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Christmas Fund and Holiday Prep

November 6th, 2015 at 02:47 pm

$662.33 Starting Balance
+_81.00 (Egg Money, Farm Sales, Coin Jar)
-----------------
$743.33 Ending Balance

$206.67 to go.

This weekend I will go to pick up my Thanksgiving turkey and pay the balance, so I'll deduct that amount from my end goal once I know what it is. I should have this account fully funded by November 20th. Then I can get to work actually buying the Christmas presents and have it done hopefully by the beginning of December.

The kids already know what they want. I want to get a strum stick and perhaps a small TV and DVD player for the bedroom. We don't have a TV anymore and I do get a little tired of watching DVD's on the computer. I think DH knows what he wants. Then it'll just be shopping for MIL and FIL, SIL, and one niece, since the other is now 20 and has aged out of our buying gifts. We don't exchange with my mother.

I think I'd like to have a small tree this year, and maybe a wreath for our door, but we'll see. It is hard to have a tree when we only have 1000 square feet of space and most of it is otherwise occupied.

C1-360 Interest to the Christmas Fund

November 1st, 2015 at 09:38 pm

$620.84 Starting Balance
+_31.49 Interest Added
----------------
$652.33 New Balance

$297.67 to go. This is moving along nicely.

I Won My 6 Month Transformer at Dietbet

August 7th, 2015 at 06:27 pm

I lost 10% of my body weight over the past 6 months with an initial bet at dietbet of $125. My winnings for the 6 months was $289.18, netting me a profit of $164.18. Not bad for something I was doing anyway, losing weight. I more than doubled my money. And having money in the game has been the most motivation I've ever had not to screw up my diet. Losing money was not an option for me.

I also have some money in there from doing a couple of monthly dietbets as well and winning them. So there is a total of $324.04 sitting in the account. I have more than doubled my investment.

I am going to take a month off, I think, maybe two (of the dietbet, not the diet) and then do another Transformer. With the broken nose I won't be able to exercise like I have been and so I'll wait until it heals enough to resume that kind of activity before putting money down again.

I am not 100% sure what I will do with the money, but I am leaning towards putting it towards a barrel chicken plucker for the farm.

Cross Your Fingers

May 31st, 2015 at 11:40 pm

Well, it looks like DH will be able to get 4 extra days this hitch to make up for the 4 days he will miss by staying over for DD's graduation. There is plenty of work for him to do. It all hinges on whether or not they can find a bed for him at work for those 4 days. I really hope so, because to not have to scramble and cut back and take money from other savings categories to cover this would be very nice.

He will know sometime tomorrow. I was not looking forward to depleting the January Money Fund, which was what I would have to do if he can't get the extra time at work.

Househopeful asked what the January Money Fund is about. Every year over the Christmas holidays, DH's work shuts down for a couple of weeks. So he has to go his usual 2 weeks off from a regular 2 on/2 off shift, plus 2 more weeks off. So he ends up with 4 weeks off in a row with no pay. Now we are used to budgeting for the 2 weeks off and we stretch the money to cover the whole 4 week cycle. But when those four weeks off come up (be it in January or December, we never really know until closer to time), that gives us four weeks we have to stretch money over, which is a lot harder.

This year I started saving for that time period quite early. When we were paying off debt and the mortgage I generally didn't start saving for it until September or October, but now I can save all year for it. Usually we can count on DH's Christmas bonus to help some, but last year most of that went to fixing the leaking moon roofs in the van. So I don't want to depend on the Christmas bonus for anything, because who knows what might come up. So hence this fund.

Plus we still don't know what our tax situation is going to be for next year. Since we only lived in the house we sold 1 out of the last 5 years before it sold, we may have to pay some taxes on the sale. Maybe not, but we won't know for sure how much of the remodel and repairs and improvement we can deduct until we get all the tax paperwork.

I am thinking it will probably all be a wash, but if it is not, we won't owe more than we generally get back, which is around $7000 due to our medical costs. It'll be a bummer if we don't get a refund, because I usually use the money to bump up the Emergency Fund and in the past to pay down debt, but now to save for a down payment on our upcoming farm purchase. But we should at least walk away without having to pay out, which is better than having to pay in by a long shot.

I really do think it is criminal of them to tax our house sale this way, though. We lived in that house for many, many years, and it was our only house. The money that is in savings from the sale is intended for our next home and that should be allowed to be kept. It used to be you could keep it if you rolled it over into a new home, but not anymore. And it's not like it was a huge sale or anything. We're not talking about a $300K plus house here. Or even a $150K house.

Well, this turned into a rant. I guess things have just been on my mind a lot lately.

