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Payday Report and Need to do Something about the Storage Units

April 9th, 2016 at 05:58 pm

I really need to start doing the payday reports again. It keeps me super focused and on top of my spending, which I really need to be. We have had a lot of medical expenses already this month. Some of it we will get reimbursed for when everything is straightened out with our insurance company, but that could still take a month or two to shake out.

$400.00 Utilities
$150.00 Emergency Fund
$_80.82 Internet
$_47.86 Life Insurance DH
$_45.30 Life Insurance Me
$150.00 Laptop
$227.00 Storage (went up again, ouch)
$250.00 Chiropractic Monthly Family Plan
$140.52 Sleep Doctor
$_86.01 ENT Doctor
$369.00 Dentist (getting a partial reimbursement)
$_50.00 Allowances
$100.00 Garden/Household
-------------------------
$2096.51 Total

I have $167 and some change left in the checking account. $90 of that is allocated to physical therapy, but she's cancelled on my 2 weeks running, so that money may get dumped into the EF if I don't hear from her by next Friday.

DH and I are going to start going through our big storage unit when he comes home next time and seeing what we can get rid of/sell/donate. We really need to get down to having just one storage unit. The second one is $120 and it doesn't have too much in it, but the first one is jam packed. If we can free up about 8 square feet we can get everything into one unit and clear up the additional expense.

I know some of it is just stuff we didn't want to deal with when we moved, like boxes of papers, bags of outgrown clothes, little kid toys, and multiple outdated electronics. I know there are at least 3 VCR's and while keeping one to play all the old VHS tapes is fine, we certainly don't need 3. We used to have one for our bedroom, one for the living room, and one for the kid's playroom.

We could probably even sell one bundled with a bunch of old Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, Bear in the Big Blue House, and kiddie movie VHS tapes at a garage sale. I mean who really buys VHS tapes anymore, not many folks still have VCR's, but might with a big enough stash of tapes and a player with a working remote. Obviously not for a huge amount of money, but maybe $10 to $15.

And I know we have all the fairy Barbies and their forest, too. Which could go for another small lump sum. Complete Fisher Price Little people set-ups, both original and modern are kicking around. And a huge toddler train layout from Little Lionel, which would go for a bit more. Just a lot of stuff like that. Not that we'd make a fortune or anything at all, but we might be able to get a decent garage sale together for June.

I know that when the time comes to move, I don't want to be hauling a ton of useless stuff to our new home. And I certainly don't want to deal with boxes of old junk mail and statements then, either. Our car has an outlet in it, so we can even shred things right there, pack them into paper sacks, and take them to be recycled, without ever bringing them home.

It'll take a lot of work, but he is going to have 3 weeks off in a row and this is probably the best time to do it, before gardening season gets into full swing.

Payday Report

October 3rd, 2014 at 05:48 pm

$250.00 AMEX
$400.00 to Mom for her utilities
__46.00 Salmon and canning jars
$100.00 Emergency Fund
__29.06 Power Old House
__47.92 Phone Old House
__75.65 Internet
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__44.66 Life Insurance Me
__74.41 Car Insurance
__48.75 Old House Insurance
__41.66 Security Old House
$186.00 Storage
$100.00 Property Tax Fund
$100.00 Propane Fund
$450.00 December Money Fund
---------------
$1789.41 Total Money Out

I do have a few other things that will be coming out of this paycheck, but they aren't due for a while so I will likely lump them in with next week's payday report unless I get the bills before next Friday. I will be buying the kids winter coats and umbrellas. I will be buying hay. I've got a couple of medical/dental bills to round up, too.

Payday Update--I'm Behind

July 2nd, 2014 at 07:59 pm

Friday was payday and while I paid all the bills I didn't record anything in my spreadsheet or on here, so today is my catch up day. I tried not to let things slide while I was really sick, but some of it did. Fortunately it was just the record keeping part and that is easy enough to catch up on.

$300.00 Beef and Pork from the farm
__90.00 Physical Therapy
_100.00 Turkey, Chicken, Duck Feed plus straw/hay/grit
_144.00 Water/sewer Old House (2 months)
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__70.86 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance Old House
_186.00 Storage
__41.16 ADT Security Old House
__30.64 Electricity Old House
__80.58 Lowes
__15.00 Prescription
_225.00 AMEX
--------------
1417.59

I also spent $175.00 on a big Costco stock up of things like TP, paper towels, juice, vitamins, olive oil, and butter. Should be quite some time before we have to go back.

And I have $90 set aside for physical therapy on Thursday.


Payday Report

March 29th, 2014 at 06:23 am

$323.41 AMEX
_500.00 Mortgage
_100.00 Emergency Fund
__19.00 HoA Dues Fund
__75.65 Internet
__72.00 Water/Sewer Holding Tank
_225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Plan
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_113.22 Propane Fund
_100.00 Laptop Holding Tank
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Vacation Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Aquaponics Fund
_100.00 January Money Fund
_334.60 Dentist
_104.02 Medical
_168.00 Storage
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__69.89 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
----------
$2356.89 Total Money Out

I will be having a car payment coming out of this paycheck, but it isn't due until the 19th so the money is being set aside. I will list it when I pay it.

Payday Post

September 28th, 2013 at 03:45 am

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.

