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Payday Report for 11/16/18 Plus Lots of Miscellany

November 16th, 2018 at 06:00 pm

Been a while since I felt well enough to do one of these, but things are improving with the rheumatoid arthritis this week after about three weeks in full inflamation mode and I am typing with relative ease again, which is why I've been posting this week at all.

We had some overtime this week, 10 hours. All of it went to DH's crown, because it turns out our dental insurance didn't cover any of it, even though it said it would when they did the preauthorization. DH is going to talk to HR at work, because the plan they say they have they don't. So that means we have to come up with another $700 or so out of pocket.

I was able to put $600 into the medical fund instead of the usual $400 this payday, but that means that all of that will have to go towards the crown. Fortunately with this deposit there is $961 in the medical fund. We won't have the breathing room I had hoped for, but we will be able to pay for the rest of the crown.

I have done the budget for December and I am including the extra paycheck for November 30th onto that budget and not the November budget, since it is paying for December things. So on 11/30 I can put $400 into the medical fund and on 12/14 I can put in $700, and on 12/28 I can put in $900.

DS has a sleep study on November 26th (at least if they don't reschedule again) and I am not sure how much that will cost us. The family deductible is $2000 and DD has met $1000 of it (her limit), and I know I have met some of it. I think maybe $500. I know DD has met her out of pocket max, but I think that has a per person as well as a per family, too.

So I don't know for sure whether or not we will have any money left for next year's deductible. That $1500 for the crown instead of $750 is blowing us out of the water. Plus DH wants to get new glasses. He's more than due. At least the vision is decent, but it'll still be around $200. He's getting cheap frames no matter what. Nothing fancy. He's already cost us too much medical money with that crown, even if half of it had been covered.

Here's what went out today:

$319.93 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_600.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_596.31 DH's Crown (plus additional from last payday)
__61.74 DH Life Insurance
__60.46 Me Life Insurance
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Christmas Envelope
_172.84 Computer Fund
----------------
3051.38 Total Money Out

DH purchased his new computer online today, so the computer fund is now wiped out. I'll start over in December, but I think at only at $50 a month. We were doing $100 because DH's was on it's last legs and it really felt like a race to the finish line on whether or not it would last until we had the money. His was five years old.

We all have newish computers now. Mine is the oldest at barely two years old and it is still in excellent shape, so there is no urgency to build the fund back up. Still, I want to have something going in there, and it is possible a phone could go and have to be replaced, though it is doubtful. I don't think any of them are a year old yet. Maybe mine. But it is serviceable. Who knows what the status of my computer will be in another year and having the money sitting there to replace it if it goes kaput is always the better option.

Payday Report for 10/5/18

October 5th, 2018 at 03:36 pm

I do have some money leftover after paying all the bills for this pay period, but I am going to try to hold onto it, because DD had to go to the ER last night for IV fluids. I may need it for medical expenses, since the Medical Fund, including what I am putting in today, is basically wiped out after DH's new crown. The 16th cannot come soon enough for DD. I just hope they find something and it is something that can be fixed during the procedures.

$268.72 Tithe
_500.00 October Utilities
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_275.00 Monthly Chiropractor Family Plan
__91.91 Internet
__36.00 Garbage Envelope
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money
_100.00 Car Insurance
_120.00 Allowances
-------------
2416.63 Total Money Out

Car Insurance Due and How We Pay it in Full

September 21st, 2018 at 02:39 pm

I got my bill recently for the next six months of car insurance. I have been setting aside $100 a month every month in the Car Insurance Fund. The bill is $567.14 if paid in full. I save $67.66 by not paying it month to month, because they charge a convenience fee each month to do it that way.

Now, it still feels like I am paying month to month, because I have a line item on the budget for it each month and it still disappears from my checking account, but I would much rather do it like this and save that extra money. In order to get ahead like this, a couple of years ago we used some money from our tax return to pay the six months in full and then started saving each month after that. I know some budgets are tight so it would be hard to pay each month and save for the fund, but by doing it like this we didn't have to. We were able to immediately start saving into the fund that month.

So not only do I save that $67.66 off my bill, I also end up with a cushion of $32.86 sitting in the fund to start off with since I am slightly oversaving. Of course I don't know what the six months after this will cost, so if it goes up, we have that cushion, plus the next one if necessary to add to our in full payment. A little insurance on our insurance, if you will.

I do the same thing with other funds. Like right now I am saving $100 a month in the Computer Fund. I could get 12 months same as cash or I could save for several months ahead of time and have the money sitting there ready to go when the next computer or camera or phone other electronic device goes belly up. If the money is there, I can still choose to do the same as cash option, knowing I can pay it off at any time, or I can just pay it off.

Some people aren't so good at paying it off in the allotted time, but we have always been. I figure we might need it to jolly our credit report along at some point, since we are using so little credit these days. If we ever finish the debt payoff and save up enough to put a down payment on a house again, we will need a good credit score. So even if we do the deal and pay it off after three months, it activates the credit report. But the point is, I don't want to have to do it that way. I want to use it as a tool, not have it use me.

I think it is good to have sinking funds like this. It keeps you from being walloped by an unexpected, but really what should be expected, expense. We all know our cars will have insurance due every six months, but to many it is just a big surprise every time it happens because they don't budget for it. We all know computers break down, that Christmas comes every year, that the kids will need clothes and shoes. Budgeting as we go, so we don't get smacked with the expense, just makes sense. And it helps prevent using credit cards and getting further into debt, which is the most important thing, at least for us.

Payday Report for 9/21/18

September 21st, 2018 at 02:22 pm

I did not go down to the last dollar this time. I have about $250 left in checking. There may be one more autopay yet to come through and then anything else I am holding on to for upcoming medical bills. DH was wrong about the last paycheck not having overtime on it. It had 10 hours. This one is a true representation of base pay with no OT and all of the various insurances and the 401K being taken out.

$268.77 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
_100.00 Household Envelope
_352.30 Autopays
__56.83 Life Insurance DH
__45.30 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Adults Blow Money
_120.00 Kid's Allowances
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Holiday Envelope
_100.00 Laptop Fund
---------
2232.31 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 9/7/18

September 7th, 2018 at 01:54 pm

This paycheck had the real numbers on it of what the base pay will be. No overtime. So after I get the next one I will know for sure how much income there is in a month. I am hoping they are splitting the insurances 50/50 and not taking it all out of one paycheck. If so, then we'll be bringing home more than I thought, but it still won't compare to all that overtime. Hopefully in October there will be OT again.

