Saturday, January 17, 2015


Yippee!  I just got a $16/month raise!!  My first SS income of 2015 truly is an extra $16/month. 

Remember a few months ago when I started making a concentrated effort to be more frugal?  I've made several (small) changes over the past months to slow down the cash outflow.  Eating out is no longer a daily event.  I bring the other half of my meal home for another sitting. No more Starbucks every day, now just two times a week ... and I combine it with a social visit.  But I still buy Starbucks coffee beans to enjoy at home.  Hey!  Baby steps.  

My latest savings is to let my hair go grey(white).  Last time I tried it I had a handsome hubby to consider.  He claimed he liked it but I looked 20 years older.  Now I guess I don't really care.  My "men" prefer to call me Grandma!!

Friends and family know I enjoy my red wine.  Now I buy it at Costco 90% of the time.  If it's a special dinner or I receive an invitation, I go to my friendly neighbor who is a wine steward.  With a budget in mind.  And gosh Jody is great a choosing the best for my buck.

Home entertaining is being done more economically as well.  It is ALWAYS potluck.  I'm researching and making less expensive main dishes (Sunday Soup Supper!??).  Leslie and I are taking turns hosting girls night in and healthy cooking every Saturday.

Last week I bought a quart of half and half, for my morning coffee.  I felt so proud because I filled two ice cube trays with little puddles of half and half, froze them and then put into storage bags.  Yeh, it's only $4 but it all adds up, right??

My biggest savings has been to make myself stop supporting my daughter and her little family.  Mr. Ralph and I have been contributing to her lifestyle for ten years.  Like huge training wheels.  As most parents do, we thought we were helping her.  While she was in rehab, we had family counseling via telephone.  We were NOT helping her.  We were enabling. 

  • Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves.

Mr. Ralph suggested we give her a year's notice before we turn off the Parental ATM.  Her paternal grandmother left her a nice inheritance when she was seven.  Thankfully, we never told her.  So after rehab, and after her Dad was gone, I told her about it and said this was the last financial help that we could provide.  She (wisely) chose to have it deposited monthly for a whole year.  This wonderful gift ended December 31, 2014.


  1. I go back and forth about trying to save money on small things but the fact is I don't need to do that and I don't have kids to leave it to when I'm gone. Maybe because I don't have kids I've never understood why some older people will practically eat cat food just so they have something left to leave their kids.

    Glad you took the "training wheels" away from your daughter. Sometimes tough love is the best kind of love.

    1. I must fit in between you and Judy, financially. Almost enough to live on for the rest of my days ... but not unless I can reduce my current spending.

      My goal is to live comfortably not to leave an inheritance. If there IS any left, it will go to grandchildren education.

    2. Oh, no, you definitely would god above me and me in the middle of of you and Judy. I couldn't keep two houses like you do.

    3. And THAT, my dear friend, is my biggest dilemma. My heart wants to stay and keep the dream ... my budget, not so much. It costs me about $900/month to hang on to it ... which includes three roundtrip airfares. Thankfully, I have some fabulous friends who are coming to stay for six months while I am away ... so I don't have to worry about paying someone to keep everything maintained since my other buddies are moving. So I do get another year to procrastinate .....

  2. I got a $16.00 raise and was thrilled!! Being in bankruptcy and poverty has taught me how to cut back, so to speak. I can only purchase things that I have the cash for. I was brought up in a privileged family so I was never taught the value of money. When I needed something, it was purchased for me. When I was married my husband handled all the money matters. I never knew how much he made--all I had to worry about was asking him for grocery money. Actually living like I am now, is kind of easy. I don't have credit card bills to worry about every month :-) Hard to remove the enabling "help" from your daughter, but...better for her in the long run.

    1. Ha! I re-did my math ... mine is also $16!! I'll edit this blog when I'm done here.

      Do you blog about how you got into bankruptcy and poverty? I'm just darned curious. if you want to talk privately.

      I was raised in a lower middle class family, so moving out was a step UP for me. Eventually I joined the upper middle class and we raised Kate to enjoy a little bit better economically than either of us had. Every generation strives for that? So it was a BIG step down when she moved out on her own. Which may be what led to all her past troubles. Hopefully ALL in the past.


  3. I got a raise from SSA, too! I was brought up lower middle class. Didn't have much except resourcefulness. Marrying my husband was a big step up. I am well taken care of now, but I pick my indulgences carefully, like you. I intend to always live below my means. When Ev died, his grown children got their inheritance, so no one's looking over my shoulder for a handout. I do freely donate to causes, but I try not to be someone's ATM to the point I'd feel resentment.

    I know what you mean about enabling. Denying money to those we love is hard, so hard, but as you know, it enables them to take personal responsibility. I had a brother on skid row and had to say no whenever he called and begged for money. Denying him felt like giving him a rope to hang himself.

    You are modeling great behavior for your daughter.

    1. Mr. Ralph decided to NOT give his two children from first marriage an inheritance ... to be sure I had enough. After their wicked greedy response to that news, we decided I would not leave them any either. IF there is anything left, it goes for education of the grands.

      Yikes on the wayward brother, but we have ALL heard that motto .... give all the support you can ... emotionally, physically, etc ... but no money. FINALLY I got the message!

  4. That's a tough one - not enabling your daughter, but you did the right thing. I have a friend who faced the same decisions, and it wasn't easy.

    We both grew up below middle class. We are fortunate to have a pension and 401K and SS. We haven't touched the 401K and don't plan to at this point. We live well within our means, and feel pretty comfortable with that. I thank my lucky stars.

    I love it when someone writes a post that generates such conversation in the comments.

    1. It interests me which blogs get the most reads? It appears that sad or bad or negative intros draw in the most! Or any title with the word SEX in it.

      I'm hopeful that my ending the enabling has happy ending for all of us!