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,
Viewing the 'Healthy Living' Category
I have to take a break from blogging here at Saving Advice, most likely through the end of the year, potentially longer.
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?
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?
It's a message that is missing from this conversation. Our individual health matters much more than the actions of others around us. I welcome the opportunity to be part of those that get the virus to create community immunity. My husband thinks he had it in the middle of February, and if so, I did not come down with anything after being exposed.
May you all be well!
On this last day of the year I thought I'd reflect on a few things, but expect more detailed financial posts in the coming days.
It was an unpredictable year.
I didn't plan for buying our daughter a car, yet the writing was on the wall. That lack of planning resulted in a loan in her name with my husband as cosigner. We are currently making the payment of $133.50 per month because our daughter has a very part time internship. She uses her earnings to cover groceries and gas on the vehicle. The balance is currently $4,949.50. We are not currently making extra payments. I'm mixed about this loan considering we have the cash on hand. But on some level this should be hers to complete once she has a full time job.
We did put $3000 cash down on the vehicle and are currently paying ourselves back for this. I will have an update in a couple days on our progress on this.
Our oldest daughter also has taken on two student loans, each $2750. One is just about to be disbursed for spring. This are the first and only loans she has had to take out. I'm also mixed on these because yes we have the cash, yet I think it is okay for her to have some skin in the game. On the other hand she double majored and we will have supported her for five years by the time!! It's still amazing to me that we were able to get her through school with this small amount of debt.
Our youngest daughter did not need to take out any loans. She still has ESA funds, a least a year of Post 911 GI bill eligibility. We currently save $500/mo (or $6000/yr) towards her tuition.
Our retirement balances have skyrocketed this year with returns exceeding 25%. It was a great year to be in the stock market. We increased my husband's Roth IRA contributions to account for his catch up eligibility since he turned 50 this year.
I'm still impressed with our ability to handle the travel costs associated with having our girls living over 1000 miles away. I think I'm making plane reservations every three months on average!
We did make progress on our Big Goal this year too, which I will report in detail in the next few days. It was an average year towards that goal. Sometimes the effort seems so slow, yet at the same time I'm grateful that we have this goal. I think this money would just slip away without it!
In non financial news, I lost about 15 pounds this year and have been able to keep most of it off all year. I did really well exercising at least 5 days week. I drink a good amount of water regularly. Healthy habits and progress towards a little more weight loss is the goal in the coming year too.
I'm going to count 2019 as a success! Happy New Year!!
My husband has been out of town for work this week so I made a goal to eat primarily out of the fridge and not buy too many new groceries.
I've been eating green smoothies for breakfast consisting of 1c water, 2 c spinach, 1/2 mixed berries, and 1 TBS of chia seeds. Lunch and dinner have consisted of some sort of salad, a turkey sandwich, soup or some raw veggies. I'm not eating all of these in at one meal but two or three of them.
Today, I'm actually skipping breakfast to allow for a longer fast since I ate dinner last night.
In the past I've listed what I have in my fridge, freezer and pantry and then explained what I used up. This time I'll just explain what I have used and what I had to purchase.
I bought a small loaf of bread, four bananas, three small heads of broccoli, a red onion, green onion and spinach. These were bought on two different trips, so I think the cost had to be under $15, maybe even under $10.
I made broccoli salad which I was able to add two boxes of raisins from the cupboard and use up five slices of turkey bacon. This also used up the last in a jar of mayo. I ate this along with sandwich or soup for four meals.
I used up a slice of cheese on one sandwich, added three small slices of chicken to a salad, and ate some raw cabbage as a snack. Last night I put together a
There was a Vegan Lentil Stew in the freezer so I thawed that Tuesday night to have with my lunches and dinner. So that is used up!
I still have fresh produce to use up. I'm putting the last of the ginger root in my water for flavor. I also have some orange slices I could do the same with. I have two apples, two bananas a few celery sticks and carrots along with spinach. Oh, I did use up all the spring greens and half a tomato. I was putting these on my turkey sandwiches.
