Covid kicked our butts so hard. I am finally feeling almost normal again. I still tire very easily and if I go out in the cold my cough comes back and my lungs don't feel like they will ever be the same when I exert myself. This is my fourth go around. The first and the last were very bad, the two in the middle not so much. This last one, though, was worse than the first and I thought the first was horrible. But we are functional just in time for Christmas. Having to sleep through Thanksgiving instead of having one was a bummer for all of us. It will be an easy Christmas, though. A ham in the crockpot, potatoes in the Instant Pot, green beans and corn in the microwave, maybe some fudge. No hard work, but plenty of good food.
As for goals, I've been thinking about them a lot. I've also been debating about bumping the 401K up to 17% from 16%, but I'm not even sure it is worth bothering at this point. It's better used in the budget right now. So far these are my savings goals for 2023, in random order.
1. Refund the Emergency Fund--Add $250 every 4 weeks to the EF.
2. Purchase a Propane Grill with Smoker--Save $250 for 12 weeks and I will have $1500. I may not spend that much, I probably won't, but I don't want a garbage one. This will put me at March 17th and I may find some good grills on clearance as they prepare for the new season of grills coming in. I am not adverse to buying a separate smoker as they are not all that expensive.
2. Save for Beef Fund--Save $500 a month for 5 months, ending in May, for a total of $2500 to buy a whole steer. I may not need this much but with costs going up everywhere, I tacked on an extra $500. I'll contact my guy beforehand and see where prices are going. I may need to extend into June for $3000. I will also be saving excess grocery money, so it may not take the whole time.
3. Save for Snow Blower--Starting in May or June, depending on when Beef Fund is completed, save $500 a month for three months to purchase a snow blower for next winter and a chain for locking it to the back porch. The garage is too far away if we get dumped on like we did last week. 1.5 feet in two days that has lasted for several days. This has happened several years running now. And several times a winter. Never used to, but it does now.
4. Starting March 24th save $250 a month for two generators, one for the garage freezer and a more powerful one for the house. I still have to price these. I am not sure how much they will cost yet, but I hope to have enough saved by October to have both.
5. Get some kind of covered seating area and some more chairs so we can eat outside more in the spring and summer. Not sure where I will fit that in. Maybe start the generator savings later.
After I've saved up and purchased these items any money leftover and any money that was being saved towards those goals will go to the Emergency Fund.
Actually, things might be thrown off a bit. Mom will need help with house taxes and insurance. I'll have to look up what those were last year, but this is still more or less what I will be doing, maybe offset a bit.
Longer Term Goals--Things I Want to Save for in 2024
1. Emergency Fund--Go a Little More Hard Core and Get it Up to 6 month's expenses.
2. Start a Fund for Future Taxes and House Insurance--It'll probably be a few years yet before Mom dies, she's healthy, just old, but when she does the taxes will no longer be at a senior rate and they are around $6K and we will have to assume the home owner's insurance. I would like to have $7K set aside for this so that our first year we don't get slammed. Even $14K would be helpful, but might take longer than one year. Of course when the time comes I'll just work it into the budget, but I want to pay it from the beginning not be on a payment plan.
3. Save Up to Upgrade our Electric Panel Fuse Box Thingy--No idea on the cost of this, but I can ask DH how much it cost when his mom had to do it. We have one fuse box in the basement and one upstairs and the wires are ridiculous. And I am pretty sure the loads are improperly done. So we need to get an electrician out to fix everything and bring it up to code and have it so everything is upstairs and done right. The problem will be convincing my mother. Plus she built a bookcase around the fuse box, which isn't allowed and may have to be demolished. This one may have to wait until after she dies, but I'd really like to do it sooner, for safety reasons.
2025 and Beyond
1. Start a Fund for an Electric Vehicle--This probably won't get much contributed to it on a monthly basis. Both our vehicles are in great condition and they haven't made a good mini-van that is fully electric to my knowledge. Although we may need a different kind of van that is wheelchair accessible for DD at some point, and I have no idea if those will ever be electric. We intend to drive both vehicles until they die of old age or we can't get parts anymore, but neither is at that stage.
