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Archive for January, 2012

Tax Software Advice Wanted

January 30th, 2012 at 02:51 pm

DH wants to buy tax software because this year is going to have the most complicated return we've ever had and he wants to make sure he doesn't miss anything. It's not really complicated enough to take to a tax professional, but he feels some kind of software might be necessary. He has always done our taxes by hand and then gone through it step by step with me so I would know how to do them, too if I ever had to. (I used to do my own when I was single).

So I've heard of TurboTax and Quicken, but which is better, more user friendly? I am also curious as to whether there was anything else out there. Possibly something that didn't cost anything at all? From what I understand you have to buy new software every year with the two name brands, you can't just update it. Is that true?

I Don't Get It

January 28th, 2012 at 07:45 pm

As I often do on Saturdays, I spent a good portion of the day looking for frugal blogs to read. And I keep running up against things that seem frugal until you actually read the blogs. Like people who are only spending $50 a week on their groceries, but then when you actually read it, it's $50 per person in their household (less for non-teenage eaters, though my eleven-year-old frequently out eats me on a daily basis and has done for a couple of years so I don't consider that very realistic). Well, if I go based on their numbers, I'd be spending $180 to $200 a week on groceries or about $750 to $800 a month for a family of four. And this is supposed to be frugal? In what universe?

I easily keep my grocery budget to $600 a month and if I wanted to give up meat, which I don't, I'd probably drop off another $150. If I wanted to buy cheap processed foods, which I don't, I could probably drop it another $100. But I like my meat and my healthy, unprocessed foods, so $600 it is.

I guess I just don't get why these people seem to think they are doing something spectacular. They aren't. Maybe amongst their friends and families, if they are spending $1000 on groceries beforehand, but in the real world? No.

Now if they were feeding a family of four decently for $50 a week total, that would be something spectacular. That would be something I would love to read. Wish I could find something like that.

Little Bit of a Payday Update

January 27th, 2012 at 09:41 pm

I haven't sat down and done all the bills yet. Physical therapy really wiped me out today and then I had to go to Walgreens and two different grocery stores, so I mailed off the one bill due on the 31st (just going to elsewhere in the county so will get there in plenty of time). That was the $100 for half year dues for the HoA of our old house's development.

I did have enough coins in the coin jar to roll both nickels and pennies, and I had another $1 in my purse, so with that I ended up depositing $35.50 into the Safety Net portion of the Emergency Fund.

$708.63 Beginning Safety Net Amount
+_35.50 Amount of Deposit
--------------------
$744.13 Ending Safety Net Amount

That brings the total EF to $3895.78, which means I only need to transfer $104.22 to ING to hit $4000 and not the few dollars more I thought it would be. I will figure out the ING money tomorrow as I have to put some other amounts in from what needs to go into the holding tank.

I also paid out the kids allowances today. DS got $7 and DD got $36 (I was a bit behind on hers and had to fill her envelope for 3 weeks worth of allowance). I also gave her $10 as she is spending the day at the mall tomorrow with her friends and will need to buy something to eat. She likes to go to one of the stir-fry places where they actually have real food, but they are a bit more expensive than the rest of the food court.

I also bought an extra large specialty pizza tonight for $28.17. I was in the mood for a bit of a splurge. And I spent $2.16 on a prescription. And $169 and some odd cents on groceries and OTC meds as well, refilling my cold medicine stockpile for DS (the dye free stuff he needs to have because of his allergies). I think that's it for today.

Extra January Money Update and Revising Some Goals

January 26th, 2012 at 06:39 pm

Okay, so I had $2306.05 left over from the money that I saved up to cover the 4 week period with no paycheck in January. I finally decided what to do with it today.

I set $1000 aside for future medical expenses. I will use $1000 of it to go towards debt repayment. $23.05 went into the propane portion of the holding tank, and I added the final $283 to the Emergency Fund. I also added 10 cents in interest from the Safety Net account at the CU, that I forgot to add at the end of the year.