$319.93 Tithe
_500.00 Utilities
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
_100.00 Household Envelope
__91.91 Internet
__36.00 Garbage
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money Envelope
_120.00 Allowances
_325.89 Credit Card
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan
---------
3318.73 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 8/10/18 -- First 2 Week Paycheck

August 10th, 2018 at 03:33 pm

$407.46 Tithe
_500.00 Utilities
_400.00 Groceries
_400.00 Medical
__75.00 Household
_275.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
__91.91 Internet
__50.00 Car Maintenance Fund
_100.00 Gas Money
_110.00 Allowances
_743.12 Credit Card
1000.00 Monster Mom Loan
-------------
$4172.48 Total Money Out

Planning for the New Paycheck and Future Goals

August 5th, 2018 at 07:10 pm

As per usual, I have come down with something a few days after our visit to the ER, a nasty stomach bug. I am on the way back up, though, so fortunately it isn't going to be some long, drawn out thing. My food is staying down today and my head feels better, and I finally woke up feeling well-rested. My tummy is still a little tender, but I think by tomorrow I will be okay. I am supposed to be beta testing a finance thing for someone, but haven't been quite up to it yet. Maybe tomorrow.

We have five days to go until payday. This will be DH's first paycheck as a permanent employee and will have two weeks on it. I have set up my budget for August with two bi-weekly pay periods instead of weekly pay periods. The first week will have 15 hours of OT on it and the second week will have 6. DH was so tired after spending Thursday night in the ER with DD, so I told him if he was too tired to stick it out, not to. OT is nice, but not at the expense of his health.

From now on he is only authorized to get 10 hours of OT a week. He won't be able to set up the 401K until after he gets his first automatic deposit, so the paycheck on the 24th will start the 401K contributions. We have decided to start them even though we haven't paid off the debt yet. We both feel like we are already too far behind on retirement to wait, even though Dave Ramsey says to wait until the debt is gone. It is messing too much with my security issues not to start it up and DH also wants to do it.

I am having DH run the numbers for me on how much to contribute. We are debating 5% and 7%. 5% is how much the company matches. 7% is the break even point on taxes. I just need to see what the end numbers will be. Then we can make a decision and I can do the final tweaks to the budget. The August budget is going to be weird and not be able to follow the budget template, but from September on it'll be set for the rest of the year.

DH will be getting what amounts to a 12% raise, but it is because our insurance premiums will be so much lower in September. He is not getting an actual raise, although his boss did try and says he will try again in 6 months. It will feel like a raise. Also in 18 months another guy is going to retire and his boss says he wants DH to take over his position which would be a promotion and likely a raise with the increased responsibility.

We will not increase our level of spending, though. All extra money will be put in the 401K and to pay off this last debt. Once the debt is gone, then the debt money will go to an EF of 3 months of expenses. Once we hit 3 months expenses, we will split that portion in half. One half will continue to build the EF until we hit six months of expenses. The other half will go towards a down payment fund for a house.

Once the EF hits six months of expenses, we will adjust our retirement savings to 10% and the remainder will go into the down payment fund. We may be saving for some time as I don't want to have a mortgage of more than $200,000.00. I really would prefer $100,000.00 mortgage, but that is not practical where we live.

If MIL gives us the $13K a year, we will fund a spousal Roth IRA with some of it and the rest will go into either the EF if we are still building it and then the house down payment fund.

I probably should start a sinking fund for a vehicle replacement. Right now our vehicles are in excellent condition. The 2011 Sienna has only just hit 40,000 miles. The 2007 Tacoma has a lot more miles, but is in great repair, so I think we have many years to go. But when something does go, we will want to get something nice, a used car in the $20,000 range or less. I reckon the Sienna will last another 15 years, but the truck might not. With Toyotas, though, as long as you keep them up, they last a very, very long time. Both will need new paint jobs, the truck first, and then eventually the van.

I'd like to take a vacation at some point, too. We haven't been on one in several years. So that should likely be one of our sinking funds as well. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve all of these goals in the next six years or so. I would like to get out of here sooner, but I just don't think that is to be.

Payday Report for 7/20/18

July 20th, 2018 at 06:39 pm

$201.95 Tithe
_200.00 Medical Fund
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__50.00 Household Envelope
__45.00 Allowances
_441.41 Auto Payments
_100.00 Laptop Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_600.00 Monster Mom Loan
------------
$1888.36 Total Money Out

I did not budget all of the money out this time as there are a couple of things we need to purchase off of Amazon. I'll be using the debit card there for the first time. I'm not quite sure yet how much we will be spending, so I left plenty of room. After we buy our things, I will allocate what is left to another category.

The Medical Fund is currently sitting at almost $600. I want to get it to $2000 and then I will stop contributing $200 weekly deposits, though when it drops down below $2000 I will start them up again. I have a ways to go before I get there and of course I'm taking out any medical expenses as we go. $2000 is the amount the new deductible will be on the insurance that starts in September, so I'd like it available to us so we don't have to scramble when we start on deductible number three for the year.

Benefit Info Trickling in--Retirement

July 15th, 2018 at 10:11 pm

So information about the new job is slowly trickling in. I'll start with the retirement information. They have two choices: a traditional 401K and a Roth 401K. I have only recently even learned of the existence of a Roth 401K. With the traditional 401K they will match 100% up to 5% of your income and of course it is pre-tax dollars. With the Roth 401K you put in after tax dollars, and they will again match 100% of what you put in up to 5% of your income. Their portion will be taxed upon withdrawal, but what you put in won't be since you have used after tax dollars.

My gut says the 401K Roth is probably a better choice, but I have done some reading and some have said that it might be better to use pre-tax dollars now when we are earning more to lower our effective tax rate, because when we retire we won't be pulling out as much as DH is currently earning per year, so our tax rate then will be lower than what it is now. Could some of our accountant/tax people weigh in on this issue?

