Saturday, August 1, 2015

BUDGET UPDATE - July, 2015

In 2014, we showed that you could live a very good life style for $25,000/year, if you weren't lavish and chose where you eat and drink out.  We took advantage of Cupocity discounts on meals, tours, massages, etc. We also determined where we get the best bang for our buck, which allows us to eat and drink out with our friends. We are social people and gathering with friends is very important to us. (See Year End Budget posted in mid December, 2014 located in Archives) Living Expenses are broken out separately from Discretionary Spending. We are fortunate that we have some discretionary income and make no apology for spending it.

As we also knew would happen, our family and friends would start visiting us and the winter months would see us eating out and going on excursions more with them. My daughter and her family were here for 16 days in January, and several friends came to town to spend time with us. It definitely shows in our expenditures for these 2 month!

We also had the opportunity to meet up with friends from Nicaragua in Mexico City for a week in February and while we were already up in the "highlands" of Mexico, we decided to come back by bus and visit San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Leon. A beautiful part of this wonderful country!

The month of January also brought us the expenditures of washing machine repair ($232), camera repairs ($10), more of Mike's dental woes (a new crown, reconstruction of previous crown preparation performed in Costa Rica,  & a tooth pulled = $742), and Mike needing to visit a chiropractor twice for adjustments that couldn't be dealt with in a massage ($73). We also took a 3 day side excursion to Yelapa with family and incurred hotel expenses and a more expensive water taxi ride plus all meals out.

But, we are extremely happy that everyone wants to come see us!!  This was part of our decision to live here. We knew it was easier and more alluring for them to come here to PV than any other location we considered. So it is what it is and we make no apologies for enjoying our family and friends.

In March, our expenditures went back to normal. EXCEPT we had decided back in December, 2014 to purchase excellent seat tickets ($300) to the Santana/Journey concert in Guadalajara for March 26. The total of the expenditures including the tickets, tours of Guadalajara, meals out, our stay in a B&B, gas, taxes, busses, etc. are all accounted for.

April shows we have come out of high season and back to well below our goal budget for Living Expenses. This was also due to our renegotiating our lease here in our apartment. Because we have been an asset to our landlord, which allows him to spend more time with his family in the states, he agreed to allow us to sign a 15 month lease with 3 months of free rent during the low season so we could travel a bit more without moving. We all agreed to a steady cash flow over the 15 months of $800/month.

Restaurant Week(s) are held in May. This is where many restaurants have a special set 3 course meal for well below the cost of a normal meal at their establishment. We took advantage of eating at several restaurants that would normally be well out of our budget. We also attended a charity function called The International Altruism Festival, which had 35 restaurants represented there. Also as a result of several friends coming to town, we ate out way above normal for a whopping 18 times!

In May, we also took advantage of the low cost medical clinics that are provided by Pam Thompson-Webb of So Mike and I both had our ears checked for a cost of $46US for both of us. Mike had an ear infection, so we had medication to purchase for $3US. I also took advantage of getting a Shingles Vaccine at a local hospital for the low cost of $157US (it's about $400-$500 in the US).

In June, we traveled the whole month, which is why there aren't any expenses except our rent in the Living Expenses category. Our journey took us to Cancun, where we spoke at the 10th Annual International Living Retire Overseas Conference; then on to Playa del Carmen for a week; then to MA & CT to visit family and friends; and down to Raleigh, NC to visit with family. On June 30, we flew to WA, which is where we were until July 17. This is our annual US visit from coast to coast. An expensive trip but with family spread out all over the US, it's very necessary.

Our Trip Expenses include air fare, hotel, car rental, meals & drinks out, clothes, electronics, entertainment, cell phone, etc.

I'm continually asked how can we do all we do on what we actually show in our posted budget. I must admit, that those we meet with as a result of my blog, have been very gracious in treating us as their guests for meals and drinks in appreciation for our time and sharing of our experiences. We do this gladly without expectation of this!!

The Living Expenses are our true living expenses and we could easily have a good life on just this amount. However, we are fortunate and do have some discretionary income, which we gladly use to have an even better life. So just because you might not have this additional income, doesn't mean you can't enjoy life here in PV.

Living Expenses:    January    February      March      April      May      June      July
Rent w/util  $    1,000  $      1,000  $      1,000  $          800  $          800  $          800  $          800
Electric  $          24  $               -  $            23  $               -  $            45
 $            33
Cell Phone  $          42  $            40  $            39  $               -  $            14
 $            65
Groceries  $       227  $          219  $          249  $          143  $          231
 $          378
Meals Out  $       448  $          292  $          240  $          183  $          420
 $          112
Drinks Only  $       161  $          154  $            95  $          238  $          144
 $          116
Entertainment  $          60  $            57  $          105  $            33  $               -
 $            65
Massages  $       101  $            20  $            40  $            33  $            33
 $            43
Bus/Taxi  $          64  $            55  $            15  $            25  $            50
 $            10
Dental Cleaning  $          33  $            80
 $               -  $            33

Incidentals  $          25  $            18  $            82  $            25  $            78
 $            20
TOTAL  $    2,185  $      1,935  $      1,888  $      1,480  $      1,848  $          800  $      1,642

TOTAL W/O RENT  $    1,185  $          935  $          888  $          680  $      1,048  $               -  $          842

Discr Spending:

Visas/Legal  $             -  $               -

Clothes/Shoes/Gifts  $          13  $            32  $            27  $          162  $            63

Medical/Life Ins.  $       211  $          211  $          211  $          211  $          211  $          211  $          211
Tours  $          87  $            60

Home Improve  $       420  $          171  $            57  $            75  $            65
 $            53
Medical  $       237

