So I've been playing with my July and August budget spreadsheets and I think we will be able to pay off $2500 in July if the 15 hours of OT a week continues, which DH's work says it will. Then projecting ahead to August, if he gets the full month at 15 hours of OT a week, we should be able to pay off an additional $3500. It is more than July because there are five paydays in August.
It'd be about $600 more, but I am setting $300 a month aside for buying beef and I will also need to put a deposit down on two pasture raised turkeys around late September. I want to buy a half a steer in about 4 months' time. I don't think I will buy a hog this year. I think I will just buy what I need monthly from the ranch this year for pork, which is 8 packages of bacon, 4 packages of pork chops (they contain 2 chops each), a pork roast and 2 packages of ground pork.
I should get a paycheck from Youtube/Google this month. It won't be all that much, but it goes into savings. I am going to invest in a larger tripod for making vids. Right now I only have one that goes three feet and some of the stuff I do for my channel would benefit from one that is at least five feet tall. I'm also thinking about getting a table top tripod for my phone since I do use it sometimes when I am making cooking videos. I should still have a small profit be year's end after expenses. If I ever earn enough, I'd like to get better photo editing software as well.
I can go two more years claiming that as hobby income, but after that I will have to start pre-paying taxes on it as I understand it. Right now we claim it as hobby income and they just take whatever taxes it may have out of our refund. After 3 years they consider it a viable business, even though it still is really just a hobby.
I will be doing more cooking videos though which should increase channel traffic and thus income. Some are Instant Pot and some are regular. If you'd like to see my recent ones:
Homemade Tzatziki Sauce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyvHtZtzuNg
Homemade pita bread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izcJlgkofPI
Instant Pot Chicken Shwarama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCR5LeRu4pY
All three recipes were used together by spreading the Tzatziki on the pita bread and piling on the chicken shawarma. It turned out really well.
Viewing the 'Extra Income Sources' Category
So I've been playing with my July and August budget spreadsheets and I think we will be able to pay off $2500 in July if the 15 hours of OT a week continues, which DH's work says it will. Then projecting ahead to August, if he gets the full month at 15 hours of OT a week, we should be able to pay off an additional $3500. It is more than July because there are five paydays in August.
MIL gave us $5000 yesterday. I have a lot of mixed feelings about what to do with this money. The strongest emotion says to stick this right into the Emergency Fund. That would bring it to nearly two months of expenses. It has been very hard having it down so low. And we still don't know what the future holds job wise. His job with this company keeps getting extensions, but we are living 3 months at a time, it seems.
Another part of me feels like we should throw it at debt, we are supposed to be throwing everything there, but DH and I both feel weird about taking money from his mother to throw at the loan to my mother. Yet at the same time, we both want that debt gone. It has been hanging over us too long and prevents us from saving for our future. I also don't know how my mother would feel about taking that money if she found out where it came from, which I have no intention of telling her, but she's nosy and has a way of finding stuff out. We are not telling the kids about this money. So if we do decide to pay it to her we might stretch it out over a few months so it doesn't come in a big lump.
Another thing we could do is open a Roth IRA. Probably a spousal IRA since I have nothing saved for retirement at all and I'd feel better if some was in my name, too. If we were out of debt, that is likely what we would do with the majority of the money she is giving us, open a Roth for both of us. But we aren't. I know once we are out of debt we can really contribute, so it comes back to that. It always comes back to paying off the loan.
There are a few things we could really use the money for, like I need new glasses, and we need new rabbit cages, and DH would like a new laptop or at least to have the money available to get one when his laptop gives up the ghost, which it has been threatening to do for the last year or so. It would also be nice to get DS into a driver's class so he can actually learn how to drive. DH hasn't had the time to teach him and my brain hasn't been in the right place to do it, either.
But I know we can get by with the old cages and that we have started a fund for the laptop. We need to find the time to teach DS to drive even if DH has to do it on the weekends. The glasses I can probably afford to buy outright in another month out of our medical fund, but my eyes are really, really bugging me and my prescription has changed a lot so the temptation there is strong.
So maybe we put $4000 into the EF and I get my glasses, and the rest of that $1000 we put into the laptop fund. Then when we know for sure what the situation is long term with DH's job, maybe we can take the remainder to throw at debt.
I do know that MIL plans to give us another $7000 this year. She's given us $6000 so far. I am not sure when that will happen, though. At that point we will have to figure out what to do with that money all over again.
Maybe with the momentum we make on debt in these next several weeks with all the overtime, it'll hyper focus us on getting the loan gone, or maybe it'll make it easier to keep it in the Emergency Fund.
I really don't know how people manage to stay gazelle intense on debt payoff if they are worried about future employment. We've got to figure it out though, if we ever want to be done with this and save up for a house and contribute to retirement. Right now buying a house again seems so far out of reach.
I'm not sure what we are going to do. I think for now just let it sit in savings until we are more sure of what we should do and have had a chance to discuss it more.
What would you do, not knowing if you had a job past the end of August, but things seemed somewhat promising? Wait until September? That probably makes the most sense.
CreditCardFree asked me to talk about Thrive Life freeze-dried foods, what I like, what I don't, what I use, and whether or not it really saves money.
I think it would be easier for me to say what products I don't like than what I do like, since I have liked almost everything I have tried. I dislike their instant potatoes. I find the texture to be a little rubbery and unless you season the heck out of them they have no flavor. I don't like the asparagus, it reconstitutes to be very mushy. I don't like the Passionfruit yogurt bites. I don't care for the larger chicken slices and the larger beef slices, as I think it takes far too long for them to reconstitute, longer than claimed.
The small beef and small chicken I like a lot, as well as the ground beef crumbles and the sausage crumbles. I have not tried any of the vegetarian meat products.