They also may contribute an additional sum to the 401K called a performance contribution, which is divided among employees in proportion to their wages and based on how well the company does each year. Basically an end of year bonus, but to the 401K. It varies from year to year.

They have an ESOP or Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The company contributes stock to employees at the end of the year based on wages and a pro rata basis. They will start doing this once you have worked 1000 hours. It is fully vested after six years, vesting 1/6 per year. DH said currently one share of company stock is worth $16,000. Stock must be sold back to the company on retirement or quitting.

I am debating whether or not we should start whichever 401K we choose immediately (match is immediate) or wait until the debt is paid off. If we do it immediately it works out to $90 a week. That is $360 a month that should be going to debt payoff and we are hoping the debt is gone in the early part of next year, but that depends on overtime. I hate giving up the free $360 a month, but I know it would be for a short time. It bothers me that our retirement is so low, but the whole point of the Dave Ramsey plan is you cannot split your focus.

As soon as the debt is paid off, we plan to get the EF to three months of expenses and then hit retirement at 10% while getting the EF up to six months of expenses. Then once the EF is at six months, start saving for a large house down payment. I don't know that we can do the recommended 15% to retirement and still save for a house, though once DH starts getting raises we might.

We figure anything MIL gives us will go towards either the EF build or the down payment. In later years, we could put any gift money towards Roth IRA's or towards paying off the house early once we buy one. I guess in those years we would hit 15% of retirement if MIL gives like she has said she plans to. We can't count on that money, though.

We will have to use some of the money MIL gave us already to get through the job transition period. DH officially starts working for the company direct on the 21st. His last paycheck from the contracting company is on June 27th. Then he won't get paid again until the 10th and we will move on to a 2 week paycheck. So we need to get through the time when we would have had a check on the 3rd, but now won't.

Also, his old company has said that we can pay the August insurance payment out of that paycheck on the 27th, which means that paycheck will be quite short, even with OT on it. So some of the money will also have to go to cover what is taken out for the insurance. But starting on the 10th we will switch to biweekly budgeting instead of weekly budgeting and everything will be fine. The new insurance starts on September 1st. That will make life easy and we won't have to worry about dealing with COBRA at all. So, yay! I am just very grateful it is all playing out like this and that we have the money in savings to smooth out the bumps.

Payday Report for 7/13/18

July 13th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

My daughter and I are sorely in need of hair cuts, so I funded an envelope with that and it is sharing space with a new take out category. I took out $150 for both. I'm not sure how much the hair cuts are anymore, but we do go to a salon. We both have difficult hair and the cheap places just don't do it right. We compromise by going longer between cuts to account for the higher expense.

Whatever is left in there after the hair cuts will be what is available for take out. Everyone has been Jonesing for Polynesian food and I am too tired to make four different dishes. It won't become a habit as eating out all the time is what caused our budget to get all catywampus in the first place.

$201.95 Tithe
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_200.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
__91.91 Internet
_100.00 Gas Money
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
__45.60 Garbage
__50.00 Allowances
_244.97 Citi
___5.75 BoA Visa
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan
_150.00 Haircuts and Take Out
------------
1940.18 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 7/6/18

July 6th, 2018 at 10:47 pm

$201.95 Tithe
_500.00 Utilities
_275.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_200.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan
__45.00 Allowances
------------
$1971.95 Total Money Out

Planning the July and August Budgets with Projected Payoff Amounts

July 1st, 2018 at 08:05 pm

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.

Payday Report for 6/29/18

June 29th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

It is nice not to have to worry about money quite so hard with all the overtime. I am still being careful to assign every dollar a name, though. Even if that name is just cushion, as I am keeping one in the checking account. If the cushion gets too high, I will throw it at the Monster Mom Loan.

DH and I decided we could do $50 a month on allowances for our own blow money while he is earning so much OT. Starting next month that will be in one lump instead of separated, on the last payday of the month. I also upped the Household envelope to $50 a week instead of $25. I want to replace the bathroom faucet and get a different water filter for the kitchen. I hate our current water filter, it makes the kitchen faucet lower and I can't get some of my taller pots under it now. It'll have to wait until we go through all the cartridges, though.

I do want to get the bathroom faucet replaced ASAP. It is constantly putting out this black crud no matter how much we clean it and it also recently started growing something green under the central cap. Yuck. I've never had a bathroom faucet do this in my life. I was living with the black crud, but the green stuff is freaking me out. My mother picked the cheapest faucet for this bathroom. I'm going to spring for one that is a little more costly and made of chrome. Also it will be the American Standard brand, which I've never had these issues with. We might need to be replacing the showerhead in a couple of months as well.

$200.45 Tithe
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_200.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Kids' Allowances
__50.00 DH and My Allowances
__56.83 DH Life Insurance
__45.30 My Life Insurance
_100.00 Laptop Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
1000.00 Monster Mom Loan
------------
1952.58 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 6/22/18

June 22nd, 2018 at 04:11 pm

We still haven't managed to get 100% away from the credit card, so there was a small payment today to bring the balance back to zero. We are getting better at it though. I meant to go into the credit union today to order debit cards for our checking account, but the parking lot was packed and I ended up just going through drive thru, which only had one car in the lane I chose.

I still have trouble standing for long periods of time. Walking is okay, but standing and waiting is very hard on my left knee and hip and my right ankle, so waiting in a long line inside is not appealing. Monday shouldn't be bad since it is not a payday for most of the town like today.

After I did the banking, I went and bought new glasses. I had put $500 into the medical fund and the glasses came to $460.80. I also paid the radiologist from DD's first ER visit. I know MIL said she would pay the medical bills for DD, but I think we can handle this one. That was out of the Medical Fund, not today's paycheck, though. There is now $203.66 left in the Medical Fund.

$200.50 Tithe
_600.00 Monster Mom Loan
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_500.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
__25.00 My Allowance
__25.00 DH's Allowance
__50.00 Animal Feed Envelope
__35.00 DS's Allowance
___5.00 DD's Allowance
_217.38 Citi
_141.37 Radiologist
-------------
1857.88

Payday Report for 6/15/18

June 15th, 2018 at 01:15 pm

Household is low because I ended up having to order some stuff online on a credit card so used the Citi card for that. I took the amount I ordered out of the household budget because it was for a new dishwasher silverware rack (the old one has holes and things are falling through it) and a pair of XXL large cleaning cloves for DS, whose hands can't fit in any of the offerings available locally.

