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Major Milestone Markers

April 13th, 2024 at 01:47 am

Hello.  I've been gone for two months.  Dipped out the day after my birthday and haven't really been around since. There have been some big milestones that passed while I was away.  Retirement was a nice one.  It tripped over the $150K mark and then the $160K mark.  Seems like it wasn't very long ago it went over $100K.  I know it was, though.

Net worth did a real big one.  I reached the quarter of a million dollar mark!  $256,316.02 to be exact.

I've started contributing to the Emergency Fund again.  Not a lot at a time, but I've added $457.12 so far and that has brought me over $11K to $11,009.23.  My goal for the time being is to contribute $100 a month as I am still contributing to the bathroom construction fund.

Speaking of the bathroom construction fund, it now rests at $12K.  I think $3000 more is where I will stop and start looking for bids.  I have been managing to put $1000 away each month so far this year, so I hope that will continue.  That will put me at July, which is peak construction season.  We may have to hold off until the rainy season to get it done since most contractors will be busy.  I could borrow from the EF, I suppose, but I don't really like the idea of that.  I haven't even hit 2 months' wages yet in rebuilding that fund.  Which is $14,440.

DH and I passed our 28th wedding anniversay March 18th.  We didn't do anything for it.  DH's leg was hurting too much and I was going through an exhaution phase that I really haven't come out of.  I'm just sleeping a lot.  No other real symptoms.  Sleeping all night and taking naps around noon and then again around seven and then going to bed at eleven.  Probably something to do with my autoimmune stuff.  We figure maybe we will do something this summer or towards the end of spring, just go away for a weekend, just the two of us.  I'd rather save up for something for our 30th, though.  I'd like to go on a cruise.  Not a giant cruise, I don't like a crush of people all around me, but one of the smaller ones.

The 9th of April was also a milestone for me, because it was the 18th anniversary of starting this blog.  Now that's something.  I can't believe I've beeing writing it for that long, that I've had that much to say, or that it has had over 86,000,000 visits, and you've all want to read it that long.  I sure do appreciate it.  It's a nice thing to know.  And you know what is interesting?  When I started this blog I had $200,000 of debt to pay off and by the time my debt was paid off, I had paid off $250,000 because of the interest and an imprudent purchase.  A quarter of a million.  And now my net worth is a quarter of a million.  I've moved my net worth half a million in the opposite direction.  If I had started at $0, and threw money in retirement right from that moment, I could be at $500K right now.  My son has taken that away as a good lesson against debt.  So at least there is that.

At least, once the construction is over on the bathroom, we can work on getting our EF back up to snuff.  I would like to have 3 months' worth of wages by the end of 2026.  It would be great to do it sooner, but I just don't know.  We have a Hawaii trip to save for, a cruise, and a new vehicle with an expected purchase date of 2035 to 2040.  I want to purchase that in cash.  And I want 6 months' wages by 2030, so there's that.

We are working on buckling down, but it isn't always easy.  Take out is still our biggest temptation.  But we are trying to overcome it.  Especially since I am losing weight since we started cooking at home more often.  I've lost ten more pounds since February.  Things are going really well, there.  5 pounds a month might not seem like a lot to some people, but it is really a lot for me, considering how hard it has been for me to lose weight in the past.  And so far there has been no loose skin, so I think it is just the right pace for me.  Well, speaking of dinner, I better go make it.  Hope all is well with everyone.  I seldom have the brain stamina to read the blogs right now.

Odds and Ends

December 28th, 2023 at 12:30 am

I'm glad Christmas is finished for one more year.  The tree will be down today and we will take the outdoor Christmas lights and standees down this weekend and get everything tucked away into the garage or our storage unit.  I will be glad to have it put away so life can return to normal.

We got a recumbant exercise bike for the family for Christmas to replace the treadmill that three out of four of us can't use because of our knees and also the weight capacity being quite low.  The bike is high enough even my husband will be able to use it.  I hope it works for my back.  I'd really like to be able to start exericising again.

I'll be starting on a new arthritis drug when we get back from DD's surgery in Seattle.  The old one stopped working.  This one is a pen, so I can do it myself, but it is back to weekly injections intead of monthly ones, so now I'll be taking two different meds through pen injectors once a week.  I'm going to be a pincushion.

I have a lot to do to get ready for January's Eat from the Pantry Challenge I do every year with my Facebook/Youtube group that I am in.  I need to take inventory of what I have, top up any glaring empty spots, and on the 31st shop for fresh produce.  I know I will have to take two days off from it while DD is in surgery but I will just add two extra days at the end to make up for it.  When you in a hotel in a strange city with no microwave and no fridge, there is just no way to manage.  If we had a VRBO, I could take food with us and cook, but we needed to be closer to the hosptial this time than any availabe rentals wHere.

My goal for this year's January Challenge is to save enough money to hit my goal of $10K for the bathroom fund.  I am now at $9500, so if I can peel $500 out of an $800 a month grocery budget, I will be well pleased.  I still intend to buy some fresh produce and milk, but not much else.  And other than Seattle, no eating out, which we won't be paying for.  MIL pays for our food and lodging when we go down to the hospital so that won't come out of any budget, let alone food.  I might end up hitting the goal otherwise, but I don't know how much I will need to ultimately have, if $10K will even be enough.  Stuff has gotten so expensive, but it is such a tiny room.

I would really like to get this started before the handymen or contractors get busy with big outdoor summer projects and have no time for tiny interior jobs that get them through the winter.  I just have to have the money for it.  No going into debt for it.

We still need to purchase our snow blower.  There might be money leftover there that I can put into the bathroom fund, too.  Every bit counts, you know?  It just depends on what we end up getting.  I want something I can drive, too, and not be overpowered by, even if that means having to take a couple extra passes on the driveway.

Even if it is enough and they get started on the bathroom, I think I'll keep saving anyway because things like this always seem to overrun the original budget.

I've already gotten two seed catalogs in the mail and they are full of such beautiful photos of seductive flowers and fruits and vegetables.  I will buy very little this year.  I have many things I didn't plant last year that I will need to plant this year that will be lovely and yummy.  But there will be one or two things I'm sure I will find to plant.  Some of the brand new introductions put onto the market that are developed in my area.  Those do great here.  I was hoping to put in a couple of trees, too, but things didn't get done this year because of DH's leg and it still hasn't healed up right and now he might have torn the miniscus on his knee on the other leg, which he sees the doctor for the day before we leave for Seattle.  He'll probably get an x-ray, too.

I think I may have to hire someone to come in and rototill the garden this year and do the clean up.  I have been saving all of my spending money, my Christmas money, and my future birthday money towards garden expenditures in the coming year, so if that is what is needed, I will hire a strong teenager from the farming community to come and do it for me.  While there is still more infrastructure I want to purchase, like more raised beds and more cattle panels, getting the one plot tilled that hasn't been and getting the weeds cleared out of the other bed, is necessary.

We are buying heavy duty agricultural fabric this year from a farmer's supplier instead of a seed catalog and then once it is secured we will put the aluminum raised beds on top.  No more dealing with ground weeds.  I'm just so done with it.  That's why the ground needs to be rototilled and raked flat, so the beds can go on top and set relatively flat.

We'll see what happens when we find out about DH's leg.  If physical therapy and weight loss will fix it than maybe he can go forward from there.  If he has torn something, then he may need surgery and won't be able to work in the garden in 2024 at all.  Oh, well.  If worse comes to worst, I will mostly skip a year except the raised beds and the blackberries and the plums.  And that will be that.

