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Archive for February, 2016

Safely Through Surgery

February 26th, 2016 at 02:37 pm

My son made it safely through his sinus surgery yesterday morning and has been miserable ever since. His sister volunteered to stay up with him all night to keep him company and keep his pain pills going into him at the proper time, since I didn't really sleep the night before. The packing comes out this morning at 9:30 and then he should be able to come home and get some sleep. And breathe.

We had to pay $1300 up front before the surgery which I did last week. I am not sure where we will be with medical bills afterwards. I know that he is pretty close to meeting his personal deductible now if he hasn't already. Personal deductible is $3000. At least the PD also counts towards the family deductible.

I wish medical care wasn't so ridiculous in this country. It didn't used to be.

Costco and AMEX Rewards to the EF

February 22nd, 2016 at 10:42 pm

I got my Costco rewards check in the mail a couple of weeks ago and my Costco AMEX rewards check in the mail last week. We made it over there today and got those cashed. The first one was $51.75 and the second one was $42.37.

I went ahead and threw the change in the coin jar, rolled up the coins and got all my bills from there as well and made a deposit to the Emergency Fund of $138.50.

I have also decided to stop making the $10 weekly deposits to the Emergency Fund. We are going to be closing that credit union account and while it was a really good tool to save in the beginning when we couldn't put much away, it seems a little redundant now.

So from now on I will do a monthly deposit of $150 instead of a monthly deposit of $100 plus 4 to 5 weekly deposits of $10 depending on how many Thursdays were in a month.

$16,002.00 Starting Balance
+____51.00 Costco Rewards
+____42.00 Costco AMEX Rewards
+____30.00 Coin Jar Cash
+____15.50 Coin Jar Coins
$16,140.50 New Balance

$859.50 to go to hit my second mini-goal of 2016 and $3,859.50 to go to hit my next milestone goal.

P.S. to Laura and PatientSaver, I bought some organic chicken pot stickers at Costco and they also had just vegetable ones. I did not see anything in the ingredients that wasn't vegetarian (it might have even been vegan, but I can't remember if it had eggs or not). Anyway it is Bibigo brand and the chicken ones are fabulous. They beat the Trader Joe's ones hands down. Thought you might like to try them if they have them in your area. They're in the freezer section.

Emergency Fund Update--Goal One Met

February 20th, 2016 at 03:40 am

$15,830.42 Starting Balance
+__,171.58 Deposit Added
$16,002.00 New Balance

First Mini-Goal of 2016 met. $998 to go for second mini-goal. $3998 to go for next milestone goal.

Farm Down Payment Fund Update

February 20th, 2016 at 01:49 am

$40,000.00 Starting Balance
+_1,000.00 Deposit Added
$41,000.00 New Balance

$39K to go.

Insomnia Has Me Tonight so I May as Well Write

February 14th, 2016 at 12:54 pm

It's been a busy past couple of days. I turned 46 on Friday and made a fantastic from scratch two layer yellow cake (in my new Kitchenaid mixer) with milk chocolate ganache frosting. I received a beautiful locket from my daughter and an amethyst pendant on a super flimsy silver chain from my in-laws. I will have to replace the chain if I ever hope to wear it. I don't do delicate chains well at all. My son cleaned out the van with some help from his sister (a lot of help).

Today we spent a couple of hours at a thrift store and I was able to find a couple of greenish/teal/seaglass glass canisters with bail and gasket closures. They actually had 4, but 2 of them were pretty scratched up, but I didn't get those ones. They match the mixer and the new toaster.

DH picked up another pair of jeans (he's losing weight so fast we are buying jeans once a month at this point, hence the thrift stores. He also bought some shirts that were dressier, but short-sleeved.

I got a barely used wallet. I did find two plates in our pattern, but they were marked up and it didn't look like it would come off with scrubbing so I didn't get them. I purchased a nice waterproof winter coat for $20. It was a Lane Bryant so I know it was at least $100 new. The old coat I have is not waterproof. I also picked up a $10 waterproof jacket for my son and it fit him so I gambled well.

DD came with us and bought some stuff with her own money as well. She has an affinity for grandpa style sweaters and teenage boy style hats.

We did a little grocery shopping, but kept it limited. If I hadn't needed toilet paper and quart size freezer bags I wouldn't have gone at all.

We also picked up prescriptions at Walgreens and some OTC meds as well. I have to build my stash of Sudafed back up again. Now that my son is taking Claritin D all the time we have to have one licensed driver get the one, and another get the other. Then DD will get one for the medicine stash. This way we'll have a couple on hand for when we all get sick again and no one feels like driving. I miss the days when you could buy a 90 day supply of Sudafed over the counter. Stupid meth heads ruined that for all of us breathing challenged types.

I hope after DS's surgery he won't have to use the Claritin D anymore. That would be wonderful.