Then after I did that I went and looked and you can actually pay directly out of your checking account with Amazon. So I entered my information on that. I've disabled one-click check out as well, so that I always have to check to make sure which method of payment is coming up instead of blithely clicking.

I was able to make a small payment on the Monster Mom Loan and I started the Laptop Fund. It feels good to be making some sort of forward progress again instead of just holding on.

$181.48 Tithe
_441.41 Autopays
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__19.00 Household
__37.00 Allowances
_200.00 Medical Fund
_150.00 Gas Money Envelope
__81.32 Car Insurance
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_250.00 Monster Mom Loan
_145.95 Citi (Should be done now, might have something else show up)
------------
1806.16 Total Money Out



Payday Report for 6/8/18

June 9th, 2018 at 03:25 pm

After paying all of the bills and funds allotted to this week we have $60 left in checking. DH has finally got a working debit card, so now the medical checking account is working as intended. I am funding it to the tune of $200 a week and then any excess in that fund each month will be saved towards future big medical expenses.

The only thing not funded out of that is the chiropractor which has its own line on the budget. If DH does get hired on direct at some point, we'll be stuck paying COBRA for a while and have a new deductible, so I want a huge medical cushion. Plus, we need money in there for future surgeries we know are coming.

$122.47 Tithe
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__50.00 Household Envelope
_275.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
_200.00 Medical Fund
__90.91 Internet
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
__36.00 Allowances
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
__36.00 Garbage Fund (paid every two months)
__25.00 DS's Driver's Permit Renewal
-------------
1186.38 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 6/1/18

June 1st, 2018 at 05:56 pm

$122.47 Tithe
_200.00 Groceries
_200.00 Medical
__50.00 Household
__35.00 DS's Allowance
_500.00 Utilities to Mom
__56.83 Life Insurance DH
__45.30 Life Insurance Me
-------------
$1209.60 Total Money Out

I have $34.04 left in checking. Some of that is carry over from last week.

Finished the Budget for June

May 30th, 2018 at 05:24 pm

I have done a detailed budget for the month of June, breaking it down into four weekly budgets, assigning amounts to each week and making every dollar work for us. While doing that I kept coming up with extra money each week. I figured when I got to the last week it would zero out, but it didn't.

Turns out when I added up the four paychecks I must have made an error, because I had more money than we thought. I was off by $110, so that means I can actually bump the grocery budget to $200 a week instead of $175. I added the extra to the cushion category, which put that at $40.80 a month. I want to build a small cushion into the checking account.

I am really grateful to have found that mistake, because we have gone over $175 both weeks so far, but still stayed under $400 for the two weeks. I was really trying hard, too, but when you are feeding four adults, 2 of which are male and 1 of which has extreme dietary limitations, and trying to eat organic at least on the dirty dozen, turkey, and chicken, that extra $25 a week is going to make things a lot easier.

There are still a few things I can cut yet in the grocery budget, but because I was sick, didn't. For example, I bought 8 bags of chicken fried rice from TJ's at $2.99 a bag which is $23.92.

Normally I make chicken fried rice at home and I have all the ingredients for it. I do up about 16 cups worth of rice in the rice cooker and then add some coconut aminos, peas, carrots, corn, shredded meat of some sort, scrambled egg, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry it in a bit of chicken broth. I used to use sesame oil, but not anymore with DD's restrictions. Then I divide it into quart size freezer bags. It is a huge difference in cost. I can make up as much rice for about $8, a savings of about $16.

So I know I can balance stuff out a little better to come in under budget, I just have to get there and be well enough to do it. As soon as I feel good enough to make our bread and rolls from scratch again that will help, too. Convenience happens when I don't feel well, so as soon as I finish this cold I will do up my rice. Or maybe even tomorrow. I did a lot today, got caught up on dishes and halfway caught up on laundry and didn't have the energy to do more than just make dinner today. I do have to make up more pudding tonight, but that will be easy.

Tomorrow I have to make breakfast burritos for the freezer and I will at least make the rice in the cooker. It stir-fries best when it is a day old.

I am taking lots of breaks so I don't push myself too hard. I will go to bed early, too. I don't want to relapse just when I am starting to feel human again.

I am reading a new library book, "Slaying the Debt Dragon," by Cherie Lowe, and one of the things she recommends is naming your debts. They called theirs the dragon. I did this in the past when I called the credit card companies the Evil Empire and my whole goal then was to bring down the Evil Empire. But with just having the loan left to Mom that doesn't seem appropriate. She's not an empire. So I am dubbing it the Monster Mom Loan. Not to say my mother is a monster, just that the Mom Loan is. It tickles me and gives me just a little more focus. It's weird in my head, but I like it there.

Payday Report for 5/25/18

May 30th, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I had some money leftover from this paycheck but we ended up using it to go over on the grocery budget. I had to buy pudding and Jello and extra milk to make the pudding for DD for after her surgery. I didn't think about that ahead of time. The Jello and pudding were on sale for 99 cents a box if you bought four boxes. I'll get the hang of this, but it may take a few more weeks. There is about $30 left in checking.

I added the tithe for my Thrive commission check into the tithe from DH's paycheck so it is a little higher than usual. My commission check was close to $50.

$128.72 Tithe
__55.00 Co-pay eye doctor
_175.00 Sleep doctor
_175.00 Groceries
__50.00 Household
__81.00 Truck Tabs
_125.75 Van Tabs
__35.00 DS Allowance
__25.00 Blow Money Me
__25.00 Blow Money DH
_100.00 OTC Medications and Vitamins
_150.00 Gas Money
---------
$1125.47

Payday Report and DS's Plan for his Future Job

May 18th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

$1400.00 Citi Card
__82.13 Amex
_125.17
-----------
$1607.30

The paycheck plus what was left of the $1000 went towards finishing off the credit cards. AMEX is done and all auto pays have been transferred off it, so as soon as it clears I will be cutting up that card.