Goals Met and Not Met for 2023

December 18th, 2023 at 05:29 am

So, in 2023 I set some goals for myself and thought it would be interesting to come back and see if I hit any of them.  I know things went all catywampus because no one expected the bathroom to suddenly develop black mold and have to be torn out to the studs and be treated and us to have to save up all year and part of into next year to pay for a contractor to come and build a new one.  The bathroom fund took up most of our money, but did we meet any of our goals?  Let's see.

1. Refund the Emergency Fund--Add $250 every 4 weeks to the EF.

1.  No, see above, the bathroom fund.

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 averse to buying a separate smoker as they are not all that expensive.

2.  No, we decided to make do with charcoal for another year, as the money we saved for this went into the bathroom.  Black mold was discovered in February.

3. 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.  Yes.  We were able to save enough to purchase a whole steer in July.  It has made a huge difference.  Between that and our hog and our fishing, we have only had to buy chicken and turkey for protein.

4. 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.  Yes.  I completed saving for the snow blower in October.  We haven't bought it yet, but we should.  It has been unseasonably warm, but we tend to get blasted in February, and sometimes we get hit on Christmas Eve.  I'd rather have it and not need it, than not have it and need it.

5. 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.  No, these were back-burnered because of the bathroom, but we did buy an additional power station so we can now run both the c-pap and the bi-pap machine all night long during a power failure.

6. 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.

6. Both no and yes.  We did not get a covered seating area, but we did purchase two more chairs.  We need one more for our daughter who seldom goes outside.  Our Swedish ancestry is strong in that one and she burns very easily.  Hence the need for a covered area.

So, 2.5 goals were achieved and 3.5 goals were not achieved.  I think I did fairly well with a ginormous curve ball thrown at us.  We will have $10K saved soon and hopefully that will be enough to create a new bathroom.  If not, then I guess the $10K in the EF will get dipped into.  We really can't handle not having that bathroom in service.  If that happens, we will have to slam the EF to get it back up.  But it is a tiny bathroom.  It is the smallest legal size a bathroom can be, so hopefully it won't go over that.  I've priced everything, so I know what materials cost.  It's just the labor that will be the thing.

My goals list for 2024 that I made at the end of 2022 has shifted substantially because of this whole bathroom thing.  One, because I missed some of this year's goals and two, because other things have moved to take priority.  But that's another post for another day.


Furnace Antics, Budgeting, and Old Spending Habits

November 11th, 2023 at 03:33 am

Actually, the furnace isn't performing any antics, but we had the furnace guy out today to do the yearly maintenance check up.  He said it is running at 93% which is pretty close to optimal, but we need to clean the clutter from around the vents and that will go up.  The furnace is 16 years old and he said it should last another 5 years, possibly more as far as he can see.  New ones for a house this size are running between $8000 and $10,000.

Hearing those numbers, I picked $9000 and divided it by 60 months.  If I start saving $150 per month, in 5 years we will have $9000 for a new furnace.  I'm sure there will be other money to throw in along the way, too, to get that up to $10,000.  Or more likely as DH gets raises we will probably up the amount to $200 we are saving.  Prices will probably go up in 5 years, but hopefully the possibly more than 5 years part will come into play.

I don't know if my mother will still be alive in 5 years, but she very well could be.  My aunt C is still alive and she's older than mom by a few years.  But I don't want this dropping on her, so the saving starts as soon as we've saved enough for the bathroom.  At least it is long term saving and not having to throw as much as possible into savings as we can as quickly as we can so we have a chance to save for other goals, like with this stupid bathroom.

I do need to start a tax fund.  Once mom is gone, there won't be a senior discount on taxes and the taxes on this house will be somewhere in the ballpark of $8000.  I want to have money set aside to pay at least the first year.  It is going to take a significant bite out of the paycheck once it is on our shoulders.  Around $700 a month.  And not leave much in disposable income.  So getting the EF and the tax fund up to snuff as well as saving for that furnace will be priorites and saving for the electric vehicle and the Hawaii trip will still be distand priorities.  But I am still going for that beach vacation sooner, rather than later.

The biggest thing we need to do is crack down on our spending, which has been off the charts and it has been due to getting takeout.  At least we have figured out why I have been so exhausted the last couple of months.  My thyroid has finally gone bonkers.  It is the family curse, but it has hit everyone else very young in life, like in the 20's.  It was fine seven months ago, but not at my recent test 3 weeks ago.  So I see the doctor next week about that.  It would have been sooner, but my doctor has been out of the office due to a family emergency and now he's going to be out much longer so I am seeing a different doc in the same practice.  I am hoping to start on meds right away and hopefully get through this, because all I want to do is sleep and I have no energy to cook.

I am going to just force myself from now on.  We charged almost $5000 last month getting takeout nearly every day, which means we are not going to save a cent for the bathroom repair in November, putting us behind in our savings goal.  I'm just glad there was as much OT as there was and will be on the next paycheck since he has to work more next week as well.  It is hard to care when you are too tired to care, but that was a huge number to see.  Consequently, my credit score went up to 804.  Funny how the more debt you have the higher your score.  It was 782 when the card had a zero balance in September.  I will get it paid off before any interest is charged, no worries there, but it will be close.

I am feeling old habits rising up that need to be squelched down before they become a problem.  My brain was starting down the path of, oh, you can carry a balance into December just this once.  You'll make it up then.  I had to really fight with myself and say that no, I wouldn't, I was going to get it all done in November no matter how hard I had to squeeze.  And I will.

I told DH that we really have to stop using the credit card.  Which means he will have to start carrying some grocery money with him so that when he has to stop for something after work he isn't just whipping out the credit card to pay for it.  He'll have the money.  But the food budget has to remain tight.  No more incidentals.  Food has to be planned for even more closely than it has been.  And the junk food habit has to be gotten over yet again.


A Very Hard Month is Over and I'm Setting Goals for 2023 and Beyond

December 23rd, 2022 at 10:08 pm

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 averse to buying a separate smoker as they are not all that expensive.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.


Retirement, EF, and Net Worth Major Milestone Goal Hit

November 13th, 2022 at 01:00 am

I am sorry for any typos in this.  My space bar is sticking and I don't have any compressed air to clean it out.  I think I've got them all, but I'm not sure.  Our retirement accounts are starting to turn around.  Don't get me wrong.  The IRA is still -18.04% for the year, because it plunged even lower than my last report, but it's come back up by a little over a thousand dollars. That's a loss of $2707.65 in an account we don't contribute to at all right now. It will have to climb a lot higher to erase that percentage and I don't think it can do it by year's end.

The 401K went from over -25% for the year to -13.59.  The loss for the year, only because we have been contributing, is -$9488.88.  We won't make up for that this year, either.  There are only four contributions of $1152.48 to be made, mostly from us, but some from the employer match.  Even if DH gets any over time, it won't be enough without a tremendous rise in the stock market.  I haven't been watching since August, though, because the whole year has been so awful, so I don't know what it was doing.  But judging by our contributions versus where we were at the end of August, it still ate half of them, so I'd say it wasn't the greatest.

Still it is up since the last time I changed my sidebar by $4920.33.  That brings the amount in retirement to $83,848.84.  I also transferred $1000 out of the emergency fund to fix a leak in the van's sunroof.  Never again will we have these on a vehicle we buy. This is the second time we have had to do this repair. I mean the van is 12 years old, but they should build it so this never happens.

When it rains hard the water leaks down into the seat belt wells and soaks them, so when you pull your seatbelt out it is drenched.  So it etiher goes against your jacket or sweater, so you have a wet piece of clothing or you keep towels in your car to put between you and seat belt which is not comfortable and kind of a distraction. And if it freezes really bad, like 17°F or less (-8.3°C), the seat belt will get frozen in the ice after it fills up with water during the day before the temp drops, whether it is rain or melting snow.  If we hadn't just shelled out over $1200 on vehicle maintenance and replacement filters and whatnot, we'd have had the money in our car maintenance envelope. But we did, so we didn't have it.

