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Archive for April, 2013

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2013 at 06:48 pm

I haven't been very together this week. Queen's death, while expected, still threw me for a loop. I've got my equillibrium back today, so I thought I better get my head out of the clouds and pay some attention to the finances. Although they were basically on auto pilot this week anyway. Nothing much happens during the last week of the month. I took care of property tax ($424.58, half year) and the water bill ($144, two months) on Friday which were the only things due. I also had physical therapy on Friday ($90).

Yesterday I cashed out at Swagbucks for a $5 gift cared to Amazon. I haven't really been paying much attention to SB this month, so only got $10 in GC's. Today they seem to be giving double points for everything so I've got SBTV running in the backrgound. I have just been more busy this month than usual and not wanting to waste so much of my free time on it.

I got 11 cents and a sheet of address labels from some charity I have not donated to in over ten years. I have written them and asked them to stop sending me appeals so they don't waste their money on me, but they don't listen. I have no compunction against using what they send. I donated well to them for five years, but my charitable contributions are focused elsewhere now, locally. Anyway, that is my fifth or sixth dime this month.

I added $12.26 to the coin jar today. I had a lot of ones in my purse.

I stopped by the feed store and bought a 40 pound bag of rabbit pellets. It is $14.99 plus tax, so $16.29 altogether.

I paid the AMEX off ($271.92) for the month. I need to make a large payment to BoA VISA, but I need to balance the checkbook first. With the large amount of overtime money in the bank account, I haven't been balancing daily like normal, so I'm a week behind. I'm nowhere near overspending or anything, just need to know exactly where I am at so I can figure out how big the payment can be.

My electric bill has been moved from the 7nth to the 13th. They have changed how they bill, so last month's was a little higher to compensate for the extra week. Now it's back to normal and I do like that it is away from the first week of the month. I really don't like anything being due then, because that is when all the autopays come out and I don't want to think about having to write out a check. Their website sucks, they use impossible to decipher captchas, and the amount is variable from month to month so I don't autopay or pay that one online.

I have made it through my second day of no eating out and sticking to the meal plan. I've been wasting more money than I want to think about on takeaway and last minute grocery runs for deli food because I have been under the weather and haven't felt like cooking. I aim to get that back under control. I am sure I will stop feeling better eating homecooked food again, too.

I guess that about catches me up. At least I can't think of anything else for now.

Meal Planning for the Week--No Eating Out This Week

April 29th, 2013 at 08:22 pm

I am heading back towards eating Paleo again, so the starches in my menu plan are mainly for the kids. I think I have basically given up trying to get my meal plan posted on Sundays. Ah, well. I suppose it really doesn't matter what day I post it so long as I follow it, right? That's the way to save money on the grocery budget.

Since I have been slacking so much lately and having so much takeaway, I challenged myself to get through the whole week without eating out. Day one has gone okay, but it's usually Friday and Saturday that I have the real trouble with.

Monday--
Oven baked chicken
Cole slaw
Oranges

Tuesday--
Low carb meatloaf
Cole slaw
Bananas

Wednesday--
Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Salad
Oranges
Green beans

Thursday--
Beef stir-fry
Bananas

Friday--
Tacos
Oranges

Saturday--
Bacon Cheeseburgers
Homemade sweet potato fries
Cole slaw

Sunday--
Beef chuck pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli/cauliflower
Blueberry cornbread muffins

Spending Journal--Purchases

April 28th, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I bought some toiletry items on etsy today. I spent $70. I have bought from this particular shop owner before. Because of my allergies I have to be careful with what I put on my skin anymore. As does my son. The only scents used are from essential oils and no artifical colorings or chemicals are used in these products. Here is the breakdown of what I purchased:

$15.00 probiotic deoderant stick (Citrus)
__4.50 Gardener's lip butter in a tin
_10.50 Conditioning Herbal Detangler spray
__8.50 100% Natural Acne Bar Soap
_15.00 Natural Sun Stick
__6.50 Marshmallow Root Shampoo Bar Soap (for thick curly hair)

The rest was shipping. I swear by her acne bar. I've also used her chest rub (used like Vaporub) and one of her salves for dry skin. I have been very happy with everything and it has all worked well.

I am very curious to try the shampoo bar. I have a hard time finding good shampoo for my hair type and use a very expensive type by Paul Mitchell that has tea tree oil and eucalyptis. Almost all shampoo these days is formulated to make your hair be thicker, fuller, and have added moisture. It is extremely hard to find anything for oily hair that is incredibly full and thick and the last thing it needs is more volume. Everything seems to be for dry hair or color treated hair or damaged hair. There is very little for hair that is in good shape, just very unruly and makes plenty of it's own natural oil. So hopefully it will do the job I want it to do.