As a quick update on my daughter, she finally, after 10.5 weeks has stopped bleeding. She's still in a lot of pain though. They are testing her for a clotting disorder and a bleeding disorder. We should find out in the next day or three. She is having nosebleeds, unexplained bruising, and severe cramping in her calves as well. She's still anemic. Please continue to pray for her.

Farm Income Update

May 18th, 2015 at 04:53 pm

Yesterday I sold 2 rabbits and got a guarantee on a 3rd. She was only coming to pick up the male yesterday and look at the female who will be ready in 4 weeks when her kits are weaned. But she saw the reds and when I told her I had a red doe kit available as well, she impulse bought it. So that was $45.

The girl who was coming to buy the turkey eggs has to postpone until tomorrow, though. Hopefully she will follow through.

Last night I ordered 60 black Australorp cockerels. They will arrive on or around June 3. They are to be our meat chickens this year. We will have 30 and Mom will have 30. My half came to $68.87, which works out to $2.29 a chick. Usually they put in some extras in case they don't all make it. Now I just have to collect Mom's half from her.

We chose black Australorps because they are mostly thigh and leg with smaller breasts. We don't like the white meat as much as the dark meat, so we want the meatier legs and thighs. And we chose cockerels as they get bigger faster than pullets. They are also cheaper than pullets. The sad fact of the chicken industry is that males are often considered outright useless. You just don't need that many in a flock, even a large one, to get the job done. 1 rooster to about 10 hens is a good ratio. So they either are sold as meat birds or they are killed outright as chicks because they don't get sold on time for safe shipping.

Safe shipping is during the first couple days of life when they are still absorbing the nutrients from their yolk sack and food and water are not an issue. After that it can be dangerous to ship chicks, especially once it gets really hot.

I did try to source them locally, but all I could find was the Cornish cross and I am not raising those again, at least not while living here.

Busy, Busy

April 28th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

That is how life has felt lately. I've done a lot and had a lot more still left to do.

I have sold $72 worth of rabbit meat and 2 dozen duck eggs for $9 (discounted .50 each since they brought their own egg cartons). I have also traded 10 fertile duck hatching eggs for 14 calendula starts. It was supposed to be 12, but there were a couple extra plants hitchhiking in.

The garden is doing beautifully. I have got lots of things planted and I am hardening off four trays of my seedlings and have four more trays under the lights. They have done great and almost everything I planted has sprouted. I think I have a germination failure rate of 1 out of 50 seeds so far. Except for the green onions, but I have to be patient. Those can take 14 days to germinate from seed. So they still might come up. That was old seed though so who knows?

I've got my carrots, zucchini, and yellow summer squash planted. All of the garden beds have been built and all but two have been fully filled. The irrigation system has been put in to everything but those last two beds. We will finish those up when DH comes home towards the end of next week.

We had 3 litters of rabbit kits born a week ago Sunday. One died due to an improperly nipped umbilical cord, so we have 14 live ones in this batch.

We have let the turkeys come out to free range for a few hours a day on days it is not raining. They are enjoying hanging with the other birds. I let them out mostly in the afternoons. Gina lays her egg around 5 p.m. and if she is in the coop she will lay it from the perch, which means splat. If she is outside she will lay it on the ground. She is not laying consistently yet.

I have made a ton of videos for my other blog, so thought I'd share them here as well. Most of them are pretty short.

Newborn litters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmHkqdzSD9k

The turkeys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlIvIEF8jJ8

Raised Bed Garden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMN9vIWLxZc

Gutter Garden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2f1IhwwwWU

Kits at 5 days old: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmB_RYTzaoA

Kits at 8 days old (fully furred) and 8 weeks old: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFc6aF7xuP0

EF Update

April 16th, 2015 at 01:12 am

$14,489.37 Beginning EF Amount
___,_29.00 Egg Money
___,__5.00 Pinecone Check
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
-----------------------
$14,533.37 New EF Total

Yay, less than $500 to go to hit my goal of $15K! $466.63 to be exact.

Egg Sales

April 14th, 2015 at 01:05 am

On Thursday I sold 4 dozen duck eggs for $20 and then on Monday I sold 2 dozen duck eggs for $9. The second sale got a discount because she brought me back empty egg cartons. I discount 50 cents per dozen if people bring me back egg cartons because that is how much new egg cartons cost each. So $29.

I also gave away a dozen duck eggs and 2 dozen chicken eggs (some mine, some Mom's) to my neighbor's grown daughter (she's poor and super appreciative) and 18 duck eggs to my physical therapist on Friday.

