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Viewing the 'Is Budget a Four Letter Word?' Category

Lots of Rambling and Payday Report

January 25th, 2014 at 11:16 am

It was good to see a payday again after 4 weeks without one. It is interesting to see how we live off of savings during that time period though. It makes me wonder how many of the people that DH works with make it through. Do they save up ahead of time or do they let some bills slide until the income comes in again? Not everyone gets a Christmas bonus to help things along, and some are quite small in comparison to what DH gets.

I got a cold during this last week from the weather swings and having to be outside when it was freezing. Our night time and morning temps were below freezing, but our daytime temps were at 50 and it was gorgeous. But having to go out in it when it was freezing twice a day has done a number on me. I know they claim that you can't catch a cold from being in the cold, but I think it certainly does help any virus that might be around invade your system.

This is the best cold I've had in ages, though. My immune system actually seems to be fighting it. I guess now that I'm no longer being beaten down by food poisoning my body has a chance. Though I still feel the effects of all those months, each week away is a little better than the one before.

On the other hand, I used the cold as an excuse to get pizza and deli food from the store and blew through most of the money I'd hoped to save to throw extra at the mortgage. Oh, well. I am still going to try to send extra to it.

So, on to the payday stuff.

$1000.00 to Mom
__100.00 to Emergency Fund
__125.oo Half Year HOA Dues (Old House)
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Aquaponics Fund
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__434.61 Propane (Old House)
___74.40 Dental
____8.58 Sleep Doctor
___40.00 Allowances
__100.00 Cash for Week
___95.00 January Money Fund
-------------
$2267.59 Total Out

I had $200 in my propane fund, but I decided to leave it there since I could cash flow the propane bill. We will have one more really large one before we turn the heat off in the old house from the end of April through October. The danger of freezing the pipes won't pass until then. This tank should last until the end of March or so.

Next week I'll have a larger than normal AMEX bill of $350.09. This is because we used the card to buy a Food Saver from Costco and not just gas. It is making a big difference in our frozen meat already.

I found out that we do have orthodontia covered. They will pay 50% up to $1500. DH is looking into which doctors in our area are in network. I don't mind doing that for an unestablished doctor/patient relationship. I just don't like being told that my doctor for years isn't covered. I'd go to the one my daughter went to but he is retired. I'm hoping his partner is in network, because it is really close by.

We are going to use part of our income tax refund to pay for fixing my teeth. Part of it will go into the Aquaponics Fund, part of it will go into the Emergency Fund, part of it will go into the College Fund, part to the Moving Fund, part to the Medical/Dental Fund (which is not funded at the moment) and I want to go out with DH to a really nice steakhouse sans kids with a little bit of it. I know DH needs a new stylus for his Boogie Board. And I want a Victorio Food Mill for processing tomatoes this summer.

We should be able to get our income tax done the first week of February and get it sent off right away. I have all of the interest info, we are now just waiting for the property tax slip (though we know the amount) and the slips from DH's work (again, we know the amount).

I feel like we are finally getting on solid ground. We started so far under water and then when we got our heads above, it was like slogging through mud flats when the tide is going out. Then it seemed like an endless progression of rocky beach. Now it feels like we've finally reached the sun-warmed sand. We're not quite ready to plop down and sun ourselves, but we can at least see the beach towels, you know? Wink

Funds Update

January 24th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

$300.00 Property Tax Fund
$200.00 Propane Fund
__95.00 January 2015 Money Fund
$400.00 Moving Fund
2000.00 College Fund
$100.00 Aquaponics Fund
1000.00 Laptop Fund
+_72.00 Water/Sewer Fund
----------
4167.00 Total

Everything is on target and I've even started to save for January 2015. Much sooner than I did last year. I'm not sure how much I'll have to go there for the first half of the year, but everything helps. Going 4 weeks without a paycheck is much easier if you've been saving for it all along.

The Laptop Fund isn't actually being funded at the moment. We did the 18 months same as cash and owe $900 on it, but we saved the money up first. We can pay it off at anytime, but so far I've been able to cash flow the interest free payments, while collecting interest on the $1000 that is in the bank.

Payday-ish Report

January 14th, 2014 at 01:36 am

This isn't technically a payday report since we are going four weeks without a paycheck, but it is an accounting of all the bills paid this week with the saved money for January, plus what I had left over from the last paycheck in December. There are two extra charges that DH made because he forgot the credit card he was supposed to use at home, so both of those got paid off as well, a Chase Visa and a BoA Master Card.

