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Archive for July, 2013

Meal Planning for the Week

July 29th, 2013 at 01:20 pm

I am trying to get my grocery budget back under control again. Menus are based on foods currently in the fridge or freezer. I'd prefer not to go to the store for the rest of the week, except for milk.

Monday:
Teriyaki Pulled Pork in the crockpot
Homemade buns
Cherries
Cole slaw

Tuesday:
Fried chicken
Fried potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Blueberries

Wednesday:
Waffles
Strawberries with whipping cream
Ham

Thursday:
Slow cooked rabbit in the crockpot with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery
Cherries
Cole slaw

Friday:
Bacon cheeseburgers
Homemade French Fries
Leftover broccoli/cauliflower
Blueberries

Saturday:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, ham, yellow onion and bell pepper strips
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Slow cooked beef chuck roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans
Blueberry cornbread muffins


House Update

July 29th, 2013 at 12:06 am

The workers are done with the inside of the house! The new gutters go up next weekend and the storage shed and the play structure get painted. That is supposed to be it. I really, really hope it is. They have spray painters so the painting won't take long at all. Hopefully that means we will be able to get it on the market in 8 days.

Although we might have a honey bee's nest that will have to be taken care of under the house. There are people on craigslist who are beekeepers who remove swarms of honeybees, so they might be able to deal with it. Mom wasn't sure, she just saw some honey bees going into a vent under the house, so she just suspects it. I haven't seen it.

I just want to put it up for sale. And sell it. And go house hunting. There are some nice small farms coming on the market and I'd like to maybe have the opportunity to actually buy one. I've seen three that at least in photos are perfect for our needs, and four or five that will do. I am really anxious to get started on the next phase of our lives, you know?

Payday, Bill Paying, EF Update, and Dyed My Hair

July 26th, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Today was payday. I transferred $100 to the EF and I had $36.50 in my coin jar ready to deposit so did that as well. This brings my EF to $5618.14. My goal for July was to get the EF to $5500, so I exceeded that quite nicely. My goal for August is $5800. I also added $5.54 to the coin jar this evening.

It looks like DH's next shift will be a 3 weeks on/1 week off, so we will definitely get one extra paycheck. DH says there is enough work that he will probably do two 3 and 1's. If that is so, we should be able to pay off the mortgage by the end of September without touching the Emergency Fund. I had forgot about the extra paycheck, of which we can send $3000 to the mortgage.

I made a mortgage payment today leaving us with a new total of $10616.89. Minus $3000 in principal will leave us at $7616.89. There will be the August payment of $700 minus the 52.50 interest, which will put us at 6969.39. Two extra paychecks in August and September will give us $7200. So if that all works out it's gone. I hope it does. I will be so happy if it does. I just want to own it free and clear, so that if it takes a while to sell, at least we are not making payments meanwhile.

Then that will leave just the van loan to start throwing money at. Without the mortgage payment and the extra principal we've been paying each month, we should be able to throw $1500 at the van loan each month.

Okay, on to the accounting of the paycheck:

$1000.00 to Mom Loan
__700.00 to mortgage
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___45.67 House Insurance
___41.16 Security Monitoring (Old House)
__168.00 Storage
___32.70 Life Insurance Me
___39.53 Life Insurance DH
___66.62 Car Insurance
__100.00 Emergency Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
__100.00 Freezer Fund
___80.00 Kids
__100.00 Cash for Week
----------
$2663.68

I also spent $200 on groceries and $100 to build up my over the counter medicine stock. I needed to buy Zyrtec, nasal spray, cold medicine, sleeping medicine, and heartburn meds. I also bought two bottles of hair dye.

DD dyed my hair tonight. It takes two bottles because from root to ends it measures two feet long and it is so thick it is ridiculous. So no more gray at all. It's a darker auburn than my own hair which is sort of a brownish, goldish, red with grey streaks at my temples that when I was much younger were naturally ash blonde streaks. I used to say I had chameleon hair because it has so many colors in it.

We used a natural hair dye that my food co-op sells. I haven't colored my hair in a couple of years so it kind of surprised me what a difference it makes. It took forever to rinse out, though. I think I may cut my bangs again. They are already in my eyes. I have gotten quite good at bang trims. I have been debating going in to have it done, but honestly, if it is just a bang trim it seems silly to waste $10.

Bits and Pieces (Mostly Ranting)

July 26th, 2013 at 03:07 am

I added $3.41 to the coin jar.