I also spent $107.34 at the grocery store today. I bought a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. I've been kind of letting the diet slide lately and eating too many junky starches, so trying to head back towards eating Paleo again. I still need to make up my menu plan for the week, and stick closer to it this week. I'm never going to beat this sinus thing if I don't start eating right again. Of course all I want to do is eat chicken noodle soup. Well, maybe I'll make egg flower soup tomorrow for lunch. Pretty close to the same thing and I have homemade chicken broth in the freezer.


Still Farm and House Hunting

April 28th, 2013 at 05:54 pm

In the vein of finding homes that are too expensive and that we can never have, and DH's pentient for showing them to me, I set out to find something with some serious bells and whistles that we could afford and show it to DH. Not super seriously or anything, just to make the point.

Well, I found a doozy in our price range, albeit it closer to the high end and with yearly taxes of $4700. I went down my checklist. 5 acres. One level. House in good repair. At least 1500 square feet (it's 2500). Outbuildings for storage and for rabbit housing and chicken housing. Garden area. Mature fruit trees. A private well. A shop. Room for DS's model train layouts. A pond. A wood stove for back up heat. A large and roomy kitchen (plus beautiful). Close to family (2 miles from sister-in-law and nieces, 5 miles to MIL and FIL, 15 minutes from Mom and town.) Good school district.

And then for the bells and whistles. An indoor swimming pool and hot tub. A glass and brick green house. And...a small hanger for a Cessna airplane, with a shared private landing strip with dues of 45 a year!

It's $374,500. With our planned down payment of $60,000, we'd still be walking away with a pretty big mortgage and monthly payment. And I don't actually want a super big mortgage with college in the picture soon. The cost to heat a pool would actually be less than heating a house if we istalled a heat pump to exchange air from the house to the pool and back, using the pool as a heat sink. And we could rent the hanger to someone with a small plane so get a bit of income on the side to help with the mortgae payment. I'm not seriously considering it, of course, but I thought it was fun to find something like this anyway.

We are too far away from buying a house yet to be serious about anything. Still just looking and dreaming.



I'd still be happier with the almost 20 acre place for $305,000.

Queen Died

April 27th, 2013 at 07:57 am

Queen died yesterday, so needless to say most of my payday financial stuff didn't get done. And we ordered takeaway. It was just not a good day all around. We knew it was coming and we had the chance to say good-bye to her Thursday night, but it was still a rough Friday. Rest in peace, sweet girl. I'll miss you.

It's Been a Dime Finding Kind of Month

April 26th, 2013 at 02:20 am

Yesterday I found another dime. I think this is the fourth dime this month. This one was in terrible condition. It was so dirty I barely saw it. It blended in with the dirt. I found it about a foot from where we store out outdoor garbage bin.

I added $9.44 to the coin jar today. Today was also the day of the $10 auto deposit to the Emergency Fund so that brings the balance to $3,423.75, making me $31.25 short of my April goal of $3455. I have a deposit ready to go of $41.25 from the coin jar that I will deposit tomorrow, so I will hit my goal with an extra $10.

Because I managed to save $210 to the Emergency Fund this month, I am going to set my goal for May to save $220 and get my EF to $3685. If I find that easy enough to do, then my June goal will bump up another $10. I might just start doing that each month until it hurts and then back off one.

If I can manage to do that until December I will have $5505 in the EF, plus whatever piddly interest Capitol One 360 puts in there. Since my goal for the year is to have it at $5000, it would be great if I can achieve the higher number.

DH says that there should be big bonuses this December because of the size of the projects being worked on. There will be higher profits to be passed along. The smaller bonus this year was because they had smaller projects last year. He says with the size of the project we should see a bonus like double or triple the one he got after he'd been employed for them by a year. I am hoping that is true, but I won't let myself get my hopes up so high like I did last year.

Plans for bonus money is to set aside $2500 off the top for the medical deductible of 2014 and stick it in our HSA. Anything after that goes into college savings. Same for our Income Tax Refund. Straight into the college fund. These monies will primarily be for DD to go to community college, but DH can use it to when he decides he is ready to go for his B.S. in Electrical Engineering via an online university. The same one he got his A.S. from in Electrical Engineering. He also has an A.S. in Architecture. Or maybe it's an A.A. Is Architecture an art or a science? Because you are drawing...

Hopefully those monies will be large enough to pay for college, or a good portion of it. Hopefully we will have our farm before she starts college. DD will be taking a business class and be running one of our farm businesses, probably the rabbit end, with any profits not used for expenses going into her college fund and a small monthly salary. DS will help run one of the other businesses, likely the egg business, and will draw a small salary from that while the rest goes into his college fund.

