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Archive for November, 2013

Emergency Fund Update

November 29th, 2013 at 08:34 pm

I found an error in my savings account, .34 in my favor. Also the weekly auto pay of $10 went through today so was added to the EF.

The new balance of the EF is: $7708.20. I haven't done the payday stuff yet, but will be likely sending a bit more to the EF when I have. I have $11.80 left to hit my monthly goal of $7720.

I added $15.59 to the coin jar today, .25 yesterday and a dime the day before.

Payday Report and Miscellaneous

November 25th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

The weekend was crazy busy so I haven't had a chance to do my payday report from Friday. We went to the ranch on Saturday to pick up our turkey and to purchase about an eight week supply of meat. I wasn't sure when we would make it down that way again. The weather can make it difficult to get to the ranch if it snows or floods. We don't have 4-wheel drive in the van so back country roads can be difficult to navigate.

I will be canning some of the meat we bought. It has been very nice to just be able to crack open a jar of meat and a jar of vegetables when I have felt exhausted or sick and just warm up dinner and have it on the table in 5 or 6 minutes. Or if I think about it in time, just dumping it into the crock pot.

The January Money Fund now sits at $2620.84. Ideally I'd like it at $4000, but I may not have the time to get it there. Fortunately I have bought plenty of meat and have lots of canned veggies, so I won't need to buy much in the way of food in January.

$1000.00 BoA VISA
$1000.00 Loan to Mom
__400.00 Utilities to Mom
__470.00 Ranch Money
__100.00 300 pounds of rabbit feed (cheaper in bulk)
__100.00 Vacation Fund
___72.00 Water/sewer Holding Fund
__600.00 January Money Fund
__100.00 Cash for Week
___40.00 Allowances
___90.00 Physical Therapy
-------------
$3972.00 Money Out

DH ordered a new gasket for our under the fridge freezer. It cost $111, but that sure beats the $1000 or so for a comparable new fridge. It will be easy to replace as it is attached via screws and not adhesive. We really couldn't put it off any longer as the entire compartment is now filled with snow it is so bad.

We did some weatherproofing on the rabbit shed and it has made a huge difference. It was so cold in there before I could see my breath and my feet were going numb before I could finish the chores and the water bottles nearest the windows were freezing. Now none of that is happening. We were able to use supplies on hand so no money was spent on that.

I have physical therapy tomorrow and we will need to pick up a couple of loaves of bread to make stuffing, but otherwise we should not need to spend any more money until after Thanksgiving. We will avoid shopping over the weekend, too. Just not worth the craziness.

DH Tempted Me

November 21st, 2013 at 06:07 pm

DH and I made an agreement when we did this last big Disney trip and paid for his sister and nieces to go, that we wouldn't take another big vacation until 2018 when both kids will have graduated from high school and we are free to go, just the two of us. The plan for 2018 is to go to Hawaii. Meanwhile, we work on all of our other goals.

Well, DH has a friend from work who lives in Hawaii who has invited us to come in May. He has a house on the beach and says all we'd need to bring was about $1000 for incidentals and he would take care of everything else. Wow, nice friend. And we'd be able to fly there free with DH's miles.

But I still can't see doing it right now. We'd have to leave the kids with my mother, who isn't in the best of health right now and we've got all the rabbits and chickens to take care of. Not to mention that May is the time here to start gardening in earnest. Plus DS is being homeschooled.

Yes, it is a tremendous opportunity, but it doesn't fit into any of our plans. DH kind of figured as much, but he still couldn't resist telling me about it. It was nice to dream of getting away for a minute or two, but I've got bigger dreams right now and that is what I want to be focused on, with no more distractions.

Hawaii can wait. It isn't going anywhere. And maybe his friend will still be there then.

Emergency Fund Update

November 21st, 2013 at 09:08 am

$7687.86 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Auto Deposit Added
-----------
$7697.86 Ending Balance

$22.14 to go to hit my November goal of $7720.

$302.14 to go to hit my yearly goal of $8000.

Random Cooking Stuff

November 19th, 2013 at 09:31 pm

Back when we had television service, I used to be addicted to watching cooking shows. I could sit on the couch and lose five hours and all I'd have to show for it is a knit hat or scarf or a few baskets of folded laundry.

