I have to take a break from blogging here at Saving Advice, most likely through the end of the year, potentially longer.
I love coming here to talk about personal finance and give advice to others climbing out of debt. It's such a joy to see others finally get that they can take charge and make positive changes in their finances when before they were overwhelmed and at the end of their rope. They realize that the only one that can fix it is themselves. They deep dive into asking questions, reading and listening to others and taking actions to make the change happen.
I love the community we have and how supportive we generally are with each other. Because of the times we are in, the conversation has shifted. This is fine as I do respect each person to have their own journey, perspective and be able to talk/write about it. Our military family believes in free speech, even if we disagree with what is said.
I find myself frustrated and stressed on the topic of this virus after spending much of my free time in the last five years researching infectious illness, vaccines and natural health. Just like deep diving into all things finance there is so much to know on all these topics, much of it not out in the mainstream news, or even in many doctor's offices. Much of what we know about the body, such as the microbiome and virome are not yet in clinical practice despite the amazing knowledge that science is providing on health. In fact, it is said the clinical practice is 17 years behind the research.
I have read books, package inserts for drugs and tests. I read published medical literature, and listened to many, many license medical doctors on YouTube as they explain their research. I personally have no fear on this virus, and yes, two people I know have been diagnosed with it and at this point all have recovered. I have a much deeper understanding of what is going on than what the news and government agencies are telling the masses. The government is not my doctor when they fail to discuss nutrition (Vitamin D, anyone?) in depth as a way to prevent chronic illness, when they fail to do inert placebo studies on vaccines(read a package insert at the FDA website) and when they manipulate data (not just this virus). It's such a big topic, and ultimately it is not really my job to explain myself or convince you of anything. I do hope you respect my right to say it and don't feel the need to label it as hearsay, misinformation or conspiracy, as those are only meant to control and distract. Those words only divide and separate us. They stop us from listening and investigating.
If this rushed vaccine comes to market, the military is very likely to be some of the first to get it. It would be very rare to have the option to opt out and get to stay in the military. We are watching this closely, and it ultimately will be my husband's decision if he gets it and finishes the three years he has until he reaches 20 years of active service and can retire with a pension. If he decides the risk of this rushed completely new type of vaccine is not worth it for his individual health, he will leave the military early without a pension. This will shift our entire financial plan. Maybe that is what life has in store for us, maybe not.
If you followed one of the vaccine trials for this virus, all the monkeys who received the vaccine, and then were challenged with the virus, all got the virus...no protection at all. This is happening with the dengue vaccine in Africa too. Scientists have been trying to make a coronavirus vaccine since the 1990's. All have been unsuccessful because of this result mentioned above, death has even been a result when challenged with the virus in mice. So if this product never comes to fruition, what will you do to protect yourself? What options do you have other than what have already been given? Something to consider and investigate I would think.
I would like everyone waiting for this rushed vaccine to also know that all manufacturers for vaccines have no liability for injury and death from their product. The only product in the United States with this protection. This has been in effect since 1986, it's called National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act. The history on how that came to be is quite interesting.
I've said enough. This is a BIG topic, there is no way I can tell you all I know in one blog post. But do know that yes there are other points of view average citizens and thousands of medical doctors, virologists, and epidemiologists have on this. There is also major censorship going on of these voices. Science is never settled and discussion, discovery and debate are part of the process.
Just like taking control of debt or our finances, I believe our health is the same way. There is so much to know and understand. I truly wish everyone health and wellness and honestly see that in time this virus may bring about a new way of managing health that is better than the old ways we have been taught.
For now, for this season, I need my own little corner of the internet that will keep me calm (low stress is part of health too). However, I still need to write! I will post my regular content at my financial blog,
I have to take a break from blogging here at Saving Advice, most likely through the end of the year, potentially longer.
Happy Independence Day!
Over a year ago we bought our daughter a used Subaru to drive. She had her license two years prior, but never had a need for her own vehicle. The purchase price was around $11K and it has a been a really great car so far. We put $3K down and she used the proceeds from a UTMA account she had which was maybe $3400. I'm being lazy, I don't remember all the exact numbers.
We did take out a small loan ($5,700 at 5.75%!) because we did end up buying a more expensive vehicle than we originally planned. The cars we found we could buy for cash, were just not good to buy for a young person living across the country from parents, at least in our minds. The loan was to help bridge the gap so that she could take over payments when she got a job, and at the same time get some credit in her name. She is still looking for a full time job in her field, but has an internship that increased her hours recently.
