Home > Archive: February, 2022
Archive for February, 2022
February 28th, 2022 at 11:03 pm
Our IRA is back on the verge of $13K when it had fallen to nearly $12K and our 401k is on the verge of $59K, which it has never reached before. The new total for retirement is $71,759.98, raising it by $600.21. It still has lost so much this year that that doesn't make up for it by a long shot, but at least it hasn't eaten the whole of the last deposit made. That changes net worth to $129,885.47 on the verge of $130,000. If all goes well for the month of March, maybe things will continue in this fashion and we might actually see a positive rate of return instead of this monkey business.
Washington state is officially lifting the indoor mask mandate on March 12th. The outdoor in large groups mandate lifted on the 18th. DH went to a restaurant for a work lunch meeting and no one, including the employees were wearing masks. I don't know if the grocery stores will jump the gun like that, but it is nice to know that I will soon be able to do the grocery shopping again. Masking messes with my asthma severely. Hopefully I will be well by March 12th!
Of course, I don't think for one minute that they won't try to pull the rug out from under that, but if it does happen, I will be so happy.
February 28th, 2022 at 05:33 am
I got my seed starting kits in the mail, so I can start planting seeds this week. I only ordered a small amount of seeds this year, because I ordered a lot last year. I'm trying a few new things, a Korean pepper, a little finger eggplant, and dill. It always sucks that when the cucumbers are ready, but the dill isn't, or vice versa. And it seems like you can only buy the fresh dill (not the little packets), the cucumbers are mostly done. So I will grow my own. I got the kind with the big bouquets.
Mom wants us to take down the deck in the front of the house. It's not made of wood, but some kind of imitation decking. We are going to use it to build a long raised bed, probably 16 feet by 4 feet or 2 8 x 4's. But I want it 3 feet tall, too, and I want to put my strawberries in it, so I can then easily pick while standing. The strawberries are also in a place that gets so much sun they get scorched and no amount of water helps them, they barely stay alive. Plus it hurts my back too much to stay hunched over to pick as many berries as we get, for as many days as we get them.
I'll have to use a lot of dirt, but in the long run it is better for me to be able to continue gardening. I'll hugelkultur a bit and add all the trimmings to the bottom, like the roses and the raspberry and blackberry canes that need to be trimmed. Also the apple tree and blueberry bushes need to be trimmed. And we still have a bunch of compost in the back that can go in.
I'm not sure if we will have enough deck to build a second raised bed or not. Maybe a smaller one. But we can use the balustrades to build the arbor that will make the garden gate. I think we have enough to do two of them, so one into that main garden and one into the smaller garden, and then fence it up. I feel good about being able to recycle so much. There will be some trellises that covered the underside of the deck. We might use that on the outside of the raised bed, just to pretty it up. When we can get away with reusing so much of what we already have, and only adding the cost of screws it is a major win. It might not even take the cost of screws if the deck was put down with screws. If it was put down with nails, that's another story.
We'll be taking down the rabbit shed sometime this summer. We should be able to reuse the plywood on the end walls and the roof, but the floor is not useable at all. We'll have to see on the back wall after a lot of pressure washing. But the 2 x 4's in the walls and ceilings look good and there will be either 2 x 4's or 2 x 6's, I can't remember which, for the foundation. With the cost of wood being what it is, every good piece of lumber is a piece worth saving and reusing.
It'll be a lot of work to be frugal, but the work has to be done anyway, so if it can build more beds, then that is the work we will put it to.
When we run out of the huge side yard and back yard, I'll start eyeing the front yard. There are some narrow places off to the side that we could put a bed or two in. It would be hidden from the road going one direction. and harder to see because of the bushes coming from the other. But it gets 8 hours of sun. And even when we planted zucchini and yellow crookneck squash by the road the one year, no one seemed to steal them, or at least not that I noticed. There was still plenty if they did. Anyway, that and the skinny side yard can't be planted until we do some French drain work to try to keep the basement from flooding during big storms.
It may take a few more years to do what I want to do fully, but by the end I'll have a fully handicapped acessible garden, so if I need to use my walker, I can, and if I end up in a wheelchair one day, I still can garden. We might have to take a layer off one of the planned 3 foot tal beds to do it, but that will still be doable.
I had a setback at physical therapy last week. He tried to put me on a machine I didn't think I was ready for and it ended up hurting my back and hip so badly that I started crying. I won't be doing that machine again. I will insist on it. I had been doing so good up to that week. I was walking without my cane most days of the week. Now I've had to use it even for short distances like the bedroom to the bathroom. It is so frustrating.