Anyway, that reduces the EF to $10,285.51.  Which means the total of net worth changes by $3920.33, going from $146,216.13 to $150,136.46.  So we have hit a major milestone goal for us, crossing the $150K barrier on net worth. This was such a long, long time coming.  I feel like we are lucky we even got here considering the last year, where everything that could go wrong with the economy, did go wrong.  So while it is amazing to see it, I'm still kind of scared it will disappear on me before the end of the year, and hoping like crazy it doesn't. But I will know we hit it once and that we will be able to hit it again somehow, some way, if we have to.  And know, as they say, is half the battle.

Pop Some Cyber Champagne with Me!

July 22nd, 2022 at 04:35 am

DH had his performance review today and life suddenly got a whole lot easier.  His boss, his boss's boss, and the company president were all there for the review.  The company freaking president.  It was a massively glowing review.  DH probably could have been seen from space, it was so glowing.

Now, previously his boss had told him to expect something that would make him fall on the floor if he got what was put in for.  My response to that when DH told me was that the only thing that would make me fall on the floor would be going up to $150K, but I'd be happy with anything to help with the massive inflation.

Well, my dears, they didn't even hesitate to sign off on what was requested. Let's just say that we have both collapsed in a heap.  DH got a $22,624 a year raise.  That is 17.8%.  So is that $150K salary?  No, but that's quibbling.  It's $149,816 a year.  So close enough in my mind!  Plus he works several weeks of 10 to 20 hours of overtime a year, so it'll probably be closer to $160K when all is said and done.

DH said the amount of his raise was the amount of his salary the very first year he started at an engineering company fresh out of technical college, about six months before we got married.  I remember living on that and deciding to have a baby.  We lived on love, faith, and hope.  Well, we aren't living on hope anymore.  We're back to being on dry land, no more treading water and no more sinking.

DH is now where he was while working in Alaska in 2015 before the lay off that wiped out our savings and put us years behind where we could have been if all had gone well.  Only now he's not on hazard pay, he's home, the benefits are better, he's pretty much guaranteed a job for the rest of his working life assuming the company stays solid, and we don't have to pay for airfare to get to Alaska or a mortgage or a car payment or any debt at all.  And when we do inherit the house from my mother, we will be able to pay the property taxes.  It's like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.  I praise God for this so much.  DH has worked so hard for this company, they've noticed, and it has paid off in spades.

But the biggest, most important thing in this is that if the appeal to keep our daughter on DH's medical due to disability doesn't work, we can afford to pay for her insurance without wiping out our entire emergency fund and still have money leftover.  And that feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of all of our shoulders.

And now I can rebuild the Emergency Fund.  I had to take out $7000 for repairing a rotten bathroom floor and fixing a plumbing leak.  We will probably have to completely rip out the bathroom/shower and put in a new one, too.  But at least we didn't drain the fund.  There is still $13,285.51 in it.  We will get it back up again.

Then maybe we can save up so DS can go to school and become an electrician or engineer like he is interested in.  We haven't been able to afford it since this is such a high cost of living area.  Now maybe we can.  Technical college is not as expensive as other colleges and ours offers a bachelor's degree in engineering at a third of the cost as our university does.

And after that, I want to get a solar system for the house.  That has always seemed like a pipedream, but who knows now?  If we can replace at least half of our energy costs for the year, that would be great.  Maybe we can get one by 2030.  I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but yeah.  Maybe.

Anyway, I am raising a glass of cyber champagne high.  Cheers!


Emergency Fund Update and Goal Progress

October 30th, 2021 at 10:47 pm

$16,803.15 Starting Balance

+_2,138.52 Amount Added


$18,941.67 New Balance

The money came from the gift that MIL gave us, plus $12.50 from the coin jar.

At the beginning of the year my EF sat at $9,456.32, so we have done a few dollars more than double that in ten months, adding a total of $9477.35 to the balance.

That leaves us $1,581.03 to go to hit our first big goal of $20,522.70, or six month's worth of expenses.  Of course I would like to then hit 6 month's of income also and eventually one year.  Having been through a ten month job loss back in 2015/16 that we have still not recovered from, and with Biden shutting down oil jobs left and right, I would just feel a lot better with a year in the EF.  Plus who knows what will happen as Covid continues to mutate.  We will save hard next year.

I don't see us being able to put much if anything else in for the rest of 2021.  I will be saving $2000 into the Medical Fund by year's end, but then should be able to start hitting the EF again in January.  So I think my goal is to get the EF to 6 month's expenses by the end of March/beginning of April.  I try not to resent our medical expenses as they put us so much further behind in life than we'd be otherwise, but that is life and so we just deal and deal and deal with that.

Once the EF is there, we will raise retirement to 17% from 15%, save for our next beef, and when we have that set aside, work on changing six month's expenses to six month's income.  Then maybe by the time 2024 gets here we can be maxing out the 401K, maxing out the IRA, and saving up for a long vacation on the shore.

Also, there was $158 left in the grocery envelope, so I transferred that to the Hog/Chicken Fund, and it now sits at $1346.00.  The Freezer guy comes back on Thursday to replace the freezer door and put in a new motor.  Hopefully that will solve all the issues, we will have a functioning freezer, and we can give the hog lady the go ahead and finally get one in the freezer.

One Year Debt Free

June 16th, 2021 at 12:41 am

On the 12th we passed our one year debt free mark.  It has been an interesting year.  The freedom that comes with not having the oppression that debt provides is remarkable.  While not much else has changed here, attitudes have.  Tension levels have.  Loosening the reins is something allowable.

Are we as far ahead as I had hoped we would be?  No.  And Yes.  Medical bills continue to be a thing we have to plan for.  The unexpected always has a way of rearing its ugly head.  Yet at the same time, we have paid them all as we went.

We have taken on 15% retirement savings for the last half year and succeeded and that is something major that I thought we'd really struggle to do, but it is no different than living with a large portion of income that went to debt each month, so I feel like we were training for this.

Did I save as much money into the EF as I wanted?  No, but we are still quite a ways ahead.  Part of that reason is that I decided I wanted to bulk purchase meat.  Part of that reason was that we ate out far more than intended because we had the freedom to.  And part of that reason was replacing a lot of items that we simply put off replacing while we were in debt.

We were able to fund all the sinking funds that I planned for without it being difficult.  At no time did we have to put anything on a credit card because we hadn't saved up ahead of time.  While we do still use our credit card, it is only for convenience and autopays and is paid off in full every payday.

We have increased our net worth substantially in the last year.  At no other time in our married life can I say that.  My goal for 2022 is to refocus on getting the EF up to six month's expenses, but we will have to see how it goes.  The rest of this year's would be deposits will be going to saving up for DS's braces instead.  I have $3500 and need to save an additional $2500 before we can move forward.  That I am hoping to achieve by year's end. 

Emergency Fund Update, Net Worth Milestone, and Meat Fund Update

May 1st, 2021 at 01:15 am

I was finally able to make a substantial deposit into the Emergency Fund this week.  This is a 3 paycheck month so I had some extra money that wasn't allocated for anything else.  This tips our net worth over the $100K mark to $100,182.21, so a big milestone goal met there.

$15,374.23 Beginning Balance

+__,506.32 Amount Added


$15,880.55 New Balance

I also had a lot left in the grocery envelope when I re-funded it today, so I transferred that into the Meat Fund.  We are getting closer and closer to being able to pay for a full beef for the freezer by summer's end.  I've been working on eating down the chest freezer so we will have room, which means I haven't bought too much in the way of groceries.  It was definitely why I was able to save over half of the two week grocery budget this last time.