I paid the dues for the HoA at the old house. I read the enclosed letter and am mightily irked. Because so many people are letting their homes go into foreclosure, they are charging a $299 transfer fee. This really makes me furious with them. I have always paid my dues on time, I have always abided by all of their stupid rules, and when I sell my house I am going to have to pay them $299. It feels punitive and should not be put onto the folks who don't walk away. Also, if people are in foreclosure, it's not like they will have $299 to hand over to the HoA.

It certainly isn't in the CC&R's I signed. Of course the CC&R's I signed were for free use of the golf course, which they sold to a developer a few years later without input from the homeowners, free use of the swimming pool, which they charged special dues for to repair, and then the next year filled in with concrete so no more pool. They are supposed to maintain the greenways, but never did. Certainly not the one next to my house that I mowed weedeated for years every time it got 18 inches tall. They have $85,000 in the road repair fund (again raised with special dues), but almost never fix the potholes. They are whining about the clubhouse roof again, even though it was roofed five years ago, again with special dues.

I think I will send a "demand" letter when we sell asking them to waive the fee because of their failure to do anything out there and it generally being a sucky move on their part for all the reasons given above. Only in grown up speak. Also, it wasn't voted on. And if I have to pay it to avoid a lien then I am seriously considering trying to recoup it in small claims court. I don't think they can enforce something that wasn't in the contract I signed. They haven't put forth new contracts in 15 years. But who knows?

I darn well will never, ever buy a home with an HoA again.

EF Update and SB Thoughts

July 25th, 2013 at 02:14 pm

Today is the auto transfer of $10 to savings. That brings the Emergency Fund to $5481.64.

I haven't been doing much on my Swagbucks the last couple days. Yesterday's goal was ridiculous. Dunno if I'll bother with today's either. Since they changed the Encrave offerings so you have to stay on the page the entire time it's running and can't do two or three things at once I've decided it's too much of a time waster.

Half the time when I do a SB search it tries to download a Trojan (SB is bad for this). Half of the videos don't even load even though I consistently update my flash player. It's getting so it is not worth the hassle. So I'm just passively running SBTV on the side of my page and periodically checking for codes. I'll put in the minimum effort to get my $25 in gift cards each month, but if they are going to make it too hard and too time consuming I may give up on those, too.

Extra Weeks

July 24th, 2013 at 01:03 pm

It is looking like DH may be working some extra weeks in the next month or two. If he can get a total of two full weeks extra, that would be an extra $7200. If I dropped the EF down to $2000, that would pay off the mortgage in the next few months. Then our focus would be rebuilding the EF. If he ends up getting 3 extra weeks total that would be enough to pay it off without touching savings. I'm not sure why I have such a strong urge to pay it off, but I do. It's like the closer we get to it, the more I want it gone. It's not a logical feeling at all. Very much a psychological one.

Possible House Buyer (Maybe)

July 23rd, 2013 at 08:46 pm

So one of my neighbors out at the old house has some family in Michigan who are looking to move to our county. He asked if he could video the outside of the house, the yard, and the inside of the house to send to them. We let him and he sent it to them and they really liked what they saw. Proximity to him is key in their decision.

Of course they want to wait until it is finished, which will likely be another couple of weeks or months considering, but it is possible they will want to buy it. Man, if I could avoid the whole putting it on the market process entirely and not have to worry about realtor commission, that would be wonderful. Mom told him we are wanting $150K and they seemed okay with that. Of course I am only wanting $100K, but if they'll pay $150K...

I am not counting any chickens before they are hatched though. Sometimes it seems like things do work out after not working out for a long time. It would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. If we could actually get $150K we could put down an $80K down payment on a new house, pay for the remodel, and pay off the van.

Part of me is getting anxious about the mortgage and thinking about emptying out savings to pay it down as much as possible. Which is stupid, I know, but the urge is really strong. We could pay off $10,000 by the end of the month if we did. It would leave us with $1300 which I think we could pay off by the end of July if we really, really scrimped, and August for sure. Of course that would leave us with no emergency fund. But it would leave us with no debt but the van loan, too.

And we do have credit cards if a real emergency came up. And I'd slam as much money back into the EF and all of the funds as I could as soon as it was paid off. Having it free and clear when we sold it seems like a better position to be in.