So that brings the grand total of the Emergency Fund to $3860.28. My goal for the EF was to hit $4000 by the end of March. I think I will revise that goal to hitting it by the end of February. Actually I might have to revise it more, since I will be depositing $31 to the Safety Net and $100 to the EF at ING out of the paycheck.

Oh, wait. I just did the math on that. I only need an additional $8.72 to hit $4000 then. Umm...okay, I'll deposit $108.72 tomorrow instead of $100 to ING. So that's that goal met. Okay, then. Let's see if I can hit $4250 by the end of February then.

I finished writing my February Budget Spreadsheet and updated my January one. Everything should be pretty straight-forward now, so long as I can keep my head on straight.

Coin Jar/EF Update

January 26th, 2012 at 05:18 pm

I added $4.28 to the coin jar, which is what was left in my purse at the end of the day. I also found a $10 bill in my sock drawer, so I added that to the coin jar as well. I have $31 in bills so I will make a deposit in to the EF tomorrow. I just need to count up my coins and see if I have enough to roll anything. I'll probably have at least one roll of pennies and I think I was getting pretty close on nickels last time I counted them, so maybe those as well.

This is the first time I've added to the EF in quite some time. I should be able to send at least $100 out of tomorrow's paycheck as well.

I need to sit down and figure out how much of the leftover money I saved for the four weeks no paycheck time period should still be allocated for medical and how much should go to either debt repayment or the EF. Today's the first day I've even felt like looking at my spreadsheets so I should probably take advantage of that as who knows how I will be feeling tomorrow, especially after physical therapy.

I will make up the February Budget spreadsheet as well, and finish recording the Januray one.

I am so Tired

January 25th, 2012 at 02:41 pm

Is it normal to feel exhausted after losing a parent? I am barely doing anything. Just the bare minimum to keep the kids going to school and fed and throwing in a batch of laundry. Otherwise all I really want to do is sleep. I am getting plenty of sleep, but I still just feel like I need more. I'm not even particularly sad anymore the majority of the time, just sort of bland. I have to force myself to eat, because it'll be two in the afternoon and I'll realize I've not eaten anything all day.

I was never like this when my grandparents died. I was sad, but I wasn't useless. Dad and I weren't even that close for most of my life. I feel like I should be bouncing back faster than I am. Grief can be so strange. My mother seems to be handling things so much better than me and they were married for 54 years. She always has been very strong.

My son has his first orchestra concert tonight so I have to force myself to go out and be the proud mother. I would never disappoint him by not going. Maybe being around other people, happy people, will help.

I am so glad finances are on autopilot right now. I will have to do some stuff on payday Friday (or at least on Monday), and I think I can pull out of my funk long enough to do so. Life goes on and bills must be paid.

Forcing Myself Together

January 25th, 2012 at 12:42 am

I keep telling myself life goes on and I have to go with it. And that I can't let the finances slide just because I'm stuck in this feeling of unreality. So I balanced the checkbook. I have $34 left until Friday, which is payday. I made it without spending even half of the money that I saved for the four weeks no paycheck period.

I emptied my coin purse into the coin jar. It had $1.54. I haven't done too much shopping lately, first because of being snowed in for a week and then just being generally lethargic and not wanting to go out anymore than necessary.

The gas tank on the van is still almost full and we've got what we need in groceries to get through the week. And part of next week because I bought a lot of oranges and apples and carrots and celery. I did not like going down to empty on my produce during the snow. I may have canned pineapple and pears, but believe me, there is only so much of that you can take.

There are no bills coming due until the first of the month and those are on autopay, so I don't have to worry about anything until the 3rd. That gives me a bit more time of walking around in this fog without worrying I'm going to miss paying something.

DH will be home in another week and that will help me settle and start feeling normal again.

My Dad Died

January 22nd, 2012 at 02:45 pm

Last night at midnight my father died. Even though my head knows it is for the best, he had Alzheimer's, MS, was blind, and was mostly deaf, it still hurts. We knew it was coming. We weren't blind-sided. I was prepared for it. But it still hurts.

It's Green Again!