The ducks are back in full production, giving me 5 to 6 eggs a day. The hens are starting to molt, so my four are doing 2 a day right now. We are still getting plenty for our own use. I also got 3 turkey eggs so far this week. They taste just like the chicken eggs. Not nearly as different as the duck eggs are from chicken eggs.

Once the novelty wears off of eating the turkey eggs I will sell them. I think I can get $4 for a half dozen.

I may also sell fertile eggs if anyone is interested. I'd like to incubate turkey eggs this year, but I don't think we can swing a really good incubator until next year. One day.

A Long Week

April 1st, 2015 at 01:52 pm

I didn't realize its been a week since I've read any of the blogs. I have a lot of catching up to do. You guys have been super active!

I've been working on the garden.

http://youtu.be/ZuvIwvf0Obk

I've made more progess since making that video, actually getting lettuce, kale, snow peas, onions and leeks planted.

The stuff I started from seed is doing great, too. All of the tomatoes are chugging along. I added more soil to their containers as they were getting quite tall, but only have their seedling leaves. The lettuces are starting to push forth their true leaves and all of the kale seeds I planted had sprouted within 24 hours. Now I am just waiting on the chard seeds that I planted the same day as the kale seeds.

I also have peppers seeds going, but I'm not sure how well they are doing. I planted them the same day as the kale and chard, but they can take 14 days to germinate. I have them on a heating pad, but I think I need to get a true heat mat for them. They are in a warm room and getting plenty of moisture. They are supposed to be the most problematic seeds to germinate. I do have another trick up my sleeve using a crockpot set to warm that I saw on youtube.

I got a $10 check from Pinecone so that will go into the EF today on my way to pick up the kids. I have someone coming by to purchase eggs on Thursday, but my son gets the proceeds from every 3rd dozen, so I'll only get some of it, and it may be discounted if she brings her own egg cartons. I do 50 cents off if they bring their own cartons.

Not too much else going on here. I am mostly working on the garden and taking care of the animals.

Emergency Fund Update

March 27th, 2015 at 06:55 pm

$14,245.60 Beginning EF Total
___,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
___,_59.73 (Coin jar money, egg money, and rebate)
________________
$14,315.33 New EF Total

$684.67 to go to hit my big goal of $15K.

Snowflakes

March 23rd, 2015 at 04:19 pm

I received $30 worth of Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks today and sent for a $10 check from Pinecone. I was sorely tempted to do two $5 checks instead, but didn't have the time to mess with it. I wish they'd go back to the $3 cash out. The increments of $5 annoys me when the surveys are only worth $3.

I am saving up my gift cards to buy something for the farm. So far I have $80. I haven't decided which I am going to get first, a Brinsea incubator or a barrel feather plucker, but those are the two things on the horizon. They are both hefty purchases. I can rent a plucker for now, but eventually we want our own so we can process on our own schedule and not when we can get the machine.

Other Income - Swagbucks Changed

March 2nd, 2015 at 01:24 am

Sorry to be posting so much at once. These were meant to be done over a couple of days, but life got hectic. Anyhow, I got $75 in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks this month. Since I already had enough points to cash out for a $5 gift card for Amazon I went to do that tonight and realized that it is no longer 450 points for a $5 gift card, it is the full 500. I am pretty sure it was still 450 last month. Anyone know for sure when that changed?

That is going to be a real bummer. I don't know if it is enough to have me cash out for paypal cash or not. I still buy plenty on Amazon. I just am really going to miss that discount. I know it only added up to 250 SB's a month, but that's half a gift card's worth right there. I decided to wait until I hit 2500 to cash out. There is no reason for me to cash out right away anymore.

While I did do a survey in February for Pinecone, I will have to wait for another one before I can cash out there. Stupid $5 cash out change. Why can't these guys just leave well enough alone? If it ain't broke, don't break it.

Emergency Fund Update

March 2nd, 2015 at 01:05 am

$14,075.00 Beginning EF Balance
+__,__6.60 C1-360 Interest Added
-----------------------
$14,081.60 New EF Balance

$918.40 to go to my next goal.

New Babies and February Farm Income

March 2nd, 2015 at 12:56 am

It was a long weekend here on the farmlet, but all of the does kindled their litters and with the exception of a tiny runt, nothing was wrong with any of them. They all look healthy and strong, even the runt who was wiggly and vocal. I have never had a kit this small before and I hope it will make it. It is teeny. It is as wide as my index finger and as long as my pinky. In comparison, a normal sized new born kit is about two fingers wide and as long as my middle finger.

You can see for yourself how small it is. He is towards the middle of the photo surrounded by his bigger siblings.



This is Firefly's first litter and she had seven. If the littlest one survives it will probably have to be grown out two to three weeks longer than the rest.

