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Archive for October, 2011

Everything Changes...Again

October 30th, 2011 at 09:49 pm

DH called me from work a few minutes ago to tell me his schdeule has changed yet again and that we know now what he will be working in January. It's not pretty and it won't be easy, but I think we will have enough money to cover it without touching the EF, thank goodness because of how it all lines up. But now I will have to redo the calander yet again and the budget yet again. I only did this last night. I wish I'd waited now. Ah, well, hindsight is 20/20.

So instead of coming home on Wednesday like he was supposed to he will work an additional 2 weeks for a total of 4. He will come home on the 16th of November and be home for 3 weeks, so he will be home for Thanksgiving after all. Then he goes back on December 6th and works until the 21st (2 weeks) and then he will come home for four weeks, so we will get him home for Christmas after all. Then he'll go back up to work on January 16th after no work for four weeks straight. After that he will supposedly work 2 and 2's, but I am not holding my breath. It'll end up being whatever work needs it to be.

I guess I should consider us lucky. They let some people go (but DH was assured he would not be one of them, supposedly he's good for another four years). They will probably hire the others back by February when they ramp up again, but it's got to be hard for those other families. I've asked DH to ask his boss about maybe getting unemployment for those four weeks since this is unpaid time off that he'd work if he could. It wouldn't be much, Alaska comepensation is worse than Washington. But it'd be maybe $1000 for 4 weeks. He's certainly paid enough into it. Then again, I'd only want him to claim it if we can't make it without it.

I should be able to bank two full paychecks if all goes well. I hope all goes well. I'm probably going to be stressed the entire time. I know we will be very careful about our spending for the next few months.

Budgeting Through Year's End

October 30th, 2011 at 12:08 am

So I sat down with my calendar and my budget and figured things out for the rest of the year. Now that we are on a four week cycle (3 weeks of pay, 1 week of no pay) it should make it easier to pay things without having to make a tremendous stretch of two weeks with no pay. It was doable, but always took a lot of planning. Less planning now, more ease when making payments. I don't know how people who get paid only once a month do it. Well, yes, I do. Planning.

DH said last night that they are getting caught up on stuff so he won't have to work that extra week, which means he will be home on Wednesday. Boy, 2 and 2's go so much faster than 3 and 3's. He still doesn't know about that extra week off in January, though. Ugh. I don't like being in limbo. So far I've got $1000 saved just in case. I am hoping to add at least $2000 to that by year's end. Then if we don't need it, to extra debt repayment and to HSA it goes.

Everything is so tangled up right now. It may be June before we are out of credit card debt. I just don't know. At the beginning of the year I was so hopeful we'd be out by year's end. Oh, well, stuff happens. I wish we hadn't had so much new medical on top of everything else this year. Still, we have made more progress than I ever dreamed, so I have to stick with the positive mindset that it's coming and we'll be out of that debt soon enough.

The tax return should be huge because we can deduct the full amount of a maxed out HSA. That will at least put a big dent in it.

Hmm...I wonder if I can stretch $2000 over that extra week period instead of $3000? I am going to have to juggle some more numbers, but if I can free up that $1000 for debt I would feel a whole lot better.

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.

Emergency Fund Update

October 29th, 2011 at 02:31 am

I deposited my coin jar savings to my Safety Net at CU#2.

$559.53 Beginning Safety Net
+_41.50 Amount Added
$601.03 Total Safety Net

I also sent $100 to the less accessible portion of my Emergency Fund.

$1800.95 Beginning EF at ING
+_100.00 Amount Added
$1900.95 Ending EF at ING

$1900.95 at ING
+_601.03 SN at CU#2
$2501.98 Total EF

So I've met my goal of getting the EF to $2500 by the end of the month. My next goal for the EF is to hit $3000 by the end of the year.

After all of my shopping today I also added $10.27 to the coin jar, so already started on that next goal.

Thank You

October 27th, 2011 at 06:03 am

Today was a bad day. Just a really bad day, the sort where you just keep coming across people that are downright mean for no reason that a sane person can see. It's nice to know when days like this happen, I can come here and find like-minded people who have kind hearts and good intentions. Not financially related at all, but I am definitely grateful for this site.

