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Archive for January, 2014

EF Update

January 30th, 2014 at 05:44 pm

$8195.19 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
---------
$8205.19 Ending Balance

I have hit my goal for the month of $8205. My goal for the month of February will be $8405.

My fever has finally broken. I hope that means I am on the road to recovery.

Lots of Rambling and Payday Report

January 25th, 2014 at 11:16 am

It was good to see a payday again after 4 weeks without one. It is interesting to see how we live off of savings during that time period though. It makes me wonder how many of the people that DH works with make it through. Do they save up ahead of time or do they let some bills slide until the income comes in again? Not everyone gets a Christmas bonus to help things along, and some are quite small in comparison to what DH gets.

I got a cold during this last week from the weather swings and having to be outside when it was freezing. Our night time and morning temps were below freezing, but our daytime temps were at 50 and it was gorgeous. But having to go out in it when it was freezing twice a day has done a number on me. I know they claim that you can't catch a cold from being in the cold, but I think it certainly does help any virus that might be around invade your system.

This is the best cold I've had in ages, though. My immune system actually seems to be fighting it. I guess now that I'm no longer being beaten down by food poisoning my body has a chance. Though I still feel the effects of all those months, each week away is a little better than the one before.

On the other hand, I used the cold as an excuse to get pizza and deli food from the store and blew through most of the money I'd hoped to save to throw extra at the mortgage. Oh, well. I am still going to try to send extra to it.

So, on to the payday stuff.

$1000.00 to Mom
__100.00 to Emergency Fund
__125.oo Half Year HOA Dues (Old House)
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Aquaponics Fund
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__434.61 Propane (Old House)
___74.40 Dental
____8.58 Sleep Doctor
___40.00 Allowances
__100.00 Cash for Week
___95.00 January Money Fund
-------------
$2267.59 Total Out

I had $200 in my propane fund, but I decided to leave it there since I could cash flow the propane bill. We will have one more really large one before we turn the heat off in the old house from the end of April through October. The danger of freezing the pipes won't pass until then. This tank should last until the end of March or so.

Next week I'll have a larger than normal AMEX bill of $350.09. This is because we used the card to buy a Food Saver from Costco and not just gas. It is making a big difference in our frozen meat already.

I found out that we do have orthodontia covered. They will pay 50% up to $1500. DH is looking into which doctors in our area are in network. I don't mind doing that for an unestablished doctor/patient relationship. I just don't like being told that my doctor for years isn't covered. I'd go to the one my daughter went to but he is retired. I'm hoping his partner is in network, because it is really close by.

We are going to use part of our income tax refund to pay for fixing my teeth. Part of it will go into the Aquaponics Fund, part of it will go into the Emergency Fund, part of it will go into the College Fund, part to the Moving Fund, part to the Medical/Dental Fund (which is not funded at the moment) and I want to go out with DH to a really nice steakhouse sans kids with a little bit of it. I know DH needs a new stylus for his Boogie Board. And I want a Victorio Food Mill for processing tomatoes this summer.

We should be able to get our income tax done the first week of February and get it sent off right away. I have all of the interest info, we are now just waiting for the property tax slip (though we know the amount) and the slips from DH's work (again, we know the amount).

I feel like we are finally getting on solid ground. We started so far under water and then when we got our heads above, it was like slogging through mud flats when the tide is going out. Then it seemed like an endless progression of rocky beach. Now it feels like we've finally reached the sun-warmed sand. We're not quite ready to plop down and sun ourselves, but we can at least see the beach towels, you know? Wink

Funds Update

January 24th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

$300.00 Property Tax Fund
$200.00 Propane Fund
__95.00 January 2015 Money Fund
$400.00 Moving Fund
2000.00 College Fund
$100.00 Aquaponics Fund
1000.00 Laptop Fund
+_72.00 Water/Sewer Fund
----------
4167.00 Total

Everything is on target and I've even started to save for January 2015. Much sooner than I did last year. I'm not sure how much I'll have to go there for the first half of the year, but everything helps. Going 4 weeks without a paycheck is much easier if you've been saving for it all along.