$1500.00 BoA Visa
__400.00 To Mom for utilities
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___15.52 Chase Visa
___38.54 BoA Master Card
___13.07 Hospital Bill (DD)
___47.52 Phone Old House
__757.82 Van loan (plus extra to principle)
___55.25 Garbage (2 months)
__200.00 Laptop Fund
___34.44 Electric Old House
___72.56 Internet
___40.00 Allowances
---------------
$3261.72 Total Money Out

Payday Report

December 16th, 2013 at 03:06 am

$1400.00 BoA VISA
__100.00 Emergency Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund
___72.56 Internet
___72.00 Water/Sewer Holding Tank
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra to principal)
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Propane Holding Tank
___40.00 Allowances
__200.00 Laptop Fund
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Vacation Fund
__109.00 January Money Fund
__100.00 Moving Fund
__100.00 Appliance Fund
--------------
$3370.38

$700 of the payment to BoA VISA was the $700 I had set aside for Christmas presents. Since they were bought with the VISA I used that money to make the payment. I will make another payment next week to cover the other half of the travel expenses for DH.

Also had 3 Medical Bills:

$90.00 Physical Therapy
$10.62 Doctor
$13.70 Sleep Doctor
----------
$114.32


Payday Report

December 1st, 2013 at 01:03 pm

$380.01 AMEX
$100.00 Emergency Fund
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__69.89 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance
__41.16 Security System Monitoring
_168.00 Storage
-----------
$893.38 Total Money Out

I also have a haircut for DD coming out today and I need to by flannel sheets for both kids.

Other than that I have $600 for groceries and gas and one physical therapy appointment between now and when DH gets paid again on the 13th. There are no bills due between then and now and all I should have to buy at the store is 3 kinds of milk due to allergies (goat's milk, lactaid free, and normal organic), produce, some lunch meat for DD's school lunches. I have enough bread to get through at least a week and I really want to get back to making it again myself anyway. I made mustard last night so I'm even good on condiments, though I do want to pick up more mustard powder as I only had enough to make 1/4 of a pint.

So we should be good there. I'm even hoping there might be a bit extra left over at the end, but not counting on it.

Payday Report and Miscellaneous

November 25th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

The weekend was crazy busy so I haven't had a chance to do my payday report from Friday. We went to the ranch on Saturday to pick up our turkey and to purchase about an eight week supply of meat. I wasn't sure when we would make it down that way again. The weather can make it difficult to get to the ranch if it snows or floods. We don't have 4-wheel drive in the van so back country roads can be difficult to navigate.

I will be canning some of the meat we bought. It has been very nice to just be able to crack open a jar of meat and a jar of vegetables when I have felt exhausted or sick and just warm up dinner and have it on the table in 5 or 6 minutes. Or if I think about it in time, just dumping it into the crock pot.

The January Money Fund now sits at $2620.84. Ideally I'd like it at $4000, but I may not have the time to get it there. Fortunately I have bought plenty of meat and have lots of canned veggies, so I won't need to buy much in the way of food in January.

$1000.00 BoA VISA
$1000.00 Loan to Mom
__400.00 Utilities to Mom
__470.00 Ranch Money
__100.00 300 pounds of rabbit feed (cheaper in bulk)
__100.00 Vacation Fund
___72.00 Water/sewer Holding Fund
__600.00 January Money Fund
__100.00 Cash for Week
___40.00 Allowances
___90.00 Physical Therapy
-------------
$3972.00 Money Out

DH ordered a new gasket for our under the fridge freezer. It cost $111, but that sure beats the $1000 or so for a comparable new fridge. It will be easy to replace as it is attached via screws and not adhesive. We really couldn't put it off any longer as the entire compartment is now filled with snow it is so bad.

We did some weatherproofing on the rabbit shed and it has made a huge difference. It was so cold in there before I could see my breath and my feet were going numb before I could finish the chores and the water bottles nearest the windows were freezing. Now none of that is happening. We were able to use supplies on hand so no money was spent on that.

I have physical therapy tomorrow and we will need to pick up a couple of loaves of bread to make stuffing, but otherwise we should not need to spend any more money until after Thanksgiving. We will avoid shopping over the weekend, too. Just not worth the craziness.

Payday Report and Rabbit Stuff

November 15th, 2013 at 09:11 pm

I spent just under $60 on take away today. We will get several meals from it. I just know this weekend is going to be a little stressful and I may or may not be up to cooking too much. We have 2 litters due and the temps have dropped to freezing which means an awful lot of checking on the rabbits will be done on Saturday and Sunday to make sure no kits are born on the wire, but are born safely in a nest or at least promptly put into one if they are not. I have been lucky so far in that all of the kindlings so far have resulted in only one kit born on the wire (on Phoebe's first kindling) and I was there within five minutes of it happening so we were able to save it.

I'm not too worried about Lola, but this is Serenity's first litter, so I pretty much will be doing hourly checks for the next two days. Which means a lot of walking and since my physical therapist had a migraine today and I cancelled last week due to illness, I am not in the best shape for that right now. I've had to use the cane twice this week. But it needs to be done and I'm sure the kids will take their turns at it and alert me if I need to go out and take action.

Anyway, today was payday so here is the list of money that went out:

$225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
__19.00 HoA Dues Fund
_200.00 Laptop Fund
__72.56 Internet
__47.52 Phone Old House
__41.94 Garbage
_500.00 BoA VISA
_757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
------------
$2463.84 Total Money Out

Payday Report

October 25th, 2013 at 07:57 pm

Today is payday. I paid a few bills and set aside some extra money for the farm so we can purchase some extra beef to can this weekend.

