quitting work with $2 in savings

I’m going to make this quick, I wanted to get a post done before hubs takes the car for work. I have worked my last shift. 

On Sunday,  my daughter needed to borrow some money to cover a bill. We wrote her a check for the last $100 we had in savings. That same night I went  to work and it was just awful. I talked it over with my spouse and I expedited my notice. I was then told that as a result of this, I couldn’t be rehired. To recap my 24 hours:

1. No money in savings

2. I quit an unsafe job.

3. I was told that I could never come back.

God’s in control and his timing is perfect. I’m at the point in my faith where I just chuckle along with him. On Monday night I went to revival, which just *happens* to be taking place right down the road from me. I’m so thankful for all of his blessings,  including a spouse that supports me.

Saving money on the electric bill

We work very hard for our money, and I like to make our money work hard for us. Here are a few things we’ve done to stretch the budget over the last few years. 

We live in the semi rural south. Our central heating and cooling system is old and very inefficient. We went without AC for 2 years in the summer and just ran fans. This saved us about $100 per month,  which freed up some money to pay down debt. Our electric bill rarely got over $125 in summer or winter. We unplugged everything. There is such a thing as phantom load. If you leave things like small appliances and chargers plugged in, it can cost up to 75 cents per day each. That adds up really fast. 

We practice zone heating and cooling. We now have 2 window AC units, we leave parts of the house closed off and run the unit if needed for the room we’re in. We heat with small, newer ceramic heaters. We are mindful of safety features and keep batteries in the fire alarms. And if it’s 50 to 80 outside, most of the time we’re not running a heater or ac inside. We dress for the temperature. 

Running the stove also uses ac lot of energy and heats up the house in the hot months. We invested in a toaster oven for summer cooking,  and of course we use the crockpot. 

We don’t use the dishwasher and occasionally hang up laundry to dry. We use led bulbs.

Potato soup ala crockpot

So we had some potatoes that needed *something* done with them. I decided to experiment with potato soup in the old crockpot. It’s been years since I made soup from scratch,  and I am trying to incorporate a vegetarian meal a few times a week.

So I filled the crockpot with about 3 pounds of peeled and diced potatoes. I threw in a few tablespoons of olive oil and added 1/4 cup chopped onion and a few chopped garlic cloves. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian spices. I topped it off with a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of celery soup. I added about 18 ounces of filtered water and gave it all a good stir.

Hubs should be coming home to a warm bowl of hearty soup and a house smelling of perfection in the morning. 

Counting down the days

18 days until I retire. On paper it doesn’t look feasible.  But with God all things are possible.  My mind keeps going to all the firsts and lasts.

I’ve had my last flu shot, my last online class for work, my last winter in the trenches of healthcare, no more uniforms. And no more long shifts full of human suffering. No more getting yelled at by confused people. 

This will be my first spring in 40 years that I haven’t had a job. I’ve done a survey of my cameras.  I want to start taking gorgeous pictures again. I’ve been squirreling away some books, I want to take up reading in earnest. I’ve started a lose change collection so I can start yardsaling again. I want to fix up my chicken tractor and start having fresh eggs. I want to have a garden this year, and plant raspberry and blueberry bushes. I’m going to treat myself to a hot glue gun when I retire, the possibilities are endless. 

I can’t wait. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about life.

turkey chilli a LA crockpot

I threw a pound of turkey in the crockpot with some onion, turned it on low and ignored it for an hour or so. I came back and diced the meat up and threw in 3 cans of beans and 12 Oz of tomato sauce. I added salt, pepper, chilli powder and let dinner cook itself for about 3 hours.

Cost: less than 5 bucks

Prep time: 10 minutes

Results: a crockpot full of chilli for these cold winter nights

freedompop, and not quite cutting the cord

I came across a commercial for free to cheap cellphone service called freedompop. And while we’re under contract for a few more years, it’s nice to know that cheap and free alternatives are out there. I have a spare mobile device that I just might give it a go on.

We live rurally on patch of woods, surrounded by mountains. We love watching wildlife in the front yard and having peace and quiet. The down side is we pay more for utilities and services. We can’t shop around for Internet. There is one provider, period. We had satellite Internet and canceled it because the speeds were slow, and the data caps made using it nonexistent. 

We have fiddled with our cable plan for a few months, trying to find a way to watch what we want without paying too much. Sling tv is out because our Internet is slow and clunky. We tried eliminating local channels to save $120 per year, but hubs wants to watch football. We tried a medium priced antenna $50, to capture local channels but the aforementioned mountains blocked most channels. 

Dish has been reasonable to work with and here’s what we figured out. You can turn dish services off for $5 per month and leave the hardware in place. We can save over $400 annually by switching it off for non-football months, March to August. We have roku, free and we’ll substitute with Netflix $10 per month March through August.  So with trial and error, we can save almost a house payment on an annual basis! The financial geek in me loves finding savings like this. 

Why not unplug? Hubs enjoys his football and puts in long work weeks. We don’t eat out, go to movies or shop recreationally. I keep the grandkids at least once a week and they take over the tv when they come. (PBS on roku was a hit this week.) I enjoy some noise in the evening when hubs is gone to work. 

I hope this inspires some to folks to save.

minimalism, a documentary

I just got through watching this on Netflix and it was an hour of my time well spent. My spouse and I are minimalist in nature by circumstance. I have been in bankruptcy for 3.5 years working a job that I hate, all the while digging myself out from years of financial mismanagement and poor relationship choices. My spouse spent a similar amount of time in prison recovering from a life of grief and addiction.

When he moved in, all he had in the world fit into half of a suitcase and a plastic tub. He was starting from scratch,  I was trying to start over for the last time. For 2 years we lived solely on my income, minus my wages being garnished. Those were tough years. We learned how to make do, and do without. 

Now we’re headed back into a one income lifestyle. The documentary has inspired me to embrace minimalism as my future and not as the unfortunate consequences of our pasts. The road ahead is exciting, I can’t wait.