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January 2015 Updates

January 1st, 2015 at 04:32 pm

I finally got around to updating my pages.
2014 was a pretty good year for saving and budgeting. My Savings Rate and Net Worth increased despite not yet completing the 2014 year IRA contributions. That remainder will just have to go on the 2015 saving rate, similar to last year.

2014 was also a great year for losing quite a lot of weight, 56 lbs. Since buying a bicycle last summer I have been able to keep off the weight with a continued sensible diet and exercise regimen. I'm still walking and trying to stick with a low carb, low fat diet. I have dusted off the old weight bench, and started doing some light-weight exercises during the cold months. Hopefully this will help strengthen my core muscles which will help my cycling. I did manage to get out on x-mas day to ride for 2 hours, because the weather cooperated. The weather won't be cooperating this weekend, so no cycling, unless I bundle up like Ralphie's little brother in "A Christmas Story".

August Updates

September 14th, 2014 at 04:04 pm

Yeah, I'm really late at updating pages for last month.

On the Investment Page my cash allocation dropped a couple percentage points because of two reasons. Equities advanced again for another month. I also added two small purchases, which continues my slow monthly increase in Real Assets allocation. I added a cheap steel producer and a base metals ETF.

I got three surprises / snowflakes in the mail. They were little mail-in-rebates of $6.44 twice and a $3.39. I added then to a local Credit Union Savings Account. They were from something I submitted last spring and completely forgot about. It's great getting money in the mail!

For the month of August my Grocery, HBA, and other little misc spending came slightly over budget, so it was a pretty good month for budgeting.

My sciatica is finally going away, and I am trying to get back on track with exercise and watching the diet. With the weather finally moderating I'm getting more bicycle time. I went out twice today and got in a couple hours of riding time.

July Updates

August 6th, 2014 at 06:38 pm

I finally got around to updating My Pages.

In the Investment Plan Page my Cash stakes increased slightly for 2 reasons. First almost all of the equity positions dropped along with Mr. Market causing cash to increase a little. I also sold my POT in July. No, not that pot, but Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. It was a nice little 17% gain in nine months time. The proceeds will be soon used in a future purchase, probably another metals/miners or energy play.

My Weight Loss program got severely side tracked last month with a bad bout of Sciatica. The pain in my back and leg prevented any exercise at all. I'm surprised I only put back on about 2 or 3 lbs last month. Just this week I am able to resume walking and my physical therapy sessions will be done probably next week. Hopefully the doctor will let me back on my bike for some light weekend riding.

I did get the $200 bonus from the Chase Freedom card, but I have not decided what to do with it yet.

This month I will be finally paying off my new Central Heating and AC System. I've been paying on it for only 2 years but it seems like forever.

7-20 Weekly Spending and Sciatica Updates

July 20th, 2014 at 11:15 am

My grocery spending was right on budget this past week. I was able to get out and walk through the grocery store Friday night and today without too much pain. I then went to Kohls today, but the pain in my back and right leg became too much. After sitting down on one of the little benches in the shoe department to alleviate the pains, I just decided to leave without making a purchase.

At the urging of some of the contributors here, I have started some stretching exercises yesterday and this morning. I am going real slow with them, and starting out very conservatively. I also was able to do a couple of very short 15 min. rides on my new bicycle yesterday and today without hardly any pain. Because the pains have not completely gone away, I'm afraid of aggravating that dang sciatic nerve. I imagine the road to recovery is going to take some time.

07-13 Past Week Spending

July 16th, 2014 at 06:03 pm

My weekly spending was way under budget this past week mainly because I was blind sided with a bout of sciatica. It caused a halt to most shopping, because of the pain shooting down from my back into my right leg.

The pain became so unbearable, it caused a trip to the Emergency Room, then to two other doctors. Hopefully, the new meds I am taking now will help it subside. I am just now getting able to go back to work after missing a week. Fortunately I have already met my medical deductible and annual out of pocket caps, so the 3 doctors, six x-rays, and the ER visit won't cost me anything.

But this has also interfered with my diet and exercise regimen, and temporarily put a halt to riding my new bicycle. Hopefully, I'll be back in the saddle soon.

6-28 Weight Loss Update and New Bike

June 28th, 2014 at 06:08 pm

It's been six months since I started my diet and exercise regimen. Today I stepped on the ole bathroom scales and weighed in at 165 lbs. This equates to a 55 pound weight loss since Xmas Day. (My Weight Loss Progress Page can be found in the sidebar). Now the quest is to keep the weight off.

So as a reward I bought a new bicycle. It will supplement my exercise routine. It's my first one in about 25 or 30 years, and it's amazing how bikes have changed. I researched them on the internet, and visited several sporting goods stores, big box stores, and dedicated bike shops. I decided not to go with the cheapest or the most expensive either.

