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Archive for October, 2015

And Another CF Update

October 30th, 2015 at 01:56 am

$610.84 Starting Balance
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
----------------
$620.84 New Balance

$329.16 to go. I think I will have this fully funded by the end of November.

Christmas Fund Update

October 28th, 2015 at 11:19 pm

$555.84 Starting Balance
+_55.00 Deposit (Egg Money, Coin Jar)
---------------
$610.84 New Balance

$339.16 left to go.

It's Been a Long Week and Menu Plan

October 25th, 2015 at 09:26 pm

And I am glad that a new week is starting. I had such a bad cold this week. It's my own fault. I accidentally grabbed my son's nasal spray and not mine and 2 days later, BAM, I was in misery. On Wednesday I wasn't sure I was ever going to feel better again, but by Thursday morning my fever had broken. I am still pretty stuffy headed, but am doing so much better.

I didn't exercise at all this week. I will be glad to get into the pool again tomorrow, although I am sure I will be sore afterwards. And I am going to go sit in the sauna afterwards and try to bake the rest of this thing out of me.

I did really well, though, on the food front. No eating out at all, finally, for a whole week. Of course when you are too sick to drive anywhere, that helps with the whole will-power situation. I had been going out at least once per week to get take out. I don't know, but that needs to stop. Twice a month is enough, especially with our savings goals.

Anyway, here is the plan for this week.

Sunday:
Baked chicken
Baked yams
Green beans
Grapes

Monday:
Pork chops
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Fried Potatoes
Grapes

Tuesday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Baked potatoes
Green beans
Oranges

Wednesday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic bread
Salad
Apples

Thursday:
Baked chicken tortellini
Garlic Bread
Green Beans
Canned nectarines

Friday:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, salami, sausage, onions, peppers, basil, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, homemade pizza sauce
Salad

Saturday:
Bacon rabbit cheeseburgers
French fries
Cole slaw
Canned pineapple

Sunday:
Rabbit stew
Salad
Applesauce

Nook Fund

October 24th, 2015 at 08:23 pm

$50.00 Initial Deposit

$350.00 to go.

Farm Down Payment Fund Update

October 24th, 2015 at 08:21 pm

$32,000.00 Starting Balance
+_1000.00 Deposit Added
-----------------
$33,000.00 New Balance

$47,000.00 to go.

Christmas Fund Update

October 24th, 2015 at 08:19 pm

$455.84 Starting Balance
+100.00 Deposit Added
-----------------
$555.84 New Balance

$394.16 to go.

Gas for $1.86 a Gallon and Rethinking Costco

October 22nd, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I just filled up my gas tank for $1.86 a gallon. I had 30 points on my Safeway card since I've spent $300 there this month. So that was 30 cents off per gallon, and then I used cash which made it an additional 10 cents off per gallon. So while Safeway's regular gas price won't beat Costco's regular gas price, with points and cash discount, it is 20 cents cheaper to get it at Safeway. Plus Safeway is only a mile from my house and not on the other side of town.

I am thinking hard about letting my Costco card go when it expires in March. I keep it mostly for buying organic olive oil, butter, toilet paper, organic brown rice, organic sugar, organic tomato sauce and paste, organic frozen broccoli, and organic chicken.

But...we have a freezer full of chicken we grew this year. I now have enough spaghetti sauce canned for a year from my garden. I could stock up on a year's supply of olive oil, butter, tomato paste, brown rice, sugar and frozen broccoli right before it expires. I don't have to renew it and I can revisit the idea in a year of using the membership. Or my FIL and MIL have a membership so we could have them pick up what we need when we need it.

I used to buy cheese there, but Safeway's sales and often their regular prices are better than Costco's regular price. I am finding a lot of things that is true on. I know if I watch sales I can probably find Charmin for cheaper and find coupons for it. And when we run out of chicken, Trader Joe's does have less expensive organic chicken nowadays.

Another reason I am thinking of dropping Costco is that they will no longer be partnering with AMEX, which means I'd have to get another credit card and I don't want to.

It's just that the many things that used to be selling points for a Costco membership are now being chipped away at and as prices rise it just no longer seems the bargain it once was. The parking is atrocious and it's just getting to the point where it is not really worth it anymore.

