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Payday Round Up, EF Update, Funds Update

August 28th, 2013 at 12:15 am

I've been paying things in dribs and drabs this week, but thought I should do a full accounting.

$700.00 Mortgage
__90.00 Physical Therapy
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_144.00 Water/sewer Old House
__49.91 Propane
__28.52 Medical
_175.00 Medical
_853.09 AMEX
__40.00 Allowances
_200.00 Cash (groceries, OTC meds)
2680.52 Total Out

I added $100 to the Emergency Fund so it is now at $6044.92, so I have met my goal of $6000 in the EF by the end of August.

New Fund Totals:

$565.61 January Money Fund
$505.21 Appliance Fund
1800.00 Laptop Fund
$600.00 College Fund
$500.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
$400.00 Property Tax Fund
$500.00 Christmas Fund
$100.00 Moving Fund
$000.00 Propane Fund

I had the money set aside for half the water/sewer bill and the propane bill, but I paid them directly out of this paycheck. Then I transferred what I had set aside to the January Money Fund. That was $121.91.

And I think that covers it.

New Fund Totals

August 3rd, 2013 at 11:08 pm

$400.00 Property Tax Fund
__19.00 Dues Fund
_300.00 Propane Fund
_500.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
_505.21 Appliance Fund (Freezer)
_444.11 January Money
_600.00 College Fund
_700.00 Laptop Fund (DH Replacement)
1000.00 Laptop Fund (DD)
_400.00 Christmas Fund
$4868.32 Total Funds in Funds

And I also have $19 and $72 set aside for garbage and water/sewer which are paid every two months.

Payday Accounting, Ranch Trip, and Family Reunion

August 3rd, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I paid the majority of the bills for the month from this paycheck and sent money to all of the funds. I need to create two new funds though. One for the transfer fee when we sell our house (in case we are the ones who have to pay it and not the new buyers) and one for the Thanksgiving turkey. Don't laugh. Organic pastured turkeys are expensive.

We went down to the ranch today and bought meat. We ended up with 4 beef chuck roasts, 1 pork shoulder roast, 8 pork chops, 1 bottle of their seasoning (which they threw in for free) and 18 pounds of hamburger for $300. They had some stewing hens for $7 each and I was really tempted, because old hens make the best broth, but I decided I'd rather spend that money on hamburger. And I knew I'd be making rabbit stock on Monday anyway.

We also went to a family reunion for a few hours before going to the ranch. It was okay. It's DH's mother's side of the family. Not too many people showed up this year. I got to see how big some of the babies have gotten and one of the cousins is pregnant. I was kind of bored because the people I usually talk to weren't there.

We swung by the house since it was sort of on the way back home. It's rather gorgeous inside, but...but, but, but, the stuff that was supposed to get done today did not get done. The new gutters are not up, the shed and play structure still have not been painted and the touch ups on the porch and on two of the outside walls where other paint colors show up haven't been done. I don't even think any of them worked today. *sighs* I will be so glad when this is really over. It was supposed to be done today. Not even close.

Anyway, here's the money out for this payday:

$1000.00 to BoA (will pay more next week)
__300.00 to Mom for August utilities
___24.05 Electric (Old House)
___44.87 Phone (Old House)
___72.56 Internet
___19.00 Garbage (Holding Tank)
__100.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
___19.00 HoA Dues (Old House, Holding Tank)
__100.00 Property Tax Fund (Holding Tank)
__225.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Care
__100.00 Propane Fund (Old House, Holding Tank)
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Appliance Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
__300.00 Beef Fund
__100.00 Cash for week
___40.00 Allowances
__757.82 Car payment (plus extra)
$3602.30 Total Money Out

I feel like we are really staying on top of things right now. I will still need to buy some produce, but we shouldn't need to buy meat for 6 to 8 weeks. I don't envision any other spending this next week.

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

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.

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)

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

Payday Entry

May 31st, 2013 at 05:00 pm

So I added the $40.50 in the coin jar and the $31.96 leftover in checking to the EF. Along with the June deposit of $100, which I made today even though it's not June yet, bumps the Emergency Fund to $3844.78., so the normal goal would be to scrape up enough to get it to $4000, but since DH has overtime, June's goal is $5000.

I went ahead and funded my funds as usual today, even though I know that eventually that money will probably be wiped out for the Wisconsin trip. But I'm keeping it in the funds sections anyway until we know either way what is going to happen there. Available fund totals are now $1300 ($1000, if I don't count the meager college fund). This does not count the property tax fund or the propane fund, or any other fund that is a bill paying fund for bills not paid monthly. We'll only be taking from the non-essential funds like Christmas, Laptop, etc.