Payday Post

September 7th, 2013 at 06:02 am

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, Bill Paying, EF Update, and Dyed My Hair

July 27th, 2013 at 05:57 am

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 Entry

June 1st, 2013 at 12:00 am

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 Post

May 4th, 2013 at 02:23 am

Okay, bills paid today:

$2000.00 BoA VISA (Vacation Leftovers)
___45.67 Old House Insurance
___66.65 Van Insurance
___39.53 DH Life Insurance
___32.70 Me Life Insurance
__600.00 Old House Mortgage
__168.00 Storage
__300.00 To Mom for her Utilities
__100.00 Emergency Fund
---------------
$3352.55 Total Spent

I also have $200 in cash and took out money for the kid's allowances. Part of the money paid to BOA VISA was from the last paycheck. This will leave us with about a $1700 balance on the card from our vacation. It will be paid off on May 31. With today's $100 deposit the Emergency Fund now sits at $3596.32. $88.68 to go to meet May's goal of $3685. I paid extra on the mortgage. About $61 will go to interest and the balance should be under $12.5K when it hits.

The house is supposed to be done to the point of being able to install the carpets after this weekend. I will believe it when I see it.

Easy Come, Easy Go

December 1st, 2012 at 05:45 am

I find that the closer I am to being out of credit card debt, the easier it is to pay the bills. It feels less and less like money slipping through my fingers and more and more like seeing the summit of the mountain and knowing it's not much further and just a little push will get me there.

I got to contribute $100 to the Emergency Fund this time, something I haven't done in a while. I also deposited the coin jar money to the EF as well, so that was an additional $97.05. The EF now sits at $1205.41. It is good to see it going up again.

I funded my funds, bringing the totals to $85 in the HoA Dues Fund, $200 in the Property Tax Fund, $400 in the Propane Fund, $400 in the Vacation Fund, $400 in the Mac Book Fund, and $200 in the Christmas Fund.

Expenditures for this paycheck were:

$1000.00 AMEX
__100.00 Chase VISA
__300.00 To Mom for her utilities
__100.00 EF
___21.98 Electricity for the Old House
___50.00 to the Holding Tank for garbage (not due 'til Feb)
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 My Life Insurance
__59.89 Car Insurance
__45.63 Old House Insurance
__41.16 ADT Security for theOld House
_153.00 Storage
_100.00 Vacation Fund
__17.00 Dues Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_500.00 Mortgageon Old House ($376.14 plus extra to principal)
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Mac Book Fund
-------------
$2860.88

I also spent $56.20 to fill up the van. It was 3.39 per gallon. It's a little cheaper at Costco, but I really didn't want to go over there today and as long as it is no more than a 20 cent per gallon difference, I'd actually use more gas going over there and then waiting in the interminably long lines.

And I spent $230.41 on groceries. I stocked up on some things that my cupboards were bare on, mostly canned goods. I also restocked the flour stash and bought some oranges and milk. I am definitely starting to see the higher prices now. Even though I didn't buy any meat since we get it at the farm now, I still wanted to see what the current store prices are, and Holy Toledo are they high. I mean some of them are higher than their grass-fed, organic counterparts. I may need to up the grocery budget once we finish eating the inventory in the freezer. I'm trying to hang on to $600 a month, but half of that is spent at the farm.

I paid out DD's allowance for two weeks, $30. DS does not get an allowance until 12/14 as his was advanced to him so he could buy something on a really good sale. I also took out $200 in cash.

I bought DD a new MP3 player. She was willing to settle for the 4GB one, so it was $40. I used part of the $200 in cash for that. Since it was half what I was expecting it to be, I told her I'd just pay for it if she'd do some extra chores for her grandmother. So she's going to clean all of the bathrooms, mop the kitchen floor, vacuum, and clean out Mom's fridge. She's also going to do all of the laundry this weekend.

DD is going to stay after school one day next week to teach her English teacher how to knit using a loom. They're going to knit some hats for some charity and they need to make 26 between now and the 18th. Knitting goes much faster on a loom. I didn't get the details on what charity, but I think it was local. I find it kind of hilarious that my sixteen-year-old daughter is teaching a sixty-something-year-old woman to knit. It's like, shouldn't that be the other way around?

Speaking of knitting, I really need to get going and finish making DS's scarf so I can start on DD's. It's hard to work on his because he is with me so much since we homeschool him. I am trying to keep it a surprise. His sister has made him a hat in the same yarn.

I almost wiped out a pair of elderly jaywalkers tonight. I guess teenagers are not the only ones to dress all in black and take crazy chances walking after dark. If it hadn't been for the man's white hair and the woman's white shoe souls, I'd not have seen them in time to stop. And they were only 20 feet away from the well illuminated stoplight with it's cross walks.

14 days and counting until the bonus checks will be put in the mail...

Payday Report

November 4th, 2012 at 09:46 pm

I am so happy it is November. No more $500 payments to the doctor for DS's treatment. We will have one more $300 payment for glasses this month and then we'll be done with big medical for a while, I hope. Although we still need to save some as come January we will have the $2500 deductible again. Hopefully this coming year it will not be met so quickly. I will have to have two molars fixed, but I am hoping to use part of DH's Christmas bonus to do that.

I did send the extra $230 to AMEX along with my regular payment. Here's how it all broke down this week.