$1224.00 Starting Balance

+_204.00 Leftover Grocery Money


$1428.00 New Balance

Big Emergency Fund Update

April 2nd, 2021 at 08:03 am

MIL took her 401K disbursement for the year.  She gave us $3000 for medical (paying for the surgery daughter had) and $5000 as a gift.  I put $2K into the EF.  My goal for the year is to get to $22,121.86.  I have $6869.13 to go to hit that and 9 months to do it in.  That will put us at 6 month's expenses.  I still would like to get to six month's income, but that is a goal for 2022 and 2023.

$13,363.73 Beginning Balance

+_2,000.00 Amount Added


$15,363.73 New Balance

Beef Fund

February 5th, 2021 at 10:01 pm

I had $40 left in the grocery envelope so I transferred that to the beef fund and I am going to attempt to only use $300 in grocery money this paycheck, so am starting with putting the extra $100 in the Beef Fund, but whether or not it will stay there is anyone's question.  I did make my list closely to my meal plan and we aren't buying any meat except ham because we have it in the freezer.

$760.00 Previous Balance

+140.00 Amount Added


$900.00 New Balance

Retirement Goal for 2021

December 24th, 2020 at 09:53 pm

This is our last paycheck for the year, and this will be our last paycheck with 5% being taken out for retirement.  From here on out we will be attempting a budget with 15% taken out for retirement.  If it makes things feel too tight we will back off to 10%, but I've done the budget and the numbers will work and we will still be able to save $1075 a month to the EF, assuming we stay disciplined with the no eating out of our own pocket thing.  MIL gives us $120 a month for eating out to make things fair as that is how much she spends on takeout for her daughter and her daughte'rs live in boyfriend each month, so we can get some take out if we really feel the urge.  But we could also save that if we don't.

I figured this would be a really good time to do it, because:

1.  The paycheck is going to drop anyway due to an increase in medical premiums, so I'd rather drop it all at once and see how we deal.

2.  It's a new year and it always seems to be more attainable to meet new goals for the new year.

3.  I will be 51 in February, DH is 51, and our retirement is very low for people our age, because we had to throw so much money at debt for so long.  We've really got to play catch up.  While DH wants to work for as long as he can, he loves his job, he can't work forever.  And he probably won't live as long as me, as women tend to live longer.  I want there to be enough money there between 401k, the IRA, and life insurance for me and my disabled daughter to have a decent life when the time comes.  I don't want to be a burden on my son.  I want him to be able to live his own life.

4.  Having it taken out automatically before we ever see it is always the best way.  It takes self-discipline out of the equation, because it is being put in an untouchable account.

5.  It won't affect any of our day to day living.  We will still have the same amount in every budget category that we do now, but a lot less wasted money on take out that could have just been going into the EF these last six months and should have been.  I've taught the kids how to make a few more easy meals, so if I am just wiped by the fibromyalgia or the rheumatoid arthritis, they can step in.  My son more than my daughter, but she can help to get food on the table.

So that is the plan.   15% seems so huge, but when it comes down to it, for us it really is not.  It is a necessity and with no debt we can do it.  I know we won't be doing Dave Ramsey's method completely right by contributing to retirement before the full EF is in place, but I think we are just too old to do it that way.  And if we can pull off this new budget, we will have a fully funded EF by the end of the year anyway.

Money Goals for 2021

December 15th, 2020 at 12:48 am

I had DH work up a spreadsheet for me of what his projected income next year will be with the higher medical taken out in 2021 alone, at 7% going into the 401K and at 10%, and at 15%.  We can put 10% in and still be able to save at least $1000 every 4 weeks towards the Emergency Fund, so that is what we will be doing.

The Emergency Fund goal for next year is to get it to $22,232.86 and that will be 6 month's expenses.  I am currently at $8739.84, so will need to save $13,493.02 to hit that goal.  I'll be putting the $500 Christmas bonus in the EF, so that will bring it to $9239.84 by years end, leaving me with $12,993.02 to save in 2021.  So that should be done by the end of the 2021, at which point we could move our retirement savings to 15% and continue to save for 1 year's expenses, and additional $22,232.86, which would take 37 months.

And that is without MIL giving us any money next year, or possibly at the end of this year.  Mil is going to pay for DD's surgery to take out the liver tumor, at least what the insurance won't cover ($3000, I think), so I don't know if there will be money on top of that or not.  I don't expect it, but I will be happy if it happens.

Putting 15% into retirement means that we will only be able to save $600 a month (well, every 4 weeks, so 13 "months") towards the 12 month's expenses Emergeny Fund.  And that is all assuming there isn't another raise in medical that makes an income cut again or that DH doesn't get a raise during that time period.  They have a wage freeze at the moment.  So I assume the medical will go up and the wages might go down.

Mom is going to do a quitclaim on the house with a life estate for her, meaning she can live here until she dies and she will be responsible for property taxes still, but the house will be ours, with the provision we provide a set amount of the sale to each sister (2) if we sell the house, although we might just buy them out of that, and of course my eldest sister can stay with us as long as we are here (my decision, not Mom's) because family takes care of family.  Mom wants us to have the house, though, because we've helped her all these years when the others have not.

I won't count on it until the ink is dry and it has been five years (the gov could come back and take it if she needed to go into the nursing home).  With that in mind, we will start to save money, on the off chance it falls apart, towards a house once the EF is met, at least until the five years has passed.

Once the five years has passed on the quitclaim and all is safe from the government, we will reassess what we are going to do with our savings from that point.  Future future goals are a solar system for the house and possibly an electric vehicle if they have one that is disability assessible, say maybe in ten years.  I'd prefer a mini-van that could go about 250 miles between charges, but as far as I know they don't make those yet.

I think I have remotivated myself to stop spending so lavishly and refocus on saving.  We have made it a week without takeout and in January we will be doing an eat from the pantry challenge, so my main goal right now is no takeout until February, though a year without takeout would be amazing, if we could pull it off.  We'd certainly stop jeopardizing our goals that way.

I've Been Thinking About Goals

September 19th, 2020 at 08:35 pm

Aside from the propane grill we will be buying sometime after Christmas with Christmas and birthday money, I have been thinking about other things that I would like to purchase and other goals.

Of course my first big goal is to get the Emergency Fund to $30K, but a couple of things need to be done along the way over the next several years.

1. I need a new bed. I would like one that has the ability to raise and lower the head and foot of the bed and help me sit up, like a hospital bed, but larger. We are looking at getting a Purple bed, because you can get one that does that. DS just got his Purple mattress and I laid on it for about a half an hour last night, and it was so supportive and I didn't hurt after that long laying on it like I do on a normal bed. I also felt like my pelvis was aligned, which is a big thing for me. My pressure points did not hurt while laying on it. Purple is supposed to be very good for people with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

It will probably cost about $1500 to $1600 for the set I can get the mattress first, though, and think it is a priority to do that. DH can build a platform for it. He can just cut the king bed one down to size since he built it. I can still get up and down without help, but in the future I know it will just get harder, so this is an investment in my health. We will save our bed frame for the King, just because it is solid wood and really good and I don't want to just get rid of it.

I am looking at a queen or a double. DH does not sleep in the same bed as me because he snores even with the bi-pap machine, and has restless legs syndrome. I eventually got tired of being woken up all the time. It works for us. I'd like to just get the double as it's cheaper and will take up less space in my room, but DH would like me to get the queen.

The double would definitely allow me to rearrange things in my room and get my bed off the laundry room wall. The washer and dryer are very loud and will wake me up or keep me up if they are started at the wrong times of day. One wall is a window wall and I can't sleep on a window wall without waking up with a sore throat. The other is the hallway wall and if I put my head that way I can hear everyone walking through the hallway. The fourth wall has the closet in it, so the bed needs to be able to fit between the closet and the bedroom door fully opened, where my dresser currently is.

