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Archive for February, 2014

Emergency Fund Update, Spending

February 27th, 2014 at 02:56 pm

$8335.09 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Auto Deposit
-----------
$8345.09 New EF Balance

I spent $45.87 for two prescriptions yesterday, an antibiotic and one of my maintenance drugs. I have a UTI and I hate the world. That should probably improve by tomorrow. I did not need this right before we have to drive to Portland and back in two days time.

I am very excited to get our new rabbits, though. And to have 24 hours away from the kids. Even if we will have to stop at every rest area between here and Amity. *sighs*

$5,836.07!

February 25th, 2014 at 11:57 am

This is way more exciting than watching the credit card go down was. And that was exciting. The mortgage hit and the grand total left to pay it off is $5,836.07. It is so close I can taste it. I mean, in an ideal world the house would sell before it is completely paid for, but part of me really wants to pay it off on our own. Not that I'd say no to a good offer if I got it, though!

A Little Splurge

February 22nd, 2014 at 01:16 pm

Yesterday when I was doing my grocery shopping at the food co-op for produce, I still checked out the meat just in case there is something on sale. Yesterday I lucked out and they had a rack of lamb on sale because the sell or freeze by date was about to expire. It was $5 off so I ended up paying $19.03 for it. It was 1.44 pounds of local organic lamb. That still worked out to $12.50 a pound, but most conventionally raised rack of lamb imported from Australia is $15 a pound, so I felt I did pretty good.

We only get lamb a few times a year (maybe a total of 15 pounds a year) and rack of lamb maybe once a year. Since we ate dinner early and I knew we'd be having a late night, I had my daughter go ahead and cover it thickly in Herbs de Provence and put it in the crockpot with half a cup of water, cooking it on high for 4 hours. Oh, it came out so tender and delicious, as good as I've ever had it in a fancy restaurant. Actually, better.

The kids and I split it (DH is in Alaska) and had it as a late night (11 p.m.) dinner. It was perfect, just enough to keep going until midnight. I am glad I bought it. It was a little expensive, but it was within the grocery budget to splurge a bit and I don't splurge on much of anything.

Menu Planning for the Next Week

February 21st, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Friday:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, rabbit sausage, onions, and bell pepper strips
Salad

Saturday:
Baked Chicken
Baked potatoes
Green Beans
Bananas

Sunday:
Beef pot roast slow cooked in the crockpot
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Watermelon

Monday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Fried potatoes
Cole slaw
Oranges

Tuesday:
Rabbit stir-fry with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, onions, ginger, garlic, bean sprouts
Apples

Wednesday:
Homemade baked potato soup
Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches on homemade bread
Cole slaw
Apples

Thursday:
Rabbit bacon cheeseburgers on homemade buns
Homemade French fries
Cole slaw
Oranges

Emergency Fund Update and Funds Update

February 21st, 2014 at 12:43 pm

$8235.09 Beginning EF Balance
+_100.00 Amount Added
----------
$8335.09 Ending EF Balance

Funds Update

$400.00 Property Tax Fund
__19.00 Dues Fund
$200.00 Propane Fund
$100.00 Vacation Fund
$100.00 Appliance Fund
$167.00 January Money Fund 2015
$500.00 Moving Fund
$930.00 College Fund
$100.00 Aquaponics Fund
$100.00 Christmas Fund
-------------
2616.00 Total Money in Funds (Excluding EF)

Payday Report

February 21st, 2014 at 12:31 pm

$1000.00 to Mom
__144.00 Water/sewer Old House (2 months)
__600.00 Mortgage Old House
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Emergency Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund (HoA Old House)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
+_100.00 Cash for Week
-------------
$2153.00 Total Money Out

I've also got to pay the kids' allowances for the last two weeks and buy groceries. I don't need to get that much. Milk, potatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, parsley, salmon, cod or snapper depending on what is in, deli meat, turnips, maybe a winter squash, and cabbage. I think I want some pears, too, but it will depend on how they look. I still have some apples and oranges, a couple of bananas, and a very unusual for me out of season imported watermelon, so not doing bad on the fruit front.

I need to pick up some black oil sunflower seeds for sprouting with the barley fodder, for the rabbits and some new chew blocks to hang from their chew toys. I am glad they are refillable. I also need to pick up some locking hardware for the 2 outdoor rabbit hutches that never had it put on and two feed cups. I have plenty of extra water bottles. We will be using the outdoor hutches when we bring the new rabbits home. They will be in quarantine for 4 weeks before I put them in with the other rabbits to make sure they have no illnesses.

