<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: November, 2014
 

Archive for November, 2014

Menu Planning for the Week

November 30th, 2014 at 02:57 pm

Monday:
Fish and Chips
Coleslaw

Tuesday:
Steak
Fried potatoes
Green beans

Wednesday:
Rabbit enchiladas
Spanish rice

Thursday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic bread
Salad

Friday:
Meatball sandwiches
Coleslaw

Saturday:
Teriyaki and Barbecue chicken wings
Fried potatoes
Green beans

Sunday:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, ham, bell peppers, and onions

Pinecone

November 29th, 2014 at 07:33 pm

I just cashed out at Pinecone for the first time. I've just been generally lazy about it so have never redeemed points with them. I have done 26 surveys since I started so thus had 7800 points. I will have $78 coming to me shortly. Not bad. It's not as good as GTM was in its heyday, where I cleared $50 every six weeks or so, but it is the best I've found since GTM changed a few years ago.

Emergency Fund Update

November 29th, 2014 at 01:13 pm

With the holiday, I forgot to post the weekly $10 auto deposit.

$9480.39 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
--------------
$9490.39 Ending EF Balance

My Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as my homegrown one. This was the best Thanksgiving food ever and it was so great knowing how I raised and grew almost all of it.

Our feast:



My plate:



Expenses, School Concert, Work News, and T-Day

November 26th, 2014 at 07:00 pm

Yesterday I spent $166.22 to buy my son dress shoes and socks for his concert. I was very irritated that the teacher was insisting on dress shoes when I think that black tennis shoes would have been perfectly fine and definitely indistinguishable from the audience. But not having the proper attire counts against their grades. Ugh.

Unfortunately when your kid has a size 15 foot, you pretty much have to take what they have and you have to go somewhere expensive to even find a shoe size over 13. We went to a men's suit store. It was either that or Red Wings, which is more expensive. They are nice shoes and hopefully he can wear them for a while before outgrowing them. He is only 14 and since his father has a size 16 foot I can't be sure his feet won't still grow. I am sure when he does outgrow them they will be nice enough to recoop the cost a bit on e-bay, since he will only wear them to concerts.

I was also irritated that she required dark socks as well. All of my son's socks are white. The shoe and sock requirement did not come out until Monday. At the beginning of the school year all that it said was required was black pants and a dress shirt for boys and a skirt and blouse or a dress for girls. They have choir robes they wear over that anyway, so not sure why the shirt even matters, but whatever. We had plenty of time for and bought in early October.

If I had known about the shoes we could have bought online and saved some money, but there wasn't time. It was just really irritating to have an unexpected expense. Fortunately my daughter has both black flats and black boots so her footwear was covered.

The concert was okay, but it was very disorganized. The auditorium is too small for the sound system, or else the guy on the sound board just thinks that louder is better. The choirs were very good, except the poor girl who choked during her solo, as were the orchestras.

The jazz band was flat on one song and another song was the worst arrangement of Eleanor Rigby I have ever heard. Their 2nd song was really good, though, and the saxophone and trombone solos were wonderful. The percussion band was so overwhelmed by the loudness of the drums you couldn't hear the xylophones or the triangle at all. The drums seriously did not need a microphone. And the band instructor didn't know how to speak into a microphone, but had plenty to say. I've nicknamed him Mr. Mumbles.

Man, I'm grumpy. I'm still not over my illness. I think being out last night disrupted my routine and screwed with my circadian rhythm because I kept waking up all night last night. Which does not help anything ever.

I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today and so put $10 into the feed money jar. I've also given away 5 dozen eggs this week. 2 to my physical therapist, 2 to the chiropractor and one to my in-laws. Now I am down to just 18 duck eggs and 3.5 dozen chicken eggs. We will be making a couple pound cakes so that will use up a lot.

I found out from DH that he is going to be called back in early, on December 31st. So we have gone from 5 weeks with no pay to just 22 days with no pay. Way, way better, we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all, and I don't think we will need to touch the Christmas bonus either to cover the time off. That takes so much pressure off me right now. And it means I will definitely hit my $10K by the end of the year in the EF! We also don't have to be quite so tight with Christmas, thank goodness.

Tomorrow should be a much better day than today. A nice low-key Thanksgiving with the organic turkey we raised and butchered ourselves, potatoes we raised ourselves, green beans we raised ourselves, and homemade stuffing from homemade bread and homemade pie. It's a very self-sufficient meal and that feels really neat.

Menu Planning for the Week

November 23rd, 2014 at 06:11 pm

Monday:
Rabbit enchiladas
Cole slaw

Tuesday:
Roast chicken
Baked potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower

Wednesday:
Baked potato soup
Pull apart cheesy bread

Thursday:
Turkey
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green Beans
Stuffing
Chocolate cream pie

Friday:
Leftovers

Saturday:
Homemade pizza

Sunday:
Rabbit stew
Green beans

Trying to Figure Out Christmas and Some Rabbitry Stuff

November 23rd, 2014 at 02:25 pm

Now that I know that the 4 to 5 weeks without pay is taken care of, I need to turn my thoughts to Christmas and figuring out what I'm going to do about it. I've already told the kids we have a lower limit this year on how much we are spending. Usually we spend about $150 per kid, but this year it is $100. I'm pretty sure it'll just be videogames, that's usually all they want, though I may get the daughter some jewelry or something off etsy.