It is possible the queen might fit in the spot, too. We'll have to measure. It'll come awfully close. It'll open a lot of space in my room, though. Sixteen inches by five feet of extra floor space is nothing to sneeze at. I could finally scoot my computer chair all the way out from my desk without banging the wall. And with the bed on that wall, I have room for another set of shelves in there and get better organized.

2. I want to get a family-sized hot tub, one we can sit in and not be crowded up against each other. I ache so much and so does my daughter with the fibromyalgia as well. Soaking in a hot tub makes a huge difference. We cancelled our club membership as soon as they reopened and we could, because they were not opening the hot tub and you could only make appointments to use the pool and they were always full. I am going to take the money we were paying for the gym and save it towards buying a hot tub. The one we are looking at is between $6000 and $7000. So that is a bit of a long-term goal.

3. I'd like to replace the flooring in our section of the house. The flooring is the same as when it was built in 1986. The rugs are horrible (not to mention pink and blue so nothing matches. Since Mom told us we are inheriting the house because we are taking care of her and it, I am willing to put some money into it, as soon as she updates the will. I'd like to replace the rugs with bamboo flooring. Rugs are not at all good for people with allergies.

I'd like to start with replacing the hallway rug. I'd like to get some new lino or maybe tile for the kitchen since there are a couple of tears in it. I'd like to repaint the hallway.

4. I'd like to put tile on the kitchen counter tops. The formica is dated and ugly and worse for wear. I would like something clean, like white or cobalt or some shade of greeny blue (teal maybe). Not a fan of granite counters or marble counters and butcher block takes a lot of maintenance. I'd also like to replace the kitchen sink and get one of those tall sprayers for the faucet. I'd also like to put in a garbage disposal but that will require an electrician.

5. I'd like to rip out the shower/tub combo in the bathroom in our section of the house and put in a full size shower that is walk in, that has a built in bench seat, and more handicapped rails. Also, if we can figure out the plumbing, a shower head on both ends would be nice. Until that can happen we are taking off the shower door on the tub and putting up a curtain. I hate the thing and wish it had never been put on. It's hard to bend my knee that extra two inches to get it above the door runner. Same for my daughter. And no one likes it. The tub has a couple of cracks in it, anyway, that we have filled, but they look ugly. But it is more that with our limitations a walk in shower is better for our needs.

6. I'd like to get the van repainted, the dents pulled out, and the one rust spot attended to. This should probably be #2 on the list after getting a new mattress. DH recently put a dent in the van and also got a bunch of paint on it. There was no damage to the other car so they just let it go. DH has put all the dents in the van. I would like to paint the van blue or possibly a teal color.

I have never really been a fan of the salsa red, but they had ugly blues the year we bought it and it was the best choice out of what other colors they had. It was also a very popular van and color, so we often come out from the store and look for our van and get a little confused by all the other Siennas in the parking lot. I've had a case once where we ended up having two other vans identical to ours park on either side of us. Had to check the license plates, than goodness for vanity plates. Having a color the van doesn't actually come in, but that Toyota still has available, would be nice.

I can't think of much else right now, but I am sure other things will come up. Mattress and EF are the priority now, though.

New Diet Goals, Motivations, and End of Life Planning

August 11th, 2020 at 11:26 pm

DH and I decided to sign up for a dietbet. We've gotten so far off track and I am now at a higher weight than I have ever been in my life. I don't know if he is or not, but it looks like he is. I am ruining my knees at this weight and am in constant pain. So the dietbet we joined was $35, so that is $70 out. It starts on the 13th and is a 4 week kickstarter. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in that amount of time. So that is my goal. I know sometimes people on here do one, so if you want to join the same one as me the invite is here:

Now that my focus does not have to be on paying down debt anymore, I do think this is an area where I need to target my focus. I need to get my motivation going again and I think that if I start being successful at weight loss again I will also want to work towards being more successful at working towards saving goals.

Right now I need something strong to focus on. Mom isn't doing too well healthwise right now. It's to do with her arteries and her heart. She does not want me to tell my sisters. She had a talk with us last night about what we want to be passed on to us. My answer is simple, keep living 20 more years. Then after that the knives and the canning equipment, and some of the paintings I gave her. She has already given me the Christmas ornaments (most of which I gave her over the years) and told me to take them to storage so my middle sister doesn't try to steal them. She already said she wanted them and my mom said no, they were mine since I gave them to her, but that sister can be persistent. She has long since given me Grandma's bowls and china.

Mom is going to get her will done up. She's kind of annoyed with my sisters, though. She is insisting on there being no funeral and the cremation is already set up and paid for. Her figuring on the funeral is that no one came and saw her while she was alive, they don't need to see her when she is dead. My figuring is that I have been here while she is alive, so if those are her wishes, so be it. I know my sisters might be mad at me, but if they wanted input they could have been here helping all along. And if they want a funeral than they can put it together and pay for it. Mom wants me to dispose of her ashes.

I think we need to revisit what is going to go on with the house, though. I need to make sure we can continue to live here as long as we want after she dies. She has always said we could and that my sisters won't be allowed to force a sale, but I need to make sure that gets in the will. Although the way my sisters have been acting all these years, I'll be surprised if they even end up in the will at all. It is sad when they only see her when they want something from her. It is also frustrating because they never come give me a break despite knowing I have these autoimmune diseases.

Yesterday was DD's 24th birthday. We made a gluten free chocolate cake. It was from Bob's Red Mill and it was very good. It tasted just like regular cake, maybe better. It doesn't rise as high, but it is not dense at all. I made homemade vanilla buttercream icing. It was way past the level of bakery icing in my opinion. The trick is to whip the heck out of it at every level.

We also did a barbecue with steelhead trout, corn on the cob, and zucchini and ate dinner outside. It was good birthday dinner for her and she picked everything that she wanted.

I need to get on top of the garden again. I need to go harvest a bunch of cucumbers and berries. It has finally cooled off enough, but it has been hard since my knees are both swollen and DS has been sick. He's feeling better today, though.

Quiet Week and No Motivation

August 6th, 2020 at 12:01 am

There really is not that much going on this week financially. I am pretty much in a holding pattern waiting for payday, which is Friday, to come. Then the bills get paid, the funds get funded, the groceries get bought, and I settle down to wait for the next payday. Lather, rinse, repeat. I guess that is life for all of us these days. I really just want to go do something and there is nothing we can go do because none of the fun stuff is open. I miss our former world so much these days.

Heck, I'd be happy with the library being all the way open so I can go browse books. Using the online catalog is not the same. In real life browsing, you discover some of the best books by accident. You really can't do that on their system. And I can't use the library recommendation page, because all the books there are political and suck. It is weird because the book store is open to the public, but not the library. How is it different? Maybe volume.

Since becoming debt free on June 12th I seem to have lost my motivation. I know we need to be saving for things, but the more life unravels, the more I think we may never move away from here while Mom is alive. She can't be left alone anymore. I mean, she can for a few hours, but someone needs to be here on a daily basis. I don't know if we should be worrying about saving for a house. Maybe instead we should just be socking it to retirement and the EF. It's a tough decision, but we will always have this house to live in, even after Mom dies. We will only own 1/3 of it, but the will stipulates we don't have to move out until we want to, but make interest free payments to my sisters on their portions until it is paid or we sell the house and they get their remainders.

We did some looking at freezers and while we can order them, they won't be available until November or December. I don't figure we will have the money by then and when we do have the money, it will be several months further out at that point. So definitely no buying a beef this year.