I'm going to have to look up small business law and farm law and how hiring your own children works for a small business. Or maybe I'll have DH do it. That's the boring part, plus he had a small business once so he knows where to go for the answers.

Yesterday Was a No Spend Day

April 24th, 2013 at 08:15 am

I pretty much refused to leave the property yesterday, since DD stayed home from school and DS is homeschooled. I have a sinus infection that has been kicking me hard. I have antibiotics but they take a bit to start working. But anyway, not going anywhere ensured a no spend day. Today won't be one. I caved and grabbed a couple of hashbrowns from a fast food drive-thru as it was the only way I was getting breakfast. There was very little time between taking my daughter to school and caring for the life stock. I wanted to do a few things on the computer before my very early appointment with the sleep doctor. This should be fun considering I got zero sleep last night.

I am going to ask sleep doctor to double my sleep meds. I just cannot fall asleep with this darn C-PAP machine on unless I knock myself sidewise with sleeping pills. Right now I have to take 1 zolpidem, 75 mg of amytriptalline, 2 Benadryls and 2 (generic) Excedrin PM's to get to sleep at all. I'd rather just take 2 zolpidem and be down for the count. So hopefully he will agree to that or I am just done with the trying to use the C-PAP at all. My apnea is not that bad, certainly not life-threatening, but the treatment for it is not improving my insomnia at all. I was getting deeper and better sleep when I did sleep before. Now I feel like I'm running on empty all the time instead of just half of the time.

I think I could adapt to one or the other of the masks if I could just fall asleep on my side. I can't fall asleep on my back. I've never been able to, but that is the only way the masks fit on properly. If you try to sleep on your side it pushes partway off and then it doesn't work right. Makes me crazy.

If I can get 2 zolpidem, I think I'd be knocked out before I realized I was falling asleep on my back. And at least it is a cheap medicine. 30 pills costs like $2.45 or something. I wish I could get off all of it, but that's only ever going to happen if I can sleep regularly to begin with.

I will try to take a nap when I get back from the sleep doctor appointment, without the machine. I will sleep until two and go pick up DD and then do homeschool with DS. That's the nice thing about homeschool, if you don't sleep, you can take a nap and do lessons in the evening. DS won't mind. He has a new train layout he's putting together and Mom will be around all day.

Meal Planning for the Week

April 22nd, 2013 at 07:36 pm

Maybe I should switch my menu plan posting to Mondays as I've missed Sunday's the past 3 weeks running now! Anyway, this week is mostly chicken based. I had a couple of whole chickens in the freezer and would like to clear out some of the things that are taking up the most space.

Monday--
Crockpot chicken (saved the broth)
Microwave baked potatoes
Canned green beans
Canned pineapple
(Yes a lazy kind of day!) I froze 4 cups of shredded chicken to use on Friday

Tuesday--
Bananas
TexMex Chicken and Rice
(Recipe is simple. 4 cups cooked rice, 1 large jar of homemade or storebought salsa, 2 cups of shredded chicken. Stir together and heat through in microwave).

Wednesday--
Homemade pizza (pepperoni, ham, onions, bell pepper strips)
Cole slaw

Thursday--
Chicken Noodle Soup (made with saved broth, carrots and celery and leftover chicken)
Cole slaw
Oranges

Friday--
Chicken Enchiladas
Chips and Salsa
Salad

Saturday--
Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
Homemade French Fries
Oranges

Sunday--
Blueberry cornbread muffins
Beef chuck pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli and cauliflower

Oh, Dear

April 20th, 2013 at 06:14 pm

So after my little talk with DH of him showing me places we can't afford when something new comes up on the housing market, today he showed me something that we can afford...

It's further out than I want, it's painted an ugly color (dark brown with lemon yellow trim) and has awful panelling in the living room and bonus room, and slightly better panelling in a bedroom. But it is over 1700 square feet, has a wood stove, a propane stove, and electric, so you can choose what you want to heat with.

But...but it has a huge barn, a huge shop, a huge garage, a green house, cold frames, mature fruit trees, a garden, a large pond (as in swimming hole size, not something you make from the big box store, you can take a row boat out on it) and it is 20 acres. Half wooded, half pasture. And the land is beautiful. Utterly gorgeous. It's idyllic. I can't think of anything more I want in the land. And the property tax is under $2000 a year. Asking price? $305,000.

Gah.

As DH says, a house is a house. We can paint. We can take off the panelling. We can find a pretty house anywhere. We can't find pretty land anywhere.