Otherwise the way the money went today was:

$1000.00 Loan Payback to Mom
__400.00 Utilities to Mom
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__400.00 Beef Money
__100.00 Cash for Week
___40.00 Allowances
__144.00 Water/Sewer Old House
___53.82 Medical (DD ER Trip)
___82.30 Propane Old House
__424.49 Property Tax Old House
__700.00 Mortgage
__500.00 January Money Fund
------------
$3934.61 Total Money Out

The January Money Fund is now at $1275.25. The budget is running smoothly.

Payday Report

October 18th, 2013 at 05:57 pm

Today is payday and here is an accounting of what was paid or put into savings.

$1500.00 Bank of America VISA
__100.00 Emergency Fund
___19.00 HoA Dues (Old House)
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Moving Fund
__100.00 Appliance Fund
___40.00 Allowances
__100.00 Canning Jars* and Rabbit Supplies**
__100.00 Cash for the Week
___25.00 Garbage
-----------
$2284.00 Total Money Out

*2 cases of quart jars and 1 case of pint jars
**Water bottles, a hay tunnel, and a bottle of Vetrimycin eye wash ($27, ouch)

I also spent $50 on gas yesterday. I will be buying a 25 pounds of organic carrots to can and a whole salmon to can.

Left to pay for the month of October is the water/sewer bill, half of which has been set aside already, and the property tax for the half year, all of which has been set aside except $25 and the propane bill, which is $80. Those will be paid next Friday. I will also pay the mortgage then instead of waiting until the first and will also put $500 into the January Money Fund. All the rest of next payday's money is allocated for November bills.

Payday Post

September 27th, 2013 at 08:45 pm

Today was payday. I am mostly paying ahead on October bills, since we had so many paydays in September and because of the way the October paydays will fall. I had also set aside most of the money to pay the big doctor bill you'll see listed below. I am not actually making the car payment yet as the statement hasn't arrived, but I did set the money aside for it for our usual payment.

For some reason today while I was paying the bills and recording things into the budget I had the song "Pop Goes the Weasel," going through my head. Particularly the line that goes, "That's the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel." Which admittedly is better than the song that has been in my head all week. Which is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SJvKDAF8Xk, but I'm warning you that you probably should not watch it because it is weird and kind of addictive and it will run through your head over and over again and that way madness lies. Then again, why should I be the only one with it stuck in my head? Big Grin

Anyway, here is the list of what went out today:

$1000.00 Loan Payback to Mom
__400.00 Utilities to Mom
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__300.00 Beef/Pork/Chicken from the ranch Money
__100.00 Cash for Week
___40.00 Allowances
___45.30 Life Insurance DH
___41.88 Life Insurance Me
___69.86 Car Insurance
___47.17 Old House Insurance
___41.16 Old House Security System
__168.00 Storage
__923.54 Medical
__322.75 AMEX
___72.00 Water/sewer Old House (Holding Tank)
___35.20 Emergency Fund
__800.00 Car Payment Money (Holding Tank)
------------
$4496.86 Total Money Out (or set aside)

I still have $250 out of this paycheck in checking. I am waiting for the power bill for the old house to come, but that will only be around $30 to $35. I will have to get a few prescriptions renewed tomorrow. I also need to do a little bit of grocery shopping, mostly for produce. Other than that and a field trip fee on Monday for DS's homeschool program, I don't see any other money going out.

Mortgage Update, Payday Post, and More on How Premera Sucks

September 20th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

After making a larger than usual mortgage payment today, we are now under $9K! Estimated balance is $8937.89. It will likely be $1 or $2 less than that when it actually posts. I used last month's interest to calculate it and I paid it 3 days earlier this month so it will definitely be a bit less. Wasn't due until the 1st. I forgot to reorder checks while I was there making the payment, darn it. Got to remember to do that Monday.

I added $4.85 to the coin jar today.

Today is payday. Not a lot of bills went out today, but large amounts of money did.

$1500.00 BoA VISA
_1075.86 Mortgage payment
__100.00 Cash for the Week
___40.00 Allowances
__202.00 Medical
__100.00 Emergency Fund
-------------
$3017.86 Total Money Out

I am also setting aside $600 of this paycheck to go towards a medical bill that I won't be able to pay in full until next Friday. It is $923.54 and is the result of my medical insurance (worst) company (in the US) Premera "we suck eggs" Blue Cross trying to get out of paying for, oh, just about anything EVER. Not that I'm ticked off or anything.

And we haven't even got the hospital bill for DD's emergency middle of the night visit at the start of the month yet. I don't even want to think about what that will be. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd actually miss Aetna. Mind you, I only miss them a little bit, but still.

Payday Post

September 6th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Today was payday. Everything has been paid. Nothing is due until the 21st and after that nothing will be do until the 1st. DH ended up doing all his overtime work in five days time, so it won't be a full week of overtime, but five days is still pretty nice. I'll be able to put $1000 to the EF next week, but will have to rethink the other things I was thinking of distributing the extra money to.