January 21st, 2012 at 05:14 pm

A foot of snow melted overnight. It's hard to believe it could be gone so fast. There has been some flooding, but surprisingly nothing major. There are a few wet basements being pumped out and some creeks that went over their banks, but the rivers seem to be holding it in.

I never thought 45 degrees F would feel warm! But it does. I hope this is the last of the winter stuff. I could easily go without anymore snow this year.

Of course, my biggest impulse right now is to go and get takeout after more or less being trapped for so many days. I'm not going to, but why is that my biggest impulse? Why is my head screaming pizza, or burgers, or Mexican food? I've gone longer than a week without getting takeout before. Why is it such a big deal to me now? I don't think I'll ever understand how my mind works.

Anyway, we are having breakfast for dinner. Pancakes and and ham, with green beans on the side. Fast and easy and no need to spend money at all.

Snow Starting to Melt

January 20th, 2012 at 04:37 pm

The weather warmed up a trifle today and we had a tiny amount of rain, so the white stuff thawed a little. We're in for a bunch of rain over the next five days so hopefully that'll take care of it and we'll be snow free again soon.

I spent $3.35 on a perscription today, one I've had to do without since Monday. Mostly because I ended up not sleeping for 56 hours and that was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. My brain just would not shut down. I was so glad the doctor was finally in today.

We did end up getting out to the chiropractor yesterday, and then stopped by the grocery store. It is nice to have oranges, apples, bananas, and green stuff again, as well as bread and milk. I don't think my fridge had ever been this empty before. We ate up everything that was in there and some stuff from the freezer. So this is what a no leftovers left behind week looks like.

I bought some vitamins as well which made things pricey and I walked out of the store having spent $186.42. But I was getting some staples as well, since I really wan't trusting the weather forecast at that point. I will have to go to TJ's on Sunday, but other than that I should not have to grocery shop again until February.

Cabin Fever

January 19th, 2012 at 04:17 pm

At least the snow has stopped falling. That doesn't do anything to get rid of the heaps of snow already on the ground but at least it isn't being added to. Today is another snow day from school, the third one this week, and of course, the fourth day off from school since Monday was a holiday. The kids are bouncing off the walls. They did make snow ice cream, but that took all of five minutes.

In case anyone wants to know how to make snow ice cream, take eight cups of clean snow, and mix it with one can of sweetened condensed milk and some pure vanilla extract. The recipe called for a tbsp, but that was too much. I think a teaspoon or even 1/2 a teaspoon would suffice. Tastes a bit like and has the consistency of the ice milk they used to have when I was kid.

I do want to try to get to the store today. We are almost out of bread and milk. I suppose I could make bread if I had to, but I'm really not up for it. Mostly, I'd just like to see a new set of human beings. They've plowed the roads, so it's just a question of driving very carefully on the ice that's left.

Weather enforced frugality is not nearly as much fun as frugality by choice, I'm noticing. We haven't had mail delivery for a few days either so no enticing seed catalogues to look through while I dream of spring. Oh, well, we have power and plenty to read or watch as long as Netflix streaming doesn't go down.

I imagine there is going to be massive flooding again this year when the rain comes and this stuff begins to melt off. At least we are uphill from any bodies of water near us, though I imagine the basement pump is going to be running non-stop anyway.

Another Enforced No Spend Day

January 18th, 2012 at 03:39 pm

The snow is great for my finances. It's really hard to spend money if you can't even get out of the driveway! Not impossible, of course, there is always the internet, but I am well-disciplined when it comes to internet shopping and never shop just to shop.

I am so sick of the snow already and there is just no sign of it stopping. Last night they said we were supposed to get 15 more inches and it is well on it's way there.

There probably will be no school at all this week. This is the second snow day, and it's been really nice to lounge around in pajamas all week and not even worry about getting up, shoveling off the car, clearing the driveway and trying to drive on snow with ice underneath it.

Speaking of pajamas, I am so glad I made the investment in three pairs of full length PJs. They have made such a difference this winter in helping me to stay warm without having to turn the bedroom space heater on much.

