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Home > Archive: May, 2024

Archive for May, 2024

Net Worth , Retirement Funds, and Emergency Fund Updates, Plus some Rambling

May 19th, 2024 at 02:41 am

Both the 401K and the IRA were up substantially from the last time I checked.  New amounts are below:

$153,554.59 401K

+_15,225.66 IRA

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$168,780.25 New Retirement Total

-160,553.96 Old Retirement Total

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$__8,226.29 Total Gain to Retirement

The Emergency Fund got to small deposits.  One was $2.32 at the beginning of the month in interest.  The other was what was left at the end of payday one for May after paying all the bills, which was $87.69, giving a grand total of $90.01.

$11,009.23 Previous EF Amount

+__,+90.01 Total Added

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$11,009.24 New EF Amount

If I'd realized ahead of time that the interest would have brought it so close to ten dollars I would have brought along 76 cents to make it an even $10 in the total.  I have the coins in my coin jar.  Oh, well.

So next I add the EF gain and the retirement gain to figure out the net worth gain.

$8,226.29 Retirement Gain

+_,_90.01 EF Gain

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$8,316.30 Total Gain to Net Worth

So then we calculate:

$256,316.02 Previous Net Worth

+__8,316.30 Gain to Net Worth

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$264,632.32 New Net Worth

So things are going pretty well, as you can see.  I do have $100 from last payday that I do plan to add to the Emergency Fund, I just haven't gotten around to it yet, because I accidentally took it out in cash and I haven't had a chance to get back to the credit union yet.  But I have time on Monday after I drop my son off for his therapy appointment, since his dad picks him up after work.  The credit union is 3 blocks from the therapy office, at least for the next 2 visits.

It'll be a while before I can really start socking things to the EF and I might actually have to take some money out.  The van has started to make some funny noises.  Now I have $1000 saved in the car maintenance fund and I add $100 to it every month, but I don't know if that is going to be enough if this turns out to be serious.  We just hit 67,000 miles, but the van is 13 years old.  In fact we bought it new on June 4th, so really 13 years old.  Hopefully, it turns out to be something that can be handled with the money we already have save in the car fund, though.

And hopefully whe we get the estimate for the bathroom it'll be for less than what we have saved so that if there are any overruns we have enough without dipping into the EF or having to compromise on what we want.  Once all that is done, though, we can sock it to the EF and get things where I want them and possibly fund a spousal IRA for me this year.  While I'd like to raise the 401K to 20%, I have no retirement savings in my own name and I don't like that.  I have complete trust in my marriage, but I still want some in my own name. 

I won't even get SSI in my own name, because I only worked for nine years.  Which isn't true, but the farmers apparently paid us under the table when I was a kid so nothing I earned then was reported to the government.  Not that I made enough to pay taxes, my best summer I only made $1500 and that was at 3 different farms following strawberries, then raspberries, then blueberries.  I mean, I will get it in his name, and his would be higher than mine anyway, but that's not the point.  And that's assuming there is SSI when I get there.  So, yes, I want a Roth IRA in my name.  Then if we fully fund it, we can raise his 401K after that.

I am hoping in July he will get a cost of living raise.  They have been doing this as inflation has gone crazy for the last 3 years and this 4th year should be no different.  I hope.  I don't know that he would get a regular raise, because the raise he got the last time he got one was so big a leap.  That was two years ago.  As much as I'd like one, I just don't think they have it right now.  They hired a lot of people in the last year.

But a COL would be appreciated.  2% is still $3180 before taxes, probably $2500 net a year after.  $104.16 a payday.  $2500 is almost our full medical deductible of $3000.  So that is nothing to sneeze at.  And sometimes it is 3% which is $4770, or around $4200 a year or $161.53 a payday.  Nothing to sneeze at.  But if there is nothing there is nothing.  We will know sometime in July which is always when raises come out.  The company has had high profits this year and last, but that didn't come out to much when it came to the Christmas bonus, so not really counting on it here, either.  Just wanting it to have some more breathing room after saving so hard for that stupid bathroom since February of last year.

Busy Week and Busier Weekend

May 17th, 2024 at 03:59 am

I feel like I haven't had a moment to breathe this week.  There has been an appointment every day and there is one tomorrow.  So far they have been one's where we have been kept waiting twenty to forty-five minutes past the scheduled appointment time and then the appointment seemed to run long.  Except my therapy appointment, which was on time.  And boy did I need that.  It's been cancelled 3 times and it has been six weeks when I usually go every two weeks.  Her brother died, then she was sick, then I got stung by a bee on my lip and swelled up really bad.  My allergy has gotten progressively worse and I have to have an epi pen available, but at least insurance covers it.

