Home > Archive: January, 2021

Archive for January, 2021

Emergency Fund Update

January 29th, 2021 at 02:44 am

Since we don't owe taxes after all, I moved the $300 I had saved towards that into the Emergency Fund.

$11,251.02 Previous Balance

+__,300.00 Amount Added


$11,551.02 New Balance

$8971.68 to go to hit my goal of $20,522.70, or expenses for six months.

I Think Next Time I'll Just Wait

January 29th, 2021 at 02:30 am

With all of DH's messing around trying to figure out our taxes and freaking me out about owing taxes, once he actually got his forms from work with all the real numbers, we don't owe.  I couldn't figure out how we would have based on our withholdings, but at least we have the answer now.  He was just wrong.  Next time I'm just going to wait and not let him jump the gun and get me all worried for nothing.

We will be getting back around $800 and I'd like to ear mark some of that for the garden.  Not all of it, though.  Mom is getting all weird about the house and talking about splitting it three ways again instead of giving us the house and each sister getting $100K from a mortgage we would take out on it, so we've decided to precede as if we aren't getting the house after all.  I should have known she'd break her word.

It's hers to do what she wants with, even though my sisters have done nothing for her all these years.  She doesn't care about the fairness of that all being on me anymore, but suddenly she's worried about fairness in estate planning.  So I'm not going to build the cinderblock garden I had planned on if I don't get to use it for the rest of my life.  We'll use free pallet wood instead, paint it with linseed oil to protect it from the elements, and line it with black plastic to protect the inside wood from the dirt.  Each wall panel will be easily replaceable in the future as the dirt will hold it's shape if the wood is removed from one side.

I am trying to pray and be pragmatic, but I am getting awfully tired of Mom taking us for granted.

Hopefully we can get the 6 month EF fully funded by the end of the year and start working on a down payment for a house.  I know it'll take a long, long time, but hopefully we will have enough time before my mom dies that we can go into a house purchase and move before that happens without having to rent.

Retirement Update

January 26th, 2021 at 03:21 am

I know it has only been 5 days, but the contributions hit the account today, $660 from us and $110 from work.  The amount the account has gone up by in these 5 days, though, is $1292.69, so $522.69 was just interest.  The new total in the retirement accounts is $44,210.79.  We will likely hit $45K with the next contribution if we make any interest at all in the next two weeks.

Payday Report for 1/22/2021

January 22nd, 2021 at 08:55 pm

I did get my Google/AdSense payment this week so I added that into the regular budget.  10% of that went to the tithe and the rest to the Emergency Fund.  I did buy some garden stuff with the Citi card, but the rest of that was monthly charges for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Sirius Satellite for the van (that includes the up to date GPS information), and Ting (our cell phone service).

I know I'm not meant to be using that card for anything but the subscriptions, but I did.  And I'll be transparent about it, because that is what this blog is about.  The seed catalogues online are selling out already and I didn't want to wait until today.  I'm glad I didn't, or I would have missed out on the onion plant variety I wanted, the thornless blackberry plants, and multiple varieties of seeds that are very hard to get.  As of today they were sold out. I checked.  I have made all of my seed orders now.  I will still have to order the seed potatoes I want, but if I miss out on those I'll just get some locally of a different variety.  The shipping will get you on the seed potatoes, because 25 pounds is heavy to ship, so I probably won't order those until next payday, but on my debit card this time.

$281.47 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

_556.56 Autopays/Citi

__71.99 Life Insurance--DH

__60.46 Life Insruance--Me

_300.00 Taxes Fund

_100.00 Spending Money--Adults

__90.00 Allowances--Kids

_479.25 Emergency Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope


2814.73 Total Money Out

Emergency Fund Update

January 22nd, 2021 at 08:32 pm

Well, it is not as much as I wanted it to be since we have to save for taxes, but I still put a nice little chunk of change into the Emergency Fund this payday.  I had .57 leftover in the checking account from last week, so that is added into what came out of the paycheck as well.  I have started running a $0 based budget, so that every single dollar and cent from the paycheck goes to use.  I have enough of a cushion in checking to not be worried about doing that, plus I am so meticulous about what is spent, so it was time to bite the bullet and just do it.