I probably won't get to have any physical therapy this week. I've already had one session cancelled and I doubt very much that my next scheduled one will happen since the weather has only gotten worse. In fact, I may cancel it if they don't.

I did slack off on my exercises on Monday, but I did them all yesterday and then I went on the internet and found a couple of stretches for the psoas muscle, because I have suspected for a few weeks that it might be part of the problem. There were two I could do that didn't involve getting on the floor or on my knee. After I did them, I felt so much better! I've been in misery for weeks and these simple stretches relieved so much pain. All I can say is God bless the people who put stuff up on youtube and here's hoping SOPA and PIPA don't pass on the 24th and censor the heck out of it.

What are Your Favorite Low Cost Meals with Meat?

January 17th, 2012 at 04:13 pm

I am getting bored with my usual repertoire of recipes and though I have spent a couple hours searching for cheap meals that include meat, I still keep running up against a lot of vegetarian recipes. It's like the search engine has been programmed by the beans and lentils industry. Which is fine when that's what you want to eat (or you like them, which I don't), but not so much when you want your beef, pork, eggs, cheese, poultry or fish. So I thought I'd ask, what are your go to and preferrably flavorful recipes that include meat but are also low cost?

Coin Jar Update

January 17th, 2012 at 01:56 pm

DH left a pile of coins on the dresser when he left. I just counted them and added them to the coin jar.

$2.40.

Winter Not So Wonderland

January 17th, 2012 at 01:54 pm

The snow is just not stopping. My physical therapist called this morning to say she could not get out of her driveway so therapy was cancelled. Then my daughter's dentist called to say they couldn't get in. In a half an hour I will call to see if the chiropractor made it in today or not. I really need an adjustment, I slept funky on my neck. I hope he did, but am not holding my breath as he lives clear out on Sandy Point and probably got slammed harder than we did with the snow.

I still need to call the pharmacy about that medicine. I hope they got a hold of the doctor, but I'm thinking the doctor probably did not make it in today either so may not have been available to be gotten ahold of. If it is there, though, I want to go and get it sooner rather than later as it is supposed to snow tomorrow as well and I can't see things getting any better. At least the pharmacy is off a main road.

If it is called in I will spend around $5 today. If not, then it will be a no spend day.

Snow Day--No School

January 17th, 2012 at 07:48 am

I have to say this is quite a relief as even though the kids are on the upswing, an extra day to rest before going back to school is a good thing, as neither of them is 100% over the virus. No longer contagious, but still feeling kind of run down. And snuggling back under the covers was a great feeling. I'm just so glad DH got out last night, because the overnight snow fall was pretty serious. I hope I can still make it to physical therapy, but that is going to depend on the roads they plow.

I finally got the checkbook up to date and balanced. I entered about half of it into my budget spreadsheet last night and will do the other half today and then hopefully update my blog with the numbers as well. I've just been so out of it this past week. Thankfully I have no more bills to pay, though I should have another prescription to pick up, since it wasn't there last night. I have one left of it, so hopefully the doctor will renew it. I'm not sure why he didn't when he renewed the other one and they work together. I certainly don't want to try to go without it. At least it is a cheap generic.

Other than that it should be a no spend day. Oh, DH filled up the vehicle yesterday, but never gave me the gas receipt so I'll have to wait on recording that until I hear from him again. He usually calls or texts when he arrives safely on the North Slope.

Snowing Like Crazy

January 16th, 2012 at 02:25 pm

It started snowing last night and it has continued to come down all day with very few breaks. I'm not a big fan of snow, especially snow that sticks around. I mean, it's pretty and all, but it's a bear to drive in and right now we don't know what the status of DH's flight is going to be. Sometimes they have problems with keeping the runways cleared and the plane de-icers going.

I suppose it is better to go today though, than tomorrow when the chances that stuff will partially melt then refreeze and turn into an icy mess or that the planes will freeze to the runway like they did a few years back.