Maybe I just need him to stop showing me anything for a while.

The remodelers are supposed to be done today, but they haven't called to say so yet. Same old, same old, I suppose.

Brief Update

April 19th, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I added $8.24 to the coin jar...which was the change from our takeaway dinner tonight from the Polynesian place. I just didn't feel like cooking today. No one else did either. Most of what we got were stir-fries and egg fried rice. Lots of leftovers so we'll get several meals out of it. Trying to keep the eating out to once a week. I have a cold that keeps making me think it is going away and then it comes back a day or so later in full force.

Today was payday. I'll try to update on that tomorrow.

EF and Rabbit Updates

April 18th, 2013 at 07:43 pm



The kits are 9 weeks old. Haven't they grown? They are doing very well.

The $10 weekly auto transfer to the Emergency Fund went in today, bringing the EF to $3414.75. I still need to come up with $40.25 to hit my April goal of $3455. I have $20 in the coin jar and will have one more auto transfer this month of $10, so really that is just coming up with $10.25. I am almost tempted to change my goal to $3500, but it's already going to be at $200 saved this month. And sometimes I stack the deck against myself in trying to be too ambitious. It doesn't do me any good if I have to then turn around and take the money back out of the EF.

There isn't much else going on here. I'm reading Ashen Winter, which is the sequel to Ashfall, a near future story of the aftermath of the Yellowstone volcano exploding. It's got a lot more action in it than the first one did. I liked the first one a lot, but this one is more of a nail biter page turner. I always like it when the sequel is better than the original because it is so rare. Of course the final book in the trilogy won't be out until 2014 sometime. Ugh.

Oh, well. After I finish this one it's back to reading about rabbits and worm bins, etc. Then maybe I'll start educating myself on sheep, goats and pigs. Not that I have any intention of raising those any time soon, still being in the city, but the more I know, the more educated a decision I'll be able to make in the future.

We did a major clean out of the rabbit shed today. We filled two of the empty 40 and 50 pound feed sacks with rabbit manure. The last time we did the super duper major clean out, we only filled one feed sack with manure. That is how much they have grown. The garden is going to love it if it ever stops raining again long enough to spread it. I am so glad you don't have to compost rabbit manure before using it. Makes the whole process that much easier.

I think we will end up having to either give it away or sell it. There is only so much garden to absorb it. I've seen it selling for about $15 for a 50 pound feed sack's worth on Craigslist. I think I'm more in the $5 zone. Mostly because I will just want it hauled away.

Remodel is Almost Done

April 18th, 2013 at 12:48 am

Okay, I know I keep saying I will believe it when I see it, but so far the remodelers have only given vague end times. Months, not weeks. Well, today they gave us a date. They think they will finish on April 20th. Once they are done we can make the appointment to have the new carpeting put down. The other flooring is already in, but we are carpeting the bedrooms and the living room. I wasn't originally sure about that choice, but because the floors get so very cold in the winter out there, we decided it would be the better option.

So I guess maybe it's time for me to start holding my breath. As soon as the carpet goes in we can put it on the market. One step closer. I just hope it sells fast and for a reasonable amount of money.

Some new farms have come on the market recently, anywhere between two and six acres and some of them are quite good deals. Also there is one house on six acres that is mostly wooded land, which I normally wouldn't look twice at, but it is selling for $164,900, which means we could afford to clear some land and build a rabbit shed, a chicken coop, and a pole barn.

DH made me look at a couple of farms that we cannot possibly afford, just because they were pretty. Ten acres and over 5000 square feet of living space. Oh, they were gorgeous homes. One was actually a retreat (like for businesses, had a couple of conference areas and everything). That one was $1,345,000! It was a working farm and a business, but wow. Pricey. The other was $896,000. It was so beautiful and it had the kitchen of my dreams.

But no way. We will not spend more than $375,000 for for five acres and I much prefer something under $300,000. Well, I prefer under $250,000 but I have to be reasonable. I told DH to stop showing me things I could never have. Not that I actually want that much living space anyway. The maintenance would be ridiculous. Not to mention the taxes.

The best part of the ones we found though were that they were in a different school district, so DS could have a fresh start going back to public school. I'd like him to go for 8th grade, but I flat out will not homeschool for high school. There would be no chance of the child who assaulted him being in school with him, nor the other bully that kept telling all the other kids that he was lying about his food allergies to get attention. Of course his new school won't be bully free, but to at least not start out as a victim would be nice.

Still, our house has to sell before we can even think about buying, so no counting our chickens before they are hatched. But I am more hopeful now than I have been in a long time, that we will actually finally be able to put it on the market soon.