Frugal Village Forums banner

281 - 286 of 286 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,196 Posts
Discussion Starter · #281 ·
Hello again, Everyone!
It's been a long time since my last update, and I have thought of FV often, but have been going through so many challenges that I didn't update.
I now have 1 year and 9 months to go (minus 1 week) till I am 65, and financially secure (I hope)!

Issues that have resolved themselves:
My fridge: The old clunker finally started working properly, and I have pulled it well away from the wall to give maximum circulation, packed the freezer compartment sparingly with flattened frozen meat packages standing upright in 2 well-slotted plastic bins. The air flow reaches through the packages and to the front of the fridge-freezer door, and everything is now freezing and staying frozen.

I have finished all the unpacking, and just need to go through my studio bookcases for some reorganizing. I also plan to work on my wardrobe and linens this summer, so that should make the closets more spacious afterwards.

I was inundated with various building work-crews for the past entire year, who set up their work stations right on my threshold, plugged 5 industrial cords across my door threshold daily, and had 2 generators going full-blast against my living room window much of the time. They also placed their siding sawing station against my bedroom window. Due to all of this, I was very much housebound for the past year, couldn't use my windows or doorway, had no patio area at all (packed up all my plants and patio furniture and stacked it next to an out-of-the-way nearby tree).

Work progressed at a snail's pace with the various crews hired to do the job. I had to shovel snow paths for them during the winter, because they thought it was too hard for them to do it. They constantly decided to walk on top of my patio furniture and flower pots, instead of on the paths I shovelled for them (this is a foreign crew with a government-sponsored work placement). They got quite surly in the winter time; it was a cold, hard winter in Canada, with many blizzards. In the summer they had acted like 'grasshoppers', lounging around and sitting by my tree playing Pokemon and eating snacks, or just parked in front of my apartment sitting in their vehicles for hours on end. There were many mistakes in their work, and the work inspector frequently came out to check and order changes. This went on and on. When winter hit, so did the terribly cold weather. They had still not put any siding on 2 sides of the building (south and west exposures), and my apartment too. Their industrial cords got buried in the snow, and they trampled on top of them making walking paths, and then tried to remove them by yanking them out of the ice through 4 foot snow-drifts. I heard them cursing the job frequently with numerous foul swear words; and those were the ones spoken in English. There were many others. I felt sorry for them, but they seemed to be the type of persons that only learn things the hard way. They noticed how I dressed in warm layers, with a face-mask, and started doing the same. They actually started to work faster, due to the icy temperatures freezing their butts. However, they still kept the project going and going, instead of finishing anything. Finally, after I saw some of the flower pots they'd walked on and broken to pieces, I put a sign in my LR window to ask them to stop damaging tenant property. This caused some reaction on their part, but actually it helped to speed things up a bit. They finished quickly after that, and moved on, not paying for any damaged flowerpots of course.

Work continues with other crews inside the building; some of the crews are excellent workers and have done a beautiful job with the updates on this dilapidated building; some of the crews are very slow and clumsy workers, dragging the project out and banking hours, without any consideration for tenants.

I am presently working on health, safety and security issues that have surfaced in this place, though they have been long-standing problems. Progress is slow, and the budget is spent, so no changes can be implemented till the next one, this being government subsidized housing.

Personally, I have reworked my own budget many times, and the latest one gives me $81 per month for food and miscellaneous, plus paying for all my other expenses. I've given up many food items I once took for granted: peanut butter, salad dressing, juice, all fruits and vegetables except potatoes, carrots, bargain -bin tomatoes, apples, oranges and bananas. I've given up frozen vegetables too, gave up cheese, yogurt, baking supplies, cold cereals, every kind of meat except lean ground beef, and the occasional family pack of chicken thighs & backs. No more ice-cream, cream, cottage cheese. No soda pop, chips, chocolate bars.

My grocery budget is: lean ground beef every 2 months, eggs, 1 jug whole milk once or twice per month. I can dilute whole milk with water and make it last twice as long this way. I also buy potatoes, carrots, and bargain-bin apples, tomatoes, bananas. Upon occasion I buy a bag of oranges if on sale. I take a multi-vitamin with multiminerals once per day, and a Vitamin C pill once per day.