Here's what came out of today's paycheck:

$300.00 to Mom for June utilities
__90.00 Physical therapy
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 Me Life Insurance
__66.62 Car Insurance
__45.67 Old House Insurance
__41.16 Old House Security
_168.00 Storage
_600.00 Mortgage ($224.14 extra to principal)
_100.00 Cash for week
__30.00 Kids Allowances
_620.64 AMEX (gas and eating out)
__72.00 Water/sewer Fund
_100.00 Emergency Fund
__19.00 Garbage Fund
_100.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
__19.00 Dues Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
3165.77 Total Paid Out

I have $241 in checking, msot of that will go for groceries and over the counter medicines to restock up after the three of us were ill.

When the mortgage payment hits the remaining mortgage will be under $12K. I am excited. $10K left seems closer than ever

Oh, I forgot, there was also a medical bill of $157.41 for my daughter.

Payday and Musings

May 10th, 2013 at 07:58 pm

Okay, now for all the things that went out of this paycheck.

$1000.00 to Mom
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___35.42 Electric Old House
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
___51.78 Garbage (one extra can this month)
__212.71 Medical
___41.78 Security Old House
___72.56 Internet
__225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
__105.00 Propane Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Appliance Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
__100.00 Vacation Fund (Hawaii 2018)
___28.00 Kids' Allowances
___75.00 Three NZW rabbits from different bloodline
__100.00 Cash for the Week
$3414.07 Total Paid Out

We are down to owing Mom $72,000. That means 6 years left to go, if we continue on the repayment of $1000 a month. It will be gone when we are both 49. Our van will be paid off well before that. After that is paid off we will work on paying off the mortgage on our small farm that we plan to buy once our house sells. And also play mega catch up with retirement. We want to go into retirement 100% debt free, which will make it easier to get by on less. As will raising our own meat and growing our own produce as much as possible.

It feels like we are finally starting to really pull ahead as I plan for future needs and am able to set the money aside each month. We are two paychecks ahead of our bills now and we have half a month's income in the Emergency Fund. It's getting there and each small step I take has built on the last one. Some people may scoff at $10 here or $5 there, but I know. I know from experience that it is the little things just as much as the big things that get you there.

Updating Funds

May 10th, 2013 at 05:35 pm

I added $36 to the Emergency Fund today. It was what was left in checking when the new paycheck hit. That brings the EF to $3642.32. I'm going to bump my May goal up to $3700.

I also funded some funds today, which I'll put the amounts in my payday post, but I thought I'd post my fund totals.

$1000.00 in the Mac Book Fund
__200.00 in the Laptop Fund
__200.00 in the Christmas Fund
__200.00 in the College Fund
__100.00 in the Appliance Fund
__200.00 in the Hawaii 2018 Fund
__100.00 in the Property Tax Fund
__305.00 in the Propane Fund
___89.00 in the HoA Dues Fund

We've got a long way to go on some of these, especially the College Fund, but we will be putting the Christmas Bonus in, as well as most of the tax refund next year (which is ridiculously big because of our HSA that we always manage to use all of).

The Christmas Fund will be augmented by the Amazon gift cards I get from swagbucks. DH's Laptop is limping along and hopefully will continue to do so until I've got the replacement money in place. DD will be getting her MacBook (or equivalent laptop) in August. She's taking some graphics intensive classes next year as a senior. The Appliance Fund is currently earmarked for a chest freezer. Property tax was just paid last month. Propane Fund is just a holding fund until the bill comes and I pay it.

All in all, things are going along pretty smoothly in the Funds department.

It's Been a Dime Finding Kind of Month

April 26th, 2013 at 02:20 am

Yesterday I found another dime. I think this is the fourth dime this month. This one was in terrible condition. It was so dirty I barely saw it. It blended in with the dirt. I found it about a foot from where we store out outdoor garbage bin.

I added $9.44 to the coin jar today. Today was also the day of the $10 auto deposit to the Emergency Fund so that brings the balance to $3,423.75, making me $31.25 short of my April goal of $3455. I have a deposit ready to go of $41.25 from the coin jar that I will deposit tomorrow, so I will hit my goal with an extra $10.

Because I managed to save $210 to the Emergency Fund this month, I am going to set my goal for May to save $220 and get my EF to $3685. If I find that easy enough to do, then my June goal will bump up another $10. I might just start doing that each month until it hurts and then back off one.