What do you guys think? Should I stay the course and not empty out my savings, or should I go for it and pay off the mortgage ASAP? What really makes sense here? I need some sensible advice.

There Isn't Much Going On

July 20th, 2013 at 06:57 pm

DH's paycycle is weird because of how he works, so we always have one week out of four that doesn't get a paycheck. And during that time it seems that there is nothing financial to do, because we budget accordingly.

Frugal things I've been doing:

1. Getting organized. The kitchen counters are clean, the cupboards are organized, and the floor is swept. The kitchen table is almost clutter free and will be by the end of the day. I found four bottles of ginger and three of garlic. Also plenty of mustard powder for making a new batch.

2. I've been pulling chunks of clover out of the cracked concrete pad where the old garage used to be many years ago. I've been feeding it to the rabbits who love it. They look at me like I am the bringer of all things wonderful when I give them piles of it to eat. So this is the sixth free food I am giving them, including grass, lemon balm, oregano, raspberry leaves, and blackberry leaves from the yard. Actually seventh if you count apple tree twigs.

3. I've sewn up the armpit seams of two shirts and one pair of my son's underwear where the hem was unraveling but was otherwise perfectly serviceable.

4. I've organized my canning supplies. Without a garden this year I am going to go out to an organic U-pick farm and pick 25 pounds of green beans. Not sure when, but sometime soon. Then I will can them. Then I will do it again. That should give me about a year's supply of green beans the way we eat them.

5. I have discovered that we have enough canned food to survive at least 3 weeks if disaster struck, but not near enough water. We have far more food than that in the freezer, but I am assuming if disaster strikes it will mean no electricity. I am going to can some rabbit meat next time we slaughter, because our stores of canned protein are pretty low. We'd have the chicken eggs of course, and if it came to it, the chickens. I'm not foreseeing a disaster, mind you, but neither are a lot of people and they get hit by them. Next payday I am going to buy a couple of cases of bottled water to put under the bed, just to be on the safe side.

That's really about it.

EF Update

July 18th, 2013 at 04:13 pm

Today was the day of the auto deposit of $10 to savings, bringing the new total of the Emergency Fund to $5471.64. $28.36 to go to hit my July goal of $5500.

I also added 58 cents to the coin jar. Baby steps still move you forward.

Emergency Fund Update

July 17th, 2013 at 09:35 am

My homeowner's association sent out the bill for the half year dues. Apparently the fee has been lowered to $100. I had saved $127 for it, so I transferred the extra $27 to the Emergency Fund. The new total in the Emergency Fund is $5461.64. I need to come up with $38.36 to meet my July goal of $5500.

I added $8.78 to the coin jar, which is all the ones and the change DH had in his wallet before he left for Alaska. He dumped it all on my nightstand and I just got around to counting it. Plus I found a quarter and a penny this week.

I had to pay a doctor's bill yesterday, so that was $93.77. I have physical therapy today so that will be $90. I have had a major burger craving this week so I may sneak off after physical therapy and get one. I am debating between doing that and making them for dinner. I am just usually so wiped out after physical therapy I often don't want to cook. But I have been doing so well with not eating out. Hopefully I can resist it.

Oh, yeah, Meal Planning

July 15th, 2013 at 04:32 pm

Seems I'm not the only forgetful one this week! So here is my meal planning for dinners this week.

Monday--
Bacon cheeseburgers
Homemade French fries
Coleslaw
Blackberries

Tuesday--
Roasted whole chicken
Baked potatoes
Blueberries
Broccoli

Wednesday--
Chicken quesadillas
Coleslaw
Blackberries

Thursday--
Homemade pizza (Canadian bacon, pepperoni, yellow onions, bell pepper strips)
Coleslaw
Watermelon

Friday--
Fried rabbit
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Salad
Cherries

Saturday--
Rabbit nuggets
Fried potatoes
Blackberries
Salad

Sunday--
Beef chuck pot roast
Corn on the cob
Broccoli
Watermelon

This is How the Money Goes

July 13th, 2013 at 09:23 pm

I just spent $15 on bread at the grocery store. $15. Albeit for the good stuff, but $15. On bread. A whole wheat loaf, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and hoagie rolls. I could have made all that for $3. And I should have. So, once this bread is gone I am hauling out the bread machine and I am going to start making my own bread, rolls, and buns again.