$10,771.20 Previous Balance

+__,479.82 Amount Added


$11,251.02 New Balance

Dentist and Doctor

January 21st, 2021 at 05:16 am

Today I had a dentist appointment.  I had to have 4 bitewing x-rays, and then had a cleaning and an exam.  Everything looks great, but there might be the start of a chip on one of the pointy bits of the tooth behind the incisor.  So we'll have to watch.  I wear a mouth guard, but I still grind my teeth like crazy.  It mitigates the damage, but doesn't always stop it.  Since there is a $50 deductible for the year, plus we have to pay for a portion of the bitewings, it ended up costing $88.  This comes out of our FSA debit card, which we are free to use up to the full amount for the year and they deduct pre-tax from DH's paycheck every payday through the year.

After that I came straight home and got here about ten minutes before my son's follow up appointment with the doctor.  Right now he is doing a blind study and ADHD meds.  Unfortunately they put them all in dark purple capsules so you can't see through them.  DS is allergic to dyes, so it is affecting him somewhat, regardless of whatever is in the capsule.  He is having to live on dye free Waldryl and we have to monitor him closely for the rest of the study in case he starts to have suicidal thoughts or violent mood swings.  The pills themselves, if he gets put on one, will be white.

It is so weird to see some of the issues arising from his past that had been cured by cutting artificial dyes and artificial sweetners out of his diet.  I think he must be on the placebo this week, though.  There is no increase in focus.  If anything, he is more spacey than usual.  And he's pacing a lot.  At least the placebos and actual drugs are gluten free so he doesn't have to deal with that on top of everything else.

The eat from the pantry challenge is still going great.  Tonight for dinner I made French Onion Chicken.  I haven't made it in a long time, but it is still as amazing as the first time I made it.  And while it is time-consuming, it is simple, and a lot of the wait time I was just on my computer so it went by pretty fast.  It is definitely not a set it and forget it meal.  But it was so yummy and I even dipped my broccoli in the broth, which added so much to it.

I did alter it slightly because I did not have Muenster or Gryere cheese.  I used Jarlsberg, because that is what I had on hand.  I thought I had Gryere and in a normal month I would have just sent DH to get some, but instead I made do.  The Jarlsberg gave it a slightly different, but nice flavor.

I cut up some extra onion while I was at it so there is about one onion's worth of slices in the fridge ready for some recipe later in the week.  I also had to shred the Jarlsberg for this recipe, so I went ahead and did a big brick of parmesan and a big wedge of Romano.  They have been in the fridge for a long time, so it was nice to use what I had and put it in a more accessible form for meals in the upcoming weeks.

We did do a little bit of grocery spending, though.  My husband got my daughter some Simply Cheetos and some Dietz and Watson deli ham and then 2 loaves of bread.  We agreed at the start of the challenge that bread was one of things we were going to buy and that we would allow a couple things for my daugher post surgery, so the ham and the Simply Cheetos were for her.  We've found that the Simply Cheetos quell her nausea.

The ham was just so she could get something easy without help from others if she woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to eat something.  She wakes up when the pain meds wear off and then likes to eat a little something with the pain pills so she is not taking them on an empty stomach.

That came to $24.24 of grocery spending so far this month.  I may end up spending another $25 this month, because we are out of oranges and I started the last head of lettuce and possibly milk.  We still have half a gallon and we don't really drink milk, we just use it in things or on cereal.  I really would like to be able to put $750 in the beef envelope out of a $800 monthly grocery budget.  Even $700 would make me very happy.

Retirement Update

January 20th, 2021 at 03:09 am

Since December 18th our retirement accounts have risen by $1826.64.  So it's been a month.  $880 of that was our contribution and $110 was what work contributed.  It is so nice to have work contributions again.  So $990 was what was put in altogether.  $836.64 was profit.  It will be nice to see it rise much more quickly now, since the $990 will be every payday from now on.

Assuming the stock market doesn't tank tomorrow.  I just want this whole transfer of power thing to be done and over with without any violence so that normal Americans can get back to their lives without worrying whether or not the country will go off its rocker.

And please, no political comments on this post.  I will just delete them.  I don't care who you were for or against and I don't want to hear any negativity about either side.  We are all Americans and the majority of us just want to be a whole country and have a peaceful transition and get on with it.

Misplacing and Finding

January 20th, 2021 at 02:42 am

I didn't get my debit card back in my wallet last week when I made my second seed order.  I noticed it was missing last night when I went to place my third seed order.  It scared me quite a bit at first and then I realized there was no way I had taken it out of the house.  I completely dumped out my purse and went through everything.  It was not there, although I did have $1.37 in change at the bottom that I put in the coin jar.