If I can manage to do that until December I will have $5505 in the EF, plus whatever piddly interest Capitol One 360 puts in there. Since my goal for the year is to have it at $5000, it would be great if I can achieve the higher number.

DH says that there should be big bonuses this December because of the size of the projects being worked on. There will be higher profits to be passed along. The smaller bonus this year was because they had smaller projects last year. He says with the size of the project we should see a bonus like double or triple the one he got after he'd been employed for them by a year. I am hoping that is true, but I won't let myself get my hopes up so high like I did last year.

Plans for bonus money is to set aside $2500 off the top for the medical deductible of 2014 and stick it in our HSA. Anything after that goes into college savings. Same for our Income Tax Refund. Straight into the college fund. These monies will primarily be for DD to go to community college, but DH can use it to when he decides he is ready to go for his B.S. in Electrical Engineering via an online university. The same one he got his A.S. from in Electrical Engineering. He also has an A.S. in Architecture. Or maybe it's an A.A. Is Architecture an art or a science? Because you are drawing...

Hopefully those monies will be large enough to pay for college, or a good portion of it. Hopefully we will have our farm before she starts college. DD will be taking a business class and be running one of our farm businesses, probably the rabbit end, with any profits not used for expenses going into her college fund and a small monthly salary. DS will help run one of the other businesses, likely the egg business, and will draw a small salary from that while the rest goes into his college fund.

I'm going to have to look up small business law and farm law and how hiring your own children works for a small business. Or maybe I'll have DH do it. That's the boring part, plus he had a small business once so he knows where to go for the answers.

Bits and Pieces

March 1st, 2013 at 05:03 pm

After my deposit of coin jar money yesterday and my weekly $10 auto deposit to savings, plus today's interest at ING, my Emergency Fund is now at $3021.46. My February goal was $3200, so that was met. My goal for the month of March is to get the Emergency Fund to $3200. I am not being overly aggressive this month because we're going to Disneyland. So that will be the usual $100 transfer to the EF, plus the four weekly $10 auto transfers. That'll leave me with $38.54 to scrape up.

We received our property tax in the mail and it's gone down by almost $200 for the year. That means I only need to be budgeting $71 a month for property tax instead of $100. I am going to put the additional $29 into the college fund each month along with the $100 from the Vacation Fund I am eliminiating and the $50 from the laptop fund and the $50 from the appliance fund. So $229 a month will be going into the CF, plus any Christmas bonus DH gets this year and next year's tax refund. That should cover a year at the community college and text books.

One of the courses DD is taking next year at the high school is worth 5 college credits, so that will be one less class to pay for. She is getting pretty serious about doing the peace corp after 2 years at the community college before coming back and completing college. She'll come back from that with $7000 for school, teaching experience, intensive foreign language training, and the ability to live on a budget in a third world country, all things which should bode well for her future. I would like her to go to one of the Chinese language countries as I think Mandarin would be of most benefit to her future, but it's her decision to make.

We have made the decision to start raising rabbits this year and not next. It is a big decision, but my mother was very excited about the idea of doing it. I thought she'd be down on it, but she wants us to raise them and some meat chickens and take out her large flower garden and plant it in vegetables this year. So, I am really getting just about everything we want for our homesteading ventures.

I think part of why my mother is so on board with all of this is because the way the economy is going she doesn't think she'll be able to afford to buy food, just to grow it. I have told her that we will always make sure she is provided for, that's what you do for family, but she still worries. There is a sharp rise in prices right now and there will probably be an even sharper one in a couple of months, so I don't really blame her.

I paid out $90 for physical therapy today.

Tweaking the Budget

February 28th, 2013 at 04:59 pm

I'm not sure what we would have done this year if we hadn't managed to get the credit cards paid off when we did. We have lost $600 every 4 weeks to the 2% rise in taxes. Previously that money was going to pay down debt. Our plan for this year had been to start contributing to the 401K. Now it's going to pay for a government retirement program that has no chance of even existing when we are old enough to get anything back. I feel like they are taking our retirement away from us twice. One by not allowing us to have the money to provide for our own retirement, and two, by feeding it into a system that will be bankrupt long before we ever see our 60's or 70's. It is frustrating.

Our 401K is not the greatest, it has NO matching at all. But it is a tax shelter. Just one we can't afford to contribute, too.

