I hope everyone had a relaxing Labor Day. This Labor Day I’m especially grateful to all the essential workers.
Today I did a little laboring in the gym & kitchen. I’m working out 45 min 3x a week plus strength training. I also took advantage of a Labor Day special that the aerial fitness gym was offering: 8 classes for $50. I signed up for all of the level 1 Lyra classes which is 5 classes. All are being taught by my friend so that will be fun. I’ll keep an eye on the schedule for my remaining 3 classes.
Several years ago I thought I would try spaghetti squash as a healthier alternative to pasta. I took one look at the spaghetti squash after cooking it, decided I wouldn’t like it after all, and ended up tossing it. Today I decided to try it again. I roasted 2 small spaghetti squash with olive oil & salt. I had some excess sauce from the crockpot chicken creole I made a couple of weeks ago. The red pepper really gave it a nice kick. I browned some 93% lean ground turkey, and viola! It was absolutely delicious. I am now sold on spaghetti squash.🍝
Health update: 24 lbs down
Viewing the 'Food fiend' Category
I hope everyone had a relaxing Labor Day. This Labor Day I’m especially grateful to all the essential workers.
All is well on the home front. We had some wind & rain our way, but nothing terrible. I made it to work bright & early. Hurricane Laura is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in 164 years! It is a miracle that there isn’t more loss of life than is being reported.
I called my parents today as I do everyday. I asked what they were having for dinner. They said probably cold cuts sandwiches. I decided to surprise them with dinner from La Madeleine’s: chicken La Madeleine, quiche Lorraine, cranberry pecan salad, their freshly baked bread with butter & jam, and an assortment of dessert tarts. 🍗🥔🥦🥧🥗🍞🧈🍮 They were happily surprised & enjoyed everything. I figure making it through the storm unscathed was as good a reason to celebrate as any!
I’ve never been able to post pictures so I make do with emojis. 😁
In financial news, my biweekly mortgage payment posted yesterday & my balance is now under $56k. I bought my condo for $122k with 20% down. I’m always excited to see that balance go down slowly, but surely.
Net Worth $988,470
I purchased a Costco membership through Groupon. The $60 membership includes a $40 gift card & $40 off online. I went to the store to take my picture for my card & ended up deciding to upgrade to the “black card”. I picked up 4 items: orange roughy fish, riced cauliflower, Laughing Cow cheese (really good deal at $4.99 for 4 wheels), and roasted peanuts. I would have bought more frozen veggies, but have no more space in my freezer. We used to eat orange roughy all the time when we lived in the upper Midwest, but here on the Gulf Coast you can pretty much only get catfish, tilapia, or salmon. On the rare occasion you may find trout or mahi mahi. 🐡🐠🐟
I also bought my parents & I thermometers. They had the forehead thermometers for $23. All of these things that were so hard to find or were so expensive are finally becoming reasonable again. 🤒
Home again today & I plan on doing some book keeping, laundry, & house cleaning, as well as hit the gym.
Net Worth: $967,382
I can't believe it's back to school time again! Even though kids got out early this year, it seems like it was only yesterday. My friends have been posting their kids’ first day pictures on Facebook. I pray that everyone from the children to the school administrators stay safe & healthy this year.
Last week I spent a good bit of time reviewing my budget journal. I also bought new binders to replace my financial statements binder that is falling apart. I will have separate binders for my TSP, SS, Vanguard, etc. I suppose I could pull some things & file them away, but I like having all statements at hand for my open accounts. I usually only file away accounts that have been closed.
My credit cards are now down to $10k from a high of $22k. When they are paid off I know that I will need to dedicate some money to taking care of things around my home. Until then, every dollar goes to debt paydown.
I did a little too much shopping last month so I ended up returning several items. Other items were household items that I know I'll use, especially the cleaning supplies. I also bought a bunch of those $2 masks from Target, because if we're going to be wearing these masks for the foreseeable future it makes sense to have more than a few. Plus I like coordinating with my outfits/scrubs.
I continue to work the 3 jobs & I'm glad that I didn't give any up since the work hasn't been consistent for the third job, even though it pays more. I'm back on the schedule at the hospital for August. Though I was supposed to be off all of July, I still got called in twice for coverage. I wasn't complaining. It gave me some hours when I wasn't getting much elsewhere.
I'm still trying out new lean & green recipes every week. I invested in a Dash mini waffle maker & a Dash mini griddle. They were on sale for $12 at Belk & I got an additional 10% off for picking up my order. The first time I attempted to pick up my order I didn't realize that the stores were closing so early & I just missed the closing time.