We've gotten a lot of food this week. Not take out, but prepared food from the store deli. I've been out of it with my constant headache and mild nausea. Getting hit in the head with that pitchfork handle on Monday morning did me no favors. I have had no inclination to cook and with DH doing the overtime work at home, neither did he.

I'll try to get my act together this weekend. DH leaves on Monday and I can't keep letting the money fritter away when I could be cooking.

Anyway, the distribution of things today comes from a combination of this payday and last and is as follows:

$757.82 Van loan (plus extra)
__90.00 Physical Therapy
__58.00 School photos
_168.00 Storage
1000.00 Loan to Mom
_400.00 Utilities to Mom
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__47.17 House Insurance (Old House)
__66.65 Car Insurance
__27.28 Electric (Old House)
__72.56 Internet
__50.22 Phone (Old House)
__55.25 Garbage
__19.00 Dues (Old House)
_225.00 Chiropractic Monthly Family Plan
_227.66 Laptop Payoff (from Laptop Fund)
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 Vacation Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
_100.00 College Fund
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
-------------
$3792.95 Paid Out

We also bought gas and groceries and spent around $500. We are all stocked up on staples and aside from some vegetables and lids for canning and some milk I shouldn't need to go to the store or a farm again for a week.

Payday Round Up, EF Update, Funds Update

August 28th, 2013 at 12:15 am

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

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

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

New Fund Totals:

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

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

And I think that covers it.



Well, That's Done

August 24th, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I managed to recreate my budget spreadsheet and hopefully I've got everything on it. It's a good thing I almost always post everything to this blog or I'd have spent a lot more time on it than I did. I'm still recreating the Holding Tank spreadsheet, but I've got most of it done. I need to find one receipt and then I should have all the information I need.

Tomorrow I will actually pay bills and allocate money to funds. I have created a new fund, called the Moving Fund. We'll have to rent U-hauls when we move so I'd like to start preparing for that well before we need it.

I still don't know when the house will be completely done. It feels like it will never happen. We sprayed the mason bees tonight at dusk when they are supposed to be least active, but if the spray doesn't work we may have to hire an exterminator. Who knows how much that is going to cost? They are only in one small area, but just getting an exterminator to go out there is more expensive than a city call.

I just want to be done with it. It is such a money pit. I want to move on and start the future, but that house is holding us back. And may do so for some time yet. Even when it is done and can be put on the market it still has to sell. And having completely missed the summer season, we'll have it on the market at the worst possible time of year, the rainy and snowy season. Not too many want to house hunt in a foot or two of snow.

I am trying not to be discouraged about it and trying to keep a positive attitude. This month has been a hard one for me to keep a positive attitude in, though. We have accomplished so much this year and last, so why does it feel like we're completely standing still?

EF Upddate

August 22nd, 2013 at 01:59 pm

The $10 auto deposit went into savings today.

$5902.45 Starting EF Amount
+__10.00 Amount of Deposit
-----------
$5912.45 New Amount of EF

I have $87.55 to go to hit my August goal for the EF of $6000.

It turns out what I thought was a check from the food co-op for $7.43 can't be cashed anywhere but at the food co-op, so I haven't redeemed that yet. I don't want to make a special trip and will be shopping there this weekend so that money hasn't gone in yet.

I have been procrastinating like mad on recreating my budget and holding tank spreadsheets. I should be able to do it easily enough between my blog entries and my 2012 spreadsheet and my checking account. I need to do that tonight since it is payday tomorrow.

I need to pop over to the dentist and bring them the check from the insurance company. I've tried a couple of times and they were closed even though it was normal hours. They might have been on vacation. I don't know. I will try again today and if no one is there I will just mail it to them.

Payday Accounting, Ranch Trip, and Family Reunion

August 3rd, 2013 at 11:01 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Payday, Bill Paying, EF Update, and Dyed My Hair

July 26th, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Today was payday. I transferred $100 to the EF and I had $36.50 in my coin jar ready to deposit so did that as well. This brings my EF to $5618.14. My goal for July was to get the EF to $5500, so I exceeded that quite nicely. My goal for August is $5800. I also added $5.54 to the coin jar this evening.

It looks like DH's next shift will be a 3 weeks on/1 week off, so we will definitely get one extra paycheck. DH says there is enough work that he will probably do two 3 and 1's. If that is so, we should be able to pay off the mortgage by the end of September without touching the Emergency Fund. I had forgot about the extra paycheck, of which we can send $3000 to the mortgage.

I made a mortgage payment today leaving us with a new total of $10616.89. Minus $3000 in principal will leave us at $7616.89. There will be the August payment of $700 minus the 52.50 interest, which will put us at 6969.39. Two extra paychecks in August and September will give us $7200. So if that all works out it's gone. I hope it does. I will be so happy if it does. I just want to own it free and clear, so that if it takes a while to sell, at least we are not making payments meanwhile.