We may be going to look at a couple fixer upper houses tomorrow. They are low priced sold AS IS. The barns are in good condition and are both almost 5 acres each. We'll have to see about the houses. I know it is jumping the gun and all, but we are just looking. We are not buying yet.

$1.14 per Gallon for Gas and Why That Scares Me

February 8th, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I had nearly an empty tank of gas and I had 3 points on my Safeway card, so I went to their gas station and filled up. Usually I have 5 points when I fill up, but I have been spending less on groceries the last month.

It was $1.439 cash price before my points and $1.139 after my points were taken off. I got over 16 gallons and spent only $23.47.

Such low prices are kind of scary for me as it could affect my husband's job. We were okay the last time prices tanked down to 99 cents, but that wasn't at contract renewal time. This is. I don't like it. It makes me worry. I know we would be okay for 18 months if he lost his job, but we'd have to start over again and saving money and we'd be stuck here for a long time.

There is a house I found recently that is $260,000 on 5 acres one county over that might be the one. And it is stick built not manufactured even. We would have enough to make the 20% down payment after our income tax return if I borrowed half of the Emergency Fund. But it is not even something we can dare to do right now. Found another one as well, that might do us well in our own county for $309,000. But again, we can't take the risk until we know. I hate not knowing.

Farm Expenses

February 7th, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Today I spent $135.75 for a dozen flip top water bottles for the rabbits. I bought 3 last week and they are so much easier to clean and fill than the old ones. I don't have to take them off the cages to fill them, I just pop them open and pour the water in.

I can stick my hand all the way in to the bottom to scrub them out, so won't have to have a bunch of wonky shaped bottle brushes that still can't get to every spot. Hygiene is so important with rabbits, or any farm animals, really. Illness can be pretty much nipped in the bud if you can clean frequently.

Plus the top comes off, so if it freezes I can just take it off, dump out the ice, thaw the nozzle in a bucket of hot water for a few minutes, and have it right back on the cage again. That is much easier than having to take all of the bottles in to thaw for the day while switching them out with other bottles.

This will only cover 15 out of my 18 rabbit cages, (only 17 are occupied), but the farm store will get a few more in soon and with them I don't have to pay shipping. I do have to pay tax, but it works out to $1 less per bottle if I buy it there.

They just won't be getting the mass quantities in that I need. And they didn't want to order 2 cases when I'd only have been buying 15. It was stupid. They order a case and split it between their locations. I didn't want to run around getting them all, either. So whatever, I ordered them. I offered to pay up front to get them all in one place, but they "don't do that." If I didn't need that store, I'd so go somewhere else.

Anyway, despite all the rigamarole, I am happy to have them and they should last a good several years. The rabbits that have them are drinking more water, so I think the different nozzle is easier for them to work. And it doesn't drip, so no more sudden lakes in the dropping pans. It's a win-win all around.

Farm Down Payment Fund at the Halfway Mark!

February 6th, 2016 at 01:53 am

$38,500.00 Starting Balance
+_1,500.00 Deposit Added
$40,000.00 New Balance

$40K to go.

Emergency Fund Update

February 6th, 2016 at 01:44 am

$15,803.42 Starting Balance
+__,_20.00 Leftover Spending Money
+__,__2.00 Coin Jar
+__,__5.00 Farm Sales
$15,830.42 New Balance

$169.58 to go.

Farm Sales

February 6th, 2016 at 01:02 am

$5.00 Duck Eggs Sale

$46.00 January Sales
+_5.00 February Sales so Far
$51.00 YTD Farm Sales


February 5th, 2016 at 08:59 am

I am so frustrated with DH's work. We still haven't received his W-2 form. Which, you know, means at this point they're breaking the law. I want to get the taxes done so we can get our refund back. I don't know what the hold up is. It's the only thing we are waiting on. They've been a day late in the past, but never this many days late. I hope it's not lost in the mail.

CT Scan Results and Medical Expenses

February 4th, 2016 at 08:19 pm

My son had his CT scan and the results are that he will definitely be needing surgery. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks. I am waiting for them to call to schedule. I don't know why I couldn't just schedule while we were there. Probably an insurance authorization was required.

I'm always saying can't we just schedule and if the authorization doesn't come through, cancel? They don't want to do that, even though I said if the insurance doesn't come through we will pay for it directly as it has to be done. The kid needs to breathe. But whatever.

I'll have $272.03 in medical bills I'll need to send out tomorrow, plus that is also the payday for the $250 for the monthly chiropractic family plan (which does not count towards our deductible since we bypass insurance and pay it directly). And the $120 for tomorrow's physical therapy, which is also out of pocket. They don't think I need it anymore, but when I don't go, I start having issues walking. I am down to 3 times a month instead of 4, though and hope it will continue to improve to 2 times a month.

I think we'll have met at least $1000 of our deductible soon.