I just really hope he can get up there, because it's already going to be four weeks without a paycheck. I still have money in savings in medical and there is the emergency fund of course, but I would hate to touch either of those things. I have about $500 that isn't allocated to anything else for use between now and the 27th that I was hoping not to touch at all.

At least I am feeling a lot better today. Still have a stuffy head, but the stomach stuff is gone, the sore throat is gone. Still coughing a bit, but with cough syrup that is under control. I think I might be capable of driving soon, though Mom has volunteered to take the kids to and from school this week and take DS to tae kwon do. I do have physical therapy tomorrow and that is up at the top of a pretty substantial hill so I hope they clear the roads.

Still Sick and Tired

January 15th, 2012 at 01:58 pm

My sinus/respiratory infection hasn't really made much progress in going away, probably because I also caught DH's stomach virus and was throwing up for two days. That kind of acid in the throat and nose does nothing to help. DD got it even worse than I did. So far DS seems to skipping the stomach virus. Anyway, I've kept my food down since about 7 p.m. last night, though my stomach still hurts.

I've done absolutely nothing productive these last couple of days. Well, except make sure the bills that needed to get paid, got paid. I need to do a post on that but I have been procrastinating. I also need to balance the checkbook.

I skipped exercising yesterday because of my stomach, but hope to do the physical therapy today.

I am so tired, though. Even though my stomach is better, there's still a lot of acid so it woke me up every couple of hours last night.

I am not sure how I am going to get through this week once DH goes back to work Monday evening. I am having a difficult time driving because of the pain in my hip. It is not my driving leg, but it is distracting. I can't take the heavy duty painkiller or the muscle relaxant in the morning if I am driving. I also couldn't take them (or even ibuprofen) for the last two days so a lot of pain is going on. I am so ready for this to be over.

I need especially to try to slow down on the muscle relaxant anyway. They cost about $100 for 30 pills and since the deductible started over again at the start of the year, I have to pay all prescription costs until it is met. Ugh.

The Sound of Music...

January 14th, 2012 at 03:36 pm

...or should I say the cost of it? We finally got the piano moved from the old house to this house. It cost $220 to have professionals transport it 25 miles. There was snow out at the old house, but not enough to hinder moving it.

Now we have to let it set for at least six weeks before we tune it. One of the black keys broke off, but I think it can be glued back on or replaced. One of the white keys doesn't strike the string anymore so that will have to be fixed as well. I'm not sure what that will run, but it'll likely be around $100.

It's not too badly out of tune, but it definitely needs to be tuned. It's been a few years. My son has happily been picking away at it all afternoon. He has missed it a lot. So have I for that matter. I love our piano. It was made in 1912, so it's 100 years old now, but is still plays beautifully. And it was free from a family member, so we've only ever put moving costs and tuning costs into it. It's definitely a good investment for all the joy it brings.

Turned on the Heater

January 14th, 2012 at 11:02 am

I can't believe how cold it got last night. It was 26 degrees F, but the wind was blowing hard, so the wind chill factor made it much colder. It's been so warm through December and the first part of January that I've been fine without the space heater in my bedroom for a while, but last night I had to turn it on around 2 a.m., because it was freezing. I definitely won't be beating the cold this week.

The wind comes down the side of the house my room is on and it actually whistles sometimes. Last night it was just roaring. It sounded like a train coming at the house or something.

It is supposed to snow this weekend. It hasn't snowed all winter (we had a few random flakes in late fall, but nothing real). We had one hailstorm in November. Otherwise nothing.

I hope it doesn't affect DH flying back to work on Monday. Four weeks without a paycheck is enough, thank you.

I have some more bills to do today and I need to catch the blog up on the ones I've done earlier this week.

I added $6 to the coin jar. Unexpected medical came up so I transferred $500 from the medical holding tank. I'll specify that out in another post though.

Feeling Awful

January 12th, 2012 at 01:54 pm

I haven't been posting as much as usual as almost everyone here at Casa LuckyRobin is bedridden and SA ate my posting attempt yesterday. DS started it with the worst cold I've seen in a long time. The poor thing has the horrible red patch you get under your nose when all you are doing is blowing constantly. His cheeks are bright red from being flushed. He's got a nasty cough and a raspy voice, but according to the doctor it is "just" a cold.