So I ended up organizing my desk, mostly.  It had gotten ridiculous with papers that needed to be filed, shredded, or recycled.  It's still a little cluttered, but ten times better.  I did not find my debit card on my desk, but I did find a $5 bill and then about a half an hour later a $50 bill.  The $5 was just loose, but the $50 was in an envelope system that was battered and I had replaced, but not thrown out.  It was in the restaurant envelope, if anyone was curious.

I am glad I decided last minute to check all the envelopes.  I was thrilled.  I took that $55 and added it to the Beef Envelope, so there is now $120 in there.  I can't believe I almost threw that $50 away.  If it wasn't for that little voice that said check it, check it, check it, I would have.

Finally I cleaned out underneath my desk.  It wasn't bad, just a few papers that had slipped between the wall and my desk and ended up on the floor.  It was not there, either.  So then I picked up my foot board.  All of my height is in my back so in order to be comfortable in a computer chair, DH made me a two foot long by one foot wide foot board at the right height for me to be comfortable.  And that is where it was.  It had slipped down the back of the desk and wiggled its way under there.

I was so relieved to have found it.  Tomorrow I will work on my desk some more, but tonight I need to shred papers.  I don't want to build up again like I did and have to do a massive shred fest like I did a couple years ago.  I've been generally good at staying on top of that, but when you pull muscles in your back, you don't worry about your paper pile getting larger.  You do the bare minimum until you can function again.  Which is about where I am now.

I am feeling the bug to organize, to clean, and to work out in the garden.  We have had lovely sunny days without ran in the middle 40's.  It would be perfect weather to go out and pull the corn stalks and the dead bean vines and get the posts dug out.  We are totally revamping the garden and everything has to be cleared away so we can build the new beds.  I don't want the growing season to get away from me.  I think it would be good to get outside and move my body and it would be good for DS, as well.  He's feeling quite the large amount of cabin fever right now.  Being outside does help mitigate that.

Stolen Account

January 18th, 2021 at 03:29 am

I had my Hulu account stolen on the 16th, but didn't notice until today when my daughter tried to log in and couldn't.  It turned out someone had hacked my account, changed the email address and the password.  I wish these companies would get it together with their data breaches.  Anyway, I called Hulu and got it straightened out and made a ridiculously strong new password I will never remember, but I have a passwords file so in it went.

After banging my head against the wall for awhile waiting for a reset password link to be sent that was never sent, I decided to search my email and for some reason the last message they sent me was in the spam folder.  Hulu should never go to spam as it is on my white list.  That's how I found out.  It made me wonder if somehow they had gotten into my email as well, so I changed the password on that, too, again with a ridiculous password.

Whoever did it signed us up for Disney Plus and the Espn package, so I got those taken off and we'll get a refund for the $5.01 that had been charged so far.  I don't watch Hulu much, so if it hadn't been for someone else in the family wanting to watch it today, it could have been a long time before I figured it out.

These companies really need to get on top of their cyber security.  As annoying as it is, I think I am going to start changing all passwords quarterly and no more easy to remember ones at all.  Numbers and letters mixed are not enough anymore.  Lots of symbols going in.

I'm glad there was no issue in refunding us.

This and That

January 17th, 2021 at 06:07 am

My daughter came home from the hospital last night.  They got all of the tumor.  We have to wait a week or so for the biopsy results, but it did not appear to be cancerous.  She is doing well, eating soup and Welch's version of Jell-O, which has no artificial dyes in it.  She's a little high on the pain medicine, but that's kind of how she reacts to it.

I started physical therapy on Friday.  They can't do much with me because of how inflammed I am right now, but they started an electrical stimulation thing called a tens machine and did that over the L-4 and L-5 vertabrae on my back.  I think it made a small amount of difference, but it is early days.

The pantry challenge is going well.  We still have not gone to the grocery store yet.  I have only repeated one meal and that was because there were leftovers.  I have salmon and spot prawns thawing in the fridge, both of which my husband and son caught.  DD thinks those will be easy for her to eat.  Her jaw and throat are pretty sore from having a breathing tube in during surgery.  So easy to chew foods are on the agenda for a couple of days.  We have a lot of seafood in the freezer, but it is getting close to the time when it needs to be used up by.