Menu Planning for the Week

February 4th, 2016 at 08:10 pm

I meant to get this up yesterday, but didn't. Here is my menu planning for the next week, starting yesterday. I am mostly planning based off of what is in the freezer or on the canning shelves, or in the case of fruit what I already have in the fridge or freezer. This is keeping my grocery budget well under while we are trying to save extra money for the down payment and to pay our medical bills.

Braided Chili Loaf

Sloppy Hoppies on Leftover Kaiser Rolls
Leftover Coleslaw

BBQ and Teriyaki Honey Rabbit Wings
Leftover Coleslaw
Fried potatoes

Bacon Wrapped Pekin Duck
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Short ribs
Fried potatoes
Leftover green beans

Garlic Herbed Shrimp over Chicken Fried Rice
Onions and Bell Peppers
Canned Nectarines

Beef pot roast
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans

Emergency Fund Update

February 4th, 2016 at 08:01 pm

$15,793.42 Starting Balance
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$15,803.42 New Balance

$196.58 to go.

Dietbet Winnings

February 2nd, 2016 at 08:09 pm

I won my January Jumpstart Kickstarter on dietbet. Payin was $35.00. Payout was $40.68. That's a profit of $5.68, which does not sound like much, but it works out to 14% and where are you going to get that much interest in a month? My husband did likewise, so it's double that. It's too bad for us that more people didn't fail, but I guess it is good luck for them because they lost the weight. I can't really be unhappy that so many people stuck to their guns. I know what the struggle is like.

I also won my first month on my Transformer, but they haven't finalized the winnings yet, and even so, you don't get paid out on the 6 month bet until the end, but you do know your winnings. I consider it like a 6 month CD, at least if you stay on track. But historically I win far more doing the Transformer than the Kickstarter. Hopefully they will finalize soon.

I haven't decided if I'll do another month bet or not. Maybe in March. I've come off the prednisone and had surgery on my toe and I'm not sure what my weight will do because of it. I'd like to wait at least another week or so before I make a decision.

Our Last Debt and Contract

February 1st, 2016 at 09:13 pm

Our only debt right now is the 0% interest loan from my mother for all the medical expenses she helped us cover when I had six surgeries in five years. I call it our Medical Mortgage for those new to the game. It currently sits at $45,000. For the last 10 months we were paying it back at a reduced rate, her idea, not ours, of $500 a month. This allowed us to save $5000 towards our down payment, but of course increased our pay off date.

Well, now we are going back to paying off $1000 per month. Mom needs to put a new roof on the addition of her house this summer and she just had to pay $10,200 so that the heating guys can come and fix her ducts under the house and put down new Visqueen. There were mice nests in most of her registers. Aw, fun. I told her she needs to get a cat (or three). Old houses have mice and this house is old.

While it was nice to put that money in savings, I was never thrilled about it increasing the payoff date. Well, now we are back to a better payoff schedule. We have 45 payments to go. That is 3 years and 10 months of payments, which gives us a payoff date of November of 2019.

She doesn't want it any faster as besides this money, social security is her only income (though she owns the house and cars in full and has no debt). She likes being guaranteed a certain amount each month. Though I may insist when we get closer to the end, just to be done with it.

Assuming all goes well with DH's contract at least, we'll be done with the payoff before 2020 which is good. He has guaranteed work through June. He was supposed to find out in the beginning of March whether or not his company got the new contract, but it has been extended a couple of weeks, so now we might not know until the end of March.

I passionately dislike living in limbo. In the past when his old company lost the contract he was able to slide into place with the new company and will likely be able to do that again. But we don't know. And not knowing drives me crazy.

On the bright side, we have almost $16K in the Emergency Fund and $38,500 in the down payment fund, so if it did take him a while to find a new job if things didn't go as planned, we will be fine. It will set our plans back a lot, but we will be fine.

I did a job loss budget and we could bring our living expenses down to $3000 a month if we had to for 18 months, cutting out physical therapy, cutting our grocery budget in half, cutting out all savings, cutting out the kids allowances, cutting out the chiropractor, but still paying back Mom. We would be going into garden season, so we might even be able to cut our grocery budget by more than half for a while.

I don't like the idea of it, but it is better for me to plan for contingencies so I don't have to panic later on.

DD Payback to Emergency Fund

February 1st, 2016 at 07:48 pm

My daughter used my card to order something off of Amazon. She reimbursed me. I tend to absorb those sorts of things into my payment each month, so any money she pays me back goes into the Emergency Fund. I also had some ones in the coin jar so deposited those, too.

$15,715.42 Starting Balance
+__,_78.00 Deposit
$15793.42 New Balance

$206.58 to go to hit my next mini-goal. I am hoping to do this by the end of February.

Interest to the Emergency Fund

February 1st, 2016 at 04:41 pm

$15,681.94 Starting Balance
+__,_33.48 C1-360 Interest
$15715.42 New Balance

$284.58 to go for my first mini-goal of 2016.