Knowing we can't buy another freezer as soon as we have the money is going to change how I store food, though. We will can a lot more chicken and beef so I don't have to worry so much about the space I do have and may be able to get a lamb and a half a hog. And of course as much fish and shellfish as we can catch and freeze.

Sorry, I'm rambling all over the place. I have no focus. I really need to decide what I am going to do, so I can retarget my goals and find the oomph to follow them.

Goals after Debt Payoff

June 4th, 2020 at 08:33 pm

I've been thinking about some things I want to get accomplished before seriously saving for the hard goals. I think we can do it over the course of 3 paydays.

1. Save enough cash to pay for a handicapped ramp for the back porch. This is a premade steel one that is easily removable so we can take it to our next home. It will cost about $1000.

2. Pay in cash for a driver's ed class for my son. We haven't been able to find the time to teach him to drive and I need him to be able to drive. This will cost $750 (possibly with tax so might be closer to $890 if there is).

3. Buy new shoes for everyone who needs them. That's at least me and DH. DS might need a pair, too. DD is good. Buy jeans for DS who has lost a lot of weight. This is contingent on the stores reopening their changing rooms, because he is the sort who must try pants on as he has a long crotch to waist ratio. This is a line item in the budget, though, under clothing.

4. Save for our September getaway by the sea. This will be as we go along, $200 a month.

Our hard long term goals are:

1. Bump retirement from 5% to 7%. This will compensate for if they have to carry through with stopping the matching due to covid belt-tightening. Will start in July.

2. Save to get the Emergency Fund up to 3 months of income. I know Dave Ramsey says expenses, but I feel safer with income. I don't think he accounts for medical insurance costs if you become unemployed. For this I will need a total of $19,650. We currently have $8821.90 in the EF. We need to come up with $10,828.10. I think we can do this by the end of December, possibly the end of January.

3. Once we have saved 3 months income, bump retirement up to 10%.

4. Simultaneously save for the down payment and 6 months EF. I'd like the ratio to be $1500 a month to the down payment fund and what is left to go to the EF. I am not entirely sure what that amount will be with retirement contributions at 10%.

5. Once the Emergency Fund is at 6 months expenses, bump retirement to 15% and put all remaining funds toward the house down payment fund. Eventually I would like to have saved enough for our house to have a mortgage payment that is only around $1500 a month. That means we will have to save for longer, but I don't want to be stretching every month for $2000 mortgage payment. I want to have a reasonable payment with cushion. We can do $2000, but then we'd have to be tight with the budget and I would like to be a littler bit looser.

6. Save hard core for the down payment. I am playing with the idea of just saving up enough to buy a house outright. It would mean living here a lot longer, but the payoff could be worth it. Not sure how much longer mom is going to live, though, since she is 80. It might be longer than it would take to save up that much money.

If we just save up for a down payment with the idea of a mortgage, I think we will need about $120K for the house and land we want with a reasonable mortgage. That is about six and a half years to save. So all told we are looking at 7 years to get where we want to go. Which really seems like forever. But DH ought to get some raises during that time so maybe not that long. Who knows, though. They are on a wage freeze during covid. He didn't get the raise that should have gone with his promotion and even the merit raise that should come in July won't happen for anyone. That doesn't mean he won't eventually, just not now.

Although MIL does give us money from time to time, so maybe any of that that doesn't go towards medical can also be saved towards our goals and make us achieve them faster. I don't count on that, though.

Stimulus Allocation and Goals and DH's Job

April 16th, 2020 at 03:16 am

I moved our stimulus payment to the Emergency Fund and also one of the accounts finally posted interest so I am adding that as well.

$4405.64 Balance Forward
+2400.65 Amount Added
$6806.29 New Balance

I am now over the one month of income mark in the EF by $257.05. To reach my mid-term goal of two month's income, I need to save an additional $6292.19. My short term goal is $7500 and I have to save $693.71 to reach that. The next short term goal will be $10K.

Of course, those are all goals, which we can only maintain if DH continues to work. So far he seems pretty safe, but that doesn't mean it will remain so. We are saving as much as we can starting with Friday's paycheck. If DH ends up getting furloughed at some point his employer will continue to pay their portion of medical for two months. But he is pretty vital to keep the company going, so as long as the company doesn't fail I think we will be okay. It really depends on how long this quarantine business lasts.

DH only had to work one week at 32 hours. They are allowing 40 hours this week. So this paycheck will have the hit on it, but that is okay. I've planned for that loss of income.

Monster Mom Loan Payment Plus Future Money Goals

March 7th, 2020 at 01:00 am

$5000.00 Balance Forward
-1000.00 Payment Made
$4000.00 New Balance

With the amount of overtime DH is getting, I think we will have this paid off in April, instead of May or June like we had figured at the beginning of the year. He got 15 this week which will be on the next paycheck and will get at least 10 this coming week, maybe 15 again, which will also be on the next paycheck.

I really hope the overtime continues for a while after that, too, because then we can get our three month's of income saved up for. We are about $1600 shy of one month's income. I know some people save for expenses, but I would rather have income. So that is $14,600 we need to save, which I will just round to $15,000.

With 20 hours of overtime per paycheck and keeping our takeout budget under control, we could save $1500 a paycheck, or 10 paychecks until goal. Without it, we could save $1000 a paycheck, or 15 paychecks. Either way we would have it this year, either by August or the end of October. And then we can finally start seriously saving on a down payment for a house, while slowing working towards getting the EF to six month's income.

And DH may get a raise in July. I don't know. When he got his last raise they said he wouldn't get another one before July of 2020, which would be 18 months from his last one. That doesn't mean he will get one, but his boss told him they wouldn't be able to ask the higher ups for one again until then. I am hoping there will be one, since he's really made himself invaluable. His boss says so and so does his boss's boss.

I will be glad when we can move out of here, but it will take a couple years of hard savings, so maybe by the end of 2023 or start of 2024. My eldest sister is going to move in when we move out so mom won't be alone. And so might one of my middle sister's sons. Actually he might move down here for a job and take up residence in the attic, which has two bedrooms and a storage area long before that. It has no heat, but he can use a space heater. The internet doesn't reach up there and it is only wired for 2 prong outlets and not very many, so it is not ideal, but beggar's can't be choosers.

Financial To Do List and Regular to Do List

February 20th, 2020 at 10:26 pm

These are my to do lists for the next couple weeks. I will likely get all of the financial ones done this week and hold off on the more physical activities until next week. I am finally able to drive today to go to the doctor. I still have a full head and runny nose and exhaustion, but the worst from having the flu is behind me. I spent a good ten days in bed. That was the worst flu I've ever had and I am behind on everything.

1. Get ready for taxes
--gather my Youtube/Google income for DH
--gather my hobby income for DH
--gather my Thrive income for DH
--gather the interest income for DH
--gather the charitable donations paperwork for DH

2. Medical Fund Bank Account Spreadsheet
--Bring up to Date
--Balance against bank account

3. FSA
--get proper receipts to submit for the orthotics

4. Prepare the March Budget Spreadsheet

5. Reminder second half of vacation payment is due March 2


1. Grocery List
--go through flyers to check sales
--check online for digital coupons
--make meal plan
--make list

2. Go through onion storage and throw out any bad ones

3. Go through squash storage and throw out any bad ones

4. Check potatoes for sprouts or bad spots
--throw out bad ones
--set aside sprouted ones for quick use

5. Garage Chest Freezer Inventory

2019 Goals Met and Not Met, 2020 Goals and Beyond

December 28th, 2019 at 08:13 pm

My two main goals for 2019 were to pay down debt and to to lose weight. Unfortunately I yo-yo'd all over the place with my weight and still haven't gotten my act together. But on the debt pay down I excelled. I had planned to pay off $12,000 this year, but ended up paying off $16,000. I exceeded my goal by $4000. This is the first year in a long time that I have felt like I was making serious progress.

