Home > Archive: January, 2023
Archive for January, 2023
January 22nd, 2023 at 08:47 pm
When I was a kid, we struggled financially. It wasn't because my parents were lazy, it just that money was tight. I saw resourcefulness as well and hard work and believe I was raised with a Depression Era attitude.
Once I finished college and landed my full time teaching job, I listened to some of the older teachers talking about pensions, retirement accounts, and things like that. My dad and mom had to rely mostly on Social Security come retirement, and I can attest it was nothing but a struggle. I found a financial advisor who was willing to work with me because in 1986 teachers didn't make squat. So, $50 a pay period went into a 403b. And let me tell you, $50 a pay period was tough back then. I kept telling myself it was for my future and my retirement.
Last week at the grocery I saw a very nice looking older lady. She was dressed clean and neat. I am nosy so I was waching what she took out of her cart. One potato, a loaf of bread, a bunch of celery, some canned vegetables, a couple other fresh vegetables. She paid most of it with the Link card and I could tell she wasn't proud of that, but she also had to pony up some other money. My heart went out to her. She looked like someone who probably had been an upstanding citizen her whole life, but found herself unable to make it on whatever she was getting, I am assuming Social Security. She was careful with her shopping -- no snacks, no junk food, just wholesome food. I imagine she is careful in other areas of her life as well.
Knowing how my folks struggled and seeing her is incentive to try to save. I was fortunate -- I could save in a 403b and a Roth and I have a decent pension. I'm not getting rich by any means, but I'm careful. I know when my mom died and I was paying bills, I realized how close to the edge she skated each month to not having enough to pay for things. In fact, a few of the bills she wouldn't have been able to cover if she had still been alive.
I wonder if people who keep thinking they can't afford to put money in retirement accounts -- I'm not talking about the truly poor -- I'm talking about those who make good money, but tell themselves they will save later -- if they would have the incentive to save more for retirement if they had people like this lady tell them how the struggle is real. Then again, would they think it would apply to them?
January 15th, 2023 at 09:43 pm
I'm going to own up to it...
I did it.
I ate part of a dog biscuit.
Shocked? Well, here's, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story...
I have a friend who has two wonderful dogs. I also have a love of baking. I ran across a recipe for making simple dog biscuits and I had all the ingredients. In fact, I had just opened a jar of chicken broth I had canned last summer and there was a little left. I was planning on baking some other stuff so the oven would be on, and well, I'm open to new things. The recipe was easy. I used a heart cookie cutter. Baked them and let them cool. I sort of wondered how they would taste too.
Years ago when I lived in the Chicago area, I rescued a dog from a shelter. My father, upon meeting my dog, informed me I needed to get some name brand biscuits to help with the dog's bad breath. So, I bought some, and offered one to my pup. Except he didn't know what to do with it. So, I bit off a little bit to show him it was a treat, and there was no going back after that. He was sold! I remember the biscuit as being quite salty and a little savory.
So, enter yesterday. The heart shaped biscuits were cooling and I wondered...so I bit part of one and chewed it. It was very savory (tasted like chicken) and wasn't too bad.
Today at church I gave the bag of biscuits to my friend for his dogs, he teased me and asked if I tasted one and was surprised when I said yes. Another friend, after learning my gastric adventure, messaged me and asked if things were so dire with the grocery budget that I had resorted to eating dog biscuits and if so, he might be able to float me a loan.
I await to learn if the dogs like the biscuits. I, on the other hand, have taken quite a bit of good natured teasing which is fine. Nothing like some amusement in our lives!
January 7th, 2023 at 01:01 am
On Wednesday I did my weekly shopping. Same procedure every week. Usually get mostly the same stuff. But this trip had a little more frustration added.
A couple walked in ahead of me. I didn't think anything of it, until I couldn't get around them. They had a cart and between the two of them and the cart, they blocked aisles. The mister felt it was important to discuss every little thing they were shopping for. And it was usually a lengthy pontification. Seriously, how earth shattering is it to decide betwen regular cottage cheese and low fat cottage cheese?
I try not to act to impatient, but inside my stomach is clenching. I take a deep breath and try to remain calm. I get what I needed and of course they head to produce. I need celery. But they are standing in front of celery and cabbage and he has to touch every head of cabbage. Then talk about why or why not they should get a particular head of cabbage. After all the chatting and touching, they decide not to get cabbage. This goes on for a bit. I finally snag my celery and eventually get around them. I see them still roaming the store as I try to get the few things I needed and head to checkout.
I wait in line because there is only one checker and that is OK. I see the end is near. By the time I pay and am bagging my groceries, they wind up in line with 5 items. That's it...all 5 items!
I felt sorry for this man's wife or girlfriend or significant other...it wasn't like she was doing much of the talking, but all of the listening. I was glad to get away from them. I know, this might have been a big outing for them, but I would have preferred they wouldn't have blocked the aisles.
January 2nd, 2023 at 09:52 pm
We recently received our power bill and it was the most we've ever spent! It wasn't unexpected, but it still was painful. And this next month's will probably be more since we had that Polar Vortex with Winter Storm Elliott and it seemed like the furnace was running an awful lot.
In the bill was a flyer with suggestions on how to cut energy costs. I almost had to chuckle. The suggestions were things we've done for years such as turn the heat down when we leave for any extended time, make sure windows and doors are closed, and unplug any appliances you aren't using. I wondered who put together that list. I guess I was disappointed in not finding better information. Then again, those of us at SA are probably ahead of the game.
One of my friends gave me a gift card for a meat market. I'm looking forward to using it. Last week I did our weekly grocery shopping and spent over $130 and wondered what the heck was so expensive since I only bought one package of chicken. And it was a small package! But prices keep rising and just buying basics and fresh fruit is getting more and more expensive.
We had some turkey left over from a meal last week. Actually we've had two meals from the turkey breast and there still was some left. I made turkey and wild rice soup for lunch today and there's enough to make a casserole for tomorrow night's supper. Plus, there is a little soup left which we will be having for lunch tomorrow. I don't want to waste anything!
We used to buy a lot of crackers because we are big soup eaters. But I have been baking fresh bread and we have a slice of that instead. I did a sourdough starter a few months ago and use it and the "discard" or "excess" as well. The nice thing about using the excess sourdough starter is it adds moisture to what you are baking and you use less eggs. And we know how expensive eggs have become.
As much as I enjoyed the holidays, I am looking forward to spending less. I did a lot of baking for Christmas, some as gifts and some for our church bazaar. I'm wondering if I will need to cut back on baking for next Christmas because I don't see prices dropping. One can hope, right?