I'm now down 15.5 pounds in 5 weeks. I hope to be close to goal by Christmas. I originally set a goal of losing 40 pounds, but I'm starting to believe I can get back down to where I got to when I did Weight Watchers. Not by Christmas necessarily, but sometime in spring. I also have my 25th high school reunion in the spring so that's a great motivator.
Net Worth $955,181
Time flies when you’re having fun. July was a good month for me. Although I didn’t get as many hours as I did in June, I still consistently paid down debt. I’ll be getting more hours this month. I also did a bit too much spending on July so I’m taking/sending some things back.
My debt continues to go down & my investments continue to grow. Next year when all my debts are paid off & I get another raise maybe I can start looking at doing stock trades. I have a couple of friends as well as my mom that seem to really enjoy it. I won’t start with much at first.
I got my hair done for the first time since everything got shut down. It was $90 including tip. She had to trim a good bit. I’ll have to be more consistent about going now. Hopefully we don’t get shut down all over again.
A couple of things that I won’t be sending back is my new Dash minis: griddle & waffle maker. I got such a great deal at Belk’s thanks to a tip. $12 on sale and another 10% off with pick-up. I already made roasted garlic mashed potato waffles & they were so good.🥔🧄🧇
My friend invited me to an online Croatian cooking class at the end of the month. The theme is Jewish foods & I think it will be fun. I can’t eat the food on my current plan, but I can bring it to my parents. I will have a little to taste test if I decide to participate.
I was just thinking that I have a net worth category that I never update. Mint tracks this for me so it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on. Today my net worth is $930,056.
I tried another new lean & green recipe: Cheesy Chicken Zucchini casserole. I made a few little adjustments, like using more chicken & zucchini, adding ricotta because I only had 6 oz Greek yogurt instead of 8 oz. I salted the zucchini as the recipe instructions indicated, but it still made a good bit of water. The taste was still good, but I’ll have to work on getting out more liquid the next time I make this recipe. That’s the only problem with cooking zucchini, all the water it makes as it cooks.
I’ve taken off a few days again. Had a few appointments, did some cooking & laundry, worked out.
NSV: co-worker notes that I didn’t seem to be having the quarantine weight that everyone else seems to have gained, then asked me if I’ve been hitting the gym. I told him that I just went back this week & have only been walking (not running yet), but I’ve been watching my diet.
Tonight I made a new lean & green recipe: Salmon Florentine. It was delicious & even looked like a chef made it. Picture perfect! It made 4 servings so enough leftovers for the next 3 days & I still have half of the salmon filet in my freezer. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
I put myself back on next month’s schedule at my second job. I was supposed to take July off, but I got called in twice. I’m not getting as many hours at the third job since they’re having problems getting reagent, I’m glad that I just took a break & didn’t quit my second job. I want to keep making headway on getting my debt down & increasing my credit score.
I made my own taco seasoning for the first time & I’m not sure why I never thought to do it before now. Thank you, Pinterest. Last night I had taco salad minus chips for my lean & green. I made enough for the week. I bought the fat free ranch for dressing, but then remembered that usually reduced fat products are better than fat free as they replace the fat with sugars. I’ll do better next time. 🥗🌮
I’ve been doing some cooking since I’ve started working with a health coach. The goal of my meals are to keep them lean & green. I’ve made sheet pan chicken fajitas, garlic burgers with lemon butter zucchini noodles, shrimp with mashed and riced cauliflower, and roasted broccoli. I keep finding shrimp on sale which is good because I love it & you can eat a lot of it for your lean protein. I’ve bought so many variations of mashed & riced cauliflower. The two that I have tried so far are the Green Giants cheddar & bacon mashed cauli and the white cheddar riced cauli by Alexia. Both were good, but especially the mashed cauli.🧀🥓 Not sure what’s next on the menu, but I am looking forward to trying something else new!
We ordered a Mother’s Day dinner from a classmate’s restaurant. We had smoked filet tenderloin, Parmesan whipped potatoes, stewed okra & tomatoes, smothered green beans, Sensation salad, garlic dinner rolls, bread pudding, & white wine. It was absolutely delicious! Since I just tested negative for COVID-19 & am asymptomatic I decided to break bread with my parents for the first time in 2 months. I really enjoyed spending the day with them. Hope your Mother’s Day was special as well.
I worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital today. 🏥 Every time I work there seems to be another added layer of protection. In the lobby they stop all employees. 🛑 We have our temperature taken & are given a mask to wear. 😷 🌡 They also give us a meal ticket for the cafeteria. 🎫
My event tickets for my canceled trip to Montreal will be defunded. 🇨🇦 That should be about $1k. Also, I bought trip insurance for my flight so that will be refunded. ✈️ I plan on putting the money toward my debt. I bought insurance for my trip to Switzerland, we’ll see how much it actually covers if Switzerland is still closed to travel. 🇨🇭
I have a trip planned to Montreal. I leave in exactly 2 weeks. I’m not sure what will happen in the next 2 weeks, but I am still planning on going. I actually started packing yesterday as I was thinking of how busy the next 2 weeks will be for me. For some reason I couldn’t find my hand sanitizers yesterday, but it just dawned on me where they are. I always bring liquid hand soap as well as I prefer it to those little hotel bar soaps - also it’s more hygienic.
I am preparing for the coronavirus like I prepare for hurricane season except this time we’ll still have power. That’s a huge bonus! I have a lot of beans in my cabinet so I’m going to pick up some rice. I’ll also pick up some peanut butter, canned fruits, & frozen veggies. I work in health care so I will continue to go to work unless I get sick myself. I stay well stocked on toiletries so no need to stock up there. I think I’m all set whatever comes.
I took the day off yesterday & was fairly productive. I got a late start to my day as it was storming & I decided to wait out the rain. I hit the gym & did 5.36 miles on the treadmill. Then after showering I went shopping for Thanksgiving. It took 3 stores before I found fresh green beans & 2 stores before I found fresh cranberries, but I got both. Also picked up some other needed menu items & sushi for lunch. We have several wine options & of course the egg nog is essential. I wanted Evan Williams egg nog, but had to settle for Pennsylvania Dutch.
Two years ago my laptop died on me. Well, actually just the screen. I knew it was coming & took steps to back up my work too late. Anyway, yesterday I decided to rebuild my financial spreadsheets that I lost, this time with some changes. I will update quarterly instead of monthly from here on out. I went all the way back to the 1999 when I bought my first mutual fund in college. Yes, I never throw anything financial away. I’m kind of ridiculous that way. It was super fun tracking my net worth growth over 20 years. I’m a nerd that way. And yes, this time I will back-up my info!
I have increased payments for my auto & TSP loans, as well as my mortgage. Those few dollars won't be missed, but over time they will really add up towards paying down my debt sooner. I am now very close to breaking even on my principal vs. interest amounts. Very soon I will be paying more on principal that interest. And I have more than 50% equity in my home. I wish that I had increased payments sooner, but better late than never.
I am going to enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday I got up early to take my car in for service. I purchased the tire care package when I bought my car & I have made good use of it. I think this is the second tire that I have had replaced already. They found a small hole that couldn't be patched.
Then I came home & napped, which I have needed. Last weekend I worked 24 hours while fighting a cold. Then yesterday evening I dropped by my co-workers' son's 16th birthday to give him a card and some cash for his gift. They had a ton of food. I ate some there & they send me home with a plate of shrimp, my favorite.
Today I am just being lazy until it's time for church this evening. I will eventually do some much needed cleaning. The gym is not closed tomorrow for the holiday so I won't get out of my run.
At home I have several ceiling repairs to be done due to roof leaks & a tub leak from my second floor bathroom. The plumbing repairs of nearly $700 I had to pay for, but the damages will be covered by insurance. It's so hard to find contractors at this time.
Oh, updates on my other passion besides personal finance...travel! I am going to New York & DC over 4th of July. Taking a short cruise this autumn, traveling to England & Scotland after Christmas, and Greece in the spring. I'm turning 40 in December & celebrating all year!
As we head into fall, I was thinking about reaching this year's goals & looking ahead to next year's goals. This year my main goals are retirement & debt repayment, as they are every year. I always meet my retirement goal, as I will this year. In January I funded my Roth IRA with the maximum $5,500. I don't know if I'll be able to do that this January. I may have to fund it throughout the year, since my savings have been somewhat depleted to pay down debt. I will continue to fund my retirement account at work with my maximum contribution. I have not read if they're anticipating another increase in limits next year, though. A $500 increase would only mean an extra $20 biweekly though.
Last year I transferred the majority of my credit card debt to a card with 0% interest for 18 months. I started out paying $200 weekly, but now pay $100 weekly since I have one job. I still plan to have that paid off before the 18 months of no interest.
On a lighter note, I am going to enjoy this 3 day weekend by taking some time to cook, relax, and visit with family & friends.