I have perfected a wonderful sourdough yeast, so I have not bought or used yeast for the past couple of years now. This yeast costs almost nothing to make: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. sugar, plain water stirred in to make a medium thick mixture (like pancake batter). Mix this in a small plastic container. Place a lid loosely on top to keep out dust. Let sit on counter a couple of days. Then use this as a starter to make any kind of bread, flatbread, pizza dough, pancakes, cupcakes, biscuits, cake, doughnuts. Replace 1 1/3 cup of starter with any liquid (milk, water, juice) called for in the recipe. They are the fluffiest and spongiest I've ever eaten.

Now that the siding work crew has gone from my apartment front, I have finally moved my patio table and chairs back and have set out my rock borders on top of the concrete, with all of my flower pots and ornaments positioned in place. The good thing about this type of gardening is that anything can be moved to become a different design. So for about 2 weeks now, I've actually been able to get some light, sun, fresh air, and peace out there, just relaxing with a cuppa. It will take me a while to get back to normal, having been so cooped-up for the past year.

I have been going to the local food bank for about 1 1/2 years now, and every item that I get from them is a huge help to me now. The community was very good to me this past Christmas, and gave me a wonderful food hamper.
I've cut back on socializing because I just can't afford to invite anyone over for tea or lunch anymore, but that's ok.
I was worried that I would have to ask family for a loan, or go on social assistance for the latter part of the time up to my 65th BD, but since I reworked my budget, I actually found the money right there. Here's how I figured out the budget:
- List all current monetary assets
- List all pensions, etc, coming in for all the months preceding age 65
- List all debts or recurring expenses for the upcoming months
- Do the subtractions: Income minus Expenses
- What's left is the Variable Monthly Income Amount. Divide this by 22 months, for the exact monthly figure, and live on it.
- Additional income from employment cannot be part of this budget, because of uncertainty, so all amounts go towards the new Emergency Fund.
- Additional possible income from yard sale, private sale of household effects, etc. to be included in EF.

Add to this a completely new outlook on the whole matter. I feel calm, I feel determined, I know what I have and can work with. I know I can do it. May God help me!

Take Care, Everyone!
Many blessings to all!:vs_sun:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,196 Posts
Discussion Starter · #282 ·
Just remembered, I also buy oatmeal, cornmeal, tea, toilet paper, toothpaste on food budget expenses every month or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,280 Posts
Prayers going up for you! And thanks for the sourdough bread recipe!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,916 Posts
It's good to see you back and doing well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Incognito

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,196 Posts
Discussion Starter · #285 ·
Hello Frugal Villagers,
It has been a long time since my last post, but I am still here, thank the Lord!
My life has been so challenging that I have hardly been able to cope many times, and so I haven't been online.

In my new home in a government-housing Seniors residence, I have been dealing with many problems.

1. Frequent break-enter-and theft from my apartment. Pilfering is a regular occurrence in this building. We have no security system, and have many unwanted visitors day and night, some of which are regularly stealing from the Seniors apartments by pilfering on an ongoing basis. They come into the buidlng carrying cloth shopping bags, and force the door-locks and steal a few things from an apartment, then go on to the next one. They also steal from the apartments while the Seniors are doing laundry in the laundry room. I have learned to keep a constant inventory of my food and supplies, and also posted notes on my door with Apartment Watch reward offers, and this seems to be working better.

2. Extremely noisy neighbour: this one has almost destroyed me. She plays non-stop, blaring tv and music for 16 hours every day, and has no respect or consideration for anyone who is suffering from the disturbance. I have tried many things to deal with it for the past 16 months of her tenancy across the hall from me. There is a 1 1/2 inch crack under each of our doors, so noise is easily heard across the hall and into the neighboring apartment. I have sent her several notes, had many conversations, left notes on my door, called the landlord authority in Winnipeg many times, stuffed my door crack with a thick cardboard wedge, tried playing my own music quietly, etc. But nothing helped, and for the past year I have tried to endure it by putting up with it and shutting up about it. But my nervous system, damaged already by the 2007 flu shot, is now in a terrible medical state. I've also had a complete medical relapse recently because of it. She has been getting more and more abusive and blatant with her noise, turning it up as loud as it will go, and then locking the door, and going away with her friends for hours, leaving me to try to endure it. It finally became more than I could endure, and I called the Wpg. housing authority in desperation. She is now being monitored (more than ever) to try to keep the noise volume down. A more selfish, spoiled, stubborn person I have never encountered!