The Laptop Fund isn't actually being funded at the moment. We did the 18 months same as cash and owe $900 on it, but we saved the money up first. We can pay it off at anytime, but so far I've been able to cash flow the interest free payments, while collecting interest on the $1000 that is in the bank.

Emergency Fund Update

January 24th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Today is payday (finally!). I sent $100 to the Emergency Fund.

$8095.19 Beginning Balance
+_100.00 Amount Added
-----------
$8195.19 Ending Balance

Our Insurance is Stupid

January 23rd, 2014 at 09:34 am

Premera sucks. It really sucks. Because our dentist is not in their network, they won't pay him directly, even though I've filled out the paperwork to do so and they are supposed to. Instead they send checks to me paid to the order of the dentist and my husband. And not or. Because of this, the dentist can't cash the checks without my husband's signature as well. And of course he's in Alaska for another week.

The dentist says this is the only insurance company that does this. They are trying to force us into their network. Well, we like our dentist and it was hard enough to find him. None of us wants to go elsewhere, that's why we pay a little more than we would in network. If we changed our dentist every time we had a new insurance we would have gone through about 10 dentists by now.

Instead of behaving like grown ups, Premera plays these childish games. I wish DH's company would drop them and choose something else. I'd even prefer to go back to Aetna, who I used to think was really bad until we had to switch to Premera.

I had a dentist appointment yesterday and paid $74.40 from a previous balance. The dentist wants me to go see the orthodontist about my top teeth. I've been getting a gap between my front teeth for the last couple years and it is affecting my jaw and my bite.

I would like to do Invisalign, I think. I know it is $5000 for both top and bottom. I am hoping that means $2500 for just the top. DH is checking into whether or not we even have orthodontia on our insurance. And if we do if it covers the adults. A lot of ortho is only covered in children.

The do have see-through braces that will get the job done in 14 months. Invisalign takes 2 years. But you can take Invisalign out to eat and you can brush and floss your teeth easier because you can take them out. I have a very sensitive mouth, so the pokiness of braces would drive me crazy and hurt. I'd rather go the 2 years with an see-through appliance. Even if I have to pay for it all myself.

I'm in a bit of an annoyed at the world mood right now. I had 2 people in front of me make right hand turns from the left hand turn lane at two different 5-way intersections yesterday and it is still ticking me off. Both intersections had those giant arrows painted on the concrete, plus signs on the traffic light telling you what lane you are in.

Plus a lady tried to go the wrong way up a one way street in her giant jacked up pickup truck. She came out of a parking lot for a store. The only way to get to that store is to go down the obviously one way street and turn in, so she had to know it was one way going in. It shouldn't be something forgotten in the 20 minutes or so she was likely in the store for. Are people really this oblivious?

Emergency Fund Update

January 23rd, 2014 at 08:34 am

$8085.19 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
------------
$8095.19 Ending EF Balance

I also added $8.17 to the coin jar.

I am nickling and diming my way to $10K. So many people out there think they just cannot save. Even when things were super tight we managed to eek out $10 a week for savings. We let go of a luxury item, soda pop, and instead put that $10 in savings each week. We drank water instead so we weren't replacing the soda pop with another beverage or upping our intake of other beverages we already bought like milk or OJ.

I decided to save all my coins and add them to savings. This eventually turned into all of my ones as well that I got back in change.

Then we cancelled our cable for a savings of $100 a month (back then), and put that money into savings. Just between those three things, We managed to save between $140 and $200 a month.

Even if you can't put aside $10 a week like I did when I started out, try to put $10 a month into savings. It doesn't seem like much, but it does begin to add up. And the habit of putting the money in is just as valuable as the actual money you are putting in. You are learning to save so that when a bigger opportunity to save comes along you are ready to add it to your savings habit.

Coin Jar Update

January 22nd, 2014 at 12:00 am

I cleaned out my purse tonight and added $11.09 to the coin jar.