Then that will leave just the van loan to start throwing money at. Without the mortgage payment and the extra principal we've been paying each month, we should be able to throw $1500 at the van loan each month.

Okay, on to the accounting of the paycheck:

$1000.00 to Mom Loan
__700.00 to mortgage
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___45.67 House Insurance
___41.16 Security Monitoring (Old House)
__168.00 Storage
___32.70 Life Insurance Me
___39.53 Life Insurance DH
___66.62 Car Insurance
__100.00 Emergency Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
__100.00 Freezer Fund
___80.00 Kids
__100.00 Cash for Week
----------
$2663.68

I also spent $200 on groceries and $100 to build up my over the counter medicine stock. I needed to buy Zyrtec, nasal spray, cold medicine, sleeping medicine, and heartburn meds. I also bought two bottles of hair dye.

DD dyed my hair tonight. It takes two bottles because from root to ends it measures two feet long and it is so thick it is ridiculous. So no more gray at all. It's a darker auburn than my own hair which is sort of a brownish, goldish, red with grey streaks at my temples that when I was much younger were naturally ash blonde streaks. I used to say I had chameleon hair because it has so many colors in it.

We used a natural hair dye that my food co-op sells. I haven't colored my hair in a couple of years so it kind of surprised me what a difference it makes. It took forever to rinse out, though. I think I may cut my bangs again. They are already in my eyes. I have gotten quite good at bang trims. I have been debating going in to have it done, but honestly, if it is just a bang trim it seems silly to waste $10.

Payday Post, EF Update, College Fund

July 12th, 2013 at 04:33 pm

Today is the small payday, but only a little comes out of it since all bills are paid for the month.

$100.00 College Fund
$100.00 Extra to the Emergency Fund
$100.00 Extra to the Laptop Fund
$140.00 Allowances and Cash for Week
----------
$440.00

That leaves me with $488.10 to get through the next two weeks. This should not be a problem as there are no bills due until the autopays the first week of August and we get an extra paycheck on the 26th . DH and I cleaned out one of the freezers last night and found plenty of good meat to base meals around for the next two weeks. We should only need to buy vegetables. There is plenty of fruit that needs to be picked in the garden so I shouldn't have to buy fruit at all.

Besides the $100 extra added to the Emergency Fund, there was also $38, $10, and 28.99 added from various sources this week.

$5257.65 Beginning EF Balance
__100.00 From paycheck
___10.00 Auto Transfer money from yesterday
___38.00 HT Money
+__28.99 Money left in checking from last payday
------------
$5434.64 Ending EF Balance

I have $65.36 left to come up with to hit my July goal of $5500. There are two more auto transfers this month, so that brings it down to $45.36. I have $16 in ones saved in my coin jar, so that brings it down to $29.36 to come up with still by the end of the month. That shouldn't be a problem.

The College Fund now sits at $500 and the replacement Laptop Fund also now sits at $500. DH is still babying his laptop along trying to make it last as long as possible so we can completely save up for a new one first.

The College Fund will get a large infusion when the Christmas Bonus comes and again when we get our tax refund next year, because we have a lot of HSA spending we can deduct. I don't know if we'll max out the HSA this year like we have the past two years, but it is possible. It will come close. Meanwhile I will save $100 every 4 weeks. It will cost about $10,000 a year including books and fees at the local state university or $7000 a year at the local community college.

The Christmas Bonus is supposed to be quite large this year due to the number of Capital projects done. Not really sure what quite large means, but it should be closer to what he got the first year and not what he got the second year. I am not counting on anything at all, though. I know that if necessary we can do it just on the tax refund and what we are saving alone. The bonus will just be gravy.

Payday Post

July 7th, 2013 at 12:50 am

Friday was payday and here is an accounting of the bills that went out and the funds that got funded. Oh, but first, we splurged and got burgers, milkshakes, fries, (the kids and DH) and fish and chips (me) from Boomers, an old-fashioned drive-up restaurant with carhops and everything. We won't be eating out again this week, though. it cost $40.98. They have really good fish and chips. Well, the cod is really good. The halibut is only good. Best burgers though, anywhere, ever.

Okay, so the money out:

$1700.00 BoA VISA (mostly work travel expenses)
___36.26 Electric Old House
___44.87 Phone Old House
___70.56 Internet
___19.00 Garbage (Holding Tank)
___19.00 HoA Dues (Holding Tank)
___72.00 Water/sewer Old House (Holding Tank)
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
__100.00 Property Tax (Holding Tank)
__100.00 Hawaii 2018
__100.00 Propane Old House
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
___40.00 Allowances (plus bonuses)
__100.00 Cash for week
------------
$3459.51 Total Money Out

Payday Post and Mother Musings

June 29th, 2013 at 04:04 pm

Yesterday was payday. I had a couple of things left on the June Budget spreadsheet, and then set up and started recording things for the July Budget spreadsheet. I figured out which bills would be coming out of which paycheck. As long as nothing comes up we should be able to handle everything and have some money left over for savings. Of course that is the small check that stretches over two weeks, so I won't know how much I will have to save until the July 26th paycheck. I am hoping for at least $200.