I ended up cancelling my next PT appointment on Tuesday, partly because I am still in such pain from the machine, but mostly because DD has bronchpneumonia, which is the worst type of pneumonia you can get and also the most rare, I believe they said. I got my info secondhand because DH took her to the doctor for a car appointment, because we knew her lungs needed to be listened to.. I was too sick to go, but I don't have pneumonia, the flu, or Covid, I was checked for all, but they gave me antibiotics because of how long I've been sick and they do seem to be working. DD can't be left alone and DH has a bunch of meetings that day.
I have to call the doctor tomorrow, because they only gave DD a week of antibiotics and she is not any better and tomorrow is her last day. I worry she'll have to go to the hospital and I won't be able to see her. She does not do well with withdrawal from the family due to her anxiety and one of her illnesses needs her to stay calm or she'll burn through her cortisol and have to take more prednisone and she already has to take so much just to stay alive. In normal times we could have someone with her in shifts during the day, but now they won't let you have visitors at all. Not that I'd be able to go being sick, anyay. So I'm just really worried about her overall and stressing if she has to go in.
Nothing financial has happened since payday. DH worked ten hours of OT last week and is due to work OT this week and the next.
I added some items to mid-term food storage this week. 2 cases of tomato sauce, 1 case of pineapple, and 25 pounds of flour. WE will be freezing that for a bit and putting it into Mylar, sealing it, and into a bucket with a gamma lid. I can't find whole wheat flour anywhere. Costco was so low on everything. No French fries, no frozen broccoli, no pasta. And limits on meats.
We still have over half a steer, part of a lamb, not nearly enough chicken, a bit of turkey, some frozen salmon and spot prawns, but almost no pork in the freezer. What we do have is bacon, one bag of pork chops, and a ham or two, so we'll be okay for a while. Our potatoes are starting to sprout, but we still have about twenty pounds that have not. Potatoes are getting a bit hard to find and there is a 2 bag limit. I do still have some canned, but we won't make it until the next crop is ready. I have some winter squash that we can eat after the potatoes run out, but only four. And there is always rice. We have a lot of that.
I'm not happy with what I am seeing at the grocery stores at all. Prices and quality wise. Stuff that would never have made it onto the produce shelves a couple years ago are now the norm. There are bruises and brown spots and even outright mold. And these are not bargain stores, these are regular stores.
We still haven't had our new freezer come in. I really hope it does before harvest season. I want to be able to freeze strawberries, plum prunes, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, and blueberries at the very least. Corn, if we decide to grow it, since it tastes better frozen than canned. But I won't give up room from meat for it.
I'm worried, but I am doing everything I can to be prepared. If things get bad enough they will start limiting food purchases. They're already limiting on chicken and some canned goods, beans, and rice. Who knows what will happen if these things in Ukraine and Taiwan escalate? If we enter into a war, we could see actual rationing again. I want to be stocked enough that it isn't something I have to worry about. I'm generally not this much of a worrywart, but these times they are a changing.
February 19th, 2022 at 01:27 am
Well, we can start right off with saying that my no eating out for February has been an absymal failure. I just cannot seem to stay well. I'll get a day or two where I think I'm on the upswing and then I'm right back down again, exhausted and back in bed and unable to do anything about cooking meals at all. DH does a couple a week right now, but he's up to his eyeballs in overtime, so otherwise it's takeout as no one is well except DH and he's dragging. It's a good thing he can work from home. so takeout it's been.
I just want to be well so that I can cook my own food again. So that is why the Citi card is so high again. It feels out of control, but we still pay it off in full every month. It kind of makes me sick all on its own, because it is so high. But some of that was birthday stuff that is being reimbursed by MIL, since it was for what she got me. Then she gives us $120 a month for takeout because that is how much she spends on DH's sister and husband each month.
I just added that in and then I figured out when exactly the long term care insurance started coming out of the account and it wasn't until the first of the year, even though I'd been deducting it from checking since June when it was supposed to start coming out, so I put that money back as available to use. Then there was a refund from last year's HSA of $1.43, so those amounts added up to $662.40.
I added that to the budget, but the tithe will only reflect the amount of the actual paycheck, which I don't think had any overtime on it, but will have to check with DH for sure. The next one definitely will. This one would have but he kept having to take time off to run us to doctor's appointments or be sick himself for a couple of days. Anyway, as a reminder I run a $0 based budget, where every penny is assigned a job. Here is what I spent.