Then Mom caught it. Then I caught it, though not as badly as DS or maybe it's because I'm willing to take cough syrup and he's not. DD claims she has it, too, but no fever, no cough, no dead zombie eyes and no snot, so I don't think so. And she wanted to go to school, while the rest of us resent having to crawl out of bed long enough to even use the bathroom.

Then this morning DH decides to hurl all his food. Twice. Not the same thing as what DS and I have, thank goodness. He has a few days to get better before he has to be on a plane headed back up to work. He tends to bounce back fast so I hope he does.

I am so exhausted, despite sleeping about 14 hours of the last 24. It's enervating. I have physical therapy tomorrow, so hopefully I will feel strong enough to go. It's not until 11:15 so at least I'll be able to sleep in.

I have done some financial stuff in the last few days, but I'll combine it with the stuff I have to do either later today or tomorrow.

Oh, and added 38 cents to the coin jar.

Looking for the Using Cash = Suspicious Behavior Vid

January 10th, 2012 at 11:07 pm

A few days ago, or possibly a week or more ago, someone posted a vid where someone using cash at a hotel instead of a credit card was considered to be highly suspicious and possibly a terrorist. It's not the short UK radio ad. I'm pretty sure it was an American add because I don't recall them having non-American accents. I think it was on the blogs here, but it might have been in the forums. I wanted to show it to my husband but now I can't find it. Anyone know what I'm talking about and can give me the link?

Spending Money

January 10th, 2012 at 02:14 pm

So DH whined and wheedled (actually not that bad, I'm exaggerating) until he talked me into letting him buy The Hunger Games trilogy in hard back. I am very adverse to buying things that take up space right now and I would have been perfectly content to wait for them from the library and buy them later when they were all out in paperback and we had a new house with space for them. But he had got the first book on Playaway and he absolutely thought he was going to die if he could not immediately read the second book the minute he finished it.

He spent $65 on the set. Ouch, hard backs are expensive. But honestly I don't really begrudge this. We are both supposed to get $100 spending money every six weeks anyway, but we've just been kind of lax about actually taking that much. Too focused on debt reduction most of the time. But he pointed out that all four of us would read the trilogy and likely reread it in the future, so I decided I would clear some of my meager shelf space for them.

I have some magazines that I am only keeping for the recipes so I will copy them into a Word file and then take the magazines down to the library and drop them in the free magazine bins in the basement. That should clear enough shelf space to give the books a home.

My copy that I put on hold of the first book just came in to the library. I was 148 on the list when I signed up. I will still get it because DD has already absconded with the first boughten book. She loved the same author's Gregor the Overlander books.

I finally finished reading The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen. I had it on hold for 3 months before it became available. It was pretty good. A little less suspenseful than her previous Rizzoli and Isles books, but full of interesting Chinese folklore about the Monkey King. I also noticed a lot less swearing (thankfully) in it than is the norm for her books. It was weird going back to a book after having watched the first two seasons of the TV series, where the characters all have the same names but many aspects of them are vastly different.

Now I'm back to reading Elizabeth Moon again. I've started the second Esmay Suiza book. I find I'm doing a lot more reading these days than I used to, but since it's all from the library it's free entertainment.

Stuff and Other Stuff

January 9th, 2012 at 07:11 pm

So DH's grandparents' house will be closing at the end of the month. The buyers ended up getting the in-laws to come down to $172,000. I'm not sure what the realtor's commission is, but I ran the numbers with both 5 and 6% which seems to be standard around here. That means DH's 5% inheritance should come out to right around $8000 give or take a couple hundred. That will take a big bite out of what's left on the credit card.

The exercise challenge is going well. I've done 20 minutes twice a day for the past two days and then physical therapy today was 45 minutes. So that's six popcorn kernals. Yeah, I ran out of pennies so I switched to popcorn kernals. But they represent dollars anyway.