What I use most are the onions, the bell peppers, the chili peppers, the potato dices, the celery, the carrots, the green onions and the sweet corn. The sweet corn tastes like candy and we often eat it right from the can like popcorn.
I use the sour cream powder a lot. I have wasted so much sour cream over the years, so to be able to make out the exact amount per recipe with none leftover to mold in the fridge has saved us quite a bit. I also like their instant milk, for those days when we run out and I need a cup for making potatoes or something. I love the butter powder, too, because we have also run out of butter on occasion. I can just make up as much as we need or put some in a recipe.
I also use their seasoning blends, sauce mixes, bouillons, and tomato powder (which is in place of using tomato paste). They have no MSG or other suspect ingredients in these, which is amazing for bouillon. Less occasionally I use the kale and spinach in soups. We love the yogurt bites in vanilla, cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, and blueberry. That's one of my favorite things, actually, as I hate the texture of regular yogurt and I can just eat these straight without adding water and the texture issue isn't there.
I do use the freeze-dried fruit, but I haven't quit buying regular fruit. My kids like the fruit a lot and eat it as is. I think it is great for putting into cereal or muffins, but I don't care to just snack on it.
Most of the veggies are good. I like the broccoli, green beans (though I prefer my home canned), zucchini, and cauliflower. My husband likes the mushrooms (I can't eat mushrooms). The sweet potatoes and butternut squash are pretty good. Nothing is going to be crisp with freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, so I usually use fresh veggies for stir-fries, and these go into casseroles and egg bakes. My MIL likes eating the cauliflower straight out of the can.
Their instant brown rice and instant white rice we use on occasion. They are good, but I'm not sure they are any better than minute rice. I do like the fact that they have some instant beans. My son raves about the multi-grain pancake mix.
I do see some money saving. Because I am not having to peel anything, I am not paying for the weight of the part of the food that gets peeled off and thrown away. It is already cut up into the right size, so I am not having to spend time cutting up onions or other veggies, which saves my hands. With the RA, my hands often hurt too much to peel and chop, so that is a meal saver on those days. It doesn't have the chance to rot in the fridge before I can use it, so I'm not then having to pay to throw it away.
I tend to buy the products that are more pricey when they go on sale. They have different products on sale each month and then they do two semi-annual sales a year that have almost everything discounted. They have one day flash sales once in a while as well. The meat and the yogurt are most expensive so I only buy those when they are on sale and the same with the more expensive fruits (raspberries, grapes, cherries, pears). The rest is pretty well-priced and if you buy more than $100 on the monthly delivery program the shipping is free.
I don't buy the Simple Plates, which are the pre-made meal kits. I think they are expensive for what they are. They are meant to compete with things like Blue Apron and Freshly. While I got several when I got my consultant starter kit, most of them have mushrooms mixed in with the rest of the veggies, so I can't eat them. The family has liked what they have tried, but I wouldn't purchase them myself.
They do have some starter packs called Chef Kits that come in a set for $105 and come with recipes and you can make several recipes from each kit. They have a Southwest Chicken Kit, a Ground Beef Kit, and a Pulled Pork Kit. A lot of people like to start off with those so they can make a few meals and see if they like them. Or they have variety packs of vegetables, fruits, yogurts, and cheese which brings the price down a bit.
I seldom buy their cheese, but when their Parmesan or Monteray Jack goes on sale I will get some if I am out. Those we use so little of that it is not worth buying from the store because it'll go bad before we can use it all. But cheddar and mozzarella I still buy fresh as it is cheaper.
What it is great for is the shelf-life. Most products are one year after being opened, with three exceptions, the ham, the turkey, and the pulled pork. The ham is awful anyway. I forgot to say that I didn't like the ham. It didn't taste like ham to me, just pork and not well flavored. Unopened products have a shelf-life of 25 years, so there is that.
So like all things, you have to comparison shop and get some items on sale. But it has been worth it for me to save my hands a lot of work.
For everything you buy, you get points and after you get enough points you can cash them in for free product. As a consultant I also get a commission off of anyone's purchase from my website: https://www.thrivelife.com/luckyrobinshomestead. If anyone signs up for the monthly delivery (which requires a $25 purchase each month) I get a larger percentage commission and if people sign up to be consultants under me I get a percentage of their sales. It only goes four levels so it is not an unending pyramid. As a consultant I am required to spend $50 a month, which I more than spend anyway. I also have the expense of the website which is $10 a month. But I so far have been making about $60 each month. I don't really work the business, though. I have a couple people that purchase each month. I get a little business from my youtube channel, but I don't do parties or anything. If I did, I could make a lot more, but this is more passive for me.
Anyway, I hope that answered all of your questions and if not, let me know and I will try to answer any more you have.
I am a safe driver. I have a 29 year record of driving with no accidents. I always use my signal when turning or when changing lanes. I don't run red lights. I don't block intersections. I don't drive like an idiot. I am starting to think I am the only one.
I have been encountering an extraordinary number of unsafe drivers lately and it is really wearing me down avoiding these close calls. Just within the last three days, I had an oncoming car make a left hand turn from the right hand turn lane when I had a green light and if they had been in the actual left hand turn lane would have had a must yield on green sign they ignored.
At the same intersection I had someone in the oncoming left hand turn lane suddenly speed out in front of me while I was making a right hand turn on my green light. They came all the way across two lanes of traffic to the lane I was turning into. It is illegal to turn into that lane directly from their lane. But it was the fact that she didn't yield and almost hit me when I had already started my turn that makes me so annoyed.
This light has protected green arrows before it turns solid green, so it is not like they won't get a turn to go. They just don't want to have to wait through the light if they miss their arrow. I think it is time to remove the left turn yield on green signs and make it illegal for them to do so at that intersection. It already is for the cross street because there used to be so many accidents there. There are less now, but there are still a lot.
