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Archive for October, 2014

Bits and Pieces

October 31st, 2014 at 11:37 pm

I was able to transfer $1000 to my December Money Fund today. $400 of it was medical reimbursement and $500 was scrimped out of last month's budget. $100 I took off the top of today's paycheck.

This puts the fund total at $1947. I am hoping to be able to save $1500 out of the next 5 paychecks. It's not enough to cover 5 weeks with no pay, but it'll mean that much less out of the Emergency Fund. We can't rely on any kind of a company bonus this year to get through the shut down period.

Mom says we don't have to make a December payment on our loan to her, but I'd like to avoid skipping it. I absolutely hate owing her that money and any month we skip will be that much longer we have to be under that debt. We hit the halfway point today, $55,000 paid off, $55,000 to go. We have 4 years and 7 months left if we stay on track.

We have 2 years and 8 months left on the van loan at our current rate of payment. Maybe a little sooner since I pay a little extra each month, but it's hard to say how much sooner. Probably just a month, possibly two. It's not that much extra.

We will be butchering 2 of our turkeys on November 8th for the upcoming holidays and whichever rabbit kits have hit 5 pounds will be butchered the next day. That will cut the turkey feed bill in half. I'm not going to raise rabbit kits over the winter, so that will cut the rabbit feed bill way down, too, once all the current grow outs are butchered. The youngest kits will be 8 weeks old on Sunday.

The older kits will be 15 weeks old on Sunday. I think they will all be of butchering size by the time DH comes home. 4 out of 8 are now, and I think it is more likely that 6 out of 8 are, but I haven't weighed them in a couple of weeks. I hope they all will be because we need the cage space for the youngsters. I will weigh them tomorrow since we will be cleaning out cages.

I have about 50 pounds of rabbit meat in the freezer currently and after this next round we'll have an additional 20 pounds to either can or freeze since dress out weight is a little over 1/2 of live weight. And then the youngest coming up number 18, so that will be an additional 45 pounds if they all survive to butcher age. There will be plenty of meat without breeding again until late February.

I am also debating on sending the drakes to freezer camp. I don't need them for the ducks to lay eggs, and considering how little meat there is on a Welsh Harlequin, we won't be raising ducklings after all, so we don't need the males. Plus one of them is really beating up on one the girls when they mate. Her wing feathers are in pretty bad shape from it. If I do, that will cut that feed bill down, too, but not too much since they mostly eat what they forage and just fill in with feed when they are hungry.

I've been getting 5 duck eggs a day lately and 4 chicken eggs every 36 hours so the female birds are definitely paying for themselves. I need to make a bunch of meatloaf freezer meals so I can use up some of these eggs. I do sell a few dozen here and there and I give them away to family and friends, but even so, it is hard to keep up with what they produce.

I've still got to do up a payday report, but I haven't finished paying all the bills yet, so will likely do that tomorrow.

Emergency Fund Update

October 30th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

$9212.60 Beginning EF
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
------------
$9222.60 Ending EF

Step by step, bit by bit, getting there.

Kind of a Crazy Murphy Day

October 24th, 2014 at 09:50 pm

Today was kind of a Murphy day. Not in a horrible, awful way, but just there. I'm off the no eating out challenge. I ordered a pizza today. It didn't cost me anything though, because I ordered a Montague's All Meat Pizza and they made a King Arthur's Supreme instead. Now we do on occasion get the King Arthur's, but never with mushrooms and olives because I'm allergic to mushrooms and the kids and I hate olives. And the kids heard me order the correct one, so I know I didn't screw it up.

So they offered to give us the wrong pizza as well as make us a new one, but since I didn't want the wrong pizza, they made us the right one and refunded our money, which we had already paid before they brought out the pizza. Which is their policy when they mess up. So free pizza, even if we did have to wait and extra 20 minutes. Worth it, because it was Friday and we weren't in a hurry to get home and do homework.

Then this afternoon I went to the feed store to buy crimped oats. Which I did. The feed bag tag even says crimped oats, but when I went to open it tonight to give to the rabbits, it was chicken scratch grains, which was heavy on the corn. Rabbits can't eat corn. So tomorrow I will have to take it back to the feed store, which won't be a lot of fun because it is an open 50 pound bag. We've got it seat-belted into one of the seats in the car so it will hopefully ride back there without spilling. Fortunately I did not replace my receipt. I doubt I will get a free bag of oats out of this one, though. It was too late to take it back tonight, so the rabbits were out of luck. No bunny crack for them.

