The house is quiet tonight, it's just me and Archie the Yorkie along with the four fat cats. My younger daughter left here Friday with her dog and drove to Omaha where she picked up her significant other at the airport. He had flown in from Salt Lake City and together they drove to Sioux Falls, SD where my older girl lives. His folks are just over the border in Minnesota, and the youngsters will spend a week in the area visiting family and friends before driving back to Salt Lake. Younger daughter plans to spend a couple weeks in Utah with her guy before heading back to Tennessee.
I've added a crude oil price widget on the side of my blog. I guess I can say that at least gas prices are low for DD's road trip, but that's about the only thing good about the prices, at least for me. I retired very early, primarily because my grandfather had owned some land in North Dakota and in 1996 we started getting oil checks every month. My siblings and cousins have all continued working, as the checks aren't exactly skyrocketing us into the upper income brackets. Now, if my Dad had been an only child and I had been an only child... well, I'd probably be sipping a fancy cocktail with an umbrella in it and smiling from the deck of my luxury yacht anchored in some tropical bay somewhere. LOL
I've always been pretty frugal and have often lived with very little income so I stopped working for someone else when I first started getting a check from the oil company. The checks have always fluctuated month to month, but never anything as drastic as they have been dropping the past several months. My income is almost half of what it was six months ago, and with a rise in the oil price in the foreseeable future looking rather unlikely, a period of austerity is ensuing around here.
I've been working at eliminating debt for several years, and that will continue. In recent years I've paid off my truck but then I bought a new car. I crashed my motorcycle and shattered my ankle. (Who knew breaking your ankle without insurance would cost 84,000?!) Younger daughter's orthodontist will be paid off in April, but that payment will go towards the steep increase in health insurance costs, thank you very little, Obama. There is about a year left of car payments, I pay a bit extra each month on the car even though it's financed at 0% interest, and I still have a small mortgage on the one acreage in Minnesota which I also pay extra on each month. The massive cash flow required to completely gut and redo the house here in TN has dwindled to a tiny trickle, and there are very few little projects needing attention at this point, it's mostly just routine maintenance now. After taking 7 years off I've started selling a bit on eBay again, mainly to try and get rid of some "stuff" but a little extra cash coming in never hurts. Losing the two large dogs this fall has dropped the dog food bill considerably. Next years estimated taxes should be quite a bit lower than this years, and because I've been paying in based on last years much larger income I may even get a little bit back in April instead of having to come up with an additional large chunk of cash. I'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
My Christmas gifts are all bought, and according to Amazon they will all be delivered before the big day. As for me and the critters, we're planning a very quiet, low-key week to celebrate. Just the way I like it.