Christmas Fund Update

October 22nd, 2015 at 06:32 pm

$445.84 Starting Balance
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
--------------------
$455.84 New Balance

$494.16 to go. I'm almost to the halfway point.

Now I need to go and recreate my budget spreadsheets. *sighs* I've been putting it off, but can't do that any longer.

Interview

October 22nd, 2015 at 05:03 pm

I was interviewed last month by The Homestead Nation and it went up on youtube on Tuesday night. It talks about how I am raising meat animals, a big garden, and trying to be as self-sufficient as possible on half an acre in the city and what brought me on this journey. It was a really fun interview. Brad and Tommy are great.

I have found The Homestead Nation to be an excellent resource for all kinds of information in regards to this lifestyle. They also cover some preparedness issues. If anyone is interested in seeing it, it is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQfQYj60EIQ

It's a little over half an hour long, so make sure you have a chunk of time if you are going to watch it.

It's Not That Difficult...Is it?

October 21st, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Why does our society have to be so throw it away? I have been trying for the last 10 days or so to replace the charger cord for my laptop. My laptop is only 3 years old. This should not be an issue. First I started by going to Toshiba direct and entering in my laptop model number in their search engine and them telling me that yes, we can replace that part. So they sent me the charger that was supposedly compatible. It's not. It's for the computers that came out the next model year.

Right after I bought my laptop, they decided to go to a universal type of charger for Toshibas. Mine is not one of those, it is still from when every model year had a different charger, but their search engine thinks it is. *sighs* So then I had to go through all of the rigamarole of trying to get a hold of their customer service. After a few days, I got that sorted out and finally got the mailing label to send it back to them.

Meanwhile I had ordered a different charger off of Amazon, that assured it was the correct one for my laptop, listing the model number in their title and everything. It even showed the correct tip in the photograph. It was not the one they sent me. That was, of course, just like the wrong one Toshiba sent me. They didn't actually have one that works with my laptop. At least getting a return mailing label from them was simple. So now I have two packages that I need to go drop off at the FedEx/UPS store (or Fed Up as I like to call it).

The universal chargers that Insignia and Targus makes do not have the right tip for my charger. Targus is supposed to have more tips available, but they haven't gotten back to me five days later, so I consider them to be a dead end.

We found a charger on e-bay and double checked with the guy with both the computer model number and the charger model number and he said it was the correct one, so here is hoping.

I will be so frustrated if I can't use my laptop, a perfectly good laptop with my beloved Windows 7 on it, anymore because I can't charge it. It has all of my spreadsheets on it. I have some of them backed up, but not the last few months, so I would have to recreate a lot of information. I pulled off what I could before the last 20 minutes of battery power drained.

I know we could take the hard drive out and transfer it, but I just love my old laptop. It has the wonderful keyboard and everything is set just the way I like it. Plus I just installed new software on it with only one license. Ugh.

Exercise and Related Expenses

October 17th, 2015 at 09:40 pm

Water Aerobics: 45 minutes
Water Weights: 15 minutes
Laps: 16 in 30 minutes
Total exercise: 90 minutes

I was really happy to find out that during lap swim on Saturdays and Sundays they are completely dead. I had the whole pool to myself while I was swimming laps after my class. Someone did finally come in to swim laps as I was changing afterwards. This is great because I hate swimming when it is crowded.

I did 4 water aerobics classes this week, 2 with the weights during the last 15 minutes. There are no classes tomorrow, so I will go and swim laps. I did not want to get out of the pool today. It makes me feel so good. I didn't realize how much I missed swimming laps. It is so peaceful and calm and I love the way the sunlight looks on the bottom of the pool as it streams through the window. It makes me feel like I am somewhere tropical.

I am sleeping better and I did learn that if I go in the hot tub after I get out of the pool and get warmed back up, I don't have the huge, ravenous must eat now response when I get home, but on days I don't use the hot tub, I get that. I mean, I still want to eat lunch, but it doesn't feel like I must eat everything I see. I think that happens because the fastest way for the body to warm up is to eat.

This club membership is definitely paying for itself. I don't know if I will be going 7 days a week. 4 for sure, but with attempts for more. I am careful to do only what my knee allows and wear my knee brace in the water, but I can already feel some strength returning to my knee.