I really need to get a handle on my food again. I've been eating more carbs than I want to be because they are easy and I hurt and I'm tired and I'm sick again or possibly still. I've been getting really dizzy for the past two weeks. At first I thought it was just a side effect of the muscle relaxant, but I think it's actually the sinus stuff. DS is sick again, too, poor baby.

I transferred $1000 from ING to my regular checking account today. That along with what is left in the checking account should cover everything between now and the next time DH gets paid which will be on the 27th.

I think that is it for today.

I got a prescription for sinus infection/bronchitis. It cost $26.20.

Mary Ann's Exercise Challenge

January 8th, 2012 at 01:31 pm

So yesterday Mary Ann invited us all to do an exercise challenge with her, sort of based on Denise's quitting smoking challenge. Basically every time we exercise for 20 minutes we put a penny in a jar. Yesterday, I did my physical therapy exercises twice, which takes a little over 20 minutes each time, so I now have two shiny pennies in my jar. For me each penny will represent a dollar and at the end of each month I will take that money and set it aside in savings.

I haven't decided what for, though. I'm leaning toward Christmas. I spent about $500 on Christmas this year. If I manage to keep up with the challenge I should be able to save around $600 in ten months.

Since for me, doing these exercises is more about rehabilitation and being able to walk normally again, rather than just getting fit, I think I already will have the incentive to do this, but adding in the pennies is a nice extra nudge in the direction of not being lazy and skipping a day or only doing them once a day.

$57,010.88 paid off in 2011

January 7th, 2012 at 03:43 pm

Okay, so when I restarted blogging consistently in January last year we owed $67,457.32 in unsecured credit card debt. We now owe $20,228.79.

$67,457.32 Original amount owed
-20,228.79 Amount left on credit card debt
-------------
$47,228.53 Amount paid off in 2011

We really busted tail this year to pay off that much debt and before the surgery in July I was sure we could have paid off the whole thing by the end of the year. Well, life happened of course, and medical is expensive. But we made a lot more progress than I actually thought we had.

As for the mortgage, we started the year at $22,326.63, but it now sits at 18,544.28.

$22,326.63 Beginning amount
-18,544.28 Ending amount
--------------
$_3,782.35 Amount paid off in 2011

Then finally is the loan from my mother who originally covered over $100,000 in hospital debt for us with a 0% loan. At the beginning of the year we owed her $93,000. We now owe her $87,000.

$93,000 Starting 2011
-87,000 Amount left
-----------------
$_6,000 Amount paid off

So all told we have paid off $57,010.88 of debt this last year. Sometimes I really feel like we are getting nowhere, but to see it all added up like that, I know we are getting somewhere and the credit card debt, at least, should be paid off by summer.

We'll have around $8000 coming back to us in taxes, mostly because of our HSA, and we will get 5% of whatever DH's grandparents' house sells for, which should be around $7500, but we don't know when that will be. The buyers are negotiating at the moment and if that falls through there is another interested party waiting. All of that money is earmarked for debt payoff.

There is no rush on paying my mother back. She prefers to get $1000 a month and no more when we can manage the payments (we've skipped a few because of all the medical this year, with her blessing). That gives her a stipend to live on besides social security. If she dies before we pay it all back it is forgiven in the will and not owed to the estate.

So we are getting there. Faster than I thought, even.

First of Month Bills

January 7th, 2012 at 01:55 pm

I've been a little lax on recording this, even though everything has been paid on time. Still, I want a good record of things this year, so this is a bit of a catch up post for bills that have gone out since the 1st.

$__41.25 Old house insurance
___86.30 Car insurance
___37.61 DH Life insurance
___32.70 Me Life insurance
_1000.00 AMEX
_3600.00 Bank of America (The Evil Empire)
__375.86 Mortgage on old house
__142.00 Storage
___15.98 Electricity old house
___39.37 Alarm system old house
___90.00 Tae kwon do lessons
----------------------
$2221.07 Spent so far

I still have to do mid-month bills like internet, phone for the old house, car payment, as well as set money aside for dues, laptop fund, garbage, water/sewer, and propane. I also have the Fashion Bug card to pay off. That one will never have interest charged on it and will always be paid in full.

