Has anyone heard or seen from Julie lately?
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It is now legal to catch catfish with a pitchfork in Illinois. Anyone from Illinois care to explain your state to me? I hope everyone has a good year. I sure could use one. I would like wealth, health, and happiness from 2017. Or you know, just a good job for DH with medical benefits.
My normal ability to look on the bright side and find the silver lining has waned an awful lot this past year. Let me think of what I could come up with to be optimistic about. Hmm...well, the ducks are laying eggs again. There are 11 healthy kits in the rabbit shed. I have gotten amazingly good at knitting socks on the loom. We are still out of consumer debt. The garden is still going under the low tunnels despite several snow falls. And I have a freezer full of meat and shelves full of home canned food so we are still good on that count. We have a house over our heads. We still have over $40K in our savings account.
Hopefully we will have some bigger things to be optimistic about soon. They've started putting up more oil job listings. Some of them are slope jobs which would be ideal as that is what we are used to and my grocery budget could go back to normal. The moment DH has an income again we are going to get him enrolled in a University that will let him do everything online, so he can get his B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Right now he has an A.S. in that and a certificate in Architecture for a two year program he did in the tech school right before they turned into a college and started issuing A.S.'s instead of certificates.
We may start him doing it anyway even if he hasn't found a job by the time the unemployment runs out. So much stuff says B.S. or equal on the job experience, but they'll often choose the guy with the B.S. first even if he has no experience. DH has learned so much on his job he could have a masters degree in it, but without that piece of paper, unless they have worked with him before, he is at a disadvantage.
DH is also thinking that if he purchased the online subscription to Auto Cad that he could pick up some freelance work.
The book is coming along. I have set a goal and that is to write at least 1000 words a day on it. Since I've written 15,000 words a week when I have my groove on, I think a mere 7000 is a good goal that won't have me feeling overwhelmed in case my muse leaves the building.
We'll be dipping into the farm down payment fund. We have officially spent all but $1000 of the Emergency Fund.
I don't really count New Year's as a holiday. It's not something we really celebrate as everyone is always in bed well before midnight. So once Christmas has passed I feel like I'm free and clear.
We did not end up going out to the in-laws on Christmas Day. We stayed home. FIL's white cell count was too low to be around anyone who was sick and everyone is sick. Except I am finally coming out the end of it. But MIL and FIL cancelled it. SIL threw a tantrum, because her holiday being ruined was apparently more important than FIL's life and fight against cancer. She got stood up to, though. I wasn't sure they'd do it, but this is the second time this year they have.
Apparently SIL bought a turkey and was going to make it herself. I really want to hear how that turned out since SIL does not know how to cook and has never roasted a chicken, let alone a turkey, in her life. I don't want to hear bad enough to call her, though. I was just relieved to have a quiet, peaceful day at home, not ruined by her scream-fighting with one of her daughters.
We had a very laid back Christmas. Very minimalist. We had our little 18 inch tree set up, still decorated from last year, that we store on the top shelf of our closet. We took it out a few days before Christmas. We just don't have the room to put up a bigger tree and even if we did, the hassle of putting one up is more than anyone wanted to deal with anyway. Most of the presents were handmade, though I did get the 30 year anniversary collector's edition of Labyrinth, my favorite childhood movie.
My son made me a beautiful turkey platter in his pottery class that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It was completely hand-built, no potter's wheel. I really love it.
I am glad we got the chance to really enjoy Christmas this year. I hope everyone else did as well.
$2897.63 Starting Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit from 7/9
$2907.63 Ending Balance
$1092.37 to go to hit my goal of $4K.
I have spent a lot on produce this weekend. I guess I am feeling nutrient starved or something (could have something to do with all the potato chips I've been eating this month). Or maybe I'm just holding onto that last gasp of summer fruits and veggies. Anyway, I am planning very carefully to not let any of it spoil.
I've been investigating some new recipes as well and will try out two this week.
Chorizo con huevoes
Corn on the cob
Steamed yellow summer squash
Black pepper chicken stir-fry (has lots of fresh veggies)
Drop biscuits with choice of homemade jams
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, ham, yellow onions, and bell pepper strips
Bacon cheeseburgers on homemade buns
Every time I use a punctuation mark like an apostrophe, or a comma, or quotation marks, it is surrounded with back slashes. It is not just me either. I've seen it on the blogs of everyone today too. Is this just a glitch in the system?