We are pondering paying off the balance of the car which is owned jointly between her and my husband. The balance is $4,293, with three years left. We have so much cash and now earning very low interest rates. We would then have her pay us back with interest. I'm thinking 3% interest, and we are open to a longer payment term if she wants. A lesson in how that changes the payment and the total interest she pays would be good I think. The vehicle would be owned jointly until the loan is paid back.
I will be running the numbers and offering her a proposal. I think she can start making the payments even on her low income since she is currently staying with my parents. Such an interesting time we are in.
Our power went out last night for the third time in the last four months. We never know how long it will be out. One of those recent times it was out for 21 hours. At a minimum it is inconvenient, but usually longer than four hours, food has to be tossed, so we lose money when this happens.
We all hopped in the van and headed to Home Depot. My husband had one generator in mind when we went, but turns out they did not have that one in stock. We ended up with a Ryobi 4000 Watt Inverter Generator which was priced at $549. Home Depot offers a 10% military discount which usually offsets the sales tax. My husband picked up a gas can as well. We used to have a few when we had a mower and a snowblower, but all of those were donated when we moved a year and a half ago. Total cost out of pocket at Home Depot was $563.11
We came home and the power was back on! 😀 From the clocks it appeared it probably turned back on ten minutes after we left or about an hour after it went out. Of course, we would rather have electricity working in the home than rely on a generator! We have no regrets that this small outage pushed us to finally pull the plug and make the purchase. A purchase that we expect we will use and gives us peace of mind in the future.
I hope you are all healthy and safe! Enjoy your Independence Day and if you can take time to watch Hamilton and or read up on the Federalist Papers, which are essays that explain a lot of the thinking by a few of our founding fathers as they promoted the ratification of the Constitution. Even I need to brush up on the details, as it has been awhile. Here's a brief
Contributions to our Pot of Possibilities (POP) for June!
Paycheck 6/1 $260
Paycheck 6/15 $260
Oldest Allowance $100
Total Interest $92.85
US Bank $12.32
Chase Rewards $17.87
Amex Rewards $51.39
Discover Rewards $0.37
USAA ATM refund 3.50
June Total $798.30
YTD Total $4,593.16
New Big Goal Total $76,677.09
Potentially could have included an Army Travel payment made to us this month which was over $1000, but for now we are holding it seperate for some potential expenses. I may reconsider however!
It's time to report interest income. Interest rates are far lower, and we lost a great rate when a recent CD matured.
That's about $70 less than last month. Interesting times. The good times don't always last do they? However, we are very grateful for what we do have.
These funds have been added to our Pot of Possibilities!
It's the time of the month where I redeem credit card rewards and add them to our Pot of Possibilities!
I redeemed the following:
US Bank Visa $12.32
American Express $51.39
Chase Freedom $17.87
Our US Bank Rewards will drop next month by about $8 since I will no longer use for our cell phone bill. We have been able to use a credit card to pay our rent the last three months, as the office staff has waived the associated fees since they are not working on site.
I decided a couple months ago to stop messing around with Swagbucks. It is a bit of a time suck, although I did limit the time I spent on it. I decided I do not support their advertising content, that I am clicking on to raise it's prevalence to the public. I can find other ethical ways to bring in another $300 a year. It was a good run of bringing in some cash however and I am thankful for the times it helped us out.
Everything seems up for review these days!
My husband returned home on Saturday from his three week trip. I'm very glad to have him home once again!
He has submitted his travel claim voucher and it is waiting approval. Hopefully we will have funds by Friday or very early next week. The portion coming to us is $2,066.58, which is per diem and mileage. He spent $927.07 in a three week period. So after paying those charges off we are left with $1,139.51.
A nice little windfall that is tempting to spend on a few things we have been talking about for awhile. Of course, I do like the idea of putting some or all into our Pot of Possibilities, which if we do put some there, will be reported at the end of the month.
Yesterday, I switched our cell phone plan to their lowest cost unlimited plan, which ended up saving us about $22 a month. I did have to switch to paying our bill with our checking account. I had been using our US Bank Credit card to receive 5% back, however the math still worked in our favor to switch. I think I had seen this offer before, but the math didn't seem to add up in our favor. I'm wondering if something else changed or if I just didn't do the math right last time!