I am going to risk breeding Piper with the red buck after he settles in simply because I don't want to wait a month. I want our first batch of spring bunnies by the end of March/beginning of April. I will breed them outside in one of the rabbit tractors (movable pens) to minimize exposure.

Piper is our best doe so she'll be the odd one out. The others I will pair up so I am having two does having litters at the same time. When Kalia is old enough to breed she will be paired with Piper. Then when the two red doe kits grow up I will pair one with Piper and one with Kalia, because end game is to have two unrelated litters growing out at the same time so if someone wants breeding stock that is not related I will always have that option for selling.

Okay, that kind of went off on a tangent.

The Little Business that Could

February 20th, 2014 at 11:50 pm

So I had another person come by tonight to buy a 9 week old rabbit buck kit for $15 as he had a litter of straight does and needs a buck for them when they get old enough. I put a blurb up on a local Facebook group yesterday and 2 hours later had been contacted by this person, and then last night another person made an appointment to come by on Saturday to look at them. The second person is interested in one or two, but was planning to look at some other rabbits, too. I don't know if she will buy or not, but if she does it is another $15 to $30 depending on one or two.

I am also going to look for a group who does raw meat diets for their pets and advertise there.

Between my sale last week of $60, and this coming one of $15, I'll have made $75 in less than a week. If I get 2 more youngsters sold, that will be $105. My New Zealand Reds that I am buying on the 1st will total $95. I like the idea that I could possibly pay for my new rabbits by sales of kits. Ignoring the fact that I am paying my son 1/3 of the rabbit profits because he does a huge amount of work when it comes to them and that I already have the money for the purchase budgeted. Most future money will go to pay for feed.

I also put up an advertisement for a breeding trio for $60 of some really sweet, friendly kits. If they sell, that'll be a nice boost. I ought to put up a thing on the bulletin board at the feed store, too, on Friday when I go to pick up more black oil sunflower seeds.

If I ever end up making enough money to pay for feed completely by selling rabbits, any profits will go into the Aquaponics Fund, followed by the Farm Fund. I'd have to sell at least $260 worth of rabbits every 2 months to pay for feed. That would be $180 for feed minus my son's percentage.

My son wants to start his own egg business when we move so he'll be saving some of his rabbit money for start up costs. I'll buy the brooder and incubator and egg fridge since I will want them for ducks and quail and meat chickens anyway, but he will pay for the laying chicks, feed, bedding, and egg cartons for his own business and I will collect a percentage of his profits because I know I will be helping him and also to cover the cost of constructing their housing if it isn't pre-existing. Probably 1/2 to start and when he's paid his portion drop it down to 20%. And if we don't get much in way of egg sales we can feed excess eggs to the pigs.

Back to the rabbits, I am thinking of selling Lola as well. I would like to have one more litter with her and pick out her biggest doe kit to keep. I haven't made my final decision. She is a good mother, but she is very standoffish, doesn't like to be taken out of her cage, which makes cleaning it difficult, and doesn't want it cleaned when she's in it even to the point of just removing soiled hay is upsetting to her.

Lola also isn't at weight for breed standard, so unless she gains just over half a pound (9 oz) she can't be put on a pedigree. She may do so. I know that Piper and Phoebe put on a little weight in their second year. She only turned one last week, four days after my birthday.

I don't know if she will ever reach breed standard though. She was a runt who we grew out an extra month and then we figured we'd see how she'd do if we grew her up a while longer, and the others were biggest of their litters. 3 months ago she only weighed 9 pounds, so I am hoping this break from having kits and the higher protein feed while I am improving her condition will put that extra bit of weight on her she needs.

We start breeding again the first week of March, but Lola will not be bred until mid-April. That gives her almost two months to gain those nine ounces.

DD is wanting to have a hand in the Aquaponics, in caring for the vegetables and maintaining a vegetable stand. I'm not so sure she wants to make it be her own business, but work more on a percentage basis. Even if she did want it to be her own business, I wouldn't, because it's my baby at this point and when we first start we will be providing the needs for our family first, our animals second, and only selling any surplus. I don't think there will likely be much the first year we do it. We will keep any fish we raise for our own use, too.

