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Archive for June, 2018

Grocery Shopping Tracking

June 30th, 2018 at 08:02 pm

I did my weekly grocery shopping yesterday. The ads were not very good for most things, but Safeway had a great price on bone in, skin on chicken thighs so I stocked up on that, ending up with enough for four meals for four people. I also got a decent deal on round steak. I usually don't buy steak from the store, but we are out of steaks from our beef purchase except for beef heart steaks and I'm working up my courage to cook those. I've never made them before. There's not much left of our half a beef, mostly soup bones, a couple roasts, and some hamburger. I will likely order another half at the end of the summer.

A lot of my shopping was just stocking up. We started off at Costco where I got:

1 case of organic tomato sauce
1 case of organic diced tomatoes
3.15 pounds of carne asada
3 3pks of Kerrygold grassfed butter
1 package of Yangtze pork

I spent $77.01 there. Our next stop was a brief one, at Haggen where I spent $23.36. For that I got:

9 round steaks
1.29 pounds of Ranier cherries (@3.99/lb)

Then we went to Safeway where I spent $43.37 and got:

3 value packs of chicken thighs (a total of 30 thighs)
2 1/2 gallons of organic milk
1 Woman's World Magazine
2.2 pounds of red cherries (@ 1.88/lb)
1 bottle 1000 Island dressing

Altogether I spent $143.74 out of my $200 weekly budget. I might have to buy more milk before Friday, or some bread, and my daughter wants me to pick up some coffee creamer. But I should still have quite a bit left after that. I am debating going back and getting more chicken before the sale is up. I could spend $30 on it and still have money left for bread, milk, and creamer.

I did find a recipe for making bread in the Nuwave oven that I am going to try this week. If it turns out, then maybe I'll stop buying bread again and just go back to making it. My mother's oven is not reliable enough for making bread in the larger oven, and the smaller one is not big enough for the bread to have room to rise, but it still works fine for rolls and pizza.

Payday Report for 6/29/18

June 29th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

It is nice not to have to worry about money quite so hard with all the overtime. I am still being careful to assign every dollar a name, though. Even if that name is just cushion, as I am keeping one in the checking account. If the cushion gets too high, I will throw it at the Monster Mom Loan.

DH and I decided we could do $50 a month on allowances for our own blow money while he is earning so much OT. Starting next month that will be in one lump instead of separated, on the last payday of the month. I also upped the Household envelope to $50 a week instead of $25. I want to replace the bathroom faucet and get a different water filter for the kitchen. I hate our current water filter, it makes the kitchen faucet lower and I can't get some of my taller pots under it now. It'll have to wait until we go through all the cartridges, though.

I do want to get the bathroom faucet replaced ASAP. It is constantly putting out this black crud no matter how much we clean it and it also recently started growing something green under the central cap. Yuck. I've never had a bathroom faucet do this in my life. I was living with the black crud, but the green stuff is freaking me out. My mother picked the cheapest faucet for this bathroom. I'm going to spring for one that is a little more costly and made of chrome. Also it will be the American Standard brand, which I've never had these issues with. We might need to be replacing the showerhead in a couple of months as well.

$200.45 Tithe
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_200.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Kids' Allowances
__50.00 DH and My Allowances
__56.83 DH Life Insurance
__45.30 My Life Insurance
_100.00 Laptop Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
1000.00 Monster Mom Loan
------------
1952.58 Total Money Out

Monster Mom Loan Payoff

June 29th, 2018 at 06:34 pm

I was able to lob $1000 at the Monster Mom Loan this week. DH is working so much overtime that it is really helping us make progress. Not every week will be this much. This just happened to be the week of the normal $500 monthly payment, plus $500 of OT.

$32,900.00 Starting Balance
-_1,000.00 Amount Paid
-----------
$31,900.00 New Balance

Payday Report for 6/22/18

June 22nd, 2018 at 04:11 pm

We still haven't managed to get 100% away from the credit card, so there was a small payment today to bring the balance back to zero. We are getting better at it though. I meant to go into the credit union today to order debit cards for our checking account, but the parking lot was packed and I ended up just going through drive thru, which only had one car in the lane I chose.