I have $1400 left of the December money. I may have to dip into some of the money I set aside for January, but I am going to try to cut it as close as possible, so I can save that money instead.

Mending

January 6th, 2012 at 01:59 pm

Today I decided to tackle my mending pile. So far I have sewn up a pocket that had ripped in one pair of sweatpants, closed the holes in two fuzzy slipper socks, sewed the underarm seam back up on one of DH's t-shirts and am trying to locate the right size button for DD's jeans. She somehow managed to lose the button, and it's one of those big, flat round ones. Time to go hunting through grandma's button box. If that doesn't work I'll try a trip to JoAnn's but I'd sure prefer to not have to buy one. Still, a few dollars to save a good pair of jeans is not too high a price.

I like the idea of restoring the usability of things with just a little bit of effort on my part. What do you do when you rip your clothes or lose buttons? Fix it, find someone else to fix it for you, or throw it out?

Bits and Bobs

January 6th, 2012 at 01:46 pm

The mortgage posted to my account. The new mortgage balance is now at $18,544.28.

I added $6.70 to the coin jar.

We filled up the gas tank on the van for $53.84.

We paid $4.74 for a prescription.

I need to pick up psuedophederine, a NyQuil/DayQuil pack, and potassium today, so that will likely be a little pricey.

I have sent a total of $4600 to credit card debt.

DH had to pay $900 for a round trip ticket to work and back. He waited too long and the return part was twice as high as it should have been. *sighs*

I am trying to determine what to make for dinner tonight. Maybe pizza. I still have one of those Rustic Crusts, leftover spaghetti sauce, and some mozzarella cheese. There are a few meatballs left from last night's meatballs so I could crumble them on top of the pizza. I also have yellow onions so could dice some, saute them for a couple minutes, and throw them on as well. Oh, I think there's a ham end as well I could dice up. That sounds good. Not too much work and we can have a laid-back Friday night.

The new mattress is great to sleep on. I've now had two really good sleeps on it.

The PA took x-rays of my hip on Thursday. There is nothing wrong with the bones, so he thinks it is either muscular or nerves. He changed my physical therapy orders to lower stress therapy. If I am still in pain in 2 to 4 weeks he wants to send me to a neurologist, and possibly get an MRI of the area. I really don't want to pay for an MRI right now as we have started our deductible all over again. Oh, I know I have the $2500 set aside already, but I hate to blow through it this soon in the year.

We did run $2500 through the HSA though, just in case.

Open-Faced Meatball Sandwiches

January 5th, 2012 at 07:17 pm

I'm still behind on reading the blogs, but I've caught up to where everyone is talking about meatballs and it gave me a craving so I decided to make up meatball sandwiches tonight, since I had some hotdog buns that were needing to be used up, some leftover homemade spaghetti sauce, and a lot of cheese that has just been sitting there for a while. It's an easy enough recipe to make (and I need easy things right now due to pain). The meatballs themselves are low carb if you want to eat them on their own. I've posted a picture of these before, but realized I never shared the recipe.



Meatballs

1 pound ground beef (or half pound beef and one half pound ground pork)
1/4 cup shredded romano
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
2 Tbsp minced garlic

Mix together and make into 1.5 inch diameter meatballs. Cook on high in microwave for five minutes. I use the stack cooker by Tupperware to make these. It's the one with the strainer holes so the fat can drip down beneath, but in a pinch they can go on a bacon cooker.

Warm up your leftover spaghetti sauce (or from a jar) and toast your hot dog buns (just on a hot frying pan is fine, don't try to stick them in a toaster). Spread sauce on each hotdog bun half and then place three meatballs on top. Easy peasy. (I usually make a double batch because DH eats a lot, but I am personally satisfied with one sandwich half and a salad). These meatballs are great with spaghetti or by themselves as well.


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