I will finish off the Citi card on next Friday and then it will only be used for the auto pays. We will take the credit cards out of our wallets. They can't be an option. Also next Friday I have car tabs due and a medical bill. There won't be a lot left over, enough to fund the grocery envelope and the household envelope. But then starting on the June 1st payday and continuing forward, we should be able to fund everything else with cash throughout the month.

Yesterday we opened a checking account for my son and then he set up his paypal account to hook into it, so he can now make online purchases directly out of his bank account and no one has to use a credit card. He needed a checking account anyway as he is going to get a job this summer and will need it for direct deposit. He's had a savings account since the year he was born.

He wants to read The Total Money Makeover after my husband is finished with it. He is very determined not to carry debt in his life except for possibly a mortgage. We've already talked about 10% of his income going into retirement from the start. He may not qualify for a 401K immediately, but he can do a Roth IRA until he does. He will also be saving 40% for college and 10% will go to tithing. Then he will need to put 20% into savings for a car and insurance and the remaining 20% will be what he can spend.

He wants to make a budget as soon as he gets his first paycheck, but before anything else he is going to save up $1000 for an emergency fund so he has it in place when he is able to afford a car. I guess we are rubbing off on him. Not so sure about our daughter. With her medical issues I despair of her ever being able to hold down a job.

Meal Planning for the Week with a Budget

May 16th, 2018 at 11:16 pm

If SavingAdvice logs me out one more time I am going to scream. It shouldn't do it every five minutes. I wish they would fix the blogs, already. So many things are broken here.

I built my meal plan mostly around things we have on hand this week and then made my grocery list based on what I need to fill into the meal plan, what I need to add for lunches, and then a few staples I need. The grocery budget will be set at $175 a week for now and the household budget, which includes things like toilet paper, personal care items, Ziplocs, and detergent, will be set at $50 a week. Once I go shopping I will list what I got and how much I actually spent.

Day One:
Tacos (everything on hand for this)
Canned Pineapples (on hand)

Day Two:
Chicken Wings (on hand)
Fried Potatoes with bell peppers and onions
Cole slaw (all ingredients on hand)
Canned Pears (on hand)

Day Three:
Lamb Kabobs (lamb roast in the freezer)
Veggie Kabobs of purple onions and bell peppers

Day Four:
Turkey Legs (in the freezer)
Mashed Potatoes and Homemade Gravy
Canned Green Beans (on hand)
Sugared Strawberries (in the freezer)

Day Five:
BBQ Pork Steaks (in the freezer) smothered in onions
Baked Potaoes
Cole slaw (ingredients on hand)
Sugared Strawberries (in the freezer)

Day Six:
Spaghetti with one jar of Vodka sauce and one jar of marinara sauce (all in the cupboard)
Chicken Meatballs
Salad (lettuce from the garden)

Day Seven:
Shrimp Kabobs (big bag of shrimp in the freezer)
Veggie Kabobs of purple onions and bell pepeprs


I Finally Opened the Door and In He Walks

May 15th, 2018 at 11:20 am

I don't usually buy books, but I made a book purchase on Saturday. Yes, my library does have this book, but I was 13th on the waiting list. High demand books mean that people can only keep them out 2 weeks instead of 3, but that was still looking at a possibility of 26 weeks before I could read it, assuming people turned it in on time. Most people don't.

So I handed over my cash, $27.51, to the young man at B&N, who tried to sell me a membership card, but no. I don't buy books often enough to earn back and then benefit from the savings. What book did I buy, you may be asking by now? Well, I finally gave in and decided to read Dave Ramsey. I bought The Total Money Makeover.

I have been avoiding Dave Ramsey for the last 12 years, to be honest. Yes, I did do a debt snowball, but I didn't know about it from reading him. I just figured doing it like that would make me feel like I was making progress faster. Yes, I did build and keep a $1000 emergency fund before doing it, but that was on advice from people here, not based on his method. Although it probably was, since a lot of you have read him. But I wasn't going to.

It wasn't that I thought he was bad or anything. I just didn't want to give up my paid off credit cards. Well, I did give up some of them, but we still have 5. We pay them off in full each month. But...oh, and here's the big but, I've been feeling for a while that we weren't using them responsibly enough, because they are just too easy to use.

But my chiropractor's office plays Dave Ramsey and I kept hearing him on my visits. And then he came up in my suggested videos on youtube. God has been putting things in my path right now that I have been struggling to deal with. Dave is just the last in a line.

First I was struggling with tithing while still in debt to my mother and my internet preacher answered a question on tithing. Then I was concerned that I lacked motivation, but in getting the spending back under control and in doing my five times a week Bible study. Then I was struggling with forgiveness for DH's sister and nieces over the stuff they pulled at Thanksgiving.

Forgiveness was in the next lesson and in such a way that it heals the person who forgives, not the one who holds on to the anger. Doesn't mean I'm willing to have holidays with them, but I might be able to at least see them now. So I asked for help about the budget and in walks Dave Ramsey, so to speak.

So I just finished reading the book last night. It took me 3 days. And I figured out how come I felt that way about credit cards. It's because we just buy what we need with no thought to it. And because I know we will pay it off each month in full, I haven't really been sticking to a budget when it comes to groceries and household expenses or clothing or eating out.

And with these bad habits getting out of hand, things felt tight every month and I didn't feel like I could possibly make payments on the loan to Mom, the only debt we have left. So I sat down and made up a better budget and if we actually stick to it, then yes, I can start paying Mom at least $500 a month.

DH's mother just gave us $1000. We had thought to put it in the Emergency Fund, but I think instead, we will use it to get current. The next two paydays will pay off what we have left on the credit cards before they are due and then we will go down to simply charging the auto pays, which total $407.50. It might be a little lower, but I am allowing $50 for Ting. We don't always go that high, some months we are lower, but we have never been above it, so that is what I put in the budget. But we won't use the credit card for anything else. Nothing but the auto pays. And we will use paypal from our bank account for online purchases, but not until we've had a moratorium on online purchases for six months or so.

I have also budgeted $1000 for groceries/household. I do think I can keep it lower than that, but I haven't been. Since I track my spending, more or less, I know I haven't. We are switching to cash for that. I will start with putting $250 in the groceries envelope. I figure $200 for groceries and $50 for household. Maybe I should break it down into two envelopes, except I usually buy household stuff when I go grocery shopping. We'll see. I know I need to get toilet paper, deodorant, and quart size Ziplocs, which will take up a good share of that $50.

