Found an online bank that does electronic “envelopes”!

Just wanted to share that I recently started banking with an online-only bank called “Simple.” What I really love about them is they allow you to use the envelope system electronically. If anyone is struggling with that, you should look into this bank. Well I guess more rightly they are an interface that somehow gets the bank they represent (which differs by area) to act the opposite of a bank haha. I dont know how they do it, but I am loving it! No minimum balances, no way to overdraft, no NSF fees… it acts like a combo of a credit card and a bank, but you put the funds in there so it is NOT a credit card and does not offer a line of credit or anything. All FDIC insured and all that jazz. They even pay YOU a small return for putting your money in their bank. It is really small, like 2% or something but hey it’s better than 0 or a bunch of fees. If you try to spend money that isn’t there it will just decline your transaction, there is no NSF fee and they won’t loan you anything. No money = cannot spend or try fastest cash loans. Also your transactions always post in chronological order. Nothing is reorganized by value or some other wacky method. And by God, everything posts almost instantaneously! I know this because it alerts my phone each time I spend. So if I don’t get an alert (which hasn’t happened), I know it didnt post. Not like my credit union or any banks I have used where stuff will sometimes not show for a few days because the merchant hasn’t batched or something. If a merchant communicates with Simple to approve a transaction, it shows up! It may pend for a few days until finalized, but it’s there and deducted from my balance so I don’t make a mistake.

Although dh has been retired for a month now we had not been able to leave town between repairmen

concern for my brother in law and our own health issues (we all 3 caught that super crud that has been going around.)
We have been at sixes and sevens about leaving town ever since dbil slipped into a vegetative state, but the doctors now say he may linger for months, or he could go at any minute. Either way he is on hospice and they don’t ever expect him to truly regain consciousness. They said we should all be prepared for “the phone call” but to go on with our lives.
So after much deliberation dh and I decided to hit the road sort of. Because of various appointments with my doctors and the VA for dh we will have to return home for a week in June, and then a few days again in July. Instead of rushing our northwest trip we’ve decided to do these two one month stints a day’s drive from home. That way if dbil passes we could get home quickly, plus be able to return home for the appointments fairly easily. Then in July we will start the northwest trip.
So Friday, we left Oklahoma for Arkansas. We have set up a strict budget for traveling and are eating more meals out of the camper than we have eaten at home in the last few months due to all that was going on at home.
I know to some the idea of travel sounds very expensive, but we’ve done our homework and have had years of experience on traveling on a shoestring. Right now our camping costs us $10 a night because we are staying at Corps of Engineer (COE) parks using our senior’s American the Beautiful National Park pass. That includes our utilities. For $300 a month we are all bills paid in our own camper. In about nine days we will move over to Branson and go to the Blue Grass festival at Silver Dollar City.

We will purchase Senior’s annual passes that will get us in as much as we want for the rest of the year for under $80 each. With the discounts offered with this pass we will also save more than that on any foods we buy there before the year is over. So it will be basically free entertainment.
Because there are often many free or near free things to do in or near the campgrounds our other entertainment is cheap also. Plus dh and I enjoy just hanging around the camper and decompressing. In fact that is what we’ve been doing since Friday. Sleeping late, eating home cooked meals from my dried food storage (we have been eating so good you wouldn’t believe), taking long walks, watching the red headed woodpeckers. Enjoying the antics of the nearby camper’s one year old triplets (thank God it is them and not us!—It was like herding cats for them to keep an eye on all 3 at once).
Peace and quiet are big too. You see we have no wi-fi, our phones are on roaming, (luckily our roaming is free), we’ve not even tried pulling in any tv or radio stations preferring to watch dvds in the evening and listen to music on our computers. When we truly need to get on the internet to research something we can go to the visitor center and use free wi-fi. It is about a 10 minute drive from here. Sure beats paying for a wi-fi hot spot. Between visits to the visitor center we can write up emails, like this one, and prep them for sending, prepare blog and vlog posts and then do the uploads once there. Free is good.
Today, Monday, it has been a steady rain all day. We had planned on going out to a visitor’s center on the dam near where we are and over to do some grocery shopping. Since neither was pressing we choose instead to stay in, read, compose blogs, tidy the camper and cook some great homemade cream of soups. Potato for him, broccoli cheddar for me. All made from dehydrated foods and oh so perfect for the cold rainy day. Then for dessert we had freeze dried chocolate chip ice cream bars. Very good.
So stay tuned, lots of blogs and vlogs ahead, we are traveling finally!

After spending 12 days in Lakeview, AR we moved to Branson, MO last Wednesday

It was rainy and cold until Saturday. Then we went from 59 to 80 degrees and bright sunshine. We took advantage of it to go back into AR both Saturday and Sunday to the site where the amusement park Dogpatch USA was. It has recently been purchased and the new owner is working on revitalizing it. We approached him about being able to go down in the park to fly the quad over it.