Then my physical therapy session was cancelled this afternoon. I'm not actually all that put out since I am still really tired from having had the flu. And still have a really runny nose, which is not fun at PT. I thought I might get some stuff done, but ended up just laying in bed watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I don't feel bad about it, though. Clearly my body still needed the rest.

There was a shooting in a high school not too far from us today. It is the same high school that my eldest nephew and niece attended. My nephew was trying to get a meeting this morning with someone to talk about speaking at the school, but it didn't happen. It was one of those crazy things where he could have been there. He's the father of two with a baby due in December, so thank goodness he wasn't able to make the appointment. I like to think that maybe my bad luck day balanced out his good luck. I'll take it, if that's the outcome.

Emergency Fund Update

October 23rd, 2014 at 01:58 pm

$9202.60 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
------------
$9212.60 New EF Amount

Rough Week

October 22nd, 2014 at 03:52 pm

I think I am finally starting to come out of the flu. I have not been this tired in a long, long time. Now the kids are down with it and both stayed home from school today. Fortunately all they want to do is sleep, so I can still rest.

Last night DH went back to Alaska, so I don't have him to fall back on. And of course last night was a major wind storm that managed to rip one panel of roofing off the turkey coop and leave one panel dangling down the front of it. The piece of roofing that he jury rigged to keep the rain from going in the duck coop window was also ripped off.

I can fix the duck coop, but I don't know what I am going to do about the turkey coop as that requires going up on a ladder and I can't climb ladders with my knee. Maybe I can throw a tarp over that half of it. The turkeys will just have to stay on one side of the coop, I guess.

DH wanted to loan his sister money and I had to say no, because we don't have it. I mean, we physically have it, but it has to pay for all the expenses of December when he is off work for 5 weeks with no pay. And if we loan money to her, we won't be able to meet our own expenses. December is only a month away and there is no way she'd be paying us back on time.

I feel bad for SIL. She was in a car accident that was not her fault and has been off work for a month. She will eventually get a settlement, but it certainly won't be in time to pay us back for December bills. We have helped her where we could, but we just can't do it this time. I can't put my own family and finances in jeopardy for her.

I don't think DH gets how tight things are. I think he thinks that things are as good as they were 4 years ago. But he's bringing home $1000 less each month than he was even two years ago due to higher taxes and bigger medical deductions. I have told him and told him, but it doesn't seem to sink in. The fact that he even asked me shows that. And I end up feeling like the bad guy in this.

But I know if it comes down to it, SIL and niece can move in with MIL and FIL. Or she can get money from her boyfriend. Or from her rich uncle. She's been holding onto a house she can't afford since her divorce several years ago.

I'm very frustrated. I don't like being made to feel guilty. It makes me resentful. Her situation is not my fault. I plan hard to take care of emergencies and times of no income and she doesn't and never has. And I feel like I'm being penalized for it, just because I said no. But I have every right to say no. I know DH doesn't mean to make me feel this way, but that doesn't stop me from feeling it. He just wants to help his sister. I do, too, but not at the expense of our own family. /rant

Emergency Fund Update

October 16th, 2014 at 11:46 am

$9192.60 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
------------
$9202.60 Ending EF Balance

December Planning

October 10th, 2014 at 07:45 am

I found out last night that instead of having to take 4 weeks of unpaid time off in December, DH is going to have to take 5 weeks of unpaid time off going into the new year. I'm pretty sure we won't be able to handle this without dipping into the Emergency Fund.

DH is going to try to get a little overtime, but they have not really been forthcoming with it this year, so we certainly can't rely on that.

We have plenty of vegetables and fruits canned and meat frozen, so we could get by without having to buy too much in the way of groceries in December. Mostly just things like milk and lettuce and oranges. Between our five laying ducks and our four laying hens we have plenty of eggs.

I am a little concerned about Christmas, though. We don't buy for many people anymore, but I still need to come up with about $500 for it.

I hate not being prepared for things, but when they jacked up the portion of medical insurance we have to pay this year the paychecks really took a hit. It wouldn't have been so bad with a lower deductible, but $5000 out of pocket is a lot on top of that. We've got 3 people on medications that are quite expensive so we'll be slapped with that again when January hits, since the don't cover prescriptions until the deductible is hit.

With the end of those tax breaks a couple years back, DH is effectively bringing home about $1200 less every month than he was when he first started working for this company. And they decided they wouldn't be giving raises out this year after all. It frustrates me. Especially since we can't rely on the Christmas bonus to make up the shortfall of no pay for five weeks. We used to be able to save for this, but this year has just been one thing after another.