For some reason I am feeling really anxious about payday getting here on Friday. I guess because going without a paycheck for four weeks, even when you are prepared for it, is not a natural thing.

I'm not out of money or anything like that. I just want it to be here already. I'm feeling the same way about all tax documentation. I want it here, so we can file and get most of our HSA money back ASAP. I want it in the bank and under my control, earning interest for me.

A Different Kind of Investment

January 21st, 2014 at 11:52 am

I am seriously thinking about investing in an aquaponics system. As I get older it is getting hard to garden in the ground. My knees and hips are bad, and my back is no spring chicken either. The system I am looking about can be adjusted to waist level so you can simply work on it standing or you can pull up a chair, even.

With the system I am looking at, I could eventually grow enough vegetables to feed us and supplement the rabbits' food as well year round. It would take a couple of years for it to pay back the investment, but it would be worth it for 90 pounds of fish a year plus the fruits and veggies.

It does have a smaller starter system that I think we'd start out with. It can then be expanded to make it bigger as we get the hang of it.

I've been doing a ton of research and I do think this is the way to go if I want to continue to garden with my disabilities. So I am creating a new fund for aquaponics. Time to start saving up.

Yesterday was Not a No Spend Day

January 19th, 2014 at 02:11 pm

I ended up buying some things after all that I hadn't planned on. I decided that I needed to get 2 new pairs of jeans. I have been wearing my jeans to do farm chores and they are becoming too shabby to wear off the property.

Then DS informed me he had outgrown all of his underwear but two, and DD informed me that she had outgrown all of her socks. I got DS 3 4 pks of underwear because they were cheaper that way and DD 2 6 pks. DD needed a cheap bottle of conditioner and both kids wanted a new brush because they didn't like the one I bought to replace the broken one. I do like it though. It is way better at getting out tangles. So DD wanted a round styling brush and DS just wanted one like the broken one. I also bought a hair dryer because ours shot out sparks and ceased to work.

Fortunately it was all at one store and I had over $13 in credits on my store card. I also ended up getting $5 credit for my next purchase. I was able to ignore any further suggestions from the kids, one of whom wanted yet another pair of PJ bottoms and the other wanted a new sweatshirt and a shirt. None of those things are needs, though.

Oh, and I did buy a set of headphones, but DD is paying me back out of her allowance. Total spent was $130, with DD owing me $20 of that back.

DD gave DS a haircut last night. Someone called him a young lady when he was out with his grandmother so he decided it was time. It wasn't that long, maybe 3 inches, but it was long enough that it was curling so it did give a little bit of a feminine style, but he was wearing boy clothes so not sure how he got mistaken for a girl. DD has gotten quite good with the clippers. I only had to trim up a bit around his ears. So that saved us $15. It's not quite a buzz cut, but no one will be mistaking him for a girl with it, that's for sure.

One More Week to Go

January 17th, 2014 at 11:23 am

Well, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have one more week without a paycheck and then finally next Friday DH gets paid again. I am so glad that I put so much money in savings and stayed on top of all the bills. It has been so helpful in stretching over the last 3 weeks and we'll be fine until the end of this.

I start this next week with $674.63 in the checking account and $75 in cash. The only thing I have to pay for is part of my dental visit on the 22nd. And give the kids allowances. I will have to buy some milk and some deli meat and veggies on Sunday, but other than that, I hope to end up next payday with $500 left to throw at the mortgage.

Since the new year has started DH's paychecks will be fully taxed again so the extra $700 I've been throwing at the mortgage each month will be reduced down to an extra $200 again. Our medical insurance year won't be up until May and then who knows how much things will go up then. So trying to do as much as possible while I still can and if I don't spend this week I can make one last big payment. I think I can get the mortgage under $6000 on payday.

My coin jar was getting heavy and my ones envelope was getting fat, so I rolled coin and counted ones. Altogether I had $42 ready to be deposited.