 $          221
 $            48
Dental  $       742

Air Travel

Trips/Vacations  $       180  $      2,459  $          684

 $      2,685  $      2,655
Car Rental/Gas

Spanish Lessons

TOTAL Discr.  $    1,890  $      2,933  $          979  $          448  $          560  $      2,896  $      2,967

TOTAL ALL  $    4,075  $      4,868  $      2,867  $      1,928  $      2,408  $      3,696  $      4,609

*Drinks Only (in PV only): January 11x; February 9x; March 7x; April 15x; May 11x; July 9x
*Meals Out (in PV only): January 12x; February 10x; March 9x; April 8x; May 18x; July 6x
*Our Rent includes 1br/1ba; dipping pool; view of Bay; fully furnished with everything you need; cable TV, internet, water; excludes electric.
*I do not include health insurance as a Living Expense because many expats choose not to have insurance. It was our choice to have it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our Annual US Trip - WA State

We were late arriving and so we rolled into our daughter, Ara's home, at 2am. By now we had been up almost 24 hours. Still enough energy to visit out on the porch with a glass of wine.

Our first day was spent having a nice breakfast at Boots on Main Street and a day spent doing errands topping off the evening with a nice dinner and drinks with Ara at The Blackbird Tavern & Kitchen, a new place that had just been open a week.

Our grandson, Arlo. He's a cutie & a hugger!

Grandson, Dallas, Travis, Mike's son & his girlfriend.
Ara & me at the Spokane River trying to cool off - 106. Yikes!

Ara, and our grandson, Robert. Fun times with family!


The next day we headed north 2.5 hours to our friend's home on 20 acres along the Columbia River. This is where we plop ourselves as a base for our time in WA. Again, we arrived in time for dinner out on Mike & Leslie's deck while watching the deer and other wild life.

Entering the Valley. As soon as I see those mountains, I'm back "home".


Our days were pretty laid back, which gave us time to focus on making our accommodations for our upcoming European trip. So glad we had some time for this! We got it done!

Of course, our goal is to see as many of friends, as possible. So we met up with some of them at Northern Ales Brewery in Kettle Falls on our first night out back north.

 What's a few selfies between friends!

Linda Hall

Joan Kuleza
Larry Kuleza

Alan Hall
Lucky for us, our friends, David & Lesley, had a bbq get together at their place on the Columbia River/Lake Roosevelt.  The weather was unusually hot while we were there with most days at or over 100, so being down on the river's edge brought some much needed relief!

We also floated the Kettle River. Having lived on the river when we lived there, it was a MUST DO! The Kettle is a fabulous floating River that is enjoyed by many who travel miles to get to do it. We borrowed our old floats from the people who bought our place and it was like being back in the saddle. Along the way, we enjoyed a pair of Bald Eagles who seemed to follow us down river like they were waiting for us to become their next meal if we should crash and burn on the rapids. Just watching them from our lazy floats was incredible!

We found ourselves back in Spokane to meet up with Mike's cousin, Walt and his lovely wife, Carol, for lunch at the beautiful historical Davenport Hotel. They had been to Alaska to visit their children and were driving back to New Mexico, where they live. Timing is everything!

Buddy Guy was also playing in Spokane the same day at the beautifully renovated Fox Theatre and we were lucky to score tickets via friends who had bought tickets but couldn't make it. It also gave us a chance to meet up with my friends, Wendy & Brigette. The concert was incredible! Extremely enjoyable plus he brought along his 16 year old protege, Quinn Sullivan .  Highly recommend going to hear them, if you have a chance.

Mike even found a bit of time to play with metal and welding tools, something he really misses!! So 3 more good friends are now proud owners of Mike's bottle opener invention that works like a charm!

And, our trip is never complete without at least one day in BC, Canada. Our plan had been to picnic and canoe at Mary Green Park but after our picnic and a nice canoe around the lake by Mike & Lesley, the heavens opened up and forced us on to Plan B.

Plan B meant an excellent afternoon and evening in Nelson, BC. We had a leisure coffee at Cafe Oso Negro while the rains came down. Once it let up, we strolled through town and the many wonderful artisan shops and enjoying the flowers and statues up and down Baker Street. This was the one day the temps dipped drastically and I was forced to wear a jacket to keep my thin blood warm. We headed home after another good meal at Max & Irma's.

We have found that we almost recreate a similar visit each year now. We try to cram in all of our favorite things to do and see in our two short weeks. 

So, as has become a ritual, after saying goodbye to all of our friends in the north, we spend a night with our friends, Randy & Donna, who live on the Pend Oreille River. A truly enjoyable evening on their party boat on the river and a wonderful home cooked meal before settling in for the night.

Having no set plan except to be in Spokane by 6pm, we took a drive up to Priest Lake, ID, as we hadn't been there for almost 15 years. So glad we did! A beautiful place!

 Our evening was spent in Spokane having dinner and drinks with friends, Jeannette, Vicki & Cece, at the Elk Public House in Brown's Addition, a favorite of ours.

On our final day before heading to the airport to start our journey south to PV, we spent some time in the new portion of River Front Park down by the Old Power House with our grandson, Dallas who's 6, and Travis and Ara, Mike's son and daughter. A nice lunch to end our time.

Because of flight cancellations, we had to fly to Phoenix and spend the night before flying on home to PV. We arrived Friday afternoon in time to enjoy a get together with friends and sunset. A truly enjoyable 6 weeks away. However, there's no place like HOME. Especially, when its Puerto Vallarta!

Hope I didn't bore you with too many family and friend stories. I'll be posting the July Budget, of course. Sticker shock is always a factor when heading back to the states. Thank goodness we have family and friends willing to give us a bed to rest in and share food on their table. Thank You all!!!