Anyway, the bills I paid out were:

$1000.00 to Mom (July)
__300.00 to Mom for July utilities
__100.00 to EF
__140.00 Cash for week (includes allowances)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___39.53 Life Insurance DH
___32.70 Life Insurance Me
___66.62 Car Insurance
___45.67 Old House Insurance
___41.16 Old House Security System
__168.00 Storage
__700.00 Mortgage (plus extra)
__270.49 to AMEX (in full)
__100.00 to Appliance Fun
----------
$3094.17 Total Paid Out

Our regular mortgage payment is less than $400, so we added a little over $300 extra to the mortgage principle for the July payment. The August payment should put us well under $11K. I am hoping to have it under $10K by September, but I'm not sure if we will. We'll have to see.

I had a bit of a kerfuffle with my mother yesterday. Not an argument per se, just her trying to force her will on stuff. She wants to be the one who sets the selling price on our house and she wants to be there to read the paperwork when it sells, etc. I told her no and she didn't react well. She thinks we should try to sell the house by owner instead of through a realtor and I said no again. FSBO's take forever to sell.

She was there for all of that stuff when we bought this house, but we were young, DH was in Alaska when the house sold so I had to have temporary power of attorney for him on that sale, it was our first house, and we needed her experience. But now we've been through it and we are older and we know what we are doing. She's very opinionated and wants her nose in every aspect of our business. I have asked her in to certain areas (like medical), but she isn't always so good about waiting to be asked. And I don't want her nose in our financials.

I think she's got it in her head that we are rich. I'm not sure where she gets that from. Yes, DH makes a very good income, but that's only in the last five years or so. And we have spent most of the last five years aggressively paying down the medical debt we incurred when I was so ill and having multiple surgeries so it's not like we felt that money. I never let her know the extent of it, just the amount she loaned us and we are paying her back.

It has only been this year that we have been able to pull ahead and start saving money or take a real vacation again. We might be rich some day, it's possible, but that's only if the economy doesn't tank over the next twenty years and we start getting serious interest on savings accounts again. But we have college to try to pay for with two kids and retirement to save for and we are behind from getting out of debt. Not to mention we'll be buying a new house when this one sells.

She has no idea of our income because we won't tell her. Mom lives on her social security, the $1000 a month we pay her, and we give her money to pay for all of the electric, gas, water/sewer bills, and pay the garbage directly. I know she's saving at least $1000 a month from it and living on the rest. Her only expenses are gas, property tax with a senior exemption to lower it, vehicle taxes, prescriptions, and food. The house has been paid for for a long time and is worth at least $300,000 and that's estimating on the low side, so she can sell it in the future and get a smaller house and live off the rest of it if needed.

She's so worried about the future that she won't spend today. We'll be paying her back until she's 80 unless we up the payments, which she doesn't want, and of course, we've told her numerous times that we will make sure she is taken care of if she lives longer than that.

I don't know, but I'm not going to let her force her insecurities on us, by trying to control what we do with selling the house. I am grateful for everything my mother has done for us, don't get me wrong. And I love her very much. After DH, she is my probably my best friend. We get along very well most of the time. Just once in a while she gets very pushy. I've learned through experience that this is the time where I have to push back.

Payday Post

June 8th, 2013 at 06:17 pm

I transferred the $44.99 left in checking to the Emergency Fund, which now totals $3902.12.

Payments made:

$1000.00 to Mom
$1000.00 to BoA VISA
__757.82 to Car loan (extra to principal)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___44.87 Phone Old House
___23.39 Electric Old House
------------
$2916.08

I also took out $100 cash for the week, $30 for the kids' allowances, and spent $145.07 on groceries.

I still need to make a trip to the food co-op and then I should have at least $200 left for the Wisconsin Fund.

I have made it 3 weeks on one tank of gas and still have a third of a tank, so I think I'll make it until next payday before having to fill up. I am glad of it since gas has hit $4 a gallon. Of course, the reason I still have so much gas is that my daughter missed nine days of school with the evil stomach flu (she threw up so hard one day she broke all the blood vessels in her face, giving her skin a freckled appearance) and that the chiropractor took a two week vacation. The only places I drove during that time are to the grocery store and the feed store and physical therapy (one of which I cancelled when I had the evil stomach flu).

I am steadfastly ignoring the laundry and the garden today. I woke up feeling exhausted, so other than taking care of the animals, I have done nothing. The kids had plenty of leftovers to eat so are fending for themselves while I just lay in bed. I thought I was over the evil stomach flu, but I think I may be going in for round 2. Ugh.

That Works Out Well

June 4th, 2013 at 08:34 am

Yesterday when I went to the chiropractor who was finally back from his long vacation, I looked at my card and I don't have to pay the next month of the chirocare family plan until June 28th. He added 13 days to my card to replace the 13 days he was gone. Normally it's due around the fifteenth. Which means I don't have to pay it out of this month's cycle at all. It can wait until the next cycle starts up. And because the 28th is a Friday and they are closed on Friday's we won't have to start the next plan until July 1st. It will still come out of the 28th's paycheck, though.