I may close the US Bank credit card if I can figure out if another one of our credit cards gives 5% back on internet. I think one of them does. That will be the only charge going to that card, so I'm interested in consolidating if I can and still be getting decent cash back.
We also get Disney+ for one year for signing up for our new cell plan. We will use it I'm sure, but I wasn't wanting to add another streaming service when it first came out. The value of that is $6.99 per month, so definitely a nice bonus.
The other financial change is setting up some new Certificates of Deposits. I'm not thrilled with the rates as they have fallen. But I we have a lot of cash on hand and I have to have it earning something! I opened one for $25K, and will probably open a second one in a week or two for a similar amount. We decided we didn't want the a large $50K CD, as the interest rate doesn't benefit us. Instead we will have two $25K CDs, as a way to keep our options open a bit. I locked one today for 1.25% with Navy Federal. I unfortunately missed their last 'special rate'.
I started a batch of sauerkraut yesterday(first time ever) and today I began working on growing a batch of sourdough starter (also my first time). We all can grow and learn anything at any time.
Have you found a service to change or stop recently? Have you ever made any fermented food?
Our youngest daughter had her four wisdom teeth extracted last week under anesthesia. Our insurance covered all but the anesthesia, so our portion was $651. I think this is in line with what we paid for our older daughter. She has breezed through recovery with very minimal pain medication. The opioid med made her nauseous, so I picked up anti nausea medication which she took once. And after that first day she has taken just three ibuprofen. Swelling continues to go down each day. The medications were all generics and under our insurance varied from $1.60 to $2.44! Glad those didn't cost much, because they are all going to be tossed soon.
In other news, my husband is still not home from his work trip. It has been extended another 1 to 3 weeks. We are not happy with how the military has handled their personnel during their CV mission. The only positive is that we might make more money because of per diem...all though I think my husband handles stress by eating...so lots of food and snacks being bought.
It's only a week until payday and my daughter and I are not spending much being home most of the time. There is bound to be some savings from that!
POP is our Pot of Possibilities. This is our Big Goal renamed just this month. We just keep adding funds to it knowing someday we will want to draw on it. What we spend or invest it on is a mystery, but one with many possibilities!
Paycheck 5/1 $260
Paycheck 5/15 $260
Total Interest $164.37
US Bank $12.32
Chase Rewards $49.38
Amex Rewards $62.86
Ebay Sales $4.49
USAA ATM refund 3.00
Auto Insurance refund $97.45
May Total $913.87
YTD Total $3,794.86
New Big Goal Total $75,878.79
We crossed the $75,000 mark this month!
It's that time of the month where we add up our interest we earned on our cash savings last month. Rates are declining and our large CD expires this month, so numbers will likely go down for awhile.
We threw all interest into our Pot of Possibilities!
It's a time of discovery. A time to create the new lives we want to live! Despite not being able to garden IN our postage size yard, I did meet my desire to plant some food this spring. I am growing, sweet peppers, basil and a patio tomato plant. I also stuck the end of celery in one of my pots to see what happens. I may not do it right, but I'm trying! I have grown tomatoes before, just not in a pot. The basil is growing fast and it's a bit hard to keep up. However, today I will make pesto. I used some of the basil inthis dish and really liked it. My daughter who had never had eggplant before liked it as well.
At the beginning of the year I started sprouting broccoli sprouts on our counter in jars. So very easy!! In just a few days a tablespoon of seeds equals about 1.5 cups of sprouts. I make one batch about every ten days, putting them in my salads at lunch every day. Broccoli sprouts are very healthy for you!
I also started composting some of our food scraps in a bin after watching a woman do it on YouTube. This also might not work out, but we learn and try from doing things. I know I will improve. I already had gnats, but seem to have killed them with boiling water. I have been on the search for more 'brown' matter around to create a better balance in the compost.
I have a friend who started making her own kombucha a couple months ago. She doesn't live nearby so I have not tried it, but she is loving it! A little investment upfront, but will actually save her money in the long run and she says it tastes so much better than store bought. I may try this at some point as well. I might try fermenting my own sauerkraut next, or making sourdough starter. Or both! My daughter loves mushrooms so I'm considering buying her a grow kit for her birthday in July!
Has anyone made something fermented? Did you start growing anything recently that you had never tried before? What new thing have you tried lately?