The people turning from that side also have a tendency to block the intersection so that people can't go straight during the green light. It's illegal to make a left hand turn if you can't clear the intersection. So many people need to go back to remedial driving school. If they put a police car there a couple of times a week, the police department would no longer need to keep trying to get money for a new jail. They'd have it made in tickets in less than six months.
I usually avoid this by taking another route, but that road is completely shut down right now, due to construction that has been going on for months to repair a bridge and stabilize the alternate road. Which is also causing back ups on the main road because more people are forced to use it.
The other intersection is nearer my house where people coming from the hospital think it is okay to get into the left hand turn lane and cross the intersection from it to go directly into the next block's left hand turn lane, even though at that end it is a left hand turn lane for the oncoming direction.
Unfortunately, this means they are preventing people from getting into the opposite left hand turn lane to turn onto my street. And even if you signal that you are trying to get into that lane they just keep coming across the intersection or honk at you when you attempt to get into that lane. Sometimes they even block the intersection from the left hand turn lane.
I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been hit by these illegal moves and I am super conscious and careful at all times that this will happen at this intersection. Park a cop there for a while and ticket like crazy and they will have no money worries for a long time.
When I can avoid that intersection, I do, but when the hour around when the school lets out is in play, looping around and coming from the other direction is even worse. You've got a bunch of illegally parked cars on both sides of the street, parked smack up against stop signs making it impossible to see cars coming from either direction until you are halfway into the road, and of course loose children running around not being monitored by their parents.
All this to say that my safe driver's refund check was deposited. 18 bucks plus change does not seem like much compared to what I deal with to be a safe driver. But it is better than nothing.
Today was another very long day. I woke up at 6 a.m. after only getting 4 hours of sleep. I tossed and turned for a bit, hoping to get back to sleep, but I couldn't, so at 7 I got up and let the chickens, ducks, and turkeys out, got them fed and watered and then went and took care of the rabbits.
After that I tried to go back to bed and despite taking a pill, I still couldn't fall back asleep. I listened to a few CreepyPastas on youtube as they usually put me to sleep. The one guy has such a soothing voice, even if they are supposed to be scary stories, that usually knocks me right out. They are more suspense/edge of horror than super freaky.
I did some work for my channel and spent a lot of time downloading all of my photos off photobucket. One of the albums would not download so I had to do all 255 photos in that one individually. Ugh. I spent some time looking for a new hosting service as well.
I wrote 1000 words on my novel, but minor characters keep trying to sneak in and take over the plot. I may have to give them their own novel if they keep this up.
I got some work done in the garden. I've been harvesting a lot of herbs and flower petals for teas, tinctures, syrups, and other medicinal items (I'll be making salve when I get enough calendula). And maybe one with a more creamy consistency as well. I'll have to tweak the ratio of oil to beeswax so it doesn't harden so much. I may try my hand at making lip balm as well.
I went grocery shopping and spent $181. I got some seafood (salmon, cod, shrimp) and stocked up on quite a few items that got really low. I got several cans of peanut butter as they were well below my price point of $2.50 a pound at $2 a pound. I got 4 bottles of ketchup, 20 cans of tuna, some mustard, and some cocktail sauce. I haven't quite gotten the hang of making homemade cocktail sauce yet. I've not used horseradish enough as an ingredient to know where the sweet spot is between not enough and way too much. Usually that comes rather intuitively, but not this time.
They had another 15 pound organic turkey and I was very tempted to get it. We don't currently have space for one in the freezer, though. I have too much ice in it for the chill tank. We butchered on Saturday, so it will be a few more days before they will come out of the chill tank and I cut them up and either package them or chunk them and can them. I'll have to check my canning shelves and see what is needed.
I am debating whether or not to plant string beans. It's late, but we generally have a long, lingering warm fall. Since the peas are done and I've pulled them, and most of the broccoli is done and I've pulled it, I have space to do it. I've got Kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake, and Blue Coco Pole Beans as well as Provider Bush Beans, so I've got the seed. Pole beans are generally 65 days from sprouting and bush beans are a little faster, as soon as 55 days sometimes.
So if I get them in now I could have them from early to mid-September through October. And if we get anymore heatwaves it could take less time. The only thing that makes me hesitant is the weird summer we've had so far. I see indicators on several perennial plants that we are going to have an early winter. We generally don't get a hard frost until Halloween.
I also see it in the fact that the rabbits are blowing their coats right now. They usually blow them in early spring and in September, not July. The turkeys are also having an early molt.
I hope to get down to trade or sell some meat with my pastured pork lady this month. The ducks have not been producing enough eggs for egg sales, they are just managing to keep up with the family's needs. The rabbits still manage to pay for their own feed. I've got a gorgeous buck I'm going to put up for sale as a breeder buck soon. He is the sweetest love I have ever raised.
Since he is a broken black New Zealand, I can get $25 for him unproven, and $30 once he's been proven. More if he had a pedigree. Which he does, but I lost it and I've been trying for six months to get the rabbitry I bought the father from to send me the info in an email. He keeps sending it as a text picture to my phone which is incapable of downloading images because it is a dumb phone from 2008 or 2009. The guy is frustrating me.
I may just keep breeding the line long enough that I don't have to worry about it anymore. I just need 3 generations and I have two. This bunny will make 3, so his children can be pedigreed if he's bred with a pedigreed doe, which almost all of my does are. So if I keep a male or a female from those breedings they will have pedigrees.
I do have some rabbits coming up that might be good for 4-H kids for the fair. I've got identical whites for meat pens, of which you have three and they must match as closely as possible. I also have at least one show quality broken red buck, but I am keeping the best of the two to breed with Sadie when she grows up. I also have a show quality solid red buck that would be great for them as well.