Meanwhile, that gives me $225 to work with that I wouldn't have had this month. It'll go into the Wisconsin Fund. It comes out of the 6/14 paycheck.

I think I forgot to say what my last coin jar update was. It was $5.65. The way I organize my coin jar is that all loose coins go in the jar, but all bills go into an envelope that I keep in the dresser drawer beneath the coin jar. On occasion I'll get 50 cent piece or a dollar coin and they'll go into the envelope, too. Right now there is a 50 cent piece in with my ones. Anytime I get enough change together to roll coins, then the rolled coin roll goes into the envelope, too. Whenever the amount in the envelope hits $30 or more I make a deposit.

I hit my daily goal yesterday on Swagbucks. I am not sure how since it was 100. I guess I was on the computer a lot yesterday so had the SBTV running in the background. I didn't search much, but I did get the first LA collectors bill. I also cashed in for a $5 gift card from Amazon. I don't know if I'll hit my goal today or not. It's 80, but I don't know if I'll have as much time to spend on the computer today.

I have five things coming out of Friday's paycheck, $1000 to Mom, the car payment, the electric bill for the old house, the phone for the old house, and $1000 to the BoA VISA. Then for 6/14 paycheck I have $2000 to BoA VISA and vacation will be paid off, the internet bill, and $1000 to the EF. There might be a few middling expenses charged to the Visa as DH will be coming home right before I pay that, but there is plenty there to pay it in full. It'll be nice to get back to doing that each month again. I think we only had it paid off for 2 months before going on vacation. It might have only been for one.

The 6/21 paycheck will be the small one with just two day's wages on it. That will be split between groceries, miscellaneous, the sleep doctor, and a good portion of it to the Wisconsin Fund. It looks like FIL and MIL will be staying at their condo from their travel club when they go, so DH might be able to crash there with them. If he didn't have to pay for a hotel that would make things a lot easier.

I had thought it was in Milwaukee, but it sounds like the hospital FIL will be going to is in Madison. I'm not sure if they've got a date yet, but the further out in summer or fall they get it, the easier it will be on our financials to find the money for this. I know you have to schedule quite a ways in advance for these things.

I think June is just going to be a very smoothly functioning money month, so long as I don't throw caution to the wind and decide to eat out a bunch. It is not on the agenda for this week, that is for sure. I have too much lovely food to cook that I am looking forward to making this week. And since I finally got a full night's sleep last night, I'm not going to be too tired to cook it.

Payday Entry

May 31st, 2013 at 05:00 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Payday and Musings

May 10th, 2013 at 07:58 pm

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

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

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

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

Updating Funds

May 10th, 2013 at 05:35 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meal Planning and Some Other Stuff

May 5th, 2013 at 05:00 pm

I have managed to get all of my spreadsheets updated, closing out April, creating and filling in the first bills from May, and updating my EF/Holding Tank spreadsheet. My checkbook is balanced and it seems there will be a slight surplus of money even before we hit the extra payday for the month on the 31st. I plan to divide it between the Emergency Fund, the Appliance Fund, and the College Fund.

The slight surplus is because we won't be going to the farm this month, so that $300 I usually spend will not be spent. I need to work on using up the food that is our freezer because in about two weeks I am going to need that space for our butchered rabbits. So this week's meal plans will be based on using up that meat.

Monday--
Lamb chops
Fried potatoes
Green Beans
Bananas

Tuesday--
Tacos
Oranges

Wednesday--
Open face meatball sandwiches
Cole slaw
Grapes

Thursday--
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Broccoli/Cauliflower

Friday--
Beef stir-fry
Oranges

Saturday--
Bacon cheeseburgers
Homemade Fries
Bananas

Sunday--
Roasted Duck
Baked potatoes
Green beans
Drop biscuits with choice of jam

Financial Housekeeping and Other Stuff

May 1st, 2013 at 04:08 am

I managed to get caught up on my slacking. The April Budget is now fully updated and closed out. The HSA tracking is fully updated for the month. The checkbook is updated and balanced.

I sent $4500 off to the BoA VISA and will send another $2000 on Friday. That'll leave us with about $1700 to pay off by the end of May and then our vacation will be paid for. I still think it was worth it to go, but man was it ever expensive to pay for seven people. I've already told DH we won't be able to afford to do that again.

I'm just glad there is an extra payday this month because of how the paydays fall. DH's pay is on a four week cycle so every once in a while he gets an extra paycheck in the year. This is that month so I can shift things about a bit and get the rest of that vacation paid off. Then we'll have a clean slate again.

