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

2. Save for Beef Fund--Save $500 a month for 5 months, ending in May, for a total of $2500 to buy a whole steer.  I may not need this much but with costs going up everywhere, I tacked on an extra $500.  I'll contact my guy beforehand and see where prices are going.  I may need to extend into June for $3000.  I will also be saving excess grocery money, so it may not take the whole time.

3. Save for Snow Blower--Starting in May or June, depending on when Beef Fund is completed, save $500 a month for three months to purchase a snow blower for next winter and a chain for locking it to the back porch.  The garage is too far away if we get dumped on like we did last week.  1.5 feet in two days that has lasted for several days.  This has happened several years running now.  And several times a winter.  Never used to, but it does now.

4. Starting March 24th save $250 a month for two generators, one for the garage freezer and a more powerful one for the house.  I still have to price these.  I am not sure how much they will cost yet, but I hope to have enough saved by October to have both.

5. Get some kind of covered seating area and some more chairs so we can eat outside more in the spring and summer.  Not sure where I will fit that in.  Maybe start the generator savings later.

After I've saved up and purchased these items any money leftover and any money that was being saved towards those goals will go to the Emergency Fund.

Actually, things might be thrown off a bit.  Mom will need help with house taxes and insurance.  I'll have to look up what those were last year, but this is still more or less what I will be doing, maybe offset a bit.

Longer Term Goals--Things I Want to Save for in 2024

1. Emergency Fund--Go a Little More Hard Core and Get it Up to 6 month's expenses.

2. Start a Fund for Future Taxes and House Insurance--It'll probably be a few years yet before Mom dies, she's healthy, just old, but when she does the taxes will no longer be at a senior rate and they are around $6K and we will have to assume the home owner's insurance.  I would like to have $7K set aside for this so that our first year we don't get slammed.  Even $14K would be helpful, but might take longer than one year.  Of course when the time comes I'll just work it into the budget, but I want to pay it from the beginning not be on a payment plan.

3. Save Up to Upgrade our Electric Panel Fuse Box Thingy--No idea on the cost of this, but I can ask DH how much it cost when his mom had to do it.  We have one fuse box in the basement and one upstairs and the wires are ridiculous.  And I am pretty sure the loads are improperly done.  So we need to get an electrician out to fix everything and bring it up to code and have it so everything is upstairs and done right.  The problem will be convincing my mother.  Plus she built a bookcase around the fuse box, which isn't allowed and may have to be demolished.  This one may have to wait until after she dies, but I'd really like to do it sooner, for safety reasons.

2025 and Beyond

1. Start a Fund for an Electric Vehicle--This probably won't get much contributed to it on a monthly basis.  Both our vehicles are in great condition and they haven't made a good mini-van that is fully electric to my knowledge.  Although we may need a different kind of van that is wheelchair accessible for DD at some point, and I have no idea if those will ever be electric.  We intend to drive both vehicles until they die of old age or we can't get parts anymore, but neither is at that stage.

2. Start a Fund for a 26,000 Watt Whole House Generator--This one is $10K probably with installation costs.  It ties directly into your natural gas or propane line, so you don't have to fill it with gas.  I want the one that automatically turns on when the power goes out and turns off when it goes on.  I don't want to have to fiddle with that.  The only issue would be if the gas line breaks or you've run out of propane.  This one is less urgent than others.  Our power always gets restored quickly since we are on same lines as the hospital.  We've never been out more than an hour or two here and usually it's much, much less.  But as the infrastructure crumbles and domestic terrorists keep trying to sabotage the grid, having another source of power for my home is something I'd like to have and a lot cheaper than solar powers at this point.  Maybe save $2K a year on this one.  We can't do anything until we get the electrics upgraded.

3. Solar System--I'd like to have one that meets all or most of our electrical needs on a daily basis for most of the year.  It may not be practical and we may not get our money back out of it, but the kids will inherit the house so it will be worth it for them.  I'd like to save about $4K a year for this, too, when the time comes.  Again, we can't do anything for this until the electrics are upgraded, because it will tie into that to run the house.

4. Remodel the Kitchen--Not by a Lot.  I just want to take out the stove and put in two wall mounted ovens on top of each other, one a baker's oven.  I can't bend down to the floor to put things in the oven anymore.  My grandmother had one of these and I loved it.  Take out some of the cabinets that don't have cupboards above them and put in a 6 burner range that vents down through the floor, into the basement, and then out through the side of the house.  I want to be able to have canners on two burners, be heating lids on another, and heating water to blanch on another while there is at least one more burner free for someone to cook something if they are hungry.  One burner at least will be blocked by two canners, so covering three.

5. Remodel Every Bathroom in the House.  The ceiling of the guy's bathroom needs to be replaced now, though with some kind of water resistant drywall.  The mold remediation did not work and the situation has gotten really bad and now black mold is appearing on the ceiling.  The painters who did the mold remediation have still not come back to fix it even though under the warranty they are supposed to.  It's been a thing.  Plus their entire paint job has practically peeled off in there because they didn't scrape off the previous paint even though they were supposed to.  I think we would be better off cutting out the ceiling, renting a drywall lift and putting a new piece in place.  Then scraping it and repainting with mold resistant paint.

The bathroom that DD and I share needs a new shower installed.  We both want a walk in shower with no tub.  The tub shower combo we have now has a crack in the tub that we sealed up with boat sealant, but I think there is still a leak somewhere because the floor is bowing, so I think we will need a new floor in the next couple of years, which also means new flooring.  We might do tile.  I'd also like to paint it a color I like and put in some shelves, a smaller mirror that isn't so tall, so I can actually reach the top to clean it, a different light that is not a long bar of special lights that are hard to find and are incandescent.  We also need to get a new shower head.  The sprayer on the one we have is awkward and doesn't move with you.  We need to replace the faucet, too.  We have a new one, DH just hasn't had the time.

In Mom's bathroom the shower doesn't work right and ends up leaking water down into the basement.  There is also an old jetted tub that is very short so you can't stretch your legs out.  There is nowhere to install a handicapped rail to help you get up and down, and the jets only sometimes work and the sink and vanity are very ugly.  So once the house is ours, the tub and shower will be torn out.  I'd like to move the toilet to where the shower is now, and put the sink where the toilet is.  I'd like to put in some shelves.

Then where the sink is now I'd like to put in a sink and chair like they have at the hair salon for washing hair.  My back is so messed up now that bending over the sink to wash my hair is a production.  That way both my son and daughter could wash my hair and not just my husband.  My shoulders and wrists have a hard time with it these days, because it is so long, by the time I get through two washes and a conditioner I am in agony.  Gotta love reumatoid arthritis.  Then where the tub is now, we want to put in a tile shower with a lip and showerheads on both sides.  We might have to run conduit to do that and an equalizing pressure dohickey, but it will be nice.

The other bathroom just needs a different bathtub.  Mom put in a seated bathtub, but it is horribly uncomfortable.  It seat rises up in the middle so basically it splits you where you sit and it has painful air jets instead of water jets.  So we want to put in a tub with water jets instead.  That'll cost $20K so who knows when that will happen.  We may never have all that extra money and just use it as a soaking tub as we do now, since the only good other tub does not have handicapped rails in it and has the moldy ceiling wih the peeling pain.

So lots of saving money, lots of things on the horizon.  Some more important than others, some more likely than others.


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