I tried to post last night but it wouldn't let me. It also wouldn't allow me to comment on my own blog or anyone else's despite being logged in. I even tried logging out and logging back in. So this is just a test post to see if the problem is over.
Not one he applied for, just one that was offered to him. And it's not what I would consider all that great, just good. Where he's at he has work for 2 to 5 years at a high rate of pay. He's finally on a 2 on 2 off schedule. The medical benefits aren't great but they are decent. The 401K has no match at all, but it exists. The yearly bonus is 5% of gross pay for the year.
The other job would be a pay cut. It would be a step backwards in the work he does as well. There'd be no guarantee what type of schedule he would work but it would likely be back to 3 on 3 off or 4 on 2 off. No idea about bonuses. The benefits are excellent, top notch for the industry. And the 401K is really, really good. Plus it is an almost unheard of type of job security in his industry. Basically he'd be set for the rest of his life in this company and barring something really stupid, never have to worry about his job again. And he could move up to what he's doing now if an opening came up.
The thing is, if we were out of debt I would seriously consider it. So would he. Just for the security. We already live on less than half his income, the rest goes to debt repayment. We had a good talk and we are even more determined to finish paying off our credit card debt this year and get the house fixed up enough to sell it. We sell the house and we dump the money into paying off the car and whatever is left we start saving for the downpayment and college. Then we are debt free completely and cashflowing college.
My mother has been intimating that we should just stay here at least until my sophomore graduates from high school. Mom may drive me crazy sometimes, but I worry about her being on her own, and not sure she could afford to heat this house without us paying the gas and electric, plus we pay the garbage and internet. If we move out I'd want my eldest sister to move in again. Mom's not ready for assisted living, but she does tend to forget to drink water and gets herself dehydrated, especially in the summer, and she does fall a lot even if she's never seriously hurt by it (strong bones).
We are also talking about getting a smaller house possibly when we do buy so we can have a smaller mortgage. Just a three bedroom instead of a four. After all DD will be going to college and she may need a place to crash during summers, but after graduation she plans to go teach in Korea, so she won't need a permanent bed to come back to. The other thing I have considered is that setting her up in a small one bedroom somewhere for the summer, or having her stay at with my mother, might be cheaper than taking out a bigger mortgage for a bigger house. I just don't know, but it is something to consider.
Plus, DS will start college the year after she finishes so is there really any point in having a large house at this stage in our lives? I mean, all a large house really does is encourage adult children to move back in. (Yes, we are a case in point, I realize that, but our reasons were medical and medical debt, not just because it's easier). I suppose that is enough musing for one night.
A few days ago, or possibly a week or more ago, someone posted a vid where someone using cash at a hotel instead of a credit card was considered to be highly suspicious and possibly a terrorist. It's not the short UK radio ad. I'm pretty sure it was an American add because I don't recall them having non-American accents. I think it was on the blogs here, but it might have been in the forums. I wanted to show it to my husband but now I can't find it. Anyone know what I'm talking about and can give me the link?
Why is a post I wrote yesterday showing up as being written today about an hour and a half ago? It's jumped postion up the list and it looks like several other blogs have been reordered also.
Today was kind of off target because of DD's surgery. Neither of us ate breakfast and DS had it with his grandmother so that was free.
DS and Me
chicken noodle soup (1.49)
grilled ham and cheese sandwiches ($2)
Homemade vanilla milkshake ($2)
Leftover spaghetti sauce (free)
Freshly made spaghetti (.50)
Homemade garlic bread (just crushed garlic and butter brushed on homemade buns) (.50)
Grand total for day: $8.49
Well, yesterday was my blogoversary. It's been two years since I started this blog here at SavingAdvice. I'm not going to write some epic about how coming to this community and starting this blog saved my life. Though I suppose it did. Financially anyway. But for any of you who have been reading me for awhile know, I already had my life saved and that's how I got into the financial hole in the first place. So throwing around phrases like "coming here saved my life" seems a bit anti-climactic after the three years of hospital hell, actual life-saving, and medical debt that brought me here, you know?
Still, that being said, being here helped me get my head on straight at a time when nothing else probably could have done. Yes, we're still in a lot of debt but its so much better than it was and so much better than it could be if I hadn't come here. So thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. It means a lot.
