Thursday, April 30, 2015

On Money-ER(Early Retirement)

So in an effort to redirect my energy from all things fertility/infertility and TTC I have been reading a few helpful blogs on money management that has helped me some in dealing with money. 

As you know I never had any intention of being a SAHM.  I always thought it was ideal to stay home for a few years after you have a baby but I never thought it would be feasible financially and career wise without some big sacrifice that we were not willing to make.  But as with most things in life things don't go as planed, circumstances will force you to make some changes to the much thought out road you envisioned for your life.   

So it has been over two years that we have been living on one salary.  It has been an adjustment but not as difficult as I thought out it would be.   However, the loss of  my income has a big impact on our retirement funds.  The plan was after we bought a home (which we did 2.5 years ago) we were suppose to significantly increase our retirement contribution. 

So my hope is that my health will start improving as Menopause approaches.  I am betting on the endometriosis pain getting easier and I will be able to go back to work in some form or another in a year or two but that is no guarantee.   

The blogs I have been reading on retirement are mostly focused on achieving early retirement.   Since I can't make that goal for me right now, I have adjusted my goal to being able to save as much as we can now and may be I will be able to go back to work and be able to save a lot more if we stick to our current life style.   The trick is not to maximize our lifestyle as income increases and eliminate excess spending. 

My DH laughs at all of my planning.   When I tell him about people who have saved enough and are retired in their 30s and 40s he says he is not interested in retiring.  Even if that is not the goal wouldn't it be wonderful to not worry about money even if you choose to keep working and knowing that you can walk away from your job when you see fit.     That is just liberating. 

Any how, everyone can learn from these blogs what ever goals they have financially.   If you read this far then you have some interest in early retirement or just saving more for retirement so hope these blogs help you as well.  It certainly has helped.

1. Mr Money Mustache : This site has helped me a lot in looking at money as a tool to have a more meaningful life and to really question unnecessary spending.

2. Go Curry Cracker: These couple retired in their 30s and travel around the world.

3. Budgets are Sexy:  The blogger quit his job to permanently blog about money. 

4.  Early Retirement Extreme: for the extreme :)

  Hope you enjoy it


Thursday, April 9, 2015

peri-menopause or what?

My cycles are driving me nuts.   Its been more than a year now that it hasn't been regular.  I usually have a 40 day cycle, followed by a 16 day cycle and two text book 28day cycles and then back to 40 or 16 day cycle.  This has been going for more than a year.   Gone are the 26-28 day regular cycles.

So I had a 30 day cycle in Jan after a 16 day cycle.  So I was expecting another 28 day cycle.  I had cramps for eight days, deep menstrual cramps and lower back pain that left me exhausted.  On what looked like P+15 I started to think these might be pregnancy symptoms.   So I told myself I will test in the morning on P+16 if I don't seen anything.  So next morning comes  and there was nothing.  I found a stick in the back of my cabinet and peed, BFN.  I cursed a lot under my breath while getting toddler ready and go down to have breakfast.  Then I went to pee and to my surprise I see red. 

I think my head is playing some games with me.  30 min after I tested I see blood.  Ha, what kind of a joke is this.   Once bleeding started the cramps subsided.   If I didn't know better I would have taken the bleeding as implantation because it looked like old blood and it was very scanty.  So two days of very light flow followed by a day of spotting and I was done.  The cramps felt like I was going to bleed a bucketful.   After my period ended I was bracing myself for the usual pre-ovulatory endometriosis pain, instead I was hit with fatigue and lower back pain for a good five days.  Over the weekend while we were out I barely said anything, not intentional just was way too tired to even have a conversation and my DH was thinking I was feeling sick.   So I stayed low and slept it off.  I immediately started taking picnogenol which I had stopped taking for a month or so.  The fatigue has lifted and the pain is tolerable.  I saw fertile CM around cd7 which disappeared a few days later.  So I am bracing myself for a 16 day cycle. 

What is really bothering me is on top of the pain having more than a week of cramping before AF.  Usually the post ovulation my pain lessens and that is when I recuperate for the next pre-ovulatory pain.  