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_500.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money Envelope
__78.82 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
___0.00 Spending Money Envelope DH (he already spent it in January)
__50.00 Spending Money Envelope Me
__60.00 Allowance DS
__30.00 Stipend DD
3678.68 Total Money Out
February 17th, 2022 at 02:06 am
Our 401K has started to creep back up, but our IRA is all over the place, but mostly not recovering or going down on average in a week. Still, it's overall, better. It's up to $71,159.77, which is a rise of $525.77. That brings net worth up by the same amount to $129,285.26.
I feel uneasy about how much we have lost this year. Our income on the 401K is -4.42%. On the IRA it is -5.16%. Not numbers that make me feel all warm and fuzzy. But we're holding. We either wait out this administration or we hope that something changes at the midterms that opens American oil back up. Closing it down so much is what is causing a ton of this economic turmoil and inflation. I've seen it before twice in my lifetime. You may not agree, but that is my experience.
Turning Covid from pandemic to endemic and opening the world back up would also help a lot. We are going to have to just live with it like we do the flu eventually. It can't stay this way forever. Esepcially when politicians and celebrities flout the rules at super spreader events like the superbowl and fundraisers. Either we all wear masks or no one does. And since they won't, there is not much point for us to keep it up unless we want to. Being vaccinated has not stopped me from getting it and spreading it to my family who is also vaccinated. Twice. But at least we didn't die.
I've got to get my 3rd booster scheduled though and for the family as well. Just waiting out the dregs of this head cold so that we are all healthy enough to do this. Might have to do it separately as one person gets well. Otherwise, I'm not sure how it will get done.
It's a little scary seeing Canada turn into a facist regime. Real facist, not "I don't agree with your politics so I will call you a facist" facist. The livestreams are scary at times. But that's all I will say about that, because if I start spouting off on what's going on in Ottawa with that sorry excuse of a PM, I'll never stop.
February 15th, 2022 at 05:03 am
My MIL gave me a mandolin for my birthday on the 12th (I'm 52 now) and I started practicing yesterday. I can do a G chord, a C chord, and a D chord. Yesteday I got the fingering down and today I got the switching between chords down. I have no calluses on my fingers, because the only instrument I've really been working on before this is the bass and tenor ocarinas, so I need to build up those again.
Tomorrow I will work on my speed, but it sounds good and isn't too hard to tune. I like it better than the strumstick (mountain dulcimer) which only has four strings and was always falling out of tune. The mandolin has 8 strings, but they are double strings so the top two are both G, then the next two are D, then A, then E. It gives it more depth of sound, like two people strumming in unison. It's strung like a violin note wise, which I have played for years.
It's a good little instrument for a beginner's instrument. And a gorgeous cherry red with black edges. If they had made a blue one in the price range I would have gotten that, but that was only in the professional level and that is $1500, not the $139. Mine does have the stuff for plugging it into an amp, too. We don't have one, though, and I just want to do acoustically anyway.
I love being able to play music. It gives me something to do when I'm bored or, like today, when the power goes out for 1.5 hours, because some teenager in an SUV tried to run a red light and got plowed into by a Hummer and got knocked into a power pole, because the intersection is not 90 degree angles, it's off by quite a bit. You could hear the crash from my house a couple blocks away. My son went to be a looky-lou. No one was hurt bad enough to go the the hospital and the Hummer isn't too bad off. The SUV did not fare so well, but the speed there is only 25 mph. It could have been worse.
My other gift from MIL was a turquoise 3 cup food processor, for when I don't want to pull out the 8 cup one. This one is a lot lighter weight and easier for me to move by myself. I can't lift much weight with this arthritis without dropping things. It'll be nice for mincing a pound of meat fine.
DH gave me a teal leather ottoman for me to use under my desk. It is gorgeous and has a storage compartment in it. I needed something to put my legs up on when they fill with fluid, so this does the trick nicely and it has a good amount of padding on top so is really comfortable. My mom doesn't give gifts anymore. The kids are working on something, but didn't have it ready.
Today I finally had physical therapy again. I haven't gone since November. Then I got the flu, then we had snow that made it impossible to go anywhere. Then I got a head cold. And now I'm back among the living. We did an assessment. He said my range of motion has improved a lot since the beginning. Pays to do your exercises even when you can't go in and are sick all winter. I also took DD to her doctor's appointment. We will be billed for these appointments, as the deductible has to be met again. But we have $3000 on the HSA debit card again, plus a couple hundred that rolled over from last year, so we are using that.
I'll likely be the first one to meet the deductible as I have already had $1400 just for me, $1003 of which was for my arthritis shots, which at least seem to be working for now. It's completely covered once I max out my personal deductible. Or we max out the family deductible, but I will max out my own before the family contributes much.