While I love the green smoothies I think the bananas are too much sugar. I will use them up, but I will not buy any more for awhile.
I basically have five meals left to make for myself. I feel like I still have plenty even though the pantry consists only of almonds, spices, nutritional yeast, pearled barley and lentils! I will keep my focus mainly on the fridge and fill in from the freezer if needed since there is a burrito and veggie burgers in there.
It feels good to not have to go shopping for almost a week and find that there is plenty in my house to keep me full and satisfied.
If you are eating it up this week or month, how is it going? Do you feel you have saved some money?
I don't budget for medical as we are rarely ill and our insurance covers pretty much everything when we are. We also have a rather large emergency fund.
One of my daughter's and I are now seeking care from a provider who cannot be reimbursed by our insurance. Our insurance simply doesn't cover this common treatment. So out of pocket it is.
Our initial exams with diagnostic tests were $199 each, or $398. I had nearly all this in our emergency fund set aside at the beginning of the month. So that was easy.
I paid $1152 for a series of visits that will cover both of us through the summer. This was a 30% discount offered for paying in one full payment. That is a significant savings. So on the charge card it went. And since we never pay interest on credit cards, I went looking for funds. I found $300 set aside for eyeglasses, but we aren't in current need of those. And finally, the easiest thing to do was to use some of Big Goal Savings we had accumulated this year that was still sitting in our checking account.
I would have preferred not to pull from the Big Goal money, but I think our health needs are a bigger need. My goal is to pay ourselves back, we may have extra vacation funds later this summer, or after I evaluate the funds I have for tuition and housing I may have some to throw from there.
Cash saved gets you the medical you want that the insurance companies will not pay for. Cash is freedom!
My parents send my husband and I a $100 check every year for our anniversary. This year was no different. We usually save the money, rarely making a purchase. So yes, we deposited that money into our savings account to count towards our Big Goal.
As far as other snowflakes, I redeemed Amex rewards equal to $25 this week. I also transferred $3.49 from a small eBay sale to our savings account. I have two items I need to list to hopefully bring in a few more dollars.
I got a call from my oldest daughter yesterday with concern she may have fractured a bone in her foot. It was a goofy thing where her foot got trapped between her chair and her desk, so a bit crushed on the side of her left foot. She iced it and went to bed. Woke up and found it very painful to even walk. Somehow she managed to hobble around campus, and late in the day went in for an xRay. Luckily no break or fracture, just a bone contusion. So she has instructions to rest, ice, and elevate. My mom gave her some Ace bandages to use for compression. And the doctor said she could take up to three ibuprofen for pain. My daughter was shocked at the dosage suggested. She is one to stay away from all drugs as much as possible.
About two weeks ago, we realized our daughter was dropped from our insurance because she turned 21. Luckily we got right on it and updated her information to show she is enrolled full time in college. But then yesterday, I questioned my husband that it really did take effect. Initially, it seemed that no it had not. He did some sort of online enrollment and then did get a letter emailed to him before she arrived at the clinic. The visit is free at the University Health clinic (up to five per year), but the xRays will need to go through insurance. She has a $150 deductible so that will need to be met before insurance pays. It is worth it for piece of mind, knowing she didn't break it...just felt like it!
It's a beautiful day here, were going out for a hike! Enjoy your weekend. Stay frugal and healthy.
I guess it was January when I last made a point of using things up. I was doing an Uber Frugal Month with spending and using things we already had on hand was part of making that work.
I had some diced butternut squash in the fridge that I didn't even get to then! It's almost April! Late this morning, I threw the squash in a saucepan with garlic, onion, ginger and carrots to saute' for several minutes. Oh yes, there was salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. I added some chicken broth (made from bouillon) and simmered for another ten minutes. And then in the end added a cup of milk (I was going to use coconut milk, but it had gone bad,