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Re: Our 2019 No Spend Challenge

Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:11 am
by alliesmama4
I am looking forward to the new year. I will be almost completely debt free for the first time in decades. I will be 75 in January. My debt started when I had medical problems when I was 53. I was forced in to early retirement. I did have long term disability insurance for 2 years but when I was 55 it stopped. I had gone from making $54,00 a year to $33,240.00 for two years, and then after that $9,240.00 a year. I was suppose to have medical insurance until I was 65 but the hospital I retired from was sold and the new company would not honor retirees insurance benefits. I not only had medicine bills that exceeded my monthly income my dog Allie developed a brain tumor. She was such a comfort to me I had to do what I needed to for her. She was only suppose to live for a year to a year and a half. She was started on human chemo therapy and lived for 7 years living to around 15. She had a good life up until the last few months before I had to put her to sleep. It was worth the money and sacrifice to have her with me so long. Although I was making $54,000 a year that was only the last thee years of my working career so I really did not have a chance to accumulate more savings. I was very ill and had to hire in home care and pay out of pocket for the help. Once I had spent all of my savings I finally qualified for assistance through the Department on Aging. It took me quite a long time to receive SSI from Social Security. They required extensive paperwork that I was too ill to complete and I had to have paperwork that was packed in boxes that I was unsure of where it was due to moving from my home to my mothers home after she died. Social Security denied my claim twice which infuriated my neurologist. He said he could not believe their stupidity. However each time I had more paperwork to complete that I was too ill to do on my own. However I hired an agency aide to help me. Finally after 2.5 years a judge reviewed my case and granted me SSI. I did receive money going back to my original claim date but all of that went towards paying down my credit cards that I had been living off of.

After I lost my medical insurance I was diagnosed with a rare inherited form of ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease). I had to go through a lot of testing and Drs appointments that were not covered by insurance. Also my medicine exceeded my monthly income. I had to put things on my credit cards and use my saving to try to make ends meet. Then in one year I racked up more bills with wind damage to my roof (not enough to be covered by insurance) found termites in the house, had to have extensive dental work done and it was forever something happening that required money I did not have except for using my credit cards. So with only one small payment each month on the remaining credit card I feel so free.

There is a long list of things that need to be done on my house that I had to let slide so 2020 will not be a No Spending Challenge it will be a year of getting on the right track with much needed home repairs. The good thing is trying to be as frugal as possible the low income years has taught me a lot about myself and my needs. I have learned what is a need and a want. Mostly when I stopped to analysis things it was a want not a need. My income is basically Social Security and a tiny little pension. I am considered low income but it is amazing how well you can do on a low income if you stop to think what is a need and what is a want. So come January 1, 2020 will be the Spending Wisely Challenge.

Re: Our 2019 No Spend Challenge

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:53 am
by alliesmama4
Looking forward to 2020 and my new adventure. I still need to pay half of my property taxes with Feb being the last month to pay them. I think I will be able to do that if nothing significant happens.

I did have a bit of a worry with Teddi. A few times during the night he would cough in his sleep. Then during the early morning hours he was sneezing and hacking. I was very concerned about him and thought about taking him to urgent care in another town. Since it was Sunday I knew the local vets would not be open. However I thought is this a need or want. I want him to be ok but is it a need to take him to the vet, and have a huge bill, and find out it was not necessary. Did some research online and was calmed down a bit by the literature that it was ok not to rush him to the animal hospital. He did not appear to have a temp and he was not in distress or pain and that he could just be monitored at home for a few days. They said he could just be having an allergy problem or something irritating his nose or throat. He had spent a lot of time outside sniffing under the pine trees the night before so decided to just watch him closely. He did seem a bit needy with an occasional cough during the morning so spent some time with him in my recliner. He would sleep for a while then wake up and needed to be snuggled and his belly rubbed. However by 3:30 PM he seemed ok. Thank goodness I took the time to check online to see if it was a need or a want.

I am trying to us the food in the house. I have decided to ring in the new year with homemade Chinese food. I am going to make Moo goo gai pan. I have everything I need except the various recipes call for pea pods which I do not have. However some call for broccoli as well as pea pods. Decided I can live without pea pods in my dish. I have a bag of mixed cauliflower and broccoli so I will just pick out the broccoli and add that. Also will be making hot and sour soup. I have almost everything except for the tofu and Chinese rice wine. I am not wild about tofu and will not miss it. Also do not have Chinese rice wine but that is ok too. I have everything else including the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Some recipes call for both of them and some do not. I am thinking of adding some egg to the broth like with egg drop soup. So problem solved in my way of thinking. The appetizer will be crab Rangoon. I have been saving a can of crab meat for over a year in order to make it. I have bought cream cheese from Ruler for .79 cents so it will be very inexpensive. I do need to make gluten free won ton wrappers but I have a good recipe to make them and have all of the various flours that are required when making anything gluten free. Compared to what you pay for 6 of the crab Rangoon in a restaurant they will be very frugal. I cannot remember how many I can get from this batch since it has been years since I made them However I will only eat about 4 and can freeze the rest for other Chinese meals.

I am going to try to get through the month of January without buying any food. Some of the meals will be vegetarian since I have a lot of beans bought a year ago during Cyber Monday. It is going to be interesting and fun to see how far I can go.

I made hamburger soup today. Very frugal used very little meat but did use a bag of mixed veggies from the freezer and canned tomatoes and other items needed from the pantry.. I will freeze some for later.

Used the last of my bacon from the freezer. It was the last of BOGO. I also had a fried egg with it (.05 cents)I will not buy bacon for a while. At least not through January. I do have sausage so will fry that tomorrow. I will make keto sausage gravy and serve that over keto English muffins. Also usually get 4 sausage patties out of the same roll. I fry them and put them in the freezer for making quick breakfast sandwiches. The cream cheese for the gravy was .79 cents at Ruler and the sausage was $2.50 on sale. So will be getting a lot of breakfasts from these two items. The English muffins uses 1 egg bought for .58 cents a dozen so about .05 cents. Also uses coconut flour and Parmesan cheese. They are both so low in cost not able to factor the cost but most likely about .10 cents. So I will be eating really well and very frugally for quite some time.

I had a tuna fish salad sandwich for lunch with the last two slices of gluten free bread bought for half price. Also added some pickled jalapeno peppers. This jar was one from BOGO so they were free. I ate a rather late lunch so no dinner tonight.

Re: Our 2019 No Spend Challenge

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:11 pm
by alliesmama4
Using up what I have in the house. Breakfast was old fashion oats with raisins, a few walnuts, cinnamon, and a little dab of butter. Had fresh coffee with half and half.

Lunch was very late because I was not sure what I wanted or what I had. Finally decided to made a taco salad using half of the lettuce left from a head of iceberg lettuce. Thawed out some chili and shredded some cheese from my canned cheese from my emergency pantry. Also added some pickled jalapeno peppers. I saved the rest of the lettuce and think I will just make a chef's salad with it tomorrow for lunch. Since lunch was so late I was not hungry for dinner so had some plain yogurt and opened a jar of cherry jam and ate it for dinner. I add one tablespoon to plain yogurt, It is cheaper tha buying the individual cups at the grocery store, and to me taste better than the sicky sweet yogurt from the grocery store.