We have decided to start DH on his bachelors degree. Since there isn't really any place he can go right now to get a higher income, this is the most sensible move. We'll have to pay $100 to have his transcripts reviewed from his A.S. in Electrical Engineering, and then the first class he will take will cost $800. We may dip into the Emergency Fund for that, too. I know it's not a true emergency, but it'll get us to the tax refund time and then we can pay for the schooling out of that and some how or another start setting some money aside as well. How? I don't know yet. It's something we will have to figure out.

EF Update

October 10th, 2014 at 07:21 am

$9182.60 Beginning Amount
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
--------------
$9192.60 Ending EF Amount


Medical Refund

October 8th, 2014 at 03:18 pm

Well, I finally got the reimbursement for my daughter's glasses from the insurance. I'm not sure why my son's didn't come, too, since I mailed them in on the same day. Hopefully it will come tomorrow.

The reimbursement is $200 so that will go into the December money fund. Of course now that my daughter is 18 they sent the check in her name, so I had to have her sign it over to me. I do not understand why they do not just send them to us since we are the ones paying for the insurance to begin with. We asked if there was a form she could sign, but no. Laws are stupid sometimes.

It just adds an extra layer of stuff we have to do to get our money back. It would be one thing if she were independent and on her own insurance, but she's not. She's still a kid in high school even if she is legally an adult. At least we don't have to worry about it with our son for another 3.5 years.

Pinecone

October 7th, 2014 at 08:27 am

If anyone is interested in signing up for Pinecone surveys (payout is $3 per survey) they sent me a referral link. How it works is I have to forward it to someone's email. I cannot just post the link here. So if you are wanting to try to sign up for Pinecone, you would have to give me your email address. You can leave it here as a comment and then I will delete it after I see it and send the link on.

And Interest from CU #2

October 7th, 2014 at 08:14 am

$9182.60 Beginning Balance
+____.30 Interest Added
------------
$9182.60 Ending EF Balance

Nickeling and Diming my way to $10K.

Interest from CU #3

October 7th, 2014 at 08:09 am

I got my statement from credit union #3 today, the one where I deposit the weekly $10. It had 22 cents in interest so I added that to the Emergency Fund.

$9182.38 Beginning Balance
+____.22 Interest Added
------------
$9182.38 Ending EF Balance

Every little bit adds up.

No Eating Out Challenge

October 6th, 2014 at 11:25 am

Two weeks down, 16 days to go. We are doing really well here. The kids have not been able to talk me into going out to eat in two weeks. There were a couple of days that I really wanted to, too. Having the meal plans firmly in place help a lot. Making meals in such a way as to have planned leftovers helps so much. This week I will be using my homemade spaghetti sauce in 3 recipes and my homemade meatballs in two. I will make the sauce and meatballs tonight and then use them in tonight's meal and in the meals the following two nights.

Last week I made baked potatoes with dinner one night. I threw in enough extra to make baked potato soup later in the week.

Sometimes I will make roast chicken, pick the leftovers off the bones, and made enchiladas and quesadillas as well as using the bones to make chicken stock for chicken noodle soup.

Those sorts of leftovers really help to have on hand so I can make one complicated meal followed by one or two easy ones. I always plan my complicated meal for a night when I have more time and the easier meals for the nights when I don't.

Doing this helps me save money because 1. I don't buy as much food to begin with, 2. I don't end up wasting the food I did buy, and 3. I am far less interested in eating out when I know I can put together a much better meal quickly.

Of course I am still tempted to eat out, but I'm not sure it would be worth the hit to the wallet, or the pain from ingredients I'm allergic to. Since I never know what food additives are used, cooking at home is safer for my stomach, too. And certainly safer for my son's.

Menu Planning for the Week

October 5th, 2014 at 03:09 pm

I'll need to harvest 3 to 4 heads of broccoli this week so that will play into dinner plans. The zucchini has gone to baseball bat size, so I've just been cutting them open for the chickens and turkeys to eat. If I catch any of the smaller ones at the right size we'll have some of them this week, too.

I've also got quite a few tomatoes and a couple of peppers so those will also be accounted for in the planning.

I cleaned out the refrigerator today. It's my least favorite chore. But it needed to be done. Now all my leftovers are organized and on one shelf so it will be easy to see what needs to be eaten up. Those are generally for my lunches or DH's if he is home.