I am trying to rethink a lot right now. The idea of cashflowing college for the kids is still, maybe, within reach. It would be so much better if there were jobs available. If I knew they could save a couple hundred dollars a month towards college I wouldn't worry so much. Even my niece, who did manage to get a job last summer, only gets about 3 hours a week because retail is practically moving backwards right now.

So anyway, changes I will be making starting after March is to eliminate the vacation fund of $100 a month. This one is going to just have to last us for several years. And that's okay. It's a luxury and vacations were completely financed by us (no vacation benefits). If we hadn't been saving so long for this one and already had most of it taken care of, I'd seriously think about cancelling it.

I will be cutting the laptop fund down to $50 a month and I will be cutting the appliance fund down to $50 a month. Both were previously at $100 each. Once I know what the property tax is going to be this year I can make an adjustment on my property tax fund. It has been approximately $1060 per year for the last several and our tax assessment went down. They should send out the bill soon. Right now I am setting aside $100 a month, but when I know what it actually is, I will cut it accordingly.

Once mid-April arrives I can turn off the furnace at the old house, which will mean no propane costs. Propane has jumped dramatically this year. We keep the furnace on until there is no chance of the pipes freezing. Also once they are done with the repairs to the old house I can have the water/sewer shut off, saving me $72 a month.

The four person cell phone contract we are on expires this summer. With DS being homeschooled there is no reason for him to have a cell phone anymore. He is always with me or his father or his grandmother. The only person he ever texts he can IM as well. Honestly I wish there were an unlimited texting only plan, no phone calls, because that would be the best thing for our needs. DH and I use Skype when he's in Alaska.

I think when we do move I am going to up our laying hens and start selling eggs. Just one of those sign in the front yard things. If I can make enough to pay for feed for them and some broilers that would cut our food costs dramatically. Also starting to seriously research rabbits. I've talked about it off and on, but it's time to get down to the knitty gritty on it.

If eggs pay for feed I can cut our grocery budget by $200 a month. Then maybe we could handle college and retirement.

I keep trying to keep myself focused on the fact that we are out of credit card debt and we are comfortable. It is mostly luxuries I am looking to cut. It is not necessities. But we've only gotten to have luxuries recently so it is hard to have worked so hard to get here and then feel like the benefits we should have been reaping have been snatched away. We feel the loss of that $600 a month. But I imagine there are a lot of people out there that feel that 2% even deeper.

Maybe It's Silly, But...

February 10th, 2013 at 05:57 pm

Sometimes I worry that I will be at loose ends once the credit card debt is gone. I mean we've been in it for almost ten years. And I've been working hard to get out of it since I started blogging in April of 2006. There were ups and downs along the way as we added to and subtracted from the debt, but more or less it's gone steadily down.

And in a few days it will be gone. It's just been such a big part of my life for so long. I've had this goal, this huge, challenging goal that frankly, at times, I thought I was never going to meet. But now I am about to. And it's leaving me with an unsettled feeling, like maybe I won't be firmly focused and driven anymore.

I've got other goals, of course I do. There's college and there's the Emergency Fund and there's the van loan and the mortgage. But somehow I just don't feel as pumped about those things. Take the van loan for example. It's a lot and it's got a pretty low interest rate, but it feels "okay" because when I look out the window it's sitting there. It's tangible. And it doesn't bother me in the same way credit card debt does.

Maybe that's because credit card debt is so intangible. You are paying for the past, sometimes for stuff you don't even remember you charged. Okay, and I have scars on my body that remind of each and every medical procedure I went through, but that's it. The meals out, and hotel fees, and all the things we did to help the family get by while I was recovering, I can't see those as tangible. So I hated having it, this debt that seemed like it gave us no value after the original purchase. The van does give us value still and will for many, many years to come.

Maybe I just need to adjust my focus and make that seem as big a deal as the credit cards did? It's hard though. I mean how do you change that if it's ingrained like this? And with the mortgage, well, I dislike it, and it's so close to being paid off, but when the house sells it will be paid off and then we'll start all over again with a new house and a new mortgage, so how hard, really should I try to work on it.

College is a bit easier. DD is a junior and we need to save $7000 for her first year and $7000 for her second year at the local community college. I can see that as a tangible goal now. And if she follows the plan and joins the peace corp after the first two years before coming back to finish at the local university with a $7000 scholarship, we'll have plenty of time to save up for her third and fourth years and DS's first year at CC.