This looks awfully like peri-menopause symptoms.  Irregular cycles, minimal bleeding, hormonal ups and downs, wacked up CM etc.    We have stopped actively trying but we are not avoiding either.  It has been more than a year since the last failed pregnancy so there is a very slim chance of it ever happening. 

I have to stop myself from associating certain symptoms with pregnancy and just accept that this is what peri-menopause looks like and wait for all of it to end.    In the meantime I will go hide under a rock.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On Money #2

About a year ago I wrote on how we were planning to save money by cutting some of our expenses so we can increase our retirement contribution.   I didn't think this was going to be easy since both DH and I are for the most part on the same page when it comes to our finances and that we don't really have excessive spending.   The followings are areas that we tried to cut back

1. Cell Phone Plans: Both of us were on Verizon plan and did not have smart phones.  We paid about $96 on a basic plan (phone & text) which we were happy with.  We never had smart phones even when I was working.  I never saw the need for it since I was stuck at work all day and the rest of the time I am home and use my I-pad for most things. 
So a few months ago I changed over to Republic Wireless and got a smart phone for $150 and have a $10/month plan.   My DH uses his phone rarely so he decided that he will also get a smart phone, mainly for the camera and sign with Ting.  His is a prepaid plan and it costs him about $5-10 a month.   Now this might not work for some people.   The$10/month republic wireless plan doesn't have a data plan but you can use Wifi for Internet and also it defaults to wifi service for calls when available.    The plans has been working wonderful for us and once we cover the cost of the phones we will be saving about $70-80/month on it compared to our Verizon plan. 

2. Water consumption:  We looked in to low-flow toilets & washing full loads of laundry to minimize water bill.  We also installed a control at the kitchen sink where we can adjust the flow.  My sister changed all her toilets to low flashing and said she it has made an impact on their water bill but I didn't really like those toilets, it seem like sometimes their is a need to reflush.  After reading about is a bit we decided to just adjust so that the tanks only fill up 3/4th of the way.   We didn't want to go out and spend money on new toilets.    Another thing I just don't want to give up is my long hot showers.  I take a long hot shower to manage my endometriosis pain and that is not something that I am going to give up.  But I have really tried to make sure I wash a full load of laundry.     

3.  We also tried to lower our thermostat by a few degrees.  We used to set it at  74C and changed it to 72C at nights but  it became really cold in our bedroom and toddler MH doesn't like sleeping under a blanket and sometimes asks for a her PJ bottoms to be removed.   It may be 72c by the thermostat but our room is much cooler so we had to increase it back up to 74C.  We are babies when it comes to cold weather :).  So we have failed in this department.   I think in the near future it might be better to upgrade to efficient windows. 

4. Cable: I sometimes watch TV, especially when my pain it at its worst and I am not able to do much.  But I really don't care for cable much.   When we were in our apartments we didn't have cable and relied on just local channels for years and we were fine with it. But now we are not able to get the local channels without the cable connection and so we singed up for cable service when we moved to this house.   We are looking in to ways we can get rid of it when our contract ends.

5. Food: This department is a fail.  I looked in to joining Costco but the one closest to us is not very convenient and I didn't think we are going to save much.  I try not to buy anything that I have to freeze.   My freezer right now has some chicken, a small container of ice-cream and some spices.  We go to the grocery store at least three times a week and buy fresh.  So food is our biggest expense in general and I try to buy vegetables that are on sale and buy eggs & chicken from Trader Joe's to minimize expenses.   

6.  Other sending: DH doesn't like eating out much so we try to eat at home and may be end up going out 2-3 times a month for a meal.   Most of the time we eat at home and go out for coffee.  I really don't miss eating out much since I can't eat a lot of things because of the gluten free diet and that I am also trying to be careful and eat as much fresh vegetables as I can.    Cloth is another area where we don't spend much on.  DH hates shopping and may go out 1-2 times a year for cloth.  I am at home and don't need to buy a lot of cloth.  I usually just go out about twice a year and we don't buy stuff if it is not on sale & reasonable priced.   

In general we have made some improvement but not a lot.   We are more aware of where the money goes.  We were able to increase our retirement saving last year and will be doing that this year too.  When I tell DH we need to budget he laughs at me and says we already know where the money goes and there is no need for a budget.  I guess he is right.