Because do you know what that extra $12 is? It's a quarter of the month's interest charged on my mortgage. It's an organic four pound chicken. It's two nice ribeye steaks on sale. It's 3 gallons of gasoline. It's a small step towards security in my Emergency Fund. It's two pounds of organic hamburger. It's 30 pounds of organic potatoes. It's nine pounds of organic carrots. It's 8 bunches of Lacinato kale. It's twelve pounds of organic yellow onions. It's a few dollars shy of a bag of rabbit pellets. It's 30 pounds of cabbage. It's two pounds of bing cherries. It's two tank tops on the clearance rack or twelve pairs of socks.

Ring, ring, ring, ring. Hello, LuckyRobin? This is your wake-up call.

Mortgage Math and Travel Club

July 13th, 2013 at 05:38 pm

Assuming our house does not sell, if I continue to make payments of $700 a month, our mortgage will be under $8000 by the December 1st payment. And it will be completely paid off by the November 1st payment of 2014. Of course I am really hoping it sells when we put it on the market, but it is nice to know just exactly how close it is to being paid off.

If I could somehow figure out how to squeeze out $300 more to make a $1000 payment each month it would be at $6500 by the December 1st payment and paid off in full by the July 1st payment of 2014.

Our required payment is only $384.76 so I have always tried to pay extra on it, even if it was only to round the payment up to $400 when we were dirt poor and up to our eyeballs in medical debt. It has only been in the last year that I have been trying to pay $700 a month. I did have a couple of years at $500 a month.

I talked to Mom earlier this week about her travel club. She had wanted to sell it to us at half price, which would be $10,000. DH and I decided we just don't want to take that on, so told her she should try to sell it to someone else. There won't be much more travelling with all four of us, since DD will be in college in another year, which opens up our options a lot more.

When you have a boy and a girl they get to a certain age where they can't share a bed anymore, which makes standard hotel stays pretty bad, especially when there isn't enough room to fit in a roll away bed. And pull out couches are very uncomfortable. We would often have to rent two hotel rooms. So we would make use of Mom's travel club (paying the dues for her on years we used it) so that we could get a condo with two bedrooms, the second of which had twin beds. But you had to book a year in advance practically for anything big and at least six months for anything with beach access. It was useless for quick getaways.

But soon it will be just the 3 of us and two beds in a standard hotel will work fine. Plus there are options we didn't have before, like Airbnb, where you can rent out a home or a small apartment without it being ridiculously expensive. Dues for the travel club were $672 a year. I'd rather save that money on our own and not saddle ourselves with a commitment.

Made a Big Mistake in the Holding Tank--Positive Though

July 12th, 2013 at 06:45 pm

I have a portion of savings that I call the Holding Tank. It's basically short term savings for things that are not paid monthly, but are paid either every two months (water/sewer, garbage) or every six months, and also for replacement funds or saving for things like a freezer or college. Today I decided to reconcile the amount of money in my Capital One 360 account with my spreadsheet for the Holding Tank/Emergency Fund. I found an error of $444.31 in my favor. I had almost $450 more in there than I thought.

It took me a while to track down what I did. When I paid the property taxes in April, I paid it directly out of checking with the idea that I would shift the money in the property tax portion of the Holding Tank to other categories, instead of transferring money out of C1360 and then transferring money back into C1360. Well, apparently I erased it from the property tax column on the spreadsheet when I paid it, but never redistributed the money to other categories. And then I transferred money from checking to those categories anyway from the paycheck.

I have decided to allocate that $444.31 to the January Money Fund. At Christmas the slope often shuts down to bare maintenance levels. Usually DH ends up with an extra week or two of unpaid time off in January, which can mean going up to 4 weeks without a paycheck. Since I don't want to dip into our Emergency Fund for that, I try to save at least $2000, but ideally closer to $3600 for that time period. I needed to start saving for that, so this makes a good start. I am really glad this was an error in my favor and not me thinking I had more money than I actually did have.

Payday Post, EF Update, College Fund

July 12th, 2013 at 04:33 pm

Today is the small payday, but only a little comes out of it since all bills are paid for the month.

$100.00 College Fund
$100.00 Extra to the Emergency Fund
$100.00 Extra to the Laptop Fund
$140.00 Allowances and Cash for Week
----------
$440.00

That leaves me with $488.10 to get through the next two weeks. This should not be a problem as there are no bills due until the autopays the first week of August and we get an extra paycheck on the 26th . DH and I cleaned out one of the freezers last night and found plenty of good meat to base meals around for the next two weeks. We should only need to buy vegetables. There is plenty of fruit that needs to be picked in the garden so I shouldn't have to buy fruit at all.