The mortgage is under $13K now. I will pay about $61 in interest on this next payement. I love seeing it so low. I'm pushing to get it under $10K, but that'll take me to November, I think. Unless it sells of course. Assuming the remodellers are ever done. I don't believe them even when they give me an actual date, because they flew right past the last one. *sighs*

DH's bosses decided that they are caught up enough on redlines that he won't have to bring anything home with him and work this hitch. Last hitch was hard though the money was nice. But they said in a couple of months they may need to do that again. I'm of two minds on it. If he has to do OT I'd rather he do it on the slope. Then again, at least it's OT. It just interferes with doing absolutely anything if he has to bring it home.

I have still not been able to shake this sinus thing and I am starting to think I might be allergic to rabbit dander. I am allergic to cat dander and dog dander which is why we don't have pets. I'm hoping not. It could be the dogwood and the rhodies in bloom. I hate allergies. Allergies can go away and leave sunny days in their place.

Overtime

March 28th, 2013 at 06:32 pm

DH is being given the opportunity to work one, maybe two weeks of overtime for them to do some catch up stuff and it will really help our budget out. One full week would mean $3625 and two full weeks would be $7250. That would allow us to get the rest of vacation paid off without having to dip into the emergency fund at all. Two weeks of overtime would mean I could actually get the special stacking rabbit cages that I want for expanding our rabbitry and throw a little money at the EF.

It would be nice to have a clean slate again. Vacation was worth it, and I don't regret it, but I didn't like the idea of it being May or June to get the balance on the card back to zero.

I'll miss DH, but financially it is the best move for us right now.

----------

I forgot to mention I bought a great little cookbook magazine at the store yesterday. It's Taste of Home and is one of those digest sized ones that are like recipe cards that was at the checkout and is for easy ground beef. It had at least ten recipes in it that the kids would eat. I always consider it worth it if I walk away with one recipe, so I was thrilled by this one. I will have to make a few substitions since we don't really use processed foods, but most of the ones the kids would eat didn't use those ingredients anyway.

I can't wait to try making these, starting with the Pizza Noodle Bake and the Florentine Meatballs and the Baked Spaghetti. Yum. Since meat prices are going up so much right now, we'll be eating more hamburger and so the variety in all of these recipes will really help out.

A Little Lax

March 13th, 2013 at 07:23 pm

Record keeping has been a little lax this past week so I'll try to get that updated. My Emergency Fund is now at $3044.20, (or will be with tomorrow's auto transfer of $10) so I need to come up with $155.80 to hit my March goal. $100 will go in on my monthly deposit on Friday, and there will be two more $10 auto transfers this month, so that's $120 taken care of. That means just coming up with an additional $35.80 by month's end.

I added $3.32 to the coin jar yesterday.

Things that have been paid since Friday:

$336.00 Dentist
__90.00 Physical Therapy
_375.86 Mortgage
_150.00 9 Rabbits
_146.40 Feed and supplies for Rabbits
_187.72 3 Prescriptions
_300.00 to Mom for her utilities
_156.29 Doctor
_206.27 Sleep Doctor
_168.64 Doctor
_757.82 Van loan
__50.01 Gas
------------
2925.01 Total Money Out

I did not pay extra on the mortgage this month. I still might, but with all the medical bills, I chose to be more conservative. I did pay extra on the van loan though. Medical was ridiculous this month and it's only half over. That is just $718.92 out of pocket this month for medical expenses, $1054.92 if you add dental.

I met with the sleep doctor today and yes, I do have a mild form of sleep apnea. It hits me when I go into REM sleep or into deep sleep, which explains why I can get lots of hours of sleep but never feel rested.

I am now waiting to hear from which medical device company it is my insurance will work with. Sleep Doctor told me today that they are separating from Aetna as of May 9th. I asked him if that was because Aetna sucks and he said, well, he wouldn't actually come right out and say that.

But Aetna does suck and they like to deny things a couple of times before they will pre-approve anything and make you jump through lots of hoops. It's covering less and less and less and charging more and more and more. I remember when they used to be a good insurance, and you could go to whoever you wanted, but gosh, it's been over a decade ago. I really miss the insurance we had with DH's former company.

I think I'm now at least halfway to hitting my $2500 family deductible for the year. I just wish that certain things would count for it that don't. Like my physical therapy, which they don't think I need anymore, but every time I skip it I start losing my ability to walk, so I've been paying for it for a while now. Or the chiropractic at $225 a month for the unlimited visits family plan (which is actually cheaper for us than our portion of 4 appointments would be). That's $585 a month that doesn't go to our deductible at all, but thankfully we can use the HSA for. And our portion of dental does not count towards the medical deductible.

----------

The rabbits are doing great and the little ones are growing visibly now. I have to harden myself a bit to not grow attached to them as they are adorable. I am glad I have not let the kids talk me into naming them. In my book they are bunnies A through F.

The chickens are doing well, too, although I think it is time for Queen to have another bath. Actually, they could all do with one. Because of the heavy rainfall and mud. Apparently no one has told the chickens that when it is raining, it is not a dust bath they are taking but a mud bath. I am just extremely glad I got some Wellies, because I can't imagine walking around back there without good boots right now.

Tweaking the Budget

February 28th, 2013 at 04:59 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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