The only downside is that I have to wash my hair and dry it every time I use the pool and I'll have to spend more money on conditioner or there will be some serious damage. Still, it is so worth it. At least my hair is still above my shoulders so it won't be like it was when my hair was at my waist. Although I am growing it back out at least long enough to put into a pony tail.

I am having to spend some money now on some things related to swimming.

$12 goggles
$57 for a second swimsuit
$12 for a big beach sized towel

I still need to purchase a second knee brace and a second beach towel. With two of everything I can alternate use and stuff can dry naturally so I'm not having to launder it every day or put on a wet suit.

I also spent $60 on new bras. It would have been twice that except for the sale and discount I got them on (thanks to Laura). I have really been needing them with the weight loss but was holding off because I need very supportive ones without underwire and they are expensive. I had to buy new underwear last week. Mine was falling off. I guess that is a good reason, right?

Christmas Fund Update

October 16th, 2015 at 06:40 am

$435.84 Starting Balance
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
-------------------
$445.84 New Balance

It looks like DH may be getting some overtime, so I may have this fully funded by the end of the month. That would be nice.

Back on an Exercise Program

October 8th, 2015 at 10:03 pm

We made the decision last week to go back to the athletic club we used to go to before we got serious about paying off the van (which was paid off in March or April). It's $109 a month for the 4 of us. It is more expensive than other gyms, but other gyms don't have pools and that is where I need to do that majority of my exercise due to my knee.

Today my daughter and I completed our fourth water aerobics class. I never did one of these the last time we were members and I have to say that we are both having a really good time with it. I was really sore the first two times, but I don't have that anymore.

The only thing I don't like is that there is a different teacher for every class. Some of the knee work is a little challenging, but we all go at our own pace and I don't do any jumping from just that leg and so far I am doing well. I feel stronger and I feel like my leg is getting better. I also am sleeping better.

I just wish my coordination was better. For someone who has great rhythm when it comes to playing musical instruments, I seem to have some issues with making my feet do something that my arms aren't doing as well. Like feet in and out when arms are going up and down. If my arms go in and out while my feet go in and out I'm fine.

I hope to start swimming laps again soon, but I would have to do that at night time or at 6 a.m.. Which is okay, but means I have to get all the farm chores done either later or earlier. But I always love swimming laps. It makes me feel so energized.

The only other thing I can really do at the club is the recumbent bike. Well, I could do the weight machines, but I don't want to. I will when I get stronger, probably. I'd like to strengthen my quads and the muscles around the knee cap. We do some work with weights in water aerobics, though, so there is some resistance training going on.

I hope this exercise will help with the weight loss. I've been stalled since the big loss earlier this year. I'd really like to see it going down again, which is why I'm not much fussed about spending the $109 each month for the club. Why do I always forget how good I feel after exercising? And while exercising?

Christmas Fund Update

October 8th, 2015 at 08:55 pm

$345.84 Starting Balance
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
+_67.00 Rabbit Money
+_13.00 Coin Jar Money
---------------------
$435.84 New Balance

$514.16 left to hit my goal of $950 (revised down from $1000 since I put a $50 deposit down for my turkey).

Menu Planning for the Week

October 5th, 2015 at 09:55 pm

Monday:
Teriyaki Beef short ribs
Acorn squash (from the garden)
Strawberries (from the garden)
Salad (from the garden)

Tuesday:
Garlic Butter Chicken
Baked sweet potatoes
Broccoli and cauliflower
Apple

Wednesday:
Beef Pot roast
Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash (from the garden)
Baked potatoes (from the garden)
Watermelon (from the garden)

Thursday:
Herb roasted rabbit (home raised)
Fried potatoes (from the garden)
Green beans (from the garden)
Home canned nectarines

Friday:
Sloppy Hoppies (home raised rabbit) on homemade buns
Cole slaw (cabbage from the garden)
Canned pineapple

Saturday:
Spaghetti with home grown and homemade spaghetti sauce and rabbit meatballs
Garlic bread
Oranges

Sunday:
Barbecue Rabbit Wings
Leftover vegetables from the week
Applesauce


Payday Report for October 2nd

October 5th, 2015 at 09:45 pm

I am just a wee bit behind there.