Investing in their educations seems both tangible and intangible at the same time. I don't want them saddled with debt, but at the same time part of me is wishing college weren't so darn expensive. Part of me is not wanting to decide between funding retirement and starting the kids off on the best financial footing we can. I just hope jobs are more available then, because right now I don't know if they'll even be able to work to help pay for school.

The Emergency Fund is what I really need to worry about the most though. I want it at $18,000 by the time we hit 2015. I want it double that by 2017. And sooner or later, we really need to start putting money into the 401K. DH's work doesn't match at all so part of me has wondered if it is even worth it. I suppose for the pre-tax dollars, but maybe it would be better to just save on our own. I worry about the stock market crashing again just as we get back into it.

The economy worries me. They fiddle with numbers so much to try to say things are better than they are, they print money that isn't backed by anything, and they say it's getting better out there, but all I'm seeing is people that have run out of their unemployment so they are no longer counted as jobless, but they still are. The lines at the food bank stretch longer and longer every week (it's near my daughter's school so I drive by it frequently). Food prices are higher, gas prices are higher, interest rates drop lower and lower on savings. Maybe I just think too darn much.

Maybe in another week I can refocus myself, figure out which things are really the most important. All I know for sure is that I don't want to start frittering our money away.

Preliminary Run and College Musings

February 3rd, 2013 at 04:28 pm

DH took a preliminary run at our taxes. He is only waiting for the interest from one account. He will call on Monday to get it, but since that account never has more than $500 in it at any one time, it won't be very much. Right now it looks like we will be getting back $8500. That's a couple hundred less than last year, but DH had a bigger income last year because of a higher bonus.

Now before someone says anything about adjusting our withholding so we don't get so much back and have more during the year, we can't. DH already takes the legal number of withholdings. It is not like in the old days when you could claim 47 deductions. The laws are very strict now. And also, $6150 of what we are getting back is due to maxing out and using the full amount of the HSA this year. Without that it would be $2350.

Anyway, so I need to figure out what we will do with that money besides paying off the Chase card. Chase will be at $4900 by the time we get our refund back. So that will leave us with $3600. $1000 of that will go to purchase DD a MacBook, since I wiped out the MacBook fund to pay off debt. So that just leaves $2600.

I think I will let that money sit for a while in case we go over budget while at Disneyland. I don't know if we will or not, but I don't want to have new debt built up on one of the cards. So if we use it, we'll pay it off. Mostly I'd like to put $2000 in the EF. I am aiming towards getting it to $18,000, and then more slowly to $32,000, which will take a few years, especially with college coming up.

DD has agreed to doing her first two years at the local community college and then most likely doing 2 years in the Peace Corp before coming back to do a couple more years at the local university. The community college does offer Japanese. She'll be talking her 3rd year of high school Japanese next year, so college Japanese would help to reinforce that.

I just wish they taught Mandarin. They do offer it at WWU. Actually China is one of the countries that the Peace Corp works in, and the language training is pretty intensive before they send you in. Something like 5 hours a day for three months, if I remember right. But she isn't sure about China. She's thinking more about one of the islands or Africa. I don't want to push her in any one direction, because it's her life and her choice, but learning Mandarin would pretty much guarantee her a well-paying job in certain fields.

I just worry about the future of my kids. I want them to be able to get jobs they can support themselves on in a faltering economy. I can lead them to the proper areas based on their interests, but I can't push them in. It has be something they are interested in, otherwise it is a waste of both time and money.


I added $10 to the EF, bringing the total to $1725.35. Just $174.65 left to meet my February goal of $1900.

Life Experience and College

January 25th, 2013 at 12:42 am

I've been looking around for college scholarships and whatnot and I ran across Americorps first, and then shifted over to the Peacecorps information. Volunteers with the peace corp make a 27 month commitment. 3 months of it are intensive training, including 4 to 5 hours a day in language classes. My daughter perked right up on hearing that. Then after you complete your two years of service, they release you with $7400, what they treat as a re-entry into the real world thing. But that $7400 would go for college in my daughter's case.

So the plan is looking like sending her to the community college for 2 years and then sending her to the Peacecorps. And then when she comes back she can have her records transferred to the local university. Or she could re-sign up.

During the Peacecorp time they pay a monthly stipend for housing and food and they pay for the cost to travel to and from what country you are assigned to. They also have full medical and dental.

The only requirement is that you are an American citizen and 18 years old.

So it looks like we will only need to come up with $15,000 for her two years at the community college and then we can save the rest of the rest of the money for her years at WWU.