I still have trouble standing for long periods of time. Walking is okay, but standing and waiting is very hard on my left knee and hip and my right ankle, so waiting in a long line inside is not appealing. Monday shouldn't be bad since it is not a payday for most of the town like today.

After I did the banking, I went and bought new glasses. I had put $500 into the medical fund and the glasses came to $460.80. I also paid the radiologist from DD's first ER visit. I know MIL said she would pay the medical bills for DD, but I think we can handle this one. That was out of the Medical Fund, not today's paycheck, though. There is now $203.66 left in the Medical Fund.

$200.50 Tithe
_600.00 Monster Mom Loan
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_500.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
__25.00 My Allowance
__25.00 DH's Allowance
__50.00 Animal Feed Envelope
__35.00 DS's Allowance
___5.00 DD's Allowance
_217.38 Citi
_141.37 Radiologist
-------------
1857.88

Monster Mom Loan--Watch it Fall

June 22nd, 2018 at 03:50 pm

$33,500.00 Starting Balance
-__,600.00 Amount Paid
------------
$32,900.00 New Balance

I'm Going to Get Glasses and Tzatziki

June 21st, 2018 at 06:46 pm

The weather broke today and I am very happy. It was a cool 66 degrees F, which is so much better than 88 and 90. It was lightly overcast as well, so I didn't have to wear sunglasses while driving. I really don't like to because I have to wear the kind that go over my glasses, but there are certain times when I absolutely must. I've tried having prescription sunglasses in the past, but it doesn't block the peripheral vision from strong sun and I need that since the retinal tear as I am much more sensitive to sunlight now.

Speaking of glasses I have decided to take some of the overtime money and get new ones. These ones are just giving me such bad headaches. My eye doctor thinks they last people screwed up the prescription. He says there is too much difference between the one previous to it and the new one in the opposite direction it is in now, for the last one to have been done properly. He thinks they must have wrote it down incorrectly.

We had to use that place the last time because it was the only one the insurance we had at the time would pay for. I should have just gone where I wanted and just had the glasses made there. Although I won't have them made there again. Since we don't have vision insurance currently, I will just go where I want to, which is a local shop that is not part of a chain and isn't in a mall or strip mall.

I am figuring that it will cost close to $500 for my prescription, which means about half the amount I had earmarked for debt this week, but hopefully I'll find a more inexpensive set of frames I like and I can come in closer to $400. I thought I'd saved the frames from the previous pair that I really liked, but I can't find them and think they may have accidentally gotten recycled when we did a bunch of old glasses. I did find the pair before that, but those ones are way too small to support my current prescription.

My mother has offered to teach DS to drive. She has the time and doesn't want us to have to pay for a class. So that will work out nicely. At least it will if she doesn't freak him out too much. She was a good teacher back when she taught me, but these days she isn't as fast with the reflexes. Still, if they go out when it isn't a busy time of day it should be fine.

There isn't much going on around here. I made tzatziki today because tomorrow I am going to be trying an Instant Pot recipe for Chicken Shawarma. I will also be making my own pita bread tomorrow. It looks fairly straightforward. I figure if I can master English muffins, hot dog buns, and French bread, pita bread should be a snap.

If you want to see how I made it, it is on my youtube channel here: https://youtu.be/XyvHtZtzuNg

Finally, A Lead

June 20th, 2018 at 11:35 pm

Well, we finally have a lead on what is causing so many problems with DD. Her cortisol levels are extremely low. We've got an ACTH Stim test scheduled for the 29th and tomorrow we get her fitted for Holter Monitor which she will have to wear for 24 hours to check for heartbeat irregularities. She also, for the first time, finally came up as having something wrong with her thyroid, hypothyroidism. It's never tested high or low before, not even on the more specialized tests. The doctor could never believe she didn't have something wrong with it, though, based on all her symptoms. But now at least it registers and eventually she can be treated for it.

She can't start on thyroid medicine yet, though. Not until the results from the ACTH Stim test come back. The doctor did consult with an endocrinologist and he's put her on a medicine that will help with the cortisol levels without messing up the results of the Stim test.

Both tests will be on the current insurance where she has hit her out of pocket max. DH's job recruiting company will honor any deductible that has been met with the new insurance. That is just DD's, but that is where the primary expenses are. My stuff has not been processed through yet so I haven't officially met my deductible. Of course DH and DS have not, either. DS has had one prescription this year and nothing else through the insurance since the wisdom teeth removal was not covered. DH just has his one monthly prescription.