$730.00 AMEX
_100.00 Chase (no interest)
_300.00 for Mom's utilities
__92.97 to the Freezer Fund
___7.03 to the Emergency Fund
__32.97 Electric at the Old House
__25.00 to the Holding Tank for Garbage
__72.00 to the Holding Tank for Water/Sewer old house
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 Me Life Insurance
__59.89 Car Insurance
__45.63 House Insurance for old house
__41.16 Security system for old house
_153.00 Storage
__17.00 HoA Dues for old house
_100.00 Property Tax for old house (Holding Tank)
_500.00 to Mortgage for old house
_100.00 to Holding Tank for propane (old house)
_100.00 to MacBook Fund
__28.20 Dental (DH)
__15.69 Medical (DD)
_100.00 DH's monthly allowance
__15.00 DD's weekly allowance
__10.00 DS's weekly allowance
_267.32 on groceries (did a major staples stock up, plus OTC meds)
----------------
$3075.09

I will also be making the car payment out of this payday, just waiting for the bill to get here. I took $100 in cash out for miscellaneous needs. And I will be depositing $46 from the coin jar on Monday, which puts my Freezer Fund at $1000 even. And the MacBook Fund is now at $300. I had $7.03 left after fully funding the Freezer Fund so that went to the Emergency Fund, which now sits at $1008.36.

Out of the Last Paycheck

October 5th, 2012 at 06:19 pm

I got a little lax about reporting the stuff I paid within the last few days and figured I should do that before writing up what is coming out of today's payday. This all came out of the last paycheck from two weeks ago. I did find out what the new monthly amount on the car insurance is now that the other car has been sold and we only have to deal with the van. It was a drop of about $26 a month.

$158.50 WMTC
__66.02 Electric old house
__59.89 Car insurance
__45.67 Old house insurance
_225.00 Medical
__39.53 DH Life insurance
__90.00 Physical therapy
__32.70 My Life insurance
_153.00 Storage
-----------
$870.31

I also saved out $500 for DS's medical which will combine with $500 out of the paycheck today to pay off the remaining $1000 owed for his forward head posture treatment, which will continue for a while, but thank goodness will be paid off. I really did not like the way it felt to have that looming over us. One more month and I can get back to using that $500 a month on debt repayment.

Electric out at the old house is way up because of the workmen using power tools and lights on the weekends and possibly hot water to wash up in. It amazes me that 8 days of use a month can make the bill jump by $45. And I will be so glad when we don't have to pay for storage anymore, but until the house sells and we can buy a new one, there it sits.

Oh, and I also got a bit of gas the other day, $20.53, at a station near home because I didn't want to drive across town to the Costco where it's cheaper. That should be enough to keep us good until DH is home on Wednesday and can fill up the tank and also run in to Costco proper and pick up toilet paper and vitamin D.

What I Paid This Week and Vacation Musings

August 12th, 2012 at 02:55 am

Out of yesterday's payday and about $300 from short term bill savings, I paid the following bills:

__32.88 Electric
__10.59 Medical
_400.00 Mortgage for the old house
_301.30 to Chase (no interest for 18 months)
__90.00 Medical
_300.00 To Mom for her utilities
_757.82 Car payment (plus extra to principal)
_685.86 to BoA credit card (will pay more next week)
_176.09 Paid off computer (18 months same as cash)
__70.56 Internet
__44.87 Phone for old house (for security system)
_144.00 Water/sewer for old house
__49.91 yearly propane tank rental
_125.00 Cash for groceries
__25.00 Kid's allowances
------------
$3605.18

I just raised the kids' allowances from $7 and $12 respectively to $10 and $15 per week. They have really stepped up and started doing a lot more of the daily chores and helping with the gardening. I've told them that if they slack off though it's going back down.

I have $42 left of my grocery money for the week. Aside from milk I should not need to buy anything else this coming week. I thought I needed to buy chicken legs or thighs, but I did some digging around in the freezer and found 3 pounds which I cooked up for the next few days lunches. There may be more in the freezer. I do have two whole chickens and some boneless, skinless thighs.

It will be a short grocery week as we are going down to Tacoma on Wednesday, spending the night, going to the Point Defiance Zoo on Thursday, spending that night, and then coming home on Friday after morning rush hour. That wipes out our vacation savings, but we have nothing else planned for the summer.

Our hotel room has a microwave and a fridge and there is a Top Foods (like Haggen) nearby. We will bring a cooler with some food from home and our little egg cooker (which does boiled eggs or poached and our microwave bacon cooker, so we can have bacon and eggs for breakfast that we bring. I am going to roast a chicken on Tuesday and pick all the meat off the bones and we will bring that in the cooler. I will also bring along coleslaw and salad and a bottle of dressing and maybe a couple cans of green beans. And peanut butter, jelly, butter, and bread. We will probably eat out two meals (one at the zoo), but that is in the vacation budget.

Bits and Pieces--and Homemade Chicken/Turkey Noodle Soup

July 23rd, 2012 at 03:39 am

We did some moving of stuff to storage today. We ended up emptying our 2nd unit at the one place. We got a bigger 2nd unit elsewhere for about $20 cheaper. I would like to change out our bigger unit, too, in time because we could save quite a bit on it at the new place. The only real difference between places is one is outside the city limits. So it's two miles further away, but that is worth it for that much less money. They also do not require extra insurance. Since our homeowners policy has a rider for storage items, this is a savings of $15 a month.

--------------------

The man who was supposed to come out and check the house for painting and estimate on the door repairs called to say his daughter had been hurt and rescheduled for Wednesday. *sighs* Will we ever get this done?

----------------------

I picked 2 pints of blackberries today. I have enough to make jam. Speaking of jam we finished off the first jar of strawberry jam and opened up the first jar of apricot jelly. It definitely is not jam like, but jelly like. It was so good. Everybody loves it. And it was perfect even without pectin.