Then we can repeat the whole thing with DS. Although he says he might like to go straight out of high school, giving us more time to save for his college.

The other ramification is that once they go there for two years, they will not be our dependents so that means the schools or organizations will not be allowed to use our income in considering grants and scholarships. And their minor income during those years will put them well below the threshhold for some of these grants.

They are excited about it now. Let's see how things are when the time comes.


January 10th, 2013 at 04:58 pm

I have been wondering about maybe paying off the Sienna when we sell the house. Right now we have close to $800 a month going to it (we're paying more than the actual monthly payment). The van will be 2 years old on June 6th, so we have a while yet to go to own it free and clear. We've knocked off about 4 months worth of payments by paying extra.

This is only if we get anywhere near our asking price and can still bank a good amount for a new downpayment. With the car paid off it frees up $800 a month to go towards college or the EF or the downpayment. But I don't know. A bigger down payment means a smaller mortgage. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I did talk to DD about the fact that if she went to the local community college for two years and then transferred to the local university (they partner so credits from BCC are transferrable to WWU), it would save us about $15,000. She seems amenable to that and it would give us more time to save the money for WWU.

I figure we can save about $12,000 a year for college each year once the credit cards are paid off. The $10,000 that we will save by her going to the community college the first two years can be saved for WWU and should be enough to cover the shortage for years 3 and 4. Assuming that tuition doesn't go up too much, of course. There will also be tax returns and hopefully yearly bonuses that could be saved for college if necessary.

How did college get so expensive? When I went it was about $100 a credit up to 15 credits and then anything between 15 and 18 credits was free and if you took more than 18 credits (not recommended) it cost money again. Mom paid for half, I paid for half.

It helped that I had a scholarship from work that was enough to at least pay for my books. It also helped that taking classes in the summer session was cheaper. But it's been 22 years and tuition has just gotten ridiculous, even with the local discount. We are definitely going to feel it, but we should still be able to manage without loans. I guess I've gotten good at managing these last almost 18 years since I've been married.

If my daughter can manage to find a job, I'll expect her to contribute. Same for my son when he gets there. But that's a big if in today's economy and I don't see that getting any better. This depression is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I am just hoping we won't see an all out collapse of the American dollar, but the rate at which the government is spending I'm not holding my breath.

They just make me so mad. I mean, the aid to help Sandy victims has been tacked on with so much crap with each elected official getting a little something something for his own state. That sort of thing is business as usual for our elected, but it needs to stop. It should be about helping out the victims, not seeing what you can get for you and yours before you'll okay help.

I wish we could add an ammendment to the Constitution saying that bills had to be specifically for that one thing only and not to help pig farmers in Arkansas or corn growers in Nebraska (just randomly picking here) when it's supposed to go to rebuilding stuff in New York. That's half if not more of the problem with our debt. So much greed. That's the kind of entitlements that need to stop, the ones the officials get away with.

I wish we could make all elected officials live on a wage that was just high enough they couldn't get food stamps and make them have to pay for their own medical insurance and lose their vacation days until they've balanced the budget or at least cut all of the fat our of it. I bet it would happen pretty darn fast if they had to actually feel it.

Sorry, this turned into a bit of a rant. Don't know where it even came from.

Tomorrow is payday and I'll get to see what the higher taxes does to the paycheck. Ah, well, maybe that's where that rant came from. The waiting.


January 8th, 2013 at 08:19 am

I feel like I am just waiting for the days to pass until Friday arrives. I thought when we were ahead of the game like we almost are now, waiting anxiously for paydays would be a thing of the past. But no. I'm still waiting for paydays. I'm restless for them to come so I can shell out for the debt repayments this month that will finish off that darn BoA card. I am particularly wanting to see how much the extra social security tax is going to affect paychecks.

And then I will be restless for the income tax refund so that the Chase card and the rest of our credit card debt will be a thing of the past.

I imagine even after that I will be anxious to start socking away money for the emergency fund, the HSA, and college and to pay off the mortgage, so I will still be waiting for each paycheck.

Maybe one day it won't be a waiting game for me, but somehow I doubt it. I think there will always be something that I'm wanting to add to or save up for. Of course once the EF is to 3 months I imagine the waiting will take on less anxiety and be more like a simple ordering of where the money goes.

Once the credit cards are paid off I want to get the EF to $18,300. That is 3 months' expenses. If we can save $2000 a month for that starting in May, we should hit that by the end of the year. After that I'll add to it more slowly, aiming for $30,000.