Speaking of Sadie, she is doing really well. She's a well-proportioned junior doe, with super soft broken red fur. Any kits I get from her will be stunning, I'm sure. But first she has to grow up. She's only 14 weeks old and needs to be 6 months old for breeding. And the boy I want to breed her with is only 7 weeks old right now. So it'll be closer to her being 8 months old before he is ready to breed, so I may start her with one of the broken black bucks that are old enough. They both carry the possibility of broken reds, not just broken blacks.
Anyway, there has not been more than a month when the rabbits have not paid for themselves in the last 2 years, but then they made up for the missing month later on. Even if I sell to 4-HR's or FFA's at a discount, I'll still make money. Maybe enough that I will break even on the birds, too.
I got a refund check from one of the many medical places my DD has been lately. This was for $126.03. I know a lot of stuff crosses until whatever finishes off the deductible is finally cleared through. I hope we get some more and bigger ones, too. It'll all get shoved back into medical either way.
All right well, I'm about to ramble off to bed now, but wanted to mention I start a new 4 week dietbet tomorrow. If anyone wants to join me on that the link for it is here: http://dbet.me/oEpxBZ I have no idea if that is a referral link or not or if I get anything other than kudos if I get others to join. I just think it might be fun for some of us to do it together.
$26,511.87 Starting EF Balance
___,_16.12 C1-360 Interest
___,___.82 CU #1 Interest
+__,___.04 CU #2 Interest
$26,528.85 New EF Balance
March interest income is $22.52. It's been really hard to watch that number fall each month. In another couple of months it should start rising again, though. With us having to pay our own medical until DH qualifies through the new job, we won't be able to contribute much to savings for a while and might even have to pull a bit, but then once he qualifies, we should have a small chunk to start savings going again.
Well, after my little rant last night I got an email from AdSense today saying my payment should be deposited in 4 to 5 business days. So I guess I finally got everything filled out right with no more hidden boxes to check or secret codes to enter. So I feel better about that.
DH still hasn't heard back from Company B. He's going to give the guy a call tomorrow and try to get an update on the situation. He's still applying for other jobs. I just with there were more available. The previous administration's policies really damaged the industry in the last several years and it is taking some time to turn the old dinosaur back around now that some of those restrictions have been lifted.
We went to Costco and did a major stock up. We bought a lot of cheese, butter, toilet paper and Kleenex. I also got $52 worth of razors. We also picked up vitamins. I'd say half our dollar amount was non-food items. We got spices as well. Mostly several bottles of salt and pepper now that they are no longer out of stock. We spent just over $300, $157 or so of which was food, the rest household goods.
I was disappointed in the oranges. They were either partly green or moldy. Yuck. I know they are now out of season, so probably wouldn't be that good now anyway. I was hoping they'd have Bartlett pears, but they only had D'Anjou and I don't like those nearly as well. They did have Asian pears, but I didn't like the way they looked either. So no fruit purchases were made. I guess we'll be eating canned fruit this week and apples I already had in the fruit drawer.
I was going to look at the cookbooks, but they had an entire herd of people parked in front of the books and they don't have a large book section anymore since they moved to the new store. I do like to look over the cookbooks for something promising as I make so much food from scratch. Although I haven't seen any good ones at Costco in over a year, so I probably didn't miss out on anything.
We didn't do anything else today. Well, I crocheted a granny square. I have to do one more to meet my goal of doing two a day until I have enough to make my blanket. I was hoping to get the desk built today, but that didn't work out. Maybe tomorrow.
It seems like I always end up posting after midnight. So when I say today, I mean the previous date to this entry, but it's still part of my today even though it is technically the next day.
DH got his last unemployment check on the 9th. My Pinecone check came in the mail. It was $12. Our safe driver's refund check came as well. It was $22.74. I had $26 in rolled coins as well, so I deposited it all into savings at CU #2. I am not sending it to C1-360 just yet. It may or may not be the start of refilling the Emergency Fund.
I don't want to jinx things, but yes, we might have a reason that we can start rebuilding the Emergency Fund. Waiting for offer paperwork to be signed off on before DH receives it. But it is with Company B (you remember Company B, don't you?) so I won't believe it until I see it. If it all works out, he could be back on the slope by the 22nd. Please pray for us like you never have before that this thing actually goes through.
If it does, then I will officially start the Emergency Fund over and will add my Youtube/Google Ad Sense paycheck if it ever comes as well. Hopefully there will be no screw ups this month, because it seems they only issue payments once a month. I think payment is supposed to happen on the 15th. I guess I'll find out in 36 hours or so when I wake up on the 15th.
Well, DH didn't get the job, though they strongly encouraged him to apply for anything that comes up in the future. It's positive, in that they clearly liked him, but it is very discouraging over all.
It has been six months. We get one more unemployment check and then he's maxed out his benefits. The longest DH has ever been unemployed in his life since he was 15 years old was six weeks.
He's worked really hard at finding a job. He's learned an entire new software program to update his skills. Now I am starting to think we might have to look at him getting his Bachelor's Degree now. School is just so expensive.
The oil jobs don't seem to be recovering as quickly as everyone claimed they would. We really wanted to wait until he was working before he started taking a class towards his degree. There is another option of taking this big test that basically gives him a degree based on his experience and hours worked if he can pass it and document his time spent in the field. I think he is going to pursue that first.
I worked on my novel some more last night. Insomnia does have one benefit if I'm not too tired to write. Hopefully I'll be awake enough to work on it some more today. I may need caffeine, though, to get me through the day.
I sent for my Pinecone check. I earned $12 in February from them. So between the rabbit sale and this I earned $37 this month. And one $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. And I earned my google/youtube money, but they still haven't sent it. That would be January's earnings that were supposed to be paid in February, but because my bank account wasn't verified in time it didn't come.