It looks like our costs will be pretty low for DD's surgery. Or rather MIL's costs, since she is paying DD's medical bills.

So we think DD has Addison's disease, but we have to wait on all the test results. This is just based on our research, not the doctor's, but we set him on this path. And it's possible she has Hoshimoto's as well. She does have an undiagnosed auto-immune disease. We've known that for a while based on blood work. She also has granuloma anularae, which is a different autoimmune disease.

It is taking such a long time for them to figure things out, but at least now I feel hopeful they are finally narrowing down what is wrong with her. We've felt for years like no one was taking this seriously. I only hope we have found our answers and if we haven't, that they won't brush it away again.

Decided

June 20th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Well, we've decided to go ahead and put the $5000 into the Emergency Fund until we know what is going to happen with DH's job.

$4117.15 Starting Balance
+5000.00 Amount Added
---------
$9117.15 New Balance

I am hoping to get this to $10,000 by the end of the year.

Windfall

June 18th, 2018 at 02:11 pm

MIL gave us $5000 yesterday. I have a lot of mixed feelings about what to do with this money. The strongest emotion says to stick this right into the Emergency Fund. That would bring it to nearly two months of expenses. It has been very hard having it down so low. And we still don't know what the future holds job wise. His job with this company keeps getting extensions, but we are living 3 months at a time, it seems.

Another part of me feels like we should throw it at debt, we are supposed to be throwing everything there, but DH and I both feel weird about taking money from his mother to throw at the loan to my mother. Yet at the same time, we both want that debt gone. It has been hanging over us too long and prevents us from saving for our future. I also don't know how my mother would feel about taking that money if she found out where it came from, which I have no intention of telling her, but she's nosy and has a way of finding stuff out. We are not telling the kids about this money. So if we do decide to pay it to her we might stretch it out over a few months so it doesn't come in a big lump.

Another thing we could do is open a Roth IRA. Probably a spousal IRA since I have nothing saved for retirement at all and I'd feel better if some was in my name, too. If we were out of debt, that is likely what we would do with the majority of the money she is giving us, open a Roth for both of us. But we aren't. I know once we are out of debt we can really contribute, so it comes back to that. It always comes back to paying off the loan.

There are a few things we could really use the money for, like I need new glasses, and we need new rabbit cages, and DH would like a new laptop or at least to have the money available to get one when his laptop gives up the ghost, which it has been threatening to do for the last year or so. It would also be nice to get DS into a driver's class so he can actually learn how to drive. DH hasn't had the time to teach him and my brain hasn't been in the right place to do it, either.

But I know we can get by with the old cages and that we have started a fund for the laptop. We need to find the time to teach DS to drive even if DH has to do it on the weekends. The glasses I can probably afford to buy outright in another month out of our medical fund, but my eyes are really, really bugging me and my prescription has changed a lot so the temptation there is strong.

So maybe we put $4000 into the EF and I get my glasses, and the rest of that $1000 we put into the laptop fund. Then when we know for sure what the situation is long term with DH's job, maybe we can take the remainder to throw at debt.

I do know that MIL plans to give us another $7000 this year. She's given us $6000 so far. I am not sure when that will happen, though. At that point we will have to figure out what to do with that money all over again.

Maybe with the momentum we make on debt in these next several weeks with all the overtime, it'll hyper focus us on getting the loan gone, or maybe it'll make it easier to keep it in the Emergency Fund.

I really don't know how people manage to stay gazelle intense on debt payoff if they are worried about future employment. We've got to figure it out though, if we ever want to be done with this and save up for a house and contribute to retirement. Right now buying a house again seems so far out of reach.

I'm not sure what we are going to do. I think for now just let it sit in savings until we are more sure of what we should do and have had a chance to discuss it more.

What would you do, not knowing if you had a job past the end of August, but things seemed somewhat promising? Wait until September? That probably makes the most sense.

Amazon Issues and Question

June 17th, 2018 at 03:54 pm

Well, Amazon may have the option of paying directly out of your checking account in theory, but in practice not so much. I ended up having to use the credit card after all. I will pay it off the minute the charge hits the account.