I finally succeeded in finding some dye free, fragrance free shampoo and conditioner.  I am hoping they are good products.  I still can't find a body wash like that that doesn't use coconut oil.  We make do on the castile bar baby soap that is fragrance and dye free, but sometimes you just want a liquid body wash.

If that new stimulus Biden wants passes that will give you money for all dependents not just children, we will be getting quite a lot of money.  DH made a mistake when he was trying to figure out our taxes early.  Turns out we will owe somewhere in the $900 range, not the over $2000 he'd originally thought.

If so, and if this stimulus comes quickly I figure we'll open a spousal IRA for 2020, which may be enough to get rid of that tax bill, and see about getting a new ceiling in the tiny bathroom.  If it doesn't pass or we don't get it, then I guess we will just have to save up to fix it.  First off I will need to price everything, but I think DH and DS can do it themselves.

It should only require two pieces of the moisture resistant drywall and rental of a drywall lifter, and some tape, some mud, and some paint.  We have plastic sheeting to keep paint from dripping onto the floor, tub, sink, mirror, and shelves.  We saved everything our mattresses were wrapped in.

I got my first seed order today from Victory seeds.  I am really excited about starting to plan for the new garden.  We are completely redoing it with cinderblock raised beds that we will use mortar on to make a permanent structure.  The wooden beds just fall apart too quickly and I don't want to throw away anymore money on this.

I have another order coming from Fedco and I have to order a couple more things yet, but not much.  I am just waiting on one of the companies to put up its seeds for the year, which should be any day now.  It's just the type of broccoli and the type of lettuce I want.

Not too much going on here.  I have slowly been working my way through the novel I am reading and am about 80% done.  I can't read like I used to since the concussion a few years ago and because of the floaters in my eyes so I mostly take 3 to 4 weeks to read a large print novel these days.  I set my goal on Goodreads to 12 books read for the year.  I listen to a lot of audio stories and books, though, but I don't count that as actual reading.  I do read quite a bit online, but I have to put the magnification up pretty high.

I've now lost 13.4 pounds, but I gave in and ate gluten today, still within the confines of my diet.  It was breaded cod fish.  We will see how I feel tomorrow.  I don't react like my kids do, but it usually makes me feel bloated.  At least I made it halfway through the month.


Bits and Pieces

January 13th, 2021 at 06:26 am

The Eat from the Pantry Challenge has been going well.  We haven't bought anything at the grocery store since December.  I had a massive I don't know what to cook/I don't want to cook moment tonight because I am just exhausted, but my son stepped up and listed ideas and then helped me do everything but chop the onion to get dinner on the table.  He's been so good about that.  He really wants us to get that grass fed side of beef.  He's also been really encouraging when I want to eat gluten, by talking me out of it.  I'm going to hold out as long as I can before I buy some fresh produce and milk.  The challenge allows for that, just to keep any spending to a minimum.  We still have both.  I'll be baking gluten free bread tomorrow.

I've lost a total of 10.8 pounds since the start of my diet the day after Christmas.  I'm happy with that and I'm past the point of wanting to cheat on my diet.  My diet does allow for gluten, but my personal goal is to stay off it for the month, then possibly the year.  It'll be a step by step, moment by moment journey.  I hope I can hang with the diet for the whole year, even if I don't stay off gluten.  I'm usually pretty gung ho for a while, but then life happens.

I'd like to stay away from eating out this year, too.  I feel better after not having eaten take out at all this year.  I know if we have to travel to Seattle and back for medical reasons there will have to be a meal somewhere, but MIL says she will pay for all travel costs related to DD's medical stuff and that includes food and lodging.  She's also paying the Virginia Mason bill for surgery for us when it comes, too.  So that will be DD's deductible and her out of pocket max and then we won't have to pay for any medical stuff for DD for the rest of the year.

Things are doing better here.  My little grand niece has been home from the hospital for 2 days and is doing a lot better.  Still waiting on the test results, though.  My sister and her husband came for a visit today (they are the grandparents of my grand niece).  I stayed six feet away from both of them and talked for a little while.  They were just dropping off their son, who lives here, and then BIL has a doctor's appointment down this way on Thursday.

DD had her Covid test today and goes in for her liver tumor to be removed on Thursday.  I am not going down, just DH.  They won't let us in to see her at all and the last car trip I had to Seattle put me out of commission for weeks.  It's what led to the pulled muscle.  I can't just sit in the car for several hours and wait until the hotel room is ready.  It hurts too much.  And since I won't drive in Seattle traffic due to the lunatics (seriously, Orange County is sane compared to Seattle drivers), DH it is.  And she is honestly a Daddy's girl.