$8043.19 Beginning EF Balance
+__42.00 Deposit Added
------------
$8085.19 Ending EF Balance

My goal for the month is to get to $8205. I have $119.81 to go to reach that goal. I have 2 more $10 deposits coming this month and I will make my usual $100 monthly deposit when we get paid on Friday. So I will make that. I need to save $167 a month if I want to get to $10K by the end of the year. But I'm trying for $200 each month. I'm also on track for that.

Emergency Fund Update

January 16th, 2014 at 06:24 pm

$8033.19 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Deposit Added
------------
$8043.19 New EF Balance

I know what I want for my birthday next month. I want to check into a hotel and order room service and not be a mother for a day. The kids have been at each other's throats since DD came home from school. DD was in a bad mood because of that one crazy teacher she has so she started it. Then in response DS started provoking her on purpose.

Supposedly they were never speaking to each other again. One hour later they're acting like nothing ever happened, but I'm still tense. And irritated. *sighs* Motherhood, it ain't for sissies.

I spent about 2 hours today doing research on aquaponics systems. It is something I'd like to get into in the future. Not so much for the fish, more for the vegetables, but the fish would be a nice by-product. They can be expensive, but there are some DIY systems that can be cobbled together for far less money. Either I need to start saving or I need to figure out what DH is capable of putting together. Or willing to put together.

There are some that are as simple as a small fishtank, a grow bed, and a pump, filter, and bucket. That would probably be a good place to start.

Bits and Pieces

January 14th, 2014 at 09:20 pm

I dropped DH off at the airport tonight, but before we left he emptied his wallet. He had ten ones and a bunch of coins. Altogether I added $14.42 to the coin jar. I also see little piles of coins he's left around the house that I need to go and gather up. He has a bad habit of emptying his pockets wherever he happens to be and not where the coin jar is. Probably I'll find an additional 50 cents or so.

I have a lady who is interested in buying rabbits in a couple of months. She wants to start raising them for meat and is looking for breeding stock for after she moves. I'm crossing my fingers as she sought me out as opposed to me advertising for it. Still, I may never hear from her again, either.

I haven't done Swagbucks since December. I just got exhausted from it. Not sure when I'll start up with it again. Just don't feel like it yet.

I broke my hairbrush tonight so will have to buy a new one. I am irritated. I know my hair is ridiculously thick and long, but a brush shouldn't just snap in two if it hits a tangle. Unfortunately I get a big tangle at the base of my skull where the C-PAP mask strap goes that has to be worked through every day. I am thinking about buying an old fashioned brush with a wooden handle and actual bristles. I'd have to order it online though. I haven't seen them in stores for years but I've seen them online. But I'll have to buy a cheap one in the meanwhile.

Payday-ish Report

January 14th, 2014 at 01:36 am

This isn't technically a payday report since we are going four weeks without a paycheck, but it is an accounting of all the bills paid this week with the saved money for January, plus what I had left over from the last paycheck in December. There are two extra charges that DH made because he forgot the credit card he was supposed to use at home, so both of those got paid off as well, a Chase Visa and a BoA Master Card.

$1500.00 BoA Visa
__400.00 To Mom for utilities
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___15.52 Chase Visa
___38.54 BoA Master Card
___13.07 Hospital Bill (DD)
___47.52 Phone Old House
__757.82 Van loan (plus extra to principle)
___55.25 Garbage (2 months)
__200.00 Laptop Fund
___34.44 Electric Old House
___72.56 Internet
___40.00 Allowances
---------------
$3261.72 Total Money Out

That College Thing

January 12th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

So DH has been doing a lot of research and he has found an online college that is accredited (and transferrable to our local university) for an A.S. in psychology, which is what DD is interested in doing. And it only costs $1040 per semester. A semester is six months of work but you have twelve months to complete it in.

We think this will be ideal for our daughter because of all of her health issues. Her biggest problem in high school is falling behind because of her absences and teachers who don't make it a priority to give her the work she missed while gone even when she asks for it daily. If she gets sick for a couple of days doing an online college she just picks up where she left off already knowing what her assignments are.

DD wants to do this. She will also be working on the farm once we move there. I'll probably put her in charge of the goats. And then if she can find one, she'll need to work a part time job of 15 to 20 hours a week. All of the fast food places around here are hiring right now so hopefully that will still be the case.