I did get my tomatoes planted on the weekend, though.  I got two different varieties of Roma tomatoes, 4 of each, then 3 Lemon Boys (yellow rounds ones), 3 Champions (round ones), 1 Million Pears (yellow pear shaped cherry/grape cross), and 1 green zebra.  I wasn't going to get a tomato variety just for fun this year, but the green zebra is prolific and supposed to be very good, so I decided to anyway.  I figured it would be good for my ugly sauce anyway.  Plus they didn't have any orange ones this year so I couldn't make an orange-colored sauce for canning, just regular tomato sauce and ugly sauce.

I still have to plant my brassicas, lettuces, peppers, and petunias.  I am going to put a lot of them in my Greenstalk and then drape it with deer netting.  Not the peppers, though.  I also have various squashes to plant, patty pans, zucchinis, and acorn.  Plus green beans and peas.  It is a slow process, but the most important part was to get the tomatoes in.  They take the longest to mature.

So I will spend a day planting on Saturday and then we really need to spend a day just cleaning up the kitchen as a family.  It is such a mess and I am tired of it.  Nothing is organized, it needs a deep clean from the ceiling on down.  I am tired of cobwebs, I am tired of a dirty floor that needs scrubbing, I want a pristine refrigerator, including the bottom and walls and ceiling, not just the drawers and shelves that I do every week.  I want the window above the sink scrubbed that I can't reach, but my husband and son both can.  Then I need them to put the A/C in the window.

I need the curtains taken down and washed.  I need everything taken out of the cupboards and drawers and each drawer wiped out and put back in.  And I want the pile of groceries that need to go on the top shelf for long-term storage put away by the tall people.  I am so tired of it taking up space on the counter and I can't reach even on a step-stool.  I'd have to climb on the counter, which is a bad, bad idea for me.  Also, an impossibility with my deviated discs.  It is Spring Cleaning time.  Once that is done, and everything on the counters is put away, I want to set up the air fryer I got last year.  No more oil-fried food for this family.

At least tomorrow isn't payday.  I was so tired last Friday, I forget it was payday and didn't get it done until Monday.  I have a feeling tomorrow will be more of the same. 

For Living Almost Large--Garlic Herb Butter Recipe

May 9th, 2024 at 12:36 am

8 oz room temperature salted butter (do not microwave)

2 to 3 tsp granulated garlic (not powder), adjust to taste

1 to 2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning (or at least basil, oregano, and parsley) adjust to taste

Put ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix with a whisk.  You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer on 2 or low, or just a regular old hand whisk, but if you do use a regular whisk I advise using a small one with close set tines and shake it out every few strokes.  I do not recommend blenders as they can melt the butter.  Mix until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.  It doesn't take long.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.  We like it at 3 tsp garlic and 2 tbsp Italian seasoning, but not everyone does.

Transfer to a bowl, using a spatula to scrape out the whisk and mixing bowl.  You can leave the butter out, covered, for a week if you will use it in that time, otherwise keep it in the fridge and it will last a long time.  Just take it out an hour before you need to use it for spreading.

It's good spread on naan bread and if you have a kid who doesn't like pizza sauce, it makes a good replacement for that when you make pizza, too, not just on pasta.

 

No Take Out Running Smoothly--On My End Anyway

May 3rd, 2024 at 08:11 am

I was exhausted yesterday after doing a big Costco Shop, but I think we are set for a while.  Having 30 pounds of butter back in the freezer eases my mind a fair bit.  Only 10 pounds of it was on discount, but I was down to 2 boxes (4 pounds), and I want to get another 30 pounds in there come June, July at the latest.  I am planning on making up some of my herb garlic butter and repackaging it for the freezer, so I have it for making garlic bread, ravioil, salmon, shrimp, and vegetables like zucchini and broccoli.

I'd like to have at least ten pounds of it made up in 4 oz portions to keep in the fridge one at a time.  I should start keeping the whipped cream cheese containers.  They would be the perfect size.  Plus save me money on containers, since we don't buy individual yogurt anymore, just the big plain one we put our own fruit in.  Now that I have a label maker it would be easy to know what is what at a glance.