I have transferred all the auto pays to one card, and as soon as the last little bit on the AMEX is paid off, I am going to cut it up and cancel it. I was just using it for Netflix and Hulu. I am also going to cancel my Best Buy card and no longer do any 18 or 12 month same as cash deals. I paid off the last one with part of our tax return. Instead I will be saving up money in a computer fund, though that won't start for a while.

I am not sure I am ready to cut the cord completely with credit cards, but I can't see having more than 3. One is the miles card, which DH will need if he starts working in Alaska again and has to fly all the time. He usually got 2 free flights a year, sometimes 3, so it definitely was worth it. Then there is the one my daughter is a signer on. Then there is the Costco Citi card, but I am not sure if that is going to be worth keeping yet. Without charging all of our groceries and gas, the amount of cash back will dramatically drop, and that was the only reason I got it in the first place.

My head knows that the best thing for us to do is to get rid of all but one card, but I am scared to do it. Mostly because the EF is not where I want it to be. I know you aren't supposed to use credit cards as a back up EF, but you know what 2016 and 2017 were like for us. If we had run out of money at least we would have had those cards to fall back on, which of course, is exactly that attitude I'm not supposed to have.

I knew Dave would let me have it over these ideas and I wasn't wrong. It sure has shown me what I need to work on and try to not rely so much on my security gland ruling what I do.

So next, I go back to an envelope, pay with cash system, except for those auto pays. I am looking into whether or not there are ways to pay them without paying by card. I think you can pay both Netflix and Hulu through paypal, but I'm not 100% sure. I think we can put storage on direct withdrawal, but I don't know about Ting. I haven't been able to find anything about Ting. But one of the reasons I really like doing auto pays on the credit card is so that I only have one due date to worry about, not an additional five. Right now I only have two to worry about and they come out on the same day.

So I will fund this coming payday's grocery/household envelope with $250.00 from the gift money, so all the money in the paycheck can go for the tithe and the Citi card.

I have already handed DH an envelope marked vending for the vending machines at work with $7 in ones that I had in my purse. He is to get $25 a month to use in the vending machines at work (he's been charging them). This gives him a little over $1 a day and the charge is 85 cents, so anything left at the end he can spend or set aside and save it for something he wants. Or he can save it all and quit using the vending machine altogether.

I will also have my own $25 envelope for something I want to do. I have no idea what I want to do with it, but sometimes just saving makes me happy.

I really would like to be able to squeeze out more than $500 a month to pay Mom. It might be $100, it might be $25, who knows? But whatever I can throw at it. She won't like getting weird amounts, but I don't care. It is not up to her how much I pay back at a time. It is up to DH and me.

As soon as we know what is going on in June with the job, I can decide what to do with the Emergency Fund. If I want to bump it down to $1000 and pay Mom with the rest or if we need to keep it there in case of possible job loss. It is scary to keep it at just $1000, but Dave says it keeps you more driven to pay off the debt so you can build the EF up to 3 to 6 months of expenses.

I get it. I get everything Dave says. I think I'm in the stage where I am not yet drinking the Kool-Aid, but I have read the ingredients and directions on the package and started preparing the beverage. He has his baby steps and I have mine. I do want to get there. And I want to get there fast, so time to put our heads down and start pushing that stone uphill.

Payday Report

May 11th, 2018 at 08:44 pm

$100.00 Cash
$122.47 Tithe
$124.85 Master Card
+900.00 Citi Visa
---------
1247.32 Total Money Out

I have $36 left in checking. So far we are on track to have quite a bit of the 5/25 paycheck available to go to savings and a loan payment to Mom, barring any unforeseen circumstances. It really makes a difference cutting out eating out/take out.

Payday Report for 5/4/18 + Truck + MIL Finances

May 5th, 2018 at 02:51 pm

I am finding a need to more closely track our spending again. We overspent in April by a huge margin, mostly due to me feeling really cruddy for most of the month and not wanting to cook. We had a take out bill to end all take out bills, so now I am determined that 1.) we are going to cook all our meals this month, and 2.) I am not going to let money fritter away and slip through our fingers like that again.

$500.00 for Mom's Utilities
__56.83 DH Life Insurance
__46.30 Me Life Insurance
_122.47 Tithe
__90.82 Internet
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 Insurance Sinking Fund
-------------
$1016.42

I have two doctor's appointments next week, one with the rheumatologist and one with the eye doctor to check to see whether or not the hydroxychloroquine is turning my retinas yellow or not. I sincerely hope not as it is the one medicine I've been able to use without side effects. It improves my symptoms by about 50%. So I left some money in checking to pay the co-pays.

I am happy to finally be able to put something into the emergency fund again, even if it is only $100. It is necessary for us to rebuild this fund and if I don't waste money on takeaways, than it is available for savings.

I have increased the amount I send to the sinking fund for insurance. We will be taking over insurance on the truck soon. It has been paid off, so we are just waiting for MIL to get the title mailed to her and then we can transfer ownership to our name. I hope we won't be charged taxes so we didn't buy it but inherited it. We will have the death certificate and the will with us for proof we didn't pay, but you know the government, always having to have their hand in your pocket taking money out. But MIL might pay it if there is. I hope so, because we can't afford to. Well, we could, but it will make things super tight in whatever month we have to do it. Things are already tight, though apparently not so tight we didn't waste a bunch of money last month. I will be kicking myself for that for a while.

MIL is really sitting pretty. She got the insurance money and has paid off every credit card bill, the vehicles, and the mortgage. She gets $3000 a month in pension payments, plus her social security. She inherited the 401K and has enough in there to last 25 years at $16,000 withdrawn per year. She's not going to be in any kind of trouble. I am glad, because we all thought it was going to bad for her, but it turns out she's doing better than anyone else. She's set, barring a medical emergency. That can eat up money fast, but aside from her obesity, she's in very good health.