This irritates me immensely. I am going to go in on Monday and ask for a debit card for that checking account. I should be able to use that for any future Amazon purchases and it ought to work like a credit card. At least I hope it will. Has anyone been able to use their debit card on Amazon?

Meal Planning for the Week

June 15th, 2018 at 09:49 pm

We have a variety of fruit right now, strawberries, cherries, oranges, apples, and bananas, so I'm not assigning fruits to any one night. Everyone will take a serving of fruit of their choice with each dinner. The Chicken Alfredo was a new recipe and made in the Instant Pot. We actually had that for dinner tonight, since today is day one. It was a hit. I'm glad because it was super simple.

Day One:
Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

Day Two:
Homemade Pizza with pepperoni, ham, sausage, sweet yellow onions, and bell peppers
Cole slaw

Day Three:
Beef Stew with potatoes, carrots, and celery
Cole slaw

Day Four:
Pork steaks
Fried Potatoes
Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash

Day Five:
Meatloaf
Potatoes and gravy
Broccoli/Caulifower

Day Six:
Shrimp Kabobs
Onion and Bell Pepper Kabobs

Day Seven:
Tacos

Grocery Spending Tracking

June 15th, 2018 at 09:42 pm

I made it to Trader Joe's and to Winco today. I still need to go to Costco tomorrow, but what I need to get there is minimal: toilet paper, butter, eggs, fettucine noodles, and chicken sliders. I still have $91 left in my grocery envelope, some of which is left from last week, and there is $69 in my household envelope. I do need to get one bag of duck feed tomorrow and then next Friday I need to purchase two more.

I spent $71.21 at Trader Joe's and this is what I bought:

2 bottle olive oil spray
3 jars Alfredo pasta sauce
4 cans tuna fish
2 boxes fish nuggets
2 Strawberry Walks into a Bar bars
4 packs uncured beef hot dogs
3 sweet yellow onions
2 bags shredded cabbage
4 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 green)
1 box peanut butter granola bars
1 lb yellow summer squash
1 container of garlic powder

Hot dog prices were up 60 cents a pack.

At Winco I spent $65.15 and I bought:

8 small Zoi greek yogurts
1 bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag shredded medium cheddar cheese
7 Beef Nongshim noodles
6 Chicken Nongshim noodles
1 container shredded Parmesan cheese
1 package hamburger buns
1 container garlic salt
2 cucumbers
1 extra large bag of French fries
1 20 count pack of 1/4 pound hamburger patties
1 box of Zingers

Lots of cheese, but Winco has it $1.01 cheaper than anywhere else and I was low on those ones. We use a lot of cheese here.

Payday Report for 6/15/18

June 15th, 2018 at 01:15 pm

Household is low because I ended up having to order some stuff online on a credit card so used the Citi card for that. I took the amount I ordered out of the household budget because it was for a new dishwasher silverware rack (the old one has holes and things are falling through it) and a pair of XXL large cleaning cloves for DS, whose hands can't fit in any of the offerings available locally.

Then after I did that I went and looked and you can actually pay directly out of your checking account with Amazon. So I entered my information on that. I've disabled one-click check out as well, so that I always have to check to make sure which method of payment is coming up instead of blithely clicking.

I was able to make a small payment on the Monster Mom Loan and I started the Laptop Fund. It feels good to be making some sort of forward progress again instead of just holding on.

$181.48 Tithe
_441.41 Autopays
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__19.00 Household
__37.00 Allowances
_200.00 Medical Fund
_150.00 Gas Money Envelope
__81.32 Car Insurance
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_250.00 Monster Mom Loan
_145.95 Citi (Should be done now, might have something else show up)
------------
1806.16 Total Money Out



Monster Mom Loan

June 15th, 2018 at 12:58 pm

$33,750.00 Starting Balance
-__,250.00 Payment Made
------------
$33,500.00 New Balance

This week was a small payment, but DH will have 15 hours of overtime on next week's paycheck so we will be able to make a $1000 payment and will start seeing some serious progress as the OT continues the next couple of months. After that I think we will be able to manage $750 a week, plus the budgeted $500 each month. I am looking forward to getting the Monster Mom Loan under $30,000.