Getting Healthy and Cutting Expenses

I ended the last blog post writing I would report back as to what we are doing to; improve our physical, mental and spiritual health, cutting reoccurring monthly expenses and some big decisions such as do we move to having just one family car.

Karen spends a lot of time walking the dogs. Although I enjoy the dogs and being with Karen, walking the same route gets old to me.  As a younger police officer I was a member of the bicycle squad where I’d often ride 30 miles a day.  There is a perfectly good Cannondale  mountain bike in our back yard storage shed. Suppose it is about time to dust the bike off. When I rode a lot I preferred the Cannondale or Trek brands for a number of reasons, but that’s another topic. Seems like having a fun hobby that provides some exercise is something one can stick with.

I tried to stop chewing tobacco (gross I know) at the same time loosing 18 pounds.  A lady at work gave hypnotism a try and stopped smoking cold turkey.  If anyone else has had luck with that let us know.  Lost some weight and then gained some back. I’m convinced counting calories is the best way to go. Sparkpeople is a free website that helped.

Band 2

Bought a Microsoft Band 2 the other day. It’s a big improvement from the first version, Band 1. Among other things, this fitness tracker/smart watch will count calorie burn, record sleep habits, and links up with a smart phone to provide detailed exercise routines. The Band 2 is a good value when compared to similar products. I can link their health application with Myfitnesspal and eventually, Lose It, where you can record what food you eat. The built-in GPS will record your route during runs or bike rides. A guy at work showed me several marathon routes he has run in the past. His GPS recorded the run and he was able to show me it on a map. He sure ran through some fantastic scenery.

I also had a full physical this rear, I mean year, to include all the extra testing after age 50. Doctor says to eat more fiber and to follow a Mediterranean diet. Those chalk like fiber tablets upset my stomach. A guy at work told me about gummy bear like fiber, for lack of a better description I’ll call it candy. Works awesome. Think I’ll count calories and just loose some weight rather than do the Mediterranean thing. Of course eating better in general will help.

Spiritual health to me has to do with getting closer to God. Among other things I ask God for help dealing with the sometimes destructive side of my type A personality. Seems like I’m most impatient when unplanned events affects time. Because of deadlines or having little time to get things done, I can get frustrated. Working so much during the week leaves little time to accomplish things at home. Retirement might fix that, but for now I’m working to better balance things out. Some things may never get done or perhaps never needed to be on the list to start with. I now avoid putting things on the calendar which require a routine or recurring event. For example, I’m not interested in doing anything every Monday night at 7:00 pm – for the rest of my life!  Even annual events are now a target to avoid. That’s not to say I walk away from responsibility. Guess at my age what I think is a priority is more important to me than what others think are my priorities. Hope that makes sense. When you are younger, climbing a ladder to success, you can be more inclined to do things because of pier pressure or whatever.

The Billy Graham website has a cool section where you can ask him a questions. Here are the responses I got when I entered the search string using the word spirituality.

I have a relationship with Christ who is frequently on my mind and always in my heart. I may not be in church every Sunday, for which I give no excuses. There are some great church shows on television on Sunday, well done religious channels on the car radio, bible applications for the computer tablet and a box of CDs containing the bible. To each his own on this subject. I still trust the best way to understand and learn to apply religious beliefs is through organized religion and prayer.

Surely having ones mental, physical and spiritual health in order would help with the chance of success in a major life change such as retirement to fulltime RV living and travel. Frankly, I’m finding it much easier to do this at this point in my life compared to those younger years.  I’m a lot happier. When I stop and think about all that is going well, give thanks to God and appreciate the ones that love me is when I feel the mental and spiritual fitness.

Karen and I have been talking about reoccurring monthly expenses. We had both Amazon Prime and Netflix service both of which offer streaming video. I think Netflix is easier to use but Amazon Prime is a better value as we shop online. So we dropped Netflix. We cut some of the premium channels our cable provider offers. I mounted a digital TV antenna in the attic rather than adding cable boxes for televisions in other rooms. Basically, any bill we receive monthly is up for evaluation as to its worth. I added a flexible spending account through payroll deduction so we can pay for medical expenses on a before tax basis. Dropped the full insurance coverage on our older truck and have generally been doing a series of minor tweaks to anything dealing with monthly expenses. Planning for retirement a few years from now sure has impacted my thought process on how we spend money today.