------------------------

Those green onion bottoms that I planted have started sending up shoots. I count 3 so far. It worked!

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I did not make pot roast today as I had some food that needed using up so instead I made chicken/turkey noodle soup today for dinner. Well, yesterday before we went to the farm I threw 4 turkey legs and a bunch of chicken wings that were just starting to get freezer burn in the crockpot with 2 cups of water. I let it cook all day on low and last night I picked all the meat off the bones and returned it to the crockpot. I added all of the onion skins, carrot peels, garlic skins, bits of green onion that hadn't gone bad but no longer looked its best that I have saved in the freezer and the four chicken carcasses that I have saved in the freezer.

I chopped up half a bunch of fresh parsley, smashed five garlic cloves, chopped up one and a half onions (along with their skins), some celery leaves, and chopped two carrots. I added 1 tbsp of white peppercorns (what I had on hand) and 1 tsp of fresh sea salt. I filled up the crock to the top with water and let it go all night and until 5 o'clock tonight.

Then we put it through a collander, put the broth in a stock pot, and tossed the remains in the crock into the compost (we have a heavy duty rubbermaid plastic compost bin so the animals can't get into it. I usually don't compost bones but in this case I will). The broth was a rich brownish gold color (turkey makes it light brown).

I washed and peeled one onion and three carrots, saving the peels and skins in a new stock bag. I chopped them up and sauteed them in olive oil for about 15 minutes to make them soft. Meanwhile I boiled half a pound of egg noodles in the broth. After fifteen minutes I added the carrots and onions (I was out of celery or it would have been in there, too,) to the broth and then added 3 cups of the cooked chicken and turkey meat and let it warm through, about 3 minutes.

After that I adjusted the seasonings, adding about 1 tsp of black pepper, 1 tsp of sea salt, 1/4 tsp of ground celery seed, 1/4 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp of thyme leaves and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. We also added salt and pepper to taste at the table. Some of us like a bit more pepper than others of us.

I ended up with enough soup to feed the five of us 7 big bowlfuls (DH and DD had seconds) and I have a quart and a half leftover in the fridge. I think I am going to do up the rest of the chicken wings over the next couple of days. The bag was originally 10 pounds and there are about 7 pounds left so I think I will do it in two batches and make up more stock and then just pressure can the stock in pint jars so we have it on hand. I'd really like to do that. I had planned on it before but plans fell through. I would net about 8 pints of broth this way, I think, and that's about a canner level full.

Most of the things I put into the soup were foods that were looking worse for wear, too, especially the carrots and onions, but you couldn't even tell in the finished product. I'd say the expensive of it was in the fresh parsley and the meat itself.

Altogether the cost to me was about $6 for 5 quarts of soup. That's 10 pints, which is equivalent to ten cans of a big-noodled, chunky-style soup in the 16 ounce can. One with all organic ingredients is $2.99 at the cheapest place. So for an equivalent amount of organic soup I would have paid $29.90. That's a cost savings of $23.90. My son will eat a can of soup a day and he is happy to eat this instead.

-------------------

I also made two loaves of bread today. We ate over half a loaf with our soup with strawberry jam and apricot jelly. So very good. I will have to make more bread tomorrow. My neice is spending Monday night as we are taking her with us to the science center on Tuesday to see the King Tut exhibit as her birthday present. We will be taking sandwiches down with us so will need plenty of bread, but we will also be making French toast for breakfast that morning for her, DS, and DH. We will also have sausage and bacon and eggs and cucumber slices for those of us who low carb at breakfast. They can have jam if they want it on the French toast.

I am really looking forward to seeing the exhibit. I saw it when it came through when I was a little kid in the 1970's, but I really want to see it again as an adult. This is part of our "vacation" this summer, since we aren't having a real one.

First of Month Bills

January 7th, 2012 at 09:55 pm

I've been a little lax on recording this, even though everything has been paid on time. Still, I want a good record of things this year, so this is a bit of a catch up post for bills that have gone out since the 1st.

$__41.25 Old house insurance
___86.30 Car insurance
___37.61 DH Life insurance
___32.70 Me Life insurance
_1000.00 AMEX
_3600.00 Bank of America (The Evil Empire)
__375.86 Mortgage on old house
__142.00 Storage
___15.98 Electricity old house
___39.37 Alarm system old house
___90.00 Tae kwon do lessons
----------------------
$2221.07 Spent so far

I still have to do mid-month bills like internet, phone for the old house, car payment, as well as set money aside for dues, laptop fund, garbage, water/sewer, and propane. I also have the Fashion Bug card to pay off. That one will never have interest charged on it and will always be paid in full.

I have $1400 left of the December money. I may have to dip into some of the money I set aside for January, but I am going to try to cut it as close as possible, so I can save that money instead.

Logging Friday's Bills

December 20th, 2011 at 07:49 pm

And I've managed to procrastinate it all the way until Tuesday, but here are the bills I paid from the most recent paycheck.

$1300.00 to BoA
__300.00 to Mom for utilities
___44.89 landline at old house
___65.56 internet
__757.82 car payment (plus extra to principal)
__243.46 Laptop Fund
__115.25 Medical
__150.00 Groceries
___12.00 DD allowance
____7.00 DS allowance
--------------------------
$2995.28
-_100.00 to the Emergency Fund
---------------------------
$3095.98

A Little Warmer

December 1st, 2011 at 05:59 pm

I guess the sweaters were a good investment, because I've at least not felt chilled to the bone since I started wearing them. I still don't feel completely warm and I'm keeping my bedroom heater on 72, but I did have it up to a ridiculous 76 before, so it's an improvement. We had a very hard frost last night. It looked like it had snowed, it was so thick. Guess I'm lucky not to have woken up feeling frozen over myself.