Besides the $100 extra added to the Emergency Fund, there was also $38, $10, and 28.99 added from various sources this week.

$5257.65 Beginning EF Balance
__100.00 From paycheck
___10.00 Auto Transfer money from yesterday
___38.00 HT Money
+__28.99 Money left in checking from last payday
------------
$5434.64 Ending EF Balance

I have $65.36 left to come up with to hit my July goal of $5500. There are two more auto transfers this month, so that brings it down to $45.36. I have $16 in ones saved in my coin jar, so that brings it down to $29.36 to come up with still by the end of the month. That shouldn't be a problem.

The College Fund now sits at $500 and the replacement Laptop Fund also now sits at $500. DH is still babying his laptop along trying to make it last as long as possible so we can completely save up for a new one first.

The College Fund will get a large infusion when the Christmas Bonus comes and again when we get our tax refund next year, because we have a lot of HSA spending we can deduct. I don't know if we'll max out the HSA this year like we have the past two years, but it is possible. It will come close. Meanwhile I will save $100 every 4 weeks. It will cost about $10,000 a year including books and fees at the local state university or $7000 a year at the local community college.

The Christmas Bonus is supposed to be quite large this year due to the number of Capital projects done. Not really sure what quite large means, but it should be closer to what he got the first year and not what he got the second year. I am not counting on anything at all, though. I know that if necessary we can do it just on the tax refund and what we are saving alone. The bonus will just be gravy.

It's Been a Long Week

July 11th, 2013 at 12:52 am

Is it really only Thursday? Feels like I hit the ground running and never stopped. Just outdoor farm chores and indoor house cleaning and organizing and building rabbit tractors and moving rabbits outside in the morning and back inside in the evening and chicken care, etc.

We ate our first homegrown, home slaughtered, home butchered rabbit today. Took me almost a month before I was ready to take one out of the freezer and cook it, but now I know we can do this self-sufficiency thing.

I have been very busy picking berries. Because of the heat wave we have blackberries, raspberries and blueberries all ripe at once. This never happens. It is always staggered through the summer. So we are hustling to get as much picked as we can to freeze for the upcoming year.

We have spent very little this week. Mostly for things like milk for us and fresh chard and carrots for the rabbits. We are sticking to the meal plan well and DS has stopped asking to go to the store and buy chicken pot pies, his weakness. I am determined to keep our spending down and I am feeling better with several home cooked meals under my belt again. When you get out of the habit, you really get out of the habit.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 8th, 2013 at 08:37 pm

One of these days I will get back to posting these on Sundays again! First off, though, I added $6.32 to the coin jar, with the eventual destination of the Emergency Fund.

Okay, so I have been a really lazy cook lately. I mean sandwiches and crockpot food lazy. And I'm really okay with that. The heat saps almost all of our energy right now, and what little we have is used up on taking care of the livestock and their assorted messiness. But anyway, back to the food front.

Monday:
--Spaghetti and Meatballs (no fruit, no veggies, it is what it is)

Tuesday:
--Leftover cold duck made into a salad
--Leftover cold spaghetti
--Casaba Melon

Wednesday:
--Chicken fried rabbit
--Fried potatoes
--Cole slaw
--Watermelon

Thursday:
--Tacos made in the microwave
--Fresh blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries (because of the heat they are all ripe at the same time in our yard for the first time ever)

Friday:
--Homemade pizza (Canadian bacon, pepperoni, yellow onion, red bell peppers)
--Cole slaw
--Leftover fruit salad

Saturday:
--Leftover rabbit quesadillas
--Green beans
--Corn
--Leftover fruit salad

Sunday:
--Crockpot beef chuck roast
--Microwave baked potatoes
--Broccoli/cauliflower
--Fresh blueberry cornbread muffins

Odds and Ends

July 8th, 2013 at 04:15 pm

I had physical therapy this morning. It cost $90. I'm not walking crooked anymore.

Working hard to get all the Crazy Eights codes today at Swagbucks. So far I've gotten them. If you don't know about swag codes and you do Swagbucks, every so often they release special codes that you can enter in to get extra SB's. Today their are supposed to be doing 8 different codes. You can find them on their Facebook page.

