENTIRE office signed it and wrote kind, loving messages.
I will miss him every day of my life. But he’s free now – happy. He’s running and playing, no more nose running! Have a great time up in heaven, J – you need to be waiting right there at the gates when it is my time.