The other two litters are doing well. Persephone had six, four of which are bigger than the other two, but even those smaller ones are still way bigger than the runt.



Luna Blue's litter was also six. Hers are all really big, but since Leo is the father that is to be expected. You can definitely see the difference in size in this photo.



So with 19 kits, 3 of which will have to grow out longer, I am glad I held off breeding on Wednesday. I think I will wait until the 11th and then breed 3 does again.

I sold 2 dozen eggs on Friday, making farm sales for February $105 and $132.50 for 2015. I will take a dozen to my physical therapist tomorrow. We are starting to get a surplus built up again and by tomorrow I should have 3 dozen. I plan to make a pound cake this week and 2 batches of peanut butter cookies. I may make some egg bread, too. We'll see.

I have lost 21 pounds so far since December 31st. I have 2 days let in the first round of my six month diet bet. Unless something goes drastically wrong, I should win it.

Farm Income and Other Stuff

February 14th, 2015 at 06:09 pm

I made $80 in rabbit meat sales today. That brings the total sales for the month to $95 and $122.50 for 2015. That more than covers a month of feed for all of the animals, especially since we don't have any babies right now, but since I have a large amount of feed bought in previous months, I don't need to use it for that and it will go to the EF on Tuesday.

This week I also received my AMEX reward that is attached to my Costco card. It is $58.82. I have to go to Costco to cash it. I wish they would just let you cash it at a bank, but they won't. We will go there sometime soon, maybe Tuesday so we can avoid the holiday weekend shoppers. I don't really need much from Costco, maybe Ziplocs, but nothing else, so I hate to go all the way over there just for that, but oh, well. That money will end up in the EF as well.

We went to the farm today and got several pounds of pastured organic meat. For $280 I got 32.3 pounds of meat divided thusly:

8 2.5 pound pot roasts (20 lb)
4 pork chops (2.30 lb)
5 packages of bacon (5 lb)
1 rack of lamb (3 lb)
1 beef hanging tender (will have to look up how to cook this)(2 lb)

We will can the pot roasts later this week after they have thawed out.

Since we were down that way DH and I went out to an early dinner at Outback for a combination of Valentine's Day and my birthday. It was nice to have a nice dinner out without the kids. We rarely do. We brought home wings and bread for the kids and they also stole our leftovers. I didn't end up getting steaks after all on my actual birthday so I don't feel guilty at all about going out, especially since I set aside the money I would have used to buy steaks.

Farm Sales and Other Income/Gift Cards

February 9th, 2015 at 07:17 pm

I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today for $10, bringing my egg sales for the month to $15. I received my two Pinecone checks in the mail today, for a total of $20. I have received all five of my $5 Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks and have cashed out for a $25 gift card. I think I'll be able to get another one before the month is up if I keep qualifying for surveys.

This Saturday we'll be going down to the farm store to buy beef for canning and we will be selling the lady who runs the counter some of our rabbit meat. She pays $15 a pound. I'm not sure how much the package weighs. We use their scale when we get there. But the last sale was $67.50 for 4.5 pounds, so should be around that much.

I need to order some more rabbit cages. I want to stop using the 24 x 24 inch cages and just use the 36 x 36 inch cages. The smaller ones are standard for bucks of this size, but when I moved the two bucks that were in them to the larger cages a couple weeks ago, they acted like they were in heaven. I'd rather they have a bit more space if it means that much to them. I like to keep them all happy.

Stuff and Things and House

February 4th, 2015 at 10:27 am

So yesterday I sent for 2 more $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. I can order the last $5 one today. Then in a few days I should have enough to get a $25 gift card. So that will give me $50 total at Amazon. I am going to use it to buy a case of the olive oil based Miracle Whip that has no high fructose corn syrup in it. All of the stores around here quit carrying it and I won't go back to regular.

A case of 12 is $95 on Amazon, with no shipping fees. That works out to almost $8 a jar. So with $50 in Amazon gift cards I can get it for $45, which works out to a more reasonable $4 per jar. 12 jars should last me 2 to 3 years. I only eat it with tuna fish, which I don't eat terribly frequently.

Pinecone sent a letter that isn't even accurate to how much money you can cash out at now. They were all, you can just cash out with the $3 option and then add the quantity multiple times so we only have to send one check. But there is no $3 option anymore. I had sent for a $15 check and a $5 check. Now I know that means that I could have cashed out the $5 choice 4 times, but I wasn't even thinking about that at the time.

But considering how I feel about the changes, I probably would have cashed out $5 four different times a few days apart. So they got off lucky with me cashing out for 2 checks instead of 4. They will probably just send the $15 and $5 cash outs in one check. The letter didn't say that, but I'm assuming. It won't matter in the future. I will cash out every time I have at least $5 in the account from now on.