I know that I want a new breadmaker and a new purse, but the purse may wait until my birthday in February. If I can repair my old purse one more time, I think I can make it that long. I want season 7 of The Big Bang Theory, but I'm pretty sure my in-laws will get me that. Otherwise there is nothing else I really want or need, except a couple of metal dropping pans for two of the rabbit cages and that isn't really a Christmas present sort of thing.

I don't now what my husband wants. He usually takes care of himself, though.

MIL collects carousel horses and FIL collects nutcrackers so I usually try to find them some unique ones on etsy. Last year I found a stamped tin carousel music box and a steampunk nutcracker that were so cool.

I don't know if DH has talked to his sister about not exchanging gifts this year or not, but eldest niece there has aged out anyway. We stop giving gifts after high school. So that leaves youngest niece and SIL if we do need to give gifts. J is pretty easy to shop for. SIL we usually just give a gift card, but it's not going to be near as high as the last 2 years this year. We usually give her $200 on a Target since she is below the poverty level, and that way she can buy stuff for household use for a while. She's good at making it last a few months. But we can't afford to help her out like that this year.

We don't exchange gifts on my side of the family. My sisters and I quit years ago, and my mother quit for anyone not a grandkid or great grandkid about 4 years ago. So my side is easy.

I am trying to distract myself today. We lost Sienna last night, our nicest red doe rabbit. She broke her back. That is very easy for a rabbit to do if they get too hyper and jump around a lot. She was pretty hyper having her cage to herself again after weaning the kits. It was so sad and like a punch in the gut to go out there and see her like that. I will really miss her.

Overtime Approved

November 23rd, 2014 at 01:17 am

DH finally got the last signature on the over time signed off, so he will get 6 days extra. That should net $3688.

$3688 OT Amount
+2447 Amount Saved
+_500 Amount I should be able to save this pay cycle
-----------
$6635

Monthly expenses come to $6958.75, so I will have a shortage of $323.75. I think I might be able to squeak out more than the $500 listed above. I might be able to squeak out $750, bringing the shortfall to $73.75, but even if I can't, that money can come from the Christmas bonus which should be around $3900 if it is what it has been for the past 2 years.

That means at least $2000 can go to the 401K then. $1000 can go for starting DH's bachelors program, we'll take $150 to have a special dinner out for all four of us at a steak house, make up any shortfall for Dec/Jan loss of paycheck, and then the rest can go into the Emergency Fund, getting me my $10K by the end of the year.

We won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all assuming the bonus comes through. And if it doesn't, then we'll only need to touch it by a small amount and it will still be over $9K, unless I can find some way of scraping up the extra. And sometimes I can. Maybe I will have enough when I cash out at Pinecone.

I feel like I can relax now. Not too much, I still have to stay on top of things, but I'm not all wound up in knots worrying about losing a good chunk of the EF now. We definitely won't be eating out any time soon and I'll have to pay even closer attention to the food budget and eating out of our food storage, but now that I know we can do it without likely touching the EF, it is my goal.

Things and Other Things

November 22nd, 2014 at 02:26 pm

I took 3 surveys from Pinecone this morning. I am not sure if they just really like me right now or if it is a holiday thing where they are trying to get stuff done before Thanksgiving when people will be too busy to take surveys.

I haven't cashed in at all since I started doing Pinecone. I just figured I'd have them send me a check when it got big enough to be worth bothering with. After I get the notification that these 3 are in my account I will cash out. Not sure how much I have, but I've been doing surveys at least once a week for the last several months. I just don't feel like looking it up. I'll find that out when I go to cash out.

I am making rabbit stock today from all 8 of the ribcages from the rabbits we butchered last week. I should end up with about 3 cups of rabbit meat to use in meals this week (probably enchiladas) once I pick off the bones and 6 to 8 quarts of stock to can. The chickens and ducks will get the used up vegetables.

I may make up soup base instead of just stock. To do that I half fill the jars with diced carrots, celery, potatoes, and rabbit meat and fill the rest of with the stock. Then when I want soup I just bring it to a boil and add noodles to cook. I'm not sure if I have enough extra energy to do that, though. I am feeling better, but am still sick, though it is becoming more of a functional sick.

I need to remember to take the turkey out of the freezer tomorrow for Thanksgiving. And to weigh it so we know how heavy it is for cooking time. We didn't weigh it when we butchered it and DH forgot to weigh it when he bagged it up for the freezer. I think it is about ten pounds, but we need to know for sure.