Or at least that is what I am assuming. Normally they only issue payments once a month, but I figured they'd issue it once the account was verified. It was only 3 days after the regular payment date. So if I don't get January and February's earnings when the day comes in March, I guess I have to follow up some more. It would be nice to actually get that money, although it is not enough to make too much of a difference, it could pay for a few weeks of groceries.
The interest from what is left of our savings account hit today. It is $20.99. I haven't really been recording the interest the last 6 months since we can't build any funds or rebuild any funds until DH is working again. But I figured I'd put it up anyway. It is still income earned.
I did some cooking for the freezer today. I made up a big batch of pork fried rice and one of rabbit fried rice, so I now have 9 bags (7 from today, 2 from last time) of that in the freezer. It would be one more but my husband decided he had to eat some. It used up leftovers nicely.
I also made up some calzones. These are much easier to make than pizza snacks. The calzones are for my son's lunches. It saves me from having to cook something for lunch for him every day and he likes it much better than eating sandwiches. I can vary the filling in these from pepperoni, ham, or sausage or put in onions and peppers. These ones all get tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I also have made some in the past using leftover taco meat, leftover chili, and leftover sloppy hoppies.
Then I made a huge loaf of French bread. Usually I make two loaves with this recipe, but I was tired and so just made it into one big one. It turned out great, just had to bake it for an extra five minutes. I am so happy with this recipe. The bread is nice and soft inside, but a good crunch to the crust. It toasts beautifully for making garlic bread, but untoasted it makes good sandwich bread, albeit not the typical shape.
Then I made a huge batch of pancakes. So I had my hands in carbs for most of the day, it felt like. I barely eat this type of carb myself, but I do have to feed everyone else.
I am back on my diet for 3 days now and have lost 4.6 pounds. This is good because I really needed to get back on that wagon. I've gained back almost all of what I lost in the past year, so ugh. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going. I went off the weight loss drugs as I didn't feel any benefit from them after the first couple of months and I think they were screwing with my sleeping pattern. It's been more normalized since I quit them.
I will be getting my first paycheck from the Google AdSense/Youtube stuff soon. Just waiting to have my checking account verified for direct deposit. It is just for 20 days, but I am pretty happy with it. I can't disclose how much, it's against the terms and conditions. It's not going to be something we can live on, but as a side income, it isn't something to sneeze at, either. Once DH is working again, I could build our savings back up and then after that start on an IRA. It's nice to have the possibility.
I finally got my google adsense stuff straightened out. It took a while. For some reason they deleted my old account which unmonetized everything on my youtube channel. So for the last two days I spent a good chunk of time getting a new account set up and then re-monitizing 23 pages worth of videos. I have 665 videos, so it took a lot of time. I had youtube videos playing in the background the entire time so it wasn't wasted time because I was learning stuff. I just wish they had a monetize all with a basic ad feature.
Oh, well, from now on I can monetize as I upload and that should be that. As long as they don't make massive, sweeping changes again. I don't earn much from youtube, so far just pennies, and they don't send you a check until you earn $100, but now that my account is straightened out, I finally got around to monetizing this blog. I figured with as many hits as I get here, I could actually earn something.
I figured right. In the first 24 hours reported it has earned almost a dollar and that was on a low view day of around 1000 hits, so that is promising. Today so far I've had 3000 hits, so I imagine tomorrow will show more earnings than that. But at least once a month, sometimes even weekly, I'll get 20,000 to 70,000 hits on my blog on a weekend. Friday it was 23,888, and Saturday it was 30,901. I don't know why this happens, but it usually does coming into a weekend so I think it's picked up by something and listed. So I'm looking forward to seeing what happens on a high hit day like that.
I try not to wonder what I might have earned if I'd gotten this blog monetized when they first let you do it. Since I am rapidly approaching 77.5 million views, I imagine it might have been a nice chunk of change. I guess having 10 years of posts pays off. It won't appear any different, since SA already has these ads on the blogs. The only difference is now I'll get a percentage of the ad revenue.
Hopefully I'll get a small income stream out of this. Even enough to pay for duck feed would be great. The rabbits pay for their own food and the turkey food through sales. The ducks can contribute during high egg laying season, but have never paid for themselves yet. I won't count my ducklings before they hatch, though.
I can't monetize my blog at wordpress since it is at wordpress.com and not wordpress.org. The first site is free, the other you pay for. I have a blog set up at blogger and I am trying to figure out if there is any way to import my blog from wordpress to blogger. I know some sites let you. Dreamwidth will let you import your entire journal from LiveJournal, for example. I have to look into it more. I'd still keep the farm blog on wordpress, but if I can mirror it on blogger, I can monetize that one. I am still learning my way around the blogger system, though.
Well, I imagine that was very boring for anyone who doesn't know what the heck I am talking about. But the gist is maybe this blog will start generating some money for me now. It would be nice, especially with DH currently unemployed and us living on savings, to bring something in that's more than the few dollars I get each month from Pinecone Surveys.
So DH received a Christmas Bonus in the mail from his former employer. We knew we were going to get something because they sent us some paperwork back around Thanksgiving, but I figured it was going to be some token amount or a percentage based on how many months out of the year he'd worked for them (75%). But it was actually $200 more than last year's bonus. Maybe the additional was due to him staying until the bitter end.
Anyway, the amount was $3900.91. So no unemployment this week, but this is way better than that and it means the unemployment will last longer. I am hoping that this bonus will get us through January.
There are starting to be a few more oil jobs being posted. He's put in for two slope listings, but we don't expect to hear anything until after the holidays at this point. Slope usually goes to skeleton crew at this time of year. We expect that oil jobs will pick up now that the electoral college has officially declared Trump president. But we don't expect hiring or interviews to begin until January. No one does stuff over the holidays.
DH did have an in-person interview with the aeronautics company that he did two phone interviews with previously. They are just at the start of the live interview process (he was one of the first, if not the first in person interview they were doing) and they wouldn't hire until the end of January if they hire. It's not a permanent job anyway. It's one that would be series of small contracts as work was available. Not ideal, but better than nothing and the experience in that field would widen his knowledge base.