I think DH is going to have to build our aquaponics set up though. And the hoop house for it. The one full set up I really wanted to get, but the shipping adds almost $2500 to the cost, which was already pushing $5000. So, no, that is not going to happen. But I have found some pretty simple systems and I think that with a 150 gallon stock tank, a few water tubs, a water pump, an air stone, some plumbing bits, and some crushed rock, we could set up some media beds easy for way less money. Like $600 to $700 for a system that would grow half as much as the $5000 system. Even if I sprang for the special clay pebbles it'd still come in around $1200 or so.

I am looking at blue gill perch or trout for the fish because they tolerate our weather better and it is easier to get fingerlings in this area of those types. I'd like to do a relatively small system to start with maybe four grow beds and then expand from there. No point in building a really big system while we are still living here. Ultimately I'd like a 300 gallon stock tank for the fish and 128 square feet of growing space in the media beds. And then I'd like to build a second system after a year or two of growing. But 64 square feet is a good enough place to start. We might even just start with 32 square feet. We can always add on.

I would like to get a couple of solar panels and marine batteries to run the pump and power any additional lighting needed. I think I can use LED's so it would not take as much power. So that would be an additional expense. I know I can get a marine battery for $130 or so and a solar panel with mounting brackets and all the right bits for around $700.

Another thing I was thinking about was maybe not just growing fish for us, but growing minnows or guppies or something for the ducks we are going to get to eat. I'm not sure though. From what I remember guppies are filthy fish and they might overpower an aquaponics system with their waste. I am still very much in research mode here. But I do want to do something this spring, even if it is just a system with ornamental goldfish in it.

Emergency Fund Update

February 20th, 2014 at 10:07 am

$8225.09 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Auto Deposit Added
------------
$8235.09 Ending EF Balance

I will be glad tomorrow when I can finally send $100 in. I like to see it jump a little more than $10 a week.

Saved at the Pharmacy...Big Time

February 18th, 2014 at 10:17 pm

So I'm sure if you've all been paying attention by now, you know how much I think my insurance company sucks. If not, well, Premera sucks. I mean their website is so bad, that if you try to find a specialist dentist, like an oral surgeon, for, say, a root canal, it lists things like this:

Dentist--urologist
Dentist--breast prosthesis
Dentist--colon and rectal surgeon

Now I have long thought this company has its head up its colon, but I know that's not where I keep my teeth or where any dentist cares to visit. We had this same problem when we are trying to find an orthodontist. *sighs* DH will call them and make them find us an oral surgeon. Because I do think I am still looking at a root canal in the foreseeable future. Which is a whole other story.

Now, I had to fill some prescriptions and one of them goes on the deductible, the Crestor, because if there is one thing Premera is deathly afraid of it is paying for non-generic name brand drugs even if that is what your doctor thinks you should be on. So that makes the drug $185 for 30 pills, or $6.17 a pill. Ugh. But, the Walgreens pharmatech told me they have a discount card for that drug and he whipped it out in the hopes it would give me a reasonable price to pay. You want to know what that reasonable price was? $25! Not $25 off, but $25 total. So I walked out of the pharmacy paying a cool $40 for 3 prescriptions instead of $200.

He also told me that he would mark it in my file because it is an ongoing discount, not just a one time only. Yay! But to also always ask about it because they don't always pay attention to the little notes.

I was a little resentful when we had to switch over to using Walgreens, but today made up for all of it, except losing my long time pharmacist when our little locally owned pharmacy went belly-up.

Also I can use my rewards card at the pharmacy. I haven't figured out what the rewards points are for, but I am racking them up.

I also spent $29.51 on over the counter meds while I was there, too, and got a $2 off coupon for a brand of vitamins I buy.

Getting Ready to Pay Tuition

February 18th, 2014 at 12:46 am

I transferred money from my College/Tuition Fund to my regular checking account at the CU. It was $1170. So that will arrive on Thursday and we can then make the payment and start the process of getting DD enrolled at the online high school. Our choices were pay up front the $1170 or make a down payment of $45 and make monthly payments, but then the total would be $1445.

We will actually get some of the $1170 back when we see how many of her credits transfer. Most of them should as she was halfway through her senior year and was only a week or two into the second semester. Our out of pocket will likely be around $690, so we should get $480 of the payment back. It is just the fastest and easiest way to do things without having to pay interest at some point.