We've completed all the extra stuff on the house to bring it up to code. The wood stove fix was $567. The hot water tank replacement and install was $800. The cost to bring the outlet valve up to code and install earthquake/tornado belts on the hot water tank, also to bring it up to code, was an additional $326. He worked on it for 6 hours. His company is one of the very few who will install hot water heaters into this type of home. And the cost to take off the front porch, pour a concrete pad underneath it, and put the porch back on was $400. $1000 of that will be refunded to us by the buyers on closing.

L&I has signed off on what it needed to sign off on. So their bank will come out sometime in the next two weeks and if they find all to be well and find it appraises properly, then we are good to go for signing. We are hoping to sign by the 24th, though the official closing date is on or before the 26th. DH will only be home from the 12th to the 24th. It would be easier to do it in person than for him to have to find a notary up there at work. Though they did say he might be able to sign in advance.

Then we have to deal with the fact that the female half of the couple is pregnant and due in six weeks, but has already had to go to the hospital once to have early labor stopped. So that may upset the apple cart as well. It does make them more apt to want to sign early if possible, though. They really would like to be settled before the baby comes.

Anyway, I am counting down the next 3.5 weeks. I am finally starting to believe this is really going to happen. And getting a little excited about it, but not too much because the bank could still decide the house isn't worth that much, though it appraises $17K above what they are paying.

I want that check in my hot little hands so badly. I want to pay off the remodeler and the van, bring my EF to $15K and then dump the rest into savings for a down payment. I just want to be there with no more consumer debt hanging over us.

I have a doctor's appointment today. My cholesterol numbers were so good at my blood test that I am going to ask him about either stopping the medication or reducing it. I'd like to get off it. I want to see if I can try going without it for a month and then have another blood test to see if the levels are doing okay. Crestor is expensive and I've changed my eating habits enough now that I may no longer have issues with it. Or to get a cheaper medication. Another option would be to get the 40mg pill and cut it in half. It would be cheaper in the long run.

My insurance has decided it is going to cover my blood pressure medicine 100%. I was in shock the other day when I picked it up. Last year it was $40. That is so helpful to the budget. That is $480 a year I can put towards the farm down payment savings.

My ultimate goal is to get off the BP meds, too. But I think it will take me at least a year of weight loss to be at that point. And weight loss may not be enough. High BP runs in my family. We tried reducing them once from 40mg to 20mg and I felt awful, so definitely need to lose the weight before trying that again.

And if I lose enough weight, I can have a new sleep study done and I might no longer need the sleep apnea machine. I don't have too many breathing incidents, so this might really be achievable. Then I wouldn't have to buy filters, hoses, masks, etc., as they wear out.

Speaking of weight loss I am now 14 pounds down. I think finding dietbet was the best thing that ever happened to me.



Swagbucks and Pinecone

February 2nd, 2015 at 09:18 pm

I cashed out 2 $5 gift cards for Amazon at Swagbucks today. I also sent for a $20 check from Pinecone, though if it were on the old system it would have been $21. My reaction to Pinecone switching from being able to cash out in increments of $3 to now having to wait until $5, when each survey only pays $3, is to have them send me a paper check every time I hit $5. So if they thought it would help them save on paperwork and maybe postage, they thought wrong. Before I'd wait until I had a higher balance. Now it'll be every time I can. Slightly vindictive, but the surveys have gotten more and more tedious and less and less frequent, so it balances out in my opinion.

Stuff and Other Stuff

January 16th, 2015 at 11:06 pm

We went to Costco today and spent $211. I stocked up on toilet paper, bought some tikka masala spices, vitamins, fuzzy socks(!), and of course groceries. We also got gas. It was $1.84 a gallon and we got just over 11 gallons. We paid just a smidgeon above $20. I can't even remember the last time that happened.

The house contract was signed Monday night by all parties. They have scheduled their inspection. We have to do $500 worth of work on the wood stove to bring it up to code. I think we will be able to swing that without touching the Emergency Fund. Since I have $700 in the propane fund (and still have $50 of credit with the co-op) and still haven't had to fill the tank, I can take most of it from there, and I also have an extra $70 in the dues fund. I am trying not to get excited about the house sale happening because it fell through last time, but I am a little bit.

I have now lost 8 pounds since starting my diet December 31st. I hope that continues to go well. I still need to lose a few more pounds to win my dietbet. I think I am going to make it. I've got 15 days left. Even if I don't win, the support of the group has been wonderful and it is worth that for $30. But I want to win.

I have managed to keep my calorie intake in my goal range every day but one. I went over by 15 calories that day, so I still consider it a win.