I'm sick again which may be why my internal thermostat seems so wonky right now. I think it's just a cold though and not an infection. At least I hope so. I've got too much to do this month to be sick on top of it all.

DS is going to his first dance today after school. He is "meeting a girl" by their lockers and they are going to "hang out" together at the dance. I don't even know what that means. He's only 11 so it can't mean too much, right? They seem to have become best friends this year. I don't know if it's more than that. He's excited though. And according to the girl's mother, so is she. The dance starts right after school so I packed him an extra half a sandwich in his lunch box. With his allergies he may not be able to eat the provided refreshments.

DH is on a plane to San Francisco today. He'll be back around 8:30 p.m., though. It's going to be a long day without him here.

I've got bills to pay today. So far I have dealt with deducting the autopays of life insurance, car insurance, house insurance, storage, and the security system from the checkbook. I've paid the electric and I need to do AMEX and the mortgage on the old house. I believe that is all until the 16th. I'll have to double check my spreadsheet after I pay those two things.

Oh, yesterday we wrote a $35 check for DS's next belt test at tae kwon do which is next Thursday. I also spent $65.32 at the grocery store. They had turkey thighs and necks pretty cheap so I stocked up. Beef prices are so ridiculous and nothing was marked down for quick sale. We're going to be eating a lot of chicken and turkey until the prices decide to get reasonable again. I also bought milk, oranges, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. I also picked up a copy of Clean Eating Magazine and have already found a couple of recipes I want to try this month.

Payday and Property Tax

October 29th, 2011 at 03:00 am

First off I paid the property tax today of $518.07 for the half year. That's not part of the payday spending, but I don't need to make 3 posts today, just to say that.

Now for the regular payments:

$1000.00 to Mom (loan payback)
___37.61 DH Life Insurance
___32.70 Me Life Insurance
___86.30 Car Insurance
___41.25 Old House Insurance
__142.00 Storage
__180.00 Tae kwon do (2 months)
___65.21 Virginia Mason
__144.00 Water/Sewer Old House (2 months)
__261.60 Dental
___82.57 Clothes Shopping
__106.00 Kids' Allowances (6 weeks)
__217.62 Grocery

I will also be paying the AMEX and the Mortgage on the 1st, but will post that when I do it. I will also pay for physical therapy and dance class for DD next week.

We went to Kmart today and I got each kid a fleece-lined sweatshirt for the colder weather. I also got them each an umbrella. I got myself 4 pairs of the super fuzzy warm slipper socks. I looked for pants but didn't see anything I liked. I've lost so much weight I am constantly tugging my jeans up and it is annoying.

DS needs a winter jacket, but I couldn't find any boys' coats, just women's and grown men's. I may have to order him something from Land's End, but we will check Penney's first. I was hoping he could wear his sister's old coat (it was a boy's coat from Land's End because she had such a long torso she couldn't wear girl's coats then) but his shoulders are too broad. Otherwise it would fit him perfectly, but he finds it really uncomfortable. He was bummed because he always liked the coat. DD wore it for three years though, so I guess that's okay.

I really need a new parka but I am hoping to limp along with my ski jacket because by winter of 2012/2013 I hope to be down to the weight I will stay at and don't want to buy an expensive coat I will only be able to wear for one year. I will probably keep a lap blanket in the car though. At least our fancy shmancy Sienna has seat warmers (which seem like such a luxury, but I love them) and that makes a big difference because they warm up before the heater does.

Ugh, Sick

October 3rd, 2011 at 08:51 pm

After 3 weeks of fighting this thing on and off I've finally succumbed to it and so have the kids. DS was okay enough to go to school today, but wanted a doctor's appointment after school. DD was too sick for school. We are taking them both in to the doctor at 4. My doctor prescribed Biaxin for me for sinus/bronchials.

I managed to do the first round of physical therapy exercises with Mom this morning before my appointment. The chickens got out though so I had to chase them down and put them back in their pen so was a little late getting there.

The in home physical therapist is here right now, and she will do the second round of exercises with Mom so I don't have to do them. I don't have the energy so it's just as well.

DH will have to take the kids in to the doctor as Mom shouldn't be left alone just yet. He's not so good at stuff like that, but I don't think I can drive again today. Not sure I should have done it earlier. I have another appt tomorrow. This one for my knee. It's swollen and full of fluid and needs to be drained.

I haven't done the budget yet for Friday. I haven't really had time or the ability to focus that well with my head so full and achy. I did send $600 to the AMEX and I know the insurance autopays will come out today, tomorrow, and the next day. And storage. Nothing else is due until the 17th so I can take a couple more days before dealing with the budget if I need to.

I am going to put the no eating out challenge on a bit of a hiatus. I want egg flower soup from my favorite place and might as well get protein and veggies there, too since I probably shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a hot stove at this point. I also want ice cream so I can freeze my throat, but that's probably not a good idea for my diet. I can balance Chinese food. I don't think I can balance ice cream. *sighs*

I hope I get better soon. Too many people need me right now for me to be this sick.