I seem to be getting back into the groove, too. Both in posting more regularly and in getting my budget back into some semblance of order. That's always a good thing. And I'm going to keep my eyes firmly focused on it. At least that's my goal.
Anyway, on to the savings update. Today was the day of the weekly deposit to the CU of $10, so I transferred that to ING. $300 here I come! Then $500, then $1000. It's good to be back in the savings game.
$267.41 beginning balance
$ 10.00 weekly deposit
$277.41 ending balance
Okay, so we pretty much wiped out our savings account making essential car repairs last month and the month before that. I'm pretty much starting over from scratch. My goal is to get it back up to a level that I'm comfortable with, so here we go.
$ 97.41 starting balance
$ 70.00 7X $10 weekly deposit
$100.00 monthly deposit
$267.41 ending balance
The $70 is made up of my $10 weekly deposit that automatically gets deposited in my savings account each week, but that I have been too lazy to transfer to my higher interest account each week like I used to do. Bad habit and one I'm going to be getting right out of again, starting on Thursday with the next auto deposit. The $100 is the monthly deposit for April. Well, it's not really a monthly deposit, it's an every four weeks deposit, because DH is on a 28 day pay cycle as it works out. But close enough to monthly for me to call it that.
I'm going to start doing my surveys again to help build this fund back up and start rolling coins again, too. How did I get so lazy about saving money? Just because we have a better income is no excuse for this kind of laziness. Time for me to really get on the ball again.
I went to the Doctor today for a follow up visit on my sinus infection. I'm still infected so he gave me a sample pack of a different medication and a perscription for a second course of it if I need it, which he thinks I will. He also gave me a $25 refund coupon for it as well. I love my doctor!
While I was there I got my maintenance perscriptions for the mail order pharmacy refilled. Our insurance company is now refusing to refill maintenance perscriptions at local pharmacies, but they didn't bother to issue a statement saying so. They'll still fill perscriptions for antibiotics or new perscriptions (once) but nothing long term. Sucks. I know it's cheaper to use the mail order but sometimes the convenience of being able to go get it that day outweighs that. *sighs* Still, that's one more thing that I've got to get strict about again anyway.
Anyway, so that's a $15 co-pay for the Doctor's visit today. I recieved a refund check from my daughter's orthodontist of $246.50, which will go to pay for hospital bills incurred earlier this year when Rose spiked a 104.7 degree fever with a violent flu and we had to take her to the emergency room to lower her temperature and have her given an antispasmodic because she couldn't stop coughing.
We spent $33.69 at the grocery store for bread, milk, cereal and lots of fish in the reduced for quick sale bin, both cod and salmon. We don't usually buy cereal but they had it on sale five for $5 and you can't beat that, even if it is just really snack food and not breakfast food around here.
We took Rose to soccer practice and DH was like a little boy showing off the new car to the soccer coach. He was the same way when we stopped by the chiropractor, too. Not that I blame him. It's a pretty car. *laughs*
DH's parents gave us $100 for an anniversary gift (our 13th was last month). We haven't decided what to do with it yet. I want to put my half into savings. DH wants to spend his half. We'll see how it goes. I may end up spending mine, but I don't think so. We've depleted our savings and I don't like it.
We've had a crazy busy last couple of days but the upshot of it all is we did a bunch of car shopping and we are now the owners of a much better vehicle. We didn't end up going with a hybrid, but we did get a car with very good gas mileage and a high resale value. Because of the resale value we decided it was worth going for new, but we intend to drive it at least ten years anyway. More since we usually drive cars until they are irretrievably broken.
We are the proud new owners of a 2009 Toyota Matrix S AWD. The Matrix is based off the Corolla only it's a hatchback. We got it in Blue Streak Metallic and it is very pretty, too. It's our first new car ever and the very first time we ever got to pick the color, too. Such a little thing but I am thrilled about it. She drives like a dream and is very comfortable.
We're thinking of nick-naming her the TARDIS because she's blue and bigger on the inside than the outside (Doctor Who reference if you don't know).
Other than that we haven't spent any money this weekend or yesterday. I suppose that's a big enough amount to make up for it, though, isn't it?
So definitely time to buckle down with the budget and keep all of our spending limits intact from here on out.
My mother has decided that we can use her car until we buy a new one so we're going to take a bit more time now and see if we can't find some other Hybrid Escapes in a wider area around us. Next week is spring break so we actually will have quite a bit of free time to look.