Tomorrow I have someone dropping off a baby aloe plant for me and another person buying 2 dozen duck eggs for $10. That will bring farm sales for the month to $37.50.

I received my Costco bonus check for $46.27 today. Of course I didn't open the mail until after we'd come back from our shopping trip to Costco. Wish I had because that check can only be cashed at Costco. DH will have to run in there on Sunday. We'll be going past it on the way to visit his parents so we won't have to make a special trip.

I think that about covers everything.

New Ducks and a Farm Sale

January 13th, 2015 at 08:59 pm

We were given two ducks today, both females, from someone who was having predator problems and they had wiped out her flock except for these two. We have named them Bluebell (she's a Blue Swedish) and Daisy (she's a Khaki Campbell).

Integration was interesting. I think it is all going to be okay, though. It isn't like with chickens where the birds can be downright nasty to newcomers. They are very well taken care of, healthy animals. I wasn't planning to add any more ducks to the flock, but it is hard to say no to free, especially after losing Lemon.

I did a short little vid if anyone is interested.

http://youtu.be/DCy6-buXFVA

Tomorrow I have someone coming to buy a 4 month old doe kit. It's a non-pedigreed but purebred New Zealand White, so only $20. Proven and purebred go for more and reds go for more than that. This will bring my January farm sales to $27.50. But DS gets a percentage because he does so much work with the animals. He gets 1/3.

Surveys, Etc.

January 7th, 2015 at 02:07 pm

Yesterday I decided to give Swagbucks a whirl again. It has been several months since I've bothered. My only real goal with it is to earn at least 100 points a day, so I can earn $25 a month. I quit when they were having problems with the toolbar and malware, but so far so good.

I haven't gotten any surveys from Pinecone in two weeks, which is weird, because generally I get at least one a week from them, plus a couple of screeners, and there before Christmas I was getting 2 a week for a couple weeks.

I am waiting for some things to credit to ACOP and then I should be able to cash out for $10. I like ACOP, but they take forever to process stuff. It takes a minimum of 2 weeks (usually longer) for a survey to be credited to the account and then you can only cash out when you've earned $10 or more and then that takes 2 to 4 weeks to process. It does come eventually, but I have no clue why they have to take forever. This stuff should be automated.

I miss some of the older survey companies that have gone out of business, but were always reliable. Or that changed their methods so they aren't as lucrative. Oh, well. At least there are still a few.

Interest Added to EF

January 1st, 2015 at 01:28 pm

$11,020.00 Beginning Balance
+_____7.70 Interest
--------------
$11,027.70 New Balance

This is the interest of $7.22 from C1-360 and $0.48 from CU#2.

Christmas Bonus

December 16th, 2014 at 06:09 pm

The Christmas Bonus came in the mail yesterday. We weren't expecting it until the 19th. It was the same as last year, gross, but less net as they took out some for 401K and 25% for taxes, which they do for all bonuses no matter how big or how small. Gubmint has to catch those super bonuses after all from those tax evading CEO's, by going after everyone who gets them right off the top. We'll get most of it back when we file our income taxes, though.

I am tentatively setting aside $1000 for DH's bachelor's program, and $1000 to the Emergency Fund. I'm not going to decide on the rest of it until I know for sure the exact dollar amount on the van repair. I'd like to set aside more for the bachelor's program. Ideally I'd like to have enough for two classes that he could take back to back. He does one at a time. And then we'd have the income tax return to pay for the next couple classes by the time he'd finished the first two.

$10,000.00 Beginning EF Balance
+_1,000.00 Amount Added
-------------
$11,000.00 New EF Balance

Made a Sale

December 13th, 2014 at 06:29 pm

Sold a NZ red doe kit today with DQs, so at a discount. $20. A pedigreed red that was at the SOP would go for $30. This one had a white spot on her face so was not show quality. I gave my son his third of $6.66 and my 2/3 of $13.34 goes into the feed money jar.

The ducks are only producing 2 to 3 eggs a day this week. Makes it easier to keep up with them, but I hope they are still laying in January as I have a lady who wants to get some hatching eggs then. Our four chickens are giving us 4 a day, so we still have enough for sales.

Things and Other Things

December 10th, 2014 at 05:03 pm

Yesterday I got my $78 check in the mail from Pinecone. We also got the $50 Safeway gift card for Christmas from DH's work. DH came home last night. He will be here for 22 days. It is nice having him home again.

***

Change of plans on the Christmas bonus. I was hoping to put half of it into the 401K, but apparently the only choices there actually are is to contribute the percentage you normally contribute from each paycheck, or put all of it in. I didn't want to jack up the percentage because it would then interfere with the next paycheck, too.