In two more days, it'll have been 4 months and I am getting antsy. The stress is hard. Seeing savings being depleted is hard. It's a nagging worry that's always in the back of my mind except when it's in the front of my mind. I live with this constant rock in my stomach. I think I might be getting an ulcer from the stress, because I've been eating Tums like they are candy and this with eliminating peppers from my diet.
My ankles finally feel like they are heeling, though. I know I mentioned the bad fall I took and the major sprain of the one ankle, but I don't think I mentioned that I lost my balance and rolled the other ankle about 10 days later and sprained it, too. It had minor swelling and minor pain, and was just enough to make it difficult for me to stand for more than a minute at a time. I still have swelling in the first ankle 5 weeks after the injury, but the pain is mostly just if I press the area where the ligaments were stretched too far or if I do too much standing.
I did get in to see the ENT a week ago and he put me back on steroids and gave me 2 Z-packs and sent a letter to my doctor to be placed in my file about how to treat this condition. He also told me he had sent them one back in March. The on-call doctor had claimed there was no record of this type of treatment. I did find out later that it was in there. Anyway, the ENT is sending a copy of the new letter to me so I can have one, so if they conveniently can't find it in the future I can pull it out of my purse and go, "It looks just like this."
The ENT was really annoyed with my doctor's office. He said I should not be having to go through this crap for 8 weeks before getting the right treatment, when he'd told them before and I told them what it needed to be. I will be looking for a new doctor after the holidays. I want to see a holistic type doctor instead. I'm so tired of doctors who look at me but don't see me. I miss my old doctor so much. Why did he have to get old, retire, and die? I mean, he was only 83. They don't make doctors like him anymore.
But I did get the medicine and it is helping now that it's the right dosage and the meds are being taken together.
We had a litter born on the 18th. There are five healthy kits, 3 broken blacks and 2 that are either solid blacks or steels. I'm leaning toward steels.
The older litter is 5 weeks now. They are doing well. It looks like I have two broken blues, one broken black, one broken steel, a lightly broken fawn, and a steel (black with white hairs mixed in) there. Colors don't fully set until they are older though, so that's just a best estimate for the time being.
Life going on on the farm makes me happy. I am waiting for 3 more does to give birth. They are a day overdue. If the two whites don't have kits this time, I think I will have to declare Jasper a dud. I will give him one more try, but this will make 3 breedings with nothing from him. Zander on the other hand is doing his job, as you can tell from all the broken and colored kits being born.
I cashed out at Pinecone yesterday or the day before. It had been a while since I had done it. I had a balance of $48. I've had a lot of surveys lately and one product test from them, so it was a little above average for 2 and half months. Usually I cash out monthly and it is around $12 to $15.
The savings account earned $36.05 this month. I added it to the Moving Fund, which I really should just rename as the Temporary Fund or some such thing as it really isn't designated for moving until DH has a job again and we start saving money. I actually took $200 out of that fund this month before the storm just so I'd have cash on hand and then felt like it would be too much work to shift it around afterwards and have just been using it for gas money and allowance instead.
Anyway with the interest added today the new amount in that fund is $271.17.
Back in April when I got my new AMEX card, part of the deal was that if I spent so much in the first 3 months I was supposed to get a cash reward. We easily met the $3000 spending in the first two months, but so far there is no sign of that cash reward. Shouldn't it have shown up by now? It's been 4 months.
I can't see it as a credit on the account anywhere and they didn't put it on any of the statements as a check or anything so is there a special place I should be looking for it or to redeem it? It's not in the redeem rewards section.
I just want to double check any obvious places before I call them and ask what is going on. Does it actually take longer than 4 months before they issue the reward?
I knew a couple of days ago that I'd won, but didn't get payment verification until yesterday. My buy in was $125 (normally $150 if you pay $25 month to month, but $125 if you paid up front). My payout was $249.20. So I am 80 cents short of having doubled my money. That sure beats six months in a savings account at .75%. Or the stock market. Or anything else, really.
I think I am going to take a break for a while from doing dietbets, though. I have come to a stand still the past couple of weeks and there is no point shooting myself in the foot by starting a new one until I get the weight loss really moving again.
I have been losing inches, just not pounds. I'm probably building muscle and losing fat based on the exercising, but the scale doesn't care about that and neither does dietbet. My clothes are getting loser and I look better, so I will just soldier on and eventually the scale will move again, too.
$99.15 Starting Balance
+38.84 Interest from C1-360
$137.99 New Balance
$45.15 Starting Balance
+20.00 Rabbit sale
+10.00 Egg Money
+_9.00 Coin Jar Money
$99.15 New Balance
$2400.85 to go.
I received my $15 check from Pinecone today and sold 2 dozen duck eggs for $10. That'll go into the moving fund on Monday.
I also went to the pool today and swam laps for an hour. Well, mostly swam laps. When my arms would get too tired then I would walk the laps. Part of my physical therapy exercises are to walk forward one length of the pool, then backwards one length, then sideways with the left leg being the lead leg, then reverse with the right leg being the lead leg. I lost track of how many laps I actually did, but I was in there for the whole hour, then did some stretches and then sat in the hot tub for 15 minutes (glorious).
It's been a while since I've been to the pool and I will probably pay for all that exercise tomorrow, but for now I feel really good. My diet has been stuck in a rut (though I hit my dietbet goal for this month last month) and I think it is because I've been slacking on the exercise. I haven't been sleeping great either, and again, the exercise usually helps with that. I have a feeling I will sleep like a log tonight.
I found out from DH that it could be a couple more weeks before we know anything about the contract. No one knows why it is taking so long for them to make a decision. The current contract ends mid-June. I would hope they would come to a decision by then, but I'm not really holding my breath. It's more like I'm waiting for the chance to inhale.