I also need to bake a couple of loaves of bread for making stuffing on Tuesday. I need to pick through the potatoes and make sure there are enough that haven't sprouted for that day, too. I need to make sure I have the right poultry seasoning on hand, one that actually has sage in it. We have plenty of butter on hand.

I need to find what I did with my recipe for making chocolate pudding so I can make a chocolate cream pie. I need to buy heavy cream to make whipping cream. I already have the safe brand of graham crackers for making the crust. I will probably make the pie on Wednesday and do the cream last minute on Thursday.

Our menu is pretty simple for the day. Roast turkey rubbed with butter and poultry seasoning, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, simple bread stuffing, and pie. Since it is just me, the kids, and my mother, that is all we want. We don't like cranberry sauce or yams. My son is the only one who likes pumpkin pie, but he is fine to wait until Christmas for that.

This will be the first time in 4 years (I think) that DH has not been home for Thanksgiving. I know for the past 3 years we have gone to his parents house. I didn't want to go this year without him. Anyway, I always end up doing most of the cooking when I go, so this year I am staying home and my mom will help with the cooking. Since I still don't feel great, I don't want to put myself through the drama that my SIL and her eldest daughter always bring to gatherings on that side of the family. When DH is not with me, I just don't have the patience for that. He keeps me centered.

We have decided to finally start contributing to the 401K at the new company. We weren't when we were paying off the credit cards or paying off the mortgage, but we have decided that it was time now to start. DH is going to find out when enrollment is and then as soon as we can, we will start with it. His company does no matching at all. We are going to start with 1% and see how it affects our bottom line. If it is bearable, we will up it to 2%. We will have to see how much our medical is going to go up this year. 1% may be all we can afford.

If he ends up getting enough overtime that we don't have to use the Christmas bonus to get through the time off, and assuming it is the same amount as last year, I'd like to put half of it into the 401K. That we can do regardless of an enrollment period. The rest of it would be split between starting DH on his Bachelor's program and the Emergency Fund. But who knows on the overtime. DH is still trying to chase down the final signature. His company can be very disorganized at times.

I got some swag from my credit union. A wall calendar, a purse calendar, and a very, very nice pen. I do like free stuff that I can actually use.

That Worked Out Well for the EF

November 21st, 2014 at 02:22 pm

I just got the mail and there was a letter in it from the Imaging Center. I was sure it was another bill, but couldn't figure out from what, since I've already paid for both my MRI and my daughter's CAT scan from her skull fracture. Turns out it was a refund check. When I got my MRI, I had to pay $125 up front, even though we don't have a co-pay. Well, my insurance covered more than they thought it would, so the $125 led to an overpayment.

The amount of the check is $35.73. I also had enough quarters in my coin jar for a roll, so rolled those, and I have 2 ones in there, so I am going to go make a deposit into the Emergency Fund with this money.

$9432.66 Beginning Balance
___35.73 Refund
___12.00 Coin Jar
----------------
$9480.39 Ending Balance

That leaves me with just $519.61 to go to hit my $10K goal.

There is a possibility that DH may be able to get an extra week of work in December. It has been signed off on by all but one person. If he does get that week, we will only have 4 weeks without a paycheck instead of 5. And it might just be enough that between one extra paycheck, what I've saved, and the Christmas bonus (assuming it is what it has been the last 2 years), we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all.

And in a best case scenario, I might even have enough left over to boost the EF all the way to $10K by the end of the year. That would be wonderful, but I am not counting my chickens before they hatch, or in my case not counting my rabbit kits before they reach butcher size.

Emergency Fund Update

November 21st, 2014 at 12:12 pm

$9422.66 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
--------------
$9432.66 Ending Balance

Shaking My Head

November 19th, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Has anyone else noticed that the majority of the articles being posted on the home page are not about finances at all anymore? And that a huge majority of them are just downright...vapid? There used to be some really good articles, stuff that you could actually learn from about saving money or investing or using what you have, etc. I mean, one of the articles is about how sexist the new Barbie book is. Yes, it is, and that's important, but what does it have to do with personal finance?

Or the article about the new word of the year added to the Oxford Dictionary. I don't know. What is being put up is getting ridiculous. Content for content's sake is...well, almost as bad as rolling ads that chase you around the page. I expect better.

/rant

Free Money

November 19th, 2014 at 08:10 am

Every once in a while a charity that I no longer contribute to sends me letters begging for a contribution. I have written to them to ask them to stop sending me these as we do not have the ability to contribute anymore and it is just a waste of their postage. But they continue to send requests and sometimes these things have gifts in them. Usually they are address labels, sometimes note cards, pens, and even Christmas cards. This time it had a dime and a penny taped into it. So my coin jar is up 11 cents.

I really don't understand these places. If they need money so badly why do they waste it sending out goodies and coins. Why don't they just use the money to support their needs? Oh, well, it obviously comes from a fund-raising budget. But I won't feel guilty about these gifts because I have asked them to stop and they've ignored it.