Once DS is over his head cold we can start the process of taking him to the orthodontist and getting braces. Fun for the whole family. I have $6000 saved for it and no insurance for it. So hopefully it won't cost more than that. The last time I paid for braces it was $3000 for us and $1000 for the insurance and that was when DD was ten. Has anyone done braces lately? Especially Invisalign? It'd be nice to get a little bit of an idea. I know it varies by location, but ball park is fine.
I have to get a new mouth guard made since mine has cracked after 15 years, but that is only $400 and I've almost saved up for it. I'd like to get another pair of orthotics made so I can use the old ones in my garden shoes and not have to switch them out. That won't be until I save up for it after I finish saving for the mouth guard.
Oh, and I had a doctor's appointment with my regular doctor last week and he raised my anti-depressent from 50 to 75 miligrams, raised my gabapentin for nerve pain from 1500 mg to 1800 mg, and doubled my blood pressure medicine to 100/25. I can feel it making a difference already. I'm not retaining near as much water and I don't feel dizzy every time I stand up. So here's hoping that was the problem.
I found two pennies today. It's the first money I've found of 2022. I stuck them in my coin jar. Every penny counts.
February 5th, 2022 at 11:27 pm
We finally hit our six month's expenses with yesterday's deposit into the emergency fund. I really felt like we would never get there. It takes a huge load off my shoulders. I will probably slowly work on rounding it up to $21,000, just because I like round numbers, but for now, we have done it and I am so happy.
$20,212.21 Starting Balance
+__,310.49 Amount Added
$20,522.70 New balance
This brings our net worth up to $129,069.98.
Future EF goals, after we save for some other things, will be $42,000. But we've got a lot of other stuff to prepare for otherwise, like finishing the garden. One thing I want to do is slowly bump up retirement savings. We are currently contributing 16% of income to the 401K, and I am decideing whether we want to continue to slowly bump that up, or just save some money up and open a spousal Roth IRA for me. We've talked about it before, but were never in a place to do so.
I guess we will figure it out as we go. For now, it feels fantastic to have the second huge goal in our lives accomplished. The first one was paying off debt. Hitting milestones I never thought I'd hit when I started is amazing.
February 5th, 2022 at 11:15 pm
There was a ton of overtime this payday. I think DH said he worked 19 hours, so there's a lot more money than usual. We had an out of the norm expense with mom asking us to help her pay for home owner's insurance. I'll create a sinking fund for next year, of $34 a month, so it won't be a surprise unless it goes up.
We spent far too much money last month on take out due to the flu hitting us hard. As a result we are doing a no eating out challenge for February. We really need to cut out using that Citi card so much. Next payday will also have a sizeable payment to them. DH doesn't get any spending money this payday or next as he made a $100 purchase on the Citi card.
As a reminder, I use a $0 based budget, meaning every dollar has an assignment, so here's how things went down for this paycheck.
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_500.00 Medical Fund
_167.00 Car Insurance Sinking Fund
__50.00 My Spending Money
___0.00 DH Spending Money
__60.00 DS Allowance
__30.00 DD Stipend
_400.00 House Insurance
_310.49 Emergency Fund
_100.00 Gift Fund
$4,150.29 Total Money Out
February 4th, 2022 at 12:46 am
In my quest to make February a month of no eating out, I will be meal planning again. I started by picking out my main dish or main meat and built my meal plans around that. I wanted one fish meal, 2 beef, 2 chicken, 1 pasta, and 1 pizza, so from there I filled in the rest based on what I have in my fridge, freezer, or jars and cans of food.
Day One--Pizza with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, prosciutto, onions, and bell pepper (if we have one, I have to check still, but I think we do, or will use frozen), served with a salad
Day Two--Salmon (stuff we caught during the summer), fried potatoes from our home grown potatoes, broccoli
Day Three--Beef Pot Roast (from our steer), Mashed potatoes from our home grown potatoes, green beans (home grown and canned)
Day Four--Baked Penne with sausage, tomatoes, onions, sauce and mozzarella cheese, salad
Day Five--French onion chicken, cole slaw
Day Six--Steaks (from our steer), French fries, broccoli
Day Seven--Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes (from our home grown potatoes), green beans (home grown and canned)
Now to see if I can stick to it.
February 4th, 2022 at 12:23 am
Not very likely. DH decided to check up on the freezer we ordered that was supposed to arrive this month, and surprise, surprise, it has been delayed until May now. I am losing all hope of ever actually seeing this thing. DH asked if the employee thought it would really come in March and he said nobody really knows. Supposedly they are supposed to be getting in some brand I never heard of "soon," whatever soon means. It's called Midea. From what I've seen the 21 cubic foot upright has good reviews, but again, it may also never actually arrive.