They are keeping her for 24 hours observation due to the secondary adrenal insufficiency, but it is a laproscopic surgery, unless something makes it not be, in which case it will become a  3 day stay.  I hope it is the former, because her anxiety levels will be very high not seeing one of us for 3 days.  She hasn't had a panic attack in a long time, they were mostly related to cortisol crashes, but this is the sort of thing that might bring one on.

I start physical therapy again on Friday.  I don't want to, because it didn't help last time and I am worse off now, but they won't do an MRI until I've done it.  I know there is something going on with my left hip that is beyond degenerative rheumatoid arthritis.  I think there might be a detached or torn ligament.  So I'll go, I'll do the exercises, and I will hope against hope that they will work.

I am working on getting the kitchen organized and more disability friendly.  We got some new shelves put up and the best part of that is I have the recycle bins at a level where I don't have to bend down to put stuff in them.  They are at belly-height for me, so I can just pull the bin out and put something in it.  Because of the damge to the L-4 and L-5 vertebrae, it was pretty hard to bend to the floor and they were under something so I couldn't just drop them straight down.  DD is pleased with that, too.  These are just our inside bins that we fill and then take out to dump in the bins that go curbside.  We recycle more than anyone else on our block.  We also only put out a garbage can every other week and every other house puts out one every week.  It cuts our bill significantly.

Well, that's it for tonight.

Change of Plans

January 10th, 2021 at 02:38 am

What is that old expression about making plans and then God laughing at them?  Well, my plans for 2021 just got thrown for a loop.  Not completely, and it is something we can cash flow through March for, but it means only putting $195 a month into the Emergency Fund.  For the first time ever we will be owing taxes.

It isn't an exact amount just yet, and won't be until DH gets his W-2, but with the numbers we do have, he estimated we will need to pay $2304 in taxes.  It might vary.  That means saving $768 a month for the next three months.  The only place to take that money from was what we planned to put into the Emergency Fund.

If I want to hit our goal of six month's expenses by the end of the year, that means I will need to save $1018.55 a month from April through December.  What I had budgeted for was $950 a month before all this.  So that is a shortfall of $68.55 a month or $616.95 total.  We might be able to make up for that on 3 paycheck months where medical would not be taken out so the checks are bigger.  There is one in April and one in October this year.  I would know how much it would be by April to know if it was enough in October to make up that difference.  If not, I'll just have to find the money somewhere.

I'm not sure what our tax situation will be for 2021.  We will be almost maxing out our 401K which one would think would lower our taxes by quite a lot.  We only did 5% in 2020 and are doing 15% this year, which is $17,160.  The max is $17,500 for 2021, although since we are over 50 we could do the catch up rate of $19,500.  But we're not, at least not this year.  Once we have our six month's expenses saved, the plan for 2022 is to max out to the catch up rate if we can.

I don't know if they will eliminate that tax cut Trump put in or not, but if they do that will affect everything, too, so until we see what they will do in Congress, it is kind of tilting at windmills to even try to think about taxes for 2021.  Of course, that drives my planner's mind crazy.  I am going forward assuming it will be eliminated, though.

I guess if we do have to pay taxes in 2021, we will probably be fine just doing what we are doing this time, altering the budget to cashflow the taxes.

You know what?  I am so grateful we have no debt.  So, so grateful.  This would have made me so upset a year ago, but now we can just absorb it.  Yes, it makes me annoyed, I don't like change, but not "Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do?" freaked out.  I knew exactly what we could do and how to manage it without even blinking.  That peace of mind, after so many years under the burden of debt, is priceless.

I don't know if I mentioned here about my little grand niece, but she was in the ICU at Children's for a couple of days, then one day out of the ICU and today she got to go home, but she's still not great, just not life-threatening anymore.  There is something wrong with her blood sugar, like she's not absorbing enough sugar or something and it just got so bad because she stopped drinking for a day and got dehydrated.  They had genetic testing done, but won't get that back for a week or so.  Meanwhile they gave my nephew and his wife some sugar paste that absorbs directly into her gums if she won't drink enough juice to keep it up.  They haven't mentioned diabetes at all, so I don't think that is the issue.  Hopefully they will get it figured out soon.