Currently this leaves $930 in the College/Tuition Fund. Fortunately this is the only payment we have to make until she starts college. The whole four year program is covered by the $1170, which is why we will be getting money back. Since all text books are online and everything is graded by computer is an extremely reasonable rate for an accredited school.

Since she plans to go on and do their accredited college program afterwards for her A.S., we can look forward to much more reasonable college costs as well. I believe it is $1040 a semester for college and that includes the texts. After that she would have to transfer to a brick and mortar university, so I don't know how much it will be, if she decides to go on. But we can save meanwhile.

This is going to be interesting. I just want to get her through high school with her mental health intact and have a diploma in her hands within a reasonable amount of time. That is my priority. The rest will happen when it happens.

Doing Some Math and A Tax Question

February 16th, 2014 at 11:55 am

So this morning I figured out that if I pay $680 a month on the mortgage it will be paid off this year. If I pay $2000 out of our income tax refund and pay $690 a month it will be paid off in October. This is assuming I make a payment March 1 as I don't expect to see the tax refund before the end of March.

We could actually pay off the entire mortgage with our tax refund and still have some left over. (Don't judge the big tax refund. We are getting it because of our HSA being maxed out this year.) Except I want to put $2000 into the college/tuition fund as well as pay $2000 on the mortgage. And put a substantial chunk of it into the Aquaponics Fund.

Does anyone know if a portion of high school tuition is deductible like college tuition is? I know we won't be able to deduct it until next year, but it would be good to know now. My daughter will be enrolling in an online high school to finish her senior year and we'll be paying between $690 and $1445 depending on how many credits transfer. I think 17 will transfer but they won't know until they get her transcript.

Also, can you deduct tuition or college expenses for more than one person or is it a set amount per year regardless of how many people in your family are going?

I Have a Banking Question

February 16th, 2014 at 11:36 am

For anyone who has both a Capitol One 360 (formerly ING) savings and checking account. I know that when you make a deposit to savings the funds are not available for ten days. Is this true when you make a deposit to checking as well? Is this true if you transfer between your C1-360 savings into your C1-360 checking account? Is there a required balance in the checking account?

There are a few times a year when it would be easier to transfer saved money to a checking account there from my savings there and then make an online payment, but not if it is going to take longer than the 3 days it takes to send it to my main checking account at the CU.

Emergency Fund Update

February 13th, 2014 at 04:47 pm

$8205.19 Beginning Balance of EF
___10.00 2/6 Auto Deposit
+__10.00 2/13 Auto Deposit
-------------
$8225.19 Ending Balance of EF

Mortgage Hit and Good-bye to Sweetie Belle

February 12th, 2014 at 01:01 pm

The mortgage hit, or rather, I finally got around to checking whether the mortgage hit or not. I didn't send as much in this month, half of what I usually send since we're still recovering from the 4 weeks unpaid time off in January, but it's still going down. New balance is $6406.71.

It has been a difficult week here and we lost another animal, Sweetie Belle, one of our breeding doe rabbits died, so I haven't felt like posting or paying attention to finances until now. She had become one of my favorites and it just hurt to see her go from a thriving, beautiful girl to losing 4 pounds in 3 days, which is a lot for a rabbit that only weighed 10 pounds 6 ounces.

We have to make tough choices in farming and paying $145 just to get in the door at the vets before they even do anything for a $25 rabbit is just not going to happen. And they don't know anything about rabbits. These are dog and cat vets. Farm vets don't see small animals, either. Rabbits get caught in the no nothing zone it seems.

I know what was wrong with her and they couldn't have done anything about it. They could have given her intravenous fluids, but she still would have died. It just would have taken longer. We gave her medicine so she wasn't in discomfort and lots of attention. We gave her some parsley to try to entice her appetite, but even that she only ate a bit of.

I gave her water by syringe several times a day. But I knew what I was facing. You still have to try, though. I kept hoping I was wrong, but post mortem examination showed me she had an intestinal blockage. It happens in rabbits. We've had it once before with a kit.

We buried her in a place where the chickens couldn't dig her up and eat her. Even if we could have taken her to the raptor center for the recovering birds of prey (they won't take them if they have been treated with medicine), we wouldn't have. She was a working part of the farm, but she was also like a pet in that she was well loved in the short 10 months she was with us. She would have been one year old next month.