In a Much Better Mood Today

September 4th, 2011 at 05:25 pm

I've been Mrs. Crankypants around here for the last couple of days. Today it was nice to wake up with a smile and not a fever (though I am still really stuffy). We're going out to work on the house today. MIL said she would watch the kids. DH is going to mow while I use the weed eater on the flower bed and then dig out the roots of some plants, then we will put the chairs down in the back of the van and load a bunch of boxes into it to take to storage. House is almost empty now so hopefully we can fit it all in the van. We have a lot of newspaper and cardboard to recycle. DH has to check with a neighbor to see if they want any kindling. We have given away all of our big pieces of wood, but we've got boxes of super dry kindling that need to go as well.

It's going to be a long day of working hard but I think we can get a lot done. We will pick up school supplies for DS on the way out to MIL's house. DD won't actually get what she needs because each teacher gives her an individual list (joy) so first day she just needs a notepad and pencil. Which means shopping again on Wednesday night.

Payday and EF Update

August 6th, 2011 at 03:08 am

Somehow or other I messed up on the math on my EF. I'm not sure how, but I ended up with $54.64 more than I thought I had in my Emergency Fund. Maybe I forgot to record a transfer at some point. Still, better I have more than I thought than less than I thought, but I'll try to watch my math better in future.

Anyway, I added $56.50 to the Safety Net portion of the EF. That was the money from the coin jar, plus the money I did not spend in my wallet that I had leftover from the last pay period. That brings the amount at CU#2 to $363.53. I added $100.46 to the EF at ING, bringing the amount there to $1,495.93.

$1495.93 ING EF
+_363.53 Safety Net EF
-------------
$1,859.46 Total EF

I think I will make it my goal to squeeze out enough money somewhere to get the EF to $2000 by the end of the month. I added $2.71 to the coin jar today after grocery shopping, so I'm on my way, bit by bit, step by step.

To my holding tank I added $1000 for medical. I also added $100 there for property tax and $17 for dues.

Bills paid out of this paycheck:

$300.00 utilities to Mom
___9.00 owed son to reimburse for vacation trinket
__36.00 son's 6 week allowance
__65.00 daughter's 6 week allowance
_100.00 cash
_500.00 mortgage on old house
__39.37 security system on old house
_144.00 storage
__41.25 old house insurance
__83.98 car insurance
__37.61 life insurance DH
__32.70 life insurance me
__49.91 propane tank rental old house
_330.57 Laptop (18 months same as cash)
-------------------------
$1769.39

I've got a little over $400 left in checking. Really starting to feel like I'm pulling ahead of the whole paycheck to paycheck thing. It is a good feeling. No credit card payments this time, but almost the whole of next week's paycheck will go to that (and the car payment), so it's all good.

Oh, I paid extra on the mortgage. Like $124 extra to principle. This was because I was so close to being under $20,000 I couldn't stand to not pay the extra to make that first digit a 1.

Safety Net and House Past and House Future

July 23rd, 2011 at 09:48 pm

There's never much to do with finances during the two weeks out of six that DH doesn't get a paycheck. It's always the lull before the storm of payments. Or maybe the one after. But he did have another pile of coins that he left on his dresser to add to the coin jar, so $1.55 went in today. I also rolled coins, one roll of quarters, one of dimes, and one of pennies, so that will be ready to deposit to the Emergency Fund (Safety Net portion) whenever I manage to get to that CU.

The safety net is at $307.03. My goal is to slowly get that portion of the EF up to $500 and then eventually $1000, just with coin jar savings. Of course the bulk of the EF is at ING and gets more regular feedings of larger amounts of money, each month. At least $100 and any more I can scrounge up.

When this new round of medical bills comes through and the last credit card is paid off (hopefully within the next six months), I will be happy to jump our EF savings up to $1000 a month until it gets to where it needs to be. I would ultimately like it at one year's worth of income (not expenses, but income). Once the debt of the credit card is gone, one year's income would be enough to live on for 2 years if something were to happen to DH's job. I don't think it will (or if it did, he'd just move companies again like all slope workers eventually do), but I just want to have it. Having several months of uncertainty last year made me feel like this would be the best course.

I think it would take several years to get it to that point, but like I said it is my ultimate goal, not my immediate one. My immediate goal after everything is paid off is to build the EF to $10,000 and start saving for the new house downpayment. We still have to sell the old house, too. And at the rate we are going fixing it up it won't even be on the market until next summer. Not that I am in that much of a rush. Even with what we might get for it, we will still have to save money for about a year to get the downpayment we want to make.

We probably won't get anything near what the bank ($110,000) or the tax assessor ($115,000) says it is worth. But I would honestly be happy getting what we paid for it back in '98, which was $69,500. That would give us enough money to pay the realtor, pay off the mortgage, and have $40,000 to $45,000 for the downpayment. I honestly just want it to be gone. If someone walked up to me today and offered me $50,000 in cash for it as is with no repair demands, I'd probably take it.

Combined with our mortgage, all the bills related to that house roughly come out to $1000 a month that could be used for other things. Storage, water/sewer, power, phone, security system, insurance, HoA dues, time for maintaining the yard...it could all be used for better things. I know technically I would at least have to pay storage anyway until we move, but I still consider it part of the overall expense of not having our stuff in a house.

Sometimes I wish I had a financial fairy godmother who could come down, wave her magic wand, and everything that needed to be done would be done with no effort on my part. But no one ever gave a beggar a free horse ride, so...bit by bit, step by step, pulling up my own bootstraps and getting us where we need to be is my job. And I'll do it. I will get us there. Eventually.