Monday:
Spaghetti with Meatballs made with homemade tomato sauce
Broccoli

Tuesday:
Pizza made with homemade tomato sauce, rabbit sausage, onions, bell peppers

Wednesday:
Meatball sandwiches made with leftover meatballs, leftover sauce, and on garlic bread
Broccoli

Thursday:
Barbecue chicken wings
Fried potatoes
Green beans

Friday:
Chicken Stir-fry with broccoli,, garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, green beans, and celery
Egg Fried Rice

Saturday:
Bacon rabbit cheeseburgers
Homemade French fries

Sunday:
Homemade Fish and Chips
Broccoli

Payday Report

October 3rd, 2014 at 10:48 am

$250.00 AMEX
$400.00 to Mom for her utilities
__46.00 Salmon and canning jars
$100.00 Emergency Fund
__29.06 Power Old House
__47.92 Phone Old House
__75.65 Internet
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__44.66 Life Insurance Me
__74.41 Car Insurance
__48.75 Old House Insurance
__41.66 Security Old House
$186.00 Storage
$100.00 Property Tax Fund
$100.00 Propane Fund
$450.00 December Money Fund
---------------
$1789.41 Total Money Out

I do have a few other things that will be coming out of this paycheck, but they aren't due for a while so I will likely lump them in with next week's payday report unless I get the bills before next Friday. I will be buying the kids winter coats and umbrellas. I will be buying hay. I've got a couple of medical/dental bills to round up, too.

Money to the EF

October 3rd, 2014 at 09:05 am

$8965.11 Beginning EF Amount
___17.19 Safe Driver Refund Check
____0.08 Interest from CU #1
__100.00 Check from MIL
+_100.00 Monthly Deposit
----------
$9182.38 Ending EF Balance

I am glad to get it over the $9K mark again. Now onwards back to the $10K mark.

Emergency Fund Update

October 2nd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

$8955.11 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
-------------
$8965.11 Ending EF Balance

It's moving right along rather nicely again at this point.

House Sale Fell Through

October 1st, 2014 at 01:05 pm

Well, our buyer's really screwed things up and now they can't get a loan, even though they'd been pre-approved, so our house sale has fallen through. It's rough luck, but just goes to show how important it is for young people to do their research before trying to buy a house. They made some big mistakes that I guess are not common knowledge, except around here on the blogs.

Strike one was buying a new car a few months ago. You always wait to buy the car after you buy a house, not before. The debts are looked at in different ways and it is always easier to get a car after buying a house, but not the other way around.

Strike two was listening to the loan officer when she told them to pay off some old debt to raise their credit scores...old debt that had fallen off their credit reports, but was reactivated by them paying them off. It tanked their credit scores even worse. They should have paid down debts that were current.

Strike three was that in paying off those debts they no longer had enough money for the down payment we would have required for a seller carried mortgage.

So it's over and the house will go back on the MLS. Hopefully the Canadians that were interested in buying it as a vacation home still are, but they were with a different agent, not ours. Or else someone else will want it, someone who felt like they missed the opportunity when it went under contract.

Please pray for us that we will see a new buyer and soon.

Potato Harvest and Baby Bunnies

October 1st, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Yesterday we dug up the potatoes. We had planted 15 pounds of organic seed potatoes and our yield was 83 pounds, so a bit over 5.5 pounds per pound planted. While that is a good yield, I now know that we will have to plant far more next year to meat our family's needs for the year. We can easily go through 5 pounds of potatoes a week.



The baby rabbits are doing well. They are 3 weeks old and growing very fast. I am happy to report that all 19 are still alive and kicking. You just never know with kits and it is common to lose a few along the way. Rabbits have a fragile immune system which is why they have such a high birth rate and frequency, so the species will continue.

I do have one kit with an eye infection. It is pretty bad, but it does finally seem to be starting to improve. I bumped up treatment to 3 times a day instead of twice and it is making a difference, although there is still more stuff coming out of the eye than I have ever seen, that is after soaking it long enough to get the crusties off and unseal the eyelid.

I had to spend $30 on vet supplies, but it is worth it. If I don't do the work now, the rabbit will end up blind in that eye. I know that as a meat rabbit he doesn't have that long of a life, but I want the life he does have to be as good as possible, so fixing the eye is a priority to me.

I'll leave you with a cute, short video of the kits nursing:

http://youtu.be/oHp_MOx6tVg

and another short vid of what some of our odd potatoes looked like:

http://youtu.be/EVY2QZMVdD0

C1-360 Interest Added to Emergency Fund

October 1st, 2014 at 11:31 am

$8950.22 Beginning EF Amount
+___4.89 Interest Added
--------------
$8955.11 New EF Balance