Not sure how much it is going to cost, but we need to get a couple more glass water bottles for the rabbits. We started weaning Piper's litter yesterday and the two kits we took away won't drink out of the plastic water bottles, but neither will Piper and the other kits. We had to take one of the two off Piper's cage and just make sure we are filling them more often. The one store has them for $12.95 for the 32 ounce bottle, but they were sold out.

We will go to the other store and see if they have any in. While we are there we will pick up some more feed, since DH is home to carry it. Will also pick up the rabbit tunnel I didn't get last time we were there and maybe a couple of little balls for the rabbits to play with. If they have all that I want, we should spend about $80 plus tax there.

We lost a kit yesterday, one of Phoebe's week old ones. It was sad and she was upset, but seems fine today. Poor little thing fell out of the cage when it was being cleaned and no one saw it happen. It burrowed into the hay to keep warm and got stepped on.

DH finished all the rabbit tractors and got all the new cages built. We should be set for a while. Can't think of anything else.

Fund Updates

July 7th, 2013 at 12:56 am

Funding Update on the Funds

$127.00 Dues Fund
$300.00 Property Tax Fund
$200.00 Propane Fund
$400.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
$405.21 Appliance Fund
$400.00 College Fund
$400.00 DH's Laptop Fund
1000.00 Daughter's Laptop Fund
$300.00 Christmas Fund (Plus $155 Amazon GC's)
----------
3532.21

Payday Post

July 7th, 2013 at 12:50 am

Friday was payday and here is an accounting of the bills that went out and the funds that got funded. Oh, but first, we splurged and got burgers, milkshakes, fries, (the kids and DH) and fish and chips (me) from Boomers, an old-fashioned drive-up restaurant with carhops and everything. We won't be eating out again this week, though. it cost $40.98. They have really good fish and chips. Well, the cod is really good. The halibut is only good. Best burgers though, anywhere, ever.

Okay, so the money out:

$1700.00 BoA VISA (mostly work travel expenses)
___36.26 Electric Old House
___44.87 Phone Old House
___70.56 Internet
___19.00 Garbage (Holding Tank)
___19.00 HoA Dues (Holding Tank)
___72.00 Water/sewer Old House (Holding Tank)
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
__100.00 Property Tax (Holding Tank)
__100.00 Hawaii 2018
__100.00 Propane Old House
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
___40.00 Allowances (plus bonuses)
__100.00 Cash for week
------------
$3459.51 Total Money Out

Emergency Fund Update

July 7th, 2013 at 12:37 am

There was $30.26 left in checking when payday came on Friday so I transferred it the Emergency Fund. That brings the new total in the EF to $5257.65.

Meal Planning

July 6th, 2013 at 02:44 am

I forgot to do any meal planning this week at all. So I'm just going to finish up for Saturday and Sunday, and then start over for the new week.

Saturday:
--Fried rabbit
--Baked potatoes
--Broccoli/cauliflower

Sunday:
--Duck slow-cooked in the crockpot
--Leftover baked potaotes
--Leftover Broccoli/cauliflower

Emergency Fund Update

July 6th, 2013 at 02:40 am

I forgot to post this on Thursday, but the auto deposit of $10 hit savings.

$5230.54 Beginning EF Amount
+__10.00 Amount Added
----------
$5240.54 New EF Amount

Random Things

July 5th, 2013 at 05:27 pm

It took longer than usual for the mortgage to hit this time because I mailed it. Only a couple of days, though. I had too much going on at the time to swing by there and wanted to make sure it arrived on time. So the new mortgage total is $11,264.80. $10K is getting closer and closer. Only $54.59 went to interest. I can't wait until it drops below $50 a month.

I sent for and received another Swagbucks cashout of a $5 Amazon gift card. I now have $150 in Amazon gift cards earmarked for Christmas. I also have $200 cash saved for Christmas, so a total of $350 so far. Not too shabby.

We built more rabbit tractors and now have enough for every rabbit to be outside on nice days unless they are more than three weeks pregnant or nursing young kits, in which case they will not leave the rabbit shed, until the kits are 4 weeks old.

Phoebe's litter is still doing great. They are five days old, fur is coming in, and they are nursing well. We can't tell which bunny was born on the wire, they all look healthy and strong.

We spent $169 on fireworks. This is the last year that it is legal to let them off within the city limits, although we did sign a petition to reverse the city council's arbitrary decision that they made with no input from the people of the city. We probably didn't need to spend any of it, considering what our neighbors let off, including multiple aerial fireworks that were already illegal as of this year in the city limits. After watching what they set off we moved to the end of the driveway and watched the fireworks over the bay from the city. Then we let off our fountains and went to bed. This is the first year I didn't hear fireworks after midnight.