Payday Report for 1-8-2021

January 9th, 2021 at 07:00 am

Okay, so we have the actual numbers with the paycheck today and it was actually a couple hundered less than DH had calculated, but I am still able to make it work.  I have readjusted my 2021 budget template.  This is what went out today:

$271.48 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_300.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_280.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

_115.17 Internet

__65.90 Garbage

_150.00 Car Insurance Fund

_100.00 Gas Money Envelope

_100.00 Spending Money Adults

_100.00 Gift/Christmas Envelope

_100.00 Clothing Envelope

__90.00 Allowances Kids

__101.10 Emergency Fund



That's more that went out than came in, but I had half the  money set aside for the garbage from last month's budget to cover that since we are only charged every two months.

Emergency Fund Update

January 9th, 2021 at 12:04 am

The way I have my monthly budget set up, I can only make a small deposit to the EF on the first payday, but on the second payday I can make a large one.  I'd rather do it the other way around, but the bills have to be paid on certain dates, and this way is just more practical.  I also rolled the coin in my coin jar.  So I guess I start with a whimper and end with a bag as opposed to the other way round in the poem by Yeats.  Also the world's not ending, maybe, so there's that.

$10,658.60 Previous Balance

+__,100.10 Amount Added

+__,_12.50 Rolled Coin Added/


$10,771.20 New Balance


Ting Upgrade

January 7th, 2021 at 08:52 pm

Ting has offered some new cell phone plans and after talking about it a lot we decided to go with the one of them.  The unlimited talk, text, and data.  Right now we pay around $43 to $53 a month for our four phone lines and have data turned off.  The plan we chose is $45 and then each phone has a line fee of $6 a month, so $24.  So our base fee will be $69 plus tax.  We pay about $9 in taxes right now, so I figure it will now be somewhere in the $80 to $90 range.  We had no data before unless we paid an additonal fee.  Plus we get a $60 credit for switching (also for signing up), taken off at a rate of $5 a month for the next 12 months.

We travel so much back and forth to Seattle these days, being able to access online games along the way or to stream a show in the car would be really nice.  It is an unnecessay luxury upgrade, which we can do even on our new budget with 15% being taken out for retirement.  And so worth it to me.  And the bill will be a set charge instead of fluctuating with each bill depending on usage, so I can put it on the debit card instead of the credit card.  I also found out recently I can put Hulu and Netflix on the debit card as well.  Then the credit card will only need to be used for booking hotels.  Not even to pay for them, just to book them.

Also, it is still way cheaper than when we were back on Verizon with four lines paying $144 a month and no data.  Ting has saved us so much money in the last few years, even though we had to buy our own phones.  We just have motorola motos which are awesome, but not hugely expensive if you don't go to the highest end.  My daughter's was $99, for example.

They have to send us new sim cards for our phones, which may take 8 to 10 days, but the upcharge doesn't start until we install them in our phones, so the next bill will be partially one plan and partially the other.  I won't know until March 6th what a full bill on the new plan actually is.

Not meaning to be a commercial, but if anyone is interested in signing up for Ting, I do have a referral link in my sidebar.  If you sign up for it through me, I get a credit to my account and then if you sign anyone up yourself, you'll get a credit to your account.

It does feel a little weird to be increasing one of my monthly expenses, but it is nice that I am the one doing it and not the company.  It has been almost seven months since we have been out of debt, but I still have the mentality that everything should be cut to the bone unless I get sick and then takeout expenses go off the charts.

On the other hand, we do need to do something about the internet bill.  For the number of times it drops, we are paying way too much.  Plus if it takes me an hour to upload a video to youtube so be it.  I don't need to do it in ten minutes or less for that rate.

Interest Income to EF

January 5th, 2021 at 05:30 am

I forgot to add interest income to the last EF update.  Even though my account balances keep going up, my interest income keeps going down.  It's sad.

$10,656.32 Previous Balance

+__,__2.28 Interest Added


$10,658.60 New Balance

Emergency Fund Update and the House

January 4th, 2021 at 07:15 pm

The stimulus is now deposited so I transferred that money to my C1-360 account where I keep the bulk of my EF.  We are officially at three months' expenses.  Haven't been there since the end of 2015.