My goals for 2020 are:

1. Lose Weight and Go Back to the Pool.

2. Finish paying off the $9000 we owe by June. Sooner if possible.

3. Save $12,000 to the EF from July through December. That will put our EF close to three months of expenses. It will take one more month than I have in 2020 to get it there unless we get a windfall (and MIL has been giving us quite a bit).

4. Up retirement savings to 7% in July. Once the EF is met, I'd like to up it to 10%. There is also the possibility of a raise. When DH got the last one, they told him he wouldn't be up for another one before July 2020, so here's hoping he gets one even if it is just COL.

5. If I hit the EF amount before the end of this year we will be able to start saving up for a house. That will be a long process, though. We ought to be able to save $24K a year once the EF is up to snuff. The way house prices keep rising we need at least $75K for a down payment of 20%, but if we want breathing room in a mortgage payment I would want to double that. So we'd be at this for 6 years, maybe.

Used to be you could buy a house for $350,000 and now it is more like $450,000 to $650,000. This is just in the last five years. I would love to move to a low cost of living southern state once we retire. Just not one with crocodiles, snakes, and scorpions. The warmer weather would be better for my health.

Another option we might consider is to save up and buy a piece of land, then save up and put in a well, then save up again and put in a septic system. Once that is done, we could get a construction loan with the new, improved price for the land as collateral and build the house. We can still get land for about $35K for an acre in some parts of the county that are not too far from where DH works. A well is about $40K and septic is about $30K. Having it ready to go though, will increase the value of all of it from $105,000 to $150,000. Anyway it is something to think about as we get closer.

Planning for the New Paycheck and Future Goals

August 6th, 2018 at 02:10 am

As per usual, I have come down with something a few days after our visit to the ER, a nasty stomach bug. I am on the way back up, though, so fortunately it isn't going to be some long, drawn out thing. My food is staying down today and my head feels better, and I finally woke up feeling well-rested. My tummy is still a little tender, but I think by tomorrow I will be okay. I am supposed to be beta testing a finance thing for someone, but haven't been quite up to it yet. Maybe tomorrow.

We have five days to go until payday. This will be DH's first paycheck as a permanent employee and will have two weeks on it. I have set up my budget for August with two bi-weekly pay periods instead of weekly pay periods. The first week will have 15 hours of OT on it and the second week will have 6. DH was so tired after spending Thursday night in the ER with DD, so I told him if he was too tired to stick it out, not to. OT is nice, but not at the expense of his health.

From now on he is only authorized to get 10 hours of OT a week. He won't be able to set up the 401K until after he gets his first automatic deposit, so the paycheck on the 24th will start the 401K contributions. We have decided to start them even though we haven't paid off the debt yet. We both feel like we are already too far behind on retirement to wait, even though Dave Ramsey says to wait until the debt is gone. It is messing too much with my security issues not to start it up and DH also wants to do it.

I am having DH run the numbers for me on how much to contribute. We are debating 5% and 7%. 5% is how much the company matches. 7% is the break even point on taxes. I just need to see what the end numbers will be. Then we can make a decision and I can do the final tweaks to the budget. The August budget is going to be weird and not be able to follow the budget template, but from September on it'll be set for the rest of the year.

DH will be getting what amounts to a 12% raise, but it is because our insurance premiums will be so much lower in September. He is not getting an actual raise, although his boss did try and says he will try again in 6 months. It will feel like a raise. Also in 18 months another guy is going to retire and his boss says he wants DH to take over his position which would be a promotion and likely a raise with the increased responsibility.

We will not increase our level of spending, though. All extra money will be put in the 401K and to pay off this last debt. Once the debt is gone, then the debt money will go to an EF of 3 months of expenses. Once we hit 3 months expenses, we will split that portion in half. One half will continue to build the EF until we hit six months of expenses. The other half will go towards a down payment fund for a house.

Once the EF hits six months of expenses, we will adjust our retirement savings to 10% and the remainder will go into the down payment fund. We may be saving for some time as I don't want to have a mortgage of more than $200,000.00. I really would prefer $100,000.00 mortgage, but that is not practical where we live.

If MIL gives us the $13K a year, we will fund a spousal Roth IRA with some of it and the rest will go into either the EF if we are still building it and then the house down payment fund.

I probably should start a sinking fund for a vehicle replacement. Right now our vehicles are in excellent condition. The 2011 Sienna has only just hit 40,000 miles. The 2007 Tacoma has a lot more miles, but is in great repair, so I think we have many years to go. But when something does go, we will want to get something nice, a used car in the $20,000 range or less. I reckon the Sienna will last another 15 years, but the truck might not. With Toyotas, though, as long as you keep them up, they last a very, very long time. Both will need new paint jobs, the truck first, and then eventually the van.

I'd like to take a vacation at some point, too. We haven't been on one in several years. So that should likely be one of our sinking funds as well. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve all of these goals in the next six years or so. I would like to get out of here sooner, but I just don't think that is to be.

Payday Report for 7/20/18

July 21st, 2018 at 01:39 am

$201.95 Tithe
_200.00 Medical Fund
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__50.00 Household Envelope
__45.00 Allowances
_441.41 Auto Payments
_100.00 Laptop Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_600.00 Monster Mom Loan
$1888.36 Total Money Out

I did not budget all of the money out this time as there are a couple of things we need to purchase off of Amazon. I'll be using the debit card there for the first time. I'm not quite sure yet how much we will be spending, so I left plenty of room. After we buy our things, I will allocate what is left to another category.

The Medical Fund is currently sitting at almost $600. I want to get it to $2000 and then I will stop contributing $200 weekly deposits, though when it drops down below $2000 I will start them up again. I have a ways to go before I get there and of course I'm taking out any medical expenses as we go. $2000 is the amount the new deductible will be on the insurance that starts in September, so I'd like it available to us so we don't have to scramble when we start on deductible number three for the year.

Fund Updates and Musings on Goals

May 6th, 2018 at 12:06 am

Emergency Fund:
$5936.61 Starting Balance
+_100.00 Amount Added
$6036.61 New Balance

Insurance Sinking Fund:
$200.00 Starting Balance
+100.00 Amount Added
$300.00 New Balance

College Fund:
$100.00 Current Balance

My goal for the EF is to try to get it built to $7000 by the end of the year. If I contribute $100 a month, then that will cover $800 of that and then I'll just need to come up with $163.39. Since I bank all my youtube income and my Thrive Life income except the $10 a month it takes to run my website, that should be doable.

For the insurance sinking fund I'd like to contribute $100 a month. I am not sure how much it is going to cost to insure two vehicles. I think it will be more than $100 a month, but the truck will only carry liability and uninsured motorists and we will get a multiple vehicle discount.

We just paid the policy for the van in March, so I'm not sure how much additional we'll need. Once I see what the new policy will be, I can adjust the sinking fund accordingly. We like to save up and pay six months at a time, not pay monthly. Up to now I have been saving $80 a month, but I did fund this account some with some of the tax refund.

I don't know if I will be able to contribute to the college fund by any significant amount. DS knows he is going to have to work a few years to pay for college, but if I can save enough to help at all, I'd like to. I hate the fact that we can't pay for college. Several years ago we could have cash flowed it, but all those years of high taxes and a sucking economy hit us hard. Follow that with the 10 months of unemployment in 2016/2017 and we don't stand a chance with our current income. If DH can pick up a higher wage job than his current one, we still have to spend years rebuilding what we lost.

I won't feel comfortable until we have a $30,000 Emergency Fund and a $80,000 saved for a down payment.

On the writing goal I am at 6160 words so far this week. I have two more days to hit 10,000 words. I'll get that easily the way things are going.