I broke that addiction when we got rid of cable and didn't really even think about if for a years. Recently I have discovered little cooking shows on youtube. Fortunately the addictive quality of letting the afternoon disappear is long gone. And when you only have a ten or 15 minute snippet with no commercials you can fit them in just about anywhere. I watch them when doing the bills or trying to hit the daily goal on Swagbucks or folding laundry.

Recently I've come across two that have given me some great recipe ideas and are pretty money-saving. Sicily's post about her crockpot cookbook brought the one to my mind.

The first one is Linda's Pantry and what I really like about it is she does a lot of make ahead freezer crockpot meals. This is where you get all of the main stuff done when you have time, like chopping the meat and browning it, chopping the vegetables, measuring out your spices, adding any stock or sauces. She uses two gallon size baggies, one inside the other, and uses her canning funnel to fill the inner bag, then puts a card with instructions on it between the inside bag and the outside bag. The outside bag is reusable. Then she puts it in the freezer. Often it is for her husband to make when she is away, all he has to do is follow the instructions, dump stuff in the crockpot, and have an easy home cooked meal.

So I am making up lists of the recipes I think we will eat from her videos, but substituting with regular spices. She sells some stuff that she uses and promotes it in each vid, but it's a soft sell. I just ignore that part since we have to be very careful with our spices, herbs, and mixtures due to DS's allergies and my own. They have to be completely clean. Anyway, I am very much enjoying those and think I will save both time and money by making some of these meals up when I feel good to have on hand when I don't.

The other one I have been watching is Our Half Acre Homestead. They do a lot of things with meat and produce they grow themselves. It's more down home and rustic than the other one, but I love it for that quality. She makes simple, easy meals with their home butchered pork, goat, and chickens. She explains things in very simple terms so that even beginner cooks can get the hang of it. And best of all she gives me ideas on what I can do with my own home raised meats. Anything that makes my life easier is welcome.

Meal Planning for the Week

November 18th, 2013 at 01:34 am

Monday:
Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Homemade meatballs (pork/beef)
Cole slaw

Tuesday:
Meatball sandwiches
Canned peaches
Green beans

Wednesday:
Homemade beef stew (carrots, potatoes, green beans)
Homemade fresh bread
Leftover Cole slaw
Oranges

Thursday:
Fried Rabbit
Fried potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Canned pineapple

Friday:
Homemade pizza with homemade sausage, onions, and bell pepper strips
Leftover Cole slaw

Saturday:
Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Leftover broccoli/cauliflower
Homemade apple sauce

Sunday:
Tacos
Bananas

Kindling is Done

November 17th, 2013 at 05:18 pm

Lola had her kits yesterday and Serenity had hers today. We now have 16 more kits and a grand total of 52 rabbits in the rabbitry. We have two newly pregnant does who are due mid-December and then no more breeding until the weather warms up. We lost 2 kits. Lola and Serenity each had 9 and lost 1 each. They were born away from the rest of the litter so couldn't stay warm. Mama rabbits don't sit on their kits, they only cover them with pulled out fur, so they have to huddle together for warmth. We buried them together where the chickens can't get at them. All of the kits have been safely moved to nesting boxes and covered up with fur and hay.

We have plenty of rabbits for our meat needs for the winter, added to the beef and pork we have in the freezer. Now I just need to stock up on some chicken and we should be good until March or so. Although I do want to get some more beef and fish for canning.

We did get a turkey from the ranch. It will be ready for pick up on Saturday. We weren't sure we would get one, but we got on the list soon enough that we did. I am excited for that, because the one we got last year was the best turkey we have ever had.

Today is a no spend day, but tomorrow won't be.

Oh, I took a video of Lola's litter if anyone wants to see:

[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hTadVgJNAA[/url]

You can read more about the last two days of kindling if you want on my farm blog, accessed from my side bar under sites I frequent. It's When Did This Become a Farm?

Funds Update

November 17th, 2013 at 02:31 pm

I am putting a copy of my Funds totals here in case something goes wrong transferring stuff between laptops. This is the first time in my life I've ever had so much money saved up. Almost $14K and it will be over that by month's end.

After our next mortgage payment on Friday we will have more money in the Emergency Fund than we owe on the mortgage. That feels incredible.