_$9456.32 Balance Forward

_+1200.00 Amount Added


$10,656.32 New Balance

$10,261.35 is 3 month's expenses so we are $394.97 into the 4 month.  That means I need an additional $3025.47 to hit 4 months.  So that is my next mini-goal, on the way to my next milestone goal which will be $20,522.70 or 6 months.  Of course after that I think I'd like to work towards doubling that to a year's expenses or $41,045.40, just not at such an aggressive rate of spending.

Once we have hit the six month mark, I'd like to bump up the 401K to 17% in 2021 to max it out.  Since we are both over 50 now we can do the catch up max, which is $19,500 in 2021 instead of just $17,500.  And if we manage to do IRA's as well in 2022, we could each max out to $7000, so $14,000 total.  That is still a dream, because who knows what will happen between now and then.  Hopefully the pandemic will just go away and life can return to normal and there will be things like raises again.  It would be really cool, though if we could actually put $33,500 a year towards retirement in 2022.

Mom wants to give us the house for all the years of taking care of her, as long as she gets to live here for the rest of her life, barring the need to go into a nursing home.  With the new medication she is on, she is doing so much better both cognitively and physically, so I think we have a good chance of not ever having to put her into one.

We have to figure out how to do it in such a way that no one is getting hit with a huge tax bill or gift tax.  Still researching that.  I think she can use the unified tax credit to avoid that.  She could put it into a trust with us as the beneficiaries, but I'm not sure if she would lose the senior tax exemption by doing that or not.

Then we would have to decide after she dies whether or not we want to stay here or sell the house and buy or build one that is more handicapped accessible.  If we sell, the house is valued somewhere between $650 and $750K.  I would give $100K each to my sisters in that event, assuming they are both still alive, but at the gift tax amount over however many years it took so they wouldn't have to pay taxes.  Even at the lowest valuation that would still give us $450K to buy a new house in a warmer, lower cost of living area when we retire.

We may need to talk to an estate planner or real estate lawyer to get everything figured out properly.  If we have to do it in a way that puts it in our name now, we need to be able to afford the property taxes at the normal rate, which are $6000 a year, so we'd have to be able to save $500 a month for that.  It is doable, but not until after our EF is where it needs to be.  It's a lot to figure out.

Stimulus is Pending, Retirement is at 15%

January 3rd, 2021 at 12:11 am

I checked my bank account this morning and to what should my wondering eyes appear, but a pending stimulus payment. DH and I got $1200 together.  I'm a little disappointed that they couldn't get their act together and do the $2000, but free money is free money.  That will go into the EF, minus the tithe, and that will put us at a little over three month's expenses.  I plan to continue to save for six month's expenses, which will take to the end of the year or thereabouts.  Eventually I'd like six month's income and not just six month's expenses, but once expenses are met, I'll probably cut the contribution in half so we can save for other things, but still push forward.

We also made sure our retirement account was set to15% for 2021.  DH had done it once but it didn't take.  So we did it again and this time got to an end screen he didn't get to the first time.  I will make sure I check it again before payroll hits.

I did the numbers and between what we will contribute and what work will contribute (2.5%) it'll be a little over $20K this year.  And that doesn't include company stock.  If DH works until 72 and we get the same average rate of return as has been going for the last 20 years with the funds we are in, we should have 5.5 million.  If we max out it'll be a little higher.  If he can only work until 65, we still max out a little over 2 million.  That's assuming no raises that will allow us to max out our 401K.  Gives me hope that our disabled daughter will be well taken care of and that there will be an inheritance for my son, too.

And that's only if we don't put anything into the IRA.  If we can contriubte to it this year that would be amazing, even if it is only a little bit.  But I think if possible we would max out the 401K first, which would be an additional $2000 to what we are putting in.  That might be a big enough stretch on its own.

DH's work is considering doing something where if you work overtime, instead of getting paid overtime, the hours worked can bank for extra paid vacation time or can bank for a quarterly payout, or do half vacation time/half quarterly payout.  Since the project he is working on does not authorize overtime, this would be a way to actually work it, but get a different way of paying out.  Normally it is only offered to salaried employees, not hourly, but he is doing the work of a salaried employee.  I think they are putting it to a vote when everyone comes back from the holidays.

I am all for it.  I'd like extra paid vacation and an extra payout, so we would do 50/50 for the first quarter and see what that looks like.  And of course extra hours worked already means extra sick leave banked, since it is based on that at his work.  While straight OT is better than anything, that just won't be an option this year.  I guess we just have to wait and see how things play out.