2. Start a Fund for a 26,000 Watt Whole House Generator--This one is $10K probably with installation costs. It ties directly into your natural gas or propane line, so you don't have to fill it with gas. I want the one that automatically turns on when the power goes out and turns off when it goes on. I don't want to have to fiddle with that. The only issue would be if the gas line breaks or you've run out of propane. This one is less urgent than others. Our power always gets restored quickly since we are on same lines as the hospital. We've never been out more than an hour or two here and usually it's much, much less. But as the infrastructure crumbles and domestic terrorists keep trying to sabotage the grid, having another source of power for my home is something I'd like to have and a lot cheaper than solar powers at this point. Maybe save $2K a year on this one. We can't do anything until we get the electrics upgraded.
3. Solar System--I'd like to have one that meets all or most of our electrical needs on a daily basis for most of the year. It may not be practical and we may not get our money back out of it, but the kids will inherit the house so it will be worth it for them. I'd like to save about $4K a year for this, too, when the time comes. Again, we can't do anything for this until the electrics are upgraded, because it will tie into that to run the house.
4. Remodel the Kitchen--Not by a Lot. I just want to take out the stove and put in two wall mounted ovens on top of each other, one a baker's oven. I can't bend down to the floor to put things in the oven anymore. My grandmother had one of these and I loved it. Take out some of the cabinets that don't have cupboards above them and put in a 6 burner range that vents down through the floor, into the basement, and then out through the side of the house. I want to be able to have canners on two burners, be heating lids on another, and heating water to blanch on another while there is at least one more burner free for someone to cook something if they are hungry. One burner at least will be blocked by two canners, so covering three.
5. Remodel Every Bathroom in the House. The ceiling of the guy's bathroom needs to be replaced now, though with some kind of water resistant drywall. The mold remediation did not work and the situation has gotten really bad and now black mold is appearing on the ceiling. The painters who did the mold remediation have still not come back to fix it even though under the warranty they are supposed to. It's been a thing. Plus their entire paint job has practically peeled off in there because they didn't scrape off the previous paint even though they were supposed to. I think we would be better off cutting out the ceiling, renting a drywall lift and putting a new piece in place. Then scraping it and repainting with mold resistant paint.
The bathroom that DD and I share needs a new shower installed. We both want a walk in shower with no tub. The tub shower combo we have now has a crack in the tub that we sealed up with boat sealant, but I think there is still a leak somewhere because the floor is bowing, so I think we will need a new floor in the next couple of years, which also means new flooring. We might do tile. I'd also like to paint it a color I like and put in some shelves, a smaller mirror that isn't so tall, so I can actually reach the top to clean it, a different light that is not a long bar of special lights that are hard to find and are incandescent. We also need to get a new shower head. The sprayer on the one we have is awkward and doesn't move with you. We need to replace the faucet, too. We have a new one, DH just hasn't had the time.
In Mom's bathroom the shower doesn't work right and ends up leaking water down into the basement. There is also an old jetted tub that is very short so you can't stretch your legs out. There is nowhere to install a handicapped rail to help you get up and down, and the jets only sometimes work and the sink and vanity are very ugly. So once the house is ours, the tub and shower will be torn out. I'd like to move the toilet to where the shower is now, and put the sink where the toilet is. I'd like to put in some shelves.
Then where the sink is now I'd like to put in a sink and chair like they have at the hair salon for washing hair. My back is so messed up now that bending over the sink to wash my hair is a production. That way both my son and daughter could wash my hair and not just my husband. My shoulders and wrists have a hard time with it these days, because it is so long, by the time I get through two washes and a conditioner I am in agony. Gotta love reumatoid arthritis. Then where the tub is now, we want to put in a tile shower with a lip and showerheads on both sides. We might have to run conduit to do that and an equalizing pressure dohickey, but it will be nice.
The other bathroom just needs a different bathtub. Mom put in a seated bathtub, but it is horribly uncomfortable. It seat rises up in the middle so basically it splits you where you sit and it has painful air jets instead of water jets. So we want to put in a tub with water jets instead. That'll cost $20K so who knows when that will happen. We may never have all that extra money and just use it as a soaking tub as we do now, since the only good other tub does not have handicapped rails in it and has the moldy ceiling wih the peeling pain.
So lots of saving money, lots of things on the horizon. Some more important than others, some more likely than others.