I am done with this pandemic and how it is affecting the supply chain, shipping, and trucking. We really, seriously, need to go back to building our own stuff in our own country. It would have curtailed a lot of this having to wait months to a year for new appliances if we'd never moved our manufacturing bases to other countries.
My goal for now is to eat down everything that is in our mini-chest freezer, so we can at least get half a hog. While I could fit a whole hog in the mini-chest freezer, we do need to have some room for fish, crab, and prawns once the different seasons start up. Meanwhile I am keeping an eye out for used upright freezers.
We are still working through our chicken freezer stash, but I can't imagine that's going to last more than two more months. I don't like what I'm seeing on chicken availability. Or pricing. I don't think I have the ability to raise meat birds anymore, either. I know it is only an 8 week committment, but they are a lot of work if you don't have room to put them out in tractors. Since most of our land is going towards garden space, we really don't have the space to give up to chickens.
Since my January pantry challenge crashed and burned due to the flu, I am doing a no eating out challenge for February. I want to keep a handle on that, because it is my greatest financial weakeness. It is just too easy to let money fritter through our hands when we get takeout as much as we do.
DH gave me the amount of tomorrow's paycheck so I was able to finalize the numbers for the budget for this payday. There was a lot of OT on it. There will be some on next time's paycheck, too, but doubtful it will be to this extent. Internet went up again, so I changed that on February and March's spreadsheets, which were as far ahead as I've worked, and then changed it on the 2022 Budget Template as well. I will also be adding line items to the budget for sinking funds for our yearly portions of property taxes and home owner's insurance, $25 and $34 per month respectively.
We have also finally convinced my mother to put out weekly trash cans instead of every two weeks and then having to call for an extra can at least once a month, so that will go up a bit, too. Since there will be a lot of stuff to throw away for the next several weeks as we clean up the back porch and clean out the garage and then tear down the rabbit shed we will be filling the cans with a lot of stuff.
Some stuff we will save, though. All of the studs out of the rabbit shed will be saved and pressure washed down. The roof's 4 x 8 plywood sheets look salvageable and possibly the side walls, but not the back and front walls, I don't think, or the floors. Depends on whether there are weak spots or spots with too much moisture damage. The window framing is also made from 2 x 4's, so those may give some salvageable wood as well. The cost of lumber is too expensive not to conserve what we have available to us. And we have always been ones to reuse as much as possible.
We may be able to build some garden beds with it. Any raised beds built out of it won't be in the main part of the garden, though, as we want all that to look uniform with the cinderblocks, so long as the cost of cinderblocks doesn't go up to high. We shall see.
I don't know if I mentioned before, but we are going to get grass-looking astroturf to go between garden rows as we can afford to do it. I am done with fighting weeds all the time.
I just hope after putting all this time into the garden this year, I'll actually have space to store frozen vegetables. I will can a lot of root vegetables, but some things are either not cannable or are just better frozen. My goal has always been to freeze enough zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli for a year, but I still do not have the freezer capacity to do such a thing, so zucchini is my priority this year. I don't want to be beholden to grocery stores anymore than possible. The shortages are getting a little scary here and the produce is not best quality. Growing and preserving as much as I can is the biggest thing on our agenda.
February 2nd, 2022 at 07:12 am
Interest hit today and it was $4.59 at the online bank, and .07 at CU#2. CU#1 only pays out quarterly. So a total of $4.66 in interest, so that goes to the Emergency Fund, bringing the new total there to $20,212.21. That leaves $310.49 to go to hit 6 month's expenses.
Retirement is starting to creep up again to where it was, but is still $342.72 short of that, putting it at $70,634.30.
That means the NW has gone up by $4.66, but down by $342.72, so the new net worth is $128,759.49. Still nothing to sneeze at, but still depressing to see it going down and eating any money you put in every payday. I know I am getting more stock, but I want more stock and good prices.
Let's hope that fire at that fertilizer plant in North Carolina does not make the markets implode in the morning. I feel really bad for those that lost loved ones and probably their primary bread winner. Plus, losing a fertilizer plant when there is already a fertilizer shortage, is going to mess with the farmer's and the food supply, which is already pretty screwed in many places.
If you're growing a garden this spring for your own family's food, go get your fertilizer now, because once the chemical stuff goes, they'll be swooping in for all the organic fertilizers like bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion and you won't be able to get it. And no one wants to go haul rotted horse manure from the local stables, even if it is free. Not that we won't.