Payday--Bills Paid (Long)

July 2nd, 2011 at 05:24 am

Well, today was payday and I did some major debt repayment as well as taking care of quite a few of the regular bills. The MC's are all paid off again and the VISA is firmly under $20,000. I feel completely back in control again, both with the credit cards and with the no eating out. Day 4 on that challenge is going well.

I went to the grocery store and picked up a few items. One of them was gnocchi. One of the things my son really misses about going out to eat is going to olive garden and getting chicken and gnocchi soup so I got him a package of gnocchi and a box of organic free range chicken broth. We still have a couple of leftover pieces of chicken so tomorrow I will make him some chicken and gnocchi soup. My chicken soup is almost gone so I don't mind making another soup so soon.

Okay, so bills paid are below:

$1457.40 BoA credit cards
__500.00 Amex
__300.00 Mom's utilities
__100.00 Emergency Fund at ING
___16.70 Electric Bill Old House
___37.61 DH Life Insurance
___32.20 Me Life Insurance
___41.00 Old House Insurance
___83.98 Car Insurance
___39.37 Security System Old House
__155.00 Storage
__375.86 Old House Mortgage
__200.00 Cash
__100.00 groceries
__193.20 Dentist
__106.94 Medical


Car insurance has gone down with the Sienna by $11.63 a month or $69.78 for a six month term.

Of the cash $90 is to pay for physical therapy on Tuesday and $100 is for fireworks. Not sure what that extra $10 is for but it will likely end up in the coin jar. I have $62 left in checking if I need to buy milk or anything else this week, but since I already went grocery shopping I don't think I'll need anything besides milk. Maybe some hot dog buns if we decide to have a cookout on Monday and I am too lazy to bake some myself.

Bills left this month (other than the first new car payment) are pretty minor. There is just phone for the old house, internet, and garbage for the current house. Everything else is paid. That leaves almost $3000. So the majority of the next paycheck and the one after that will go to pay first week of August bills, to savings for upcoming medical, and to pay for our little trip around the Olympic Peninsula before we go to Virginia Mason for my surgery.

I am trying to make the gas left in the Sienna last until Wednesday when DH gets home. I have about 1/8th of a tank, but only have 3 minor driving excursions between now and when DH comes home. I sort of hate pumping gas with a passion. Well, it's more waiting in the long gas lines at Costco, but close enough. There is half a tank in the Crown Victoria so if I need to use that car one day instead I will.



Money Out Today and New Diet for DD

May 4th, 2011 at 05:24 pm

Money out today on autopay:

$142.00 to storage (a day early, hmph)
$-32.70 Life Insurance (me)
$-35.90 Life Insurance (DH)
--------
$210.60 Total

I'm a tad bit miffed that storage came out today as it is supposed to come out on the 5th. I hadn't transferred the money out of savings and into checking yet, had planned to do that today. So I have a $2 transfer fee because the CU did the transfer instead of me doing it. I knew I should have done it last night, but I was so tired and it's just not supposed to come out today. On the bright side is that I had money in savings to transfer to checking so I didn't get a $13 overdraft.

I am going to make sure I transfer the money for security and cell phone at least three days in advance. Although Verizon has never jumped the gun on taking things out, security has, and there's a first time for everything.

I need to write out and mail the check for the power out at the old house. It's $23 something. It's usually $19 something, but we spent a lot of extra time out there last month, packing and cleaning, so had the hot water tank on.

The meeting with the dietician went well yesterday. It's a radical change in thinking and diet. DD can only have 1400 calories a day arranged over the course of 3 meals and 3 snacks. Each meal can have no more than 45g of carbohydrate and each snack can have no more than 15g of carbohydrate. And she has to have protien at every snack or meal. Which is harder than it sounds when you are keeping calories low. Protein is the high calorie food.

We sat down and filled out some index cards with calorie and carb counts so we could figure out some meals and then have the cards for quick reference. It takes a lot of planning, but once it's done that makes it easy to just flip through the cards and calculate the meals we want to make. She's also keeping a meal log, so some of these meals will repeat and be even simipler to figure out because the math will already be done.

I don't think it will affect the grocery budget too much. The only major changes are a different type of peanut butter, spelt tortillas instead of flour, and flourless sprouted wheat berry bread from Trader Joe's. I'll have to figure out how to make that eventually because it's $4 a loaf, but for the time being I'll buy it. Both kids like it and it's not got any allergens in it that my son has a problem with.

Once I've got my daughter firmly on track (probably a week), I think I will try to go on the same diet. I've got insulin resistance, too, but mine's never been as bad as hers. Still, I could stand to lose weight and eat even healthier. And I think it will help her to have someone doing it with her. (Dietician said I could have 1800 calories, though, because of my exercise schedule).

I added 78 cents to the coin jar.

Mortgage and Car Loan Updates

April 5th, 2011 at 09:20 pm

The mortgage payment hit today leaving me with a mortgage balance of $21,224.97. Slowly but surely it's disappearing. $277.31 of the payment went to principle and $98.55 went to interest. So well over 3/4 is going to principle now. Really, really like being on this end of a mortgage.

I forgot to update the car amount when it went through a couple of weeks ago, so the amount still owed on the car loan is $15,839.43. We are definitely keeping this car for several years after it is paid off. Which on our current debt repayment schedule should put us at April of 2011. After December of this year, all debt money will be thrown at the car loan.

The $142 autopay for storage also came out today. So down to $64 in checking until Friday.