We bought 6 of those bags of broccoli that have 4 4 pound steamer bags in them, so we are set on broccoli for a while.  That will make meal prepping easy for a while.  And the ingredients for breakfast burritos, which I am making before I go to bed tonight.

Last night for dinner I made chicken and mozzarella ravioli with my garlic herb butter and a Caesar salad and strawberries.  It was a nice simple dinner and did not take long and cost the same amount for the whole family as one entree at Olive Garden would have cost.  And we had leftover fruit, salad fixings, and garlic herb butter.

Tonight for dinner I made creamy chicken taquitos using my home canned chicken, some salsa verde, 4 oz cream cheese, cumin, chili powder, a bit of lime juice, cilantro is optional, and tortillas, preferabbly corn, but we only had wheat in the house.  To that we had garden salads and a fruit salad of honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes.  And we had a dozen leftover taquitos to go in the freezer.

In the morning, I plan to do some breakfast sandwiches.  Since we bought bagels at Costco and only planned to buy six, but they had a buy one get one free going on, we have six extra, so I thought I'd make those into bacon, egg, and cheese everything bagel sandwiches and put those in the freezer for DD.  We have an egg sandwich machine that does two at a time, so it won't take but fifteen minutes to do six.  Plus, I will do up and peel some eggs for the fridge and make some breakfast tv dinners of 2 scrambled eggs/2 sausage patties/hashbrowns for DH and 4 2 oz sausage links and 4 egg bites for me or a low carb omelet.  Depends on how hungry I am.  Given my energy level after that I may make up some pancakes as an alternate to hashbrowns for DH.

I'd like to do some lunches for the fridge for the next few days, but we will see, since I want to go pick up my tomato and pepper plants.  If possible, we want to get them planted, too.  

The plan for Saturday or maybe Sunday freezer cooking is:

3 meatloaves (1 for dinner)

2 pans mashed potatoes*

4 pans Italian meatballs

2 pans Swedish meatballs

3 pounds taco meat

2 pans hamburger steaks with gravy

2 pans spaghetti and homemade sauce*

2 pans lasagna*

*It is more important to me to get all the meat based items taken care of, but I am sure there will be downtime to peel potatoes and to boil pasta while waiting for the meatballs to cook.  The pasta sauce will only start in a skillet until the onions and then garlic are ready and then transferred to the crockpot to finish off, so I will still have burners available to make gravy and boil pasta and the potatoes will be in the Instant Pot.  If not, than the pasta, sauce, and potatoes can wait a day or two or even until the next week.

The next weekend I want to do:

3 pans jerk chicken (1 for dinner)

2 pans chicken enchiladas

2 pans chicken fajitas

2 chicken pot pies with buttermilk biscuit top crust only

2 pans Meditteranean chicken bake with vegetables

2 pans Southern stewed chicken

Some of these may not be in pans.  They may be in bags, but I mostly like the pans with the lids because I know exactly how much food I have without weird guestimating and stuff stacks properly while freezing and after freezing.

I may just have to raise the grocery budget up higher than expected at first, maybe by $200, but eliminating the takeout budget entirely, except on trips, it should way more than compensate.  Of course, we have been working towards this, but I'd say each month has had at least a week's worth of spectacular failure when you add all the days up.  Just have to find the will power, the energy, and the strength.

DH keeps forgetting his food at home and so he is still buying takeout at work.  So that's what I mean by adding up to takeout failures of a week's worth.  And he's buying soda to keep himself awake because he doesn't like coffee or tea.  So I can't do much about those expense, though I will keep encouraging.  He's got a lot going on at work with deadlines and he's under a lot of stress physically from this systemic illness.  I don't want to nag too much.

At least I've got him going to the doctor and to physical therapy now.  And he's finally got an appointment with wound care Monday, about a year into this leg thing, which is a staph infection, by the way.  I don't know if I ever said.  They finally did a skin scraping early last month or late March and we finally found out.  So I called it.  It didn't have to become systemic if they would have done things right from the start.  Well, at least we won't be paying for it.  We've met our out of pocket max now.

Okay, it's late or actually very early, and the yesterday I started talking about when I began writing this post is now two days ago.  I'm rambling and will probably stop making sense soon, so I will wrap this up now.  I'm going to calculate my net worth tomorrow.  I hope I break even.