Meanwhile I hope to start socking away money for college0 (DD will start in the fall of 2015) and bump up payments to the mortgage. That will be under $13K by the end of April. Also, get all the last minute fiddly things finally done and the carpet replaced in the old house so that we can get the dang thing on the market.

I have no idea if our tax refunds after this year are going to remain substantial. That depends on whether or not we max out the HSA again like we have done for the last two years. If we do, any substantial tax refund will likely be thrown at savings for college. If we have a healthy year, likely we won't need to max out the HSA again. I have a feeling we will do it again at least this coming year. I'm pretty sure I'll need another MRI done on my knee and possibly more knee surgery at some point this year the way it has been acting so I need to save up some for the HSA, too.

Not to mention that I'm paying off the rest of my crown ($525) and will be getting another one in February, so at least another $700. That's almost halfway to our deductible right there. Throw in one BP prescription and we'll be at the halfway point by the end of Feb.

So the waiting game continues. 3 more days until payday, 3 more days until I can make the next $2000 payment to BoA and the total dropping to $3,610.74. Ten more days to drop it to $1,610.74. 17 more days to drop it to $0. I am forever counting the numbers.

3 more days with $27 left in the checking account, no bills to pay, and $25 left of my December allowance. Just ticking along, waiting, waiting, waiting for the end of the month to arrive. Waiting for the future to begin. Waiting.

Happy 2013 Everyone--My Goals

January 1st, 2013 at 12:39 am

I am really looking forward to this being an easier year than last year. It's got to be.

So I've made a few goals for the year. I don't call them resolutions since I don't believe in them, they are just some things I'd like to get accomplished between now and 2014.

1. Pay off the last of the credit card debt, of course.

2. Rebuild the Emergency Fund.

3. Sell the house.

4. Start putting money in the college fund, at least $7000 by the end of the year. Won't start until #1 is accomplished. I'd like to have $15,000 by the fall of 2015, which should cover a year at our local university or two years at the local community college for DD.

I know #3 is not really up to me, it will either sell or not, but hopefully it will. I do have some other goals, but I will reassess after I pay off the credit card debt and the EF is up to at least $5000.

Oh, and I added $2.45 to the coin jar last night. I had $1.99 in interest hit my ING account and deposited $20. So that $21.99 went to the EF, bringing the new EF total to $1545.79.

Christmas Bonus Related Musings

December 1st, 2012 at 10:32 pm

The paperwork for putting the Christmas Bonus (well, end of year safety bonus really) in the 401K came today. That is not what we are doing with it this year, but I kind of think it is nice that they are offering that as an option. It would sure help out people who can't contribute throughout the year or can only contribute minimally to get caught up. It also feels like a tease though. The closer we get to when it is sent out the more impatient I get about it. I just so want the credit card debt portion of our lives to be over.

DH and I have discussed what to do with the bonus in future years. DD wants to go to either the local university or a state school in Oregon and the bonus would go a long way to whether or not we can cashflow tuition. If the bonus is 5% of yearly income it would cover half a year's tuition. If it is 10% it would cover a year. Even at 5%, we would only have to save up another $7000 each year. I absolutely am opposed to getting student loans. I do not want my kids saddled with that kind of debt starting their adult lives and I refuse to take it out ourselves. I do expect them to work and help pay if jobs are available.

The other option for DD is two years at the local community college and then a transfer to the university. That would give us longer to save up for the final 3 years of college (5 year teaching degree). A full load at the community college is $3000 a semester.

When it comes to DS's turn, he will likely go to a technical college. If his interests hold true, he'd like to be involved in power generation, the operation of dams, solar power, and wind power. I know there's an engineeing program for that kind of thing, I just can't remember what it is called. It is definitely something he is passionate about. He built a water wheel that powered a lightbulb in the 5th grade.

One of the things I have been thinking about lately is whether or not my kids will be able to get jobs to help pay for college. It is super hard for teenagers to get jobs right now in our area. The fast food jobs are held by thirty and forty-somethings who had no other choices and are far more reliable than people with no work history.

If we end up moving to a place with enough land we will be raising rabbits and I think that might be a good job for them. We would, of course, raise our own meat rabbits, but then any surplus could be sold. In our county rabbit meat goes for about $15 a pound. Selling a live doe or buck is about $30 per for good parents. Rabbit manure is highly sought after for gardens because it doesn't have to be composted, so that is another sellable item. And then of course there are the pelts. It could be a nice little business. And DH says he will slaughter if they don't want to.