My husband got one of his degrees through an online/correspondence college and it has helped him so much in his field and improved his pay grade. So we know that if you find the right online college that is legitimate it works and is accepted by businesses as well as universities.

This will save us an awful lot of money on college costs. A year at the community college is $7000 and a year at the local university is $10,000. I mean I have $2000 in the College Fund right now and by the end of the month it will be $2100, so enough to cover two semesters right there.

This takes a tremendous weight off my shoulders.

Menu Planning for the Week

January 11th, 2014 at 07:22 pm

I haven't done this in a few weeks, but so many folks have posted theirs, I figured I'd better get on the bandwagon again. I'm trying to swing back towards only eating high carbs once a day and low carb for breakfasts and lunches. I know I usually only post suppers, but I'm going to do the whole thing for this week at least so I don't have to think about it, I can just consult my list.

Sunday
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, rabbit sausage, cucumber slices

Lunch: Salad of lettuce, cheese, hard boiled egg, shredded rabbit meat

Dinner: Rabbit noodle soup (carrots, potatoes, celery, noodles, rabbit meat), coleslaw, oranges

Monday
Breakfast: 2 egg omelet (bell peppers, onions, bacon)

Lunch: Boneless skinless chicken thighs, grilled, green beans

Dinner: Lasagna, coleslaw, bananas

Tuesday
Breakfast: Ham and green beans

Lunch: Poached cod fish, coleslaw

Dinner: Pork chops, fried potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower, apple sauce

Wednesday
Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs and baked daikon circles sprinkled with parmesan cheese

Lunch:
Turkey and leftover broccoli/cauliflower

Dinner: Fried rabbit, baked potatoes, green beans, oranges

Thursday
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers with cheese slices

Lunch: Baked salmon, green beans

Dinner: Baked potato soup, coleslaw, pineapple

Friday
Breakfast: 2 egg omelet (leftover salmon and cheese) and cucumber slices

Lunch: Chef salad (lettuce, ham, turkey, cheese)

Dinner: Homemade pizza (rabbit sausage, pepperoni, bell pepper strips, onions, cheese), green salad

Saturday:
Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with onion, bell peppers, sausage, and cheese

Lunch: Taco salad

Dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs (half ground rabbit, half ground pork, garlic and 3 cheeses), coleslaw

Ups and Downs

January 10th, 2014 at 10:28 pm

This has been a rollercoaster of a week. We lost 2 kits who had digestive issues making the change from nursing to solid foods. There isn't much that can be done in such a situation as it is the mama that limits the nursing. This is the first time we have lost kits for this reason. It was sad. We tried a special liquid food and feeding with a syringe, but it wasn't enough. Very sad.

This week we also got to meet the little girl that my niece and her husband are adopting. She's a lovely little girl, just 3.5 years old, sweet and shy and crazy about her new mom and dad.

We ground up a bunch more rabbit meat and made six pounds of sausage patties. We also got 2 pounds of stir-fry meat, 8 quarts of soup stock, 2 bags of boiled rib meat from the stock, and 1.75 pounds of burger.

So far I've not had to touch any of the money that we saved for January. But I did transfer the $3000 to my main account and it will arrive on Monday. We don't have a paycheck until the 24th and there are a couple of things that will need to be paid before then. The van loan, the BoA Visa, the internet, and the phone and power both out at the old house.

Not much else going on here. We haven't eaten out at all and we've gotten take away only twice in the last few weeks. We are getting much better at that and cooking a lot. I am still focusing on leftover management. The new fridge helps with that a lot because you can see everything and nothing gets invisible at the back of the fridge.

We will have to get gas tomorrow. The tank is running on fumes. Not much else on the agenda though.

EF Update

January 10th, 2014 at 05:06 pm

I finally got the amount of interest from one of the CU's for the quarter. A whopping 61 cents. And yesterday was the weekly $10 transfer. I added them both to the Emergency Fund.