Since we don't know how much the van is going to cost to fix, I guess it is just as well. I will try to put half of it into the Emergency Fund instead. As long as there is enough to start DH's bachelor's program, I don't forsee that being too much of a problem.

***

This morning DH had the car towed to the dealership and they are dealing with both the fact that it won't start and the fact that it is leaking water into the seat belt well every time it rains, resulting in a soaked driver's side seat belt. There might be a leak in the moon roof, but they were able to rule out a defective door seal.

We will know more tomorrow, but it is $99 to diagnose what is wrong with the starter (or whatever) and $99 to diagnose the leak, so we are already $200 into this before anything is actually fixed. Oh, and it cost $70 to tow it the 3 miles to the dealership, but I think we will get that reimbursed from our insurance. I believe we have towing on it. We used to. Might have stopped that when we got AAA, though. I didn't want to do another AAA call, because that is for emergencies (even if they do take forever) and we only get so many service calls per year.

***

I have made the decision not to keep one of Sienna's kits. One of the does has a white spot on her face (as does one of the bucks, and Sienna had a white spot on her shoulder) and this is a genetic flaw. The other one doesn't but with 2 kits showing up with it, I don't want to take that chance as it is a disqualification for show. We wouldn't be able to sell any of her kits as show quality. The other doe kit is very jumpy, too. We didn't start working with them young enough for them not to be skittish, because of course we never expected to lose Sienna.

Cinnabun has had a personality change anyway, since we moved her into Sienna's cage. She is now being pretty sweet, so between her and Firefly, I have enough female reds. I had briefly considered keeping a red buck kit, but again, that white spot could turn up and also if I raise another red buck kit, I don't want him to be related to Wildfire. I want more diversity than that.

I miss Sienna, but keeping one of her kits won't bring her back and won't strengthen my lines, so I am trying to be practical.

***

I have someone who has expressed interest in buying duck eggs for hatching. Hopefully she will get back to me soon because it will take a few days to collect them. Hatching eggs cannot be washed or refrigerated and have to be treated differently than normally collected eggs. And they can only be kept for 7 days before going into the incubator. After that viability plummets.

***

Not much else going on. The kids will go on a field trip on Friday. They will pack a lunch, but will also need money for dinner. DH and I will go coat shopping while they are gone, so there are a few expenses coming up.

We will have to wait until the current spate of aggressive wind storms are over before butchering rabbits. Bad weather freaks them out and we try to keep the experience as calm as possible for them so they are not stressed. We have 18 to do over the next 3 weeks and then we will be done butchering again until June. It'll be nice to put that chore away for several months. It'll also be nice to have another 45 pounds of meat in the freezer.

Medical

December 2nd, 2014 at 06:47 pm

I spent $90 on physical therapy today. I've moved my day to Tuesdays until January. My PT's schedule is crazy for Fridays this month and I don't want to deal with it. I like consistent times.

I am still sick and I am going to try to go back to the doctor tomorrow. I am just not shaking this. I have been sick for over 2 months now and I am tired of it. I don't think I was on the antibiotics long enough. I don't know why doctors are so stingy with them. I told him flat out that a ten day supply would not be enough and I needed a full 2 weeks or I'd likely relapse. And what happens? 2 days after the antibiotics are done, the minor improvement I saw was gone.

I hate training new doctors. I miss my old doctor so much. They just don't make them like him anymore.

I also did two surveys from Pinecone on Monday and already got payment notification. They really seem to be peppering me with them the last couple of weeks. Not that I'm complaining!

Pinecone

November 29th, 2014 at 07:33 pm

I just cashed out at Pinecone for the first time. I've just been generally lazy about it so have never redeemed points with them. I have done 26 surveys since I started so thus had 7800 points. I will have $78 coming to me shortly. Not bad. It's not as good as GTM was in its heyday, where I cleared $50 every six weeks or so, but it is the best I've found since GTM changed a few years ago.

Things and Other Things

November 22nd, 2014 at 02:26 pm

I took 3 surveys from Pinecone this morning. I am not sure if they just really like me right now or if it is a holiday thing where they are trying to get stuff done before Thanksgiving when people will be too busy to take surveys.

I haven't cashed in at all since I started doing Pinecone. I just figured I'd have them send me a check when it got big enough to be worth bothering with. After I get the notification that these 3 are in my account I will cash out. Not sure how much I have, but I've been doing surveys at least once a week for the last several months. I just don't feel like looking it up. I'll find that out when I go to cash out.

I am making rabbit stock today from all 8 of the ribcages from the rabbits we butchered last week. I should end up with about 3 cups of rabbit meat to use in meals this week (probably enchiladas) once I pick off the bones and 6 to 8 quarts of stock to can. The chickens and ducks will get the used up vegetables.