ING Dropped and Property Tax Coming Up

October 25th, 2011 at 05:07 pm

I go into my ING account every week or so just to check on things and I was very disappointed to see that the savings account is no longer at 1%. It's dropped to .9% from the last time I checked. I had heard the money market one had dropped, but not the savings account. And they didn't even notify me. Usually they notify of an interest change. Pretty soon it's not going to be worth keeping money in an online bank. I wonder if this has to do with them being bought out? I really miss the days when ING was at 4% interest.

I have to pay half year property tax by Monday. It's $518 and some change and I have it in my ING account where it's been gathering interest while I saved up for it. I am going to be sad to see it drop that account down, but that money was saved for taxes, so it needs to be used for taxes. I will transfer it tomorrow so that I can get the last piddly bit of interest on it that I can.

This is the first time I've successfully put money aside for property taxes each month. Normally I just come up with the amount when I have to and don't make as big a debt payment on the credit card. But this year I was able to take that small step away from living paycheck to paycheck. I had tried in the past but always ended up using the money for something else along the way. That was when I had no EF to speak of.

I was able to reschedule my physical therapy appointment for Wednesday so that money is still set aside for that.

The PTSA called and said that not enough kids signed up for the Japanese class so she'd be sending my check back and did I want it mailed or sent home with my son. I didn't see the point in wasting a stamp and my son is responsible enough to bring it home with him. I am glad they asked though. Some kids are not. They are still trying to get something together, but probably 8 sessions instead of 13 so it won't cost as much.

I could have told them asking parents to come up with $75 bucks for an after school enrichment class with only 4 days notice was a bad idea. When most people live paycheck to paycheck, they need a couple weeks' notice to scrabble money together for something like that. I'll put the money back where it came from when I get it.

Stomach Ugh

October 24th, 2011 at 05:28 pm

Or I should say stomach bug, or maybe something I ate, or possibly the new antibiotic disagreeing with me? But whatever, I feel yucky today. I cancelled my physical therapy appointment and left a message about rescheduling, but may not be able to, as she is sometimes heavily booked. If I just have to wait until next Monday than I can use that $60 for something else. I'll probably just dump it into the EF (although I still really want to buy season 3 of Fringe, that really can wait until Christmas).

DH Just Called

October 24th, 2011 at 04:15 am

His work just asked him if it was possible for him to work an extra week. That doesn't necessarily mean he will be asked to do it, but he wanted to know if it was okay with me. *sighs* I told him to go ahead and take it, even though it means working 3 weeks on, one week off. It's a whole extra paycheck and we can bank it for that extra week in January he might have to take off. I was trying to scrape up enough to save an extra week's pay between now and the end of the year anyway without having to wipe out our EF, so that just makes things easier financially.

It is a little frustrating though. He already is going to be missing Thanksgiving and Christmas when originally he was scheduled to have them off and now he won't be coming home when he was supposed to or for as long as he was supposed to. I seriously hope they have the rumored huge bonuses (that I am not counting on for anything at all) because he has gone so far above and beyond the call of duty it would be nice to be rewarded for that fact.

Bit of a Week

October 23rd, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Have I really not posted since Wednesday? I guess part of that is that there just is not that much for me to do financially until this coming Friday and the other part of that is that I have been chain-reading the Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon (lighting one book from the previous book, sort of thing, badly mixing metaphors). I had forgotten how intriguing her writing can be and how hard and fast it sucks you in.

I did fill up the gas tank on Friday at $63.28 for 16.969 gallons.

I added $5.82 to the coin jar so will definitely hit my EF goals for the month. I have no cash left, but I have $23.96 left in checking. $15 of that will go to DS hot lunch costs this week and that leaves enough to buy a gallon of milk if I need it, but I bought two on the weekend that were marked $2 off each (which is awesome for organic milk) and they should make it until Friday.

I have plenty of fruit and veg and frozen meat, so I'm good on groceries otherwise. I am going to need to find a major sale on green beans, though. Since Costco stopped carrying the S&W brand and I hate their Kirkland brand (which surprised me, because usually Kirkland is decent on most things) I have had to be buying it when it goes on a good sale.

I am a little picky on green beans since we eat them almost every day. S&W, the generic Haggen store brand, or Trader Joe brand are my preferences. I prefer the first two since they go on sale on occasion, but TJ's at least tastes good. I can't stand other store brands or Del Monte (which again I don't get, because I like other Del Monte products, just not the green beans). I used to love Western Family, too, but I haven't seen those around in ages. They used to have great case sales, too.