The mid range model I chose after test riding several today is the JAMIS Citizen 1. I charged it on the new CHASE Freedom card with the current $200 Bonus for charging $500 in the first three months, so that $200 will help pay for it.

I don't know how to upload and post pictures, so here it is on the JAMIS website:

http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applications/JamisBikes/MyJamis/consumer/bike.html?year=2014&model=Citizen%201&cat_grp=recr_1

06-11 Weight Loss Update and Cycling

June 11th, 2014 at 11:53 am

I finally hit the 50 lb weight loss point when I stepped on the scales today. Yippee! For a reward I was thinking about purchasing a bicycle to help with my moderate exercise routine, which for now is nothing but a lot of walking.

I have not owned a bike in over 20 years, and at my age(just over 60), I am not looking for anything really expensive, or off road, or racing at the speed of sound. I'm thinking about something economical that I can just cycle around the neighborhood, or maybe a very short trip to the corner store.

I have just begun researching the latest models and a couple of them caught my eye. The Cruiser models with just one speed, fenders, and the old fashioned pedal-back braking is reminiscent of the bike I had as a child. My understanding that the next step up is the Comfort models with gears.

My small town doesn't have a cycle shop, but the next little town over from me does have a couple. The one online site I visited had nothing under $600.00. No way! I went to a sporting goods store in the city nearby, but they didn't have any of the Cruiser models on display. I'm going to check out another sporting goods store this weekend.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'll gladly consider.
Thanks in advance.

06-01 Weight Loss Update

June 1st, 2014 at 04:38 am

I've been serious about weight and waist reduction for 5 months now. I dropped another 5 lbs last month, but my waist line reduced by only one half inch. I would like to lose more of the ole spare tire around my waist by turning it into a flat tire.

My Weight Loss Progress Page can be found in the sidebar.

We Be Grillin

May 25th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

My puppy dog woke me at 6 this morning even though I wanted to sleep in some. After a couple cups of coffee I decided to get started, and fire up the grill. In addition to the usual smoked sausages, hotdogs, and hamburgers the following veggies were also tossed on the grill:

Corn on the Cob in the Husk
Zucchini
Sliced Pineapple
Vidalia Onion
Sweet Mini Peppers

The peppers and onion were then chopped up with some Monterrey Jack mixed in. It's then zapped in the microwave just a minute to melt the cheese. It makes a great topping on the burgers or as a side dish.


I now have enough leftovers to make lunches all week.

5-20 Weight Loss Update

May 20th, 2014 at 10:06 am

Back on Xmas Day of 2013 I stepped on the ole antique bathroom scale, and was astonished at the amount of weight I have gained in the last couple of years. Of course the ever tightening of my belt was giving me plenty of hints. I weighed in at 220 lbs, and I decided it was time for action. My goal was to lose a safe rate of 1.5 lbs per week or 6 lbs per month, for a 3 month period. Then I would stop and reassess the results, then either proceed with the plan or stop(I decided to continue). Now, because I have never been good at New Years resolutions I certainly did not want to call it that. I decided that the new year just happened to coincide with my weight loss plan.

When I stepped on the bathroom scale today I weighed in at 175 lbs, meaning a 45 lbs weight loss so far. So how did I do it, everyone asks? Perseverance is usually the first word I say. But there is more to it than that, of course.

Over the past couple of years I had been slowly decreasing the amount of red meat in my diet, and was increasing the poultry and pork and processed meats like smoked sausages. I also had been increasing dishes containing those meats along with lots of pastas and rice. This meant lots of Italian and Cajun dishes like Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti, and Jambalaya's and Gumbos. Because of the high carbohydrate content I decided to change my diet altogether.

I went to a higher protein, lower fat, and lower carbohydrate diet. This meant I had to cut out the rice and pasta, and increase the non-processed meats, and I added more fish like tuna and salmon. I also incorporated some stir-fry type of dishes of meat and veggies, but without the rice and tropical oils. After the first 3 month period was over, I decided to start adding back into the diet some pasta, rice, and potatoes, but on a limited basis. This also means Portion Control on everything. And, this meant No Super-Sizing, and no more seconds and thirds.

I decided that some exercise was needed. I did not want to join a gym again, and I did not want to do any high impact stuff like aerobics, so I decided to just do some old fashioned walking to increase my metabolism. I try to walk at least an hour a day. I also try to emphasize doing some of that walking after meals.

So in conclusion, it has been a plan of incorporating Moderate Exercise, along with Reasonable Portions, and of course Perseverance.