I may make up soup base instead of just stock. To do that I half fill the jars with diced carrots, celery, potatoes, and rabbit meat and fill the rest of with the stock. Then when I want soup I just bring it to a boil and add noodles to cook. I'm not sure if I have enough extra energy to do that, though. I am feeling better, but am still sick, though it is becoming more of a functional sick.

I need to remember to take the turkey out of the freezer tomorrow for Thanksgiving. And to weigh it so we know how heavy it is for cooking time. We didn't weigh it when we butchered it and DH forgot to weigh it when he bagged it up for the freezer. I think it is about ten pounds, but we need to know for sure.

I also need to bake a couple of loaves of bread for making stuffing on Tuesday. I need to pick through the potatoes and make sure there are enough that haven't sprouted for that day, too. I need to make sure I have the right poultry seasoning on hand, one that actually has sage in it. We have plenty of butter on hand.

I need to find what I did with my recipe for making chocolate pudding so I can make a chocolate cream pie. I need to buy heavy cream to make whipping cream. I already have the safe brand of graham crackers for making the crust. I will probably make the pie on Wednesday and do the cream last minute on Thursday.

Our menu is pretty simple for the day. Roast turkey rubbed with butter and poultry seasoning, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, simple bread stuffing, and pie. Since it is just me, the kids, and my mother, that is all we want. We don't like cranberry sauce or yams. My son is the only one who likes pumpkin pie, but he is fine to wait until Christmas for that.

This will be the first time in 4 years (I think) that DH has not been home for Thanksgiving. I know for the past 3 years we have gone to his parents house. I didn't want to go this year without him. Anyway, I always end up doing most of the cooking when I go, so this year I am staying home and my mom will help with the cooking. Since I still don't feel great, I don't want to put myself through the drama that my SIL and her eldest daughter always bring to gatherings on that side of the family. When DH is not with me, I just don't have the patience for that. He keeps me centered.

We have decided to finally start contributing to the 401K at the new company. We weren't when we were paying off the credit cards or paying off the mortgage, but we have decided that it was time now to start. DH is going to find out when enrollment is and then as soon as we can, we will start with it. His company does no matching at all. We are going to start with 1% and see how it affects our bottom line. If it is bearable, we will up it to 2%. We will have to see how much our medical is going to go up this year. 1% may be all we can afford.

If he ends up getting enough overtime that we don't have to use the Christmas bonus to get through the time off, and assuming it is the same amount as last year, I'd like to put half of it into the 401K. That we can do regardless of an enrollment period. The rest of it would be split between starting DH on his Bachelor's program and the Emergency Fund. But who knows on the overtime. DH is still trying to chase down the final signature. His company can be very disorganized at times.

I got some swag from my credit union. A wall calendar, a purse calendar, and a very, very nice pen. I do like free stuff that I can actually use.

That Worked Out Well for the EF

November 21st, 2014 at 02:22 pm

I just got the mail and there was a letter in it from the Imaging Center. I was sure it was another bill, but couldn't figure out from what, since I've already paid for both my MRI and my daughter's CAT scan from her skull fracture. Turns out it was a refund check. When I got my MRI, I had to pay $125 up front, even though we don't have a co-pay. Well, my insurance covered more than they thought it would, so the $125 led to an overpayment.

The amount of the check is $35.73. I also had enough quarters in my coin jar for a roll, so rolled those, and I have 2 ones in there, so I am going to go make a deposit into the Emergency Fund with this money.

$9432.66 Beginning Balance
___35.73 Refund
___12.00 Coin Jar
----------------
$9480.39 Ending Balance

That leaves me with just $519.61 to go to hit my $10K goal.

There is a possibility that DH may be able to get an extra week of work in December. It has been signed off on by all but one person. If he does get that week, we will only have 4 weeks without a paycheck instead of 5. And it might just be enough that between one extra paycheck, what I've saved, and the Christmas bonus (assuming it is what it has been the last 2 years), we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all.

And in a best case scenario, I might even have enough left over to boost the EF all the way to $10K by the end of the year. That would be wonderful, but I am not counting my chickens before they hatch, or in my case not counting my rabbit kits before they reach butcher size.

Gift Card in the Mail

November 17th, 2014 at 02:43 pm

Well, DH's company did actually send a gift card for Thanksgiving this year. It's a $50 value good at Safeway. The closest Safeway is 20 miles away. If they send us one for Christmas, too, than we will have a total of $200 in gift cards for Safeway. We will make one trip there to use them in December during the 5 weeks off with no pay.


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