$8022.58 Beginning Balance
+__10.61 Deposit Added
----------
$8033.19 New Balance

Something New for Us

January 3rd, 2014 at 09:23 am

Yesterday DH and I put 6.75 pounds of rabbit meat through our new electric meat grinder.



It worked great and the results were very nice. It looks sort of like ground pork, but not as fatty. DH cooked up some of it for cheeseburgers for dinner last night using his new 17 inch cast iron pan (which I can't even lift by myself). It was fantastic. I never dreamed rabbit burger would be so good. I guess I should have because it is great every other way we've tried it. So we now have a ground beef substitute. Although we will continue to use beef on occasion the organic, sustainably raised stuff has gotten to be $7 a pound.

We've got four more that need to be cut up. I am planning three of them for mostly grinding to burger and one to do up for stir-fry meat. We'll be boiling the bones for stock and canning up some soup with the meat that falls off the bones and the resulting broth.

We also have 8 more that have hit the 5 pound mark that need to be taken care of. We will probably do them this weekend, since it is supposed to be clear.

I've been learning to cook on cast iron. We pulled the 3 pans we were given as a wedding present out of storage and have seasoned them and started using them. We've had one pan too many flake their Teflon off. Even the nicer pans are looking worse for wear, except for the stainless steel ones. The cast iron is working great. It is truly non-stick. I love using it. I just wish it weren't so heavy. I need to eventually get a 12 inch skillet. I am already planning on getting the Dutch oven for my upcoming birthday in February. Maybe I'll get both.

I need to start posting my menu plans again. We have actually done very well. We've only gotten take out once as a family since DH came home on the 19th. DH and I did get Subway one day while we were picking up feed and didn't have the kids with us. Ouch. For the two of us it was just under $25. Although my sandwich gave me two meals, I did not realize they had gotten so pricey.

I can't eat the cheap stuff anymore though. The last time I had McD's I got sick. The last time I had Arby's (with a coupon) I got sick. I think it is because my diet is normally so free of high fructose corn syrup, which they both use in their buns, that I can't tolerate it anymore. In a way it's good I guess, because I'm not spending so much money on that kind of food and am more willing to cook at home. I have better uses for the money, too.

Another Emergency Fund Update

January 2nd, 2014 at 01:36 pm

Extremely intrusive ads are still extremely intrusive. Just saying...

Today was the $10 auto transfer to savings. I moved that to the Emergency Fund.

$8012.58 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
------------
$8022.58 New EF Balance

Small amounts add up.

Coin Jar

January 1st, 2014 at 05:53 pm

I added $16.14 in ones and coins to the coin jar today after DH cleaned out his wallet and I cleaned out my purse.

I've caught up on all the financial housekeeping I needed to do and have set up my January budget. Now I just need to balance the checkbook and pretty much everything will be set on autopilot until the middle of the month.

Emergency Fund Update

January 1st, 2014 at 01:33 pm

Interest hit two of my savings accounts, for a total of $7.84. I added this to the Emergency Fund.

$8004.74 Beginning EF Balance
_____.43 Interest from CU #2
____7.41 Interest from C1-360
-----------
$8012.58 New EF Balance

$6915.02!!!!

January 1st, 2014 at 01:19 pm

And that, my dears, is how much debt is left to pay off my mortgage. Can't believe I'm under $7K. It feels fantastic.

No one has put an offer on our house yet. People are looking but no one is buying. The holidays are not a good time for it, I know. I just wish it would happen. I know houses can sit for years. I don't want to be one of the people that happens to. And I don't really want to be a landlord either.

I got some nice things from my in-laws for Christmas. I am looking forward to trying the ravioli maker and press. And to using the electric meat grinder. We're going to make rabbit burger this week after the rabbits are finished aging. I'd like to be able to replace our ground beef consumption with it if possible, or at least do a half and half ratio.

What's with the ugly obtrusive ads all over SA? I go offline for a few days and come back to that? Yeesh. It looks awful. One of the things I always liked about this place was how unobtrusive the ads were. Now they are totally in my face. *sighs*