Payday Report

March 30th, 2018 at 04:01 pm

$1200.00 Citi Visa
__176.50 Tithe
__100.00 Best Buy (18 months same as cash)
__184.07 Medical
___56.83 Life Insurance DH
___45.30
--------------
$1762.20 Total Money Out

Payday Report for 3/23/18

March 25th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

DH had 10 hours of overtime on this paycheck, which is great, plus I got my Youtube/Google AdSense pay deposited, so that will be reflected in the tithe amount. We didn't have a lot of bills. We don't generally since we run everything through the credit cards and then pay them off weekly or monthly depending on the card.

$1200.00 Citi Visa
__188.51 Tithe
__275.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
__100.00 Best Buy (18 months same as cash)
-----------
$1763.51 Total Money Out

I transferred my wages to savings. There is a small amount left in checking, just under $60. We run it close since we write so few checks anymore, but it is hooked to a savings account that will automatically feed the checking account for a $1 fee if for some reason my math was off and we went over. Good credit unions are nice that way. Right now that savings has over $800 in it, so I'd have to screw up in a really big way to not be protected there.

DH still hasn't signed up for the 401K. I'm trying to get him to do that this week. We will start with 2% and after DD's surgery is paid for we will increase it by 1% each month until it becomes too tight, until we hit 6%. We may do more, but I really have to feel what living with that amount taken out will be like.

Plus we have to build the EF back up. And I want to be able to purchase half a steer, 30 chickens, and half a hog again in the fall/winter, so the money does have to be available for that. It saves us so much money in the long run to do that. At the very least the beef.

Payday Report for 3/16/18

March 20th, 2018 at 07:55 pm

I have been sick and not really staying on top of blogging, but I have been staying on top of bills. I got my Thrive Life commission check of $59.68 and DH's pay with overtime was $1685.22. I am still waiting on my Google/Youtube check to be deposited, but it should be in there soon. Usually it goes in on the 15th, but not always.

$1000.00 to Citi Visa
__174.52 tithe
__110.54 Medical
__452.88 Car Insurance (6 months)
--------------
$1737.94 Money Out

I had a little money left from before so that was really what was used for the medical bill. This leaves me with $68.52 in checking until Friday. No bills are due, so that is fine. I transferred my wages to savings. I am not really sure what will end up happening there. I am not really specifying savings until after DD's surgery. After that gets paid for, then I'll go back to specifying EF and sinking funds, but for now there is really no point. It is pretty much all medical until it isn't.

Payday Report + Haircut + Mom + Murphy + Food Waste

March 10th, 2018 at 05:13 pm

Well, I did it. I got my hair cut to my collarbone. It was a foot or so of hair taken off. I had it thinned and layered and the curls are just crazy bouncy now. I am very happy with it. I can't remember being this happy with a haircut in a couple of decades. It is easy to care for and simple to style, though it takes more time than just braiding it or putting it up in pony tail. It just looks so nice that I don't care if it takes me an extra 10 minutes to curl it around my face.

Mom is home from the hospital and doing very well. She is only taking Tylenol for the pain and hasn't needed anything else. She is getting around very well and able to do much for herself. I am so happy. This is way easier than the shoulder surgery or the knee surgery.

We had quite a lot of overtime on the paycheck yesterday. As quickly as it comes in it is gone.

$255.00 Tithe
_474.36 AMEX (in full)
__56.61 Garbage (2 months)
_876.93 BoA Visa (in full)
_124.75 BoA MC (in full)
1000.00 Citi Visa (not in full, but not due until 4/3)
-----------
$2782.65 Total Money Out

This is over the amount of the paycheck. Mom and MIL both reimbursed us for stuff we bought for them so we had an extra $310 in checking from that.

As for Murphy, DH got a flat tire. He got a piece of metal in the tire. He's down at the shop now seeing about the repair. I don't know how much it will cost or if it will cost anything. Tire shops are weird that way. Sometimes they fix flats for free, depending on how bad the damage is. I am hoping we won't have to get new tires. This is on his father's truck that we technically have inherited, but we haven't taken the title to it yet. MIL is going to pay off the loan on it when the life insurance money comes in, but it hasn't yet. After that, we will take ownership of it.

If we have to buy new tires we will buy them from Costco. Still the cheapest place for tires I've ever found and good quality ones, too. I have loved the ones they put on the van. They drive very well. But I sure hope that expense is not one we have to shell out for right now.

DD's bed broke. The box spring and the frame collapsed. It's an old bed, a hand me down from my mother. We can't afford a new bed now. MIL has a bed we can take, but it has to be excavated first. She has so much junk in that room. The bed is covered with it and the path to the bed is covered with it. FIL was a real pack rat and MIL still is.

So after the tire is repaired, DH and DS will take the truck out to MIL's and try to get the bed out.

DD's surgery is scheduled for the 9th of April. We have to have $300 paid before then. Her deductible is $500. She's met some of it, and will meet some more with the pre-op appointment so $300 is what they reckon will be left to meet. The doctor's portion of the surgery itself costs $5449, but we won't have to pay all of that. The surgery center is supposed to get me a quote on their portion. I don't know about the doctor who administers the anesthesia. I believe our out of pocket is capped at $3000 per person. It might be $5000, though.

We still haven't been able to get the HSA to issue a corrected form. I think at this point we are just going to put the proper amount on the taxes and keep our fingers crossed that no on notices that proper form isn't there. And if we ever have an HSA again, it won't be there because they really don't know how to pull their heads out and do their jobs.

Otherwise, still muddling along. Still thinking I need to make up a meal plan, but still not doing it. I ended up throwing out a lot of veg and leftovers this week and so I really need to get back on top of the food waste issue. I kind of really let things go for a couple of weeks. I need to not do that, because is just wastes so much money. Some went to the ducks, some to the compost, and few things had to be binned.

I have been watching a show this week called Eat Well for Less. It is British. I found a couple of episodes on youtube and a few others elsewhere. It's a really good show. It focuses on fixing a family's food budget. It deals with brand addiction, food waste, picky eating, shopping without checking the pantry and fridge first, everyone eating different meals instead of the same meal, all of that stuff.

I found it very informative. And it gave me the incentive I needed to try to get my act back together again. I've got all my veggies that were left after cleaning the fridge prepped and ready to go so that it can get used up this week and not wasted. I am going to plan my meals around that when I finally sit down and make my meal plan tonight.