There are some major financial considerations on my mind. They’re probably on Karen’s mind also  – because I talk about them a lot!  In order for these major financial changes to work we both have to agree on them.  We have three family cars and I am issued a work vehicle that I take home and am required to drive everywhere while on-call one week a month.  At the most, Karen may return to part-time local work. Other than one of us leaving town without the other for a few days, we have no need for more than one family vehicle.  I’m really thinking about getting with Karen and trading off our three vehicles for a newer SUV that can pull a 5×10 trailer for the next three years or so. That would lower several monthly expense categories. We could always rent a car for those times when one of us needs to leave town while the other still has the family car.  For years I had an SUV rather than a truck. Having a utility trailer is the next best thing to having a truck. We already own the trailer.

Today, I had a battery put in my car which is driven less than 7,000 miles a year.  The last oil change on our old truck was more than a year ago and we gas up Karen’s car about once a month.  Besides, as a single vehicle is in our future (big truck for the camper) we might as well get used to having just one.

Another big financial decision is do we keep the house until we retire or sell out a couple years early and move into a nice rental unit – with a garage? I’ve been reading blogs lately where others did this before going fulltime. Lots of pros and cons to this. At the very least, we both want to enjoy what we have right now. Eventually, I’ll post about what we decide and why.

I’ve been spending time researching RV construction methods. I’m working to gain a better understanding of tires, wheels and brakes. I’ll post my findings later and hope to get some feedback from others.

P.S: Forgot to add another major cost savings change. Karen has been shopping at thrift stores for most of our clothing needs. She has a lot of fun with that. Today we bought four – never been worn – shirts and she found a great pair of leather gloves. Spent five dollars on the lot.

Thanks for reading and your comments.

2 thoughts on “Getting Healthy and Cutting Expenses

  1. Well Brother….it looks like you are really wrapping your head around this journey….and it all makes perfect sense. I would expect nothing less from you though….lol
    A couple comments regarding your spiritual walk and those ‘ annual event’s…
    I have a program downloaded called ‘In Touch Ministries’ it features Charles Stanely. I love the proram as it has a variety of daily devotionals, bible studies and his weekly sermon. Knowing you like a big sister does…I am confident you will get what you need from this program when you can’t get to church. He’s also on TV Sunday morning…and the radio Wednesday evening. Take a look…
    As far as the annual event’s go…I only hope you will still be there with me at the cabin each year, as I look forward to our brother/sister bonding . I have decided to allow you to have a Settler/Indian sabatoge if you agree to never leave me there…lol
    You are, after all…not only my brother…but my best friend.
    I enjoy your articles immensly…you sound like Dad so many times 😌. You have an amazing head on your shoulders and I am confident…no matter what you come up with or decided on…it will be right.
    All my love…your sis.


    • Mary, Charles Stanely is someone I look for on TV. His message is to the point. I’ll download the program you suggested. I look forward to my time at the cabin with you. I’m still trying to think how to get a large fifth wheel in the parking lot of the Jones Memorial. The entry off the road is tight. One of the things on my list is to find the “best” weekly/monthly spot to park near Mt. Vernon. And Omaha if it come comes to that. My heart could not take being away from you or the family. I don’t see the RV spots at the city park working because I’d have to move at the end of Apple Butter Days. However, it might work short term so Karen has a place to stay with the dog. Assuming she does not get the cabin bug.

      It’s nice being from the Midwest because we will be driving through it so often while heading out.

      Another area in my life I’ve taken a look at, may seem small, but adds up. Annual renewal of subscription services where you get email reminders, mail or whatever. It’s the waive of the future, I can see it coming. Big business has to have a way to generate income on an annual basis in order to establish a revenue flow they can count on. I’ve given up some of the monthly/annual must be there stuff. Such as Masonic traditions, taking on any position on the board of a business and anything like that. I just remember what uncle Don said while in that rocking chair at the cabin. If he had to do anything different he would have said no to a lot of requests. It’s something how one of the most vivid memories of a person was one of the lasts. Really stuck with me for some reason.

      It’s hard to believe this phase of our lives is coming up. It’s not the last, but might be the best.

      P.S. Here is a link you might enjoy.

      Love you – your brother.


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