We hope to have a house outside the city limits next year. The county is far less intrusive into your life than the city. But who knows if that will ever happen, since they are still not done fixing up our house. Middle of June, my eye. At this rate it won't be done until summer of next year. I just hope they get the new gutters on before the rainy season starts this fall.

Today is payday. I will do a payday post later when I have everything figured out.

Trying to Beat the Heat

July 3rd, 2013 at 09:37 am

I received a $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon yesterday and will have enough points by the end of the day to send for another one. I have a book on hold at the library so we will be going downtown today. I want to get a few toys to put in the rabbit tractors and look for some more glass water bottles. They really prefer them to the plastic ones.

It's been blazing hot the last few days and most of my attention has gone to making sure that the animals, particularly the rabbits, stayed cool enough. I am happy to report that all nine of the newborn kits have survived the heat wave and it's starting to cool down.

We've been eating a lot of cold meats and vegetables and fruits here lately. Cooking isn't something anyone wants to do because it heats the house up. I've been soaking my head with cool water and that helps quite a bit since I have so much hair. We don't have air-conditioning in this house. I've been using fans and icepacks and one day I even grabbed a bra straight from the washing machine (I wash on cold) and that kept me cool for a couple hours until it dried. That was on the day it was 90.

I'll be using the crockpot a lot this week to help keep the house cool. I'm keeping the blinds and curtains shut during the day, and having them wide open in the evening with fans in them, to cool off the house. Fans go all night and I wake up with a cool house that stays that way for a while. I'm putting ice in all of my drinks (which is usually just water), and making cold meat salads for lunches.

What do you all do to beat the heat? Especially if you don't have air conditioning.

Coin Jar, Don't Want to Cook

July 1st, 2013 at 04:53 pm

I added $4.54 to the coin jar today.

I also gave in and bought a pizza because it was too hot to cook. Today is only 84, not 90 so I think I can manage to cook tonight. Or make sandwiches. Or salads with cold meat. And cold fruit.

DH comes home at midnight Tuesday. I hope he doesn't melt. He does even worse than me in the heat and we've got a lot of stuff that needs to get done. We may have to set up a fan outside.

Yesterday was Eventful

July 1st, 2013 at 01:40 am

One of my rabbits, Phoebe, kindled yesterday. It was an accidental mating that we thought we had interrupted in time, because she was a little young. But just to be on the safe side I gave her a nesting box a few days ago. A good thing I did, too, because she had nine kits. One was born on the wire, but I must have come in within minutes so we were able to rescue it and get it safely tucked in with its siblings. Despite being not quite 6 months old (she will be on the 2nd) she has done very well for her first litter.

That is going to be about 30 pounds of pasture raised meat for us when they grow out, since we have them in the rabbit tractors on any day it isn't raining. They'll eat about $30 worth of feed in those 14 weeks as well as all the fresh grass, herbs, and berry leaves I can harvest from around the lot and a few veggies like chard that are growing in the garden. That is going to work out to be $1 a pound. This is starting to pay for itself now.

We also bred Piper today. Her seven kits will be weaned starting next Sunday and will be out of her cage by the time she is two weeks pregnant. Her current kits will be ready to harvest in 7 weeks.

Our new cages came and we will start assembling those on Wednesday when DH gets home. We spent $305 for three cages, a stacking frame, 3 feeders, and a couple more nest boxes plus shipping. We will likely spend $200 more to make 4 more rabbit tractors. Then hopefully we won't have to spend any more on housing this year.

It was very hot yesterday, it got up to 90 degrees F. I had to spend a lot of time checking on the rabbits as they don't do over 80 very well. I've got two circulating fans in the shed, and they have frozen water bottles that go into their cages and they lay against them to help cool off. Rabbits only lose heat through their ears, so they need help in keeping cool when the weather is like this. It's supposed to be like this all week so I won't be going anywhere for very long. I do hope to get some swimming in though.

Emergency Fund Update

July 1st, 2013 at 01:10 am

My Capital One 360 account posted the interest. It was $3.15. I added it to the Emergency Fund.

$5227.39 Beginning Amount
+___3.15 Interest Added
-------------
$5230.54 New Balance