He was thrilled because he wanted an aerial view of it. So we went both days, flew it twice, gave him a copy of the raw footage of it and dh is now editing it to put it up on you tube later today. I will let you know when it is up.

We really enjoyed doing it, especially since our first trip as a family was to Dogpatch and then over to Silver Dollar City and now 40 years later our first trip as a retired couple are the same to places.

We are doing real well on not eating out. When we do we have used coupons or gift cards to do so.

Oh one other thing. You know how DR talks about the well to do who live below their means. The owner of dp is the inventor of the Buddy bowl, a spill proof pet water bowl. He invited us into his home, the ski lodge on the property. While the building is impressive it is very basic in its furnishings for him and his HUGE wolf/dog hybrid. He dresses in very simple well worn clothes and is very interesting to chat with. We both liked him.

kinda hate to say this, but we’ve been doing just fine without any of them, for over 10 years now

We’ve never had a dishwasher, our gas dryer didn’t have a hookup when we moved into this house in 2000 and we’ve never bothered to install one, and our range died around 2005. We hang our clothes on a line or rack to dry (inside when it’s cold outside, but we’re coming up on the dry-stuff-outside season). We have a big toaster oven and a hotplate which both sit on our countertop and serve whatever cooking tasks we have, and we have a dish drying rack next to the sink. It’s really not the end of the world.
Having said that, we don’t have little kids; that would probably change the math a lot for us because our meals and laundry loads would all be bigger. But for just the two of us, it’s fine. I remember from being a kid that washing/drying dishes was part of the teenager to-do list, and we always dried laundry on the line. So even with older kids in the house, some division of labor would take care of two of those three appliances.
I’d suggest getting creative with “doing without” for awhile, and save up the money for general repairs rather than dipping into the emergency fund. You might find, as we have, that we really don’t miss those appliances. Or, you might find that you really truly gotta have one of them repaired NOW, but the other two can wait. And then you’ll have your answer. And your money.
Also, thanks Eldred for sharing that link. We’re firm believers in DIY work, and we repair most of our own stuff these days. That can save 90% of the repair bill, if/when you decide that appliance really does need to be up and running.

I have been thinking about this and trying to figure out what my priorities would be if it were our household

I know, everyone’s mileage may vary but here goes. I would probably go with the oven first, because it seems like a cheap fix, especially with a handy man in our house. I figure we could order the part and dh could fix it. Plus we need to eat and an oven is used here at our house weekly, if not several times a week.

Second, I’d go with the dryer. I cannot even imagine lugging wet clothes from one floor to another. (Thankfully we live in a single story home.) We have temporarily been without a working washer before. We would take the dirty clothes to the laundromat to wash, then lug home the wet clothes to dry them. It was a chore and I hated it. Actually I hated feeding the coins in more than anything but lugging wet clothes was a close 2nd. To me my time is worth something and all that lugging seems like a time eater. So my 2nd thing to fix, very close behind the oven, would be the dryer.

The last thing I’d fix is the dishwasher, simply because a dishwasher is totally not necessary and a total convenience. Yes, I love mine, we use it several times a week and I’d had to have it go out completely. However, if I had to do without one appliance for an indefinite period of time, it would be the dishwasher. Hand washing is an cheap, easy fix for the moment, for an extended period of time or for a lifetime. People lived without automatic dishwashers for 1000’s of years.

Anyway, that is what I’d do but everyone is different.

Oven coils are an easy fix..

I just had to do it to my almost 40 yo oven. It is an apartment sized oven, so it is cheaper to keep repairing than to purchase a new or full sized oven/stove. The cost of the coil was under $50 and my husband fixed it. I did look at different online places to purchase the coil because Sears wanted double the money and 2 weeks to get it to me.

Emergency fund – sinking funds questions

My husband now have our emergency fund back up to $1000 after several problems with dealing with my 80 year old MIL  MIL decided to move closer to us but of course didn’t have the money to have herself moved ect. We rented a Uhual and my 2 sons moved her (I packed her up) and then we find out she needed to pay 1 weeks rent because she didn’t give 30 days notice ..she is in subsided elderly housing and has had mental health issues her whole life. She also didn’t have any money for food ect after we moved her. We used part of our emergency to move her and make sure her fridge was full.  She did pay us back and now our emergency fund is back up  My dishwasher broke about 1.25 years ago and we decided not to call the repair man and wait ..now our basement dryer broke (we happen to have a stackable washer and dryer set upstairs for the kids so we are dragging the wet clothes up to the 2nd floor from the basement to put in the dryer, (the washer to the stackable set went about 2 years ago.) So since we do have 1 working washer and 1 working dryer and it is not an emergency should we just save up more money before we call the repair man? Also I have one of those Gemini stoves that have 2 ovens and the bottom oven burned a coil quite a while ago but again since small oven works we have been making do If we do call the repair man we are going to have him look at the dishwasher also since you pay 1 fee just to have him come to the house.   I not sure what it will cost to get all these appliances fixed!