The stress of not knowing has been messing with my eating as well. Which is why I forced myself to get back in the pool. I will go again tomorrow, too. It is a better way to channel stress than through food. Or shopping.
Although I did go shopping. I bought a new, smaller kiddie pool for the ducks to replace the other one that is harder to dump. And I also got new sheets and pillow cases for the bed and a new pillow, plus sunscreen and bug spray. I'm going to donate our old sheets to the animal shelter. They are always looking for sheets, blankets, and towels.
Yesterday I also bought my sun 3 tank tops, 2 shirts, and 5 pairs of shorts for the summer. He has grown so much the last year. And I got 3 tank tops for my daughter. I am sure when my husband comes home he will need to buy shorts. He has shrunk out of his old ones and I'm not sure he has any from before in his current size. We did get him a swim suit last time he was home and one in the next size down as well as he is still losing pretty fast, and swim suits don't stay on the rack very long around here. By actual summer, they are usually gone.
All of the spending was planned though and budgeted for.
I sent for a $15 check from Pinecone. I have not been doing swagbucks in a while and I don't do it consistently anymore. I should get back to it, I could use the gift cards, but most of the time when I think about it, it's more of an "eh," sort of thought. I used to have it running in the back ground a lot, but that was before they stopped letting you disable the sound for the whole session and you had to disable it on each video instead. That's more of annoyance than I wanted to deal with. I haven't done it in a few months so maybe that's changed, but I really can't be bothered at the moment.
My son will be doing his standardized testing on the 19th, but he has to do a practice test on the 12th (only a half hour). And it really irritates me that everything is on East coast time, so there are no afternoon sessions on the West Coast. DS is not a morning person.
And he will have to do the testing on my laptop because it is the only one that can handle their system requirements for the testing browser, which means I won't have access to my computer for several hours on the 19th. Grr. I am also irritated that there is no time built into the testing schedule for lunch. They get two fifteen minute breaks in 6 hours of testing. I guess the bright side of doing the testing at home is that he can have food right there with him.
I can use my old laptop, but it is so slow, and I can't do video editing on it since the software on it doesn't play well with the forced Windows 10 upgrade.
I guess I can spend the day writing. I should anyway, but I hate having to use the old laptop as the replacement cord doesn't fit snugly and falls out, and the battery in it is so bad it only holds a 30 minute charge. Maybe I'll duct tape it for the day.
We have two rabbits due to kindle. One was due two days ago and the other was due yesterday. The one that was due yesterday is pulling fur, but otherwise no kits yet.
The garden is roaring along. I have harvested chives, oregano, kale, chard, pak choi, sorrel, and 3 types of lettuces already. I saw a head the size of a softball on one of the Romaescu broccoli's yesterday so maybe by next week we'll be eating that, too. I can already tell it is going to be a ridiculously good garden year.
Almost everything is planted. I have to wait a bit longer for putting cantaloupe in the ground. I've also got a couple of sweet potatoes in jars of water that I'll be putting out in large containers just to see if they will do anything. They both have lots of leaves on them and one has lots of roots, the other only has 2 roots. This isn't sweet potato country, but since this summer is shaping up to be like last summer I thought I'd give it a whirl. If nothing else it has a pretty flower.
We still don't know anything about DH's job or the contract. I'm starting to wonder if they'll make the announcement before the old contract runs out in June. We're already 1/3 of the way through May so it is starting to seem more and more likely that those are the intentions. Frustration, they name is Lucky Robin.
The stress is getting to me. I am stress eating and I did a little stress spending, too. Although that's not so bad. I bought $120 worth of new clothes, but only paid $40 for it, since I had that many points in my rewards program. I needed new tops as all of my old ones were too big and another summer nightgown as most of my summer nightgowns show a little too much on top and with a sixteen year old boy in the house I was having to wear a t-shirt over them which defeats the purpose of a lightweight nightgown.
I also bought two sun dresses, one for me and one for my daughter. I am really happy with all of the tops, too, because they are my colors. So many times in the past I have been forced to buy pastel things if I wanted clothes that fit, but this year they have some strong teals and turquoises going on as well as magenta and deep purple. All that's missing is jewel tones.
I'm going to weed out the tops that are way too big now. Even my favorite ones. I've already done it with my jeans and sweats. Fortunately my other dresses can just be belted in more so they'll last at least another summer.
Not much else going on. I've got a lovely herbed chicken roasting with potatoes and a relatively open evening to binge watch Girl Meets World on Netflix. Which is so good, if you ever loved Cory and Topanga and Boy Meets World, once you get past the first cheesy episode.
$17,392.32 Starting Balance
+__,199.60 Medical Check Refund
$17,591.92 New Balance
The first of the medical checks for things that got caught up in the time period where the deductible was met, but it hadn't fully processed, came. I put it in the EF.
$408.08 to go to hit my next mini-goal of $18K. I may have more to add today still. I have someone coming to buy 2 rabbit hutches for $45. And I possibly have someone coming to buy 3 hens for $25. But I don't know if it will all get sorted before it is too late to put the money in the credit union.
I got my Costco rewards check in the mail a couple of weeks ago and my Costco AMEX rewards check in the mail last week. We made it over there today and got those cashed. The first one was $51.75 and the second one was $42.37.
I went ahead and threw the change in the coin jar, rolled up the coins and got all my bills from there as well and made a deposit to the Emergency Fund of $138.50.
I have also decided to stop making the $10 weekly deposits to the Emergency Fund. We are going to be closing that credit union account and while it was a really good tool to save in the beginning when we couldn't put much away, it seems a little redundant now.
So from now on I will do a monthly deposit of $150 instead of a monthly deposit of $100 plus 4 to 5 weekly deposits of $10 depending on how many Thursdays were in a month.