$500.00 Loan to Mom
$400.00 Mom's Utilities
__47.86 Life Insurance DH
__44.66 Life Insurance Me
__84.32 Car Insurance
_204.00 Meat from Farm
__50.00 Allowances
__65.03 Groceries
_205.00 Storage
__48.71 50 pounds of no spray potatoes for canning
__16.00 25 pounds of no spray carrots for canning
__15.00 20 no spray bell peppers for freezing
___5.00 10 pounds of no spray onions for freezing
----------------------
$1685.58 Total Money Out

Farm Sales

October 4th, 2015 at 06:50 am

I earned $67 today selling a rabbit to the lady at the farm we buy meat from sometimes. I also spent $204 buying bacon and pork chops. We got quite a bit of it. Part of the $204 was that we put down a $50 deposit on our turkey to be picked up 11/14.

The rabbit money will go into the Christmas Fund, but I'll also be able to lower the fund goal to $950 since I already spent $50 on the turkey. I also need to track down another heritage turkey for the holidays, since I couldn't raise any this year. I think we definitely will next year, though.

Well, At Least That Will Cut Expenses

October 3rd, 2015 at 01:32 am

I'm having to switch rabbit feed and I'm not happy about it. But I can't get it here without an exorbitant shipping cost. The only way for the shipping to even be reasonable would be to buy 29 fifty pound bags at once. I have the capacity to store 15 bags at the moment.

In order to store 29 I would have to purchase 5 more containers capable of storing 150 pounds in each. I can't leave them on a pallet in the garage because we'll get mice. They have to be in chew proof containers. And we don't have the space to store 5 more bins anyway. Even if I could, it would take too long to get through the feed. It would be very stale and have the possibility of going rancid by the time we went through so much feed.

With the buying club having gone under, I can't reasonably get the organic feed anymore. So we are switching back to the feed we were buying before, which is about 33% of the cost of the organic feed. I hate the idea of going back onto a feed that might have GMOs in it, but there is not much I can do at this point. I will investigate other options, but at least getting this type of feed will buy us time. They do, at least, attempt to get non-GMO ingredients for their feeds, they just can't guarantee it.

I do have to admit it will be nice to see the feed bill drop by so much.

Bought a "New" Fridge

October 1st, 2015 at 09:54 pm

Our back up refrigerator went out earlier this week. Because we use it a lot during harvest time and butchering time, which is now, it is really bad not to have the extra fridge/freezer combo. Since it went out after we had butchered 28 chickens, but before we cut up and froze the meat, it was a somewhat urgent situation. Not totally urgent because the meat was in ice and water in coolers, but that is only good for so long.

We priced new low end fridges and the best price we could find on one of those was $479 plus $42.63 in sales tax. That was way more than we wanted to spend. We went to an estate clearance place because they had a fridge for $159, but it smelled like freezer burn, which in my mind makes me think it will cause serious freezer burn. Plus it was ancient. Not all was lost there, though, because I did find a double boiler for $16.95. I have been looking high and low for one for my salve making and haven't been able to find one and didn't want to buy the expensive ones on Amazon.

We also went to a place that refurbishes used fridges, but they do a ten day testing period and while they had a half dozen fridges, they were all 1 to 3 days into the testing period.

The place that clearances previous model years were all over $500. There were quite a few on Craigslist, some for $200, some for new prices even though they were used. Most of them did not have the right dimensions for the space, though.

Finally we went to the Habitat for Humanity resale store and they had several fridges in working condition. Only two met our dimensions and one of those the freezer part was way too small. So that narrowed it down to one off-white side by side that was perfect for our needs. Grand total spent: $75. Well under what we wanted to spend and helped to support a good charity.

It works great, too. It may not be pretty, but a back up fridge in the laundry room does not have to be. And it's not ugly. It's just not pretty. I am really happy we found it. I would really not have been happy to have to have bought 2 brand new refrigerators in the space of 12 months.

It also does have the hook ups to have filtered water in the door. Obviously we can't do that here, but we might be able to do that in the future after we move. It's an option, anyway. I am very happy with what we managed to find with a lot of legwork and some outside the box thinking.

Christmas Fund Update

October 1st, 2015 at 09:25 pm

$254.81 Starting Balance
+_29.50 C1-360 Interest
+__0.20 WE CU Interest
+_51.33 WECU Interest
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
----------------------------
$345.84 New Balance

$654.16 to go to hit my goal of $1000.