3. Another problem is the laundry room vandalism: garbage tossed into laundry loads, spit in the sink, dryer detached from the wall vent, lots of kleenex tossed into the dryer or washer load, sand tossed into the washer load, moldy towels tossed into the load. Last time, it was Lysol toilet bowl cleaner saturating a towel, then thrown into the laundry load, and the empty container left nearby. So since I am 1 block away on a lower floor, it wasn't possible to monitor every laundry load. I ended up doing ALL my laundry in my bathtub for 5 months, using a 5 gallon plastic pail with a plunger, and using a large flower planter (with those big side-bottom holes) to squish some of the water out of the wet load. That would be 1 wash, and 2 rinses per load, and then the final wring-out by hand, then hanging it all up on hangers and a rack in my bathtub, with a fan on it overnight. After 5 months, I was almost dead of the physical strain on my back discs and my heart and high blood pressure.

However, it finally occurred to me to try something else. I now go up to the laundry room at an odd time, and wash 1 load, sitting there in my walker; I spin it out well, then take it wet to my apartment, and hang it up as before, and this idea is working out much better. I've noticed that the laundry room is in much better condition at the times when I am not designated to be using it. The thieves were actually keeping me there cleaning it up for 20 minutes before I could use it, and meantime, they were pilfering in my apartment.
I've also seen our paid staff going in and out of tenants apartments, carrying empty ice-cream pails, and with their arms full of new towels and linens. This was done without the tenants knowledge that they had been in their apartments. The staff do not knock or speak when doing this; they just go in and out quietly, with stuff.

4. Money-wise, I am still doing fine, surprisingly enough. MB Housing again increased my rent this summer on my year's lease, and it is now about $120 more per month than my monthly income. This is the Basic Monthly Rent nowadays, plus extra for a 1 bedroom unit. About 5-6 years ago, government housing changed its rental rates, and decided on a basic monthly rent, as well as an increase in rents from 27% of monthly income to 28%, then to 30%. For tenants (self-employed) with the Basic Monthly Rent, they must pay an amount just slightly below the amount they'd pay IF they were on social assistance. So that means, if a self-employed senior earns only $100 per month income, they will still be charged $250 per month on the government social housing program in this Seniors Residences. That means a Senior had better have money in the bank to pay it, as evictions can happen within 3 days for unpaid rent.

As I've mentioned, because I have kept track of my budget and any applicable changes on a regular basis, I have planned for my rent and rental increases well in advance. So I am not afraid of running out of rent money. My food budget is $80 per month. Once in a while, I over-spend on it, because of sale items which I need, but I try to equalize it if possible on the next month's budget. At present, I have an Emergency Fund of about $500. I have 4 months to go before my Old Age Pension.

I have also applied for the Canada Guaranteed Income Supplement. I will warn others here to be very careful with this application. The application form is posted online, but this year they put the wrong form online first (it was a re-application form). It doesn't say it is a Re-application Form on the form, but there is a large R on the top right side, Page 1. After filling it out with the help of several phone-in government assistants, and sending it in this spring, after 4 months I got a letter from the government that it was the WRONG form, and I would have to re-send my info with the right form. This was quite a hectic procedure, and despite various promises from gov't personnel, I still haven't got confirmation yet that they have received it. So, I'll have to get after them again.

If all goes well, the GIS amount will be added to my OAS amount, and I will get my first payment at end of next January. I have various priorities for that money: the rent will double, my meds will cost about 5 times more, I need a new mattress (after 12 years), I have to update my Will, I need to save money for funeral and legal expenses, I want to install a Security System in my apartment, I want some money to repay my family for their generous Christmas and birthday presents to me over the last few years, and I want to be able to buy more and better food, and stop needing to use the Local Food Bank, which still operates twice a month. So these are my plans.

All in all, I have survived so far, and even thrived in some ways. The Bible (Psalms) has been my mainstay comfort!

It's been nice to be back on the Forum.
Hope you are all hanging in there at least, and thriving at best!

God bless and keep you all,
Incognito
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
Hi Incognito,

I'm so happy you are posting again. I was off the forum for quite some time dealing with medical issues and, when I came back, I saw that you had been away as well.

I'm glad the Bible has been a comfort to you. God will help us endure whatever the world throws at us.
 
281 - 286 of 286 Posts
Top