I don't need to buy any meat this week. I may need to buy salad greens and bananas, but I may hold off on the bananas because we have plenty of oranges and apples. I'd like some blackberries, though. Oh, I've got some freeze-dried ones. Those will do nicely. We have freeze-dried bananas, too, if it comes to that.

Payday Report

March 4th, 2018 at 07:32 pm

It was nice having a little extra money in the paycheck on Friday. I like it when DH has the opportunity to earn overtime, especially since such a large chunk of pretax money is used to pay for insurance. I haven't been very good about posting the payday reports this year, so I am going to try to get back to doing that every payday.

$1000.00 to Citi Visa
__176.65 Tithe
__500.00 March Utilities to Mom
___56.83 DH Life Insurance
___45.30 Me Life Insurance
------------
$1778.78 Total Money Out

We spent slightly more than the paycheck, but there was $65 left in checking from the last paycheck.

I also got some reimbursement money from my mother for some stuff I picked up for her at Costco and then found a check in my purse from MIL from some stuff we picked up for her as well, so I got those in the bank of Friday. That was $310, but will go on the credit card, since we charge all expenses and then pay them off each month before interest hits.

I hope this coming Friday's pay will allow us to put a little into the emergency fund. It will have 26 hours of overtime on it.

Picking a Health Plan, Running the Numbers, and a Farm Update

January 18th, 2018 at 09:09 pm

Last night DH and I sat down and took another look at the health plan offered by the job recruiter company. They offer 4 different plans.

The gold plan has a $500 per person and a $1000 per family deductible. Prescriptions are $10 for generic and $50 for brand names. Co-pay is $35 whether it is a regular doctor or a specialist. Out of pocket max per person is $4500 and per family is $9000.

The silver plan has a $2000 per person and $4000 per family deductible. Prescriptions are $20 for generic and $80 for brand names. Co-pay is $45. Out of pocket max per person is $6850 and family is $13,700. It has an out of pocket max of $10,000 after the deductible has been met.

It offered 2 bronze plans. Plan 1 has a $5250 per person and a $10,500 family deductible. Prescriptions are $20/$80 and then they have a third tier and a fourth tier of 30% and 50% respectively for the really high priced drugs. Co-pay is $50. Out of pocket max is $7150 per person and $14,300 per family.

The second bronze plan is an HSA plan. It has a $7150 deductible per person and $14,300 per family. Prescriptions are $35/$100 with the other tiers again being 30% and 50%. Co-pay is $50. The out of pocket max is $6550 per person and $13,100 per family.

Based on our prescription costs and the fact that my daughter is going to need 2 surgeries in the next couple of months, we knew both bronze plans were out, so it really came down to which would save us more money this year, the gold or the silver.

DH ran the numbers and on the gold plan weekly take home pay will be approximately $1177. On the silver plan it will be $1232. This is without any overtime, his guaranteed 40 hours a week. If he gets ten hours of overtime a week the amounts would be $1523 and $1577.

They are currently on an overtime moratorium for this week and the next two weeks, though DH has been getting 50 hours up until now. But they put the freeze on because they have pushed the end date of the job out to mid-April instead of mid-March, so the rush to get the work done on time has slowed. It means DH will be employed for another month at least, though.

So not feeling we could count on the overtime at all, my numbers to budget with had to be $1177 and $1232. I sat down and figured out the budget with the lower amount to see if we could swing it and still be able to start the 401K contributions in March when he qualifies.

We can swing the more expensive plan and we are going to because in the long run it will be cheaper. I have 7 prescriptions, my daughter has 6, and my husband has 2. I know we might only be on this medical plan a few months and if DH gets hired on through the actual company it will be all different medical than this and a different 401K plan, too, but since I know what is coming up and how much we would be spending, the gold plan will be cheaper, especially since more of it will be in pretax dollars, which will also lower our taxable income.

I have determined we can at least contribute 2% of his income to a 401K which is $36 a week. If after the first month of that he is still working there we will try to bump it up to 4% or $78 a week and see if we can handle that. We will proceed forward with 1% bumps until we get to 6% to get all the matching funds.

I can make some cuts in the grocery budget and we can cut out eating out again. Not that we eat out much, but we do. I think the amount I have allotted for medical expenses will drop, too. I am not sure we will be able to contribute to the Emergency Fund or pay back my mother anything, though. I will try for at least $100 a month into the EF, though.

Our insurance will go up once the will finishes up whatever it is doing and the title of the truck gets transferred into our names and MIL is no longer paying the insurance on it. I reckon it will double, but it might not, since we ought to get a multiple vehicle discount. I am considering at that time dropping everything but what we need for if we are at fault since we will have two vehicles. When you only have one vehicle that is a chancier prospect. We'll see. DS is about to start learning to drive, which doesn't change anything yet, but will once he gets a license.

I hate the idea of having such a cramped budget, but we've lived on less before and I know we can do this with enough self-discipline. Once I can start growing food again that will help, too. The fruit and veggie portion of the food budget from May through October really goes way down.

At least with the turkeys and chickens gone I don't have any animals that are hemorrhaging money. The rabbits pay for their own feed as well as the ducks' feed. We don't get enough eggs for the ducks to be self-sufficient, but the rabbits make up for it. We are down to just 4 ducks and 1 drake now and they forage a lot. They also eat a lot of garden produce in the spring, summer, and fall.

This month has been a rough one with the animals. We lost Annabeth the duck shortly after the new year started and last night Luna Blue died. Luna Blue was the rabbit I had to feed with a dropper full of raw goat milk because her mother died when she was 3 weeks old. Only 3 out of 7 of that litter survived without their mother. But she was the runt and she needed the most help. I adored that rabbit. She was the sweetest thing.

We had a vicious wind storm yesterday and all I can think is that the loud noises scared her and she flipped and broke her back. We've had that happen before with really loud noises and her back was definitely broken. I've lost rabbits when the Med-Evac helicopter has flown illegally low over our house on the way to the hospital on three occasions and twice now to wind storms. It is frustrating. We have more wind on the horizon as well and I hope I don't lose anyone else. I'm not particularly attached to the others like I was to Luna, but I do love them and it is always hard to lose animals.


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