I had my MRI on my knee on Friday. I will hopefully know something mid-week. I'm mixed on what I want. If they find something it means it can be fixed and maybe I'll have a chance at not being in pain, but it also means more surgery. If they don't find something it means there is nothing to fix and I get to have chronic knee pain, difficulty walking, and random swelling for no apparent reason for the rest of my life, but no surgery. *sighs* It's never an easy choice, is it?

I have physical therapy tomorrow and have the $60 set aside for that (wasn't including it in the other money I had left since it is earmarked). It's the only thing that keeps me walking these days, I honestly do believe.

The diet has gotten a little bit...squidgy the last few days. Working on getting it back in top form again. Didn't gain any weight from it, but not for lack of trying. *snorts*

Random Bits

October 19th, 2011 at 08:41 pm

I rolled coins last night. I had enough to roll quarters, nickels, and pennies, which means I just need to come up with $2.50, plus the planned deposit of $100 on the 28th, to hit my EF goal of $2500 by the end of the month, which is great.

DS's school is offering 13 sessions of Japanese lessons for $75, after school twice a week, so he'd stay until five on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Only thing is they sent home the notice yesterday and they expect the money in by the 21st. Really not that much notice. It would have been better if we could have it in by the 28th, which is payday. I will have to borrow the money from the holding tank savings and pay it back on payday.

I hate to do it that way, but otherwise he will miss out on this opportunity. His sister is in her second year of Japanese at the high school, and so he already knows a few words and is really interested in learning more. Maybe my daughter (who is also teaching herself Korean) won't be the only one to go to an Asian country for a few years to teach English.

My son's homework last night was really interesting. It was on the Mono Lake ecosystem in California. It's a saline lake. I had always thought that the Great Salt Lake was the only saline lake in America, so you learn something new every day. He brought home a DVD from class (he has issues sometimes focusing in class when other kids are being rowdy, so the teacher let him check it out) and I watched it with him.

He was able to answer the first four questions pretty easily, though I had to have him look up the word abiotic because neither of us knew what it meant (absence of life). The last question was hard and not answered in the movie so we looked it up first on wiki, then on fossweb. Fossweb sounded nearly word for word like the film but had an extra bit that neatly answered the last question so DS figured out how to put it in his own words and got that one done. I hope it was right anyway. Middle school homework seems harder than high school homework, but he is really learning so generally doesn't mind the difficulty.

DD is staying after school today so I only need to make one trip to pick both kids up instead of two, saving on gas. DH did not fill up before he left and there is about 1/4 tank left. I was planning to take it over to Costco after I dropped DS off at school, but I was too exhausted from two nights of not enough sleep. I came home and went to bed instead and slept until 12:30. I feel much better, sleep wise, but my throat is still bugging me every time I swallow.

I did see the doctor yesterday and I have to pick up a new packet of antibiotics tomorrow which is on the way back from Costco so I can make that in one trip, too. I also have an MRI scheduled on Friday for my knee. I hope they find something this time, something fixable. It is hurting all the time now.

Coin Jar/Emergency Fund Update

October 18th, 2011 at 08:42 pm

I added $13.27 to the coin jar today. I may have enough to roll coins today, but even if I don't I have enough for a deposit Friday because I have $24 in bills alone. I don't tend to think it's worth the bother to go to that CU unless I have at least $20 to deposit to the Emergency Fund and then I'll combine it with a trip to Trader Joe's. It's not like either one is really out of the way that much, it's just that that CU is really awkward to get in and out of and there is horrible, nasty traffic at that intersection.

I'm trying really hard to make it to $2500 by the end of the month. I do have $100 scheduled to go into the EF on the October 28th payday, but that still leaves me with around $15 to scrape up. I think I can do that. I may have already if I have enough coins to roll.

ING will have at least $3 in interest this time on my savings account, though I'd like to use that for November's goals if I can, which is to get the EF to $2750 and of course December's goal is to get it to $3000. Since I only allot $100 to the EF each month, any other money I deposit is generally a savings from somewhere else, like groceries or gas or because some bill was unexpectedly lower than it was supposed to be. And of course I save all one dollar bills and change. Most months I make my goal if I push hard enough, which is nice.