$16,002.00 Starting Balance
+____51.00 Costco Rewards
+____42.00 Costco AMEX Rewards
+____30.00 Coin Jar Cash
+____15.50 Coin Jar Coins
$16,140.50 New Balance
$859.50 to go to hit my second mini-goal of 2016 and $3,859.50 to go to hit my next milestone goal.
P.S. to Laura and PatientSaver, I bought some organic chicken pot stickers at Costco and they also had just vegetable ones. I did not see anything in the ingredients that wasn't vegetarian (it might have even been vegan, but I can't remember if it had eggs or not). Anyway it is Bibigo brand and the chicken ones are fabulous. They beat the Trader Joe's ones hands down. Thought you might like to try them if they have them in your area. They're in the freezer section.
I won my January Jumpstart Kickstarter on dietbet. Payin was $35.00. Payout was $40.68. That's a profit of $5.68, which does not sound like much, but it works out to 14% and where are you going to get that much interest in a month? My husband did likewise, so it's double that. It's too bad for us that more people didn't fail, but I guess it is good luck for them because they lost the weight. I can't really be unhappy that so many people stuck to their guns. I know what the struggle is like.
I also won my first month on my Transformer, but they haven't finalized the winnings yet, and even so, you don't get paid out on the 6 month bet until the end, but you do know your winnings. I consider it like a 6 month CD, at least if you stay on track. But historically I win far more doing the Transformer than the Kickstarter. Hopefully they will finalize soon.
I haven't decided if I'll do another month bet or not. Maybe in March. I've come off the prednisone and had surgery on my toe and I'm not sure what my weight will do because of it. I'd like to wait at least another week or so before I make a decision.
$15,681.94 Starting Balance
+__,_33.48 C1-360 Interest
$15715.42 New Balance
$284.58 to go for my first mini-goal of 2016.
$10.00 Duck Eggs
+_6.00 Turkey Eggs
+20.00 Rabbit Buck
Total Sales for January so far: $46.00
$15,422.47 Starting Balance
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$15432.58 New Balance
$567.42 to go until my next mini-goal and $4,567.42 to go until my next milestone.
I signed up for both a six month Transformer and a 4 week Kickstarter again this year. They started on January 1st. So far I have lost 6.2 pounds. I just wish I hadn't gained back all but 17 of the 50 pounds I lost last year. But I am determined to do this again. Last year I about doubled my money, which sure beats any interest rate I can find.
My husband also signed up for a Kickstarter. He has lost 70 pounds in the last 6 months, so I told him he might as well earn some money doing it.
I am sticking to my meal planning pretty closely and that will help a lot with this, too. It snowed this morning so I didn't make it to the pool. Hopefully it won't snow again tomorrow. The club parking lot is nasty to get in and out of when there is snow. I miss being in the water, though and want to get back to it.
I got about 1/3 of my kitchen reorganized and deep cleaned today and cleaned out the rabbit grow out cages and dropping pans, so I did get exercise in and plenty of movement.
I also knit 32 rows on the baby blanket I am making for my niece, who is due in May with a little girl. I did 5 loads of laundry, too, and am now caught up, including putting it all away.
All in all it was a very productive day.
DH's Christmas Bonus arrived in the mail and as you can see from the previous 3 posts I disbursed it amongst the Down Payment Fund, the College Fund, and the Emergency Fund.
This is the first deposit I have made to the Emergency Fund since...well, I can't remember. Since I hit $15K back in May or something. I had stopped adding to it to get other funds up and growing. I had intended to restart it in January, but figured I might as well get a bit of a jump on it. Hopefully I can get it to $20K by the end of 2016, but that's just a pie in the sky goal. It will much more likely be around $3K saved to get to $18K. But who knows? I like to aim high.
I was able to top off the College Fund so there is now enough for the first semester of my daughter's vet tech course, which she wants to start in January. Since she will have 18 months to complete the semester, I am not worried at the moment about adding any more to that fund, other than $100 a month going foward.
I also added $2000 to the Farm Down Payment Fund. I had also planned to set aside an additional $1000 to medical savings, but the bonus was $1000 less than it has been for the past few years, so that was just a tentative plan. We have always managed the medical, so I'm not that fussed by it, but I would have liked to have it set aside. Oh, well. We will be okay without it. If something huge comes up once the ridiculous deductible starts over, well, that is what the Emergency Fund is there for, loathe as I would be to touch it.
I need to buy a new microwave. The one I have has been limping along on its last legs for a while now and likes to shut down if you use the microwave for more than 10 minutes in a row. It comes back on again about 10 minutes later, but I don't imagine that can possibly be a good thing. I need to remember to measure the space it is in and make sure any new one I buy isn't too tall.
I have been knitting like crazy for the past few weeks. I have completed a scarf for my daughter, a scarf and a hat for my son, and a scarf for me. I have managed to knit two socks, the first of which is not wearable and the second of which looks lumpy, but is wearable, comfortable, and warm.
I have never knit socks before, so I consider the first one to be a learning sock. I unraveled it when done because I had dropped too many stitches. My biggest trouble is making the toe. I can do the cuff and the heel and the foot of the sock just fine, but I keep screwing up the toe when I try to attach it to the foot. I had to redo it twice for it to even look somewhat right. I am tempted to just get a sock loom and see if that helps.
I will try to knit the matching sock at least before going the sock loom route. I am sure it just takes practice. I really want to move on to mittens or gloves, though. Mittens should be straight-forward. Gloves will be more difficult, but I still think they will be easier than socks.
I do want to get good at socks though, because I want to make some booties for my niece. She's due in May so I do have some breathing room to practice. And booties don't take long, but if you can't master sock toes, than you can't master bootie toes either. I guess I can always knit a blanket instead if I can't figure it out.
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