It is pretty likely we will still end up buying the first one but this way it feels a little bit better, just taking a bit more time. It is a lovely vehicle, though and it has everything we want in it.
I didn't post yesterday, I was so tired by the time we got home, part of this cold still dragging me down, though I'm better today than yesterday so progress is being made.
Anyway, we spent $35.17 at WalMart (where Tobias found a $20 bill in the parking lot!) in the automotive and personal sundries department and we spent $59.50 out at the Mexican restaurant for the four of us. We each managed to have enough leftovers for two additional meals, so that works out to about $5 per meal, not so bad for a real restaurant, on par with fast food prices. It's probably going to be one of two meals out this month, the other will be Chinese and we get several meals out of that as well, though usually for about $50.
Today I paid $1000 on the medical debt mortgage and will be paying $525 on the remaining credit card online here in just a moment. We spent $7.21 on a big bottle of Motrin. I think that covers it.
Today I felt good enough to drive Tobias to soccer practice so I stopped by the grocery store afterwards. They were having a sale on frozen food. I don't normally buy frozen food but I've been so sick that cooking has gone right out the window this week.
My kids love the Michaelina's Sweedish meatballs and the Banquet Salisbury steak meals and they were selling for a dollar a pop, so I went ahead and stocked up. Add a can of green beans that they split and it's protein, starch and veg. Plus a glass of milk and I don't feel like too awful of a mom.
DH comes home tomorrow, well techinically today since it's after midnight now and he can take over the healthy cooking until I'm better. Or more likely feed them the tv dinners until I'm better. I just want to sleep.
They did also have some meat on the reduced for quick sale section so I picked up a pot roast, turkey legs, cod fish, and a t-bone steak. Paid full price for milk though. That's what happens when I get caught with my stocks down. And it wasn't even organic milk, either as they don't carry it there. Ah, well. It was no BST. Ended up spending a grand total of $57.69.
I ran across this today:
I thought I'd pass it along since so many of you here on the blogs are interested in reading good finance books.
They all sound quite good to me but I think I'll start with "America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money" by Steve and Annette Economides. If I can find it.
Read this article today:
I thought it was interesting enough and good enough advice to pass along. Let me know what you think of it.
I know I've been on hyper post tonight, but just one more from me and then I'll shut up until tomorrow. I read this article online today.
It was very good and well worth the read and I did learn something new from her. I'm not sure I agree with it but I follow her reasoning.
She says to pay off the cards that are maxed out first, not the one with the highest interest or the one with the lowest amount on it. She says this because having cards maxed to the limit is worse for your credit report than the ones that have plenty of room left on them.
I suppose if you are trying to improve your credit report that might be the way to go, but if the object is getting out of debt period, I'd go another way, myself.
I am curious as to what others think on this.
Just a quick question to the resident techies around here, Tina or B.A. or anyone else who knows. I've been using Firefox because Veoh and Stage6 digi players and downloads don't run in I.E. or don't run well in I.E. Does Firefox do everything that I.E. can do? Because I think I'd just as soon make it my default browser if it does. But I don't want to get stuck in some backwater area of the internet if it isn't as good as or better than I.E. Thanks muchly for any help. I am such a newbie to non-MS stuff.
I got home safe from my vacation. I had a really great time and didn't spend all the money I had budgeted for the trip. I will write more in the morning. I really enjoyed my trip, but it is great to be in my own bed tonight. I sure missed reading the blogs for a week, but I think a week without computer access or even turning on the hotel TV at all was great.
Okay, so I'm over in the forums again (I know, I know) and I have finally made it to 100 posts, so I decided to wander over to the 100 posts club and...there's nothing there! I feel cheated.
I checked my credit report last night and my credit score has gone up 23 points to 786. That's not the highest its ever been which was 803, but its the highest its been in a good long while, so I'm pretty happy with it.
I want to keep it pretty high, as we are still hoping to buy a new to us car at the end of this year and I want to stay in the excellent range.
I didn't spend anything yesterday. I stayed home with 2 sick kids and the weather made up for not raining all summer. The river is actually starting to rise from linked puddles to trickle. I had never seen it so low in my life as it had gotten to. Had a huge storm with lots of thunder.