$2024.84 January Money Fund
$7687.86 Emergency Fund
___76.00 Dues Fund
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Propane Fund
__300.00 Vacation Fund (Hawaii 2018)
__600.00 Appliance Fund
__300.00 Moving Fund
__900.00 College Fund
_1200.00 Laptop Fund (using to pay off same as cash)
__700.00 Christmas Fund
------------
13988.70 Total in Savings

Payday Report and Rabbit Stuff

November 15th, 2013 at 09:11 pm

I spent just under $60 on take away today. We will get several meals from it. I just know this weekend is going to be a little stressful and I may or may not be up to cooking too much. We have 2 litters due and the temps have dropped to freezing which means an awful lot of checking on the rabbits will be done on Saturday and Sunday to make sure no kits are born on the wire, but are born safely in a nest or at least promptly put into one if they are not. I have been lucky so far in that all of the kindlings so far have resulted in only one kit born on the wire (on Phoebe's first kindling) and I was there within five minutes of it happening so we were able to save it.

I'm not too worried about Lola, but this is Serenity's first litter, so I pretty much will be doing hourly checks for the next two days. Which means a lot of walking and since my physical therapist had a migraine today and I cancelled last week due to illness, I am not in the best shape for that right now. I've had to use the cane twice this week. But it needs to be done and I'm sure the kids will take their turns at it and alert me if I need to go out and take action.

Anyway, today was payday so here is the list of money that went out:

$225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
__19.00 HoA Dues Fund
_200.00 Laptop Fund
__72.56 Internet
__47.52 Phone Old House
__41.94 Garbage
_500.00 BoA VISA
_757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
------------
$2463.84 Total Money Out

Emergency Fund Update and Bonus Thoughts

November 15th, 2013 at 04:19 pm

I deposited the coin jar money into the safety net portion of the Emergency Fund today. It was $43. I also sent $100 to C1-360 to the primary EF.

$7534.86 Beginning EF Balance
___43.00 Coin Jar Money
+_100.00 Monthly Deposit
-------------
$7687.86 Ending EF Balance

That leaves me with $33.14 to come up with this month to meet my November EF goal of $7720. I've got 2 more Thursdays this month, so that will take care of $20 of it, so really only $13.14 to scrape up. That should be easy enough.

I am hoping to have it to $8000 by the end of the year. That's a bit of a stretch, but I think I can do it.

DH found out that bonuses come out on December 20th, so we should get it by the end of December. I have no idea what to expect. The first year he worked for this company the bonus was 10% of yearly income. The 2nd year it was 5% of yearly income, because they only had small projects. DH says they did a lot of big projects this year and big projects usually come with more bonus money.

10% would be fantastic. It would mean putting aside enough to finish funding DD's first year at community college and having enough left over to pay the mortgage off (It's just over $8200), with a tiny chunk to the EF. 5% would still be pretty awesome, meaning having enough to pay for her college and having a small chunk left over to go to the EF.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for 10%, but I will still be happy with anything they give us.

Coin Jar Update

November 15th, 2013 at 08:34 am

Since today is payday, I cleaned out my purse and put all the ones and coins into the coin jar. I add $10.53. I kept back 2 quarters to pay the parking meter. I like to keep at least that much on hand in case I can't find free parking at the library.

Hopefully I will be able to make a deposit today. I can pop over there after physical therapy today if I remember and don't feel like a bruised puppy afterwards. Physical therapy will be $90, assuming she doesn't cancel on me this week due to illness.

Long Day with Good Food at the End

November 13th, 2013 at 07:02 pm

I am glad I didn't get around to making the baked potato soup last night. I was definitely in need of comfort food tonight. And it turned out beautifully:



I had to make the roux twice, though. The first time I wasn't paying attention and didn't even look at the flour DD had brought up, just dumped it in. Well, there was a dead miller moth in it. Fortunately that was the end of a bag of flour. Unfortunately, I ,had to throw out 2/3 of a cup of butter. Ouch. With butter so expensive these days, losing over a stick of it does not feel good.

How is it possible to have such a long day on such a short day? Well, I suppose having to deal with DD's evil teacher is probably why it felt so long. I totally see what DD means. The woman is a master manipulator and it was one of the first things I called her on. Let's just say woman got schooled, hard. And we got the assignments that DD should have got in the first place.

