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Archive for July, 2013

Meal Planning for the Week

July 29th, 2013 at 01:20 pm

I am trying to get my grocery budget back under control again. Menus are based on foods currently in the fridge or freezer. I'd prefer not to go to the store for the rest of the week, except for milk.

Monday:
Teriyaki Pulled Pork in the crockpot
Homemade buns
Cherries
Cole slaw

Tuesday:
Fried chicken
Fried potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Blueberries

Wednesday:
Waffles
Strawberries with whipping cream
Ham

Thursday:
Slow cooked rabbit in the crockpot with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery
Cherries
Cole slaw

Friday:
Bacon cheeseburgers
Homemade French Fries
Leftover broccoli/cauliflower
Blueberries

Saturday:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, ham, yellow onion and bell pepper strips
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Slow cooked beef chuck roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans
Blueberry cornbread muffins


House Update

July 29th, 2013 at 12:06 am

The workers are done with the inside of the house! The new gutters go up next weekend and the storage shed and the play structure get painted. That is supposed to be it. I really, really hope it is. They have spray painters so the painting won't take long at all. Hopefully that means we will be able to get it on the market in 8 days.

Although we might have a honey bee's nest that will have to be taken care of under the house. There are people on craigslist who are beekeepers who remove swarms of honeybees, so they might be able to deal with it. Mom wasn't sure, she just saw some honey bees going into a vent under the house, so she just suspects it. I haven't seen it.

I just want to put it up for sale. And sell it. And go house hunting. There are some nice small farms coming on the market and I'd like to maybe have the opportunity to actually buy one. I've seen three that at least in photos are perfect for our needs, and four or five that will do. I am really anxious to get started on the next phase of our lives, you know?

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

July 26th, 2013 at 10:57 pm

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

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

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

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

Okay, on to the accounting of the paycheck:

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

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

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

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

Bits and Pieces (Mostly Ranting)

July 26th, 2013 at 03:07 am

I added $3.41 to the coin jar.

I paid the dues for the HoA at the old house. I read the enclosed letter and am mightily irked. Because so many people are letting their homes go into foreclosure, they are charging a $299 transfer fee. This really makes me furious with them. I have always paid my dues on time, I have always abided by all of their stupid rules, and when I sell my house I am going to have to pay them $299. It feels punitive and should not be put onto the folks who don't walk away. Also, if people are in foreclosure, it's not like they will have $299 to hand over to the HoA.

It certainly isn't in the CC&R's I signed. Of course the CC&R's I signed were for free use of the golf course, which they sold to a developer a few years later without input from the homeowners, free use of the swimming pool, which they charged special dues for to repair, and then the next year filled in with concrete so no more pool. They are supposed to maintain the greenways, but never did. Certainly not the one next to my house that I mowed weedeated for years every time it got 18 inches tall. They have $85,000 in the road repair fund (again raised with special dues), but almost never fix the potholes. They are whining about the clubhouse roof again, even though it was roofed five years ago, again with special dues.

I think I will send a "demand" letter when we sell asking them to waive the fee because of their failure to do anything out there and it generally being a sucky move on their part for all the reasons given above. Only in grown up speak. Also, it wasn't voted on. And if I have to pay it to avoid a lien then I am seriously considering trying to recoup it in small claims court. I don't think they can enforce something that wasn't in the contract I signed. They haven't put forth new contracts in 15 years. But who knows?

I darn well will never, ever buy a home with an HoA again.

EF Update and SB Thoughts

July 25th, 2013 at 02:14 pm

Today is the auto transfer of $10 to savings. That brings the Emergency Fund to $5481.64.

I haven't been doing much on my Swagbucks the last couple days. Yesterday's goal was ridiculous. Dunno if I'll bother with today's either. Since they changed the Encrave offerings so you have to stay on the page the entire time it's running and can't do two or three things at once I've decided it's too much of a time waster.

Half the time when I do a SB search it tries to download a Trojan (SB is bad for this). Half of the videos don't even load even though I consistently update my flash player. It's getting so it is not worth the hassle. So I'm just passively running SBTV on the side of my page and periodically checking for codes. I'll put in the minimum effort to get my $25 in gift cards each month, but if they are going to make it too hard and too time consuming I may give up on those, too.

Extra Weeks

July 24th, 2013 at 01:03 pm

It is looking like DH may be working some extra weeks in the next month or two. If he can get a total of two full weeks extra, that would be an extra $7200. If I dropped the EF down to $2000, that would pay off the mortgage in the next few months. Then our focus would be rebuilding the EF. If he ends up getting 3 extra weeks total that would be enough to pay it off without touching savings. I'm not sure why I have such a strong urge to pay it off, but I do. It's like the closer we get to it, the more I want it gone. It's not a logical feeling at all. Very much a psychological one.

Possible House Buyer (Maybe)

July 23rd, 2013 at 08:46 pm

So one of my neighbors out at the old house has some family in Michigan who are looking to move to our county. He asked if he could video the outside of the house, the yard, and the inside of the house to send to them. We let him and he sent it to them and they really liked what they saw. Proximity to him is key in their decision.

Of course they want to wait until it is finished, which will likely be another couple of weeks or months considering, but it is possible they will want to buy it. Man, if I could avoid the whole putting it on the market process entirely and not have to worry about realtor commission, that would be wonderful. Mom told him we are wanting $150K and they seemed okay with that. Of course I am only wanting $100K, but if they'll pay $150K...

I am not counting any chickens before they are hatched though. Sometimes it seems like things do work out after not working out for a long time. It would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. If we could actually get $150K we could put down an $80K down payment on a new house, pay for the remodel, and pay off the van.