I think I would want to eventually establish 2 breeding lines with 2 bucks and 3 does per buck. That would be beneficial because then we could sell a buck from one line and does from the other to the same people. It is kind of hard to find that in established rabbitries around here and you don't want brother and sister rabbits breeding, so you have to look at more than one place usually to get your start up animals.

I don't know. It's all conjecture at this point. But it would give them work to do and start them off with their own business.

Subscribing for Food Delivery and Budget

February 17th, 2011 at 10:22 am

Thanks to Laura I learned about a food program that amazon.com has for shipping you food and if you take out a subscription for it, you get 15% off the purchase price. And if you buy more than $25 worth you can get the free shipping. Of course they then wanted me to apply for their credit card and get $30 off as well, but I'm not at the point in my life where I have any intention of adding another credit card into the mix.

Anyway the choices of subscribing had a six month option and could be cancelled at any time so I went ahead and clicked the six month option. I will be getting 12 boxes of a gluten-free, organic, hamburger helper type (but healthier) lasanga dinner. They stopped carrying this particular brand around here. I figure if we go through it faster than six months we can switch to three months and if we don't go through it as fast as I think we will, I can just drop the subscription.

Anyway, I paid $34 for it, which is $2.83 a box. This stuff cost $4 a box when the stores around here still carried it. So, add in the cost of a pound of hamburger (2.29 usually here on sale) and I've got a filling dinner for 4 for $5.12. Add a veg and it goes up a buck. Not bad for something super fast and easy to make. It's good to have back up items like this when I don't feel like making a real effort to cook.

I also ordered a cookbook as a birthday present for me. B&N didn't have it when I went in there before my birthday. Just as well. The price from amazon was $18.79. When I bought it at Christmas as a gift for my neice it was $30. It would have been worth paying that, though. It's a really excellent book that tells all about the ingredients and covers dozens of proteins and hundreds of fruits and veg, as well as having recipes for the items. It's a real learning tool for a cook and the pictures are amazing. I got free shipping on that as well.

Then I ordered a replacement copy of a novel of mine that DH took on an airplane two years ago and left behind. It's out of print now, but I was able to find it new on half.com for $9 plus $3.99 shipping from someone with 100% positive feedback. I'm considering that my b'day present, too, even though it's technically not.

I'll need to set aside the extra money for the AMEX when it comes due. I put a notation in the budget. I've been working slowly to get the budget set up so that it covers extras like this, and put on two columns as holding tank in and holding tank out, to keep track of any extra money in each category and when it's paid out. The holding tank will be saved in the same savings account as the safety net. For now, anyway. I may switch it over to the laptop fund account once I reach my goal there, just to keep it away from the easily accessible portion of our EF money.

I was running numbers last night and once the credit card debt is gone, we will have $4000 a month just to put to saving up for a downpayment on a house. That's $96,000 after two years, assuming all goes well. Add that to whatever we sell the house for and we'll have a pretty substantial downpayment. As much as I'm going to want to rush to get out of here once the debt is gone, after running the numbers it makes so much more finanacial sense to wait two more years. We're probably looking in a price range of $350,000 max and I'd like to not carry more than a $150,000 mortgage. I know it might be closer to $200,000, but hopefully we'll find something closer to the lower end of our price range and not the higher one.

We also want to buy a mini-van in 2013. Hopefully a 2011 Toyota Sienna because they meet all of our needs and are so nice. They are too expensive brand new, but the price drops substantially on two year old vehicles. We definitely want the new redesign though, so a 2011 car in 2013 will be just right. We'll have $10,000 saved by then for a downpayment and we'll have a decent trade in and we're used to paying almost $500 a month on the car anyway, so if we can get around that on financing the rest (probably 15 to 20,000 depending on mileage), we'll be in a good place for it. By then our FICO should be back over 800, which makes low interest rates our friend.

After that there will be at least $2000 a month going into a college fund. Her school of choice is the local U and it, at the moment, costs about $7000 a year (including books and fees) for a local student living at home. After a year of saving we'll have $24,000 set aside right as our daughter is starting college. I'll keep adding to it. Fortunately our children are four grades apart so she will graduate college in the summer that my son will start in the fall. Hopefully they can both get scholarships, too. DD is on honor role as a freshman and DS is testing well above fifth grade level despite his behavioral issues. So it's a possibility. I want nothing to do with student loans or having my kids start out their lives with the debt they cause.

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