I have to say the counselor and person from admin were top rate. Neither could understand why DD hadn't been given her assignments in the first place. Teacher really was falling all over herself. The VP wasn't there. No reason given, she was supposed to be. Oh, well. Evil teacher is now on notice that her crap won't fly with us. I do wish DH could have been there. I think his physical stature alone would have cowed her even if he is the kindest, most gentle soul, but I managed all on my own at my little 5 foot 5 inches to put her in her place. It did take a lot out of me though.

Today was a no spend day, but tomorrow won't be. I really should go to the store tonight, but I am just too tired. I know I will regret not having caffeine in the morning, but I will stop at the store after taking DD to school.

Meal Planning for the Week

November 12th, 2013 at 12:26 am

I am getting really bad about posting my menu plans. I am still cooking meals, I just keep forgetting to post them ahead of time. I find it helpful when I do, and it helps me stick to my budget, it's just been super crazy around here lately. I got 8 quarts of rabbit stock canned today and made 2 quarts of rabbit vegetable noodle soup for dinner. It was so good. It blows chicken soup right out of the water. And see how good it looks:



Continuing on the soup theme:

Tuesday:
Baked potato soup
Homemade bread
Oranges

Wednesday:
Beef stew (beef, carrots, potatoes, green beans, gravy)
Pears

Thursday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Homemade garlic bread
Cole slaw

Friday:
Homemade pizza (sausage, onions, bell peppers)
Oranges


Saturday:
Roasted chicken
Baked potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Drop biscuits with choice of homemade jams

Sunday:
Chicken quesadillas
Chips and homemade salsa
Salad

Credit Score Went Up

November 12th, 2013 at 12:16 am

So my credit score went up at Experian. It is now 799. Boy it is hard to break 800. I think this is in response to the car loan dropping below a certain amount and the mortgage going under $10K in the last couple of months. Everything is in great shape on there, nothing that shouldn't be is on there and everything that should be is. This all bodes very well for when we buy our next house. That is assuming the old one sells.

Some Frugalish Things

November 10th, 2013 at 10:17 pm

So my mom's handyman's wife does alterations and I got her to replace the zipper on my jacket. It cost $20. I thought it was a great deal, because it included the zipper, which was 27 inches long. And it's a better zipper than the original. My five-year-old jacket now has many more years of life left in it. I just need to be careful when I am holding the young rabbits. They are what chewed through the zipper in the first place. And then the tab fell off.

I could have gone through the rigamarole of shipping it back to Land's End and making them replace the jacket, but I kind of felt like a rabbit chewing through the zipper wasn't a failure on their part. Plus they would have just pulled the, "Well, it's not exactly the same as the newly designed squall jackets, so it doesn't count as something we will replace for free." I figured it would be more likely I'd be out the shipping for sending it back and then have to pay for them to send it back to me when they denied it, so was a better deal just to have it fixed.

She did a great job. I can't even tell it is an aftermarket change. $20 is a good deal for me, especially since that jacket now costs $139. It was like $75 or something when I first got it. There might have been a coupon involved.

I also sewed up a hole in my sweatpants seam.

My daughter needed a new bag for school. Her backpack basically fell apart on Friday. So we found one on clearance for $15, originally $30 at Kmart. They also had canning jars for $10, so I picked up a case of quart jars. I wanted to buy a couple of pairs of sweat pants, but they didn't have any women's. They had men's, teen's, boy's, and girl's, but all they had in women's was light weight knit pants. Yeah, cause that is what I want to wear on these 40 degree F mornings.

After that we walked over to the Good Will next door and purchased some of those bowls with handles that I think were originally used for those really big fancy coffees, but we use them as soup bowls or for really big cups of tea.

I looked at both places for a 12 quart stockpot because I would like a second one, but Good Will did not have more than an 8 quart stockpot and the only one they had at Kmart was an ugly, light blue, mottled ceramic one by Paula Deen. Right size, but not in my kitchen. I prefer stainless steel anyway. I may have to put it on my Christmas list for the in-laws.

I can muddle through with one for a while longer, it would just be nice to have two pots of stock going at once so I can pressure can the results all at once instead of in batches. I mean the big canner can do 14 quarts of stock at once, so I'd like to take advantage of that and save the time. Actually, come to think of it, I could do my second batch of stock in the smaller canner. It's got the capacity to cook 12 quarts of stock, even if it can only can 9.

I think I will have to order my sweats from a catalogue. And maybe some warmer PJ's while I'm at it. Do they make king size flannel sheets? I can never find them.