I forgot to mention on Friday when I went Christmas Looking, I also stopped at JoAnn's and got some yarn, and splurged a bit and got a set of the oval/rectangular hand looms from the Knifty Knitter product line. I already had the round ones from last year. This makes knitttng so much easier.
Yesterday I knit myself a new scarf that comes close to matching my new jacket. And today I started on a matching hat. I've been watching the second season of 24 on loan from a guy DH works with, so knitting justifies all the time staring at the tube, otherwise doing nothing. supposedly I can make mittens with these things, too but I have my doubts. I can see socks, but not how I'd make a thumb for mittens.
When I'm done with this, I will make DH a scarf. He wants one that is extra long. About the length of the one the fourth Dr. Who had if anyone knows what I'm talking about. That's not going to happen, but I will make him one that is longer than standard as he is very tall. I also want to make a blanket for my dad for Christmas. The largest of the looms is for making blankets and I think it will work well enough. We'll see. It'll be an adventure.
Today will be a no spend day, also. It stopped raining so I had some time to bring wood in without getting drenched. It is not near as cold as it had been, its in the 50's, so I may not even need to use the stove, but I'll have it ready the next time the weather drops again. I cleaned the stove out today, so its ready to go, too. The ashes had piled up quite high.
The kids are almost completely better, well enough to go to school tomorrow. There are only 3 days this week. Friday is veteran's day and the school has Thursday off, as well. It's going to be a long 4 day weekend. DH was originally supposed to be home during this time, but then he had to work the extra week, so its just me and Monstro and Destructo Girl, er...I mean, my lovely, sweet children, locked in a house for four days straight...I mean, enjoying each other's company without outside interference. Then two weeks later, repeat, only with a five day weekend. I may come out of this quite, quite insane. LOL But sanity is over-rated, or so I've heard.
Basketball practice starts on Tuesday for Rose, so she'll be active again, and that is always good. She tends to chub out a bit between sports seasons, then gets all "I'm so fat" about it. She's ten. I don't know where this is coming from. I don't say anything. Her dad doesn't. Probably some brat at school. I've tried to encourage her to run on the treadmill or use the gazelle between seasons, but I'm not going to push it. There's only a few weeks between seasons, and it goes away again with a week or two of hard practice. But she will always be like her dad and me, if she doesn't exercise 3 or 4 times a week, she'll put the weight on. That's just how our genetics work.
Well, I best get dinner started, oven-baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and green something, either beans, or salad, or kohlrabi, or cucumbers. Not sure, on that, I'll have to see what the kids want. That and start on load 3 of dirty dishes, I kind of let that slide when we got sick, yuck. It was either cook meals or wash dishes and cooking meals was the better option, LOL. But then I ran out of stuff to cook in, so...off I go now.
I just sent off my first customer complaint email. My brand new Scripto lighter that I had purchased for lighting fireworks failed to light after the tenth firework went off. Very frustrating. It took 30 minutes for us to find a gas station still open so we could get a new one. It just really put a crimp in the whole night. Fortunately it didn't ruin it and we were able to resume it, but much later and with the added "benefit" of tired, cranky children.
I'm not sure if they'll do anything, but I feel better just having sent it. Maybe they'll send me a new one. That would be nice.
A few months ago I wouldn't have bothered complaining, but I guess you all have rubbed off on me.
Well, technically one more sample came in the mail today but it is a really good one. I got the Glad Force Flex garbage bag. I only signed up for this on the 12th of April and it came in 22 days, even though it sad 4 to 6 weeks. Nice turn around time there.
I also signed up for four more freebies today. Nice little freebie flurry after the drought.
I don't know what has gotten into me today. I'm not usually this chatty. Or maybe I am and it just usually comes out in one long burst.
It's been a few days since I've updated this, but I now have been given a grand total of $0.93 by people who did not want to make proper change. I know this is very silly to keep track of, but I also get a kick out of it, so there you go.
I got my first real sample in the mail today. I don't count the DVD for RVing, because it is not really something that I will be able to use for anything in my real life. At least not right now.
I got the Reach flosser, a pretty blue one. I am really looking forward to using this tonight as my back teeth are tightly packed and it can be hard to get back there with floss. My dental hygeniest used one on me once and I loved it. Of course, I managed to lose that one before I could ever used it. I used to be very disorganized. Not anymore, so I'll keep track of this one! It's already in my toothbrush holder.
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