Part of me is getting anxious about the mortgage and thinking about emptying out savings to pay it down as much as possible. Which is stupid, I know, but the urge is really strong. We could pay off $10,000 by the end of the month if we did. It would leave us with $1300 which I think we could pay off by the end of July if we really, really scrimped, and August for sure. Of course that would leave us with no emergency fund. But it would leave us with no debt but the van loan, too.

And we do have credit cards if a real emergency came up. And I'd slam as much money back into the EF and all of the funds as I could as soon as it was paid off. Having it free and clear when we sold it seems like a better position to be in.

What do you guys think? Should I stay the course and not empty out my savings, or should I go for it and pay off the mortgage ASAP? What really makes sense here? I need some sensible advice.

There Isn't Much Going On

July 20th, 2013 at 06:57 pm

DH's paycycle is weird because of how he works, so we always have one week out of four that doesn't get a paycheck. And during that time it seems that there is nothing financial to do, because we budget accordingly.

Frugal things I've been doing:

1. Getting organized. The kitchen counters are clean, the cupboards are organized, and the floor is swept. The kitchen table is almost clutter free and will be by the end of the day. I found four bottles of ginger and three of garlic. Also plenty of mustard powder for making a new batch.

2. I've been pulling chunks of clover out of the cracked concrete pad where the old garage used to be many years ago. I've been feeding it to the rabbits who love it. They look at me like I am the bringer of all things wonderful when I give them piles of it to eat. So this is the sixth free food I am giving them, including grass, lemon balm, oregano, raspberry leaves, and blackberry leaves from the yard. Actually seventh if you count apple tree twigs.

3. I've sewn up the armpit seams of two shirts and one pair of my son's underwear where the hem was unraveling but was otherwise perfectly serviceable.

4. I've organized my canning supplies. Without a garden this year I am going to go out to an organic U-pick farm and pick 25 pounds of green beans. Not sure when, but sometime soon. Then I will can them. Then I will do it again. That should give me about a year's supply of green beans the way we eat them.

5. I have discovered that we have enough canned food to survive at least 3 weeks if disaster struck, but not near enough water. We have far more food than that in the freezer, but I am assuming if disaster strikes it will mean no electricity. I am going to can some rabbit meat next time we slaughter, because our stores of canned protein are pretty low. We'd have the chicken eggs of course, and if it came to it, the chickens. I'm not foreseeing a disaster, mind you, but neither are a lot of people and they get hit by them. Next payday I am going to buy a couple of cases of bottled water to put under the bed, just to be on the safe side.

That's really about it.

EF Update

July 18th, 2013 at 04:13 pm

Today was the day of the auto deposit of $10 to savings, bringing the new total of the Emergency Fund to $5471.64. $28.36 to go to hit my July goal of $5500.

I also added 58 cents to the coin jar. Baby steps still move you forward.

Emergency Fund Update

July 17th, 2013 at 09:35 am

My homeowner's association sent out the bill for the half year dues. Apparently the fee has been lowered to $100. I had saved $127 for it, so I transferred the extra $27 to the Emergency Fund. The new total in the Emergency Fund is $5461.64. I need to come up with $38.36 to meet my July goal of $5500.

I added $8.78 to the coin jar, which is all the ones and the change DH had in his wallet before he left for Alaska. He dumped it all on my nightstand and I just got around to counting it. Plus I found a quarter and a penny this week.

I had to pay a doctor's bill yesterday, so that was $93.77. I have physical therapy today so that will be $90. I have had a major burger craving this week so I may sneak off after physical therapy and get one. I am debating between doing that and making them for dinner. I am just usually so wiped out after physical therapy I often don't want to cook. But I have been doing so well with not eating out. Hopefully I can resist it.

Oh, yeah, Meal Planning

July 15th, 2013 at 04:32 pm

Seems I'm not the only forgetful one this week! So here is my meal planning for dinners this week.

Monday--
Bacon cheeseburgers
Homemade French fries
Coleslaw
Blackberries

Tuesday--
Roasted whole chicken
Baked potatoes
Blueberries
Broccoli

Wednesday--
Chicken quesadillas
Coleslaw
Blackberries

Thursday--
Homemade pizza (Canadian bacon, pepperoni, yellow onions, bell pepper strips)
Coleslaw
Watermelon

Friday--
Fried rabbit
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Salad
Cherries

Saturday--
Rabbit nuggets
Fried potatoes
Blackberries
Salad

Sunday--
Beef chuck pot roast
Corn on the cob
Broccoli
Watermelon

This is How the Money Goes

July 13th, 2013 at 09:23 pm

I just spent $15 on bread at the grocery store. $15. Albeit for the good stuff, but $15. On bread. A whole wheat loaf, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and hoagie rolls. I could have made all that for $3. And I should have. So, once this bread is gone I am hauling out the bread machine and I am going to start making my own bread, rolls, and buns again.

Because do you know what that extra $12 is? It's a quarter of the month's interest charged on my mortgage. It's an organic four pound chicken. It's two nice ribeye steaks on sale. It's 3 gallons of gasoline. It's a small step towards security in my Emergency Fund. It's two pounds of organic hamburger. It's 30 pounds of organic potatoes. It's nine pounds of organic carrots. It's 8 bunches of Lacinato kale. It's twelve pounds of organic yellow onions. It's a few dollars shy of a bag of rabbit pellets. It's 30 pounds of cabbage. It's two pounds of bing cherries. It's two tank tops on the clearance rack or twelve pairs of socks.

Ring, ring, ring, ring. Hello, LuckyRobin? This is your wake-up call.