I have met my step goals every day this week. The diet is back under control again.

This and That

May 2nd, 2018 at 09:47 pm

I haven't posted since the 22nd. A lot has been going on. My son had his wisdom teeth out and it really knocked him for a loop. Everyone had to pick up the slack and it was a lot of slack as that kid does a ton around the place. It cost $1250.20. They gave us a 12% discount since we had no dental insurance.

We finished transferring soil into the garden beds that need it. About 2/3 of the bee balm we transplanted made it. I've got my tomatoes planted now. I've finished my garden plan and have decided I am going to plant bush beans this year instead of pole beans. I've been having trouble with my shoulders, so picking above my head will hurt. By putting them in 2 foot tall raised beds, I can just pull up a chair to pick them instead of kneeling on the ground.

Normally I prefer pole beans because they go a lot longer, but if I plant now, I can get two crops of bush beans in this summer. I went with Provider green beans. They are a high yield bean and they had organic seeds available locally. If I had to order it would have been a toss up between Providers and Contenders, since they have the highest yields. With pole beans I usually do Blue Lake or Kentucky Wonder. Or blue coco for fun. It is a purple string bean that turns green when you cook it. I'm mostly going for yield this year, though, because I need to can a lot.

I am going to grow my zucchini and cucumbers vertically on stakes instead of letting them sprawl all over the place. There is a place in the front yard that gets good sun on the edge of the deck. I just have to keep tying them up as they grow. This gets the plant off the ground, making it less susceptible to powdery mildew. It also allows for something that usually takes up a huge amount of space to be grown in a more compact area.

I'm not sure I'll be able to grow any potatoes this year. The ground is just not prepared for it and it is more work than I can do on my own. Maybe if I grew them in barrels or grow bags. We'll see. We have 3 old water barrels that could be cut in half. But I can buy potatoes fairly cheaply from the no spray garden when it is time to can them, so if I can't plant any, that'll do.

My big goals for the garden are to can enough green beans and tomatoes for the year. Maybe even enough tomatoes for two years, which I've done before. I picked good, local producers this year, so as long as we don't have a cruddy growing season this year (last year's was awful), I should make it just fine with what I planted.

I've been writing. I've written 5000 words in the last two nights, so I think the writer's block is over. It would be nice to get this novel finished. I have a much better idea of where it is going now. It's like a veil has been lifted. I haven't finished a novel in four years, so I am very happy with myself that it seems to suddenly be going so well again.

I know I haven't done any payday updates in a while. I'll start again on Friday. I just don't have the energy to go back and write everything up. No big deal. It's just for my benefit anyway. I doubt anyone is really just itching to see the state of my budget every week! Smile Today is the first no spend day in ages.

Well, I've got a free hour before I need to get back in the garden again, so I am going to work some more on my novel. My goal is to write 10,000 words this week and 45,000 by the end of the month. If I keep up the rate I'm going at that should be easily doable.

Adding to Our Food Storage in Preparation for Job Loss

September 27th, 2017 at 03:14 am

I spent the day canning and as much work as it is, I now have an additional 24 pints of potatoes on the shelves and Mom has 8 for her. It goes a lot faster when two people are doing the work, but even so we were at it for 4 hours with only a five minute break.

I hope to do 20 more pounds in a couple of days, but it depends on whether they have any at the no-spray farm or not. I am still trying to track down more green beans as I'd like to put up another 20 pounds. And I'll need to track down some sweet meat squash as I did not grow any this year, though I've got acorn squash growing. That doesn't keep for 10 months, though, just a few. Sweet meat keeps a long time.

I put in a pretty large order of freeze dried foods. I've been cooking with some of that fairly frequently, especially the chopped onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers. I find it much easier on days that I have arthritis flare ups or exhaustion caused by the auto immune stuff, that I can still cook without having to peel and chop things, I just have to rehydrate it first.

I will probably do one more order next month when their semi-annual sale is on. That is the time to order the freeze-dried meats because the discount is substantial. They work great in chili, spaghetti, and tacos. And in soups. I like this company a lot as it is all non-GMO certified with almost everything coming from North America, most of it the US.

I'll have to put it on hold after that until DH gets another job. We should be able to pretty much weather six months without having to go to the grocery store except for greens once the garden dies.

Emergency Fund--Where It's At and Where It's Going

April 28th, 2017 at 08:57 pm

Alright, so after all is said and sifted, I am left with a grand total of $25,943.37 in savings. I have made the decision for it all to be the Emergency Fund and to have an empty Down Payment Fund for now. DH being unemployed set us back about 3 years, I think. There is no way we can think about moving at the moment, so I'm taking that fund off the table until I get the EF where I want it to be.

So where do I want it to be? By the end of this year I want it to be at $30,000. I'm not stopping there, either. Based on our expenses while DH was unemployed, we needed $6000 a month to survive. $1337 of that was for our monthly medical insurance premium, and about $650 was for medical out of pocket a month. So $2000 for medical each month and $4000 to pay bills and live on.

So we never figured he'd be unemployed more than 6 months and that wiped out our $20,000 Emergency Fund in 4 months. It would have been gone faster if we hadn't had a month without insurance. So my ultimate goal will be to have $72,000 in the EF, a full year of expenses. I know that will take a while to get to, and that's okay.

My incremental goals will be:


I figured that way divides it up into living expenses for a month. To hit $30,000 by the end of 2017 I need to deposit $500 a month for 8 months. I can do that. I will probably scrape up more here and there as well. I'd like it to be $1000, but I need to start paying Mom back on the loan, something that will take 3 years to pay off if we can swing $1000 a month. I still want it gone more than anything else.

Of course I will also set mini-goals for the EF. Every $1000 is what I used to do, so probably what I will do again. It will feel good to start making progress again each month instead of hemmorhaging money for 3/4 of a year.

I Don't Get It

April 16th, 2017 at 05:16 am

I have never understood why it is that when you sign up with direct deposit with a new job, the first paycheck doesn't get direct deposited. In this day and age especially of quick electronic transactions, it doesn't make sense to me. Back in the day when this sort of thing was new instead of commonplace and they were still working kinks out it was a bit more understandable, but it should not be an issue anymore.

So while DH will get his first paycheck next week, it will be a paper check he will have to mail home. I was expecting that, though, and did not have any plans budget wise until the following week when he will get the second paycheck direct deposited.

It's going to be very weird going back to an income based budget. It has been 9 months living off of savings, the Christmas bonus, and the income tax return. I'm sure I will get back into the groove and be used to it again in no time, but it'll take some adjusting.

Except for automatic payments from the bank account I have been running everything through the credit card and then taking a chunk out of savings at the start of each month and paying it off. Watching the balance on the card made me more careful while savings was dwindling. I hope I maintain some of that carefulness as we go back to the previous method of doing things.

I have a feeling I'm going to want to spend freely when income starts rolling in again, and that is not something I want to have happen. We can't afford to do that if we want to get our goals accomplished, especially a 12 month Emergency Fund.

I'm not sure how fast that will happen, but it was certainly proven to us that $20,000 is not enough for a family of four when there is a prolonged job loss and you have to pay for your own insurance. My ultimate goal there is $72,000. That would give us $6000 per month to live on and pay for insurance. It took 10 years to get it to $20K the first time. I need it to get there sooner than that. It is just going to be hard figuring out how.

In other news, I missed my blogoversary. It was April 9th, 11 years and over 77.6 million hits ago that I started this blog. Seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time.

Moving Fund Update

May 21st, 2016 at 04:51 am

$45.15 Starting Balance
+15.00 Pinecone
+20.00 Rabbit sale
+10.00 Egg Money
+_9.00 Coin Jar Money
$99.15 New Balance

$2400.85 to go.

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