I am getting really antsy for Friday to get here. I should just be relaxing and enjoying a week of sleeping in and not having to transport the kids to and from school. Spring Break is a lovely time of year. But I want payday to get here so I can send a huge chunk of money to the Master Card. And then I'm sure I'll want the next one to get here as well so I can finish paying it off. I just want it gone so badly. I want to be down to paying off only one card and seeing that progress every single month, the only balance getting lower and lower. It's extremely psychological at this point.

Grumbling

April 5th, 2011 at 05:24 am

There is nothing more annoying than being signed in when you start a blog entry, but when you go to post it ten minutes later, SA has logged you out. AGAIN. For the fifteenth time today. And of course I didn't highlight and save first. It wouldn't be quite so irritating if Facebook and Live Journal weren't also playing this game today. *growls at the internet*

Anyway, highlights were I found 38 cents in the car when I cleaned it out and I forgot that storage autopay comes out this week, so I don't have $204 left, it's more like $64 left in checking until Friday. And $49 cash so it's all good.

I don't feel like writing out the meal planning again. Will do it tomorrow morning when I'm not so growly.

Worked Out at the House

March 13th, 2011 at 05:37 am

First, my friend is still missing in Japan. There has been no news, but communications are seriously damaged in her area, so I hold out hope. I have to. I don't want to think about what it means to not.

DH and I went out to the house today and we cleaned out the top floor of the shed and half of the bottom floor. We ended up filling up the garbage can. Rats got in at some point, probably back when DH was always forgetting to shut the door and lock it up after putting the lawn mower away when we still lived there. He had a box of MRE's leftover from his Civil Air Patrol days that he had stored in there. I did not know he had stored food in there or I wouldn't have let him do it.

Anyway, they got in and they chewed through those suckers. If you've ever seen a MRE you know that their packaging is pretty darn heavy duty so it took a lot of effort on the rats' part. Fortunately they were not on the top floor at all. It would have been very hard for them to get up there.

We took a load to storage and I still think everything is going to fit. We've got about two loads of stuff left to pack up and take there. And DH needs to do a dump run very soon. We also need to find out if there is a recycling fee on old microwaves, because we have a couple broken ones. Hmm...I wonder if I could donate them to the technical college? They have an appliance repair class.

We ran out of checks yesterday. I had ordered some but they haven't arrived yet. On Monday I will go to the CU and get some free temporary checks. They will give me 8 and they print all the information on them so they are just like regular checks. Then I can send out the rest of the bills. Thankfully nothing is due before the 22nd so plenty of time to get them sent.

Everyone ate leftovers today for all meals so I'm not doing a meal plan for today. Basically it was leftovers and $4 worth of milk.

Tomorrow's meal plan was picked by my son who will be turning 11:

Breakfast:
Pancakes with jelly ($1)
Eggs (free, from chickens)
Bacon ($2)
Milk ($2)

Total: $5

Lunch:
Leftover pizza (free)
Leftover spaghetti (free)
yogurt ($2)
bananas (.50)

Total: $2.50

Dinner:
Beef Pot Roast ($5.89)
Mashed potatoes with gravy (.25)
Green Beans ($1)
Homemade birthday cake ($1)
Milk ($2)

Total: $10.14

Total for day: $17.64 My mother will be eating dinner with us, so dinner will feed five instead of four.



Rearranging Storage

March 7th, 2011 at 03:00 am

Every time we bring stuff to storage I always think there is never going to be enough room for everything and then we reorganize everything and voila, there's more room. Today was the third time we reorganized it and this time boxes go all the way up the ceiling. We will have absolutely no problem getting the rest of the stuff from the house and shed in there and also the stuff we have temporarily stored in Mom's garage (which will make her jump up and down to be rid of it.

I am hoping that we will be able to get it all cleared by the end of next weekend and then all we need to worry about is moving the piano, cleaning, finishing the shower, ripping out carpet, replacing 4 interior doors and frames, replacing one pane of window glass and painting inside and out. New floors of some sort will have to go down, too. We will do most of it ourselves but we are going to hire a guy who used to work construction to do some of it. He's been laid off for a while (so went back to school) and he needs the money. He knows his stuff.

I found out about a product called Gripper which is a primer that works on vinyl wallboard which is what the house has (never again!) and then you can paint over it with regular paint with no problems. We're going to take all the battens off and tape and mud them. Battens are ugly and just make the place look less attractive than plain painted walls.

Once everything in the house is done then we will likely hire a landscaper to fix up the yard and garden. Or another handyman type, I'm not sure. Since I can't get down on my knees anymore since the surgery there's not too much I can do in the yard at a ground level. I really need to start saving up for all this. I don't think we're going to be ready to put it on the market by summer. I was hoping so, but I don't think so now.

DH and I stopped at an open house today for model homes that will be being built in the next three years, just to see what they had. We're not ready yet and we made that quite clear, but I liked seeing the plans for the ones that will be ready in 2012 and 2013. The price ranges were perfect.

The one we looked at was fairly nice, but the Master Bedroom is on the 2nd floor and I don't want that. And though it was a 2 and a half bathroom house, there were no bathrooms on the main floor. The half bath was located up off the first landing of the stairs. I don't want to climb stairs every time I need to use the bathroom because of my bad knee, so that would definitely be a no go. But otherwise I really liked it. The master bath had a sit down shower, no tub, which would be nice with my knee when it acts up, but there is a tub in the main bath for a nice soak if wanted.

They are building single level homes in the next couple of years so it works with our time frame. The only thing is it's in a different school district from the middle school my son will be attending next year. Same high school, though. It's something to think about, anyway.